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Compassion and Boundaries – how they go hand in hand

 

Do you say ‘yes’ all. the. time?

Do you over extend yourself to have a hand in every single pot you can get your hands on?

Is your pattern to please people, your bank account, your ideal body image, or maybe even your emotions?

But do you find yourself then having to cancel last minute due to sheer exhaustion? Having to turn your ‘Yes’s’ into ‘No’s’ then feeling guilty, or worse - resentful?

As a people pleaser myself I see this pattern in my life fairly often. 

I struggle at times with boundaries. 

Intuitively knowing what feels like a ’No’ when I obligingly say ‘yes’ has been a theme on occasion. 

In the past I found it so flaky and disrespectful when people would have good intentions of commitment, then for whatever reason would change their mind last second. And so that core value became ‘I will not be one of those people.’ So if I said yes, I rarely didn’t show up. But also felt resentful at times leading up to it, then often tired and irritable after.

I’m not talking about emergency situations. Those are inevitable. 

But I found it hard to trust them -the people who you could never really count on. Disappointment was the name of the game.

But whose choice was it to be disappointed?

Mine. 

Whose choice was it to not have my own boundaries in check?

Mine.

I know there’s always a choice. It’s my full intention to choose more wisely. Without judgement. Without approval. Without disregard. And since saying 'no' more, I can now empathize with the people whose boundaries may not be clear, or whose plate is extra full. I see you. I am you. And I love you. We all deserve to be accepted as we are. And we’ll learn along the way if we are willing. Transformation takes time.

Brené Brown says, “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible.”

So although giving up on commitments could be called self-love. I think it’s a fine line that we all need to check. Because pulling out or jumping off the wagon and calling it selfcare all the time can be just as damaging to our authentic self as over-extending. -Think balancing the pendulum-

Certainly, “compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They're compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.” (Brené Brown) However, the first step is knowing where those boundaries need to be set, am I right?!

What if we stop apologizing and start listening to what our inner being really needs. Past the ego, past the cultural norms, and societal demands.

So I'll ask it, 'what do you need dear one?' What do you truly need?

Let’s talk about this. Can you relate? How are you setting boundaries?? Reach out, comment below.

And lastly I’ll leave you with this final bit of wisdom from the inspirational Brene Brown,

“Research shows that playing cards once a week or meeting friends every Wednesday night at Starbucks adds as many years to our lives as taking beta blockers or quitting a pack-a-day smoking habit." Why? Well I think it's because there is also contentment in allowing ourselves to enjoy the little commitments in life. 

I read the same story every night to my daughter. It’s a pretty rare occasion that we’d miss that one. But I don’t do it out of fear of disappointing her. Rather it’s out of love for her, myself, and my commitment to our bonding time before bed. 

And also because life is short. And those little commitments feel sooo so much like a ‘YES’. 

Can you find what's a definite 'yes' in your life?

An Open Letter About Choosing Choice

Dear God/The Divine Source/The Universe,
I am 30 years old and I don’t yet know what I believe. But I am trying. I believe I am on the right path to finding what this life is about and what goes beyond. I am choosing choice. I am choosing to believe that there is more, I am choosing to trust in whatever it is that is leading me to my true self, my higher potential and my purpose. 
Whatever it is, I have to be honest. I have felt that it has let me down. Looking back on my past I am angry at all that “it” has taken from me from a young age. You took my brother, my partner in crime since I was born. You took the person who snuck upstairs to watch late night tv with me and talk, you took the person who hated me most on the best of days because we knew each other so well so we knew how to press just the right buttons. You took the one who when I called crying would rush to pick me up, get to the bottom of it and turn on the music and just drive. But you gave me alcohol. This gave me the ability to forget, to enjoy myself and give me a lifetime of memories good and bad. But it got me through. Later becoming another thing I hated you for. 
Life would get sweet again, I would meet some of my greatest friends, one who I pushed away due to alcohol and one you took away too young as well. But just as it always does… you provided me another path… my son came into this world becoming my new amazing journey. I got married, bought a house and had my amazing daughter join our family. 
Then the tables turned again, feeling lonely, getting divorced and spiraling from the two faced alcohol, but I survived. At this point my strength is feeling unbreakable. You have let me down so many times… but been there when I fell. You lift me up, just to break me down and call it a lesson. I have doubted it all. I stopped believing you existed.. but then blamed you anyway. 
I have had great opportunities, amazing coworkers and learnt so much along the way. But I have also learnt I am not like the others. I have felt insanely happy, and then insanely low, just by walking into a different room. I have felt anxiety and trapped, yet the freedom to choose my own. I pick a path and I charge forward. I have succeeded and failed, all because of my own choices. 
I began this year on a high. Starting a career I had chosen, created, learnt and excelled at. I found the man I had wanted and got married and began adding to our family and alcohol was no longer a part of my life. I was going to be able to begin coasting because life was falling into place. 
And then hello whatever you are….. you chose to shake up my world again. My father was taken from us, or to be more technical, he made a choice to leave us. I thought this would destroy me. I thought I lost all hope of whatever you are existing… I thought anytime I received greatness in my life, something else would be taken away. I heard over and over that I was so strong. A blessing and a curse. Being strong is great when it’s the only option you have. But when you need to be vulnerable you feel you need to live up to the strength everyone claims you have. 
This is my “F you” letter… this is my anger for all that you have done to cause me pain, whatever you are. And this is me letting it all go. 
In the hopelessness, I found light. I felt love. I discovered choice. I feel lighter and I was shown another path. I was terrified of change and what people would think, and at some point it just stopped mattering anyway. I am relieving myself of judgement, of others and of myself. So much of me began to make sense. In amongst the confusion of so much trauma, I began to focus on grounding and finding peace.  I would be lying if I said it was always easy, it is a constant work in progress. With daily practice and more time focusing on the good in this world and the good in people, I have replaced the negativity and the darkness in the world and in the people around me. With these practices I have been able to remain sober and not fall back into bad habits, and being able to create much healthier habits for my mind and body. My vibrations are higher and even the toughest people seem to shed some light and love. Call it hippy, call it woo-woo, call it wacky and call it crazy…. Whatever you choose to call it… I call it choice. 
I don’t know who you are… what you are.. or what I believe.. but I CHOOSE to believe in whatever it is that makes this world a little brighter. I choose to allow myself to be more vulnerable so people stop claiming I am strong and forgetting and I need to be weak too. I choose to set aside all judgement of anything and everything and choose to love and help anyone I can. I choose choice to have the ability to brighten someone’s day just because. I choose to support everyone in any way I can , even if they cant support me. I choose to make the most of this life and stop blaming and stop trying to figure out who can allow this much pain in my life. I am happy because when I am on the wrong path “it” finds a way to turn me right around. And maybe if I CHOOSE to believe in whatever it is and trying to be a blessing every single day, then there will be no reason for “it” to need to try to send me on another path. 
Is it God? Is it Divine? The Source?  Or is it the Universe… 
I don’t need an answer… I just need to be open to choice.
Sincerely,

Anastasia Muir

Eating Our Feelings

"We human beings have many feelings, both positive  and negative .  Some people tend to eat more when we are joyful, while others tend to eat less.  Some people eat when they are sad or upset as a way of eating their feelings, hoping the feeling will go away.  Food becomes a craving then rather than a source of nourishment.  If we don't attempt to look deeply to understand our cravings, it will grow.  When we take time to take care of our emotions with mindfulness and compassion, then we just eat.  We can enjoy our food without craving and develop a healthy and positive relationship to eating."  Thich Nhat Hanh

Hanhs philosophy blends well with a science known as Neuroplasticity; a giant science nerd word for learning and adapting. It basically looks at how our brains are hardwired to avoid pain and create pleasure and how our brains lay down these different pathways. What scientists have learned is that these pathways become habits. They can be really effective habits like brushing our teeth, or riding a bike. But we also lay down pathways that become destructive like our relationship with food.

Our brain chemically responds to the ‘feel good’ hormone dopamine that gets released from comfort foods. The same hormone released when addicts get their next hit. Our brains deem those foods pleasurable.Our brains lay down pathways that turn learned behaviours into habits. It's an efficient method really but it also creates these same pathways around behaviours that over time become unhealthy and unwelcome.

The good news is that we have the ability to create new pathways.  We can closely and honestly look at our behaviour and our ingrained relationship with food.

In the book 'The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts that make us Overeat' Guyenet has us examine 6 steps to a healthier lifestyle:

1.  Fix your food environment
2.  Manage your appetite
3.  Beware of food reward
4.  Make sleep a priority
5.  Move your body
6.  Manage stress

Sara Best, a holistic nutritionist, points out that the food isn't really the problem. It's our relationship with the food that is the problem.  If we are honest with ourselves we know the foods that we should and should not eat.  She states we need to examine why we eat.  To do that she created 6 Mindful Eating Exercises:

1.  Stop multitasking
2.  Slow down
3.  Chew more
4.  Listen to your body
5.  Replace judgment with curiosity
6.  Indulge mindfully

The above steps and exercises require self reflection, honesty and the ability to sit with some uncomfortable feelings.  None of this should be about being thin or perfect.  Research shows that knowing the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical. Perfectionism hampers success.  In fact it is often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction and life paralysis.

If all of this seems overwhelming, too much work, or 'not for me' at this time then it's likely our brains way of staying with what is comfortable.  That feeling is normal.  We just need to ask ourselves this:

Can I do it anyway?

Let me get a little personal here.

Cookies, Cake, Candy, Chips...
A never ending obsession of "I just need a little something". Result = self loathing & disgust over my lack of will power. A self-induced hatred of my own body. That's me in a nutshell.

But if I told you there is hope would you believe me?

My long term battle with weight has been crazy making! I developed so many destructive habits around eating. My brain was hardwired to receive pleasure from food and ultimately to LOVE food. Eating became habitual, not for nutritional purposes.

The problem is that we get so comfortable in our ways that it's hard to give up old habits.

Most of us are creatures of habit. We buy the same foods from the same grocery store, prepare the same recipes over and over, and live within our own familiar routines. The pathways are like flying in autopilot. But if we are serious about eating healthier we need to shake it up, change those habits, the pathways, and start thinking differently about our diet and lifestyle.

Experience has taught me that we get one life and it's too short for self-hatred. I take my body to yoga, belly dancing, for walks. I even put it in a bathing suit (oh the horror) and go to Aquafit! I keep waiting for my body to be perfect. Will it ever?!

It doesn't mean I'm incapable of changing my behaviour. And neither are you. I've changed my habits around exercise and now I'll do it with food! One step at a time.

Love your body. Love yourself!

by Kathy Smith

 

SPRING CLEANING: Letting Go & Making Room for More

By Buffy Cancade.

This one’s for those of us feeling that life’s demands can sometimes be TOO MUCH, and we’d much rather be living with a full heart than a busy mind.  Clearing out that feeling that there’s not enough time, not enough energy, to get by or to possibly get it all done (and never mind THRIVE?!). What can we let go of, to make room for so much more heartfelt living? How do we do that?

I admit, I’ve been a chronic overdoer.  I keep my plate FULL and I keep a running list of things that need doing, and the things I’ll do next.  Driven by inner and outer expectations (mostly perceived), I juggle my attention between the most pressing tasks, and my friends & loved ones sometimes get that same, juggled attention (if any).  There’s a long list of things that I think I’m not getting to. Sometimes it feels like I’m just keeping my head above water, jaw tight, breath shallow, and in fact, getting nowhere I truly intend to be.

So how about that question, how do you get where you really feel you meant to be?  How do you know what that place or feeling is? In recent years, I’ve been working on practicing present-moment awareness to counteract my tendency (deeply ingrained!) towards overdoing it.  And when I do, I can feel the difference!

First, ask yourself.

Recently we sold our primary family business. So I’ve been really asking myself lately, what am I willing to take on next?  I noticed that my habitual thoughts wanted me to fill my time again, and hurry up to do the next thing, and meet the expectations that I had for myself or thought others had for me.  I’m REALLY GOOD at filling up my time or any perceived ‘free time’, going full speed to achieve the things on my “must-do/should-do” list.

Whoaaaa. Stop, breathe, ask again.

If I actually stop for a full second, I notice a little gut instinct – yay or nay.  When life’s too full, I power right past that feeling and keep on going. When I slow down, even for a beat… I feel it.  Try it – this is when you can begin to access a deeper listening. Notice anything? There may be a message there.

Breathe, one more time, a little deeper.

When I truly pause to breathe, I can notice a difference – feelings that come from a deeper place.  My mind calms and it becomes easier to tell the difference between the clatter of life’s constant demands (**now with notifications!**) and how I truly want to spend my time and energy, my life.  Yes or No becomes a simpler answer, some clarity in the haze.

And guess what – there’s way less that I’m willing to do or truly interested in doing. Which can momentarily feel like failure or slacking off.  But don’t worry! You will soon feel the rich rewards of time and energy for a few things you truly love.

What if…

You let go of 1000% overdoing in your limited time.

You let go of demands that parade around pretending to be urgent.

You said no when that’s what your heart really wanted, even when your mind was jumping on board.

You didn’t put “Thrive” on your to-do list and treat it like just more things to get done.

You put your little inner DO-er to rest and got some real rest.

You gave yourself a break.

What if.. You trusted it will be ok?

What if… You allowed a slower pace to enjoy a greater quality of being present in your life, with your friends, with your family, with things that truly bring you pleasure and nourish your spirit?

What if… You truly allowed for deep wants to surface? To move within your happy, unique spirit.  To rest at ease. To be playful. To have a deliciously full cup from which you pour forth your fabulous energy for everyone to enjoy.

What would you do with yourself?


If you are feeling inspired to explore more of these kinds of questions then check out the 6 week Mindfulness Series called ‘ the deep river within ‘. Buffy will be facilitating along with co-host Laura Williams. Click HERE for more info.

What is love?

The answer to the question ‘What is Love?’ has not come naturally to me. In fact it’s a question I’ve been asking my whole life. In grade 3 on a sunny day waiting with my friends to be picked up from school I asked “How do you know you love your parents?” They responded with confusion. “Of course, you love them, they’re your parents” 

But what if they weren’t them? If I would love any parents I happened to have been assigned then what did it mean to love these ones? Questions like these have followed me through to this day.

 

The root of the question is; 

When you need someone, when you depend on them, when their actions are what seems to dictate if your life is full of joy or unbearably frustrating, how do you separate out that thing that you don’t have to question, that knowing. That unconditional love that looks like a warm light. The undeniable feeling that floods every cell when you see a baby laugh or are fully immersed in the splendor of the natural world, and feel completely natural in it.

 

The answer comes back to awareness. To seeing. Ruthless and terrifying as it is to see all those moments when I look at my partner for a bottomless pit of support rather than really seeing him. When I allow myself to feel impatient with my Mother, rather than seeing her shining as she ages more gracefully than I ever would have expected.

 

When I take myself, my projections, my wants and my striving at set them aside to really be present with another, there is an aliveness, an intimacy, a natural love the springs forward and that’s where life’s magic is hidden. Right under our noses when we are present to our breath, our life and our loved ones. All the in-between moments that make up a life, if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss it. 

 

Anthony De Mello says in The Way to Love, a small book of meditations

 

That love is indiscriminate. Like a rose that smells sweet no matter who is around, like a tree that gives shade freely to whomever comes to sit under it and like a lamp that gives its light. It shines because it can’t do anything else, it doesn’t shine on some and not others. It radiates naturally without effort there is nothing you can “do” or to show this quality of love. It shines no matter what you do, or what other people are doing around you. 

Love is absent of selfishness and greed. Love is blissfully unself-conscious. Love loves to love without giving it’s self a thought. The rose gives it scent because there is nothing else to do, it is not dependant on someone being there to express appreciation. Lastly Love is freedom. If there is control or conflict the love dies. Like the tree it doesn’t force you to come use it’s shade, even if you are just out reach getting sunstroke! When we anxiously try to live up to expectations, to gain the approval and praise of others and we expect them to do the same.

It is a topic that sparks a fear of insufficiency. I’ve asked myself “What if I’m not feeling what other people are feeling, what I’m supposed to be feeling”

By Deborah Shewchuck

Did you know… 25 things we want to share with you about the New Wellness Studio

Did you know…

  1. If you do more than 7 classes per month you can save money by becoming a viva monthly member. Our monthly membership starts the day you purchase it. Being a Viva member means you can go to almost anything in the studio. Excludes private series classes or workshops.
  1. There is no minimum commitment with our membership – you can buy month to month or cancel anytime.
  1. Our 5 & 10 Adult Class Passes don’t expire for 6 months and can be used for a variety of classes.
  1. Our Viva Whole Food will be available to all our members soon! You’ll be able to pick up your order after 11am but not during a class. Ps. We don’t believe in toxic diet culture. We do believe in Whole Foods and nourishing our body.
  2. Our mixed martial arts on Tuesday evenings are family friendly. Bring your kids(over the age of 10)!! Or kids, bring your parents 😉
  3. Girlvana yoga is more than a physical practice. We have real/raw conversations, explore our creative side, and practice getting into our bodies and into the present moment.
  4. Baby & Me is for any caregiver. Mom, Dad, grandparent. And any child is welcome to join you.
  5. At GoGo Kids yoga the parents are welcome to stay (we have tea in the back) or they can drop off and leave. Parents choice!
  6. Yoga 101 is the perfect class to try if you’ve never done yoga in your life.
  7. Our Nice & Easy Pilates Class has moved to 1pm on Sundays.
  8. Our studio welcomes everybody and every BODY. Male, female, trans, black, white, brown, yellow, Christians, atheists, disabled, thin, square, round, young, old, happy, sad… the list is endless. If you are open to coming we are open to having you!! Our love is unconditional.
  9. Modifications and props are not weaknesses. They are necessary for accessibility.
  10. There are so many more significant reasons to move your body that have nothing to do with your appearance. Make your goals what ever you want them to be, but know that you are not a failure if you don’t achieve them.
  11. ‘Healthy’ is different for everybody.
  12. We know that life has its ‘lemons’ yet we don’t believe in fixing anyone. Intervention is not our way; loving kindness and connection is.
  13. Unlike a traditional gym model, our studio is not about aesthetics. We are about gathering together to individually honor our bodies, mind, and spirit.
  14. As instructors we are students as much as we are teachers. We are honored to rise up with you not above you.
  15. We offer 27 classes per week. 5 of them are Karma classes.
  16. You never have to create an online account to register for a class nor do you ever have to pay for anything online. Completely optional. To reserve your spot you do need to at minimum let an instructor know. Or you can always txt/call 204-573-8235
  17. Our #loveyourselfiechallenge🍋 has only 18 more days left to enter. To learn more ask an instructor.
  18. Our noon classes are cheaper than our regular classes because they were conveniently created for the weekday worker and are only 35mins long.
  19. Our schedule may change from month to month based on what you love and want.
  20. We have a comment box in our washroom. We are always open to feedback.
  21. We are always looking for ideas for classes you want or for our Maker’s Workshops… want to learn/create something?! Send us your ideas.
  22. Our motto is and always will be: be here, be you, be loved!!

Thanks for reading dear ones. We hope you truly find something you love at our studio!