Breathe & Keep Up

Live your best life, one breath at a time

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‘make an attack or assault in return for a similar attack’

You speak coldly to me, I speak coldly back.

You withhold love, I will withhold more.

Your eyes wander around while I’m talking, I stop talking and stop responding.

You are short, angry, abrupt, distant…I give you daggers with my eyes, sharp words with my voice, cross my arms and turn my back in an act of separation and defiance.

At the very least, I will match what you put out, but most times I will strive for the advantage. This means that you must hurt more than I. This means I get my strength when you are weaker.  This means I am hungry for you to fall. It may sound dramatic, but in the heat of the moment, I want my eyes to slowly lower to meet where you are fallen on the ground, begging for me to forgive your wrongs.

What drives me? What is my fuel? Anger. Power. Greed. On the outside, all of these and more. It is a power play.

On the inside though, a different story is swirling and spiraling.

Inside I am scared. Scared what it means when you treat me in a way that I perceive to be disrespectful, hurtful, and worst of all, indifferent.

Fear is my real driver.

My team is my ego. We work together to protect ourselves.  We are number one. Nothing is as important as us. Our survival is critical.

Any sign of distance from your part and my ego is on alert. I get notified that someone is trying to make us feel unimportant, unworthy, unloved. Alarms go off.

Science tells me that my thinking, rational brain has turned off and my stress response has taken over. And so my heart rate quickens, my muscles tighten, pupils dilate, and I am focused and ready for battle.

Winning feels so good.

But it’s tiring. This whole charade requires so much recovery.

When the dust settles, everything looks  and feels different.

A sobering look at what transpired.

There are casualties. Many of them.

My body is tired, the emotional battle takes a mental and physical toll. I want to sleep for days.

Your face tells part of your story. You look worn, sunken, your eyes are weary, you have seen things in this war that you hadn’t imagined possible. I can see the images in your eyes and as they replay I am in shock of my own actions.

I feel regret, confusion, remorse, and guilt.

I decide to review the footage, maybe I can determine where it all went wrong…

As I play it back in slow motion I see things more clearly.

I see the gaps. The spaces where I could have chosen differently.

But hindsight is always clearer. How can I choose differently in the moment, in the present, in the moment that counts?

The answer comes to me: ‘slow down, sit, practice’

And then I get it. The external battle only has such extreme impacts when I have already lost the internal battle.

It isn’t you that is threatening me. The true threat is the voice in my head that interprets your actions and puts me on alert. But I can choose whether to pay attention to this voice or not.  I can notice more and engage less. I can mold it, soften it, give it less airtime.

I realize that the voice that took over is the one that craves love and worthiness. It is the one that thinks love must be earned, worked for, performed for, achieved, and then held onto for dear life. This voice does not know what my heart and soul does, that we are born as love and it can never be taken from us.

So I will sit. Everyday I will sit and watch the voices. I will watch their show. I will be curious about their patterns and see all their usual ways and tricks. I will be more the driver and less the passive passenger.

The voice is sure to grab my attention again. Your actions will once again trigger me, and the voice will roar into my mind. This time, I will see it, smile and say “I love you, good-bye”. A wise teacher taught me that line, it has compassion and release, what a beautiful way to let the voice go. And, if this time, I give into the voice, if I end up back on the battle field, and find myself feeling shame and regret….well I will look at those self-judgments and also say “I love you, good-bye”.

Make love, not war right? It all starts inside me.



‘a false statement; an untruth; a falsehood’

You lied.

I could feel it before it happened. It wasn’t spoken yet but it’s birth was palpable.

I could have just ignored it, let it go. I could have never asked the question, but I did.

I asked nervously, the answer held power over me.

You spoke. I listened, I believed.

At first I was relieved.  You said what I wanted to hear.

I felt safe, status quo.

But the doubt slowly crept in. You weren’t being honest. Something was being covered up, swept under the rug.

I wanted to challenge it, question it, get to the bottom of it.

But I was also scared. What would I find? Could I handle it? Did I have the courage? Should I wait awhile? Until I’m more ready?

I probed, you responded, and there it was between us, the lie.

The lie keeps our lives soft, it doesn’t require, propel, force change, the lie keeps things running smoothly.

Except…there is that lingering feeling….that nagging sensation that the truth needs, wants, aches to come out, to be set free, to be put into motion.

You lied.

You lied and it forced me to see that we were both living in fear. Fear of looking at the tough stuff.

You lied and I faced the fact that we all lie. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes in ignorance.

I wanted to blame you. I caught you and I wanted you to feel so bad for being dishonest.

In my narrow vision all that mattered was what you did.

The entire picture became about you and your dishonesty. I painted a forever judgment, picture, story.  I didn’t want to see my part in it.

I was the victim and you the one that made me suffer.

But then there it was again. The mirror.

The finger that pointed at you got turned around at me.

I was left looking into my own eyes and for a moment there was immense clarity and humility.

The lie changed everything.

I made a commitment to truth. I wanted to see all the ways I lie to myself. I wanted to explore and unravel each one.

I know it’s a life long journey. I know we can hide from the truth in a multitude of ways.

I know it can be scary to face the truth and speak it.

Sometimes the words pour out smoothly and it all goes magnificently.

Other times, the words fall out messily, they leave stains, and we have to spend some frustrated time cleaning up.

But in the end, I feel more aligned, I feel lighter.

I end up not just telling the truth, but living it, and there are no words to express that freedom.

So you lied, and I lied.

Big ones, life changing lies, and also small ones, seemingly insignificant lies. Each holding an opportunity, a purpose, a gift.

I lie. We lie.

Let’s stop hiding behind them and instead move towards them, sometimes deep, deep down underneath them, where the truth is waiting patiently for us.


‘notice, see, note, perceive, discern, detect, spot’

There are voices in my head. So many.

You ask me what I’m thinking, my opinion, how that made me feel, how my day was, and I want to tell you, I want to be honest – but I’m confused.

I don’t know which voice to listen to, which one is the truth?

There are voices based on past experiences, insecurities, preconceptions, deep attachment to the roles I play. Other voices based on something deeper, voices from the soul. But how do I discern?

Awareness has blessed (and sometimes it feels like cursed) me with the ability to observe and hear more voices.

Instead of only hearing the loudest, most rehearsed voices, I can sense the softer ones as well. I pause to hear what they are all saying.

The loud one is telling me to express how angry I am. The softer one murmurs something about this anger not being a story worth telling. ‘Let it go’, it whispers, ‘that story is old, that line of thinking is played out‘. ‘Let it go’ it says more loudly because it senses that it has my attention.

This new voice draws me, I’m pulled towards it but I also feel stuck.

I’m scared. While the new line of thinking feels right, I don’t know how to act. What is the appropriate behaviour with this thought?

I pause some more.

I feel fear.

I will be acting in ways people are not used to. What if they laugh at me? What if I’m humiliated? What if they think less of me? reject me?

But if I go back to my old ways, the old story, the same old behaviour, then this fresh voice may disappear, and along with it the seed of living according to my values, aligned to truth, growth, and love.

I am still and silent. I feel like this is awkward and uncomfortable for those around me.

But I must continue to wait and notice. It’s all becoming an experiment. I feel innovative, creative, I feel a birthing.

But after some more stillness, fear wins…this time. I act in the old way, attached to a rehearsed identity. It’s comfortable, safe, known.  I won’t lose anything. But what will I gain?

The experiment continues, the new voice does not disappear and courage grows to try it fresh next time.

The voice of your truth. Practice listening and it will practice speaking until it gets so loud that courage is no longer required to act accordingly.


‘an uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration, typically in a young child.’

I like getting what I want. I want you to read my mind.

What’s that? I can’t have that 24-7, 100% of the time?

Ok, cue tantrum: closed off body, cold, unresponsive, brows furrow slightly, eyes give a look that could pierce steel and make you feel like you’re the scum of the earth, and a few sarcastic and defensive comments to close the show.

Now can I have what I want?

Still no eh? Damn…well time for me to walk (scratch that, run) away.

I’ve gotten pretty good at reflecting after an emotional incident. I journal, I meditate, I talk to people I trust and respect. But during the incident, in the throes of being triggered, well I’m just beginning to learn to pause during such an episode to see what is happening, to be the observer.

The findings are fascinating. Here’s what I have noted about my behaviour:

I become a child.

I may not stomp my feet, throw things, bite people or scream but I sure feel like it sometimes.

A child’s tantrum can be accepted, they are learning to manage emotions, to communicate their needs, to understand their surroundings and to interact with others. Parents take deep breaths, and through amazing patience and love, guide the child out of the tantrum. They distract them, hug them, sometimes give in, and sometimes explain the options.

I, on the other hand, am far from a child. And yet at times I really struggle to separate myself from my emotions, to recognize my needs, and communicate them effectively.

I take no responsibility.

During a tantrum I take no accountability for my reaction. It is the other person’s fault and I believe they should do everything in their power to fix it.

I am stuck.

I find it next to impossible to snap out of it. I can feel that it’s harmful to stay in the triggered state. I certainly don’t feel good and I can see that I’m not making others around me feel good either. And yet, I remain frozen, paralyzed, unable to snap out of it, waiting desperately for someone else to come to my rescue.

So what to do?

Here are the steps I use to notice the tantrum and come out of it.

Be aware and call it out.

When you notice yourself heading into a tantrum, call it out to yourself. Mentally say “I am triggered from what just happened”. Calling it out and being specific helps the mind to see it as something separate to work with instead of being completely engaged and taken by it.

Recognize the stress response.

The body responds very quickly when it feels threatened. We skip past the rational thinking part of the brain and go straight to the protective part that tells us to freeze, flee, or fight. This evolutionary response that was designed to protect us from physical threat, reacts the same to emotional threat.

Note all the physical responses that are wired into the nervous system: the tightened muscles, the closed off stance, the increased heart rate, the rapid breath, and the desire to run.

Take a few deep breaths. Relax the muscles that feel tight. Bring the body into an open posture, roll the shoulders back, uncross the arms and keep them by your side. Take a few more breaths.

See the spinning story and the fear.

How are you at risk in this situation? How does not getting what you want threaten you?

Does the situation risk making you feel unaccepted? unworthy? unattractive? unloved?

Know that this is simply the play of the ego. Nothing external can impact your worth unless you allow it to.

It is the meaning that we attribute to the occurring event that creates the volatility. Usually, the meaning we have attributed to the situation is not true and in the event that it is true, it doesn’t come close to defining our entirety or anyone else’s.

Come to your own rescue and respond wisely.

The opportunity lies in responding from a place of worthiness, compassion, and love instead of fear. Only you can do the work to find that place inside yourself. Others can inspire you, give you tools, they can help, but you have to show up, be courageous, and do the work to connect deeper, see your stuff, and heal old wounds.

In my experience, responding wisely takes a lot of work and discipline but it is completely worth it. The alternative is that we keep reacting based on fear and insecurity, ceasing to evolve into our highest potential, the best version of ourselves, where we experience deeper connection, joy, and peace.


‘Unconditional love and sacrifice’



I have called out this word celebrating laughter and joy.

I have called out this word to comfort my tears, anger, frustration, sickness, and pain.

I have called out this word when my mother was not even close enough to hear it.

It is a word that soothes me because it represents an infinite presence of love and healing.

Ma is an energy.

An energy you feel in the ocean, among the trees, and in the earth that carries us and replenishes us.

A humbling energy that is nurturing, accepting, supporting, listening, caring, and holding.

Ma is grace, simplicity, and joy.

Ma is timeless wonder and magic.

Ma gives birth to new life, connection, awareness, and growth.

Ma, you bring me back to humility and softness when I have gotten caught up in the illusion of proving myself to the world.

You have taught me what a home is. You show me that it’s not the big things done once, but the little things done consistently that create a cozy and safe place for your loved ones.

You remind me of the simple pleasures found in good company and laughter.

Ma, your bright smile is a painted picture on my soul.

Connecting with the memories of your loving touch is what aligns me into living and giving from my heart.

Your prayers and dreams grow my fire to live consciously.

You are a force unparalleled.

Ma, I ask for your forgiveness for any pain I have caused as I was learning to find myself and I ask for your pre-forgiveness because I’m not nearly done on this journey of awakening.

I ask for your forgiveness even though I know you have already given it to me for lifetimes.

I bow to you, Ma, in deep reverence and gratitude.





‘grasp, clutch, cling to, keep, carry’


I had a tight grip on you for so long.

My arms, my hands, they were tired… and yet I couldn’t bare to let go.

I was scared.

If I let go…If I let you go, I would lose everything you brought into my life. Everything you made me feel. Everything you allowed me to believe about myself.

I held on tightly because if you were to go, what would be left? How would I know that I’m strong, attractive, capable, if you weren’t here to remind me?

In reality, we parted a long time ago. We were no longer an us. We hadn’t been us for years.

But it didn’t matter, my mind held on to your image of me.

My mind clutched onto your words of encouragement, my back ached to feel your hands supporting me, my heart expanded when reminded of your love. My shoulders relaxed with the knowing of your presence.

Even then, I moved forward, new people, places, risks, I thought I was making it, people admired my strength…but I kept glancing back…and like a child exploring her environment for the first time, I felt comforted in seeing you behind me. When I fell, I would hold the pieces in my hand and come to you. You patiently put me back together so I could venture out again.

Why would I walk away from that? Because there was a knowing, a quiet hum of a voice that told me that I needed to walk alone, that I needed to experience nothing before I could experience everything.

How did I walk away? One small, painful, challenging, courageous step at a time…

The truth is that it wasn’t about you. You were a messenger. It made me sad to think of it this way. I wanted to hold on to the romantic version of it all.

The truth is that you were a fire starter, a match, an igniter, your presence was to shine light on my soul. Your departure was to teach me how to keep the fire going, how to make it stronger myself.

Instead of understanding this, I searched for your replacement. I urgently moved from one distraction to the next. I grasped at the fillers, nothing was too small, I was thirsty for validation, for love. But even when the external ego boosters were abundant, I remained unquenched.

Here and there people came into my life to remind me to stop running, to sit still, to wake up. Here and there I caught a glimpse in the mirror of the young girl I used to be…but more often than not, I couldn’t look at her, I couldn’t hold her innocent, sweet, playful gaze. She just wanted to spend time with me and I deserted her, over and over.

Then one day it hit me. I share love with my family, my friends, I hug them, kiss them, I think of them fondly, I listen to them, I honour their beauty, their strengths, I empathize with their fears – and yet I wasn’t able to do any of this for myself.

So I crawled over to the big mirror in my room, I looked in and I held her gaze. Through tears I apologized and I promised not to leave. Through tears I laughed. I laughed because it all felt so silly, so cheesy, and yet I couldn’t look away.

I wrapped myself in a big hug.

This was the start of my journey home.

This was the start of releasing the grip, of my muscles relaxing, this was me waking up, looking in.

I kept at it, I talked to myself. I sat with myself. I learned how to be a better friend to myself.

My steps got steadier and in time looking into myself replaced looking behind me.

Are you taking the time to really look at yourself, to really talk, to really feel?

Are you holding your own gaze?

There is so much love for you and the abundance starts in your own eyes.


‘illuminate, make visible, understanding a problem or a mystery’

Being woken from a deep sleep to the bright light peeking through the curtain. Sometimes we turn towards the sunlight and get energized by its brightness shining through. Other times, the light is unwelcome, we pull the cover over our face, reach for the eye mask or turn the other way.

This readiness versus resistance to light is played out in all parts of our lives.

The light of knowledge, clarity and growth is not always received with open arms. Maybe we don’t feel ready to leave the dark corner, we don’t want to see where we’re stuck, we don’t want to change, we’re tired and scared.

In these times of resistance, we get a certain sense of comfort staying in the darkness a little longer.  This is okay with the light, it’s not enemies with the darkness, the two work together as one would not exist without the knowledge of the other.

The light allows us time in the darkness, to understand our pain, to relate to hurt, suffering, disappointment. It gives us space to consider the pain of others, to build compassion and connection with others. It sits unwearied hoping we will take the opportunity to acknowledge our struggle and realize the ripe opening for growth.

The light is patient, resilient, and untiring.  It will always find its way through the shadows to reach you, heal you, love you and give you strength.

But still at times we feel as though we’ve been deserted, as if the light has forgotten all about us – this is never true.

In the moments we feel abandoned, we can ask for help. We can ask the light to guide us and support us. It will always show up.

The light presents itself in different forms…an inner voice, a smiling friend, a helpful stranger, a hug, a good book, an easing of tension, a flow to the day.

But we have come to take the light for granted. We have created an imbalance in the play of darkness and light. In focusing more on darkness, on hardship, on victim-hood, the light comes and goes unnoticed.

Pause.  Take a deep breath.  Look up, down, around, look IN. The light is there, see it, feel it, hold it in your hands and protect it like the delicate flame of a candle.

Surrender into the warmth of light.  Revel in the seen that can no longer be unseen. Sigh into the awareness that is the gift of life.

Carry the light, spread the light, BE the light.


‘separate into pieces as a result of a blow, shock or strain’

Sometimes I feel like even a gentle breeze could knock me over.

Every now and again I feel like simply catching someone’s eye could make me burst into tears.

There exist moments where everything stings, everything burns, everything hurts.

I once felt shame when such sensitivity took over my body. I fought ferociously against the giant wave that felt relentless in trying to bring me down.

I would plant my feet stronger to fight the force.

I would avoid eye contact and steady my gaze on anything that couldn’t look back.

These tactics served a purpose – I appeared outwardly tough, confident, unbreakable, unfazed, strong.

But inwardly, I felt tension from resisting what I was feeling.

Inside, I felt stuck from not releasing what was struggling to come out.

Deep down I felt angry at the people that made me feel imbalanced, I felt critical against myself for letting other people affect me like this.

Then there came a time when the force was too strong.  I couldn’t find the ground under my feet, I couldn’t steady my gaze, there was no holding firm.

So I broke.

My shoulders hunched, my legs curled in, my arms wrapped around me, my head fell towards anything that would catch me and I cried. I didn’t resist, I let go, I released until there was nothing left. I felt a complete emptying. And for the first time in my life, I paused here. I held still.

In this holding I became acutely aware of pain and suffering, my own and that of others. I felt so sensitive to the sensations in my body, to each breath, time slowed and thoughts faded into nothingness. I felt sadness and joy at once. I felt naked, raw, connected to everything and attached to nothing.

I felt empty.

It was in this place of hollow vacancy that everything became available. I knew that I had emptied the old, stagnant, stuck energy, so that the new, fresh, vibrant energy would have room to make roots.  So here I moved slowly and purposefully to hand pick what would fill the space, focusing on seeds of love, healing, compassion and expansion.

Now I try to listen to my body and when the wave feels like it’s about to take over, I don’t fight it – I surrender. Sometimes I’m by myself and sometimes with trusted loved ones.

It’s not always easy – I am constantly challenged by my long standing definitions and beliefs around strength, weakness, reputation and what it really means to be vulnerable. I had grown so accustomed to denying, ignoring, pushing away the ‘negative’ emotions of sadness, anger, loneliness while welcoming and placing a pedestal underneath the ‘positive’ emotions of happiness and joy. Over time, I realized that in denying certain emotions, I was denying parts of myself. I wasn’t accepting all of me, I wasn’t loving all of me – yet I expected others to accept and love me completely.

In surrendering to all of my emotions, I feel a sense of freedom and gratitude. I feel unbound by conditioned responses that were holding me back and I feel grateful to experience love and compassion towards myself and others – a connection to humanity that is indescribable.

So my dear friends, without judgment, without apologizing, break, purge, release, throw it out, get it out, LET GO.

Make space, be curious, and slowly, with purpose, plant the seeds that nurture, love, and heal.

Lots of love to you.


‘ready, prepared, inclined’

I am willing to change.

I am willing to live my purpose, to nurture the calling inside me that cries to be freed.

I am willing to drop the story, release the limiting beliefs, purge the anger and sadness that I carry as toxins throughout my body.

I am willing to stop doing the same things and expect different results.

I am willing to see more clearly.

I am willing to shed, to scrub, to strip away the layers, to be raw, to be free.

I am willing to surrender, to let go of having to control everything.

I am willing to feel safe, here and now, no matter what.

I am willing to let go of what doesn’t serve me anymore.

I am willing to heal.

I am willing to change.

I am willing to see you as me, them as you, to let our souls dance together.

I am willing to merge into something bigger, much much bigger.

I am willing to trust that it’s all working out, that it’s all happening for a reason.

I am willing to see myself, and you, and them through eyes of love and not fear.

I am willing to come out of my mind, out of the stories and come into my body, into energy, into consciousness.

I am willing to do what scares me for the purpose of growth, for the purpose of raising awareness, consciousness and peace.

I am willing to connect with the happiness, wholeness, perfection, limitless love that is already within me and to stop seeking it out externally.

I am willing to change. I am willing to be patient.

I am willing.


‘an intense feeling of deep affection’

Read this to someone you love, read this to your self.

From you, To you, Love, Love Love.

I love you.

I want to wrap my arms around you and give you a warm, unrushed, close, tight hug.

I want to smile my biggest smile for you. Teeth showing, slightly crooked, forming wrinkles under my eyes, cheeks bunching up.

I smile this big for you because I’m happy you’re here.

I smile this wide for you because you make this world different and better.

I smile this long for you, because when I do, you smile too, you can’t help it and I like when we smile together.

My eyes look at you with curiosity because you never cease to amaze me.

My eyes look into yours, which makes you look away at times, because it can be hard to be seen.

You don’t always see what I see. You would shake your head when I say how intelligent, how unique, how talented you are. You think I say this to everyone so it can’t possibly be genuine or true about you. You think I’m too positive, being dramatic, caught up in a moment – but I’m not. I feel this way about you all the time. Even when you are upset with me and I wonder if you see me, understand me, or know that I’m still here.

I think of you. Sometimes I start smiling or laughing remembering something you said or did and I feel so grateful to be in your life.

I wish you could hear how I speak of you to others. You would feel embarrassed maybe, but I get so excited to share all the amazing things about you. I could go on and on.

I think of your strength, of all the different things you have been through, your resilience, your resolve, your ability to brush yourself off and get back on your feet.

It hurts me when you doubt yourself, when you feel guilt, shame, sad, regretful. You probably don’t know that long after we’ve spoken I think about how crazy it is that you carry these thoughts because I see how bright you shine and I don’t want you to dim that light, not even for an instant.

I see people looking at you. I like standing back and watching you be YOU. When you let it all out and I get to see the awe and the inspiration in the faces looking back at you.

I know our relationship won’t always look the same. Life may take us in different directions. I may not always be fortunate enough to hear you, see you, smile for you.

But it doesn’t matter. I will always be here. And if you pause for a moment you will feel my presence, my energy, my love.

No parameters, no limits, no wavering, today, tomorrow, forever, I love you.