Posts Tagged "Inspiration"

Is Flashfree for me?

Posted by on Nov 19, 2010 in Inspiration, women's health | 0 comments

There’s a misconception going around that only women who are entering or have entered menopause should read this blog. And it’s not true. So, I thought that I’d use this opportunity to highlight some of the common themes and issues that run through an adult woman’s life, no matter her age:

  • Health. Women’s health is so important. And so misunderstood. While some of that misunderstanding can be attributed to an early failure to evaluate drugs in important studies, for example, heart disease, the broader issue is that women are intricately wired beings whose systems are truly integrated and connected. Our physical health is so often influenced by our emotions and environment that it can be difficult to discern cause and effect,  and by default, treat appropriately and effectively. However, there are important steps that can be taken to stave off some of the unwanted effects of aging or even some diseases. Just think…exercise and heart health, bone health, mind health; a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight and helping prevent heart disease and diabetes; or, stress reduction, yoga, focused breathing to maintain balance and energy and promote immune health.
  • Friendships and Networks. No matter our age, situation, relationship status, creed, religion, or color we rely on our relationships and networks to raise us up and bring us out of the darkness into the light, to fully blossom, thrive and grow, to create, express and love. Just think…strengthening friendships and support networks to maintain emotional and physical health or boosting self esteem to help with career and achievement

My point is that if you are in your late 30s or 40s and premenopausal, there are many things you can do now that will benefit you later. And many of these tips are addressed within the archives of this blog.

So,is Flashfree just for menopausal set?

Nope. Flashfree is for you. And although many posts focus on menopause, there is often a subtext of lessons that can be learned from and followed early rather than later.

Join me on the journey…won’t you?

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Wednesday Bubble: Good Girls & Inner Hags – A Woman’s Journey to the Self by Amy Palko

Posted by on Nov 17, 2010 in Inspiration | 7 comments

I  first discovered the gorgeous Amy Palko on Twitter. And it was not too long before we began to exchange quips. Then, I had the privilege of meeting Amy at a small pub last year on her home turf and I knew that Amy was an inspiration to women, an artistic, creative lovely soul with a purpose, a connector, supporter and a goddess in her own right. Thank you Amy, for sharing ways that women can love their entire selves and discover their inner goddess.

At the start of this year, I took a risk.  I did something that perhaps only a few short months before, I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing.  I bought a ticket for the overnight train to London, and booked myself a place on Vena Ramphal’s workshop Tearing Up the Good Girl Script.

Because, you see, I have always tried to be that good girl.  It was always my endeavour to find a way of being myself in such a way that I would stay acceptable, attractive even, to those that I met.  I have always tried to ensure that my femininity was primped, polished & painted.

I was attempting to tame the untameable – and I was exhausted with trying.

It was the realization that I was engaged in a futile attempt that led me to London.  When I arrived at the venue, my feet frozen were numb from the cold, and my eyes were heavy from lack of sleep on the crowded carriage.  My body felt slow and sleepy, my mind was dulled, my senses sluggish.  I had shut down.  My soul had closed itself up tight like one of those frosted rosebuds I’d just seen in Regent’s Park.

Because we atrophy when we try to craft ourselves into some cultural ideal of femininity.  Like the Classical Greek and Roman sculptures of the female form with their smooth limbs, their passive smiles, we render ourselves impermeable, fixed, numb.  A beautiful, cold surface with none of the wonder of womanhood.  None of the earthy, creative, sumptuous feminine spirit that makes us feel whole, grounded, conscious, and alive.

During the workshop, Vena asked us the question, “Where in your life are you trying to be good instead of being happy?”  And I was struck with the realization that it was in every area of my life.  Every single aspect of my life had become a carefully choreographed gender performance of what I knew others found acceptable, manageable, approachable, feminine.

As my northbound train left the station Vena’s question still echoed through my consciousness.  And I no longer felt slow or sleepy, dull or sluggish.  Instead I felt a bit raw, a bit tender, and maybe even just a bit vulnerable.  Just a little bit.  A chink in my carefully constructed veneer now scored the patina of pleasantness and passivity… and it felt good.  I felt alive.

Now it is the end of the year.  A year when I learned to say no.  When I learned to reveal those parts of me that aren’t nice but are authentic and true.  When I learned that revealing those parts, that side of me which I had always assumed was not acceptable, actually made me more, not less.  More of a woman, more of myself.  Me in the raw.

So, it is perhaps unsurprising that 11 months on I find myself reading Emma Restall Orr’s book Kissing the Hag: The Dark Goddess and the Unacceptable Nature of Women.  It seems fitting – almost a way of bracketing my experience of 2010.

As I turn the pages I am reminded of my awakening, my tearing up of my good girl script, and I know my journey is just beginning.  I still have lessons to learn in embracing my inner hag – that dark goddess that resides in us all and who refuses to be plastered in cosmetics, refuses to be aestheticized.

As Emma Restall Orr says so evocatively, “womankind is not often sunlight upon soft ripples, spring dew upon petals, the smiling and gentle ease of mothering comfort; grace, silence and obedience are not qualities that the average woman can sustain for any length of time.  Sugar and spice and all things nice isn’t the whole recipe: we too have snips of string and apple cores, bugs and slugs, tails, snouts, conkers, splinters and mud in the mix.  Gloriously, it is not our failings but our very nature that is constituted of black clouds, cacophony, sudden storms and wild, treacherous mire.  Here, in the muddy, bloody, raw essence of woman, we glimpse the face of the hag, the pith and fibre of woman that is just not nice.”

My good girl script is torn to shreds and my inner hag dares to show her face, her heart and her soul.

Is yours?

About the author…Amy Palko is a writer, photographer, academic, teacher, spiritual seeker, home-educating mother of 3.  She plays many roles in life, but the thread that runs through each is the sacred feminine.

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Wednesday Bubble: A Different Kind of Hot Flash. Guest Post by Erika Napoletano

Posted by on Jul 21, 2010 in emotions, Inspiration | 0 comments

Every now and then you run across an awesome woman who demonstrates what it means to have the guts to provoke, educate, humour and intrigue. That woman is Erika Napoletano, a self-described writer, disruptive presence and devils advocate.

This week’s Bubble takes a look at a different kind of hot flash and one that most of us should aspire to.

Thanks Erika…. love this post!

Liz came to me awhile back and asked me if I’d be interested in contributing a blog post for Flashfree. Still a few years from menopause, I wondered exactly what I had to add for her readers (aside from my semi-patented f-bombs and unfiltered look on anything and everything).

Then yesterday, I had a different kind of hot flash:

I don’t need.

And no, there’s not a word missing at the end of that sentence.

Being someone who’s in complete opposition to affirmative action and “up with woman” bullshit, it’s hard for me to write a “I’m an independent woman” piece. Hell, you won’t find one. But I came to an moment during one of my training rides yesterday that I simply don’t need.

There’s nothing in my life that I can’t get (or haven’t) for myself. I have wonderful people – friends, family, clients – who populate my world. My home is comfortable, my car runs. My boobs remain perky (albeit, there’s a little Better Living Through Chemistry involved in that one) and I can still fit into the same clothes year after year.

I kinda don’t need anything.

I’m finally at a place in my life where I can look at my wants with loving eyes. Googly eyes that would get a construction worker slapped.

With so much crap going on in the world around us, I’m exhausted with the political pissing and moaning and righteous indignation that populates modern media. When’s the last time you sat down and looked at your wants and needs and came to a definitive conclusion about where YOU stand? Maybe it’ll hit you when you’re on a bike ride. Maybe the frozen food section at the grocery is your Dawning Recognition destiny. But do you truly need? Or are you wrapped-up in wants disguised (and mistaken) as needs? I’m betting you’re all taken care of, and if you can embrace that like a huggy little bunny (one that doesn’t crap pellets, of course), it’s gonna be a pretty kickass day.

While it might not be much later in life that I join Liz’s club of real hot flashes, I’ll take these moments of dawning recognition over a screwed-up flow of hormones any day. And I fully expect that Liz will mock me and giggle the day I tell her that I’ve succumbed to The Change.

Kinda likin’ the changes I’ve found this week, though.

About the author: Erika Napoletano is an online strategist based in Denver, Colorado. As the Head Redhead at Redhead Writing, she serves up sound yet snark-laden advice on life’s successes and foibles, social media, SEO copywriting and business strategies. Follow her if you dare.

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Aging backwards in minutes: a guest post by Jackie Silver

Posted by on Oct 23, 2009 in Inspiration | 6 comments

So what does she mean by “aging backwards?” And in only 30 minutes a day? Come on!

Seriously, Author and friend Jackie Silver’s has some awesome tips on how to turn back the clock in only minutes a day. Just look at her; she’s a force to be reckoned with for sure!


Someone once said to me, “Look at you, you just sit around and have beauty treatments all day long, don’t you?” Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. It doesn’t take “having beauty treatments all day long” to keep Aging Backwards. That’s the “beauty” of what I do. I find all kinds of secrets, tips and shortcuts to pass along to you that make it easy to look and feel young while still living your life. Not many people have time to “sit around and have beauty treatments all day,” including me!

Here are some quick tips for Aging Backwards when, like me, you can’t make it your “full-time job.”

1) Instantly younger hands.
Everyone knows by now that hands can show your age. In fact, many celebrities have been victims of ridicule for their “old lady” hands and the paparazzi loves to snap photos of them (just look on the internet). I found this tip by accident one day while experimenting with SPF lotions: Tinted sunscreen does double duty when it comes to your hands. Not only does it protect your hands from sun damage, but the tint actually gives a subtle youthfulness to hands. Another quick way to lose years from your hands is with polish and jewelry. According to a study, people thought photos of hands with polish and jewelry looked younger than the same hands without the polish and jewelry.

2) One minute relaxer.
Try this several times a day for a quick and simple way to calm and relax yourself. Take a deep breath. Hold it for a count of five, release it for a count of seven. Repeat three to five times.

3) Five minute makeup
. Another shocking comment I heard from an acquaintance one day was, “You probably take two hours to get ready to go out so you should start now.” Excuse me? I can do my makeup in roughly five minutes and here’s how: I start with my SPF 30 sunscreen. Next, I dot a bit of concealer under each eye and blend. Then, I lightly brush on my mineral powder foundation, followed by a little blush. Eye shadow, liner and mascara come next, followed by lip liner and gloss. That’s it. I’ve even been known to take under five minutes for the whole thing. I interviewed Bruce Grayson, head of the Emmy’s makeup department, for my book, Aging Backwards: Secrets to Staying Young ( and he told me that we need less makeup as we age, not more. So, a five-minute makeup routine is just right for me.

4) Six minute cat nap
. Six minutes – that’s all the time you need for a “power nap” that will not only make you feel better, but will also improve your ability to learn and remember, according to German researchers at the University of Duesseldorf. The researchers performed experiments in which they asked students to review and memorize a list of 30 words. Afterwards, the participants were allowed to play a video game or take a nap in a quiet room. The nappers remembered more words than the video gamers. The results suggest that most of the memory improvement is linked to changes that take place in the brain just as you start to fall asleep. “These processes remain active for a certain time period even if sleep is terminated shortly thereafter,” said Olaf Lahl, the study’s lead author.

5) Ten minute jump rope workout
. Skipping rope is an awesome way to keep Aging Backwards. Of course, check with your doctor before doing it, especially if you have health issues, and be careful not to trip yourself if you’re new to jumping rope. Start with a slow skip until you get the hang of it. Here’s what I do: I warm up with a slow jump for about a minute and then I rest. I do another minute of jumping, upping my pace this time around. Then, another rest period. I repeat this pattern for ten minutes, each time jumping a little harder and faster than the last. That’s it! Easy, effective workout.

Doing all of these tips back-to-back would take less than half an hour. So you can see that staying young is definitely not a full-time job when you know the Aging Backwards shortcuts.

About Jackie…
Jackie Silver is Aging Backwards and she shares her secrets, tips and shortcuts in her book, Aging Backwards: Secrets to Staying Young, on her Web site, on TV, on radio, in print and in person. She is the anti-aging expert on the syndicated television show, Daytime, the beauty editor for Clear Channel’s Mix 100.7 FM Nancy & Chris Mornings in Tampa Bay, Florida and a weekly columnist with The Tampa Tribune. In addition, she’s an expert contributor to Total Health Breakthroughs () and, as well as a regular contributor to, and Silver is a sought-after speaker and coach who combines her natural reporter’s curiosity with her desire to help others look and feel young. Her book is available at: and

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Guest post: Explore your P.A.S.S.I.O.N.: an excerpt from ‘The Fearless Factor’

Posted by on Oct 5, 2009 in Inspiration | 1 comment

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I was recently asked to read Author and Motivational Speaker Jacqueline Wales’ book The Fearless Factor, an overview of her journey of self-discovery and self-fulfillment. The deeper I delved, the more intrigued I became with her personal struggles and with her story, and the more convinced I was that her messages fit well with those of Flashfree — namely that honoring the things that challenge us the most is the greatest gift that we can give to ourselves. As Jacqueline writes “It’s hard to get anything done if you don’t believe in all you can be.”

Here’s an excerpt. Enjoy!

Three years ago I started Fearless Fifties, and as I reflected on what my life has been I realized that P.A.S.S.I.O.N. was an acronym for the seven stages I went through to make changes in my life, and it applies equally to everyone I’ve ever spoken with about the nature of change. The seven steps are Permission, Action, Strength, Support, Inspiration, Owning (confidence) and Nurture.

  • Permission. Step number one was giving myself Permission to move beyond the limitations and fears that held me in a negative grip, Permission to step away from asking others if it was okay for me to live my life the way I wanted. Permission granted to myself to create whatever I wanted. To take a new direction. To make decisions that were good for me.
  • Action. I had to make a plan, or at least have a sense that whatever’ wanted was possible if’ would only do things differently. I began to focus on what was true to me.’ began to think about what it would take for me to do what I wanted to do. To become who I wanted to become. To write well, I need teachers, to sing well, I need teachers, to become a black belt in karate, I needed teachers. But I also needed com­mitment and focus, and a stick-to-it attitude that evolved as I made my plans.
  • Strength. When I took action I began to under­stand my own Strength. All my life I had battled the demons of insecurity, lack of self-esteem, depres­sion, and abuse. I began to understand that not everyone makes it through to this other side. Many, like my brother, end up in jail, or, like my father, succumb to the deadly grip of drugs and alcohol. You could say the deck was stacked against my succeeding, but somewhere buried under the dung heap was the belief that there was always something more for me. On reflection, I realized that it took enormous strength of will to overcome many of these obstacles, and that would continue to support me in my forward motion.
  • Support. As I developed my strengths, I searched for Support to help me get further along the path. I found therapists, coaches, inspirational speakers, books and tapes to educate myself and learn from the past Getting support was the key to my success. Without these amazing guides on my journey, I would never have known which path to take.
  • Inspiration. On this journey through my own jungle , received Inspiration from all the people I had worked with, and met. As a result, , was hungry for more and began to feel confident about what I was doing.
  • Own It. Developing confidence takes time, and a lot of people who believe in you as you learn how to believe in yourself.’ began to Own who’ was becoming because’ could see ME more clearly. I removed the veil of the past and’ developed confidence in my skills, my experiences, and my knowledge. I called it standing in my own shoes.
  • Nurturing. I had to learn how to Nurture myself. I gave myself permission to do what was good for me, had regular massages, went to visit the chiropractor, and exercised regularly. Stopped drinking, gave up drugs, learned how to speak to me with kindness and compassion, and did this because I realized if I took care of me , could then take care of others more appropriately.

The passion I speak of is the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning. in the best possible circumstances, passion drives your choices around work, money, relationships, and what to do with the rest of your life.

The first step to putting PASSION into your life is PERMISSION.

We make too many excuses for what we don’t do and why we can’t do it, and we frequently ask if it’s okay for us to be doing something instead of stepping up and saying, “This is what I need to do. This is what I will do. This is all about me, not you.” We apologize for our existence, instead of celebrating it. We don’t ask for what we want, until it’s too late when we realize we are not getting what we want. So you must give yourself permission to live life on your own terms.

Finding your passion is essential to living your best life. I have never worked harder, nor felt so fulfilled as I do at this time. Learning how to give myself what I needed was the key.

*  *  *

A question for the author

What does it mean to be fearless in midlife? Is there any distinction in the approach based on where women are in their emotional, physical and social strata during this time in the lives?

We have reached a place where we are free from many of constrictions of family and career.  Many are experiencing empty nest, and are exploring new ways of being in the world.  We may have established ourselves in a career that is still thriving, while others may be asking what they want to do for the rest of their lives and are looking for meaning and purpose as they follow their passions, or are deciding what passions were left behind in the day to day tasks.  Many are also choosing to end long term relationships because they no longer fill their needs.  It is almost like a second adolescence in that there is a sense of greater freedom.  However, for many, these changes come with fears, doubts and anxieties about growing older, about retirement and financial risks, about not  having enough to be comfortable in later life, or having health issues.

All of these are reason enough to stay stuck, but being fearless in midlife is more about facing those challenges and looking for new ways to approach things. I like to say, ‘It’s My Turn’ and also “It’s not about age…it’s about attitude.”  It goes a long way to finding the right solutions to the problem. That’s why ‘The Fearless Factor’ was written.

About Jacqueline Wales…Jacqueline Wales is known the world over as The Black Belt Millionaire.  Her unique programs have helped women around the globe develop strong personal success, confident communication and clear visions of their goals. She is the author of five books including The Fearless Factor.

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