Spiritual Development Archives - Stephanie Misanik Health Coach


August 9, 2017by admin0

I don’t know about you, but I’m an all or nothing kinda girl.  If you clicked on this blog post, chances are you are too.  Sometimes, this character trait serves me well.  For example, when I decided to take my health back, it was as simple as making the decision and with the snap of my fingers, I was officially vegan, no turning back, no easing my way in.  All or nothing.  As a result, my health transformation was swift and dramatic.  100 pounds in 1 year.

Other times, this trait haunts me.  This month my family is away visiting family in Greece, and momma is riding solo. Whenever I mention this to friends or colleagues, their immediate reaction is, “Wow!  No kids for a month?  Finally some time to kick up your feet and relax!”.

Call me crazy, but my first thought was, “I can get so much done while they’re gone!”.  Naturally, I loaded up my schedule so that my days involve me running around like a mad woman from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week.  New clients, additional yoga classes, house remodeling, house cleaning/organizing, an increased workout/training schedule, the list goes on and on.  Oh and on top of it all, somewhere along the line I decided breakfast was no longer a priority.

Like I said, I’m an all or nothing kinda girl.

I’m here to report I made it about 2 weeks before my body gave me the middle finger and quite literally FORCED me to sit a day out.  And even then, I balked.

Here’s what I have learned about myself, what I constantly struggle with.  I CAN’T SIT STILL.  Not just physically, but mentally.  If I have to sit at home, ALL I can think about is all the more productive things I could be doing.  It is so hard for me.

Here’s what that really means…and I hate to admit it, but here it goes…

My name is Stephanie, and I’m a control freak.

Anybody that knows me personally is probably cracking up because to them it’s so obvious, but for me it takes me pretty much passing out from exhaustion to even become aware of this fact about myself.  Nevertheless, it’s true.  I fill my day with appointments, workouts, cooking, cleaning, and so on so that I can be in control.

I had a dear friend tell me, “If you fill every minute of your day up, you leave no time for God (insert your preferred word here – Universe, Mother Spirit, Mama Jama, Big Kahuna, etc etc) to guide you.”

BAM.

Well, I never thought of it like that…

Here’s the thing, I LOVE what I do.  I LOVE being a Health Coach and yoga teacher.  It fills me up and I cannot believe that I get to do what I do for a living.  I also LOVE to workout.  It is a meditation for me.  Maybe you are nodding your head because you too love your job and love to hit your yoga mat or the gym, but even people who love their job need to take a break.  I always associated the feeling of being “stressed out” with having to do things I didn’t like.  The reality is that the body doesn’t know the difference between stress from a job you hate and stress from an overbooked schedule of activities you love.  To the body, physiological stress is physiological stress.

I’m writing this blog post because I need to hold myself accountable.  I have committed to doing one relaxing act of self love everyday, and I encourage you to do the same.  I cannot be of service to other people if I am burnt out and running on fumes.

Last night, I took a bath with epson salts and listened to one of my favorite podcasts.  It was glorious and I haven’t felt that relaxed in months.  Needless to say, I slept like a baby.  Today I am sipping on this delicious golden milk matcha latte while writing and later I’m making time to hang out with some amazing people that I love, people that lift me up, nourish my soul and aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m going down the rabbit hole.

What are your favorite self-love practices?  I need some suggestions!  What do you do to unwind, shut the mind off and just relax?  Comment below!



June 19, 2017by admin1

 

I have a family member, a person very near and dear to me whom I struggle to have a sincere relationship with.  Can anyone relate to tough relationships with family members?  Of course you can, we all have them to varying degrees.  The thing is, I really do love this person.  She is my family, my blood.  But, I have such a hard time getting close to her, developing a meaningful relationship of depth and weight with her, being myself around her.

If we weren’t related, I’m not sure she is somebody I would want to have a relationship with.  We are polar opposites in every single way you could possibly imagine.  From politics, to parenting, to social justice, to religion and spirituality, there is not one topic that comes to mind that her and I see eye to eye on.  It’s often hard for me to even have a conversation with her because I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

It’s not her fault, she has the right to be herself just like I do.

The thing is, I spent most of my life not loving myself.  Feeling like I didn’t fit in, running from reality so I wouldn’t have to see myself for who I really was and do the inside work.  Four years ago, I came to a jumping off point.  I knew that if I didn’t start getting honest with myself, uncovering the causes and conditions of why I was the way I was, doing the work instead of blaming everyone else for my problems, I was going to die.  That may seem extreme, unless you knew me at the time, then you know I speak the truth.

So, I dug in and started on a spiritual path.  A path to self-awareness, to service to others, to a God of my own understanding.  So much in my life has changed in the past four years.  Yes, of course the outside stuff has changed, I live in a different house, drive a different car, but more than that, the inside stuff is no longer covered in darkness.  I feel a connection to light, to a higher power.  I live in gratitude rather than victimization.  I have a beautiful life.  I also love who I am, not in an ego-driven way, but from a place of gratitude.

But, how do you stand in your own truth AND have a relationship with someone you fundamentally disagree with?  

That’s the question I have been struggling with for years now…

Throughout this spiritual journey, the Universe has put some absolutely amazing people in my life.  These people are my rock.  They have shown me a love unlike anything I have ever experienced.  They have helped guide me on the path.  These relationships are rooted in love, in supporting each other, in challenging each other do to better.  I am so incredibly grateful for the village of beautiful souls that has grown up around me.  I would not be where I am today without those people.

But I still struggle to have a genuine relationship with this family member.

Over the past several weeks I have been asking myself over and over, “Why is it so hard for me to have a relationship with this person?  Why do I let her get under my skin so much?  Why can’t I be more accepting?”

I haven’t found one definitive answer to these questions, but I thought I’d share what has popped up in my prayer and meditation in hopes that it may help someone:

 It’s not her, it’s me: There is nothing I can do about her thoughts, behaviors, words and actions.  As much as I want to show her the truth according to Stephanie, that is not my job.  She has the right to think and feel the way she chooses.  It is part of her own journey in this lifetime.  Who am I to judge her journey or to step in and interfere with a growth opportunity for her?  This is much easier said than done.  Some of the beliefs that she has are extremely offensive to me and entire populations of people.  But, I have to pause and reflect on my own life.  In my own spiritual development, there have been many times where my thoughts, words and actions have been hurtful to others and my awareness of how much I was hurting others was little to none.  I have to trust that God has a plan for her, just like she did for me.  Faith over fear.  Trust the process.

She’s doing the best she can with what she knows:  The thing is, we are all doing the best we can.  We are all a compilation of our life experiences, and it takes a lot of strength to step out of the societal norms and discover your own truth.  It’s much easier to just go with the flow and do things the way you are told, because it doesn’t require much thought or pushback from those around you.  My favorite quote of all time is by the late great Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.”  I have found this to be true, and you never know when the Universe is going to present you or your family members with an opportunity for self-knowledge and personal growth.

If you spot it, you got it:  Ugh.  This is the hardest life lesson for me, but it also is 100% accurate.  Usually, when something somebody else is doing is REALLY getting under my skin, it’s because I myself have the propensity to act the same exact way if my own house isn’t in order.  All the behaviors that she engages in that drive me absolutely bonkers are behaviors that I myself can easily and often unconsciously engage in if I am not doing the work to stay connected and on the spiritual path.

They say you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.  I don’t really like this saying, because I think that a power greater than me specifically put me into this family and surrounds me with different friends to help me grow and develop, to learn the lessons I am meant to learn in this lifetime.  The tricky part is that not all of the relationships we find ourselves in are going to be unicorns and rainbows.  Sometimes the biggest lessons in spiritual growth come from those super tough relationships.  If I was only in relationships with people that think like me, I would be stagnant.  Learning how to interact with those that are different from me is how I grow and begin to develop compassion.

I don’t have a magical answer for how to have better relationships with family members that you perhaps don’t see eye to eye with.  I don’t think it’s that simple.  But, it starts with a willingness to stop blaming others and to start looking at yourself.  How can you be helpful to your family?  Getting out of self and into service is where it always starts for me.  It makes me feel like I am useful, it gives me purpose and it benefits the other person.  Then, work to change your perspective.  Instead of dreading any and all interactions with a certain someone, look at those interactions as an opportunity to develop compassion.

Do I do this perfectly?  HELL NO.  But, I try.  I’m working to have compassion and to activate that pause button when I feel like just reacting.  It’s hard.  It will take time, but I’m in it for the long haul.  Family is forever.

Plants for Life,

Stephanie Misanik, INHC, RYT-200



June 12, 2017by admin0

This week, I could no longer ward off the voice of a power greater than myself working in my life.  I thought it would be fun to share the story with you, in hopes that maybe some people can relate.

My story starts last summer.  For about a year now, I have been talking (key word “talking”, which is more than “thinking”) about wanting to ditch the van dur​​ing the day when it’s just me and no kiddos and opt for something a little more environmentally friendly.  As you may or may not know, I have three kids, and when I’m transporting all three kiddos, a van is necessary.  But, since I work during the day, running all over Baltimore meeting health coaching clients and teaching yoga, it’s jut me.  Just me and a big ol’ minivan.  

It all started with me mentioning OUT LOUD last summer that I wanted to get a road bike because it killed me every time I clicked that automatic start button for the gas guzzling not so environmentally friendly van.  It started with me just speaking my truth.  Getting it out of my head and into my reality.  What happened next is what happens to everyone when we put something out into the universe, if we are paying attention: the universe provides.

Now, of course I wanted to have a road bike that exact day last summer that I spoke my truth out loud because, “Hello, my name is Stephanie and I love instant gratification”.  But, that’s not how it works.  I had to be patient.  No matter how much I wanted a bike last summer, the timing just wasn’t right.  I didn’t have the money to spend on it, I didn’t know if I was really ready to fully commit, and on and on.  But, I didn’t give up.  I know, because my experience has shown me, that if something is meant to happen, it will, regardless of what I do.  So, deep down, I knew that if I was meant to be a biking momma, the universe would conspire to make that happen with or without my input. 

Well, the day finally came almost a year later when the funds were available and the timing just felt right.  How did I know it was time?  That feeling of misalignment could no longer be ignored.  That’s always how it always works for me.  It started with an awareness that my actions were not matched with my personal beliefs.  My action of driving around a minivan with just myself in it was not aligned with my personal beliefs for doing everything I can to help save the environment.  

At first, it was just a little bit uncomfortable.  I would get into the van and think, “I should really be on a bike instead of driving this huge van,” but after I got going, the thought would disappear and I would go about my merry day.  As time progressed, that thought, that misalignment of spiritual principles and actions became unavoidable.  Now, every single time I was getting in the car, I would have the uncomfortable feeling like my actions didn’t match my beliefs.  

Then, I started to become SUPER aware of all the cyclists on the streets around me, as if they were specifically there to show me that it was possible to use a road bike as a main means of transportation.  It’s funny because I never used to pay attention to the cyclist on the street, except to not hit them.  But I started to notice them in drones.  Their bright helmets, tight bike shorts, skinny bike tires, fat bike tires, and all their accessories.  It eventually got to the point where I could no longer ignore that feeling of being misaligned, and it was off to the cycle shop for this momma.

Here’s the thing, you may be thinking, “All of this over a silly bike?”  YES.  

It’s so much bigger than a silly bike.

It’s about listening to the universe (substitute whatever word works for you here – God, Mother Spirit, The Big Kahoona, Higher Power) when it talks to you.  Once you start trekking down this road of spiritual practice, I have noticed that it gets harder and harder to ignore that inner voice.  Does it mean that I always listen to it?  HELL NO.  I am human.  But, it no longer feels good to me to try and remain oblivious, to try to ignore that calling, that voice, that thought.  It’s downright uncomfortable.  It even gets to the point where that is all I think about and I can no longer ward it off.  

Funny how the universe works.

So, I am in week one of navigating the streets of Baltimore on my new road bike.  I am super lucky because I have a dear friend who is passionate about cycling (and more importantly, safe cycling) that has offered to show me the best ways to navigate this city. Even though I am only a week in, and my ass is so sore I can barely sit, I no longer feel misaligned.  I feel like I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing, and that’s how I know that I am in alignment with the will of the universe rather than just running the Stephanie show, oblivious to everyone and everything around me.

As I work in my sits bones to the bumpy roads of Baltimore, I’m smiling.  The warm sun shinning on me, cars whipping by me.  At night, I can put my head on my pillow and fall asleep with ease because I know that my values are aligned with my actions.  That I am doing my part to help improve the environment, something that is near and dear to my heart.  Am I perfect, NO.  But, it’s the little actions over time that add up to have a major effect.

Maybe for you, it’s not a bike, or the environment.  Maybe it’s something totally different.  Maybe it’s something at work, or in your relationship, or in how you feed yourself.  What is it that keeps nagging you, begging you to pay attention, but you keep stuffing it down in hopes that it’ll go away?  What is one simple step you can take this week to get it out of your head and into your reality?  Speak your truth!  Know that you are supported, and that the path will be cleared for you if you just flex that faith muscle and take it one day at a time.

 

Plants for Life,

Stephanie Misanik, INHC, RYT-200