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Meet Azra. This is her Story


Meet Azra. This is her Story


What is it - really? Rather than a physical place, it’s a feeling for most of us.

It’s that random scent you come across at the age of 30 that brings you back to your mom hanging up laundry on a clothesline.

For the majority of people home is a large puzzle made up of our values, instilled beliefs, memories and other things that cocoon our worldly identity.

Home, then, is home base. The sphere that influences all of our decisions, the friends we make, jobs we take on, partners we choose and so on. It’s the well that we drink from that determines our character.

But home for a Bosnian refugee? An immigrant child? It’s also a puzzle but one that’s missing some pieces - so you never get the see the full picture. Your entire life you end up searching for these lost links to get a sense of what home at its full realization is.

There is a burning question in your heart that nothing seems to answer, I know.

Today, I’m here to tell you it’s a futile exercise to go into the past seeking those answers.

I was born in Bosnia, moved to Germany at the brink of the Bosnian War and eventually came to Canada with my parents and brother. My mom and dad went from owning nothing but two suitcases to making their version of the Canadian Dream come true. As a child I never felt that we were lacking anything. If anything, my parents overcompensated to give us the things they never had themselves. They did the best they could with the level of awareness they had.

The rub, though, is that nothing materialistic heals wounds that non-materialistic things caused. No material thing can reverse the repercussions of the diaspora of your people.

My love for writing has always been an innate part of my nature. From the age of 6, I would write out details of my days and reflect on the relationships around me. Over the years, I’ve accumulated half a dozen journals before eventually taking my stories and poetry online. These days, I write about the transition into motherhood I’ve lived through the past 3 years.

But as time went on, my mindset has changed - and alongside it, so has my writing. And simultaneously, whether I was aware of it or not, my idea of that word, home, has transformed, as well.

Something about motherhood gave me a different perspective on it all. I recognized very quickly, I wasn’t alone in my feelings, whether it came to those that longed for my home land or those that mourned my life (and freedom) before kids. And I began understanding that my desire for something unfulfilled could only be dealt with in the present moment - not digging for it in the graveyard of the past.

I used to find solace in getting my emotions out on paper and creating fictions that I would weave anecdotal pieces into. But as good as it would feel at the time, the hurt never truly went away and would inevitably re-surface again. I recognized that my best writing came to me at my darkest moments - and I began to feel chained to the pieces, in a way someone becomes enamoured with their captivator over a period of time. The writer’s version of Stockholm syndrome. I would use my hurt as energy to create beautiful pieces and purge that burden in my chest but every time I re-read my work, I’d be transported to the exact instance that begot that piece initially. And like I said before, usually it wasn’t inspired by something chipper.


 The other day someone said to me - storytelling is a good thing, as long as you can separate your ego from your story. As long as your story serves a greater purpose. I took it to mean that as long as you’re writing about the past, and taking inspiration from the past, that you will wallow in that world and be unable to progress. You’ll be unable to heal and evolve to a state of inner peace. It was the first time I thought about my writing from this point of view - and surely, this piece I’m writing right now for you would’ve looked completely different if I had written it before that conversation.

I knew the identity I was creating for myself for so long was bound into my writing. Yet, it didn’t do me justice. Home, I’ve realized since, is where you feel the most yourself - without the influence of others or memories. It isn’t the place you are when you feel you need to appease others or the place you have a massive amount of guilt or sadness in. Home is being on your most authentic path, and the core of your nature aligned with that path is only exposed to you when you peel off the veils you’ve hidden behind for so long. The facade most of us operate under to keep in line with societal standards and familial tradition. Home is ahead of us.

I’m still very much a writer, a poet. A storyteller. I’m still in the deep trenches of matrescence, as well - that evolution that all women go through once becoming mothers. What has changed, for me, however, is that I’ve recognized words can be used for more than just reflection. Once you have insight and willingness to truly heal, your focus should be on the road ahead of you, starting with your present moment. It’s the only thing we really have and everything is possible in it.

My name is Azra and I do write to heal - but instead of using the scars of my past as feed for my stories anymore, I’m inspired by a higher vibration. I now plant seeds into my plots that are encased in the energy I’ve always wanted to feel. The things that were apparent at my own genesis, before memories and life warped my vision and created hurt, and the only things that will remain with my spirit once this physical world is over.


Move to Heal x Bootcamps for Change


Move to Heal x Bootcamps for Change

This is a little background on how Movement has positively affected me, and why I whole-heartedly believe in organizations like Bootcamps for Change.

Read on :)

I have always been drawn to Movement.

There's a box with all my drawings in it at my Mom’s house from when I was a child. The majority of them are of me, standing on an Olympic podium with medals around my neck.

I loved the feeling of freedom I had when I was moving through the water. I was determined to be an Olympic swimmer. In the water, I felt unstoppable. I also had stamina; I wasn't the fastest swimmer but I could outlast everyone. Over time, the pool became a place where I could let go of my day; I could just be.

I wanted so badly to continue swimming, but we couldn't afford it. I was heartbroken. A few weeks after I stopped swimming, I ran 1500m as a warmup in gym class before we started playing soccer. I felt my body come alive. I remember running up to my gym teacher, breathless, begging her to let me keep racing the clock on the track instead of playing soccer. Every day after that, after the final school bell rang I'd head down to the track and just run laps. Keep in mind- back then, we didn't have cell phones or ipods- it was just me, my breath, the track, my thoughts. It was such a release.

I think I must have been drawn to swimming and running early on because of the chaos that was happening around me when I was a child and teenager. I began to experience severe bouts of depression mixed with high anxiety as I moved into my 20's.

I completed my Yoga Teacher Training in 2010 and it was honestly the first time in my life when I realized that I was in charge of my body; I was in charge of how I could move it, when I wanted to move it, what I could do with it. It was so empowering.

My life up until that point had been so external- I was constantly thinking about other people, looking at their actions and how they were reacting to me because I was always on guard and trying to protect myself. I began to use Movement to help me because it was the only way I knew how to help myself. Through my worst periods of anxiety, I ran. When I was depressed, I walked. When the panic attacks happened, I did yoga.

Fast forward years later- I ended up starting The Move to Heal Project, an organization that focuses on fitness as an additional aid for anything mental health related. It’s also a place where people can share their own stories, where they can learn how to fuel the body properly, and also a place where they can find valuable resources in and around the GTA.

I was in Calgary two years ago opening a restaurant, training an entire service team of people. Sometimes people would fail to complete the tasks we had assigned them (Hang on- this is relevant!)

My boss pulled me aside and said that in these moments we, as trainers, had to ask ourselves 2 things:

Do they know what the task entails? Do they have the tools to complete the task? If I answered No to either of these questions, I had to go back and try a new approach.

I love this, and I think it can completely apply beyond the restaurant industry.

For example: What about the people that want to get physically stronger but don't know how to go about doing it? What about the people that want to run but don't have shoes? What about the people that are curious about nutrition but have no idea how to fuel their body properly?

We are so lucky. We take so many basic things we have access to for granted. Some people don't have that.

I recently connected with two amazing women that are removing barriers in regards to affording organized sports and fitness programming: Katie Heggtveit and Kam Kuzminski of Bootcamps for Change.

I love what Bootcamps for Change is doing because they are driving conversation on things that need to continually be talked about and they are also taking action on the things that need to be changed for youth in Canada.

Katie Heggtveit, the co-founder of BFC, volunteered for 10 years with homeless youth in Canada and abroad. Kam Kuzminski was a guidance counsellor and teacher for at-risk youth for 10 years in Saskatchewan and pursued her Masters in Educational Psychology to fulfill her passion to work with marginalized youth.

Once Katie began to notice there was not enough fitness and nutrition programs in shelters, she joined forces with Kam and together they took action.

Now, BFC strives to provide in-shelter fitness programs for marginalized youth in Canada with the end goal of hiring them as paid employees of Bootcamps for Change under a canfitpro certification scholarship.

I love this because it directly breaks an old cycle and implements a new, impactful one. It provides marginalized youth with the tools they need to succeed. It provides them with the knowledge of how to build new foundations to stand on in order to do so.


The reason I shared a little bit of my story today is because the ability to exercise in a community actually change my life- it had a huge ripple effect on my own mental health and physical health. I don't know that I would be where I am today without it. And the thing is- this should be accessible for EVERYONE! But unfortunately it's not.

Everyone that knows me knows how much I get pumped up talking about the benefits of exercise on Mental Health (I could go on and on here)- and knowing that Katie and Kam are leading this change for youth in poverty and in the shelter system makes me stand up, cheer, and applaud them because it is so, so needed.


Contact Katie Heggtveit and Kam Kuzminski personally:

“Katie Heggtveit”: +647-244-0097

“Kam Kuzminski”: +306-501-1510


Volunteer at their In-Shelter Fitness Programming:

Monday's: 3:30pm

Wednesday's: 3:30pm

Friday's: 1:30pm



Or DM me for more details!!