780 Million people don’t have access to clean water :(


There are just 5 short days left of my fundraising campaign for Charity Water.  My ultimate goal is to raise $10 000 before August 13th this year to bring clean water to communities across the globe.  So far I have raised $3175 and 105 people are already getting clean water!!  100 % of proceeds go directly to community initiatives!!

I would love if you would help me reach my goal of raising $4000 by the end of this week 🙂  You can donate by clicking the link here:  https://my.charitywater.org/katherine-taylor-4/diving-into-my-30-s-with-a-splash

This past week was world Water Day.  One little girl named Nora donated $8.15 to Charity Water, which inspired over 3000 people to do the same. This led to 1850 people getting access to clean water! Will Nora inspire you to donate too?!?!

Even though 780 million people (approx 21 X’s the pop. of Canada!) don’t have access to clean water, we can help others even if it’s just one at a time 🙂

Here is a video I made this week to celebrate World Water day (it’s the second top post on my Facebook page):  https://www.facebook.com/KatherineTaylorFitnessAndHealth/?ref=settings

Here is why I started the fundraising initiative:  

As I approach the age of 30, I begin to think more and more about the privileges I have had as an able bodied, healthy, blonde hair, blue eyed, educated female with a stable childhood, growing up in Canada. Opportunities, health care, education, shelter, safety, money, let alone clean food and water were never a worry for me in my life. With that privilege, I believe it’s up to me (and us) to take care of those who weren’t born into the same geographic or socioeconomic situation, and who do struggle daily to meet their own survival needs.

Every day, about 1,400 children die from diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

Many of us have no idea what it’s like to be thirsty. We have plenty of water to drink — even the water in our toilets is clean! I’ve never turned on my tap to find nothing running out of the other end, I’ve never had to walk 6 miles each way to collect a bucket of water for my daily needs. I’ve never had to skip school as a young female because my school didn’t have the sanitation I needed as a menstruating school aged girl. I’ve never had to balance basic survival needs with wanting to achieve an education, or career.

But 1 in 10 people worldwide do deal with these daily struggles associated with lack of clean water.

Many months ago I was listening to a Rich Roll podcast in which the founder of Charity Water (Scott Harrison) was a guest on the show. Scott created Charity Water with the mission of securing private donations that would 100 % go to the implementation of clean water infrastructure. This means that every dollar I raise is directly impacts people in 24 countries across the globe.

Access to clean water and basic sanitation can save around 16,000 lives every week

Every $1 invested in clean water can yield $4–$12 in economic returns. The impact on these individual lives and communities is tremendous, and I will hold them in my heart as I take on this tremendous fundraising challenge.

Fundraising is scary. It means I have to stand up for what I believe, make myself uncomfortable and ask others to give me their hard earned money. I’ve been wanting to tackle a project like this for some time, but the fear of not achieving my goal- of raising $10 000 to build a clean water system for a community, has held me back. What if I didn’t make it? What if no one donated? What if people were annoyed with me asking for money, when there are so many other charities to donate to?

I realized now that I can’t let these insecurities get in my way of helping others around the globe. As my birthday approaches in August I want to mark this occasion not only by providing an incredible opportunity for clean water to a community, but to continue to prove to myself that I can achieve goals that I set my mind to, that I can overcome fears of rejection, and that society is compassionate and ready to help those in need worldwide.

So with all of that being said: Please donate to my campaign — anything you can give is a huge help. I technically only have 48 days to fundraise according to Charity Water guidelines, but my ultimate goal is to raise $10 000 by August 13th 2018.
Once the money is fundraised they will send us photos and GPS coordinates so we can see the exact community we helped ☺.

Ways in which you can help:
– A private donation (even $5 can have an impact).
– On your next birthday celebration ask for donations for my campaign and cause and share this message – or start your own campaign
– Help me by hosting a fundraising event, or suggesting an idea.
– Share this link with friends and family.
– If you are a member of my family that usually gives me a birthday gift- perhaps you might consider a donation instead!
– If you aren’t a member of my family and don’t usually give me a birthday gift- perhaps you might consider a donation 🙂 haha!
– $30 to represent my 30th birthday ??

Thank you all for your selfless kindness, generosity, and support.

Thank you for considering supporting me!  Here is a link to my campaign page:


Life Is Messy: & Coping with Grief/Trauma/Loss

Life is messy. Life is hard.

Over the past few months I feel like every conversation I have had has been about the messy parts of life that people are going through:

  • Divorce, loss of relationship, heat break
  • Loss of a dream, or a goal, or where you ‘thought you’d be in life”
  • Illness & disease
  • Death and grief and loss
  • Lack of clarity about the future
  • Job loss and job change
  • Injury
  • etc.

I myself recently experienced a massive heartbreak, and since then I feel like this blog has been writing itself inside of me, for me to share.

Emotional resilience and coping skills were not something that came naturally to me. I was really good at making my emotions “wrong”, numbing them out via booze, TV, shopping, exercise, being a workaholic, throwing myself into more projects, throwing myself at unhealthy relationships, overeating, caffeine, etc. I would make myself wrong for feeling sad or hurt, and compare myself to others who seemed to have ‘everything together’. I would worry that I was ‘too sad’, or there was something wrong with me for having such a strong reaction to an experience or situation. I’ve come to be able to realize that I am simply a human. I am simply a human, having a human experience. Since I started to become more ‘ok’ with my emotions, I have since had to learn how to deal with them. No more numbing, running, or hiding, it’s time to face them straight on. From this I have developed some strategies and coping skills for the times of extreme anguish in my life.

I want to provide you with a list of 13 things I have found to help me deal with heartbreak, grief, loss, and the tough times. I am in no way claiming to have all the answers, or to replace your psychologist, nor am I saying that these tools are right or wrong. What I do know is they have worked for me- and they might work for you too.

#1: Let it be OK! Honestly. This is one I struggled with so badly, and I think many of us do. Your sadness, your hurt, your anger, your fear, your deepest darkest hit the floor with your knees moments are all OK! There is nothing wrong with you. We often feel we aren’t ok because noone talks about those gut wrenchingly painful moments. It’s not often we vocalize the intensity of this pain with each other, and therefore it can be very isolating. I constantly had to remind myself that I wasn’t abnormal, that I was not ‘not coping properly’, and that I wasn’t ‘depressed’, I was freaking sad and hurt and I was justified in staying up all night crying. I gave up pretending I was ok, and instead told people the truth. I went to the darkest places of sadness, those places where you feel like you can’t breathe because you are crying so hard, or you never want to get out of bed, yet the whole time I knew “this is horrible now, and I know I will be ok in the future”. A friend who experienced a traumatic loss in her life told me that one of the things that got her through the acute time period after the loss was telling herself “In one year I won’t feel as shitty as I do today”. I found that a hopeful mantra for me to hang on to. I also realized that if I spent most of the day trying not to feel shitty, then I would end up feeling shitty for the entire day! If instead I went deep into how sad I was, I realized that surrendering to it meant I most likely was able to see the other side by the end of the day.

*Caveat: Don’t try to make yourself feel better right away. When you go through something traumatic, it’s important not to start trying to make things better immediately. If you need to cry 24/7 for a few weeks and eat ice cream sandwiches for 3 meals a day, then go for it. I did, and it helped 🙂

#2: Write shit down. Write down every single thing running through your mind. Get it out of your head and onto paper, or speak to a therapist or a friend about it. The simple process of writing out what’s going on with you is such a cleansing way to just get it out of your system. I find that each day when I write, whatever I am sad or stressing about that day seems to clear itself up after I finish writing. It doesn’t make it go away, but it does diminish that ‘monkey mind’ of thoughts that is causing so much suffering. I also found writing letters specifically to people to be very healing. That might be your ex husband, or your dying father, or the disease growing inside of you! After writing a big long letter and getting all of my thoughts out I found a much greater sense of peace and calm around the whole situation.

#3: SUPPORT! Feelings like anger, shame, guilt, fear, sadness, are afraid of connection (To quote Brene Brown J). When we vocalize and tell a trusting friend, or therapist what is truly going on in our mind it’s almost like a sense of relief is lifted off our shoulders. That emotion no longer has the tight grip on your heart strings. Talk, talk, and talk some more. Choose the people who you know you can trust to empathize, not judge, and who will be there to listen to you anytime. Tell them what you need from them (“I just need you to listen”, “I don’t need you to try and fix my situation”). Also, make sure you talk to a therapist, especially if you are worried about yourself, or don’t think you are doing ok. A psychologist has been one of my greatest tools that I’ve used over the past 3 years.

#4: Read 🙂 One of the most healing strategies I have used is to read books on these topics. Not necessarily books on the exact situation you are experiencing, but I have found books on topics that focus on love, and kindness, and connection, and not judging yourself to be very helpful. I can’t articulate why reading is so helpful for me, but I do know it’s just another way of moving through a challenging time. I have found reading to bring me a tremendous amount of peace in my time of heart break. Some of my ‘go to’ books over the years have been:

  • all 4 books by Brene Brown- but I would suggest starting with “the gifts of imperfection”
  • If you have a spiritual or religious side at all- I found Marianne Williamsons “A return to love” to be a life changing book for me to read.
  • A friend has recommended Tosha Silver’s book to me, and the excerpts she has provided me so far have been very helpful.
  • The audio version of books: podcasts ! These have also been helpful. I recommend Tara Brach’s podcast. She has various talks, as well as guided meditations, which have always been a tremendous help for me. A good list of audiobooks and podcasts that you can plug into temporarily to get out of your own grief can be very helpful- especially when there are things we ‘need’ to get done (homework, work, chores etc.).
  • I’d love to hear if you have any book recommendations.

#5: Faith and Trust. Faith can mean so many things for so many people. Whether it’s a religious term for you, a spiritual term, or just more of a “trusting the universe” kind of idea, it can really bring a person through a rough time. On my darkest days sometimes the only thing I had to cling to was the trust that “this is all for a reason, and in the end it will all work out ok”. Often times we struggle with the concept of trying to control situations, and are very uneasy around the feeling of the unknown. By finding some ‘bigger concept’ to trust outside of yourself it can bring a tremendous amount of hope into a situation.

#6: Music. Create playlists! I’ve got my 90’s hip hop playlist for going on jogs, my linkin park playlist for when I’m super pissed and I’ve got to lift some heavy weights to get through it, I’ve got my hilltop hoods playlist for when I feel like I can’t get through the day, I’ve got my Charlotte Cardin playlist when I want to stop worrying so much. I’ve got my evanescence playlist when I want to feel hurt and sad and shitty. I’ve even busted into the country genre on occasion!!! Music is an artists expression of their creativity and emotion. When we listen, or watch them perform we can relate to their pain. Music can have an instant shift in our mood. The lyrics can bring us through tough times.  As a bonus- I started playing the piano again, and if you are into learning an instrument I would highly recommend it as an emotional release, and an opportunity to focus your mind on something mindless and meditative.

#7: Using the Internet productively.   Nowadays there is a forum or blog for everything.   In the early days of my heart break I really turned to blogs and forums on the topic. It allowed me to see that I wasn’t alone, and it also gave me some perspective in that there were many more people in the world that were having a way shittier time than me! I know we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, but I was able to have compassion for others experiences, which allowed me to have compassion for myself. I also used Instagram daily. I follow accounts that uplift my spirits, and post daily quotes that motivate me. I save those quotes as graphics on my phone. When I am really feeling overwhelmed I flip through all the saved graphics on my phone. This allows me to regain my perspective and reestablish some peace. Also- you might want to be careful with social media, especially if it’s a trigger for you. It’s important to recognize whether facebook is helpful for you- or whether it’s just a trigger, and a way for you to tell yourself negative stories. I’ve found that without facebook (for now) I am able to focus on my own experience, rather than getting caught up in the lives of everyone else!

#8: Ask yourself what you NEED. Do you need to cut back on your work hours? Have more time to yourself? Spend a bit of money on yourself rather than saving it for a few months? Go on a trip? It’s important to recognize what parts of your life are causing anxiety and overwhelm, and what you need to cut back on. I had to remind myself that these things didn’t have to be permanent. If I cut back on my hours temporarily for a few months to support healing my soul up a little bit, I can always get back on track down the line. Give yourself what you need, not to solve the problems or take the pain away, but to keep yourself grounded and focused on maintaining peace and perspective.

#9: Use this time to reevaluate what is important in your life. Depending on what type of grief/loss you are experiencing this might look differently for you. I have found this to be a great time to really look curiously at my life. Am I spending my time doing what I want to do, with the people I want to do it with? Am I working towards the things I want in my life? Am I living in line with my morals and values? Am I doing things that light me up and bring me joy regularly?

#10: Understand the role that you have played in your situation. If it’s a loss of some sort of relationship that you are experience, take responsibility for why it didn’t work, but don’t beat yourself up. It wasn’t just you! And it’s not because you are a bad person that it didn’t work out. This is a great time to evaluate how you would do things differently in the future, and at the same time recognize what you deserve and how you want to be treated.

#11: Try a gratitude journal. The purpose of this is not to erase your pain, but each day give yourself a moment to realize that not everything in life is awful. I use the 5 minute journal- which is a structured gratitude journal you can buy, but you could also just do your own thing. Write down 5 things throughout the day that you are grateful for. Sometimes that might just look like “The tea I had at starbucks”, or “the friend who texted to check in on me”.   Doing this every day will help you to gain perspective and not fall all the way down into that dark spiral of negative thoughts.

#12: Exercise, especially walking and other rhythmical movements. I think I’ve walked over 15 000 steps every day over the past 6 weeks. There is something about the movement of walking that is so physically and mentally clearing. It’s when we process our thoughts, enjoy nature, and gain a clearer perspective. I have been so fortunate to have adopted a dog in September. 3 times a day the pup needs to go out and off I go. Even on days where I’ve got my hat pulled down to cover up my teary eyes, we head out on a walk. Some days I even cried for the whole hour we were walking! And that was ok. I’ve also found dancing, jogging, a heavy intense weight lifting sessions to help.

#13: Focus on someone or something outside of yourself. Having to care and love a dog has been tremendously helpful for me. It made it so this process wasn’t all about me! There was another being that needed my love and attention and support. Also, by really listening to other people and trying to be there for them, it has helped to ease my pain a bit. If you don’t have a dog, or your friends aren’t going through much right now you could try volunteering somewhere, or offering your services. Volunteering at a soup kitchen, handing out sandwhiches on the downtown eastside, walking dogs at the humane society, collecting blankets to give to the homeless, or finding your favourite charities to donate money to. Also- every night I say a little ‘prayer’ before bed to all the people in my life that I want to send love, kindness, and support to. This doesn’t have to be a religious thing, just sending your positive thoughts their way. This can help to get out of your own pain temporarily.

With so much talk about positive psychology nowadays, and the idea that we need to ‘look on the bright side’ I encourage you to almost do the opposite! Don’t force yourself to stare into the sun if there are tons of clouds in the way! Be cloudy, be messy, just make sure you don’t lose hope of that little ray of sunshine peering in.

Mental health is a serious issue in our society. Every day we hear about the high rates of suicide, addiction issues, and the use of drugs and substances to try to take our pain away. As Brene Brown says “If you numb the bad emotions, you numb the good ones too”.

I hope something I wrote here for you is helpful. I’d also be more than happy if you shared what has worked for you!

Thanks for reading,

  •  Katherine

PS-  If you feel overwhelmed reading this blog and thinking about everything you should be doing to make yourself better, take a step back.  You might not be ready, just let yourself be sad for a bit first 🙂  This process might take weeks, months, or years.





What to do when someone calls you fat

Earlier in the week I overhead a comment that sounded like someone was speaking about how I have gained weight.  I cannot 100 % guarantee this was the comment, but whether or not it actually happened is beyond the point.  People make rude comments to each other about age, weight, height, life choices etc. all the time.  Also, this might be an easy comment to shrug off for many of you.  For a highly sensitive person, whose struggled with having positive body image my whole life- this was a doozy!

When this comment happened I really wish I would of had the guts to stop in my tracks and address the issue head on, but unfortunately this is a skill I am still lacking (and need some practice in).  Instead I chose to pretend for the time being that I must of misheard, and went on with my day.

But I noticed the comment sticking with me throughout the rest of the day as I worked with my clients.  Did I gain weight?  I am not sure!  I haven’t weighed myself since 2013 (you can read more about that story HERE).  I slowly started to get slightly self conscious…maybe my clothes had gotten a bit tighter?  When suddenly I had an amazing realization (thanks to 5 + years now of self awareness and personal development work!).

What did I realize?

When someone comments on you this comment is coming from their reality, their head space, based on their day, and their mood, their feelings about themselves and their own bodies.  I found this amazing meme on a Facebook page I follow regularly called GO Kaleo:

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 9.18.41 PM.png

Hate/Judge it’s all the same..

Although intellectually I was able to process this understanding, I still at the same time was feeling a bit insecure.  I decided I needed to carry out an action plan so that this one little comment didn’t ruin my day, and my week.

Here are some of the things I did to work past my insecurities:

#1:  Many of my friends know about my journey of learning how to EMBRACE my body and learn to love it, even if I am not 125 pounds and 15 % body fat (You can read more about that journey HERE).  So the first thing I did was text a few friends about what happened and how I was feeling.  I made sure to finish up the text by saying ‘I am texting you this so you can remind me to continue to EMBRACE my body, have a positive body image, and not fall back into disordered thoughts and eating”.  My friends were very encouraging and supportive, as always, which helped.

#2:  Next I actually went to Instagram and Facebook.  In my journey to teach myself body positivity I found a lot of good resources online from people all over the world who were all shapes and sizes and whose main message was to take care of ourselves, without restriction, guilt, and shame.  I came across an Instagram account that I thought was profoundly honest, hilarious, and totally up my alley.  Her name is Kate, and she is in recovery from some very debilitating mental illnesses, one of which she is currently battling being eating disorder recovery and having positive body image.  The first video I saw was her dancing crazy around in her living room in her underwear to help herself and others overcome negative thoughts and the need/desire to appear perfect.  You can check out her Instagram.  After reviewing her account, and a few others I follow on Facebook I was once again in a great state of mind, realizing that there are so many other women like me everywhere who are tired of trying to look a certain way, and don’t want to be judged for it either!

#3:  Ok, now here’s the funny part.  After watching Kate’s account I decided that I also wanted to “Dance it out” on video.  I flipped on a song, and pressed record and OMG the craziest dance moves came out, and sure put a smile on my face.  It’s impossible to be depressed or anxious when you are dancing around like a fool in your living room.  The best way to get out of a funk is to get up, throw on a song and dance!  And guess what?  I am going to share my dance with you 🙂  You know why?  Because I want you to smile.  I want it to bring some happiness to your day.  Sure I look like a fool!  My hair is hanging half out of it’s pony tail, I’ve got the most ridiculous facial expressions, and my dance moves are wild.  And sure I fear that you will judge me and think I am nuts.  BUT in the end I want to spread more joy, and love, and goofiness, and silliness in this world- rather than judging others.  And I think this video will help.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.05.24 PM

Watch the Video Here

After I made the video I sent it to a friend and dedicated it to all the people in the world who are judged daily.  We can find ways to not let these judgments bring us down- but instead lift us up!  Which brings me to my next point.

#4:  After having this experience I decided that the only plausible thing to do was to spread a tremendous amount of kindness into the world, to counteract for all the judgement and hate.  I made an extra effort to smile at others, express thanks and gratitude, say hi to people I don’t normally, and treat others with the respect they deserve.

In 1970, the average age a girl began dieting was 14, according to The Eating Disorder Foundation. By 1990, that age had dropped to eight.  Each new study on children, dieting, and body image reveals only more appalling details. In 1991, 42% of first-through-third-grade girls reported wanting to be thinner. That same year, a study found that 51% of of nine- and 10-year-old girls felt better about themselves while dieting.  SOURCE

The world needs more women of all shapes and sizes looking, feeling, acting confident.  Not putting their bodies down!  

In the end I had a FREAKING great week.  Whether or not I have gained weight or not, I now know that I can manage these comments and don’t let them tear me down.  I didn’t force myself to overexercise the rest of the week.  I noticed when I wanted a bit of extra food because I was hungry, and noticed how that negative self talking voice in my head tried to stop me (but it didn’t).  I wanted to share for reference how I might have reacted to this comment 5 or 10 years ago:

  • When I was in University if someone called me fat I would have:
    • Put into immediate action a plan to get on a better diet.
    • Forced myself into more exercise that day then I wanted to.
    • Felt low, crappy about myself and my abilities.
    • Felt like a failure that I can’t live up to societies standards for weight.
    • Felt anxious, started to avoid eye contact.
    • Limit my social time to spend more time trying to lose weight.


  • 5 Years ago, someone did call me fat.  This was during a period of time that I had gone from basically not eating food, to eating food again, and I had indeed gained weight.  My reaction at the time, was a little healthier. I:
    • Called a friend and cried.
    • Doubted myself, my ability to eat food and exercise in moderation, and would have continued contemplating some kind of diet/exercise program I should be on to satisfy others needs for how I should look.
    • At this point I was working with a nutritionist who supported me in not heading down that downward spiral.

It is so refreshing for me to see that although it took 5-10 years I was able to transform many of the thoughts I have had about my body, and my relationship with food from my whole life.  

I wanted to write this to all women, because I know that we all suffer to some degree from this obsession to look or be a certain way.  Please reach out to someone you trust and get some support if you are in a guilt, shame, depressed, anxious, self hating spiral.  Remember- all the little negative comments you say about your body add up.  Stop saying the little ones:)  And finally- it’s ok to be upset and sad about something someone else said.  In the end, don’t let it break your spirit.  Set up an action plan (like mine) for when you are down and need some uplifting!

If you know someone who this might help today, please pass it along 🙂

Love to all you body positive warriors out there!


2015 Year in Review

Happy New Year!

Sorry I have been neglecting you all a bit lately, I just enjoyed a very spoiled 10 days in Ontario with friends and family.  We tend to hop around city to city enjoying dinners and hikes and workouts and movies with friends and family and I tend not to make the time to blog here for you!

Anyways, as usual ever year I blog on here about my year in review and my goals for 2016.  Some of it is health related, some of it’s professional, and some of it’s personal.  I always hear of many friends and family who use the template and do their own year in review and goal setting and really enjoy doing it.  Feel free to share in the comments below about your year in review, or e-mail it to me personally if you feel like sharing.  I find it so important to reflect on our year, the good and the challenges in order to develop a sense of pride, accomplishment, and growth.  I truly believe we are here on Earth to figure out what lights us up, makes us happy, and what we are passionate about.  By reflecting on our year, and setting goals for the next we can enjoy our path to creating our own personal best life.

Here is the template of the questions you can ask yourself for a 2015 year in review:

1.  What was your biggest triumph in 2015?
2.  What was the smartest decision you made in 2015?
3.  What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2015?
4.  What was the most loving service you performed in 2015?
5.  What is your biggest piece of unfinished business from 2015?
6.  What are you most happy about completing in 2015?
7.  Who are the 3 people who had the greatest impact on your life in 2015?
8.  What was the biggest risk you took in 2015?
9.  What was the biggest surprise in 2015?
10.  What important relationship improved the most in 2015?
11.  What compliment would you have liked to receive in 2015?
12.  What compliment would you have liked to give in 2015?
13.  What else do you need to be complete in 2015?

In terms of planning for 2016 here is the guideline I follow for goal setting:

Personal Goals
–  Health
–  Fitness
–  Emotional Intelligence
–  Spirituality

Professional Goals
–  Imapct
–  Financial
–  Pojects
–  Continuing Education

Relationship Goals

Travel Goals

Acts of Service Goals.

Here are my answers if you are interested:

1.  What was your biggest triumph in 2015?

I would have to say hands down my biggest triumph in 2015 was the amount I travelled!  For some people kids, houses, careers, religion etc. are their main focus- and mine seems to be travel.  The one thing that gets me excited to save money, stay focussed on my career, and keeps me excited about the year is travel.  This year I spent a week in Cuba with a dear friend Jill teaching fitness classes 3 times a day!  I spent a week in Ontario planning a surprise birthday party for my Oma.  I visited Bowen Island for my Anniversary.  I spent 4 days in Vegas with my mom for her birthday.  I drove to Calgary and Banff to visit friends.  I went to Milwaukee for a wedding and visited Chicago for a few days.  I spent a long weekend surfing and relaxing in Tofino with friends.  I biked/hiked/and camped around Vancouver Island by myself for a long weekend.  I went camping with friends many times in the summer.  I took a 10 day road trip to my Brother in Laws wedding in Minnesota.  On the way we had a crazy stay in Yellowstone National Park, and many other interesting points along the way.  I attended two weddings in the same week in Mexico!  And to top it off I finished the year with family and friends on a trip to Ontario.  I love listing this off because this is how I want to live my life!  Full of adventure and travel, with a job that supports my lifestyle.  
2.  What was the smartest decision you made in 2015?

Seeing a counsellor.  You’d think this is a bold thing to write on my professional blog, but let me make one thing clear.  I wasn’t depressed, anxious, suffering from mental illness, sad, or confused.  I simply noticed that some of the thought patterns I had were getting in the way of me having an awesome year and life!  I noticed I told myself a story around everything that wasn’t necessarily even true, and as a result I was causing more grief in my life then I needed! With my counsellor we don’t talk about anything miraculous, huge, or crazy.  I don’t have any life long issues to uncover.  I simply wanted a neutral source to talk to regularly to keep me feeling awesome all the time!  There is so much stigma around counselling, and I really think there shouldn’t be.  I think the craziest people are the ones who don’t regularly schedule time to talk about what is going on in their monkey mind up there.  My speaking with her regularly I don’t dwell on the stupid stuff that can tend to knock people out, keep them in bad moods, or keep them from feeling happy.  My friends and family don’t always know how or what to say to me, and so it’s really nice to have this kind of support.  With that said, I truly think counselling has supported me in the past year and was one of the smartest decisions I made in 2015.   

3.  What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2015?

The greatest lesson I learned in 2015 is to make things light and easy.  There are going to be mean people, people who screw you over, people who are selfish or rude or have no respect for your space.  There are going to be financial obstacles, relationship challenges, and other troubles.  But in the end there is no point stressing and worrying about anything!  Stress and worry is not going to bring you any closer to a solution.  Accepting the situation and formulating some kind of gentle plan to bring yourself back to balance is always the better solution.  With the right tools and resources I simply needed to trust I was on the right path and everything will work out. 
4.  What was the most loving service you performed in 2015?

One of the loving services from the later half of 2015 was volunteering at a soup kitchen every Monday.  Volunteering there has kept me humble, introduced me to a whole new group of people, and taught me about Ego.  By going there each week and helping out in the kitchen I am giving back to my community, and opening my eyes to the greater struggles people face here in my own city.  I have the time, energy and resources to devote to this cause, and I am very grateful to be in that position.  
5.  What is your biggest piece of unfinished business from 2015?

My biggest piece of unfinished business from 2015 is finishing up reading the notes I made from my fitness conference in November!  As well as I have been working on a few blog series on being vegan, getting ready to run, the science of stretching, and minimalist footwear.  I plan on making more time and energy to research and blog about those topics in the new year. 
6.  What are you most happy about completing in 2015?

I am most happy with certifying as a Kinesiologist and finishing a Posture Specialist course in 2015.  These two credentials are setting me up for further learning and growth in my profession in 2016.  
7.  Who are the 3 people who had the greatest impact on your life in 2015?

1.  Chelsea Clinton.  Chelsea wrote a children’s novel about issues within our world and what to do about them.  This book really got to me!  Obviously I am aware of many of the issues in our world, and I have always been passionate about solving them!  In high school I co-started a Global Awareness Committee, so it’s not like this passion is new to me.  Yet reading this book reinvigorated my need and drive to spread awareness about what is going in our world, small changes to make to solve these issues, and how to inspire others to do more in our world!  Thanks Chelsea for writing this book!

2.  Rich Roll.  Rich is an ultra endurance vegan athlete that I have been following for years.  When I look back on 2015 I see that his podcasts, books, and social media have had a huge impact on me and the choices I have made in my life this year.

3.  Kyle Kozak!  Aka. my partner in crime, best friend, soul mate, and life time lover!  Haha.  They say that a relationship exposes the most vulnerabilities, insecurities, habits, etc. within yourself, and so I am required to put Kyle in the answer to question #7!  To say he hasn’t had a big impact on me this year would be a lie.  This year through Kyle, and our relationship I have learned a great amount about trust, commitment, loyalty, honesty, hard work, dedication, support, marriage, being vulnerable and authentic, unconditional love, and the importance of family.
8.  What was the biggest risk you took in 2015?

Teaching yoga and aquafit in Cuba when I had never taught either of those in my life before?  Coming back from a 10 day trip and booking two more trips within 2 days when my Visa card was trying to stop me!  Opening myself up to more conversations with people I know and strangers.  
9.  What was the biggest surprise in 2015?

A fantastic birthday present from my mom that made my life that much easier!  A few trainers at the gym leaving and recommending their clients to me.  Not being afraid to hop on a ferry and camp/hike/bike in the woods for 4 days on my own. 
10.  What important relationship improved the most in 2015?

Even though I don’t see or talk to my brother very often I feel that our relationship has improved.  As we both grow a bit older we are able to connect easier and have some better conversations then in the past!  I look forward to spending more time with him next year!
11.  What compliment would you have liked to receive in 2015?

People often comment that I am hard working, dedicated, can do anything I set my mind to, focussed, committed and proactive.  I don’t often hear “kind, caring, compassionate, loving, generous”.  It doesn’t mean I am not those things, it just means i need to show those to others more often!  Hence, the goals i have set for myself for 2016 🙂
12.  What compliment would you have liked to give in 2015?

I’ve been working on complimenting more.  It doesn’t seem to come naturally to me.  I think good things about others in my head, but very rarely does it come out.  Last year I wished I would have been more verbal about the great work my clients have put in, and how much my friends mean to me. 
13.  What else do you need to be complete in 2015?

Well, it’s over!  There’s not much I can do about that now.  To be honest though, I feel 2015 was very complete, and one of my best years yet.  I look forward to evolving and growing on this journey further in 2016.  

In terms of planning for 2016 here is the guideline I follow for goal setting:

  •  I am not going to write them all for you to see here 🙂  But here is a preview!

Personal Goals
–  Health (Make my own beauty products, cook at least twice in the week).
–  Fitness ((do a triathlon, tough mudder, and Gran Fondo)
–  Emotional Intelligence (continuing to work on arguing with that darn critic in my mind, being light in social situations).
–  Spirituality (Continue to explore the new avenue and community we have found in Vancouver).

Professional Goals
–  Impact(stay true to my belief systems, and continue to promote lifestyle, nutrition, and sustainable fitness changes).
–  Financial- Keep up the good work from 2015!
–  Projects (teaching at Rhodes wellness college, starting a mobility class, sharing more on social media).
–  Continuing Education (taking the yoga tune up course, Kettlebell course)

Relationship Goals

  •  Continue to explore fun, adventure, passion, intimacy, vulnerability, planning, saving, commitment, and making it easy.

Travel Goals

  •  Pemberton hot springs, weekend showshoe at Elfin lakes, hiking the West Coast Trail, wedding in Ontario, Broken Island kayak trip, road trip down the Oregan Coast, Disneyland with Jill, Girls trip somewhere exciting, and New Zealand next Fall.

Acts of Service Goals

  •  Continue to volunteer at the soup kitchen, with the rock climbing program, think ahead for birthday’s and special occasions, organize a blanket drive, foster animals, look into less food waste from restaurants and grocery stores.

So that’s all folks!  I’d love to hear what you have reflected on and planned.

Also- what are you interested in learning about in my blog for 2016??



Food Insecurity- What does Optimal Health mean on a global scale? Thoughts around poverty.

So I am aware that my blog is titled Optimal Health Coaching, and you have come here to find resources about fitness, nutrition, motivation, and inspiration.  I wanted to take a step back for a second and think globally about “Optimal Health”.  As a subscriber to my blog, you are most likely a North American interested in losing weight, getting fit, or preventing disease, as this is my ‘target market’.  I’d like to take a moment and think about those people in our world who don’t have the time, money or capacity to be thinking about losing a few pounds, building muscle, or running a faster 10 k race.
I am not asking you to feel guilty or trivial about your fitness and health goals, but instead am looking for you to think globally about Optimal Health for a second.
For many of us (my regular readers) Optimal Health means eating the best organic food for our body, doing the right exercises, meditating, and visiting our Naturopath.  In most of the world I think Optimal Health would look more like eating food 3 meals a day, having a safe sheltered bed to sleep in, and not being afraid of catching an infectious disease.
In an effort to think globally about Optimal Health, I thought today I would write about food and nutrition, specifically the topic of food insecurity.

Food Insecurity is defined as ” consistent access to adequate food, limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.  Food insecurity means people going hungry.  Food insecurity means people running out of wages, and government funding by the end of the month to feed their family.  Food insecurity means kids and adults having to go to school hungry, yet still having to focus, achieve, and be productive at school and work.

It is hard to define poverty, and in fact there is no one single definition used worldwide to classify people as poor.  Currently I am reading a ‘kids’ book written by Chelsea Clinton about challenges that the USA and the world faces.  It’s called “It’s your world.  Get informed, gent inspired & get going”.  In her book one of the first topics she tackles is poverty and food insecurity.  Her writing is detailed, simple, full of facts and resources and lists of “what can you do next”.  It has really got me thinking about how grateful I am for my own circumstances, and given my circumstances what else could I be doing to support those less fortunate.
Let me tell you a story from my day.  This morning I had to fast for a blood test.  This meant not eating for 4 hours after I woke up.  By the time I went to get the blood drawn I was freezing cold, tired, grumpy, and had a horrible stomach ache.  I was embarrassed that with just four hours of not eating after waking my body was reacting so much.    I couldn’t imagine being a child or adult who had to endure mornings, day’s, or weeks like that regularly.  I also remember the days when I chose to restrict my calories to an extreme level and how foggy and tired I felt.  I had no focus, and it’s almost as if I have no clear memories from that time of my life.  This must be how kids and adults all over the world are feeling when they can’t get proper nutrition access.  I see the valuable role that healthy, nutritious food plays into my life and supports me to have energy, drive, and a good state of mind to pursue my dreams, goals and passions.  I want that for all children and adults!  In Chelsea’s book she makes a great comment to the point of, what if JUST ONE of those children in a developing country without enough food was supported by a healthy diet, home, and education.  Could they be the one to find a cure for cancer, solve our climate change issues, or play a role in finding a solution for global poverty?
In Chelsea’s book she states that in 2011, 1 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day, and another billion are living on less than $2 a day.  Approximately 30 % of our population are surviving on a daily budget less that I spend to ride the bus downtown in the morning.  I spend more money bussing to work and grabbing a coffee on the way than 30 % of our global population do to survive the entire day.  Yes, it’s important to factor in that in different countries different products and services are much cheaper, but $1.25 a day is not enough to have all necessities of life on a regular basis in any country.  How are these people who don’t have enough nutrients, energy, or cash flow going to get an education, take care of themselves and their families, and stay healthy?
It’s one thing to be aware and support eliminating extreme poverty globally, and at the same time staying educated and supporting change around poverty locally (in North America).
In the USA there are 45.3 million people living in poverty (this is considered $32.5 a day for a family of 4).  45.3 million people living in poverty in the USA is approximately 10 million more people than the Canadian population!   In my research it appears as though Canada has a poverty rate somewhere around 9 % of our population, this equates to approximately 32 000 people.  One of the major issues with countries is in fact defining poverty.  In Canada the definition of poverty used is simply the % of the population that are the “poorest of the poor”.  So although 32 000 people are considered ‘substantial worse off than the average’, does that mean the average is not living in poverty?
The average minimum wage in the US is $7 an hour, and in Canada is $10-11 an hour.  If you worked 40 hours a week X10.25 an hour= $410 a week X4 weeks= $1645 a month = $19 200 a year.  Considering rent where I live in Vancouver for a one bedroom apartment is on average $1345 a month (similar to Toronto), it would be physically impossible to live solo as a single person in a larger city and make minimum wage.  Rent would cost $16 140 a year alone!!!  I can’t imagine it would be any easier to support a family with two parents making minimum wage.  It has been suggested that a family of 4 in Vancouver would require an individual hourly income greater than $20 an hour to support a family of 4 with two parents.  This equates to approximately $38 400 each parent a year.  In one of my first jobs in Vancouver I made about $18 an hour, and let me tell you I struggled to pay loans, pay rent, buy food and necessities, and have any kind of a social life or savings vehicles.  I have no idea how with a partner at that time I would have ever been able to support a family.  Sure there would have been sacrifices to make, but considering I was budgeting each dollar I made every month into an envelope to be spent appropriately, I remember there weren’t that many corners to cut.  There is poverty globally, including North America. (Please note, that poverty numbers in North America are decreasing, so positive things are being done, but it is obviously still an issue that affects millions of people).
In 2012, 49 million Americans lived with food insecurity that year.  4 out of every 10 of those people have an education level beyond post secondary, and millions of those numbers are people who in fact work full and part time, yet can’t make ends meet by the end of the month.  It’s scary that so many educated working people are still relying on charitable and government support to support themselves.  Is the solution education?  Is the solution raising minimum wage?  Is the solution actually teaching about budgeting, finances etc. in a school program?  Are the short term solutions food banks, food donations, soup kitchens, or food stamps?  There are 100’s of solutions and 100’s of books written on this topic and it is a topic I am looking to explore.
Sometimes I imagine, what if every person that makes over the poverty level used their money to support our country, economy, or globe.  I don’t mean cut corners and sacrifice fun and entertainment, but let’s say $50 000 a year as an income for a solo person provides you with a shelter, food, medical needs, vacations, clothes and shoes, savings, etc. in North America.  I can attest to the fact that $50 000 is plenty of income to have MORE than all of your needs met.   What if all money beyond that point was donated or put to a good cause?  It’s a crazy thought, right?  What would happen?  Are financial donations to programs focussing on eradicating poverty the answer?  Or would your education, expertise, and time be better spent supporting the issue?
There is in fact a philosopher from the States that I have come to listen to named William Mcaskill who supports, and organizes people to pledge to give a certain amount of their income annually to the most effective charities (I believe he donates anything he makes more than $35 000).  You can read more about his charity, concepts, and idease here:  https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/
It’s a hard topic to wrestle with.  We work hard, earn our money and want to use it to enjoy the lifestyle we have created for ourselves.  I am looking to explore this topic more with a more global forward thinking mindset.
So What do we do about this beyond just thinking & talking about it?
If you know me well, or read my blog often, you know that I am super proactive. Naturally I need to end this chapter with “What can we do”.  A few things I am looking at are:
–  Starting to volunteer on a weekly basis at our local soup kitchen.  I may not have a lot of money to donate to charity, but with my work schedule I have plenty of hours in a day to be volunteering my time and effort.
–  Staying more educated about topics such as food insecurity, how they affect our country and our globe, and what kind of change is needed.
–  Having my voice heared by local politicians around issues I feel strongly about.  Read about historical trends of these issues, and what kind of philosophies are there out there to change some of them.
–  Looking into whether Vancouver (and Canada in general) has a program where restaurants and grocery stores can donate leftover/going bad food to shelters and the homeless.
–  Thinking more about what I purchase.  Do I really need a new sweater or can that old one be sewn up?
–  Refrain from judging people who are not as lucky and as fortunate to have my set of circumstances, and instead stay curious about their story, and what kind of support they need.
–  Look at organizing a regular event to feed our homeless community in Vancouver.
–  Remind myself that one person can create change on Earth.  If I reach one person with my message and thoughts, with enough drive and passion who knows what they might create.
–  Provide this book “it’s your world” by Chelsea Clinton to more young people, to empower them to get educated and passionate about making our world a better place.

My empathy education (this one’s for the personal development junkies).

Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s position  (according to Wikipedia).

empathy 2

As a health coach, empathy is crucial!  Today I want to share with you about my lack of empathy throughout my life, how I am building it, and how I plan on supporting others with it.

I’ve been thinking about empathy A LOT lately after receiving feedback from friends and family close to me around my attitude and behaviour.  My whole life I have been 100 % problem solving, driven, and focussed.  When an issue arises no matter what it is, I accept the issue and immediately jump into what can I do to fix this, what steps am I going to take, what kind of support do I need?  In many ways this way of being has supported me in creating success, health, and happiness in my life.  In other ways I also see how it has held me back.  From example, when you experience a set back, there is obviously some emotion  you feel around the issue.  For me, I have always jumped from set back to problem solve, and tend to skip over the ‘feel uncomfortable around the emotion’ part  As a result I notice myself uncomfortable in expressing certain emotions.  For example when I got my kidney disease at 18, rather than feeling sad, angry or depressed I jumped to “at least it’s not cancer, it’s probably fixable, I’m not going to let this bug me”.  Or when I’ve gone sky diving, bungee jumping, swarm with sharks, and rock climbed mountains, rather than allowing myself to be scared shitless (like I truly felt inside) I told myself to bottle it up, be ok, push through and just do it.  Feel the fear and do it anyways, has been a big motto for me in my life.  It’s brought me adventure and success, but this type of ‘motto’ hasn’t necessarily made it very easy for me to connect and support others.  Connecting with another person, whether it’s a friend, family, coworker, or spouse requires feeling emotion and managing and sharing it properly.  If I was always skipping the ‘feeling’ part- how was this affecting my relationships?

I started noticing friends not confiding in me when they had issues and people not coming to me to support them with their struggles and challenges.  Then I started receiving feedback like “it’s as if you don’t care”, or “I don’t want a solution just yet, I just want to feel sad for a bit”.  I started realizing that perhaps my ‘problem solving’ attitude wasn’t quite supporting everyone in my life.  I especially noticed it with my clients.  Clients who couldn’t stick to the ‘diet plans’ I used to provide them, or clients who couldn’t manage to get their workouts in, I didn’t get it!  I noticed myself wanting to do the coaching role less and less because I just couldn’t quite understand why someone would say they wanted to do one thing, but wouldn’t do it!

It’s never been a “I don’t care about you” or “you can’t do it” kind of attitude that I am presenting.  Frig, I get emotional just watching commercials, older couples walking hand in hand in the park, cute dogs running down the street, or people happy and hugging.  The emotions are there, I just didn’t know how to turn them into a skill to support others.  I truly care about people, truly want to see them succeed, and definitely don’t want to see them suffer.

All of these topics are topics I have now been thinking about for a few years.  A lot of my thoughts and research around supporting others has come down to learning about empathy.  Empathy is the ability to recognize a situation another person is in, feel it, understand it, and support them from the place they are at.  So for example, if a client is really struggling to get to the gym 4 times a week, it’s about understanding what’s behind the scenes there for them, supporting them from a place of ‘it’s ok’, and ‘you are doing your best’.  All of this is different from my typical “why can’t you just make it happen’!?

empathy 3

As I learn about empathy more and more I learn that it is a innate skill in all people, yet sometimes those with autism or personality disorders are unable to feel and express this emotion/skill.  I know I am not labelled as having any kind of personality disorder, I think that just along the way in life I taught myself a skill that works tremendously well in most areas of my life, but not in relationships.  I have committed to practicing empathy because it is VERY important for me to have more solid, happy, relationships of all types in my life.

How I am practicing my empathy skill:

  1.  When people come to me with issues I keep my mouth shut!  Rather than making suggestions or trying to get my two cents in, I stay quiet.  I listen, I really try to make them feel heard and seen.  I try to get a good idea of what is going on for them.  I create space for them to say what they need to stay, and be emotional if they need to be emotional.  I try and relate to them with experiences happening in my own life once in awhile.  I say things like “I hear you on that one”, “Oh i totally get where you are coming from”, and “that must be so hard”.  It sounds funny to type this out, because for most of you this must feel natural, for me it’s a skill, and I am building it.  I notice as I interact with people like this they share more, we feel more connected, they are more open, and they are more likely to feel and benefit from my support for them.
  2. I try and really get a feel for what the issue is for them, and I try to relate it to something in my life.  As I allow myself to feel the common challenges and struggles in my life, I get to know a bit more about truly how I feel when something shitty happens.  As I allow this to happen more and more then I can relate to friends, family and clients as they share a similar story.  In the past when I didn’t allow myself to ‘go there’ with negative emotions I had no idea what it felt like to be broken up with, get fired from a job, screw up majorly on my financial budget, or feel really scared about something.  I simply sucked it up, realized I messed up and moved on.  Now, when my friends and family are experiencing a challenge in their life I have an emotional memory bank to relate to them from.
  3. I have started to realize that it’s not the ‘norm’ to suck things up, power through, numb out and do what you have to do.  I used to never understand why people who wanted to run a marathon couldn’t just suck it up and do the training, or people who wanted to do fundraising like me couldn’t just get the plan on paper and make it happen.  That’s because it’s hard!  Big tasks in life are challenging.  Many people experience challenges, and sometimes it sets them back, sometimes they over come them to completion.  For me, I just ignored challenges and powered through.  There is less benefit in this because I think it’s slightly selfish.  In the end I accomplish my dreams and goals, but by not going through the process I am unable to articulate and support others in doing the same.  Who cares if I make my dreams happen if I’m leaving others in the dust behind me.  Now, when people come to me with things they want to accomplish I become truly invested in figuring out what kind of support they need!  Rather than judging them for why the heck they can’t just make it happen, I try and make it my secret mission to get them there through empathy!
  4. By always being a negative emotion number, I think people started seeing me a someone who had it together and didn’t need support.  I started feeling shy around being sad, angry, depressed, confused, stuck, or lost in my life because I was so used to having my mask on of “I’ll make it happen”.  As a result, when I needed support from others I didn’t know how to articulate it, or where to get it!  As I slowly start to build trust in people that I can have all ranges of emotions and people won’t run away it feels nice to be a well rounded person!  Also, I know that by sharing all parts of me, people will be more likely to do the same, which creates meaningful connections.


Even though I am building this skill, sometimes people’s complaining, playing victim, or wallowing in their own self pitty still really irks me.  People who really want something in their life but have every single excuse in the book not to do it.  People who are happier seeking other’s pitty rather than looking for solutions.  People who are unable to express the fact that something is uncomfortable for them and they need support or guidance.  I still can get really irked when I see friends or family still playing the victim.  I commit to staying in empathy for them.  No jumping to solutions, or shoving suggestions down their throat.  I will empathize and support.  But what do you think- don’t people just need a good blast of “Let’s do what you gotta do to make this happen in your life” every once in awhile.  How do I draw the line?

How will this help me as a health coach?

  •  I continue to develop my ability to guide and coach clients into better health, rather than tell them what and how to do things.  I know in the end this will create the best health and happiness results in my clients life.  It is all so new to me, and something I am still developing.  I will keep you updated as to how it is going for me!
  • I think the hard part is being a personal trainer and trying to have empathy.  As a trainer we are supposed to push our clients past their limits, and challenge them to create fitness results in their life.  How do i draw the line between empathizing with my clients, while also challenging them!?  Any suggestions from you?  What I am trying lately is using things like “I know this feels really hard for you, and I know you don’t think you can finish the reps, but I know you can and I’ll help you through it” or “I know you can see your limits in this workout, it’s going to get tough, but just breathe, focus and pay attention the which muscles are working”.  I think it’s going well.

I encourage you to look at empathy in your own life, and share with me what you think about this blog.

Do you think empathy in the end is the answer for creating meaningful friendships and relationships?

Do you think empathy is a key tool to being a great fitness coach and personal trainer?

Do you think being a ‘problem solver, driven, jump to solutions’ type of person is best as a personal trainer?

How do you support those people in your life who are victims, and wallowers to get into action?

“Product” Review #1: Meditation

Hey, if you don’t mind, let’s step out of all the talk about healthy eating and exercising, and talk about meditation, stress, and mindset for a second.

Although we are conditioned to believe that going to the gym 3 times a week and eating our veggies are the crucial components of being healthy, there is in fact one component of health that is more important than all= Mental Health!  You can be as strong and fit and eat as well as you want but if you are governed by anger, sadness, lack of worthiness, stress, or anxiety, eventually your emotional well being will take a toll on your physical well being!

What do I mean by mental health?  To be mentally and emotionally healthy means managing our emotions, dealing with our challenges rather than avoiding them, seeking guidance for our destructive thoughts, finding ways to bring joy and happiness to your day, and taking time to be quiet, curious, and reflective.  Mental health means a variety of different things to many people.

How does mental health relate to health and fitness?  Well, if you are chronically overstressed, have negative self belief, or are so busy that you don’t give yourself 5 minutes a day to relax, how on earth are you going to foster a healthy relationship with food?  Your ‘monkey mind’ will eventually get the best of you, convincing you that an extra few cookies every night isn’t a big deal, or that you are too stressed and overworked to make it to the gym.  Where else could you see how an emotion that is not given proper attention could do some damage to the rest of the body?

I am no expert in mental health, nor do I have extensive experience researching and studying in this field.  What I do know is that to grow, learn, transform, change, and create a well rounded whole body healthy life, it requires some time focussing inward.  I have read numerous books, listened to many podcasts, and have countless friends who meditate regularly and enjoy it.  Most recently I started listening to “10 % happier”, an account of a famous news anchor in the States who begins using meditation to support himself from his panic and anxiety.  His name is Dan Harris, and I highly recommend his book if you want a good read from a skeptics perspective.

When we don’t go inward, and continue to live our day to day ignoring the behind the scenes, this can show up as physical symptoms (headaches, body aches, acne, upset stomach etc, I can speak from experience here).

Of course, you could now go google all the benefits of meditation, and read all about how it calms your nervous system, keeps you less agitated and calm in stressful situations, creates more focus and awareness in your life, allows you to sleep better etc. etc.  Here is a good list to start with:  http://liveanddare.com/benefits-of-meditation/

But reading a list like that isn’t going to get you started.  Nor does a doctor telling you to start exercising, or a friend telling you to start eating veggies.  We don’t make a change until we are ready, and until we recognize some benefits within ourselves.

What does get people started in trying something new, and fostering a new habit, is experiencing results.  So I challenge you, learn to meditate.  Start today, try it, give it a good go- 90 days? 120 days?  Stick with it and notice what happens in your life.  Start with 5 minutes a day and work your way up.  There are different styles of meditation (you could read more about them here:  http://liveanddare.com/types-of-meditation/.  Or you could simply set your timer for 5 minutes, sit upright on the floor, and try to follow your breath in and out of your nose for 5 minutes.  You will see, it’s a lot harder than it looks for a variety of reasons, and that’s where the benefits come from.

I have always been on and off with meditation, and consistency is still something I struggle with.  I have been ‘fairly’ consistent for a few months now.  What I am finding is:

  •  More focus and presence when speaking with my clients
  • Better ability to speak what’s on my mind.
  • More comfortable looking in people’s eyes, because my mind isn’t racing about a million things.
  • Sense of peace and calm
  • Feeling more joy over small things
  • Sense of trust and ease in stressful situations
  • ability to be vulnerable with others
  • Ability to support others from an authentic, loving place.
  • Ability to talk about things that would have normally made me anxious.
  • More freedom to put ‘relaxing’ things on my To Do list rather than Work, Work, Work!

Now, if I was totally not self aware, I may not have noticed any of these things.  I could meditate and then go on my day to day without having any clue the meditation had any effect on me.  But I’ve been studying, and watching myself closely.  Also, I have had feedback from others.

So here is what I challenge you to do.  Start with 5 minutes a day, and work your way up to 20 minutes (apparently 2 times a day for 20 minutes is the key, I have not got close to that yet).

Tell me what happens for you as you start meditating.  What do you notice?  Have you had a positive experience?

In case you are looking for some meditation resources, here are some that I use:

  1.  Gaiam TV.  Gaiam TV is like a netflix for spiritual people.  To be honest, I don’t watch any of the shows (as they are all a little out there for me at this point), but I do the yoga and meditation regularly.  You can get a free 30 day trial and try out all the meditation and yoga you like!

To check out GAIAM TV go to my website, under the ‘mobility class’ tab and click on the link “Watch MY YOGA on Gaiam TV TODAY”:  http://www.optimal-health-coaching.com/classes-and-events/mobility-class/

2.  Subscribe to Tara Brach online, or her podacast from Itunes.  I listen to Tara’s meditations and ‘lessons’ regularly.  Guided meditation is a great way to stay focussed, and get a sense of ‘what to do’ when meditating.  http://www.tarabrach.com/

3.  Here is a youtube channel with some free guided meditations that I enjoy:


I look forward to hearing about how you do with your meditation practice!