The Art of Living Attuned

The ‘Yes’ of No Story

Ever found yourself repeating stories about how (badly) someone else is acting while mentally defending your position? It’s so fascinating how it feels better in your head, but actually does nothing to increase your sense of well being.

This post is the first in a series of insights from “The 100 Days of Yes” Project: a quest to explore what it means to meet every moment with the energy of ‘yes’.

No surprise that on this adventure I am seeing how often, when I think I’m “just responding to life unfolding”, I’m actually in a heels dug in ‘no’.

Making Up Stories

This story is about the ‘no’ we’re in when we are trying to control the “is-ness’ of others (think judgement, blame, criticism, self-righteousness) and how this particular ‘no’ gets in the way of ease and full permission to live in our ‘yes’.

Free Yourself Up and Take Your Power Back

So here’s the real place to get curious: Is someone else really doing anything that’s creating a problem for me, other than in my own head? Or am I the one creating the problem, with resistance and judgement, and blaming it on them…

Here are 7 tips to untangle yourself from the rigid, resistant energy of ‘no’ that blocks openness and possibility:

  1. Notice what you’re thinking
  2. Get curious about whether your thought is actually true
  3. Notice what opens up if you’re willing to be wrong about it
  4. Check for “the rules” – Am I making up how someone else or life should be – or not be? (this one is pure, undiluted ‘no’ energy)
  5. Am I influenced by something other than my own inner compass? Am I letting someone else’s behaviour dictate who and how I’m being?
  6. Check yourself for feelings of guilt, obligation, fear of someone not liking you or one of my personal fall backs, a ‘screw you’ energy. All of these things pull you off your true north.
  7. Get still for a few moments, check what feels most true for you right now – hint: kind, authentic, creative, expansive – and give yourself permission to act in alignment with that without needing to control what’s true for someone else.

No one wins when we make ourselves or them wrong. Or when we bend ourselves to fit the desires of others or our Ego’s agenda. If it doesn’t feel true for you, it’s not true. It’s ‘no’ energy, and if we keep feeding it, it will inevitably create tension and constriction for us and others, and disconnect us from the freedom to create what we truly want.


Good to ponder:

“I shall allow no man to belittle me by making me hate him.” ~ Booker T. Washington



The Real You is Wanted in 2018 – You Coming?



Who do you want to bring to 2018? The you you’ve been, or the you you choose to be?

This question is one we rarely stop to contemplate as we’re busy making New Year’s future broken promises to ourselves. The gym, the partner, the smoking, the drinking, the project we’ll definitely get started, or the one we’ll finally finish. We’re clear what we want to change or create in the world of form, but what about who we are being? What about the energy we’re fuelling our intentions with?

We often forge ahead into the new year dragging along our stories, our resentments, our blame. Our past hurts, struggles and conflicts, both inner and outer. We bring the constriction of limiting beliefs, rules and expectations that we have agreed to live by, wondering if we will ever get to have the life we really want.

Of course we’re welcome to lug all the crap we’ve been hauling around behind us for the last several chapters into next year, but speaking from experience – that shit weighs a ton.


Eliminate Drag and Let the Real You Radiate

On the other hand, we could choose to move through the space of our lives lighter. We could lean into whatever support we need to shed what’s not working, and start to show up like our presence is needed here. Like it’s a gift, like we’re meant to inhabit this body and personality that is us for a very specific purpose that only we can express.

What if you decide that every single thing that happens is an opportunity for you to become more of who you really are – and then meet it in that way?

What if you set an intention that will create a fascinating spin on every moment that comes after it:

“I came here for the adventure and the magic. I’m not doing this thing alone. I live in a friendly Universe that has my back – and I’m suiting up and diving in.”


Good to ponder:

“You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.” ~ Shira Therani


Finding Home


Have you experienced something deeply painful, and then looked back on it a few years later and come to understand how much it had grown you into who you are now?

In a fabulous writing course called ‘Write Into Light’ that I took this year with Martha Beck and Liz Gilbert, we were asked to find one of those experiences. Our assignment was to write inward, to inhale deeply and find the learning and wisdom that the experience had given us, and then craft a piece of writing that could offer light to someone on their way in to that dark place, words that might help them find their way.

I went back to revisit a heartbreak from 15 years earlier in my life, a time where I found briefly – and then lost – someone I felt I had always known, before this lifetime, for many lifetimes. Someone I knew I was meant to find, and was devastated to realize I was not meant to keep. This is the piece that came through that exploration:


“Finding Home”

Brave girl, gather your courage, you will need it to find your way.

It’s going to be hell in there – a place that is darker than the blackest night. You are entering into the shadow to find your light.

Bring your goodness, your strength, and all the grace of who you are.

This adventure will ask more of you than any that have come before. It will ask you to free fall into pain, and trust Love to hold you.

There is only one way to proceed: throw your whole self in and follow where it leads.

There will be times you’ll believe, in your spiralling, chaotic and terrifying descent into the abyss, that you are utterly, absolutely alone. Instinct will tell you to run. Don’t.

This place does that. It’s okay.

What you don’t know, won’t know, can’t know – is that love has gone in ahead. To set the path, to unlock the mysteries that will appear to block your way, to create potions for the poisons that will seduce you in your pain. You will be held.

Stay alert, stay clear, stay fast on your feet and light in your spirit.
Don’t choose the surface, don’t kick for the top. Trust the darkness – or all will be lost.

You must open to the shifting, cracking, seismic undoing of all that you know yourself to be. Something deeper is wanting to emerge.

You WILL be held.

Scatter light around you. Gather the wisdom of sages in everyday clothes who have walked this path before you and have something to offer.

Post the gift of their light in places where you will stumble upon it daily. Use it to guide you as you would stars in the night sky – pin points of light in the darkness, sparks of truth sending messages from your soul.

Eventually, and this I promise you, you’ll begin to fall more slowly, more softly. With the lightness of the most exquisite feather, you will touch down solidly, surely and profoundly into a depth of a different kind.

You will pass through the bottom of the pain, and find what can only be found there. And finding it will change you. Your voice, your being, the energy you cast ahead of you as you move through life – will change.

Beneath the ravaging torment of the dragons you have slain, you will find in yourself a stillness, a wisdom, a fierceness and a truth that is more real than any you have known.

You are going into this hell to become who you came here to be. You are going into it to become me.


Good to ponder:

“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.” ~ Barbara Bloom


Are You Ready to Get Into the Magic of Flow?

You know flow when you’re in it. It has a sense of ease and grace, of effortlessness.

Flow is a state of openess, flexibility, creativity, and unlimited possiblilty.

And it is our natural state of being. 

What’s amazing about this is how often, and easily, we get derailed.

There are many things that shift us away from flow, and some powerful ways to get back into the magic of it. 


What Takes You Out

One of the big derailers is letting life circumstances dictate our feelings.

When we believe we’re at the mercy of how we feel in response to the events of life unfolding – we are pulled all over the map, and it can seem like a wild roller coaster ride. If we think we have no choice in how we feel, then we’re along for the ride whether we like it or not.

By allowing our emotions to be in charge, we move out of alignment with flow and into the energy of feeling limited, closed, rigid, blocked and stuck. Nothing feels easy or good, in these moments everything has the quality of struggle. Hard. Uphill. Overwhelm.


Getting Back In

A way to get reconnected when you’re caught up in this is to get clear about how you WANT to feel, and then make feeling that way a priority.

When we intentionally choose how we want to feel – and make that the most important thing, we naturally align ourselves with flow.

I’ve been test driving this approach to living for a while now, and it has been my experience that it absolutely works. Danielle La Porte has found a fantastic way to access this truth and created a great structure for applying it. If you want to really roll up your sleeves and get into it, I highly recommend the roadmap she lays out for you in The Desire Map.

I’ve come across this essential truth in other teachings as well, and the heart of it is this:


Get Clear How You Want to Feel

It starts with doing some homework to uncover how you want to feel in your life. There are some great places to look to gain some clarity about this.

One approach is to consider your goals. How do you imagine reaching them will make you feel? Keep looking around in here until you feel you’ve landed on the core feelings you believe achieving them will create in your life. This is actually how you want to feel now (not later when you achieve ticking the goal off your list).

I came up with my 5 “Core Desired Feelings” about a year ago, and they continue to evolve. In the first week of 2015, I decided to focus my attention on one in particular: Delighted.

Good thing, because I got to test drive it early on.


Notice When It’s Not Happening

One evening after a busy day of running errands with several jaunts in and out of the car, I had to make a phone call and realized that I didn’t have my ($100) bluetooth headset.

I remembered back to leaving the house that day. I had dog cookies in my right coat pocket and had put the headset in my left one to avoid getting crumbs in the port. And then all day long I used the same pocket for my car keys.

Keys in, keys out, keys in, keys out. Little ear hook on the headset primed for getting caught on the keys and going for a ride – out of my pocket into the big wide world. Landing in any one of a gazillion places. Pretty much needle in a haystack scenario.  

My first ‘feeling’ response when I connected these dots was a mix of aggravation, frustration, self flagellation, attachment to things being different, and a big dose of scarcity.

This of course led to the physical reponse of my blood pressure rising, a tightening in my stomach, and heat that started building as I began feeding the primary feelings with a story: “How could I have been so careless? It would’ve taken me one moment of mindfulness to realize what a dumb move that was and put my valuable headset in a better place. Can’t believe I lost a $100 headset, there’s a $100 I could’ve have spent on x, y, z…” – etc, etc, etc.

In the past I would’ve continued fuelling this story, and all the toxic feelings it generated, for several days.

But now I was armed with a new strategy, and it was time to implement.


Commit to Feeling It

Yes, you get to be in charge of this. Don’t let old stories or conditioning tell you otherwise. That’s garbage. Unless you have a real mental illness, you are always in charge of your emotional state. If you’re not feeling how you want to feel, you have a decision to make.

1) Awareness: I’m creating inner chaos and disconnecting from flow. I’m definitely not crazy about the feelings that are here now. 

2) Digging my heels in a bit: (never seem able to skip this stage…) What desired feeling was I working with this week? Oh yeah, Delighted. Hmmm…well, let’s see – nope, I am pretty much not delighted right now. In fact, I can confidently say undelighted is what’s here.

3) Choice: I can stay here, or I can shift. Since delighted is how I want to feel, it’s time to lean in.


Trust That it’s There – and  That You Have the Power to Access It

Once you’ve decided how you want to feel, know that it is available to you. We are never limited to a narrow range of feelings, it just seems like that when we are focused on that particular collection.

All feelings are available to us in every moment. More on that in another post, for now just play with it as a working theory. What you want to feel is there, and your job is to get creative about how you can connect with it.

In this case the way in was gratitude. I had just started a work out, and in looking for delighted, I realized how grateful I was to have two fully functioning arms and legs, and a healthy heart and lungs, so that I could engage in physical exercise that supported my health and well being.

That led to my next thought: it was -20 and dark outside and I was in my warm house with lamps glowing and nowhere else that I needed to be but tucked in here. It was really delightful to have this cozy sanctury to curl up in.

Finally, after finishing my workout, I went downstairs and kissed my sweet dog on the nose and thought, I am so delighted to have this little being in my life, and that she is healthy and happy. 

These things together were enough to get me there, I had walked myself into feeling very connected with delight, and could now clearly see that losing a $100 headset was not even remotely worth being undelighted. I was back in flow.



The next day, Sunday, I called everywhere I’d been. The vet was closed, but everyone else was open, and no one had seen a headset. I got in my car and drove back to all the places I had been to look in the parking lots and on store floors.

I wasn’t in a ‘need to find it’ state, but more of a due diligence place. And when it didn’t turn up anywhere, I easily let it go and moved on with my day.

On Monday afternoon, I remembered that I still hadn’t checked with the vet so I called them. “Yes,” the fabulous woman at the vet’s office said, “we do have a headset here.” “No way!” I said. “Way!” she said. “Yay!” I said. “Yay!” she replied, “We’ll hold it here for you.”

Might as well be delighted.


What About the Hard Stuff?

Of course this was a relatively easy experience to practice with. There are times in life when delighted is not what’s called for. This is when you want to have other desired feelings to create from, such as wise or courageous or connected…

It’s great to have 3-5 on your list, and to play with each of them in different situations so that you become intimate with the nuances of how each one serves you in working with your life – instead of against it.


The Art of Flow

If you want to dive into a deep exploration of what takes you out of flow – and create a powerful toolkit of skills you can use to create some wizardry and get yourself back into alignment with ease and joy – join us for our
“The Art of Flow” 6 week online course. We run the course a couple of times a year.

Good to ponder:

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept is as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” – Eckhart Tolle



When to Turn “No” into a Big Fat “Hell Yeah!”


Have you ever been met with ‘no’ when you were going after something you really, really wanted?
Times like this ask us to get crystal clear about our desires and the motivation behind them. 


What’s Driving Your ‘Yes’?

A couple of weeks ago one of my best friend’s sons turned a firm and repeated ‘no’ into an incredible, soul singing, heart lifting ‘Yes!’.

Finn was denied participation in the Whistler World Whip Off Championship this year because he was only 14. To give you an idea of his passion for sports – he has been riding seriously since he 5 was years old, and he’s been a provincial champion in each of these disciplines: hockey, ski racing, BMX racing and downhill mountain biking.

He snuck into his first Whip Off Event when he was 12 and was doing great, but got spotted by someone who knew his age and ousted him. Last year his sights were firmly set on officially entering because 13 year olds were going to be allowed in, but he got injured the day before and was devastated that once again he would miss the opportunity to compete.

So he was determined that this year would be his year – until he found out 2 weeks before the event that they had changed the entry criteria this year and only World Pros who were 18 years and older would be invited to participate.


Nope, No, Not Gonna Happen

The problem with this particular no is that it was strictly based on age, and did not take into account Finn’s considerable ability and maturity as an athlete.

His Dad called the event organizers on his behalf, asking them to consider letting him ride, and they said no.

His Mom called and asked if they could adjust the liability waiver as a one off for him. They said they would consider it – and came back with a no.

Finn called them and poured his heart out asking to be allowed in, and they replied, “As hard as this is for us to say – no.”


Turnin’ It Around

Despite all the no’s, this yes kept gathering steam. The local downhill biking community and industry, fully aware of Finn’s gift as a rider, rallied on social media – creating the hashtag #LetFinnIn. And that’s when the tide began to turn. The hashtag started gaining serious momentum, putting pressure on Crankworx to reconsider. This was becoming a bad PR scenario, and ultimately they caved and allowed him to compete.

As awesome as it was that Finn now had the opportunity to ride with all of his heroes – the coolest part is this:

He totally kicked ass and took 1st place in the competition. Uh-huh.

And here’s the thing, his competitors were as happy about it as his fans. The whole experience is a testament to the character of these riders, as well as their respect for Finn’s talent and his right to ride with them.


The Cues Are There if We’re Paying Attention

There were the clear indicators that this ‘No’ was meant to be a ‘Yes’.

The energy behind the ‘no’ was coming from rules (it’s the way it is), protection, ass covering, and keeping things ‘clean and simple’.

The energy behind the ‘yes’ was coming from a place of enormous peer, friend and family support, deep appreciation of this natural athlete’s skill and talent, and a real desire to see his potential expressed and realized. No brainer – it was absolutely wanting to be a yes.

So what do you do when your ‘yes’ is not unfolding the way you want? What’s the best strategy when doubt gets triggered? It’s interesting how a ‘no’ can start to mess with your momentum and clarity of purpose.

How do you know when “No” means: “Stop moving toward this…”- and when it means:
“Lean in and keep going for what you want”?


Curiosity and Courageous Looking

When we’re feeling denied or shut down, and it’s unclear whether we should bow out gracefully or keep pursuing what our heart wants – there are tools that can help us navigate skillfully forward.

Start by getting clear about the energy of what you want – the ‘yes’ – and the energy of the ‘no’ that’s meeting your yes. Does anything feel rigid, closed, limited or somehow “off”? If so, get curious about why that is. 

Here are some places to look:

  • Will this ‘yes’ compromise any of your top values? Integrity, health, and friendship are just a few to check for.
  • Will anyone else be negatively impacted as a direct result of you getting your yes? If so, could that impact ultimately be in service of them?
  • Do more things seem to be lining up to support the yes or the no?
  • Are you feeling compelled to trust and let things unfold, or does it feel like you’re pushing back hard against an immovable force?
  • What is motivating your ‘yes’? What is the deepest ‘why’ behind your desire?
  • Check with others who are either supporting your ‘yes’, or trying to convince you to accept the ‘no’. Are they truly committed to your best interests? If so – that’s important information.
  • On the other hand, is it their agenda, what they want for you? Or worse, is their ‘advice’ (or your own inclination to back down) coming from a place of fear? If so, don’t let this confuse your vision. Trust your gut first and foremost to tell you if the ‘no’ is a red light or a green light.


When No Really Means No

There are times when the ‘no’ is filled with signs that this is not the way to go forward if we are honest with ourselves and really listen. It can be a subtle and rich dance to push up against the ‘no’ and feel into it for this information. Often it takes touching it several times to know for sure, but the energetic info is always there if we pay attention.

Open your heart to the ‘no’ and ask why it might actually be in service of you.

Sometimes it means you’re getting sucked into tunnel vision, and the universe is wanting you to stay open to the possibility that what you want may come in a form you never imagined. If you’re intention and motives are true, no often just means ‘find another way’.  

And if you’re aiming for the wrong target, then life is simply doing some error correcting for you.


When to Shoot for the Stars

On the other hand, there are times when your ‘yes’ is so deeply authentic and true in your being that what is being asked of you when ‘no’ shows up is the passion and commitment to keep the faith, find creative ways around the obstacles, and stay your course.

When your ‘yes’ feels possibility focused and full of life force – then put a few miles of distance between you and the naysayers (both inner and outer), powerfully align with people who support your desire, and be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to keep making your dream a reality.


Check out Mindspark Cinema’s great 5 minute video of Finn’s story:


Good to ponder:

“To attract something you want, become as joyful as you think that thing would make you. The joy, not the thing, is the point.” – Martha Beck


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