Welcome Kalista

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Today is a special day. It is March 14, 2014 – otherwise known as the due date of my first child. It also, incidentally, marks 3 weeks since the birth of said child. That’s right!

On Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:13am, my daughter, Kalista Isabelle, made her way into the world at exactly 37 weeks. The child in womb who we affectionately called Bear arrived with larger than life cries bellowing from her very petite and compact 6lb 8oz and 17 inch long body. Her early arrival surprised us all but because she was so wanted, people mobilized quickly to come from far and wide to celebrate this darling little girl.

Kalista is healthy, happy and thriving. And we are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Welcome Bear. You have arrived!

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Vision + Practice

Vision Board (Abundance)*Click on the image above to view my Vision Board on Pinterest.

Here we are – 40 days into 2014. (How time flies!) I thought now would be the perfect time to share a bit of my strategy for the year. I have taken a much more action-focused approach to my intentions this time ’round – giving myself time to roll out ideas, test them and learn from that before sharing my framework. It has been such a helpful exercise and I highly recommend it!

My theme for this year is: ABUNDANCE. Before the end of last year, I shared a bit of the inspiration behind it and a manifesto for staying true to my interpretation of it.

With the help of Stratejoy’s Holiday Council, I was able to define 3 big goals for the year and 5 overall priorities to focus my attention on.

My goals embrace my theme of ABUNDANCE ten fold. Here is the short and sweet version.

  • Cultivate the habit of calm
  • Play big with Inspired Practice
  • Embrace intentional childbearing and wholehearted parenting

The specific objectives, targets, and actions required to achieve these maintenance and project goals are laid out in an evolving framework that I am also test driving this year. If all goes well, I hope to share tips and templates that others can use for their own purposes.

Here are the priorities or “ways of being” I am pursuing all year long.

Be Connected: Being connected is high up on my list this year. I feel that as I personally and professionally evolve it becomes so important to build community around the new and expanding roles I will fill. My calendar is tagged with a curated selection of wonderful events that will allow me to continue building my business as well as tap into that shared experience with new moms, as I become one. The truth is: my time will be valued at a higher premium in the coming months and that means prioritizing certain connections over others. Regular conversation and FaceTime with family is an important way for me to stay grounded but also involve others in seemingly ordinary moments with Bear as she grows. And of course, topping it all off is a strong desire to nurture and evolve my relationship with my husband as we transition into parenthood. Sometimes the simplest things like weekend brunch or walks with the dogs can make all the difference.

Be Daring: Certainly my “dare to be great” nature is always a part of the equation but for 2014 I set the intention to focus on daring in very specific ways. Last year allowed me to set the stage to build a new and evolving client base for Inspired Practice so more of that will happen this year. Along with that comes the creation of a new type of offering launching in May 2014. It is hush-hush for now because there is still much work to be done but I am relishing the thought of collaborating with others in such a unique way.

Be Present: When you have a little bear on the way and are facing a world of uncertainty, you can spend a bunch of time stressing about the future. As important as the future is, the present is where I am now. So as part of my intentions for the year I came up with some simple actions that I could take each day to be present. Perhaps the most profound thing I have started doing this year that has shifted my perspective to the moment I am in is my 365 Photo Project on Instagram. I snap a photo everyday of whatever mundane or magical thing I am doing, place I am in or emotion I am riding. I believe that this along with my daily declaration of gratitude will keep me focusing on the NOW.

Be Loving: This year more than any other is about being loving. For me this means: embracing wholehearted parenting as I nurture Bear and her growth as a person;  using words of affirmation, time, acts of service, affection and thoughtful gifts as demonstration of my love to others and,  loving and caring for myself unapologetically.

Be Free: My most liberating priority for 2014 is being free. Halfway through 2013, I began the challenging yet critical process of untethering myself from commitments, physical stuff and relationships that were no longer serving me, my family, my health or my business. As new opportunities have surfaced in the last couple of months, I have discovered the need to continuously “declutter” and free up my mental, physical and emotional space. The other part of this equation is being more mindful of the kind of expectations I place on myself – especially as I become a mom and with that a first-time mom. And to really pile it on a first-time mom running my own business. With practice, I am hoping to condition my mind to relinquish expectations and judgement as they surface and just be FREE.

And there you have it – my vision for 2014 informed by 40 days of practice.

All over again

4 Year Anniversary

On January 1, 2010 in the most beautiful winter city in the world, I married my favourite person, best friend and great love. At 5pm EST today I will celebrate 4 years of marriage to my husband.

When asked if it feels like 4 years, I said that it seemed longer actually. That could be because Mike and I cultivated an amazing friendship over 7+ years before we walked down the aisle. Since we began dating in 2007, we have been on what is, for some, a lifetime worth of adventures. We live a full life and magic-making is a daily experience. There are a million more minutes, hours and days to live. Lots of challenges and triumphs yet to encounter.

This is an amazing video that makes me treasure the days and moments I have already experienced and have yet to come in my own marriage. The story is about a man who spent 75 years married (!!!) to his now deceased wife. He wrote a song for her as part of a song-writing contest and this is the magic that happened.

I loved this story in part because my wonderful husband is quite the song writer himself. He has written many humorous and sentimental song lyrics (usually put to the music of classic songs). He sings them to me, our dogs and even little Bear. It is such a talent but more importantly, one of those personal quirks that makes life together very, very special.

Happy Anniversary to my darling husband! Wish I could do it all over again.

Goodbye 2013

2013 you have been a very FULL year. Wow. I am so grateful. (Words are probably insufficient but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.)

I feel like I have grown so much this year – and not just in size. 🙂 A lot of that can be attributed to re-discovering the highs and lows of risk-taking. I manifested new opportunities based on what I truly want and let go of what was no longer serving me – even if it was a bit scary at first. I lightened the load and released myself from unnecessary burdens. Then I made room for something else – someONE else. And boy did the universe deliver.  (That’s a neat trick by the way. Can’t wait to see if it works again!)

I know that over the last few months, in particular, there have been some growing pains and trade offs. At times that has felt suffocating but then I just take a couple of deep breaths and pull the curtains open on my heart and mind just to let more LIGHT in.

This year, I am so thankful for:

  • Growth in my marriage and partnership. When you set out to build a life with someone you love and adore, you pray that you both will be in sync and grow in tandem as the years pass. This year, we have had so much growth individually and I feel it has given us the strength to usher in growth together in 2014. This reality has given me so much more confidence and joy as we embark on our journey into parenthood.
  • All of my girls. Winnie joined our family early this year and completely changed (for the better) our little pack. Khailee grew into this amazing big sister dog with a peacefulness I so admire. (Teach me, Zen Master!) Bear, our human daughter-to-be, is already such a gift. Our life together is an embarrassment of riches.
  • My family – especially my parents, brother, uncles and aunts. These people are my rocks. They offer everything and ask for nothing.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
  • The wonderful clients and colleagues who see value in the work I do, the experience I have acquired and the contributions I have yet to make.
  • The courage and support to take risks in my 6-year-old business and begin my reinvention tour. (More on that in 2014!)
  • The overwhelming, awe-inspiring generosity of new and old friends, family members and on occasion, complete strangers (that’s a shout out to my birth club group!). I am moved by the love and light sent to me from every corner of the world.
  • The good health with which I have been blessed throughout my pregnancy. I have a healthy body and (with the exception of some hormone-induced breaks) a sound mind. I intend for this to continue into 2014 so that I can calmly and safely bring my baby girl into the world.

Goodbye 2013.

Looking forward to sharing more in 2014 as my Year of Abundance unfolds. Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!

What’s your kind?

kind (adj)

  1. Of a friendly, generous, or warm-hearted nature.
  2. Showing sympathy or understanding; charitable.
  3. Humane; considerate.
  4. Forbearing; tolerant.
  5. Generous; liberal.
  6. Agreeable; beneficial.

This is the definition of “kind” taken directly from The Free Dictionary. I felt the need to look up the word after a day of bearing witness to the opposite of “kind” behaviour. It is amazing how up until December 25, it is “merry christmas” this and “happy holidays” that. The day after and whatever holiday spirit was stocked up in the 3 week lead up to the holidays has all been spent.

On December 26, I saw the absolute worst brought out in people in parking lots, at malls, in movie theatres. Call me crazy but charitable behaviour should not be seasonal. We all have places to be, dislike waiting, and want things done our way. But is that excuse enough to be unkind? No way.

A lot of folks have taken to participating in random acts of kindness. I believe this is truly wonderful but also know that so often being kind is a more immediate and daily requisite in our exchanges with others. Often the kindness that is needed is not in going out of one’s way for another human being but merely in making different choices as you react to situations that arise.

My kind is really a combination of what I bestow on others and how I value what others bestow upon me. Here are some very simple and basic ways to be kind in your daily interactions.

  1. Say “hello”, “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, “sorry” – as context dictates. It takes only seconds to do this but it means that you are actually acknowledging another human being’s existence and value.
  2. Be mindful of others around you. When in public watch where you are going and what you are saying. Again this is an easy way to respect the fact that we all share public spaces and all of us have the equal privilege of enjoying these spaces.
  3. Be helpful. Often it won’t be your problem that needs solving but somebody else’s. Choose not to hinder someone else’s enjoyment of life because you feel you can’t be bothered.
  4. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes people will cut you in line or walk directly in your path without awareness of the impact this has on you. More times than not, it is unintentional. They may have failed to follow #2 above. It doesn’t mean you have to take it personally. Choose to be the bigger person and avoid unnecessary negativity.

Remember: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~ Dalai Lama

Lives + lines

In the early days of pregnancy, feeling isolated and alone, I turned to a group of expectant Canadian mothers who had formed a “birth club” online. I have participated in conversations, asked questions and embraced the shared experience that we are all going through as we await the arrival of our babies in March 2014.

Recently, members of this online birth club have reflected on the images and feelings associated with the photos they took of themselves at the earliest stage of pregnancy. They compared their bodies from then to now and realized two important things: 1) the pregnant form is truly glorious and 2) their perspective on how they looked before pregnancy (or before they popped) was unhealthy.

I feel compelled to share spoken word artist and poet-extraordinaire, Hollie McNish’s thoughts on body image. Words that opened my eyes to the importance of embracing the laugh lines, stretch marks and “imperfections”.

Respect your body like the temple that it is. It’s the only one you get.

Songs for Bear

Songs for Bear

A month ago I began thinking about curating a collection of songs for Bear. Babies develop their hearing quite early. At first, they can really only use that sense to hear sounds that are inside their own environment such as their mama’s heartbeat and voice. Later on, they develop the ability to hear sounds – quite muffled – coming from outside of the womb such as barking, talking, music, etc…

I am such a music lover that I immediately became overwhelmed with all of the possibilities I could expose my Bear to at this early stage. So instead I thought about the kind of music we could listen to in our early days as new mama and infant to help us bond and gel together. I didn’t want old-school lullabies or heavily-synthesized kiddie-sounding versions of classics. (Sorry but the latter does not mesh with my interpretation of music.) But I did want to find some favourites that would be soothing and calming.

Songs for Bear is a selection of popular songs with beautiful messages and melodies. (Click on the image above to listen to the playlist.) I chose songs that originated from Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Guns ‘n Roses and Elvis to name a few and then found arrangements (sung by other artists) that fit with the general mood I was aiming to create. There are also two songs on the playlist that have a very special place in Bear’s parents’ collective history. One of which was, in fact, our wedding song (Over the Rainbow sung by Ray Charles).

I can’t wait to curate a playlist for our many dance parties. 🙂

The Manifesto of Abundance

Manifesto of Abundance

This is the Manifesto of Abundance. It is my intention and declaration for 2014. It may seem a bit early for 2014 visioning, goal setting and/or themes. (After all there are still 2 weeks left in 2013). But the truth is that I am currently in a physical, mental and business transition so it seemed like the right time to put pen to paper.

I have reflected a lot on what my year of LIGHT has manifested. What is light? Something that makes vision possible. A spiritual illumination. Truth. Enlightenment. I know that there were some powerful awakenings in my business and self that hit around the mid-way point this past year. The rest of 2013 has centered around brightening existing habits of the heart and igniting new opportunities that better align with my values. This year was not easy-breezy but it helped me uncover the things I didn’t even realize I wanted. Now that I know what they are, I can ask for what I want and make it happen. And so that brings me to a year of ABUNDANCE.

I have known what my theme for 2014 was going to be for a while. I gravitated toward the concept of abundance and felt at home with how I had interpreted it. Or so I thought… As part of my continued commitment to enlightenment this year, I have been very fortunate to benefit from the wisdom of others. Through my participation in the Holiday Council, I got to actually visualize my future self and imagine where, who and how I would be a year from now. It was truly fascinating and not at all what I had expected. Needless to say, I learned from this exercise that my original definition of “abundance” was impossibly narrow. In fact, the happy, healthy and serene person from 2014 I encountered in my mind had experienced an abundance of peace, presence and glorious potential. As a final component of this visualization, we were guided to imagine our future self giving us something as a take-away from the year. The 2014 Kristle gave me a dream catcher and a pacifier. Taken literally or symbolically, I think that speaks volumes about the kind of year that is in store for me and the nature of the experiences I will be creating.

Have you started to reflect on 2013? Are you thinking about your intentions for next year? What is your THEME for 2014?

No longer zero

Winnie's 1st Birthday

Happy Birthday to our mini Winnie! She is our baby dog with a fauxhawk, polka dot belly and partially pink nose. As her papa bear said, today she is no longer ZERO. She has been with us since February and every day sets off on some kind of adventure – with me usually chasing after her.

Her favourite things to do include cuddling the Baby Bear belly, stealing her sister’s treats, eating mud, leaves and sticks, and hanging out on the heating vent inside of the front door. She is a weirdo and we love that about her.

Happy 1st Birthday Win-Win!