Love Is All Around

It's true. One of my favourite times of year. I seem to say that a lot these days. But I mean it. Love is in the air and we all take time to celebrate and honour how it shows up in our lives.

I've always loved love. And I've always believed that the answer to most questions is more love. I'm not really sure where this all came from either. I've had my share of heartbreaks, tragedies and rejection. Yet I've still always known somewhere deep inside of me that it all comes from a place of love. It's probably why I've also had my share of triumphs, passion and bliss.

I realised very early on that we always have a choice. It comes down to love or fear. I make a conscious effort to lean towards love. But fear sneaks its way in too. And in those times that I fall off track, I remember I can simply choose again. Choose love. 

It's not only THAT we love, but HOW we love that's really important. Learn another's Love Langauge (www.5lovelanguages.com) and your relationships will never be the same. In the best way possible.

So join me in a month dedicated to love. I'm certain your life, your heart and the people in it will thank you for it <3

To the Year Ahead!

Happiest of New Years!!

And it's a big one. 2016 was the Year of the Caterpillar, 2017 the Cocoon and 2018 the Butterfly. This from a dear friend in the know, but I really feel this way too. There comes a time when we simply have to emerge as we're meant to. My word for this year: Inspired-Action. Time to really make magic happen.

With this fresh new energy, I am so excited to share Wildflower's up and coming programs for 2018. Why not reach as many Moms & Daughters as possible. Plant seeds of deep connection and bring a little more light into our world. There's lots on offer and I need your help to get the word out:

Mother & Daughter Mini Retreats (connection, love and laughter)
Mother & Daughter Themed Yoga Classes (body-image, self-love, bullying, etc)
Mother & Daughter Private Sessions (tailored to unique needs)

I also have some amazing partnerships and collaborations in the works to bring even deeper connection and greater joy to our community. Stay tuned as it all unfolds. I look forward to the big year ahead. I. Am. Ready. <3

Where the Road Leads You...

Back to boundaries. Every road kind of always leads back to boundaries really. What we are comfortable with, what works for us, what we want and need basically maps out the course of our lives. 

Knowing these things also helps us draw the line around what makes us uncomfortable, doesn't work or isn't what we need or want. A type of GPS for ourselves.

With boundaries we indicate limits, edges. Places we're not willing or able to go beyond. Chaos breeds when boundaries are weak. When we push ourselves a little too much for the sake of someone or something else. When we say yes, but really mean no. When we say no but need to say yes. 

So having CLEAR and STRONG boundaries is a must. Making sure we're putting ourselves first so that we can show up as our best in all of our relationships is a must. And if you're like most people and need to up your boundary game, here's a good place to start:

1) Learn what is true for you. What feels right. What feels good

Start by sitting with yourself and going through several statements that you know to be true. Example- My name is Carmen. I am a woman. I live in Vancouver. Etc etc. Take a deep breath after each statement. Notice how you feel, the sensations that you experience when you speak hard facts.

Next, go through several statements that you know to be untrue. Example- My name is Frank. I am a boy. I live in France. Etc, etc. Take a deep breath after each statement. Again notice how you feel, the sensations that you experience when you encounter things that are untrue for you.

This gets you used to learning and understanding your body's cues when something is true (ie, works for you) or untrue (ie, doesn't work for you). The difference between those is where you draw your boundary.

2) Think about times recently that you replayed an interaction or situation in your head after the fact and wished for a different outcome. What were the circumstances? Who was involved? Was it an isolated incident or has this happened many times before, perhaps with the same person? 

Take that information and use it as the place to begin. Think about your ideal outcome and you will have learned what you need to start to ask for and with whom.

3) Ask for what you need. Be unapologetic. Others may struggle with your boundaries if they are new. But those who hold your heart will respect them. 

Explain that it's also new for you. Not everyone will be able to respect the lines you've drawn and consider that insight into the quality of relationship that you have with that person. It's not personal, and it may just take some time for BOTH of you to shift.

4) Accept. This is a BIG one. A 'take a deep breath and let it all go' kind of big one.  

Accept that you can no longer live depleted. That you have to put yourself first. That it is going to feel challenging and uncomfortable sometimes. That some people will not respect your boundaries. Some will want things to stay the same. That some things will be unclear. That it is not personal. And that you alone are responsible to define what works for you and what doesn't.

Over time, all of this becomes easier. Like any new skill, practice makes it stronger. So get curious. Start to ask yourself where in your life you need to be more clear about what fills you and adds to the quality of your life and what drains you. 

Where in your life do you currently need stronger boundaries? Let me know by hitting reply. I answer all my emails personally.  

This is meant to make your life brighter, lighter and a whole lot more fulfilling. When our boundaries are weak, our light is dimmed. It's time to brighten your light.   

Love Fiercely,

Carmen

Draw a Line in the Sand

Boundaries... Love them or hate them we ALL need them. And strong ones at that. When we're out of balance and feeling off-track our boundaries are weak. When are boundaries are weak, we're out of balance and feel off-track.

And so the cycle goes. Until we recognize the problem and STOP. Stop over-giving, stop saying yes when we want to say no, stop making excuses and justifying behaviours, stop allowing others to influence and take up precious time and space in our world when it just doesn't serve us.

The thing about boundaries is this: the STRONGER and CLEARER you are about them, the MORE (not LESS!) lovable you become. Managing people's expectations is one of the quickest and easiest ways to drastically improve your relationships.

However, we simply aren't taught HOW to create and maintain strong boundaries. But it IS something we can learn.

I've been as guilty as any for not drawing clear lines in the sand. And it got to the point where I absolutely had to make a change. I couldn't live depleted, exhausted and resentful anymore.

I was saying yes without even knowing what my TRUE YES was. I over-committed, over-delivered and over-looked what I really needed for the sake of others. I told myself that others needed me. By always being available I was somehow becoming a better person. Doing what I was SUPPOSED to do. I filled the cups of others while allowing my own to become empty. 

I became ANGRY and RESENTFUL when I felt like I had no time for myself. I made passive-agressive comments, received unsolicited advice, closed myself off to others and would lay in bed at night replaying what I wish I would have said or done instead. 

If you can relate to any of this, let me tell you, you are NOT alone. Lack of clear, strong boundaries is one of the biggest barriers we have on the road to a more fulfilling life. 

Stay tuned as we dive into what we can DO about it and the small changes we can make to improve ourselves and our relationships. Until then...

Love Fiercely,

Carmen

Choose Yourself First

As humans we are obsessed with being chosen. It drives so much of our daily lives.

It presents in the clothes we wear, the things we talk about and the relationships we surround ourselves with. It also means we’re so concerned with being accepted or loved or ultimately chosen by someone else, we lose sight of what we need and want for ourselves.

It fuels competition and comparison and leads to incredible pressure and expectation being placed on us. It means that we come from a place of fear as we've lost sight of love.

I remember being in a past relationship in which I told my partner often that I chose him. Towards the end of our relationship I realised that he never said the same thing to me. So I asked him about it. He very honestly said that he couldn't say it because he couldn't do it. He couldn't choose me.

At the time this was devastating to hear. We were building a life together and it meant that life now had to end. But what was most interesting was that it made us realise that at some point we had both stopped choosing ourselves. We no longer put ourselves first. And we became lost in each other.

After we separated and the dust had settled, it was his bravery in being honest and true in that moment that saved us any further heartache. It meant we were both free to choose again. To stop and re-direct towards what we really needed. What we really wanted.

I did more of what I needed to do. I took better care of myself. I made more fulfilling decisions. I took greater risks. I became the person I was meant to the moment I stopped focusing on the acceptance from outside and embracing it from within. When we choose ourselves first, everything else can unfold as it should.

Skip ahead and I've learned. I'm now in a relationship in which I am not choosing him so that he chooses me. I choose him because I have already chosen me. Because I now choose me first. 

It is one of the greatest things that you can do for yourself and your relationships. It's not selfish, it's survival. How can you choose yourself today?

Share this with your daughter. Or mother. Or friend.

Love & Choose Fiercely,

Carmen

We CAN Have It All

If you're anything like I was, you've obsessed over making the 'right' decision a time or two. The one that’ll be best for others and give the most back to you. But just like there’s no 'wrong' decision, there’s no 'right' one either.

When we’re faced with a decision, all the options are laid out in front of us. The moment we make a choice, the other options fall away. Everything starts to support us in the decision that we've made.

If we were meant to choose differently, that option will meet us again in the future. It no longer exists in the past.

This frees us from choice paralysis and the 'should've, could've, would've' that so easily consumes us. It also allows us to explore new things and gives us bravery to dance outside of our comfort zone. If it doesn't work out, we simply choose again. Choose differently.

When we realise there’s no 'right' choice and there’s several different ways things can play out, we get more adventurous. I made decisions more in line with who I wanted to be instead of limited by who I thought I was. I played around with possibility more. I pushed myself beyond what was comfortable, and past what was conventional.

I eventually realised I could ask for what I wanted instead of just accepting what was laid out in front of me. And that I didn't have to limit myself to choosing only one option.

I’ve flown a lot over the years and I remember there was a certain point where a flight attendant asked me, 'Cookies or pretzels?' and I responded with, 'Yes please.' She smiled and proceeded to give me both. I had stumbled upon something magnificent.

Not only did I have delicious cookies AND pretzels to hold me over on the flight, I realised I could have it all. I didn't have to limit myself the way I had been doing for so long.

In accommodating others and worrying about being an inconvenience we’ve forgotten that we don't need to apologize for our existence. Or for using our voice to ask for what we want. We don’t need to sacrifice our needs and wants for fear of burdening others. They also have a choice.

The flight attendant could have said no. She could have made me choose. And I would’ve known I had at least advocated for myself and given it a shot.

So for years I have been enjoying cookies and pretzels on planes. Literally and figuratively.

If you could have exactly what you wanted, what would you ask for? Would you believe you could get it? That you deserve it?

Love and Choose Fiercely,

Carmen

All We Have To Do Is Choose

One of the most beautiful things about being human is our capacity for choice. Perhaps sometimes seen as a blessing and other times a curse, it’s one of the most important things that defines us as a species.

Choice comes up daily in decisions like whether to hit the snooze button or stay in a relationship or how we perceive things that happen in our lives.

No matter what the decision, the most important thing to remember about choice is that we have it. We may not always like the options, but we do always have a choice.

There have been times along the way that I forgot this. I wasn't a victim to circumstance. It wasn't someone else's fault. I had the ability to choose to be an active participant in my own life.

And if I had made a choice that wasn't working for me, I always had the option to choose again. To create a different, more suitable outcome. Or to look at things differently. To come at it again in a new way.

Unfortunately, we’re constantly giving our choice away. Letting time pass so that options are no longer available. Asking others what they'd like to do, what they'd like to see happen. Busying ourselves to the point of being unable to listen to what we need. Telling ourselves we’re doing things for others. That we’re doing things because we have no choice. But that’s not true.  

We have been given this remarkable gift of creating and designing the quality of our lives at every fork in the road. And all we have to do is commit to a life of choosing. And then choosing again each time we’re presented with options and opportunities. Knowing there are always many different, yet equally wonderful ways of things turning out.

Want to know the secret to it all and what it means for us? There is no wrong choice. The only 'wrong' choice is not choosing. So start choosing now. And inspire those in your life to do the same.

Love and Choose Fiercely,

Carmen

More Trust Means More Love

When we take the idea of building trust on a series of small moments into the world of our relationships, into our Mother & Daughter relationships, you are able to teach your daughter that you can be there for her when she needs you to be. She also learns how to be there for you when you need her too.  

Here are some great small moments to start with:

1) Check-in regularly with your daughter. Ask the obvious yet overlooked questions. How am I doing as a mother? What do you like? What do you struggle with? What do you need more of? Less of?

2) Be mindful of your reaction when your daughter shares something with you. How you respond will determine whether or not she continues to turn to you. Emotion is okay. Keeping it about her is even better.

3) Consistently set aside uninterrupted time together. Remember quality beats quantity and simply being around each other isn't enough. Maybe it's phones off for the drive to school or 5 minutes at the end of the day sharing a highlight with each other. 

4) Ask your daughter what she needs and then give it to her (within reason of course). We are often confused about what is needed or where her head is at. Best way to find out is to ask.

 5) Under-promise so that you can always over-deliver. This can save a lot of hurt and disappointment and good intentions don't always translate well.

Remember to take it one step at a time. One small step at a time.

Trust is without a doubt one of the most foundational aspects of any relationship, including the one with ourselves and our daughters. It is delicate. It requires bravery. It can be humbling. And yet, it is where we must begin.

Love & Trust Fiercely,

Carmen

Start With Small Moments

We tell ourselves to trust, but where do we even start? We ask others to trust us, but how do we make that happen?

The best thing we can do is to start with ourselves. 

Trust, much like connection, is built on a series of small moments. Whether it is with ourselves or with someone else, it is the consistent, little things that matter. It’s showing up on time, when we said we would. It’s getting out for that walk, when we told ourselves we would. It’s respecting and keeping information safe when someone has shared something with us that's so close to their heart. 

It’s those moments when our words are completely in line with our actions.

The good news is we can start (or continue) with the small moments now. 

We can increase trust in ourselves by making a list of a few simple things that we can stick to and make happen. A few small goals that we put in place and then achieve. 

Not sure where to start? How about here:

1) Commit to a morning routine. Could be something as simple as 3 deep breaths before you get out of bed, a favourite song played while you are in the shower or putting on your favourite perfume even though it's just an ordinary day. 

2) Implement an evening ritual. Turn off your phone 5 minutes before you go to bed and read something inspiring, write down 3 things you are grateful for or simply revel in silence. 

3) Attend a weekly activity. Sign up for a yoga class, drop-in at the fitness center or go for a walk in your favourite area. 

4) Complete a chore or 'Life Admin' task. Checking something off your list that's been on it far too long can make an incredible difference. Hang that picture, give away those shoes, clean that corner. 

When we do these things, when we consistently show up for ourselves, no matter how big or small the action, we reinforce in our brain that we can be trusted to be there for ourselves when we really need to be. This then rolls over into other areas like decision making and relationships with others. 

So as our trust builds, so does our connection to ourselves. And our ability to show others that they can trust us too. We model, we set an example and then we naturally invite a deeper connection.

Love Fiercely,

Carmen

Trust Me, Trust Me Not...

Last time connection and this time trust. A topic so intimately related to connection, it's tough to decide which comes first- trust or connection. The old chicken or egg dilemma. 

Do we need to trust someone first to be able to build a connection? Or do we need to feel connected to someone in order to trust them? 

The answer of course depends on the person, but one thing that's for sure is trust simply has to be there in order for a relationship to grow.

Not surprisingly my concept of trust shifted when life got tricky. My parents separated. There was increased pressure from my peers. And up until that point I approached everything with an open heart and a trusting spirit. Perhaps some would call it naivety. I would call it being a child. 

From then on, I became cautious and tentative. And this followed me throughout my adolescence and into adulthood. I was extremely private and held everything very close to my heart. It took me a long time to open up to someone and it was remarkably easy for me to close back down again. 

More than a few times throughout my life, some of my closest friends realised that they knew way less about me than I did about them. And I liked it that way. 

At the time this protective armour served its purpose. I felt a sense of safety within keeping things to myself. I couldn't be hurt. I couldn't be let down. I tested people to see if they could be trusted. More often than not, they failed to live up to my impossible standards. 

And so I remained isolated and lonely despite being surrounded by people who simply wanted to love me, to be a part of my life. My strategy to remain safe and protected was actually working against me.

It wasn't in my nature to assume someone couldn't be trusted and then force them to prove me wrong. To take on the grueling task of earning my trust.

Although being selective is important and discerning who we can and want to trust is within our grasp, what was in my nature was giving people the benefit of the doubt and believing in their ability to rise to the occasion.

I had to work to shift things back for me. To be able to let go of old stories that no longer fit. And throughout the transition of course I was burned. It happens to everyone. But what I didn't let it do anymore was close me. 

Because that open heart and trusting spirit gets me through. And the shift back to that had to start with me. Once again embracing the openness and trust I had lost so many years ago (more on how, later). In struggling to trust others, what I really struggled with was trusting myself. 

Love & Trust Fiercely,

Carmen

Connection Breeds Confidence

In the beginning the ideal base for a girl is her mother. The unique dynamic between mother and daughter offers a powerful opportunity to create security, stability and connection outside of ourselves until we learn to create that base within. The relationship ends up being a model for the trust and confidence we need in order to thrive. 

A lot of pressure? It sure is. But it doesn't have to be. There are easy, tangible tips and tools to create that base between you and your daughter. Or simply strengthen it so that she learns how to also create it within herself.

To start, meet her where she’s at. 

One of the most important things to note is that through her sometimes challenging words, actions and behaviour, what she is really asking for is love in the form of connection. In the way that she needs it. So that she feels secure and safe as she navigates through our overwhelming world. 

How do you do this? Begin by knowing that it is not personal. She loves you and she needs you.

Consider her behaviour a clue. A hint dropped that she needs something that she is not getting.

And then make the bold move to sit down and genuinely, and without defense, ask her what she needs. 

If she is unsure or struggles to put it into words, give her some options. A hug? Space? Time together to talk? Recognition? Explanation? 

The more you do this, the more she will learn that you are there for her with her best interests at heart. You teach her that she can come to you. That she can ask for what she needs. And that she is safe to express herself. She also learns to let things out before they build to a boiling point.

Have these reminders close by, in your connection-building toolkit:

1) Remember it’s not personal. She loves you and she needs you

2) Consider her behaviour to be asking for something that she needs but isn’t getting

3) Ask her to find out what it is

4) And then give it to her

We only ever need to start with something simple to see growth and forward movement begin. Today’s the day.

Be Your Own Base

If you were one of the few who felt the security and connection that you needed within your relationship with your own Mother growing up, celebrate. If you were one of the many that felt that there was something that you needed but didn't get, you’re not alone. And it's not too late. 

It doesn't mean you had a bad mother. Or that she has to carry the weight for where you are, or are not currently in your own life. It simply means that there was a disconnect somewhere along the line in providing what you needed in the way that you needed it.

And you now have an opportunity to get it. 

Either way, whichever side you feel your relationship is on, there’s always room to strengthen our connections. We will forever need a secure base in our lives. 

An ideal start is in the relationship with our mother and our base may eventually move into other relationships. Ultimately, what we want is to end up developing that base within ourselves.

That way, it's always there.

Once we leave childhood and enter adulthood, we are expected to have the foundation that we need to go out into the world and thrive. But some don’t have it. Some still need to work at creating it.

Without it, it becomes very difficult to offer or model it for anyone else.

So now the best place to start is creating it within ourselves. To develop a loving relationship with the person inside.

So let's acknowledge that it needs to happen. That we want to have a rock-solid relationship with ourselves. That we are ready to commit to giving ourselves everything that we need. That we deserve it.

Then we show up consistently. We get curious. We regard our thoughts, actions and behaviours as clues as to what we really need but may not be getting.

We may think we have a good relationship with ourselves, but like all relationships, this one also takes work.

Here’s a few tips on where to start and how to strengthen your relationship with yourself:

1) Make sure the way you speak to yourself is positive and encouraging. If it's not, change it. Take note of the things that you tell yourself on a daily basis. Would you speak to your closest friend, even your daughter that way?

2) Set aside regular time to check in with yourself. What’s currently working? What can you celebrate? What needs to change? What are the first simple steps you could take to make it happen?

3) Decide which things you want to say yes to and which ones you want to say no to. Honour those. When we have strong boundaries we teach ourselves that we are capable of doing what is best for us.

4) Get to know yourself. Make a list of 5 things that you are currently interested in. How can you explore those or incorporate them more into your life? Join a mailing list? Take a class? Develop a morning ritual?

Strong relationships are built on a series of small moments in which we consistently show up and choose connection over anything else. Over being right. Over being rigid. Over being passive. Over being small. Start today.

Stay with me as we continue to dive into the importance and beauty of connection. 

Love Fiercely, 

Carmen   

Start Early, Start Now...

If there is one thing I know to be true, it’s that having a strong bond between mother and daughter maximizes positive impact and minimizes risk. And what you do now matters.

Believe me, it starts early. 

My parents divorced when I was 9. Ages ago now, but so many of our beliefs and tendencies come from those formative years. My foundation and my sense of security, stability and connection had been rocked. And so I spent the next several years desperately trying to re-establish that security in and connection to anyone, anything. 

At the time I felt betrayed. And because it came as such a shock, I struggled to trust. I assumed my parents’ separation was in some way my fault.

I know now of course they were just doing what was best for our family, what was best for them. At the time however, I didn’t. In my quest to make sense of things, I latched onto people, places and things that were no good for me. I ended up in some unhealthy and dangerous situations that had some pretty major consequences.

What I eventually learned as I bounced around looking for what I thought I lacked was that I wasn't going to find what I was looking for from a person, place or thing outside of me. Temporarily, sure. But the short-term solutions I found always led me back to where I started.

What I was really missing was a secure base. We all need it. A person or place to go to. Someone to feel safe with. Someone to trust.  

Turns out I may have always had that base within my relationship with my mom, but at the time I couldn't feel it. 

In reality, she was always there for me. But it wasn't until much later that I believed it. 

Fast-forward to now and our relationship is rock-solid, we just had to do the work.

And that's the ticket. All relationships take work. This one included. And I know from the many women and girls I’ve encountered over the years, my story is not unique. It doesn't have to be a divorce or separation to rock a young girl's world. There are so many minor and major things that happen that can cause insecurity and instability.

Whether your daughter is young or grown, start investing in the relationship now and you will reap what you sow as you move forward together. If your daughter feels security and connection within her relationship with you, she'll feel security and connection within herself as she moves through life.

Love Fiercely,

Carmen

The Ice & Lime Effect...

If you're anything like I was, you've probably obsessed over making the 'right' decision a time or two. The one that will be the best for others and in turn give the most back to you. But much like I said there is no 'wrong' decision, there is also no 'right' one either. 

When we are faced with a decision we have all the options laid out in front of us. The moment that we make a choice, the other options fall away. Everything starts to fall into place to support us in the decision that we've made. 

In the event that we were meant to choose differently, that option will meet up with us again in the future, giving us the opportunity to choose it again. It no longer exists in the past where we left it. 

This frees us from the 'should've, could've, would've' that we can so easily get consumed by in the quest to make the 'right decision'. It allows us to explore new things and gives us bravery to dance outside of our comfort zone, knowing that if it doesn't work out, we can always choose again. Choose differently.

When I really started to embrace the fact that there was no 'right' choice and that there were several ways that things could play out for me, I started to get more adventurous. I started to make decisions that were more in line with who I wanted to become instead of limited by who I thought I was. I started to play around with possibility more. I started to push myself beyond what was comfortable, and past what was conventional.

And then it hit me. I could take this even further. I had been making decisions and choosing one option based on what was laid out in front of me. But what if I could ask for what I wanted instead of just accepting what was served to me? What if I didn't have to limit myself to only one choice?

I remember the first time I was on a plane and the flight attendant asked me, 'Cookies or pretzels?' and I responded with, 'Yes please.' She smiled and proceeded to give me both. I had stumbled upon something magnificent. Not only did I have delicious cookies AND pretzels to hold me over on my flight, I also realised that I could have it all. That I didn't have to limit myself that way that I had been doing for so long. 

I could ask for what I wanted and then actually get it too. If I knew what to ask for, I wasn't limited in what I could receive. 

This continued throughout my life.

While living overseas, my beverage of choice would often be water. It was a hot, tropical island and I just couldn't get enough of the stuff. But what I dreamed of most days wasn't just water. It was ice-cold water with a refreshing twist. So I began to ask for it. In every cafe and restaurant I went to I would take what was served to me and ask for ice and lime to make it exactly what I wanted. 

Now this isn't intended to be high maintenance or entitled. A dear friend of mine even used to giggle every time I ordered something modified to the way that I wanted it. What it is intended to be is a reminder that we have a choice and have been given a voice to make things happen.

We have gotten so used to accommodating others and ensuring that we are never an inconvenience that we have forgotten that we do not need to apologize for our existence. Or for having a voice and asking for what we want. We do not need to sacrifice our needs and desires for fear of burdening others.

It is our responsibility to ask for what we want and it is the responsibility of others to decide whether or not they can provide it. The flight attendant could have said no. She could have made me choose. And I would have chosen knowing that I had at least advocated for myself and given it a shot.  

We do not have delicious cake in front of us so as not to eat it.

So for years I have been enjoying cookies and pretzels on planes. And I am constantly refreshed by ice-cold citrus water.

If you could have what you wanted, would you know what to ask for? Would you believe that you could get it, that you deserve it?

Take a moment to look inside and ask yourself, what's your ice & lime?

Our Greatest Gift... Choice.

One of the most beautiful things about being human is our capacity for choice. Perhaps sometimes considered a blessing and at other times a curse, our ability to consciously choose is one of the most important things that defines us as a species. 

Choice comes up daily, in the little decisions, like whether or not to hit the snooze button just one more time or what to eat for lunch. It comes again with the decision to stay in a relationship or to make a career change. And it comes in an even bigger way with how to spend our time, how we respond to others and how we perceive the things that happen in our lives.

It is so pivotal to our existence that I wanted to take it on in three parts. 

The first part being the most important. And that is remembering that we have it. We may not always like the options in the moment, but we always, always, always have a choice.

There were times along the way that I forgot this. I forgot that at any one moment I had the ability to embrace my power and make a choice. I wasn't a victim to circumstance. It wasn't someone else's fault. I had the ability to be an active participant in my own life.

And if I had made a choice that wasn't working out for me, I always had the option to choose again. To create an outcome that worked better for me. Or to look at things differently. To come at again in a new way. 

I see again and again that we give our choice away. We let time pass so that options are no longer available. We ask others what they would like to do, what they want to see happen. We busy ourselves to the point where there is no space to listen to what we need. We tell ourselves that we are doing things for others. We even tell ourselves that we have no choice. 

And what a painful story that is when we tell ourselves that we don't have a choice. It's an old story that no longer needs to hold any truth. Because it never did. 

We have been given the remarkable gift of choice. The pleasure of creating and designing the quality of our lives at every fork in the road that we encounter. I urge you to accept this truth, this gift, with grace and commitment to choosing, and then choosing again, over and over as life continues to present you with options and opportunities that have many different, yet equally wonderful ways of turning out. 

There is no wrong choice. The only 'wrong' choice is not choosing. 

Love Fiercely,

Carmen

So What's All The Trust About?

Trust. Trust yourself. Trust your gut. Trust your instincts. Trust that it will all work out. Trust that those who love you will keep you safe. It comes up all the time, and it gets thrown around a lot, so what does it really mean to trust?

We tell ourselves to trust, but where do we even start? We ask others to trust us, but how do we make that happen?

I’ll tell you one thing I know for sure it that trust is built on a series of small moments. Whether it is with ourselves or with someone else, it is the consistent, little things that matter. It’s showing up on time, when we said we would. It’s getting out for that walk, when we told ourselves we would. It’s respecting and keeping information safe when someone has shared something with us so close to their heart. It’s those moments when our words are completely in line with our actions.

It also means that we can start now. We can start today. We can build trust with ourselves by making a list of a few simple things that we can stick to and make happen. A few small goals that we put in place and then achieve. Like committing to a morning routine, implementing an evening ritual or executing a weekly chore. When we do this, when we consistently show up for ourselves, no matter how big or small the action, we reinforce in our brain that we can be trusted to be there for ourselves when we need to be.

When we take this idea into the world of our relationships, into our Mother & Daughter relationships, we can also teach the other that we can be trusted to be there for them when they need us. We check-in regularly, we are mindful of our reactions when something is shared and we consistently set aside uninterrupted time together. We ask the other what they need and we give it to them. We under-promise so that we can always over-deliver. We take it one step at a time.

Trust is without a doubt one of the most foundational aspects of any relationship, including the one with ourselves. It is delicate. It requires bravery. It can be humbling. And yet, it is where we must begin.

Love & Trust Fiercely,

Carmen

The One Thing You Need To Know About Your Daughter...

I have recently returned from hosting Mother & Daughter Mini Retreats in my hometown in Saskatchewan. Not surprisingly I was met with remarkable prairie hospitality. Every time I work with women, whether in a group or individually, it seems as though I am also left better than I was before. To see connections deepen and witness hearts open is truly a pleasure.

I shared with them one of the most important things we need to know about ourselves and each other within our relationships- that our behaviour and our actions communicate something that we need but are struggling to ask for. It isn't always easy to SAY what we need so sometimes we SHOW it instead. And a lot of times we don't even realise that we are doing it. 

Communication is an art. We have to learn how to communicate with others and teach them how to best communicate with us. It requires effort and openness. Willingness and understanding. That means that it's also a process that takes time. 

Get to know what your daughter is saying through her actions. Learn what she is really asking for when you encounter 'challenging behaviour', 'attitude' or 'resistance'. I can assure you that more often than not, what she is really needing is more love. When we are 'seeking attention' what we are really looking for is connection.  

In those tough moments, if we can stop, take a moment, take a breath and shift our perspective, we understand that it is not personal, she is not being difficult and she is not intending to make things harder. She's looking to you for something that she needs but is not getting. 

Maybe it's a hug. Maybe it's some encouragement or acknowledgement. Maybe it's an uninterrupted hour spent together. Not sure how to begin to figure out what she is saying by what she's not? Ask.

Let her know that you see that she needs something that she is not getting and start by asking in a genuinely interested way what that is. She may not know exactly what it is either, but together you can figure it out. And over time you will be able to give her exactly what she needs when she needs it.

I guarantee you that the impact of that alone will change everything for the better. Start now, connect today.

Love Fiercely,

Carmen