Change Is Scary

“I have to let you know… I’m really nervous.” This exact same sentence was repeated to me about 5 times this week as I did intake sessions with new clients.

“I know this is in my best interest, but I’m scared.”

“I’m nervous about changing and not knowing what the outcome will be, and I’m also nervous I won’t be able to change and will fail.”

“I don’t know what’s going to happen next, and it’s triggering a lot of fear for me.”

These are really common feelings and something that every single person I’ve worked with has gone through at some point. The nervousness and fear show up in different ways, such as saying yes (to a coach, therapy, accountability, a new intention, a break from alcohol, etc) and then talking yourself out of it, or procrastinating and waiting for the “right” time (there is never a right time). Sometimes the fear of change can keep you stuck in more of the same, even though you know that's not working so well for you.

Heraclitus famously quoted back in 400 A.C.,  “There is nothing permanent, except change.”

According to Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory: change allows organisms to better adapt themselves to their environments. Moreover, the better the organism is able to adapt, the higher the likelihood of survival.

If change is a fact of life, and not only a given but an evolutionary requirement, then why is it so scary sometimes?

This fear harkens back to our cavepeople days. Even though change is necessary for evolutionary survival, our human brains came to rely on certainty for survival. We knew the path to take to the water source that was less likely to cause harm. We’d take that same path because we knew sabertooth tiger lived on the other side of the mountain, because that path was less likely to flood, and because it was the fastest and surest way to go and avoid a rival tribe.

Our fear of change can also be traced back to our more recent history as children. If a change in routine signified something painful was going to happen, our brains became hardwired to associate change with trauma. As adults, we may come to associate change with loss.

According to Lifehacker’s article “Why are you so afraid of change and what you can do about it”:

“Sometimes change involves a significant loss, and our brains hate loss. When we invest ourselves emotionally in anything, it becomes harder to change because we don't want to lose all the time and effort we already exerted. As a result, we have a hard time letting go of a project we know deep down will fail. We also struggle to end doomed relationships because we're terrible at accepting the whole thing was for naught. In reality, time isn't wasted but our brains like to see the entire time as a loss rather than just a part of the inevitable conclusion.”

The fear and nervousness associated with redefining your relationship to alcohol is totally understandable. For many of us, our relationship to alcohol has lasted in some form or another for at least half of our lives, and for some of us, alcohol has been involved from more years than not. That’s a long time to rely on it for a certain outcome. Even though we know it might not be good for us or that our relationship is unhealthy, at least it is predictable, right?

“Breaking up” with alcohol, or seriously redefining the parameters of the relationship, can be just like any other break up - it’s hard!! And yes, it involves loss, grief, disappointment, and more.

You may be confronted with thoughts such as “what the bleep was I doing for so many years!?! I’ve wasted my life!!” Alternatively, you may grieve the desired feeling that alcohol brings and feel loss at never being able to feel that same way again.

While this is part of the process - it doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Here are some suggestions for “feeling and dealing.”

Feel the feels: The nervousness, the fear, the uncertainty, the confusion, the sadness… all of it. Know that it’s okay, and part of the process. Also know, that just like everything else, it’s temporary. Because why? You got it. The only constant is change!!

Permission to freak out: Take it one step further and freak the f*** out if you need to. Permission granted. Do what feels good to allow these emotions to move through you: cry, punch a pillow, scream, howl at the moon, curl up in fetal position, etc. Feel it but don’t fixate on this phase.

Accept the inevitability of change: Coming to a place of acceptance is essential for moving forward into the new and healthier you.

Flip your fears: Same as a coin, there’s always two sides (or more) to every scenario. Instead of dwelling on the fears of everything that could go wrong and all the ways life is going to suck now that you are making these changes and how hard it is going to be to relax, go to sleep, make friends, unwind after work, have sex, feel creative etc start thinking about the fact that the exact opposite could be true. What is the best case scenario? What is your most positive vision for who you will become as a result of these changes? Focus on that!

Take baby steps: If making a huge change feels overwhelming, start small. Focus on one things you can try to change this week and then once you are comfortable with that change, try something new next week. Sometimes the “all or nothing” approach can be a case of too much too soon - which is why it’s hard to maintain. Does having no wine on weeknights feel scary for you? Then how about trying one night with no wine this week, and see how that feels? Can’t imagine socializing without any alcohol? Cut out one drink, or two, and once you realize all of your fears don’t come true (it’s like that no one around you will even notice) try cutting back by a few more next week.

Get yourself ready for greatness: Sometimes change can be scary because you’re afraid of GOOD things happening. An article in Psychology Today explains: “Traumatic events, physical or emotional, can create such a powerful memory that it overshadows other important but evocative events. When strong emotional memories develop around the experience of happiness and a subsequent disappointment or pain—again, physical or emotional—then perceptual filters develop that contribute to avoiding opportunities for joy out of the fear that something bad lurks around the corner.”

You may also fear happiness because deep down, you feel you are unworthy, undeserving, or that your happiness will somehow elicit negative feelings from others.

It’s important to understand these fears and actively work to release the fear that might be preventing you from change.

Make a plan and get support: Change may be inevitable, yet that doesn’t make it easy all of the time. If you feel your anxiety, nervousness or fear is blocking you from making a change, then reach out for support. Talk about what’s coming up for you. Speaking the words out loud will help take the power out of the fear. We’ve got an amazing group of Evolver’s in the secret facebook community (more info below). Also, those who have had their free strategy session with me describe a huge weight being lifted after the first conversation. Change isn’t quite so scary when you have a plan. If you and I haven’t talked yet, book your session here.

I've love to know what resonated with you, whether you notice fear or resistance showing up for you in the way described in this post, and what tips work for you! Reply to this email and let me know!



Do you find yourself feeling "spun out," filled with anxiety or having your brain blank out because of fear? One of the fastest way to ground yourself can be by using floral or plant-based scents or essential oils. These scents connect us to earth energy in a very grounding way and also stimulate the limbic system for a fast-track to a more pleasurable feeling. David Crow of Floracopeia suggests putting a few drops of lavender, rose, geranium or orange blossom oil into your palms, rubbing your palms together and cupping around your nose, and then inhaling deeply for a few breaths. This works wonders for an immediate and grounding "brain break."

I did this just the other day when I was feeling totally overwhelmed by something. I felt I couldn't deal and was about to have a major meltdown. I went into the bathroom, put some rose oil on my palms, did some deep breathing and immediately felt better. The amazing thing is I can't even remember what the initial anxiety was about!! Try it out and let me know how it goes!

How do you get your needs met?

Happy weekend!!

Have you ever had the experience of being frustrated when your intimate partner or a family member just doesn't "get it" and can't seem to anticipate your needs?

Or, getting so busy with outside commitments that you realize after a total meltdown that you've complete neglected your own needs for way too long? (In fact, you can't remember the last time you did something just for "you"... and no, drinking a bottle of wine doesn't count ;)

Learning how to get clear on what your needs are, communicate them to those around you, AND prioritize time to make sure your needs are getting met is so important for this journey of increased happiness and health that you've embarked on.

You know as well as I do what happens when your needs are ignored for too long. Self-care slides, then stress increases, your spouse might notice you're short-tempered or snapping more quickly, you find yourself craving the sensation of numbing out or turning off your brain.

The thing is, no one is going to do this for you. You have to be the one to step up and make sure you are taking care of your needs. You can ask for support (more on this later) but ultimately, it's your responsibility.

I thought I would share a couple of examples of how my clients are learning to prioritize themselves (names changed), and a recent example from my own life, with the hopes these will inspire you.

Penny is very out-going and loves to be social. Yet, on the other hand, she's a highly sensitive intuitive person. She's been working really hard setting up her coaching business while also working in alternative therapies. She gives a lot of energy to her clients and the people around her. This week is her birthday, and though it felt a bit "strange" for her to plan a trip by herself, especially with a long list of "shoulds" for her business launch, she decided to treat herself to a mid-week vacation out of the city where she is currently soaking up the gorgeous energy from being in the forest and immersed in nature. (Happy birthday!!)

Jennifer lives a very fast paced life in NYC. While she has a lot of both friend-based and work-related social engagements, she's learning that she is an introvert and needs plenty of time alone to recharge. She has started saying "no" to certain evening events that will drain her and also give her more temptation to drink. She's moving in with her boyfriend and learning to communicate aspects of her introverted nature to him (he's an extrovert). Next month, she has a trip out of state, a Board of Director's training, and has decided to stay an extra night by herself, even though she initially felt she "should" come back to the city to spend time with her boyfriend whom she will just have moved in with.

Anita works from home and has been having a hard time to feel motivated to do anything other than push through her day until it's time for the end of day reward: a glass (or 3) of wine. She lives alone and is only accountable to herself. When we first spoke, there were many things she wanted to be doing: exercising again, having more time for creative projects, acquiring new freelance clients, being more productive during her working hours, feeling less lonely. In addition to hiring me as her coach, she has also enlisted a personal trainer a couple of days a week and has let another friend in her building know that she wants an accountability buddy for the gym. They are planning set times to meet in the gym, on the days Anita doesn't have her training. She is also taking herself on "work dates" to get out of her house and treat herself to inspiring work environments around the city she lives in.  (Really cool side note, Anita did a budget and realized how much money she's be saving by cutting out most of her wine-drinking, and is investing that money in the trainer and coaching).

Dinner feels like a chore for another new client, Christy. She admitted to me that she doesn't really like to cook but feel like she should, because if let up to her husband, they'd be eating McDonald's. Though she has a lot of responsibility with her position as work, she had started feeling that it was monotonous and that she was bored. Coupled with the drudgery she felt around planning dinner, her evening glass of wine while preparing dinner is quite a treat to look forward to. We brainstormed a list of things she could do between the end of her work day and dinner time, which included bike riding, playing outside with her daughter, taking the dogs for walks and maybe most importantly, having a weekly healthy meal delivery and switching off with her husband for the other weekday meals. She still decides what they eat, and gets the ingredients together, but he actually spends the time cooking while she can go out and enjoy other things.

When you start to get clear on what your needs are and start to have conversations with those around you about your needs, the easier it becomes to show up for yourself.

The more alternatives you can create for yourself, the less likely you are to reach for the easy answer (alcohol).

Sure, it takes a bit more work, in the beginning, to get clear on what the needs are that are hiding underneath the craving, but once you start being able to meet those needs in other ways - alcohol starts to lose its appeal. At the very least, it loosens its grip a bit and you have the added bonus of the outcomes of other needs being met.

Making sure your needs are getting met is on-going work for many of us... as women, sisters, daughters, mothers, helpers, service providers, caregivers, business owners...

Ideally, we get so good at talking about and communicating our needs that those around us start noticing whether or not we're meeting our own needs, and find ways to help us prioritize them.

This happened for me last night when, after dinner, my partner mentioned: "You haven't been dancing in a long time. Not since before you went to New York. All you do is work and spend time with Luna and do stuff in the house. What if you started going to dance classes again some evenings, instead of always being on the computer? Or, if you want to do things like go for a run in the morning, we can take turns with Luna" (Currently, I'm always with our daughter in the mornings while he goes surfing or for a run)

To be honest, I was more than a little surprised that he noticed. I've spent so much time in the past talking about how important dancing and movement is for me and I get thrown out of whack if I go too long without it - yet it's easy for me to forget this need I have, especially when I get wrapped up with my work (which I do love) and being a mom (which I also love). My guy has seen what happens when I de-prioritize my needs, and as stress builds and I become more anxious, my sleep deteriorates and I get crankier. The cool thing is that instead of it going that far and him becoming reactive to that behaviour, he's starting to recognize what to do proactively.

Communicating your needs to family members and friends can help serve the same purpose. Again though, coming back to the beginning on this post, you have to be the ones to tell them  - you can't expect them to guess!

Now, I'd love to hear from you - what are you current unmet needs? What can you start doing differently to make sure these needs start getting met? Finally, what will be the positive outcome from making this shift?

Stuck in the Shame Swamp?

Do you ever get stuck in the shame swamp?

Shame is a recurring theme for many of my friends and clients who have struggled with alcohol, and is something I personally have done a lot of healing around.

When I began researching the topic in depth, it was interesting for me to learn that feelings of shame are also highly correlated with addiction.

Shame is a deep feeling of inadequacy, inferiority, or self-loathing. It can make you want to hide or disappear. It can also cause a deep, desperate feeling of separation from those around you. No matter how much love you are surrounded by, you might feel completely alone.

Shame can stem from early childhood experiences, starting as early as infancy. Experiences of shame often lead us to self-beliefs such as:

  • I’m unworthy (of love)

  • I’m no good

  • I’m a failure

  • I’m unlovable

  • I don’t deserve happiness

  • I’m defective (i.e. there’s something inherently wrong with me)

  • I’m a phony (i.e. I’m just really good at pretending to be likeable/successful… somehow I’ve managed to fool everyone around me!)

It’s no surprise then that people who experience deep shame may turn to alcohol, drugs or other substances to “fill the whole” and also for connection - an attempt to fix the isolation these shameful feelings can cause.

The problem with this is that when under the influence, we might do or say things that then trigger MORE feelings of shame, which layers shame upon more shame, and leads to what I call the SHAME SPIRAL.

I’ll give you an example from one of my clients.

Dina (name changed) had deep, shameful feelings of being unwanted, and insecurities about her body. When she drank, all of this changed for her, of course. She became confident, in control, flirtatious and felt sexy. She used alcohol in all of her sexual adventures with men.

Unfortunately, on more than one occasion Dina blacked out. She wasn’t able to remember details of what happened the night before. She also suffered some traumatic events (that she remembers parts of) while drunk.

Even though she has since done a lot of work around her alcohol use, and usually practices intentional moderation, and is in a loving, long-term relationship - on the rare occasion that she drinks too much and wakes up feeling as though she may have blacked out, Dina’s deep feelings of shame are triggered. This adds another layer to the shame spiral.

So now, instead of thinking to herself “Whoops, I might have drank a glass too much last night,” her self-talk is along the lines of “I’m a disgusting mess, how does my partner even love me, I’m such a gross f**k up, I’m fundamentally flawed.”

Another client, let’s call her Carol, is currently working through a shame spiral as well. She currently holds a fairly important position in a large corporation and has been receiving acclaim for her work. The more she becomes known for her work, the more anxious she feels that her past will come back to haunt her.

You see, 12 years ago Carol was charged with Public Drunkenness, which has since ended up on her record. She has become terrified and overcome by anxiety that she will be found out, and fired from her job.

If it were merely guilt that Carol was struggling with, her self-talk might be a little more forgiving. “I was young, I made a mistake, I didn’t know how to cope with the trauma I was dealing with at the time, so I drank too much. But really, I was doing the best I could at the time.”

Instead, the shame around the issue cuts to her deepest darkest fears about herself.

“I’m a fraud and a fake, I’m defective, I’ll never be successful because there is something really wrong with me, I’m a failure, I’m no good.”

Yikes. These are really heavy thoughts that Dina and Carol have swirling around. It’s no wonder that they’d prefer to suppress these feelings in an attempt to make them go away.

Thing is, silence and secrecy just adds to the shame spiral.

If any of this has resonated with you, you might be wondering - how do I break free?

Brene Brown does a great job of laying out two simple steps in this video. If you have a couple of extra minutes, I highly recommend watching.

I’ll paraphrase.

Talk to yourself lovingly.

As hard as it might be at first, treat yourself with love, tenderness and compassion. Imagine what you might say to your most treasured friend, your little sister or niece, or your child.

“So you made a mistake. I still love you. In fact, I love you more because I know you are trying to learn from this.”

Share the story.

As hard and painful as it might be, sharing the story can take the power out of it. If it is only living inside of you, it’s like a runaway train of shame spiral. Sharing the story with a safe person will help break the spiral, and diffuse the power. The irrational fear, when spoken out loud, loses some of its charge.

Create a mantra (this is my own suggestion and one that I wrote more about here).

If you can identify and locate the worst fears, figure out that the opposite of that fear is, and focus on that.

Based on Dina’s worst fears, her mantra would be something like this: I am beautiful, I am complete, I am lovable, I am whole, I am perfect just as I am.

This, repeated over and over until she starts to believe.

For Carol: I am smart and capable, I am more than enough just has I am, my worth is not dependent on others perception of me, I am inherently valuable, I was born and still am a divine creation, I am worthy.

This, repeated over and over until she starts to believe.

With so many of us living with secret shame, it’s really important that we start sharing our stories and breaking out of the shame spiral.

If you recognize the symptoms of shame showing up in someone you know, here’s how you can be an ally:

  • Listen to their story, with an open heart

  • Be Empathetic, if you haven’t directly experienced what they are expressing, try to put yourself in their shoes

  • Never minimize their feelings or experience

  • Help them separate the behaviour(s) from the core of who they are

  • Tell them they are loved. Help create a mantry by using the affirmations above

  • Share this blog with them

As always, I invite you to reach out and share with me. If you are experiencing shame and would like to break free of the spiral, send me an email or click here to set up a time to talk.


Feliz Dia del Amor y Amistad! (Happy Valentine's Day!)

 Where I live in Mexico, Valentine's Day is celebrated as the Day of Love and Friendship.

Can I just say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE that subtle shift?

It takes the focus away from romantic love (and therefore those who might feel lacking if they don't have a hot date or someone to cosy up to).

So Happy Day of Love and Friendship to all you -- may your weekend be filled with joy and blessings.

Remember - romance yourself first and foremost, lavish the self-care, and take a few extra minutes to let your friends and loved ones know how much you appreciate them.

This week's note will be brief - and focused on going easy on yourself - so it ties right in with the Love Day theme this weekend.

A couple of days ago, while doing a review of our 6 months working together, a client mentioned that she had been a bit hard on herself this last week: feeling that she hadn't accomplished "enough" in the past 6 months.

This, coming from someone who has gone from severe burnout, insomnia and adrenal fatigue to sleeping better, feeling rested, and experiencing real energy again;

who has transitioned from extreme workaholism, chaos and over-commitment to spaciousness in her schedule, plenty of self-care (without guilt or self-criticism), and lots of time to be present with family and rekindle neglected friendships,

and in her words now:

"I'm off the ledge, clearing the fog, waking up excited instead of consumed by dread, enjoying the day instead of rushing through it... work is fun again, my house is organized, peaceful and functional, and I'm making real connections again..."

Wow. Back up a minute sister... THIS IS SO MUCH TO CELEBRATE!!

We spend years and year telling ourselves stories and unconsciously living patterns that shape our behaviours and day to day lives...

Rewriting these stories, learning new ways of being and creating new patterns to create real, sustainable change takes time.

Go easy on yourself!!

It really struck me again this morning... in a slightly different way. Our house has been out of water for several days now. We have a bucket next to the sink in the kitchen to scoop water out of to wash our hands and do dishes.

I'm at the sink countless times in the day, and even though I know we have no water and the bucket is in plain new right in front of me, I STILL reach for the tap almost EVERY SINGLE TIME. Force of habit. It's what I've always done and 95% of the time, my unconscious is what guides my actions.

I have to make an effort to remind myself to do it differently. 

Over and over again, until I create a new habit or pattern.

They say you have to do something every day for 30 days until a new habit is formed. (Hopefully we'll have water in our house before then!! But you get my drift...)

So keep at it. Change is possible but it takes time. ESPECIALLY when it involves the stories we tell ourselves or have been told since childhood.

Take time to celebrate the small steps. Be grateful for the awareness and desire that you have. Keep on keeping on. Give yourself lotsa love throughout the process.

And in the words of Robbie Williams: Go gentle to the light.

Ego vs Spirit...

I’ve been writing a lot about Super-Charging September. There has been a lot of energy around this, both my own and that of others, and it’s been inspiring and invigorated.

It may be my love of alliteration that has inspired me to writing another S-themed post this month, but this time it’s about Sacred, Spiritual Sobriety...

It is, of course, all relevant. You wanna super-charge? Try slowing down. Get spiritual and aligned with your purpose. You wanna the clearest path to do so? Try cutting out addictive behaviours and co-dependencies, whether it be alcohol, sugar or food.

There is a theory that addiction come to people who do not know their purpose, or are disconnected from it. I also really resonate with the idea that co-dependency is the disease of the lost self.

So can you connect with your purpose? How can you connect with self?

According to Yogi Cameron, a spiritual practice helps locate purpose.

If your mind is occupied with higher thoughts, and your heart is at peace, you reach for that addictive substance less.

In a talk I listened to recently, Yogi Cameron broke it down like this:

We are Spiritual beings... with Ego.

Spirit is always saying “HEY” and Ego says “Shut up, I got this.”

The Spirit guides us to purpose, never avoiding the challenges along the way.

Ego says, “Skip this part!! (the hard part)”

As we know, Ego is also directly tied to addiction. Addiction (or any kind of dependency on a substance or food) can be a great way to avoid pain, ie “the hard parts.”

How does this show up?

In my client who is unfulfilled in her day job, socially isolated, and not living her purpose and binge eating at night. Food replaced alcohol. Both are taking the place of meaningful connection to self, others, and higher purpose.

In another client who abandons her morning ritual (which includes meditation) once things start going good. (Ego says, “I got this!”) Without maintaining the focus on her daily practice, things start to unravel and she disconnects from her centre, and slides quickly back into her familiar anxiety.

In my family member, who after a year of sobriety, is finally feeling pain that was avoided for years - and is now finally ready to answer the question: Who am I and why am I here? Yet still very much trying to control, and with Ego making it all about him, he isn't able have faith and to trust Spirit to take the lead.

For myself, my spiritual practice helped me step outside of my ego-driven decisions and fear. I experience less anxiety, more confidence, and more peace. 

I heard this quote awhile ago, and it really resonated with me.

“I am content to see a mountain as a mountain and not as a comment on my life.” (If you know the source of this quote, please let me know!)

Spirituality helps me get out of my own way... And to not make everything about me. My connection to Spirit helps my Ego take a backseat. With Ego firmly in her place, I am a lot more free from addictions. With Spirit taking the lead, and connecting me with my authentic purpose AND the inter-connectedness of us all, I am more free from dependencies.

Pretty nifty.

However, as we all know, there’s no magic enlightenment pill. My spiritual practice is a practice, and something I have to remind myself to practice.

I write it down. It’s part of my “to-dos” in my morning ritual . Sunrise meditation has become an increasingly important part of my spiritual practice. Sometimes I’m not able to or can’t wake up, but I always feel better when I do. If I miss sunrise, I try for sunset. Sometimes I do both.

My boyfriend reminds me to pray at night. Our versions of praying are different and so are our versions of God. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes we pray out loud for and with each other, sometimes side by side in silence. It is another ritual I have come to appreciate.

Swimming, restorative yoga, humming and tapping have all become important practices to keep me present, “in the moment," and at the same time connected to a source much larger than myself (call it my Higher Power, God, the Universe, the Divine... insert whatever works and feels meaningful for you).

Being in nature is one of the post powerful ways for me to connect with myself and Spirit.

What about you? What does your spiritual practice feel like? What does spirituality mean to you?

I would love to hear in the comments!


From nightmarish chaos to clarity and calm...

Have you ever had one of those epics dreams, where you are trying to do everything by yourself and nothing works? The phone won’t turn on, then you can’t dial the right numbers, you keep missing the connection with the person you are supposed to meet, you go the wrong way into traffic, you realize you aren’t speaking the same language as the person you are trying to communicate with, you can find the thing you are looking for. And for hours it seems like you are running around trying to complete a task that should only take minutes...

I had one of those dreams last night. I was so relieved when my alarm went off and I could wake up from this exhausting nightmarish saga! I glanced out at the sunrise and immediately felt thankful to have my morning practice ahead of me to help clear this chaotic energy and ground and focus for the day.

I remember quite clearly when this feeling happened in real life, not just in dreams. 

Always feeling rushed, like there was never enough time.

Foggy and unfocused from lack of sleep or being hungover. Quite often both.

Lack of clarity and calm when approaching my day, always feeling like I was forgetting something.

Forgetting something important in the morning, or sleeping in, which snowballed into a day of trying to play catch up.

Making excuses for submitting work super last minute, or needed extensions on deadlines.

Does this sounds familiar at all?

Even though in the end it all got done, (in fact, the overachiever in me often ended up over-delivering), there definitely could have been a better, smoother way.

I used to get sick a lot. I would go go go at this frenetic pace and then crash.

When I finally did burn out completely on my work/career at the time and life in general, I had to take a long hard look at the way I was living. 

I wasn’t even thirty years old yet and I’d tired myself out. 

I set about learning new practices to help me live life in more balance. These practices not only help me stay focused and productive with my external life, perhaps more importantly, they give me inner peace and clarity as well. 

This actually requires quite a bit of organization. Creating systems and rituals that prioritize YOU and your well-being first, so that you can better serve your higher purpose, your loved ones and your external responsibilities.

And here’s the best part.

You don’t have to figure this out all on your own. If fact, it’s better if you don’t try to.

Just like the dream, you could spend hours and days and weeks running around trying to figure it all out on your own, buying into the illusion that you have to.

Or you could ask for help.

I have worked with coaches, therapists, teachers, mentors, spiritual guides, masterminds and accountability partners to get the training and support I needed to shift patterns I had spent a lifetime living.

This kind of support is available to you as soon as you decide that you want it.

One of my clients who just finished a month-intensive put it this way:

“Something inside was telling me to make changes in my life. Something was wrong, and many things negative things kept happening, so it was kind of in a bad way I realized it (the need for change).

I wasn't on the right path of my life. 

Everything started to connect a month ago, when I decided to change. The Universe put people on my way to help me, and I started to see what I could learn from them.”

Setting clear intentions for yourself is one of the key 6 strategies I will be talking about during my free Tele-Class next Tuesday. 

I’m really looking forward to sharing them with all of you... I see how much of an impact they have on my clients life, and how much they changed mine, on a daily basis.

Click here to sign up for the class. Even if you are not sure you can make it, I’ll be sending out a recording :)

I'd love to hear in the comments. What is one intention you'd like to set for yourself for the upcoming month? What kind of support do you need to fulfill this intention? Remember, ask and you shall receive.


How can I create Heaven on Earth?

When I read this question yesterday, I realized with a deep sense of awe and gratitude that my life has been moving in the direction of Heaven on Earth for the past few years. I hadn't really considered it in this way - but the question resonated with something deep inside of me.

So I started thinking, how can I consciously and actively continue creating a little piece of Heaven here on Earth? My own little paradise.

And equally as important, how can you?

Here are some examples of what this looks like, for me.

Showing up with integrity and honesty in all of my interactions, even when it’s hard.

Only saying YES to people, places, things and activities that feel good for my mind, body and soul (yes, all three).

Taking risks in Love.

Eating the best food I can find/buy/grow/cook. Yes, trying to find local and ethical sources, eating fresh clean nourishing foods that have the least impact on the Earth in terms of their growth and/or production. For me, this means a largely plant-based diet. 

Treating my body like an exquisite temple. 

Only exercising in ways that feel good. 

Practicing moderation and seeking balance, because excess was a path that took its toll on my mind, body and spirit. 

These are just a few examples.

And in case you are wondering, I’m not perfect. I am not a saint or angel that walks the earth. Creating Heaven on Earth is HARD WORK sometimes. And sometimes I have really shitty days. And experiences or interactions with people where I look back and say... damn, why?? Why did I do/say that?

In the past couple of years, I have had conversations that I’m not proud of. I’ve made choices regarding my health or how I spend my time that aren’t aligned with my longer term vision the paradise I seek to create for myself and my family.

Upholding this higher vision for myself allows me to learn for these slip ups and get back on track. 

Now before you start thinking - well, this is great for you Caitlin but I’m stuck in a relationship that I’m not sure is good for me, my job sucks and I have no energy to get around to making even small changes in my day (or insert whatever your struggle is at the moment) - I want to tell you - I get it! I do. I have had my share of shitty relationships and heartbreak (including in the past year) and I have not always had a job situation that I was in love with.

My life has been a series of ups and downs and I’m pretty sure that will continue even in my paradise-seeking.

What I do know is the power of taking small steps... doing one thing a day that gives you that blissed-out, over the moon, carefree, peaceful, Heaven on Earth feeling (or whatever that combination of feeling would be for you). 

See what sights, aromas, tastes, textures, flavours and sounds you can add to your day to make it a little more special, a little more sumptuous. 

Summer is the perfect time to start creating Heaven, as we are surrounded by so much natural beauty and an abundance of fresh, tasty food.

I’ll give you an example from a client of mine.

Her work situation was stressing her out. She rated it a 0-3 out of 10, because some days were only slightly better than others. She felt undervalued and stress out most days. Her colleagues were mostly men, she had a hard time interacting with them, can’t stand their jokes or music and is pretty low on the hierarchy.

She realized that she couldn’t change her entire environment or the people around her.

She can, however, control how she feels and what kind of an environment she can create for herself.

She brought her own music and plugged in her headphones. She allowed their ignorant comments roll off her like rain. She got there early and worked quickly so that she could rearrange her schedule and be a bit more flexible.

The sister of a friend, who is a renowned painter in NYC, was visiting. My client went out on a limb, and asked if she would teach a workshop.  The painter agreed, as long as my client would find and purchase all the materials needed.

My client spend 3 days in what she described as excitement and happiness as she drove around town on her moto in her free time, seeking out the supplies. It took her mind off work and was a welcome break from the routine.

During the workshop itself, which I had the pleasure of witnessing, I watched my client go from a tightly-wound perfectionist to relaxed, at ease, playful and HAPPY!!

The next day, during our 1-1 session, she described the feeling of being able to “let go of her serious side,” turn off her mind for a bit, and dive into the experience.

She had found her Heaven on Earth for the afternoon.

The more we can intentionally create our own Heaven on Earth, the less we need to escape ourselves and our reality, by quick fixes such as sugar high, alcohol binges or nightly bottles of wines, toxic television, vapid sexual encounters (insert your distraction of choice). 

The more we can love and appreciate where we are, right now in this moment, the less we dream of escaping into something else. 

So tell me, how are you creating your Heaven on Earth? What does that look like for you?

I’d love to read in the comments!


ps. Want to know more about how you can start creating shifts and receive more support in your life? Click here and book a free discovery session with me! Let’s chat!

Are you ready to be vulnerable with me?

I received an overwhelming response to my last post “Early pregnancy, health challenges and lessons learned.”

One of the most reoccurring comments, both on Facebook and on my blog, was about what others perceived as the courage it took for me to be so vulnerable in sharing my story. Here’s a couple of the comments:

“Caitlin, this is amazing that you have so much courage to write all of these! This is not easy at all and it made me cry. I struggle with one thing now and it is so hard to talk about being vulnerable.”

“Inspiring advice Caitlin. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. I always fear that showing that part of myself makes me seem weak but in the end it makes us all stronger.”

It wasn’t my intention to set out to model vulnerability. My process was more about exploring why such a dramatic and difficult set of challenges was created for me, trying to understand it, and to make something meaningful out of the experience, both for myself and others.

The comments led me to reflect on how I got here, to the place where I can take a risk and be honest about the times I struggle.

I know that I wasn’t always like this. In fact, during my teens and early 20s I was so afraid of seeming weak, I projected a false sense of confidence and was often perceived as either unfeeling, desensitized, or untouchable.

I was so afraid of admitting when I was hurt, afraid, lost, lonely or confused. I had convinced myself that as soon as I admitted even a fraction of these feelings, my carefully constructed facade of cool self assuredness would come crashing down around me. I would be seen as a fraud.

Around this time my mother and I, who were close when I was younger but had a huge falling out in my teens, started reconnecting in a big way. I remember we were walking in the forest one day, and she admitted to me that she had made mistakes. She admitted that some of the things that were said to me when I was a teenager were unfair, that I had been pushed away during a time that I needed my family the most, and that the adults had been in the wrong, not me.

I could sense how hard it was for her to say these things to me. She was practically choking on the words, trying to get them out. I felt a floodgate open inside of me and was finally able to feel the hurt, pain and disappointment that I had kept bottled up inside for years. This was a turning point for both of us.

My mother’s willingness to be vulnerable gave me permission to do the same. Her ability to start telling the truth, even when it didn’t make her look like the good and perfect mother she wished to be, allowed space for healing and growth. She became a better mother for it. I can’t speak for her, but I imagine from my own experiences of vulnerability that it also probably brought her a sense of peace and calm that was missing during the years of pretending.

Right around that time, I was training to become a facilitator, working with high risk youth and addresses some pretty challenging topics, such as sexuality, HIV/AIDS, injecting drug use and sex work. One of our trainers consistently reinforced the point - you don’t have to be right all the time. You don’t have to know all the answers. Be yourself, be honest, and the audience will not only relate to you more, they will trust you. 

Shortly after that, I was reading a facilitators guidebook and I came across this quote:

Courage is to speak one's mind with all one's heart.

I don’t know who wrote it but I had the words scrawled in my journal and burned into my mind and soul. The statement was so powerfully simple and freeing that I committed fiercely to learning how to be courageous in this way.

Years later, after listening to Brene Brown, I came across this quote, which so beautifully connects vulnerability to courage. If you haven’t heard of Brene’s work yet, check out her Tedx talk on the power of vulnerability (click here). 

Here are my own top 3 tips for “getting good” at vulnerability:

Practice!! Yes, it is a practice. Particularly when starting out. Pick something about yourself or a topic that is hard to be open about. Maybe it’s a past experience, or a current perceived weakness, or something you perceive as a character flaw or weakness. Start by sharing with a trusted friend. Notice what sensations might come up in your body and be forgiving with yourself. It is likely that the person you shared this with will respond in a desired way, and that will be an affirmation. However, even if they do not provide the response you are looking for, celebrate taking this risk and lavish on a little extra self love.

Use affirmations. Often, fear of being vulnerable is really a fear of others’ perception of us - that we may be perceived as weak, crazy, lazy, incompetent, unlovable, unattractive, or whatever. These negatives are the “shadow side” of the positive trait we do want. Craft an affirmation around the positive trait or quality you wish to embody.

I am enough, and loveable just as I am, even when I am not doing anything.

I am strong, even when my physical self is challenged, I can thrive.

Letting go is safe, I am safe.

Expressing my truth is safe, I am safe.

Self-love!! This takes affirmations one step further. I don’t think I was able to be truly vulnerable until I stopped being paralyzed by what others might think of me. And in order to release myself from this fear, I had to learn to love myself to such an extent that at the end of the day, it didn’t matter whether I “scared someone away” or if someone stopped liking me as much because of what I revealed in my vulnerable, i.e., authentic self. This has taken years of dedication, trust me, it didn’t happen over night. It has been the evolution of becoming a woman who I admire and respect daily.

Self-love manifests in my choices around what food I eat (fresh, clean, plant-based, local when possible, home cooked with love, full of living energy), to the way I treat my body through loving and pleasurable exercise (moving in ways that feel good, connecting with nature, sensual movement, dance, slowing down), to sleeping more, to choosing presence every day instead of numbing or distracting myself with alcohol, drugs, over-work, or adrenaline, to developing a spiritual practice, and finally, to learning to be really honest in intimate relationships (ahem, vulnerability!).

I would love for you to practice your vulnerability here. There are two ways you can do this. The first is to be bold and take a risk - in the comments section, post something you are afraid to be vulnerable about, and a positive affirmation to counteract the fear.

If posting on the interwebs is too much (trust me, I know how terrifying it can be) than click here to book a free 1-1 session with me. During these 45 minutes together, we will talk about your biggest challenge/fear and look at immediate steps you can begin taking to create change in your life. I have received feedback that after just one conversation, people have experienced major shifts where they were previously experiencing blocks.

As always, please share this with anyone you know how might be looking for a little more vulnerability in their life.

Remember, the more we allow ourselves to take the risk of vulnerability, the more we encourage those in our lives to do the same. Being vulnerable is being courageous, and is all about creating space for growth. 


The lost art of communal meals

Two things this happened this week that got me thinking about the importance of preparing and sharing food.

I was speaking with one of my clients who is doing her best to make positive changes.  She works 6 days a week, is an amazing mother to her one and a half year old son, hustles to get to the gym several times a week and is trying to incorporate more balanced, healthy food into her diet.

As part of her unique 1-1 coaching with me, we did an exercise together called “The Circle of Life,” where she rated different areas of her life based on how fulfilled/satisfied she felt in each area. The areas where she felt most challenged were Relationships, Social Life, and Home Cooking. It came as no surprise to me, as her busy schedule meant that by the end of the day she was often too tired to think creatively about food, or to make plans with friends. When she and her husband did plan social activities, it was often dinner out with friends, and usually to restaurants that her friends chose, and not necessarily the healthiest options.

We brainstormed ideas together of how she could reasonably, within the schedule and demands of her life, start both cooking and socializing more.

I suggested potlucks, group dinners where everyone brings a dish or two, and shares the meals. I also suggested themed dinners, such as trying vegetarian dinners, or trying a raw food dinner, as her friends were not as health conscious as she is trying to be. Another option is everyone contributing ingredients, and preparing the meal together based on what ingredients are available.

A certain level of education and creativity may be required when your friends are new to this kind of thing, however it can be presented as an exciting challenge.

Preparing food, cooking and eating together is such an important part of so many cultures and traditions, and unfortunately in today’s busy world, this beautiful and nourishing medium for social connection gets lost to the hustle and bustle and isolation that many people have become accustomed to. 

A couple of nights ago a group of new and old friends who had all traveled to my town to surf a big south swell decided to organize a “family dinner” in celebration of each other.

It was decided that the meal would be cooked at my house, and then enjoyed at my neighbour’s. I eagerly jumped into coordinating the menu, delegating grocery lists, and organizing my team of “sous-chefs” with their various tasks of chopping, mixing, tasting, cooking and then carrying the food from one kitchen to another.

After a long bout of health challenges, it had been quite awhile since I had shared meal-making and eating. I had forgotten how much fun it can be, and what a wonderful way it is to connect with people.

The expression “many hands make light work” certainly ring true here, as the more hands the are to prep, cook and clean takes the pressure off the host.

Summer is also such a wonderful time for meal-sharing. The weather allows eating outdoors, and the body desires cooling foods with minimal prep and there is an abundance of fresh and local produce.

Consider different themes for potlucks and challenge your friends to try a raw meal, or a “salad bar” theme, or a veggie BBQ. Bonus points for making it a “super detox meal” and leaving out the alcohol... easing your friends and family into your decision to drink less alcohol can happen through the gradual introduction of concepts like this.

Creating a Facebook invite for your dinner can also be a great way to share ideas, and coordinate who is bringing what.

I’d love to hear about your adventures in summer social cooking and eating. Share your menu ideas here, including what yummy non-alcoholic bevvies are served, and how you got your friends and family involved!



Taking a stand for yourself, even when it's scary.

This week I had 5 distinct conversations that all ended up revolving around the same theme: The challenge that many women have taking stand, investing in themselves and their own health.

I often speak with women who are clear they want to make changes. They KNOW they NEED to. They’ve tried before, and end up falling back into the same patterns. They are at their wits end. The risk of thing staying the same, unchanging, is becoming too great - something’s gotta give.

Yet when it comes to making the commitment (which is often a financial investment) they balk. Stall. Panic even. Why is it scary? Because when we take a drastic step, like making a significant investment, it makes it real… suddenly we’re not just talking about “hopefully doing something maybe someday.”

We’re talking about taking action TODAY.

It’s amazing to me how much we prioritize other things, people, purchases, STUFF, over our own health.

I’ve also noticed a very close tie to between women who struggle to control their drinking, and women who struggle to control their finances.

When I was talking to my coach about this phenomenon, and feeling sad because I was speaking with women whom I really believe wanted to change but couldn’t come up with the $$, she had these words of wisdom for me: “They are over extended with their money in the SAME way they overextend their body's limits around alcohol.”

And it’s true. Some of my clients, though finances may have been 3rd or 4th priority when they started working with me, are now seeing massive improvements in their ability to manage their money. Making empowered decisions around your health + taking consistent action towards your goals + honouring and prioritizing yourself and your well-being = a ripple effect of positive outcomes.

Let me tell you a personal story. About 9 months ago I took a huge risk. I signed on to work with a coach whose rates would result in monthly payments way higher than anything I had ever paid for before. I was terrified, and at the same time, exhilarated. What made me do it? I had a dream, a vision, of what I wanted to put out into the world. I knew I had important work to do, specifically for women who struggle with alcohol. Yet the idea of putting myself out there, revealing my own struggles, while at the same time figuring out how to run an online business, kinda scared the shit out of me. I felt totally overwhelmed.

After one conversation with her, I knew that she “got me.” She had a background in health coaching and really understood my unique approach to working around these issues. She was an expert in online business and marketing. She believed in me and my message and I knew she would be rooting for me.

There were days during the development on my business that I felt so overwhelmed I almost couldn’t get out of bed. There were days when the idea of sharing my story so publicly made me feel sick and like I wanted to crawl back into a hole forever. Yet the commitment I’d made to my coach, and most importantly, the investment I had made in myself, kept me going… and I am forever grateful I took that risk.

When we take a risk by taking a stand for ourselves, we signal to the Universe that we mean business. The universe listens, and starts aligning in our favour.

Taking a stand for yourself does not have to involve an outright financial investment. It could mean taking a stand in a relationship, at work, with your family or any number of things.

I’ll give you another example.

One of the conversations I had this week was with a woman who contacted me because she had all but lost faith in herself. She felt anxious, stressed out, out of control and was beginning to “hate herself.” The risk of not taking action was huge, like she might completely fall apart, though she felt like she had tried everything before and wasn’t hopeful that anything would be different. But she was reaching out - which signified to me that there was a glimmer of hope.

We talked about the #1 step she could take, right now, to change things. It was hard for her to think of something… again, that hopelessness was a powerful force. Her financial situation felt like a huge barrier and burden for her, something stopping her from being able to take action on her health in the way that she needed to.

Several days later, I received an email from her. She said she had thought about the question some more, and she realized that the #1 thing she needed to do was to have more faith in herself.

Not only that, she was going to raise her rates for the first time in years, even though it scared her to ask for more money (as a small business owner whose clients are largely her friends and acquaintances). Her husband, beginning to take her seriously, had also gone to the bank, and taken a drastic step for them to get their finances in order.

As I read this I jumped out of my chair, grinning, doing a happy dance. I know this woman is signaling to the Universe that she means it. She’s serious about making changes, and she’s taking action. I couldn’t contain my excitement because I know with all my heart and soul that more good things are coming her way.

I sat down to read the rest of her email and was so moved to read this: Talking with you has started a positive shift and I feel good about it, so thank you Caitlin. You truly are devoted to your work and your clients.

And this, my friends, is what makes all the risks I’ve taken worth it. I’m the healthiest I have ever been in my life,  I get to do amazing work in the world and support other women be their happiest, healthiest selves.

So how are you going to take a stand for yourself, today? Small or huge, what scary step can you take to start creating a shift for yourself. I would love it you could share in the comments. Chances are, your step will inspires others as well!

Have faith in yourself. You deserve it. You are worth it!


ps. If you are ready to take a stand for yourself right now, but are not sure what steps to take, take a stand by signing up for one of my complimentary discovery sessions (click here). You deserve it!