What are you waiting for? 5 things you can do today to live the life of your dreams.


Courage Mixed media on card stock 5″ x 5″ Louise Gallagher

No matter where I’m at, it feels at times as though I have spent my life waiting.

Waiting for the hands of time to turn. For the clock to strike midnight. For the dawn to come. For dusk to fall.

Waiting. For the rain to stop. The sun to come out.

Waiting for tomorrow. Next week. Holidays.

Waiting for it, whatever it is, to be over. For it, whatever it is, to begin.

Waiting for the right moment. The perfect time. The special instant when the stars align, the planets revolve, the earth moves.

Do you know what I mean? Are you waiting too?

For Prince Charming to ride in. Sweep you off your feet. Perhaps even, depending upon where your thoughts take you, dump you in the ditch.

Are you waiting for the right one to come and make your dreams come true? To give you Love. Happiness. Joy.

Are you waiting to feel better. Get over it. Through it. Out of it.


It’s not a game for cowards.

But then, neither is life.

The irrepressible Kerry Parsons and I spoke of waiting yesterday over a late lunch.

We’d not seen eachother for awhile. It was that waiting thing. We’d been waiting for the right time to get together and finally just had to make it happen.

Because that’s the thing about waiting.

All the waiting in the world won’t change what’s happening, or not happening, in your life.

Only you can do that.

President Barack Obama is credited with saying that, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Think about what’s going on in your life today. Is it full. Do you feel complete. Centrered. Balanced.

What are you waiting for?

There is no magical time in the future when completeness, centeredness, balance will appear.

They are as present today as they will be tomorrow.

They’re just waiting for you to turn up.

Just like your dreams. Are waiting for you (me) to turn up.

What are your dreams?

Have you been holding back from putting them to paper, thinking about them, describing them, filling them in? Have you been holding out on yourself by not giving your dreams substance?

Think about it.

What’s holding you back? What are you waiting for?

Yesterday, I told Kerry one of my dreams.

“I realized I have always been holding back from breathing life into my dreams because I’ve always been waiting for someone else to do what they want to do in their life first.”

I’m tired of waiting I told her.

I’m tired of playing small in the field of limited possibility.

I want to play large in limitless possibilities. To create the life of my dreams without fearing I’ll bump up against someone else’s dreams coming true and be frightened by the brilliance of their light shining brightly.

It’s time for me to shine bright.

For you to shine bright.

For all of us to shine bright so that the world becomes a bright shiny place where everyone, no matter where they are, can live with their hearts full of all this big beautiful world has to offer, when we quit waiting for someone else to stop the war, end the fight, ask for forgiveness, give us the right to live fearlessly in the now.

What are you waiting for?

There are lots of books and videos on how to map out your dreams, create a vision board, plan your future.

The question isn’t, what are your dreams. The question is: What is holding your back from turning your dreams into reality?

Here’s 5 things you can do to create substance of your dreams.

  1. Write it down. Take a blank sheet of paper and write down all the things you fear about dreams and dreaming. Now, take that piece of paper, crumple it up and throw it behind you. For the next 15 minutes your fears do not exist. There are no limitations to your thinking, no ‘I can’t’s, I don’t dare, I mustn’t’. There’s only possibility.
  2. Now, on another blank sheet of paper, write the answer to this statement:  When I am living my ideal life, I am ___________________________.  Describe what you are doing in detail. This isn’t about ‘feeling’. It’s about what you’re doing – so keep to the ‘facts’. If you are living on a beach, writing the next bestselling thriller, or leading a team of scientists to discover a cure for some rare disease, write it down. Be specific.
  3. On the same piece of paper, if there’s room (it all depends on how specific you got with describing your ideal life) write an agenda for your typical day.
    1. 7:00am I wake up and here the sounds of the ocean waves crashing against the rocks below my open window. I hear seagulls cawing and smell the aroma of coffee brewing. I roll over and kiss my beloved on the shoulder and slip out of bed. I stretch and let the last tendrils of sleep roll off my shoulders as I walk into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee. Good morning world!
    2. 8:00am  I am in my home office overlooking the rocks and ocean. In the distance I see a fishing boat bobbing on the waves. I open my laptop and hear the familiar whir of it warming up. I put my fingers to the keyboard and begin…
    3. 11:00am  I’ve had a great writing session and stop for a coffee and a scramble down to the beach below.
    4. noon  I share a delicious lunch of quinoa salad and fresh tomatoes from the market with my beloved. He shares his plans for the afternoon and after an hour together, I go back to my office.
    5. 1:00pm  This is my ‘get the details done to keep my life organized’ time. I answer emails. Respond to queries. Call my agent. Set a meeting with the producer and team who is working on turning my last book into a movie.
    6. 2:30pm Writing time
    7. 5:30pm  Walk on the beach with my beloved to enjoy the sunset. We sit on the rocks and talk about our days. I share snippets of my new characters, the challenges I’m having. He shares parts of his day too.
    8. 6:30pm  I spend an hour reviewing the work I’ve completed today. I’m pleased with my progress.
    9. 7:30pm  My beloved and I prepare dinner and spend the evening together.
  4. Stop. Breathe. Listen. Listen to the chatter in your brain. What is it saying to you? How are you feeling about writing out the agenda for your ideal life? Are your thoughts predominantly positive or negative? Do you feel foolish? Inspired? Hopeful? Write it down. All of it. Everything. Write it down.
  5. Write down five things you can do today to  move you closer to your goal or write down the five things you’re not doing today that will move you closer to your goal. Whichever you choose, make sure you are being honest with yourself. No one else has to see this (but it is helpful to share it with another). What are you doing today to create the life you want to live? What aren’t you doing today that will make it happen.

See, there is no one going to ride in on a white charger to rescue you from your inertia.

You are the one you’ve been waiting for.

Then again, you could do none of the above and just see what happens.

But then, you’ve already been doing that. What are you waiting for?








#fbf Can forgiveness change the past?

Once upon a time, I got lost in a relationship.

I fell into the arms of an abuser and almost died.

And then, I got my life back when he was arrested.

I didn’t know who I was, where I was or even how I’d got to that place in which I was living with such deep, dank desperation and sadness.

I’d done things and behaved in ways I did not think were possible for me.

And yet, there I stood amidst the devastation of my life having to acknowledge the truth; I had become that woman who lost her moral compass and fallen into the abyss of abuse.

After his arrest, I looked around me and realized, I was lost. I had seventy-two cents in my pocket, a few clothes and my trustworthy Golden Retriever who had walked beside me for much of that journey. I had to find my way back to living without fear, to living with joy in my heart, and it had to begin with me.

I remember the morning after his arrest when I began writing in my journal for the first time in years. Since I was a child, I have always kept a journal. On the pages of my journal I could write without censorship. I could face myself and find where I stood in my life, regardless of the weather blowing outside.

While with him, I did not write. Writing is about truth for me and I knew my life had become a lie. His lies had become my truth and I was too broken to face it. So I did not write.

Writing it out to face the truth

That first breathless morning after his arrest, I wrote and wrote through my tears.  The words poured out as I tried to exorcise the ghost of his existence and my revulsion of who I had become. I wrote of my horror at what I’d done. My disbelief that I could have believed him, have been so gullible, so stupid, so naïve.

And I wrote about ‘never’. “I’ll never forgive myself.” “I’ll never forget what he did.” “I’ll never be able to get over this.” The ‘nevers’ went on and on to the point I thought they’d never end.

My journal did not disappoint me. I had to face the truth. If I held myself to ‘never’ I would not heal. And I wanted to heal. I wanted to reclaim myself. To rebuild my life and to reconnect with my daughters.

In facing never on the page, I asked myself, “Is this true? Will I never be able to forgive myself for what I did to my daughters’ lives? Will I never feel joy again?”

And then I asked. “Is this what I want in my life?”

My answer was an emphatic “No.”

What I want could only be found through forgiveness

What I wanted was to live without fear. I wanted to live with love in my heart. And most of all, I wanted to reconnect with my daughters. During the final three months of that journey I had disappeared without a word and they had waited for a call from the police telling them that I had been found – dead or alive. They feared the worst.

When he was arrested, my daughters were thankful that I was alive. They were also justifiably angry. At 15 and 17, they did not deserve that terror.

I could not change what I had done. All I could do was ask for their forgiveness.

Forgiveness is healing

Forgiveness is a powerful tool for healing. To receive forgiveness, I had to be able to give it, without qualification or reservation. That meant, I had to be able to forgive the abuser. And, I had to forgive myself.

When I forgave him, I didn’t say, ‘you are not accountable.’ I didn’t forgive him to let him know I forgave him.  I forgave him so that I would not have to hold onto anger, blame, shame or guilt. I forgave him so that I could be free of him.

Forgiving him wasn’t ‘easy’ but it was straight-forward. I have never spoken to him again since his arrest. To forgive him I continually repeated the words to myself and accepted them as truth. “I forgive you.” When the little voice inside me rose up and said, “But…” I reminded it that I had forgiven him and could not harbour resentments, questions or doubts. It was the only way to stop thinking of him.

Forgiving myself was more difficult. I wanted to hold myself pinioned to the sword of self-blame. I wanted to chastise myself. Berate myself. Condemn myself for having been a fool, for having hurt my daughters so much. But, to do so would have meant I did not believe myself worthy of my daughters’ forgiveness. By telling myself I would never forgive myself, yet asking them to forgive me, I was withholding from myself the very thing I wanted to receive.

I forgave myself so that I could be free

And so, I forgave myself. I didn’t qualify my forgiveness. I didn’t define it or limit it to specific events. I simply forgave myself.

I cannot give what I do not have. I cannot receive what I am not willing to give. To receive forgiveness, I must be willing to ask for it, and to give it.

I cannot change the past. I can forgive it.

And so I did. And so it is.



#fbf – Flashback Friday — I wrote the original version of this post in February 2006, almost 3 years after he was arrested.


#LadyBalls? No thanks. I’ve got a vagina.

Ovarian Cancer Canada has an ad campaign inviting women to ‘have the lady balls to do something about it.’

No thanks Ovarian Cancer Canada. I don’t need lady balls, or any other balls that use my femininity to measure my strength of character against a man’s, or to get my health checked.  I’ve got all the power and confidence I need – in my vagina.

That’s right. I wrote it. In public. Vagina. I’ve got one, and what’s more, I’m proud of it.

And that’s the problem with Ovarian Cancer Canada’s ad. The actors say ‘lady balls’ and nod their heads in admiration when the women “act like men” when they assert themselves to get the job done, or ask a guy out, or win at the poker table, or inspire girls in the locker room.

You need lady balls to do all that, says the ad.

What women need is to not have men’s balls used against them.

What women need is to not be forced into servitude as weapons of war through rape and slavery and prostitution.

What women need is to earn the same pay for the same job, to have access to locker rooms and boardrooms without being hit on or hit by the glass ceiling.

What every woman needs is the right to say No and have the word taken seriously. To go out and not worry about having their drink spiked because some dude wants to get his balls off without consent.

What women need is to have their vaginas – and all that may or not may not come with them – revered and respected.

Regardless of where our bodies are on their journey, our female sex organs hold the seat of our humanity. They are the vessels of the future, containers of our capacity to grow life, channels for our creativity, compassion, and, quite frankly powerful enough to get the job done on their own.

We need to do better than to use catchy phrases to get our daughters, our sisters, our mothers, our friends, attention. And we don’t need to get screened for ovarian cancer to prove our sex organs are as good as a man’s. We need to get screened for ovarian cancer because our ovaries matter. Our voices matter. Our bodies matter. Our lives matter.

The world doesn’t need women to act like men. The world needs us to claim the inherent power of our vaginas. To turn the tides on aggression. To up the ante on caring for Mother Earth. To embrace humanity in the sacredness of our feminine nature and nurture it back to well-being.

We don’t need balls to do that.

We need our vaginas, our ovaries, and our feminine brain-power to give birth to a world where every child is safe from abuse, safe from being dragged and drugged into becoming soldiers of war and mass destruction. Where little boys don’t go to bed hungry and little girls don’t fear the footsteps in the hall. We need women to help end the drugs, famine, poverty, terrorism and every other conflict we, the humans of this world, have created.

We won’t change the world by growing a pair of balls.

We will change it by using our voices, our hands, our hearts, and our capacity to nurture life into being.

So yeah. I am disappointed by Ovarian Cancer Canada’s suggestion that I find the balls to do something about ‘it’ or anything in this world.

I am a woman. I’m tired of being told the only agency I have is in my ability to reproduce. Tired of hearing that I need to act ‘like a man’ as if that’s the only pathway to success. I’m tired of being asked to “grow a pair” to reach some man-made measurement of my equality and worth. And I’m tired of having my sexual organs used as a means to keep me in my place so that others can gain position and power in this world.

My vagina and my ovaries and my womb may be retired, but I am not done changing the world.


Woman Awaken

Woman awaken.
Rise up.
to the earth move
within thy sacred feminine
giving birth
to the wisdom of the universe
flowing in your veins.
Woman rise up

Woman awaken.
Rise up.
the portal of your sacred womb
with the essence
of the universe
calling humankind
to step back
from the edge of madness
pull away from the abyss
of our minds’
constant drive to self-destruction.

Woman awaken.
Rise up
your work is not done
you must guide us
back into our hearts
where wisdom arises
in our memory
of being one
with the ways of Mother Earth.

Woman awaken.
Your time has come
Blessed is the fruit
of thy womb
at the centre of the universe
pouring forth
the healing powers
of grace
Reverse the laws of living
in the past or fearing the future
Bring us back to our hearts.

Woman awaken.

Thy time has come.

The poem appeared after watching the video below on S*HE LivingTV and becoming completely immersed in the words of Ilarion Merculieff 

The Plan: What a Ficus Benjamina taught me.

FullSizeRender (71)My office window at home faces north onto the avenue in front of our house.

My desk is tucked into the bay window overlooking the front yard and beside it sits a large Ficus Benjamina. It is full and bushy and beginning to take over the right side of my desk area as it reaches out from the corner towards the light that filters in between the venetian blinds.

It has survived two moves, one of them in winter, and has continued to lay claim to life since I first brought it home over ten years ago. Which means, in spite of being mostly ignored by me, it is determined to live.

Sometimes, that’s how we treat our bodies. In spite of our best efforts to ignore them, they lay claim to life, seeking light in even the most inhospitable of environments.

I made a commitment to Mr. Ficus this morning. I agreed to feed him, nurture him and to mist him (which according to the literature is best done with boiled water that has been allowed to cool to room temperature).  He deserves my loving attention.

So do me, myself and my body.

Deserve my loving attention.

And that can be challenging some days. To give myself loving attention.

Sometimes, the best I can do is stay out of my own way. Unfortunately, staying out of my own way has become a practice of ignoring what my body needs most. Regular exercise. Healthy food. Solid sleep. Care and attention.

So, today, in this public space, I commit to stop getting out of my own way and to get back on my way to well-being.

To do it, I have decided to create The Plan.

The Plan is my map to staying focused, on target and on the path of well-being.

The Plan is composed of six steps:

  1. Acknowledge the problem/issue/situation.  Be honest. Caring. Non-judgemental of myself.
  2. Define what I ‘want to’ change/shift/create.  Be realistic. Practical. Caring.
  3. Identify what is keeping me in the current problem/issue/situation.  Be honest. Caring. Non-judgemental of myself.
  4. Make a commitment to what I will change/shift/create.  Be realistic. Practical. Caring.
  5. Describe what ‘my world’ will look like when I shift one thing, two things, three things. Be positive. Fearless. Caring.
    1. Describe what ‘my world’ will look like in 6 months if I do nothing today. 1 year. 2 years. 5 years.
    2. Describe what ‘my world will look like if I do one thing, two things, three things… in 1 year. 2 years. 5 years.
  6. Breathe deeply and begin. Do the things I’ve committed to do. Stay true to my path. Be loving. Be caring. Be kind to myself. Be committed to me.

So. Here goes.

The Plan.

  1. Acknowledge the problem/issue/situation.

Over the past many months, I have allowed myself to become swallowed up in the frenzy of being too busy, of telling myself I’m too tired to exercise, eat right. I have allowed myself to drink more wine then I’m accustomed to, or is healthy for me, eat food that is convenient, not always balanced or nourishing. I have hunkered down into inertia and have become rooted in inactivity.

2.  Define what I ‘want to’ change/shift/create.

I want to shift my attitude of ‘why bother’ to ‘I care’. About me. My well-being. My health.

3.  Identify what is keeping me in the current problem/issue/situation.

This is a toughie. Okay — that’s a judgement. This is what it is.

First, on a spiritual level — It is deeper than just ignoring myself. It’s embedded in fear — of aging, of giving up, of giving into not caring about this vehicle that is the container of my being present in this world. It’s enshrined in some deep place of self-denial. It’s not about self-loathing. I know I love myself — but there is some place of denial within me that says – you do not matter. You do not deserve your loving attention. It isn’t a ‘real’ place, but it is a place where vestiges of the past still hold reign over my common sense, my lovingness towards me, and my knowing of what I deserve.

On a physical/mental level — It’s about feeding myself too many messages of why bother? You’re too tired. You’ve got enough on your plate. What’s the point? I’ll begin tomorrow. It’s dark out. Ah yes. This place is all about making excuses so I don’t have to turn up for me.

4.  Make a commitment to what I will change/shift/create.

First thing to shift — my negative self-talk. Time to feed myself thoughts of what is possible, what I deserve, what I want — is important. That I am worth fighting for. I am deserving of feeling good about all of me — not just my place of giving back to community, or doing things to make a difference in the world — but my place of deserving to look good and more importantly, feel good, while I’m being me!

Second thing to shift — taking care of me. I will begin with the little things. It struck me at dinner the other night when T. commented that he’d never been that busy at work he didn’t feel like he had time to think — I often do. Feel like I’m so busy I don’t have time to think. Doing without consideration of what the doing is all about is not healthy, productive nor constructive.

See, it all begins with my thinking. Change my thoughts and change my life.

5.  Describe what ‘my world’ will look like when I shift one thing, two things, three things.

In 6 months if I do nothing, I will feel worse. Same as in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years.

If I begin with getting conscious of my thoughts, shift my thinking from ‘lack of time’ to abundance of opportunity to take care of me, in 6 months, I will have put myself first. In a year, I will feel healthier, more content, more balanced, more productive and directed in my activities. I will feel fulfilled. 2 years. 5 years. I will be on fire. I will be energized. Satisfied and passionate about living my best, not just settling for doing my best.

6.  Breathe deeply and begin. Do the things I’ve committed to do. Stay true to my path.

I begin. Right now.

And what that means is I will get more detailed in The Plan. Like adding in a commitment to regularly report back here on my commitment to staying focused on nurturing my needs, my desire to be whole-heartedly present; body, mind and spirit.

Thanks Mr. Ficus. It’s a beginning where I see, there is light peeking through the darkness. (And I promise. I will remember to open the blinds today so you can see out and let the sunshine in.)





It’s all about commitment

C.C., Beaumont and Beau’s girlfriend Zali

Every day, morning awakens casting off darkness, pushing into the light of a new day rising.

On the threshold of this new day, the past wanes like the full moon beginning its descent once again into darkness as the earth continues its orbit around the sun. Memory of its fullness eases into the dark as we turn our faces to the sun, trusting that in the waning and waxing of the moon, the night will continue to be full of stars lighting up the night.

Tonight is the night of the full moon. According to this article in Elephant Journal,

Full moons tend to bring our underlying personal relationship issues to the surface.  It’s not that it exacerbates what wasn’t there, but more like the fullness of the moon is a reflection of our hearts.

Last night, as C.C. and I drove to meet my youngest daughter and her partner for dinner at a new Mission area restaurant, we had the following conversation.

Me:   Wow. Look at the moon. It’s almost full.

C.C.: You don’t think it’s full?

Me:    (Squinting my eyes to check for shadows on the moon’s face) Hmmm… Maybe it is. Hard to tell.  If it’s not yet full, it’s almost there.

C.C.:  I think it’s there.

Me:    Oh good. I like the full moon. I read somewhere that in South America they don’t see a man in the moon. They see a bunny.

C.C.:  I see a bunny.

Me:    You do?

C.C.:  Yup. His ears are going to the right and he’s hopping to the left.

Me:    Maybe you’re South American!

C.C.:  I hope so. It’s warmer there.

And that’s why I love this man so much.

He likes to make me laugh. He’s smart, always kind and always supportive of me and my whimsy.

Work in Progress Mixed Media
Work in Progress
Mixed Media

No matter what I’m working on in my studio, he is always willing to come down to check it out whenever I ask. His feedback is always honest, which I appreciate more than platitudes, and his suggestions inevitably surprise me with their spot on direction. He’s also willing to come downstairs, sit in the big leather recliner in the corner and read while I paint. He doesn’t try to talk to me. He simply shares his presence. I love that about him. He gives me space to create while being present in community.

And, he believes there is magic and mystery in this big ole’ world, or at least, is willing to support me in my awe-struck wonder at the world we live in.

He also likes to tell me I’m special, which is kind of special of him!

And what could be better than that? To have someone in your corner, cheering you on, supporting you and telling you you’re special even when you’re standing in your grungies, paint spattered on your face in place of make-up, a frown furrowing your brow as you try to figure out what’s missing or out of balance in whatever you’re working on.

C.C. doesn’t care about the frowns. He loves me just the way I am and in his love, I am learning to trust in love, exactly the way I am.

Last night over dinner, we talked about our one year anniversary coming up in April. “Any big plans?” T, my daughter’s partner asked.

We looked at each other and laughed. We haven’t really discussed it yet.

I jokingly commented, “We’re waiting to see if we make it to one year.” And then I laughed. Because the fact is, I have no doubts we’ll make it to one year. “It’s pretty amazing,” I added. “We haven’t had a single argument since we got married where I throw up my arms and say, ‘That’s it. I’m done.’ “(That tended to be my response to moments of dissension — I quit.)

Now, I don’t play the ‘I quit’ card. Marriage has changed all of that.

“It’s about commitment,” C.C. said.

We are committed.

Like the earth’s orbit around the sun, we are committed to this path together. It doesn’t matter whether the moon is waxing or waning or the stars are shining bright or hiding behind the fullness of the moon. No matter where in the world we are, our hearts are a reflection of the fullness of Love shining brightly between us as we travel together on this journey of life.


and… get inspired with this amazing Tedx Talk about happiness — it’s all in the strength and healthiness of our relationships.

Life is in the art of making it real

Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” — Oscar Wilde

In the studio, I find neither life nor art imitating the other. Instead, I find life makes more sense through art-making.

Life-making and art-making are one and the same to me. Every life is a work of art that is a reflection of its creator.

Like life, art-making becomes fuller, richer, more satisfying, when I get brave and don’t fear the steps I’m taking but instead, commit to taking them wholeheartedly, trusting I have the capacity, and the heart, to deal with whatever comes my way lovingly, compassionately, honestly and bravely.

Last night in the studio, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to create. I simply wanted to create.

I prepared a page in my art journal and while flipping through a bunch of pages I’d collected for collage, found an ink mono print I’d done a couple of years ago of my face.

Cool! I thought. I’ll collage my face into my page and go from there.

It had been awhile since I’d tried to collage one of the ink mono prints into a piece I’m working on and didn’t think back to my last experience.

It could have been a big mistake!

To collage the mono print into my piece, I use a liquid medium. Liquid medium makes ink run. I’d learned this important fact the last time I’d tried to do this — and forgotten it.

Last time, I scrapped the piece.

This time, I chose to keep working through it and make my ‘mistake’ part of my process.

I didn’t worry about the ink running. I made it part of the creation.

And, because I have experiencing working with art products and processes, I knew how to stabilize the mono print once I’d gotten it to where I wanted it to be so that I could keep working on the piece without the ink continuing to run.

And that’s when it struck me. What I was doing was very much like living life.

We all have our ‘histories’. The past things we’ve done and experienced and learned that inform our life today. Like dissecting frogs in Biology Class there are some lessons I’ve learned that do not apply to my life today. For others, dissecting frogs may have led to studying medicine or becoming biology teachers. We are each unique in how we use what we’ve learned and experienced to enrich the journey of our lives.

We carry our learnings and experience through our journey, like beautiful threads in our tapestry of life. Some threads are longer. Some create a pattern we find pleasing. Some we tie-off and weave in another colour or pattern. No matter what we do with the thread, it is always there, ready to add value to the vibrancy and stability of our world today.

Since trying to collage in that first mono print a couple of years ago, I’ve spent a lot more time in the studio. In the process, I’ve gotten more confident and free in my creative journey.

Whereas last time the ink ran I scrapped the project, this time I chose to keep pushing through it. To trust in the process and use what I knew about art-making to enhance my journey. I chose to use my ‘mistake’ as a gift to help create and enrich the outcome.

Here’s the thing though. There was a part of the process last night that did apply to Biology Class long ago.

In Grade 13 I did not want to dissect frogs and convinced my teacher that he didn’t want me doing it either. Instead, I put together an independent study program where I spent the year outside the Biology classroom and in the Grade 3 & 4 classrooms in the elementary school next door. There, I taught children the art of living life compassionately, cooperatively, creatively.

Last night I used some of the lessons I learned from putting together that independent study project when I was in my teens.

Believe in yourself.

Trust in the process.

There are no mistakes, just opportunities to create.

Every life is a work of art. We all have the talent and capacity to create beautiful lives through bravely taking each step of our journey believing in ourselves, borrowing from our pasts when necessary and giving ourselves the grace of trusting in the process of life unfolding in all its beautiful colours running wildly across the page we are creating in this moment right now.





Now is the best time to celebrate the moment.

Throughout my day, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I stop and give a little thanks. My goal is to link one moment to the next, to feel gratitude stirring in all things, calling me to celebrate the preciousness of each moment. And the best way I know to do that is to give thanks. To stop and say a little ‘thank-you’ to the universe as I take in all the good around me.

Moments for thanks appear everywhere, all the time.

Like, in the moment of pushing the button for the elevator and the doors open like magic! Give a little thanks.

Sometimes, the same moment may  not feel or look quite so much like an opportunity to give thanks. But it is.

Imagine, you push the button for the elevator and it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r for it to arrive. Rather than grow impatient, pressing the button again and again like that will make a difference, stop, take a breath and give a little thanks for that precious moment where you get to stand in the quiet, waiting outside the closed doors and have a chance to breathe.

Some of the moments where I stopped to give a little thanks yesterday included:

  • The five minute wait the electronic news board told me I had before the next train. The morning air was fresh and cool against my skin. Beyond the station, traffic hummed along the roadway. Above, the sky was stretched thin and grey as dawn awakened. I looked around at the people lined up along the platform. I looked up and breathed and gave a little thanks for the precious moment of reprieve to simply get present in my day.
  • Sharing a hilarious moment with a couple of co-workers in the coffee room. We laughed at what one person said that riffed into another until we had exhausted a rather bizarre and silly conversation about why women don’t need ‘balls’. Truly, we don’t.
  • A co-worker giving me an apple — I’d forgotten my lunch and his apple ‘saved me’ from eating what wasn’t good for me. That small act lead to another moment of giving thanks when I couldn’t find my office keys, only to locate them later in the kitchen. In the fridge. That incident caused more laughter and what is better than laughter to lift your spirits?
  • Finding a little box of Valentine’s Smarties at the bottom of my bag. Ok. That was before I ate the apple but it sure was a thrill to find those pink and red Smarties!
  • Pressing SEND on a document I’d been working on for two days. Whew! And getting to laugh with the recipient of the document because it’s now off my desk and onto hers. She said thank you. I’m not quite sure she meant it, (she now has to complete her part of it) but I’m taking her at her word.
  • Taking a break and going outside mid-day to walk around the block. What a gift to be able to just get up from my desk and step outside for a brief interlude. Did I mention this winter has been inordinately warm? Bonus! I only needed a light coat and no gloves or boots!
  • The warm welcome and wishes of the woman at the drugstore when I dropped in to buy a lip balm. Her “I hope you’re having a terrific day,” felt so sincere. She made me smile and remember, I was having a terrific day.

My goal is to fill my day with so many moments of thanks that moments of dullness or emptiness, or simply ‘the blahs’ don’t have time to rise up and fill in the spaces between my being present in gratitude, and not being present in gratitude.

Psychologist, speaker, and author of Buddha’s Brain and many other books on gratitude, happiness and well-being, Rick Hanson, calls it, taking in the good. It’s not about just acknowledging the moment, it’s about taking it in, soaking up the feelings of wellbeing that come with noticing the goodness all around and letting the pure gold of the experience fill you up.

He explains it well in the short video below.

Hope you get a chance to watch it!  And even if you don’t, I hope your day is filled with moments where all that’s on your mind is how grateful you are for what is appearing before you in the moment, right now.

Remember, this moment right now is the only one you’ve got. Why not fill it with thanks?

Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York


If I could punch a hole in the darkness of depression.

You are not alone copyI had something else planned for today’s post.

Expect the unexpected and you will not be disappointed.

A woman sent me a tweet with a link to a video she created to raise awareness of eating disorders and to inspire people in their recovery journey of breaking free from ED.

Lilac Sheer uses song, animation and her own story of recovery from ED to drive home an important message — There is another path. There is help. You are not alone.

And in her note I was reminded. I am not alone.

There are no coincidences. I needed to hear Lilac’s words. I needed to see through the darkness of my fear to the light of hope always present in our human connection.

Yesterday I had a conversation with someone trapped in the darkness of depression’s cloying mass. I wanted to cry. To scream. To punch out the darkness so the light could get through to them. I wanted to run after them and pull on their arms and force them to turn around. I wanted to shout at them so they could hear me. Don’t go so deep. Don’t take that path. Look. Come this way. Here is the light. Here is love waiting to embrace you.

But I am not that powerful. I cannot punch holes into the darkness consuming another’s mind and being. I cannot make someone hear my words when darkness is blocking out all sound of Love, hope, and joy.

I can only hold space in the light of my heart so that where our space connects, it is only Love they feel between us even when it is love they most fear.

I can listen with a loving heart. Hear with loving ears. Speak with loving words.

I cannot change another’s path. I can illuminate my path to shine fiercely, brightly, lovingly. I can shine my light into the darkness so that they do not feel so all alone, so scared and small.

And I can let them know, as Lilac Sheer did for me, you are not alone in the darkness. I will stand with you. I will hold space for you. I will be with you. Fierce. Loving. Radiating with the light of hope that beyond the darkness you will feel and see and know the light entering on your next breath and the next. So that no matter how deep the darkness feels you know deeper within you, deeper than the darkness — Love is always present. Love is always with you.

I may not be able to punch holes into the darkness, but I can hold space for the light to shine through. Always.

Please take the time to watch Lilac Sheer’s amazing video animated by the very talented Natalie Biegaj.

Punch a hole into the darkness — Like it. Share it. Let those trapped in depression’s cloak of darkness or struggling to free themselves from ED’s killing embrace know, they are not alone. None of us are.


The Apology. How to let go of being right and be in relationship.


IMG_20140210_0003My father was not a man to say “I’m sorry.” Apologies were for the weak. Strong men never backed down.

To apologize is to be willing to admit you made a mistake. Hurt someone. Caused harm. Apologies are a way of acknowledging the other person matters to you. That you see that what you did does not sit well with them. And, it’s a way to acknowledge your own humanness.

The challenge of being unable to apologize is, it makes the need to be perfect stronger.

When you are driven by the need to ‘be perfect’, it is impossible to accept you might have made a mistake or hurt someone.

The drive for perfection is a killer of intimacy. No one can get through this life without causing someone else harm. We are human. Humans make mistakes. Though our intention may be not to hurt someone, we cannot control, nor know, how someone else will receive our truth. And sometimes, in emotionally charged moments, we do not deliver our truth with grace and ease. We serve it up fully loaded, expecting the other to be able to swallow it in one easy bite. Instead, all it does is cause them indigestion.

Apologies have impact. They are a way of telling someone you unintentionally, or intentionally, hurt that they matter to you. That you see by their reaction to whatever you did, that you caused them pain. And in your apology you are telling them that. “I see you and you matter to me more than standing my ground matters to me.”

You are telling them that they are more important than the momentary thrill of revenge, or getting even or whatever you received from your actions, gave you.

Apology is easy, once you get over yourself.

Next time you do something you can see caused someone harm, let go of your desire to be right and try this instead:

  1. Take a breath. Now, ask yourself. “What’s the story I’m telling myself about this situation? Am I justifying my ‘rightness’? Am I building a case against them so I don’t have to look at me?”
  2. Take another breath. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen if I acknowledge where I was at in this situation was not as altruistic or ‘right’ as I make it out to be? What if I let go of being right and moved instead into being in relationship? What would I do differently?
  3. Take another breath. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to let go of my position to make room for both our positions in this conversation? Am I willing to see that my being right makes them wrong — And that is a lose/lose.”
  4. Keep breathing. Now, ask yourself, “What am I willing to do to create relationship? What can I do to allow both of us to cross from separate sides to common ground?
  5. Big, deep slow breath. Now, ask yourself, “Am I the problem here? Is my reluctance to admit what I did to create this situation, the reason the situation is continuing to fester? Am I willing to think with my heart and give my ego a break? Am I willing to acknowledge, I am human.”

If the answers to Question 5 are anything other than ‘yes’, begin at the beginning again. If you did answer ‘yes’, then an apology is the shortest distance between two hearts. Apologies given from a place of acknowledging your role in creating the situation, create space for forgiveness, and relationship, to blossom.

And let’s be careful here. An apology is not about saying, “I’m sorry I made you feel _________________.” That’s like saying, “I was right to do what I did. It’s your bad you’re feeling that way. So sorry.”

An apology is about acknowledging that what you did caused someone else harm and you honestly want to fix it. As in, “I see that what I did by_________________ hurt you. I apologize. I do not want to hurt you. I value you and want to be in relationship with you. I want to cross this bridge so we can be together on the same side. Is there something I can do to help fix this?”

Yesterday, C.C. my beloved did something that irritated me. He did not do it intentionally. In fact, what he did was not all that critical and was easily fixed. Me. I wanted to make it a federal case. I wanted to rub salt into the wound of what I judged to be his thoughtlessness. (I was tired okay?)

Here’s the thing. My being tired does not give me the right to be rude or inconsiderate or to sit in judgement.

C.C. is a wise man. He let my bad behaviour go and asked me for a hug.

It takes a lot of work to carry a judgement or grudge across a bridge when the one you love is holding you safely in their embrace.

Apologies build bridges. They create connection. They ease tension and, as my eldest daughter explained it once, apologies replace pain with Love. In the aftermath of a relationship with a man who hurt all of us badly, when I apologized for what I did in that relationship to cause them pain and fear, the river of pain separating us kept getting replaced with love. Eventually, the pain flowed away and all that was left was love.

I like a world where no matter what happens, all that is present is Love.