New Year

2017 ended with what felt like gale force winds and stormy skies. It was an interesting year for sure. It showered me with a few blessings, a new place, a new full-time job in a career I thoroughly enjoy, a teenager…
 
And it was wrought with pain and hurt, filled with challenge after challenge that tested my strength on every level. The challenges got worse as the year progressed. Physical and mental health challenges, relationship challenges, that teenager… oh what a challenge that one!! Ending…literally days before Christmas… with the closure of my workplace that had felt like home and the loss of that full-time job that had allowed me the shifts that I had made in my life this year.
 
And the weight of the last few months was almost unbearable. I felt myself suffocating, drowning, barely clinging on… almost ready to quit it all.
 
And so I did what I do when the world starts to spin out of control. I withdrew from the chaos and found the eye in the storm, that quiet place within, from which I watch my life and anchor down the things that are spinning out of control.
 
I took stock of my strengths and reminded myself of who I am.
I replayed the mistakes I made and took notes so I can learn from them and not repeat them.
I flexed my emotional and mental muscles so I don’t get crushed by the weight of those painful emotions and negative thoughts.
 
I am not the storm.
I am not the chaos.
I am not the pain.
 
I am stronger and bigger than all of it. And I am more than capable of overcoming these challenges. Because I never give up. And I will never surrender. I will be the change I want to see.
 
Nothing worth having comes easy, and I have always fought to create the things I want in life. I have learned that the things that I want are worth the effort. And so I begin 2018… a little banged up, a little bruised… but stronger, wiser and more self-aware than I was last year. More determined to chase away the demons that plague me and more solid in my resolve to strengthen myself so that I can weather any storm heading my way.
 
For they will come.
 
And I will be ready.
 
Happy new year.
May we all find the courage to face our demons and the strength to weather the storms that are coming.

What is God?

My 14yo was asking me about God the other day. I was born and raised as a Catholic as was her father, but neither of us practise. I lost faith in the religion, or rather, I never gained faith in it because the priests in Sunday school couldn’t answer my questions.

We had just been taught the part of Bible where they say, “We are all made in the graven image of God,” and my 6yo self at 6:00am on Sunday perked up and asked, “So then God must be a girl and a boy.” It made sense to me, half the people on Earth were females, the other half males (I was too young to know and had not been taught about transgender people as yet) so it made sense that God would be both. The priest however was appalled at my gall and yelled at me and made me leave the class and stand outside in the hallway. I’ve asked similar questions over the years and gotten in just as much trouble.

If God made the universe who made God?
If Jesus was a Jew, why are we Catholic?
If I’ve never even met Adam and Eve, why am I being blamed for their sins? I haven’t even done anything bad yet?

And so on and so on… And I was always sent outside the classroom.

My young mind reasoned, “My math teacher answers my math questions and they make sense, the God teacher is not making sense, I can’t trust him.” And so ended my brief interlude with Catholicism when I was 6 years old and hence began a life long quest for Divine Connection.

I studied religion in university. I found that at their core all religions wanted us to be our best. But the dogma and the ritual and the misinterpretation of the scriptures by man turned me away from all organized religion. The teachings are beautiful, the people who control how it’s interpreted are not always so. They use it to control and manipulte the masses And blame their respective Gods. And in the end it didn’t align with who I was. Every major religion on Earth had used it’s teachings as the justification for war, hate, subjugation of women, persecution and prejudice. I wanted no part of it.

God just couldn’t be like that. It didn’t feel right to me. None of it.

I spent a lot of time pondering my connecting to the Divine. I had one. It was tangible to me. I knew there was a higher power that I was connected to. But I couldn’t define it.

I have always been introspective. Meditation was something that gave me peace from a very young age. It wasn’t meditation in its traditional sense. That didn’t come till later. I find peace and pause in nature. I would sit by the water And just ponder life.

That’s when I gained clarity on what I can comfortably call God.

What if God was not this omnipotent patriarchal figure in the so called heavens judging over us all, waiting to strike us down for bad behaviour?

What if God was just energy that was aware of itself? And its purpose was to understand the extent of itself? And so it fractured into an infinite number of realities and we are just one of those realities? And because we are creative, and aware of ourselves, are we not then also Divine?

What if God was all of us? And our purpose was to recognize our true nature? Our authentic self? That soul that everyone talks about… What if that was God manifested? What if we are all God manifested, living this life to understand the extent of not only our human selves, but reconnect with our Divine selves in the process?

What is Self-care?

What is self care?

I ask my clients this and I get a range of responses.

I go to the spa. I got my nails done. I went to the gym. I meditate. I eat healthy.

Most of us have some idea of what we do for ourselves that would constitute self- care, but to truly understand it we have to know what the self is first.

I believe the self is multi-faceted and we have to look after all the layers of ourselves in order for us to be at peace.

The 5 layers as I know them:

The Energetic Self: that you that walks into the room before your physical body does. That part of you that picks up on the “tension” in the room or picks up on the “vibe” that someone is giving off.

The Physical Self: your entire physical being. The muscles, bones, plasma… Every cell that comes together to create you.

The Mental Self: the computer or the thought machine. The conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. All of your thoughts positive and negative.

The Emotional Self: the executor of your emotional responses. Active, passive or shut down responses. The entire spectrum of emotional responses from love to fear.

The Spiritual self: the witness or the soul. The you that looks for connection to that higher power that we believe we come from. That you that questions your very existence.

Now that you know you have this multifaceted self… What are you doing to look after all the layers of you?

What is Anger?

The flash of red right before your fist goes flying. That blazing fire that burns down everything it touches, including you. Anger… That destructive force that we all experience but don’t really like or fully understand.

What is it?

Most of us experience anger as aggression. Yelling, arguing, fighting that ranges from verbal to physical. Anger leaves a sense of discomfort and disconnection when it’s experienced as such. And our relationship with it is based on our experience of it as children.

If anger was a violent force in our childhood, we might tend to shy away from it. It’s scary, which will threaten our sense of safety. Or it pushed us away from our loved ones ( if we were sent to our room or isolated in some other way) which threatens our sense of connection. Why would we want to engage in something that is scary and makes us feel alone? Or makes us feel like we’re being mean or not nice because that’s how we saw the person who was anger with us? So we shut down or repress our anger.

For some anger, that display of aggression, becomes a source of power. It helps protect us from fear and insecurities. If something makes us feel small, anger will show up to puff us up and we feel like we have recovered the power that fear takes from us. So then anger becomes your default, and you will use it to maintain that feeling of power to fight off any feelings of helplessness. But you have to then be aggressive as well.

So what then is the balance? What is the point of this emotion? And how do we avoid repressing it and imploding, or expressing it aggressively and exploding? Is there a balance?

Anger at its healthiest is assertion and it’s vitally important for our survival. Anger allows us to defend ourselves. It tells us that something is threatening us and we should take some action to keep ourselves safe. That action doesn’t have to be aggressive. We don’t have to attack the thing/person that is threatening us, but we do need to protect ourselves.

Anger is your friend and shows up when something is threatening you in some way, to help you stay safe. It is asking for you to set a healthy boundary and hold yourself and the other person accountable to that boundary. And if they don’t respect it, it asks you to establish a consequence that will keep you safe from future threats. Anger at its healthiest is asking for that healthy defense, that positive action.

Anger shows up to reach you about yourself. It is your friend if you befriend it. If you take the time to understand it rather than just react emotionally. It will show you your wounds and will allow you to heal them. If you are able to disengage from the energy of anger and drop into your inner self. We tend to step into the energy of anger and often get suck there, blaming or attacking the other person. That blinding force that wants you to destroy something. But instead can you look within and see your woundedness so that you can then protect yourself more effectively? Can you pull back from the emotional response that anger evokes and look at what it is defending? Can you discern what the inner wound is that anger is guarding?

Anger is two parts: the energy of anger and the need for defense. Can you discharge that destructive energy on your own without involving the other person,(go for a run, scream into a pillow, punch a punching bag etc.), then drop into yourself to see what the wound is, and then execute the defense with the other person, by setting that healthy boundary?

Anger doesn’t have to be destructive. And you don’t have to avoid it. It’s just a matter of learning to be assertive, setting boundaries and holding people accountable.

Can you make anger your friend?

Building Healthy Relationships

loveJoin me as I explore the pitfalls that most people encounter in their relationships. This workshop is intended to shed some light on what the common pitfalls are and how to overcome them. It will be educational and interactive so that you can explore some of your own patterns in your relationships.

 

Here are some basic points to highlight some of what will be covered and some tips to help build a healthy relationship.
1. Pay attention to your tone when talking to your partner. Remember even in a moment of anger or during an argument that you love the person that you are with and that love is stronger than anything else.
2. Listen to your partner’s complaints and take them seriously, no matter what they are about. The fact that they are bringing it up to your attention means that they are unhappy about it and it will only be resolved if it is addressed.
3. Be aware of your own faults and triggers, and how they may impact your relationship. Everyone has a back story of their own that creates self-doubt and insecurities. That often gets in the way of a healthy relationship because we respond defensively when we are triggered because we are unaware of our triggers.
4. When you love someone show them, don’t just tell them. That old saying, action speaks louder than words has a lot of merit. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, it’s the small things that count. 5. Remember that love and sex are two sides of the same coin. Make sure that you are actively communicating about your sexual desires and your relationship needs. Maintain a sex life that is satisfying, pleasurable and respectful to both partners.

Spaces are limited so please purchase your tickets in advance to guarantee your spot.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27,2016 AT COMPLETE BALANCE HEALTH CENTRE, 2896 BLOOR ST WEST, TORONTO, ONTARIO. FROM 2:30 PM3:30 PM 

You can purchase tickets for this date via the link below.
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/building-healthy-relationships-workshops-tickets-21212359739

Sunday, February 28, 2016 AT PHYSIOMED VAN MILLS, 1900 FOWLER DRIVE, MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO from 11:00 AM12:00 PM

You can purchase tickets for this date via the link below.
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/building-healthy-relationships-workshops-tickets-21213412889