Closure + Balance

The never ending quest.
The last time I wrote about my personal journey I spoke about the concept of living at ease. This theme has become the theme of my summer. What started as a shift into realizing that it was safe and okay to NOT choose the harder road (yes, this actually took convincing) has become my personal mantra.
To say I’ve been going through a complete reconstruction of my immediate reality would be a truth.
Last month I jumped off the cliff I’d been standing on for a few months too long and closed my main business, Integrative Movement. It was one of the most freeing days of my life. This larger scale practice had been eating me up.
I’d been feeling trapped inside of that frame and had already tried a few ways to remodel and reshape it to fit who I was becoming, but nothing seemed quite right and the bindings only were getting tighter. IM had become synonymous with ME and I’d been revamping myself for a while already.. IM wasn’t keeping up. A year ago this decision seemed like the worst possible outcome.. I truly believed that it would be giving up, letting myself and others down. The key turn around there was the realization that in worrying about letting others down, I was indeed letting myself down.
Slowly I began to see all the ways in which me holding onto something that no longer fit was actually stunting my growth in other directions that were calling to me. RideWell was beginning to explode in all the good ways with calls coming from all over western Canada, and my personal practice within IM was also flourishing- though I was struggling to keep up with these positive demands due to struggling to meet the demands of management, supporting others and keeping the business itself afloat- while still trying to have a personal life and enjoy life in general.
All this alongside personal health transitions. I’ve been out of balance in some way health wise it seems for years, specifically since having Mono in my last year of University. That followed by what seemed like a never ending burn out cycle I finally seemed to step out of this year- only to be met with what is likely the after effects of all those years of imbalances.. hormonal imbalances and evident adrenal fatigue. In a matter of a few months this spring my body began to show me all the ways it’d been neglected. Weight gain, thyroid imbalance, hormonal imbalance symptoms, volatile cycles combined with anxiety and depression. Seemingly out of nowhere (but really had been building for a few years, likely).
So, I jumped off the damn cliff.
I was ready to evolve into the newest version of myself- and that meant letting go of previous versions. That also meant confronting head on body image issues, imbalances within myself and accepting all of it as part of me, too.
My landing was quite soft. Creativity flowed and I rebranding my practice into Evoke which fits nicely around my current version of self, with room to grow and evolve, too. RideWell clients continued to expand and I had the mental space and energy to expand with them. While I had some temper tantrums (and still do) around my health and ever changing body- I also have welcomed a new form of acceptance, too. The last few weeks I’ve been feeling quite balanced and content- so much so I actually had to quell some shadowy uprising of fear around that content-ness.
The decision around closing out one part of my professional life to focus in and expand into others was affirmed in many, many ways. I found and signed a lease on a beautiful new workspace that embodies where I currently am at. Supportive relationships were highlighted and my health has begun to improve in noticeable ways.
All the signs have been pointing towards learning the lesson of supporting oneself and enjoying oneself in this life that we have to do so with. Hilariously, the moments where I notice anxiety or stress creeping in is when I try to plan out the next steps. I’ve reached the capstone of my last five year map- and I haven’t quite figured out the details of my next map. I’m being guided right now to accept that unknown and let the map form itself for a while- enjoy the present moment.
Perhaps that is the only map I need.
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The Top 6 Things I’ve Taken from being Self-Employed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  5. Boundaries do not equal lack of accessibility..

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

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

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

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So here we are.

“So here we are, in our rags, walking down a road we’ve never seen before with the mark of our wild nature glowing through us. It is fair to say that conjunctio is insisting on a revision of the old you. Conjunctio is not something that goes out and gets. It is something that occurs because hard, hard work is being done.” CPE, Women Who Run With Wolves

I wrote last about exhaustion and faith. Of clarity through the fog.

Conjunctio- a theme that appeared in my morning read of Clarissa Pinkola Estes “Women Who Run With Wolves”, is a term coming from the practice of alchemy meaning a higher transformative union of unlike substances. A process of conjunction and pressure of dissimilar elements inhabiting the same space where insight and knowing are made. The part of the book she brings this up in is after the description of the “devil” aspect of our psyche, where a dual nature is symbolized within the psyche. A nature that both badgers us for something and heals us simultaneously. A process where something is lost or transmuted into the combination becoming more.

My dreams a few nights in a row now have been frequented with images of my time in New Zealand. Mostly periods of time spent in contemplation. Which, looking back, was a large theme of the trip (after coming face to face with myself for the first extended period of time distraction free). Long bus rides, long walks, long walks fronting for escapes from a reality I didn’t like. Time to mull over my emotion (at the time, I’m not sure I realized this is what I was doing) and time to prepare myself for the negativity I was keeping myself in during that brief period. Monotonous days made monotonous only due to the fact I was running from the truth I was feeling so strongly within. And, after this period, snapshot style images floating through my subconscious dream-state of even longer times of sitting with my surroundings (internally and externally), digesting, observing.

Through the last couple weeks I’ve been hit with many realizations.

The things I used to describe my ideal life by have become truths of my everyday ventures.

Last weekend I ended a week of clients with a day spent at a sporting event promoting my business while offering services and medical coverage to athletes. This day filled with being thrown right back into the field and having a line of up of sweaty, battle-worn athletes that needed everything I had all day was like reliving the reasons that drew me into this career in the first place. I took a short break away from this event to teach a class under the RideWell heading- where another group of dedicated athletes encompassed the other portion of why I love what I do. Teaching, educating, empowering those who are ready and looking for what I can offer.

After all that I hopped on a plane and flew to a city quickly feeling like a second home, Calgary. Here I spent 3 days enveloped in new professional and personal focuses. From old connections to new, the whole time I spent there I was continually surrounded by the calmness that I described in my last blog. A faith so strong that it’s next to impossible to imagine things not working out or aligning just right.

Indeed, through conversations had while in Calgary- it came to light that things I’d been saying for years, or had in the back of my mind as “eventuals” were seemingly already occurring or about to. Needless to say, it is not hard for me to find and create opportunity out West.

A life lived in many facets has always sat well with me. It’s what I’ve looked towards. Endless opportunity.

Since beginning a slow return to riding myself I’ve noticed a shift back into what I think of as “athlete mind”. Something that can be a trickster for us who work with athletes, but a trait that sets many apart on their journeys nonetheless.

As thing seem to align West, the little irritations or blocks I’ve noticed home in Winnipeg seem to be more.. synchronistic. In that, as I trust and direct my energy towards what feels right, everything else seems to solve itself. The practice I’ve built here is becoming more observably more then just myself. The idea of me creating a self-sustaining (to an extent) opportunity for clients and practitioners to thrive within while I pursue endless other ideas is all of a sudden much more realistic and timely.

RideWell (new venture) is heading West to networking at Spruce Meadows this summer. Integrative is moving into new, open space with a strong team within it. Making it logical for me to let it grow into the vision I’ve set for it, while I create avenues leading away (and back to) the original brand.

The idea of my equestrian focused practice expanding to a larger market all of a sudden is pushed into gear as I put some vested energy into opening the door I shoved my foot into West of MB.

Did I think these motivations and ideas would be brought to light so soon in my career because of a sporadic decision to fly to another province for a date? Absolutely not, but would it be me if there wasn’t a hint of wild adventure along the way?

Energy flows where attention goes, and lately I’ve had to stop and contemplate the strange way my motivation has moved and drawn me towards what I’ve always said I wanted.

Unsurprisingly the theme of my meditation this morning, and the tarot card I drew for myself was a card of contemplation.

Imagery wise, seven pentacles (symbol of material possessions, career, etc) aligned in a diagonal row- with symmetrical lines forming square points at each circled pentacle. An orderly, curious image- all at once.

The last few years I’ve seen myself move away from a intrinsically hyper-motivated athlete mind to a “go with the flow, let go, recovery” state. Partially due to injury and illness, and shifts in focus. It’s nonetheless been a beneficial state.. and now, things are moving back to operating for high performance (this doesn’t exclude periods of the above recovery minded state). The win being whatever the f I want it to be in the short and long term.

It often takes a minute of stepping back, counting the things lining up and the possibilities behind each, taking in the larger perspective to really note what is more valuable: wandering along or a intentional direction.

When I look back on the last two years I see a intentional direction with a unintentional lack of long view purpose.

In the last 6months I’ve seen that purpose align and clarify.

In the last 3months I’ve become confident in that purpose and noticed other doors open.

Behind each door is more reflection, more contemplation, more energy to direct.

As I observe that process I am noting that I’ve only begun to tap into my potential, and the potential of my ideas. I am so much more then what I am right now, and I have already proven that in looking behind at the chapters I’ve written.

The fascinating thing about creating a business (or two+) out of your dreams and ideas is that it is a tangible measure of your personal development and commitment to your purpose.

Every step forward comes with the acknowledgement of a reflection shining back at me from some other aspect of my life. A person, a memory, a emotion I can’t quite place, a connection or disconnection that’s stuck with me. More then ever I’m aware of inconspicuous guides surrounding me. Often in the form of fellow humans entering (and exiting) my life as if right on cue.

This is all a reminder of staying focused, but not too focused on it all. Often the most subtle, only seen in the peripheral (or hindsight) are the things with the strongest meaning.

“The psyche of woman must constantly sow, train, and harvest new energy in order to replace what has been worn out.. there is constant living, constant death dealing, constant replacement of ideas, images, energies…” -CPE, Women Who Run With Wolves

A period of contemplation, indeed. The soil is fertilized and ready for spring, now which seeds to plant and how to nurture the growth?

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.