Navigating The Holidays Consciously

I love this time of year.  I love the universe’s encouragement to slow down and take more time to go inward.  I love the snow.  I love the extra time with family and friends.  I love Christmas music playing in the background and the inevitable singing that accompanies it.  I love so many things about this season…

But I have to admit that this year, I also feel at odds with how I have done Christmas for so many years, and how much of that no longer resonates with me.  As I have started to slow down and cultivate more consciousness in my life,  I have become deeply sensitive to how almost every single thing I do has a greater impact on the planet and every single one of us on it.

It is difficult knowing that in order to create the easier, cheaper and more convenient world we live in (you know, in order to be able to do it all and have it all), there has been such a great cost to our individual mental and physical health, as well as to the health of the planet we call home.  

As much as I could let this knowing and these emotions consume me, I am instead choosing to think about how I can do better and hopefully through my actions, create a ripple effect.

This time of year is meant to invoke happiness and joy, but we all know that it also often creates a lot of stress and anxiety, so I felt it important to step back and reflect…To recognize what the holidays mean to me and what I value most about this time of year, how I/we are impacting the globe, the example I am setting for my children and how I might make a difference for others who need love and support, especially at this time of year.  

This is what I came up with…

For me, happiness comes through slowing down and letting life get simple.  I value time to connect with myself, my family, my friends.  I value time to laugh, and definitely time to rest. These holidays, I want to make sure that we have time together, unscheduled, to be spontaneous and adventure, to read by the fire, to simply show up and let the magic happen.

I value my family, especially my role as a parent and all that it entails, which is lots of snuggles and kitchen dance parties, as well as educating and setting solid boundaries.  This season, I want my children to understand that love and joy do not come in boxes filled with candy or toys, but in the experience we are having by being together cuddling, laughing, singing and loving.  I want them to understand the impact their gifts have, what they are made of, where they come from, and how important it is to think beyond a moment’s desire (which is incredibly difficult for a 6 & 8 year old).  I want them to see how they are connected to all things and what they do matters.

I value the true intention of this season, which is to share joy, laughter and love.  I appreciate that no matter what challenges I face, there are others who face ones far greater, which helps me remain grateful for what I have.  And it helps me, in what is otherwise a busy time, find space to support others who need it.  To donate, to volunteer, to stop and smile at a stranger or buy a coffee for someone living on the street.  

This world needs us all to show up in bigger ways.  Not to judge ourselves, or to judge others, but to show up, one day at a time, with our best.  Not to pack our schedules with more, but to step back, slow down, and see how we can be better for ourselves, which in turn is going to translate into us being better for the world at large.  

This holidays season, I encourage you to take some time to reflect.  What change do you want to see in the world, be it your world at home, in your community, or the planet as a whole?  What do you value most and how are you going to create a holiday season that supports that?

Sending you so much love, so much light, so much of all that you deserve.  

Xo

A

The Power of the Pause

It seems like now, more than ever, we as individuals and as a collective would greatly benefit from pressing pause.  To stop everything that we are doing and just breathe.  To get good and grounded in the present moment. To feel. To be. And to do it often. However, now more than ever, this feels so incredibly difficult to do. But it shouldn’t be.

I taught a meditation series recently where participants shared that they really wanted to meditate, but they just keep forgetting.  Which made me reflect on how sad it is that in our modern world so many have dramatically shifted, away from ritual, away from disciplined practice, away from focusing on individual health and wellness which starts with each one of us, at home.  

Health and Wellness is a multi-billion dollar industry, however we are paying a lot of money in hopes that others will make us feel better, when what we really need is step back and take a moment. A moment to stop all of the doing.  To stop looking to external sources to fix what we feel is broken on the inside.  To stop trying the next “new thing” that is going to heal us.   It’s not to say that those things don’t help, they do. But the healing part is individual, and no one can do it for us.

The reality in this world is that there is a pill for almost everything, we are accustomed to instant gratification due to Google, Amazon, etc., we have nearly anything and everything at our fingertips.  Except the peace and calm that is so coveted by many, yet evasive to most.  

The things is, most people know how to work hard; the trouble is, the work is almost always extended to doing for others, or doing things that keep us busy, but never allow us to be quietly alone.  It seems a huge lesson we aren’t taught is the value and necessity of spending time with ourselves, focused on ourselves, time that allows us to feel sane in an insane world that moves at an insane pace.  Time that allows us to process our lives as we are living them instead of not having enough time to feel that feeling, until cumulatively it cripples us like a tidal wave. Time that avails us the opportunity to reflect on the choices we are making so that we can move in the direction we feel guided to, not the direction we feel we are forced to.  

I get it, though.  I get that slowing down also means that all of the “stuff” (you know what I mean, and we all have it to some degree or another) also has an opportunity to bubble up to the surface.  And we may have been consciously or more likely unconsciously, avoiding that “stuff” for years, maybe even decades.  But what we might not know is that if we don’t let this stuff come up, and allow it to be released, we are holding on to it, and eventually that stagnation of energy will turn into something we really don’t want to deal with. 

A quote that really speaks to me is “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from” from Seth Godin.  I love this because it speaks to decisions. To empowerment. We often get caught in a tidal wave of shoulds, and we completely disconnect from what it is that we really want, or more importantly, what we need.   

When we pause, it allows us to experience things in real time, fully immersed in the moment, so that we can see the beauty in connecting with our family and friends, we can notice the stunning colours framing the setting sun, we can allow ourselves to inhale a deep breath of cool winter air, and appreciate those fleeting experiences that otherwise pass by barely noticed.

Believe me, with two young and very busy children, being self-employed (which may seem to be full of perks, but is also regularly full of challenges) and a schedule that takes me away from my family 4-5 nights a week and on weekends, I have felt both the need and the power of the pause.  

Even as I write this, I pause.  I pause to breathe.  I pause to ground.  I pause to tap into a deeper place within, to make sure I am writing from my heart.  I pause.  

I understand that pausing doesn’t always mean peace.  It means stopping and letting yourself feel what is coming up for you in that moment, acknowledging its existence (whatever it is), breathing into it, and then letting it go, energetically grounding it out so that you can stay with the breath, quiet the mind and tap into an energy that is so much bigger than ourselves.

Each new day allows for the opportunity to create something new.  A place to accept where we are, yet taking steps towards where we want to be.  The important thing to remember is that we get to create the life that we want; it all starts with pausing, breathing and checking in with the decisions we are making in each moment and how aligned they are with the direction we want our life to go. For many, it also means facing the shadows we may be intentionally or quite unconsciously avoiding, and allowing time and space to heal. Not an easy path, but a necessary one, because we heal the world one person at a time.

As you finish reading this, before going back to scrolling or working or wherever you are off to, pause. Close your eyes, take a few slow and deep fully body breaths, and just rest for a moment, in this moment.

Sending so much love!

A

Worth The Wait (I hope)!?

It has been 10 months since I purchased my URL.  I had every intention of having my new website finished and launched as the New Year rang in (well, I was realistic, and was pretty sure it would be closer to the end of the month).  But here we are, almost a full year later and I am over the moon that I have FINALLY finished this baby!  I couldn’t be happier.  Talk about a weight being lifted off of my shoulders.

This past year has been really interesting, in a number of ways.  For much of the year I felt cloudy, like I was living in a fog, I wanted to create, to build new offerings, to build this darn website, however I just couldn’t seem to find my flow.  I would write something down, step away, and when I would come back to review it, it just didn’t feel right.  This was happening all the time.  Has this ever happened to you?  Like you had a plan, knew what needed to get done, but it felt like you were trying to force it, and no matter how long you stepped away (hours, days, even weeks) you just couldn’t create something that you knew in your gut was “the thing”.

I was really struggling, and I just didn’t know what to do.  Now some of you will think that this will sound crazy, but I booked a session with someone who can read Akashic Records (Google it if this is a new term to you, but don’t judge me if you aren’t in to that sort of thing, because I am!) and she informed me that I was in a transition period.  On an energetic level, I was getting cleared of a lot of old outdated energies.  But as a result of that, I had no foresight.  I was in the middle of the muck and couldn’t see clearly.  It didn’t matter how much I wanted to get things done, there were bigger things at play and when I heard this it resonated so deeply and I finally just surrendered.  It was the best thing that I ever could have done.  Instead of resisting where I was and trying to force things into creation, I accepted where I was and let go of the need to cater to what I thought was supposed to happen. I listened to what I felt guided towards instead.  

Letting go allowed me so much freedom, for one thing, to really enjoy the time I had with my family over this past summer.  If I wasn’t teaching a class, or working with a client, I was at home enjoying my time there.  That didn’t leave any time for Admin work, which any self-employed person knows, is a lot!  It was such a different experience than the summer before. That summer, I often felt a tightness in my chest (far too often), and the first day the kids were back in school, I was spinning with how much I was trying to cram into one day.  That whole week, my stress level was through the roof.

This is not to say that I now just float around on a cloud and don’t get anything done.  I simply allow myself to be more guided in my day, getting done what I can, stopping and cuddling with my cats when they ask for it or I just need a few minutes to breathe and ground, I take time to exercise and meditate, I take time to play with the kids, I try to plan date nights with my hubby, I really try to embody what I teach to others.  

I can’t tell you how much better I feel in all ways.  How much better my family feels when they have a much calmer and more grounded partner and mother.  I may not have the next year or two all planned out career-wise (which for me is really a calling, not a job!), but I am entirely ok with that.  Joyful laughter flows much more easily these days (something I hadn’t realized had been missing since I lost my mother…but that’s another blog post entirely!). Don’t get me wrong, life is still full of ups and downs, and I get regular curve balls thrown at me, but I am much better able to navigate them now.

Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we plan, but all good things come in time! And hopefully we learn a little (or in the case a lot) along the way, like cultivating patience, and how easy it can be letting go!  Because I tell you, surrender feels so damn good!

Welcome to www.andreapritchard.ca!!!  Take a look around and please reach out, to say hi, to ask questions, to book in.  Whatever floats your boat!

Sending so much love!

A