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?

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.