The Post-Christmas Five Day Detox

Hello my friends ;). Let's get back into our routine of health and wellness without berating ourselves for the indulgence there may have been over the past few days (weeks?) of the Holiday season. Being around family and friends and slowing down from the hustle of work is sooo good for you. We can use that foundation and fuel and (re)-establish routine without being extreme. 

Detox does not need to be a huge restriction and it does not need to feel like punishment. I am an advocate for sustainable change and enjoyable growth, so let's detox and stabilize as we lead up to the New Year.

DAY 1: Boxing Day

  • Reduce your candy/chocolate/cake intake (reduce is the key word!!! Don't completely shut the door on treats, but be mindful to eat less of that today)
  • Get on your mat! At least 30 minutes of Yoga (youtube, self-led or get yourself to a studio that is offering a class today)
  • 15 minutes of an Ab workout (use that fuel you have ingested!)
  • JOURNAL: write about how you want to feel at the end of each day when you lay your head on your pillow. Backtrack from there and remind yourself of the actions, thoughts, and habits that will support you to create that reality on a daily basis

 

DAY 2: December 27

  • Focus on getting more Root Vegetables, Grains, and simple proteins in each meal (pay attention to portion sizes and listen to your body.)
  • Get yourself into the gym and lift weights for 45-60 mins and do some interval cardio training for at least 30 mins. Blast your system and get some sweat dripping!
  • JOURNAL: write about what you see as major accomplishments and highlights from 2017 and what you want to accomplish in 2018

 

DAY 3: December 28

  • Eat to feel grounded and nourished. Mindfully eat and notice how each bite makes you feel. Slow the eating process down and really pay attention to how you feel.
  • Challenge yourself to engage in a 30 second meditation, 3x today
  • Get on your mat for at least 30 minutes of yoga, and create a fun tabata workout for yourself (Choose five different moves - example: squats, lunges, pushups, handstand kicks, resistant band moves, situps, planks, etc - and for each one, you go 20 seconds on, and 10 seconds rest, 8x)
  • JOURNAL: write about your self-talk habits and what shifts you can make by infusing more love and compassion into your words

 

DAY 4: December 29

  • Eat colorfully. Aim to get diversity in every meal. Try new things. Get off auto-pilot and bring some new-ness into your meals today. 
  • Do five Sun Salutations in the morning and get active during the day by being creative. Try a new workout class, put on a youtube video that looks fun and challenging, call up a friend and try something together, etc. 
  • JOURNAL: set a timer for 20 minutes and hop on google to do some research and writing about SELF-LOVE, BALANCE, and VULNERABILITY. Fill a page or two with reminders, quotes, ideas, and inspiration

 

DAY 5: December 30 

  • Eat like a King at breakfast, a Prince at lunch, and a Pauper at Dinner. Get well-rounded meals and take your vitamins!! Eliminate refined sugars today and challenge yourself to drink more water.
  • Focus on self-care by pulling out your foam roller or lacrosse ball to massage your entire body. Dress comfortably but with your fun stylish flare today, and take time to remind yourself how unique and powerful you are. Stand confidently and come back to your breath throughout your day. 
  • JOURNAL: make some notes on what the past five days has opened your eyes too. What felt great? What challenged you more than anything else? What did you learn? What new habits are you going to instigate for the New Year? How will you practice and what will support you in your accountability? We are all capable of massive change and growth, and when we build in accountability to get feedback and support, almost anything becomes possible for you. 

 

Have fun. Remind yourself that imperfection is beautiful and perfection is not generous. Be messy. Keep trying. Love yourself up along the way. You got this xoxoox

Word of 2018

I started a tradition a few years ago. At the end of every year, I take ample time to reflect on my year and land on my successes, my learnings, my growth, what I am proud of, what I want to spend more time and attention on, and what I deem to be the powerful direction and reminder for the year ahead. This is a powerful tool of manifestation. I have learned that choosing a word or direction for the year is a way to really get to know a concept in action. I read about the concept, I bring it up in conversation, I write about it, I reflect on what I am noticing and where I need to adjust/edit and try again. Whatever you focus on, you create more of. A great way to practice your way into being the architect of your own reality.

It is so fun to now be able to reflect back on the words I used for several years leading up to this one. I can see the growth and the journey that these words have taken me on. I am excited to share this with you ;)

2013 - Passion/Create

This is the year that I started this tradition. I was working at lululemon athletica and I knew I wanted to embark in a new direction but I really had no idea what that looked like. I knew I needed to follow my passion, but I also was not clear what I was passionate about anymore. So I chose Passion and Create as my words. I thought about passion and creativity daily, I studied it, I found ways to explore the concepts and try to understand them in different ways, I talked about it with others, and I tried lots of new things to open my mind to what is possible. These words reminded me to be in pursuit of passion and cultivate creativity all year round. 

2014 - BOLD

This is the year that I realized I was passionate about Goal Coaching and facilitating. I began entertaining the idea of starting my own business and I knew that what I needed was to build my confidence, stand tall and proud, and learn more about how to be a powerful leader and coach. Bold was the word that I landed on. My reminder to take chances, put my name in the ring when anything new and challenging was presented, live loudly, explore my leadership skills and stay strong and passionate in the pursuit. This is the year of my serendipitous meeting with Andrew Obrecht that quickly turned into an opportunity to step into my role at yyc cycle as a spin motivator. The training had already begun for the group of Original Motivators when I met Andrew. One passionate conversation and Andrew invited me to join the training, as there just happened to be one bike still open in the studio they were training in, and we both felt like this was meant to happen. After almost a full year of living up to my word BOLD - I was ready to show up and be seen in the way I desired. 

2015 - Fearless/Create

This is the year I left my full-time, well-paid, community centric job at lululemon. I started my business - dope(a)me - and was committed to giving my all for at least one year before slowing down to truly assess the efficacy of my work. I knew it was going to be a bumpy ride and was going to take a lot of creativity and perseverance. I couldn't allow failures along the way to deter me. FEARLESS and CREATE were my reminders to stay the course. This is also the year that I started my yoga teacher training. I had a good friend in this training with me that heard me talk about my word of the year, and she gifted me a necklace with a pendant on it that said "fearless." Now I have this beautiful reminder that I put around my neck anytime I need a boost. 

2016 - Momentum/Connection

Year two of my business and it was working! This was the year that I knew I needed to keep digging in deep and create the momentum that would be impossible to stop once it got going. This was my reminder to focus on relationships, "plant seeds", and get myself involved in community efforts that would keep me accountable and motivated to put in the work and create the momentum I desired. 

2017 - Unfold/Trust

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This year has been a big one. This is the year that Mental Health advocacy became one pillar of my work; something that found me once I truly allowed myself to be seen. I knew my book would be released and I needed the reminder to trust the process and allow myself to unfold rather than force this rosebud to bloom. This was the year of slowing down to speed up. Softening my edges and enjoying who and where I am now. To focus on nourishment and continue letting go of the layers that have limiting beliefs and old wounds that need love and care in order for them to be healed and released. This was the year of cracking myself open and allowing vulnerability to truly take over. What a year ;)

2018 - Inclusive/Foundation

Bring on 2018! This is the year of staying connected to my roots, seeing the power and impact in quality one on one connections, being focused on community and creating experiences that are accessible, relate-able, comprehensive, and powerful in collaboration and execution. I don't want to lose sight of my purpose that has motivated me to get this far in life. I want to inspire and truly support individuals who then can go out into the world and generate their unique positive impact. One person at a time, I can create a huge impact in the world. This reminds me to stay open and present with who is right in front of me. Whether there is a room full of people or only one person shows up, I do not want to be disheartened or empowered by numbers. Making an impact in one person's life is more than enough to keep me motivated and driven on my journey. 

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I would love the opportunity to lead you through the process of reflection, creation and manifestation to support you in creating your transformation this coming year. I am happy to meet up for a one on one experience or I can organize a group session. If there is lots of interest I will rent a space to host a larger event. I have not planned anything yet as I just finished the book launch events and was gifting myself some down time. The beautiful thing I am learning though is that when I gift myself downtime and I truly embrace it and dive into it, I don't need as much I thought I would. This work lights me up and I find fuel in creating transformative experiences. I'd love to celebrate this life with you ;).

marinmccue@gmail.com

xoxox

Book Launch complete!

My last book launch event was held at Lole 17th ave on Thursday December 14 in the evening. It was a wonderful conclusion to what I am considering to be phase one of my book launch. What do the following phases look like? I am not 100% sure yet, but I am excited to spend the next couple of weeks over Christmas in planning mode for 2018. 

What a wild ride this past month has been! In just over five weeks I have sold over 200 copies; collectively online through the lulu.com website, on location at Wild & Raw and Liv yoga + wellness, and in person at events and delivering myself. I wanted to take a few moments here to thank everyone who has been a part of this book launch in big and small ways, and to share what I view as the highlights of this experience thus far. 

First, THANK YOU!!! HustleCo workspace, yyc cycle, Liv yoga + wellness, Wild & Raw, Saje Natural Wellness, and Lole 17th. These businesses were huge supports and I had so much fun hosting in your space. Jenn Moonflower, Katie Fisher, Fiasco Gelato, David's Tea, and Heather Bowen - you all donated your time and treats to my events and certainly helped class everything up! I couldn't have pulled off such diverse and nourishing events if it weren't for you.

Now, highlights. It has been interesting to reflect as this process has unfolded and one of the consistent questions I have received is something along the lines of "what is the most inspiring message you have received so far from a reader?" Where do I even begin???

Here are the series of events/highlights that stand out as they gave me more confidence and motivation to continue on this path despite momentary resistance and self-doubt. 

1. While I was in the final stages of editing and designing the format of the book, I had a few people in my life who expressed interest in reading my book and offering feedback. One person in particular blew my mind in this process. My friend Andrew Elford read the book over the summer and reached out after asking to meet for coffee to talk about it. To my pleasant surprise, Andrew came to that coffee date with several pages of notes he had taken from the book. He went through each point, sharing what he loved about the book, what it sparked inside of him, and how he has never experienced a book with such a well-rounded story and offering of personal development tools. Seeing the impact that my book had on him, made me feel like my goal had been achieved. I had said throughout the making of this book that if I could have a positive impact on ONE person because of my story, then I have succeeded. To have that boost of confidence from Andrew before the book had even been published was exactly what I needed to trust and release the project into the world. Thank you Andrew!

2. I had six book launch events planned. I wanted to share as many different themes from the book as possible, and make each event unique so that someone could come to all six and get something special from each one. The biggest one was set to be the first one, at HustleCo on November 12. I walked into that event so excited and grateful. Nervousness was barely on my radar. For the first time ever, I publicly shared (by reading aloud) a part of my life that I had been so ashamed and upset by when it had occurred years ago. I was apprehensive to read the preface of my book in front of all of these people I know and love, but because of that resistance, I knew it was exactly what I needed to do. I gave everyone context into the thought process behind landing on this excerpt to read for them and gave them warning that it won't be easy to hear. I didn't realize how hard it would be to actually read it out loud. But I did. Through tears and the occasional need to stop and reground myself, I read about my experience with self harm during one of the toughest parts of my life. What came from that experience was a connection in that room with each person. Several other people in the room then shared what they had felt and thanked me for my courage. That was my first lived experience of feeling the healing effects and intimate heartfelt connection that comes from being raw and vulnerable in an attempt to empower and encourage others in a group format. I will never forget that moment. 

3. Because of that experience at the first event, I then had the courage I needed to read that excerpt again at the second event, at yyc cycle Avenida. This event may have been my favorite. it was such a unique experience on the spin bike that I am excited to recreate in the new year. We traveled through the Hero's Journey as the playlist I made had a song to match each integral step. It was like a personal development and guided meditation ride. When I read from my book after, it was hard to tell where the sweat ended and the tears began. So many sweaty hugs and deep connections made in that room. Because of that event, and the event at Wild & Raw where we talked through the Hero's Journey and began re-writing and reframing your life's story, I have realized the power and beauty in creating experiences around the Hero's journey. There will be more coming in 2018 for sure!

4. Each event I could feel myself getting more open and ready to share more of what used to make me terribly uncomfortable and embarrassed. I began receiving amazing messages from friends and strangers alike. Messages that read, "Because of what you shared, I found the courage to share more of myself with my loved ones," and "I keep your book with me everywhere I go and it makes me feel less alone," and "Hearing your words about your darkest moments has given me the courage and trust that I also can overcome and thrive." These messages have lit me up more than anything. To hear that my story has become an anchor of support and courage for others is something I am immensely grateful for.

So what now? I have been sending copies of my book to big hitters in the mental health and personal development community. Doing what I can to spread my reach and create more opportunities for speaking engagements and offers of support where it is really needed. I would love to be able to speak at schools, support groups, wellness retreats, and be in collaboration with like-minded people. 

If you have any questions, ideas, or connections for me, please reach out. This project is about creating conversation. I would love to hear from you! marinmccue@gmail.com xoxoxox

 

Head into the Holiday with a Fresh Perspective

Imagine you are a famous painter. You are working on the masterpiece of your lifetime on a canvas the size of a 12-story building. Although a daunting task, you choose to focus on the exhilarating nature of the opportunity. You have the supplies you have experienced needing in past projects yet you know this is unexplored territory for you. You approach this pursuit the way you have approached all other projects, one brush stroke at a time. While the finish product will be a beautiful integrated visual of everything you love in life, it can also be viewed as hundreds of small images. You step up to the blank canvas, ready to let your inspiration take over, and you begin. While you are standing close to the canvas it is as though you are zoomed in to focus on one small part of the bigger picture. You are so focused on the first image that you almost forget that there are hundreds more to complete.

The first image you paint is a sunset – a beautiful recreation of the sunset you witnessed one magical night on a vacation you took a couple years ago. You then walk a few feet to the left and paint an homage of downtown Calgary, as you have spent countless hours in awe of the monstrous buildings that create the unique view you see from your drive into the core from the outskirts. You then climb a ladder to begin painting an image of friends chatting and laughing over coffee at your favorite café in town.

Each image on their own are stunning. You have been so focused, you soon realize that you zoned out for a bit – completely enthralled by the mechanics and birth of color on canvas. You have been so “zoomed in” working on little details and making each image the best they can be. Although you feel some pressure to finish this masterpiece in an impressive and timely manner, you know you need that big picture perspective to truly create the masterpiece you once envisioned.

So you put down your paintbrush. You take several steps back as you focus on your breath and remind yourself to “slow down to speed up” and “enjoy the process” and “it’s the journey, not the destination that matters most.” From this calm and grounded mindset, you turn around to take a look at what you have created so far. You are in awe. Look how far your have come! You see the beauty and the intricate details while also seeing the gaps, the areas that need more time and attention, and the details that will pull the images together.

Before stepping back in, you allow yourself some time to just be who and where you are. You take a few notes to remind yourself of the important things you noticed when you took steps back so that you can integrate these learnings into your action. You acknowledge that even though you are a creative person, you too need inspiration. You know that even though you are a strong and confident person, you too need support and encouragement from those you love. You recognize that even though you are proud to be independent and a leader, you too need to be a learner and a student. And you believe that even though you will experience some rough patches and occasionally lose your way, all you need is to create space for yourself to step back and reignite the passion and purpose that brought that big-picture vision into reality.

 

As we head into this Holiday season, we need to step back and calibrate. Here are some questions to support your self-inquiry as you engage in mindful maintenance.

 

1. Where have you allowed one concept or definition about who you are slip into the driver seat rather than embracing the expansive complexity of you as a whole? You are not just ________, you are also ________, _________, ____________, etc. Don’t let yourself fall victim to black and white thinking.

 

2. What healthy habit has slipped out of your mind that once was serving you well? What will you do this week to bring it back into your routine?

 

3. What whispers has your body been sending your way that you have not created space for? It’s time to slow down and listen to the wisdom of your body. Sometimes generous listening is all that is needed.

 

4. Remind yourself: what are your big-picture goals to complete before the end of the year? What actions and reminders will you set for yourself to ensure you are in the process of creating what you desire?

 

Now step back in and work on that masterpiece. xoxox

My Book is finally ready for you!

What a wild ride! I am so excited to officially announce that my book is done and ready for purchase. Late on Sunday night I pressed submit and publish and ordered my first 100 copies.

This project, a year and a half in the making, is finally done and now public domain. My heart, sweat and tears have been invested fully into this book and I am nervous/excited about its completion. I know my story will not resonate with everyone and when you open yourself up fully there is always a chance that criticism or negativity can creep in. And I also know that my story will deeply resonate with many, and will potentially be the catalyst for some positive change and insights in the minds and bodies of those who need it most. To me, the potential upside definitely outweighs the potential downside. 

I hope my story makes you a bit uncomfortable and allows you to look in the mirror and ask where you have held back, where you need to heal, and what steps and actions to take first. I hope my story cracks you open to see that we all struggle and we all can benefit from being a little more raw, a little more honest and a little more vulnerable. I hope my story makes you gaze into your loved ones eyes with pure joy and contentment for this perfectly imperfect moment. I hope my story gives you hope, ideas, insights and motivation to dig deep and push outside your comfort zone. And most of all, I hope my story brings you to a place of courage as you reflect on your own story and re-frame your experiences to be the strong foundation beneath your feet versus the weight on your back. 

To assist in your journey, I would love to have you attend one of my book launch events to practice this work and put it into action. Here again is the brief overview of each event... 

 

1. Sunday November 12 (4-6pm) at HustleCo

**Free Event to celebrate and connect. Register here...

 

2. Sunday November 19 (4-6pm) YYC CYCLE AVENIDA

*This event will include a spin class inspired by the theme of the book - taking you on a journey with each intentional track. Followed by some snacks, stretching and a short book reading. 

 

3. Saturday November 25 (2-5pm) at LIV YOGA + WELLNESS

*Be the Change with Yoga Beat. Join me for a sweaty and inspired yoga beat class as we move through the chakras and build a deeper mind-body connection. We will then move through a short workshop that will support your understanding of the important relationship between your conscious and subconscious. Includes copy of my book.

 

4. Sunday November 26 (630-830pm) at Wild & Raw

*This is a writing workshop that will incorporate delicious brain foods as we learn how to reframe your life's events to be the empowering foundation beneath your feet rather than the weight on your book. Learn how to use the Hero's Journey format to write your life's story. Link for registration not open yet - reach out if you would like to reserve your spot ($25 registration - books available for purchase at event)!

 

5. Sunday December 10 (9-1030am) at SAJE (just off 17th ave)

*Join me for a morning of Yin / Yang yoga with themes and readings from my book. This is a free community event. Opportunity to purchase my book at the event. 

 

6. Thursday December 14 (630-830pm) at LOLE (on 17th ave)

*Join me for an evening of YIN yoga and connection. This is a free community event. 

 

Reach out for more details or with questions. I am always happy to connect. Hopefully see you soon xox

 

Mindful Transitions - post on Wild & Raw blog

I am very excited to be a part of the Wild & Raw ambassador team this Fall. Part of this program involves instagram takeovers, blog posts, events, collaborations and a whole lot of fun. Head to Wild & Raw and mention my name to get a 10% discount on your order. Trust me, it's worth checking out! Not sure what to order? Ask the amazing staff what they would suggest as you describe how you are feeling and what you enjoy. ;)

Here is my first blog contribution to the wild & raw website. Check it out. At the bottom I have the link that will take you to their website so you can learn more about this wonderful family owned business in the heart of Kensington. 

 

M I N D F U LT R A N S I T I O N S
written by Marin McCue

Just as the seasons change, so to our mind and body goes through cycles, phases and periods of stagnancy and growth. As the air gets crisper, the leaves change color and move from taking space in the sky to covering the ground beneath our feet, and the days get shorter, our inner environment is also shifting. We are called to create and be in new experiences and routines that will accommodate and flow with the changing external environment.

I want to tackle the question:
What are some mindful ways to transition into the Fall?

 

Summer is a time for exploration, adventure, energy and passion. It can feel like a huge shift when we enter the Fall and we hear and feel our body asking for comfort, warmth and routine. The change of pace can be enough to halt our progress and cause stagnancy as we fight the natural flow of the seasons and long for more sunshine and heat. But what you resist, persists. A great lesson in life is to surrender to what is.

With that preamble, let’s dive into five great practices to bring into your repertoire to support your smooth transition this Fall.

1. NON-NEGOTIABLE SELF-CARE // Open up your calendar and schedule quality you-time. A block of time that you commit to as an important appointment with your self. Take yourself to your fave café (Wild & Raw has a great atmosphere for this sort of thing), get yourself a warm elixir or energizing shake, and sit down to put pen to paper. Start with a big question you have been grappling with and allow yourself some space and time to explore the conversation and pull the wisdom out that is waiting to be heard.

2. BRAIN FOOD // Organize a book club with a small group of friends. Create a short book list that sparks your curiosity and excitement to learn and explore. Here are a few of my faves:

  • Rising Strong by Brene Brown
  • The Untethered Soul by Micheal Singer
  • But What If We Are Wrong? By Chuck Klosterman
  • How Emotions are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett
  • The Gifts of Our Compulsions by Mary O’Malley
  • Nourishing Wisdom by Marc David

3. MINDFUL EATING // Sign up for a mindful cooking and eating class. We are lucky in Calgary to have so many amazing small businesses and entrepreneurs who specialize in this sort of thing. Everyone at Wild & Raw and the other three powerhouse ambassadors are a great place for you to start your research. We all get into ruts and needs some support and inspiration to try new things and learn more about how we can heal and empower our own mind and body through food.

4. JOURNALING // Commit to 30 days (or more) of nightly journaling. Make note of the words you are over-using in your vocabulary and what words or mantras you want to bring into your vocabulary. Capture your patterns of self-talk that take you down into low energy or limiting beliefs about who you are or what you are capable of, and then follow a series of Q & A as you challenge yourself on the truth of those statements and how you could shift your perspective to allow for more compassion, growth and imperfection in your journey. And finish off with recording what you are proud of and grateful for.

5. GOALS + BOUNDARIES // Commit to your personal goals and boundaries. Bring on the holidays, the family dinners, the work and friend’s parties, and the many reasons to neglect your personal time or commitments for the sake of pleasing others. Take some time this month to get clear on what your goals are as we lead into the end of 2017 so that you come out the other end refreshed, energized and motivated to keep your momentum going. As I like to say – and I am sure many others have said this before me –the world will find boundaries within your boundaries.So make and set clear boundaries, share your goals and curiosities with those around you, and allow the intuitive nature of the Fall to open you up to the wisdom and possibilities within you and all around you.

 

Be the Change - Book Launch series

What better way to celebrate the completion and release of my first book then to get people together to connect, move and grow! This project took a year and a half to complete, and I am excited to share the work and the conversations that this book brings into the world. 

I have put together a series of book launch events and workshops so that the deeper purpose behind the book - connection, practice and self-inquiry - can be the forefront of the journey.

I will add all the live registration links once they are created, in the meantime, please reach out to reserve your spot and I will send you the link once it is ready (marinmccue@gmail.com).

 

Here is a brief overview of each event: 

The first event on this list is in the largest space and is intended to be an interactive celebration as we come together to connect and hear my story about writing the book and the purpose behind the book. 

Sunday November 12, 4-6pm at Hustle Co

 

The second event will be at my spin studio yyc cycle Avenida. This event will start with a full 50 minute spin class with a special twist. I will lead you through the Hero's Journey on your bike, followed by some snacks and a short book reading.

Sunday November 19, 4-6pm at YYC Cycle Avenida

 

 

The third event will be at LIV yoga & wellness. This event will incorporate a personal development element. Take part in a conversation as we dive into a short exercise to understand the relationship between your conscious and subconscious and the many ways to calm your fight or flight system as it is overactive and triggered several times throughout your day. We will review the chakra energy system and use this to support our powerful, fun and sweaty Yoga Beat class. A short book reading, some snacks, and an opportunity to opt into some homework with follow-up to put your new found inspiration into practice. 

Saturday November 25, 2-5pm at LIV - Be the Change with Yoga Beat

 

The fourth event will be at Wild & Raw in Kensington on Sunday November 26, 630pm-830pm. Come ready to explore multiple realities as we play with multiple perspectives within your own life's story. The words we choose to use when we relay our story, relive it in our mind or avoid parts due to pain, all creates the vibration of how we view life, what is possible, and where we are headed. 

This informative workshop will incorporate intentional journaling to reframe your story to be the powerful foundation beneath your feet versus the weight on your back. I will share my story (as well as read excerpts from my book), share my process and guide you through an interactive process of goal setting, action formulating, routine generating and writing your way into a new way of thinking and being.  

While we are doing some deep introspection we will also keep things light and fun by engaging in playful exercises, sharing stories, and seeing the many ways we can cause more suffering or more joy with simple shifts in our language, posture and breath. Come learn more about this fascinating mind-body connect ;)

*Link to register will be posted soon

 

The fifth event will be at Saje Natural Wellness, (130 - 880 16 Avenue SW). Come with your yoga mat, ready to wake your body up. A gentle and invigorating yoga practice on Sunday morning followed by a book reading in savasana and an opportunity to shop at Saje before they open.

Sunday December 10, 9am Yoga at Saje

 

The sixth event is at Lole (911 17 Ave SW). An evening of conversation around how to create an evening routine that nourishes your mind and body, followed by a Yang/Yin yoga class and a book reading. 

Thursday December 15, 630-830pm Yoga @ Lole

 

The Home-Stretch into the Next Chapter

I just finished the final read through of my book to complete the notes for edits and additions. Before receiving the test copy of the book, I felt 80% confident that it was powerful and ready for the world. And now, I am now 98% sure. I don't know what it would take to get me to 100% - perhaps I am too realistic to believe in anything 100%. 

It was such an amazing moment when I opened that package and held the first real copy of my book in my hands. What a surreal experience. The test copy was exactly what I needed to see the book with fresh eyes and ensure the thread that weaves the book together is seen and felt throughout the story. 

It was also really neat to read my own words and receive some insight that sparked positive change in my current mindset. Our lives are complex, and our minds are even more complex. Some of the great lessons and ideas that have improved many areas of my quality of life continue to show up to instill the wisdom of their simple and adaptive power. 

While this blog post is intended to shed some more light on my book and it's upcoming release, I also want to share more about where I have learned and grown the most in the last few weeks. So read through the next few paragraphs if you would like to go on a journey with me, otherwise, scroll to the end to find a short video with an excerpt from my book.

I have been working with a really amazing coach recently. She is a good friend that I coached a couple years ago, and now that she is almost done a year long coaching program, I thought it would be a great synchronistic relationship to invest in. I have been hesitant to engage in a coaching relationship as I have been quite motivated on my own, love to coach myself, and am surrounded by coaches and inspiring individuals that elevate me daily. I wasn't sure what I would get out of engaging with another coach as a coachee. But I am so glad that I went for it. In three sessions over a couple of months, I feel like I got the tune-up and redirect that I didn't realize I needed. 

While I have been quite successful in adopting a growth mindset in many facets of my life, there are bound to be some angles or ways of being that are a little stickier as the navigation from fixed to growth mindset can be a bumpy ride. 

I have been in the conversation with many people - for months - about the process of protecting your own energy as you engage with clients, friends or family members that are living with more darkness or are deep in struggle. I have been gathering anecdotal experiences and tools to try from many different people. "Here is what works for me" is a common way we offer learnings and engage in these types of inquisitive conversations. 

I have heard ideas like,

  • "take some time to meditate before stepping into these difficult conversations to ensure you are grounded and protected"
  • "zip up an energetic cloak before stepping into those environments and zip it off after as you step out of the situation"
  • "rub your entire body off gently as if to dust off the energy that is not yours to carry"
  • "wash your arms up to the elbows"
  • "allow yourself to be a vessel as the conversation moves through you but does not become a part of you"

I found all of these suggestions to be fascinating and creative, and while my intention was to try them out, none of them felt like me - it felt inauthentic to engage in any of them - and I was left struggling with my own resistance and feeling like I was not a good enough coach if I didn't possess this "self-protective" skill.

In comes my lovely unicorn of a coach. The first two sessions we had together she invited me to participate in an exercise to discover my "essence." Different than core values, your essence is the energetic experience others have while in your presence. It is discovered through vulnerable and real conversations with those close to you, as you record the answers to a couple succinct questions. 

While your core values are concepts you strive to live by and create the foundation from which your choices and feelings of success, value and purpose come from; your essence exudes from your being and leaves a lasting impression on those around you. 

I love stuff like that, and while I truly appreciated this exercise, I also do very similar activities with my clients and with myself. It was great to receive another tool of exploration, but for me to really commit to a coaching relationship that I will need to invest money and time into I want something bigger, deeper and more growth-inducing.

Our third session I was asked what I was curious to explore and wanted to talk about. I responded that I am very curious to talk energy, how to protect it from others influence, and how I can use this to be a better coach. Great. It's on. 

I picked up her call on Thursday night, sitting in a cafe with my notebook ready to take some notes. She started by asking me what value I want to get out of this call; what do I want to walk away with? My response was that I wanted more tools and more ideas of ways to protect my energy and be more confident in how I show up with clients. 

She repeats it back to me and I agree that is what I want. We begin to get into a conversation around this request and what has brought me to this point. I explain my predicament, the compounding self-talk that results, and my attempt at trying different techniques but not feeling good about any of them.

She begins asking me question after question that moves my focus to different aspects of the situation that I had not been paying much attention to. She repeats back my responses to ensure she is hearing me correctly and then offers some insights in what she is hearing from me. What assumptions have I made? What have I made that mean? Is that true? Where else do I notice this pattern? What is becoming more clear here? Sounds like you are in the practice of trying to be perfect, is that possible? What else is possible?

The journey these Qs - and many others - took me on was brilliant. I was supported to pull insight and learnings from other areas of my life to find wisdom in this current struggle. I had been so fixated on the concept of protecting my energy I had lost sight of some of my core operating principles. I am an improviser, a perfectly imperfect compassionate and creative person, and I enjoy having a positive impact on others. When I had been noticing my energy being influenced by others or when I walked away from conversations and didn't feel like I had really impacted that person as much I wanted to, I was allowing myself to sit in limiting beliefs and judgement around what it needs to look like to be a coach. Because I thought I needed to protect myself, anytime I felt my energy get depleted or drawn into someone else's struggle, I would judge myself for being wrong or weak. This judgement would seduce me down a rabbit hole and shunt off my ability to rise above and access my higher self, which resides in my consciousness. When we are triggered or stuck in thought patterns, we are in our subconscious habits and limited to our naive experience rather than the vast openness and connectivity that we access in our conscious mind. I want to be in the vast openness! But because I was fighting my reactions, looking for protection, and judging myself for not being able to protect myself, I was simply getting in my own way. 

I realized that while I am great at pausing after my initial reaction to allow space for my higher self to respond, I was limiting myself by looking for the silver-lining, trying to create the positive upswing, or basically, searching for my next quick hit of happy chemicals that would get me out of this low vibration feeling. My coach helped me realize that my need for control was getting in the way of my equal need and desire to be an improviser. And my desire for positivity was skewing my ability to be neutral and content.

One of the things I say all the time, "we need to be content with our discontentment." And I had been so fixated on trying to find ways to "protect" my energy, I had lost sight of my bigger need and want to be collaborative, vulnerable, open, trusting and strong. I can feel the emotion at hand, I can be in the struggle and feel the pain of myself or those around me, and I do not need to control the situation. I need to trust more in my ability to learn, guide, lead by example, and fuel up by being neutral instead of seeking elation or avoiding depression. This is intimacy without attachment, something I abide by in so many other areas of my life.

Timing is such a magical and wonderful thing. I love that I am in the home stretch of getting my book out into the world. I love that these coaching conversations happened in such a powerful way while I finished editing my book and could see these same lessons and realizations had happened for me already and just needed to be relearned in the relatively new territory in my life as a coach. 

Now I am that much more attuned and ready to grow and flow through the next several months that I am carving out to be big and bold. I am more aware to notice my pattern of judgement, my desire to feel good, and my tendency to get rattled when I want control and don't have it.

I am ready to practice neutrality and teach myself that I can be open and connected while also remaining neutral as the witness behind the scenes. From this space of neutrality I have access to the space for improvisation and my higher level of thinking and being. 

Another layer has been shed. Another level of awareness has been accessed. Another chapter to embark on. This Fall season has me feeling grateful and excited for what is and what is to come. 

Now, back to my book. With the last few edits now sent off to my graphic designer and a conversation in process to get a well-known and inspiring yyc entrepreneur to write a foreword, we truly are in the home stretch. My goal is to have the final copy sent in before the end of this month, and then the book will be ready for purchase by mid October. 

I will be planning and promoting workshops and a book launch event once the dates for publishing are more clear. So stay tuned, and thank you for all of your support and love. xoxo

FLOW

--Morning Musings--

It's easy to get caught up in the story telling of the monkey mind. It's persuasive to see the world through the lens of judgments, comparisons, and self doubt. It's seductive to assume you are the center of the universe and everything happens for a cosmic reason beyond your control. It's addictive to fall into patterns of self talk that allow fear to build walls of protection around our psyche that is full of limiting beliefs. 

I am not interested in playing in that world. I am intrigued to rise above. It's possible and liberating to step outside the impulsive monkey mind and into a state of flow where contentment, efficiency, creativity, and alignment in purpose unite and you get to feel unstoppable and unshakable. I have experienced the immense power and joy of letting go of my ego and tuning into the higher vibration of consciousness that connects us all.

I want to know more about living in flow; the state in which I effortlessly move from one moment to the next with an open mind and a resilient heart. The state in which I can empathize and connect with all around me while staying grounded and powerful in my own perception of the world. The state in which I experience what life is offering and can fully participate in the possibilities created around me. 

Every morning I sit for a few minutes of meditation to find this state. Once I tap into it, it becomes easier to find it throughout the day. I sit to witness my inner environment and observe the direction of my mind chatter. I sit and focus on bringing more awareness to the space in between thoughts and the pause in between breaths. I connect with this vast reservoir of energy that is beyond the impulsive reactions of my subconscious. I see my mind chatter for what it is, a meaning making machine that is trying desperately to make sense of the emotional pendulum swing my subconscious creates with chemicals reacting to my environment. 

I do not want to lose touch with my emotions or my lived experience of connecting with others around me, but I also do not want to be so influenced by my environment that I lose control of my own perception and energetic contribution in this world. So I sit, and breathe, and connect with my higher purpose of balance, grounded-ness, and gratitude. I sit and feel the flow of energy moving through me, generating emotional reactions and thoughts. I witness the machine doing its thing and see that I am much more than those reactions, emotions and thoughts. 

I am the flow. I am the space in between thoughts and breath. I am the grounded being witnessing the magic of the human machine. I am the one behind the scenes, observing and course-correcting with divine precision. I am open, clear, ready to receive the gift of my next breath and the opportunity in the present moment. I am. I am. I am.

Today I express gratitude for the beauty of FLOW and I intend to allow that energy to guide me as I show up, breathe, hold space, listen and contribute to life one conscious moment at a time.  

xoxo

Questions that lead to Surrender

This conversation is on the topic of Surrender. It is something that I have been curious about and opening myself up to more and more each day. I began my inquiry five years ago when I read The Untethered Soul by Micheal Singer. I had heard the concept of surrender several times, mostly in yoga classes and training, but had not been able to get much deeper than landing on the question I wanted to explore: Who am I who can watch thoughts coming up with a complete sense of detachment?

My journey into the concept went deeper a couple summers ago at my McCue family reunion. We have these reunions every summer, and while I only make it every few years, it is always a nourishing experience to be around a big group of people who love and support each other - despite our differences in lifestyle, religion, and massive amounts of time disconnected. My grandparents are mormon, and had seven kids, who all had at least two children, and as many as seven children (my siblings).  

McCue reunion 1993 (I've always loved overalls)

McCue reunion 1993 (I've always loved overalls)

At the reunion two summers ago, we met at UBCO campus - near Kelowna, BC. I was almost done my yoga teacher training and was excited to practice. I had offered a 7am yoga class for each morning of our family reunion schedule, and was excited to share the experience with people in my family. I was surprised to have so many show up for this early morning yoga session, including my grandma. 

We were spread out quite a bit, this image shows half the group

We were spread out quite a bit, this image shows half the group

I learned a lot from that experience. Being open to leading a group through an experience is thrilling and daunting. It's easy to allow the emotions of fear and resistance to overtake your system and either pull you away from being brave or tarnish your experience due to being too fixated on the what you lack, what doesn't feel good, or the doom-and-gloom possibilities. 

The love and support from my family was a beautiful environment to practice in. I shared my thoughts on surrendering to the experience of yoga and surrendering your mind to accept who and where you are. It felt good to be in that role. And as usual, my dad had some interesting insights and thoughts on the experience. 

In his inquisitive and fun way, he complimented my ability and shared that he enjoyed my thoughts on surrender. He then shared that he felt something was missing. While surrender is a great idea as concept, he saw the need to offer a balancing point with the need and importance of action and change. His worry was that the message was communicating that it's okay to accept your life as it is and not do anything to grow, learn, adapt and evolve. I agreed with him. And on continued my exploration of simplifying a complex concept. 

 

So, where am I at now? A few years have passed and I have been playing with this idea of surrender. While I have made progress in my understanding of surrender, I have also realized that theory is one thing, but living, breathing, and integrating theory into life is a whole other ball game. 

I knew I had to land on a working definition of surrender in order for me to integrate it into my life. The way you think about something dictates how you feel and how you show up. What's the point of living with surrender when you don't really understand what it means to you. Before you embark on a journey towards any worth while pursuit; i.e., balance, success, happiness, or surrender, it is important to truly understand what you are working towards. If you don't have an empowering and realistic perception of balance, you certainly will not be efficient or powerful in your pursuit. I have been curious to explore and understand the softer side of life. I know how to work hard, how to create structure and discipline in my life, and I have learned resiliency as I have overcome many dark and difficult moments and stages in my life. Now I am in the practice of releasing my need to control and force, and am inviting in a sense of deeper trust in what the universe is offering me moment to moment. 

What I find most interesting, and most challenging, about understanding Surrender is that while it looks different for each person based on the stage of life they're in, it is also universally the same. The way I practiced surrender three years ago looks much different than today - but I needed to go through the practice to get to where I currently am. All ways of practicing surrender are important steps in your process!

Like any concept worth understanding, you must know the complexities before you can land on the simple truths. My practice of surrender is a unique experience because of the many experiences that have brought me to this moment. My hope is that through this blog post as I explore my practice of surrender, you will be inspired to take the reigns and explore surrender in your own life. 

  • What is my current understanding of surrender?

**I just finished reading The Surrender Experiment by Micheal Singer, which inspired me to circle back and re-read The Untethered Soul, by the same author. The notes below are a mainly influenced by Singer's work, but is also pulling wisdom from many conversations, books, and experiences I have learned from.  

Surrender is a word used to signify an energetic shift from Force and Control into Receptivity and Softness. It works on many levels.

First of all, when we soften into the moment, we are present and alive to what is happening right in front of us. Your energy and focus is tuned into what is real, right now, rather than being drained and weighed down by feelings from the past or projected feelings of what the future holds.

Second, surrender serves as a reminder when you do find yourself stuck, fighting, victimizing, or anxious. It reminds us to release what we cannot control and open ourselves up to what is being presented. It creates a safe inner-environment to meet your feelings as they come up rather than simply feeling your feelings and reacting. It shuts off the fight or flight response so you have the ability and brain power to make a thoughtful choice of getting into action or letting go.

Third, surrender tunes us into the universal connection we all share. Yes you have a unique experience and your tiny grain of sand has the potential to make a huge positive impact, but you are also a part of something bigger and wiser than your individual life. The universe is unfolding in its own way and we each are a part of that unfolding. Surrender becomes the gateway into this vast and beautiful vortex that offers lessons, presents creative ideas, and connects you with the souls around you that elevate your existence. Your impact is mighty and your shared part within the Universe is something to be grateful and responsible for. Whether you believe in a God or a Supreme Consciousness of some kind, we are sharing an experience that is much bigger than each individual.  

 

  • What are some ways to practice Surrender?

First thing to do is to remind yourself daily that you are in the practice of surrender. We quickly revert back to old habits unless we keep our focus and attention on new thoughts and ideas. When you feel stuck, stagnant, in competition, in judgement, in shame, in sorrow, in defeat, in victim hood, in assumptions, or simple just too much in your head, this is the time to practice surrender.

Stop fighting the flow of life. Stop blaming others. Stop viewing yourself as a victim in your own life. Stop forcing the puzzle pieces to fit just to satisfy your need of order and external validation. Not only are these ways of being exhausting and intense to be around, but they are ways to drain your own energy and get in your own way. Life has a way of working out. We learn important lessons from failing, we meet new people or experience new levels of emotions when we lose others, we experience new ways of being when we lose the foundation beneath our feet. What if you just allowed yourself to experience and live life without trying to plan every detail and control every move along the way? Wow, imagine what that would feel like. Even our triggered reactions become fruitful when we develop the habit of pausing, noticing the reaction, letting go of our attachment to reactions, and witnessing your mind being hijacked by your over-protective ego.

There is so much going on inside your mind and body that the only sure-fire way of generating positive and sustainable momentum forward is to get balanced on the wave and ride it with as much presence, contentment, and detachment as possible. The wave will end, you will have to put some effort in to get back up, you will learn and fall and get stronger each time. Why fight, blame, or get angry if you know and trust that it is all an important part of the process? 

The best way to start this practice is to meditate. Start your day by sitting with yourself. Just your breath and your conscious mind at the wheel. Detach from the story telling and emotional pendulum swing and get to know the calm depths within. The more you do this, the more you will notice when you are reactive, that there is the calm witness behind the scenes that you can connect with as you let the reaction move through you and get released. It can become a fascinating game as your goal is to continuously release your ego - which wants you to feel good now, avoid pain at all costs, look good in front of others, and achieve your dreams at all costs. Your ego pushes you to be cynical about others and about life because it feels good when you see you were right. Your ego puts up major resistance and fear when you approach change or are engaging in something you're not well versed in, because it registers social exclusion or embarrassment as physical pain. 

 

  • How do I find a balanced pursuit of surrender?

Before we know the balance point we must know the two extremes we want to be balanced within. On one side we have passive acceptance and on the other side is extreme attachment. Neither one will be sustainable on a long-term basis, and neither one is detrimental in and of itself. As I like to remind myself, too much of anything is no longer a good thing. The problem is not that we get attached to things or that we accept things as they are. The problem is when things become a pattern, a way of operating in the world, an extreme stance that ends up holding you back in life and getting in the way of enjoying and truly living in this precious existence. 

Surrender also has an extreme counterpart to be aware of; Effort. In yoga philosophy, we are taught that effort and surrender are two wings of the same bird. I have found that my life has shifted in many positive directions as I have become efficient and powerful in my effort while honoring my down-time and self-care with just as much attention and time. 

Ultimately, Surrender embodies the energy of many other concepts and ideas, and is the balance point with its equally important counterpart of Effort. It's a dance. It's an energy fuel-up system. It's a gateway to the calm depths within. It's the deep wisdom the resides within us all.

 

With surrender, we notice when our healthy inquiry has turned into a waste land of blame, confusion, or replaying the same story until we find the answer we are looking for. Surrender brings our mind and body into a place of feeling calm, centered, and balanced. It allows us to let go of our emotional pendulum swing and relax into the moment to deal with whatever is coming up. For many of us, we have been so disconnected from our body for so long, that the world of thinking has become the main mode of existence. But with surrender, we are reminded to stop reading, talking, and thinking about the mind, and instead just get into the practice of quieting down and allow life to unfold with your highest Self at the wheel, ready to receive and give to the universal flow of life. You still can have preferences and you will still make judgments, but you will begin to see these as surface level reactions while the truest and deepest part of you surrenders to the moment and simply flows with life through our unique experience of consciousness. 

 

The art of slowing down

 

Along time ago you made a decision about life that served to protect you in that moment, and now it serves to subconsciously hold you back. You had an experience that hurt or traumatized you, which then lead you to a belief about what life is and how you need to show up and protect yourself along the way. It locked you in a false reality that is guarded by your self-protective and an incredibly strong subconscious.

Sometimes the way out is as simple as standing tall and acknowledging that you are not your patterns, you emotions, your habits, or your beliefs. From this place of seeing yourself as separate from your compulsions, reactions, or limiting thoughts, you can show love, gratitude, and appreciation for these deeply ingrained ways of being. They are there because they are trying to protect you, and we know that 'what you resists, persists.' With your hand on your heart, soft and deep breaths rolling through your body, and a gentle and compassionate mindset, we can release these patterns that may have had a grip on you for decades.

Your ego mind is constantly seeking pleasure and on the lookout to avoid pain. But YOU, you are the witness behind the scenes. You are the calm, powerful, unstoppable, connected higher-self that seeks growth and does not get caught up in the emotional pendulum swing of story telling, assumptions, judgments, cynicism, or self-doubt. 

The more you can recognize your power in your thoughtful response after your initial impulsive reaction, the more you will see that your reactions are grounded in your ego. When we learn to slow down and find our calm state of mind, suddenly there is space for our intuition to be heard and felt, and we conserve way more energy that was once lost by identifying with the constant mind-chatter and impulses of the ego. 

For the past couple of months I have been contemplating and playing with the phrase "slow down to speed up" and have seen it morph into "the art of slowing down." You may have noticed that many people talk about the need to find balance, the desire to slow down, the goal of meditating, but very few people actually achieve this. It is tough to break deeply ingrained habits and beliefs that steer us towards being busy, multi-tasking and putting others ahead of our own self care. 

What has become more clear to me is that until I embody the action of slowing down, my mind cannot be forced into being calm or slowing down. When I actually roll out of bed and head straight into a meditation to check in with myself, notice my thoughts and witness the sensations in my body, and allow my breath to be the medicine and power I desire it to be, I get access to calm depths that become my guide and my fuel for the rest of the day. 

It is that simple. Your body will follow your mind. Commit to a few minutes of meditation in the morning and you will see that your wise system will begin to make adjustments and send signals that will allow you to get to know your pathway to decreasing stress and finding joy in simplicity. Meditate with the goal of being present in your body and in this moment. Feel the sensations in your feet and your hands and open your ears to listen to your surroundings. Without judging or story-telling, just be a witness to what you notice. Practice without the desire to be perfect. Do it without the need to be the best. Be where you are without shame, judgment, or doubt. Slow your mind-chatter, and your body will follow. 

 

**Check out this short video to witness the grip of subconscious limiting beliefs and the possibility of substantial change when we recognize our own power** 

5 tips to find your way into yoga

I was the typical busy-bee with a monkey mind before I grew to love yoga. And yes, I grew to love it. My first yoga class was in Victoria - ten years ago - while I was a student there. I hated it. I remember thinking "this is so not my thing." It was exactly what I hoped it wouldn't be: slow and boring. What I didn't realize at that point was that I had just walked into a yin class, which is supposed to be slow and it's okay if I felt bored. I didn't know the complexity of yoga or the many styles and variations that can be offered based on studio, teachers, geography, and experience level. I didn't give up though.

My mental health was in a dire state and I knew I needed to explore more of what yoga had to offer. I had transferred to University of Alberta in Edmonton and was introduced to bikram yoga and fell in love. It was tough, sweaty and predictable. It was what I needed at that point in my life to be the gateway into the world of yoga. After one year of practicing bikram yoga a couple times a month, I had the foundation I needed to explore other styles and I fell in love with the creativity, the self-expression, the many teachers, and the empowering tools that came from being a witness to my mind on my mat. 

Fast forward ten years and now yoga is a huge part of my everyday life. When I am not on my mat, I am still practicing yoga. Yoga has taught me so many beautiful and important lessons in life, and I get excited to share this gift with others as I step on my mat as a teacher and fellow-student. 

Being a beginner in anything can be uncomfortable, so here are five tips to lessen the uncertainty and help you step onto your mat with an open mind and receptive heart. Yoga is for everyone!

 

1. Convenience is key.

Find a studio close to home or hop on YouTube and look up yoga for beginners. Yoga is as accessible as coffee--it's everywhere. Whether you commit to following a YouTube video or find a studio close to home or work, build it into the schedule you already keep so that you pave the way for a new habit that will fit into your current lifestyle.

 

2. You don’t have to be flexible.

I hear this all the time: "I'm not flexible enough to do yoga." To me that sounds like a great reason to do yoga. The pose is not the point-- your breath and your mindset that matters most. If you are stuck in comparisons and can't see past the fact that others are more flexible than you, it’s probably getting in your way in more areas than one. Get out of your head and step onto your mat. Rather than focusing on your lack of flexibility, bring your awareness to your breath. I like to bring micro-movements in with each breath, allowing each pose to be a process of exploring and feeling my posture and balance shift. From this perspective, it is not about how deep you go in the pose, but rather feeling your inhale lengthen and strengthen your spine and your exhale release and surrender to wherever you are right now.   

 

3. Focus on a pose.

When you choose one pose as your goal, it makes it easier to commit to your home practice. Each time you notice bits of progress you will get bursts of happy chemicals that will encourage you to keep practicing.

 

4. Start with a physical, emotional and spiritual practice.

How do you want to feel in your body? What emotional energy would support that journey? What is your higher purpose behind your actions and choices in life? Take time before your class to set your intention. It’s so important to be grounded in self-care while also expanding and embracing the impact we can have on those around us. When you bring in what you are curious to explore or what you want more of in your life, you build healthy new habits in your physicality. Everything is connected.

 

5. Ask for support!

There are so many different styles and ways of teaching yoga. If you have a negative experience at one class, don’t give up!. Tell your teacher you are a newbie so you can get the extra attention you might need. If you know you struggle with certain poses or aspects in class, ask for support or tips from your teacher or fellow students. There are also many resources online or people in your community that want to educate and have conversations in this area, so don't hold back. There is a yoga style that will suit who and where you are now, and from that space you will explore and expand and will find the wellspring of quality fuel that comes from being in tune with your mind-body connection.

 

Tools to help train your brain

One of the things that has helped me learn and grow the most is the idea that everything is a relationship. We are relational beings. What makes our existence so complex is that nothing is fixed or complete when assumed to be objective. Whether it is an intimate relationship with another, a supportive and loving relationship with friends and family, an acquaintance or stranger, or the relationship you have to your own emotions, to concepts, ideas, or systems; the depth is found in the relationship.

I don't believe there is a universal meaning to life. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we see things as black and white. I think we hold ourselves back and show lack of trust in our own powerful minds if we think there is one right way to do something or allow our emotions to lead the way. I believe we are all capable of finding a collective community of love and support while honoring our own internal guidance and structure of purpose. The beauty of life is in the quality of our relationships.

The relationship I have been most fascinated with is the one I have with myself. Around 10 years ago, I found myself in a place of deep unhappiness and a sense of not having enough control in my own life. I felt lost, confused, beaten up, angry, yet hopeful that there was a way to create the life I desired.

As I approach my 31st birthday this month and have the big upcoming moment of publishing my first book, I feel called to slow down and take stock on what it has taken to retrain my brain to develop healthy habits, heal from trauma, and find balance in my mind, body, and soul. My advocacy for mental health awareness has been a huge motivation for my internal drive. The biggest thing that has allowed me to connect with the community, create experiences and continue my studying and exploration has been the realization that we are all deeply affected my mental health struggles - if not in your own mind then in someone close to you.

I have not been hesitant to share my story because I own it, I lived it, and I see it in so many others around me. I have learned so much from who and where I have been. I am now deeply connected to my higher purpose and am happy to stumble, fall, embarrass myself, or sabotage myself, because I have the discipline to not let that get in my way. I choose to see it all as learning and practice. 

I have realized that my greatest potential is birthed from self-love. When I have my mind, body and soul all aligned in one unifying direction - fueled by habits that I have chosen and not fallen into - I step into the version of myself I want to know more and more. 

In this state of power, choice and opportunity in absolutely everything, I am tuned into the universal vibration of expansion and contraction, which feels like I am being held by something far greater than just me as I grow and fall more in love with life each day. 

I have learned that when you love the process and engage in life with purpose and play, the journey becomes the jewel and the destination becomes less finite, as I feel whole and complete in each mindful breath.

My business - dope(a)me - and my role as spin motivator and yoga teacher, are all platforms for me to share my love for life and movement. My goal each day is to follow the paradigm I have created as my goal setter mindset, and to engage in conversations that will deepen our collective connection to our inner pilot light that celebrates others' successes while carving a path that has never been carved before. While some people might say they are special, and others may think no one is special, I choose to believe that we are all special and have the capacity to create a positive impact in the world.

The environment and conditions you are born into creates the initial foundation that is programmed into your mind and body. Your duty as your grow older is to un-become what has been fed into your system so that you can become the unique and powerful YOU that you have that privilege to be. 

We all get in our own way. Our mind can be tricky and our habits dig deep. What I have experienced for myself is the awakening that sets in when you learn to calm your mind. Your mind wanders and constantly makes up stories and entertains assumptions about your reality. Your ego is seductive. It is driven by a subconscious addiction to happy chemicals and an overcompensation from a feeling of low self-worth. Your ego is the result of your over-protective system that is seeking serotonin and dopamine - which increases your feelings of worth, pleasure, and importance; a biological insurance program to improve your chances of survival. It seeks instant-gratification and grows stronger when you are tired, stressed, overworked, or lack "real" confidence. Real confidence is not a display or need to remind people of your greatness. It is internally directed and validated in results and pure contentment. 

Acknowledge your ego for what it is. We all have one. It's your initial and impulsive reaction. When you develop a relationship with your ego, rather than being victim to its allure and possession, you begin to notice it and can choose to respond from your higher-purpose and directive. 

So, enough about me and my current understanding and practice in life. It's time for you to put pen to paper and play with ways of implementing new healthy habits into your life! When you know how your mind works and see more opportunity to question what you think rather than assume you have it right, it becomes a lot easier to formulate a plan, learn and collaborate with others, and be efficient in your development. 

Here are FIVE keys to get started in retraining your brain to become the person you desire to be!

1. What you resist, persist:

Rather than resisting your current habits, choose to focus on building new ones. You can't erase habits, but you can slowly stop feeding them energy until they grow over and lose grip on your subconscious. Use the power of a morning routine while you have fresh energy. Bring in new thoughts, ideas, goals, movement, mantras, etc. Eventually, conscious doing becomes subconscious being. Although it can feel awkward and backwards at first, your compulsions need love and compassion if they are ever going to be released.

Another way to bring in the fresh energy and healthy habits you desire is to spend time with someone who has the habit you want. We have mirror neurons in our brain that fire when we observe someone else. Our brain lights up in the same manner as the person doing the activity we are witnessing. Hire a coach, go to workshops, spend time in environments with healthy and inspiring people. Your brain will begin to build the pathway so you can mirror the behavior you want more of in your life. By the same token, you can begin to create new pathways through visualization. When you take the time to fully step into a feeling, a possibility, or a desired outcome, our brain prepares for that reality and it becomes more real in our mind's eye. Just be mindful to keep the distinction between a motivating imagined future-state and the expectation that reality will be just as you visualize it to be. Intimacy without attachment. We can drain our own energy when we fall in love with our expectation and find reality to be not as sweet.

2. Integration:

Get curious about the habits you already have and find ways to add in some new happy circuits onto the roots already in place. You will create new habits with ease when you find ways to tweak or add to the habits already in rotation. Bonus: Focus on what feels good and what is fun in this process and your habit will stick even quicker. 

3. Conserve and Create:

You need energy to create new habits. Take time to fuel yourself with self-care practices, meditation, nourishing food, rest, sweat, play, novelty, and gratitude. Nourishment is not strictly what you ingest. It is your spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental well-being. So often our compulsions are triggered when we feel lack, and we look to food - or other quick hits of pleasure - for comfort or discipline. Your health and wellness is holistic and involves many facets. Perhaps your sense of lack is a signal that your mind, body and soul are craving an experience or breakthrough. 

Be mindful of where you expend a lot of energy already and practice ways to calm your mind and conserve some of that precious fuel for when you really need it. Some things are simply not worth spending energy on. Discern when to be in inquiry, when to just tell yourself what you need to hear, and when to simply be and embrace the moment for what it is. 

4. Compound Effect:

When you have big goals and changes in mind, your subconscious can be spooked into feeling like this task is too big to take on, and self-sabotage or exhaustion will set in. Do yourself a favor and break down your big tasks or goals into small steps, and make sure to celebrate along the way. Your ego needs to be fed in healthy and conscious ways if you don't want it to take over. 

5. Practice: 

Learn to embrace the space between where you are now and where you desire to. This moment is your life. It is worth practicing being in love with each moment so that you don't build a habit of only being focused on more or the idea that happiness awaits at a future destination. Once you have a rhythm and structure of learning and growth in place, it becomes that much easier to fall in love with the process and practice your trust and improvisation. Every moment is practice for the next moment. 

 

I hope you find some inspiration and tangible tools to play with from this post. I would love to engage with you if you have any questions or are ready to take on your personal development with my guidance and support. 

I want to leave you with this message I came across last night on instagram. This is from the @wildwomansisterhoodofficial account. A beautiful image of an older woman with so much peace and love in her tanned and wrinkled face. Her words speak to my hope and my practice of being guided with purpose while completely grounded and in love with the moment as it is. I saw myself in her and was drawn in to her amazing energy. Enjoy ;)

"I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.

I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is Sacred.  

I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; it's just not their task.

I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.

I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; it already did, and I survived.

I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.

I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.

I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.

I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.

I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.

I am no longer waiting to be recognized; I know I dance in a holy circle.

I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness. I believe. I Believe." 

by Mary Anne Perrone

 

A Mental Model to Serve Your Monkey Mind

photo by Mark Derry 

photo by Mark Derry 

We are programmed to compare and take notice when we perceive someone as bigger, bolder, or more of what we strive to be. This deeply ingrained impulse is an overactive survival mechanism. At one point in time it was extremely beneficial to get a surge of neurochemicals warning us when someone else did something that furthered their importance above our own. This status dance would motivate individuals to make themselves indispensable in the tribe to improve the chances of safety and procreation.  

The problem is, we now live in a society where the lives and successes of others are displayed second by second at our fingertips. We see others paving their way through life and we see a lot more of what is good rather than the not-so-good that we all struggle with yet few of us are open and willing to share.

As I continue to make bold moves and brave leaps to grow my business and create a larger platform for my message of mental health vulnerability and best practices to find balance, I see and feel the effects of comparison every single day. Whether in my own self-talk or in the struggles of my clients, we all have a tendency to lose track of the big picture and get fixated on the small-minded comparison of ourselves to the other.

I am here to remind you that although you can’t control your instinctual animalistic reactions, you do have control and power in your response after the fact. Know your mind, understand where your effort is best invested, and carve a new path of least resistance in your brain that brings you to gratitude and motivation for action. How? Keep reading.

One of my favorite reminders lately comes from a book titled, The Honeymoon Effect by Bruce Lipton. He says “there are four brains in every relationship.” We have our best-self, which comes out in the beginning of a new relationship as we are excited and we don’t have assumptions or baggage already attached to what the other person says or does. Over time, we get comfortable and our triggered state begins to show itself. The impulsive reactions, the emotional assumptions, the unfair expectations, the cruel jabs at the other. Where did that person come from?

We are programmed to seek safety, to seek companionship and a tribe that feeds our soul, and to carve out a unique impact and purpose that will leave a legacy. Along with these beautiful human wants comes the tendency to compare, judge, and constantly strive for more. We find pleasure in progress, and we feel pain at any sign of rejection or not being seen by someone we want attention from. We need to feel safe, connected, and purposeful, and until we do, there is a constant flow of energy being invested in searching for ways to meet these needs. Imagine a faucet attached to the back of your body, and while these basic primal needs are unmet, it is as though your tap is turned on and flowing energy out of your system until there is nothing left, leaving you exhausted and wondering why. There’s not much we can do about this deeply rooted operating system, other than notice when it is there and respond with words and actions that ground, support, and release the old patterns.

We tend to avoid our feelings out of confusion and shame. We tend to judge ourselves and make ourselves feel wrong for having the feelings in the first place. Yet our good intentions can lead us astray, because what you resist, persists. You think you are being wise by brushing that problem under the rug, or avoiding the nagging feeling that something is wrong, or shaming yourself for not being able to “snap out of it.” Sorry to tell you my friends, you are sending more energy down that pathway that you are trying to avoid, strengthening it’s power and building a superhighway towards the very thing you are “ignoring.”

The only way through this internal struggle, is to get to know it, love it, embrace it, get curious about it, notice your reactions and try out new responses. Open yourself up to the beauty and connections that arise from being a vulnerable and proud imperfectly perfect human being.

This is not the type of work you can rush. This is the epitome of slowing down to speed up. We need to reset our foundation and build strong roots so that we can grow and handle the waves of life with grace and resilience.

A "mental model" is a great way to begin the process of excavating and cultivating. Mental models are our unique perceptions and understanding of life. They generally help us navigate uncertainty by projecting past learnings and experiences onto the situation at hand. They provide a proven pathway towards success or a learned pattern to avoid pain or failure. We can’t do the same thing over and over and expect to get new results. We are all growing and learning in phases, and we need to continue the principle of self-study to ensure we are updating our belief system and feeding our mind and body the nourishment it needs.

So I ask you, What seeds are you planting? Consider the mental model that your mind is a garden and your thoughts and actions culminate as the gardener. Before you create the garden of your dreams, you must dig deep and remove the weeds and roots that suck the nutrients out of the dirt or strangle the progress of new growth. While we plant new seeds, we develop a rhythm of care to ensure time and attention are spent to tend to the young and vulnerable plants. We need patience and mindfulness to allow the garden to manifest and to notice issues that could halt progress and take action to create a remedy. We need the resilience and trust in the process, so even if the garden is destroyed or is not in great shape, you know no failure is a final failure and every moment is practice for the next moment. It is important to find joy and develop a passion for the work so that it doesn’t become another mindless chore to check off your list. Surround yourself with other passionate gardeners and continue opening yourself up to new ideas and tips that could serve your journey.

 

Reflection Questions:

What change challenge are you facing in your life right now?

What is your mental model to approach this challenge with as much empowerment and trust in your ability as possible?

What are the key steps to take on this challenge?

What is your motivating reason WHY to take on this challenge?

What reminder do you need to repeat when the going gets tough?

A well timed and thought-provoking question can be the difference between standing proud in the face of your challenge rather than avoiding or hiding yourself from the possible pain of rejection. Know your mind. Know what you truly want. And set yourself up with the support, thoughts, mental models, and motivation you need to make the change. You are so much more capable than you realize. Tell yourself what you need to hear.

 

The WHY and HOW of Wellness

The Wellness Journey Heals Us All

I am so honored to be a part of the team at Evolve Retreat co. We are a group of passionate individuals who are striving to spread health and wellness through education, motivation, action, and support. Because of my fascination with words and the understanding that we often use words without knowing what they truly mean, I want to play with this word 'wellness.'

 

Wellness is a buzz word that has been growing in popularity. It is a reminder that as a society we are beginning to truly see the benefits in viewing our health and happiness as a by-product of many facets, and not a simple single ingredient as being more important than all the others. We are complex and unique beings, and we collectively share a desire for growth; it’s a biological imperative. We are all on a journey, and while we are all at different points and phases, when we come together to share in the experience and learn tools for motivation and resilience, we create an environment that heals us all.

To “heal” simply means to become “more whole.” This is a beautiful shift in our culture as more conversations are gearing towards healing rather than the fixed concept of “curing” which connotes a sense of something being wrong with you that needs to be fixed. To heal, you first need to tune in to the feeling of alignment based on your core values and goals. We need awareness of the energy and stories that have either been hidden or become attached to who you think you are. To heal, we need to let go of beliefs and patterns that no longer serve who you are or where you desire to be headed. It is a conscious and deliberate choice to shift your self-talk into a language of empowerment and elevation. We also need a sense and trust in balance, this looks like the occasional push outside your comfort zone followed by time to ground down and regain stability. From this new space, you then can expand and reach further. Imagine what is possible when you engage in that balance dance over the course of a year?? And finally, although you may want to rush and push your way through this, the best way to grow through the healing process is to embrace the journey with patience, love and compassion, as you realize that every animal (including our animalistic nature) responds best to being heard, loved, and respected.

Now, you may be sick of hearing that you need to be patient and take this journey with an open heart and a calm mind, but perhaps a deeper understanding of how and why will support you. 

HOW?

Seek more ways to bring high quality energy into your mind and body. Eat to nourish. Laugh to generate healing vibrations. Go on adventures and try new things. Engage in conversations about ideas, goals, successes, and struggles that create learnings. Put pen to paper and explore your thoughts and insights. Get the sleep you need to function and be just as passionate about your self care and "me-time" as you are about your action and effort. 

Too often we look at what is in the mirror to determine our self worth or health. But the inside is much more indicative of your picture of wellness. If you are on a strict diet but are miserable or have tension and anxiety built up around your diet or desired habit, you actually are doing more harm than good. Your mindset and mood need to be tended to just as much as the attention you put into your food choices and actions.

Rather than seeing nourishment as solely the foods you eat, follow the wise words of Marc David in his book “Nourishing Wisdom”:

“Biologically, nourishment is encoded in our genes as the body’s longing for perpetuation of itself through food and procreation. Psychologically, nourishment is encoded as our longing for perpetuation through creativity, relationships, community, work and the exchange of ideas. Spiritually, nourishment is encoded as our longing for self-realization. Whether it is a warm meal, a warm fire, a warm friend, or a warm feeling, the metaphoric mind interprets each as nourishment and will substitute food whenever other sources of nourishment run low.” 

What area of your life are you lacking nourishment? Don’t judge, shame, or regret your choices. Right now is all you’ve got and you need all that precious energy to be in action and to enjoy the ride.

WHY?

This one is up to you. We all have a deeper why behind our goals and change challenges. What is your bigger why? For example, to lose weight is a goal, but the deeper why is most likely driven by a desire to feel confident, energetic, and capable in as many situations as possible. Sure a diet will help, but when you are grounded in your deeper why you will see there are many ways to practice and bring this sense of wellness into your life. The goal is not the point - it is important and necessary to give yourself direction - but it is not the only point! Your reward is not waiting at the end of this journey, it is a practice and deliverance based on the daily work. Life is right now, in this moment, so the work is in tuning into the present and finding contentment and gratitude along the way. 

I leave you with this, what are you doing today to engage in the healing process? We all have old wounds that need mending. We all have parts of our past that are sitting in our psyche and body undigested or misunderstood. What are the first few steps to health and wellness in your life? Trust that when you are aligned in your core values, engaging in activities and with people you love and are inspired by, and are taking incremental steps towards your goals, you will tap into a reservoir of energy you didn’t realize was available.

 

*If you are searching for professional help, try starting here...

Everything is an offer

To live in the world of personal development means to be constantly face to face with your hypocrisy and your own areas of improvement. It's not easy. But, it also means a lot of excitement and pleasure as you see positive change in your life and feel the result of your hard work paying dividends. I have found that the concept of "intimacy without attachment" is a great reminder to find the balance point and contentment with the moment while in pursuit of betterment. It reminds me to be passionate and desire for more while embracing this moment as it is because I cannot control what the future holds. It also reminds me to conserve energy by expecting the unexpected and to behave in a way that allows others to also have freedom and space for growth. "Intimacy without attachment" is one of many concepts and mantras I use to create and conserve quality energy for my journey.  

I am mindful of the fact that my work, currently, is in playing with the balance between pragmatism and compassion. I have found that a way to conserve energy is to be picky with where I allow myself to be influenced by others, more specifically, who and where I invest my emotions. It's become a dance as I notice my energy getting pulled into someone else's struggle, I allow myself to feel it and send some love and empathy, but then I re-center myself with the reminder that it doesn't do us any good if I turn "your struggle" into "our struggle."

I have witnessed that I am much better at supporting a shift in perspective or leading by example when I allow myself to stay open and rise above the momentary struggle. While this is an efficient way to operate, the shadow side is that at times when emotional investment and a compassionate shoulder to cry on is needed, I will choose curiosity and protect my energy from being drained by other people's "problems." This is not good or bad, right or wrong, it is just something to notice and play with so that I can lay my head down each night and feel confident, proud and aligned in my decisions as I reflect on my day. I want to be felt as a compassionate, vulnerable, and supportive person. And I need to continually check in with myself to ensure that my intentions are showing up strong and true in my actions. 

 

What I find most interesting about this recent realization is that my response is to see it as an offer to open up a bit more and trust my own strength and capabilities. I rarely feel guilt or feel a loss of power when I see my intentions are not aligned with my actions, because I know that that takes time and energy. I see the error in my ways, I learn what I need to learn, I readjust my aim, and then I get back into the practice of living life.

I see these insights as an opportunity to practice being a better coach, a better friend, a better daughter and sister, and a better partner. Because I am far from perfect and I would love for my family and friends to see that I am trying hard to be the person they deserve to have in their life. 

Everything is an offer, if you let it be. Perspective can always be shifted to see what you may have missed or what you have not been habituated to see. It becomes an offer when you can choose to respond in ways that invite connection, acceptance and creativity. You spread this offer wide when you start your response to a situation with "YES, AND...." Perspective expands when you can see the potential all around you and open your mind to receive the feather into your calm soft palm rather than grasping and forcing. 

This blog post is inspired by this book. An amazing title and an even more amazing read. This book plays with the beautiful lessons we can take from the world of improvisation and how that can open your mind and life in ways you may not see as possible.

This blog post is inspired by this book. An amazing title and an even more amazing read. This book plays with the beautiful lessons we can take from the world of improvisation and how that can open your mind and life in ways you may not see as possible.

I would love to have an impact in this world that leads us towards mindful and balanced living. I would love to see everyone unplug more often and take their down-time seriously. I would love to see more people create some space in between their initial impulsive reaction and their thoughtful and grounded pragmatic response. I would love to see more people crack open and share what keeps them up at night and what fears creep into their minds during the day. I want to see more bold and brave creativity as people get out of their self-doubting heads and allow themselves to show up and make their passions known. I want to see people setting goals and achieving them, making bold requests and standing tall in their higher purpose, stretching the limits of what's possible and seeing beauty and life-affirming magic in stepping outside their comfort zone. 

That is why I lead by example and do my best to share what tools and conversations can support the process. I want you to create and conserve more quality energy so you can experience bliss, passion, excitement, pleasure and purpose in a balanced and sustainable way. 

So cheers to balance. Cheers to practice and play. And cheers to embracing our imperfections so that we can create space and conserve energy for the journey towards our best self. 

;)

photo by Mark Derry

photo by Mark Derry

The journey to self-worth

*photo by Mark Derry

I used to obsess about my body. I used to label myself as fat and ugly and unworthy of sustainable happiness. I used to rely on others' feedback - and of course, make up stories about others' non-verbal communication - to determine my self-worth. I used to spend the majority of my day dreading one thing after the next and would sit in blame and victim-hood anytime anything didn't go as I wanted or hoped it would go (during my hours of daydreaming about the future rather than being in the present).

I didn't feel truth in many of my choices and steered myself towards calamity simply to feel more alive for a few moments. I intentionally harmed myself because I was angry and lost and wanted a tangible reason to cry. 

My triggered state still often leads to disordered thoughts around food, body-image and self-worth; albeit, the intensity has considerably diminished. It is now a rare occurrence rather than a daily consistent state. 

I still have the personality that makes addiction a very real possibility to be mindful of, and have found it to be humorous when I notice the oxy-moronic nature of noticing addiction to personal development. Because I am prone to go to the extremes, I strive to focus on balance and moderation in all things. And when I do allow myself to do something a little more extreme, I need to make time for recovery and intentional self-care to ensure I don't burn out or do something out of alignment with my best-self. When you are tired or stressed, you are more likely to make impulsive decisions that feel good now, rather than sticking to the tried and true delayed gratification.

What is said about most addictions; even when you overcome it, you will always have the "disease." That sounds so damning and judgmental. While you could see it as a limitation, notice the shift in perspective if you choose to see it as an opportunity rather than a burden.

I have flipped the script and brought myself to a place of self-love, confidence and calm. I have developed the ability to truly tap into the spaces in between the sequence of events that leads to external action. I notice the impulse and know that compassion, curiosity and acceptance are the best first steps. I tell myself what I need to hear. I focus on my breath. I do what I can to conserve energy and create quality fuel so I can make an aligned and grounded choice in my thoughts and actions. 

We all get triggered into impulsive action or inaction. Isn't that why self-development is such a lucrative business to be in? While there are generally always going to be some outliers, mostly everyone wants to overcome perceived limitations. To notice where you feel a lack of lust for life and immense imbalance, to develop awareness and compassion while building sustainable traction with purpose and direction in your actions, and to overall create new habits in place of the ones that aren't serving you. We all have this shared struggle and subsequent desire, yet it manifests from a time when we had little control or input in how we lived or what we experienced; our childhood. 

What works for one person won't necessarily be what works for another. The best way to create the life of your dreams is to become the instigator, creator and facilitator. My goal is not to start my own tribe. My goal is to empower others to develop their unique capabilities and be guided by their own internal compass. 

Everything that I do at this point in my career is focused on empowering others. I teach yoga and spin and infuse strength and overcoming into the words I choose to use. I focus on music and experience to take people on a journey, to get out of their head and into their body. I host workshops and write blogs to share tools and ideas that worked well for me, and to support others in developing an internal conversation that will lead to breakthroughs. I coach people one on one, leading by example in how I live my life and create challenges and conversations that will meet my clients where they are at and direct them to their desired destination. And my book, a tell-all tale about my life and the many hard lessons I have learned. I found my biggest growth spurts by reading books, and am so excited to be close to launching my book out into the world. A book that will take the reader on a journey and will land on a road map that will support the reader long after that final page is turned. 

From desperation, I found my way. Life can be enjoyable and purposeful. The best part is, once you feel a sense of structure and have built in new habits, it is your moral and ethical code that guides you. You build your own road map and edit as you go. You have the creative power to design your life within the boundaries of your current existence, and with time and deliberate action (and intentional non-action), we see the beauty of cultivating a life manifested through balance, health, passion, and purpose.  

Self-worth is a journey to alignment. It is the feeling of being internally directed and motivated, while still being focused on others and your part in the overall well-being of human kind. We are unique beings with a personalized purpose, but we are also a part of the collective. Relationships are what makes the world prosper. Choose more love, compassion and curiosity. The path will unfold when you stop getting in your own way. 

xoxo

 

Set & Flow

I am so excited to be creating an ongoing collaboration with my friend Jordan Smuszko at his space The Village (4039 Brentwood Road NW). Our goal is to host a simple event that is focused on mindful movement and building forward momentum as I guide you through a journal session at the end to reflect on the past month and create actions and good vibes for the month ahead. 

Every first Sunday of each month, we will meet from 7 to 815pm, and we ask that you arrive 15 minutes early to sign a waiver and have some time to chill on your mat before we begin. We also want to make this as accessible and sustainable as possible, so we are asking for only a $10 cash drop-in (or $12 on credit card). If there is a good turn out and there is a want for more of these classes, we will be happy to add more. So show up and be a part of this movement!

This is an amazing way to build in some accountability and spend your Sunday evening with power, intention, and some inspiring people. 

Here are the dates for the summer. No need to register before hand, just show up and be ready to flow. All levels welcome!

Sunday June 4, 7pm

Sunday July 2, 7pm

Sunday August 6, 7pm

Meet Andrea Saliba

 

Andrea Saliba is a powerhouse. We met online, as she leads a busy and beautiful life in Vancouver BC. As many of you know, I struggled for many years with an eating disorder, depression and anxiety, and I am so inspired by people like Andrea who aim to encourage others to lead the healthiest life possible both mentally and physically.

Mother to three beautiful kids and a boss-babe running her own nutrition and health coaching business, you got to check this chick out ;)

 

1. What gets you up in the morning?

  •  My kids are a huge motivation for me. What I do, how I act and how I start my day is setting the tone for them and leading an example. 

 

2. What is your morning routine to tap into your ideal mindset?

  •  Every morning, I wake up at 5:30am before anyone else and I meditate for 10-15 min. I focus on what I am grateful for, how I want my day to go and on my future goals.

It really has been life changing for me and something I tell all my clients to do also.

 

3. What was your biggest failure that turned into the best thing that ever happened to you?

  •  I prefer to call them bumps along the road. Each mistake has made me stronger and actually has brought me closer to my spiritual side to which I can now use in my practice.

 

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

  •   I have a crazy sweet tooth; that YES, I do occasionally indulge!
  •   I have suffered from anxiety in the past 
  •   I am very direct and to the point. No beating around the bushes.

 

5. What are your goals this year?

  • My goals this year is meet new people who need my service. Id love to reach out and help more people towards getting their health on track. 

 

6. What is your current struggle?

  • I have been finding it difficult to balance my work, education and being a Mom/Wife. I feel pulled into many directions but ultimately, my family always comes first. 

 

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

  • A beautiful quote I saw the other day reminds me to keep moving forward, it goes; “That beautiful flower was once a tiny seed dropped in dirt, covered in darkness, & struggled to reach the light. Don’t give up. Keep growing.” -unknown 

 

8. Where can we find you throughout the week?

  • Usually at the gym either workout for myself or instructing others and coaching clients.

 

9. What do you specialize in as a coach? 

  • I specialize in creating meal and lifestyle plans for clients that want to see real change in their lives. This is a customized plan and not a 'Fad' diet. This is learning to incorporate the tools needed to see real results that are life long. 

 

10. What does your coaching program entail (whatever details you would like to share)?

  • I offer meal plans, 1-on-1 coaching, guided grocery shopping and hosting events. 

 

11. What is one of the coolest things you have learned about nutrition recently?

  • I have found that how the mind and body are connected very interesting and empowering. 

Deliberately Developmental

I am reading a fascinating book right now called An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Development Organization, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (any quotes below are from this book). In my own pursuit of continuing my development and being a catalyst for positive change in others, I have found many books that I deem to be game changers in my own thinking. This has become one of them.

 

What does it mean to be deliberately developmental? It is a commitment to growth at the expense of comfort and ease. It is an "investment in loss" - a phrase coined by performance coach Josh Waitzkin - which refers to the premium awarded to those who look at their weaknesses as untapped potential and see their "failures" as opportunities for growth. It is a mindset that trains our brain to be on the lookout for growth opportunities and excited by challenges. It is a belief that growth is a passionate and valuable pursuit that brings purpose and excitement into every single day. And it is the understanding that, even in big business, a focus on personal development will improve and strengthen culture, progress, and success for everyone involved. 

While this book is speaking to the amazing qualities of companies that are able to develop a culture of growth and betterment, it also sparked my curiosity in what it looks like to be an individual who wants to be deliberate in their development regardless of where they work. In an attempt to simplify this work and assist myself in integrating this knowledge into my current repertoire, I have broken this down into the five steps to become deliberately developmental. Here goes...

1. Surround yourself with others who are invested in personal development. 

We all have weaknesses. We all have blind spots. We all have shadows and parts of ourselves that are under-developed or not fully understood. When you can find a community of people who are all willing and ready to pursue excellence in themselves and who see the value in supporting the pursuit of excellence in others, suddenly a world of possibility opens up. Imagine what could happen when you engage in a culture that makes you feel safe and open to make mistakes yet a steadfast rule that makes it unacceptable not to identify, analyze, and learn from them.

"A Better Me + A Better You = A Better Us"  

 

2. Look for thought-cycles that are wasting your energy and remove them from your mind. 

In the book, they say "winning is less valuable than what we learn by losing in the pursuit of excellence." When you can shift your perception so to not waste energy feeling bad about yourself when you fail, you can then use that energy to love what you learned without losing momentum. 

"Pain + Reflection (in a safe environment) = Progress"

One of the biggest transformations I have made in my life is the ability to step back and be pragmatic with my assessment of my thoughts or emotions. Whatever you focus on you create more of. Your attention focuses on small aspects of reality and can exaggerate with stories based on the emotions we are feeling. Notice what you are focusing on, and recognize that a simple shift in perspective can make the difference between running from fear versus standing tall in the face of fear. Whatever you pay attention to, that is what you experience. So acknowledge that whatever is on your mind now, is just one point within a limitless number of possible points, connections, or perspectives that are available. The way you talk to yourself and what you allow your mind to focus on are the keys to creating and sustaining positive change. Just because you habitually think a certain way, doesn't make it any more true or real than a possible new habit. 

 

3. Know the Three Adult Plateaus, where you are, and how to progress to the next level.

The Socialized Mind: This is the first level where most adults stay for their entire existence. At this phase, "we are shaped by the definitions and expectations of our personal environment." What we consider to be our "self" is aligned and loyal to that which it identifies. This is a simple and binding contract that coheres in the expectations we perceive in our relationships. You are more likely to get stuck in negative comparisons, sit in judgments, or waste energy in shame or embarrassment. 

For example, someone at this level will know their role and will operate mainly with the assumptions of what they believe others want to hear. They will be highly sensitive to what they hear or see others do, and are more likely to "read between the lines" and be effected by nonverbal communication without an understanding of what is intentional versus accidental.

Someone at this level is more prone to gossip, more prone to being offended, and more likely to toe the line rather than be creative and open to assessing the situation. 

To begin growing out of this phase, one must develop the ability to see what they were once subject to," or controlled by, and gradually become aware of the "object" something that can also be looked at rather than only looked through. This is done with practicing awareness. Taking a step back to notice as you make decisions or feel emotional shifts in your body. Notice what your patterns are and where you get in your own way. Once you have developed the ability to stop before you respond, you suddenly have the choice-point to shift the direction of your energy and thoughts to pave a new connection towards questioning what you have done on auto-pilot for years. Get curious.

 

4. The Self-Authoring Mind: At this phase you "are able to step back enough from the social environment to generate an internal seat of judgement, or personal authority, that evaluates and makes choices about external expectations." Rather than being fixated on the expectations of your environment, you operate based on your alignment with your own own belief systems, ideology, or personal code. You are still abiding by the expectations of your role, but you see more flexibility and room for creative thinking, knowing that you can do this while being self-directed and guided by your own moral-compass. 

In regards to communication, at this level, you are more likely to relay what you think others need or ought to hear, while grounded in the bigger picture of the mission at hand. "Consciously or unconsciously, I have a direction, an agenda, a stance, a strategy, or an analysis of what is needed - a prior context from which my communication arises." This is less about fitting in and more about expressing yourself and adding value to a project or situation. It is the recognition that you can be uniquely you, driven by your own values and objectives, while contributing to the greater whole and being a part of the larger machine. 

  

5. The Self-Transforming Mind: Few people are at this level, which makes it that much more of a valuable commodity in the workplace. With this mindset and capability, you "can step back from and reflect on the limits of your own ideology or personal authority; see that any one system or self-organization is in some way partial or incomplete; be friendlier toward contradiction and opposites; seek to hold on to multiple systems rather than project all except one onto the other." While you know your role and your part to play in the greater machine, you also recognize the fallibility of every system and practice an ongoing assessment of "what's missing?", "what are my blind-spots here?", "how can this be wrong?", "what is true here?", "what could make this better?"

 

Understanding these three levels of mental complexity is crucial when we address the importance of communication and development in any system. Imagine a workplace where everyone was operating at the self-authoring or self-transforming level. The efficiency, the growth, the self-leadership, and the ease of connecting and maintaining relationships would save so much time in the long run. 

As is the case with anything I am curious about, consider this to be another seed planted in that beautiful brain of yours. Get curious about ways to build development into whatever culture you are a part of. Get curious about ways you can take on your own development. Our mind's are capable of so much more than whatever your current state is. Keep learning. Keep asking yourself quality questions and create empowering thought patterns that bring quality fuel into your system. We all want more control in our life, and I have found that when I understand more about how my mind and body works, I gain more and more control over the direction and design of my own life. Get curious xoxo

Understanding these three levels of mental complexity is crucial when we address the importance of communication and development in any system. Imagine a workplace where everyone was operating at the self-authoring or self-transforming level. The efficiency, the growth, the self-leadership, and the ease of connecting and maintaining relationships would save so much time in the long run. 

As is the case with anything I am curious about, consider this to be another seed planted in that beautiful brain of yours. Get curious about ways to build development into whatever culture you are a part of. Get curious about ways you can take on your own development. Our mind's are capable of so much more than whatever your current state is. Keep learning. Keep asking yourself quality questions and create empowering thought patterns that bring quality fuel into your system. We all want more control in our life, and I have found that when I understand more about how my mind and body works, I gain more and more control over the direction and design of my own life. Get curious xoxo