Where did you come from and where did you go?

Cotton Eye Joe …Listen Here

The title of this blog are lyrics to a song I first heard in my youth. I had the privilege to vacation with a child-hood friend and her entire extended family.  The last week of summer, before we went back to school, we went to a super cute and quaint resort in Red Bay Ontario, right down the road from Sauble Beach. It was a tradition that lasted 10 years and I am forever grateful for the opportunity!
The memories and adventure from our yearly summer vacation was always a highlight for me. We stayed in cabins, swam in the pool and lake, caught frogs (well, I mostly observed LOL). We ate delicious meals provided for us by the resort staff and participated in the nightly theme of activities that the resort facilitated. SOme of my favourites were Euchre tournament night and a Talent Show where the guests had the chance to particulate in entertaining the resort guests. The Line Dancing and Square Dance Night… yes you read that right! LOL was definitely at the top of my list of enjoyment and is where I first heard the song.

 

How the heck does that song and this blog fit in? The lyrics came to me as I was planning the content for this blog! I knew what I was writing about and this part of the song just popped into my head, so divine! LOL

Earlier this week I had an amazing opportunity to present to a group of women who are a part of the Not-For Profit Foundation Dress for Success Barrie. Myself and three other women I know through Toastmasters (Visit their Facebook page here)spoke to the women about a range of topics associated with workplace skills. Some of the topics we covered; how to overcome anxiety, confidence building tools, conflict resolution techniques, mindfulness and interview best practices.

I was very excited to be a part of the initiative and to collaborate with these women. I certainly did not anticipate how I would feel and what the experience would mean for me until the event wrapped up.

The women we spoke with showed so much courage and vulnerability. They shared their stories; where they had been and where they are going and expressed interest in the areas that they wanted to improve and grow in.

As they shared all of this with us, I was blown away and had so many “ah-ha” moments. I often move quickly and passionately towards goals and action, from one to the next. The other extreme has been when I hit my *sh#%* and am processing another layer of stuff, the fluctuating emotions and riding out that wave and layer that’s being peeled off. Sitting at the table of women on this day made me realize that it is not often that I look back on my success, my past accomplishments. And when I say ‘accomplishments’, I am not referring to the big milestones that look shiny and all materialistic. In reflecting on the stories and subjects being brought up around the table it reminded me of where I have been on this personal and professional journey. I reached a point where I no longer remembered the days where I felt like a complete failure. This bullshit false belief that I could not express myself without ‘getting in trouble’ or lashing out.  I held onto my thoughts and feelings so long that all of a sudden, a last straw triggered an ab-reaction

Abreaction; the expression and consequent release of a previously repressed emotion, achieved through reliving the experience that caused it.

I remember spending years hoping, praying and wishing that I would become confident in myself. The people-pleasing syndrome that plagued me for years; kissing A#$, being who I thought others would accept me as and doing what I thought others would be happy to see me doing or include me if I followed trends and popularity.

Three main takeaway’s from that day:

1. I had come a long way and am now in a space that I once wondered if and how I would ever get here. An opportunity to recognize the growth and appreciate all of the events that led me to where I am today. Events that, at the time felt difficult and challenged me. The experiences allowed me to strengthen my interpersonal skills and now that I am in this space, have a whole new respect for the people and events in my past.

2. A reminder that confidence is an ever-evolving skill and characteristic. Confidence is not an overall feeling that is reached and then maintained forever. Confidence is achieved in each aspect of life and once I became confident in one area, a new experience was presented for me to gain confidence. The skill is built on from one event and scenario to the next.

Confidence; successfully completing calculated risks

3. This one was the biggie, the one (this seems to be a theme in the blogs) that, though I consciously and logically knew this, I understood on a whole new level this time around.
What I felt inside, my insecurities and less-than-proud qualities and behaviours that I had, were not as predominant to the outside world and people I interacted with on a daily basis. The negative thoughts and emotions were much more prevalent in my own head.  I recognized this because as the ladies shared their struggles and what they wanted to overcome and achieve, I saw that they already had everything within them. The cliché that “if only we saw in ourselves, what others see in us ” could not have felt more true in that moment.

As soon as this awareness came, I moved immediately into gratitude. I am SO grateful for the clarity, kindness and love I have for myself today.
Working with my life coach to quiet the monkey mind that I had running for YEARS so that I could step into my power, to own all of who I am, imperfections and all  has been one of, if not THE best gift I could ever have given myself.

Only through my own journey with a coach, could I be able to receive the next big gift, the ability to work with men and women in guiding them on their journey to developing a strong sense of self-confidence, higher self-esteem and expanding on living a life they love!

Dream BIG my friends ♥
D

Signs of Overwhelm & Ways to Move Forward

Overwhelm…. oh overwhelm!

Overwhelm can show in various aspects of life. For various reasons and in different ways, depending on who you are speaking to. I had overwhelm show up recently, in this journey in Business.

Before I had the awareness of what overwhelm looked like for me, I did not know the warning signs and would not see it coming.

In my previous blog on  Boundaries I wrote about how the result of going full-on in life and not taking breaks and time for self-care landed me out of commission and sick. My body literally shut down forcing a much-needed break.  I believe there is great correlation between overwhelm and denying the moments needed to break and rejuvenate which leads to illness if we are not listening to our inner selves. Essentially overwhelm is the precursor to burn out, if I do not catch overwhelm “in its tracks”.

As I develop new skills and habits and continue to grow, I also get tested and that’s exactly what happened with me with overwhelm, very recently!

This time I didn’t see it coming! And it all felt so familiar, I was coming up on another two-weeks of “full steam ahead”, another full schedule jammed with all things in life.
Amidst the mayhem, I had time set aside for ‘down time’ to unplug for a few hours and reconnect. Despite knowing that downtime was coming, I was spinning my tires. I started stressing about time; time to complete things and wondering if the downtime scheduled would be ‘enough’.

 

When the overwhelm hit hard for me, I was in a business class. I had debated going due to timing and other commitments. Being a fairly extroverted person (Though, I find myself transitioning into introverted ways as time goes on), I figured I would get to the class and get re-energized and all would unfold wonderfully!
The class started out well and I was extremely engaged and enjoying the class. It was about half-way through that I felt exhaustion take over. I suddenly felt overloaded with the information being presented, struggled to focus and I found myself running a ‘disaster film’ in my head. A ‘disaster film’ of the lack of knowledge about the subject and “how I would ever manage to ‘master’ it all”?
…And the ‘to do list’ and deadlines that I had circling in my head didn’t help!
Signs of Overwhelm:

  1. Lack of focus in the present moment
  2. Stress about a future event(s) that has not happened yet and running a disaster film
  3. Dreading thing(s) you have to do/attend
  4. The inability to say ‘no’

    Keys to keep in mind;
    *Overwhelm looks different for different people
    *Overwhelm for one person can look different at different times
    *Overwhelm is as much a physical as it is a mental piece and isn’t necessarily about getting to work.

Once I was home and, in a space, where I was able to decompress, I realized that I was creating this spin of overwhelm. The biggest “ah-ha” was that I had stressed over deadlines that were self-imposed! AND I had a conversation with a classmate earlier that night about how some times, we humans get so set on doing things ONE particular way. As if that there is no other way, no adjustments that can be made.

A few hours later I had the opportunity to experience learnings from said conversation first-hand. The deadlines I created, I was able to change and adjust. It allowed me to create more space mentally. I also had the opportunity to look at the commitments I made for the rest of the week to see where I had flex time, where I was able to add time to complete the extended deadlines, etc.

It was an incredibly important reminder that for me, when overwhelm creeps up it is a great BIG sign that I need time for ME. To slow down.

I need to take time to fill my “cup” so that I can in turn, fill the cup of those around me.

Questions to ask yourself & actions to  overcome overwhelm:

  1. Step back, step outside if you are with people, if you cannot step away set the intention to take time to take time and space as soon as you can be alone, even for a few minutes.
    – Meditate; whether listening to a guided meditation (Many available on You  Tube – one of my favourites ~ Freedom Meditation)

         – Use essential oils if you have access to them

  1. Journal or write a list of what is on your mind; it could be one item, it could be five items, whatever number it is for you, get it onto paper
    -If you are auditory, record a voice note on your phone
  1. Let a task go, if feasible to do so
    -Is there anything that can be adjusted?
  1. Set a limit of how much you will do that day and move what can be completed on another day
  2. In the kindest way possible; Are you making Sh*% up? Ask yourself: How do I know that this is ABSOLUTELY true

It has been a process of un-learning. Unlearning that all things in life do not have to happen one way or no way at all. There are so many ways to do life; family, friends, business projects, creative expression, how we process emotions and significant life events and the list goes on.

When I could see that there was choice, flexibility, alternative ways to tackle the tasks on my ‘to do’ list and the opportunity to ‘do overwhelm differently’, I could breathe again. I felt relief in that I had MORE ability for success because my mind was clear and I had worked through the overwhelm.

Life rarely flows in a straight line. It often zig-zigs, up and down like a rollercoaster.  I choose to embrace the flow of life and allow myself to adjust as needed. To flow when possible and be present.

Dream BIG my friends <3

In the past few weeks there have been challenging times. I touched on it in my last blog and the experience brought back a lot of emotions from past personal pain of my own that I could relate to. For me it meant a new phase in the healing process.
Between the emotions and running (figuratively speaking) straight for weeks without a break my body inevitably shut down due to illness. By this point I had no choice- I HAD to take a break and STOP! 

I am an advocate for taking time for self-care and I am also continually learning about the Ebbs and Flows (That’s for you; Joc! 😉) of that beautiful concept that I love to share with others.


During the days that passed at what seemed like a snails pace during recovery,  I was reminded of another amazing #brenemoment  (thought leader – Brene Brown) that I heard in one of her audibles (The Power of Vulnerability). It was a huge “ah-ha” moment for me. She presented the idea that there are people (a large number, in my opinion) who believe they cannot stop, they keep themselves incredibly busy, essentially do not know how to slow down or feel like they cannot “afford” to get sick and take down time.  In hearing this on the audible I was relieved. I realized that I was absolutely one of the people she was referring to AND there is something comforting in knowing that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way and ran that strategy. I have been and will continue to be practicing new habits that allow me to take time and recognize when I am not taking the time to rest and have down time to heal through emotional times, sickness, etc. The reason I want to take that time is because I have learned a few times now that by not taking that time in healthy ways, I diminished my capacity and energy to keep ‘doing’ and moving forward with life personally and professionally. In my current line of work I also understand that keeping busy and running on empty are coping mechanisms, that have kept me from addressing incredibly painful emotions and times of loss that I wanted to forget. Better yet; I wanted to pretend they didn’t exist, as if they weren’t even there. The new skills and habits came with assistance and support. 

When I heard this concept in POV, I reflected back on how this played out in life years prior.  I remember there being a time when I was proud of the amount of sick days I had because they were so low, which of course is amazing in one sense. I just also realized that it isn’t an accomplishment when there were times that I needed more time and didn’t take it.

In my wedding and event planning career specifically, I remember one of the times that stand out for me.  I came down with a wicked throat infection but did that stop me? No way!! Oh I went into work, sick as a dog! I lasted about an hour or two into the work day when I got sent home because there was no way I could keep working being that ill.  Although my physical symptoms were slowing me down by the minute, all I could think of was “Ok, what work can I do while at home?” and “I’ll take today but I HAVE to go back in tomorrow”. It was all I could do to take ONE day off to recover….That one day turned into 3 days and there was no way any work was getting done during that time.

The insanity that ran through my mind about ‘having’ to be at work and not being able to fathom taking the time off was RI-DIC-U-LOUS!!

 My role at the time was at a Golf and Country Club. Naturally, due to the Golf environment the Club decreased in business from November to March. The mentality in that environment was that with so much down time in the winter months, all managers needed to be ‘all in’ in the summer/busy months. Translation: no extended time-off and I had convinced myself that I couldn’t afford a sick day or two between the months of May to November.
Right….I’ll just plan my sick schedule around the industry LOL.

And the best part was that for my role I was selling and planning EVERY month. The “down time” for my role looked different than the golf business trends.

The biggest take-away that I have come to learn is that I had no boundaries around my time and commitments. Somewhere along the way in my career (and well, life in general but today’s post is about career LOL) I developed this idea that I had to be everything to everyone and work my A#% off to prove myself and keep my j-o-b.

…I didn’t realize that it was at the cost of burning out professionally and personally.

This time around, after I recovered from being sick I recognized that  sick days  DO NOT make up for or replace days where I am well and taking time off from the all-consuming tasks and responsibilities of life, in any given week. I used to think that if I was sick I would have to work the rest of the week for longer hours and over-extend myself to make up for the lost time. This time I allowed myself down time when I felt healthy again because it was incredibly needed to keep longevity of the healthy recovery.

It was a huge awareness that I had to learn how to set boundaries with myself. From small things like, during a week that has been packed,  taking a night off to do my own thing and rest and reconnect personally Instead of doing a last minute event out. Or saying no to an extra event for business when I knew I had work in my business to complete on a deadline and needed to extra time to focus and complete the tasks.I have a very straight-forward process that I use to practice the art of saying no and setting boundaries. I am grateful to have this tool and to share it with others.

If you’d like to receive the process for boundaries and saying no, I would be happy to! Reach out via the contact form, Email or on Facebook  private message.

I believe that n
o matter the demands on life whether being a parent, having a high-demand career, care-taking for ill family members; there are absolutely ways to get resourceful and find space for down time to heal and recover and stay rejuvenated.

Dream BIG my friends ♥
D

 

 

 

 

 

The Silver-Lining

What presented as struggle, hardship and a very painful emotional event in life enabled achievement and accomplishment that I couldn’t have fathomed when in the pain. I have learned that the most tragic and difficult times in life have silver-linings, messages and gifts on the other side of the pain. Just like “our pain is in our purpose”. And while I appreciate this and live by it, I have also learned that I can’t receive the learnings when I am still grieving and in the pain.
As vulnerable and scary as it may feel, I believe that sharing the vulnerable moments in life strengthens the human connection.
One of my favourite authors defines vulnerability as:

“… Uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure” – Brene Brown

In December 2005 I was in my third year of college and “living the dream” of college life. I had a fun job at the campus pub, I had a great group of friends and was in a new romantic relationship with a guy that I totally connected with – I felt like I was on cloud nine!

Little did I know, on December 6, 2005 my entire life would turn upside down and never be the same again.

I will never forget the day. It started out like any other; an early morning class after a late night out at a bar with friends. I had a call from my mom before class; it was nothing to worry about, she was just taking my dad to get a routine check up. He wasn’t feeling well after a fall he had a few weeks prior. My dad often joked with my mom and I about his random ailments that he so skillfully exaggerated to get some attention and humour. Like the other times, I brushed it off like it was nothing and told my mom to let me know how it went after she picked him up.

A few hours later, I had another call, this one was much different.

The pain my dad felt was no joke or embellishment this time. It was heart attack pains and she advised that I should come to the hospital as soon as possible. That was the only part of the conversation that I remember. All I recall after we hung up was feeling completely paralyzed with emotion, shock and uncertainty.

After I hung up, I paced back and forth in the hallway outside of my bedroom. I didn’t know if I should make the trek from Barrie to Newmarket solo, if I should call someone else to let them know what was going on, if I should wait to hear more, I had no idea. A million thoughts ran through my mind and I couldn’t make sense of any of them. I tried calling my boyfriend but he was in a meeting and didn’t have his phone on him. My roommate (Michelle) who I was close with was home so I went  to her and I told her what had happened. The next thing I knew, we were in her car driving to Newmarket hospital.

Michelle made conversation and asked me a few questions on the drive. It felt like the longest drive of my life. I had few responses. The one that kept circling in my mind was “oh I am sure he is fine, he jokes around about his ailments all the time, this nothing to worry about.”

Michelle pulled up to the front entrance of the South Lake Hospital and my aunt, (another Michele), was there to greet me. As my aunt and I went to his room and on our walk there I asked: “He’s ok, right? He’s GOT to be ok”. I will never forget the look on Michele’s face. After a moment of silence, she just shook her head ‘no’.

That morning my dad died of heart complications. He had triple-bipass surgery that morning and his heart wasn’t strong enough to recover.

After officially receiving the news of his passing I felt like I was frozen in time. It felt as though the world around me was going forward and I was watching it unfold as an observer. As if I was watching a TV show episode of my life. I was in complete shock and a state of confusion and had no idea how to cope with and grieve such an insurmountable loss.

The days after he passed away there were so many people around. Family and friends visiting, bringing food to the house and trying their best to take our minds off of the circumstances. My dad’s brothers and sister (he was the eldest of 6) arrived a day or so later, to be with us leading up to the funeral. I could barely be in the same room as them, they were all so similar and reminded me so much of my dad in both looks and personality. It torn me apart inside seeing them all together without him being there too. It seems so unfair.

I didn’t know how I would live another day without my number one guy in my world any more. How would my heart continue beating with a piece of it gone.

There were definitely ups and downs; living moment by moment, day by day in the first 6 months that followed. Through the heartache and pain, the pain lessened and my heart slowly healed with time.

Some moments that stand out for me:
~Three of my closest friends came to visit me the evening my dad died and again a few days later. They brought me treats and items they knew I liked. I don’t even remember any of the words spoken. I just remember us being together, in a lot of silence. None of us knowing what to say or do, or how to feel. It was just their presence being felt. Their presence instilled love, comfort and support when I so greatly needed it.

~My dad’s brother and his wife and two other aunts were extremely supportive with my mom and I. The care and love that they showed in the weeks, months and years to follow meant more than words can express.

~There was also a professor at school who helped too. He was the only teacher from the semester that my dad passed away who made me complete a final assignment to pass his class. I resisted the request and it was the last thing I wanted to do. However, the process moved me forward and allowed me to ease back into the routine of school, to continue onto my final semester of college in January. It was a pivotal moment. While I needed to grieve and go through the emotions and healing that would be required after such a loss, I also had to experience the lesson that he brought to my life. He pushed me because he saw something in me and it was exactly what I needed.

~The mantra “the silver-lining in the clouds” that my aunt shared with me. When she first started referencing this concept I didn’t understand it completely. It wasn’t until a few years later when I looked back on the moments that I could see the lessons from that experience and other “silver-linings in the clouds” that would follow. I am forever grateful for these lessons.

For anyone grieving a heart ache of any kind, big or small, I extend what I know now to help heal a bit of the heartache;

  • Allow yourself to feel the emotions that come up; they come up when it is safe to do so
  • Be kind and gentle with yourself; you are doing the very best you can with a situation you have not experienced before
  • Take one day at a time. That’s all. One step at a time and with time the heart will heal and the pain will lessen
  • Most especially; reach out for help and support. As uncomfortable and foreign as it may feel (it did for me), the grieving process does not have to be done alone. Asking for help is ok; we do not have to have all of the answers.

For the supporters; loved ones, friends and family, teachers, bosses~
Being there is the greatest thing you can do. Whether it is in silence, in laughter, emotionally, physically, by their side. Being there, being present, and holding space for your friend, family, co-worker.

It is who stands by us at our time of need that is remembered. Not in the specifics of what was said or done, simply in their presence by our side.

To the heartbroken souls; I promise you – joy will come again. The love and the happiness will reappear. The void will feel less empty. The way it felt before the heartbreak, it never leaves you. It just gets temporarily buried below the surface. When you are ready emotionally and mentally to open up, you will feel it. It is through the pain that we receive the lessons, the healing and the big opportunities that are waiting for us on the other side of pain. Time heals all.

Dream BIG my friends <3
Dedicated to AC and family with so much love

Online Dating… or Bust!

This months’ blogs are all themed around love, relationships and dating.
The February 14th edition was around self-love; finding love, self-worth and self-acceptance within, which I was previously looking for externally.

Before I reached this beautiful bliss point of my relationship with self I dipped my toes into unfamiliar waters; the wonderful world of Online Dating!!

In November 2017 I felt it was time to get back out there and take another shot at love! Summer and fall I spent on business endeavours, professional trainings, playing golf and spending time with friends and family. While it was absolutely fulfilling,  a romantic relationship was on my radar but I wasn’t taking action and actually going on dates. It’s difficult to have a relationship without meeting eligible bachelors!

I was standing idly by, waiting for the dates to start falling out of thin air…. and we all know that doesn’t work! Begrudgingly there was one route in dating that I had yet to try…. That I resisted for  my entire dating life to this point.

Disclaimer: I completely appreciate and respect the avenue of online dating, especially in the vastly expanded world of technology and how it is an avid part of everyday life today. Finding romance in the online arena is very common place and I have friends and family who have found great success in it! Particularly why I thought I’d give it a go!

Personally, I did not feel I was for me and swore I would never go that route and yet I had never even tried it! My biggest sticking point was that I am incredibly social and find it easy to meet new people/guys in public settings. And that was all great reasoning until I found myself in this predicament where I wanted to start dating again and was not meeting single, available men.

And so began my adventure into online dating!!

At first, I justified it by telling myself that NOW I have exhausted every dating resource LOL …Wait, I lied; I haven’t tried Speed Dating but NOT to worry, once I do I will write a blog about it and share my experience!! LOL

Before I knew it, I had an online profile created and it was game on!

My first reaction: “This is best thing since sliced bread!!”

I mean, COME ON! The process involves looking at pictures of *mostly* very attractive men, I read very interesting information on their profiles and I had a LOT of laughs seeing the ‘creative’ ways that the guys used to described themselves to sound appealing… ah… I mean… to attract women to engage in conversation with them (or whatever else there intentions are!)

I literally felt like I could swipe for days  LOL. After some binge-swiping, conversations began. It didn’t take long to realize that there is something to be said about a person who can carry on a ‘text-like’ conversation past the usual; “Hey – how are you – good thanks, you?”  dialogue. What I am sure won’t come as a shocker to those who know me; I got bored VERY quickly of the common place, run of the mill conversations.

And its not to say I didn’t put in a solid effort! Naturally, I took matters into my own hands and got creative with the questions I asked to get to know the guys.

As I have mentioned in past blogs, I was developing a solid understanding of what my wants in a relationship were, what qualities attracted me and what my values were. I figured I might as well rip off the band-aid and see if any of these dudes were on the same page!! No time to waste! LOL.

My questions ranged from:
“What was the last thing you did that scared you or was uncomfortable but you wanted to do it anyways?”. To which I would receive responses like “I’ve spent most of my life trying to avoid doing things that scare me”. Based on my value for busting comfort zones, my ‘internal D voice’ responded; “Onto the next one”!

Another personal fav to ask: “What was the last spontaneous thing you did?” to which I’d receive something along the lines of “I drove a different route to work today, it was great”. I respect that spontaneity looks different for all of us. My idea of spontaneity was vastly different. Again, ‘D inner monologue’ shot off “OK then, nexxxxxt”

I definitely learned pretty quickly that I would have a great opportunity to work on my lack of patience complex while “sifting through the ‘eligible’ bachelors” on the online dating platform!!
I didn’t anticipate how frustrated I would get with the lack of conversation flow (to my liking – I’m pretty particular!), or perhaps it was the fact that the questions I was asking were scaring the guys? Hahahah. One way or another, it wasn’t unfolding the way I had imagined when the swiping began!  I had NO idea what to expect and that was how my experience unfolded (in a nutshell)!

Lessons the online dating ‘adventure’ taught me:

• I learned that online dating is not the platform I would prefer to meet a man. I personally didn’t find it a natural form of connection building. Being a social person, I would prefer to connect in person (or even on the telephone from an online meeting, which wasn’t transpiring with the men I was e-meeting)

• As all things in life; everyone has a unique way of doing things and part of life is figuring out what works for our own individual models of the world. I absolutely see how this route works well for so many and it brings love to couples every day!

• Online dating isn’t for everyone LOL.

The biggest take away for me was this:
I was passing judgement without experiencing first. Moving forward, I choose to stay open-minded and do things unknown before deciding if it is a fit for me.
If I didn’t experience this avenue of dating,  I could have missed my match.
And now I know!

I can see how the experience of putting myself out there in a new way, out of my comfort zone can apply in so many other areas in my life. I was able to ask myself where else I have been playing small? Keeping myself safe in the little box that I know and am familiar with? Stretching out of that box and pushing past limitations allowed me to try something new, have fun and enjoy the process along the way. It helped figured out whether online dating was an avenue of success for me.

What resulted from the experience for me was that energetically it shifted what I was attracting. I was now open to receiving, to meeting men. It brought more connections with eligible bachelors outside of the online dating platform!

I met guys all sorts of ways. One random encounter happened after I lost my purse one night. The guy who returned it and I hit it off well and the next thing I knew, I was going on a date! I swear “You Can’t Make This S%*t Up” LOL.

A week later I ran into a guy I had met 4 years ago at a professional development group that we had both attended. The reconnection resulted in date number 2!
This continued for 3 more weeks and I got to experience a variety of different personality types, conversations and getting to know different guys while getting back on the dating scene.

After all of the swiping and *exciting* interviewing…. I mean… conversation 😉 on the site, the result was one date that route. I am grateful to report that I didn’t have any wildly bizarre stories from the experience, we just weren’t a “match”.

Along the way I built even more confidence and deeper self-worth and appreciation for where I was at in my relationship with myself and what I had learned from these dating adventures. Ultimately; seeing what I damn well knew I was worthy and deserving of and that it wasn’t with these suitors!

The dating escapades prepared me for a guy who came into my life who in the past, I would have never imagined having the confidence to pursue. It set in motion a whole new adventure in my dating journey. It led me to a new level of vulnerability and stretching my comfort zone.

…But I’ll save that story for the next blog!!

Dream BIG my friends,
D

SELF Love… what a f*%king concept!!

This year, at this hallmark time of love, my relationship status is a lot different because it has new meaning to me this year.

For the majority of my 20’s and after my most recent long-term relationship ended, I was what I refer to as a ‘serial dater’. I had a lot of short-term relationships (3months -9months typically). As much as this made for some epic dating stories and a lot of learnings about the kinds of guys I wanted to date and the type I didn’t want to date. It was this perpetual pattern of diving into one dating opportunity after the other.
I felt  ‘boy crazy’ and it was unhealthy  but I didn’t know any different.

I always wondered if ‘the next guy’ would be ‘the one’

I would love to play victim here and place blame on the numerous “rom-coms” I have watched over the years, I have too much awareness now to do so. Even those BS lines I heard that gave me the idea that I should (hate that work) give any guy a chance because “you never know who ‘the one’ could be, so stay open to all possibilities”. I most definitely took that a little too literally.

I was trying to make any guy, the right guy.

I dated ALL types; the co-workers (… you’d think I’d learn my lesson after the first few times – Oi!), Friends of friends (Because every person in a relationship LOVES setting up their single friend!). The mechanic at my car dealership, the guy who wanted to date my friend but she wasn’t interested (yah, I was THAT girl LOL…but in my defense, he could dance and liked to dance and I thought that was rare -Fresh Prince of Bel-Air moment LOL).  The dogwalker, the bartender who served us at girl’s night out, the guys at the professional development courses, they were all shapes and forms, various nationalities, every profession, the most random & unique traits. I was certainly being open to the possibilities!

When I started doing my personal work and reflection on my “dating journey” I saw that I  developed a dependency on relationships with others. I was codependent in relationships with the men I dated and it showed up in my friendships too. I attracted friends who embraced my need for them, my dependency on them. They in-turn wanted to ‘rescue’ me, a perfect fit.

Every time I dove into a relationship I got to ignore the pain and feelings that would come up if I spent time on my own. Despite how unmatched I was with the suitors, which was oblivious to me at the time.

It was a wonderful distraction. I used the relationships to hide from my feelings, my pain and most especially from grieving my father’s death.

The last romantic relationship I was in where I was happy and felt connected to the person was at the same time that my dad died. I later learned that I grew a wicked limiting decision that any time I was happy with life, in a romantic relationship, I would lose someone significant in my life and relive the most painful heartbreak I experienced with the loss of a parent.

So naturally, with romantic relationships I played it safe and protected my heart.  I dated guys who I was minimally invested in to protect my heart so that I didn’t get hurt. I definitely didn’t realize it in the moment, it wasn’t until the pattern became too obvious to ignore.  I became a pro serial dater, a heartbreaker and the guys wouldn’t even see it coming. I had gone 11 years without being broken up with and I am by no means proud of that.  All the while seeing friends get into connected, committed relationships that I wanted so much and yet I was not allowing myself to go there.
The reason I was pushing away connected love was because I hadn’t allowed healing of the heartbreak I felt and I would cover it up and pretend I didn’t hurt.

Awareness is a B%*ch – Pt. 1: I didn’t know who I was or how to love myself so how the F could I love someone else.

I believe everything happens in divine timing and the understanding takes place after events happen and space and time is given. In the moment, I could not yet see the lessons that were coming. The awareness came at the culmination of my wedding engagement. I had A LOT of personal work & ‘soul searching’ to do.

Through that experience I learned the heartbreaking lessons that I had not seen before. A boyfriend, fiancé, husband, or any other platonic relationship could not take away pain inside of me, or solve all of my “problems”. The idea that I would feel ‘complete’ if I just had a man to love me.

I came to realize that I am the only one who can control and change my thoughts, feelings and emotions. No boyfriend, friend or family member has a remote control of my personal GPS that can change what I feel on the inside. I am the only one that can truly navigate my compass.

Awareness is a B%*ch Pt. 2: When I think that someone else controls my emotions and inner GPS,  I give away ALL of my power.

The amount of disempowerment that comes from that astounds me. I was in complete denial that maybe, just maybe, it had nothing to do with the people in my life I dated and everything to do with ME. I couldn’t see it before though. I had blinders on.

“It all starts with the self”

Awareness is a B%*ch Pt. 3: I was always searching outside of myself for love, when it was right here within me, all along.

I firmly believe it all starts with the self.  I had to go through experiences just the way that I did so that I could realize that I had the option to choose a different kind of love. To learn to be vulnerable again and find joy from the inside.

I completely respect and appreciate the men that I dated along that part of my self-discovery journey. They all taught me lessons, valuable lessons that I needed to learn.

Inevitably they were pieces that brought me to the most important, greatest love of all, love for myself.

I had to attract those experiences to understand who I was, what I liked, what I didn’t like. What I would tolerate and what was a deal-breaker. To heal the wounds of my past and put the pain into my purpose.

Awareness is a B%*ch , BLESSING Pt. 1:  I learned how to date and fall
in love my #1

I’ve learned that self-ish is actually a really, really good, positive concept. Despite what media and other limited beliefs taught me about how self-ish is a bad thing for the majority of my life up to this point. After finding love within myself I learned that it is the birth place of love for others and attracting healthy, meaningful relationships.

“Self-ish = Becoming more like YOU” – Jessy Morrison

I learned that now when I feel lonely or wish I had boyfriend or someone else to make me feel better I ask myself what I need and want.

To heal my relationship, when I felt down or upset, I would ask what would others do that would make me feel better or take my mind off of what was going on in that moment. Now I take action and take myself out. I LOVE to go out for  delicious meals at a restaurant, go on walks to reconnect with nature and my surroundings, go to movies, read a book near the water, listen to music, write, have a dance party in my living room, etc. These are the things that change my mood, make me happier and feel connected to myself again. Ways I show my self love.

I allowed myself to feel the most important love of all, the love with my self. And the most beautiful part; this love is always safe, secure, cared for and full. The one person I can count on in life unconditionally and the person who will be there for me no matter what life throws my way.

I became my own best friend.

I have respect, high self-worth, confidence in my own abilities and talents and an unexplainable feeling on the inside. I have love in my heart, love and compassion for my younger self who was doing the best she could with the resources she had at the time. I have so much love for the woman I am today, I will continue to go through moments in life that will teach more invaluable lessons and develop an even deeper love for myself.  

THIS is what SELF f*%king Love feels like for me!!! 

This has been the journey of finding my way back to my self. And now that I have a deep connection and 100% fullness within, I am SO ready for a relationship with a romantic partner, should a compatible man come along. It is no longer a need. I believe that romantic relationships are about two people, who are each 100% of their true selves coming together to be 200% of vibrant-f-ing-aliveness! 

The love now radiates onto everyone else in my world because my heart is so full.

“It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

In order to receive a 200% love, I’ll take the brave risk of love again and again!

Dream BIG my friends!

-D

 

Light up the World with that FIRE in your eyes, its YOUR time to RISE

365 days ago….1 whole year. At this time, I was embarking on my biggest, most exciting…and also TERRIFYING goal /ambition that I had ever set for myself. It was no longer a ‘dream’.

Making big, life-changing decisions was a theme for my life in 2016. I believe these big decisions and parts of life at the time were stepping stones for what prepared for this HUGE leap, SO far out of my comfort zone. Without which, I do not believe I would have been able to achieve such a BIG dream, goal turning it into a reality.

On October 22, 2016….after 5 months of research, many discussions, planning, organizing, booking details, making more big decisions and ultimately running every possible scenario (good and bad) in my head.  I was off on the adventure of a lifetime. One that, unbeknownst to me would involve a magnitude of personal growth and unimaginable life-changing experiences.

After a multitude of changes in my life in early 2016, I had realized that it had been a VERY long time (if ever) since I had done something completely for MYSELF. It was asking myself ‘What does Danielle want?’ and understanding that I should absolutely be making myself a priority! With this awareness, one of the first things I knew I wanted to do was travel…travel BIG, travel FAR and completely out of my comfort zoneIMG_2563_LI.

It was just me, myself……and whatever I could fit in a 45L Travel Pack! And yes, for anyone who has ever travelled with me….for one night (let alone 65 nights), you can imagine that this took  “out of my comfort zone” to a whole other level!! …. And I hadn’t even left Ontario at this point.

In November 2015, yoga had become a must in my life. Getting back to the practice of yoga, to slowing down, taking time for myself allowed me to find a large part of me that had been missing for years. When this idea of BIG, FAR travel and its passionate pursuit found me, I knew a yoga retreat was at the top of my list. I began looking into different yoga retreat destinations and a friend told me that there are a lot of retreats in Bali, Indonesia….. Nuff’ said!!

Another friend connected me to a yoga retreat company (Canadian based!) who organizes and hosts Yoga Retreats around the World (Exhale Yoga Retreats).
–>  For anyone who has the desire to do something they have never done before and don’t know where to start – you are not alone! This was all new to me.IMG_0861 (2)

When I first began investigating, EYR didn’t have any retreats in Bali. I subscribed to their email list though, to get news of their upcoming retreats. At the end of June 2016, one early, warm, summer morning, I received an email that this company was advertising their first BALI yoga retreat!!! …one of my fav sayings is: “You can’t make this sh*t up!”. I set the intention, the location & it was provided.

The Bali two-week Yoga Retreat quickly grew into a two and a half month sabbatical around South East Asia.  Travelling from Bali, to Thailand, Myanmar, then Cambodia, Thai Islands, Cambodia Pt. 2 and ending two-weeks in Vietnam. Never would I ever have guessed….even 6 months prior, that this big, International travel adventure would have materialized into such a incredible itinerary.
As I continued my travel plans, I connected with some friends who had booked their own past and future travels to SEA and a friend/travel company where I was recommended a tour with a travel group #gadventures. This was a HUGE help in figuring out logistics; where I was going (and what order made the most sense), what I could manage in the timeframe I had, etc.) ~ Voyageur Travel

There is a long list of little pieces of the ‘puzzle’ that came together to allow this opportunity to unfold. And while there were times of worry, self-doubt, and how I could possibly figure it all out because even the planning of it was so ‘out of my element’, there was no way I could have known, what I didn’t know. It takes using the resources you have around you and believing so deeply in your dream/goal/passion, that you keep moving past the little roadblocks that come us as you move along your path in life. For whatever it may be; a new career, a new relationship, a relocation. You’ve SO got this!!

More  #adventuresinSEA to come…but for now, I leave you with this;

~If you are SO close to committing to your goal/action/dream and are coming up against resistance…or as I like to call it “your slick mind trying to come up with reasons NOT to”. Remember that there will always be something you can tell yourself to justify why you should “wait”. Time, money, energy…. you name it. Your slick mind will come up with it. Let me tell you, from my personal experience, there will NEVER be a better or worse time, or more or less money. When its something that you are destined for, meant for, born to create, to achieve it, you WILL find the time, money, energy and resources necessary to fulfill your passion and achieve your dreams and BIG goals.

~Yes, technically I travelled on my own. Yet I wasn’t even in my first stop/destination before I had made a friend on one of the lay-overs. Friendships are made so quickly and effortlessly. There are like-minded people doing the exact same thing, in one way, shape or form that I met along the way. You are truly never alone. In meeting this first ‘travel friend’, I was already receiving great reminders to continue on this adventure with courage.  I met a girl who is 14 years younger than me, taking this similar LEAP. It reminded me that she too was being brave and was scared and nervous too. And it was in making this connection, I was reminded that I wasn’t alone. Here was a younger girl doing the same thing and I found so much extra courage, strength and confidence in seeing the bravery and courage that this girl had.
–>Look to others to guide you, to give you that extra boost of confidence and strength the next time you are in unknown territory, trying something new for the first time. Be it small or large, we can find such great support when we are open and vulnerable to human connection.

~Before I left I was trying SO hard to know the HOW. I had most of my destinations planned out, with a few holes because I “wanted to leave it open in case an opportunity comes up with people I met along my travels/with the new friends I would meet”.
…..I committed to this brainy idea and yet it was legit the most DIFFICULT thing ever. I mean I loved the idea, I just felt SO uncomfortable “not knowing”.
And the outcome? Some of the BEST parts of my trip came from adventures that got added. With new friends I didn’t know I would make, going to destinations I didn’t even know I would end up travelling to. The element of  a ‘pleasant surprise’!!
–> Allow yourself to be spontaneous and surprised; it is an amazing gift to experience it!

~We cannot predict what will happen in the future, so why not go into situations in life with curiosity? Ask yourself “how could it possibly get better than this?” Because I can guarantee you that the reality of your goal/dream once lived, will be SO much better than what you could ever have imagined!!

Before I left, more than a handful of people told me of how this experience would change me. I had NO idea what they meant, to the point of being scared, as if to think that I wouldn’t like the ‘change’ they were referring to. I liked myself, in my bubble/my comfort zone. As much as my goal was to get out of my comfort zone, I was SO comfortable before I left. Words can’t express how grateful I am that I took that LEAP!!

As I reflect on all of the moments and what insights that travel had, I am seeing a great amount of synergies from one BIG goal/dream/ambition to the next.
When I got crystal clear on what I wanted and took massive action, stopping at nothing to achieve my BIG goal, the universe aligned all of the resources needed to make it happen. A simple reminder that just because you do not have your goal accomplished in this moment, it IS in reach and the universe is conspiring FOR you, to bring about the people and experiences that will greatly exceed even your wildest imagination of dreams.

Dream BIG my friends ❤

Until Next Time
– Dimage2 (2)

“The pressure of a name, the pressure of a name….” #shamelessprettywomanmoviereference

~SO many learnings as I venture into this world of blogging!! Today it was a completely written blog post with no title LOL. As I work on my “recovering perfectionist” ways, I had to laugh at a scene from the movie ‘Pretty Woman’. blog6.pngAs I go this process I get to have great pieces of awareness just like this: it doesn’t have to be PERFECT! LOL- enjoy!!~

At this stage of the blogging adventure, one of the things I have found the most eye-opening and rewarding is the reflection that comes along with the creating.
As I venture further in, I realize that for me the ‘what’ to write can change multiple times from moment to moment as I am preparing. Throughout the process of creation this week I had a huge Ah-ha moment.

I often find myself hearing/reading a quote, or advice, or a term used for the third, fourth, or fifth time even. And it isn’t until the fourth or fifth time that it really sinks in usually.
I firmly believe that when I have ‘ah-ha’ moments or the connection on a deeper level, it’s because I was meant to hear it right then. In that moment. In that context. To relate to it & understand what it means in relation to that circumstance of life that I am in.

Today positive thoughts, affirmations, focusing on what I WANT and taking massive action = huge growth and results in my eyes. However, I haven’t always had this outlook, I find it comes and goes throughout life. It is certainly a daily practice; to stay in-check, be continually reminded and that this practice (‘muscle development’ if you will)  doesn’t end. I find it really important to point out that while having the mindset and being focused on what I want is a huge piece of the puzzle, the mindset will still result in dealings of emotional flux, feelings of uncertainty or doubt, etc. We are human. It is inevitable as long as we are in a human body.

I had to hit a turning point to have this new mindset. When I finally had to look at what wasn’t working for me and had to ‘unlearn’ a lot of life-long patterns setting me on a path of self-discovery. 30+ years of limiting beliefs, negative self talk and the list went on! I knew I wanted to break the patterns and do the work to figure out a different way. The alternative which was continuing to live unhappily, feeling stuck and lacking passion & excitement for life was NO longer an option for THIS lady!

I was 30 years old and day after day, week after week I was experiencing extensive feelings of overwhelm. I had a lot on my mind, I wasn’t sleeping properly (wide awake tossing and turning …. it almost felt like I was avoiding something). I didn’t feel ‘myself’…. in fact I felt so completely disconnected from myself.
My life at the time would be best depicted by referencing the movie ‘Ground Hog Day’.
For any readers who haven’t seen it; the main character keeps re-living the same day over and over again. Besides very minor things, every day is the exact. same. routine. for Bill Murray/Main Character. My life felt the same; no Zest for life, feeling unfulfilled atblog 3 work, like I was meant to be doing something different and I had reached a platow in my career at the time. The burn out was setting in. And life at home wasn’t any different.  I didn’t even recognize who I was anymore and I was living my own version of ‘Ground Hog Day’.

The final straw that made me realize it was no longer working was when one day at work I had a complete break-down. It was a combination of all of the ‘stuff’ swirling around in my head, wondering if the direction in life I was heading was one I wanted to continue on. I was in my office when I felt the emotion building. I was able to shut my office door right as the waterworks came pouring out. It was so intense it turned into hyper-ventilating. Once I had calmed, all I remember thinking was “Something has GOT to give”.

This was a defining moment in my life that triggered the beginning of a very personal journey into getting to know who DANIELLE REAUME really was – my authentic self.

I have always highly valued personal development … and not just because a job or other organization was sponsoring it. I continually seek out opportunities to development myself through reading, speaking groups, human relations courses, etc. It’s what I learned “makes me tick”.

A few things that helped me develop this awareness & getting back to ‘me’:
1. I had written in a journal very sparingly in the 5 years prior to this ,so I dusted off my journal and started writing again. It was a great outlet to clear my mind and a great reference point in the future for reflection. There are a lot of different journal methods; gratitude journals, free-style writing, creatively in art/drawing/painting, song-writing, etc. Blog4I didn’t feel comfortable talking to a lot of people about how I was feeling. From a young age, a limiting belief that I ‘took on’ as my own at some point growing up was to “put on a happy face”-always. And while there is certainly a time and a place for everything, I had realized that I had become accustom to holding my feelings & thoughts in …. when it was a time that would actually be much more beneficial and appropriate to share and express/communicate. It was widely spread in society for decades and became second-nature.

I didn’t speak to a lot of friends what was going on at this time especially. I had one friend who I hadn’t known for long, who had mentioned things that sounded like personal growth & finding out ‘who you are’, etc. when we hung out.
One sleepless night I decided to reach out to her and ask her for ideas. She was the only person my age who I knew spoke of these topics at the time. She recommended the book:

2. The War of Art; Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles – by Steven Pressfieldblog5
*Disclaimer*  Steven Pressfield has a unique writing style that may not be for everyone.

That being said; there are some fundamental ‘take-aways’ about personal development as well as digging deep to get rid of barriers to your success in creatively expressing yourself, your ideas and entrepreneurship.

3. Create a brainstorm (whether mentally, written, or however works for you) of:

         -Hobbies/Interests that you enjoyed doing when you were younger  that would be appropriate to revisit now
         -Things you always wanted to try that you haven’t gotten around to trying yet
*Note* This is designed to help you see what you like, what you don’t like, what you want more of in your life, what you miss that used to be present in your life.

My list–> It ranged from joining a public speaking group to reading again nightly before bed (it helped with the sleep deprivation too), getting back into my yoga practice that I hadn’t been to in a year or so.

**I highly recommend leaving this open-ended. Whether you enjoy playing sports/going to the gym, working with and innovating with technology, artistically through dancing, painting, the list is endless. And while we all have work and family and other commitments. It could be trying something new once every 3 months if you want. Whatever works for YOU and your schedule 🙂

4. For any readers who are pursuing their own personal  growth or creative endeavours:
You NEVER know where your next piece of inspiration will come from! Be open-minded and think outside of the box. Keep being curious and trying new ideas and following your intuition, what ignites a fire within YOU to share!

My Big Ah-Ha from the first time I read this book and began this part of my journey, I have learned that we are always shedding layers of ‘old stuff’. The old truths, limiting beliefs, anything that was imprinted in us at a young age, that we started to believe were true. This personal growth journey and peeling back layers of ‘myself’, for me means actually getting CLOSER to my authentic self, the person I was born as, before the outside influences diverted ‘me’ from the life that I was created to live ON PURPOSE!

What this meant for me today as I was preparing for this entry; I realized whether it was when I was 30 and experiencing work and life ‘struggles’ at that time, or when I was about to go to Asia, and now as I embark on my entrepreneurship journey and building a business – I still come up against ‘stuff’!! I haven’t developed a super-power to rid the little monkey mind and limiting beliefs that try to sneak in.
The good news! — What I have developed and what has changed; I now have an abundant amount of resources to break old patterns, develop new & empowering strategies and to manage emotions in healthy, self-empowered ways!! ❤
~ Reach out in a DM or on Facebook/Instagram if you are interested in learning more

And now as I venture to my BIG carer goals, life goals, or whatever may come up in the future I know that I have the strength, courage, resilience and determination to “Weather that ‘storm’” even better than the last!!

~Dream BIG My Friends ❤

D

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