Boundaries 2

When my VIP’S whirlwind begins,  I’ve learned I need to step away. No, I have not always done this because I was raised to be useful. Useful for me, was synonymous with worthy, but useful and worthy are NOT synonyms it turns out.

It’s been no easy feat to step away. Other people’s vortex’s pull at me. When I’m mindful of it happening now, I know to step further away.  Getting out of a tornadoes path is just smart survival instinct.

Staying in the ‘away’ spot is equally important. I’ve learned that my unasked for, and that is the key here, unasked for helpfulness can create a complacent dependency in my VIP’s and resentfulness in me. Neither are desirable as behaviors or feelings, in anyone.  Stepping away actually creates the ease I want in my life. It’s a step in to how I want to feel.

If you are not yet sure how you want to feel, check out the spirit expanding work of Danielle Laporte.

Example. My husband got a job away from where we live that would bring him home on weekends. My old self would have ‘helpfully’ stepped in and found him accommodation without him asking for help. Now, I choose to see him as capable of finding his own accommodation in his own way and in his own time. He will figure it out. He’s a smart capable man. I don’t need to butt-in and fix everything and create stress for myself and perhaps for him. I used to do that, but now I step away.

Learning to step out of codependency isn’t easy but with clarity regarding boundaries it becomes easier. In this case my boundary is simple and respectful. “I see others as able and responsible. I trust them to look after their own affairs. I will help, within reason, when I am asked or when there is ‘real’ not just sensed emergency.”

When I write and say this boundary I know it is true and accurate for me.  It makes me feel both free and at ease. I see this freedom as a deep inhalation for both of us as it allows our relationship to expand.

I remember when I first heard about boundaries, not really all that long ago, I started to look for a book of them. A tangible lot of them that I could/should adopt. It’s not that easy. Boundaries are personal. It wasn’t until I stopped reacting in stressful home and work situations and put my attention on how I was really feeling that I could finally identify where I needed a boundary. Sometimes, feeling nothing was also a symptom of my needing a boundary because I was able to say that I wasn’t feeling the way I wanted to feel.

Step 1. Figure out how you want to feel.

Step 2. Pay attention to how you feel in a stressful situation.

Step three was more complicated and took courage I didn’t know I had. I had to begin speaking my emotional truth succinctly in those situations, to those people. I was worried I’d hurt them. I don’t think I did because my words were about me. “I feel frustrated when I have to work things out twice with you and that’s not how I want to feel. I want to feel the ease of making the decision and I don’t want it taken away.”

And then, sometime after that, after saying the words more than once, the boundary comes somewhat intuitively.

“I will not rehash good decisions when circumstances have not changed. The time, intuition and wisdom that went into making it was all that was required of me.” And with those words, that knowing, I get to sustain the ease that I want to feel. With this one, I’ve found that my certainty becomes a meme that soothes those who find decision making difficult. Again, it’s a win-win.

Once I own my boundary, it’s mine. I don’t have to waffle, or stress or renew it. I find that the security I once craved is inside me rather than outside of myself. So boundaries? They are not tough or mean or irritating. Rather they are the pearl that forms after an irritation. Be patient, collect them, string them together, and wear them proudly.

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Books and Movies and Trees

My Father and His Father
be Love

The influence that adults caregivers have on a child’s life is undeniable. We have all heard the expression “the apple never falls far from the tree”, I’ve often referred to “apples and trees” to describe the similarities I’ve seen between parents and child without the ‘never’ cynicism.

Two pieces of media I’ve enjoyed recently that hit this message home again are Wab Kinew‘s book, The Reason you Walk, and Hunt For The The Wilder People, directed by Taika Waititi. Interestingly, both are presentations of a strong male to male bond. and both include an aboriginal perspective. While I didn’t seek them out for that reason, I do enjoy the coincidence.

I picked up Wab Kinew’s book because I used to enjoy a TV show he hosted. He had wit, he was honest, he was charming, and he was an advocate for his aboriginal culture. I had no real idea what the book was about but it was a prize finalist, it felt good in my hand, and so, I purchased it. As his personal story unfolded, I was awed. True to form, he had invited me into his life, with complete vulnerability. I admire vulnerability because of the growth and courage I know it takes to put away bravado and just be honest about who we are.

Wab’s story is biographical telling from the perspective of his life intersecting with his father’s. His father, Tobasonakwut, was a residential school survivor, an inspirational cultural teacher, a sun dancer, a man who navigated trials of racism, trauma, and life, but who’s final dance was with cancer. Through the book, Wab philosophically explores himself as he comes to know his father as a force of love and grace. As I read, I had the sense that the son was growing into the shoes the father would leave behind once cancer finally took his life. It was an excellent, recommendable read, that is not only about apples and trees but also a glimpse into the healing Aboriginal identity in Canada.

Hunt for the Wilder People was an accident. We share a Netflix account with family members and my daughter had it listed as a recently watched. It can be a good technique for finding something worthy of the limited time I share with a TV set. This is a story out of New Zealand that features a confused child being raised in the foster system and the unlikely, perhaps last resort couple that welcome him into their home. It is told with wit, honesty and creativity. The relationship between the child and the male role model is again, loving and again very deep. As it ended I felt both happy and satisfied, just as I had when I finished Wab’s story. Perhaps he needs to seek out the directing services of Taika Waititi?

Show and Tell

Last night was the artist gala at the Sooke Fine Art Show. It’s not my first such thing, but it is my first at what has come to be known as the best show on Vancouver Island. It  was an honour to be chosen as an artist participant.

And, honestly, I was completely intimidated. It’s one thing to submit an image to a show and have it accepted or rejected. That’s easy. But for me, it’s quite another to go to the show and witness the quality of work that is around my painting. I felt like I was way out of my league. While that’s a good thing, I guess, vulnerability is always difficult. I’m pretty sure that I walked around the whole evening with the brochure in front of my artist badge. And getting my picture taken beside it made me feel conspicuous.

The show itself was beautifully presented and arranged. There were many large

representational pieces on display


that captured moments beautifully. I loved Johannes Landman’s “In Limbo”. Even though it was small, I thought it was the most powerful piece in the show. There was not a lot of abstract work, which I happen to love, but those that were there satisfied my hunger. Bonnie Laird’s ‘Prelude #2″, a floral won me over immediately because of the colour! I am always drawn to the woodwork and sculpture included in these shows and this year did not disappoint. I loved the Samurai Owl by Richard Shaw. This work is both precise and inventive, and Vincent Fe‘s “Riveted Teapot”, which won an award of excellence, was the first steampunk teapot I’d ever seen!

If you have the chance and proximity, I recommend a visit.

If you are an artist, or beginning to think you might declare yourself one some day, take the risk of showing you work. Being vulnerable builds character and expands experience. Take a chance. Jump. And always, always continue this creative journey we know as life.


Celebration Needs Music

IMG_4388July has been an exciting month. My daughter, the first of my three to wed, created her fairytale woodland wedding on the bank of the Koksilah River at the rustically beautiful Eagle’s Nest Sanctuary.   It was a misty day, perfect for pictures, perfect for fairy’s and their magic, perfect for sharing love. It was nothing short of beautiful. We laughed and we cried, we listened and spoke, we ate and we drank, we danced and we reminisced, and we remembered what romantic love for another can do.

My daughter, an ornithologist, is also an artist. She sings and plays guitar, banjo and uke. She is at her most joyous when she is creative.  And so, her band, Holy Crow, played at the wedding, her new husband standing or dancing nearby. It was a joyful, super fun celebration.

In my thesis on learning communities that I wrote in 2005, I spoke about the power of music and how it brings people together and fills their soul. I stick by it.

Yesterday I saw Tony Robbins in person for the first time at Vancouver’s Power of Success conference with my husband. I’d bought him the tickets for his birthday present this year. Tony provided three hours of peak performance training. For me, it was as much fun as a rock concert, and I love a good rock concert. Hello Tom Petty in Vancouver, August 17th! Thank-you children! Here’s why, music fills my soul up and makes it flower. Tony has a great, loud, soundtrack that everyone jumps to the beat. No, I am not too old, even at 56 soon to be 57 to jump around to great music. No such thing as too old. It was another joyful super fun celebration.

And then today. Today at the Vancouver Art Gallery I breathed in Monet‘s process; his colours, his strokes, his layers, the fragrance of his garden. Amazing. An then more came…Emily Carr‘s forest paintings…their rhythm, each of them a unique symphony, an opus, of temperate rain forest green’s. I was completely immersed in celebration for the rainforest. And then, I was ready to go home. Away from the city. To my quiet corner in the forest for which I am so very grateful.

While I write this, I am again filled with gratitude for my amazing month and if you follow me here or on instagram, you know that I know gratitude is the way to joy. Here’s the next tidbit.

Joy + Creative Exploration create the conditions for Interior Light; the light that wakes us up and opens us to love for self and love for others. This deep, knowing love allows me (and you) to walk in beauty and “beauty will save the world”.

I am a creativity coach.

I help people to reconnect with joy…and begin the next leg of this wonderful journey.

And, I am an artist.

I will always dive into my colours and begin new canvases, boards, paper, whatever. As I paint, I  welcome the music I  listen to and I allow it to fill my soul until it is my soul that is creating. Celebration needs music. Creating is soul celebration.



Art Heals

Paint, especially acrylic, is my favorite medium. It flows, it inspires me, it responds to my energy, it blends and surprises, it can be made to be malleable, it is forgiving, it drys quickly, it’s

IMG_1842 removable up to a point, and I can use big or small movements with it. A few quick strokes, with any mark making tool can release a monumental build up of ‘feeling’ in me


and work to ground me again. For that reason, I keep a canvas ready to work on at all times.

When I say work on, I don’t mean that I have a plan. I have no plan. Ever. Even when a series is pouring out it’s completely intuitive work. I am the conduit for what is passing through me. My job, it seems, is to get out of the way. That’s super easy when I have those times of energy fullness, but more difficult when I’m feeling calm and just wanting to spend time painting. IMG_2112

In the zone, for me, is getting out of the way; It’s mind quieting. It’s beginning with the monkey mind fully engaged and becoming meditative thanks to the process of moving paint. it’s often solution finding. It’s always increases my self-awareness.

And the work is layers and layers of this mark making, color splaying, texture creating, healing expression. Layers of patiently becoming.

When you hang my art, what you see is the beauty and grace and questions I’m left with after process and more process. It is a piece of me.

When you work with me through the process I’ve developed, you will explore your inner landscape to find a method for releasing feeling and to achieve calm and a personal state of grace. You will become aware of you strength and faith and inner healing.

Are you ready to find out how art can move you out of pain and toward a state of grace? Do you want more ease and peace in your life? I’d love to talk to you about how I can help.

 When people are invited to work with creative and artistic processes that affect more than their identity with illness, they are more able to “create congruence between their affective states and their conceptual sense making.”104(p53) Through creativity and imagination, we find our identity and our reservoir of healing. 

Slaughter House Five and PTSD

I read this book in the eighties. It was hyped as a work of genius for the three voices Kurt Vonnegut gave himself in the telling of it. It was hyped for it’s sixties vibe, sex and aliens. At the time I thought is was kind of stupid. I didn’t get the allure of aliens or porn star sex. I figured it was just another book for guys who respond to that sort of thing… basically all the guys I knew then.

I reread the book a couple of weeks ago and saw it in a completely new and incredulous light. Vonnegut was a genius! After a good long while of reflection and contemplation, he’d found an effective way to express his experience with PTSD during it’s most intense moments of his life. I was memorized as I read and unraveled the symbolism. I understood the layers of voice and how necessary it was to relay that untethered, unembodied state  that happens on the journey. I understood that he needed to understand and share his ironic, terrible, destructive story to make sense of it, and that curiosity, the need to understand, was probably the thing that saved his life.

I’m pretty sure almost nobody understood ‘shell shock’ in the sixties, though they may have


recognized it’s wrecking ball power. Many sufferers saw the bottle or the needle as the only means of escaping it’s incapacitating power. Has that changed any in 40 years? Not much, but we’re beginning to have conversations about PTSD and other mental illnesses. That’s the beginning of change. Naming something leads to understanding. Understanding leads to destigmatizing.  Destigmatizing leads acceptance and support. Acceptance and support are necessary for healing. Healing, not escape, needs to be the clearly communicated goal for anyone with PTSD.

Well done Kurt Vonnegut. Well done.

When the Universe is With Me…

…it’s really with me. I have had an absolutely amazing past four months. Little miracles keep happening. It’s been art full! I have set a goal or two, the reach for the stars kind, and I am moving in the right direction. The force is definitely with me, and I am so very thankful!

Today for example, I went somewhere with a purpose, I imagined and visualized the best case scenario and well, I walked out exactly as I’d wanted to. I’ve not only got my groove back but the groove is moving me toward my goals!

Cuzco, Peru 2013

Life is not a mystery and going with the flow was the wrong way to go because all I did was flow until I was empty. By seeing the course, knowing what I want , setting the goals, I create my life. True story. So glad I’m all over it now.

So change it up people! Create the life you want by visualizing it and being grateful for what you receive. Remember, Gratitude is the path to joy. Ignore the negatives that come from surprising sources and live the dream you want to live! Manifest your life.


Superwoman is a lie. Don’t believe that you can do it all. Don’t believe that you have to do it all. Don’t believe that you need to do it all. Don’t even try. Really, just don’t do it.

If this is a parent’s dream for you, let it go. They really just want you to be happy. Believe that.

If this is your subconscious way to prove you are good enough, it won’t work, so let it go.

If this is your vision for yourself, change it.

Instead…go write a list of things that you are feeling grateful for. Read that list out loud to yourself, slowly and with meaning. Notice how you feel. If your list is authentic, you just might be noticing joy.

That feeling is where we need to try to live.

Make that your new vision/mantra/goal for yourself and see what changes in your life.

Do the things you need to do to walk in beauty.

Walk in Beauty

10 Pleasing Things Right Now.

  1. Canada's Conscious Skeptic #1 This has been accepted into the Sooke Fine Art’s Show.
  2. The juicy sweetness of that first bite from a ripe freshly picked yard apple.
  3. Retirement Countdown is ON!
  4. My dog is washed, dried, brushed and smelling good!
  5. The rain just took the pollen to the ground.
  6. My boundaries are beginning to not be a problem for anyone but me… on to the next step; me talking that ‘you’re guilty of being selfish’ voice right back down.
  7. Longer, lighter days, even if they’re wet!
  8. A 1/2 price coupon for 300$ worth of art supplies! Yippee!
  9. A summer wedding in the works for my lovely daughter and her wonderful fiancee.
  10. I forgot my cell phone at home for a few hours today and my world didn’t fall into crisis. Good to know.

I could go on. Can you? Come on, get your gratitude attitude happening and light yourself up!