A little over five years ago, I was pregnant and staring at a grey-walled cubicle thinking "there has to be more than this."
I had graduated with a degree in Neuroscience followed by a Masters of Health Promotion, punctuated by years spent travelling and working as a professional scuba diver. I also had a little side hustle as a birth doula. With a decided lack of sharks or new babies, to say my main gig as a public servant fell a tad short of my expectations was an understatement.
I had followed our society's traditional models of success, ending up with a solid job, a house in the 'burbs, and a baby on the way. And despite knowing that these things were great blessings, I felt that there was something more I wanted to offer to the world - and myself.
My feelings of dissatisfaction escalated when I returned to work after my maternity leave, leaving my daughter to be cared for by others so that I could spend my days working in a job I didn't enjoy.
I began to dabble in the art of the possible. A multipotentialite at heart, I decided to start a food blog. I realized I had been missing creativity - writing especially - and was introduced to the world of People Who Make A Living Online. The whole endeavour was like a tiny experiment that allowed me to see what kind of a career would feel more aligned for me.
Fast forward five years: after experimenting and exploring and dreaming and scheming, I'm thriving as the founder of Nalumana Women's Wellness. I'm still a birth doula, and also became a professional life coach to support women through life transitions of every kind. I lead adventure retreats, pregnancy retreats, and seasonal women's circles.
As I began my work as a coach, I quickly realized that a great many women experience something very similar to what I did: a sense of disenchantment with traditionally-held markers of success, often catalyzed by motherhood, the loss of a loved one, a shift in health or relationship status, or just an increasing sense of un-ease. So many women, like me, are making decisions, big and small, that allow them to live in more alignment and integrity with their values and their authentic selves.
I believe that both my work as a coach and as a doula serve the same purpose: supporting women to embody their power, their autonomy, and to say No to the myriad ways in which our overculture attempts to force us to ignore our wild feminine instincts and play by the rules.
My journey continued beyond my search for a sense of alignment in my career. This year, myself and my family moved to a tiny oceanfront home outside Halifax so that I could stay home with my kids while running my business. I have just finished writing a book about my experience of spending two years reclaiming my relationship with my body. Like me, I believe we're all on a journey to reclaim so many aspects of our lives and live from the deepest sense of authenticity and home-within we can.
What's your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?
My deepest learning from this year was to REST. Although it seems obvious that I can be more creative and, ironically, more productive, when I make time to sleep, goof off with my kids, and bake cookies, it's harder to make rest a priority than it seems. Our societal norms cause us all to inherently place more value on a life of doing over being. Because of this I have to remember to have a massive dose of self-compassion: stopping to smell the roses isn't just a single action (or inaction, as it were) by a single person, but actually takes a stand against an entire culture of busy-ness - it's no small feat.
Who's inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?
I'm an enormous fan of Brene Brown, who I believe is the loudest and proudest (and most evidence-based) proponent of what it means (and takes) to live an authentic life. It's a toss-up between Brene and Liz Gilbert for who I secretly MOST want to be when I grow up!
Life coach, Doula, Writer, Adventurer, Mama of two