When looking at the state of your health and well being, it is wise to ask yourself, “Am I being practical?”  Last week, one of my clients called.  She was excited because she had received advice from a healer and thought that they had unearthed the source of her exhausted condition. She proclaimed, “I ‘ve found a chef who will cook macrobiotic food for me starting this week.” Experience has taught me that one does not shift from eating pizza and pasta to no dairy and wheat-free in a single bound. A few days later she phoned back, this time drowning in tears.

Generally speaking, trying to high jump into optimal health does not work. For this woman, the textures, seasonings, and absence of meat were too much to bear. As the pole fell to the ground she felt less inclined to try again. During the course of our conversation, I pointed out that her motive had been a noble one. Upon hearing those words she felt better. By the end of our conversation she agreed to eliminate the dairy and gluten and forgo the meat.  We had opened up her toolbox.

Dieting is one of many tools that can help create an inspired life. Much like my client, my path was also difficult. It took many attempts before I got it right and made the transition. Whenever I dine out I disregard my first choice when ordering a meal. I have learned that first impulses are often unhealthy. Like any carpenter, I’ve always had the right tools to get the job done well. Over the years I’ve refined and reflected, and eventually designed a healthy inspired diet. Just because I know how to create a decadent chocolate mousse cake, doesn’t mean that it’s good for me. When you have the right tool coupled with a clear vision you can build anything.

Tools build an inspired life.  It has been stated, “There are many paths up the mountain but from the top the view is the same.” Choose your tools wisely. Today there are endless contradictory viewpoints regarding health and wellness. Diets come and go like night and day. The true litmus test is, “How do you feel?”

Discomfort and disease can be great motivators in facilitating meaningful change. When our backs are against the wall, we often take action. For me, the shift occurred when I could no longer bend my fingers in the morning. Not wanting to tread down the crippling path of arthritis, I reached into my toolbox and designed a new recipe for living.

Physical and emotional pains have been great motivators in my life. At one point an astrologer (tool) looked into my burn out eyes and told me I was emotionally dead. My career was heading in the wrong direction. The good news was that I could, and would make the necessary adjustments to enable an inspired life. I would learn to love my life again. Within weeks I left the old career behind, moving forward with vigor and enthusiasm.

My disillusionment with the American Dream led me to rediscover my creativity and seek a life pulsing with joy and adventure. Within a year of leaving the security of my job, I began to experience a new sense of freedom. I was able to breathe again and feeling inspired. Everyday I woke up happy and grateful to be doing work that provided a sense of fulfillment as I contributed to those in need in the world around me.

Take an inventory. Do you make practical choices? For some this might mean scaling the side of a cliff hanging by a rope, but for most it involves choosing from a place of inner knowing. For my client it meant finding a pizza place that had a gluten free crust as a healthy foundation.  Do you have the right tool for the job?  As magical as I am, I know that I can’t cut through a coconut with a butter knife.  Do you wake up inspired each morning and greet the sun with a smile?

Are you alive? This column is about self-exploration. Dip into your personal toolbox and discover a potpourri of gentle and fragrant tools that will enable you to manifest an inspired life. Join me on this journey.

Renee Baribeau is known internationally as, “The Practical Shaman.” Her clients include CEOs, movie executives and entrepreneurs.  Visit about Renee at for more information.

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