Letting go...

I don’t know about you, but I find this time of year starts to weigh heavily on me. The New Year starts with energy and intention, but over the course of a sometimes very dark and cold February, “reality” sinks in a little more and resolutions start to slide a little.

It's also possible that setting new intentions and having a sober January dredged up some bad feelings about previous behaviours and actions. I’ve noticed that recently a few people, including my clients, are feeling shame, regret and grief over past actions. Now that a month or so off of drinking has created space for introspection, self-deprecation can come down hard on you.

Now that “dryuary” is over and you’ve had a possibly wet February, how can you positively AND effectively redefine your relationship to alcohol through the rest of the year?

We all know that to create a significant, and sustainable, change in our drinking behaviours, it requires a lot more than simply “not drinking.”

Short term goals, like 31 day dry months or sober challenges are a great way to take breaks.

But what if you want to seriously redefine your relationship to alcohol over the long term?

I look at it like breaking up with a co-dependent long-term lover or partner who has brought me so many moments of joy and fun, but also a lot of unnecessary pain, confusion, fighting and feeling downright crappy.

It might sound strange at first, but when you shift from thinking of alcohol as a thing, to something that also embodies a set of qualities (many of which we desire) and effects (some we desire, some we come to despise), you might realize that your approach to alcohol might need to be more nuanced than the one-dimension “elimination” approach.

Think about it. How long have you been drinking for? How long has alcohol been in your life? How many times have you thought “I wish things could be different” but the cycles stay the same?

For me, alcohol is one of the longest relationships of my life. We got acquainted 17 years ago, and were going strong for the first12 years before I started to try to make some changes, and another 15 before I was able to take what felt like a real stand in making some lasting changes.

Here are some steps I’ve found really help with breaking up with alcohol, or at the ver least, starting to redefine your relationship.

Write a Love Letter: It might go a little something like this “Dear alcohol, wow... what a ride we’ve been on together. Thank you for the good times, and the bad. I learned so much during our time together. I experienced things I may not have when I was sober, took risks, met some crazy and interesting people, started learning a new language, danced a lot, and first started feeling comfortable tapping into my creativity and sensuality with you by my side...”

Yeah, it might feel strange at first. But recognizing the “good,” honouring the relationship  instead of shaming yourself by only focusing on the negative, with ultimately help you let go (more on this below). This is far more empowering than beating yourself up for “stupid” choices.

You did what you did at the time because that’s what you felt like you needed to do. Done. Now recognize it for what it was, and more on.

Setting clear boundaries/intentions: Similarly to negotiating the new terms of an evolving relationship with an ex, setting clear boundaries and intentions is super important.

Write it down as you were writing to alcohol.

“Dear alcohol, I think we still need to be on a total break. I’m not ready to invite you back into my life yet... I have more self-reflection I need to do and I need to feel stronger...” 

OR

“Dear alcohol, Yes, I’d like to hang out every once and I while. I know that things are still sensitive for me right now, so it’s really important that I’m in a good mood and not upset about anything. I’ve realized that I can only be close to you in very limited amounts, so I am limiting our time together to one glass of wine at dinner with friends, once a week, and we’ll see how that goes for awhile." 

Affirmations: Love yourself up during this process!! It can be hard work sometimes, so go easy on yourself.

Have you ever had a friend who is heartbroken? She’s been dumped and is feeling so down on herself and doubtful that she’ll ever recuperate?

What do you say as a good friend?

You say, “You are beautiful and kind and so much fun. OF COURSE you will be okay, you’re better off without that person in your life, it’s just going to take a little time.”

So yeah, be that loving to yourself!! Give yourself the pep talk, and write it down!

Letting go/release: The next step is letting go. Allowing yourself to feel, grieve, honour and release what no longer serves you. If you’d like to read more about how to do this, click here. 

One final thought... know this is temporary! The days are already getting lighter and longer! Now is the perfect time to dig deep, clear out the clutter, cobwebs and dust in our sacred corners, and use the changing of seasons that will be upon us soon to re-invigorate new growth.

In order to create real change we need to create the space for it. So get on it ;)

You got this!!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and in her words now:

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

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

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

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

Go easy on yourself!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


When resentment rears its ugly head... whaddaya do?

Resentment is a sneaky little devil, sidling and slithering into our consciousness slowly and subtly, until, somehow, we find ourselves bitter, impatient, ready to snap, blaming others or sullen.

Has this ever happened to you?

The consequences of resentment can be tricky as well.

When we feel stuck in certain situations, that we are constantly making huge sacrifices or doing things for others at our own expense, we are more likely to fall into unhealthy behaviours to make ourselves feel better at the end of the day.

“Well, I deserve this glass of wine after the day I’ve had.”

“The only thing that will make me feel better right now is a big ol’ slice of cake.”

“F everybody. I’m tired of being good, so now that I’ve shirked my responsibilities for the night, I’m gonna let loose and be really Bad...” 

These are short term, bandaid pseudo-solutions that usually offer only very temporary relief.

Instead, here are five fool-proof strategies to recover from resentment AND create lasting behaviour change so that you can prevent these kind of reactions from happening in the first place.

Practice gratitude (part 1): Even if it seems like you are stuck in the shittiest situation ever, there is always a silver lining. Figure out what that is.

Example: I’ve been working a lot of extra hours these past couple of weeks. I have a freelance contract that I am working on helping plan an event that is scheduled for the third week of February. The extra hours have led to more juggling of time, pumping of breastmilk, more hours away from my baby, less time at home. I started to feel resentful towards the commitment I had made, the fact that I had to be away from my baby more than I wanted to be.

I started resenting the WORK. Bleh. It’s true.

The great thing about being a coach is that it gives me the opportunity to catch these negativity cycle quickly.

I am definitely committed to “walking my talk” so I caught myself and starting focusing on gratitude:

  • My co-workers on this project are super supportive and caring and have allowed me a lot of flexibility with my schedule and the occasional missed meeting.

  • I’ve worked on this project several years in a row and it doesn’t require a lot of extra brain power ie I can still do it and do it well while sleep deprived

  • The extra income that comes at time that we really need it

  • It’s temporary (isn’t everything though); a short term contract that will be finished soon

Practice gratitude (part 2): Or, if you can’t find the slightest thing about your current situation to be grateful for, find something else in the present moment to focus on and be grateful for. There is ALWAYS something positive, it is never ALL BAD.

Example: The warm comfort of your cup of tea in the morning. The feeling of the breeze on your skin. The fact that you woke up this morning! The bed that you sleep in. The healing powers of rain. The beauty of the ocean or sunset.

When I started feeling too busy and rushed and ungrounded in my day... I decided to drive home the scenic way. It only added a few more minutes, but gave me a view of the ocean instead of the highway. Instantly calming. 

Enlist friends/support: If you really, really are struggling with finding something to be grateful for - ask a friend to help you out.

Example: Just this week I was feeling super burnt out. As mentioned above, working so many hours was taking its toll. Our house, which is still a work in progress, was feeling like a chore. Everywhere I looked there was something that needed to be cleaned, fixed, built... I started resenting the HO-- USE, can you believe it?

I invited a couple of friends who in town to visit. They hadn’t yet seen the house.

I almost canceled last minute (due to overwhelm and that creepy resentment... “now I have to clean because we have company”!?!? )

I’m so happy that I didn’t cancel because my friend helped me shift my mindset. With fresh eyes, she saw the beauty, creativity, and potential of the place.

It felt good to be honest and tell her that I was feeling burnt-out by the upkeep. What felt even better though was to see it through her lives and remind myself that I am really blessed to have my own home. 

Reclaim your power: I find that as women we often either give away our power or feel powerless in certain situations. It is as if life is happening to us, rather than us being the ones to call the shots.

And soon enough, we begin to feel resentful that we are given so much of ourselves away without getting what we need, or that others have certain expectations of us that we stop feeling like we can fulfill.

This is a common one for my clients, is it for you too?

Example: Can you say yes to others LESS, and say YES TO YOURSELF MORE? What boundaries can you create to protect your precious time? Can you do one less thing a week? What’s one fun thing you can do for yourself, right now?

Have more FUN: This one is pretty straightforward.

Example: After a long week of feeling a lot of external pressures and demands on my time, I decided to end the week on an upswing and take a dance class this morning. I found care for my baby for an hour and picked a new studio by the beach. That one hour was pure bliss and now, back at my computer, I am is such a good mood and resentment-free because I chose to do something for me first today.

How do you deal with resentment? I’d love to hear if you have any other strategies that work for you.

As a final thought, this came across my newsfeed yesterday and I thought it was perfect:

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” - Camille Pissarro