I’m a born-and-raised Vancouver girl turned globe-trotter.
I’m a master of navigating transitions, including ones that were:
- big leaps like moving to Germany by myself with just one suitcase and my beloved teddy bear, without knowing a soul and barely any German. Then building a life from scratch.
- unexpectedly fabulous adventures like moving to New York City with less than 24 hours notice
- uncomfortable– like moving back to my home country (no one tells you about reverse culture shock)
- blindsiding- like losing my job in the recession
- heartbreaking– like ending relationships that I thought would turn into marriage, then the joy and wonder that came from finding myself again
- empowering– like quitting my job in the middle of a pandemic to live life more purposefully (I definitely didn’t see that one coming!)
- seemingly never-ending– like learning to thrive when I have no idea what direction I am going in.
- transformative– including the small, everyday, inner transitions that brought me home to myself
And here’s the secret: in the middle of all the highs, lows and upside-downs, I found out who I truly was. I found out what I valued, and chose to live from a deeper, more aligned place. I learned to let go of fear and control, and to open up to curiosity, wonder and joy instead. I learned about the power of uncertainty to create my life from a place of empowerment.
In learning to ride the transitions, I learned to flow with life, trusting that it was leading to a place somewhere beyond my greatest imagination.
Ten years ago I could barely walk. I am a dancer. Imagine!
I will never forget crawling into work in agonizing pain, and hating what my life had become.
I had such big dreams! I had worked SO hard. It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.
From Baby Steps to Dance Steps
Did you always know what you were meant to be?
I knew from the age of 3, in my very first dance class, that I was meant to be a dancer.
The movement, the freedom, the music. The creativity and expression of dance, the story and the fantasy of ballet. It felt like my soul was speaking to me.
My love and passion for dancing grew every day- but so did my fears. The ballet world is a tough place to grow up in. The fierce level of competition, and having to be so virtuosic, made me deeply insecure about myself as an artist and as a dancer.
Would I ever be as good as the other dancers in my class? As good as everyone else in the audition? As amazing as the famous dancers I idolized?
Dancing became my secret dream- the one I didn’t have the courage to share with anyone. What if they laughed at me? What if I wasn’t good enough?
On top of that were family and social expectations. I was the student council-cheerleader-honour roll type. I was expected to go on to a “traditional” career and be the CEO or have some other “big-time” job.
No one else in my family had pursued an artistic career. Was I ready to be the first one to break the mould? To step out into the great unknown?
The biggest question: did I have the courage to follow my heart?
Shortly before graduating high school, I had to make a decision: where did my future lie?
Would I stop myself from finding out my true potential? Was I willing to live with the “what ifs?”
Would I allow others’ expectations of me to dictate my future?
But I knew that this is what I wanted. This was what I was meant to do.
I did it. I fought hard to get into a professional dance school, and I got accepted.
I was so excited! My dreams were about to begin!
But now my fears got worse.
Art brings with it a pervasive anxiety about being “good enough to make it,” and I let this get the best of me. I began to give more weight to this fear than to the possibility that I might have talent.
I worked hard. But deep down, I didn’t feel worthy enough to be among the other dancers. I spent most of my time comparing myself to them. I was convinced I had nothing to offer, and that I didn’t measure up to them.
There’s also this idea in art, and especially in dance, that the teachers need to break you in order for you to fight back and show them what you’re made of. This stoked my fears even more!
I dealt with this by shrinking into the background. I was afraid to stand out because that meant people might notice me and pick me apart. It was safer to hide inside myself.
I played small, and unknowingly made sure that I would never shine.
I became obsessed with perfection- being the perfect dancer and the perfect student, so that others couldn’t find any holes in me.
I adopted a “no pain, no gain” mentality to reach my goals. I was determined to make something of myself, and make it in the dance world. I worked my ass off to get to professional dance school, and through sheer force of will, fought my way through it.
In doing this, I lost all the joy, all the freedom, spontaneity, and excitement that had lured me to dance in the first place.
But it would be years before I realised this.
From Dancing to Flying
In 2001, I graduated from professional dance school. I was FINALLY done, and SO HUNGRY to be on my way.
I was ready to wander. I was aching to see what the rest of the world could offer me in terms of life and dance experience.
I moved to London (UK) to pursue my life-long dream of being a dancer in an international city – a city I loved and would call home for eight years.
The dream that took root when I was three years old was finally about to start. It was all coming together!
THIS would be my big break! My time was NOW!
And Then Back to Crawling
I got injured just six weeks after moving to London.
It was devastating. I woke up one morning, in incredible pain and I could barely walk.
I was SCARED. How did this happen, literally overnight?
The previous day, I had been dancing beautifully. Now I could barely get out of bed.
I’d come to London to have my big break and instead I was knocked off my feet.
I was in a foreign country without the support structure of family or dance school, and I didn’t know how to deal with it. And I still had to make a living.
WHAT was I going to do NOW?!
It turned out that I had twisted my pelvis. I thought that maybe with a few sessions of physio, I would be back on my feet. How wrong I was. I had no idea how deep my challenges were.
2003-2010: The next eight years became a round of visits to different healers, trying to “fix” my body.
But nothing was working. I twisted my pelvis another five times (OUCH!) and other injuries followed.
I was overwhelmed and frustrated all the time. I felt really alone and scared, and had no idea how to get the help I needed.
I started to wonder if I was ever meant to heal. Maybe this was the end of the road for me and my dreams?
At my rock-bottom moment my injuries were so bad that I had barely slept in the past year, could barely eat, and I was in constant pain.
I was so angry that my body was betraying me. I was exhausted and frustrated that nothing seemed to help.
I had run out of ideas on how to get better. That rock-bottom day crawling on the floor, I just remember thinking “there has to be an easier way.”
And then things started to finally shift…
In 2010, I moved back to Vancouver. Now I had the safety net of my family (thank you Mom & Dad for welcoming me back home and not charging me rent). I could finally focus properly on my health.
The game changer is still one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. The Dancer’s Transition Resource Center in Vancouver supported me with a therapist who specialized in working with dancers.
FINALLY! Someone who understood my training and my conditioning! Who understood how I had developed my fears. What a relief!
And she could guide me back towards healing. Back to myself.
My A-HA moment came when I understood that the source of my challenges was: ME.
I thought my injury was a small physical thing that I needed to fix and then I would be okay and dancing fine! However, the problem was created in my mind.
That’s really when my healing began – in my mind!
Remember that little voice engrained in dance training: you’re not good enough. Yeah, she was loud and fierce. I let her get the best of me.
I realised how much I had been sabotaging myself with my thoughts and actions. I allowed myself to believe that I wasn’t good enough, and that was reflected in the way I constantly hid as a dancer.
I needed to own my self-worth. I learned that deep-down, we all feel that we are deeply flawed. It’s human nature. But I could let go of this. I am as worthy as I choose to be.
My therapist taught me that I needed to develop a sense of myself as a dancer. As dancers we get our feedback in front of mirrors; we hope for the teacher to give us attention, good roles and solos; we want the choreographer to pick us in the audition; we hope that the audience and critics love us.
I was giving up my power by waiting for validation from someone else. I needed to take back my own power, to decide FOR MYSELF who and what I wanted to be.
I had to stop comparing myself constantly to everyone else (what a waste of energy!). I needed to take responsibility and focus on myself.
I had to learn to set my own goals and develop a healthier way of working towards them.
I had to stop allowing my fears control me. I thought that I was a worse artist because I had more fear than the people I compared myself to. But this only meant that I had more fear. It was a simple as that.
Looking back, it was no wonder I kept getting injured over and over again. With my obsession with perfection, I kept on forcing my body to hold itself together and to make the movement happen.
There was no mind-body-spirit connection, nothing coming from within me. I was just trying to look perfect from the outside all the time.
So I decided, enough was enough! Enough with perfectionism! Enough of tearing myself apart! Enough of holding myself back so that I wouldn’t stand out.
It was time to let myself make mistakes. I had to learn to take the risk of failing.
I slowly learned to not let my fears paralyse me. I learned to firstly take my fears with me, and then eventually to no longer buy into them at all.
Most importantly, I learned not to be afraid of my “darkness.” Those places I was most afraid to go deep within myself? It turned out that they were full of light. Hidden there was all my artistry, all the wonderful things about me as a dancer and an artist.
I had invested so much time and effort in believing in my unworthiness and in my fears. Imagine what I could have achieved if instead, I had used all that energy to believe in myself and to focus on doing good work.
I accept that this was my journey, and I resolved to make the next chapter better.
The result: slowly but surely, I was able to gracefully put one foot in front of the other.
I started dancing again. I was making great work.
I thought I was on my way! Halleluljah, this period was behind me and I could live freely from now on!
I hit a plateau, which completely threw me off.
Two years after my crawling-on-the-floor moment, I moved to Berlin to dance. At this point, I had already lived in 6 cities in 4 countries on 3 continents.
International moving was my superpower! I move countries like the way other people change shoes! I could do this! And I could do this MYSELF!
Until everything fell apart. My body started to go through the next stage of healing, I was living with unwelcoming roommates, and I was in a foreign country where I didn’t really speak the language (maybe I should have thought more about this before moving?)
I tried everything to hang onto my life, but I hit bottom again. Harder than I ever had before.
For someone who was used to doing everything by sheer will and determination, this was a huge blow. Suddenly, I couldn’t just fix everything or make things happen the way I used to.
I had to learn to deal with uncertainty- to walk forward in the dark, not knowing where anything was going. I had to learn to have faith. Indeed I did crash, but that same day, the Universe caught me.
My parents offered to let me crash their trip to Bali, the doors opened to finding a lovely apartment of my own that I got to furnish. The money came through for it, and friends were more than happy to support me and help me navigate through the German system.
And that’s how I learned that life will catch you. That was the first step towards learning about co-creating. This is what I pass onto my clients.
And that’s when I learned to flow more with life.
I learned to let go of how I thought everything should be happening, and instead started to let in more of what was meant for me.
I used every fear and uncertainty to look more deeply inside myself, and I learned my greatest lessons:
True change starts from within
In order to get what we want in life, we need to change our inner condition. This means getting clear on what we want and clearing up everything holding us back.
I learned to TRUST
At heart, I am an artist and a mover, and I always have been. I needed to learn to TRUST my path.
I learned how valuable it is to have positive thoughts and feelings. The way we talk to ourselves is connected to how much responsibility we take for our own lives.
I learned that fear is a choice. This is our greatest way of taking responsibility for how we feel about ourselves, our lives and our dreams. Fear only holds as much power as we give it.
I learned that we are all deserving. I have just as much right to dance as anyone else. My feeling good about myself positively influences others around me to do the same.
I learned to value excellence over perfection. Perfection soon becomes a dead-end, whereas excellence opens so many doors. The only person I need to compare myself against is myself, and strive to be better today than I was yesterday.
I learned I could attract what I want. We don’t need to use willpower, try harder or make things happen. We simply need to work with universal laws to tap into the creative energy that allows us to flow with life.
I learned how important integrity is. Ok, this is a big one. Taking the steps to ‘be’ and ‘do’ what you said you would. Integrity aligns our words and actions, and this is the work I teach people: to be in alignment with themselves.
I learned the power of uncertainty. We all fear uncertainty, and we try to control the situation and the outcome. I learned that uncertainty is the most powerful place of all. It’s from where we create the lives we want. Uncertainty is the place of all possibility, the space from which we create the lives we want.
If you are working towards a goal, you need to be alignment with all these lessons. You can’t be saying that “I will create a billion-dollar company” if you don’t believe you can do it and are not actually taking steps to do it. Everything we do starts within us.
We become an active part of creating the exceptional life we always dreamed of.
Now I trust in my purpose, which is to dance, express myself and contribute to the world.
I have stopped sabotaging myself with negative thoughts and my refusal to believe in myself. I now fully trust and therefore I live a wholly fulfilling life. And now I have the privilege of guiding my clients through the process.
Permission to Shine
These huge revelations led me to the work I do now, and which I am so passionate about. From the moment I learned to change my outlook, I declared that I would change my life.
There would be no more living in fear, no more holding myself back, no more pushing to make things happen.
Instead, I chose to feel great about myself. I choose to value myself.
I give myself permission to shine without worrying how it might affect other people.
Life can be easy. Getting what I want can be effortless.
These were all foreign ideas to me, but I was willing to change and to show up differently for myself and in life.
In doing so, I welcomed more love, health, abundance, friendships, family, freedom, art and adventure.
And now, doors continuously open for me. I’m walking. I dance and perform all the time, and all over the world. I collaborate with wonderful people.
I’m attracting all the situations I can hope for, and have learned to expect the best. And it has always turned out far better than I could have imagined.
Life does not need to be a fight. Like a dance, it can be effortless and beautiful (even if you’re wildly uncoordinated, promise!). As I am a dancer, I like to say that I guide my clients to dance with themselves and with life.
For me, coaching is a privilege – a way of being of highest service to the world.
I am excited to connect with people who are ready to embrace change and live their greatest lives.