Tag Archives: Twenty-something

(Non)Judgement

Sitting looking over the downtown Calgary cityscape late this morning, reading Gloria Steinem’s “My Life on the Road” – I was routinely interrupted by thoughts of what felt like passive self judgement passing through my mind.

“You should be working on something”

“Go outside and move”

“Come up with some ideas”

?

^^ Yes, that last one was word for word a thought that crossed my mind. Which then made me stop and laugh- as if my mind stating “come up with some ideas” was going to help me “come up with some ideas”. Ideas for what? Where was this pressure coming from? Why MUST I be doing something on my first (albeit scheduled) day off.

I’ve often stopped and thought to myself while working with training clients to think “it might actually be harder for this person if I asked them to pause and do nothing for a few minutes (or, the horror, a full 45-an hour) instead of pushing them physically”.

The last few days I’ve been networking away at Spruce Meadows and around Calgary, with the next few days bringing me to other areas Alberta. My first venture into out of province work for one of my businesses, RideWell Performance, and taking steps for myself to get uncomfortable again with networking, branding, and see how far I can go with my dreams. Rebranding RideWell over the winter was essentially an attempt to keep my brain busy while my other business, Integrative Movement, went through some expansions that required patience. Now, here in Calgary, with some free time and the bulk of the immediate work for now done, I sit scouring my brain for things to do.

My response to those thoughts? A conscious amusement and then a two hour nap.

Thankfully, it wasn’t hard for me to balance those judgement-like thoughts with things like “the knowledge you’re absorbing from this book is going to serve you later on”, “this rest will mean more energy for the rest of the week”, “you absolutely need a day like today to catch up after the last few weeks”, “my body says this is right and I know to listen to that”.

It’s been observed many times that entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, and business owners are always hustling. I mentioned last post about how I’ve come to cringe at being labelled a “hustler” or as someone who is “always on the grind”. I understand most people mean those labels as a positive thing, and are often incredulous when they hear about what entrepreneurs do routinely to chase down their goals.. but it also skews the optics of success towards burn out levels of time management. It also makes it difficult for, especially younger, self-starters to internally justify rest days, days to be human, and days to just chill t f out.

Was I doing nothing today? Absolutely not. I was reading, learning, and resting. It’s become absolutely crystal clear to me that business development and success largely depends, if not solely depends, on it’s leaders and teams personal development.

What makes or breaks brands in today’s world is the culture that surrounds them, and the association it’s customers makes between the people within the business and their goals.

I’ve had business owners and high level managers as clients both in terms of therapy and training- and while they have a higher tolerance for stress (positive and negative), they often struggle to monitor their inner dialogue around self care and compassion- and this feeds into their decisions around business and people management. It’s easy to look from the outside in and say “if you don’t take care of yourself, how are you going to help others” but when you’re that person trying to do it all and be it all, the pressure can seem more then logic.

I think many of us have already learned the hard way that burning out, getting sick, or just getting discouraged by fatigue and pressure is REAL and is a real dream crusher. I’ve experienced more scary level moments of “why am I doing this” leading towards “I do not want to be doing this anymore” in the last couple years. Luckily for me, I have figured out a way to change my scenery up (both physically and mentally) when this happens to keep me obscenely passionate about what I do. Moments like this have forced me to be creative and pursue lateral thinking for all my ventures and the people within them. It’s why I’m in Calgary now, and it’s why some expansions have happened. However if I had followed the alternate route down a more negative burn out road- I might not be where I am now.

We’ve been conditioned as a society to always be on the go- to always be pushing for more. To the point where we’ve seen the birth of industries based around scheduled and invested in down time (think meditation classes, certain styles of yoga, spas, etc etc). These are not bad things- but why can’t we accept for ourselves a simple quiet day to develop in others ways, instead of what is perceived as “the hustle”.

The great Thomas Plummer said it well:

“What made you successful is often the very thing that prevents you from staying successful.”. Hard, endless pursuit of more needs to be contrasted with recovery, rest, and time spent inwards. Without that, you may find you lose the purpose behind what you think you want.

We do not HAVE to do anything. Not in the societies most of us live in, with the afforded comforts we’ve been given. There is ALWAYS a choice and choices do not have to be concrete. Doing or thinking something because it’s always been perceived to be the way things are, or because others around you are seemingly doing the same thing is not a reason to hold the same expectation for yourselves.. and, more then likely, those perceptions aren’t the entire reality. We all generally think and go through similar things- and rarely do you find judgment for taking care of yourself if you are honestly doing just that.

What does self-care and non-judgement towards yourself look like?

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Believe Your Own BullShit

We humans are experts at perpetuating our own patterns. For better or for worse. Usually against our own benefit…

So much so that often we don’t even believe ourselves when our true selves are trying to lead us onto a better path.

Unsurprisingly, only two lessons back into riding on a more dedicated level then I have in years and I’m finding philosophical life lessons being thrown at me left and right.

Coming back into the game after a few years off, riding a much different style of horse then what I’ve worked with before, I’m being confronted with all my old baggage.

While I’m not covered in as much rust as I thought I would be, old habits are dying hard. It’s like a Pandora’s box of baggage has been opened and needs to be organized and hung out to dry.

Warming up today the words that floated to me from the eyes on the ground suggested that I am riding like I’m riding a young horse. Supportive, encouraging, trying to lead the way and being overly accommodating. I was presented with an amazing analogy for my go to leadership style. Teacher all the way- lead by example and empower. This style works sometimes for me- but not all the time, and actually as of late- rarely. The words that followed next smacked me in the head with another relatable flow of logic. You need to tell and direct, not suggest and expect.

I’ve seen in the last while that my greatest strength and weakness is seeing the absolute best in those around me. Empath to the core- I can see you’re greatest potential before I even know you’re last name… and that often gets in the way of really being helpful in leadership/teaching/management.

I’m now riding a horse that has the power and ability to do whatever I ask. Tell him the plan and he will get it done. However, suggest an idea and expect him to collaborate on a plan? Not very effective with his archetype. He really is a mirror for many of the other situations I’ve approached with my habitual way of wanting others to empower themselves through situations (be them personal, relationship, or professional).

When I was directed to quit letting him decide where we were going and tell him what we were doing and how we were doing, something clicked.

Through all my confidence and leadership ability- I do indeed have a tendency to defer decision making. I personally learn through experience, and want every else to learn about themselves in a similar way. In a past relationship I did exactly what I was doing during this ride.. deferred direction to the other, assuming growth would occur from them having to figure things out and allowing myself to follow in their process. While growth certainly did happen, a lot of unnecessary time was spent being “dragged around” so to speak.

Unsurprisingly, the theme of power has come up frequently in meditations lately. It seems that a voice within me and situations around me keep telling me that I have some work to do around believing in my power, speaking that power, and becoming that power. Power– so many of us attribute it negatively. Is it though? When used towards our higher purpose and used to navigate ourselves and others towards a fulfilling destination?

I’ve sacrificed the idea of power and replaced it with the ideal of service in many contexts, especially in close personal relationships. I learned a lot. And I’m grateful for those lessons. Yet, I also experienced so much anger and frustration at that sacrifice. Was I truly serving anyone for the greater good? Or just playing nice and hoping.. hoping for the ‘right’ outcome, not even truly knowing what outcome that should be. I needed to experience that anger and frustration to learn what standing my ground meant. Where I thought it might mean losing something I valued, it really only demonstrates what is actually of value. Speaking from a place of inner power/value/purpose takes out the unnecessary and clears the path for the next step. What gets lost becomes less valuable and powerful then you once thought it was, and what remains is what is worth cultivating.

In my businesses- I can forge ahead and get so far ahead of myself and the team that I come off as intimidating, and I’ve often slowed my own process by getting caught up in wondering why nobody else sees my vision– instead of just directing and explaining the steps to accomplish that vision to the others involved. As I get more clear in my direction and communication- I’m seeing what I want to see happen in those around me. They become empowered, they communicate, they inspire and push harder towards the direction I lay out. There’s no equality, only motivated collaboration and new growth as a result.

I can motivate, inspire, and direct others… but if I take my leg off right at the moment where the next navigation is needed, less then optimal results come through. In reality it’s just miscommunication, confusion, and stutter steps.

Similarly, if I am too accommodating in my direction and collaboration, we don’t get anywhere. One party is happy to plod along and the other is aimlessly encouraging. There’s no connection.

My favourite line from this morning’s philosophical ride through a jump course/life was “believe your own bullshit”.

When you think you’re right, but doubt your correctness and don’t follow through with a direction/intention/cue.. it creates the same results as above. You’re bullshit, or your gut, or your inner thought- is almost ALWAYS right. Believe it. Even if you think it’s bullshit. Ride through it. Don’t play nice and let him (the horse)/life/another person lead.. you’re right. Direct the situation, even if it feels like you’re full of it.

Riding has always been a mirror for me. Just as yoga, meditation, and other things are as well. Riding doubles as having a physical, 1300lb, living breathing mirror to nail home it’s point. Returning now has unveiled many insecurities, blocks, and patterns in my psyche for review.

As I drove out to the barn this morning I was washed over with gratitude. For my mother who always sacrificed where she could to make my riding dreams a reality. The coaches I’ve been blessed with all the way through, all with their own philosophical roles in my growth and development in the saddle, and out. My high school principle who allowed me to use my spares in senior year to go to the barn and train. The profs who let me persist in being the “horse girl” and do any project possible focused to the equestrian. The opportunity to ride this horse I’m on now. The riders who participated in my early projects and those who came on as clients as I grew my understanding of changing how we develop athletes in this sport so many of us are addicted to.

Leaving the barn after the lesson I was blasted with reflections on situations gone by. How I played nice and hoped that the person or group involved would learn, choose themselves and see the collective vision– usually sacrificing myself in the process– where I could have stood my ground and navigated with some gumption instead. Sure, maybe the outcomes wouldn’t have changed. I obviously needed to experience all these events in the sequence they’ve occurred to get to where I am now… and boy, am I soaking up each and every experience.

We have the amazing ability to create our own realities. In this day and age, almost nothing is impossible. How many of us actually take initiative and choose to navigate towards the reality we want? How many of us can sit with our own bullshit and see the possibilities that lie within it?

Put your leg on, sit tall, and ride on through. The power is there, you just have to direct it.

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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?

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For You

I skied in the mountains for the first time in my life this past week.

While I’ve skied once before as a teenager on some lowly prairie hills, skiing is a fairly new skill for me.

Luckily, I had a professional ski coach in my party of travelers (this was an after retreat week to a series of national level board of director meetings) to get us novices set up. The first instructions he gave me on technique were essentially the same goals you would set for good hunter riding technique. A sport I was competitive in for a large section of my life. It got suddenly easier to coordinate after that skill transfer took place!

As I was going down the slopes I noticed fear.

It crept in with every new feeling under my skies.

The more it crept in the faster I seemed to go and the more I lost control. The faster it all came at me and the more unbalanced I felt. Which made it even more of a “shit shit shit” moment.

Until I listened to the little voice saying “chill the f out” (my intuition only continues to get blunter).

The last few years have brought me so many moments where the “simple” act of letting go of something (emotion, fear, people, history, expectation) has brought the pace back into control, clarity to my path, and coordination into actions.

Connecting the dots this week made me think of all the people I meet so stuck in fear.

Pain, depression, health problems, regrets, negative stress… all can be related back to fear (scientifically, for real).

Fear is engrained in our dna. We depended on it for survival, but now fear has taken on whole new meaning. No longer do we use it to spur the fight or flight response- we LIVE in a constant fight or flight state which creates paralysis.

Human nature is linked with shared fears.

Fear of being left behind.

Fear of not being loved.

Fear of the unknown.

Fear of what haunts us.

Fear of losing control.

Fear of FEELING, of discomfort, of pain.

That statement encompasses physical, mental, and emotional progress for so many people.

At this point in health we KNOW that emotional and mental states directly impact our physical states.

I used to be ultra competitive. When I was riding competitively my life revolves around pushing to be better physically and mentally. This went along with being a university student too. Life was constant motion. Intense exercise was therapy, riding was grounding, and school was terrifying in a good way. Working during this period was survival and sacrifices to my time and energy were the ingredients.

I had a chronic back injury that became so engrained in my competitive state it was anxiety inducing to not have it around when I was competing for a while.

After I graduated and had sold my competition horse (weird correlation in these couple years) I entered a awkward in between phase. My motivation behind intense exercise had disappeared and my mental drive turned towards finding new ways to survive in a way that didn’t drain me.

I found it. I started a business around it, and began building.

A different kind of stress.

Now survival wasn’t about structured sacrifice (work this schedule, complete these courses, intern at this location for x amount of hours), rather- it was a new level of pouring everything into my ideas with the complete understanding that I may receive nothing in return.

I understand now why many small businesses fail in the early stages.

Skills are one thing but having the resilience and blind faith to keep going with absolutely no guarantees of success is a whole new level of looking fear in the eyes.

Mid way through Uni I had a concussion that taught me depression and anxiety in a whole new way.

That experience showed me that giving name to our worst nightmares makes having a conversation with them easier.

Then you add in messy relationships, sacrificed social life, and an already rocky phase of life..

I broke my leg, I got so sick I was bedridden for a month and unable to handle any stress for a year after. I had to learn to be still.

I went through the pain of heartbreak on so many different levels with one person again and again.. and in that continued to go deeper into my fear of not being good enough, my deep desire to see others live their truths, and the realization that no matter what you do within yourself or for others it will not matter to anyone else until they’ve done the same for themselves.

In the end it’s all a mirror, and sometimes that reflection won’t change no matter how hard you look at it.

And that realization and act of release does not under any circumstances devalue the significant feelings you once had, and have for the history.

If anything, it honors all of it.

Remember with gratitude and send love to the pain inside yourself and in others.

(Absolutely no coincidence here that my broken leg and nerve damage healed at the same pace my emotional scars healed).

My motivation got stronger but in an entirely different way. I learned to let go of so many things and in those acts of letting go I had to let go of a specific way of pushing myself.

It wasn’t enough or functionally anymore to push harder and harder. I would get sick. Burn out. And my mom got sick of me calling her in hysterics bi-weekly.

I look at how I used to be obliging. To myself and with other’s expectations of me. Whatever was asked I would do it and do it competitively. It worked for that phase of my life.

Now… now I am motivated by potential but not by others and often not even by my own intrinsic words- not in the same way, anyway.

I’m more rebellious now. More apt to set impossibly high standards of others just to see if they will make the effort to reach for them. More likely to do the opposite of what someone says I “should” do. I did a complete sideways leap and had to learn how to get myself motivated differently.

I’m still competitive but my strategy has changed drastically.

I still work harder mentally and physically but I’ve gotten efficient with my energy.

I outsource to others to assist with pushing, healing, organizing, and brainstorming.

I am secure within my value, but in that realization I know that I can’t do it alone.

You can ask for help and not have to rely on others.

Where I used to pull from physically discomfort to ground me- I draw on all spectrums of uncomfortable now to learn from.

Fear doesn’t scare me anymore.

But I am grateful for experiencing paralysis due to fear, when it has.

I look at others telling themselves and everyone who will listen how they can’t do something they’ve always dreamed of doing and wonder if they ever think “what if..”.

That’s how it starts, isn’t it. A questioning of something terrifying.

Looking a little longer into that dark shadowed staircase of a “can’t” or “its always been this way” or “the doctor told me..” or “nothing has ever worked to change xyz problem, so I just have to live with it”.

It’s the examination of all those times your gut says.. is this right?

It’s the test that comes when you love yourself enough to walk away from something or someone that you love just as much.

It’s the realization that things happen for you, not to you.. (Ed Mylett quote that should become everyone’s mantra).

That everything in this world wants you to succeed and whatever you want to succeed at- but requires you to open up and run head first into finding that out for yourself. (Read: The Alchemist, no it’s not just fiction- it is truth).

As a movement specialist- I understand how valuable it is to be aware. There are times to push harder, times to let go, and times to remember how to breathe.

As a human just as much a wandering soul as we all are- I see now how it’s less about expectations and reactions, and much more about stepping back, sideways, and forwards to get a clearer perspective and taking what you need from any given situation and finding value to move onto the next.

The rest will sort itself out if your intentions TO YOURSELF are authentic.

If you don’t know where to start, start by reading books of any sort, spending time outside of your routine (go to the woods if you sit in an office all day, walk around the city if you spend all day in the woods), and spending time with people who challenge you to be better. Those you admire so much you almost want to run away from them. That TERRIFIED feeling is telling you something. Do not ever be afraid of yourself.

Intuition is only developed by listening without judgement, and inquiring honestly internally about everything.

I am far from fearless (nor do I ever want to be), but I am willing. The answer to how I do it?

I just do.

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Powerful

“You don’t even know how powerful you are yet”

A friend told me that, earlier this year.

They were right.

This whole year I’ve been in a power struggle with my own being.

I started the year on the fumes of a year full of a “let go” theme. I rolled into the New Year set on shedding and grooming my self care. And in that new routine practice I found a voice that had been waiting.. waiting for a chance to speak.

That voice came out with friends, in self talk, with clients, in my business, and in networking.

It scared me. Often.

Then I noticed.. it only was scary when I tried to hold it in, or didn’t trust it.

The more I got comfortable with speaking the truth pouring out from within- the less terrifying it became. As I learned how to express tact with honesty I saw how my words created power for others.. empowered their own inner dialogue to shift.

In that process I began sensing efficacy in that inner fire. The inner power.

I realized that for so long I associated power with ego, and ego was something I’d worked so hard on releasing attachements to.

But.. are power and ego the same thing?

Not essentially, no.

“You haven’t realized how powerful you are”.. no.. I haven’t. But- I’m learning to experience power and not judge it for inspiring ego. Ego comes with being human- but observing it as part of our being enables it to let go of it’s hold on us.

So I continued to let go, to allow a flow to occur. Things, people, places- they come, they go, they call, they don’t call. It all ebbs and flows.

The pace of our lives sometimes carries us and sometimes we have to exercise control to gain perspective.

Where I sit now I sit in extreme accord with the voice that resides within and the fire that creates action. However I also am at peace with sometimes sitting and letting that voice mature.

My recent trip to Spain was the first travel experience where I honestly didn’t feel the need to reflect, examine, or exercise personal growth tactics.

I just was.

I came home with ideas and thoughts and progressions that I”ve been able to enact with new energy and a stronger voice then before.

I’ve had meetings and experiences since that have caused me to question everything about my experience so far, and how I want to use that experience to create new endeavours and what my purpose is.

I’ve seen love change forms in my life only to strengthen in it’s diversity. Expectations shift from set in stone to malleable elements serving equally those involved. Realities shift from what and who we are taught to be to understanding who we truly are, deep down, and exploring the purpose we all arrive with. Allowing that purpose to take on varying forms.

My life as it stands is wonderful and I look on it every day with newfound gratitude. For the opportunities and the power that resides within me- to give back, to create change, to build the reality I want to exist within.

True unhappiness or unsettledness stems in ignorance of self, distrust in the inner voice.

We learn to listen to that voice through experiencing the smallest moments life brings to us. A client planking for the first time in their two year history with you- and rocking it. A group fitness class that shows enthusiasm for the changes they are ready to make. Listening to an inspiring person in your life speak and feeling blessed to have them in your life. Seeing a friend break through their own internal struggles and let light into their being again.

All these small things are why we are here, and they are only found once we let go enough to let them shine through.

 

(Thank you to Jenaya Larisse Photography for the wonderful portrait 💖)  

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The Dogma of Progress

For a while now I’ve been feeling “blah” about the idea of progress. 
^ that’s not usually me. 
I go to talks, workshops, read books, travel- and feel as though I am on a plateau. Quite content to be where I was and not too interested (nor feeling the need to) push, dig, or unpack anything in my being. 
With my business consistently moving forwards, my thoughts evened out and a steady feeling of who I am in this moment.. developmental work has just seemed redundant. 
I noted quite a few times on my recent trip to Spain, mostly during the cycling up the northern coast past, that normally trips like this where I’m pushed physically open the door for me to do some emotional nd mental processing- but- there was nothing there to sift thru. 
I was hit over the head with the realization about a week into this three week excursion that I felt through some of the heartbreak the past two years sneezed into my life and had reached an equilibrium of love and gratitude for those who have remained, exited, and entered my life to varying degrees. The things that had happened to spur so much growth and reflection weren’t actually still happening to me at any level. I was.. I am free of those patterns and lessons right now. 

It hasn’t been until now- near the end of my time in Spain that I feel the drive for the next coming back. The drive to go to go a bit deeper and sit with what I find, to write, to delve into ideas as they race past, to write things down so I can organize the myriad of thoughts and ideas happening all at once, the inquisitiveness that’s being spurred by being in a part of the world that is passionate in their culture and steadfast in their ways (the Basque people and culture literally are so old in terms of history their exact roots cannot be traced… and as I write this the Catalan culture here is rallying for and against seperation from Spain and the rest of Spain is putting a stern foot on that idea- a argument that is decades long and not leaving soon, but reaching a boiling point not miles from where I sit). 

I spent a few days really looking at what motivates me- and how my motivations have shifted lately. I’ve gone from intrinsically driven for some reasons, to extrinsically in other ways. As I get more comfortable not relying on that motivation to define who I am- I see the subtle shifts and flows it takes on.  

The way we are as humans is so drastically different and similar across all cultures. 
How we express our fears and our ideas, how we learn and view history. What a time to live in- and what a time to reflect on what history has to teach us. 
I’ve developed an openness in the last couple years. Openness to myself, with others, and to everything offered. That adopted way of life has forced me to look at the most human flaws each of us have and accept what those flaws and fears mean to me as I am in this moment. It’s a constant look in the reflection coming back at me from my relationships, interactions, and situations I enter into consciously and unconsciously. 
It’s changed how I speak, how I advise, and how I observe. 
It allowed me to accept the plateau I stood on as a time to just be, and to let go of the need for more. 
Life, the people in it, and our stories innately have to have a push pull nature. Situations, people, and thoughts come in and out to pull us, push us, and boomerang us forwards or backwards depending on where we need to look. But even in a momentum based path there are moments of still and moments of pause. Even in our natural breathing process there is a slight pause between inhaling and exhaling. Nature itself creates necessary still points. 
It was my time to allow for pause. For stillness. For the reflection to remain constant for a bit. For the view from the plateau to be a constant sound of crashing waves in the fog- knowing the ebb and flow exists but unable to see past the condensation. To find comfort in the blindness.
I recognize the privileged lifestyle I lead to be able to explore the world, build my dream job, and divert such energy to reflections and pursuits of progress. The more I sit with the things that occur around me and within me the more I see the importance of seeing this world we live in and the cultures we all are apart of as one United experience.  
The fears we all have are the same. 
The insecurities we share are human nature. 
The reactions we emote are choices but human choices we all make. 
The exits stage left and the emergence of new people to experience are imperative to our growth as individuals, communities, and humanity. 
Open curiosity and knowing the time for passive observations are what allow us to see eye to eye, even if we don’t agree. 
No matter what you believe guides us, or doesn’t guide us- the themes in our perceived realities remain. 
Long before we were here and long after the same trends will occur, and I believe that we all will repeat lessons over and over until we get them on local and global levels- only to receive more lessons to piece through. 
The lesson lately has been accept every moment as it is and shed what no longer serves you. For me lately that has been the need to always find more in the darkness. It was important for me to dive into some dark places within for a long time- but I’ve served that purpose for now. I had to become okay with shades of grey again, and now I am beginning to see another sunrise on the horizon. The weather moves onwards no matter how we choose to prepare for it. 
Love, from Spain! 

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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. 

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Chapter 2016 

“The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do. (Is this fair? Is this the right thing to do?)…. Not to be distracted by their darkness. To run straight for the finish line, unswerving.” -Marcus Aurelius.

I had one of those moments the other day. Those existential crisis moments, laying in my bathtub, mostly submerged- escaping the clanking of my pipes and finding the questions deep in my mind.

I’d just read my tuition bill. For one online course, they wanted $750. It made me ask the hard stuff- like: why didn’t I just take this class in high school? Surely there’s another option… Do I need to pursue this? I’d probably be content without this pursuit, wouldn’t I? And this lead to the deeper questions of: What is my purpose? What am I doing with my life? And, Does any of this really matter?

We all need those moments every once in a while, right?

2016 came to a close and 2017 came in. My past year has been a year full of soul searching and following my gut instinct. 

Someone pointed out to me at one point this year that it seemed like I was running constantly away from home. I didn’t disagree- and for quite a while I definitely viewed it as trying desperately to get away from the familiar pattern here, the inescapables and the constants. Now, as 2016 ended, I have realized that there’s comfort and security in the same olds. The connections that don’t change, but grow with whatever distance or variances put into them. Evolution happens with adaptability, everything is a constant ebb and flow. You can’t control it, so let your soul ride the waves. Yes- I realize I sound like a hippy. 

Everywhere I followed my gut, I found some new revelation, a release and a epiphany and a development. My “second brain” as science now calls it took me first to a new apartment, on my own for the first time, all of 11 blocks from where I had been living. It lead me out of the cocoon I’d kept myself in all winter, and helped me to break free first of the comfort zone I’d gotten stuck in.

Then my gut and I fought a little as I had to go to Calgary for my second national exam, but we came back to an agreement when I flew to Virginia for the remainder of June. Virginia brought me tough conversations (over wine, of course), and new bonds. While basking in the humidity of the south I took my first breath free from the restrictions I was finally starting to see in my home life. I lived with the chronic pain of another and saw life from different eyes- I did yoga on the beach and I visited haunted houses. I searched for a MSc. that fit what I wanted, and then realized I had no idea what I really wanted academically. I hiked, and I visited some of the oldest places in America. I walked for 12hrs around DC and had a staring contest with Lincoln.

Then, I flew home. I came back a little more centered. I came home, feeling like I’d also left home. I came home, feeling like I needed to leave again. 

Shortly after Virginia, after a few hustled weeks of work at home, I few to California, to a conference that was screaming my name. My gut pushed for this, and I listened (my credit card and my gut are not the best of friends…..yet……). I filled my brain with new ideas and inspiration, I walked on the beach, and I did yoga on the coast with my Airbnb host. I took myself on the subway to Hollywood, did a 8hr hike in the desert (without enough electrolytes), stood on top of the Hollywood Sign, got mad heat stroke, wandered around hollywood very sweaty and dehydrated, went to a wax museum and found a ride home with a Winnipeg producer who was on the same bus tour as me (yes, I took a ride from a stranger.. no, I did not get kidnapped or murdered). I flew home full of inspiration, but with more questions sitting on the surface. The linear lifestyle and social constructs I’d been raised were breaking down, the more I listened to my gut instincts, the more choices and textbook philosophies started to not line up. Things took on different perspectives, emotions different light, and relationships different tunes. Everything was both beginning to not make sense, but make perfect sense. And so I came home and waited. I came home feeling like I needed to wait and see what was next, for the first time in a long time, instead of making something happen. I came home with patience. I came home to my exam results- I was officially a certified Athletic Therapist.

Shortly after returning from California I was presented with an opportunity that fit exactly what I was waiting for.

Nepal. Trekking through the Himalayas. Everest.

With 3weeks notice I took off to Nepal. There I found new appreciation for being with what is. It was what many may call an unintended spirit quest. I reached points of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that only opened and broke down barriers in my sub-conscious. I had necessary conversations with parts of my soul in my dreams every night. I delved so deep within that when I came home again I was serene. Tranquil. I had reached a point where this reality didn’t effect me anymore. It didn’t cause stress, nor did it influence my emotions. I had found my centre and it held strong. The mountain reflected what I needed to see and feel within myself. It flushed my whole being and left me raw, renewed. I came home solidified in my own being, and thus lost the need to be influenced by anything other then my own intuition.

The serenity and the tranquility that I found after wandering through the Himalayas, literally breathless, has never really left. Although it’s faded, it is there when I need it and I know exactly how to find it. The day to day ins and outs of being a twenty something, running a couple businesses, and figuring out life and what I want out of it and need to take from this reality are still there. However, the sense of meditative perception has taken over. The small things that can turn into big stressors have ceased to exist. There is, and there isn’t. People come and people go, as do emotions. The ability to sit and observe all these things, without judgement of whatever comes up inside me- that is the biggest lesson taken from 2016. I followed my soul wherever it wandered, and because of that I am so much closer, and comfortable within it.

A few months after Nepal I took a brief trip to Toronto for some meetings and had a spotlight put on a new path. Another mountain, perhaps, to reflect a new lesson to be learned. This new possibility has influenced many decisions made near the end of 2016, and lead to many of these existential moments where I float and let myself sink back to my soul centre. What is this life for, who do I want to be, and how do I want to accomplish that.

Purpose is something a lot of us struggle with. I’ve come to realize that finding your purpose can’t be forced. It’s not a series of actions you can complete to eventually come to a conclusion of “yes, this is what I’m meant to be doing”. It’s more of learning to trust your curiosities and your questions. It’s following your gut when it tells you yes or no or maybe. It’s biding your time and taking opportunities. It’s having patience and insane drive all at once. It’s not something you need to find, it’s something you have to let find you- and then not be afraid to let it take you someplace else. This life, this reality, is not linear- so why try and find a straight line?

The chapter of 2016 was absolutely riveting. As always, I do not know what’s in store for 2017- but I am greatly anticipating writing it!


 
 

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The only mistake is standing still. 

“All we ever do is all we ever knew” -The Head and the Heart


Written on a plane somewhere over Colorado and Idaho. 

Flying always incites a new realm of possibility for me. What’s more invigorating then watching the world from above- on your way to a destination, new or familiar.

I’ve struggled with writing lately, on a personal level. Out of practice maybe. Lately my life seems to be in a constant state of change. I’ve unearthed a new restlessness in my soul- and this summer that restlessness has taken me all over the place- both physically and spiritually. From adventures around Manitoba with friends, trips to Calgary for Certifications (and reconnecting with school friends, and myself)– oh and I did certify! Virginia for what turned into 2 weeks of sitting with ongoing thoughts and inner conflict- resulting in a spiritual journey I was only half expecting, and a refresh I was much needing. And now, as I fly over the mountains in Colorado on my way to Long Beach for a much awaited conference (Perform Better)… 2 weeks before I take off for Nepal to trek the first Everest base camp (oops, impulse decisions)- I’m in the midst of yet another unexpected chance to sit with my restlessness and… enjoy it.

I reread my last post the other day, half in an attempt to spark some writing and half because it popped up when I was revising my page. So much of where I was still resounds in my heart- but so much has changed. It’s hard to say if I’m more at peace with certain things then I was upon writing in the spring- but I can say for certain I am at peace with other things. That’s the nature of this life we lead- ebbs and flows depending on the moment we find ourselves in.

Inner and outer conflict create space for us to explore and push our boundaries. Without that exploration growth is stunted.

The last few months, and mostly the last few weeks I’ve questioned this new level of restlessness (and I know my loved ones have as well). What am I so unsettled with? Why is my soul so desperate for the unfamiliar? I don’t feel that I have anything to run from, but also find more pieces of me when I am listening to the restlessness.

Maybe it’s not being unsettled that concerns me- perhaps it’s being settled. That’s not to say I am not extremely grateful every day for the things I have in my regular life. Rather- I am wary of falling into old habits and getting comfortable. At this point in my life I am more comfortable in discomfort- sometimes because it’s a distraction- but more so because it reminds me that all the little things, the nagging emotions or the every day habits- those things fade away and become less pressing when I follow the path my restless heart chooses. It’s a reminder that what we think are big problems rarely are in the turning of the world.

More thoughts and updates from California to come!

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Indian Food for Breakfast

I found myself in the mountains last week on a much needed vacation. I realized how therapeutic the mountains have been to me in the last year. I’ve found myself there twice, first last year around this time in need of an emotional reset.. and now this time around in need of a total recharge.

Both time, I got what I needed.

I haven’t written as much as I used to. Not necessarily because of a lack of inspiration, but mostly because of a decrease in the need to write out my thoughts. I realize now how much this blog has been a kind of therapy for me.. and will continue to be in the coming years.. but also how much the last year has seen me develop other releases and ways of organizing myself.

We left for BC, my significant other and I, both of us quite burnt out- even if we didn’t fully realize it, from our respective falls. For me I’d had a year of preparing for my CATA exams (results still pending), figuring out my next steps, and constantly working on my business and promoting myself. No, it wasn’t 10 courses/term and multiple exams and practicals.. but it is a new territory for me.. this life outside of student life. A week away was exactly what I needed.. and it couldn’t have been better.

We drove through the night and arrived at our destination at a ripe 5am (we aren’t the best at getting up early to leave early).. and had a lovely sleep in to wake up to some gorgeous weather and a mountain view from our rented condo. From there we spent the week rotating between visiting close by hot springs, breweries, hiking, and watching movies on the couch. Rising each morning to a beautiful combination of coffee, local organic eggnog (so good), and a bit of whisky (best combo imaginable). It was amazing to just be able to turn off from the rest of the world, not worry about alarms or wearing a watch, not having any reason to check our phones or emails.. a whole week of just being in the moment and not worrying about the rest of the world. Something the both of us needed!

     
 Coming home and back to reality was something we both procrastinated on.. starting the 16hr drive late on our last day, stopping for a night outside of Calgary at a friends, and then re-starting the now 13hr drive late the next day.. then making a extended stop at Costco, we found ourselves driving through SK at 1am, both exhausted, grumpy, and sick of being in the car. So.. on the hunt for a motel we went. After a whole week of no worries, I started to notice now, in this moment of pure exhaustion and annoyance at having to return to real life, how fatigue can effect our ability to make choices about how we want to react to a scenario. After bickering about something around Moosejaw, we both ended up laughing and breaking the mood.. realizing we were choosing to be annoyed and didn’t have to choose that.

We ended up finding a motel in Indian Head, SK.. a town where there really isn’t much. Somehow they were open at 2am when we rolled in and gave us a key to a room. Typical of a small town highway motel, the heat wasn’t turned on in the room and the window was broken and covered with cardboard. When it’s -15 out… even turning the heater on, there wasn’t much hope of this room warming up. So we trundled back to the desk/bar/restaurant and got another room.. this one with a intact window, but no heat again. So turning on the small heater in the room we left for a nightcap at the desk/bar/restaurant to let the room warm. After a long chat with the bartender/owner (one of a family from India), we headed back to the much craved bed. Only to find the heater in the room really not doing much heating.

Not having any better options, imagining we were camping in the late fall, 10 degree weather, we had a few hours of sleep. That morning, we decided to try the Indian restaurant within the motel.. owned and ran by the Indian family. After a lengthly talk with the bartender (the brother) about how they prepared the food, and how it was the best in the greater area.. how could we not? We weren’t disappointed.. and as we sat there eating breakfast, again leaving late on our still 5hr drive home.. I felt a small bit of anxiety creep up over how we still had a long drive, and I was tired, and real life was coming back upon us… then.. mid bit of butter chicken at 9am in the middle of SK in a trucker motel.. I chose to let that anxiety go and enjoy the moment I was in.

That simple act of letting a emotion float across my consciousness, observe it, and let it pass is an ability it took me years to develop. It’s more accessible in some moments then in others, but what I noticed in this particular instance was how much easier it has been becoming for me as of late. A skill I think I’m going to use quite a bit in the coming year. I’m predicting this year to be a year of unpredictables, and am grateful to have begun developing how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now as much as possible.

  
Happy Holidays everyone!

 

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