My Story

Farewell Chapter 2017 & Welcome Chapter 2018Featured

In FINANCE

As I round the corner saying goodbye to 2017, I am excited to say hello to 2018! There is much to reflect upon and celebrate! 2017 was a year of massive growth and expansion. There was no doubt that I stretched in all areas of life beyond my scope of imagination.

As Alice from “Alice In Wonderland” quoted, “It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then”. For me, 2017 was my yesterday and I was surely a different person then.

The woman I am as we speak, is a direct result of allowing a different person to show up in each of the 365 days of 2017. There were many battles that were won, and some that were lost. Every time I thought I became the person I was meant to be in order to navigate through my journey, I was presented with yet another opportunity to stretch beyond my perceived limitations. Many lessons were presented and I received an opportunity to learn some great lessons. I chose to love, embrace, forgive and celebrate. I chose to laugh, smile, scream and cry. I chose to share, give and receive. I chose to be beautiful and ugly. I chose to say many No’s and to say Yes where it counted the most. I chose each and every day with no regrets, no should haves and no could haves. I am exactly who I am meant to be thanks to 2017!

When the beginning of the year started, I, like most people, was off to the races with my goals set out for the new year. I was full of enthusiasm and drive to flourish in my businesses, thrive in my marriage, foster meaningful relationships, build financial wealth, connect with authenticity, embrace leadership, give back through service, leave a legacy and essentially play a bigger game in life.

I chose to love, embrace, forgive and celebrate. I chose to laugh, smile, scream, and cry. I chose to share, give and receive. I chose to be beautiful and ugly.

I was fueled with excitement and ambition to open doors, explore opportunities and build dreams. New branches of the investment business started to take form. Additional support was brought on board. Partnerships were created as it was necessary to carry out the company’s vision in building dreams together. New relationships were attracted like two magnets coming together. Those who saw value in connection came on board and those who chose not to play, slowly faded away. As the seasons changed, so did the people. It was not long before I quickly identified the quality of the uplifting relationships that I was surrounded by. Mentors gifted knowledge, supporters gifted their time, spirit and energy. Family gifted love and hope while a handful of friends grew alongside us.  

I would like take a quick journey down memory lane as I say goodbye and sign off of chapter 2017.

Farewell to spiritual quests in connecting with nature through medicinal plants.
Farewell to  a commitment in servicing a community through their personal growth journey.
Farewell to an intestinal obstruction which lead to a 4 day visit at the hospital.
Farewell to a coaching experience in a 10 day personal development course where over 100 women from around the world received leadership training.
Farewell to spiritually supporting a special individual who now has awareness on how to monitor and care for a life threatening heart condition.
Farewell to a benign lump found in the breast.
Farewell to travels to the East Coast where meaningful connections were formed.
Farewell to witnessing the weddings of 4 beautiful couples.
Farewell to an invigorating and rejuvenating getaway to Palm Springs with friends.
Farewell to the massive win in business with closing one of the largest tax savings cases in Canada for a company.
Farewell to visits by family and friends around the world.
Farewell to financial blogs shared with the FemFab community.  
Farewell to a training course in becoming a certified NLP practitioner.
Farewell to the shooting incident at Mandalay Bay during our visit to Las Vegas.
Farewell to the corporate training opportunity which lead me to a path in pursuing my purpose with personal life coaching.
Farewell to the role I played as a managing partner in the businesses with my husband.  
Farewell to a magical 4 year wedding anniversary trip to Whistler.
Farewell to an awakening experience with mass consciousness.
Farewell to a celebration of my cousin who is now training for the 2020 summer olympics.
Farewell to my discovery of my life purpose in coaching people to discover their personal power.
Farewell to my home which provided me a safe and comforting space to return to everyday.

Farewell 2017, as I sign off this chapter of my life I want to acknowledge you for the phenomenal year we experienced together. Each of the 365 days you’ve gifted me, was necessary to grow and expand. Because of your gifts, I have found a fulfilling piece of me. The piece where I can now allow myself to live a passionate purpose through helping those awaken their greatest potential. I graciously accept and honor you, I believe that there is a greater purpose that was served through the lessons, dedication, commitment, patience and partnership. It was truly a great run!

I have found a fulfilling piece of me. The piece where I can now allow myself to live a passionate purpose through helping those awaken their greatest potential.

What are some of your 2017 farewells?

With embracing arms, I would now like to say hello and welcome in chapter 2018!

A brand new 365 days to be a different me.
A brand new 365 pages to write an epic story exactly the way I want.

Welcome to moving into a peaceful new space on the 1st day of the new year!
Welcome to global leader partnerships in North America!
Welcome to carrying out my life purpose to help people in discovering their personal power!
Welcome to building a successful and influential personal life coaching business!
Welcome to partnerships in empowering entrepreneurial women!
Welcome to clear alignment on partnership goals with my husband!
Welcome to working right alongside global leaders and influencers to further my personal growth!
Welcome to adventurous travels around the globe!
Welcome to attracting high vibration individuals who I can build meaningful and deep connections with!
Welcome to sharing new monthly blogs with the FemFab community!
Welcome to great relationships of abundance, wealth and prosperity!
Welcome to a healthy mind, body, soul and spirit!
Welcome to creating a family of my own!

Welcome chapter 2018! Let’s make this new year greater than the last, let’s make this one an extraordinary year! Who’s with me?!

 

What is FemFab?Featured

In HOME

If you happen to be NEW to FemFab, WELCOME! Check out our awesome blogs on Self-Image/fitness, Spirituality, Give-back, Travel and Finance and don’t forget to visit our Shop too!

If you’re still wondering, what exactly IS FemFab? Check out this video…

A Dollar Invested Will Ultimately Work For YouFeatured

In FINANCE

Growing up, do you recall ever being told to save your money? …to store any extra money away into your piggy bank or bank account? …or that saving money will give you money later on in life?

I was taught all of the above in my early years. My memories of those comments were repeated time over time whenever I was given money as a gift or earned it on my own. I saved my money in my piggy bank. I put every bill from all my lucky red envelopes I received during Chinese New Year’s, my Birthday, Christmas, as well as my weekly allowance, into that cylinder shaped tin container I called my piggy bank when I was growing up.

From time to time, I would pull out a few dollars to spend at the local neighborhood corner store as it was directly on my path to school each day. Inside the store, was always filled with isles of sugary sweets. From Nerds, to Twizzlers to Mars Bars to Runts. Some of my childhood favorites were: Fruit By The Foot Roll Ups, classic coke bottle gummies and sour key suckers. But my all-time favorite were the Old Dutch potato chips! My eyes would always widen up and my heart would smile as I stood there in the land of delicious opportunity.Thankfully, being taught to save money was deeply instilled and I never overindulged with buying too many delicious sweets which kept my piggy bank weighing rather healthy.

I carried this habit with me straight into my early college years, where I found myself saving a decent amount of money earned from my part time job. Of course, still spending some money on some of my favorite goods. The only difference was, instead of sweet and savory snacks, it was now clothes, makeup and weekend entertainment. During that time, my grown up piggy bank (aka bank account) had a consistent savings balance of about $2500. My bi-weekly pay cheque was quite comfortable and I always had a good awareness of my account balance.

I was ultimately trading more of my time for more money

So what was the problem you might ask? For many students at that age, having a savings of $2500 in their bank account was exhilarating. For me however, that was not the case, as there came a point, parallel to the human psyche, I wanted more… more savings in my piggy bank! Essentially, I wanted to see my it grow bigger and feel it weighing more. The solution at the time was simple and clear. If I was to take on more shifts at work, my piggy bank would grow. That was simple enough. As the number of hours I worked increased, so did the numbers in my bank account. From $2500 in savings, it quickly jumped to $3000.

At the time this was very encouraging as I set out a goal to save more money and I made it happen!! Of course, I was ultimately trading more of my time for more money. This did not last for very long, as my school work happened to take southern turn. I was falling behind in my studies as well I was feeling quite stressed in trying to manage my transition into post secondary school, my social life with friends, my work performance, as well as my well-being. Yes, my goal of wanting to save more money was achieved, yet I found myself spending even more money to compensate for the level of stress I was going through at the time. After feeling this way for a while I found myself back where I started, at the $2500 savings mark.

I had this feeling of defeat. Not only did I unsuccessfully grow my piggy bank the way I had envisioned, I sacrificed my own well-being for a goal of wanting to save more. It was then I realized that each of those dollars I saved, stayed exactly the same. Nothing was different about those dollars saved, nothing changed, and nothing grew. I remember thinking to myself there has got to be a better way to grow the savings in my account.

It was almost immediately after this revelation of looking for a way to grow my savings, my employer approached me to tell me about the company’s employee stock options purchase benefit. At the time, the only piece of knowledge I had instilled in me and carried forth was to ‘save my money’ in my piggy bank. I had little understanding on any investments, let alone company stock options. Luckily my boss took the time to enlighten me on the topic. I discovered that this was an incentive the company I was working for offered. Employees had the option to put aside up to 15% of their pay-cheque to purchase company stock shares at the lowest market value of each quarter.

Up until that point I wholeheartedly believed that saving my money in the piggy bank was the end-all be-all of my financial existence.

At that moment, I saw this as an alternative avenue to continue my savings growth. Therefore I made a decision to opt in at 10% of every pay-cheque. A few months had passed and I had forgotten that I had made the decision to take part in purchasing those stocks. Then one day during a shift of mine, my boss handed me a letter size envelope sent from corporate. I had no clue what was inside the envelope and when I opened it up, there inside was a certificate of ownership for 18 shares of the company stock!

I thought to myself… how cool is this? I am an owner of 18 shares of the company I worked for!

I knew there was great value to this piece of paper.  However, I certainly did not take the time to fully comprehend the details with all the excitement. I did, however, feel confident in making that decision to add this new route to grow my savings. More than 3 years went by as I continued to receive the certificate of ownership of the company stocks each quarter. At some point I felt like I was playing a collector’s game as I continued to receive and collect the certificates of the shares. With each certificate, I would deposit them into a trading account which I had opened at a TD WaterHouse. I deposited a total of nearly 200 shares! Logically, I knew that I was practicing a healthy money habit, yet at the time I didn’t necessarily recognize my actions as anything more than saving more money.

The day came when my boss brought to my attention that our company stock price was at an all-time high and if I happened to still be holding onto any shares, she advised that it would be a good time to sell and make a healthy profit…and a very healthy profit it was! After making the decision on selling nearly 200 shares, I managed to generate over 4 times the original amount I had taken from each paycheque overall in the 3 years I had opted into this benefit! Through those actions, I was unexpectedly lead on a path where investing the money I saved resulted in the creation of having my money work for me. Unknowingly, in those three years my money worked for me resulting in 4 times the growth rate. Up until that point I wholeheartedly believed that saving my money in the piggy bank was the end-all be-all of my financial existence.

It is never too late to learn that the best way to creating more money is to make investments work for you.

Looking at this today might seem trivial. How could I have possibility had my savings grow 4 times more if I had not made the decision to invest into purchasing the company shares with the money I was making? Had it not been for that experience, I may have continued to trade in my time for more money until my well-being and health was compromised just to see my savings grow.

We see that happening in our society right now. People trading in more of their time to earn more money. Trading in more of their well-being for extra savings. Burning themselves out not realizing there are other ways to create more money without having to compromise themselves or fall into  perpetual loops of working, saving, spending and working, saving spending. Warren Buffet says, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you are sleeping you will work for the rest of your life”. Similarly, Robert Kawasaki, author of the all time bestselling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad also says, “School teaches you how to work for money but it doesn’t teach you how to have money work for you.”

It is never too late to learn that the best way to creating more money is to make investments work for you. If you can see value in having investments work to create more money, seek out a method to get your money working for you now. In my experience, I have found that the best way to discover methods other people are using is to simply ask. Most people who are creating a healthy amount of wealth in their life are open to sharing what they are practicing.They too, at one point, had to learn from someone else. While they may all have different ways to do it, one thing remains unanimous with them all…

…once you learn how to have money work for you, you’ll never go back!

I would love to hear what methods you are practicing when it comes to having your money work for you?

 

Is it Time to Re-write Your Money Story?Featured

In FINANCE

In my profession as a wealth and business advisor, I often hear individuals and families share their personal experiences with money and their comments often echo money stories such as:

“Growing up I was poor…”

“I never had a lot of money…”

“My family was not rich…”

“I lost a lot of money back when…”

“I was never able to afford…”

“I always struggled with finances…”

As these experiences may have been a part of many lives, myself included, I found that staying in ‘what it was’ kept me from fulfilling my desires to move in the direction of what I really wanted. My dream was to create multiple sources of income (MSI) and a healthy residual cash-flow.  Many of us know that whatever we choose to focus our energy on will yield those exact results.

Although I always knew I wanted to create MSI and cash-flow, my own money story was unconsciously getting in my way and for many years, I would start my story with:‘Money was an absence in my family while growing up…’ My story consisted of how my family was so poor, that for a few years during my childhood, my father would be out and about collecting empty pop and beer cans to make extra money. He would do this before and after his regular job in the early mornings, late evenings, weekends and holidays.Game or event nights were especially lucrative as we ventured out for hours at a time on these can collecting excursions. He would drive to community parks, local beaches and essentially anywhere he could scour for “hidden treasures” (as he would call it), even if it was straight out of trash cans.

…whatever we choose to focus our energy on will yield those exact results.

I recall these experiences so vividly as if I was there right beside him. That 8 year old girl who was asked to join him after school and on weekends for these can collecting adventures. I can still remember the smell, especially the beer cans. It was definitely not the smell of daisies and unicorns.

Sometimes, my hands would get so sticky from the left over soda spilled on the can, that I imagined myself as Spider Woman, with the secret power of collecting cans just from touching them! Of course, my real thoughts were of embarrassment and shame every time I ventured out with my father to collect these scraps of tin. As an 8 year old girl, I just wanted to play with my friends and do the typical things my friends were doing, like riding bikes at the park or having teatime with teddy bears.

I knew my Father was working extremely hard with his main goals  to provide the very best for his family and to ensure that there was enough money for all of our essential needs. Even though those few years of can collecting were not my favorite memories, I appreciated every bit of what he did to provide for our family. My father is a man I am extremely proud of. His strength during those years taught me that there are always solutions to any challenge and that when faced with adversity, the truest test of strength is the will to find a way, as he always did.

And there you have it, that was my story around wealth, or lack of it, and it’s the story I carried into my adult life.

Fast forward 20 years…

I’m socializing at an event and sharing a story about some future hopes and dreams of mine when I find myself in a space of deja-vu.  For a moment, I ask myself “have I shared this story tonight already?”  Just then, the attention of the event turned to the host, thanking everyone for attending and a small speech ensued.In that moment, I found myself wondering, “Have I shared this story before?” I sure felt like I did, but it wasn’t at this party.  “I think I shared a similar story a few months ago at another gathering. Wait! I think I shared this story 6 months ago? I think I also shared something similar a year or two ago as well!”I began to wonder,“Am I experiencing the same things and sharing my story or am I sharing my story and experiencing the same things?”

In that introspective moment, I realized that every time I thought about something that was beyond my current financial capacity, I would think back on my childhood memories of how hard it was just to make ends meet and how much love and respect I had for my father’s work ethic. I was working harder to make ends meet, rather than working smarter to create the abundant life I wanted.  I realized that, the very story I kept telling myself for the last 20 years, was preventing me from achieving the financial and life goals that I wanted.  

Since my defining financial experience was based on that childhood story, I realized that it didn’t matter how hard I worked because I believed that I would always be poor or struggle with finances unless I worked incredibly hard. Even then, that would mean at best, I was only going to make ends meet. As I mentioned above, no matter how conscious our efforts, whatever we secretly believe about ourselves and the world, becomes our reality. My financial beliefs and what I was telling myself were not aligned with what I was trying to achieve. Each time I shared my story about ‘what it was’, I became engulfed by that very story and it locked me into a never ending loop.  

…the very story I kept telling myself for the last 20 years, was preventing me from achieving the financial and life goals that I wanted.

During this realization, it also dawned on me that somewhere in my inner being, I was receiving some emotional satisfaction by continuing to immerse myself in that particular story. Perhaps I secretly wanted the people I shared my story with to feel sympathy for me, or maybe I just wanted to hang onto those moments with my father as he was such a significant part of my growth as a child.

Have you ever found yourself telling the same story over and over again and not realizing that the story you were telling was defining your current reality?I am a firm believer that all of our life experiences make up the very person we are today. However, our life experiences are simply that, just our life experiences. It is “what it was” not “what it is now” or “what it could be”.

After realizing that I was the one stopping myself from reaching those wealth goals, I made a conscious commitment to focus on my current story. What it  is now, at this very moment.No more telling myself the story of ‘what it was’ as that eight-year-old girl. After making that shift of consciousness, I can tell the real story, the story of now.  It’s the story of achieving my goals in creating MSI through different avenues of income generating businesses. It is the satisfaction of breaking free and empowering myself to create a healthy flow of residual income through alternative investment tools.

The potential of what it could be is continuing to allow myself to receive tools and techniques from global experts in building an abundance of wealth then sharing my knowledge to the best of my ability with the audience who comes upon the content of my writing and services.

So let’s hear it!  I would love to hear what your money story is for you now!

Going SoloFeatured

In TRAVEL

I know for many, the thought of traveling solo can be a very daunting thing. To explore a foreign place, not knowing anyone, not even speaking the language and survive… much less have a good time? Eeeek! Often, this is the point when the idea just drops. Now let’s sit down and run over a few things, grab your choice of comfort liquid and I’ll share my list of reasons why I believe traveling solo can be very rewarding!

1) Learn to hold yourself capable. From planning, taking care of yourself, being more aware of your own surroundings – you learn to TRUST yourself, your gut instincts and inner compass.

2) Let go. Depending on your traveling nature, if you plan days during your trip where you have nothing to do but roam and chill out at your own leisurely pace, one can really learn the value and beauty of taking your own “sweet time”. Often when we are at home, we have a pile of to-do’s and subconscious stressors that run us no matter how much down time we have. But when you are a thousands of miles away from home, by yourself, one can truly detach and surrender, breathe, taste, and simply “be”.

3) Make new friends and be open to learning. Get out of your comfort zone! Introverts, you will be making new friends and meeting people from all walks of life wherever you go. I was exploring temples in Narita last year when a friendly older lady came by and asked me if I knew the history of the place. Upon my response, she enthusiastically decided to take the next two hours out of her day to show me her village. She did her best to use what english she knew, mixed with body language to show me where and how everything started in her village. By the time she had to go, she apologized for having to leave due to being late for making dinner at home! It was the most adorable, yet educational lesson.

when you are a thousands of miles away from home, by yourself, one can truly detach and surrender, breathe, taste, and simply ‘be’.

4) Overcome the fear of eating alone or sitting alone. I used to be one of those people who hated eating alone. I would rather not eat at all than be seen eating all by myself. Now that I’m writing it out, and thinking of it I’m laughing because it seems so silly now. However, I know there are many who find it very uncomfortable to do this. With a shift in mindset, especially when it comes to traveling solo, you may find yourself being alone and eating alone quite often. A way I overcome this is, if anyone asks, is I proudly say, “I’m on a date with myself”. It’s a serious act of self-love! Own that time you have to yourself, allow that silly, uncomfortable feeling to bubble up and also allow that to leave your psyche. Your soul will thank you later! Remember, you need love from yourself too!

On top of all the amazing stories you will be able to share with your grandchildren, your experiences from travelling solo will no doubt strengthen your independence, self-confidence, openness and trust.

Tip for beginners traveling solo:

  • Visit places where you speak the language
  • Visit places where you may have some friends/family around just in case you want to have a point of comfort
  • Research everything. Especially the potential ‘scams’, they change all the time and it is important to do your own due diligence in terms of safety
  • Unlock your phone, get local data and buy a really good external charger! That phone GPS is what got me through Europe and Asia with a breeze. Don’t cheap out on this!
  • EMERGENCY FUNDS – unexpected things happen during travel all the time, some countries won’t grant you a visa unless you have x amount of $ in your bank account
  • Yes, get travel insurance. You never know!
  • Know that HOME SICK is a very real and emotional thing. Start off traveling in shorter time frames like 7-10 days, and once you feel good about that, you can challenge yourself to 3-6 months+!

Lastly, a Facebook group I highly recommend to join for ladies who love traveling, is “Girls Love Travel” #GTL. They are a wonderfully positive and supportive group of Wanderlusters around the world. Many ladies in this group have extensive experience in traveling solo, and it’s a good place to start if you want to make new friends around the world.

DON’T CANCEL YOUR TRIP, FOLLOW THROUGH, HAVE AN AMAZING TIME! YOU CAN DO IT!

If you are a seasoned solo traveller, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share your experiences and tips in the comments below.

GRATITUDE: In All That Matters

In TRAVEL

I started this list earlier this month, and I must say…it’s been a heck of a December! The past 3 months of 2017 have been quite a roller coaster ride in the best sense and also some of the worst ways possible. Within just a month’s time, between settling back in from Vancouver, I’m packing up my last few things again before flying out in 11 hours and I wanted to share some year-end thoughts with you as my last blog entry of 2017 here on FEMFAB!

Here are the some of the biggest lessons and thoughts I’ve come to learn this year:

LOVE: Boundaries should be set and should be respected. Not because we want to keep people out, but to allow others to be aware of the boundaries we have – which express love towards us. It’s making their importance known so that people WE love and whom WE want to love us – know where the boundaries lie, such that they can love us more within them. Healthy communication, healthy boundaries are HEALTHY and necessary!

SELF LOVE: Walking away and letting go of those around us who no longer align with our values and goals is an act of self-love. It doesn’t mean we love them less, nor is it selfish. It means we realize our own love tank needs to be filled. And that sometimes out-growing people is part of the journey of self-discovery and self-love. It may sound harsh, however, it may lead to healthier reunions in the future. There’s nothing more draining than feeling the constant need to please those we ‘love.’ Fill your own cup before you try filling everyone else’s.

WORK: Give gratitude and always remind yourself why you do what you do. Ask yourself, is what you do what you love? Are you serving a greater purpose? Is it your soul’s purpose? Answer ‘yes’ to those more, and sure enough, work-life balance will flow, and so will the abundance and joy come flowing it’s way to you!

TRAVEL: This year, amidst all my travels, the #1 lesson I’ve learned is how insanely important it is to communicate our wants, needs and expectations in each trip when it comes to traveling with people we care about. Assuming people are on the same page just because we’ve all booked a trip together is wishful thinking (sometimes, in my experience.) Oh, and also that Europe is stunning, I am excited to go back one day!

This year I flirted with spontaneity and allowed the world to take care of me. I learned to trust my gut, my surroundings and people whom I met along the way.

FAMILY: Make the effort to spend quality time alone with each family member. I found sometimes when we are ALL TOGETHER, things get a bit messy. This year I enjoyed the time I spent with them 1 on 1 more, so much that I’d like to make this a yearly tradition. It gives me a chance to listen and to really focus on each individual family member. <3 #QualityTime

HEALTH: I’m chuckling as I am filling in this category because I’m currently chugging down my lemon and honey water while having to cough every few mins. or so. This Christmas, this is my body declaring it wants time off. As frustrated and disappointed I am with my current bodily state, it really reminds me of how grateful I am for all the days my body is in tip-top shape! Thank you body, for supporting me through EVERYTHING all the time. Also because I am a Massage Therapist by trade, I’m grateful my body allows me the strength to heal others and…myself.

LIFE: Letting go is my biggest lesson this year. Allowing myself to put into practice releasing many fears and boxes of memories has put things into perspective. Letting go creates space – not only in the physical realm, but also the spiritual realm of things. I’m grateful, nervous and excited all at the same time with all the momentum in my life right now!

ADVENTURE: Take the trip, take the chance! This year was filled with lots of spontaneity, in the form of trips, adventures and projects. I typically enjoy a fair amount of planning, however this year I’ve experienced allowing myself to embrace the flow of surrendering to what COULD come. E.g. in New York I moved around 4 times in a span of one week! Was it exhausting? Yes! Was I nervous? Yes. Did I plan it that way? NOPE! Was it one of the most amazing, exciting and educational weeks of my life? YES! This year I flirted with spontaneity and allowed the world to take care of me. I learned to trust my gut, my surroundings and people whom I met along the way.

Cheers to an amazing 2017, and for more incredible dreams becoming reality in 2018! I have a handful of exciting projects coming up in 2018 and I can’t wait to bring them to life. I’ll share more with you all very soon.

Happy Holidays <3

xo Esther

 

Why Choose a Spiritual Journey – One Soul’s Awakening

In SPIRITUALITY

If you do not consider yourself a spiritual person, I encourage you to explore that. For we are all spiritual beings and maybe it’s just that you have not connected with a source of divine expression that resonates with you. When you do, and have a true experience of awakening, you will surely know this richness I speak of.

“It is not possible to adequately put into words the taste of sugar to one who does not know the meaning of the word sweet. One has to taste it to understand sweetness.” ~ Ammachi

We are all the purveyors of our own journey. We are inherently our own spiritual teachers. The quest for awakening can and will be fulfilled if you should choose. It is not a destination, but a journey that promises to deepen and expand your experience of Connection, Clarity, Peace, Joy and Love.

For me, I have practiced religion with many different churches under many denominations. I have studied Eastern Philosophy. I’ve walked and prayed with Buddhist Monks in Nepal and Franciscan Monks in Assisi. I have been to a native drum ceremony and danced in celebration with the Native community. I practice and teach Yoga. I also love Chi Quong. I meditate, I pray. I have a singing bowl and a prayer wheel. I wear prayer beads and had Mala made for me that was designed with help from Angels and Spirit Guides. I  wear a ring made in Assisi with the Tau. It symbolizes the journey of faith. I have had work done with crystals and Reiki. I have had card readings and prophetic readings. I’ve visited temples in 8 countries throughout Asia. I’ve visited churches in over 20 western countries and one in Africa where I sang hymns in Swahili. I have invited the Jehovah Witnesses into my home and gone for a service at their Kingdom Hall. I have studied under a Taoist Monk. I spend time regularly in nature connecting to everything magical that fills our souls with divine truth. I am part of a Christian organization that works globally in creating the opportunity for children to have an education and a better future. I have prayed hand in hand with Muslims. I’ve had spiritual conversations with global leaders, world changers and even those who cringe at the word spirituality. This has all been a part of my exploration and connection throughout my spiritual journey. Everything and everyone belongs.

Spiritual practices from different traditions can be woven together, and it’s through this melding we expand both our experience and knowledge in the path of Awakening.

I believe in God…an unconditionally loving, generous and accepting God. Not my God, your God, their God, simply and magnificently ~ God. I have believed that, since I was a child. I was not shown or told to do so and even when people tried to tell me otherwise, I questioned why. If that or any of this offends you, then you may be missing the point. Spiritual practices from different traditions can be woven together, and it’s through this melding we expand both our experience and knowledge in the path of Awakening.

The spiritual journey offers a unique and beautiful opportunity to shift your perspective of so many things on so many levels. Choose to listen to the call of your soul and you will enjoy a dance of intimacy in all things love.

I am studying hard and staying open to all experiences of the Divine. I eagerly deepen my practice. It requires some discipline! I am trusting the process. Now as a student, I stand willingly open and the teachers, they appear!

I do not profess to be a spiritual master. However, I assure you that I have always had an innate curiosity about spirituality and a fervour to explore all things leading to the Divine. I don’t want to tell you what to think but I’d love to support you in HOW to think. I encourage you to delve into the true richness of life and I’d be honoured should you choose to join along side me in the quest for our soul’s awakening.  

“Once the journey of soul recovery is begun in earnest, Life itself conspires to support us. It is up to us to learn to cooperate with it. For one who is surrendered to God, a change in consciousness is inevitable. It comes like the approaching dawn. There is a long time in the dark, then slowly, barely perceptible changes occur until finally the entire landscape of our life is illumined.” ~Ellen Grace O’Brian

Thank you for taking the time and energy to read this piece. God’s blessings and Grace to you.

~ Lisa

 

What is Your Blind Spot?

In SELF-IMAGE/FITNESS

When people ask “what is your weakness?” I prefer to ask, “what is your area of opportunity?” Weakness to me, sounds discouraging and harsh.  

My “area of opportunity” is learning technology and catching up to speed with ever-changing trends. Do you see yourself shying away from something, or handing off a task to someone else for fear of the unknown or fear of failure?

Whether at work, the gym, or home, I feel most of us can relate to this “area of opportunity”. For example, perhaps you need to learn a new program in order to do your job well. Do you put it off because change is scary and uncomfortable? Or maybe you always do the same class at the gym even though we know there are 85 classes a week included in your membership. Ok, maybe the instructor is super motivating and entertaining, BUT what about all the other opportunities just waiting for you? Is it because you are comfortable with your routine? And it’s just easier? WHAT IF you tried a different class? Something outside of the ordinary. Dare I say, something outside your comfort zone? Here’s another question for you, when the service light goes on in your vehicle, do you dismiss the thought of figuring it out for yourself and automatically notify your significant other to deal with it? You are capable of learning new things and gaining knowledge strengthens your self-confidence and independence too.

…expanding your world is not to be feared. Exploring new opportunities are how we grow and develop as human beings.

My point is, expanding your world is not to be feared. Exploring new opportunities are how we grow and develop as human beings. We have challenges or obstacles thrown our way all through life. We can choose to ignore or deny these “tests” but staying in a box does not help us grow. The trial and errors we experience by accepting these areas of opportunities are what makes us stronger, more empowered, and successful. And as an added bonus, life will become more exciting too!

So we have two choices here:

  1.  Ignore the blind spot
  2. Ask for help. Learn. Just do it

My friends, next time you are faced with some sort of fear or unknown feeling, remember it is ok to make mistakes, for life is a journey. Go ahead! Open those doors that you think have closed. Maybe you have already peeked in and just need that little push of encouragement…

 

 

A Loving Silence

In SPIRITUALITY

Have you heard this message before?

“People start to heal the minute they feel heard”~CR

I’d like to share with you something that might take only a few minutes of your time to read. For me, the events took only a little time in my day. With compassion and a loving listen, it was really quite simple.

I went to get a pedicure (which I rarely treat myself to!) I watched as each person in their chair intensely engaged with their phone.  I did not pull mine out.  Instead I had a lovely conversation with a woman named Tina. I started with simply asking “How are you today?”. And then I listened. She shared about her children (two boys 4 and 15 months) and the challenges she was having as a mother whose working and trying to look after and provide for her family. She works long days. She’s tired. She has little time for herself. We ended our time together with some laughs (mostly at ourselves and those crazy mom moments)…I gave her a loving ear for 30 minutes and there was healing.

…when you make time to connect with others and hear their story, you too will receive the loving grace of healing.

Next, I stopped at a store I only occasionally go to. I know the owner enough that we recognize each other while out in town, so we wave hello. Usually both her and her mom are working but today her mother is not at the store. I ask how she is. She tells me that she has recently had gall bladder surgery and is still recovering. I show her some simple compassion and concern. She goes on to tell me that her mother’s brother had passed and 3 days later, unexpectedly, her mother’s sister passed too. I am so sorry for their loss. She speaks mostly of her mother’s pain but I recognize and say to her as I gently touch her hand “and it must be hard for you too, as you also have lost people you love”. Her eyes well and so do mine. I gave her a loving ear for 15 minutes and there was healing.

Next, I went to see my naturopath for a quick shot. As I am paying the receptionist, we always exchange pleasantries and some laughs. Today she knows I am going away and asks; “where?” I share with her that I am going to Italy. “Oh!” She exclaims! “It is a dream of mine to go there! I have Italian heritage!” As she shares a little more, I listen. And as I listen she shares a little more.  She tells me how she always takes her vacation time to travel home to Australia and visit her family. She shares about her sister who is terminally ill. She was able to spend 7 months with her this past year. Now that she has returned to Canada, they don’t expect her to live much more than a couple of months. She tells me that they have said everything there is to say and that with each passing day they know that they love each other deeply. My eyes well up as hers do too. She tells me, “my sister is giving me some money to go to Italy and I have promised that’s what I should do”. I warmly reply “and so you will”. I gave her a loving ear for 15 minutes and there was healing.

Today I am reminded of the immense and constant need for healing in ourselves, our community, our society and of course our world. Remember, that in every moment of every day, the person across from you – whether you know them or not, has a story.  You have no idea what’s going on in their life and how their day is going. Simply taking a little time to ask, connect and listen from a space of love will create an impact. A simple gesture can make a difference. And I assure you, when you make time to connect with others and hear their story, you too will receive the loving grace of healing.

Redefining Money The Way You Want To

In FINANCE

Money: An integral part of our world’s everyday life.  

It is virtually in all we see, touch, taste, hear and smell.

Simply glance around you. From the device you are reading this article with to the chair you are currently sitting on. Was it not money which allowed you to exchange for those goods?  What about the current internet service that connects your device to the web or the pair of pants and the shirt you have on as today’s outfit?

How about that cup of coffee or tea you may have enjoyed this morning, the bed that carried you all through the night, or the home which you retire to after an honest day of work? Regardless if these goods were given to you as a gift, lent to you by a family member, or earned by your very own means, money is all around us.

It is that inescapable 5 letter word.

Money is the tool which tracks the goods we exchange on a daily bases. Simply put, money is merely an accounting system. Nothing more and nothing less. An accounting system that makes the world go round. And if this is the case, then why does talking about it openly instantaneously shift the energy within most of us? How can something that exist everywhere in our society be such an unspoken language to so many of us?

Whenever money conversations came up…The room always seemed to feel heavy with long, drawn-out restless expressions making its way to the adult’s faces. Each breath was filled with a considerable amount of density.

Growing up as young woman in a Canadian Chinese household, money was rarely a dinner table topic. As a child, I often thought to myself; food must grow on dining tables because every time I sat down for a meal, food always showed up!  Nobody in my family ever talked about how the groceries from the store arrive to our plates, let alone how we had a table to eat on to begin with.

So… I just went with that 6 year old intellectual mind of mine and decided that food grows on dining tables. After all, I have heard adults say ‘money must grow on trees!’ so why not dinner tables?!  

Whenever money conversations came up at the dinner table, I vividly remember it was mostly about bills, payments, and supplies of some sort. The room always seemed to feel heavy with long, drawn-out restless expressions making its way to the adult’s faces. Each breath was filled with a considerable amount of density.

Then, there were the times money went past casual dinner conversation.  I remembered those were the scary memories about money; the ones with heavy emotional weight that had me running into my room to hide under the blankets squeezing my teddy tight in my arms.  Those loudly raised voices made the house feel cold and empty.

Having these experiences as a child taught me that whenever someone was to talk about money it was going to make me run for my teddy and hide under my blankets. In some form or another, this is what shuts off the natural discussion of money, as well as creating minimal positive experiences around the topic for many of us at a young age .

Money does not have to be the root of all evil, instead it can be defined as the root of all love. It is really up to a person on how they choose to define money.

Throughout my childhood and into my teenage years, I would often wonder to myself; what if the topic of money could be a happy and joyous topic, like ice-cream? Just ask any 5 year old about ice-cream and you’ll see what instant joy truly looks like.

One day, I was at a local ice-cream shop in Vancouver with my husband and I couldn’t help but notice that there were more wise souls having ice-cream than there were kids.  And there it was!!

After many years of money and ice-cream pondering, my lightbulb went on!! In that moment I decided to recreate new emotions when talking about money to the emotions which mirrors the experiences of talking about ice-cream!

I started redefining my definition of money. I had the choice to experience money as if I was experiencing ice-cream. I can choose to love it or hate it. I can choose to experience a lot or a little of it.  I can choose to experience it all at once or save some of it at home. I can choose to experience it on my own or with my closest family and friends. At any given time I can choose whatever emotion I’d like to feel around my experience with money. Most importantly, I can choose to talk about money without that childhood fear of needing to run and hide in my room under my blanket.

There is such a great sense power in knowing I have a choice to choose how I want to define money.

In my wealth management business, my partners and I now educate all our clients with this knowledge so that they too can have the opportunity to choose how they wish to define their money experiences. By doing so, they can build a true sense of self confidence when speaking about money openly with us and with those in their everyday life. They also now have the opportunity to create their own terms with money simply by changing the way they feel and talk about it.

Money is really neither good nor bad, being categorized as rich or poor has no significant meaning, emotion or energy to it except for the very ones we have assigned to it ourselves. Money does not have to be the root of all evil, instead it can be defined as the root of all love. It is really up to a person on how they choose to define money.  

So there you have it. What if you too can redefine your own meaning of money right now? How would that look like to you? What emotion would choose to feel from it? How would you want to speak about  it?

I have great news for you! You can absolutely allow yourself the power and permission to choose to redefine your money definition! How empowering would it be to have the topic of money be a highlight discussion during every meal at the dining table with your family and children?  

In this very moment we all have the choice to bring upon a new way, a new norm in defining how we want ourselves and our families to speak about money in our current world and for generations to come.

Building Inner Awareness for Outer Peace

In TRAVEL

Have you ever been so excited to go on a trip, counting down days, planning each and every detail, only to feel extremely disappointed by it and even wishing you were home instead? I know many people have been in that situation.

Too often we blame others for our disappointment, not realizing we have the CHOICE and ability to fix our situation.

Over the past three weeks, I have been to Barcelona, France, Italy, Montenegro, and Toronto with my family. We enjoyed the beautiful streets of Barcelona, the Gothic Quarters and the Sagrada Familia Church by Anton Guidi. Many of these places were huge bucket list items checked off for me!

Between my brother, my parents and I, we each had different interests and goals for the trip which made things complicated. Many of these could have been avoided by discussing our priorities before we left. So it really got me thinking: what if I could understand myself and my family better while traveling? Thus, I took a Myers-Briggs test and a few travel quizzes.

Too often we blame others for our disappointment, not realizing we have the CHOICE and ability to fix our situation.

From the Myers-Briggs test, I scored as an ENFP: ‘Free-spirited, sociable, emotional, creative, who yearns for connections. They are travel driven by inspiration, curiosity, and meaning. They aim to make beautiful memories, interact with locals and enjoying authentic cultural experiences to further understand the world around them. They enjoy spontaneity, instead of a thought out day to day schedule and see the world through a big lens.’

My mentor once told me, “No one can drive you crazy. No one can MAKE you feel a way that you don’t allow. You alone are responsible.” A couple days into our trip, I took some time to reflect on how I responded to the disagreements with my family and how I could change the way I contribute to a more enjoyable experience for everyone since I knew we still had another two and a half weeks together! I started stepping out to be alone for a few hours to recharge and enjoy some things that were really important to me. Even my mom joined me a few times too and we got to share some of these things together.

Armed with my new awareness, I’m gearing up for my next group travel. Here are 3 questions I believe is worth discussing before starting your trip, to smooth out any wrinkles and make sure that everyone gets what they are looking for while they travel.

  1. What type of traveler are you? (Try 16 Personalities or Travel Personalities)
  2. What are your top priorities? What comes first? Food, adventure, culture, shopping, low budget things to do? Or the most luxurious excursion?  
  3. What are your trip expectations? Are there things that you must do? A certain restaurant or activity?

What is your personality test result? Do you do anything special before leaving on a trip with others? Share in the comments below!

The Soul’s Whisper

In SPIRITUALITY

I’m sure you may be familiar with the saying “only out of the mouths of babes” or how about “Kids say the darnedest things.”  It’s never with ill intent.  Maybe it stems from a space of observation or curiosity.  But mostly, the obvious thing, it stems from truth.

When does it become unacceptable to speak a truth?  Why is it, that as a child ages, they lose that simple innocence of being allowed to see and speak the truth.  Why do we subdue their curiosity?  We can’t help but know how destructive it can be simply by how it’s exemplified in ourselves.

Is it our perception as adults?  Is it society that deems what is ok?  The labelling of good, bad, right and wrong starts early in our lives.  Other people’s perceptions become our beliefs.  Let me say that again….other people’s perceptions become our beliefs.

When those beliefs take away the innate innocence of curiosity and quell the simple voice of truth, the disintegration of the child like spirit begins.

Maybe it was a time you were scolded for asking something silly or you were told your question was dumb…..so you felt unworthy and stopped asking questions.

Maybe it was a time that somebody criticized you or cut you down and left you feeling small….so you felt shamed and stopped sharing your ideas.

Maybe it looks like a time you didn’t stand up for what was right or something you believed in…..so you lost a little piece of yourself and felt guilty.

Maybe it was a time that you were afraid to cause conflict or create waves ……so you stood in silence or even walked away.

Maybe it was a time that you expressed your love for someone and you were ignored or worse yet, unloved…..so you built walls and vowed never to speak from a space of vulnerability again.

There is a reason certain things excite you.  There is a reason that when you speak of anything you are passionate about, your face brightens, your eyes lighten and your heart beats faster.

Every time we silence those gentle whispers they leave a little pain in our hearts.  Over time that pain creates doubt.  You question your abilities, your capabilities, your value, your worth.  Now you are not listening to your True Self and the False Self begins to permeate what we believe to be true.  There’s a certain innocence that dies each time a souls cry is silenced.  You burry the very essence of your child like being.  You burry the very essence of who you were and who you are in this world.

I learned very early in life to be a “people pleaser”.  Since I am a firm believer that our strengths are our weaknesses and our weaknesses are our strength, I embrace this quality as something that has served me.  It has taught me many things.  I know that it has made me more understanding, open and compassionate.  However, it also has made me avoid confrontation, allowed others to take advantage of me, and made me afraid to speak my truth.  Even when those whispers turned into screams, the kind that cause your whole body to clentch, I still couldn’t find my voice.

Isn’t it time to let go of fear?

Isn’t it time to surrender to the pain?

Isn’t it time to let go of the doubt?

Isn’t it time to believe in your worth?

All you have to do is give yourself permission to speak your truth.

When my friend asked me to write for her, because we have always connected on a spiritual level and felt very aligned, I knew it was time.  It was time to lean into that fear and start sharing my truth.

My messages may not please or resonate with everybody and that’s okay.  People will challenge me and even disagree, and that too is okay.  For those of you who know me, you know that I love to hear other people’s perspectives but moreover, understand what they believe and how that belief system serves them.  So please, let’s have a conversation.  I also know that each piece comes from a sacred space and always with loving intention.  So I listen carefully to that gentle whisper that guides me to share my truth.  And I know as I share my messages that God willing, it will serve or help others to do the same.

There is a reason certain things excite you.  There is a reason that when you speak of anything you are passionate about, your face brightens, your eyes lighten and your heart beats faster.  Speak your truth sister!  I assure you when your soul is whispering , it comes to you from a pure and sacred space.  Don’t just say anything, but say everything that comes from that sacred place.  I assure you when you start to speak your truth, it is then that the winds will change.  Your mind will lighten and your heart will expand.  When you open your life to listen to the souls gentle whisper, you allow the flow of everything abundant and rich to show its way.  As the child who speaks freely from the purest of spaces, you will unleash that joy.  It’s that kind of joy a child’s grace can bring.  By the grace of God you’ve been given a voice and a purpose so open your heart and surrender your thoughts, speak the truth that promises to set you free.

Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming.  You already are what you are seeking.  All you have to do is trust and simply start speaking.

Does It Still Get To Me?

In GIVE BACK

I’ve worked in areas that many people shy away from…domestic violence, sexual abuse, trauma, suicide, grief, and disabilities, amongst others. Since I was young, I knew I wanted to live a life based on servant leadership and these are the areas it’s led me to. I’m often asked how I do it and if it gets to me.

When I first started in the field, I had a difficult time finding balance. My emotions from work followed me home and changed my worldview, impacting many areas of my life. In the field of Social Work, finding balance and understanding what self-care works best for you are critical because “vicarious/secondary trauma” and “compassion fatigue” are common risks. These terms relate to the change that happens because you care about other people who have been hurt, and feel committed or responsible to help them. It’s a transformation that happens through empathic engagement and it can lead to changes in one’s psychological, physical, and spiritual well-being.

My vicarious trauma came through my dreams and intrusive images. I would recount stories over and over, see the abusers in my mind and be chased by people while in my sleep when I didn’t have control and was seeking much needed rest. I would fear going to sleep because I didn’t know where my mind would take me.

Through the nightmares, broken heartedness, deep sadness, tears and heaviness, my one wish
is this…

It’s been over a decade that I’ve been doing this work and while I’ve come a long way in finding balance, I still have my days. Just a couple weeks ago I got a call from a family at their wits end. Referred to me by the police, they had tried everything to help their son with autism. They were in a true state of crisis and have been for a long time. Their lives include regular trips to the emergency room, police involvement, serious safety concerns, no services left to help them and $80 left in their bank account. After our 2 hour phone conversation, with my office door closed, I wept. They viewed me as their last hope and I wasn’t sure if I could do anything to help them.

Through the nightmares, broken heartedness, deep sadness, tears and heaviness, my one wish is this…I hope there never comes a day when it stops getting to me. The day some of life’s hardest circumstances don’t impact me anymore will be much more concerning. My “Why” is much more powerful than my “Why Not” and it takes constant effort to ensure it stays that way. My Why is how children have so much resilience and I am constantly amazed by them. My Why is that I believe in post-traumatic growth. My Why is that getting to be part of someone’s healing journey is a privilege. The other things are just some of the sacrifices and prices I’m willing to pay for the life I am committed to living. It’s the cost of caring that I am okay with. With push comes pull. Ups come with downs. When you come to expect this as part of the journey, it makes it much easier when you are going through the challenging times. Give all your energy to your Why’s and choose that path always. Anything else will only distract you.

A Mother’s Wisdom

In SPIRITUALITY

My Mother’s greatest regret as a parent is surely my greatest gift.

My Mother and I have not always had an easy relationship. There have been many paradoxes in her teachings to me – all of which I am now grateful for.  They have both helped me and hindered me, but ultimately have shaped me into the woman I am today. Without hesitation, I can say my relationship with my Mother is better than ever before and I simply treasure it. Every day I grow to appreciate her, love her and admire her more deeply. I’ve learned from her successes and her mistakes. At the age of 75, she continues to have a fervour for life and desire for experience like few others I know. She consistently inspires me. I am blessed and honoured to call her my Mom.

One day, when my first born was nearing 2, I was sitting with my Mom chatting. Actually, I think chatting is out of context. It felt more like an unravelling at the seams. I don’t remember the exact date, time of day, or even the details leading to our conversation. I was in that “mother of a toddler, pregnant and exhausted fog” lol. I do remember I had one of those children who didn’t sleep well and I couldn’t sit still for more than a few minutes, as he was busy. I had just started a new job at a new company, with so much to learn on top of adjusting to world travel, time zones, jet lag and the stress and toll it takes on you physically. My husband was away for work and I was fretting….over the massive task list that was left untouched.

Lisa, if there was one thing I could go back and change as a Mother, it would have been that I played with you more.

I remember the lull as I finished the thoughts that burdened me. Often my Mom would jump right in a scenario like this with what I “needed” to do or how I should “fix it”. That usually left me feeling unheard and defeated. I’d feel like if “I was good enough” I wouldn’t have this problem in the first place. BUT, this time was different. She paused, and her tone was delivered and expressed in such a manner that I couldn’t help but instantly be open and present.  As if it was also the first time she ever said it aloud or acknowledged it before, “Lisa, if there was one thing I could go back and change as a Mother, it would have been that I played with you more. I always had to have the house clean, the laundry done, the fridge stocked and the task list ruled my actions.”

Everything that was seemingly about presence was nothing about being present. The softness in her voice and spirit as she said it again, “I wished I had of played with you more”, echoed in my mind and heart. It brought me to tears as I felt this wave of compassion. It was like a moment of revelation for her, a spiritual awakening and for us both, a healing. Without getting into the depths of our dynamics, most importantly I can say, I felt loved in a way that I had never experienced from her.

From that day forward, I made a commitment to myself to play abundantly with my children. You see, you must be in the now to be able to play. So I create awareness around the time we spend together and being present.  I stop to listen and engage when my boys have something to share with me. I build them up and lift them in any way I see possible because their spirit is a precious gift. I teach them, I coach them. We play together, we learn together. We mess up together and I say sorry and explain that adults make mistakes too. I acknowledge I am far from perfect and even parents have room to learn and grow. I make them a priority…I also make sure that we experience many things together as a family.

Some people may suggest that I am living my life for my children. I assure you that I am living my life for both me and my children. The gift of being present benefits all of us. I approach things with greater curiosity and an openness to the full experience. I have never felt so abundantly rich in life as I do now. By the grace of God and to the best of my ability, I am embracing the gifts and valuable life lessons received when seeing the world through the eyes of a child. ~ Thank you Mom.

Limiting Beliefs

In SELF-IMAGE/FITNESS

Let me ask you a question, have you ever told yourself, “I’m too old for this” or “I can’t do that anymore because I’m too old”? Hmm, I’m here to tell you that these, my friend, are limiting beliefs. They are not truths.

Being 40-something, I have never felt so much energy and so alive than I do now.  Some may call it a “midlife crisis”…call it whatever you like. I just woke up one day and realized that enough is enough.  

We hear these sayings all the time:

“Live each day to the fullest”

“Dream big”

“Don’t sweat the small stuff”

“Life is too short”

We agree with these sayings, but continue to behave the same. Too often we get caught up in our busy lives, or we don’t take care of ourselves, only for something drastic to occur and THEN we change our lifestyle or attitude. Why wait? Why not change our attitudes now?

I love to Latin dance. In fact, just last week I stayed up all night dancing with a good friend of mine ‘till the lights came on. We made our way outside. Adrenaline still pumping through us and starving for grub. We ended up going to all day breakfast spot where many young clubbers were doing the same thing as us. Me in my ripped jeans, heels and mid top, hair pulled back at this point from dancing all night. I must’ve been a sight for sore eyes! We ordered the biggest breakfast they had and we talked and laughed for hours. It was the best night ever and took me back to my “clubbing” years. Who cares how old we are. We had the time of our life and and felt so alive. When we left, the birds were chirping and the sun was rising. it was a sign of a new day. A reminder to live every moment to it’s fullest.  

I am a professional. I work hard. I am confident. I am a mother. I am intelligent and educated…. and I LOVE to go out dancing

I could have choose to feel guilty for being out all night long, but instead, I savoured being in the moment, with a beautiful friend. Living from my authentic self, not caring what others might think and feeling completely alive and free.

Be spontaneous, try new things. And most of all, please DO NOT let age define what you should be doing, how you should act or what you should wear. I am a professional. I work hard. I am confident. I am a mother. I am intelligent and educated…. and I LOVE to go out dancing every opportunity I have… if I happen to stay out all night, so be it. I will live my life for me, not how others think I should… just because of a number. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But what I do know is, I am happy now.

“La vida es muy corta”. Life is too short…who are you living it for?

We All Belong

In SPIRITUALITY

In early 2016, through work in my community, I was connected with the organization, Hope Story. Through faith and flow, I became an educational sponsor to a young girl named Amina Jummane – who is now 11yrs old. It is my personal belief that a good education is one of the most important and empowering gifts we can afford our children. “Our” being any and all children in this world.  A holistic education that values mind, body and spirit is sure to set these children up for success to contribute to our world in a way that benefits many.

The Amani School is working to close the learning gap between rural and urban students, to facilitate spiritual transformation and afford these children an opportunity in life that they would not otherwise have.

When I was asked if I would consider joining a Mission’s Team trip to the school, without hesitation I responded with a great big yes!  I am just now on the journey back to Canada filled with an experience that has affected me in a way far beyond what I could have ever imagined.

In a predominantly Muslim area, a Christian school has been built and growing for 8 years. There was much resistance in the beginning, but now the people have opened their hearts and homes to the Christian Community that is providing education at a private school level for their children. These people have so little. And many of us in Western society could never truly grasp unless given an opportunity to experience it. What amazed me, was how much they are willing to give, which also affirms my belief that you don’t have to “have much” to be able to give. Their hearts are full of grace.

We have connected through the barrier of language, our personal and/or religious beliefs, to focus on love and invest in creating connection and building relationships.

Through child sponsorship, donations, support and teachers’ dedication, (that would blow your mind), the school has grown to support over 300 children.

After 4 days in this village area, spending time with the teachers, students and families of this community, I’d like to share a few things. There is much that I don’t know, but from this experience I will share a few things I do now know…

What I know is ~ We/they continue to need help and support to keep this program going and have it in our hearts and vision to build a highschool for the current children of Amani.

What I know is ~ We are helping these children and providing their families with hope for a brighter future. Their gratitude will move you to tears (as it did me). Through a proper and advanced education, these children will have an opportunity to go on and obtain a career to help provide for their families.

The children are not just our future, the children are our now.💕

What I know is this ~ Muslim and Christian families have opened their hearts and their homes to me. They have shared their food and their stories with me. We have connected through the barrier of language and set aside our personal or religious beliefs to focus on love and invest in creating connection and building relationships. I have been invited back by people who live in a simple mud house to bring my family and stay any time. I have made new friendships and connected on a spiritual level with new brothers and sisters. We have shared tears, laughter and joy. We have stayed together, prayed together and embraced each other’s differences for the sake of love. My heart is full.

What I know is this ~ We are from different worlds with different cultures and different religious belief systems but on a soul level, from a space of love, we have experienced human connection. That is the wholeness of the human spirit in it’s best light.

What I know is ~ I believe that I am part of something far bigger than myself. This experience was an opportunity to expand in love, to both receive and share the light. It has given me a meaningful perspective allowing both faith and flow to develop at a deeper, soulful level.

What I know is ~ We all belong – God Bless.

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What’s YOUR Money Mindset?

In FINANCE

Instead of jumping right into the mechanics of how to be fiscally responsible – save for the future, learn about different investment tools – we first need to understand our relationship with money. I did a quick litmus test at a girlfriend’s patio party during Pride weekend with a great cross section of people: different ages, races, income levels and backgrounds. My ice breaker question: In 3 words, how would you describe your relationship with money? The responses came back wide-ranging and surprising in some cases:

Varying themes of burden, freedom, control and loathing. One friend with over a decade of wealth management experience cited “in and out” as his response. Another successful female entrepreneur exclaimed “let me go” –  a cry asking to be released from its clutches and expectations. Unexpectedly, the cover doesn’t match the contents.

Finances and money appear to be last on a long list of taboo topics in this modern day. Think about it… how many dinner conversations have you had about your kids, politics, sex, religion, the last restaurant you’ve been to… I’m pretty sure finances rarely breaks anyone’s top 10.  But it’s a topic that should be explored more openly as it affects everyone.  I believe a lot of how we view money comes from how we were raised, looking to our parents or guardians as role models.

Not only was I emotionally devastated, now I was up against the harsh reality of living on my own. Money (or the lack of) became a source of major anxiety. I was fighting for survival. I felt extremely vulnerable and vowed never to be in that place again.

If you grew up in a household where your family struggled to make ends meet, you may have grown up with a program around scarcity, worrying you’ll never have enough and counting every dollar. You could also react quite the opposite. I am a huge fan of Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) – he’s completely charismatic and exudes authenticity and generosity. He and his family were evicted from their home at a young age because they couldn’t pay the rent. Fast forward to 2016, the Rock is the world’s highest paid actor and ranked #34 on the Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful People in Entertainment.  Hard work and perseverance can turn any negative situation into a powerful motivator.  

My personal story and attitude towards finances has evolved over the years. I was very fortunate growing up – my sisters and I grew up never wanting for anything. I didn’t have an allowance; if I needed money to go the movies or buy clothes, my parents would always provide. My parents instilled in me good work ethic, but I never had to earn my spending money like some of my friends. My relationship with money at that time could be described as carefree, oblivious and naïve.

It wasn’t until my early 20s that my attitude towards money changed. I moved to Hong Kong after high school to be with my boyfriend at the time. I was extremely dependent on him and his family for my livelihood. I didn’t have much of a life of my own, never mind any sense of financial independence. We split up a year after I graduated from University. I was 21 and on my own making a very meagre salary – my family was thousands of miles away in Toronto. Not only was I emotionally devastated, now I was up against the harsh reality of living on my own. Money (or the lack of) became a source of major anxiety. I was fighting for survival. I felt extremely vulnerable and vowed never to be in that place again.

Worrying about never having enough, feeling that we are unworthy or undeserving of wealth only perpetuates more of the same and keeps you stuck in that cycle. It’s important to be aware of our current thoughts on finances as it influences so many of our daily decisions. The lesson I’ve learned is that regardless of our beginnings, it’s within our power to choose the relationship we have with money. So choose healthy, choose happy – however that looks for you.

What does your story look like? I’d love to hear about your experiences and whether you think money mindset is inherited or a choice.

In my next post, I’ll explore the healthy habits needed to manage our finances effectively and how to gain control of your money mindset.

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Two Words that Make Me Cringe

In GIVE BACK

I hear it all the time…

Q: “What’s your motivation to help others?”
A: “I want to help those less fortunate.”

“Less Fortunate”, huh?

I know it sounds like something ideal to say…almost textbook-like, but if this is a response you’re using, let’s pause for a moment and break it down.

Inadvertently, people use “less fortunate” with great intention, but do not recognize how it divides us and our ability to connect with one another. It puts a value system on people’s situations and classifies us as “more than” versus “less than”. Instead of focusing on what divides us, we need to look at what builds connection. Regardless of the situation and circumstance, we all know what it feels like to be hurt, scared, worried, wanting to laugh with someone, or hoping for a reaching hand to support us. Looking at other people as less fortunate is a judgement statement. It judges their situation and puts our own above theirs.

You cannot create a true, authentic connection with someone if you do not see them as your equal.

Go deeper. What is it that connects you to the situation? We’ve all been there when we’ve needed a supportive hand to help us. Maybe that support came, maybe it didn’t. Maybe you’re still waiting for it to come…

Let your understanding of what it means to have someone help you be your driving force to share that with others. I promise you, in my moments of need, the last person I want supporting me is someone who sees me as less than anything to them.

Now if you’re looking for the answer on what to say, that’s not for me to define. Come from a genuine place and don’t focus on what you should say, just focus on understanding your true “why”. Take time to think about what motivates you and get grounded.
Most important of all, come from Love. Always.

Choosing Light Over Darkness

In SELF-IMAGE/FITNESS

Disclaimer: This may be raw and real but it is my story.

I suffered from anorexia and bulimia for over 19 years. They are two different forms of disorderly eating.  Anorexia is when one limits their food intake so drastically they are starving themselves, while bulimia is when one binges on extreme amounts of food, then purges by induced vomiting.

Although there may be other reasons why someone develops this disease, mine was a lack of control in my life. I wanted to be perfect and please everyone around me. I was living my life for others rather than me. So it began…day one started with me bringing lettuce and an apple to school. That’s it. Then when I thought the apple was too much, I just ate the lettuce. I saw myself as overweight, even though I wasn’t. I had a distorted image of myself. It was crazy. I looked in the mirror and viewed myself in a way that nobody could understand. It was like those funky mirrors at amusement parks that made you look really tall and thin or really short and big. Come to think of it, they have similar ones at shopping stores. You know the ones I’m talking about, the mirrors that make us look thiner. It’s ridiculous how society has become. Some stores even have dim lighting to make us feel like we look more appealing??

I still have the first cd I ever played as a reminder of that night. When the class was over, a woman told me I helped her to forget about her stressful day. A gentleman said it was his first day at the gym and he had so much fun he didn’t feel like he was working out. I was helping others and they were helping me!

As time went by, I lost weight drastically. I would hide in baggy clothes, skip meals and make myself busy.  I felt tired, eyes were sunken, cheek bones defined, and I isolated myself from my friends and family. Then I was forced to sit at the dinner table and finish meals that were “fit for a king”. You see, I was able to control my lack of food intake, but once I was forced to eat, I felt helpless. I had no control again, until I discovered purging. I would go to the washroom and purge my meals, to feel whole again. Happy. Strong. I owned me again. Total control…or so I thought. This cycle went on an on for over 19 years. It consumed me.

Then I experienced my very first group fitness class. Although at the time I was “ill”. I didnt “look” it. At this point in my life I had used my disorderly eating as a maintenance tool, as stupid as that sounds. During this spin class, we were engaged in a very powerful track and I got to the point where I wanted to give up. I remember the instructor saying “treat your body like a temple”. “Protect it as nobody else will, but you”. Those words hit home and I let go….not because of the tension killing my legs, but my whole being just let go. I broke down and the instructor asked me if I was hurt. It was this moment that my life changed. I confided in the instructor about my self image issues and the next thing I knew I was signing up for my first cycle certification. Why? Well the course was paid for, so I went. But all I wanted to do was spin for me, avoid people at all costs. Not look anyone in the eye, get the hell out of the gym, just get in the car and go home. When we had to complete our teachback process and be open to receiving feedback both positive and constructive, this was the most empowering moment for me. I was put on the spot in front of so many people and had my layers peeled away like an onion.  It was so difficult to showcase what we had learned. I was terrified people would judge me. What were they thinking? Little did I know this experience would break the cocoon that I was hiding in. We talked, opened up about our fears, and worked together to finish the certification successfully. I was asked to teach a class once a week.

I still have the first cd I ever played as a reminder of that night. When the class was over, a woman told me I helped her to forget about her stressful day. A gentleman said it was his first day at the gym and he had so much fun he didn’t feel like he was working out. I was helping others and they were helping me!

I often tell my class now…”you feed me.  I’ll feed you”.  I’m asking them to allow themselves to own that time.  To let go. De-stress. Have fun. And I will give them 120% of me. My energy, my motivation, my inspirational messages, the raw, the real me, even my quirky jokes.

My message is clear. Please live for you. We have one life my friends.  Release the negativity. Refrain from judgement. Try new adventures. Face your fears. Break the cocoon. Open the door. Look at the light. Stop living in darkness. Ask for help. It is truly the most empowering feeling to overcome something you never thought was possible.