Give your time away | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 31


Even if you don’t know what you are passionate about, volunteering is a great way to find out what your passions are.

Check your FB feed. What ‘stories’ do you share the most? What stories create energy around you? Are you passionate about ending racism? Discrimination? making sure refugees are treated fairly, find a way to assimilate, to find their own space in your city/town/area?

If you’re like me and find that stories of animal abuse cause you to cry and weep in despair, you might want to consider the wisdom of volunteering for one of these groups. I can’t do it. I know I will take on the pain and anger too much and not be able to experience the joy of helping one animal at a time. In these instances I donate money to the cause so that I can feel like I am contributing to the well-being of the animals and those who work so hard to end animal abuse.

Anger can be an avenue to passion. so if you find yourself always posting or reading up on discrimination, for example, find an organization in your area that works with immigrants and volunteer your time.

It’s a great way to meet people, learn about what is being done to make a difference for those who have come here to change their lives, and it’s a great way to contribute to making positive change happen.

Several years ago I gave a TEDxTalk called How Volunteering Saved My life.  It reminded me of all I was capable of in a time when I didn’t believe I was capable of much. Volunteering did save my life. It helped me restore my sense of worth, dignity, self-esteem, and, I met some wonderful people while I was there!


How to fill your heart with peace and joy.


Being happy and being at peace are not the same thing.

I can be happy to be out of a painful situation, but if I keep retelling the story of my pain, I will not find peace and joy in this moment I’m in.

It is important to face the emotions, to confront the things that disturb our peace of mind so that we can step through the disquiet and move beyond the things that distress us.

I caught myself in that space of disquiet recently. I was struggling to make sense of something that was going on and found myself in my own self-defeating game, one of my favourites — “I can’t do anything right. There’s no point in even trying. I may as well quit right now.”

It is not pretty when I find myself playing ‘the victim’.

It is insightful though because, in its light, I can see where I have veered off my path of walking with integrity, truth, passion and commitment to being my true self because I’ve allowed someone else’s actions or words become my reality. It illuminates those spaces within where my critter is having a little bit of a hissy fit stirring up angst and turmoil, just because he can, and mostly because I’m listening.

We all have those moments of self-doubt when we act out of our less than thinking and into our fears.

Strength comes when we stop blaming ‘the other’ for our angst and  lovingly face the truth about the games we’re playing with ourselves and say, “Well that was fascinating.” And then choose to stop the game and let go of the limiting thoughts that are keeping us mired in self-pity, woe is me and I’m no good thinking.

What can I do differently in this moment right now?” is a powerful question to ask in those moments. And if the answer is ‘nothing’, turn and face yourself and ask, “Really?” (it helps if you put one hand on your hip, tilt your head sideways and give yourself that ‘I don’t believe you’ kind of look you save just for your teenage son or daughter) and then smile  lovingly at yourself and decide to not buy into your own limiting beliefs about your capacity to shift, create possibility, change your thoughts. The truth is, those are just thoughts rolling around in your head. And thoughts can be changed.

There are a 1,001 reasons why we play self-defeating games — and none of them justify letting go of our right to live with peace and joy in our hearts, free to be the most amazing, magnificent human beings we were born to be.

Decide today to live free of the past, and feel your heart fill up with peace and joy.

Hudson’s Bay Company. Get your act together.

Have you ever had one of those encounters with a sales clerk where you had a plan on how it would go and it just doesn’t go the way you expected?

That was me yesterday.

I was returning an outfit to the Hudson’s Bay. I had bought it last week prior to coaching at Choices only to get it home to discover the clerk had left the security tags on all three items. The downtown Bay closes at 6. I debated and decided to drive to Chinook Centre to get the tags removed at the Bay there.

It was late and I was unhappy about the extra trip but wanted to wear the outfit the next day.

No such luck. I had bought it at the Olsen’s downtown, the sales clerk at the ladies clothing section told me. It’s not part of the Bay. Just a store within the Bay.

“But the sales receipt says, The Bay.” I said to the clerk.

“They use our system,” she replied and then promptly informed me that I should ‘rip the clerk’s face off’ when I took the items back.

I didn’t want to rip anyone’s face off, I told her. I just wanted to be able to wear the outfit the next day. Which in the end, I couldn’t.

So I decided to return it. I didn’t need to wear a reminder of how irritated I was.

Yesterday, on my way to meet my daughter and step-daughter for dinner, I went to the Bay downtown, walked up to the Olsen’s counter and told the clerk, who happened to be the woman who’d sold me the outfit last week, my story.

“Oh dear,” she replied. “I don’t know how that happened.”

Neither did I. I then told her how when I left the store the buzzer beeped. I walked back to the sales counter close to the exit where the clerk checked my bag on the scanner and nothing beeped. She told me I was okay to go and not to worry if the buzzer went again. Which it did.

“Well,” the clerk at the Olsen’s counter said after hearing that part. “She should never have let you go out again. That is inexcusable.”

Hmmm…. Like leaving the security tags on 3 items is inexcusable?

I decided not to engage in an ‘I’m the victim’ here exchange and told her I wanted to return all 3 items.

“If that’s how you want to get revenge that’s fine,” she replied.


“I’m not looking for revenge,” I said. “I’m looking for satisfaction. I would like to know how you are going to compensate me for the extra time and bother your mistake has cost me.”

“Oh. I can’t do anything about that,” she said.

“Then who can?” I asked.

“My manager.”

“Can I speak to her?”

“Yes, but she’s away for two weeks.”

I left my name and number and asked for the manager to call me upon her return.

And that’s where ‘expectations’ do not result in satisfaction.

I expected the clerk to be able to do something about providing me satisfaction for this situation. She did what she could. Refund my money. Beyond the refund though I wanted her to be contrite, apologetic and to not see me through her eyes of ‘seeking revenge’ but rather to see it through my eyes of “I am a frustrated customer and I am seeking satisfaction”.

She cannot see me through her eyes.

I also happen to know she is fairly new to the store as last week she was still in training. Not taking the security tags off is an oversight which her supervisor could have also checked for as she was there overseeing her on the day I purchased the outfit.

Human error is forgivable.

So is acting from her human condition.

As to Hudson’s Bay and Olsen?

They could get their act together and recognize if they are going to use the ‘same system’ for billing, they should use the same system for security tags too.




Take time in the quiet. | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 30


It is easy to get caught up in all the chaos and activity of the world around you.

Traffic, people, TV and computer and cellphones and other devices are constantly calling for your attention.

We all need a break.

Give yourself a break throughout the day.

No matter what you’re doing, take five or ten minutes to simply get present with where you are at outside and inside.

Sit quietly. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Slowly. In. Out. Slowly. In. Out.

Imagine a river of love rising up all around you.

It envelops your toes, your feet, your ankles, calves, knees, thighs and as it rises, it embraces you in warmth and love washing away all the tension of your day.

Let it keep rising and imagine that as it rises, your body begins to lift until you are floating on the river’s warm, beautiful surface.


Gently. Effortlessly.

Spend five minutes simply resting in the river’s embrace knowing it is love that supports you, holds you up, keeps you safe.

Repeat several times throughout the day.


Choices: Gratitude and Miracles

logo-choicesWe all have them. Those moments in time that have caused us pain, to feel rejected, to feel lost, alone, less than, not worthy of love, joy, caring, affection.

And in those moments are the grains of sand that become the stories we tell about the limitations of our lives. Within those moments are the reasons, and excuses, we give as to why we are in pain, rejected, lost alone, less than, not worthy of love, joy, caring, affection.

We are all born to live in grace. To be loved. To know joy. To have lives of wonder and awe.

But life has a way of happening. And in its happening, we learn methods of coping with pain, loss, rejection and a whole host of human attributes that caused us pain. In our coping, we forget the beauty and magnificence of our human condition. We forget our capacity to love, to find joy even on the darkest days, to feel love even in the darkest nights.

I have just spent five days in the Choices Seminar training room. Five days immersed in the human condition awakening to it beauty, wonder, awe and magnificence as trainees began to take the journey into the heart of what they want more of in their lives.

In her opening comments Mary Davis, one of the facilitators and daughter of Thelma Box the founder of Choices, describes Choices as a program that presents simple tools so that each of us can live better lives. The question is,  If better is possible, is good good enough? When it comes to living lives of joy, grace, peace and love, better is always possible.

The tools are straightforward. Trainees answer questions and work through exercises that help them identify for themselves what behaviours continually interfere with their feeling happiness, joy, peace, love. They learn tools to help them listen better to what another has to say without feeling like they have to ‘be wrong’  or constantly defend their position. They practice tools that teach them how to ask for what they want, without feeling rejected or invisible and how to give themselves medicine so that they can take care of those they love without always feeling like they are running on empty.

It is a powerful 5 days and no matter how many times I am in that room, I always learn something new about myself, my self-defeating games and the things I do that block me from having the ‘more’ of what I want in my life and in the world around me.

Being part of that circle reminds me every time that we are all miracles of life, all magnificent in our human condition. All perfectly human in all our human imperfections.

It reminds me that the pains we carry, the hurts and sorrows, the anger and grief are not our destiny.


It reminds me that we are human beings on the journeys of our lifetime. This lifetime in which we are free to let go of what brings us down so that we can become the light, the beauty, the magnificent human being we are truly meant to be.

It reminds me that no matter how dark or heavy the past, Love is always the answer.

It was a week of miracles. A week of connecting heart to heart. It was a week of wonder and awe.

I  am profoundly grateful.I am blessed.



Seek to find value in all things | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 29


It can be easy sometimes to think in absolutes when skies are dark and it feel like the darkness will never end.

Yet, even behind grey clouds, the sun is shining. And even after the darkest night, the dawn is waiting on the horizon.

Fin the value in the grey cloud day — for me, I look at a cloud day as an invitation to spend time in my studio — without guilting myself into feeling like I should be doing something outside in the yard.

I love candlelight, so dark mornings are an opportunity to meditate with a candle burning.

Find value in all things, and let the value you find be your invitation to create peace, love, joy and harmony in your life.