A New Year and a new beginning has arrived, and as I reflect back on 2015 I see a year of incredible growth and transformation. This has hands down been one of the most challenging years for me, but I also learned some of the most valuable lessons because of it.

Moving forward I want to focus on all the light and love that came from the depths of darkness that I experienced this past year. I wouldn’t be where I am today without feeling great loss, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

So let me tell you a bit about what came from experiencing my shadow to it’s fullest…

COMMUNITY

As my heart shattered into many tiny sharp pieces at the beginning of the calendar year, I realized that rebuilding it was not a journey I could do on my own. I needed to be brave and reach out for help.

Through this realization I reached out and deeply connected with a group of women (and men), overriding my childhood beliefs that I didn’t belong and that women couldn’t be trusted. I practiced being vulnerable and saw the connection and love that came with it. I found a tribe of women in this city that love and support each other through thick and thin, who are incredibly courageous, inspiring, and nonjudgmental. I learned to be vulnerable and lovingly held space for others to do the same.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

SELF-LOVE

I faced my shadow self and learned how to be compassionate and kind to her. I dove deep into my self-love journey and hired Kelsey Grant as a mentor and coach, completing her 3 month Root of All Love: Self-Love program. I also practiced 134 days of writing out daily Radical Self-Love reflections along side a 30 day forgiveness mediation and daily gratitude practice.

I learned to express deeply suppressed emotions like sadness, grief and anger. I saw the healing benefit of releasing these energies without judgment or fear. I learned to have faith that the storm would pass and that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

I learned the value of self-care, and what it is that my body needs to feel energized and connected (lots of sleep, healthy foods, green juices, rewards, treats, alone time and regular sweating!).

Strong boundary setting became a massive theme for me that came up again and again in friendships, relationships, work and requests for my time. I got acquainted with the word “no” and used it as a form of self-love. I let go of the people that felt draining and toxic, and I learned to speak up for myself and saw that my needs mattered too.

Photo by Anita Austvika on Unsplash

HEALTH & BODY

I invested in healing my relationship to my body and gave up habits that were toxic to my health. Including partying, substance abuse, and excessive coffee drinking. I also had my first full year of not relapsing into old eating disorder behaviours (massive win, yet incredibly scary to talk about openly).

And while we on the subject of body image, I also dove deeply into some sexual healing. I started a regular jade egg practice, and invested in connecting to my sexual power and started to embrace pleasure in life. I let go of old beliefs that weren’t serving me that had me feeling shame around my divine sexual energy.

As I loved my body more, I ditched hormonal birth control and got to know my cycle more intimately. I started tracking my monthly moon rhythms, only further helping to connect me back to my body.

Photo by Jean Sabeth on Unsplash

ROMANCE

I experienced heartbreak through and transitioned into healing.

I learned what it means to truly forgive, and learned to open my heart up again to love and to trust my intuition and the guidance I receive from Spirit. I found strength and faith in trusting the Universe that the perfect thing was going to happening for the greatest good of all involved.

I stopped trying to control and force things to go the direction that I thought was best. Instead I trusted that our relationship taught me the lessons we both needed to grow.

I discovered there is no “right” way to make love work and that each partnership is unique in what it needs to thrive.  I learned to let go of societal norms of what a relationship “should” look like and trusted my heart.

Most importantly I came to understand what it means to fill your own cup first and how doing so can take a connection and relationship to the next level. Even if it means taking some time apart to do so.

SPIRITUALITY*

I prioritized my connection to spirit and completed three 21-day meditation challenges and started doing regular card readings, crystal self-healing sessions, moon rituals, journaling, and intuitive art rituals. Intention setting became a daily practice, and I saw the law of attraction work its wonders (I manifested many of my desires including a growth-oriented relationship, the money to clear my debt, and multiple perfectly aligned jobs). I even started learning about energy healing and got certified as a level 1 Reiki healer.

My mornings became sacred and I set up a routine that helps me become the best version of myself and reminds me of how I want to show up in the world.

*I want to make a quick note and say spirituality means different things to different people.  I don’t believe you have to have these practices in place to be considered “spiritual”.  I just know that by adding them into my own life I felt more connected than ever to others and to a higher guidance.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

CAREER

Because of all the inner pain and growth I was experiencing, I felt the call to step it up in my career. I used work as an outlet to explore my creative talents and build a life that lifted me up and helped eased my suffering.

First thing I had to do was let go of pursuing a career in acting when I realized how draining the lifestyle was for me. I was doing it purely because other people told me I “should”.  I wasn’t energized by it and it was sucking away my time and financial resources. I needed to let go of the belief that I would be seen as a “quitter” and I chose to honour my heart instead. I instantly felt more expanded and stress-free and it opened up room in my life for me to focus on the things that I did want to grow.

This lead me to take my many other creative pursuits to the next level. I ended up teaching myself how to make websites and launched a handmade crochet bikini line called Coco Notti in June, and then launched my personal blog in November. I soon published 10 articles in three months and overcame a big fear of being seen.

Coco Notti Swimwear

In my performance work, I stepped up in Zynth & Co. (an entertainment & dance company) and was asked to become a partner in the company. I took up the HR Manager and Co-Artistic Director titles and started helping behind the scenes with two other amazing women.

Then in the Summer I was given the opportunity of a life time to hire, manage, and costume design for The Pagoda Stage dancers at one of Canada’s largest music festivals, Shambhala. This year I performed for some insanely talented artists including Skrillex, Camo & Krooked, Datsik, Zeads Dead, and Griz. I feel so incredibly grateful that I  was offered this position and allowed myself to explore what I was capable of.

Performing for Zed’s Dead in front of several thousand people.

These career paths have been great teachers along the way and I’m incredibly proud of myself for over coming the “not enough-ness” that we all feel sometimes.

SELF-ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND CELEBRATING YOUR WINS

I’m writing this post at the risk of sounding a bit “braggy” because one of the biggest lessons I learned this year is the power of self-acknowledgment. This practice was a corner stone in my self-love routine that helped me during some of my darkest days.

The practice of self-acknowledgment helped me find the self-esteem and confidence I needed to level up in every area of my life. And I think it truly could help so many people but it’s unfortunately something we’ve all most likely been shamed for.

We’re afraid that if we share with others the things we’ve done that make us feel proud of ourselves, then we will come across as full of ourselves, egotistical, or attention seeking. So we minimize our accomplishments and stop looking for the evidence that we are in fact awesome at life! Which really just keeps us playing small and helps us stay stuck in “not enough-ness”.

It’s important to remember that we are not our accomplishments, titles, or successes, but that it’s still okay (and important!) to feel proud of these things. Especially if you’re going through a challenging time of growth and healing.

Fun fact to remember: shining a light doesn’t dim another light. So boldly shine your own light and know that you’re only making the world a brighter place. Let’s all practice raising each other up and celebrating each others wins, instead of shaming or criticizing each others accomplishments.

Even our tiniest daily accomplishments deserved to be celebrated and acknowledged. Especially by ourselves. I highly encourage you to write out your own 2015 self-acknowledgement list.

If sharing it is a bit out of your comfort zone though, that’s okay. You’ll still benefit by writing it out for your eyes only.

As for the new year, I wish you the most incredible year— full of love, success, and growth! I hope all your desires and wishes come true and that this is your biggest year yet.

Stay Beautiful,

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