Stop talking yourself out of your life purpose!

Stop talking yourself out of your life purpose!

It can take a while before you figure out what the Universe has in store for you. People see me all the time to find out their life purpose. It seems so obvious to me what a complete stranger’s purpose is but why doesn’t he or she know it for themselves? Actually, they do.

Why does it take someone you don’t know to tell you what your heart desires before you believe it? The answer is pretty straightforward, and it sucks, frankly.

Doubts and fears debilitate us. They prevent us from moving forward into the unknown. We have a tendency to look back to where we came from because it’s comfortable. But as we all know, change happens outside of our comfort zones! Just because we know a universal truth in our minds does not mean we have any sort of faith in it.

Sometimes a trusted friend can cut through the bullshit and tell us the truth. Or, the same friend may hold back the truth to protect us from getting hurt.  The dichotomy is infuriating!

I’m a big believer of unfettered honesty. Wouldn’t you rather know the truth than blindly chase something that isn’t real? My time and efforts are valuable to me.  So please save me the trouble of wasting my time on something that isn’t worth it when you see it.  I may not want to hear it in that moment, but after I calm down I’ll probably appreciate it.

For instance, you know that a job isn’t right for you. It’s not fun. You hate your boss and coworkers. Waking up to get ready for work fills you with dread. You clock-watch the entire day waiting for the misery to end.

So why don’t you quit? Looking for new work is hard. The learning curve sucks at a new job. You will deal with the same politics when you move on. Now, this concept is not limited to your job or career.  The same can be applied to relationships, poor eating habits, starting an exercise program, education, etc.  So why don’t you quit doing what’s wrong for you, and do what’s right?

You convince yourself you won’t make money at it. Entrepreneurs are notorious for failing at businesses. The good ones eventually succeed but it takes a lot of time to get there. Time and money that you may not have.  Moving on from a crappy relationship is hard because your finances might be tied up, or you have kids, or a million other reasons why you can’t leave.

But what if you absolutely crush it when you move forward? What if you are unstoppably successful? 

Are we so scared to succeed we talk ourselves out of trying in the first place?  Life is hard. Without risk, there is no reward. We are making life way harder than it needs to be.

How do we get out of the cycle of repeated torture? We need to reprogram our brains to stop the negative self talk. Fill up our minds with thoughts of success rather than failure. Rip out the criticism and replace it with praise for all the things we love to do and are good at! We need to be our own cheerleaders. Don’t look to other people to give you approval, give it to yourself.

Can we escape from the prison of our minds? Yes we can! I’ve seen so many people chasing their dreams and making them a reality. I want that for myself. Every little step I take in the direction of my dream is one more step closer to achieving it. It’s not easy, cheap, or quick. But it’s something. Real.

When I started Sacred Ash Divination back in April 2013, I was scared to death.  What if people didn’t support me?  What if I lost my friends who didn’t believe in new age-y spirituality?  What if no one thought I was good at mediumship or psychic readings?  I hustled hard and got my website up, got my Paypal account hooked up for online payments, and I started up my Facebook and Twitter accounts for my business to get the word out.

I made the most money I ever made in that first year at this business because I had everything on the line.  I had been laid off from work and was unemployed for 4 months.  However, I put my full-time efforts into my business and it blossomed!  But, I panicked that I wasn’t making as much money as I had in my corporate career and I convinced myself to go back.  Soon after that fear set in, my efforts on my business dwindled and so did the success.  I didn’t lose any friends, in fact many of them paid for readings and supported my venture!  But what I came to realize is that I took one step forward and two steps back.  Fear is the killer of dreams.

I hope you’ll start believing in your destiny if you haven’t done so already. Where might you end up if you stopped talking yourself out of your life purpose?

Happy.

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A Definition

A Definition

What is a goddess?  I speak a lot about this in my blog posts regarding surrounding myself with women who I consider goddesses.  But what does that look like to me?  What might that look like for someone else?

Do we consider goddesses to be these statuesque beauties that enthrall both men and women as they walk by?

What about women who have made their own way in the world and overcome great barriers to get to where they are?

How about women who suffer and survive the hardships in their lives?

Perhaps they are women who have overcome great anxiety within themselves and learned coping strategies to better manage their mental and emotional turmoil within.

Goddesses come in all shapes and sizes and they certainly don’t look the same.  One thing they all have in common is that they support one another through thick and thin and bring each other up. Goddesses inspire, teach and live their truth.  They encourage others to follow their own paths, wherever they may lead without fear or judgement.  This is integrity and being in command of one’s own life.  The key to being a goddess is that no one can boss her around!

One cannot be a goddess if she is fearful of her own shadow, lives with overwhelming anxiety and worry, and cowers in the darkness when things get a little tough.  Seek help for this.  No one wants to live in fear and the constant barrage of the critical voices inside your head. It is possible to turn a critic into a fan! If you are aspiring to be a goddess, it’s time to fight those demons and stand up for what you believe.

Who do you want to be?  Who are you right now?  Deep questions can lead to extraordinary answers!

Body Confidence: Part 3

Body Confidence: Part 3

A girlfriend of mine convinced me to attend a burlesque show back in June 2012.  At the time, I didn’t really have much of a concept of what burlesque was.  Like most people, I just assumed it was a more theatrical and lavish form of striptease.  While this is the case, the show I attended was presented by real women.  Wives, daughters, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and girlfriends.  Women of all shapes, sizes and ages.  They strutted around in their corsets, vintage hairdo’s, fishnets and heels.  My breath was swept away as I literally started salivating the moment I walked in the room to be surrounded by a throng of exquisite babes.  I was enchanted immediately by the dancers.  They were humourous but also technical (especially those level 4 and 5 dancers).  The women teased us with their hands, eyes, props, legs, and smiles.

How is it possible for these women to be so damn confident in a room full of strangers?  These ladies were not stripping at all.  That’s not what Burlesquercise is about.  Burlesquercise was created by renowned ballroom dance coach and judge, Di Lefebvre. It is a form of fitness that embraces the beauty of women and allows them to feel confident inside and out through dance.  Women come from all walks of life and all income, age, and size backgrounds.  All are welcome and appreciated!  Once you are part of the tribe, even if you leave, you still remain friends with some of the most beautiful women you’ve ever met.  And man do they have killer curves and moves!

Immediately after the show, I signed up for Burlesquercise 101.  I was so nervous to attend that first class in the summer.  It turns out everyone was just as nervous as me!  Were we supposed to strip?  I didn’t really know what to expect.

Miss Annick was my instructor and she was a petite, fiesty brunette.  Her piercing dark eyes and calm face revealed nothing…until she opened her mouth and we all started laughing.  She made us feel instantly comfortable in our bodies by forcing us to close our eyes and then feel ourselves up.  Annick cracked all sorts of dirty jokes and we giggled our way to abs! We oooooo’d and aaaaahhh’d our way through the vowels while “zoning”.  Each zone represents a different part of the body.  Zone 1 is the hair, head and face.  Zone 2 is the breasts.  Zone 3 is the stomach and torso.  Zone 4 is the hips.  Zone 5 is the butt and legs.  Sometimes I zone just to put an extra spring in my step!

The next lesson was to open our eyes, look around the room and watch everyone else doing what we all just did with our eyes closed.  When no one was looking, we were safe.  But now here we were, women touching our own bodies and actually sounding excited and positively orgasmic doing it!  I was so turned on in fact, I rushed home and mauled my dear husband in my sweaty gym clothes, which I never had the audacity to try before!

How had I gone through my life without this course?  Why are more women not doing this?  This could literally save marriages and relationships by making women more comfortable in their own skin!  I fell in love and never stopped signing up for classes again.  My burly resume now includes 3 galas and 1 Rocky Mountain Dancesport Grand Prix performance.  I never thought I’d ever perform like that!  I look in the mirror now and smile brightly at myself.  It takes several minutes for me to behold the beauty in front of me and check out my body a few times a day.  My curves are downright dangerous and I know how to use them!

Miss Leslie and Miss Kim round out the foursome of delightful teachers.  Both are energetic and powerful dancers.  If you’ve ever seen Leslie dance with a giant headdress of ostrich feathers and sequined outfit on a hot day at a street festival, you know what I’m talking about!  The ladies crack all sorts of jokes in class!  We sweat to death with ballroom drills and Zumba warmups.  These women are not only mentors but they really try to get to know all the students.  I feel cared for and appreciated.  They hug me and ask me how I am.  They know my name!  I don’t think I’ve ever gone through that in a spin or yoga class before.

I still can’t walk in heels for the life of me…until you bust out some music and all of a sudden I’m strutting and spinning like I actually know what I’m doing.  It doesn’t even matter because the confidence overtakes any flaws in the execution!

Nowadays I get turned on by feathers and high heels.  I even feel daring enough to wear fishnets to the office from time to time.  My heart beats a little faster when I slide into a body hugging dress.  I strut in the Plus 15’s and make eye contact with strangers.  We were encouraged to practice this by our Burlesquercise instructors to improve our performance skills.

I love the power I have now with a hip sway, a sideways glance, a scarlet pout, and a flip of my hair.  It’s mastery and it’s divinity.  I am a Goddess.  Thank you, Burlesquercise for giving me body confidence that I never had without you and your vixens!

Thanks for reading this series of posts on body confidence.  My next post will take us back into the spiritual realm where we explore confidence related to mediumship and psychic readings.  Everything we experience in our lives is connected to the overall plan.  Becoming confident in one part of your life means confidence comes easier for everything that you do.

 

Body Confidence: Part 2

Body Confidence: Part 2

It was around 2009 that I started going to the Calgary Weight Management Centre in Calgary.  After hearing about these “mythical” clinics in town where health care professionals got together to help people with obesity related issues, I wanted to get a referral.  I went to a GP for that referral and booked my first appointment.

The assistant at the front desk was very sweet and took my weight and measurements for her records.  Next, I went through a BMR test, where I was hooked up to a breathing apparatus for about 30 minutes and it measured my basal metabolic rate to determine if maybe my resting metabolism was a bit slow.  I was both relieved and irritated to learn that my BMR was quite normal.  So I can’t blame a slow metabolism for my weight gain.  Dammit!  But I guess that’s also a good thing that I’m not unhealthy.  Um, I’m not unhealthy?  What?

Soon after, I met with Dr. Walji, a medical doctor at the clinic who was extremely supportive and understanding.  I had never met a doctor like that who understood that people can’t just lose weight through yo-yo periods of diet and exercise.  She told me no one actually knew what the hell they were talking about in the diet and fitness industry.  Not enough studies have been done to conclusively come up with that magic pill or golden formula that will take weight off and keep it off.  Basically, I was here to learn how to change my habits to be healthy and sustain a long-term healthy lifestyle.  All this based on…wait for it…SCIENCE!  Not old wives tales and not the garbage in the newsstands.

This philosophy was totally different from what I had become accustomed to through other programs (ie: lose 20 lbs in 3 months through deprivation, eating pre-packaged diet foods, and sheer force of will). Turns out the CWMC also un-trained me from believing that willpower actually had any merit in the equation.  People’s bodies don’t respond to willpower.  No matter how closely you stick to a diet plan, at some point all the food restrictions will come back to lead you down a night of binge eating junk food.

The health experts wanted me to call them by their first names even though they had a bunch of impressive letters after all their names.  It was very casual and comforting.

From the dietician, Rory Hornstein, I learned how to eat my heaviest and caloric dense meals in the morning and gradually taper off by the evening.  I stick to so many of her teachings now!  It was hard to unlearn years of poor eating habits and this food journal had to be the worst of it.  Thank goodness for myfitnesspal!

My athletic therapist, Grant Molyneux, shocked me at my initial appointment by declaring that exercise cannot be used to lose weight.  I looked at him like he was nuts.  This man had degrees and published books, and was a prolific marathoner, Iron Man competitor, triathlete, etc..  He was also a fitness coach for professional and amateur athletes.  Basically, he was super accomplished in the fitness world and looked like it too.  I had to give him credit for his patience whenever he gets that dumbfounded look from a patient who thinks he is blowing smoke up their butts!  His appointments were awesome.  He would have you walking on a treadmill while coming up with a fitness plan that worked with the lifestyle I was trying to lead.

The most life-changing professional I met was the psychologist, Jennifer French.  She literally changed my life.  Countless kleenexes filled up her garbage can after each session due to me crying on her couch as I delved into the abyss of my emotional eating habits and got to the root cause of my weight issues.  All the issues I had of feeling inadequate, helpless and out of control from Body Confidence: Part 1  bubbled to the surface after years of submission to be finally dealt with and purged. She let me express myself with no judgement and taught me it was ok to be imperfect.  Her strategies on dealing with stress and family were mindblowingly effective.  You don’t normally think of therapists as cheerleaders, but this lady was always on my side.  Damn the whole being emotionless bit.  She cussed to lighten the mood and made me feel comfortable during our sessions when my anger, sadness, and frustration with my lack of progress ate me up alive.  It had been six months of following the CWMC’s plan and I wasn’t losing any weight!  Yet she looked at me like I was winning and she was my biggest fan.  She taught me to quiet my inner critic as well because that sonofabitch never shuts the fuck up!

Every time I’d see the experts (at least once a month), they looked at me like I was amazing.  I didn’t get it.  Wasn’t I a failure because the scale didn’t move?  None of them even batted an eyelash at it.  These gurus saw me following the plan almost precisely and the only thing they could say to me was “Have faith.  You have nothing to lose.” Essentially, if I gave up now, wouldn’t I be undoing all the months of healthy habits?  Even if nothing changed, at least I could fall back on being healthier.

Ugh!  It was sheer agony!  I also went through months of a sitting in a support group with women who were all at various stages of their journeys.  They were all normal people with jobs and kids and stresses.  None of them in my opinion deserved the judgement they got from outsiders who simply didn’t get that no matter how hard you work at trying to lose weight, it sometimes takes YEARS to see the results if you stick with the plan.  Therein lies the conundrum: the ability to stick to the plan.  95% of people can’t.  They aren’t failures and they aren’t lazy.  Our bodies just don’t work like that and eventually people just stop torturing themselves through diets only to repeat the cycle when something bigger and better is talked about at a BBQ or around the water cooler at work.

The scale finally started moving significantly after about 7 months.  I eventually lost 20 lbs in 1.5 years.  That was not exactly the lose 20lbs in 3 months nonsense the fitness magazines are normally touting on the front cover.  Of course my success wasn’t enough.  I was still 30 lbs heavier than my 16 year old weight!  Couldn’t I just lose another 20lbs?  Why was it such a struggle?  I caved and joined Weight Watchers in 2010 after I was done with the CWMC as my wedding date was approaching and I really wanted to lose more weight.  I did end up losing 13 lbs but it was also one of those unsustainable plans that I just couldn’t stick to.  Fucking diet food that tastes like cardboard.  I stuck to low-fat and fat-free crap for years only giving it up for the first time in decades just a couple months ago.

Unfortunately, I would come to put the weight back on after I got married in mid-2011.  Again, I didn’t have the magic formula that worked for me.  The CWMC trained me to read nutrition labels, to not beat myself up when results were slow, to exercise to live longer, to educate myself on obesity research, and to basically chill the fuck out when it came to my obsession with weight loss. They didn’t want me to spend my entire life being a headcase over it.

So you’re probably asking: In all this time, where was the body confidence?  It was built from the ground up through the untraining of my shitty habits and awful thoughts that lead me down a spiral of self-loathing and self-doubt.  The CWMC saved me from myself.  Those people deserve a lot of credit.  They can see our successes when we can’t.  We are literally blind to our hard work and they cheer you on at every victory, no matter how small it is!

If you do anything for yourself on this journey, seek out the true health guides.  Dieticians, athletic therapists, and psychologists who specialize in weight related problems.  I needed the un-training desperately.  I am so grateful I went through this experience and that I still practice a lot of the things I learned there.

Stay tuned for the next post on how I learned to love my curves and fall in love with the girl in the mirror unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.  I’m still in love with that bombshell, as imperfect and bodacious as she is and I’m tired of the bullshit of trying to lose weight for vanity.  My husband loves that sexy bitch too.  Hahaha!

Body confidence: Part 1

Body confidence: Part 1

What’s the deal with body confidence?

There’s all sorts of articles on body positivity, body shaming and body confidence coming out on social media and from traditional media sources.  The damage done by previous generations about telling people they weren’t good enough as they were ended up causing more harm than good.  The type of harm that takes years of psychotherapy, medication, or abusing their own loved ones to undo…if it can ever be undone.

We think about tough love as being a good thing.  We tell our children or mentees that they need to realize that there’s something wrong and we’re not going to hold their hands for them to figure out how to fix it.  Being firm is meant to stir up this “need” inside to want to change something about ourselves so that people in a position of authority (parents, grandparents, cousins, siblings, teachers, bosses, etc) will think we are worthy of their approval.

It took me over 30 years to undo the damage of tough love and the constant message I wasn’t good enough as I was.  I wasn’t thin enough.  My face wasn’t clear enough.  My own decisions about my friends or what I did with my life could be better.  My mistakes I was told were devastating and I shouldn’t have made them in the first place.  I spent too much money on silly things (travel, joining a sorority, buying clothes I didn’t need, makeup, etc).

All I can say about these messages was that they were dead wrong.

Mistakes are worth making, that’s how you learn.  Mistakes do not denote failure.  Mistakes are opportunities for growth.

My body wasn’t meant to be stick thin. No matter how much I exercised or ate well, I was never going to get thin.  And even if I did get thin, what was the consequence?  See my previous blog post about the consequences of dieting and jumping on the weight loss bandwagon when you don’t need it.

My face reacted to my hormones and is still reacting to hormones and there’s nothing I can bloody well do about it.

My friends are my choice and in fact I never hung out with a “bad” crowd, ever.

All the experiences I had with money were based on my desires and passions.  Never a bad decision was ever made.  No decision was ever made lightly.  And if I was broke, that was also my decision.  Being in debt for a while in University wasn’t something that came out of nowhere because I couldn’t read my bank statements.

What does it mean when you are sent these awful messages?  What does that say about you as a parent or caregiver when you send these messages to your kids or wards over the course of their entire formative years?

Let me tell you about consequences of destroyed body confidence, also known in the medical community as body dysmorphia. And no, body confidence is not something regained overnight without professional medical and psychological intervention.  Self-harm, depression, an inability to make positive connections with people, and inability to be confident about your own decisions, the lack of trust in your own instincts, the penchant for chasing relationships with abusive people, obsession and hating yourself for hours a day…these are all some of the consequences of destroyed body confidence.

I’m not saying that parenting is easy and I’m not blaming or shaming my parents for what happened.  However, they won’t be getting away scot-free either.  Tough love goes both ways in my world.  It’s the coping mechanism I developed to survive and unfortunately it’s not something I can or am willing to undo.  The walls are up and in some cases they remain permanent.  Those that can be torn down, have been dismantled.  It’s my choice and it’s not perfect or ideal.  I won’t win a lot of friends over it, but that’s ok by me.  Those who stand by me are meant to be in my circle and it’s those friends I want to let in anyway.

In the meantime, I’m going to be writing a series of blog posts about how I regained my body confidence over the course of several years.  I hope you’ll stick with me in this storytelling and maybe you’ll find a similarity in your life that lets you know that you’re not alone.