Posts tagged #non-judgemental support

5 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Healing Journey

Why is it that as humans we create endless ways to kibosh our own health and happiness? Are we just a bunch of weirdos on our way to the Masochist’s Ball?

One surefire way to find out: peruse this list and see how many yeses you tick off. If it’s 5 out of 5 then I’m not sure there is any help for you. Kidding! Awareness is the key to pulling yourself off the merri-go-round of misery and placing you onto the clear path of wholeness and freedom.

Here are five ways you may be stopping yourself from getting there:

1.       Blaming others. The easiest thing to do at times is to point your trusty finger at “all the things I didn’t have growing up”, “my family doesn’t support me” or any other reason you deem responsible for your current situation. The act of blaming others robs you of your own personal power and keeps you in a spin cycle of resentment, disappointment, and frustration. When we can accept that we have 100% choice in every single moment to do what we need to do for ourselves, we will make progress.

2.       Doing all the things. If you’re constantly leaping from one diet to another, working with umpteen different healers, cleansing every orifice and basically grasping at every straw there is, your body, mind and spirit will be in a constant state of upheaval. You need to tune in and listen to what you need and work with one healer you trust until you see some movement. A hundred methods and modalities are not better than one process that feels right. Stick with a plan and stay with it until you see changes.

3.       Expectations. Do you expect your symptoms to go away in a blink of an eye even though it took decades to create them? Are you hoping that if you find the right healer, method or modality, all problems will disappear after one or two sessions? Yes, miracles happen and we can heal “spontaneously”, however we need to lay the groundwork for this to occur. You need to prepare yourself physically, mentally and emotionally to be well. It sounds funny, but this is everything.  

4.       Letting negativity take over. We all have sour puss days where we want to grumble and whine and say things like: I’ll never get better! I’m doomed to a life of hell! I hate my life!

We need to honour that—let those emotions out and keep going. Never let these negative thoughts and emotions paint the backdrop of your experiences. It’s like mixing black paint into all the rainbow colours. Give yourself permission to spew out the ugliness in a healthy way (journaling, tapping and talking to a trusted mentor) and then focus on what you want to create.

5.       Being a hater. How often do you berate your body? Do you criticize and reprimand yourself for not being good enough? Are you constantly telling yourself that you screwed up again—you should’ve stuck with your plan? This is by far the most damaging pattern. Your body is your companion in this lifetime and is trying to make you happy. Your body responds to all the thoughts and beliefs and emotions that you feed it (the same way it responds to the food that it receives; garbage in, garbage out). So, if you don’t like what your body is doing, take an honest appraisal of what it has to work with.

This list is meant to help you see that the world is not against us and that there is no conspiracy to keep you stuck and miserable and sick. When we know better, we do better. So, if you are doing any of these five things to hinder your progress, now is the perfect time to stop doing them.

If you need help with your healing journey and are ready to focus on wholeness and freedom send me a message or comment below. May you find exactly what you need.  

An open letter to Singles on Valentine's Day

How do you make it through the day when the whole world is in Love EXCEPT for you?

First of all, you and I both know that not everyone is in love—there are at least two of us sitting here right now and there may be dozens more out there. Regardless of the facts, it IS what Hallmark Cards, Lindt Chocolate and De Beers Diamonds wants you to feel like. Which is why we have to stick together like that saying goes: misery loves company.

Here are my two cents on what it's like to be single on Valentine's Day: it sucks. And any Single who says they don't care is a liar.

1. My promise to you in this letter

  • I will NOT tell you that all you need to do is love yourself.
  • I will NOT tell you to look for the hidden blocks to love that keep you from meeting “The One.”
  • And I certainly WILL NOT tell you how awesome it is to be single.

2. Pick up a Valentine's Day Survival pack

  • 1 box of tissues (let's not even try to deny that this won't be needed at some point).

  • Netflix account or access to your 1990s DVD collection of Romantic Movies. For example, Pretty Woman or Sleepless in Seattle (don't go halfway on this; you want to use up all of the tissues).

  • Your favorite blanket and slippers, preferably unwashed so that you can feel especially sorry for yourself.

  • Carbs (not the complex kind, the shitty kind).

  • Chocolate (make sure you purchase these before Valentine's Day—you don't want to endure the pity stares of the well-meaning clerk at 7-Eleven when you unload a basketful of chocolate hearts, while obviously wearing your PJs under your coat).

  • Your furry friend or alternatively, someone who won't try to talk you out of crying, wailing or otherwise making a fool out of yourself. Today you have every right to make a damn fool out of yourself.

  • A large bottle of alcohol or a large bottle of sugary liquid or both.

    3. Suggested Itinerary to make the intolerable, tolerable

  • Call in sick with the stomach flu (as in you won't be able to stomach the Valentine's Day cheer at the office)

  • If you must go to work, arrive in black with a veil over your face and tell everyone you had a death in the family (anyone with a brain in their head will give you a wide berth).

  • Bring your children to a relative or trusted friend's house so that you can let it all hang out at home.

  • Buy takeout for dinner—preferably Chinese food as this will be the only place where the staff is used to awkward and antisocial people arriving to pick up their food wearing their PJs under their coat.

  • Watch the first movie (see above).

  • Cry.

  • Get angry and yell at the wall.

  • Cry some more.

  • Laugh.

  • Cry again because now you feel like a crazy person.

  • Watch the second movie.

  • Pass out on the couch and wake up with pillow indents and a heavy sigh of relief. It's February 15th! You made it!

Remember that no matter what you decide to do today, just love yourself. Kidding! You should've seen your face! That was a good one.

But seriously, you will want to sign up for my FREE guided meditation Align with Your True Self because there is nothing better than being connected to yourself no matter what is going on in your life: 

Interview with Paul Lara-No Fluff Spiritual Fulfillment

In today’s world, we’re sold the allure of happiness every day. We may love the high or the “nice zone” of happy, but when we rely on happiness as the end all be all, it’s a recipe for disaster. Don’t focus on the fluffy and convenient side of life—the subtle realities in the background are much more important to be aware of (for instance, our shadow tendencies). That’s what Paul Lara, of Qi Belly, believes. The real learning is witnessed and achieved when we take a mind/body approach to all aspects of the Self.  

Lara is a practitioner with an experiential and dedicated background in Zen Meditation, Martial arts, Tai Chi, Reiki and Qi Gong. What I’m trying to stress here is that he lived in Asia and endured many years of no fluff training. Literally, no fluff anywhere. Or most likely toilet paper. No toilet paper and no fluff. Know’m sayin’? Hardcore.

You’d think that he’d be a bit of a hard ass. Nothing could be further from the truth. He’s as laid back as the Dude in the Big Lebowski, minus the drugs, but physically fit and much smarter. So not really at all like the Dude, but he does have a very calm vibe. So sit back, draw a deep breath and let his takeaway gems sink in:

1.        Sabotage: it is inevitable, initially. The experience in itself is the lesson. In the beginning we are of two distinct minds/two voices. We have our Conscious intent-this includes our self-improvement goals and desired outcomes. Then we have the other aspect of the psyche-the Ego. The Ego wants to keep things as they are. When we start delving into the unknown this creates fear. The Ego voice (that is trying to protect us from the fear and the unknown) is much stronger in the beginning of this process and has been reinforced for many years. The voice of Conscious intent is not as strong—it is new.

Zen theory: True freedom is understanding which inner voice is talking.

Note: when we become intimate with Self, we are very aware of which voice is talking to us.

2.      Patterns: The voice is what creates the patterns. This never goes away. It is all about the journey towards greater and greater awareness. Habits or patterns may be hard to witness at first—they are somewhat ugly. We may have shame. Once we have the practice and discipline to accept ourselves then we are on our way. The opposite practice would be to walk away or to lie to ourselves. This is moving further away from the Self.

3.       Environmental health: This means to live within the rhythmic understanding of the natural order. To live within nature’s seasons and in turn, our own internal seasons. We learn to exist within these cycles. In other words, “if we wish that every day is the first of July, it’s going to be a hard go.”

4.       Tips: Use consistency, honesty about what you see (about ourselves and others) and discipline. Handle situations with functionality; adapt; stay healthy as you change. Trust in what you feel and get your head out of the way. The heart knows best.

Please visit to delve deeper into what Paul offers! Also check out his new podcast here:

Emotionally Overwhelmed? How to recognize, prevent and/or find your way out of it

Scene: Just another day for the emotionally overwhelmed

A man coughs into Janet’s back on the subway, so she whirls around to give him the death stare. He ignores her, but she’s ready for hand to hand combat if need be. At her stop, she realizes that it’s 9:05 am so she breaks into a light jog. She ducks into the closest Starbucks because let’s face it—no amount of ill will from boss man can come between Janet and her morning caffeine. Fifty people wait anxiously in front of her. She steps in behind them, mentally crafting a reasonable excuse for the big cheese. Then out of nowhere an obviously overly-entitled man in a jogging pant steps right into the spot in front of her. She bursts into tears and runs out the door, like Jan in every episode of the Brady Bunch.

Poor Jan. We’ve all been there. The odd behavior, the overly sensitive demeanor and the alarmingly disheveled appearance.

What exactly is emotional overwhelm?

In extreme cases, I would describe it as a state where you cease to be able to function. You are so overly stimulated and overloaded with stressors that even day to day tasks seem completely unmanageable. This is the crisis point—when we can’t get through the day anymore. This is when we take to our beds and hide under the covers. More about that in a minute. First of all here are some of the ways that emotional overwhelm can manifest in our lives.

Emotional overwhelm can look like many things: pain, anger, irritability, withdrawing from friends and family or avoidance of all other human beings. Maybe we lash out at others. Maybe we don’t talk to anyone and stop answering the phone. There is no single picture of this state—everyone can bring it forward differently. The point is not to judge ourselves or beat ourselves up about it. We all have different ways of coping in life.

How does it happen?

Now I’d like you to examine the instances where you were overwhelmed-whether it was a mild experience or a full-on crisis. What were you doing two to three weeks before that? Did you have a lot on your plate? Had you moved? Taken on a new job?

My typical pattern in life is to keep taking one more thing on until I feel overwhelmed. That is the path to hell for me. If I don’t see it coming I end up with the covers over my head. My practice in life is to pick up on the signals or the warning signs that come in and listen to them! For example, as I move into this pattern I start to feel a slight uneasiness or a bit of generalized anxiety. I don’t go outside or exercise. I start to feel more anxious and then I can’t sleep. See where I’m going with this? That is my path to emotional overwhelm. What is yours? Sit down and take a good long look at your ride down the slippery slope. Then you can be better prepared for next time. To course correct; to stop the train wreck. You do have the power to do that. It just takes a little bit of awareness and kindness to yourself.

How can we prevent it?

This is where we take the road map and signal system and put it to use. When we see ourselves going into the danger zone—do the “course correct”. Start the self-love! Have a bath, postpone your appointment or project or have a nice cup of relaxing tea. Sit in your back yard and watch the world go by. Just slow down and let your body catch up.

Oops there it is

What if we’re all up in it already—in full crisis mode? Now we need to be with our experience and let it happen. Let the emotions have a say—just give them a nod don’t have a two hour conversation with them. Have a good cry. Or sit with the feelings of frustration, resentment and jealousy. Whatever it is stop resisting it. The more we resist, the more we start to suffer and collapse. Our body and mind shuts down because we don’t want to deal with what wants to come up. Allowing things to come up and lovingly giving them attention helps to dissolve them out of your system. Less resistance, less pain and suffering.

The bottom line is that we are all doing the best we can in every moment. Our bodies and minds are intelligent and will give us the messages we need at the right time. Tune in and listen and we won’t feel blindsided by our experiences. We will be prepared for them and able to process our emotions in a way that won’t cause overwhelm.

How to Say NO and Feel Good About It

When you form the word NO and let it pass your lips what does it feel like? Ick? Can’t do it? Guilt shower? Does your mouth even go like that? Since we obviously can’t very well go through life without the use of the word NO, let’s get to the bottom of this!

My first approach to anything in my life is to ask some questions—either out loud or in my journal.

  • What kind of person am I when I say NO?
  • What will others think of me if I say NO?
  • What consequences will I suffer if I say NO?

Anything interesting come up for you there? Sometimes you let things rattle around in your brain for a few days and then all of a sudden—eureka! Major insight happens.

Now that we’ve delved a little deeper with the questions, we can move onto some psychological beliefs we may have about saying NO

  1. Do I identify as someone who doesn’t say NO? Who would I be if I started to say NO? At times our identity can be a real jail cell. If we live our lives confining ourselves within the bars we’ve created, we miss out on plenty of experiences. Life becomes a very small arena of circumstances.
  2. Does saying NO really mean that I’m a bad person or unworthy or undeserving in life? This may sound harsh but believe me the subconscious doesn’t pull any punches. Examine whether these beliefs resonate with you and just through this awareness you may find that the pull of their influence starts to lessen.
  3. Do I live my life with the belief that I’m someone who only says yes? Do I strive to be the good person or whatever label I’ve given myself? When we live by these rigid rules of conduct we can’t respond in the moment as our authentic selves.

What to do about it:

Find ways to connect with our authentic selves: when we are grounded and rooted in our True Self, our true identity, we don’t need outside validation or recognition. We are free to respond as we are. Meditate in the mornings or even in the shower with the intention of connecting to your inner core. Ask for guidance or support on how to stay with yourself throughout the day and especially if things get hairy.

  1. Celebrate yourself:
    This is a way to validate yourself without the need for others and therefore without the need to please people by saying yes. Write down all the ways you are a good person—it could be very small things like you are kind to strangers and like to smile at others. You don’t really have to have a list of things that you do, it’s more like who are you on a regular basis? How do you greet the world in every moment? Celebrate that! You’re doing a great job.
  2. Write down all your fears around who you would be if you said no.
    Bring the fears to the surface. Give them a voice. Let them have their say. Then say thank you for sharing. You will notice that these fears may not have the Vulcan grip they once had over you.
  3. Saying NO does not make you anything.
    It is merely a way to show up in the world in any given moment. There is nothing shameful about being authentic and responding from your core. Say it with kindness and say it with me now: NO!

A Fresh Look at Crazy

Have you ever wondered whether you were going crazy? Not just as an afterthought, but as a cold chill up your spine at 3am? I’d be willing to bet that most of us have had those nights. The reality is that some of us have had to eventually face this worry as a fact of life. Some of us have had to admit that they were, in fact, crazy. So, what does the word crazy mean to you? For me, the definition has evolved over time…The opinions expressed here are based on my nearly fifteen years’ experience as a Child and Youth Care Counselor and holistic practitioner both looking through the lens of clients I’ve had and of course, through the window of truth-the bathroom mirror.

Over the years, I’ve bonded and worked with people with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and the gamut of personality disorders accompanied by all of the definitions and sub-definitions in the DSMV. I spent time with people with PTSD, ADHD/ADD, Attachment Disorder, Asperger’s, Conduct Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, OCD, Tourette’s and finally, Fear of Mental Illness Labeling (this is what I developed after sifting through bigger and bigger piles of my clients’ diagnoses sheets). I have the utmost respect for psychiatrists, but at times it was like solving a mathematical equation. And math makes me very nervous.

I worked with a client who couldn’t leave their house in the morning because his rituals of chanting/counting took two to three hours to reach the door of his bedroom. This person was altogether lovely and had a passion for theatre and documentaries. Another client used to stand with their nose against the mirror and carry on an intensely animated conversation lasting sometimes an hour. This person was also very polite and mild mannered; playing cards with me and calling me “miss”.

I tried my best to support, counsel and offer non-judgemental space to people who cut, burnt and starved themselves. I tried really hard to help those who wanted to kill themselves; for some this was a weekly/daily/hourly journey. Some chose to cut things short: RIP.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but at some point my attitude shifted from worker helping crazy person to person observing other person’s journey. Perhaps I needed a few knocks to the ground as life can administer at times. Maybe I had one too many thoughts like “why did I do that? what's wrong with me”? Maybe I needed to work with the fear of being or becoming like “them”. Whatever it was the real epiphany came when I realized I most certainly could be “them”. In fact, there was nothing stopping life from handing me that dance card with a note that says: you’re up next.

Once I came to terms with the fact that life can turn in an instant-one minute you’re having your morning coffee and the next minute you’re running through the streets in your nightie yelling: “the British are coming! The British are coming!”—I relaxed. I was able to see that I was not chasms away from that person; we actually shared the same thing-the human experience.

I’m not trying to alarm people, I simply want to say that we are not as different as we all think we are. We can all have mental breaks. We can all have periods of time where we are not quite “right in the head”. Or not. The point is that it can happen. With this wonderful piece of wisdom we can remove a lot of the judgement we may have that someone is a “weirdo” or “lunatic” or better yet, that we are somehow a “weirdo” or “lunatic”. We can look at people and ourselves with more compassion. We can give each other a break; we can give ourselves a break. We’re doing the best we can and we are dealing with the cards we were dealt.

And when the time comes for the word “crazy” to escape your lips, you might stop it in its tracks.

A Walk in the Park with My Thoughts

Put up your hand if it seems like your thoughts run a 24 hour nightclub in your brain. Join the club…no pun intended. Ok, so here’s what I do: A few blocks from my apartment is a beautiful park called Cedarvale. The trails run along the bottom of a ravine lined with large and small trees alike, winding its way through shrubbery and a field of water reeds taller than the average giant. I find myself in there almost every day losing my way in the trails, buffered from the nearby congested traffic.

During my walks I like to look around and take in my surroundings, but mostly my feet pound out the rhythm of my thoughts. I allow them to play around my ankles and weave in and out of the trees. They become almost like a fluid reminder of my life patterns. Only this time they are leaving for good—I watch them go with a pang—because don’t we all love our stories? Yet, what I love even more lately is to unburden myself and leave space for new supportive thoughts and patterns.

What do you find yourself thinking about?

My thoughts go something like this: I need to write my article today. What should I write about? Hmmm…oh I wonder why he always walks with so many dogs? How much does he get paid for that anyway? Wow I can’t really imagine doing that…I have no luck with training dogs, they don’t listen to me…I could write about stress. Boring! Ugh Everybody writes about stress…I never have anything new to say. I don’t know why I bother writing anything anyway…no! Lots of people like my articles. Think positively. Don’t people get sore ankles jogging like that? I don’t know how she does it…I should go back to the gym. I really need to find my yoga class. When I get home I’m going to look up a yoga studio. Don’t forget!!…You get the picture. Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy…where it goes nobody knows.

The point is sometimes you need to let your thoughts wander. Pay attention but don’t judge or control them, just allow and listen with your inner ear. If you judge your thoughts, that’s just adding more thoughts and the mess looks like a pile of hopelessly entangled Christmas lights. When I’m able to calmly allow my thoughts (more and more I can say I can) I’m rewarded with a beautiful, soft gem of a thought whispering among the clamour, but bravely asserting itself. These are the inspirations, the wow-what-a-great-idea thoughts. They only come when you allow things to flow and being in nature is one of the easiest ways to open yourself up to these universal taps on the heart. And the best part is…these whispers soon become louder! The next time you go for a walk—notice your surroundings, both inner and outer. You might be surprised at what comes through. Happy walking!