Hello, Mystery

I spent last weekend in Fernie with my guys.

While Jacob hit the mountain bike park on Saturday afternoon, Stephen and I strolled the sidewalks and checked out the shops. I spent a wonderful half hour (or more) in an art coop looking at local art. Stephen spent five minutes inside and the remaining time people-watching from a bench outside.

(The perfect holiday — something for everyone!)

I was particularly drawn to the work of Karen Tamminga-Paton. I wish I could have come home with the painting, but made do with a beautiful card that spoke to me.

She calls this, “Hello, Mystery.”


On the back of the card, Karen writes:

No one who has gained wisdom wishes to be young again.

In these between years of elderly parents and fledgling children-no-longer-children, we stand in a marvelous and unique place. We have finally accepted the fact that pain and suffering are unavoidable, but in it, we find mystery, too. We have learned to recognize the presence of joy and love, even there.

The Friesian horse — a creature of near mythical stature — stands as the figure, Mystery. May we have the courage to lean into it.


You can check out Karen’s work here. Please do.

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A Button Tree!

Last spring, five lovely ladies joined me over the course of six weeks to explore tools for healing and growth. We so enjoyed our discussions that we decided to keep meeting. Using Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, as the basis for our meetings, we gathered once a month to share our discoveries as we strived to live the principles laid out in the book.

We finished the book last month and, to celebrate, decided to do something fun and creative together.

Enter Creatively Cali Art and Performance Studio.

We are so fortunate to have someone like Cali in our little town, offering art and drama classes to the community. She also teaches drama in our high school. I’ve had the opportunity to help out with a few of my sons’ performances over the years, but it had been years since I attempted to BE the artist rather than be on the sidelines supporting the artists.

It was a little daunting!

Words I can do. I love playing around with color in my journal, attempting cartoony, stick-people sketches. But paint? On a canvas? Without the little numbers to follow or someone giving very explicit, now-use-this-brush-to-put-this-color-here instructions? Not so sure.

Cali and her mom, Sandy, had everything ready for us. Four spots in the front and two in the back. My walking partner and I arrived early so we snapped up those two back row seats, but everyone else who entered after us would immediately head to the empty table in the back and then have to be coaxed the the places prepared for them at the front.

Funny, eh?

When we’re taking a creative risk like this, we’ll try to hide any way we can. Somehow, even in a tiny room, the back row is  ‘safer.’

Cali started by showing us some examples to give us ideas and then told us to choose the color for our backgrounds.

That was Deer-in-the-Headlights Moment #1.

How does one choose a color from all those luscious choices? What if it doesn’t look the way I think it will look? What if it’s too dark? Or light? Or I change my mind?

I finally chose my color and then headed to the back of the room to pick out my buttons. There were a lot to choose from! In fact, we all spent a lot of time huddled around the table, poring over the choices, because the longer we took to choose our buttons the further back we pushed that moment of applying color to canvas.

Cali had to keep inviting us back to our seats for the painting part of the evening.

We joked that painting would be a good activity for commitment-phobic people. There are a lot of decisions to make, many of them irreversible. Or at least they seem irreversible to neophyte painters. Once the paint is on the canvas, you are committed, and every brush stroke ties you to something you may or may not like in the end.  There’s no turning back.


And then a mantra started playing in my head:

Don’t be tentative! Paint with gusto!

Like any new thing we try our hand at in life, it’s that first, tiny step that is the hardest. Once that step is taken, the next one is revealed and everything else grows from it. It’s not to say that there won’t be other hard steps along the way but, by the time they show up, we’ve proven to ourselves that, scary as things look, our actions have been successful in the past so there’s no reason to believe we can’t manage — and even master — this next hurdle.

All evening, we peppered Cali with questions about how to do things or whether to do things and Cali would unflappably respond, with variations on a consistent theme, ‘It’s all a matter of personal taste. What do you want? What do you prefer? What would you like?’


I want it to be beautiful and lovely and pretty and . . . perfect.

And yet, by insisting that we follow our own creative urges, Cali ensured that when the last button was glued into place, the work was all ours. Yes, she provided examples for ideas and inspiration, and showed us various techniques, but ultimately the work — the creation — was ours.

The most intense moment for me came as my brush hovered over the canvas, preparing to paint the tree — trunk and roots and branches. This was the moment of truth. Could I actually paint a tree that looked like a tree?

Good thing that mantra was playing in a continuous loop.

Don’t be tentative! Paint with gusto!

So I did. And I learned a few things:

There are no mistakes. A brush stroke gone awry can lead to a new effect you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

Never judge a work in progress. You may not like how it looks mid-creation but the final details, added at the end, change everything.

When you enter into the spirit of play and discovery, you invite serendipity and surprise. Like the delicious moment when I discovered that gluing small buttons into the center of large buttons created a whole new look. I’m sure others have discovered that while playing with buttons and glue (no doubt many of them in the pre-school set), but I discovered it for myself and it was an exciting final touch to add to my painting.

I did have one regret.

I wish I had taken the time to look more closely and more often at what my fellow painters were doing in the course of the evening. There were a lot of good ideas that I would have liked to incorporate into my painting. Something to keep in mind for us Lone Wolves who get so caught up in the solo-vision of what we’re creating that we forget the power of collaboration.

Except that, had I kept wrenching myself away from my painting to look at what was going on around me, I might have missed out on that delicious feeling of flow that happens when the outside world disappears and nothing exists but this moment and the colors expanding under my brush.

So, scratch that regret.

Everyone’s going to bring their paintings to our next meeting so we can adequately ooh and ahh over each other’s creations and make note of those ideas and techniques we like — for next time.

It’s amazing when you think about it.

In the space of two hours, six blank canvases showcased six very different paintings — all of them beautiful . . . and lovely . . . and pretty . . . and perfect.

My seat mate beamed at her painting. “It contains everything I love.”

And every time she sees it, she’ll remember that she is the one who created it. It contains her artistic choices and is a beautiful reflection of her. Hopefully she’ll also remember how much fun it was to create. How nourishing and uplifting.

I know I slept like a well-fed baby that night and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I wish I could show you all the paintings so you could see for yourself how varied and beautiful they are, but I only have access, and permission, to share one.



Bet it makes you want to pick up a paintbrush, doesn’t it?

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Before Enlightenment . . .

Before enlightenment — chop wood, carry water.

After enlightenment — chop wood, carry water.

After the retreat — author visits.

Talk about being flung full-tilt back into life!

No time to write this week, but time enough to ask a question:

Arrival postcard - Mary Oliver on front

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Sometimes There Are No Words

I like to publish my posts on Fridays and I’ve found the best way to be sure I have something ready to share is to write every morning — adding, deleting, refining as the week progresses.

Sometimes the words come in a rush and it’s a challenge to keep up. Other times, they need coaxing.

And then there are times there are no words at all.

Or rather, there are lots of words, but none of them do justice to what I’m attempting to articulate.

This is one of those times.

I’m spending far more time staring at the screen than filling it, reaching for and then rejecting those inadequate missiles known as ‘words.’

How does one explain the unexplainable?

I guess one just dives in and begins where they are.

I spent last week in the company of a remarkable group of women.

I emptied my savings envelope and travelled far from my home in search of I wasn’t sure what, with I didn’t know who, in an unfamiliar land. Some mornings, as I looked out at the misty landscape, I felt like I’d been transported to Avalon.

And maybe I was.

Avalon is a magical place and so was Carmen Spagnola‘s Gathering of Souls on Vancouver Island. Carmen is a gifted and powerful guide, whose commitment to Spirit is palpable.

I knew this retreat was for me from the moment I heard about it. And every time I thought about it, I wanted to run for the hills.

Just a titch paradoxical, wouldn’t you say?

Yes. And no.

Because the things that call to our souls are the very things that, when we finally lift our heads and look them squarely in the eyes, snatch our breath away — with their beauty, their power, and their pronouncement that ‘yes, you are equal to the task.’

I started this blog on my oldest son’s first day of high school when it hit me that my full-tilt mothering days were slowly winding down and I had no clue what else I had to offer the world. Writing the blog was my first step into becoming visible in the world, giving voice to the thoughts running amok in my head, despite my fears about what ‘they’ would think (and, believe me, those fears are there every time I push the publish button — especially today.)

I published a couple of books. I started doing author visits in order to erase the debt that acccompanied creating the first one. These were satisfying pursuits, but none of them were ‘it.’

I wrestled with tempting thoughts of slipping into early retirement. No one was requiring me to do anything more than spend my days writing and reading and being present for my family and friends. But something was clamouring for expression. Something I didn’t even have words for.

And then my oldest son graduated and moved to the other end of the world and my youngest son got his driver’s license and was suddenly gone more than he was home. And my angst increased.

Who am I? Why am I here?

If there’s a plan for every soul, tell me mine.

Tell me, damn it!

And it better be valuable and important work because, if it isn’t, I’d rather just go Home. Because, truthfully, in my heart of hearts, that is what I yearn for. Staying here, witnessing the slow death of this wild and beautiful planet while its so-called stewards gorge themselves on mindless distractions is just too damn painful.

I asked and asked — pleaded even — and finally quit wailing enough to listen . . . and act on what I heard.

I’ve been led me to a few things. I still don’t know how some of them fit into the big scheme of things, but I’m trusting that they will. And I’ve been led to people who can only be described as godsends.

Carmen was one of those people. So when she called, I answered.

I knew it would be an initiation. Maybe even a capital ‘I’ Initiation.

But — holy crap — it was an INITIATION.

I was called to release the burdens I’d been carrying. I was called to journey inward and retrieve the wisdom that resides within me. And to share it. I was called to face the Darkness that also resides within me. Not hide from it. Not pretend it isn’t there. But face it and negotiate with it and place clear parameters around ways it could serve me as I moved forward.

And I was called to Be Present to something much bigger than me and to use my skills, gifts, and talents to bring that Wisdom — that Mystery — to other women at every stage of their development.

To the Maiden. To the Mother. To the Crone.

I still don’t know what the heck that looks like as I transition back into real life in this beautiful, fragile world.

But I see how everything in my life has led me to this moment.

Absolutely everything!

And I know that I don’t have to know in advance, or even understand, every single step along the way. I don’t even have to know what the next step is.

My job is to stand tall in this moment. To Listen. To Trust what I am hearing no matter how it looks to my logical mind (or to the people around me). And, above all, to Act on what I hear.

Already the powerful visions I received at the retreat are fading. I have to rely on the words I scribbled in my journal and the memories of the women who journeyed with me to keep me focused and on my path.

Luckily, I have a call with Carmen, my Teacher, Mentor, and Guide, this afternoon. I know she holds that vision for me. Magnificently.

I can hardly wait to speak with her again.

And I want to run for the hills.

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Apple #40

This apple was created right on the heels of Apple #39. Once I finished the ‘creative detour apple,’ I went ahead with my original idea.

And it was just as satisfying to bring this one in to being!

Apple #40


Title: Apple Rising from Ngarunui  Sand

Medium: Beach finds

What can you create from items found in your little corner of the world?

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Vimala — The Love Affair Continues.

Whenever I think to check the stats for my blog, without fail, the most common search that brings people to my site is ‘the Vimala alphabet.’

Occasionally, someone will leave a comment, usually asking a question, and we’ll have a little, back-and-forth exchange. One person has even become a blog-friend. (Hi Lorien! – Check out Lorien’s YogaMom site here.)

So this is for the Vimala seekers.

It’ll be my fifth post about the Vimala alphabet. If you’d like to read the rest the first is here, #2, #3, and #4.

I have been using Vimala’s alphabet as a form of meditation since I first discovered it in December, 2010. Not faithfully as in every single day — I struggle with any practice that requires a daily commitment — but I’ve found enough benefit that I come back to it over and over and over again.

I’ve approached it all sorts of ways — at times, following Vimala’s suggestions to the letter (ha! no pun intended) and, other times, going my own way. I’ve done letters of the day, letters of the week, sometimes concurrently with a letter I’ve chosen to focus on for a 40 day practice.

My 40 Day Practice letter has been chosen because there’s a quality I want to enhance in my life or because it’s the first letter of one of my names or because there’s something I really suck at that I’d like to improve.

My latest project is to move through Vimala’s alphabet one letter at a time. I started with A and finished it just before we left on our New Zealand adventure. When we got back, I started with O, which I  just completed this morning!

No, not B — O.

Vimala doesn’t progress through the alphabet in the way we are accustomed. She divides the letters into families. The first is the Family of Communication and includes A, O, D, G, Q, and P. Each of the letters represents a Soul Quality and moving through the letters in this order is like building our soul capacity from the ground up (or maybe it’s more accurate to say ‘from the inside out.’)

The Soul Quality of A is transforming ego into Spirit and helps us to communicate from our soul rather than from our personality.

Here’s O’s Soul Quality:

Vimala O - front

And it’s Declaration of Intent

Vimal O - back

As I reflect on my 40 day journey with O, I find it interesting that, before I began, I felt compelled to have conversations with people whom I had let fall out of my life because of some truth I had with-held from them. They were very difficult conversations to broach and the subject matter was difficult to express fully, but doing so erased the horrible weight I would feel every time I thought of that person and my unfinished business (read: unspoken truth) with them.

And last night — Day 39 — I received a huge insight into the not-so-sensitive way that I communicate with my husband. Day 39! I guess that’s why Vimala suggests a 40 day round for each letter.

I’m going to share Day 40 of my writing so that, if you are considering trying this out, you’ll have an example of how one person does it. I’m sure, once you get started, you’ll find your own best way to do it.

vimala O - day 40

I start every page with a line of H’s because they are about living your life path full out with dynamic self-expression. (And because Vimala says she often does that.)

Interspersed among the lines of upper and lower case O’s are the Soul Quality and Declaration of Intent and then three lines of words: 1) those beginning with O, 2) words with O in the middle, 3) words with O at the end. 

Sometimes I have to make up words — like with Q, for example — which is great fun!

I always include an invocation of sorts, asking the Guardian Protector of the letter for help living the letter’s soul quality.

And the last line is my signature — what Vimala prefers to call our autograph — and an expression of my gratitude for this system, for my own spiritual growth and for Life.

If you have Vimala’s kit,

vimala's kit

you may have noticed that the Guardian Protector of the Letter O is missing from the Guidebook. I finally emailed the International Institute of Handwriting Studies to find out if there was one or if it had been left out by mistake.

It was the latter. They emailed me back immediately with the following information:

The Guardian Protector of the Letter O is Amitiel (Ah-MEE-tee-el), the Angel of Truth.

Amitiel is the Guardian of Sensitive Truth-telling. His responsibility, as Guardian Protector of the Letter Oo, is to guide you in speaking the truth at all times, remembering to speak always to the Indwelling Spirit in another person, never to prove yourself right or to make another person look bad or appear foolish. Amitiel guides not only your speaking, but in particular, your writing, for your writing is a graphic reflection of your thought processes. The three: writing, thinking, and speaking, are his focus.

As you approach the letter Oo in a word, slow down, speak the simple prayer to him, ‘Guide my pen!’ — and he will not only guide your pen, but refine your thoughts in a positive, uplifting way. The long-hidden secret he has held all these years is this: Inscribe each letter O in a clockwise direction. Each time. Every time. No exceptions.

It’s difficult to write the O in a clockwise direction only because it’s unfamiliar, just as non-injurious speaking is often unfamiliar when we want to look good or be right. One of Amitiel’s many gifts, as you move your pen, is to allow you to release self-righteousness and instead to speak the truth kindly and sincerely. What freedom!

I did find it challenging, at first, to inscribe the O in a clock-wise direction. Now it comes naturally to me. It does, however, force a pause (however slight) as I lift the pen before inscribing the letter, to think about the truth of what I am writing.

Which reminds me of a friend who, in her desire to be more conscious about what she was saying to the people in her life, went about her day with a small stone in her mouth. Every time she opened her mouth to speak, the stone’s presence made her pause and think about what she was about to say.

Powerful, eh?

If you are one of the people who has found this blog because of your search for more information about Vimala’s alphabet, please take a moment to say hello in the comment section. Ditto, if you’ve been engaged with Vimala’s work, whether you’re just beginning or have been at it awhile.

I’d love to hear about your experiences!

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A Million Invisible Messages

I’ve been thinking a lot about a story a friend shared over tea one day.

A man was leading a cave tour somewhere in Texas when he sensed that something was not right. He immediately led the group of twenty or so people back to the top of the cave system. Within ten minutes the bottom levels of the cave were filled by a flash flood.

Ten minutes!

Had the tour been led by one of the less experienced guides that day, this story would have had a very different ending and, no doubt, a tremendous amount of news footage in that part of the world. But this man had been leading these cave tours for 15 years. He knew them intimately. There wasn’t any one thing that tipped him off, but years spent in that environment told him something was ‘off’ – a million little hits added up to ‘this is not right.’

 He didn’t second guess this information and his calm, quick actions saved a lot of people from certain death.

A couple of things struck me about this story:

1. This sort of thing happens every day. It occurs in much less graphic ways and we don’t often get the immediate feedback that our intuitive hits were good, but we are surrounded by this sort of information every day. A million invisible messages in the world around us, alerting us — or trying to — of danger or opportunity. Too often, we either ignore them or miss them altogether because we have forgotten how to listen.

2. Had there been a catastrophe, it would have been all over the news. And, in the midst of the catastrophe, had this man managed to save one of the people in his care, he would have been lauded as a hero and awarded some sort of  Medal of Honour.

But it didn’t make the news. There was no medal, even though his actions saved many lives. The fact that he followed his intuition to avert disaster isn’t newsworthy.

Unless, of course, you were one of the people whose life was saved that day.

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I was doing a felt board retelling of Leaf  for a Kindergarten class. Usually kids at that age are very gung ho, excited to be hearing a story, especially to be able to help tell the story, and intrigued by that mysterious retro material that sticks to itself. They’re so used to smart boards and screens of every description that good old felt is something new and exciting.

As the kids settled in, my eye was drawn to one little guy whose face was so creased and puckered that he instantly reminded me of the cranky, old hecklers on the Muppet show. And when I started talking to the group, I knew for sure he was channeling at least one, if not both, of them. Everything I said was met with a frown and a grumble:

“Well, that’s stupid.”

“Hmmmph. That’s a crazy thing.”

“Oh, that’s boring.”

He never spoke loud enough to be disruptive, but I could hear every groan and sigh and see every rolled eye. I chuckled to myself because, in a 5 year old, such grumpiness is cute. I focused instead on the happy, engaged children. By the time, he got to put a leaf on the tree, his grumbling had subsided and I didn’t hear much more from him.

It made for a funny dinnertime story. As I told it, I pondered the whole nature vs nurture thing – how much grumpiness did he come in with and how much was modelled to him? Kids are such sponges in those first six years of life. I wondered what adult in his life was modelling the crankiness.

And then, not even a week later, I was presented with that little boy’s metaphorical grandfather. Different school, different kids, but same grumpy, uninterested, bored demeanor, only this time on an adult. And not just any adult — one of the grade three teachers.

I would put this man in his late fifties — although a lifetime of frowning like that would crease any face prematurely, so he could have been much younger — and he sat smack dab in the middle of the back row of teacher chairs, well above the children sitting on the floor, and right in my line of vision. I tried to focus on the much-more-receptive children in front of me, but he was so . . . in my face. And his face was a mask of boredom, even derision, his body language saying things like, “This is such a waste of time — what drivel — this woman has no idea what she’s talking about.”

Luckily, once I got going, the kids and I were swept into the give-and-take of the presentation and I was able to block him out entirely, other than wondering if that’s the sort of model the previous kindergartener had in his life.

I didn’t have too much time to ponder it. I had to prepare for the most challenging session of the day — an hour and ten minute presentation on writing to 88 grade 5 and 6 students. I was apprehensive about this presentation. It takes a lot of energy to hold the space for a large group of students and I had already spoken to several large groups that day.

It’s also one thing to share my enthusiasm for writing and another thing entirely to teach something and I had a sneaking suspicion that the teachers were expecting something from me that I would not be able to deliver.

But I had committed to this –“Sure, I can do a writing workshop for 88 kids!” Gack! What was I thinking? — so I put a lot of thought and planning into the presentation, endeavouring to give it my best, but I still felt apprehensive as they filed into the library.

It takes a long time for 88 students to settle. By the time I got the nod to begin, we had an hour left.

I plunged right in, but as the minutes ticked by and we moved from one activity to another, it became apparent that we were not going to get through everything I had prepared. The students were getting more and more talkative. It was harder and harder to bring them back after each activity, even with the teachers intervening, calling for quiet and focus. It was a  rowdy group.

I tried to surf with it. At one point, I actually felt part of me detach, rise above the energy of the room, cast an objective eye on everything laid out on the table before me, and decide which things needed to be cut from the presentation in order to wrap everything up in a coherent manner.

When the bell finally went, I was limp with relief. It was over. I spent a few minutes talking with enthusiastic students, answering questions and encouraging them in their writing and then turned to face the librarian, coming my way.

I have an evaluation sheet I ask teachers and librarians to fill out after a presentation, but I needed instant feedback: what went wrong? how could I improve for another time? was anything salvageable or should I just jettison the entire presentation?

I steeled myself for a humbling conversation, determined to learn as much from it as I could. When the librarian arrived in front of me she said,

“That was awesome!”


(That was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.)


She started talking about how engaged the students were, how excited, how —  and then she was interrupted by one of the teachers, striding into the room, who chimed in with, “Yes, that was amazing! I have a lot of reluctant writers in my class and they were writing! You had so many good suggestions for capturing ideas. I was trying to keep up,” she gestured at the laptop in her hand, “but I couldn’t.” She turned to the librarian. “Do you think we could get her to come in for a PD day?”

“Yes, but . . . ,” I spluttered. “I didn’t plan very well. I had to cut a lot of stuff out. And there was so much talking. I didn’t do a very good job of keeping them focused.”

“I heard a speaker once, “said a second teacher, as she joined us, “who was talking about drama. He said if you’re doing something creative with kids, and they’re all sitting in silence just looking at you, you’ve lost them. If there is a buzz going, it’s because they are excited by the material. And all that talking the kids were doing,” she said, turning to me, “was on topic. They were excited to talk about the ideas they were generating.”

My head swivelled from one person to the next as a third teacher joined the group to give his two cents worth. I’m sure I looked like a stunned goldfish, gaping at them, eyes glazed over as their words sunk in.

There was nothing wrong with my presentation.

I might want to ensure that the groups be smaller in the future and ask that the presentation be at least 90 minutes long so there is time built in for the students to share their discoveries with each other after each activity, but those are minor tweaks. The presentation itself was fine — awesome, even.

Wow. Perception, is such a subjective thing. Here I was ready to perform hari kari after what I perceived as a presentation gone badly awry, while others thought it was amazing.

Which made me think of the grumpy, old teacher I’d seen earlier in the day. Maybe that pained expression on his face had nothing to do with my presentation. Maybe he had been blindsided with bad news just that morning. Maybe he was really worried about someone close to him. Maybe all those bodily positions that reeked boredom to me were really because he was sitting on a painful hernia.

I have no way of knowing.

And, likewise, with the grumpy five year old. Maybe it had nothing to do with nature or nurture, but the fact that he was just having a really, bad morning. And maybe getting to put a leaf on Tree Mother helped to lift that morning into a better afternoon.

We’re talking major Aha Moment here. Big lesson.

Don’t be so quick to judge others (or yourself), especially if it’s a negative judgement. Sometimes, our own senses cannot be trusted because we are seeing and hearing things through our own personal, very subjective filter.

So what’s the take home from these experiences?

I think it’s best summed up in this quote from some ancient Roman sage or general or philosopher. I don’t remember who it was, but his words serve us very well today:

“Be kind to everyone you meet. We are all fighting a tremendous battle.”

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Apple #39

This apple (second in the New Zealand Beach Trio) was fun because it reminded me that we can visualize and imagine and predict and prepare and plan all we want, but we don’t ever know what we’re going to discover, or what our creation will ultimately become, until we dig in.

Ngarunui Beach (Ngarunui means Ocean) is a New Zealand beach, perfect for beginning surfers. We arrived at the beach for our third day of surfing, but the waves weren’t high enough to warrant the cost of board and wetsuit rentals so we went for a walk along the shore instead.

When we reached a driftwood log near the far end of the beach, I chose a nice, flat area, picked up a shell and dug in. My plan was to mound and mould the sand so it looked like the apple was half buried.

Imagine my surprise when the first scrape of the shell revealed that the sand beneath the bleached surface was black!

I had never seen black sand before.

Marvelling at this discovery, I instantly changed course and, instead of moving the sand into a pile, I scraped away a thin top layer to create more of a reverse bas-relief effect. (I don’t know if I’m using that term correctly, but it captures the essence of what I’m trying to convey so I’ll stick with it.)

It’s always so nourishing to create something and those discoveries — those departures from The Plan — are the most nourishing of all. The act of creating and, in particular, following the impulses that rise up while in the process of creating taps into something very rich and elemental and soul-feeding.

Even if it’s ‘just’ a simple apple carved into the sand.

Apple #39


Title: Ngarunui Beach Apple

Medium: simply black beach sand

PS – This apple was actually attempt #2. The first one got washed away by a renegade wave. (Much to the delight of my perhaps-not-so-patiently waiting sons.)

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Need a Hand to Hold?

I want to introduce you to a wonderful woman I met last summer.

Her name is Sheila.

My first experience with her was a facebook message with an invitation to share her bed-and-breakfast accommodations during a weekend course we would both be attending.

I was struck by her generous offer. She knew nothing about me. I could be the worst shower-hogging, late-night-light-glaring, twenty-decibel snorer on the planet and she opened herself up to the possibility of that discomfort with a smile. But that’s Sheila. She’s like Pigpen from the Snoopy comics, only the cloud trailing her is her vast and generous spirit.

After much deliberation (I’m not quite so generous-hearted) I accepted her invitation. I was a bit trepidatious when I arrived at the B&B, but before long we were chatting like old friends. She’s like that — able to put people at their ease.

And she’s funny.

That first night, as we prepared to turn off the lights, she looked over at me and said “So nice to meet you” which struck me as hilarious — here we were sleeping in side-by-side beds after our first visit, not parting ways after a get-to-know-you cup of tea. It sounds kind of lame as I describe it (one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments), but we laughed ourselves to sleep.

And that pretty much set the tone for our relationship.

One of the things that bonded us is the fact that we’re both searching for our way — “What is it, precisely, that we have to offer the world?” When we met, she was further down that breadcrumb trail than I was and, recently, I received an announcement email from her. She is taking action.

I’d like to share that email with you, just in case you or someone you know would benefit from Sheila’s laser presence.

If you’ve been plodding through your life  wondering ‘is this it?’ . . .

If you’ve been ‘looking good’ but dying inside . . .

 If you’d welcome a hand to hold while you transition from surviving to thriving . . .

Sheila’s got a very kind and comforting hand (and heart).

Give her a call.

You can also follow her on facebook here.


Hello there!

Today is the New Moon and an excellent time for new beginnings! Welcome 🙂

Below is some information about my new line of work which I’ve been training for the past two years or so. I don’t see myself as a perfectionist, however I have been spending too much time attempting to exact my message, my title, my brand. The universe has been telling me to stop fiddling around with the details and JUST GET THE MESSAGE OUT. So, I will close my eyes and click send so this message ends up in your inbox!

The short of it:

I am here to inspire and motivate. Have been since 1967.

The long of it:

I’m here to help women in their 40’s and 50’s who are struggling quietly from within. This internal struggle is based on a desire to go from a life of simply existing to a life that is outright thriving.

This woman has a good life. She is loved by many and she gives her love freely to others. Yet, deep down at her core there is something amiss. It’s a longing of sorts and it’s been calling to her for years. It’s an internal struggle like no other. She feels lost and lonely but here’s the thing. This woman is smart, she gets paid well for her work or is a stay at home mom, has a loving partner and many friends. Everything from the outside seems ideal. At times she feels guilty for not being internally satisfied and quietly thinks ‘what’s wrong with me?’. She has pushed these feelings back for years often putting the needs of others before her own. She is alive yes, but not truly living. Now, the feelings of desperation have ensued and she does not know what to do next in her life. She craves for it to have meaning on a whole new level.

Can you relate?

If so, let’s talk. We can chat on the phone, have a coffee, or meet on Skype. We’ll have a 20 minute starter conversation and see where it takes us. There is no obligation after that. You decide. I’m not here to rope you in. Simply put, I don’t enjoy seeing women struggle with happiness in their precious life. I have tools and knowledge that I know will help! My work is confidential as well as compassionate and respectful. (If you’re curious to know, future calls will be 30 minutes in duration, and at a ridiculously affordable pilot price. I’m not offering “packages” at this time.) I’ll be accepting appointments starting Monday, March 1st, 2015.
If this message does not resonate with you, perhaps you know of someone in which it might? Please forward onto them. Actually, feel free to share this message with anyone because (as my mentor says) ‘you just never know who might need to hear it’.

Thank you so much for your time and your support.
For the love of wisdom, let’s make this world rock! I just wanna, ya ‘know?!

Sheila Webster
Mentor for Inspired Living

(778) 440-5544
To sign-up to the Mentor for Inspired Living mail list please click here http://eepurl.com/beH3K

Oh, one other thing. To define the nature of what a 30 minute call would be like, below are some testimonials from women I’ve had the pleasure of having deep conversations with …


“Loving, compassionate, enlightening, direct, uplifting, encouraging…” Lynne S.

“You are an easy person to be vulnerable with because you offer that back to me. There is a depth of trust there that I don’t share with too many people in my life. You are a very good listener and I always find you present in the moment and look forward to your reflection and interpretation of what I have shared. You challenge me to consider things in different ways than I would naturally approach them. You choose valuable things that I say and dig deeper into comments that I make. You are intuitive and insightful. You see past some of the surface of what I say.” Monique R.

“Therapeutic, because I got what was inside out, and I said it to someone who was listening and who didn’t dismiss, mock or change the subject until all was said and done.” Carol J.
“You help me get to the heart (definitely a play on words) of the issue or stuckness. We talk till I use my heart to resolve things (and I don’t mean from a place of weakness) but to come from a place of compassion and non-attack mode… You help me understand what it is I really want to say …” Lori T.

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