Circus Balancing Act

How do we find soul-time in the midst of organized chaos? Even when things are going well in our lives, it can feel like everything is happening at once, a thousand doors are opening at the same time and we are trying to walk through all of them. You are only one person though, one human being. Sometimes I forget that. It is not possible for us to do everything at once, but we have become excellent jugglers. Skilled in the art of mastering several tasks whilst trying to stay afloat emotionally/physically/mentally/soulfully.

This is no easy feat and we will fumble our way through. Trial and error are a sure thing. But if we are listening to our bodies while keeping our dreams at heart we will surely succeed. But how can we avoid that feeling of burnout or loss of meaning along the way? If we become burnt out, how can we come back to ourselves with ease? The thing is, we know a lot more about ourselves than we are willing to admit. We know when we are pushing ourselves too much, we know when we need to rest, we know when we are in need of time and space. We know our tendencies when burnout is looming near. We know how we react when we feel too stretched.

So how can we avoid feeling like a big old burnout bear that lumbers along and just wants to hibernate all winter? We have to become skilled at compartmentalizing. This is NOT easy to do and don’t worry – we are human so it is only natural that we will slip up sometimes. So…what in the hell does compartmentalizing actually mean? Are our brains like trains with different compartments for all our thoughts and focuses? Not necessarily.  But the more we can train ourselves to be in the present, to breathe deeply, the more we can enjoy life around us and within us. If you are at work, focus on being at work. If you are at home, enjoy the pleasures of home. If you are on a walk, focus on your feet on the ground or your hands swinging back and forth. Be where you are. Orient yourself and find some element of comfort in your surroundings. Let go of the need to jump ten steps ahead and learn to be ok with the now. TRUST that things will sort out. I don’t mean being complacent in your actions, but I DO mean taking only the necessary action for right now. There isn’t much gain in worrying about the 10 things you have to do before you get there. But you CAN make your very next move to get you one step closer to your dream.

Sidenote: get clear on your dream. What exactly are you looking for? How and what do you want to feel when you get there? Write down a list of feelings that you want to feel. If your dream doesn’t support how you want to feel, then what the heck is the point anyway? We are all really just working towards feeling a certain way. We all want to feel “good”. Society propagates good feelings along with material success, so we strive for that. But when that material doesn’t deliver said promised feelings, what then? This is why it is so imperative that we get so so super clear on how we want to feel. Design your dreams to support those feelings.

OK, so now that you have your dream and feelings kinda sorta figured out (they may evolve along the way), what is the next step you need to take? When will you take it? Schedule it in. And then schedule some soul-time nearby. Make sure you balance the outward ventures with your inward reflection and processing. We need time to digest what is happening in our lives, just like we need time to digest our food. It is no wonder that when we feel stressed it affects our digestive system. It is all connected. It is all in sync. Did you know that our stress hormones can actually become addictive to us? We get used to being in a state of being busy and being on the go that we learn to operate like that. It actually takes our higher self to recognize the pattern and make a shift. Slow down, do less, let go. It’s really scary to not feel ‘in control’, and when we’re busy trying to control everything we don’t have as much chance to feel. By accepting uncertainty in life (and you can assume the best instead of speculating the worst), we realize we don’t have as much to do. We can just enjoy being. Being alive, being in the moment, being a part of the world around us. We don’t become a product of the world – we are instead able to observe it from a place of ease and flow.

Get off the merry-go-round because it does not leave you feeling very merry. It just continues to go round and round until you feel sick and dizzy. Sometimes we get busy, crazy busy even. That’s ok…you can handle it if you play your cards to the tune of your needs. Take breaks, go for walks, put your feet on the grass, drink water, eat well, sleep consistently, wind down before bed, limit your use of technology, take time to journal, to talk to people who support you, cuddle your pet, stretch, take baths, shake it out, feel your body, get a massage. Do things that help your body and mind go from buzzing to a smooth grounded rhythm.

Uniquely Untitled

unicorn-day-e1523293823642I have taken a hiatus from blogging for the past little bit because I have been occupied with other endeavours (such as preparing to start my own business, planning a wedding, looking for a new therapist, selling our condo and enjoying the summer), whew! It’s alot. Feels like a whirlwind some days, but a good one. However, my soul-time needs nurturing so I figure it’s time to get back on the horsey as they say!

I have had so many ideas floating around on what to write about. They all seemed like great ideas but for some reason I just couldn’t grab hold of the motivation long enough to actually write about them. Some ideas seem too vague, or too cliché, or just been done before. So I’m starting this post with absolutely no idea of what I’m going to write about.

I think we all get scared of getting caught in the “predictability” trap. We are living this paradoxical life of wanting to be uniquely special and different, yet still on trend and fitting in with the rest of your social circle or whichever societal standards you have set for yourself. You want to stand out, but blend in. It’s a weird thing. Also, just because something has been done before doesn’t mean you can’t do it too. You may not be the first to try something but, you won’t be the last and your experience of whatever it is you try is entirely unique to you. Wether it be a fashion trend, something you create or design, or a ritual you practice. What makes it special is your own experience of it. Your learning from it. The fact that you tried something you haven’t tried before makes it special. Copying someone or something isn’t a bad thing – that’s where inspiration comes from. That’s what inspiration is. It’s the replication of something that evokes a certain feeling in you – and your version of creating that. The vision you create will never look exactly like someone else’s – so don’t even sweat it. Plus, in my opinion, it’s totally flattering to have someone be inspired by you! It’s the best kind of compliment.

I guess I’m off on a tangent now, but what I’m feeling is that we worry too much about doing something that no one has ever done before – trying to blow everyone’s socks off with these grandiose creations and our attempts at “perfection”. But perfection squanders our uniqueness, that special soul light that shines from within. You are perfectly imperfect. That’s what makes you lovable. And…always remember that to someone else looking at you…you are perfect. Just like when you gaze upon someone else they may seem perfect to you, or they may seem to have the “perfect” life. But whatever you see in them that you idolize, it is highly probable that you have those same qualities within yourself. You just can’t seem them yet.

If you look back five years, or even a year – you probably fantasized about having some of the things you currently have in your life today. And you’ve been slowly prodding along, making those visions a reality for yourself. You have! Just think about some of the things you have now in your life that you once wished you would have, but at the time they seemed like a faraway dream. Now they are a reality. That’s the funny thing about life – is that things happen for you when you keep at it. Keep at the vision. The vision may not actualize in the exact form you thought it would. But it happens in the best way for you. Be willing to allow for those modifications to your dream. Be open to the possibilities that are presented to you. Stay in touch with your soul along the way. You have what you once wished you would have, right now. Take that in. Note 3 things that you once wished for that have become your living joy.

Do you wonder why you don’t feel the way you thought you would when you achieved these things? Do you wonder why you still don’t feel completely at ease or in bliss 24/7? I think we place way too much value upon obtaining certain things in our lives – as in “when I get this, I’ll be happy” or “if I could just do this, everything would be great” or “this would solve all my problems”. We are expecting perfect from things in our lives that will never give us perfection because perfection doesn’t exist. What you will feel is different – not perfect, but different. You may feel more at ease, more security, more love. Notice these different feelings and be aware of them. But with new comes new things to be anxious about also! Once you reach one goal or obtain one thing, simultaneously another door or possibility enters your life. You are presented with new problems while new solutions become available to you.

You will never “be happy when”. Stop chasing happiness outside and find it inside. Search for things that elevate your life, your mindset, your emotions. Take stock of what grounds you, what holds you and what keeps your fire burning bright. You are a miracle just being you. You appreciating you is a miracle on another level. Gratitude always allows for peace and more abundance!

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The painful part of Letting Go

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We hear the phrase “let it go” so much during these times. What does it really mean to let something go? How do we know when we have let it go and what does the process feel like? Letting go does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean squandering the feeling so far down that it gets lost inside you. To me, letting go of the past is actually the acceptance of pain. It is the willingness to feel that painful part – to be with it and acknowledge its hurt upon you. To grieve the absence of someone, to feel the hurt of a memory that was once tucked away, to acknowledge that you are partly made up of a series of experiences and emotions that go with those experiences. Let pain be what it needs to be – let it wash over you and let yourself feel sad. This is actually the door opening to let yourself feel free.

Releasing these painful experiences does not mean that they are forgotten. It is not your hurts laying dormant awaiting your awareness and acknowledgment. To “let go” or release, means that your pain no longer holds the same intensity and activation within you. Yet we are also human – so it’s natural and totally ok to feel activated sometimes. It’s all part of the process – if you tune in. Your pain likely won’t dissipate in one fell swoop, it takes time and tears, and more time and patience. Grief comes in stages and isn’t linear. Keep being kind to yourself – tell yourself the things you would tell your best friend. Build up your confidence and celebrate your successes. Keep at it. Keep going. You got this.

When we see painful experiences as a doorway to healing, this gives us power. We can choose to take this opportunity to truly heal, or we can try and outrun our pain (which never really works). You can’t outrun yourself and so you cannot outrun your pain. If you try and pretend your pain doesn’t exist you give it the power to rule you. See your pain for what it is – look it in the eye and face it. You will take your power back. The process of letting go may takes days, weeks, months or even years for some things. That doesn’t mean you have to dwell on it everyday, but be available and willing to make space to feel what comes up for you when it does. Sometimes we sink into our pain for a bit, and that’s ok too. As long as we know how to get ourselves out. As long as we can bring ourselves back to the present and remind ourselves that things are ok now. We need a lifeline out of our pain. Allow gratitude to play a part in your letting go. Gratitude for the lessons you learned, the gifts you have been given to cherish forever. Gratitude for your resilience through it all.

Trust that letting go takes time. Our bodies have a way of healing that we will never completely understand. Painful emotions have a way of showing themselves at exactly the times we need to open new doors to new places, new joys, new chapters. The ending of something is a gateway to the beginning of something else. That is something we can be sure of. For those who want to grow, pain is inevitable. For those who seek their purpose here on this planet, growth is inevitable. Remember – on the other side of pain there is joy – you cannot appreciate one without having experienced the other.

Letting go is messy and difficult. To tell you the truth I don’t think anyone has the perfect recipe for it. We are just trying our best to move forward and enjoy what we have around us in the moment. Keep coming back to the moment. Trust that you are doing your best right now, and that you did your best with what you had available to you before. Live with integrity and believe that you always have. Things have a way of settling with time. Trust this. Things have a way of being ok. Things have a way of being better than you thought. Or not. But we keep believing either way.

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Feel your Feelings

This sounds kind of simple, but we go to great lengths sometimes to avoid feeling our feelings. To avoid seeing what’s there, under the rippling surface vying for our attention. Sometimes we underestimate how much we are feeling. The busier life gets, the harder it is for us to find time to be with ourselves. The more challenging it can become to drop down into our emotions for a minute. The less likely we are to feel real. The more things and plans and work and responsibilities we give ourselves, the further we can get from our true being. The being inside me (and inside you), that longs for quiet moments, sipping our tea and savouring every flavour of that dark chocolate piece.

We busy ourselves so much that when we do get quiet, we don’t even know how to really be with ourselves. I get busy in my mind thinking of all my plans and future goals and things I “should” be doing. It’s easy to miss the fact that I am here, alive, doing an extraordinary thing just by breathing. The fast-paced state of the world is not our true nature. So then we become anxious, stressed, overwhelmed and burdened. Because our bodies are trying to cope with everything that is coming at us. Just being a human, having a human experience can be a challenge in this world. But it shouldn’t be a challenge to enjoy daily activities. That is why I feel sad…and frustrated…and tired. Tired of trying to keep up. Keep up with who? The more I try to keep up with the world, the less I am close to Myself. Especially if you are a human with trauma, as so many of us are. Keeping up and staying sane brings me to tears regularly. But only the closest of friends would ever know it. We become so good at putting on a brave face, a brilliantly-masked exterior. We are fooling everyone but ourselves.

It’s not a wonder that when I feel most connected to Myself is when time seems to have slowed down – I have slowed down. I am close to nature, or meditating, or practicing yoga. I am having a bath, laying and listening to my partner read a book aloud. Those times are treasured. So treasured that I need to know how to get more of that time. When I slow down and can feel every inhale, exhale. When my awareness is in every part of my body. When a calm, comforting cloud of love surrounds Me. When I feel content in simply being. The gratitude sweeps over me, filling in all the cracks. Little pleasures seem insurmountable. Appreciation for the love and support of others sinks in. I drink in the clear realization that this gift of being alive and here is beyond something that is describable with words. The beauty of my soul and my soul’s co-existence with other souls. The tangible form of my body, being able to touch and feel close to my loved ones. This is what I crave. This is what we are here for.

Make more time. We have more choice than we think we do. Choose acceptance over fear. Choose freedom over restraint. Choose love, over and over again. Choose to be here, in time, in this world…but not a product of this world. Allow the honouring of all that you are and all that you have accomplished to be unveiled and truly felt.

Recognizing your Enoughness

YouAreGoodEnoughSometimes I forget to appreciate Myself for all that I am and all that I do. I get caught up in a downward swirl of negative-self chatter. I feel like I’m always a step behind the rest, or struggling to keep up to life’s demands. I forget that I am here to design My own way. I forget that I am doing enough. I forget that I am enough without doing. I forget to see all that I AM, and instead I get caught in a web of all that I wish I was. This is why self-care is so valuable. Because it is within the space of truly being with yourself that you can reflect on the beauty that is you.

We put these unreasonable expectations upon ourselves that we wouldn’t do to our closest friend. So why do we do it to ourselves…aren’t we supposed to be our own best friend? It’s easier to fall into the trap of not feeling good enough, than it is to take the space you need to appreciate yourself. We are not taught to appreciate ourselves, we are taught that selfishness is “bad”. I believe that caring for yourself is a sign of amazing strength and resilience. Sometimes it means saying no to others. It doesn’t really matter if they understand, but it certainly helps when they do – or at least are empathic to your situation. Being Self-Loving doesn’t mean that you are out to be nasty to others. It doesn’t mean you get a free pass to not consider anyone else’s feelings. But it does mean that you set healthy boundaries for yourself and do your best to recognize your own needs.

Needs can be conflicting, and this is where things get tricky, friends. Especially in relationships. One person may need something and the other may need something entirely different. You may feel as if you are speaking a different language. The best thing to do in this situation is to have an open conversation about it, where you own your needs without blaming the other individual. This is much stickier than it sounds. And it’ll take a lot of practice (and probably relational or individual therapy). Sometimes it means taking space for yourself or spending some time apart. Perhaps there is a way where you can both have your needs met and you can agree on what that looks like together.

It is your responsibility to voice your needs to your partner/friends/family. People cannot read your mind, and sometimes we become upset because we expected someone else to  know what we needed. We think it should be obvious to them, but it’s not. That’s why we have to speak up for ourselves. In a kind manner, preferably. You don’t have to be a bully to assert your needs, but you also don’t want to shrink into the background whilst attempting to appease everyone around you. There is a happy medium. You don’t want to be one of those super hard tennis ball avocados, but you also don’t want to be the overly ripe and squishy browned avocado that turns into a pile of mush on your plate. You want to maintain your beautiful colour, flavour and soft firmness with a slight creamy malleability. (Apparently I love using vegetables as metaphors)!

Nothing ever stays exactly the same. Your needs will evolve as you do. We all have certain non-negotiable needs such as food, water and sleep to survive. I believe we need Love to survive as well. We cannot thrive without it. Some areas of our lives will become more complex while other areas find more solid ground. Pieces to our giant puzzle of life are being put together – so try to enjoy building the puzzle. Chill for a minute. Take a breath. It’s ok. It’s gonna be ok. You’re gonna get to where you’re going, or you’re at least going to get somewhere. Maybe it’ll look different than what you thought, maybe once you get there you realize that you don’t actually want it anymore. Without change, we can’t have growth. But the good news is we are always changing. Even when you think things are the same or not progressing forwards – they are. We are constantly evolving, individually and collectively. Our pains of the past become less painful as our scars fade and soften with our renewing skin. Nothing will ever be exactly how it was before, but the beauty is that we get to CREATE a new way of how it is NOW. And this time we get to design it more consciously, so that our today is the primer for our tomorrow.

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Building bridges to your Success

storecarrotsSuccess isn’t born overnight, usually. It is built from within you. It is built by stepping into your fear. Facing what scares the shit out of you. Looking it in the eye and seeing it for what its worth. Most times, it’s not worth 2 pennies. I can tell you this because I face my fears daily. I have been diagnosed with “OCD” or obsessive compulsive disorder. No, OCD does not mean that you are a super tidy person who just cleans better than everyone else and likes things neat all the time. It is a savage monster in your mind and it will try to take you over, leaving you feeling powerless and like a puppet to your own mind. Your OCD mind feeds you fear as a control tactic, as a way to scare you into doing exactly what it wants. And it will not let you rest until you obey its commands. And the fear carrot that it dangles in front of your face is a big PHAT juicy jumbo size fear carrot. That carrot knows all your fears, all your secrets, and what will get your anxiety from zero to one hundred in a millisecond. Countless times it taunts you with that carrot – saying if you just do this one thing (this one compulsive behaviour), you can eat the carrot and your fear will go away. LIES – OCD LIES. Not only will you NOT get to eat any of that fear carrot, but it will grow bigger and stronger and more carrot-y. As the carrot grows in force, so does your anxiety. And the meaner this fear carrot becomes. It will try to order you around. It will be your mean boss, telling you to waste time doing stuff that is taking out of the beauty of the present. Or the non-beauty of the present. Whatever is happening, carrot tries to distract you. Carrot wants you striving for it, running towards it on a never-ending treadmill with carrot reflections in your eyes. Carrot is not juicy, not tasty and never ever satisfies. One demand fulfilled for carrot only brings more demands. It builds and feeds on your fear.

BUT! WAIT! THERE IS A WAY OUT! It won’t be easy, but nothing worth it ever comes easy. At least no lessons really worth learning ever came easy. And sometimes life just gives you your challenges. It gives you lemons, or nasty carrots. And this is just what is in front of you, in your way…and you know what they say…”what’s in the way, IS the way”. And it may be your challenge for today, and tomorrow too, and quite possibly the next day. But if you play your cards right…it might not be your challenge the day after the next after the next. To gain, sometimes you have to take a leap.

So let me tell you how I’ve been working at that stupid carrot. I have been doing what is called “exposure therapy”, wherein you expose yourself to the anxiety you are trying to avoid feeling. The avoidance of your feelings usually comes by doing these “OCD compulsions”. Instead, I am choosing to hang out with the anxiety for a little bit. Choosing the scary path, making the uncomfortable or difficult choice. But the greatest reward of freedom is waiting for me on the other side.

Sometimes in order to take leaps we must first face our fears. Acknowledge them and give them our presence for a minute. When we do that, a funny thing happens – the fear starts to dissipate. And we feel a little bit of our power coming back. When we show that we are no longer afraid, our fear holds much less power over us. We become free.

By facing the fear or “the scary way” we actually begin to undo the fear. And we begin to build our bridge of power towards our success. Don’t get me wrong – it can feel absolutely terrifying to choose the “scary” way. However the power of our ability to choose makes it much less scary. It seems backwards – but it is the way to my healing and to my ultimate power. In being with my emotions and acknowledging them, I am no longer running from the fear that tries to run me. The fear of the fear begins to unwind itself. I am freed from the rule of the over-sized carrot. In freedom I find my truth, and truth is what I seek.

So I keep building my power bridge, and it’s going amazing places, I know it. I can feel it. The thing is, the bridge is my success. As long as I’m building it, I’m successful.

What are your fears that you face or haven’t yet faced – small ones, big ones? How are you building your bridge? What’s keeping you moving? How do you want to feel when you get to where you’re going? How do you want to feel along the way?

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Sunny Days

sunny days

laze away

fears settle into the ground

limbs feel warm

face feels hot

time seems to slip away

sunny days

in the park

watching people act like creatures

feet feel firm

legs feel strong

merely a mysterious outsider looking in

sunny days

beauty is easy

finding connection in the disconnect

arms feel light

tummy feels hungry

the noise drowns out my peace

sunny days

walking slowly

thoughts feel scary

head feels spacey

a different way calls me