A Journey of Change and Growth

It was 5 years ago that I packed up my life in Calgary and drove East with Matthew to start our life together with his children. It was an exciting time and I was making big changes in my life. Not only was I moving provinces, I was leaving behind a 15 year career in financial services for a dream of helping people in ways closer to my heart.

I had recently completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training. The process of going through this training, opened up my mind and my heart to new possibilities. First for myself and second for the people I had been helping over the years at the bank. I saw the needs of our human lives in a new way. I knew in my heart that I could serve people more than simply in financial matters. I wanted to help people see their true potential to create lives of meaning and purpose in ways that filled their hearts and souls.

Emerging with this change came possibility to becoming a life coach to help fuel this dream. Yoga offers much enlightenment and potential, yet I felt I drawn to this complimentary pathway to reach more people.

Upon arriving in Nova Scotia, I took some time to settle into our rental home in Prospect Bay. It was a cute little spot right on the water. I was completely mesmerized by the rising and falling tides. It was magical for me to see the ocean ‘breathe’ in this way. Nature’s essence was all around me. I felt like a kid again discovering a new land!

The whole transition brought feelings of freedom and a perspective of anything being possible. Within a few months I had found my life coaching program and was off to New York city the weekend of my 36th birthday. This in itself was unbelievable. You seriously can never guess where life will take you when you follow your dreams!

Meanwhile we had purchased land in Seabright and found a builder for the home we designed. Our house started going up in November of that year. Things were moving quickly, but everything felt absolutely divine. Our dreams were becoming reality.

By May of 2014, one year after my arrival in Nova Scotia, we moved into our new off-grid home and I graduated from my life coaching program. It was time to lay down some roots.

Our first year settling into our home brought joy and some unforgettable challenges to life. Anyone can attest, when you build a new home there are quirks to work through. Build an off-grid home and you can expect a much steeper learning curve! The past 4 years have been interesting to say the least, but as Matthew likes to say, “we are homesteading” which can time. This past year we finally made it through a winter without much issue and this spring is bringing even more opportunity.

We began building a wood shed to keep that precious firewood dry and accessible, while our garden boxes are in production and our first little vegetable seedlings are reaching for the sun!

I feel so much gratitude for the home we’ve created and my life with Matthew and his children. We have an amazing view of St. Margaret’s Bay (which we enjoy sailing on as well), and last year I built my home studio to work from. This has brought a whole new light to my journey. I now have a beautiful space to create in, connect in, and guide my clients and my self into deeper soul clarity.

Since moving to Nova Scotia, I have gone through not only physical spacial changes, but introspective personal growth. Over the past few years, I have worked with coaches and healers to awaken parts of myself that were still living in the past or holding me back from living my dreams. Old beliefs and emotions that weighed on my heart and kept me playing small. Creating change takes awareness and effort. If you can do it however, the world opens up to you. It’s when you truly realize what you’re doing… how you’re being, that subtle mindset shifts emerge so actions you take can create significant influence in your life.

The whole process of transitioning through careers was slightly intimidating, yet amazing. I felt ready and couldn’t imagine staying where I was. Plus, I was moving into something that gave more meaning and value to my life. Acts like this do require self-awareness and conviction to follow your intuition.

Guided to the St. Margaret’s Bay Shambhala Center to check out a yoga class with Gabriela Larranaga. I was grateful to receive her classes and delighted when she asked me to help her by substituting when she was away. In time she helped me to get my first time slot to teach my yoga class!

I had a small following that first year, and if it wasn’t for our dear friend Ed, I can’t say I would have made it. But he was diligent in his 20+ year yoga practice and he kept me showing up. Learning to let go of my expectations of how my classes should grow, and instead being open to receiving each student as they arrived was not always easy, but served me well in the long run. It was quite a change from always having clients walk into my office at the bank to going out into the community, getting to know people, and sharing that I offered yoga classes.

Four years later, my heart is full of gratitude for how connected I feel to my yoga community and those who continue to practice with me. As well, the clients that I have connected with and served as a life coach have brought such value into my life. You always learn things that impact your life when you help people overcome challenges and changes in their lives. It’s never a one way street.

All of the changes I have created in the past few years have helped grow my self-confidence for what I offer and self-acceptance for loving who I have become. When I reflect back I can feel the shifts and changes. Today my life feels much more meaningful.

This year I have stepped into new growth, by running my first full day workshop; incorporating yoga, life coaching and Chakradance! Witnessing these beautiful souls embracing their inner truth and opening up to new possibilities filled my heart. I could feel my souls purpose emanating that day. I’m eager to continuing this growth with more workshops!

This summer I will complete my 500 hour yoga teacher training with the Himalayan Institute. Over the past year this training has evolved my teaching and I feel awakened to my inner truth of potential in such a greater capacity. My growth is ongoing… just as all of ours can be.

Sharing each group yoga class, opening my studio doors to private yoga sessions and life coaching clients, as well as sharing workshops of Chakradance, yoga, and group coaching has brought home my dream of helping others see the possibilities in their lives.

I feel like I have truly come home to my self in my life passions, both professionally and personally. Yet, I can’t wait to see what then next 5 years bring!

If you are contemplating a change or can feel the Universe drawing you in an unexpected direction, check in and discover the possibilities within you. You shine in your own unique way. Don’t let anyone else’s fears of your changes hold you back from living your dream. Be your best self and serve your soul’s vision. It’s worth it!

Love and light,
Brenda

Surrendering Certainty

This month I am offering my first full day workshop, Spring Into Clarity. It is a dream that first showed up last year about this time, though it percolated, it didn’t have enough energy to come to fruition. That said, this year when its momentum arrived, its energy was much more powerful. I felt the inspiration it emerge and I was ready to fulfill the dream.

Putting together a full day event like this seems pretty standard, and having been to multiple workshops, I have to agree there is a “set path” one can work from to coordinate and organize. This is truly a relief. Framework brings a sense of ease to new pathways. So I mapped it out, made some initial decisions and, with a deep breath, put it out there. It was alive! People began registering and it filled up faster than I could have ever imagined. Wow, gratitude!

I could breathe, that part was complete and all I had to do was finish putting it all together. That was a couple of weeks ago. Then my fears showed up.

“Will it be meaningful to all the participants? What if it doesn’t meet their expectations? Will I be good enough?”

These thoughts paralyzed my creativity for a few days. I was worried and uncertain about how it would go. I could see myself falling into the depths of these thoughts, though another part of me know they weren’t true. I just couldn’t let them go.

It took me getting rattled about something in my relationship that finally took me into the depths of my despair. I cried out the fears, the anguish, the false truths that I was allowing to rule my being. My energies settled. I felt calm. The next day I woke up and could feel a shift. I checked in… I felt more in alignment. My truth was back: I could feel my confidence and empowered self. Ahhh….

I once again realized, I knew I would offer my best self, I had trust in my abilities. I connected to my purpose from my initial inspiration and I could feel my faith that the Universe had my back (as Gabby Bernstein has helped me realize). I knew that no matter what happens, it will be okay… I will be okay. There may come some lessons with this new step, and those are certainly welcomed.

My truth lies in this affirmation…Surrender-Certainty

I have faith in the Universe, and I trust myself.

That is all I can really hold on to.

When we decide to take any step, especially those with unknown outcomes, we can only truly control ourself, the rest we have no control over, we must have faith.

Show up and Be your best self, leave the rest to fate. This releases a lot of worry and stress.

What outcome are you holding on to or afraid to take action on? What if you could surrender to fate and take your first step? How do you trust in your Self to be a part of the plan?

I’d love to hear from you! How does this resonate for you in your life? Comment or please connect anytime!

Love and light,
Brenda

Ready to Show Up for Yourself?

As I reflect on how I’m showing up to myself lately, I feel a sense of disciplined purpose in my actions. This is important to me, I need this time to check in, be with whatever is arising in my mind, body, or emotions. The more I take these opportunities for myself, the more I feel in tune with my soul.

When I set this time and space, my ability to show up to my family, friends, and clients is more focused and pleasant.

What does it mean to show up for yourself?

Showing up is being present to your thoughts, emotions and whole being. It’s being observant. It’s noticing what you need in any given moment and taking action with intention and purpose. It means living with integrity by honouring yourself each day.

What do you notice when you read this? Longing for more self-awareness, time for you, judgement?

I feel it’s important to note, showing up requires compassion.

The first principle in yoga guides us to practice Ahimsa, kindness and compassion towards yourself and others.

By showing up to yourself with compassion, you are better able to meet yourself where you are at with an honest approach. You can objectively see the range of thoughts that roam through your mind; you can allow the feelings that arise within you to help them pass; you can honour your needs and discover solutions by taking the time to notice.

Showing up requires a steady practice. This means you give yourself time daily to show up and be present.

What practices can you establish to create the space to show up to yourself?

* Meditation – focused breathing
* Mindful movement – yoga, tai chi, Qi gong, silent nature walks
* Check-ins throughout the day
* Taking a moment to step away from the busy-ness of life
* Nurture yourself with wholesome foods and self-care

Be disciplined in the practices you establish, show yourself true integrity for your well-being.

Show-up-for-yourselfAnd when you’ve taken this time for you, be grateful, and notice the shifts it makes in your life, in your interactions, and perhaps how your model self-care for your children.

How are you showing up for you?
I’d love to hear from you. Share your insights and set intentions for yourself.

May you choose the path of your highest good,
Brenda

The New Years Spotlight

January 1st, it feels big, like a spotlight shining on you saying, “Okay, let’s see what you’ve got!”, …and you freeze. It could be stage fright, forgetting your lines, or perhaps you feel unprepared.

I had a mix of these feelings yesterday, and it had me confused.

I usually find January 1st to be an anticipated and opportunistic day. In the past, I’ve conquered habits like smoking, set resolutions to better my life, and felt uplifted with new possibilities. Yet, somehow I couldn’t grasp these supportive mindsets.

I had planned to create my vision board, send out some emails for the start of the year, but I couldn’t get there. I was disappointed in myself, which certainly didn’t make things any better.

It was like the shadows I didn’t want to face were staring at me and saying, “you know if you want to get anywhere, you have to deal with us first”. My self doubts were big and scary and my vision was dark and dull. I didn’t feel prepared or ready to face them.

So I ignored them, preferring to follow my best distraction habits…cleaning and organizing. “There was much to be done”, I told myself. The holidays were over and the house needed a reset. I was still eating holidays style and instead of getting to bed early, I also detracted from my needs by playing the new VR we got.

To be truthful, I could see what I was doing, yet I didn’t have the conviction to change it. I allowed these darker parts of myself to take over.

Fast forward to this morning. “Back to work”. I got up early, cleanup breakfast and got ready for a new day. I came out to my office and followed my first intuition…sit on your meditation cushion.

I sit down…”oh, this feels nice”, like receiving a hug from an old friend just when you needed it. “Okay, settle in”… the thoughts come and go, come and go, I see myself dwelling on the to-do list, “let it go… settle in…” hearing sounds outside… “let it go… settle in…” eventually I settled enough to be there, but my mind was certainly disturbed and distracted. But it was a good start. The teacher in me, reminds me this is okay… I agree “yes, okay”.

Then my yoga sutra book flashes in my mind, so I grab it and sit down for a quick read. The first sutra’s gentle reminder, this is the entrance to the path to fulfillment. Immediately I’m reminded of the purpose of my yoga practice, the gateway to my true self. Then Sutra 1.2, if straying from the practice, how easy it is for the roaming tendencies of the mind to take over. How that simple moment of noticing the distracted and disturbed mind becomes purified and clear through a steady, one-pointed mind. Here I am better able to distinguish the real from the unreal.

I’ve been out of my regular practice for 10 days, abundantly enjoying the freedom of the holidays, and I immediately recognize my disturbed mind, disconnected from my true reality and purpose.

There’s a dichotomy in this scenario for me. I certainly enjoyed the time away from the “daily grind”, sharing time with family and friends, travelling to Old Montreal for a mini vacation, celebrating and being merry. I have no regrets.

But I do notice what I need now. Normalcy, a moment to settle back into reality, to re-ground and prepare for all I want to create this year.

And perhaps that is the reminder.

When I choose a moment of freedom, I must remember to give myself a moment to re-ground and rebalance before expecting myself to already be back in the creative flow.

Even taking the time to write this, I can feel the glimmer of new possibilities emerging. Those ideas and plans for the new year sparking in my heart.

New-Years-Spotlight

If you connect to my thoughts and feelings here as you embrace a new year, take a moment to remember what grounds you, notice what you need to be reminded of the luminosity of your own essence, then create space for your true self to shine into the new year.

How are you settling into 2018? Do you feel yourself jumping right in or needing some time and space to settle in? Pop me a note or comment here, I’d love to hear from you!

Blessings to you for a healthy and prosperous 2018.

Meet Yourself Where You’re At

Actions aligned with self-awareness offer a gateway to our goals that will continue to serve our highest good. 

Tagging along from last month, I’ve been working toward supporting myself with some daily routines. It has been an enlightening experience. I can feel nourishing benefits when I do my practices daily, and can certainly feel the difference and a bit out of alignment, if I miss them. In this process, I have been reminded of a valuable part of creating any routine.

Where-you're-at

If you attend my yoga classes, you will know this is an essential part of my teaching. I encourage each yogi to meet themselves where they are at… to follow their own inner guidance, feel the sensations in their body, notice their energy, and allow these qualities of their awareness to lead the way. This is why I offer modifications throughout the practice, to allow each individual to make the practice their own. In essence, meeting yourself where you are at connects you to your whole self.

This self-awareness  is extremely valuable as you connect with what is true in the moment and choose your action accordingly. You are able to recognize when you are striving for something which is more than what you actually need, or is necessarily available to you in that moment. When instead you could be giving yourself more compassion or encouragement in other ways.

As well, when you work toward a goal, your present moment awareness helps you take action in alignment with your current state of being. It also encourages you to notice when your action is perhaps not in alignment with your current state, your needs or values. This is an integral to any goal. You need to notice how it is evolving and if it feels right for you still. As we move toward goals, sometimes circumstances change and we need to be able to alter things if needed. Being present helps to achieve this.

Consider incorporating practices that support this regular connection of self-awareness in your day. There are many modalities accessible to us. My favourites include, yoga, meditation, being in nature, dancing… others might include playing/listening to music, any uninterrupted physical activity, tai chi or qi gong, etc. What practice do you connect to and enjoy that would help you increase your self-awareness? Developing this awareness on a regular basis helps to be able to check in whenever you need to during your day.

Back to my evolving routine and the lesson I was reminded of. As I reflect on my initial routine last month, it makes me think of a bootcamp. I was hard-lined to make my routine work exactly as I imagined. Then I hit a wall, I was dead tired at the end of the first week. I knew there was something important I needed and wasn’t paying attention to.

I no longer desire to make a routine that is so strict that I lose track of myself in the process. What I prefer today is a routine that works with my ebb and flow. It gives me easy structure that I can follow each day without compromising myself and my values. Instead my routine can actually help cultivate my awareness of how my body is feeling, the thoughts present in my mind, and deal with those things you just can’t plan for. As a result, I can adjust my routine accordingly.

This means that I am actually cultivating more presence in my life, noticing what I need, and aligning myself with the practices and daily routines that serve my ever-changing body, mind, and spirit. This also help me connect to my heart’s callings.

If you were to meet yourself where you’re at, what would be different about you? How would you benefit? Please share in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

With love and light,
Brenda

Supporting Yourself with Routine

The way you carry out your day can have a profound impact on how you feel and what you can accomplish. How does your routine support you?

I recently returned from my second 10 day segment of yoga teacher training, as I work toward my 500 hour certification, with the Himalayan Institute. This center in Pennsylvania offers a deeply supportive space to nurture and grow within. As an institute that accommodates around 100 people with a small community also living nearby, you really begin to feel like you’re at home and the people become your extended family.

I anticipated this second journey for months, knowing how supportive and connected I felt the first time I went in the spring. I assumed a similar experience this time around, and though there was a similar structure, it is interesting how you meet each experience based on where you are in the moment. While most of the structure was the same, I notice myself entering into the structure slightly differently.

This time I ended up with a single room, previously I shared a space. This in itself created an altered environment as I was alone more often than before. That said, this alone time gave me more time to reflect and notice my own rhythms.

During my previous experience, I didn’t really have a specific routine daily, I showered at different times of day, had various beverages of coffee, tea, etc, and got up and went to bed at different times. Though I loved the experience, I completely crashed when it was finished. So this time, I found myself entering into the 10 day experience desiring to find a way that felt more balanced.

On our second day there, we learned about dinacharya (ayurvedic daily routine) in an afternoon segment on Ayurveda. The class triggered a memory for me, how in previous years when I was working at the bank, that I felt my best when I had a supportive daily routine. Back then, I would get up each morning with enough time to do some yoga and meditation, get ready and have some time to relax before heading out on my day. At lunch I would go for a walk and often each lunch a nearby park. Reconnecting with the way I felt by having that time for myself during the day, I knew I was hearing this information in divine timing.

RoutineI immediately chose to implement an easy routine for my remaining days; I woke up at 5:15am, I had a shower and got ready. Then I went to morning prayers and sat in meditation for about 20 mins. At 6:30am I made my way down to our morning yoga practice. For breakfast, I tried to choose food that felt warm, grounding, and nourishing. After my food had a about 30 minutes to digest, I would take a walk somewhere on the property. Then as I moved through my day with morning classes, a wholesome lunch, afternoon classes, a light supper, and evening class, I would take a moment to notice if I needed to relax, get some fresh air, take a walk in nature, or connect with classmates. I followed my intuition.

After experiencing this structure to my day, a sense of balance and purpose emerged. I was able to be attentive in class during these long days, I slept well, and even started to feel better with some digestive issues I have been experiencing.

Upon arriving back home, I decided it was time to rediscover my daily routine and find something that would feel supportive now on a continual basis.

Depending on the flow of your life, this can be simple or a challenge. For me, one week my partner and I are alone (just us and the dog), the next week we get to spend the week with his children, while also running to school and activities. Finding my routine is likely going to take some experimenting over the next few weeks. While I am currently only a few days into exploring my routine, I feel content each time I complete my morning ritual.

One of the most important things about creating a structured routine, is to make it easy, something that can flow without much decision-making, but with mindful intention. We want to be present in mind and body to our routine, so we can alter as needed, as our needs change over time.

While I am currently mostly focused on my morning routine, in order for my morning to flow with ease, I need to pay attention to my evening. Heading to bed at a time that is supportive to my ability to get up in the morning is essential.

Eventually, I want to look at the whole day. What can I do each day that will feel grounding, supportive, and enticing enough to follow? The sense I get is a routine that holds my energy on both sides of my day, morning and night, so I can show up my best in the middle to the world around me.

If you decide to explore with your routine, is it unfolds notice what changes about you. In the past, I know if felt more aligned with my true intentions, more confident in my abilities, and my intuition heightened.

I invite you to take a look at your daily routines and discover what shifts, intentions, or new actions would support you the most in your life today. And let me know what you discover! I’d love to hear from you.

Love and light,
Brenda

What’s this judgement about anyway?

If you were face to face with a critic, how easily could you overcome their views on behalf of your own dreams and desires?

What if this critic was within you?

Our inner critic has a strong influence on each of us. Often keeping us from taking meaningful action in our lives. It also has an impact how we relate to others.

It shows itself through this voice repeating in our minds, setting the bar so high it feels unfathomable, keeping us “safe” from potential harm, and holding us back from possibility. Don’t get me wrong, I think it truly means well…that’s the safety part. But what it does as a result, is keeps us stuck, standing in mud so thick we can barely move.

Then I invite you to notice how your critic sees the world around you. It seems to rear its head out of nowhere, with comments and judgements about others. Just the other day, I found myself judging this girl running on the spot at the corner I was driving by. I felt an urge of frustration at her for running on the spot while she waited for the light (ridiculous I know). I had a moment where a story come up about why I didn’t like her. I caught myself immediately and soon realized the truth of the story. I actually wanted what she was doing for my health and well-being. So I smirked and offered myself compassion for not having run in a while.

I’ve also had conversations lately with clients and even my step-daughter about how judgment is playing a big role in their lives, being afraid to try new steps and take action. In each conversation, it seemed to come down to realizing there is a judgement or criticism at play. Then discovering what was needed to allow them to try… with the possibility of potentially failing, having to try again, letting go of perfectionism or noticing if there is a story playing that kept them head strong in the judgement actually happening.

Many of us are worried about what others will think, and that also plays a big part in our actions. We worry that they will judge us or see us fail, when it seems that we are actually our biggest critics. The likelihood of someone actually judging you for what you judge yourself for is small. They have their own inner critic to deal with. You’re probably worried about messing up and they are worried about their own mess up, or you’re worried about what they will think and they aren’t even paying attention.

When it finally comes time to work with this inner critic and the judgements, we can’t simply ignore this part of ourselves, believe me, it will just get louder. I prefer we dig into its true wisdom, like I did yesterday with the runner.

Potential-emergesAsk yourself…
What am I truly seeing here that I want to see in myself? Is there a way I want to be that I’m not being? What’s truly important to me about this situation?

If you allow your inner critic to set the bar so high that you are scared to even try, you will never take a step forward. However, if you can work with this critic, that wants to see you succeed and do well, then allow it to help.

I believe we can all use the inner critic to help us see how we could do better, to nurture ourselves with growth potential rather than steal our potential. And where there is a critic, there is likely a compassionate praiser as well. Connect with the part of you that gently encourages, supports and cheers you on. If it’s hard to connect to, notice when you want someone else to do well, there it is! See what it has to say about your situation.

Some final thoughts and reminders for all of us.

  • When you judge someone else, this is your opportunity to realize what you really want to see in yourself. Then make it happen.
  • When you’re scared to take action because of judgement by others, remember those you expect are judging you are likely focused on themselves.
  • If your bar is set really high, let go of perfectionism. Remember, nobody’s perfect. ;) Then give it a go!
  • When you find yourself judging someone else, notice what you truly need inside.
  • If you were encouraging someone else to try, what would you say to them? Keep that in mind for yourself.

Give yourself a chance, every step counts, even the small ones.

Thank you for sharing your time reading this today. Let me know how this article resonates with you. I’d love to hear from you!

Please connect anytime!