Monday, October 22, 2012

The Life That Is Calling You

Imagine for a moment, the life that is calling you.  What does that life look like?  What does it feel like?  Where would you live?  What work would you do?  How do you get there from where you are right now?  

Let these questions roll around for awhile.  What comes up for you?  You may have a strong sense of what you want and know exactly how to get there.  More likely, however, you have a sense of what you want, but a blurry sense of how to get there. Or possible still, your sense of what you want isn’t so crystal. 

Transformational life coaching works with the knowledge that you already have the answers. Even if, to the conscious mind, the answers appear blurry, with the right tools and techniques, you can be empowered to find clarity, direction and motivation to move towards the life you want. In a word, life coaching is about transformation.

What exactly is life coaching?  According to Vicky McCoy, of Exponential Growth Coaching, the answer to that question becomes clear when you experience the power of coaching, “But the best way to describe it is that it is a way to become the person that you already are, to live the life that you have always wanted.  One of the greatest benefits of coaching is that it helps you to gain clarity about who you are, what you want and how to achieve it.”

A graduate of the Coaching for Transformation program at the Open Center in New York City, Vicky has experienced great shifts in her own life through the work, including a new willingness to take risks and to think bigger.  All too often, people hold themselves small and in a state of limitation.  Vicky uses the analogy of cleaning house to explain how coaching can help to identify and change self-limiting habits of thought and action.  Just as when we sort through long stored items in our basement, for example, and examine each one for its relevance and usefulness, we then decide to take an item to the curb or we bring it into our lives where it will do us some good.  There are thoughts, emotions and habits within us that might be stopping us from changing careers, acknowledging dreams, passions or taking new directions in our lives.  There are also, deep within us, and often obscured, long held dreams and wisdom.  The coaching process helps to get rid of what isn’t needed and uncover our own power. 

Life coaches do not give advice or provide therapy.  Instead, they help you to uncover your own inner knowing and tap into your own potential, a potential that is likely far greater than you realize.  Life coaching is a non-judgmental, life affirming process that honors where you are right now while moving you forward with clarity, purpose and passion toward the life that is calling you.  With a coach, this transformation happens with much greater impact and momentum than could be achieved on your own. 

Contact Vicky at or 585.353.4900 for more information and to begin your exponential journey of self expansion.

Wishing you balance and transformation,


Vicky McCoy is a Certified Professional Coach as well as a New York State Licensed Massage Therapist. She instructs at the Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage and has a passion for transformation through teaching, bodywork and coaching. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why Gratitude?

What makes you happy?  

What fills you with joy?

What makes the world a better place?

What tiny thing, often overlooked, makes you smile?

What big thing, too obvious to overlook, makes you want to burst with joy?

What events have served as lessons?

Who are the people in your life who listen to you, show you kindness, who inspire or teach you?

What would your life be like if you routinely took time to acknowledge your gratitude?

I have had a wonderful gratitude practice for the last two years.  I keep thinking that I will give it up, after all, it has lost its novelty.   In fact, I did decide to give it up.  I thought it would be good to stop for a time, so that when I took it up again it would once again feel exciting.  But people were queuing up to take a turn to be my gratitude buddy, so I was pulled back in.

You probably know all about gratitude buddies, as I have written about them many times on this blog.  Wait a minute!  I just looked at the stats on this blog and the report says that this blog has been looked at two times.  Two times.  Ever.  This can't be right; of course there is a glitch in the system somewhere.  I know it is wrong for the mere fact that I have looked the blog myself hundreds of time!  I am, after all, this blog's most loyal fan.

But, glitch or not, these stats point to the fact that this blog has not exactly taken off like wildfire, or like wildflowers either.  So, I will explain the recipe for gratitude buddies again.


1. Find a buddy.

2. Exchange daily lists of three things for which you are grateful.

You can do this through e-mail, text message, facebook messaging, telephone, or in person.  Choose any way that works for you.  Keep it up for as long as you would like.  I switch buddies each month.    Many of those buddies find their own buddies.  And on it goes.

That's it.  It's that easy.  

But easy or not, why do it, you ask.  You are not convinced that gratitude buddies is the best thing ever?   Well, I can honestly say that most everyone I have done this with has enjoyed it immensely.  It encourages you to notice what is already good in your life.  It also provides a neat way to connect with someone else.  I have done this practice with close friends and family as well as people I didn't know very well at all.  And as each month came to a close, I felt a bit of sadness when saying goodbye to the partnership we created through our daily sharing of things that were important to us.

A gratitude practice can make you feel happier.  Really.  Give gratitude buddies a try.  And let me know how it goes, will you?

Wishing you balance,


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Setting Yourself Up

Let me tell you about my last couple of weeks.  I was insanely busy.  Yes, I know.  We are all busy.  But I was REALLY busy.  I had an out of town wedding to go to, a semester of teaching to prepare for, and tons of homework and studying to do for the yoga program I was enrolled in.  I was feeling stressed, rushed and a bit much prep, so many deadlines....

And as soon as it all was over....

I got sick.  

Of course.

One minute I was feeling fine.  The next all I could think about was crawling into bed, my throat raw with what turns out to be, well, a bad cold.  That's it.  Not even something that will get me sympathy, but it stopped me in my tracks.

When I was a school teacher I always got sick during vacations.   As soon as I was done with my obligations my body would demand to rest.

You can set yourself up to be sick, 
or you can choose to stay well.   -Wayne Dyer

I set myself up to be sick.  I wasn't listening to my body- running like mad, not resting, not playing, only working, working, working....I was even drinking coffee, something I rarely do.  I fact, I was having a bit of a love affair with coffee- it was my hero, making it ok that I was shorting myself on sleep at night.  I was holding up ok, albeit a bit stressed, but I was getting things done.  

I do not support the argument that we manifest all of our illness.  There are pathogens, carcinogens, toxins, luck and heredity to consider.  But some illnesses we set ourselves up for.  By not listening to the body as it asks politely for rest, we make it shout louder for rest, until finally we have no choice but to rest.  

I write about balance because it is a hard thing to achieve.  And even as we move toward a lifestyle that feels healthy and balanced, challenges will keep arising. With each step we take comes an opportunity to adjust, learn, fall down....

Sometimes I fall down.  Sometimes I stay at the keyboard even though my fingers are hurting, sometimes I schedule more clients than I can happily work on in a day.  Sometimes I don't go to sleep when I know I need to.  And sometimes my body rebells and I end up having to cancel all my appointments and stay in bed for a few days.  

Right now my brain is jazzed to be writing.  I want to keep working on this piece, to develop it into something really fantastic, something that will help other people...I want to write and to write...

but, my body is craving this:

So,  I am going to listen to my body.  

I invite you to listen too.

Wishing you balance,


Friday, August 24, 2012

"My mom deserves a massage because..."

As part of our Kid's Health event at One Life Chiropractic, I had the children nominate their parents for a drawing to win a free massage session.

Here is what they wrote-  (Some really young ones had a bit of help from a parent.)

"My mom deserves a massage because I love her."  -Sarah, age 8

"My mom deserves a massage because she works really hard."  -Philip, age 14

"My mom deserves a massage because she does so much for me and my brother."  -Amanda, age 13

"My mom deserves a massage because sometimes we take walks together."  -MaKayla, age 4

"My mom deserves a massage because she's a hard worker and is super stressed...and once she'll get a massage she'll be super happy."  -Victoria, age 11.

"I think my mom should have a massage because she's always cleaning up after us and if she had a massage it would be the 2nd time in her life!"  -Rachel, age 8

"My mom deserves a massage because she does so much for me and my sister.  She really is the best mom ever!!"  -Brandon

"My mom deserves a massage because she is my mommy and I love her."  -Sebastian, age 1 1/2

"My mom deserves a massage because she is a really nice lady and lets me do a lot."  -Andrew, age 17

"My grandma deserves a massage because she takes care of me while mama goes to work and goes to school."  -Otto, age 3

"My mom deserves a massage because I love her!"  -Daniel, age 9

"My mom deserves a massage because she is the best mom in the world."  -Bethany, age 10

"My mom deserves a massage because she is a great mom and is always busy.  She takes me and my sister to a lot of sports and activities and is always constantly going.  She does so much for me and my sister that she deserves to relax and have a little time to herself."  -Alexandra, age 15

"My dad deserves a massage because he is a great dad."  -Kimberly, age 11

"My mom deserves a massage because she has 12 children and one more on the way."  Rachel, age 16

"My parents deserve a massage because they do a lot for us and let us do the things we want during the summer.  They are the best."  -Jack, age 16

What gratitude!!  And it's true- they all deserve a massage.  You do too!

Wishing you balance and gratitude,


Sunday, May 27, 2012


The above photo was taken by Renee Rischenole, Freelance Photographer/Writer/Artist and fellow student in the Essential Teacher Training at Open Sky Yoga.  You can find more of Renee's work at her website,   This photo is of her morning view in savasana.

Savasana, for those of you who are not addicted to it yet, is corpse pose, also known as final relaxation in yoga practice.  I have come to the conclusion that we could all probably use more savasana in our lives.  

Part of our homework for one of the homework sets was to spend a significant amount of time in savasana and to reflect on the experience.  We were also asked to write a poem.  Here's mine:

Wishing you balance,


Monday, May 21, 2012

Adventures in Clay

The picture above is of a spine molded out of clay, made collectively during our Anatomy In Clay workhsop with Laura Antelmi, which was part of the yoga teacher training program at Open Sky Yoga.  "The mind cannot forget what the hands have learned,"  Laura told us a few times during the weekend and her words rang true.  Molding bone and muscle, layering muscles over one another, seeing how things fit together, brought the material into focus in a way that I had not understood before.  It was quite an exciting process for me.  Often, my approach followed a pattern.  At first, I would work tentatively, not quite understanding what I was molding, but after short while, things would start to flow and then there would come a wonderful moment of illumination.  So that's how that works!  That's how those fit together!  How cool is that?!  And although I have studied the muscles and bones before, I found that studying anatomy by building it with your own hands brings a deeper understanding.  It shows you how it all fits together.  Literally.

Come along with me on a tour of our Anatomy In Clay museum-

My team's sacrum.  Anterior view.

 Look at those great nerves coming out of the sacral foramen!  We were quite proud of our sacrum because it was the only one with a cauda equina and spinal nerves.  I am so very fond of those spinal nerves even though one of my facebook friends said it gave it the same look as the  facehugger in Alien.   I had to look that up and I found out that facehuggers latch on to people's faces and they implant alien embryos into their host's bodies.

You be the judge.  I can see it.  I totally think that our sacrum could latch onto your face and implant a weird sacral alien embryo into your body.

My multifidus.  

Multifidus is really cool because it has all these layers that wrap together like a steel cable. It is an intrinsic muscle of the spine and very fun to make, although it doesn't look like it could latch onto your face very well.   It's still cool though.

Diaphragm Project I

Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of our diaphragm project which turned out pretty well and had the cutest little kidney in it, but only one, I am not sure why.   But I did take a picture of someone else's diaphragm project.  What is most notable in the project above, however, are those orange tongues, which aren't tongues at all, but psoas muscles.  Psoas muscles are boss muscles and could definitely do some damage if they decided to wrap around your face alien style.

Diaphragm Project II

This isn't our project either, but I liked it very much.  I especially liked his intestines.  You can't really see his guts in the picture, as I don't know how to use my camera, but they are cool and purple.  I think the team that made built those intestines must have custom mixed the clay to get that great purple color.  If I had framed the picture better you could see what I am talking about.

The next picture is NOT SAFE FOR WORK!  Seriously!  Consider yourself warned.

The assignment was to make a pelvic floor.  Our group first created a pelvic floor on the actual floor of the room.  But then, when we set about transferring it onto a skeleton, it completely fell apart.  We were bound and determined to make it work, however, and kept working and propping and repairing.   We became very focused and as we crafted what turned out to be a bit of a masterpiece, we barely noticed that one by one, everyone else in the workshop was coming over to admire our work.  Apparently all our effort really paid off because our pelvic floor turned out to be very, very popular.  

The most popular pelvic floor of the workshop.  
How many people can say that with such confidence?

Our pelvic floor is a tough act to follow, but here are some photos of my last project, a solo project.

Rotator cuff muscles and deltoid.  

Arm reunited with body.  A few more muscles added.

 Levator scap (blue muscle in the back) is in bad shape because I wasn't able to align arm with body correctly and I was really tired at this point in the workshop.  Honestly, I do see many levator scapulas on my table that are in bad shape, but this one takes the prize.

Hope you enjoyed the tour of my Anatomy in Clay experience!   I had a blast!  Could you tell?

Wishing you balance,


Thursday, April 26, 2012


I arrive at my teaching job 30 minutes early but totally exhausted and in a great deal of pain. In this moment, life seems hard. The stress of teaching- the stress of teaching while in pain. It feels like too much. I usually don’t have any spare time before class, as I run from one thing to the next. But, chance has it that I am early. I can grade papers, go over my notes, check my mail. What to do with this 20 minute gift? I think about what BKS Iyengar says about modern lifestyles needing sedatives. I decide to take a sedative in the form of rest. I put my legs up on a chair and lie quietly, releasing my weight into gravity, stilling my mind. I drop right in. Worries melt away. Thoughts melt away. I am being held safely by the floor beneath me, by the earth, by gravity. My body breathes, but I am not doing the breathing. I am not doing anything. I am soft and permeable. There is a class in the next room, music, noise, but it seems very far away- I have an awareness of it, but it is only part of the field. Ten minutes later I emerge. I am ready to teach. My pain greatly diminished, this is nothing short of miraculous. I approach my teaching with energy and an elevated mood. Interesting- I surrender to Savasana and as a result I completely surrender to teaching. I am completely absorbed in it. My classes are some of the best that I can remember.  I am happy and free. Savasana!


Wishing you balance and rest,


Monday, February 27, 2012

Shall We Dance?

"dance, dance...otherwise we are lost."  -Pina Bausch

I just saw the movie Pina, Wim Wenders' tribute to the legendary German choreographer.  Visually stunning,  the dancers capture the raw, visceral emotion of our human experience.  Despair, joy, pain, vulnerability- it's all in there, moving, breathing, writhing, bursting...beautiful and grotesque at the same time, like life itself.

Each March I set forth on my challenge to dance every day for a bit:  a dance to a dance-your-heart-out song, a dance with a friend, a dance with my students (after-all, I teach dance classes), a dance in silence, listening only to the sensations I feel.  Each dance is a bit different. each day calling for something unique to that day.  It is also an opportunity, as well, for me to explore dance forms that are new to me and to meet new folks to dance with.

Yesterday at the Occupy Your Heath Fair I had an opportunity to learn a meditative song and dance from the Dances of Universal Peace.  I have seen flyers about their monthly dances for years, but this March, I plan to finally check one out.  I will post ideas for other participatory dance events on the Body In Balance Facebook page and invite you to do the same.  I will also post songs and video and welcome you to share your favorite dancing tunes as well.

This is your official invitation to join in the dancing.  One song a day, 3-5 minutes is all it takes.  Music, no music, alone or with someone else....  In the words of Lady Gaga, "Just Dance."  It doesn't matter how many left feet you have either.  Just dance.  Dance every day and see what it brings you.  It may even make you smarter.  Honest.  The New England Journal of Medicine says it will.  Read about it here.

Shall we dance?

Wishing You Balance,


P.S.  Here is the trailer for the movie "Pina."  Double click on it to watch it full screen.  Better yet, watch it on an even bigger screen!  The 2-D version is now playing at the Little Theatre.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Seeking Beauty

Some days I find myself seeking beauty.  On sad days, worrisome days, unsettling days- I crave it.  Beauty uplifts, soothes and settles.  The beauty of the sky, a landscape, a tree provides nourishment- vital to the fullness of our human experience.   Beauty feeds us.  It opens us to possibility.  It balances us.

Enjoy the poem which follows, in written form and spoken by the poet himself, the late John O'Donahue.   Beautiful.


On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

~ John O'Donohue ~

(Echoes of Memory)

Wishing you beauty and balance,


Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolution Time! I'm Ready For You!

Happy New Year!

Today I mixed up a huge batch of my massage butter.   I absolutely love making the massage butter.  It is easy, fun and messy; shea butter always flies onto the counter, the toaster, my clothing.... but it's so gratifying to watch the crumbly, hard butter soften and lighten as it whips.  I love the fact that I know with certainty that my massage lotion is natural, made with all organic ingredients, without any filler or artificial nonsense.  After all, we absorb through our skin, so why would we want anything but the most healthy, natural ingredients in our massage lotion?  (Or any product that we use for our skin?)

Besides the fact that it is fun, I like the ritual of whipping the butter because of the anticipation of the sessions in which it will be used.  Good, deep bodywork.  Restrictions lifting.  Pain melting.  The medium I am whipping up is an important ingredient in a process that can be life changing.  It makes me happy to see the full container, knowing it will be used to help people.

A client of mine told me after her last session, "You have given me a new body."  A new body!  A body that moves freely.  A body that isn't in pain all the time.  A body fit to live in!  There is more to the equation than a good massage lotion, of course.  There is your massage therapist, (Pick me!  Pick me!), but the most important ingredient is you.  Your body supplies most of the intelligence.  I listen and help your body to find its own natural balance.  I don't give you a new body, but am a catalyst, the massage lotion a medium and you, the most important part of the whole process.

This is the time of year we think about the new and healthy habits we want to adopt.  With that in mind, I made an extra big batch of massage butter, just for you!

I hope to see you soon.

Wishing you balance and joy in the new year,