One Word. One Sun. One Moon.

The New Year is four sleeps old.

I have been waiting for ‘my one word’ to appear since before the calendar turned over.

This morning, in the stillness that comes before dawn, in the quiet of the dark holding onto the sky, it slipped in as gracefully as the river flowing past.


My One Word is FIERCENESS.

It is a scary word to me. To embody fierceness I must be not only fearless but strong and supple, committed and convicted of my path.

Fierceness reminds me that it is never too late to choose harmony, not discord. Peace, not war. It’s never too late to have a change of heart. Never too late to forgive. Never too late to let go.

And never too soon to choose Love.

To embody fierceness I must live within the moment allowing love to embrace my fears, whatever they may be.

My one word, “Fierceness” embodies the invitation to let go of fearfulness and stand strong of back, soft of heart, in Love with all humankind, all beings on this planet, sentient and insentient.

Fierceness calls for me to walk as one with this one whole world

Do you have One Word for 2023?

Please feel free to share it in the comments section below. Perhaps your word will inspire someone to hear theirs.


It Is My Choice

#ShePersisted Series – No. 30

Like many, conflict is not my comfort zone. In fact, I sometimes feel that getting a tooth pulled without anesthesia is preferable to wading into a conflict zone.

The challenge is, when I avoid conflict, I create discord within myself and the world around me.

Like a sickly sweet cotton candy ball, conflict cloys and clings, wrapping everything it comes in contact with in almost invisible threads of sticky nothingness that is bad for your health and everything it touches.

Which is why, to find resolution, we must choose to wade through the murky waters of conflict to swim in the waters of harmony on the other side.

Ask my beloved. I might not like conflict but I dislike enduring inappropriate behaviour, injustice, and inequity even more.

It’s a simple equation in my mind. I can choose to carry the discomfort of what someone else has done and let it fester inside while also polluting the waters between us, or I can choose to be accountable for my part of the equation.

For me, that choice isn’t always easy, but it is important. So, even when I’m feeling uncomfortable, intimidated, or like I’d rather just stay silent and pretend like it’s okay, even when it’s not, I must choose to do the right thing to create better.

And staying silent, standing stuck in confusion and fear, does not create better. For anyone.

For me, movements like #MeToo have highlighted the need and imperative for women, and allies, to speak our truth in the face of racism, discrimination, injustice, and all forms of harassment, bullying, gender inequity and patriarchial concepts designed to keep us feeling less than, in our place and silent.

It’s about turning up, paying attention, speaking our truth, and staying unattached to the outcome.

It’s about drawing a line and saying, it is not okay for me that you have chosen to cross that line.

It is not okay for anyone that this behaviour continue, unchallenged.

When we know better, we do better.

And because some people, some men, in particular, have not yet learned it is not okay to charge a conversation with uninvited sexual innuendo or make unsolicited advances, ignoring a woman’s right to choice, or a host of other advances that impair a woman’s ability to work, play and be safe in this world, we must draw hard lines where no man dare to cross. We must stake out boundaries and push back against advances that would pull us back into times past when women’s rights meant having the choice between moving to the parlour or the sunroom after dinner, to do needlepoint and chat of babies and the latest fashions while the menfolk sat around the table drinking port and smoking cigars as they discussed the heady matters of which the womenfolk had no ken.

And yes, I know there are men out there who stand with women and minorities in wanting to change the status quo, who want our world to become a more parity-based reflection of the make-up of our society where women represent 49.6% of the world’s population. (In Canada, women are 50.37% of the total population. In the US, 51.1%.)

And yes, I know change takes time and behavioural change is daunting but what is even more daunting are the challenges women continue to face in 2021 to gain equal pay for equal work. To eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace and a host of other malpractices that limit women’s advancement in their careers and their safety at home, on the streets and where ever they go.

So, while conflict is not my comfort zone, I will not back down. I will challenge injustice. I will confront discrimination, harassment, and bullying and I will not be silent.

It is my choice.

No. Never. No More. (No. 57 #ShePersisted Series)

No 60 (something) in #ShePersisted Series – mixed media on watercolour paper.

I hadn’t realized how long it has been since I last created a painting for my #ShePersisted series.

I thought I was done. Finished. Had enough.

The muse had other ideas.

I listened. Because… as No. 57 (or is it 60?) says…

No. 60 #ShePersisted Series

They said, you’ve come a long way baby.
Be happy.

She said, there’s still a long way to go.
I’ll be happy when dignity and justice, equality and love
are the way for all humanity.

And here’s how I know how long it’s been since I created No. 60… (which I think is actually No 57 because I seem to have skipped a number here and there in the process – I really need to go back to elementary school and take arithmetic!)

To figure out the No. for this latest painting, I had to go back into my FB feed and check it out.

No. 60 was created in March — of 2019.

And yet, now, more than ever, ensuring every voice is heard, everyone is counted is as important today as its ever been.

We need to do better.

As a human race. As a society. As a collective. As individuals.

We need to do better.

We must.

We can.

Let’s do it.


PS – I also have to do better at updating my website where all the paintings for the series are displayed. Apparently, I’m still at No. 52.

And another PS… I have had a couple of inquiries about a calendar for the series. For the past two years I have created a small desktop flip calendar with 12 of the paintings.

I’m in the midst of creating a new edition for 2021 with availability by November 30. Just in time for the season of giving!

If you’re interested in possibly getting one, (they’re about $18 +shipping) I’d love to know – especially if you have a ‘fav’ you think should be included. The series (up to #52 but I promise to get the rest uploaded today! 🙂 ) can be viewed HERE. Send me an email or leave a comment.


This was the 2020 version (which was the same as the 2019). 2021 will be 12 different paintings with corresponding messages.

Silent Shame

Over at David Kanigan’s blog today, “Walking. In White.” he asks himself, “What’s that you’re carrying? What’s that you feel?”  He responds, Shame, that’s what you feel.”

His post is worth the read. Exquisitely written as David’s posts always are, and full of humility and insight.

Now, the short answer, and the most common given by those of us who are white and who were not around when our forefathers came to North America, is “Why should I carry shame for something I had nothing to do with?”

What if ‘why’ is not the question we need to be asking?

What if instead, we chose to accept that we carry shame because it is as entwined within our psyches and embedded into our DNA as intricately and naturally as our white privilege?

What if instead of resisting against ‘shame’, we ask ourselves instead, “What can this shame teach me?”

Years ago, while working with a group of street engaged teens, I spent a great deal of time researching what it meant to be a teenager whose life had lead you far from home to the streets.

Over the course of that work, I chose to take the suggestion of a police sergeant and go ‘eyeball to eyeball with a john’ to really get an understanding of the trauma of street engaged life.

Which meant, one December night, I stood on the street posing as a prostitute.

It was December. The temperature hovered around the freezing point. Not too cold but I shivered like I was freezing. Even though two police officers were sitting in undercover vehicles watching over me, I shook with fear the entire night.

Dressed for the night, I was dolled up to fit in with the other girls, most of whom I knew through having had coffee with many of them, or simply chatting on the street with them about their lives..

The girls all expressed how grateful they were that I had taken the time to gain an understanding of their circumstances rather than judge them, as so many did, as so many of the girls told me.

Except. There I was that night. Standing on the street. Going eyeball to eyeball with the johns and all the while wishing I could hold up a sign that read, “I’m not a prostitute. I’m just here doing research.”

I did not want passersby (other than the johns) to think I was actually out there on the street selling my body for sex. I did not want to feel their disdain, their judgement, their condemnation.

To not feel those things, I wanted to make myself ‘an other’ from the young women who stood beside me on that chilly December night.

The realization rocked my psyche. There I was saying how I saw everyone as ‘equal’ and yet, when faced with the opportunity to stand united with those who were oppressed, I wanted to make sure everyone knew I was ‘not one of them’.

It was humbling.

And what was most humbling was the realization that buried deeply within me was a sense of shame I wasn’t even aware of. At least, not until I saw myself standing out on that street wanting desperately to distance myself from ‘them’.

In that moment I realized that my inherent biases, ones I didn’t even realize I carried, stood between me and the truth of what I believe. We are one human race. One people. One humanity.

Anytime we are able to stand in our own biases, our judgements, our ‘us and them’ thinking, and see ourselves as separate from, but part of our beautiful human race, in all its flaws and humility, as well as shame, we are given the gift of awareness and awakening.

As a white person, I do not see the depth of some of my inherent beliefs, perceptions, societal biases. I can’t. My privilege separates and blinds me without my even knowing it.

While I may not have helped form the laws and governing norms and societal structures that give me my ‘rights’, I have benefited from those laws and norms that have unjustly limited the lives of others, even when I don’t realize it.

I may not have done anything to make it so, I have also not done a lot towards making it not so.

For me, the gift that night was to see that I carry biases that make me unwittingly complicit in racism and discrimination, even when I think I’m not.

Centuries ago, we humans veered off course into a belief that does not serve humanity well.

That belief is founded on the illusion that being white is better than… pick your colour.

No law, or moral manipulation or skin colour should ever give me the right to enslave, deprave or depreciate the value of another human being.

To become colour blind and inclusive, to be truly anti-racist, I must disentangle the invisible biases and shame I carry within me. Biases that are inculcated in my human story, environment, culture, societal mores and history.

To do that, I must acknowledge that within me is a thread of shame that runs like a river through the ages from my forefathers and their forefathers. Silent shame founded in a deep instinctual knowing that to enslave, indenture, denigrate or racialize anyone is a fundamental violation of our humanity.

It also means I must no longer stay silent in my fear of what will happen if I stand with those who are experiencing racism and discrimination. And it means I must stop resisting the ‘shame’ of my forefathers and instead, embrace its presence.

When I stand in that place and honour my brokenness and embrace my ancestral shame with compassion, I am saying to the world — I am willing to learn and grow and change and create space for the healing of our humanity to begin, no matter where on the street we stand.

Love Will Always Find You

Lost and Found

Lost in the darkness of my fear
there was no hope for me,
I could not see the light
beckoning me to surrender
and fall fearlessly into Love.

All hope is gone, I cried
and Hope whispered back softly,
its breath gentle as a lover
kissing my eyelids awake. Come,
Hope promised, there is light
beyond the darkness
and joy beyond the sorrow
and Love beyond the fear.

Trusting in nothing but hoping it was true,
I opened my eyes.

And there was Hope waiting to greet me
with arms full of possibility and a heart full of Love.

And so I fell into Hope’s embrace
and that’s where Love finds me still. Always and forever.


I saw an acronym for H.O.P.E. the other day. Hold. On. Pain. Ends.

My mind immediately thought, Love doesn’t. End. Love Endures. Love Captivates. Love Overcomes.

Hope is a gateway to Love. Hope holds onto truth in darkness, light in fear, possibility in despair – even when we feel like all hope is lost. Hope is holding on to us.

Thoughts of hope drifted into my mind this morning as I read the quote by Fenton Johnson that David Kanigan shares on his blog, Live & Learn.

I remember a time when I felt like all hope was lost. Hope of ever getting my life back. Of ever getting free of an abusive relationship. Of ever walking in the sunshine and feeling its warmth against my skin without feeling the fear stalking my every step. Of ever seeing my daughters again. Of ever being free to Love fearlessly.

And then, one beautiful May morning, there was hope. Shimmering in the sunlight. Beckoning me from the shadows. Encouraging me to step away from the darkness into the light. To choose Love.

I have been choosing Love ever since that morning 17 years ago when I had given up on hope and fallen into the darkness.

I have chosen Love in my despair. Love in my fear. Love in my every day.

It is one of the most inspiring aspects of life I experienced working in the homeless serving sector for so many years. No matter how dark, or grim, or chaotic life was for those experiencing the harshness and pain of homelessness, every morning people woke up, rose out of their makeshift beds in large rooms filled with others sleeping in the same space, breathing the same air, and they felt HOPE. They had survived another night of homelessness and could take another step today.

There was always hope.

I remember a couple who wanted to get married at the shelter. One day, the soon to be bride came to me and said, “Tell me I’m doing the right thing.”

I told them I couldn’t tell them that. It wasn’t my place. What I could tell them was, “Love prevails. Always. It doesn’t care about titles or the number of degrees or recognition you’ve gained or the colour of your skin or your address. Love prevails. It will find you no matter who you are or where you are.”

And it does.

Find us where ever we are.

For always, no matter what is going on, or where we are, or how we are, Love is always there. In everything. Always and forever. Love. Is. Everywhere.

And always, in everything we do. Everything we say. In every way we step into this day, hopeful. Scared. Sad. However we step, we can, and must, choose Love.

Because, while pain and storms and turmoil will end, Love prevails. It has no ending, nor beginning.

Love just is. Love.

Always and forever.


Thank you David for the inspiration this morning.


When I first got my car two years ago, I discovered something I’d missed during the test drive – there was a significant blindspot over my left shoulder. Uncomfortably so.

I was paranoid about that blindspot. Changing lanes, I’d twist and turn again and again, fearing I was missing an oncoming car. In all my twisting and turning I was a bit of a road hazard and had to consciously train myself to stop the paranoia and trust that I knew how to use my mirrors as aides.

And then one cloudy day when I wasn’t wearing my sunglasses, I realized the blindspot wasn’t there!

What? That’s when I realized it was the arm of my sunglasses, which was attached midway down the frame, that was blocking the view out of the corner of my left eye, not a blindspot in my car.

I bought new glasses, ones with the arms attached at the top of the frame and Voilá! Problem solved.

Blindspots are like that. We use the same set of eyes, with the frame we’re most comfortable with, to view the world. In our comfort, we cannot see the places where our view of reality is blinding us to the reality of others.

Like racism. It has always been amongst us. It’s just many of us were blind to its pervasive presence as well as our contribution to its presence, until the conversation could not be avoided any longer because it was marching right before our eyes and could not be denied.

For those of us for whom the colour of our skin has seldom given us cause to question or even talk about our privilege, nor our inherent biases, it can feel stressful, uncomfortable, disorienting to face our own, as Robin D’Angelo calls it in her same-named book, “White Fragility“.

What if we change our glasses?

What if instead of seeing our discomfort of our ‘white fragility’ as something to be ignored or pushed away or angrily denied, we decided to embrace it and say, “Bring it on. I’m willing to feel this so others do not feel ‘less than’ around me. I am willing to break open my privilege, along with my mind and heart, and be vulnerable to change because what’s happening in today’s reality for so many is not good for anyone. And I do not want my privilege to undermine the well-being of others any longer.”

As a person who fits within the context of being ‘white skinned’, it is easy for me to say, “I don’t see colour.” I haven’t had to. My life is founded on a cultural belief that has survived centuries of life on earth that insinuates (and at times blatantly states), ‘white has more value than black.’

In the world of colour, white actually has no value. It is the reflection of light and gains value through the reflection of other colours. Like rainbows. Sunlight shines through water molecules in the air after a rain and is refracted so that we can see it dancing in a rainbow of colour arcing across the sky.

Without voices of colour speaking up about their experiences, informing those of us without colour about what it means to be devalued in this world because of the colour of your skin, we would not understand the totality of our whiteness in today’s world.

We have that chance. Right now. To listen. To hear. To understand. To learn. To grow and to see the world in all its beautiful colours.

We have the chance to change our glasses.

For real, lasting change to happen, we must stop seeing racism as ‘someone else’s issue’ and see it as ours too, because our whiteness blinds us to the truth about colour. In that discomforting place of recognizing our own culpability in creating the world in which we live, we have the opportunity to refract light differently.

And when we do that, we get to see the world is not black and white. It is a beautiful dance of colour creating rainbows everywhere. And in that light, the world is a much kinder, equal and just place for everyone to shine for all their worth.


This Is Where I Stand: My Credo

Yesterday, in the comments to my post, The Apology Process, Iwona, wrote out my example of the apology process as a credo for life.

I thought it was brilliant and so, using her suggestions as my foundation I created a Credo for myself in these times in which we live.

My personal credo is an important statement for me to make, to myself and to the world.

It speaks to what I stand for, and against. It provides me a guidepost against which I can measure every action, word and thought. And, it provides me with a safe and courageous container within which to grow and evolve so that I can give my all to creating better in this world.

Years ago, when I began my healing journey after being freed from an abusive relationship, I created a credo for how I wanted to live my life. It included statements like, “I shall turn up for me in all my wounded brokenness and love myself completely”.

It also included a statement on how I wanted to treat the past — as a bludgeon to beat myself up with or as the vehicle that brought me to this moment right now where I was free to heal and fall in love with myself and all my world and celebrate life for all I’m worth.

I chose to treat it as the vehicle that brought me to this moment right now. The past had served its purpose. It was time for me to let it go and find a more loving, caring and roadworthy vehicle within which to continue my journey.

We cannot change the past. We can learn from it and grow deeper in our understanding of its impact on our lives today. And, we can use it as corroboration of what we need to do today to ensure tomorrow is not a repeat of a past we do not want to live again and again.

There is so much good in this world. So much beauty, possibility, hope, joy… And there is grief and sorrow, pain and suffering, violence and abuse.

It is all present. And always, no matter what is present, Love is always there.

To live my credo, fearlessly letting all of my human condition be present, I must accept all is present. Light and dark. Fear and hope. Anger and sorrow. Suffering and joy. And I must love it all, fearlessly. Joyfully. Completely.

I am not powerful enough to change all the darkness in the world. I am powerful enough to determine how bright I want my light to shine. And I am powerful enough to shine as brightly as I can so that others can see in the dark and stand with me in the light.

Today, I am choosing to shine full on. Bright beams blasting.

I am stepping onto this road of life armed with My Credo. It is my map to creating a future where my grandchildren will know, the world into which they are born is not a place in which only they and others like them enjoy its’ privileges. It is a place where all the world enjoys the same privileges.