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Jan. 5, 2022

Episode 7: Pursuing Wellness with Amy Giles

Episode 7: Pursuing Wellness with Amy Giles

Being in love with movement her whole life, Amy Giles purchased a martial arts school in 2001. She has gone on to train hundreds of people of all ages to cultivate confidence through movement at Progressive Kenpo Karate. Amy is an internationally recognized martial artist and the highest-ranking female Black Belt in the United States under Israeli Krav International.  

When the pandemic struck, Amy saw the need to expand her services. She founded MindBody Fitness, an online mindset, and fitness program for people at midlife and beyond. Her mission was (and remains) to help others overcome their limiting beliefs, so they recognize their worth, cultivate newfound confidence, and awaken to their TRUE potential. 

When Amy's not kicking and punching, she enjoys time with her family, floating in her pool, long walks on a beach (of course), and promoting local fashion boutiques on her Facebook page - My Purple Blazer.

Amy Giles and Melissa Ebken are hosting an event on January 29th called Fit to Forgive. Learn more and register here.

Articles referenced in the episode:
Johns Hopkins
Harvard
American Journal of Public Health
Mayo Clinic

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/melissaebken)
Transcript
Melissa:

Hello, and welcome back to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast. I am Melissa. Again, your host. And this is episode seven with Amy Giles. I'm really excited about this podcast. And I'll tell you why, because forgiveness is one of the things I am most passionate about in this life. Forgiveness is the one thing we can do that will benefit us emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. It will have consequences and benefits throughout all aspects of our lives. And I'm excited today to have Amy Giles here. With me on this podcast, we are hosting an event coming up at the end of January, called fit to forgive. And we're going to give you a little bit of what that's going to be like today. Now a little bit about Amy. Being in love with movement or whole life. Amy Giles purchased the martial arts school in 2001, she has gone on to train hundreds of people of all ages to cultivate confidence through movement at progressive Kenpo karate. Amy is an internationally recognized martial artist and the highest ranking female black belt in the United States under Israeli Krav international. When the pandemic struck, Amy saw the need to expand her services. She founded mind, body fitness and online mindset and fitness program for people at midlife and beyond. Her mission was and remains to help others overcome their limiting beliefs. So they recognize their worth, cultivate, newfound, confidence, and awaken to their true potential. When Amy's not kicking and punching, she enjoys time with her family floating in her pool, long walks on a beach. Of course. And promoting local fashion boutiques on her Facebook page, my purple blazer. Let's jump in. Hello, Amy. I am so thrilled to have you here on this podcast. How are you today?

Amy:

I'm great. Thank you. And thank you for having.

Melissa:

I have really enjoyed the time we've been spending together collaborating. It's been such a gift to me to find a friend on the journey that I'm on and to collaborate and to talk and to pick your brain and your expertise. I'm just so grateful to have met you on this journey.

Amy:

Thank you, Melissa. Me too. It's um, you know, I, I think our, our spirits is aligned in so many ways and it's really exciting. So again, thank you so much for, um, really facilitating this collaboration. I'm so excited.

Melissa:

Me too. And January 29th, we are hosting a big event we're really excited about and very passionate about it's called fit to forgive. And Amy, I'm going to hug the mic here for a minute, and then I'll give you some space, but forgiveness is such a huge, huge passion of mine because it affects our lives in so many. It affects our bodies. It affects our mentalities. It affects our spirits and our emotions. And I could go on and on. And the, the way that you approach health through the mind, body connection just makes so much sense to me when it comes to talking about forgiveness, because it's such a visceral action that we take

Amy:

so true. So true. It is a visceral action and, you know, um, that's why. If, if you ever felt a little down or a little in the dumpster, or, you know, someone who is feeling very stressed or has a tendency to feel depressed, you'll see that they have a lot of difficulty moving. Um, that it's hard to, um, that being stagnant is easier. It feels it's not easier. It's actually much more difficult. Um, but in, in the moment, Uh, you feel sort of swamped and you're, and it's not just, you know, emotionally, but physically your, your body just wants to keep you safe and sit you still. Um, so yes, absolutely.

Melissa:

You know, I can really relate to that when I feel overwhelmed. I want to grab a blanket and just curl up maybe with a book or a TV show or something to just get my. Out of it in somewhere else. And I do, I feel my body curl up on itself. And if there's something I'm worried about, when I try to go to sleep again, I'm all curled up and kind of literally in a fetal position because of the things that are on my mind.

Amy:

Yes. And, you know, and here's the thing, um, you know, It's okay to do those kinds of things in a balance, right. And moderation. If, if watching something funny is going to uplift you and inspire you to get up and move, you know, you just need that 30 minutes. That's one thing. But unfortunately I think as you know, um, it can, that can sort of snowball really easily, like, well, I'm just going to allow. This time tonight, but tomorrow I'll move my body and tomorrow comes and it's just feels well, that blanket feels so good. And that TV show feels so familiar, you know? And, um, then it's the day after and before, you know, You know, it's a month later and you're still stuck in that same spot, um, with probably that same blanket and that same show on the same couch. And, you know, um, it, it might feel more challenging in the moment, but if we can judge. Even if we set a timer for five minutes and say, you know, before I allow myself to sit here, um, I'm going to walk for five minutes. I'm going to set my timer and I'm going to turn it around and walk back. And you know, when we can move our bodies, it really forces those emotions to move. Too. And in sometimes that's really, all it takes is that, you know, that five minutes to get those emotions moving and not getting stuck, not connecting themselves to every thought that you're having. And it really allows your you to it's really, it's a purposeful, it's so purposeful. It's, um, it's a meditation and movement essentially. Um, and you'll find that. You know, you can heal through these stresses. These sometimes they're big ones. Sometimes they're every day, things that bother us all. Um, but if we, if we do that, we'll find that we suddenly have answers to things that, um, felt so out of reach maybe before and when you're moving your body and allowing these emotions to flow. Through you and out of you, you know, I'm never telling someone, um, to, to shove them down. Right. Um, it's this, but this movement will allow you to bring them forward to be aware of them and to say, you know what? It's okay. To feel this way. I see you. I hear you. I feel you I'm aware of you and then to just let it flow out of the view and when you are moving her body, um, it, it's literally creating that connection, right. That mind, body connection to, to let it flow out. And, and again, just kind of circling back you'll, you'll start to see. That's okay. Maybe things aren't so bad and you'll in, rather than focusing on the problem, all of a sudden you're feeling these, this flood of solutions coming to you, which is a much healthier way to approach something that you're dealing with is, you know, dismissing the problem a little bit and like, okay, what are my solutions? What are my

Melissa:

answers? You know, when you were describing. Uh, a light bulb lit up in my mind when I first felt a call to ministry, it just seemed odd to me. And I wasn't sure what was going on. And at the time I was working in a restaurant, I was about to begin teaching and I was working in a restaurant because, you know, they're lean times and we do those jobs we have to do. And after it closed at night, then I would go in and mop the floor, cleaned the bathrooms, all of those things. So it was in the middle of that. And I'm scrubbing away, mopping this floor. And that's when the truth of that call really hit me. And I was moving. I wasn't sitting still. And then in 2011, That was a discernment period. When the church in Niantic had approached the church and Ellie Apolis and we were trying to discern whether or not we would be in a yolked relationship or not in share ministry. And I was back and forth, back and forth on that's a great idea. That's a bad idea. That's a great idea. Oh, that could go so wrong. And I didn't know what the right answer was. And I had an epiphany come to me one day when I was walking. So again, you know, the movement. And my spiritual life changed when I realized that my spiritual type and I didn't take a test or anything to figure this out. It just kind of dawned on me finally that I wasn't the type of prey or that can sit still and bow my head in. Put my hands together that has never worked for me. And I thought I just, wasn't good at praying. And you know, what a terrible thing for a pastor and I had to get that figured out and seminary. One of our professors had a dog and. Bonded with that dog immediately. And when I would get stuck writing a paper or a sermon or anything else, I would go take that dog for a walk. And we were in Lexington, Kentucky. So we would walk across the UNK campus and come back. And it was during that time, I started to realize that thoughts would come together, that God would talk to me during those times. So I started. Moving when I needed to pray whether it was cleaning my house or doing the dishes or taking a walk, not driving so much because you do, even if you're on autopilot, there's a different kind of system going on there. But when I was doing something, that's when God would speak to me and especially if I was outside. So I really feel deeply what you're saying about that connection of moving and releasing emotions and, you know, the biologists, the science and being nature hates a vacuum. When we release something, then something is going to fill it. And if we are moving and focusing our thoughts in. Toward God or some people that listen to this podcast, aren't people of faith, but they acknowledge that their source or there's something metaphysical beyond this world. And however you name that, whether you name that God or. Christ or crease dose higher power. When you have your mind fixed on that and you're moving and letting go of all the other stuff, you can be filled with that light and that source and that strength and amazing things can happen. When I realized that for myself, my spiritual life changed dramatically.

Amy:

Ah, that's beautiful. That's beautiful. I think, you know, it's so true. I I'm, I can connect and relate with you. Um, so much on that thought that like I'm not good at praying. You know, I, I would find myself, um, you know, on my hands and knees and church and everything. All these things are going through my head, but it wasn't right. Or at least I felt like in that moment. Um, but man, when I would go for a walk either by myself or with my mom or to be in water, swimming and moving. I, you know, it's like, ah, this is what praying is. You know, this is where my connection to God is, feels the most fulfilling, you know, and, and, you know, no matter what that is for somebody, when you can, when you awaken to that and can tune into that. Wow. It's such a, um, it's such a beautiful uplifting, but it's empowered.

Melissa:

Yes it is. And you know, for the folks who do pray well, sitting down, that's fantastic. I, by no means, want to discount that.

Amy:

No, I don't either. That's why I can just relate to you. You know what the. And if

you

Melissa:

haven't had success, praying in that traditional way, try something new, try getting up and moving, try walking, try just finding something so beautiful. Whether it's a piece of art, uh, as seen unfolding in front of you, where children are playing or a walk through the woods or something, find something so beautiful and just stand and take it in and let your soul breathe that in. You might find something there.

Amy:

You know, you're bound to because you know what, as you were saying that it, I, I think. Uh, we're often led or even programmed to believe that if something works for this many people will, then if it doesn't work with me, then there's something wrong with me, you know? And that's just not true. And it's one of the things about, um, martial arts that I find so beautiful and something I really challenged myself to do as an instructor is to show my students multiple. Ways multiple avenues to, to create the same result because we aren't all built the same. And how boring would it be if we were, you know, and just to remind ourselves that it's okay to have your own way of doing something, you know, and there are many ways for us all to sort of come back to this way of just releasing this negative energy that we all. We all have to funnel it. There isn't a single person. Um, some of us are better at it than others because they've practiced it not, and they've cultivated it. Not because they were born that way. Right. They they've found a way to, to plant that seed and grow it. And I think, you know, we have this beautiful opportunity to help people do.

Melissa:

Absolutely. And I think that we gum up that channel where that spirit comes into us. When we hold on to grudges, that that creates just a blockage, a spirit blockage, and. If we can get rid of that and we can get rid of that once we can clear that out and clean that out, we leave so much more space for spirit to come into our lives. And that's where we really connected and why we're so excited to offer this work. Amy. I looked up, uh, I just did a quick Google search. I didn't even deep dive in this, just a real surface Google search. And I found, I searched up forgiveness and health and I found articles from Johns Hopkins from Harvard. From the American journal on public health from Mayo clinic. And I stopped there. I mean, Mayo clinic, uh, journal of public health, the Harvard in Johns Hopkins. Those are pretty trustworthy authoritative places in my mind. Anyway. Absolutely. And they talk about the connection between forgiveness and our physical health. And just to quote a bit from this article from Johns Hopkins. So the studies have found that the act of forgiveness can repute rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack, improving cholesterol levels and sleep, uh, who wouldn't want to sleep better. Right? Reducing low blood pressure and levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. Uh, raise your hand. I am all in, on all of that. And again, that article, I want to be responsible in my citations here. It's forgiveness, Colin, your health depends on it. And I'll link that article in the show notes and I'll link the other articles too, from Harvard and the American journal of public health and from the Mayo clinic. But what I loved is this article from the American journal of public health. This was 2018, February of 2008. That was pre pandemic. Yeah. And that article is titled, is forgiveness a public health issue. And it goes on to say why yes, it is quite much. So, and then that was 2018. How much more so was that true now?

Amy:

Oh tenfold, right? Yeah. You know, um, with, with the powers that be. I'm working diligently to create so much division, you know, um, between people that we love. Right. Um, people that we love, people that we respect. Um, I can't think of a more pertinent time to exercise forgiveness, whether maybe you responded to someone in a way that you weren't proud of, or someone responded to you in a way, you know, Hurtful. I mean, I know just within my siblings and I, we have some very different, you know, feelings and opinions about, um, you know, about certain issues, um, surrounding the pandemic. Um, but the great thing is, you know, fortunately for us, we can have a conversation and let it be there, but that's not true for everyone. Um, and there are some really some hurt feelings over the past couple of years. And. He knows. Sometimes we get, we become so stubborn and so attached to the, to the way that we feel about something that I'm saying this, because I'm guilty of this, everyone, you know, um, I, I have these conversations in my head that they don't even exist. You know, I I'm just having the conversation with myself and then I have to stop myself and be like, this is silly, you know, it's silly. You know, forgive what you don't think is healthy for us, you know, forgive it, let it go, forgive yourself, or, um, for feeling this frustration and because it's just like you're saying, I mean, it can affect our sleep. Um, it, it UN and then again, just like here we are again with this, the importance of it and a time when we all want our immune systems to thrive. Holding onto these grudges and not moving your body does nothing but deplete the very thing that we most need.

Melissa:

So true. Here's something I see quite often as a pastor and myself and another folks, when it comes to the topic of forgiveness, one. We withhold forgiveness as a form of punishment to the other person been there.

Amy:

It doesn't work very well. Does

Melissa:

it? The other person is going on with their life. That's right. When I withhold forgiveness for someone else, because I'm punishing them, I'm punishing myself. Oh man. Here's what happens. And I can speak to this because I've experienced it. But when we hold a grudge, we bring that person to be the closest person in our lives whenever we sleep. And that sleep is disruptive, that person comes to mind whenever we eat and have digestive problems, that person comes to mind. I, that person, whenever. Celebrate something, whenever we have great news or anything, or just go on about life, that person is always popping up because we're holding onto grudges. We're holding on to that person and all of those emotions. So forgiveness isn't here. If you hear nothing else on this podcast episode here, this forgiveness really has nothing to do with the other person.

Amy:

Nothing.

Melissa:

For forgiveness is a gift. You give yourself

Amy:

just like a friend. Just like a friend. Yes. Um, and you know, I just want to know, say no, I guess I just want people to know and you know, to know we aren't condoning what, what anyone. Has done to you in the past. Any transgressions forgiveness is completely a separate thing, then forgetting, forgiving and forgetting. Are there two different things? I always just want to make sure people know that, um, this isn't about that, you know, this is about being the healthiest, happiest version for you for yourself.

Melissa:

And reconciliation is a step that may or may not come after forgiveness.

Yeah.

Melissa:

We're not saying to yourself. Yep. And it's not a get out of jail free card for the other person. And as you said, it's not condoning it. Their rupture in their life is something they will need to work out themselves, but forgiveness for yourself, frees you from that event and it's hold on your life. And it's like a breath of fresh air. If you've ever had to walk a long way with a bag of groceries that got heavy, or if you've had to hold your kid for a long time, your arms get heavy. That feeling you get when you set that down, that's what forgiveness is quite literally. That's what forgiveness is. It is such a lightening in your soul.

Amy:

Yeah, I love your way with words. That's beautiful and true. Yeah. Yeah, and they know, and when you can allow yourself to do that, and you know, one of the things I'm, I'm so excited about for this workshop, um, for the, for those that attend with us, um, you know, you have this, this tremendous, beautiful, um, insight and, and way of helping people to forgive and to teach them how to truly do this. And listen, this is for everybody. You know, I've learned so much from you and just the short amount of time that, you know, we we've been connecting and collaborating and, you know, but, um, the, the really the beautiful benefit of this workshop. To take your expertise and your knowledge on the subject, something you're so passionate about, and then taking my expertise of movement and teaching you to put the two together so that when you're moving in your, with your body in this way, that I'll be demonstrating at the workshop that you're, you're literally. Exercising a new thought pattern. And when you can add movement to that and create that connection, like I'm tearing up right now because it's so powerful and, and it becomes then the new norm for your body. Because, because when we hold onto grudges, Uh, we don't even realize that those graduates are, are running a loop, right? It's a, it's this autopilot and it starts to affect as, as the article says, it's always nice to have Harvard backing us up and they open backing and stuff. But you know, if your, if you have acid reflux, If you, um, if you're not regular, let's just put it out there. Um, if your joints ache, if your, if your breathing is shallow, you're probably holding on to something. Some pent up, um, a garage or some sort of, of, of emotion that you just need to forgive and let go. And again, when you can couple that movement with it, you are literally retraining your mind and your body and to a new, a new autopilot, a new loop, a positive

Melissa:

thought loop. Life-giving one might say yes, Yeah. And folks, we really hope you come to this event because there's, we're going to talk just briefly about the neuroscience behind all of this, how our brains are wired, how we can use that knowledge of our brains wiring to, I hate using the word to hack that for our lives, but to, to use that we have that knowledge. Yes. You know, I, um, hear a lot of advice in culture all throughout my life. You know, go do this, do that and okay. That's great. But I need to know how, how do I do that? And that's what we're going to do in this workshop. We're going to teach you and show you how to create these new pathways and these new loops in these new mindsets so that you can let out all of that stuff. That's clocking up your spirit. And fill it. With good and wholeness and source and light. I wish it were tomorrow. I really was.

Amy:

Yeah. We'd do you know, Joe does spends a he's um, he's done some really incredible research on our thoughts and how it affects our bodies. And, you know, he says something that's just stuck with me and it's so true. He says, it's not enough to know. You have to know how.

Melissa:

So true. Amy. This has been amazing. And from experience, I know that once we get talking, we can go on quite some time, but I do have, uh, a loose covenant with my listeners, that the podcast isn't going to be a four and a half hour podcast.

Amy:

Next time.

Melissa:

Next time. So, thank you so much for being here today. And do you have any parting thoughts before we go, you

Amy:

know, um, just make a decision to this is I'm just going to say it that, um, what you'll gain from this is so much more valuable than what we're asking, you know, monetarily and, um, just make a choice, make a decision to do something good for your mind and your body. Um, yeah. We're just so excited to, to be able to bring this to you. I don't know what else more I can say. It's just, I can't wait.

Melissa:

Amen to that. All right. We will see you all on January 29th at fit to forgive. Thank you again, Amy. Buh-bye

Amy:

buh-bye.