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A lifestyle that supports your goals

In order to get different results in your life you have to do things differently.

I used to think getting up at 5am (or 4.30am) was something I could only do for special occasions. Now I do it on the regular.

My number one reason is to fit in my personal priorities each day:
1. Yoga or exercise
2. Meditation
3. Journaling
4. A rush free morning

When you really want something, you will find a way to make it happen. .
Having enough time to get my personal priorities in before my work day means 9.00-9.30pm bedtime, 5.00am wake up and 4 alarms to keep me from falling back to sleep.

I spent months struggling to get up this early to make time for an early yoga practice or work out. I kept saying to myself ‘I really can’t handle not getting a good night’s sleep.’ ‘It’s so hard for me to get up early in the morning.’ When I was repeating those things to myself, it was all too easy and reasonable to just reset my 5am alarm to 6am.

Once I decided that getting my personal priorities done was non-negotiable and had to happen, I looked for ways to make it easier.
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The first place I went was to challenge the story I was telling myself about getting up early. Of course, I do everything I reasonably can to get to bed early so I can get up early. I also starting to replace that thought with ‘I can handle less than my ideal sleep time. I can handle transitioning into an earlier wake up. I can find a way to wake up earlier.’

Guess what. I have!

I also allow myself to take a nap after work if I need it. Or if I need a sleep in day, I decide the night before. I know and trust the signals from my body to make the best decision for me.

Change can be easy if you let it. I really recommend looking at the thoughts and stories you have around why it’s hard and look for ways you can see it differently. You might truly surprise yourself.

PS I’m teaching a 6.45am yoga class at the Fundy Y. If getting active is one of your goals, consider joining me tomorrow. The fall is a great time to start a new routine and you can jumpstart that process in August!

I choose

I choose to stay centered.

I choose to have peace.

I choose to show love.

I choose to be calm.

I choose to trust everything is working out for my highest good.

Try this as a mantra, the next time.you feel stressed or overwhelmed by the circumstances you are in.

Really let yourself feel the words to be true. Maybe just a little bit true if you can’t stretch to believe them to be completely true.

Quite often we can feel calm in hectic times simply by choosing to be calm. By refusing to get caught up in the stories about how this situation is bad, or wrong, or too hard to handle, we find that we are resilient enough to handle so much without the stressing chatter in our heads.

It certainly takes practice. For me, repeating statements like the above paired with deep, slow breathing and consciously relaxing the tense areas in the body is the pathway to calm.

Try it out! It may take a little practice to get a hang of it but it’s something worth practicing.

Self love

I love myself.
I trust myself.
I will be myself.

I don’t know how many times I’ve repeated those statements to myself. Or how many times I’ve written them in my journal.

At first I didn’t believe it. It felt awkward and strange but still I persisted. So many women, teachers, leaders I admired said that self-love and self-acceptance was critical for peace in life. I trusted their knowledge and their processes and I found ways to maybe-kinda-sorta let statements like that be true for me.

One day it clicked. I didn’t stick to any goal or process or job that I hated. Mentally berating and chastising myself didn’t get me anywhere.

I wanted change to feel good. I wanted the pursuit of goals to be easy and fun and light me up.

I let it. I decided that I was good enough, worthy enough, deserving of love and respect exactly as I was. No changes or progress necessary. I was no longer a mess or a train wreck. I was a loving, kind, sensitive, empathetic person. I decided that changing got to be easy.

Any change I wanted to make that came out of a belief that I was flawed or faulted or not good enough would never result in lasting change or a lifestyle that I would love.

For example, this morning I planned to get up and exercise. I got new resistance bands last night and I really wanted to try them. When I woke up, I had a headache and my stomach was upset. I realized that taking a walk by the water with my dogs was more in line with what my body, mind and soul needed.

That’s what I did. I could beat myself up for not getting a sweat on. That will get me nowhere. Going for that gentle walk was what my body needed and it was showing love and compassion to myself. .

I am intelligent enough to take a program or a plan and make it fit to my life without feeling like I’ve failed or messed up. Ultimately, I will not stick to a plan I hate. That’s crazy. Being able to take that plan and make modifications to meet my needs is how I build a lifestyle. That’s the definition I use for an intermediate yoga student – able to modify or adjust postures to meet the needs of your body that day.

Blindly following a set of rules or a plan or a program someone else set out without consideration and adjustment for your own needs, skills is strengths divorces your mind from your body.

Our body communicated needs to us all the time: I’m hungry, I’m tired, I need to move, I’m feeling feverish. These are important things we shouldn’t ignore. Just exactly like a child would communicate their needs to a parent, our body communicates to us. We show our body love when we take care of it. That feels incredibly good!
When we listen we can get more subtle messages from our body – guidance on decisions in life, what actions steps to take. It takes time to listen to this voice (I’ll go into it more in a future post) but honoring the messiest from our bodies is so important when navigating any change in life.
When you are looking to make a change in your life spend some time asking yourself what would feel good, loving, easy and experiment with ways to incorporate that into the change. I’ll share more examples of what those might look like in a future post.

Expand

Earlier today I was feeling resentful and fearful about something I needed to do. I was caught up in my stories about why it was hard and I shouldn’t have to and why I couldn’t handle it.

I pulled out my journal and I asked ‘How can I see things differently?’.

The intuitive answers I got were:
1) You need to practice putting yourself out there.
2) You need to practice hearing ‘no’.
3) You need to practice owning what you believe in and not letting your validation or worthiness hang on the opinions or thoughts of others.
4) You need to get comfortable doing uncomfortable things and see that you can survive regardless of outcome.
5) You need to practice letting go of drama and stories and resistance.

I had so much more peace.

Doing the things was still had but I could see how it was connected to my why, my purpose.

Everything is a lesson if you are open.

Journal Prompt #1

You are inherently valuable.

You are worthy of your dreams.

There is nothing you have to do to be enough.

You are enough now.

Just because you are.

Just as you are.

No conditions.

No exceptions.

No rules.

No limitations.

Knowing that this is true and that you are safe to live like this. Knowing you are taken care of and fully supported living like this –

What would you differently?
How would you show up?
What would your relationships be like?
Where would you work?
What would you do?
How would you dress?
How would you spend your time?
How much money would you make?
What would your day look like?

It’s okay if fears or restrictions come up. Dismiss them, or record them on another page. Don’t get caught up in them. Come right back to dreaming as though all the above it already true now.

My why

The real reason I am here is because I see so many people unhappy with their lives, their finances, their bodies, their fitness, their emotional health, their mental health, their schedule, their wardrobe, their relationships, their commitments and THEY DO NOTHING ABOUT IT!

They buy into myths like:
✴ I don’t know what to do and it’s too hard to figure out.
✴ It’s too hard to change.
✴I’ll probably fail anyway.

I used to be like that. I used to believe in predestination and that whatever happened in my life was my lot and I just had to deal with it.

I didn’t make choices in my life. I just took whatever opportunities they came up. For so many years, I felt powerless and directionless and purposeless.

That’s not a great place to be. That’s a direct pathway into despair and depression.

I’ve spent the last 5 years delving into self development, mindset work and challenging my habitual, painful thoughts.

The most important thing I’ve learned is that my ‘weaknesses’ and ‘flaws’ aren’t weaknesses and flaws at all. These pain points are signposts to my pathway to success and development and achievement. The things that have given me the most heartache are where my true strengths lie, if only I am willing to pursue them wholeheartedly, without compromise.

The biggest problem is that we are conditioned to hide and be ashamed of the areas where we do not immediately excel. We berate and shame and punish ourselves for it. Any development in that area comes out of shame and inadequacy.

The biggest solution to that problem is starting to believe that we can learn to love the currently painful process or growth and progress. .
The further down this path I go, the more firmly I am convinced that the only way to make lasting change in your life is to love yourself through it. .
That’s a big statement, I know. I’ll be unpacking it in the coming days.

Stay tuned!

Morning rituals

One of my favourite morning rituals is to take my first cup of coffee and sit outside and drink it distraction free. I take anywhere from 5-15 minutes.

I really crave quiet, calm and spaciousness in my day, so this is one that I almost never miss. .


Another one that I have recently added is taking a short walk by the waterfront in the evenings. Often I take the dogs and we go at a slow, moseying pace. I let them stop and sniff as much as they want. I let them say hello and get lovings from whomever they’d like. It’s unhurried.

Again, it’s quiet and calm. It’s unhurried and it gives me a little time for self reflection and contemplation. I’m often filled with gratitude for my community and for my life after one of those walks. .


A third is regular exercise. The heat has been brutal this summer, so this morning I got up at 5am for a 30 minute run. I’m currently committed to 3 workouts a week. This particular week is pretty busy for me, I still want to exercise and meet my commitment.

I love the endorphine rush from exercise. I love to see how my endurance is improving. I can see myself getting stronger. It’s just plain good for you to exercise regularly.

These elements all represent elements I’ve identified as part of my ideal life. I’m building them as habits right now in my life. Even though it can be hard, I’ve committed to making these small changes in my day because they are priorities for me. As time passes, I get closer and closer to living my ideal day all the time.

It’s not easy changing your habits but it’s also hard to live with the same struggles, issues and problems. If you’re happy with the way things are, then do what you’re doing.

If you’re not happy with how things are and you want change – minimal to mindblowing – you need to do something differently.

✴Embrace the discomfort of change. ✴Embrace the irregularity and initial inconsistency of developing a new habit.
✴Let yourself perform your new habit without major attachment to the outcome.
✴Give yourself permission to be new at something, to make mistakes, to fail.
✴Make your commitment to consistency and building the momentum that comes from that consistency.
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It’s just the weather

You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather. Pema  Chodron .

When you realize that feelings are not facts and you don’t have to believe everything you think you experience mental and emotional liberation. .

When you learn how to use self observation and emotional resilience, you are given the tools to experience massive change and progress in your life. .

Remember that thoughts and feelings, circumstances and situations, people and relationships are ephemeral. They are constantly changing. .

You have the choice to let these things affect you, cripple you, swipe you off your feet. .

Instead choose to stop giving energy to these thoughts. Choose to focus on the big picture. Choose composure over catastrophic. .

Trust that you can see yourself through anything that comes your way. You’re at your best when you’re calm and composed. .

You’re stronger than you think! .

You got this! .

Believe in yourself!

Another day in paradise

I went to Gulliver’s Cove yesterday to check out a location for outdoor yoga classes.

The view is incredible. The smell of the salt air is refreshing. The sound of the waves is so soothing.

It’s quite private and the perfect place to go to disconnect from the constant demands of life. Just being there makes you slow down and become more present without even trying.

Those are the kinds of places and situations I love to find my way into.

Stay tuned for upcoming offerings this summer!

Bigger than your Fears – Journaling Practice #2

There are people less qualified than you, doing the things that you want to do, simple because they decided to believe in themselves. Period.
This quote, observation, adage is probably the number one thing that motivates me to get started on a new goal or project. .

There are people out in the world doing what  I want to do, achieving goals I want to achieve, living how I want to live and having the things that I want to have and their products/ methods/knowledge/work ethic, etc is way lower than mine. .

They are living the things I dream about and pray for. A larger part of that is because they decided they were worth it. They were brave enough to face their fears and doubts and insecurities. They were committed to finding a way to make it work. They showed up regardless of how they felt. .

To be honest, the same is true of people who do what I want to do, have what I want to have and achieve what I want to achieve and actually produce excellent work. .

They face their fears. They persist. They show up. They put in the work. They find a way. .

There is no way to do what you’ve never done, have what you’ve never had or live how you want to live without facing fears, doubts, obstacles and challenges. .

Today’s journaling practice is about identifying those fear and doubts that you have. Unless you are really paying attention to your thoughts and observing them, the fears and doubts we have are often poorly defined and amorphous. .

If you don’t know what’s holding you back how can you overcome it? .

For example, ever since I was a child, I loved books  and I wanted to write. But was so afraid of being judged or challenged or ridiculed or rejected. .

It was hard to put my thoughts and ideas out into the world. Even in school assignments.

I always doubted my work. I thought it wasn’t good enough, polished enough, thorough enough. I wanted a bullet proof piece of writing that no one could shatter. .

But the truth is that no matter what I write people will judge, criticize, reject. .

Over time I realized that my fear was more about those people rejecting me. That piece of writing was an extension of my heart, my beliefs, my thoughts, my ideas. .

I got to the point in my life where I understood that what other people thought of me could only bring me down, if I let it. It was more important and easier if I cared more about what I thought. If I was behind myself, if I liked myself, if I trusted myself, if I believed in myself I could withstand any criticism or rejection from anybody.

I have spent days silently repeating to  myself ‘It takes a lot more than Mary Smith’s opinion to ruin my day.’ The more I repeated it, the more I let myself feel that statement to be true, the truer it became and the easier to believe. .
Of course, I still run into this fear on different things. Rejection from some people is harder to take than others. But it has been so liberating to name that fear and declare it not to be true for me. Now I can do that with any fear and work my way through.

I realized that there was nothing in this world, aside from death, that could take me down without my permission.
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Actions Steps
✴Spend more time writing in your journal today about your goal, about what you want to achieve. This time record those fears and doubts.
✴Actually name them and follow them through.
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Example: I can’t publish my thoughts and ideas because my friend is going to question
me about it. I can’t handle rejection or criticism from that friend. It will make me question myself. How can I pursue something if my friends don’t even support me? What if I lose the friendship?

The follow-through: Are there other people in this world who have faced the same thing and succeeded in spite of it? Why can’t that be true for me?
I can publish what I want and not let others’ rejection ruffle my feathers. I can live through it. I can get stronger.