What is the purpose? The purpose of why you get up each morning, the purpose of why you go to work, the purpose of why you eat what you do, drive what you do, talk to the people that you do... this question can be asked for a countless number of areas in any one person's life. But does anyone really, truly dive into the depth that this question holds? What is the PURPOSE!? When it all comes down to it... what matters, what doesn't, what keeps you functioning and living and loving, and what doesn't. 

I read an article this morning, about a 29 year old women who has stage 4 brain cancer and has moved her family to Oregon in order to die with dignity this November. While driving in to town, I thought of my grandfather, who's brain is fighting against him and using all of it's force and power to end his life. I thought of my father, who has dealt with so many emotional struggles in the past 8 years... only to match each one with his own physical ailment... to the point where he is currently not able to participate in the activities that have always made his life, his life. I thought of my aunt, who has more love in her heart than I have ever experienced in a human being... and she is currently in a situation that challenges her strength and ability to fix a situation and make things work. 

Life isn't a smooth road people. Life is a bumpy, windy dirt road that will fling clumps of dirt and mud up into your face, and not care that you can no longer see where you are going. 

But then that question comes back... what is the purpose? I don't know what the purpose is for you... but I am slowly learning what it is for me. For me it is to love. To find love, in every moment that I am conscious to. To find love in every person that I meet, even when they make me grit my teeth. To truly enjoy those around me, that enrich my life, make me feel loved, and heal me with their infectious laughter. 
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Sure I've made mistakes, sure I've caused pain, sure I've taken a few wrong turns on this bumpy road... but all that matters to me right now, the overall purpose for me... is that I love. I decided to uproot my life, change my home, pack my things and move to a tiny town where I know maybe a handful of people and am about to go into a full-blown 8 month snowy winter... because this, right now, is what my family needs. The man that makes me smile in the morning, the puppy that exhausts me from laughter... these are the two that give me the strength to stay on this bumpy road and share my love with my entire family - no matter how far away. 

If there is any one thing I am hoping that you will take away from reading this, the reason that I feel so compelled to share my thoughts in writing, is for you to take one moment today, just one moment, completely and utterly for you. In this moment, explore, imagine, discover what it is in your life that allows you to be completely you. The most amazing gift that you can give to all of those around you, is to be the most amazing YOU that you possibly can. 

With love,
Sweet Dea

 
 
Over the Holidays this year, much like millions of other people do, I found myself reflecting on my life, my likes and dislikes about where I am right now, and what things I want to tweak to ensure that I am living my most ideal life RIGHT NOW. 

With this I came up with my 2014 New Years Resolution: Bust Through The Bullshit. 

This feels good to me. This resolution symbolizes my need to stand up for myself on a regular basis. It symbolizes my need to let go of things and people in my life that are weighing me down. It symbolizes my need to quit making excuses and just ACT. And most importantly, my need to eliminate my constantly aggravating negative self-talk. 
One morning in early January I was working at my part-time gig at Lululemon, browsing through the beautiful, colourful and ever-so-useful workout gear. I was attempting to justify and convince myself that it was okay to purchase yet another pair of lulu tights. Just as I was almost convinced, a brief memory popped into my head of me standing in my walk-in closet just two days prior, criticizing myself for hoarding so much clothing! Does one person really need an entire roll bar of zip-up sweaters? When was the last time I even attempted to wear that pink sweater dress? In that moment, while clutching those lulu tights, I decided to bring awareness to my needs instead of giving in to my extremely clever wants. I do not need  anymore tights.. I have enough. What I really need, is clarity and space in my home. Bringing home a new item that will simply take up more space seemed like such a burden. And thus.... my month of January's goal was born.
January 2014: Consumables Only.
For the entire month of January I focused my attention on acknowledging and then letting go of my constant desire to accumulate more things. It doesn't matter what store I am in, I am always itching to consume more. Whether it be a new picture frame, a pair of lulu tights, a great new pair of boots or even something so seemingly useful as a new water bottle. The fact is, I DO NOT NEED any of these things. I have everything, or at least access to everything, that I could possibly need to support myself in my daily activities. 

Last month felt...uplifting. Having really recognized my constant desires to accumulate and then allowing them to simply drift away showed me exactly how much power I can have over my actions, if I choose to take it. My visa was eliminated of little surprises... that sure felt good. I spent more money on food, but that felt great because I knew that it was going to a great cause (my health!) and was worthy of my money. And all together I felt a sense of accomplishment. I stuck to my goal... even when there were days when I was pretty shaky and close to cracking. (*ahem* has anyone noticed all the "Boxing Week" sales that happen all throughout the month of January!?) 

As I look at this new month of February, and glance back at the whole 31 days that I dedicated to being a bit more mindful of my need to accumulate, I feel proud of myself. I even feel ready to go through my closet and belongings and have a "spring time" purge a little early this year. Busting through the bullshit... one un-used item at a time. 

xoxo
Sweet Dea

Did you set any 2014 New Years Resolutions? What areas of your life did they focus on?

Are you still following any of them as we've moved into the mid-way through month 2 mark?

 
 
It came to me a few months ago, in the middle of the night - a sense of urgency and need... in an area that brings me passion and purpose. Earlier that day I had spent some time over a cup of coffee exploring my Core Desired Feelings (click here to read more about what prompted this exploration). I then continued on with my day feeling a strong sense of clarity. When I woke up in the middle of the night with a vision, an idea... I knew that I had to listen to it. I felt so strongly about it that I got up, turned on the light, and began mapping out how I could make it happen. 

What I came up with was an event. I wrote down all my thoughts - the marketing plan, the location, possible names, and more importantly...how exactly it would unfold. When I woke up the next morning and remembered...I have to admit, I was a little terrified - but also ecstatic!

Last night I hosted an evening of connecting, sharing and building a stronger sense of community among the young working ladies of Victoria. This event was the first of it's series called Inspired Connection. I created this series because I feel a lack of connection between the powerful and influential women in my generation working in the Victoria area. I wanted an opportunity to bring these women together and expand each of our networks. We spent the evening discussing some interesting topics, sharing some personal stories, making career and personal connections and of course, enjoying delicious wine and snacks. Overall, it was an amazing evening, and I personally had a fantastic time. I selfishly used last night as a platform to share my news... my other exciting new event... the one that terrifies, as well as empowers me.

The event is Inspired Self. It is a self-discovery and goal-setting workshop created and facilitated by yours truly. I will be pulling from a variety of resources to create this 3.5 hour workshop of diving in deeper to who you are as an individual. This workshop will allow you to focus on what truly inspires and empowers you, making space for your genuine creativity, enthusiasm and excitement for life, and leaving behind pieces of the daily mental crap that often stand in your way. 
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Click on the image to find out more
Inspired Self will be different for each individual as you will each be taking your own journey. I will simply be there to facilitate that journey... but you will be in the driver's seat. Ideally you are willing to ask yourself "why". You are willing to say YES to opportunities. And you are willing to feel great.

If this sounds like you, or something you'd like to explore further, feel free to send me an email and we can discuss Inspired Self or Inspired Connection further. 

And to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive, thank you so much. I appreciate your support and guidance while I take a leap in the direction that feels right. 

xoxo
Sweet Dea

 
 
After spending a year travelling in a new country, you cannot help but remember your favourite places and spaces from your home. One of my all time favourite summertime places is Sombrio Beach on Vancouver Island. This spot has all the beautiful West Coast scenery that this girl needs. 

I recently spent a night camping on the beach with my boyfriend, best friend and her boyfriend. It was the perfect combination of people and place to make my heart happy. 

After an extremely wet, cloudy and dreary day, we were graced with the beauty of a stunning sunset. Here are some images of the glorious sunset we had the privilege of experiencing:
photo credit goes to Tyler Bourne and Luke Green

xoxo
Sweet Dea

 
 



short films
by, for, about women

Last week I had the absolute privilege of attending the final leg of the international film festival LUNAFEST 2013 - a collection of short films made by, for and all about women. 
"Established in 2000 by LUNA, the makers of the Whole Nutrition Bar for Women, LUNAFEST connects women, their stories and their causes through film. This traveling film festival spotlights the work of a diverse array of talented women filmmakers with intelligent, funny and thought-provoking themes." See more here
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Mercedes, Myself and Katrina at LUNAFEST
I was given a ticket to attend the festival through yoUnlimited and really had zero expectations of what I was about to engage with. I knew it had something to do with film, something to do with women, and that it was a fundraiser event for the wonderful Bridges for Women. So along I went, up to the University of Victoria movie theatre Cinecenta for an evening of the unknown. 

It's amazing how seeing a few familiar and friendly faces at an event where you don't know what to expect can completely set your thoughts at ease and allow you to simply relax and be present. The smell of popcorn filled the room, the friendly smiles of women from the community were my introduction to the evening and the little sampler size Luna bar was a delightful treat as the event began. 

As I browsed through the evening's program, I immediately felt a tug on my heart strings as the eighth film to be shown was named "Whakatiki: A Spirit Rising" a film created in New Zealand. My expectations suddenly rose as I realized that this event was truly international... so much so that it showcased a piece from the lovely little islands of New Zealand. 
There were a total of nine films shown at the festival - all very unique, culturally different and with their own artistic touch. But they all had one thing in common - women. They showcased the struggles, the challenges and the ups and downs that are often faced by women all across the globe. But they also showcased the heroes among us - women facing those struggles and challenges and defeating the odds, becoming successful and happy in whatever that might look like to them. Powerful stuff!

One common thread throughout a number of the beautiful films that I personally resonated with was self-esteem and body-image issues. It became truly apparent to me that it doesn't matter what your culture, colour or career is, the majority of women, at some point in their lives (or all throughout) will deal with a lack of self-confidence due to feeling inadequate with their body image. It doesn't matter your age, your family genes, or even how other people perceive you - these issues are ingrained in you from a very early age.  
WHY is it so challenging for a woman to look at her body and see imperfections as unique characteristics? To smile and congratulate her body for achieving to continue living and being healthy instead of frowning and chastising herself for eating that extra piece of cake. Why is this such a common challenge for women across the globe - and how can we change it? 

I look at my 4.5 year old niece and cannot help but smile. She is such a beautiful being, inside and outside, and she is still young enough to be happy to just be herself. It hurts my heart to think that she will soon be reaching the age where the inevitable begins - body image issues. What can we do to ensure that our beautiful daughters, nieces and cousins can learn to love their body beyond the childhood years?

And what are you doing to support that loving being inside of you that may have gotten sidetracked in the past?

xoxo
Sweet Dea

 
 
It all began with a simple but essential question posted to Facebook:
"i would like to worry about the future a little bit less.. any tips, tricks or advice?"
I felt that I was in a rut, and while in this rut, I could not stop worrying about what was to come in the future. I felt that I would never leave this negative space, I would forever feel exhausted and un-inspired, and I began questioning every life decision I had made and would soon make. Heavy stuff right? I wasn't a fan either! So... I turned to the guidance of Facebook - and was AMAZED by the response I received. 
It was mind blowing how my one question affected so many individuals so strongly that they felt the need to comment and share their wisdom. Some of these individuals I haven't even spoken with in years - clearly the question hit a nerve. It was amazing and supportive to learn how many others are/or have been struggling with the same challenge that I face on a regular basis. Sometimes in life we continue along our path and keep our struggles to ourselves, or at least to our close circle of friends. But to put yourself out there and show your vulnerabilities leads to great awareness and acknowledgement. Yes it can be scary to show the world (or at least your Facebook world) that you're not perfect, that you have hard times and that you need help. But the payoff is astronomical. That feeling of belonging to a community, even if that community is based around overcoming a challenge, can allow your insecurities to rest and listen to and trust your intuition. It doesn't matter your country, your job, your marital status or favourite thing to do - we are all human and we all face challenges. Why not face them together, or at least help others learn from the disappointments and successes that you have celebrated?
If any of this resonates with you and you need a little boost in the positivity department, please take the time to forget whatever it is that's bullying your mind to focus on it, and read the insightful and thoughtful suggestions that were given to me:
"Throw yourself whole heartedly into every day as it comes. Focus on the now!"

"When you find your thoughts wandering, recognize that and try to bring yourself back to the present. Read Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle."
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where do you want to focus your time? image found at: http://alacartespirit.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/past-present-future-where-to-live-where-to-look/
"I used to get anxiety thinking too much about what is to come. The truth of the matter is that no one knows, anything is possible, and even the most bizarre / random / catastrophic things can happen to you and yours at any time. For the past few years I have stopped worrying about it and my stress levels are at an all time low with my enjoyment of every day being maximized as I am not wasting time "fretting." Today try and worry about these 3 things: How are you going to enjoy the sunshine, what to eat for dinner, and what movie u are going to watch before bed. I promise if that is all u worry about today you are going to have an awesome day! After all Deanna no one can promise you that today won't be your last."
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enjoying the sunrise at Mana Retreat Centre, Coromandel, New Zealand
"I just came across a great piece of advice in my old leadership coursework: Mentor activity rather than outcome. If all you are doing is focusing on the end result and feeling instantly defeated when you are trying to figure out how to get from where you are to that end result, then what you should try is to focus on rewarding your activity. Reward yourself for the positive steps you make everyday/week/month that build towards achieving that goal. Whether that's reaching out to your network to continue your relationships, professional development, training, completing online courses or reading articles to build your skillset. I can say that it has helped me alot! Without realizing it, focusing on the positive steps helped to lead me to my desired outcome."
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a beautiful image of a cat befriending a mouse - image found at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tiny-mouse-takes-on-tabby-cat-762483
"Deanna! We are in the same boat. This is what works 4 me: I close my eyes & breath deep. Then I think: "Everything is well". (Do this 3 times). Then I breath again and say: "I am peaceful' (3 times). Then I smile. It feels soooo good. Then I go & do something that brings joy back into my life (even if it is eating a little piece of chocolate :))."
"...say "yes" to everything!"

 "Live in the moment..."
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The beautiful scenery during a yoga/5 Rhythms Dance Retreat at Mana Retreat Centre, Coromandel, New Zealand
"...my fave yoga teacher yesterday was talking about setting an intention for the day and focusing on the success of the intention rather than the outcome. For example, you want to get a lot of work done. Do your best to do it but if/when it doesn't happen, be happy with your effort."

Thank you to everyone who contributed to my exit out of and recovery from the previously mentioned "rut". I really appreciate your support, your courage in sharing your vulnerabilities and your kindness in helping out a friend. 

xoxo
Sweet Dea

 
 
One of the first things you notice as a traveller returning to your home and deciding to settle in is the abundance of stuff you have. There are books and trinkets and photos and old letters and sports gear and jewelry and hair products and
SO... MUCH... CLOTHING!!  
After a year of travelling with just one bag, having only a couple pairs of this or a couple pairs of that, or one main jacket that is used for every purpose...to suddenly living with an overflowing closet of items that are for every occasion AND feel brand new as you forgot about them... well that feeling is priceless! 

But, just as many things do, the excitement of all this stuff tends to wear off pretty quickly. Life suddenly becomes more challenging - instead of deciding "should I wear my long necklace or my short necklace" it becomes, "should I wear the long silver necklace with that bit, or the long silver necklace with that bit, or the long gold necklace or the short silver...blah blah blah" So, what does an event planner decide to do when she has too much clothing and needs to give some away... plan a Ladies Wine & Shop Clothing Swap!!
Last weekend my girlfriend Lyndsey and I gathered some of our lovely close friends together, everyone brought some clothing that no longer served them, we had wine and appies, laid out all of our items and just had a great time shopping and swapping. There was only a small number of us there, but that made it all the more fun when trying things on. If something cute didn't fit one person, she'd suggest it to someone else and then they'd try it on. Everyone got to walk away with a few new items that they were really excited about. And the best part about it all... 
Lyndsey and I were thrilled that at the end of the night we were able to put together a massive box and two huge bags of clothing to donate to our local community cooperative, Women In Need. A few weeks earlier, we were able to support WIN with a fantastic campaign they created, the 100 Women Campaign.  (see below)

Their Goal: To raise $100,000 by the end of 2013.
The Result:To help and support 100 more women in WIN's two new programs entitled the Transformations and Self Sufficiency programs.

click the link photo below to learn more about these programs

We joined forces with many other Victoria women on a Saturday morning, put on our beautiful hot pink WIN t-shirts and ran out into the streets as a declaration that we care!
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photo sourced from: http://www.winfashionwithpassion.com/100-women-campaign/

xoxo
Sweet Dea

Have you ever hosted or been to a great clothing swap party? What did you like the most about it? If you're planning to host one in the future, be sure to let me know as Lyndsey found some fantastic resources that we'd be happy to pass your way! 
Happy Swapping!

Need a place to host your event like this one in Victoria, BC? Check out 24 Carrot Centre!! It's a fantastic space with lots of natural light and beautiful decor!
 
 
I recently had the privilege of having my mind blown. It was blown by outrageously powerful, impressive and smart leaders. I don't know a single one of these leaders personally, but after watching their speeches, I now feel as though I have shared a little part of their lives with each of them. I knew nothing about this event before I went. I really had very little expectations, all I was hoping for was a notebook or pad of paper as when I pulled up to the location, I realized I had forgotten to bring some paper. My demand was met, and then some, and then some and then some! I watched an online streamed version of the 2013 Chick-fil-A Leadercast event and it was amazing. Top notch. Inspiring. Awesome! I have been aching for more ever since. Want to find out what this event was all about? Click here to read my full blog post at YoUnlimited.com
If you like what you read...let me know and I'll make sure you know how you can be involved in the 2014 Leadercast event!!! :o)

xoxo
Sweet Dea

 
 
One of the three companies I am now partnered with is the Victoria Yoga Conference. VYC is an annual event that brings together yogis and yoginis from British Columbia, Alberta, the state of Washington and then some. It boasted 400+ attendees this year at it's very first event and apparently made a pretty strong impact on the yoga community of Victoria. Sadly, I was unable to attend the conference as I was enjoying the final leg of my travels through New Zealand and Australia. 
As an attempt to immerse my mind into what the Victoria Yoga Conference was, I am connecting with a variety of presenters from the event and doing interviews to experience it through their eyes. 
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I have now done three interviews and my response: 
All three individuals I spoke with are powerful people. They are all so uniquely different in their approach to yoga, business, lifestyle, spirituality and even simple phone mannerisms. But one thing they all have in common is the need and desire to tell their story. As people all we ever really want is to be heard by someone. To feel listened to, valued and appreciated. It is my pleasure to have given this gift, and to continue to do so, with each VYC interview I do. As soon as one interview completes, all I can do is close my eyes and just experience the energy, passion and inspiration that flows through me - simply from speaking to one other person about a piece of passion in their life. Amazing! 
If you would like to read my first published blog post from these interviews, 
click on the image below:

xoxo
Sweet Dea

do you practice yoga? is it a lifestyle piece or simply an action of fitness? :o)
 
 
Last week I attended Canada's biggest Social Media Camp - the fourth annual in Victoria, BC. What a privilege. I would not consider myself a computer techy by any means, and that was absolutely okay! This conference was as much about marketing and getting your message across to the right people as it was about the technical tactics of doing so. The camp was two days in length, with a choice of 12 speakers each day - a LOT of learning was done! If you use social media for professional, or even for personal use, it's worth your time to read through a few of my key take-aways and learn about what the top social media experts in North America are talking about. It was a great two days of conference and I enjoyed the overwhelming feeling of learning far too much in a short period of time. :o) 

Click here to read about my take-aways on the YoUnlimited website. 

xoxo
Sweet Dea