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

 

 

Anxiety & Trauma

I don’t really know how to write about anxiety. Or at least every time I try – I get stuck. Or I go off on a tangent. It’s such a vast topic and so many people experience anxiety at varying levels. I Myself know what extreme or severe anxiety feels like. Or at least, I can tell you what it felt like for me.

Anxiety has been a part of my life for a long time, but it showed up in a much more severe way in the summer of 2015. I started having really intense panic attacks. So intense were the panic attacks that I actually went to emergency a couple times because I had no idea what was happening to me. It was way beyond scary, and I literally felt like I was dying. I had experienced anxiety before this, but never to this level. My body was telling me that enough was enough. Enough distractions by means of partying and drinking. Enough denying my trauma and childhood wounds. Of course, I didn’t want to listen. I was in denial for a long time. But when the body speaks, you need to listen. And I did. I entered into what would be the biggest transformational journey of my life thus far. What happened over those years until now is a long story, too long for this page.  What I can say tho, is that where I am today is a miraculous place far more powerful and in tune with My True Self than I ever was before. I am literally living my dreams, with them coming true right before my eyes. And I am a part of it all. Here for it all. Embodying it all.

Mostly everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives, but sometimes it is hidden very well. To the outside world, you may appear to be doing “fine”. People also experience anxiety differently in their bodies. For me it shows up as racing, terrifying thoughts, feeling dissociated, feeling disconnected, feeling intensely afraid. Tormented with worry of the worst happening to me. Feeling as though I might faint, collapse or stop breathing. Feeling afraid that I might not wake up. The worried and racey thoughts aren’t rational, because anxiety doesn’t speak logic. It speaks it’s own language, unique to your own worst fears. My chest feels tight and everything around me seems amplified in a loud speaker. Panic. It’s like I am part of a video game but I don’t know how to play. Everything seems to be moving too quickly and noisily around me. It can feel extremely awful to say the least.

If you experience anxiety, it is likely you will become more aware of when it comes on and what your triggers are. Self care to the max. Seriously, your today influences your tomorrow. How you take care of yourself today will set you up for a better tomorrow. I’m not perfect, and sometimes I binge on a bag of potato chips and reality TV. I know it’s not the “healthiest” choice, but sometimes we do need a little distraction. The key is knowing when you are distracting and not allowing yourself to fall in the hole for too long. If you know someone who is experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, PLEASE – do NOT tell them to  “just relax”. Telling someone to relax when they are having a panic attack will likely only make it harder for them. Instead, I encourage you to be a support by letting your friend/partner/family member know that you are there for them. MOST IMPORTANTLY – ask THIS: “How can I help?”. You may assume you know how best to help someone with anxiety but they might need something different. Sometimes when I am feeling anxious I want to be hugged or soothed. Sometimes I want to be left alone. Alone while also knowing my partner is not far away. Sometimes just having someone notice and see that you are struggling helps. Sometimes a good cry helps. Sometimes talking it out helps. Sometimes visualizing your favourite calming place helps. Sometimes meditating helps. Sometimes journaling helps. Sometimes eating helps. Sometimes a big mug of tea helps. Sometimes changing environments helps. The take-away here is that the person experiencing anxiety usually knows what will best help them through it. So – listen and be there.

Over the course of my journey of healing my trauma and my wounded little bunny self, my anxiety levels have lowered substantially. Although I still do experience anxiety and sometimes still quite intensely, I now have the tools to manage it much better. There IS HOPE. My healing has not been linear by any means, and it doesn’t always make sense. But it has also brought me the greatest gift I didn’t even know I was missing – Myself.

Mostly anxiety is your body’s response to trauma. It’s that simple. Which is actually not simple at all. When you are healing from trauma, it can be difficult to separate the past from the present. I don’t know if you can ever entirely separate them out. Because a “trigger” will put you right back in the past. It will trigger those past memories – responses or feelings that didn’t get to be felt at the time. Trauma is messy, and it is beautiful because we can become these incredible human beings in spite of it. Because of the work we choose to do. Because we begin to lead with our hearts, not our heads. Here are a few things that have helped me along my path that I need to consciously come back to again and again:

 

  1. SUPPORT. You cannot heal without support. The right kind of support that encourages and lifts you up. Support that is consistent and accountable. You cannot go it completely alone through this. Find your tribe, your trusted team.
  2. TRUST. Support builds trust. Trust in yourself, trust in others, trust in the Universe, trust in your body.
  3. PATIENCE. This is essential for healing. You will need it from others and most importantly from yourself. When you are patient with your self you are also being compassionate. Don’t expect an overnight transformation – learning the important lessons that you require to heal and live an extraordinary life takes time. So give yourself more time than you think you need. The process is the healing.
  4. SELF-LOVE. The more you practice the first 3 steps, the more self-love is cultivated. Find that place within yourself that knows how awesome you truly are. How amazingly unique and strong you are. Keep believing it. You will sway and falter sometimes, but you will learn to come back to that self-loving place sooner.
  5. ACCEPTANCE. No matter how crazy the shit storm, how long the dark lonely nights are, accept that you are learning. Acceptance doesn’t mean complacency, it means changing your perspective about your situation. It doesn’t mean “fuck it, I’ll do nothing”. It means accepting where you’re at – being honest with yourself and going from there. One step at a time.
  6. GRATITUDE. If you need any help in accepting your situation or changing your perspective, gratitude is a sure-fire way to do it. We ALL have something to be grateful for. We can all tap into that place of appreciation and gratitude. Make a list, say 3 things to yourself that you are grateful for every morning. Whatever works for you and shifts you into that perspective of abundance, will create more of the same. By appreciating what you have, you actually open yourself up to receiving more goodness.

Blessings to you all! Let me know if you have any questions about anxiety and I will answer them to the best of my ability!❤️

Healing Lightly – Lean In

rsz_1a1-9Sometimes we become accustomed to the idea that the healing process is supposed to be continuously painful. It can be this way particularly in the beginning of your healing journey, because everything seems foreign and you feel out of place within yourself. I think the hardest part of healing is learning to trust your body’s wisdom. Watching and becoming attuned to the messages your body gives you is a developed skill, and the more you practice it the easier it will be. This doesn’t mean that healing from trauma/unhealed relationships/childhood wounds is not difficult and scary af. But it can be easier on us when we get in touch with our body. That IS part of healing in itself, isn’t it?

There is all this outside chatter going on around us telling us we need to do more and be more. It is taking us away from our bodies and asking us to mimic machines. You are not a machine – you have depths and feelings and circumstance. You have thought and awareness of that thought – you have consciousness. What we are and where we are right now is ok. The more we can learn and accept what our limits are, once we become aware of them, the less painful our healing becomes. The tough part is being courageous enough to honour these “limits” – which are not really limits at all they are simply guidelines to a more balanced and embodied life. When we listen in to the clues our bodies give us, we are no longer hitting up against a brick wall trying desperately to move it. Trying to bargain with ourselves by borrowing tomorrow’s energy to get through today. We accept the hand we have been dealt and do our best with the resources that we have available to us. And we begin to change our situation step by step.

Healing is not always linear, this we know for sure. But…it doesn’t always have to be an uphill battle swinging your sword blindly in the night, while your other hand tightly grips the shield behind your back. There is healing in every single time we say “yes” to our bodies, that we acknowledge our needs. There is healing in the quiet moments, the little leisures we enjoy, those tender embraces and connecting smiles. There is healing when we sit in the green grasses watching the leaves move with the wind and feeling the sun’s love warming us from above. Feeling the power of our connection to the solid Mother Earth supporting us from below. Observing how the Ocean is never quite still, yet she is consistent. That is what keeps us going, keeps us swinging. Until we can put down our swords because we realize that we are no longer being swung at. That we are actually safe, here and now. And what could be more freeing than that?

I urge you, my empathic friends and “angel aliens” out there…to stop doing what sucks you dry. Start doing what fills you up instead – replenishes your life force and hydrates every part of your beautiful being. Because that, I promise you, will make every step of the way a little bit easier.  I believe in you – and you are enough. We are not discounted items of torn clothing labelled “as is – 15% off”. We are creatures requiring a little more care, a little more tender love, a little more empathy and compassion. And we retain our full value and then some. So lean in to those precious tender moments, soak in all that love and abundance. Allow yourself to feel supported because you are. In more ways than you probably know.img-spiritual-healing

 

Tired

feeling-tired-2560x1280.jpgLately I’ve been feeling so drained. Like there’s always something to do, something that needs to be done. But I can’t keep up. I feel like the hamster on the wheel, spinning and spinning with no end in sight. What are we spinning for? I find pockets of joy and laughter but they are not often enough. I eat healthy and get enough sleep. I don’t drink or smoke and I get regular massages. I just feel listless like point of life is missing. There’s something missing. And yet I have SO much to be grateful for. So much Love in my Life.

I feel the collective pressure of society, of the patriarchy, to do more, to be more. Like what I am and just being is not enough. I know it’s a lie but the energy it takes to fight this lie is painful. It drains my fire. I miss quiet and leisure, simply doing things for the pleasure of doing them.

Society values money, not healing. It values bigger stuff, better stuff, more expensive stuff. The more money we make the more tired we become and the more tired we become the more things we buy to attempt to make ourselves feel better. But we don’t. We feel worse and more stretched and then think we have to make more money for all the more things we need to make ourselves feel better.

It’s crazy the amount of money I have spent on healing – bodyworkers, RMTs, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Somatic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Medication, Naturoptah, Yoga etc. etc. I always consider this to be the best money spent because it supports my healing and my livelihood. But what if we were just…”WELL”. What if we weren’t busy af burning ourselves out and learning to crawl out of overwhelm. What if we just lived a life that support us? Supported our health? What if that became our number 1? How much more would be prosper – emotionally, mentally and physically. Maybe even our bank accounts would rise.

I’m tired of living in a culture that doesn’t support my inner world.

But yet – I am also GRATEFUL for the amazing supports that I have found and do have. Because they help me shine. And I know there are other goddess warriors like me out there. But tell me if you ain’t been feelin like your best self recently. Or for awhile. Tell me if you feelin’ what I’m saying. Tell me if you just feel a deep, deep tiredness like the kind that sleep can’t fix. The kind that only months spent lying by beach with the salt water breeze in your hair can fix.

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Hashtag Self-Care

self-careThe term “Self-Care” has become increasingly popular over the past few years and I am delighted that it is finally being recognized for how important it really is. I have been thinking about self-care more in depth lately and tuning in to what it truly means to care for yourself (#selfcare). I could do a list of tips and tricks for self care and examples of what that looks like, but the truth is…self-care is so personal that it really comes down to the things that make YOU feel closer to…well, YOU! Self care is what makes you feel more alive, more connected to your body, more soul-drenched-in-love, more aware and more “in-tune”.

When we think of self-care we often think of steamy bubble baths, long reflective walks by the ocean, pedicures, vacations, or fancy face masks. While all of those things are excellent and definitely on the list for living a balanced life, they are not the only ways to show yourself some love. Self care to me is also in the harder stuff. The difficult choices, the choices were you have to chose which path your life will take. I was recently inspired and so in awe of a close friend of mine who decided that despite her dream of owning her own salon, the reality of the stress and overwhelm from managing, leading and training apprentices (and much more) became out of alignment for her. She was sacrificing her well-being in order to live up to a pre-conceived expectation she had of herself. She made the incredibly brave choice to let go of co-owning the salon and decided to work for herself as a chair renter (a smaller business within a business). To me, this is the highest form of self care there is. You are showing up for yourself and saying “My Life is important, my body is important, how I feel is important, and the journey is more important that the destination”.

Sometimes our vision needs to re-adjust in accordance with where we are at emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. If you are hurting yourself to get to where you want to be, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Because life is moving and the end destination might not be as gratifying as you thought, once you get there, if you are willing to miss everything else along the way.

Self care can also be in the little choices we make. Yesterday after a busy day at work I was going to grab a burger and fries for dinner. I wanted something greasy and satisfying. But then I thought about how quickly that satisfaction would fade. The real reason I was craving something greasy was because I was feeling tired and stressed. Valid reasons, however I knew that I could also make something healthier at home (and save money). I planned something easy and delicious to make at home and got myself a bag of the “healthier” potato chips instead. I made the choice to care for my body from an aware place, not a stressed and reactive place. When I got home I didn’t rush to make dinner right away. Instead I sat for awhile, meditated, had a few chips as a snack and began cooking once I felt a little more grounded. I was still feeling really tired and stressed, but instead of escalating the stress I released some of it by being quiet with myself for awhile. That is self care. The choice to eat healthy, the choice to make it easier on Myself, the choice to have a little of what I was craving, the choice to allow Myself some time to decompress.

Don’t get me wrong I still love my bubble baths and nature walks, but I want to focus also on what choices I can make to better support my well-being. How can I show up for Myself and honour my feelings. How can I give Myself more space, more time to unwind and heal. We don’t actually need to figure out how to heal ourselves, our bodies know how to do it and WANT to heal for us. Our “job” is to create the space and environments which are conducive to our healing. More love, more calm, more peace.

How do YOU show up for Yourself? What are some self-care decisions you’ve made recently? Self care = Self Love. ❤️