Tag Archives: this i believe

Quote of the Day

I have always had a number of parts lined up in case the muse failed. A lepidopterist exploring fabulous jungles came first. Then there was the chess grand master, then the tennis ace with an unreturnable service, then the goalie saving a historical shot, and finally, finally, the author of a pile of unknown writings – Pale Fire, Lolita, Ada – that my heirs discover and publish.

Vladimir Nabokov in a 1977 BBC interview

Thought for the Day

“I deal with temptation by yielding to it.” – Mark Twain

I like Fried Candy Bars.

Especially with a scoop of ice cream melting on top. It tastes really, no really good.

Am I gonna stop eating them because they are infinity calories, artery clogging, sugar spiking, and aesthetically unpleasing to the eye? No.

Do I eat them regularly?  No.

Maybe on my birthday. It makes it more memorable. It’s all about balance. Some days, an apple will do just fine…

Welcome to theMindBodyModerate.com

Change is the one thing in human nature we can always rely on staying the same.

The site is the same, we are just evolving.

Themindbodymoderate.com ponders the balance of mental, physical, and spiritual health with a dash of skepticism and not necessarily random rants because come on –  some days the best peace of mind is just getting the dishes done, the best workout is navigating the crowds at the store, and some days the best advice comes from your own gut.



To do more of nothing.

Take time to be still.

There is wisdom in silence.


(Happy New Year)

From Mind Body Arts

Magic Weight Loss and Brain Power Tips

Yeah, No.

Not really. No magic here. Mentos and diet cola looks pretty magical too, but it’s not. If anyone offers you magic solutions to health, you might as well be buying the Brooklyn Bridge. Has the price gone down on it yet?

There are only habits. Stopping old rituals and starting new routines. Doesn’t that sound daunting? It really doesn’t have to be. Start small. Go slow. Keep steady. Yeah, not glamorous, but it works.

Think Slow and Steady

Invest 10 minutes everyday in a new habit. No more.

Below are a few opportunities to start making changes. Pick only one. Who we kidding, we all want to do more. Go ahead and try a few, but stick to one. If you force too much too soon seeking immediate results, you will crash and burn. If you can keep that one new habit for a 2 months, then perhaps add another. This slow steady method goes a long way in helping maintain better mental and physical health.

  • Just 10 minutes of exercise first thing in the morning can increase your metabolic rate for the rest of the day.
  • Up your consumption of water throughout the day. Drink sugary beverages sparingly.  Be fully hydrated. This can increase your metabolic rate.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Big ugh, I know. Make it more interesting. Go seasonal. Get to know your local farmers. Frequent the farmers market or local grocer. Ask how they like to prepare the harvests of the season. My personal favorite way to eat most veggies is a quick sautee in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Bam.

  • Eat more fats. The good kind. As in HDL, not LDL.  Latest research suggest that cholesterol lowering foods such as avocados, almonds, olive oil, soy beans, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, chili peppers, oat bran, beans (kidney, pintos, black, navy, etc.), onions, fatty fish, and flax seed play a crucial role in lowering LDL and sometimes raising HDL levels. These foods fill you up and help your cholesterol stay healthy.
  • Drink Green Tea. This one is personal.  Although skeptical of touting weight loss benefits, green tea has been helpful in curbing sugar and nicotine cravings.  A little green tea after dinner helps in digestion and is a wonderful winter ritual rounding off dinner with a mandarin orange or two as dessert.
  • Journal 10 minutes a day. Huh? Yup. Get a notebook. Vent your anxieties, frustrations, write down your hopes, dreams. List three thing you are grateful for everyday. These little moments help clear the brain and make the rest of your day smoother, creating peace of mind and less stress.

Take your time and enjoy the process. As enticing as quick fix solutions can be, slow and steady habit shifts will keep the body and mind healthier throughout a lifetime.

Better Health by Walking Tall. Building Postural length and muscle awareness.

80 year old catwalk model Daphne Selfe has amazing postural grace

When a muscle is shorter than the optimal length, it not only effects the opposing muscle but can have repercussions on the entire [body]…If you continue to exercise with poor posture you will recruit the wrong muscles and build your body disproportionately…If you do not correct your muscular imbalances the cycle will repeat over and over again and get progressively worse. – askthetrainer.com

The above statement is a difficult lesson to learn, yet it is the most crucial. People ponder why it is they have done exercise for years and yet their body is still riddled with aches and pains. The answer is never simple, but a few simple answers are often missed.

The simpler the concept, the harder it is to master.  Walk tall. Breathe. Lengthen muscles and release tension. All of this translates to proper muscular support of the joints and spine. Although a good cardio regime is important for the body and mind, so too is understanding posture.

We all fight gravity and posture issues. Think of how much time we spend sitting.  The damage cannot be completely reversed by three hours of weekly fitness. The in-between moments matter most. You could be a daily runner, or someone who sits all day, if there is no postural awareness there is a more rapid deterioration of the body structure.

In a recent lesson a client had a personal break-through, and in her own words, she found that by stretching a muscle, you are “canceling it out” of the exercise. In other words, when stretching a muscle long, it can’t be tensed inward. This is a simple way to think of how lengthened muscles will create less stress and tension in both the body and mind.

lifting up, stretches open the chest and shoulders

Here are some ideas designed to create postural awareness.

– Roll Downs and Pelvic Tilts against the wall

– Other awareness exercises against the wall

– Work on your breath.

Take a moment at your desk, in the kitchen, wherever you might be, and focus on your breath to allow tension to melt away and bring your body and mind back into focus. My favorite breathing cues come from Mary Bond and her book “The New Rules of Posture.  #1. Inhale beauty: as if you are smelling something wonderful, like fresh-baked cookies or roses.  #2. Exhale surrender: Exhale and focus on one part of your body releasing, letting go, and becoming heavy.  Don’t over-breathe or force the breath. Just let it happen lightly and without strain.

– Most importantly. Go back to basics.

Even if you are an advanced fitness person, consider going back to the basics. People often know how a movement should look, but are doing it with the wrong muscles. The most common example is overuse of the hip flexors which take over for the abdominals, making it impossible to get any benefit from certain core exercises.

overuse of the hip flexors causes back strain and lack of abdominal strength.

Take a basic pilates class, yoga class, tai-chi, or dance. Any movement practice that focuses on fundamentals. A strong understanding of basic movements and how they relate to your body is what makes someone truly advanced.

Both the final image and the first quote are found at askthetrainer.com

The Umbrella of Art, Fun, and Health- Bumbershoot


Playing at Bumbershoot

Exercise needs to cease being known as exercise.

…or fitness, or any other word that might drudge up feelings and prefaces like “should” or “have to”.

Fitness is more than just a treadmill. It’s a pause to take a breath of fresh air, to look at your surroundings and smile, to be compelled to pursue something that makes you a stronger person inside and out. Fitness is caring for The Self, and “Doing” that’s playful, enriching, and at it’s finest moments, an art.

It’s something that makes you forget about exercise and fitness, as we know them.

Joelle Pendergass brings this to St. Louis. Her new studio Bumbershoot Aerial Arts is a school of all things playful and fun, for adults. Yes. That means you.

Let’s be honest. Along the way it becomes hard work to “have fun”. Much easier to find excuses not to try. Letting go of carefully woven inhibitions can be our biggest challenge and the staunchest foe.  And besides, “I can’t”, “there’s no way”, “not at my age”, “I’d need to get in shape first”, and the always present “I’m too ______(fill in the blank)”.

In the blink of an eye, we have defeated…ourselves.

Anyone who is able to relinquish their self doubt just long enough – like the boulder closing in on Indiana Jones’ hat – can find a whole world of creative possibilities open up.  For inspiration, I recommend reading interviews with Bunny Herring, here and here.

Joelle gives people the gift of that moment – letting their guard down just long enough to discover new sources of inner strength, creativity, and fun.

Bumbershoot is on one of those places where exercise ceases to be exercise.


If you live in the St. Louis area stop by and meet Joelle at Bumbershoot. She offers a one time free class Saturdays at 4pm if you are interested in letting go… by holding onto a trapeze, silks, juggling balls, a partner in an acrobatic yoga class, or any number of other fitness arts.

Bumbershoot is easy to find in an expanding block of activity in Benton Park.  Next to fried-chicken purveyor Hodaks, Bumbershoot is in the Polar Ice building, also home to Shock City recording studios, and soon Bittersweet Bakery.

Of course Bumbershoot would not be complete without top-notch pilates instruction and core balance training, sooooo….

I will be offering Pilates classes and private training at Bumbershoot. Please refer to the schedule of classes page on this site for more information.

What are you waiting for? Even if you live outside of St. Louis, nothing’s holding you back from “Doing” that thing that makes you feel stronger inside and out, whether your fun is gardening or walking in the park. Skip the exercise and go have fun instead.


Every Woman is a Guru Unto Herself. I Think.

NEW YORK TIMES 9 21 09The new wave offered up a few playful names for themselves — “the Charlie’s Angels of Wellness,” “Spiritual Cowgirls” and “Spiritual Superheroines.” It’s clear they are proffering guidance at a time when urban women like themselves are eager for it.

Referring to an article from Sunday’s NY Times.


The desire to change from within is a good thing, right? A search for spirituality and personal insight is always something to strive for, yes? Self-empowerment…yay?

Then why does this trend make me so uncomfortable.  Frankly, it’s irksome.

Perhaps it’s the seemingly quick self-help”Secret” approach.  The entirety illuminates the inside of  my head  with the omnipresent neon Mc-preface American society can pin on any subject…the McMansions of the last 5 years have been foreclosed upon and we are now walking towards the dollars and hopes surrounding McSpirituality – no meat, meditation, and wish lists for what we want our future to hold. There is some wisdom here, but overall, something doesn’t feel right.

Perhaps what makes me squeamish about the latest new age spirituality is how close my own tenets teeter that fine line of reasonable and ridiculous. My loathing of McSpirituality dances right beside my manifesto on moderation in modern society. But they are so cheesy! I am realistic. And yet, the proof is on the bedside table, where the book pile includes Deepak Chopra, Brian Weiss, and maybe a copy of Co-Dependent no more…but it was a gift! I swear!

Is it possible to have a sound mind, healthy body, a closet full of great shoes, and dinner reservations at the French Laundry?

I don’t really know.

I do know I do the best I can, and make peace with it regularly. Life is a work in progress…and not a cliche…like the one I just spewed. Wait. Life can be cliche. That’s why we created them. Life can be a lot of things to a lot of people. Just figure out what it is to you. For me…I guess life is a work in progress.

In looking for balance, it helps to hear what others have to say, just pick your sources wisely. Skepticism can be a healthy thing.  Use your intuition. Listen to your gut.

My intuition and healthy sense of skepticism tells me to steer clear of anyone who labels themselves the Charlie’s Angels of Wellness…

Health Care Reform – Start by caring for yourself

healthcare-reform2009-06-18-1245364138Democrat or Republican, Public Relations and Politics go hand in hand, like used car lots and the flags, loud sticker prices, and sellers who reel you in. Knowing this well since both were involved in my career at various points. A shower is in order after just remembering.

Can I interest you in some health care facts?

Can I interest you in some health care facts?

If asked to name 3 or more specific points in the health care reform plan up right now, and 3 or more contraindications of the opposing views, the majority of Americans haven’t a clue.  Though we all know the name of Henry Louis Gates and the beer he drank at the White House. Which issue is going to effect you more next year?

The health issue can be summed up into two camps: A. Health Care reform is so crucial it needs to happen now and won’t work without help from the government. or B. Government needs to stay out of the health care industry. These are the broad strokes painted by media and politicos, in an attempt to get you on their side of an extremely complex issue, bound up in trails of intrigue, lobbyists, secret nods… and tons and tons of dollars and details.

What’s a person to do?

Take control of what you know and what you do. Here are 2 steps towards better health you can take today.

1. Do your homework. Arm yourself with as much information, from ALL sides: The government, pro groups, anti groups,  the insurance companies, research firms, hospitals, doctors, other countries, and etc. Then make an informed decision. Know your sources.

Step 2.: (AND MOST IMPORTANTLY) Reform your own personal health care today.

Eat a little better, find fun exercise, learn how to truly relax and take deep breaths, laugh more, count 3 blessings everyday, forgive any grievances you might still harbour, let go…bascially, start to make the world round you a better place from the inside out.

The above sounds pretty hippy dippy, but, break it down and the words make sense. You don’t have to be on one side or the other of the politically driven, public relations debate. No matter your race, religion, politics, or creed.  If we all paid more attention to our own self care and concern, the USA might be a bit healthier place to live.

Classic US Hygiene Posters

Classic US Hygiene Posters

We have to start somewhere, right? Might as well start where one can make a real difference.

Mind Body Medicine: A Good Laugh

This is a good place to start on a Monday, the most unfunny day of the week.

Science, Art, Religion and various realms of knowledge are slowly melding back together under one roof….the human experience. What we instinctively do, is often for the betterment of humankind and ourselves. Take Laughter. And then take these families here, for example…



Did you crack a smile?

Remember the old adage ” Laughter is the best medicine”?

Realizing this post bears a striking resemblance to mass fluff emails from well meaning relatives and coworkers.  Admit it. You’ve smiled at one of those emails before, even a little. At least one thing here should coerce a laugh, or at least create recognition to the benefit of having one.

…also keeping in mind a newly edited old adage “beauty, [and humor] is in the eye of the beholder”…

We live in such a cynical society. Just let go sometimes.

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.

Shared laughter is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. All emotional sharing builds strong and lasting relationship bonds, but sharing laughter and play adds joy, vitality, and resilience. And humor is a powerful and effective way to heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Laughter unites people during difficult times.

pie area

Using humor and laughter in relationships allows you to:

  • Be more spontaneous. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles.
  • Let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
  • Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
  • Express your true feelings. Deeply felt emotions are allowed to rise to the surface.

  • Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
  • Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
  • Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

OKAY ALREADY. So how do you start laughing more?

Funny Dog Costume

Laughter breeds creativity

  • Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.
  • Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When in a state of sadness, we have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
  • When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
  • Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
  • Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”


  • Watch a funny movie or TV show.
  • Go to a comedy club.
  • Seek out funny people.
  • Share a good joke or a funny story.
  • Check out your bookstore’s humor section.
  • Host game night with friends.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Go to a “laughter yoga” class.
  • Goof around with children.
  • Do something silly.
  • Make time for fun activities (e.g. bowling, miniature golfing, karaoke).

To Find out more about Laughing Yoga.


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go out of your way to have a hearty laugh at least once a day, preferably with someone else. Waka Waka!

storm troopers

storm troopers

Kind of funny, right?

Much of the bulleted information taken from Help Guide.org

Many of the awkward family photos from awkwardfamilyphotos.com

Several other photos were snagged from one of my favorite wordsmiths, Capitol J