Amplify the Light

We are approaching the darkest night of the year.There are moments when it feels like we are approaching the darkest moment in human history.

These festivals of lights are an ancient wish for the return of light. May we pass over this threshold of this symbolic end of an era and beginning of a new era with a commitment to amplify the light ourselves.

When we focus on and resist the elements we don’t want in the world and in ourselves, we energize them. There’s a way in which we can nod to them, acknowledge their existence so they don’t get buried in a powerful-later shadow, and amplify their antidote.

Rather than gripping onto what our neighbors, detractors or opponents do and asking our loved-ones to agree with our angry viewpoint, we can take a deep breath. We can breathe in their pain, create space around their perspective, and breathe out love. Just connect with the love you have, which you have in abundance, and share it silently, in the direction of the darkness.

Let the light of our hearts be the flame that burns away the illusion that we are all separate. This tiny, silent gesture is contagious. Let us light other people’s hearts on fire.

May it be the hallmark of this newest era on Planet Earth.

Happy Holidays.

What’s coming up in 2013

I’ve got a few things cooking (no pun intended!) and a couple more in the works and I would just love to tell you about them!

First up is the Cooking Class Series. I’ve had so many requests for some hands-on cooking classes– but I knew I couldn’t do it by myself. A couple months ago I asked through this e-newsletter if anyone would be interested in collaborating on this project and five other whole-foods educators appeared. Yay! So grateful and excited! This couldn’t happen without them.

Do check this series out. The first class is coming up on Monday January 7th– and it’s Whole Foods Cooking on a Budget. What an investment this class will be! Learn how to fit the most possible nutrients in your food per calorie and per dollar! Save money and keep your family healthy this winter.

The classes will run twice each month for six months. One on Mondays, one on Wednesdays. There are only 10 spots each class, so book early, as we expect them to fill up quickly. You get a discount if you book 6.

Check out this press release– (we will have info available at High Mountain Hall’s Nov 30th contra dance as well as the Dec 14th art and craft show.)

Next is an exciting program I have been working on with Wanderwoman(TM) Erja Lipponen. This program is a residential Women’s Vitality Retreat scheduled for May 2013.

This is exciting because it’s a first in what I hope will be a series of wellness programs that attract “healing tourists” to our town. We certainly have the holistic healers here to support people in radical, transformative healing experiences. So let’s make it happen! (Have an idea for your own retreat here? Talk to me.)

We have reserved a whole inn, scheduled private yoga classes and cooking classes and will encourage participants to take classes at High Mountain Hall and join us for hiking, biking and kayaking! Sound fun? Share this program with women you love!
Lastly, I’d like to tell you about a program that is just in the “seed phase.” I’d love your input!

Now that businesses are implementing employee health insurance programs that offer lower premiums for non-smokers and those with lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, there might be a redoubled motivation for businesses to support their employees in their health goals.

What better way than to hire a Health Coach like me? (and my cronies!)

I’d like to start a real dialogue with employees and business owners about what a results-based program would look like for their businesses.

For anyone who can put me in touch with an HR person who is working on their wellness program– and not just in Maine– please accept my gift to you of an initial consultation. ($77 value.) You can use it or give it as a gift. (I will send you a gift certificate.) All I’m looking for is a clarifying conversation, as a way to design the best employee wellness program possible.

Thank you!

Holly <3

Allergic to Myself

Griffin and me at the top of the Empire State Building

What a summer I had! Full of rich, memorable experiences and lots of travel.

I love to travel, but would say I’m not particularly good at it.  I am so sensitive that I get stomach aches when I eat unfamiliar food, I’m allergic to everything and I don’t sleep well.

Being sensitive can be EXTREMELY ANNOYING. But it’s not a reason to not venture out beyond the edges of my comfort zone. I spent most of this glorious, crazy summer outside those edges. I danced there, ate there, slept there and drove through the dark for hours out beyond the edges of my comfort zone.

Having food allergies, etc. has a way of making your life smaller. You may restrict yourself to situations that feel safe and comfy. You eat familiar food and develop routines that keep life predictable.  Hell, don’t all humans do that naturally with the passage of time? Read more »

Food as Early Warning System

People have different patterns with food. You may not be able to eat when you are under a lot of stress, or you may eat way more than usual. You may react to falling in love by craving only green smoothies or you may want nothing but pasta carbonara.

These traits are part of your “food fingerprint.” This consists of foods you love, foods you hate, foods that make you feel good and energized (according to your body type) and foods that put a drag on your engine (even if you love them.) It also encompasses your allergies and food sensitivities, your definition of “comfort food” and how your relationship with food changes when you are 1) stressed out, 2) upset or grieving, 3) in love or blissed out 4) balanced and well-nourished.

Our relationship with food is complex, nuanced and changeable.

I find that my relationship with food works like an early warning system. When I find that I have eaten until I am stuffed, for example, it’s one of the first ways I know that something is going on with me. It’s one of the first ways that my subconscious communicates with me. Read more »

The Responsibility to Be Healthy

My father uses a metaphor of a motor to describe how people engage within their communities. He and his wife are dynamic presences on many boards of directors for causes they care about. They are busy people who fit lots of volunteer work into their busy lives. Although he would never celebrate himself, he is a motor that drives a number of causes forward and nurtures a lot of relationships. He is connected to his community and to his family in innumerable valuable ways.

There is no imperative to be connected, however. In fact, there is a trend towards isolation. Many Americans spend much more time communing with their screens than they do volunteering or connecting with people who are important to them.

My dad cautions us about becoming a motor that is running, but isn’t connected to anything. Although prevailing cultural trends may condone and even encourage consumerism to become “the purpose” of one’s life, that is corrosively destructive to our planet and actually injures the health of the consumer. Read more »

Beyond My Control. Really?

We are all in various stages of awakening to how much we create our own experiences in life.

There are lots of people who sincerely have no clue how they got to be overweight. There are those of us who blame our genetics for our experience of depression or arthritis or diabetes and so feel that our reliance on pharmaceuticals is an inevitable result of circumstances beyond our control.

But are they? Are these circumstances beyond our control? Beyond our responsibility?

Our culture cultivates in us a certain “normal” level of personal responsibility. One in which “you make me feel angry when you…” is an acceptable viewpoint. “You are responsible for my anger when you are late/angry/irresponsible/annoying as hell.”

There are other cultures that parse things out differently. While acting irresponsibly, recklessly or inconsiderately are not condoned, these actions are allowed to have their natural corrosive effect on relationships and community without the added (some might say ‘artificial’) burden of the emotional states of those affected.

Since three people might react to the same offensive action with three different emotions (anger, frustration, humor,) we can’t say that the action is the cause of the emotion. The “emoter” is always the cause of the emotions, right?

Though God knows I can’t always count myself among them, I know people who are aware enough to know that when they encounter someone or something they dislike intensely, there is valuable internal information to be found. When confronted with a loathsome person or situation, they go through a process of “owning” their emotion to see– internally– why they were triggered.

In fact, if this article is really pissing you off, that’s a good clue.

I don’t want to suggest that those who take a deeper level of responsibility for the reality they manifest are somehow morally superior, (we are all in the soup somewhere,) but I have observed that they are generally happier people. Read more »

Which Kind Are You?

Are you an Aries, Scorpio or Libra? Is your dosha mostly Pitta, Kapha or Vata? Are you Earth, Water or Fire constitution? Are you yin or yang? Do you have blood type O or AB? What archetypes are you manifesting? What’s your Myers Briggs? Your Enneagram type?

There are so many systems you can use in order to understand yourself and where you fall in the spectrum of humanity.

Humanity is certainly a spectrum. There are hotheads and the imperturbably serene. There are robust immune systems and those that fall to every passing virus. There are ambitious types and contented types, mavericks and sticklers, visionaries, bean counters, artists, healers, legislators, farmers and on and on.

We need them all. We need us all!

That’s what I love about all these systems designed to help you understand yourself; They lay out the spectrum in some way that leaves room for you and everyone else.

Why is that cool? Read more »

Eat to Evolve

When you look back on your life, you can see evolution happening. You can see how your ideas about what’s important have changed since you were in eighth grade. You may remember when it really did seem like a Coke and a Snickers bar would make you feel better.

You can perhaps recount how your ideas have evolved about politics since you met that person, or how your tastes in music have evolved since you attended that concert.

There is a kind of motion in maturing.

You can even know in your bones the value of some of the negative experiences you have had. You can see how they were formative, how they closed you down or how they cracked you open. You may even decide that you wouldn’t trade them, even if you could. Read more »

Food and Integrity

"Opening of the Heart Chakra" by J Slattum

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “integrity” as “firm adherence to a code, incorruptibility, soundness and completeness.”

When imagining the integrity of your body, imagine its “code.” Given everything it needs, your body will be sound and your immune system will do its best to keep you incorruptible.

There are genetic dispositions that make you more vulnerable, perhaps, to blood sugar imbalances or gluten intolerance. Whether or not you turn those genes of illness on, it’s true that you can turn them on.

But beyond that physical layer of what is just-plain-true about you, there is a code of your heart.

Your heart might soar when birds come to your birdfeeder or when you hear the saxophone or when you salsa dance. There’s no right or wrong about it, it’s just-plain-true about you.

Chances are that somewhere along the way, this just-plain-truth about you got obscured by social norms, responsibility or a harsh judgment by someone you respected. There are many things that can obscure and interrupt the “code” of your heart. Read more »


When a tree is truly nourished, it is enlivened by the richness of the web of life that supports it. The richer that life force, the more enlivened that tree will become. The decomposing matter, the mycelium, the humus, the worms, the minerals, the moisture, the sunlight and the clear air all enliven the tree. It grows robustly and then it, in turn, can support other life.

If it is a fruit tree, for example, it can enliven a child with the life force that it has concentrated into its succulent, seed-bearing fruit.

When a human child is the recipient of vibrant life force through vital, nutrient-dense food, that child’s organism can unfold according to the unamended design in their dna, so to speak. If they also receive other important nutrients like safety, love and learning, their full potential can’t help but unfold.

Just like powerlines that cut a gash through an otherwise robust tree, processed food, emotional pain or lack of safety can change how that child’s design unfolds. Read more »

Your Body is Mother Earth

Sometimes you have to be willing to gain a few pounds to find your body’s equilibrium.

When we get out of our groove, the fastest way back to balance might involve eating non-ideal food. Does that seem scary? It involves a trust in your body. That can be hard, especially if we’ve spent years trying to ignore, override, subvert and tame our bodies.

When your body is nourished, it doesn’t overeat. When you leave it to its own devices, the fear is that you will never stop eating, that you will let yourself go and all hell will break loose. You may think you NEED the guilt and shame and discipline and willpower in order to override your body’s impulses.

But wait, can I point something out?

The rational, patriarchal, Western mind has “succeeded” in conquering Mother Nature. The continents were “discovered” and colonized. The metals were mined, dams were built and civilization has crept across our planet like psoriasis.

Is this the kind of success you would like to emulate? Read more »

Get What You Want or Get What You Need?

Everyone likes to feel confident and on top of stuff. Staying in your comfort zone can have you feel confident all the time. But isn’t it the REALLY confident people who are willing to get uncomfortable? Doesn’t it take resilience and aplomb to be willing to fail, look dumb or feel awkward?

Sometimes when you roll with what life offers you, you get what you need in order to grow, but it’s not what you had wanted. You may have been aiming for something a little more comfy.

This has 2 implications with food.

One is this: perhaps you are stretching yourself professionally, emotionally or sexually and the unfamiliar territory inspires a ravenous craving for comfort food. There’s no right or wrong about it. It’s just an invitation to remain conscious when you least want to. Food is a sure fire way we can comfort ourselves when we are being brave enough to grow. Just staying present is doing the work.

The other is this: Read more »

Eating for the New Era

Humanity is on the threshold of a change in epoch.  10,000 years ago, when the first humans engaged in agriculture, there were estimated to be only one million of us on the planet. These 10,000 years later, we are nearly 7 billion with a “B”. Quite a success story. Or is it…

Other epoch changes besides the transition to agriculture were the renaissance, the European colonization of the globe, the Industrial Revolution and more recently, the digital age.

Each of these game-changing shifts in human culture was necessarily accompanied by both a change in food, and an expansion of consciousness.  (And it’s no coincidence! Food acts as either a facilitator or an inhibitor to consciousness!) The progression from cave men squabbles to burning heretics to corporate exploitation of people and planet is also a culinary narrative as well as one of human consciousness.

The human consciousness narrative is one that proceeds from a brutish place of fear and psychic separation, to a place of emerging tolerance and love. (Not long ago it wasn’t politically correct to be tolerant, for example.) Fear equals separation. Love equals compassion. We no longer feel it is acceptable to burn people alive because the basic level of societal compassion has been elevated.

Many legal systems (a feature of evolving human consciousness) now make discrimination illegal.

The enlightened people among us love all people equally, and we now have, for the first time in human history, an exponential surge of people who recognize this non-discrimination as the hallmark of an enlightened person. (Instead of, say, a crazy person.)

The consciousness-shift that is emerging in the new era (starting in 2012, if we believe the Mayans) is characterized by this increased human experience of tolerance and compassion (love) and the re-emergence of the feminine gifts of “receptivity, intuitive guidance, tenderness and fierce inclusivity.”

“My very best decisions and strongest maneuvers have been fuelled by what would typically be labelled as “feminine characteristics.” This counsel may sound like it’s only applicable to 50% of the population, but receptivity, intuitive guidance, tenderness, and fierce inclusivity are transformative powers that anyone can wield. Our future depends on it.” – Danielle LaPorte

Wielding these transformative feminine powers will serve to balance out the destructive, conquering, patriarchal machine that has wrought such havoc on the planet and has fulfilled its task to deliver us to this threshold.

The food we are consuming on Planet Earth today is both facilitating and inhibiting the emergence of this new consciousness. Read more »

Why I Became a Life Coach

In my twenties, I traveled for 6 years outside the United States. It wasn’t because I became voraciously curious about food or because I loved to learn languages. (Though I did.) The core motivation for my travels was human potential.

I wanted to know what I was made of and how human beings worked. I was especially fascinated by what was universal and how people communicated across boundaries.

Everyone has topics that they are innately drawn to (and others they are averse to) and these affinities and aversions, by default, inform the path you create for your life.

I wanted to know what would make a human being fulfill their potential (and if possible, me!) Read more »

How to Make Your Life Flower

Are you a plant person? Do you notice that inner sense of satisfaction and joy that comes when you notice new growth on a plant you are tending? It could be a houseplant or a garden full of plants. There’s a feeling of “Cool, I did it, I gave this plant the elements it needs to thrive.”

Those elements are the right amount of sunlight, (sometimes you have to move the plant around to find it’s “happy place,”) the right amount of water and food and an unbroken attentiveness.

If it’s a flowering plant, I feel clear, strong joy with a full flowering and a mild sense of concern when the flowering is impaired in some way. I wonder, “What can I do differently to nurture this plant to it’s fullness?” I might prune it, water it differently, attend to it, breathe on it. Read more »

Top 8 ways to have more mojo as you get older

I’m 40. While some of my friends are starting to complain about “age-related” aches and pains, I’ve been going in the opposite direction. The chronic illness I developed in my early 30s is getting harder to see in my rear-view mirror. It’s gone, and I watch chronic complaints disappear over and over with my clients. What a treat to watch! Here’s the road map for how to make that happen for YOU.

1.    Eat Gobs of Vegetables– Eat more of what you already like. Try vegetables you’ve never had. Join a CSA and try to really eat it all! That’s right. Eat MORE.  Don’t focus on what to cut out, just get more of these nutrient-dense, antioxidant-packed foods into you. They clean out your liver, help you think clearly and make your skin shine.

2.    Do your inner work— If you go through life without facing painful events that leave traces on your consciousness, you naturally close down and feel less and less as you get older. When you face your stuff, it can be very unpleasant for a short while, but the reward is that you get reconnected with the full life force that is available to you. It’s worth it. Be brave. Read more »

The 2012 Shift– Eat Clean

We are on the cusp of a new era of consciousness on the planet. The whole hub-bub about 2012 is about this shift. It’s a transition from masculine to feminine consciousness, meaning those humans (men or women) who resonate with the earth’s unfolding creative, dynamic, careening, ever-changing life force, will be better prepared for a future that holds a tremendous amount of change in the next 50 years.

A major determining factor on whether you will be one of the clear-minded, flexible, sensitive creatures who rides the universal flow or one of the clamped-down, stuck, recalcitrant, comfort-seekers is….of course…. THE FOOD YOU EAT.

I have noticed both a decline and a crescendo of human consciousness in America. (Have you?) The primetime network TV shows seem to be getting more crass, more violent or vulgar and yet… the artists and visionaries and healers I know are galloping over their life-hurdles at an apparently accelerating rate. The environmental and political news gets ever-bleaker from around the world, and yet quantum physicists are agreeing with the Dalai Lama. (and Einstein might have too.)

Read more »

The Silence Before the Ripcord

Have I seemed a bit quiet lately? I feel quiet. Lately, I haven’t felt like climbing up onto my soapbox and squawking about revolutionizing food or health or human consciousness or any of the things that need to be revolutionized.

As many of you might know if you follow my blog, 2010 was a year of massive transformation for me. I got divorced. I bought and renovated a house. I turned 40. Then to cap of the year, I fell in love. Since January I have been in a program at the Empowerment Institute designed to help me clarify my vision and sweep my consciousness of any impediments that stand between me and that vision. (Then show others how to do the same.)

Something is brewing. I am quiet for a reason. My core is being reorganized and refined. My message will be different after this process has fully unfolded. I am in a chrysalis. Inside this chrysalis, my heart is glowing in pulses. It’s getting stronger, brighter, clearer.

My son and I are leaving on Saturday for Costa Rica to stay in a house right on the beach for a week. Somehow I know that hearing waves crashing 24/7 will work this process, even (especially?) when I’m sleeping. Read more »

Interview–Reclaiming Feminine Wisdom

This interview took place January 25th 2011. Join us for a  conversation with one of the leaders in the field of human potential. Gail co-founded the Empowerment Institute with her husband (David Gershon- see first interview) and has spent decades midwifing people into their power. We’ll discuss Gail’s book, “Returning to My Mother’s House” about her own journey towards empowerment– one that took a detour through patriarchy and misogyny– and we’ll learn how and why embodying feminine principles can become the core of a woman’s true power, even in our fast-paced culture.

Gail’s work has influenced thousands and had an incalculable ripple effect. Dr. Christiane Northrup, a Maine native and a graduate of the Empowerment Institute with Gail and David, describes Gail’s work as “work that heals all of us.” Read more »

Give it up for life? Nope.

Last week I collaborated with Kerry Altiero from Café Miranda’s on a Gluten Free cooking class. (What fun! Kerry’s a loose cannon! Bursting with creativity and ribald humor…)

His emphasis in the class was on how very MANY possibilities there are to enjoy when you decide to forego gluten. (He created a delicious risotto, gorgeous polenta with cheese and roasted tomatoes, a white bean ragu, a curry dish, even mac and cheese!)

One of the questions asked of me during the class was this: “Do I really have to give up all the foods I love best for the rest of my life in order to be healthy?!?”

Hellz no! Read more »