THE ART OF MAKING THINGS HAPPEN
Taking Responsibility for the Life You Want Through Intention, Action & Letting Go
ABOUT THE BOOK |
I receive an overwhelming number of emails from people telling me how inspired they are by how I live my life, and wondering how I made it all happen. While I’m flattered by the kind words and praise, it’s also slightly frustrating because I would love nothing more than for them to see their own potential, and take action to create something extraordinary for themselves. I want them to be in awe of their own capacity – not just settling for ‘meh’ in their lives, while they watch others from the sidelines. What makes electrical shocks run up and down my spine, is when someone writes to me saying how inspired they are by how I live my life and how that encouraged them to do xyz. That is what I want more of and why I wrote this book!
Deciding never to settle, changed my life forever. I grew up as a terrified child, suffered severe anxiety for 10 years, and spent most of my life feeling like I didn’t really fit in…anywhere. I felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Despite this struggle, I decided at one point that I wanted to experience more than just my fears. As my yearnings for more got stronger, I started taking risks, facing my fear, and doing the work I was most resisting. It certainly wasn’t an easy journey, but the results have been worth every challenging moment.
What would it take for them to shake off the numbness of just getting by, and take a chance on themselves? What do they need to know to embrace the art of making things happen? To take a leap into the unknown, and trust their ability to create a rich and meaningful life?
This book is the answer to these questions. It addresses the yearning that every human has – consciously or unconsciously- to create something better for themselves.
It’s for people who are scared to take leaps or make big changes, and who are settling instead. For those who’ve become paralyzed by their mistakes and now feel stuck on a path that’s not their own. For people yearning for something more, but who feel ridiculous at the thought of even trying. They know they want to make something happen, they just don’t know where to start. Or they’ve tried and failed and think that their yearning is not meant to be.
This book is a guide to living your dream life, and doing the work that needs to be done to make things happen.
This book is proof that we’re never in this journey alone. Someone has walked a similar path before, and if you look, there are always stories to be inspired by, and to learn from. My journey is proof that when you listen to your gut, things always work out.
It’s about my story, and it serves as a guide to encourage and mentor others to make things happen for themselves. One thing people have told me over and over is how they look up to my sense of courage and capacity to take risks, and this is what makes my story a great learning journey for others. In it, I openly share my journey, my successes, and my failures, so that people have an inspiring example that they can relate to. On top of some shiny success stories in this book, there are rawly honest ones about how I failed, fell flat and got back up. From dropping my career to becoming a yoga teacher, to helping launch one of the most important Yogatherapy Schools in Montreal, to following my gut and disappointing many people along the way, my journey is filled with golden nuggets of life lessons and zero regrets!
I’ll never forget the day I dropped my career as an Early Childhood Educator to become a full time Yoga Teacher. I had no plan, no guarantees, little clients but life had consistently been pushing me to take the leap. At first I wouldn’t listen, because I was scared of the unknown and to disappoint the families that depended on me to take care of their children. Until one day, my boss called me into her office with the vice director, upset about me not attending a staff meeting, because I was teaching yoga that night (trying to start my new life). I was bullied and pushed to the very end of my limits. Life’s message was starting to get aggressive. And so I released control, followed the flow of where I KNEW life wanted me to go and gave my 2 weeks notice in that very moment. A new chapter began! In retrospect, what I realize is that it was life bullying me, in a variety of forms, because I wasn’t listening to my calling.
At each moment in our life there is a time for setting intention, a time for taking action, and a time for letting go. This book walks people through each one of these stages, guiding them gently towards uncovering what they need to do to create an amazing life on their terms. It’s more than just theory. It’s my sweat, tears, and hard-won celebrations in action.
It’s a testimonial to what’s possible through the lense of my life experience.
It’s about learning the balance between making things happen, and letting things happen. The art is in knowing, when it’s time to take action or let go. How to take responsibility for what you want, and how to show up as the leader of your life instead of the victim of your circumstances. I believe that our main purpose in life is to grow into the best version of ourselves – to fulfill our highest potential. Yet many of us stick to mediocrity because it feels much safer… and frankly, it’s easier. Things get messy when we take leaps, and people don’t like the discomfort. So we settle, we give up.
It’s been over 10 years now since I took the first big leap, created a version of my life that was in line with my dreams, became an entrepreneur, and decided that I wasn’t going to settle. The journey has been scary, exhilarating, definitely bumpy at times, but always fulfilling. This book is a recounting of this journey – one that’s far from over!
As a Yoga Therapist and business coach, I’ve been doing this work with my clients, and with groups, for nearly a decade. I practice what I preach, and it’s a constant journey of learning, growing, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t, and sharing it with my clients in the spirit of mentorship.
We need more courageous leaders and achievers, and the only way this will happen is if some of us take the leap first, and show that the hard work, struggle and discomfort we experience as we walk down the path less traveled is worth it. And it’s also fulfilling!
I believe that the actions we are not willing to take, or the decisions we are not willing to make, are the ones that will change our life.
We need to tell our stories, and serving as a mentor is a responsibility that I take on joyfully.
What drives me to share my story is a desire to move beyond personal fulfillment and inspire others to take action towards their best life too. I’m willing to put my mistakes, my stumbles and my victories, and the lessons I’ve learned out there for exactly this reason. I want those who are considering a leap of their own to feel supported and understood.
To hope for the big dreams, and take small daily actions to get there.
Even if no one else was watching, choosing MY path in every moment was enough to make me happy. Because every new step forward in the direction that felt like mine, filled me with purpose and contentment.
Ironically, as it turns out, others were paying attention…
“I’m writing to tell you how much you inspire me. This week I watched one of your videos and read one of your articles and it brought me to the realization that after having my first child at a very young age, I just followed the flow of life without ever asking myself what I truly wanted… My current job truly doesn’t satisfy me. For years I’ve been reading about how to find the job of my dreams without much results but each time I look at how you’re living your life and encouraging others to do the same it inspires me. Keep doing you great work because you truly have an impact of the lives of others, especially people like me who are stuck in a job that is really unfulfilling. I felt it was important to tell you how much you’ve helped me without even knowing it.” – Joanie Berthiaume
“Thank you for your guidance through your Facebook posts. I just made a big professional change in order to respect the time I want to spend with my family and friends. It has taken me a lot of courage to leave a stable average job and embark on a not so stable journey that will give me a more flexible life and rewarding job. Without knowing it, you’ve help me a lot.” – Sophie Leduc
Receiving these powerful statements from people I had unintentionally impacted just by living my life, showed me that I was making a difference. This is where I began to fully understand the power of mentorship. Inspiring others by trying, falling, getting back up, trying again, and sharing lessons learned along the way.
CHAPTER 1 | MEXICO
“The actions you are not willing to take or the decisions you are not willing to make are the ones that will change your life.”
Wearing my panama hat and my shades as if trying to hide from the world, I step onto the catamaran and find a little spot in a corner to sit in hideout. My mom and my aunt are following, giddy and all excited about the day. I’m feeling utterly depressed. They sit behind me on the upper deck ready to party. All I can think about is the life I have to go back to the next day and I can feel myself being sucked back into the darkness of how my life felt when I left, even though I’m about to cruise the caribbean for the day under the Mexican sun. I’m curled up, leaning against the boat tearing up. The past week has been so amazing. It felt as if I was living a brand new life filled with opportunity and excitement. One that was making me feel happy.
For the first time I actually came to the realization that my relationship was not working, that it was over and had been over for a few years. I had finally admitted it to myself and this past week I have myself permission to live as if living only for myself, for the first time in my life. Waking up early in the morning for my morning jog by the ocean, followed by some peaceful alone time sipping my latte as I watched the sun rise. I had no one to take care of but myself and I felt so free. I had no problems to fix, no relationship to save. I could just enjoy life, which is something I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Now that I had a taste of it, I couldn’t let it go.
As the boat is preparing to leave my mom asks me if I’m ok. I nod yes but nothing more. I couldn’t open my mouth to say anything because I knew I would start to cry. I could feel my whole body bubbling with emotions as I was resisting the thought of going back home to my reality the next day. About halfway to our destination the crew begins to prepare the group to go snorkelling. They ask who is going to give us the equipment. I’m hesitating because I have an insane fear of sharks, I feel like shit and my mom is encouraging me to stay on the boat because of her fear of sharks. Something kicks in as I hear a voice in my head say “Fuck it, just go! If you get attacked by a shark well hell that must be destiny.” The fear of the sharks quite honestly didn’t feel much worse than the fear of walking back into my life the next day. So I put on my flippers and threw myself overboard. I had never snorkeled before so I was feeling nervous the first few minutes as I was trying to follow the group until I put on my mask and put my head under water. Everything became so quiet. I was in awe of how peaceful I felt. The more I paddled with my head under, the deeper I was falling into a peaceful space. Watching the life under the sea in total quiet started to remind me of how beautiful life was and could be. I was so distracted by the peacefulness that I lost track of the group. All of a sudden I could hear someone yelling above the water. It took a few sharp yells for me to realize that I should maybe see what’s going on. As I lifted my head I saw that I was about to crash into the coral reef and my guide was yelling at ME to pay attention and get back with the group. Woopsies! Sorry dude, I was having a blissful moment for once in the last 12 years.
When I swam back to the group, I tried to find my peaceful grove again and dunked my head back under water. At that point, I was relaxed, smiling (because I found the incident of me almost crashing in the reef quite amusing) and just enjoying the activity. I had forgotten about all my fears and worries until I felt something pinch me underwater. “What the F was that” I thought. “Dear lord is it a shark!”. I look down and see my guide swimming underneath me with a big smile. He was having fun trying to scare me. I’m intrigued and a little excited. Who is this handsome sailor playing games with me under water. I continue my little journey, keeping an eye out for the pinching sailor. When I come back on the boat I’m smiling and feeling totally refreshed, physically and emotionally. My mom looks at me with surprise and asks if I had fun. I reply “Oh my god it was amazing, I had so much fun” and tell her and my aunt the funny story of my almost crashing into the reef. When we dock the boat for lunch, the pinching sailor takes my hand with a big smile to help me stop onto the dock and I tell him “You scared me underwater” with a nervous smile. He replies with the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen in my life “It’s part of the show”. As I step off and head to the buffet for lunch I can’t peel my eyes off him. Something happened with him. A connection that I still can’t explain to this day. And although I’m not sure I ever believed in this being possible, I feel deeply in love that day with the pinching sailor. My heart was his and there was nothing I could do to change that.
As we’re waiting for lunch my mom can tell that I’m distracted. I eat quickly and tell them we’ll meet at the boat later as I want to just walk the beach and relax. I stroll by the ocean dip my feet in the water and enjoy the view as I simmer in this amazing feeling I have inside. Although technically I can’t see how this will happen, emotionally I can feel a fresh start inside of me. I can feel the potential for a new life and a happiness that I’ve been craving. I go back to the catamaran to take a nap but the crew tells me that I can only come back on the boat when we’re ready to leave. So I grab my lip balm and go sit on the peer. All of a sudden someone sits next to me. It’s my handsome sailor. I’m so nervous I can barely get words out of my mouth. He’s so sweet and charming and handsome. I finally settle as we get to know each other and tell each other a little about our lives. I don’t want the moment to end. I just want to keep talking until we have nothing left to say. The guys on the boat start yelling at him to come back as we’re leaving. The moment ends abruptly.
On the way back I’m feeling like it’s time to party! I sit up on the top deck with my aunt. We sip drinks, sing and have a fabulous time. My sailor stays by my side the whole time as we flirt and make jokes. He begs my mom to leave me in Mexico with him and I secretly beg myself to let go of my other life and stay there too. I begin to realize that we are almost back to our destination and I start to panick. “I can’t lose him” I keep feeling inside. My joy starts to slip away as I dread having to get off the boat and never see him again. But something inside of me is telling me that it’s not going to happen. Until we dock I try to make a plan to stay in touch with him. I’m not even thinking of the consequences of my actions at this point because the pain of losing him is taking over me. When we dock the boat I grab a business card from my bag and as I walk towards him a little tipsy he holds his hand out again to help me off the boat with his breathtaking smile. I slip him my card and say “Please find me on Facebook”. He colleagues are watching us with a quirky smile. I can’t imagine what they must have said after I felt.
The rest is history! When I went back to Canada everything started to fall apart because I wasn’t trying to hold it together anymore. I was talking with my handsome sailor every day and although I was filled with guilt inside from keeping in touch with him while I was still in my relationship, I knew that life was giving me the opportunity to live the life that I had been craving. I had been in my current relationship for 12 years but there was nothing left but resentment. Not even friendship could hold us together anymore because we had simply gone too far as things got worse. I had been trying to save this relationship for a few years now and I just couldn’t anymore. Everything inside me was yelling to move on, before I left for Mexico but I just couldn’t see how that was going to happen. After 12 years there are so many things involved like family and friends. So many attachments and familiarity. And I knew that if it ended my partner was the one who was going to suffer the most. What happened that day in Mexico made me see how I could feel compared to how I was feeling and the choice became very simple. Spend the rest of your life feeling miserable as you do now or spend the rest of your life feeling lit up like you did the day on the boat. At that point, after so many years of feeling miserable and discouraged I could not find the strength inside anymore to go back to misery or to try to fix things. There was only one choice in front of me and that was to follow my joy.
The transition was messy and scary. I sometimes had to leap forward with both eyes closed but my awareness was always on 100%. There was no rationale supporting the decisions I was making. Only pure intuition guiding my every step. My friends and family thought I was losing my mind. I was being bombarded with everyone’s fears and opinions. Although my mom was the one who was the most scared, she is the one who supported my every step the most as I left my old life and stepped into this new one.
I once read a quote that said “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!” and remember thinking “Yes! That is how I want to live my life.”. Well holy shit what an emotional ride it was to make that transition.
I now live in Mexico with my handsome sailor. The man that gave me a glimpse into the happiness that I could have, if I wanted it. Within 3 months I had made one trip back to Cancun to spend time with him, then came back a second time to spend 3 months to give us both a chance to see how we would feel. I met him in February and in September I packed up my clothes, my laptop and my dog (which I swore I would never put on a plane) and moved my life to Mexico.
I could have left things as they were that day on the boat and gone back to my life. Sometimes going back to what is familiar is easier, even if we are not happy. Life always gives us a choice. It’s up to us which one we will take, depending on what risks we are willing to make.
People often ask me how I did it. How I created this life I am living. How I reached my personal and business goals. How I found the courage to drop everything and move my life to Mexico. How I made it through some tough times. Well this book is about all that. It’s about my journey, my successes, my failures and the rawness of it all. It’s an honest story of how I went from being a highly anxious lost soul who thought nothing great would ever happen for me to living a happy life in Mexico, running a successful business and doing what I love. And this story is about removing all the glamour from what things might look like from the outside so that you can see the dark and the light parts of my journey because life is not all bells and whistles. It’s the truth about The Art Of Making Things Happen through the lense of my life’s story, to give you hope and courage to walk through the mud and enjoy the successes of your journey so that you can also make things happen for yourself, on your terms. INJOY!