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Look How Far You’ve Come

March 26, 2015

When we’re looking to make changes in our lives to grow, expand or move ahead in any way, we set big, lofty goals for ourselves. We work to achieve big things and set milestones along the way. We might want to:

  • Build a successful solo business
  • Do some good inner work and self-development
  • Have enough money saved in the bank for a much-needed getaway
  • Work out regularly and get back into shape

As we’re working toward our goals, every now and then, we’ll sit back, look around and measure ourselves on our progress. We look at others and compare ourselves to where they’re at. We judge our progress based on friends, family, co-workers or people who are online that we’ve never even met.

We can often get down on ourselves because we’re not ‘where we’re supposed to be’ or we aren’t as far along as we ‘should’ be. And then we feel shitty. We can convince ourselves that our goals simply can’t be achieved. We give up on them or put them on the back-burner. We wonder, “what’s the point?”

It’s important to understand that things take time. Big changes and progress don’t happen overnight. It’d be easier if everything just fell into place, here and right now. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just snap our fingers and *poof* everything would be done?

Without putting in the work, without having a-ha moments and breakthroughs along the way, we wouldn’t even begin to fully understand why we need to make the changes our soul is calling for and those changes would never stick. 

There’s far more beauty in the process than the outcome. We might think that once we do X or achieve Y, our lives will be complete and everything will be better for it. But more often than not, when we get to where we’re headed – when we reach that destination – we’re hit with the reality that either there’s still more we need to do or that getting to where we thought we wanted to be really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We’re left thinking, “now what?”

When we compare ourselves to others, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

People progress differently. We have different sets of circumstances, different ways in which we see the world. We can’t expect to arrive at a certain place at the same time as another person. Worse yet, when we look at others and compare our chapter 1 to their chapter 12, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t feel crappy for it.

So rather than beat ourselves up for where we’re at, sometimes you gotta stop, take a deep breath and look at how far you’ve come. While you may not be exactly where you want to be, I can bet that you’ve done a lot of work in the process and if you’re not validating yourself along the way, you’re missing out on the best part of the ride.

Much love, XXX


Well, Hello There Sunshine

March 19, 2015

I dunno about you but with March 20th being the first day of Spring, I’m gung-ho ready to pack away my cozy down-filled coat, wool mittens and waterproof ‘perfect-for-below-average-temperatures’ winter boots. Dodging puddles made from melting snow and sunsets now making an appearance at around 7:45pm are making me ridiculously giddy. With the promise of spring and warmer air (also known to Canadians as ‘air that doesn’t hurt your face’) I can’t help but think, “Helllloooo patio season.” 

Life and business tend to pick up quite a bit during this time. We crawl out of hibernation mode and get back into the swing of things. The days are longer and we’re not calling it quits on yet another freezing day and curling up in bed by 8pm (just me?)

With the hustle and bustle starting to pick up, we can often let this time pass and miss the transition to a new season – and sadly so! There’s something magical about seeing the trees budding, tulips popping and the grass getting greener. Taking an extra 5 minutes during our day to just take a walk outside to breathe the fresh air without having to bundle up in 10 layers is pretty damn sweet.

When we’re just trying to get through the week, we can also ignore the natural urge to purge that’s so strong at this time. Spring cleaning is THE perfect chance to start afresh – to get rid of the crap and baggage we’re holding onto that we know we’ll never use.

The next time you’re standing in front of your closet, convincing yourself that – despite the 50-some-odd pieces of garments staring right back at you – you have nothing to wear, get honest with yourself. That top you bought 6 months ago. Y’know the one I’m talking about. The one that still has the tag on it. The one you bought because:

  • It was on sale and you simply couldn’t resist.
  • It was actually really similar to another three shirts you already own but you could justify buying it because it was slightly different (not really though now as you’re looking at it again).
  • It was the perfect match to the pair of pants/skirt/shoes you never wear so you thought you might finally have a complete outfit.
  • You absolutely needed something new to wear to that event you had with the big thing that everyone went to (even though you ended up wearing something else that you felt better in anyway).

We’ve all got that shirt. And if we look a little closer, we’ll probably find a couple more items that we’ve worn a handful of times and feel out of sorts whenever we wear it. Apparently, on average, we wear only about 20% of our wardrobe. The rest is in there to make us feel like we have more options than we really want (or need for that matter). And I’ve read about more than a dozen uber-successful business tycoons that wore the same thing day in and out as a matter of efficiency (think Steve Jobs and his infamous black turtleneck). I’ll admit I’m certainly guilty of spending far too much time obsessing over what to wear on occasion, when that time could’ve been better spent doing pretty much anything other than obsessing over what to wear.

So purge that shit. Go through the closet and pull out the items that are taking up room – the stuff you hardly or never wear. Donate it all – give it to someone who actually has nothing to wear for real.

And while you’re at it – what about that kitchen drawer full of junk? The one that you need to squeeze shut and pray that it won’t burst open randomly, full of ‘just in case’ crap that you keep – stuff that you might need, one day, some day, but probably not anytime soon.

While you’re in the kitchen (and this is a BIG personal note to self here) go through your cabinets and check ’em out. Do you really need those five cans of beans that you’ve had for months because you keep forgetting that you bought beans the last time you went to the grocery store? Guess what’s for dinner? You got it. Bean casserole.

There’s power in getting rid of the stuff we don’t need. By getting rid of clutter, we create a clear space to live and create in and there’s no better time than now to do it. Happy decluttering!

Much love, XXX

Lifestyle Spirituality

The Magic of Gratitude

March 12, 2015

More often than not, when we’re feeling stuck, restless or frustrated with something in our lives, we focus on it. We invest energy in complaining about situations, people, places or things that we’re feeling unhappy or unfulfilled about. We can’t stop thinking about whatever’s troubling us, pouring over the details and finding ourselves falling deeper and deeper into the difficulty behind an issue. The problem is that when we do this, we’re directing our energy to the wrong place.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” ~ Nikola Tesla, Inventor + Engineer

Like attracts like and the more we feel good, the more we feel good. So when we focus on negativity, we’re essentially perpetuating an existing negative situation and asking for more negativity.

Getting into a habit of gratitude is powerful.

When we’re grateful for what we have – even if it isn’t perfect or quite what we want yet – we’re telling the universe that we’re open for more to be grateful for. We send out the vibe that we’re ready to take on more good things that come our way and that we appreciate what has already been sent to us.

Embracing a sense of gratitude is the same as building any other healthy habit. Research shows that if you can stick to something for 21 days, you’re more likely to make that action a habit in your life. So if you want to start feeling better about your relationships, job, yourself – or anything in your life for that matter – it’s important to direct your energy where you want it to flourish and expand.

Gratitude Challenge

For the next 21 days, take a couple of minutes every day to list 3 things you’re grateful for. Set up an appointment in your calendar to go off everyday to prompt you to sit down with a journal and pen. Reflect on the last 24 hours and list 3 things that you’re thankful for. This can be anything from the fact that you caught the train on time, to the perfect lunch you ate, a kind smile from a stranger or the greetings your dog gave you as you walked into the door after work. Even the littlest things can be a source of joy. Once the universe sees that you’re thankful for what you have, it’ll begin to send you more.

Start right now by thinking of someone you love, someone who has made a huge impact in your life and has supported you through tough times. Pick up the phone and call that person. Tell them why you love them and let them know how much they mean to you. Let them know that you’re happy to have them in your life. You’d be surprised what kind of an impact expressing your gratitude can make on someone’s day and yours.

When you’re not journaling over the next 21 days, try to be mindful when your thoughts are going to a negative space. Catch yourself when you’re getting caught up in negativity about anything and pause to remember all the good stuff in your day instead. I’m not saying you have to shove difficulties under the rug and ignore them but remember that we can often make mountains out of molehills and make a small, crappy situation a bigger deal than it needs to be.

Happy gratitude-ing!

Much love, XXX

Lifestyle Spirituality Wellness

An Urban Hippy’s Toolkit: Nature

March 5, 2015

I adore the city. There’s something about the hustle and bustle, the lights, the energy and the eclectic culture of the downtown core that gets me going. Nothing beats a sunny day on a patio overlooking the sidewalk, lounging while people watching, beer in hand and indulging in a flowing conversation with friends.

I tried suburban living but it didn’t work for me. I need to be able to walk out and grab groceries for the night to whip up a hearty homemade meal. I thrive on the flow of people wandering Queen W with me, soaking up the ambiance and pulse of the surroundings. On my way back from Costa Rica, my heart skipped a tender beat as I caught a glimpse of the city skyline. As they say, there’s no place like home. And the city has stolen my heart.

Despite my love for the skyscraping architecture of the buildings around me – tall glass towers and sleek urban design – there’s another side of the city that I adore and find solace in.

Getting up at sunrise to jog the boardwalk down by the waterfront tops the list for me. The hue of a rising sun hitting the water is simply breathtaking. The city is different at 5:45am. It’s resting pace is calm and almost unrecognizable in comparison to the midday grind.

During the summer, I blissfully soak up the sun as I lean against a strong tree sitting in the grass with my journal and pen in hand, plotting how I’ll be pursuing my passion in this world.

Getting in touch with nature is vital to my sanity.

While I might grumble about the cold weather and the minus-something plummeting temperatures, stomping around in ‘I can’t feel the cold winter boots’ through a fresh snowfall brings out the kid in me. There’s a distinctive glow to the night sky when the snow is falling that almost makes you forget that evening has arrived.

Last week I spent 8 glorious days in Costa Rica rising at the crack of dawn for yoga in the middle of the rainforest, watching hummingbirds gently brush lush green leaves while the breeze cooled my hot skin. I fell asleep to the sound of insects and birds singing their delight in the heat. I stood in the ocean, giggling in glee while the waves crashed against me, engulfing me in its salty healing water, humbled by the vastness of its beauty.

Being there slowed things down for me. With limited wifi *gasp*, no TV and my iPod deliberately tucked away, I was enveloped by the sounds and sights around me. The chorus of cicadas serenaded me as I sat reading and journaling. In the far distance, I could make out the sound of the ocean crashing against the beach.

I was often left with nothing but my own thoughts and wow. It reminded me of how our thoughts can wander EVERYWHERE. With nothing else to do but experience the world around me, I had to remind myself that as long as I was present to the beauty and life around me, there was nothing to worry about.

Sometimes we have to pause, breathe and remember that there’s more to life than tight schedules and busy-ness. We have to catch our thoughts when they wander to the dialogue that tells us that we need to be worrying about something, anything, all the time.

Connecting to nature takes us back to basics and reminds us that our minds can often make mountains out of molehills. A tree doesn’t strain to grow. The sun doesn’t work hard to rise and set. If we can breathe and return to this sense of ease, we realize that the stuff that’s filling our minds and bodies with dread and anxiety probably isn’t as bad as we think it is.

Excuse me while I go hug a tree.

Much love, XXX

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