Darkness is your candle

There is a quote by Rumi which says, “Darkness is your candle.” It reminded me that there could be no light without darkness and no darkness without light.

When I get caught up in fear, it is easy to forget that. Yet, those are the times when I need to take a deep breath in and fan the flames of my Inner Light. On the exhale, I can then breathe that Light back into the world.

Deep breathes calm the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, our flight or fight mechanism. However, when we are constantly bombarded by fear either from the news or on social media, it is hard not to get caught up in the drama and traumas of the world.

If you feel overwhelmed, go on a walk or do this quick energy cleansing technique to reset yourself. And, remember to breathe.


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Energy cleansing technique

If you are feeling overwhelmed energetically from electronics or external noise (news, etc.), stand tall, wherever you may be, with your palms facing the Earth. Visualize all of that excess energy leaving your body and going into the Earth. This exercise does not harm Her, and it leaves you feeling more centered and less energetically cluttered.

You can practice this anywhere at any time. If you are standing in line give it a try. I learned this technique from the trance channel Summer Bacon.


To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

Anxiety or Intuition?

I got married over the weekend. The nights before the big day I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing and I had butterflies in my belly. Since I was awake I had plenty of time to process whether I was being warned by my Inner Guidance System or whether this was pre-wedding jitters.

I thought about the other times I had such intense anxiety and was able to discern a difference in the quality of how it felt this time. Many years before I had been dating a man who was not good for me. Every time I would reach out to him I would get a cramping in my belly. I told myself it was just fear of putting myself out there when actually it was my intuition telling me not to go down that path. Of course, I did. Time and time again. Always ignoring what my body was telling me.

This time, there was excitement mixed in with the knowing that my whole life was going to change. I had never been married before and at 56 years of age that seemed a bit daunting to me. When I told my partner about it he reassured me that if I needed more time I could take it. I didn’t. I knew this was right because I could feel it in my body. There has never once been a feeling of don’t go down this path with him.

I believe there are many ways our Inner Guidance System tries to communicate with us. The body is just one of many. How does your Inner Guidance System talk to you? I would love to hear your stories.


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Radical Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is hard.

From a young age, I learned that idleness was frowned upon. The more productive you were, the more you were worth. I don’t think anyone ever said this to me out loud. But, it was the message I received non-the-less.

I posted on social media the other day how I used to feel guilty for napping. That somehow, I was weak or lazy for needing to rest. But, napping has become a necessary part of my road to wellness. So, I am fiercely protective of my naps now. I say that as if I had to wage war to be able to get a nap in. I did, in a sense, with myself.

Someone commented on that same post asking me how I stopped feeling guilty. I said I decided too. It’s that simple and that hard. My body didn’t give me an option to feel guilty any longer. My body’s needs superseded my old programming. The messages I told myself in the past about resting no longer held the power they once did.

It takes energy to feel bad about yourself. I no longer had any to play the guilt game. There are other ways I have learned to take care of myself during my wellness journey. I listen to my body in ways I didn’t before. I spend more time doing nothing. I am working smarter, not harder, for my business. I am slowing down in every way. And, in that slowing down, I find Presence.

I would love to hear how you take care of yourself. Has it been a process like mine, or does it come easily to you?


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My Last Option

It began in January of this year (2021). It started with a tingling in my feet. Over the next few weeks, it gradually moved up my legs and into my hands. I didn’t think too much about it at first, but it got a little bit worse each day. The pain in my hands and my feet would keep me awake at night. Ibuprofen wouldn’t alleviate the pain.

In February, I started to see the doctors. They ran every test imaginable: blood work, neurological tests, muscle tests, and MRI. Nothing showed up as being wrong. I stopped getting tested once they suggested a spinal tap. They diagnosed me with idiopathic neuropathy. Idiopathic means they don’t know the cause of my pain.

I also went to a naturopath, who diagnosed me with Lyme’s Disease. I thought this was it! I’ve had it before, and I know how to treat this. But, unfortunately, the treatment didn’t change anything.

In April, I went on Bioidentical Hormone’s thinking that some of my symptoms could be related to menopause. Once I started the HRT, I began to feel better . . . until I didn’t.

My symptoms began to get worse. I could no longer feel my hands and my feet. They felt as though they were amputated. My sleep was poor, and I had chronic fatigue, brain fog, nausea, and headaches. The list of symptoms goes on and on.

I intuitively knew that something I was eating created these symptoms in my body even though the doctors tested me for oxalates and Celiac Disease. When talking this over with my partner, he suggested I go on the Carnivore Diet as an elimination diet. I immediately agreed.

I knew that if I was going to find out what the culprit was, I needed to take out all plant-based foods and beverages. Within 24-hours of being on the elimination diet, I could feel my hands and feet again! I knew I was on the right track. However, once I could feel my hands and feet, the pain that the numbness was masking showed up. I had a hard time walking very far before my body couldn’t go any further. Even washing my hair and typing was an effort. Teaching six yoga classes a week became impossible.

The first three weeks on the diet were difficult for numerous reasons. First, my food choices are limited. Meat, water, and salt were all I had the first two weeks. On week three, I added eggs and a bit of butter. Next, I tried adding goat dairy and honey, but my food addict reared her head once I added the honey. I started to backslide physically and had to cut out the dairy and the honey.

Three days into the diet, my hypoglycemia and anxiety left. I didn’t even realize I had anxiety until I felt this consistent calm within me.

About a week in, my skin started to change. The skin on my neck became tighter, the crepey skin on my arms and legs lessened, and cellulite isn’t as apparent. I lost three pounds within a few days, which I think was water weight. Also, there is more fluidity in my joints. They had been stiff and sore for years. I thought it was due to the natural progression of age.

I am now into week five of this elimination diet, and I am about 50% improved. I still have a ways to go, but I am feeling better each day. I took off most of August from my teaching schedule so give my body time to heal. That immediately helped my body begin to recover. The time off has helped me see where I need to make changes in my work life.

There is so much more to share as I continue on this journey. I hadn’t realized the depth of my food addiction until I eliminated so much food from my daily life. But that is a post for another day.

I didn’t just jump into this diet willy nilly. I had done it before when I had trouble with my kidneys. I was feeling great on it, but during the year of COVID, my diet backslid. I plan to continue on this simple diet through the end of the year.

Here are some resources if you would like to dip a toe into the Carnivore Lifestyle.

Resources:

The Carnivore Code by Paul Saladino, MD

Dr. Ken Berry

Mikhaila Peterson – How she cured her arthritis with a carnivore diet

Dr. Shawn Baker


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From Addiction to Self-Love

I’ve never posted anything like this before. Showing my body is not something I would ever do in the past. Primarily because of body dysmorphia and shame. I have hidden my body and reviled it for most of my adult life. This past year I set out on a journey to heal my body image issues and my food addictions. I feel as if I have done both.

Do I do it perfectly, or do I love myself every day? No! But most days, I can feel and see my beauty. I am becoming more grounded in my body as I become stronger through lifting weights. I manage my food addiction with a regular structure that I follow steadily, if not always gracefully. The structure gives me peace, and exercise makes me feel at one in my body instead of separate from it.

Not being fully in my body made it impossible to be present in my life. The standards of perfection that pervade our world sets us up for self-loathing and perpetual dissatisfaction. This striving for perfection distracts us from the more important aspects of our soul journey, mainly self-awareness and self-love.

I am proud of how far I have come in the past year. That is why I can show you these photos that are very vulnerable for me. It’s been about 15 years since I’ve permitted myself to wear a bikini. I have never allowed myself to be photographed in one before. Thank you for witnessing my journey.

I am in the process of creating a coaching experience for anyone interested in body love and weight management. Message me here if you are interested.


If you would like to find out more about my zoom yoga and intuitive services click here.

If you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with Della’s original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.

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Guest Post: Choose Your Hard

By Jack F.

Jack Flynn has been working on his personal recovery for the last 37 years. He is active in 12 step programs and a participant in Kundalini Yoga for Addiction led by Della McGee. He can be reached at jackf1983recovery@gmail.com

Seven months have gone by since my battle began against heart disease. My issue was to lose weight! The weight I gained was a result of overeating food. Because I was hungry? Maybe, but I believe I was nurturing myself. Food was comforting. How was I ever going to give it up? I wrestled with the choices I had to face.


One evening, while trying to get away from it all, I was surfing the net. I came upon a posting on TicTok, called “Choose your hard.” You can quit drinking, lose your drinking buddies and start a new sober path. Or you can continue to drink and continue down the path to self-destruction.


This posting lit up my awareness of the present moment. I could continue to eat the foods of my choice and battle with the ravages of heart failure. Or I could get serious about learning how to eat a healthy diet.


I thought to myself, “Why can’t I do this?”


My wife was supportive, which made the entire process much easier.


I have been on this path for seven months, and I continue to learn how to eat healthily and live with the discomfort of portion control. Some days I dread it. But I think about choosing my hard. I then remind myself of the path I have chosen and how good I feel by losing 30+ pounds.


“Choosing my hard!” is a difficult choice. Recovery for me has always been messy. There is no easy way. Each path is filled with small battles. But, I win most battles which is why I am here today!


But I lose some of those battles too. Then I quickly fall into the shame and depression cycles we all know too well. Then I remind myself of all the issues that arise from being obese. And I start back on my chosen path again!

Choose Your Hard

  • Living a healthy lifestyle is hard
  • Staying sober is hard
  • Marriage is hard
  • Leaving toxic friendships is hard
  • Being fat and feeling ill all of the time is hard
  • Living and acting out addictive behavior is hard
  • Divorce is hard
  • Hanging out with toxic friends is hard

To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

If you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with Della’s original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.

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Englightenment

The word enlightenment conjures up images of a long-bearded yogi sitting serenely in lotus pose on a mountain top. People wanting to know how to become enlightened themselves sitting at his feet. That idea of enlightenment seems daunting and impossible to achieve when in reality, the opposite is true. Enlightenment means letting go of our burdens. Our burdens can be our addictions, co-dependencies, or traumas of the past. Maybe we need to “lighten up” a little and not take ourselves so seriously. In any case, enlightenment is available to all of us, and it doesn’t take years of yoga and meditation to get there. It just takes a willingness to let go and let our Higher Power take the driver seat for a little while.

To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

Are you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it? You can look at them here.

Surrender

I have been having to surrender a lot lately. My partner and I are remodeling one of the rooms in our house. By that I mean he is doing most of the labor. To work on this room, everything within it had to be moved to other parts of the house. As a result, our house is in chaos. I do NOT do well with chaos in my living space. I need order and structure for my mental health. Because that is not an option right now, I have had to practice surrender daily.

The word contains within it the word render. To render means to melt away. To stay peaceful I have to melt away the thoughts that are causing me anxiety. I do this through the long, deep breath.

The opposite of surrender is resistance. In yoga, resistance shows up as tightness in the body. Tightness in the body begins in the mind. When resistance shows up I have to ask myself, what am I fighting in my life that is keeping me from being my best self? What internal battles am I waging right now? Any battle I may be fighting is usually because I am resisting accepting my current situation.

When I feel the anxiety begin to build within me, I practice surrender—a melting away of what I am resisting. I breathe, go for walk or practice yoga. How do you surrender?


Are you interested in writing a guest post on addiction & recovery? You can email me at della@innerpeacemovementstudio.com for more details.


To learn more about me and zoom yoga classes, intuitive readings and spiritual workshops click here.

Are you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it? You can look at them here.

Control vs. Structure

Artwork by Della McGee

Five weeks ago, my partner Mike asked if I would like to join him in a cut. A cut is a term in the weightlifting world to reduce calories for a specific amount of time to lean the body out. We had both gained weight over the winter. Mike did it intentionally to increase his muscle mass and me because of some hormonal challenges.

At first, I told him no. My reasons were because I did not want to have my identity based on how my body looked or how much I weighed. I have had body dysmorphia and disordered eating most of my adult life. After much thought, I decided to join him. Our long-term goals are health and fitness, and a leaner body assists us in reaching those goals.

I was able to change my mind because I have healed so much of my Not Good Enough Syndrome over the past few months that I realized that I could do this. My goal wasn’t necessarily a particular number on the scale. My goal was to feel lighter and leaner in my body.

Both Mike and I are people who work well within a structured routine. I want to stop here and say that control and structure are two different things. Control in the way I mean refers to rigidly trying to manipulate a change in a specific behavior or an outcome. Control has always contributed to binge eating for me. Structure is a guideline or systematic framework. Structure is fluid where control is inflexible.

The protocol that he and I chose to use is a fitness app called MyFitnessPal. Just a note that I use the free version and receive nothing from the company for talking about them here. You put in the amount of weight you want to lose or maintain, and it gives you a daily calorie count to reach your goal.

The most helpful decision we made was to create a daily schedule for our meals. We divided the calories up between 4 meals and a snack. We eat around the same time for each meal every day. There are exceptions to this, of course. Life happens.

This lifestyle change was incredibly hard the first 30 days as the body got used to this new structure. It takes that long to integrate new habits, so that made sense to me. Once the body adjusted to the schedule, the protocol became much more manageable. Mike has lost about 12 pounds, and I have maintained my average weight. I have noticed that my clothes are looser and my body looks leaner.

I have not binged once on this new schedule. I have stayed within my calorie range every day, give or take 100 calories in one direction or the other. I find this liberating instead of confining. I am not sure this would work for everyone. My personality digs structure. Not everyone does.

When I tried to control my eating, I was constantly in battle with myself. That battle would result in binging. There is no battle when I use the app to record my calorie intake. I have just so many calories to spend every day, so it makes me incredibly mindful of my choices. I have found that food tastes better. It could be because I am no longer engaging in unconscious eating.

Just like when I first entered A.A., I had to go to a meeting every day to maintain my sobriety. I need to use the app every day for the same reason. The decision to use the app is a lifestyle choice, not a diet. We eat whatever we want within the calories we have set for ourselves. I will keep you posted as I continue on this journey.


To check out my Yoga for Recovery class or any of my weekly zoom classes click here.

If you are interested in a really cool yoga mat with my original artwork or photography on it. You can look at them here.