How and Why to meditate

My relationship with meditation has many chapters at this point. It has been on my mind for over a decade. First as something I was told to do by doctors to help with my mental health. And while I agreed and understood it to be an important thing to do, I didn't do it. 

I began to read countless numbers of self-help books and noticed a common denominator in the messaging was meditation. I learned there are many different ways to engage in meditation and decided it was something I needed to give a good try. 

I started with a 30 day challenge, as I thought I needed the accountability, motivation, and sense of fun that comes with a short stint of a daily challenge. I set my aim on 10 minutes a day, as it seemed like a low number and an easy target. The first few days went great. I would sit out on my balcony, enjoying the fresh air. My back would ache after a couple of minutes, but I was determined. A solid five days of meditation and I felt great! And then, I missed the sixth day, and then the seventh day, and the eighth day. Suddenly ten minutes felt like a huge barrier and I lost my steam. 

No problem though. I celebrated my few days of success and went back to the drawing board. I had learned a beautiful lesson in writing my book Be The Change. I set the bar low by stating I would write for ten minutes a day, and that made it possible for me to commit every day to at least ten minutes. So perhaps, I thought, I needed to set the bar lower for my meditation goal. I landed on 30 seconds a day. I knew I would always meditate if it was just a mere 30 seconds. So off I went once again. This time, it worked. Two solid months of 30 second meditations. The beauty that came from this was that I learned to crave the feeling meditation afforded me. And while I would start each day with 30 seconds of meditation, it soon trickled in throughout my day. I had a few moments in my car before a meeting; meditate for 30 seconds. I am out walking and falling in live with the rhythm of nature; sit down and meditate for 30 seconds. I am feeling anxious and wound up for no apparent reason; drop what I am doing and meditate for 30 seconds. Honestly, I felt POWERFUL! I felt like I had more control in my mind and body then ever before. 

After two months of this beautiful practice, I decided it was time to increase my goal and would now meditate for 6 minutes each morning. I did that for one week, and then fell for the allure of the bigger-better game. I increased my goal to ten minutes for that week ahead. I managed to get in two meditations. And then, for some reason, I increased my goal to 20 minutes, and completely stopped meditating all together. Interesting ;). 

The battle within me amped up. I noticed my mood and energy levels began to fluctuate a lot more. I noticed my need for control in my food, body image, and surroundings elevated. My mind slowly downsized from feeling in tune with the expansive flow of life and collective consciousness, back down to being consumed by surface level disturbances. I had touched the jewel of a daily meditation practice, and then found myself back in the prison of my own body and mind. Interesting experience indeed. 

Since then, my meditation practice has been inconsistent at best. I have reverted back to my 30 second commitment, and am in the practice of embracing where I am and relearning the art of making meditation a daily habit. Part of my process is to write about it. Writing is my favorite integrative exercise, as I land on exactly the reminders and the pathway I need to feel supported and accountable to the things I desire in life. 

What I hear from many people in their own struggle with meditation is a lack of understanding of how to engage in it as a practice. Like most things we know are important in life, we can easily land on the WHY, yet it is the HOW that we get tripped up on. 

Why is meditation a worth while pursuit?

  • It trains your mind to find the calm in the storm
  • It pushes the "reset" button
  • It builds your relationship with your Witness state (behind your mindchatter)
  • It strengthens your ability to PAUSE after your impulsive Reactions so you have space and awareness to choose a thoughtful Response and deliberate direction
  • It supports your expansive, heart-warming, compassionate filled, and fuel-inducing perspective that everything is connected

Let's talk the HOW....

First of all, if you have dabbled in meditation and have uttered the words "I just can't get my mind to calm down, meditation doesn't work for me." Guess what? If you tried to meditate, then you did meditate! You do not need to have a quiet mind in order to have had a successful meditation experience. You noticed your mind wouldn't calm down? That's meditation. Noticing. Awareness. Observation. 

Yes of course meditation feels better when you experience a moment - or more - of quiet, and expansive space, and it takes time to build that muscle. 

If you are intrigued and would like to practice, here are some steps to follow....

1. Create a comfortable space

Whether you sit, lay down, stand proudly in alignment, or move slowly and mindfully, the first step is creating a sense of safety and comfort so that your mind has a chance of finding the calm depths within. 

2. Posture matters

Sit up tall. Take a few moments to assess your posture and ensure you have lots of space for full breaths. Slouched posture not only triggers your fight or flight response, it also prevents full breaths, and can be the cause of aches and pains, which will pull you from your experience. Sit against a wall or on a chair as you build you postural muscles. 

3. Breath

Your breath is the gateway to your inner-environment. Full long breaths that invite in presence as you allow your breath to become the most interesting thing inside of you. Notice your breath as if you have never noticed it before. This supports your ability to get out of your thinking mind, and into feeling your body. Imagine your diaphragm as a balloon, and feel your front, sides, and back inflate with each inhale, and then surrender to the moment as it is with each exhale. Breathe in a way that in intentional, but not aggressive. 

4. Choose a focus with you inner gaze

With your eyes closed, focus your gaze at the backs of your eye-lids. And then imagine your head is a bus, and while at first it is as though you are in the front seat, staring directly out the windshield, allow yourself to take a few steps back to the backseat. Still able to see everything as before, but also the ability to see the space in between you and your thoughts, your emotions, and your reactions. 

5. Choose a focus with a mantra

I do not always engage in mantra, and I find it to be quite supportive in times when my mind feels more erratic or I am aware of a negative loop in my mind that needs to be rewired. Repetition is a convincing argument. And I am better able to stay in the moment and on purpose when I have a short phrase or one empowering word that I am focused on as my anchor. 

6. Visualization

Another tool I opt to use is the power of visualization. I imagine myself floating beneath the ocean's surface or above the clouds in the sky. I imagine my body is growing and expanding, touching everything around me and becoming connected to everything in the universe. I will also at times visualize my day and how I want to feel and show up from moment to moment. Planting seeds in my psyche in terms of my chosen energy and direction, making it more likely that I will remember these powerful feelings and intentions as I go about my day.

7. Space in between things

In the end, my goal with meditation is to feel aligned with the space in between things. The expansive space in between my thoughts, my breath, my emotional pendulum swing. This supports me in finding my status quo, my baseline, my higher-purpose and reservoir of energy as I know there is a lot I cannot control in life, and the best way to navigate is to improvise in the moment with an open heart and open mind. And every time I start my day aligned with that expansive space in between things, I am quick to notice when my thoughts hone in on something that does not serve me. I am able to step back into expansiveness with one deep mindful breath, and back into the flow of life, as the imperfectly perfect bountiful experience that it is. 

 

Most importantly, keep in mind that this is a practice. As I shared in my own story and relationship with meditation, it has been a bumpy road, and that is okay! We learn by doing. We learn by trying things on and reflecting on what works and what doesn't. And what works for me will not necessarily be the jewels and nuggets of wisdom you need. Use my experience as a platform to start, and then get into your own pursuit of trial and error. When you fall in love with practice, you fall in love with life.

xoxo Marin

 

Learning from my shadows.....again

I received a heartfelt message from a soon-to-be friend on instagram a couple of days ago. This friend opened up about her struggle with weight, divorce, motivation, and the desire to develop a better self talk habit through daily journal writing yet a resistance to it in the form of lacking a deeper understanding of the purpose and the HOW.

Quite honestly, this message came to me at the perfect time, because I also needed the reminder. For me to stop and do a little bit of reflection and digging in to find the answer I could share and inspire for another, was the healing I needed at the time too. 

My response to her is threaded throughout the paragraphs below, however, I wanted to take some time to write it out in a way that speaks to me and speaks to anyone else who reads these words. 

The purpose of daily writing is to rewire your thought patterns. It’s not about writing the negative or the positive stuff - it’s about choosing thoughts that create space for you to be who and where you are now, which then provides you with the energy and motivation for action. It's hard to make progress or find contentment when consumed by what you don't like in yourself or what you lack. There are so many other things to think about, and there are many perspectives to try on that allows you to be honest with where you lack yet in a way that provides compassion and inspiration.

Definitely be honest about where you’re at and what you’re noticing, and then shift into how you are embracing it, what you’re learning from it, and what you’ll do to practice this shift in perspective. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves and practice our way into letting go, forgiving, accepting, and setting up action steps to move onward.

Most importantly, it’s okay to not feel okay. It’s okay to struggle and to feel as though you are retreating into yourself. It's okay to have habits and patterns that get in your way. We all do! The main difference in those who are still productive and perhaps even happy or content in their struggle, is their perspective. I try really hard to remind myself daily to embrace my imperfections, love my shadows, learn from my missteps, and just keep trying! It certainly feels better when you are engaging in life in a disciplined and internally directed way. And it feels better when you get the sleep you need and the nourishment you require.

We are human, we are imperfect, and we can be content with discontentment because it means you are alive and you have the opportunity to shift as soon as you’re ready or are forced to make a change due to life circumstances. Either way, you’ll do it eventually, and I’m right here with you. 

Every morning I wake up and look at my body in the mirror, and too often my mood is determined by the shape I see. How much did I eat yesterday? How much did I move yesterday? How did I treat myself yesterday? It becomes completely ego-centric when I allow my morning trajectory to be determined by my mind's judgment of my body's current state. There is so much more to me than the shell of my body. I have depth, and I am grateful for the opportunity this life and this body affords me. I want to step into each day with love and compassion in my heart as I embrace my shape and make healthy and mindful decisions moment to moment because that is how I navigate life with the fuel I need. 

I struggled with body image, severe depression and eating disorders for many many years. I wrote a book about my journey and my overcoming. And still, I am not immune to this very real human condition of self-doubt and depression. I struggle to stay motivated to engage with life. Sometimes I want to just sleep, and it feels difficult and consuming to engage with other people. I experience anxiety and worry that I’m not interesting. I judge myself harshly and become consumed mentally when I overeat. 

Yet, I know that being thin is not what makes me happier. It’s the pursuit of health and longevity that will invite in happiness. It’s the act of getting sweaty or taking time to meditate that brings about good feelings - at any size. I started this morning with a simple and short meditation - as I sat on a stool facing out the balcony window to take in the light and the buzz of the wind and the few cars on the road. I reminded myself - don't just do something, sit there. I noticed my mind wander to a few situations in the recent past that irked me, that disturbed me, and I can see now that there are a few things I am carrying around with me that are contributing to my low state. So often there is something real in life that has bothered me, and instead of dealing with it, I try to just let it go, yet the low vibration feeling stays with me and manifests in other ways. Our brain likes order and meaning, so it will attach to anything as a way to explain the low vibration feelings that are present. 

Focusing on needing to be thinner to be happy is just attaching to something tangible as a reason for your feelings of lack. To heal the hurt of your relationships that need mending or dissolving, and to reclaim your life with passion and purpose, you need to change the glasses that you perceive your life through. Retraining your self talk patterns is a great place to practice.

I call it being pragmatically optimistic. When I’m writing to rewire my thoughts, I start with what I notice I am feeling. I then ask myself questions about what else could be contributing, and what are some other perspectives to try on, and what’s something I can do today to learn, grow and let go. The process of asking and answering high quality questions is where the shift awaits! So, the questions I am sitting with today, and I invite you to do so as well....

  • What is one thing I can do today to mend the hurt from a past conversation or relationship that seems to be nagging on my psyche?
  • What is my self-loving and compassionate mantra to land on and repeat when I find myself engaging in a habit or pattern today that I am committed to shifting or removing from my life?
  • What am I giving myself permission to feel today?

To close, I have a beautiful quote to share from Angi Fletcher. She is a model, mother, and vulnerable advocate for body image and self-love practices. I stumbled across this and felt immediately hugged by her words. Enjoy ;) 

"There are seasons for everything. Happiness doesn't come in a body shape; health and vitality does; having more energy does; being able to move easier does; not being as depressed does. But all these things comes from what you put in your body and what thoughts you choose to believe, not just in the shape or size of your body. When I was in my thinnest body measurement wise, I was also at my thinnest capacity for love, patience, strength, adventure and happiness. Your body is your body. It is changeable, moldable, flexible and more capable than you can imagine. But it is just a shell. You are in control of your mind and what you put into your body to either make it a machine or a prison" Angi Fletcher

With acceptance and peace, space is created to shift

I have been deeply engaged and curious about a hazardous pattern I am noticing in myself. I know it is vital to take time to relax and restore my energy in between bouts of effort, intensity and growth. Yet, when I gift myself a day to relax, in comes the self-talk around being lazy, being not enough, followed by irrational fear-riddled self-talk about my lack of discipline and potential to get fat if I eat one more snack. It also pulls me away from connection, and I step out of integrity as I become the person who bails on plans and chooses to stew in loneliness and dis-ease. I find it a lot easier to not pay attention to my ego when it is inflated - or at least to not be as effected. The deflated ego rides along with pain and suffering and darkness, a much heavier cocktail to swim through.

I am face to face with this pattern every time my schedule opens up and I have space for some much need R & R. I don't want to keep myself busy out of fear of what my idle mind concocts. And I know that the more I run from something, the stronger the impulse becomes. I want to enjoy my down-time and embrace the spaciousness in my schedule when I have it.

I have two weeks off in July around my birthday, and as a gift to myself, I am taking some time now to contemplate what I have learned in this process of noticing, what I need to be aware of and what I need to practice, in order to step into spaciousness whole-heartedly, and even to give my deflated ego some space to have its pity-party but then move on. 

First of all, it's okay to struggle. And it's perfectly okay to find yourself in a pattern that is not serving you. Celebrate your awareness! Celebrate your healthy and able mind that just noticed something that carries immense possibility for growth. There will always be something that needs time and attention, so the point is not to attain perfection but to stay in the practice of noticing, accepting, creating space, and shifting in your chosen direction. I am not upset about this pattern I am observing in myself. I find it to be fascinating. What an interesting reaction to such a life-affirming practice of restoring and regenerating energy. And I know that my own suffering can be shifted into compassion in one breath. There is always a way to expand your perspective and see the light and dark at the same time - neither one being better or worse than the other - just different aspects of the human experience. I am neither the dark nor the light, I am the space that holds it all. 

Like most things, as Micheal Singer reminds us, "the problem is not the problem, it is your relationship to the problem that is the problem."

With that in mind, how is my relationship to self-care/relaxing getting in my way? 

I feed off of the feeling of progress. I absolutely LOVE being in the creative process and seeing my hard work manifest into action or results for myself and for others. While I do need to honor my downtime, there is opportunity for me to shift my relationship and actions in my self-care so that I actually feel recovered and energized from my downtime. 

I am a believer in a strong beginning and a strong ending, while allowing the middle to be flexible, adaptable and focused on finding the flow. As I gear down in July, here are the steps I will (re)invite into my day to ensure that I am honoring my self-care and not finding the need to recover from my days off.

# 1: start my day with movement that sparks some fire (fire breath, arm movements connected to breath, a walk around the block, etc.)

# 2: 30 seconds - 6 minutes of meditation (connect with the space between thoughts and breath, outdoors whenever possible) 

# 3: Pen to paper (set a timer for 10 minutes, get my creative juices flowing by free-writing or working on a project)

#4: In the evening, engage in another 30 seconds - 6 minutes meditation (give myself permission to feel whatever I am feeling, giving it space to be released as I open back up to the moment)

I know that if I follow through on these simple daily steps, I will cultivate the energy I desire. I am excited to step into the 32nd year of my life knowing that I am a bit wiser, stronger, and braver than the year before. Always growing. Always learning. Always practicing my love for life. 

Compassion requires that we get in touch with what hurts. It’s the pain, the suffering itself, that invites compassion to manifest. The intelligence of compassion brings forward a kindness that is not trying to get rid of suffering. This goes counter to the ego’s wishes. Ego only wants to be protected from pain. Compassion opens to pain.

When compassion is present, our defensiveness can relax. When our defenses are down, we can look objectively at our situations and see the true origins of our suffering. Then we can intervene skillfully to address the real causes and not just the symptoms. SO another aspect of compassion is the capacity to be with suffering as a means of coming to, and experiencing, more truth and greater freedom.

- From the Five Invitations by Frank Ostaseski

 

Make today a good one ;)

Marin McCue

xoxox

30 day challenge

Today marks the one month approach to my 32nd birthday! It has been a big year and I want to step into July with some structure and playfulness. I have created a 30 day challenge that will support you in understanding the ancient wisdom in yoga philosophy called the Yamas and Niyamas. These are principles, concepts, and tools to practice that all lead to a deeper connection with life and with yourself. I have found so much joy and growth in contemplating these concepts, and I am excited to share them with you!

This 30 day challenge will be one that incorporates a bit of reading and learning, which will accompany and assist your own unique desire for growth. It will also involve some movement - yoga and body weight fitness - as well as time in nature. The commitment is 10 minutes a day, and you can engage more or less as you wish.

Please reach out if you have questions or would like to register. The investment is $30 and all you need is a notebook and pen to get started! 

I hope to hear from you ;) marinmccue@gmail.com

Mindfulness Practice

We have everything we need to live full and happy lives. When you understand how your "machine" works, it is a whole lot easier to navigate. Your body is smart. It has to be in order to live this life, to function with the ongoing chaos inside and outside your own physical boundaries, and to continue growing from infancy until you unfold into death's grasp.

Your brain wants to heal you. It’s main job is to keep you alive. But one of the fucked up ways that it does that is to be on the lookout for danger at all times, and it is overly sensitive to little things that could potentially be dangerous. Like an unmet glance, an unmet expectation, and something as simple as déjà vu that reminds you of something that was uncomfortable in your past. We are triggered 50 to 300 times a day to feel as though we are unsafe, and in that state digestion stops, healing stops, and we lose access to higher levels of thinking. A little bit of stress is good for you but too much of anything is no longer a good thing. This is why mindfulness is so important. With mindfulness we become aware of how we are feeling and what we are thinking about. From this awareness we are able to calm down and redirect our mind towards what we want more of rather than focusing on what we do not have or where we lack.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is mono tasking. It is fully investing in this present moment as it is, even when it is terribly uncomfortable. With practice we start to realize that we are not just our emotions or our thoughts or our body or our actions. We are all of those things and none of those things. If you can witness something then you are more than the thing you are witnessing. When we develop a stronger relationship with the witness we are no longer attached to the emotional pendulum swing of our day and rather find a calm and steady state where we are witnessing our emotions and able to efficiently calm ourselves down so we can be problem solver’s rather than sitting in the energy of the problem.

The goal is not to protect ourselves perfectly because then you will not grow and you will not build the resilience, through experiential learning, that you need. Let yourself be imperfect. Let yourself be messy. Embrace yourself as a work in progress and a masterpiece right now as you are. A non-dualistic approach to life and growth that allows you to love and accept who and where you are right now while still striving and working towards your goals and your ideal future. It is when we embrace the space between where we are now and where we desire to be that we get access to a reservoir of high-quality energy and tap into the magical flow of life.

Allow every day to be a new adventure and experience, and trust that you can navigate with a clear mind and open heart by taking time each morning to ground yourself, to notice where your mind is going and how you are feeling in your body, and then create action steps and reminders that will serve who and where you are now and where you desire to be. An intimate relationship and conversation and connection with yourself in order to honour the balance between remaining unattached to the moment and fully invested in what the moment has to offer. 

Mental Health Awareness Week

2018 came in with a bang and I am reminded this week (being Mental Health Awareness Week) that I have not taken time yet to slow down and do a solid reflection and self-inquiry session with myself. This is my process of tending to my own mental health and ensuring I am listening to my body and noticing the patterns that are arising - to send more energy to what is working and redirect where I am feeling stuck or stagnant. 2018 has been one big project after another, at least a couple of events each month, and a roster full with clients, and while I am in awe of the growth and momentum that I have cultivated, I still need to remind myself to slow down, reflect, and edit my direction mindfully. 

I was fighting off a cold last week (I think I won) and to me that is a clear sign that my body needs and wants some time to feel where I am and engage in more gentle movements and self-care. My meditation habit has been slipping more occasionally, and every time I recommit to that simple five minutes of stillness, breath and presence in the morning, I notice a huge difference in my energy all day long (truth be told: I meditated for two minutes this morning and I felt amazing about that). So, to truly honor the signals I am getting and my desire to lead by example, here I am...reflecting, asking and answering high-quality questions, and recommitting to the course that will serve the sustainable growth I desire to flow through. 

What's the reminder I need today?

  • Take in quiet and peaceful moments as often as I can. Sit in gratitude and enjoy exactly who and where I am right now. 

 

What would I tell/remind a client if they were in my position right now?

  • Your body wants to heal you. It’s main job is to keep you alive. But one of the fucked up ways that it does that is that it is on lookout for danger at all times and it is overly sensitive to little things that could potentially be dangerous. Like an unmet glance, and unmet expectation, and something as simple as déjà vu that reminds you of something that was uncomfortable in your past. We are triggered 50 to 300 times a day to feel as though we are unsafe and in that state digestion stops, healing stops, and we lose access to higher levels of thinking. Little bit of stress is good for you but too much of anything is no longer a good thing. This is why mindfulness is so important. With Mindfulness we become aware of how we are feeling and what we are thinking about. From this awareness we are able to calm him down and redirect her mind towards what we want more of rather than focusing on what we do not have or where we lack. Continue calming your system down by recommitting to your morning meditation. That simple few minutes in the morning primes your system for the rest of your day!

 

What is Mindfulness?

  • Mindfulness is mono tasking. It is fully investing in this present moment as it is, even when it is terribly uncomfortable. With practice we start to realize that we are not just our emotions or our thoughts or our body or our actions. We are all of those things and none of those things. If you can witness something and you are more than the thing you are witnessing. When we develop a stronger relationship with the witness we are no longer attached to the emotional pendulum swing of our day and rather find a calm and steady state where we are witnessing our emotions and able to efficiently calm her self down so we can be problem solver’s rather than sitting in the energy of the problem. The goal is not to protect ourselves perfectly because then you will not grow and you will not build the resilience through experiential learning that you need. Let yourself be imperfect. Let yourself be messy. Embrace yourself as a work in progress and a masterpiece right now as you are. A non-dualistic approach to life and growth that allows you to love and except who and where you are right now will still striving and working towards your goals and your ideal future. It is when we embrace the space between where we are now and where we desire to be that we get access to a reservoir of high-quality energy And tap into the magical flow of life.

 

What are my priorities this week?

  • Be mindful of my tendency to overexert myself when I am already feeling low on fuel. Choose more gentle movements, and when I am creating my own workouts, commit to 20-30 minutes rather than a full hour. Bring more diversity into my diet and slow down my eating process by being mindful with each bite. Connect with the people in my life who are creating and loving life and feed off their energy as we create together and celebrate struggles and successes. Take time each night to reflect on my day with high quality questions, and organize my to-dos for tomorrow. And, block off at least one full afternoon to just be and allow myself to engage with whatever feels appropriate and nourishing at that time. 

 

I am committed this week to getting back into a rhythm of writing and pursuing my balance and contentment by being in conversation and creation around mental health awareness. So I will be posting on my blog a few times this week, and sharing more of my journey (struggles and successes) through the many platforms I am grateful to have at this point in my life. 

I am here for you if you need someone to chat with or if you want more direction in how to be in the practice of tending to your own mental health. We are stronger together. Bye for now xoxox

 

Shari's Berries

I have connected with the lovely creative power behind Shari's Berrie's  and am happy to feature one of the heart-warming blog posts that can be found on her website. I wanted to help spread her good vibes and get to know the person behind the message. Below is a link to the blog post being referred to, as well as a Q & A to learn more about who and why Shari's Berries exists. Enjoy ;)

 

Shari’s Berries has compiled 15 of these ideas into a shareable infographic that serves as a perfect guide on how to cheer up a friend. The benefits of helping others go both ways - a great byproduct of selflessness is self-fulfillment. Be the person that your friend needs, your presence and intentions mean a lot more to them than you realize.  

We all have days that are less than ideal, but sometimes things happen that seem to have such an adverse effect on our day. Seeing someone that you care about be upset is almost worse than being upset ourselves, because we lack control over the situation.

But you do have the power to make a positive impact on someone else’s day. The first step is just being there for this person, listening to them and sharing your positive energy. When talking it out isn't enough, there are a variety of ways to get your friend out of their rut and turn their day around.

 

1. What is your elevator pitch behind what you do?

I love to create content and music that has a positive impact on people.

 

2. Where do you live? What are three random facts about you?

I live in San Diego. I love sports, but have torn my ACL twice playing soccer. I am thinking about getting a sommelier accreditation. I love traveling and studied abroad last summer in Italy, ciao!

 

3. What is a practice that you are in daily?

I practice self-awareness- I try to practice meditation and exercise every day.

 

4. What has been a big learning you’ve landed on in the past three months?

That you can’t wait for someone to give you an opportunity you have to cultivate them yourself.

 

5. What is your website, instagram, Twitter, and/or any other form of connection with you?

SharisBerries

;)

Building a business and brand....my way

I started dope(a)me three years ago, in February of 2015. Wow! Three years. In some ways it feels like barely any time has past and in other ways it feels like I have packed ten years of experience into three. I learn from slowing down and reflecting, so here I am...slowing down...reflecting. Through asking and answering some high quality questions (a couple of my own and the rest from friends on social media), I hope to land on some insight and inspiration that you and I can share in. Here we go ;)

 

How did I start? What was helpful for generating momentum?

With just a budding desire in my heart, and my mind focused on grit and passion for growth, I feel like I started the momentum by just speaking it out loud. I made my goals public. I was chatting with friends about my dreams and sharing my aspirations with anyone who would listen. I asked questions about what people wanted or were interested in and practiced sharing my ideas and offering coaching and support to anyone who was inclined to open up. I knew that if I spoke it out loud enough I would feel more accountable to actually do the damn thing. Through conversations and brainstorming I slowly became more clear in where I wanted to start. I figured that it made sense to find multiple streams of income to ensure that I was giving myself the space and exposure to practice my way into making this a reality. I can't speak enough about the importance of EXPOSURE! So many of the opportunities I have had have been the result of random encounters due to saying Yes to speaking engagements, trying new things, going to parties, attending workshops, meeting strangers, and sharing my ideas openly with friends who then keep me in mind as they meet new people. 

It was such a funny feeling to spend so much time thinking, planning and creating something and then realize that no one else is thinking about it and everyone else has a brain full of their own stuff to focus on. Infusing my ideas, workshops and offers of support into other people's lives in a way that draws attention and gets a buy-in is a long process. It takes time to not only plant that seed but stay with it long enough that the seed grows into something that others see value in - while also being mindful of not bombarding people with "LOOK AT ME!" I for sure overstepped boundaries, pushed too hard, became obnoxious, or had moments of victim-hood in this process. And it was from those painful, and at times, embarrassing moments that I learned exactly where those boundaries are and how to be more gracious and patient with my message, and with myself.

 

What was my vision when I started this business?

I had written out an ideal schedule that became my goal. A certain number of spin classes, yoga classes, 10 one on one clients that I would work with for three months at a time (i.e. as one graduates from my program, another client would step in), and one big event at least every two months. In my mind, if I could create that then I would be set. A clean and simple structure that would pay the bills and keep me invested in the things that I love.

I had other goals for the future of my business that included running wellness retreats, creating an online program/community of clients, and travelling North America to speak at events and host workshops for teams and businesses. And I planned to go back to school for a leadership degree as a five year goal. 

 

What did it actually look like when I started?

A few months in I was working with four clients and was shocked by how much time and energy that took. My plan of working with ten clients at a time, at least for now, no longer looked ideal or feasible. I had hosted several events and none of them pulled in a lot of people or revenue. I was teaching spin and yoga, and that was my only consistent pay cheque. To say I had moments of doubt would be an understatement. I wanted this to work so badly but I was also painfully aware of how much work I was putting in and how little money I was getting in return. So again, the practice was in the daily reminder that "this is supposed to take time." And sustainable growth is about the slow build with persistence. I was learning so much on a daily basis and was forced to be in my own personal development work because I had others depending on me. There was so much good, but there were definitely many days of self-doubt and floundering. I had to ground myself daily with these key reminders so that I wouldn't get lost in the tunnel of fear and doubt. 

 

How much time did I spend on a daily/weekly basis at the beginning vs. now?

I definitely had way more free time in the beginning than I do now ;). I think I had to be more disciplined because it was easy to not do anything all day and not have anyone there to notice or care. The workload looked very different back then as well. A lot of my time three years ago was spent reading, drawing out diagrams and playing with different exercises or tools that could be "homework" for potential/future clients. I would create 30 day challenges and send them to friends to try out. I came up with one idea after another and would just launch it out into the world to see how it lands. Anytime I came up with homework or new routines to try, I would put myself through the work and take notes on what I noticed and what could be shifted. Kind of like I was in experimentation mode and everything I created I would try on myself first. While the time consumption was very similar then as it is now, back then it felt a little more forced and I felt a lot more rejection and struggle. I now feel like I have been around the block a few times so I am not surprised by struggles, and I am not set back by failures, and I bounce back a lot quicker after missteps. I have also found and sustained an awesome core group of other entrepreneurs who I get so much inspiration and energy from. 

Around one year in of my business I was working and teaching 6-7 days a week and it was not super efficient. One of the big shifts I made was to re-look at my schedule every 6 months (ish) to assess where I could be working smarter, rather than harder. While I have way more responsibility, clients and projects on the go now, I have learned how to balance my schedule and honor my down time so that I can be very efficient in my work. 

 

How to balance making money now versus what will make money in the long run?

Such a good question!! There were two points of time in the first two years of my business that I almost took on a role at a large business just to get the stability of a pay cheque. But I also wasn't willing to compromise everything for the sake of a new job. In both situations, once it was made clear that I was expected to put in 40+ hours of work and there was no wiggle room in that, I just couldn't do it. I didn't want to give up on my dream entirely, and I didn't want to work myself into the grave, and I felt a lot of pressure from myself and my hubby to be "successful" now. 

It was through several difficult conversations (with myself and my husband), trying on new ideas, playing with possible jobs, then re-stating that I am not ready to give up and I need the support, space and time to make this happen. I had to fight for this several times. I had to make peace with a limited budget and the potential of debt in exchange for my passion and happiness. Being a budding entrepreneur and enjoying the work I was doing was actually making it so I was spending less money in general. I no longer have a shopping impulse to get a quick hit of joy in my otherwise unhappy existence. In fact, I recently made a commitment to not buy any clothing for a full year. 

The more I talked about my finance struggles and fears with others the more I heard this to be one of the most common struggles - no surprise there. And when I heard other peoples stories and what they were doing to creatively make it work, I was inspired to keep pushing. I was constantly on the lookout for a side job that I could fit into my schedule without sacrificing what I truly wanted. Because of this, I began to branch out and express my desire and ability in group facilitation, small business leadership and culture consulting. I spread my reach by writing articles for several other businesses, I wrote my book, I collaborated with as many people as I could, and I attended events, workshops, and networking opportunities to keep myself surrounded by the energy and inspiration I needed. I aimed to spread myself. I imagined myself in a tug boat, throwing out 100 fishing poles with the trust that at least a few of them will bring in some fish. And over time, I would figure out which fishing poles to discard and which to pay more attention to. This was the mental model that landed me in the direction of mental health advocate, leadership and culture consultant, mindset coach, author, and group facilitator, along with a much more creative and flexible approach to coaching within the dope(a)me discipline. 

 

What has surprised me about running a business?

Honestly, my confidence was a slow build and I had to be in the work of coaching myself and seeking out other coaches and moral support on a regular basis. I surrounded myself with people who were doing things I was inspired to do, and living in ways I am inspired to live. It was through these invaluable connections that I tapped into the momentum I needed. I couldn't have done it on my own, or maybe I could have, but it definitely would not have been as fun, supportive, and joyful. 

 

What have been the three best exercises or questions to keep me focused and mindful of my brand/business/image?

  • Daily writing/drawing out ideas /flow charts/diagrams
  • Repetition
  • Movement/connection/yoga/meditation

 

What are some common questions on my mind daily?

  • What would compassion do?
  • (not a question, but a daily positive affirmation) Let go, allow
  • What would be fun?
  • What can I let go of? 
  • What needs to shift?
  • What's the most important thing right now?
  • What am I learning?

 

What keeps me motivated?

  • a variety of good food
  • a desire and love of feeling freedom
  • seeing and feeling progress in myself and those around me
  • nature
  • fun
  • sweat

 

What have I learned that I was not expecting to learn?

I didn't really know what to expect at all in this entrepreneur life. I truly have been making it up as I go along and just following the "fishing rods" that seem to be pulling in the fish. I have learned that running a business feels a lot like tending and caring for a living organism. While I can be balanced, clear and empowered one day, the very next day I can be overtaken with struggle, overwhelm and self-doubt. While I would not have it any other way, it is a daily effort and I need to be creative and thinking about what's next. Even when things are flowing and growing and working well, I am still putting in time and effort to play with what I could do better, and where I can be more efficient, and what gaps I am noticing in my ability or energy, and what I need or want to implement, learn and launch three to six months from now. I do feel like I am riding the wave now, but still it takes a lot of mindfulness and awareness to stay on the wave and cultivate the strength and wisdom to get back up each time I fall or lose my way.

Also, a point that my husband likes to mention often....five years ago he asked me if I would ever become a yoga teacher, and I responded with a "definitely not." ;). At the time I was convinced that I loved being a student and I had no interest in becoming a teacher. I began to toy with the idea once I landed on the decision to start a business and knew I needed to get more creative with other ways to make an income and nurture my inner-self. And it wasn't until I had a very open and fun conversation with Alice Hong about yoga that I decided she was someone I wanted to learn from and spend more time with. It was because of that connection that I dove in, and I am so so so grateful that I did. 

 

What would make my life so much easier but I continue to not do it?

I am a morning person. I am one of those people that when I wake up in the morning I am excited and eager to get into my day. And, this is not the case when I go to bed late (past 12pm). I know my natural and most powerful rhythm is found when I go to bed at an earlier time and allow myself to wake up early and refreshed. And my husband is a night owl. It is not always easy for me to go to bed when he is so fun and I want to hang out with him. Some nights I stay up way too late because of that and then I have to put in way more effort to get myself into my peak state the next day. I have gotten a lot better with my discipline in this area but it is still something I have to be mindful of daily. 

Also, I know I would benefit  from engaging in more radical self-care. Not just relaxing and sitting around, but the more radical and efficient and soul-fuelling activities like going to a float tank, engaging yin yoga, practicing yoga nidra, more meditation (self-led and classes), taking time to draw beautiful baths, taking naps, going for massages, etc. These are the activities I continually remind myself that I need more of in my life.  

 

What are the sacrifices?

What comes to mind here is that I have had to become more realistic in what lifestyle I can expect for now. For example, I have had a dream of owning a home for a long time. To have more space, to decorate, to make a home my own. And, this is not possible for me right now. It was a hard pill to swallow when I said to my husband "I want to buy a house so badly" and he responded "well you need to be making a lot more money in order for us to do that." I realized that a house is not the most important thing to me and I would rather live in a small (cut cute and cozy) apartment that allows me the space and freedom to build a career that lights me up inside and outside. When it comes down to it, I would much rather be living my dream all day every day and be fed and sheltered in a minimalist way. The more I live my passion, the less "stuff" I feel like I need. Simple actually feels best. And I am so grateful for everything that I do have. 

 

Thanks for sending in your amazing questions and for being a part of my slowing down to reflect and learn. I feel grounded, clear and excited for a creative weekend ahead, and I hope you do to.

If you have any more questions in this realm, or anything else you are curious about, please send me a message! I would love to hear from you. 

And check out my workshops scheduled to jump in on some of the fun and expansive opportunities coming up!

Bye for now xoxox 

 

"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

Mindful Nourishment

In a recent yoga teacher training, my teacher said “learning is less about bringing in new information, and more about remembering your own wisdom that has been lost or buried beneath the layers.” This has stuck with me. Of course, there is a process of bringing in new information, and I resonate deeply with the experience of hearing something “new” and it landing so calmly, like a coming home after a long journey, that it feels like a veil has been lifted and I got access to something I had forgotten.

My first experience with mindful eating felt that way. It did not seem forced or foreign or inappropriate or silly, it immediately opened my heart and mind and I felt love, joy and nourishment before taking one bite.

Photo by jacoblund/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by jacoblund/iStock / Getty Images

Another reminder I got from my yoga teacher recently was “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Again, this rings true in many experiences in my life. I can hear the same thing over and over but until I am ready to fully receive it and make the changes necessary to integrate it, it won’t fully land and I will not have access to it. Mindful eating has also shown up in my life in that way. While I know that it is something I want in my life, it is hard to remember it each day and it is easier to stick with my path of least resistance which directs me towards large portions of food, not wanting to share, and scarfing down my meal while mindlessly engaging in something else that distracts me from the sensations in my body as I ingest.

Perhaps this is an experience you can relate to as well? How many articles and/or conversations have you witnessed about Mindful Eating? Have you been able to access the mindful eating skill when it is time to sit for a meal or have a snack? If yes, congratulations! If no, that’s okay too. Sometimes the first time you hear something it simply becomes a seed planted and then it takes time and attention to nurture it into a living and breathing organism that slowly shifts your habits over time. So, this blog post may serve as the seed being planted for you, and for others, perhaps you have seen and heard a lot about mindful eating and this will be the catalyst for you to fully receive the message you need to shift your eating habits. And, for others, mindful eating is already a habit and this will serve as a gentle reminder and give another perspective into the already beautiful tapestry you have created in this field of study.

Photo by LoveTheWind/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by LoveTheWind/iStock / Getty Images

We can waste a lot of energy thinking about what to eat, what we should or should not eat, and what we did eat that we shouldn’t have. We spend time and money restricting ourselves, trying fad diets, and then splurge our money and energy by indulging and feeling shame or judgement that we lacked the discipline to do what we said we would do. Your ideal “diet” is a lifestyle and it is sustainable, balanced, and will adjust day to day based on your energy output and your mind and body’s need for that day. And that takes mindfulness as you are in tune with what you are feeling, what you need, and what you want. It is not just about calories in and calories out, but rather the quality of the fuel you ingest and the quality of your thoughts and presence as you prepare your food, as you use your senses to perceive your meal, as you eat, and once you feel nourished and complete.

Mindful Eating or Mindful Nourishing (or Soulful Eating as Eating Psychology expert Marc David refers to it) is an ideal way to approach food. It is about experiencing and being present with the food you eat. It is the realization that no food is inherently good or bad, but rather your mindset and quantity matters more than anything. It reminds us to slow down and pay attention to each bite, each chew, the smells, the texture, the taste, and the nourishment being delivered to every cell in your body. When we approach our food as medicine with a desire for nourishment and gratitude for its creation and presentation, you are more likely to stop when full and move on to something engaging and nourishing away from the table afterwards. Change the way you perceive your food and look for a sustainable lifestyle instead of a quick-fix.  

Try this on to practice:

At least one meal per day, engage in 5-3-1. (Ideally, this is the habit to create before ingesting any food in your day - but start with one meal a day and build this habit like a muscle being flexed)

5 – once your food is prepared, sit with it and take in the beautiful nourishment with your eyes. Before taking a bite, take five deep belly breaths to calm your system down and ensure you have blood flow in your digestive system in order to fully ingest and deliver the nutrients to where they need to go.

3 – look at your food (or close your eyes) and reflect on three things you are grateful for in this moment. Whether it is an expression of gratitude for the food or for your mind and body or for the environment you are in, this will ensure your mood is positive, which prepares your body to absorb as much nutrients as possible.

1 – lean in and take one big sniff of your food. When you get access to more of your senses in any given situation, this supports your ability to be present. And, your sense of smell is 10,000x stronger than your sense of taste. You will enjoy your food more and be more in tune with your body’s sensations by slowing down and getting your system ready for ingestion.

Happy Mindful Nourishing! Today is a great day to get started. xox

 

Bridge the Gap - Be the Change

It has been four months since Be the Change made it's way into the hands of the public, and what a ride it has been. I have had many people ask me: "what has shifted since releasing the book?", "what's next?", and "what has the entrepreneurial journey looked like for me. How does the story continue?"

I figured I would take some time to answer these questions in a thorough and inclusive way, not only for you reading but also for me to support my own clarity and continuity. With that in mind, I am going to use this as practice to create a flow from Be the Change (book #1) into the conversation that I want to create in book #2 - yep you read that right ;). 

The Conclusion of Be The Change reads as follows (all in italics):

"You think if you change things outside, you'll be okay. But nobody has ever truly become okay by changing things outside. There's always the next problem. The only real solution is to take the seat of witness consciousness and completely change your frame of reference...No solution can possibly exist while you're lost in the energy of a problem."

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

It has now been three years since I took that leap away from my career at lululemon to launch my business and become a yoga and spin instructor. There have been a lot of ups and downs but I have held strong to the belief that with practice, patience and perseverance I will carve a path that is uniquely mine and will have a positive impact on the world. After years of an intense inner-battle, I can finally say that I have found myself and I am a legitimately happy person. Don't get me wrong: I still struggle. I still have moments or days here and there where it takes a lot of energy to get myself going or to ground myself. I am not ashamed if I decide to reschedule everything planned to gift myself a full mental health day. I don't feel sorry for myself and I certainly don't get into the downward spiral by thinking I am broken, incapable or not enough. Instead, I love myself up. I put my hand on my heart and repeat "I am safe. I belong. I matter. I am perfectly imperfect." I don't resist the natural ebbs and flows of life. I let myself fall and I trust that I will bounce back stronger each time. I am able to share my story, my current struggles, and offer support from a place of desire for connection and pursuit of instilling hope and motivation in those who feel defeated or left behind.  

I truly feel like the chapter in my life that was resoundingly saturated in darkness and pessimism is no longer a part of my being. I remember the struggle, I recall the pain and anger, and I can confidently say that my thought patterns have become aligned with who I am at my core. I am far from perfect and I make mistakes, but I love who I am and I can see that my path is unfolding in a direction that I am proud and excited about. My hope for you is that you remain conscious and open to what life can teach you. Practice being conscious of your subconscious. Step into life like you are here for a reason and don't want to hold back. You are here nonetheless, and it's worth exploring what you are truly capable of. 

It's time to get out of our own way. Listen to the voices from those who are also doing their work and eagerly want to lift you up. Commit to your practice, build your road-map and know that with time and persistence you will shed the layers and habits that don't serve you. You will grow into the sustainable, resilient, vulnerable, content, and open person you have the privilege and honor to be. Don't waste energy trying to hide. We slowly take off the armor once used to hide weaknesses, fears, and failures and dive into opportunities that could lead to heartbreak. Because what doesn't kill you makes you stronger -- if you let it. Be open to discover what lights you up, what triggers your limiting beliefs, and what song your soul is dying to sing. It's time to fly.....(end of Be the Change - but the story continues....)

Creating this awakening is just the beginning. We need to cultivate the ability to re-awaken over and over again, as we continually slip back into old habits and ways of being. My biggest learning as an entrepreneur and constant-seeker of enlightenment is the importance of getting out of my head, away from my mind-chatter, and to tune into the universal flow that connects me to a reservoir of peace, creativity and trust in my energetic contribution in this world. I have found this to be the most fuel-efficient and heart-warming practice to engage in. Life as an entrepreneur is bountiful and challenging - as most great things are. It is up to me to stay motivated, get creative, think outside the box, enroll others, and put myself out into the world to continue generating work and relationships. It has taken a couple years to find my groove. I have launched many events, and some have been total flops (and therefore amazing learning opportunities) and others have been so successful and easy that it felt like the universe wanted something and I just happened to be the one ready to deliver at the right time and place. 

At least once every couple of months I take an hour or two to slow down, write out my mission statement my core values, and ensure I am grounded in what I set out to do. I remind myself of my purpose, direction and business model. I re-work what doesn't seem to be working, and I open up conversations with my trusted tribe of inspiring entrepreneurs to get to know my blind spots and try on new perspectives. I am constantly reading, writing and exploring the word of other's and integrating this new knowledge into the structure and systems I have in place, and add it to the plethora of what I offer small businesses and one on one clients. I play with my social media content weekly, trying to find the rhythm and intervals of sharing versus asking, giving versus receiving, creating versus regurgitating, promoting myself versus promoting others, etc. Basically, I am still figuring things out, and I have come to realize that being in the process of figuring things out and being open and curious to continue learning and growing is my sweet spot. 

One of the metaphors I continue to come back to, and that I love sharing with other budding entrepreneurs or go-getters, is to think of myself as a fisherman in a row boat. Out in the middle of a lake, I cast out a hundred fishing rods. As a fisherman, I know I like to fish and I enjoy generating nourishment for myself and others, and that is enough to keep me grounded and patient in this boat. Overtime, I notice some rods are generating way more fish than others. I notice certain times of day and certain types of bait that seem to be more successful as well. Slowly, I begin to drop the rods that are not bringing anything back my way. Eventually, 100 rods is pruned down to the 5-10 most consistent and plentiful tools.

But just as anything in life, as the universe expands and we all shift and evolve, the balance point we strive for also changes. This is a dance with the universe, and it takes mindful attention and daily attunement. This is why it is way more important to fall in love with the process versus get your sights stuck on a particular reward in the future. The external future stuff is fleeting and doesn't exist until it is the present, and it won't fill you up the way you think it will. The real, life-sustaining work is being in the practice of loving who and where you are right now, and continually creating experiences that take you further from the ego and closer to the interconnected energy that we are all a part of. 

We are all trying to do our best, be our best, and prove our worth. We are on our own journey, intertwining with others, but on our own path, creating our own reality. What we create is completely our own doing. Of course, we can't control what we can't control, but there is still a lot that we can control - through awareness, choice and practice. 

We are not meant to be followers, blindly inspired by the experiences of others. We all must experience "ego death" - not to actually destroy the ego but to experience the loss of its grip and discover what waits on the other side. It is a retraining of the foundation of the relationship with the ego. From this unique experience, we then can each put words together to describe the insights from interconnectedness. Feeling a part of everything and nothing all at once, disconnected from time, with moments of clairvoyance, transcendence, and purity. It's a unique and nourishing process that each one of us has the ability to foster, but only when we pave our own way, do the work, and lead our self. 

Human beings by nature are imperfect and to follow others' without creating your own experiences and ways of knowing is a sure-fire way to create cult-like thinking and stunt your own growth. While I set out to learn and share my experiences of retraining my relationship with my ego and develop more of a deep-knowing in the higher consciousnesses or energy that we are all a part of, my invitation to you is to embark on your own journey inspired by mine. Don't take my word as fact, use it as a starting point for you to be in your own inquiry and discovery. My story may light the fire within you, but it's up to you to nurture it, get to know it, and allow that fire to become the furnace for your own beautiful creations and authentic joy.

So, welcome to the continued journey of my life. A passionate entrepreneur who is committed to growth and self-discovery, and is lit up by the opportunity to support others in creating the foundation and momentum they desire. 

Cheers to loving the process and sharing more of our hearts as we go. I am happy to lead by example, but remember, nothing changes for you until you commit to your work as well. 

xoxo

 

 

The EGO - relationship training

"Events in the world only effect us through our interpretations of them, so if we can control our interpretations, we can control our world" Jonathan Haidt

The EGO is a fickle beast. It can feel like a bi-polar character that lives within the confines of your brain; at times an un-welcomed fear and exhausting visitor, while other times it toots my own horn and makes me feel quite pleased with myself. 

It whispers in the morning, "today is going to be great" and then quickly flips the script and says "I am not enough." It then sees a squirrel and yells out "How fun, look at that!" My ego sizes people up and casts judgement, and then humbles me quickly by saying "that girl is prettier than me. That teacher is better than me. That person looks way more powerful than me." My ego pushes me to stand up for myself when I feel belittled or un-cared for, and then it pumps the brakes quickly in fear of being rejected or isolated. This roller coaster ride used to be the catalyst for mental breakdowns and complete lack of trust in myself. It was enough to consume my time and energy all day long until I felt as though I had nothing left.

 

With a deeper understanding, appreciation, compassion and patience, we can all practice our way into a more balanced and healthy relationship with this impulsive and seductive part of ourselves. 

Brass Tacks: WHAT IS THE EGO?

I like to use the metaphor of an Elephant and a Rider to understand the complex relationship in my mind. The Elephant is your subconscious system, and it is wild. True to it's character, it is strong, territorial, and drawn towards instant gratification. A perverse safety mechanism signals an alarm as soon as it senses discomfort or the allure of "feel-good-now" when it becomes clear that it is being pushed to avoid the reward now for something else to come later on. 

The Rider, in this metaphor, is your higher-level thinking capabilities. It is the part of your brain that allows you to problem-solve, to sit in discomfort and work through it as a means to an end, and it brings you into a goal-setting mindset to work hard for a reward down the road. 

This Rider sits atop the Elephant, and ideally (for the best results in mood and well-being), we want these two to work together in harmony as a team. A skilled Rider knows how to coax the Elephant to do what it wants. It can calm the Elephant down when it gets rattled. It can redirect the Elephant when it goes on a rampage or gets lost. And it can point and guide the Elephant towards a higher purpose, slowly and patiently training the Elephant to be the wisest and best version it can be. 

Your EGO, comes from your Elephant. While your self-talk resides in the realm of the Rider, it is deeply connected and affected by the feelings, habits and reactions of the Elephant. Without awareness, and a healthy and balanced relationship between these two major players of the Self, we tend to feel like victims and lack a sense of control in how we show up and how we grow. Knowledge is power! And with knowledge comes responsibility. 

 

Your Elephant has a few basic characteristics and needs. It needs to feel safe, a sense of belonging, and a sense of purpose. It equates survival with high-status positions. Which means, it wants to feel-good-now and will resist delayed-gratification because initially it seems like a threat. It wants prestige and to be important, and gifts our body with happy chemicals when we experience such things.  

When we are too attached or focused on the conversation and feelings that our EGO presents, we fall into a wild roller-coaster ride, in search of our next "fix" and highly attuned to our level of status in comparison to others.

In The Heart of Coaching, Thomas Crane dictates this list to describe the character and habits of an EGO-driven person versus someone who has retrained their relationship to serve their higher good.

The EGO trap moves us in the direction of being...

  • Self conscious versus self-aware
  • Separate versus connected
  • Arrogant versus humble
  • Controlling versus nurturing
  • Cautious versus creative

The EGO trap trains us to...

  • Want attention rather than pay attention
  • Take things personally rather than remaining detached and free
  • Seek approval from others rather than be in self-inquiry and self-love to seek our own truth
  • Follow external authority rather than listen to our innate wisdom behind the mind-chatter
  • Strive for perfection rather than find pleasure in being in-process

 

HOW TO RETRAIN THE RELATIONSHIP:

The ideal is to feel balanced and centered in our mind and body. A state in which the ego is no longer at the helm. To be “centered" is to be aware of, and let go of, the ego’s preoccupation with seeing itself as the center of the universe. You are unique, powerful, and special. And so is every other person who has come and gone. Celebrate and love those around you, and remember that others' success is not your failure, and vice versa. 

Your EGO keeps you contained in a small box with thick edges. Learn to break free. Expand with each breath and each day that passes.  The life of your dreams is waiting to be birthed and you have everything you need already inside of you. It is waiting behind the mind-chatter.

 

“As the seasons change, so must we. Our old habits don’t have to run our lives; our past doesn’t have to become our future; the momentum of change ultimately leads us toward greater awareness, wisdom and peace” - Dan Millman, The Laws of Spirit

 

Love to you all, xoxox

ORENDA

We are all capable of so much more than we realize. Not only do we have limited access to the depth and breadth of our brain's capability moment to moment, we also are creatures of habit. We fall into cycles and patterns due to the relative comfortable nature these habits offer, even though they may not serve who we are and where we desire to be. 

"Orenda" is an Iroqious word to describe the belief in a supernatural force, present in varying degrees, in all people and objects in this world. It is the power behind all great accomplishment as we discover our ability to effect change in ourselves and in others. 

Perhaps you have experienced a peak-state before. When time seems to disappear, motivation takes over, energy seems plentiful and nourishing, and you connect to a deep and innate wisdom rather than being attached and influenced by the roller-coaster ride your mind-chatter tends to take you on. It is a feeling of immense power, trust, and belief in your ability to create and grow through every twist and turn in life. It is a force that elevates you and those around you. With this kind of personal power and desire to bring positive impact into the world, amazing things can happen.

It is something we all share as human beings, and while some seem to access it and other's do not, we are all capable and it is our duty to uncover, unleash, and elevate ourselves into this version of self we are destined to be. 

The Orenda Movement is dedicated to support anyone and everyone to understand and tune into this innate power. It is your birth-right and it is a habit to form. With tools, support, practice, inspiration, and a like-minded community all working towards a similar goal (i.e. Personal Power), not only will you discover your own Orenda, you will also learn how to nourish it and integrate it into your current life. 

Curious to learn more? Reach out with questions, join our faacebook group and conversation, and stay tuned for events and articles created and released to further our journey in cultivating a relationship with Orenda xoxox

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