YOGA TEACHER TRAINING: A Reflection 

The past 16 days have been some of the most transformative days of my life, yet I felt a visceral sense of knowing I was exactly where I should be, acknowledging the growth I have seen in myself over the past couple of years. 


Cocoa Beach is a picturesque peninsula off the east coast of Florida, offering a bit of an island vibe, even though it isn’t far from Disney World! Though I did not get to spend too much time really "enjoying" relaxed beach life, this space was incredibly magical, wonderfully beautiful, and completely cathartic. My paternal grandparents once owned a Timeshare In Cocoa Beach, and I went several times when I was younger. I had ups and downs in my relationship with that set of grandparents, but they have since deceased. Although I now have a lot of understanding and care in my heart for them, I was able to properly close out those relationships and offer my gratitude and love towards them -- especially since their old timeshare unit was across the street from the yoga studio. This was an incredible release, and I am so appreciative. 

My life tends to be go go go, and while this training was full on, it offered a space to reflect and to let go. There is a lot that I have held on to and repressed, we all do, in order to move forward. This space allowed me to move through the hidden emotions, of all sorts, and truly let go of past stories, and stories I had created for and about myself and my life. 


I also loved how physically demanding my time here was. I moved everyday...a lot...and I feel so super strong in my body. From completing 4-5 yoga classes a day some days, to running and stretching on the beach,  paddle boarding and completing 108 Sun Salutations in 20/25min...it was a dream! 


Further, eating clean and not drinking for 16 days was exactly what my body was craving. In a hot and busy summer, it is easy to justify a cider here, or glass of wine there “to relax”...it was nice to reset and be more principled about what I put in my body. 


The connections I have made since being away are undeniable. It is an experience only the people you are with can truly and completely understand. I have made life long friends and colleagues. Kati Nicole, the lead facilitator, has stolen my heart. I cannot wait to continue to endeavour and create opportunities with her, and I am so so so appreciative of her and her knowledge and energy. 


I am dieing to share what I have learned. And can't wait to start offering retreats?! Salt Spring

Island, anyone!?!?!


xoxo,

Meg

YEAR ONE (A celebration/review) :)

Hi.

 

It’s been a few months since I have taken the time to write.

 

A few insanely busy, incredibly fulfilling, beautiful months.

 

I cannot believe I am about to document my thoughts and feelings after having been on the Island for a year.

 

How quickly things can change.

 

Today, whilst waiting at the airport to travel back to Ontario, I watched a Ted Talk on grief. I feel so grateful to be in a season in which I am not dealing with imminent grief; however, the premise of the Ted Talk was on the idea that one cannot “move on” from grief -- we shouldn’t expect someone to, and should not be expected to. It feels like the timing was **perfect**, and I will intertwine this concept throughout this reflection.

 Ten years ago, on this very weekend, my beautiful Grammy Anne died. That weekend, my life was changed forever. I had experienced deep trauma, anxiety and sadness before, but for the first time, I truly experienced grief. My Grammy was absolutely the finest woman. She was posh, without being over the top; she was the most fun, without trying too hard (actually without trying, period); she was incredibly brilliant, super sporty, musical, great in the kitchen, filled with love and joy – the true matriarch of our family, and the QUEEN of traditions. She was a support system, cheerleader, mentor….what was I going to do without her?! And, how could I, as the eldest child/grandchild, support my Mom, her siblings, my siblings, and my cousins?! Hence, grief.

 That same year, I finished my first year of university, experienced adult life in a new light, and I had fallen in love for the first time.

 Having freshly turned 20, my world spun. How could I move forward without my Grammy? Even though I felt confident in other facets of life, at the time I experienced shock. I felt anger -- anger at cancer, anger at the cycle of life. I felt deep despair, I felt people’s support, but then…I felt sadness…. loneliness. I was one of the first in my peer group to lose a grandparent they were close to.  After a month or two, no one was checking in. I was in the thick of my feelings. I was also trying to keep tabs on my Mom’s heart and family dynamics, but I was hurting. This is where the question of “moving on” pops up. It often feels like it is an expectation to move on from loss.

 

I argue differently, and here is why.

 

One year ago, at this exact moment, I was feeling incredible loss again. I had said “goodbye” to everything and everyone but my immediate family, and I was about to embark on the first flight to Victoria, BC.

 I felt like a mess. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the love and support and encouragement, just as one does after losing a loved one, but I was fearful of the journey ahead of me. The journey I had to navigate all on my own.

 I was grieving. Grieving the end of my career at two schools I loved. Grieving the end of close contact with colleagues I adored. Grieving that my Mom would not be a 40min bus ride away. Grieving the lack of geographical closeness to my beautiful friends. Grieving the end of my nine-year relationship. Grieving the vision I had for my life. The vision that had clearly been shattered. The vision that was no more. I felt like I had lost. I had worked hard, at everything, and had failed, at everything.

 Simultaneously, I knew I was taking the right path. I knew I was getting on the flight that would set me up for incredible happiness, fulfillment, and success! The flight that would allow me to write a new chapter in my story! :)

 

It has done just that, I have never felt so aligned.  So at peace. I have made moves forward in my career, I have friends I adore, and I am falling in love.

 

But, it is unfair to deny that the grief was real.

 

The grief is still real.

 

I am incredibly happy, so shouldn’t I have “moved on” from the pain involved with life-altering change? Absolutely not.

 

The first 29 years of my life are still a part of me. The last 10 years in particular, since my Grammy died, are a fundamental part of the woman I am today. I literally cannot “move on” from that. But I can move forward. This idea was the main theme of the Ted Talk.

 

To this day, I still hear Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” and feel my Grammy around me. It is a song that has a hysterically funny connection to her – a memory from a cottage day in which she belted out the song and danced her heart during an afternoon on the boat. The first time I heard that song after she passed, I balled my eyes out, now…it reminds me of her and I smile. I can see her, I can feel her around me, I can smell her and hear her laugh…. I have moved forward but I haven’t moved on.

 

Similarly, I have moved on from the feelings of sadness, and loss, and failure. The grief of losing the vivid picture within which I had designed my life. The grief of broken dreams….BLAH BLAH BLAH.

 

Instead, I moved forward.  I used my experiences, my intrinsic strength and resilience — my roots — and focused on the love and opportunities around me. I opened my mind to something new!

 

Life is brilliant. And I am grateful to continue to move forward each and every day – as we ALL should, and hope to do.

 

At this time, a year later, life looks a lot different, and the “story” continues to develop. On the surface I have moved on; I have a new apartment, a new job, a new Driver’s License, a new Premier, and so on.  I am wildly happy, and as I mentioned, I am even in the process of falling in love again.  I have some deep and authentic friendships being established, I have new responsibilities, new expectations for myself and of others, new stresses. I am living in the present.

 Yet, I miss the laughter of my 4/5 class at Howlett Academy and going to The Madison with my colleagues to celebrate the end of a busy month. I hold dear the girls and colleagues from Trafalgar, where my career began, as they taught me what it meant to be a working professional, a role model, and a life long learner. I still treasure happy moments and lessons learnt from my past relationship. I am reminded of fun events and adventures with my girlfriends when certain songs come on, and I miss family time most weekends, as there is always something fun going on. I have moved forward, but I cannot pretend these people and these memories are not a part of my fabric, just as much as my hazel eyes and Celiac Disease.

 All in all – this Ted Talk came at a great time. It is about moving forward, with grace and enthusiasm, and I love the journey I am on! Embracing forward motion is how we level up our lives, but acknowledging the reality of grief and how it manifests is critical to being fair to ourselves, our own needs, and the needs of those around us.

Thanks for the endless support!! I am so grateful to be able to connect with youth and not only teach them curriculum, but use my experience to help them become healthy and happy young adults.

CHEERS!

Love,

Meg

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

Home?

 

Over five months have passed since I began this new season of life. In many ways it feels like it’s been longer, as my heart and my schedule have been so filled up! Simultaneously, it feels like only a blink of an eye since I landed, groggy but open-hearted, in the moonlit Victoria airport, As if I just said goodbye to the comforts of my Toronto-life, my extraordinary friends, and incredible family.

 

The last few weeks have been busy with reporting and meetings at work, side hustles, school events, and other social or athletic activities; however, each moment I have taken to pause and reflect has led me to this same thought: this place feels like “home”.

 

This thought quickly leads me into a spiral that I have yet to fully unpack. How can this feel like home if my family isn’t here? What about my girlfriends, whom I absolutely adore, back in Ontario? Does this mean I will be here permanently? I like my apartment, but it isn’t my “dream house”, so is it really home? Am I going to buy property here? Do I have a big enough social network to really call this home? Will I? Is that important? Is my future partner here in Victoria? I LOVE my job, yet, is it forever? Is anything, or should it be? If I am settling down, should I look at getting a car? I have FOMO about events in TO already -- how will I continue to deal with it? Will it pass or become more manageable? Is that life? Isn’t “home where the heart is”? Can I have two “homes”? If I stay, will my family understand?

 

I’ve got a gut instinct that Victoria is absolutely where I am supposed to be, at least right now.  This is super exciting! I have AMAZING colleagues, am developing a few really beautiful, deep friendships, am continuing to design a life that fuels me and fills me up, and am learning lots. I think it is also a huge bonus that I have a family on the island that gives me a taste of “home” each time I see them, which is about 2x a week. I’m so lucky and so grateful for that – it is so grounding!

 

Maybe my struggle is simply in definition of “home”. Home is not a physical structure, it’s “where the heart is”, or “it’s about the people that make the home”. Well, I live on my own, thousands of miles from my immediate family, but I feel called to be here right now. Then, can home be found in multiple places? Will TO always feel like home, or will Victoria truly become “home”, and then I will just fly to my Mom’s home as often as possible? Does it matter?  Maybe “Mom’s home” is always home?

 

I guess part of the adventure of growing up is that concepts and constructs continue to develop. That certain labels and definitions become more complex and you have to either let go of your beliefs, be flexible and adaptable, or perhaps create your own terms to help make sense of the world.

 

I am a little scared to lose friendships that I cherish really deeply and whole-heartedly if I stay out on the “best coast”, but I trust in the deep bonds that I have, and I will do everything that I can to maintain them.

 

As I the holidays are now upon us, I am back in TO , and for the first Christmas in a few years, my entire immediate family will be around. I am very excited to spend time with everyone!! I am also interested to see what it will be like to eat plant-based over the holidays, though I am excited to cook! I am almost betting that I will come back to Victoria exhausted, because it will be non-stop, but with an absolutely full heart – I wouldn’t have it any other way!

2018 has been quite a year! What a ride – but I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and also hopeful for another exciting year. It will be fun to go into 2019 with a little more direction (maybe?) than I had going into 2019 and to continue doing and deciphering what truly sets my soul on fire!

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS Y’ALL!

 

Love,

 

Meg

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MANIFESTATION & ACCEPTANCE

Better Late then Never:
I have delayed writing this post for a while. The month of October was extremely busy and full, and I was really trying to embrace each aspect of my life in the present. As I reflect, I think I’ve also hesitated to write because I feel like I am in a season of abundance. I have been diving in and spending MANY hours doing work I LOVE. I am making new, incredible friends. I am strengthening other friendships. Biking everywhere, playing soccer, and being active. And, most excitingly, I have paid off my school debt. The feeling is literally too good to be true, and I feel almost guilty sharing these successes, or like I my “value-added” will be limited. 


In saying this, I have been able to learn a lot about myself. I realize that I created a story about myself that I am having a hard time dropping. The story: I am not worthy of receiving amazing things. That I am always going to have to grind really hard, whilst reaping little compensation. "Thank goodness I like working, because who knows when it will pay off...". This story has manifested within me for as long as I can remember. Almost like a buffer or shield. Yet, while this shield has in many ways kept me moving forward, it is important not to personalize that, and to recognize these hindering beliefs. There are certainly seasons for sacrifice and many times we will not (physically) reap the benefits of our efforts, but now my work is to practise receiving. To be grateful, so uber grateful, but to accept that I am allowed to feel professionally and financially healthy. WOAH! I hesitate to say "deserve to feel", because I think many people work exceptionally hard; I'm not that unique. But, perhaps that is also part of my work? 


It is important to note here that I have gained EXTRAORDINARY experience over the past decade (or more) both professionally and personally, and I would change NONE of it. I am so lucky to have been given ample freedom and the trust to explore opportunities at work (literally EVERY opportunity), to learn from outstanding colleagues, and to grow alongside my students in the classroom and other experiential learning ventures. This helped shape who I am as a human and an educator. Today, what I am realizing is that perhaps I am transitioning beyond that early grinding stage. Slowly but surely, my experience has become more valuable, and hence I have become more respected in the field? This is so crazy to me. And so exciting. And I cannot wait to continue learning and teaching and exploring.


Shifting gears, I also think that it's important to discuss my health and journey with food here...Except for the fact that I can feel my joints a lot some days (growing pains? I wish, haha), I feel strong, energized, and happy. I have recently tried the "Beyond Meat" plant based burger patty, and I am obsessed, so I will have to get some to my Mom's for the upcoming holidays too! I have enjoyed using garlic and spices to make things like chickpeas and lentils more exciting, and I cannot wait to continue exploring this vegan lifestyle, as I think it fits so well with me and my system.
Lastly, as November rolled around, I decided to do something for myself I have wanted for a while. I got a tattoo. My second one. Yoga and the yoga communities I have been invited into have impacted my entire being positively, and I have wanted a tattoo to illuminate this gratitude for several years. I have finally done it. Perfectly Imperfect, are originally the words of Baron Baptiste, an international yoga master. They ring loud and true to me as someone who struggles with perfectionism, and I now have the mantra on my right side as a daily reminder.


As I end this blog, I ask myself, "so what, who cares"? Well, I offer this: there is a time and a season for struggle and for abundance. They will look different for everyone. Deeper more tumultuous valleys and higher more glorious peaks perhaps. Wherever you are at today, just remember that it too shall pass. Embrace it, fight through it, grind, be grateful for it, and just try not to personalize it. Yet, through this I do suggest you speak a mantra to yourself every day. No matter where you are at right now. Something to manifest warmth and happiness into your life. Abundance? Love? Less scary finances? Health?  Try it out. I think you might be surprised.

Love,

Meg


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HAPPY "NEW YEAR"!

 

So it’s been two months since I began my #bestcoast adventure, and I have no regrets! It continues to be a roller coaster of emotions, opportunities, risks, and all things “new”. I have a new apartment, which was an adventure of its own to lock down in Victoria, and for the first time, I am furnishing a place fully on my own. I am enjoying living minimally, so it will be pretty simply done, but it is fun to pick out new things and to feel like I am not just planting seeds but beginning to grow some roots.  I look forward to growing some herbs on my little balcony and creating a cozy, “zen” little nest for myself with indoor/outdoor living!

I enjoyed having a schedule over the summer that was “busy”, yet flexible. I had a super little support system (so grateful for the Martens-Cohlmeyer family), and it was nice to have some days that were more full, and other days that allowed for me to explore, have coffee with new people, and network. However, I am excited to get into a routine. I feel far more comfortable with routine. As much as I love being social, and I am open and willing to try new things, I function best with a more disciplined schedule that I can work within and plan around.  I am thereby SUPER grateful to have landed on the teaching team at Glenlyon Norfolk School.  I have felt incredibly welcomed, and while it is always an adjustment to enter into a new environment, it already feels like home. Already, I feel like my skillset is valued and my new colleagues and kidlets are wonderfully warm and filled with great energy and ideas!

It will be so good for my soul to have a quick reset back in Ontario this month, and spend time with family and close friends. I am really grateful for the timing, even though I feel a little guilty not being able to establish trusting connections with my students until I am back. It was honestly such a relief to know I had this plan to return during moments that felt a little scarier or when I felt a little lost earlier this summer. Now it will feel like a bit of the vacation that I have yet to really have – and I can bring back professional clothes and rain gear for the Victoria “winter”!

This will also act as a health and lifestyle reset as well. I am going to do a little social media hiatus while I am visiting home, which will feel good! Sometimes not having your phone or being dialed into IG is healthy for body, mind, and soul -- and I want to feel present. When I return from Ontario, I am planning on going plant-based (or vegan). I don’t/can’t consume too many non-plant products anyway, but I am an eggs lover and eat the odd piece of wild salmon or fish.  However, I think it aligns more with my mindset, values, and way of living to cut those from my diet. I am excited for the final phase of this journey and to see how it goes!!! I am going to try and use my YouTube platform to document some meals, and to check in regularly to see how I am feeling health/energy wise, as well as mentally. For me, I think it will be easy apart from the convenience eggs have brought to my life. As a “go go go” gal, I often use eggs as a quick meal, but I will just have to prepare a little better, be creative in those moments, and have other things ready to go for late night dinners! I am also excited to take full advantage of my new Magic Bullet!!!

Some people have asked me if I came to Victoria to escape the cold/snow. I honestly haven’t thought too much about weather, since the summer in Victoria was relatively warm and sunny, not drastically different from that of an Ontario summer. I did not love having to deal with the smoke, but am grateful that I am not in an area directly impacted by wildfire, and for the emergency teams working endless hours, so I quickly let that go. Actually, I LOVE the seasons! I honestly love the heat of the summer, the crispness of fall, and the beautiful snow, so no I really did not look to escape that. We will see how I manage that! I know I am going to have to adjust to the rainy weather, but I have decent gear and I am sure I will get accustomed to it. I take Vitamin D anyway, so hopefully that will keep my energy up!

I feel like Victoria could really be home – I don’t know exactly what the future looks like, which is beginning to be less and less unnerving, but I definitely don’t foresee myself living in Toronto again. I don’t like that Toronto only nurtures my “go-getter/grind” side and not my love of the outdoors , “me time”, or my “campy” side. In hindsight, I felt drained living in Toronto, and I always felt like there was no time or the right space to continue to “find my way”. I cannot begin to express how much I appreciate the amazing experience, connections, and journey I have had living in and around Toronto (SO lucky!!!),  it is just less encouraged here as a whole. There is also limited opportunity to meet new people. This may sound crazy, but the odd time you do, they also seem to be stuck in the rat race, competing for that next apartment, or promotion (etc.) and it becomes too complex to develop a connection of any type.  I have truly realized that I cannot achieve a greater level of happiness and personal realization under these circumstances.

A new city allows for mental clarity and clarity for the soul. While I have an extraordinary circle of people, both personally and professionally, living in Toronto brings a heaviness to my entire being…and ain’t nobody got no time for that! So time for Victoria 2.0!

In addition to my new job and home, I am going to be playing in a soccer league all fall/winter – I have missed this sport! I can’t wait to dust off my cleats and see how rusty my skills are, but also to connect with more young professionals/people in Victoria ! I will also be looking to dive more into the dance/performing arts scene once I settle into my schedule, and nail down some performance and teaching opportunities! So much to look forward to!

It is both scary and super exciting to be approaching 30 and still be figuring out my direction, but I feel like my new school and new yoga studio, in my beautiful new city, with some side projects and hustles, is a fabulous start!

 

Love,

Meg

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DIVING IN...

WOW,

 

I have been in Victoria for over a month now, and what a journey it has been! I am a life-long learner, and I am really enjoying this learning process. I am learning about the city (history, fun places to adventure, the culture, the fabulous community, and of course how to get around), entrepreneurship and how I fit into that bubble, and tons about myself. It is nice to give myself some space to reflect, to goal set, and to grow.

It has been quite an exciting roller coaster of adventure, emotions, and hard work. I am delving into the feelings of excitement, of happiness, of serenity, and of loneliness, to be honest. This has inspired my creative brain to go WILD! (I am even thinking about writing a book!) I am working away at this website and creating YouTube content that will connect with this platform (look at the “Contact” page for links).  The videos on my channel include/will include yoga practices, dance videos, tips for focus and productivity, mindfulness strategies and practices…and more! My mind is filled with ways I can provide (academic/holistic health) support, and I am just trying to best navigate how to make this happen and how to best offer these ideas to the world.

 

I love being able to share my journey and experiences with others!

HAPPY AUGUST!!!

 

Love,

Meg

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