A Tidal Wave of Grief

I read once that grief comes in waves and when I envisioned it, I assumed that the waves gradually got smaller as they do in the ocean as it comes to the shore. What I didn’t expect is that sometimes the waves are tidal size waves and sometimes they are little baby waves and there is no way to predict which one is coming!

This past week marks the 5th year since my husband passed and on our wedding anniversary, I got hit with a tidal size wave from out of the blue! There were no warnings … just bam! Like all the significant special dates that remind me of him I psychologically prepare myself and our anniversary is usually a big one as when he was ill it was on our anniversary that things really started taking a turn for the worse, he then passed just over a week later, so needless to say it is an emotional time for me and I know 5 years may seem like a lot of time to some but for me the shock and trauma I experienced through the short 3 months of his illness is still something I cope with.


So back to the tidal wave… like I said I knew it would be emotional but what I didn’t expect was the barrage of guilt and self-blame that came on this particular wave. I know that there is sometimes survivor guilt and I think in the bargaining stage there is definitely some guilt but what I got was none of those, it was full-on assault from my mind on how I was the WORST person alive and was a horrible wife and so on and so on. This was new for me as I had not really had a lot of self-blame sure a little bit that I could have done more, been more compassionate etc but this was way more than that, this was a downright assault on my character, all from my own mind. I am so grateful that I have the tools that I do as I was able to stay afloat during the wave of emotions and keep my head above water. I have spoken with a few other widows and we have shared stories but I have not found in the literature the kind of guilt and self-blame that I experienced, so I thought I would write about it because I am sure I am not the only one who has had this happen and I am hoping for those of you who find this it will be a comfort to know that you are not alone!

Why I think this came up so strong for me this year is that in the past 5 years I have been on what I call my journey to authenticity I have been finding out who I really am beyond all the stories and mind chatter. And in the past year, there has been some major growth and I have really started to feel sure-footed in who I am, this confidence and strength have allowed me to make some changes in my life. I started dating, I have been able to reclaim my house and let go of the things I was holding on of my husbands, and I was able to finally set him free in the form of releasing his ashes all of which I felt sure about at the time I was doing them. But then this anniversary came and the tidal wave of self-judgment and guilt, most of which was around one major realization that I have had this year is that who I was back then was responsible for a good share of our relationship being as trying as it was! Through my journey I have realized that I expected a lot from him because I was not there for myself, what I mean by that is I did not love myself, therefore, expected him to show me how much of a good person I was and that I was worthy of the love that I was withholding from myself. This is not a good foundation for a relationship, because for the one needing the reassurance there will never be enough as you don’t believe it anyway, because you don’t love yourself or feel lovable.

Sound a little confusing … it goes like this because I had a core belief that I was not worthy of love I withheld it from myself by being SUPER critical and judgey of everything I did, I was a perfectionist who could never measure up to the impossible standards, all of this was reassuring my belief that I am unlovable. This was all going on for years before I met my husband (as most of our beliefs are set when we are toddlers) anyway enter a relationship and they start telling you wonderful things about you, and that they love you BUT that is in direct contradiction to the belief that you are not worthy of love and are unloveable, so guess where the mind goes “he’s just saying that”, “he has to say that because he married you”, “he doesn’t mean it”, “if he really loved me he would/wouldn’t…” and all the other ways our mind negates things that go against a belief we hold. Because that’s the thing about our beliefs they live in the subconscious and we always seek out information to prove they are correct, even if that means it hurts. So, the whole time I was thinking that our relationship was not as good as it could be, because he didn’t really love me, guess what it was me not being able to see that he did.

 

With this realization and a few others, it became increasingly clear to me that my version of our relationship was not (and this is always the case) the real version, it was what I saw through the lens of my beliefs, perceptions, and stories. This became abundantly clear this year as I started to repeat the same patterns in a new relationship and had a front-row seat to how this belief was playing out which made me realize that I was not as innocent as I thought.

Anyway, back to the tidal wave of guilt! With all of these realizations I couldn’t help but wonder would our relationship have been better (and I am sure it would have been) had I been the real me (the person I am now) rather than the old version of me… and there is the guilt!

After doing a lot of self-compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness I came to terms with the fact that I was doing the best that I could with what I had and that is all I can ask of myself. I truly believe that we all are doing our best at any given moment, and I have no problem accepting that in others, it was just a little harder to swallow for myself. But that is the beauty of challenge it shows us areas where we need to grow and as far as I have come, I still have some more work around loving, accepting and forgiving myself. And that is what this tidal wave was all about, I needed to release this energy and continue to grow in the area of self-love.


I hope some of this resonates with you out there and you can take my experience as an opportunity for you too to grow.

Namaste

What if Everything You Want is on the Other End of Patience

I have to admit patience is really not my strong suit I struggle to stay patient especially when I am passionate about something. This has been a big lesson, that I am still learning, especially with my business.
When I started out building TSW Life Coaching I was passionate and felt in my core that coaching was exactly what I was meant to do, I just knew it and still do! The thing that I didn’t realize at that point is that I had my own growing to do and that would take precedence over my business. This was my journey and it has taken me a long time to accept that things happen in exactly the right order at exactly the right time and my only responsibility is to have patience and be aware.

I have had so many instances of the Universe providing for me exactly what I need at exactly the right time that I can’t (even when I try to), deny that there is a Divine plan for me, there is for all of us. Where we find stress is when we try to control the situation, and we miss the opportunities along the way because we are so focused on the end goal that we miss the journey. Not to mention that we judge ourselves and compare ourselves along the way which makes the journey at points really miserable.

In my example, I am a way better coach than I was because I have taken the time, despite how much of a struggle it was at times to build myself before building my business. The growth and insight I have received on this journey has allowed me to serve my clients at a higher more in tune level and that was the reason for the longer than originally anticipated journey.

This doesn’t mean that I think my growth has stopped, I don’t think it ever does and that excites me! What I do think is that too many of us have a goal and all we do is focus on the end. Yes, it’s important to have goals but I think we need to focus on the journey as well and be patient and understand there are bigger things at play. In our culture we are all about doing, striving to reach for our goals pushing to make things happen, very masculine energy. There is nothing wrong with having goals and striving for them but when we only focus on the goal we miss out on life. We judge ourselves according to how close we are to the goal and we miss all the wonderful opportunities to grow along the way. We see this time as a necessary evil to reaching the goal but the perspective shift I have realized is that the journey to the goal is actually the steps needed to make the goal manifest. Even when those steps seem to be taking you in a different direction they simply are a new route to the goal that is even better than we had envisioned.

From my life as I have said in working on my business I have been challenged to grow and learn more about myself. This growth and learning have resulted in me creating something even better and more authentic to who I am than I ever could have envisioned in the beginning. Once I accepted this and really tried to lean into having patience (as hard as it is at times), the more I realized that the journey has brought myself and my business to a better place.

I guess the takeaway from this is set your goals but remain open to what it looks like to get to that goal. Be patient with the process and enjoy the journey along the way. Stop beating yourself and stressing yourself out because you are not getting to the goal as fast as you would like. Just trust in the journey!

Cougar, Bears, Bobcats & Trust! What the Wilderness taught me about myself and the Universe.

Life always gives you what you need when you need it and this lesson in trust was exactly what I needed, and no surprise when I needed it!

Last summer I had a desire to spend some time in nature with my dog. It’s like I was being drawn to the woods. I listened to this calling and took a week off from work, not really sure what I was going to do. I reached out to family to see if they had some suggestions on places where I could go, my uncle had a cabin that he said I could use. Perfect, I thought! I had never been to their cabin but things were falling in place so I trusted that this was where I should be! I took the leap of faith, packed up the car and the dog and off I went to my uncles’ cabin in the woods.

When I got there it was gorgeous, it was in the woods on a lake … it was perfect! What I didn’t realize is that it was in a small community of cabins that were pretty much abandoned during the week. Which meant I was going to be pretty much alone out there. At first, this did not bother me, I had at this point in my life become very accustomed and comfortable with being alone.

My uncle showed me around the cabin, which was built on a hill, the main part of the cabin was on the top of the hill and there was a steep staircase outside down to a basement/spare bedroom which was built into the hill. The basement/spare room was rustic, (like you could see the tree roots and tree trunks) in parts of the basement. Usually, this part of the cabin was locked with a padlock, as the only entrance to it was from the outside. My uncle showed it to me despite me objecting, as I didn’t think I would really need it, thank goodness he did, as you will see in a minute. During the walkthrough my Uncle also shared with me that they have cougars in the area he had seen tracks right outside the cabin at different times throughout the year, and that there was a grizzly bear that other residents stated lived just across the field, and that they had witnessed black bears in the area, oh and maybe some bobcats too! I am not that outdoorsy and more than anything I was concerned about my dog, who at this point was losing her mind because on top of all the dangerous animals there were squirrels and my dog loves to chase things, especially small rodents.

After getting all settled in, I decided to take my dog for a walk. We ventured out with some apprehension as I had never been there and to be honest my dog is my baby, so I was concerned for her safety (as I often am). We took a walk and found a path to walk for a bit. It was nice, I soaked in nature. Feeling more grounded and mostly calm, because on my walk I had realized this was the first time since Woody passed away that I had been on a trip completely on my own. I had travelled on my own but always had people to meet up with or conferences to attend, this time I was completely ALONE! This thought was exciting but as with anything outside of our comfort zone was also uncomfortable and so I was also feeling a bit anxious.

We (my dog and I) spent the rest of the day enjoying the lake and the woods… then returned to the cabin at night time.

It was a bit nerve-wracking being there with Bramble in the dark as she was on high alert for squirrels and I was definitely on alert for any potential risks. Not that it felt overwhelming but just on alert!

I went to bed in the QUIET absolute silence, which was nice but also made it obvious how very alone I was!

About 2:00 am I was awoken by my dog. Once I got my bearing from being startled awake, she let me know she needed to go outside. I turned the outside lights on (giving the wildlife fair warning to disperse, at least that was my thoughts and left them on for a minute before we ventured outside). Bramble was of course on a leash because as mentioned she loves to chase things and I didn’t want her running off chasing a squirrel in the dark. We walked out the sliding door and as there were now moths and mosquitos swarming the lights, I turned to slide close the door behind me. Didn’t even have a second thought about it, it was a sliding door with a latch lock, no worries, right?!?!

Bramble walked around outside well truth be told she hunted around, turns out she just wanted out to hunt squirrels! I pulled her back on her long leash and we turned to open the sliding door… it didn’t open! It was locked! OMG!!!! Sliding doors don’t lock, I thought so I pulled a little harder feeling more frantic and the anxiety rising!

It didn’t open! OMG!!!OMG!!! OMG!!! I was alone in my PJ shorts in the middle of the isolated wilderness with bears and cougars and god knows what else lurking in the shadows, not to mention being eaten alive by mosquitos and I was ALONE! Absolutely, ALONE!

My car was locked, the cabin was now locked, and I didn’t even have shoes on! As I sat on the picnic table fear quickly turned into a complete state of panic! What was I going to do?

There were not a lot of options.

I took a couple of deep breaths put a couple of prayers out to the Universe and I’m sure swore a couple of times. Fear had completely settled in now and as our minds do, I went to some pretty dark places. I envisioned myself still on the picnic table hours later covered in welts from the mosquitos, I pictured a grizzly bear, and bobcat and cougar coming to check us out (oh the places our minds go) After what seemed like an eternity of running through devastating scenarios, my warrior instinct kicked in … I was familiar with this part of myself as it had come in useful in dealing with Woody’s passing. I mustered up my courage and calmed myself down so I could think. I started making plans on how we were going to make it through the night. No sooner than I summoned the warrior in me did I remember there was the basement and it was unlocked (thank goodness my uncle insisted on showing me this part of the cabin).

I went into the basement and looked around to see if there was anything, I could use to get me out of this situation. I could have just stayed in the basement, but it was dark and to a city girl like me a little creepy, who knows what creepy crawlers and rodents were hiding in the shadows. If need be, at the very least, I had somewhere to be until dawn! As I looked around feeling more inspiration and more trust in my abilities, I scoured the basement to see if there was something, I could use to open the door. I found a few random things screwdriver, a dragonfly metal ornament with a flat edge (I thought I could flip the latch) and a few other random items that could maybe push the latch up. I tried them one at a time…. Nope, nothing worked!

I kept looking around and then there it was … a LADDER … YAY!

I took the ladder outside after struggling to free it from its place hanging on the wall. I placed the ladder next to the only window that was unlocked (it had the air conditioner vent in it). The ladder just and I mean like JUST reached the window. Remember the cabin is built on a hill so the ladder was sitting on uneven ground, and in order to reach the window, I would have to stand on the top step, the one that clearly says do not stand on. I again mustered my strength and carefully climbed the shaky ladder and stood on the very top. There I was like 6 feet up, all the time being aware that there could be any number of wild animals watching me! Probably licking their teeth at the prospect of me breaking my neck on this shaky ladder.

After some struggle and a lot of persistence, I was able to push the hose for the air conditioner out of the window which left me a small opening to get through. This whole time I had Bramble locked in the basement, I could hear her at times trying to open the basement door to get to me or more likely squirrels.

After taking a deep breath I stretched my leg up and got it through the opening, still not totally sure I could get my whole body through this small window, but I had to try! I sat there straddling the window in the middle of the dark, quiet woods, trying to find my footing on the inside of the cabin, when my tippy toe found something that felt stable, I made the push to get in through the window.  Although I am sure not so gracefully, I made it through and stumbled into the cabin.

I almost cried with relief. I was so proud of myself! I didn’t give up; I had shown again I was stronger than I thought, and I had not given into the fear and anxiety that had plagued my mind just minutes earlier. I quickly went and unlocked the door and this time I left it open, as I went basement to get Bramble.

Needless to say, I didn’t really sleep well the rest of the night my adrenaline was pumping. During the rest of the night, I again reflected on how I am stronger than and I think, and it was at this time I realized I am completely good on my own… I can do it!

I also realized although I am good on my own, that I don’t want to be alone anymore either! this was really the first time since Woody passed that I actually wanted someone in my life, I didn’t NEED them but actually wanted to share a life with someone again. This was huge for me!

This experience also reaffirmed to me that the Universe really does have my back, it really does provide us with what we need, when we need it. I am not only talking about the ladder here but the challenge itself which provided me with the opportunity to recognize that I am safe and capable and stronger than give I myself credit for.

The next day, I tried, out of pure curiosity, to make the latch lock on itself again, I tried numerous times to recreate the scenario from the night before (I did have the keys this time) and could not replicate the door locking.

Later, I spoke to my family and they said that it had never happened, and they were stunned (as I was that night) that the door locked. They even tried to make it happen since and have never been able to replicate the latch locking.  I should also mention they were surprised that there was even a ladder out there, they didn’t know why it was there!

I truly believe it was the Universe providing me with a lesson I needed to learn and for that I am grateful!

I completed my wilderness escape the next day by going for a long hike to a waterfall and taking in nature in all its beauty. This renewed trust in my safety and trust in the Universe made this hike completely enjoyable. I was able to be present in the moment, enjoying nature. I was so trusting I even let Bramble off the lead, and she ran through the woods, loving the adventure.

This is not the first and I am sure not the last time I will be given challenges from the Universe that further prove to me I am safe, and strong and that the Universe really does have my back!

Gratitude Challenge … Accepted!

Introduction

This blog is a very special one for me! It was written by someone who I am so honoured to call my friend! Michelle and I met several months ago and we instantly connected and since then we have developed a friendship, business partnership, and mutual sharing of our gifts (through trades). I have no doubt the Universe brought us together for our mutual growth (because of her I am not afraid of the backend of my website, which let me tell you was an Everest like task!).

The growth, that I have had the pleasure to witness,  in Michelle has been amazing and inspirational.  When I asked her if she would be interested in writing about her experience with the gratitude challenge she bravely accepted and for that I am grateful! Thank you, Michelle, for showing up, being vulnerable and sharing your experience! Namaste

 

I planned to start this blog post with a life-altering quote or an earth-shattering line about the pursuit of happiness, but I am no authority on this topic. I can only speak to my path and why I chose to thank the universe regularly for this life and how the practice of gratitude has changed me and my belief system. 

Growing up, I had a fascinating spiritual upbringing. My parents were on different ends of the spectrum when it came to religion. My father is an Atheist and thinks everyone on this planet is part of an experiment and my mother is a non-practicing Baptist but holds a profound connection to faith. Because my parents had such different views on the topic, they decided to let my brother, and I choose which path we wanted to take. 

My brother decided to continue down a traditional path and joined the Mormon church (only later to be exiled, but that is a story for another day) when he was in high school. My journey wasn’t so quickly decided. I looked into different faiths and found I respected bits and pieces of each one, but nothing really took hold. So my journey continued. It was until I was in my forties that I realized my search was in the wrong place. 

With all the discussions with Tara, I began researching more “new-age” teachings. Other practices teach self-kindness, mindfulness and gratefulness. To me, seeing this information was like finding the holy grail. The more I learned, the more I felt like I had found my tribe. My journey led me to a path with a fork in the road, and I chose to take the happiness trail. 

Once I completed my research, it was time to put everything I learned into practice. To me, the logical place to start was with meditation. 

Like so many people out there, I was always living in the past or the future, never in the present. Reliving conversations and playing the “what if” game day in and day out was driving me mad, literally. These toxic behaviours have caused years of anxiety and depression. 

Gratitude Challenge ... Accepted!

I need to be completely transparent with you, meditation is not an easy practice. It can take years and years of daily commitment to reach a true level of enlightenment. I haven’t reached this point, yet, but I’m committed to it. Yes, I’ve fallen off the wagon because I wasn’t seeing the results I thought I should have, but I think that’s part of the journey. We have a tendency to return to our comfort zone because we aren’t seeing the results fast enough and every once in a while we need to sway from the path to return to it (maybe that’s a life-altering quote I was looking for when I started writing this post…LOL). 

The next cornerstone of my universal journey was a challenge from Tara, to incorporate gratitude into my daily routine. Typically, individuals who partake in gratefulness keep a journal and write daily affirmations or points they are grateful for. I’m a bit of a tech geek, so I found an app that works the same way as a journal. Plus, the bonus of using an app, reminders! 

I started by listing 5 things I’m thankful for each day. Seems simple, right?! Not quite. Some days, it’s effortless to come up with 5 (or more) items, others, not so much. But, just like meditation, the more you practice, the easier it gets. Remember, what you’re grateful for doesn’t need to be super deep and profound, it can be as simple as your morning cup of coffee, or that great conversation you had with a friend. Don’t overthink it, just go with it! 

Gratitude Challenge ... Accepted!

Since applying gratitude into my day, I’m more inclined to see the positive in situations that would cause me to spiral into a bout of depression. It’s also helped me to stop overthinking and analyzing everything! But most importantly, it has allowed me to see the good in every day. 

The most challenging component to my happiness pursuit is hands down self-care and self- kindness. To give you a bit of history, I was bullied as a child due to my size. I was always the hefty, bigger girl and I was relentlessly teased because I was different. This was definitely a contributing factor to my low self-esteem which in-turn, resulted in little to no self-worth. But, it also made me the person I am today. Strong, determined, and someone who can overcome adversity.

My self-care routine started with a few simple changes; drinking more water, incorporating healthier food choices into my diet, practicing yoga, and seeking professional help for my anxiety and depression. 

 

Gratitude Challenge ... Accepted!

 

I’ve been trading coaching with Tara for a couple of months now, and it has been one of the best choices I could have made. It has not only shown me how to re-establish my own worth, it allows me to accept my emotions and given me the tools needed to manage my anxiety and depression. I’m still working on the other aspects of self-care, so stay tuned. 

I’ll leave you with one more thing – don’t forget to thank the Universe, God, Mother Earth, whoever your spiritual guide is. They are an essential part of gratitude. 

Good Vibes! 

Journey to an Open Heart

Life has taken me on a wild ride with many ups and downs, and the last four years, I would say that one of the destinations on this journey has been to live with a whole open heart. I have always been considered a very caring person, but I can say now that I was not living with an open heart, I had put a protective barrier around my heart that did not allow me to feel as deeply as I was capable of. I say this with no self-judgment as I know this was/is part of my life lessons.

This protective barrier (as I realized in meditation) was like a clay shell around my heart that blocked or at very least filtered the amount of love I could receive or the amount of love I was capable of giving. I made a decision after Woody (my husband) passed that I did not want to restrict my life anymore … no regrets! Specifically, the choice to open my heart naturally evolved during the work I had been doing on myself since that decision.

In this process, I realized I was not fully living, with a closed heart, and I wanted to change that! So I started to follow the signs from the Universe and started this journey to open my heart. Through meditation and doing personal growth work, it became evident that in order to have the life I wanted, I needed to be vulnerable, I needed to open my heart, despite the fear. And that is what I did!

Journey to an Open Heart

 

It was a long process that I won’t go through here but what I will say is that it took a lot of trust in myself and the Universe, and definitely perseverance… at times it still does! It’s not easy being vulnerable, and at times it still feels scary to be this open, but having lived with a protected heart, the alternative is no longer an option (for me)!

My personal growth work thus far required me to do A LOT of healing the past. I did this with the support of my coaches, my friends and family, and to be honest, it was not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated and built up in my head (isn’t that always the way it is). That’s the thing fear had kept me from opening my heart, but not living with an open heart doesn’t save us from heartache; it only limits us from fully experiencing love. To me, losing out on that experience is way worse than any heartbreak could cause.

 

As I mentioned earlier, I was led through my journey with signs from the Universe. To me, these signs appear as repeat messages or things that pop up in life that would draw my attention to what needed to be healed, what habits need to be changed, and what thinking needed to be reset. I followed the breadcrumbs, did the work all the while trying to be patient with the process (not one of my strengths)! One day, in meditation, it came clear to me that this protective clay shell had crumbled away, well at least 90% of it had. I felt at this time that I needed to have patience, and I was not overly concerned about the remaining 10%, I felt that would come when it was ready … I had already come so far.

Then one night as I sat working on my computer my phone buzzed beside me with a ring tone, I was not familiar with, I looked down and instantly had a violent physical reaction. My body started shaking, and I was in a full-on anxiety attack. I took a deep breath and looked again at the FB notification. It was a friend request from an ex-boyfriend. Not just any ex but one that was extremely emotionally abusive, the depths of which I am sure I can’t even recall now! My physical reaction was enough for me to realize I needed to do some work here. The Universe was sending me a message!  It was inviting me to look at this past relationship.

At this point, I wasn’t clear that this was related to my work in opening my heart, but what happened next made that crystal clear. After collecting myself, reassuring myself I was safe and speaking to my supports; I knew I needed to look at this past relationship.

I recognized I either needed to do the healing work myself, or I was being invited to heal that part of me with him (as I am much stronger now than I have ever been) and felt that maybe this was an invitation to have a conversation with him. I decided to sleep on it.

Journey to an Open Heart

 

When I went to bed that night, I did a meditation to balance my chakras and in that meditation, it became clear that this was more work on clearing my heart chakra and opening my heart. It was so cool! I literally could see the remaining protected 10% of my heart closed off, it appeared black, to this day I can even point out exactly where it was, it was so vivid!

Through the meditation, I asked my heart to release and open and did some self-compassion work to create that safe place for me to heal. When I did this, the black part crumbled away and for the first time in as long as I can remember, my heart was open! Genuinely open to give and receive love.

I determined at this point the friend invite was all I needed, it served as a reminder to something I had long ago suppressed. I did the healing on my own, I did not feel a need to speak to him. The next day I deleted the friend request with thoughts of peace and compassion for him on his journey and happiness and gratitude for this experience.

Journey to an Open Heart

 

Since then, I feel my heart is open, fully open and that is amazing! It still feels vulnerable (and scary at times), but I would rather feel vulnerable than not fully experience my life. Having an open heart means, I feel at a deeper level all the beautiful feelings of gratitude, love, and happiness and that is worth the moments of fear that come along with being vulnerable and open.

I wrote this blog as I hope it will help some of you out there who, like me, are not living with an open heart who are limiting their experiences for fear of being broken hearted. I think there are a lot of us who have numbed our hearts and let me tell you I get it, but having experienced the other side, it really is worth taking that risk! My advice having been on this journey … take that chance!

 

Journey to an Open Heart

 

Winter of the Soul

It has been a while since I have written, not for lack of trying. What I have found for me is if I force it then I am out of flow and nothing comes together and that definitely does not bring me joy. Therefore, I write when I feel I have something to say. Lately, I have been trying to come up with something and nothing is coming, which is rare as either myself or my clients are always in a state of growth and learning and the Universe is always there with new lessons. But lately, as I said, nothing has been coming together for me to write about and then it struck me last week, maybe that is the lesson (and the blog)!

Winter of the Soul

Sometimes we just need to pause, turn inward and reflect.  Although things seem slow and unchanging on the outside, I am sure there is a lot going on under the surface.

This is like winter.

In winter, Mother Nature goes into hibernation mode. I take that hibernation as a time to turn inward, to slow things down and really get ourselves in a healthy state for the upcoming Spring season. Previously, I have struggled with these times on my journey. They feel stagnant! Probably because in our society we focus so much on keeping our eye on the prize, basing our success and failure on observable measures of movement. We are taught that if we stop, take in the moment, take the time to turn inward that we are not moving forward… we are stagnant. But what is wrong with that! We need this time just as much as we do the blossoming of spring. They are both important!

In this space of turning inward, the Universe has presented me with opportunities to heal past hurts, move through blocked emotions and look at new challenges. All of which are supporting me in becoming the best version of myself. Now that doesn’t sound like being stagnant, does it?

My big realization is, we need to embrace the quiet times, we need to trust in the process. We need to understand that in life there will be times of quiet solitude where our souls recharge. I am positive in these times that things are going on quietly in the background, preparing us for the next chapter. And this work although not observable is just as important!

 

 

 

As I am sure I am not the only one who struggles in these times, I thought I would share some tips to help:

  • Stop judging yourself by other’s or societies standards
  • Be patient
  • Trust in the process
  • Use this time to really recharge your soul

So, the next time you come to one of these winters for your soul, honour it, enjoy it! Spring is just around the corner.

10 Irish Proverbs to Live By

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day I have compiled a few of my favourite Irish Proverbs. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

 

Your feet will bring you where your heart is.

10 Irish Proverbs to Live By

Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening, and live every day as if it were your last. 

10 Irish Proverbs to Live By

Count your joys instead of your woes. Count your friends instead of your foes.

10 best Irish proverbs

A good friend is like a four-leaf clover. Hard to find but lucky to have!

10 Irish Proverbs to Live By

You’ve got to do your own growing,

no matter how tall your father was.

10 best Irish proverbs

A good laugh and long sleep are the two best cures.

10 Irish Proverbs to Live By

You must take the little potato with the big potato.

10 best Irish proverbs

You will never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.

10 Irish Proverbs to Live By

I complained that I had no shoes. Until I met a man who had no feet.

10 Irish Proverbs to Live By

Life is like a cup of tea, it’s all in how you make it.

10 best Irish proverbs 

Always end your day with a positive thought. No matter how bad things are, tomorrow is another chance to make things better.

10 Irish Proverbs to Live By

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I’ll leave you this week with an Irish blessing:

May the dreams you hold dearest be those which come true.          

And the kindness you spread keep returning to you.

A Lesson in Gratitude

I had an interesting experience the other day, and for me, it was a great reminder of why gratitude is such a life changer!

This is how my morning started…

I was getting a cold, so was feeling not the greatest. I woke up to a colder than expected morning and was getting ready for work. I went to take my dog for her walk, and a thought popped into my mind ‘you should probably start your car before your walk’ (usually I do it after). So I did, and it didn’t start. It’s 430 in the morning, so there is not a whole lot of people awake to ask for a boost not to mention it is freezing outside. This had completely upset my morning routine!

A lesson in Gratitude

My parents live just around the corner from me, so I decided I would go and pick up their car (as they are out of town) and take it to work and deal with my car later. I walked my dog who I have to say loves the cold, so she wanted to stop and smell, I wanted to hurry up, I was freezing not to mention a bit grouchy about my car! I picked up my parents’ car as I walked past my parents’ house. The car was in the garage… nice it was warm, but to get it out I had to find their keys and the garage opener, nothing that significant just a few minutes and a little frustration added to the already frustrating morning. I drove home feeling a bit frazzled.

I went to prepare my breakfast and spilt my almond milk and started thinking ‘oh it’s going to be one of those days!’. When I left for work, I was a couple minutes behind schedule. I got a few blocks from my house and realized I had left my keys at home (as I didn’t have my car) which meant I did not have my work keys, so I cursed, turned around and returned home. Now I was rushing! Of course, on my way to work, I hit all the red lights… this never happens as I am the only car on the road this early. I grumbled at the lights and started to curse this day. It seemed the morning, well the last 45 minutes had been a series of unfortunate events. I realize nothing major, but it was enough at this point, to get me grumbling, grunting my frustration and complaining about the day already!

It was at this point it hit me… ‘Really?!? Tara what do you have to complain about’.

A Lesson in Gratitude

 

That’s when my perspective shifted. I had so much to be grateful for…

I had woken up in a warm home, I had tried to start my car before my walk, I had access to a car that was all ready to go, I had completed my morning routine with only a couple of minutes lost. REALLY what was the big deal?

This thought reminded me too often we focus on life’s frustrations. I started out my drive to work focusing on the fact that my car wouldn’t start and by the time I got to work the reality of the situation sunk in. Really… it was a great day! Things could have gone so much worse. I could have had to take a cab to work, which would have resulted in me being late, I could not have had time to make my breakfast, I could have gotten all the way to work then realized I didn’t have the keys, and there are so many worse complications that could have happened!

By the time I got to work my mood had shifted, and I was ready for the day. In fact, I didn’t even think about my car again until I went to leave work and realized I had my Dad’s car.

A Lesson in Gratitude

Now I know that for most of us when we have these kinds of days, we focus on it, we repeat the days’ frustrating events to coworkers, family and friends. We grumble all day about how our day is going, but the truth is if you took a minute refocused and looked at it… really you conquered those little trials, you persevered, and they ended up being minor frustrations rather than big catastrophes!

Therefore, I challenge you the next time you are having ‘one of those days’ take a minute to refocus look for the opportunities to be grateful for and I guarantee you, it will change your mood for the day!

Beyond the Scale – The Missing Piece

I have been struggling with weight loss for most of my life, well that is what I thought. What I realize now it was not about the weight at all, it was all about getting my mind healthy. As I write this it feels incredibly vulnerable, but I know I am not the only one who struggles with this, so my hope is this blog will find those of you who need it and those of you who are ready for a new perspective on themselves.

The thing is that I have always eaten healthy and got an average amount of exercise, but my weight never really changed much. Of course, I would do the up and down like most of us do, but no real drastic changes. The more I tried, the more I would judge and criticize myself, and the more my self-talk would focus on my weight and not being good enough. I constantly would think (and judge myself) about what I was eating, what I was doing and question WHY? I couldn’t lose weight. Having been a long-time believer in the mind-body connection, I even tried losing weight from that angle.

Looking back now it consumed a lot of mind space and utilized a lot of energy. In my mind, I could turn everything into a weight issue. Reflecting back, this is a pattern of thinking I had been playing out since childhood, so it was well ingrained and definitely repeated.

I know I am not alone observing this, our society has always had a strict view of beauty and for most of us an absolutely, unattainable one! (Although thankfully I do see this slowly changing).  I was fed these messages, and I ate them up! I felt I did not measure up!

This all changed after my husband passed away. Overall in my life, I took his passing as a sign from the Universe that I needed to make some changes. One of these changes was I took my Whole Person Coaching course to fulfill my career aspirations. But what it did for me was completely unexpected! In the course, I was coached numerous times and these common patterns, themes and beliefs started to come out. This began my journey to become my authentic self and loving that person no matter the size! And that is when I started looking at weight loss from a whole new perspective.

What I learned from my experience is that I was withholding love from myself, I was looking at my weight as a roadblock to my worthiness, as an excuse for anything that went wrong and I created thousands (probably millions) of stories in my head that perpetuated this belief… Unless you weigh less you are not enough, you are not worthy… subtitle… something is wrong with you unless you lose weight. This is pretty harsh messaging, and most of us would never say that to anyone out loud, but most of us, in some version or another, say it to ourselves on a regular basis.

 

It’s not easy to recall what the first step was in my transformation as the life lessons were coming to me hard a fast at that time. During those few years, the Universe was providing me with lesson after lesson which continually furthered my growth and pushed me further along my path to authenticity in all directions! What is clear though, is the changes that took place to my body!

Once I started really looking at myself and truly embracing and loving all of me, the weight just started coming off. The more personal work I did, the more I lost. I stopped judging myself and started loving the reflection in the mirror. I stopped the stories (in my head) that validated how I was ‘not enough’ because of my weight and started focusing on my being enough and being worthy and simply loving myself! The more I continued to move through things the healthier I felt, the more I wanted to take care of myself. Makes logical sense right, the more we love something, the more we take care of it.

I can honestly say now, that I am writing this blog from a place of worthiness, from a place of loving myself for ALL of me, a place of strength – mind, body, spirit. My body has responded amazingly to all of these internal changes – because I love it and appreciate it. It works hard with me, and the weight seems to be coming off but more important than that is, it doesn’t really matter to me anymore about the weight. Because before everything else, I know that my body is the perfect representation of who I am at this moment. I am sure though the more I work through my life lessons, the more my body will change. I see it happen all the time the more lessons I learn, the more my reflection changes and the deeper my relationship with myself gets. Don’t get me wrong even with all the work I have done there are still times when these old beliefs and patterns show up (they have been in place for years) but the difference is now they are more like little blips on the radar, and I have the tools to calm them before they get out of control.

I understand for a lot of people reading this it may seem a little different, it is definitely not the norm. We are taught if we eat healthy and exercise, we will lose weight but the critical component, in my mind, is that we also need to get our minds in order, let go of our stories, beliefs, and patterns that continually hold us back and love who we are right now! And if you take it outside of yourself (child rearing, plants, pets, relationships etc.) and really think about it, in order for anything to thrive, we need to feed it positivity and love! If all we are feeding it is negative, loathing messages (aka garbage) then it at most will just survive.

 

So why not make 2019 YOUR year to just LOVE yourself for who you are right now! And watch how you too start to thrive!

If you want to take it a step further and are interested in learning tools to help you live a healthier, happier life, join me for a 7-week transformational course starting January 14, 2019. For more information on the Healthy You! Mind, Body, Soul program fill in the information below.

 

5 Life-Changing Resolutions for 2019

The new year is a time when so many of us start taking stock of our lives in efforts to evaluate where we want to make some changes. Most of the time we focus on external changes that we feel will bring us happiness, but what most of us fail to realize is that happiness comes from within.

These 5 resolutions when practiced regularly are life changing! The simplicity of implementing in no way minimizes the positive effect they can have on your life.

 

Prioritize Self-Care

Too many of us, put ourselves last. We give to our family, our friends, work and even strangers, but when it comes to caring and giving back to ourselves, we simply don’t.

Sometimes it’s because we feel we are being greedy if we take time for ourselves, sometimes we feel we don’t deserve it, and sometimes we feel we just simply don’t have the time. Whatever the excuse, it’s this simple. If you continue to give to others and don’t care for yourself, you will eventually burn out!

It may come in the form of withdrawing from life, physical illness or feelings of resentment. However it manifests one thing is for sure if you neglect yourself, it definitely will!

5 Life Changing Resolutions for 2019

 

 

This year vow to yourself to take care of you! You deserve it! Schedule time for self-care … and the important part … actually, enjoy that time. Do things that recharge your soul and bring you joy! If you don’t care for yourself who will?

 

 

Take Time to Pause (Practice Mindfulness)

We all lead busy lives and I understand that you may think “I don’t have time”. The thing is, if you don’t pause, life passes you by. Pausing means taking a minute to be mindful, to be in the moment, to really be present to the current experience. This is a simple thing that you can do at any point in your day. Take the time to just be, it’s like a daily recess for your mind, body and spirit.
Vow to yourself that every day, at least once a day you will pause and be in the moment. Who knows, you may like it so much that you practice it more often.

Practice Gratitude

I have written numerous times on the importance of practicing gratitude. It is something that all of us can do and its effects are life-changing. Gratitude shifts our mind from a feeling of lack and negativity to one of positive abundance. Who doesn’t want that?

5 Life Changing Resolutions for 2019

 

Every day, take time to list at least 5 things that you are grateful for. Some days they may come quick, some days it may be a struggle. But stick with it and you will start to notice that it becomes automatic. All of a sudden you will start to notice you are not practicing gratitude, but living a grateful life and that is powerful!

 

 

Befriend your Inner Critic

 

 

We are our own worst critics! We are harder on ourselves than anyone else would ever be, and yes, there are protective aspects to our inner critic. (read more about your inner critic here). But we do not have to take the negative messages that we say to ourselves as the absolute truth. We have a choice!

 

 

When you recognize that you are being critical try having a conversation with yourself. Recognize the message then choose to not believe it, let it go if it is not helpful! Don’t let your inner critic hold you back this year, move past the negative messages. They are not the truth. Most of the time they are just fear!

 

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

This almost goes hand in hand with the inner critic. When we compare ourselves to others, we usually are either doing it in a way that minimizes us or degrades others, neither of which is helpful! Instead of comparing yourself, recognize that we are all different and we all have our unique journeys. The one thing we do all have in common is that we are all doing our best with what we have at any given moment.

 

5 Life Changing Resolutions for 2019

Instead of comparing yourself try having compassion for both yourself and others. Know that you are doing your best and so are they! Don’t assume that you or others are doing things purposely to screw up or hurt you. I don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning excited, at the prospect of failing at life, we all try, but we all have our different ways. We all make our way through life the best we can.

 

This year, if you find that you are comparing yourself to someone else, stop and recognize that you are the best version of you and no one else in the world could do a better job of being you!

 

 

 

These are 5 simple things that you can implement today, but the effects are life-changing. When you are able to master these skills, suddenly you may notice that your other resolutions are either now irrelevant or seem easily achievable.

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever 2019 brings I wish you all the best for the New Year. My hope is that you are all able to live a life YOU love!