Welcome to my corner of the noisy internet! I’m Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui, mama of three cool and creative kiddos (15, 21, and forever 23). My beautiful son ended his life on Oct 23/19 after a brave and ferocious battle with treatment-resistant severe depression and persistent suicidal ideation.
26 years ago I married a West African man who I met in Québec when I had sworn off relationships forever and later dragged back to Alberta with me. I come from a big, colourful family of 14 and have the utmost respect for my mom and dad (both left this world too young from cancer) who lived humble and simple but purposeful lives, fully aligned with their core values.
Handcrafting a values-aligned life and business matters deeply to me. My core values are freedom, integrity, compassion, community, and curiosity. My work, habits, and the small daily choices I make each ordinary day are rooted in these values.
I help brave and weary humans, just like me, remember their way to freedom.
YOU’RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE IF…
You are in the right place if you are looking for hope & practical encouragement to help you get clear on what “enough” looks, sounds, and feels like for your life or business in this season of life.
You are in the right place if you want to craft a slower, simpler life. One that is intentional and mindful and has lots of breathing room for meaningful connection and savouring the small gifts of today.
You are in the right place if you’re a non-hustler, HSP, you or a family member live with chronic physical or mental illness or you tend to feel like you don’t “fit” well in this noisy, busy world.
You are in the right place if you’re curious about seasonal living: showing up to life in a way that respects natural rhythms, fertile and fallow times, and honours your unique wiring.
You are definitely in the right place if you are a wrestler, a questioner, one who struggles and desires a brave space to hang out and be reminded that you are not alone and that you matter.
You are in the right place if you want to live mind-body-spirit healthy but you opt-out of fads and care more about loving yourself well than following the crowd.
And you are absolutely in the right place if you are ready to quiet the noise of perfectionism, comparison, and fear, and show up fully to your imperfect & beautiful life, in every season.
An Unshackled Life
My life has been a journey of learning to love and care for myself well. A journey to freedom.
I used to have an addictive personality and this got me into trouble until I learned to live fully conscious, eyes and heart wide open. I have walked through suicide attempts, anxiety, PTSD and severe panic disorder, intense chronic pain, child loss & deep grief, disordered eating & body shame. Not necessarily in that order.
For most of my life, I did not find living easy. I needed to choose to live.
I was in grade six the first time I drank and grade seven the first time I used drugs in an attempt to calm my anxiety. Though I dumped alcohol and drugs at 21 years old, I kept moving from one addictive pattern to another because I hadn’t yet learned how to calm the storm inside of me.
I was looking for freedom but kept picking up another set of chains.
Along the way, I’ve learned that joy and pain can coexist and that life does not have to be perfect to be beautiful. That I do not have to be perfect to be beautiful.
One day I decided to like myself and to institute a no-bullying policy. I embraced my “good enough” and started treating myself like my own best friend.
I’ve learned to forgive myself for all my struggle and messiness, learned to approve of myself, and realized that I am far stronger, braver and more resilient than I ever understood before. I’ve put down deep, hardy roots of self-awareness and self-compassion and learned to take imperfect action through fear to build the life and business I want. I now help my clients do this life-giving work.
(I’m currently working on two books. UNSHACKLED: Remembering my Way to Freedom will be available in Spring 2023. And I’m collaborating with my friend, Kathy Escobar, on a book about child loss; we lost our sons to suicide in 2019, just 5 days apart from each other. Writing and publishing deeper works has been part of my Vision for my work from the start and though I’m in the hardest season of my life, I know this is the right season to get started.)
Becoming a Safe House
Long before I launched my work at A Life in Progress, I had a dream in which I felt called to BE a safe house for others. To put a little light in the window and make space for other weary sojourners to rest, be nourished, and equipped for the journey ahead.
Though my sense of mission has never wavered, it took me years of wrestling to learn to use my voice with confidence, to trust myself, and to believe I had something worthwhile to offer.
I was afraid.
Some of us walk through life feeling bad, broken, wrong, or never quite enough. But feeling at times like we don’t fit well into this noisy, busy world has nothing to do with being “wrong” and everything to do with living in a world that isn’t skilled at honouring diversity. You are on purpose.
I was afraid of not being good enough, afraid of allowing others to see the real me, afraid of loss and pain and rejection and owning my strengths. Afraid of the next bad thing that lay around the bend. Fear has been a common refrain in my life. It’s a common thread for many of my clients too.
In late 2018 I had an interesting experience in which I saw “in my mind’s eye” a big gaping wound being stitched up and heard the clear, resounding thought: “This is no longer your story. You will write a new story.”
I thought I knew what this meant. I thought it meant that 2019 would feel amazing, joyful, refreshing. But what it meant was that I would walk my son home. That as a family we would walk him through crisis and the end of his short life on earth, then walk without him through the thick wilds of grief and trauma and somehow not lose our footing.
Today I can look back over the decades of my life and witness the truth – I was incredibly brave, strong, and courageous all along. All the stubborn work I’ve done over the years is what has kept me rooted and resilient through the fiercest storm of my life. It is what allows me to show up imperfectly – on purpose in every season, to use my voice in service to my beautiful clients and community, to find purpose, wholeness, and joy in the midst of this incredibly beautiful and messy life of mine.
Some of us walk through life feeling bad, broken, wrong, or never quite enough. The truth is, I was wired on purpose as a highly sensitive soul. My son was wired on purpose as a highly sensitive soul. You are knit together on purpose. Feeling at times like we don’t fit well into this noisy, busy world has nothing to do with being “wrong” and everything to do with living in a world that isn’t skilled at honouring diversity.
Life takes us places we never could have imagined or planned for ourselves.
LEARN HOW YOU CAN WORK WITH ME OR LEARN ABOUT MY EDUCATION
Honouring Our Wiring to Build a Kinder World
My background is in French Immersion Education (I never completed my final practicum because my anxiety was so intense), I spent years homeschooling and raising a strong & stubborn family (which totally should have earned me a Masters!), and then studied again in natural nutrition and functional health and today serve women-around the globe as a Writer & Joyful Living Educator.
I work part-time and constantly walk out the tension between my love of a new learning curve with my need for rest and permission to simply BE. I’m not interested in hustle or constantly striving for more or better. I require ample solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to feel body, mind, spirit healthy; I want space in my life to savour, notice, and connect.
For those of you geeky folk like me, I’m a strong introvert, hopeful reformer, and stubborn questioner with rebel leanings, ISFJ (often mistaken for an IN), a Highly Sensitive Person, and dominant Enneagram 1w2.
Story, like truth-telling, is healing and by sharing our stories we break the power of shame and bravely lift up the light of hope and encouragement for each other. We can be messy and in progress and still offer the bit of light we have.
I think STORY as much as truth-telling is healing and believe that by sharing our stories we break the power of shame and bravely lift up the light of hope & encouragement for each other. I am changed by story – largely because it is “descriptive, not prescriptive.” It makes space for us to ponder, grapple with, and then find the application to our own life.
As such, although I spend a lot of time in research and distilling big ideas into practical application for my community, my blog is primarily a tool for sharing stories and encouragement to remind you that you are not alone. That you are not the only one who struggles. That there is hope.
I take all my struggle and study and offer it to remind you that you matter. You are worthy of acceptance, compassion, and JOY right now in the full truth of who and how you are: Messy AND beautiful. Weary AND brave.
Not if you lose 50 pounds, when you get your anxiety under control, the day you’re free of your addiction, or some magical day when life feels perfectly pulled together. You matter right now in the middle of the storm.
From one brave and weary human to another, you are welcome here.
NOW WHAT? I’d love to welcome you to The HOPE Map, my mostly-weekly invitation to pause and consider.