It seems that I end most of my blog posts with some sort of grand reveal about my life, like it is sooo dramatic. I know you guys are hanging on to my every word. Haha!
So this time, rather than making you wait until the end of this post for my announcement, I’ll shout it out right here in the first few sentences…
If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ve seen that Bowie and I are off on another adventure! I have an itch I need to scratch and this time it’s taken us to the Caribbean island chain of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
I have an old friend that has just moved there with her young kids. Her husband is Vincentian, so they’ve moved back to slow their life down a bit (hello, island time), raise their kids and capitalize on some up and coming business development opportunities. Since the opening of their International Airport last year, St. Vincent is open for investment. While other islands within the Grenadine chain, as well as neighboring Caribbean countries, have seen a steady growth in tourism over the years, the island of St. Vincent has been slow to blossom. They are looking to change that. The opening of the new airport in 2017 was a big step in that direction. Air Canada just started a direct flight from Toronto, Caribbean Air direct from NY, and there are others direct from the UK. It will funnel more people through St. Vincent (SVD), instead of through Barbados for travel onward to other Grenadine islands, like the celebrity island of Mustique or the kiteboarding mecca of Union Island, to name a few. To give you an idea of the current tourism landscape, that despite it's history and natural beauty, I don't think there are any big chain International hotels on St. Vincent or any of the Grenadine island chain. This isn’t a bad thing, it just gives you an idea. It's also worth mentioning that while other Caribbean countries were decimated by recent hurricanes, St. Vincent was not. This is because it tucked away out of the hurricane belt.
I'm going to spend the next month checking out what kind of business opportunities could exist here for me and see if it is a place that we could live. This investment video, although long and a bit dry, offers a glimpse at life in St. Vincent.
The rest of this post reads like a bit of a book report, but I promise that my reasoning for this trip will reveal itself.
To date there has been one self-help book that changed my life. 'You Can Heal Your Life’ written by self-help pioneer Louise Hay. It came recommended to me when I was still working at lululemon (thanks Elise) at a time where I was sick in my body and my head and I wasn’t ready to accept help, let alone admit that my life was spiralling out of control. That was 2012. Fast forward to a year-ish later, when I’d finally hit rock bottom and I had nothing left to lose but to buy the book and start the process of healing my life. I’d admitted defeat. I was sick and broken. I talked about this ad nauseum in my first blog post.
I have to admit that I was a bit of a cynical bitch before I started working at lululemon. Working there and being exposed to a personal development platform, opened up my mind to the culture of self-help. Now I truly believe in it. But having an awareness of personal development doesn't mean that you don't stray off the path from time to time and get hung up on things happening in your life. It's a muscle that you have to exercise. It requires constant work.
I bought the book, did a slew of other treatments, and purchased a 3 month membership to the Scandinave Spa in Whistler and a pass to Shala Yoga in Squamish. I threw it all at the wall and went with whatever stuck. I needed a space to think. I needed a place to find inner stillness. I needed to heal. Scandinave played a big role in my recovery.
Scandinave Spa Whistler offers a traditional Scandinavian baths experience in a peaceful and natural environment…nestled on the edge of the Lost Lake Park spruce and cedar forest will both relax and invigorate you, and provide an escape from daily stress…by embracing silence one finds inner stillness, leading to complete relaxation. It turned out to be the perfect recipe for self-induced therapy.
Amidst the silence, the sunshine and freshly fallen snow, I read that book religiously and proudly, I did all the work. Lots of writing. Exercises that got me out of my comfort zone. Lots of self-exploration. Aside from seeing the odd counsellor, it was the first time in my life that I’d actually taken personal responsibility for the shit in my head. As shitty as that time in my life was, I look back on that specific experience fondly. The Scandinave will always be one of my favourite places. I wish they were paying me in the form of lifetime membership to endorse them like this! Haha! Really, it would be a hard place not to love. Unless, of course, you hate hot tubs or public baths. Ahem, Ingrid. 😜 Even now, whenever I have something to work out in my head, I go there, journal in hand. Actually, I have a whole kit: journal, water bottle, pen, lip balm, sunglasses, sunscreen, robe, sandals. My friend Jenna laughs at my preparedness for this, but I'm dead serious about my relaxation process. No fucking around. And yes, I also "Sssshhh" people. I'm that girl.
I am grateful that I had (and have) the means and the suppprt to go through that process. I credit that work to where I am now. I still have work to do on myself - I mean, everybody does - but I’m at a place in my life where I’m happy. I couldn’t have said that in the past. Life is a process of breaking down and rebuilding, so I guess you’re always healing something. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that finds themselves “stuck” in any area of their life and is willing to do the work. $30 well spent (and so much cheaper than therapy).
There hasn’t been a self-help book that I has helped me like ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ until last November when ‘You are a Badass’ by Jen Sincero came up as the November pick for our Book club (read: Wine club) meeting. It was the second time I'd heard about the book on a span of a couple months, so the Universe was offering it up to me. To clarify, I’m not doing much actual reading these days running around after Bowie, but I’m all over the audiobooks. I can pop it on in the car when I'm driving and 'boom', I’m a captive audience. One return trip to Squamish and back and I had already listened to half of ‘You are a Badass’. An added bonus being that the lull of the spoken word over the car speakers keeps Bowie asleep the whole drive.
So yeah, ‘You are a Badass’ and her following book ‘You are a Badass with Money’ have got me feeling totally reinvigorated and stoked about the future! Stoked, with the utmost clarity. So clear that I can almost reach out and touch it. I’m fairly well-versed in the self-help world - my reading category of choice - so the concepts she presents aren’t foreign to me, she just pitches them in a language that resonates with me right now. Her badass books are the kick to the butt that I needed to get my head back on track after a year plus of being on maternity leave. Having a baby is isolating. Having a baby on your own is extremely isolating. In that isolation, there is nothing but time to think and think and worry and think. It's hard to keep your thoughts from getting away from you. Having something positive to influence and guide my thoughts right now is worth it's weight in gold. For this, 'You are a Badass' is my bible.
There is a common theme in most self-help books that involves the existence of energy (Jen refers to it as source energy), along with visualization and manifestation. Thoughts become things. The grass grows where you water it. Like attracts like. The law of attraction. And so on...
This book, ‘You are a Badass’ is no different. There is a line in the book where she says “worrying is praying for stuff you don’t want”. That line struck me like a thump to the head. I look back on my my last blog post, bittersweet SURRENDER and I can feel the fear in my words. I realized that with all my talk about Squamish being so expensive and not 'working' for me, combined with my worry about watching my money disappear and worry about caring for my daughter, all I’ve been doing is inviting these self-fulfilling negative prophecies into my life.
I realized I needed to change my thought patterns. 2018 is about transformation (of thoughts, energy and behaviour) for me. 2018 is about self-love. Not just because my horoscope said so, but it was a nice affirmation. 2018 is about taking care of me, so I can take care of Bowie. And, because horoscopes are fun.
Instead of focusing on the bad stuff and the stuff that wasn’t happening or wasn’t working, I had to get clear (again) on what I wanted our life, our future, to look like. I have an idea - I always have - but this time around I am more clear on my vision AND I want to live THAT life every single day. Woke AF. I'm far from perfect and don't pretend to be. I know that I have a shitload of work to do. It’s hard to break old patterns, even if they’ve been broken and fixed before. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Hanging out with myself. Getting to know me. Figuratively, shedding my old shit. Fixing my broken links.
For the past month I’ve pushed all the other stuff I said I was going to do aside and I’ve made it my job to work on myself and invest in my personal development. Justifiably, my family doesn’t get it and has been the source of many disagreements. Neither do some of my friends. And that’s okay. It's not their life. A couple things happened that cleared away the time and space for me to be able to do this personal work. Bowie was enrolled in full time daycare. The costume contract I was supposed to have for December fell through. The BC film industry slows down on the lead up to Christmas which meant that the show couldn’t get me - a non-union member - a union permit.
And so within that space, the work began...
1st Action Item: Complete my vision board. Now this time it didn’t mean just tearing out the images and leaving them scattered all over the house to finish ‘later’ - a time that never seemed to come. This time meant COMPLETING IT. I am happy to say that I finished my Vision Board! Cue fireworks. That baby is now on display in the kitchen, so I can look at it every day, and talk to Bowie about it and see us living in it. Plus I took a picture and I’ve made it the wallpaper on my phone. I’ve shared the image with friends. It’s out in the Universe. Not only did I finish my vision board, but I encouraged my sister to do one too. I can imagine Bowie jumping off the dock at my sister's lake house just as much as she can see Odi playing in the waves at my place in the tropics. Let me save you $100 in magazines and a whole whack of time by advising you to just find the images you really love on Pinterest and print them out in colour.
"Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe."
- Oprah Winfrey
2nd Action Item: Write out vision. My vision is detailed and long and drawn out...for good reason. Jen Sincero says to act as if you already have it. Taste it. Smell it. Touch it. Love it. Breathe it. I’ve filled my vision with everything that is important to me. For example, my vision starts out on my wedding day, standing at an oceanfront altar on my property ready to say my “I do’s”. Bowie is my Maid of Honour. I go on to talk about every detail: who is there, what I’m wearing, what we eat, how it smells, etc. It’s a kickass vision for a badass life. It’s grand and totally ridiculous, but it will be my life. I promise.
Visualize what a day in your future life looks like. Where are you? What are you doing? Who is there? Building your vision board, it’s easy to be caught up manifesting success in material things, but you don’t have to think about it that way. That’s not necessarily the point. Maybe yours is about having time to spend with those closest to you. Maybe it’s about freedom. Think instead about how your future life vision makes you feel. What traits do you possess? Think carefully about what every image means to you. Tell your story as you want it to be told.
3rd Action Item: Determine what your limiting self-conscious beliefs are and release those beliefs, never to be seen again. Self-love and acceptance, or rather the lack of, is a common theme for me. So is self-discipline. I realized my story is that 'nothing good every lasts' which came from a childhood of repeated let downs by my dad - (a blog post for another time). This sub-conscious thought pattern can be applied to a multitude of things in my life: relationships, any sort of financial gain, or any career success, my physical state or health, etc. Living in this statement allows me to subconsciously self-sabotage the good things in my life or not even start them in the first place, let alone finish them. I'm ready to kick these old beliefs to the curb and create (and live) into new statements for my life.
4th Action Item: Write new beliefs to replace those limiting ones. Say them out loud and proud, à la Brian Tracy, to yourself every time those old limiting ones creep up in your thoughts. When I first did this exercise I had a list of 26 affirmations and counting. Yes, twenty six. Thank you to friends who read these and made me nail down five. Even those five are incredibly wordy and need to simplified. Still working. I guess the goal is for them to be so simple that you can recite them from memory.
5th Action Item: Meditate. That’s a new one for me. I still need practice, but the good thing is that there’s no wrong way to do it. I have enlisted the help of an app called Insight Timer to get me going. I'm working on making it a ritual now, complete with crystals and tarot cards.
6th Action Item: Write a letter to money as if you were writing it to a person. Let your words flow. This was a beneficial exercise for me. It allowed me to see patterns in my life that I hadn’t really seen before. I realized that my relationship with money is, like a lot of things in my life, based in fear - a fear of losing it, to be specific. I could see that the vision of my future life would never be manifested if I was constantly living in fear. Gah! As I write this I realize that this statement applies to another big thing that I want to manifest in my life - a loving relationship, a soul mate.
7th Action Item: Now write a new letter to money. A letter of gratitude.
8th Action Item: Find someone to hold you accountable. I have a secret accountability group. We have hush hush meetings in nice hotel rooms and talk about the cool stuff that we’re going to accomplish. It’s fun.
I am ready to let go of the things that no longer serve me. I am ready to be a badass. I am ready to stop living in fear. Ummm, please remind me of this when I forget, when my words start to slip! Hold me accountable.
In the words of Jen Sincero, “There’s nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fuck-yeah”. And with that statement, this train load full of “fuck yeah” is leaving the station. Next stop: best life.
Since my best life involves sunshine and sandy shores, I’m exploring opportunities as they present themselves here in the Caribbean, because if I can live my life without fear of losing, I have nothing to lose by trying. See how that works?! Stay tuned to see how this trip transpires.