You Can’t Get Grape Juice from an Orange

The law of attraction says to “give away what you want to receive” because the universe is a never-ending source of abundance. The bible says, “Do unto others, as you would have done unto you”.  My interpretation of the messages has been…if you want happiness, joy and kindness in your life, give it to others and trust that it will come back to you.

Wayne Dyer said “You can’t give away what you don’t have”. He used the analogy of an orange. If you squeeze and orange, orange juice comes out. That is all that can come out of course, because it is what is inside of an orange. And so, if you squeeze a person, what will come out is what is inside. For some people that is anger, hate, jealously.

So, if I am receiving anger, hate and jealousy from my relationships, it must be what I am putting out there. For example at work, I used to be incredibly stressed out about relationships with difficult co-workers. I would google “how to deal with a difficult co-worker” and find myself frustrated because the articles would always suggest ‘the difficult person is you’. The ‘difficult’ person is triggering something in you that needs to be addressed. If they are surviving and thriving in the workplace and you are not – it’s you, not them that is the problem.

Friendships are also confusing. As a kid I would watch my parents host friends for food, drinks, great conversation and laughs over a dinner table. I thought that was how friendships were cultivated.  This approach has not brought me genuine, reciprocal, meaningful relationships. You can’t put out shallow and expect deep in return.

What I’m learning is the The law of Attraction requires honesty and clarity for success. You need to ask yourself what you TRULY want from your relationships, and then you must cultivate those qualities inside of yourself.  “You can’t give away what you don’t have” so you must build it within first.

I have spent a lot of time feeling upset about what I don’t have at the expense of recognizing what I do have. For example, I felt I didn’t have a respectful workplace and was devastated by other people’s behaviours. I did not have resilience for the workplace. What I did have, was skill and resourcefulness and the capacity to do good work. This can be cultivated and turned into something meaningful.

I would also be hurt when friends would exclude me or not reciprocate gestures. I spent time worrying about what I was missing out on, and not appreciating what was receiving elsewhere. People have been reaching out to me in kind and genuine ways. I didn’t recognize their gestures because I was too busy being disappointed in others.

My spouse, thank goodness for his resilience, humorously reminds me that “Marriage is a process of lowering your expectations”. In other words, let go of the nit-picking about what he doesn’t do ‘right’ and enjoy his many positive qualities. He is a very generous, humorous and compassionate person.

So, If you think you are putting out kindness, generosity and connection… and you are getting back solitude, maybe a new perspective is in order. Perhaps you are not putting out what you think you are… or maybe solitude IS the message. The universe is telling you to be kind, generous and connected with yourself first.

Namaste – I see the goodness in you and you see the goodness in me, because we are all connected. We are all the same.







The Missing Piece

“The Missing Piece” is a book for children written by Shell Silverstein. My teacher read me this book in grade three and I still think of it. The circular character “IT” is unhappy because IT is missing a piece. IT goes on a journey to find the piece, which it believes will complete it. IT rolls up hills and down hills, takes time to smell the flowers. IT tries out a number of different pieces along the way and at one point finds the perfect piece. IT discovers, once it is united with this piece, that it rolls so fast it flies right past the flowers, the worms and all the other experiences in life. It turns out, IT’s imperfection  was the key to it’s joy and his uniqueness. IT lets the piece go and goes back to being it’s imperfect “IT” self – albeit evolved.

For the past few years (this year with great intensity) I have been looking for a missing piece. I figured if I could fill up the space in me (depression, anxiety and addiction) I could become pain-free, complete, fast and unstoppable! Unlike “IT” I never did find the perfect piece but I know how the story ends…  one must go on the journey because the answer is in the seeking.  For me, there may not be a particular pill or method to fill the space, but understanding myself will make me more whole.

Two things I’ve learned so far in my efforts to understand anxiety, depression and addiction are 1) learn everything you can  2) use what you have learned to help other people.

1) LEARNING: The reading, writing, talking and discovering can be empowering, uplifting and hopeful. It can also be frustrating because each person is unique. Ultimately, there is a special recipe in order for each unique person.

2) HOPE:  is like faith or spirituality. It is the law of attraction in one word. What you expect, desire or believe – will be. This is how I think of the word HOPE. Helping Other People Evolve. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or stuck, the answer is always to help someone else. There is some kind of magical power we have as humans that motivates us to help others. Sometimes we can find the energy for someone else that we cannot muster for ourselves. The universe is beautifully designed this way, because as you help others, you are helping yourself. We are all connected energetically. Everything you do, effects everyone on earth, including yourself. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”.

SO… I’m happy to share with you a few things that I have learned. This sharing is meant to build HOPE for all of us.

  • There are countless resources out there. Doctors, authors, peers. Some are experts and some are not. Just because someone is an expert does not mean they are a perfect fit for you. Experts can also be wrong. Shop around.
  • Keep reading.  Here are a couple of quotes that keep me reading … ‘not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers’… ‘when you know better, you do better’…
  • Be honest. The truth will set you free. When I started to share about having a mood disorder and drinking too much, people weren’t surprised. The only person who didn’t recognize the truth until that point, was me. Once you decide to do something about it, you move away from the judgement and criticism (mostly self-inflicted) and towards a community of people who are supportive and helpful.
  • Be patient and gentle towards yourself. I’m all about the yoga and exercise when I’m feeling ‘ok’ but when depression sinks in the strategies are so far out of reach. Lower your expectations (sounds negative, but really this helps me). Sometimes the best thing I can do for myself (if I can get out of bed) is to watch a funny movie.
  • You can change your brain. ‘Neurons that fire together, wire together’ and ‘neurons that fire apart, wire apart’.  Psychiatrists say that people who have had depression anxiety or addiction are more likely to have it again, in a deeper more ingrained way. They say the first bout of depression for example is like “kindling” for the next bout. So the key is to stop the fire (of neurons) and redirect the habits. Affirmations, visualization and DOING are the way to creating change. You actually have to walk the walk – do what you say you want in your life – live what you believe. Eventually the things you are thinking and doing with effort, become effortless. They are your new habits, your new way of living – the new you.
  • Face your fear. You know exactly what you need to change in your life. It is the thing that scares you the most. Once you say what it is and decide to face it, the fear starts to disappear. I look around at all these people joining bootcamps and going on diets to lose weight or get healthy. Is it exercise they fear? No. It is something else. It could be fear of abandonment, fear of failure, or worst of all – it could be fear of GREATNESS. Maryanne Williamson says it best:

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

  • Stop asking Why you are the way you are and start asking What you want and What you need to do to get it. Also, ask… What can I do to help? These are the questions I ask myself now. Each time I take a step, the universe gives me feedback. When I feel good, I know I’m on the right path.  When I don’t feel good, it’s time to ask the questions again.

I would love to learn more about the things you have learned along the way. Hoping these pieces above are helpful to you as well.














Building and Climbing Over the Block Staircase

Author Mel Robbins says we all know What to do to go from Doubting to Doing, we just don’t know How get there. Our brains block us from making progress… mostly because of Fear.

This morning I decided to list the blocks and then stack them up like a staircase and climb over them.

What do I want to do? Teach people, talk to people, write, share and help people – including myself.

Doubts:  I’m not a teacher. I failed public speaking in PR school. I am not a writer. I don’t know the internet and how to share/write for the web or books. How can I help people if I’m messed up myself? How can I help myself – my efforts are not working. How can I create this work when I don’t know what it is?

Building the Doubt Staircase:

Doubt Step One: I’m not a teacher  – Not true. I am a teacher. I teach yoga classes, I teach my kids, I teach people how to run, I train my dogs.

Doubt Step Two: I failed public speaking –  PR School was 20 years ago. Since then I have made presentations at work, and delivered them successfully. I have taught countless yoga classes, successfully delivering messages and inspiring people.

Doubt Step Three: I am not a writer – I am writing right now. I have a degree in Communications and a Post-Grad Certificate in Public Relations.  I have written for business for 20 years.

Doubt Step Four: I don’t know the internet and how to share/write for the web or books – I can learn how to write for the web or for a book. There are courses and resources available. It is just a different style.

Doubt Step Five: I can I help others if I’m messed up myself? – It takes one to know one. Seane Corn (super yogi) says your scars are reminders of your greatest accomplishments. The learning that takes place in order to heal your own wounds is your special gift – you can teach people how to heal themselves. Even if all your healing isn’t done you can teach your progress – you can empathize.

Doubt Step Six: How can I help myself, my efforts are not working  – not true. My efforts are working, just not at the rate I was expecting. And there are more efforts to make. It is a process – a lifetime project. Taking time to appreciate what Has worked will crush this doubt. I have eliminated major toxins and distractions in my life (cleaned house) and now it is time to fill it back up in a healthy, organized way that aligns with my purpose. (see blog post QUITTER)

Doubt Step Seven: How can I create this work when I don’t know what it is? – I do know what it is, it just needs refinement. I need to get more clear on what it will look like and how it will unfold. Some of it is already in action. I am changing. I am documenting this change. I am teaching yoga. I am writing. I am learning from my painful experiences and sharing them.  I am reading books and investigating resources. I do know…

Is anyone ever in a perfect position to make progress? NO. Have I failed before? Yes. Am I still here and still doing this? Yes. It is happening right now – progress.

Yes.  I’ve just climbed over the staircase and ready to get more clear on HOW to create my own work – teaching, talking, writing, sharing and helping people, including myself.

I have an actual visual of my blocks (like cement blocks) stacked up like a staircase forming a solid foundation for me to bounce over like Tiger from Winnie the Poo. The exercise is helping me – maybe it will help you!

Please let me know if it does – you will be helping me with providing the first feedback on a tool used in my new career!

Thank you!










The Bee-Watcher-Watcher

Dr. Seuss wrote a book about all the crappy jobs a person could have called “Did I ever tell you how lucky you are?” It makes sense that someone gave me this book as a gift – I have a history of not being happy in my jobs.  I think about the “Bee-Watcher-Watcher”  quite a bit and wonder about the message. In the past I’ve thought… Yes, indeed there is always someone who is worse off than you… and yes, indeed it is not ideal to be working in a workplace full of ‘watchers’ (redundant positions in a non-trusting environment).

But now I’m looking at the Bee-Watcher-Watcher job differently. Those bee-watchers look like Monks don’t they? Their hands are folded in a calm way and they wear glasses to help them carefully observe. Perhaps it is a statement about finding inner peace and simplicity in our work. The bee is not within our control. It will buzz and dance and do what bees do despite our observances. A person cannot change the nature of the bee by watching it. A person can only learn to appreciate the bee for what it is.

The reason I’m talking about ‘watching’ is because I’ve been thinking about the ‘Watching’ or ‘Witnessing’ I’ve been advised to do as part of the process of meditation, healing and personal growth. Years ago in Yoga Teacher Training we learned about the ‘beginner mind’ and going into the ‘witness’ role as we quiet the mind and watch our feelings and emotions. I’ve continued to learn more about this concept of mentally stepping outside of thoughts and emotions and witnessing them in a detached way. It is how we can be with our pain without judgment and see ourselves more clearly. We do this to set ourselves free from emotional blocks or setbacks.

About The Witness – Yoga International

I think my ‘witness mind’ has been more of a ‘Bee-Watcher-Watcher’ in a position to judge and critique my thoughts and emotions. Today I’m realizing my ‘witness mind’ needs a change of perspective. Bee-Watcher-Watcher to Buddhist. A transformation into a kind, calm and supportive holder of emotions and thoughts.

This picture and poem by Dr. Suess will no longer represent the things I have ruminated over with regard to work and other positions in life – but a reminder of the right way to be ‘the witness’.


bee watcher

“Oh, the jobs people work at! Out west near Hawtch-Hawtch there’s a Hawtch-Hawtcher bee watcher, his job is to watch. Is to keep both his eyes on the lazy town bee, a bee that is watched will work harder you see. So he watched and he watched, but in spite of his watch that bee didn’t work any harder not mawtch. So then somebody said “Our old bee-watching man just isn’t bee watching as hard as he can, he ought to be watched by another Hawtch-Hawtcher! The thing that we need is a bee-watcher-watcher!”. Well, the bee-watcher-watcher watched the bee-watcher. He didn’t watch well so another Hawtch-Hawtcher had to come in as a watch-watcher-watcher! And now all the Hawtchers who live in Hawtch-Hawtch are watching on watch watcher watchering watch, watch watching the watcher who’s watching that bee. You’re not a Hawtch-Watcher you’re lucky you see!” – You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are, by Dr. Seuss

Big Three – Sharing my Brain Practice Today

Previously I shared my personally designed strategy (a compilation of stolen techniques) for increasing your brain power and super-charging your life. I thought I would share mine with you today, in case it inspires you to do your own. The longer version of this Big Three practice is below in my “Brain Power” blog.

So here is the wallet-size outline:

Big Three: Body, Mind & Spirit:

Body: I move my body for Fitness, Fresh Air, Fun & New

Mind: I train my brain with Practice –  Gratitude, Yoga, Affirmations

Spirit: I am spirit (consciousness) I learn, share, help.

BodyFitness: Today I enjoyed a beautiful run-walk with an old friend and an old dog in the morning sun, over the bridges and along the river. Body was sweating, heart pumping. Fresh Air: I floated about in a pool, breathing fresh air and looking up at the sky. Fun and New: I learned a new supported yoga pose from the guru J.P. and will add it to my practice because it felt – amazing.

MindGratitude: I’m grateful for the messages I received today from different people, sharing their perspectives and offering support and new information. I’m grateful for the safe return of my family who enjoyed a canoe trip with 4 days of sunshine straight. I’m grateful for my capacity for learning and hoping. Yoga: 75 minutes of bliss, surrounded by positive people in a sweaty room, with great teacher JP. Affirmations: I am free, I am loved, I am powerful.

Spirit – Learn: I picked up an amazing sandwich idea from a friend’s mom. It involves shrimp and alphalfa. Share: I’m sharing my daily practice with you, with hopes to hear back about what inspires you 🙂 Help: the day isn’t done…  I’m still looking for this opportunity. Maybe if you try this Big Three Practice it will help you too?





Experts: Trust Them or Blame Them?

I had to ask myself this morning – why do I seek advice from experts? I thought it was because I trust experts to have answers to my difficult questions. They have knowledge, experience and proof to support these answers. They know more than me and therefore can be trusted to give me the correct solutions. I pay them for these answers and in some cases I pay them quite a bit of money if the solutions are important to me.

It occurred to me, that maybe I have an alternate motive for trusting an expert. Maybe I’m deflecting the blame onto them. If I can’t solve my problems or answer my questions, I have someone to blame for steering me in the wrong direction. And/or I’m discarding the valuable information they are giving me, through a process of picking out flaws in their solutions, to blame them for my distraction from the right path.

Yesterday I wrote the author of a book called “Insight” to tell her how great the book was, but also to tell her how I lost confidence in her theories because she used alcohol as a strategy for gaining external self-awareness (among multiple other references). She talks about getting “Right” feedback through what she calls a “Dinner of Truth” The idea is you should invite a friend for dinner and ask them the one thing that annoys them most about you”… She then goes onto suggest that drinking should be involved, saying:  “Plus, let’s be honest: painful truths go down a whole lot easier with a nerve-diffusing adult beverage”…  I was so disappointed. Why? Because I trusted her. She is an expert. (there is a very long list of her accomplishments on the inside cover) I didn’t buy this book to find out about her personal drinking and xanax habits, rather I bought it to discover proven, researched methods for improving self-awareness. As the book suggests: self-awareness is a learnable skill that can improve our work performance, career satisfaction, leadership skills, relationships and more.

This morning I’m asking myself … Did I just have a hissy fit and take out my frustrations on this author? Did she provide a lot of extremely valuable information that I will discard because I found flaws in her approach? Are these even flaws? Is alcohol a legitimate way to get the truth out of someone to add depth to my perspective on myself (ok, no I don’t believe that – no going down that road) But really, do I need to discount her remaining strategies based on this one I find flaw in?

It made me think back to other situations I stew about. The blaming, has held me back from making progress. For example I went to a St. Anne’s Spa a few months ago, and spent close to $1000 on an overnight visit. Here is how they are advertised:

Welcome to Ste. Anne’s Spa

The Ste. Anne’s philosophy focuses on creating an atmosphere to help rebuild your strength, recapture your energy, and reflect on what’s truly important in your life. Taking time for yourself is crucial, otherwise your health, family, work and spiritual needs will suffer. We’re proud to offer you what our body and spirits need most: relaxation, revitalization and a chance to heal from the intensity of our daily routines. A stay at Ste. Anne’s Spa is an investment in yourself and your future well-being. We look forward to seeing you!

Healing… detoxing… spiritual needs… reflection… well-being… that is what I wanted. And mostly, that is what I got – until dinner time. At dinner guests were welcome to bring alcohol to their tables and drink away at their leisure, Everyone there, except for me, took them up on their offer.  The volume went up, way up. It was a circus in there compared the serene, mindful atmosphere at lunchtime. People were actually drunk. I was disappointed and my attempt to find freedom from the toxic culture that surrounds so much of my life, was spoiled.  But who spoiled it? Why couldn’t I just walk away from the drinkers and go eat in my room. Why couldn’t I tolerate their choices and simply see it as an opportunity to strengthen my own resolve? I have been angry about that since April. How has that served me?

Yoga and Wine classes. This nearly put me over the edge. Yoga teachers, studio owners and leaders have devastated me with this one. I trusted these people, these expert and leaders in mindfulness and health, and now they are encouraging people to drink alcohol (a mind altering, numbing drug) to become present? A practice that involves using all of your senses and awareness to focus? How can you be clear, in a fog? How can you be well, and poison yourself? How can I be right and everyone else be wrong? Another hissy fit – I blame the people I trust and allow this process to hold me back from my own progress. Why can’t I just practice my own yoga, know my own truth and let them have their experience, whatever it may be?

I see now why groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are so important, or other alcohol free groups. It is hard to follow your path, trust yourself and stay in touch with what is right for you, while the other people (including the experts) are going in the other direction. You need to talk to people who share the same thinking sometimes.  I don’t go to AA though.  I didn’t have a rock bottom moment (I had a few not-so-proud moments however).  I don’t believe I’m powerless. I didn’t drink ‘alcoholically’ or at least how some people define that. So, I don’t think AA is my group. I just took a look at the drug in relation to my life and decided to quit taking it. Since then I’ve learned a lot about it…

What I haven’t learned is how to find my place in the world without it. I haven’t learned how to move past what I know is wrong  (related to drinking) and towards what is right. How to stop blaming other people (experts, family, friends) and holding myself back.

In seeking help from experts, I forgot to consult with myself. I am the biggest expert in the field of Karyn. I hold the most experience and perspective on the right path for this person. I have nobody to blame but myself.








Yesterday I was instructed to “put a cork in it” about quitting. “Nobody likes a quitter – there is nothing more annoying than a quitter”.

I totally disagree. I plan to talk about quitting right here and right now – to all 7 of my blog followers and hopefully the rest of the world someday. Picture me on a roof top yelling this:

It’s OK to quit! There are other ways to live your life – better ways! Thank you to all of the quitters out there who wrote books and told their stories about making big changes – you inspired me. 

In the past year I quit a number of things. I’m a big quitter…

I quit drinking. I quit anti-depressants. I quit my job. I quit counseling. I quit organizing community events. I quit spending money on things we don’t need. I quit participating in unhealthy patterns with family and friends. I quit the act.

All of the quitting was the first step in my overall effort to Clean House. You must clean up the mess and get rid of all the clutter and junk before you can organize your home in an appealing way –  just as you must remove all the crap from your mind and body to make room for new and improved, healthy life.

Alcohol, just like cigarettes, causes cancer. It’s proven. It’s a fact. Also, the drug itself when taken causes an immediate relaxing effect on the mind and body followed by an anxious and stressed effect over a more extended period of time. This leads to a craving for more of the drug to relieve that stressed state caused by the drug. Alcohol is an addictive drug that has no real benefits and some very real threats. If you drink and find this paragraph annoying, go ahead and stop reading. This bit is for people like me who appreciated the information and used it to help myself.

Anti-depressants are helpful to some people in some situations. They take the edge off of emotions, which can help people who are suffering to live a better life. They also come with side effects. In my case, the side effects were worse than the benefits.

Counseling can be extremely beneficial for any human looking to examine their life and make improvements. Finding the right counselor is important though. Quitting one counselor led me to finding a much better match with another counselor.

Karma – means ‘work‘. It is a privilege and opportunity. We live in a country full of work and opportunity to create work. Bad work leads to bad future. Good work leads to good future.

Karma (Sanskrit: कर्म, translit. karma; IPA: [ˈkərmə]; Pali: kamma; Hindi: कर्म, translit. karm) means action, work or deed;[1] it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).[2] Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.[3][4] Karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth in many schools of Asian religions.[5] In these schools, karma in the present affects one’s future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives – one’s saṃsāra.[6]

I spent a decade organizing special events in the community, helping to raise money for charities and creating fun for family and friends. It became too much of a good thing. It exhausted me and took away from my own family and my health. There are other ways to help people – without burning myself out.  I look to this yoga principal – Brahmacharya Yama which is about the ‘right use of energy’ understanding your power and using it wisely.

Boundaries. Thank you Brene Brown for so eloquently discussing boundaries.Brene Brown on Boundaries Breaking patterns with family and friends and setting boundaries has been difficult, but absolutely freeing. You have to grow up and decide what is ok and not ok in your life and create that environment for yourself. You are not yourself if you are playing out a childhood role, or friend role, that no longer serves you. This was one of the most difficult but the MOST necessary of steps for cleaning house and freeing up space for good health and happiness.

Taking control of expenses was part of this process. It is actually fun and exciting to make decisions about money. Surprisingly it involves creativity – and can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment.  Most adults are familiar with this feeling, but it is new to me as I have always avoided the difficult stuff when it comes to finances.

Giving up the act feels risky at first. People can be critical and not supportive. There is an initial feeling of panic and loneliness… but then there is a feeling overwhelming excitement. Nobody else fixed my life for me, nor would I want them to. I cleaned up the mess and I deserve the greatness that comes next. There is a blank canvas in front of me. I create my life. I write my story. The future is full of opportunity.

I will talk about this. I will continue to talk about this with anyone who wants to listen. Thank you to the person (people) who put the giant billboard on the highway that gave me my first big “sign” to make a change. It said “One drink a day can cause cancer”. It took me five years to quit after that but the sign was a catalyst.

Maybe reading this blog will have an effect on someone else looking for inspiration.