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Creativity, Learning, Spirituality

Taking Charge And Letting Go.

Our plane touched down in Toronto early Friday afternoon, shuttling us home from a much-needed week-long getaway to England. Travel has always been an important catalyst in sparking my creativity and a surefire way to maintain my sanity. For me, there’s magic in getting away from the ordinary and delving into a new place, taking in the sights, gaining a different perspective on things and reminding myself that there’s a huge world outside of my immediate context.

Travel has always been an important catalyst in sparking my creativity and a surefire way to maintain my sanity. For me, there’s magic in getting away from the ordinary and delving into a new place, taking in the sights, gaining a different perspective on things and reminding myself that there’s a huge world outside of my immediate context.

I was also feeling a need to shake things up a bit before I left – like I had to lose a monkey off my back and explore a new side of myself. And so, I did what I often do when I feel like something has to give. I cut my hair. As Coco Chanel once said,

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”

She was right dammit.

Donning my freshly trimmed curls, we embraced the UK. We visited family, walked barefoot in the grass along the English countryside, wandered downtown London, patio-hopped in a medieval town and (of course) I snapped a slightly inordinate amount of photos featuring the full moon. I felt like a new woman. Minus some minor hiccups (anyone who’s repeatedly navigated someone off the wrong exit of a roundabout has felt my pain) the trip was exactly what I needed.

And so, in the spirit of uncovering something new about myself, I’ve plastered an ‘under construction’ page on my website and I’m currently working on a new look and feel. Things were feeling dated and there’s nothing like a little makeover to get inspired again.

I thought I would send this note out to see where things are at with you. Is there anywhere in your life that could use a little boost? Is there anything you can do for yourself to feel a little more excited about things? When we’re feeling like we’re in a funk about something even the littlest things can get us feeling more invigorated and inspired.

It’s all about seeing where we need those tiny tweaks, taking charge and doing something to get the mojo moving again and then letting all that shit go and trusting that it’ll all fall into place. If there’s something you’re thinking of doing to get moving again, let me know! I’d love to hear what works for you.

In the meantime and until we meet again, sending mad, mad, crazy love to you.

Creativity, Learning, Spirituality, Wellness

Self-Help Exhaustion and Moving Beyond A Need for Perfection

There are plenty of things I know that work to get me feeling inspired again when I’m feeling less than creative – from painting just for the fun of it, to free-writing and doodling in a notebook.

I know what gets me feeling energetic when the blahs set in and I never underestimate how a jog or an impromptu dance party in my kitchen to a kick-ass playlist can do wonders to boost my mood.

I’ve also learned that I thrive on getting to know myself better – uncovering the things that I need to feel good and help me grow into a better version of myself.

But despite this long list of things I can reliably turn to – things I know that will get me moving – and despite the fact that I’m all about growth and finding your space in the world, I’m gonna be real straight with you. Sometimes, I’m just too goddamn tired to apply my own advice.

I know that getting active and moving can help me when I need to shift out of a funk but sometimes I just want to plunk myself on the couch with poutine and a glass of wine (don’t knock it ’til you try it) and flip aimlessly through a million options on Netflix, regular cable and Shomi before realizing that I’ve spent a listless hour trying to pick something to watch, only to end up with the realization that ‘there’s nothing on’.

And sometimes. Sometimes I refuse to stop to overthink a situation in which I’m clearly overreacting to something pretty mundane – something that fits into the ‘first-world problems’ category – in order to analyze what’s really bothering me, to dig deeper and take another look at myself to understand what I can change in my perspective. Because sometimes I just want to overreact to something, not exhaust my brain and regroup when things don’t feel so crazy and hairy anymore.

There was a time when I felt bad that I slacked off by not adhering to my self-help to-do list. There was a time when I felt guilty for not going the extra mile every single freaking time I thought I needed to take a closer look at my motivations to find another way to shape myself into a better version of me – into something closer to a poster-perfect depiction, worthy of an Oprah special. And in those moments, that’s when I realized that the work I thought I was doing to help myself and further my growth was actually hindering me and making me feel like shit because I wasn’t taking my own advice. I was judging myself for not following a prescribed set of rules. But y’know what? Rules were made to be broken.

I’m not saying we should throw out the things that light us up. And I’m definitely not suggesting that we stop moving through a space where we can see ourselves continuously changing and learning.

But what I am suggesting is that we can be willing to recognize those moments where every last inch of our being just needs to succumb to what we’re feeling at the time, sit in it, dwell with it and get lost in it.

We can be willing to recognize when we can push ourselves a bit to move forward because sometimes when we nudge ourselves through a lull, we surprise and delight ourselves with our resilience.

But sometimes we need to sit longer with the discomfort and taste it. Because sometimes when we push ourselves out of something too quickly, we actually lose the lesson in it all.

xo

Creativity, Learning, Wellness

Three Metrics I Use To Measure Success

I can pinpoint two pivotal moments in my life when I realized that I had to redefine what success means to me and what I thought I needed to be successful.

The first time was when I sat my husband down on the couch to tell him that I wanted a divorce.

If you had asked me to bust out my ‘what I need to be successful’ checklist, I would’ve ticked off every box. Married and settled? Check. Great career and income? Check. House and car? Check and check. But something was missing. I was exhausted all the time, uninspired, unhappy and my body was getting sick.

So I got that divorce and worked at an advertising company for the next 6 years. When it was time to move on, I moved on. When I quit my job, I announced that I was leaving to start my own business. I became the poster child for everyone I knew who hated their job, their boss or their coworkers. I was ‘that girl’ who flipped the bird to ‘the man’ and decided to try things on her own terms.

Over the next 3 years, I was speaking, creating, coaching, consulting with big companies and solopreneurs, and facilitating workshops and seminars. I was doing things I never thought I would that scared the living shit out of me. But I was also riding a financial roller coaster. In the beginning of my business, I was making good money. And then came September 2015 when I had to restructure my business to suit my lifestyle. At that point, I was barely making enough money to pay for groceries and was watching my hard-earned savings slowly disappear.

And again, I found myself tired and burnt out from trying everything I could to make things work. That’s when I decided to start looking for a job.

I felt like a fraud. And a big fat failure.

But I also realized that I had never been more successful in my life.

And that’s because I chucked that stupid list I had of things I thought I should be doing and labels that didn’t suit me. Instead, I decided to move with 3 metrics to measure my success.

1. Am I comfortable with being uncomfortable. There’s a saying that you need to feel the fear and do it anyway and I totally agree. Often the things that we’re most afraid of are the things that we really need to do. But I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that I need to conquer my fear. I think fear can be a healthy thing and I know myself – if I’m not scared of something, I’m not challenging myself and eventually I’ll get bored. So instead, I strive to be comfortable with the discomfort. That means that I’m not flipping out on the people I love the most when I’m stressed about money, business or how things are going (or not). It also means that I’m good to myself in the process and rolling with the punches – choosing not to close when things don’t go my way.

2. Am I being flexible. If I’ve learned anything about creativity and business, it’s that for every single thing I’ve tried that works – everything that produces the outcome I’m hoping for – I do ten things that flop. And that’s ok. Rather than trying to force things to turn out a certain way or thinking there’s one way to do something, I try to be flexible and understand when to change course. If something clearly isn’t working, I need to be open to other possibilities in life.

3. Am I going with my gut. Every time I’ve had that nagging feeling in my gut to not do something or connect with someone in particular and I’ve forced myself to do it anyway, I look back and think “shit. I knew that wouldn’t work.” I’m not talking about feeling the fear here, I’m talking about the nagging feeling that something is off. When I move towards the things that I know deep down will help me grow, the things that inspire me, give me goosebumps and feel good, I find that I’m way more successful. And more often than not, those things open doors to other opportunities I didn’t even know existed.

I think we need to redefine success for ourselves every so often. We need to check in and see if the things we’re chasing – the things we think we really want the most – are the things we really need.

We need to understand that sometimes success is a straight line from A to B. And sometimes, we need to zig and zag, take a step forward and two steps back. And sometimes success in life happens only when we go full circle.

I think we need to give ourselves permission to try new things. We need to forgive ourselves when those things don’t work out the way we thought and we want to default to negativity. And we need to celebrate when things go well.

We need to understand that we’re all on the same boat – we all doubt ourselves sometimes. We all have fears. We’re all just trying to figure things out for ourselves. And nobody has it all figured out.

Success happens – and we can consider ourselves successful – when we do our best and trust that our best is enough.

Creativity, Learning, Lifestyle, Spirituality

The Other ‘F Word’

Depending on who you ask, the word ‘feminist’ denotes both positivity and negativity. Strength and struggle. Acceptance and resistance.

Imagine that you’re a 9 year old girl and your family has sold your hand in marriage to a man you’ve never met for the price of a goat.

Imagine that you never made it past your second birthday since your parents decided to end your life because you are a girl.

Imagine that you’re expected to hole yourself up at home for a week every month because feminine hygiene products aren’t available at the corner store.

This is why we still need International Women’s Day.

Not because we need to place women on a higher pedestal than men. Not because women need to conquer the world and overthrow male power and dominance.

We celebrate because we’re reminded of the strides we’ve made toward gender equality. We celebrate because ‘his’tory is slowly being written to include a paradigm shift towards a fusion of masculine and feminine energy.

But we also need to take a moment to pause. While in some ways we’ve moved forward, in many ways and places far from our modern first-world backyards, women and girls undergo inhumane treatment unlike any we could ever possibly understand.

Gender inequality has been deeply ingrained and won’t disappear overnight. But we can start in our own backyards, by raising our consciousness to understand that we can begin to make a difference by taking a stand.

1. Are you a woman? Vote. In many places around the world, women have no voice. While I do believe that politics are corrupt, today I remind myself that I still have the opportunity to make my voice heard.

2. Donate your time or money. Pick a cause that resonates with you. It might be donating time or money to a local woman’s shelter. Find a charity that supports women’s freedom in a remote part of the world. Every small contribution adds up to a big difference.

3. Start a conversation. Ask a woman in your life about her experiences. Her answers may shock you. Speak to a young person in your life about gender equality and sexual consent. The future is young.

4. Support female artists. Make an effort to seek out and support female writers, musicians and artists. Without an audience, their voices will fade into the background.


 

I can envision a world where our young girls instinctively know that they’re powerful mavens and change-makers.

A world where women naturally make the income equivalent to a man doing the same job.

A world where a woman isn’t publicly and ruthlessly shamed for speaking out about abuses against her own body.

A world where those abuses are no longer tolerated in the first place.

Where she can freely choose when and if she gets married and has children.

Where she is free to experience and explore pleasure, desire and her innate strength without being hatefully labelled as a ‘slut’, ‘whore’ or ‘bitch’.

Where the feminine body, energy, creative power and emotional currency are respected, appreciated and celebrated for the ability to shift, nurture and create.

Today is International Women’s Day.

Let’s take one step closer to a world with more love and less hate.