best year ever

2014….  oh, 2014…. as this year comes to a close I’m so glad to see it go.  It hasn’t been a hard year as far as practical purposes go….  family/work/money… all the big stuff was okay.  But my guts?  Not so good.  By guts I mean my spirit – I mean my soul and all the trappings that come with it.  All of this new found wisdom and knowledge was put to the test and never has “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” been more true for me.

The year started off a struggle.  Everything felt like a struggle.  Setting any kind of goals was so much work.  Then, struggle shifted to anger, then flipped into desperation, which morphed into sadness and faded into apathy.  There was so much going on but mostly what I noticed at the start of the summer was the desperation around my body, how it looked and how others perceived it.  The entire month of July I would wake up – worried about my body, what I ate, if I exercised…. the usual menu that gets served with the diet culture.  In August, I did a half-hearted round of protocol; it was all about controlling my body and I treated it like a diet.  All I cared about were results and control.

The apathy came with August ….  and it frightened me.  I have experienced depression in my life but it has always been situational – like, having a kid diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis for instance.  That makes you sad, then mad, then angry, then… you get the picture… I worked the grieving process pretty much like the text books say.  This apathy of August didn’t feel like this situational depression though – it felt like the kind I read about during mental illness awareness campaigns…  you can’t care because you don’t care and I spent most of August just “existing”.

Enter beautiful, wonderful, fresh-start September and I had no choice but to feed my soul.  It was like my soul took over!  As if it said “Listen Kelly, I’ve been trying to gently nudge you on track but quite frankly you suck at it so let me take the wheel here and I’ll show you what I’m talking about”…  and it has been glorious!  I’ve stumbled… even crashed a little…  our damn egos always want “more, more, more” … but I’ve come away this fall with some knowledge that I MUST share.

These are the 3 big “Ahas” for me:

1.  Get Over Yourself:  I don’t know why it’s been so hard for me to really let this one sink in.  Conditioning I suppose.  The current state of the work that I am doing most likely.  I am coaching women through a weight release protocol and I don’t feel like I have achieved the body of a person who has any business coaching women through a weight release protocol!  And that’s the point…  the point is I was put on this earth for something far more important than giving the world an appealing body to look at.  I have had to get over the fact that people’s perceptions of me are going to be what they’re going to be but my message is important.  Until we get over ourselves – until we stop giving a flying fuck what other people (ourselves included) think of our appearance –  we cannot live up to our soul’s reason for being.

2.  Fake It ‘Til You Make It:  I’m still faking it from time to time.  Woo-wee, there are still some days when the shame of having a less than perfect appearance make it tough for me to leave the house.  I used to go to the gym on these days. I used to punish my body for my perceptions of imperfection and I would claim that the “feel good endorphins” lifted my spirits.  I suppose there was some truth to that.  The bigger truth? What felt the most good? I felt like I had given my body a good talking to, a good spanking, for being less than.  My body was the enemy and I had just pulled it into the chamber of torture and worked it over real good!  Now on my faking it days I’m ever so gentle with myself.  I treat myself the way we treat a friend who is going through a tough time.  I’m gentle and quiet. I’m reflective and supportive.  Yoga, lots of water, good clean food, meditation, laughter with friends, dirty jokes and sex…

3.  Less Is More:  I’m not busy. I’m focused.  I’m focused on work and hobbies and pleasures that leave no room for insecurity or self-doubt.  The trouble is that sometimes our egos get so excited by these feelings of purpose and the rush of accomplishment – we start talking on too much and focused turns into busy turns into burn-out.  Balance is bullshit but you can strike a nice middle-ground with life.  I say “YES!” to coffee dates and luxurious afternoons of considering the cosmos and whether or not Angels exist.  I say “NO” to too much, set boundaries, get as close to “balance” as I can.  This all leaves room for a whole lot of “Maybe” which is where the magic of possibility and potential exists.

So… 2014.  I loved the challenges.  I loved the final Release of it all.  I am bursting with anticipation for the all that I KNOW 2015 will be.  So… why am I telling YOU this?  I want you to come with me.  I want you to drink our kool-aid and realize that just because you believe it doesn’t make it true.  I hope you’ll consider that any “truth” that makes you feel less than is likely a lie.  I’m bursting with the opportunities that 2015 will bring to our little corner of the Universe of innovative, sometimes even “blow your mind” thinking we have to offer.

Are you thinking about Resolutions for 2015?  Are they the usual?  Weight loss, eat healthy, get organized… blah, blah, blah….  Or are you just planning on giving up?  You would like to change but think that maybe the stumble you’ve been doing might just be easier?  Just give us a chance.  Reach out.  Share your struggles. Let us help you really dig deep and find out what the real problems surrounding your body, your weight, your health…  We’ve got lots of fun things up our sleeves for 2015 and would love to have you along for the ride 🙂

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There are a ton of reasons why being a parent is hard but for me, personally, feeding my family is one of the biggest challenges!  Finding the balance of moderation and teaching it to my kids is so important.  Staying on track when life gets busy – next to impossible.  Sifting through the never ending onslaught of information regarding nutrition – overwhelming.  When I feel like things are spinning out of control – I get back in touch with the following:

  1. Give Yourself A Break;  Keeping up with life’s busy schedule and feeding our kids (and ourselves!) healthy, satisfying meals is a never ending struggle.  When you feel like you’ve maybe lost some footing in keeping up before you start to chastise yourself, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re doing the best that you can.
  2. Ditch the Food Morality;  Nothing and I mean NOTHING makes staying on track more difficult then acting like what we eat is going to determine our fate at the pearly gates!  Just eat real food.  As often as possible.  Gluten free, Paleo, Vegan, Raw Vegan…. it doesn’t matter it doesn’t make you better or worse.  What matters is that you listen to your bodies needs and you pay attention to what your family needs!  Paleo is not going to work for your 6 year old if they don’t want to eat meat!  The added pressure we put on ourselves (not to mention the messaging to our children with “bad” and “good”) will only lead to burn-out.  The expectation of “Eating Perfectly” can lead to feelings of deprivation (hello cookie binge) and is quite likely – not sustainable.
  3. Fail To Plan – Plan To Fail; I do grocery shopping and food prep on 2 different days (I usually shop on Friday and prepare food on Sunday).  Set aside time on Sunday to slice and dice what veggies you can, make smoothie freezer packs, hardboil some eggs, etc., etc.,  Find double-duty recipes – make a big batch of meatballs for Swedish Meatballs on Monday and Meatball Subs on Wednesday.  Roast a Chicken on Sunday and have chicken salad Sandwiches all week.  Don’t forget to make chicken stock!  Do enough on Sunday so that all you really have to do is “Assemble” your meals throughout the week.  Start a meaningful relationship with your Crockpot!  I try to make at least 2 freezer meals on Sunday to help during those really, really crazy busy times! Chili, Lasagna, Soups….  so nice to have on hand.
  4. Get A Pinterest Account (Seriously);  If you don’t have a Pinterest account… get one.  Pinterest has been by far my most valuable tool in helping plan meals, find new recipes, get out of the ruts of making the same stuff over and over again.  It’s so easy to organize things here and go back later.
  5. Get The Kids Involved;  it will hurt now, I know, teaching a 5 year old how to measure flour or break an egg…. agony.  In the long run?  It will pay off and you will have real little helpers that actually eat what you serve because they are invested and “helped” create that meal!  Healthy eating doesn’t just “happen” for people – they need to be taught.  Our Sunday food prep day is actually one I look forward to – we bond over finding new recipes – the successes and failures of them.  We enjoy our big fancy “Sunday Supper”.  It’s really one of my favourite things about being a Mom.

Please feel free to share your tips and tricks, trials or tribulations! We’re all in this together!healthy eating(1)

As I scrolled through Facebook I came across this page of a research article about the diet culture and its affect on women.  I must confess that I have been a hard sell here – I know the media and magazines and all that shit impact women profoundly – but it’s the first time the implications of this have really hit me.  Here… have a quick read.

wasted life

If we don’t meet these standards – we are not enough.  Power = skinny.  Skinny=important.  Important = Independent.  And we want to be “Independent” don’t we ladies???  Sneaky little bastards, have been so effective in wrapping up this package in health and wellness that we forgot to notice our poor souls quivering in the corner begging for some attention.

I’m pissed!  We all know that far too many women and girls subscribe to this idea.  That somehow their worthiness is defined by a number on a scale and ability to rock a bikini.  60% of young girls avoid activities because they don’t feel good about how they look – what if this activity is their soul purpose?

How many songs are not being written?

How many pictures aren’t taken?

How many equations aren’t solved?

What research is not being done?

What opportunity is the Universe missing because women are literally held hostage at the gym punishing themselves for all those fun sized chocolate bars??

I don’t know what the solution is… I wish I could snap my fingers and make it all go away!  All I can do in this house is use body positive language and teach good healthy habits!

Free yourself in teeny tiny bits.  You can’t do it all at once.  I’ve tried.  But please when the diet culture makes you feel less than – ask yourself who the real jerk is here?  You – with the less than perfect body?  Or the asshole who perpetuates this:

ttt skinny Capture.JPG

Has it ever occurred to you that happiness does not lie on the other side of some land of perfection that you have created to torture yourself?  Like, you know, losing weight and wearing a bikini or Finding a husband or Getting caught up on the laundry (please let go of that impossible to achieve dream)….

Maybe happiness has nothing to do with extraordinary perfection?

Maybe happiness is learning to bliss out on every little ordinary moment of your life?

Maybe happiness is accepting yourself just as you are.  Feeding your body GOOD healthy food – without an expectation of perfection.  Moving your body because exercise is important for your health (not to change your body).  Learning to practice extreme self-care and healing our hearts and souls.

Here’s a little exercise for you:

Just for the next 3 days  – just accept.  If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see – find something that you do like – celebrate that.  If your kids make you angry – take a deep breath and love on them.  Stop and give them a hug.  If nothing gets done on your “to do” list – rip up the to do list!  Just accept – stop trying to change everything and “make” everything better – just accept and enjoy and see what happens. accepting myself

Most of my story starts when I’m 9 and some little asshole that lived across the street from me told my friend that he would totally be my boyfriend if only I wasn’t so “chubby”.  I’m sure that seeds about my weight and my body had been planted long before that but this is my first REAL concrete memory of how my body and what others thought of it was going to affect my life.  I dream of going back to that moment and marching over to the arrogant little bastard and bopping him square in the mouth with my “chubby” little hand…. but I don’t … and I spend quite a bit of the rest of my life shrinking for fear my size might be too much.

As I have said many times before, I was actually quite “imaginary” fat for most of my life – that is until I had children – oh, and then one of them was diagnosed with a chronic degenerative, life-threatening illness…  then I got “real” size 20, thighs chafing together, fat.  I hated my body.  I had disagreements with my body for most of my adult life – but I must say this is the first time that I flat out loathed it.

Then came this little Company called “Goodbye My Muffintop Inc.” and it saved me…. saved me from so much further heartache I don’t know what I would have done.  It made me realize that even on the other side of an over 60lbs. weight loss…. nothing was going to change until I stared those demons down and burned them up for all eternity.  It made me realize that very few of those demons had anything to do with my weight or my body and the real problem was all the “tap dancing” I did to please other people.  I was afraid that being my most authentic self would be “too big”.  I let this fear affect my confidence tremendously and using my body image issues was a very convenient way to justify doing this.

So, what was a girl to do when she didn’t really feel any better after losing 60 pounds?  I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote…  through my whole journey of coming to terms with how my body is and how it’s likely going to stay, how my daughter’s diagnosis broke my heart so bad that I chose to numb it all out binging on food and cigarettes, how NOTHING, not a single GOD-DAMN thing is going to change until you decide to change it…  And out of all of that writing came a little Guidebook for a special day – “Release Retreat – 21 steps to loving yourself.

We did it! We had this Retreat and it was phenomenal. It was so raw and engaging for all those that participated – there were so many times that I stopped and listened and breathed it all in and I was so proud to be a part of something that was helping other women get to the blissful freedom that only self-acceptance can bring!

Now we are so excited to bring a BIGGER, BETTER, more thought Provoking “Release Retreat – Part Deux!”…. we took all of our guests reviews and rolled it into a new Retreat….

Our favourite Guest Speaker The Psychic Cowgirl is phenomenal and we are so proud that she is anxious to participate in our Release Retreat – Part Deux. The main goal for our guests is that they leave first, with am amazing inspired feeling and secondly, that they feel like they have many extra tools in their arsenal to continue on the journey to self-love and self-confidence!
We will cover topics such as forgiveness, healing within to increase confidence, strength and clarity… many of these discussions end in exercises that include meditations and tips to take home with you.
We believe very strongly in the healing benefits of yoga (mind and body) and will introduce 2 yoga styles to the Retreat – both classes will work for an experienced yogi or a beginner yogi.  If you have enjoyed our Muffintalks throughout the summer you will be happy to know that the ILLUMINATING Alaynne West will guide us through our Sunday morning session!

Even better?  Our Registration is ON SALE – RIGHT MEOW!  Register before October 10 to Save $30.00!!  Feel free to reach out if you have any questions at all!  We really are so looking forward to seeing all of you and sharing this phenomenal information with you!

ATTENTION(1)

A couple of weeks ago we talked about “Truth” at Muffin Talk and how stepping into our truth (living authentically) can be a tricky business…  It’s probably been the toughest step for me in my “Release Revolution”….  What has been difficult for me to wrap my brain around is that it is okay for truth to change.  For whatever reason, I was brought up thinking that anyone that changes their truth a lot is a flake, mis-directed, not ambitious… now I see very clearly that the “Truth” is that this couldn’t be farther from the “Truth”!

Many of us have to adjust our truth frequently because we are so desperately searching for a place to “belong” – our culture dictates that there is nothing more important than “fitting in” – and many of us scramble and hustle to do this well.  We buy the right jeans and purses, we go to the right places, we eat the right things, we kick our asses at the right boot camps…. we hide our shame in the pantry or the bottom of a wine glass, we stuff our closets to hide the mess, we tap-dance for people that we quite frankly don’t really like. 

I have a secret….

About the truth….

Jeans and purses and wine and crackers won’t make you love yourself more…. or anyone else love you more for that matter.  Your soul wants you desperately to find your purpose…. to find your TRUTH … and if you take a minute to STOP the hustle? You just mind find it! 

In Junior and High School my best friend and I LOVED to write poetry… we dabbled in dark junkie language a la Nikki Sixx (’cause you know… we could totally identify in small town Southern Alberta).  I miss poetry and I haven’t attempted a single verse in almost 20 years.  I read this poem I wrote at Muffin Talk and it felt GOOD.  It felt like the TRUTH.

Truth is beauty.

Truth is forgiving.

Truth ebbs and flows and changes like every breath of everyday.

Truth is never the same….  Somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

Truth is nature is malleable, flexible, stunning and real…. we marvel at the metamorphosis.

Truth in our lives?

It’s scary.

It’s rigid.

It’s hard to change

It’s VULNERABLE…

The truth? 

The truth is;

we drink too much

we eat too much

we hate too much

we hurt too much…  because we can’t handle the truth.

The truth is…It feels too hard to find the truth, it feels too raw, too exposed, too shameful…

But it’s harder living a lie.

Your TRUTH is who you are at your core… your fundamental being…  some people won’t like it… but if you get there – it won’t matter.  You’ll be home.

truth

When it comes to the volunteer work that I do – as well as the GBMM  work – it leaves me open to a great deal of criticism.  Some of it is real – some of it is imagined.   Criticism is a vulnerability soft spot for me – I wonder if it’s because I worry that once one of my shortcomings are identified by someone that the floodgates will open and all the shitty things I think about myself suddenly will be nothing but the truth??  Gawd, as I type this I know how silly it seems to think this.

I’m involved with a book study of “The Gifts Of Imperfection” by Brene Brown and today this quote just rocked my world:

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection…”

The last 2 and half years of my life have been an experiment of living authentically and vulnerably and I have had the very highest of highs and the lowest of lows but today that quote made me realize I will always stay low if I get too scared to stay vulnerable. The end of 2013 was very difficult and the first half of 2014 hasn’t been much easier and I see so clearly now that my survival mode was to stop being vulnerable and I really shut-down quite a bit.

It got me thinking about the criticism that I’m so afraid of …. it’s never the constructive stuff.  The people that offer constructive criticism have just as much skin in the game as I do… they are living a life as authentically as they can and they reach out to me and offer me guidance when it’s needed.

But that destructive criticism?  That’s the shit that gets me.  That’s the stuff that gets me in my tender little heart.  How do these trolls know where to get you?

The quote “It’s not the critics who count….” is my mantra.

That’s my new barometer for taking outside criticism and considering if it’s constructive or destructive…. if it’s coming from a person who has been in the arena…   I hear it … if it’s coming from an asshole who has nothing better to do than attack a person from behind the comfort of a computer screen I am getting so much better at dismissing it!

Also… putting myself in this role did magnify my shortcomings…. how can it not? None of us are perfect! I’m pretty proud of the courage it took to plow ahead anyway and proud of the courage it takes right now to not give you a laundry list of all the reasons why the work I do is hindered by my inadequacies. 

Today, when I read the words about staying vulnerable I realized that I had “vulnerability burnout”…  I forgot to nurture my vulnerable parts and had to withdraw… guess what? That didn’t work and I have simply felt stuck for the last 4 months.

This is so clear to me now…. if you make a promise to yourself to be your most authentic you… you MUST make a commitment of EXTREME self-care and compassion.  This is the only way to protect your vulnerable heart if you want to wear it on your sleeve ❤not the critic

For those of you who know me – you won’t be surprised that the the idea for The Release Retreat was born from the inspiration of a daily horoscope.  I read it towards the end of last winter and it basically said “it’s time to tap into your soul and share that with the world…”  At first, I didn’t really know what to make of this because I didn’t feel like anything I was doing was very inspiring; I was digging deeper in my yoga practice, I was working hard to heal my broken heart, I was doing everything in my power to listen to my body – to what it needed….  My life had become quite simple.  And then the “aha” came… my life was simple and I was so bursting with contentment about that – we get this “live an extraordinary life” message stuffed down our throats everywhere we turn that so many of us just fill it all up with our careers, activities – the glorification of busy – that we forget that what’s really extraordinary (and I daresay the exception to the rule these days) is really savouring our lives.

I fired up the laptop and started typing furiously about creating a day for women to finally “Release” themselves from what was holding them back from achieving this level of peace and calm in their lives.  I typed what I wanted the day to feel like, how I wanted to feel, how I wanted our guests to feel.  Quickly, without giving it a second thought I sent the outline to people that I knew would never criticize me for not making the Retreat happen but who I admired and wanted to create some accountability for this goal – and who I also knew would celebrate with me what a dream come true it would be….

…and it was…

There were times when someone was sharing their deepest emotions – really baring their souls – and I kind of froze the moment – I could feel that they were really letting go of something that had been holding them back and I was so proud and honoured that something we had facilitated was making this happen.

We laughed.

We cried.

We swore.

Like…. a lot.

We listened and learned.  We had “aha” moments and “F*@k them” moments and sinking into deep, deep gratitude moments…. it really was a gorgeous day.

Shannon Laackman, The Psychic Cowgirl was on hand to guide us through meditations, to “cut the cord” on relationships or circumstances in relationships that have been holding us back…. she lead us through a beautiful and powerful chakra balancing…  her bright and sizzly energy was JUST what we needed to keep us engaged!

The reviews were so touching and sincere….  My favourite comment of the day was someone saying;

“it was like an all day coffee date with your best friend…”

I am bursting with excitement about what comes next – how we grow.  Thank you Marriann for your amazing partnership, thank you to The Bra Lounge for believing in our message AND  Thank you all of you beautiful souls who trusted us and so willingly shared with us…..  There are no words for the level of my gratitude… I love you all.  Thank you for helping us see how truly right the path is that we are on. Namaste.

your calling

I feel like I have said this too many times to count over the last two years but I think it bears repeating…..  If you want to feel good about your body, if you want to set yourself free from insecurity surrounding your body…. You MUST accept your body;

All of it;

The scars;

The squishy flesh;

The shiny stretch marks;

The too short legs; and

The fwappy arms….

You must ACCEPT….. and then…. learn to love.

There is NOTHING I mean NOTHING good in this entire Universe that comes from hate…. hating your body will not force it into submission, will not erase your wobbly bits…  hating your shortcomings whether they are related to your physical appearance will not result in self-acceptance and love.

It’s okay if this concept seems ridiculously foreign to you.  It’s okay if right now this seems impossible…. but you can start… just a baby step.

Today – what if you started with love.  When you feel a hateful thought bubbling in your brain… what if you stopped it?  What if you said “Nope, not today” and moved onto something with love… maybe it’s too soon to direct a loving thought towards yourself…  do a loving thing… go find that book you have been meaning to dig into, knit a scarf, phone a friend…

Move through this world with love and the intention of love…. and then when you’re ready… Maybe think something loving about yourself.

Love is easy.

Hate is hard.

Simple as that.

 

love and hate

The weather has been horrible… a never ending winter.  First day of spring was a blustery blizzard and it was disheartening.  Even my morning yoga and meditation has been not quite lifting the fog from my brain.  But I keep trying.

I have gone out to run errands and it has occurred to me that this winter has been very much a test of my ultimate lessons about my body and my life.  You MUST accept and love it – as is – right now.  You might thing it’s unlovable but you gotta dig deep, you have to shift, you must adapt and flow with the change… ’cause what if this is it?  What if you don’t lose 20 lbs., what if your boss doesn’t quit being an asshole?  What if the spring and summer never come?

Find a way to breathe inward and find the things that you love and accept about yourself…. about your body.  Close your eyes and imagine yourself not caring about what your boss does.  Sit down and breathe in a world in your brain where the grass is green and the air smells like earth and water and sunshine.

What if this IS it?

You can choose miserable… trust me when you go out there you certainly wouldn’t  be the only one… but why not choose love? Choose Peace?  Choose faith.

Surely to God it won’t be winter (figuratively or literally) forever!

worth it