a brand new set of keys

In the past week, every key on my ring has changed. I have a new job and place to live, and even the lock at my parents’ place – my childhood home – has been replaced.

I can’t help but feel this is somehow metaphoric.

Those who know me well are not surprised by these life changes; my good friends find my constant activity highly amusing. Others have commented that I’ve experienced two major life stresses – moving and a new job – in a very compressed period of time. (I didn’t tell them about the relationship change too.)

The shifts have been stressful, but also exciting. And they feel different somehow; like there is new energy coming in, rather than recycling the old. In recent months, I’ve been longing for a place to truly call ‘home’. I now see that having to unexpectedly move out of my previous place several weeks ago was a blessing in disguise, as it allowed me to find a more sacred, soul-nourishing space.

I’ve also been feeling the call to perform work I can be proud of, something that contributes to the greater good. For many years, I spent time in long commutes to jobs that, after a short while, stopped being inspiring and stimulating. I’m currently working for an organization whose vision and mission I am passionate about, and it’s deeply satisfying to be part of something that feels historic and groundbreaking.

But within these changes, I’m ultimately craving simplicity. In a world that’s going madder and faster by the day, getting back to the basics – discovering what’s truly important – is essential for staying sane.

In synchronistic timing, during all this transition I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Kondo writes that putting one’s home in order can have dramatic, transformative effects in all areas of life. Like information overload clogging the mind, having too many possessions makes it unclear what we actually love…and so much of that extends way beyond material goods. If we don’t know what we love, how can we nurture it?

As I’ve sorted through clothes, books, papers, and miscellaneous items accumulated over the years, it’s become clear that holding on to belongings often stems from strong attachment to the past, or anxiety about the future.

And as I introduce items into my new space, I’m being very discriminating. Do I find it beautiful? Does it have some key functional purpose? Am I hesitant to let it go because I might need it someday? Will releasing it create room for something better (not necessarily a ‘thing’)?

One astrologer has referred to 2016 as the year of purification, and 2017 as the end of illusion. On a global level, it’s been said that horrific, unsettling events represent the darkness – the illusion of ego – coming to light. Will this pave the way for a golden age of humanity, as some suggest? I don’t know. There is a new age tendency to ‘acsension-ize’ things, and many ideas I once believed no longer resonate. My views on spirituality are transforming too.

Discernment, more than ever, is key. For me this means limiting my intake of the news and social media. I don’t think this is denial; it’s consciously being aware of fear propaganda and human programming. I’m taking more conscious responsibility for all my daily interactions and relationships, as this is where my real power lies.

My life experience is a projection of my inner thoughts and feelings…so if humanity truly is connected in oneness, I have faith that strengthening my piece of the hologram will have a positive ripple effect.

As I adjust to these new spaces, starting over again in many ways, all I can do is be easy on myself, trust that these changes are aligned with the greater good, and know that I am doing my best.

And enjoy opening some new doors.

why canada’s new leader matters

Canada is abuzz with the recent election of its new Prime Minister, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau. I’m not sure if this made major headlines outside the country, but from my perspective, it is a huge deal.

I don’t follow politics closely; though I understand each party’s basic platform, I generally stay away from the news and mass media. However, I do know what I feel, and that is deep gratitude that my fellow Canadians came out in record numbers to exercise their right to vote – to say NO MORE to a right-wing government rooted in separation, fear, and division.

This post comes from my heart. I won’t say a lot about the politics of Canada’s exiting Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Only that when he was first elected, I felt a profound sense of dread and foreboding, which intensified when he was re-elected in 2011. It saddened me that his win reflected the dominant vibe of my country. Regardless of whether or not the majority of Canadians actually wanted him to win (and various factors indicated they didn’t), the election results were our collective responsibility.

Beautiful red October leaves

Beautiful red October leaves

A couple of years ago, I sat with my cosmically plugged-in friend AM at a coffeeshop in Vancouver. We shared our dismal feelings that our beloved Canada was changing right before our eyes under a repressive, conservative regime. At the time the 2015 election seemed so far away and we shuddered to think what could happen in the meantime. But we knew we could not slip into passivity. I’ll never forget that conversation, because it seemed so much bigger than the two of us.

In the days leading up to last week’s election, the momentum in the air was palpable. It wasn’t about a particular candidate, it was about the masses coming to life: sensing the possibility for change, and feeling the power to create it.

I may be painting Stephen Harper as the enemy, and that’s not my intention. His government’s actions throughout the last 9+ years have prompted me to examine those places in myself where I’ve identified with their patriarchal, traditionalist views. I’m able to see where I’ve been apathetic to important issues. Harper’s initiative to ban Muslim women from wearing the niqab in certain situations triggered my own conflicts with being Muslim. I can’t point fingers. In doing so, I take the responsibility off myself and my contribution to the whole.

That said – enough is enough.

I know it’s far too early to be over-confident about Canada’s progressive new leadership. I know that no political party is perfect and that many politicians never follow through on their promises. I’m not envisioning Canada as a golden age utopia that Trudeau will restore in the next four years (ok, maybe I’m fantasizing about that one a little).

I know that Canada wasn’t perfect pre-Harper, that Trudeau himself has supported controversial bills, and that politics is ultimately another duality-based game. I know that many Canadians are not happy about this decision.

But I love the fact that our new Prime Minister identifies as a feminist. I love that he brings youth, energy, and vitality to the political arena. I love that the woman by his side, his loving wife Sophie, understands that “Humanity longs for more compassion, more emotional intelligence, and less ‘ego-driven’ super powers.” I love that Canada’s Parliament now has a higher than ever number of Indigenous members (and hopefully many more leaders to come), and will soon have equal gender representation.

Canada’s new leadership matters to me because it represents something much greater: a shift in consciousness towards more balance, harmony, and inclusion. I hope with all my heart that Trudeau follows through on his promises. But it’s up to all Canadians to build a more compassionate, caring Canada. We are that powerful.

my new world of tweets, hoots, & loops

My first week of school is officially over and I am using this weekend (my days off are Sunday/Monday) to r-e-l-a-x. As much as I can, anyway – I do have homework!

So what’s it like to go from full-time cushy-job employment, to a student with no paycheque? I don’t know if it’s quite hit me just yet, as things have been incredibly busy since my last day of work just over a week ago. I’d had an amazing sendoff from my colleagues and friends – they really spoiled me with love, wine, and gifts (including a stunning mala bead necklace). Days later, I was sitting in my first class.

the gorgeous sunset on my last day of work, at my farewell party

the gorgeous sunset on my last day of work, at my farewell party

For my reader friends who don’t know, I quit my job and am studying Digital Communications for a few months, so that I can fully understand the realm of social media and incorporate that knowledge into a business I’m starting. Might as well put my social networking skills to good use! 😉

But that’s the thing: though I have some of these skills, there’s so much more to learn. The social media world is fast-paced and requires near-constant keeping up with…everything! And there is a LOT of it going on in my city (the birthplace of Hootsuite!).

I’m having a great time learning about it all. My brain is pretty saturated with the influx of information, but it feels good to actually be using it for something new! Already I’ve been schooled in the worlds of SEO, HTML/CSS, news releases, social media (Twitter & Hootsuite), and using Final Cut Pro and GarageBand for video promos. (Side note: how’d it take me so long to discover the joys of GarageBand?!)

I’m even learning more about our good ol’ WordPress world!

And there is more to come. It’s easy for hours to fly by, immersed in all the different platforms. I must remember to take time away from the computer every now and then. And to be ‘real’ with what I put out there, instead of adding to the noise.

***

Do I miss my old job? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some sad moments. But in those moments it’s not really the job I’m missing. It’s the comfort and the familiarity (and the paycheque!), but mostly it’s the people: my awesome, loving colleagues; the best ‘boss’ ever; even the hot Whole Foods guy I’d see most days as we ordered our morning coffees (and who I went on one date with, but that’s another post).

I know I have made the right choice, and despite the moments of discomfort in this transition, it will all work out. My mind is opened to new possibilities. I’m encountering different people every day as I walk through my city’s business district to and from school. My body is happy that it doesn’t have to sit so much. And I’m finally starting to understand Twitter!

Most importantly, now that I’ve taken this leap, I’m inspired to think bigger and greater for my future creations. Why not? There is nothing to lose in dreaming big.

#peaceout #findmeontwitter #alohaleya

11 reasons i quit my comfy job

It’s sinking in that I’ve quit my job. There is no turning back; my employer has advertised my position and the wheels are in motion. Though I don’t regret my decision, I have my anxious moments! So it seems appropriate to remind myself why I made this choice.

rubbing juliet's bosom for luck in verona, italy.

rubbing juliet’s bosom for luck in verona, italy. work your magic!

1. ‘Reality’ was cementing. My day became a fixed routine, going through the same motions over and over. A feeling that ‘This Is Reality’ was lodging into my cells. I know that over time, it would have sunk in deeper. And it would become harder to leave.

2. Where do I want to be in a year? Questions like this have always stumped me, because I’ve viewed them in terms of externals…job, geographic location, living situation. Instead, I began to think about how I wanted to feel in one year. Vibrant. Vital. Proud. Excited about life. Energized. Staying where I was would only lead me in the opposite direction. It was already happening.

3. My body was telling me to leave. In the last year especially, I could feel my energy weakening and my body becoming tired and depressed. It’s always been much easier for me to listen to my head than my body. But it got to a point where I felt very strongly that if I didn’t leave, the decision would be made for me. And I didn’t want to take that risk.

I’m the only one who suffers when I don’t listen to my own voice and intuition.

4. I was stagnating. The comfy jobs can be the hardest to leave because there’s a long list of convincing reasons to stay. But when you’re reminding yourself daily why you ‘should’ be there, it’s not a good sign.

We have to be vigilant with what we tell ourselves, and where that voice comes from. Because ‘comfort’ can also mean lack of growth. And it’s a clever disguise for fear. What about uncertainty, the unknown…and the creativity, aliveness, and excitement that comes with it? I’ve forgotten what that feels like!

5. I have nothing to lose. When I really examined my fears, I realized they were all manageable and, in some cases, irrational (survival-based).

What’s the worst that can happen? I can’t pay my rent? I have friends and family that would take me in. I can’t afford food? Said friends and family would never let me go hungry. I regret giving up my job? Doubtful, but I would deal with it. (And, having that clarity, probably find something better as a result.)

6. I was living in creative and financial debt. When we’re not doing work that creatively fuels us, we compensate for it in other ways. We eat out, we drink, we shop. And the ego may be sneaky here – because we can over-spend on ‘healthy’ stuff too!

I’m tired of the hamster wheel I’ve been running for years. I am totally okay with living minimally, if there is authenticity, inspiration, and creativity to balance it out. That being said:

7. I’m allowed to ask more from life. I’m very aware of the negative self-talk I’ve been feeding myself over the years. Self-defeating thoughts such as ‘There’s only so much to go around’ or ‘Good jobs are hard to come by’ or ‘ Things could be a lot worse’ have only discouraged me from finding what would truly make my heart sing.

So many of us are affected by tired old self-sabotaging thoughts. And it has to stop.

time to feel some colour

time to feel some colour

8. I’m shifting with the cosmos. There’s so much talk about the expansion of consciousness and humanity during these times, and the assistance (seen and unseen) that is available to us in creating what we want. But do I really believe it?

Well, I’m choosing to believe it now. Trusting in the expansion, and surrendering to all the divine guidance that’s available.

9. I wasn’t serving in a way that felt good to me. I need to feel like I’ve made a difference, that the work I’ve done is meaningful and has had some positive impact.

I know that we can be of service in many ways, and that it doesn’t have to be some big grandiose thing. But my work must reflect who I am and what my values are. It can’t just be about me, me, me.

10. When this changes, so will all else. Removing one central element of life naturally recalibrates all other elements. Everything must shift to accommodate that change. This doesn’t mean things fall apart – they just re-organize. And probably for the better.

11. I was resenting my job instead of having gratitude. My job has been wonderful in so many ways, and I will always be grateful for the people I worked with. I don’t ever want to lose sight of what it clarified for me. I wouldn’t have stayed so long, if the people weren’t fabulous!

***

At the end of the day…this is not just about the job! Making this decision has applied to so many areas of my life. This is about ALL the beliefs and behaviours that we know we need to let go of, but haven’t been able to.

I can feel how much of myself I have been suppressing, and ultimately I’m relieved. And I must remember this feeling in moments of self-doubt.

my ancestors made me quit

The last few weeks have been full of activity and last weekend’s super full moon was the pinnacle of intensity!

For starters, I had my amazing international family in town and for nearly three weeks, we ate, drank, laughed, cried, and learned family stories (and secrets!) that spanned lifetimes in India, Africa, Europe, and North America.

Bird Family of Inner Light (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Bird Family of Inner Light (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

The amount of information I was given about my ancestors was extremely powerful and emotional…illuminating my own existence in the here and now. I can more clearly see my life as a product and continuation of those who came before me. And I have no doubt that these revelations had something to do with me quitting my job a few days ago.

Holy sh#t. I quit my job.

I’m still in a bit of a daze over that one. It’s no secret to some blogger friends that I haven’t exactly been happy in my current employment. In fact, I’d given my notice way back in 2013, but changed my mind at the last minute. I did the same thing this year! Instead of quitting outright, I asked for some tweaks to my position, hoping that would quell my dissatisfaction.

But last weekend, something happened. I knew without a doubt that it was time to leave my job for good. And the following Monday morning, I gave my notice.

I truly feel that learning so much about my ancestors somehow crystallized this decision. I felt so much of their pain, trauma, success, abundance, loss, and sacrifice in hearing their stories…and it made me realize how vital it is for me to create what I want in this lifetime. To know that ‘anything can happen’, yet not be passive and let life just happen to me. To not allow 3, 5, 15 years fly by in a job that’s been ‘comfortable’, but has dimmed my fire.

Family Reflections (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Family Reflections (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

In the months before my family’s visit, I’d been feeling a real curiousity about my ancestors. A deeper interest to know who they actually were, and what their lives were like.

Being the first generation born in the West, my ancestry was always something to be hidden or avoided in favour of Western culture – of white people. Only now am I really starting to feel my ancestors as people with real lives and feelings and hobbies and passions. People I’m still affected by.

To be honest, I’ve wondered mostly about the women. Who were they? What did they desire? Did they even allow themselves to desire, and did they know what that desire was?

But, as is often the case, it is the men’s stories I’ve heard – and they have something to teach me too. I’ve learned that these men were powerful creators who started several successful companies and businesses, ultimately losing everything when they were expelled from their home country in the 70s. (There’s a lot more to it than that…but it would require a whole book!)

I can’t help but feel my ancestors’ presence reminding me: All this strength is in YOU. This is your lineage…and we’re looking at YOU now! Where are you going to take us…what are you going to do on Planet Earth this time around?

Inner Strength Through Perseverence (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Inner Strength Through Perseverence (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Well…I seemed to have quit my job.

And nope, I don’t have another one lined up. I certainly don’t have six months of savings to live off of. I do have some ideas on what I’d like to pursue, but these seedlings may take some time to grow.

A foolish decision? Or a life-affirming one? Either way, there is no turning back now.

I must trust my intuition, and the universe at large. Now more than ever. There is nothing wrong with ‘playing it safe’, especially when you have others relying on you. But right now it is just me that I am responsible for. And I don’t want to spend one more minute doing things that don’t inspire or energize me, for fear that there is nothing better out there.

What is life going to look like at the end of summer? I don’t know. But I do know I’m getting ideas and this delicious feeling of ‘what if?’. What if I did that, and that turned into that, and that turned into that? I know things will be challenging – no illusions there – but I also know that listening to my body and intuition is my priority.

I’m ready for a new direction. And now it looks like I have no choice but to create one!

high school reunion pt. 2

For my blogger friends who asked for an update on my high school reunion last weekend – it was an amazing evening and one I’ll remember for a very long time.

As some know, in the days leading up to the gathering I was feeling some major anxiety. It was as though my inner 16 year old was speaking progressively louder, and I was almost frozen in that state. All the relationships and insecurities of my teenage years took centre stage, and I could only perceive the situation through that lens.

Even though I knew I’d come a long way since those days, I was afraid it’d all fly out the window in the moment!

I’m not sure what it was…perhaps meeting up with one of my best friends beforehand, or having read the encouraging blogger comments earlier that day…but most of my anxieties had dissipated by the time we actually reached the venue. I was feeling more intrigued by what might lie ahead. (Ok, maybe the red wine had something to do with that…hehe.)

I was immediately blown away by how many people had shown up. The energy of the room was electric…everyone seemed so happy to be there.

There is something about going through such formative years with others, that when you reconnect with them after so long, there is a strange sense of familiarity. Of course we’ve changed big-time, but we know each other on a level that’s hard to explain. There is compassion for the vulnerability and challenges we all felt as adolescents, which we now have the wisdom and perspective to see.

That’s how I felt, anyway.

I had conversations with people I hardly spoke to in high school – those who generally didn’t associate with anyone beyond their own clique. One exchange in particular struck me…a guy who had wished certain people would have come that night, so that he could apologize for being a ‘dick’ to them in high school. This interaction was probably the most meaningful and unexpected of my whole evening.

The night was particularly gratifying on another level, in seeing the tangible results of what I’d been organizing the past few months. I had many classmates express their appreciation for my planning the event, and this was very fulfilling. I definitely want more of that in my life…to create fun times and special memories for people!

I feel the universe now gently nudging me to get ‘out there’ in ways I couldn’t before. To know that it’s safe to be vulnerable; that I’m no longer a 16-year old girl riddled with feelings of self-doubt and inferiority. I can finally put that story to bed.

Whether or not we’ve actually gone to our high school reunions, I think it’s safe to say that many people do soften over time – including those we’d least expect.

And for those who don’t really seem to have changed…well, we realize we are not so affected by them anymore. They don’t seem as big and powerful as they once did.

The fact that the reunion happened on the summer solstice makes the experience that much more amplified. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I had to step back in time. And I’m curious as to what universe will orchestrate as a result!

high school days are here again

Tonight is my high school reunion and I admit it, beneath a calm exterior I am feeling a little – ok, maybe a lot – anxious.

It’s not so much because I’ve planned the evening. I hope it goes well, but I’ve done what can be reasonably expected, and the rest is up to those attending to have a good time!

No, it’s more because it’s a high school reunion and anyone who says they’re not just a wee bit anxious about such an event is lying. High school is such a potent time, especially for those of us who weren’t ‘popular’. (Ok, for everyone.)

my friend sent this to me...credit unknown

my friend sent this to me…credit unknown

I won’t say that I was UNpopular – I generally got along with others – but I most certainly was not part of the ‘cool’ clique. And yes, I so longed to be.

It’s been interesting planning the reunion through Facebook. First of all, it’s not going to be huge surprise to see what people look like. Less awkward, but perhaps less fun. There will be minimal ‘oh I remember you!’s or trying to recall so-and-so’s unmarried name. Most of this has already happened.

Planning online has also allowed for a pre-reunion friendliness and camaraderie to emerge – a pleasant surprise for me. I’ve connected with classmates I didn’t speak two words to in high school. And there has been some softening towards those I once felt edgy around.

Most people seem genuinely excited to see each other. And I hope this translates from the digital to physical!

Of course, there have been a couple people who’ve triggered unpleasant memories and put me in touch with my teenage self, and all her uncomfortable feelings. Funny how we can instantly revert back to those states, under certain circumstances!

I remember my best friend immediately becoming popular upon entering high school, and ditching me for the cool crowd. She and I didn’t have much of a relationship after that – until we ran into each other a few years after graduating. We picked up where we left off at 13 years old, and since then, we’ve been close.

I get that those kinds of friendships and scenarios are all part of the high school deal. We were kids! However, I can’t help but wonder how I’ll feel once I’m transported back to those years, seeing all those same people. Will I have my back up, despite my best efforts not to? Will she ditch me again?

As friendly as everyone’s been, part of me is anxious that people will automatically morph into their respective teenage cliques. That I myself will go to that 16 year old place of feeling the outsider, awkward, left out of the fun…even though I’ve planned the whole frickin’ reunion! (A bizarre turn of events in itself.)

***

All this being said, I realize I am not that young woman anymore. I know that most of us have grown up and matured – and that even if people revert to their high school roles, it’s more from nervousness and autopilot than anything.

I have to remind myself that my inner teenager would not have felt comfortable putting herself out there to the extent I have in recent years. I will have compassion and understanding if she does goes ‘into herself’ tonight. If unpleasant or insecure feelings come up, I will acknowledge and accept them. I won’t make her feel wrong, as she so often did back then.

But I will also know that this is a golden chance to heal those painful feelings. To observe the triggers from a place of greater wisdom, experience, and self-love. And if we’re going to get all metaphysical and multi-dimensional about it, to literally transform the past from the present perspective.

Ultimately, this is a chance for me to choose what I want to experience above all else: FUN. To create a new ending, thereby changing the story.

How I experience (all) things is really is up to me. That’s the beauty of it! If I have the intention to be present with myself and see all of us with new eyes, I really can’t go wrong.

Not yet sure if this is to be continued… 😉