How to Make Vulnerability Your New Superpower

We human beings are social creatures. For the most part, we like to be with people, and we want people to like to be with us. The trouble is that we get all tied up in trying to communicate a version of ourselves that we think people will find attractive.
The truth is that it's impossible to  keep this act together. Inevitably a moment comes when something gets to us so strongly that we can't pretend any longer. We appear as we actually are-flawed, brave, struggling, and absolutely human.
This is the moment when we can experience vulnerability as a superpower. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are not pretending, we are not hiding-we are simply present with whatever is going on inside us. Ironically, it is this very feeling of authenticity that draws people to us, not the brittle effort of perfectionism.

Zero Tolerance for Vulnerability
For many of us our upbringing did not teach us how to be vulnerable; we've had to learn as we've faced the challenges life's put in our way.
Shame as Vulnerability's Implacable Enemy
BrenĂ© Brown is a leading researcher into shame and vulnerability. She defines shame as "the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging."
My Own Story of Shame and Vulnerability
There came a moment in my life when it became clear that I was unable to have children. I had always wanted a large family, and the idea of having no children at all was devastating.
Recognizing Another Person's Vulnerability Helps You Accept Your Own
I remember feeling so ashamed of not being able to have children that I forgot all the other people who discover that they are infertile for one reason or another. My feeling was that I was the lowest of the low and that nobody could be as pathetic as I was. Many years later, while having radiotherapy treatment, a very different perspective opened up for me.
The Japanese art of Kintsugi
this is the perfect symbol of vulnerability as a superpower. We move from trying to hide it, to accepting that it is there and arrive at a place where we can transform the lessons we have learned into wisdom and understanding.
Click here to read the full story.

How Charcoal Escaped the Grill and Ended Up in Your Toothpaste and Your Face Cream

Sometimes you don't notice a new fad until you bump into it. That's what happened to me, literally, when my shopping cart sideswiped a display of toothbrushes with black bristles. I took a closer look at the Oral-B toothbrush and discovered it was infused with charcoal. And there was some Crest black and white striped charcoal toothpaste to go with it.

As I trudged through the store's toiletry aisles wondering why anyone would put something that looked like it had just cleaned a fireplace into their mouth, I noticed almost every shelf had a product containing charcoal. Soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, masks, Epsom salts. Charcoal had become the "it" ingredient.

To give charcoal superpowers, you "activate" it, typically steaming it at high temperatures. That opens up the carbon structure and eliminates substances harmful to humans. What remains is exceptionally porous, riddled with tunnels and nooks that act like magnets to grab dirt, oil and toxins. One tablespoon of activated charcoal powder is estimated to have a larger surface area than a football field.

Charcoal works so well that emergency room physicians have used it for decades to counter the ingestion of poisons. Because charcoal and water don't mix, and charcoal isn't absorbed by the body, unwanted substances bind to charcoal (the scientific term is "adsorption") and it passes safely through your gut. You may have also seen charcoal in air and water filters. Not only does it capture chemicals and dirt, but it absorbs odors. These uses for charcoal are well-established.

To hear doctors opinions and hear about charcoal more in depth, visit the article in full, here!

Turkish Egg and Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
 Prep time:  20  minutes
 C ook time:  10  minutes
  Total time:  30  minutes
 S ervings:  2 servings
 C alories:  613 kcal

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs, poached or cooked to your liking
  • 2 cups cooked Bob's Red Mill Quinoa
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • toasted sesame seeds, fresh dill, fresh mint, and salt, for serving
 Spicy Toasted Sesame Butter Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the greek yogurt, dill, parsley, garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Keep stored in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. Cook the eggs to your liking.
  3. Divide the quinoa among bowls and add a large spoonful of the yogurt sauce, then swirl the pesto lightly into the yogurt. Next, add 1-2 eggs per bowl. Add the spinach and avocado. Drizzle the spicy butter sauce (recipe below) over the eggs. Garnish with fresh herbs, lemon zest, sesame seeds and crumbled goat cheese. EAT!
 Spicy Toasted Sesame Butter Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, melt together the butter, sesame oil, crushed red pepper flakes and paprika. Drizzle the warm sauce over the fried eggs.

Want the full recipe? C lick here !

4 Steps To Eliminating Self-Limiting Beliefs & Creating Possibility

We all have beliefs about ourselves or situations that hold us back from our dreams. This could be thinking we're not good enough to pursue our dream job or not worthy of a successful relationship. Personal growth expert and author of the new book  Brilliance: A Coaching Guide to Clearing Inner Obstacles and Letting Your Authenticity Shine, Amy Lombardo, is dedicated to supporting people in clearing roadblocks and stepping into their authentic purpose. In this excerpt from her new book, she shares four steps to dispelling self-limiting beliefs and replacing them with positive,  forward-focused affirmations.

1.  Identify your limiting belief
We must start with awareness. This seems like an obvious statement, but there are so many times when we are really not aware of what we believe in. To uproot a limiting belief, we must first be able to clearly articulate it and see it for the obstacle that it is. So, how do we recognize a limiting belief when it arises?

2. Connect to choice
Once you are aware of your limiting belief, your next step is to connect to choice. Stay open and curious, and remind yourself that this belief is not happening to you. It is something arising from your internal thought process, and you can change it. By connecting to choice, you put the power to change the experience of your reality back in your hands. 
To activate choice, first feel into your limiting belief. Once you have a clear experience in your mind and body of the limiting belief, repeat this: "I created or adopted this belief, and it no longer serves me. At any time, I can choose to create or adopt a new belief, a far better one to replace this one. Am I ready to do that now?"

3. Expand the context around the limiting belief
The goal of this step is to break through the resistance of the old mental landscape so that we can carve out a path to a new reality. It's like clearing the weeds from a garden. Before we can plant a new seed thought, we must clear the mental weeds and be sure to pull them out at the root so they don't come back. If we skip this step and try to jump right to creating a vision or an affirmation for a new possibility, our mental weeds are likely to sabotage the whole process. 
So, how do you expand the context around a limiting belief? When you notice a limiting belief in your mind, press pause and upgrade your negative self-talk on the spot by replacing it with an empowering declaration. Empowering declarations are very effective tools to use in clearing your mental weeds. They free up the imagination and  create space for creativity by moving away from either/or thinking. They inspire a sense of ownership and responsibility in you and build upon your current strengths, resources, skills, and talents. They also help you focus your positive thoughts on yourself instead of distracting you with things or people you can't control. And, most importantly, empowering declarations acknowledge where you are at and speak to what's possible for you right now, instead of postponing a feeling of empowerment to some future date.

4. Create a new possibility
With the context expanded around the original limiting belief, your mind can now open up to create a new possibility. In other words, you've done your mental weeding, and there is now space in the garden of your mind to plant whatever new seed thoughts you like. When you create a new possibility, you can anchor it into your body and mind by developing an affirmation and a visualization that support the new reality you'd like to create. 
When creating an affirmation and a  visualization, it's important to focus on the belief you want to create, not just the external vision you want to manifest. For example:
"I am in a process of finding the career of my dreams. I stay relaxed and let my intuition guide the way. With every step, my trust in the process grows deeper."

To read the article in full, click here.

Dominion Energy Riverrock

The festival features a variety of outdoor sports including trail running, kayaking, biking, bouldering, stand up paddle boarding, and dog jumping. The event was designed to promote Richmond's unique riverfront, downtown trails and whitewater rapids to outdoor enthusiasts. As a result of the creation of Dominion Energy Riverrock, there is a stronger appreciation for the value of outdoor recreation throughout the entire Richmond region.

Date:  Friday, May 17th - Sunday, May 19th  

Location: Brown's Island & Historic Tredegar, Richmond, VA 23219

Cost: Free for spectators! Costs vary by event.

For more information, visit the event website .

Interested in volunteering? SCAN is having volunteers for this weekend event. Must be +21
For full details and to sign up, click here!

Kids Can Make: Pull-Apart Pizza Bread

Kids and adults will have fun making and eating this finger-friendly pizza bread. For big and little kids: Let them help measure, roll and assemble the bread right in the pan.
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt
2 pounds store-bought pizza dough, at room temperature
2/3 cup pizza sauce, plus more for dipping
24 pepperoni slices, quartered
1 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce), plus more for sprinkling


  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with oil.
  2. Pour the 3 tablespoons oil onto a large dinner plate, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pinch off pieces of dough the size of Ping-Pong balls, and roll them into rough balls. Roll each dough ball around in the salted oil until all sides are coated.
  3. Put half the balls in the prepared pan, squishing them together. Spread half the sauce over the balls, then sprinkle with half the pepperoni, mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining dough balls, sauce, pepperoni and cheeses.
  4. Put the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any drips), and bake until the bread is puffed up and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cover loosely with foil, and continue to bake until the bread is cooked through in the middle, about 25 minutes. Let it rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then use dry oven mitts or kitchen towels to carefully unmold. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan, and serve hot. (Let your guests pull the bread apart!)

Want the full recipe? Click here!

Sick of Coffee? 6 Natural Caffeine Alternatives For Lasting Energy

Many of us rely on that morning cup of coffee to get our boost of energy. But  caffeine isn't always ideal, so it's a great idea to find healthier yet potent alternatives. "Caffeine has several benefits from a health perspective. As a stimulant, caffeine enhances mental function and improves energy. However, for those who are more sensitive to caffeine, side effects can include irritability, anxiety, and insomnia," Jeffrey Gladd, M.D., integrative physician and member of the  Care/of Scientific Advisory Board, told POPSUGAR. Consider these six alternatives for a healthy energy boost:

Rhodiola is an herb that has been  used as an anxiety-relieving adaptogen for centuries. "There's evidence that it enhances mental function and improves energy, particularly for those under stress," Dr. Gladd said. "Unlike caffeine, which can tax the adrenal glands, rhodiola actually supports the adrenal glands while improving energy levels."
"Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of carnitine. Carnitine transports fatty acids into the mitochondria of our cells so they can then be converted into energy for the body," said  Alix Turoff, a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and personal trainer.
Ginger can help fight fatigue because it increases circulation in the body. "You can add fresh ginger to your smoothies or juice, drink it in a tea form, or down a whole shot of it!" Turoff said.
Apple Cider Vinegar
"A tablespoon or two of  apple cider vinegar is a great way to start your day and give you a nice little energy boost. I make a drink in the morning with water, lemon, some apple cider vinegar, and even a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra kick!" Turoff said.
Bacopa is a popular herbal therapy to improve focus and brain function. "Studies have shown that those who take bacopa are able to multitask and focus more easily while supporting long-term memory," Dr. Gladd said. Oftentimes, people turn to  caffeine for those specific needs. "Adding bacopa to your daily supplement regimen can greatly support brain function, especially for those who are sensitive to  caffeine," he said.
Chaga Mushroom
"Chaga mushroom 'coffee' is gaining popularity as a traditional and safe coffee alternative," Dr. Gladd said. Most people enjoy the taste and benefit from the additional boost in energy and cognitive function.

To view the site, click here.

Teaching Kids Yoga To Help Them Overcome Trauma: Welcome To Project Peaceful Warriors

Chelsea first tried yoga in middle school, and it soon became a way for her to cope with the difficult emotions she was experiencing. Her father continued to battle addiction throughout her high school years, and on the night of her graduation, Chelsea lost two of her closest friends in a car accident.

"When I first started yoga, it was a great way for me to tune out of my life," she says. "But gradually it became more of this process where I had the opportunity to check in with my emotions and honor and acknowledge how I was feeling. It helped me feel OK again."

After graduating, she moved to South Carolina to attend the College of Charleston, where she planned to major in communications. That plan changed when a friend studying education told her about a school that had recently started a yoga program. Chelsea started volunteering and teaching yoga classes at the school and eventually transferred to Charleston's School of Education. The experience, she says, was life-changing.

"I found this way to connect with kids outside of the traditional classroom setting-a way to connect with them on a more emotional level. That, to me, was really powerful."

After graduating and teaching for a year, Chelsea moved to New Orleans to teach full time. She quickly realized that New Orleans is, as she puts it, a unique place. "There's a very different culture here-my students were experiencing so much more than the average child. We have one in five children screen positive for lifetime PTSD, and students experience trauma at four times the national average."

A lot of this, she explains, comes from violence in the community and violence at home. "It creates such a drastic impact on the developing brains and bodies of children," she says. "Trauma is the second most powerful predictor of academic failure behind special education. All of these factors come into play, and I see it in my students-that they're really struggling and not getting the support that they need to be successful."

Chelsea saw the impact that yoga and mindfulness could have on the lives of her students, and in 2016, she left her teaching job to start Project Peaceful Warriors.

To read more about Project Peaceful Warriors, click here.

A Hormone-Balancing Essential Oil Blend To Use All Spring Long

As the weather warms and the sunlight beckons us out of our winter doldrums, it's an especially delightful time for those of us dealing with the  seasonal slumps  and  hormone imbalances  that can come up during darker, colder days.
Nothing welcomes spring like the healing power of high-quality essential oils. These potent plant medicines can quickly boost mood, reduce stress, and support the body as is starts to deal with those pollen-induced seasonal sniffles. Here are my top three oils for the season.
Lemon essential oil
Citrus oils in general are famous for their mood-boosting abilities due to their high limonene content. And lemon tops the scene for its ability to  alleviate feelings of stress and simultaneously boost your mood. Because of its zingy-fresh flavor, it makes an excellent addition to recipes or water infusions and can help your body through its natural daily detox. (Just  be mindful of the dose any time you're ingesting essential oils!)

Lavender essential oil
Another go-to for finding calm is lavender. Always great for supporting a restful night's sleep, lavender helps your  nervous system relax from the stresses of the day. Stress hormones-namely cortisol-overwhelm the body and mind of many people, which sets off a domino effect in the body as it disrupts other systems in favor of protecting your being. Finding self-care solutions that help you manage stress are essential, and lavender can help you take baby steps to balance your hormone levels naturally. 
Springtime, when inflammation may abound due to seasonal environmental threats, is also a great time to test out lavender's  anti-inflammatory effects.

Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint never leaves my side in any season, as I love to combine it with a citrus like wild orange for an instant energy pick-me-up. It also does wonders for your exercise regimen and opens up the airways naturally, which can be especially helpful during the spring.  
Plus, it can help suppress those hormonal appetite urges! Help to get your body back on track for the summer by using the aroma of peppermint to curb those cravings and boost your mood to boot. Pro tip: Peppermint also helps  keep the bugs away.

To read what seasonal blends you can create with these oils, click here.
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