Success is Built Into You

SUCCESS as a constitutional TRUTH - some rocks and minerals are better able to sustain weight, carry more energy and deal with pressure, whereas others will crack or crumble right away. It's just a difference in constitution. Just like rocks or stones, some of us are MADE to rise up and take on more than others - to envision more, accomplish more, serve more. If you are naturally inclined to be able to LEAD or work well under PRESSURE then it is your gift and your duty to make sure you do. You were born for it. Not all rocks are created the same just as not all humans are created the same. Step into your power.

Let Yourself Be Guided

Let yourself go wherever you feel guided to go. Take the leap. Trust your gut. It will bring you to more LOVE in your life. I have been practicing this idea of SURRENDER - of literally surrendering to whatever experience comes my way and saying YES to the things that do for a while now, but sometimes I forget, and get in my own way. When I do follow my gut or intuition, I'm always guided to the most serendipitous encounters or incredible opportunities. This week I promised myself to continue to remember to literally go with the flow and stay open to whatever comes my way. Life is leading to on your own journey. Learn how to ride the waves of life and you'll be pulled in the exact right direction. 

You Must Master a New Way of Thinking First

did you know we can literally rewire our brains? meditation can be an amazing tool to reinforce and create news ways of thinking. cultivating mindfulness allows us to create new habits in our daily lives - BUT this takes time. BE GENTLE with yourself when you act out of alignment from where you want yourself to be. First comes mastering your thoughts THEN comes mastering your actions. it's an ongoing struggle in setting new habits and moving forward. Little by little we etch new formations in out mind that then can take form in our lives, but sometimes we slip up in the forming process - when this happens - be kind and be gentle with yourself. 

Attachment is Blinding

When we get TOO focused on what we want, we can blind ourselves to the people, opportunities and experiences that might actually be better for us. nothing is perfect, and when we treat it like it is it can actually hamper us. if I'm getting too attached to an outcome I'll say "this - or something better." you don't know what you don't know - and being too focused on one outcome can stop your mind from creating a vision that's more magnificent. keep your mind open to the possibilities of what could arise.

Be Grateful for Whatever Happens - It's Always For Your Growth

A common misconception is that you'll increase your consciousness and then you'll suddenly get rid of the human experience of feeling the ebbs and flows of life. not true. life is full of setbacks - of challenges - of struggles - some which you can understand, others which you can't - but what is learned is how to weather the ups and downs. the spiritual path can be a difficult one because clearing through the things that hold you back can be daunting, but by facing them, we're just clearing space to come more fully into our best selves. ride the waves. each experience and struggle brings you closer to your highest potential.

Question: Where Do I Meditate? Answer: Everywhere and Anywhere

Meditation doesn't have to take place any specific place - not in a dark room, not in a place of prayer, not in an ashram. meditation can take place wherever is comfortable for you or available for you. I meditate in my condo, sitting on a pillow, close to the windows - whether it's light or dark outside doesn't matter. all you need to do is find a spot that's comfortable for you. sometimes I light a candle, sometimes I don't. Don't let meditation intimidate you! It's a personal practice that can be done wherever YOU are. 

Marianne Williamson - Quote I Love

“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.” -Marianne Williamson

The Other Person Is You

THE OTHER PERSON IS YOU. Sometimes our perception of how someone is treating us is really own story we've created. I've had moments where I think that someone is acting condescending to me which can rattle me - but when I take a mindful step back and reflect - I always realize that the person is just mirroring to me my own inner critical thoughts about myself. In those cases, I change my thought patterns and affirm to myself that I am capable and tell my inner critic to get out of my head. No one can make you feel inferior - but that includes yourself.

Full Circle Moments and Letting Friendships Ebb and Flow

Ever have moment when things come full circle? or when they are serendipitous? that exact person you've been thinking of reaches out - you get a windfall gain - that deal goes through... last weekend a friend had a party and didn't invite me! I felt bad about having lost touch and vowed to make an effort to  reconnect with some of my friends from when I was studying. I felt like not being invited was a sign that I was losing touch or had lost touch with a group of people who who really inspired me while I was in law school. sure enough, that same friend reached out to me randomly this week saying that we should catch up and how much he missed hanging. after I heard about his party, I was projecting that our friendship was over, but in reality both of us had been busy and had let ourselves drift. had he not reached out I would have kept thinking our friendship had drifted too far. good to remember that it's never too late to reach out to an old friend that you've drifted from. what I've continually been shown by the universe is that friends can wax and wane as we get to different places in our lives - and that's okay - the people who are meant to be in your life will always be there at the time when they're supposed to be.

Thich Nhat Than Quote I love

"When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That's the message he is sending." everyone has a story - everyone has their own ups and downs they're dealing with. if someone lashes out on me, I try and remember that they are projecting onto me their own world, and all I can do is choose to react with love. 

What Your Sickness is Telling You: Lessons in Self Care

The Lesson: You need to care of you FIRST. You can only give when your cup is full.

The Tool:  ensure that you have your self-care non-negotiables in place.  What are they for you? For me, it was yoga, meditation, cooking for myself, and taking at least half an hour alone each day.  Then make sure that you do them.  You can’t show up for anyone – including a new potential partner! – if you’re not connected to yourself.   What are the things that help connect you to YOU?

xoxo,

Catie

Are you feeling worn down? Are you sick? It might mean its time to double down on that self-care time and carve out some time to take care of YOU, you queen.

How to Come Back Home: Lessons from Google

How often do we look for an answer outside of ourselves? 

The top most searched "how to's" in google are:

1. how to tie a tie

2. how to kiss

3. how to get pregnant

4. how to lose weight

5. how to draw

6. how to make money

7. how to make pancakes

8. how to write a cover letter

9. how to make french toast

10. how to lose belly fat

I came across this article that so beautifully outlined what we are really searching for which I loved:
 

Question     What you’re really asking

How to tie a tie           How do I grow up

How to kiss                 How can I be vulnerable

How to get pregnantHow can I create a family

How to lose weight   Am I lovable

How to draw              Is there a cure for my existential ennui

How to make money  Can I find success

How to make pancakes  What’s the recipe for happiness

How to write a cover letter     Am I good enough

How to make french toast       Can I be carefree for a morning

How to lose belly fat                   Can I be young forever


We all long to "go home" in some way - to have that feeling that we are safe, secure, at ease, and loved.  The thought that underpins all of these external searches is ultimately, "can I go home? can I just feel at home right now?"   What is "home" exactly, though? And how can we find it within ourselves? 

So much of the practice of learning how to connect with our soul, its guidance, and our heart is simply to help us find our way back "home" to ourselves.  When we are anchored, connected and guided by our heart, we feel at home.  We feel more loving and open.  Things flow in magical coincidences that we can't help but feel supported.  We feel inspired.  The more disconnected we are from our hearts, the more that we feel disconnected from the feeling of "home."  It's in that space that we'll forget that the answers are always within in us, and will seek counsel from external sources to answer questions our heart knows the answer to. 

The way to find your way back to your heart is to take time to get quiet enough so that you can tune into its guidance - whether that means going outside, turning your phone on airplane, spending time in a place that fuels you, journalling, or moving your body in whatever way feels good to you until you get to that point of clarity where the thoughts slow down and the guidance comes.  

Here's the only question that you ever need to ask in order to get yourself home: "what's the next right step?" 

If you're finding that your mind is swirling and you're feeling off - then carve out time for yourself this week to tune all the noise out - to get still and quiet enough to hear your heart answer the above question.  You'll then be guided to whatever action you need to take in order to make yourself feel more connected.  Maybe it'll come from something someone says to you, or a poster you see, or a hit of inspiration.  Whatever it is, your heart always knows how to lead you home. 

Bachelor Canada Week One Vlog - Rollercoaster Ride

This year I decided that I was going to have a year of yes – meaning that as different people suggested things to me I would say yes to new experiences instead of saying no. 

Week One – Getting on the Rollercoaster

 You know when you’re at a theme park and you can see the rollercoaster ride: you see its peaks and valleys and you see where you’re going to be waiting for a really long time as you gently creek up to the top of the peak? The thing is, you never know until you’re actually there what it would be like to actually experience that.

The Lesson: Future Tripping - when your mind gets lost in contemplating a variety of situations that have... never happened

How many times do you let your mind think of a million different possible future outcomes of a situation?

The fact is, I spent a long time thinking of a number of outcomes when I really wouldn’t know what it would be like until I was there. 

Think about how much time we spend thinking of a variety of possible outcomes that have never happened, and how often this robs us from enjoying the present moment, just as it is. 

The Tool: go through the best case and worst case scenario, and consider what would happen in either circumstance, until you get to a place of being completely fine with either outcome.

How often do we get anxious about future bad scenarios, or get an “expectation hangover” when what we have carefully curated in our mind as the perfect outcome doesn’t happen and we’re left wallowing in our own disappointment of… what never was.  

 

Combating Stress Using Brain Science

How to tackle stress by learning about the BRAIN (meditation the rescue)
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Ever have that feeling like your heart is going to explode out of your chest and your and your mind is racing? Sweating or hands shaking? That's your amygdala, this little nugget in your brain, firing. It was designed to protect us from dangers like mammoths and lions and big foot coming to get us, but instead, it now fires whenever we feel remotely threatened or stressed out. Got a weird text from someone? it might fire. Drank too much at the party? it could fire. Think you're about to miss a deadline or are super late for an event? AMYGDALA FIRING
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When that happens, our pre-frontal cortexthat makes all our rational, logical decisions, helps us concentrate, make decisions and otherwise get things done, goes offline. (It's basically our best friend and is thicker in successful people). As such, when the amygdala is firing, we feel frozen
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The amygdala will tell you to binge eat to calm it down (actually). A healthier alternative is to take big, deep breaths. Breath calms down the amygdala so the pre-frontal cortex can go back online and you can logically and rationally think and make decisions again
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Here's the KICKER - when you meditate regularly, your pre-frontal cortex actually thickens, while your amygdala learns how to calm the F down - it gets SMALLER and stops firing so much. 
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It's a stressful time of year - end of year targets, shopping, family obligations, and events. Next time you are feeling OVERWHELMED, try this little trick to get your anxiety under control. Breathe in for four counts, and then out for four counts. This will allow the amygdala to calm down so that the pre-frontal cortex can go back online. 

You Do You - Cultivating Pleasure and the Yin Energy

Ask yourself: WHAT do you DESIRE?

then…You Do You! Do that.

The pendulum swings both ways - the key is finding the delicate balance of doing and non-doing... of action and stillness. Of work and play. If not, I'm sure you've had the experience of what it feels like to be pushed, flung, catapulted, or thrown back the other way - whether you've been a little TOO relaxed and end up making a mistake through inattention, or you're TOO on it and all of the sudden you can't stay awake
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The doing energy, the exerting, forcing, producing, protecting, having tangible results for our efforts is all associated with the YANG energy. Our society LOVES this side of things - do more! work more! have more things on the go! run faster! 
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However because of this we forget the equally as important side of the energy - the YIN energy. This energy is all about just BEING, doing for the sake of PLEASURE, following our desires, receiving, and inputting energy into our beings
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If you’re constantly in DOING mode, you’re going to feel out of balance. I really struggled with this, until I learned to consciously ask myself regularly, “what do I DESIRE?” and then giving myself permission to do that. It gets me into playing with the yin energy, which helps the pendulum swing the other way to keep the type A, intense side of me in check
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We forget that we don’t always have to be doing - that we don’t always have to be making things happen for ourselves. That we don’t have to be crushing it all the time for results. Rather, we can follow our desires to ensure we live in a state of joy, which takes us into a flow state where things are magnetized to us instead in the most magical and synchronistic ways

xoxo
Catie Fenn

How to Cultivate Adventure with Getting on a Plane

Adventure excites me. I am going back to the jungle on Saturday but in the interim, I'm in my routine. I woke up, went to spin, will walk to and from home, will see my familiar law friends, drink coffee at the coffee shop I always do, and take breaks to read a book I am newly obsessed with – and yet, I'm reminded of what I heard a spiritual teacher I adore, Byron Katie, say when I saw her in SF last year: “every day is exciting because YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN”

Those words echoed to me this morning. While actual adventures to new countries and places to soak up sites we have never seen, and play with our senses and dance under a new constellation of stars is invigorating – they aren’t the only way to cultivate adventure in our lives, and in fact, the research I did found that people actually AREN'T any happier from vacationing - we only get a small boost from booking and planning the trip

Every day has the potential to be a massive adventure, because it IS. We never know what’s going to happen, and it’s in that unknown that our spirits stay free and our hearts stay open. And our spirits long to be free, and our hearts to stay open

We all long to be at peace, but also to be wild. To stay wild. Adventure keeps our wildness alive. Invigorated. Infused with magic and mystery and possibility

So I invite you today to think about why things happened today that you didn’t know were going to happen. Think about it. Even the most mundane thing. “I didn’t know I would run into person X.” “I didn’t know I would come across that article.” “I didn’t know I would eat that meal.” “I didn’t know I would get that good news.” “I didn’t know I would catch a glimmer of the clouds in the sky against the multi-colours of the trees from high above an office tower and it would take my breath away.” BOOM. Magic all around, always. xoxo

Why Do We Fear Connection: Lessons from the Subway

The subway was busy during the afternoon as I was coming back from court. I managed to get a seat and quickly shoved my bags underneath, awkwardly maneuvering my gym bag, yoga mat, and briefcase all together into a haphazard pile. I close my eyes for a moment. Deep inhale. Exhale.

At the next stop a senior woman in a wheelchair came on and stopped a few feet away from me. I glanced over and noticed how bundled up she was for the hint of colder autumn weather — winter coat, winter hat, and this awesome blue fleece blanket with cats on it. I could sense her spirit. She was kind. Loving. Plus I just knew she had to be open hearted with that blanket. I watched her focus to find her stop on the subway map atop the doors and then watched as her gaze unexpectedly met mine. I smiled — she smiled. I then politely looked away.

I then turned and observed everyone else down the car. They were looking down, at their phones, at the ads above their neighbour’s head, or anywhere else other than at the individuals sharing the space with them.

Witnessing the disconnection of us all, I then thought “why do we avoid connection?” I had just done it when I turned away from my new friend. We do it habitually, instinctually, and yet, it’s not our true nature. We all want to connect, at our core.

So, I chose again.

I looked back over at the woman who was now staring at me. She pointed at my tights and suggested I should be wearing snowpants given the weather. I softened and allowed myself to melt into the sweetness of connection. For our eyes to meet. To see each other. “It IS cold today I was freezing on my walk!” She moved her wheelchair toward me.

We spent the next few minutes chatting. About how I was, in fact, not in high school and a practicing lawyer, and about how she was from Newfoundland originally while I was raised in Toronto. As she neared her stop, she asked for my card — “LOVE WARRIOR?!” she laughed.

Once the bell chimed and the doors opened for her stop, she had trouble getting off. The new subways are tough to maneuver and her wheels got stuck between the platform and the car. Two guys rushed over and struggled to help her while the subway driver was yelling what to do. It was a whole kerfuffle. But the whole time she held my gaze as I stood beside her, offering my support to my new friend, and was totally upbeat “you’re my witness, lawyer!!!” she laughed as they not so gracefully unwedged her wheels from the gap. She whizzed away and I sat back down. Eyes open this time. Inhale. Exhale.

Connection! Why do we fear it? There it was. Two strangers sharing a laugh and finding our commonalities. We all need it. We all are BUILT for it — and yet we often willingly choose NOT to.

Later that week I was walking to work and was late because it was so dark in the morning and all I wanted to do was hibernate. I snoozed too many times through my alarm and once I finally peeled myself out of my bed and gathered the courage to leave the cocoon of my apartment, I was annoyed about how rainy and windy it was. Peace is always a thought away, and I knew better than to travel down into a funk so I did what I always do and asked my inner guru for help to reframe the wind, the rain, and the darkness: “help me to see this differently.”

I got onto the streetcar because it was too wet to walk. As soon as I got on a disheveled man came up to me “isn’t it nice we can still wear outfits like this at this point in October?” he said, pointing to my running shoes, bare legs and light jacket. There was the moment. Choose to connect or choose to look away. Choose love or choose fear.

I smiled. “YES. It IS amazing!” He replied, “enjoy it. The cold is coming in fast.” Perception changed through connection: no longer was I hung up on the rain, but rather found myself grateful it was still warm enough that I didn’t have to bundle up.

We then got talking about how he was going to meet the cable company because his cable got cut off for failure to pay because he lost his job.. In that moment, he needed the moment of connection too — someone to listen and SEE him and tell him it was okay. He got off at the next stop.

As always, magic, love and connection are always available, we just have to choose it. We forget. We forget that we’re all just dancing through the life game together, at the same time. We forget to connect. We forget that we’re all one. That’s the choice — choose connection or choose fear. What do you choose?

How I Learned to Date Myself

“You teach other people how to treat you”

I was meandering the street of Mykonos, Greece by myself after having just watched the sun go down in a swarm of people, selfie-sticks in hand ready to capture the moment, and had a dance of what I should do versus what I wanted to do.

What I really wanted to do was go back to my hotel and dress up and go out for a beautiful dinner. Mykonos has some gorgeous restaurants that in the comfort of my apartment I had diligently been researching on Trip Advisor prior to my trip, ensuring that my hotel was walking distance to those that I wanted to experience.

Then I got stuck.

As my first evening there approached, all my mind wanted me to do was stay in my day clothes and just have a gyro in a casual shop hidden in a twisted road and call it a day because I was alone.

It was the normal thing to do, I thought. Mykonos is an electric town vibrating with the energy of groups of friends and the romance of couples. I had been around it all day, but I was immersed in my book and the ocean and didn’t mind. However as the evening neared and the possibilities for my evening plans began to reveal themselves, my mind said it would be too uncomfortable to show up without any of my day time distractions in a restaurant buzzing with that type of energy and connection around me, and yet to be an outsider —

To really allow myself to witness my aloneness, deeply

Then I remembered what my beautiful friend Lori Harder taught at her workshop in LA last winter that always resonated with me “you teach people how to treat you.”

In that moment I had the choice — to choose fear and listen to my mind’s story about how alone I would feel in the image my mind flashed for me of all the tables of couples and groups around me laughing and chatting and clinking champagne glasses over candlelight — or to choose love. To choose to trust what my heart wanted to do, and to lean into where the deeper, wiser, most loving part of me was guiding me

And so I did it. I showed up for myself. My true self. My higher self. I took myself out for a delicious dinner. I dressed up for myself. I wore my most beautiful jewellery. I sat with myself in a fancy restaurant. I absorbed my food with all of my senses. I spent time with myself. I showed up for the other people at the restaurant who were not so sureptitiously glancing at me and questioning why a person would be alone at a restaurant in a state peace without a companion, even though I watched many be glued to their iPhone screens despite sitting across from one another.

I did it because I knew we always have a choice: to choose love or to choose fear, and I know to choose love. To trust the mind or trust the heart.

I did it because I LOVE gorgeous dinners out and dressing up, and how could I put the pressure upon or call forth a partner who makes me feel this way and does these things with me without embodying it first? How could I expect another person to show up for me in such a powerful way if I couldn’t show up for myself first? And while I’ve had partners that have done this in the past, why wait to have these experiences until they’re here?

It’s up to us to be the light, for ourselves and then for others. As we do, others observe. As we are, others are inspired. Keep shining, love warriors