We are so happy to have our very first guest post from someone important to our community. Sabrina has just finally received her certification in becoming a yoga instructor and we’re so humbled and proud of her accomplishments. In celebration, we wanted to share one of her amazing stories from her time in her teacher training with you, straight from the horses mouth.
So humbled. So blessed. We are so lucky to know this amazing human being. To travel this world of yoga this with amazing human being. To share her with all of you amazing human beings.
After being in business together for nearly two and a half years, I think it’s safe to say that we can offer some solid advice about working with your spouse full and part time. You’ll no doubt have different working styles and require different things in your space in order to be creative and productive. Quirks come out that you did not even know about your honey, and some of them will drive you absolutely mad. Sometimes, every once in a super blue blood moon (which is apparently happening January 31st for the first time in 150 years!), they even do something super cute that makes you fall in love with them. Sometimes. Rare, but be optimistic.
Colin loves to listen to music and, well, I need it to be super quiet when I am writing – which I am typically doing most of the time. We had to find a balance that worked well for both of us to be working from home, 100% of the time without disturbing the other all day long. But this post isn’t about the petty little annoyances that were truly few and far between…
Working alongside your spouse in business is a gift. In the last two and a half years we have learned so much about ourselves, about each other and about how to seamlessly stand beside one another to truly be the best versions of ourselves as possible. We’re better humans, better life partners and much better business partners because we embraced this incredible opportunity. Here are the top five amazing reasons to go into business with your spouse.
Being a part of the ins and outs of your business venture together means not only can you anticipate a successful period, you can also fully celebrate it together. You don’t have to go home and talk to your partner about people they don’t know and challenges that you faced with other strangers while trying to portray how really cool this time is. You were both in the trenches, you both know the battles fought and won. You both know the lengths everyone went to. You’ll celebrate even more because of it.
Celebrating what you have accomplished together as a husband and wife team (or a boyfriend and girlfriend team, or a wife and wife team, or a partner and partner team, etc) is powerful for a couple. It is empowering, sexy, exhilarating, triumphant and it brings you even closer together as friends, confidants and life partners. A huge step forward in your business is always a huge step forward together in all ways. Working hard together in business always translates to establishing a closer, more resilient bond in your marriage.
It can be difficult to support your partner through work issues when you’re not really a part of, or understand, all of the dynamics involved. Being business partners allows you the opportunity to really fully see the whole spectrum. Supporting your partner during the more strenuous times is much easier because you’re present, you know your partner well and you can see their perspective, and often that of others. You are just as invested in the success of your business as your partner is and the dedication you have to ensuring that the obstacles and challenges are met with determination will only mean you’ll get through it together, better than you would on your own.
Having your own business can be pretty tricky sometimes, and so can marriage. We’re not here to promote perfection, but a more positive portrayal of what happy marriage life can and often does look like. If you can learn to reach for one another’s hand and march on no matter what, neither of you will accept anything less. There is nothing that you can not face.
You won’t ever wake up one day and realize that you have done all of this growing and your partner is not in the same place as you have found yourself. Or worse, that you both did so much growing but unfortunately in completely opposite directions. You hear about this often in failed marriages, and in the business world. When you are both working towards the same goals and the business is dependent on your cohesive partnership, well shit! You gotta be the best damn duo out there. And let me tell you something, if you make your marriage and your business THE priority, your marriage and your business will both be successful. There is no other option.
You and your partner see the world differently, no matter the similarity in goals and passions. You compliment each other, but you differ in likes and dislikes, you connect with people on different levels and opposite topics. One of you has more patience, another has a much better eye for details. This is the most brilliant aspect of married folk getting into business together. You don’t have to compete, because you complete each other in these ways. It’s why you were attracted to one another in the first place. You are a good match, the puzzle pieces fit. You compliment one another. Of course if this is true in marriage it would be true in the workplace, too.
Like all good things, this will take work, effort, communication, love and compassion.
Even when you don’t recognize it, your partner will know when it’s time to step in and give you a break. And also force you to take one when you just don’t have that off switch they keep telling you about. Flip what? What switch? Am I right?
Your partner knows your greatest talents and your limitations and is always willing to meet you, help you, encourage you. How can this not be a huge positive in your business? This is an amazing opportunity to support each others’ qualities and learn new skills together. What’s amazing about this last point is that you have the opportunity to truly become better people, developing new skills and new perspectives together every single day.
Growing a business together is one of the most amazing adventures we have been on together yet. We ebb and flow, we lean on one another, sometimes we surprise each other and sometimes you miscommunicate, too. You learn to use these happenstances as tools, rather than fuel for an argument. You have constructive conversations instead of screaming matches. You learn much more effective communication skills. You can feel each other’s next move before it is made.
There are days when we drive each other into the madness, this blog isn’t all rainbows and puppies. However, we have grown light years from where we would have been without the expectations put on us because we chose to join together also in becoming leaders of a team of people who depend on us. Our network marketing business might just be the very best thing we could have done for our marriage, our future and, ultimately, our retirement.
We’re still so young in both aspects of marriage and business partnership, really. Today we have been together for 6 years and 4 months, married 2 years and 5 months. Our road has not always been easy but we have most certainly come to understand, like Colin’s Dad has told us,
“You two can not be apart! Nothing good happens when you’re away from each other”. – Colin McArthur Senior
I can’t imagine this journey without Colin because there is no one I’d rather tackle everything in this life with. We get to experience quite literally everything together and neither of us would have it any other way.
Colin here 🙋♂️
The last month has been one hell of a roller-coaster ride. We experienced something that we often hear about in our industry for the very first time. Something that we’ve worked so hard for and thought would have happened a long time ago.
Our business blew up! And not how we expected
Let’s back it up for a second…
October was a terrible month for us. The worst its been in 12 months. Tonia and I participated in a vendor event out in Calgary that we thought was going to be a big deal for our business. We participated in the Body, Spirit and Soul Expo where we were lead to believe that tens of thousands of people would be gathering. We thought this would be a massive opportunity for us! We’d be crazy not to go!
We took a week off from our day jobs, drove the 8 hrs from Peachland to Calgary, we spent over $500 just to be at this event…we even had Young Living give us 50 kits because we we’re so damn sure that we would sell every last one of them.
We sold one! 😭
The event was dead. There was maybe 1500 people that walked through the event over the course of 3 days. At one point I witnessed two vendors hugging while one lady weeped and said ‘I cant afford to loose money this weekend’
It was a flop…
So we tucked tail and came home upset at the failure and a little unsure of what to do next. How is it possible that after all this time we are still struggling to make this work? Needless to say the first few days home were hard on both Tonia and I.
Then something happened…
Our direct up line leader and good friend was gunning for a new rank. Similar to our circumstance, she had been stuck at one rank for a little over 2 years and just couldn’t get past it. But through grit and determination she was able to push through and was now so close. We were the last pillar that needed to up its game otherwise she wouldn’t get there. The pressure was on!
It was in this pressure situation that we discovered something about our team. Something that makes me incredibly proud of every single one of them. Once everyone knew that we were the final team needed to make this happen people began to band together. In one week we sold more than we sell in a month. It was wild! Tonia keenly observed that our people have always wanted to help others and this was their opportunity. She said ‘Look, we have a team of humanitarians’
Not only did we hit the goal, we exceeded it! It was one of the best feelings I’ve had since we began this journey and something I will remember as a milestone. The month that we helped our up line achieve a LIFE CHANGING rank.
What’s better is that we now have a team who believes in themselves and who is working extra hard. There is a buzz in Team ESOS and it’s here to stay!
I recently caught one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s video’s where he discussed the importance of using gratitude and empathy as a strategy for marketing yourself, your brand and just your own personal happiness. It’s advice that resonated with me and something that I would like to be better at. Given the events of late this seems like a good time to practice!
1️⃣ I am grateful for my wife who works her cute little french butt off every single day so we can have a life only imaginable in dreams.
2️⃣ I am grateful for the amazing women that are doing the same for themselves and their families
3️⃣ I am grateful to all the people who I have not yet met who will also want to change their lives in ways only imaginable in dreams
4️⃣ I am grateful for my mental and physical health
1️⃣ I am empathetic to the people on my team that are still learning and growing in ways that are uncomfortable, challenging, embarrassing and hard.
2️⃣ I am empathetic that not everyone will hustle/grind/bust their butts at a high level
3️⃣ I am empathetic to the fact that I will not grow as fast as some. In fact its imperative that Tonia and I grow more thoughtfully and intentionally so we can help support others be the ones who made it to the top in a short amount of time
4️⃣ I will be empathetic to myself when I fail as a leader/coach/mentor. I am still learning and will not always have the answers.
The last month has been wild (Tonia has been practicing replacing the word crazy with the word wild…thought I’d give it a try)
Stick with it, stay grateful, empathetic, hard working and disciplined. Why?
…because you just never know when It’s your time
Both Colin and I have been diving into our own spirituality a lot more lately. For myself, it’s been about reaching back into my past and uncovering or revisiting the woman I was becoming before influences of peers and noise redirected my path in another direction. As a young woman, pre teens and all throughout my teenage years, I was fascinated with astrology and spirituality. I also read many a Silvia Brown book back in my day, so curious about mediums and their ideas in relation to past, and even future lives. My intuition as a child was magical, but I also didn’t really understand it very well so at times it was a bit scary to me.
I don’t really remember exactly when I put all of this away. It must have happened gradually. Looking back, I can’t be upset about all of the time in between, but I can be grateful that my path led me back. Recently I’ve been finding myself very attracted to all things, put very affectionately, witchy. I want all of the crystals and stones, I am finding myself reading and studying my Tarot cards nearly everyday, and tonight I made my own smudge kit with fresh rosemary from my friend’s garden. What I would typically do is ignore those attractions and say things like, “not right now”. However, lately the magnetic force to these things is so strong that I just can’t ignore it anymore. I’m quite literally being pulled so hard towards these things that you can sometimes find me with my face smooshed up against books about something witchy trying desperately not to look so I don’t fall in love. That magnet is humungous.
I am connecting with groups of people who are all loving the same things as me and in these groups I am totally, 100%, unfiltered, raw me. The more I spend time in there, the more I am 100% unfiltered, raw me all of the time, everywhere.
All of these things make me really happy. They excite me. Why? I thought about this on the drive home from Vancouver today with a giant bag of freshly harvested rosemary from Geoff’s patio garden that he’d put aside for me. I’m slowly figuring out my own language again, awakening my intuition and following my heart. Decision making isn’t a painstaking process anymore because I’m developing this complete trust in myself – when you dig this deep, you heal some real shit you don’t recognize is way down at the root!
Relationships and friendships are stronger and better connected now. Intentions are always so good. I feel full almost all of the time, but in a good way. My interactions with people are kinder, more loving and to my surprise (and anyone who has known me for more than five minutes), I actually have a tiny bit (let’s not get wild over here) of patience. Now that is progress.
So now I have an entire kitchen table full of rosemary drying out, which will be used in some amazing winter cooking and I’ll probably make a few more rosemary smudge sticks. Colin and I actually put sage & rosemary essential oils (which we buy from Young Living) in our bedroom every night, which actually helps me to sleep. Both herbs are helpful with promoting healthy liver function – and if you’ve been following along with my personal health & spiritual journey, you’d know that one of my favourite people is my friend and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. We work a lot to release energies that seem to get stuck in my liver and gallbladder area, which manifests into digestive issues if I am not staying ahead of it.
So, the last few years, what I’ve actually been doing is basically a complete detox of my humanness. After the purge, while we were getting ready to The Beach House in October, a lot changed. There wasn’t as much clutter, which offered some space and room to make better decisions. To connect with myself. To have far more highs than lows. To make time in my day to wrap fresh rosemary into a smudge stick from the garden of one of my favourite friends after taking my husband on a day trip to Vancouver to see one of his favourite musicians for his birthday.
Tonight, reflecting on all of this, I feel so calm. Nothing about my life has ever been calm before. There has only ever been chaos. Who knew that it would be spices and smoke that would help to bring me back to this, with wide outstretched and loving arms, peace.
Also, now I have Cinders & Smoke stuck in my head because of the title of this blog. Now maybe you will, too!
Generally speaking when discussing food and nutrition you will hear that the more simple you can make things the better. This makes total sense when referring to things like picking the ingredients for a banana bread recipe or looking at the ingredients on the back of a box. But sometimes simple is not always best.
Simply put, a carbohydrate is an energy source from your food that comes from starch, cellulose and sugar. Carbs are a necessary part of your diet as they assist in providing fuel for both your body and your brain. Without carbs your body will begin to look for energy sources elsewhere (fat and protein reserves) This process is called Ketosis and is the basis for diets such as the Atkins diet or a Ketogenic diet. The basis of these diets (or fasts) is to deprive your body of carbohydrates which will force you into pulling from fat reserves and voila, you’re thin!
However there’s a reason why these diets have proven to be problematic over the years. First and most importantly is that they do not set you up to have a long and healthy life. They are not teaching lifestyle changes, they are quick fixes to problems that will eventually come back up again. As an example, starving yourself from carbs will inevitably cause cravings. A craving is just a guilt word that we use when your body is in need of some form of nutrition. Do you have sugar cravings? Changes are you don’t need sugar, you need a healthy source of fuel (aka complex carbhydrates).
Secondly, when you deprive yourself of necessary nutrition your bodies natural reaction will be to slow down your metabolism. Your metabolism slows down because your body thinks you are starving and instinctively holds onto food because it doesn’t know when the next nutrient rich meal will be. If you lower your metabolism on a Ketonic diet and then return to life as normal chances are you will gain a lot of weight, and fast! Other health problems of these types of diets include high cholesterol as they encourage higher fat intake for fuel. The problem with that is that most people do not get their fat from healthy sources.
Lastly and most simply you are malnourishing your body. Fat, protein, carbs, sugars, starches, trans fats, cholesterol, etc, etc. Your body needs it all. The goal is not to deprive but to find healthy substitutes, get them from the best sources possible, and listen to your body. Your body knows better than anyone!
Simply put 🤓, a complex carbohydrate is a natural food source that is comprised of a long chain of simple carbs (three or more) linked together. Complex carbs contain things like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or fiber. Because there is lots for your body to breakdown your will not experience a sudden spike in blood sugar rather a more sustained or continuous energy level through the day. Additionally, you are feeding your body essential vitamins and minerals which aid your body to perform optimally! You could eat all the kale in the world but if you are not absorbing the nutrients effectively then you will not be as healthy as you could be, also you’ll have a pretty dull diet!
Some good sources of complex carbohydrate foods are:
A simple carbohydrate is a food with only a few sugar molecules linked together. Simple sugars are present in both natural and processed foods. Natural foods that contain simple sugars are fruits, vegetables and milk. However, these foods still contain vitamins and minerals which still makes them much better for you. Because these foods are simple carbohydrates they will give you a quick spike in energy.
Some good sources of simple sugars are:
The issue with simple carbohydrates is when they are used in processed foods. Specifically when the sugars are chemically extracted from their original food source and used as sweeteners or masking agents in food. Because these foods do not contain much if any nutritional value they are often referred to as ’empty calories’ as they provide your body with nothing more than calories. The source of sugar for these foods comes from high fructose corn syrup which has been showing to be very bad for you
High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance. The sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process resulting in a compound called High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together– glucose and fructose in equal amounts. The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body. High Fructose Corn Syrup also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form.
Since there is there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol) this is why it is the major cause of liver damage in the U.S is a condition called “fatty liver” which affects 70 million people. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin–our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of high fructose corn syrup lead to many health issues, some of which are very serious and irreversible.
Some sources of foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup:
T & C
Freedom, by definition, means to have the ability to think, do and speak without being stifled or held back in any way.
How can we get clear on what freedom really is? Thinking about the definition, it truly reflects all that we are able to do as a physical human, except sometimes the answers we offer for what freedom means, we include material things or even money. To truly feel free, we would be able to speak freely, act freely, think freely. There is quite a lot of responsibility wrapped up in that idea.
So what is required of us, as humans, before we can achieve freedom?
Here are my three thoughts on the Responsibilities (or laws) of Freedom.
We must take great care in the thoughts we think, the words we choose to use and the actions we take. Before we can do this, we must become aware, more compassionate people. Freedom, as suggested in the definition above, requires us to do no harm, even though it isn’t really suggested. In plain language, it is required of me to be the best version of myself, and that, my friends, is a constant and continuous work in progress.
You read. A lot. You find mentors who have come before you that have already taken the steps necessary to get to where you want to go. You absorb information and then regurgitate it. Colin has recently started what he is dubbing his Growth Journal. Why is this important? For one, I think it allows you to taste how the words feel coming out of your own mouth, or in Colin’s case, and mine right now, through our fingertips and onto our blog space. You begin to understand your own emotions and thoughts better when they’re staring back at you. Some of your best aha moments are in discussion with wise friends, and other times in discussion with your wise self.
Making progress means turning inward and reflecting on the ideas you had, and then interpreting other people’s ideas that are both the same and different from yours. When you have a bigger picture, or a more worldly, or more Universal view, you have a much better grasp of how everything you do affects everything around you. You say less, but you mean more. You soften. You’re more thoughtful. You seek more often than you speak. So when you do have something to say, it’s naturally more eloquent and kind.
I think of Freedom Of Speech, as you might have too, and I can think of numerous times where that ‘freedom’ is not always used for good. Freedom of speech shouldn’t be meant to harm others, if it does, you’re encroaching on the freedom of others, which is not living with the intention of being free. You can’t have something at the expense of someone or something else. That is exchange, not freedom. (An interesting thought….)
So, when you’re doing the work to becoming the best version of yourself, some pain will come up, some grieving will happen, some confusion will arise. Accept them all for what they are, write about them, and keep going. Meditate. Observe them rather than feel them. Go to a hot yoga class with the intention of understanding one of these areas better. Start a blog, or write a new post about a revelation you’ve had, like when I wrote about my coming to terms with the fact that I’d have to become estranged from my mother in order to live, Leave Your Suitcase At The Door.
Freedom does not come after a wish upon a shooting star or the blown seeds of a dandelion. To achieve freedom, there is work.
Recently, Colin and I sold everything we own, with the exception of our guitars, about two dozen books, our computers, a 96 bottle wine rack (that has got to go soon, we were going to buy a house and have a cellar, but that seems to be more like a 10 year plan instead of a 3 year plan now), our essential oils & diffusers and of course, our clothes. We literally created an abundance of space.
However, this space is both physical and emotional. Our things, these inanimate objects, had taken on value that had been weighing on us, mostly me. I’d given my couch set the value of my independence, ironically giving away my independence completely. Selling those couches stirred up emotions of inadequacy. Insecurity. Would I still be an independent woman without my couches?
Well the short answer, is OBVS! How ridiculous, right? Except, we all have done this. Something we have purchased at a time of significance can take on the responsibility of representing an emotion to you. I thought that my couches represented the truth that I was, indeed, an independent woman. What I had failed to do was the create space for understanding why, first, I needed to have proof that I was an independent woman, and second, why I needed to attach myself to that thought.
I needed to go back and do the work!
Next thing, was to understand that feeling successful and independent is important to me, so my new space would have to be created in order to allow me to express, seek and talk through my ideas about success. I began to talk openly about this on my social media pages, telling my story and receiving information back from other people who could put themselves in my shoes. My people were getting me. I was not alone.
So I kept creating space. Creating this space meant to be open to a discussion about anything and removing the emotion to become an observer. Talking about something with other people who can offer more information, a new narrative besides the one in your own head. Create space so that you have more of it to allow you the room to grow. Release what isn’t serving you anymore, which includes a bunch of couches you don’t need (we moved into a fully furnished beach house, if you’re just joining us here on our blog!).
In order to be free, to feel truly free, you have to remember to always be creating new space. Everyone’s space with be created differently!
The most important responsibility, is to keep doing, to continue to seek love and information. To keep learning, growing, expanding, purging, cleaning up, creating space, meditating, moving forward, sharing, being vulnerable, being of service.
Read. Not novels, those too, but I mean really read. Seek new information, other peoples’ opinions. Schedule ZOOM or Skype dates, or phone calls with people you’ve connected with that inspire you. We live in an age where anyone is accessible! Take advantage of that and ask a new person in your life what their take is on something you’re working on. Ask for advice. and then when you’re ready, remove what you don’t need and keep what you do to make it your own. Always take an inventory of your thoughts, your surroundings, your materials things, your vocabulary and your relationships. What is serving you? And what isn’t?
Being on the other side of worry, regret, and guilt from everything – truly understanding, or becoming to understand, what your reactions, thoughts, ideas, actions, words are all motivated by, creates an awareness that opens up an infinite space. I call this intuition. You learn to trust yourself in a way that gives you peace. You trust your first thought and go with it, because you’ve done the work in removing all self-doubt. You’ve created the space for intuitive thinking. You’re taking action that will move you forward without a second thought. This is freedom.
And when you can harness these three responsibilities, opportunities are absolutely everywhere, and you’ll recognize them, because you are aware of them at every turn. You see yourself differently, but you also see others and the world differently. You no longer blame, you only experience. You’ll fall down a few times here and there, we’re human. So, you start back at number one and get back to work.
When you live in a freedom mindset, you can live anywhere and do anything you desire.
We do. You can, too.
Welcome to the first of what will be a long series of blogs from me. The intention behind this series will be for several reasons. First will be to treat this as a journal for myself and my thoughts. I’ve discovered the joys of blogging and found that in doing so I have begun to really understand the chaos that is in my head. Second is to hold myself accountable to continue to grow in all the ways that I know I need to. Third, is to hopefully inspire and help others who are looking to accomplish some of the same things.
I’ve been reading lately. I am not much of a reader. In fact, I think I may have read about a dozen books over the course of my life. Seriously! I’ve never really been interested in literature and if I do read I find my eyes becoming too heavy to read more than two pages in a row. To make matters worse, If I am able to make it a few pages in I often forget what I just read. My comprehension is crap!
I’m not entirely sure where it has come from but I’ve been feeling compelled to read lately. But not stories of fiction or history or the classics. I am reading self development books. Maybe its the muse inside me or my desire to find a mentor through the new phases of my life but whatever it is I am really enjoying it and want to keep the momentum going.
I am currently working through John C. Maxwell’s The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. When I opened the book I began reading the introduction and on the very first page I read something that struck me. Mr.Maxwell began by discussing unfulfilled potential…
My friend Florence Littauer, a speaker and author, wrote a story in her book Silver Boxes about her father, who always wanted to be a singer but never was. She says he dies with the music still inside of him. That’s an apt description of unfulfilled potential. Not reaching your potential is like dying with the music still inside of you.
Maybe it’s the musician in me or maybe it’s just the time in my life, but I don’t want to die with the music inside of me.
The first chapter discusses being intentional about your growth. Perhaps this is another reason I chose to begin this series of blogs. If I was to understand the chaos in my head further and intentionally grow why not combat one of my weaknesses (accountability and consistency) with one of my strengths (blogging and using technology)
One of the exercises is to identify what he calls your ‘growth gaps’ There are 7 gaps that hold people back from making decisions necessary for growth. They are as follows:
*I am guilty of the ones highlighted
Now that I am aware of the gaps I am better equipped to deal with them when they come up. As an example, I’ve been saying for a long time that I wanted to begin a more movement based fitness routine. Similar to the teachings of Ido Portal or GMB Fintess. However I’ve been saying ‘After I’ve done a little more research on the movements then I’ll start it. Also I’ll be better equipped to start it when I move into the new house’ Right in that statement alone I was guilty of both the Knowledge Gap and the Timing Gap.
The next thing is to create a growth calendar. If you do not plan your growth how do you expect to grow. By doing this simple exercise I was able to identify that I have about 29 hrs per week of potential growth time (outside of my regular work). Imagine all the things you could do for yourself with an extra 29 hrs per week?!
There are 4 areas that I want to grow in:
Each one of these categories can be broken down into sub categories which I will get into more detail in later blogs. Now that I know the 4 areas that I want to improve upon I can easily cross reference my monthly work schedule. Below is how the month of October looks for me:
After spending an evening developing my schedule I printed it up and put it on the fridge! Now every morning I can double check exactly what I have to do for the day. It’s perfect!
I wear an activity tracker on my wrist that tells me how many hours per day I sit, stand, walk, and even lie down. Its very helpful and insightful and holds me accountable to my daily activities. The feature that I love the most is that it also acts as a pedometer. I’m really not sure why but I love understanding how many steps I take per day. I got’s to get my steps in!
Here is the read out of the last 2 days of my life…
What on earth would posses me to take 22,690 steps over the course of 2 days HALF of which are up or down stairs? So many stairs that both Tonia and I are practically limping around with sore calve muscles?
For the last 2 days Tonia and I have been in the depths of what could be the most important thing we have ever done in our life. We’re moving! I know what you’re thinking. ‘Whoopty Doo you’re moving!’
This move is more than just a change in homes. This move is everything that we have been working towards for the last 2 years. This is a new beginning to everything about us. On top of it all, it’s my 36th birthday.
This was the view that I was greeted to today…
If you’ve been following us over on Facebook then you will know some of our story and how we got here. If you haven’t then you better get your ass over there cause you’ve got some catching up to do!
Those 22,690 steps that I was talking about earlier are representative of all the hard work and dedication we’ve put into our life. Every step away from the old is a step towards the new. But here’s the thing, you have full control over which direction you move in.
I recognize that there are some people with certain health conditions or circumstances that may make things more challenging but lets assume for arguments sake that you are born in Canada or the US, have your health and a decent head on your shoulders. I would argue that you are in full control of your life. Having full control of your life means you are FULLY responsible for where you are, what you believe, who you hang out with, everything. Not your parents, not your friends, not your boss, not even your god. You chose the life you live. And every decision and step you take moves you closer, or in some cases further away from the things you want.
If you’re anything like me, when making a big decision in life there can be uncertainty or doubt. I’ve been spending some time exploring having faith in my decisions and the power that comes with it. I’ve begun to notice the more I trust myself and have faith that what I am doing is best for me, the better things are becoming. But the word faith has and to some degree still does have some weight to it that doesn’t feel quite right.
Successful people don’t make the right decisions, they make their decisions right – Elliot Hulse
I feel like the word faith can take on two meanings. One in a religious sense and another in more of a ‘everything will work out’ sense. Personally, I’ve struggled with this word on both sides of the coin.
I grew up religious, have gone through some of the sacraments in Catholicism and realized at a young age that this was not a world I wanted to be apart of. This is not intended to be a religious discussion but just so you understand my point of view I do not identify with religion at all. Nor do I believe that ‘God’ has a plan or has a say in how we live our lives. I do however believe that if there is a ‘God’ that his role is to put opportunities in front of you, but its your job to act upon them.
I’ve always felt like that cliche interview with the professional athlete thanking ‘God’ for his or her achievements is so insulting to the hard work that person put into their life. ‘God’ wasn’t responsible for that persons success, ‘God’ may have put the opportunity in front of him but in the end he chose to do something about it.
Second is the ‘everything will work out’ angle. I’ve always had a cloud of worry or what if hanging over me my entire life. I have an acquaintance who refers to this as the ‘Hag In The Attic‘ I’m not sure where that comes from but like I said before if I am responsible for every aspect of my life that would also including my beliefs, mindset and evicting the hag that lives in my attic.
There’s a great quote from Jim Rohn that states ‘We need to give thought, but we also need to take action. You need to dream without just being a dreamer‘ I like this because for years I was the dreamer that he spoke of. I sat in my home dreaming of all the great things in life that I didn’t have wondering why I didn’t have them. The answer was so simple…take action and have faith that it will all work out!
When I began living on purpose I struggled with ‘How do I know what I am doing is right?’ I think like most people I wanted reassurance and validation that my actions we’re moving me forward. The interesting thing about this was as I became more ‘aware’, or as the cool kids call it AWOKE, I began to understand that I was receiving reassurance and validation the whole time, but not in ways I was attuned to.
One of the laws of the world seems to be ‘When you do what you’re supposed to be doing life becomes more available to you‘ Have you ever wondered why some people seem to live so effortlessly? Life just seems to hold doors open for them, hand them some champagne and then slap them on the butt as they walk through!
For the last several years Tonia and I have struggled greatly, both personally and professionally. There were many signs being put in front of us daily that we stubbornly disregarded as something ‘we have to work through this before it will get better’ We were receiving daily signs such as stress in my body, unhappiness, confusion, frustration, more bad days than good days, the day job where promised work was not being followed through, a house that was cursed, everything! The world screaming at us that where we were was not where we were meant to be.
Fast forward to today
Now that I am thoughtful to every situation in life being a potential sign things are processed much differently. I continually ask myself ‘why did that happen?’ in any situation good or bad. The self awareness and discovery is amazing. Also, since we have moved into this new home some pretty spectacular things have been happening. All of which are IMMEDIATE!
Here’s a few things that happened on our first day here:
Some people might look at these things and think ‘That’s just a coincidence’ I completely disagree. This is life opening up with more easy because we are supposed to be doing what we are doing.
It should be this easy…
PS – I found the cover photo after I wrote this entire blog. It was the first image that I found when searching for images…there are always signs!
Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future – Dan Pena
Unbeknownst to me I had begun this process years before I heard this statement. I had a circle of friends that I had hung out with since I was 16 years old. We did EVERYTHING together…which to be fair was mostly partying. As I got older and some unfortunate drama occurred in my life I was forced to question the relationships that I kept. It was hard for me to trust anyone and worst of all I was becoming a shell of the person I used to be. I was constantly approval seeking from them and I felt alone in their company. Worst of all it was taking a huge toll on my relationship with Tonia.
We often hear about the importance of cleaning up the food we eat or the products we use or maybe even the mindset that we have but I find it rare that you hear about cleaning up the relationships that you keep. Maybe its because its controversial or maybe its because sometimes, as in the case with Tonia, you have to say goodbye to family. It is however, in my opinion, the most important step to take if you are striving for more in life.
I want to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you go and tell all your friends and family to take a hike. If you are happy and content with your life then you’ve won as far as I am concerned. This message is for those that are unhappy with their circumstances and want to do something to move forward.
Here’s a quick tip: surround yourself with the people you want to be like. Its that easy!
For Tonia and I it was simple. We want to be business professionals and online marketers. We want to be influencers and mentors. We want to have extraordinary experiences and deep relationships.
The world is so well connected these days that meeting people has never been easier. You can connect with people on Facebook groups, forums, blogging communities (hello all my new friends!) its literally endless
For me I wanted a mentor! I wanted someone who would take me under their wing and help guide me through my shit. Problem was I didn’t actually know of anyone. Then one day I realized that there are so many people teaching online that I could just connect with them. There are also so many online influencers to follow and mentor myself with that I don’t even necessarily need to be friends with them for their thoughts to rub off on me. Ill give you an example:
Remember that quote at the beginning of this blog? That statement was made by Dan Pena. They call Dan the 50 Billion Dollar man because he has helped coach other businessmen into acquiring an estimated 50 Billion Dollars in wealth. Dan accredits a large part of his success to his no bullshit, militaristic style of coaching. He yells, swears, makes people cry, sometimes even slaps his mentees. Yup, he actually puts his hands on you if he thinks you need it.
Dan gives most if not all of his coaching away for free except for one specialized coaching program. The cost is upwards of $20,000 and he will fly you out to Guthrie Castle (Yes, Dan lives in a castle). The intention is to have you touch, see, smell and experience opulence at a level that you have never known before with the hopes that this will rub off on you. While this sort of lifestyle is not for everyone the methodology makes complete sense.
He is loud, super aggressive, very alpha male and something that I am not. I am quiet, shy, meek, not opinionated and well…a door mat. And its because of these traits that I had been taken advantage of my whole life. Its how I lost those friends that I spoke of earlier. I was betrayed and made a fool right in front of all of them but because I was so weak they knew they could do it to me. I needed to learn more assertiveness and have self respect in order to get closer to the life that I wanted. So, I started mentoring myself through Dan’s teachings and words!
I listened to every interview I could find of Dan’s. I read every book or blog of his that I could find. I immersed myself in all of his work for a good 8 months as to absorb the parts of his personality that I wanted for my own. Something pretty amazing began to happen…people started treating me with more respect.
Its amazing how things change when you become more self respectful and assertive. I think I confused assertiveness with aggression. Being assertive raises the bar for yourself and the things you want out of life. Aggression is throwing a temper tantrum when you don’t get those things or are met with challenges along the way. As an example: one of the ‘rules’ that I have set forth for myself and others is that I do not disrespect someones time and I also expect that in return. If I have a phone call scheduled or a meeting scheduled for 10 am then that meeting or phone call begins promptly at 10 am. Not 9:59 and not 10:01. Another great quote (I can’t even remember where I heard it from) is ‘you are either on time, or you are late!’
I’ve actually cancelled meetings with people because they were 5 minutes late. Yea, I could have brushed it off and just sat down with them anyways but by allowing that sort of behaviour to be acceptable you are setting a standard. The funny thing is once I made it clear I do not accept tardiness people started showing up on time. Assertive…not aggressive! This is just one of the MANY lessons that I have learned through my online self mentoring. I wont show up for meetings late, so you best not either!
More on this topic later…
Earlier this week I read a blog, Little Green Fingers: top 10 children’s gardening accessories, which really struck me. All of a sudden I was having these nostalgic feelings and memories of my Great Grandpa Dee came flooding back to me. So today, I want to share with all of you a look into a relationship, probably the most important one I’ve ever had in my life, that has continued to teach me the most valuable lessons even 22 years after his death.
Almost everything I needed to know was taught to me in Chase, BC by a man I have admired more than anyone in all of my 33 years of life. He instilled values in me that are fiercely strong. No one else has ever moved me as much as my Great Grandpa Dee has moved me. I’ve never been more proud of a human, than of him.
Let’s back up.
My Great Grandpa Dee was born in 1900, which I always thought was the most amazing thing in the world as a child. I still do. He came to Canada as Pol Polson, where authorities changed his name to Paul Paulson. He was Dutch. He was so handsome. He was my Great Grandpa Dee. GG Dee was a part (until I can clarify with family in what capacity, this will have to do for now) in WWI and I remember every year we’d tie ribbons around our tree in the front yard to show our thanks in support of his service to our country and fellow men. I never knew exactly what he did in the war, but I was just so proud of him.
I could always tell how fiercely my dad loved and looked up to this man, even though I was very young. I felt the same way. I was so impressed that he kept in the shape he did for as old as he was. At 91 he couldn’t hear a word anyone said, but that summer, he taught his adoring great granddaughter how to do a cartwheel in his front yard. I remember staring at him in awe while he stood on his front step cheering me on to try. He’d come down to the grass to show me again. My 91 year old Great Grandfather. Doing cartwheels. How in the world do you grow up without the lesson of resilience with this role model in your life? This snap shot is ingrained in my memory, thankfully having a photographic memory. I can even remember how I felt in this moment; an unconditional love. Respect.
One of my fondest memories was when I was quite young, my brother Daniel was a year old so I would have been 8 that summer. We were out in the backyard where my Great Grandpa Dee had his own vegetable garden that he still grew, still, in his 90’s! This must have been the year after he’d taught me to do a cartwheel, but I assure you he wasn’t finished with his lifelong lessons for me quite yet. He had at least two more to show me before he could go home to his wife in heaven (more on that in a minute).
It was time to pick vegetables for dinner, and boy did I hate vegetables (can anyone guess the lesson here since Colin and I are vegetarian?!). We were having potatoes and *gulp* CARROTS for dinner! “No, Grandpa!” I begged him. I begged him some more as he ushered me out the back door and down into the garden. I begged some more and finally he tapped me on the shoulder and he said, “Shhh! I’m going to tell you a little secret. You have to eat the vegetables you pick, that’s my rule in my garden. (In real life right now I felt the sudden urge to sob, so I’m totally bawling. Sometimes even I can’t believe the bond I had with this man, that I carry with me to today.)
My 92 year old Great Grandpa Dee reached down without breaking our eye contact. He swiftly pulled up a giant carrot from the ground. I was in agony looking at that carrot, because back then, and today, I hated carrots. If those were the size of the carrots, I for sure was doomed! Obviously seeing the terror in my eyes, GG Dee said, “Now, Tonia, do you see how big this carrot is? Look at the leaves. Are those leaves big like the carrot?”
Yes! They were!
“Can you see leaves the size of the carrot you would like to eat?”
I scanned that whole garden, and announced that I could not! But Great Grandpa Dee told me to look some more. Suddenly, he brushed away some big leaves and one teeny tiny leaf stuck out from the ground. I smirked and looked up at my grandpa and he was smiling so big. I pulled the leaf and out popped the tiniest carrot I have ever seen.
Great Grandpa Dee loudly announced, “Tonia’s picked her carrot for dinner! You have to eat that whole thing. What you pick, you eat!”.
I was no fool, I knew exactly what he had done for me that day. He winked.
On my plate at dinner time was the tiniest carrot that took me only two bites to eat, and while I gagged it down, those were some of the best bites of carrot I’ll ever have. While it wasn’t apparent until the last few years of my life, Great Grandpa Dee taught me to appreciate nature, to understand what nourishment, in food and relationships, your yard has to offer you and just how delicious raspberries from his raspberries bushes were. The only raspberries I’ve ever liked! He taught me to appreciate working hard for my food and for what I want, but also to understand that it is ok to compromise. I’ve longed for a big backyard with a garden my whole life, like a part of me has been missing ever since he passed away. This is something I am most looking forward to having once Colin and I find our property.
And I will plant carrots.
Grandpa Dee had the same house he’d always lived in and hadn’t changed a thing since his wife, Helen passed away, something a little less than 50ish years before him, if I remember correctly. One day, in his old man burgundy slip on slippers, which I loved to wear when he wasn’t, he turned on his very old fashioned radio (which I was amazed by!) and he told me a story about Helen. He loved her so much, and I’d never really heard a love story before like theirs. Her silk robe still hung behind his bathroom door and her hair brush still sat on the bathroom counter beside the sink. It was as if she had still lived there all of those years, yet she’d not been home for more than 45.
I don’t remember much about what he told me of her, except that he never stopped loving her and that he thought of her every single day. At some point, as I watched him talk about her, I asked him if he missed her. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but something like, “Oh yes, but I’ll see her again soon!”.
I asked him, “Do you think she’s waiting for you at the top of the stairway to heaven, Grandpa Dee?” and his eyes twinkled. Before he could answer, I said, “Actually, by then Grandpa, I hope for you she’s waiting at the top of the escalator because that’s a lot of stairs! Do they have an escalator to heaven?”
What man, after all these years, loved his wife enough to be the most content in his life, even without her, after her death, because of how sure he was of their bond. Of their love. He never wavered. He built an amazing life even after her, but honoured her every second of the day until he died. This was a lesson I only this last year figured out. He heavily instilled this incredible value of love and loyalty into me, listening to his stories. He taught me not to settle for anything less than the kind of marriage he and Helen had. My marriage would be the most important thing in my life, too. And it is!
Colin has asked me where this value came from and it was just suddenly that I put the connection together. These three lessons have shaped the woman I am today and I bawled my damn eyes out writing this blog. I relived moments today I haven’t thought of with this much clarity in many, many years. Pol Polson taught me unconditional love, resilience, kindness, humour, compromise and he did it with grace.
He phoned me just before he died to say goodbye. That was more than 22 years ago now. I hope he knows these words and he feels this deep and overwhelming love I poured into this blog for him today. I have lost a lot of people in my life, including best friends, room mates, my brother with whom I was extremely close… and I have been asked, at different stages of my life, if I could talk to anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I’ve never hesitated.
I would talk to my Great Grandpa Dee, so I can ask him if Helen was waiting at the top of the escalator.
And more importantly, to let him know I will plant carrots.
With purpose, and a thousand tears,