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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Shedding

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

– Mary Oliver, The Journey.

I’ve sat down numerous times over the winter to attempt to put into words what existence feels like lately. Every time I do sit down, I find it almost impossible to depict sensations with words. More than that, I do not feel inspired to attempt that description- as somethings just get lost when we begin to translate.

It feels lately as if I am shedding off layers of myself that no longer fit. Day by day, sometimes hour by hour, I find that things I used to define myself by are no longer suitable for me to even hear about. Things I used to be driven towards no longer fit where I am drawn towards on my journey. Yet, I can see clearly (as clearly as one ever can) where the previous motivations came from and a reconciliation process with myself seems to be taking place.

Reconciliation is an interesting term to use when writing about one’s own journey. It implies previous conflict. Much of the last year and a bit for me was knowingly or unknowingly spent in inner conflict. Looking back in hindsight much of this conflict came from a source of martyrdom of myself towards mostly inner causes I created to soothe the same conflict. A vicious cycle that was more of a bandaid than a foundational correction.

The conflict started with a brooding over my professional career. I felt trapped in an industry that was only scraping the surface of people’s healing needs, and a deep desire to do more but not quite knowing where to turn. I became frustrated by those seeking my services to be used as a bandaid for the deeper rooted issues they were dealing with (mentally, emotionally, and physically) but out of a need for survival I felt I had no other option but to continue treating them- all while hoping that the 1% of clients I had come to me wanting to dive deeper would keep growing in numbers and frequency.

This conflict lead to burn out, and in an attempt to bandaid burn out I decided to stop taking more clients and focus more on management and business development. Believing, I think, that if I built it better, I could help more people. My hands deteriorated and I physically felt incapable of helping others heal with my hands, and my heart and mind was exhausted by continuing to outpour energy into healing others. Turning my path towards management felt like a way to rehab my ability to heal, while still serving others.

In management I saw more cracks in the system my profession existed in and began to crave an out from all of it- yet the pull to serve those working in my business and be boss lady extraordinaire kept me in survival mode, bringing me to another burn out point.

Somewhere along this path I realized that I had built a living, breathing replica of a business to fill a void left by hurts in my past. I saw that I had created a toxic relationship with my business and in my attempts to give all I had to that creation I had lost myself almost entirely. I had no answer to who I was without the business, and that fear hit me to the core.

The fear stemmed from a realization that I wanted to be more than a worker bee in a system that wasn’t serving myself or others in the slightest. The quotes “if you want to change the system, you can’t abide by the system” and “be the change” rang in my ears.

I began making conscious shifts towards the purpose driven work I idealized, and the lifestyle that felt more aligned. As I became conscious of how possible the way I truly wanted to be living was- these shifts became less and less optional. Things shifted, often more suddenly than I expected. I entered many states of transformation- metamorphosis became the metaphor for my existence. In many instances it felt as odd and isolating as the self-digestion a caterpillar must go through in order to become it’s next state.

Interesting things happen when you become self-aware during this phase.

Relationships change. You notice your resistance to things, for better or worse. Guilt, fear, unworthiness, conditions placed on love that you’ve lived with for years are brought to the surface, and releasing it brings up questions as to why you’ve been so comfortable framing it as servitude or “what I deserve”, companionship, “what it takes”, ambition, and endless need for achievement for this long. Discomfort and pain, whether physical or otherwise, becomes similar to the part of a nature hike you have to trek through in order to get to the good views. It becomes relative, and necessary, to your transformation.

The biggest thing I have noticed during this process is that I have become my own non-negotiable.

My business model changed as a result of this. The way in which I was choosing to carry all the burdens of the entity that I’d built, and carry other’s slack as well, shifted as my desire to support myself shifted. In turn I got to see who among the team I had built was there to support the overall vision wholly, not just along for the ride.

The scary thing here was/is the change in my personal investment into what once received 110% of my attention and energy. As my relationship towards my creation changed dramatically over the year I saw the same patterns that had once kept me in a toxic romantic relationship play out in my leadership style and in how I built my career.

Even typing this today, as some of the changes I’ve made to my business operations take effect and I see the rubble beginning to form into a much healthier foundation I sit in a place of vast unknown. I have shed more than a few skins over the past months, and have yet to completely fill my new one with understanding. While my connection to self has been revitalized in ways I’d never imagined, I feel as though I am shedding yet another version.

Change for us humans is inherently difficult. Creating or moving towards something different than what we’ve known breeds a new kind of fear and insecurity in our system. I see this daily with clients dealing with pain, lifestyle habits, and dysfunction in their lives.

Fear and insecurity keep us believing that our survival needs and comfort will disappear if we make the change that we are being called to make (or need to make). The idea of things being different (even if for the better) equals the risk of losing what you have (even if what you have no longer serves) and this, to us at a biological level, becomes a very unsafe perception of reality. It if feels unsafe, even our bodies will revolt. We are primed for survival, always, and this will tell us that any change is dangerous at a primal level. This creates the turmoil of our human consciousness.

When a snake sheds it’s skin, it’s eyes appear to cloud over as the skin sheds to make it look as though it is in a trance. This is how I’ve felt over the last few months. Entranced by transition, a reconciliation of the past into fertilizer for the future while rooting into the present moment. Somehow I don’t believe that a snake experiences anxiety and fear as it sheds to become anew. I also don’t believe that a caterpillar sees any other option than to move through it’s metamorphosis and into it’s next version.

My style of practice with my clients has become alike to the attitude I take with myself lately. The only way out is through. Our choice, if we are going to move forwards, has to be to breathe and step onwards- even if it feels like we are falling into the unknown. It is easy to be doubtful in times of growth. What could be our strength can easily become our insecurity if we aren’t aware. Trust in the process and know that your eyes will be cleared of transition soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ch 2018: Metamorphosis

This year could be a full book, to be honest.

When I think back to the decade that was 2018, the image of a specific tarot card comes to mind.

The four of swords; with the lamb sitting calmly underneath the threatening points- it implies an attitude of mental stillness and mindfulness amongst oncoming potential threats. It demonstrates a process of integration, allowing the process to occur from a place of internal stillness. Four is a number that symbolizes structure and stability, and the illumination at the lamb’s forehead implies concentration and inward focus. This image shows the power to be found in monitoring your internal landscape, vs letting thoughts and attitudes run amuck.

My last few posts have been rife with words of transformation, faith, and process. I’ve spent countless time this year roaming into different versions of self, different places, and bringing all sorts of new into my life while examining (and more often then not, shedding) the old.

I began the year feeling pulled west. I found many excuses to roam there, and spent a portion of almost every month in Alberta. Alongside this I stumbled into my first few experiences with conscious connected breathwork which in many ways cracked open a door (perhaps the analogy of a rabbit hole is more suited here) to a path I could not have seen coming. That is often how life works though, no? You wander along and then eventually glance back at where you came from and think.. “how did any of that lead me to here?”.

My alice in wonderland-esque year flipped my focus inwards very quickly. If you’ve been reading along the way, you’ll have read many a story about burn out. Through a combination of the breathwork I was introduced with, and subsequently began my facilitator training in, journeys west and renewing connections close to my soul (in the form of people (new and existing), relationships (new and existing), career moves, and time spent digging deep), I built a tool box around the obstacles and challenges that came up throughout the year.

There were three key themes and lessons for me this year (there were so many more, but today is not the day I write my novel..):

1. TRUST (even when you are more full of doubt then ever before)

Let’s be real clear. I took so many leaps of faith off so many cliffs this year. I chose to launch RideWell Performance (a rebrand of an existing equestrian focused branch of IM) early in the year and in a spontaneous Alberta inspired decision chose to take it to Spruce Meadows and set a goal of building a client base outside of my home province. Then I chose to expand Integrative Movement in about four different directions pretty much simultaneously. I did all this with no guarantee of financing or income, an existing pile of debt, at the same time I was taking a big step back from taking on more clients myself (read: burning the f out).

While this was going on, in my personal side of life, I began to notice drastic transitions in core relationships with myself and others in my life. At one (many) point(s) I felt completely alienated from many in my life, and found myself developing very new support systems for myself throughout the year. In a big, BIG way.. 2018 was all about developing ways to support myself. Internally, most definitely. There were many periods during this year that external support in the form of finances, stereotypical realms of security, health, and perceived peer support (*I ALWAYS have phenomenal people holding me up, but there were times where my perception was telling me otherwise) were not there. I was left to my own devices support wise (perception-ally, anyway).. and in a big way had to rely on the faith and trust I had that I was moving in the right direction.

As I moved through the summer I hit many month ends where every single thing was questioned. Why was I so insistent on making these business moves? Why was I being so stubborn? What was I running from..to? Where was I going? Was I making the right moves? Are there right moves? What if this all gets worse? Can it get worse? Will I make rent this month? Am I racking up too much debt for no reason? Do I even want to be a business owner? Why why why..

As I came into the last quarter of the year, many of those questions were answered. I realized that the way I had been existing for many years in survival mode was a consequence of how many of us had been raised to think. Success = financial security. Financial security = steady income, paying bills, etc etc. Not having a regular pay cheque, taking relative risks by investing in self and in business = super effing scary and unorthodox. Do you know what else I realized? It was ALL OKAY. The months of barely (or not quite) having enough to pay my rent, scrounging to make things work financially within the business due to stalled invoice payments (cue rant about insurance companies payment systems and the health care system in general) TAUGHT ME how to manage my money (whether flowing or not). As I rolled into fall and cash flow got a bit more flowey business wise I all of a sudden had all these new ways of organizing and planning. The things I once feared (like, legit gave me MAJOR anxiety) like budgeting, saving, looking at my balances routinely, making payments, etc etc got SO scary and stressful during a few months that I had literally no choice but to face my fears head on and figure out a system that was going to work when the going was thin. As the going got more going, all of a sudden the systems were creating a much less anxiety inducing experience. Survival mode taught me how to thrive. The key in this was trusting that another day was coming, and believing in what I was doing.

The thing about starting and running a business is that it WILL shine a light on all of your inner workings. It will ask you WHY you’re investing. You will be tested on your faith and your values multiple times a day in so many ways. It won’t be until small moments when you least expect it that you’re reminded and humbled by the beauty and purpose behind what you’re doing. You won’t be able to predict these moments, and they will knock you down in the best way possible. I’ve seen more of these moments this year, as rough as the waves hit, then ever before. It just takes a second for faith to win over doubt, and CHOOSING to live in a state of abundance vs a state of lack (or in a scarcity mindset) not only brings more of these moments into your awareness, it drives you onwards in hope (not in fear). 

Trusting, experiencing gratitude, and not getting lost in a moment of doubt (aka not turning a moment of doubt into days or months of doubt). Then, having the patience for a planted seed to sprout and grow. Rome really was not built in a day, you guys, I can attest to this! 

Trust also came up for me personally as I moved in and out of my own identity journey. I learned to trust in my gut and intuition when it told me to find nature, when it asked me to breathe, when it guided me to move. These things above anything else saved me from the crushing fears and anxieties that I was was facing in my professional life. I remember at one point physically, mentally and emotionally being so worn down by my professional life. My hands were in agony 24/7, I would feel the urge to vomit whenever a client, staff, or peer mentioned anything to do with my business (good or bad), and I had anxiety I’d never noticed before. By listening and trusting my bodies messages and stepping into myself (and out of parts of myself).. I gained invaluable insight and revived my direction professionally (and personally). I figured out a new way to support myself. Unconditionally. 

Not only do you need to TRUST in yourself (even when you don’t have answers.. trusting that you WILL move forwards or at the very least turn inwards to listen and recover), you also need to trust in the process and have patience for the process. We always get what we need.. leading to my next theme..

2. LISTEN (and FLOW)

I spent many hours in my car this year. Driving to and from Alberta, and all around each province visiting clients and exploring. Majority of this time was with myself.

The conversations, epiphanies, and places I found within myself on these #soloroadtripadventures built up my ability to listen, and flow in a whole new way.

I noticed it usually took me about 4-6hrs of a long drive to drop into a quiet state of being. This provided excellent contrast to the chaos I was existing in on a daily basis. Here’s thing thing I noticed… though I never considered myself a person who had anxiety, was stressed on a regular basis, or carried undue tension in my body.. in these moments on contrast and time spent with myself, I realized (in a very loud HOLY SHIT) moment, how MUCH anxiety and stress were under the surface. They stayed unnoticeable to me because they were a baseline state. They had become my NORMAL.

Upon this realization I was catapulted down an even deeper rabbit hole. Once I became aware of one little bit of stress and anxiety in my system, I was smacked over the head with HOW MUCH was actually stuck in there. It made me question everything. If there was this much stuck and I was only just beginning my professional life.. what was I going to be like in 3, 5, 10 years? I already felt sick, and imagining the future outlooks? Not good. This contrast also brought me to the realization that I didn’t want my professional life to be my entire life.

Shocking. I know.

From there I had to go down the rabbit hole of.. if you don’t want this to take up all your time, what ELSE do you want to do with your adult life? Oh boy. We had some major re-organizing to do.

And here is about where I began to realize that I was indeed a person who experienced stress and anxiety, and in listening to them more closely- I had all the answers I needed.

Hindsight is of course 20/20 and now I am seeing that all the seeds I planted along the year(s) are beginning to poke out of the dark earth.

As I listened I heard a new version of me whispering. Then speaking directly. Things needed upgrading to serve new me. Things like my communication style, how I express my feelings, and how I relate to those around me. This also included my relationship with the reception of unconditional love, which was a lovely little theme through the year. I had wrapped positives around conditions in so many aspects of how I received it was making it more stressful to receive anything supportive in all areas of life. In order to support myself and receive support from others – a total rewiring of my attitude in this department was necessary. We all need a little revamp once in a while! Here lies the value of listening and allowing your inner flow to guide you!

3. STRUCTURE = FREEDOM (discipline does not have to mean boring, anxiety inducing existence…what?!)

In re-dedicating myself to a regular yoga/meditation/breathwork practice I not only began to trust everything (especially myself) again, I also built a structure into my life that has resulted in freedom.

The level of extreme burn out I hit at the end of September, the experiences and guidance I received in my first facilitator training intensive at the end of September (could not have been better timing) led me to a complete restructure (or maybe just the first conscious structure) of my schedule.

Because of the realizations around the amount of anxiety and stress I inherently experience, some healthy routines needed to be established. And you know what? The more I TRUSTED these new habits, the more they worked. All of a sudden I found myself with spare time (HOURS), getting more accomplished, and a much stronger attitude of gratitude.

Routines/Structure/Discipline.. these things usually made me feel anxious and claustrophobic. Now they simply allow me to be me, to listen, to sit and watch and experience immense gratitude for all the things happening in my days.

It so easy to skip over the little good things in life and see only the hardships, “bad” things, and the tough things. How many of us walk around expecting something to go wrong, complaining about other people, and feeling in a state of lack (of energy, money, time, ability, whatever)? I’ve experienced moments this year where all the things that could be lacking were lacking, and yet- in these moments I’ve also seen and experienced some of the most heart warming and humbling things. What we HAVE does not need to determine our experience, and our experience is entirely created on how we CHOOSE to view things.

Simple thing. Removing the word BUT from all communication (written and verbal). Replacing it with AND.

Another simple thing. Spending 2-10min each day sitting in thought around things you are grateful for. Big or small. All of a sudden you’ll start noticing MORE in your life, instead of LESS.

I trust and listen to my inner voice now, and know that sometimes time is better spent hibernating, resting, or taking some time to myself over trying to push through and be productive. When we utilize time that is meant to be spent in recovery mode, we are way more capable of utilizing and structuring times when we are productive. Work smarter, not harder applies.

I also learned that by having structures (like prioritizing pre-scheduled yoga 4-6 times/week, personal training sessions, riding time, self care (acupuncture, massage/bodywork), meditation/breathwork and therapy check ins in my schedule over work requirements and client requirements) in place I was much more equipped to handle bad days/weeks. By sticking to these structure and treating myself with integrity and respect- I didn’t lose any productivity by having “bad” days. Those bad days were reframed into days where I needed to check out in order to be more productive at a different time.

Listening to ME and all my inner workings taught me about who I am. It allowed me to structure around who I would like to progress TOWARDS, while still remaining open to whoever she is. Structure allows for freedom to evolve, it isn’t a dictatorship scenario. It supports process, instead of clouding process.

For all the times I wasn’t sure I was going to make it this year, I did. I also gained insight into the power found in accepting each moment without restriction.

I am ending the year absolutely full of gratitude and amazement at the journey that’s unfolded. I’ve seen things I could never have even wondered about, and have been opened to whole new worlds and opportunities- just by being intentionally open to the process.

Fav authors this year? Paulo Coehlo (everything by him, for real), Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Women Who Run With Wolves), and Bill Plotkin (SoulCraft).

I will leave you, and 2018, with a poem I read in the wilderness. It happened upon me in a moment of pure gratitude for the cocoon I had found myself in, and the person I was becoming- in the world we currently live in. I hope gratitude finds you all in this new year!

The Wolf’s Eyelash

If you don’t go out in the woods, nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.

“Don’t go out in the woods, don’t go out,” they said.

“Why not?  Why should I not go out in the woods tonight?” she asked.

“A big wolf lives there who eats humans such as you.  Don’t go out in the woods, don’t go out.  We mean it.”

Naturally, she went out.  She went out in the woods anyway, and of course she met the wolf, just as they had warned her.

“See, we told you,” they crowed.

“This is my life, not a fairy tale, you dolts,” she said.  “I have to go to the woods, and I have to meet the wolf, or else my life will never begin.”

But, the wolf she encountered was in a trap, in a trap this wolf’s leg was in.

“Help me, oh help me! Aieeeee, aieeee, aieeee!” cried the wolf.  “Help me, oh help me!” he cried, “and I shall reward you justly.” For this is the way of wolves in tales of this kind.

“How do I know you won’t harm me?” she asked – it was her job to ask questions.  “How do I know you will not kill me and leave me lying in my bones?”

“Wrong question,” said this wolf.  “You’ll just have to take my word for it.”  And the wolf began to cry and wail once again and more.  “Oh, aieee!  Aieeee!  Aieeee!  There’s only one question worth asking fair maiden, wooooooooor aieeeee th’ sooooooool?”

“Oh you wolf, I will take a chance.  Alright, here!”  And she sprang the trap and the wolf drew out its paw and this she bound with herbs and grasses.

“Ah, thank you kind maiden, thank you,” sighed the wolf.  And because she had read too many of the wrong kind of tales, she cried, “Go ahead and kill me now, and let us get this over with.”

But no, this did not come to pass.  Instead this wolf put his paw upon her arm.  “I’m a wolf from another time and place,”  said he.  And plucking a lash from his eye, gave it to her and said, “Use this, and be wise.  From now on you will know who is good and not so good; just look through my eyes and you will see clearly.  For letting me live, I bid you live in a manner as never before.  Remember, there’s only one question worth asking fair maiden, wooooooooor aieeeee th’ soooooooool?”

And so she went back to her village, happy to still have her life.  And this time as they said, “Just stay here and be my bride,” or “Do as I tell you,”  or “Say as I want you to say, and remain as unwritten upon as the day you came,” she held up the wolf’s eyelash and peered through and saw their motives as she had not seen them before.  And the next time the butcher weighed the meat she looked through her wolf’s eyelash and saw that he weighed his thumb too.  And she looked at her suitor who said “I am so good for you,” and saw that her suitor was so good for exactly nothing.  And in this way and more, she was saved, from not all, but from many, misfortunes.

But more so, in this new seeing, not only did she see the sly and cruel, she began to grow immense in heart, for she looked at each person and weighed them anew through this gift from the wolf she had rescued.  And she saw those who were truly kind and went near to them, she found her mate and stayed all the days of her life, she discerned the brave and came close to them, she apprehended the faithful and joined with them, she saw bewilderment under anger and hastened to soothe it, she saw love in the eyes of the shy and reached out to them, she saw suffering in the stiff-lipped and courted their laughter, she saw need in the man with no words and spoke for him, she saw faith deep in the woman who said she had none, and rekindled hers from her own.  She saw all things with her lash of wolf, all things true, and all things false, all things turning against life and all things turning toward life, all things seen only through the eyes of that which weighs the heart with heart, and not with mind alone.

This is how she learned that it is true what they say, that the wolf is the wisest of all.  If you listen closely, the wolf in its howling is always asking the most important question – not where is the next food, not where is the next fight, not where is the next dance? – but the most important question in order to see into and behind, to weigh the value of all that lives, woooooooor aieeeee th’ sooooooool?  wooooooooor aieeeee th’ soooooooool?  Where is the soul?  Where is the soul?

Go out in the woods, go out.  If you don’t go out in the woods, nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.  Go out in the woods, go out.  Go out in the woods, go out.  Go out in the woods, go out.

(Estes, Ph.D.,  Clarissa Pinkola.  Women Who Run With the Wolves:  Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype. New York:  Ballantine, 1992.  Print.)

CrossRoads + Process + Community

“You do not need to reinvent yourself to be at ease” – Robyn Thomas

I haven’t written in a while.

In the last few months I’ve been sitting with myself. I built a cocoon and have been quietly transforming from the inside out. I’ve been processing that ongoing transformation.

It’s one I’ve felt on the cusp of for a while, which may explain the restlessness and antsy-ness that seemed to stalk me around all summer. As I’ve spoken about in previous entries, I’ve felt like I’ve been outgrowing old versions but haven’t quite had a feel for how or where to update.

I have been trekking through new territory on this journey and I have reached a crossroads.

At this crossroads it is evident that one direction is both where I’ve come from, and where I could move back towards. This being old routines, old stressors and triggers, and the same patterns.

The other option is continuing forward on a slight change in direction towards something new, and unfamiliar.

I think we all know which I’m choosing.

On a recent trip west to Alberta I was gifted with opportunities to gain some clarity on those updates.

In so many synchronistic ways, I was shown how I’d been operating beneath myself- and how/why it was time to upgrade. I was also led inwards, deeper then I’ve been before, and encouraged to stay for a while in the cocoon that had been readied for me. My interactions with others not only reflected how I’d been interacting with myself, they guided me into a different reality. Opening the door for some inward realizations that had been worked through in months of inner struggle leading up to each precise moment.

I’ve connected into the wilderness moreso this year then ever. The restlessness and the impatience literally driving me into the woods/mountains/coulees/prairies many days. As fall hit so did new routines. The standards I set for myself shifted almost instantly as I emerged from the state of burnout and survival I’d been in for months (years?).  The disassociation I’d been existing in was unveiled and the reconnection required that I level up my self care integrity.

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So. Yoga. Daily. Meditation. Daily. Movement. Daily. Nature. As much as possible.Work came second, I came first.

As a business owner this SEEMED counterintuitive. Yet… Unsurprisingly as I leveled up for myself, the blocks my business life had been hitting have began disintegrating. I reconnected into how I wanted to restructure my professional life, and in turn fell in love with it again. After months of heavy burn out, this was HUGE.

On top of this I began to experience new parts of myself being unearthed. As I opened doors and peered into different spaces I saw opportunities for expression of self that I hadn’t had access to. Over the last few months how I walk, talk, move, breathe and exist has been shaken up and shifted.

After spending a few days in process with myself in the mountains, walking through the woods talking to birds and consulting waterfalls, I came home to the middle province to be greeted with a suddenly different me. I felt as though I was sitting deep inside the physical embodiment I presented to the world- watching others engage with “old me” as “new me” quietly waited and observed.

While this at times was a little alienating, over time I began to see the power in the process, and feel a much deeper connection to communities that had been built around me throughout my entire life.

Yes. I am seeing now what no longer suits or matches what I value for myself. I can see now what needs to be expressed differently, and let phase out if need be. I can feel new connections inwards, to higher guides, to new lessons, and to new communities forming.

The theme tonight as I sit with all this that’s come up over the past few months is how I haven’t had control over this process I’ve been going through. I was meant to go through it all one way or another. Whether now or down the road ( and no doubt more transformation is yet ahead). Having gone through it how I did, I am deeply grateful that I opened myself to it (most of the time anyway), and allowed it to have it’s way with me.

The second theme I am sitting with is community. How unbelievably integral community is. We all have our lessons and our paths to follow, and sometimes that leads us down a dark and winding road. Even on the roughest of paths, the community and networks that surround us (for good or bad) have reflections, guidance, and suggestions for us. It all points back to our interaction and engagement with ourselves. Communities serve as support, and as we develop the ability to support ourselves, parent ourselves even, we both offer our own gifts back into the community and are able to receive higher guidance. As a business owner I’ve really grounded into the power of community, as it’s what has built all my ventures from start ups, to expanding businesses in their own rights.

I feel a new fire being kindled around my self-identity. On all levels I feel a deep transformation occurring both internally and externally in my life. What I used to accept is no longer acceptable, and how I express and present myself has shifted. Not unsurprisingly all this has had dramatic impact on how I operate in my day to day life, and how others interact with me!

So this crossroads I can see. I don’t feel stuck, as the options feel pretty obvious. I found myself praying for discipline the other night. Discipline, routine, structure.. all things that used to give me hits of anxiety. They seemed daunting, scary, and boring all at once.. yet now they have been what pulls me forwards and offers support even on bad days. They don’t require that I sacrifice my freedom or my wild, on the contrary they have enhanced my ability to be me, whoever that is each day, consistently.

As I welcomed the prayer for discipline, I realized that I was praying for this guidance as I walked through this crossroads. In many ways this crossroads required me to move ahead once again on my own path. Knowing my communities and my process are there no matter what, and that I am working with renewed energy for the betterment and enhancement of myself are comforts as I step forwards deeper into this transformative time.

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Hats + Existential Philosophy

“As Carl Jung repeatedly declared, our goal is wholeness, not perfection. People living soulcentrically are not untroubled or unchallenged. They are not beyond experiencing times of confusion, mistakes, and tragedies. They have by no means healed all their wounds. They are simply on a path to wholeness, to becoming fully human- with all the inevitable defects and distresses inherent in any human story and with all the promise held by our uniquely human imagination.”
― Bill Plotkin

“While archetypes may emanate through us for short periods of time, in what we call numinous experience, no woman can emanate an archetype continuously. Only the archetype itself can withstand such projections such as ever-able, all giving, eternally energetic. We may try to emulate these, but they are ideals, not achievable by humans, and not meant to be. Yet the trap requires that women exhaust themselves trying to achieve these unrealistic levels. To avoid the trap, one has to learn to say ‘Halt’ and ‘Stop the music,’ and of course mean it.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The last month or so has been one wild ride. Hitting a wall of extreme burn out (and simultaneously realize I have been existing in a baseline burn out for years) basically sums up my September (if you didn’t guess by the last darker then average post). After expansions in all directions through the summer, September brought me being out of my home province for 3/4 weeks of the month. At the end of the month I was privileged to attend my level 1/4 facilitator training intensive with Numa Somatics – which was absolutely transformative on a few levels.

Numa Somatics in a nutshell is a type of breathwork and psycho-somatic healing facilitation that came onto my radar in the Spring. As I journeyed through a few group/individual breathwork sessions over the course of the summer- I began to see major shifts in myself, and my curiosity grew.. leading to my enrollment in the facilitator training.

Rolling into 5 days straight of intensive training in this breathwork and style of facilitation both allowed me the space to shed the loads I’d been carrying around for months (and arguably years), and regain my willingness and inspiration around the grander scheme of things personally and professionally.

One of the big things I’ve been wrestling with lately is separating myself, or maybe a better wording would be teasing myself out of, from the brands/businesses I’ve built. Where I began the year wanting to delve into management work more, I’m ending it realizing that the parts I love deeply about my work is all the other stuff. The people, the healing, and the education. The drive to let go of the thing I innately love, and pursuing a more stereotypical measure of “success” optics in management was in some ways an attempt to prove myself.. and demonstrate impatience. What I thought would alleviate the burn out I linked back to client work, actually made the burn out worse. As I examined it’s roots through trial and error, it only began to shift as I delegated more, and was able to clear my head enough to work with clients on a level I thrive at more.

This professional balance is more of a spectrum, I think, but the question that began coming up more frequently for me was “who are you outside of management and client work?”. The more was asked to disassociate from either end of my professional spectrum, the more I found myself in an abyss of hats I’ve worn with dedication, but that I’ve always taken off to try a new hat on.

One of the realizations I had during this intensive training was that the growth of my business had been a coping mechanism from the process I went through around my last relationship/break-up and the year of 2016 that was just.. a year. The fuel I used to jetpack IM and RW forwards in their inaugural years no longer matches system- and as I’ve outgrown my energy source the relationship between myself and my professional vision became a bit toxic (hilariously this is the same way I felt as I began to separate myself from my last relationship). Along with this realization came the immediate release of the feeling I’d been struggling with for a few weeks at that point: feeling physically ill anyone someone brought up my business creations, or expressed admiration as to how well I was doing professionally.

To be freed of things that I’d been holding onto unconsciously all of a sudden shone a light on the path forwards. Much of that path focused on simply being present each day, and refocusing inwards in more ways.

The past few weeks/months I’ve come back to the feeling I had between 3700masl-5500masl during the Everest Base Camp trek (another addition to the year that was 2016). I wanted to quit. Desperately, wholly, and frustratingly. A day away from the peak of the trek I almost did call it quits. Physically, mentally, emotionally I was depleted. However, a voice somewhere deep inside kept repeating “you need to finish this to remind yourself to persevere later in life”.

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One of those things I come back to, routinely lately, where I’m faced with things arguably much less daunting then Mt Everest, and I have quite literally no excuse not to carry onwards.

I came into fall seeking balance. I am sinking into fall with the knowing that balance cannot be found through desperation. As I sit in each moment I’ve been overwhelmed with reconnection to the community around me, the opportunity surrounding me, and most of all, a new connection to self.

The instructor of the breath work course and I came to the discussion of the age old question “who am I” in a conversation after the level 1 training had wrapped. While the different tangents of that question came up, I couldn’t help but think that maybe it was less about figuring out a direct answer to that question and more about letting go of the various hats I’ve jammed on in an attempt to summarize myself over the years. It’s not that who I am hasn’t been defined by the hats I’ve worn, it certainly have, and I like all those hats. However, who I am is also likely a dynamic state. It would be impossible to describe the essence of me with one outfit, phrase, or descriptor.. And desperately looking for an answer to that question through more endeavors or relationships wouldn’t solve the deeper feeling and question either. If anything this approach just continues to muddy the water with newly styled hats.

The more I’ve committed to no right answer to the feelings emerging and the changes happening, the more I’ve felt freed and able to let go. If the process I realized I needed was letting go, similarly to finding balance, neither is accomplished by a fixated approach. Reconnecting with the basics (like cooking, taking care of myself, spending time with myself and in my body) and prioritizing my schedule around things like yoga, meditation, riding, and time at home has, in just a few weeks, in combination with the breathwork, entirely revitalized how I feel about my work and how I’m able to apply myself.

On a larger perspective, it’s simply given me the opportunity to reconnect myself. Each day. With whomever is present. If building a business comes down to consistency, persistence, and a solid foundation of values.. building a life is not much difference. I’m feeling lately as though I’m just beginning to step into a new phase, one of tossing old hats, of a larger perspective, balance, and right now.. the basics.