Maiden to Mama

My blog has been severely neglected over the past year. It turns out that getting pregnant and becoming a mom doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing, but now that I’m starting to get a handle on this parenting thing  (for today, anyways) I noticed I really missed writing and expressing myself creatively.

It’s hard some days to do much else than nurse my little bundle of joy. It’s been nice to spend the winter indoors, cozied up on the couch, watching  Netflix by day and hockey by night, but today I felt a call for more. I am feeling inspired to create again.

Pre-baby I had so many ways to express my creative energy on a daily basis. For fun I hooped, I danced, I taught classes and workshops, I created costumes and wrote blogs. At work, I flexed my creativity muscles all day long writing emails, newsletters and event invitations. It didn’t hit me until today just how much I missed being in that creative space where inspiration and ideas just flow out of me. One of my core desired feelings is flow, and while I feel like every day as a stay at home mom is all about going with the flow, I’ve missed the creative outlet of being in flow that my soul desires. Expressing that creativity is what helps me feel alive!

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Standing in the gateway, from maiden to mother

When I envisioned my 2017, I had a hard time being specific because I had no clue what it would be like to be a parent. My normal lofty goals for the year ahead were put aside and all I really wanted was to be able to become a parent while not completely losing myself. I wanted to maintain some form of self care. I wasn’t sure how I’d cope with having limited time for myself, but I’m doing pretty good I think, better than I thought to be honest. The time I do have for me is so special, even if it means writing this post on my phone at 1am while nursing my baby, or practicing yoga with a noisy baby in an untidy room and a husband clamouring away in the kitchen (making food and cleaning dishes so I’m not complaining at all!). Before baby,  I’d need to have complete silence and a clean setting to practice yoga at home, now I take what I can get and I’m completely ok with that. Life looks a little different but taking the time for me is that much more valuable since I can’t pour from an empty cup. So I guess this whole post is about me filling my cup so I can be there for my little Aurora Jade.

In one of my many pregnant freak out moments, I worried I wouldn’t know what I was doing when the baby arrived. I eventually realized that while I likely wouldn’t know what I was doing, I have spent years gathering all the skills and self awareness to help me be able to raise this tiny human the best I can. I didnt know exactly what I was preparing for when I invested in countless workshops and retreats, but everything I’ve learned up to this point has helped me get through these first few months as a mama. I’ve learned to trust myself, I’ve built up my confidence, I’ve developed strategies for coping with stress, I’ve learned to take care of my body physically and I’ve discovered what forms of self care are non negotiable. Without all this, I don’t think I’d be able to cope as a new mom. I’m so grateful for all the years of self discovery as a maiden.

It’s time to discover who I am as a mama. The moment I birthed my daughter, I birthed myself as a mother, but I’m just as much as an infant as Aurora and everything is new. Now I’m going to have to figure out who I am all over again, and I’m ready.

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Aurora and I, moments after birthing her into this world

Freedom, flow, bliss!

This year, I’m on a quest to feel free in every aspect of my life – in how I communicate with others, in my body, with how I show up in the world.

I find ways daily to feel free, and every day I celebrate all the ways in which I feel free. Often what comes up is that I feel the most freedom in my hoop. When that freedom arises, I know I’m in flow, an oft sought after state by hoopers. It’s that sweet place where your mind isn’t even thinking about what you’re doing, yet you’re spinning around the room, looking all badass like a hoop ninja. Those freedom and flow moments inevitibly lead to bliss and that is the theme I’ll be working with in the next series of classes I’ll be teaching through Infinity Hoopdance, starting March 3. I’m super excited to share my nearly 8 years of hoop dance practice to help my students find their own freedom, flow and bliss in the hoop. If you want to deepen your practice, find out more about the classes here.

p.s. I found this cool chart about flow, not to be confused with a flow chart, when I was in some professional development training recently. To be in flow, we want to hang out in the centre zone. To get there we just need to match the level of complexity of the task to our skill level and that is what hoop class is meant to do!
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Csikszentmihalyi’s diagram of Flow (Source: Conflict Mediation Coach)

Shine your light at the Radiant Soul Women’s Retreat

I have encountered many woman lately that seem to be in desperate need of self care. They are over worked and are stressed out. They have so much on their plates and have no time for themselves. I know exactly what they feel like.

Sometime in early March I looked at my calendar, in hopes I could find a full seven days where I had no plans because I felt like I just needed a break. The last time I had free time like this was in December and I had been busy ever since. I wanted to pause all the responsibilities I had, and just carve out some time for myself to do as I please. I was a little disheartened to see that that wouldn’t be a possibility until sometime in June. So pretty much, I had a solid six months full of plans and commitments. Eek!

I went on with life and realized that last week, that my free week had finally arrived! A full seven days with no prior commitments, outside of work of course. It felt like being on vacation! It was so lovely to not have to worry about a schedule. I was able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and it felt amazing.

With no plans, I literally took time to smell (and photograph) the roses.

With no plans, I literally took time to smell (and photograph) the roses.

As last week led up to summer solistice, it was also wonderul to reflect on the first half of the year, to celebrate where I am and to connect into my vision for the remainder of the year.

Over the past couple of years, as I strive to find balance and flow, I have learned to set boundaries and try to choose how my time is spent wisely. I try to keep at least one night free each week and make sure I have adequate time on the weekends for self care, whatever that may look like. I’ve been able to maintain that fairly well, but where I have struggled in the past is booking up nearly every weekend in summer by May and not having anytime left for spontaneous fun. Any Canadian will tell you that summers are in short supply and we want to make the most of them. That means going to festivals, camping, visiting family and friends. It can often means not getting to enjoy downtime at home. It’s so great to be able to do all the things, but for myself personally, at some point it becomes too much. This summer I’m doing my best to keep my weekends free so I can live in the moment.

The realization of how busy summer can be is what inspired me to create the Radiant Soul Women’s Retreat. I woke up one morning with the idea that I needed to hold a women’s retreat to create space and time for self care since so many of us don’t take the time for themselves until we’re forced to, because we’re sick or burned out. The weekend-long retreat is going to be amazing! We’ll dance, play, practice various meditation methods and honour ourselves with ceremony. Each activity during the weekend offers a chance for self exploration and soul nourishment. We’ll also nourish our bellies with delicous food prepared with love by our retreat chef.

If those stressed out and burned out women I described sound like you, give yourself a gift and consider joining us on the weekend of September 11  – 13, because you need something like this in your life! I want to support you to reconnect with your natural, radiant state by giving you a chance to take a time out and to reset.

If you’re not sure if a retreat like this is for you, let me assure you it is! Everyone deserves to take time for themselves. Whether you are 18 or 81, this retreat is for you. This retreat is for you if you have never been to anything like this before, or if you have been to 100 other retreats. We will be creating an opening and welcoming space for you to connect with other women, so if you want to come but don’t have a friend to come with, don’t worry,  you’ll have friends by Sunday. If you’re physically active or not, this retreat is for you. Workshops will be designed for any-body and every-body. This retreat is for every woman, because every woman deserves a little self love in their lives!

❤ Nicole