The dance between doing it right and doing it real: Nalumana’s 1st Year

Jun 7, 2016

Nalumana |

A few weeks ago, ever so quietly, the semi-official one year anniversary of Nalumana Women’s Wellness passed.


I feel like it’s semi-official because I posted my first blog post on May 4, 2015, and in my heart and mind, this was it.  I had spent three years conceiving of this idea, this business.  But I had given birth to my son just a month earlier, and so I was taking it slow.  A blog post, written during a particularly peaceful nap time.  Then the first Community Mother Blessing.  The completion of my coaching certification.  Another doula client.  Soon after, my first paid coaching client.  The first Women’s Outdoors Club.  Meetings, networking, tea dates.  Fumbling fumbling fumbling with web design, logos, portfolio photos, social media, and ugh…marketing.

The concept of Nalumana started after a frenzied spurt of inspiration, which always hits me in the winter months.  I spent weeks and weeks researching and brainstorming, using my daughter’s crayons to scribble down ideas and mind maps after she had gone to sleep.  At the time I was solo parenting while my hubby was deployed, and I spent every “free” hour piecing together this idea.

When he returned, we went on a rare date night and I talked for the entire two hours, trying to help him understand the complex web of a business I had created.  At the heart of it was – and still is – creating and supporting empowering experiences for women.  At the soul of it was me offering myself – my talents and passions as a doula, life coach, adventurer and writer – in a way that felt truly of service, not just some hair-brained collection of oddball skills.  At the time, though, my dreams were to start a bricks-and-mortar women’s wellness centre, and my intention was to collaborate with other practitioners in a way that wasn’t being represented anywhere else in the city.  I was going to go back to school to do a Counselling degree, continuing to expand my skill set outside of the realm of academia, where I had been trained, and into the one-to-one service provision world.

My poor husband was confused.  And scared.  I’ve since learned that any business plan that takes two hours to explain, even in the shortened colloquialisms of married partners, is one that needs a good dose of clarification and focus.  And the fact that I had already spent some time looking at real estate for this yoga studio/cafe/wellness centre of my dreams was, I’m sure, unnerving to my unsuspecting husband.

Then he was deployed again, this time for six months, and I found out I was pregnant.  I immediately became too exhausted, emotionally drained, and stretched far too thin, and so Nalumana went into hibernation.  It’s probably a good thing she did, too…

I realized a few things along the way.  My dreams shifted in a way that I’ve become far more comfortable with with the passage of years:  I know that it’s okay to let go of dreams when they don’t feel good anymore.  I realized that running a bricks and mortar business was going to saddle me with a mortgage that I would have to pay come hell or high water – integrity and intentions be damned, quite possibly.  And also, I realized it would involve me doing all kinds of things that were outside of my “zone of genius,” as they say, and not in a stretching-myself-and-learning-new-skills kind of way.  Like emptying garbages.  Dealing with payroll, and HR, and fixing espresso machines.

When what I really wanted to do was write, support women in birth, go on awesome adventures for my work, and coach with women who wanted to step into a new sense of themselves.


I discovered, bit by bit, that there were people out there running businesses completely online.  Coaching, writing, and helping people.  I clung to the idea of a women’s wellness centre and started Nalumana, after a good few more months of planning, scheming, business plan-writing, as an “online and location independent” women’s wellness centre.  My goal was to focus locally, and to provide broad-spectrum wellness support to women by collaborating with all kinds of other practitioners in a more fluid and dynamic way.

The evolution of Nalumana Women’s Wellness has been unfolding on a daily basis since then.  I have gained the confidence and clarity to focus on my own ability to provide amazing support to women through my business, and the notion of having to bring other practitioners into the mix – one that was ultimately borne out of self-doubt – faded.  I found a way to articulate how the hell birth support, coaching and adventure experiences all came together under one overarching umbrella.  I made incredibly valuable connections, mentorships and partnerships with the people in my community who share a similar vision.  I’ve supported dozens of women through their own processes of transformation, whether through birth or creating a life that aligns with their desires and intentions.

This poor website has been revised and rewritten more times than I care to admit.


I’ve had my thoughts and ideas and opinions published in more media venues this year than in any other year previously combined.

I spent a good number of days, weeks and months wondering if this business would allow me to quit my job, my return to which was quickly approaching as my maternity leave came to a close.  I wondered if it was fair to ask a business not yet a year old to support me and my family.  I placed the onus of my happiness upon its success, and felt the vulnerable desperation that that created, and wondered if it was too soon.  So I quit the job I didn’t like, and found a job I did, so that I could continue to explore what Nalumana could be.

I have worked ungodly hours, after my kids have gone to bed, usually with one child strapped to my chest, writing, re-writing, listening to webinars, budgeting, (learning to budget), planning, coaching, writing some more.

And oh, the webinars.  An aside here, to tell you about the great many millions being generated in our economy on the coattails of the insecure new entrepreneur.  I have spent so much – too much – time feeling like I was doing it all wrong.  I am starting, ever so slowly, to be able to tune out the noise that seems to echo through the vastness of the internet, and tune into myself, how I want to be of service, and my own authentic voice and offerings.

I have learned so much this year.  I have learned about you, the beautiful women who are attracted to this work I do, who show up for adventures great and small of both the body and psyche, for whom I dedicate my efforts.  I have learned about myself, because, as I hear, becoming a business owner is the deepest dive into one’s own personal shit one can possibly do.

Mostly, I am coming out of this year with clarity.  Knowing what I want for the future of Nalumana.

With trust.  Trust that I will show up authentically and that that will be enough.

With inspiration, motivation, ambition, devotion, and a sense of purpose.

I cannot wait to see what Year Two brings.


Your turn:


What dreams are you cultivating right now?  What support do you need to see them through?

How does self-doubt show up as you’re dreaming and scheming for your life?  How can you trust yourself more?


The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!