Brick-laying

Trust is one of the things that basically keeps us alive in a sense. Without trust we probably wouldn’t get out of bed or leave the house. I know this from my personal experience, as I have been through a period of severe anxiety which came to full strength in the summer of 2017. I had many many wrenching ups and downs in the years before that since 2015 – experiencing PTSD while recovering from my trauma. I can confidently say that I am definitely on an uphill climb in my recovery – the place I am today feels miraculously different (and better) than where I was a couple years ago. My healing journey has never been linear and I think it is safe to say that no one person’s healing is ever like slowly rowing your well-equipped boat down a merry little stream.

My healing required tough-as-nails choices, some hard reality checks, an unwillingness to quit, and an unwavering commitment to Myself and to my growth. This all sounds sort of abstract so to give you a clear visual I will say this:

My journey was like climbing the grouse grind…with 40 pounds of bricks strapped to my back…two glasses of water in each hand (which must remain full by the time I reached the top), while balancing a fuzzy pillow on my head. Oh and I was naked. For those that aren’t local to Vancouver, the grouse grind is a steady uphill climb on the side of grouse mountain, comprised of uneven steps the entire way up. Just when you think you’ve been putting in a solid effort and it seems almost impossible to go on, you see that you are only at the 1/4 way mark. Sounds somewhat challenging, am I right? This analogy of what it takes to truly heal from the inside out is not meant to scare you…but to show you that it takes conviction. It was no small feat. The gold lining is that doing it – and continuing to be committed to your growth is worth its weight in diamonds.

So – Trust. This journey for me was so largely about re-building my trust that had been broken way too many times. Trust is laid carefully around us like bricks, it is our foundation from the moment we are born. We learn and try things and slowly begin to trust our surroundings and our environment. But we cannot learn to trust solely on our own either. We require care and love and safety from others – our parents/caregivers and family. We need to see trust demonstrated to us. Then we can begin to learn to trust and believe that we are safe.

Things will undoubtedly happen to us over the course of our lives where we feel scared or untrusting. These experiences will cause us to doubt others, ourselves and our environment. This is trauma and the degree of trauma depends on the degree to which your trust was broken. The good news is that trust is rebuildable. It takes TIME and PATIENCE and even more PATIENCE. It takes safe people and community. It takes taking responsibility for your own healing. We are NOT to blame for our trust being broken and we are definitely not at fault. We DO, however, owe it to ourselves to take the necessary action to heal our wounds. This is our call, and no one else can do it for us. We must relay the new bricks of our foundation. One by one. Start from scratch if you have to. Let go of the debris. I promise you this – your new foundation will be much more solid and resilient than the one you began with. Because these bricks are laid with purpose, with intention and with the utmost care.

 

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Slowing down for simple pleasure

On my flight to Mexico I met a well-known blogger named Neil Pasricha who started a blog called 1000awesomethings.com and is a successful author/public speaker. After speaking to him briefly, I realized how much I have been through and how much wisdom I have earned in seeking therapy to heal from my trauma. I have been thinking a lot about slowing down and what it means to slow down. How do we feel it? During a yin yoga class a couple of days ago I was feeling very anxious. My thoughts were racing and I kept thinking the worst was going to happen to me. I kept fidgeting and found it difficult to settle into stillness and flow. After a few poses I finally settled into my practice. I felt a profound stillness inside. Calm – just here in this moment right now. Nothing before, nothing after, just now. I realized that so often even when we think we are relaxed or calm there is still so much possibility to slow down even more. And then even more still. We have become accustomed to running at this quick-tempo pace. That is why slowness and being fully in the moment feels so uncomfortable at first. We aren’t used to this feeling of luxurious repose and tranquility – so contrasting from our fast-paced world. But this is why slowing down is even more important than ever. The more moments, minutes, hours we can find to sllllloooowwwwww it right down – the more we can be here and ready for those times when we need to gear up and shift into action. 

When we slow down, we notice more. We notice the nuances and simple pleasures of life. I was inspired by reading the “1000awesomethings” blog and am going to make a list of my own simple pleasures that often go unacknowledged or unappreciated.

Here a few of them (in no specific order):

  1. When you take a sip of your tea (or coffee) and it is the perfect drinking temperature. It doesn’t scald your unsuspecting mouth and it’s not like drinking luke-warm bath water. You sipped your tea in that perfect temperature window.
  2. When you crawl into your cosy bed at night and it’s just the perfect nest of warm softness against your skin. Your limbs feel supported and cocooned in the best way.
  3. When your dog listens to you the first time you ask them. Those times you say “sit” and they instantly sit, without any reward waiting. Ah, success!
  4. Those first few moments when you step into a hot tub or hot bath after feeling cold and the warm/hot water instantly soothes your skin and warms up your feet and toes. So glorious!
  5. When you are thinking something and your partner says the same thing. Yes! No dialogue needed, we have that special telepathy going on today!
  6. Being prepared for the weather. Wether it’s an umbrella, extra gloves or toque, sunscreen or sunglasses…doesn’t it feel so good to have the things that make it just that one bit more comfortable for you? 
  7. Turn on Netflix to discover that new episodes or your favourite TV series have been added! Woohoo!! Time to cosy up, grab some snacks and welcome the pleasant and sometimes needed distraction of a fictional storyline.
  8. Watering your plants and they bounce back to life. No more droopy leaves my ferny  friends! Green thumb is here!
  9. Opening a new bag of chips. So much potential for deliciousness in that bag and it is all at your fingertips, awaiting your salivating taste buds. That first crunch, so satisfying! Crunch, crunch, crunch!
  10. When someone holds the door open for you. Thanks, stranger friend! Thank you for noticing me and for being kind.

 

What are YOUR simple pleasures??? I want to know!! Please leave them in the comments or make a list of your own 🙂 

Strength of the elements

I was fortunate to have recently travelled to Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. It is difficult to process all the different experiences and emotions of my trip. So I’m going to keep it simple. One of the joys I experienced while I was there was a strong connection with nature and it’s elements. I was walking along the ocean shore and took the time to feel the wind on my face, my feet in the soft wet sand, the sun burning hot against my back, and the sea water rushing over my feet and legs. I felt the energy of each element – air, earth, fire and water – as I experienced it for a few moments. They all have special powers and are all necessary for us to live. We need air to breathe and to bring oxygen to our bodies and other beings and plants. We need the earth to ground us and support us, hold our weight with its gravity – so that we may always have someone to catch us when we fall down. We need fire to keep us warm and keep our passions alive. We need water to cleanse and nourish our bodies, to stay hydrated and fluid.

So – with this simple yet vital connection to the elements – may we learn to embody our best selves.

May we breathe in gratitude each and every day. Exhaling that which does not support our best life.

May we walk with our feet connected to the earth, taking each step with purpose. We are lucky to be portable – but let us remember that which always supports us.

May we live drenched in sunlight, figuratively or literally. Letting it heal our wounds and absolve our sorrows, showing us that a bright present and future is possible.

May we move through our lives like water, ever flowing and ever curious. Drinking in its restorative powers, emulating its ease and grace.

 

Today I am grateful that the sun is shining.

Prioritizaton (ugh!)

My priority today is to eat tacos. It’s also to do a yoga class. Doesn’t it suck when you had every best intention to do something and the end of the day rolls up to your door to find that you haven’t done that thing you really wanted to do? I am realizing more and more that when something is important to us it requires planning. Doesn’t have to mean detailing it for hours on end, but it does require you to get clear on what is important to you in a day – and in your life. Yes – we all have jobs and things that we “have” to do in a day, but we also get more say in our time here than we give credit to. Creating space for that which gives you space and joy is one of the best feelings – it makes us feel powerful. Creating space to create. Because we are taking charge of our own destiny and not idly hoping that things will just “happen” eventually.

Yoga is really important to my sanity and well-being. Yet I don’t find myself going as much as I’d like to. Ideally I want to go to a class 2 times a week and then also do a home practice in the mornings. It sounds easy enough in theory, but there are a multitude of other things that I let (yes- I let them) get in the way. This is where my prioritization needs to step it up. No one is going to make sure I go to yoga, I am the only one in charge of this. So it will require some planning. Figuring out when the best class times are for me, what type of classes are best for me, and what do I need to move aside to make it to those classes. I need to actually plan my day around my yoga class – if that is my top priority for the day. Not just try to fit it in when its convenient. If you leave it to convenience, chances are it won’t happen. We find so many reasons why it’s not convenient for us (we are tired, there are so many other things that need to be done etc etc.) CHOOSE where you spend your energy. Know where your energy reserves are at for the day. Do what FEEDS your energy rather than drains it. BE REALISTIC WITH YOURSELF.

Priorities can also often lead to unrealistic expectations of ourselves. This is also due to lack of planning. If we pile on too many “to-do’s” in a day, we will burn ourselves out trying to get it done and probably not get that thing done that was most important to us. PLAN AROUND your top priorities, put them FIRST. Let the other things be “extras”, and don’t give yourself the run-around with gigantic lists. Do things that make sense to do together and allow yourself to feel balanced. Sometimes our energy is low, and it is absolutely ok to get nothing “done” that day and instead focus on the things that are replenishing and will bring you back into balance. The more you say “no” to what makes you feel low vibe, the more chances you will have to say “yes” to the things you love – and actually be able to enjoy what you’ve said yes to doing!

Sending you all Love and Joy in your day today!!

Boredom doesn’t exist

This title may be confusing. Boredom is one of my least favourite words (and I have many) for the reason that it’s a cover for something else. What lies underneath the boredom? 

For me, I used to feel “bored”, but what I was really feeling was discomfort with Myself. Restlessness even. Distractions keep us away from ourselves and truly getting to know who we are. When we feel bored, it is because we do not feel at ease with the presence of our Self. Some part of you (probably unconsciously) wants to keep your layers undercover. The onion that is you doesn’t feel comfortable being unravelled. But the unraveling of your onion self that is raw and makes you weep is what we are truly here for. To know ourselves at a deeper level – to be on that quest of self discovery like the trail blazers we were destined to be. What makes you sad, what makes you uncomfortable – that is where the stuff is. The stuff is painful and it isn’t pretty to look at. Everyone, I repeat EVERYONE has stuff.  It is of utmost importance to dive deeply into your juiciness if you wish to experience the true expansiveness of Yourself and what your beautiful Life has to offer.

Im not saying that you have to sit all day with yourself, but do sit with yourself sometimes. Distraction-free. Yes, this means without your phone and without the TV on. Without general noise if possible (unless it is the blissful sounds of nature). Observe what is there. Get curious about it. What is underneath the thoughts? Are your thoughts running you? Are you constantly thinking about what’s coming next and stressing about the future? Boredom is also an expectation of ourselves that we “should” be doing something more than we are currently doing. When that expectation doesn’t get met, we feel angry, lethargic, antsy, unmotivated, or restless. In other words – bored.

I challenge you to get under the boredom, lift up that veil and say hello to whatever is there for you. Be with it. It will not stay forever – especially if you make time to be with it. Your stuff just wants a chance to be seen and felt, as those emotions may have been overlooked in the past. It wants your attention – and the further we run from our “stuff”, the harder it will try to get our attention! Those buggers can be so damn persistent! The more distractions we will have to use to escape ourselves – and distractions are more readily available to us than ever. We probably desperately do not want to look at our hurts and dark spaces, but if they are exposing themselves to us they are ready to be seen. 

Our bodies are extremely intelligent. Chances are, if your stuff is clawing for your awareness, it is likely you can handle it. Perhaps you are now in a place in your life with the right supports around you. Maybe that support is one person. Maybe it is a new person in your life. Or maybe the patterns you’ve been running to avoid dealing with your shit are no longer working for you. Instead of distracting you, your patterns and distractions are making things worse. You are left feeling raw, stressed, un-nourished and frantic. They are dragging you through the mud – taking you further away from your True Self. Robbing you of the present moment. The further we travel away from our True Selves and our Soul’s Calling the more painful it becomes. No matter where you are on your life’s path – if you are living in alignment with your wise Self you will FEEL SUCCESSFUL. 

Remember —YOU are strong. YOU are wise. YOU know the way when you are willing to do the courageous work and listen to your own wisdom.

Love…

heart-1192662_1280What is Love? A timeless question asked and answer by so many. Love – is it a feeling, an action, or a knowing? Without love we feel lost, empty even. Every one of us needs it – from our parents, our partners, our children, our friends, peers, and animal pets. Love grows and unfolds with time. To me it feels like when you look at someone and you feel such deep admiration for that person – in the essence of who they are. You look at them with grace and growing curiosity to know more of them. Love isn’t always fair or easy, but it is there for you to return to – the love inside yourself. Our hearts want to love and be loved.

We sometimes question if we are loved. I had a sensation today that love is in the little things. Love is being kind. Love is doing for someone else just so that they feel more at ease. Love is when you develop rituals together. It is in the sneaky side eyes and the quirky laughs. Love is when your partner moves your carrots on your plate for you so they don’t touch the other food. Love is trying to cheer someone up and affirming their successes. Love is being there for the learning. Love is good communication. It’s a well-timed joke to bring you back to the love amidst an argument. It’s a memory. It’s in us and for us.

There are so many different kinds of love in the world, expressed in a myriad or ways to one another. When we drop our defences and walls and moats around the castle that is our heart we let in a little more love – one crumbling brick at a time. Your vulnerability is exactly what this world needs. You are not a house of stone. You are a living, breathing human being capable of experiencing every necessary emotion – sadness, fear, anger, excitement, joy. If there is any work truly worth doing in this world it is the work of diving deep into yourself to discover what is there for you. What all is there, you may not yet even be aware of. So please keep excavating. Something is waiting to be revealed. Bravery is showing the world what is there for you. In accepting the most painful parts of yourself your Power shines brighter. You become a beacon of light for those lost in the dark. Wisdom is earned. Lived. 

When we seek to love ourselves deeper our capacity to love others widens. Self Love is one of the most, if not the absolute most important kind of love we will experience (aside from the love of our parents in our formative years) – so make it a priority. You have been gifted this chance to fall in love with yourself.

Love is our connective tissue. It is the fibre of our being. It is the dance of our Souls together. Love is what connects the world. Love is the air between the trees, rustling their leaves. Love is the glue keeping us here, alive, grounded.

 

Space

We all want it. We all need it. We are all in it and part of it. Give yourself permission to take space. Create space around you that sparks joy and wonder. Allow space within by calming the mind. Listening intently to your body’s wisdom, without judgement. Be aware of Yourself within the space. What does it feel like? Is it somewhere that allows for peace?

A couple weeks ago I went to the mall with my boyfriend to exchange one of my Christmas gifts. I immediately felt bombarded by the space around me. There was stuff coming at me from all angles – lights, purses, shoes, advertisements, big sale signs, loud upbeat music, and lots of people. This space was built for crazy-making. And it was definitely making me feel crazy. My decisions felt pressured and frenzied. Things seemed falsely important. Items were displayed as if to have the power to change your life. It was all lies. Shopping was taking away my freedom. I felt powerless against it.

More on this another time…

 

Wolf Women

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Why do men have such a problem with women’s anger? We are expected to always remain “sweet”, “kind”, or “smiley”. This is bullshit. Women are innately wild – in our Hearts and in our Souls. We have to be so we can love as fiercely as we do. To be able to nurture our young as we do. We NEED that fire. We were born to be lit (no – not that kind of lit). We were born for our flames to be ever-burning and ever bright. Colourful and changing – sometimes the glimmer of hot coals, sometimes that burning passionate fiery flame that lights up the sky. But that fire has been made “wrong” or “bad” or “crazy” by the Patriarchy. Our fires have been put out for too long. Well, we haven’t lost our kindling.

What does it mean to slay the patriarchy? It means you’re doing it. It being life. You’re waking up, you’re getting out of bed. Sometimes that is enough. You’re here in the world doing your thing, bringing your presence, showering your sparkle (even when it seems like you have none left). Even if you haven’t fucking showered you’re HERE. And you’re fucking slaying the patriarchy. You’re here doing your “it” in a world that hasn’t supported you to be yourself. Hasn’t supported you doing your thing. Hasn’t supported your existence. Holy SHIT woman – YOU are a goddamn BOSS.

It astounds me how many AMAZING WOMEN I know and have met that are straight up bosses. The things they are doing, creating, visioning and are capable of bringing to the world is actually mind-blowing. I see women managing these incredible tasks and doing so with the fierceness of a lioness and the grace of a swan all at once. I could name so so many of you. And women are doing so with all the SHIT they have endured and survived. WE are still here, healing ourselves while simultaneously healing the world. THAT is something to be FIERCELY PROUD of.

HAPPY WOLF MOON – Blood Moon Eclipse this evening **howls**

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The Three-Legged Dog

animal dog pet labrador
Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

Today at work, I noticed a beautiful chocolate lab trotting along outside my window. What caught my attention the most was that this particular doggo only had three legs, yet she (I am unsure of the sex but for the sake of argument let’s call this dog a she) seemed happy as a clam. Side-note: are clams really that happy…and why? Some food for thought. So, as I saw this dog I initially began feeling sorry for her. Although she was also incredibly cute the way she walked.

Later on this evening, while I lay in my bed attempting to meditate my thoughts circled back to the chocolate lab. She had three legs, not four. Yet she seemed completely oblivious that she was in any way hindered by this. It wasn’t an obstacle to her, it was just life. It didn’t stop her from going out on her walk with her owner and braving the streets where other dogs may see her. Unlike humans, she could care less about comparing her experience to that of other dogs. She wasn’t worried she would be judged at the dog park, nor was she worried if she could keep up with the other dogs. She was just walking along, the way she knew best, in her own time, own rhythm. Maybe she had once experienced part of her life with four legs, but now this was how her life was. Right now. This doggo doesn’t spend her days pinning about her dog days of yonder when she had all four paws. She’d already blissfully forgotten that was even a thing worth longing for. She has what she has and she does her best with that.

We human folk tend to live in an exhausting state of near-constant comparison. It surrounds us and swallows us whole. Social Media has amplified this tenfold. What cars do our friends drive, where did they vacation to this year? Why does their upper lip look cuter than ours when they smile? Maybe your acquaintances have more “followers” than you. Maybe your best friend has gorgeous hair. Maybe some person you met once has more stuffed animals than you. Whatever your fancy, someone out there has better and more of it than you. I promise you that. But the point is  – it seriously doesn’t fucking matter. Because I also promise you that someone out there has far less of it than you. We are all just here, floating somewhere in the middle. Even if you’re a multi-billionaire, maybe you don’t have love in your life, maybe you’ve never been able to show compassion or empathy. Those qualities are worth gold. Can we learn to be ok with being ourselves, somewhere in the middle, with the things we have that bring us joy? Can we cherish what we DO have and allow ourselves to actually drop down into gratitude a little more?

Animals have so much to teach us. If I learnt anything from this confident doggy it is this: Don’t let what could easily get you down stop you from going out for a walk. We ALL have so much to be grateful for. Find the other dogs that will run with you and believe you have four strong legs (if you’re a dog that is – humans you only get two if you’re lucky) If you haven’t found them yet, then be your own pack. Others will be drawn to your confident stride. Woof!

photo of a puppy
Photo by Laura Stanley on Pexels.com

 

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