Beginnings. Endings. Beginnings.



Where did August 21 come from? I understand the mechanics of the sun, the moon and calendar days, but seriously folks, the end of August? How did this happen so quickly?

My leap year. GULP. It’s nearly up. September 20th will be a full year. Less than a month to go.

When I began this year I never knew what to expect. Which sounds silly of course because at the beginning of anything we never know how the ending will go. But we brave the beginnings, don’t we. Marriage, a new job, a school program or signing up to run our first triathlon. The beginnings are always full of excitement, anticipation and nervousness. Everything sounds like a great idea at the beginning.

At the beginning of this year, when I quit my job and decided to teach yoga and finish my memoir, I was so full of hope. I was also scared shitless. I didn’t know how to be a yoga teacher and a writer, I just knew I needed to try. I trusted it would come and as the days turned into months it did come. And then as more days turned into more months it didn’t come. Yoga kept picking up, but writing kept dwindling. It was a rough go at times, but as the year draws to a close I can say it was probably meant to go that way.

I wanted to write my memoir until it came time to actually write it and re-write it and re-write it again. I wanted to continue to fight against what was happening but around mid-year I lost the energy for the battle.

I put it down. My plate was getting heavy and I knew something had to go. My memoir slide off the edge like a terrible side dish, except it was supposed to be the meat and not even the dog would eat it. It was a brutal moment, but a necessary one as well.

I had to make space, and I knew I needed to let that ending be another beginning. Again I was excited, but again I was scared shitless.

Fuck, I told the world I was working on a memoir.

The thing about endings that’s hard to remember when you’re there is that they are also beginnings. Sometimes they hurt, sometimes they are a relief, and sometimes we have to eat our words. But every time something ends something new can begin.

It isn’t about getting what we want. It isn’t about success with every try. It’s about being brave enough to trust a new beginning. It’s about opening our eyes past what we wanted to see so that we look and take in the view that is actually there.

My leap year may be coming to a close, but I’ll leap again. And again and again.


Be Something Already

Do you ever have the feeling that you are trying to live up to a version of yourself that you thought you’d be?

You might not even recognize you’re doing so, but if you’re wondering I’ll ask you a question that will help: Are you good enough, as is, today?

Let’s say nothing changes about your career. You are (insert job here) and that’s that. That is what you are going to be. A teacher, lawyer, hairstylist, or barista. You got it, baby. You’re it, right now.

Wait; do you have dreams of doing something else?

That’s cool too, but are you resting all your future happiness on that dream?

I had a dream and I took a year off to pursue it. I wanted to be a writer and I wanted to teach yoga. For years these dreams weighed on my shoulders and I let them because I didn’t know how to move towards that goal without making it my only purpose in life.

The funny thing is that when I finally became a writer and a yoga teacher I realized how much time I wasted being unhappy when I wasn’t officially either of those things. I had other jobs and they fulfilled a need for me and I was very blessed to have landed each and every one. But the constant throughout is that no matter the job I held I always focused on the one I didn’t.

Dreams are great. Chasing them – even better! But I’ve learned in this year of ‘living my dreams’ that you cannot base your entire life’s happiness on their pursuit. If we focus all our energy on trying to BE SOMETHING ALREADY we are missing the point: who we are.

Who are you, anyway?

Are you your job? Are you your hobbies? Are you your family, your friends and your favourite foods?

Silly right. You are none of those, but yet they make up your world. They combine to form a life you’ve worked hard to experience. So don’t waste them biding your time until you think the experience is worth noticing.

Today is worth noticing. Right now is worth noticing.

Why Can’t We Stop Asking Why?



My sister started a blog and my entire family is dumbfounded.

Let me start again.

I have a sister. She is loveable, genuine, hilarious and full of life. If you’ve ever met my sister no doubt you’ve fallen immediately in love with her. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen time and time again. From fitness classes to a Sephora consultant, Danielle attracts people towards her like no one else I’ve ever seen. It is a running joke between us and when I tease her about it I do so with the utmost admiration.

But what my sister isn’t is open. What my sister doesn’t do well is put herself in a vulnerable situation. What my sister hates is sharing anything about herself. Until now.

My sister started a blog and my entire family is dumbfounded. We love it. But we are curious creatures.

“Where is this coming from?” I ask my mom.

“I’m not sure, you think I can ask her?”

And then we both laugh. No. Do not ask her to share more than she is willing.

Why is that so hard? Why is the fact that she started something not enough? Why do we need to dig for the whys in everything? Why can’t we just leave it be and be satisfied with the answers in front of us?

Think of all the things you’ve asked why about. Have you gotten the answers? Did you really need them?

I remember when I got divorced just a year and a half after getting married strangers and friends alike wanted to know why. Why? Why? Why? It drove them, and myself, crazy. Why did that happen? Why did you fall out of love? Why didn’t you know sooner?

The whys didn’t help me, so why did others feel it would help them? It took me many months, and hours of therapy, to let the why go. I remember the day I asked it for the last time. I sat across from a good friend and asked for the millionth time; “Marsha, why did I fall out of love?” “It worked until it didn’t.” She answered quite simply.

Those five words set me free. There was no answer. The why was redundant because the question was the answer. I fell out of love. End of story.

Of course some digging was necessary on my part to fully understand my situation, but only I needed those answers. And I never did get all of them. Some things I’ve had to let go. Other things I’ve had to trust I’d learn over time. As for everyone else – I don’t owe them a why. No more than my sister owes me a why. No more than any of us owes the rest of us an explanation they are not ready to give; if they even have one in the first place.

My sister started a blog. Why open up now? I have no idea, nor do I need one to read and appreciate what my sister is willing to share. I suggest you do the same – follow her here.

Fucking Yoga

I curse. It’s a habit and it’s something I never used to do but something I kind of love doing now. Let’s just say the apple doesn’t fall from the tree, so it’s almost expected that I’ll drop an f-bomb every now and then.

I curse because sometimes there are no replacement words that do the same justice to the situation. I curse because in certain circumstances it makes me giggle. I curse because a simple ‘fuckin-fuck’ goes a long way, and if I’m around anyone who knows my father we all secretly know I’m paying homage to my old man!

To curse or not to curse – who gives a fuck, right?

The reason I’m sitting here on a beautiful Friday afternoon and writing about cursing is because I went to a yoga class a while back and in the middle of rolling out some tight muscle tissue on a yoga therapy ball the instructor cursed. And then he cursed again. In fact his cursing (and his incredible knowledge and teaching style) kept me coming back to class again and again. Why did I like to be cursed at on my yoga mat? Am I deranged (well, of course I sort of am, but aren’t we all).

Lately it’s dawned on me why this appealed to me so very much. I was trying to explain this class to a friend who does yoga and his eyes narrowed and he looked at me like I would have looked at him a few years back if I were told this story. “What the fuck, Nadine? A yoga teacher cursing in class?”

Of course I understood where my friend was coming from. I do not, under any circumstance, want to be told to lift my fucking arms and fold the fuck forward. I do not want to be told to stand in mountain pose like an asshole or relax in final resting posture like a little bitch (although I need to admit writing that sentence does makes me laugh). It’s just that in this particular class, with this particular teacher, it works. It so works.

It’s a different class and I can tell he almost doesn’t want it to be called yoga. It kind of isn’t yoga actually. It’s deep tissue release working out your muscles on therapy balls. It’s tough. It hurts. But then it’s so good for you.

So yea, if I’m ‘smashing’ my bicep (honest name for the move folks, so you can imagine how it feels) when the teacher says, “I know this fucking hurts, it’s supposed too” it makes me laugh, relax, release and smash the shit out of my bicep. It doesn’t feel good, but then when he explains what we are doing to help our bodies recover and build stronger muscles and tissues, it does feel good because I know it’s good for me.

The thing is we are so adapted to being treated a certain way – we’ve crafted a pretty cushy lifestyle for ourselves, and in general we go about our days without being cursed at (a good thing!). But sometimes I don’t need to be treated with kid gloves. Sometimes I need to be challenged, pushed, and spoken to in a different way so that I don’t keep zoning out and so that I can push past my own limits.

We’ve created a gentle lifestyle. We want everyone to be happy, and we don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings. People argued to take red pens out of the school system and to stop kid’s sports from having a winning team so that we foster participation over competition. This ‘everybody wins’ attitude sure sounds great, but eventually someone is going to fucking lose. Eventually we are going to get our feelings hurt. Eventually someone will push us, frustrate us, and maybe even curse a little at us, but if we stop being so easily offended we just might see a different side to this. We just might rise to the challenge. We just might push past our own limits. I know for myself if this yoga teacher said, “Stop when this gets uncomfortable” I’d have stopped immediately. Instead, he told us to curse it out. In fact he said if we didn’t feel like cursing we weren’t pushing hard enough, and he offered some assistance. Ha! No thank you, no more assistance to smash my biceps, I was cursing God damn it. I was cursing already.

This is Water.

I am having a little obsession with David Foster Wallace’s book ‘This is Water.’ And when I mean little, I mean big. BIG.

The book starts out with a little story – two fish are swimming past an older fish, who looks at the two young ones and says, “How’s the water?” As the two fish continue on their way one looks at the other and says, “What the hell is water?”

The simplicity of that fish story made me stop, and it made me think, but it also made me laugh. Think about it. A fish asking, “What the hell is water?”


Get it?

It’s life. It’s everything around us. It’s the tiny things and the big things that work together to keep you going. It’s the people that collect your garbage and sort your recyclables; the chickens that lay the eggs that go into your cakes; it’s the city that builds the park for your child to play in; it’s the staff that work the overnight shift so you can get your groceries anytime of the damn day. It’s the well-oiled machine that we’ve come to expect, but have gotten so accustomed to that we stop noticing until a part breaks down. Just like the fish, we are so busy swimming, and so used to taking things for granted, that we don’t even notice what we are swimming in.

This is water. For me, that just clicked and made sense. For you, if not, I’ll try my best explaining but I seriously recommend reading the book yourself.

Wallace was trying to make a point, trying (in my own opinion) to wake new graduates up before they had a chance to fall asleep at the wheel of adulthood. ‘This is Water’ was a commencement speech and it went on to talk about the habits we form and how we get lost in them. It talks about our own obsession with ourselves – it’s OK, admit it, we all see the world from one perspective (our own) so it’s hard not to get caught up in the importance of oneself. The harder part still is pulling yourself out of that habit. To see the world around you, outside of you, not based on your own needs and wants 100% of the time.

Do you take stock of everything that keeps you afloat? I know myself that I don’t. Not all the time. I’m trying though. I’m trying to step outside of myself and notice how I am where I am, and what keeps this life of mine going. I am trying to take myself off the world’s most important list and remember that each of us deserves some space on there. I am trying, baby step by baby step, to live more mindfully, so that when I do get caught up in my routine (which inevitably happens) I can pull myself out every now and then to notice the water.

Anchor’s Away

Anchor's Away

I have a tattoo of a tiny anchor on my right wrist. A permanent fixture that was a couple of years in the making. I dropped this idea into the sea a few years back, while sitting across from my gusband, and three empty bottles of wine at a cafe in Paris.

“You’re my anchor.” I told him.

We continued sipping from our wine glasses while the idea floated around us, finally taking root as my eyes lit up and I all but shouted, “Tattoos! We need anchor tattoos!”

In his calm, causal manner, he put the wine glass down and said, “Yes.”

That night we sat at that little table top while he drew a small black anchor on my wrist and I tried to get used to the idea. I have one other tattoo which I cannot see on my back, but he is about 40% covered in ink and didn’t need any ‘getting used to the idea’ to put needle to skin.

We asked a cabbie in butchered French to find us a tattoo parlour, but at 1am we could not locate something that didn’t promise lifelong disease. The idea sat at the bottom of my mind as Mark and I parted ways and I headed back to Ottawa and he to NYC.

A couple of years later, after still throwing the idea around but never committing, he surprised me with a booked appointment and pictures of tiny black anchors. “Pick your favourite and tell me where to put it; no matter what you decide I’m getting that tattoo today.”

We both got our tattoos that day. He in his calm, casual demeanour, and me huffing and puffing as if I were in labor (damn, did that ever hurt). And I love it. I treasure it. I look at it often, but most times it catches me by surprise, in the moments I need it the most.

Whenever someone asks me about my tattoo I stutter over my words and have a very hard time trying to impart its meaning. This tattoo is extremely personal and holds tremendous significance to me. I realize I put it on my wrist, but believe it or not it was mainly for my eyes as a reminder of how to live this life right.

In simple terms, this is my reminder to live life presently. To anchor myself in the moment at hand and not tread in the waters of the past or drown in worries for the future. Both of which I had spent some time doing, both of which did not serve me well and both of which threw me into a tumultuous year of change. Within the span of 365 days I got divorced, sold my house, started a new job, and decided to stay in my new city, instead of moving ‘home’ to Newfoundland, which I had been focused on doing.

My world flipped upside down but because of this man, and a small group of people I would be absolutely lost without, I was able to anchor myself down and live through it.

I got this tattoo to remind me to breathe. To focus on the now and notice when my mind drifts elsewhere. I also got it to remind me of these dear people that basically carried my entire weight for a year while I went through hell and back.

I put this anchor on my wrist so that I’d see it often; my silent reminder that if I get lost again I can drop that anchor, take a moment to get my bearings, and set myself on the right course.


Give Me Give Me Give Me


Sometimes I get swept away by the current of habitual want.

I love my friends but I want more time with them.

I love my partner but I want more attention from him.

I love to write but I want to write a best seller.

I love to practice yoga but I want to master Pincha Mayurasana (forearm balance).

I have enough but damn it if I don’t want more.

But is it my fault? I’m told to want more. Every time I open a magazine or turn on the television I’m reminded of how I can make my life better. I can’t watch the Mindy Project without seeing a commercial for healthy hair, glowing skin or weight loss. Fuck. I just want to see if Mindy and Danny will get together, I don’t care about reviving dead hair. And hair is dead anyway, isn’t it?

I’m not saying taking care of yourself and setting goals is a bad thing. I dye my hair, I run and I buy ridiculous amounts of lipstick and nail polish even though most times I’m too lazy to use them. I actually love taking good care of myself and if shopping were a sport I’d be a contender for the Olympics. A little want can be a good thing. A driving force, a motivator and that thing that gets you out of bed at 5:35am for spin class.

The problem arises when it’s a habitual want. You buy something, love it for a month then feel the itch for the next shiny thing that catches your eye. It’s saying you’ll be happy when you drop 10 pounds, meet the right person or complete that spin class without wanting to throw-up. The problem is that we are told so often how to make our lives better we sometimes forget to notice how good it actually is RIGHT NOW.

No matter where you are or what your goals are, right now is the BEST place to be. The BEST place to begin. The BEST place to learn to appreciate what you have so that when you do reach another goal or buy another purse it doesn’t make you happy, it simply adds to the already lovely life you are living. No matter what that commercial says, that product WILL NOT and CAN NOT bring you joy.

You cannot expect things or situations to bring you happiness. They will, don’t get me wrong, but that fleeting moment will pass and you’ll focus on something else that you just need to make life complete. And you might get that thing too, but then there’s that other thing…and so on and so on and so on…

It may hurt to hear, especially if you’re going through a rather tough time in your world right now, but the truth is that the purpose of life isn’t to find a life you love, it’s to love the life you already have.

Curiosity Has Given Me Nine Lives

I like to try things – many EVERYthing. I’ve rollerbladed, rock climbed, meditated and run races. I love to scuba dive, read, dance and sit on the couch watching endless hours of Breaking Bad. I’ve been a vegetarian that only eats chicken, a vegetarian that only eats fish, a vegetarian that only eats french fries and cookies, and a meat-loving carnivore. At one time or another I’ve wanted to be a helicopter pilot, teacher, doctor, architect, marine biologist and actor (to name a few).

I was born curious; my father swears I came into the world asking questions. As soon as I could walk I wanted to explore everything around me and the older I got the more there was to discover. I went from ballet to BMX bike, grunge music to opera. There was just too much to choose from and I needed a taste of everything.

Though I can proudly say now that my curiosity is my favourite thing about myself, it was something I actually hated for most of my life. People would tell me that I was fickle, young and lost – all of which, heard time and again, I’d believe. I waited for the day when I would find a sport, job, city and lifestyle in which I’d fall so completely in love that my eyes would no longer roam. I told myself that when I focused on one thing I would be mature, steady and stable. I’d no longer waver in the wind, instead I’d plant my feet and finally grow roots.

It took hitting my 30’s to trust myself enough to know I wasn’t meant to focus on one thing. I am different. I am curious. I will put my best effort in walking a straight line, but I will always take the time to glance sideways. This doesn’t make me fickle, or lost. In fact I’ve never felt so grounded in all of my life because I finally understand that I know best how to live it.

I wish I knew then what I know now. If I did I would have stopped listening to those people long ago. And it’s no one in particular (I grew up very much loved and encouraged) but it’s everyone because I realize now that it was my own voice telling me those lies. It was my fear of the unknown that told me to stop, focus and grow roots in places where I’d never be able to really grow. Then it was my voice, but a braver version, that encouraged me to dig up those roots and move somewhere else.

We need to stop listening to that voice. We need to feel free to change. The point of my life isn’t to find one thing put my head down and go. I am giving myself permission to try many things and to learn which really deserves my attention. I will taste life and feast on the parts I love the most. Air, water, sand and stones. Cumin, watermelon, rhubarb and buffalo mozzarella. Winter, spring, summer and fall. Fiction, non-fiction, true-crime and self-help. Black Labradors, pugs, huskies and french bulldogs. I am thankful for the selection that this lovely life offers.

Last year when I finished my yoga teacher training a dear friend handed me a note that read:

“Every idea, every statement reveals her zest for life – the fact that, by God when she’s done with it, life will have nothing wonderful left to discover that Nadine hasn’t explored already.”

I treasure those words, I just wish it didn’t take me 36 years to realize what she did within 6 months of meeting me. I am a lover of life. All things life. I will eat, smell, taste, love, touch, and dance my way to the finish line. Anything I missed I’ll get to on the next go-round.

For My Friends, And Maybe Yours Too.


Change is the only permanent, right? Change is good. Change is positive and change leads to new things, ideas, experiences and adventures. I embrace change – as long as it pertains to me.

I’ve always prided myself on how I deal with change. I love it, I really do. Even when the circumstances are extremely difficult I can usually see the positive side to my life swinging upside down and I might be crying on the bathroom floor but between tears I KNOW things will work out for the best. I think to myself, “Change, I got this. I got you. Who’s your daddy, change?” 

But there’s an ugly-sister-side to me that I kind of hate to share, and that is the difficulty I have when others change around me. Ughhh, can’t you all just stay the same?

People change as much as me, which seems reasonable enough until it actually affects me. Friendships ebb and flow, children are had, moves are taken and jobs are demanding. I’m 36 and the friends I had when I was in my 20’s have changed just as much as I have – and sometimes not with me. Which really is hard.

The people in my world mean everything to me. Once I make a connection I assume you’re a lifer. If you’re in my life chances are I’m attached to you – in a very un-yogi way I might add.

But I’m admitting that I find it hard when you change. Your new role as a mother, wife, business partner or entrepreneur has changed you as much as my new roles have changed me, and even though we may seem to be drifting I’m going to learn how to let you grow different from who you were and love you all the more for it. I’m going to realize that while I embrace my new roles as a yoga teacher and writer, divorcee and newly partnered woman, those changes can also scare the hell out of you and make you wonder who I’ve grown to be.

I am still the same while morphing into something so much more fulfilled and content. The same as you I am going to guess.

Instead of fighting the opposite paths we have taken, I’m going to allow my world to broaden by walking in your shoes every now and then and appreciating what it is that drew you a little away from who we used to be. We are not who we were, but why do I make that a negative thing?

My new friendships are based in commonalities. You love yoga and The Manx tofu tacos? Why yes, let’s hang out every Friday night from now until forever. But the truth is they are based on much more than that or I’d bail on you the second Friday in. We found each other through commonalities but we connect much deeper and we quickly learn that. But while new friends seem to relate to the new me better than some older friends do, I know that these friendships will also ebb and flow. People will move, add to families, change interests and start new careers. Life will take over and how we connect right now will forever develop and take new shapes.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m learning to let go but still feel connected. I’m learning that while I saw my ‘best friends’ daily in my 20’s, I see strangers on their yoga mats more than most of my friends who live within a 15 minute driving distance from my house. Life takes over and it’s not a bad thing. It’s life.

We cannot grasp onto each other as tightly as I once believed we could. Nor do we need to. A firm grip doesn’t make a solid friendship. Sometimes the strength comes from knowing we can let go a little and trust that while your hand isn’t in reaching distance, it’s always there to hold mine if and when I need it.

Don’t Just Do Something…Sit There.


When’s the last time you hit the pause button? The last time you left an hour, or afternoon, or entire day free of plans? When is the last time you slowed down long enough to let life seep in?

I find it hard to pause. My energy level is at about 110% most times – there’s so much to do, see, taste, smell, and experience that sometimes I’m afraid if I slow down I’ll miss out on life. Until I do actually slow down and realize that THAT is where life is.

When I was a kid my parents would take one day (or two?) in the school year and keep my brother, sister and I home with them. They’d call it a ‘mental health day’ and we’d just hang out as a family. Nothing special happened but in making time to do nothing we would get so much in return; time to make pancakes for breakfast, time to ask questions and really hear the answers, time to check in and re-energize, even if it was just siting on the couch watching reruns of The Cosby Show together. Those days were few and far between but they make some of my most precious memories even though nothing really happened.

As an adult I look back on those days with such admiration and appreciation. I don’t know where my parents got the insight to slow down life (or maybe they were just really fucking tired) but in doing just that they taught me the importance of living and not just doing. I was lucky to learn at a very young age that taking a break from routine doesn’t make you lazy, it makes you live. It allows you time to let experience and emotion seep into your bones so that you can move forward re-energized and re-focused.

We all have to-do lists. We all have busy lives and we all think we need extra hours in the day. But I say slow it all down. Even that to-do list. Don’t just walk the dog to get it over with, notice the smell of the tulips and lilacs as you pass by. Hear the kids laughing on your street as you’re weeding the lawn. Smell the cut grass and sit down on it with a cold glass of beer and a big dumb smile across your face. Those moments are life.

Take an hour, an afternoon or a full day. Don’t plan just be. See what can happen when you slow down long enough to let life in.