It's my birthday and I'm gonna...

How are you today?

I want to give you a quick run down of my last 6 birthdays before I tell you how this one will be different

My 29th birthday was so debaucherous that we almost got kicked out of the hotel where we’d rented a suite and I have huge gaps in my memories of that evening.

I woke up the morning after my 30th birthday with a gigantic goose egg on my forehead and I didn’t remember how I got it.

After drinking too much champagne and absinthe during my 31st birthday party I passed out and missed most of the night.

Several weeks before my 32nd birthday was when I had that last big blowout after which I woke up vowing “never again” and so my actual birthday that year was a somewhat sober affair, in all senses of the word.

My 33rd and 34th birthdays I was pregnant and breastfeeding - so alcohol was off-limits.

My 35th birthday I was in NYC for an event and spent my entire birthday weekend sober as I was still building trust in myself when in “Trigger City” at events with open bars and lots of adrenaline.

On October 7th I turn 36.

I was originally supposed to travel to Oaxaca City for the international film festival because the director had gifted me 4 all access passes however the festival was cancelled because of the impact of the earthquake. I was disappointed because I had invited several of my best friends for a “girls weekend” and I was really looking forward to it.

At first, I felt at a bit of a loss as to what to do.

It’s my first birthday as a single woman since I decided to redefine my relationship to alcohol.

I decided to follow the process I suggest to all of my clients: I got clear on my intentions.
I got clear on how I wanted to feel all weekend.
Then I planned accordingly.
And because I am so in alignment, it feels as though everything is falling beautiful into place, in my favour.

I want to dance all weekend.
I want to celebrate my 36th years feeling free, beautiful, strong and healthy.
I want to celebrate with my friends in Puerto Escondido, especially my female friends.
I want to celebrate where I’m at in my life and the fact that I thrived through one of the most challenging years of my adult life.

I plan to go to my favorite salsa dancing night on Friday, and not drink any alcohol.
I want to feel clear and remember that I need to go home as soon as the live band ends, and even a few sips of alcohol seem to prime me to chase “more.”
I plan on getting up early on Saturday and doing a yoga/meditation/movement workshop that includes a delicious vegetarian meal from 9am-1pm, then hitting the beach with girlfriends.
We’ll head back to my place and have some girl time and watch the sunset from my patio as we get ready to go out.
Then I’ll hit up a “salsa social” at my friend’s dance studio, where the focus will not be on alcohol because a lot of his students are underage.
After that, I’ve organized a hip-hop party at my friend’s bar. Though the event is open to the public, I know most of the people there will be my friends. I’ve called the event “where my girls at?” because I wanted to keep the intention of the “girls weekend” that was originally planned for Oaxaca.

I decided on my friend’s bar because of its intimate setting but also because my friend really supports my decisions around alcohol. In fact, she started a whole mocktail menu using really creative ingredients. I plan on bringing a bottle of bubbly to share with my friends and having at the most the equivalent of two glasses of champagne.

I feel completely confident in my ability to stick with my intentions.

This is what redefining sobriety has been all about for me.

The confidence and empowerment to have exactly what I want, without harsh restrictions.
A return to self and to exquisite presence. (To put it another way, I’m really happy to be with myself and don’t want to lose my grip on myself/reality.)
An acknowledgment of my desires and giving myself permission to go after them, in the most aligned and “best yes” way possible.
A trust in myself and creating a supportive community who also helps me uphold my intentions to myself - including my intention to have a lot of fun and dance all weekend!

I’m so excited to be rolling out more about Redefining Sobriety over the next few months. I feel as though my entire life including all of my professional and personal experience are converging in this baby.

It seems fitting that I’m “soft-launching” Redefining Sobriety right around my birthday.

If you feel called to know more right now, then let’s connect. Just click here to schedule a time.

xoxo


I wasn't planning on writing to you today (but disaster happened)

 

I wasn't planning on writing to you today.

Then I woke up to the news of Las Vegas.
At least 50 dead and over 400 injured.
A lot of friends and colleagues were in Las Vegas this weekend for an event.
I have other friends who live there. I began searching their names on Facebook to make sure all were accounted for.
Gratefully, everyone I know is safe.
However, I'm still feeling heartbroken.

I've been wondering recently when I will have a day without crying. A day when I don't feel cracked open, raw and exposed.
Either through remembering my own pain and releasing, or by what's happening in the world, or both. Earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, shootings, nuclear threats, politicians with no regard for human rights... it can be overwhelming.
No WONDER we want to numb sometimes because, well, this shit is hard.

So that's why I'm here today.

Acknowledging that it's hard.
Acknowledging that the desire to numb is totally understandable.
In fact, I wanted to numb this weekend, even before I heard about Las Vegas.

So what did I do?
I spent the day out of cellphone range on Sunday.
I played with Luna in the rain.
In the evening, even though I *should* have been doing work, I watched a movie about a woman who was even more troubled than me (Young Adults) - because, well, perspective and escapism.
I put a ton of cedarwood, vetiver, lavender, balance and forgive blends in my diffuser (all grounding, calming and releasing scents).
I made a bigass bowl of popcorn and drank tea.
I gave myself time to cry and permission to ask for a hug.

And this morning, all I could think was THANK GOD I went through the motions of self-care last night because today, the world needs my light more than ever.

As Brene Brown says, "When we numb the darkness, we also numb the light." Yes, it's important to take break, to self-nurture, even to distract ourselves from our own thoughts or pain for awhile... but please.
Don't check out for too long.
Don't numb the pain.
Feel the pain then fight back with light, with LOVE.

A friend sent me this beautiful "yoga for disaster" video yesterday.
She said she thought of me after the earthquakes and that it would be helpful for me.

This morning as I finally opened the link, all I could think was that Adrienne must have been guided by some divine intuition to send this video yesterday for all those who would need it today.

Even just the first few minutes of the meditation helped me feel soother. Now more than ever, I am grateful that I knowhow to take time for my own healing, to fill my own cup so that I can share, to shine more brightly to help illuminate the path for others.

As Lao Tzo wrote, "If you want to awaken all of humanity, the awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have is to give that of your own self transformation." 

To me, "eliminating" doesn't mean ignoring or hiding or disavowing. It means allowing ourselves to see, and feel and deal and heal all parts of ourselves, without numbing or running or faking.

How can you do that for yourself today?
How can you nourish yourself?
What will help you self-soothe or release?

If you are feeling alone or overwhelmed or unsure of how to cope, please reach out. Now is not the time to suffer in silence.

Sending big big love,

xoxo


stop living in the past - healing happens in the present

Hello,

"Focusing on the past keeps us stuck exactly where we are in the present. In order for real healing to happen in the present, we must accept and connect to the past without letting it define us."

Every month we invite a different expert to share their knowledge with our Be More Membership group.

This month's guest expert was Marine Selenée, a psychologist and family constellations practitioner whom I met last time I was in NYC.

The call was so packed with useful insights that I took pages of notes!

Marine reminded us that it was our inner child who suffered, not us as adults, yet when we don't recognize the experience of the inner child, we unconsciously react as she would. When we can help our inner child feel at peace and soothed, we become able to control our reactions as adults instead of as a wounded child desperately looking for love (and doing whatever she can do avoid the loss of it).

Marine suggested a daily practice of 5 minutes spent writing or talking to your inner child to reminder her that she is love and appreciated for everything she did to get you to where you are today. Thank you and I've got this from here on in.

I asked my mom to send me pictures of myself at the age where I believe I really started to fear the loss of love and experience the effects of abandonment by my father. I've been looking at this picture and sending love to this innocent girl who so desperately wanted to be "enough" so that her father would stick around and really want to know her (not just her cute exterior). I've been telling her that I understand why for so many years after she kept resorting to physical attention as a substitute for self-love, and why she sought out codependent relationships from fear of being left.

We also learned of a powerful exercise in which we can give the family dynamics back to our ancestors. By starting a letter to our ancestors with the theme of "Today I give it back to you..." means you are acknowledging and affirming that family patterns did not start with your, but they can end with you.

There were so many more amazing and insightful topics we covered in terms of family systems and how to navigate the complex relationships we have within our families.

If you'd like to learn more about Marine and her work, please visit her website. She has an upcoming course all about family constellations and a great book called The Movement, which I am gifting to all of our current Be More Be Members.

If YOU would like to hear the entire replay for of her call with us, as well as the other guest expert calls AND monthly coaching call, join the Be More Membership for only $47/month. If you join this week, I'll send you a copy of Marine's book too! More info on how to join below.

xoxo


I haven't been drunk 4 YEARS!?! (what do YOU want to know?!)

 

Hello ,

September 18th will mark the last day I got drunk.

I woke up the next morning thinking "never again" and I meant it.

Even though I'd said this to myself before, countless times, this time something shifted deep inside of me. Never again (up until now anyway) stuck.

No more blackouts.
No more letting myself down.
No more days wasted hungover.
No more soul-crushing self-criticism and shame.
No more numbing. No more hiding.
No more taking the easy way out (aka the bandaid solution that allows the wounds underneath to continue to fester)
No more losing my grip on reality.
No more straying from my best yes in any given situation.
No more ignoring my intuition.
No more denying my healthiest self. No more abusing my body and mind.
No more feeling like alcohol controlled me instead of the other way around.
No more wondering if moderation was possible for me or just a pipe dream (believe me, I've had more than enough people tell me that once you have a problem with alcohol, it's impossible to moderate).
I could go on and on. But you get the point.

If you'd like to say "no more" to the damaging effects of alcohol in your life, you know that I'm here to support you in any way I can.

That's why I'm recording a very special 4 year not-drunk-iversary video for you.

I'd love to answer your questions. If there is anything you'd like to know about my 4-year journey, I'd love to know.

It takes a lot of courage to step into the unknown.

I didn't have many role models when I started out, and still don't. To be honest, it took me a few years to really truly feel confident in what my intuition was telling me - that it IS possible to control your relationship to alcohol without cutting out alcohol completely (if you don't want to).

So tell me, is there anything you worry about? Feel confused or doubtful about? Any nagging curiosity? As we used to say in the sexual health workshops I facilitate 20+ years ago (!!) - there are no stupid questions, no questions too big or too small.

I can't wait to hear from you.

(the video will be sent Friday, so don't delay!)

xoxo


Flashback Friday and special invitation for September

Hello and welcome to September!

Since landing in Canada just over 3 weeks ago, I’ve experienced a series of flashbacks that have brought perspective to just how far I’ve come in this journey of self-re-discovery and healing.

Flashback to Trashy Tuesdays (7 years ago) when it was a source of pride to get drunk mid-week.

I somehow felt more at home with the misfits who were also out drinking on a Tuesday night. Looking back, the biggest common denominator we shared was a need to escape reality for on a weeknight using alcohol. We were at the local bar sucking back two-dollar highballs like there was no tomorrow. When tomorrow did of course arrive replete with a pounding headache and a stomach heavy with remorse, hump day was even more of a mountain to climb. This flashback hit me as I was dancing at the same bar at the unofficial after-party for our town’s Pride celebrations. I was sober and having a blast dancing in the middle of 6 foot tall drag queens and a medley of the town’s queer folk and allies, without a care of what anymore “else” (ie the bar’s very straight-seeming regular clientele) thought.

Flashback to 5 years ago when I heard the following words. “I need naloxone!”

The nurse shouted as he ran down the hall. “Naloxone? Is my mom having an overdose?” I had come back to Canada to support my mom during the recovery of a fairly routine hip surgery. I had called the nurse as my mom’s temperature had dropped and she seemed to be shaking uncontrollably and the became unresponsive. I knew enough about opiates to know this looked like an overdose and that Naloxone was an opiate-blocker given to those experiencing an overdose. Somehow, my mother’s IV had allowed too much morphine to be administered. I’m really good in crisis, and the nurse used me as his aid as he stabilized her condition. Yet I couldn’t emotionally process seeing my mom almost die (I don't know if she actually could have but that's what it felt like). That night I took the Seabus into the city for a get-together at a friend’s house, which turned into going to a dive bar for more drinks, which turned into showing up at a sketchy afterparty. I made it back to another friend’s house only because that friend had a daughter who was going to need to be up in the morning and she remembered to “be responsible” at 4am. I overslept to see messages on my phone from the original friend I was supposed to spend the night with, worried because I never showed up at her house, and from my sister because I was late arriving back to the hospital to help discharge my mom. We missed a ferry back to our hometown and I felt sick with shame for letting my family down. All of this came flooding back to me as we drove around the neighbourhood and my mom pointed out the hospital where she had her surgery.

Flashback to my hometown's Blackberry Street Festival 4 years ago.

I’d been working at my friend’s restaurant and drinking as much tequila as I could sneak in between busily serving beers and margaritas under a tent barely protecting us from the pouring down rain. My cousin and his partner were visiting, and they bravely faced the elements to come have a beer with my mom and keep me company for a bit while I worked. They were only staying for the weekend. Instead of going home to my mom’s after my shift was over, I went to the local bar (yep, same one that I frequented for trashy Tuesdays) to chase down someone I’d had my eye on. He was super drunk and had a coworker of mine hanging all over him. Me, with everything to prove, needed to feel like the chosen one and charmed him accordingly. We ended up stumbling up the hill to his sister’s house (none of us was fit to drive) and continuing the party aka drinking more. We eventually collided and experienced each other in ways that I’m sure neither of us quite remembered the next day. Waking up, still drunk feeling, and realizing I was in my friend’s daughter’s room and all I wanted was to get out of there. Instead, we went to A&W and I ate something that only enhanced my feeling of wanting to vomit. I got dropped off at my mom’s car, drove home slowly, head-swimming and put on a brave face as I sat down shame-filled at the table where my cousins were having a delicious homemade lunch with my mom. I was a few months into my Holistic Health Coach training program and felt, yet again, that I was living a double life. This flashback return as those same cousins came to Blackberry fest again this year. Instead of going out after the street festival, I couldn’t be happier to crawl into bed next to Luna and get up early to take our kids to the farmer’s market. That night I did go to a party and saw the same friend whose house I had said at 4 years ago (and whose little brother I had hooked up with). I danced without needing attention from anyone and was gratefully the designated driver, dropping off a few friends and waking up a little tired but totally clear the next day and able to enjoy time with family.

There are many more flashbacks but these are a few of the most powerful.

It is with immense relief that I can experience these flashbacks without feeling paralyzed by shame or remorse as I did in the past.

Instead I feel gratitude and compassion for that part of me.

That woman who still didn’t understand or love herself enough to choose differently… who often didn’t even know she had a choice.

I also recognize that I can feel this level of compassion and gratitude because I’ve come so far and have done so much work on myself, so much healing, so much forgiving.

I’m at a now safe distance and have no fear of slipping back to that version of me.

You might not be quite there yet. I get that. It took me awhile too.

That’s why it’s so important to me to keep offering the tools and support to help along the way.

September has always been a month that has brought the promise of change for me.

I love the energy shift as we head into the last quarter of the year.

This year I’m offering a 21-day “September Reset” for anyone feeling that they are ready to powerfully shift into the new season. I’ll be sharing all of my best tools and strategies - for free!

We start September 8th and you can sign up here.

Now I'm signing off to enjoy my last weekend in Canada, at the Sunshine Music Fest, before kicking back into gear and getting ready to reset next week.

I hope you have a fabulous weekend of "being present" and soaking it all in, and hope you will consider joining the reset too.

xoxo


Intense energies and just "being"

 

"I'm in paradise," my friend exclaimed this morning as she lept down the path to the beach to go for a swim. "PARADISE!!"

No, I'm not back in Mexico.

I'm still at my mom's house on the Westcoast of Canada, the house I grew up in. I took a moment from multitasking trying to catch up on emails on my phone while side-eye keeping track of my toddler to pause and watch my friend's pure joy as she jumped in the invigorating waters of Malaspina Straight. It really is beautiful here and I'm so grateful that I'm able to be here for a visit.

More than that, I'm grateful I'm actually able to take the time now to just BE. To be present. To put the phone down. To spent time with my daughter and watching her fascination discovering a new world around her. To witness her relationship with her grandmother blossoming.

And on a much deeper level, I'm grateful to just be with myself. To have a bit of spaciousness. To be amidst the tall trees and the westcoast wilderness smells that heal my soul. To feel joy and gratitude and abundance. To feel loneliness and sadness and grief. All of it.

You see, I didn't used to let myself feel this deeply because I couldn't slow down enough to just BE. I was on some kind of insane fast track and I didn't even realize how little I allowed myself to slow down. I felt anxious and uncomfortable if I wasn't doing anything. Or guilty. It just didn't feel "right."

I had to train myself to truly take time for myself and be present. I still have the tendency to over-schedule and say yes to more than I can realistically do and keep myself distracted by the busy-ness of doing.

Many have commented that the energies have been intense recently. It could be the eclipse and what's going on in that stars. It most likely also has something to do with the tragic event in Charlottesville and the huge cultural wounds, racism and bigotry that have been so blatantly revealed again.

It can be tempting to want to turn away from the discomfort.

I encourage you to find ways in the next week to just be.

To be with yourself and your feelings, whatever might arise.
To be in moments of gratitude.
Moments of noticing.
Moments of divine presence.
Moments of confusion or pain or emptiness.
Moments of whatever.
If this feels new or strange to you, you might want to ask yourself, in one of these quiet moments, "what does it feel like to be me right now?"

I didn't used to think it was paradise here.

I didn't allow myself to feel the beauty of this place because it was still wrapped up in a lot of the pain in my teens years. It wasn't until I fully allowed myself to open up to healing, to slow down and FEEL, and yes, the full range of feelings and emotions, that I truly understood what a gift this presence and place is.

Next week is the last week of August. I'll be revving up and starting to share tips on how to have a supercharged (and sober, if you choose) September. However, I'm not going to rush. I'm committed to inviting this spaciousness and presence over the weekend and into early next week. I invite you to join me in creating these moments for yourself.

xoxo


[Be More You Video 8 of 8] Seeking support

 

Hello,

I hope this blog posts finds you exceptionally well at the end of this week. Can you believe we're already halfway through August? Now is definitely the time to slow down as much as possible and savour the last of summer (if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, of course!). I will be revving up for September soon with all kinds of motivating posts on creating new habits and trying out a "sober September" (as defined by YOU - which means you don't have to abstain completely from alcohol if you don't want to... yep, intriguing isn't it!?)

For now, I'm thrilled and slightly sad to share the final installment of the Be More You Video series with you. Thrilled because I love the content and it's been so fun sharing these steps with you, sad that it's coming to an end!

In this final video I talk about Seeking Support, and you'll learn:

  • Why your support team is essential for taking risks and continued growth

  • How to be proactive in seeking the support to show up fully

  • What you can say to people in your life to get the specific support you need

  • And more!

xoxo


[Be More You Video 7 of 8] Practicing Radical Honesty

 

Hello,

Happy Monday! How are you doing today?

I'm so excited to share the latest "Be More You" video with you.

The topic of this video, Practicing Radical Honesty, has been one of the most challenging and also liberating for me.

In this video, you'll learn:

  • What is radical honesty and why it's important releasing numbing/addictive behaviours

  • Why we fear telling the truth

  • How to practice radical honesty

  • Where to find support to practice radical honesty

  • And more!

I can't wait to hear what you think about this video. Please know that you can practice radical honesty with me! I mention how you can do this at the end of the video.

xoxo


[Be More You Video 6 of 8] Stop shoulding, settling and staying small

 

Hello ,

We're back with the Be More You videos!! And how perfect that the theme of this video is how to Stop Shoulding, Settling and Staying Small.

There were a lot of "shoulds" that came up for me last week, as life collided with many to-dos to get us ready to leave the country, paperwork that needed attending to, an entire apartment that needed to be packed up before we left, a sick assistant, technical problems etc etc. I felt myself spread thin and the "shoulds" started to creep in. Thankfully, I was able to re-record this video and let myself off the hook!

The video covers:

  • How to identify the shoulds and release them

  • How to simplify and create space for YOU to show up

  • How settling may be keeping you small

  • A powerful mantra to create safety to shine

  • And more!

As always, I'd love to hear what you think and what you will be applying this info, or if you even should... (you'll know what I mean when you watch the video ;)

xoxo


While you're waiting...

 

Hi,

How are you today? You might be wondering why there isn't a new Be More You video in your inbox or on my blog yet. My assistant has been really sick, I've been traveling and filing paperwork for Luna's passport and we've had some technical difficulties with the recordings, so the next videos will be coming later this week.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy reading some articles of mine that were previously published on Mind Body Green.

If you have any summer travel coming up, this first one will be very helpful for you.
Click here to read "How to thrive in any social situation without booze."

And click here for my favorite summer mocktail recipes with amazing health benefits! 

I hope you enjoy and we'll be back with the videos very soon!

xoxo