Weekly Reflections: Sept 7-13

Hello!

I’m not entirely sure what to write about this week. The week itself was full of “regular” busy-ness between work and organizing myself for the course I have been teaching over the past few days.

In all honesty I was so mentally focused on the two big things up coming (house possession and course) I regularly forgot about my birthday (which is today) as well.

It seems apt to mark a new year of being in this world alongside all the transitions I am stepping into.

Teaching this “educator” course for The RideWell Method has been a wonderful realization that I am ready to step into offerings like that. Working with clients but also teaching others how I work with clients. It was a strange exercise to put my “method” into a textbook and teach from that perspective (and clearly based on my use of quotations around method I still have minor symptoms of impostor syndrome!). As usual, I went into this teaching weekend with a very loose plan of how I expected it to go. From a self-observance point of view, I’ve been learning a lot about how I teach and impart experience and enjoying some positive feedback from my participants.

Tomorrow we open the doors to our new house (and first house)! This possession date feels like it’s been a long time coming. This week I took my big, decorative mirror off the wall it’s been on in my apartment’s dining room off the wall and packed it. That seemed like a low key ceremony in unmaking this apartment mine. It’s been just under four years that I’ve been in this little building on Ferndale and I will be leaving it with many clear memories of my first adult home that really felt like home. It most definitely has it’s quirks.. living on the middle floor with a heavy footed and vocally charged toddler above, and a toddler aspiring to death metal vocals below may be some.

Somehow with everything in prep this week I’ve been able to sneak some rides in. Wednesday it was clear that Benjamin was physically feeling not quite himself. Whether it was some left over body soreness from some jump work we had done the past weekend, his last foot trim not being the most biomechanically efficient or perhaps a growth spurt of some sort. He was avoidant to his left shoulder and very muscularly tense in that area. So we did plenty of mobility work on the ground, in saddle and then some off horse massage work to cap off. By Friday he was beginning to feel more like himself so I repeated the work from Wednesday and. Yesterday perhaps was the highlight of my riding week. Brit and I took to the trails (something I’ve been hinting at all week lol) on her property and we factored in all things that make for a good trail ride: new paths, a gallop through the trails, some spooks and snorts at birds flying out of the tall grass, and a sunset.

Funnily enough- astrology tells me that the moon is in my fourth house, today. The fourth house is all about home and family. What a wonderful way to begin my next year here- capping off my time in one home to begin building the next, accompanied by my partner (who is currently making me his favourite breakfast treat.. toaster strudels and coffee.. but don’t be alarmed: we bought cream of wheat this week as we both started craving it like the elders we are becoming) and surrounded by many others in my life.

I think that’s all I have for this morning. I’ve been more inclined to post more regularly on my personal instagram as a mini blog recently too (@katmah1). I’m grateful that I woke up this morning and the first thing I wanted to do was write here. The routine has been set in place!

Next week I’m sure I’ll have some moving adventures to share, as that will largely be what my week is encompassed by!

My intentions for the week:

Cultivate presence amongst the chaos.

Embody openness to new ideas and ways of being.

My intentions for my 28th year:

Align with myself, my intuition and trust who I am becoming.

Move forwards with bravery and presence.

Talk to you next week!

Weekly Reflections: Aug 31-Sept 6 2020

As I sit down to write this morning with my lovingly prepared coffee I’m surrounded by packing chaos and the soothing sound of the fall breeze outside my window (alongside the usual traffic and city noises outside our apartment).

Since we purchased a home outside the city limits it seems like we notice more and more all the reasons we are ready to no longer be in the city. The noise, the hustle, the density of people. Possession day is now just a week away.

It also seems to me that this whole year has been about wrapping up the ends of one stage of my life, while preparing to step into the next. The early hustle of my career has settled into a comfortable routine and in that routine giving rise to new themes and projects to further my ability and reach. My approach to practice has become more intuitive to how I see the world, not just what the world has told me. I’ve circled back on things that I left behind in order to “succeed” over the past five years. There’s an anticipation for what’s next as I truly don’t know what to expect. The old “five year” plan I wrote has been checked off and I haven’t quite written the next plan yet. Perhaps I’m a bit more comfortable in flowing vs planning, now.

I began this week craving a healer. My body was disconnected and my mind was scattered. On short notice I was able to drop into Pocca Pocca here in Winnipeg and get a massage and spend some time on the hot stone beds. This was a good solution to reconnect to myself at the beginning of a busy week. The theme of wanting to be healed, though, continued through my week. Perhaps it was the full moon that created tensions for many in my circles. I wanted someone like me to work on me or with me. Isn’t that a paradox? I am the healer I need and crave (but who wants to solely heal themselves?!). I also craved connection with likeminded souls, and I found myself reaching out to close friends (who all seem to live so far away) to commiserate on what the full moon was shining light on.

The shifts continued. I began working out of the first new space of the fall in River Heights. This is my first time truly working out of a time shared treatment space, so my ego has needed some time to adjust. I found myself re-formatting the space numerous times over the week in order to make it more functional (hopefully for everyone using it) and soothe my inner control freak. All that being said, it’s a lovely space and everyone who visited it this week seemed to enjoy it. As an aside to this space – I was invited to check out a second room in contrast to the original one I had agreed to rent at the St Norbert Arts Centre. Where I had had some minor internal anxiety over renting a second space this fall, viewing this alternative room at SNAC seemed to soothe those. In comparison the original room was quite lovely- though north facing into the trees. This alternate room is south facing looking over trees and river, and freshly painted. Where the first room was going to take a little sweat equity from me to make it the space I desired, the Universe stepped in to provide me with much of that work done in this alternate room. For that I was very grateful to the administrator at SNAC for calling me in when she heard it was becoming available.

My week largely passed in a blur. With back to back bookings on my in clinic days that made time fly, and returning to some regular riding clients- it was a productive week on the client front. Today’s project to complete the week work wise is to finish the text book for next weekends course.

Personally throughout the week I was working through phases of learning how to ground myself. I’ve been strongly called to more meditative practice, back into a regular movement practice (that is my own, and not in coordination with teaching or training others simultaneously!), and space to enjoy my time at the barn riding.

Speaking of riding, I’ve had phenomenal rides this week. A bit less in frequency then my inner Virgo tells me is “right”, but as I learn to let go of that internal schedule (as a condition of success) I am finding that I am settling into new teachings from my body in my position and tuning into Benjamin’s movement more and more. As a result I’m also feeling new engagement patterns. An issue I’ve been working through is some tendonitis/pain in my knees. Though this doesn’t bother me while riding, it seems to be connected to the addition to more riding. The logical cause for this irritation is an overuse of my quadriceps and an underuse of my hamstrings, causing an imbalance or tug o war situation.

It has been slowly improving with the addition of targeted movements to help balance everything out, and really sinking into my own awareness while riding of how I’m using front vs back musculature. I’m blessed to have such body awareness, however such awareness does often come with more sensation!

I’ve been meditating a lot on transitions lately. It seems as though so many of us have been thrust into a period of steep transition and much of the world’s response to that has been to resist. The revolution we are all living through is much less one of conspiracy plots, in my opinion, and perhaps one more of our own awakenings. Awakenings to how the way life was structured no longer works. I’ve been thinking lots on the stereotypes and themes behind each generation. My generation (the millennials) got caught in societal norms and conditions that we were told were the best way, but turned out to not quite work in today’s world. The next generation after us began truly resisting those ideals and now pushing for the revolution at hand.

The main takeaway? There’s no right or wrong way to live, and the only ones controlling us are who we allow to control us. Everything in the world and in society has a purpose and place, though sometimes the timing gets drawn out or outlived. Our resistance to change is often a direct correlation to our perceived security and safety. Survival is conditional, and many of us have connected comfort to survival and comfort being translatable to familiar. The way things have always been. To me, what this time has spelled out is quite similar to the local work I do with clients routinely. Change is uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean it’s a threat to our survival.

Highlights to this week: discovering a new personal care routine at Pocca Pocca, discovering new layers in my riding, and welcoming new space and the autumn routine back into my life.

Intentions for next week:

I will stay grounded and present for the transitions at hand.

I am ready to speak my truths.

It is safe for me to find ways to enjoy my time.

Now I’m off to hopefully FiNaLlY finish the text book I’m writing for next weekend’s “The RideWell Method, Level 1” course! Wish me all the focus!

Talk to you soon.

Fast Forward

It seems almost too serendipitous that ten years almost to the date of the formal graduation and marked transition out of high school I found myself back at a wedding celebration in my home town community.

Combine that with the ever present pop up memories on social media from the decade ago period of life that seems like an entirely different lifetime at this point. How wonderful of social media’s ability to constantly remind us of where we’ve come from, our joys and our traumas, to reflect on at an almost uncomfortably consistent basis.

To have these memories: high school grad, summer celebrations, snapshots of adolescence and innocence as well as relatively recent snapshots of vacations, journeys and competitions arising as in real time I am ever present in current steps in transformation. Between house shopping with my partner, witnessing the bloom of my professional practice, and living through history on a global perspective.. the memories of the past seem both superficially distant as well as irreplaceably potent.

I live a life now that I’m not sure the younger version of myself would quite foresee- yet, I am so much of what she would have craved.

I’ve come to know a deeply settled and consistent part of myself that is healing younger versions of me.

This old part of my soul, of my generational knowing, has the ability to nurture the wild, lost and rebellious parts of my younger timeline. The roots that were always there have been fortified by presence. There is a rhythm to this stillness within me; far from lifeless, rather like a still pool of water teaming with life and purpose under the surface.

It speaks to trust, this rhythm. With gratitude- I have been able to acknowledge the orderly chaos with which life unfolds. Mindfully, in reflection, every moment makes perfect sense. I would not understand this stillness and this consistency now as nurturing unless I had followed my heart through chaos.

Looking forward as I did a decade ago towards what was coming next- I only knew the vaguest details. Everything went to plan, it just wasn’t exactly the expected route. Leaving adolescence I knew I wanted to retain aspects of who I was: a learner, a sharer, a teacher, a catalyst. The path I was taken on opened my eyes to healing- my own and others- and a few blind corners later I have exactly what I didn’t know I wanted. Fast forward to now- another decade past and another entrance to a path opening in front of me.

I know better now than to expect.

Something about spending time in a hometown, with hometown people, under the wide open sky surrounded by cultivated growth bolsters the idea that our paths unwind and pull us forwards- regardless of our expectations or willingness- only to become obvious and clear in meaning later on.

What is coming next? I have the vaguest ideas. Some are hopes and wishes, some are inquiries. There is no certainty, but in that lack there is consistency. We can only walk the path as it unfolds.

Things I do know in this moment. My body and I are in a much more conscious relationship with each other. Likewise with food, with daily practices, with substances, with commitments. I know now in a new way that am worthy of experiencing presence within conflict, and it is safe to be in conflict. Consistent love, to the same end, is also safe. Roots don’t tie me down, and simplicity doesn’t make me less worthy of connection. Abundance in life is matched with creativity – and both are divinely mine to experience. Old grief is welcomed and it is through feeling that expression becomes free and creativity is granted power.

The past few months, though globally we have been slowed down and asked to examine ourselves, our histories, and our normals- to me it seems as though someone has pressed fast forward and pause all at once.

I feel ever present to the flow of old things being drawn to the surface for exploration and release, and with that the new awareness of whats possible. It’s not what I expected, but it is what I needed and within each lesson even if born from pain there is joy for that simple fact. I am receiving what I need. As I allow the space to experience- the path continues to unfold itself.

I look forward on a path I cannot clearly see (labyrinth?), knowing that trusting that in this next phase of the journey I will experience new revelations around self, community, home and love.

The Curator

I dreamt last night of standing in a large meadow facing a familiar mountain. Sparrows darted in and out of the tall grass, keeping wild boars at bay.

Sparrows, in dreams, can symbolize innocence, restlessness, and freedom. They can also be related to family life. Wild Boars, can symbolize courage, assertiveness, and confrontation. A suggestion that one is learning to face their fears.

After a recent meditation I felt called to make a note to myself to “not edit my thoughts” and to “stop curating my experience”. In a moment of observing my normal operating I saw how endless editing was scripting the experience I thought was appropriate. Key term here, “thought”..

How can we think our existence or experience? Is it not simply something that is felt?

Where does this internal curator come from? I’ve been getting to know her over the past little while, as I’ve been becoming aware of personal tendancies towards body anxiety and even dysmorphia at times, disordered eating habits, and both a victim of and an observer of the endless stream of health and wellness “advice” on our screens and in our society.

I often wonder if before we all had “experts” at the tip of our fingers we were actually better off? I don’t necessarily mean those in immediate need of care, experiencing chronic life threatening diseases, or those benefitting from medical care. I think more of the vast majority of us that get lost in the array of fads, research, and chatter that tells us what our bad habits are, why we have them and how to break them.

This is me speaking as a professional in that exact industry.

My practice has changed dramatically in the last few years, and I’ve only been in practice for half a decade. When I look back at what I took right out of university and how each year brought the next best thing into my practice, usually for a short time before it became part of a larger melting pot of tools to use with various clients, I am not that surprised that when it comes to my personal wellness there is this curator that sits and edits what an experience should be compared to what it actually is.

I’ve struggled the last year, going through an evolution and what I’ve labelled metamorphosis, in many ways. My perspective on health has changed. My awareness of what should and shouldn’t be simple has changed. I FEEL now how interconnected all our systems are as humans, yet will still catch myself getting frustrated that my body doesn’t respond to what my mind logics.

I do my best to interact with myself as I would a client. With compassion, empathy and above all else patience. Healing, evolution, being human is a cyclical experience. The metaphor of a path or journey no longer quite fits, either. After all, none of us actually know where we are actually moving towards anyway. The pathway metaphor also implies a linear movement pattern, and the human experience is anything but that.

I see clients cycle through a curated experience frequently as well. In fact, it’s how I catch it in myself. They will come in and relay their experience to me using phrases like “I know I shouldn’t think this but..”, “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be”, “I don’t think I should feel this way”, “I know this isn’t right but”.. and the like.

Where is the guideline that says something should be exactly how it is in any moment?

We are taught that pain, discomfort, anything above a certain weight, our true feelings, our judgement, our tiredness, our desires, our addictions, our coping mechanisms, our anger/sadness/grief/envy, our timelines are incorrect. All these things don’t meet a standard that groupthink has set somewhere along the lines, and because of that they’ve been deemed something we must edit and curate.

Our thoughts have lost their permission to be free. Our conscious need to maintain our place in society keeps our subconscious unconscious.

Much of my own healing and awareness has been developed via years of meditation and recent breathwork. Instead of experiencing, I’ve found myself busy trying to curate the experience. Great healing has taken place too. That’s the thing, though. Awareness and healing takes place not always by consciously trying to process or experience. Instead a surrender, gracefully or not, into the ebb and flow is the more potent experience.

Many people I meet resist raw experience because they fear a loss of control, and that if they begin feeling the “bad” they will never feel the “good” again. They resign to a “comfortable” neutral, gray zone out of a resistance to a wave like experience. Emotions at some point weren’t safe. I’ve noticed this within myself. Approaching family gatherings I tend to go numb, recluse, and now in awareness sit in an uncomfortable place of wanting to interact more but being somewhat stuck behind layers of old armor.

It’s a strange place to be. Aware, and in my own process with it- but also working with awareness not to edit or make my experience something that creates comfort for others while sacrificing my own process in return. While I, and we all, work to develop a better relationship with our internal editors (because there is such a thing!) it can create friction in familiar relationships. Any form of personal growth can be repulsive to those closest to us. It threatens their perception of us, of the normal- and that is perceived as unsafe by our unconscious operating systems.

That is one of the top reasons and barriers for those beginning a journey towards lifestyle change. Not only was I taught this in my Applied Health degree program, I have seen this at work with clients and with myself. It’s rarely intentioned this way, but like crabs- humans can be limited by the networks they live within.

I write this not to place blame on the groups we all abide within, nor on ourselves for the curator within. I write to absolve myself and anyone else who needs to read it of the guilt that can come with process. The shame we place on ourselves in moments of frustration, impatience and metamorphosis.

Exactly how things are is how they should be. Precisely what you feel is appropriate. It doesn’t have to make sense, and you don’t have to understand it.

 

Space, Wide Open

I used to have this dream when I was on the cusp of falling asleep. I was floating through the world and as I drifted my size would change. I would shift from shrinking so much that everything around me seemed so massive to expanding in such a way that I was taking up huge chunks of space, compressing everything around me. There were no emotions attached to the dream, though I remember feeling slight anxiety about the transitory nature of my matter.
Life for me lately has been fully encompassed by creating space.
For the first time in a very long time (ever?) I am truly being called towards stillness in created space.
Filling space has never been a problem for me. Whether it’s with ambitious projects, eating, exercise, businesses, sports, volunteer work, travel or social endeavors- I am an expert at filling time and space. These are things I’ve been shedding. Replacing the narrative of “I should therefore I will” with “I choose to because I desire to” as guidance has unveiled how much my nature escapes the present moment with directive space filling.
And so, we sit in empty spaces and resist the urge to fill them.
There is an interesting paradox for me forming between my tendency to fill space energetically and otherwise with busy-ness, as well as my lean towards using food as another filler. It’s been a year of imbalances coming to the forefront. The year started with a stark wake up call when my body went on revolt. Symptoms including extreme hormonal imbalance symptoms, weight gain, and a loss of the freedoms I used to have with my movement and metabolism. What had likely began as adrenal fatigue years ago went full scale, roping in my thyroid and hormones too. All this on top of facing the shedding of the brand I spent my early career years building and growing, and working through transitions in my personal life.
What I’ve noticed now after dedicating time to rebalancing is that while my symptoms have largely cleared up, what I am left with is about 40 extra pounds on my body from where I started. It seems even my body is more comfortable with filling space than it is with allowing voids to be happy places too. This, in itself, has created it’s own wave to ride along the journey.
It’s brought to my attention that I’ve always had body issues, as many women do. As I clear out space internally and externally I am left with rampant anxiety and judgement on self, two things I haven’t really ever had to face. The validation offered to me via sports, competitive riding success, entrepreneurship and management early on in adult life kept my energy focused elsewhere. I am now being asked to redefine my relationships with aesthetics, femininity, my physical presence, and myself. I am lucky enough to be on this portion of the journey with a unbelievably sound partnership.. contrast to experiences in the past that were a part of my subconscious scheme to fill space with other’s chaos so I did not have to experience my own chaos.
In a recent breathwork session I had a vision of myself, my body, becoming the unsaid things between adults of my childhood. Things I’d absorbed unknowingly as an innocent. Things that I perceived made me guilty by default.
Space does not tell us to fill it. Rather, we find ways to fill and organize it for our own entitlement. Filling space brings many of us comfort, as wide open space remind how insignificant our human worries can be. Our bodies are a direct representation of our relation to space and to ourselves. The unconscious will shift our outwards flesh into whatever form it needs to feel safe. How many of us walk around entirely unaware of this fascinating process?
As I always do, I’ve settled into this awareness. There is a poetry to sitting with everything that swirls around a liberated space. Some days I find emptiness with a peacefulness alongside it. Other days I am insatiable with the need to fill space. The rest I am content to just observe. Adding a layer onto this I’ve begun (on ND’s orders) experimenting with intermittent fasting. It’s surprised me how easy it is to fall into this routine. It’s brought purpose and logic to feeling open, and an awareness to how much I’ve filled space just for the sake of feeling full in the past. It feels less like a challenge and more like an awakening. As if a connected piece of me is being shaken out of a slumber and rising up to the surface again; having been sheltered from the storm and the metamorphosis by a well crafted armor.
Our bodies do know best, after all, as much as we like to think otherwise.
The most fascinating part of all this to me is how much more drawn I am to creative work. Painting, writing, intuitive movement have all been calling me more and more. I find it difficult to stay within a “status quo” lifestyle and instead find myself exploring and enjoying the quietness of slow days. It’s as though I am slowly detoxing the hustle and grind energy from my body; allowing myself to expand and contract in a more synonymous flow with the ebb and flow of nature.
My new workspace and freedom to expand into my own evolution has provided a wonderful canvas for my professional life. Space in my schedule no longer brings anxiety. Instead it brings time to rest, play, create or simply be. I do not know exactly what comes next and the internal voice affirms that this is okay. I can continue writing this chapter without plotting the next, for now. I can simply exist –  no permission needed- with the love that surrounds me, the creativity that fills me and the wide open spaces I am creating for myself.
Is that not what we are here to do? Simply being; existing in the wide open spaces we find ourselves in with no more than a witnessing of how we fill those spaces.