Finding Freedom in Abundance

In riding a horse, we borrow freedom. - Helen Thompson


I am sooo excited! It's been a childhood dream of mine to learn horseback riding - and perhaps even one day, own my own horse. I just got confirmation yesterday that I got accepted into the Bengal Lancers Adult Beginner Riding Course that starts in April. Woohoo! I can picture it now looking out my oceanfront cottage window, the horse barn off in the distance *sigh*.

I used to put this kind of thing off because I didn't prioritize myself - I would talk myself out of stuff like this - telling myself it was too expensive, or frivolous, even if I could afford it.

I am aware that this type negative self-talk, is what some spiritual teachers call an "abundance block." It is deeply rooted in a lack of self-worth. These blocks keep us stuck and keep us playing small. I understand now that this comes from the negative messaging I received when I was younger.  These messages became ingrained and soon became part of my belief system and my identity.

Although there was financial abundance growing up, that came at it's own price, creating a lot of confusion around finances and lack. For example, close relatives would make shaming comments about what we had, or wished to have, and dad would say things like "I'll have to work until I'm 90 for you all." This created a negative belief pattern that spending money had to result in guilt and heavy burdening.  Receiving purely on the basis of being me just wasn't enough. 

Now it's my job to teach myself differently and it's time to take responsibility for changing this pattern. I am working on unlearning all this BS messaging and changing these negative belief patterns around lack.  Moving towards a more abundance mindset means always reaching for a better-feeling thought in the moment.  I am unapologetically navigating through life without feeling the shame or guilt around spending on myself, and that feels so freeing.

If you're not prioritizing yourself, then who is?

I speak from experience when I say that I am having so much more fun as a result! Now, I'm not suggesting you go into debt to go out and have a good time;  however, I do invite you to start noticing how you talk to yourself about money.  For example: Do you always have to justify a purchase to yourself or to others?  Do you downplay compliments? You're not in debt, but you spend everything you make? Are you living a lifestyle to impress other people? Do you find yourself judging people that have more financial freedom than you do?

It's knowing my worth, and believing I can do anything. And so far, the money has always shown up because I trust and believe that it will. The magical part about all of this is that my generosity of spirit has expanded as a result. Abundance and giving creates more abundance and receiving. It's not about being "deserving" because of some selfless act either! Abundance is a birthright, therein lies our freedom.

If you could do anything, what would it be?! What is stopping you from taking inspired action towards that goal?

Lots of love,

xo SJ


Suggested Resources:

Let Your Heart Be Your Compass

I felt the sudden urge to share the background story about how I ended up becoming a student of yoga.  This should hopefully give you some context for some of the things I'm going to share with you regarding my work with Anne.

The following passage is adapted from my Yoga Teaching Training application to 108 Yoga, back in 2012.  And, it is no coincidence that I started finding hearts that same year. I believe that timing is everything once the decision is made to start making positive changes in your life. The supports show up to make it possible for you to align yourself with what it is you truly want. These supports can come to you in a lot of different ways, whether it's through the people you meet, the circumstances you find yourself in, or through something as simple as seeing a heart shape.

It is also important to note, that the quotes I inserted throughout my application were ones I picked up along the way, even before I started practicing yoga regularly. I would come across these and jot them down in my journal.  When you notice something that speaks to you. listen to it, write it down, revisit it, because it's the wisdom of the heart that is trying to tell you something.

...From my YTT Application (2012):

We begin our journey of spirituality, when we sever our intimately sensual relationship with fear – Dr.T.K.V Desikachar

My yoga journey began after a desire to change the course of my path…a life path that was directed by fear and insecurities. Before I started my regular yoga practice my life was unmanageable. My work, and some, but not all, of my relationships were anything but positive and caused me a lot of angst.  Negative thoughts and behaviors, and misperception clouded my sense of self. Stress, worry and the illusion of control were common themes. I knew there was more to living a more fulfilled life, but I felt trapped by anger, frustration, shame and self-doubt.

Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom – Victor Frankl

During the Fall of 2010 is when my course took a different turn. After experiencing an anxiety attack, somehow I knew that was my body’s way of telling me something had to change. I immediately started counseling and was blessed with a lovely counselor who helped me realize that I had a choice to make, and it was up to me to do the work.  Her suggestion was to start doing things for myself, so for me, these included things like better self-care and practicing yoga more regularly again. Soon after making the decision to implement these changes, the 108 Yoga Groupon popped into my inbox.

I started at the studio the week of my 30th birthday in February of 2011, and my six-month sabbatical began on June 30 that same year. This couldn’t have come at a better time, because I had lots of free time to devote to the practice. I arrived in Ireland on July 1 to do some sabbatical research and soon discovered it was going to be so much more than that. There was something about reconnecting with my ancestral heritage that opened my heart up even more to the healing process and put me more in touch with my spirituality. As one of my friends in Ireland said, the country is “one big open heart.”

That year was all about empowering myself in my ability to self-heal.

It was through the teachings at the studio that I became interested in the body’s ability to heal itself through chakra work and ayurvedic practices. Before I left for Ireland I started seeing a Reiki practitioner and I continued treatments and counseling once I returned to Canada. I also explored other complementary modalities, such as osteopathy and massage therapy.

Let your heart be your compass, your mind your map, your soul your guide and you will never get lost – Unknown

In January 2012, Dorothy, the owner of 108 Yoga at the time, offered The Four Desires workshop. Through this workshop, I discovered that my life’s purpose (dharma) is to provide direction for myself and for others, and I decoded my Dharma as “I am a compass.”  With my inner wisdom as my guide, I am able to align myself to True North, in order to clearly see the path that was intended for me. Along with seeing hearts, the imagery of the compass is another symbol of growing in the direction of living a more fulfilled life.

Through practice we develop faith in the wisdom of our spiritual intuition, faith in the continuity of our practice, and faith in our deepening understanding of yoga – Vyasa’s Commentary on the Yoga Sutras

It was not until I rediscovered the benefits of yoga that my life became manageable. My perception of the world around me began to change. I started to love and nurture myself and started taking better care of myself.  For example, being more honest with myself, making sure I get enough sleep, eating well, fostering positive friendships and relationships, and trusting my inner guide.

A daily practice allows me to further my personal development, attain mental clarity, quiet my mind and keep my heart open.  Yoga is the foundation necessary for living my life’s purpose, with authenticity.  My life is now abundant, and serene, as yoga provides for me the peace of mind, contentment, self-acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness required to set myself free.


Love, SJ