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home wrecking cornflakes and castles built from love

I had this dear friend years ago in Calgary who, when we met, was going through a divorce.

Sam was one of those people who just made you feel good being around them, and had a way about speaking deep truth with a combination of sharp wit and bittersweet poetry.

I’ll never forget what he said when I asked him why he was getting divorced. He said, “Tina, people don’t get divorced because of one big thing that happened. It’s all the little things that add up to be so big that you finally end up getting divorced because of the way your partner eats their Cornflakes.”

I was stunned. How does someone get divorced over Cornflakes?

But isn’t it always the little things that create the bomb?

The one too many times being asked what you are going to do, when you don’t know what you’re going to do. The one extra thing on your To-Do list that brings you to overwhelm. The too many times they said they would call, and then didn’t. The dishes left in the sink after coming home from a long day. The pants that finally really don’t fit, and you can no longer pretend you haven’t put on weight. The fussy copy machine that suddenly brings you to tears.

All of it has become too much and too big to handle.

It’s like you keep chucking all the hurts together into one big hurt pile that is so big, smelly, and wide, that you can’t see any way around it, and all you want to do is run away from it or do something drastic.

Just like it’s the small things that create the BIG problem. It’s the small things that also create a great life.

When my husband Dave and I first met, I had this vision of us building a castle with our love. (Did I mention I’m a romantic?)

Every kindness, every phone call, every bittersweet good bye (we did long distance for a year) was like a brick building the foundation for our life together. The more love-bricks we had, the more solid our castle would be to endure the tests of time.

Castles are also fortresses: they protect what we hold dear, and keep out unwanted invaders.

Castles require a lot of maintenance to patch the holes and build new towers to keep it strong and beautiful, so it’s important to create new bricks daily. I also use this metaphor for how I live my life. I create love-bricks by how I choose to live everyday.

So before you end up wanting to end your relationship because of Cornflakes.

Or quit your job because the copy machine is fussy, or want to run away from your life because it’s become too much to handle, try this and start building yourself a huge love-filled-joy-castle that you can lean into as support when things are challenging.

Here’s how:

  1. Flip it.

This is a game I learned from one of my sweet friends and fellow Soul Strategizer. When something looks challenging, or upsetting: flip it. Look to find the good in the situation. Being able to change your outlook is one of the most powerful things you can learn how to do to change your life.

  1. Practice Gratitude.

I teach gratitude in every single yoga class because it is a scientifically proven way to rewire your brain to be happier. The point of gratitude is not to make sure you are really grateful for a few things, it’s to teach your brain to start looking for the little wonderful things in the moment. Each time you do that, you are reminded how lucky you, are and how good your life is.

  1. Integrity.

Decide what’s really important to you and practice integrity with it every single day. If health is important to you, then make healthy meal choices, get enough sleep, and move every day. If your partnership is important make time to actually hear your partner and connect with them meaningfully every day. If joy is important to you, then do things that make you feel joyous every day. It will feel like effort in the beginning, but eventually it will just be what you do and how you live. It’s totally worth a little bit of effort now to make the rest of your life great.

  1. Create Positive Memories.

Get out and DO stuff! Go outside, meet people, listen to music, learn a new instrument, feel the wind on your skin, volunteer. My favorite memories this summer are walking my puppy Walter with my husband in the evenings. It’s time that we are guaranteed outside together and we have wonderful conversations as we try to teach our puppy to walk in the evening breeze. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you aren’t in front of a screen. Not because I have a problem with screens, I have a problem with the way we check out when we are in front of them, and most of us are in front of them A LOT. Your life is lived, not watched.

You, my friend, are a powerful being. You have the power to create anything that you want for your life, it just takes action. Every day you are creating your life, consciously or not, you are building your castle. So you might as well build it beautifully on purpose so you can aim for what you want and get closer to getting there.

Did you like this post? Then please share it on Facebook, Tweet it out loud, or forward it to a friend. You never know who you might help by sharing the love around!

I’d love to hear from you now! How do you protect yourself from the little things that can bring you down? I’d love to hear your insights below.

gravitrons and your right to be here

This post was born out of a talk I was giving in a yoga class last Monday, and it felt important to share it with you too. It has to do with The Gravitron (yes the fair ride), and your right to be here.

Right now, I’ll invite you to close your eyes and relax into your breath. Take a moment to feel the sensations of your body, and also the sensation of the earth’s gravity gently drawing you into itself.

We don’t often see, or feel the obvious magic of our life. But it’s there and you are in the midst of it and an integral part of it too.

Magic is found in the mundane that we take for granted. Like gravity. Like your breath. Like the fact that no one really knows how you got into this body, but here you are! You are a part of this mystery, and dance of the cosmos.

Do you remember The Gravitron?

If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a ride that resembles a disk like space ship and the interior chamber shaped like a cylinder with rounded walls covered with panels. When the ride starts spinning, it sucks you to the walls for few minutes while the panels go up and down. I only went on it a few times as a kid, and mostly remember kids running out puking afterwards. Spinning crazy fast and fair food don’t go all that well together, I guess.

In a gentler more loving way, the earth holds us dearly to it.

Right now, the earth is spinning and hurling itself through space and you are actually stuck upside down onto it. Think about it, the ground you stand on is actually a ball spinning through space and is holding you tightly to it so you don’t fall off into emptiness.

It actually wants you here.

This spinning ball is also very alive, and breathes through all of its different life forms. The plants on our planet exhale oxygen and breathe in the carbon dioxide we animals produce. We inhale the plants gift of oxygen, and give plants life through breathing out carbon dioxide. 

We are in essence breathing together in symbiotic relationship.

We are each other’s inhales and exhales. It’s quite beautiful really, and we are interwoven into that delicate magical beauty.

I remember one run in particular where I was on the homestretch on a perfect summer morning. The cool morning air was starting to warm up from the heat of the sun on this clear morning. The shadows were long and I could feel the temperature difference sharply from shade to sun with my pace. My breath was steady, and I was keenly present to the sensations of my body, and the feel of the world around me. 

I could feel the earth’s pulse beneath my feet, the earths breath, and I was overcome with a sense of oneness and profound peace. 

I remember having the thought, “I was born for this.” Not in the sense of running, but in a much bigger more meaningful way:

I was born to live…and so are you. 

Here’s something I want you to really get, like right down to the core of your being:

The fact that you are here means that the world already approves of you.

There, I said it: if you weren’t meant to be here, you wouldn’t be.

Also, if you like what I am doing, spread the word! My business depends almost exclusively on word of mouth (or forwarded emails!). Share this on Facebook, tweet it out, or forward this to your friends, you’ll never know how we impact each positively just by sharing good stuff around.

Do you struggle with your right to be here? I love hearing from you, and would love to know how you remember that you are meant to be here on the comment section. Also, how would your life be different, if you really believed that you were meant to be here? Can you embrace that to create freedom for your life?

your dreams are your destiny

Do you have a dream that you would love to realize, but you are waiting for the right time, the right opportunity, or just ‘later’?

Maybe you don’t have a clear enough picture yet to get started, or you are just downright paralyzed with fear because you might not be successful at it? Or even that you might? Then this post is just for you.

Your dreams are your destiny. 

It’s no accident that you love what you love, and that you dream of your “wouldn’t that be nice someday?” vision. All of us have a special calling that is just waiting to be realized, and it is also waiting inside of you. I’m not saying you need to quit your job, or make some drastic change, or maybe you do. What I want you to understand is that if you do have a dream, it is your responsibility to bring that into the world.

Your life is too short to spend it doing things that don’t ignite inspiration, share your best self, and suck your soul. That is not who you are, and it is not what you are meant for.

You. Yes you, are meant for great things. You have been given a unique gift that the world will never have unless you take action to create it or to be it.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor your business to compare it to other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly, and directly, to keep the channel going.” – Martha Graham

Yes.

Here’s how to get started:

1) Passion + skills = your genius.
If you are wondering where your sweet spot of purpose is, the above equation sums it up. Your passion, plus your skills (and you might need to acquire new ones or more) equals your unique genius that is your vehicle to create greatness in the world.

2) Be brave, even if you are scared. 
Being brave doesn’t mean that you don’t have fear. It means that you believe in the beauty of your dreams more than you believe the fear. You are choosing your life and how you want to live it instead of playing small. There are no guarantees in life no matter what you do, so you might as well play big and create something wonderful!

3) Take consistent action.
I personally don’t know of any overnight success stories. I’m not saying they don’t exist, I’m saying I don’t know of any. What I do know, is that small consistent action will get you in your direction much faster than burning yourself out in the beginning, and then giving up because you didn’t see results immediately. Make consistent action a part of your life’s practice and you will see results before you know it.

4) Figure out who you are serving.
“If you write for God you will reach many men and bring them joy. If you write for men–you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted that you will wish that you were dead.” – Thomas Merton

Take some time to investigate really who you are serving, and how will they benefit from you living your dream. We are interconnected beings, and if you really want to have meaning and purpose in your life, your vision must include how others will benefit from your dream or you will “be so disgusted that you wish that you were dead.”

We all want to make a difference. We want to feel connected to each other. We can’t help it, it’s how we’re built as human beings. Imagine everyone who would benefit from you actualizing your dream, even if you are reaching, it doesn’t matter. We impact people in ways we will never know, this is being intentional about it.

5) Do it for the love.
Create your dream because you love it, not because it’s on your bucket list. Do it because it makes you tingle inside, and reminds you that you are a part of something bigger. Do it because it makes you feel free, and your hearts doors swing wide open whenever you talk about it. Do it because you love it and you can’t help bringing that love out into the world. Besides, love is what you were born to do anyways, so why not create something beautiful out of it?

If you are ready to start building your dream, I have some great news for you! 

The Soul Strategy Sessions and Fall Equinox Retreat are starting to fill, even though we’re still a month and a half away. If you are ready to start making your life happen, and love working in an inspiring supportive group setting, then sign up fast to save your space! Email me to reserve your space.

The Discovery Session is the best place to start if you would like to experience one on one coaching. This will give you an opportunity to experience me as a coach and see how coaching can specifically benefit you in your life right now. I only have space for 3 more clients right now, and I would love one of them to be you! Email me at tina@tinahnatiuk.com to book your Discovery Session and uncover what beautiful possibilities are there waiting for you!

Now I’d like to hear from you! Do you have a dream that is just waiting to manifest, or one that you are creating right now? What do you do to bring it into reality? What are your fears, and how do you manage them? Please share your insights here.

Did you like this post? Then please share the love! Forward it to a friend, share it on Facebook, or tweet it out loud! You never know whose life you might touch by passing this along.

Thank you for being the light that you are. We are all better for it.

Love and Light,
t

how to fall in love with anyone

Do you have a person in your life that makes you nuts?  A person that makes your skin prickle just by the thought of being around them, and sucks all your energy by trying to not lose it on them?

It’s all about you

I’ve got good news and some bad news. The bad news is you can’t change them, so you can quit trying. Falling in love with them isn’t about turning a frog into a prince(ss) it’s about changing our view of them. Our experience of life, and each other, is created by the lens we see through so your annoyance of your “difficult” person all comes from you and your lens. That’s the good news, because you can change how you see things and therefore shift how you see them too!

They are just being who they are

Just like you, they are just living their lives and totally unaware that they might be a difficult person to anyone. You are probably also someone’s difficult person, and you’re just going about your day being you. I promise you that they are not trying to make your life harder, or piss you off.

What we can’t tolerate in others, is what we can’t tolerate in ourselves

This could be a great learning experience for you. If you take a look at what it is about this person that is so grating, intolerable, and frustrating, you will get huge insight into what is intolerable within yourself. Where you deny love to others, is where you deny love to yourself.

To shift experience, you must shift your perspective

Not one person in the world has had your life, or can see the world the same way you do, yet we seem to expect everyone else to see the world the same way we do. Think about it, the values you were raised with, the school system you went to, the life experiences that you had, and all have shaped how you see the world and how you think things should be. No one else in the whole world has lived your life so they can’t see the world in exactly the same way as you. For example, I really like things to be orderly and “in their place” and I’m not overly concerned as much with deep cleaning really often. My husband is less concerned about tidiness, but very meticulous about washing the floors and doing deep cleans quite regularly. Who’s right in their approach? There is no right, we just have different values from our families and we act in the world through those values. And we’re actually pretty lucky because between the two of us we get it all done!

See them as Buddha, Jesus, Mother Teresa, Quan Yin or how their mother would see them.

Next time you know you will be interacting with them, decide before hand how you would like to show up. Visualize an interaction with them. Then imagine the Buddha, Jesus, Mother Teresa, Quan Yin, or even their mom (or anyone you know who is compassionate and understanding) has now taken your place. Notice how the interaction would be different. How would the compassionate body double be seeing your difficult person? How would they be speaking to them? How would it feel for you to seeing them that way? Visualize what that experience could be like so you have a clear picture of what’s possible for your interaction.

Decide to see them for the human being that they are.

Just like you, they have challenges, pain, hard relationships, joy, and are doing the best that they can. When you decide to see them as the human being they are, you are also choosing to let go of your judgement and blame. It doesn’t mean that you agree with everything that they do, you are just choosing to accept them the way they are.

Because you can’t change them anyways.

 “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”― Thomas Merton

One of the cruelest things we can do to another is to not accept them for who they are. If you’ve been the recipient of this you’ll totally understand what I’m saying. Each of us has some special gift to offer the world, and even if it’s not clear to you what theirs is yet, all you can do is love them anyways.

One last thing…

This is a practice, and you might feel really resistant to doing it because you will have to let go of your current views of this person. Your desire to not be upset and triggered by this person needs to be bigger than the need to be right and making them wrong. But, imagine how much easier your life would be if you weren’t upset by them? Are you willing to take it on and get some freedom for yourself? I hope so!

I’d like to hear from you now. What are your tricks to dealing with difficult people? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Did you like this post? Then please tweet it out, post it on your Facebook page, or email it to someone who might need to read this right now. You never know who you could help just by sharing some helpful tools…

Love and Light,

t

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.

 

Dear gorgeousness, my wonderful client, yes you…

Hello Gorgeous,

There’s something I need to share with you. We’ve been working together for a while now, and I want you to know just how much I love our time together. I see you as such a bright light in our community and I am so in love with your vision. You are going to make big things happen and I feel so honored that you chose me to be a part of your journey to get there.

I love your energy, your creativity, and your heart. I really get how passionate you are, how much you want to make a difference, and that you have a beautiful gift to share.

Working with you is the highlight of my week because you also get me and my style of support. You put your trust in me, are able to laugh at the human predicament that we are all in, and value our time together. I appreciate that because it also brings out the best in me: present, loving, compassionate, silly, honest, with a deeper listening to hear what is underneath.

You are why I do what I do. Your wonder, joy for life, your inner light, inspires me.

I care so much for you and your incredible vision that I will work my hardest to get you there. I will remember your vision when you forget, hold you accountable when doubt takes its grip, and I will stand up and cheer for you every stride you take forward. We are an unstoppable team you and I, and we can do phenomenal things together.

So, that’s what I thought you should know. Thanks for being an incredible example of a human being. You are amazing. I love you.