It had been planned for months, our trip to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday; just the two of us, a week away, in Europe. Woo hoo! What’s not to be excited about?! My in-laws were babysitting at our house. Perfect plan. But as our departure drew closer, a terrible and mean voice in my head slowly took over.About a week before we left, it started as a whisper…”you could die, you know?” I started to develop tension in my jaw, deep and painful. I stopped sleeping well and found myself consumed by the idea (or, was it a premonition, I asked myself) that we would go away on our trip only to never, ever come back again. And our children would be orphaned. A horrific plane crash, which has always been a constant fear of mine since I was 17 (thanks to a scary flight…but that’s another story!), that’s how it would happen.  And then the fear and anxiety continued to grow and grow and grow until the voice was no longer a whisper…it was present and with me all day and I WAS SCARED. It would cackle at me while doing the dishes, brushing my teeth, putting the kids to bed: “You’re gonna die!” In fact, I had been completely hijacked (no pun intended) by my fear…my usual happy and mostly joyful self had been pushed to the curb, stepped on and forced out to suffer in silence and with such FEAR. BLINDING FEAR, the kind of fear that sits in your gut and gnaws away at your confidence, trust, compassion, empathy, and love. It was all consuming.

In spite of my suffering, I appeared fine to my family…I hid it well. I did mention to my husband that I was feeling anxious about our flight, but he’s used to that with me. But I knew I needed help. My anxiety about flying had NEVER been this pronounced.  I was SUFFERING and felt completely in despair instead of being filled with the excited anticipatory fluttering in my belly that I wanted so desperately to feel for our planned vacation. I wasn’t ready to cancel our trip but I couldn’t bear the pain any longer. So I did what all good coaches do and I got coached. I ASKED for help(which I fully admit is not easy for me). And what happened next astounded me.
The tears came as I admitted, in what felt like defeat (because, you know, I am strong and have all my shit together!), to my fear. Huge droplets poured out of me, tinged with sadness, grief, guilt, fear, anxiety, regret…my chest heaving with gutted sobs. My coach held the space for me to release it all out and then we got to work. “What was the thought driving my fear”, she asked? After some digging and attempts at constructing a legible sentence between my snot-filled sobs…I got it: “As their mother, I am the ONLY person who can comfort my children in what would be their time of deepest grief and how selfish of me to go off on “vacation” and then DIE and leave them alone and not even be able to be there for them to support them as they grieve me and my husband.”  HOLY SHIT. HEAVY SHIT. I mean, I had even gone so far in my thoughts as to plan for the rest of their school year without us; I was that DEEP into my thought that we were not coming back and I would not be able to support them the way “a mother should”. Not to mention simply feeling really freaking sad about it all. And as soon as I said it (mind you, I DID NOT KNOW that this was the thought behind my anxiety), I IMMEDIATELY felt the tension release from my jaw. I IMMEDIATELY felt a sense of relief and that I could come back to myself…no longer hidden by my fear…no longer hijacked by the voice in my head.  My coach and I talked it through and she helped me to see how much PRESSURE I was putting on myself…to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, in my heart. All the ‘shoulding” I was doing to myself about what a “good” mother does and doesn’t do. ACK! I left our session with relief, the kind that utterly exhausts you as it leaves your core. And I actually felt OK.

So when our plane took off a few days later and we hit major turbulence and I started sweating in places that don’t normally sweat, and the voice tried to creep back in to torment me, I held on to my replacement thought: “ I AM a loving mother and my children are loved.” This was the thought that felt good to me as I worked through my fear of not being able to comfort them if ever we did die (because what an unloving act that would be!). We left them with loving family members and they would ALWAYS have love around them. Would it be my love, our love…hmm, not exactly? But would it be LOVE? Yes. And as our plane flew off into the night and I sat there, breathing deeply while repeating my mantra to myself about LOVE, I also reminded myself that I want to live a life of courage and face my fears. I don’t want to NOT take a plane to go on vacation with my husband, so I can live in the safety of…WHAT? Life is here. Life is now. And I want to experience it with as much joy and appreciation as possible, while being thankful for the lessons fear and anxiety teach me along the way. And, taking a cue from my youngest daughter who loves to sing “LET IT GO!”, I am still learning one of my lessons which is to “LET IT GO” when it comes to my fear of flying and perhaps even my fear of LIVING life to the fullest (which include vacations without my kids sometimes!)…but the moments when I do and I am able to look out that plane window in absolute marvel as we soar above the clouds…I am so peaceful, thankful and I am OK. In fact, I even feel like it’s fun…a little bit.

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What do SNOW PANTS and SELF LOVE have in common? 

Depending on where you live, by the time we hit mid-Febraury we can start to feel really depleted by the cold and dark days of Winter. This Winter in Montréal has been one of the coldest and snowiest in years and everyone around me is complaining about it (the father at daycare, the teller at the grocery store, my financial adviser).  Even my four-year old is sick of Winter and asks nearly every morning now, “When is Winter going to be OVER?!”  And, last year you would have seen me doing to the exact same thing. Bitching, complaining, even feeling sorry for myself that I have to “deal” with Winter. But not anymore! Why?, you ask. Self-love. I really needed to LET GO of my “winter sucks” blockage if I wanted to live a happier life. Winter here lasts MONTHS, with our last snowstorm blasting through in April (and sometimes even in MAY, wtf!?). Anyway, I was TIRED of feeling TIRED by Winter. So, I took a real hard look at my habits, thoughts, and the actual things that bugged me about our longest season. And when I was able to specifically pinpoint my angst, I was able to take simple yet life-changing actions to change my routine. Here are two examples of my BEST CHANGES:
 ♥
1. I light some candles upon waking to add warmth and cozy light to our dark mornings. And I continue this into the evening. Sounds SUPER simple, right? It is. Nothing “genius” about this act except for that the fact that it has completely transformed my outlook and how I feel. On days when I feel tired of the dark and/or COLD, the gentle and warm glow of a candle’s flame instantly brings me joy and literally makes me feel warmer. It’s my idea of having a mini-fireplace in my home.
 ♥
2. Snow pants. It took me a while to learn how to dress properly for our winters (like 6 years but I am going on 15 years living here!) and I am pretty good with my down coat, Sorel boots etc. But wearing my snow pants on the really cold days is my new non-negotiable and I am SO MUCH HAPPIER. I am no longer cursing the cold but instead able to move through our snowy sidewalks with patience, as I am not constantly RUSHING to get inside because I am SO FREAKING COLD.
 ♥
Regardless of Winter, what changes could you make to your routine that could alleviate your stress and add more joy, warmth, and coziness to your life? What are you holding onto in your life (for me, it was being angry at Winter for being…well, Winter) that simply isn’t serving you so you can be the GREATEST version of yourself? How can you bring in LOVE…that beautiful, delicious, satisfying and deeply contented feeling…to YOURSELF? Winter was NOT going to change her ways for me… needed to change my ways and take responsibility for my own WELL-BEING.  And, THAT, my friends is the essence of SELF LOVE; being empowered to give yourself what you NEED, WANT, and CRAVE.YOU deserve it. You DESERVE it. You deserve SELF LOVE. Got it? 😉
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So I have had short hair for many, many years…until recently. At the request of my darling daughters, I have been growing my own hair out for a while now. “We want to see what you look like with LONG hair Mama!” I gave in and have been, aside from a couple of crazed moments when I wanted to chop it all off, quite happy with the process and the way it’s looking…well, sort of.

You see, when I had short hair I was obsessed with my straight iron to keep my hair sleek and able to hold the”look” of my cut. My hair, and I am betting many of yours is the same, tends to get frizzed in humid weather and ends up looking like it has no style whatsoever, especially when it’s short. It just becomes a floppy nest-like wad of fine hair blowing in the breeze. UGH. Are you feeling my pain? 😉

ANYWAY, as my hair has grown out I have been easing off of my straight iron and been experimenting with waves. I love the look of these women with long, flowy, gorgeous hair that is all wavy and looks so effortless to wear. (I am sure I have a few pics of them on my Pinterest page in case you’re interested.) However, I told myself, “I don’t have hair like them and I never will. I need help.”  And, as such, I have tried, very badly I might add, to create waves by using my straight iron. Why is it that I can never seem to emulate my hairdresser’s techniques in quite the same way as when he demonstrates for me in the salon?! ARGH. I also went so far as to buy a curling iron and started experimenting with that. Again, ouch. Not much success. DAMN. So, for the last few weeks I have put my fancy tools away and have been simply blow drying my hair and calling it a day. Not thrilled with the result but, WTF, it is just hair after all. right?

And then one day, I had a thought. “What if I wash my hair, let it dry totally naturally, and see what happens?”

Guess what? I know you know the answer. Yup. Naturally wavy and kind of awesome hair (at least in my book of awesome!). WHO KNEW!? I certainly did not. I had NO FAITH, NO HOPE, NO NOTHIN’ for my natural hair’s capabilities. But the funny thing is this…as I have gotten older, my hair is changing and it has now, very thankfully, changed into waves. So the moral of the story? Trust that what you want, is already in YOU. Trust that you already HAVE what you want. You just have to give it space to come out and shine and make you smile. Imagine if we let our natural states and selves come out more often. What would we discover about ourselves?

Hormones, aging, and weather can be fickle and unpredictable things that influence our hair, among LOADS of other things, in large and small ways….but for today, I am darn thankful for my wavy awesomeness! And if you have read this far, you rock for having made it through a post about hair! thanks!!

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I am sitting here on this fine Wednesday morning not feeling particularly HAPPY. All the optimism, excitement, sense of purpose and good intentions seem to have floated away into the frigid airs here in Montréal and I am left feeling, well, kind of BLAH.

Why?!! How could I have gone from being filled with SO MUCH lightness and hope a few days ago to sitting here with aching muscles and bones and being all grumbly and cranky and feeling so removed from how I really want to feel? What is WRONG with me? I asked myself this question today, multiple times in fact. And then I found my answer. Are you ready for it? Are you?

nothing.

There is nothing “wrong” with me. I am perfectly un-perfect in my grumbly crankiness. Not every second of every day is happy. In fact, how freaking BORING would that be? How sad would it be to not know the opposite of happy, so when HAPPY does show up in all it’s glory we can actually recognize it and love it and appreciate the hell out of it?

So folks, today I fully embrace my cranky ass with deep love and appreciation for I know that my HAPPY is coming back, one day (hopefully soon!), and when she shows her lovely face and warms my un-perfect soul, I will hold her close and say THANK YOU for being here.

My wish for you, you NOVEL LIFERS, is to embrace it all. Find the blessing in the mess, the bad mood, the wrong turn, and then know that something wonderful is on the other side or a bit further down the road and you’ll be so HAPPY when you meet it again.

peace and love. always.

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I love teaching my clients specific skills and tools to help support them on their journeys to living with more JOY. So I wanted to share a couple of coaching tools to help YOU move forward into the holiday season with clear intentions about how to tap into the holiday spirit all season long!

The holidays can bring up A LOT of varied emotions for people…stress, joy, exhaustion, frustration, merriment, irritation, anxiety, and overload, to name a few! Throw in a couple of drunk relatives, rich foods that leave us feeling bloated and hyper-stimulated kids and, well…it can be a recipe for disaster! So what can you do to start off the holiday season with calm and excitement rather than dread?
Know your END GAME*. Ask yourself the following questions and then write down your answers:

  1. What feeling(s) do I want to capture this holiday season?
  2. Which traditions do I honor that bring up this feeling(s) for me?
  3. Are there any new traditions that get me excited or elicit this feeling(s)?
  4. Which traditions do not support this feeling(s)?
  5. Who do I want to celebrate with?
  6. How do I want my home to look and feel during this holiday season?
  7. If I were brave enough, I would (I will)…

Once you’ve written down your answers, write out your End Game: the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of your ideal holiday season. I also highly recommend you ask those closest to you to come up with their End Game too and see how they all fit (or don’t fit) together. It will clarify if your vision is congruent with those you love and give you insight into how to move forward if not.


Now that your End Game is clear, you can choose to support it by doing the following:

  • Honor the feeling state you named as you approach all your activities this holiday season by doing the next step;
  • Check in with yourself with each and every “have to”, “need to” and “should” that inevitably comes up with invites to parties, arts and crafts sales, dinners, gift-exchanges, traveling, office shin-digs, cookie baking, play dates, shopping for gifts, volunteer work, etc.
  • Does the activity elicit your feeling state? If not, don’t do it. Sound too simple? It’s really not. Honoring the feeling you want to have helps give you a touchstone to use when determining how to spend your precious time and energy in the whirlwind of the holiday season. It helps you live in alignment with YOUR vision for YOUR holiday season.
  • And last but not least, the best part is you will show up for your loved ones in a state closer to JOY then the angry, hurried, resentful, harried person none of us likes to be, especially during the holidays! 

I hope you enjoyed learning about this little but powerful tool! I invite you to use it in all aspects of your life.  And I would love to hear about your experiences, so please share!

For the month of December, I am offering a special discount on all my coaching packages. Book a package of 4, 6 or 8 sessions before January 1st and receive a 25% discount!

PEACE and LOVE.

*Adapted from Susan Hyatt, Master Coach, and Dr. Martha Beck

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