Archive for October, 2015

Weight Weight Just Love Me – Perspective – Day 31

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Nutmeg dusted butternut squash rissoto - stay tuned for the recipe....

Nutmeg dusted butternut squash risotto – stay tuned for the recipe….

I’m here at the Stella Culinary Boot Camp –  learning much in some very unique ways.  It’s like the outside world has ceased to exist as I am completely immersed in this cooking school experience.  Today we did a cooking TV show like challenge where we had to create a meal from two primary ingredients – halibut and scallops.  We had two hours to work with our teams to put together everything we have learned in the past day and a half.  The intensity of this early challenge focused all my attention on our task at hand.  I love being completely consumed like this.

I had a vision of having this fall-oriented risotto with nutmeg dusted roasted butternut squash accent bites.  It was what we were placing a pan roasted halibut atop.  It was great fun making this under the watchful eyes of our teachers and my confidence with the challenging prep increased.

The butternut squash carried the day. It was pretty darn good and the risotto did have a uniqueness about it that made it go well with the halibut. The chef though had a different perspective about the risotto which he shared with the class. What was curious was I had had my own ideas on how to proceed I ignored to follow his direction.  I am not sure why he did not tell me of his perspective while he was helping me make it?  It really did feel like a reality TV cooking show.

I realized his comment was a reflection of his teaching style so I did not take it personally.  In my classroom, when I am teaching and a student’s performance is not what I anticipated, I question how I can reach them in other ways. So I can have compassion for his teaching approaches with this.  I did learn from this to better follow my instincts when preparing my creations because there is no way an outsider, no matter how qualified, can know everything going on with something I am creating – especially when it’s complex and synthesizing decades of experience. I am grateful for this lesson and that he shared his perspective how he did.

Our teacher’s positive intent is to help me become a better chef and he did that with this approach. Good life lesson on this challenge to love myself more by finding my way to the positive intent from another’s actions.  I prefer this perspective.


Kate’s comment: that dish sounds great! I wish I could have tasted it. It’s too bad that you and the chef had a miscommunication, but conflict can create great outcomes.

Weight Weight Just Love Me – Alignment – Day 30

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Alignment happens from the overlap between passion, purpose, profession and pay.

Alignment happens from the overlap between passion, purpose, profession and pay.

I’ve been contemplating the image on this post since I saw it a couple days ago.  It illustrates a Japanese concept called “ikigai.”  The more alignment between the four areas of Passion, Mission, Vocation and Profession, the greater the meaning in your life leading to enhanced satisfaction.  For my purposes of contemplation, I relabled this to  – Passion, Purpose, Professions, and Pay.

As part of loving myself more I’m standing on full alert with this concept.  I started last week on a twenty week structural realignment exercise program to get my posture back aligned and in balance to heal my persistent heel pain.  After day four of the first two weeks of exercises my feet are feeling better.

I got to wondering  where else is my life out of alignment?  My passion – that which I love to do – the cooking, yoga, learning, entrepreneurial pursuits, travel, connecting with my family and community – this is the same.  My purpose – inspiring others to joyfully and skillfully pursue their dreams – this is the same.  My profession – well I have became a yoga teacher – this has changed.  I’m still a course developer and teach project management and still love doing that.  But my new profession as a yoga teacher yes this has changed.  And the pay – well I still make my living teaching project management. I’m working on bringing my way of doing accelerated learning into yoga to help people quickly learn how to move through life with more comfort, grace and ease. The pay for the yoga though is no where close to my passion for it.  So yes there is a part of this ikigai image that is a little off kilter right now – just like how my posture is a little off kilter. I could easily bring the ikigai into alignment by adjusting my passion levels for the unique professions commensurate with the pay.  But seriously that feels so out of integrity and oh so not what the yoga teacher calling is all about.  And it got me thinking – hmmm I’ve been here before.  When I got Cheetah Learning  going my passion level there was way out of alignment with the pay as well – but I did it anyhow as I felt called to share what I had developed with the world.  The pay caught up with my passion for my profession then and well time will tell here with the new profession of being a yoga teacher.  So being a bit off kilter for a while is part of the process when it’s imperative for me to live with the passionate fire in my belly of my pursuits.  Loving myself more, I’m good with this now.


Kate’s comment: something that Dr. Thorgesen said when I first started at his practice (and I was so holier-than-thou about not over-charging people for my services) was that if I don’t make enough money to sustain myself, how can I expect to help people? I’d have to leave Haines and leave my patients, and then where would that leave them? Dietitian-less.

I’m working on finding the balance and my worth in it all. I find a LOT of worth in what you’re doing with Happy Aging Yoga. The world needs it in a big way. Although money is not what yoga is about at its core, it’s what it takes to get people to move towards their happiest, healthiest selves.  You are a natural capitalist – the proper course will find its way..

Weight Weight Just Love Me – Allowance – Day 29

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Who joins me on my journey significantly enhances my view.

Who joins me on my journey significantly enhances my view.

I am enjoying the beautiful fall scenery as Kerry drives us to cooking school.  (Well not really, as I am writing this blog post on my iPhone.) I was just sharing with her how nice it is to get to be the passenger on this drive as I usually am the one behind the wheel.   It’s not that I don’t trust others to do for me, I don’t often allow that which I can do for myself.  I like to be independent.

I find myself allowing for more and more participation from other capable souls in my life – capable being the operative word. I’ve become accustomed to a high standard of performance in many realms of life. As a female engineer I considered the quest for equality with my male counterparts a very low benchmark. I strive to being the best in everything I pursue and prefer shining bright. Shrinking violet has never been a term used to describe me.  I question if my pursuit of excellence allows for grace for others, or myself with anything less than high performance?

Loving myself more though does not mean lowering my standards – it means celebrating my capabilities.  Including my drive for excellence in all realms. I have a knack for attracting highly competent people into my life.  The allowances we afford each other to shine the light on our unique genius creates an up spiral of goodness.  This inspires me to become even more capable – especially with loving myself more.


Kate’s comment: it’s so fun to see that you’re chasing the fall colors! Up here, all the leave are off the trees (we’ve had a windy and rainy past few weeks). I’m glad that you’re letting someone else take the wheel – part of loving yourself is also letting others love you and take care of you.

Weight Weight Just Love Me – Prep – Day 28

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Kerry getting closer to her food.

Kerry getting closer to her food.

I’m busy prepping for a week away – heading to hone my cooking skills at the Stella Culinary Boot Camp .  My Happy Aging Cookbook collaborative partner Kerry Miller wanted to go and it seems like a great idea. I love cooking school. Kerry and I are road tripping there – a ten hour drive.  We are both foodies so of course this prep involves creating great road trip.  Part of the fun of a road trip for me is making incredible sandwiches on the side of the road in the remote wilderness somewhere. For this trip, we have a sprouted sour dough bread with a great chew, organic cheeses and meats, juicy heirloom tomatoes and wonderful naturally fermented pickles.  It’s like heaven in my hand – especially since I don’t normally indulge in sandwiches too often.

I love myself too much to eat fast food on road trips.. It rather shocks me what passes as edible in these places.  It’s more than a little alarming.  In 2010 I challenged myself by driving across the country fully supported with foods I grew and/or raised myself. I wanted to see if I could do it. Every couple of days I’d have to heat water for my thermos – but other than that, I had delectable food I had prepped for the adventure.

Supposedly as you get older, you get more picky and less desirable.  Yet I have not found that to be my truth.  As I’ve become more discerning about what I consume and committed to prepping a healthy food environment for myself, I’ve also attracted people who share similar sensibilities. Now I’m surrounded by loving, caring, kind and compassionate people who love themselves as much as I love myself and we create amazing meals together.  I’m deliriously happy  I prep to the level I do and only participate in what truly nourishes me – including the people who share the moments of my life.


Kate’s commentI am so with you on the fast food during road trips sentiment. I already feel cruddy from being cooped up in a car all day – the last thing I want to do is give myself a stomach ache from yucky food. I remember how much fun it was to make sandwiches with you on the side of the road on our way to Whitehorse – and I felt good afterwards! What a difference real food makes.

Weight Weight Just Love Me – Wonder- Day 27

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYP

Jean and I have become masters of making order from chaos in all our various collaborative efforts over the years. We have far more fun creating our magic from a place of wonder than from a place of panic.

Jean and I have become masters of making order from chaos in all our various collaborative efforts over the years. We have far more fun creating our magic from a place of wonder than from a place of panic.

I’m wondering about wonder today.  For me when I wonder, I feel expansive as I explore and play with an idea or a possibility.  Then I wonder about a perception that feels as if I’m being crowded and I wonder how much of my existence is being constrained by a previous construct?

Let me be less vague here.  When I became a yoga teacher during my training which was 8 hours a day for a month,  where we did yoga poses throughout the day  – I got pretty darn sore. I noticed my classmates, many  20 years younger and lots smaller, were kvetching about their soreness as well.  I started to wonder about the stories I told myself about my own soreness.  I realized my story about the soreness could either make it worse or make it better.  My pain was in direct relationship to my perceptions of the pain.  When I felt the love of what I was doing, the soreness was a celebration of my accomplishment.  When I was critical of myself for experiencing soreness, the pain required pain management.

So I was wondering how else this plays out in my life?   I decided to be  more mindful of where I  can be more playful (also loving) and less critical of what I’m experiencing to expand and enrich my experience in the moment.   Yesterday I was talking with my key collaborator and partner in creating order from chaos – my friend and colleague Jean.  We met each other in first grade (our daughter’s first grade classes that is).  These same daughters are now married (well Jean’s is getting married next Saturday).  Yes we have known each other a while.  I was wondering how I could see this current desire I have for creative expansion to be driven from euphoric ecstasy and delight rather than from a frenetic need to meet some business imperative we have set for ourselves (which puts a choke hold on me to be creative – get off your butt and create or your ass is grass type thing).   You might be getting the idea why this habit to love myself more is so important to me with this type of critical self talk.  I realized it’s the same thing as my stories about the soreness in my yoga class.  Celebrating our accomplishments inspires me to expand into the next logical creative step for the business.  Whereas panicking about the natural ebbs and flows of business puts me into a poor me victim funk where I don’t even want to be around me.  My new question to pivot into a more playful frame where more magic happens is “I wonder what is here to celebrate?”  The love then flows naturally.


Kate’s comment: celebrating moments as accomplishments rather than identifying them as muscles to be soothed is a form of positive thinking. When patients haven’t lost weight according to the scale, but their clothes fit a little different, I love to celebrate that win. I urge them to focus on the positives of clothes fitting looser (more metabolically active lean body mass, less fat mass), because this is still a HUGE win!



Weight Weight Just Love Me – Pairings – Day 26

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Some things just naturally go together - you just can't have one without the other.

Some things just naturally go together – you just can’t have one without the other.

The right pairing can amplify each part beyond what it is on its own – whether it be a great food combo like pork chops and applesauce, or a smooth Cabernet with a rich dark chocolate or that special someone who sparks you like no other.

What I am discovering about myself on this challenge to love myself more is how I am amplified and enhanced by the special people I am paired with in my life – where I am called to show up in ways that expand my capacities to love – both them, our work together and myself.  I have realized that while I can and do associate with others in groups,  it is the one on one interactions – these pairings, that bring out the unique characteristics of me.

The flavor of who I am changes based on how I am engaging with others in the moment (who they are and how they are showing up plays a role too).  As a yoga teacher, I’ve found my expanded flexibility exhibited way beyond the yoga mat.  I’ve noticed with this loving myself more habit I am showing up more vibrantly with an enhanced capacity to flex into a space that significantly improves my experience of the pairing.  I’m not sure if others are having the same enriched experience of me as well…..


Kate’s comment: this chameleon nature is a smart adaptive mechanism – I think that others appreciate having the communication experience tailored to them. For example – why would you speak yoga jargon to engineering colleagues, or vice versa? Why would a kindergarten teacher come home and talk to their spouse the same way they spoke to their students? Different forms of communication are needed for different audiences, to have perfect pairings.

Weight Weight Just Love Me – Can Do Focus – Day 25

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Focusing on what I can do opened up a whole new world.

Focusing on what I can do opened up a whole new world.

I remembered today how much happier I am when I focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t do. Over the past six months, I’ve tried out a variety of  different ways to resolve a persistent heel pain challenge.  One theory was I had a nerve problem in my piriformis (this is a muscle deep in your bum).   So I went to see a sports medicine acupuncturist.  It was only AFTER, a friend said yeah with those folks, if you aren’t crying when you leave, they don’t feel like they have done their job. I not only still had my heel pain when I left there, but I also now had a major pain in my bum.  The only benefit of this guy, he suggested to recover from his treatment, I go swimming.

So I found the closest pool to where I lived and joined it.  Since I am paying to go, I go.  Once there, I found out it was a medically licensed wellness facility and working out with their personal trainers is like doing physical therapy.  So I decided to try that too. Now I’m like a regular gym rat.  And I noticed outside the gym all these bike trails. Shortly after I joined, the city opened this very cool pedestrian, biking, metro bridge that cuts the time for me to get to the gym in half, IF I ride my bike.  Being the efficiency nut I am, well of course, now I ride the bike.  I got a light for my bike so I can ride there or home in the dark.  I even ride there in the rain.  Besides becoming a gym rat, I’m now part of the whole biking scene and I feel like such a total bad ^%##.

Another benefit of the heel pain – I do my yoga practice on a much more regular basis as I do notice the heel pain is far less significant on the days I do yoga. So, all of this effort to deal with my heel pain has actually put me into the best shape I’ve been in in quite some time.  Besides the persistent heel pain, overall I feel great and am getting a toned and buff round body

So the next time, I find myself wallowing in a poor me state over this persistent heel pain issue, I’m going to reflect on all I’ve learned by focusing on what I could do and what I did do and what I do do.  I can love myself more by loving my pain too.


Kate’s comment: nice work taking an active role in your recovery! It can be empowering to see that recovery doesn’t have to be rest and relaxation – it can be working other muscle groups and focusing on other aspects of  your health to achieve balance. And you are a TOTAL bad ^%##, but we already knew that.

Weight Weight Just Love Me – Fully Engaged – Day 24

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Easy to find my way to loving myself more while enjoying a fire with engaging company. We all need fuel (friendship) and air (space) to burn brightly.

Easy to find my way to loving myself more while enjoying a fire with engaging company. We all need fuel (friendship) and air (space) to burn brightly.

Being engaged in meaningful pursuits is the breath of life for me.  Finding ways to more deeply enjoy the simple moments of life is one of the hallmarks of who I am – whether it be enjoying a lovely cup of tea, to refining how I prepare veggies learning different cuts, to the pleasure of making a fire to enjoy during an evening of engaging conversation with stimulating company.

And so it is now with this challenge to create a habit to love myself more.  The awakening happening from this pursuit is that instead of forcing this to become a habit, this level of self love is becoming habit forming.  At first it was a challenge to love myself more – the internal resistance was palpable and I found myself having to force it.  The fake it until you make it type of thing.  Now it is becoming as natural as breathing to be fully engaged in loving myself more on a moment by moment basis.

It shows up as I stop to relax into what is going on – whether I’ve created it or stepped into the scene.  I am realizing as I delve into the reflection of this new habit how loving myself more is the way life is meant to be – without needing to even like what is going on around me.  This feels like a bit of a strange thing to observe.  While I may at times wish things were different than they are, I’m good with loving them just the way they are.  This affords me to experience life in ways I may never have envisioned in the first place had things gone my way.  What is more important to me – is not whether I like my scene, but how I’m engaged in the scene.   Am I engaged and showing up in ways where I love myself more?

Years ago I noticed I was happiest when I was creating something in the kitchen.   I got to wondering – am I happy so I’m in the kitchen or does being in the kitchen bring me happiness?   I realized then, it doesn’t all matter that much what precedes what as the outcome is the same.  It’s the truth here as well – being fully engaged in the moment creates a feeling of loving myself.   So whether I’m fully engaged in anything emerging (regardless of my preconceived bias) brings me to loving myself more, or loving myself more brings me to being fully engaged in the moment whatever that moment is.  This is just like the kitchen and happiness.   Finding the way to be fulling engaged in whatever is going on will bring me to loving myself more as will loving myself more bring me to being fully engaged in whatever is.


Kate’s commentsometimes, if I am wondering if I should regret something or not, I ask myself, “in this moment, am I happy?”. If I answer, “yes, I am happy”, then I have to be grateful for all events prior to this moment. Without them, I would not be in the place I am today. Were there moments prior to this event that I was unhappy? Of course, no life is without some tough times. But they brought me to where I am today, and I am happy. Nothing else before matters – all that I have to think about is moving forward.

Weight Weight Just Love Me – Prime Time – Day 23

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

I'm built for dips in cold water - today I'm celebrating my prime time by swimming in the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon Coast. I'm wearing my wetsuit though as the water temp is a brisk 55 degrees. Brrrrrrr.......

Everything has a prime time where it’s unique beauty comes alive in its own magical way. Old piers, random numbers, everyone we meet….

Today I’m celebrating the wonderful number 23.   Since my dietitian was born on the 23rd as was my mother,  I’m celebrating both of them too.  There is significant lore relating to the number 23,  which I can neither refute nor validate.  However, in total weirdness, today is 10/13 – that adds up to 23.  Coincidence – hmmmm.  I did not know when I started this I would be on the 23rd day of this challenge on 10/13.  And yes I know there is a tendency to find meaning where none exists – even so there are some pretty interesting things about the prime number 23.  (Prime numbers are only divisible by themselves and 1).  I found some interesting mathematical facts about the number 23 (some pulled off Wikipedia):

  • This is the only prime number made up of two consecutive prime numbers.
  • It is also the first prime number made of the sum of three consecutive prime numbers – 5+7+11.
  • The sum of the first 23 primes is 874, which is divisible by 23, a property shared by few other numbers.
  • In a population of 23 people, there is a 50% chance two of them will have the same birthday.

There are a number of other interesting mathematical characteristics of 23, but they are beyond my engineering math capability.

And what they heck does this have to do with loving myself more?   Well, since I’ve now been loving myself more for three weeks, I’m feeling like I’m in my prime and special in my own unique ways, just like the number 23 – living out a magical existence.  My life is blessed beyond measure.  My children are healthy, both now graduated from college, and launching in their respective careers.  My businesses continue to provide valuable services and sustain a number of families who support them.  I have caring, engaging and stimulating friends. I love my work and how it brings meaning to my existence.  I am deeply consumed by a variety of passions that keep a fire in my belly for life. Loving me more brings all this into vivid focus and enhances my joie de vivre.  What a great new habit to create.


Kate’s comment: and I’m 23 years old! There’s an entire movie about the number 23 and the weird things around it – “The Number 23” starring Jim Carrey. Once you start looking for all of the crazy things about the number 23, they start appearing. Kind of like the “blue car effect” – you really start to notice something once you start looking for it. Weight Weight Just Love me is 23 days in and you’re finding all new ways to love yourself because you’re looking for them. The ways were there all along, just waiting for you to find them. Keep it going.

Weight Weight Just Love Me – Awkward Attachments – Day 22

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Learning how to love myself more means I'm no longer the "teet" to the world.

Learning how to love myself more means I’m no longer the “teet” to the world.

I’ve been contemplating my responsibility with other people’s attachments.  The easy answer is of course I’m not responsible for other people’s attachments.  But is this my current reality?  I find there are and have been a number of people who act like I’m not only responsible, but also accountable for their attachments in association with me.  For example, my doctor’s apparent disappointment and admonishing lectures in my lack of ability to lose weight.  The doctor has an attachment to a specific outcome with me based on their beliefs.  What is it about me where I feel I need to be responsible for (or at least placate) my doctor’s attachments to what I’m supposed to weigh – especially when I’m not there to see them about what I weigh?  I don’t recall that being on any of their forms – is this something new with HIPAA compliance?

My dietitian on the other hand has a different approach.  She explains we are working towards better health as measured by your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.  As healthy levels in all those means health – not what it says on the scale.  What I enjoy about working with her is the acceptance of who I am just the way I am and I define what is better for me.  Then she helps me pursue this in ways that will work for me.  She holds no attachment even to my own self defined  goals.  She is just there to help me discover ways of achieving the goals I set for myself.

While some folks inspire me to engage,  others motivate me to run far in the opposite direction (like the difference between my dietitian and my doctor).  I’m a compassionate and empathic person and at times I tend to feel the need to help people in whatever way they need.  (Pema Chodren calls this “idiot compassion.”)  From time to time I catch myself in this idiocy – feeling too responsible and even accountable for another person’s attachment  to me.  Once I recognize it,  I move into strategizing how to extricate myself from their suffocating need.  (Those closest to me call it “getting ‘so and so’ off the tit.”)

So this isn’t just about getting the guts to avoid doctors who have a fat bias.  In general I can be too accommodating to others’ awkward attachment needs in exchange for some type approval – love and acceptance fits in here too.  I have a feeling this is tied into unconscious programming from my Catholic upbringing, guilt, martyrdom, etc.  I find myself more attracted now though to the Pema Chodren mode of contemplation – so yes, Pema Chodren, idiot compassion.  And as I learned long ago, I can stop being stupid whenever I’d like.

On the other hand, I do know and have experienced that healthy and secure attachments form when I know where and how I can count on others and vice versa  I do form implied and/or explicit contracts with significant people in my life to engage with them as we have agreed.  These types of relationships also change over time as our respective needs evolve – the more allowances for these changes, the better things typically go.  The less allowances, the more awkward things usually become. Creating secure attachments and not owning others’ awkward and inappropriate attachments is my new mojo.  Loving myself more means I’m getting my boobs back.

P.S. Since this has posted, I’ve heard from several people inquiring if this was about them.  Well yes it is about you – as you form the basis of my secure attachments so THANK YOU.   And you also know what I’m talking about with my tendency to be the teet to the world – which is not a reflection of how I am in my secure attachments and healthy relationships.    Actually those getting in touch with me have been some of the folks bringing this to my attention over the years.


Kate’s commentI wanted to reflect on your P.S. bit – about people asking if this post was about them. What made them want to reach out after reading your post? I think we can look to Burke’s theory of Dramatism, specifically to do with guilt. Burke stated that all human action, specifically communication, is driven by guilt. Burke’s definition of guilt is different than mine (I think guilt is a feeling resulting from an action I regret doing) – he says that guilt is any unpleasant feelings that humans experience.

So, I think your post made some people squirm in their seats. I think this is great – productive conflict promotes positive change and influence. Keep it going. Keep making people uncomfortable and driving that conversation.