The kitchen table is covered in play-doh. There are rolling pins, crimpers, cutters, slicers, dicers…..and every imaginable Disney princess, lined up in a row.
Clara and I have spent the last hour creating play-doh gowns for each of the princesses. “This one is just fabulous,” she says, pointing at Cinderella’s squashy pink and purple polka-dotted frock.
I love watching my daughter, in her element, creating with absolute whimsical freedom. There are no rules. And mistakes are simply happy accidents.
It’s been a rough week. My entire family was knocked down with a virus from hell. But amidst the fevered haze of endless episodes of Peppa Pig, and repeated read-through’s of Richard Scary’s What Do People Do All Day? there were moments of quiet bliss.
Rarely do we spend that much time together. Especially outside of the whole rush-rush-rush, come on guys, we need to go.
I was on the verge of exhaustion before I was knocked to my knees with mandatory bedrest. And what I realized, was that I actually needed that time in order to catch my breath. I needed to pause, so that I could reignite my go-get-em.
Sometimes when you’re in the thick of it, you lose sight of where it is you’re actually going. You put your head down, and you do the work. But, every now and then, you’re forced to stop.
And within those chapter breaks, you realize…..man….here I am, trying so hard to get ‘er done, when really, I should simply be enjoying the journey.
And oddly enough, this is something that Taylor Swift helped remind me of.
2 am coughing attacks occasionally led to some mandatory Netflix-ing. And one of the documentaries that kept me company this past week, was Miss Americana.
Now, I’m not the biggest Taylor fan in the world. Blank Space is on my Fuck You Feisty Spotify playlist (cozied up to a whole lotta Rihanna and Dua Lipa). But something I never realized about her, is that she is a true creator of her own work. She is a storyteller, which I admire, and she writes every single one of her own songs.
Watching her in action, stringing together beautiful poetry with different beats and rhythms, was like watching pure magic. It was incredibly inspiring, and it gave me a whole new perspective on her music.
After seriously contemplating getting bangs (Jesus, that girl knows how to rock some serious fringe), I started to think about moments in my own life, when I’m in-the-zone like that.
When am I most alive? When am I making magic?
When I am in pursuit of a goal that lights my soul on fire.
And I think that’s true for all of us.
We become who were are meant to be….when we are in pursuit of something. When we have a goal or a challenge in front of us….it makes us come alive.
And so, if you are feeling burnt out…..or uninspired…..or stuck in a rut…..I would like to throw this out there. You are likely feeling that way, because you have lost the fiery, energetic, passionate pursuit of your own goals.
You have lost the joy of simply creating.
We are all creators at heart. And if you are not working towards some kind of dream, you are doing yourself a disservice.
To feel alive with creation, is at the very core of our beings. Our souls long to be artists. And in this day and age, when so much of our day is bogged down with passive consumption of knowledge and information…..it is more important than ever to pause, and reflect about how you are making your own dreams a reality.
Maybe even before pneumonia makes you take that pause.
How are you building, designing, inventing, and composing? And more importantly…..how are you celebrating the experience of it all?
For me, today was the day I started to feel….not so horribly sick. And so I decided to crank my Badass Women playlist, while driving down the highway, wearing a brand new pair of rose gold aviators. I tapped into my feminine energy, and just let myself feel pure joy over the many opportunities I have to create, in my life.
Even if one of those things is the most gorgeous Sleeping Beauty shift dress, you’ve ever seen.
The dim glow of the nightlight paints the room with softness. My 4-year old daughter and I are both squished into her single bed. Rainbow comforter covering only half of each of us. Her little body is like an oven. She has a fever. And I’ve promised her I’ll stay in her bed all night long.
I’m almost asleep when I hear a whisper in my ear.
Clara: “I don’t know if I want to be a mommy.”
Me: “Why’s that?”
Clara: “I don’t know how to do it.”
Me: “Well, it’s kind of something you learn as you go.”
Again, I’m nearly asleep, when she asks me a question.
Clara: “Mommy, what’s a helping hand?”
Me: “It’s just a saying. It’s when you get help from someone.”
Clara: “If I become a mom, I’m gonna ask for a helping hand.”
Me: “Sounds like a good idea.”
Little does she know, every single mom who has ever walked the planet has felt ill-prepared to take on the role.
And the moment you feel like you’ve figured something out, things shift, and change, and you’re thrown a scenario that requires you to level up.
We all feel like we’re faking it.
But adaptation is the name of the game. And as Leonardo DiCaprio once said (cue the Celine Dion), “every next level of your life will demand a different you.”
Of course you’re not prepared to be the person you’re striving to become, just yet. If you were prepared, you’d already be that person.
Over the past year, I have made some massive changes in my life. I have challenged my own status-quo and leapt off the cliff on more than one occasion.
I am a growth-minded individual. I actively seek ways to challenge my comfort zone.
I’ve come far. And yet I still have so much farther to go.
My subconscious continually fights for homeostasis. It tries to convince me that I’ve made a wrong turn, and that I need to go back. Or at least stay right where I am.
Likely because my very identity is at risk. In order to grow, I need to change. And in order to change, I need to give up who I am today. Even if in an incremental way.
I like who I am. But I need to trust that I will like who I will be, even more.
Life is a series of first steps. And if you’re at a place where you want to take the next first step in your life….whether it be in your career, your relationship, your physical health, or your spirituality….I have some advice for you, straight from the brilliant mind of a 4-year old.
Ask for a helping hand.
So often, we think of this journey we’re on as a solo mission.
But when we’re brave enough to ask for help (and risk bruising our own egos), we’re bound to notice the extended palm, just waiting to give us a boost.
There are shining stars in each of our lives. I most definitely have mine.
And over the past few months, I have learned two key lessons from some helping hands in my life.
Let go of your story (and your past)
The adage of, “what got you here, won’t get you there,” is so true. Just when everything starts to click, you hit a wall. And you’re forced to come up with a new strategy.
All the routines and processes that have served you so well, start to work against you. And you’re forced to reinvent yourself or stay stuck.
Letting go of your story is a continual process, because time does not stay still. Even who you were yesterday is different than who you are today. And clinging to the past is a surefire way to create friction with tomorrow.
Let go of your need to predict the outcome
One of the biggest reasons people do not reach the next level, is they are fixated on needing to predict the outcome.
People will stay in shitty relationships for the silliest reasons…..”well, you know, we’ve got that trip planned next month, so….” or “we go camping every summer together.” Our brains loooove predictability. And it goes against the grain of our soul to throw a wrench into something we can rely on.
In it’s purest negative form, predicting the future looks like worry and anxiety. And let me tell you, I have so often lingered in “worst case scenario thinking” just so I don’t get blindsided by it.
So what does that leave us with?
Going all in on the present. And surrounding ourselves with people who are going to help us fill in the gap, from here to there. People who will give us that helping hand, and lift us up to where it is we strive to be.
Trust that you will get to where it is you want to go. And lean on others, like stepping stones, to get there.
But just know, that sometimes the hands that help us may not be the ones we expected to help us. And we may not even find them in the places we expected to find them.
And yet still. The hands we thought would be there for us, may not be. Or it may even be that the hands that helped us get to point A….may not be the ones to get us to point B.
Be open to evolution. And ask for a helping hand.
Near, far, wherever you are.
I take a swig of my water bottle. I wipe the sweat off my brow. And I glance up at the scoreboard, with a nervous squint. Tie game.
My grade 7 basketball coach is drawing, what looks to be a game of X’s and 0’s on a mini white board, and he’s all business. All business, as if this one game is THE defining moment for his career.
The whistle blows, and I race back onto the court.
The ball gets thrown to me, and with every ounce of skill I have, I drive hard towards the net. I can hear the energy from the crowd. They’re cheering me on!
Somehow, no one is around me, and I do a quick one two step for a layup. Swish! I nail it!
Only to realize that I just scored on the other team’s net.
Worse yet? The other team ended up winning the game. By 2 points.
Growing up, I always told myself I was a good basketball player. I watched all my dad’s games. We shot hoops in the backyard together. It was in the genes. I was destined to be MVP.
But that moment. That moment changed everything for me. All of a sudden, I started to tell myself that I was a horrible basketball player. And guess what? I was.
Your body believes what your mind tells it. And like it or not….good or bad…..your body will listen to the boss….your own mind.
One of my all-time favourite rituals with my kiddos, is a short meditation before they go to bed. Sometimes they rustle around. Sometimes they pick their noses. But every now and then, magic happens, and they’re into it.
My favourite meditation is one that includes affirmations. And I absolutely love it, because I adore the sound of my four-year old daughter’s sweet little voice repeating things like: “I am unique,” and “I am confident.”
But aside from that, I also love it, because it works.
Just the other day, my daughter looked at herself in the mirror after putting on her tutu for ballet class, and she said, without hesitation, “I am beautiful.”
Coincidence? No fucking way.
Guys, it is my life’s passion to teach my own children to believe in themselves, no matter what others say or think about them. Their self-worth is not determined by what others think.
And for me to truly convey that message with conviction….I need to live it myself. I need to embody those beliefs. And I need to know my shit so well, that it comes as second nature.
As we round the corner on Valentine’s Day, I remind myself of this.
I don’t need to wait for permission. I don’t need someone else to tell me who I am. I get to decide.
But first, I need to believe it.
And on this journey of self-love, as a single, independent woman, I have realized that the best way to love myself is to have confidence in who I am. And to give myself the gift of self-assuredness.
My own son is convinced that he is going to be an NHL goalie one day. He knows what he loves. He believes in his own talent. And he unashamedly dreams big!
Guys, believe in the power of your own mind. Know that you are setting yourself up for success. Or failure. Depending on your perspective.
Everyone has some place they want to go. Better health. More free time. A deeper relationship. Financial independence. A fulfilling career.
But you can’t get there unless you take command of where you’re going.
So many people are afraid to sail into the high seas. But as the saying goes, “a ship in port is safe….but that’s not what ships were built for.”
I have a list a mile long of who I believe I am.
But don’t worry. I’m not hankering for the role of point guard in the WNBA. LA Lakers Cheerleader? Maybe.
As the story goes, cows are cowards. They sense a storm coming, and they start running the other way. They plod along in vain, trying to outrun the rain. And wouldn’t you know it? They get drenched anyways.
Bison on the other hand, are wicked smart. They sense a storm coming, and they run right into it. As the storm passes, they make their way to the other side in record time. They see what’s coming. And they go towards it. Head on.
Whether it’s true or not, the analogy of facing our problems, is sound advice.
But how do we do it, in practice? How do we turn towards the dark clouds, with open arms…..when every part of our lizard brains is telling us to run the other direction?
You want my advice?
Learn to manage your emotions.
It’s about keeping fear in check. And not letting our minds run wild with “what if.”
Just the other day, I was talking to a girlfriend of mine, and she confessed that she was a “scale-watcher.”
She said that she was obsessed with the number on the scale lately, and that it was starting to feel unhealthy.
“I get it,” I said. Just this morning, I thought to myself…. “hmmm…..are my pants fitting a little tight? Did they just come out of the dryer? No they didn’t. Holy shit. Don’t tell me. Don’t even fucking tell me.”
For women especially, health is incredibly emotional. And the tiniest change in the wrong direction can throw us right off.
Our body image is tied to our self-worth, in a way that men just don’t experience. And all too often, “fitness” is measured in pounds and inches. Which means….the pressure is on!
When it comes to health, I am deeply passionate about tackling mindset first. And emotions are a big part of that. Because, as the saying goes, whether you think you can, or you think can’t, you are right.
Just like a boyfriend, you have to build a relationship with your fitness. It ain’t never gonna work if you hate every second of the date.
Sure, maybe you’re looking for a one night stand, for kicks. But if you want long-term health? You’re gonna have to deal with the tough stuff. The “I’m not good enough” moments. And the "I can't do this” days.
Ready to walk towards the storm, and turn your emotions into your very own superpower? It is my belief that it all starts with a little seduction.
First Base: Stop Lying to Yourself
We lie to ourselves. All. The. Time. Probably because we are the easiest people to fool.
Deep down, we know exactly what we need to do. And yet we blatantly go against that truth, and rationalize our decisions constantly.
I’m going to workout tonight. I’m going to start tomorrow. I’m going to sleep in, just for today.
Be honest with yourself about what you want, and be realistic about how you’re going to accomplish that thing.
Second Base: Trust Your Intuition
No matter how many times you try to bury your intuition, it will always keep coming back. It sneaks up behind you, and whispers in your ear: “trust yourself.”
Do what you love. Move in a way that feels good to you. Push it hard when you feel like you've been hunkered down and sedentary for a bit too long. And take your foot off the gas when you feel overworked and exhausted.
Check in with how you feel in your own skin. Check in with your energy level. And check in with your level of self-confidence.
Movement is primal. And intuitively, it is something your body craves. Tap into that urge. And let your body be your guide.
The Home Run: Do The Thing
If you want to survive your own emotions, put yourself in the jungle until you’re no longer scared of the lions, tigers, and bears.
Fear runs us, more than any other emotion out there. And no matter how many times we run the worst case scenarios, nothing replaces actually doing the thing.
You have to prove to your own mind that you will not die. Because once you have faced fear, rejection, and embarrassment…..and survived…..you are literally overriding the “fight or flight” response in your brain.
Let Nike be your guide. And just do it.
Commit to movement. Stay consistent. And override the “I can't do this” mindset.
Fitness is a “game of inches.” But not in the way that you might imagine. It’s not about your dress size. Or a number on the scale. Fitness is about inching your way through the hard days. Walking through the dark clouds. And managing your emotions, so that your body can do it’s thang.