Hey! How is it going? If we haven’t met before, I am the Owner, Creative and Educational Director of Chantel Funk + Co. The shop was created in 2012 as an extension of me. It has been a wild ride. In addition to the shop I am married to the love of my life (he also makes me totally crazy,) I have two kids, some animals, I like to train for things like marathons and triathlons and generally am always working on something or another. I spend a fair amount of energy navigating the ebb and flow of life but ultimately I like to keep moving forward. Things like BCCH with my son who has chronic health as well as client communications and sometimes building and fixing things around the shop keep my busy. Life happens and our “ideal” routine is never something I can get my head around.

I think adulting is about getting a really big dose of reality square in the face. The harsh truth that I am in charge of my actions and the consequences that follow. The brutal truth of loss, grief and anxiety that we will all face at some point in our life. And so much more really. It can be tough and compounding when we are trying to balance normal life stuff too. Its overwhelming. I am sure yall can relate. So how do we do it? How does a person manage life while also looking forward?

I am not a boat person. In fact I find being in a boat very nerve wracking but here we go with an analogy (as I do.) Have you ever heard the term “keel over?” Well, it’s a term about the keel of a boat. It’s purpose it to prevent a boat from capsizing, hence the “keel over”. If we were to think of our life’s journey as a boat navigating waters, we can imagine that there can be really calm waters and sunny skies but we could also experience turbulent waters with wind, we also need to have the will to do the work the boat requires. The keel being the part of the boat designed to see us through the storms, we would relate this to our center, our foundation and who we are at the core. This essential part of us is how we stay upright during a storm. If we have a strong keel and a captain who has the will to go the distance, we can navigate just about any storm. With experience we start to learn to watch for signs of oncoming storms, create systems for prevention and essentially just get better at doing it all.

So how do we “dodge the curve balls” that life throws us? Long story short, we cannot control the world around us but we can work hard at learning, reflecting and gaining experience to make us better equipped for what lies ahead. We approach turbulence with ease and know it will pass.

I used to find myself triggered all the time. My keel was defective and it felt so unfair. I felt victim to life and as if I “couldn’t win.” I would be bobbing along in life thinking things were finally “going my way” when I would get hit with another big storm. It would completely disempower me and because I was so distracted it always felt out of nowhere. The reality I had to face was that it was my keel that needed to be rebuilt and only I could do the work. Our will is our strongest gift in this life. It can be hard to find the will to do the work. I find my will behind my purpose. Using my story to connect with other humans drives me forward. The better I can manage my life, the better I can help others. It all comes full circle.

I cannot say why we are here on earth. Everyone can have their own opinion. What I can say is that there are big, deep, joyful, pleasurable moments in life that are very much worth living. Experiences that are unique to every individual. We get our whole life to explore and find those moments. Its magical really. I have not always felt that way. Being able to fight through the hardest moments in our lives gives us the ability to see that these things pass. They do get easier. In fact, life can truly be so beautiful once we are willing to look directly at ourselves and do the work.

So how do you dodge the curve balls? Getting really familiar with who you are, what makes you you, doing the work to get stronger and finding the will to do it all. How do we do that? Here are some things that have worked for me:

-Counselling

-Endurance exercise for meditative thought such as running, walking and swimming (bring on the big healthy brain chemicals)

-Journalling, reflecting, meditation, and getting low on the ground while being really quiet.

-Being totally broken and at the very max of my coping (this has happened a few times in my life)

-Adapting as things come along, being open to new ideas and not holding on to “what I thought”

-Connection with my core people, figuring out what kind of connection I needed and from whom

-Listening to my inner guide, getting rid of all outside influence for a period of time

-Creating things, for the fun of it and being playful rather than the outcome

-Medication and getting as healthy as I can both physically and mentally

These are just a start but I have devoted myself to continuing the pursuit of these. It seems like a lot of work sure, but in time they just become a part of who you are. Your list might be very different and that’s ok. But listen, when you have people who rely on you such as colleagues, family or your community, the only way you can weather the storms and show up for them is if you are focused on yourself first. Call it cliche but self care is at the root of it all.

Much love, Chantel.

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