What’s Your Underlying Belief?

I continue to benefit from the insights of Dr. Gabor Maté, both personally and professionally, and am immensely grateful for the opportunity to study and teach with him. One of the areas in my own life that I currently bring awareness to are the mostly unconscious beliefs that show up when I feel self-pity or want to blame others. Both of these states cause internal discomfort. Here's a recent example. I was in Utah last week on a family vacation, touring around in my son's new-to-him 1992 Volkswagon camper van, hiking in gorgeous national parks and tenting at night, enjoying being together with my grown children, son-in-law and husband. On a particular long uphill hike to a natural hot springs not far from Salt Lake City, I found myself well behind the …

Beyond Addiction at Sun Door Yoga on Hornby Island

I felt inspired to host a Beyond Addiction Program at Sun Door Yoga following my participation in the Vancouver 2014 program with Sat Dharam Kaur. I knew then that the most important personal work we can do is to uncover our trauma and negative thought patterns. Left unhealed, this trauma manipulates and habituates us to act and behave from a place of great pain, which leaves us far from standing in and acting from our authenticity. I have intimately known substance abuse, co-dependency, socially accepted addictions, and other addictions to be over-arching shadows in my life. Hosting this beneficial and radical program has been a way to honour and spread its efficacy to those in need. Addictions are so prevalent in our society, and they arise in part due to …

Reflections from a Beyond Addiction Support Group

For several months now, after completing the first round of the four month Beyond Addiction program, a group of committed students have continued studying Beyond Addiction, meeting on a weekly basis. We have dug into the process of self-discovery and deep reflection, spending one month on each of the sixteen modules. In this summary below, you will have a glimpse into the inner workings and musings of this group. The excerpt below is taken from the reflections after a group meeting where the group reviewed Module One and with deep self-exploration, tenaciously pulled apart the material on the complexes as we explored our edges and growth. Attachment to Our Complexes Four of us spent an hour going deep into the meaning and the overcoming or transformation of complexes/identities. We discussed complexes such as …

Beyond Addiction Gathers a Research Team!

We have some exciting Beyond Addiction research opportunities on the horizon and wanted to tell you about the current research that is underway. York University’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and Knowledge Mobilization Unit have teamed up with KY-WHA and the Beyond Addiction (BA) program to research the long-term efficacy of the Beyond Addiction program. York PhD Candidate in Education, Stacey (Amardeep) Bliss, has recently come on board as a student-intern to collect and analyze data with the newly-organized BA Research team. Other members of the research team include Heather Good from Calgary, Ellen Winofsky from BC, and Dr. Wendy Harris along with our statistician, Richard Casey from Los Angeles. Thank you, all! Our gratitude goes to Brian Rush Ph.D., and Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa Ph.D., who have helped us formulate the research instruments …

The Regeneration Project: Connect with Your Essence and the Earth

By reconnecting we can begin to work on regenerating ourselves, our relationships and the environment in an integrated sustainable way. The Regeneration Project aims to do this by integrating the Beyond Addiction program with organic, permaculture based and/or Biodynamic farming, cultivating a healthy relationship between people and the environment. "When we heal the Earth we heal ourselves"  ~ David Orr “We can calculate in approximately how many decades agricultural products will have degenerated to such an extent that they can no longer serve as human nourishment. It will certainly be within this [20th] century. We can see how necessary it is to derive forces from the spirit, forces that are as yet quite unknown. This is necessary not only for the sake of somehow improving agriculture, but so that human life on …

Excuses are Self-Abuses

Entering a new path that will lead you to your Best Future Self requires determination and commitment. Self-growth does not just happen - it is a result of persistent effort to follow one's vision. The first step is to create a vision if it is lacking. Who can you become? Feel it, see it, hear it - create a little video in your head of who you are and what you are doing as your Best Future Self, and play it numerous times a day. Often the gap between who we are and who we can become is filled with unconscious beliefs and outdated habits. Our modern lives are busy and full, and the adage “old habits die hard", rings true for many of us. Through the Beyond Addiction program, I've …

From Defeat to Victory

The Gladstone theatre was filled to the brim with 250 people from every corner of the city. Each one was prepared to partake in a life-changing performance by one of Ottawa, Canada’s, latest rising stars. I was particularly excited to be a part of this evening’s performance, because the rising star was a dear friend of mine. I sat in the first row, proud and eager to show my support. It was strange, but all my enthusiasm leading up to the event quickly drained after the lights went out and I saw her up on stage. They were quickly replaced by feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. Why? Well, you see, about two years before the event took place, the star and I spent many hours dreaming of bright futures. She spoke of …

Give Yourself Space to Feel

Sadness will not determine your life. What will determine your life are your attempts not to feel the sadness. What will determine your life are your attempts to compensate for the sadness by not feeling it, by developing coping mechanisms that keep you from allowing you to experience yourself the way you really are. That’s what will determine your life. If you don’t want your life to be determined by what happened, allow yourself to feel exactly what’s there. Developmental trauma happens when there isn’t space for us to feel what we feel. The fact is, there was never space in your life for you to feel what you felt. There was nobody there to hold you; your mother wasn’t there to hold you. She was too busy trying to soothe her …

The Gut, the Brain and Addiction

Who Knew We Had Three Brains? The gut has its own independent nervous system, known as the enteric nervous system, that consists of about 500 million neurons. This system is embedded in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, beginning at the esophagus and ending at the anus. Amazingly, the enteric nervous system can operate independently from the brain – it can function without it, and has been dubbed our “second brain”. It has a two way communication with the brain and central nervous system via the parasympathetic fibers of the vagus nerve and the sympathetic fibers of the prevertebral ganglia. This channel is known as the gut-brain axis, and links the emotional and cognitive centres of the brain with intestinal function, and vice-versa. The gut-brain axis is modulated by neurotransmitters, hormones, immune …

Yoga and Addiction

I am not a stranger to the struggle of addiction or the trauma and negative thought patterns that it typically stems from. I’ve been affected by and intrigued with this limited realm of the human mind and the mysterious ability we can have of disassociating from our (true) selves to fill an unmet need or emptiness despite the consequences. It beguiles me how we can be in a state of constant maneuvering towards some sense of perceived safety, with the capacity for both truth and denial, often expressed simultaneously. We’re masters at this, while often yearning for compassion and a sense of belonging to ourselves and those we love. In my search and experience I have discovered that Yoga can be a pivotal tool in healing from addiction. It’s an exciting …