Monday
Aug282017

A letter to my 14 year old self.

 

 

 

Dear 14 year old Kate Mak,

 

I am writing to you nearly 20 years later with what I have experienced and learned. I have words of encouragement and wisdom for you.

 

Life is a beautiful journey and you will pen many new chapters of adventure, wonder, love, happiness and success. But there are dark chapters ahead as well… fear not, you will learn from them and even though they may seem like they will never end, they will. And in the most proverbial sense of it all, you will become stronger from them all like a phoenix that rises from the ashes, forged stronger by the fires.

 

I want to tell you just how amazing and beautiful you are. 

Kids (and adults) can be so mean sometimes but you can be so hard on yourself as well. Love yourself harder and know that sometimes people say things without much thought behind it. I know that you’ll look in the mirror and sometimes you won’t feel good about yourself and to be honest, even 20 years later, you’ll still be really critical of yourself from time to time. Loving yourself is work that you have to continue to do every day for the rest of your life. Please remember, looks are surface level and do not measure the quality of who you are and what you bring.

 

Follow your dreams, Kate. 

Don’t worry about what people might think or may say and please don’t let fear stop you. The most successful people are the ones who never stop trying. You will live what feels like different lifetimes as you continue to find your voice in the clutter of many while searching for the things that make you insanely happy and passionate that you don’t even mind waking up at 5am to do it. And when you love what you do, success comes easily because the hard work doesn’t even feel like work. Feed back into the passions that ignite the fires within so that they burn so bright, the fears are all but a whisper lost in the background. Listen to your heart, it knows the way. 

 

Your intuition is always right.

Your heart, body and mind is wise beyond words and it will always give you hints to what you should do next or how to navigate out of tricky situations. That gut feeling, that little voice in the back of your head, the tug in your heart, the je ne sais quoi… the feeling you just can’t quite put your finger on. Listening to your intuition early on will save you from many things. Trust in yourself more and learn to quiet the chaos so you can’t hear this better.

 

Travel far and wide.

Pack your bags, don’t worry about the money and travel. In about 20 years, you will travel to almost 200 cities around the world. You will get to see some of the greatest wonders of the world and experience things so exceedingly beautiful that it feels like it was taken from a poem. You will make lifelong friends along the way in your travels and they will teach you so many new things. Your life will be rich and full with the mantra that you make enough money to live and to leave whenever you want to wherever you want.

 

Don’t be afraid of the unknown

The path that is already cleared and cut in front of you, is not your path. Most of the things that are worthwhile and life changing are hidden in the unknown. Please don’t be afraid, when you enter the unknown you will meet influential people (even for a fleeting moment) that will help you learn something, reveal something and guide you. In the same way, when you are older, you will return this favour by helping and guiding others. 

 

Broken hearts will heal. 

Your heart will be broken a few times by the time you reach my age by boyfriends, friends and co-workers and it will feel like you can’t trust again or that your heart has iced over. Not everything lasts and that’s OK. There’s a beauty in being broken because that’s where evolution and change happens. Remember, the seed must come completely undone before it can blossom. Don’t forget to lean on your friends and family… you’re always so stubborn and you’ll always want to do everything yourself. Sometimes, we need help and it’s ok to ask for it.

 

Stand tall 

Before you are 30 years old, you will tumble into a toxic relationship that will leave you in the ashes as a shell of a woman. You will promise him your silence in protecting his reputation at the cost of your own wellbeing and your dear delicate heart. There are warning signs along the way but you will be bullied into staying and it will come to a head when he lays his hands on you. It will be terrifying but at that breaking point, you will stand tall and walk away. It will take some time for you to heal and to find yourself again and to trust again but when you do, you will become a beacon, a voice of hope and a hand in the darkness for those who are leaving abusive relationships or healing from those relationships. You will stand tall for yourself and for others who cannot stand. 

 

Never stop learning.

You will continue to build, foster and cultivate your mind and you’ll do it by constantly learning something new. The moment that you stop learning is the moment that you stop evolving and the evolution is so important so that you can be a better version of yourself with every day that passes. Challenge yourself to be more, to be better to be your very best and just keep pushing yourself to understand more about random things but also of life, of friendship, of love, of the world, of history and of creativity.

 

 

Be brave, be bold… 

I love you.

Tuesday
Jul252017

Samsara

Samsara.
Old patterns.
Cycles. 
Same story. 
Same outcome. 
We've been there, right? 
More than once. 
Repeating the same stories with different characters at different times.
Worse when we believe that perhaps this time, yes, this time, the same characters at a different time will yield a different outcome. 
This city has me in a grip I cannot describe. Like a moth to the flame, I just have to keep coming back. The streets feel familiar, the electrical charge in the air fills my reserves and the people I meet shift and change my path. 
Long ago, I met a man here and in a sense, he brought me back to life. Reviving a woman laid in ashes from the fiery end of a past relationship. I reclaimed the Venus in my sexuality, my sense of femininity and remembered what it was to be cherished for everything woman about me. 
It was (and is) beautiful but we have a samsara together, a clause in our karmic contract that damns any chance of fulfilling what I imagine and expect in my heart. 
When life moves quickly, it's easy to blow past the whirlpools, the black holes, the vacuum that is samsaras. 
But in moments like this, sipping a coffee in a cafe, striding through the old streets, sitting as the subway cars speed along the underground network of rails or when I catch myself in a stolen moment of quietude... I'm helplessly pulled. 
I have to reverse what feels like a freight train of want and quick easy fulfillment in just one simple phone call, a single text message. 
And yet, I don't truly love him.
So why? 
It is a samsara, it is a cycle that I am karmically drawn to and damned to repeat again... and again... and again if I am not mindful. 
I remind myself that it is wonderful when it happens but I am left completely occupied and consumed in picking up pieces after, leaving me totally oblivious to anything new and wonderful for what feels like eternity. 
So, 
I close my eyes. 
I breathe deeply. 
I touch my heart space to offer and bolster it with strength and love for self. 
I let the moments of now pass by, hyper aware of the present in all that I can hear, sense and feel. 
I come back to self. 
And in coming back,
I'm whole again. 
I'm home again. 

 

Friday
Sep022016

Drained versus Tired

As much as I do love what I do, I get tired just like anybody else. 

There are days when I just can't wait to get home and go to sleep because I'm so tired.

There are days that I don't even feel like socializing with my nearest and dearest because I am so tired.

There are Friday nights (Saturday nights too) where I'd rather spend it at home because I'm so tired.

 

B  U  T  .  .  .

 

Being drained and being tired are two entirely different things in my mind.

It's OK to be tired for your dream and it's certainly ok to "do nothing" in order to recharge, refuel and reorient yourself to your short and long term goals that will get you closer to your dreams.

 

When I wake up in the very wee hours of the morning to teach, stay up burning the midnight oil preparing for retreats, workshops, trainings or go weeks without a day off... I don't really mind so much because I remind myself that this is an active choice I have made (and making every day) to offer myself in service. This is a life that I have and am carefully curating. Of course, it has not come with its own obstacles and there have been times when I needed to take a reckoning and be honest with myself in some of the choices I have made or how things have evolved or changed. Sometimes, it requires a hard restart and a remapping from square 1 all over again.

Draining energy comes from a place where you feel unfulfilled, unmotivated or plain old bored. Being able to recognize this is the first step towards figuring out how to change the situation... even if it's a minor tweark or an honest conversation. This is not limited to just work but to relationships you hold in your life as well (friendships, boyfriends, colleagues, etc...).

And it's not even really about burying your head in the sand and then just trying to turn a blind eye to it. But rather, to meet it head on. And if you are not in a position to change it or leave it, to figure out how to energetically shield yourself from that draining energy. Remembering, that we can't really change people... though we may try (haha). We can change our reaction to them... especially if they are emotionally and mentally draining for you.

I am constantly working on the balance and recognition of when I am drained versus when I am tired. And if I am honest with myself, I definitely know in my heart of hearts, the situations or the people that are draining.

Despite the fact that the infographic below is a summary of an article written in the Harvard Business Review for what makes an employee stay, I also think it's applicable when applied to the question of why one stays in a relationship or stays working on the goal they have set for themselves.

 I believe that if a vast majority (if not all of them) are checked off... then you're ok to be tired. :)

Spend some good time relaxing, spend your time refueling yourself, spend time with good friends / family over really really good food and drink.

You got this. We got this.

 

 

Saturday
May072016

Friday nights :)

 

 

 

Friday night... you're amazing.

When I first started practicing, I was a faithful Friday Yo-Groove student of Lisa Shilolo at Bodhi Tree. It was one of my favourite classes to go to and my mat was my church. It was at that point I started shifting out of drinking and going ot the clubs on Friday night so that I could laugh, smile and move my body with so many familiar faces (who eventually became friends) in the room. It was my favourite way to tie up my week and there were moments of great triumph, of clarity, of connection and of authenticity. 

So when I was offered a slot teaching on Friday night in a studio in the south and later at Yoga Santosha, I was both honoured and excited. Excited to take the reigns in a humble hope to provide the same space that Lisa Shilolo did for me all those Friday nights. Honoured because people would choose to spend their Friday night with me and that I could carry a piece of Lisa Shilolo into my teaching. :)

But after 7.5 years of teaching on Friday nights... it finally came time to let it go and to reclaim that night back for myself. 

You see, my life has been centered around building my teaching and while that still remains true, I am also shifting my efforts towards finding myself in my personal life and health (body, mind and spirit).

 

 

It took a long time to get here and there's still a long way to go in reflecting who I am as a teacher into the way I am in relationships and for my health. I am holding myself accountable to be big and bold in these areanas and to try things outside of yoga so that I have a healthy body inside and out for years to come. 

While I am sad to walk away from my Yoga Groove class, I am also excited at the time it frees up for me to develop and continue the evolution of self. My first Friday night off, I was able to get to Ryan Leier's master class at Yoga Passage for a good 2 hour class to refill my own cup. I also know that's it's not goodbye... heck no!! The city of Calgary is small and the yoga community is even smaller (the world, is actually very small).

See you on the patios, bike paths and out and about my friends!!

 

Also... to settle rumours...

I am not quitting, stepping back or taking a break from yoga. 

I'm still all in... more than ever! <3

Friday
Oct162015

When the heart breaks...

In the last three years, I have had a lover in another country.

But before I dive in, let's rewind the clock...

I was emerging out of one of the most toxic relationships of my life. It brought me down to my knees and shattered every sense of self I had. I plunged myself into my work and dedicated my time and efforts to the craft I humbly offer in every class.
It has been worthwhile and so brilliantly amazing... But I didn't know it until three years ago that there was a piece of me that was lost when I came out of that relationship.

When I met my lover, the gift he gave me was that happy reminder of the woman I once was and would continue evolving to be. A woman who is steadfast in her femininity, powerful with a graceful fragility, courageously vulnerable, comfortable displaying her sensuality and charged with shakti.

And as time passed within the last three years, I've penned outrageously romantic moments with this man. Everything, like a scene from the gooiest romantic film starring the likes of Ryan Gosling

(Like this scene from The Notebook).

 

Our lives will be peppered with people coming in and out of our spheres of existence. Each of them will offer you a valuable lesson... Sometimes, these lessons are hard, sometimes these lessons are beautiful, sometimes these lessons are lifting and sometimes these lessons will break your heart.

Human nature is a funny thing and we hold on and replay and hope to relive certain aspects. But time... Well, it doesn't work like that.

I was gifted with the realization that I could reclaim the woman I left in the dust in my journey as a teacher over 3 years ago. But, drunk with ambrosia like feelings... I started to hold on to something else in hopes to replay and relive those wildly romantic moments. In effect, shutting me off from anybody else and anchoring me to an idea, a scene from a movie, a piece of wonderland.

And so... I bid farewell with so much love and so much respect for this man. The universe conspired and worlds collided to bring our paths together again in this version of our lives. A touch and kiss so tender and familiar that it must have happened in a previous lifetime... It's just not the right timing in this one.

A great and inspirational friend said to me once, "time is all but an illusion. Time-ING, is everything". (Thanks Peter Jack!)

And so... my heart breaks in a strangely beautiful way. The seams, splitting apart and exposing the raw and authentic vulnerability that lies within us all. I wept for the loss and reserve the right to cry again at a later date, perhaps when I am reminded of him. But, there was a sense of calm even as I cried because I knew. I knew.

When the heart breaks... It opens.

When your heart breaks, it blasts open