First impressions: 5 tricks of reading body language to determine if you like someone or not in seconds!

I boast to people about how quickly I know upon meeting someone if I like them or not.  The first impression is the best impression you have on someone.  After that, you will spend a lot of time getting to know them, only to realize what you knew all along was true about them.

How do you do this?

  1. Trust your instincts!
    • This is a no-brainer. You must be aware of how your body reacts to meeting someone.  Do you feel edgy or warm?  Are you immediately attracted to their personality. Does this gaze seem genuine?  Does the hair on the back of your neck stand up like a giant “Watch out for this person” statement? You can determine all this in seconds.
  2. Look at their eyes
    • Making eye contact is the best way to peer into someone’s soul without really trying.  If they hold their gaze, it means they are interested in making a connection.  Averting eyes could be a cultural habit, or it could mean the person is flakey or insecure.  But if that person makes and maintains eye contact, chances are pretty good that they are in control and confident where they stand.
  3. Do they speak quickly or slowly?
    • Being a very astute observer of human behaviour, I’ve come to learn that slow speakers can be the most thoughtful, calculated people out there.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Quick speakers also have sharp minds but sometimes come off as being boisterous whether they intend to or not.  I have a mix of folks in my close circle.  You really need to look at the whole package.
  4. Is the person an active listener or just talking for the sake of it?
    • One of my biggest pet peeves about people is when they start talking about themselves more than asking questions about me when they first meet me.  I find this comes off very arrogant, especially to introverted people.  Talking for the sake of filling dead air can come very naturally to people who are uncomfortable with silence.  I find those people to be more anxious and stressed than people who just speak slowly or say very few words at all.
    • Another offshoot of this is, does that person keep their word or do they come up with a lot of excuses to back out of things on a frequent basis?
  5. Is their handshake firm or limp and clammy?
    • Firm handshakes are generally a good sign of confidence in a person.  I find that quality very endearing because I like people who are decisive and in control.  A vice grip comes off hostile.  A limp and clammy handshake, which I call a dead fish handshake, is the opposite where I don’t believe the person to be in control or be very superficial.

None of my above observations are based on any sort of psychology degree, just what I’ve gathered over the years.  It’s very easy for me to figure out where I stand on people within the first minute or two of meeting them.  I’ve never really been proven wrong about a person yet.  When I doubt what I sense is when I’ll end up getting disappointed. Trust your instincts!

Do you have any tricks that you keep in mind when you are meeting someone for the first time?  What traits are important for you to find?

Thanks for reading!


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?


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Journaling as a stepping stone to manifestation

Journaling as a stepping stone to manifestation

As a little girl, I remember I used to sit in my closet and journal in my Disney Pocahontas diary.  The pages were lined and purple.  The diary even came with a lock and key!  Without fail I would lock away my thoughts, literally, and hide my diary in a far corner of the closet so none of my family members would ever discover it.  In the mind of an 11-year-old me, I had a dramatic existence.  My trusted journal contained the sordid details of my friends, my crushes, how much I disliked homework, and also how I coped with being bullied.  I have a funny sounding name that most people hadn’t heard before.  The hideous variations that kids would spew at me through the hallways at school and on the playground still invoke a sadness in my heart.

The point is that my diary contained everything I never wanted to share with anyone else.  As a child I didn’t have a lot of close friends because my family had moved frequently through my formative years.  That diary was the only constant in my life.

Over the years I continued journaling on and off.  I never got into a steady habit until a few years ago when I started developing my mediumship practice. That’s when everything changed.

My strange experiences started showing up in patterns.  Things happened in a way that I could sometimes anticipate them.  The instincts I had naturally started being proven to me when I had a record to compare to.

Writing my goals, my affirmations, and drawing pictures within my journal helped me focus my thoughts so that I could one day start my mediumship business.  It helped me get through a period of time that I was laid off for four months as well and no income was coming in except my unemployment insurance cheques.  That was a devastating time, but my old friend – the journal – kept me sane and optimistic.  And when I finally got offers for jobs, I would create pros and cons lists to see which I should accept and why.

Have you got a regular journaling practice?  What kind of diary do you like to keep?  Is it a pretty, leather-bound one?  Or, do you prefer just a utilitarian exercise book?  Tell me about your journaling practice, I’m very curious to know if you have a practice.  If you don’t, why not?

Thanks for reading!

Mars Retrograde is over! What now?

So….I totally didn’t know about this until it ended. LOL

Thank god June is over!  I’m not sure if anyone was going through a lot of person “hell” but I know I had a topsy turvy month of emotional warfare from within.  Did you feel hypersensitive to everyone and everything?  Snapping at people, being generally over-anxious, and feeling the weight of the world’s problems.  These were all signs of Mars Retrograde apparently and this period literally just ended.  Ok, I’ll admit I only looked it up yesterday.  Phew!  Mars is the Roman god of war, so the turbulence you may have suffered can be attributed to this astrological phenomenon.  Everyone just take a breath and be grateful you survived.  And if you felt nothing this month, we are all very jealous!  It’s time to begin the next chapter of our lives.  How do we do that?

When I meditate, I generally do not quiet my mind and have all thoughts disappear.  I enjoy meeting with my spirit guide during meditation and ask her to show me the signs of what’s coming next for me and what I should be preparing for.  Sometimes it takes a few days of reflection to figure out what the symbols mean.

My intuition is telling me that there is going to be a period of slow growth for me, career-wise and personal development-wise.  This period is likely to last till the end of September.  But knowing me, I have little patience when it comes to my own self-development (don’t we all?).  As usual, I’m going to attempt to speed up the time frame.  My spirit guide’s telling me not to do that!  We argue sometimes.  NBD.  Haha!

Would you like to work on your intuition?  Try this exercise: close your eyes and breathe deeply in a quiet space until you feel calm and ready.  You could be sitting outside, lying in bed, or standing in your kitchen.  Get rid of distractions even if it’s just for 10 minutes.  Guide your thoughts and ask your higher self/Universe/spirit guide/angels to send you signs.

Always be specific about what you are requesting.  If you want a sign regarding money, ask for it.  If you want a message regarding how to deal with an annoying coworker, request it that way.  The more specific you are, the more poignant the symbols will be.  You’ll keep getting them until you listen.  Sometimes we ignore signs because we think they are ludicrous or they can’t be real.  The Universe has a sense of humour and will keep pestering you until you bloody well respond and say “Ok, ok, I get it now!!”

If you are not used to this exercise, you’ll have to do it repeatedly over several days before the signs may appear.  Don’t give up, everything happens when it’s supposed to.  The point is to have faith that you’ll receive the signs when you are ready.  Try this for the next week and turn on that giant satellite dish in your head to receive the signals you’ve been waiting for!

Of course, it doesn’t end there.  When you start receiving the symbols, it’s also up to you to put the puzzle pieces together.  That’s where it gets murky.  As my blog develops, I’ll attempt to toss a few pointers your way on symbol interpretation.  Good luck!

Knee scopes and spirit guides

Knee scopes and spirit guides

Last week, I underwent a minor surgical procedure to trim a torn medial meniscus in my left knee.  I had injured it skiing 2.5 years prior and it only started acting up in October 2015.  My surgeon did a knee arthroscopy to correct the problem and I’ve been in healing since.

However, in the week leading up to the surgery, I was filled with anxiety about it.  Literally anything and everything would set me off in a dangerous spiral of paranoia and debilitating fear.  I would hyperventilate and breath shallow.  There was tightness in my throat and chest.  I would start crying about the dumbest things.  This type of psychological drama is foreign to me.  I normally keep my wits about me and am typically fearless in all aspects of my life.  So what the hell happened to my confidence?  I know, it all went to shit!

In any case, I called on my spirit guide frequently leading up to the date of my scope.  Never having gone through an invasive procedure like this,  I was terrified of something going wrong.  What if there was a scar left behind?  What if I could never walk again if the surgeon messed up?  What if I died on the operating table from some freak blood clot?  What if the local anesthesia didn’t work and I felt everything?  Aaaaaahhhhhh!

I was so anxious that I, in fact, didn’t even tell my family the date of my surgery because my mom is usually a nervous wreck anyway and I didn’t want the burden of having to ease her mind when my own wasn’t even close to having it together.  She was mad at me for not telling her, but I had my reasons and I am still quite sure I made the right decision on that one.

While I awaited surgery, my spirit guide, Inanna, came into my little waiting “room” and kept me company.  I told her to show up in full adult form in front of me.  She did.  I asked her to show herself in her glory, in the Mesopotamian military regalia that I expected she wore (not the fairy queen outfit I gave her in my mind so she could be pretty).  I asked her to show herself as a warrior because that’s who I needed in that room.  She held my hand and told me everything would be fine.  She stood watch over me as I fitfully stared at the ceiling and awaited the nurse to call me in.  Inanna wore ornate, scaled bronze armour minus the weapons, and when I saw that, it shielded me too.  After all, she is the Goddess of War (among other things including love, sex and fertility.)

Inanna, accompanied me to the OR and stood by to ensure that I was ok.  This was the first time I felt her incredibly warm presence and reassurance for such a prolonged period of time.  Much to my relief everything went fine with the procedure. It only took 15 minutes from the time the incisions were made and the time the surgeon sealed the wounds.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

The recovery this week has been going well.  I am able to walk, have no blood clots and I await the steri tapes falling off at some point so I can inspect my scars underneath.  I’ve heard chicks dig scars!  Haha!  Steri tapes hold incisions closed so that stitches are not required to be removed later.

Have you called on your spirit guides/angels/guardians in times of need and healing?  If you haven’t yet, give it a shot! Allow them to bring their wealth of knowledge and unconditional love to the table.  I found I didn’t have to fight my fears alone.  My friends also listened to my incessant ramblings and I credit them with keeping me sane. But I had someone else with me the whole time which brought immense peace to me even when I thought I was spiraling out of control.

Inanna told me that this experience was to be my baptism into the next chapter of my life and I was to shed my old skin.  Sometimes we don’t always understand the messages that our guides give us, but we have to be open to the communication.

Universe, in the meantime, I say BRING IT!


Trust your gut, not your brain

Trust your gut, not your brain

Recently, I felt this crushing weight of anxiety.  You know what I’m talking about.  The perpetual state of fear that something is going to go terribly wrong.  You don’t know when or how, but you just KNOW. You feel this burning sensation in your gut.  The grey cloud of heaviness becomes overwhelming.  This could be depression but it’s not.  This sudden onset of anxiety hits you and you second guess it. EVERY. TIME.

How do we learn to trust our natural ability to sense danger?  Sometimes anxiety is based in fear.  Fear is a thought.  A thought is not real.  Therefore the fear is not real, and anxiety is based on nothing.  Right?  Maybe.

But what if you have always had that sixth sense?  Do you find yourself talking yourself out of that intrinsic fight or flight situation?

I confronted my anxiety head on and realized that I was right about it.  My fear was real.  In fact, I should have probably dealt with it sooner than I had.  But everything happens for a reason and with divine timing (things will happen when they are supposed to happen.  Not a moment sooner.)

This wasn’t the first time I had tried talking myself out of my anxiety and of course it didn’t work.  Sometimes we have to just go with our gut and tackle whatever it is that brings us needless suffering.  As a woman who is developing her confidence in body, mind and now spirit, I feel like that my own spiritual connection can sometimes be muddied by rationality.

One thing my close girlfriends and I have discussed is that when you feel “vibes” about something, you’re probably right.  You can’t ignore those red flags about a situation or a person.  Rationality and instincts don’t mix.  Think of it in terms of society vs. nature:  society teaching us what it means to be rational; nature having come from our adaptations and evolution.  Which one of these things has a longer history in the planetary timeline and is more likely to be accurate: rationality or instinct?  Instinct.

I’m not sure that this will help you with your anxiety especially if you suffer from a psychological condition related to this.  But for those of you who are managing without medical intervention, think and feel what’s right and then act on it.  Don’t suffer and spiral down the rabbit hole of darkness.  It’s not worth the sleepless nights.  Have some confidence that your instincts are meant to protect you.  Ignoring them means you protect no one.

And if you are a friend having to talk another friend “off the ledge” so to speak, be empathetic to the reason why this person is feeling crummy.  It could very well be that there is something wrong and that something needs to be done.  We have a tendency to disregard an anxious friend who might have these outbursts frequently, and chances are that this person may require some psychological counselling and should seek professional help. In any case, you can be the judge of whether your friend’s anxiety is based on reality or fear.  Determine if the fear is real.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is talk it out and help that friend feel better.  And if that doesn’t work, Google has a full list of professionals in your area that can help.

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!