In November of 2015, I attended a Hay House conference in NYC. During that conference, I had the pleasure of hearing Kris Carr (the super inspiring woman behind CrazySexyCancer) speak about saying YES to your life.

I was a brand new life coach at the time and was so full of energy, ambition and hope for my future and business and clients and self!

I came home from Montréal ready to say YES to so much more in my life. One of those things was saying YES to an office space, outside my home.

P I N this to pinterest

I had been working on my dining room table, in the middle of our open-concept home for the past year and I was intensely craving some private space to call my own.

Within a week or so after coming back from that trip to NYC, I found a teeny office space a five-minute walk from my home. The rent was cheap and it was perfect. My heart was filled with excitement, pride and gratitude. My lease started on December 1st. I carefully picked out my IKEA furnishings and set up shop.

2016 was an amazing year in my business. I was living my dream. And my little office space was my sanctuary. I relished in having my own, sacred spot. It was no one’s but mine.

My name was on the door and my name was on the directory in the front of the building. I felt like I had “arrived”. It had always been my dream to have an office on the prestigious Boulevard St-Joseph, where signs for Psychologists, Therapists, and Oral surgeons abound.

But as the year came to a close (and as a the result of a health scare that turned out to be nothing) I had decided to make some changes in my life and business.

I needed to go inward, to further excavate my own authentic self, to bring her forth more deeply into my work. And I needed to have more fun! I was taking this whole “work” thing very seriously and it was starting to feel draining rather than what I had envisioned when I first said YES to changing careers and becoming a Life Coach.

So 2017 was my year for going deeply inward. I did an intense 3-month course, Pillars of Genius, which helped me identify my “genius” more clearly.

I gave myself a lot of space to reflect (meaning less clients), travel, just be and have the fun I was craving…although looking back it wasn’t always all that fun.

It was “work” of a different kind. As anyone who has done deep, inner work can attest.P I N this to pinterest

I did a lot of it at home. In my living room, in my kitchen, from my bed. The dining room that had previously served as my desk was now long gone, sold off once we realized, after it had become my desk, that we mostly ate in the kitchen anyway.

And, truth be told, I felt awful a lot of the time. I felt guilty for the empty space my office had become. It sat there, untended to and uncared for, as I sat comfortably at home, with my dog at my feet. Or on my bed. “Surely this was no way to conduct a business. Get yourself to your fucking office, woman!”

But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. And I certainly couldn’t understand WHY.

Once I finally admitted this aloud (because we all know how much easier it is to keep things concealed when we don’t speak them aloud), I got coached on it. And coached on it, and coached on it.

I finally had a breakthrough and discovered that I felt “safer” at home going through my metamorphosis than being in my office. I needed the comfort and safety of home to really allow myself to dig into the inner work I was committed to doing.

“Fair enough”, I thought. “This feels true.”

Well, it turns out all that inner work actually did produce something tangible in the world, as My Field Guide (the sixty page coaching guidebook I created) was born and I held the first copy in my hands at the very end of 2017. I was euphoric!

The creation of this guidebook came to be during the summer months, so when September came around, I had more clarity, purpose and a product I was producing. I was ready to go.

Except, I still didn’t have this whole “weird relationship I have with my office” thing figured out quite yet until…

I realized I wanted to have a home office AND an office away from home. I even wrote about it here and it was such an A-HA moment for me at the time. I felt like I had finally given myself the permission I didn’t even realize I needed to have two offices. For whatever reason, I felt like I had been holding myself back from this desire. YES, this felt like truth!

So I bought myself a desk for home and declared to my husband, who also works from home, that I would be spending more time “officially” working from home (because all the hours spent in the living room, the kitchen and our bed were not “official” enough for me, I guess).

Except…I bet you can guess what happened next!

P I N this to pinterestI still felt resistance going to my rented office. WTF was going on?

I was SO confused and the guilt I was feeling for 1. paying for a space I was hardly using, and 2. not feeling motivated to go to my office and making it mean ALL sorts of things about myself, was really starting to fuck with me.

So I got coached again and again, and I came to a different level of understanding this time around.

The this is the real hard truth: I was lonely.

BOOM! That hit me hard. you know truth by the way it feels and this felt true (peaceful, sad, and right).

Being an entrepreneur can be really freaking lonely. I missed having colleagues to see first thing in the morning. I missed team meetings and lunch dates. I missed the camaraderie.

I was alone now, most of the time. And my little office space felt even lonelier than staying home, as I was usually alone in our office suite too (a space shared with two other practitioners that worked primarily during hours I was not there).

Not to mention, there was no communal space or kitchen, just a tiny waiting room and our individual offices. Showing up to our dark space, turning the lights on and being alone, when I could be home with my dog and on my bed or make a delicious lunch and curl up on my couch for my call with a client, well…you can guess which one won out time and time again.

So I finally made the decision to say goodbye and move into my home office, full-time.

And, people, I’m scared!

As I write this, I am here in my rented office (see the pic below). This will be the last time I sit here, as I move out this weekend.

When I popped in the other day, there was music actually playing in the waiting room, and I could hear the muffled voices of the other practitioners with their clients. The sun was streaming in ever-so-perfectly through my window, the birds were chirping outside.P I N this to pinterest

And so I stood there for a moment, taking it all in. And then the thoughts starting coming at me:

“What was I doing letting this gem of a space go? Oh my god, I made a mistake! It’s not too late; I can tell Bianca (my landlord) that I’m staying. She’ll be so happy. I’ll be so happy. YAY!”

Deep breathes. More deep breathes. This was crazy talk and I knew it.

So I did what I needed to stop the spinning and get super clear on what I wanted.

I sat down at my desk, grabbed a piece of paper, and wrote out what it would look like if I came to my office everyday…held regular office hours for myself here, in this space. Because that was the only way I could justify even considering hanging onto it. No more office at home.

Then I wrote out what it would like to be at home, same regular hours.

Well, let me tell you, my body spoke loud and clear. Even though my mind seemed to want to convince myself that this space was just perfect and it made so much sense to keep it, my body led the way to my truth.

I felt constricted when I imagined coming here regularly.

I felt EXPANSIVE when I saw myself at home.

Why? To be honest, I don’t quite know. My mind certainly didn’t like the answers my body gave me.

But what I do know is that I trust the guidance my body is providing me. I trust in the unknown of this decision. I trust that my resistance all these months is for a reason that is going to make sense in the near future. I trust, I trust, I trust.

And just so we’re clear, I am still having moments of freaking out. “What if I never find a place this cute or affordable? What if this is the beginning of the end of your business? What if just knowing you have nowhere else to go drives you mad.”

You get the drift. Right?

So I bring myself back to my trust, to my body, to the truth I feel in my soul.

I wanted to share some of these truths that have come to me in the last few months with you:

  • Having a rented office space does not mean you are more professional.
  • I can coach a client just as well from my bed as I can from my office space. (Um, I think I should mention here that I coach over the phone or video. Actually having a client on my bed with me WOULD be very unprofessional. LOL!)
  • My worth, as a coach and as a human, is not bound to whether or not I have an office space.
  • I want more human interaction in my working life.
  • I want more community in my work.
    I want to be surrounded by inspiring people.
  • I want to work in a space that inspires and nourishes me.
  • I want to spend my days while working with my dog (this is not a new truth, but rather a reinforced one).

It’s funny, but saying YES to this new phase of my life and business by saying goodbye to my office space has already had a ripple effect of magic in my life!

P I N this to pinterestAfter I told some women in my networking group that I was lonely and my office space reinforced this loneliness, not a week later and I got an invitation to join some super inspiring women for a monthly work day, in a gorgeous home, with a scheduled lunchtime for socializing, complete with all you can drink tea and coffee…and I could bring my dog too!

You cannot make this stuff up.

Magic is real when you say YES, when you honor your truth, and when you trust in what feels right even when you don’t know what the heck is going on.

So here I am, saying YES again to something new.

Saying YES to letting go of what was once a dream, even when I don’t see the entire staircase in front of me, because I trust that what’s coming is only going to be better than what’s been.

Sometimes saying YES actually means saying goodbye. And that’s ok.

Onwards!

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  • Dana Crudo

    I love this. I love the trust you are putting into the unknown…we SOOOO want to explain and understand everything in life. We just cannot. We need to dive in, listening to cues, and trust in the mystery.
    Last year when I took on a job that I was unsure about, the whole notion of community and the importance of my colleagues, inspirational and empowering connections, became so clear as a prime factor in my happiness in the workplace. Or anywhere, really! lol. It’s a huge realization in deciding how to shape your life!
    Thanks for sharing and building more of this community, Marieke 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Thanks for the love and support, Dana. Sometimes we don’t know what we know until we try things out and discover what feels right.Such is life and I am thankful for the continued lessons. And I wholeheartedly agree that who and what/where we surround ourselves with is integral to our well-being. xoReplyCancel

I HATE getting into cold water. Like every ounce of my being screams NO!!!!!! at the mere thought of diving, jumping or, even, wading into cold water.

Just as I’ve become a fair-weather skier, I’m a warm water swimmer….give me above 85 degrees and I am golden! Yes, even on a hot day when I need to cool off.P I N this to pinterest

While I am known for my proclivity towards very warm waters and my high tolerance for heat, my preferred state of being warm has actually become a source of stress and struggle in our family.

My oldest daughter is a lover of water. And she is able to swim in any temperature. She has already swum in 4 degrees Celsius! I mean, how can we even be related?! But most importantly, she wants to share this love of the water with me and will beg and plead for me to join her in any given pool or ocean.

And nine times out of ten, I say “No”, as I watch the disappointment sweep over her face.

I am a firm believer in respecting our own boundaries and communicating them to our loved ones. I have always communicated my boundary with cold water as something physically impossible for me to get over. It feels tortuous to me to go into it. It feels like hell and I would rather do a zillion other things that get wet in cold water. It’s too much of a shock to my system (and I think I have an, as yet unspoken, fear I’ll have a heart attack!) and I just don’t fucking like it! Ok? Can’t that be enough of a reason? So leave me alone about it.

That is basically what I had to tell her, over and over and over again, until she stopped asking…at least for a little while.

But I felt like shit. I wanted to be that mom that went in and enjoyed her time with her child; to play and be goofy and show her that I could be brave and get over my “resistance”. But time and time again, I didn’t make it happen. And as the years went on, I started to feel bad. Respecting my boundaries was, and still is, important. But this felt like something deeper. I needed to shake this up.

So I promised to try harder and be courageous and “just do it”! And here’s what I learned in the process:

My comfort is in the warmth. I am happy, content, cozy and deeply comfortable in the heat. The thought of physically disrupting that comfort is, well, uncomfortable. But why? Am I someone incapable of being with discomfort? Am I not able to push myself into uncomfortable situations? Do I always stay in my comfort zone?

The answer is I am capable of being out of my comfort zone and I have lots of examples to prove that! I fly in airplanes a few times a year (it takes lots of self-coaching to not lose my shit while flying), I left a cushy career to start my own business, I learned a new language at 25 years old while moving to a new country, I am currently on a 1-2 month anti-candida diet/cleanse, and finally, I gave birth with no painkillers (YO, was THAT uncomfortable!).P I N this to pinterest

I can handle discomfort. So what’s up with the cold water?

Last summer, while vacationing in Italy with my extended in-law family, I made a pledge while looking at the beautiful, happy face of my daughter, to be brave and go in the pool. Even after I knew how cold the pool was. Not only had I seen my daughter’s reaction when she jumped in (Miss I Can Swim in Any Temp Water!), but I had also dipped my toe in and, let’s just say, I was terrified.

The anticipation was awful. I would wait for as long as possible, get as hot as humanly possible and only then would I move closer to the water. Sometimes wading works best for me. Sometimes, you just gotta bite the bullet and plunge in head first. That’s my preferred way.

So here’s the beautiful lesson I learned last summer when I dove into the freezing cold pool: it was horribly cold, awful, shocking, uncomfortable, “fucketdy fuck fuck fuck” is probably what I said…but, that only lasted about 5, tops 10, seconds. That’s it.

After that, I was able to swim around, play, relax and enjoy feeling refreshed and cooled off. And, most importantly, I saw the smile on my daughter’s face and felt the pride in my own heart.

All this fuss for 5-10 seconds of discomfort? What had I been so afraid of? Every uncomfortable second was worth it.

I used that piece of information to help me for the rest of our trip. I coached myself through the resistance…reminding myself that discomfort is nothing to be feared but rather to get through it so we can feel the benefits of what else is being offered to us.

I cannot tell you how much this realization and, now, technique has helped me. I like to call it the Cold Water Dunk. It’s a three-step process:

  1. Give yourself the permission to feel uncomfortable
  2. Remind yourself that it won’t last too long
  3. And the bask in the physical exhilaration you feel from the glory of your effort, your courage and your willingness to show up for your life and say “YES, I am going to dive in!”

Since Italy, I have used this technique to help me do FB lives (I coach myself to do them every single time), to help me speak my truth even when I know other’s won’t agree, to take care of my health through an elimination diet, to swim in the cold ocean with my daughter in the Dominican this last March, to name a few.

Discomfort is a wise teacher. And my aversion to the cold water really helped drive this point home for me. It only lasts a few seconds. We can do this. We were made for this.

So next time you doubt yourself or feel the resistance to doing something uncomfortable or revert back to your default ways, think of the Cold Water Dunk and jump in. I can almost guarantee you won’t regret it! 

 

 

 

 

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I want an exciting, fulfilling, purpose-led and heart-led life. I always have and I suspect you have too. 

It’s why I switched careers at 40 to become a life coach, leaving behind a solid career with a great employer, moving into the unknown with excitement and trepidation and a whole lot of butterflies in my gut. You can read more about my story here.

And it’s why my coaching practice is called Your Novel Life.  A name that came to me with such power and clarity about 5 months into my coach training.

A name that holds within it the promise of a new life, while also playing around with the notion that we are the authors of our own lives. 

Yes, the authors. We create the stories of our lives. We get to “write” out the plot twists and details and how we want our stories to unfold and, perhaps, even end.

Yes, we are that powerful. 

And no, I am not delusional. I am well aware that we cannot control the circumstances of our lives, but we can control how we react to them…AND THIS IS EVERYTHING!!!! (Yes, I am screaming this last bit because it is SO IMPORTANT!)

This powerful revelation happened for me during coach training and completely opened me up to a life that was all of a sudden new and different from what’s been known before.

That is what coaching does to someone. It opens them up to new ways of thinking, being, and living in the world. Your relationships change, your self-perception changes, the vision for your life changes. 

You become the master of your domain (Seinfeld fans anyone?) and you recognize how much power you have over your life when you understand that you have the ability to choose how to live.

Your life is not anyone else’s responsibility but your own and that is just mind-blowing when you really think about it! And a little scary too. But mostly unbelievably freeing and empowering! And this is what I want to share with you, my kids, my husband, my friends, my family, and basically anyone who will listen. LOL!

Hence, Your NOVEL Life; a life that is new and different from what’s been known before. 

When this name for my business hit me, I could not turn away from it. It came to me, literally, as a knowing deep in my soul. A name that was not so much chosen by me as given to me. And I was (and continue to be) asked to use it to relay this message:

You (me, all of us) are here to create and live your own authentic story. 

Your Novel Life and the work I do in the world is my invitation to wake up to the central and powerful role we each play in our own lives.

It’s about taking charge of your life, and living it with curiosity, purpose, joy, love and compassion.

 
It’s a life that is grounded in the ordinary hum-drum of daily life, while inviting you to be fully open to finding and experiencing the extraordinary within that. 
 
It’s a life that is in constant evolution…filled with learning, growing and changing into who we are meant to be in any given moment.
It’s a life where you know yourself deeply and well enough so you can move through it with lightness, freedom and confidence (at least most of the time because we are human after all).
It’s a life that is at once messy and wonderful. It doesn’t offer perfection, but rather encourages you to be as real as possible. It’s about putting both feet in and taking a leap of faith over and over and over again. 

It’s about trusting in what you cannot see, while learning to trust in what you feel. 

It’s a life that is compassionate towards yourself, accepting of your limitations and quirks, and fiercely celebrating the glory of your heart and your efforts and kindness and all that you give and want to be and do in the world.

It’s a life that is fully, 100% yours.  Yes, even if you have kids, partners, pets, aging parents, demanding careers, responsibilities up the ass, and have been knocked down by life more than once. P I N this to pinterest

If you’re curious to know what living Your NOVEL Life looks like more concretely, I invite you to visit this page on my website. 

You may be wondering how I know this?  You may be thinking, what does she know? You may even think that I have led a fairly uneventful and almost perfect life and it’s easy for me to say all of this because I have never faced anything challenging or awful or circumstances that felt life-crushing.

Indeed, I have led an extraordinary life filled with many, many, many blessings. I celebrate them and am grateful for them, nearly every day.

But scattered in between the blessings you’ll find deep and mournful pain that has ripped out my heart more than once, loss, rape, emotional abuse, sexual harassment, bullying, miscarriages, health issues, lots of fears, relationship problems, self-esteem issues….you get the idea.

Here is what I know: we are all complicated, diverse, richly unique individuals that want to be loved, cherished and accepted for who we are. And we deserve to live lives that are the fullest expressions of ourselves, to live out our most authentic stories. 

And in order to do that, we start with ourselves….we go back to the basics, to the relationship we have with our own souls.

Your Novel Life and the work I do is an invitation to step into a relationship with yourself that is loving, compassionate, and empowered. Work with me as I teach you how to identify what is keeping you stuck or afraid, lost or overwhelmed, in pain but wanting relief.

Work with me if you are ready for something new and different from what’s been known before. Work with me if you want to know how to handle the messy bits of life while still enjoying the wonderful bits too. Work with me if you want to feel lighter, freer and more confident.

Do I have all the answers to everything? Um, hell no!

Do I know how to listen with deep compassion and non-judgment to someone who is ready to be heard, someone who is ready to tell their story and then shift their story for good? Hell YES!

If you know you are ready to live Your NOVEL Life, I invite you to sign-up for a Complimentary Discovery Call. We’ll be able to discuss your specific coaching needs so I can offer you the best option possible because I want nothing more than for you to create a life you love!

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You don’t have to be unhappy to want to be happier.P I N this to pinterest

You don’t have to be exhausted to want to rest more.

You don’t have to hit rock bottom to want to make changes in your life.

You don’t have to accept overwhelm in order to be a good mom.

You don’t have to put your desires on the back burner in order to be a generous and giving person.

You don’t have to make big changes in order to see big changes in your life.

You don’t have to live out all your dreams in order to live a dreamy life.

You don’t have to beat yourself up with tough love in order to motivate yourself.

You don’t have to feel guilty to want time alone.

You don’t have to be fearless in order to fear less and still do scary, hard things.

You don’t have to criticize your body to want to take better care of your body.

You don’t have to stop “doing” to want to slow down.

You don’t have to make drastic changes to want to live differently.

You don’t have to say yes in order to please people.

You don’t have to change who you are in order to be loved.

You don’t have to express anger to want to be heard.

You don’t have to be religious to want a deep, soulful connection with Spirit.

You don’t have to complete your to-do list in order to enjoy your life, here and now.

You don’t have to work hard in order to play hard.

You don’t have to feel “less than” to want to be more.

You don’t have to accept unkindess in order to be kind.

You don’t have to hate yourself in order to hold yourself accountable.

You don’t have to dim your light so other’s can shine theirs.

You don’t have to be someone you’re not to want to be everything to everyone.

You don’t have to pretend everything is fine in order to make others feel comfortable.

You don’t have to limit your own potential in order to fit into someone else’s idea of your life.

 

But here’s what I believe: you do have to know yourself, accept yourself and love yourself in order to live your most authentic and fulfilling life!

  1. Know yourself. Know your self. Know what your heart desires and what lights up your soul. Know what your body wants to fuel your precious life energy.
  2. Accept yourself with deep and loving compassion for the wildly messy, perfectly imperfect human you are.
  3. Love yourself. Treat yourself with kindness, respect and grace, always.

When you have all these three things, you have everything. You have self-awareness (body, mind and soul), you have compassion for yourself, and you treat yourself with kindness, respect, and love (like you would your own child or dearest friend).

When we love ourselves like this, life becomes easier, happier, and much more fulfilling.

Why? Because we no longer become the punching bag when things don’t work out as planned. We no longer blame ourselves for the “mess” around us. We stop making everyone else’s baggage mean that we are somehow inferior or failures or not good enough. Hell, we stop making our own baggage mean we’ll never be good enough.

Because you are good enough. We all are. Right here, right now. In this very moment. Full stop. Stop doubting it.

When we really take the time to know ourselves and develop enough self-awareness and skills to help us understand what triggers us into becoming screaming, impatient, angry monsters, we’re able to tap into a well of CALM and PERSPECTIVE.

Do not underestimate these two superpowers!

We know how to check in with our most authentic selves to get clear on what the hell just happened and then move forward with actionable tools to either solve or resolve the issue, all from a place of reflective and intentional dialogue. Can you imagine how good this feels and the impact this has on ALL your relationships, including the one with yourself?

P I N this to pinterest

When we give ourselves the compassion and space to fuck up and make mistakes, we give ourselves permission to not be perfect. Why? BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN. What a relief!

And finally, when we really show ourselves LOVE…you know, the kind we so easily bestow upon our loved ones…we become worthy, good enough, and whole.

Our worth no longer depends on someone else’s idea/impression/judgment. Our worth comes from within.

Our value, for simply existing, becomes enough. Our messy, glorious lives become our everything and we become whole within ourselves when we fall in love with ourselves.

So I invite you to pause. Take a moment to consider how you could know, accept and love yourself more…starting today.

Make a decision today to make the investment of time, money or whatever way feels right to you.

  1. Write out what it would feel like to know yourself deeply and have tools to help you focus and stay on track with what’s most important to you, every single day.
  2. Explore what it would feel  like to treat yourself and all your “flaws” with compassion instead of negative self-talk.
  3. What would it feel like to show-up for yourself with the kind of love and care you would give a dear friend when she’s going through a challenging time?

And finally, let yourself imagine what it would FEEL like to treat yourself NO MATTER WHAT with kindness, respect, and grace. How would your daily life change, your daily habits, change if you were to say kind things to yourself instead of disrespectful things? 

For me, I feel lighter in my gut, happier and more energized in my step, less cranky (than before when I allowed the negative thought to drag me down) and a whole lot kinder and patient with my family too.

When you invest in our own well-being, you actually invest in the well-being of your loved ones! 

Now that feels like a win-win!

If you need ideas or support about how to do this, email me at marieke@yournovellife.com. I’d love to explore it together.

xo

 

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I wrote this text in May 2014. I have left it unedited and as raw as it was originally written (save for some aesthetic touches which are important to the eye). It explains my journey to how I came to coaching. Even though it’s only been 3.5 years since I wrote these words, I have grown and changed so much since then. The journey of entrepreneurship and coaching will do that to someone (HA, understatement of the year!). And yet, I still very much see myself, the good ole’ ordinary me. Every last bit of my extraordinarily ordinary self, so open, ready and earnest. I do love her. 


All I want is an “ordinary” life…an extraordinarily beautiful, inspiring, joyful, exciting, fun, awesome, meaningful, loving, and happy life. And with this ordinary life of mine, I want to help people live their own extraordinarily “ordinary” lives too.

I believe that life is simple. It is made up of a thousand different moments, day after day after day that then turn into year after year after year. And these moments tend to be the most ordinary things…the sound of your toddler’s feet pitter-pattering down the hallway; sipping your morning coffee; having dinner with friends; going for an ice cream on a hot, summer day; reading the paper; taking a shower; preparing for a trip; getting ready for work; lounging in bed…whatever ordinary looks like in your life.

But here’s the thing, THESE MOMENTS ARE WHAT MAKE OUR LIVES EXTRAORDINARY when your life is your own creation. When you live from a place of authenticity, you are clearer about what makes your life feel extraordinary. YOU get to decide what feels like fun, what tastes delicious, what you need, what you want, how you want to spend your days, hours, minutes. Your life becomes extraordinary because you realize that you have the power, brilliance and capabilities to make your life and soul shine from within.

You see… here’s my truth. I believe that life is magical and we become awakened to this magic when our soul’s mission finally comes into full clarity. I believe the universe really does conspire to help us live our best lives when we take those leaps of faith as we listen to the whispering of our soul’s yearnings and start putting what we truly want from life into action. I believe that life is messy, complicated and wonderful, all at the same time. Life is unfair, it hurts, it SUCKS sometimes, but it is so damn beautiful that it can take our breath away.

And I believe from the depths of my soul that when we choose to create the lives we deeply yearn for, we make the world a better place. When we share our authentic selves, from a place of full vulnerability, courage, fear and love, we ignite the same desire in others and then the world slowly becomes lit-up from within, with people going about their ordinary lives from places of extraordinary brilliance…we’re all just trying to do our thing, our way and be respected and loved and accepted for who we are and what we have to offer.

Step out of your own shadow and into your brilliant light, I say!

My search for authenticity

I would like to say that my quest for authenticity began young, as I am now able to reflect back on my rebellious youth from a compassionate perspective. I tried desperately to be heard, loved and appreciated, but adolescent angst, insecurity and the deep need to “belong” yet “stand apart” certainly muddied my waters for a few years. Some might say that I looked for acceptance in the wrong places, with the wrong people, through the wrong actions. Maybe. Maybe not.

The turning point in my search for authenticity came on an ordinary day as I sat in front of the man I thought I would one day marry after I had asked him how he saw his life five years down the road. (I was always a dreamer and lover of these deep and meaningful questions!)

What were some of his dreams? What did he yearn for in his life?

BUT…he was unable to answer.

HE WAS UNABLE TO ANSWER!

Nothing came out.

Not. One. Dream. Not. One. Idea. Nothing.

P I N this to pinterest

He was unable to answer…and my soul whispered, rather loudly, “Ok girl, this is NOT feeling good. I think it may be time to get moving and living and start dreaming about a different kind of a life.” And I did pretty quickly after that. After 6 years together, I moved away to start living my dream and we slowly fell apart a few months later. (Suffice it to say, there were lots of other issues going on here, but this was my incredibly defined and memorable tipping point.)

The next pivotal moment on my journey came while I was traveling around the world on an 8-month backpacking trip with my sister. (BEST TIME EVER, BTW!) I met a man in New Zealand, who I consider my spiritual soul mate, who taught me very simply how to be still and then “follow my heart, be true to myself”. Something clicked inside my soul when I heard this incredibly simple yet deeply profound statement and it propelled me into a new way of being in the world. I have embodied this mantra every since (and I liked it so much that I actually got it tattooed on my leg in Chinese characters while in Thailand during our travels, much to the horror of my poor parents!) And as soon as I started to live this way, my life changed in miraculous ways.

Newly single and loving every minute of it, BAM!, I met the man who would become my husband while traveling in the Greek islands and yes, it was as romantic as you can imagine; moved to Montréal with my man and found a “perfect” Master’s program where I was able to write my Master’s thesis while doing actual academic research on authenticity, needless to say I was in HEAVEN! (The abstract can be found here for those interested: http://philpapers.org/rec/BOSLTG).

And then I continued on my path towards living my full and lovely life, which slowly filled up with a dog, friends, family, work, trips, homes, renovations, children, yada, yada, yada. It wasn’t always pretty or easy or fun, as I had some very hard times in between but it was my lovely little life. Until…another pivotal moment arrived, and then another and another…until I could no longer look away and ignore the whispers of my soul.

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