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.

Weekly RoundUp: Aug 24-20 2020

Writing and expressing creatively has been a big intention for me this year. Starting now I am setting the intention to do weekly blog updates. When I started this blog almost a decade ago it was exactly that. A weekly excursion into my weekly reflections. I’m not sure when or why I was drawn away from those regular posts, but over the years my posts became more and more philosophical and sporadic. Until now where I find it hard to sit down and write (here) unless I feel some purpose behind it.

Along with all of that gradual change of course was the introduction of more “immediate” short format social media’s like instagram and facebook- where of course I still do regular posts. Through many of those years I was also managing multiple businesses and projects, which made my capacity for creative outlet personally quite limited.

I find myself now in the midst of a personal refocus that has been evolving over the past couple years. It’s not that my life has gained interesting factors, its simply that I am now able to be much more present to enjoy each interesting moment.

The concept of giving myself space and time has been a theme of many of the sporadic posts I’ve written over the past years, so any regular followers will probably have sensed that theme. With these weekly posts I hope to also share the seemingly minute moments that happen through a week that culminate in the larger evolutions. As I’ve slowed the pace of my life down to feel and experience all that, I now have the presence to begin writing to those details once again.

This past week was full of the usual busyness yet held a theme of preparation. September will be a fast forward month full of transition. Transitions I feel I’ve been preparing for for probably longer than I was aware. Coming up first is another professional transition out of my downtown space and into first a small, shared space clinic in the River Heights area of the city. So today’s project remains to be moving out of my downtown space completely and figuring out where to store the furnishings I am keeping from there in our currently apartment interim to my next professional move mid month into a second, unfurnished exclusive space at the historic St Norbert Arts Centre. Amongst these professional transitions, my parter and I take possession of our first home mid month. Meaning we are slowly unlayering our life in the apartment and putting it into boxes for that move.

As I began packing parts of our home space at the beginning of this week- I realized the ritual that comes with packing. Never before in my 5+ moves as an adult have I experienced this level of foreignness preparing for a physical move. Perhaps it’s the idea that we are moving into a space with the intention of settling there longer term, relative to the casuality of apartment lifestyle. Or perhaps it’s because I am leaving the first apartment that has truly felt like my home. Uprooting young roots to transplant them in new soil.

The whole theme of the past few months for me has been recognizing safety in stability. This season of pandemic lifestyle has forced a quite welcome shift towards being home. Normally the summer’s especially find me blowing on the wind (which is usually westward) for work and exploration. This seasons began with heavy travel restrictions and precautions that shone light on the decompression needed for my mind and body, only to be found this time in staying put. Now I’m feeling a resistance to the idea of out of province travel. A feeling I’m sure will pass when the time is right, yet still foreign for me in many ways.

Alongside the preparing for physical transitions that was begun this week, I also continued my preparations for a professional foray into the realm of course teaching. Through my RideWell business I am running my inaugural “RideWell Method” certification, conveniently the weekend prior to our possession date on the new house. This is my first real attempt at teaching my internal thought process to others- and while I’m excited, perhaps the word “trepidatious” is more appropriate.

Mid-week I had a great riding lesson on project horse (and my personal love affair) Benjamin. Not only has the months of work I’ve been putting into him really starting to shine through, he’s turning into the horse we all knew he could be one day. Physically he’s eye-grabbing, now not simply because of his height but also because of his condition, and his movement capacity and mental capacity is filling out just as quickly.

By the end of the week I was ready for a couple days off. I still have to remind myself that days off are just as valuable as endless work. Friday eve and Saturday were spent simply being, binge watching The Walking Dead and playing Settlers of Catan online with my partner. While parts of my brain still trend towards the survivalistic mentality of those fighting to live in TWD, I’m welcoming the steady reassurance of other voices in my mind reminding me that in order to do the work, I have to permit space to rest and leave space for the magic to happen.

Leaving conscious space has been where I’ve found my creativity. Something I’ve been working to pass onto many clients lately as well. The concept of not being able to “force” change, creativity, release or flow. The very nature of those things cannot come with force. Force implies tension or active effort. Sometimes the things we want or need the most only become possible when we allow them to be. The hustle is effective when you’re on a certain wavelength and want to maintain, but outside of that – hustling forwards unconsciously only rushes us past moments of magic.

Things I’m grateful for reflecting on this past week: the clients that have supported my businesses for the long run (whether in recurring bookings or referrals), landlords that are tenant minded, the crispness returning to the late summer air and cool evenings.

What I’ve been reading this week:

Plains of Passage, Jane Auel

Centered Riding, Sally Swift

My intentions for the upcoming week:

I will be present for the good in the new.

I am dedicated to preparing with focus and presence.

I am ready and open for what this next phase in life holds.

My card pull this week included the daughter of swords, eight of cups and eight of pentacles. My take on these cards pulled together was one of opportunity and many moons of preparation coming together. It’s hard not to feel the sense of anticipation in the world right now. Change is coming, and in many ways has arrived. For some this is triggering, but the beauty always lies within the wound. The jewel within the lotus (as the Tibetan script tattoo I got almost four years ago to the date suggests). Collectively and individually, we are stepping into a new season. How are you feeling?

I’ve just been handed my morning coffee by G, so I suppose now is a good time to log off and enjoy the morning. What are you grateful for this past week? What are you most looking forwards to in the coming week? What intentions do you have as you step into the new week, and new season?

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.

 

Contentment: A Contrast

I missed my New Years post this year. The truth is I wasn’t quite sure how to write it. This year has brought more evolutions than one shift in calendar years can reflect. I suppose that it reflects the turning of a century more than ever.

Last I wrote I spoke to creating space for things to unfold. Space was created across the board and my awareness was heightened to all areas where I was off kilter. I often feel as though one speaking to their own maturity discredits that maturity- however I have felt new stability and maturity enter into all my reactions, decisions and consistencies since allowing space to simply be.

In the fall of 2019 we booked a trip to New Zealand for which we depart in a few weeks. About a decade ago, a ticket booked to New Zealand started this blog. The contrast I am finding between who I was on that first trip in 2011 to New Zealand, a totally unprepared 19year old, to who I am now is ripe with metaphors.

This upcoming holiday is already vastly different in almost every way to the working gap year I ventured on in 2011. At 19 I departed shortly after my birthday in September to New Zealand where I landed into a groom job at a “renowned” show jumping farm just outside of Auckland. The plan I had formed was to spend nine months working on this farm in what I assumed would be my dream job. Laugh out loud.

What really happened was a blurred six months of extreme and very tough self discovery. I lasted two months at what can only be referred to as the “job” (more like volunteer experience, that made me realize I was better suited to self employment, experienced Auckland during the rugby world up (and got lost/wandered the city until 4am), got sick too many times, experienced the rodeo circuit, got sick some more, shaved my head for moneyI desperately needed, became the bald girl, exercised steeplechase horses, hiked a glacier, somewhere between these two events developed a cyst in the area around my tail bone, ignored pain, developed infection, ended my trip with septic shock and a five day excursion in the Dunedin hospital fighting off surgery before flying home.

It was a tough trip and a huge growth point. On that trip, for all the scary/lonely/difficult moments I also experienced support from unexpected places, the magic that is NZ, and enough reflective material for a life time. I changed my career path on that trip and that led me into the AT program at UWinnipeg, which was the launch point for my career as it is now. I learned how to take care of myself on that trip. I learned the cause and effect of ignoring my body on that trip. I experienced life beyond superficiality in appearance and began to figure out how to set my standards for how others treated me.

Life is different now.

I wrote in my journal on Jan 1, 2020: “If 2019 was the year that burned things down to ask, 2020 is the year the phoenix rises”.

2019 felt to me like a slow burn of everything I had held onto to create who I thought I was.  I was aware I was going through a major shift – and how things manifested never felt incorrect though it often surprised me.

I began to consciously choose things that fertilized evolution, and let die the things that no longer served. I became aware of coping mechanisms that had served me once perhaps, but no longer had a progressive purpose. Things like my relationship to food, my relationship to money, my expression of truth in various situations, and my relationship to motivation all shifted.

As evident in my last post on creating space, I chose “doing less” much more consciously than I chose “doing more”. In the years that followed my last adventure to NZ I had always chosen “more”. I filled my life to the brim with education, relationships, jobs, businesses, ambition. Over those years my motivation changed. My ability to push through died. Burn out became normal. Toxic relationships prevailed and my ability to effectively lead, express and maintain balance fizzled. And then.. I just couldn’t any more. My body wouldn’t allow it and anxiety woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me things had to change.

My rebrand in the fall was my conscious expression of choosing myself again. Redirecting my efforts towards my true expression, professionally and personally, and creating space for that evolution to organically occur instead of attempting to force it.

In the last month or so I’ve experienced a rebirth of all those things I had to let go of. I reframed my relationship to food and to money. I left space where shadows told me to fill it. I expressed what my intuition called for me to express on my professional forums and let myself be guided in how I approach treating others. I stayed present in my awareness for my reactions in all sorts of situations and in that space created I began to heal myself on numerous levels of my being.

And now… I feel well enough to add more back in. I crave riding again. I crave going to the gym to push myself again. I truly can and want to do more once again, in a way I don’t think I’ve felt since the beginning of the decade.

All of this is a testament to the power of rest. To leaning in to fatigue and exhaustion instead of rallying against those signals. We so often treat calls from our body as inconveniences and yet when we allow our body to guide us, with patience, we find it’s the only true way to heal ourselves.

When we first booked this upcoming excursion to NZ I struggled with negative flashbacks for a few weeks. Visions of pain, mistreatment, near death experiences clouded my excitement. My tailbone hurt for a week after we booked the tickets, the same way it hurts every March around the same time of year it hurt originally. Those who say our body doesn’t remember are lost in a world of ignorance.

Yet, in space and time those visions of resentment became rallying excitement. How lucky am I to return to a place that holds such magic, memories, and luxury at a time in my life where I can create a whole new experience?

“You cannot erase memories but you can let go of the heavy energy that is attached to them” – Yung Pueblo

If I were to write a letter to that nineteen year old experiencing life at the beginning of this decade the words would encourage her to continue walking through the world with her eyes wide open.

If I were to write to the fiery, ambitious twenty something that scorched her way through competitive riding and university life the words would remind her to listen to her body and not use exercise as her only outlet for stress. That burnout takes more patience than she’ll have, and that the body will get the rest it needs one way or another.

If I were to write to a future version of me I would write in a way that would remind her to exercise expressions of gratitude no matter her circumstance, and remind her that she has a tendency to underestimate her power to create exactly the reality she wants. Her contentment comes from creating space to enjoy each moment, from balance, not from trying to create more moments.

Life is good. My relationships to material aspects in my life, to my SO, to my body, and to my work are ritualized by gratitude and presence. Contentment fills space created.

Stay tuned for NZ adventures round two 😉

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Closure + Balance

The never ending quest.
The last time I wrote about my personal journey I spoke about the concept of living at ease. This theme has become the theme of my summer. What started as a shift into realizing that it was safe and okay to NOT choose the harder road (yes, this actually took convincing) has become my personal mantra.
To say I’ve been going through a complete reconstruction of my immediate reality would be a truth.
Last month I jumped off the cliff I’d been standing on for a few months too long and closed my main business, Integrative Movement. It was one of the most freeing days of my life. This larger scale practice had been eating me up.
I’d been feeling trapped inside of that frame and had already tried a few ways to remodel and reshape it to fit who I was becoming, but nothing seemed quite right and the bindings only were getting tighter. IM had become synonymous with ME and I’d been revamping myself for a while already.. IM wasn’t keeping up. A year ago this decision seemed like the worst possible outcome.. I truly believed that it would be giving up, letting myself and others down. The key turn around there was the realization that in worrying about letting others down, I was indeed letting myself down.
Slowly I began to see all the ways in which me holding onto something that no longer fit was actually stunting my growth in other directions that were calling to me. RideWell was beginning to explode in all the good ways with calls coming from all over western Canada, and my personal practice within IM was also flourishing- though I was struggling to keep up with these positive demands due to struggling to meet the demands of management, supporting others and keeping the business itself afloat- while still trying to have a personal life and enjoy life in general.
All this alongside personal health transitions. I’ve been out of balance in some way health wise it seems for years, specifically since having Mono in my last year of University. That followed by what seemed like a never ending burn out cycle I finally seemed to step out of this year- only to be met with what is likely the after effects of all those years of imbalances.. hormonal imbalances and evident adrenal fatigue. In a matter of a few months this spring my body began to show me all the ways it’d been neglected. Weight gain, thyroid imbalance, hormonal imbalance symptoms, volatile cycles combined with anxiety and depression. Seemingly out of nowhere (but really had been building for a few years, likely).
So, I jumped off the damn cliff.
I was ready to evolve into the newest version of myself- and that meant letting go of previous versions. That also meant confronting head on body image issues, imbalances within myself and accepting all of it as part of me, too.
My landing was quite soft. Creativity flowed and I rebranding my practice into Evoke which fits nicely around my current version of self, with room to grow and evolve, too. RideWell clients continued to expand and I had the mental space and energy to expand with them. While I had some temper tantrums (and still do) around my health and ever changing body- I also have welcomed a new form of acceptance, too. The last few weeks I’ve been feeling quite balanced and content- so much so I actually had to quell some shadowy uprising of fear around that content-ness.
The decision around closing out one part of my professional life to focus in and expand into others was affirmed in many, many ways. I found and signed a lease on a beautiful new workspace that embodies where I currently am at. Supportive relationships were highlighted and my health has begun to improve in noticeable ways.
All the signs have been pointing towards learning the lesson of supporting oneself and enjoying oneself in this life that we have to do so with. Hilariously, the moments where I notice anxiety or stress creeping in is when I try to plan out the next steps. I’ve reached the capstone of my last five year map- and I haven’t quite figured out the details of my next map. I’m being guided right now to accept that unknown and let the map form itself for a while- enjoy the present moment.
Perhaps that is the only map I need.
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The Threat of Healing

Healing is something we are all destined to do. Whether it’s recovering from an acute, unexpected injury, rehabbing a long term pain or unraveling trauma within ourselves or generation.  

Healing is talked about constantly- but what we don’t often hear about is the risks associated with healing, the challenges.

When it comes to healing, especially in the case of longer held pains or traumas, we first need to become aware of the root cause(s) behind the present issue. Back pain is rarely ever just back pain, just as emotional trauma is rarely just related to one event. Pain itself, emotional or physical, is always deeply rooted in a message from our nervous system. The nervous system effectively is like a giant antenna- sensing into our environments and always questioning and confirming our safety. The nervous system also is rooted in patterns. It likes to know what to expect and how to keep us safe- which means it develops unconscious patterning to operate emotionally and physically in the world based on what was imprinted or learned in our childhoods (usually from birth to the age of seven). This is why many physical issues in health are blamed on genetics, but new evidence is emerging to support arguments against genetics being to blame for health problems.. rather suggesting that we learn patterning from those who raise us and therefore that patterning itself is what leads us into the same health as our elders. There is also much support now for the field of epigenetics- which is showing us how unresolved traumas from generations passed are embedded in us and surfacing to be resolved in our lifetimes.

Our emotions and subconscious beliefs deeply effect how we present ourselves in our physical bodies. When we think of our conscious being and unconscious/subconscious parts – most of us immediately picture stuff going on in our heads. The fascinating thing is that it’s often the opposite. Many of us are unconscious to the patterns, emotions, memories, and traumas we hold in tissues and patterns below our jawline. Your tendency towards anxiety may be as a result of an unspoken event that happened to your great grandmother, causing a deep rooted emotional pattern to emerge through bloodlines. Have the same knee osteoarthritis your dad has? Likely stems from growing up and learning to walk by watching him first- mirroring his movement patterns and setting the baseline for biomechanical issues related to joint degeneration down the road.

My work with clients is to help them work through the layers of what’s actually causing their issue, which inherently opens the door for other previously unconscious patterns to emerge. Herein lies the first risk (I prefer the word challenge) of healing. Asking the question why is this happening, instead of putting a quick fix modality to take the pain away, implies that we are willing to hear the answers.

The bigger risk (challenge)? Rewriting the story.

Healing presents a threat to our existing patterning- and this will initially signal chaos in our nervous system. You see, even though we’ve likely become very uncomfortable and sick (literally sometimes) of our existing patterning.. leading us to seek guidance in the first place.. that patterning is where our nervous system has learned to survive. It’s been deemed “normal” at some point, and the compensations that have come with that normal have been keeping up alive and well from our hardware’s perspective.

Our system will fight to maintain this “safe zone” as status quo. If you’ve ever tried to break an addiction, you know this fight is real. If you’ve experienced chronic pain, you will have also experienced this. This often get worse before they get better, because we for all intensive purposes have to reparent and coach our nervous system, our subconscious, into a new reality.. a new story-line.

The tough part surrounding true healing and evolution lies in building a conscious awareness towards recognizing a old pattern, experiencing the discomfort associated with stepping away from it, and then stepping onwards anyway- into a zone of uncertainty at first. A willingness to write our new story, our new version of survival is paramount.

One of my driving passions in my career has been around convincing people that their diagnosis, their pain, their injuries are not something they are chained to. We all have the capacity to recover and write new patterns- but it means stepping away from comfort zones. In many ways the optimistic view on injury, pain, and trauma is that it is a chance to evolve, to renew and to rewrite. Our nervous systems will give us that chance, over and over, until resolution is reached. This is largely the reason that long term medication, temporary pain relief, does not work.

Unfortunately the system we work within is often not in our (or the patient’s) favor. It’s rushed, based on economy over the people it’s supposed to serve, and overworked purely due to the need in today’s society for healing. Most of us have been raised in environments that neglected to teach us how to hear ourselves amidst the noise of the world we exist in. The wounds of our past generations were never given the chance to heal and those scars have been passed down to us, with new context for the modern age. Only now we are beginning to understand from a Western science perspective how interconnected our inner workings are, and how interconnected we all are.

Healing and reworking ourselves and our environments is tough work. It is available to everyone who is willing, and the path is unchartered- waiting for your discovery.

 

Originally posted on my new practice’s website and blog.. check it out at http://www.evokebodymind.ca

The Top 6 Things I’ve Taken from being Self-Employed

We either get success or lessons. If we learn our lessons successfully, we get both.
– Judith Anodea

  1.  People will always be excited about what you’re doing, but this doesn’t mean they will buy what you’re selling. 

    Be grateful for their enthusiasm, and encourage them to help you by simply sharing, spreading the word or attending your free events if they don’t have the means to spend money on your service. Related to points below, those on the outside of your offerings and hard work are not privy to the same way of thinking you are. Friends and family are great support systems, but not always great customers. Avoid being insulted or taking it personally; they can be difficult clients anyway. Moral support is likely more valuable to you than their sales anyway.

  2. The amount you fear money is exactly the amount of power it has over you.

    It, like every other energy resource, is necessary circulation for the system we all live in. Spend and receive with respect for others, save for your plans- but don’t let it define your success or hold you hostage.

  3. Nobody else will get what work means to you and your sixteen hour work day won’t been seen by majority of outsiders looking in

    ..do it for you, not for acknowledgement. When those around you complain that you’re working all the time and don’t have time for them anymore, remind yourself of point #1 and #4.. you are doing this for you, and what you have to offer others- not for external gratification. Others will not understand your whys in the same way, and unless you can stand strong for yourself- you’ll be washed away and burnt out by others fatigue at your definition of success each and every time.

  4. Work life balance means something very different for you than it does to others.

    Develop a working relationship with yourself and know when to reset the scales. Your health and wellbeing are what enable you to provide and grow. End of story. When you are motivated to work and push for growth in your business life- follow that. When you are drawn to you time, personal/family time.. follow that just as hard. You don’t have paid holidays, sick time or overtime- in exchange for this you get to design your own schedule and life.

  5. Boundaries do not equal lack of accessibility..

    They only enhance your availability to offer quality. Refer to #4!

  6. You write the rules, so get used to making the tough calls and evolving.

    What others see as failure, you must see as growth. Evolution will become your middle name and who you are personally will always feed into who you are professionally- this is highlighted when you work for yourself. It’s all on you, so your relationship to yourself feeds how you present yourself and your brand. Professional development = personal development. Get vulnerable, because you’re the one that’s going to have to make those tough calls, have the conversation (with yourself and others) and move forwards.

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Living at Ease


We live in a culture rife with dis-ease. I think it’s safe to say many of us exist day to day without even considering “ease” as a part of life.

I found myself surrounded this evening by people seemingly living in ease-ful states. After a hike down to the river brought a lovely sunset while sitting on a rock by the river bank, I was surrounded by others enjoying a peaceful Sunday evening. As I drove back to my Airbnb, I was struck (not literally) by couples strolling down the sidewalks, dog walkers ambling along, and kids playing.

A few of the kids playing brought up a memory of what it was like to be a kid- with no notion of schedules or places to be, other than the exact moment one is in.

When do we lose that presence? The ability to simply be, without the pressing urgency of feeling like we should be somewhere, doing something, and we are so very late.

I should preface that these realizations and epiphanies came after a week of profound learning and personal work during a Facilitator training for Integrated Breathwork. This deep training that I am over a year into involves psychosomatic techniques and body centered psycho-therapies that allow one to tap into roots and core experiences that have formed the habits we abide by. I’ve also been blessed with doing this training in one of my favourite places in the world, with the opportunity to escape into the mountains to process each evening- taking some much needed and deserved time to reconnect with myself, away from the distractions of everyday life.

Many of my personal sessions brought themes around boundaries (or lack there of- with a questionable reasoning as to why they were not to be trusted, but nonetheless valid roots related to deep and historic experiencing), my relationships to support (or aversion of- again, logically questionable mechanisms that originated largely to how I felt about boundaries at a core level, and in the end a deep reconnection to a part of myself I haven’t felt in a long time (my connection to my left feminine energy/receptive nature and how worthy she is of a voice and an opinion in collaboration with my right dominant, expressive masculine energy half) – with the realization that I am ready for things to be easy, and that I deserve to live in ease.

I preface with that not to discredit the relativity to all our lives in what I am writing about; rather to highlight the point that realizing the accessibility of ease in our daily lives.

As we experience life we pick up many defense mechanisms that served to protect us from the perceptions around experiences that create what we know as trauma. The layers of these defenses run deep and form the patterning of our lives. They also, more often than not, have a timeframe in which they go from being useful protection mechanisms to long held patterns that bring “dis-ease” into our lives.

Dis-ease can be many things. Often in manifests as pain (emotional or physical), chronic health conditions, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, ptsd, etc. The stress that pursues trauma in our systems eats away at us even through hardening layers of defense. Depending on the circumstance, imagining an easeful life may seem next to impossible.

It’s a vicious cycle all of us are likely to experience on some level throughout life, if not over and over again in various ways.

In the world we live in, trauma, anxiety, mindfulness, collective support, disease and epidemic are catchwords. It’s not new knowledge that our society is dealing with a lot at the moment, with things not likely to change anytime soon. Yet- from my experience working with individuals and groups on tapping into the wisdom each of us holds inside these bodies we so often forget we exist within, the more we can do to listen and support ourselves- the better the collective experience will become.

Perhaps it starts with a recognition that ease is not so far off as we assume it to be.

If there is one thing I’ve had imprinted on me it’s that no condition or experience is permanent, and alongside that.. no pain point or stress response is unworthy of being given a voice. There is hope for us all as soon as we become curious about what our bodies have to tell us, and what life might look like if we gave ourselves even the smallest chance to heal what once caused pain and scarring.

Where does this start? How do we even begin looking objectively at pains that have created identifying ways of being?

I believe it starts with the inkling that the answers we’ve been given aren’t the end all be all. That there is more, and that maybe if we are aware of just one small crack in the reality we’ve been told is the only option- we can squeeze into a rabbit hole that offers us something more (sometimes requiring we source the bravery to step into said rabbit hole, and persist even when the darkness seems all encompassing..). I can speak to the fact that there is always another obvious step to take, after that first step. I can’t tell you it’s comfortable, or even logical, all the time- yet I can say that the body knows and guides with grace once we open the door and loosen our expectations.

Wherever you are on your journey towards re-discovering ease, thank you.

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