Well in the Wild

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If I had to sum up the past year of my life in a word or two, it’d be finding alignment.

Intentional or not, I’ve been shifting in directions that feel more true to me since 2017, and this year has been a transformative one. It’s been filled with lots of change, and somehow through it all—or maybe because of it all—I’ve connected to myself in new ways, I’ve found love, I’ve found home, and for the first time in my life, I’m not worried about what the future holds or preoccupied with planning it or forecasting.

But learning how to trust myself and live in harmony within my world without compromising myself in any way has been the toughest thing to figure out.

Not only is it hard to connect with yourself that deeply, but add to that letting down or hurting people in the process and you’ll find yourself pretty discouraged from wanting to engage with that further. But you will disappoint people in the process of living—including yourself. And I’ve learned that it’s important that you should be the first (and sometimes only) person you should aim to impress. This self-journey (?) all started with a solo trip to Bali, and it’s been a wildly rewarding and uncomfortable ride since that’s changed my relationship with work and self in every way.

Since as far back as I can remember, I knew that if I just waited until the moment struck, I’d get it done. My writing was messy and rushed, and formats were just the worst way of doing things for me. I have never finished a short-lived regimen, not a work-from-home schedule, not even P90X. I’ve always known that I just have to wait until I feel like doing the thing to do the thing, And if I do, I’ll do it well. But something happens as an adult where you suddenly feel the need to have a plan. You see that process and you think procrastination. Because we’re taught to predict and forecast—and we have too, sometimes—but we forget to teach our kids to trust themselves and remain in-tune with who they are, how they feel and what they want. To operate as their authentic selves. Within a system that’s already pretty rigid, that’s the least we can do. I have only just learned this at 28. It has taken my whole life up until now to realize that when I simply trust myself, I get the best damn guidance I could ever ask for. But getting to a place where your inner voice is clear? That’s hard.

Looking back on my early twenties, I was confident and paved my own path in many ways, but I was still operating from a place of compromise and disconnection from my real wants a lot of the time. From a young age, I recall feeling a bit of resistance or rubbing up against norms being my weird, creative self, and instead of rebelling against it or disengaging, I got clever and learned how to integrate what the world expected of me with what I was good at/liked. And I believe I did this through working. With my work, I could experiment and create while making money playing the role of entrepreneur. I worked hard, I kept busy, I bought and sold “the hustle”, and I worked my way up in the ranks of life’s accomplishments, so to speak. Problem is though, work and life began to feel off and I neglected to ask myself what I really wanted often enough—or rather, I didn’t know the answer to that because I was on a “good path” and I didn’t want to throw a stick in the spokes.

But finding a clever work-around to living according to what I thought I should do is a pretty half-assed way to live. And eventually, it caught up to me. Not in a massive way, but in a million tiny misaligned ways. It took months to realize how to undue certain knots, but these million tiny ways we can misalign are actually easy to align: you just have to start with one area.

I could go on about all of my individual realizations, but the important thing is that I took the ride and feel more alive and aligned than ever (I’ll share more on what alignment means for me, and how that can look for you, in a later blog post).

At times this past year, it’s felt as clear as though I’m hovering above myself, zoomed out and looking at my world for what it is. And from this new perspective, I’ve been able to clearly see, appreciate and file away all of the learnings of my life so far to make room for new. At other times this past year, it’s felt messy and confusing figuring out what I want to do. Getting clarity from my own self has been more frustrating at times than simply asking someone else’s opinion. And at other times, just when I would break through and make progress, I’d wake up the next morning with what Bréne Brown’s describes best as a “vulnerability hangover.” Admitting things to yourself, or rather, being honest with yourself, is tough, and it’s something I’m still learning to do well. But it’s pretty sweet.

Now with my head out of the clouds and back here on solid ground, I’ve been able to integrate new learnings with old, and everything I know and am feels strong. I’ve built true stability. Not in the form of a good job or title, or a house, or by ensuring I’m physically out of harms way—all of that can be snatched up in an instant.

What I’ve learned is that stability is a state of operations. It’s creating a home base that supports your dreams and growth; it’s taking care of your self and your world; it’s loving relationships that expand you, not shrink you.

It doesn’t really matter what you do for work, or at what stage you’re at in life, if you can learn how to have a healthy, aligned relationship with yourself and fill up your cup, everything else will fall into place to assist and support you.

Before, all of the things I love to do and am passionate about didn’t combine to create a whole. Each facet of my work operated separately and put pause on or squeezed out the other. But finally all of the parts of me feel like they’re combining to slowly reveal what it is I’m meant to do here. And despite living this half-assed way up until recently (I say that lovingly), I’m really proud of the results of the labour of my previous self: I’m proud of the family I have and where I come from; I’m proud to have given my arts degree my all; I’m proud of my relationships; I’m proud to have bought and renovated my first home at 22; I’m proud to have had the nuts to speak in front of large audiences and travel alone for work; I’m proud to have had my own HGTV show and the ability to reach people across the globe; I’m proud that I pursued my yoga practice and became a certified yoga teacher. But what I’m proud of most is the love that I’ve found and the life we’ve carved out here on the coast. I’m proud of Piper, I’m proud of my partner, and I’m proud of myself. Not because of my accomplishments, accolades or the things I have to show, but because at 27 I heard a little voice inside of me and, for the first time in my life, I stopped to listen to it. I haven’t always loved what it had to say, but boy am I grateful for the whole damn thing!

As for what I’m doing out here when I haven’ been preoccupied with self-transformation (lol @ life)? Well, here it is!

Work-wise, I’m passionate about design. Aesthetics, visuals, writing. Creating. And sharing all of that. I think it’s why my work brought me to television. I’ve always felt comfortable on a stage, both literally and figuratively, and combining that inclination with art in a way I can help people—creatively or otherwise—feels natural to me. It’s why I like and enjoy social media. I love sharing my thoughts with you guys! I don’t talk about it a lot, but the community I’ve found online and through my blog and Instagram has been truly amazing, and I know whatever I do will be of my own creation and shared with you all… Vis a vis a broadcast of some kind? A traditional tv show? A book? A podcast? A Netflix series? A flippin’ yoga class? I really don’t know how it will come together yet, but I know I’m lucky to have so many options. It can be confusing—or rather, you can easily get in your own head about it all—but having the luxury to choose is something to be grateful for. It’s a gift. So, that said, while I work to develop what’s next, I’m establishing Bri Studio here in Squamish which, right now, tangibly means finding a commercial studio space to call my second home. Where are you, little storefront studio in Squamish?! I’m after you…

I’m making friends! It’s tough making new pals as an adult, but I have to admit that it’s been pretty easy to do out here. Squamish is filled with friendly, like-minded people, and I’m lucky to have already met some gems. There are tons of other Ontarians here as well, so having something we can automatically relate on is always a plus.

I’m prepping to speak at The Vancouver Home Show this fall. I’ll be talking all about how to create a happy, holistic home. Because the secret isn’t designing a Pinterest-worthy home—it’s creating a you-worthy home that supports your lifestyle and wellbeing, encourages growth, and aligns with your interests, values and dreams. (All these lessons? Yeah, they’ve made it into my home design work as well because integration, peopleeeee). I’ve always believed that just like we ebb, flow and grow, our homes should too, so I’ll be sharing some thoughts and tips on how to design a home base that’s beautifully you.

And, last but certainly not least, I’m exploring the wild! Overlanding has become our family obsession—er, hobby 😉 —and nearly every weekend is spent on the road exploring the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest (so much so that we made a separate Instagram account for it). For those who don’t know what that is, overlanding is essentially self-reliant travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. From hours in the carport making tweaks and modifications to our adventure mobile (see pics below), to prepping our gourmet camp cookout menu, to actually getting out there, spotting a road and saying to each other, “Yup, let’s see where that leads!” It’s not roughing it… we sleep like kings and queens with a movie queued up on our iPad rig in the tent, under the stars. And our next adventure begins at the end of this week! We’ll be traveling through Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California, so come for the ride on Instagram!

Phew! In closing to this long and revealing post, here are some shots I took on my iPhone from a little Friday night getaway we took a week ago.

x, S

As always, you can connect with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or email me! Thx for reading.

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