Wednesday, 17 December 2014

But Do You Feel Alive?

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/5f/87/42/5f874270154d42055dec08513b77f7b4.jpgIf you asked me a few years ago what it means to feel alive, I don't know if I would have known what to say.

It's because life experience has knocked me down, made me stronger, opened my perception and heart, and basically given me an abundance of different situations to practice insane courage and embrace vulnerability. I'm different now, and boy I've grown.

There's this whole world to experience and we can choose to either stand on the sidelines and judge people who follow their hearts or we can step into the arena ourselves and take the leap of faith.

In the past few years, I've really come to value growth as such a necessary ingredient in our lives. If we're not growing, if we're not pushing ourselves past our comfort zone, we don't feel alive.

Being alive means we take risks, we are willing to embrace failure and imperfection and we choose the adventure. 

Being alive means we choose to do the things that both scare and excite us. It's embracing spontaneity, taking to strangers and the willingness to start all over again. It's saying I love you when we feel it, embracing vulnerability and asking for help. It's getting up in the morning and saying, "I may feel scared, it may be uncertain, but this feels so right that I'm going to give it a try. I'll take the chance."

Because life is all about taking these risks.

I remember the first time I traveled on my own to Montreal from Toronto. It was a train ride to another province in my country, but it was the first time I would travel on my own after breaking down three years back. I had grown from the pain and struggle of feeling isolated in private school and watching my family fall apart. Fully embracing the wholehearted journey, feeling so supported and blessed, I was ready for an adventure. Montreal was one of the best experiences in my life that both scared and excited me.

And I loved it.

When I saw that the fear was good, I moved with it to find myself meeting some pretty incredible people, experiencing insane synchronicity and personal growth.

And this is what I realized: Fear doesn't go away. But we can choose to feel it, and follow our desire anyway. Because it is through facing fear that we become fearless, grow, connect and find the source of limitless love and light that is within all of us.

So book that trip, say I love you, be yourself, change course, choose to focus on the thoughts that serve you, identify your desires and go out there and make them real, live in the here and now, open your mind, open your heart, and be open to experience and live in the mindset that if you can dream it, you can be it.

Yes, it might be scary and uncertain at times, but I promise you that you will never regret the decision to Dare Greatly.

Because its what being alive is all about.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Catching the Breath: How Running Changed My Life

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The truth is that running has dramatically changed my life. I don't know where I would be without my running practice. This doesn't mean I wouldn't be happy or healthy, but it does mean that the habit has played a very powerful role in my personal growth and well-being. Running has supported me through many rough points in my life and acted as a simple way to gain a lot of ground, calm, clarity and focus during times where I struggled to find those feelings.

My experience is proof that one habit can play a huge part in how happy, alive and connected we feel. Yes, I have other habits, practices and ways of thinking that support me, but being physically active definitely tops the list.

Running is my thing, but it doesn't have to be yours. What matters more than what you do, is the effect that the activity has on the body and that you do that thing consistently. Any physical exercise where we move our body to sweat, get our heart rate up and blood pumping is going to get the same result. 

There's no need to workout every day.  In fact, we need the rest days in between, they are important to our sense of balance and ironically to our desire to be active. When we don't push ourselves too hard and listen to our body, giving it time to rest, we find that we want to be active. We want to do it because it feels good. Its not a chore. Its a desire.

And psychology is there to back us up with time-tested facts. Feel good, pleasure-inducing chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin are released during physical activity.

"They improve mood and protect against mental health disorders. Serotonin, which is produced by long-term cardio exercise, decreases depression and dopamine improves your mood and long-term memory. It stimulates highly pleasurable feelings in the brain and could contribute to what is called runners high." (www.livestrong.com)

The emotional, mental, physical and even spiritual benefits are endless. I'm sure I will write more about this topic, but in the meantime let me leave you with this- let's come from a place of self worth and practice self care because it feels soo good. 

What is your physical practice?


Monday, 8 December 2014

What is Our Sexual Energy?

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/57/eb/40/57eb4054fa17da16e6ce343bffbd8ba2.jpgLast week I wrote my first blog post on the topic of sexuality. It felt bold and also a conversation I think we need to have. Our sexuality is something to fully embrace, and really a part of our being.

I talked about how our sexuality is expansive and so much more than just sex.

I want to push this topic further and say that our sexuality is not only experienced with a partner, but more importantly within ourselves; and channeled in so many different ways. The more we can embrace the sexual energy within ourselves as a beautiful part of our ever-evolving presence in this world, the more we can navigate our lives from a point of awareness, giving and receiving in a way that supports our personal growth.

I've really come to believe that to think that our sexuality is only reserved for the bedroom is marbles! If its in us, its in us all the time.

It's passion, love and excitement. It's courage and compassion. It's understanding and exploration. It's our life force, our breath. I talk so much about how our sense of aliveness and presence is something we experience in our body. Its the same with our sexuality.
It's something we feel.
It's a sensation.
It's our happiness.
It's our freedom.
It's self expression and creative energy.

Passion, love and creativity are definitely forces that span our whole life experience and everything we do.

We can really feel empowered when we come to see sexuality in this perspective. Any sensual (relating to the senses) experience can be described as also being sexual. The excitement of travel, the enjoyment of good food, the feeling after a run, listening to beautiful music. Looking back at history, we really embraced our sexuality in art and life; people were very free with it. No shame! And now, porn exaggerates it and the media skews it, putting unnecessary pressures and ideas of what is right and wrong. The hookup culture speaks louder than ever in some ways that can truly fuck up self worth. Yet, sexuality is losing its respect and ability to grow.

Its such a multidimensional piece of our being and life experience. To embrace it means to allow it gentle space to complement love, passion and excitement, to fuel our ambition, and to feel it in every cell of our body within our own life and when sharing it with others. 

My purpose here is simply to create space for expansion and personal growth, to offer a different perspective than what we see in porn or in the media. That's it, simply. Exploring this topic has been an interest our mine, not to claim my view as right, but to offer a way of seeing our sexuality that doesn't involve comparison, judgement, preconceived notions or shame. 

We are not going to stop having sexual experiences, it's a part of life. Literally! But on our journey of growth and exploration, we can shift the way we see our sexuality so that it becomes a sacred part of our experience that we fully embrace in the name of worthiness, compassion and adventure.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

What is Faith?

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ca/13/48/ca13489bccef3e83b798d2a9e2b29401.jpgTonight I write about faith.

The faith that takes pure courage and guts.

The faith we cultivate in moments of fear and uncertainty.

Often at work, I write down my ideas on tiny pieces of paper and keep them shoved in my pockets. Sometimes by the end of my shift, I end up with five beautiful pieces of paper, totally scribbled on with words of inspiration. The other day, I found myself jotting down my intuition-filled ideas about what faith really is.

Yes, "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." (Martin Luther King Jr.)

But faith is so much more.

It's believing in what has yet to happen and expecting the best. Even though it hasn't physically happened yet.

Its believing that the tide will turn, seasons will change and tough times don't last- when we allow ourselves to move through them with love and support.

Faith is having the courage to know our own strength, as individuals and more importantly when we come together. It's knowing that because we are here and we are alive, our whole life force is on our side. 

Faith says things like "You've always figured it out, its always made you stronger and there's all the evidence you need that you can handle whatever comes your way."

Faith is the courage to embrace uncertainty. To find gratitude and appreciation in what we have now, without allowing our story of what "might" happen, take our presence away from the here and now.

Faith is magic and mystery. And it is pure surrender. Because when we believe in ourselves and in the power of the universe to align with us and support our success and happiness, we can relax and be present.

We just know that everything will always be okay.

We realize that fear is just a story and that yes, we can have goals and plans, actions to take and results to aim for, but there is still uncertainty. And that is what makes life beautiful.

We need the adventure. As a matter of fact, we crave it.

The adventure also requires us to have faith. Radical, radical faith. Because in fully experiencing this adventure of life and following our heart and intuition, there are going to be uncertain times where we will just have to stop, breathe, and be exactly where we are, knowing that that is enough. We are enough right now. 

The most powerful truth is what we experience now, in our bodies, in this present moment of breathing and being alive. That is our greatest point of attraction and ground.

This is where faith starts, grows and never ends.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sex Amplified: Our Expansive Sexuality

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d1/42/e3/d142e38ac4192f0aefd6f8329b2c2591.jpgLet me ask you this:
What is your sexuality ignited?
What kind of person are you when you fully embrace your sexuality in every part of your body?

If we reflect on our answer to these questions, we are challenged to see the whole picture.

And I must say that the whole picture is so much more than just sex.

However, in today's hookup culture, sex is so easy and can be experienced in such a narrow way. Its not that there is a problem with just sex, but it explains a lot about  how we can miss the fulfillment, the adventure and the exploration. 

The more we get to experience life, we discover what we desire. With this knowledge, we must allow ourselves to explore from an intuitive place. We must listen to the spontaneous cues that come from our heart, where our desire lies. This takes courage, patience, trust and the willingness to embrace uncertainty. (For more tools to define your Desire, check out Danielle LaPorte's "The Desire Map") Highly recommend!

I talk about embracing uncertainty in other areas of our life and our sexuality is no different. We are sexual beings, here to connect. Yet, often we settle in unsatisfying relationships that suffocate our true sexuality.

If this is the limit, then we can practice the courage to let go of what is no longer serving our well being and growth. When it feels right, when there is alignment, this is the place to grow and explore.

Our true sexuality is pure love, its fire and its free. And we must be in a situation where we are free to express.

Its not possible to be settling in a relationship and find our sexual freedom at the same time.

What we need to do is throw away any ideas that originated from watching porn, connect with our intuition and explore without expectation or story. Just moving with what feels right, letting go of all the "shoulds."

This is the freest place to start. A place of intuitive knowing.

Our body is so much wiser than we often give it credit. It always tells us what we need, and it also knows how to express desire when we allow it. In allowing, we must let go of any preconceived notions and open up to the journey.

Pure, ecstatic freedom led by intuition.

What do you think?


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Learning to Love the Discomfort: It's Part of Your Growth

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/f8/26/2d/f8262d0241127458115cb805253414a5.jpgA few days ago, I arrived back in Toronto from a life-changing trip in the states. I needed the travel, the challenge, the letting go, so I could open up and grow. Traveling always has its way of pushing me past my comfort zone to realize how much there is to experience in this world and how much this experience makes us grow. Amongst many others, travel is one way in which we are forced to open up to the world's abundance, and to the greatness that lies within us.

In the midst of my travels, I came to once again affirm the truth that when we open up to our greatness and experience personal growth, we will also experience discomfort. 

This is just an undeniable part of the equation.

Sometimes we attach judgement to experiencing discomfort because it also usually means uncertainty, moving through fear, embracing intensity and having a new experience.

And while these feelings can literally be the craziest, they are all good.

We need the challenge.
We need the discomfort.
We need it to grow.

Sometimes I'm resistant to fully acknowledge this universal law, but each life-expanding experience is there to remind me. Not necessarily of the discomfort, but of how much its played a part in my growth and success. 

Growth is one of the most beautiful things in life and we need to embrace and love the discomfort that both scares and excites us. Love it fiercely.

Because when we do, when we love the discomfort so passionately and without judgement, we are open to grow in all ways- in life experience, mentally, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually.

I've found this growth to happen in so many ways. It may mean we follow our passion to embrace our true sexuality and intimacy with those who we connect with, instead of just sex. Sex is easy, but our sexuality is expansive and demands exploration, creativity and courage. It demands respect and patience. Love and an open mind and heart.

Growth may mean finding faith in ourselves and in God or the universe, practicing prayer and learning to listen to our instinct and act upon it in fully fledged passionate trust.

Growth may mean ending a relationship that we are settling in.
Really ending it.
To really create that new space to invite passionate, crazy love that resonates and drives us to new levels. This kind of growth takes so much courage- I know because I've experienced it myself- but we learn to realize that we are whole within ourselves and that the passionate, crazy love is there waiting for us when we let go.

Because it so is.

And yes, it may seem like the greatest risk of all to let go, open up, trust and love the discomfort, but I can tell you this- whatever you do to push past your comfort zone (Travel included), whatever courageous decision or instinctive change you make- embracing the discomfort in the process will be the best part. 

Because in allowing us to grow and become pure love, how can it not be?

Blessings,
Julie

Monday, 24 November 2014

Love the Uncertainty: Its Part of Your Success

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/5c/d9/47/5cd947a482f68e52be1ea32a1161c4b5.jpgI've found that when we keep ourselves too busy, our schedules too packed, we can miss the space we need to connect with our heart, let go and become clear on what we want.

Sometimes we cover our feelings of uncertainty, fear and sadness- and ironically our joy as well- by always being on the go and making ourselves so busy that we don't have space to truly feel.

That's why I realized last week that sometimes we actually need to create this space, letting my manager know that I am less available to work.

I truly believe that the opportunities, connections and clarity naturally come into our life when we practice the courage of letting go. Letting go of work that doesn't excite us, or a relationship that we are settling in.

Letting go and creating space to heal, create, rest, explore and embrace uncertainty is one of my challenges- yet I've also found my greatest successes through learning to embrace the unknown. It's where we discover and grow.

Sometimes we fear that we'll miss out on opportunities if we do less.

But the truth is that we miss out on the opportunities when we are burnt out and too busy to be present for the magic.

Where do you need some space in your life?

 


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Just Do What Feels Good. Amen.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/7a/ca/03/7aca03e916d708d324da479930f2835e.jpgTwo days ago I celebrated my birthday, surrounded by love and the people I feel most connected to. I was and continue to feel utterly blessed to know such supportive, positive and inspiring souls. Thank you.

Part of me thought that I "should" throw a party to celebrate, which is definitely always an option. But sometimes my desires are more intimate and introverted. I love small gatherings and getting to really connect with the people around me. Good food and hugs. And yes, with the right people, I also love music and dancing and drinks.

What I've realized is that however our desire manifests, as long as it's nourishing, fulfilling and ultimately feels good, then we are exactly where we need to be.

When we care more about living that feels good on the inside rather than how it looks on the outside, the way we create and attract this life can manifest in so many ways.

When we are open to move with our intuition and embrace uncertainty, we find ourselves on the greatest adventure. The places we go to, people we meet and opportunities that come our way may now be what we originally planned or pictured for ourselves. But you know what? They may be a whole lot fucking better.

I've also realized that we have this whole blind spot. The things we don't know that we don't know. When we are open to embracing uncertainty and being vulnerable, this is when we discover these things- what we didn't even realize existed. Expanded life experience, expanded perception- bam!

Yes, it's great to plan. I am literally in love with my planner- it allows me to commit to what I want and hold myself accountable. However, there are times to allow ourselves some space before we make decisions. Space to check in and give ourselves permission to change our minds.

Time to cancel commitments. Time to reschedule. To say no to what we thought we wanted but realized is not soul food.

This is freedom. 

Life around us is constantly in flow and changing. Sometimes I've resisted these shifts, especially when it means that I need to take a look at my life and take a different route. What I learn though, is that those shifts are exactly the signs we need to follow our intuition and grow into who we are meant to be.

We can often be so attached to the need for certainty. When things change and shift, we resist it. But we also know that when we surrender to our intuition, magic happens.

That voice from inside that speaks so clearly when we are present and open. It comes from our heart that pumps blood through our body, where we feel alive. Over thinking and over planning often takes us away from this powerful sense.

So next time we feel a shift, a spark of intuition- even if it means we are not certain- let's follow that impulse.

Just because it feels good.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Faith over Fear

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/39/df/c439dfeaf80ba772e8dd1513b0d345d9.jpgWe all have those quiet, desperate moments where everything just falls apart. Where we feel the fear of uncertainty and intense doubt.

What if?

We might ask ourselves this question when we feel consumed by our fear. We are hungry for answers and when there is blank space, sometimes we feel that it must mean bad. That because we cannot see our life perfectly laid out right now, then something must be wrong. What if I've failed? What if this isn't working?

We somehow forget that just because we cannot see the thing we desire in front of our eyes in this moment, it doesn't mean it wont happen. Sometimes there are lessons to be learned and a journey to be had before we reach those milestones. Because usually its about what we learn in between the milestones that makes us who we are.

Stronger.
Wiser.

So in those desperate moments we can learn to surrender. To be ourselves. To love our sadness and anger and failure just the same as we love our joy and successes.

"The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it."
- Brene Brown

We find our courage and strength through those dark moments of uncertainty when we choose to surrender. Because sometimes the truth comes up when we let go. When we take a step into our light through embracing the darkness. When we embrace every fucking feeling and love it.

Make love to it actually.

Faith is being in fear and doubt and knowing that there is always a way. And we don't need to be superheroes to find it.

Actually we can fall apart. We can breakdown. We can quit. We can change our minds. We can start again. We can go out and try and succeed or fail and it doesn't diminish our worth. It actually further emphasizes how unconditionally worthy we are. We can own every part, come together in those desperate moments and know that it is in being human that we find ourselves.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

On Being A Mess and Loving It All

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/57/e5/02/57e502355a2cdcd4c3058876941dd588.jpgThere are times to take action, and times to rest.
There is a time to be with people, and time to be alone. Time to share the bed and time to have it to ourselves.
There is a time to travel and time to be exactly where we are with exactly how we feel.

And amidst all of these waves we find our lives, sometimes totally in synch and in balance and sometimes a total mess. One of the best realizations I've had is that there's really no difference between the two.

True balance is found within ourselves. It is trusting ourselves through the chaos and mess. It is embracing and loving it all, especially when we are falling apart.

There are times to laugh and times to cry. There is a time to move and a time to be still, to listen to the voice within and stop everything that's happening around us.

Even if just for a moment.

So perhaps balance is really a perspective. Maybe where we really find balance is through being exactly where we are and loving it. Loving it so much that no matter what we are experiencing, there is love. Through both the dark moments and the ones filled with radiating light.

"The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows."- Brené Brown

Because it is in the darkness we find light, in the chaos we find clarity and in the pain that we find love. And it is in being human that we find ourselves- enough and whole as we are right now.

Sometimes we expect ourselves to have it together all the time. Well, what if we don't? What if we experience the journey and celebrate the clarity we find, but also celebrate those terrifying uncertain moments where we just don't fucking know.

We don't need to figure it all out in that moment or pretend to be some superhero. For that moment, we embrace the mess and really love it.

Because "this too, shall pass."



Friday, 3 October 2014

Facing Fear to Grow Stronger

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Recently, I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I went Skydiving.

Yes, Skydiving! 

This is something I've been wanting to do for years and what meant far more than a check mark on a bucket list to me. It was about confronting and overcoming my fear, expanding my perception and allowing myself to experience life fully.

I feel that we are given this life to live it to the fullest. The purpose of our goals is serve our greatness- to provide focus and direction in our becoming our strongest selves. The goals we have that allow us to tackle our fears have, for me, been the most fulfilling, eye-opening and exhilarating ones. Every fear I've faced including Skydiving and so many more, have made me a stronger, more authentic and present being.

It's the act of facing fear that makes us fearless.

Take a moment to think about what you fear. Is it traveling? Being alone? Being vulnerable? Heights? Showing your true self? Letting yourself be happy and free from the opinions of others? Imperfection? Fear of failure? Letting go? You name it.

We all feel fear and fear will always play a part in our lives. What I've realized, however, is that it's not about trying to get rid of fear. It's about moving with it and riding the waves, feeling the fear and doing what we want anyway. We do this by literally becoming aware of where fear plays a part in our lives and taking the steps to do the thing we fear.

Without stepping outside of my comfort zone, not only do I not feel that my sense of aliveness and expansion is diminished, but I wouldn't be writing this post.

Time and time again I realize this:

It is our experiences that allow us to grow into our greatest selves and cultivate our gifts so that we can share them with others.

Yes, facing fear requires awareness and courage, but it is always worth it. We realize how powerful we truly are, and most important, that our stories, assumptions and "what if's" do not need to define our decisions and actions.

We feel the fear, and we do what we want anyway.

Of course it's important to prepare and weigh out the pros and cons of a decision, but let's not hesitate too long. Because life waits for us in its abundance each day. Let's not hesitate too long, because there are places to go, people to meet, love to give and receive and experiences to be had. There are failures and successes to be made, ups and downs and everything in between.

And in all of this, there is life. There is the beautiful, imperfect experience of life to be a part of when we face our fear to become all that we are capable of being.

I want to leave you with an inspiring quote I read the other day by Erin Hanson that really put things into perspective for me. It goes like this,
"What If I fail?"
"Oh but my darling, what if you fly?"


Monday, 8 September 2014

Get Naked.

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/0c/1a/e6/0c1ae6e8fdaf1203ee8da7ce14f6b5b7.jpg Take off your clothes.
All of them.
Allow yourself to cry.
Let go.
Be wierd.
Silly.
Vulnerable.

Getting naked means so many things to me. There's getting naked in our body and there's also getting naked with our soul, our heart.

When we choose to get naked, we choose to open up to our truth, to feel fully and embrace each experience wholeheartedly. 

We choose to be full a full expression of who we really are. To show up and allow ourselves to be seen.

I write and talk a lot about embracing our true selves emotionally, allowing ourselves to feel and listening to our heart.

Feeling is also in the body. Our emotion is not only felt in our heart, but throughout our whole body. 

Our body is the real vehicle we use to move through our lives. And I have found that a huge part of becoming comfortable in it is through practicing self care and self love, and learning to see our beauty.

We are here to celebrate our bodies, to celebrate every curve and inch of skin.

We are here to come alive- through self care and the way we treat ourselves and through the intimacy we share and express with others.

When we become comfortable in our own skin, when we do the things that feel good- we move past judgement and embrace imperfection. We are naturally so much more comfortable and expressive with others when we love ourselves. Unconditionally. In all our raw, naked and imperfect beauty.

When we focus less on the external and more on how we feel inside, in our own skin, we really come alive. One thing that happened when I grew up was that I realized that trying to be perfect, to compare, to self judge and to strive to look a certain way for other people, is completely opposite to what what we do when we stop judging and start listening with self love.

You know what the self love record says? It says that we focus first on feeling good, on embracing our bodies and honoring them- for ourselves first. We let go of self judgement, of the stories that don't serve and then we share our love with the people who celebrate us for who we are.

Blessings,
Julie

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Journey's Made me Stronger

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c5/31/ec/c531ecc80797d13a947fbb068dc389e8.jpgWe all have our struggles. I have mine. And you have yours.

Our challenges make us stronger, and in a way we want them. Because if we are not pushed to grow, we're not living.

But here's the thing.

Sometimes it's pretty tough. We wonder, "what is it this time that I need to learn? Because this time I'm challenged in a direction I've never been before. It's uncertain and scary."

Well let me tell you this. There will always be lessons and new experiences as long as we are living and engaged with the world. We get to choose, though, how we handle them.

Are we coming from a place of self love? Are we asking for the support we need? Are we surrendering to what is not within our control and taking charge of what is? Do we believe in ourselves? And better yet, are we surrounding ourselves with people who believe in us?

These are all questions we ask ourselves along the journey. The way we choose to respond to them determines how the journey will feel.

When we come from a place of self love and support, we cultivate insane faith, we realize that we can handle whatever comes our way, and we know that, "this too shall pass."

"Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling."
-Margaret Lee Runbeck

The journey is the destination.

Are we surrendering to our truth along the way and embracing our vulnerability? And most importantly, are we letting go of who we think we should be to be who we are?

Because when we embrace who we are and stop the judgement, when we lean into love and open ourselves up- yes, even when its hard- we find happiness.

Happiness is not dependent on something we think we need to get later, it really comes from inside and is always present when we stop, listen and allow ourselves to feel. 

Blessings,
Julie

Monday, 11 August 2014

How to Kick Ass During Uncertain Times

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/a7/4a/18/a74a1874fcdca81ebf95f9969b8268cf.jpgThis past month has been a great time of uncertainty for me- losing my job challenged me to push my limits in so many different ways. I've always loved the hospitality industry and have learned many a skill working in restaurants and bars all over the city. The work definitely gives me the opportunity to connect with people and network. However, my passion for yoga, meditation, mental health and wellness hasn't been fulfilled in this work. So a month off pushed me to explore other opportunities, research and start a whole new conversation. 

As I've learned in the past few years, asking for help is in fact a sign of strength- this month yet again, showed me that although vulnerability is often messy and uncomfortable, its where our power and truth lies.

Owning out story, sharing it and asking for help is how we grow to be our strongest selves and find connection with each other.

So I asked. Many times. It wasn't always easy, but Ive realized that if we don't express how we feel, we cut off the pathways to the support and nourishment that we need. And we all need it.

Alongside my exploration of work opportunities and interviews with employers, I spent much time running and doing yoga. I started cultivating some pretty radical faith and trust. I realized that I had a choice- I could choose fear and scarcity or I could choose love. Each day I focus on choosing love.

Because when we choose love and when we love ourselves, we practice self care, we are patient and kind to ourselves and the people around us and we know that we will handle whatever comes our way. We have done it before and will do it again. Its time to get creative, open our mind and realize that when one door closes, another always opens.

I learned to really surrender, to feel the power of prayer and to let go of the need to control everything. We persevere and do what we can, but we also remember to rest, play and be kind and gentle to ourselves. 

Balance.

And I practiced loads of gratitude. Because by noticing how many incredible people I have in my life and much more, by raising my awareness to the abundance I have now, I found more opportunity, peace and strength.

Blessings,
Julie


Thursday, 31 July 2014

The D Word.

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/92/72/ab/9272abf3da0be4ed47d928257fda48eb.jpgOkay, okay, it's not what you might have thought. But it's better.

In this post at least, D stands for discipline- the toolbox of resources and practices that allow us to be the most focused and strongest version of ourselves.

When we master self care, we master our freedom. Our happiness is not dependent on others or our circumstances. Wherever we are, we use the habits of self care.

"Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out." 

Regular practices such as yoga, running and meditation have served me greatly. I highly recommend all three! And yes, it takes discipline to do these consistently. Believe me, I don't always feel like going to the gym at first, but always feel better after.

The motivation? To feel good. Being disciplined is about self love and self respect. When we are consistently active, asking for help when we need it, feeding ourselves wholesome meals, engaging in satisfying work, we are telling ourselves that we are worthy of happiness.


Discipline is something we want to do, because we love ourselves and know that we deserve to be happy.
 
There is an abundance of resources available to all of us, we have everything we need and all the answers lie within- it is simply our choice to be open to this abundance.

And are we ever!

Discipline is about talking to ourselves and treating ourselves the way we would talk to someone we love. It's an act of self love really.

Our focus is on showing up and trying. I truly believe that success and greatness has little to do with perfection and more to do with having the courage to show up, be real and do the things that make us feel good. It's the journey where each day we take a step, even when times are uncertain. We let people know where we're at and we ask our friends to hold us accountable for staying on track. These people encourage with love and support our doing what makes us happy.

I've realized that the longer we live, the better we know ourselves. We develop a toolbox of resources- self care practices, we adopt a mindset of abundance, we choose love over scarcity and fear, we focus on gratitude, we learn what we need and we learn to ask for it.

So the word discipline for me is a nourishing one. It's habit, its self-love and it's abundance. It's strength, freedom and focus.  It's sexy and powerful.

Danielle LaPorte is a shining women I look up to- here's what she has to say about discipline. I could not agree more.

"Can discipline feel joyful? Yes!
So how do you know when you’re stifling yourself with structure vs. nurtur-ing, or setting yourself free, with structure? 
You know because it feels good to do it, and it leads to more good feelings."

Blessings,
Julie

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Is it Okay to be Angry?

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/5a/1e/b4/5a1eb4b48f48188813c78470d130155c.jpgThe simple answer is hell yes! We have many stories about how anger should be expressed- what ends up happening is that we often keep our opinions, anger and resentment so pent up that it comes out in the extreme.

The natural flow of life demands that we move with it.

Anger is a healthy human emotion that is meant to be expressed. When we can listen to our anger as it comes up, it will actually act in our favor.  Its there to tell us something about what we're going through.

Maybe we are settling in work that doesn't support our growth and vision, or in a relationship where we don't feel free. When we act out of fear, holding onto something- but not what we really want- we end up feeling resentful, stuck and yes, angry.

As Danielle LaPorte- a woman I very much respect- says, "if the journey towards your vision doesn't feel good, STOP". Sometimes we need to put short term plans in place during transition periods. But even these demand limits.

Anger also happens to be a part of the grieving process. We all go through grief at some point in our lives. When we are letting go of someone or something we have lost, our experience of grief will include anger. Its so important to express what we are feeling as a way to let go, release and create space for new beginnings.

Noticing our anger and where we feel it in our bodies is the first step. The ability to feel means that we are alive! Physical activity (in all forms) is a great way to release. When we sweat, we are cleansed in so many ways. Writing and dance are also great ways to express. Telling people how we feel is also important. 

When we allow ourselves to experience our truth, we become clear. We move past fear and take off the the mask. We may write a letter to an ex for closure or quit work that is soul sucking. We may ask for a higher position within a company or set a boundary to create more personal time.

Standing up for ourselves means we won`t be resentful. 

So really, confronting our anger is healthy. It may be messy at first, but the truth is that anger is a part of the human experience and when we listen to it as it comes up and express it, it will show us what we are fed up with so we can let go and make changes. 

Maybe its time to change.

Blessings,
Julie

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Losing a Job: What I Learned

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/65/b4/ef/65b4ef8fcac1d15b5d35e3698862f71b.jpgI haven't blogged in a while and I must admit, I miss it. I've been writing a bit for myself, but doing just this- sharing authentically, is what brings me fulfillment.

Why? Because we connect over what makes us human. Through both the great times and the tough times. What an interesting past few months its been- I spent beautiful time again in California in May, but when I came back, felt I was coming back to a routine. I knew something was missing- I was starting to feel bored and the sense that I want more adventure, excitement and growth.

Well you know how they say that being let go of a job can be a blessing in disguise? Well it certainly may not feel like it in the moment, but now I realize it's true.

I had the opportunity to be a part of the opening team of a restaurant. I learned about marketing to increase sales and how great food is made. But I also learned that sometimes things happen that we never expect. Well, until they happen.

After putting my heart into my work at this business, seeing things change literally every day, including people getting fired at a rate that seemed too frequent, I started wondering. I asked questions and tried to confirm that my position was stable.

I realized that management didn't engage in much feedback with their staff. A lot of the time, threatening and hostile behavior was used to improve staff performance. Many of us agreed that this just created unnecessary stress.

And after all that? Well, my friend and I were next. I was shocked when I lost my job- after investing energy and trust into the business, I felt betrayed. How the hell could this happen, this is ridiculous!

I spent much time replaying what happened in my head and feeling disgusted by how I was treated, but then realized that at the end of the day, we can't control what happens, but we can control how we react to it.

So I've taken what I've learned and am moving forward. I think this whole situation has urged me to cultivate more faith and trust in myself. I don't fully feel it yet, but I am stronger and wiser. And I'm starting to really support the idea of having multiple income streams!

And you know what they say about things falling apart so that better things can fall together? Well, it's true. Sometimes it takes patience, but tough times have made me have greater faith, realizing that while a certain job, situation or person may bring us much fulfillment and happiness, sometimes things end to create space for what is more in line with what we really need and want.

What I've also learned? That we have a choice: love or fear.

We can choose to live in the scarcity mindset that there isn't enough, or we can choose to see that there is abundance and opportunity. In times of uncertainty we can choose to worry about things that have a 99.9% chance of never happening, or we can choose to love ourselves, claim our self worth and find the source of powerful love within.

Because there is enough, we have enough and most importantly, we are enough. 

We are more than a job or a relationship. And it is because of who we are- beings of pure love- that we continue to attract what it is we need most.

Until soon,
Julie

Friday, 13 June 2014

We Are Creators

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ea/39/3d/ea393dca0a66931b13b9d8a4bd70b56f.jpg"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit."
- Aristotle 

Each day I learn again and again through my experiences that we can literally shift how we feel by realizing our power to choose and in practicing intentional choice-making.

I've also learned that not choosing is also a choice, but in doing this we are just denying our expansion. Not claiming the power that is always within us.

We choose who we spend our time with, what opportunities we engage in and how we want to see the world.

Our choices each day cumulatively create our reality.

We choose  to affect our lives, rather than allow our circumstances to affect us.

We choose to make our happiness a priority- because we know that in doing this, we naturally overflow with love for the people around us. We are able to support others from a grounded place when we have cultivated our own ground first. We choose self care and self love.

We choose to ask for help and reach out. Because we know that we are on this planet together to help and inspire each other.

We choose to connect, to face our fears, to take risks, to quit things that are wasting our time and to free ourselves from the limiting stories, allowing for expansion, vision and growth.

We choose to let go of the need to assume and judge because we know that we cannot truly know an experience until we are physically experiencing it. We choose to live in the truth of what we are experiencing in this present moment.

We choose to listen to our bodies and our intuition as we create our lives. Our bodies know what feels good. This guidance system is infinitely powerful is guiding us to choose the experiences that energize us.

We choose to live in awareness and act from a profound place of courage.

And in realizing that our lives are a result of our choices, we are liberated because we realize we are infinitely powerful creators. We are the mapmakers of our path. The painters of a blank canvas given to us each day.

Blessings,
Julie


Friday, 18 April 2014

Focus: Why We need it and How we Get it

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/ef/50/14/ef50149562c661a140d376d03558367f.jpgA simple, yet powerful truth that I have come to terms with in my life is this: all the results I've gotten, and goals I've reached, especially in the past two years, came through focus.

Focus creates energy. When we focus on our priorities, the things that only bring us happiness, our energy is streamlined and therefore results come our way more quickly. The unimportant naturally fades away.

The universe knows what to give us when we are clear on what we want. We become a much stronger point of attraction for that which we want when we are focused.

Focus creates expansion. It invites clarity and cultivates power. And abundance. What a paradox! But it's 100% true. Every time. Every experience in my life where I felt expansion is there to prove.

One of the most challenging things I've realized about focus is that it involves self trust. We must trust that we know what we need. Focus means creating boundaries on other people's expectations. It's impossible to please everyone and be 100% true to ourselves. This means tuning out the voices of negativity and consciously choosing what we take in.

Here are a few of the ways in which we can cultivate focus:

1 Inviting Challenge and Excitement

Boring routines that don't challenge us to grow are counterproductive. We each have a wackload of potential that is meant to be used. When this energy is stifled, our body feels stuck. This is why I've found challenge to be one of the key points in cultivating focus. When we are challenged to think in new ways, to call upon our inner resources, we feel alive. We are in "the zone", in "flow", you know what I mean. And we realize that our potential and capabilities are limitless.

We can cultivate challenge when we are spontaneous, when we take risks, when we face our fears. For example, booking a low budget trip that challenges us to move past our comfort zone.

We can cultivate challenge by inviting new experiences or by growing in our current environments. For example, communicating with our managers at work to explore new capacities and building skills in other areas of an organization. Asking for a promotion. The truth is that if we don't ask, the answer will always be no. "Ask and you shall receive." When we vocalize our needs and goals, we automatically are held accountable for our own happiness.

2 We are the People we Surround Ourselves With

One of the most important truths I've learned about relationships is that we owe it to ourselves to choose the people who bring the best in us. People who support our growth and hold us accountable for doing the things we want to do. Healthy relationships are energizing, authentic and supportive.

We simply cannot be around negative people and focus on positive growth at the same time. It doesn't work. Letting go of people who bring us down is one of the keys to being focused.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." We cannot change people. Trying to "make" people understand is a waste of time. But while we cannot change others, we can choose who we surround ourselves with.

3 Exercise and Wholesome Eating

Two days ago yet again proved to me how life-changing physically activity is. The way I felt before and after my run blew my mind. Pick an activity that makes you sweat, it doesn't matter what it is, and do it regularly. Physical activity makes us feel more calm, grounded, present and focused. And did I say amazing? Well, that too.

It's true, "we are what we eat". Eating regular wholesome meals and snacks, nutrient rich foods, simply feels good. The goal is not perfection, but to feel nourished and energized. From this point, we are far more focused, grounded and present in our work and relationships.

4 Travel and Taking Breaks

Booking a trip is a great way to reboot. To refocus. It gives a chance to come back to what we want, separate from the exceptions of the people around us. We are constantly surrounded by ideas of who we "should" be, when really, its simply about being who we are. By developing our individual gifts, we are able to offer something to the world that nobody else can. Another way to take a break is by disconnecting and unplugging. Facebook, Twitter, and our Smartphones can be used as great tools. Therefore, the key here is balance. Using these tools to our benefit, but also reminding ourselves to take time away from them. Why? Because our greatest tool is the knowledge we have in our hearts.



Monday, 31 March 2014

Letting go of "Busy" as a Status Symbol

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/0d/3b/98/0d3b98c5ddd76bcd7ae37404a449f4f8.jpgI'll admit it. At times, I love being busy. I love the feeling of being engaged with the world. I feel a sense of inspired flow, connectedness and purpose. But then there are times when my body wants to slow down, when it demands self-care, compassion and patience- and I've waited to long. I held on to "busy" when it no longer fulfilled me.

Today I was able to slow down and come back to fulfillment. Two things I've learned about fulfillment: its connected to the heart and it happens in the moment. The process of coming to my heart required me to create space.

Unplanned time.

Time to let go and be still.

Time to look inwards mindfully: "What do I need right now?"

And when in the past the answer would involve planning and action, today it was about having the courage to slow down, be with my truth and honor stillness and space.

Busy is not unhealthy, in fact we can be thriving greatly when we are busy. But its when we become attached to busy that it can become toxic. When the intention is to be busy as a way of hustling for our self-worth, then we know its time to put the brakes. When busy becomes more about pleasing people and appearing put-together and accomplished than feeling good, then its time to let go.

I've finally realized that the only time "busy" is healthy is when my body is in full agreement.

It can be tough sometimes. Our society tends to value the accomplished, productive and extroverted. And while productivity can work in our favor, its actually productivity itself that demands rest. Downtime. Time alone.

Let's let go. Let go of the "shoulds" and the unnecessary pressure. Because while sometimes we love the rush, we also love the stillness. Let's let go of the need to please and do what feels good, give ourselves what we need, when we need it. Because at the end of the day, its all about how we feel. And whatever it is we choose to do, the intention behind the choice is what counts.


I'm sure I will be writing more about honoring the part of ourselves that revels in stillness and space. Until then, here's a quote that has always rung true for me.

"Create a life that feels good on the inside. Not one that just looks good on the outside."

xo,
Julie

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

What is Quality of Life?


http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/4a/4a/12/4a4a12252d1049c87219cb36ab0ab802.jpg
Once I started experiencing the kind of life I want, I realized this: it is simply not possible to "unlearn" something we physically know. When know true happiness and fulfillment, when we know ourselves and the things that provide this physical experience for us, there is no going back.

Once we've tasted greatness, there is no more mediocrity.

It's happening. It's real. When my body came to know the experience of feeling truly present (mindfulness played a huge part in bringing me to a more connected place, one where I am in touch with the voice of my heart and the needs of my body), I realized that going back was simply not an option anymore.

A few things happened, leading me to quality of life.

I broke down and realized my life experience was not one of expansion and abundance but of limitation.
I met some incredible, inspiring people who I feel so blessed to have in my life. (And began practicing gratitude, and realizing how powerful it is as a means of further expanding the positive in our lives)

I began taking risks, going on adventures, cultivated a mindset of abundance and put my dreams into action.

Sounds simple right? Well it is simple, but I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge that there has been challenge.

And while there is challenge, we always do come back to the bliss.

Once we know where our energy and fulfillment comes from, our level of focus is what will determine the quality of our lives.

Are we able to say no to people to the environments, opportunities and people who are not adding to our happiness?

Of course.

And how do we stay focused in our decisions? By being aware and making more empowered choices.
"This is to say make more choices, and make more empowered ones."
- Danielle LaPorte

Our happiness really is cultivated through the choices we make each day- from who we choose to spend our energy on to the kind of work we engage in.

I also realized that not choosing is also a choice. The magic happened when I realized how inspiring, empowering and liberating it feels to take responsibility for my choices. Coming from a decisive, empowered  place in my life became less about making the perfect choice (it doesn't exist!), and more about practicing the art of choice-making and learning through this practice- in doing this we learn more about ourselves, what is working, what isn't and ultimately what we want more of.

Now I'll leave you with a question.  A friend of mine who is also an incredible role model and inspiration (you know who you are!) encapsulated  "Quality of Life" beautifully in one of our phone conversations. I was finding myself challenged with a certain part of my life. What I learned from this phone conversation really put things into perspective.

"If we want to live a high quality life, we need to ask ourselves high quality questions." When my friend said this, it clicked.

So I asked myself, "Is ____ incredible?" Immediately I found perspective, I realized what wasn't contributing to my happiness, and of course this naturally pushed me towards the necessary action that create change.

Fill in the blank with something in our lives that we are not sure is contributing to our happiness- a relationship, living situation, job, environment, plan- because when we ask high quality questions, the answers become simple.

And sometimes acknowledging how a situation is really making us feel is hard,but with the same token- I've realized that it is through acknowledging truth that we become aware, alive and propelled to take positive action.

Are you ready?

xo,
Julie


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Reconnecting with the Heart

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/58/55/d4/5855d42fa98f106e19d990992a951b4b.jpgWhen I started writing this post, I found myself typing and retyping the first sentence multiple times. I didn't know where to start, trying to emphasize the importance of one thing without downplaying the other- this is balance.

Then I realized that its because I want to emphasize the importance of rest and reflection without devaluing the importance of structure and accomplishing our goals. The truth is that we need both. 

But often we give more respect to productivity and accomplishment during times when what we really need is time to recharge and reconnect with our heart. Soulcharge I call it- time we create in our lives to focus on filling our cup and recharging our soul, as well as the specific practices we do to make this happen- booking a trip, preparing a nourishing meal and many more.

Especially during the winter, the body needs more rest and care. Nourishment. Compassion and love. And we can tend to push ourselves. More than is healthy. And this pushing is really not even necessary I've found.

In the past few weeks, there were times when I felt quite burnout- I was focusing on work and giving to others more than I was giving to myself.

And then it clicked as I've learned again and again: it is only by taking time to love and care for ourselves that we can truly give to others. That we can give to others without compromising our energy. We are better able to help others because instead of our energy being forced, it is sustained, inspired and grounded.

And upon realizing the importance of this truth, I came back to my heart.

And then it came to me: mindfulness. Mindfulness changes the quality of our lives.

Its about getting back in touch with the present moment, our body and the breath. Its about present moment awareness and checking in with how we feel right now.

Overworking can create misalignment- our head gets ahead of our heart (Ironic, I know!) And when our head is ahead of our heart, we lose touch of the here and now. Mindfulness brings us back to the present moment where true fulfillment lies.

Where we realize that nothing really matters more than our health and happiness, that we live a life that is full of abundance, connection and nourishment. 

xo,
Julie
 


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Unconditional Self Kindness

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/c3/9e/57/c39e5782ef9532afa68a294ca2c323a7.jpg"Whatever's good for your soul- do that."

I realize time and time again, that no matter what we are going through, practicing self love, compassion and kindness is how we find balance. Coming from a place of self worth and making time to do self care- being in it being a practice, this means that it takes our doing. Action that comes from the intention to feel good. Because we deserve to feel amazing, free, inspired and energized.

Picking up the phone and asking for help, making a meal, going to a yoga class, planning goals that align with our current needs, while keeping mind that we are not superheroes.

We embrace imperfection. We flow imperfectly and together through life and all that it has to offer, embracing all of who we are along this journey.

We choose love over fear.

Sometimes when I'm feeling less in touch with the needs of my heart, I'll ask myself, "What would the kindest most compassionate version of myself encourage me to do in this situation?" And from there it all becomes clear. Balanced decisions that encourage action, but without sabotaging our precious energy.

At the end of the day, the most important relationship we nurture is the one we have with ourselves. And as we fall madly in love with ourselves, we have that much more love to share.

Blessings,

Julie

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Habits that Shape Us: Cultivating Self-Care, Support and Balance.

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/ce/b8/45/ceb8456beebd67ff713b2183bac5bb05.jpgEspecially during the winter months, we may experience challenge when it comes to staying focused on doing the things that serve our happiness and well-being.

But we stay focused anyway. We are all in this together and each day I realize more and more as I connect with other inspired minds that we all go through the same challenges. How we deal with them, however, is up to us.

So let's choose to use our challenges as fuel to grow and learn. To become more.

Life is about engaging from a place of worthiness, practicing self care each day and reaching out for support when we need. There is an abundance of resources at our hands meant to support our well-being and create connection and ease during challenging times.

So let us be open to receiving. This may mean talking to a counselor, a trusted friend- the resources are always available. And endless.

"Ask and you shall receive."

The challenges times pass. The season's change. Practicing self care is what makes these times easier. 

I have found great value in my yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices, in engaging in regular physical activity, in taking time to rest and preparing wholesome meals- meals that are abundant and supporting as we become the strongest version of ourselves.

Making self-care a priority is the best thing we can do. Because when we cultivate self-compassion and self-love, we are that much stronger for the people around us.

Life is too short to not do the things that make us feel good. The habits that nurture our well-being are worth doing each day. In fact, we must do them because feeling happy, free and alive is why we are here.

Blessings,

Julie

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Setting Our Intention for 2014: How do You Want to Feel This Year?

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e7/e6/de/e7e6de54a729a9cf1f143168a84c666a.jpgIn my last meditation class, we talked about the year we have just ventured into and our intention as it unfolds. I found what one woman shared to be especially inspiring.

And this is it- she talked about setting an intention for how we want to feel this year.

How do we want to feel in our bodies as we live our day to day lives?

This question really struck me. A very simple, yet incredibly powerful way to see things. When we align our goals and decisions to feel the way we want to feel, we find fulfillment. This, in my opinion, is success- actively engaging in the things that make us happy.

Of course, the way society defines success may be different. But at the end of the day, I know I feel the most "successful" when I am meeting my own needs and desires, whatever they may be and however they may look like.

It is irrelevant whether they match up with society's expectations or what other people are doing. Comparison is often unhelpful and puts unnecessary pressure. Let us simply urgently move forward in giving ourselves what we need to be happy.

So we ask ourselves, "How do I want to feel this year?"

My intention is all about feeling focused, present, grounded and balanced and also excited and inspired.

Once we know how we want to feel, we are able to focus on our awareness and ask ourselves, "what can I do more of this year to feel this way?" and when in the midst of making a decision, "Does this line up with how I want to feel?" "Will doing this bring me closer to the feeling I most thrive on?"

Because when we are thriving, we are truly living. We feel alive, in flow and in our zone. And using the way we want to feel as a point of focus is one of the most powerful tools in goal-setting and decision making.