I shared part 1 of this post on 33 Things I Learned In My 33rd Year last week. With so much learning and growth, I’m excited to see what my 34th year will bring. I intend to go deeper into what I’m learning. Deeper into my connection with my body and intuition. Deeper with my connection to my inner child and higher self. Deeper into feeling my pain. Surrender will help me let go so I can experience this depth. I’m actually starting this year out attending a retreat to do all of this at the end of the month.
17) It’s okay to have different beliefs than your significant other. This year has been the hardest year for me and my partner, as I’ve really looked at my own beliefs and challenged the ones he has that are different than my own. This has included political, social justice and religious beliefs, which have led to learning how to handle conflict between us. Up until this point, we’d rarely ever argued in the whole 4.5 years we’ve been together. Once we got over the hump, or I should say, I got over the hump of wanting him to have the same beliefs as me, we were able to have deeper conversations and understand why each other believes what we do and also realize our beliefs are closer than we thought when we got right down to it.
18) It’s important to be conscious and intentional in a relationship. I’d mentioned this has been our hardest year together, with me questioning if I should stay or not. At the beginning of the year it had gotten to the point where we felt like roommates. No sex, no cooking together, no passion or intimacy, no dating, we were essentially just existing together. This is not the type of relationship I’d envisioned and now knowing I have an avoidant attachment style (see point #1), it’s so much easier for me to just leave. I realized though, that that wouldn’t solve the problem. Wherever you go there you are. If I wanted a conscious relationship, I also had to put in the work. So we started scheduling regular dates into our weeks and time to spend together. My partner quit his second job and I started to put just as much value and importance on our time together as I did working on my business, education and self. I shifted my perspective to see our relationship as another opportunity for growth and thankfully he’s been very open to doing the work with me.
19) I really do love asana practice. I first took a yoga class back when I was training for marathons. I remember also buying a Shiva Rea DVD and doing that at home. I didn’t connect to yoga though until after I hit my rock bottom with my physical, mental and spiritual health. I started attending Lionsbreath yoga in Edmonton and fell in love with the feeling of complete peace and ease in my body after a class. I started going 5 days a week and noticed the changes my body experienced. Once I completed my holistic nutrition diploma I went back to working out because I felt I didn’t “look the part” as I was still using food to numb. Obviously, I still had a lot of work to do at that point and I went back and forth with practising regularly for a few years, until this year.
After attending the Bloom yoga festival last year, I realized I really did want to take yoga teacher training to deepen my own practice. Near the end of the year, I came across a post from Empowered Yoga and it felt like a sign from the Universe. I signed up and started my 200hr teacher training on January 6th last year. Yes, it started on my birthday. Since then I have gotten back into a regular practice and love it. I love how asana makes my body feel. Asana is only one of 8 of the limbs of yoga, but it makes me feel strong, yet supple and elegant. I love how it makes my mind feel, calm and at ease. I love how it connects me to my spirit. I love how challenging it can be and how I can step up to the edge and do things that scare me mindfully while paying attention to my body. I love playing in inversions and arm balances at my own pace. I also love a really slow and intentional class and I love yin and stillness too.
20) Dancing helps me connect with my sensuality. I have always enjoyed dancing but held myself back for years. I felt stiff and uncomfortable in my body when I went out dancing with friends. I would have to drink a few drinks first to “loosen” up. I remember once in my early 20’s I went dancing with friends and some older guys from high school came over and told me they’d teach me how to dance because apparently I wasn’t good at it and needed their help. This year I started dancing more at home on my own. When a song came on that made my body feel like moving, I’d let her lead. I wasn’t dancing to be sexy. I wasn’t dancing for someone’s attention. I was dancing to free myself. I was dancing to connect with myself. And it felt good. The beliefs ingrained into me about my sexuality, I started to question through dancing. I still have yet to take a pole dancing class, but it’s something I want to do. I’m also interested in salsa dancing and I love hip hop too.
21) Intuition is like a muscle. Connecting to my intuition has honestly been a challenge for me. I’ve been so stuck up in my head for years, which is in high correlation to binge eating. Learning to decipher between the mind and intuition has been, and continues to be, a journey. This is, in part, why I chose the word surrender for the year of 2018. The thing is, if we don’t use our intuition to make choices and build trust, it will be hard to hear her. We need to practice quieting the mind and taking action on the subtle messages our intuition gives us. Our intuition is pre-thought and the problem is our mind jumps in right away to rationalize which often confuses us. The more we practice making choices with our intuition the stronger that connection becomes.
22) Our nervous system can have a powerful response from past experiences and can continue to affect us. Speaking up when I feel it’s going to be confronting or lead to anger, turns my stress response on and I want to freeze. I feel my heart rate increase, my breathing increase and my chest tighten. Having an understanding that this is happening in my body, gives me awareness so I can observe it happening instead of letting it take me down. I’ve noticed that with this awareness it’s improved.
23) My spirit name is Sunrise Thunderbird woman. I mentioned in a point in part 1 about developing a deeper connection with my aboriginal heritage this year as I met a friend, whose husband is aboriginal and runs sweat lodges and full moon circles for women. I’ve shared parts of my story before and the fact that my rock bottom involved becoming suicidal after a week-long binge. I always felt that a higher power had been looking out for me and when I first met my friend’s husband, he told me that I had a “grandmother” following me. He explained that a “grandmother” is like a fairy godmother, also known as a Thunderbird in aboriginal culture. When I attended my first sweat lodge I had an intense experience, which felt like what I’d imagine a panic attack would feel like. I purged something that night and was told that this Thunderbird has been watching over me and was with me when I hit that point of wanting to end my life. It was a really powerful experience and I’m still learning and understanding more of what my spirit name, Sunrise Thunderbird Woman, means.
24) We have an inner critic that is wired with a negativity bias to keep us safe. We care so much about what others think about us because in Neolithic times we would literally die if we weren’t accepted by others. If the tribe disowned us, we would be left alone and not be able to survive on our own. This inner critic gets louder the more you step to the edge and put ourselves out there because we’re getting closer to our heart, but in our mind also closer to the possibility of others not liking us.
25) When I release emotional weight, my body can also release physical weight. When I stopped excessive exercise and restricting what I ate I gained abdominal fat. I focused on all the reasons I had learned with holistic nutrition and functional medicine and tried everything I could to lose the weight. I focused on balancing my blood sugar, lowering cortisol, balancing my sex hormones and fixing my underactive thyroid with sleep, nutrition, supplements, exercise and stress management. None of it worked, so I thought that was just where my body wanted to be and that I’d always have the extra weight around my abdomen. Since I began this coaching certification and going deeper into my own spiritual development work, I’ve released emotional weight and in return, my body has let go of some physical weight without me even trying. I mentioned I stopped exercising and even then my body released more weight, which just shows me how true it is that emotional weight can lead to physical weight.
26) My past struggle with adrenal dysfunction really was all psychological. This goes hand in hand with my last point as well. I struggled with hormones and adrenal function for so long, but the less I focused on being perfect with sleep, food, movement and supplementation, and the more I did the inner work, the better my energy, sleep and health have gotten. I was still trying to control my body by being perfect with my health and really it was another band-aid on a bullet wound. It hasn’t been until I dealt with the shit under it all, that my health got better. Also once I did this deeper healing work, it became second nature to just eat, sleep and move my body well, because I was finally listening to her and not the rules in my head about health.
27) White Privilege is a real thing. This year something inside me awakened to social injustice and in particular, racism. Maybe it’s because Trump is president, maybe it’s because of point #12 or maybe it’s because I’m finally waking up. I’ve noticed white privilege can be a hard thing for white people to accept. I have an aboriginal background but pass as white with the European decent that’s mixed in there and because of that, I benefit from white privilege. I highly recommend learning more about how we as white people contribute to the oppression of people of colour and you can start here.
28) Compassion and understanding for myself, makes it easier to feel compassionate towards other too. The more of my own layers I peel back, the more I understand what has shaped me. The more I understand how and why I’ve developed beliefs, masks, protectors and ways of being that don’t serve me and the more I get to the core of who I really am, the more compassion I can have for myself. This also gives me perspective for others behaviours and allows me to have more compassion for them as well. That being said, this isn’t compassion in a people-pleasing way because I’ve dropped that too. I can have compassion but still not agree or put up with others treating me badly.
29) I have the ability to shift my state immediately without using food to numb. This has been super powerful. No willpower required. I have learned how to really step back and observe the emotionality in my body and not attach to it. I’ve also become aware of checking in to see if it’s manufactured pain from thoughts or true pain. I’ve learned how to, once I’ve felt the pain, bring in love to shift my state. It’s powerful to know that pain doesn’t have to last and won’t when I feel it in my body.
30) My inner child teaches me every time I feel triggered. This has been a powerful lesson for me. So much so, that I wrote an entire post on triggers, which you can read more about here.
31) It’s actually safe to feel hunger. I won’t affect my adrenals or blood sugar that quickly. For so long I didn’t feel hunger. I was afraid to get hungry because I thought it would negatively affect my adrenals. The thing is, when our blood sugar is balanced, it won’t affect our adrenals. Food is abundant and I had a scarcity mindset with it because of the years I’d restricted it. It was all-or-nothing. This year I learned to feel safe in my hunger, which doesn’t mean I walked around starving myself. What it does mean is that I let my appetite build between meals and then instead of diving into food to quench that hunger I chose mindfully based on what my body desires. This has also lead to me releasing some weight and improving my digestion. I shifted my beliefs around hunger so that now I don’t panic when I feel hungry.
32) It’s easy for me to be in my masculine energy, but by leaning back and receiving it helps me step into my feminine energy. I’ve noticed the polarity between feminine and masculine energy creates attraction in my relationship with my partner. I intend to explore this more this year with my word for 2018 being surrender.
33) A jade egg practice can really help me connect with my sexuality and improve my sex life. I’ve had many beliefs I’m working on tearing down around my sexuality and what it means to be a sexually empowered woman. I disconnected from that part of myself, which lead to me feeling numb. I took Layla Martin’s Jade egg course earlier this year and discovered that I am a much more sexual being than I let myself believe. The jade egg helped me awaken my desire, libido and connection with my vagina.
This was really fun to write as I looked back at the past year. It can be easy to feel like we’re not progressing as fast as we want to or getting where we want to be. That being said, looking back can help us see how much we have grown. That being said, not every year will be full of growth. It will vary and one thing I know for sure now is progress is not my business and everything is happening in perfect timing for me.