When opportunity knocks

There’s a yearning at times to write even though I don’t have a specific topic in mind. Sometimes its a practice of processing my thoughts, releasing some trapped herstories, some old hurts. And sometimes it’s just to make some sense of what’s happening in this magical ride called Life.

I have this feeling like something is releasing, a bit of a restlessness stirring and I sit here at the laptop waiting for something to happen. The act of my fingers walking over the keys somehow seem to help. We walk through life at times with all our energy focused on specific points, but when we stop and pause to look back, this is where the magic happens.

Stop. Look up and see the words we’ve written, the life we have lived. At this time, I look back to my thoughts earlier in the year, reflections about what this year meant to me and what the focus was. Health, wealth and happiness.

Will you answer when Opportunity knocks?

Much has transpired since then, and life is beginning to look a lot different. I took what felt like a big bold step and left my previous place of employment, leaving a place I called my second home for nearly eight years. A place where I knew A LOT, was respected and trusted by many to get the job done. The one people came to when they needed help, or had an issue, and I walked away. A new opportunity, one that brings MUCH life change my way knocked at the door, and I answered.

Change is scary, to move from what we know, what is comfortable what is reliable to something that is everything but, is nerve-racking but oh so worth it. Change is possible and simple (yet quite challenging). Deciding what you want is the first step, the second step is seeing the opportunity presented in front of you and not allowing fear to stop you in your tracks or hold you back from the life you could be living. The third step is believing and trusting that everything works out in the end as it’s meant to be and remembering that everything is temporary.

Everything is temporary. How comforting those words are; remember this when you’re savoring a joyous occasion or when you’re in the dark place, or when things feel like they will never change. Everything. Is. Temporary. When we remember this, we can make the tough call; we can make the scary move, we can experience the hurt and pain because we know, it won’t last.

Life is a different ride when we let go and stop resisting the impermanence and enjoy the moment for what it is. A moment, an experience, a lesson to take with you for next time.

Live fully, love hard and laugh out loud!


Today is #BellLetsTalk day, so let’s talk!

It’s been two and half weeks that I’ve been battling a low back issue, I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s been an up and down episode. And today was an emotional day. Today, was a “tears on the treatment table” kind of day, and it’s wasn’t because of the muscle spasm during the acupuncture. It was because of this irritating pattern that keeps repeating, two weeks of activity and bam, something stupid happens, and it’s back on the bench for 2-4 weeks. Enough is enough already! So yeah, I had a little cry, I let go of some frustration that bubbled up, and now it’s about moving through the situation at hand with mindful intention.

Ok, sure, mindful intention what the heck is she talking about you’re thinking. Well, it’s about stepping back from the situation and not allowing the suffering to be all-consuming. It’s allowing myself to feel the pain, letting myself the feel the frustration about the situation and working my way through it. It’s about seeing what there is to learn from the time on the bench, realizing this is an opportunity for gratitude and appreciation.

Hmm, so this trying pattern keeps popping up, what does it have to teach me?

Ha, so much for mindful intention, back to #BellLetsTalk day. This reason why I shared a little about what’s been going on with me, is for others to know it’s okay. It’s okay to have a day that feels more down than up that there may be a time in your life where you have many of these days, maybe weeks or months. You are not alone, many of us go through situations that are difficult, scary, dark and feel as though they will never end. I hope for you they do. Please have some compassion for yourself; please allow yourself to feel the pain so that you can move through the pain, not keeping it bottled up within stealing your joy. Because you, me and everyone else deserves to experience joy.

Below is a part of a loving-kindness mediation you can try to practice, it may help you find some peace dealing with whatever is on your plate. You can start with yourself, or if you so choose start with those you love or even those who cause you pain and practice this mediation to find some peace.

Calm the mind/heart and find the center of your being. Generate warm, gentle, loving feelings for yourself:
May I be safe from harm.
May I be happy just as I am.
May I be peaceful with whatever is happening.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I care for myself in this ever-changing world graciously, joyously.
May you find peace, may you find happiness, may you find calm.

Feel free to find more info here:

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Health, Wealth & Happiness

I haven’t posted anything since the inspiring evening shared with Taryn and the other local BIM ambassadors nearly a year ago. While the changes over the last year have been subtle externally, they have been deep internally.

At the start of 2017 post-op physio was ongoing for the right knee arthroscopic surgery done in November. The realization of taking my foot off the gas and allowing time for my body to heal and recover from not only the two surgeries but the years of endurance sports was more than ok; it’s necessary. For the rest of the year, I spent much of my time focused on work, my day job. It’s challenging, our new initiatives are exciting, but if I allow it, it’s all-consuming. By the time December rolled around I was burnt out.

While away on vacation I had some time to reflect on the past 12 months and made some decisions about how 2018 was going to roll.
Rather than setting unrealistic or restrictive goals, you know the ones people tend to make focusing on things like “losing ten pounds” the realization of more not less came over me; it was time for a different approach.

Ok great, so what does this mean you ask? The objective is to spend more time having fun and making different choices focusing instead on health, wealth and happiness.

I will plan my exercise time as any other appointment, waking early some days to get in a spin before work or packing my yoga bag and going to a class in the evening. It means, I’m going to participate in activities I enjoy, find challenging and are FUN! And I’ll get more rest and more restorative downtime.

It means that I’ll include more fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet along with more alternative protein sources like soy, tofu, and seafood and I’ll drink my herbal tea and water.

Health also means listening to my body, mind, and soul and doing what feels right for me. It may mean taking a warm bath, stretching, going for a hike with a friend or choosing to say no to something that doesn’t resonate with me physically, spiritually or mentally. And realizing these feelings can change day by day, and that’s ok.

To focus on wealth can mean different things to different people. For 2018 it means I’ll spend more time learning and growing taking classes that interest me, listening to more audiobooks and taking a crack at planting my first vegetable garden. It also means looking at my relationships, nurturing existing ones and expanding my social circles.

Living where I do, there is also a focus on wealth from a financial standpoint, and this includes making wise choices when it comes to the dollars I earn and receive and being open to new possibilities and opportunities.

Happiness is where gratitude comes in because, without it, we can’t ever be happy. Quite often, people seek happiness externally; they’ll “be happy when x, y, and z happen” rather than taking stock of all the fantastic and beautiful things they already have and being thankful for it all. Even finding some gratitude for the pain and suffering, you’ve endured can have an immense effect on your overall happiness. Speaking first hand as I’ve had my fair share of pain in this life, I know, 100% that I am all the better for it. Sure, at times, it sucked but working my way through it all has provided so many lessons and opportunities for growth that there is no way I can deny I’m a different person than before.

Ok so besides being thankful for pain, there are other things I can do to cultivate more happiness in my life. So, with a goal to achieve more happiness this means having more gratitude, taking part in more meditation, having more quiet contemplation and more love. Love for it all, the good, the bad and the ugly and more love for myself included.

My hope for you this year, is that you too will look for ways to focus on more, rather than on less. May you find peace, love, and happiness.

Happy New Year.

Race to Embrace

This weekend meeting Taryn Brumfitt, the founder of the Body Image Movement was surreal, amazing and inspiring. Walking into the hotel room I didn’t know what to expect. I was meeting the woman I’ve seen in the documentary, in photos, and in Facebook live videos and many, many #theellenshow dance training videos. She is an amazing, kind, fun loving woman, and who you see online and who she is in person.

You might be wondering why I was in Taryn’s hotel room, well I’m proud to say that I’m a Body Image Movement Global Ambassador (BIMGA for short) and a few local BIMGAs jumped at the chance to join Taryn for the Canadian Girls Night In Online release of Embrace. As ambassadors, we give an hour of our time each week sharing the message of the Body Image Movement and trying to help spread the word about #Embrace (You can watch the trailer here.) and sharing the body image movement with as many people as possible.

Throughout the evening as we welcomed people from all over the country we enjoyed pizza, conversations around body image and laughs, lots and lots of laughs. Taryn was so excited to share the new campaign, Race to Embrace to help raised awareness of the film. While in New York just days before she was standing in Times Square, bombarded with billboards of the new major motion picture releases and needed a way to help spread the word about Embrace. And so grew the idea of the #embraceitforward campaign.

The Body Image Movement is providing people with $10 to download the film, and if they love it as much as we did, then they would pass along $10 to someone else to cover their cost of the downland. You know, it’s like an batton in the relay race to embrace. You can download your #embracebatton here.


When 1 Million people download Embrace, it will not only change their lives, and the lives of those around them, but it will enable the Body Image Movement to help provide a free study guide and body image education in every school in North America! This is the global change we have all been waiting for, and now the waiting has ended! We can all do our part to help as many people as possible allow themselves to stop, breath and embrace.

It’s our life, and our bodies are the only vessel we have to enjoy all the amazingness the world has to offer. I’m one that had struggled for most of my life with body image issues and finding the movement when I did was life changing. It doesn’t happen overnight, but every day gets a little easier. It’s about appreciating our body for the vehicle of awesomeness that it is!

Are ready to #embraceitfoward?

Until Now

I don’t know what I feel right now. I keep waiting for this big revelation, but on the surface, it seems like nothing is happening. That’s why a seat at the keyboard is needed, to take some time to reflect and appreciate the journey.

I had another knee surgery last week, with procedures similar to the previous work done on the left knee in June. The feelings this time are different, there is a calmness compared to the days that followed last time. Perhaps it’s because the fear of the unknown is gone, the fear of what’s to come is no longer a fear but more curiosity.

Wednesday was the first trip out of the house, heading back downtown for a post-op follow up. Before this visit, plans were starting to form for a return to activity, ok honestly, even before surgery next season plans for exercising and training were already brewing. Bouncing between what 2017 would hold, post-operative care and rehab and what the long term picture looked like kept my mind busy, but I’m used to this.

For the past three years, there have been appointments after appointments after appointments. I’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of money treating my knees and then torn hip so to have my knees top of mind and feelings of being held back became the norm. And my question to the doctor about “what do I do now for the long term” seemed necessary. He teased me a little a first, as we have a good rapport, but in seriousness he suggested we give it three months and go from there.

I looked away. What!? Go from there? See you in three months, let’s see? What about patella replacements? What about shots of PRP or stem cells? Go from there? I looked back to him and said “Wait, so you’re saying after three years of worrying about my knees, I can stop now? I felt my eyes start to well up, but I forced back any more emotion.

Until now.

tears of joy and relief

For anyone who knows me, really knows me I’m a bit of a steam engine flying down the tracks full steam ahead with no intentions of stopping, let alone backing up. Can you relate to this? So focused on the goal, the finish line the next “whatever” you fail to realize the depth of your accomplishments along the way? You maybe aren’t willing to stop, slow down or even backtrack when necessary? Because taking that step back is not progress right?

Steam locomotive.Hand drawn illustration.
Full Steam Ahead!.

But wait, that’s what surgery and recovery are about. You have to take some steps backward to move forward! I’ve been so focused on the long term and so focus on “what do I need to do next” I hadn’t stopped realize or appreciate that what I’ve been doing were the right things. In my mind, I was just the train flying down the tracks with the final destination in sight ignoring the time spent getting maintenance done or acknowledging the tank was getting refilled.

Until Now.

Rubber stamp with word appreciate inside vector illustration
Appreciate the journey.

Check Up from the Neck Up

The World Health Organization recognizes today, October 10th, as World Mental Health Day. As per their website, “The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.”

Well, I consider myself and everyone else a stakeholder when it comes to mental health as it affects us all. Mental health is no less important than physical health and when one is not well, nor is the other.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “Mental health means striking a balance in all aspects of your life: social, physical, spiritual, economic and mental. Reaching a balance is a learning process. At times, you may tip the balance too much in one direction and have to find your footing again. Your personal balance will be unique, and your challenge will be to stay mentally healthy by keeping that balance.”

In Canada, it also happens to be Thanksgiving today. What a special day where we can celebrate, have gratitude and give thanks for so much including our mental health.

How we handle and cope with stress and illness ties in too. It’s no secret that, the last few years I experienced ups and downs, and the downs took me to low places. Deep, dark, scary places. I was in such a dark place; I was scared I would never be able to climb out. But I did.

How we think and feel about ourselves directly affects our mental health.

How I managed to climb out of that darkness was unique to me as I am to the next. It took a lot of hard work and courage not to quit and keep looking for a way out. Eventually, the pieces came together, and I saw the faintest flicker. As I continued to seek out different sources of support, the flicker grew brighter and brighter, and before I knew it, I was out of the dark and standing in the light again.

A Healthy You = A Healthy Body, A Healthy Spirit And A Healthy Mind.
A Healthy You = A Healthy Body, A Healthy Spirit And A Healthy Mind.

A couple of months ago, during the first few weeks of recovery from my knee surgery, I felt myself slipping back into that dark place and it scared me. I didn’t ever want to return there. No one wants to go back after finding their way out, and that’s what was happening.

What this experience taught me was that my mental health is as important as my physical health and should be taken care of daily. How we achieve good mental health, I believe in a lot of ways, is the same as ensuring good physical health. Eating a balanced diet, getting some regular exercise, getting adequate sleep and finding joy in our day can go a long way. For me, it’s learning to keep things in perspective, being able to let go, and asking for some help when it’s needed.

When October 10 is known for something other than World Mental Health day, that will be a great day! When that happens, it will because we will have ended the stigma and mental health will be talked about as regularly as we talk about physical health, and we won’t need to have a day dedicated to raising awareness.

To celebrate both Thanksgiving and World Mental Health day, I prepared a large batch of my anti-inflammatory shake and pre-cooked a few osteoarthritis friendly meals after attending a hot yoga class led by my favourite instructor.

So, what did you do today for your mental health?

Perfect day for a cup of "nourish the soul" tea.
Perfect day for a cup of “nourish the soul” tea.

Being a “good” patient

It takes more than patience to be a good patient.

The below was my post on ratemds.com regarding experiences with my orthopedic surgeon, as this journey is not over yet. And it’s up to me in how I deal with the emotions that come along for the ride…

Green two-way street sign pointing to Fix It or Live With It, te

I saw Dr. Dwyer for a second opinion regarding my knees. Before going in, the online reviews had to be read, getting a lay of the land from those who had ventured ahead of me. While it seemed like Dr. Dwyer was harsh during the initial visit (as some others commented about) NOTHING, he said was incorrect or out of line.

He’s honest, and he asks that you be honest with yourself.

Some people, myself included aren’t always ready to accept or hear that level of honesty. Believe me; I get it. We are there at the mercy of the surgeons or other healthcare professionals while we are in a broken state. “Broken” in all senses of the word. Our bodies, sprites, and hearts are broken and in pain, and we just want to be able to do again the things we love. Surgeons or any healthcare practitioner, don’t have it easy when it comes to giving patients potentially devastating news. No one wants to hear the hard truths. Ever.

So, next time you have a conversation with any medical professional regarding your situation before you go online and write a scathing review or storm out never to return again, let it sit for a few days, maybe even weeks. Try to keep an open mind and allow the information they provide to soak in. Also if you can, try to see it from their perspective; remember we went to them for help, it doesn’t mean you have to like what they say. But you have to be willing to listen and hear it.

Having my husband there, someone at a distance from the situation who could listen to both sides and provide yet another perspective was invaluable.

I’ve since had surgery, and I’m happy to say recovery is going well. So well, in fact, the other knee is already scheduled. If you should happen to require the services of an orthopedic surgeon, you couldn’t be in better hands than with Dr. Dwyer and his assistant Angela.

Recovery is not just for the body.

Surgery is considered a “controlled injury” and while I realized it would require downtime and rehab, I hadn’t given this part of the process much thought. The focus had been mostly on the big day where finally a surgeon would “fix” me. haha. What was I thinking?
“Recovery” mentally feels like you are being held back by a giant rubber band, trying to run forward but that band keeps you from going too far, too fast. Picturing a rubber band feels better than imagining being on a leash and believe me there are enough people who could be holding the other end. I wouldn’t stand a chance in breaking free and taking off and as an “A-type” this is hard to take. Week after week, the resistance will weaken giving a bit more distance, ah, another life lesson in patience.
It was around day seven things were starting to sink in, the reality of recovery was becoming more and more apparent. While looking for some inspiration online, this quote was among the first few results, “Focus on what you want your life to look like – not just your body.” OMG! That’s when it hit me. Coming across this quote was like finally finding the light switch in a dark room. I’d been feeling around in the dark, grasping for something to hold on to, but looking in all the wrong places. All these years, I spent consumed about my body size, shape and the number that appeared on the scale. I never sat back and thought about what shape I wanted my life to take; I was too busy being obsessed with my body weight!

Over the past few months, I’d been trying to focus on making better decisions rather than buy into another plan. Because I honestly can’t take the thought of worrying or talking about my weight ANYMORE. I AM DONE! I am sick and tired of this conversation, with the feelings that come with it. I want to talk about how to get out of it, rather than about being in it.

So while I’m laid up, the focus turns to strengthing this beautiful body that has already accomplished and given me so much! Now is the time to slow down and take care of it, nourish it, love it and help it come back stronger than ever while pondering about what the future holds.

Reflection & Repair, Rebuild, Return

It’s been a while since the last post and I feel like I have a lot to say about what’s been going on with me lately.

A week and a half ago my thirty-sixth birthday rolled around and with it, I spent a lot of time reflecting on how I now felt compared to last year. Grounded. Feeling grounded is the best way to explain it. Last year I felt anything but, filled with anxiety, anger and impatience for anything that wasn’t what I wanted.

The girl from five years ago.
The girl from five years ago.

The day before my birthday, Facebook also gave me a great reminder of the girl I use to be. The girl who five years ago nearly quit training for what would become a life-changing event. As I type this, I can recall exactly how it felt returning to the store after finishing the 3km run. Here’s a little peek into how that night went, the following is an excerpt from the post I wrote after returning home and having serious doubts about the race and a really big cry:

Week 1: Run 1 (if you can call it that)
Or What the %$&@ was I thinking?
Or “back of the pack”.
Or “Oh my god I am going to throw-up in the store”.

All of the above easily could have been the title for this blog but I thought I would keep it
short and sweet and to the point. (if you care the read the rest, feel free here.)

As cheesy as Facebook can be, that blast from the past was what I needed to see and remember. I’m the girl who set a few big ass goals and accomplished them, the girl who was terrified but didn’t quit!


If you’ve been following along, or you know me (in person) then you are probably bored of hearing about being benched while I’ve dealt with some injuries. Believe me, I’m bored talking about it! My knees have given me a hard time for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I was in the midst of my triathlon experience that I got the low down. OA. I had OA in both knees, and it was bad. I had been doing injections with little to no relief for a year and half. After my left knee gave out on me last spring, the focus turned to finding a surgeon to see what could be done.

Long story short, I’m happy to say last Thursday had me at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto for a patella lateral release. The goal is to get my kneecap back to where it belongs to eliminate pain on a daily basis. My hope is that with some additional treatment, we can regenerate cartilage with the use of stem cell injections but I’m not ready to jump on that bandwagon without doing more homework. First things first, recovery AND find out if the right knee requires some surgical intervention too.

exerciseThese days, I feel like I’m standing at the starting line, but the gate is blocking my way. There’s no route or map defined, but I know there is a destination. This time, the journey will be different too. This time, I’m coming at it from a place of love, not loathing. I’m not doing this to punish my body, or to punish myself (except in a good way). I’m going to be active because I can, because it’s fun and because it’s good for me mentally as much as it is physically.

So for now, I’m in recovery but in the grander scheme, this is the first phase of my new motto: Repair, Rebuild, Return.

Making Space

Hope. Denial. Struggle. Conceding. These four words sum up nicely the conflict that was happening within my mind for quite some time. The more I fought against my reality, the more painful it became.

Hope. Hope is necessary for a happy life. It gives you the opportunity to dream and to remain positive in the face of adversity. Hope allows you to believe in something bigger than yourself.

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”– Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

When faced with stressful or challenging situations, hope might be what keeps you going, feeding the optimising engine within. We might cling to hope in the face of sorrow, sadness and grief because facing the truth may be too painful to accept. Is this hope, or is this denial?

Denial will masquerade as hope, and it’s dangerous to live this way. It’s misleading, and in the end, you are left with the same (if not worse). Denial is closing your eyes and sticking your fingers in your ears. Now, you can’t hear it, and you can’t see it, but the truth is, the “bad news” is still there. No matter how hard you try to ignore it, to fight it, your reality is your reality.

Letting Go

Heartbroken and scared. Holding onto what I thought was hope, for a long time kept me angry and stuck. Ha, holding. That’s funny. It was more like a death grip where my arms and legs were wrapped so tight they went completely numb. Clinging on to the past, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do the same things I was use to doing. Wishing, hoping, pretending that I’ll wake up one day and everything will be okay. Visit after visit, doctor after doctor, they all said the same thing. I’m sure some of them thought I was crazy when I pushed back, fighting what they said. Not wanting to believe it, not able to. If I couldn’t participate in my sport, what was I? What would I become? What would come undone?

Sure, to some this sounds stupid and insignificant. To some people, I should just shut up and “get over it”. It’s. Not. That. Simple.

Creating Space

When you find a passion, sport or “thing” that lights your fire, it is devasting to lose it, even the fear of losing it. You feel as though you’ve lost a part of yourself, part of your identity. This “thing”, this thing is what I sacrificed so much for, I learned so much from, the very thing that saved my life. Without running I would never have gone on meeting some of the most amazing people in my life, had some of the most incredible and life-changing experiences a person could have, nor would I have found what’s within me, the magical essence that makes me who I am.

So, while this is not news that running is something that may not be in my future, at least likely not long distances, I’m finally letting go, realizing accepting this is my truth, my reality. The more this happens, the more space that’s created to try something new. Sure I can continue to hope and do the work that goes with it, and maybe one day in the future things will be different. But what I can’t keep doing, is living with my eyes closed tight and my fingers shoved in my ears. Now that I’ve unplugged my ears, I can hear. With my hands-free, I can cover my eyes because yes there’s still apprehension for what the future holds but now I can peek through my fingers. And I’m starting to see that everything is going to be okay.