I was having dinner with my Naturopathic Doctor turned Go to Friend and Confidant 2 Saturday’s ago and as we were chatting I was describing how amazing I was feeling and how allowing myself to soften into the universal energy has opened up so much healing and opportunity for me. As I finished gushing about how amazing I am feeling, she basically looked at me and reminded me of how much of a change it was from the burnt out mom I was last year when I first walked into her office.
The reminder stopped me in my tracks. I had been burnt out. I had been burnt out for 29 years. consistently pushed to the edge, and often times falling into a downward spiral of self doubt, neglect, and withdrawal. Why had I been so burnt out? What had pushed me to that extreme? and what had changed in a mere 12 months to flip the burnout to a grounded glow? (And she is not the only one who has remarked on my glow! )
So, I started to think. Started to reflect. And what I discovered is that there was a shedding of a skin, a breaking of a mould and an avoidance of what society presents as correct for a female and mother of (almost) 30. I started to put myself on the list. I started to live my life from passion and purpose. Started to surround myself with people, places, experiences and things that bring me joy.
And in doing so I realized that we need to change the conversation. Change the conversation for us. Change the conversation for our kids. And change the conversation for our grandkids.
Because we will not survive, our kids will not survive and our society will not survive on burnout. We can’t continue to run on the hamster wheel, checking off boxes on our accomplishment to-do list. A to-do list dictated by society.
I do not want my children to fall into the same trap I did. I want them to glow every single day and feel like they can choose whatever path they want, with no judgement, and no regret. I Want my kids to experience life rather than being bound by it. In order for that to occur I need to be an example. A positive example of self care and self love.
We need to stop glorifying the busy. We need to stop putting ourselves down, emotionally and physically. And we need to stand up and be proud of what and who we are, exactly in this moment. No Regret. There is no need to fix yourself because you are PERFECTLY IMPERFECT just the way you are.
We need to stop putting ourselves last because in doing so our emotional, physical and spiritual cup drains very fast and, as the saying goes, you cant pour from an empty cup.
If your goal is to support those around you. To provide them with unconditional love and to feel rested and whole, you need to drop everything you are doing right now and change your viewpoint to change the conversation.
The Saturday that I had dinner with Tara was a day for me, and ONLY me. I did things that light me up, help to bring me back into balance and connect to my inner fire. I took a whole day and I was SELFISH. I went to yoga at my Studio and a float at The Flotation Centre, I did some visioning and goal setting over Chai at Lion and Bright, Tara and I wined and dined at Morris East before immersing ourselves in some amazing Sound Healing at the Gong Bath.
I was SELFISH and I did NOT feel GUILTY!
And for days I felt amazing! My cup was full, and when I picked my kids up on Sunday I was grounded and ready to take on the week with them. I truly believe that I am a much better mother, friend, daughter, sister and employee when I consciously decide to take the time to do things for me.
BUT - There was a time where I would spend no time on myself. And in those years I had very little joy. Everything around me kept falling apart - relationships of every variety, work, health, and my depression and anxiety were at an all time high.
And it was all because I was made to feel by society, that as a Woman and a mother, spending time on myself, away from my kids, was a bad thing.
Well, Im here to tell you its not.
I want you to be selfish.
I want you to discover what lights you up and makes you feel grounded.
And I want you to do it.
I want you to do it wholeheartedly and without guilt. It will not be easy the first time, and maybe not even the second time. But over time you will see how taking time for you, every day, every week and every month will drastically improve the flow of your life and your outlook.
Live from passion - Ignite your TRUE Essence and watch how it will inspire others to do the same. The empowering ripple effect of self love and self care will be seen and felt around you for years!
Sending you love and light every single day.
Don’t know where to start?
No worries! Here’s exactly what I did.
Lock yourself in a room or leave your house - Make sure you have a pen and paper with you.
Write - Your writing does not need to have a purpose - just get out any thoughts and feelings you are having. Nothing is forbidden. Write it. Mark up the paper. Let it all out. And then burn it. Burn it to release the energy. Burn it to feel a sense of letting go and peace.
Write again - this time with purpose. Ask yourself the following question - What 5 things bring me the most joy (this should be limited strictly to things you can do alone - for you!) This might be hard. And it is meant to be. You may stare at a blank page for hours. But eventually you ill have the courage to write it out - if your list is longer than 5 - great! Write as much as you can!
Set an intention - You will do each of these 5 things this month! Schedule the time. Tell the people closest to you that you are going to do this and that you need their support. Encourage them to do it too! Everyone needs to be practicing self love!
Write about how you feel after taking time for you. Keep writing.
Reflect at the end of the month and reassess what you are going to do for you next month. Pretty soon it will become a habit and you wont ave to think about it so m much and you will immediately begin to see the shift!
Need some inspiration? Here’s my monthly Self Care routine! (Note: It doesn't always all get done - but what does get done keeps me above the line!)
Morning - Hot lemon water and vitamins. Tongue scraping.
Evening - Shower (dry brushing of the skin first), rooibos tea, magnesium to drink, oils on my feet and magnesium spray on my belly (You can get the sleep oil blend and magnesium spray at the studio). Mediate for 10 minutes min, read for 15 in min. Diffuse oils.
At least 5 days/week - 45-60 minutes of Yoga. Journalling.
Weekly - 1-2 epsom sat baths with baking soda and oils. Face mask (usually honey). Read and drink tea in bath for at least 20 minutes with mask on face. Exfoliate face and body with baking soda. Smudge the house.
Monthly - Float at The Flotation Centre and another form of healing - Reiki, sound healing, talking to my Psychic etc. Perform one random act of kindness. Dinner with a friend or relax at a cafe solo.
As much as possible - get out in nature and hug my kids (and anyone else who is willing)!
Cliche or not, at the start of 2017 I sat down and made some resolutions - Goals, Intentions- Whatever you want to call them, I made a commitment to me. I promised myself that no matter what the day brings, I will practice Yoga for at least 30 minutes, I will meditate for at least 10 minutes and I will write in my journal every night.
Why did I make this resolution? Because believe it or not, as a Yoga teacher and a studio owner, I was not getting to my mat. I had so many other things on my plate, that at the end of the day, my practice, stillness and working through thoughts and emotions through writing were the easiest things to push aside so that I could go to bed and get some much needed sleep. And I knew that by taking more time for me, that I would be more present for my kids, and they are my number one priority. They are my heart and soul. And they deserve the best version of me.
As a result of neglecting myself, I was feeling scattered, disconnected to my body, my anxiety and depression had come back full force, I was short with my kids, I had gained weight, my skin was a mess and I was exhausted. I Felt like I was slowly falling apart. I was not practicing what I was preaching to my students. I knew what I was supposed to be doing, but I was not doing it, and as a result, myself and everyone around me was suffering.
So, I knew I had to make a change, I knew it would make my days longer, I knew I would have to schedule it on my to-do list and make it a priority. And I did. For the past 20 days I did yoga for 30+ minutes, I meditated for 10+ minutes and I wrote every night - my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, my struggles and my frustrations.
And guess what? My whole world has changed! I feel much more rested and alive. My body is feeling stronger day by day. I am much stronger emotionally, my skin is slowly clearing up, I am more patient with my kids, I feel whole and connected again.
By taking time for myself every day I have opened up more space in my life. More time for my kids, more time for me, and more space to give and receive love. I have never felt more alive in my life!
And the amazingness of the past 20 days didn't just stop at the shift when I took more time for me. You all amplified it ten fold!
Last week's classes were full! As in, pre-booked before the class even started! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that 4 months into this journey I would be selling out classes! You have no idea how humbling that is. How incredible it feels to lead you. How amazing it is to be in a room with the energy of 20+ people moving and breathing together. Finding earth and connection.
I need you to know that by being at the studio, you are helping me to live my dream and fulfil my life's purpose. And I hope that by being in the space you are inspired to take on new challenges, that you are able to put your dreams out to the the universe and live your life to your fullest! I am your biggest supporter and that you can do anything you set your mind to!
And please know that when I talk about emotional strength - I do not mean that I never cry and things don't effect me. I mean just the opposite actually. I give myself permission to feel and to release any emotion. This week was a struggle for me. I was a puddle and cried for a solid 24 hours. I couldn't let anyone hug me because it would set me off again. But, I did not try to hold it in and be strong. I let the tears flow freely, taking with them any negative energy and hurt to leave me cleansed and refreshed. After the last tear dropped, I was fine. I worked through the emotion, I released it, and I was fine. I hit my mat and I meditated, I reconnected to my breath and went to bed. The next 3 days were amazing!
And, tonight in class I cried. As the teacher, I cried. I was so moved by the release of energy in the room. So grateful for the people who choose me to lead them, so grateful for the curveballs life has thrown me that have led me to this place. I cried.
I was fortunate to be born into a large extended family, 95% of which live in Lunenburg County. I did not realize when I opened the studio that my family was going to become even larger. To date our yoga family has grown to 420 people. 420 people who have all had the strength and courage to step through those doors, be vulnerable on their mat, share energy ad let go. I applaud each and every one of you, and I am so happy to see you, each and every time you come. You may not come everyday, you may not come every month, but know that we are here for you when you need us. All 420 of us. No judgement - just love.
And you see the smile on the girl in that picture? That is a genuine smile. It is not something that comes easy to me and not something people have seen very often. But because of all of you, I find that smile more and more each day. Because of you, all other aspects of my life have become infinitely more amazing. I am a better mother, I am a better Daughter, I am a better friend and I am a better human.
I bow to you, because you have no idea how strong and influential you are. Sprinkle your love everywhere this weekend - the world needs you now more than ever.
Ignite your true essence and watch the ripples.
Expectations vs. Reality
Expectation - Noun - a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
Reality - Noun - The world of the state of things a they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.
Lets be real for a minute. Life is a constant ping-pong game between these two words. Every morning we wake up with the expectation of the day to come. Rarely does the expectation we have set out for ourselves ever become the reality of the day. However, despite that, we have learnt to adapt, become resilient and accept change. For some of us (me included) change, especially last minute change, throws me for a loop and often times send me right below the line. It takes work, and a toolbox filled with tools we need to deal with the ebb and flow of daily life. To everyone out there reading this, know that you are doing an amazing job balancing life and accepting or rejecting the reality you are faced with that may not align with your expectations.
Having said that, as frustrating and terrifying as it can be for our expectations not to align with reality, I feel that it is crucial to have expectations, and to have high expectations at that. Dream big, jump in with both feet, because you never know. Today may be the day that the intent you set for yourself becomes reality. I truly believe high expectations are the key to everything. Some may say that in life and relationships, having high expectations are a way to set yourself up for disappointment. I say, putting those words and negativity out to the universe is a surefire way to ensure it because reality.
Think about this - Setting high expectations for others and for your goals is true reflection of yourself. The expectations you have for others shows just how far you would go for them and how much respect you have for them. On the same note, the expectations that you set for yourself and your goals shows just how hard you are willing to work to make those dreams reality.
Teaching Yoga - Expectation
Let's rewind back a few months to when this crazy adventure began. I was immersed in my 200 hour Yoga Teacher training and I knew that when I was done I would teach and my goal was to open a Yoga Studio.
I expected that when I was done and began putting myself out to the community and holding classes that People would come out, flow with me and feel the physical benefits I desperately hoped that they would also see the mental and spiritual benefits of practice. I expected that I would reach a handful of people in my community and work with them to help them build a consistent practice.
I expected to be a drop in the bucket, another player in the amazing community of Yoga teachers we have on the South Shore. However, I put myself out there in a big way - doing thing that no-one had done before. I had absolutely nothing to loose, and myself and my community had everything to gain!
Teaching Yoga - Reality
MIND BLOWN. So many amazing people came out to support me and attend my classes, they embraced the outside the box events I scheduled and Riverside Yoga was AMAZING! The amount of community and positive energy that was brought to each and every session was beyond humbling. I found that through teaching yoga I found as much space and release as attending a yoga class myself and that I was reaching people at a much deeper level than just their physical bodies.
I am blessed to have received an incredible amount of positive feedback from the community, some that I will share in the space below.
"Hey Brittany! I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your class tonight. I'm so excited for you to open your studio. I'm truly happy to see you follow your dreams and you've really found your calling. I almost got emotional during tonight's class because I feel so at ease and stress free, which can be really hard for me sometimes. Keep doing what you're doing, I can't wait to be a member and see where my journey takes me!"
"Hey Brittany - I just left another one of your classes and I just wanted to write you to tell you how amazing they are! I cannot wait for your studio to open because Bridgewater is definitely in need of something like this! I did my yoga teach training in 2014 and I have to say, I enjoy your classes the most! Your sequences are spot on and I love the added touch of always having a purpose! The intentions, oils and words just mean so much. I was going to stop and chat after class but you had some people chatting so I figured I would leave you a little message! Thanks for making my night better!!!"
I" just want to say thank you for last nights class! I'm so glad I discovered your yoga classes when they first began, even though there was times I doubted if I should come and there was a small gap I couldn't come cause of work, I look forward to every Wednesday Evening. Can't wait for your studio to be open <3 Thank you!"
Opening a Yoga Studio- Expectation
Absolute Insanity. I work full time, I have two children and a partner who himself has two children, I sit on the Downtown Planning Advisory Committee and I opened a Yoga Studio. Where in the world am I going to find time to eat,sleep or do any of the things for me that I know I need to do to keep me above the line.
I expected that on any given day, one of the many balls that I am juggling in the air will drop.
Nervous? Excited? Terrified? Ecstatic? Yup. All of the above. Regardless, I jumped in with both feet.
Opening a Yoga Studio - Reality
Insane? Yes. Busy? Yes! Amazing? YES!
I would not trade this experience and this opportunity for anything in the world!
Although from the outside - as many of you have wondered about - it would seem that I should be run off my feet, curled up in a ball crying in the corner.
Ok, yes, sometimes I want to do that, but more often than not I feel on top of the world! I have never felt so much space in my life. I have never felt so at home in my life. Aside from being the best mom to my kids I can I have never felt so much purpose in my life!
Every time I step into the studio I feel at home and grounded. I LOVE seeing all your smiling faces come through the door. I love watching the change in your breath from the start of practice to the end.
I am thanked everyday for establishing a Yoga Studio in Bridgewater, for the variety of classes, for my teaching. But the big thank you belongs to you! You, who comes to the studio . You who leaves with a renewed sense of breath. You who is doing the work. You give me purpose.
I can honestly say that you would have to pay me a lot of money to sit down and listen to a Justin Beiber song, but there is one that I gravitate towards at the end of class. "Purpose". It resonates with me at the end of practice and I hope it does for you too, but on a much bigger level the song is a thank you. A thank you for allowing me to guide you, to teach you and pass on ideas and knowledge to you. For bring ing your energy and inspiration to the studio. For believing in me and my vision and for all the hugs! You are the champions. The ones who are allowing my Reality to be so much better than my expectation.
THANK YOU! You will never know what you all mean to me.
Shoot for the moon! Dream big! Make bold requests! Because, you just never know what space you may find!
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!
A special than you to Ms. Amy Cohoon who I have had the immense pleasure of connecting with through this journey and who has spoken so positively about Yoga Room of Essence on her personal Blog. A woman of strength who is using her blog and her experience to help others and heal herself. If you can, take a moment to find her latest blog post here
"Don't lower your expectations to met your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality."
On Saturday October 1st, I will open the doors of my Yoga Studio - a space that through its creation, was in every facet, just like carrying and birthing a child. For me, the studio is my third.
Just like preparing to conceive, the idea of the studio was a fleeting thought in the back of my mind last fall. As I dove further into my teacher training last year, the idea kept coming back to me, circling, craving my attention. As I went about daily life in my hometown, I noticed a need. Not only for me, but for my community. At some point last winter, I cannot pinpoint exactly when, I jumped in feet first, no turning back. The seed had been planted, and was ready to grow. It could not grow on its own however, it needed a host - it needed me. Human conception is exactly the same, one moment an idea and then reality and your whole world changes.
The plan grew slowly - a space was found, a business plan was created and funding secured.
By the end of June I was entering the third trimester, the time that demands your time and energy full on. The time that demands your blood, sweat and tears and takes you into the heart of an emotional roller coaster. This project was no different. There were many nights spent at the space building walls, putting up and filling drywall and painting - sweat pouring off my brow, blood seeping from cuts, my shins bruised and battered.
There were many days and nights where I became overwhelmed by the incredible amount of work to be done at the space while simultaneously holding down a full time job, raising my children and maintaining a relationship. There were many days where I fell to the floor weeping, wanting to throw in the towel. There were many times I wanted to quit.
But I did not - This project had become so much bigger than the space and myself. I had a vision and a purpose. Because of that, I forged on.
On the other hand, there were many more days that I wanted to cartwheel through the streets and shout it from the rooftops because I am so excited to bring this opportunity to my community.
Just like having and raising a child - this project required community. There are so many people I have to thank for helping this project come together. Too Numerous to name here but you all know who you are. There is no way I could have done this without you!
When all is said and done, this space feels like home. I have found myself thinking and saying that out loud so many times during this process. Every decision I made was directly related to the feel of the space, and I wanted it to feel like Home. I want you to walk into this space and be able to let go of the world at the door. To feel comfortable and free to be creative and inquisitive about you and what you need. In this space, I want you to find what lights you up, I want you to find community, I want you to find wellness and I want you to find yourself.
I want this space to be for you, whatever you need. I want this space to feel like home for you too. A safe space to be yourself and grow.
As you spend time in the space, you may notice an absence of clocks and mirrors in the studio.
My hope for you is that when you are in the space you allow yourself to be free of time constraints and allow yourself to be in the moment, not thinking about what there is to do after your class or massage. It won't be easy, we are hard wired to live by the clock, but over time, it will get easier to let go of the attachment to time and appreciate the time you have devoted to yourself.
There are no mirrors in the studio because this is a space of compassion and lack of judgement, both for yourself and others. At first you will be worried about whether or not you are "doing the pose right". And although there is a "correct" way of expressing each pose, your main goal should be to listen to your body and let the pose be expressed through you in the way that works best for you in that moment. Trust that your body knows what it needs. Your instructor will be there to assist you, but as long as you are not in any danger of hurting yourself, you will be given space to explore and express yourself through yoga.
And there you have it, my third child, my hopes, dreams, and goals for it. I am still sitting on the coach, in stillness, feeling the same as I felt prior to having Bella and Jax. Excited. Terrified. Unprepared. Thankful.
I am feeling a power higher than myself. I am feeling proud and loved, and I am bursting with excitement for you to meet my baby. This is just the start of something amazing. A Tipping point, a shift in vibration, a legacy. And you are the most important part.
If I can't see it, hear it, feel it or manipulate it, it doesn't exist! If science can't explain it there is no way I can believe it.
Yes, the above statement is how I spent the first 26 years of my life. It was drilled into me that if my brain is scientifically inclined that there is no room for art, creativity or anything that cannot be readily explained.
I tirelessly worked to fit into the box that society had created for me. Living under the weight of who I was supposed to be. Achieving every goal that my teachers, professors, parents and I set for myself. You would assume that someone with the world at their feet with endless options and possibilities for a career and life would feel 100% fulfilled.
In that, you would be 100% wrong.
Yes, I love science, but while relentlessly pursuing a science degree there was always something nagging at the back of my brain, something working just as hard as I was to be released from its confines. A part of me who I would never let out for fear of what people would say or think.
I worked feverishly, never slowing down. Never taking a moment to myself. Never looking outside the box that I was in. Feeling the walls closing in tighter and tighter around me.
I knew something was wrong. I knew something had been wrong for a very long time. But would I slow down long enough to figure out what it was? No. I just kept trudging through it.
I have depression and anxiety. Chronic. There, I said it. I let the cat out of the bag. Do I care? No! My condition is not something I am ashamed of. It is not something I will shrink away from talking about. In fact, I love to talk about it! I do not see depression and anxiety any different than someone who has diabetes. My brain is wired differently than yours. I was born this way. I can't do anything to change it. Will I have to take medication for the rest of my life? Maybe. Am I ashamed? No.
Was I always this open and compassionate toward myself about my mental illness? No. Was I always so open to alternate healing methods, spirituality and energy? Definitely not!
So, the questions is, what changed? How does a hard core science loving geek who always needs to know why with depression and anxiety become a reiki healer, a yoga instructor and an avid believe of universal energy?
The answer my friends lies in a moment in December 2012.
Post nervous breakdown. I am out of work and selling Stella and Dot jewelry to try and give myself something to do while I figured things out. My marriage is on the rocks and I have two amazing children.
I am away for 2 days doing a few Stella and Dot shows in New Brunswick for friends. One show gets cancelled last minute and while in Moncton, on a whim, I search out my aunt, who has just recently gone through a separation.
I find her alive and glowing. She has taken life into her own hands. She has found herself and is manifesting an amazing life. I am in shambles. I feel scatted and I tell her so. She sits me down on the coach and tells me to close my eyes. She leads me through a guided meditation - to which I am very resistant at first - she lays her hands on my hands. I can feel her love. I can feel how much she cares about me. Through our touch. Emotion through touch? That can't be. She keeps going. I soften. I cry. My guard is being let down. What is going on?! I am scared. I am way out of my element here. But by the end, I feel better. I feel like some of those scattered pieces have come back together. Feel a bit stronger. I feel a bit more grounded. I feel more connected, more loved. From touch and words? What just happened!
""Let's go to the holistic fair above Mystic Moons! It's on right now, you will love it!"
Yeah, I bet I will. But I try. Something has cracked. A little bit of what had been fighting for 26 years to expose itself has penetrated my missile proof wall.
Enter Pamela Cail. The most significant and intuitive person I have ever met. I call her my catalyst. She made me a believer and drastically altered the course of my life. There is no way I can ever repay her for the gift she has given me. She gave me my life back.
Ok, so, who is this life altering human being? Pamela owns Rainbow Energy Alive and is an incredible artist who creates energy paintings. Sounds crazy right? Thats what I thought too. Boy was I wrong.
I sit down at her table and we begin. This woman has never met me, but she can see right into my soul. Every word that came out of her mouth was on point and shot straight into my heart. I spent 60 minutes bawling my eyes out in a public space while this stranger painted my energy. Her words cracked me wide open, broke me down, rendered me to a puddle on the floor, but at the same time built me up.
She read me like a book, and at the end she told the painting she had just created - of my energy - was the most beautiful she had ever seen. She explained what was in the painting, the reasons for the colours, what images it contained and how it all came together.
In this moment, this mere 60 minutes my whole being changed. I shed a skin. I knew Things had to change. For the first time in my life, I made a very conscious decision to create my life for me. Not what you, my parents or society wanted for me. But what I wanted for me. I was launched into the unknown by this incredible artist. The unknown that had traditionally been the most horrific place for me. But I embraced it.
Did I get it right from the get go? Hell no! I have made some HUGE mistakes in the past 3 years. This admission in itself is a huge step for me. 3 years ago, I would have never bared my soul to you here or admitted my faults.
Am I getting better? Yes! I am building a toolbox full of strategies to help me be my best self. There is no end to the process. I will always be learning and adjusting what I do to keep myself above the line. Through Yoga, Reiki, Meditation and essential oils, I have found freedom. I have found me. And in knowing who I am and what I want, I feel alive and vibrant. I have been re-connected to my True Essence. That connection is mind blowing and is the gift I want to give to my community. It may take a day, weeks, years or decades but we can all find the connection if we are willing to let ourselves be open to the possibility and let love and light into our lives.
Be true to yourself and you will find your path, sometimes in the most unexpected, uncomfortable way.
ps. I STILL LOVE SCIENCE! I am embracing the overlap of science and spiritually and it is incredible!
pps. Check out Pamela's work here http://www.rainbowrea.com
Brittany is the Founder and Owner of Yoga Room of Essence. Yoga and Eastern Healing Methods have made a significant impact on her life. Here she will share knowledge, insight and inquiries into these amazing Healing Methods.