October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

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💛I had two little boys. One was born at 40 weeks, 2 days and the other one at 26 weeks, 5 days of gestation. My first pregnancy was textbook perfect. My second ended in an emergency crash C-section with a baby like a squirrel +a 3 months NICU stay +a body cut-up, bruised. In an instant, my future chattered, the way my life “should” have been robbed. I didn’t know babies could even die, in movie’s they did- but not in real life and certainly not MY life.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. As a Prenatal/Post-natal yoga teacher and grief activist, I’ve made it my life’s work to talk about the stuff nobody talks about. Where there is LIFE there is DEATH and both are terrifying and natural, dangerous and fleeting. Can we stop denying these stories to be told, or WORSE YET say nothing. We need to find more opportunities, outside of the therapy rooms (because therapy is NOT enough!!!) to tell our stories, move with sorrows, and breath together.

Prenatal/Post-Natal Yoga Teachers- make sacred circles with your students at the beginning of each class. If yoga is connecting, integrating, welcoming-in life - this doesn’t exclude each other’s (!!). The whole point of doing yoga is being okay with what’s uncomfortable. Motherhood -whether you are bereaved or not- is difficult, period. If saying ‘hi’ to your fellow yogi’s before breathing together in the same room is uncomfortable or difficult or weird or awkward for you then it’s an indication to do more of it!! Instead of using yoga to check-out of real life, use it to check-in. Check-in not only in “light & love” but in “dark & fears” too.

If our yoga community doesn’t step up to the needs of human today. Who will? That’s not only being trauma-informed. That’s being human-informed.

Love you in bellies, babies and voicing what you believe in always.

E. ⭐️
#tommytinkerforever #mothersaremagic#pregancyinfantlossawareness

"See the light."

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Vanity Fair gave the most incredible tribute to my sister-in-law Hannah. Please read it!! Please share it. Please love the life you are in!!! Hannah did.

She worked her butt & brains off, and she loved the humans in her ocean fiercely. How lucky was I to know even just a sliver of that capacity to love. Making dreams out of pictures, following her obsessions. And caring. Hannah cared the most. I loved this segment best.

“If you were looking, you might spot her darting around the room, usually in black slacks and an elegant jacket, lifting her camera with one hand and a light in the other, snapping a photo and then smiling with quiet thanks before moving on. She always sought the best in others. It’s what made her a terrific photographer and a compassionate human.”

A million thanks for capturing my sister so accurately & poignantly @rdwilliams .


If I close my eyes, I see her just so


Love you in - as per Hannah- seeing the LIGHT, always


E ⭐️

Vulnerability is something to cherish.

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✨ “We must emphasize that vulnerability is something to cherish. It nourishes our humanness; it stops us from becoming robots- unable to feel, know ourselves and love. Vulnerability is a doorway into your soul, the key to finding what truly lights you up. It’s the means that allows you to be blessed by beauty, bliss, wonder and all those glorious feeling that makes life worth living.”

~Alexandra Pope.


Yours in feeling life, always.


E ⭐️

My girl @jessieredmondphoto snaps the sunset right.

To rise with butterflies.

Jessie Redmond Photography

Jessie Redmond Photography

I close my eye. I dance. I collapse. I turn over in the sand. I jump in ocean to wash the sand. My heart is shut. I’m so angry I could scream. I scream. I run. I twirl.  My heart re-opens. I lie in the earth desperate for things to be different. Why did this have to happen? Why does my life have to look like this? I resist change. I procrastinate. I wake up in the middle of the night anxious, alone, restless. I make good hearty soup. I eat junk. I want to be with people. I want to be alone. I ask the universe for signs. I don’t see anything. C’mon universe! I get shook up by a book, a friend, a teacher. I still see nothing. Ok, fine I’ll wait. I’ll rest. I’ll walk. I’ll create. I create. I create. I create. I can see now. I see everything. My heart re-opens. I am here. I show up. I serve. I breathe new life. I never stop hoping and dreaming and desiring. Growing. Butterflying.

Slowly, I take the permission slip to live my life my way.

I step into my grief project, my love project.

I am grounded. I root, rock and sway.

I ignite, burn and combust to rise with butterflies.

They’ve taught me so much.

That to cocoon, morph and metamorphose is crucial

Then and only then will I take my formidable flight.

I want to embody my life. Stop the by-pass.

Hold the good memories and the tragedies.

With grace. With ease.

 

Okay fine.

I make a pack.

To lead it with love.

To lead it with truth.

Yours in what it means to love & grieve, always.

E. xo

I start another round of the Love Project Workshop Sept. 28. knowing with deep conviction that just like the butterfly: rebirth and release is there in all forms. This is small group workshops, please sign-up through ON THE MAT Yoga Studio today.


Transforming into the mother shape: confronting some tough little beasts

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“Can I even go pee alone, ever again? Can I eat anything else but fishies and Kraft Dinner and broccoli (the ONLY veggie my child ever eats)? And most importantly, can I remember the old me? Knock, knock. Are you there?”

Most of my mothering career has been about dropping the idea of what the perfect mother looks like in my head and in my life. Imagine being in a changing room and trying on motherhood outfits, one after the other. Nope, that one doesn’t fit. No, this one ain’t right. Akk! This isn’t it.

So perhaps, after 8 years of trying to perfect the motherhood outfit, the only thing I’ve gotten better at is throwing those stupid-looking clothes and ideals on the ground. Perhaps, I can finally let go of how “good” motherhood should look on me.

In my conversation, with Jessie Harold for her MotherShift podcast, I speak of transforming into my mother shape and how I’ve had to confront some tough little beasts. I was inclined to share my story because the transition into motherhood is an arduous process and nobody talks about it. If you do talk about it, it makes you a bad mother!

 Perhaps, I can finally let go of how “good” motherhood should look on me.

I went from having a textbook perfect pregnancy and labor, to having an emergency C-section. This all in the span of 10 months. I remember going from being the most comfortable in my skin, to being cut up and angry. This is just a glimpse of what tested my physical limits. Emotionally, monsters one was in the form of deep loneliness. Monster 2 was mourning my old life (and feeling guilty for it). Monster 3 made me break apart internally, it was when I realize nursing was WAY harder than pregnancy. Oh shit. This little creature needs me all. the. TIME.

And time? A weird concept where now, I am a complete devout to my child. Can I even go pee alone, ever again? Can I eat anything else but fishies and Kraft Dinner and broccoli (the ONLY veggie my child ever eats)? And most importantly, can I remember the old me? Knock, knock. Are you there?

CLICK ON THIS IMAGE TO LISTEN TO OUR CONVERSATION!

CLICK ON THIS IMAGE TO LISTEN TO OUR CONVERSATION!

Can I remember the old me? Knock, knock. Are you there?

But see, with Jessie, we also discuss how motherhood shifts (yes! like the name of her beautiful offering), re-align and recalibrated everything for me.  Instead of stunting my creativity, motherhood heightened it.  Self-expression is key. Creativity after all is born in the dark. Motherhood has thought me what love is beyond time and beyond space. Don’t even get me going on how lucky I was to have tools such has yoga and art to support this tumultuous change and amplify the complex and impressive magic of motherhood. And that last part is exactly why I created SHE QUEST MEMBERSHIP.

I have been so passionate about helping mothers reclaim their power pre/ post natally because of the lack of support I’ve felt in my own unfolding journey into motherhood. We need more moms ( and fuck it… more women in general!) to trust that their motherhood outfits look fucking rad. Yes, what you put on works for you and not for me and that’s OKAY and that’s VALID. That your experience of motherhood whether it be super dark or super rosy is real.  Let them know there is no size and shape that fits all. Let them know here is only YOUR mother shape.  

Keep throwing those supposedly “good” outfits on the floors, step on them!

Make your own make-shift outfit,  get-up and GO!

Reminding all you mothers that YES.

YES, you are MAGIC .

Don’t ever let anyone ( or yourself) tell you otherwise.

Love you in confronting some tough little beasts, always.

E. xo

 

See the Light

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A month before she passed, I interviewed Hannah on She Quest Podcast. There are sets of questions you know, I ask on my show. One of them is “what is your mantra?”. Think of a mantra as invisible string of words tattooed on you. Something you can repeat yourself.

 

And she said “see the light”. She said that.

 

Today, it seems my life was so not funny, it was funny. The cry-laugh phase, where all I wanted to do is give up and swear in slang French (they a much nastier than ‘fuck’ if you ask me). I found myself so stuck in my own b.s. I couldn’t get out.

 

And then, I remember Hannah’s words “see the light”. SEE THE LIGHT. See the light.

 

Then you know what I did? I decided to SEE THE LIGHT.  

 

I went for a second cup of coffee. ( one of the lucky few who had power!)

I put on a neon pink shirt. (Hannah would have approved)

I got out of my own way. ( yes, mantra’s will do that!)

 

If anything, both Tommy or Hannah taught me is to SEE THE LIGHT.

 

And also, to never, never NEVER give up.

 

Yours in good word tattoo’s, always

E. xo

What is your relationship to your heart?

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I am no cardiologist.
But I’m a human.
I have heart.

In a generation that overuse the popular 'follow your heart' motto, in my yoga classes this Fall we will dissect your heart's situation with my Anatomy of the Yogis Heart Program . What does it really mean to 'Follow your heart!?' and how the hell can I do that !? No recipes books here, no 1, 2, 3’s. Your heart doesn’t speak english, or french. It's speaks in pulls, shoves and breaks. Sounds, symbols and stories.


The yogi's surgery requires careful practice of prana, beats and flow. It requires (but not limited to):

1) listening to your insides
2) pumping blood &sweat & tears
3) metaphorical thinking.
4) and HUMOUR (capitals needed)

WEEK 1 (first day of class at @dartmouthyogacentre tomorrow!)

Title: Tapping into the "Metta" : Metta can be loosely translated in 'loving kindness' or 'all-pervading compassion'. This week we tap into it by breathing from our feets and hands with kundalini-inspired exercises, lotus mudras, and of course backbends!

New Playlist & Essential Oils too.

CAN'T WAITTTTT
Babies/Bellies also starting tomorrow!
E. ⭐️

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The LOVE PROJECT : What are we here for?

Jessie Redmond Photography

Jessie Redmond Photography


There is always more to uncover, more to know, more to heal, more to love, more to give. Being true to oneself is a rough-and-tumble ride, full of challenges and wonders. The Jungian scholar James Hollis writes, "We are not here to fit in, to be well balanced, or provide example for others. We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little clunky chunky cells, see the great mosaic of being. As the gods intended, we are here to become more and more ourselves.

"Marrow" by Elizabeth Lesser.

The Love Project Workshop is starting again this fall. Become more and more of yourself.

A privilege to witness your unfolding, always.

E. xo


Dance it out!!

I tell my students to not wait until they feel ready to begin!
Not wait until the kids are older!
Not wait until you have time {oh ma gawd... that’s a biggie!}.
No wait until you have space!
Not wait until your “less” busy!
Not wait until you have money!
No wait until your insecurities are in check.
Not wait. Not wait!!!! You beginning something for yourself is you taking your power back.
You creating, is you embracing life and saving yourself.
And gosh, I’ve had to give myself my own pet talk tonight- on the eve of my launching my most radical, generous and futuristic offering yet.
SHE QUEST MEMBERSHIP.
Doors open TOMORROW.
This is BIG! 💥 💥 💥 Excited. Scared. Jitters. Perhaps am crazy enough to think every SHE is worth having the life they deserve. Perhaps am just crazy 😜
Nothing left to do now but.........
Dannnnnnnnce it out.
I was meant to do this.
Love you in high fives and dancing with girlfriends, always!
E ⭐️ #shequest #shequestcommunity#sheisinme #100daysofpaintingshe#launchday


Self-care revisited

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GODESS ALERT!!!!!!! 

When I choose self-care, I choose the life I want. 

I don’t think of self- care or “me time” solely as going on a retreat or having a massage or time for a hot hot bath any longer (although these things are extra nice).

I’ve begun to see self care has the thing I least want to do.

Self-care is saying yes to the life that as chosen me.

Its saying no to the things that make me feel crappy.

It’s answering the call of what excites me the most.

Its taking my power back in small increments.

It’s pressing the 3 P’s button: Permission. Passion. Peace. 

Every single one of these goddesses chose unapologetic realness that week back in France. Do you need to go to France to find this!? No! Soul connection comes from within and needs no external treatment. But France did bring expansion and release, because traveling to another country will do this to anyone.

Yes, I’ve started seeing self-care in letting go of that which no longer serves me (food, habits, thought patterns). Reframing my limiting beliefs “people like me don’t do that “ “am not good enough” to “screw it am doing it anyways!”. ( I mean who said these things to your subconscious anyways???)

Look, self-care is letting yourself engage with the world the way you were meant to engage with the world. And that’s where your giant lives! 

Basically, being on SHE Quest is loving a life you don’t not want to escape from... ever! 

Yours in goddesses as giants, always.

E ⭐️ 

SHE QUEST MEMBERSHIP OPENS SO SO SO SOOOOOON!!!! Weeee!!!

Inspiration is a myth.

Carolina Andrade Photography

Carolina Andrade Photography

Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic, striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and everyday give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness. -Brenda Ueland 


How much do you like this quote ?! This is seriously the best kept secret of all time. There is this big taboo around quote-on-quote “creative” people. People think it’s easy for us (also the ‘us’ and ‘them’ drives me insane too but that’s for another post!). That surely they (the creative ones) have more time, space and money to do what they love. That ‘I’ and ‘them’ get inspired daily because I was miraculously born sparkly like that. This sort of thinking drives me nuts.  That I was just born like that. Pardon me? I maintain my creative force by… are you ready to hear it? Well, by working on it ALL. THE. TIME.

Everyday, I make sure I write or I paint or I make something - EVERYDAY. For me, I know 30 minutes of yoga and 30 minute of painting is ideal and realistic. On the days I think I failed, I widen my lens - I am reminded that I’ve cooked for my family today (putting a meal together is very creative!) or watered my plants (well, I have one right now!! It was however, a very meditative minute).

Inspiration is not one major ‘ah-a’ or lightening bolt that will fall by the will of grace to you if you are lucky. Dude, it’s like many mini ones. Read all about my Mindful Art philosophy HERE.

Yours in lightning bolt and joie-de-vivre, always.

E XO

 

You live in my chest

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💛 Now that you live in my chest everywhere we sit is a mountain top... I know this one by heart from Rumi. I’ve painted the quote too, I love it so, so much.

As I looked out that day, I made sure to wink at Tommy. It was quick “hi buddy!”. I am lucky. The mountains, lake and the warm air blinked back at me. Blink. Blink. Does nature blink back at you, too?

Five years coming and am still learning how to welcome grief. Sometimes I feel expansive and weightless other time so heavy, like a truckload of rocks. But by now, at least I know that what I miss so terribly is a celebration of what I’ve love. And that this very love does goes on.

If i don’t grieve, I will harden in anger and drown in bitterness and pride. If i don’t grieve, I’d be walking dead. The choice has been to live, be generous and present and engage with the world. Drive the truck full of rocks.Full throttle. The road is full of twist and turns, construction stops etc.. Whatever I pass all of that- damn you Tommy!! I transform rocks into art. May be that’s what he wanted all along!? I’ll never know.

But what I know is that the permission to grieve Tommy makes me feel alive.


Anyways, I told Scott I wish we had brought some of Tommy ashes to sprinkle over the majestic Rockies. And then Rumi reminded me that all this didn’t matter since he lives in your chest, silly!


Your in grief as love and love as grief, always
E ⭐️

#tommytinkerforever

Bodyfull

Love that mindfulness is such a mainstream word these days.

Coined by the beloved author, Sharon Blackie, “BODYFULLNESS” - which I personally hope becomes common language too, someday!

We are not just a mind now, are we?

To put it simply, I am happier when I move. I think better. My brain is in less of a fog. My vision is sharper. I am less on edge. By the time I finish my dance-off, I am reinvigorated. The more I dance, the more I see that they’re is dance in everything.

I’ve been loving incorporating the dance breaks within my slower more meditative yoga practice too. I get so serious you know?

Tuesday dance off at your place, k?

Love you in cultivating bodyfullness, always.

E xo

Dancin' your little heart out !!

I used to teach Maya and Olivia kids yoga at the Cow Bay Hall when they were only little!! And now, they teach me hip hop dance with passion, gusto and sparkles in their eyes.  I love that the roles are reversed. I love young women entrepreneur who tell you to dance big, and low and make faces and take up space. YESssssssss!

Gosh, I love dancing! But more so, I love dancing with my neighbors.

Flash Mob in Cow Bay every week, yo !!

Here is the poster for Maya’s kick ass classes so you can join us for the next two weeks remaining.

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What makes you feel alive today?

JESSE REDMOND PHOTOGRAPHY

She Quest Podcast Season 1 recordings is wrapped up

(i’ve even put a bow on it, cuz you know me ; ) ).


WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE TODAY? is the ritual question I ask all my guest because ….first things first!


It’s an important ask, one that I wish would replace the common “how are you” which is replied (automatically, most often, to boot) with “fine, thanks”.


Asking “whats good today? what makes you feel alive today?” has no choice but make you notice whats alive all around.


And while Episode 9& 10 is to be launched in a week for SHE QUEST members, here is a wrap up tease of what my badass SHE QUEST guest said proudly!


More goodness in Season 2, coming in She Quest Membership near you.


Love you in sun, space, and sleep, always.

E. xo

To paint the ordinary... here we go!

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It’s Day 9 of my public #sheleaps challenge! and ps.... I am doing it too! 👊🏼

( my third 21- days #sheleaps this summer... woot ! woot!!)

For many years now, I have been resisting painting "still life" and "real life" stuff. Its easy for me to paint magical realism.


I paint what I imagine.
I paint my dreams.
I paint magic gardens where leaves are blue and pink.
I paint women with whales in their bellies and little girls that fly with eagles and bubbles.
But since I believe that magic is found in the ordinary and the boring, for this 21 days, I am challenging myself to paint the ordinary!
A constant thread for us SHE QUESTER : what you resist, it's there that your soul can grow.
I can’t wait to show you my “still life” paintings on this blog, later this week !
Remember #sheleaps -the moment you want to stop, that’s when the real work begins.

Love you so much!

E .xo

p.s: Magic is something worth wanting.

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The wild magic of horses and my son’s confidence riding this graceful creature.

Was I ever that confident with anything?

Horses represent freedom and power - to see them up-close... what a treat!


As a mom- I grow more and more aware that to live a magic life is to be challenged and tested. Daily.
But through my son’s eyes & heart, I stay close to wonder & awe.

All is alive with possibilities if you choose to see it that way.

All is a gift.
Above all, is to believe.
To believe that magic is something worth wanting.
Freedom and power, too.
Love you in warm summer nights and unlocking the key to your superpowers, always.
E ⭐️

SHE LEAPS: Challenge begins August 5th!

21 Days of "SHE" Leaps

#sheleaps

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.- Lao-Tzu 

Jessie Redmond Photography

Jessie Redmond Photography

This summer, I sat down and wrote my priorities, values and feelings.

 In a nutshell, this is what was rising in me now…

My priorities

Being present for my life, then my family life.

Stay healthy with running, yoga and dancing. Painting SHE. Holding space for myself + students. 

Radiantly alive, loving and giving of my light. Knowing my spark. 

I value:

Magic, Beauty, Connection with body, mind, soul. Dancing. Unrestrained living. Passion. 

I feel: 

Enthusiastic , Grounded, Powerful, Tenacious, Refreshed. 


After doing this mini soul inquiry exercise, I decided on my #sheleaps challenge. My #sheleaps challenge idea is heavily inspired from my SMALL DAILY ACTS OF BRAVERY philosophy. Watch the episode with this title on my CBC documentary here: 

Back at the beginning of the summer, there was a soul whisper telling me to go plunge in the freezing ocean water for 21 days in a row ( crazy! made no-sense!!). Another whisper (that one was more like a scream!) was that I wanted to be offline for 21 days. So technically I had two SHE LEAPS set out: ocean plunge and digital detox

AND I DID IT! 

Did plunging in the ocean everyday make me feel enthusiast, grounded, powerful, tenacious, refreshed? YES, instantly! Was it everyday that I wanted to dip my body in the freezing ocean? Nope. But fuck it! I did it anyways. (Let it be known that I live 2 minutes away - the ocean is very accessible!) 

Did going offline for 21 days make me present for my life and family life? YES! Was I a clearer conduit for holding space to the women that mattered most. YES. Did it reclaim my time, and allow me to paint more? Fuck, yes! In times of solitude, I get to connect with the magnitude of my authentic self. Deep work and much less noise - that was the 21 days SHE LEAPS pilgrimage I was really seeking because I know what I value:  magic, beauty, connection with body, mind, soul. Dancing. Unrestrained living. Passion. 

Btw- it scared me to do both. The ocean plunge is the one I thought I wasn't going to finish. One day, there was a thunderstorm, and I went so far as to think it was too dangerous to take the plunge. But REALLY, it was just my inner critic putting me down. I just waited for the lightning to subside, and hop(!) I went. They're is something powerful in witnessing  my fearful train of thoughts and going beyond my fears . I realized that the days I resisted the most, are the days I needed my plunge THE MOST. As the days went on, it got easier and I stayed longer. I tried to not scream or make big movements when I took the plunge - I just went in and kept repeating the mantra "I've got this".

The digital detox is obviously tricky since my livelihood depends on me posting my art and writings online. But if anything, I wish I could have taken a longer Instagram sabbatical. To my surprise, it was easier than I thought. It was lovely to reclaim my time. I really didn't miss it and realized how much I had been craving my own magical kingdom of thoughts and sacred expression. This time alone - without so much screen time - lead to a complete restructuring of how I use my social media channels and how/when I spend time on the world wide web. 

#sheleaps is a public challenge but I see the SHE QUEST participants (YOU!)  as luminaries for it. Whatever it is you choose, you are ready! Here are 10 SHE LEAPS potential ideas

  1. 21 days of making veggie or fruit smoothies

  2. 21 days of painting flower power ( I am gifting this class for free only for SHE QUEST and art lovers of this group! - please email me if you would like your code!) 

  3. 21 days of journalling in the mornings for 5 minutes.

  4. 21 days of breathing/yoga exercises (review all videos so far).

  5. 21 days of no make-up.

  6. 21 days of pulling an oracle card. 

  7. 21 days of going to the beach - rain or shine.

  8. 21 days of making wild flower bouquets.

  9. 21 days of singing mantras.

  10. 21 days of nature walks - rain or shine. 

What will be your SHE-LEAPS? 

Rules: 

1) Starting Aug. 5th, Do one thing everyday for 21 days! One small daily act of bravery. Use #sheleaps and tag me @estelle.thomson and @thepracticemovement.ca for your chance to win a 4 month SHE QUEST MEMBERSHIP ( sept, oct, nov, dec) AND one month unlimited yoga at the new studio in Dartmouth “The Practice”. The more you post under the hashtag #sheleaps, the more chances you have to win.

2) Really do it! It will be easier if you answer the soul inquiry questions above: What are my priorities?  What are my values?  What do I want to feel? On the days you don't want to bother, go back to your intention behind your small daily acts of bravery.

3) When we commit to something that is aligned with our priorities, values and feelings our spirit SOARS with gratitude & delight. Yes! This is a rule. Works every time.

Jessie Redmond Photography

Jessie Redmond Photography

Start with 5 minutes a day of something that perhaps scares you and /or makes you nervous. Your SHE-LEAPS have the powerful potential to become an ingrained daily ritual for the life you truly want to live.

The Practice Studio and I cannot wait to see your LEAPS!! Announce before Aug. 05! 

Estelle xo