Catching my Breath: One Week Post-Breathe Now

It’s been more than a week and I am still processing the magic behind the Breathe Now ( #breatheyyj ) conference that I co-cordinated with Angela Rafuse-Tahir, Janice Mansfield, and Yukari Peerless. We wanted to organize a conference that we wanted to attend in Victoria. Between the four of us we have attended business women conferences, social media conference, academic conferences, BlogHer, Blissdom, and other work-related conferences. We wanted something completely different that spoke to women’s need to balance work and life and remembering to take time out for yourself and breathe.

The conference was a resounding success from head to toe. The energy was pulsating at the various panels and workshops that the 100 delegates attended. I saw lots of smiles, tears, and heads nodding during the presentations. A common theme throughout the weekend was that it’s important to have balance in our lives. Many women spoke to how imbalance led to different types of crises and the need to reflect and reboot life. I was pleasantly surprised to hear repeated speakers talk about how important therapy, exercise, sleep, eating right, and taking time out for oneself was crucial to mental health and overall physical well-being. When the conference ended, I got sentimental and felt a little sad that the weekend was ending, but so many great connections were made.

I’m thankful for all the emails, coffee dates, and tweets that I’ve read since the conference. I learned lots about myself, my friends, and the various speakers. Our choice of keynote speakers was perfect, too. Rona Maynard and Bif Naked both spoke their truths and offered the delegates a chance for important reflection. We all left the conference energized and ready for everything and anything. I look forward to chatting with my friends about Breathe Now 2013!

Bif Naked: Keynote at #Breatheyyj

Bif Naked @BifNaked was the keynote speaker at Breathe Now ( @breathenow #breatheyyj ) in Victoria, BC ( #yyj ) on Sunday, April 15th. I was lucky enough to spend some precious time with her and the Breathe Now co-founders, Janice Mansfield, Angela Rafuse-Tahir, and Yukari Peerless. We shared our truths talking about different topics. But, overall, we repeatedly thanked her for joining us.

She notes that optimism is important and we all start off with it. Somehow we lose our optimism, tho. This is akin to the well-spring that @ronamaynard noted yesterday. Again, we see that taking care of selves is important and this includes emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Naked’s talk is genuine. I think we’re all starstruck honestly, and she’s just so real.

“I started university with the best intentions, like everyone else.” Bif Naked

I imagine that many people understand her statement, but then she met a young man with a mohawk–lots of laughter ensued! The band he was in needed a new singer and she joined the band. Add this to her majoring in Theater and writing poetry and it’s easy to see how she turned to entertainment. She shared anecdotes from her youth, “…what sweet intention there was.”

“Everyone has their own story. Every single story is equally profound.” Bif Naked

The audience is rapt paying attention to Naked’s story about her experience with cancer. Most women’s first thought when they find out that they have cancer is: Will I lose my hair. What does this say about women, our society? Naked speaks to the ways in which she was surrounded by other women, other cancer patients during her treatment. “The power of sisterhood…saved my life.”

Speaking to menopause, “You’re going to have a riot.” Oh, wow. I don’t know what to say. I’m not looking forward to it. Her ovaries were removed as part of her treatment and she subsequently went through menopause as a young woman of 38. She’s clearly at peace with her life and the journey that she’s taken in these 40 or so years. She’s amazing. Just two weeks ago she had a procedure to fix the hole in her heart. Mind blown. Procedure went through her leg and she was awake the entire time. Love that she commented on the good-looking male nurses that were in her room.

Breast cancer was not her medical emergency–instead fixing the hole in her heart was. She made lists. She’s worked on some of the points, but still needs to get the health directive done. During these last two weeks, she’s talked to her mom daily, had lots of dinner parties, kissed Nic (her baby pup), cleaned her car, painted her toe nails, and taken the time for herself. Sigh–important to take the time. Breathe!

Great reminders and what an end to a thoughtful weekend. I’m honored to have had a part in this event and thankful that Naked’s schedule was open so that she could speak at the conference.