Today is my 33rd birthday and being right around the new year, it always leads to reflection of the previous year. This past year has been an immense year of learning and growth for me. I did my 200hrs yoga teacher training, worked with a psychologist and am 7 months into a certification which will allow me to help women as a coach to stop binge eating, by doing spiritual development work. This year I finally went deeper than mindset and began the process of peeling back the layers to get closer to my the core of who I am. I wanted to share 33 things I learned in my 33rd year on this planet.
In no particular order:
1) Attachment theory in relationships explains so much. There are 3 attachments styles, secure, anxious and avoidant. This year I learned that I have an avoidant attachment style, while my partner has an anxious attachment style. This lead to me pulling away and wanting to maintain my sense of independence while wishing my partner himself was also more independent. He, on the other hand wanted to spend more time with me and felt I didn’t give him enough time, which led to this tug of war between us. Once I understood this was happening it made so much sense and now we get to do the work of working towards secure attachment styles. I highly recommend the books Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find– and Keep– Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller and Getting The Love You Want by Harville Hendrix.
2) My body is on the healing journey. I didn’t understand this concept initially but the more of my own work I dive into, the more I get it. Our consciousness is already love. We have complete access to our highest selves, we just need to do the work of healing the body by removing the masks, beliefs, protectors and fears that block us. This also involves healing the things are bodies metabolized as trauma.
3) Aggression and anger are different. I’ve suppressed anger for years as I never learned how to express it in a healthy manner. I also had a core belief that it wasn’t safe to release my anger and that my anger could lead to myself or others getting hurt. The thing is, I was used to seeing aggression, which is what happens when you don’t release your anger in a healthy manner and then direct it at others. Anger, like any emotion, just needs to be expressed and we can take responsibility to do this in a healthy manner like screaming in our car or punching a pillow.
4) There are different parts communicating with me at all times and I get to decipher what my truth is. We are getting information directed at us both externally from things like commercials, ads, political parties, friends, family, etc. We also receive internal information that comes from our intellect (thoughts), physical sensations in the body and our intuition. If we’re not in alignment and connected to our truth we won’t be able to decipher what is true for us. Even the thoughts we have may be coming from beliefs we learned in childhood from our parents, teachers and society, but aren’t actually true for us.
5) I really didn’t love my body, but now I’m starting to. When I discovered the body positive movement I started to talk like I loved and accepted my body. It made me feel better some days, but not always. The thing is I was spiritual bypassing, which means I was slapping positive over my low body image like a band-aid on a bullet wound. I wasn’t looking at the deeper underlying reasons as to why I hated my body in the first place and why I was using food as a coping mechanism. I had to accept where I was and the more layers I’ve peeled back, the more compassion and love I feel for myself, my body included.
6) My intuition will always guide me in the right direction. Intuition is powerful and I have experience making decisions from my ego and my intuition. Every time I made a decision from my ego, it was a mistake and in the process, I got to learn more about myself. For example, when I signed up for the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition program I did, it was my ego and scarcity mindset that made that decision. If I’d known how to connect to my intuition at the time I’d made that decision it would have been a visceral no. On the other hand, when I signed up for the current coaching certification I am in it was a full body yes.
7) My mind wants to keep me safe, which often won’t help me grow. Our minds are rooted in fear and scarcity to keep us safe. They are wired for survival but can’t tell the difference between performing a public talk or being chased by a man down a dark alley. Our body’s respond in the same way in both situations by entering fight, flight or freeze mode. The problem is if we don’t check in with that response to see if it’s valid, we won’t ever step outside of our comfort zone and grow.
8) Alignment is so much better than hustle. Hustle is masculine and comes from that place of perfectionism. Something I was deeply entrenched in. I’ve learned the difference of being in that place of doing, doing, doing but feeling like I wasn’t achieving anything, to being in alignment and feeling things flow. The latter is much more desirable for me. I choose ease and I get to choose alignment too.
9) Being is hard, but I reap huge benefits from it. This one goes in line with the previous point around alignment and hustling for our worth. Being busy is a protector of mine that crops up to prevent me from feeling. Now when I notice myself feeling chaotic with all the things I “need” to do, I stop. I take the time to just be because more than anything, that’s what I need to do. When I’m being, I have greater access to my higher self, intuition and truth. I can connect more deeply with my body.
10) Boundaries are created through feeling. Rules are created in the mind. Learning to set boundaries and voice them has been an interesting process for me. Not only do I get to set boundaries with others, but I get to set them with myself. I used to have all sorts of rules for myself that all derived from a place of control. Rules are rigid and come from a lack and fear mindset. They are meant to prevent you from moving towards something you don’t want. Boundaries, on the other hand, are flexible and come from a place of abundance and love. Boundaries are made to move you towards what you want and feel so much better. Of course, it takes honesty when setting boundaries with yourself if you’re used to making rules. It takes courage to set boundaries with others when you’re used to not expressing your needs.
11) Intergenerational trauma is a real thing. I started to learn a bit about this in yoga teacher training and then a bit more in the coaching certification I’m taking. I also learned the truth about the aboriginal history in Canada that they don’t teach you in school. The truth about residential schools, which involved Europeans and the church, and how they took the aboriginal children away from their families and forced them to attend these schools. The primary objectives of these residential schools were to isolate the children from the influences of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, to assimilate them into the “dominant” culture. They were not allowed to speak their own language or practice their heritage. Many were abused sexually, physically and mentally. This horrible trauma they experienced continues to affect them today. People say they should just get over it, but that is not my belief. Aboriginal people are not the only ones to experience trauma but this is a huge example of how intergenerational trauma continues to affect generation after generation. Deep, inner healing is required to stop the cycle.
12) Subconsciously societies beliefs and racism towards aboriginal people made me feel unworthy and unintelligent. In fact, I felt ashamed about this part of myself, as my grandma is Metis and I disowned it. This was a huge realization of where those deep beliefs surrounding my worthiness and intelligence came from. Since then, I’ve become proud to be aboriginal and continue to explore the culture and beautiful spiritual practices, which are so closely linked to the earth. To learn more about residential schools read this.
13) My fear of using my voice led to me not being integral. This was a hard lesson, realizing that my actions were not in alignment with my some of my values and desires because of some faulty core beliefs around using my voice. This is part of the hard work I’ve been doing this year to ensure I am acting out of integrity.
14) There’s a difference between resistance and dissonance. We know that we need to do things that scare us or make us feel uncomfortable to grow. The thing is that not all things that feel this way are a fit. This is where learning to discern the difference between resistance and dissonance is important. Resistance is when we are resisting a lesson because something feels uncomfortable and pushes us. Dissonance is when it’s just not an energetic fit for us as it’s not in alignment. For myself when I’m experiencing resistance my mind is really loud and busy negotiating. With dissonance, I just feel a no in my body and there’s little to no emotionality.
15) Communication is everything. We tend to create stories in our heads about situations and what others are thinking or why they do/say things. The more we communicate openly and honestly though, the less chance we have to let our minds wander and create more suffering for us.
16) I can teach yoga. I have a fear of public speaking, which is pretty common. I remember hating doing presentations in school and my face would turn beet red. When I went into teacher training I didn’t know if I would end up teaching and just wanted to deepen my own knowledge and practice. Part way through though I realized I did want to teach because the practice of yoga has been an integral part in my own healing journey that I want to share with others who are struggling with their relationship to food and their body. I also realized that teaching would be a small step in helping me conquer my fear of public speaking as well. It’s actually been easier than I thought it would be, although at this point I haven’t experienced teaching large classes. That being said, every time we do something we didn’t think we were capable of in the past, it helps us start to change our stories as it gives us proof of what we are actually capable of.
I’ll be sharing part 2 next week so be on the lookout!