As I write this, I am sitting on my front porch, half shaded, half sun kissed. A beautiful breeze is keeping the heat at bay. The birds are chirping and running across the lawn looking for worms. My resident chipmunk is cruising the hood for nuts and other goodies to fill his cheeks. My husband is inside working out of our dungeon office and the kids are running around, inside, outside, without question making a huge mess and loving every minute of it.
It is really incredible how much has changed in just a few short months. When I reflect on how my life has unfolded since we rang in the New Year, I have to shake my head at how much has happened and how it all happened so fast.
As I plunged into 2020, I was so full of energy, excited to implement all of the ideas the had been bouncing around in my brain, eager to tap into the energy of this New Decade. I started to create my latest blog and my January newsletter, taught a wonderful class at The Tett Centre (the first yoga class of mine that my husband has EVER attended), but less than two weeks in, I felt like I was being hit by a tidal wave of busyness. The kids seemed to be getting sick, A LOT (talk about cleansing energies). That, in addition to my regular work schedule, a new strength training client, and keeping up with the demands of self-employed life, I couldn’t seem to find any time to do any of the new and exciting stuff I had planned. And when things get this busy, though I seem to have this uncanny ability to navigate it fairly well, my creative juices stall.
Instead of allowing myself to get worked up and stressed about all of the things that weren’t getting done, I surrendered to my circumstance, meditated EVERY day and breathed through it. It was a conscious choice to surrender, because I can definitely fall into the story of needing to do it all. I have a very strong work ethic and have always struggled with things left undone. But I have learned that it doesn’t serve me or the people I work with when I am sleep deprived, when I skip my practice, or when I focus all of my energies outward and save nothing for myself. It also makes me a huge hypocrite.
When things finally started to settle, and there was a little more time, my furbaby of 18 years got sick. Frodo was so much more than a cat to me. There was something so special about him, and though it may sound cliché to say that he held a very special place in my heart, he did. A big place. Like huge!
That newfound free time was taken up by taking him to the vet, running around trying to find food that he could eat, and making sure to spend as much extra time with him as I could, knowing that my time with him was soon coming to an end. It offered me an opportunity to acknowledge that I had allowed my busy schedule to fragment my time so much so, that I barely had time to appreciate him and our other rescue kitties.
It has now been 11 weeks since my heart felt like it broke into a million little pieces. Saying goodbye was the hardest day I have yet to encounter. I don’t think that I have ever cried that hard. And because I allowed myself time and space to fully feel my grief and heartbreak, the experience felt more difficult than discovering my mother shortly after she had passed. Shock buffered and protected me from feeling the full impact of that loss (my experience with grief and loss is a whole other Blog post, soon to be shared).
Now I am here, three months into COVID 19 seclusion, not able to work in the capacities that I have spent the last 4 years building, kids are home, I’m doing the best that I can to provide them with a balanced schedule supporting their mental, emotional, and physical health, and their education, while also trying to shift to this on-line world. On top of that, the world I have worked in is going to look so different in this new paradigm. What I knew before may never exist like that again, or at least not for a long time.
Despite the challenges that this year has brought, and the fact that there are many reasons I could curl up and hide behind closed doors, I am actually not stressed, worried, sad or angry. I am ok. I am actually better than ok. I am in a place of complete trust and surrender. And I am excited. Though forced to shift (which is often the only way we step out of our comfort and safety and find a new rhythm), I have been silently asking Source for my next steps. I just needed some time and space to hear what Source had to say.
Which brings me to the subject of this blog, What I Know For Certain in a Time of Great Uncertainty…
I know for certain that:
I may not have all the answers as questions arise, but it is really comforting trusting that I don’t need them, that spirit will help guide me!
In this time of uncertainty, what are you certain of? Listen to your heart, it speaks to spirit…our minds often get things confused. The heart knows! It always knows!
Sending you so much love. There is always more than enough; just open your heart and let it in
It’s an interesting world we live in, and an incredibly interesting time to be alive. So much is coming forward to be seen and healed. So many things are being triggered in each of our hearts.
For many, it can be difficult to feel deeply, yet have to witness others who believe or behave exactly the opposite of what we perceive is needed, or what we feel is right.
Though I care very deeply about so many things, and it would be very easy for me to impose those beliefs on the world, I recognize that there is so much at play. So many things unfolding beneath the surface. When I look at it all on a soul level, staying conscious and awake, as opposed to from my ego mind, I am able to allow acceptance for all viewpoints, whether I think them right or wrong. I am not Source/ God/ Creator Of All Things, I do not know all of the secrets of the universe, and though I can do my part to support those who need or want it, it is not my place to judge or condemn others who choose a different path.
I grew up firmly attached to my thoughts, holding strongly to what I could see and prove, veils carefully draped over my consciousness, numbing me to feeling all of the feels. I built a suit of armour to protect my tenderness, I couldn’t stand to face the pain, sadness or injustices of the world, or in my life. From my teens through my twenties, I was righteous more often than I would like. And defensive. Angry. A fire simmering deep within, an anger developed out of heartbreak I faced as a young child. My triggers were close to the surface, my unhealed parts sometimes easy to spot. I was also very full of love and optimism, incredibly sensitive, trusting and compassionate, driven to stand up for the underdog, passionate about helping others help themselves. I recognized that the anger wasn’t just the way that I was. I had a choice. Though it wasn’t the easy path, I chose to embark on and continue my healing journey until I had no triggers left. Until I could hold space equally for all beings. I am still a work in progress, but I am such a different person than I once was.
I now trust that life happens on purpose, and though I didn’t get to choose what I experienced, it helped me to build a strength that I now use to support my softness. I no longer need to hide behind any of my carefully crafted defences. I can feel and know, allow and flow, and still shine love to all people, to all things.
This strength helps me continue to love and fully accept all those who do all of the things that tear at my heart, things like eating beautiful, vulnerable animals. Animals that have no desire to die. Who does, really.
My journey to adopting a Plant-Based life came in stages. It started by recognizing that I was not well, the way I ate and the way I engaged with the world were not supporting a healthy and happy me. I sought support from holistic practitioners, as there was a knowing in my heart that our modern medical system could not help me. This knowing was validated when I got very ill and ended up in the ER, was referred to a specialist, went through testing for Crohn’s, Colitis, etc. and was informed that I simply had IBS and to be careful what I ate. I was sent on my way, left to navigate my way to wellness on my own.
I worked with a Homeopath, an ND, had a A LOT of energy work done, and as I started to heal, I started to recognize how I had been sabotaging myself. I had eaten whatever I felt like for many years, but when I started to make changes to my diet, changes to my lifestyle, and engaged in activities that supported and healed my internal world, I got lighter. Happier.
I am human, so I faltered. I had to go back and try things that I had cut out. I had to suffer again and again to really learn my lessons. We learn in cycles, and while it isn’t exactly fun, when we pay attention, we learn much faster until the lesson has been fully realized. Those were my lessons to learn and no one could have saved me from them.
It has been a really interesting journey…I went from drinking alcohol so much and so often that in my early 20’s my mother asked me if I might have a drinking problem, to having absolutely no desire to have a drink of any alcohol (except Kombucha, but that doesn’t count ;-)). I went from growing up a meat and potatoes girl, to being strictly plant-based with absolutely no desire to eat an animal or anything that comes from an animal (except organic local honey. I’m not perfect). Though my husband may suggest that I am still really strong willed, which in some ways I certainly am, I am so different in how I see the world and its inner workings. Most of my triggers healed, my belief systems entirely morphed, my light so much brighter.
It has taken my husband and kids years to join me, and there are certainly days where my littles find it difficult, especially when their friends are eating pizza or ribs. They understand, but because my shifting came after they were born, it has been an adjustment.
In the last 6 months, we have discovered that my daughter has a number of food sensitivities, so we now find ourselves Vegan and Paleo. Living this way requires a lot of dedication and discipline for most. I have had many conversations where others tell me that they wish they could stop drinking or cut back on cheese, however there is always that “But”. For me there are no buts, it’s not a choice, it’s a knowing. Part of why I find it so easy is Presence. When I am present, not in my head entertaining the dialogue about this food or that craving, I am neutral. I have witnessed my thoughts gravitate to how good something tasted, but then I remember that nothing tastes as good as Ahimsa feels. Ahimsa is non-harming. Not harming myself with unhealthy foods or drinks, not harming animals to satisfy a craving, not harming our earth in order for me to enjoy that cookie.
Somewhere along the way, I chose to shift, chose a different path, a path led by love. It has required me facing my stuff, doing the inner work for many, many years in order to acknowledge and heal my broken pieces. I now no longer see myself as separate from anyone or anything. I recognize myself in my family, my friends, people I come across in the world. In living creatures of all kinds. In the earth itself. I see the importance and value in all living things, and can’t imagine contributing to the suffering of animals in order to feed a craving.
Love is powerful, it heals, it transmutes, it is the way. The more we operate from this space, from our heart and soul’s light, the more our life will flow in the most beautiful ways.
Every day, I choose love. This doesn’t mean that I am Zen all of the time, or that I have all of the answers. But I now know the path to freedom, and it is LOVE!
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.
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!
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!