Hello Stress my old friend

Oh stress, my old friend. The unwanted visitor that used to live like a permanent squatter in my proverbial basement. Who used to wreck havoc in every room of my proverbial house, and leave me feeling completely out of control and disenchanted with my experience of life.

While I am rarely overtaken by stress anymore, I’m still human and I definitely get the occasional bouts of overwhelm that force me to slow down and really put my work into practice. This week I have been in the thick of overwhelm. I know why, as I have let some very basic needs slip from my priority list, and am now back-pedalling to recommit and get myself back into a grounded and balanced state. It happens. And I figured, while I am putting the pieces back together, I would share my key steps with you. Keep in mind that these are steps that need to be revisited on a fairly regular basis. And each time, I learn more, I become stronger and more resilient, and I experience expansiveness on a more regular occurrence. We must be okay with losing our way, because it means we can edit, adjust, and get to know “our way” that much better.

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Step 1: Check your self talk. Stress breeds more stress. When your body is in distress, your self talk will match that vibration. Taking time to pause throughout the day to check in,

“What am I thinking about?”

“Is that necessary right now?”

“Is there a different perspective I could try on here?”

“What can I control right now, and what do I need to let go of?”

“What am I grateful for?”

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Step #2: create space by embracing where you are. I always start feeling better as soon as I stop blaming or being angry about my predicament. So here I am, a bit stressed and overwhelmed, that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to struggle. But I definitely don’t need to struggle because I’m struggling and then struggle some more. 

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Step #3: check in on your basic biological needs. Stress is a sign of lacking balance, which could be from lacking or over-exerting in an important category of your health.

How’s my sleep patterns been lately?

What has my diet looked like the past few days?

Where do I notice bouts of high energy and where are my patterns of low energy throughout the day?

What do I need more of?

What do I need less of?

Who are the people I can reach out to for support or connection?

What places and environments will put me in the energy I want more of?

What activities can I engage in today to get my engine revving or support my ability to slow the F down?

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Step #4: Don’t just do something, sit there. Once I have become clear on what needs to be tightened up, what needs to shift, what conversations need to be had, what habits need to be attentively cared for, I know I need the space and energy to start making small steps from a place of peace and contentment rather than from fear or desperation. More time with my hand on my heart, my eyes closed, and nothing but focused breathing. Get behind your mind chatter and tap back into the expansiveness that is always there.

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Now all you have to do is get started! Write out reminders, share with the people you love, and prioritize you well-being. No one can do this for you.

If you are looking for further support and inspiration, register for the dope(a)me discipline 21 day challenge. A simple and low-cost program that will pay off in a substantial return on investment. You’re not alone. And you definitely do not need to fight through your stress solo. Let’s do it together.

xoxo

1 on 1 coaching reflection questions

Hey there ;)

I want you to live every moment of your life with depth, gratitude, and a sense of contentment. For some of us, that seems ultimately impossible. For 20 years of my life, I felt like I was locked inside a shell and didn’t know how to break out. I wanted to feel good but it seemed so far out of reach. I now do what I do, because I have experienced the low lows, the darkness, the defeat, and the complete overwhelm of lacking control and watching myself make one terrible decision after another. I survived. And I choose to make the most of everyday because I know how precious and fragile life truly is. I came out the other side completely inspired to share what I had learned so that fewer people would experience despair unnecessarily.

If you are curious about where to start, WELCOME! I am happy to engage in anyway that allows you to gain clarity in what you need to practice and what nourishment you need to keep your engine revving and your mind open.

For any client I work with, it starts with a process of getting to know each other through a series of reflection questions. Here are a few I like to use. Try them out and if you feel compelled to share your responses, I would love to receive a message from you. xo

1. What gets you up in the morning?

2. What is your morning routine to tap into your ideal mindset? Don’t have one yet? What are you willing to try tomorrow?

3. What have you experienced that you could say was a “big failure,” yet after the fact you realized it was the best thing that could have happened? What did you learn from it?

4. What are three things most people don't know about you?

5. What are your goals this year?

6. What is your current struggle?

7. What reminder do YOU need to keep yourself motivated this week?

High quality questions get high quality answers ;). Have fun xox

p.s. If these questions got your creative juices flowing and you want another step to get started with. Head to the 21 day challenge and set yourself up with three weeks of daily inspiration and guided instruction to support your pathway towards a healthier mind and body.

21 Day Challenge - the dope(a)me discipline

One of the most fascinating (and considerably frustrating) things about the mind is that we can KNOW what we need but that does not necessarily correlate with actually making any changes towards that KNOWING. If all we needed to do was know what we need or want, then there would not be an epidemic of depression, disillusion, self-harm, and mental health afflictions in the general population.

The conscious mind is at the helm 5% of the time - which is where we say things like “I want to be more healthy,” “I want to practice meditation and movement,” or “I want to show up more grounded for those I love most.” Yet, the majority of our day (95%) is spent in our programming - the subconscious realms of the mind and the unconscious strength of the body.

This 21 day challenge was created to support YOU in creating the foundation you need for the change you desire. It is grounded in the science of habits and provides instruction on how to meditate, how to listen and follow sensation in your body, and ultimately, how to clear and create space in your mind and body so you have what you need to do something different than what you did yesterday.

Too often we get bogged down by how far we have to go, or we get overwhelmed by looking at all the variables and changes needed, and our energy is drained before we even begin. I have learned many times over that by setting the bar low and committing to small steps, massive change becomes simple.

By working with the animalistic nature of our human-ness, and understanding how to trick our mind and body to make the changes we desire, we can create new habits of thought and action that seem impossible from where we are standing right now.

This challenge is focused on a simple morning and evening routine. When we learn how to slow down, hold space and notice what we are feeling, we get access to the depths of our programming. We have to get beyond the analytical mind through practice. When we slow our brain waves down, we enter the operating system of the unconscious program and that is where we can create real and sustainable change. It is not will-power that you need, it is SPACE.

The WHY

You know what you need or want more of. When you stop to think about the habits or patterns that are getting in the way of your progress, you can list them out no problem. When asked what gets in your way, 9 times out of 10 you respond with “myself.” There is no shortage of information out there detailing what a healthy and balanced lifestyle looks like. Yet, if change were easy and if we actually did what we know we needed to do, you would be feeling content, grounded and full of inspiration on a daily basis, and the shame, guilt and exhaustion you currently deal with would be a tale of your past.

This 21 day challenge is for YOU! This is a simple formula to follow in order to create and conserve the high quality energy you desire for your life. This program serves to support you in staying focused on what you truly want for yourself and others, while building the foundational habits and knowledge to sustain the trajectory towards the success and growth you seek.

The PATH

This challenge is simple. Everyday, you carve out two minutes in your morning and two minutes in your evening, dedicated to connecting, moving, and writing. Just TWO MINUTES! I also offer several resources, videos and invitations to explore reflection questions throughout the process. While two minutes is the minimum requirement, you can add more time and learning if that is what lights you up.

The HOW

We can feel motivated and inspired one moment and yet lose our steam within minutes, especially when we are in a habit of draining our own energy with negative self talk, over-analyzing, and the deflating mindset that appears when we start and stop more than we successfully complete what we set out to do. Don’t hate your monkey mind, don’t berate your inner-child for throwing tantrums, and definitely do not fall into shame or guilt when you see that you are not perfect. Embrace who and where you are, and focus on creating space, because that is where healing and sustainable change occurs.

We need to love ourselves up and work with our animalistic mind that happens to be at the wheel more than our more pragmatic and delayed-gratification seeking conscious mind.

Join me for this 21 day challenge and you will have the foundational building blocks in place for any goal and direction you desire!

First step, ensure you are registered on my mailing list!

Second step, purchase the 21 day program!

Let’s have some fun xoxo

Le'go your Ego

I am in the midst of a curious pursuit of understanding our cultural fixation on the EGO. While I have heard now from several people that it’s not a big deal, it’s just semantics, I have seen and experienced that what starts with semantics can often spiral into something much more restricting and unhealthy.

What starts as simple language to describe the impulse for things we “know” are not what we truly want for ourselves, becomes an image of this little gremlin sitting on our shoulders that we need to retrain, or kill off, or learn how to live with. It can become a scapegoat for emotions and actions that make us uncomfortable. And it has become a way of demonizing and criticizing others, as we quickly label “too much confidence” as someone with an ego-problem.

Above and beyond the impulse, we have also labeled certain self-talk patterns as stemming from the ego. So, not only does this “ego” try to seduce us towards instant-gratification - albeit as a self-preserving quality and intention - it can also be a narrator in our mind that pumps our own tires or deflates them.

I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with this caricature that serves to defend and prevent self harm, but eventually we have to stop and ask, “where did this ego-vernacular come from?” AND “Is there a better or more expansive way of understanding how the mind and body works?”

These are the questions I have been deeply invested in for the past few months. And these are the questions I am going to leave you with to ponder. I am not here to tell you what to think or what is “right” and what is “wrong.” I am here to teach you how to pause and check-in and question what you may have always believed or what you have learned to believe.

For me, being in deep inquiry about the ego was something that lit me up for years. I have loved the self-inquiry and insights I have received from trying to understand the ego and see it in action. I wrote extensively about it in my book Be The Change. What I would love for us all to do now is recognize that what served you to get to this point is not necessarily what will serve you to get to the next level. And I have experienced that relying on the “ego” to understand my ever-expanding connection to my mind and body, began to restrict my expansion and the puzzle pieces were not fitting together.

I would love to hear your thoughts and questions as I continue this path and develop my next post that can serve as an exploration away from “ego” and towards a much more expansive and helpful model.

xo

Social Media Awareness Challenge update

It is no secret that social media sheds light on a fascinating paradox. These tools of connection, used for extended periods of time, tend to leave people more lonely and depressed, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. The good-feeling boosts we get from our online status become addictive, yet they pale in comparison to the deeper and more complex good-vibes we get from face to face interaction.

I have been paying close attention to my own addiction to my handheld device, and at the beginning of 2019 I made a commitment to retrain my relationship with social media. {for my previous blog post on this challenge, read here}.

To be completely honest, my social media self-imposed boundaries have slipped a bit in the past few weeks. Initially this challenge began due to my realization (over many weeks) that I was/am addicted to my phone. Every moment of pause - standing in line, at a red light, walking to and from places, or on the couch at night, I aimlessly scroll through my social media. I knew this was not a habit I wanted to continue with.

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At first I tried to consciously limit my time on my phone, using will-power and discipline alone. But of course, habits are strong, and even when I knew I didn’t want to scroll through instagram, I would find myself doing it anyways.

So, boundaries. I decided to delete the instagram app immediately after using it, and would not re-install it until once home at the end of the day when I had an intentional post/message to share. I also made an effort to ensure that anytime I went onto a social media platform, I would comment/connect with at least one person.

This shift in my routine was exactly what I needed. I retrained my mind to use social media as a tool for connection and to stop wasting energy and time scrolling as a distraction or avoidance of my current reality.

For two weeks now, I have stopped deleting the app. I rarely ever find myself scrolling mindlessly now, but it does happen occasionally. Although I catch myself quickly and I now have more energy available to remind myself to close the app and re-connect with what is actually around me at that time, I know I still have some learning and retraining to do with social media.

I run a business and of course I need/want social media to support my marketing efforts. And I am mindful that I want to be extremely conscious and deliberate in what I choose to share and how my sharing can impact others in their relationship with social media.

While reading the latest edition of Psychology Today, I stumbled across an inspiring article that spoke directly to what I have been experiencing. A short review of a new book called Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.

It starts with:

“Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown committed to helping people carve out a focused life in a culture rife with distraction, has consumed the data on just how hooked many of us have become on handheld social media delivery systems. For him, the problem with smartphones is essentially one of control. “Few want to spend so much time online,” he writes, “but these tools have a way of cultivating behavioral addictions,” and subsequently generating mental, spiritual, and even physical exhaustion. “

His proposed cure? DIGITAL MINIMALISM. {For full article, read here}.

The article continues with some interesting and predictable results from testing a digital minimalism challenge with a group of volunteers. While, for some, it was quite literally a detox from a deeply addictive habit, in the end, the “…participants found themselves in the enviable position of having a blank-slate digital life to rewrite any way they pleased, but ideally with intentionality and limits.”

Another beautiful insight form Newport’s work is that while technology has expanded what is possible for our lives, it has also created a feasible result of potentially eradicating any and all free space and time for self-reflection or simply being with our own thoughts. Without self-study, witnessing, or being in the practice of noticing our thoughts and patterns, we will remain in habits that don’t serve us, our growth trajectory will plateau, and our busy-minds will get busier and louder until a breaking point.

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So, here I am again, ready to commit and play with the boundaries in my relationship with social media to ensure I use it as a tool and not as an escape. I do not open any apps in the morning until I have moved through my morning routine. I do not open social media unless I have a purpose and plan. I plug my phone in by 9pm at the latest each night, and give my mind and body space to be and space to breathe.

Let’s do it together :)

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Dear Little Me

Inner-Child Work

I believe there is a young, naive, scarred and scared inner-child within us all. One of the activities I support clients through is writing a letter to their inner child. Not only is it a healing process to move through as an exercise, it also offers depth and ideas of ways to talk to your inner child when you feel his/her grip as an impulse or compulsive reaction. What we deny, avoid or run from, ends up controlling us. When you shine your loving light and attention on the various subconscious characters that take the wheel, you give them space to move and release on their own. If you have the intention of releasing or removing these characters, they can get stronger instead of weaker. When your intention is simply holding loving space, meeting the sensations and emotions, you allow your wise system to do the work for you.

I highly recommend you carve out 20 minutes to write a love letter to little-you. Tell him or her what you needed to hear when you were young. Send thanks, love, appreciation, praise, gratitude, forgiveness, a warm embrace, and full acceptance.

As an example, here is my letter ;)

Dear Mare Bear,

I love you. I love your sass, your strength, and your humor. I love your tenacity. I love that you would walk into the room as a five year old and fully believe you are the strongest person in the room. I love how you never shy away from conflict and are willing to literally step in with your fists up when it means protecting those you love.

I am sorry for every time I let you believe that you weren’t enough. I am sorry for letting you compare and judge your body on a daily basis, and for allowing you to think for years that your size was a testament to how worthy you are of love. I am sorry that you heard and saw so many examples of poor nutrition, toxic self-talk and unhealthy relationships with food. It’s not your fault. You were young, impressionable. You knew you were destined for great things in this life and you did everything you could with the information and support you had. You are perfectly imperfect.

I know you were doing the best that you could.

I know that your heart is pure and full of love.

I know that even when you showed up as a bully, it wasn’t intended to be malicious and you didn’t know the long term impacts such actions could have.

I forgive you for every temper tantrum, every lie you told, every dollar you stole, and every cruel comment you expressed. I forgive you, and I give you full permission to forgive and love yourself.

I love you and am so grateful for who you are and who you have grown into being.

From now on, anytime I feel you creep to the surface needing attention, I promise to slow down and listen. I see you. You don’t have to hide or pretend to be something that you are not. I hear you. You don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing, being left out, being made fun of, or trying to impress anyone. I love you, for who you are, for who you wanted to be before you were ready, for who you knew you could be, for who you needed to be, and for who you have allowed me to become.

Little me, I love you.

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For more activities like this one, reach out to inquire about one on one coaching, group workshops, team building, or my upcoming online program. Head here to register your email and receive the first two chapters of my book for free (which has lots of exercises and resources to play with as well).

I am gathering emails of people who want to be a part of some test-piloting for a couple programs I am creating. If you’re intrigued, hit me up ;)

marinmccue@gmail.com

A little about me

My Philosophy:

I am deeply influenced by the work of many big thinkers, philosophers, authors, facilitators and entrepreneurs who have come before me and who are currently making waves in the world. While I have created a unique system that aligns with my experience and wisdom, I continue to learn, adapt and evolve as a coach.

My coaching philosophy is rooted in connection, empowerment, physical movement and co-created support. I have many tools and ideas to share and teach, but I also know that each client has their own knowing and wisdom that needs to be uncovered and trusted.

My goal is to always work myself out of the job. I want my clients to walk away with the skills needed to be a life-long goal setter, a coach in their own life, and a resilient and powerful individual who stands tall in alignment with their own core values, essence and purpose.  

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My background:

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I would like to say I have always felt this strong, this comfortable, and this resilient to the turbulent ride life can be, but that's not true. Looking back, I see strength, I see resilience, I see growth and learning, I see passion and a deep-rooted desire to be someone that makes a difference, but that's not how I felt while going through it. Life is fucking hard. We live moving forward, but we learn and grow by reflecting back. My past has many chapters, as does yours. My story picks up pace once I graduated from High School in 2004 and played division 1 basketball at San Diego State on a full ride scholarship. It was at this point in my life that I realized that having outward goals is not enough to create the happiness I was striving for. I had everything I had worked for, yet I hit the lowest point in my life. 

I came back to Canada and graduated from the University of Alberta in 2009 as a Philosophy Major (U of A being the fourth University I attended before I finally settled). While studying philosophy I developed a love for intentional introspection and playing with "formulas" that show how to create happiness, how to live a full life, how to change your mindset, and any other internal struggle (or curiosity) that sparked passionate interest. 

I began working at lululemon athletica a month after graduating and instantly loved the support system and the free access to any studio or gym anywhere in the world. This was the catalyst for my love of yoga, which I now teach and have embedded yoga philosophy roots in my coaching services. As a manager I became fascinated by the philosophy and psychology of leadership and how closely connected it is to what I learned as a leader on my sports teams. I began to study, practice, and implement these tools I was learning. 

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I was intrigued and drawn to the process of goal setting and goal coaching others, and soon became the go-to person for goal coaching. During my 6 years at lululemon, I conducted over 100 goal setting sessions, either 1 on 1 or in small groups. I began branching out and leading goal coaching for small businesses, sports teams, and clubs and loved my ability to get creative and build something unique that catered to each individual or group's needs and curiosities. What started as an intriguing opportunity at work had become my passion. I finally had an answer to this question that I had sat with for years: "If I could do anything all day and somehow make a living off of it, what would it be?" I had my 'fuck yes'. My answer: inspire people to reach their goals and live the life they want to lead. 

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That huge first step of finally knowing what I wanted to do with my life and having the tools and know-how to make it happen was such an exciting and motivating feeling. But it is only the first of many big leaps and learning's along this intentional and self-motivated path. It was February 2015 when I took the leap to start dope(a)me as a business and set out to create something new and adventurous as an entrepreneur. It has been a whirlwind and everyday I am grateful and excited about the life that I am leading.

Since the launch of my business, I have moved through countless workshops, seminars, courses and trainings to deepen my own healing and offerings to clients. And I don’t plan on stopping that learning trajectory anytime soon.

For more information about who I am or what I offer, continue perusing through my website, check out my book, or simply reach out (marinmccue@gmail.com).

I would love to connect. xox

Know your Machine


Know your Machine

Join me for this exploration of the complexity of your machine, how to navigate, and what verbiage shifts will support the process.

There is a lot more to our actions than what appears on the surface. We are driven by our habits, experience, intentions, assumptions, beliefs, and chemical makeup. I can easily confuse myself when I allow my wheels to wildly spin, second-guessing, and playing devil's advocate as I decide what actions to take and what direction to head in. And when I act from emotions, or react to stress, or make decisions when I am unsettled, I witness the dysfunction that arises when I operate from impulse rather than respond with deliberate and conscious discernment.

I struggled for years trying to learn how to trust my "gut." I still need to pause and test out whether I am being driven by fear or am being guided by something bigger than the habitual buzz of mind-chatter. 

What is intuition? Do we have a connection to a higher power or higher self that offers hints, feelings, or guidance? How is this different from our mind-chatter? Which voice do we listen to?

I have struggled with these questions for a while now. I grew up with a self-sabotage self-talk habit, and often was drawn to act and speak in ways that harmed myself or others. My intuition, if there is such a thing, was lost behind the loud chaos in my mind. I went from being a confident and courageous girl into a fearful and depressed teenager. My un-becoming into adulthood has been a process of re-finding my voice, and learning how to harness my power, passion, and trust, to create a direction of intention and purpose. 

What began as strategic goals and challenges, morphed into intentional living with a flow and trust in my own inner-knowing. But how did I get to this place? What have I learned? How can you find your unique intuitive knowing versus getting trapped in the mind-chatter?

A good place to start

Heuristics

In Daniel Kahneman’s book "Thinking, Fast and Slow", he educates us on the power of heuristics. Heuristics are short-cuts in our mental search for understanding, and can often be misunderstood as intuition, or objective truth. Kahneman says, “the technical definition of a heuristic is a simple procedure that helps find adequate, though often imperfect, answers to difficult questions. The word comes from the same root as ‘eureka’.”

One of the most common is the Availability Heuristic, which is the reliance on information that comes to mind with ease when contemplating a topic or decision. Because of a recent experience, strongly charged past experience or a story you have heard, the way you perceive things will be colored and filtered through what examples come readily to your mind.

For example, as you think about what to eat for lunch, your mind will generate ideas based on what you have eaten recently and what is readily available in the fridge. Or, when you are deciding whether to sign up for a self-development course that will be an investment of time and money, part of your decision process will be based on your most recent experience with investments, time commitments, and registered courses. Although these experiences might have nothing to do with what your mind and body actually needs, it will skew your perception of what you consider to be important and relevant facts. Basically, we learn from our limited experience, so the examples we come up with will be aligned with what we know, which is not always the same as what is "true" or what is needed. Common sense right?

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Kahneman says, “My intuitive impression could be due entirely to journalists’ choices of topics and to my reliance on the availability heuristic…The situation has provided a cue; this cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition.”

There are also Affect Heuristics, “…where judgements and decisions are guided directly by feelings of liking and disliking, with little deliberation or reasoning” (Kahneman). How often have you made a decision based on a feeling of repulsion or attraction without a reasonable explanation either way? I know I have. We don’t like feeling uncomfortable or uncertain. But the reality of our existence is that there is a lot of uncertainty.

For example, a few days ago I was invited to go to the movie theater with some of my siblings and my mom. I became overwhelmed with anxiety when I considered meeting up for this movie date. Had I simply reacted from that sensation, I would have either refused the invitation and struggled with guilt and confusion, or I would have shown up steeped in anxiety and surely would have experienced a stressful situation. But I have learned that my physiology is constantly reacting to various stimuli, and my basic affect is not necessarily aligned with reality. So I sat with the sensation. I tracked the anxiety and noticed the fluttering in my chest. It then began to increase and rise up into my throat, and I had a few moments of noticing extreme tension in my throat. I stayed with it and kept breathing, holding space for the sensation. And within a few moments, it completely subsided, leaving me in an open and neutral state. It was at that point that I was able to check in with myself and make a decision aligned with what I truly desire rather than what I have been habituated into feeling based on past experiences.

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What I truly want is connection, healthy relationships with my family members, and the ability to lead by example in positive and powerful ways. So I accepted the invitation and was able to show up and be with my family with presence and acceptance. Had I ignored, avoided, or made that initial sensation of anxiety mean something more than simple physiological reactions based on my past, I would have missed out on a beautiful opportunity to continue retraining my relationship with those I love most.

We are inundated with sensation and stimuli every second. And while some things feel good as they come with bursts of happy chemicals, as soon as our happy chemicals simmer down, we are back into a state of searching for threats to our existence. Although this is not happening consciously, we feel the uneasiness that this search creates and we often look to explain it by our immediate surroundings or upcoming decisions or use the “ego” as an immediate scapegoat (more on that below).

Another shortcut in our thinking comes in the form of Intuitive Heuristics, which occur “…when faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution” (Kahneman). For example, how often have you broken down a big decision into a list of pros and cons? We look to the parts that make up the big decision as a way to avoid the enormity of the decision as it is. We try so hard to make the “right choice” and will do everything within our power to analyze and look at the many factors. At the end of the day, the “right choice” is the one that provides more space, energy and opportunity, and that really is a matter of perspective and mindset.

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My understanding of intuition is that it is guidance from what we have learned in past experiences, which is why it can lead us astray. Here is an anecdotal example: perhaps when you were younger your house was broken into while you were home. You saw the burglar, dressed all in black and face covered with a ski mask. Perhaps they saw you and ran off, leaving you terrified and scarred from this alarming experience. Whether you consciously realize or not, you may have "learned" that when you are alone, you are not safe. Or, perhaps people dressed all in black, or someone wearing a ski mask, is not to be trusted. So let’s say, ten years later, you meet a new potential business partner and not only are they dressed all in black, but you see a framed picture on the wall of this person at the ski hill wearing - you guessed it - a ski mask. Now, alarms might go off in your head, and because you don't remember the burglar incident - or you never consciously made the connection - your gut will do a flip and you might assume this is your intuition telling you to beware of this person. After more investigation, perhaps this person does end up being a poor choice for collaboration. So, do we call this a coincidence, serendipity, intuition, or a self-fulfilling prophecy? It’s all a matter of perspective and you will believe whatever aligns with your perspective on life.

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As you can see, we are complex creatures with complex minds. What I suggest, and personally subscribe to, "don't believe everything you think." Acknowledge your thoughts and emotions, but be wary of attaching or being swept away by the moment at hand. I view these intuitive musings and feelings as tools for exploration and discovery. It is a whisper to dig deeper, to stay open, to dance with the moment and play with possibilities. Intuition feels like flow, rhythm, and trust. It is not a magical flashlight that shines only on facts and objective truths. Nothing of value is that simple or stagnant. Intuition shines on the questions we should be asking, not the answers.

When we can create a state of calm, openness, and receptivity to our surroundings, we foster an inner-environment that can calculate decisions with ease, grounded in our direction of choice. This is why I find it so helpful to have clear goals, an intention for the day, and questions that I am curious to investigate. I view this as fuel for my intuitive heuristic power. I know I have insight and inspiration within me, and when I get out of my own way and embrace the uncertainty of life, these moments of creative genius seem to flow in with much greater consistency. And the more I clear out past traumas and see the patterns that are obstructing my growth, the more pure (and grounded in what I desire versus what I have experienced) my intuition becomes.

Elizabeth Gilbert speaks to our creative powers in her book Big Magic. She says, “we are all walking repositories of buried treasure.” When we can live our life driven by curiosity, rather than fear, we embody openness and discovery versus stagnancy and resistance. Intuition is found when we let go of our need for perfection. When we let the mess of trial and error be an important part of the process, we have more energy and awareness to notice opportunities.

I believe that to tap into a fluidity and inspiration of intuition, we must acknowledge how our habits and fear try to rule us. I do not trust the first thought that comes into my mind. I play with it. I converse with it. I ask myself questions that help me understand where I have been and what I am working towards. I talk it through with people I trust. I write about it. And after all of that, then I am ready to have an opinion or make a big decision. But when there is no time for investigation, I let my heuristical power take the lead and I acknowledge it for what it is. In the end, I am doing the best that I can, and that is all that matters. 

System 1 and System 2

Relying on heuristics is not necessarily a bad way to operate. On the contrary, we save a lot of energy as heuristics are efficient in their problem solving skills. However, we also have the option to slow down and think things through more pragmatically and thoughtfully. Kahneman refers to these two Thinking Systems as System 1 and System 2. Upon further evaluation, it becomes clear that these two systems line up nicely with Jonathan Haidt’s Elephant and Rider metaphor, from his book "The Happiness Hypothesis".

System 1 is like the Elephant, also known as the reptilian brain and emotional brain. This system behaves instinctively, pulling information from experience and immediate surroundings to make decisions based on habit, survival and emotion. This system is always the first to react and houses enough strength to gain your attention regardless of whatever else is going on.

System 1 is the combination of the brainstem and the limbic system. The brainstem is the first to develop in our evolution, and it is where we gain our basic life functioning. As well, it is where we house the traumas too painful to be stored and remembered - not remembered but still in our system and effecting our body-budget (energy). This is also the home of the Autonomic Nervous System (Sympathetic NS - Fight or Flight; and Parasympathetic NS - Rest & Digest), which is our survival mechanisms. The cerebellum is part of the unconscious system, and is referred to as a "cook" because it takes in stimuli from above (conscious thought and deliberate action) or below (impulses and instinctive reactions) and discerns what is the relevant information to protect and prolong your survival - and discards the rest.

Second to develop after the brainstem, is the limbic system; the chemical and emotional brain. It is here that emotion is mediated, feelings surface, memory is stored, and habits are kept. While a lot is happening in the subconscious - approximately 40 million nerve impulses per second - there is no language here. It is all chemicals and feelings.

Our emotions are produced through the amygdala which works with the hippocampus, deciphering the cocktail of chemicals, predictions, and past experiences through external perceptions and internal thoughts.

System 2 is like the Rider; the Neocortex. It is deeply influenced by System 1 (the Elephant), but it also has the ability to slow down, assess the situation, and make a decision based on goals, delayed gratification and reason.

Sweet sweet consciousness. It is here we develop our SELF TALK; which is the breeding ground for our perceived identity, the inner-judge, the analyzer, our ability to express ourselves out loud as well as narrate our daily living. The neocortex is what makes us human above all other animals - the ability to plan, make decisions outside of habit, pay attention with discernment, express our creativity, and see choice and purpose beyond instant gratification.

All self-talk comes from our current programming. Our narrator is constantly assessing, telling stories and making meaning through aversions and pleasure, prediction and prediction-error, experience, family history, expectations and beliefs, attitudes, habits, needs, desires, and subconscious characters. This narrator works like a human Rider on top of a 6-ton Elephant.

Kahneman says, “When System 2 is otherwise engaged, we will believe almost anything. System 1 is gullible and biased to believe, System 2 is in charge of doubting and unbelieving, but System 2 is sometimes busy, and often lazy.” And a side note here, “lazy” is more a sign of disembodiment and brain shutdown due to overwhelm and exhaustion.

“Mental activity creates brain firing as much as brain firing creates mental activity”. 

The first time I read this quote by Daniel Siegal (Mindsight), I stopped and re-read it about a dozen times. Siegal’s quote highlights the complex and intriguing nature of the brain: we are not simply reacting to our environment and we are not simply reacting to what we feed our brain through thoughts and actions. We are influenced top-down and bottom-up.

A new approach without the EGO

All of this prelude is to set us up for a new understanding and relationship with the all-too-common and outdated concept of the EGO.

“Knots untie once you detach from the stories, assumptions, and ego-panic that our compulsions or sensations bring to the surface” Daniel Siegal, Mindsight

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What is this elusive “ego” that has been in stories in my mind for so many years? I hear about it daily in the way others describe their own and others behavior. Sometimes alter-ego, or the sneaky ego, or the spiritualized ego, ego dissolution, or the finger-pointing at the egostiscital person…we use “ego” to describe certain behavior - or perhaps blame - our own and others deviant, self-indulgent, boastful or “selfish” [another term that needs re-thinking and reclaiming] character traits.

But what does it do to us when we use this ego-concept in so much of our analysis of patterns and habits? What is a more complex yet aligned way of thinking? I’ll tell you what I am discovering.

Rather than pointing at or blaming the ego in ourselves or in others, or claiming the ego as real in general, I invite you to instead see the natural impulses of self-gratification or the aversion to what makes you uncomfortable as the Elephant seeking happy chemicals. This is not some archetypal character that you must overcome or be wary of, it is simply a malnourished “Elephant” seeking what feels good and avoiding what feels “bad”. And the more you nourish your mind and body, take care of your nervous system, and practice slowing down to cultivate that pause between reaction and response, the more control you have in how you show up and how you consistently feel. By alluding to this “ego” we are personifying our lack of balance as something we can’t control. You have way more power and control than you realize.

I hope this process has illuminated the complex and powerful machine you have the privilege of exploring and navigating. And next time someone says, “let go of the ego", I invite you to offer instead “there is no such thing as an ego, that is a cultural echo that is outdated. What you are noticing is a malnourished Elephant that needs love and attention.”

While it is vital that you focus on feeding your mind and body the nourishment it needs, it is just as vital to take time daily to calm your nervous system, unravel the habits and knots that you have inherited or repeated into habits, and create space for the pause so you can witness your impulsive and compulsive nature as a practice field for learning and growing into who you truly desire to be.

I leave you with these wise words from @samarakate on instagram:


"When the mind rapidly fluctuates it causes us to disconnect from the beat of our inner rhythm. A distortion of our inner hum. A disconnection from the rhythm of the cosmos. The channel between the heart and mind becomes twisted and we live from the static fuzziness of the mind where nothing is clear. Anxiety, stress, fear, holds over your way of being and creates a distorted life. Your rhythm is found in the present moment, within the waves of your breath, mindful movement, creativity, and the dance of balance.”

Keep up the bountiful work of cultivating the pause. Future you is applauding present you. It’s worth it. xoxox

How to overcome obsessive thoughts

How to overcome obsessive thoughts

February is Psychology Month, and it kicks of with Eating Disorder Awareness Week. What better way to highlight this focus than to shine the light of our awareness on what gets in the way of our progress: our habits of self-talk.

What do you need to know?

We can only talk to ourselves from our current programming, which is why it’s nearly impossible to talk ourselves out of a mental struggle: we’re using the same framework that caused the problem in the first place. As Michael Singer says, “the problem is not the problem, it is our relationship to the problem that is the problem.” Whether you are stuck in self-sabotage, self-defeat, lethargy, self-harm, or a toxic relationship with food, the first step to overcoming is to slow down and listen to how you’re communicating with yourself.

Self-Observation versus Self-Analyzing

Get curious about how your body is reacting and what happens right before the obsessive thoughts take over. When your body is in distress, your thoughts will often match that state. Get off that emotional roller coaster: take a few deep breaths and think back to when and where you feel dis-ease and ease in your mind and body. Develop language to describe it; in other words, “name it to tame it.”

Once you’ve created some space and conserved some energy by quietly witnessing your reactions rather than jumping into problem-solving or self-defeat, you can take steps to calm your nervous system down.

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Some reflection questions:

What changes do you notice in your body as you experience obsessive thoughts?

What sensations accompany these thoughts?

What are you making these thoughts mean?

What is a new perspective to try on here?

Acknowledge that your thoughts are habits and not objective truth

Here’s one of my most effective go-to reminders: 95% of what you think today, you also thought yesterday. Just because your thoughts are familiar and habitual, it doesn’t mean they’re true. Maybe they have little bits of truth to them, but they don’t reflect the whole, complex, expansive truth.

Bring some non-duality into your thoughts by reflecting on past struggles and acknowledging how the darkness has brought you more light. Look at the ways your toughest moments taught you strength and resilience. When we teach ourselves to find purpose and growth in our struggles, we can learn to accept and even welcome where we are, rather than shaming ourselves for being there.

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Reflection questions:

What am I learning from this experience?

What have my darkest moments taught me?

What are some new thoughts and reminders I can repeat until they become new habits?

Nourish your whole self

Sometimes, our racing thoughts signal that we are lacking some basic nourishment that our mind and body need to function at their best. Imagine that your habits are a 6-ton Elephant, and you’re trying to direct where the Elephant’s going. A malnourished (or hangry) elephant is not an easy partner to work with.

We all know that it’s vital to nourish our body with sleep, movement, fresh air, balanced nutrition and intuitive eating. It’s just as vital to tend to your mental and emotional body with self-inquiry, playfulness, and peace. Obsessive thoughts don't have much space to grow and flourish when you’re focused on feeding your mind and body what they need.

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In conclusion, what you resist, persists, and what you love and embrace, can heal and release. To give your thinking mind a break, get into your body and track sensation. And remember, any self-talk that plays out while you are in a “low-vibration” state is not worth listening to. There is nothing you can say to yourself to talk yourself out of the darkness. The space and healing resides outside the thinking mind, so get into your breath, into your body, into nature, and out of the routines that are not serving you.

I would love to hear your thoughts once you give this a try xoxo

dope(a)me turns 4

February 1 marks the end of year three, and the stepping into year four of my business. It’s been a wild ride with lots of learning, falling, growing, adapting and evolving. Just pause here while I do a quick fist pump.

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For the past few weeks, knowing this milestone is approaching, I have been contemplating what fun and creative ways I can celebrate. I have landed on what feels like the perfect way for me to express my gratitude for this life, this business, and all of the people that have supported me along the way. The gift of giving back!

I came across Goodpin a couple of years ago when my good friend Lucy Dunne shared with me that one of her goals is to donate 1 million dollars to charity. Completely amazed and enthralled by her passion for giving back, I was intrigued to hear about the ease at which she was making this happen through the platform called Goodpin. Lucy set up a system where she could send money to clients with a link that made it easy for anyone to choose a charity of their choice and send that money with one click of a button.

As I sat with my own interest in participating in this platform, I started thinking about my own history of imperfections and the many times in my youth and adolescence where I took what wasn’t mine. I had an epiphany: I think Heaven and Hell are a self-made experience that is the accumulation of all choices and actions in your life. As I think about how I want to feel on my death-bed, what kind of life do I want to have the privilege of reflecting upon, what kind of memories and connections do I want to foster for myself, who do I want to be…I know that giving back to others and encouraging generosity and thoughtfulness are traits that I want more of.

So as I head into year four of dope(a)me, I have registered for Goodpin, and I am so excited for the ease at which I can donate money to people around me so that they can donate to the charities that matter the most to them. Goodpin is helping me strengthen the muscles of giving back, the neural pathways towards generosity, and the habits of community support. When I am on my deathbed reflecting on my life, I will not be jaded by the few instances of poor judgement and greed, because I will have many many more memories of good-will, heart-felt connections, and generosity, and I will have Goodpin to thank for making it fun and easy to do so.

Each month, I will announce a different class or workshop on my schedule that I will randomly choose one participant to donate $50 to. That person will be sent an email with $50 and a link through Goodpin to donate to a charity of their own choosing.

This month, I am donating twice as my way of kicking off year four! One participant at the Flow + Arrow retreat will be selected, as well as one participant in my Yoga Nidra class on Thursday (at 12:10pm) February 7 at Yoga Nova Studio.

Year four here we go!!

Reach out with questions or comments. I would love to hear your favorite creative ways of celebrating your milestones ;).

xo Marin

How to Shift your Mental Health in ONE DAY!

5 tips to strengthen your Mental Health today!

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I heard recently, we get as much stimulation in one week as a caveman - or cave woman - would take in during their entire life span. Stop and think about that for a moment. Whether you are an outlier or not, this startling statistic highlights the insane amount of stimulation we are ingesting on a daily basis in a brain that was built and evolved from the cavemen days.

Noise in the brain is like stress in the body - and too much of anything is not a good thing. I am fascinated with the pursuit of finding more ways to let go of distraction so that I can enjoy being still, rest in the space between thoughts and breath, be with myself and with the moment, and ultimately, be with the way things are. Otherwise we are just running from one thing to the next, distracting ourselves, and falling for the misconception that the happiness we seek or the peace we desire is waiting at some destination down our path. When we are constantly riding the surface-level chemical high, we never really get to our depth. You get external validation, you feel good today and then all-of-a-sudden, you’re down in the depths of despair the next moment. That is exhausting and that is how most of us live.


In honor of Bell Let’s Talk and the many mental health campaigns and events [Flow + Arrow Day Retreat] & [Evolve - yoga nidra + cello] at this time of year, let’s press pause on the roller coaster and land on some simple ideas of how we can strengthen our mental health today.

1 - Connect with yourself

It only takes 6 mindful full body breaths to completely shift your state from anxious or (on the other end of the spectrum) lethargic, into a state of groundedness and flow. Our “tunnel vision” or narrowed perspective is generally connected to Beta Brain waves - which are a bit frantic. When we slow down, get into our bodies by noticing our breath and following the expansion of the inhale and deflation of the exhale, we change our brain waves, which calms our heart rhythm, which expands our perspective and allows us to see bigger picture once again. This simple act of slowing down to truly connect with who you are now, is the most powerful thing you can do to shift your state in a moment.

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2 - Get your body moving

We are built to move. Don’t get stuck on the idea that you need to workout in the gym everyday for an hour or that your movement needs to include a pool of sweat on the floor. Sure that is great for you, but even more so, we need to honor our bodies need to move as a lifestyle. Throughout your day, listen to what you body needs and offer yourself movement that feels good. Simple stretches, neck rolls, lunges, a few squats here and there, posture check-ins, spine twists, forward folds, get outside and go for a walk, stand on your sidewalk or porch and do a few sun salutations with your breath leading your movements, take the stairs, and sit on the floor to encourage yourself to keep moving rather than melting into the couch.

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3 - Before you eat...stop, breathe, take a big sniff, then eat

Mindful Eating is one of the most powerful practices I have incorporated into my daily routine. Growing up as the middle child of seven kids, I developed a habit of eating fast and not slowing down until there was no food left on the table. I also had an eating disorder for many years and used food to escape, numb, mimic pleasure, celebrate, console…to name a few angles to my unhealthy relationship with food. These habits started well-intentioned, comforting me in a time of need, but clearly does not serve me as an adult who would love time and energy for other things.

What I learned? The simple pause to smell my food before I take a sip of my yummy coffee or take the first bite of my food is all it takes to change my food experience. Pause, take a deep breath in and out, then take a big smell of your food and notice your salivary glands light up. The process of digestion and absorption is now ready, so dig in! Put down your fork or spoon occasionally, and just chew and enjoy. Notice how the food feels in your body.

Intuitive and mindful eating will direct you towards the foods that feel good and you will notice more readily when you eat something that might not be what your body needs or wants at this phase of your life.

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4 - Do something for someone else
One of the best ways we can get out of our head or struggles, is to focus on serving others. Big or small; these are random acts of kindness, compassionate gestures, love letters, positive feedback, celebratory acknowledgements, offers of support, a high five, a big hug, a patient listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on. Simply put, see love in others. When we focus our attention on others and look for ways to lighten the load or brighten someone’s day, suddenly our own struggles don’t feel as big. You’re system is built to respond positively to social bonds and loving companionship: we get a juicy boost of happy chemicals when we foster loving connections to those around us.

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“It is our hypocrisy and self-focus that drains us. When we become purpose-centered, internally directed, other-focused, and externally open, we discover energy we didn’t know we had.” - Robert E Quinn

5 - Develop an evening routine to support your sleep hygiene
One of our basic needs is sleep - I know, easier said than done. While it may take a few tries to land on an evening routine that supports your sleep habits, it is definitely worth the time and effort. Here are some simple things to try tonight….

  • Decide what time you will plug in your phone and keep it out of your hands for the rest of the evening

  • Before you shut down and head to bed, get down on the floor (with the tv on or your family nearby) and move slowly through some hip and shoulder stretches while consciously slowing and deepening your breath

  • Have a warm shower or bath

  • Pull out a notebook and write out three things you’re grateful for, three things you’re proud of, and what you need to release and allow tomorrow-you to handle

  • Once in bed, oscillate your head slowly side to side - as if you are rocking your brain in the cradle of the fluid in your skull

  • If/when your thoughts about the day begin to roll through your mind, rest easy knowing this is an important part of your brain hygiene. Your mind naturally reflects and integrates the day so that it can begin the long and short term storage process that happens over night. So don’t fight it, just notice it. Keep guiding your attention back to your breath and the feeling of you body laying in bed

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I hope you take some time to implement and practice these steps. Your mental health is a product of what you do and think about all day long. Change up some patterns and routines and you will notice a huge change in your mental health strength.

Interested in learning more and experiencing mental health strength training in person??

Check out the Evolve Retreat Co day of wellness on February 2 & the Yoga Nidra & Cello evening practice

Join Lucy Dunne and I at Flow + Arrow day retreat, on February 9

Movement & Motivation with Marin and Tommy Europe on May 28

Thanks for reading! Reach out if you have questions or requests for resources or support xox

Two inquiries that can expand your Consciousness - Death and Cannabis

In honor of Mental Health Awareness, I am compelled to continue sharing openly and honestly about where I have been, but even more so, what I did to practice my way into a healthy and balanced state. A huge part of recovering from mental health struggles is a practice of getting out of your thinking mind and finding ways to expand your consciousness; see new perspectives; find rest and pause rather than being consumed by thoughts; and learning to redirect your mind when it gets stuck in a pattern that isn’t serving your highest good.

Two of the most expansive practices I have cultivated are: Daily inquiry on Death and the intentional use of Cannabis.

Below is a short snippet from an interview I had with Stephanie Nygren. I met Steph in yoga training and she now works for the Inspired Yoga Institute. IYI is absolutely amazing, which is why I took my 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher training with them. I am now a part of their faculty as I provide a workshop for each training focused on goal setting and how to cultivate the mindset that allows you to achieve your goals while also landing in contentment and peace right now. In other words, how to embrace where you are now while also working for what you desire.

I will add the link to the full interview once it is published on the IYI website.



Marin shares her University experience dealing with depression as a Philosophy major…

Being at UofA and struggling with self-harm and depression, you know I had everything I thought I needed but I was still in the same state {of depression} and it really sent me in a dark direction. I had my existential crisis at that point and philosophy is part of what pushed me into an existential crisis, but it also is what saved me. I just connected so deeply with a few philosophers, I envisioned in my head that they went through the same thing. I started to really relate to these philosophers who were so driven to understand life and wanted to dive into what is happiness. When I had that existential crisis, I felt like I flat-lined and I couldn’t rebuild my life; everything I believed in one moment was gone. I then saw it as a beautiful opportunity to rebuild the structure. I was completely raw and naked and exposed, and I used it as an opportunity to rebuild my belief system and philosophy was the perfect thing.

I remember the first few times I ventured out to walk around, I just couldn’t stop thinking about death. Death was all-consuming, it didn’t leave my mind for at least a week. I just felt like a bug that could be smooshed at any moment, I felt so insignificant. I went from feeling like I was the centre of the universe to, I do not matter. I had to reshape my relationship with death.

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It also opened me up to this realization that it’s about your relationship with something that causes problem, it’s not the thing itself. I read the Untethered Soul around the same time or soon after and one of the things he {Michael A. Singer} says is ‘the problem is not the problem, it’s your relationship to the problem that’s the problem’ and I come back to that all the time. Any time I feel stuck or stagnant or something’s not working, I so quickly shift into, how does my perspective need to change here? As soon as I land on a new perspective that creates space, then I have everything I need to be able to problem solve or let it go or just look at it differently. I look at everything now as a relationship, no matter what I’m working on it’s what is the relationship between me and this thing?


That being said, what is your relationship to death now? How would you reframe that?

Now I think about death every single day and it makes me feel more alive. I take more chances, I don’t hold back from being on stage or being a beginner. I don’t worry about messing up. I embrace failure as something to learn from and grow from and I often will think in the moment, is this something I’m going to care about on my death-bed? If I say no, well then fuck-it, just do it. Like, why am I even going to stew in worry or in wondering? I use it all the time and it’s something I am so grateful for and curious about and I have so much humility around. I’m not cautious but I’m very conscious about what I’m doing and what I’m saying and who it’s affecting because I don’t take life for granted. I want to be on my death-bed and be like, I fucking did everything I could to make this life something.


What would your students be surprised to find out about you?


I am a daily cannabis user. It’s not a negative thing. Anything can be overdone and underdone. We can die by chugging water and we can die by not having any water. It’s about being mindful and really listening to your body and noticing when you’re using something as a distraction or as a crutch or as a numbing tool versus using it as a pure experience or as a medicinal tool so that it is actually giving you access to something instead of pulling you away from it. Yes, I have gone too far with cannabis before but I learned from it and I know it doesn’t feel good when I’m overusing it so I don’t do that.

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Do you use it as a tool for creativity or relaxation?


All of the above. I can use it simply for creativity, I can use it for de-stressing or to help me fall asleep or relax. I’ve also been experimenting with micro-dosing. It’s very common when it comes to Psilocybin or LSD. It’s been used for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or severe anxiety disorders and even depression. If you have a micro-dose, it doesn’t have psychedelic results but what they’ve discovered through different research, when people micro-dose, their brain lights up. Parts of their brain that have been dormant, suddenly there’s electrical impulses happening, like your brain comes online. It’s actually healing people from severe trauma, waking their brain up, giving them new perspective, giving them a new chance at life, new pathways. That’s the way I look at cannabis. I micro-dose so that my brain starts firing in different ways. It’s not to make me zone out or disconnect because that doesn’t feel good. I want to be engaging in things that bring me more intimately into my experience and connect more with people.


Thoughts? Questions? Inquiries? Hit me up! xoxox

Social Media Challenge for 2019 - update

My Social Media Challenge for 2019 - Retrain the Relationship

It has been an interesting month playing with my new habits and relationship with social media. I am determined to find the balance where I utilize social media for connection. I want social media to feel like a service and a support, not a hindrance or an addiction.

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What is this about?

If you read my last social media post, you know that I am exploring my habits and finding ways to set boundaries and support myself into a healthier relationship - specifically with instagram. SO what have I done? I delete the instagram app right after I use it. I only install it if I have something purposeful and intentional to share, and then I must connect with at least one person before I delete it again. This prevents me from scrolling aimlessly or thinking throughout the day about the perfect picture or what I could say about anything happening throughout the day.

One of the most fascinating - and frightening - realizations is that when my mind wanders, it often wanders into a visual of scrolling through instagram! I recall pictures and posts that I have seen in the past. Hilarious and scary all at once. I also have noticed that I often still pause when something is striking and I think about the perfect angle for the picture or a caption that would go with it. Basically, my mind is trained for instagram.

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On the Bright Side

On the bright side, I am noticing a huge shift in my energy all ready. By letting go of the possibility to post or scroll or upload pictures throughout my day, I am left with ample space to focus on real-time connection and soak up each moment with more presence. I am noticing that I am being more thoughtful and strategic with what I want to post and when, and that is opening my mind to pay attention to my other streams of connecting and advertising my business (programs, coaching, workshops and events). For now, I am very happy with this new boundary.

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What’s Next?

Heading into February, I am committed to continue on this track, plus - the next step - I am creating a consistent weekly schedule for my social media that will allow me even more space as I get into a rhythm and template to follow rather than making things up as I go.

Let’s Connect

I would love to hear from any of you about what schedule or template or rhythm you follow with your social media connections and advertising. What works for you? What have you tried? What are you noticing in your own relationship with social media? How does that make you feel?

Anything we do can be overdone or underdone. I invite you to truly check in with yourself and ask, is social media serving me or am I serving it?

Keep up the self-inquiry and self-love my friends. xoxox




There is NO EGO

For more than a decade, I have referred to the ego, thought about the ego, looked for my own ego and pointed out various of my attributes as ego. All I can say now is that that process of self-inquiry served me for a time, but it no longer serves me. I am here to suggest that we pause and take in the possibility of removing the ego from our vocabulary.

In a Nutshell

For those interested in the bottom line, here it comes! The path I took to get there is explored after that.

We are complex. In fact, too complex for the outdated and short-sighted concept of an ego. What serves you at one point will not serve you forever. This post is my journey from important insights brought about by my ego-inquiry and how I outgrew the boundaries and restrictions the ego imposes. Perhaps you are someone who uses the term ‘ego’ in your self-observations and judgments of others, and I hope you will read through and open up to the possibility that there is a better way to understand who we truly are.

Where it all started

Over the past year I have been consistently hitting a roadblock in my ego inquiry. How do I make it fit into my ever-increasing and ever-expanding understanding of the conscious and subconscious and the greater mind and body as a whole? I found myself trying to jam the ego into other models of how the brain works that I have found to be helpful, and couldn’t make it fit.

It hadn’t occurred to me to remove the ego from my vernacular, and why would it? I am surrounded by people in the yoga and “personal development” community who - teachers, leaders and students alike - refer to the ego on a daily basis.

While in Palm Springs for New Years, in deep philosophical conversation on the relationship between consciousness and subconscious with my dad, I mentioned my struggle with defining the ego clearly and how to make it fit into my developing coaching structures. Without hesitation, my dad responded with something like: “the ego was debunked by science decades ago. Most people who continue to use the term don’t understand that; and don’t use ‘ego’ as Freud did in any event. You are hearing a cultural echo.”

Mind-blown! In an instant I felt a massive shift; a release, as I opened to a possibility that I had not considered until then. I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders and a calm feeling of truth rung deep within me. It just made so much sense. I mentioned this “new” contemplation and realization to a past client and she remarked that she actually brought this up in one of our sessions a couple of years ago and I didn’t seem open to exploring it. We both equated my resistance to the fact that at that time I was in the process of publishing my book and couldn’t hold space for that unraveling in the midst of sharing my story and my ego-contemplation with the world. I found that to be fascinating! Here I am now, ready to dig in and remove some beliefs that no longer serve me.


Retrain your EGO?

I had gone from perceiving my ego as the impulse to sabotage, compare, judge or put others down as a way to make myself feel more “right” or better-than. I had seen it as being deflated when I was hard on myself or in struggle around my own self-worth. I saw it as something that takes over when I have the urge to be boastful in any “look at me” kind of way. It was a successful point of inquiry as it supported me in cultivating the pause; that choice-point moment between impulsive reaction and deliberate response. I saw it fitting in the structure of the mind as a venn diagram; an overlap between subconscious and conscious, because it housed strong impulsive feelings, as well as manifesting in self-talk.

A balanced EGO?

I then began contemplating what a healthy and balanced ego looks like. Nothing is all bad or all good, and shaming the ego as the uncontrollable animal or over-protective body-guard within us did not leave room for growth. As the ego is described, it seemed to be necessary for our human experience, which means it is not to be killed off or destroyed, but rather it was in need of a tune-up and a shift in relationship.

And so along that route I went for a while, contemplating a healthy and balanced ego. But what does that look like? What does that mean? A healthy and balanced ego, I thought, could be a state where impulse for indulgent desire or instant gratification no longer ran the show. Perhaps a relationship with self that is so grounded and loving that the “ego” still rattled with desire yet also got on board with higher levels of living and being. For example, I thought, an ego could feel rewarded and satisfied when impulse and compulsions quieted and a clear path towards good-choices became the yellow brick road. This line of thinking felt like a worthwhile pursuit for a while.

Too complex for the EGO

However, I ran into problems with referring to the ego as if it is a character within us, separate from all other characters we tend to notice. What started as a simple way to be with and retrain my impulsive reactions, became the roadblock in understanding how to practice my way into balance in my mind and body.

So, consider the idea of letting go of “the ego” as an entity to be feared, shamed, or retrained in our system. Our subconscious generates our self-protection impulse. This aspect of our basic life functioning, evolved to make us feels good around whatever promotes survival and reproduction, and to shy away from anything that could potentially get in the way of the same things.

Our subconscious system works like a recording device, holding on to “life-lessons” in the form of memory that has dissolved into instinct, which keep us alive and make us attractive mates and social companions. This system is often misguided because what serves you at one point in time is not necessarily what is best or what will serve you in the future, and we are all subject to many cognitive biases.

Ideally, our conscious mind will learn about our subconscious blind spots, so that it can help us pause, and create space between reaction and response, so that our subconscious can develop new and more functional instincts. This happens as we continue to slow down, pay attention, and behave in new ways. Shaky, tentative, new thoughts and actions – imagine Bambi learning to walk - eventually stabilize into smooth, powerful behaviors as new neural pathways form that are consistent with our expanding consciousness. In this way, as we become more self-aware and better understand how the world around us works, our brains literally change and we become new beings. I believe that the many powerful religious and cultural representations of personal rebirth refer to nothing more, or less, than this real miracle of self-renewal.

One of the things that I find most fascinating about this process starts with the observation that what served to protect us at the age of 4 is not what will necessarily be in our best interest at age 40. However, until the tedious brain re-wiring project I just described has played out to a successful conclusion, our subconscious will continue to urge us to do what we’ve always done regardless of your conscious mind knowing better.

Try on a New Perspective

So it’s not EGO that urges us to be boastful. This is a deeply ingrained impulse connected to our need to be seen and positively acknowledged, as while our brains evolved, this was essential to our survival and propagation. And it is not your deflated EGO that pulls us into cowering or holding back from opportunity. Rather, this is our subconscious system that has either dipped into hypoarousal or has built a habit of holding back. It’s all habit. It’s all programming.

There is no ego. There is no fragmented version of us that fits the ego mold. Scientific research that became possible long after Freud did his work has made it clear that we are far more complex than Freud’s ego based model of how our minds work. It is fair to say that brains work like small social groups, in which a network of vastly different characters argue, debate and cajole each other to behave as they wish the group (metaphorically, the individual within which this is occurring) to behave. Our genes, history and beliefs all show up in these characters - the judge; the critic; the child; the saboteur; the victim; the prostitute; the fear mongerer; the calm sage; the believer in magic; the bully – to name a few of the possibilities.

Conclusion

So what? Why does this matter? My hope is that you will use this as an opportunity to slow down and check in with how you use the concept of the EGO to understand your - and others - behavior. Without blaming the ego or shaming the ego, we are left with a possibility to see what is habit, what is fear, and what subconscious character is taking the wheel. Perhaps it will support you in pausing and looking at where you are lacking nourishment rather than falling into shame or frustration. When we are nourished and grounded, we have the space and energy to show up as we truly desire, rather than being steered towards habit or the various actions our subconscious has learned as protecting and prolonging our survival. It’s all habit, and with awareness, effort and surrender, we can change what no longer serves us. Happy trail blazing ;).

Mindfulness and Meditation

”Most of our conscious brain is dedicated to focusing on the outside world: getting along with others and making plans for the future. However, that does not help us manage ourselves. Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going on inside ourselves” -The Body Keeps the Score

I have noticed a lack of clarity in describing the difference between mindfulness and meditation, especially because I have heard them combined as Mindful Meditation - which I didn’t realize was confusing until I tried to describe what it is and how it is different than traditional meditation. This blog post serves as an exploration to define the boundaries of both and what it means when you combine Mindfulness and Meditation together.

Mindfulness:

"Just let yourself feel what you feel in the present moment, without fearing it, without making it mean something about your worth or value, without making it wrong, and witness the peace appear. "Daniel Siegal

Mindfulness is a practice of bringing compassionate attention to experiences, movements, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment. Mindfulness is the antidote to our human tendency to get lost in doing, stuck in auto-pilot, which directs us towards an unsatisfying cycle of needing more of everything and anything to feel good. Mindfulness is waking up and taking the steering wheel with our loving attention. We can practice mindfulness by maintaining a moment by moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings bodily sensations and surrounding environment. Any routine activity can be made into a mindful practice if you bring your full attention to it. A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Get into your body and into your experience.  Observe without judgement. Notice your patterns of thought and action without falling into shame or the illusion that you “should” be somewhere or someone that you are not.

“When we are not taken over by our thoughts and feelings, we can become clearer in our internal world as well as more receptive to the inner world of another" Daniel Siegal

Meditation:

“Consciousness has the ability to do what is called “focus”...The essence of consciousness is awareness, and awareness has the ability to become more aware of one thing and less aware of something else” Micheal Singer

It is my understanding that meditation is what comes after the practice of mindfulness. You get to a point where you have trained your mind to focus, and to be able to stay with sensation and notice thoughts without jumping into reaction. It is from this sense of control, a sense of separation from emotions and the human desires and aversions, that we are able to access a deep peace and contentment that is an outcome of meditation. Meditation connects us with our expansiveness. It is a state of acceptance and flow, where our thoughts become distant and we are enveloped with stillness and, eventually, silence.

"Just let yourself feel what you feel in the present moment, without fearing it, without making it mean something about your worth or value, without making it wrong, and witness the peace appear. "Daniel Siegal

Mindful Meditation:

Is this term even necessary in our vernacular? To meditate is already a mindful practice, as it takes focus and the light of your awareness shining on the object of your meditation; whether that be your breath, a mantra, or any other curiosity or healing focus you have.

For me, an even more clear path here is developing the practice described as Mindful Embodiment. A process of being with sensation, tracking it, witnessing it rise and fall, while holding loving space in your body and limiting distraction and conserving energy by being still and focusing your gaze inwards.

If you are new to the world of mindfulness and meditation, start with some mindfulness practices. Develop your ability to focus. Shift into 30 seconds of meditation per day, with a focus on breath and noticing what it feels like as your Nervous System calms and your mind expands. A slow build, with consistent effort, and you will soon have a new habit that will support you mental health, your physical health, and give you access to the depths of who you are.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this inquiry, and any insights or resources that have served your own curiosity on this topic.

Bye for now xo

What you can expect from me this year

Here we are, a couple days into 2019 and full of possibility. I have spent the past few days in Palm Springs with my dad and step-mom, and their two lovely friends. It has been an opportunity for me to slow down, engage in thoughtful, fun, and intelligent conversation, and ultimately, spend quality time with my dad.

When I was an athlete in my teens, my dad and I spent countless hours together on road-trips and in the gym, prepping and debriefing games and practices, and diving deep into philosophy, psychology and anything else he was curious about and learning. I cherished that time with him. And now, 15 years later, we have had that quality time again, meaning just him and I for a full day or two, getting into the 2.0 version of those same conversations. It has been extremely beneficial for me to have such a strong and insightful sounding board to hear my ideas and inquiries and add his vast knowledge into the mix.

On our road trip to Joshua Tree yesterday, one of the projects I brought to him in discussion was my blogging, and how I want to set that up to ensure it is quality and impactful - for me and whoever decides to read along. This segwayed into my current inquiry around social media, and how - similar to food - balanced and purposeful creation and consumption is an important part of the healthy equation. As I am so aware of my own seemingly addictive relationship to my Instagram app, I do not want to keep that journey to myself and blindly add to the problem that I have heard so many voice about.

In fact, I am on the hunt right now for some kind of “parental control” app that I can use to block myself from getting on social media platforms at certain times in the day. On several occasions, I have set the goal with boundaries and parameters to limit my time mindlessly scrolling, yet, within a few days, am back to the same habit of tapping on that app as soon as I have a moment of stillness.

For me, social media can be an amazing platform for connection and inspiration, and it can also be a tool of distraction and disconnection. I want more of the first and less of the latter. How about you?

So, this is what you can expect from me this year, a series of blog posts detailing my journey of retraining my relationship with social media. And I would love to have you join me in this exploration. I want to hear what works for you! I want to hear where you struggle the most in this disconnected yet vastly over-connected world. Each month I will have a new topic to tackle, as I share what I have been doing and practicing, and invite you to reflect, play and practice, and share your learnings as well.

Let’s get social media in it’s place, an amazing tool of connection.

Step #1: BOUNDARIES

In the human brain, we have a brilliant capacity to think and discern beyond the impulsive reactions of our habits and animalisitic brain. But that animal part of our brain is 1 million times stronger than the part of the brain that makes us human. This is exactly why we can set goals and tell ourselves what is important and needed, yet in the moment we continue to choose what we have declared we no longer want. We need to set up parental control for our brains.

So here is what I am doing to practice.

First of all, as I previously mentioned, I will find an app that supports me in this. An app that literally blocks me from tapping mindlessly and scrolling through unnecessarily.

Second, I know it does not serve me to read through long posts on social media that give me a hit of happy chemicals but then disappear as I continue scrolling without contemplation or reflection. So I intend to lead by example and only post 3-4 times a week with short, succinct and meaningful notes. For those who want more, they can head to my website, join my newsletter, or reach out for one on one connection. Social media is no longer where I will be investing my time and energy as my main source of marketing.

Third, anytime I am on social media, I will comment/connect with at least one person. If I am scrolling through, it is with the purpose of real connection, which means, I reach out and make sure my community knows I see them and love them.

That feels like a great place to start this journey. I would love to hear your ideas and what comes up for you. Let’s keep this conversation going. xoxox

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Reflect and Manifest

Here we are. The end of 2018 creeping towards us, and another opportunity to reflect, learn, and grow. I have found myself feeling a little scattered these past few days. The fun and distractions of the holiday season coupled with my excitement and planning for the many big projects for 2019, has left me feeling a bit ungrounded. What I have learned about this feeling and state of being is that when I slow down and make sure that I am tying up loose ends and putting things to bed that are no longer needed, suddenly I have the space and energy I need for moving upwards and onwards. Not only that, but the simple act of taking time to edit/adjust your perspective to see your learnings and insights, and direct your attention towards what you truly desire, gets your whole mind and body on-board with what you want to create. Law of Attraction is not magic, it is neuroscience. Your awareness or attention is nourishment; it grows whatever it focuses on, whether it’s the weeds or the flowers. Let’s acknowledge and learn from the weeds, and spend time and attention nourishing and growing the flowers. So that is what we will do together, because it feels a lot more fun when you are not alone in the process.

happy + healthy + connected

Pull out a pen and paper, or start a new word doc and let’s get crafting and manifesting!



What did your experiences in 2018 teach you? What lessons have you landed on?

2018 was a big year of studentship, healing, and trusting. I completed my 300 hr yoga TT, a Yoga Life Coaching course, Yoga Nidra training, I started teaching more variety of fitness classes, and my book Be The Change reached it’s one year anniversary of publication with just under 1000 copies out in the world! There was also a lot of mental health struggles in the close circle of family and friends around me, and I became even more motivated to be a force of mental health strength training in this world. This is the year that I officially overcame my eating disorder tendencies, as the final piece of the puzzle the VOICE IN MY HEAD, changed. I released the final bits of trauma from my past and can now reflect on my life with neutrality, no longer riddled with emotional charges.

My beautiful soulful friend  Sanja Avramovic

My beautiful soulful friend Sanja Avramovic



This year brought me closer to spirit. I can now read books that talk about GOD without cringing or crossing out the word with the replacement “universal consciousness.” I am deeply enthralled by my spiritual practices and have learned the power of stillness and softness. My word for this year was UNFOLD. It was a constant reminder to be in the practice of surrender. This intention brought me into many amazing experiences that opened my mind and body in ways I had never experienced before. I was more willing to be uncomfortable. I was ready to face the darkness and meet it with light.

My meditation practice deepened, and I recommitted to a sleep routine to ensure I was giving my body what it needs to live a long and bountiful life. I now have a depth of understanding around Morning Routines, and the many tools that can be utilized to start the day with connection and purpose. I am more motivated than ever to stay the course of this inner-work and am in love with the experiences this life is affording me.


What are you curious to learn more about in 2019?

For me, I am increasingly more fascinated with mindful embodiment and FASCIA! I have been exploring more ways of working with trauma in our bodies, and I know there is a lot in the fascial system to learn from. I have my eye on some workshops by Christine Wushke.

simplify + minimalism + peace

I also want to continue reading, writing and experiencing Nature and Mother Earth in general. Whether that takes me on hikes or serves as a simple reminder to step outside in the morning rather than stay in doors until I have to leave, the more fresh air and expansive earth and sky I witness, the better. More natural health remedies, nutrition and mindful eating. And lastly, marketing and business development. I have applied for the ATB program for entrepreneurs. Fingers crossed I get in ;)

Lastly, I have been in the practice of minimalism, in many ways, this year. I challenged myself to not buy any clothing for one year, and while I did end up buying a couple essentials (winter boots and jacket), I am proud to say that I have kept this pretty steady since March 23. This has also prompted some more curiosity around the “dream home” that I have had in mind for many years. I am starting to realize that this “dream” was planted in my mind at a young age because of what I made it mean and saw others idolizing around me. To me, the dream home was a sign of success and freedom. It was this shiny, new material item that I never questioned as something that I didn’t actually need or want. This year I have become more aware in what I actually want, and more STUFF is not on that list. So I am curious to continue exploring what I am actually working towards and to let go of any stress or worry about money because I have what I need to survive and live and travel, and this dream home I thought I wanted is slipping out of my mind and creating more space for what truly matters to me.  



Goals and aspirations.

Shout it from the rooftops and you’re more likely to make it happen!

Alright, here is where the magic happens. I am calling in the power of everyone on the path of self-actualization, expansive consciousness, and the deepening of mental health strength training, to join me in this work and hold me accountable in whatever way serves you as well.

This is the year for my business to truly take off! I am running my first group coaching program and have every intention to record and automate the program so that it can be archived and offered to absolutely anyone at anytime, whenever they want to get started. The module themes and content are aligned with how to be physically and mentally FIT for your unique contribution in the world, and I am thrilled to be in a position to deliver and facilitate this program.

team work + group coaching + stronger together

To continue my own growth and development while working as a leader, I will enroll myself in at least 3 programs/workshops this year.

I am also officially starting book #2! This has been the goal for a while, but I didn’t want to rush the process. I am now ready and am so excited to share the next phase of my development and inquiry.

flow + arrow

I am working with my wonderful friend and collaborator Lucy Dunne on our project Flow + Arrow, and we will be hosting 3-4 day long or weekend long retreats this year. Our first one is February 9 and we would LOVE to have you join us! These day long/weekend long retreats are the start of a big vision we have together, and my goal this year is to create amazing experiences that will have a substantial impact on those who attend.

I am also taking on a bigger role with Evolve Retreat Co. and BOLD Athlete, and I want to support these two companies to become the best they can be.

I am excited to be partnering up with GoodPin, and will be choosing one of my fitness classes each month to be a Charity Class. Giving back to the community and supporting the energy of charitable giving is very important to me. GoodPin is an amazing local company that makes that easy! Once a month I will donate $50 to one lucky person in attendance at my class, so that they can go onto goodpin and choose a charity to donate to.

2019 is going to be huge and I know that taking care of myself and my connections with others is going to be vital.


What’s it going to take? What is your daily commitment(s)?

In my book Be The Change, near the end, I talk about The Goal Setter Mindset. This was a big transformation in my thinking about goals, and it continues to shift as I grow and evolve. Basically, rather than obsessing about your goals or getting overwhelmed by how big they feel or far off they seem, it is best to focus on the daily steps that add up to huge change.

Now that you have some clarity in what you want to learn, create, focus on, and accomplish this year, what does that look like on a daily basis?

For me, I will stick with the template of the Goal Setter Mindset, but will change the focus or perspective of each step to serve who and where I am now.

  1. Connect: First thing in the morning, get grounded to mother earth, open to father sky, and connect with breath. Check-in with current state and energy, and discern what flavor of morning routine would serve where I am and what kind of day I have ahead of me.

connect + grounded


2. Learn: Read a few pages from a book I am working through, or re-read sections of books I have transcribed into files on my laptop, or ask and answer high quality questions to learn from my own insights and information regurgitation

learn + grow

3. Let Go: Be in the practice of creating space and tuning into neutrality. Inspired by Paul Selig’s work; repeat...“I am here. I am here. I am here. I am free. I am free. I am free.”

celebrate + let go + freedom


4. Grow: Get uncomfortable. Practice inversions, chin ups, arm balances and the splits. Get my toughest task done right away. Choose a theme that can serve those who show up for my public classes that embodies the work I am deeply curious about and inspired by. Commit to ten minutes a day of writing/working on my book!

be the change

5. Reflect: Every night, take a few minutes to check-in and discern what I need to come back to balance. Put pen to paper and organize thoughts and actions so that my mind is clear and ready for rest.

reflect + nightly routine


I would love to hear what you come up with and how these reflection questions served your own process of reflecting on 2018 and setting yourself up for 2019. We are stronger together ;)

Here is the link to my website with my workshops for 2019 so far. Let’s connect!

Upcoming Workshops

xoxox Marin

Flow and Arrow

Head to www.flowandarrow.ca to get access to some amazing new content and community events coming in 2019!

Here is our first blog post on that website:

Welcome to Flow & Arrow, your one-stop shop for physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. We know that the concepts and conversations around “mental health,” “vulnerability,” “mindfulness,” “balance,” and “personal development” have all been over-played, pushed and preached all over the place, and generally have become “buzz-words” in the commercialized self-help and happiness industry. That being said, the personal development industry is so successful because it speaks to a basic need so many of us have become intrigued and entrapped by. We are here to bring depth, connection and rebuild relationships with these vital practices in the journey towards health and wellness.

The feeling of “lack” and the struggle to find “balance” and “meaning” in our day to day lives, is an epidemic that is sending us in search of support and self-discovery. And it can be a daunting task as it takes an investment of time and money, while the results are uncertain and there are many different paths we can choose. We have been through this in our own unique ways, and have come out the other side with a passion to guide others in their journey towards wholeness. Flow & Arrow is our passion project to simplify the process for YOU while maintaining the growth trajectory we are each committed to in our own lives.

To understand the philosophy and process of Flow & Arrow, first, you need to know what you are working with. So, what do you need to know about your machine?

We evolved with a complex and wise mind and body. However, in the beginning of life, this complex system was set up to alert us to physical danger so that our reactive mindbody system could protect itself, adapt, learn, and store the lessons to influence reactions in the future. We still have this wise and magical system, but because the physical threats aren’t as frequent, it is now the psychological threats that take centre stage.

The result, for many of us, is an over-active, over-reactive, over-analytical, monkey-mind that can “know” how and why change is necessary, yet stay stuck as it is still controlled by the animalistic, powerful and impulsive system all animals share. For example, we can “know” we want to be calm, we can “know” we want to be compassionate and patient, and we can “know” what we need or should be doing for our health and wellness, yet we still don’t do it. There is a missing link between knowing and actually doing. We have developed habits that keep us on the surface level rather than exploring and knowing the depths of who we are. Some of us were taught that “feelings aren’t facts” or that “emotions are to be shunted or avoided” in order to be appropriate and easy to be around. We have lost touch with the many wise systems of our body, and too much emphasis has been placed on the thinking mind. We have become over-thinking heads detached from the wisdom of our bodies. The afflictions of a busy mind is the precursor to feelings of lack, anxiety, depression, crippling fear, self-doubt, self-loathing, lethargy, and any other diseases of the mind and body.

“We now experience the daily need to defend our self concepts rather than our bodies...Our major struggles end up being with our own inner fears, insecurities, and destructive behavior patterns, and not with outside forces...Because we have developed this hypersensitive pyshce, we constantly use our energies to close around it and protect ourselves. But this process only hides the problem” Micheal Singer.

There are three pieces to explore now….What is Flow, What is Arrow, and what is Flow & Arrow?

Flow

This is the softer side to life. Flow represents our ability to adapt, shift, and be in co-creation with our environment from a mindset of receptivity, allowing, and openness. It is stepping into the moment with your whole being; receptive, alterable, in communication with the forces inside and outside the body and mind. It is the sense of acceptance, compassion, and respect for the fragility of our in-flux existence. Flow is the result of a deep trust in yourself while maintaining a reverence for how much you do not control. It is the state where your body heals itself, your breath moves rhythmically and powerfully with ease, and your intuition and will-power can be heard and felt, as it guides you to empowered action. We practice FLOW by understanding the true depth and definition of the concept rather than the theory or the empty word. Also, with guided meditations, yoga nidra, yoga, mindfulness techniques, and an ongoing conversation in self-love, acceptance, patience, trust, and your personal form of spirituality.

Arrow

This is the fire, the determination, the grit, and the motivation for impact. Arrow represents the importance of action, hard work, and a strong sense of direction. Through unpacking and repacking our definition of discipline, we will discover the sense of freedom that arrives when we learn to stay with what is uncomfortable. Arrow will take us into goal setting, the pursuit of our deepest desires, and the dedication to our heart’s purpose and passion, as we create a roadmap to follow. We will practice the art of ARROW with physical fitness, goals, implementing daily routine, and conversations on nutrition and nourishment.

Flow & Arrow

What is Flow and Arrow? It is the pathway to overcoming the afflictions of a “busy mind” by rebuilding the relationship between your head and your heart. Together, flow and arrow represents the true dance of balance. The yin and the yang. The effort and the surrender. The expansion and the contraction. With flow and arrow, we discover the secret to sustainable growth as we find our edges and take calculated steps outside our comfort zone while knowing we have a place to recover, refuel, and learn before we expand again. This partnership of opposites is what allows us to be in pursuit of our deepest dreams and desires along with the patience and acceptance of who and where we currently are. It is the pathway to your unique balance, as we honor the vitality of fire and fuel yet also embrace the calming nature of earth and physical presence. With flow and arrow, we learn to live fully in the present moment, aware of your internal impulses yet so grounded that you can choose mindful and deliberate thoughts and actions that serve the direction you desire.

With flow and arrow you will learn how to put yourself first in a “self-full” way, as you fill the most important cup, YOURS. You will experience that heartfelt change is possible for everyone. You can retrain, reparent, reintegrate the relationship with yourself, surrounded by a supportive community of like minded people. No longer stuck in the pattern of “all or nothing,” flow and arrow teaches you how to ride the wave of emotion and sensation, to stay embodied and support yourself with high quality thoughts and actions, so that you can see the translation from “ready to do the work” to a tangible and clear path of action.

Your demanding job and full life is not in the way of your balance - your thinking mind is! Once you learn how to do the inner work, you will watch the world around you change. Welcome to Flow & Arrow.













Window of Tolerance

“Your body is welcoming you home". Read those words, close your eyes, and feel into the sensations that arise. What do you feel? What do you notice?

In the yoga nidra training I was in last week (School of Sankalpa), almost everyday, I heard our wise facilitators say, “the subconscious is always in the present.” This phrase has stuck with me. I keep coming back to it. I have been deeply engaged with the studies on the conscious and subconscious for several years. I have found huge growth by contemplating the complexity of the human system and have taken time to understand how this mind and body works. I hadn’t yet heard that phrase though - “the subconscious is always in the present.”

I had an aha moment a few days ago. The subconscious system doesn’t “learn.” It is a storage system, a recording device, and simply executes from the stimuli it is fed from moment to moment. While the conscious mind isn’t bound by time; it can be fully present, yet it can also wander, and often does. While the conscious mind can wander, and we can be aware of the wandering mind, the subconscious does not discern between reality and fiction, past or present. It simply reacts to what it is fed and feels. The subconscious system is fed stimuli from various directions, and it reacts to protect and prolong survival.

For example, while watching a scary movie, as I was last night for my Halloween celebration, as I jump or squirm or hide my eyes, my conscious mind knows I am watching a movie, but my subconscious mind simply reacts in the moment and is present to stimuli it is fed through my various senses. The subconscious reacts as if that monster is in the room, and gets your system ready to fight, flight or fucking freeze up like a fainting goat.

Our subconscious mind is at the helm approximately 95% of the time. We need to understand how this system works, especially because of its massive influence and power over our daily lives. We are being affected every moment by what has happened in the past, yet the subconscious reacts as if it is all happening right now in the present. We get a cocktail of sensations, emotions, and thoughts that can become really confusing when we get lost in the hamster wheel of reactions. Rather, imagine what’s possible when you detach from the reactive and impulsive subconscious mind and develop a deeper relationship with your pure awareness and consciousness?

The Window of Tolerance is a term and tool introduced by Daniel Siegal in his amazing book, Mindsight. We see the nature of our animal mind to avoid what is uncomfortable and push or pull us towards instant gratification, which can lead us to numb out, to get distracted, or to try to make meaning out of all the uncertainty in life. When we know this system, we can sense into it as we get activated (hyperaroused) or lethargic and depleted (hyoparoused), and rather than act out from that state, we can soften, open, and become receptive as we acknowledge the subconscious workings of the mind while honoring the wisdom of breath and surrender.

From there we can hold space for our emotions. We can be with sensations as they arise like a wave and move to their completion; giving us access to the depths of our being rather than always acting out from the surface of simple pleasure or displeasure.

From being in this practice for several months now, I have witnessed my habits and patterns change drastically. I am no longer uncomfortable in my own body. I no longer sit in judgement or dis-ease and force my mind into positivity. I am living from a depth and connection to the many layers of who I am rather than simply being on the surface of the physical body and its aesthetics. I can feel when I get uncomfortable and now stay open to receive the wave and allow it to move, bringing me in touch with my intuition and pure state of consciousness on a daily basis. I no longer fear my emotions or get confused in my feelings. the house of my being is lit up, the windows are open, the doors are unlocked, and the air of breath and joy of music flows freely without restraint or fear.

I am so inspired to be in this work and to guide and teach others how to get back into the wisdom of their body. The process is simple, not easy. And I promise, it is worth it. Get curious and open yourself up, your body is waiting to welcome you home.

xoxo

CHAKRA POP

We are made of energy. Each cell in your body is vibrating with energy, and we are attracting, dispelling, and blocking certain things in life based on our individual and unique energetic fields. There is a vast world of communication and reactions happening beneath your conscious awareness, and we are fueled and compelled to act constantly by this world. To become a more congruent, whole, and integrated person, we must experience things that allow new, healthier, more efficient linkages to be cultivated in our brain; away from the pathways that do not serve who we are, and more strength and resolve to create new pathways that do serve us. Long before modern technology and science, ancient cultures honored this energy by labeling seven main centers in the human body that housed everything that it is to be human. They called these, the Chakras.

In the ancient language sanskrit, Chakra translates to ‘wheel,’ which alludes to the spinning nature of this energy, and the importance of all seven chakra centers moving/spinning, communicating, and flowing in a balanced manner. When one center is blocked or in excess is spinning too quickly, we are out of balance and our health suffers in mind, body and spirit. This system gives us something tangible to look at when we notice these imbalances, and offers many different practices, both physical and mental, to get to know ourselves better and create balance in our body and life.

Chakra Pop is a yoga class that I have created to offer such an experience. It is an opportunity to feel the energy of each chakra, aligned with music, movements, breath, and words that will connect, cleanse and strengthen each chakra. Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or a complete novice, my goal with this class is to share the amazing philosophy that makes yoga what it is while providing a lived experience to support the shifts you desire in your life.

If you are brand new to yoga or yoga philosophy, here is a brief introduction to your Chakra system….

The FIRST chakra - Root Chakra (Muladhara - in sanskrit)

The literal translation of Muladhara means “root support.” This chakras role is to connect all of you and your energy with the Earth, aka Grounding. This is the home of safety, needs for basic survival, which includes financial and emotional security. Anything that promotes survival and generates a sense of “home frequency” is in the realm of the root chakra. And it is the most important area to check in with first, because until you tune into a sense of safety, and support the exploration of a solid foundation, nothing else matters. You will constantly be distracted and pulled towards finding safety until that sense of grounding sets in. Once you are stable, safe, and connected, you get access to your other levels of being.

The SECOND Chakra - Sacral Chakra (Svadhishana)

The translation from sanskrit means, “the place of the self.” This chakra is the wheel of creative energy and your identity as a human being within the realm of emotion, pleasure, sensuality, and your ability to adapt and flow from one moment or experience to the next without attachment or craving. Your health and vitality is deeply effected by your sacral chakra, as the intensity of emotion and addiction can create major imbalances, while a healthy relationship to sex, pleasure, flow, and emotion can be the grounds for a life full of joy and vitality.

The THIRD Chakra - Solar Plexus (Manipura)

Translated it means “lustrous gem.” This is the home of confidence (aka a healthy ego), personal power, fire and passion. A strong connection and balance in this chakra allows you to be a person of action, as you trust your self and trust the process, and are not one to be stopped by fear or self-doubt. The gut is known as a secondary brain in our body because of the intricate and complex hormones and communication systems that reside there. A healthy gut provides energy and power, while an unhealthy gut becomes an energy drainer.

The FOURTH chakra - Heart Chakra (Anahata)

The translation from sanskrit means “unhurt.” This is the home of love, compassion, and a balance between the bottom three and top three chakras. This center also represents the important balance between giving and receiving. There is immense power for health and healing in this chakra. Your heart has oxytocin receptors that literally heals past wounds and traumas when in balance. Give the people in your life permission to break your heart and trust that being open and full of compassion is the only “armor” you need.

The FIFTH Chakra - Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)

The translation from sanskrit: “very pure.” This chakra is your expression of your personal truths. Your ability to fill the space with your presence and your voice. A balanced and open throat chakra provides the clarity and ease of communication, as you trust your voice and speak non-violently, as well as patiently listen with generosity. Through conscious communication, you continually update your belief system to align with your highest-self, and you know your words vibrate with healing energy and will inspire the ears they land on.

The SIXTH chakra - Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)

From sanskrit, the translation is: “beyond wisdom.” This chakra offers wisdom that is beyond the five senses and the material world. Often explained as the “seat of the witness,” this center represents one’s ability to step off the emotional roller coaster of the ego and see the space to pause for a response rather than go with auto-pilot’s reaction. When we learn to observe ourselves, notice and witness without judgement, but rather, with curiosity and a desire for a deeper knowing, we get access to the wisdom of the third eye. The actual location of this chakra center resides in the pinecone shaped gland, called the Pineal. This gland has light receptors, which is responsible for helping you feel awake in the daytime and sleepy at night.

The SEVENTH Chakra - Crown Chakra (Sahaswara)

From sanskrit to english, this chakra means “thousand petaled.” This is the home of pure universal consciousness. While this center is where our own consciousness resides, it is also the gateway to everything above that is unseen. It can feel like bliss, or as if you are everything and nothing all at once. Being in alignment with the bottom 6 chakras will support you exponentially in experiencing the energy that is beyond the physical or beyond your own individual. It is in this chakra that the sentence, “I AM” is full and complete as it is. Beyond labels, beyond stories and limitations, this chakra connects you to the limitless and the formless.

Now that you have a familiarity with the chakra system, which one stands out to you? These provide a map for you to get to know your mind-body connection, and give you access to a cleansing and strengthening with avenues from within and from outside your body. What you need now is not going to be what you need later. This is a constant process in flux, as you tune into the subtleties of the chakra system, and skillfully learn how to assess, connect, cleanse and heal yourself on a daily basis. One step in that direction….join me at Chakra Pop (Tuesday’s 4:45pm at Liv yoga + wellness).

See you there ;)