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Authenticity

Authenticity, Spirituality, Wellness

January Blahs, Ketchup Chips and Real Conversations

Midnight on New Year’s Eve came in with a bang. Donned with fresh red matte lipstick, I shared champagne toasts, bear hugs and well wishes with friends. But to be quite honest with you, the last couple of weeks have been kinda just ‘meh’. The bang of the excitement of a new year was followed by a whimper and then a drawn-out sigh.

I was sapped of energy and all I really wanted to do was sit on the couch, watch crappy reality TV and munch on Lay’s ketchup chips. And so. That’s what I did. But, I also kindly reminded myself of something. As incredibly satisfying as that cozy couch-lounging, TV-watching, chip-mowing behaviour felt in the moment, I knew it wasn’t going to help much in the long run. So as the blasé of the days passed, I tried to get back on track with my own make-myself-feel-good checklist.

Slowly, I gently began to return to my daily seated position as I took some quiet time for myself and closed my eyes to hush the continuous critic that was telling me that I had to get myself back into gear. See that’s the thing – I got lost in the dialogue that somehow I had to drag myself out of my funk. Here. Now. And I was hard on myself about it. Until I took those breaths and reminded myself that:

A funk, is a funk, is a funk. And a funk too shall pass. [Tweet that.]

And I let it move through me – in every way possible. I let the discourse drift into and out of my head. I gave myself the permission to have those thoughts but I vowed to be conscious about not feeding them, growing them, allowing them to expand and take over my energy. I have a dishwasher but instead of stacking it daily, I washed my dishes. And when I washed them, I washed them. I began to giggle at the voice that was incessantly yelling to ‘snap out of it already!’ – the one that was attempting to pull my attention away from that stuck, cooked-on piece of food that needed to be scraped and washed down the drain. Instead, I chose to just be, feeling the warm water on my skin. I chose to be aware of the dishwashing liquid bubbles glistening on the surface of the greasy mess I was cleaning up.

I reorganized the drawers in my home – the ones that I had to forcefully shove shut because they were far too full with stuff that I barely (never) use. I got rid of the things that I knew I’d never need. I turned on some music and cleaned the nooks and crannies of my living spaces, dancing and belting lyrics on the top of my lungs while I re-arranged some items and furniture – a physical symbol of the fact that sometimes you just need a fresh look at things.

Sometimes you need to clean out the energy in a space, create a new layout and let something else come to rest.

And then I took note of the things that lifted me most. And I consciously chose to keep doing those things. And y’know what topped the list? Raw conversations – the things you share that make you blush to admit because you’re holding yourself to some unrealistic standard. Because somehow you’ve convinced yourself that you’re the only one who’s experienced shame about something in your life.

Like the one I had with a group of amazing women where we shared thoughts about how much pressure we put on ourselves to have positively everything figured out in our lives. Like when I admitted aloud that I married a man in my mid-twenties despite my gut crying out that we just weren’t a good match shortly after we met. And how I found myself newly-divorced and single again at the age of 29, bawling my eyes out on my bedroom floor with a bottle of vino and my two cats. Or those separate conversations I had with heart-centred entrepreneurs – each of us insisting for the last couple of years that we had to follow our hearts and stubbornly pave our own way in the work world – only to admit to each other that (gasp) it’s time to get a job to help support ourselves.

In all these situations, I judged myself. “I can’t say that”, I thought. “What if I lose credibility? What if I get laughed at or blank stares? What if no one gets me? What if I’m the only one?”

And it hit me when a good friend looked me dead in the eye with sincerity and empathy and said, “I can’t believe you were afraid to tell me that.” I smiled meekly and whispered, “I wasn’t afraid to tell you. I was afraid to admit it to myself.”


Tell me something new.
Tell me something real.
Something I haven’t heard before and a million times over.
I don’t want to make small talk about the weather.
Don’t say, “I’m fine, thanks” robotically when I ask how you are when clearly you’re not.
I want to know about what’s tearing you down.
What’s weighing on your mind.
Then I want us to remind each other of what has broken us down in the past and how we picked ourselves up again.
I want to have real conversations about our successes and our failures.
Your experience – while it may be similar to mine – is unique.
Beautiful.
Inspiring.
We learn from each other when we strip off all pretences. When we rid ourselves of the need to fit in. Label ourselves. Categorize our desires and goals.
We realize that we’re really not that different after all.
Let’s challenge each other to move forward.
Shift. Grow.
It might be uncomfortable but it’s so damn worth it.

Authenticity, Spirituality, Wellness

What If: A Love Letter To The New Year

What if, this year, we decided to stop trying to become something?

What if, this year, rather than trying to become ‘something more’ or ‘someone better’, rather than trying to:

  • Get to the gym more often
  • Eat better
  • Land that new gig/promotion/client
  • Make more money
  • Take that course
  • Find that special someone…

What if, this year, we simply decided to be.

What if we reverse-engineered our goals? What if we looked at all of our resolutions, intentions and visions and instead understood how all of those things are going to make us feel. What if we then just went ahead and felt that way now, not when:

  • We exercise more
  • Eat healthier
  • Advance in our career or business
  • Get a raise
  • Learn something new
  • Fall in love…

What if we decided that – happiness, fulfillment, success, freedom, love, strength, wisdom, energy, whatever we’re searching for – none of these things need to be put off for the ‘right time’, with the ‘right person’ or in the ‘right situation’?

What if we decided that we don’t need to wait for opportunity to knock on our door?

What if we decided to give ourselves the permission to be who we are?

What if we decided to do what it takes to feel what we’re craving today. Here. Now. In this moment.

What if we decided that it isn’t about being our perfect selves before we decide to take an active role in our lives or careers?

What if we decided that the beauty of fresh beginnings and new years is not about becoming something but rather about experiencing life. Simply that and nothing more?

What would change?

What would you do differently?

What if you decided to just be.

Authenticity, Learning, Wellness

Renegotiating Your Bliss: An Homage To The Year’s End

Aaaaaand, it’s December 1st. The quick transition from summer to fall took me by surprise and the fact that I went from wearing a cozy sweater out one day to a winter coat, was a tad upsetting. I don’t particularly like sleeves, shoes and socks and have been known to bust out tank tops in the middle of a stone-cold February day whenever the indoor temperature allows. So I surprised myself yesterday when I felt like I had finally made peace with the impending winter and inevitably shorter days.

I stepped out, all bundled up in my down coat, winter boots, cute mitts and popped on my iPod. I picked a song I hadn’t heard in a while and like all good music, all of a sudden, I was transported back to another time – specifically, this time last year. Rather than shrug it off, I decided to stay with the feeling as I made my way to the subway.

Moving through the city streets, feeling the cold on my skin and just observing the people, places and things around me, I was flooded with memories. I was living somewhere else in the city this time last year, doing some fun marketing work on contract, deep-diving into my Reiki clients and speaking engagements. I could remember the friends I had made – some of which are still near and dear to my heart and others who have simply went on their own way. And it all got me thinking.

Here we are – December 1st and 2015 is almost done. It’d be so easy to get caught up in the holidaze – Christmas shopping, Christmastime eating and drinking, running around trying to get everything done. But instead, I decided to look back and see what had changed, what I needed to tweak – add or subtract – from my life to move into 2016 with the grace and confidence that I wanted to move ahead with.

I’ve decided to renegotiate my bliss.

Rather than assume that everything I’m doing right now is keeping me happy, I’m going to really dig in and see if that’s true. There was a time that I positively loved coffee. The aroma of a fresh pot filling in the morning was my bliss. Until I realized one day that it was actually contributing to my anxiety and insomnia. So I quit. And I’m not looking back. I’ve replaced my fancy coffee lattes with fancy Earl Grey Tea Lattes. Same comforting habit with no nasty side effects. So. Worth. It.

This is also a time to look over the last year and really give ourselves credit for everything we’ve done. Time to say, “Holy shit. I did that? Awesome.” Sometimes we do some incredible things that we just don’t give ourselves much credit for. Those little things add up to an amazing life if we just take the time to see it that way.

So before you get carried away with your to-do lists and holiday engagements, take a breather to ask yourself if you’re doing the things that light you up. Start with the small things. Start with the daily habits you’re hanging onto and see if there’s anything you can ditch or add to your days to put a smile on your face. The things we did a year ago, a month ago or even a day ago may no longer add to our happiness and that’s cool! Move towards the things that make you feel good and remind yourself that you’re kick ass. Because you are.

xo

Authenticity, Lifestyle, Relationship, Wellness

Why Searching For Happiness Will Leave You Perpetually Searching

Our passion, purpose, soulmate – whatever it is. That thing we’re searching for the hardest because we think it’ll be the answer to everything – our problems in life, business and love.

We work hard to find it because we’ve been told and subconsciously sold on the idea time and time again that without it, we can’t possibly be happy and complete. Without it, we’re spinning our wheels and living an empty existence. Without it, we’re wasting our time.

Well, I call bullshit.

We get disappointed when our dream job or business turns out to be not so dreamy. Long hours, personal differences and conflicts arise and we suddenly see that things aren’t all they were cracked up to be in our squeaky clean vision of life.

We get disappointed when our significant other, best friends or family members let us down. Missed birthdays and anniversaries, differences of opinion and contrasting priorities. All of a sudden, the people we counted on the most are nowhere to be found. (Or so we tell ourselves because really – in the big scheme of things – I’d love to know I’m supported when I really need it and not only to celebrate a single day of the year).

The problem with searching for happiness in other people, places or things is that we’ll always be searching. When we look for something outside of us to keep us fulfilled, we’ll always be dissatisfied. 

Nothing will ever be perfect. We can try to find the ideal job, marry the ideal partner and make the ideal friends but inevitably, in some way, something will arise to taint that vision of perfection and the ideal. The question is how much imperfection we’re willing to put up with in any given scenario. Or as Mark Manson so eloquently puts it:

“WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FLAVOUR OF SHIT SANDWICH AND DOES IT COME WITH AN OLIVE?”

You can read more about his brilliant insights but he’s pointing to a very true fact that often gets overlooked:

“…here’s the sticky little truth about life that they don’t tell you at high school pep rallies: Everything sucks, some of the time… Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So the question becomes: what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our ability to stick with something we care about is our ability to handle the rough patches and ride out the inevitable rotten days.”

When we’re relying on something or someone to make things better for us, we often forget that we’re all out for our own agendas. So that person we’re looking for to complete our lives – he or she also has their own dreams, goals and opinions, which may not always be aligned with ours. Those coworkers, bosses, employees and clients we hope will always do and say the right thing? They may have a different idea altogether of what ‘right’ means.

So as you contemplate your shit sandwiches and which ones come with an olive (and I hope that most of them do!) also consider the following.

Since it’s inevitable that everyone and everything will at some point in time mire your idea of perfection or what you think you truly want and need in this life – find your own happiness, fulfillment and support FIRST. 

Back up and figure out what lights you up and go do more of that stuff.

Find the hobbies and interests that fill your soul with adventure and creativity rather than assuming that your job and others around you will always be around to fill in the gaps.

Take the time to take care of yourself so when issues and problems arise, you’re in a better emotional, physical and mental space to deal with them.

When we’re constantly searching for things outside of ourselves to make everything better, we’ll be constantly searching in vain. Because really, true happiness starts within.