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  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 21: Manifesting my best life. Earlier this year, I participated in a Create Your Dream Life vision board workshop facilitated by @lisakelly.life. The focal image I centred the board around was of a woman walking through fire, scarlet-amber embers floating up in the air around her. It was a metaphor for my year. In many ways, I felt like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the life that died with Gabe, and redesigning a new one in the light of those embers. A life of moments, experiences and opportunities seized. And since I’d promised myself that I’d never again settle for anything less than magic in love, well, there was a sprinkle of that in there as well. Everything each image in that board represented has come into my life or is in the seedling stage of manifestation. I recently lamented that the only thing I hadn’t yet achieved was to write a book. Until a wise friend showed me a different perspective when they said: “Oh, but you ARE writing a book – every day, with every insightful post you make. You simply haven’t structured it into book form yet.” Before designing my 2020 board, I consulted that first one. And I saw how completely my life, my perspective and sense of self has transformed. Instead of rising from the ashes of my old life, in 2020, I want to BE the fire. Instead of pursuing magic, I want to remind myself that I AM magic. That I create it. And the man who can hold that, celebrate that, share that? Well, he will be the one I sit by the fire with. I want to set my life on fire – and surround myself only with the people who fan the flames instead of dousing them. My life already includes so many like this – and every unique experience I’ve chased, cultivated or connected to in 2019 has only brought more of them into my orbit. I want to be brave and bold in my pursuit of the things that set my soul on fire. I have some goals in this area: To write that book, give a TED Talk, start a podcast. I also want to continue to chase music festivals all over the world, take a solo journey to some far-flung place, learn to surf, and set my fitness on fire. 2020, I'm ready for you. The real question is: Are you ready for me?
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 21: Manifesting my best life. Earlier this year, I participated in a Create Your Dream Life vision board workshop facilitated by @lisakelly.life. The focal image I centred the board around was of a woman walking through fire, scarlet-amber embers floating up in the air around her. It was a metaphor for my year. In many ways, I felt like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the life that died with Gabe, and redesigning a new one in the light of those embers. A life of moments, experiences and opportunities seized. And since I’d promised myself that I’d never again settle for anything less than magic in love, well, there was a sprinkle of that in there as well. Everything each image in that board represented has come into my life or is in the seedling stage of manifestation. I recently lamented that the only thing I hadn’t yet achieved was to write a book. Until a wise friend showed me a different perspective when they said: “Oh, but you ARE writing a book – every day, with every insightful post you make. You simply haven’t structured it into book form yet.” Before designing my 2020 board, I consulted that first one. And I saw how completely my life, my perspective and sense of self has transformed. Instead of rising from the ashes of my old life, in 2020, I want to BE the fire. Instead of pursuing magic, I want to remind myself that I AM magic. That I create it. And the man who can hold that, celebrate that, share that? Well, he will be the one I sit by the fire with. I want to set my life on fire – and surround myself only with the people who fan the flames instead of dousing them. My life already includes so many like this – and every unique experience I’ve chased, cultivated or connected to in 2019 has only brought more of them into my orbit. I want to be brave and bold in my pursuit of the things that set my soul on fire. I have some goals in this area: To write that book, give a TED Talk, start a podcast. I also want to continue to chase music festivals all over the world, take a solo journey to some far-flung place, learn to surf, and set my fitness on fire. 2020, I'm ready for you. The real question is: Are you ready for me?
  • 27 8 2 December, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe: Rediscovering the joy and power of ‘sturmfrei’ — a German word to describe the freedom of being alone and able to do what you want. As an introvert, I’ve always craved alone time to recharge. A year ago today, I wrote a post about carving out micro moments of sturmfrei when Gabe and I were living in Germany during his cancer treatment. I could feel the yearning in my words as I read what I’d written about finding ways to feel joyfully, freely alone even when you’re not. What a difference a year makes. After Gabe died, alone time lost its appeal for me. Things I might have cheerfully charged into solo were suddenly more appealing with friends in tow. I’ve been filled with fear at the prospect of spending time alone with my thoughts and feelings. After all, widowhood is a depth and quality of alone that even an introvert is uncomfortable being plunged into. Working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way requires taking yourself out on a solo Artist’s Date once a week. At first, even the thought of this terrified me. I wanted to bend the rules and bring someone with me. Except my own Unshakeable Me challenge is all about uncovering, facing, and working through my fears, and I’m holding myself accountable in the name of growth. So this week, I took myself to @mindsetbraingym in Yorkville for a meditation session aptly focused on self-love. The sink-into-me chairs, the scents, the soft lights I could sense dancing on the walls behind my closed eyes, the guide’s rhythmic voice — all of these elements conspired to lull my overactive mind into stillness. I resisted at first, my mind casting wildly for threads of thoughts to pull me out of the now. But soon I was settling into myself, into a place I hadn’t let myself explore since Gabe passed away. I felt the wild freedom of it, could almost smell it — something richly dark and alive like a forest in summer.  It was home. I could feel Gabe there. And my Gram. And my dad, even though it’s been years since he passed and I’ve never felt his presence before. I smiled to myself as tears ran unchecked down my cheeks. Love also has unfathomable depths. And when you sink into it, you’re never truly alone.
  • #UnshakeableMe : Rediscovering the joy and power of ‘sturmfrei’ — a German word to describe the freedom of being alone and able to do what you want. As an introvert, I’ve always craved alone time to recharge. A year ago today, I wrote a post about carving out micro moments of sturmfrei when Gabe and I were living in Germany during his cancer treatment. I could feel the yearning in my words as I read what I’d written about finding ways to feel joyfully, freely alone even when you’re not. What a difference a year makes. After Gabe died, alone time lost its appeal for me. Things I might have cheerfully charged into solo were suddenly more appealing with friends in tow. I’ve been filled with fear at the prospect of spending time alone with my thoughts and feelings. After all, widowhood is a depth and quality of alone that even an introvert is uncomfortable being plunged into. Working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way requires taking yourself out on a solo Artist’s Date once a week. At first, even the thought of this terrified me. I wanted to bend the rules and bring someone with me. Except my own Unshakeable Me challenge is all about uncovering, facing, and working through my fears, and I’m holding myself accountable in the name of growth. So this week, I took myself to @mindsetbraingym in Yorkville for a meditation session aptly focused on self-love. The sink-into-me chairs, the scents, the soft lights I could sense dancing on the walls behind my closed eyes, the guide’s rhythmic voice — all of these elements conspired to lull my overactive mind into stillness. I resisted at first, my mind casting wildly for threads of thoughts to pull me out of the now. But soon I was settling into myself, into a place I hadn’t let myself explore since Gabe passed away. I felt the wild freedom of it, could almost smell it — something richly dark and alive like a forest in summer. It was home. I could feel Gabe there. And my Gram. And my dad, even though it’s been years since he passed and I’ve never felt his presence before. I smiled to myself as tears ran unchecked down my cheeks. Love also has unfathomable depths. And when you sink into it, you’re never truly alone.
  • 48 6 18 February, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 3: A winter’s walk on the wild side. Confession: I have a fear of falling. Perhaps it’s tied to my fear of heights, or the fact that I’ve always been a bit of a spaz and falling has been a life-long part of my repertoire. I didn’t always fear it though. As a kid, I accepted that falling was part of life — perhaps a bigger part of mine. I was that kid (and there’s one on every playground), who’d trip running during a game of tag, knock the wind out of myself, and have to lay there like a slug until I got my breath back. I didn’t mind. It gave me time to regroup and strategize. I wasn’t the fastest kid, but I could be the wiliest. I was that kid who’d kamikaze down the steepest hill on a GT Snowracer, catching air off the end of the dock and knowing a crash landing was likely more often than not. I was that kid who was a bit shaky on a pair of skates, but knew the thrill of skating across the frozen lake I swam in all summer was worth a bruised butt and torn snowpants. Somewhere in adulthood, I started to resist physical falls, even as I accepted life’s metaphorical ones. I began to step uber carefully. Until today. As I walked my dogs into High Park this afternoon, needing a bit of time with nature, I decided to give their paws a break and offroad it into the snow-covered forest. I knew it would be a slippery walk, especially with a combined 110 pounds of stubborn dog trying to outpace each other. I knew a fall could happen. But something about the crunchy ice-snow blanketing the ground called to the kid in me — and I’m so much more cognizant of my fears and resistance because of this challenge — so off I trudged unevenly. My dogs sensed a balance-challenged human in their master and were forgiving to a point. Until they smelled something irresistible, and then it was every creature for him or herself. Did I fall today? No. But I was prepared to, and to roll with it instead of resisting.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 3: A winter’s walk on the wild side. Confession: I have a fear of falling. Perhaps it’s tied to my fear of heights, or the fact that I’ve always been a bit of a spaz and falling has been a life-long part of my repertoire. I didn’t always fear it though. As a kid, I accepted that falling was part of life — perhaps a bigger part of mine. I was that kid (and there’s one on every playground), who’d trip running during a game of tag, knock the wind out of myself, and have to lay there like a slug until I got my breath back. I didn’t mind. It gave me time to regroup and strategize. I wasn’t the fastest kid, but I could be the wiliest. I was that kid who’d kamikaze down the steepest hill on a GT Snowracer, catching air off the end of the dock and knowing a crash landing was likely more often than not. I was that kid who was a bit shaky on a pair of skates, but knew the thrill of skating across the frozen lake I swam in all summer was worth a bruised butt and torn snowpants. Somewhere in adulthood, I started to resist physical falls, even as I accepted life’s metaphorical ones. I began to step uber carefully. Until today. As I walked my dogs into High Park this afternoon, needing a bit of time with nature, I decided to give their paws a break and offroad it into the snow-covered forest. I knew it would be a slippery walk, especially with a combined 110 pounds of stubborn dog trying to outpace each other. I knew a fall could happen. But something about the crunchy ice-snow blanketing the ground called to the kid in me — and I’m so much more cognizant of my fears and resistance because of this challenge — so off I trudged unevenly. My dogs sensed a balance-challenged human in their master and were forgiving to a point. Until they smelled something irresistible, and then it was every creature for him or herself. Did I fall today? No. But I was prepared to, and to roll with it instead of resisting.
  • 68 1 8 February, 2019
  • #TheLittleThings No. 11: Penning handwritten letters to my future self and postcards to my tribe. In the months since my husband Gabe passed away, my tribe and I have been entrenched in the gruelling yet invigorating process of rewriting and redesigning our lives. We’ve all been swimming hard against the current of convention. Allowing your own intuition to guide and shape your life is one of the most challenging exercises for modern humans — our minds have been wired to the frequency of the ego. My gut has been my divining rod for months now. It led me to The World Happiness Summit (@wohasu) in Miami, where the knowledge sharing and coaching were interspersed with opportunities for quiet reflection and self-exploration — like this @airstream_inc booth equipped with hammocks, patio chairs, a few trailers, and writing tools for sharing your insights, hopes and dreams with your future self when your letter is mailed back to you in six months. I started 2019 by composing a letter to the me I will be on December 31. I wrote it as a supersized triple-dog dare to myself as I launched my #UnshakeableMe challenge. The letter I drafted in the solitude of that Airstream trailer was softer in approach and kinder in tone — a list of things I hope will be true for my future self as she reads it. I also sent one hope in a postcard to each of my core tribe members — the people who share my life’s journeys, both globetrotting and path-carving. #ichoosehappiness #wohasu #artistsdate
  • #TheLittleThings No. 11: Penning handwritten letters to my future self and postcards to my tribe. In the months since my husband Gabe passed away, my tribe and I have been entrenched in the gruelling yet invigorating process of rewriting and redesigning our lives. We’ve all been swimming hard against the current of convention. Allowing your own intuition to guide and shape your life is one of the most challenging exercises for modern humans — our minds have been wired to the frequency of the ego. My gut has been my divining rod for months now. It led me to The World Happiness Summit (@wohasu) in Miami, where the knowledge sharing and coaching were interspersed with opportunities for quiet reflection and self-exploration — like this @airstream_inc booth equipped with hammocks, patio chairs, a few trailers, and writing tools for sharing your insights, hopes and dreams with your future self when your letter is mailed back to you in six months. I started 2019 by composing a letter to the me I will be on December 31. I wrote it as a supersized triple-dog dare to myself as I launched my #UnshakeableMe challenge. The letter I drafted in the solitude of that Airstream trailer was softer in approach and kinder in tone — a list of things I hope will be true for my future self as she reads it. I also sent one hope in a postcard to each of my core tribe members — the people who share my life’s journeys, both globetrotting and path-carving. #ichoosehappiness #wohasu #artistsdate
  • 65 8 20 March, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 13: Finding freedom in doing things you will never be great at. I once subscribed to the limiting belief that the only things worth doing were those I could do well. While I shook some of that off over the years to shake it on dancefloors and sing my tone-deaf heart out whenever the music moved me, there were some creative pursuits I deemed off-limits. One of those was painting. I’m not sure who first told me that I had no talent for visual art (even though I later built a career involving the ability to recognize and shape it), but I clearly internalized that belief. And yet I recall with perfect clarity the artist’s easel and paint set I owned when I was little and the swaggering sense of freedom I felt with a paint brush — or better yet, my fingers — swirling images from my mind’s eye onto paper. I didn’t care if only I could decipher what I’d created. The joy wasn’t in the result but the process. Kid wisdom at work. The problem with only doing things you are proficient at is that it doesn’t allow for the kind of growth that has little to do with performance — and everything to do with broadening your worldview, sense of self and community, and social circles. If 2019 is to be a year of deconstructing the fear-based limiting beliefs the wounded child artist in me inscribes as gospel on my psyche to live Unshakeable, then that’s the kind of growth I need to chase. To that end, I signed myself up for four weeks’ worth of Artist Dates on Mondays with Toronto-based @her_people. The concept: Meet once a week for a month, explore a smattering of creative workshops and meaningfully connect with a group of 15 women in the city. Our first session on Monday evening was an Intro to Watercolours workshop — something I knew I would love but suck at spectacularly. As suspected, I found the process as soothing and freeing as my childhood painting sessions — and gave zero fucks that the result was cringe-worthy. I even showed my judgemental teens my handiwork. I want them to see their mother finding joy in doing things she sucks at in the hope that it will inspire them to do the same. Try it sometime, and see how it changes you.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 13: Finding freedom in doing things you will never be great at. I once subscribed to the limiting belief that the only things worth doing were those I could do well. While I shook some of that off over the years to shake it on dancefloors and sing my tone-deaf heart out whenever the music moved me, there were some creative pursuits I deemed off-limits. One of those was painting. I’m not sure who first told me that I had no talent for visual art (even though I later built a career involving the ability to recognize and shape it), but I clearly internalized that belief. And yet I recall with perfect clarity the artist’s easel and paint set I owned when I was little and the swaggering sense of freedom I felt with a paint brush — or better yet, my fingers — swirling images from my mind’s eye onto paper. I didn’t care if only I could decipher what I’d created. The joy wasn’t in the result but the process. Kid wisdom at work. The problem with only doing things you are proficient at is that it doesn’t allow for the kind of growth that has little to do with performance — and everything to do with broadening your worldview, sense of self and community, and social circles. If 2019 is to be a year of deconstructing the fear-based limiting beliefs the wounded child artist in me inscribes as gospel on my psyche to live Unshakeable, then that’s the kind of growth I need to chase. To that end, I signed myself up for four weeks’ worth of Artist Dates on Mondays with Toronto-based @her_people. The concept: Meet once a week for a month, explore a smattering of creative workshops and meaningfully connect with a group of 15 women in the city. Our first session on Monday evening was an Intro to Watercolours workshop — something I knew I would love but suck at spectacularly. As suspected, I found the process as soothing and freeing as my childhood painting sessions — and gave zero fucks that the result was cringe-worthy. I even showed my judgemental teens my handiwork. I want them to see their mother finding joy in doing things she sucks at in the hope that it will inspire them to do the same. Try it sometime, and see how it changes you.
  • 47 3 8 May, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 8: Giving 44 years of displaced and repressed anger a positive outlet. I still react to yelling and verbal attacks the same way I did as a child – I completely shut down, mind and body. I can’t speak. Can’t move. Can’t think or defend. When faced with unchecked anger, my conflict-avoidant brain can’t control the speed of the logical arguments that race along neural pathways only to crash and burn in a multi-word pile-up against a mouth that refuses to open. For this week’s Artist’s Date, I took myself to Rage Room – where you get suited up in safety gear in a room kitted with baseball bats, a selection of crowbars, and things to vent your rage by smashing. My victims: An old printer, a giant basket filled with dishes and glassware – and a lifetime of fears, old narratives, limiting beliefs, self-doubts, and defense mechanisms. My playlist: Mumford and Sons. I didn’t want angry music. I wanted high-energy Irish pub brawl – incongruently cool like a movie fight scene set to a seventies rock anthem. My first few smashes were timid, throwing items to the concrete floor like a kid who can’t believe they’ve been given permission to do something naughty. Breaking things on purpose seems so deliciously taboo. The child-like glee that bubbled up in me was so unexpected that it sent shivers down my spine. It didn’t take long for me to get into it, to trade throwing a plate with my hand for playing baseball with a glass, then taking a crowbar to a plate, picking up the broken pieces and smashing them to smithereens. I started to cry at one point, a tell-tale sign that I am accessing my anger. Smashed harder. Cried some more. Got pissed at the tears and started to growl. It came from the depths of my soul – wild and guttural. A soul growl. A come-into-your-own-power growl. Untamed and unabashed. And yet, there was no fear in that loss of control. Instead, I felt the wild beauty of surrender. Of release. Of emotions honoured and acknowledged. I’ve never felt more freedom than I did in that 45 minutes I spent closed in a small room alone with the ghosts of my past.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 8: Giving 44 years of displaced and repressed anger a positive outlet. I still react to yelling and verbal attacks the same way I did as a child – I completely shut down, mind and body. I can’t speak. Can’t move. Can’t think or defend. When faced with unchecked anger, my conflict-avoidant brain can’t control the speed of the logical arguments that race along neural pathways only to crash and burn in a multi-word pile-up against a mouth that refuses to open. For this week’s Artist’s Date, I took myself to Rage Room – where you get suited up in safety gear in a room kitted with baseball bats, a selection of crowbars, and things to vent your rage by smashing. My victims: An old printer, a giant basket filled with dishes and glassware – and a lifetime of fears, old narratives, limiting beliefs, self-doubts, and defense mechanisms. My playlist: Mumford and Sons. I didn’t want angry music. I wanted high-energy Irish pub brawl – incongruently cool like a movie fight scene set to a seventies rock anthem. My first few smashes were timid, throwing items to the concrete floor like a kid who can’t believe they’ve been given permission to do something naughty. Breaking things on purpose seems so deliciously taboo. The child-like glee that bubbled up in me was so unexpected that it sent shivers down my spine. It didn’t take long for me to get into it, to trade throwing a plate with my hand for playing baseball with a glass, then taking a crowbar to a plate, picking up the broken pieces and smashing them to smithereens. I started to cry at one point, a tell-tale sign that I am accessing my anger. Smashed harder. Cried some more. Got pissed at the tears and started to growl. It came from the depths of my soul – wild and guttural. A soul growl. A come-into-your-own-power growl. Untamed and unabashed. And yet, there was no fear in that loss of control. Instead, I felt the wild beauty of surrender. Of release. Of emotions honoured and acknowledged. I’ve never felt more freedom than I did in that 45 minutes I spent closed in a small room alone with the ghosts of my past.
  • 75 7 6 March, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 12: Finding joy in marching to the unique beat of my own offbeat drummer. While music is an integral part of my life, I am not musical. I can’t hold a tune, and have never had the timing or talent for playing instruments. Still, I’ve never met a dance floor that hasn’t called my name, no matter where in the world my travels have taken me. @rrschmitty and I even created our own dance floor on the crackled, craggy and crumbling ground of the salt flats in the Danakil Depression. There’s something about African rhythm that calls to me on a primal level. So today, I took myself on a solo Artist Date that pulled me out of my personal comfort zone and into my musical happy zone at an African Drum Circle Rhythm Exchange hosted by @puryogatoronto. I shed my self-conscious shyness the instant my hands connected with my drum. I found myself singing louder than I ever have in a room full of strangers with no friends as social crutches. I rejoiced in the sounds that filled my soul, made it sing. I celebrated every off-key note that was pulled from the core of me. By the end of that two-hour session, my hands were stinging, my heart was singing, and my body was moving to beats older than time. The experience transported me back to the first time my feet stepped onto African soil — and it brought the tribe of friends who shared that journey with me closer in mind and heart than they currently are in body.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 12: Finding joy in marching to the unique beat of my own offbeat drummer. While music is an integral part of my life, I am not musical. I can’t hold a tune, and have never had the timing or talent for playing instruments. Still, I’ve never met a dance floor that hasn’t called my name, no matter where in the world my travels have taken me. @rrschmitty and I even created our own dance floor on the crackled, craggy and crumbling ground of the salt flats in the Danakil Depression. There’s something about African rhythm that calls to me on a primal level. So today, I took myself on a solo Artist Date that pulled me out of my personal comfort zone and into my musical happy zone at an African Drum Circle Rhythm Exchange hosted by @puryogatoronto. I shed my self-conscious shyness the instant my hands connected with my drum. I found myself singing louder than I ever have in a room full of strangers with no friends as social crutches. I rejoiced in the sounds that filled my soul, made it sing. I celebrated every off-key note that was pulled from the core of me. By the end of that two-hour session, my hands were stinging, my heart was singing, and my body was moving to beats older than time. The experience transported me back to the first time my feet stepped onto African soil — and it brought the tribe of friends who shared that journey with me closer in mind and heart than they currently are in body.
  • 76 4 27 April, 2019

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  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 21: Manifesting my best life. Earlier this year, I participated in a Create Your Dream Life vision board workshop facilitated by @lisakelly.life. The focal image I centred the board around was of a woman walking through fire, scarlet-amber embers floating up in the air around her. It was a metaphor for my year. In many ways, I felt like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the life that died with Gabe, and redesigning a new one in the light of those embers. A life of moments, experiences and opportunities seized. And since I’d promised myself that I’d never again settle for anything less than magic in love, well, there was a sprinkle of that in there as well. Everything each image in that board represented has come into my life or is in the seedling stage of manifestation. I recently lamented that the only thing I hadn’t yet achieved was to write a book. Until a wise friend showed me a different perspective when they said: “Oh, but you ARE writing a book – every day, with every insightful post you make. You simply haven’t structured it into book form yet.” Before designing my 2020 board, I consulted that first one. And I saw how completely my life, my perspective and sense of self has transformed. Instead of rising from the ashes of my old life, in 2020, I want to BE the fire. Instead of pursuing magic, I want to remind myself that I AM magic. That I create it. And the man who can hold that, celebrate that, share that? Well, he will be the one I sit by the fire with. I want to set my life on fire – and surround myself only with the people who fan the flames instead of dousing them. My life already includes so many like this – and every unique experience I’ve chased, cultivated or connected to in 2019 has only brought more of them into my orbit. I want to be brave and bold in my pursuit of the things that set my soul on fire. I have some goals in this area: To write that book, give a TED Talk, start a podcast. I also want to continue to chase music festivals all over the world, take a solo journey to some far-flung place, learn to surf, and set my fitness on fire. 2020, I'm ready for you. The real question is: Are you ready for me?
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 21: Manifesting my best life. Earlier this year, I participated in a Create Your Dream Life vision board workshop facilitated by @lisakelly.life. The focal image I centred the board around was of a woman walking through fire, scarlet-amber embers floating up in the air around her. It was a metaphor for my year. In many ways, I felt like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the life that died with Gabe, and redesigning a new one in the light of those embers. A life of moments, experiences and opportunities seized. And since I’d promised myself that I’d never again settle for anything less than magic in love, well, there was a sprinkle of that in there as well. Everything each image in that board represented has come into my life or is in the seedling stage of manifestation. I recently lamented that the only thing I hadn’t yet achieved was to write a book. Until a wise friend showed me a different perspective when they said: “Oh, but you ARE writing a book – every day, with every insightful post you make. You simply haven’t structured it into book form yet.” Before designing my 2020 board, I consulted that first one. And I saw how completely my life, my perspective and sense of self has transformed. Instead of rising from the ashes of my old life, in 2020, I want to BE the fire. Instead of pursuing magic, I want to remind myself that I AM magic. That I create it. And the man who can hold that, celebrate that, share that? Well, he will be the one I sit by the fire with. I want to set my life on fire – and surround myself only with the people who fan the flames instead of dousing them. My life already includes so many like this – and every unique experience I’ve chased, cultivated or connected to in 2019 has only brought more of them into my orbit. I want to be brave and bold in my pursuit of the things that set my soul on fire. I have some goals in this area: To write that book, give a TED Talk, start a podcast. I also want to continue to chase music festivals all over the world, take a solo journey to some far-flung place, learn to surf, and set my fitness on fire. 2020, I'm ready for you. The real question is: Are you ready for me?
  • 27 8 2 December, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 22: Tuning into body memories. I felt inexplicably sad yesterday — a feeling I couldn’t shake, even as my mind scrambled to serve up a reason. That was the problem. I gave my mind a job it isn’t equipped for. What I needed to do was sit down, be still, go into my body and get curious about what I was feeling — and where I was feeling it. Our bodies always have the answer, even when we don’t. This morning, Facebook Memories served up a post I wrote four years ago on this day, on what would have been my dog Samson’s 11th birthday. I’d had the heart-wrenching experience of saying a final goodbye to him (in this life) the day before. My body was feeling the residual grief of that day and experience yesterday. I’d been walking back to the office from a client meeting and answered a call from Gabe, who told me I needed to come to the vet. He could barely choke out the words, and when I started to ask questions, he croaked out: “Just come. NOW.” My mind raced with the possibilities of what had happened to which of our two dogs. But my body knew. I ran to my car and drove to the vet like a madwoman, adrenaline pumping, breath heaving, tears already streaming down my face. My mind was screaming “no, no, no, no” even as my heart knew and was trying to prepare me for what I’d see: Gabe, sprawled prostrate over Samson on an exam table, crying in a way I’d never seen before — not even at his mother’s funeral two years earlier. “Is he...is he dead?” I asked. But Samson weakly raised his head at the sound of my voice and looked deep into my eyes as my hands came around to frame his face. My dog was telling me, without words, that he had to go and he was sorry. A dog’s single-minded concern for his human extends to his final breath. I cradled my dog’s head and eased him to that final breath — one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Until three years later, when I did the same for Gabe. Yes, the body remembers what the mind would seek to protect us from. That dog loved me more purely than any creature or human ever has, and he taught me many enduring life lessons. In his honour, you can read those lessons in a blog post (link in bio).
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 22: Tuning into body memories. I felt inexplicably sad yesterday — a feeling I couldn’t shake, even as my mind scrambled to serve up a reason. That was the problem. I gave my mind a job it isn’t equipped for. What I needed to do was sit down, be still, go into my body and get curious about what I was feeling — and where I was feeling it. Our bodies always have the answer, even when we don’t. This morning, Facebook Memories served up a post I wrote four years ago on this day, on what would have been my dog Samson’s 11th birthday. I’d had the heart-wrenching experience of saying a final goodbye to him (in this life) the day before. My body was feeling the residual grief of that day and experience yesterday. I’d been walking back to the office from a client meeting and answered a call from Gabe, who told me I needed to come to the vet. He could barely choke out the words, and when I started to ask questions, he croaked out: “Just come. NOW.” My mind raced with the possibilities of what had happened to which of our two dogs. But my body knew. I ran to my car and drove to the vet like a madwoman, adrenaline pumping, breath heaving, tears already streaming down my face. My mind was screaming “no, no, no, no” even as my heart knew and was trying to prepare me for what I’d see: Gabe, sprawled prostrate over Samson on an exam table, crying in a way I’d never seen before — not even at his mother’s funeral two years earlier. “Is he...is he dead?” I asked. But Samson weakly raised his head at the sound of my voice and looked deep into my eyes as my hands came around to frame his face. My dog was telling me, without words, that he had to go and he was sorry. A dog’s single-minded concern for his human extends to his final breath. I cradled my dog’s head and eased him to that final breath — one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Until three years later, when I did the same for Gabe. Yes, the body remembers what the mind would seek to protect us from. That dog loved me more purely than any creature or human ever has, and he taught me many enduring life lessons. In his honour, you can read those lessons in a blog post (link in bio).
  • 44 9 3 November, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 21: Practicing the art of accountability. As a Canadian and a woman, apology is hardcoded into my DNA. I once said sorry even when I didn’t mean it — for who I was, for things that weren’t mine to own, to keep the peace. An apology without intent or action behind it is empty and meaningless. It doesn’t allow for change, shifts, or growth. When sorry is just a word, it has no power and speaking it erodes yours. If there is one lesson my father drilled into my brother and me, it’s the importance of personal accountability. I actually prefer his colourful and oft-uttered phrase to the quote above, though it’s less suitable for social media consumption: “If you shit, you sign for it.” Last night, I allowed my own fear and triggers to spill into a conversation I was having with someone close to me. I brushed his feelings aside carelessly because I was having difficulty sitting with mine. I woke up with the knowledge that an apology was necessary burning in my gut. That was the hard part — the knowing, the revisiting of the conversation, facing my negative ego. The apology itself? Actually quite easy. Because I meant it. Because I had clarity. Because I’d done the soul-searching to understand what was bubbling beneath the surface of some uncharacteristic behaviour. That’s what needs to be in place for an apology to bring peace and resolution to both giver and receiver. Pay close attention to the word sorry when it leaves your lips. It’s not only a word. It’s a promise and a state of being. It’s something you sign your name to with the words “I am.”
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 21: Practicing the art of accountability. As a Canadian and a woman, apology is hardcoded into my DNA. I once said sorry even when I didn’t mean it — for who I was, for things that weren’t mine to own, to keep the peace. An apology without intent or action behind it is empty and meaningless. It doesn’t allow for change, shifts, or growth. When sorry is just a word, it has no power and speaking it erodes yours. If there is one lesson my father drilled into my brother and me, it’s the importance of personal accountability. I actually prefer his colourful and oft-uttered phrase to the quote above, though it’s less suitable for social media consumption: “If you shit, you sign for it.” Last night, I allowed my own fear and triggers to spill into a conversation I was having with someone close to me. I brushed his feelings aside carelessly because I was having difficulty sitting with mine. I woke up with the knowledge that an apology was necessary burning in my gut. That was the hard part — the knowing, the revisiting of the conversation, facing my negative ego. The apology itself? Actually quite easy. Because I meant it. Because I had clarity. Because I’d done the soul-searching to understand what was bubbling beneath the surface of some uncharacteristic behaviour. That’s what needs to be in place for an apology to bring peace and resolution to both giver and receiver. Pay close attention to the word sorry when it leaves your lips. It’s not only a word. It’s a promise and a state of being. It’s something you sign your name to with the words “I am.”
  • 25 7 1 November, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 20: Leaning into compassion. We’d all like to believe we are compassionate beings who have concern for others. That is, until impatience, judgement, and the stories both conjure in our minds get in the way. We walk this earth so focused on our own inner battles that we are blind to those of others. No one wears a sign that gives us the context to respond with compassion. But signs are always there if we look. If we understand that people’s behaviour, actions, and reactions more often than not have little to nothing to do with us. When we get curious and compassionate. On Election Day, I headed to my polling station where a wizened old man was painstakingly shuffling his way to the ballot box. An elections staffer apologetically told me and a few people behind me that this might take a while. I felt the impatient fidgeting around me viscerally, like a swarm of bees. There was a time not so long ago where I’d have been buzzing along with everyone else. Instead, I looked over and saw the man with his hat in his hands, wringing them in concentration. I saw his physical challenges, but I had no idea what emotional or cognitive demons he had to wrestle to bring himself there that day — and he was alone. Maybe this was his first election without his wife. Perhaps he was concerned about which party, if any, could protect his interests as a senior. Hell, he might have been voting against everything I was voting for. I didn’t know his story. All I knew was that my heart, filled with curiosity and compassion, reached out to his. When he unbent himself from the desk and started to shuffle off, I caught his eye, flashed him the most dazzling smile I have in my repertoire, and added a little nod as if to say: “I see you. You matter, as does your vote. I have time for you.” He looked a bit startled (maybe his mind was creating a story about the madwoman smiling at him), but I kept my eyes on him a beat longer, and saw the ghost of a smile touch his lips before I moved in to bend over my own ballot. I didn’t know his story, but he has one. Despite his battles, he was there performing his civic duty. And so compassion transformed to admiration.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 20: Leaning into compassion. We’d all like to believe we are compassionate beings who have concern for others. That is, until impatience, judgement, and the stories both conjure in our minds get in the way. We walk this earth so focused on our own inner battles that we are blind to those of others. No one wears a sign that gives us the context to respond with compassion. But signs are always there if we look. If we understand that people’s behaviour, actions, and reactions more often than not have little to nothing to do with us. When we get curious and compassionate. On Election Day, I headed to my polling station where a wizened old man was painstakingly shuffling his way to the ballot box. An elections staffer apologetically told me and a few people behind me that this might take a while. I felt the impatient fidgeting around me viscerally, like a swarm of bees. There was a time not so long ago where I’d have been buzzing along with everyone else. Instead, I looked over and saw the man with his hat in his hands, wringing them in concentration. I saw his physical challenges, but I had no idea what emotional or cognitive demons he had to wrestle to bring himself there that day — and he was alone. Maybe this was his first election without his wife. Perhaps he was concerned about which party, if any, could protect his interests as a senior. Hell, he might have been voting against everything I was voting for. I didn’t know his story. All I knew was that my heart, filled with curiosity and compassion, reached out to his. When he unbent himself from the desk and started to shuffle off, I caught his eye, flashed him the most dazzling smile I have in my repertoire, and added a little nod as if to say: “I see you. You matter, as does your vote. I have time for you.” He looked a bit startled (maybe his mind was creating a story about the madwoman smiling at him), but I kept my eyes on him a beat longer, and saw the ghost of a smile touch his lips before I moved in to bend over my own ballot. I didn’t know his story, but he has one. Despite his battles, he was there performing his civic duty. And so compassion transformed to admiration.
  • 32 5 30 October, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 19: Breaking bread, barriers and taboos while talking boundaries with total strangers. I’ve been working on honing, expressing, and living in alignment with my personal values, and last night’s experience with @deepdivedinners dished up synchronicity with my Top 5: Feed My Inner Child, Be Myself, Consciously Connect, Stay Curious & Hungry, & Harness Bravery. The concept: Sit with a group of strangers around a communal dinner table to “disconnect from the echo chamber of the online world and have a lively, multi-faceted conversation with people you may not ever meet.” The topic was one that stirs up confusion and discomfort in all of us: Boundaries. Some of us break them — with ourselves and others. Some of us staunchly protect them. And some of us are challenged to recognize, set and defend them. Boundaries are fences we erect that can contain our inner world or shut out the outer world. To build understanding, we need to walk up to one another’s fence lines, and open a gate and a conversation. That’s exactly what 18 strangers bravely chose to do over the course of a lively three-hour dinner. People whose diversity of perspective, experience, context, culture, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity was welcomed, explored, and celebrated. We left our phones and our narratives at the door and communed with openness, understanding and an intimacy rarely afforded upon first meeting. We felt heard and seen. It was inclusive. It was thought-provoking. It was raw. It was real. It was uncomfortable. It was transformational. It showed me that community can be forged in any corner of this great city if approached with an open mind and heart. I’m looking forward to the next Deep Dive Dinner.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 19: Breaking bread, barriers and taboos while talking boundaries with total strangers. I’ve been working on honing, expressing, and living in alignment with my personal values, and last night’s experience with @deepdivedinners dished up synchronicity with my Top 5: Feed My Inner Child, Be Myself, Consciously Connect, Stay Curious & Hungry, & Harness Bravery. The concept: Sit with a group of strangers around a communal dinner table to “disconnect from the echo chamber of the online world and have a lively, multi-faceted conversation with people you may not ever meet.” The topic was one that stirs up confusion and discomfort in all of us: Boundaries. Some of us break them — with ourselves and others. Some of us staunchly protect them. And some of us are challenged to recognize, set and defend them. Boundaries are fences we erect that can contain our inner world or shut out the outer world. To build understanding, we need to walk up to one another’s fence lines, and open a gate and a conversation. That’s exactly what 18 strangers bravely chose to do over the course of a lively three-hour dinner. People whose diversity of perspective, experience, context, culture, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity was welcomed, explored, and celebrated. We left our phones and our narratives at the door and communed with openness, understanding and an intimacy rarely afforded upon first meeting. We felt heard and seen. It was inclusive. It was thought-provoking. It was raw. It was real. It was uncomfortable. It was transformational. It showed me that community can be forged in any corner of this great city if approached with an open mind and heart. I’m looking forward to the next Deep Dive Dinner.
  • 22 5 26 September, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 18: Exchanging energy. This may come as a surprise to those who don’t know me well, but I default to introversion when outside of my comfort zone or in situations where small talk reigns (same-same but different). Yet when I saw a call for riders to join my spin studio’s Energy Exchange program, I was intrigued. The gist: Trade front desk time/duties for rides. I’ve always loved the vibe @6ix_cycle — energetic instructors, music that makes your soul sing and feet fly, thoughtful amenities, inclusive atmosphere, friendly service. I don’t ride often given my dedication to my @F45parkdale schedule, but the Spin Church on Sunday class is akin to a sober rave and invariably has my body singing hallelujah. Giving back to a studio that’s always felt like home whenever I’ve walked through its doors, banking rides, and connecting with staff, instructors, Energy Exchange participants and riders is elevating my energy heading into fall. It’s challenging my instinct to turtle. In fact, I was so buoyed by my first shift experience, it never occurred to me to be anything other than my true self: Friendly, talkative, effervescent — and okay, a bit of a towel-rolling perfectionist.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 18: Exchanging energy. This may come as a surprise to those who don’t know me well, but I default to introversion when outside of my comfort zone or in situations where small talk reigns (same-same but different). Yet when I saw a call for riders to join my spin studio’s Energy Exchange program, I was intrigued. The gist: Trade front desk time/duties for rides. I’ve always loved the vibe @6ix_cycle — energetic instructors, music that makes your soul sing and feet fly, thoughtful amenities, inclusive atmosphere, friendly service. I don’t ride often given my dedication to my @F45parkdale schedule, but the Spin Church on Sunday class is akin to a sober rave and invariably has my body singing hallelujah. Giving back to a studio that’s always felt like home whenever I’ve walked through its doors, banking rides, and connecting with staff, instructors, Energy Exchange participants and riders is elevating my energy heading into fall. It’s challenging my instinct to turtle. In fact, I was so buoyed by my first shift experience, it never occurred to me to be anything other than my true self: Friendly, talkative, effervescent — and okay, a bit of a towel-rolling perfectionist.
  • 22 5 7 September, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 17: Playing bigger with words. I’m not talking about loquaciousness. No, I’m talking about the way we as women use words, phrases and qualifiers as we attempt to succeed or survive in a man’s world... “I'm just”: Unless we’re talking fairness or measurement, the word ‘just’—I’m just checking in—is more than ‘just’ a word. Why? Because when we use that word qualifying us, we relegate ourselves. We relinquish our power. To be deferential or courteous. Well, fuck that. “I am”: Self-growth lies in becoming keenly aware of any words or phrases that follow “I am.” Those words qualify us. Those words represent our thoughts and feelings about ourselves. About our very identity. The universe listens for our “I am” statements. They are the personal energy of attraction. They are mantras. We manifest things in our lives with those mantras. If they’re negative, if they weaken us—that’s the energy we bring into our lives. “I have to/I should”: These phrases are another suck on our power and energy. They take us from the realm of free will, choice, and gratitude and plunge us into the lower realm of expectation and servitude. Instead of saying “I have to go to the gym” or “I should clean the house” when those limiting thoughts cross our minds, there’s an opportunity think about what we want and need in those moments, then flip the script on our ego and make declarative statements out loud that affirm our choices, our gratitude for everything we “get” to do, and our personal power. “I’m sorry”: While accountability and ownership over our mistakes, missteps and wrongdoings are key components of our personal growth, we apologize far too often as women. Far more if we’re also Canadian ;) We apologize even when we don’t mean it. Even when we did nothing wrong. To keep the peace. To avoid conflict. To put someone else’s needs ahead of our own and be seen as a good, giving person. When we’re late to meet someone, and an “I’m sorry I’m late” bubbles up in us, there’s a bigger opportunity to say “Thank you for waiting.” Gratitude elevates and gives positive energy to both giver and receiver. How are you seeking to play bigger with your words?
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 17: Playing bigger with words. I’m not talking about loquaciousness. No, I’m talking about the way we as women use words, phrases and qualifiers as we attempt to succeed or survive in a man’s world... “I'm just”: Unless we’re talking fairness or measurement, the word ‘just’—I’m just checking in—is more than ‘just’ a word. Why? Because when we use that word qualifying us, we relegate ourselves. We relinquish our power. To be deferential or courteous. Well, fuck that. “I am”: Self-growth lies in becoming keenly aware of any words or phrases that follow “I am.” Those words qualify us. Those words represent our thoughts and feelings about ourselves. About our very identity. The universe listens for our “I am” statements. They are the personal energy of attraction. They are mantras. We manifest things in our lives with those mantras. If they’re negative, if they weaken us—that’s the energy we bring into our lives. “I have to/I should”: These phrases are another suck on our power and energy. They take us from the realm of free will, choice, and gratitude and plunge us into the lower realm of expectation and servitude. Instead of saying “I have to go to the gym” or “I should clean the house” when those limiting thoughts cross our minds, there’s an opportunity think about what we want and need in those moments, then flip the script on our ego and make declarative statements out loud that affirm our choices, our gratitude for everything we “get” to do, and our personal power. “I’m sorry”: While accountability and ownership over our mistakes, missteps and wrongdoings are key components of our personal growth, we apologize far too often as women. Far more if we’re also Canadian ;) We apologize even when we don’t mean it. Even when we did nothing wrong. To keep the peace. To avoid conflict. To put someone else’s needs ahead of our own and be seen as a good, giving person. When we’re late to meet someone, and an “I’m sorry I’m late” bubbles up in us, there’s a bigger opportunity to say “Thank you for waiting.” Gratitude elevates and gives positive energy to both giver and receiver. How are you seeking to play bigger with your words?
  • 13 7 9 August, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 16: Relearning how to take up space and give yourself the space to grow after shrinking yourself. This doodle by the talented @annecarly.mm hit me on a soul-deep level. When you’re facing a formidable foe like cancer alongside someone you love, you have no choice but to take up as much — no, more — space than it does in your world. How else can you “embrace the suck” unless you grow enough as a human to wrap your arms around it? In the year since I laid Gabe to rest, laid down my tactical weapons, and shed my emotional armour, I’ve found myself shrinking again, despite my best efforts to live and love large. I didn’t want to move through this the way anyone expected, and yet I began to let expectations weigh me down (even some of my own). I made myself uncomfortable with every Unshakeable Me challenge I undertook, and yet I did everything I could to avoid sitting with my uncomfortable feelings. I took risks both professionally and personally, and yet I unconsciously sought a vice-grip level of control over everything and everyone in my private life to pad it against failure. Where was my surrender? My acceptance? My awareness of myself and my feelings? Where the hell was I, in the ever-smaller spaces I was creating for myself to occupy? Turns out, I was standing outside of those cramped little circles. Because I outgrew them a long time ago. Decades ago. Because as diminutive as I may be physically, I’m meant to leave a footprint so much larger than my size fives. So I’m on a journey to harness my ferocity again. To meet myself in that spaceless space where surrender and acceptance live. First stop: The Netherlands. Seems apropos. Watch this space.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 16: Relearning how to take up space and give yourself the space to grow after shrinking yourself. This doodle by the talented @annecarly.mm hit me on a soul-deep level. When you’re facing a formidable foe like cancer alongside someone you love, you have no choice but to take up as much — no, more — space than it does in your world. How else can you “embrace the suck” unless you grow enough as a human to wrap your arms around it? In the year since I laid Gabe to rest, laid down my tactical weapons, and shed my emotional armour, I’ve found myself shrinking again, despite my best efforts to live and love large. I didn’t want to move through this the way anyone expected, and yet I began to let expectations weigh me down (even some of my own). I made myself uncomfortable with every Unshakeable Me challenge I undertook, and yet I did everything I could to avoid sitting with my uncomfortable feelings. I took risks both professionally and personally, and yet I unconsciously sought a vice-grip level of control over everything and everyone in my private life to pad it against failure. Where was my surrender? My acceptance? My awareness of myself and my feelings? Where the hell was I, in the ever-smaller spaces I was creating for myself to occupy? Turns out, I was standing outside of those cramped little circles. Because I outgrew them a long time ago. Decades ago. Because as diminutive as I may be physically, I’m meant to leave a footprint so much larger than my size fives. So I’m on a journey to harness my ferocity again. To meet myself in that spaceless space where surrender and acceptance live. First stop: The Netherlands. Seems apropos. Watch this space.
  • 21 6 9 August, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 15: Standing unshakeable. Gabe — it’s been a year since claimed your own Independence Day. A defiant stand against cancer. You stared down the cloying fear and the disease that had conspired to siphon your life force — and told both where to go. It was one of the bravest and most brazen standoffs I’ve ever witnessed. After I realized there was no way to save you, all I wanted was for you to be yourself again before you died. I held to that when you told me that you hated me for not letting you hop a train to Switzerland while we were fighting to overcome your surgical complications in Germany. When you cursed me for not listening to you. Because I was listening. When we returned to Canada, I knew it was time to pose the single most conflicting question I ever have: If you’d like me to get the paperwork started that would allow you to pursue medical assistance in dying. The look on your face as you spoke these words is seared into my memory: “Thank you, Amanda. It’s time to let me go.” I knew it was. Because I saw what I’d been waiting to see since the day we discovered a mass in your pancreas — peace and acceptance. With that single choice that was yours alone, you kicked fear out of the driver’s seat and hopped back. I got my Gabe back for almost two weeks. All of us did. And the deep gratitude I felt kept grief at bay for months. But grief can only be delayed, not avoided. It began to roll in, slyly — a fog with icy fingers, wrapping itself around my heart and giving it a good squeeze. I’ve felt its icy grip on my heart unrelentingly as time has marched on unflinchingly towards July 4th. Firsts are always the hardest to face. I headed down to Chance to face this one. Little did I know that your all-time favourite DJ would be playing in San Fran into the wee hours of your day. I’d like to think that you spent the night watching and grooving from afar as we danced in joyful celebration of you and the day you claimed as yours. We danced with love in our hearts, smiles on our faces, gratitude in our souls, and the full power of the lives you told us to get the hell out there and live pulsing through our bodies. Happy Independence Day.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 15: Standing unshakeable. Gabe — it’s been a year since claimed your own Independence Day. A defiant stand against cancer. You stared down the cloying fear and the disease that had conspired to siphon your life force — and told both where to go. It was one of the bravest and most brazen standoffs I’ve ever witnessed. After I realized there was no way to save you, all I wanted was for you to be yourself again before you died. I held to that when you told me that you hated me for not letting you hop a train to Switzerland while we were fighting to overcome your surgical complications in Germany. When you cursed me for not listening to you. Because I was listening. When we returned to Canada, I knew it was time to pose the single most conflicting question I ever have: If you’d like me to get the paperwork started that would allow you to pursue medical assistance in dying. The look on your face as you spoke these words is seared into my memory: “Thank you, Amanda. It’s time to let me go.” I knew it was. Because I saw what I’d been waiting to see since the day we discovered a mass in your pancreas — peace and acceptance. With that single choice that was yours alone, you kicked fear out of the driver’s seat and hopped back. I got my Gabe back for almost two weeks. All of us did. And the deep gratitude I felt kept grief at bay for months. But grief can only be delayed, not avoided. It began to roll in, slyly — a fog with icy fingers, wrapping itself around my heart and giving it a good squeeze. I’ve felt its icy grip on my heart unrelentingly as time has marched on unflinchingly towards July 4th. Firsts are always the hardest to face. I headed down to Chance to face this one. Little did I know that your all-time favourite DJ would be playing in San Fran into the wee hours of your day. I’d like to think that you spent the night watching and grooving from afar as we danced in joyful celebration of you and the day you claimed as yours. We danced with love in our hearts, smiles on our faces, gratitude in our souls, and the full power of the lives you told us to get the hell out there and live pulsing through our bodies. Happy Independence Day.
  • 81 23 4 July, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 15: Facing the sobering reality that your baby is somehow — inexplicably, unarguably — an adult. At least in linear time. My firstborn @mckenzington turns 20 today. I was 25 the day she born, and in many ways, I felt like a kid having a kid. I grew up alongside her. So I know firsthand that linear time does not an adult make. She made me one — and in life’s incongruent way, reconnected me with my inner child. I wasn’t afraid to have a baby. You can’t grow up in a large French-Irish Catholic family and be uncomfortable around babies. I was afraid to be a mother. Afraid to be responsible for the little person that baby would become. Afraid to fail at the world’s highest stakes job. Every mother wants more for her child than she herself had or has. And at 20, McKenzie does have more. She has my face, yet my features and those borrowed from her father are arranged to magnify her beauty. She’s a writer after my own heart, with a canny flare for incisive metaphors that I admire. She has the high metabolism I had at her age — the one thing I’d selfishly reclaim if I could (sorry, kid). She has the anxiety that plagued me for much of my life — the one thing I’d selflessly make my own if I could. She also has what I never did — a sharp mathematical mind, an aptitude for creating with her hands, an opportunity to study abroad in Europe. That opportunity strikes fear in her young heart, as all the best opportunities should. But I have one thing she doesn’t yet, not fully— an unwavering belief in her. Happiest of birthdays to you, my darling girl. You’re not only my daughter, but one of my best friends. I love you to the moon and back.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 15: Facing the sobering reality that your baby is somehow — inexplicably, unarguably — an adult. At least in linear time. My firstborn @mckenzington turns 20 today. I was 25 the day she born, and in many ways, I felt like a kid having a kid. I grew up alongside her. So I know firsthand that linear time does not an adult make. She made me one — and in life’s incongruent way, reconnected me with my inner child. I wasn’t afraid to have a baby. You can’t grow up in a large French-Irish Catholic family and be uncomfortable around babies. I was afraid to be a mother. Afraid to be responsible for the little person that baby would become. Afraid to fail at the world’s highest stakes job. Every mother wants more for her child than she herself had or has. And at 20, McKenzie does have more. She has my face, yet my features and those borrowed from her father are arranged to magnify her beauty. She’s a writer after my own heart, with a canny flare for incisive metaphors that I admire. She has the high metabolism I had at her age — the one thing I’d selfishly reclaim if I could (sorry, kid). She has the anxiety that plagued me for much of my life — the one thing I’d selflessly make my own if I could. She also has what I never did — a sharp mathematical mind, an aptitude for creating with her hands, an opportunity to study abroad in Europe. That opportunity strikes fear in her young heart, as all the best opportunities should. But I have one thing she doesn’t yet, not fully— an unwavering belief in her. Happiest of birthdays to you, my darling girl. You’re not only my daughter, but one of my best friends. I love you to the moon and back.
  • 47 4 2 hours ago
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 14: Getting my hands dirty. I wasn’t afraid to as a kid — no, I longed for summers where I could shed the frilly dresses my mother dolled me up in for school and play like the tomboy I was inside. Mudpies, puddle-jumping, frog-catching, fishing. No, I wasn’t squeamish about getting dirty (though the leeches that sometimes came with the frog-catching gave me some moments — I have a bug thing). Somewhere in adulthood, given that I have a black thumb and never took to gardening, getting up close and personal with dirt changed from “yaaaaas” to “ewwwww.” I took Angus on a forest walk yesterday, and High Park was still a bit mucky in places from recent rainfall. I’m usually pretty sprightly with sidestepping slippery patches, but as I jumped down from a log on a steep incline, my sneaker slipped, flipping me up in the air and landing me with a teeth-rattling thud in a mud puddle. There was a moment of suspended animation as I absorbed what had happened. I could feel my rounded eyes, making it easy to picture the look of shock on my face. I took in Angus’ expressive canine mug that clearly said “what the fuck, human?” And after one uttered curse as I stood to discover myself covered in mud, I gave in to the absurdity of the situation and laughed my way through the forest. I looked at the patterns the mud made on my arms, watched it dry the way I once did in the reflection of sliding glass doors after slathering war paint on my face. When I washed it off, I watched it colour the water and swirl down the drain. And I felt like a kid again. Felt the unfettered freedom I once did. I felt part of nature instead of resisting it. Instead of “ewww,” I was filled with awe. When you view life’s mishaps through a lens of acceptance laced with humour, you recapture a piece of the wildling soul you were born with and had socialized out of you. Lean into life’s mishaps sometime and see how it changes your experience of them.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 14: Getting my hands dirty. I wasn’t afraid to as a kid — no, I longed for summers where I could shed the frilly dresses my mother dolled me up in for school and play like the tomboy I was inside. Mudpies, puddle-jumping, frog-catching, fishing. No, I wasn’t squeamish about getting dirty (though the leeches that sometimes came with the frog-catching gave me some moments — I have a bug thing). Somewhere in adulthood, given that I have a black thumb and never took to gardening, getting up close and personal with dirt changed from “yaaaaas” to “ewwwww.” I took Angus on a forest walk yesterday, and High Park was still a bit mucky in places from recent rainfall. I’m usually pretty sprightly with sidestepping slippery patches, but as I jumped down from a log on a steep incline, my sneaker slipped, flipping me up in the air and landing me with a teeth-rattling thud in a mud puddle. There was a moment of suspended animation as I absorbed what had happened. I could feel my rounded eyes, making it easy to picture the look of shock on my face. I took in Angus’ expressive canine mug that clearly said “what the fuck, human?” And after one uttered curse as I stood to discover myself covered in mud, I gave in to the absurdity of the situation and laughed my way through the forest. I looked at the patterns the mud made on my arms, watched it dry the way I once did in the reflection of sliding glass doors after slathering war paint on my face. When I washed it off, I watched it colour the water and swirl down the drain. And I felt like a kid again. Felt the unfettered freedom I once did. I felt part of nature instead of resisting it. Instead of “ewww,” I was filled with awe. When you view life’s mishaps through a lens of acceptance laced with humour, you recapture a piece of the wildling soul you were born with and had socialized out of you. Lean into life’s mishaps sometime and see how it changes your experience of them.
  • 34 1 7 June, 2019
  • Hey UMe girls, thought I would share my two cents on step 1 of yoga according to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. In my own quest, I revisit this principle often as a way to reconsider my thought stream, actions and responses...it's a life long process for me. In what ways do you/will you practice ahimsa? Today I practice this by way of the body to strengthen my compassion toward myself and others. #unshakeableme #ahimsapractice #ahimsagirl #ahimsateen #portlandmaineyoga #yxeyoga #calmgirl #yogagirl
  • Hey UMe girls, thought I would share my two cents on step 1 of yoga according to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. In my own quest, I revisit this principle often as a way to reconsider my thought stream, actions and responses...it's a life long process for me. In what ways do you/will you practice ahimsa? Today I practice this by way of the body to strengthen my compassion toward myself and others. #unshakeableme #ahimsapractice #ahimsagirl #ahimsateen #portlandmaineyoga #yxeyoga #calmgirl #yogagirl
  • 18 2 25 May, 2019
  • Let’s mind the gap! Start by noticing the pause that lives at the base of your exhalation... followed by the pause at the top of your inhalation...staying with your own breath awareness for 8 to 10 breath cycles...you’ll have completed a brief, but potent practice to build self-awareness, leading to the discovery of the gap between stimulus + response. According to Victor Frankl a key step toward growth 🌱 and freedom lives in your ability to respond based on your capacity to find and see the meaning within all things. Let’s learn from his powerful story and research. #unshakeable #unshakeableme #bravegirls #portlandmaineyoga #findmypurpose #creatingspace #portlandteens #yxeyoga #victorfrankl #girlssearchformeaning
  • Let’s mind the gap! Start by noticing the pause that lives at the base of your exhalation... followed by the pause at the top of your inhalation...staying with your own breath awareness for 8 to 10 breath cycles...you’ll have completed a brief, but potent practice to build self-awareness, leading to the discovery of the gap between stimulus + response. According to Victor Frankl a key step toward growth 🌱 and freedom lives in your ability to respond based on your capacity to find and see the meaning within all things. Let’s learn from his powerful story and research. #unshakeable #unshakeableme #bravegirls #portlandmaineyoga #findmypurpose #creatingspace #portlandteens #yxeyoga #victorfrankl #girlssearchformeaning
  • 25 2 24 May, 2019
  • It’s amazing to experience the shift in our overall level of contentment when we stay sensitive and open to those small joys that present throughout the day. If we could only get to the point when we stub our toe and despite the pain we’re feeling we also note and appreciate the beauty of the stone we stubbed it on....someday😆! Do you think adding up small moments of appreciation make you happier? Let’s take the day to explore this question! #unshakeableme #smallmoments #morejoy #bravegirls #teenspirt #teenpower #proactivegirl
  • It’s amazing to experience the shift in our overall level of contentment when we stay sensitive and open to those small joys that present throughout the day. If we could only get to the point when we stub our toe and despite the pain we’re feeling we also note and appreciate the beauty of the stone we stubbed it on....someday😆! Do you think adding up small moments of appreciation make you happier? Let’s take the day to explore this question! #unshakeableme #smallmoments #morejoy #bravegirls #teenspirt #teenpower #proactivegirl
  • 33 0 20 May, 2019
  • If you’re seeing this particular post, it looks like you may be taking a moment of pause and the vehicle is a screen. So let’s try something...begin to soften your abdomen and let the breath reach a deeper place. Turn your attention onto yourself as if you were sitting on a park bench observing from a far. As you watch your thoughts, be kind with yourself and give yourself the space to investigate what comes up. After a few minutes, reflect on your observations and acknowledge what thoughts are helping and what may be harming you and others. #unshakeableme #selfmastery #bravegirl #portlandmaineyoga #wellnessbreak
  • If you’re seeing this particular post, it looks like you may be taking a moment of pause and the vehicle is a screen. So let’s try something...begin to soften your abdomen and let the breath reach a deeper place. Turn your attention onto yourself as if you were sitting on a park bench observing from a far. As you watch your thoughts, be kind with yourself and give yourself the space to investigate what comes up. After a few minutes, reflect on your observations and acknowledge what thoughts are helping and what may be harming you and others. #unshakeableme #selfmastery #bravegirl #portlandmaineyoga #wellnessbreak
  • 15 1 14 May, 2019
  • Let’s pause to consider what we take in and how it makes us feel. What things give us a tightness in the chest, leave us feeling zapped, unworthy, not enough or disconnected from who we truly are. It’s sometimes helpful to realize that there are only two sides to be on, to borrow from Star Wars, there is The Force or the Darkside. You choose. One side brings you closer to yourself, while the other pulls you away.  #unshakeableme #selfmastery #portlandmaineyoga #bravegirls #selfaudit #portlandteens
  • Let’s pause to consider what we take in and how it makes us feel. What things give us a tightness in the chest, leave us feeling zapped, unworthy, not enough or disconnected from who we truly are. It’s sometimes helpful to realize that there are only two sides to be on, to borrow from Star Wars, there is The Force or the Darkside. You choose. One side brings you closer to yourself, while the other pulls you away. #unshakeableme #selfmastery #portlandmaineyoga #bravegirls #selfaudit #portlandteens
  • 18 0 10 May, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 13: Finding freedom in doing things you will never be great at. I once subscribed to the limiting belief that the only things worth doing were those I could do well. While I shook some of that off over the years to shake it on dancefloors and sing my tone-deaf heart out whenever the music moved me, there were some creative pursuits I deemed off-limits. One of those was painting. I’m not sure who first told me that I had no talent for visual art (even though I later built a career involving the ability to recognize and shape it), but I clearly internalized that belief. And yet I recall with perfect clarity the artist’s easel and paint set I owned when I was little and the swaggering sense of freedom I felt with a paint brush — or better yet, my fingers — swirling images from my mind’s eye onto paper. I didn’t care if only I could decipher what I’d created. The joy wasn’t in the result but the process. Kid wisdom at work. The problem with only doing things you are proficient at is that it doesn’t allow for the kind of growth that has little to do with performance — and everything to do with broadening your worldview, sense of self and community, and social circles. If 2019 is to be a year of deconstructing the fear-based limiting beliefs the wounded child artist in me inscribes as gospel on my psyche to live Unshakeable, then that’s the kind of growth I need to chase. To that end, I signed myself up for four weeks’ worth of Artist Dates on Mondays with Toronto-based @her_people. The concept: Meet once a week for a month, explore a smattering of creative workshops and meaningfully connect with a group of 15 women in the city. Our first session on Monday evening was an Intro to Watercolours workshop — something I knew I would love but suck at spectacularly. As suspected, I found the process as soothing and freeing as my childhood painting sessions — and gave zero fucks that the result was cringe-worthy. I even showed my judgemental teens my handiwork. I want them to see their mother finding joy in doing things she sucks at in the hope that it will inspire them to do the same. Try it sometime, and see how it changes you.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 13: Finding freedom in doing things you will never be great at. I once subscribed to the limiting belief that the only things worth doing were those I could do well. While I shook some of that off over the years to shake it on dancefloors and sing my tone-deaf heart out whenever the music moved me, there were some creative pursuits I deemed off-limits. One of those was painting. I’m not sure who first told me that I had no talent for visual art (even though I later built a career involving the ability to recognize and shape it), but I clearly internalized that belief. And yet I recall with perfect clarity the artist’s easel and paint set I owned when I was little and the swaggering sense of freedom I felt with a paint brush — or better yet, my fingers — swirling images from my mind’s eye onto paper. I didn’t care if only I could decipher what I’d created. The joy wasn’t in the result but the process. Kid wisdom at work. The problem with only doing things you are proficient at is that it doesn’t allow for the kind of growth that has little to do with performance — and everything to do with broadening your worldview, sense of self and community, and social circles. If 2019 is to be a year of deconstructing the fear-based limiting beliefs the wounded child artist in me inscribes as gospel on my psyche to live Unshakeable, then that’s the kind of growth I need to chase. To that end, I signed myself up for four weeks’ worth of Artist Dates on Mondays with Toronto-based @her_people. The concept: Meet once a week for a month, explore a smattering of creative workshops and meaningfully connect with a group of 15 women in the city. Our first session on Monday evening was an Intro to Watercolours workshop — something I knew I would love but suck at spectacularly. As suspected, I found the process as soothing and freeing as my childhood painting sessions — and gave zero fucks that the result was cringe-worthy. I even showed my judgemental teens my handiwork. I want them to see their mother finding joy in doing things she sucks at in the hope that it will inspire them to do the same. Try it sometime, and see how it changes you.
  • 47 3 8 May, 2019
  • Posture time (Bookmark this!) Here is a short video on healthy postural alignment, which will help in life and your yoga practice! Who will be the one to invent the app that measures our time every day in good alignment, they've done it for counting steps and screentime...just putting it out there! #freeyoga #unshakeableme #portlandmaineyoga #yxeyoga #bravegirls #posturelesson
  • Posture time (Bookmark this!) Here is a short video on healthy postural alignment, which will help in life and your yoga practice! Who will be the one to invent the app that measures our time every day in good alignment, they've done it for counting steps and screentime...just putting it out there! #freeyoga #unshakeableme #portlandmaineyoga #yxeyoga #bravegirls #posturelesson
  • 16 4 8 May, 2019
  • Living from intention helps you to move through the world with more ease 🦋. When we are stuck in a reactionary loop, when we feel everything is happening to us and we have no control 🤷🏻‍♀️or are frustrated because we get fixated on those things in our daily lives that we can’t change we burnout or react in ways misaligned with our true nature. This causes us to punish ourselves through reliving the experience and trying to change our reactions retroactively. To help avoid this slippery banana peel 🍌of life we try to shift our attention as directed in this UMe tip and practice this ongoing art of self-awareness 🧘🏼‍♀️and moving through the world with intention 🧗🏻‍♀️. #unshakeableme #beintentional #teenpower #teengirl #portlandmaineyoga #selfawareness #maineteen #portlandyoga #selfmastery
  • Living from intention helps you to move through the world with more ease 🦋. When we are stuck in a reactionary loop, when we feel everything is happening to us and we have no control 🤷🏻‍♀️or are frustrated because we get fixated on those things in our daily lives that we can’t change we burnout or react in ways misaligned with our true nature. This causes us to punish ourselves through reliving the experience and trying to change our reactions retroactively. To help avoid this slippery banana peel 🍌of life we try to shift our attention as directed in this UMe tip and practice this ongoing art of self-awareness 🧘🏼‍♀️and moving through the world with intention 🧗🏻‍♀️. #unshakeableme #beintentional #teenpower #teengirl #portlandmaineyoga #selfawareness #maineteen #portlandyoga #selfmastery
  • 15 0 7 May, 2019
  • “Imagine what we could do together if we really wanted to”. - Greta Thunberg
Our Unshakeable Me mentor spotlight this week is Greta Thunberg of Sweden. She is a pure and true voice of our time, focused on climate justice and the living Earth.  She is so impactful, honest and inspirational in her words and example; a perfect example of what may be accomplished when you ask and answer the deep questions: who am I, what do I really want, how can I help, what is my purpose? See her TEDx talk to learn more from her and get inspired to get involved (link in profile). UMe girls, what do you think Greta’s unchanging purpose is? Communicator, activist, catalyst, guardian? How does she inspire you? UMe Ambassadors write your thoughts in the comments below! Give this post a thumbs-up in the comments after you watch her TED talk.
#unshakeableme #gretathunberg #UMementorspotlight #youthmentor #climatejustice #livingplanet #purposefulliving #followingdharma #soulquestions #whoami #whatdoiwant #howcanihelp #whatismypurpose
  • “Imagine what we could do together if we really wanted to”. - Greta Thunberg
    Our Unshakeable Me mentor spotlight this week is Greta Thunberg of Sweden. She is a pure and true voice of our time, focused on climate justice and the living Earth. She is so impactful, honest and inspirational in her words and example; a perfect example of what may be accomplished when you ask and answer the deep questions: who am I, what do I really want, how can I help, what is my purpose? See her TEDx talk to learn more from her and get inspired to get involved (link in profile). UMe girls, what do you think Greta’s unchanging purpose is? Communicator, activist, catalyst, guardian? How does she inspire you? UMe Ambassadors write your thoughts in the comments below! Give this post a thumbs-up in the comments after you watch her TED talk.
    #unshakeableme #gretathunberg #UMementorspotlight #youthmentor #climatejustice #livingplanet #purposefulliving #followingdharma #soulquestions #whoami #whatdoiwant #howcanihelp #whatismypurpose
  • 17 0 6 May, 2019
  • This may be your first time asking yourself  these types of questions, so don’t worry if it takes a few rounds to get closer to the answers. Unshakeable girls it’s time to explore insight meditation as a way to get to the roots of these important questions - more to come on this.
“You are what your deep, driving desire is. As is your desire, so is your will. As is your will, so is your deed. As is your deed, so is your destiny.” - Upanishads
#unshakeableme #teenyogaportlandme #portlandmaineyoga # teenyogamaine #teenspirit #girlswhostudyyoga #selfmastery #upanishads #insightmeditation
  • This may be your first time asking yourself these types of questions, so don’t worry if it takes a few rounds to get closer to the answers. Unshakeable girls it’s time to explore insight meditation as a way to get to the roots of these important questions - more to come on this.
    “You are what your deep, driving desire is. As is your desire, so is your will. As is your will, so is your deed. As is your deed, so is your destiny.” - Upanishads
    #unshakeableme #teenyogaportlandme #portlandmaineyoga # teenyogamaine #teenspirit #girlswhostudyyoga #selfmastery #upanishads #insightmeditation
  • 13 0 3 May, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 12: Finding joy in marching to the unique beat of my own offbeat drummer. While music is an integral part of my life, I am not musical. I can’t hold a tune, and have never had the timing or talent for playing instruments. Still, I’ve never met a dance floor that hasn’t called my name, no matter where in the world my travels have taken me. @rrschmitty and I even created our own dance floor on the crackled, craggy and crumbling ground of the salt flats in the Danakil Depression. There’s something about African rhythm that calls to me on a primal level. So today, I took myself on a solo Artist Date that pulled me out of my personal comfort zone and into my musical happy zone at an African Drum Circle Rhythm Exchange hosted by @puryogatoronto. I shed my self-conscious shyness the instant my hands connected with my drum. I found myself singing louder than I ever have in a room full of strangers with no friends as social crutches. I rejoiced in the sounds that filled my soul, made it sing. I celebrated every off-key note that was pulled from the core of me. By the end of that two-hour session, my hands were stinging, my heart was singing, and my body was moving to beats older than time. The experience transported me back to the first time my feet stepped onto African soil — and it brought the tribe of friends who shared that journey with me closer in mind and heart than they currently are in body.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 12: Finding joy in marching to the unique beat of my own offbeat drummer. While music is an integral part of my life, I am not musical. I can’t hold a tune, and have never had the timing or talent for playing instruments. Still, I’ve never met a dance floor that hasn’t called my name, no matter where in the world my travels have taken me. @rrschmitty and I even created our own dance floor on the crackled, craggy and crumbling ground of the salt flats in the Danakil Depression. There’s something about African rhythm that calls to me on a primal level. So today, I took myself on a solo Artist Date that pulled me out of my personal comfort zone and into my musical happy zone at an African Drum Circle Rhythm Exchange hosted by @puryogatoronto. I shed my self-conscious shyness the instant my hands connected with my drum. I found myself singing louder than I ever have in a room full of strangers with no friends as social crutches. I rejoiced in the sounds that filled my soul, made it sing. I celebrated every off-key note that was pulled from the core of me. By the end of that two-hour session, my hands were stinging, my heart was singing, and my body was moving to beats older than time. The experience transported me back to the first time my feet stepped onto African soil — and it brought the tribe of friends who shared that journey with me closer in mind and heart than they currently are in body.
  • 76 4 27 April, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 11: Creating space to face firsts and fears with self-love. Saturday was the first anniversary of my late husband Gabe’s failed pancreatic cancer surgery in Germany. On Friday morning, my meditation was focused on acceptance — not trying to push for any state of being or meditation experience, but just accepting what is. No words or clear feelings bubbled up, so I scanned my body for clues and discovered an inexplicable tightness and heaviness in my chest. Then my phone served up an “on this day” album including a photo of us admitting Gabe to a hospital room with its own patio, faces and hearts full of hope — and I knew. My body was remembering what my mind hadn’t clued into yet, like a muscle memory. I relived it all in seconds. And I abandoned all of my plans for the day and took a musical journey into my teen angst years, listening to all the songs that once soothed my too-full heart. It was exactly what I needed. As was the half-day I spent at @mindsetbraingym with @neo.retreat for my weekly Artist Date on Saturday — sound bath, animal flow movement class, happiness fundamentals, aromatherapy, and a Win Hof breathwork meditation. Proof that facing your feelings (one of my biggest fears) and hard firsts head-on can transform even dark days into bright ones.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge No. 11: Creating space to face firsts and fears with self-love. Saturday was the first anniversary of my late husband Gabe’s failed pancreatic cancer surgery in Germany. On Friday morning, my meditation was focused on acceptance — not trying to push for any state of being or meditation experience, but just accepting what is. No words or clear feelings bubbled up, so I scanned my body for clues and discovered an inexplicable tightness and heaviness in my chest. Then my phone served up an “on this day” album including a photo of us admitting Gabe to a hospital room with its own patio, faces and hearts full of hope — and I knew. My body was remembering what my mind hadn’t clued into yet, like a muscle memory. I relived it all in seconds. And I abandoned all of my plans for the day and took a musical journey into my teen angst years, listening to all the songs that once soothed my too-full heart. It was exactly what I needed. As was the half-day I spent at @mindsetbraingym with @neo.retreat for my weekly Artist Date on Saturday — sound bath, animal flow movement class, happiness fundamentals, aromatherapy, and a Win Hof breathwork meditation. Proof that facing your feelings (one of my biggest fears) and hard firsts head-on can transform even dark days into bright ones.
  • 101 6 17 April, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 10: When inspiration or opportunity come calling, “fuck how you feel — ACT!” This line from Gary John Bishop’s Unfu*k Yourself has been my unspoken mantra for 2019. When we’re presented with things that have the power to shake up routine or change the course of our lives, the ugly little life-limiting creatures I call fearworms come slithering to the surface of our consciousness. “I can’t do that.” “What will people think?!” “I’m not good/smart/pretty/skinny/creative/talented enough.” Like their song-based bretheren earworms, fearworms burrow and wriggle through our brains in an endless loop, interrupting those signals from our intuition that tell us we’re on to something. I haven’t always trusted my gut instincts, despite the fact that they’ve lead me to transformative experiences every time I’ve followed them. For months now, I’ve been getting signals that my purpose might include a career shift into life coaching, specifically cancer coaching. I didn’t take immediate action, and the fearworms began writhing. Those signals rang through loud and clear when there was a final spot in the first module of IPEC’s life coach certification course — the weekend before my 45th birthday, which is tomorrow. I brushed my fearworms aside and took it. As Bishop says: “It’s all about action. Going out there, doing it, and taking all of your negative bullshit along for the ride.” Inspired and positively charged doesn’t begin to describe how I feel after this weekend. So today, as I treated myself to a pre-birthday mani, I decided to finally leave my sophisticated neutrals comfort zone in favour of the kind of loud, crazy colourful nails I’ve secretly coveted but have been too concerned with what other people might think to try. Now I have a “fuck yeah, 45” manicure to match the attitude with which I’m blazing into this next chapter of my life. Watch this space, friends.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 10: When inspiration or opportunity come calling, “fuck how you feel — ACT!” This line from Gary John Bishop’s Unfu*k Yourself has been my unspoken mantra for 2019. When we’re presented with things that have the power to shake up routine or change the course of our lives, the ugly little life-limiting creatures I call fearworms come slithering to the surface of our consciousness. “I can’t do that.” “What will people think?!” “I’m not good/smart/pretty/skinny/creative/talented enough.” Like their song-based bretheren earworms, fearworms burrow and wriggle through our brains in an endless loop, interrupting those signals from our intuition that tell us we’re on to something. I haven’t always trusted my gut instincts, despite the fact that they’ve lead me to transformative experiences every time I’ve followed them. For months now, I’ve been getting signals that my purpose might include a career shift into life coaching, specifically cancer coaching. I didn’t take immediate action, and the fearworms began writhing. Those signals rang through loud and clear when there was a final spot in the first module of IPEC’s life coach certification course — the weekend before my 45th birthday, which is tomorrow. I brushed my fearworms aside and took it. As Bishop says: “It’s all about action. Going out there, doing it, and taking all of your negative bullshit along for the ride.” Inspired and positively charged doesn’t begin to describe how I feel after this weekend. So today, as I treated myself to a pre-birthday mani, I decided to finally leave my sophisticated neutrals comfort zone in favour of the kind of loud, crazy colourful nails I’ve secretly coveted but have been too concerned with what other people might think to try. Now I have a “fuck yeah, 45” manicure to match the attitude with which I’m blazing into this next chapter of my life. Watch this space, friends.
  • 59 14 25 March, 2019
  • #TheLittleThings No. 11: Penning handwritten letters to my future self and postcards to my tribe. In the months since my husband Gabe passed away, my tribe and I have been entrenched in the gruelling yet invigorating process of rewriting and redesigning our lives. We’ve all been swimming hard against the current of convention. Allowing your own intuition to guide and shape your life is one of the most challenging exercises for modern humans — our minds have been wired to the frequency of the ego. My gut has been my divining rod for months now. It led me to The World Happiness Summit (@wohasu) in Miami, where the knowledge sharing and coaching were interspersed with opportunities for quiet reflection and self-exploration — like this @airstream_inc booth equipped with hammocks, patio chairs, a few trailers, and writing tools for sharing your insights, hopes and dreams with your future self when your letter is mailed back to you in six months. I started 2019 by composing a letter to the me I will be on December 31. I wrote it as a supersized triple-dog dare to myself as I launched my #UnshakeableMe challenge. The letter I drafted in the solitude of that Airstream trailer was softer in approach and kinder in tone — a list of things I hope will be true for my future self as she reads it. I also sent one hope in a postcard to each of my core tribe members — the people who share my life’s journeys, both globetrotting and path-carving. #ichoosehappiness #wohasu #artistsdate
  • #TheLittleThings No. 11: Penning handwritten letters to my future self and postcards to my tribe. In the months since my husband Gabe passed away, my tribe and I have been entrenched in the gruelling yet invigorating process of rewriting and redesigning our lives. We’ve all been swimming hard against the current of convention. Allowing your own intuition to guide and shape your life is one of the most challenging exercises for modern humans — our minds have been wired to the frequency of the ego. My gut has been my divining rod for months now. It led me to The World Happiness Summit (@wohasu) in Miami, where the knowledge sharing and coaching were interspersed with opportunities for quiet reflection and self-exploration — like this @airstream_inc booth equipped with hammocks, patio chairs, a few trailers, and writing tools for sharing your insights, hopes and dreams with your future self when your letter is mailed back to you in six months. I started 2019 by composing a letter to the me I will be on December 31. I wrote it as a supersized triple-dog dare to myself as I launched my #UnshakeableMe challenge. The letter I drafted in the solitude of that Airstream trailer was softer in approach and kinder in tone — a list of things I hope will be true for my future self as she reads it. I also sent one hope in a postcard to each of my core tribe members — the people who share my life’s journeys, both globetrotting and path-carving. #ichoosehappiness #wohasu #artistsdate
  • 65 8 20 March, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Miami Edition: Today at The World Happiness Summit (@wohasu), I heard @margaritatarragona‘s talk on The Science of Storytelling and how stories — as well as the act of writing itself — create meaning in our lives. This in itself is not news to a lifelong reader and writer. It’s why I carry a notebook with me, why I favour analog to-do lists over digital solutions, why handwritten (cursive, not printing) will always trump type for me. But as Dr. Tarragona delved deeper into the concept of narrative identity, one question swirled into my mind’s eye like ink on paper: In your own life story, would you rather be the author or an unwitting character? When you’re the author, you get the benefit of prologue and the long-tail view of the story arc. Characters may speak to you or through you, revealing a plot twist you hadn’t anticipated, but you ultimately decide where the story goes. When you’re an unwitting character, the story happens to you. You experience it through the voice of the narrator (your inner critic). My life story once had a narrator. Hell, it had a censor. But long before my husband was diagnosed with cancer and I began to document our journey, I made a conscious decision to pen my own story — literally and figuratively. My narrator is peeved to find herself redundant. She enjoyed the sound of her own voice. She’s been pitching fits from the moment I found my voice, and has been trying to write herself back in. But that’s one plot twist that won’t find its way onto my narrative map. Are you writing or reading your life story? Who are you sharing a byline with? #ichoosehappiness #wohasu
  • #UnshakeableMe Miami Edition: Today at The World Happiness Summit (@wohasu), I heard @margaritatarragona‘s talk on The Science of Storytelling and how stories — as well as the act of writing itself — create meaning in our lives. This in itself is not news to a lifelong reader and writer. It’s why I carry a notebook with me, why I favour analog to-do lists over digital solutions, why handwritten (cursive, not printing) will always trump type for me. But as Dr. Tarragona delved deeper into the concept of narrative identity, one question swirled into my mind’s eye like ink on paper: In your own life story, would you rather be the author or an unwitting character? When you’re the author, you get the benefit of prologue and the long-tail view of the story arc. Characters may speak to you or through you, revealing a plot twist you hadn’t anticipated, but you ultimately decide where the story goes. When you’re an unwitting character, the story happens to you. You experience it through the voice of the narrator (your inner critic). My life story once had a narrator. Hell, it had a censor. But long before my husband was diagnosed with cancer and I began to document our journey, I made a conscious decision to pen my own story — literally and figuratively. My narrator is peeved to find herself redundant. She enjoyed the sound of her own voice. She’s been pitching fits from the moment I found my voice, and has been trying to write herself back in. But that’s one plot twist that won’t find its way onto my narrative map. Are you writing or reading your life story? Who are you sharing a byline with? #ichoosehappiness #wohasu
  • 56 5 16 March, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 9: Choosing happiness. This week, I’m taking my 2019 challenge on the road to Miami for the @wohasu World Happiness Summit. It’s easy to give in to fear, to let timeworn narratives dictate the next chapter of our lives. But as I’ve said before, unless clinical depression or anxiety is involved, happiness is a choice that is always available to us — even in our darkest hours. It’s the way I’ve lived from the moment a trip to the ER revealed a mass in Gabe’s pancreas, through his cancer diagnosis, our world tour in search of a cure, his medically assisted death, and the grieving process that I am still working through (though it looks a lot more like living than grieving). Now I’m going to learn more about the path I instinctively started down in a defining period of my life, along with my besties @sorta.toasted and @takeitinthescherer — an early birthday present to ourselves, three fiery Aries women. Stay tuned for insights, self-reflection, and fear busting from Miami Beach. 📷: @wohasu
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 9: Choosing happiness. This week, I’m taking my 2019 challenge on the road to Miami for the @wohasu World Happiness Summit. It’s easy to give in to fear, to let timeworn narratives dictate the next chapter of our lives. But as I’ve said before, unless clinical depression or anxiety is involved, happiness is a choice that is always available to us — even in our darkest hours. It’s the way I’ve lived from the moment a trip to the ER revealed a mass in Gabe’s pancreas, through his cancer diagnosis, our world tour in search of a cure, his medically assisted death, and the grieving process that I am still working through (though it looks a lot more like living than grieving). Now I’m going to learn more about the path I instinctively started down in a defining period of my life, along with my besties @sorta.toasted and @takeitinthescherer — an early birthday present to ourselves, three fiery Aries women. Stay tuned for insights, self-reflection, and fear busting from Miami Beach. 📷: @wohasu
  • 65 10 14 March, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 8: Giving 44 years of displaced and repressed anger a positive outlet. I still react to yelling and verbal attacks the same way I did as a child – I completely shut down, mind and body. I can’t speak. Can’t move. Can’t think or defend. When faced with unchecked anger, my conflict-avoidant brain can’t control the speed of the logical arguments that race along neural pathways only to crash and burn in a multi-word pile-up against a mouth that refuses to open. For this week’s Artist’s Date, I took myself to Rage Room – where you get suited up in safety gear in a room kitted with baseball bats, a selection of crowbars, and things to vent your rage by smashing. My victims: An old printer, a giant basket filled with dishes and glassware – and a lifetime of fears, old narratives, limiting beliefs, self-doubts, and defense mechanisms. My playlist: Mumford and Sons. I didn’t want angry music. I wanted high-energy Irish pub brawl – incongruently cool like a movie fight scene set to a seventies rock anthem. My first few smashes were timid, throwing items to the concrete floor like a kid who can’t believe they’ve been given permission to do something naughty. Breaking things on purpose seems so deliciously taboo. The child-like glee that bubbled up in me was so unexpected that it sent shivers down my spine. It didn’t take long for me to get into it, to trade throwing a plate with my hand for playing baseball with a glass, then taking a crowbar to a plate, picking up the broken pieces and smashing them to smithereens. I started to cry at one point, a tell-tale sign that I am accessing my anger. Smashed harder. Cried some more. Got pissed at the tears and started to growl. It came from the depths of my soul – wild and guttural. A soul growl. A come-into-your-own-power growl. Untamed and unabashed. And yet, there was no fear in that loss of control. Instead, I felt the wild beauty of surrender. Of release. Of emotions honoured and acknowledged. I’ve never felt more freedom than I did in that 45 minutes I spent closed in a small room alone with the ghosts of my past.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 8: Giving 44 years of displaced and repressed anger a positive outlet. I still react to yelling and verbal attacks the same way I did as a child – I completely shut down, mind and body. I can’t speak. Can’t move. Can’t think or defend. When faced with unchecked anger, my conflict-avoidant brain can’t control the speed of the logical arguments that race along neural pathways only to crash and burn in a multi-word pile-up against a mouth that refuses to open. For this week’s Artist’s Date, I took myself to Rage Room – where you get suited up in safety gear in a room kitted with baseball bats, a selection of crowbars, and things to vent your rage by smashing. My victims: An old printer, a giant basket filled with dishes and glassware – and a lifetime of fears, old narratives, limiting beliefs, self-doubts, and defense mechanisms. My playlist: Mumford and Sons. I didn’t want angry music. I wanted high-energy Irish pub brawl – incongruently cool like a movie fight scene set to a seventies rock anthem. My first few smashes were timid, throwing items to the concrete floor like a kid who can’t believe they’ve been given permission to do something naughty. Breaking things on purpose seems so deliciously taboo. The child-like glee that bubbled up in me was so unexpected that it sent shivers down my spine. It didn’t take long for me to get into it, to trade throwing a plate with my hand for playing baseball with a glass, then taking a crowbar to a plate, picking up the broken pieces and smashing them to smithereens. I started to cry at one point, a tell-tale sign that I am accessing my anger. Smashed harder. Cried some more. Got pissed at the tears and started to growl. It came from the depths of my soul – wild and guttural. A soul growl. A come-into-your-own-power growl. Untamed and unabashed. And yet, there was no fear in that loss of control. Instead, I felt the wild beauty of surrender. Of release. Of emotions honoured and acknowledged. I’ve never felt more freedom than I did in that 45 minutes I spent closed in a small room alone with the ghosts of my past.
  • 75 7 6 March, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 7: Chopping up a narrative that no longer serves me. I have an innate fear of doing anything my inner critic determines I won’t be good at. A few early #kitchenfail incidents kept me from cooking for a good chunk of my life. Ineptitude, a klutzy nature, a perfectionist’s fear of failure, an unconscious rise against the patriarchy, and a vice-grip on control and knife handles are a recipe for knicks, burns, and other kitchen disasters. I pushed past my aversion to cooking when Gabe and I subscribed to Hello Fresh, but I’ve never been comfortable using anything other than a paring knife. There’s that need for control again; if I’m going to slice myself, it’s going to be relatively superficial. I’m also not one for attending workshops solo — an introvert’s fear of interacting without the social crutch of a friend at play. So for this week’s Artist’s Date, I signed up for a knife skills workshop at The Depanneur to chop, mince, and julienne several fears with a flick of my wrist. I ended up with the largest chef’s knife around the kitchen island, and traded it for one with a weight and length that felt more comfortable in my tiny hand. To my surprise, I found myself initiating conversations with the participants around me, truly engaged and present in the process and moment, savouring the flavour of new knowledge as it cleansed my palette of fear. I may always be cautious around knives, but I am so much more confident to use them in the kitchen now. Already eyeing a good chef’s knife and paring knife to have for my own instead of using Gabe’s set. There is power in ownership. Just as the wand chooses the wizard, perhaps the knife chooses the recovering kitchen-phobe.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 7: Chopping up a narrative that no longer serves me. I have an innate fear of doing anything my inner critic determines I won’t be good at. A few early #kitchenfail incidents kept me from cooking for a good chunk of my life. Ineptitude, a klutzy nature, a perfectionist’s fear of failure, an unconscious rise against the patriarchy, and a vice-grip on control and knife handles are a recipe for knicks, burns, and other kitchen disasters. I pushed past my aversion to cooking when Gabe and I subscribed to Hello Fresh, but I’ve never been comfortable using anything other than a paring knife. There’s that need for control again; if I’m going to slice myself, it’s going to be relatively superficial. I’m also not one for attending workshops solo — an introvert’s fear of interacting without the social crutch of a friend at play. So for this week’s Artist’s Date, I signed up for a knife skills workshop at The Depanneur to chop, mince, and julienne several fears with a flick of my wrist. I ended up with the largest chef’s knife around the kitchen island, and traded it for one with a weight and length that felt more comfortable in my tiny hand. To my surprise, I found myself initiating conversations with the participants around me, truly engaged and present in the process and moment, savouring the flavour of new knowledge as it cleansed my palette of fear. I may always be cautious around knives, but I am so much more confident to use them in the kitchen now. Already eyeing a good chef’s knife and paring knife to have for my own instead of using Gabe’s set. There is power in ownership. Just as the wand chooses the wizard, perhaps the knife chooses the recovering kitchen-phobe.
  • 48 7 2 March, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe: Rediscovering the joy and power of ‘sturmfrei’ — a German word to describe the freedom of being alone and able to do what you want. As an introvert, I’ve always craved alone time to recharge. A year ago today, I wrote a post about carving out micro moments of sturmfrei when Gabe and I were living in Germany during his cancer treatment. I could feel the yearning in my words as I read what I’d written about finding ways to feel joyfully, freely alone even when you’re not. What a difference a year makes. After Gabe died, alone time lost its appeal for me. Things I might have cheerfully charged into solo were suddenly more appealing with friends in tow. I’ve been filled with fear at the prospect of spending time alone with my thoughts and feelings. After all, widowhood is a depth and quality of alone that even an introvert is uncomfortable being plunged into. Working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way requires taking yourself out on a solo Artist’s Date once a week. At first, even the thought of this terrified me. I wanted to bend the rules and bring someone with me. Except my own Unshakeable Me challenge is all about uncovering, facing, and working through my fears, and I’m holding myself accountable in the name of growth. So this week, I took myself to @mindsetbraingym in Yorkville for a meditation session aptly focused on self-love. The sink-into-me chairs, the scents, the soft lights I could sense dancing on the walls behind my closed eyes, the guide’s rhythmic voice — all of these elements conspired to lull my overactive mind into stillness. I resisted at first, my mind casting wildly for threads of thoughts to pull me out of the now. But soon I was settling into myself, into a place I hadn’t let myself explore since Gabe passed away. I felt the wild freedom of it, could almost smell it — something richly dark and alive like a forest in summer.  It was home. I could feel Gabe there. And my Gram. And my dad, even though it’s been years since he passed and I’ve never felt his presence before. I smiled to myself as tears ran unchecked down my cheeks. Love also has unfathomable depths. And when you sink into it, you’re never truly alone.
  • #UnshakeableMe : Rediscovering the joy and power of ‘sturmfrei’ — a German word to describe the freedom of being alone and able to do what you want. As an introvert, I’ve always craved alone time to recharge. A year ago today, I wrote a post about carving out micro moments of sturmfrei when Gabe and I were living in Germany during his cancer treatment. I could feel the yearning in my words as I read what I’d written about finding ways to feel joyfully, freely alone even when you’re not. What a difference a year makes. After Gabe died, alone time lost its appeal for me. Things I might have cheerfully charged into solo were suddenly more appealing with friends in tow. I’ve been filled with fear at the prospect of spending time alone with my thoughts and feelings. After all, widowhood is a depth and quality of alone that even an introvert is uncomfortable being plunged into. Working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way requires taking yourself out on a solo Artist’s Date once a week. At first, even the thought of this terrified me. I wanted to bend the rules and bring someone with me. Except my own Unshakeable Me challenge is all about uncovering, facing, and working through my fears, and I’m holding myself accountable in the name of growth. So this week, I took myself to @mindsetbraingym in Yorkville for a meditation session aptly focused on self-love. The sink-into-me chairs, the scents, the soft lights I could sense dancing on the walls behind my closed eyes, the guide’s rhythmic voice — all of these elements conspired to lull my overactive mind into stillness. I resisted at first, my mind casting wildly for threads of thoughts to pull me out of the now. But soon I was settling into myself, into a place I hadn’t let myself explore since Gabe passed away. I felt the wild freedom of it, could almost smell it — something richly dark and alive like a forest in summer. It was home. I could feel Gabe there. And my Gram. And my dad, even though it’s been years since he passed and I’ve never felt his presence before. I smiled to myself as tears ran unchecked down my cheeks. Love also has unfathomable depths. And when you sink into it, you’re never truly alone.
  • 48 6 18 February, 2019
  • VULNERABLE POST AHEAD —#UnshakeableMe Challenge 5: Allowing myself to break open. My entire life, I’ve never been given to emotional extremes — behind that a deeply ingrained fear of breaking. Proof that I should have been a doctor if math and I weren’t mortal enemies, I possess the unique ability to detach myself from any situation to do what needs to be done. There could be an emotional tsunami raging inside me, and you’d never glimpse a sign of it on my face. Even knowing that strength resides in vulnerability, there have always been clear borders to mine, with imposing walls that the Trumps of the world would covet. After a breakup, I’d give myself a strict timeline for wallowing and whining to friends, and then begin the hard work of moving on. I never truly mastered the art of moving through. When Gabe got sick, I forged my own emotional chain-mail, link by link. Sure, it was breathable, so emotions could flow through in manageable waves — but there was no chance of a killing blow while I was wearing it. After he died, I felt sadness, but only the shallows of it, like dipping a finger into the ocean. I’ve been working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and it broke something open in me that’s been tightly sealed since childhood. Today, standing in my kitchen, I was hit with a wave of grief that had me lowering to the floor. I sobbed. I wailed. I resisted. Then I sobbed and wailed some more. I rose, mentally telling myself that was enough now, to get up and get on with the business of preparing breakfast. But my grief had me sinking back down to the floor again, and this time, I moved through it. I can’t tell you how long I laid there and cried out a year’s worth of pain. But I can tell you that I didn’t break — I bent with the wave. And I’ve never felt stronger. I’ve long loved this bit of wisdom from an old man in a Reddit thread on grief. Now I understand it.
  • VULNERABLE POST AHEAD — #UnshakeableMe Challenge 5: Allowing myself to break open. My entire life, I’ve never been given to emotional extremes — behind that a deeply ingrained fear of breaking. Proof that I should have been a doctor if math and I weren’t mortal enemies, I possess the unique ability to detach myself from any situation to do what needs to be done. There could be an emotional tsunami raging inside me, and you’d never glimpse a sign of it on my face. Even knowing that strength resides in vulnerability, there have always been clear borders to mine, with imposing walls that the Trumps of the world would covet. After a breakup, I’d give myself a strict timeline for wallowing and whining to friends, and then begin the hard work of moving on. I never truly mastered the art of moving through. When Gabe got sick, I forged my own emotional chain-mail, link by link. Sure, it was breathable, so emotions could flow through in manageable waves — but there was no chance of a killing blow while I was wearing it. After he died, I felt sadness, but only the shallows of it, like dipping a finger into the ocean. I’ve been working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and it broke something open in me that’s been tightly sealed since childhood. Today, standing in my kitchen, I was hit with a wave of grief that had me lowering to the floor. I sobbed. I wailed. I resisted. Then I sobbed and wailed some more. I rose, mentally telling myself that was enough now, to get up and get on with the business of preparing breakfast. But my grief had me sinking back down to the floor again, and this time, I moved through it. I can’t tell you how long I laid there and cried out a year’s worth of pain. But I can tell you that I didn’t break — I bent with the wave. And I’ve never felt stronger. I’ve long loved this bit of wisdom from an old man in a Reddit thread on grief. Now I understand it.
  • 83 16 15 February, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 4: A solo sweat sesh — beyond the gym. I took myself on an Artist Date to @dewsweathouse today. If you’ve read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, you’re familiar with the concept — a solo outing designed to spark joy (through experiences, not Marie Kondo-style decluttering), engage your senses, and let your right brain creative take over from your left brain analyst for a spell. We can’t give our full, unfiltered attention to an experience when we’re with someone else — and a sweat at DEW is one best experienced all in. The gist: Wrapped in an infrared heat blanket, you sip water, watch Netflix, and sweat it out for 55 minutes. As much as I crave alone time as a natural introvert, I don’t enjoy sitting with my thoughts and emotions for TOO long (I’m still working on meditating for longer than 10 minutes at a time). I fear experiencing emotional extremes, especially those triggered in forced stillness where there is no graceful escape. I’ll sweat it out in discomfort before I’ll quit in perceived shame. As the heat built and my mind wandered from the visual stimulus supplied by Netflix, I became super fidgety, and kept reaching for my water and squirming under the blanket. So instead of trying to distract myself, I closed my eyes and settled into that uncomfortable feeling. Not trying to soothe myself, push it away, or escape. I kept telling myself that I was in a safe place to experience discomfort — physically and emotionally. By the end, it was almost meditative, and I was so damn relaxed I could have fallen asleep. I had to silence my own inner critic and push past a wall of sweaty, fidgety discomfort and fear to get there. But oh, was it worth it.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 4: A solo sweat sesh — beyond the gym. I took myself on an Artist Date to @dewsweathouse today. If you’ve read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, you’re familiar with the concept — a solo outing designed to spark joy (through experiences, not Marie Kondo-style decluttering), engage your senses, and let your right brain creative take over from your left brain analyst for a spell. We can’t give our full, unfiltered attention to an experience when we’re with someone else — and a sweat at DEW is one best experienced all in. The gist: Wrapped in an infrared heat blanket, you sip water, watch Netflix, and sweat it out for 55 minutes. As much as I crave alone time as a natural introvert, I don’t enjoy sitting with my thoughts and emotions for TOO long (I’m still working on meditating for longer than 10 minutes at a time). I fear experiencing emotional extremes, especially those triggered in forced stillness where there is no graceful escape. I’ll sweat it out in discomfort before I’ll quit in perceived shame. As the heat built and my mind wandered from the visual stimulus supplied by Netflix, I became super fidgety, and kept reaching for my water and squirming under the blanket. So instead of trying to distract myself, I closed my eyes and settled into that uncomfortable feeling. Not trying to soothe myself, push it away, or escape. I kept telling myself that I was in a safe place to experience discomfort — physically and emotionally. By the end, it was almost meditative, and I was so damn relaxed I could have fallen asleep. I had to silence my own inner critic and push past a wall of sweaty, fidgety discomfort and fear to get there. But oh, was it worth it.
  • 69 8 8 February, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 3: A winter’s walk on the wild side. Confession: I have a fear of falling. Perhaps it’s tied to my fear of heights, or the fact that I’ve always been a bit of a spaz and falling has been a life-long part of my repertoire. I didn’t always fear it though. As a kid, I accepted that falling was part of life — perhaps a bigger part of mine. I was that kid (and there’s one on every playground), who’d trip running during a game of tag, knock the wind out of myself, and have to lay there like a slug until I got my breath back. I didn’t mind. It gave me time to regroup and strategize. I wasn’t the fastest kid, but I could be the wiliest. I was that kid who’d kamikaze down the steepest hill on a GT Snowracer, catching air off the end of the dock and knowing a crash landing was likely more often than not. I was that kid who was a bit shaky on a pair of skates, but knew the thrill of skating across the frozen lake I swam in all summer was worth a bruised butt and torn snowpants. Somewhere in adulthood, I started to resist physical falls, even as I accepted life’s metaphorical ones. I began to step uber carefully. Until today. As I walked my dogs into High Park this afternoon, needing a bit of time with nature, I decided to give their paws a break and offroad it into the snow-covered forest. I knew it would be a slippery walk, especially with a combined 110 pounds of stubborn dog trying to outpace each other. I knew a fall could happen. But something about the crunchy ice-snow blanketing the ground called to the kid in me — and I’m so much more cognizant of my fears and resistance because of this challenge — so off I trudged unevenly. My dogs sensed a balance-challenged human in their master and were forgiving to a point. Until they smelled something irresistible, and then it was every creature for him or herself. Did I fall today? No. But I was prepared to, and to roll with it instead of resisting.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 3: A winter’s walk on the wild side. Confession: I have a fear of falling. Perhaps it’s tied to my fear of heights, or the fact that I’ve always been a bit of a spaz and falling has been a life-long part of my repertoire. I didn’t always fear it though. As a kid, I accepted that falling was part of life — perhaps a bigger part of mine. I was that kid (and there’s one on every playground), who’d trip running during a game of tag, knock the wind out of myself, and have to lay there like a slug until I got my breath back. I didn’t mind. It gave me time to regroup and strategize. I wasn’t the fastest kid, but I could be the wiliest. I was that kid who’d kamikaze down the steepest hill on a GT Snowracer, catching air off the end of the dock and knowing a crash landing was likely more often than not. I was that kid who was a bit shaky on a pair of skates, but knew the thrill of skating across the frozen lake I swam in all summer was worth a bruised butt and torn snowpants. Somewhere in adulthood, I started to resist physical falls, even as I accepted life’s metaphorical ones. I began to step uber carefully. Until today. As I walked my dogs into High Park this afternoon, needing a bit of time with nature, I decided to give their paws a break and offroad it into the snow-covered forest. I knew it would be a slippery walk, especially with a combined 110 pounds of stubborn dog trying to outpace each other. I knew a fall could happen. But something about the crunchy ice-snow blanketing the ground called to the kid in me — and I’m so much more cognizant of my fears and resistance because of this challenge — so off I trudged unevenly. My dogs sensed a balance-challenged human in their master and were forgiving to a point. Until they smelled something irresistible, and then it was every creature for him or herself. Did I fall today? No. But I was prepared to, and to roll with it instead of resisting.
  • 68 1 8 February, 2019
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 2: Living my life out loud. This photo of my late husband Gabe and one of his closest friends Robbie was taken years before I met either of them. But when I look at it now, I see my past and my future in a single image. Yes, I fell in love with my husband’s best friend. Let me back that bus up while you’re still hearing the wheels screech. Shortly after Gabe died, a freshly single Robbie moved in on the lower levels of my house. Gabe brokered the deal himself, and from a few of his comments, I have to believe he foresaw what would happen. It’s a strange and wonderful thing, dancing towards someone you’ve been friends with for over seven years. As we spent more and more time together living under the same roof, the crackle of electricity in the air around us became undeniable. We both spent considerable time weighing whether we should act on it, but it was inevitable. I loved Gabe with every fibre of my being, and I love each uniquely interesting person he collected into his global menagerie of friends. I never once considered that I’d fall IN love with one of them. I mean, is there a bigger cliché than a spouse and a best friend coming together over a shared loss? But it was as easy and natural as breathing — the kind of ease I never had in my relationship with Gabe. That’s counting the need to navigate the boggy ground of starting a relationship while already living together. I love that the man I fall deeper for every day knew and loved my husband. I love that he has such a long and rich shared history with him — it’s like getting bits of Gabe’s soul delivered back to me with every story and memory. I love that I don’t have to hide my grief when it seeps out, because Robbie not only gets it, but feels it too. But that’s not why I love him. I love him for his humour, his kindness, his hedonistic joie de vivre, his wit, his love of language, his habit of thinking out loud, his inability to lie convincingly, his altruism, his too-trusting nature, his penchant for losing things — and so much more. I’ve been holding it close to my chest because I’ve feared  outside judgement. Well, with all due and undue respect, fuck that.
  • #UnshakeableMe Challenge 2: Living my life out loud. This photo of my late husband Gabe and one of his closest friends Robbie was taken years before I met either of them. But when I look at it now, I see my past and my future in a single image. Yes, I fell in love with my husband’s best friend. Let me back that bus up while you’re still hearing the wheels screech. Shortly after Gabe died, a freshly single Robbie moved in on the lower levels of my house. Gabe brokered the deal himself, and from a few of his comments, I have to believe he foresaw what would happen. It’s a strange and wonderful thing, dancing towards someone you’ve been friends with for over seven years. As we spent more and more time together living under the same roof, the crackle of electricity in the air around us became undeniable. We both spent considerable time weighing whether we should act on it, but it was inevitable. I loved Gabe with every fibre of my being, and I love each uniquely interesting person he collected into his global menagerie of friends. I never once considered that I’d fall IN love with one of them. I mean, is there a bigger cliché than a spouse and a best friend coming together over a shared loss? But it was as easy and natural as breathing — the kind of ease I never had in my relationship with Gabe. That’s counting the need to navigate the boggy ground of starting a relationship while already living together. I love that the man I fall deeper for every day knew and loved my husband. I love that he has such a long and rich shared history with him — it’s like getting bits of Gabe’s soul delivered back to me with every story and memory. I love that I don’t have to hide my grief when it seeps out, because Robbie not only gets it, but feels it too. But that’s not why I love him. I love him for his humour, his kindness, his hedonistic joie de vivre, his wit, his love of language, his habit of thinking out loud, his inability to lie convincingly, his altruism, his too-trusting nature, his penchant for losing things — and so much more. I’ve been holding it close to my chest because I’ve feared outside judgement. Well, with all due and undue respect, fuck that.
  • 113 35 4 February, 2019
  • Mindfulness expressed in art and poetry - what fun! Better carry around a little moleskin to capture these special impressions and soon you’ll start to see how much beauty is all around. #unshakeableme #bravegirl #mindfulpoetry #teengirl
  • Mindfulness expressed in art and poetry - what fun! Better carry around a little moleskin to capture these special impressions and soon you’ll start to see how much beauty is all around. #unshakeableme #bravegirl #mindfulpoetry #teengirl
  • 17 0 21 March, 2018
  • Be of service to someone. Look up...
observe what you see for 1-2 minutes, if you find yourself among others, ask yourself...
"DO YOU SEE ANYONE THAT COULD USE A HELPING HAND?"
"DO YOU SEE SOMEONE WHO COULD USE A FRIEND?"
Is it…
a classmate you don't know that well
a struggling substitute teacher 
a close family member or friend
You hold the power to making your world better by observing, listening and acting herocially when necessary
#unshakeableme #herosinwaiting #teenkarmayoga
#teengirl #bravegirl
  • Be of service to someone. Look up...
    observe what you see for 1-2 minutes, if you find yourself among others, ask yourself...
    "DO YOU SEE ANYONE THAT COULD USE A HELPING HAND?"
    "DO YOU SEE SOMEONE WHO COULD USE A FRIEND?"
    Is it…
    a classmate you don't know that well
    a struggling substitute teacher
    a close family member or friend
    You hold the power to making your world better by observing, listening and acting herocially when necessary
    #unshakeableme #herosinwaiting #teenkarmayoga
    #teengirl #bravegirl
  • 18 3 7 February, 2018
  • Thank-you Brave Girls for leading with your authenticity, kindness, resilience and courage.  Your self-healing potential is inspiring! Continue to explore the UMe practices you’ve learned so far and share them with your family members and friends. Stay committed to the practice and applying small changes step by step. Don’t be afraid to become the healer within your own home too, you have the knowledge and tools to start now. Be brave! 
@nicoleromanoffphoto thank-you for capturing this beautiful memory as we wrapped up our Real Me photo shoot. #unshakeableme #yxeyoga #realme #teenhealer #honestbeauty #teenempowerment #bravegirl #rippleeffect #resilience #herosinwaiting
  • Thank-you Brave Girls for leading with your authenticity, kindness, resilience and courage. Your self-healing potential is inspiring! Continue to explore the UMe practices you’ve learned so far and share them with your family members and friends. Stay committed to the practice and applying small changes step by step. Don’t be afraid to become the healer within your own home too, you have the knowledge and tools to start now. Be brave!
    @nicoleromanoffphoto thank-you for capturing this beautiful memory as we wrapped up our Real Me photo shoot. #unshakeableme #yxeyoga #realme #teenhealer #honestbeauty #teenempowerment #bravegirl #rippleeffect #resilience #herosinwaiting
  • 44 3 6 February, 2018
  • The word on the street is that some high schoolers are feeling a bit less than enthusiastic about the new term so far. A good question to ask yourself is, “what would I rather be doing?”. Sometimes it’s difficult to see that school is offering freedom to learn, discover, question and dream. We don’t have to look very far to understand how luck we are to be granted a good education. #betterlife #cultivating-potential #educationforall #unshakeableme #ponhearylyfoundation  #cnnheros2010
  • The word on the street is that some high schoolers are feeling a bit less than enthusiastic about the new term so far. A good question to ask yourself is, “what would I rather be doing?”. Sometimes it’s difficult to see that school is offering freedom to learn, discover, question and dream. We don’t have to look very far to understand how luck we are to be granted a good education. #betterlife #cultivating -potential #educationforall #unshakeableme #ponhearylyfoundation #cnnheros2010
  • 26 0 2 February, 2018
  • Sometimes it can be difficult to tease out what the motivation is when choosing to do something in the age of digital socialization. This practice of presence without the underlying motive to share online is a good place to regain the balance.  Some moments can be just for you, no picture, no sharing on social media, it’s an intimate moment experienced just for you. #absorbthemoment #justforme #unshakeableme #authentic #teengirl #yxeyoga #consciousliving
  • Sometimes it can be difficult to tease out what the motivation is when choosing to do something in the age of digital socialization. This practice of presence without the underlying motive to share online is a good place to regain the balance. Some moments can be just for you, no picture, no sharing on social media, it’s an intimate moment experienced just for you. #absorbthemoment #justforme #unshakeableme #authentic #teengirl #yxeyoga #consciousliving
  • 20 0 30 January, 2018