Ending 2017 strong

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I can’t believe 2017 is coming to a close in three short weeks. Where did the time go?

Like most of us regular folks, you’re probably contemplating on what the next three weeks are going to be like. I mean, we’ve got Christmas parties to dress for, foods and wines to enjoy, shopping to do, family to visit. The to-do list seems to grow by the day, when it should be shrinking: homes to clean, fancy dinners to cooks, presents to wrap…

I was thinking this morning as I walked my dog Hobbes, in the fresh, crisp winter air, that all these to-do lists for December must be the reason myself – and likely many others – rush into the New Year with out careful consideration of what this New Year should look and feel like.

I mean, we spend the whole month of December cramming in as much food, visits, hustling and spending as we can. We mingle at Christmas parties. We rush to the mall to buy presents. We go, go, go. Then suddenly Christmas hits. What did I even buy my mom? We might think. Did I forget to put any presents under the tree? I mean, I can’t even remember where I hid them all.

What a blur.

Do we stop and slow down? Many of us, no. Because, of course, there are now toys and Lego to put together, more family to visit, messes to clean up and – of course – massive sales in the malls and online that we hustle, hustle, hustle some more for.

By the time we might catch our breath, it may be one or two days before New Years Eve and we are finalizing the last few details of our nights plans. What should I wear? Who will I kiss? Do I have to go out?

Crazy. Even typing that all out, I feel tired and regretful to the missed moments of December and lost time.

Have we taken more than two seconds for ourselves at all this month? Have we given any deep meaningful thought beyond a quick fix new years resolution like, “lose 10 lbs?” Have we taken anytime to really be grateful with what we have and who we spent time with this over the Christmas season?

It’s quite silly that we expect to carry the crazy hustle and frantic energy of December into the new year, and believe that we would be set up for a strong, new, fresh start.

It’s even more silly that deciding on some new years resolution in a quick five or ten minute contemplation – with an adrenaline dump of motivation – is what we beleive it will take to magically perform the “new year, new me” for the next 365 days.

I don’t know about you but for me, hustling and surviving December doesn’t exactly renew my focus for the New Year. It doesn’t make me feel ready to take on new goals, new challenges and new strategies. It does, however, make me feel exhausted. Like I need a break. And that’s not how I want to enter into new possibilities and new starts. I want to be alive and in it, every moment. Ready to rock.

Here are a few considerations I am working with that I hope you will reflect on too, as you (hopefully) slow down, enjoy the moments you’re already in before sprinting to the next in 2018.

  1. With all you want to add and become in 2018, what regrets can you let go of, to lighten your load as you walk forward into the new year?

Regrets are hard. But willingly carrying them around is actually a lot harder. We may not think about it as a choice, but any feeling you have – regret included – is an opportunity for choice. Now, it might feel so deep that you’d argue it’s automatic and that you actually can’t help it that you feel that way.

I get that. I have so been there.

But, every time we feel that sting of regret or every time we feel like we have to control and monitor situations in regards to how they “need” to play out, then we must realize we are choosing this, by not choosing something else. We aren’t choosing better for ourselves. And we can do better. We deserve that.

Think about situations you’ve been desperately trying to control… can you let anything go? Maybe it is in trying to control how your ex-husband parents your child. Can you choose to let that weight go as you move into the new year? Can you let them do things different, even if it’s not how you would do it and if it’s not your way?

Perhaps you’ve loved and lost in romance and you’ve been carrying regret or pain with you because of that. Can you choose to consciously begin to start letting that go? Even if as those emotions come up, you simply tell yourself “I let go.” That’s a small powerful first step – one that will make a difference. No one expects a 100% turn around in a 24-hour period. Give yourself time to work through the letting go process, but consciously decide you will not carry it with you anymore.

Where can you find freedom as you move into the New Year… look for it. It’s there. Let it go. When you loosen your hand strength and grip around something, you open your hand (yourself) up to something new, different and better. It’s a new year… let the new come to you in all ways, shapes and forms. You’ve just got to be willing to let go.

 

  1. “Tell me who you spend time with and I will tell you who you are.”

This is a tough one for adults. We get so stuck in friendships and relationships and familiarity… that we just stay and accept it, even if it’s not what is best of us.

Let’s look at this.

If you’re a parent (or know someone who is a parent), you probably believe that if your child spends time with a group of kids that don’t want go anywhere or do anything in life, then your child is likely to pick that up and become the same. Your child likely won’t want to strive for much. We become like those who we spend time with.

So, if we understand that about children and do our best to put them into winning social circles and good schools, then why – as adults – do we not still practice and believe this concept?

If you hang around those who tolerate but hate their jobs, relationships or lifestyle then guess what, you will become like that too. You will settle. You will stop looking for bigger and happiness. It will be “just good enough” or “the way that it is.”

It is said you are an average of the five people you spend the most time with. Who are you then? Those five people… their best and worst qualities, averaged out. Who are you? Are you proud of that?

Now might be a good time to begin contemplating this. If you want to become something different, it is likely time to begin to change your social circle. You don’t have to carry with you forward something that you have carried forever, just because it’s familiar. Expand your group.

You can still care about those you’ve cared about, from a distance. You can’t hold back on your life just to stay comfortable with the familiar. Start to look now for different settings you can get yourself into, to set yourself up to be happy in your life.

  1. What’s working? What’s not? Get a game plan.

In order to change anything in your life, it is important to be clear on what you are or are not. Write down all the things in your life that are working. Maybe what’s working is the kids daycare, the family time you can allot each week or the gym you go to.

Next, write down what isn’t working. Maybe it’s the commute to work, maybe it’s expenses versus income, maybe it’s not having enough YOU time.

When you see these two groups on paper, you can get a clear look at how you are living your life, what stands out as important and any imbalances there are.

If you wrote it on your “not working list,” then you know it’s important to you and that inside your heart, you want a change in regards to that thing.

From here, you can decide on a starting point, and create a game plan to change what isn’t working to either be on the what IS working list or remove it all together. This is when we create a game plan to create change.

The thing with “game plans” is, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to know or have the entire journey mapped out, from step one to finish line. But what you do need to see is a few of the first steps.

Let’s say on your “what isn’t working” list, you wrote down your physical body weight. In other words, being over weight is just not working and you want to lose ten pounds, gain some muscle and be able to ride your bike with your kids with out loosing your breath. Your first few steps could be signing up at the gym and committing to a personal trainer 3 times a week.

That’s the first few steps; the steps that follow will reveal themselves after you have the beginning ones in action. As Martin Luther King Jr said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Baby steps can add up to miles covered. But you’ve got to take that first step to get anywhere new.

* * * *

There are so many things we can do, to run into the new year strong and refreshed and set up for change and success. These are just a few small concepts to consider. Think about them seriously and see if they make sense to you. If something strikes a chord with you or, better yet, if something strikes a nerve in you, look at it. There is something there for you to go deeper into, wherever you felt a reaction or drawn to.

We are about to be blessed with a new year. A new chance, a new starting point. Many people in your country and in your home town don’t get this opportunity. Life ended for them before this month rolled around. Realize that this is your life. There are no guarantees and when it’s done, it’s done. While you’re here, make the most of it. Let go of hurts, pain, controlling and regrets. Let go and soften. Set yourself up for success by reassessing your social circle and the people you spend the most time with. Look at your life and change what isn’t working or serving you to be the best version of yourself.

You’ve got this chance… make it count.

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps…

Xoxo

McDooogs

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How Healing Happened

How did healing happen?

I think I saw and had these tiny moment of freedom… tiny moments of not hurting but instead laughing… not obsessing and wondering, not noisy non-stop chatter of my mind but instead quiet and stillness and breath. Tiny moments of peace where my heart wasn’t at war with the question “why.”

I think thats how my healing began.

And when I recognized that, at moments, I felt less tormented, I tried to recount backwards and recapture how I got there. So I could get more, so I could grow it and make it last.

As that constant pain, wondering obsession shrank, my ability to heal grew. My kindness grew, from being undetectable to me to once again, recognizable. My presence grew. My ability to call a spade a spade grew. Tiny moments of freedom led to tiny moments of expansion. And in that expansion, healing happened.

That’s how I look back at my healing. That’s how I think it happened. In tiny moments of freedom.

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God, in this moment

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I’ve been searching a lot the last few years. On a journey of trying to figure things out, grow closer to The Divine, and cultivate a lasting peace with in me. This journey is one which has me, at times, confused and questioning. A journey that gives me a sweet, small taste of connection and freedom, but an answer and a way of being that I can’t seem to make last.

My journey probably looks familiar to many others. My journey involves heartache and pain from lost loves… my journey involves packing up my life multiple times and trying to start over somewhere new… my journey involves self help seminars and work shops, books and podcast, yoga mats and hikes, journals and notebooks… I am a seeker. A packer-upper-whats-next-whats-out-there kind of girl. I’ve always been up for adventure, growth, and experiences.

My path and my journey have me looking for where the light is, aiming to grow deeper into that light. Seek, discover, add. Go, go, go.  I’m seeking, but it seems that as I search, I am also trying to hard, reaching and frantically grasping for any sense of peace I can along the way.

This doesn’t actually sound all that peaceful, does it?

It’s almost funny. I desire peace and connection but I can’t stop planning my days and to-do list of all the things that will “get me there.” Yoga. Meditate. Journal. Send love. Write. Read. Do this… do that… do, do, do.

Is this to-do list really bringing me closer to the peace and connection I want? I go and I do, and I check things off left, right and centre, but am I anywhere closer to my desired connection with the Universe, life and myself? Am I feeling anymore peaceful?

I truly want so badly to connect with the Universe and be in the flow and ease of that energy, that love, that peace. I want so badly to be always present, to give freely, to let go easily…

But I struggle getting there. And even more so? I struggle STAYING there, once I get a taste. Maybe you can relate?

Okay, so, pause. Story time: flash back to last week.

I was sitting in the chair at the hair salon, getting my fresh hair color washed out. My hairdresser seems to know when I want to chat and when I am best left to my thoughts and stillness. She washed my hair color out in silence that afternoon, the same silence that was present while she applied the dye to my hair less than an hour earlier. I was in deep thought. Dreaming and pondering connection. As she washed the red color out, a thought crossed my mind: Can I find God in this?

Whoa. Wait, what? Where did that come from?

As my startled thoughts tried to understand and control, something inside of me asked again, can I find God in this? Can I find God in this moment, in these people? Can I find God in this space?

Let me backtrack and share that the word GOD is not one I’ve been particularly comfortable with. Like, at ALL. EVER. But I’ve been seeking for more, as I do. And recently, I’ve been interchanging my go-to word the UNIVERSE, with the word GOD. But I haven’t spoken much of that word… just played with it here and there in my head. Never really committing to it.

But this moment… the voice in my head (or in my heart?) asked… “Can I find God in this?”

What happened next wasn’t magical or huge or mind blowing. But it was a quiet ah-ha moment as I looked for God in that moment. My ah-ha moment unfolded deeper as I confidently and whole heartedly answered to myself, God is in the hands of my hairdresser as she does what she loves to do. God is in the conversations of all the people chatting, as they get their hair done. God is in the warm water rushing over my head. God is in the breath I breathe in and the breath I breathe out. God is in the space between my thoughts when I am not listing where God is. 

I realized in that moment as I lost myself in thoughts of wanting connection and peace, as I suddenly discovered the use of the word GOD was less heavy, authority-like and demanding than expected… that maybe, maybe this is something I could (not should, because my to-do lists are long enough… but COULD) start looking for. A trigger, if you will. To bring me back down from wanting and searching for peace and connection, to actually noticing the peace already present and connecting to what’s already in front of me and in me. All by asking myself to find God in that moment.

So what a concept, right? That maybe I can find God in those moments, which are every moment. Instead of my to-do list of things which I want check off and which I do in order to try and be more spiritual and connected.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the stuff on my lists I really enjoy doing…

But Maybe God isn’t only on/in those lists. In fact, I know now God is more places than that: God is everywhere, because God is everything. The same way I always have believed that the Universe and that energy of love is everything and everywhere. God, the Universe. Whatever. Ya know?

Added bonus: Suddenly, God isn’t as scary of a word for me to us. What really shifted?

I don’t really know.

But I will take it.

Sending you love, hugs, and butt slaps…

Xoxo

McDooogs

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sending love to route 91 harvest music festival

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When I woke to the news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest music festival, my heart sank, broke, sank again and broke even more.

Country music is my favourite. In fact, we tried to get tickets to this sold out festival, as many of my favourite artists were lined up to preform. Plus, who doesn’t love a good trip to Vegas right?

But all that excitement pales in comparison to the heartache I feel for the good timing, country music listening folks like me, who were at the festival.  The fear they must have felt… the confusion and chaos that surrounded them… the loss of friends, family members and innocent people…

I do want to fall back on the theory and idea that love wins and will always win. That we need not give into the experience of fear and hatred that was forced upon us. But right now, it almost doesn’t feel like the right time to say that.

Is it?

Is it a band-aid for how we are feeling? Or is it a truth we can truly fall back on and live our lives grounded in?

I do believe it is a truth to live by but first, we – or at least I – need to just feel and be with the pain and sadness.

There are real emotions here to be felt. Nothing to rush through. To feel them and be authentically with them is to really honour the lives that were lost. To rush through that is to make light of what was loss. Honour these people by feeling their absence. By feeling and being with their loved ones in the pain

I know that there are families and groups of friends that will never be the same again. And that, I wish I could change. I cannot imagine the pain and the sadness that they are experiencing.

But if we cannot take the pain away for them, what can we do? How can we collectively work together to soften heartache, quiet fear and honour emptiness?

There are no magic quick fixes.

But if you are in the Las Vegas area, I urge you to go donate blood. This isn’t going to change what happened but it can change the outcome for some of the injured.

Doing something is better than doing nothing.

I urge you  to look around if you are there, and hug the stranger who looks lost. Hold each other tight.

Whether you are in Vegas or not, I urge you to consciously make choices that are rooted in love and compassion, not fear and anger. Know that what you are doing might not have long lasting affects to change the world, but I hope you do it anyway, simply because it is the right thing to do.

Let love prevail. Feel your sadness but never give into hate.

“The is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” ~ Toni Morrison

Sending love, peace and healing vibes…

xoxo

McDooogs

Another lesson in compassion: finding old journals and being okay with who I was

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Do you have any old journals or diaries that maybe, once and awhile, you start to flip through and read the old entries?

I do.

And I will share that 90% of the time, what I am reading almost always hurts my heart. The things I wrote about that I was experiencing, the pain I felt, the outlook I had on life… ugh. Sometimes, it’s really actually heartbreaking to revisit who I was.

I usually dont read into the old journal very far. I flip through it but I am quick to give into the urge of shutting that shit down, and shutting it down fast.

I am either trying to avoid reliving that pain or feeling ashamed and embarrassed to who I use to be.

In the moment thats how I feel.

It’s crazy… capturing emotions and experiences on paper or in the written word in an online journal can take me back so quickly and can make so many emotions flood to the surface. Even ten plus years later. I read my words and I remember exactly how it all felt. The sick feeling in my stomach, the pressure and heaviness in my chest, the fear in my mind…

I’ve read old entries where I have poured my heart out about a guy that I was hurting over. I look at that girl and think, “ew.” Why was I so pathetic?

I want to burn the journal up in flames.

I have actually even done so.

Or, I read back when I was going through an experience that I didn’t think I would make it though, and I come face to face with the perspectives I use to hold and live… and I think, again, who is this person? How could I have let myself live like this?

Again, in the moment of going back, that’s how I feel.

It’s only when I actually take a deep breath and slow myself down from being sucked back into the past – into the hurt and into that fear-based way of living – that I can pause long enough and realize I don’t have to hurt AS that old girl. I don’t have to GO back to those experiences. I can find the current lesson and leave the experience. 

What possibly is there for a lesson? I mean, I’m reading old journals and diaries that make me want to spin in circles wondering how I was ever that person?

Compassion. Compassion is the lesson.

Oh my, oh my, there is that lesson again, coming up for me full force. I think practicing compassion is one of my most continuous lessons of life. It’s always showing up, asking me to practice, in one way, shape or form.

Life reminding me and asking me to have compassion for myself.

If I get caught up in the moment and sucked into that pain when looking back at the girl I was, and I immediately feel NO, I dont want to know her, I dont want to resonate with her… she was weak and sad. I will not go there again.

But the real me, the me I’ve nurtured, grown and become, THIS version of me knows that I need to find and have compassion for that younger, less-awake, unconscious version of myself… I need to have compassion for what was.

My moments and experiences, they are mine. Who I was, I can’t hold against myself. Against who I am now.  I am allowed to have a past. Even if it’s one I don’t totally resonate with now.  

It unfolded the way it did and now the best thing I can do is use it.  Decide that it will not be a place of sadness or darkness I avoid going to, but rather a place to leap from.

I must remember that I couldn’t have gotten from point A to point B, with out first being at point A.

To get good at something, you have to be willing to be kinda crappy at it first.

When I read these old journal enteries, I know that I want to keep those hurts and words safely hidden, away from anyone who might read them, judge them or hurt from them, too. I want to avoid going backwards and reliving the experiences and pains I use to live.

But…

Regardless of what I use to feel, I know now that the best use of my feelings and emotions is not getting sucked back into a lesser, smaller version of myself, but instead to generate compassion and empathy for the person I was, with out unpacking and sadly living there again. Sure, keep the journals tucked safely away…

But be bigger now.

Here and now. Firmly and confidently, all awhile lovingly and compassionately accepting a past I can’t change.

That makes the past easier to live with.

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

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I love a rainy day

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Oh, the rainy days.

Rainy days, like today, make me want to jump into comfy sweatpants or yoga pants, lose myself in a giant oversized cotton t-shirt or soft worn-in hoody, and slip into thick fleecy socks.

It makes me want to curl up on the couch with my books and journals (yes, plural), sip something hot from a giant mug and even indulge in a warm chocolate chip cookie… or two.

What is it about a wet fall day that follows so many warm summer days, that makes us all want to begin hibernating?

On these rainy days, it’s like I get permission to get cozy in a warm, soft spot – on the couch, under a blanket, or in my bed – away from the wet chilly world outside my front door. I get to be safe and sheltered. Almost like the rest of the day can’t expose me, that work can’t touch me, and that nothing is so important that it can’t wait.

To me, the soft rain feels like a gentle reminder from Mother Earth: “darling, you’ve been out socialising and buzzing for all of my sunshiny days. It’s time to be with yourself and  family, inside. It’s time to cuddle up and find a cozy warm place, while you unplug. You don’t have to keep up with the go-go-go world right now. It’s time to slow down, darling.”

Ahhh. Blissful. That is a reminder I am happy to hear and accept..

May your rainy days be cozy and warm…

xoxo

McDooogs

 

 

 

Getting inspired to create

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How do I find inspiration for something to write bout?

It is few and far between some days. I feel like the busier my life gets, the less creative and imaginative I feel. The more I jam pack into my days and on to my “to do lists” the less room there is for creativity to flow, for ideas to marinate and expand.

I hate being busy. What a buzz kill, man.

I do have some fall back ways, however. Things I know I can do, to slow life down and to find inspiration. You know? Really light up and tap into my creative side.

What works for me, I know has always worked for me. These are my tried and trues.

Nature time

I know when I go into nature and peace-out from the noisy city world, specifically when I go on my own, that my heart and mind start to slow down. Its like every cell in my body breathes a collective sigh of relief… “ahhhhhh“…

There is something about being among the threes and the greenery of a hike that just hits my reset button and lights up my heart. Maybe it’s the peace and quiet. Maybe it’s just feeling at home and feeling undistracted. Whatever it is, when I am in nature, in the woods, on a hike… everything else just settles away and I get real with myself again.

I often have wondered when I have been on those paths and among the trees of thick dense nature, how many pains and hurts have been pounded into the dirt… walked into the earth… how many sighs of relief have been exhaled, as the weight of the world melted away… how many secrets and thoughts that the trees has absorbed by hearing friends vent and share, or how many times trees have just picked up and gently pulled away the bad vibes or sad thoughts that individuals carry when they arrive, before they have relaxed and settled into the peace that surrounds them.

Nature is a miracle worker.

This is where I reset the best, to find inspiration and motivation to write. This is one of my happiest places to be. The place I feel most like myself.

Clear your space

I don’t know about you, but my work space… whether it be a table or a desk or a couch… it needs to be uncluttered. The weird thing is, I feel like my creative mind reflects the state around me. If I have literal space, a tidy work area or simply an obvious display of what I’m working on, I create faster. If my work space is cramped and messy, then my mind feels small and messy. If there are too many projects and “things” spread out across my work area, I feel like there are too many “things” or thoughts in my cluttered brain, too. I make space to feel space. And that’s when I feel things can flow more freely and how I tap into inspiration and creativity quicker.

Conversations and inspiration 

I love Super Soul Conversations with Oprah and her guests. I listen to youtube videos or podcasts and absorb all the wisdom and treasures of the thoughts that are being shared. They are such powerful and spirit-filled conversations, I just want to be in them, too. I listen intentionally, not to steal ideas or think, ohhh Im going to write about that, but instead I listen because often it makes me question things inside of my own heart, which leads to ah-ha moments, which can lead to creativity and inspiration.

In a recent podcast I listened to on Super Soul Conversations, Oprah had Iyanla Vanzant on as her guest. What a conversation this was.  Iyanla said, “you know you’re completely out of alignment when you’re not at peace.” I thought to myself, whoa.

Why did that hit me so boldly? Because I dont feel at peace most days. It got me wondering, where could I be out of alignment? And so, some inside work began. I start to look at myself and take the wisdom shared and attach what feels right, to something in my life. In this case, her one simple sentence has cause a week long pondering which has in turn lead to a fork in the road… which in turn has lead me to make some tough decisions. Wow, right? And it’s from these moments of totally getting real with myself, that creativity and inspiration arises.

Unplug

When I need to feel my creative side be nurtured, I get offline. I walk away from Facebook. I put down my phone. I tune myself out. I unplug from the constantly buzzing, turned on, tech savvy world, and I turn myself off and settle into a meditation.

Sometimes this can be easier said then done.

I, for one, can not just stop thoughts from flowing and stop worries from surfacing. Or stop my mind from wandering back to the vacation photos I saw on Facebook, for example. No. Abruptly stopping my thoughts like that just does not happen.

But I move to a place of meditation, simply to focus on breathing in long slow inhales and long slow exhales. After a few minutes of doing this, I feel my body, heart and mind to begin to slow down. The more I slow down, the more of the mental clutter can start to fall away.

And the more mental clutter that falls away, the more room for spacious creativity to emerge or for spirit and angels to enter in and do the communicating. Rather than my ego-brain yapping about Facebook and what everyone else is up to.

There are many different ways we can grow our creative and inspired side, when we have a desire to do so. Less is more, in my opinion. Start removing noise, distractions, thoughts and people, and more space, inspiration and creativity will emerge.

It takes some work and maybe even some planning to get there, but it is so worth it. To be in that flow, that space, that light.

I hope you go there.

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

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Things I have learnt by starting a new relationship, after trying to heal from a break up that I thought would kill me.

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I don’t consider myself a relationship expert. In fact, I am far from it. I’ve had more failed relationships than not. And I’ve spent a great quantity of time trying to heal from heartache. One particular break up actually, really rocked me when it was over and I struggled for quite awhile to believe in my “destiny” of being someone who “gets to be in a relationship.”

Maybe being single was just my path?

I’ll spare you the details on that part of my history. There is a time for storytelling but this is a different moment.

What I do want to share is the things I’m starting to learn and understand, as I have now entered into a new relationship.

First off, before I dive into that. I need to say. Bless this new guys heart. He has SO much patience for me, and really allows me to hurt, when and if I need to hurt. He hasn’t taken any of it personal and has really accepted that I have a past, which he won’t blame me for. He rides the waves of emotions and meets me on dry land each and every time I am ready.

Patience is really his thing.

Lucky me, to be able to have such support in my healing.

And the thing about healing, is that there is no recipe or step-by-step instructions to begin, in order to get to the other side. You just sort of have to move through it. The thick and shittiness of it all.

There are a few things that have come up for me, that I’ve realized as I am beginning this new path. Maybe you are experiencing ups and downs too but are making yourself wrong for many of them. Well, knock that shit off. Your process of change and healing is exactly that. YOURS. It doesn’t need to be painfree or look like a Hollywood romantic comedy, for it to be okay or for it to be working. Yours is yours.

Here are some of my shares and lessons. Maybe you can relate.

 

The healing doesn’t just come to a stop when you meet someone new.

From my experience, just because I am entering into a new relationship – slowly and cautiously – doesn’t mean that the healing of the past relationship was finished and complete. There is still a ton of healing that bubbles to the surface randomly and surprisingly, asking for attention.

I use to think I might get into a new relationship if and when the past love never crossed my mind, when there was complete forgiveness, or when there was no more hurt in my heart.

I was wrong about that.

I know now that learning to open your heart up to new love can be (and is for me) a part of the actual healing process. For me, having another human being there to show me new ways to smile or to make new memories with, that’s a part of my healing.

What I’ve also come to realize is that it is a fine line to walk, to be careful we do not simply throw ourselves into a new relationship, to avoid the hard work of addressing the parts of yourself which are wounded and or need to change.

Distraction is not what we want here. Healing is. And sometimes that healing is aided through the loving heart of someone else.

As one of my favorite author, Brene Brown says, we are wired for connection. In other words, we NEED other people.

Which means, sometimes we join hands with someone new, as we heal the hurt of someone old.

There are plenty of pains which might still come up: you get sad when you hear a old song that takes you back in time, you get lost in thought when you hear the old loves name and start to wonder what they are up to, you get angry that they seem to have moved on effortlessly… all of that (and so much more) is natural.

What I’ve learnt is to not stuff down what comes up. Stuff it down, and that means it is still there to come up in the future. Don’t fight it when it shows up to be healed. Let it show up. Feel what there is to feel and own that emotion. Don’t let it own you.

Are you mad at your ex still? Are you jealous of how they so easily moved on and seem perfectly happy? There is nothing wrong with what you feel. The key though, is to not sit heavily in it, or make that who you are. The key is to notice… “I’m feeling resentful” not “I’m resentful.” What you are feeling is a feeling. Not a part of your personality or make up.

And know that a feeling, like a thought, can be changed. Choose to notice what you feel, and then choose to acknowledge that there is some part of you that is still healing. Whether you know how to heal it or how long it will be there, this does not matter. All that matters is that you be kind to yourself the way you would be kind to a young child, and with that patience and compassion. All healing can take place with time and compassion.

You still need time alone.

Just because new love can be exciting and fresh, does not give you a free pass from working on yourself and being with YOU. Here’s the thing about life. Lovers will come and go. But there is one person you must go to bed with every night of your life…

You.

And you – whatever version of you that is currently present and here – needs nurturing. Attention. Love. Respect. Time. I promise you that you can be a better lover and partner to your new hunny bunny, if you devote time to yourself.

Maybe you work out, read a book, go for a walk, spend time with your dog… there needs to be a daily devotion to your own heart, with no distractions. You cannot fill another’s cup from an empty well. Fill your well first. Then giving to others is so much easier.

Comparing is natural.

How you love now or were loved before may not be the same. People show love differently. You, most likely, have grown. Expanded. Collapsed and put yourself back together differently.

Maybe there is a difference to who you are now, as well as between the old and new relationship. Maybe the person you are now dating shows affection in a completely different way then you are use to.

Just know that comparing, initially, is natural. I wouldn’t recommend this as a long-term habit, but I don’t believe you should beat yourself up or feel guilty about how your mind tends to place both loves, past and present, side by side and compare them.

The book, The Five Love Languages, is an amazing, easy read for gaining insight and learning to understand how folks show love and affection differently. If you are starting a new relationship, I encourage you to take this knowledge and power with you as you enter in. You will look at your new partner in crime differently and you will begin to understand which love language they speak and how they understand acts of love and affection. Which will ease how you compare the past and present lover.

Bonus to this: my bet is you may even think back to your old lover and find new compassion and understanding for them and what they were showing you in your past relationship. Ahhh… so good. More healing enters into your heart. Another step in the right direction.

New is fine and dandy, but there is no rush.

Don’t rush through your pain. Don’t rush through the dating. Don’t rush through to your happily ever after. It all matters. All the beginning stuff matters. All the pain and the recovery matters.

Another one of my favorite authors and girl power leaders, the queen love warrior herself, Glennon Doyle Melton says, “Pain is a traveling professor and it goes and knocks on everyones door. The smartest people I know are the people who say, come in and don’t leave until you have taught me what I need to know.”

Learn from your pain. Don’t rush it out the door. Don’t move through the conversations with it quickly, to avoid feeling what there is to feel. It sucks and it hurts, I know. Trust me, I know. But rushing away from what hurts keeps you from learning what there is to learn. For every sucker punch we take from life, from all the heartache we endure, there is a lesson to learn. If you rush through your pain, you won’t get the lesson. And just like in grade school, if you fail, you repeat.

If you don’t want to do this pain game again, do the work now and learn what there is to learn. Don’t rush.

Honesty – with yourself – is key.

Are you ready for new love? Does your partner know your past? Is it necessary for the evolution of your heart, soul and new relationship that anything old to be addressed or shared?

This is only something you can know. You have to be honest with yourself about where you are at, and what matters going forward.

Here’s what I know for sure.

The quality of your relationships should improve as you move through life. You should learn from each past love, what you want and what you don’t want, and you should make better choices for your next relationship.

The point is to grow and do better for yourself. Not to repeat the same relationship over and over, in different forms of lovers.

I can say for sure, that the quality of men I have dated and been in relationships with, has absolutely improved over time. I am not willing to do the same relationship and same problems and issues, over and over, with each man. For me, each lesson or each issue that chipped away the trust or foundation of the relationship and myself in the past, is addressed and learnt from, for the present. I have chosen to share certain things with my new guy, regarding what was not right in the past relationships. I do this not so I can relive the pain or make him feel bad for me, but so I do not repeat history, so he can hold me accountable and so together, we can make better choices.

With honesty, you free yourself and your new partner up. You do not unconsciously hold them responsible for mistakes from past relationships. Its all laid out on the table, and you can see – together – what might have been past issues and triggers, so going forward, problem solving can be quickly accomplished with out blame, hurt and frustration.

But it takes getting real with you first.

You can’t be afraid to own the story.

Be real and raw and afraid or nervous but don’t hold back. What I mean by this is you’re going to experience more, feel more, grow more, inspire more, if you really own what is going on for you.

What does it mean to “own” how you feel and to “own” your story?

It means you are not apologetic for your feelings. It means you are truthful – to yourself first and then to others – about what you are feeling. It means you take responsibility for how you are reacting to a situation or event, rather than blaming it on the outside source. You own it. It doesn’t own you.

You own how it went and you own how it will go.

Your story is yours. When you own what was, you can create a beautiful new ending and be in full responsibility for that.

And nothing feels better than living an amazing life, on purpose, that you can take credit for.

*

I know that as I grow and move through this new relationship, that there will be plenty more lessons for me to learn, plenty more hidden beliefs and hidden pains to uncover and chip away at. Which is exciting and scary all in one. But I’m willing to do the work. And I’m willing to heal the past. And live more fully and presently in the now.

What could be better than that?

May your healing be empowering…

Xoxo

McDooogs

How to maximize your weekend

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Do you ever feel like you just don’t have enough time on the weekends? I mean, Friday hits and, YES, it’s here! But then you blink and it’s Sunday night and you think, where did the time go? What did I do with my life the last two days?

It can be such a bummer, man.

I’ve figured out a few ways that help ME make the most of my personal time on weekends. Curious? Well, I got you babe. Here are some of the things I do and don’t do, to ensure I maximize the free time and what I feel like I got from it.

  1. I don’t do laundry.

For me, laundry is done on either Wednesday or Thursday nights. I use the following morning to fold it and put it away. I find if I tack on an hour or two during the evening in the week, I can save myself that much more time for fun stuff on the weekend.

  1. I plan me time.

I absolutely plan myself some “me time.” For the most part, I know what I want my weekends to look like. And so by the time Friday comes around, I know that Saturday morning I am hiking by myself or I know that I have carved out an hour for yoga at noon on Sunday or plan to read alone in my backyard Sunday evening. I literally schedule myself something that I know will feed my soul. And then as plans come up for the weekend and time slips away, I’m already committed to something for me, and I won’t be chaotically trying to cram it in somewhere.

  1. I plan social time.

I like to have something specific “booked in” at a certain time on a certain day. So, whether it is drinks at a pub Friday night, a walk with a girlfriend Saturday afternoon or coffee with my sister Sunday, I know when my social time is coming and, again, I can plan around it. I know this might seem weird and rigid. But, for me, it works better for me to know a layout, rather than just continuously reacting to all that is thrown at or offered to me.

  1. I don’t do any trips to the grocery store, if I can help it.

I would just way rather spend my weekend on me, right? Are you seeing my theme here yet? Having fun and unwinding (rather than already being in the next week, by prepping for the next week) is how I try to build my weekends and free time. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to know what is going to happen in the next week for yourself. But I don’t give anytime to Monday, until Monday happens. Does that make sense? Be where you are, when you are there.

So instead of going to the grocery store on Sunday like most peeps, and getting all their new food and produce for the week, I also choose a weekday to do this. Typically, the grocery store is less busy weekday nights.  So, I add on less than hour to the end or start of my day during the week, and that means I don’t have to give away any more of my precious time on the weekend.

  1. I dial down.

Sundays are usually my day to detox from social media and emails. Sometimes I do the whole day, and sometimes I start this detox Sunday afternoon and carry it through to the next morning. Why? Because we waste SO much time scrolling and liking and comparing our lives on Facebook, instagram or twitter.

I want to savor all my free time and not only that, I don’t want to create any stress or anxiety by going through work emails before the work week has even started. Monday mornings don’t start Sunday night. Don’t get into work mode before the weekend is over. Force yourself to hold off on work stuff until your – gasp – back at work.

  1. One day of my weekend, I get up early.

It feels good to get up early on the weekend and see ALL the hours ahead of me that are mine to play with. Sometimes if I sleep late, I find that I am playing catch up on the day. So, one of my days off I set an alarm to rise and shine. It really depends on what you have going on that day and if this will work for you. But for me, it makes my weekend feel a little bit longer. Which is what I’m going for.

  1. But I also sleep in, at least one day.

It also feels good to just cruise and start the day slow. Especially if I was up late the night before. If I know I am going to allow myself a good sleep in with no alarms, then I am less likely to feel “guilty” about not getting up and making the most of my time. Because in this case, I AM making the most of my time. You really have to honor what your body needs and sometimes it’s just a great big snooze. I am also a big fan of naps. Just saying.

  1. I don’t hang out with people just because I feel like I “should.”

Heres the thing. Your time is precious. Do you beleive that? Just because you have free time, and Susie-the-brat asked you to go for drinks, doesn’t mean you have to go if you don’t want to see Susie-the-brat. Yes you have free time, and yes you feel like going out for drinks would be fun. But don’t give any of your time or energy away to energy vampires. Hang out with people you really want to hang out with, hang out with people you know are going to leave you feeling lifted up and loved. Ditch the shoulds. Go for the good vibes only.

  1. I don’t clean.

Again, this is something I tack on during my week days, where ever possible. An hour or so added to a day or two during the week doesn’t seem so bad when you know you won’t have to devote anytime to it on the weekend. It’s like getting your homework done and then being free.

Work hard during the week, play harder on the weekend.

  1. I work out, but work out in the morning.

I love to get a good sweat on any day of the week, but for my time to be maximized I do it in the mornings. The gym is usually quiet, I only shower once, right after the work out, and I’m also set up for hydration and healthy eating for the rest of the day.

Hope this helps you make the most of your weekend. Play with it, focus on what makes you feel good, and what works with your life. The point is to make YOU happy, so however that works for you, go for it!

Happy Friday!

Xoxo

McDooogs

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The shitty work

 

941b7249415b98b2d750cb922aedd12b--work-hard-quotes-inspiration-quotes-hard-workHave you ever struggled in life?

Maybe you and your boyfriend broke up but you still feel a sting from the heartache and you find moving on difficult to do. How do you become whole and complete again? There’s a struggle between what is, what will be and what was.

Or maybe you’re totally over your ex but instead, are struggling in the dating world. You struggle to make promising and exciting connections. How do we make that happen?

How about if you’re a mama raising a family, busting your tired ass to get the kids to a million different places, every day of the week, while aching and longing for a sleep-in or romance? There is a struggle there that is deafening.

We struggle. We all struggle. You’re probably in it; I’m in it right now. The hot mess of it all.

Life.

Allow me to share. My struggles are currently and loudly with romantic relationships.

I’ve dated. And I’ve put in the work and time to really get over my ex. Really, I have. And in my own stance of pride, I’ve done pretty great for myself. I’ve come a long way. The person I am today didn’t breathe a chance six months ago. I could not let go.

Today, I’m doing okay. I still struggle on some things but I’ve got a pretty good track record now of surviving hard days.

But some things just aren’t quite healed. They haven’t quite disappeared from the front of my mind to a memory of the past. That’s where I find myself struggling. I want to be free of its constant grip.

One thing I’ve realized about struggle – no matter if it’s yours, mine or one we witness in friends and family – it is this: there is no quick fix. The pain brought on by struggle doesn’t willingly go away simply because you’ve done a little hard time hurting and put in a little work to get out of the black hole you are in.

No cookie cutter recipe. No quick fix.

Another thing I’ve realized, with any struggles in life, is that we have to do the shitty work. We have to. There is no easy work. There are no easy buttons to our lives. To really get what we want, totally and completely, we have to do the shitty work.

Here’s an interesting share: I thought I was doing the work. And you know what, in some ways, I did. But I also know I was trying to rush through the work. You know? Get my toes wet a little in the discomfort but not really all the way in, then rush to get on with it, to dry ‘em off and carry on to my happily ever after.

It doesn’t work like that. FAST isn’t an option with healing and struggle.

So what is it then? How is this shitty work supposed to… ahem, work? How do we know if we are doing it? How do we know if we are in the crap deep enough? How many steps forward do we have to take before we can glance backwards and see a few miles covered?

Well. That’s the thing with struggles and the work it requires of us to come through to the other side… one day you might only need to wade up to your knees in the mud and murk to make progress, and somedays you might have to completely submerge yourself underneath it all to just move forward a half of an inch.

So I got to reflecting. How the work works.

What I’ve seen in my own experience is this: even if we get a system or a rhythm going, this doesn’t mean it’s going to be fool proof and equal progress every single time. Maybe there is a few different ways to get answers and a few different ways move forward. Maybe one way will only work once and then never again.

As we change and grow, our strategies and approaches need to change and grow, too.

It could be like math. (I hate math). And it could be possible that I’m not getting the right answer or the answers I want because I’m just flat out not doing it right. Am I adding when I should be subtracting…? And am I only adding now because adding has worked before?

Or, maybe I’m multiplying when I should simply be putting down the pen and walking away all together, to make some progress and unstruggle myself.

Maybe I could just do the work differently now.

Maybe.

If one method doesn’t give you what you want or move you toward a better version of yourself, perhaps it’s time to change how you do the work. Try a different method.

Within your method right now, what have you been pretending not to know? Are you avoiding a method that, deep inside, you know you should try? And these paths and methods which you need to try – are you willing to do it?

Willingness is a big step in the right direction of a new equation for work. If we are willing, then our healing process can begin, right then, in that moment. Before we ever start the shitty work, we can start healing.

You can do it. I can do it. We are somehow incredibly capable and magically equipped to move through the crap and into a brighter, bolder spirit. A healed spirit. One that has done a lot of heavy lifting, but has the spiritual muscles to show for it.

Wishing you love, hugs, and the best butt slaps during your shitty work…

xoxo

McDooogs

 

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Amazing people…

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Okay, listen.

I know there are some really messed up people out there. The news and media makes sure we know that.

Right?

And, I know there are some really mean strangers out there; we’ve all encountered them and been on the brunt end of their rude, harsh ways.

And.

I definitely know that there are some really awful people directly in our lives, who we have allowed to overstay their welcome and who we have allowed to hurt us, simply because we love them and have a past with them.

But listen.

I also know there are some really amazing, awesome people out there.

People who buy your coffee when they are in line ahead of you at the coffee shop. People who offer for you to go ahead of them at the grocery store, because their order is bigger than yours, and they don’t want you to have to wait while theirs is rung up. People who offer to take your shopping cart back to the storefront for you, after you have emptied it of your bags and loaded up your car with the goodies.

There are really amazing people out there who stop and smile at little birdies playing and splashing around in rainy day puddles. People who close their eyes and breathe in the smell of fresh cut grass on a warm summer day. People who get excited and giddy and proceed to talk in baby talk to a strangers dog, as they pass them by.

There are really awesome  people who snort when they laugh, laugh at their own jokes, or laugh easily at yours. People who hug you so tight, that when you are loosening up to let go of them, you realize they are still holding you tight and not letting go. People who mail handwritten cards or letters for your birthday and the people who compliment strangers simply because they see their beauty.

There are awesome people who notice the tiny flower growing in the crack of the cement. People who notice the sun setting and stop to take it that beauty in, before it’s completely gone for the day. People who pick up the ladybug or spider from the corner of their home and move the sweet little life carefully outside, doing no harm.

There are some really amazing awesome people out there.

Right?

Notice them. They walk around you everyday.

Even better, choose to be one.

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

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Beautiful People

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Beautiful people. Oh those beautiful people. You know the ones, right? I’m not talking about physical features, make-up, height, weight or style. I’m just talking straight up beauty.

The inner stuff. The good stuff.

Beautiful people are my favourite. They inspire me. I try to be one and I do my best to associate with the likes of them.

What does it take to be seen as beautiful? It’s pretty simple, if you ask me.

  1. Kindness

Beautiful people are kind. To everything. To animals, the environment, to their neighbors, and strangers, to people who can do nothing for them and people who have wronged them.

Kindness is my absolute favorite thing in other people. But, there is one catch.

It has to be consistent.

If you are kind to me on a date, but rude and unkind with the waiter, you are not a kind person. Kindness doesn’t begin in one place and end in another. It’s not a light switch. It’s in every area of your life, no matter what. Be genuinely kind and you will be ten times more beautiful.

  1. Be Here Now.

Beautiful folks are oh so present.

They don’t have their head down, eyes locked on their smart phone while you chat with them. They don’t multi-task.

They are the ones at the park, just breathing in the fresh, crisp air while taking in the sounds of children laughing and the greenery around them.

They are the ones who make eye contact with others as they walk by and they smile, instead of looking away or playing with their phone.

They are the ones who ask the store clerk how their day is going and then truly listen for the answer, with auto-pilot turned off and instead, ready to engage.

They are really with you when they are with you. It feels so good to encounter people like this, right? They are all in. Totally, sincerely in the moment. Invested. Present. Available. That’s so beautiful. I love that.

  1. Just Own It.

Nike says Just Do It, but I say just own it. As in… rock your confidence. Confidence equals beauty.

Whatever it is you are doing, just own it. Are you cutting a rug on the dance floor at a wedding? Are you rocking your talents of playing the tuba without stopping to worry what others think of you and your music? Are you sharing your creativity with the world, without wondering if it will get any likes or reposts on social media?

Confidence.

It is so rad to see people be confident in whatever they are doing, saying or believing.

Just totally owning it, no matter what it is. I freaking love that; nothing inspires me faster.

  1. Live to serve

Beautiful people are givers.

Givers of time, love, money, energy… and they do so with out ever expecting anything in return. They just give happily, because they want to. Not because there is a pay off for them. Not because they think it’s the right thing to do. Not because it will get them attention or praise.

Only because they want to serve others. And as a result, they shine their beautiful light for us all to see.

Martin Luther King said, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”

Yup.

Which in my mind means everybody can be beautiful because everybody can serve. Give it a shot, my beautiful friend.

  1. Smile.

Ah. So simple. “I’ve never seen a smiling face that wasn’t beautiful.” Genuinely smiling is the fastest way to be beautiful, transfer good vibes and share awesome energy. You’re made of that shit. Give it away and distribute the beauty.

An idea: next time you see a stranger walking by you, don’t glance away. See if they look at you and when they do, SMILE.

There is not much that differentiates you from them. Yes, you might look different, have different jobs and know different people. But we all feel love. We all feel pain. We bleed red. We have fears and hopes. So, are we really that different?

Smile at one another. You guys! We’re all in this together. And once you get that, this place doesn’t seem so big, a smile is easier to pass on and the world becomes a more beautiful place.

  1. Courage and struggles.

Courage. Is it not beautiful? When folks bravely share their struggles, for no reason other than to be human and let other humans know they are not alone… this is beautiful.

Suddenly, we are vulnerable but relatable. And it sets a person apart to a different level of beauty.

Sharing your struggles isn’t easy. But if you do so authentically, without trying to play up (or down) any part of the story, and just share for what it is, well… people relate to that. People connect to that. And the beauty of the human spirit shines through.

You can’t go wrong with this. Use your crisis to create connection and lift others up.

  1. Humble pie ain’t served here.

I can’t think of anything uglier than a cocky, full-of-themselves person. But a humble human? Someone who is quietly confident, humble in there humanness and relatable in his or her glory? My oh my… so beautiful.

Being humble doesn’t mean you have to downplay who you are, your talents and accomplishments. It is however, about remembering your human role and knowing that we are all made of the same star dust. Literally.

  1. Loving with out inquiring

Beautiful people accept others just as they are, with no strings attached. They love with out stopping to inquire whether or not the other person is worthy of love. They just love.

This is such a brave part of being beautiful.

And probably, the hardest for humans to do.

Yet, there are a few folks that we all know, who are just lovers. They love. That’s just what they do. No matter what, no matter who, no strings attached, no hidden agenda.

They love with out question or judgment of worthiness.

  1. Comparisons? Nope, not here.

One of the cool things about beautiful people is that they acknowledge the beauty in others with out comparing themselves or putting themselves down. They just see what is so, state it, know it and love it.

Beauty in one place doesn’t mean it can’t be in another. There is so much to go around.

For example, ladies, if you see another woman killing it and rocking it, that shouldn’t threaten you. It should inspire you. It is beauty and that shit should be everywhere. Don’t compare your beauty to theirs. Just love theirs and yours for what it is.

  1. Resilience and Grace

Two more of my favourite things in people: resilience and grace.

When I know people who have these two qualities, I am just so in love with them. It is so beautiful. I can’t explain how or why I am drawn to it. To know someone who chooses to be resilient, (because yes, that’s a choice) and to know someone who chooses grace (because, yes, this too is a choice) … well, dang. I am just so in awe of them and their beauty.

Playing up the pity party, the weak victim, or the drama queen – all that is too easy and too common.

But, to learn resilience and grace? Wow. It’s hard to take your eyes off those people, isn’t it? Go be one. Grow and shine your beauty, sweet thang.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Beauty is something you can add into and expand in your life. Where you will see it, how you will live it… that’s up to you. But, it is something readily available, no matter where you are at.

There are so many ways to be a beautiful person. This, of course, is just some of my personal favourites… I hope these ideas resonate with you and that you begin to notice beauty in all the places it currently is and all the places it can be.

Sending love, hugs, and butt slaps…

Xoxo

McDooogs

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A Spiritual Journey: Who signed me up for this?

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Today on the good old elliptical trainer, I started contemplating what it meant for ME to be on a spiritual journey.

A ton of thoughts started dancing around in my mind.

Do I want to be a spiritual journey? Cause I am. What the crap. How did I get on it…? Did I sign up for this? Can I go back to how things were before this all started?

Truthfully, I’m not totally sure when all this began for me. What kind of agreement had I pleaded and entered into with the Universe? What did I think I might gain from venturing down this road?

I have no answer. For the longest time, I have just been “like” this. On this path.

I think most of us want growth and expansion in our lives. And when we decide that, it is almost like the Universe begins to conspire on our behalf… adding players and scenes into our days that will aid in our growth and expansion.

Our little worlds suddenly become bigger, deeper, richer. And sometimes, more complicated.

It’s funny. I beleive when you make the decision that you “want more” out of life, life will give you more. And there is really no way to turn back.

Once you wake, you’re woke.

What has my experience been like?

Well, I’ve had growth. I’ve learnt a lot of lessons. Some have come through hands down amazing, one of the kind moments where I was on top of the world. But most of them, the big ones I suppose you could say, they came hand-in-hand with heartache, break ups, physical injuries, and death of friends and loved ones. But with experience – with life – came growth.

Growth. My heart, my spirit, my mind…

They all became bigger and better, band-aids taped to them and all.

I don’t think that a path like this ever really ends. For me, it’s been like peeling an onion back. More and more layers just keep showing up. You might cry. You might want to turn around and walk away from it. And with each layer, you see how much there is still to heal.

In a nutshell? It’s hard.

The best worst thing you’ll probably do for yourself.

But with the struggles, there will always be wins, of some sort. It’s a law of the Universe: balance. Death and birth, give and take, loss and gain.

Balance.

Yes, I decided on the elliptical, this has been hard. But what do I expect? That it should be easy?’ 

It’s not. It won’t be.

So, what has it meant for me? This path?

For me, being on a spiritual journey means reaching out to other souls for advice and connection.

Humans are wired for connection. One of my favorite authors Brene Brown has all sorts of books, videos, and talks rooted in science and research that support this theory. We need other humans. And when we are on a spiritual path to the bigger life we know we want, we begin to see that this path is not walked solo. It is 100% littered with family, friends, enemies and strangers.

All of which we need for growth.

They are imperative to your expansion. You are imperative to theirs. Trust that you are serving each other, no matter the length of stay or the impact of the time spent together.

For me, being on a spiritual journey means to consider that I might have a story that I am playing on repeat, and not only do I need to hit pause, I need to let that bad-boy go.

Story? What do you mean story?

You might have a story if you say things like this to yourself, and others: “I shoulda known this was gonna happen, this kinda thing always happens, I just can’t catch a break.” Or “Men are liars and cheaters. They all are.”

Whoa. Yup. Story.

Living helplessly into a story like that completely strips you of your power and rips hope out of your heart.

Give. It. Up.

Besides… has thinking and living into that story helped you at all? Oh wow, no? How shocking.

Try living into the opposite and see how that changes your day-to-day living and happiness. Even if nothing changes, doesn’t the idea of not being a negative, Debbie-downer seem appealing?

For me, being on a spiritual journey means getting quiet and still.

Stop asking and start listening.

To what, exactly?

To silence.

Prayer is where we talk to God, meditation is when we listen.

Get quiet.

Not only that, get out of the crazy loud buzzed out city. Go for a country drive. Hike. Sit next to a stream with no iPod or iPhone.

Silence and stillness will answer so many questions for you. If you let it. Get still and silent.

For me, being on a spiritual journey means to be brave enough to send love and blessings to people that I DON’T want to send love and blessings to.

Your ex? Your exes new girlfriend? The asshole who cut you off in traffic? Your cranky coworkers?

Yup. Right there. Give it away.

If you believe in the law of balance with in the Universe, than you know what you give out, always comes back to you. Give it away.

This one, for me, takes effort and practice. Strangers I can bless. People in my life, who I feel “wronged by”… ugh, they take a little more work. But, I’m committed to them. I truly am. They don’t know who they are but I spend five minutes everyday, sending them love and light. I set the timer on my phone and I close my eyes and visualize sparkly light, sprinkling slowly down on them. I imagine it completely covering them. I imagine it warm and comforting to them. Then, I do my best to see their face and see them smile.

Fuck. Sometimes, it’s so hard.

But I always feel better when I do it.

For you too it might be difficult at first, but that then is a sure indication that you need to do it. Like I said, give it away.

For me, being on a spiritual journey means surrendering.

You don’t have it all figured out. You don’t have all the answers. You can’t micro manage and fix every detail of your life or your loved ones lives. Surrender that shit. Give it up. When you surrender, it doesn’t mean you give up power and everything is “over” … what it really means though is that it’s about to begin. But the catch is you have to surrender and completely let go first. Let your grip loosen; something will come from it.

For me, being on a spiritual journey means less of a material world.

And more, simple, natural space. Less social media. In fact, I devote one day each week, where I do not go on Instagram, Facebook, emails, youtube…

Instead, I favor and seek brief moments of connections with strangers… maybe smiling as they walk by, performing some random act of kindness, or just chatting with someone in line behind me.

Favor connection. This is where the gold lies. Not in owning the newest iPhone or video game, having the most “liked” status update or profile picture or in the shiniest new car.

Think simple.

For me, being on a spiritual journey means consciously and purposefully choosing my version of balance.

Balance to me? It won’t look like balance to you. And that’s okay.

For me, it’s yoga and MMA. It’s wine, chocolate, nachos, and juice cleanses. It’s trying to drink so much water so that my pee is incredibly clear and it’s binge eating on pizza and root beer floats til I feel like I might throw up. It’s long drawn out days spent alone in nature and short attempts in an evening to watch a horror film. It’s self-help books, underlined, starred and marked up and shared with friends and it’s therapy, counseling and paying for a professional to talk me through my shit. It’s stilettos and little black dresses and it’s bare feet in the grass in over sized t-shirts and tights. It’s being at the front of my store all day long talking to customers and it’s going home and not speaking a word out loud again for the rest of the night.

For me, it’s modern and traditional. It’s meaningless and it’s priceless. And it’s truly loving it all for what it adds to my life, how it makes me feel, and what it allows me to give energetically to others.

For me, being on a spiritual journey means…. a face off. 

Yup. A face off. With yourself.

You stop wondering if others like you and start wondering if YOU like you. And then you face off with yourself. The good, the bad, the light, the dark… you look at it all and consider how much you’ve loved of yourself and how much you’ve tried to hide. The parts you don’t like. The parts you wish you could alter.

It can be a bit of a battle. One that isn’t won over night, but if you continue to face off with your little demons, you can begin to love you. All of you. And that, my sweet thang, is going to be apart of your spiritual path from the day you entertain the thoughts, to the day your soul leaves your body.

The amazing thing is this: everyones paths look different. Some parts we write about in blogs (ahem…) and some parts we don’t write about or speak out loud because the pain is still too raw. It’s all there.

And it’s all different. Yours. Mine. Theirs.

It’s all different. But they are all worth venturing down.

Thanks for being a witness to mine…

Sending love, hugs, and butt slaps

xoxo

McDooogs

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What ifs….

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Do you ever have those “what if” thoughts?

Me too…

Often.

The thing about those ‘what if’ thoughts? The thing is “they don’t change anything. All they do is make it unable for you to heal.”

Think about that.

Simple and powerful.

Sending love, hugs, and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

Acceptance? Yah right.

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Acceptance is something that is coming up a lot for me lately.

What a toughey.

It is funny though, because most of the time, the things we struggle with are most often the place where our biggest lessons lie dormant, waiting to be breathed to life.

Think about that for a moment… What are you struggling with? Do you hate it? Resist it? Want to ignore it? Chances are that’s a sure indication that you have something to face and a lesson to learn.

You may be confused or unsure how to accept something (or someone). I know I have been feeling defeated in that sense a lot lately. I go back and forth between two extremes. In one extreme moment I feel wronged, shit on and wanting to change them and the situation… and in the next moment, I am wanting to just release it all, let it go and be peace.

How do we get there? To that point of acceptance? For most of us average folks, it’s a process. We can’t just take a deep breath, declare “it is what it is,” accept it, while moving on in life gracefully and peacefully.

(Although, if that’s your experience, high five).

Most of us, though? Most of us struggle with it a bit.

In my experience, I do not rock the acceptance card right away. My tendency is to want to control.

Yup.

As in, I want to have things go in a way that I am comfortable with, in a timeline that works for me, ending with the results that make me feel at ease.

Yuck.

Sorry, people in my life.

But with that realization, I have learnt a lot about myself, about acceptance and how it all unfolds. It is this:

Acceptance might not happen in one moment. It’s most likely process. A long process. It might take days, weeks, months. It might take hurt and frustration. It might take long, reflective talks with friends or therapists. It might take tears and repetative “whys.” It might take pizza and wine, long strolls in nature, self help books, meditation or drawn out country back road drives with loud country music.

It might even take a combination of all of these.

Isn’t life FUN? LOL (… by the way, I am not LOL-ing…)

There is no recipe for how to get there.

What is important though, is that you entertain the idea of GETTING there. What is important, is that you want to welcome acceptance into your world, into your relationships and into any area of life that you’re feeling the need to control, change or dominate. If you are willing, the way will appear.

I have also learnt that accepting a situation that I do not love, or even like, means that I have to be willing to see things from a point of view that is not my own.

This can be tricky.

It’s almost like taking on the role of a witness. You just watch from the outside, but aren’t directly tied emotionally or physically to the situation. Rather, you just look in at it.

As I watch from there, I can usually slow my thoughts and emotions down enough to say something like, “this is their lesson. This is their choice. There is nothing wrong here. This has nothing to do with me. It is their path to growth, lessons learnt, healing and expansion. Even if this is not how I would have things go, even if it looks and feels WRONG or painful for me, I can be willing to honor that it is not my choice or in my realm of power to have things go any other way. The more I fight that, the unhappier I will be. The more I relax, let go and accept that this IS what is, the more peaceful and happy I will be. I must trust that I am serving as an important part of their lesson.

As well, it is imperative to point out and know that while practicing acceptance you don’t just drop all your standards, walls and barriers. You don’t just lay down to be walked all over and emotionally beat on, simply because you’ve chosen to “accept what is.”

No.

When you accept someone, it does not mean that you have to stick around and accept abuse or toxicity. You can accept someone as they are and accept what is, all while leaving the relationship and the close proximity, for your own souls health and safety.

Even if the person isn’t physically dangerous, you still have permission to accept them or the situation while distancing yourself to a new space, for your own well-being.

Acceptance is a part of any spiritual path. If you want to learn unconditional love for yourself or others, learning to practice acceptance will surely show up in your life.

Isn’t that the way life works its wonderful magic?

You’re damn right it is.

What you need/want to learn will show up again and again, until you learn it and live it authentically.

Life will gently guide you to whatever edge you dread the most and while you stand there uncomfortably, it will ask you to either jump into a new magical level of living, or it will allow you stay there and be unhappy, “safe” and the same.

Your choice.

I say go for the jump. Practice acceptance and all the other goodies and lessons that are tied to it… anything that is hard, uncomfortable and scary.

Jump… the net will appear.

Plus, I’ve got your back. Hell, I’ll even jump with you.

Here we go…

Sending love, hugs, and buttslaps…

Xoxo

McDooogs

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Open letter to my best friends new man

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To my best friends new boyfriend…

I know her better than she knows herself. I know her past relationships should have turned out better. She deserves better.

I’ve seen her struggle with tormenting thoughts and ‘what if’ statements. I’ve witnessed her lowest of lows. When I thought her heart couldn’t possibly break into any more pieces, there it was… breaking to what looked to be unfixable.

Some how, those days, that pain, scarred over. The mark has been made, but the initial rage of the pain has subsided.

Somewhere in there, she met you.

Now, she is starting to see and feel the sun again. She is beginning to smile when she looks at her phone and sees your name lighting up the screen.

But, I know her. I know her.

I know she still hurts. I know there are still very tender wounds deep inside her.

Fear. Doubt. Pain. A void.

Men who never deserved her were always given more time then they should have been granted. More love than they deserved was handed out faithfully. More trust. She has always given so much of herself away for love. She has always tried to see the best in others, and this unfortunately meant loving men for their potential, not for who they actually were.

In return, she was lied to, cheated on, belittled, frightened and broken.

I know her better than anyone. I know her.

And she never deserved that pain. It changed her.

Yet, here we are. The worst of the hurt, of the darkness, is hopefully behind us. She’s dating you now. How can I protect my best friend from hurt terrorizing her life again? How can I spare her of any potential damage you will inflict? Why should I believe that you won’t be the same as the scum in her past?

She is sensitive.

Soft.

She is still healing, even though she appears whole.

I need you to know this. If you care about her happiness, you will learn about her past pain.

It’s true; the past is in the past. And I agree that the best place to be is truly in the present moment. But in those moments, when she pulls back, questions, quiets or tenses up, you should know why. You should want to know why, where that comes from.

If you care, you will learn about what has shaped her. You should know the kinds of burdens she carried. You should learn all about the things she has hidden in fear, frustration and shame.

If you want to love her, learn about her. All of her.

She deserves a fairytale kind of love. I want to protect her from anything that falls short of that.

She’s dating you now, but I know her more than she knows herself. She’s been deeply hurt. And while she looks whole and complete now, know that there is pain still deep inside.

I hope you will rise up and help her heal that which you didn’t cause. I hope you will help heal her past, in order to see her be truly free of it.

She’s my best friend. She deserves this and so much more. Treat her like no one has treated her before and I promise you, your life will never be so rich, so vibrant, so strong.

Signed,

Her best friend

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Awareness first.

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We all have had those great moments in life, where everything just seems to click, the sun seems to always shine, and everything just works out perfectly. Our jeans look amazing on us, the person in front of us at Starbucks buys our coffee, stranger compliment our smile, and that adorably sexy boy at the gym always strikes up a conversation with us.

I love those moments. So good.

But, we have all likely had the moments where life is hard, things don’t work out and it’s like a permanent rain cloud is following you around with the single purpose of ruining your day. You know? Every light turns red, your debit card doesn’t work when you are running late, your crush doesn’t return your text messages and you seem to break out in a war zone of pimples over night before a huge presentation at work.

I do NOT love those moments.

But, they happen to us all. Life happens and it can be challenging. While we can’t always control the circumstances, we can always control how we react to it. Attitude and perspective will always lift us up and take us far.

But what about a step before that? Before the change in attitude, the choice in thoughts and the choice of perspective, how do we get there?

To get there… it is awareness.

It’s awareness first.

Awareness might sound like a no brainer. I mean, DUH we are in control of our minds, so of COURSE we would have the awareness of what is going on.

Meh. Not so true.

Sometimes we react, sulk and just are, with out really realizing what is happening.

How do we combat that? With tools and ideas to help strengthen your ability to be aware of whats going on around you. When you can do that, you can then react appropriately and choose your perspective in a way that serves a better version of you and life.

Check it out.

  1. P.A.I.N. ~ Pay Attention Inside Now. 

Most of us are just use to living with pain. To some degree of another, we allow it and accept it as a presence in our lives. Maybe our lovers act cruelly when they go out drinking with their friends or maybe our boss talks down to us regularly. Regardless of the degree you hurt, or the reason, pain is your cue to PAY ATTENTION INSIDE NOW.

Your body, soul and mind are telling you something isn’t right. Listen! Instead of just blindly accepting it as the way things are, go inside and become aware of what your heart and soul is asking for. And when you hear it, don’t disrespect it by doing then opposite.

2. Repetitive thought patterns and automatic phrases.

“I can’t do it… ” , “Figures…” , “But this is the way it’s always been…” “I can’t afford that, I’m broke…”

When you think the same thoughts and say the same phrases with out even taking inventory on why, then you are stuck. And being stuck is not being in a place of awareness.

When you are in awareness, thoughts move around you freely and you are curious and contemplative about them, before you choose them as yours. Yes, in awareness you get to choose which thoughts you keep. YOU are in control of your mind, not the other way around. If you find you always default to the same “why me” or “of course this would happen” type phrase, then slow yourself down.

Look at how quickly you might speak or think, with out really even knowing why. And then, try choosing a different phrase.

Instead of saying “Sorry I’m late, I’m always late” notice how automatic that is and just choose differently. Maybe you choose  to say “thank you for waiting for me” or “I value your time and patience and I will be different next time we meet.” You have the power to choose, and you can choose to be powerful, not reactive. Be aware of what patterns you live, they will always show up in your phrases, words and thoughts.

3. Breath. It always comes back to your breath. 

I know this will be cause some people to roll their eyes, but I can’t stress it enough. To strengthen your awareness, it all starts with your breath. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?

In the beginning, it might be hard to notice your breath and take a time out to “just” breathe. Our bodies are so amazing, they do this automatically for us… we don’t have to think to breathe! So why should we stop to think about our breath!?

Because everything will slow down when you consciously take in a deep, slow sip of air. When you notice the length of the inhale and the stretch of the exhale, you can slow down time. When I’m fighting, or even just training for a fight, I always remind myself, if i can control my breath, I can control my mind. If I can control my mind, i can make better decisions for getting out of trouble, tuning into my couches instructions from the corner, and be more in tune to how her body is moving, in order to predict what might happen next.

In this sense, fighting is no different than everyday life. If you can control your breath, you can control your mind. Which takes us back to the second idea on this list, which is controlling your mind in order to choose better thoughts and phrases. Ultimately a better life.

You could set a alarm on your phone to go off a few times a day, so to remind you to take 5 long slow breaths. Eventually you won’t need the alarm to remind you. When ever I am getting worked up and stressed out, I purposely take the biggest, slowest breaths I can. At least five of them. It helps me control my mind and any hurtful thoughts that might be terrorising me. And when I can control my mind, I am back into a strong state of awareness. And a better way of living.

4. Gratitude 

To really live in a state of awareness, we need to be present in the moment we are in. When we start story-telling to ourselves about how something in the future will go, what that person is probably thinking of us, and why things happened the way they did in the past, then we are out of the present moment and miles away from awareness.

To help myself become more aware, if I find my thoughts rambling off to some far off place, I stop and start listing all the things that in this moment I am grateful for. “I am grateful that my car just got me safely to work. I am grateful there were no accidents on my commute. I am grateful the sun is shining. I am grateful that there is wifi at work so my phone will still receives message. I am grateful for my hardworking staff” Etc etc… you have to be where you are, when you are there, to be grateful for what is. Being grateful for what’s around you, brings you into a state of awareness that again, will strengthen your ability to react appropriately and choose a perspective that serves you.

5. Why, why, why

This one was suggested to me and it’s somewhat of a new practice that I am still dancing with. How it was explained to me was this: we need to know our motives. Before we act on something, we ask ourselves “why?” and then to that answer, we ask again “why?” and then to THAT answer, we again, for a third time, ask ourselves “why.” I was told that if I can come up with three strong, loving reasons to act the way I want to, then to go ahead and act. But if my answers aren’t rooted in love, do I really want to act that way? I need to be aware, to have that pause and reflective moment, to really move my life in a direction that is aligned to what I want.

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Awareness is something that takes practice. In fact, it is truly a life long practice. The more that life changes, the more we will need to be aware of the changes and how we deal with it. Of course we want to choose a perspective and a reaction to life that is positive, happy and uplifting to us. But in order to choose, we need to first be aware.

I hope these ideas serve you. Not one single person out there is perfect. Not one. So don’t go expecting yourself to be the first. Life will always have it’s challenges. The goal is to come at life with all the tools you can, to make it be more consistently enjoyable.

You got this.

Sending love, hugs, and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

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Dear Sweet thang…

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Dear sweet thang,

In case you need to hear it, please know this. I see you. I feel you.

And you are doing just fine.

What you’re dealing with isn’t easy. Or fair.

You’re struggling and you’re not even sure if anyone sees that you are struggling. “Am I  really alone in all of this?” It feels like the weight of the world is on your chest and you can’t breathe. Everything hurts.

Your eyes are sore and swollen from crying. Your shoulders slumped forward, almost trying to further protect your broken heart.

But, you, my sweet friend. You are doing it. You are surviving. Even though it feels like you’re not. How do I know you are surviving? Cause you are still here. Still waking up and moving. Still trying.

You are my hero.

Because I know this isn’t easy for you. The pain. The hurt. The loneliness. Why is this happening, you wonder? Where did I go wrong?

I would take away your pain if I could. I would offer you a sweet cup of hot tea, my couch and a soft blankey. I would say, “talk to me, my friend. Give me all your worries. Let me hear them.” And energetically I would hold so much love and light around you as you shed your pain, little by little, tear by tear.

You are not alone.

I see you. I feel you.

And even though it doesn’t feel like it, you are doing just fine.

Keep going. One moment at a time. One deep breathe at a time. You can get through this. I know you can.

Sending so much love and hugs,

xoxo

McDooogs

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Lessons from 2016, Hopes for 2017

 

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While it is a few days into 2017, I haven’t quite gotten out of the momentum and energy that swings us all into the new year. You know that energy, right? The feelings of being excited and motivated for the new, for welcoming change. It tends to hit us all at the end of each year, and this is the time of year where most of us reflect and game plan.

I’m no different.

I love lists, game plans and goal setting. I love learning and reflecting on learning.

Naturally, looking at and writing down my lessons from 2016 and hopes for 2017 was a part of my personal blueprint to move forward with that momentum for change.

I think that when we release and let go of something from our past, we energetically create space for something new to come in. When we look at our year, and let go of the experiences that moved or rocked us, all awhile keeping the lesson it taught us, we can propel ourselves into more life, more excitement, more love.

So here are a few of my lessons from 2016 and what I hope by letting go will bring me in 2017.

  1. Lesson: Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

This one keeps showing up for me. Maybe I haven’t fully gotten it, to the depth that I need to. But 2016 had many moments where I felt bummed or hurt, yet was reminded that just because love wasn’t being given to me the way I thought I needed it, didn’t mean that the other person wasn’t loving me their hardest, in the best and possibly only way they knew how.

HOPES: Love is love. I hope for 2017 I can be gentler with how I receive these gifts, in whichever form it comes. I want to give up the right to be right about what it should look like and just surrender to receiving.

Speaking of giving up the need to be right… that brings me to lesson two.

  1. Lesson: Give up the need to be right.

This was a late in the year lesson, but when it came into my life, holy moly was it hard to sit with. I was surprised how quickly I (and even others, as I observed) are quick to justify and explain ourselves. Personally, I felt I needed to explain my actions or feelings in order to justify them, ahem… in order for them to be seen as right.

Yuck!

When I started to witness this, it was hard to bite my tongue. And was even harder to control a hurricane of emotions going on inside my body. But, surprisingly enough, as I did… life just went on. It didn’t stop or freeze just because I didn’t explain myself. And I think, as a result of not dominating the other person with how things were for me, the “stuff” got put in the “not a big deal zone” a lot quicker.

HOPES: Ahhhhh… peace. Who doesn’t want more of that?! I hope for 2017 I can continue to work with giving up this “need” to be right. Cause there is no right or wrong, right? Only our perspectives. And letting it go just feels so much more peaceful.

  1. Lesson: Speak up when you need or want something.

Duh. This seems like a no brainer, right? But for months, I thought I was keeping the peace with a friend, about something big that was actually bothering me. The way I had it was as so: if I didn’t bring it up, then they would eventually and that would mean they were ready to talk about it and that it could then be problem solved for. Just wait it out.

Nope.

Don’t bottle crap inside you, lovelies. It’s exhausting. And honestly, if you don’t say something, there is no guarantee that the other person will.

HOPES: Confrontation is tough sometimes. Especially with people we care about. I hope for 2017 I can honor my gut feelings a lot quicker, rather than waiting for months and months sitting on them. What a waste of time and emotional energy.

  1. LESSON: People are just scared.

Seriously.

People are scared. Of themselves. Of each other. Of failing. Of trying.

And because they are scared, they act weird. They act tough. They act small. They just flat out aren’t their true authentic selves.

When I started to see people as scared or, hell, as actors (for lack of a better word) I started to have more compassion for them and what they were hiding. We are all fighting some sort of internal battle that the outside world doesn’t know about. We all have internal wars we wage on ourselves. What is going on in the inside always dictates how we act on the outside.

HOPES: Oh man… I hope for 2017 I can be be an example for people. A strong, yet soft example of authentic bravery. A reason for people to see that it is okay to stop hiding and to realize that they don’t have to be scared, of each others or of ourselves. We are all scared in one way or another but we don’t have to be. I hope that I can quit the addiction to fear and the character it makes me act as, and really just be my strong, badass independent self more frequently.

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  1. LESSON: When you get in a deep funk, they are hard to get out of. Stop yourself before it takes control.

Man, I hit some funky deep waters this year. And before I knew it, I was so in over my head in sadness and loneliness that it seemed impossible to see myself as any other way. I just let it get too out of control and take over. It snowballed quickly. Not that I was depressed, but I sure was a ways away from being happy.

HOPES: What a reminder this was that what you focus on will increase. I hope for 2017 that I focus on what I have, not what I’m with out, in order to have more consistent episodes of happiness. I don’t want that sad crap creep in. But if it DOES creep in, I’ll have the power and the momentum to nip it in the butt a lot faster, before it drags me down.

  1. LESSON: Get coaching.

We pay instructors to teach us how to learn a sport, or we pay instructors to help us learn train our dogs, we pay for trainers to train our employees in the fields we want them to learn and excel in… basically, we pay people to help us learn things we don’t know how to do in SO many areas of our lives. So why don’t we pay for coaching in our personal lives more?

Do we think we know how life works just cause we have lived 30 some years and have been around people our whole lives?

It’s a shame that it took me until 2016 to start taking personal and professional development courses. The coaching, instruction and ideas I have gotten from these courses have been invaluable. Not to mention the friendships and connections I have made. I can with out a doubt say I will never be the same person, after taking the Landmark Forum. (google it if you don’t know what the heck it is). It changed my life for the better and has since put me in seminars and weekly classes to learn about being a better boss, a better student, a better friend, a better sibling, a better daughter, a better human… a better, more peaceful ME.

HOPES: Learn, learn learn. I love to learn. I hope for 2017 I can continue to apply all the tools I have learnt in my courses and coaching, to continue to improve and expand the quality of my life.

  1. LESSON: I get to choose what I leave behind.

I use to “feel bad” for cutting someone out just because we were friends when we were little and grew up together. While we once were the same, as we grew older we became totally different people and had different ideas of strength, peace, toxicity and love. Yet, I allowed these people a spot in my life simply because they had been around awhile.

Well, that’s since changed.

I wont be friends with someone simply because they have clocked a lof of time into my past. I’m building a specific and strong future. Not one of baggage and drama of the familiar faces.

HOPES: Who doesn’t want more love and peace! I hope for 2017 to be surrounded with amazingly wonderful, loving people. People who strive to lift me and others up, and who shine the light, just by being around. Not only do I want to be around these people, I want to be one too. We are an average of the five people we spend the most time with. Who are you on the path to be? And is that in line with what you want?

  1. LESSON: Carve out me time.

When I don’t take the time to love on me and do the things that bring me peace – read, meditate, walk in nature, practice yoga, write – I am a gawd damn nightmare to be around. I am so out of balance and everyone around me can feel it. I’m emotional and easily frustrated.

But when I do me, and do the things that are good for my soul and my heart, I’m just a better version of me and more comfortable in my own skin. And as a result, more enjoyable to be around.

HOPES: Balance. It’s all about balance. I hope for 2017 I can consistently keep balance and peace in my life by honoring what I need, before I scramble to meet the needs of others.

  1. LESSON: Forgiveness is ongoing.

I have come to realize my journey has a lot of forgiving in it.

And I am starting to see that the deeper I go with working on myself, peeling back the layers of my past and my heart and opening myself to others, the more forgiveness I find I need to practice.

I have found myself hurt by the past over and over. The past! It’s not even real any more, people! Yet it creeps up when I think it’s been well and dealt with. So for me, I just keep practicing forgiveness. New depths, new focus, new love. I don’t want to be tied to pain or people that caused me pain… it’s an ongoing practice. Not a “one and done” shot. But, continuous work. The deeper I go on self-work, the more I see to be healed. The more forgiveness I am faced to deal with.

HOPES: This is so important to me. I hope for 2017 I can practice forgiveness easier and easier… while it may be a conscious effort now for some situations, I hope to get to the point where forgiveness just flows right out of me, with peace and deep love.

  1. LESSON: There is nothing wrong here.

Again, this lesson came late in the year for me. But the moment I started reciting the words “ there is nothing wrong here” in my head, when I was sure there was indeed something wrong here, was the moment peace became a real part of a moment for me.

I like to meditate, do yoga, and walk in nature to tap into that peace… but these words have helped me feel peaceful so much quicker, with out having to do as much.

If you think about it… there IS nothing wrong here. It’s our perception that makes it so. This lesson for me ties in nicely with the lesson I learnt about giving up the need to be right.

When you find yourself in an emotional situation where things have the potential to go bad, try to remind yourself “there is nothing wrong here.“

HOPES: Again, it comes down to more peace in my life. I hope for 2017 that practicing “there is nothing wrong here” becomes so second nature that I don’t even think twice about it. I just tap into peace and calm instantly.

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I know we have all had a tough 2016. But like I said, keep the lessons and leave the experience. Use the lesson to help you realise what you want the future to look like and what you want life to be like. You can be purposeful in how life unfolds. You don’t have to just react to what is happening, you can have a say in it.

I am wishing you so much love, peace and adventure for your new year. I know you deserve it.

With love and butt slaps,

xoxo

McDooogs

Leaving the past in the past

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I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness and “moving on” lately. About keeping the past in the past. I think it is a pretty brave and bold path to go down, but of the idea of what it’s like to forgive, as in, the end result, is what’s striking a chord with me. What it really means to leave the past in the past and to be new in each moment.

Sometimes, I feel tied or connected to certain people from my past. It is not all the time, as in every moment of everyday, but sometimes it creeps up. Usually when it surfaces, I find myself back in the hurt and can’t help but hate to feel so emotionally or energetically tied to those people, that energy and those hurtful memories.

And when I get sucked into obsessing over them (what they did… who they acted like… how they wronged me) I know that if I can’t get them out of my head, that there is still a darkness in my heart. Which means there is darkness in my present. Which also means that the past isn’t in the past.

That may have confused you. Stay with me here.

Okay. Allow me take you in this direction.

The other day I watched a video about hurt and pain. What I took away was this:

If someone hurt you in the past, yes, THEY hurt YOU in the past. But, if you are carrying that hurt with you in the present moment and if you are still preparing to carry that with you in the future (keeping your “walls” up, trust issues, etc) then YOU are hurting YOU now. THEY are not hurting you now.

Let me say that again… They aren’t responsible for hurting you. You are responsible for hurting you. They aren’t responsible for that pain. You are.

They don’t exist in the present moment with what they did. It happened, past tense. It exists now, only because you haven’t let it go. You have chosen to make it apart of your life now.

YOU are responsible for that.

Mind boggling right? Isn’t it easier to blame them?

Maybe. But then we give away our power to make it right. We make the outcome dependent on THEM. They did it so they are to blame. And we wait for them to fix it, and therefore stay energetically tied to them for no meaningful purpose at all.

Breaking those energetic ties and leaving the past in the past is not dependent on them. It is dependent on US.

I love this because suddenly, in that moment of realization we can decide to leave them where they were. Which is in the past. We can decide to be responsible for the pain and ache we are feeling, and choose to let it go out of this moment.

This is the path to real forgiveness, freedom and responsibility.

When we stop bringing those moments that hurt us or those people who did the deed into our present life in the form of thoughts or even as intimacy walls, we begin to quit dragging them around with us like a heavy ball and chain. It doesn’t exist anymore, unless we choose to think of it.

That’s right, a mere THOUGHT is the only way it exists. And a thought is just a thought. It can be changed.

This sounds easier than it is. Or, at least it sounds easier than it is for me. It can be hard but I realize and understand that I just need to stop dwelling on it when it comes up, in order to cut that emotional tie that keeps me connected to my past. Of course, it can be pretty difficult sometimes. My thoughts have been known to snowball and pretty quickly I’m taken back to a feeling and thought that hurts.

But I know I don’t want to be in that yucky darkness. It sucks. It’s emotionally exhausting and draining and I feel as though I’m not who I actually AM when I’m sucked backwards like that.

So, right there in that moment I have the power and ability to choose no. I can tell myself, “that is over and done. I’m here now. Part of forgiveness is leaving the past in the past. I choose to leave that energy and pain there. I choose to be here now, and to be responsible for creating my future and my present moment with uplifting light energy only. I will not be the one that hurts me now. I choose better than that for myself.

Boom.

It really is about awareness, willingness and choice.

But, don’t fret: this is a life long practice and no body is perfect.

I think that it will always be a conscious effort, for most of us. We are human and humans are wired for struggle. So, knowing that it might take some effort and practice, well… knowing is a good thing. That’s where the awareness leads to a power that transforms.

It’s all up to us and we can start over every moment with every thought.

F’n awesome.

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

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My love affair with nature

 

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Have you ever just walked out amongst some trees, on a trail or on a hike and thought sigh, this is where I belong.

That’s definitely me. Every. Single, Time.

When I put myself out into the stillness of nature, into the green colors, into the freshness of it all, I automatically begin to reset. There is nothing that can chill me out or calm my mind and heart faster than this. Yoga is a close second, but nature by far takes the cake. It is my go to fixer.

Maybe it is the stillness of it all. The quiet. The leveled-out vibes. There are no energetic ups or  downs, just a steady constant even vibe. I melt into that vibe and find myself leveling out, too.

Or maybe it is the rich colors and shades of greens that I love. Isn’t it something, that the heart chakra is associated with the color green, and where I feel my heart always finds home, is also in the colour green… Coincidence? I think not.

For me, there is nothing like being out in the trees. It’s clean. All of it. And I don’t mean free and clean of garbage. I mean free and clean of other peoples emotions, vibes, and energies. Like a clean, white slate. Nothing in it or on it, but me. My space.

I can’t count the amount of times when I walked some dirt trail in the hills, mountains or forests and just cried. I’ve taken so many heartaches and stories with me into the trees, as I answered the pull to be healed by Mother Earth. I went in with hurt or confusion, but always came out with out the heaviness I had entered in with.

It’s amazing right? Like, really think about it. How many secerts have those trees taken on? All the friends and families that have walked those trails or paths together, while venting, crying or sharing heartache…

How many problems have literally been walked into the ground? The soil, twigs, pebbles and grass absorbing frustrations and hurts, as people walk, walk, walk … to get away from all the things weighing heavy on their minds. Pounding it out of their hearts and into the ground, one step at a time. Sweet release.

It is truly a magical place, out in the trees, on the trials. We can take so much “stuff” with  us as we start walking, but so much is always swiftly lifted and dissolved from our spirits, as we make our way through that green space. We are so taken care, of out there. Everything becomes right.

It is my absolute favorite place to be.

With love, hugs and butt slaps…

xoxo

McDooogs

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What happened here?

One of my favourite authors Glennon Doyle Melton posted on her Facebook page, “there is this moment when every warrior woman looks at herself in the mirror and says: “what happened? Where am I??? Who am I?? OH HELL NO.”

Yup, I definitely had the “What happened?” thought. And I had the,  “How did I get here? Do I even like it here?” thought. And, of course the thought that hits us most like a sucker punch to the low gut, “Who am I now?”

Yup. I had those. Welcome to the club, right?

I, however, didn’t have an outstanding “OH HELL NO” follow and explode from my voice box after those thoughts surfaced. There was no confident loud, “enough!” from my soul or my spirit. There was no fit of passionate furry in the moment, where I picked myself up and just went to town on my situation, to figure shit out.

It was more like, me peering into my own tired and sad eyes in the mirror and quietly thinking, “I dont want it this way anymore. I’m tired. I’m tired of this being my life. I want to go back and reset. Reset and erase.”

Wimpy. Sad. Quiet. Not very powerful and no real massive earthquake of emotion. Just kind of there.

It was tiny, but that, that was still my moment.

My shift.

A tiny shift in awareness where I begin to accept I was not living a full life. This tiny shift in power and position was enough to put me in the line of thought which had a voice. A voice that suggested I could go back to being who I was before I got lost. I could go back to doing the things I use to like to do before society and tasks and hurts and struggle of life slowed me down. Just because I stopped existing intensely for awhile didn’t mean I couldn’t start over and relight my light.

I guess, thats all it takes sometimes. A whispering voice that is willing. The volume might be turned down on the powerfulness of the yes but willingness is there still, just the same.

 

It’s like back in elementary school, remember? When the teacher calls on the class to raise their hands to share the answer. The little girl in me, her hand hesitates. It goes up a few inches, before it creeps back down a few inches… up and down, up and down… until eventually its slightly inline with her face. There is no waving and bouncing to be called on. Her eyes look down, because she isn’t sure if having her arm up to answer the call is something thing she wants to commit to. But she knows that she knows the answer.

I feel like thats me.

I am seeing that I have a call to answer to.

Do I raise my arm to tell my teacher, I am here and I am ready to answer?

Yes. Yes, I do.

*raises arm*

 

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I’m back.

With love, hugs, and butt slaps…

McDooogs

xoxo

New year ahead – what do you need to let go of?

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In a few days, 2016 will be upon us. There is a lot of excitement and liveliness that surrounds the “new year, new me” energy wave people got going on. We’re all fired up to make change and add good things to our lives.

And there’s nothing wrong with that! I say all the power to ya if you wanna start fresh and set new goals, to become a bigger and better you.

While I do think its important to think about all the things we want to add to our lives – work out 4 times a week, eat healthier, see our families more, read more books, volunteer, recycle – there are also some ideas we need to ditch as we go forward, too. Lighten our load a little, you know? With all that we want to take on, there must be some things we can let go of in the process.

Okay, wait... McDooogs, do you mean cleaning out my closets and sending clothes to the second hand store? That kind of letting go?”

Well, sure. That works, too. But what else could we let go of, as we end 2015 and begin a new year and a fresh start?

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  1. Let go of trying to change the people in your life.

You can’t change people. As much you and I would probably both love to change some people to be more what we think they need, it’s just not doable. You just can’t change people.

You can only love them.

Right here, right now, as they are.

If you have spent energy in the past trying to change the folks you love – no matter how gentle or subtle you were – you need to let go of this idea and start 2016 with out the habit of trying to make people be someone different than who they are.

It might feel uncomfortable and a bit like a struggle to do this. I mean, honestly, how many of us can just let people be just the way they are, no matter how wrong we think that is or how much we think they need our help?

Yikes. Not many of us. But we can do this… YOU can do this. Let go of the power struggle to change them, and your year will be more peaceful because of it.

  1. Let go of the idea that you always have to be in control of every situation

Sometimes, we just need to say, “Fuck it. I don’t know how this will turn out. I don’t know how to fix or control this. I’m just going to let go and let what will be, be.”

That’s hard. Like, really flipping hard.

Especially if you are a planning, control freak nut-case, like some of us. But there is a weight that will lift from you, and a sense of freedom that will build in you, when you let what you can’t control just simply be out of your control.

Whatever you are struggling to control, right there, that is your lesson… whatever you cant control is teaching you how to let go.

Take the lesson.

  1. Let go of what you didn’t do or become… AKA: regrets

Maybe you failed at something this year. Maybe you got lazy and quit. Maybe you weren’t lazy, but you found it was hard and you quit. Maybe there were some things you didn’t do at all and you have regrets in regards to that void.

Let. It. Go.

Holding on to those over-and-done-with-stories does nothing to benefit you in the now. It only ties to you to something that is not. Learn from your past mistakes and then leave them there, in the past. Where they belong.

Carrying something like regrets into the future just weighs you down emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and physically.

The new year will have enough new challenges… do you really need to bring past challenges with you, too? Say peace to those, and move forward with your arms free of carrying the past, and ready to receive new blessings and lessons.

  1.  Let go of all that you want.

Yes, it’s important to declare and know what you want out of 2016. But it’s also important that you let go of that once you figure it out.

If we have a strict image of how things will come into fruitation, we often ignore or don’t pay attention to different paths that show up for us… ones that may very well lead to the same place that we want, or hell, even a better place.

But we ignore those signs or those paths because we are tied to the outcome,  of how WE think it should unfold.

That path doesnt look like the one that will lead me to my goal, so I’m not taking it.” 

Just because it doesnt look like the path you would expect, does that mean it’s automatically wrong? We know what we want out of life, but do we get to be in control as to HOW it happens for us?

Probably not.

Instead, just declare what you want, keep the end result in mind, and let go of how that comes to be.

  1. Let go of comparison

Do you ever get caught up with comparing your life to the lives you follow on social media? I know I am guilty of this.

Whether these lives are people I know, or just celebs and role models I admire, it’s hard to not look at what I see about their lives and compare it to my own.

We need to remember this: social media, like Facebook and Instagram, that’s someone else’s highlight reel. Don’t compare your everyday life to that! It’s not realistic. And a lot of the time, the stories we tell ourselves about their fabulous life, well these stories aren’t even true. We end up being jealous of something that likely doesn’t exist the way we imagine it to.

Don’t waste your energy or emotions comparing yourself to others.

You don’t need to be better than anyone; you just need to be better than the person you once were.

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Your tomorrow is for you. Plan to add all that you can to it to make it amazing, but don’t be afraid to release some things, too. The more you let go of, the more there will be room for.

You’ve got this super fox… 2016, here we come.

Sending love, hugs and butt slaps

Xoxo

McDooogs

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