spirituality

What are you looking at?

Spending the last month sick I have had a lot of downtime and I have been watching previous seasons of Masterchef Australia. Now I have to be honest I have never watched the Canadian or American versions but simply from the commercials, it doesn’t have the same feel as the Australian one. Which is why I felt compelled to write this. I know right now in the world it is easy to see all the negative and to feel that humankind is horrible, destructive, angry, and whatever other adjective you want. There is no shortage of atrocities and horror stories but what I have also seen on this show (and in real life) is some of the kindest most compassionate acts of Love, from ordinary people. I wanted to share this because it has brought me to tears more than once to see how caring the contestants and judges are for each other and the genuine celebrations of seeing others succeed at realizing their dreams. There are far too many examples for me to share here but I will share some highlights! If you haven’t seen the show a quick synopsis 24 home cooks are competing to win (in the Australia one) $250,000, their own cookbook deal, and some other prizes to help them create their food dream. They compete against each other and within teams depending on the challenge but ultimately there is only one prize winner. One of the most profound examples of human kindness and compassion was in a semifinal. There were three contestants left and they were doing a pressure test. (Which is they have to replicate an incredibly hard dish (usually dessert) that was created by a professional chef all within a limited time.) To say these dishes, look hard to recreate would be an understatement! So, in this semifinal, the three contestants left were creating an apple dish and they had to use a machine to slowly take off layers of the apple, this was an imperative part of the dish and as usual, the contestant was on a time constraint and in a rush to get everything prepared (thus the pressure). One of the finalists could not get her apple machine to work and the other 2 contestants had completed theirs already and had moved on. The one who was stuck Laura was distraught she tried several apples and could not get the machine to work for her, she was frustrated and devastated and was on the verge of tears, she saw her dreams slipping away. It was at this point not one, but both fellow contestants stopped what they were doing and went to assist Laura. They sacrificed precious minutes needed to get their dishes done to help her! I was brought to tears at such an amazing act of love from both of those competitors. They didn’t have to, they easily could have let her struggle and lose more time, thus guaranteeing they would make it to the finale. The sad thing is I went on YouTube to find a clip to share in this blog and there is ONLY one and it is short, buried among thousands of other videos. I feel this is something that should have been a bigger deal and more publicized! Throughout the show, there are so many more examples of fellow contestant cheering, hugging, high-fiving and celebrating other competitors’ wins and successes. And there are just as many hugs and words of support for their losses and heartbreaks. Another significant one that sticks out in my mind was a team challenge where teams of competitors compete. The tasks are difficult, usually requiring the team to provide a 2 or 3-course restaurant service meal. Time is always a problem on these tasks and getting it ready and set for service is always daunting contestants are always under pressure to complete the challenge. In this episode, at the beginning of the challenge, one of the team members slipped and badly cut his hand, so bad he had to be taken to the hospital. As the medics were determining the severity. Several of his team members stopped their tasks to check on him and support him, they tied to keep him calm and distracted from looking at the bleeding gash on his hand that needed 12 stitches. When Brandon the injured contestant was taken off to the hospital, instead of being annoyed or upset that they now had to complete the task with one less set of hands, his teammates began cheering and motivating each other by saying ‘we have to do this for Brandon’. Throughout the whole episode, they used this mantra as motivation. They won the challenge and when they were discussing it they stated they just had to do it for Brandon! You can watch it here if you are interested. https://fb.watch/iRQu0LBP2t/ Again, I was brought to tears by the compassion of the contestants. I have to admit it is not uncommon for me to get emotional while watching because each episode shows ordinary people being compassionate more times than not, showing such sincere, genuine acts of love. This is why I love watching it! I chose to write this because as mentioned earlier we can certainly see examples of humanity at its worst and that is where most of the media attention goes to focusing on fear, anger, and acts of aggression. I have long said there are far more good things happening in the world we just don’t hear about them as regularly. I also wanted to write about this because you get to choose what you consume. When you choose to constantly bombard your senses and subconscious with negativity, it affects your energy! Our subconscious mind takes in far more information than our senses can even detect and it stores it all. Therefore, if you are watching and consuming endless amounts of negative information it is definitely affecting your mind, your emotions, and your energy. I am not trying to tell

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And just like that the Sun Returns … AHHH!

And just like that, the clouds separate and the light returns! Ever had that feeling? Like when the sun appears, and you almost want to raise your hands up and sing “ahhhh”. I am having that feeling this morning and I wanted to share my experience. Over the past couple of weeks, well years really but most recently the past couple of weeks I have been getting guidance on different areas of my life and things I need to release and heal. I have been doing A LOT of internal work to allow and release what is arising and today … the sun came shining through! The times that I go through big transformational shifts are ones that are confusing, challenging, and require a lot of my spiritual, mental, and emotional energy. These times feel like I am on a roller coaster where one day I am up the next down, sometimes it is not even a day and I will flip and flop between the two fairly quickly. It is a very unsettling and uncomfortable time and for me anyway, leads to a lot of self-doubt and questioning. Anyone who has been through an awakening of their own can probably relate, this time in between is just that, a void where the old no longer feels comfortable but neither does the new (as it is new). And this flipping between the two makes you feel almost sick at times and definitely makes you question your own sanity on more than one occasion. I realize this will not speak to everyone but to those it does I want you to know you are NOT crazy, you are not wrong and there is nothing wrong with you but rather you are leveling up into a new version of you that can be scary and unknown and unclear. Thus, the flopping that wanting to return to something that you know and can understand, something that feels comfortable. But also, if you are like me there is a part of you that as much as you want to feel safe and comfortable again knows that your eyes have been opened to the new and you cannot return to not knowing, you have to keep pushing forward despite the uncertainty and uncomfortableness. I am blessed that I have been through this many times and can recognize what is happening but that does not take the roller coaster of emotions away it just helps me relax into them a little easier. I am further blessed with having some great energetic tools to help me release and move through what is arising. The flower essences and energy release points guidance that I use in my energy work provide a very logical explanation (well kind of, the best word I could find) to explain and give me clarity on what is being released. It is like they provide me with the puzzle pieces and I just need to put them all together to get the full picture. This last upgrade has been a doozy for me and I could through all the work, see that there was a golden thread that had weaved its way into every aspect of my life but I couldn’t completely put my finger on what this thread was about … then today it finally came .. the clarity that allowed me to release the pattern and beliefs that held it in place. Not to mention the healing that needed to happen for me to come to accept it and not allow it to control my life anymore. Thus the “ahhhh’ as the clouds began to part and the sun came flooding in. I wanted to write this as part of the healing and because it came to me as the sun figuratively was coming in, in hopes that for all of you who are on your journey, (which to be honest whether you consciously recognize it or not … you are), that you may find this helpful and if you are in the depths of a growth cycle and feeling that roller coastering sensation that you will now have a conscious understanding that it is completely normal … uncomfortable but normal and that you are not alone!   Much Love Tara

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You Are THE Authority!

I feel a need to speak about authority because I had an incident this week. I have been in a really good place trusting and loving my Self and my journey. Really being in flow, which is beautiful! Then dropped out of it and I could tell instantly the lower vibrations of emotions came in anger, frustration and fear. Now there is nothing wrong with that but I have learned that means I am out of alignment, so I got curious. I tracked it back to doubting my own authority. I had participated in a conversation with another healer who has helped me tremendously along my journey. We were talking and she told me something that didn’t feel right for me, not that it was wrong, but it wasn’t truth for me. I recognize that now but, in the moment, it threw me into doubt about trusting my Self and my understanding because she is someone I admire.   Old Patterns Repeated I had to go through the process, to figure out why it was that when someone I admire and see as a mentor could trigger me so much and it became crystal clear to me. I was giving up my authority, I was taking her words as gospel and then questioned and doubted my Self. That is where the anger and frustration was coming from, an old pattern of giving up my power to others had reared it’s ugly head again! I feel we all do this at some level and I know that this is one thing this world crisis is calling us to look at. The truth, we are the authority in our lives, we know what is best for us! We have been taught to not trust ourselves but rather to turn to other ‘authorities’ who we feel know better. I want to be clear that does not mean that we can’t go to DR, healers or others to help us but we need to be balanced when we take advice on board. We all need to check in to determine what is right for us! Conditioning in Practice  I think back to when Woody was deciding what to do about his treatment. We were seeing an integrative DR which was more holistic in his views and we were also seeing traditional western DRs too. When it came to deciding about doing radiation Woody did not want to, we consult both DR and he chose to do it because they said that is was the protocol. Looking back, I wish I would have known then what I know now. He DID NOT want to do it but gave up his gut feelings because the authorities told him too! I am not saying that he would have lived, or things would have gone any different but I do know if it was something he wanted to do he would not have felt so conflicted and angry about it. From experience, I know when we feel conflicted it is not good for our mental and overall well-being. Furthermore, I know that Woody really wanted to try CBD oil to reduce his tumors but because it was illegal at the time and Western DR were against it, he again chose to not go with that form of treatment because it was not recommended by the authorities (legal and medical). All I have to say about that is, look at where we are now, it is legal, and is been found to be effective in dealing with cancer. The authorities have changed their tune.   The Truth About Facts I am not saying this to be judgmental but to me it cements my argument to do what is true to you! The authorities that we rely on change their views, as we all do, with new information. So to me we are putting our hands and lives in the word of an ever-changing system. There is no black and white, there is no absolute in anything and that is why we need to be our own authority. To further express this point, had Woody gotten ill in another country his treatment plan would be different, take for example Chinese medicine deals with illness completely different than Western medicine I am not saying either is better I am saying that we need to determine for ourselves what is in our best interest. We need to be our own authority! I know I spoke a lot about the medical system here but this is all over in our society we turn to others to tell you what is best for us, we look to reviews to figure out what we should buy, we look to family and friends to see what we should do in our relationships or with our careers, we even look to others to tell us what and how to eat. We keep looking outside ourselves to make our decisions, to be the authority on us! I know in the coaching world I have seen a lot of people with ‘blueprints’ for this and ‘maps’ for that but to me and what I am adamant about in my practice is I do not know what is best for you, you do! I can give you tools to tap into that wisdom and calm the mind chatter, and my special skill is to hear beyond all of it to the truth of what you are saying, but it is not my job nor could I (or anyone else) ever be an authority on YOUR life! Now What?   My hope for writing this is to remind you that you and only you can be the authority in your life, definitely seek advice, read reviews, consult professionals but ultimately the decision is yours to make and you have to be in alignment with what decision is best for you.       Going back to my incident (that I started out talking about), I still strongly admire the skills

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Insights from Nature

I posted this quick video on social media as I got some clarity on self-care and trees. Check out the video here. As I sat with the information for a while and continued to insights that I wanted to share. Looking to Nature for not only caring for ourselves, but we can also use it to look at playing small; really the 2 aren’t entirely exclusive. When I talked about a tree not sacrificing itself for others. It doesn’t say “oh no you take the water and the sunlight; I’ll just stay here in the shade” It takes what it needs to grow big and strong so that it can take care of the eco-system around it. As a tiny sapling, it cannot support the eco-system but as a big tree, it can. It can shade new saplings, house birds and animals, feed and support the whole eco-system around it. This is the same when I think about playing small. What I mean by playing small is not showing up in your life completely and authentically. It is not speaking your truth because you may hurt others, it is people-pleasing and sacrificing yourself to be accepted, it is not being BIG in life and shading your light for fear of stepping on toes. It could and does look different for everyone. For me, I was playing small when I was in my social work world. What that looked like was me sacrificing myself while striving to be a “good worker”, it was following the ‘rules’ even though I knew at my core that it was only band-aiding bigger core issues, it was hiding my spiritual side because I feared being judged. All of this was me not being true to me, some of these actions I was aware of consciously and some were unconscious patterns. So again, I look at Nature for wisdom, because after all we too are a part of Nature,too! Looking at trees, again the sapling doesn’t say ‘oh no I don’t want to get too big’, I may hurt someone’s feelings’ it just grows to be big and strong because that is what it is supposed to do. It is made to grow into the biggest, best tree it can be; so it does! Even if you look at the animal kingdom. Where in nature does an animal sacrifice itself, or play small and weak to be accepted by the group? Can you imagine a wolf pack where the individual wolves don’t want to be too good of a hunter to spare others’ feelings? Or too good of a tracker so others don’t think they are arrogant? NO! That is not what happens! Each member of the pack has a role that they fulfill for the survival of all! They are the best hunters because that is their role in the pack or they are the best trackers so their pack survives. We are not meant to be meek; we are not meant to hide our talents for fear of being “to big for our britches”. Even that colloquialism speaks to it the cultural programming around playing small … I mean Whose britches? If they are yours then they fit you, period! Why I feel we play small. There are a couple of reasons that I think we play small. These are stories that on some level we have accepted and now they are running our lives. The first is that we will be viewed as arrogant, or egotistical. We fear that if we own our strengths or speak up, others will have a negative view of us; that we are not playing as part of the team. Is this true? Do you ever think that your friends who speak up for themselves, or that own their strengths are arrogant? Do you see someone who is confident in their abilities as being an egomaniac? Of course not! We admire confidence, we marvel at people who are brave and put themselves out there, we cheer on those who have the courage to speak up. So why don’t you do this for yourself? The other reason I think we play small is that we don’t want to hurt others. We feel if we shine too bright, we will shadow others and hurt them. Is this true? Does showing up in your life owning all your gifts and talents mean you are trying to be better than others? Does it mean that you are saying well I am good, so you are crap? Does your dimming your light make others shine brighter? NO! To all of these! These stories that we tell ourselves are directly tied to our cultural and personal programming. The ‘be a good girl’ (aka nice, polite, cooperative girl) programming that teaches us to stay small. But what I think this comes down to on a core level is that we are so desperate to be loved and accepted that we sacrifice ourselves to be understood, to be included, and accepted by the majority.     I also think we play small because we are truly scared of our power, we are scared because we have been playing small for so long, (we have been going along to get along) that we can’t envision anything different, and the thought of how truly amazing we are, is terrifying! I have struggled with this for most of my life, I was partially aware of it before but even now with it being fully in my awareness there are still times it comes up. That is how deep this programming runs. Although I have cleared and healed it on so many levels, it still pops up and it takes conscious consistent work to get me comfortable with showing up BIG in my life. Something to think about I want to leave you with this thought. What would happen in Nature if every tree, every animal, every flower stayed small. We would have no forests, no gardens, and no

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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! 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’.   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. 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!

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Fear, Unedited!

I woke this morning to the heartbreaking news that yet another one of our community members had committed suicide. My heart bleeds for my community, my country, and my human family. This is as everyone says a ‘trying time’ and I know a lot of you, are suffering out there. As I went on my morning walk, I felt inspired to write, and even as I sit here writing I am not sure if this is for others or myself. (guess I decided to share!) The first thing I want to say is this virus and the way it has been handled has caused a lot of anxiety and stress. I am mainly referring here to the way the media reports its data. Since the start of it, I have chosen not to turn on the media coverage because I learned long ago that the media is a business like any other. They not unlike Facebook want to keep you tuned in and turned on to their stories. And what sells … FEAR!   Fear sells, fear keeps people coming back, fear stories make us feel vulnerable and frightened and we combat that with trying to control and get more information, so we know how to cope. So we tune in again and again in the hopes of getting more info so we can control the situation. This business, the news, keeps you buying what they are selling by selling more fear. Now I am not going to get into ‘conspiracy theories’ or other things about what is going on, this is not the time or place to discuss that as it takes away from the main point. Which is this …. if you are constantly tuning into the media then you are choosing to consume an unhealthy amount of fear, in an already frightening time!   The media, as mentioned is a business. They get ratings just like any other product or show out there and they want viewers/consumers, so they use their time wisely. One of the best courses I ever took in school was the sociology of media and mass communication. It was the most eye-opening course. And the main thing I left with from this course was that a LOT of time, money, and energy goes into making you buy their product … from what colours are dominant in the show to how they report things. I, for probably the first time through all of this, chose to watch a clip last night it was only a couple minutes but in that time I could see (and was disgusted) at the ‘news’. The clip was warning about the upcoming long weekend, which is fine, (I guess), but to drive home the fear factor they said “in Canada, we have had (I can’t remember the number but it was big) cases of the virus”, they chose to report the overall number. So if you look at the raw numbers, our numbers in Canada have been decreasing for a while, so instead of saying how many new cases we had which were around 630, they reported the big overall number of cases over the past six months! Why? To make it more frightening! They then proceeded to say that the numbers among young people have been on the rise but failed to state the number of cases. Now I don’t know what that number is and I am not doubting that it has increased, somewhat, but my questions are – increased from what? (0?) To what? And what is the total %, in comparison? I suspect they did not report that number because it was not significant enough to cause panic! If you chose to listen to the media and it is your choice then I suggest you counter it with raw data and you consume it with some awareness of how words are chosen, to stress their point. For example, the media will cover a story and say “more than….” Because that sounds better than “only” ie more than 300, our minds automatically (because we are wired this way) go to 390ish, when if you really look at the raw data with no commentary the number is more like 305. The choice of ‘more than’ is the fear-inducing language that keeps you coming back. I think that is enough about that because it is what it is and I write that only to give some perspective that hopefully some of you will take on board and become a bit more of a choosey consumers or at least start to recognize that you need to be cognizant of what you are feeding your mind.         What I also wanted to talk about is fear and anxiety. I have talked about this a lot in my podcast, my blogs, and with clients. Fear only exists in the future it is never in the present moment! And it is always a forecast, created in our mind of some dreadful story that brings on anxiety. We hyper-focus on that story being ‘truth’ and we live like it is inevitable! This anxious energy brings on more anxious energy until we cannot take it anymore. We are fearful of everything and everyone, we have convinced our self that nothing good will happen and that people are judging us and that life is crap! Then comes the depression because who wouldn’t be depressed at the future you are forecasting in your mind, it’s all doom and gloom! This of course is fed by the media and society at large, there are so many, (I would say a majority of people) who are fearful of some disastrous version of the future, especially now. Fear currently, especially is never in short supply! This was driven home to me the other day. I had an interesting interaction in a store. A kid probably about 11 or 12 was standing outside a store I assume waiting for his family. There was a sign saying

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Goodnight, Sleep: A Glimpse into Anxiety and Depression

I am so honoured to be sharing this story it came from one of my clients and more importantly my friend. Since I have known her, she has been dealing with anxiety and depression and she has valiantly been working at reclaiming her life. She has taken every tool and she has worked so hard to face her demons. She truly is an inspiration and for all those suffering with a mind that runs rampant, she is a beacon of hope. I am so blessed to have been along with her on this journey and I admire her strength and courage! Thank you, Michelle, for sharing and allowing me to share your experience. Namaste my beautiful friend! Goodnight, Sleep: A Glimpse into Depression & Anxiety Another sleepless night rears its ugly head. I can feel the anxiety and depression begin to engulf me into the dark corners of hell. At first, I shrug it off. I take a few deep breathes to center myself. It calms me for the moment, but I know it’s not the last I’ll hear of it. This is how my illnesses work. I try and put it out of my mind. I busy myself with small tasks, thinking this will keep what’s coming at bay, and it does for a short time. But I can still feel that twinge of panic in the back of my head. It’s almost bedtime. “Why?” I ask myself. Why now? I thought today was a good day?! I can feel the cycle about to begin. It’s late. I can’t put off sleep any longer, or so I thought. I lay my head on my pillow and wait. Will it be slumber, or will it be something else? I can feel my voice becoming distorted and lost. There is no sound except the quiet chatter of anxiety and depression. I know now what is coming. It starts. The tapes become louder and louder, replay conversations from hours, days, months, even years ago that have long been forgotten by the other party. Hashing out what I could have said. Or chastising myself for not speaking my truth.” Why did you say that”? I hear anxiety say.” You should be ashamed of yourself”! Depression chimes in,” You need to run, hide!” it shouts. My rational mind tries, just for a moment, to offer a crumb of guidance, “People have already forgotten about it.” “Move on, get over it.” But it’s useless, the other two stronghold and gag my rational friend to regain power. I feel myself slipping. I can’t find anything to grasp. The light begins to fade. I can no longer see. The darkness has arrived and with it comes the Beast. Next are the stories. The stories my depression and anxiety have told over and over for years start to run rampant. They fester. Picking and gnawing until I’m so in double of myself, I start believing the fiction. I lose my confidence, but I can’t show weakness, they remind me. I can’t be vulnerable. “Don’t let them see the cracks,” I hear the Beast whisper ever so softly. The hair on the back of my neck stands up, and I can feel my toes curl as I prepare for battle once again. This consumes me. Swallowing me whole. Further, into the bowels of darkness, I go to face my demons. The sleepless night leaves me ragged and foggy. I muster the strength to drag myself out of bed to meet my daily obligations. I’m fragile and exhausted, but I put on my worn, tarnished armour and try again. I look in the mirror, hoping to see a different face looking back at me. Someone strong. Someone who can slay the Beast so I can be free. That person is not in the reflection. I sigh, wipe my tears, lower my mask and hope today will be different. In the beginning, I thought death was the only viable option to tame the Beast. To quiet the obsessive chatter. Releasing me from this swirling black inferno. I could almost find relief. Searching for compassion in the hooded stranger’s non-existent eyes. His scythe in hand. But it’s not my time. I needed to look elsewhere. As I grow older, I find tools. Weapons if you will. The kind of evidence that will not kill the Beast but deter it. All these years I was fighting in the dark with only my hands. I found my voice. My words. What started as only a faint whisper has grown to a mighty roar. So powerful it startles the Beast at first, but as it grows and travels, the creature cowers. It’s disorientated, not understanding where this sound has been hiding. It pushes back. Flexing its muscles. Trying to intimidate. It doesn’t work. The roar escalates to words. Words that are more powerful than anyone would imagine. Words that unveil the darkness allowing streams of golden light into the once windowless room. It’s time to strike. I use every ounce of strength I have. The Beast is wounded. It’s scrambling for any sign of night as the light becomes more powerful, almost blinding. The Beast knows its power is no longer as strong as it used to be. He scurries back to his cage and licks his wounds. I am free. I can feel the tears begin to stream down my face. Not the same tears that came from that dark place. They come so fast and hard. I’m left completing sobbing. I am releasing it. I’m letting out years of pain and suffering. I feel the light penetrating my soul. I remove my armour. I can breathe. My tears subside. My eyes are red but filled with new hope. The tension that once held me together begins to dissipate. This feeling is foreign but welcoming. Sleep comes quickly. My old friend had finally returned, and I’m embraced in its warm folds. Once I emerge from the much-needed slumber, it’s time to tell my

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Thank you 2019: Valuable Lessons Learned!

Thank you 2019 for challenging me to be a better version of myself. I know I am not alone in the fact that at times 2019 seemed really challenging and if I had to capture it in a sentence, I would say … 2019 has been a year of tremendous growth for me. Most of this growth, (like most growth) has come from being challenged and realizing that my familiar patterns were not helping me but rather causing my suffering. There are two important lessons that I take away from 2019 that I thought I would share because they have been life-changing for me. And I don’t think I am alone in having to learn them! The first lesson is lessons of love.   I have learned about love in so many different ways. First, I have learned that I (like everyone) am worthy of love, no matter what my inner critic tells me. This lesson came when I realized I was looking to my relationships to prove that I was lovable, after years of this pattern I finally realized it was not working! Although people have loved me, I never really truly believed it because I didn’t love myself. Which is the second love lesson, I learned that what I really wanted all these years was to love myself. This was not a huge surprise as I had heard it forever, but what I didn’t know was that although I thought I loved myself (and I did to a certain degree) most of this love for myself was dependent on others’ opinions of me. I believe this was the birth of the ‘people pleaser’ personality in me. In my experience, I would ‘please’ others to gain their approval to prove that I was lovable. As soon as I realized this, I knew I needed to make some changes. These changes involved for the first time in my life putting myself first and breaking the pattern of ‘people-pleasing’ and always putting others first. I have to say that at first, this felt really uncomfortable as my pleasing others was so deeply ingrained. With practice and a lot of positive self-talk, this became easier and easier. I am sure as I continue to work on this pattern it will continue to get easier!   I guess you can say that 2019, was the death of my ‘people pleaser’ and the birth of my self-love. And self- love for me, was the acceptance of all of who I am; loving and embracing all parts of myself. Including the shadow aspects of my personality. This too took some effort on my part, as the parts of myself that I deemed as undesirable had been suppressed for so long that they felt foreign to me. To embrace them meant I had to face them and love them for what they are. This means that I can love the parts of me that can be mean, can be rude and can be selfish. They are all apart of what makes me, me and they are loved! Once I stopped trying to hide the undesirable parts of myself and just loved where I was at and who I was, the more I could accept that others loved me too! See that’s the thing when we don’t love our self, then no matter what others say, or do we will never truly believe they love us. Too many of us look to others to prove that we are loveable and worthy of love. But we end up harming our relationships because we can’t accept love unless we accept love from our self first. All of these lessons in love allowed me to open my heart … truly open my heart to others and to myself. Now having an open heart does feel vulnerable but I would rather be open and vulnerable than to not experience love in all of its warmth and joy! Needless to say, this was a journey that took the better part of a year and although I feel like I am on the stable ground these are lessons that I will continue to work on into 2020. The next biggest lesson in 2019 is that life is much better when I live in a state of flow. This one took a lot of conscious work on my part to counteract the cultural lessons that have been ingrained in me. To me living in flow is doing what brings me joy, on a minute to minute basis. Really listening to my intuition and my body on what is the best choice for me. At times these choices felt and still feel like a leap of faith. What I have realized now is that when I am not in a state of flow life is hard work … my body is tense, and my mind is chaotic, and my thoughts are overwhelming. On the other hand, flow to me is a state of inner peace, it is a beautiful, calm, strong trusting place. Mostly this work required me to ask myself “am I doing this because it brings me joy” if the answer was ‘no’ then I didn’t do it! Even though that meant that at the time I was not doing the ‘acceptable’, if it did not feel right, then I didn’t do it. These two lessons go hand in hand. It takes self-love to be able to stay in flow especially when you are going against cultural priorities! Overall 2019, has been a year of tremendous growth for me, at times this growth felt like I was moving nowhere and at times it felt like I was going backwards. There was more than one occasion that I asked myself if I was crazy! But that’s the thing about personal growth if you are pushing yourself into new territory it is bound to feel awkward and uncomfortable. You are moving past patterns, that you have been working with for years.   I like

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The Value of the Season!

What do you Value for the Holidays!

We all have different values and when it comes to the holidays we all value different things! When we live out of alignment with our values it causes us stress. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to reduce the amount of stress over the holidays by helping you with your holiday values. When you understand what you value most over the holidays you can make choices that align with those values and have a more enjoyable holiday! Many of us throw the word value around and really don’t understand how important our values actually are to us. We may say “I value family”, but then when it comes to spending time with our families, we put it on the bottom of the priority list – behind work, chores, and other “have tos”. When we do this, we usually feel a sense of shame or guilt for not spending time with our families.  We are living out of alignment with our values and, for that, we experience stress! This holiday season, why not make it easier on yourself and figure out what your values are? Then do your best to live within those values, honour yourself! Ask Yourself How to determine your holiday values is simple. Take a few minutes to reflect on the past few holidays and ask yourself: What brings me the most joy over the holidays? When am I the happiest during the holiday? If I had to give up something what could I absolutely not give up? What does my dream holiday season look like? Take the time to really feel into the questions, allow your imagination to go wild. Write down a few things that really stick out to you. You will probably notice that some common themes start to emerge. Whether the answers revolve around such things as having family present or having some quiet downtime, to seeking adventure, or maybe it’s even solitude…the possibilities are endless. Whatever the answer may be, really tune into yourself. And most importantly don’t judge yourself for your answers!   Once you have a few common themes, take a few minutes to evaluate if this is a true value for you. For example, the value of peace is arising for you and when you check in with yourself, this doesn’t feel like something you would value. Ask yourself: Is this something that I really want or is it something that I believe that I need? Is this something that really matters to me or is it something that others say I need? Does this feel like a priority to me or does it feel like an obligation? Take this time to really check in with yourself. Does this feel authentic to you? Yes or No If yes, then you have your list of values for the holidays.  If not, then you have identified the things that are most likely causing you stress. You are doing these things out of obligation or out of a belief that you ‘need’ to be doing them. This sense of obligation has overridden your true values and is causing you stress. If this is the case, you need to take the time to re-evaluate what it is that you love about the holidays, use your imagination to identify your dream holiday season. What is it that you are doing? Who is there? What does it look like? What does it feel like? If you can answer these questions and come up with your dream holiday season you will be able to identify your values. The following questions will help you to narrow in on your values: Is it that you are surrounded by family or out at social events? Are you following traditions or are you creating new memories? Is it in a place that you know and love and feel comfortable or is it an exciting new place? Make it Happen Once you have that picture clear in your mind, you can identify what is most important for you about the holidays. Now all you need to do is make the decision to make it happen! How do you make it happen? Well, that requires you to stay true to you! Set boundaries say ‘no’ to things that are not aligning with your values and most importantly be grateful and enjoy taking part in the things you enjoy! Wishing you a holiday season that is all you have dreamed of that aligns you with your highest values.

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Why Do We Need to Hurt?

This past month marks 5 years since Woody passed, I started reflecting on all the changes that I have made over those years. That got me asking… why is it that it took a major loss for me to find myself! It is funny, (and kind of sad) to think that I needed, and I think most of us do need, a big shakeup to get us to reevaluate things and make changes. Why does it have to be this way? Why do we need to be devastated and shaken to our cores to actually start listening to ourselves? I am not the only one, I have found this with most of my clients too, they have come to coaching because they have had some big life event happen, relationships breaking up, loss, divorce, losing a job, a risk to their health … something big happened that shook them up and they realized they needed and wanted more. Why do we need to hurt? I ask myself this all the time. I do consult calls with people who know they want something different, who are in one way or another suffering in their current life. They completely agree and recognize they are not happy, but they are not willing or ready to make any changes. No judgment! That was me, the whole time before Woody passed, I knew that I wanted more for my life, but I stayed with what I knew because it was comfortable. That is the number one reason, I think people don’t make changes. And why they wait until they are forced to. We get comfortable! The more comfortable we get the stronger the fear of making changes gets. The stronger the fear, the quieter (or at least the less we hear) the voice inside us telling us that there is more.     It’s like comfort kills the voice of our dreams!   I have recently been listening (again) to ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho, if you haven’t read or listened to this book, I highly recommend it. It has a great story with great life lessons intertwined. As I was listening, one gem, in particular, talked specifically about this, the character stated, “I don’t know how to deal with change because I’m used to the way I am”. This really speaks to that being comfortable piece, but it also speaks to settling. I can attest to that, too!       As I mentioned, I was comfortable in my old life, sure I wanted more from my career and my relationship, but it was OK, so I settled. There definitely was a voice inside telling me that my dreams were not being realized, that I was settling, that I was not being all of me, that I was hiding my gifts and talents (or at least using very little of them), overall I was playing small. Looking back, I am sure that is why I felt stressed most of the time! It’s stressful suppressing your dreams, and who you are, and what you know you are capable of doing! It kind of feels like now, had I listened to this voice things could have been different; but because I didn’t the only way the Universe could get me to wake up and pay attention was to shake me up … and that is what it did!   What is it about change that scares us so much? In my experience, we as a collective see change as something daunting, and scary and most of us equate it with negative outcomes, (probably because of our negatively wired brains). So, we shy away from the very thought of it. I think for most of us, this fear controls us, we convince ourselves, “you should just stay where you are, it’s safe, known and things could be worse on the other side”.   Yes, things could be worse that is a possibility, BUT it is just as likely they could be great! And in my experience, that is usually what happens!     We never seem to see that side; we only see the worst scenarios playing out. I can’t tell you how many people including myself, who have gone through something major in their life and we end up creating a new life that is even better than we ever expected. What changes? I think when your life has been thrown into turmoil your perspective shifts. You lose that fear of change. In a way, because you have been forced to change, it suddenly doesn’t seem so scary! It’s like you have learned (or been forced) to embrace change! Also, I think you are more willing to risk, you have already lost, so it is less daunting. And this combination allows us to override that negative mind, so we grab life by the horns and say, “let’s do this!” The thing is… This option is available to everyone one of us, at any moment, we just need to choose to take it!        That is why I wanted to write this blog, I hope it reaches some of you out there who, like me, have that little voice telling you that you were meant for more, that you are playing small and that it is time to step up!       My hope is this will amplify that voice, and be the encouragement, you need to move past the fear stories that your mind has created. If this has stirred something up in you then go get it, don’t wait for life to throw you into it! We all deserve happiness! P.S. You are stronger than you think, and you don’t need trauma to show you that. If this is you… take a deep breath, start tuning into that voice, trust in yourself and take steps towards your dreams, it’s not nearly as scary as your mind leads you to believe!    

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