fbpx

Interviewee’s Bio:

Dr. Cindy Ryan is an ordained pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to her grandsons, Keller, Pace and River. She writes a weekly blog www.drcindyryanblog.com, leads workshops and retreats on Soul Tending and other topics. She is a popular guest speaker and the co-host of the Weekly Jesus Calling Prayer Call, a nationwide event held each week at 7 a.m. CST and posted afterwards at www.jesuscalling.com. Cindy has been guided by Keto Nutritionist Carole Freeman since April 2018. She currently serves as a Peer Support Coach for some of Carole’s clients.

One of Cindy’s favorite topics is Soul Tending for Women. Dr. Ryan comments, “Since I began eating a ketogenic diet 3 years ago, lost 40 lbs., got off all kinds of medication and transformed my health, I started seeing the parallels between taking care of our bodies and our souls. I’m looking forward to sharing some of the tips for soul health with Carole and her clients.”

 

Transcript:

Carole Freeman:

Welcome everyone to our guest expert interview today. By popular demand we have Dr. Cindy Ryan. She’s been with me for about three years now as one of my peer support coaches. And we had a virtual retreat for our Keto Lifestyle Crew Members last month. And they absolutely loved her topic for the retreat. And so we’re back to do an extended version of that for even more people. So welcome Dr. Cindy Ryan.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Thank you. Great to be here.

Carole Freeman:

Wonderful. Love it. So will you just share people your background, who you are, and how you got interested in this sole tending topic.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Yes. Great. So I am an ordained pastor and have a doctorate degree in pastoral counseling. And so those two topics, of course, headed me down the path of how do you take care of yourself and your soul? And I’ve had a lot of opportunities and in working in churches and I’ve been a hospice chaplain, a hospital chaplain. I’ve done a lot of counseling with people along the way. And at the same time, I was a busy young woman in ministry, wife, eventually mother of three, and working full time.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And actually out of my own experience, not even so much my education started realizing I need to take better care of myself for the long run. And for me, that I’ve heard in certain ways in which my body and my soul and my emotions all started telling me, giving me signs. And so from my own journey, really I… And I’m sorry to say, I wasn’t that aware or quick about it took several wake up calls for me to realize this is really important, and I may not have learned it with these degrees I have, but this really matters.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And so I would say the past 10 years, for sure, I’ve been on a healing journey that includes physical, emotional, and spiritual, and I’ve really studied a lot, written a lot, lived a lot about that. And it has become now my favorite topic, especially for women are my favorite group, I think, because we just relate to each other well.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And so I just developed this body of material that I’ve taught and shared in lots of places. Like even for healthcare workers and even in some school settings and in retreats for women and all of that. And it wasn’t until we were doing the virtual retreat that I realized there are so much in my own keto journey that parallels this soul tending. So I invited myself to share that day and it seemed like a lot of women were craving that.

Carole Freeman:

Yeah. It really resonated it hit a spot. And I just love, it’s something that we hear as women so much like, “Oh, you have to do self-care.” But usually it’s presented as, we’ll go to the spa and get a massage and a pedicure. We’ll take a bath. Those are options that we’re told and everybody’s responses typically like, “I’m so busy, I don’t have time for that.” And as you lead through this training, the session, people are going to have a lot of ahas about how that does actually fit into your life and how it must fit into your life.

Carole Freeman:

So you mentioned that this wasn’t something that… So 10 years ago, this wasn’t something that you were really aware of her or speaking on or anything like that. And you said that there were some things that were happening for you, really big eye opening things. So what were some of the signs that were wake up calls for you personally that made you realize like, “Oh, wait a minute. I do need to figure this piece out too.”

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So one of the first ones was actually way before the 10 years ago so let’s say 15 or so. I went to my regular doctor’s appointment. The yearly thing was rushing to get there like I always am. I had a hundred things on my mind. I had three kids in my home that I was raising, I took work to do in the lobby because who has time to wait on a doctor.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Got in there and my blood pressure was really high. And she said, “Are you under a lot of stress?” And I evaluated my… I stopped, I’m thinking I’m like, “No, it’s a regular day.” And she like, “No, are you sure? Think again.” I’m like, and I could feel that buzz of stress. I could feel that but I was like, “This is what I do. Sorry. This is what I do.”

Carole Freeman:

Not stress it’s normal.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And so she was like, “We’re going to have to put you on some medication or something.” And that was a shock to me because I was in my forties for blood pressure medication. So that was the first sign. And the first awareness I had of like, “Oh, you mean my body’s maybe not going to carry me through everything. My soul and emotions wanted to, that’s weird.”

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And then came along some heart events, lost a really close friend and colleague real suddenly the guy I was actually working with in the church. So big grief, big responsibilities for me at six months to the day after that my breast cancer diagnosis. I was 49, no family history. So same thing of like, “Wow, I’ve got a physical wake-up call here.”

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I knew enough to know emotions and stress and cancer and any physical thing go hand in hand. But do you know that it wasn’t even that that really got me. It took going even further along and having almost an emotional thing happen to me that made me think, all right, now this is… Okay, I’ve learned my body might break. And now my mind might break, seriously.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So those personal things are really what woke me up to, I need a whole reboot and I need to pay a lot more attention to myself and my soul. And it does for women, I think it feels selfish at first to even talk like that because we are the hub of our families. And often our communities often are workspaces.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

We run every holiday and I just think of it like, would Christmas happen without us or Thanksgiving? No. We just do a lot. In every family I know the women are the communicators for all things. And so I really had to rethink all of that go back then to some of my training and so forth to put together a set of things that really might be helpful to women and others. And I call it soul tending. But if someone’s out there and they’re not a religious person in that institutional way, it’s perfectly fine to substitute and emotional self care, self care.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

I really feel like it’s similar. And I think that the rewards are huge and immediate and you know how Akita we’ve learned… We see it that our clients within three days they can see the difference eating like that. And that always stuns them they’re like, “Wow, you can help yourself in three days?” You can hurt yourself in three days too by the way. But the same thing with self care and soul tending, you can add in one or two things and immediately see results, which I love.

Carole Freeman:

Yeah. Quick results not a quick fix.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Honestly though, if every one of us added one thing tomorrow, we would feel better.

Carole Freeman:

Well, and the nice thing is we’re going to get into this, but it doesn’t even have to be adding anything.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Correct. It’s a beautiful thing.

Carole Freeman:

Yeah. You can actually have less things to do and be taking care of yourself. Yeah. Excellent. So glad you’re here. And so glad that you’re in my life. So we’ve already started going into this path so let’s talk more about what are the benefits? Why would somebody even want to take the time to do this in their busy lives when they have all this other stuff to do? So for you, you said there are benefits very quickly, but share some of those things with us.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Yes, so what if I told you there are some things you can do or not do that would make you happier, that would make you more yourself. And I call that integration. So to me it’s like when our souls and our bodies begin to match up or our emotions and our bodies, let’s say. And so many times we’re on the run, I think, we’re disconnected from our souls ourselves. And we really are out of touch with our true selves, our real selves.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So when we are soul tending, I think we become integrated, body and soul matched up. And that’s where, do you ever see people where you say, “Man, she is. What you see there is what you get. She is real. She is transparent. She is honest.” And usually we gravitate towards people like that we like them.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And you can think about the opposite of it, a fake or a [veneer person 00:10:46] that you can’t quite get to. So I think, being well hydrated in your soul helps you be real and integrated. And again, more yourself, it’s a lot easier to be real if you’re all together. And then that’s even the thing that I think creates integrity where you can trust a person because they’re whole. And so that’s another one.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

A sense of peace comes with that. And I think we all crave that, especially in our weird world, there’s so much a non-peace out there that wouldn’t it be great to have a strong inner peace sense of calm that carries you through whatever it is you have to face. I think when our souls are hydrated, we have a better ability to notice and appreciate and be grateful for things.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And that again, increases your wellbeing, but when you’re on the fly and your body and soul are disconnected and you’re not able to be reflective or anything, it’s hard to be grateful. I think that when you are well-tended, you become clearer on a lot of stuff. And we’ve also talked about this with Keto eating, your mind becomes clear because it’s fueled with the right stuff now fat and protein.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I’ve noticed that I’m a lot clearer, but I add a little soul tending on there and you going to have a lot less of gray areas. You have a lot less just floundering over, should you do something or should you not? You’re listening to your soul, you’re listening to your body. So you become clearer and so I think all of those are great side effects.

Carole Freeman:

Well, just even going back to that one where you talked about when people are being their authentic self, the opposite of fake, it really brought that together for me. Because I don’t always have a sense of you can tell when somebody’s fake in how it doesn’t feel good to be around them, but I never really thought about why that was so right.

Carole Freeman:

You’re right. Because when especially women, aren’t doing that self care, aren’t doing that soul tending they have to put on this exterior that everything is perfect in our life. And we can sense that we can sense that in other people. And so you can move into that place of authenticity. And because you’re what you’re putting out on the outside matches what’s on the inside.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And you’ve listened to yourself so you know. And that’s what I always say she will tell you. I talk about especially with women, you can call your soul or yourself a she, she will talk to you she’ll give you feedback. And that really leads into the next little part, which is about how do you know if your soul needs that.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I learned many years ago, as I was studying all this, I came up on a book by a Christian author named Max Lucado. He writes a lot of books, and this is an old one, but it’s called Come Thirsty. In this book, he talks about the fact that your soul can be dehydrated, just like your body. And that our bodies we know you could start out the day well hydrated but by noon because of a variety of factors, including stress or whatever you become dehydrated.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

You’re never like, “Oh good, I’m hydrated done for my life.” It’s a daily balance thing and something you have to pay attention to all the time, but our bodies we know will give us those signs. And they’re the typical ones first you get thirsty then you get this, then you get that then your muscles hurt. Then you get dizzy and collapse and die. You need water or your body dies. So same thing with the soul.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

What I think is that we’re not trained or whatever, to notice the signs and think of them as a soul cry or a emotional self-care cry is how I’ve developed out of his work 10 that I think women should pay attention to and men too. And the first one is fatigue. And so sometimes we beat ourselves up. Like, “I’m so tired, but I’m older and it’s the end of the day or whatever.” But it really may be that your soul just needs attention. And we don’t think like that normally. The second one is irritability and I know we’ve all had that lately. I think the pandemics made it worse.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

It’s brought out the worst in a lot of people for lots of reasons, but we mostly think if people would stop irritating us, we wouldn’t be irritable instead of thinking I need to pull back and see what my soul is asking for or do some self care. So that’s one. And I always just invite women like, “Just check yourself [inaudible 00:16:03] and we’ll see.” This one’s huge reaching for the wrong things. And that coincides again with our keto eating. And we struggle with that all the time, because we have learned and most of us to reach for the wrong things.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And you can even picture yourself or I can in the afternoon, after a stressful day, like I was talking about in my previous life. Having that fatigue, that hunger, that irritability and stress you’re trying to wind down and you think you need X. You’re absolutely sure you need to go to the pantry and get that thing.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And that is not what it is. It is that your soul needs attention, arrest a pause or something, and then you can fill in the blank with all those things. Some people with alcohol and drugs, some people it’s internet, I’m going to buy Amazon out or whatever, or we reach for the wrong relationships. Or we reach for too much Netflix or internet on and on and on, but reaching for the wrong things when it’s really your soul needs a drink of water. Multitasking is another one.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And again, women are superheroes in multitasking. I’m convinced we’re better at it than any gender I know. And we should multitask because we’ve been given that gift. I think we can intuit it on a multilevel. We can do things on a multi-level. We communicate that way, but it depletes your soul. It goes against your self-care when you’re doing a thousand things.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And so just simply to pull back and say, “What if I did one of these things at once with focus?” Can just help you immensely in hydration. So I love for us to think about that one. Noise is another one. We fill our lives with noise and it has a long held spiritual principle across all religions that God’s spirit likes to ride in on silence or that good things happen in silence. And if you think about our lives right now, we have very little of that.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Especially again, some pandemic things have made us all work at home together, or brought people into our homes that weren’t there before, or changed up how we do things in the time alone. For other people they’ve had too much time alone and I’ll talk about that. But mostly we’re just always turning on a TV or a podcast or a book or a thing or music and it takes some practice, but it can be real hydrating to yourself or for there to be silence.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Blaming others is a great one. And I see this all the time in life, and I’m sure I do it as well. Where something feels wrong and you just think if my husband would do this or my kids weren’t like that, or if my church or my work or my political situation, or whatever would be not this way, we’d all be better.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And really, of course, it’s at a maturity principle as well as a counseling principle, that the only thing you can control is you. So it actually helps not at all to blame all that other stuff. And I sometimes hate that, it’s true in parenting and everything you can’t control your kid, you can control yourself. And so blaming others though, all the time is a sign of soul dehydration or can be. Being out of balance.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And that’s what I was referring to of just maybe having too many people in our lives and not enough alone time or vice versa. And it was huge for me when I finally just learned what I am introvert versus extrovert. And how that’s defined is, or how I’ve learned to define it is where you get your energy? So some people get their energy from being alone and having quiet. Some other people get their energy from people and interactions. It’s really good to know that. I lived my entire life until my third kid went to college, which is only four years ago.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Do you know what I’m saying? I grew up in a home of six people there, went to college and lived in a little dorm with a roommate and so on had three kids, never wasn’t alone until that last one left for a little bit and realized I get my energy here. My soul is fat in some quiet. So it’s really important to know what you need. And I think all of us are on a spectrum we need a little of both.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

But how out of whack was I, and then imagine my job pastoring, ministering, counseling, peopley, no wonder I arrived with the high blood pressure and those other things. I was totally out of balance with what hydrated me. Being self-absorbed as one, where we think everything’s about us.

Carole Freeman:

Add a little more the self-absorbed thing too. We tend to think of that as narcissism, where somebody thinks they’re better than everyone else and they’re very cocky. But self-absorbed can also be a very negative mindset that you’re in where it’s like a chronic pity party. You said that you must not like me or they didn’t talk to me. So therefore I must… Maybe I smell bad or they just don’t like me. I don’t have any friends. So that’s self-absorbed where you think that everything that everyone else does is about you as well.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And that can be so hard on that person. And again, so dehydrating where you’re imagining all these people are against you kind of situations when really it’s probably not that well crafted or nobody’s thought about it that much. But that I think when we’re hydrated and our soul and our emotions, we can see more clearly, that’s really not about me negative or probably even positive.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And we just become more anchored. So that self blaming is, I mean, not blaming. I mean, that self absorbed is really interesting. And I still always love when my daughter was a teenager, we were into it. And she said, “You think everything’s about you.” And she just paused and looked at me horrified and she said, “It is.” Then I’m like, “What?” And she’s like, “My life is about me.”

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So I get that part. In our real lives everything is about us, but it sure helps to soften that perspective to hydrate it and to be able to just have a bigger view in some of that. The ninth one is indecisiveness. If you find yourself indecisive about things, and again, that can everything from like what we were talking about with you today. Like, “Should I move out of this apartment or stay?” Or this person called me and asked me to be on that committee. I don’t know, it’s all gray. And when you are integrated, hydrated, well tended to those things become crystal clear.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And that’s where I think we also learned our mission and passion. We learn who we are, our daily activities follow that. And so all those things become so much easier. The reverse of it is it’s like, we’ve all seen CEOs, and pastors, and presidents, and sports stars, and all these people who we think had everything who make a stupid decision. And we’re all out there going, “Why did they choose this?”

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I firmly believe they chose that because they were so busy, probably so disconnected from their self care soul care. It became great to them. And this looked good. This relationship, this money I need to skim off the top or whatever, fill in the blank that we don’t have perspective and our ethics get all messed up when that happens. And so find yourself indecisive. It may be like a cry from your soul.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And then the last one for me is where you just feel like something’s missing. And we all have stages like that. We go through maybe midlife or we go through a change in jobs or where we wonder, what’s my purpose? What’s my role? As a pastor, I’ve talked to 90 year olds who say, “I just don’t know why I’m still here.” That’s a soul cry or a emotional self care of cry and so forth it’s just a feeling of emptiness. I think adding in the hydrating behaviors can address that.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And for me, when that happened, I was able to realize that here’s the thing I… Here’s my mission, what I love my passion. And then there were so many cool things that fit in under there. And that’s when I realized, I can write, or I can speak, or I can keto coach a little bit, or I can… A lot of really healthy, fun things fall under that category. And so it wasn’t any more, I don’t know my purpose, it’s like I have so many exciting ways to live it. So you talk about a good side effect.

Carole Freeman:

Yeah. Well, I just realized all your 10 things, how to recognize that you need this, you flip those on the other side and they’re all the benefits you’re going to get as well.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Yes.

Carole Freeman:

So if you find yourself suffering from any of those soul tending is going to help relieve that stress on your life so, yeah.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And then there’s such a cool part of it. And this is what I think most people don’t realize. And I did this as well. We think, or I did that soul tending had to be a certain set of approved by somebody behaviors or something that we’re going to be really hard and boring-

Carole Freeman:

Time-consuming.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Time-consuming, yucky, like for me in the religious world, it was like, “Am I going to have to learn Greek and read somebody’s theology of the Bible and Greek everyday, or just…” And it was such an eyeopener to me when I realized we’re all created to be our own person. Nobody’s the same and what feeds our soul is going to be different. And the good news is, the great news is it’s going to be what delights you. So imagine that for a second, you don’t have to do the horrible, boring thing that you… Like on your knees at four o’clock in the morning, praying for six hours.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

You get to pick what is going to give you joy and peace and delight. And I love that part. So it’s a self-designed thing and it’s a change it up thing. You don’t even have to keep it the same. I think it’s important for it to become a habit. I’ll talk about that a little bit.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I talk to people sometimes they’ll say something to me, and this is in the religious world that like, “I’m really not growing. I’m not on board.” And I’ll ask, “Well, what do you do for self care or soul care?” And they’ll tell me something like, “Well, I’ve been in the same Bible study with these people for 40 years.” Well, maybe you need to get some new people so that you can study, a different environment. It may have served you well, and now you need to switch. And so how fun is that to be able to get to switch it up with what gives you joy?

Carole Freeman:

So what about… Up next, I want to get into what are actually some of the techniques for soul tending. But I’m just going to ask a question now because I can feel people that are watching this going… They’ve got reservations about taking care of themselves, because they’re so used to doing everything for everyone else.

Carole Freeman:

I know one of the big ones is like, “Well, I don’t want to let anybody down, I don’t want to hurt anybody else’s feelings.” So they put themselves in a place of, “Well, I don’t want to change anything because it’s going to negatively affect these other people in my life.” So what do you say to people that have that kind of concern?

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

What I’d like to talk about? And I do speak of it in more religious terms, but you can do it any way you want. I like to say there’s the principle of God’s mouth and what that is. It makes no sense. So you do imagine pulling away from some of those needs and being able to come back with more of your real happy, peaceful, integrated self for them. So who wants to give the people you love the most, the crappiest version of yourself? Or the most worn out, irritable, blaming you? And that’s often what we do, right? We feel so obligated to all these good things and people that we’re giving them our remnants or drugs, or used coffee grounds or whatever.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And so to me, it’s that principle of subtraction actually, you pull back, you take away and you end up with more and I promise you it works. And this is what I’ve thought about as a mother, did I want my children to see me doing things, but being sick and unwell and not happy and radiant about it. You know what I’m saying? Or do you want to show your kids this is how a whole well-tended person approaches the world. And I decided somewhere in there, that’s what I want them to see.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Sometimes people even ask me faith wise, how do I make my kids have faith and my grandkids? And what I say is, show them a fun, happy fulfilled, you doing that stuff. And it’s contagious. So and it goes back to that principle of letting… Bless you. Letting go of trying to control things to where you only deal with what you can, which is yourself and you end up with more to give back.

Carole Freeman:

Yeah. That goes back to what you talked about being authentic, being your authentic self attracts people to you and what you’re doing. Yeah. Well, so let’s go there next. Let’s talk about your soul hydration techniques I just love this phrase too it’s very-

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And so what I would say in general about these, and I’m going to tell you about 10 of them. Again, a person just gets to decide. And what I would say is if somebody leaves this call or recording saying, “I’m only going to do one of them. One of those sounds fun to me. I’ll do one daily.” Then that’s everything. So if anybody left saying, “I want to do all these.” That’s more of what we’ve been doing in life too much, too overloaded.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

That’s not how it’s supposed to be. And so I just think how hard is it? You can pick the one or the version of one that might sound the most delightful. And then I would say, add it into daily. And that was really key for me. And no one taught me that, that we usually put self care, soul care under the heading of wouldn’t it be nice?

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So we all have that secret list of wouldn’t it be nice if I had a beach house and wouldn’t it be nice if I got to do X or have this kind of car or something? I think we put that on there. Yeah. Right. Wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to work so hard or have all these people to take care of and I could take care of myself? But the truth of the matter is it doesn’t need to be there it needs to be on that I will do this one thing for me every day.

Carole Freeman:

Like how you drink water every day, or you sleep every day.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Just like we’ve done with our commitment to our eating. I will track every day, we’ve added in the small daily steps that make that vision a reality. And it’s the same with these spiritual principles, I think. And I learn I’m an old school person who every day has a to-do list of some kind. And I know some people don’t. My college son just told me he hates lists.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I’m like, “Well, I just think that’s a sign of you being able to manage everything in your mind right now or something that’s not normal.” But I think most of us probably have some version of a daily list either in our phone or our mind or on a piece of paper. But what I learned to do was move my soul tending to the top of the list and to take it as seriously as I take everything else.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So like today I took my soul tending things as seriously as being on this call with you right now. And that was a huge mental shift for me because it used to be, “Well, that would be nice if I could sit in silence or…” So I as I push it to daily and even if you just try it for 21 days, give it a trial run and see what happens in your life. So some of the practices, and again, anybody can change these up but one of the first I would say is some form of silence, meditation, or prayer and there are lots of ways to do that.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And it doesn’t take long. For most of us were so depleted of it just takes a few minutes of sitting in silence or going before God, or figuring out a wellness meditation. Just like we were talking about earlier today on another call but like, “I eat keto, I make good choices. I care for myself” That’s meditation. So I would think setting up something like that.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And then you add if you like it and it hydrates you, then you add a little bit over time to where it’s five minutes, then 10, then maybe longer. So that’s one, and journaling, I’m really big on journaling. And I know some people aren’t, but a daily journal that’s the key in my last 15 years of healing. And I’ve set up a little formula for myself on how I do it, but it includes reflecting on the day before and the day that is about to be.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I found that to be really key because we don’t do that. Who has time to think about the day before, but if you take a few minutes and think about it, sometimes you realize that interaction didn’t go so well. And I’d like to go back and say to that person something more. Or I put too much in my day and I’m learning from reflection that I need to have three things to do instead of 27 or on and on and on. And so I just take this time to think about how was Monday, in the morning I will do this.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

I will think about how was today from my choices to my interactions, to whatever, and how would I like it to be different. And it helps me so much. That’s actually where I learned to get a keto coach because I’m like, “I am so sick of writing about this issue in my life that I can’t and all my wisdom and all the wisdom of the internet figure out I need to helper.” But it was in reflecting over how much am I going to write about my weight and my struggles till I deal with it? And it came from journaling.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So I reflect about the day that was, and the day that will be. So I think the practice of setting your intention for the day realizing I want my days to end with wellbeing in terms of how I feel instead of stress. I want to feel happy at the end of the day. And then I have some control over structuring it so that it will be like that. That’s a little part of what I do in a journal, but a person can do anything.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Then I do go back and read them and that’s boring too because it’s like, “Well, my life isn’t that interesting in these last six weeks.” But it has helped me see some patterns helped me see some stuff. Sometimes it helps me see if there was so much in that six weeks that was a lot. And I did it okay or what saved me was this.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And so I’ve learned some of those things and that’s really a whole other workshop or retreat. The journaling is big for me and it happens in the quiet so you can stack these habits too. And that’s good. And exercise, I think is one of them, can be a soul hydrating behavior. We always think of it as good for our bodies it’s really good for our souls.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And depending on what you choose and how you choose it, I choose to walk outside. So it’s another solitude as a practice. I just take my dog and she never talks. So you’re out in creation, which is another one, that exercise I think is great. Focusing on the present moment. We’re not that good at that, at just realizing we need to be still and present to ourselves for a moment.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

It takes seconds to breathe, if you focus on your breath, you can’t think about anything else and it gives your mind a vacation. And sometimes our minds just need a vacation. My yoga teacher teaches that if you can actually take a minute to feel your feet and hands you’re grounding yourself in the present moment so just picture, somebody could choose that. Every day I’ll be present for two minutes and breathe and give my mind a vacation.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

There’s also apps that help with this now so that’s cool. Another one, and this is one of my favorites, expanding your margin or white space in your life. And what you can do is imagine your day as a white piece of paper typed with margin the white space around it. And most of us fill our days too full.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And it is in the margin, the white area that soul tending happens. It’s in the margin that rest happens. It’s in the margin that funny things happen like you, I’m thinking of you and you’re comedy, I doubt you can think of good jokes on the run as much as you can if you have some white space. And so what you might do for that is create more white space. Or some of us back when I was in full-time ministry, my whole day would be filled back to back with thing or person or meeting.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And then one time I had a therapist tell me, “For every emotional hour you spend or intense you need three off.” And I told her, I was like, “You have got to be kidding. Are you in the world? Do you live with any of us in this world?” And now I can see how much sense that makes and what if we even just thought like that? What have we even managed to take, “Okay, I had an intense morning for sure, going to have a nice lunch break.” A lot of us fill every spot.

Carole Freeman:

I feel like that’s something I’ve learned to do over the last few years. And it was really hard because as a go, go, go type A personality where I need to achieve, I need to make as much money as possible. I need to change as many lives as I can and need to make a name for myself. I can’t do that if I take time off. And but just like you’re talking about the God’s math concept is that by actually carving out space in my day and I’ll do this the week ahead of time is I’ll go out and I’ll block off time on my schedule. And especially, like you said after some intense things I’ll block that off as well. Because there are some appointments that come in, they’re automated for me.`

Carole Freeman:

And so I block those off so that I know I’m going to need that space and I’m going to claim that space for myself. That’s a margin. And that’s something that has come with age and wisdom is knowing that I need that. Back when we could travel for conferences, I learned about myself as well that I needed bookend days of nothing. So if I’m going to go travel for three to five days someplace I needed the day before and the day I got back of just nothing on my calendar.

Carole Freeman:

Because I just needed that time to recharge. Total side note here but it turns out that there’s genetic markers actually that make it so people are less stressed tolerant and they need that. So apparently I have some of those, but it’s common. Everybody needs more margin space, more white space in their life.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And there’s a book if people want to read more about it. And again, it’s not new, by Dr. Richard Swenson with an E on the end. He’s a medical physician. And he wrote a book called Margins based on his patients. He’s seeing all these patients coming in with all these complaints physical body real, but what he learned was common among everybody was their lack of margin. And that actually you need it to heal physically. And I do believe our bodies and our souls or our bodies and our emotions work hand in hand and they’ll talk to us. Will tell us, they’ll give us information. But out of all of his patients, he came out with what we need are margins.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So I think it’s a fun thing to be able to think about where can I add some white space. And it can be anything from working a puzzle to you reading on your back porch or… It’s both time and then you know what you’re doing in that time. But I don’t think anybody would object to it because if it’s the fun, lovely, happy things of life that happen in those margins. And then now it leads me to my favorite thing and I think it goes here that we alluded to it is sometimes to gain margin, you’d need to subtract something.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And one of the most fun activities I’ve had in my new life, which is in the last five years since I quit full-time ministry and I’m now more freelance was deciding, what am I going to subtract that actually sucked the life out of my soul. And just to reflect on that, you talk about a good journaling exercise, write down what do I really find draining? And what you may find is it can be people, certain people. It could be, for me, it was meetings I don’t control, not your meetings. But there were meetings I was going to where nothing was produced from those meetings and they weren’t planned well.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I learned I’m not going to give my time to that because not only is it a waste of that hour it’s a waste of a lot of energy in my soul that went into it. So scratch and there’s ways to nicely just take those things off your plate. But that as well I had to learn about people ended up saying to even some friends like, “What we had in our friendship was really good at a time, but the time has changed. And now I think now we I need to go our separate ways.” And again, hard to do you know it’s right. If you feel immediate relief and your soul’s like, “Thank you.”

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And so I practiced that and really learned, I can honor my soul by just subtracting some things. And where it gets really tough also the whole other seminar is when it’s your family, you identify like, “Oh, that’s mine.” That’s my sibling, that’s toxic to my soul and guess what? You can minimize those interactions and still be in your family, but have learned for yourself.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

I’m not doing that the same. So how fun is that? Subtract, and sometimes it’s as simple as you’re subtracting junk from your house. And it becomes a spiritual principle like that. Like, “Oh, I have more space for what I love and what’s beautiful, it feeds my soul.” So I think that goes in that whole margin, white space subtract out that which is soul draining.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

I had a neighbor who… So I’ve described that my morning walk is early alone in creation every morning he would come and walk with me. And I think he thought she needs protection. And he was one of those people that just talked about toxic things. He wasn’t about like, “What’s going on with you or anything like that.” It would be like, “Oh no, all the trees are going to die because it froze and their buds were out.”

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I’m being bombarded by this information. And I put up with that like a year and a half until one day, I think my soul won, and I just said, “You know what? I do a lot of thinking when I’m alone and not today, if that’s good with you, not today.” He never walked with me since he’s also never spoken to me since, but every single day my soul delights in the absence. So imagine just something like that.

Carole Freeman:

It was a test for you and it took you a year and a half to-

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And to recognize what… Your soul will let you know if that’s good or not for you. So I think I’m on number six, but it is rest and we’re not great at this. And I think when your body rests, so does your soul. And again it’s that same principle I was telling you, maybe give your mind a vacation, maybe take a break. That’s good just allowing rest. We were meant to rest. And sometimes that’s way more than just a night’s sleep.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So nature I mentioned, is my personal belief and this is religious, but that creation was designed to reach us and speak to us and fill us. And the colors, the smells, the seasons, what it’s like outside that if we will just go outside, even if it’s for five minutes and breathe and look up or notice things about the seasons and the vegetation and the colors, your soul will be fed.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And some of us go every day inside or an office or in a car and we just don’t. So that’s a huge one. Simplify goes along with subtract, but you’re great at this. What are you eating? You taught, you know what? You did not have to make a casserole. You don’t have to think about all the stuff, have a piece of meat that you… And you’re doing that now, [inaudible 00:51:28]. I’m still trying to, I don’t know, grill these chicken breasts and marinate them to do something and you’re having a sausage stick and me sticking to yogurt. I’m like, “She just got it.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So simple. That’s so great.” But all life the times I’ve simplified something the reward has been great soul wise. Even like my kids used to fight and we’re like, “Who’s going to sit in the front seat of the car?” And we argued over it every time and finally I’m like, “Okay.” Because that time there was two of them. I’m like, “You, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday we alternate.” Our life was better.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And so I think if anybody can think of any way to simplify anything… My daughter has toddler boys. They’re three and four and she color coded them one of them is blue one of them is green the toothbrush is blue, the glasses is blue… So I was like, “This is so simple. We don’t have to think every time who’s toothbrush this is.” And so I just think anything you can routinize or simplify gives you more time for your soul. I already talked about the power of daily, but that’s the trick. Put it in a daily habit. And I liken it to brushing your teeth. Nobody brushes our teeth because we’re inspired by it or right?

Carole Freeman:

Yeah.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

We do it because somewhere back there in our past someone taught us that was good. And it became a routine that we now don’t even think about it. And it continues to be good for us.

Carole Freeman:

Yeah. You don’t say like, “Oh, I’m just going to take Sundays off.” Or you don’t question somebody doing something everyday like, “Really you don’t take Mondays off for brushing your teeth?”

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So every morning, because I want to, and it’s now a habit I get up early on purpose, I journal, I’m quiet, I write some stuff then I walk. I have my routine and I don’t think about it anymore. And I don’t go without it. This morning I had a little procedure that I had to be there at 5:30, I did that soul tending thing before that. And I honor it and it honors me by doing that so. And then I would also say pay attention to who you are. If you’re not a morning person do not do what I just said. If you’re a night person, then that’s your time to add in a practice.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So go with who you are and your natural… That’s the low hanging fruit do not say, “I hate getting up early.” And then make herself. And then I already said this, choose what you like, choose what feeds you. I finally learned to do devotional reading that I like. That’s funny, that’s off color sometimes. That’s just a different kind of stuff. And I choose what I like and it feeds my soul and I do it because I like it and-

Carole Freeman:

And that fits with what we’ve been talking about today. Not only picking the foods that you like, don’t eat the ones you don’t like eat the ones… And then also more general too picking the lifestyle you want to live. You pick the… What is the phrase that we came up with? You pick the… Two pages back here, you pick the framework that’s easiest for you of your lifestyle and everything. Yeah.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And we even said, at one point, I still have the notes. You pick your heart. And then I said, “Or you pick your delight.” You pick, I love a good [inaudible 00:55:34] and a solid with caesar dressing and I am delighted when I have that, and it’s within that framework. So we get to pick that and it honors our body when we do. And the same thing with these soul things or emotional things pick what feeds you, but then honor your soul by doing it every day and then see what happens. And I’ve only seen good things happen for people.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

I did a workshop like this right before the pandemic with a group of women, and then came back to the same women 14 months later when we were out of lockdown and did a part two. But many of them we’re like, “What we talked about in February 2020, saved me.” Because they had been coached to choose a habit. And so through that uncertain time, through the fear, through the different family situations we all had, they were able some of them to engage in these soul tending things and came out on the other side. So I’ve seen it work over and over just like we’ve seen here worked over and over. And it’s so much the same, choosing some healthy daily habits makes a huge difference.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And that’s what I always say if you string together these good keto days in a row [inaudible 00:57:08]. And I feel like the same thing. Imagine doing both your soul and your body. And obviously there’s more than those 10. There’s a whole world out there. These are based on what’s called spiritual disciplines or cross religions too tried and proven ways people have tended to themselves. And so a lot of them come out of that this ancient practices, but yet I think they’re made fresh for the new world and new people. That we can really as busy women do them on the fly and see the benefits.

Carole Freeman:

Yeah. Well, on my first thought, when you said you had your procedures in the morning, “Oh you can take your journal and sit and write while you’re in the office.” But it was like, “Oh, wait, you covered how that used to be, how you would do things instead of actually making the space for it by itself.”

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

But I also learned and I’ll just throw this in. I talked about, there’s habit stacking. And we’ve talked about that in keto I think too. That there’s a lot of power when you put a few good habits together. And so I have learned my quiet, my journaling, and my spiritual reading. And I keep it literally in a bag by my chair in case something like that happens or when I travel I take the bag.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

No one taught me that in seminary, no one taught me that in counseling. I learned it when I’m doing carpooling or whatever, and having to wait in the line, I can take it to go. Nobody teaches you can take spiritual habits to go, you’re right totally. You could do it in a waiting room if you wanted to.

Carole Freeman:

Yeah. Well I can see we’ve got somebody live here. So whoever that is, if you want to type in if you’ve got a question for Dr. Cindy here, let’s see. It’s Catherine, I think that might be watching this here. So Katherine, if you have any questions, let us know. I’ve got my notifications open that should show me. It’s a couple minute delay so we’ll hang out here for a little bit and see if you have any questions for Dr. Cindy here. While we’re waiting to see if any questions come in live any last wrap up? Anything else you were… That’s important along these lines that you want to share?

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

I can talk about it forever and I told you sometimes this has expanded into a whole weekend of teaching for me, but I just feel like it’s good for all of us. It’s good to teach kids some of this. There’s just a lot of… And it’s good for, we’ve talked before about some of the trauma we carry from life or grief, most of us cumulatively carry that stuff. And sometimes we’re afraid to be still or afraid to journal because we think that yucky stuff’s going to come up. And what I always tell people is like, “You’re carrying that yucky stuff.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

You lived through it, all right, it’s in you, it’s eating on you and working on you to write it down or be still with it for a minute is transformative.” There’s a teaching that says, “If you do not transform your pain, you’ll transmit it.” And so again imagine health of just daily facing what you can, maybe a little tiny piece of that and working… I have also decided at times in my life, not only do I need a keto coach, I need a therapist right now on this issue. This is too hard for me too big too painful.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I have never hesitated to reach out to a therapist and the many seasons of life they’ve been key in walking me through something painful. Getting me to a place I never would have probably gotten to on my own. But it’s certainly not a reason to avoid yourself or your self care. And if you find that something comes up and takes page after page or makes you unable to sit still then maybe it’s time to get a helper. Someone to guide you through it.

Carole Freeman:

And that in itself can be a hole there technique of soul care. So comments so far this is so good. With lots and lots of exclamation points love the phrase, honor your soul and no questions. Is it soul tending just to be present right now? Absolutely. Yeah. I just got tingles from that one. So love it.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I would just challenge everybody one more time before we go. Just pick one thing that delights you and it might be the double bath. Every time I take a bath I’m like, “Why do I not this every day, what’s wrong with me?” Because that’s a classic one. Or maybe it is you go to the spa and let someone else take care of you. But again, imagine just picking the thing that popped out to you today and starting it tomorrow at the top of your list and then see what happens.

Carole Freeman:

Yeah. And for me, it really helped during this last month, it helped me some things that I hadn’t been doing that were soul care that I felt guilty about. Like taking this time when I could be doing so much more and now it’s like, “No, these are really good. And these are important that I continue to do them.” So for somebody like me it’s like now I have permission to do those with letting go of the guilt at the same time.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And I would say to you, I’ve seen your work and you work really hard in an hour, whether it’s one-on-one or with four of us or six of us or… And so to me, it may not be super emotional. It’s not grief therapy or something, but it’s a lot of teaching and a lot of… So you do need a few hours off between some stuff or a good weekend with none of it or whatever. Otherwise, you’re going to bring that least Carole to us.

Carole Freeman:

Well, for me, just sharing even more personal things for me, it was part of my big move from Seattle to Arizona doesn’t really hit specifically on any of these. But it was definitely a 100% of soul tending change that I made. Mental health and wellbeing, just being in more sun and less gray overcast days was something that I recognized about five years ago, that that was going to be a healthier place for me to live.

Carole Freeman:

And then honoring that knowledge as well is that part of continuing that is that every single day block off on my calendar a two hour period that I end up, at least, an hour that I’m outside in the sun, in the not inside. And that’s something I’ve realized, it was like, “Oh, I’m guilty about this.” Its like, “No, I need to do this.”

Carole Freeman:

If I moved here and sat inside in the air conditioning all day long, I might as well just be back in Seattle. And as well as just starting out my morning by going and looking at my plants. That’s another thing for me that’s just this quiet solitude being in the present moment and just looking at the plants and how they’ve grown and things like that too.

Carole Freeman:

So just personally sharing here, anyone watching this in the future, please feel free to share what you do for your soul care. I’ve been working on the subtract, taking out things of my life and things as well. Like I think you shared at one point pairing down your wardrobe as well. And I’m in that point of I’ve got probably four times as many closes as I could ever wear and enjoy in my life.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

So simplifying a closet can feed your soul. Isn’t that weird?

Carole Freeman:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And then I liked what you talked about plants. A lot of people they’ll do a garden or whatever, I’ve often said, “If you want to know the condition of my soul, look at my back patio.” And sometimes it’s very telling like with my plants and the greenery and the sitting outside and the fountain all day, those things are, it’s a reflection to me of my soul, how it is. And so yeah, that’s awesome. And then I’ll say one more time the comedy thing.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Laughter is one of the best soul feeding things we have it’s universal across every person in the world. Laughter and tears. And so to offer that, to help people just laugh, it’s a gift but you can’t do it out of emptiness. And I’ve learned that enough speaking, I need to be funny and I need to help people get to a meaningful place, but that doesn’t come except in the margin. Even being able to think of something funny. And so I think that’s another gift that probably comes out of you taking care of yourself.

Carole Freeman:

Yeah. So great. Cindy, thank you so much for taking the time. And I can’t wait to see more and more comments come in as we share this more out. So any last thoughts, words, comments, in closing?

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Animals are another one, see my dog showed up right here. That’s another one that maybe we should just hang with our pets more and act like them. Through the pandemic I kept looking at my dog and going, “She’s not worried, she seems fine, maybe I should be like her.” So yeah.

Carole Freeman:

I was thinking today about what emotions to animals even have. I think dogs can worry, cats don’t worry. They have happiness, content. They can have fear, but they don’t have anger. And that’s why dogs don’t get [crosstalk 01:08:15] Yeah. That’s just like either they’re afraid and it’s instantly gone or yeah. Be more like our pets.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

And they rest a lot. I thought maybe I should just lay down when she does. Anyway. Well, thank you.

Carole Freeman:

Thank you so much for taking the time to be here. Great as always, love it. So thank you.

Dr. Cindy Ryan:

Bye-bye.

Carole Freeman:

Thanks everyone for watching. We’ll see you again. Next time.

 

Enter Your Info to Register for the FREE Masterclass!

Your Spot is Saved!

Get your free '7-day Fast & Easy Keto Meal Plan'

· Save time with 5-10 minute meals

· No cooking skills needed

· Satisfying and super delicious

· Made with real food available at any grocery store

You have Successfully Subscribed!