Shifting to Balance

I’ve been a bad blogger!

I know it’s best practice to blog weekly but that is not something I can keep up with so I gave myself a more realistic goal of once a month. That seemed much more doable, and was for almost two years.

Then I missed a month. Then two. Then three. Now I feel all this pressure to write this epic post and I don’t feel like anything is good enough or interesting enough!

I know though, that I can glean a lot of lessons from this whole experience because this is just a reflection of how I act in other areas of my life. That whole mirror thing, you know?

I’ve got an expectation of what I should be doing, feel guilty when I don’t do it and then feel some resistance to getting started again because it feels too big and insurmountable.

But you know what?

I just need to start writing again. Get back on the wagon, so to speak. Baby steps. One step. Just one word. It’s not all or nothing.

How many times in life do we take an all or nothing attitude?

How often does that actually work?

I tried an all or nothing attitude and I ended up getting burnt out.

In fact, I’m still recovering from adrenal fatigue syndrome because I pushed myself too hard for too long. Working full time, building my business and still trying to have an active social life.

It became too much and I swung from one side of the pendulum (the crazy busy side) to the other (crash & burn). When I swung back to the non-busy side I guess my blog fell to the wayside, along with other non-essential activities that previously took up my time.

It all makes sense though, when I think about how my theme for this year is balance.

I realize that perfect balance is a myth and can never be truly achieved, it’s more like managing a juggling act or finding a flow or rhythym in life.

What I’m looking for, is a way to manage it all.

I’ve learned that I can still do it all if give myself more downtime.

At the same time, I realize that I can’t actually do it ALL, but I can do a little bit of it all if I cut out the non-important things. Reprioritize. Set boundaries.

I’ve started asking myself how something will make me feel before I do it, and if it doesn’t align with one of my core desired feelings, then I don’t do it. Simple as that.

My balanced pendulum

My pendulum is swinging back to centre.

You can explore your own core desired feelings, check out Danielle LaPorte’s “Desire Map“. It’ll totally change the way you plan your life, it’s already having a huge impact on mine.

My pendulum is finally swinging back to the middle after a few months of rest, reprioritizing and relaxation. I may be closer to finding that elusive balance than I thought.

And I guess I had a blog post in me after all.

❤ Nicole

A Letter To 14 Year Old Me

April 9 marks an important anniversary. On that date 15 years ago, I attempted suicide. This is one thing I’m so glad I failed at in life because man, I love to be alive! I posted that on Facebook yesterday and was overwhelmed by the response of my family and friends, there are so many people who love and support me. All that love and support inspired me to write a letter to my 14 year old self, sharing all the wisdom I’ve gained in the last 15 years.

14 year old Nicole, why u so sad?

14 year old Nicole, don’t worry, everything is gonna be ok. More than ok actually, everything is going to be awesome!

Dear Nicole,

This is future you and I want to get right into this and say that you’re awesome and I love you. It may seem strange to love yourself, but you’ll learn that it’s very important to love yourself.

You have so much to live for, I promise! Did you know that you’ll get to ride an elephant in Thailand? Bet you wouldn’t have imagined that would happen. Guess what else? In just three years you’ll meet the love of your life, eventually get engaged in Hawaii and get married in Mexico, surrounded by all of your family and friends. Even before that things will get better for you, you’ll have a pretty good time in high school. Believe it or not, you’ll join the running club and complete the 12 km Bloomsday road race two years in a row, you’ll love art class and be part of the swim team and cycling club too. At age 21 you’ll decide to play soccer for the first time in your life and will love it! You’re not going to believe this, but you’re going to fall in love with hula hooping and start teaching it, to girls who are your age right now, so you can instill in them that they’re awesome and help them get through the same things  that you’re feeling. I don’t want to give away all the awesome details, but you’ll spend a lot of time dressing up in costumes, playing with goats and dancing under the stars. Your life is worth living, trust me. Please know that other people’s lives will be negatively impacted if you aren’t around.

Sure, there will be some hard times, but don’t worry because you got this! You’re strong and smart and you have so, so, so many people around you that love you. You have more cheerleaders than you know of. Always remember that when you’re feeling alone.

Nicole, you are so beautiful, inside and out. I know you don’t see that, but you truly are. I know that you just want to be accepted, but you know what? The only acceptance you need is from yourself. Everyone else is just as self conscious as you are and they aren’t paying as much attention to you as you think. Be confident in who you are, even if you don’t feel like you know who that is yet. I know it sounds silly, but if you tell yourself every day that you love yourself, you’ll start to believe it. What’s attractive in others is confidence, so strive towards that. You are talented, you are smart and you are not fat! In fact, you have a perfectly curvy body, learn to love it! You may find that some people act out towards you because they are jealous or because they don’t feel confident, but that’s ok. You have my permission to love yourself, so start faking it until you make it.

I really just can’t stress enough that what you’re going through right now is like a small blip in time and you’re so close to the next chapter of your life. You have so much to live for and so much to look forward to. Even as I write this, I can’t fathom what our life will be like in another 15 years, but I can guarantee it will be awesome because we will make it that way! And don’t worry about getting old Nicole, when you’re 44  your husband will  be 49. You never have to worry about getting old because he’ll always be older and you will find that very amusing.

Another thing Nicole, it’s ok to feel sad or depressed or mad or angry, just find some way to express what you’re feeling. Write in your journal, write a poem, paint a picture, bang on your drums, talk to one of your friends or one of your cheerleaders. Are you surprised to find out you’re still friends with your junior high buddies 15 years later? Well, you are!

14 year old Nicole, I leave you with lines from a poem called Desiderata that you will grow quite fond of as you grow up.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

and

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Love you so much, more than you could ever know,
29 year old Nicole

Lessons From Inside A Circle – How Hooping Lit Up My Life

When people first find out that I’m a hooper, I often get asked why I do it. Is it for exercise? Do I compete in dance competitions? When I tell them no to both, they often give me a confused look, and that is when I tell them I do it for fun. While that is the truth, I don’t often get the chance to talk about the deeper reasons why I hoop. Hooping has taught me many lessons, this practice, just like yoga, will never be complete and I’m happy to keep learning. Here are a few lessons that have helped me light up my life!

Lesson #1 –  What goes up must come down – unless you choose to keep it up!
Whether hand hooping above my head or hooping on my chest, gravity seems to want to pull the hoop down to the ground. It takes a lot of effort to keep the hoop up. I think of the hoop like my mood or happiness level, it rises, it falls and it takes work to keep it up. I have the choice to keep working to be happy, or the choice to let whatever wants to bring me down take over and stay stuck in that mind frame. I know it’s not always as easy as just flicking a switch to be happy, but there are things you can do to help yourself. Playing in my hoop for a few minutes is enough to shake up my energy so I can move through whatever is bugging me. I’ve written about the power of movement before and how much movement can alter your mood, it’s pretty amazing actually. I’m not 100% happy all the time, and that’s OK, but hooping reminds me to make the choice to be positive.

Lesson #2 – It’s never appropriate for a lady to thrust her hips in the air in public – unless she has a hoola hoop around her waist, then it’s OK!
As a woman, there are some hoop moves that I would be very uncomfortable doing without a hoop on my body, like sky angle hooping for instance. That trick involves a lot of hip thrusting and that movement would be totally inappropriate to do in any public situation – but add a hoop to the mix and it’s a-ok. Hooping has given me permission to be comfortable with moving in a way that could be considered sexy, even though I’m not trying to put that vibe out there. When I’m shaking and swirling my hips, I do feel connected to my power as a woman and it feels pretty great! I think it’s really important for young girls see that type of girl power so they can learn that self worth doesn’t come from the attention received from the opposite sex for dressing or acting a certain way. What’s sexy is confidence and that leads me to my next lesson –

Owning my inner awesome at Motion Notion Music Festival

Lesson #3 – Being yourself is incredibly awesome!
Think about your favourite hooper. You might like their style because they have awesome flow or they have a funky spin on a popular trick. You might try their move out for yourself but find you just don’t feel as good doing it as they look.  Philo of hooping.org pointed this out to me and I completely agree – what you’re admiring is that person owning who they are and expressing their inner awesomness, it’s not just their fancy moves or funky style. You are never going to look as awesome trying to imitate someone else as you will by simply being yourself. It takes confidence to be ourselves and that is what we’re attracted to in others. Maybe you’re not there yet, but you can fake it until you make it. If you catch yourself saying you’re not as good as someone else, just stop and re-frame that thought to be something like “that person is awesome, and I am awesome too!” Our thoughts become our reality, so if you keep thinking you’re awesome (and you are!), you’ll start believing you’re awesome (because you are!) and in no time at all you will start radiating the awesomeness that was always inside of you. How awesome is that?!?!