Belongings don't create belonging.

 At the end of the day, like deathbed end of day, the majority of us humans agree that the ‘things’ we own do not make us who we are, nor are they thing things that provide a sense of true importance, meaning, happiness or belonging.  Do we really believe it? If we did would be so damn concerned about black friday, cyber monday or fret about checking off the christmas lists?

Belongings DO NOT create belonging BUT your stuff does has meaning written all over, under, in and around it.  When was the last time you truly dug into the WHY behind your consumption and consumerism? Do you consciously choose your purchases and make decisions from creative choice based listening or instead are you reacting from fear. Why do you do what you do and have what you have?  I often think it comes down to this: The desire + need to belong is paramount. 

 We need to belong to one another, our friends and families, our culture and country, to our world. Belonging is primal, fundamental to our sense of happiness and well-being. Our interests, motivation, health and happiness are inextricably tied to the feeling that we belong to a greater community that may share common interests and aspirations. It is proven that Isolation, loneliness and low social status can harm a person's subjective sense of well-being, as well as his or her intellectual achievement, immune function and health. Research shows that even a single instance of exclusion can undermine well-being. 

When we feel a threat to our connection, we become afraid of judgment and petrified by what other people think of us. When this happens, we often make choices and formulate habits that actually damage us + end up separating from ourselves and others versus bring us closer together. Consider this example…You have been invited to a function on the weekend by your coworkers.  You know them but you don’t REALLY know them well. It is important for you to have them like you and to enjoy your night out. You frantically look through your closet to figure out what you might wear. You try this, that and the other thing on and nothing seems to fit. Your thoughts spiral negatively and you begin to speak poorly of yourself in your mind. Limiting beliefs creep in and you start doubting whether or not you should even attend the gathering. You question what they will think of you, their reactions, judgements and so on. To avoid potential embarrassment or pain, you come to the conclusion that what you really need is a new outfit. Several purchases on the old credit card later and you have yourself the ticket to head turns and approval from your work mates, right?!

At this point in your thought processing,  a decision is being made that seems somewhat benign, you're getting a new outfit.  HOWEVER, it is in the moments like these ones when we can make a different choice. A new choice that is empowering and integral rather than one based in reaction and the need to 'fit in'. If we peel back the layers of the Self and are open to being aware, it becomes easy to notice how fixated humans are on pleasing each others, on looking the part and needing to be liked or acknowledged. Unfortunately, fitting in is about trying to adapt to a world that’s not your own. You don’t belong there, true belonging doesn't even exist here. 

Brene Brown writes ‘Many us suffer from this split between who we are and who we present to the world in order to be accepted but we're not letting ourselves be known, and this kind of incongruent living is soul-sucking’ Fitting in is easy but it comes at a cost and it is one of the easiest ways to lose precious parts of you. Perhaps that cost is financial, emotional, spiritual, physical or soul deep. In our own ways we each experience the dilemma of fitting in, maybe we don't purchase a new outfit to do so but instead we take a job that we don't love so our parents are proud, we can say things we don't truly mean to be seen as 'cool', lease a vehicle that is beyond our budget, spend time with people that restrict our fullest self expression. The examples are endless. 

Here's the thing, if you feel like you don’t belong, there’s a very good chance you don’t, and this isn’t a bad thing! Pay attention to what specifically triggered that feeling for you. Is it that you don’t care about the things others do? Is it that you’re spending time with people who are your opposite? Is it that you don’t enjoy the activity at hand? Not fitting in doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with you or the people around you, it just means you’re different or the circumstance is not suited to you. Use this as an opportunity to explore what would need to change for you to feel like you belong. This isn’t about changing yourself or forcing yourself to be anything you’re not, it’s about taking an honest look at the situation.  

You deserve to be seen. You deserve to be heard. You deserve to be known for the real deal that you are. Not for the clothes that cover your body, the car you drive, the house you live in or the job/education you have.

Maybe you need a new set of friends or to spend less time with your family. Maybe you’re not dating the right person. Maybe you’d rather be at a cultural event than out drinking. Whatever it is, just make note of it and create better alignment in your life, work, and relationships going forward. Belonging is about inhabiting the world as the R E A L you.

It takes courage to show up in your own skin.

Here are some top tips for cultivating MORE belonging. 

1.  Love yourself first. Remember that there is only one you on this planet + you have unique gifts to offer.

2. Listen to your body – it will never lie. Discover how it feels in your physical self when you are ‘fitting in’ vs ‘belonging’, the sensations, the breath, your energy level, emotions and clarity of thought. Figure out how each feels and then choose to spend more time where it feels lightest, free and soothing to your cells. (psst. it's belonging, hands down!)

3. Stop with the stories: Quit creating stories in your mind about why you aren’t important, good enough or the ‘right person’, unlikable etc. AND Do not change your values, likes, dislikes, words in text messages, embellish, pretend or lie in order to fit the part of someone else’s role for you in their story.

4. Join in + try new things. Say yes to opportunities,  get outside of your comfort zone.

5. If one pathway to connection isn’t working, seek alternative paths + people.  Keep looking.

6. Acceptance for Self + others. Practice this often. Concentrate on things you have in common rather than what sets you apart.

7. Share who you are, what you love + what you do. When you hide, people cannot find you. Your tribe is waiting. 

8. Actively participate. Begin to take part in community life and contribute in meaningful, ongoing ways that have a positive impact

9. Be the longing - discover what you are most missing in your life – and then give that thing away. EX: If you long for a listener in your life, fill that roll for someone else. Longing for a friend who checks in to see if you are well, be that caller for another. You crave community gathering and ritual, start a group, be the source of connection.

10. Be kind to yourself. Remember you’re not alone in this feeling, regardless of how intense, frequent, or unique to you it may feel.

 

Stay true. xo 

Jess

Best in the world.

It's easy to focus on the things we need to improve and it's often natural that we perseverate on what we don't want in our lives, the negative, the weakness, the flaw. Notice when you speak with people and ask them how they are if the first thing they share is negative. Become increasingly interested in how people share themselves with you, it is most common that they speak to their hurt or frustration, complaint or upset. It doesn't need to be like this.

We are not designed to worry, fret or to deplete our energy and life force getting trapped and tangled in the mud of this world. This is not to say you should not be aware and/or care about the state of your world and what is around you but you do not need to react, become passive, disengaged with life or crust over your heart because you are scared.  Doing these things is not nearly as powerful nor effective as thoughtful and intentional response and resolve. The brain itself and it's perspective along with our habits can all change and become more free, making positive energy flow our natural state of being. 

I'm committed to shifting this paradigm regardless of how entrenched it seems in our society.  I choose to rise above the cultural tendency to see the glass half empty, the world as broken and people as 'bad'. I constantly challenge myself to align my thoughts, my focus and my energy to the following questions (feel free to use them as your own journal prompts!)

  • What is working? 
  • What is good? 
  • What can I do to make a difference?
  • How can I be more loving?
  • What I am best in the world at?

I am best in the world at... creating environments where strangers become friends, or even better, chosen family. I curate spaces where upon landing you attune to your body and heart. Capable of thinking less and feeling more. In these moments you feel calm, trust + know with every cell of your being that you are exactly where you are needed. 

I am best in the world at... helping humans embody self acceptance and worthiness.  I love me, you, others + Nature all the same. I know deeply that we are connected, woven together inside + out. We belong to each other and my goal is to help you remember this in order to strengthen our communities.  

I'm best in the world at... seeing potential, excavating limitations. Believing that there's always more than what simply meets the eyes, that anything is possible + I choose to tap into the non verbal, non physical intelligence of myself and of everything around me to help highlight the bigger picture of what matters most. I cheer for humanity. 

I am best in the world at...using humour, creativity, play and lightness to lift the heavy loads we carry with us.  Fun and humour shift people out of fear and uplifts and softens them. We all have burdens and challenge but getting through them with laughter and fun is one of my most treasured strategies. 

I am best in the world at...hugs. We all need to be held, nurtured and reassured. Nothing soothes a soul more than the safety and comfort of loving arms. I got you. 

Your turn now. 

Start developing the habit of a restful and positively focused mind. (Hence why I enjoy flying so much, I feel like this is all I can do in the moment). If the opposite occurs and our mind constantly wanders, we doubt, grip, force, judge and fear and then ultimately we fatigue in every possible way. Over time we come to associate a distracted mind with this fatigue, anger, resentment and sorrow. We come to see the present as a refuge from the pain and imaginations or stories. We come to see that the present is a place where love lives.

Be still. 

Get quiet. 

Start to take your mind on a journey to discover and ask YOURSELF what am I best in the world at? It can be 1 thing, it can me many. Watch where your thoughts initially take you, is it + or -? Let go of any rigidity or limiting beliefs that do not serve your heart. Be more generous with yourself, ask those around you and gain insight from those you love. Upgrade your thoughts and focus on what is loving, kind and positive. You will begin to see things in a whole new way and feel more confident in sharing your best with the world.

Can't wait to hear what you come up with. 

I see you, I love you. 

Jess xo 

Lucent.

Our world is becoming increasingly filled with distraction. Information moves faster, louder, and brighter than ever before. Entertainment, social media, and marketing have never been so prevalent. They beg for our attention and our focus. These forms of distraction are easily recognised and many of us will fully admit that we spend too much time checking e-mail, over purchase and consume, binge on television / food / booze / bullshit + are challenged to look up from our devices. It would seem that distraction is a universal competency and we have all become experts.

Distractions take residence in our mind and wreak havoc on our pursuits.  Our minds + hearts wander frequently and days, weeks, months, sometimes years can become full of meaningless moments heavy with comparison. When we are disconnected and unfocused on what really matters, we feel compelled to compare our lives to the people around us. We compare our belongings, our appearance, our families, and our successes. Comparing yourself to others will always cause you to regret what you are N O T and diminish your self worth rather than enjoying YOUR life and connecting to who you are as a person. The distractions, whether internal or external, limit our ability to heal, move on + connect to our greatest potential and purpose. We know this, we feel this. 

I created Lucent Festival with the intention to help wake us up and feel fully alive. An experience that allows us to slow down and immerse ourselves in Nature surrounded by people who value connection and want to grow,  leaving a positive mark on this planet. There is no judgement, no frills, people are safe to be completely themselves. It is an annual celebration of individual and collective light, I suppose it is a spiritual revolution in many ways. Spirituality referring to concern for the qualities of the human spirit and cultivation of a kind heart. Lucent aims to hold space for humans to embody love, trust, patience, tolerance, presence, forgiveness, compassion, contentment, a sense of responsibility + harmony which bring happiness to both one’s self and others.

The world is a big place and we have much to offer. Those who choose to live life as a victim of distraction will always miss their opportunity to give. Additionally, those who choose to adopt an indifference to the world around them will miss out on their greatest potential and chance to evoke change because. BUT those who recognise need and seek to do something about it, experience a joy and fulfilment that can never be discovered anywhere else. These are the humans who gathered at Lucent. All different shapes, sizes, races, ages, languages, lifestyles, incomes and life experiences united  and created sweet magic that will forever fill all of our hearts + souls. NO bells, NO whistles, NO smoke, mirrors or ego.  Simple goodness + real people. 

We disconnected from our every day stressors and perceived pressure/distractions and chose to reconnect to the people and places we love.  To watch people land in this space and unravel, let go,  decompress and to witness people of all ages come together engaging in healthy movement, learning new skills, mindfully crafting, playing, laughing, authentically conversing getting to know one another, cultivating stillness, actually breathing, children exploring, dancing, sharing an incredible meal, exchanging eye contact + big hugs, multiple generations snuggled up around a fire surrounded with sweet song and music was an absolute joy + blessing.  I am fairly certain we all agree that this presence + time together is ultimately what matters most in life. Appreciating the little things and knowing that looking back, they are actually the big things. 

I truly believe that when our motivation is positive and focused, heartfelt action follows. The current ways in which we live and the state of the world must be turned upside down and inside out and the revolution of spirit is happening now. It begins within. It starts with you. Together.

By cultivating spiritual values and qualities it does not make ALL the problems in the world disappear. Each challenge, individually, locally, globally, needs it’s own practical set of solutions. Climate change for example will not improve simply because we are nice to each other nor will the negative implications of distraction disappear after one weekend in the wilderness without wifi. We must continue to shift our habits, mindset, attitudes and our belief in the power of commUNITY. Choosing to starve the distractions + fears and instead feed love as our focus. 

In the words of Iain Thomas ‘Every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling ‘ This is important! This is important!’ You need to worry about this! Be concerned about that!’ Each day it is up to you to hank your hand back, put it on your heart and say ‘NO. This is what is important’. The more you transform your heart and mind by being truly connected + concerned with the well being of yourself and others, the happier you become.

Remember, your impact ripples outward + lingers for a long time. Together we are contributing to the creation of a kinder, more spiritual world for everyone. We are giving off light.  

We are L U C E N T.

Extending much gratitude again to all those who supported, participated, lead, encouraged + helped to make Lucent all that it was. 

Love you,

Jess xo

Photos displayed on site by: @lindseydawncreative.

Photos from link below by: @jeremyklager / @athenamediagroup / @mydphotographics

Please credit/tag photographers + #lucent2017 #embodiedadventure

Trust.

 

Your beliefs will guide you whether or not they are in your best interest. Choose them wisely. 

Maybe you believe that you are incapable of having a healthy intimate relationship, or that you aren’t attractive to others, or think you will not live a long life. Or perhaps you have a strong conviction that you are very lucky, or that people in general are basically good and trustworthy OR the complete opposite. Truth is, your beliefs, whether they are within your conscious awareness or not, direct and influence your life.

A number of recent events have had me pondering about TRUST and then in conversation with a friend, he mentioned ‘ I genuinely trust you, which is big for me’. The context was nothing extraordinary but this wee sentence really got me thinking. Not only did it provid me with insight into part of his belief system around trust and relationship, but it also unpacks a lot of power on a deeper level as well.  Not Power as in ego maniac power trippin’ kinda way where now I get to manipulate and take advantage of him because I now know he trusts me mmmwaahahahahah (evil laugh, duh!) BUT rather it is powerful in a way that creates openness and possibility between people -- When there is trust, there is growth/inquiry + that my friends leads to transformation/evolution which in my humble opinion is good stuff, the magic, the piece de resistance. 

For me, trust is based on witnessing actions, feeling, believing and most importantly allowing. Trust is a choice to be available, vulnerable and transparent in relationship because the person you’re trusting has also shown dedication to your partnership through consistency in their honesty, integrity and dependability. Although building trust can happen in the first few days of our existence on Earth and there is some level of innate capacity to create it, I feel as a species it would help to us all if we became increasingly aware of our relationship with the T word.

Trust can be tricky though as many humans have been hurt or disappointed both self inflicted + by others.  Not only that but the messages about trust are often riddled with fear and negativity'Trust only yourself' 'Trust is easily broken' 'The only thing I trust is my ability to trust no one' 'When trust is broken, it's over' "Don't trust easily.' etc. etc. etc. As a result of conditioning + trauma, walls have formed around human hearts, their listening and receptivity shuts down or they begin operating from a place of Fear + Distrust. This programming of Distrust/Mistrust looks like this - doubt, suspicion, anxiety, with-drawl, unhealthy habits and self - preservation. Distrust can spread through a relationship like a wildfire. What starts as a small ember of doubt can mushroom into a full-on blaze of distrust if we don’t take steps to address it.

The best way to prevent distrust from taking a hold of our lives is to proactively focus on building trust rather than waiting to rebuild or repair. Trust must be continually developed and nurtured throughout the course of a relationship, not just when or after it’s been damaged. This critical in friendships and intimate partnership but it is also pivotal in business relations and transactions. The process of building trust intrigues me and I wanted to share it with you. 

6 Stages of Trust

 Connection. Caution. Consistency. Courage. Commitment. Comfort. 

 

Connection - For most of us we are drawn to others, products or experiences because we FEEL a connection. Perhaps something solves a problem for us, gives us hope, is attractive or desirable, meets a need or is simply appealing to our senses. As connection builds and relationship progresses, we allow more opportunities to explore and evaluate.  We are truly sensing all aspects + elements of relationship. 

Caution – While engaging in those opportunities where we can observe another person’s character in action and allow them to view the same in us we proceed with caution and patience, because we know the process of building trust is delicate however, recognising the importance of human tenderness, being open + curiosity versus judgement. Fostering curiosity rather than judgment can lead to a variety of benefits, including more inner peace, self-acceptance, kindness and healthier communication which creates foundation for Trust.  By “judging,” I’m not referring to being discerning, which is a good thing. Being thoughtful, reflective, and wise is an important part of healthy living. But, feeding a mind that’s always evaluating things as – black or white, good or bad, better or worse – is a recipe for emotional and behavioural discontent.  

Consistency - Consistency is the primary ingredient of trust. When we witness consistency in honest words and actions from someone or a company we naturally let our guard down and can experience deeper levels of intimacy. Their consistency gives us the courage to take the next step whether that is purchasing product, investing in an experience or developing a partnership on any level. 

Courage – Courage = Heart Wisdom and this certainly requires an element of faith (conviction + action). Most of us will agree that when we have connection and consistency in relationship, putting your heart on the line is much easier. When trust is established or being built, feeling confident, safe and secure when being vulnerable is critical. When you are valued, heard, understood + acknowledged, the more you tend to open yourself up, share, give, receive + risk. Without courage to continue on our path of growth, we can become complacent, disconnected or apathetic when it comes to the needs of our selves / others. This could be classified as 'Make it or break it' type of stage. 

Commitment - Our courage to trust always leads to a commitment. Every relationship requires some level of commitment, and the level of our commitment will ultimately define the level of our relationship. Relationships are a constant ebb + flow of giving and receiving. When we notice things are out of balance (unmet needs, disconnection, not speaking same love language, different vested interests or goals etc) this is the stage where communication and action are imperative to the maintenance of trust within the relationship. Lack of alignment without being addressed effectively can lead to individuals seeking external sources that support them in feeling aligned, even if it is temporary. Reestablish connection, get clear on boundaries and intentions, reset and make healthy new commitments if necessary to help move forward in a healthy manner otherwise a destruction + hurt occurs. 

Comfort - When you truly trust someone you FEEL safe and comfortable within their presence or even in the absence of their presence, the feeling still exists. You choose to see and believe the best in them. If someone has given you every reason that you can see to trust them but you STILL do not feel fully comfortable then perhaps identify if YOU are the one who is holding back or in need of clearing up / taking responsibility for old trust wounds + their impact OR do the work to distinguish whether someone is being phoney baloney with your fine self. Take time to dig a little deeper, ask more questions, listen harder, pay closer attention to what’s really under the surface. Your feelings and bodily sensations never lie, they are always communicating and innately intelligent. Listen. Listen. Listen. 

Tune in + Reflect

  • What do you absolutely trust in?
  • Who do you trust? Why do you know this to be true? 
  • Do you trust in yourself? If not, how come? If Yes, why?
  • Which stage of trust do you find the easiest?
  • Which stage is the most difficult?
  • What are some ways that you can invite more trust into your life?

Life isn’t perfect and some people prove not to be trustworthy. But will increasing your willingness to trust produce, on balance, a positive benefit? Will it make your life more pleasant and less stressful? I believe so. You have little to lose by trying.

Trust has to start somewhere. Why not with you, today, right now? 

Resolute.

There has never been a better time to start or stop.

At any given moment you can make a new choice.

You can commit.  

Experience an upgrade.

Set a clear intention.

Declare what you need. 

Purposefully decide what you desire.

Raise the bar. 

Forgive. 

Forget. 

Let go. 

Give in. 

Hold out. 

Go towards. 

Self -knowledge reveals to the soul that its natural motion is not in a straight line but rather it is circular, always fluid. The self is a circle, whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. The circle being a universal symbol representing the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection,  the infinite, eternity, timelessness, all cyclic movement. 

It is time to embrace your innermost and incomparable uniqueness.  This all-encompassing embrace of the self requires a journey into our rejected selves, and perhaps most importantly, our own pain. Examine + then shed the layers that hold you back, that stifle and restrict you. Dismantle the old. The parts that you no longer require.

When you can really sit in nothing, you can become everything.

What would you then do? 

Be firm in your purpose + belief but allow it to softly move through, in, out, and all around you. 

 

Now what?

It's been just over a week since I have arrived back In Canada after facilitating our Take the leap retreat in Bali with the most inspiring group of humans I could have ever dreamed of + the best copilot @createthelove. Words do not even begin to explain how grateful I am for this time together, the learning, sharing, the tears, laughter, the pool parties, epic rooftop yoga and the gentle spirit of Bali that cradled us as we busted down barriers, broke down walls + cracked our hearts wide open. 1 week together and our hearts got a little softer, our wounds a little less festy, our vision clearer and our presence bolder + brighter. 

Much like when we complete any of these pivotal and life altering, soul soothing experiences (regardless of where or when because even if you didn't come to Bali with us I know you have had these moments and begged for them to last forever!) we really do wonder how to keep the bliss alive + bring more of the good vibes into our everyday existence. How can we aim to stay in alignment, to continue breaking the patterns, refusing to build walls and find the clarity and calm in our communication we so desire.  After weeks of pondering what to write in this post, I came up with countless ideas - was it going to be my top 5 tips on how to stay awesome? The best ways to keep connected to your path + purpose? What to do to ground you after being on a mega high with your tribe? NOTHING resonated fully and I felt the guilts start to creep in, the shoulds, the timelines, the expectations. 

In all honesty, it wasn't until tonight that what I needed you to know was truly revealed to me. I felt it in my bones + I knew that it was spot on. The words are not just for those who ventured to Bali with us, they are for all of us. Anyone who wants more for themselves and craves deep + meaningful connection/contribution in this lifetime. Those of you who are committed to showing up and being 100% YOU. Humans who want to stand for another's greatness. The shifters, the dreamers, the makers, the innovative badasses who together are healing themselves + the entire world. 

Here is what you must know especially when life gets tough and shit is flying at you so fast.  

I AM CONDUCTING GODLY/DIVINE GIFTS

I AM BOUND FOR GREATNESS

I RECEIVE GRACE (The word translated "grace"  comes from the Greek word charis, which means “favour, blessing, or kindness.”) 

YOU ARE THE GIFT + THE GIVER. 

Marinate in that. Say it aloud or write it out. What does it mean for you? How are you the gift? Where / what are you giving? Are you allowing Grace + greatness into your world? Please remember how deserving you are of happiness + joy. 

And finally, from one of my favourite pieces of poetry Desiderata

Be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

I love you.  

Jess x

Prescribing Presence

Cultivating our capacity to sense energy and information flow helps us expand the 'Self' beyond the boundaries of our body and reveals the fundamental truth that we are indeed part of an interconnected world. - Dan Siegel

For the last few weeks, I have been immersed in Nature, surrounded by amazing human beings + have learned a lot. I hosted our Autumn Attunement retreat in the mountains + then travelled to the far west corner of Canada to participate in a Mind, Body, Medicine training. After a couple weeks digesting and reintegrating back into my every day routine I am feeling grateful and would love for you to know what I've been pondering. It has the potential to be more helpful than anything your Dr. would ever order. 

Whether you are in conversation, listening, learning a new skill, parenting, sharing a meal, making love, immersed in Nature, healing your body/heart, playing a sport, facilitating a meeting, executing important business transaction, practicing yoga or at home with a cup of tea: P R E S E N C E is pivotal.  My personal thinking is that most of our problems in relationships, parenting, business, and our health, stem from our inability to be present with ourselves, each other + our lack of intimacy with Mumma Nature. Most of us lead incredibly busy lives, trying to cram an impossible amount of activity into our days, and in the process of trying to take care of everything the brain deems important, we forget what truly matters. 

What is presence? Can we simply define it and therefore truly understand? I don't believe so. For me presence is more than a state of existing or occurring in a place or experience because you can physically be in a space with others or alone and not be there at all in heart, mind or spirit. I liken presence to a feeling, a willingness to embody receptivity.  The ability and desire to truly engage oneself in the moment. Life is only happening right now, in this moment. 

When we leave the moment by getting distracted by our thoughts, we lose the opportunity to experience what it feels like to really be alive. We can easily get caught fixating about a past hurt or worrying about a future concern. But when we can bring our focus back to the moment, we have the opportunity to heal and step into a future we actively choose.  One thing that consistently blows me away when I am hosting trainings, retreats or participating in them is the intense level of presence and healing that can be done with strangers. Presence does not have limited access to those closest to you. I hear things like:  'I can only be open with those who know me best' 'I don't even know them, no way I am touching them or making eye contact!' 'I'm too shy to share with people I don't know' 'Strangers don't care about my story or who I am' 
Blah blah blah that is WRONG. You can actually feel such tremendous love, strength and depth from someone you have never met (trust me, I witness it OFTEN) but you must open yourself,  show up + BE with them sans judgement, fear or distraction. Some of my most profound healing moments have been with people I do not know well, they have been acts of pure human tenderness, compassion, empathy and gratitude. In order for you to radically increase your ability to be in relationship with other people and share embodied experiences YOU must learn to be embodied. 

At my recent training, we spoke in depth about the universe of cells that make up our physical vessel. Your being is always sensing,  seeking, waiting + responding to stimuli / information.  Our bodies are equipped with a natural mechanism called the “stress response,” also known as the “fight-or-flight” response. When we encounter something that feels like a threat the amygdala in the brain experiences the emotion fear. The brain then communicates to the hypothalamus, which communicates to the nervous system, which signals to the adrenal glands to release the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. This assembly-line-like process of the sympathetic nervous system is a crucial part of our body’s internal self-protection mechanism. Many of us live in overdrive and operate in a constant state of 'fight or flight'. This can be a result of feeling the fear of imagined threats: financial security, societal achievement, the steadiness or demise of a relationship, a perceived health threat or the loss of a loved one etc. 

We are not physiologically designed to be frightened as often as we are. 

Constantly operating from this place, it is no wonder that many of us feel the perils of stress and anxiety on a daily basis. We struggle with migraines, digestive issues, difficulty breathing, lack of concentration, fatigue, depression, isolation, and innumerable other physical ailments because our body is actually attempting to flee the scene of a real threat (car crash, lion chase, assault, etc.) that simply isn’t there. We are spending less time in Nature, our communities (although electronically are expanding) are becoming smaller + we feel more alone than ever.  We find ourselves reacting to the body's information by stuffing down pain, emotions, numbing, we push through and past the bodily feedback in order to achieve the external goals, tasks or demands of every day life. To survive, get by, make it to tomorrow to hang on. Disease generally occurs when we abuse our bodies or deprive them of basic requirements to keep us healthy over extended periods. When we idle at the surface of the problem and do not dive deep into the root. 

Ask yourself why it is that you take time to understand how your computer or iphone works but you cannot take time to explore, learn + understand how YOU work? 

 The good news is: YOUR BODY WANTS TO + CAN HEAL ITSELF. Both our energetic and physical bodies have an innate genius for balancing themselves -- maintaining homeostasis through intricate, constant acts of self-regulation.

And when we bring consciousness/awareness to parts of ourselves that are out of balance, and for whatever reason are resisting coming back into balance, that deep, listening awareness can help remove the resistance and ALLOW our natural balancing/healing power to reassert itself. You must calm down though and get out of the stress response.

To help get present, try this...

1. Take a sacred Pause from whatever is happening, in Nature is best of course. 

2. Breathe, inhale deeply (deeper than you have all day)

3. Breathe, exhale deeply (through the mouth, a big purge/sigh of air) 

4. Repeat + keep shifting OUT of Doing + INTO Being. 

5. Sense the difference in the Body/Mind/Heart. 

Mind-body connection + awareness is a practice and like most behaviours we engage in, our degree of awareness is habitual. How can you start to cultivate presence in your every day life, despite the level of chaos and whirlwind pace? We must learn to prioritise spiritual sustenance: Nature Appreciation. love, connection, breathing, nurturing movement, high vibe foods, whole body listening and gratitude. I am confident that humans can choose to develop and increase their frequency, their ability to attune to themselves + others and therefore tap into their deeper self - healing potential: Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

Realising that presence is a skill is an incredibly empowering thought and opens the door to beautiful possibilities. xo

Stay connected + Keep it real.  

 

 

 

  

Attune

Crisp fresh air, beautifully coloured leaves and the crunch underneath my favourite boots, the potent warmth of the evening sun, long slow walks, wool, wool + more wool, the comfort of a warm drink, delicious hearty soups + cozy couch cuddles are a few of my favourite things throughout Autumn. Beyond these things and pumpkin spice everything, the season offers us a gentle, yet important reminder to remain balanced within ourselves before winter arrives. It is a time when we can venture inward to reflect and increase our personal awareness.  Consider the following lessons as you attune to Autumn.

1.     Balancing darkness with light – developing a greater understanding of the need to befriend our own inner darkness. While we move into a time of more rest and retreat, take time to reflect on your heart’s true feelings and desires. Instead of stuffing down, hiding, numbing, avoiding  or ignoring any hurt / pain, we take time to embrace its presence. Use the darkness as information to support you in creating a road map of healing and future direction. 

2.     Letting go – as leaves flutter off the trees we are reminded of the natural cycles (vinyasa) of life. Purge and relinquish all your negative thoughts, negative belief systems, your limitations, your expectations and allow the season of autumn to absorb them in order to purify your energy so that you can continue on your growth journey. Autumn is a time for letting go of all your burdens, doubts, grieving, and any emotions that limits your ability from moving on.

3.     Acknowledging impermanence – fall reminds us of the fleeting nature of all things + the importance of appreciation and gratitude. Living fully and truly cherishing the moments because nothing lasts forever.  Take time to honour yourself, those around you + all of your blessings. 

4.     Embracing uncertainty + trusting divine timing  - the unpredictability of the season offers opportunity to practice patience during the transformation and transition. Trusting divine timing means that certain pieces of the puzzle must first fall into place so the other parts can come to fruition.  The season can serve as evidence that peace of mind is within you and that you can feel serene even in the midst of uncertainty.

5. Power of Breath - The Lungs are the organs of respiration, responsible for supplying oxygenated blood to every organ of the body and eliminating the waste matter from the cells through our expiration. The word used for breathing in is “inspiration,” which is the main function of the Lung, both physically and spiritually. To be properly “inspired,” we must create space by getting the old stale air out, along with old, preconceived notions of reality. Let yourself take deep breaths, filling your lungs with air and then emptying them completely.  When all the leaves have been shed, we feel more deeply the crisp air. Air being symbolic of what is essential, what really matters in life.  Through inhalation and exhalation, we take in and release the world. 

Get grounded, move slower, observe more, connect deeper, breathe fuller.  

Say what?

Words can inspire and words can destroy. Choose yours well.

I have always been fascinated with words and more specifically the power and energy behind words.  They can captivate and control human emotion. The ways words are said reveal the condition of the heart and the status of the circumstance. When used positive intention, words have the power to change the world. Words are attached to the soul; they go from the page, our lips, their lips, and infuse into our being.

In yoga class I speak often to the philosophy of the practice and how I believe it is important to create relevant and realistic connections to these ancient theories and own modern worlds.  The five internal practices of observance, called Niyamas are traditionally used as guidelines to build inner strength and discipline. More specifically the Niyama: Shaucha comes to mind as I ponder the power of words. It is a central aim of many yogic techniques. The yogis discovered that impurities in both our external environment and our internal body adversely affect our state of mind. The practices of movement, breathe and meditation cleanse and purify the body and mind, as well as strengthens our capacity to maintain a stable, positive and loving state of being.

The work then is to consciously surround ourselves with a pure environment (free of toxins) this includes food, drink, friends, entertainment, home furnishings and transportation and the words you hear, see + think. Our goal is to limit or eliminate external impurities into our bodies or minds. The way that your life is currently going is a reflection upon the words that you have been consistently speaking.Take a time out to think about the words that you have been using to describe yourself or your current situation.  If your life isn’t what you truly desire and if you have been speaking negatively in regards to certain areas of your life then it is time to make a change. Check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Keep your words kind + true because a positively spoken word/phrase is a powerful affirmation or declaration that can replace any subconscious cues that have the potential to sabotage your success in any facet of your life. A declaration created just for you serves as a reminder of what is ultimately important for both your short and long-term goals. It provides a way to tie in who you are today that fulfills your future goals. Go through the following steps courtesy of my beautiful mentor Susan Conrad, founder of IGOLU. 

1. Look at one domain from your goals (i.e., personal, health, career).

2. Read your vision out loud.

3. Identify a goal you really want and are not sure you can have.

4. Identify what the reactive voice in your head says (i.e., “I don’t deserve it; it isn’t practical; I’ll never ___.”)

5. Experiment with active verbs such as: “I am.” “I allow.” “I choose.” “I give.” “I know.” Choose one that works for you and finish the sentence in a way that will remind you today of all that you are creating for your future.

6. Speak your declaration out loud and modify it until your body senses both relief and elation. 

Examples of powerful declarations might be: 

  • I am a stand for the greatness within (all people).
  • I am a loving listener.
  • Beautiful, creative solutions fuel my freedom.
  • I am grounded in choice, travel, and rich experiences.
  • My intuition creates infinite possibility.
  • My centre of positivity creates freedom
  • My full emotional and physical presence brings me joy.
  • I invest in experiences that build legacies.
  • I am a living example of compassion, joy, and greatness.
  • I am inspiration, satiation, and curiosity.

 

 

 


Keep it pure. xo 

No Hurry

'Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished' - Lao Tzu


All too often we allow ourselves to get swept up into a frantic way of existing. We feel rushed, anxious, overwhelmed and our nervous system is working overtime to find some kind of balance within our being.

This obsession to being 'busy' eventually gets the better of us physically, mentally, emotionally + spiritually if we don't choose to tune in. Going faster doesn’t necessarily equate with accomplishing more or doing it any better, nor does it define your worth as a human. In actual fact, the opposite is usually true. If you slow down, you are able to think more clearly, stay connected + act with purpose.

There is no quick fix for finding happiness (psst. you create it!) and certainly no magic wand to eliminate life's responsibility so instead, use your YES + NO wisely and in accordance with your heart. Recognize that becoming less stressed begins by changing your way of thinking. Notice your breath, get present to sensations/surroundings, move your body + experience yourself in Nature. Taking appropriate action, making decisions and shifting direction feels so much better when we do it from deep inside at our centre rather than being pushed and pulled from the outside.

Right now, I feel the need to step back + reconnect (and I don’t think I am alone). From so many of my conversations, I hear others around me are wanting the same thing. Summer has been busy, work is stressful and many of us are feeling the need to let go and recharge. So I encourage you to indulge in some much needed rest + relaxation. Welcome Autumn with open arms + see this change in the seasons as a way to slow down, reconnect and nourish your body + soul. And what better way to do that than a weekend escape in nature? 

You deserve a break, let us take good care of you --> bit.ly/nourishautumn