balance

How to Shift your Mental Health in ONE DAY!

5 tips to strengthen your Mental Health today!

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

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


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

1 - Connect with yourself

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

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2 - Get your body moving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Have a warm shower or bath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Movement & Motivation with Marin and Tommy Europe on May 28

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

Two inquiries that can expand your Consciousness - Death and Cannabis

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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


Thoughts? Questions? Inquiries? Hit me up! xoxox

Social Media Challenge for 2019 - update

My Social Media Challenge for 2019 - Retrain the Relationship

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

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What is this about?

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

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

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On the Bright Side

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

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What’s Next?

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

Let’s Connect

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

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

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




What you can expect from me this year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step #1: BOUNDARIES

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

So here is what I am doing to practice.

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

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

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

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

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Window of Tolerance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxo

"I deserve to be heard"

The first time I heard the mantra "I deserve to be heard" was several years ago when I was introduced to the Chakra system. The throat chakra is one of seven main energetic centers in our being, and it is the home of expression, non-violent communication and generous listening. The reminder we receive when in contemplation of the throat chakra is that we each have a unique contribution and a unique perception of reality. It takes conscious communication to bridge the gaps between our-self and the other, to create and foster our boundaries, and to speak our truth, to ourselves and to others.

In a yoga teacher training a few weeks ago, I was invited to repeat "I deserve to be heard" while in a guided meditation. While this was not my first time repeating these words, there was something different in the experience this time. This was the first time that it truly landed. Tears formed in my eyes. A wave of love, peace, acceptance and power washed over me. It was like I had one hand tied behind my back unknowingly and someone just gave me permission and the tools to untie myself. It was an extremely cathartic experience.

As I have sat with this for a few weeks now, I am getting more clear on what makes this mantra so powerful. First of all, mantras are an amazing way to shift your self-talk patterns efficiently. 95% of what you say today you also said yesterday. We are creatures of habit. When you bring in new thoughts, and repeat empowering words or phrases (i.e. mantras), you feed your brain new energy and are more likely to repeat these words and phrases later on. Your words cast spells, and overtime, you will believe whatever you say about yourself. With any great power comes responsibility. Mantras are only one piece of the holistic puzzle of self development. We need to be face to face with what makes us uncomfortable and continue harnessing our awareness of our own patterns and habits that are not serving who we desire to be. From this awareness, we can edit as we go, shift our patterns and habits with self-talk, reminders, support and accountability. 

Every voice deserves to be heard. This doesn't mean you deserve to be heard more than others. It also doesn't mean you have the right to talk over others or that what you say is more true than what others say. It simply means, you have a voice and you deserve to use it and be heard. That's it, simple. This is not projecting a rule of any kind, it is offering up a tool for your inquiry and discernment. 

For me, what was so powerful was that I had been struggling with my ability to effectively communicate with my husband. My monkey mind can jump in wild directions, and sometimes I will begin sharing something without context or back-story to bridge the gap between his perception of reality, our physical environment, and where my mind has gone. In fact, this becomes a point of conflict for us as he pushes back on my share with questions like "what are you talking about? why are you telling me this?" Rather than keeping calm and walking back through the process of how I got from A to Z, I had a pattern of feeling sad that I wasn't understood, hurt that he wasn't more curious about what I had to share, and upset that I was creating a limiting belief and story that my husband is not someone I can share my raw and unfiltered thoughts or ideas with. 

I am not one to get stuck and allow limiting beliefs to take over, so I chose to get curious and inquisitive with myself to get more clear on this pattern and what shifts I could make to grow through this obstacle. 

When I repeated, "I deserve to be heard" in my mind, I realized that I had been holding on to a belief that I share too much and that I need to keep things to myself until they are polished and ready to be delivered efficiently and profoundly. While there is some truth in that, it is also not complex enough to embody the full truth. It is not a hard and fast rule that I want to abide by. I love the freedom of speech! I love that my mind is creative and thoughtful and that I can come up with wild ideas and put them into action. My goal is not to stifle my voice, it is to become more deliberate in how I communicate and to share more context so that the conversation is co-created rather than me talking at my husband (or anyone else). 

Like most things in life, too much of anything is no longer a good thing. And rather than swinging from one extreme to the other (i.e. from over-sharing to not sharing at all), I wanted to find the healthy balance. For me, "I deserve to be heard" is now the reminder I need to repeat daily to honor my voice and contribution. It reminds me to slow down and think through what I want to share so that I honor the power and influence I can have. It reminds me to allow unfiltered and raw conversations to flow, and not be too caught up in thinking that everything needs to be manicured and polished. Sometimes yes it does, and other times, raw and unfiltered is exactly what is needed. Each moment is a new opportunity and I strive to be present and engaged with what the moment calls for, and to do that, I need to remind myself that "I deserve to be heard."

And guess what?? So do you!

Why a Five Day Evolve Retreat is right for you

Why a Five-Day Retreat? Five reasons why we at Evolve follow a five-day format for our retreats:

1. Habits dig deep and we want to ensure you have enough time to move from your path of least resistance (i.e. your old habits) into a new direction that serves you well (i.e. your new healthy habits). Rather than being inspired for a couple days and then go back home to status quo, we are more interested in life-long sustainable shifts that will change your perspective and motivate you to keep doing the work.

2. We have a lot to share and we believe in the integral importance of balance. We could bombard you over two or three days with more information than your brain can handle, instead, we choose to spread the inspiration over five days so that it is a comfortable progression that will leave you fueled, nourished, rested, rejuvenated and motivated to keep your progress going at home.

3. Happiness in life is not achieved simply with insight. You need time to practice, integrate and have conversations that will support your development. In The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, he says,

“The level of happiness you actually experience [H] is determined by your biological set point [S] plus the conditions of your life [i.e., loving relationships, as well as having and pursuing the right goals, in order to create states of flow and engagement) [C], plus the voluntary activities [V] that you do.

H = S + C + V.”

We want to support you in all pieces of this happiness equation. We are complex beautiful beings and we must give ourselves the space and time needed to understand the layers that make us who we are.

4. We believe in experiential learning. Whether it is a hands-on cooking lesson or a nutritional tutorial before we sit down for a meal, a workshop about sleep, meditation, mindful eating, or goal setting, a group fitness class or a one on one session with one of our many experts on staff, we want to make sure you get access to everything we have to offer. A five-day immersion will ensure that you do not feel rushed to meet your needs and you do not miss out on any of the amazing benefits we offer.

5. We know from experience that momentum can feel nearly impossible to start, but once it is in motion, it is nearly impossible to stop. We have a five-day outline that will spark momentum into healthy and mindful living. We want to make sure that when you head home you feel motivated, clear and supported to continue the momentum you cultivated. The real work begins once you are back at home, and we are excited for you to put these tools to good use!

Growth Mindset to learn from - rather than stay victim to - your Triggers

What are triggers? They are strong emotional reactions that arise suddenly as a result of some stimulus, and it is the mark of a deep wound or limiting belief.

How do we learn and grow so that we do not get triggered? The answer is found in the pause between the stimulus and the impulsive reaction. Like a thorn in your side that you have spent years concealing, protecting, and avoiding in hopes that it will never be touched again, the only way to remove the trigger is to find the thorn and do the work to learn, release and heal. This takes patience, curiosity, and a growth mindset.

We all carry emotional baggage. Whether we are reacting to things in the moment that are less than ideal, or holding onto judgement, resentment, guilt, or sadness from past events that rocked us to our core; this emotional baggage weighs us down. Where does this come from? Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why is it easier to pass judgement and compare ourselves to what we are not, versus loving ourselves whole-heartedly and choose forgiveness and compassion as our first instinct?

Like most things I am discovering, the secret sauce to shift into a new direction and create new habits starts with a change in perspective. First of all, your triggered state is not happening because of the person in front of you or because of who you are, it is the sign of a trauma or un-digested experience from years ago.

“No one situation or person is fully responsible for the magnitude of our emotional charge. That person or situation has usually caused an emotion to surface that was already there, connected to some hurt that occurred in the past. One of the consequences of our habit of ignoring emotions is that they tend to pile up. So most of us have backlog of emotional wounds connected to situations that we never dealt with or resolved” (Conscious Communication by Miles Sherts).

Triggers are not something you can just “let go” of. That’s like having a fracture in your femur and expecting that you can just will it away. I don’t think so 😉.

Once you are aware that you are in a triggered state, try this…..

1. Take a few moments to gather yourself by creating a sense of grounding. Connect with your breath and tune into 5-8 seconds for an inhale, a pause at the top, and 5-6 seconds for the exhale, a pause at the bottom. Get out of your fight or flight state!

2. Then, ask yourself, what do I really want here? What do I want for this relationship? How do I need to show up here to move through this with grace, vulnerability and authenticity?

3. Once you can remove yourself from the situation, find some time to put pen to paper and write about your experience. What did you notice as the trigger arrived? What did it feel like? What “need” was not being met in that situation? 

4. What follow-up is needed (perhaps a do-over to share more context into what state you were in?) What reminder do you need next time you find yourself in that triggered state?

 

Trauma is generally a multitude of layers. Expect that this process will take some time and exploration. Use the wisdom of the Growth Mindset to bring in high quality energy and focus more on the process versus the destination. A Growth Mindset points at the joy of continually getting better at something rather than being fixated on not being enough right now. It is about being in the process of improving and developing skills rather than trying to prove your worth and demonstrate your skills. This mindset is ideal for the personal development journey because you will be face to face with parts of yourself that make you uncomfortable (to say the least). Your relationship with growth, yourself, and this life will dictate how much energy you can cultivate in that pause before you decide what direction you truly want to go in. The skills you cultivate in self-inquiry will serve you for a lifetime. They are tools that will allow you to move through difficult conversations and emotions with greater efficacy and empowerment each time.

You got this xoxo

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