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labour day and gratitude and why they go together.

I’d like to tell you a story today, it’s a parable of the 3 stone-cutters.

Many, many, years ago a traveler came across 3 stone cutters and asked them what they were doing.

The first one said he was miserable cutting stones. He said it was the hardest job in the world and he barely made enough to eat. The traveler gave him a coin and continued on his way. 

The second one was very focused on his work. When asked what he was doing, he said he was the best stone cutter in the country and although the work was hard he was satisfied and able to make enough to take care of his family. The traveler praised him and gave him a coin.

When the traveler met the third stone cutter, he noticed he was sweaty and dusty but singing a cheerful song. The traveler was stunned and asked him “What are you doing?” The stone-cutter looked up at him with a gleam in his eye and said, “Can’t you see? I’m building a cathedral.”

All of the stone-cutters were doing the same work, but it was how they perceived the value of their work that created their experience of it. If your perception is that it’s a useless crappy task that makes not difference, you will be miserable. If you take pride in what you are doing and see how it benefits those you love, you will be satisfied. If you see yourself in the larger picture of how your efforts are going to affect 100’s if not 1000’s of people to come, you will be inspired!

 “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” 
– Martin Luther King Jr.


At first, you might have not have thought the stone-cutters had a very important job, yet a cathedral would not be possible without them. It is not the architects that create cathedrals, but the men who are cutting the stones and putting the building together.

Our whole existence is built on the backs of those who came before us and those around us. 

From the cloth on our bodies woven in a factory by real people, to the manufacturers, designers, exporters, shippers, shop owners, and clerks that eventually sell us our clothes: it all comes from someone’s work. All of our comforts whether it’s the cars that we drive, the streets we drive upon, the houses we live in, everything was built by someone.

It is noble work and we should be grateful.

We have this myth of independence in our culture, which is of course a lie. We are interdependent.

We didn’t come into the world walking around and taking care of ourselves, and we don’t live in the world without each other either.

A real person graded your street, laid your floor, grew your food, drives your bus, brings your mail. Your life as you know it would not be possible without people doing the jobs that support your very existence.

Although Labour Day is originally a day of celebrating and campaigning for worker’s rights, this is also a day of reflection, and gratitude for all the people who make your life as you know it.

So to you, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for cutting my hair, selling me food, clothes, and things I don’t need but really want. Thank you for providing me with safe streets to drive on, sidewalks to walk my puppy on, and pathways to run on. Thank you for trimming my trees, pouring my driveway, changing the oil in my car and its tires twice a year. Thank you for keeping public bathrooms clean, washing floors, fixing computers, and teaching me how to do new things and old things better. Thank you for clearing snow, fixing signs, putting out fires (real and figurative), keeping us safe, and fixing my cranky back. Thank you everyone who makes my life easier, more interesting, and more enjoyable.

I am forever grateful. You make possible the life I lead today.

I’d love to hear from you now! What are you grateful for today that is dependent on other people’s efforts? You can share over here on my blog.

Gratitude is contagious, so I challenge you today to share this on Facebook, or Tweet on Twitter: What are 5 things you are grateful for that are dependent on the work of others? Remember to tag me so I can read them!

I hope you had a wonderful long weekend my friend and I look forward to seeing your gorgeous self very soon!

Love and Light,
t

crisis is a great reminder of what’s truly important when shit goes down

I had an intense weekend. My husband and I left on Friday to spend the weekend at the lake for the relaxation and sunshine with his wonderful parents.

I laid down for a nap Saturday at noon and woke up to my phone ringing with a call from my folk’s house. My dad said that mom had an accident and broke her hip, she was scheduled for surgery in less than 30 minutes.

Oh. My. God. I lost my breath.

My mom is one tough little cookie. She’s feisty, stubborn, fiercely loving, and also diabetic, afraid of anaesthesia, and pain. Surgery can be dicey for diabetics because they don’t heal as well as other people, and I knew she was scared. I was too.

I have an incredible husband who drove me 2.5 hours back to the city so I could quickly pack up new clothes (lake clothes are not hanging out in public clothes), jump into my car, and head up to Saskatoon to help my family out.

I’m happy to say my mom did beautifully, she’s tough, she’s motivated, and she’s got a positive outlook, so she’s going to heal up just fine. She’ll be in the hospital for at least a few more days while she relearns how to get out of bed, get dressed, and walk with a walker until her hip heals.

Mom has had excellent care, and I am so proud to live in a country that rushed my little mom to emergency surgery, and has had such loving and kind people taking care of her while she recovers. Seriously, healthcare providers are my hero’s, and I am so grateful for everyone that has chosen to dedicate their lives to help people like my mom. If this is you, thank you. You are appreciated, and I love you!

I’m still in Saskatoon as I write this to you, and I’m just about to head to the hospital to hang with my mamma and bring her some food. I love healthcare workers, hate the hospital food. Mom couldn’t even eat it yesterday! Seriously, yesterday it looked like someone barfed on her plate. Gross.

So today’s post is going to be short, and sweet. Here’s what my weekend of crisis reminded me of:

1) To be grateful for the time I have with my family and those that I love. Our time is limited, so enjoy each moment. That call from my dad really shook me out of the trance that there will always be more time. It’s a lie, don’t let it rob precious time from you.

2) That I’m lucky have so many people in my life that love me no matter what and let me feel like I can just let it all hang out. When I got the call, my husband and his family right away jumped to offer me support, let me cry, and help me figure out what needed to be done. My own family feels like home and makes it easy to show up exactly as I am. I’ve had so much support from my friend, clients, and you, so I could rush out of the city for a while and be with my family. I am so blessed.

3) You can never overdo kindness or patience. During stressful times it’s easy to get wound up and get wrapped up in your own stuff. Becoming present with others and showing up with an abundance of kindness and patience keeps the peace, and helps create great relationships with the hospital staff too!

4) I have an incredible family and I love them like crazy. My parents are landed immigrants so there’s only four of us in Canada: mom, dad, my brother, and me. We are small, tight, and strong. We’ve been through lots together and we know how to rally.

5) I need to visit them way more. I am acutely aware that I am not visiting my family nearly as much as I would like to. I have been “busy,” (that makes me sick to even write that) and I have been putting it off for way too long. I would never wish suffering on anyone let alone my mom, and I am still grateful to have had the wake up call to get my ass in gear, and be reminded of just how much I love, and love being with, my family. I need to see them more.

I’d love to hear from you now! Have you ever had a moment of crisis, and what powerful lessons did you take away from it? Please comment below to share your insights.

If you liked this post, please feel free to forward it, share it on Facebook, or tweet it out! You never know who might benefit from it today.

Take care my friend, thank you for being the beautiful person that you are and all that you do.

Love and Light,
t

Gratitude…its all where you place your attention.

Gratitude, in my mind at least, is one of the easiest, most powerful practices we can take on to dramatically increase our feelings of happiness and well-being. And really, we all want to be happier don’t we?

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
― Eckhart Tolle

You’ve probably heard the teaching: whatever you focus on expands. I’m not talking about the law of attraction here folks, but more of the law of the way things are. I don’t personally believe the universe has any desire to bend to my personal needs and wants, but I do believe that my experience of the truth of life itself is influenced by what I perceive and how I perceive it. By focusing on what is the “good that you already have in your life”, you start to notice more of it, more often, and feel the abundance that is already here. Gratitude is a powerful practice to incline your mind to notice all the goodness, beauty, and wonder that is around us all the time…and that is a sweet way to live your life!

Here’s a few ways that you can cultivate your own practice, (because it really is a practice not a one-time thing to work), and make it stick so that you can have long lasting happiness:

1)      Start now.

You don’t have to wait to be grateful. Look around you and notice: the sun shining, the rain watering the grass, the ability to read, and healthy feet. It’s appreciating the little mundane things that go unnoticed that make our life rich. After all, our lives are made up of the little things!

2)      Get specific.

To really “get” the feeling of gratitude it helps to expand on it. Notice your shoes. Not everyone in the world gets to have shoes, and you probably have a few to choose from. Someone designed and made your shoes, and someone else stocked them before selling them to you. There are a whole lot of people to be grateful for that got you your sweet ass shoes! See, it’s not about looking at concepts, like being grateful for your health, or your family. Those are too big for your mind to really grasp and be impacted by. It’s getting intimate with specifically what you are grateful for and letting yourself feel it, get touched by it.

3)      Create ritual time.

No meaningful change happens unless it’s scheduled in. It’s like learning to run, but then only doing it when you feel like it. Good luck, right? Eventually it will become automatic, but first you have to train your brain to want it. One practice I love is to place a hand on my heart and a foot on the earth when I wake up and go to bed, and have a moment of deep appreciation for the day ahead and the day I had. Another one, is to have a gratitude journal and list 3 to 5 things every day that you are grateful for. Keep it in the same place and have a set time to use it. Don’t worry if it challenges you a bit at first. Your brain may not be accustomed to viewing the world this way yet with ease, but it will if you persist. Another ritual I have is to end each yoga class with the invitation to count 3 of your blessings, and I also always count mine too!

4)      Persistence and practice.

Your brain is an amazing machine that is plastic, which means it is malleable. The neuro-pathways in your brain are strengthened by what you think about most. By making the effort to choose gratitude, you strengthen those neuro-pathways to become a more habitual way of thinking. Also just like any practice, it will take effort in the beginning, and less and less as time goes on and gratitude becomes more automatic. All this means, is to make a plan that you can stick to an enjoy practicing.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ― A.A. Milne

I’m totally with Piglet on this one! I hope this blog post was useful to you and inspired you in your own practice. As always, I’d love to hear from you! What are your practices? How do you use gratitude in your own life? Please feel free to comment below and share your insights.

Love and Light,

t

i’m exposed, no really i’m in a bra

oh my gosh it’s out there…fear and the sweet spot

Above is the cover of this months Pink Magazine, and you guessed it, I’m all over the cover in a bra and pants in a challenging pose. This is something I never thought I would do and here’s why. 1) I never dress like that in practice or class. 2) I never thought I would ever have the chance to be on the cover of a magazine. 3) I’m really quite modest about my practice and myself.

When I was approached to be featured in Pink I was over the moon thrilled and flattered for the opportunity. I actually jumped up and down and screamed like a crazy person to be accurate.Then, a few days before it was coming out the fear set in, and here’s a little bit of what it said to me:”Now that I’m out there people are going to judge me. Who am I to get this kind of attention, I’m nobody. Other people deserve this more than me. Do I look fat?” Yup, I climbed right on board the crazy train. Thankfully, I didn’t stay on it long enough to have a total freak out, but I did ride it briefly.

Here’s why I’m sharing this with you: we will all have moments when we are challenged, afraid, and feeling less than and it’s what you choose to do despite the fear where your freedom lies. I remember a quote from Ryan Leier that has stuck with me “There’s the fear that keeps you alive, and then there’s the fear that keeps you from living.” Which are you embodying? I chose to step into a place of power and gratitude. Power to say “Yes, this is me out there, and it’s scary and vulnerable, and I can still own it.” Gratitude to everything and everyone that made this opportunity possible, and for the magical wild ride this life continues of offer me. I am so blessed

Now, I would love to hear from you! Please post a comment below to share your experiences of fear and how you got over it.

If you liked this post, please share the goodness around!

i’m a pink magazine cover girl!

I am so excited to share with you my joy of being chosen as Pink Magazine’s cover story! I cannot even tell you how excited I was when I was asked to be the feature and now the anticipation before the magazine comes out Wednesday April 2nd. Truthfully, I have a few mixed emotions about it coming out. I’m of course unbelievably flattered and over the moon excited for the opportunity, and also some vulnerability as the day gets nearer.

For those of you that know me well, this comes no surprise to you that I’m not a showy person and don’t care for my picture taken. I’m not the yoga teacher you will find all over instagram or have a lot Facebook pictures of me doing yoga. Even the way I teach yoga is instructional rather than demonstrative. Rarely will you find me doing the yoga poses I am teaching, unless I need to get open enough to demo a more challenging pose later. It’s just not my style, and this has not been my comfort zone…yet.

Now, my poses are being made more public than they ever have before to a viewership of 88,000 I’m told. Whoa! Its a strange and wonderful place for me. What I can tell you, is that they turned out really beautifully. I got to work with an amazing team of professionals and I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them. Each one of them made me feel at ease, and really wonderful through the whole process. Everyone should have a chance to work with them and feel like a rock star for a day!

Thank you Courtney Larson for offering me this mind blowing opportunity. She also helped fix my hair and clothes when they got in the way for the pictures. She in a fantastic graphic designer, beautiful woman, and a heck of a yogini. I love her.

Jessica Reimer is the talented free lance writer from Paper Plane Communications who wrote my story. She put me at ease right away and made the process feel transparent, warm, and so much fun! So much fun in fact, that we hung out for coffee later that week! If you ever need a writer, she’s your gal.

I had an equally rewarding experience with the editor Moe Itani, and photographer Darrol Hofmeister from Sharp Shooter Photography. They are amazing at what they do and knew exactly how to get the best shots from me. I am so grateful. The pictures are awesome and I owe that to them.

My gorgeous makeup was done by Sarah Hegglin at Blush Beauty bar, and the clean alignment of my pictures is all because of Kim Lawrence, my dear friend of Full Life Yoga. Thank you for making me look so good.

I am reminded as tomorrow gets closer just how lucky I am. Not just because of the chance to be recognized publicly, but because my life is so full of incredible people, and it keeps getting fuller! My life is truly a blessing and thank you for being in it.

I’d love to hear your comments on the article below.

 

 

serenade to the seasons

I love teaching early morning yoga classes. Not because I love getting up at 5:10am. Truthfully, some of those mornings I wake up with the word “f*ck” escaping my lips as I knock the phone off my bedside table attempting to turn off the ringing alarm. And then I get up and have a lovely cup of coffee in the silence of my house, make my breakfast, kiss my husband’s sleeping head, and eventually make it out the door to the beautiful studio I get to teach a 6:30am yoga class twice a week.

Somewhere along the way from waking to arriving at the studio some magic happens within. I’m still too tired to be worrying about the day or to do list, so I’m really present to the brave souls that make the effort to get up in the dark and drive in their cold cars on frosty days to sweat it out with me. I genuinely appreciate their effort to make it to their mats. I know what it takes to make it to the studio, and the planning involved because I have to do it too, and I love them for doing it, and I love them for showing up.

Not only do I get to be a teacher to these amazing students these early mornings, I also love that we get to flow with seasons to our breath. When I get up really early every day or most days, I notice the days as they get longer and shorter. I feel my inner nature shift with the seasons. I have the desire to turn in and reflect as the days get shorter, and the pull to get up and create as the days get longer. Right now, we are leaving the depths of winter and the class is beginning to end with the sun rising. It is enchanting to see the days getting longer and being present for each extra minute we get every day. Last week we were in darkness this week we have light.

To me, being a part of the changing seasons means being a part of this world, and a part of not only my life, but the capital L Life. The seasons remind me of my connection to that Thing that animates my body, the trees, and the living pulsing earth beneath my Tadasana toes. Each breath is a season in itself. A beginning, a pause, an ending. I am reminded to be in awe of the grandeur of the universe and the small expression that I am within it, and how kick ass that is.