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.

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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Space, Wide Open

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

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.)

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.

Wild Goose Chase

A wild goose chase is defined as a “foolish and hopeless pursuit of something unattainable”.

This is not the path I’ve chosen.

If you follow my channels at all, you’ll likely have noticed I am all over the map lately (lol, lately..). It’s been fascinating to me to observe people’s reaction to this gypsy lifestyle I appear to have adopted.

Many don’t question it at all.. having experienced who I am and seen the unshakeable faith I have in where I’m headed. Others approach it cautiously, seeming to wonder if I’ve A) lost my mind or B) become addicted to the not so wild goose chase that can be self discovery and/or C) am running from something. The latter usually seem to come from a place of fear.. “how are you going to put down roots?” “are you making any money?” “how can you be effective if you’re so busy all the time?”.

Within this year I’ve ventured across western Canada numerous times. At first for seemingly standard board meetings, then back for a cautious venture into possibility, then more dedicated efforts into what could be, and now well within the realm of “shit, this is happening”.

Somewhere along the way I have lost the thought process of “this is for the next five years, but not right now”- and gained the sense for when and what fits, and when something does not or isn’t timed right. This, while seemingly a developed skill, is simplified when you permit connection to that inexplainable voice/sense/instinct inside.

Through these ventures I’ve gained roots not to physical places or things, but deep into my own being. Through travels all over the world I’ve been able to observe my self, and now I can grow from roots being put down deep within. I’ve been able to see and understand where I’ve been, why I do what I do on whole new levels, and walk with an even more steadfast purpose towards where I’m going no matter what the physical location or “practicalities” are.

The beauty of this is learning the absolute power of synchronicity. What I used to contempt-fully view as having patience, I now know is just the art of letting things unfold as they always will. The secret to this art is truly understanding and valuing the gut instinct that resides in each of us. The trust and conversation that is necessary for one’s path to unfold gloriously is not a natural skill for many, unfortunately, but luckily an available skill for all to develop.

In this existence I find it next to impossible to ignore the voice and nudges from within. Some view this as a impulsivity and a immaturity. Some understand to some level. Some admire. Some live vicariously through it. This isn’t meant to be written as a lecture- just an observation on what I’m observing through this phase of growth and personal study. I know I’m on my right path, and part of that path is sharing the information I experience.

It’s not rocket science at this point in time to note that many of the aches, pains, and complaints I deal with in my line of work with clients stem from voices not heard within over time. Part of the reason I’ve taken the steps to grow a national client base is that the more I consult all kinds of people, the more I see a deficit in who we allow ourselves to be.

Take a recent conversation for example. This past week I spent at the Ag in Motion event just outside of Saskatoon, as a consultant and columnist for GrainNews on the topic of Fit to Farm. At this large scale event my job was to hang out at the publication’s booth and chat with readers of my columns. On the last day, a kind and lovely farmer approached me regarding a new symptom of not being able to lift his foot properly. Long story short we deduced the problem to a longstanding issue in his back, which was highly correctable with some effort (as most things are).

After chatting for quite a while and consulting with him – he commented “well, I’m just an all over mess anyway- there’s probably no way I’ll ever be completely well again!”. (this isn’t an unusual comment for me to hear). I found myself calmly yet sternly affirming to him that there was no doubt in my mind, as a health professional, that he had a high potential of being exactly as functional as he wanted to be.. and that that was up to him.

I was a little shocked at the bluntness of my external reaction- yet I’m also kind of over sugar coating people’s opinions of themselves.

Thankfully- his reaction made it worth it. It was something he clearly did not expect to hear, yet was clearly extremely thankful to hear. “Thank you for telling me that.. I DO want to be healthy and it means SO much to me that you think it is possible”.

How often do we downplay our possibility? How often do the words in our heads or those coming out of our mouths affirm our possibility of success/happiness/health/ambition (or the opposite?).

What I’ve noticed in these few months of testing the possibility of what I want, can, and will do… is how powerful intention is. We design our realities, and the framework we have to work with is the thoughts and awareness we hold for ourselves in each moment. If you look at the authentic leaders and success stories of our day and age, you will see a trend. Purpose, self-discovery within that purpose, self-worth cultivated through faith and lessons directly from attempt and failure on repeat.

Through a constant examination of fears, negative thoughts, how my expression (words that exit my mouth and float through my brain) directly (seriously) impact my reality I’ve begun noticing the constant signage and suggestion from within and all around us. As I pay attention there synchronicity that fills my life with the “right” people, opportunity, and the precisely correct tests and challenges for me to go through.

Replace the worry that comes with the unknowns with faith that if you listen, observe, and choose your intentions for yourself wisely that the lesson and subsequent next steps do indeed become quite obvious. You can’t escape your pain? What are you holding onto that’s chaining you to the chronic message from your body? Stuck in the negative? What are you saying and thinking that puts your energy in the deficit? Wondering why things never work out? Is there a voice asking you, begging you to listen.. trying to remind you of something you authentically wanted but haven’t pursued? Every. Damn. Interaction. Has. A. Question. And. A. Answer. If. You. Listen. And. Observe.

 

Delegation

There was a moment when I was a 3rd ish year AT student, working at a provincial level multi-sport event. An athlete went down in the middle of the competition mat and in my head I thought “wow that was a good ankle sprain!”- then milliseconds later realized that everyone was looking at me.. and then realized that I was now in charge of the situation as the medic on site. 
I feel like that’s been me all the time lately. Constant realizations that I’m the on in control and I have to make the call.. that everyone is looking at me. 

My life is moving fast. 
I feel as though I’m in a collecting mode- learning as fast as I can in order to perform to the tasks I’m confronted with daily. I also feel like I’m speaking with a voice I haven’t heard before. In many moments in between collecting- I am also throwing myself into the waves and figuring out how to swim- asking of others and expecting more then I ever thought I would at this point in my life. 
This spring I took on management of two new locations for my business, collaborating with another business. I took on 4 new staff, and took on a provincial board of director role alongside my national board role with the Kinesiology Alliance. I got accepted as a presenter at a major yoga and wellness festival for this fall, and decided to co-host a retreat with another therapist in August. Some of these things are no brainers, some are decidedly moves outside my comfort zone, and some are asking me to grow personally in ways I didn’t expect them to. 

I’ve been working hard to find a balance between the all action all the time end of the spectrum and the hold back and take in your surroundings end. 

I went into the career I chose because it allowed me to teach, enable, empower, work in health, and work with humans. It was a career that offered endless directions to follow, and I’ve been lucky enough in my short time to follow many directions simultaneously. 

Transitioning from a solo therapist running my own gig to a business owner, manager, and leadership role for team of great therapists, staff and multiple locations happened quicker then expected. The learning curve has been steep and strong, however- rarely do I have a bad (negative) day. 
One of the themes of the lessons I’m having to teach myself lately is delegation. Not only delegating better to myself and getting things done- but also having to step into a management role where there are no set guidelines, expectations, or rule books. Nor any previous training! 
Simultaneous to this I’ve seen my own patient caseload grow, with many cases that force me to go back to the research and learn everything I can. 
I realized in not too long that I needed to delegate, but I was holding back from delegating because of an internal fear that delegating meant losing control. 
From that stemmed the realization that in order to continue growing, I had to let go and that delegating didn’t mean I was losing any control- it only meant I had to expand my skill set to appropriately delegate, and that letting go (so to speak) of those delegatable tasks in my head meant I would have more space for new and exciting things to start blossoming. 
There’s been many moments that have forced me to do some introspection. 

Is what I’m asking someone clear, and effective? Am I expecting them to read my mind? 
Where is this patient coming from- am I staring too close to the picture, or am I not communicating the plan clear enough?
Am I running faster then my feet can keep up to? 
Do I want to succeed in the system or do I want to be someone who pushes the system towards better things? 
Where do I want to go? 
Many of the questions involving peers, associates, or staff were answered by taking the time to reflect on my communication and leadership style. I noticed that instead of delegating tasks or thoughts- I was instead expecting them to think the same way I think, and have the same motivations I have. Which- in all reality- is not why I brought them onto my team. 
From here I had to step back even further and break down what I wanted from them, expected, and build strategy in my communicating on how to influence them towards the same way of thinking. The response I got back from these small changes reminded me that I hired good people, and that leadership is more then just delegating and setting expectations… I did say I went into this because I love teaching, no?
When it came to intimidation over different patient cases- I had to go back again to how I was interviewing and communicating with them. Similar to with my staff, I noticed that I was setting expectations and holding a high standard to those expectations in my own head- without clearly recognizing the patient’s standpoint. When I took some time and played with changing my communications, asking different questions, and taking a little more stand in how I educated and to an extent, delegated plans of attack- things shifted again in my own growth. 
Biggest of all I’ve become much more comfortable (although still working on it) giving criticism. I personally deeply value the effective of constructive criticism or direct discussion on how I’m doing something- yet providing that to others in a leadership setting has been something I’ve had to work on. 
This fast change in how I observe and process information has created a desire for more and more pressure within myself to continue evolving- while at the same time I’ve come up against a few walls I don’t feel ready to climb yet. Not ready in the sense of e experience/know-how– while keeping the perspective that sometimes in order to get over a hurdle you just have to jump. As I delve more into the psyche of others, and creating change- the more I am confronted with loneliness. 
Not in the sense that I feel I need companionship- but in the sense that while I can see many others’ perspectives, I often feel as though I’m the only one that works and processes on the topics and levels I’m currently on. For this reason I’ve been very grateful for the few leadership groups I’ve joined- for there is where I’ve found likeminded leaders to jive with. 
This has enabled me new inspiration and much needed mentors. I still had and will have more moments where I sat in a Costco parking lot crying because I’d spent two weeks in my own thought bubble over one problem I was trying to solve and was finally coming out of it to realize and maniac texting your best friend. Nor did it change the time I talked for hours on end so fast to a friend that they could hardly get a word in- just because it was the first time I’d had social exposure outside of clients in weeks. Or when you realize you’ve become the friend who is always busy so you as a rule get forgotten about when it comes to plans. All entrepreneurs go through these things- and this isn’t meant to be a pity party- but all these moments are forcing new epiphanies and growth- so I am above all else grateful. 
I’ve learned that all those little moments where you simultaneously feel so worn out, but finally feel a release from your own mind spiral are par for the course when you’re constantly pushing for more.. out of yourself, others, and society. 
I’m at a point in my career where the impatience for more is driving me nuts, but the best option is sitting up, half halting, and waiting for the best take off distance. 
If there’s anything I’ve retained from my riding career it’s that jumping ahead never ends well. There’s a certain beauty in pausing and staying on pace until the right spot comes up. This is also the best way to train your eye. There is a time and a place for seizing every opportunity, and there is a time and a place for taking in the whole picture. 
I’m somewhere in between those two moments right now. 

Revival

We’re always given what we need.. isn’t that the way things shake out?

The last week or so I struggled a bit with my old friend impatience. After a busy couple months of seeing and experiencing my business and professional image develop and blossom seemingly non-stop, things stayed consistent. Consistently great I have to say. April and May I was booked every weekend here or there doing clinics and work shops for facilities, and busy with one on one clients outside of my other shift work. As invigorating as it was seeing all that growth, when things get consistent.. I start to get bored. Not in a bad way, but the impatience crept in again. My mind had time to start craving the next step. More. Always more.

This is a staple of my personality. I live for constant improvement, learning, and change.

This past long weekend (conveniently the first show weekend of the outdoor season here too), I found myself with 4 solid days off. Off shift work. Off clients. Off teaching. It was great. I got to spend time with the guy and old friends. I got to sleep until 1pm two days in a row and not be bothered about it. It provided the perfect opportunity for me to start thinking about what I wasn’t doing yet. There is always a “yet”. Come the start of the regular week, I was full on craving for new and exciting things. Feeling already bored with what I had just started.

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Luckily, I’ve done a fair amount of personal development this year so far.. and I recognised this in myself. While acknowledging the impatience didn’t make it disappear, it did calm the fire slightly. I realise now looking back that sometimes my cases of burn-out were probably self-induced cases of letting the impatience and unending desire for more right now take over. Patience, gratitude, reflection have been my themes this year… and they are fantastic lessons to bring into motion for preventing that desire from turning into an unquenchable agitation with the pace of the Universe.

On Tuesday I all of a sudden had the drive to plant some plants. Which, if you know me, is soooooooo out of the norm. But, since I’m learning more and more to trust my intuition.. I went out and bought some little things, a bag of soil, and some cute containers. I came home, got my hands dirty, and planted some mint, rosemary, and a series of succulents. I’ve always had a thing for succulents. Probably because I know I can’t kill them easily.

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The simple act of planting those plants immediately settled me. I found myself sitting on the floor of my parking garage slowly designing where I wanted my succulents sitting and centring everything in each container.

The next day after a a great workout, and then a long afternoon of tutoring anatomy, I headed out to meet and work with one of my long time clients on her horse. I’ve been so in depth with my consulting work with riders and loving it that I haven’t A) had time to miss my own riding or B) thought that I did miss it. I ride Felix here and there, but the deep seated drive for my own riding hasn’t been around lately and I haven’t been worried about that. If I’ve missed anything lately it’s been the time spent with Lauren and Megg at the barn chatting and riding together. I do honestly miss the feeling of community there was at M&C’s barn with those ladies. While we three stay in touch, Megg is off pursuing her dreams in France and soon UC Berkeley for a PHd. and Lauren is as busy as I am most of the time. When I got to my client’s barn I got that same sense of community, and while watching and working with her on her horse, and the others around riding, I rediscovered the challenge and passion for my consulting work that I thought I was losing the last few weeks. I got my edge back for my work. I also felt a stirring of the riding bug deep down. I met a horse at that facility that stole my heart a little.. and it awakened the desire to get on. I came home from that evening feeling so revived and fulfilled.

My hard working client and Moe.

As I’m assisting a long time prof with First Responder again this year, I am getting the chance to continue my ongoing review of AT coursework preparing for November’s Certification exams. On Tuesday I was informed that I’d be teaching Thursday’s lecture/lab on boarding and wound care.. as well as reviewing a quiz the class had written, solo as the prof was away… It was a ohhhhkay here we go moment for me. The class came and I got my way through teaching boarding techniques just fine.. but it’s the first time I’ve gotten to lead a class alone and been the sole one responsible for their education. It was quite the experience and definitely reaffirmed not only my own abilities but my desire to be in this field. Just when I was starting to get anxious and impatient. Just in time.

Today I noticed my succulents had grown new bits (blooms? extensions? pods?). It was the perfect symbolism for how I feel after the last couple days. There is always growth and new things happening.. just not always so drastic as to be seen by the impatient eye. It’s sometimes enough just to slow down enough to listen to all those little worries, anxieties, and impatient thoughts zooming around… sometimes if you listen you’ll be provided with a solution to those feelings. Maybe it’s planting some plants. Maybe it’s cleaning and organising your apartment. Maybe it’s reaching out and touching base with some old friends. We are always provided with the tools.. often not easily noticed tools or solutions.. but life always gets us where we need to be at just the right time.