It has been a while since I have been here and for that, I am very sorry!  This last summer was a busy one... I have been going through some emotional turmoil in the past 6 months and didn't really know what to say. Instead, I worked. I said yes to everything. I subbed and taught as many classes as I could possibly jam in as well as manage a restaurant 4 nights a week. To say it was exhausting is a bit of an understatement but it was exactly what I needed. Truth is, I'm still doing it. My schedule is still nuts and will probably be more so as we near Christmas. That's ok. It's self-induced and happening as it should. 

Today is a good day. They have all been good days. Even when I feel like I'm having a not- so-great-day it's way better than when I was drinking. I'm coming up on a 5 year anniversary and it literally blows my mind. I haven't had a drink in almost 5 years. How unbelievably amazing is that? On top of all the work this summer I also attended a step-study. We are nearing the end of it. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work my program with some awesome women. It has helped me beyond measure with my current situation. I am trying. Really hard. But I know I am also avoiding the inevitable to avoid hurt, pain and suffering for all parties. Breaks my heart.. but such is life.  So, my friends this is where I'm at. Over-working, over-tired, but loving life. Staying true to my path and staying sober one day at a time. 

Part of staying healthy in my mind, body and spirit is maintaining a healthy diet. Over night Chia pudding is da bomb!!!! 

recipe below: 

 

Over-night Chia Pudding
  • Over-night Chia Pudding

  chia pudding 

  •   1c hemp seed milk (I make all my own milks... recipes on website)
  • 1/4c chia seeds
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4tsp vanilla
  • Pinch sea salt   

method

stir all ingredients in a bowl, wait 5 minutes, then stir again. Wrap with Saran Wrap and refrigerate over night. Top with berries, granola, seeds and the like! Enjoy💗 

  

 

It Works If You Work It

My mother told me when I was about 14 years old that I would have to work for everything I ever got and man was she right. Call it a self fulfilling prophecy but that's just the way it's ended up. And to be completely honest, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

My journey as I've written before is a long one. I'm on the upswing of my sobriety, albeit one day at a time. The craving to drink still comes and goes. Working at a restaurant, I'm always going to be tested. The restaurant business is where my disease really took hold. I was able to "taste" and "nose" my way into a good drunk every single day without too many sideways glances. Or, so I still tell myself..  

Life gets hard. I'm juggling a few balls right now in the hopes that when they land all my ducks will be in a row and my career as a yoga teacher will be enough to sustain, energize and satisfy me. I love the restaurant industry. I mean, I really love it. It's all I've ever known for work and I'm really really good at it. That counts for a lot in my books. But I feel like something is missing and THAT I guess is the purpose of this/my journey. Isn't that awesome?! The fact that I am on a life journey, with all my faculties in tact is a miracle in of it self. 

5 years ago was an incredibly dark time. The last year of my drinking was the scariest time of my life. I was in such a bad place hurting myself physically and blacking out daily. Waking up in strange places not having any clue how I got there. The sheer terror that I felt after coming to after a black out was enough to make me want to end it all. Shame will do that to you.  That last summer was the downward spiral I needed to say enough was enough. After blacking out and bashing my face in twice in one week I looked at myself in the mirror and I simply couldn't recognize the person staring back at me. My nose was broken, lip split open, eyes bruised and dark. I was bloated, my skin pale and blotchy, eyes bloodshot. I looked like shit. I couldn't believe I had let myself get to that stage. My friendships were strained, my family (especially my poor mom) was terrified and my partner was simply at a loss for what to do. I had hit my bottom. It was undeniable....

Hard to believe how much has changed. How life became so full. How I became so full of life. Getting sober was the best decision I have ever made. Hands down. But there's a caveat here.. I have to work for it.  Life didn't become tulips, enlightenment and rainbows because I put the Chablis down. I have to be present every, single day and work at it. It isn't always easy.. But it's always so worth it. If you had told me I'd be a yoga teacher who has travelled the world 5 years ago I would've laughed in your face but here I am. 

Its worth it. And it works if you work it... Namaste

You get what you Give

 

I've been thinking a lot about karma and loving more lately. It actually started with myself.. I have been teaching pretty regularily and now have 3 whole classes at 2 different studios and it's been going great. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. My classes at the one studio are not very busy and I'm starting to take it personally. I know I shouldn't but it's hard when only 3 people show up to your class. I've also been subbing a great deal for people which has its own set of stress. Trying to be everything to everybody just doesn't work so I decided to just be myself and then my brain got to thinking, what if I'm not good enough?

I've struggled with this concept since I was a child. Maybe it stemmed from Daddy never being around. Maybe I still suffer from abandonment issues. I don't really know, but the feeling is the same. I recognize this sickly feeling in my gut and then it happens. I start to doubt myself. It usually snowballs from there into not being smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough.. Not being enough is the general theme.  And as quickly as I start to feel myself sinking into the soul-crushing puddle of crud I say STOP.. What the fuck! It's a slippery slope as many of you know. It takes diligence and dedication to stay on the path of positivity.  Which brings me back to today's theme. You GET what you GIVE.  There are no freebies here. I have learned and continue to learn that if you want something you have to ask for it. You have to be open to the process and WORK it. So that's what I do. EVERY. DAMN. DAY.  Somedays I am far more successful than others. Somedays it comes naturally to say thank you to the universe before I open my eyes and other days I literally have to say my gratitude prayers like I'm reading off a script but I do it anyway. I know I'm enough deep down. All the fear based crap I tell myself is based on years and years of conditioning. If I step back for a moment and look at how far I've come in 4 years it literally astounds me. One day, moment, breath at a time. When I get down, I breathe and say thank you. I try to put out what I wish to receive and it works every, single, time. But it is a constant practice.  I always have to remind myself not to take on other people's moods. Instead, I work on putting out positive vibes even if I feel like screaming. Fake it till you make it as they say. Eventually the mood lifts, the feelings fade and I'm back on track. 

I am constantly evolving. Creating and carving out the person I want to be. I love who I am and am proud of each step I take on this journey of sobriety, health and wellness. In my minds eye I see me teaching to hundreds of people. We all sit and meditate together by the ocean. Basking in each other's light. I'm putting it out there. The universe knows what I want. I just have to be clear with the intentions. Put out what you wish to get back. So far it's working like a charm💗✨✨ 

What Yoga Means To Me

 Natarajasana in Krabi, Thailand  

 Natarajasana in Krabi, Thailand  

I have been asked many times how long I've been practicing yoga. Truth is that's a bit of a long answer. I started practicing yoga back in 1997 in my final year of theatre school. My movement teacher incorporated an hour and a half of Bikram yoga every Friday morning. It was my first experience with asana and I fell in love right away. I continued to practice after college. I found a Bikram studio downtown and practiced regularily. I also started to branch out. I started practicing at Downward Dog with Diane Bruni and tried to get to class at least twice a week but something else was brewing in me. Something that at the time I thought was relatively normal. I mean, everyone was partying. Drinking and drugging were part of my social life life like tea and cookies go together. I was a waitress in a fast paced supper club where everyone was drinking and drugging. Cocaine, ecstasy, weed and copious amounts of booze.. It was everywhere and accepted as par for the course. What does this have to do with yoga you might ask? Well for me, it pretty much has everything to do with it. 

As my alcoholism took hold of me my yoga practice dwindled. I thought about it often and the odd time I dragged my hungover ass to a class I spent half the time wondering where I would have "lunch" after class. "Lunch" being code word for: where is there a decent LISCENCED place as close to the studio that I can get a glass of wine with food. Not exactly the thoughts that should be coursing through a yogi's mind while in savasana. But it was what it was. I think I even went to class a few times half in the bag. I mean, who doesn't have a couple glasses of wine after work and go to yoga. I was a smoker at the time too. I seriously apologize to anyone who practiced beside me back then. Who doesn't just love a stale wine and ciggy reeking practitioner? Seriously, I am sorry. 

Needless to say my practice fell into the background of my life. I thought of it often but alcohol and drugs had me in its clutches. Cunning, baffling and powerful. I honestly didn't see it coming and then it was too late. All of a sudden 10years passed and I was full blown. I was a desperate, depressed barely functioning drunk with a very bleak outlook on my future. I knew I needed help. I desperately wanted to stop but I didn't know how. I couldn't see my life without the wine glass in my hand. I had built an identity around wine and as much as I knew I was an alcoholic, I kept thinking that if I REALLY wanted it badly enough that I would be able to stop. But I couldn't. The insanity and obsession was so embedded in me that there was only 1 way out. I had to quit. There wasn't any other way.

I was very fortunate to have met a few alcoholics in the restaurant industry. As you can well imagine there's a few of us in the business and with the help and guidance of one particular friend I found my way to a detox centre and AA. I made a commitment the day I walked through the door of the Glendale House at St Joseph's Hospital. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I couldn't take the stress, the shame and the embarrassment any longer. I was ready to quit and get on with my life. I just had no idea what that looked like or how I was going to get there but the important thing was, that I was ready. 

3 months into my sobriety I decided to give myself a gift. I had been wanting desperately to go on a yoga retreat that my friend Grace Van Berkum was holding out of Nicaragua. I thought, what a better way to kick start the "living" part of my sobriety than getting healthy and start doing yoga again! I went on that retreat and to say it changed the course of my life would be a massive understatement. It changed everything... 

I came back from that trip with a different spring in my step. My body started to change. After all the years of abusing my body with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and poor eating habits, my body, skin and hair started to reflect what was happening to my insides. After that trip, I started to feel stronger and people started to notice weight was falling off of me. My skin started to look brighter, my eyes were clearer. I joined a yoga studio called Kula in the Annex and practiced everyday. I went to the studio with as much fervour as I did when I had done my 90 meetings in 90 days. I couldn't miss a day. Some might say that I became addicted to yoga. In hindsight I would have to agree. But in my opinion, becoming addicted to yoga, health and wellness was a whole hell of a lot better than the alternative. Having an addictive personality like mine, you have to be careful about everything but I truly believe that my crazy attachment to yoga back in the early stages of my sobriety helped catapult me into where I am today. I know that for sure. 

Last year I decided to take my love of yoga to the next level. I had been practicing religiously in between running a restaurant and had come to a point where I wanted more from my practice. I wanted to be a teacher. I was terrified of taking the plunge,  but nobody ever achieved greatness by playing it safe so I did it. I applied to the Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja, Mexico and after being accepted, started to plan a journey of a lifetime. I decided to take my journey beyond the training to Bali, Thailand, India and London England. A little Eat, Pray, Love if you will. It was amazing. A solo journey that took 5 1/2 months to complete. It was scary, exhilarating, lonely, satisfying and exactly what I needed to put my life into perspective. 

4 months back and I am teaching at IAM Yoga, subbing at Kula and saying yes to as many teaching opportunities as I can. Yoga opened up a world to me I never thought existed or if I did, I didn't think I would be privy to it. I know now that I can do anything I want or set my mind to. I am a strong, beautiful, talented, compassionate woman who has been to hell and back through the world of addiction. Yoga and sobriety has given me a life I only thought other people were allowed to have. I'm excited for my future with all of the unknown possibilities. My head is clear and my heart is open. 

Yoga means the world to me. It saved me during a very dark time. It provided light and breath when I needed it most. I love the fact that I get to share this ancient practice with those that are open to its potential. I believe I have a calling to give back to my AA community by bringing yoga to people who were just like me. I know I am supposed to be on this path. I know God has a plan for me. I am a very grateful sober yogi today. That is what yoga means to me. 

Listen In

I think I'm finally getting it.  How to listen to myself that is. I've been on this road of recovery, health and wellness for just under 4 years now. I can tell you one thing for sure, I am nautical miles ahead of where I was then. I started on this journey incredibly unhealthy. From the top down everything was in need of repair, and little by little as time has gone on I've been able to bring myself back to this new and improved self.  I could write 2000 words on how my body has changed but I'll save that one for another post. This is about listening and turning inward and that my friends has been and will be a journey of a lifetime. 

About 3 1/2 years ago I nose dived into yoga. I had been practicing since 1997 and for a while I had been very serious about it. Then my alcoholism took hold and yoga took such a back seat that it wasn't even in the same car😁. 3 months into my sobriety I decided to take myself on a healthy vacation. I decided to go on a yoga retreat. It changed my life. Quite literally. I couldn't get enough of it!! After the retreat I joined Kula Yoga in Toronto and practiced as often as I could. I stopped going to my AA meetings because I now had yoga. It was a new type of healing. But because of my addictive tendencies I got addicted to yoga as well. I over did it and ended up injuring myself. I hadn't realized that I had torn my hamstring. I just kept practicing over it because I didn't have the language or body awareness. I wasn't listening to my body. I was just feeding another addiction... 

3 years has passed since that injury and I'm STILL dealing with it. I see an RMT once a week cause I have to. If I want to keep practicing as much I do I must take care of my body. I MUST LISTEN. I have grown a great deal in 3   1/2 years but I still have a long way to go and God willing I'll be on This journey of listening, learning & self-realization for many years to come.  Now, I understand my body. I have the language and the awareness. I still practice every day but now I know what to look for. I know how to modify and listen. This my friends, is my yoga. I listen loud and clear because my body is my best teacher and I know what happens when I don't pay attention.. 

Things that go with coffee☕️

It was just over a year ago when I met this beam of light at the restaurant I manage. She came in all quiet like for a bite at the bar. She wanted something vegetarian and obviously that peaked my interest, as I too am a veggie, and that kinda got our friendship rolling. I believe in my heart that people come into your life for a reason. I know for sure she certainly did. We had more in common than I thought. We touched on many topics. I asked her if she was on Instagram and she shyly said yes. I went on it and saw she had over 2400 followers and I was like WHAT??? YA you're on Instagram (she's doubled that since then but who's counting😜)! But it was our chat about recovery that really connected us. I knew God had sent her to me. And I'm very grateful for it. 

About 4 months after our first encounter I went on a major life trip. I went to become a certified yoga teacher and traveled Bali, Thailand, India and London England. We stayed in touch on social media and upon my return connected in real time. I taught a yoga class at the MaRS building and invited her to come along. 

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I had made some superfood power balls for all the practitioners after class as a treat. And according to my dear friend (@thelittleblackcoffeecup) that's where the idea was born for this collaboration.  She emailed me and proposed the idea... #thingsthatgowithcoffee being the tag she was working on.  

Grammin

Grammin

She came over with a fantastic bag of coffee, a hand grinder and her camera and we got to work. 

Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter

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Getting messy  

Getting messy  

Rolling

Rolling

As she snapped away I got messy making balls. It was such a lovely afternoon. Please go follow her amazing Instagram account @thelittleblackcoffeecup and go to her website to read her version of that day's events☺️ 

Superfood Energy Balls

*makes about 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup Rolled Oats (I used Bob's Red Mill's gf)
  • 1/3 cup Maple Syrup
  • 2/3 cup Unsweetened Desiccated coconut (plus extra for topping)
  • 2 tbsp. Hemp seeds (plus extra for topping!)
  • 1 tbsp. Chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup Carob Chips
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup Ground Flax
  • Handful of Pumpkin Seeds
  • Handful of Sunflower Seeds

Method:

  1.  Stir to mix.  Use your hands!!  Roll into balls.
  2. Balls should be sticky.  Roll into topping of choice (hemp, cacao, chia...)
  3. Store your Superfood Energy Balls in the freezer!
  4. Enjoy!!
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