How I went from burnt out to reclaiming the MAGIC in my life.
Sometimes when I wake up in the morning and see the first light of the day casting pink and orange hues on the snowy of the peaks surrounding my house, I have to pinch myself to see if I’m dreaming.
I feel so lucky to live and work in such a BEAUTIFUL place. Time in these mountains continually teach me about myself and life. Every day I am blessed to guide interesting and inspiring people from all over the world.
I love my life. Sure, at times I’m stressed about the ups and downs of life, but in the end I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
As my work continues to evolve in me, through me, I find my intuition gets stronger, synchronicities happen, and my heart opens more.
By doing my own personal work and helping facilitate consciousness raising experiences for others, I believe that I’m making a small difference (sometimes big difference) in people’s lives and the world.
But it wasn’t always this way…
In 1991, I had powerful vision during my first backpacking trip in Yoho National Park; I was guided to help people connect to nature and themselves. As a prairie girl from Saskatchewan, this seemed an unlikely career choice and one I was certain was not for me- surely it must be a mistake! The power of this vision, however, was such that I decided to take steps towards becoming a guide.
I went back to college and got an Outdoor Recreation Diploma. Once back in Banff I became a Professional Interpreter through the Interpretive Guides Association and I received my Professional Hiking designation through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG).
I worked as a naturalist and guide in the Mountain parks for four years and loved my job. At the end of the 4th year, however, the joy seemed to wear off and I became burned out.
My time in nature didn’t feel soulful anymore – it’s like I couldn’t see or hear the beauty around me. The magic and wonder was gone. I had a longing for something more spiritual and knew it had to come from my relationship with nature and the Universe.
I said a prayer: “Please help me find magic in nature again.”
I could have never imagined what happened next
Two months later I found myself in an Ojibwa sweat with some students from Wilderness Awareness School. This school trains naturalists with a blend traditional Indigenous awareness techniques and science. Something in my being said, “THIS IS IT,” so I signed up for a naturalist training course when I got home.
Later that year I also started my first yoga teacher training. I had no intention of teaching; I simply wanted to explore yoga as a way to go deeper in myself.
Something very interesting happened when I went out to track animals or do yoga – I found I slipped into a state of stillness. From this place of stillness I felt a deep connection to life inside of me and all around me.
I started to experience clarity, and healing… a transformation had begun. The magic was back!
I didn’t feel lonely or empty anymore because I feel connected to something much bigger than myself.
I started to practice walking meditation, yoga and yoga nidra outside and it made my yoga practice even more magical…I could feel nature as an extension of myself not something outside of me.
Both practices have completely transformed my time in nature to something deeply soulful and nourishing.
Then I birthed EcoYoga Adventures
Although tracking and yoga did not seem to be related at first glance, I find that I am weaving the principles together to help others and it culminates in something really unique and soulful.
During the 2008 market crash I was planning to go back to my regular guiding job after the birth of my first child but found myself laid off and out of a job.
I felt this was the Universe saying “it’s time to change direction and pioneer something new…EcoYoga Adventures.”
With a new set of marching orders I did just that. I developed full day and weekend retreats in secret locations in Banff National Park-these programs are simply magical!
Every time I go out with people I feel like this is what I am meant to be doing.
A few years later another curve ball came my way
In 2015 I started to get calls from executives across Canada asking me to take them out into nature so they could get clarity in their lives. They all said they were going through major transitions in their life and felt a deep need to be in nature, in particular these mountains. They liked the sound of the EcoYoga program but asked if they could do something like that without the yoga.
So I developed contemplative experiences for them in nature that turned out to be very powerful. I left these sessions scratching my head wondering how it could be so profound for them.
I realized the process I used helped them to connect to nature in such a way that their stress simply melted away, they could relax and feel like themselves again. When that happened their life came back into focus and their answers came easily.
At the same time, I was told about a Japanese practice called Shinrin Yoku or Forest Bathing. I ended up doing the training and loved it. It was then I was introduced to the many research studies outlining that time in the forest is REALLY good for you. I came to understand why what I did with leaders and executives worked so well. See my Tedx talk for the full story. I became the first Shinrin Yoku guide in Alberta and can’t wait to bring this simple yet effective practice to more people.
I feel like my past training in yoga, natural history and meditation has come full circle. I recognize the signs of burn out faster and use specialized meditation practices and go to the forest where I can restore myself quickly. The magic in my life has been back for many years and I plan to keep it that way!
Do you want learn how to listen to your inner voice? Go Outside!
I know there must be more people out there like me who seek to experience calm and clarity as an antidote to our hectic world. Now I understand why and how to tap into that place even easier. It’s these lessons I want to share with you.
If this resonates with you, please consider joining me for a full day EcoYoga program, a retreat or try out a forest bathing session for yourself or your team, or join me for a coaching conversation in nature and take in an experience like none other in the Canadian Rockies!
If you would like to hear about upcoming retreats and events, your next step is to enter your name and email in the box below titled “Receive a FREE Gift.” You’ll receive specific practices that help me cultivate calm and clarity. Don’t worry I don’t send out a ton of emails I know your too busy for that-so am I.