Check out IIN and get a free module: LearnTrueHealth.com/coach
How does the moon affect our lives? In this episode, Jenny Fenig explains the lunar cycle and how we can incorporate it into our lives. Jenny shares how we can manage our time better daily. She also explains the importance of breathing, grounding, and listening to the body.
Hello, true health seeker, and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health podcast. Today we have entrepreneur, coach, and homeschooling mom, Jenny Fenig. What I love about her message is she is a very successful, busy entrepreneur, busy mom, busy homeschooling mom, and also a fantastic coach. She figured out how to pack in all these activities while working from home, while taking care of her kids in homeschooling. She figured out how to do it, and she loves teaching others how to make this transition. I thought it’d be great to get some wonderful guidance from her.
As you’re listening to Jenny, if you think to yourself, I would love to be a coach. I would love to help others mentally, emotionally, and physically become healthier, become more fulfilled in their lives, and be able to gain more joy. I’d love to work with clients to help them achieve their life and health goals; then I highly recommend checking out IIN, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I took IIN’s program. It’s a year-long health coach training program. It’s 100% done online. They also have an accelerated 6-month program for those that want to be full-time students.
The year-long program is designed for busy people, and you can fit it in about 20 minutes a day. I’d like to do it in the evenings or sometimes I’d listen and do the coursework while I was driving, exercising, folding laundry, or cooking dinner, but I was able to get it in with my busy schedule. It’s absolutely fantastic. IIN’s program is life-changing. About half the students that do it do it for personal growth, which is pretty phenomenal. You could do it for your own personal growth, but of course, I did it because I also wanted to help my clients. I want to gain new tools to help them as a health coach, and they even train you on how to start your own business and become a successful health coach, which is really exciting. So not only do they teach you how to help your clients with mental, emotional, and physical health; gaining life goals; and increasing joy and fulfillment in every aspect of their lives. You’re also taught how to find clients that would resonate with your coaching style, and that clients you would just feel incredibly fulfilled and happy to work with. It’s a wonderful program.
I partnered up with IIN and they give a huge discount to the listeners of the Learn True Health podcast. So you can just google IIN, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and when you give them a call, most of their staff have actually gone through the program and become integrative health coaches. What you can do is you can talk to them. They’ll help you work out your goals in terms of becoming a health coach and joining their program and then when you mention my name, Ashley James with the Learn True Health podcast, you will be given a huge discount. A few times a year, they do have some great specials as well, so always be on the lookout for that.
If you’d like to try their program for free, there’s a module that they give you for free. Go to learntruehealth.com/coach. That’s learntruehealth.com/coach. Sign up, put your name and email, and then you’ll be given a module for free. You can just put your toe in the water, try it out, and see if it’s something that resonates with you. See if it’s something that’s right for you. It was absolutely incredible when I did it. I highly recommend it. There have been over 100 of the listeners that I know of that have reached out to me that have told me that they’ve been through the program. A lot of them, because they heard about it through me through the podcast, so I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and share that they’ve absolutely loved their experience with IIN. It’s a wonderful stepping stone because you can go and specialize in other things. You can specialize in gut health or mental health. There are just so many ways so that you can specialize as a health coach, which is really exciting.
You become a health coach, but there are so many tools that they teach you around life coaching because health encompasses every aspect of our life. IIN is not about counting calories or teaching you how many grams of protein are in something. That’s not what IIN is about. It’s about giving you the real tools to help make huge differences in people’s lives, in working with clients to help them become more fulfilled in every aspect of their life. Check it out. Go to learntruehealth.com/coach. Get your free module. And when you call IIN, make sure you mention my name Ashley James and Learn True Health podcast so you can get access to the great special that they give all the listeners.
Thank you so much for being a listener of the Learn True Health podcast. Please come join our Facebook group. It’s a wonderfully supportive community for holistic-minded people. Just search Learn True Health on Facebook. Thank you for sharing these episodes with those you care about so we can help everyone to Learn True Health.
[00:05:26] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 444. I’m so excited for today’s guest. We have Jenny Fenig. Her website is jennyfenig.com. All the links that Jenny has are going to be the show notes with today’s podcast at learntruehealth.com. Jenny’s going to teach us today how to co-create with the cosmos and align ourselves with the energy of nature to help us achieve what we want to achieve in life. Also, there’s a bit of—from what I understand—tapping into your human potential, tapping into your life purpose. It’s going to be a really fun and light-hearted episode. I’m looking forward to it. Welcome to the show.
[00:06:15] Jenny Fenig: Thanks so much. I’m excited to be here, Ashley.
[00:06:18] Ashley James: Yeah, absolutely. What led you down the path to becoming an expert at co-creating with the cosmos?
[00:06:26] Jenny Fenig: Well, that’s a good question. I think the larger conversation is looking at how I’ve experienced so much loss in my life and so much death. We’re just going to go there. I mean life is death is life is death is life. We go through so many deaths in a lifetime. Death of an identity, a particular career path, a place that you used to live that isn’t working for you anymore, or what have you. For me, when I was 16 years old, I experienced the death of a significant person in my life. That person was my sister Julie—still is my sister Julie. Energy is energy. I absolutely have a strong connection with her still to this day. It’s been over 25 years since she died. But that experience of wow, life is so mysterious and it’s not “fair.” It’s not what you thought it was going to be, yet it all is lining up for your biggest opportunities to grow, to learn, to be who you came here to be, and do what you came here to do.
With that death of my sister when she was 12 and I was 16—she died of cancer—I just skyrocketed into this experience of grief, loss, and what just happened? This isn’t supposed to happen. This goes against the natural order. And then six months later, my best friend’s brother died. That was just another example of what? These things aren’t supposed to be happening. At that point, we were seniors in high school. You’ve been looking forward to this moment your whole life. I grew up in the south in Georgia and Florida. At that point, I was living in Florida. This friend and I had just gotten onto homecoming court, which is this dream that we had. It felt like such a big deal.
My sister had died earlier that year and then her brother dies that fall, and it was just this bizarre experience of this feeling that I hadn’t ever felt before ever, and then no one can prepare you for it. It allowed me to go really deep into my own process, my own faith, and my own questioning of all of it, really all of it. My sister was quite connected to God, and that was not anything that I really knew much about, to be honest with you. That was her thing. It was my dad’s thing, but it just was something I witnessed from afar like what’s that all about? I don’t really understand what you all are talking about. And then once my sister died and I had this huge pain and then my best friend’s brother died, you go deeper into this hole. That’s what it felt like just sitting with this and trying to understand something that can’t really be understood in a logical rational way.
As I journey forward going on to college and just doing my best to keep showing up—keep showing up for the work, keep showing up for my talent, keep showing up for my ambition—I kept being led to the places I was supposed to be, the people I was supposed to meet, the experiences I was supposed to have so that I could do what I’m here to do. What was fascinating was early on in my sophomore year—that best friend whose brother had died our senior year of high school—that best friend died.
I basically had three deaths in three years from the time I was 16 to 19. I wouldn’t wish that on people. It’s very, very challenging as you can imagine, but it cracked me wide open and it allowed me to really come to this place of I am still here because my work is not done. I am going to really feel the energy of these people who meant so much to me. I know that they’re guiding me on because this work that I’m here to do, you’re here to do, and we’re all here to do, it requires all of us. It requires all of us to be awake. It requires all of us to be courageous. It requires all of us to approach each day like it is a gift because it is, and to go after the things that you’re most meant to do.
Once I moved on into my career, I moved to New York City after I graduated from the University of Florida. I found my way into the career of public relations. I thought I had struck gold. This was a thing I was here to do. I’m working at this major agency, on these big clients, and eventually traveling globally on these big projects. Although it was exciting and I felt like I was at a good place and working on interesting projects and with interesting people, I had this feeling inside, which was really me connecting with that small still voice within to come face to face with the truth. The truth was this isn’t what I was supposed to be doing.
It was such a tough pill to swallow because it looked good on paper. It looked really good on paper. You try to ignore it. You try to just push it away, push it down, and question yourself. I thought there was something wrong with me. I wondered why I couldn’t be satisfied or I couldn’t be happy when other people might think this was fine or awesome. But that small still voice within just kept nudging me along, nudging me along to say, Jenny, this isn’t it. You got to keep going. You got to keep looking. And most importantly, you’ve got to take care of yourself.
That environment that I was in, I graduated from college in 1999. You can go back to that point in time. The internet was very new, so there were no social media. That wasn’t taking our time, but when you worked on these big projects, I had to be at work a lot and I worked a lot. I was under a tremendous amount of pressure and stress. It’s not something that I found to be healthy, sustainable, or desirable.
A big breakthrough for me was that I realized I had to start taking better care of myself. I really needed to learn how to mother myself, nurture myself, take a pause, take time, and not feel like I was racing all the time. You asked the question of how did I really find this work. I found the work by diving headfirst into the work that I felt I was here for and was talented at but then realizing that it didn’t quite hit the mark.
The way that I had to like deconstruct it and figure out what was a better path for me was to choose health, to choose vitality, and to choose to trust that small still voice within, which has continuously guided me on. It guided me to eventually quit that job, move into a different job, which is a thing I didn’t even know was a thing until I found it. I moved out of public relations and into conference producing, which again it just kind of fell in my lap when I was in sheer desperation to get me out of here, I can’t do this anymore.
That opened me up to interesting thinkers, thinking like an entrepreneur, acting like an entrepreneur, putting on these big events, solving problems in the market, and just understanding that I really can do anything that I want to do. I just have to decide what that is. I believe that’s true for your listeners as well. We are in a choice. We can come into this place of I have these distinct skills. I have these gifts. I have these talents. When we can really blend everything up and understand what problems we solve in the market and then communicate with an audience that is excited for us to help them solve that problem, then amazing things happen.
A big pathway for me—I know your show is really a lot about health, vitality, and all the different ways—was I dove headfirst into yoga those first few years in New York. Once I could afford to belong to a gym, I started taking yoga classes. I took my first one in college. I thought it was the weirdest thing ever, and I wasn’t ready for it. But then once I was ready for it, in those New York City days, I realized it was a source of comfort and a source of peace. It made my body feel so good. I allowed myself to just feel that and to come to this place of oh my goodness. When you’re in a yoga class, you’re not competing at all. I thought so much of my life I had been competing. That was the game, you competed. When you’re in yoga, it’s not about competition. It’s really about being present with yourself, what’s going on that particular day, and honoring that.
By following that path to yoga, eventually, I got this download to train to become a yoga teacher. I didn’t know where that was going to take me, but I trusted it. Again, that small still voice within, I trusted it. I said, okay, let’s see. Let’s see what happens when I commit myself to 200 hours of training on anatomy, on yoga philosophy, on the different asanas on meditation on just that whole realm. Once I did that, the next level of my career opened up, and I discovered the field of coaching. That has just taken me on this incredible path, this incredible journey. I realized that serving women was my passion.
As I got deeper into my study and work with women, I remembered how connected we are to the moon and the way our bodies are designed. They’re so intelligently designed. The way the lunar cycle is designed, the way nature is designed, there’s such intelligence and such wisdom in that. When we can tap into that wisdom, we come into that place of alignment. That is something I practice. That is something I teach. And that is something I want to remind everyone of. It’s very much been taken away. We live in such a society with technology and go, go, go, you’re falling behind, and all of it. Nature’s never behind, you know what I’m saying? It’s not behind. When I look outside, my trees aren’t like oh my gosh, I don’t have enough leaves yet. Or this tree is bigger than me and I must be less than. Nature is just so sure of who it is, and it’s always right on time. I find there’s such wisdom in that. It’s something I love talking about.
[00:18:27] Ashley James: Can you take us back to the moment when you realize that there was an energy of the moon to tap into? And explain how you figured it out and how it helped you.
[00:18:41] Jenny Fenig: Well, it’s interesting because my mom, growing up, would often say to me, look up at the moon. Since the time I was in college, I have lived away from where she was living and then beyond. She often would plant that seed with me and sometimes I thought she was a little wacky for going all right. But that has stuck with me. What’s so fascinating, no matter where you are located on this planet, every single one of us is looking at the same moon. It’s not different in the Philippines, in the United States, in Canada, in Spain, and in Antarctica. It’s the same moon. It’s the exact same moon. I just think that’s so cool. We live on such a giant planet, we’re all looking up at that same ball of light.
When it really became clearer for me was when I just started reading various books about women, history, energy, and our creative process. Women are natural creators or creatrixes. A creatrix is the female term of a creator. We just naturally do it. We naturally create. Some of us are called for motherhood where we create a child inside, or we adopt a child. However that comes to be, or somehow a child comes into our life. I think I got deeper into it when I became a mother. My oldest child is 11 years old now, my youngest is 6. I also have a 9-year-old. When I became pregnant for that first time, which was so interesting because for a lot of years I didn’t want to become pregnant. That wasn’t something I was ready for. And then once I became ready for that and wanting that, I saw my body in a whole new way.
As women cycle, a lot of us have had a menstrual cycle. We know what that is. Menstrual cycles are the same as the lunar cycle. It’s around 29 and ½ days. Think about that. Those are the things I wish I would have been taught in school. When I was growing up, it was very much like when you’re on your period, that’s dirty. That’s dirty. It’s something you want to hide. Maybe you were made fun of, especially if the boys knew you’re on your period somehow in school because you took your purse to the bathroom. It was something that almost felt shameful. There wasn’t a real big rite of passage around it when I was growing up.
I will tell you, when my daughter moves into that phase of her life, I will do it differently with her. I will give her something that I didn’t have that I’ve had to learn for myself. When you really tune into the fact that we cycle, our body cycles the same as the moon, that’s something to take note of. With the moon—what I’ve come to learn through practice, study, and just applying this in my own personal life, in my business, and helping my clients do this—is that if you really want to understand how to work with the energy of the moon. When you are menstruating, there is energy. You might have read the book The Red Tent. I read that many, many years ago. It’s a fantastic book. It’s really that energy of being still, resting, renewing, and not go go go. You’re just receiving it. Your body is doing the work, your body’s cleansing, and that’s the energy of the new moon. That’s the energy of that new moon.
If you were to start tracking the lunar cycle—and most calendars have this represented on the calendar. If you have a wall calendar, if you have a printed calendar. I still use those. I mean, I have a business. We have a lot of digital things going on, but I have a printed calendar that I keep on my desk and often in my purse. I’m not going as many places these days as I once did pre-COVID, but I’ve got my printed calendar, and I’ve got my calendar in my kitchen that I keep up on the wall. The moon phases are represented there. Take note of those. Some people have no idea where the moon is right now in terms of the phase of the cycle, and I suggest that you start paying attention—if you haven’t already—and just tracking your own energy around what’s going on in the moon.
Sometimes, as women, our bodies might be in that same phase. If you’re still in your bleeding years, you might bleed at the same time as the new moon. If so, the energy is really synced up. If not, there’s still a lot that you can glean from the moon. And you really want to understand what’s happening out there so you can better take care of yourself. That’s the whole thing. Isn’t that what true health is all about is you know how to take care of yourself, and you know how to have others help take care of you if you have other people in your life—really helping to nourish you and support you?
So that new moon is all about rest, renewal, and ultra-vision. And then about a week later, we move into the first quarter moon. That’s when you look up in the sky, and just last night it was the first quarter moon. I looked up and it was just like magic. It was so captivating, and it looks like a half-moon where that right side is glowing. And you don’t see the light on the left side. It’s just that right side of the moon. That is the energy of growth, action, and commitment. What you can do at the new moon, as well as resting and renewing, is that you get the vision for what you want to focus on in this upcoming cycle.
With moons, there are 13 moons in a year. There are 12 months in a year, but there are 13 moons in a year. You have an opportunity 13 times in a year to really set your intention, and it doesn’t always happen at the first of the month. That’s not how it works. It happens when it happens based on that lunar cycle, and the lunar cycle is set. You could go look ahead a few years and you’ll go see the lunar cycle like when the new moon of 2025 will be. Scientists have this down. It’s really extraordinary what can be tracked and looked at as you move forward.
What I like to do at each new moon is set my intention. What is my intention? What do I want my energy and my focus to go to for this lunar cycle so that as I take my steps forward? As I put my energy out there, my actions out there, and my words out there, I can see the seeds that I’m planting blossom.
I’m setting my intention. I’m establishing some goals to support that intention at the new moon, so when I get to that first-quarter moon I’m really quickening my steps. I’m like okay, let’s go. Have I sent out that email? Have I talked to that person? Have I gone to get that thing? Have I planted my seeds, and if not, what seeds do I really want to be planting now or in the next few days? Because then, about a week later, we’re going to get to that full moon. And that’s when you look up in the sky. Everybody knows what a full moon looks like.
There tends to be a pretty powerful energy at the full moon. There’s just such powerful sensations that are happening right there, and we’re all feeling it. We’re all feeling it. There’s a lot of data to support that hospitals and emergency rooms in particular have a lot more action around the full moon. There’s just this heightened intensity that’s going on. And when we can understand that, we don’t have to be blindsided by it and going like why do I feel all this? You understand. You understand it intuitively, and you can really make space for it.
What I know at full moon is that’s when I’m in my fullest power. That’s when I’m going for it. As women, that’s when we would be ovulating. That’s when we could conceive a child. You think about that, and there are only a few days in a woman’s cycle that that could happen okay. When you then understand your own energy at that point, the energy of the full moon at that point, you can harness some things.
In my business, I might have some big activity going on at the full moon where I am putting something out there. I have hosted lots of retreats all around the world and tied that into the full moon. Where I will look ahead and go, all right, I’m going to have this event in November. I’d like to bring the women together around the full moon. When’s that full moon going to be? Okay, it’s this point. Let me check with my retreat center and see if they have space available at that time. You see, that’s how you can really line it up. Some people might decide that they’re going to have some special thing there, they’re going to put this thing out there, they’re going to whatever. You just know. That is maybe you want to go camping, like there’s just something that you want to do around the full moon.
And I do a lot of this with my kids, especially my daughter. She’s super into it. We really talk about the moon together. If I take my dog for a walk around the property at night, I’m always looking for the moon. What’s interesting is you don’t know where she’s going to be. The moon is a feminine energy, p.s. So you don’t know where the moon is going to be. I can’t always look up over this particular tree and see her. It’s not how she works. She’s very mysterious, and I love that. I just love that energy. I love that idea that she’s always there, I just don’t know where she is all the time. I know what’s up. I know if she’s at this phase or that phase, but I can’t always find her in the sky. It’s just an interesting thing to play with, and it also helps you deepen into your faith. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Get it? And that we have to trust. We have to trust. And we have to trust planting these seeds. I’ll give you an example and I’ll tell you about the last phase of the moon.
A few months back, as we were really in the throes of COVID here in Massachusetts. I know that you have listeners all over. Everyone is being impacted in different places, and it’s just horrible. It’s this horrible thing. A few months back, we really weren’t leaving our house. Except I was able to go to the garden store and be outside, and I eventually got these seeds—these sunflower seeds. Now I have never planted seeds. I just recently have gotten into gardening. A few years back, I kind of just all right. Let me try this, let me try that. But I’d always buy plants that were already formed. They were in the pots, and I could transfer them into my land into the earth.
Well, I decided to just see what happens when I would plant seeds, and sunflower seeds in particular, which is really interesting because that was my favorite flower in high school. I campaigned for it to become our senior class flower, and it did, which is very exciting because we had had the rose for 20 years straight. My whole thing was okay, rose is a great flower, but can we just have a different flower? Let’s be creative. So we got the sunflower.
I decided to get these seeds, and I put them on the earth. I remember thinking to myself is this going to work? These things are really small. Is this really going to work? I’m going to follow the directions. I’m going to space them the number of inches they’re supposed to be spaced apart. I’ll water them. Okay. But I had that doubt in my head like really, could something as big as sunflowers grow out of these little things?
Oh my gosh, Ashley, if you could look outside my window right now, these things are so huge. These stalks are taller than me, and I’ve been checking on them. There’s one in particular that I can see the yellow starting to peek through. I’m like oh my goodness, I think this week the flowers are going to come out. Because at this point, it’s been the giant stalks. Then I still know, within the stalks, the flowers in there. It’s just not ready. It’s not ripe yet. It’s not time yet, but can I still believe? Can I still believe? For everyone, can you still believe? Even if you can’t see it, you have to believe it to see it. Some people have it backward like I’ll see it when I believe it, or I believe it when I see it. Okay, I’ll believe it when I see it. No, you will see it when you believe it.
That’s really how I feel what the moon allows us to do. She’s so consistent. As I’ve used her energy and really worked with her energy and co-created it, I’ve been able to come into deeper communion with my own body, with my own wellness, with my own groundedness and connection to the earth, and to my place on this earth. Then I’ve helped my people really tap into this wisdom as well.
So the last phase of the cycle is called the last quarter moon, and that is when you look up and you see the light on the left side. So you don’t see the light on the right side, and that’s how you can always know. When you look up, if it’s on the right side, the moon is waxing. It’s getting bigger in the sky. And if the light is on the left side, it’s called waning. The energy is waning and it’s getting smaller. Eventually going back to that new moon and then starting the cycle again.
So with the last quarter moon, that is the energy of letting go. Letting go to rise higher. That is when you have seen what has started growing. What has become real? You’ve put in the effort, you’ve put in actions, you set that intention back at the new moon, you set those goals, and you work towards them. And some of them were meant to happen the way that you hoped they would or the way that you semi-envisioned that they would. Others you realize you know what, that wasn’t aligned, maybe not yet, maybe I need to simply be more patient, or maybe I need to let that go because this other thing is freaking growing and it looks really exciting. I want to align my energy with that. I know that I can’t do all the things all the time, so I’m going to double down on that, and I’m going to let go of these other things that can’t come with me into the next cycle.
That is the lunar cycle in a nutshell. I’m actually looking up at this gorgeous lunar calendar. In addition to the ones that I mentioned that come printed in a lot of these calendars you might buy, I had my designer on my team—we collaborated on this really cool one sheet and it just says Lunar Calendar 2020. What was so interesting is that I had her put all the names of the months at the top of the paper, so going across horizontally, and then the numbers go down vertically.
January there’s 1 to 31, February 1 to 29, and they’re just these long rows of numbers going down the page. And then she would go in and plot out each phase of the cycle and go across the page. What is the full moon in January, February, December? And it looks like—if you ever had or ever saw those really cool beads that you could hang in a doorway, they’re kind of like circa the 1970s, but they’re cool. You could hang these beads in a doorway and then open the beads and move into another room. They kind of look like those beads. They’re so pretty when you look at it. To me, it’s just exquisite art the way that nature was designed. And the more that we understand that, the more that we understand ourselves.
[00:34:57] Ashley James: Beautiful. It’s amazing how there’s so much in nature that really affects us, and we often just don’t think about it. I mean the moon is powerful. If you think about it, the moon is strong enough to change the tides and pull the water, the ocean in one direction and then in another and create the tide. We’re made of water. Why wouldn’t the moon have some kind of pull if it can pull the water in the ocean? Why wouldn’t it have some kind of effect on us? I mean, it’s not a huge effect, but it can be felt, and we can see it. You can see it when we go to the ocean, and we see the tide come in and out. What other instances in nature do you keep your awareness of and tap into?
[00:35:51] Jenny Fenig: Well, I look at where I am each season. Really honoring seasonal shifts and planning around that. I didn’t realize how important honestly nature was to me until I did. I grew up in the south, as I mentioned. When I lived in Florida, I lived near the beach, and that was really nice having that ocean near me—speaking of tides and oceans. And then once I lived in New York, you’re in a concrete jungle. We had Central Park. We had some trees there, but typically you had a tree carved out in a little plot on the sidewalk and cement. I did have the Hudson River, thank goodness. I lived on West End Avenue, which was overlooking the Hudson River. Oh, that brought me such a sense of calm.
But once I moved to the country 10 years ago. I left New York City. I now live in the country, Western Massachusetts. I felt like I could exhale. It was something I really needed but didn’t know that I needed it. New York was so wonderful for my career. I met my husband there. I had my first child there. I got pregnant with my second child when we lived there, but it didn’t provide me with enough nature. Now I have it. I look around these windows and the office that I’m speaking to you from and all I see are trees. That’s it. I see the trees. I live in a forest. I consider the trees my friends, which may sound funny but it’s true, and I take such cues from these trees. We have nature here, and we have four seasons here. Not every place has four seasons, but we have that here.
I’ve learned to really be seasonal in my approach. My energy in the summer is different than my energy in the fall is different than my energy in winter is different than my energy in spring. And I encourage you all to really tap into that for yourselves as well. How are you in summer versus winter? And what changes do you need to make or modifications do you need to make so that your body stays in a natural state? I enjoy being warm. Cold is hard for me so winter here is hard. It’s really, really challenging. And I learned to layer. I learned that clothing really matters. Wool matters. I wear lots of layers of wool pretty much since it gets cold until it’s not cold anymore, I have a layer of wool on my skin. And that makes a massive, massive difference. What I’m eating during wintertime, in particular, are warm foods because my body is cold. And my body gets anxious when I’m cold.
There’s something that I studied, which is pretty cool. It’s an ancient science and an ancient practice really. I went to India a few years ago, and I went through my yoga teacher training back in 2007. When I did that and I was reading all these books around yoga philosophy and really understanding the mind. The purpose of yoga is to achieve mastery over the mind. It’s not to contort yourself into these shapes, although the shapes help you achieve the mastery of the mind. So when I went through all that, I just had this pact I made with myself that I would go to India. I didn’t know when I would go to India or how that trip would come into being. It was like a seed. I planted the seed, and about 10 years later, the wish came true. The opportunity presented itself, and I walked through the door and I said I’m going to go on that trip.
I had the opportunity to study something called Ayurveda. There are ayurvedic doctors. This is a form of medicine, and it’s a very natural form of medicine with the usage of herbs, being intelligent about what you eat, and understanding your body constitution. In Ayurveda, there are three body types: vata, pitta, and kapha. You can just dig into this if anyone’s interested. You can look around and see what you find here. There are these assessments you can take. You can answer questions and get a better read on what your constitution is. We all are a mix of all three, but you’ll have one that’s dominant and one that’s a clear secondary.
For me, I’m vata pitta. Vata is very airy. We are predisposed to being cold. My husband’s pitta so he’s predisposed to being hot. So you can imagine that we battle over the thermostat. He wants it to be on the colder side and I’m making it warmer. If you know that your body is predisposed to certain things, then you need to be prepared.
If my body gets too cold and I’m not prepared through the foods that I’m eating, through being mindful of me waking up first thing, I shouldn’t drink an ice-cold glass of water ever first thing. It’s going to throw me out of alignment. I’m going to just head into a place I don’t need to be, which is anxiety which is just too cold. I start just getting too amped up, and I’m not grounded. I’m kind of floating, and not in a way that’s super peaceful blissful. I’m just too out there. And I need to come back to this place of groundedness. So for me, understanding this, me going to India, studying with an ayurvedic teacher, working with ayurvedic doctors there, and staying at this really amazing Ayurveda retreat center in a town called Gokarna, which is just out of this world. I’ll never forget it. It was one of those incredible experiences. I understand now what I need to do.
So when I wake up, my go-to ritual is I fill my kettle with water, turn on the stove, and then I pour myself two cups. One, warm water. It’s hot water when it goes into the cup. I wait so it cools off a little bit and I put lemon in there. And then I have my second cup and I fill that with my favorite jasmine green tea. And then of course with my lemon. One of my clients makes this really cool chai concoction. She’s just this herbalist and she gives me these batches of what she makes. So I stir a little bit of that in there and it just is this magical blend, and it gets me going on the right foot. My body starts really waking up. I’m moving. Things are really good, and I feel connected. I feel grounded because I haven’t gone to that ice-cold thing.
You all can study that. You can really look at how your body is designed. Our body wants to feel good. We want to feel healthy, but things are set up right now that you forget all that. And if you’re on your computer all day, your cortisol levels get jacked up. You’re looking at this screen, your eyes are getting fatigued, and you’re out of touch with nature because you’re just looking at these machines.
I’m grateful for all my technology, but I’m not living my life in technology because that’s not where I want to live my life. I want to live my life out there, and then I come to tech to connect with people. Like connecting with you today, Ashley, knowing this podcast is going to go out and serve people. I will connect on social media with my people, but I’m doing that from a place of wellness. I’m doing that from a place of understanding how I need to take care of myself every day with the moves I need to make with what I’m drinking, what I’m eating, and then how I move through nature.
You all can really look around and check on your own energy levels that each season you might decide that in the wintertime, in particular, you want to bring more fire into your life to warm you up. Maybe in the fall, you’re looking around—where I live, the leaves change colors. You might tap in at that point, what kind of transformation are you undergoing at that point? What are you shedding? What leaves are dropping for you?
And can you come into that place of faith knowing that winter is coming, but you’re strong enough to handle winter? Not just handle it, but really enjoy it. What do you need to do to prepare for each season? And then can you take a page from the playbook of trees, if you will, and say yeah, I know. And then my leaves are going to grow again. And then they’ll be green again. And then eventually they’ll fall again. The leaves will drop or they’ll change colors. I just think it’s so interesting. The whole thing is so interesting.
This pandemic has given me an opportunity, as I mentioned, I never thought I’d be a gardener ever. You have no idea. Before this interview, Ashley, I went to my local hardware store and made the first-ever purchase. Do you want to know what I bought?
[00:45:08] Ashley James: What’d you buy?
[00:45:09] Jenny Fenig: A chainsaw.
[00:45:13] Ashley James: Electric or gas?
[00:45:17] Jenny Fenig: I went with the gas. I have an electric lawnmower, weed whacker, leaf blower, but they explained to me that I really need the gas to do the work that needs to be done. I think it looks like we’re going to be cutting our own firewood. I never thought ever. But as I was building out this one particular place of my land with this garden, the tools that I had weren’t adequate enough to get through this particular—it’s like this vine thing. We have these vines on the property that kind of wrap around trees and hurt the trees. There’s this one spot, this has to go and my tools aren’t enough. They’re not adequate. Sure, I could go hire someone to do it, but it’s really cool.
You come into your power, I do anyway. When I say I can do that. I can do that. I felt a sense of pride. There are all guys helping me in that section of the store, but I’m like yep, first-ever chainsaw purchase. They were so excited for me, and I’m so excited for myself to come in and say we can do that. We can do that. When the temperature, when the weather is nice to be able to do this, I feel like such a responsibility to the land, and something I want to teach my kids how to take care of that. How to take care of things. How to really work with this land.
Even before the pandemic, we were homeschooling, and we’ll continue on that path. This is something I want us all to learn together, how do we do this? Once you know how to do a lot of these things, I know for me, I feel proud. I feel like, hey, I could get some help with this, and there’s nothing wrong with getting help. But gosh, what a wonderful feeling to know the things that you can do.
[00:47:05] Ashley James: Brilliant. Now one of your claims to fame is your ability to homeschool, manage your business, manage your household, and just be so busy juggling everything. Many people are overwhelmed right now. It’s a new experience for them homeschooling in the light of the COVID lockdown. Many parents have chosen not to send their kids back to school because of the restrictions and requirements. But instead of choosing to homeschool, many people work from home now like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. They’re keeping a lot of their staff at home. So it’s a new dynamic for many Americans, Canadians, and people around the world.
A new dynamic where many families are working from home and homeschooling at the same time. And they’re not used to juggling all these things, or they’re planning on it because it’s still the summertime. They’re planning on it. And even for those who are going back to school, many districts are only doing two days a week. So for public school, they’re still going to be home for three school days. And if parents are home with them, potentially working from home, then it’s just a whole new dynamic. Can you walk us through and teach us how we can be more effective at getting all this done? I think you talk about how you can get more done by doing less. What are some ways that you can really prepare the listeners who are stepping into a whole new routine, a whole new reality?
[00:49:04] Jenny Fenig: Yeah. I really like talking about this. Thank you. Well what we talked about obviously understanding the moon in particular and just what’s happening out in nature, that’s tremendously helpful. That just becomes your way of living. The more that you practice that, the more you’ll understand. You’ll understand, and it makes your life so much simpler. It really, really does. All right. So there’s that.
The other things that I practice are what I call time chunking and task batching. So you become so intelligent and efficient with your moves and your time. I’ve always been pretty strong with time. It was interesting. Even in those first New York City jobs I had, I was like 22. My managers must have seen my ability to do this because myself and this other colleague of mine, she was also about 22, 23, I’d say. We were tapped to lead a time management training for the entire organization. I looked back at that, we were young, but we had something going on.
I think some of that is probably connected to the deaths that I experienced at such a young age because I knew right away—time is not guaranteed. It’s not. It’s not. Every day is an absolute gift, so don’t squander it. Don’t squander it. This is going to require you to be super disciplined to have very strong boundaries to know how to say no, not now, or let’s look to do that in a different way. You really want to understand, if someone’s asking you to do something, what that looks like. Because I think too many people just give their time away, and it’s often because they’re afraid of being perceived as mean or rude if they say no, ask for things to be a bit different, can we do it next week, or whatever. I think some people really like that word busy. I actually don’t consider myself busy. I don’t use that word. I don’t believe that is something that we have to subscribe to. I think being busy makes a lot of people sick, really.
[00:51:18] Ashley James: Well, absolutely. If we’re just talking about the stress response, the idea of busy is creating the autonomic nervous system fight or flight. Being in the sympathetic nervous system response of fight or flight, which turns off the healing mode in the body. If the story you tell yourself is I’m busy, I’m busy, I’m busy, then you’re triggering fight or flight. And that is a very unhealthy state to be in chronically.
[00:51:47] Jenny Fenig: Chronically, absolutely. I think it’s so interesting, especially for people who are trying to figure out if they’re in a reinvention right now. Which I know many people are that COVID has given people the opportunity to go is this what I really want? When my regular life is stripped away, all the things that I typically did, is my work—is this good? Is this what I want? Is this framework for this working? What’s interesting is you can look back at your life and go wait, I’ve always been fascinated by this particular thing. What was that through line? What’s the through-line?
So for me, I was always stressed growing up. I remember feeling this immense pressure. In college, I took a stress management class. A whole semester, I took a stress management class because I wanted to understand. I mean, no one had taught me that in high school. There was no class that was like okay kids, let’s help you all be less stressed. It was like be stressed. Join the club, everyone’s stressed. No. So I took a class in college. I wanted to understand what stress really is and how to work with it. It’s the number one cause of death. I mean, it really is. It leads to so many issues. We don’t have to subscribe to it. It’s not just something that is a given because we’re human. We can reclaim being versus doing, and then when we do things, that those can be intelligent actions.
What you can look at is how you can organize your day, your week, again, working with the lunar cycle if you’re going to play with that, so that you’re getting the maximum results from your efforts. And that you don’t do it maybe in the way that you used to do it. So I had to really retrain myself when I left my last corporate job. Once I set out on my own and became an entrepreneur without even knowing that that was what I was going to do when I quit that last job, I applied for other jobs and nothing was exciting. I was like I don’t want to do any of these things. Oh no.
And then I just discovered coaching and just kept okay, I’m going to stay on this path. And then before I knew it, I had a business, and here we are all these years later. I had to train myself to do it differently. It was not required. There was no rule that said I had to sit at a desk Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM or beyond. There was no rule that said that, but at first, I thought I would be in trouble. I mean it sounds silly to say it, but I really was like who’s going to come? Who’s going to knock on my door to see that I’m not here. That I’m at a yoga class at 11:00 AM on a Wednesday.
You know what was so interesting, there were other people at the yoga class at 11:00 AM on a Wednesday. And I’m going, oh my gosh. It’s not just me. Well, okay. What do they do for work? And I just saw that I wanted to have a different kind of existence where I could know my natural creation times or my mind was really sharp when my body had a lot of energy. And I could provide a tremendous amount of value in terms of writing, speaking, working with clients, and strategizing. It didn’t need to be all day because my body really isn’t designed for that. My mind isn’t designed for that, and I have a family. I have three kids. I can’t do all the things I need to do with that old framework, with that old dynamic.
Listen, I know a lot of people are still in that space where that’s the rule, that’s the protocol. You are responsible for being on the computer or being at this physical location from this time to this time. I would simply challenge you or encourage you to be willing to shake things up a bit and look at how you can look at productivity and see. Okay, if I were to batch all my meetings on one particular day, batch my writing on my mornings on these days, or my client work on these days.
Now, this might be really provocative to some people and make you nervous to even consider doing this or having a conversation with someone who might be more senior to you that you need to get this through, but there’s plenty of organizations that have done this with extraordinary results. There are places especially abroad, I’ve seen studies where they just decided that people would work Monday through Thursday, not Monday through Friday. And productivity went up through the roof. Efficiency went through the roof because you weren’t just wasting your time going, well, I can’t leave before this time. So I might as well just shoot the breeze, you know what I’m saying?
This is about reclaiming our time and reclaiming that energy. This is how I homeschool. I’m very fortunate my husband and I both work from home. We have relatively flexible schedules. I get to decide when my client calls are, when these group calls are, when I’m going to do a podcast interview, and then when I’m focused on the children, and when I might be working with my daughter on something. My boys are at an age where we’ve been working with tutors in the last few years. Pre-COVID we’d have tutors coming into the home. Right now, we’re going to have a pause on that and we’re going to do online classes and tutors.
We’ll just schedule things in a way that everyone gets what they need, but even within their schooling, it’s not 9:00 AM to blah blah they’re in classes back to back to back. I don’t believe in that. We need space. We need space to creatively come up with ideas to go outside and work in the garden. To go on a hike, bring your art supplies, and create something that you see. To be bored. The best ideas come through boredom. We try so hard to avoid boredom like it’s this horrible thing. That we’re a bad parent if our kids are bored. That’s really going to come up with a great idea. We don’t need to over-schedule them to the point where they don’t even know how to think.
As you all are considering how you’re going to move forward, keep that all into account. Again, it goes against the systems that we thought were unbreakable, but they’ve all broken.
[00:58:18] Ashley James: No kidding.
[00:58:20] Jenny Fenig: They’ve all broken. And I say that with love but with all certainty because I know for many people, you’re still in this state of it’s hard and you might be grieving. I’ve been homeschooling for a few years now so I’m not freaked out. I’m sad that we are where we are. It’s horrible, it makes me mad, and all the things. I think we should feel our feelings. I feel for educators, I feel for schools, and I feel for administrators. I mean this is not fun, and there’s no playbook really.
The last time we had a global pandemic was more than 100 years ago, and the world looked very different at that point. So here we are, luckily we have more technology that can support us. But I would suggest—especially for those of you who are looking into homeschooling, how distance learning is going to look, or what you want to do—to be really mindful of what system you want to be a part of. Because whatever system you’re choosing, you’re choosing for your child as well. They are experiencing the energy of that system.
I’m very grateful for homeschooling because we get to design our own system, really. We have the blessing of our local school district. We submit end of year reports. We submit a plan at the beginning of the school year to say here’s where we’re going, and we have very supportive public school principals and superintendents who have our back every year because they know that we have our heart in the right place with what we’re doing, with what’s best for our kids, and the way that we see it. And they’re learning the things that they need to learn.
I actually just did a workshop on this a few days ago called charting your path as a homeschooler. I just want to make sure everyone knows too, distance learning is not homeschooling. It’s not. It’s not, okay. You are still in that system. If you like distance learning and it’s working well, then do it. But that’s not homeschooling. Homeschooling is when you unenroll your child from that school and you really set out on a different path. You have a lot more flexibility, a lot more freedom. Your kids aren’t going to be absent if you decide to go on a trip. And they’re not going to be logging in at a certain time. It’s a whole different deal. I’m very grateful for it. It’s not for everybody, but it’s for more people than people might think. I could talk about it all day.
I feel like where we are now as a society is one where, again, you have an opportunity to choose the system that you’re going to be operating in. And make sure that you can be healthy within the system. For me, Ashley, in that corporate existence—and this again was in the late ‘90s almost all the way through the 2000s. I quit that last corporate job in November 2007. I realized that system was making me sick, and I remember being so afraid to leave because well, I get health care. My husband and I got health insurance through my job because, at that point, he was freelance in his work.
We got health insurance through my job, but I remember that small still voice within was saying, but Jenny, you’re getting sick so you can keep your health insurance. And it was just this whole thing of this is backward. This is so twisted. So I had to get that courage up to quit my job. I went on COBRA for 18 months as long as we could, then we found private insurance. We were so blessed and grateful. My husband ended up getting a full-time position, and so we do have health insurance through his company now. The way his company is designed, he’s not getting sick by working there. I’m not getting sick doing the work I’m doing. My work keeps me healthy because my work keeps me honest.
[01:02:17] Ashley James: Beautiful. Do you have any other lessons, homework, or techniques that you’d like to teach those who are stepping into this new world?
[01:02:34] Jenny Fenig: Yeah, yeah. Oh my gosh. I’ve loved having this conversation. It’s been really special. As much as you can, remember that you’re breathing. This is another thing that we take for granted and we forget. Breathing, it’s the first thing we do when we’re born. We take that breath, and ah, rejoice. And then the last thing we’re going to do as we exit the body is we will take that final breath. So it’s a profound process—breathing.
For many people, and I know for me too before I discovered conscious breathing. In the yogic realm, it’s called pranayama. Prana is that life force energy. All right, so prana. We have this life force energy moving through our body, moving through our veins, our blood. It just keeps everything just beautifully connected. Oh my goodness. We often move through life—if you’re unconscious of it—and you’re in that whole busy trap, you’re just eating fast food on the go, you’re constantly out of touch with nature and really with your truth, and you’ve said yes to lots of things that you’re like, ugh, I don’t even want to do this but I have to do it. You’re in the shoulds and the obligatory stuff. That we’ve come out of connection with our own breath, and then you’re often breathing shallow. So it’s just from that upper lung capacity. You’re just breathing to the heart and up, but the lungs and the body can hold so much more.
If you were to take some time and really sit with yourself, and we could do it right now. We could just breathe very deeply together, and you can count your breaths. You can count just the beats of the breath. We could play right now and simply come into this breathing exercise where we are mindfully inhaling, and just breathing as full as you can on the inhale. And then going as high up as you can in the body. Then as you exhale, slow methodical trusting that exhale. And then as you inhale the next time, feel that you’re pulling the inhale up from the core of the earth just bringing it all the way up the body, all the way up to the body, and can you come to the top of your head, the crown of your head. And as you exhale down from the crown of your head, putting that breath back into the earth.
You’re recycling the breath over and over again, remembering that the earth gives us so much. I mean so much. It gives us food, it gives us sustenance, it gives us air to breathe, oxygen. So bring yourself into that place of just conscious breathing, especially if you find yourself getting stressed or anxious. Can you come to that place of breathwork, and it’s breathwork like there’s actual work involved in the breath, instead of that just unconscious, I don’t even know. I’m shallow breathing. You’ll find yourself feeling a lot of pressure and a lot of tension, which let’s be real, even the most experienced those of us are with breathing, with exercise, or mindfulness techniques—coronavirus COVID will test us all. This is the work. This is really the thing that we’re meant to see how deep our practices are, and where we still have work to do, blind spots, or where we might be falling in certain holes.
Practice isn’t something that we’re here to become perfect at. It’s something that we just show up for every day. So whether it’s you when you go for your run, you get on your yoga mat, you just sit outside and look at nature, or you do this deep breathwork. They’re all the other things that you do. You play tennis, you’re into baseball, or you’re into all the wonderful things that we can do with our bodies. It’s knowing that we can come into this place of that quiet, and you can access that small still voice within, and just breathe. That’s it.
If it’s newer to you, there are apps you can get into. There’s that Insight Timer app. I use that for years. I have that on my phone. I’m a Peloton owner and user. I have the Peloton app on my phone. And often, if I’m preparing for—let’s say I’m going to lead a training for clients, I’m going to give a presentation, I will turn on meditation, even though I know how to meditate. I lead meditations, but it’s really nice for someone to tell me what to do. I like to be told what to do sometimes and to be guided through an experience.
So I’ll just open up the app, whatever app you want. There are so many that are available to you these days, and you can just pick one. If you have three minutes, it’ll be 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 30 minutes and beyond, and you can tune in and receive. Just tune in and receive. Allow yourself to be in that moment. Don’t worry about what just happened or what you’ve got next. Just come into that place of, I’m taking five minutes. I am not going to feel guilty for taking these five minutes, and I’m going to breathe. That’s it.
And if it’s a guided meditation, you’ll listen to the words that are being spoken. You’ll listen to maybe the music or the sounds of nature that might be on that meditation track, and you’ll go where you go. You’ll go where you go. And you might find that you’ll get the answer to something that you’ve been struggling with. Some kind of feeling will come over your body. You’ll get what I call an intuitive hit, and you’ll realize, oh my goodness. That’s it. I’m going to go call that person later, I’m going to go sign up for that thing, or I’m going to go make that decision.
It comes to you in those moments of stillness, and then your job is to then respond. To do something with it. That’s something that I know that you all will get so much from just that conscious breath and that coming back to that thing that is so special. Talk to anybody who is having trouble breathing, or has some kind of illness where their breathing is affected. They will tell you how they wish it could be different. So when we have this gift, use it. Really use it. And take note of how it allows you to show up differently for the important people in your life. I think this is an opportunity for all of us to really honor the relationships that we have.
We are living in a very hard time. There are lots of challenges now, and I know that many people are experiencing hard things at home, in their work, or with people in their lives. Maybe you can’t see the important people in your life right now, which is heartbreaking. Totally, totally heartbreaking. But can you come into this place of stillness so that as you show up for the relationships, you can show up from a place of groundedness, kindness, and compassion? Even though you might see some craziness happening on social media. Anytime you go there it’s loaded. You’re like, okay. Am I ready for this?
So we’ve got to come back. We have to do our own work. And then if you have kids, can you teach them how to do this stuff? Can you model it? But the way you teach is to do it. It’s to be it. Can you show it to your partner? Can you embody this with the important people in your life? It’s such a simple tool, but so few people actually use it. And if you were to use it, it would change your life.
[01:11:06] Ashley James: Beautiful. Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your insights. Another website of yours is magicmakerscoach.com, and you have a Magic Maker’s Coach Certification. What’s that all about?
[01:11:27] Jenny Fenig: Yeah. I’m really passionate about serving women, coaches, therapists, wellness professionals, fitness professionals, and those who might have come from that corporate background like I am. Women who know that they’re here to guide their people to their greatest potential. They do that through transformative coaching and really working with a lot of the concepts that we talked about today. It’s listening skills, it’s understanding energy, it’s understanding how to work with the lunar cycle, understanding how to help your clients move through energetic blocks, and just old patterns that aren’t healthy or sustainable. Really look for old stories that they’ve outgrown and aren’t serving them and aren’t serving this beautiful life that they’ve been blessed with.
Once I became a coach all those years ago and then set out on my path to create this business and help people, I then realized there was a huge gap in the market for a coach certification that blended up how to honor the craft of coaching in this particular style of coaching. Which is very much about working with your intuition, your body, and energy, and then how to have a great business doing this? How to have an online business doing this? And that’s what our coach certification is dedicated to.
I feel so grateful that especially in these days, often women were in careers that were really important and valuable, but often they might get to a point where they have to choose. If they decided to become mothers or have families, that it became a real sense of tension and stress because that old system meant okay well you’re in this office, then your kids are over here, and then you’re dealing with who’s with them after school. If you really want to go far in your career, it can come at odds with the desire you might have to spend time with your family. Or you might be in a career that is so valuable, but for some silly reason, it’s not valuable from a financial compensation perspective. So that has also held women back.
We’re in a new era now. Online has very much put us on different terrain. Women have an opportunity to earn really well, and to do incredible things with these gifts and talents that they might have used again in that corporate space. What was so interesting, Ashley, I didn’t even know what coaching was really. I had sports coaches growing up, but once I discovered it after my yoga teacher training, it was like a huge light bulb went on. I said I’ve been doing this my whole life. I didn’t know this was a job. This is the part that I liked most about all my jobs. The other things I had to do I didn’t enjoy, but I just thought that’s how it was.
So once I discovered that coaching was this wonderful way to use these gifts and talents that I have, and so many women are naturally blessed with this. And then once they really are given the tools, the guidance, the training, and the community to really honor the craft and come forward with confidence as they work with their clients, and then understand how to create an incredible business. Mostly have it online, if that’s their desire. That’s the way I do it in my business. They don’t have to choose between motherhood and a lucrative career. It can be something that they can really integrate, and it can evolve with them. It can evolve with their family. It can evolve with the seasons as we talked about.
That’s why we’ve created Magic Makers Coach Certification. I’m really proud of the work that we do. And if this calls out to anyone tuning in, I’d love for you to check it out and submit an application if you feel called.
[01:15:29] Ashley James: Wonderful. In closing, I’d like you to give us some homework. I know you told us before to breathe, pay attention to the lunar cycles. What kind of homework can you give us? Perhaps homework that would help people to better tap into their life purpose, tap into why they’re here and feel purposeful. Some people are feeling a little untethered right now. So what kind of homework can help to empower us?
[01:16:02] Jenny Fenig: Yeah, oh my goodness. That’s such a great question. Really to come into that place of purpose. If possible, and it should be because we’re in summer. It’s warm, in most places. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, I know you’re in a different season, but play with me on this. Go walk outside barefoot.
[01:16:26] Ashley James: Yes.
[01:16:30] Jenny Fenig: So simple, but goodness, it gets you back into that place of, oh, this is how my feet feel on grass, on the sand, or even on concrete. Just the warmth from the sun that’s being pulled up. Or maybe if you can, go jump in some water. Get in a pool. Go to a lake. Go to an ocean. As much as you can connect and with nature—the natural elements: fire, water, air, and earth—the more you are going to feel good in your body. And it feels good to feel good. You are allowed to feel good. That right there could be this monumental breakthrough for some of you. Oh, I’m allowed to feel good more often than not, right? What would happen if you felt good more than you do right now? What would happen?
I also encourage you to get honest with yourself about what you’re putting in your body—when it comes to your thoughts, when it comes to what you’re looking at. Your digital diet. Do you need to unfollow some people on social media? Do you need to scroll less? Do you need to be more intentional about the information that you’re taking in? Again, not to go into a bubble. I believe in being informed. And I think now, more than ever, we need to keep our eyes open about what’s happening in the world, but be really mindful of what you’re subjecting yourself to. Just know maybe reading things is better than watching videos for you because you’re way too impacted by some of the scenes. I have subscriptions to certain publications that keep me informed.
Also, look at what your body is telling you about what is good for you and what’s not. Is there something that you are consuming right now that really is toxic for you? A few years ago, I received a strong message from that small still voice within, that it was time for me to let go of alcohol and not drink anymore. If you would have known me as a teenager, Ashley, or during my collegiate career, you would have not believed that I would one day not drink because that was just so part of my identity. That’s what I thought you did to have a good time.
My body made it very clear as I had been those years of practicing yoga, having my children, and I wanted a natural birth with them. I did that with two out of the three. My middle child was breech, and so I had a c-section with him. So I’ve had all these different experiences with my body. I’ve come to appreciate her in ways that I never did before. I look back and I know I was horrible to her for many years with how I treated her, what I said to her, and what I put inside of her. I don’t do that anymore. I’m not perfect, but each day, I commit to being more in tune with what she needs in terms of fuel sources. So we need this fuel to go all the places we’re meant to go in this life, help the people we’re meant to help, and be there for our family. Be here as long as we can in vitality with our people.
In my case, I realized that alcohol just didn’t have a role for me anymore. It couldn’t be a character in my movie any longer. I was ready to move into a new chapter, so I let it go. For other people, they can have it. But there are others who can’t eat gluten, they can’t have sugar, or they can’t have whatever. The certain people in your life, they’re just holding you back. This requires a lot of discipline, a tremendous amount of honesty, and some grief of oh my goodness, this thing that I’ve known for so long—or this person I’ve known for so long—we just can’t do this thing anymore.
I encourage you to have those honest conversations with yourself and just get curious about what might be on the other side. Just be curious. Sometimes you can make a decision, and it might be well let me just try this for a month or a lunar cycle. We play with that, or a season, and just see. Run experiments. Run more experiments. Be curious. When you find, you know what, my life is better. My body feels better without this or with this, then run with that until it doesn’t make sense anymore. And then you’ll redesign something from there.
[01:21:24] Ashley James: Alcohol, it’s an interesting thing. We go to alcohol, sugar. There are over-the-counter things like sugar and dairy. The very stereotypical woman sitting with a pint of ice cream crying or something like that. When COVID first came about—and I saw this in our grocery stores—were completely sold out of baking goods, materials for baking. All the baker’s yeast was gone. All the flour and the sugar. People just sat at home, baked, and ate their feelings. I get it. I only stock healthy food in the house, but I definitely caught myself eating my feelings in the first few months of this crazy year. Alcohol is something that I cut out of my life really young.
I was a bartender when I was 19 because, in Canada, the drinking age could be 18 or 19, depending on what province. As a bartender, I was great as a bartender. I’m such an extrovert. I love people, and I love talking to people. It was fun. I didn’t think I’m serving people poison. At 19, I’m having fun. After a season of babysitting drunk people, it just turned me off so much. I just stopped drinking. I just didn’t like it. I don’t like feeling out of control. It didn’t give me any pleasure, but I watched my parents growing up. My mom would come home and take the vodka out of the freezer and have a shot just to calm her nerves. And then a few hours later, my dad would come home and they’d split a bottle of wine. They’d sit together at the dinner table, and they’d drink their wine.
Sometimes, on special occasions, they’d put a little wine in a glass and fill it with water. They thought it was fun, they’re sharing it with me. It became their way of de-stressing, just grounding or unwinding from the day. In looking at physiology, we know that the moment you drink even one serving of alcohol, your body goes into a state of stress for 24 hours. You can actually measure your heart rate variability, which is the most accurate indicator of stress. And that your heart rate variability becomes very poor for 24 hours after drinking even just one serving of alcohol.
If it’s doing that to us, then it is affecting the depth of sleep, the depth of being able to regenerate your body through sleep. And then the next day, psychologically, it changes the brain chemistry so we’re more narcissistic. We’re less able to be empathetic. We actually have a harder time with emotional quotient or emotional intelligence being able to delay gratification. So we become people who need more instant gratification. This is all from one glass of wine.
[01:24:42] Jenny Fenig: One glass, yeah.
[01:24:43] Ashley James: Because now we are less likely to delay gratification, we would tend to then have another one. And we would tend to have another the next night, and the next night. It becomes a habit, and then we live a story. The story is I need this to unwind, or I deserve this to just have a break. This is going to make me feel good. Well, I can say that about sugar. I can say that about ice cream, right? We can say that about a lot of things that are over the counter, right? This is going to make me feel good.
Now you can say that about street drugs too, but most people who are listening are not currently choosing street drugs to relax at the end of a stressful day. But most people who are even very health-conscious do find that they have their—I don’t want to call them vices, but they have—self-medication. We have to look at it, not from a point of guilt and shame because that then just perpetuates the vicious cycle, but to break out of the vicious cycle and go, what? So what are my deeper needs? If I’m trying to fulfill a need with alcohol, with sugar, with flour, or with dairy, if there’s something that is ultimately not healthy for me, but I’m using it to kind of band-aid a need, what’s that deeper need and how can I serve it in a healthier way? How can I get to the root cause?
I used to work with a woman who was into personal growth and development and yet she couldn’t quit smoking until she finally realized why she couldn’t quit smoking. When she ever did quit smoking for periods of time, she would never take a break. She would work at her desk. She owned her own business, and she’d work out her desk from morning until night, never once getting up to stretch. Just never eating. Just really never taking care of herself. And then she would go downhill very quickly. But smoking, she caught herself and realized that it made her get off her desk, go to the balcony, take between 5 and 15 minutes and just relax, and breathe. Even though it’s breathing in a cigarette it’s still breathing
[01:27:05] Jenny Fenig: Breathing in nicotine, yeah.
[01:27:07] Ashley James: And then she would maybe grab a drink and grab a bite. And then she’d go back to the desk, and she was just as effective at her work because there comes a point when you push yourself so hard that you don’t have efficiency, as you talked about. But she used cigarettes as a way of mandating breaks. In order to successfully quit—and she did eventually—she implemented mandatory breaks without cigarettes. So she’d go outside and just breathe air without the cigarettes. She’d go for a walk, or she’d just do something else to stand up, stretch, walk around, get a glass of water, and take mandatory breaks. And then the deeper need that was being met by the cigarettes as a Band-Aid was no longer there.
I just think that if we can choose to, like you said, do a lunar cycle with no alcohol in the house, with no alcohol in your life. And instead, ask yourself what’s this deeper need? If what you really need is something to relax and de-stress, knowing that alcohol temporarily makes you kind of feel out of it and disconnected, we think it’s relaxing us, but it’s actually stressing our body more for 24 hours. And if we can get outside, like you said, and do grounding or earthing—and I have some great—I was about to say great documentaries.
I do have a great documentary actually on that linked in the Learn True Health Facebook group under announcements. There’s an amazing documentary that we have uploaded into our Facebook group that we got permission to upload. But I have a few episodes on earthing and grounding. The importance of it, and that there are 26 studies that prove that by getting out in nature and putting your feet on the ground, or using a grounding mat if you live in a condo and you have no access to grass. By releasing those excess electrons, it decreases stress in the body, and it decreases inflammation in the body. Even people with MS and other autoimmune disorders that are triggered by inflammation see great success.
I love your very powerful and doable advice of breathing, of tuning into yourself, and of walking as much as you can out in nature—barefoot so that you can earth and ground. And then try cutting out alcohol, or try taking what’s in your diet that that little voice that you talked about, that wise but quiet voice inside you that knows that it really is time to stop drinking the coffee and switch to green tea. Switch to nut-based milk instead of cow milk because it’s affecting your immune system. Or give up the alcohol for some kombucha. Or some herbal tea.
[01:30:06] Jenny Fenig: Oh my gosh, I love kombucha.
[01:30:07] Ashley James: Right, so good. It’s so good
[01:30:09] Jenny Fenig: Oh, yeah. I have one on my desk right now. Jalapeño-kiwi-cucumber blend.
[01:30:14] Ashley James: Oh my gosh.
[01:30:14] Jenny Fenig: I just recently discovered that one. It’s that Health-Ade kombucha brand and they have a jalapeño-kiwi-cucumber. Those of you who might experiment with no alcohol or you love kombucha, I highly recommend that variety.
[01:30:27] Ashley James: Yeah, switch to kombucha.
[01:30:30] Jenny Fenig: That jalapeño has that little kick. You still want the kick in your life, that’s the thing. You thought alcohol gave you the kick, but you can get kicks in other ways.
[01:30:37] Ashley James: Absolutely. I go to the farmer’s market and there’s a local company. They fill up my big glass bottle with it. They have the most delicious strawberry one. They also have a pineapple one, and a ginger one. I love it. My husband’s addicted to the cayenne.
[01:30:56] Jenny Fenig: Cayenne pepper? Cayenne cleanse?
[01:30:58] Ashley James: Yeah. I think it’s the cayenne and ginger or something. There are so many out there. There are just fun things to swap out. But at the root of it, I want us to just ask ourselves, is this serving me? Is this really serving me on a deeper level? Or is this masking something? Is this really fulfilling a need? Or is this just masking some symptoms? If you had a headache and you just take Advil, you’re not really serving yourself in the long run because that headache is your body trying to say something.
[01:31:35] Jenny Fenig: Exactly.
[01:31:36] Ashley James: I think your life is going to express in different ways to show you that there’s some deep healing you can do, but you have to stop masking things. I don’t think we can truly do deep healing if we’re drinking alcohol every day.
[01:31:50] Jenny Fenig: Totally. That’s the thing is we’ve been fed a narrative that we aren’t strong enough to feel things. So the way through that is through drugs, through some kind of numbing technique, or some kind of numbing substance. Alcohol numbs you. I experimented with plenty of drugs growing up. I numbed out from feeling things, from feeling stuff that felt very, very hard to feel.
The same thing when I went through childbirth, and I did so much study. I actually want to feel it. It’s okay, every woman can decide what’s right for her, but I wanted to feel the contractions. I wanted to feel the birth happening. I trusted my body. I didn’t need to numb out on that. You reclaim your power when you know that you can feel things. There are people who can help you feel things. I’ve worked with plenty of healers, therapists, and all the things. But gosh, there is liberation on the other side of feeling that stuff and knowing that it won’t kill you. It’s just going to make you stronger. You’re going to be reminded about who you are, and it will prepare you for all the other journeys you’re going to take in your life.
[01:33:12] Ashley James: Beautiful. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. It has been such a pleasure to have this conversation with you, Jenny. I look forward to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re all seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but I look forward to implementing everything that we learned here today and possibly having you back on the show to see how things are progressing and have you come to share more with us.
[01:33:41] Jenny Fenig: That would be lovely. Thank you so much. It’s been a really, really powerful conversation. I send so much love and courage to everyone. We’re really creating the future today. We’re living it, and we’re living in a really fascinating time. I know it’s hard, but I also keep reminding myself when I say it to others, what a fascinating time to be alive. We could have chosen different times, you know what I mean? And we’re here now. Okay. Let’s show up, and let’s just do our best. Let’s keep choosing health. Let’s keep choosing the healthy path as best we can.
[01:34:24] Ashley James: An ancient Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times.” And that can be taken many ways. I love that. Let’s just keep choosing health and keep choosing the healthy path no matter what. Thank you so much, Jenny. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show.
[01:34:40] Jenny Fenig: Thank you.
[01:34:42] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today’s interview with Jenny Fenig. Please check out IIN, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition by going to learntruehealth.com/coach. That’s learnturehealth.com/coach, sign up for a free module, and see if it’s right for you. See if taking the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach training program is the path that you want to take either for your own personal growth to help yourself, your family, or your friends, or adding tools to your tool belt, or having a career. This is the career that you can do from home. Now is the time to invest in our own education and experience. Now is the time to dive into personal growth.
I don’t want to say we could turn these lemons into lemonade, but sugar-free lemonade. We can take the hand we’ve been dealt right now, and we can turn it around and figure out how we can gain the most benefit. If you have to be at home right now, then find ways of enriching your life, enriching your experiences. Things like doing online school. It’s a fantastic way to spend your time to grow and to learn. If your kids are doing school from home, why not you as well?
So check out IIN. And you know what, I’ve heard a lot of parents have shared the IIN course with their whole family. My husband watched some of the videos and some of the training modules with me and really enjoyed it. I know that older kids often love learning from it as well. It’s something that you can share with your children and maybe make it part of your homeschooling. So go to iin.com, check it out, and give them a call. Make sure you mention Ashley James and Learn True Health podcast for the listener discount.
Thank you so much for being a listener. Thank you so much for sharing these episodes. Come join the Learn True Health Facebook group, and have yourself a fantastic rest of your day.
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