Be Your Own Hero

Do you ever get that feeling like you're waiting for someone to come in and save you? I don't mean when the kids are acting like rabid animals and it's 10 minutes until dinner time and your spouse walks through the door...

Not that kind of saving.

But the kind where you feel like something big is going to happen and you're not entirely sure how you're going to get through it.

That.

In those moments, did you know that the very best hero that can do the very best saving lives inside of your soul?

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You have all of the power that you need deep down inside of your soul. You don't need anybody else!

Take a deep breath and, just for a moment, picture yourself standing on top of a mountain. The air is cool and crisp. The wind, ever so gently, washing over your face. You're not afraid, but you know that something is coming. Something big.

Change.

The air brings change with it. It fills our lungs with fresh, clean, new air. It breathes life into our being.

In amongst that change, standing on the edge of something great, you might feel like you need a hero. That hero is you.

You.

Perfectly perfect, just the way that you are. Standing there on your mountain, in all of your power and glory.

You don't need anybody else.

You Are Enough

Our last installment of Mindful Motherhood for 2016! What a journey it has been this year, and we are deeply grateful to each of you that continues to read, engage, and listen.

This month, we have a simple and pure message for all of you mamas out there.

You.

Are.

Enough.

Mindful Motherhood | You Are Enough | Sweet Stella's

You are enough for yourself

You are enough for your children

You are enough for the world around you

You

Are

Enough

And you have enough. And you do enough.

You are so perfectly made, just the way you are. Lower those expectations of perfection, and just be you.

If you need any other reminder of just how enough you are,

listen here

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Listen over and over, until the words are etched on your heart and you breathe them in as if it is second nature. 

Wishing you all the very best, from the bottom of my heart.

xoxo

Shannon

New Summer Programs!

We are absolutely pleased-as-punch with our new programs, which are kicking off this Sunday at North Yoga & Wellness!


Focusing on harnessing your breath, stacking your posture in various poses to experiment and find some discomfort and inquiry, and extended silent pauses, Shannon will be guiding another round of Vipasana Meditation. Let the meditation be the teacher, and she will be the guide...showing you a wonderful world of mindfulness, present moment awareness and heightened consciousness. 


Merging her training in Vipasana and Hypnobirth through The Calm Birth School,  Shannon leads this fantastic four week course that will mentally prepare you for the big day...birth-day! Find comfort in the yoga mats, bolsters, blocks, and blankets. Yoga balls and chairs are available for seated comfort, as well.


Stephanie, Postpartum Doula Extraordinaire, leads this four week Self Care Sunday's session which brings with it amazing weekly activities and accountability. Start with creating your own DIY coconut oil sugar scrub with the essential oils of your choice, learn the importance of self care and quiet, let go of guilt and find accountability throughout the week with our consistent and compassionate communication.

There's truly something for everyone coming in May and June...and extending throughout the summer!

Register today at info@sweetstellas.com

Mindful Motherhood, Stress Relief and more!

Our new classes are starting this weekend at North Yoga & Wellness, and we have very limited space in each class!!

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Gather.

Reflect.

Grow.

No matter where you are in your motherhood journey, this 4 week session will have you reflecting on your path and honouring where you are as a woman, mother and individual.

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birthPrep is our 4 week doula led childbirth education class. We have designed a 45 page PDF manual for our parents to review, discuss and gain insight on as they navigate the final stages of their pregnancy and prepare for birth!

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Sink into a mat. Cozy up in a warm blanket. Drift away and less the stress melt into the floor. Our guided meditation classes are done by candlelight, in a safe and warm environment that is inviting to newbies and more experienced practitioners alike!

To register for any of our programs, email info@sweetstellas.com or call 519-719-3578.

New Classes Starting Soon!

We have three new classes coming to North Yoga & Wellness in just two weeks, and they have something for everyone.


Shannon leads our Mindful Motherhood series, a class written specifically with mama's in mind. Over the course of an hour, for four weeks, we will spend time sharing our stories of motherhood, talking about who we are now and who we aspire to be. We will celebrate the small victories, and acknowledge the moments where we feel less than.

Each class will end with a meditation, where you can indulge in some weekly self care, sink back into the yoga mats, cozy up with a warm blanket and just be.


birthPrep is our four week childbirth education and birth prepartation class. This round is being led by Birth and Postpartum Doula Lisa, who provides a safe environment for parents to get to know their options, discuss them openly and find the path that is right for them.

There is no right or wrong way to birth your baby, or raise your family. We are here to help you navigate all of the options, provide you with nonjudgmental support and the information you need to make empowered decisions.


Shannon wraps up our Sunday classes with a fantastic four week session, Meditation for Stress Relief. Open to beginners and more advanced meditation practitioners, men and women alike - there is something for everyone at this practice.

Using soft spoken words, visualizations, candlelight, warm blankets and a safe environment, we encourage you to indulge in an hour of self-care time, let go of thoughts that don't serve you in a positive way and let the stress melt away.

To register for any of these classes, email us! info@sweetstellas.com

Meditation for Pregnancy and Birth

While birth can be chaotic and unpredictable (not always!), mentally preparing yourself for labour and birth can be a wonderful tool in finding a bit of control over your process.


When we set out to design a mala with Laure from My Mala Necklace, we wanted it to incorporate all of the elements that make up a mom.

Courage
Strength
Calm
Patience
Love

Sometimes these elements are difficult to find in ourselves, but by practicing a bit of meditation, holding your mala beads close to your heart and feeling the stones warm to your touch and energy, you might be surprised at what you find.


The courage to endure
The strength to push through
The calm and stillness between breaths
An intense amount of patience
And love
Abundant and unconditional love

In our meditation classes and on our podcasts, we talk about a love not only for those around us, our baby inside our belly, but also a love for ourselves. This is exceptionally important during pregnancy when our body is not our own, our hormones are raging and we are preparing for the unexpected.

Be gentle and kind with yourself
Hold yourself with an open heart
Be confident in your birth process

Whether you need to harness some confidence and inner strength (lava), feel some abundant and unconditional love (pink quartz), or inspire a sense of peace and calm for your birth (howlite), all of these elements live inside you. They grow with every breath you take, with every beat of your heart.




With every touch of your mala beads, these elements ignite within you and they prepare you for a beautiful birth experience, calm transition into motherhood, and the strength to endure, with patience and love.

 xoxo
Shannon

Creating a Life of Balance

Have you heard? I'm taking my Certified Meditation Instructor course at the University of Holistic Theology, and on top of regular daily practice in guided meditation and mindfulness, I'm also teaching meditation classes up at North Yoga & Wellness! Right now, we are in the thick of our Chakra Meditation, and I have so so so much amazingly juicy meditation lined up for the rest of the year!

In addition to the podcasts, I'm going to be posting some exercises here every month that will take you through things like renewal, balance and stability, stress relief....things that each and every mama out there could use from time to time!

This month, we have a balance exercise.


As a mother, balance is often a difficult thing to achieve. We often feel pulled in so many different directions, and then sink our attention into our families and children, feeling unbalanced as individuals.

Or on the flipside, we sink time into self care and feel guilty because we feel like we aren't giving enough to our families.

It's a constant cycle of feeling unbalanced, but with some careful planning...there is hope!

Your balance exercise for this month is to schedule.

Time for yourself
Time with your children
Time away from your smartphone or tablet
Time with your spouse
Time

Scheduling can aid so much in balancing, and we find as a busy household of two entrepreneurs, one who travels across the country for work and the other with an on-call schedule, that scheduling out time blocks for things helps us balance work and family.

Whether you choose to use an online scheduling system like Google Calendar to share appointments and schedules with your spouse (it works for us!!) or you write it down on an old fashioned paper calendar stuck to the fridge, map out a plan!

And, if you're expecting a baby, scheduling in time for self care and relationship care is super important. Sure, you're becoming parents, but you're also still spouses and you're still individuals.

Schedule that time, and find balance.

xoxo
Shannon

New Workshops, New Location!

You may have heard that we have a new home, and if not...surprise! We do!


We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing you content rich, amazing programming at our new home at North Yoga & Wellness! Here's a bit of what you can expect from our team!

5 week sessions led by our doulas, covering content such a newborn care, family transitions, birth practices, and so much more!

Weekly evening workshops to prepare you for pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Regular Meet The Doulas events, where you can come and meet our team, engage with them, book your consultations and maybe even win a little something!

We are so happy to have found our place with North and are excited to offer you continued programming to enrich, soothe, and support you while on your journey through parenthood.

January Programming

Chakra Meditation
January 24-March 13, 1:00pm-2:00pm
$115

Balance your Chakra's as we take 8 weeks to meditate and release our energy. Shannon will draw on her over 10 years of meditation practice by focusing on a new chakra every week, leading you in a comfortable and relaxing meditation experience. On the eighth week, we will do a full chakra energy scan and you will leave balanced, harmonious within yourself, acknowledging both that is within and without.

New Family Transitions
January 24-February 21, 2:00pm-3:00pm
$75

New Family Transitions is a new 5 week session that Kristine will be adding to our programming. This will be an interactive class wherein Kristine will provide tools and techniques to help create a smooth transition to this new season of life. We will include such topics as household maintenance, visitors, relationship support, and more!

birthPrep
January 24-February 21, 3:00pm-4:00pm
$145

birthPrep, our doula led childbirth education class, is launching in January and we couldn't be more thrilled about it! Kristine takes the helm of the first 5 week session and will be teaching everything from informed consent to home and hospital procedures, newborn care, postpartum recovery and more!

Practices for a Calm Birth
January 24-February 21, 4:00pm-5:00pm
$75

Practices for a Calm Birth is back and will be held on Sunday afternoons for the course of 5 weeks. We will practice various breath techniques and positions, discover why the language we use surrounding birth impacts our process, and end each session with a prenatal meditation to help you visualize the best possible outcome for your birth.


New programming will be announced every month, so stay tuned! Classes fill up quickly, and advance registration is appreciated.

Learn to Meditate #meditation #mentalhealth

I've written about Meditation Oasis before here on the blog, but wanted to give a seasonal reminder that mental health is important. Taking time to meditate every day, especially when you are stressed or feel overwhelmed, but I often get asked how do you meditate?

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While you will find what works for you, here is what I do.

When I get ready for bed, I turn off all noise. No TV, white sound machine, fan...nothing. Open the window for some fresh air, and turn the lights off.

Then, I snuggle down in bed and put my sleep mask on. I find that it almost give me a layer of protection from the outside light and noise when I am meditating. Once I am comfortable, and covered with warm blankets (I find that meditating makes my body feel cold), I put my earbuds in and close my eyes.

Why ear buds? Why night time?

Well, ear buds because it helps me focus. I'm ok with thoughts swirling in my head, but not ok with outside noise which I find really distracting. Again, it's like a physical barrier between me and the outside.

Night time because, in all honesty, this is the only time that I have 100% to myself. In those 8-25minutes of a meditation, it is completely my time. I also find that meditating at night allows me to sleep more soundly, and lets my brain regroup overnight, making for a more productive and positive day upon waking up.

My number one tip on how to meditate would have to be to do it when you are able to be completely alone. Small children often don't understand that it's a time for quiet, and I find that there are more distractions during the daytime. Even something as simple as sunshine can be a distraction to your meditative process!

Try it! You just might like it!
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Postpartum Sealing Ceremony with Happy Rock Holistics #healing #sacredpregnancy

Earlier this week, I had the most beautiful opportunity to take part in a sealing ceremony with Kelly from Happy Rock Holistics, in London, Ontario.

While I wasn't sure what to expect, Kelly assured me that the ceremony would be healing, one of a kind, and was meant to help close emotional scars that may still have been open from the birth trauma with my first pregnancy.

I'm not sure that I can accurately describe just what happened. Kelly started by binding my eyes, then arms, belly, legs and continued her way down to my feet. At every step, she recited a piece of sacred pregnancy wisdom, and I just laid there...eyes closed, meditating and letting her words sink in.

Clarity of vision
Healing of the womb
Strength of arms


I was on the verge of tears when she got to the end of the ceremony, and started to do a light massage of warm oil on my arms, ankles and feet. It was just such a beautiful experience; one that I will certainly never forget.

In the distance, I could hear Owen playing with his Dad, and Graeme cooing softly in his crib. But this space was just for me. I was able to just lay in the quiet, turn my thoughts inward and focus on healing a very long journey.

For me, this journey started when my first son was born in 2010. I had been harbouring resentment toward my body and brain, grief over the miscarriage, anxiety over the threat of another bout of PostPartum Depression...but in this moment with Kelly, I was about to let all of that go and finally breathe.

We finished the ceremony with a belly firming paste {which made me smell like, and want, spice cake!} and belly binding.



Later that evening, the emotions were overflowing. The tears fell fast and hot against my face, and I felt an emotional release like I haven't experienced in a very long time. I felt...free. I took the binding off and felt like a mom should feel after they bring their babe into the world: confident, beautiful, whole.

I am so thankful for this experience, and that my good friend Lainie from Lainie Hird Photography was there to capture these sacred moments on film.

Disclaimer: I received these services from Happy Rock Holistics on a complimentary basis for the purposes of this review. All of the opinions expressed, and beautiful experience endured, are my own.

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Sapphal: Meditation, Clarity, Patience Mala Necklaces for Spiritual Healing #giveaway #sponsor



Whether you meditate daily, tapping into your spiritual core to bring strength and balance, or you are just intrigued by the healing properties of stones, a stop by Sapphal will certainly feed your soul with beautiful, handmade jewelry meant to bring healing and beauty to your every day.

Malas hold such beautiful qualities, and the ones created by Amanda Bilton Knott are simply stunning. All feature associations with certain chakras, like the Protection Mala Bracelet which has its roots in the base and heart chakra.


If you have an idea of what Chakra's you want to tap into, or a particular gemstone that you are drawn to, Sapphal can take your inspiration and create a piece that is custom made just for you. Your very own mala; what could be better?
When you enter in the Mom & Baby Giveaway on July 7th, you have the chance to win this gorgeous Protection & Patience Mala Necklace, personally selected by Amanda for a new mom who might need a grounding reminder that all things are accomplished with a pinch of patience.


Protection, patience, healing, stability, confidence, peace. Find it all at Sapphal.




Disclaimer: A huge thank you to Sapphal for being one of the Mom and Baby Giveaway sponsors. I did not receive compensation for this post, and all opinions expressed are my own.


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Trust Yourself

For the past few months, I have been struggling to trust not only myself, but the words of others {specifically when it relates to the miscarriage in August}.

When we don't trust ourselves, and our instincts, unfortunately that is when unpleasant things happen. We hold ourselves back, and we put up walls. How can we expect greatness and success when we cannot trust the one person whose intuition matters the most; our own?

One of the most helpful things that I do on a daily basis, and recommend to all of my clients, is meditation, and specifically through a podcast or app on your smart phone and with headphones in to block out distraction.

Meditation Oasis has a great meditation for trust. Whenever I feel the trust in myself slipping, I put this one on before I go to bed and wake up with a renewed sense of self.

This 12 minute meditation starts with relaxing music. I find that this music helps me clear out the mental clutter between my ears, and lets me focus on Mary's voice when she start speaking. She speaks about a basic trust in life, and in yourself.

Having a trust in life in general is important, especially when you are rocked by a tragedy or loss. Trusting that things happen for a reason, that your thoughts come when they are needed and are let go without effort. It's so important to recognize that life is an ebb and flow, that we can only control certain aspect and that trusting in the process is as important as the process itself.

Bring your awareness back to trust, both in yourself and in others. Trust people when they tell you nice things about yourself {who doesn't love a compliment??!!} and trust yourself when your instincts kick in.

Remember, you are the only one with the power to change things for yourself, so trust that voice inside!
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Custom Spirit Jewelry by Amber Bryce Intuitive Luxury Jewelry Design

A month or so ago, Amber Bryce contacted me about creating my soul signature piece. I was a little baffled as to why she chose me, but once we started working together, everything fell into place very naturally and I am truly thankful to have had this experience with her.

First, Amber sent me a questionnaire that really made me do some soul searching. What were the things in life that were holding me back? What did I want more of? What was I afraid of?

Once we uncovered those areas, we had a Skype date and dug a little deeper. What were the things that I wanted to honour? Where did I want to stand?

Ultimately, we knew that I wanted to stand in my own power, and rely on my own strength.

What she created was beyond my imagination.


Moonstone (centre) - enhances intuition, protection, balances chakras. When Amber mentioned it, I knew it was perfect...it's also Owen's birthstone.
Citrine (top stone) - encourages self confidence
Imperial Topaz (peach stones) - self realization and encourages dreams; imparts strength to quiet wild emotions
Aquamarine (blue along the edges and top) - closer relationship with inner self. This is a really powerful addition to the pendant as it would have been the baby's birthstone.

I asked Amber to add a full moon somehow into the design, since it was a full moon when I had the miscarriage in August. She fit it in so seamlessly, it's perfect.


Amber also included this note. She reminded me to stand in my own power, and to live my most beautiful life.

credit: Hanlon Lain Photography
It is a piece that I wear every single day and that heats up to my touch, bring calm when I need it and balances my soul.

If you feel stuck, confused on your path, or need a push, I highly recommend working with Amber Bryce to create a one of a kind piece of jewelry based on your own intuition. I promise, you will be amazed as what you discover in the process.

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New Year New Me: Morning Meditation

There are so many wonderful benefits to meditating, and it is something that I have been doing at least once a day since about February or March.

I have my favourites {resources posted at the end} and usually do a meditation right before when I am going to bed. I find that it helps me sleep, and helps me wake up in a more positive head space.

A couple of weeks ago, Bear was deciding to sleep in well past 9:15am {yahoo!} so I thought that I would try a morning meditation.

I am always fascinated by what happens at the end of the meditation when I open my eyes. The room is always brighter and seems a thousand times larger than when I closed my eyes at the beginning. Everything feels fresh and new.

If you haven't tried incorporating meditation into your daily routine, try it! I find that it fills me with a sense of calm, it puts to ease my fears and anxiety, it helps me see the things that I truly want {and see them coming to life}.

Resoruces:

Podcasts on the iPhone app by Meditation Oasis
Online guided meditations by Fragrant Heart
Podcasts on the iPhone app by Meditation Peace

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The Mompreneur Conference: Recap 5

Yes, five recaps...and there will be one tomorrow for a sixth installment, but I promise you that today's recap of the Mompreneur Conference is very much worth reading.

As we sat down for the afternoon speaker, Nicola Jones, all of a sudden there was blaring music and some ridiculously energetic woman telling us to get up out of our seats and wave our arms. Naturally, we all did as we were told and soon the room was filled with an intensely positive energy.

Nicola Jones took centre stage and sat down on a high chair, addressing the room about who and what in our lives are serving us well; who and what in our lives are draining us.

in all honesty, I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know who she was, what her background was but I felt an intense need to listen. To watch. To engage.


This was going to be life changing.

And I was right.

Nicola took us through a guided meditation exercise, something that I used to do often after my Dad passed away as a means to reconnect with him. I was definitely not prepared for what was about to happen.

First, we closed our eyes and were instructed to take a few deep breaths to come into the moment and quiet our thoughts. Once we were there, she asked us what room we saw ourselves in. Who was there? What did it look like?

For me, I saw an art gallery, one that I had never been in before, and all of my paintings were on the walls. I saw my son, Owen, running around the gallery. I knew that the paintings were mine, though they weren't ones that I have created yet.

She then asked us to move to another room. I saw a long, dark hallway and I felt anxious...I was scared and confused and for a bit I was stuck there. I didn't want to continue walking down the hallway, wanted to turn back and go be in my gallery.

But I pressed on and walked through the hallway. She asked us what we saw, where were we now? I was in a room, overlooking the ocean. It was shaped like a semi circle and had french doors and windows for the walls. It was bright. It was lovely. There were white curtains blowing in the wind as the doors were open. I could hear the waves.

Then I looked out on the patio and sitting in a rocking chair looking out at the ocean was my Dad.

I was a mess of tears, but I felt so amazing. It felt like I finally had my Dad's approval...like he was happy and amazed at the path that I have chosen for myself.

If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to Nicola speak or engage with her in a conversation  please please do. She is incredible, and so genuine! I thanked her afterward and told her about my experience, and she was so happy that I shared with her.

I will be forever grateful for this experience, and I cannot wait to create my vision board this week {and share with you in the weeks to come!}

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