Travel Anxiety

We are traveling this week to Maui, Hawaii.  It’s the first time for me and it feels exotic – I have to keep reminding myself that we will still be in the US.  On the other hand, it also makes me slightly sick to my stomach.  Everyone who knows we are going keeps asking “are you excited?” or saying how jealous they are.  But honestly, traveling makes me anxious.

In the spirit of transparency anticipating a trip makes me anxious.  Doesn’t matter what kind of travel it is (family, work or pleasure), just the thought of leaving my home overnight seems to amp up my anxiety meter.  Doesn’t matter that I’ve had remarkable experiences sleeping over somewhere else for a weekend or a year, I always have moments of “I’d rather stay home.”

What the heck is that about?

Besides the obvious answer (the unknown), “sleep overs” also seem like a lot of work – figuring out the dogs, the mail, the substitute teachers for my classes, rearranging clients (when possible), making reservations, choosing the “right” excursions and so on and so forth ad nauseum.

I have way less anxiety if someone else is making most of the decisions and I can simply be the great travel companion – because once we are underway, I’m ALL. OVER. IT.

Once I fill the gas tank, stow my carry on, hit the gangway – THAT’s when I start to get excited.  But the prep needed to make it to the transport is ALWAYS filled with some level of anxiety – even when I’ve made a trip hundreds of times.

The good news is – somehow I get through the anxiety.  This week my coping mechanisms have been overindulging in leftover Holiday fare, playing a few too many computer games and listening to Jack Reacher novels on CD almost non-stop.  Oh, and making a list and checking things off (like this post).  🙂  Once I start checking things off – I feel better, more capable, less stressed.  Then the door of excitement has a chance to open.

I’d love to read about your lead up to travel – are you excited beyond measure? Do you have slight anxiety?  Are you the person so laid back that maybe you almost miss your flight? Or so busy you can’t even think, you just go go go?  Please share 😀


Big love and anxiety-free hugs, j


This week I simply wanted to share a video I first experienced on Facebook – I bookmarked the original Youtube location and I go back and watch it whenever I need or want movement inspiration.  I may have even posted here before. 🙂!

If you don’t have time to watch all six and a half minutes – Ido sums it all up at 5:40.

Big hugs and “move”ment love,  j

Beans, Beans the Musical Fruit

The more you eat, the more you – errrrrrr, well – live a healthy and long life 🙂

I’ve known about the benefits of eating beans for a while and I actually love beans – unlike the Renegotiation (aka boyfriend).  I’d gotten off the bean track, however, until I began reading Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Body.  He encourages beans at every meal and is pretty “in your face” and uncompromising about it.

I decided I wanted to know more about this little legume and asked my dear friend Lisa Acocella, DC, if she would answer a few questions for me.  To learn more about Dr. Lisa, as her chiropractic, nutrition and blood chemistry clients call her, visit her site,

Joy@DancePlayHeal:  Hi Dr. Lisa – thanks so much for taking time to chat with me today.  You are, by far, my favorite guru when it comes to nutrition.

Dr. Lisa: It’s my pleasure and I will always make time to talk with you.

J@DPH:  What IS the magic of beans?

DL:  Beans are a superfood all by themselves and their benefits increase further when when eaten in conjunction with the other components of G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds).

J@DPH: What exactly makes beans a superfood?

DL:  Beans are the healthiest carbohydrate source available and an excellent source of protein. Beans contain three types of fiber: soluble, insoluble and (newly discovered) resistant starch. Their exceptional nutritional profile makes them the best food source for stabilizing blood sugar, burning fat, and balancing hormones; and it also helps restore digestive health (gut health) so you get the best absorption of the vitamins and minerals from all the other foods you eat.

J@DPH: Wow! That’s amazing.  What is a resistant starch? I haven’t heard that before.

DL:  Here’s an example, you can eat a serving of beans, 1 cup – about 250 calories, and you feel completely satisfied, however your body only metabolizes 125 calories.  Twice the calories, half the price 🙂

J@DPH: What about all that gas?

DL:  When you eat beans and experience gas, it means your digestive tract is lacking in beneficial, healthy flora. Most guts aren’t in optimal health and consequently aren’t ready to process beans or a lot of plant food at one time.  So, to enjoy beans without gas, incorporate them into your diet gradually; in the beginning, less is more. By incorporating beans into your diet slowly, you will allow your gut to grow the internal flora it needs to enjoy beans and plant food without discomfort. Start by eating one tablespoon of beans per day and, as you get more comfortable, build up to ½ a cup or 1 cup of beans daily to enjoy their benefits fully.

J@DPH: Should I take Beano until that happens?

DL:  No, actually, while Beano or other digestive enzymes might help in the moment, they prevent the development of your digestive tract’s own ability to digest beans.

J@DPH:  The Renegotiation just hates beans – the taste and the texture – what can others do who feel the same way?

DL:  Lentils are a great alternative and in the same legume family.

J@DPH:  Ah, yes, he hates those too.

DL:  Ok well, there’s new science that shows if you try a food 16 times, you will begin to like it.  So, that tablespoon of beans a day we talked about??? That’s a great start.  Plus it’s cumulative.  If you can’t bring yourself to eat beans every day, go for once a week for 16 weeks.  Also, try different varieties – it’s better for you and you might find a couple of types you love.

J@DPH:  This is awesome, Dr. Lisa, thank you.  I learned so many things today.  Any final thoughts about beans?

DL:  Yes, when I say beans, I am speaking of beans, lentils and peas, which are all in the same legume family.  Also, people often want to know what are the most nutritious beans to eat. The answer is black beans are the most nutritious, then red kidney beans, then red lentils. Think of color. The stronger the color of a bean, the more nutritious it is. Additionally, if anyone wants to learn even more about beans, they can go to

So, there you have the magical (musical) truth about beans – please share some of your favorite recipes [or funny bean stories] in the comments below.  If you have more questions for Dr. Lisa, please feel free to email her at

big love and beany hugs,

Self Help or Self Discovery?

Some people who know me think I am hard on myself.  That maybe I spend too much time looking outside of me to change parts of my behavior or personality.  They may be right, but my bottom line is I just really want to be the best I can be.  During those times when I am super lazy about it, I have been hard on myself. 

This “be all you can be” stuff started after I had been living in Atlanta a couple of years.

In 1990 I had just landed my dream job as a YMCA Physical Director in charge of the “Aerobics” department.  I knew I was “home” at the Y, but I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and had fear and doubt about most aspects of the job.  In less than a month, my increasingly alcoholic father admitted himself to an inpatient rehab/recovery program.  I was incredibly embarrassed,  humiliated and pissed beyond measure that I had to ask for family leave to go and be present for my dad’s family days.   I almost didn’t go – but in those days I was still a “good girl.” 

My journey of “Self Help” (aka be all you can be) was off and running.  Family therapy, individual therapy, AA, Al-Anon, CODA, OA and a gajillion books on how to manage my work and personal life now that my dad was actually present and interested as well as being in a job I was almost completely unqualified for.  For a few years I blamed my dad for a lot of crap that was happening in my world.  But the gift of his recovery (beyond the obvious bonus that he hasn’t had a drink since then) is I learned there were places and people I could turn to that could help me heal.  Before then, I was slogging it through feeling completely alone.  Ironically, I was pretty oblivious to much of the healing that I needed to do.  For example – every single person at our first Family day kept telling me how mad I was at my dad while I kept adamantly insisting I wasn’t mad in the least.  And I didn’t think I was mad, really… good girls don’t get mad.  HA – in (20 years of) retrospect, I. Was. Livid.

About three years later I learned that there were people who put their personal wisdom on tape so others could hear it. [Yes it was still “tape” way back then.] It was called Personal Development and, to me – at the time, it was REMARKABLY different from “self help.” It felt like a fresh spring breeze of hope after all the drudge work I had been doing in “self help.”  Jim Rohn was my first – The Art of Exceptional Living.  Let me tell you, his perspective shifted my thinking incredibly.  I can still hear his voice in my head saying “Don’t set a goal to make a million dollars for the money, set a goal to make a million dollars for what meeting the goal will make of you.”  Mr. Rohn’s words changed my life in those 5 seconds – mmmmmm, set a goal for what it will make of me.  Until The Art of Exceptional Living I didn’t have conscious knowledge about the art or science of goal setting.

Between “self help” and now “personal development” I was a growing fool. 

Around 2000, I made a decision that I wouldn’t pay anyone else to help me figure out myself – no therapy or workshops, no books or (by now) CDs.  After 10 years of practice I figured I could heal me on my own.  Occasionally, I still felt less than and like an alien on the planet, but I was tired of paying other people for what felt like ZERO change.  Of course, I didn’t understand The Ascension Spiral yet.

In the last 10 years or so, I’ve had access to the internet and its explosion of (what seems like) everybody’s next great idea/product/class to help or fix me.  And I have learned much – including how to build this website you are currently on and how to publish a blog post to it.

Recently a girl friend sent me a post about how all this self help reinforces the idea that we are broken.  For a moment I identified.  Then I got pissed.  I knew, really knew in my heart for the first time, that I wasn’t broken.  AND I realized that I value and love getting to know myself better.  I also thrive in relationship with people who value getting to know themselves better.  I really enjoy hanging out, chatting, and soulution strategizing.

The words “self help,” while maybe still accurate, don’t feel like a fit anymore.  The words that fit are “self discovery” and I LOVE my path of self discovery.  It is interesting, emotional, surprising, heart breaking, breathtaking, terrifying, satisfying, frustrating, fun, crappy, ecstatic and always new.  It’s taken me until now, age 50, to applaud, value, relax and trust that I can continue my path of self discovery for the excitement of discovery rather than to fix me.  I’m not broken, I never was.

I actually hope this journey continues as long as I draw a breath.

I’m always curious about other people’s story.  Won’t you share a bit of yours in the comments below – would LOVE to read about you.

big love and hugs of greater self discovery,


Free to Be Me

Day 2 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge is write a post about this:

If you woke up tomorrow and were free to do anything you wanted with your life, what would you do and who would you be?

This is a tricky question for me and I’m not completely clear how this will end up correlating to yesterday’s post about why I started a blog in the first place and why I am blogging in this century. 😉

Tricky since I have the ability to do just that – do anything I want with my life – every single day I wake up.  Actually we all do, but I really have freedom from a day in day out “jay” “oh” “be” (j-o-b).  And many days I take it for granted.  And some of those days when I recognize I’m taking for granted, I also start beating myself up about the taking for granted AND that I’m not doing exactly whatever it is I want to do with my life and moving forward on just exactly who it is I want to be.


What’s cool, though, is that THIS is exactly part of the journey, this not doing it perfectly, maybe not knowing what to do.  My friend Susan McCulley wrote about it when she talked about the in between time.

What I feel most grateful about is that I had begun [again] revisiting and exploring exactly this question [who do i want to be when i grow up] before I started the 30 Day Blog Challenge.  Yay for synchronicity!

The short answer is – if I could wake up tomorrow and be whomever it is I always wanted to be, I would be:  singer Tina Turner, social media guru Jesus of Nazareth, server extraordinaire Mother Theresa, Jim Carrey just for the freak & fun of it and me. 🙂  So tomorrow morning I best get busy practicing my National Anthem for when the Houston Rockets ask me to open a game, practicing my unconditional love and forgiveness in preparation for the crap things that happen in the world, call the Harris County public library for their next literacy training and NAM for their next domestic abuse hotline training, practicing my stand up (comedy) with friends, family and Turk (my dog) and embracing and accepting all of me and all of my dreams – past, present and future.

What about you?  If you could wake up to a different start tomorrow what would it be (and how could you get going on it in the morning)?  If you need a little support or some ideas on how to begin feel free to start up a chat in the comments below or you can email me directly.

Big hugs and tremendous love,


A Matter of Consistency

Anything in our life that we are good at took us some time and perseverance to become adept.  So, why oh why, do we forget it when we are learning or trying out something new?  Maybe you don’t forget, but I certainly do.

I’ve had a website for almost as long as I’ve owned a computer, around 15-17 years (not the same one, but only the third, actually).  And as long as I have had a website I have longed to be able to update it on a regular basis.  Long before the word “blogging” made its appearance on the scene, I was keen to be communicating to “others” via my website.

It took me until last Christmas (2012) to finally launch a website that I could control the content on whenever I chose.  Since then I have been very challenged to “blog” regularly.

You might already know this, but new habits are actually easier to create, easier than old habits are to break, stop or change.  For example, it is much easier to begin eating dark leafy greens than it is to stop eating ice cream (if you’d like to know how, email me and I’ll give you some tasty ideas – yum).  As you begin to feel the benefits of eating dark leafy greens, you might notice one day that you have stopped eating ice cream – or at least stopped eating as much as you used to.

It’s true in other areas as well, so one of the challenges I am taking up is a 30 day blog challenge.  Two reasons, to create my long desired habit of regular communication via my website and to create an experience where I actually follow through on something, anything – the first thing.  I am happy for you to hold me accountable, in fact I’d really appreciate it, could be I’m desperate for it. 😉

Here’s the first day’s challenge:

TODAY’s challenge: Write a post on why you started your blog, who you wanted to reach, what you wanted it to be all about. Then state why you joined this blog challenge and what you want to get out of it.

I suppose I could simply write:

Why: to communicate to the Nia participants who had been taking classes with me, to provide health info to anyone who came across my website and Nia info for participants and potential participants in the Cypress, TX, area.

Who: Nia participants, the loved ones of Nia participants who wanted to understand Nia better, and anyone else who stumbled upon the website.

What: Ideas, tips, challenges and victories of living the highest, whole-est, funnest life possible and how Nia had helped me more than anything else up to that point – sometime in 1999.

As I am composing this post, I’m realizing that I have been attempting to “blog” from that same place – uhhh – except that it is 2013, tyvm (thankyouverymuch), and I have different perspectives now.

AND – This go ’round, I’ve been attempting to “blog” without answering any part of “Today’s Challenge.”  I think somewhere inside my crazy head, I feel like if I state out loud ANY reason why I started (or wanted) to “blog,” I’ll be squashed creatively by topics limited to my self-imposed reason – uh oh – real crazy stuff now.  End result NO consistent “blogging.”

Dang it!

For the record – I am starting a blog (today)[think rebirth] to share my experience with the tools of:






Truth telling

and any other tool I learn (or remember)

With intention to heal the world.

Ummm –  heal those within my sphere of influence????

In reality –  heal myself and help others find their own tools for self healing – in the funnest, connectedest (is that a word?), most loving and ease-filled way possible.

I haven’t read ahead to day two of the blog challenge, so I don’t know what’s in store [and I HATE not knowing].  But I do know I would love to be of service.  Please, if you have any questions, stories or comments, let’s chat about it in the comments below.

big love and adventurous hugs,


Business Paralysis

I’m writing today because I made a commitment to take one definitive business action everyday and report it to my business accountability partner (BAP).  She is the one who suggested the topic. 

I blame it on being a Gemini (one our traits can be ZERO follow through), but that doesn’t matter.  What matters is I am exasperatingly challenged to stick with anything for very long.  Even as I write this, it’s absolutely not true – I’ve been with my current beau for 14 years, been in the fitness industry for 25 years (10 as a traditional aerobics instructor, 20 as a personal trainer of some sort, 15 as a Nia teacher and 10 as a Pilates teacher), I keep my cars for 10 years at least.  So – OBVIOUSLY – I have some ability to stick with stuff. 

Then there is Menopause (more aptly perimenopause, since I only hit 1 year menses-free this month).  Which, unrealized by me, has been kicking my butt pretty hard for the last three years, at least, and can sap any version of ambition and drive right out of your soul.

Three weeks ago, I felt like I was finally coming up for entrepreneurial air.  Even my BAP commented on how she hadn’t seen me this sparked in the whole time we’ve been partnered (a year now).  After our session, I took one action.  Then I completely tanked – businesswise – for the next two weeks.  It’s embarrassing, depressing, confusing, frustrating, saddening, and maddening, just to name a few.

In the deepest throes of “I’m such a sh*t” and “I should just go out and get a real job,” I did one thing I know gets me out of my funk:  talk to someone else, especially if they are in need of service I can provide.  I called one of my super good friends who had been conspicuously MIA (I know when this happens she is usually up to her earballs in the selfcrap we all experience from time to time).  So I check in with her – my own agenda is to listen to someone else’s problems to get me outta of the funk of mine.

We had SUCH a great chat (hmmm, I think.  Apparently when her husband sees her crying on his end of the phone he knows she is talking to me… uhhhhhhh – she says it’s a good thing)!  AND it reminds me of how great I am at reflecting other’s greatness and humanness back to them in a completely compassionate and judgement-free way, even if they might need to get off their butts or say “see ya” to the pity party they might be in.  It also reminds me of how, when we are in the FRAY, it’s so difficult to manage our own dramas, dilemmas and crises.  It can be difficult to cut through the emotion, the brutal self pulverizing, self pounding, self walloping, the fatalism.  But this is how we help each other.  You can see for me what I can’t for myself, you can remind me that I’m just human, that mostly I’m doing really well and remind me of all I have achieved when I forget.  I am REALLY good at that for my friends and I feel blessed that I have friends that are good at it with me.

I remember – oh, right, I LOVE doing this, she feels better, I feel better, and it’s something I keep wondering if I could do as “my work” or part of “my work.”  NOW I am completely turned on after two weeks of business paralysis.  

I realize that I need to set some structure in place to move this idea forward, for better or worse – good idea or not – money maker or flop.  I know I’m skyping with my BAP the next day and think, “how might she help me?”  Of course, it’s really about me doing the work and, BAM!  I get this SCRUMPTIOUSLYtastic idea of taking a business action every day and reporting it to her.  Here are the clear and present directives: 

DEFINITVE business action (aka not just surfing for miscellaneous info)

As early in the day as I can (no waiting til 11 PM to be able to report in by midnight)

Directly moves me TOWARD producing more income through service to others

Report to my BAP daily (at least in the beginning)

A conscious choice of this project is I haven’t set any strict goals to accomplish.  I know some people are extremely motivated by goal setting, and I used to be.  But there is something different about how I live in the world now.  I’m more about “my dreams” instead of “the goals.”  Semantics, maybe, but each have very different sensations in my system.  Plus I know, by taking regular action, I’ll find the most appropriate path and have the coolest experiences — experiences I would have NEVER dreamed of.  It’s the way my life has always rolled. 😉

Today is day six of the journey and I cannot even begin to tell you how much more I’ve accomplished AND BEEN EXCITED to accomplish, just by being willing to take ONE definitive business action per day.  AND it’s washing over into the other aspects of my life (relationships, home improvement, nutrition, exercise, dog training, practicing Spanish and guitar).  It’s like, by doing the business first – getting it done – I’m eager to take on the next business task OR I’m FREE to play without any guilt.  I’m excited and curious to see how the next couple of weeks flesh out.

I’d love to hear how you ride out business paralysis, or how you don’t… it’s all good.

In loving service and lusciously definitive hugs, j

I’m coming out

Of the drama closet…

I mastermind once a month on Wednesday night with an extremely remarkable group of women who I LOVE LOVE LOVE.  This week I asked for unblocking.  Many times I ask on Wednesday night and by Thursday morning I’ve completely forgotten my request.  This week though I’ve thought about it every day since – I am really ready for some unblocking in my life.

This morning I was on the phone with a good friend.  When she asked how I was I shared with her my desire to unblock.  She is a self proclaimed woman of drama, complete with a desire to be on the REAL Broadway (not just in her mind or emotions).  I’ve admired her ability to own her stories and I feel privileged to be witness to her journey.  All the while thinking to myself that I’m glad I don’t have that drama gene.

Except, uhmmm, I do.  But I didn’t “get” it until today – when she asked me “what if you ‘neutralize’ any stories about the blocks you say you have?”  The word “neutralize” stopped everything.  I stopped speaking.  It was like I took a breath that I couldn’t exhale.  In my mind there was this momentary void – “neutralize” – and then the TRUTH.  If I neutralize the blocks, if I neutralize my fright about unblocking, if I neutralize my stories about coming apart – then what would be the fun/point/meaning of that.  Neutralizing would be boring – and that’s when I realized I DO have an inner drama queen.

I suppose most of my friends know it, but I really didn’t.  In fact I’ve had pride around the fact that my life hasn’t had much drama – at least compared to other people I know.  In retrospect, however, I have had an adult life filled with inner mental turmoil, inner emotional upheaval and inner spiritual disruption.

My friend and I had a good long laugh about it, it’s GREAT to grow through laughter!  Plus I REALLY appreciate the new level of equalization I feel in our relationship AND the support I feel from her, the OUT drama girl, for me, the one cracking the closet door.

Thank you Universe for the gift of unblocking – y’all be careful what you ask for!

Big love and dramatic hugs,

Whoops, I almost forgot – I am EAGER to hear your success about opening doors and overcoming blocks in your life – please, do tell in the comments below, dramatic flair encouraged! 🙂

Borrowing the good stuff from Lenny Kravitz

Joanna Byrne, Confidence and Clarity Coach extraordinaire shares her perspective on how much of our world (glory or chaos) is determined by our thoughts and how we can create change.  I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below, especially how your thoughts have gotten you into or out of trouble.

“If you want it, you got it, you just got to believe… believe in yourself.”

I’m a big believer in the concept that thoughts become things; that we create our reality from what, or how we think.

The cognitive behavioral model supports that a situation triggers thoughts, and those thoughts have consequences. These consequences are the resulting feelings we feel as a result of thinking that thought, of believing it’s a feeling that incites us to take an action.

If that’s the case, then, it seems pretty clear that we can take control of this process. Sometimes, the situation is out of our control. But our thoughts are never out of our control. We can always control what we think about, how we think about it and how long we think about it. That means, in effect, that we can impact the consequences, and therefore the resulting feelings and actions.

Now, that is pretty reassuring, isn’t it!

For example, for me, my big challenge is presentations. It’s not the content, or my ability to present that poses the problem. Rather, it’s my nerves just before it. Those nerves are dangerous because they can impact my performance. When I have to give a presentation, especially to a large group of people, I often find myself feeling nervous. So here’s what I do. I stop and check in with my thoughts. What am I thinking about this presentation that is causing me to feel this way? Usually, it’s something like “am I going to give a good enough presentation for these people?”  Here’s the juicy part. I question those thoughts. Is it really true that my presentation might not be good enough? Where is the evidence to support that thought? The fact is that I have given many presentations, mostly well received and definitely good enough. There is evidence to the contrary of my thought. So I stop it, let it go, and replace it with a truer, more helpful thought. “I have given many excellent presentations so far, and this one is good enough too.”  By changing my thoughts, I change my feelings. My nerves are dissolved and my body relaxes.  And, ultimately, the presentation goes much smoother.

You have to remind yourself constantly, that just because you think a thought, doesn’t make it true. You get to choose your thoughts. If you find yourself in a situation that’s causing you negative thoughts and feelings, then check with yourself. Ask yourself, what’s happening here, what am I thinking? Is that thought true? No? Get rid of it. Choose to let it go. If it is true, is the way you are thinking about it supporting you? Is it having a negative impact on your feelings and actions? Yes? Ok, so change it. Reframe it. Try to find a way of thinking about this situation that is more positive, lighter, more supportive of you… AND, that causes more supportive, and less negative feelings… meaning your actions are impacted positively too!

Back to Lenny Kravitz! If you want to be something, do something, have something, you have to start with yourself; the parts of you that you can impact and control. Start with your thoughts, and stop believing everything you think. Decide you want it. Believe you can do it/have it/be it. Feel the feelings that occur as a result of believing those thoughts – believing in yourself – and take action.

“If you want it, you got it, you just got to believe… believe in yourself”

Pretty inspiring stuff Lenny Kravitz. Thank you.

Joanna is a Business, Executive and Personal Coach who helps people and organizations who are stuck, lacking direction or facing change to develop their potential, build resilience, gain clarity and foster collaborative leadership environments to support growth, opportunity and creativity.  

Join her upcoming program “The Confidence Boost Project: 21 days to build confidence from the inside out” by registering at

Fun & Free March 2013

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