Read how I'm intentionally creating space for slowwwwwwwing down and stillness in this season of my life.
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1 more sleep until LA! I’m so excited to get out of Toronto and embark on this 6-day adventure to the City of Angels where I will be fully immersed in mindful self-compassion. Not to mention, this is the first time I’ve every travelled on my own and I am can’t wait to take in every minute of this new experience! Today’s post is the last post in this 3-part series on self-compassion and we are going to explore the concept of mindfulness. Read on!
My acne was out of control.
And I was tired of just sitting back and letting it run my life. It was time to take action and deal with it my way.
I researched holistic ways of treating acne.
Became vegetarian, went gluten-free, stopped drinking coffee.
Made appointments with dermatologists.
Saw numerous naturopaths, nutritionists, and herbal medicine practitioners.
Began seeing a stress counselor.
Spent hours upon hours online searching natural acne remedies.
Tried every kind of yoga from hot Bikram to Iyengar.
Experimented with every cream, oil, lotion and ointment.
And spent countless dollars on books promising to help me heal my gut, detoxify my liver and stress less.
All in the name of finding a cure for my cystic acne and finally ending my pain and suffering.
And while all of these actions were part of my experience to get where I am today and find what worked best for me, at no point did I stop and notice how much I was suffering. I was so busy being in “problem solving” mode, and spending incredible amounts of time and energy dealing with the crisis. Although this is certainly necessary, it is very important to recognize that these moments take a lot out of us emotionally. When I finally hit my breaking point (which was, consequently when my skin started getting better!) I was so exhausted and fed up with trying to fight my acne, that I just gave up.
And that was the key.
I had finally tapped into the crux of mindfulness, which requires noticing of suffering without avoidance or aversion. Instead of avoiding my suffering, I turned toward it. Because, in order to show compassion to yourself, you need to be aware of painful emotions. You need to feel to heal.
Mindfulness requires you to take a balanced approach to negative emotions. So while it is important to not suppress negative feelings, it’s also important to not exaggerate them as well. Avoid getting lost in the story; it’s about seeing things just as they are. No more, no less.
We’ve all done it: a painful situation occurs and you get lost in the emotions of it. You get caught up reliving the moment in the past or you’re constantly worry about a future event which may (or may not) come.
My skin is so awful, it’s never get better and no one will ever love me and I’ll be unhappy forever.
(Oh yes, I’ve said it, thought it, felt it.)
Mindfulness reminds us that reality only happens in the present moment and helps bring our awareness to a new level. This is important because it allows us to take a giant step back from ourselves and question whether or not what we think is actually true. Rather than reacting to a situation out of fear, anger or pain, we can respond from a place of love and calm.
And so, I want you to try something the next time you catch yourself going into problem solving mode. It's a Noting Practice.
Get into a comfortable sitting position and sit down for about 10 minutes. Simply note any sounds, thoughts, emotions, smells or physical sensations that arise in your awareness. If you feel an itch, notice it and then respond accordingly (free to scratch it!). Notice your breath "breathing in", feelings of impatience "when is this going to be over?", or distractions "phone vibrating on the table".
Every time you become aware of a new experience, acknowledge it and make a quiet mental note to yourself. And if your mind starts to wander and you realize you've completely forgotten about your noting practice, acknowledge the experience (kindly!) and note "lost in thought" and come back to now.
It is possible to train ourselves to become more present and have better awareness. And the benefit is improved mental strength to deal with challenging situations that inevitably occur.
Now over to you, what do you think of the Noting Practice? Did you find you were able to stay present, or did your mind wander?
I’ve always loved my birthday.
As a kid, being born on Halloween meant not only is it your birthday (and all about you) but you got to dress up - I was ALWAYS some kind of princess, obviously – and people had to give you candy.
And as an adult, there is never a shortage of parties going on and people are always in a fantastic mood.
What could be better than that????
This year was no exception. I took the day off work, had a surprise visit from a dear friend and her son, made myself a delicious breakfast, met an old friend for lunch and spent the evening with some close friends at one of my favourite restaurants in the city.
It was such a lovely day. And as I reflected on the year gone by and everything I’ve gone through up to and including this special day, I was reminded about something a friend once said to me…
“… consider that your individual New Year really begins on that one special day each year where you celebrate the anniversary of your birth.”
Our birthday is our own personal New Year. It’s the annual reunion that we have with ourselves and is the perfect opportunity to check in and honestly ask the question: “How am I doing?"
It has been my experience that my birthday always makes me acutely aware of my own personal significance. It makes me reflect on the past, reflect on the lessons I have learned (or not) and plan for the year to come. Like any new beginning, our birthday is an ideal time to sharpen our priorities, realign our perspective and rededicate ourselves to living the very best life that we can.
So this year, I’ve decided to put pen to paper. I bought myself a beautiful notebook, which I plan to use as a journal and I asked myself some questions:
Who am I?
What are my intentions?
What do I want to resolve or let go of?
What do I want to achieve in life? In love? In my career?
With the information I gleaned from the answers to these questions, I am ready to begin anew with a few birthday New Year’s resolutions of my own.
- keep a journal and write in it daily
- release my fear of vulnerability and begin a meditation practice
- enjoy being single and have faith that I will meet someone when the time is right
- progress further in my career
- develop my brand & build a thriving business where I help women Love.Nourish.Heal.
- listen to my body and be gentle with myself
Last year was a difficult year of heartbreak, pitfalls, triumphs and revelations and despite it all, I am so thankful for each and every experience. I am excited to see what this next year will bring and I have no doubt that I will be a better, stronger, more self-compassionate person this time next year. This exercise has prepared me to mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually move forward in a positive manner.
And with that in mind, 27....BRING IT ON!
How do you celebrate your special day? What do you think of the Birthday New Year idea?
This past weekend, I was in Montreal completing a 2-day, intensive training course on the Mind Detox Method (MDM). Even now, I am struggling to succinctly summarize what I learned over the last 48 hours.
On the surface, I learned the history of the MDM, the power of the mind-body connection, and how unconscious unhealthy beliefs can potentially have a negative impact on a person’s health, wealth and happiness.
But at the very core, I learned so much about myself and where my negative (and often harmful) beliefs originate. I learned that seemingly benign life events, which have occurred during my past and usually in my childhood, actually shaped the way I unconsciously react and respond to situations in the present. And I learned that by changing these beliefs, I can stop the past from interfering with my present and future.
I came away from the weekend with some very powerful realizations:
There’s no such thing as self-sabotage.
Just because I’m not perfect does not mean I’m a failure.
It’s OK to make mistakes.
I am lovable.
I'm a survivor.
I deserve the very best and should never, EVER settle for less.
Trust my gut.
It’s not so much the realizations themselves that resonated so much for me, it was more that for the first time, I actually believe that they are all true. Every last one of them. Before the MDM, I knew these simple truths logically, intuitively, and realistically, but I didn't always believe they were true. I could always find examples that validated the negative, limiting belief that I had, which allowed me to be justified in feeling sad, angry, rejected, not good enough, etc.
Despite what may or may not have happened in the past, I can now say that without a doubt that I have the power to change the way it affects me. I am not powerless. I am no longer trapped by the limiting belief that past events are destined to dictate the rest of my life.
But do you want to know the best part? This is also true for YOU, as well!
You can let go of negative emotions related to people, places, events or things in your past, present in future.
You can change limiting beliefs that are blocking your life enjoyment and success.
You can resolve the emotions that may be negatively impacting your habits and behaviours.
You can enjoy more inner peace, confidence, contentment and so much more.
As part of my certification, I will soon be offering FREE Mind Detox sessions for those who are interested in getting to the root cause of their physical or life issues once and for all. If you have something negative happening in your body and in your life and you don’t know why, I’d love to work with you.
Are you ready to let go of stress, to problems that are constantly bringing you down and to live the life you were meant to? Then I’m excited to work with you!
Do you have a limiting belief that keeps you from being happy and healthy? How would your life be better or different if you could squash that limiting belief for good?