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Featured, Health, Life, Travel

A Yoga Retreat

May 20, 2019

The last few years have been crazy awesome and also crazy busy. I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off creating merchandise, writing songs, planning tours, performing said tours and managing my own brand and blog. Whew! It has been a lot. Although I met my goals and did some incredible things on my last few tours, I lost myself somewhere along the way.

After receiving a celiac diagnosis and feeling sick almost every day, exercise became a pipe dream and low energy/malaise took a front seat. I would find myself mindlessly scrolling on social media every hour of every day. It felt like I wasn’t doing anything with my life. Netflix turned into the daily norm and proved that unlimited entertainment really CAN be too much a good thing!

Definitely not one of my proudest moments…
I was in a rut.

I forgot who I was, what my purpose was all about, and what truly makes me happy.

 

A Turning Point:

After digging deep, I remembered the times in my life where I really felt whole and perfect. It’s the times when I was completely surrounded in nature, making friends with wild chickens, talking to creepy looking spiders. It was times when I would climb trees (and not succeed LOL), getting scrapes and bruises, swimming in icy cold water and challenging myself to find my inner calm no matter what activity I was pursuing. It was the times when I would fall and get back up again, that made me feel truly alive.

What really made me feel whole in all of these experiences was when I was 100% connected with my inner soul: At peace no matter how scared or uncomfortable I felt in the moment. So, I set off to find a way to reconnect my inner pieces that got disconnected along the way.

That’s when I decided to splurge and go on a solo yoga & meditation retreat in Brazil. My boyfriend Greg and I had already planned a 20 day trip to three different cities to explore and visit with old friends from my rotary youth exchange, but I stayed an extra week to indulge in a lone experience to get away from it all. For the entire week, I barely looked at my phone. I didn’t even allow myself to have Brazilian sim card or an international phone plan, because I wanted to meet new people, navigate by memory and trust the locals along the journey, rather than rely on google for everything.

It was so delightful!!!!

The Experience:

Waking up every morning to sunshine and a peaceful yoga class near a stream in Lumiar, RJ was the first best thing about it. Not only did stretching out my body feel good, but focussing on my heart beat, and taking in BIG deep breaths for an entire hour every morning was very helpful in my self healing journey. Second best thing: I’d be treated to a freshly cooked GF, vegetarian meals daily by the most lovely house keeper. Off we’d go afterwards, for an excursion to swim in waterfalls and take in the jungle air.
The last half of the day would be for chilling, resting, cross words, listening to music, and literally just sitting and be in the sun. Then, a final meditation to top off the evening was the third fave thing of the entire experience.

Remember, this was a solo trip, so all of these yoga, meditation classes and excursions were private. ALL to myself! And while at first I was kind of weirded out that all the attention was on me, those feelings quickly faded as I learned to LOVE being completely alone and be completely taken care of by my guides for those beautiful 6 days.

My Solo Yoga Retreat:

So, this yoga retreat thing…

Yeah now I see why people do it. I am 100% committed now. My second yoga retreat is already coming up in Joshua Tree in June. There is something just so magical and healing about being around kind, mindful, healers, and people who are all there to support one another through this journey called life. This week was everything I needed, and it affected me so positively SO much, that I have even been thinking of ways to organize my own yoga retreat in 2020.

😱😍❤️

Let’s make it happen!?!?!

**The disclosure is that this is just a concept right now, but I would truly love nothing more than to host my own healing music & yoga retreat experience. I believe it would be life changing not just for me, but for all retreat-goers as well. The vision is to host a music & yoga retreat in Colorado sometime in 2020. Said yoga retreat would include intimate concerts, guided meditations, song writing circles, healthy cooked meals, daily yoga and all around support and well being for everyone involved.

 

The first step always starts with a dream

 

The retreat I attended affected my well being so immensely….I learned to be more kind to myself, to let my creativity flow and to find peace in life experiences. Most importantly, I learned to invest in my healing journey in ways that speak to my soul.

Please let me know in the comments if this would ever be something you’d consider. If I get enough interest, I could start planning for a date in early 2020. I’ve never hosted something like this before, but I would really really love to try.

We all face storms. Some storms are more turbulent than others. Taking part in a peaceful retreat could be a powerful first step, and gateway, to find an inner calm in your own life experiences.


We are in this together. I am with you.

xoxo

 

 

PS. Greg & I went on our first vacation as a couple!  I made a vlog during our trip in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Recife/Olinda.  **Spoiler alert, an engagement proposal took place in Rio! OMG! But not ours LOL don’t worry, you’d be the FIRST to know!  Watch the adventure below:

 

Life, Travel

I didn’t actually want to go to hawaii…🙄

May 4, 2018

And I know what you’re probably thinking.
I’m a turd.
Who DOESN’T want to go to Hawaii?! I mean, come on!

But truthfully, I really didn’t…

So here’s what happened.

Some of you might know that I’ve suffered from Anxiety for a few years, and more recently, I’ve had a bad bout of it sneak back into my daily life. I was doing everything in my power to ward it off. Yoga, meditation, visiting the beach, napping, baths… I was doing all the self care things that I could think of to try and keep the Anxiety at bay.

But I couldn’t fight it.

This time is was powerful, like a MEGA wave tsunami, coming to swallow me up whole. That’s what it felt like every day, and I couldn’t bare it anymore. So I decided what I thought would be best for my mental health and to try meds for the first time ever. Now, I’m pretty anti meds —  Not for everyone of course – because I think they help a lot of people for a lot of things! But for myself personally; I just don’t like the thought of shoving pills of pills into my body with ingredient words that I can’t even pronounce. It’s scary! Meds and pills and changing brain chemistry – all of the above are all super scary things!!!

But I was literally at my wits end.

I couldn’t function properly anymore.
The anxiety was so present in my life that even going out to eat casually at a restaurant with my sister and good friend caused anxiety symptoms to rise. At that point, I knew it was really time for me to try something new.

 

 

So I drove myself to the doctor and was prescribed pills. I literally cried. I was so sad. I didn’t want to be on meds so bad, that I just broke out into tears right in her office. I just wanted to be me again and I felt like nobody could understand my angst in that moment, and all I wanted to find out is the ROOT CAUSE of my problems. So that, in addition to the giant fears I has swirling around in my head of being on pills, was almost crippling.

Can you believe that?

The thought of BEING on anxiety meds GAVE me added anxiety.

That is not normal my friends!

So there I went. Filled the prescription feeling all scared and bad about my decisions and anxious about symptoms and scared that the pills would take away the person I am. But here’s the thing: A few months ago, I was NOT myself.  That’s the whole point of what I’m trying to make here: Is that, I was not myself and maybe these pills were going to help me be me again.

 

Ok now we can get to the good part: Hawaii

It’s 2018 which means it’s my sister Katie’s 30th birthday (Hurray Katie!!! 🎉). We had been planning a trip to celebrate for nearly a year. By the time Hawaii came around, I was so exhausted and defeated and deflated and trying to recover from anxiety, that the thought of getting on a plane and switching time zones made me woozy. But I did it, because I love my sister and I could never leave her hanging.

At this point, I was about 4 weeks into the meds. They were certainly helping, but I still had looming fears and anxieties and ruminating thoughts daily. And off we went, up up and away into the Hawaiian skies. I didn’t look  back.

 

 

Hawaii healed me.

Basically, it was the best decision of my life.

Because something clicked while I was there. Perhaps it was the meds, or the warm weather, or the sea air, or spending time with someone that I could be completely unapologetically myself with. About the 3rd day in, I saw sunlight again. I felt so light and airy and I finally just felt like the old Jessica! It was a wave of relief, if only you could’ve been there!!

 GOOD NEWS!

Although you couldn’t be there on the trip, I ended up filming the entire thing so you can journey with us and see our adventures. There were goats and hikes and volcanoes and turtles good food and a whoooole lot of good vibes. The people of Hawaii are incredible and filled with so much life. I felt very welcomed on the Big Island – rather than feeling like the usual, a poorly treated tourist looking in from the outside. I felt included in something bigger, and it really changed my perspective and experience on the trip. Not to mention, it helped relieve so much anxiety.

I put together a 10 minute vlog that you can watch below. I HIGHLY recommend watching, cause I know it’ll make you smile.

 

Now I’ve been home for 2 weeks, and things are still bright and airy and good. I feel like me and I really missed it! I am currently gearing up with Pearl for my big House Concert Tour 2018! and very excited to start this next chapter.

 

So I wanna know:

Have you been to Hawaii? If so, where? Which Island? Tell me everything. I want deets!!
I looooooved Hawaii so much. There was plenty of healing goin’ on as soon as I got there, and I didn’t even know it was coming. I’d love to hear your experience!! Leave a comment below and tell me allll about it.

 

 

Much love,
and thanks for stickin’ around through these bumpy times.

xoxo

Life, Travel

Welcome to Africa!!!

February 14, 2017
Heading to South Africa? Here are some destination ideas.

Guess what?! I’m in Africa again!!! What else is new. LOL! South Africa has become one my most favourite happy places. I feel safe here, adventurous and looked after by the sunshine. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, the culture is vibrant, the people are wonderful and the landscape is a vision in itself. I have some incredible friends here and I’ve made it my goal to come back regularly for a visit, and spend time getting inspired by the earth and its magnificent beauties.

**Ahem, all the while dodging the Canadian winter.
HELLO WARMTH!
Please be my friend forever!!! Continue Reading…