Circles of Hope — We must share

Photography by Mary Hone

It is 2am and I can’t sleep.

I don’t know if I’m still buzzed from the amazingness that was Circles of Hope yesterday, or if I’m just so emotionally exhausted even sleep can’t find space to turn up.

It was an amazing day.

Full house.

Incredible speakers and a team that made the entire thing look flawless and effortless.

Beyond the day however, is the emotional space created in sharing this journey with my eldest daughter. Of sitting with her and talking about the story of the past, our fears and sorrows and how to tell the story so that it not only inspires but reminds people that they are not alone.

Last night, I received an email from one of the attendees. They hadn’t planned on coming to the event, but a change in their schedule gave them some free time.

Being a parent myself and going through some personal challenges, I was incredibly moved. I left feeling a healing sensation after hearing you two speak. I knew I needed to attend, if only for a portion, today and the words of you and your daughter were that reason.
Their words reaffirm my belief in why it is so important to share our stories. They remind us that this journey we’re on is our collective human story. We are not alone, we are part of our shared human condition.
Being alone is a silent place. For me, believing I was alone in my fear kept me silent. My silence kept me trapped.
Yesterday, as Alexis and I stood at the front of the room and shared the words we’d worked so hard to create together to tell this story that is both so ugly and beautiful, I felt encompassed by something greater than just the two of us telling a story to the audience. I felt safe.
It was stunning moment — to feel safe in our vulnerability. To feel safe in our exposing of the wounds that once cut so deep I didn’t want to live.
To heal, to move beyond the trauma of the past, we must share our stories.
Yesterday, my eldest daughter and I shared our story. It is not the story of our lives. It is a story about a time in our lives when we were lost.
But as Alexis said in her closing remarks,

I too want to give my son the world. And though it may be a world in which I won’t always be able to protect him –  from others, from my mistakes, or from himself, I will teach him, as my mother has taught me, that together we can stand in the circle, no matter how broken, and know that love is the home we can always come back to.

And I want to give a shout out to the amazing Mary Hone and her photography and beautiful heart. On Monday, after reading my blog, she emailed to ask if she could the final phrase of my part of our presentation in a photograph.
What she sent me is stunning. It not only captures the sentiment of the words, its beauty creates a sense of wonder and awe, peace and hope.
Thank you Mary.  What a beautiful gift to have my words resonate within you so strongly you create something beautiful in their expression through your art in a way that says so much more than just the words.
My heart is overflowing with gratitude — and you are one of its many blessings.


(and yes, I did schedule this to post at a more decent, and humane, hour of the morning!  And as always happens when I write it out, I can now go to bed and go to sleep)


At Home in Our Hearts

There is an old saying, “practice makes perfect.”

But what if it’s not about ‘perfection’? What if the quest for perfection detracts from the value of practice?

In practice, if I am constantly striving for perfection, I lose sight of the joy of taking the journey, of being present to possibility.

Striving for perfection, I begin to believe there is a finite endpoint at which there will be no room for growth or improvement, or even change. I’ll be perfect so there’s nothing else to do.

Then the quest becomes about perfecting whatever I’m doing, versus, the joy of being immersed in whatever I’m doing, continuously improving and evolving my art, my story-telling, my writing, my voice…

One thing I am definitely learning as I work with my eldest daughter on our presentation for Circles of Hope, (which happens tomorrow! have you got your ticket?) is the fact that perfection is the killer of two things that are vital in my life:

Joy.     Intimacy.

I can’t be real and perfect at the same time. My view of ‘perfection’ is subjective. When I reach that place where I believe, I’m perfect, there’s no room for another view, different ideas, other perspectives. And without being open to another’s voice, another’s heart-truth, there’s only room for that ole’ joy killer, perfection.

My daughter and I may not be perfect in our presentation tomorrow — that’s not our goal. Our desire is to speak from our hearts. Real. Honest. Vulnerable.

As we’ve been practicing together she has reminded me many times to breathe. To let the words become embodied in my being… present.

To let them sink down from my head into my body and heart.

And that can’t happen when I’m focused on getting them, just right or appearing to be perfect.

Being one with the words can only happen when I stay present in the now, breathe into being conscious, aware and heart-driven in what I am saying.

The words of this story have come from our hearts. They’ve come from a place of deep intimacy, a willingness to be real with each other, and a desire to share our story in a way that will touch hearts and open minds to the possibility that on the other side of trauma, loss, grief, is this place we can always come back to. This vulnerable, beautiful and grace-filled space where we are always at home in our hearts.




Daily Intention: The space between our hearts

As my eldest daughter and I work on our presentation for Circles of Hope on Wednesday, I am constantly in awe of her courage, her insight and wisdom.

Sometimes, her insights and mine differ.

In those times especially, I must remember to breathe deeply into the space between our hearts so that I can see the beauty in her truth and honour its presence.

Sometimes, rather than take a breath, I want to defend against.

Defending against creates opposition. It widens the gap.

My intention is to always move closer into intimacy. To do that, I must let go of defending against and step into being present without fear that our different perspectives are greater than the love that binds us.

I am grateful for my daughters courage and honesty. Through her wisdom, I am able to heal those broken places that were not visible until I felt myself wanting to defend my position and hold onto my view of the past.

As I say in my part of the presentation, we cannot change the past, but through love, we can heal the future.



If you are in Calgary and are interested in joining us at Circles of Hope on Wednesday, November 8th –  there are still some tickets available — Circles of Hope

Daily Intention: Sweet Kiss of Awakening

I ran into a lovely woman I hadn’t seen in awhile. We stood in a +15 corridor and chatted briefly about life, work, play.

She commented that she reads my words everyday and is always impressed about how ‘together’ I am.

I laughed.

Here’s the secret.

I am always human. Like you, I have known hurt. Like you, I have experienced loss. I have questioned my right to be me, to say what I say, to do what I do. I have known moments of despair, insecurity, sadness.

I have known moments of great joy. Exhilarating success. Humbling events.

And sometimes, in my pain, my fear, my humanness, I express myself in ways that do not reflect the ‘more’ of what I want to create in the world. Sometimes, the ‘lesser’ me, overrides my higher good.

So I write.

I write to find my ‘togetherness’. I write to remind myself that all my imperfections can’t hold a candle to my magnificence when I stop listening to the chatter in my head that tells me to ‘play low’ and give myself to the passion of soaring high.

And I can’t find that space, I can’t awaken my ‘higher good’ to my magnificence without writing my way into the realization — those little things that irritate me… those negative thoughts that disrupt my daily flow… those critical and complaining words that bring me down… they’re just part of my journey.

They are not my life. They are not all of me.

All of me is found in this space where I risk being vulnerable so that I can see, no matter the story going on in my head, the bigger story is the one I create, every day, by living authentically through the expression of my higher vision for myself.

It is a daily journey, this living up to my higher good. Unlike a river flowing to the sea that has no thought of the water filling it up, I must flow consciously. I must make a conscious decision to continuously flow into the sea of acceptance and forgiveness. I must choose to fill my heart and my love bucket up with every breath, being accountable through everything I do and say for how I express myself in this world and leave my mark.

And when I slip or fall back… to lovingly remind myself to come back to the page and begin again.

Daily Intention: Welcome everything

It can be easy to look on the dark side of life. To see only the shadows, the lack, the bad behaviours of others, the ‘not good enoughs’ going on in the world.

Yet, when we choose to see the gifts and value in all things, we lift our own spirits and the world around us.

When we choose to stop focusing on the irritations, we begin to liberate ourselves from our own sufferings.

Today’s Intention was inspired by a quote I read from Pema Chodron yesterday on David Kanigan’s post:  Flying Over I-40 S. With Pema & Lav Doors.

She writes:

“The propensity to feel sorry for ourselves, the propensity to be jealous, the propensity to get angry—our habitual, all-too-familiar emotional responses are like seeds that we just keep watering and nurturing. But every time we pause and stay present with the underlying energy, we stop reinforcing these propensities and begin to open ourselves to refreshingly new possibilities. As you respond differently to an old habit, you may start to notice changes. In the past when you got angry, it might have taken you three days to cool down, but if you keep interrupting the angry thoughts, you may get to the point at which it takes only a day to drop the anger. Eventually, only hours or even one and a half minutes. You’re starting to be liberated from suffering.

~ Pema Chodron, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change(Shambhala Publications, Oct 9, 2012)


Daily Intention: Listen to your body

My back has decided to go on strike today.

It is possible that I have been ignoring its signals. Okay. Make that probably. Yes.

With so much to do still to get the house ready to go on the market, I am not taking as good care of my body as it deserves.

Time to reset.

Time to listen into what it is telling me and not just pretend it doesn’t have a voice or that it is invincible.

How often do you ignore your body’s signals only to find yourself on the other side of feeling your best?

Listen to your body today. Tell it you hear it. Honour its messages and treat it with tender loving care.

This is your one and only life. And, your one and only body. Treat it like it matters. Treat it like it makes a difference in how you live your life — it does!



Photo Source:  Ryan Pohanic via