1. Just for today do not worry  

2. Just for today do not anger

3. Honour your parents, teachers, and elders

4. Earn your living honestly

5. Show Gratitude to every living thing



A young couple expecting their second baby chose to have a home delivery.  Christmas was approaching and they were well past their due date.  December 23rd the babe was born and the midwife decided that the baby’s breathing was laboured and called an ambulance.  She also made the decision that the Father should go too as he had been ill and was still not better.  The hospital staff said they needed to be hospitalized for a day and would be released on the morning of the 25th.  The couple was not looking forward to going home cleaning up THE mess, preparing a Christmas dinner and making sure that Santa arrived for their four year old son who had been waiting at his Grandma’s.  Their worry was for naught.  Kind neighbours went into their home, cleaned up after the delivery and the smell of turkey greeted them as they opened the door.


“I am always willing to learn, although I do not always like being taught”
~ Sir Winston Churchill

Yesterday, I decided not to wear a watch.  We were meeting friends for a fun day at the Annual Waterfront Festival in Cobourg.  It was super and I was not even aware that we spent two and a half hours over dinner.  I didn’t need my watch.

I am open to learning to be less time focused but I recognize I resist lessons.  I can be and frequently push the envelope of time.  I try to do too much, in too short a time and leave myself on the edgy side – stressed, anxious and a general pain to those I love.  In fact right now as I write, this is one of those moments.  I awoke in the night and wasn’t pleased with the precept message for this newsletter.  We are leaving shortly to go and see the Canada Day Parade and off to the festival again to browse, see friends and listen to some great music at the band shell.

I decided to have a leisurely bath and read my book while Cesca completes the final details of wiring this off to you.  Suddenly I am alerted to a dream I had last night.  The message was; change the newsletter, the Principle story is not what you want to say.  So here I am once again pushing the envelope of time.  The rumble in the back of my mind is that I am keeping Cesca waiting, I’m not dressed yet and there is some tension in my shoulders.  Oops!  This is what worry looks like for me pangs of guilt/fear, a bad conscience and tension in my body.  Does it REALLY matter if this newsletter is not on your desk first thing on the first day of the month?  NO!

So just for today I am not going to worry.  I’m off to the parade to honour and celebrate what it is to be Canadian.  Hopefully you will be doing the same and will read this later at your leisure.  I’m not wearing my watch


“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,
it only saps today of its joy.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

The demon called worry can and does limit us.  It is such an utter waste of time for the truth is, the only moment that really matters is the one we are experiencing right now.  We are enough right now.  What we did yesterday can not be changed but it is an opportunity for us to evaluate, with love, our experiences and make open hearted commitments to our self to change.  Life isn’t always fair but it is still good.  Even the worst, most traumatic events, can be life altering and lead us in new directions beyond our wildest expectations and dreams, if we let them.  Worry inevitably criticizes, finds fault and denigrates.  It is blaming and our own worst enemy.  Life is not about what happens to you but what you do with what happens to you.

What we will experience tomorrow is unknown.  We can only control ourselves and each day we are barraged by thousands of thoughts, stimuli, people and events.  If we worry about this we make ourselves sick, our hearts are heavy and our souls contaminated.

Pause for a moment, breath deeply and acknowledge that everything happens for your higher good.  Be calm at peace amongst the chaos and in this moment release your need to worry.  Try these affirmations, they may help: “I am free from worry.”  “It is safe for me not to worry.”  “My family and friends support me in being worry free." 


 “Worry gives a small thing a big shadow” ~ Swedish proverb

Are you a worrier?  Do you awake in the night pondering your life decisions?  Do you stress about things that might happen to your family and friends?  Worry can really be a strange bedfellow and one that robs you of the necessary rest and rejuvenation that your body needs.

Worry used to have a strangle hold on my thoughts.  I remember many a night when I would lie in bed with my heart racing, jaw clenched and mind struggling to create a solution to my current dilemma.

Dr Usui’s brilliance in creating the Ushui Shiki Ryoho Discipline of Reiki Healing, continues to be revealed to me.  My self treatments are most valuable in the middle of the night.  If I awaken, I put my hands over my eyes and wow!  I am asleep in seconds.  It is a miracle.  No more restless tossing and turning.

My family and many close friends don’t live close by.  I have been using the second degree symbols with increasing frequency lately.  When people I love are going through surgery, recuperating from an illness or experiencing a lot of challenges, I can and do send to them.  Sending long distant healing connects me to them instantaneously and I know the energetic flow of energy provides them with whatever they need to heal.  The power of Reiki Healing continues to amaze me.  When I give to others, I get a treatment too.  So the more I use my Reiki the stronger I get and the healthier I become.


"If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying?
If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?" ~ Shantideva
Worry is the emotion when you are anxious, overwhelmed or concerned about a real or imagined issue.  We hear of people worrying about a great range of things - everything from their health to the health of the world.  Most people experience some short-lived episodes of worry in their lives without incident.  Research says that moderate amounts of worrying may even have positive effects.  The entire insurance industry is based on this premise.  It can also influence our behaviours i.e. such as deciding to try bungee jumping, sky diving etc.  However, about one in four people, have chronic worry, an anxiety disorder which requires professional treatment.  Chronic worry can and does contribute to heart attacks, high blood pressure, ulcers, gastrointestinal problems, muscular aches and pains, skin rashes, eczema, respiratory problems and asthma.
Assuming none of us is interested in having one of the above ailments, then we have to take responsibility to reduce our worry.  Counselling helps but I think both Reiki and Hypnosis are really viable solutions to help ease the pain and suffering that worrier's experience.  Francesca is both a Reiki Master and a Certified Hypnotherapist.  She describes the inner place that one travels to in both a Reiki session and a hypno-therapy session as being very similar.  The subconscious mind becomes available and the mind chatter is quieted.  The truth of calm is revealed and one can look at ones worry and see it as separate from the authentic self.
Learning to relax deeply, even in the moment, begins a stream of consciousness where the body, mind and spirit unwinds, calms down and lightens up.  If you are serious about reducing your stress, really serious, then now is the time.  Honour yourself; love yourself with a gift of a Reiki or Hypnotherapy Session.  During February (heart month), Francesca is offering reduced rates.  Regularly $80, sessions are now $60. 


The Critic Within 

 "Criticism and pessimism destroy families, undermine institutions of all kinds, defeat nearly everyone, and spread a shroud of gloom over entire nations." ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Wearing my counsellor hat, I am usually non judgmental and I have little investment on whether or not my clients heed my suggestions.  Some days, it feels as if I have seen it all.  I am not fazed by people and how they dress, act, talk etc.  I have heard many people say; "I hope you won't judge me?"  And I don't.  I feel confident in recognizing them as people on a journey and how they live their life is their business.  So people come for advice / guidance / mentoring and it is easy for me to give this freely with no expectations.

However, I have recently been listening to myself talk and I am aware of areas where I am critical. K nowing myself, I see my own internal prejudices and I am not fond of what I see.  Ah.... another opportunity for change.  Awareness is always the cornerstone of transformation.  It is a place of separating my authentic self as a friend/relative from my authentic self the therapist.

The closer the emotional tie, the more I want others to choose the path that I think is best for them.  Who died and made me God?  No one!  Yet, I struggle thinking that if they did things my way then life would be potentially better or less stressful for them.  Healing would result.

Right now Francesca and I are blessed to have a lot of family members and close friends who have been or are seriously ill.  They teach us so much and we are grateful for being a part of their journeys.  Yet, we long for them to be well spiritually, physically, emotionally.

In our Reiki Master's training we are well aware that we send energy and long distant healing treatments for the recipient's highest good.  Healing can be both healing into life and into death and it is not for us to determine what it will be. Y et, the emotional girls within want those closest and dearest to us not to suffer and for their journey to be easy.

So I hear my critic wanting others to learn Reiki, have daily treatments, meditate, look into complimentary health care, get counselling, release their need to be busy, eat well, exercise regularly.  I know deep in my being that what I want for them is what I want for me.  There is security in having a rich family life and an abundance of friends.  They are my safety net.  Sometimes, I want them to be well so badly that I know this is about my need for them and not about them.

Now, it's time to practice what I teach.  Only offer advice and an opinion if asked for one.  My clients expect advice and opinions.  Friends and family expect and deserve listening from the heart.  Just for today, I will not worry about how others live their lives but rejoice in their freedom to do so.
"Funeral" is a new TV commerical launched by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) which looks at relationships in a different light, through a woman at her husband's funeral.  Ultimately, the TVC celebrates the beautiful imperfections that make a relationship perfect.  This is fresh off MCYS latest Viewers' Choice 2008 win for last year's Family TVC which promotes the importance and value of family bonding

1 g) Just For Today Do Not Worry


"Life begins at the end of your Comfort Zone." ~ Neale Donald Walsch


Who, What, Where, Why and When.  Remember this phrase?  It was clearly the essence of all good investigative reports, when I was in elementary school.
The "why" question is the surest way to escalate a fight, cause self doubt or lower your self esteem when you can't come up with an answer.  The "why" question simply perplexes, and rarely satisfies even if it is a good answer.  The why is always subjective and it causes many to "try and figure it out."  Instead time better spent would be in taking action.
Why did I do this?  Why did he do that?  These questions can stop us in our tracks.  We become defensive and spend our time concentrating, attempting to come up with a good answer - the right answer that will appease our interrogator.  Sometimes the interrogator is ourselves and then we torture ourselves with worry, guilt and shame.
The real question is: What was happening that I chose to do this or he did that?  What do I want to create?  I can chose - a bigger rift and more conflict or a solution to a problem or misunderstanding?  The classic conversation between parents that comedians make jokes about is the report card where Junior gets 95% on an exam and the parent asks: Why?  What happened to the other 5%?
So don't try to "figure it out."  Stop it.  Just focus on what you now wish to create.  Keep moving forward.  There's nothing behind you that can possibly serve you better than your highest thoughts about creating a solution.

1 h) Just For Today, Do Not Worry

"Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility." Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Our problems like worry.  They feed off this state of being like a parasite.  Worry is magnetic and it sticks to problems.  It is so powerful that it requires a lot of determination to pull it off.  Think about many of the things you worried about in the past and are all so nonexistent today.  I worried myself sick at one time wondering if my son would ever really learn to read.  Considering he is now in upper management at McGraw Hill Publishing, I think this a non issue in his life today.

In a very short time the worrisome condition that you are experiencing right now will be a thing of the past.  A solution will appear unless you worry them to stay.  What is the benefit of being up tight and stressed and anxious all the time?  Doesn't make our kids closer to us?  In fact it pushes them away.  It interferes with the job interviews and the meeting of new people.  When we are stuck in worry, we exhibit a frenetic, vibrational energy that is palpable.  Others can feel it in our presence.  So breathe, let it go.  "Hands on; Reiki on. Hands off; Reiki off." - Hawayo Takata. 

If stressed, get those hands on yourself.  It is time for a self treatment.

1 i) Just For Today, Do Not Worry 

"In times of great stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive."  Lee Iacocca

A few weeks ago we were informed that there would not be wellness practitioners at the Shelter Valley Folk Festival.  A wave of anger rushed over us.  Why not?  We love this aspect of our work where we get to give Reiki to aging hippies and earthy green conscious folks.  All the while we are listening to some of the best folk music that Canada has to offer.  And to top it off we are in an idyllic setting amidst lavender fields.

As we grappled with our disappointment, a solution was apparent.  We could offer to coordinate the wellness practitioners.  The anger dissipated.  Saying yes, the worry emerged.  There was little info from previous years and a request from the Board of SVFF for diversity and a high quality of professionalism.
We quickly learned because the festival is Labour Day weekend that many practitioners have a life and/or kids returning to university or college and therefore weren't available.  Slowly, a total of ten practitioners have agreed to work and to volunteer some time working with the musicians.  Cesca has created a schedule that offers something for everyone: Chiropractic consults, Cranial Sacral, Energy Psychology, Feldenkrais, Massage, Polarity, Reflexology, Reiki and Shiatsu Therapies.  We are looking forward to seeing you there.  For more details go to

1 j) Just For Today, Do Not Worry 

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing with him the image of a cathedral" ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Worry is about us and our relationship with ourselves.  We can do it all by ourselves and we can get very very good at it.  The stress it creates on our physical body can have devastating tolls including high blood pressure, anxiety attacks and increased levels of depression.

Worry is about fear.  Sometimes it is connected to our 'not enough' song that replays over and over like a broken record in our heads.  I am not smart enough, educated enough.  I don't have enough love, food, money etc.

Worry takes us out of the present moment.  Things that have happened to us earlier in our lives and or to others in the past add to worry.  By projecting our fear that someone will be angry with us, or something bad will happen because bad things ALWAYS happen to us, creates a festering pool of energy within.

People who worry a lot are very creative.  They have fertile imaginations.  So how do we turn around our worry?  We stay focused on the present.  We need to be the boss of our imagination.  Seize some control and remind ourselves that everything will turn out okay.  Remember that we have the capabilities and so do the people we love to respond to situations and to survive.

1 k) Just For Today, Do Not Worry

God grant me the serenity to accept the things, I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Reinhold Niebuhr


Lately, we have had more than our share of worries and concerns.  With family members and close friends experiencing a collection of illnesses and challenging diagnosis, we have been busy sending distant Reiki treatments.  Family and friends have also been encountering disintegrating relationships and with this comes concern for children's well being and the ensuing financial crisis' that inevitably seems to follow on the heels of separation.


Is there something in the air?  We know we are not alone in this energetic swing of those struggling to cope.  Sometimes we can be and are the listening ear.  On some occasions we all seem to want to rescue those we love and help solve their problems.  Oh to carry a magic wand in the back pocket.  Why can't we have Harry and Hermoine's magical powers?


I found myself thinking of all my family members and closest friends and thinking/stewing over their problems.  Soon, I had a running list of those who are in crisis and had a count that was larger than fingers to count on.  This proceeded to feel enormous to me and I recognized that I needed to focus on the Reiki precept, just for today do not worry.


All problems in time go away- solutions arrive, people adjust, the life cycle repeats itself and death and births continue.  Problems feed on worry and worry is like a magnet.  It galvanizes and sucks us back into the powerful clench that won't seem to let go.  If we believe that a condition or situation is going to be dreadful then our worry creates a climate where the situation seems to stick around for a long time and becomes a malignancy in the psyche.  They become one of those inevitable wounds that we never seem to let go of that tempers our personalities and ability to be resilient.


The healthy response to a worrisome time is flexibility, not rigidity.  This is a place of faith that our experiences are opportunities to learn and live life in new and healthier ways.  The next few lines of the Serenity prayer are: Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace. 


Thanks, Reinhold, I will get on that! 


1 l) Just For Today, Do Not Worry


Every now and then a student who wants to learn Reiki appears and signs up for a class.  Afterwards they are filled with anxiety and fretfulness.  The typical thoughts we hear about are: How will I pay for this?  I shouldn't be spending this money on me when the kids need... Why did I say yes, my partner will be really upset that I am spending all this money?  Sometimes they call and cancel with a number of excuses of why not now.


Certainly, some of the reasons are logical and make sense.  Once a person says they want to do a class they move into process and have made an energetic commitment to themselves and in time they cannot silence this and will come forward for another class.


It is rewarding when we hear that even though they were unsure of how they would pay for a class that they trusted the universe and somehow, somewhere, the money appears.  Recently, a woman was doubting her decision to proceed with a class and then in Tuesday's mail prior to Thursday's class there was a cheque for more money than she needed.  Awe, trust.  The universe does provide.


1 m) Just For Today, Do Not Worry

Lessening Worry - Not Eliminating it

"Time is the coin of your life.  It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.  Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." ~ Carl Sandburg

My awareness of time and all I want to do, accomplish, see is a very real issue for me right now.  As a day dreaming student in grades 7 & 8, I had a teacher who wrote on my report cards: "Donna needs to learn that a minute wasted is a minute lost forever".  My father and mother were not pleased and believed I would waste away my life with daydreams and idle thought.  For months I was admonished and pushed to account for my time spent in productive behaviours.  Argh!!  It was not a pleasant time in my life but I complied in order to avoid conflict.  In doing so it became a way of being.

The lessons were well entrenched.  I rarely watch TV.  I frequently knit when I am a passenger in a car, I do jig saw puzzles while listening to books on tape.  CBC is my radio companion while I'm driving - Might as well learn something while I get from A to B.  Am I compulsive?  Just a tad!

One of my birthday gifts was a set of colourful abundance flags that are now hanging over my desk.  I'm particularly fond of the one entitled Abundance of Wisdom, Learning and Freedom - May all people enjoy freedom, with time to contemplate and to pursue their passions.

I am so grateful that my Reiki self treatments assist me in dealing with my preoccupation to utilize all my time wisely.  Each morning I meditate, and the precepts guide me to have an increasing trust that all will happen as is meant to be and that I have and do use my many skills to prioritize on that which is important to me.  I increasingly include myself as an important priority.  This is a work in progress.  My commitment to self for this academic year in my goal of 'creating less worry in my life' is to sing with the Shout Sisters for another season, to participate in a covenant group with the Peterborough Unitarian Fellowship, to walk more - much more, to explore some personal growth through sessions with another Reiki Master in Peterborough and morning and bedtime Reiki self treatments.

The competitive me challenges you to participate in your own discovery of balance.  Email us and let us know what you are doing. 


"Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk." Carl Jung


Parents tend to worry and have been doing so since time immortal.  Why?  We really want our kids to be safe, for their life to be conflict free and their lessons to come to them easily.  I appreciate the life issues and concerns for their children that they have.  I believe that parents are all doing their best with the information they have.  I believe that I parented to the best of my abilities at the time.  The more I learn about child development, the more, I would do a little differently.


I am fascinated by the current pejorative terms of helicopter, bulldozer and snow plow parents.  Helicopter folks tend to hover and want to be connected at all times.  The advent of the cell phone and its presence in the knapsacks of young kids creates the apron string/umbilical cord of ultimate all consuming nurturing to be ever present.  This constructs a close tie of parental involvement in all that the child does - education, sports, friends etc.  This parent may resolve conflicts with teachers for a child rather than have the kid learn to speak up and tell the teacher what he needs.


A Snow plow parent paves the way and makes a clear clean path from A to B.  This child has the benefits of not having to do too much.  Laundry, picking up after self, learning to cook and take financial responsibility, are all accomplished by the expert parent who aims to make life easier.  If a child forgets her lunch, do we drop things and rush a lunch over to the school or do we trust the universe that the kids in the class will share and your child won't forget another time.


If a parent is in daily contact with the school or the coach, they may be accused of being a bulldozer.  They may be making great efforts for their child and his or her rights and accomplishments to be recognized.  They may call the principal or the superintendent of education before speaking jointly with their child and the teacher.  Going over the heads of others usually create alienation.


It is important to recognize ourselves and how we parent or don't parent.  We acquire these techniques honestly.  We may make decisions because we feel guilty for divorcing and taking them away from the family home.  Or we may have longed as kids to have parents who were involved in our lives and made a vow that when we had children we would always be at every sporting event.  We yearn to give them what we may not have had.


My older sons often tease how slack, lenient and naive I was when they were little.  In grade 2 and 3 respectively, they walked 5 blocks to a bus stop and then took a GO bus from Whitby to Oshawa to go to a French Immersion Public school.  For me it was a relief from driving and dragging a young preschooler out each day in the car.  For them it may have been frightening and yes risky.  Now it is my turn to smile.  My eldest son's 12 year old son is now going to an alternative grade 7-8 program in Toronto and takes the TTC subway and street car both there and back.

Ahh, the things we do for educational opportunities.  Do his parents worry?  Of course they do but we also need to trust that our kids are level headed, have good problem solving capabilities and will ask for assistance if they really need help.


"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do." ~ Georgia O'Keefe

Apparently, nothing is ever as bleak as it looks and everything, in fact, is a blessing.


This can be hard so very hard to fathom and a challenge when things are tough.  How can a sudden, calamitous event in one's life be a blessing?  The challenge of seeing the benefit amidst the worry and stress can be overlooked.  So, recently life gave us a few opportunities to explore this lesson for ourselves.


During the big wind day last week, Francesca came in with an over worn and past its prime shingle in her hand.  "Oh no" our plans for replacing our roof in the spring were now becoming an immediate problem.  Eric (the bathroom reno man) changed a chaotic moment of gloom to "I can repair that."  Quickly followed a discussion about the quotes we had received last fall and a new agreement to hire him at approximately $2,000 - $2,500 less.


Amid the financial prioritizing we had been avoiding replacing our aged water softener.  Quote was high and perhaps it was one of those things that we could get along without.  As the whites became grey and hair lacked lustre, the worry of one more added expense was looming.  The furnace cleaner came, observed the softener was not plugged in and advised that The Country Store frequently has them on sale.  If we bought one, he could install it.


So, it was a week of bargains and angels on our shoulders.  The softener was installed at less than half the cost of the original estimate.  This hard working man also demonstrated another reiki principle.  Earn your living honestly.  While out getting some hosing at the hardware store he called to say.  "Would you like me to pick up some more salt for you?"  He knows how to serve and may business flow his way.




"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." ~ Marcus Aurelius


What if all the problems we face today are going to go away unless we worry them to stay?  Problems like worry, and worry is a magnet for discouragement and fear.  Apparently if you just "let it be," the current worrisome condition will not even be part of your life a short time from now.  We tend to believe what others say to us especially when they are in a position of authority or know more than we do about something.


A worrisome state was part of the learning curve with Francesca's recent medical issues.  One Doctor in the emergency room convinced us that her incision site was contaminated and needed a lot of intervention the following day.  We were told her condition was very serious.  We worried most of the night and did not sleep well.


The next day with a new Doctor we heard "This is good", "Don't worry", "It happens all the time."

So with a different perception and lens of looking at a situation two well trained professionals saw things very differently.  Moral of the story; always get a second opinion and equally important: affirm wellness even when faced with a difficult situation.




"Don't worry when you are not recognized,
but strive to be worthy of recognition." ~
Abraham Lincoln


In relationships where our new partner has been married or cohabitated and had children with a former partner there can be a lot of tension.  Once we hear the stories of what happened to end their relationship (and I really hope we all have enough confidence to ask this), we probably have a lot of feeling about this person.

The challenge is that this person will now be in your life forever because your partner created babies with her/him.  Yes, there are some folks who become dead beats; retreat and run away from their family responsibilities.  Some are not able to be consistent and show up when they say they will and some feel very threatened about your role in the lives of their children.

So meeting up with your partner's ex can be a worrisome event.  The first time can be quite nerve wracking not knowing what to expect.  So imagine you pull up to the soccer field and as you start unloading the chairs you hear a squeal "Daddy's here!"  The options are many.  Bury your head in the trunk of the car, slink off to the far side of the field, or extend your hand and say "Hi, I am ..... You must be Fred/Henrietta.  Your daughter sure is happy to see you."

When we worry a lot about inevitable situations we can blow them out of proportion.  The situation is eased greatly if you show initiative and be a decent person.  Even if you are not too impressed with their past actions, how you choose to respond may impact on all the future ones.  Even if they ignore you or are rude, you do know how you would like the situation to unfold.

My experience is when I think through a potentially challenging or awkward situation before it happens and I rehearse in my mind how I want to respond then it goes better.  I also worry less and this is the real bonus.  Not sleeping and fussing and fuming sucks.




I often put too much effort into trying to make things okay.  My son says I am accommodating to a fault.  He may be right.  The lessons our kids have to teach us are amazing.  Just as we could see our parent's faults when we were younger, I now discern that my adult sons and daughters-in-law have me pegged.  Our children can be THE best teachers.


Do you worry about pleasing others, are you a people pleaser?  Or, do you go out of your way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength?  According to the list of the emotionally stabilizing behaviours of successful people, neither position is a good one.


Mentally strong people strive to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate.  They are not afraid to speak up and stay strong in face of opposition.  They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset with them.  They trust that they will be able to resolve the situation with diplomacy and understanding of opposite points of view.


So if you are fretting and trying to do more than you can accomplish with ease, Usui Ryoho Reiki`s principle "Just for today, do not worry".  It is a wonderful holiday mantra for you and all of us.





"Worry - a God, invisible but omnipotent.  It steals the bloom from the cheek and lightness from the pulse; it takes away the appetite, and turns the hair gray." ~ Benjamin Disraeli



Apparently it is a good idea to avoid the tendency to catastrophize and awfulize.  Okay, I do know that these are not real words, but it is possible to take worry over the top to a point where it interferes with life and having a good time.


Do you worry about all that could occur tomorrow?  Are you are getting agitated about things that haven't happened yet...and may never happen?  At the beginning of June a woman shared that she was really not looking forward to summer.  Money was tight, car not healthy and no one to visit.  We talked about self fulfilling prophesies.  If she continued to fret and worry about this lack, then there is the potential that it will materialize and be the worst summer of her life.


We created some affirmations on abundance filled with hope and promise about her summer.  Four weeks later, she is house sitting at a home with a pool, going camping with friends on two separate occasions and considering volunteering at Shelter Valley Folk Festival so she can attend the Labour Day weekend concert for free, have her food provided and have a great time too.  To consider volunteering go to


What is going on right now is all that matters.  This is where your life is being lived.  We may not be able to change an outcome but when we change our attitude about it the experience is so much better. 




"If worry ever changed anything,

it could be worth a lot

But, it only serves to wear you down

And spoil what you've got.


Try to use your worrying time,

For constructive thought and deed

You might as well throw your worries out,

They are things you do not need." ~ Alan Booth


When you worry and anxietize it is suggested that you need to accept uncertainty.  Nothing is certain and life is not predictable.  How we want things to be is not always the way things are.


Trying to problem solve in your head; things that are beyond your control and are not really yours to solve is ineffective. It raises blood pressure, interrupts sleep, challenges your breathing and feels like an elephant sitting on your chest.  So the body speaks and into your consciousness the first Reiki precept comes to rest.


Just for today do not worry.  The calling not to worry is asking what can you do differently.  Can you be at peace and accepting of a current situation?  Can you choose a different approach that may be risky?  Can you create a possibility where right action can change what you see is an inevitably bad outcome?  What is the worrying trying to teach you?


When I ask myself these questions I become more balanced and my mind chatter slows down.  A calmness that comes from shifting occurs.




A client shared a quote this week that apparently is not new but was new to me.  "If you want a life of rainbows then you have to deal with the rain".  There are lots of descriptive words to describe the rain we experience in our life - Periodic, seasonal, torrential, monsoonal and sun shower.


As much as those closest and dearest to our hearts, including our clients and ourselves, have struggles, Lifewalk can't fix it for you.  You and I are the first responders to our concerns, stressors, grief and losses.  As much as you and I would like to make other's pain go away we can't.  You can provide empathy, compassion, and do random acts of kindness but ultimately it is theirs to deal with.


So when I feel badly for those who are suffering, I can and do sometimes become incapacitated with worry and then my BP, insomnia etc accelerates.  So is "my worry / your worry" about them or does it become about me/you?  Do we want things to be easier for others because it will then be easier for us?  Is concern a time to observe our internal vs external control?  Ultimately what can we control?  Just ourselves and how we respond to our stress.  With disease and illness, pain and suffering there is no right or wrong - it just is.  Even in cases of significant accidents and mistakes it still just is.


Worry does not help the other person in need.  In fact it may cause them more stress because many of us do not want to be a burden or cause others work.  It can be detrimental both to you and the person you care for.

So I invite myself and you to the challenge of "Just for Today Do Not Worry".  As Francesca says in all her affirmations "And may my lessons come easily".




Acceptance is the Key to all Healing


"Why is this happening?"  "Why is this happening?"  "Why did this happen?" is often a response to crisis.  It traps us in self criticism and doubt.


A more effective question might be: "What am I meant to be doing to change my situation, my thinking, my actions? What can I choose to do now?"


Reiki for me is my first choice - it calms me when I am unsettled, soothes the pain if I am hurt physically and guides me to right action of acceptance.  Something's just are.  Especially floods of deep and difficult emotions.  Byron Katie says that liberation is "Loving What Is."  Stephen Mitchell calls non-action "the purest and most effective form of action.  The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we can't tell the dancer from the dance."


Perhaps the best thing you can do right now is nothing at all.  Accepting our feelings and exploring what you want to create for the future as a result of the emotional tsunami is the next step.

Neale Donald Walsh suggest we "Keep moving forward.  There's nothing behind you that can possibly serve you better than your highest thoughts about tomorrow."

There is a program for children and youth with a brilliant name "Created to Create".  Creation is our birthright, and we do it all the time without a lot of thought or consciousness.  But we do create our reality.  Some next step behaviours are habits.  Example: our morning routine; stretching, brushing your teeth, checking phone and computer for messages, having a coffee, morning lemon and ginger.  Whatever you do on a regular basis, these are the habits that create your day and start things off right for you.


A fundamental question is whether you are doing your routine consciously or unconsciously.

Conscious creation is what is needed when you ask why and get stuck in worry.  Accept that you worry, know this about yourself, then the next creative step is to move out of the feelings and thoughts that keep you stuck and just get on with it.  Today awaits your choice as to how it's going to be.  If you need caffeine then pour a cup.  If you need to stop crying then breathe and regroup.  Call the shots!  Make it happen!  You're in charge here.  The past or worrying about the future doesn't need to control your life.  Accept and be present in the moment.




"I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things...I play with leaves, I skip down the street and run against the wind" ~ Leo Buscaglia

It's time for some adult recess.  Educators have known for years that recess is one of the most valuable components of a teaching day.  Children return to their desks, invigorated and ready to focus because they have been outdoors, been social and physically active.  They are ready to engage their minds, open to new experiences and their imagination has been stimulated.

So what does your morning or afternoon break look like?  Sedentary coffee at your desk, a desire to chat with someone but everyone else looks focussed and you don't want to disturb them?

Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, studies play and its positive effects on adults.  He's consulted for Fortune 500 companies on how to incorporate play into business settings and has used play therapies to help people struggling with clinical depression.  His book, Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, suggests that "Productive play can be equally beneficial to adults.  The barrage of personal and business e-mails, messages, tweets added to overwhelmingly busy calendars and family responsibilities often means that fun/play is cut out of an adult's life.  Play may be one of the best ways to increase your productivity.  Taking a break may be one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself."

The complex problems that adults face require creative solutions.  Play can help jumpstart that creative problem-solving process, it can shake us out of the cognitive habits that are holding back our performance at so many other levels.

So instead of worrying what can you do?  Play a game of Tetris on your phone to build your concentration levels instead of checking your social media and taking a selfie?  Have an adult colouring book with good quality markers / pencil crayons and a sharpener.  Colouring reportedly suspends us in time, all the time making creative decisions regarding colour, design, etc.  Play some music and give yourself permission to move freely without concern for other's judgement.  Go outside regardless of the weather and walk/skip around the block.



"Time stays long enough for those who use it." ~ Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD

I needn't worry, but I do, and sometimes I spend too much time doing so.  Worry robs me of time.  I know I have all the time in the world.  Gerry and Esther Hicks remind me that "You preceded time and you will exist beyond it.  Age is irrelevant; more meaningless than a number."

So if you and I have forever then there isn't a challenge you now face that you will not work through and move forward from.  There is no point in spending one more second of your awesome, amazing life, worrying.


"Worry is a billion dollar industry."

While in Trinidad, I felt as if I was immersed in A William Glasser - Choice Theory/Reality Therapy gathering.

The Wiltshire Family were our hosts, guides, organizers, and support people.  They are an amazing family of 9 children raised in Trinidad, all university educated and all embrace Reiki.  Dinner table conversations often returned to the concept of choice.  What we chose to learn from our life experiences, and the consequences of those choices and courses of action.

There were concerns for potential problems but this was so different to experience than fear/worry.  Some great worry quotes evolved in our discussions.

"Worry is like sitting in a rocking chair and expecting it to move."

"Worry is a dark room where negatives develop."

"Worry is like paying interest on a loan that you have not taken out."

"Worry must have done some good because none of those things ever happened."

"Worry is a worthless choice."

We functioned organically with no fixed agenda with a faith that there would be enough time to do all the things our group wanted to see and do.  The universe provided and doors opened.  It was a uniquely beautiful unstructured gathering.  We were living with the concept that pressure is normal as is a challenge, and that stress could be one response we could choose.  We did not.


Neale Donald Walsh reminded me today that "It is well to avoid the tendency to catastrophize."

Part of the process for me when I was out west was about aging, my own perception of this and how am I doing with this process.  I returned resolved to keep balance in my life, focussing on maintaining and improving my health.  Sometimes, like many, the external dominates my life rather than my determining what is best and right for me to do.  Yet they are very intertwined.  I do like to live fully and there always seems to be the next piece of excitement/thing to do.

So in the 4 days between my arriving home and Francesca returning, I managed to be grounded, swimming, seeing clients, preparing good food, with plans to attend a webinar, go to Peterborough for a community gathering and attend the Fellowship.  Peace and calm shifted when I slipped on a patch of ice.  Results were a trip to Cobourg hospital to tend to bashed up shin and swollen knee then off to Toronto to Princess Margaret Hospital for 24 hours where my cousin's wife was dying, holding vigil, then off to the airport, arriving home exhausted, I tripped and fell soundly on my other knee and shoulder.

Historically, I have been responsive to surrounding chaos and drama even when it is my own by worrying.  Neale, in his daily message, suggested: "Stop worrying about all that could occur tomorrow.  You are getting agitated about things that haven't happened yet...and may never happen.  Stay here, right here, in this moment.  What is going on right now...what is occurring right here...?  That is all that matters.  That is where your life is being lived."

 My goal today is to not self deprecate and think I'm a physical wreck.  I am not decrepit and aging miserably.  The 'not enough tape in my head' is ancient worry thinking.  "I'm not doing enough for my cousin who will potentially need a lot of help and may have difficulties coping now that his wife has passed.  Not helping my sister out enough, not available for clients when they need me."

You get the gist of this way of thinking, and I know I am not the only person on the planet who has "not enough voices."  So Just for Today I will not Worry and remind myself over the next few days, as healing takes place, that worry doesn't serve me but faith that there are always solutions does.


"Water is life, and clean water means health." ~ Audrey Hepburn

Yesterday we discovered that there wasn't any water coming from our taps. Living in the country this can be a big concern. Is the well dry? Do we need to dig a new one? OMG we can't afford a new one fFor you city folk - they are a very expensive proposition).

First things first, there is an electrical box for the well pump and it had blown a fuse. Cesca is really good at always buying replacement fuses, light bulbs etc when one burns out. There they were sitting on the shelf next to the panel. Replace one. Turn the power back on. Umm still no water. Can't get the second one out go get that handy soft rubber jar top opener that they give to seniors to open lids. Oops that stuck one is good. Doesn't need replacing.

The pressure tank reads 8, should be 20 or 30. A neighbour arrives, he can't figure it out. We get the number of the guy he uses, "A handy fellow who lives the next road over." No answer, leave a message. Oh well there was a playoff hockey game going on. Maybe he is a Leaf's fan, give the guy a break.

We have enough water to drink, brush our teeth. We are good. Now it's morning so we called The guy. No answer, left another message. We decided to call a company listed on the web. Within an hour and a half, two efficient, knowledgeable fellows arrived did their testing and said .... Ummm your house is 30 years old. A submersible pump is meant to last 20 years. So new pump and pressure tank will cost $3,000+ but the good news is we will offer you a seniors discount.

So remembering to be grateful for our line of credit and that there is water in the well, we remind ourselves money is energy and we have a faith that there will be more. Just for today do not worry.

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“Speak when you’re angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret” Lawrence J Peter

A man in his 30’s recently discovered that his wife of 10 years was not paying the bills. There were an increasing number of calls from collection agencies, the family was on the verge of losing their home and she was avoiding him. Each night as he returned from work she greeted him at the door, coat on, with a rapid list of instructions re their sons telling him she would be back before he needed to go to work. She was apparently going off to work.

Not so, she had been having an affair and using the family money to help her new lover pay off his debts. When pushed to tell the truth she was honest and left the home and her children troubled and an upset woman. Her husband was furious, revengeful and wanted to get even. His brother took him to a cottage on an island. He left him with a week’s groceries and told him to pray and make some decisions on what he wanted to do.

He returned calm and at peace with a parenting plan in place that involved his wife. He said – being a vengeful man was making him sick and behave like a mean, violent person. It was the wrong way to parent his sons. They were conceived in love and he would raise them with love. He decided being angry at his wife wasn’t going to work. “I’ll love her from a distance.”


"How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it." Marcus Aurelius

 I work with a lot of kids whose parents are getting divorced. Sometimes they are caught in the middle and are resentful of their parents.  They have to change schools, move to a new place, and cope with a new step parent etc., all without being consulted. It is difficult to choose between their parents and in reality they should not have to do this.

Let's face it falling out of love, irreconcilable differences, an affair are all issues that adults can cope with, forgive themselves and even each other. They then move on in their life. However, the parent who feels they have failed their child and takes responsibility for it are troubled and struggle to make things right with an now alienated adult.

I frequently give the following letter to parents who take the time to seek help in creating a parenting plan. They understand that they will be in relationship for the rest of their lives and how they handle the break up and the decisions they make for their kids will mean the difference in cooperative kids or potentially angry aggressive acting out kids.


"Your children have come into this world because of the two of you. Perhaps you two made lousy choices as to whom you decided to be the other parent. If so, that is your problem and your fault.

No matter what you think of the other party - or what your family thinks of the other party - these children are one half of each of you.

Remember that - because every time you tell your child what an 'idiot' his father is, or what a 'fool' his mother is, or how bad the absent parent is, or what terrible things that person has done, you are telling the child that half of him is bad.

That is an unforgivable thing to do to a child. That is not love. That is possession. If you do that to your children, you will destroy them as surely as if you had cut them into pieces, because that is what you are doing to their emotions.

I sincerely hope that you do not do that to your children. Think more about your children and less about yourselves, and make yours a selfless kind of love, not foolish or selfish, or your children will suffer"

--Judge Haas, submitted by attorney Paul Kiltinen, Minneapolis


Extinguishing Anger

"Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth.  Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life."  Joan Lunden

I have been away from the news for the last five days.  We've been away for a restful and revitalizing break at the end of the holidays.  As I browsed through my e-mails, I have caught a glimpse of what is going on in the world and I feel flashes of anger.

Gas prices have risen by 20 cents in the past few days.  Why?  There is another Middle East crisis where over 500 Palestinians have been killed.  Innocent people die because of culture and religious wars.  I don't get it.  Why can't people live in peace accepting of our differences and willing resolve conflicts?
A murder suicide in a small town in Quebec leaves three innocent children and their father dead on New Year's Day.  The parents apparently had overwhelming financial problems.  Is bankruptcy and social welfare so shameful and depressing that children's lives are terminated?
The Ontario Energy Board has fined Universal Energy $200,000 for misleading consumers about impending rising cost of hydro, I was conned by Universal Energy's sales man at the door last year and now we are committed to a contract that, well to be frank "sucks".
"Canadian Banks won't loosen credit".  Small business owners are searching for adequate availability of credit in order to sustain their businesses.  Twenty eight percent are concerned about their credit needs as the recession continues.
Greed affects all of us.  In my e-mail box is an uplifting option from a fellow Reiki Master, to my anger and feelings of hopelessness about things that appear to be out of my control. Starting January 15th - February 23rd there will be a 40 day world wide spiritual process that we can all get involved in.  Go to for more information.  Be a part of a vision of world peace, inner peace and sufficient abundance for all.

2d) Just For Today, Do Not Anger


"Life is rarely as difficult as you think it is, and hardly ever as aggravating as humans are able to make it" Neale Donald Walsch

Are you patient with life? As I age, I keep thinking that I can accomplish what I used to do when I was thirty.  My energy levels may be lower but what really is out of whack is my self expectations.  I'm a list maker and have always liked ticking off my accomplishments as my day progresses.  Now I see there are some things that don't seem to get crossed off.  Am I procrastinating?  Well that could be true.  It is said that postponers are perfectionists and while I have some areas of my life that I could care less about, there are others where I am very particular.
Frustration seems to be inevitable when I try to accomplish too much.  I like to think that I am not really a very angry person.  I don't hold grudges and can usually solve most communication challenges and differences.  I have the occasional moments where the expletives can spill forth but they are rare especially compared to earlier times in my life.
I think I am irritable.  This irritation is really a degree of anger and is most often directed at myself.  However, it comes out in my voice.  Irritation comes from my mind when things don't go the way I want them to.  How do I let it go?  I think more self acceptance and a willingness to take responsibility for my mind is the answer.  It requires a willingness for me to say I am sorry for the impatience, irritation or lack of listening.
This is a process.  It is possible that the obstacles are really stepping stones.  Francesca asked me to assist her with an email that she needed to write.  Something that was potentially difficult for her.  I responded with an edge.  I said yes but my tone said do I have to.   Upon reflection and recognizing how I had allowed my mind to sabotage, I acknowledged this with her.  The real gem underneath was that I had not really thanked her sufficiently and given her the appreciation she deserves for helping me edit The Reiki Alliance Newsletter the previous evening.  Thank you Cesca there are many things in life that I could not do without your support.

2e) Just For Today, Do Not Anger

"Anger is a reaction to an emotion - usually fear" ~ Rick Bockner

At the conference, Rick Bockner spoke extensively about the precepts.  Rick is one of the twenty-two Reiki Masters initiated by Mrs Takata, the woman who brought Reiki to North America.  This is a summary of his sharing about the second precept.

In the moment of anger, "what is so... important to me that I need to do this to myself?"  Anger takes an enormous toll on our physical health.  An adrenal gland flash of adrenalin causes us to lose control and not speak our truth. 

Just for today do not anger is a call to self.  "What am I afraid of in this situation and what do I want in this situation?"  This is an opportunity to engage and interact with the person we care about and identify our needs and listen to the other persons.  Paying attention to our anger is a gift when we move from reacting to interacting.  The inner peace flows, and solutions are found without the conflict that so many of us fear.   


Are you reacting or interacting?  The emotion anger is an internal reaction to something or someone.  It requires us to be in relationship and it is in this place of relationships with our family, friends, partners, and co-workers that we experience this thing called anger.  Anger, the emotion, gives us an opportunity to feel in our body.  We feel a physical response of our breath changing, face getting red, voice becoming louder, hands clenching, eyes penetrating and our pulse increases.  This body response is an invitation and a signal to observe ourselves.


2f) Just For Today, Do Not Anger


"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers." ~ M. Scott Peck


Being a parent is one of the most difficult jobs we will ever undertake.  Our training is sorely inadequate and we have to learn on the job without a job description or a "how to" manual.


Our experience as children is jaded by time, and our child-like perception of what we experienced does not necessarily reflect the rational of what and why our own parents did or didn't do what they did.  I hated taking a spoonful of Cod Liver Oil straight every morning and I had no idea of why I was doing it.  What I remember is the sternness and impatience of my father, my gag reflex and my whining and acting out.  It was a daily conflict for years (this was of course in the era of children needing to blindly obey their parents - or else).


This morning conflict affected my day and I am sure that it was not pleasant for my folks.  Our friend, Winthrop Wiltshire, a Reiki Master from Trinidad and Tobago reminds me that "everyone at every moment of his or her life, when all the circumstances are taken into account, is always doing the best that he/she could, so no one is ever worthy of blame or reproach".  In hindsight, I believe that my Dad was trying to keep me healthy according to the parenting and health care practices of the day and I was doing my best to say how I didn't like this and wanted things to be different.  But, we were both angry - very angry, every day.


I know I often parented my three sons hoping to minimize and/or avoid conflict.  Not a bad strategy, but at times it meant that I wasn't consistent and definitely not authentic to myself.  At times it was easier to fold, to give in to a request rather than to say no and stay firm.  At other times, intervening to avoid potential meltdowns was a VERY effective parenting strategy.


Decision making and learning to express ourselves effectively are life skills that we want children to learn and we, the parents, are the best to teach them.  One of my sons complains that he was forced to eat too much broccoli as a kid.  I am sure I didn't share sufficiently the rational for dark green vegetables and that broccoli was the most consistently available/fresh/cheapest green veggie that I could get them to eat and I knew how to cook.  Likewise he was unable to express himself assertively for me to really listen to a request for a wider choice in vegetables.


Just for today do not anger, doesn't mean we shouldn't have anger.  In my opinion, it means that life is better for me when I find solutions for the situations that cause anger to arise and I am conscious to express them in a way that I am heard.  In this process, I am true to myself.


We can release our fall-back way of thinking that takes us to the place of parenting as ours did to us.  For more information about reducing the conflict and increasing the joy in our relationships with our children, I suggest you look at Raising our Children Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldert


2g) Just For Today, Do Not Anger


We all experience anger; sometimes it overwhelms us and becomes all encompassing.  This Reiki Principle guides us to find resolution and not to get stuck in a destructive pattern of anger.

The core of all anger is a need that is not being met.  Anger can be the wake up call, the alarm clock that tells us to pay attention.

A woman recently shared that she could barely contain her anger at her spouse who was having an emotional affair with a co-worker.  There had been days of accusatory fights and sleepless nights.  As she spoke it was evident that the rage inside was spewing forth in her language and her jaw was aching from her clenched teeth.

Initially she was focussed on getting even and telling her adult children what Dad had done.  I asked her what need of hers was not being met in her relationship.  Quickly the tone of the conversation changed.  She was angry that she did not have an emotional closeness to her partner and recognized that she had stopped trying after the birth of their last child some 19 years previous.  Shortly, her anger dissipated and she recognized that she was feeling relief.  She no longer wanted to be married to him but until now did not have the courage to speak up or to take action.  Recognizing her anger allowed her to sense her own feelings and needs and then to recognize her husband's.  They are currently working towards an amicable separation.

Do you listen to the alarm and get up and take some action or do you roll over and ignore it?

2h) Just For Today, Do Not Anger

"Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other personto die" ~ Buddha.



I have had an increasing number of clients who are going through separation and divorce.  Many have relationships ending after over 20 years of marriage.  Complaints seem to be based on communication that has dwindled and then become nonexistent or per functionary.  Emotional affairs occur and for some the marital commitment of fidelity is broken.  The range of emotion is so varied - from resignation to relief to rage.


Those most caught up in a ferocious battle re: finances and child custody / access issues appear to be resistant to see and recognize their piece of responsibility in the breakdown of their relationship.  They blame their partner.  "It is their fault".  I question the futility of hanging on to this anger over time.


I believe that Dr. Usui in this principle 'Just for today do not anger' is not meaning that we should never get angry.  It is a healthy emotion and it can and does lead to solutions.  As a behaviour, it is best known as a destructive force.  With all its fury, it obliterates families and increases the potential for a stress induced disease.  The opposite of the potential for destruction is construction.  The anger that is not held onto for couples can enable them to become cooperative parenting partners that work effectively and supportively of the couple's children.  Some individuals will utilize their anger to rediscover their authentic selves and their anger motivates them to dig deep and find the courage to heal their relationship.  These couples decide consciously to experience and acknowledge their anger and then move forward.


I am saddened to know that there are couples many years post divorce who still speak of their former spouse with venom.  It increase my hope for world peace when I meet divorced couples who respect, honour and still support each other.  They are an inspiration.


I had the privilege to work with a divorced couple, the parents of a child who was sexually abused.  They rallied along with their new partners to create one of the most beautiful loving and supportive frameworks of healing for their child that I have ever seen.  They are amazing.  Blessed be those who make a conscious effort to release their anger and move forward.


2i) Just For Today, Do Not Anger

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." ~ Buddha

Teens have enormous stressors in their lives.  We did too when we were kids, but the push for academic excellence and acceptance to the right school, mixed with being the right body shape and size and the potential of dating violence and cyber bullying all can be overwhelming.  Mix this with a dose of attitude and wow, the family home front can become quite toxic.


Parents tell me "I just want some respect, cooperation and for them to do what I ask."  Kids scream "give me some space, trust me, let me make my own decisions, I'm not a kid, you can't tell me what to do."  The volume rises and the discord creates enormous stress for all involved.


A woman whom I respect has been struggling with a disrespectful teen, who was lying, skipping school and giving her Mom attitude about household chores, curfew, boyfriends etc.  Both were frequently in tears of frustration and fury.  In her distress the mother discovered the total transformation program  She is thrilled.  She and her daughter are communicating without the angst and sarcasm.  There is a new norm.  They both still have anger but they are choosing to deal with it differently.  I plan to look more into this program and see what new approaches it has to offer.

Imagine the impact on self esteem and world peace; if everyone learned to process their anger in a healthy non violent way.

2j) Just For Today, Do Not Anger

What a hard concept this precept can be and how rewarding it is to use our anger to construct and build rather than destruct and decimate.  It is not always easy.  Yet how did a young man born into a high caste in India come to free 83,000 children from slavery?  Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi offers a surprising piece of advice to anyone who wants to change the world for the better: "Get angry at injustice."  In this powerful talk, he shows how a lifetime of peace-making sprang from a lifetime of outrage.


2k) Just For Today, Do Not Anger


"Anger is just sad's bodyguard" ~ Liza Palmer


There are many theories about emotions and how many there really are.  The minimalist theory suggests that there are only two - Love and Fear.  Critics are quick to say, well what about anger?  What about wars, domestic violence, political injustice?  Perhaps all of this does come from a place of fear, fear of another's God, fear of a woman's power, fear of losing power, loss of land and resources.


Another viewpoint suggests that there are four basic emotions - Joy, Sadness, Fear and Anger.  In this theory all the other emotions where our needs are either being met or not met fall into one of these categories.


So if there are only four basic emotions, which one do you show the world the most?  Which emotion do you lead with?  It is said that they often pair up for each of us as a dominant and non dominant and then there are the underbelly ones that we keep hidden from the world.


Are you seen as an optimistic positive Pollyanna where all is and will be good?  Are you generally viewed as morose, deeply troubled by the woes of the day and lost in grief?  Does your world know you as timid, cautious and reluctant to change?  Are you observed as having strong opinions, assertive, intolerant and highly controversial?


The next question is: which emotion do you do your darndest to hide from the world?  This is the secret part of you that you would prefer others not to see or know about you?  I also like the question: which one do you avoid?  Perhaps it's because you see it as weak, or a very negative way to be?


When I saw Liza Palmer's quote on facebook this past week, I revisited this theory and thought about myself and what I observe in my counselling practice.  I believe I show my joy and anger to those who see me.  And I tend to hold back my sadness and fears.  As I continue to demonstrate more vulnerable leadership in my work I've learned that if I don't; I won't get vulnerability back.


Behind my strong opinions, assertive call to action, passionate lobbying; I recognize my sadness that things might not change, and that my grief of many losses might overwhelm me to inaction.  Thanks to whoever posted Liza's quote (I can't remember who).  I'm grateful to you, Liza Palmer, for profound words.


2l) Just For Today, Do Not Anger

"Every time you get upset at something, ask yourself, if you were to die tomorrow, was it worth wasting your time being angry?" ~ Robert Tew

There are many very legitimate reasons for being angry in our life.  Top of my list is anything that can be associated with social injustice.  Anything that causes harm to the vulnerable: children, youth, women, immigrants, LGBT community, mentally ill, poverty stricken, minorities, natives, the elderly or the disabled, irks me enormously.

I could be very angry about many injustices that have happened to me in my life so far, but I'm not.  Therapy, emotional release work, and shifting my perspective have all helped.  Well, I'm not angry all the time.  Sometimes I will have a flair up and be triggered by some piece of news that is beyond my imagination of cruelty and wrongness.  Then I become indignant.

I think this precept; Just for Today do not Anger, is not saying never get angry, it is saying don't stay angry.  Don't self destruct and ruin relationships.  Don't place your body under a steady rush of raging adrenalin that leaves your cardiac system in jeopardy.

Can you shift your thinking around to what does the anger teach me?  To be healthy and work to resolve conflict both those in the past and the present, breathe deeply, meditate, take your mind to a peaceful mindful place?  Build community, speak of social responsibility, and raise funds and consciousness?

The non profit sector teaches us and demonstrates constantly how collective thought brings our world to a better place of consciousness.  Each Nongovernmental organization (NGO) started from seeds of discontent.  Collaboratively, we come together in having a dream of ending disease, famine, child abuse or rape and we discover courage.  The visualizing and focusing on the dreams requires persistence as demonstrated by the Native Truth and Reconciliation Process.  The physical efforts of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders to move towards their dreams of medical assistance requires gut strength.  Letting go of the how requires a willingness called wisdom to not let the diseases and injustices win.

We can construct with our anger.  Are you up for the challenge?

2m) Just for today do not Anger

"Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else: You are the one who gets burned" ~ Buddha

Situations in life are angering.  They hurt to the core.  People can be mean spirited.  Sometimes the feelings get repeated over and over in our minds.  The anger then becomes a part of your personality.  You can hear it in the voice, the edge of the clenched jaw and fist.  The eyes may be cold.  The softness goes.  Where did the softness and fluidity of babies go?

We all experience anger or shades of anger on a daily basis.  You may be peeved, irritated, annoyed, frustrated, livid and resentful.  But, will it stay and become an integral part of who you are?  Feel the feeling and let it go.  It only makes you sick.


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Grandpa, a loveable but cussed old codger, whose ready sarcasm was always biting, was dying. A rare form of leukemia required him to have blood transfusions every 2 to 3 weeks. These treatments held him a ‘hostage’ in the hospital for 24 – 48 hours. His son came from out of town to drive him to the hospital and stay with his mother. Grandma, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s was easily confused. The rest of the time, their two daughters, tended to the couple. They had revealing stories about how their parents were going downhill. Grandma thought her phone wasn’t working for outgoing calls and had Grandpa call in Bell repair people. Turns out she was attempting to make calls on the TV remote. Grandma repeatedly turned off the ‘air conditioner’ in the middle of the night because it was making “too much noise”. Fortunately, Grandpa knew to plug his respirator back on.

Their 25-year-old grandson was upset to learn that Grandpa’s 80th Birthday was going to go uncelebrated. His aunts were exhausted from their supporting roles and his Dad was equally stretched from his visits at transfusion time. The grandson lamented to his mother, what could they do for Grandpa’s birthday “Mom, we have to do something. I’m prepared to rent a hall and pay for catering myself. Grandpa is dying and I don’t want to have any regrets.”

The grandson’s leadership created momentum and within a week a family gathering was organized and eventually one of Grandpa’s daughters volunteered her home. Pictures were taken, new babies in the family were welcomed and speeches given. It was a grand event, a celebration of his life. Grandpa was thrilled to have all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren present. Six weeks later they all congregated for his funeral, his grandson with no regrets.


An elder Reiki Master Joop from Holland is an excitable fun loving guy. He is frequently laughing and his generous spirit is demonstrated, as he does for others. At the conference, he was responsible for arranging the transportation from the train station to the Conference Centre. It was complicated being on top of everyone’s schedules, tickets etc.

Joop provided me with a new to me insight into the principle of Honouring your parent’s teaches and elders. For this I will be eternally grateful. I never really know when a teaching will appear to me. So frequently they come from sharing.

Like my self, Joop had his share of challenges with his parents and we have both done a lot of therapy and healing to get to a place of forgiveness of their behaviours. I had been feeling quite complete in recognizing, my advocacy work for women and children and my grief and spiritual counseling skills, were a positive result of the traumas I had experienced. Forgiveness had occurred and I acknowledged their skills and the many wonderful contributions my parents made to me, our family and community.

Joop suggested that he had written a list of the lessons learned and the experiences gained from his parents. The goal was to stay away from any of the negatives and to focus with love. Immediately drawn to this exercise, I found a quiet place, sent distance healing to both my parents who have been dead for over 40 years. Then the flood of writing came. My love of gardening – we had a green house attached to our home when I was a teen,

My passionate connection to reading, My journaling and chronicling life, My creative expressions of art and gifts to others, my dedication to elders.

A sense of joy flooded over me. My parents, Doris and Duncan McCallum definitely gifted me with career options and skills. More important they contributed to my essence, the inner me, my sanctuary and joy. Thanks Mom and Dad.


 “Every Moment holds and opportunity. Create your life the way you want it.”  Alice Walker

Twenty years ago this month my friend and work colleague, Leslie Vaughan died. She was driving a sick friend to see her parents and kids when they were hit broad side. She was air ambulanced to Sunnybrook Hospital’s Trauma Unit. Five days later she died. She never regained consciousness nor had an opportunity to say good bye to her three children. Her act of kindness and gratefulness for her own health and well being led her to do for someone else what she would like to have done for her if the tables were reversed.

Leslie was a vibrant, sensual woman. She laughed often with sincerity, danced with grace and communicated love and acceptance with her eyes. On one occasion, She and I were participating in a sweat lodge and we were given our native names by an Ojibway elder. Leslie’s name Stormy Jay. She loved this name and it reflected her intense willingness to speak her truth even when it was difficult.

Since her death Blue Jays have been a very important part of my healing. I find their feathers and keep them on my desk, in my car. They comfort me and I love their beauty. Last weekend I picked up a magnificent feather on our lawn by our Oak tree. I presented it to Cesca. I did not think of Leslie when I did this. The next day, a Jay was cawing at the bird feeder making quite a racket. I heard, I remembered and I acknowledge all the lessons Leslie provided me and still does from a distance. I’m better at laughing often, loving deeply and speaking my truth because of the lessons she taught me.

The following is a poem written by Leslie that moves me.


She stands alone,

but I see the spirits

of so many others

survivors of the same battle,

amassed behind her.

She stands, alone.

but, with each word she speaks

I hear the walls of silence,

imprisoning the guiltless.

come crashing down.


She stands, alone,

but in the light of her courage

I feel a shift, a change,

in my deepest heart.


Each beat, like the throbbing drums

that pound out a call to battle,

 echoes with my new found strength.


She stands, alone

before the world

to proclaim her innocence,

And mine!


Warrior Woman, I hear you!

Like golden arrows your

words do battle with the

swirling darkness.


Warrior Woman, I see with awe

your undefeated spirit that

fights for freedom, and wellness,

and I know that it is my own.


Warrior Woman, I recognize

though you may not,

that you have spoken for all who cannot speak

and fought for all who cannot fight.


Warrior Woman, I thank you!



“Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed; in the second it is opposed; in the third it is regarded as self evident” Arthur Schopenhauer

By chance in the video store we came upon The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I had read the book by Dan Millman years before. In fact it was one of the first books of enlightenment that I ever read. I was young and not very impressed. It felt like a like a lot of idealistic mumbo jumbo which for me at the time was beyond the believable. The person who had suggested it was in my opinion at the time an arrogant flake. He seemed to want to thrust his ideas on me and I was resistant.

Time and experience brings new perspectives. I was expecting to doze and instead found myself entrenched in the story line of the movie and I was hooked. I was immediately thinking of the teen clients that I have and how can I schedule them for longer appointments so we can have a movie, popcorn and discussion session. Now it is my turn not to be arrogant and push the concepts of this book on others.


  “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.” Martin Luther King. Jr.

Our children can be our best teachers. Many kids today are arriving in our lives who have a wisdom beyond their years.  Lee Carroll and Jan Toben describe these children born in the past 25-30 years as being Indigo children. People who see auras see a band of magnificent indigo surrounding them. They can be very self assured and understand they are here for a purpose. They often are unique thinkers and don’t learn in the traditional ways. Some people think the have learning disabilities and or behavioural problems and could be medicated in order to conform to a classroom setting. Perhaps we the adults are disabled because we have not discovered the techniques to reach these obviously bright kids and it is our teaching methods that may need to change.

There is also a theory that there are some children born in the past 4 or 5 years have incredible psychic abilities and an even deeper sense of knowingness. They are described as Crystal Children. Their auras are described as being an awesome iridescent white light. Characteristically they have magnificent big eyes that draw you hypnotically in to the depths of their beings. These children not only know that they have a life purpose but know what they are here to do. The Crystal Children by Doreen Virtue.

These children may have some answers that could help us when we are challenged and struggling with a decision. It is no surprise and excellent marketing that Dr Suzuki is current television advertisements about conserving energy with children who ask pertinent questions and have the answers.

When we wonder what do in situation and have a running list of pros and cons in our head. We could try the following. Think of a young person whom you love unconditionally, that you want only the best for. Chances are high that they are an Indigo or Crystal child.  Close your eyes and picture them. Then imagine that they are older coming to you for advice about their relationship, their job, their goals, the same or a similar problem to the one that you are experiencing right now. What would you say?

Inevitably you will have the answer in a flash. We do know what to do and we will always give a younger person good sound advice based on ethics, morals and what we perceive is the right thing to do. It is a simple process and appears to be failsafe. Our souls speak through the imagery of a child we love. The question is. Are we listening to our teachers? 


 "I cannot teach anybody anything,
I can only make them think." Socrates

Francesca and three of her students, Dawn, Serena and Maria, attended a Pamela Miles workshop entitled: "Practicing Reiki in Medical Settings: What Reiki Practitioners Need to Know". Congratulations for putting yourself in the presence of a great teacher and being willing to learn. 
Pamela, an author, intuitive healer and Reiki Master describes Reiki as a 'spiritual/vibrational healing practice'.
"Reiki brings about a spiritual healing that allows the body to rebalance and heal on the physical level as well. Our Reiki potential is activated with the first initiation (in a First Degree Class) - the student gets an immediate connection to source - a profound connection to the part of the person that doesn't die."
The course was designed to teach participants to bridge the gaps between the Reiki Practitioner and  Hospital Staff. Pamela has been leading the way for a long time with the Medical professionals.  She teaches Reiki regularly to Doctors, Nurses and Medical Personnel. 
Reiki in the hospital can help to
- support patients without compromising medical treatments
- manage side effects of medications and treatments
- provide staff care
- center staff members which can enhance observational powers and evaluations.
There are documented Medical Uses of Reiki in many specialties including family medicine, oncology, pediatrics, geriatrics, surgery, emergency rooms, palliative medicine, hospice, organ transplantation, psychiatry, rehabilitation, obstetrics/gynecology and
neonatal ICU
Pamela encouraged us to document our sessions and  collect the data of improvements in people's health. Pamela is so well trusted in her world of medical associates that she has been able to accompany clients into the operating room so they can receive Reiki while undergoing surgery, including heart transplants.
Pamela places a strong emphasis on self treatments.  She believes this creates enormous growth in our work. The more we connect to our source, the more we are able to assist others to do so. Remember if there is an emergency on an airplane, we have to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first before we can help others.
Thanks to Pamela for being willing to share her knowledge.

3g)    Honour Your Parents, Teachers and Elders

Seven Grandfather Teachings
"Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of the little children are pure.  Therefore, the great spirit may show to them many things which older people miss." Black Elk
Francesca and I are both drawn to native art. We go to pow wows, native art galleries and shop at our local native reservation's stores. One of my sons once referred to me as being "a native wannabe."  My affinity to native, indigenous peoples around the globe sometimes surprises me in its intensity and deep feelings of understanding. The only way I can explain it is through my belief of reincarnation. The Grandfather teachings continue to pass across my desk, so today I share them with you. The integrity and guidance they offer us is profound. Like the Reiki precepts they're like a personal GPS (global positioning system) on how to get home to ourselves.
WISDOM-THE BEAVER: Wisdom is to acknowledge and practice values that are respectful of men and women. We will change those behaviours that are not positive or respectful. It is to be respected through a wild flower, in the face and words of an elder. If you listen you will hear it in every sound, if you look you will see it in all things!
LOVE- THE EAGLE: You must learn to love and be at peace with yourself. Once you love yourself then you will be able to love others. Love is a feeling that has no boundaries. Give it...accept it...and feel its power
RESPECT-THE BUFFALO: Our grandfathers and grandmothers tell us to honour and respect everyone, especially ourselves, and to realize we also have personal boundaries and the right to be respected. Respect must come from within. It can not be demanded, it is to be earned and given freely from the goodness of your heart.
BRAVERY- THE BEAR: You can practice positive role modeling to others and walk your talk with integrity. "Let the Great Spirit bless us with courage to keep the circle strong." Never give in. Never give up.
HONESTY- SABE -SASQUATCH: To be honest is to be truthful about your behaviour and to be open to understanding how your actions affect others. Keep your life simple...speak the truth, choose honesty and kindness as your guide and happiness will follow you.
HUMILITY-THE WOLF: Humility is about having sensitivity towards others, respecting their way of doing things and listening to them. Reach out... Let peace and harmony unite all nations!
TRUTH- THE TURTLE: Truth is walking and living by the Seven Grandfather Teachings Understand it...speak it... live by it!
May the Creator's Blessings be with us as we continue on our journeys.


3h) Honour your Parents Teachers and Elders

 "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart."  Helen Keller

Sometimes my children, who are all adults, are my best teachers. Over Christmas they once again demonstrated the exceptional men they are. They continue to touch me in new and surprising ways.

Rob gave his wife Trish one of the most outstanding and heartfelt gifts. He asked a number of her closest friends and colleagues, if they could chose one book to have in their library, what it would be and why.  He then purchased their responses and included her friend's messages with each book. Now she is eager to embark on a winter of reading, blessed with a greater understanding of her friends.

Scott and Tara's gift was topped with an orange glass Christmas ball. Orange was Grandma Harris' favourite colour. This decoration for our tree is to honour Charlotte who died in November. It is especially fitting as many of our Christmas traditions are based on the rituals that she established many years ago.

Neil's gift always includes an inspiring read and an exasperating puzzle. He lived up to his reputation this year of thought provoking and mind challenging. The book he chose is 6 Billion Others Portraits of Humanity from Around the World A project by Yann Artus- Bertrand in association with Good Planet.

Go to to see more of this outstanding work. I, who hears people's stories on a daily basis, have become so connected to the people's stories written in this book, that I am speechless. For those who know me well, this is quite unheard of. The connection through their eyes in the photos of each person as they share their answers to some of the most startling and revealing questions that anyone could ever ask of us; leads me to cry for all humanity.  If each of us could take the time, create the effort to answer these questions it would be a powerful way to connect and open up a dialogue that would go on forever.



Love letters aren't just for lovers - or even people

Over the past six months, Toronto writer and teacher Chris Kay Fraser held a love letter writing contest and workshop.  From her responses she discovered that love letters aren't limited to romantic partners.  Heartfelt and stirring emotion can be expressed for almost anyone - or even anything.

Recently, I watched a friend read a 60th birthday card from her sister.  Her eyes welled up with tears as she grabbed for a tissue.  "I should have known, she always writes me the most beautiful things."  I have experienced emails and notes from Rayna, the sister who writes considerate words.  Her ability to recognize others is a skill and she uses it frequently.

We all have had mentors who have coached and guided us.  Do we express gratitude and acknowledge them?  Sometimes it is easier to tell others of their accomplishments than to speak directly to the person.  One of the saddest funerals I ever went to was for my ex father-in-law.  His son had been waiting for years to hear that his Dad was proud of him and that he was loved.  His Dad had been very forthright with his comments to everyone else about how much he cherished and respected his son but not directly to him.

The sentiments in our hearts are best expressed.  The spoken word of gratitude and acknowledgement can be and is wonderful to hear.  But the written word becomes a cherished message that massages the heart.



"Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength;
loving someone deeply gives you courage."
~ Lao Tzu 


Aurora, Francesca's Mother, turned 88 in July.  She is failing and is now confined to her electric wheel chair.  The lessons she continues to teach are enormous.  Her increasing dependence on us can be daunting and at time she is demanding and very needy.  We are grateful that one of my mentors, Marion Timmermans, a woman whom I knew and worked with in Whitby many moons ago, is in charge at Extendicare Nursing Home where Aurora lives.


Mama (as Aurora prefers to be called) has been falling with great regularity as her feet have swollen to the point that she in no longer able to bear her weight.  There have been midnight trips to the hospital for concussions, stitches etc. as she has attempted to self transfer and then had a tumble.  The good news is that she does not appear to have any osteoporosis and has not broken a hip.  She wears a call bell around her neck and is supposed to use it when she wants to go to the bathroom, move to her lazy boy or bed.  Memory is a challenge, as she says: "My memory is like water passing through sand", forgetting she has her call bell.  She asks "Why didn't you tell me I have a call bell?"


Marion contacted us a month ago and said since Mama had more than three major falls in her bathroom in the last month; that it might be a good idea to put a latch up high on the door so then she wouldn't attempt to go in there herself.  Mama really doesn't remember that she cannot walk.  The next day for safety reasons the latch went on.  Within minutes Mama was rolling down to the office 3-4 times a day to demand that the lock be taken off.  She was repeatedly told and explained to that the lock was for her safety and to protect her from falling.


Well, Mama has always been very good at letting her displeasure be known and this situation has been no exception.  Francesca and I have heard it all and believe me the complaints and repetitive explanations have not come without triggers.  There is nothing quite like an elderly or ailing parent to trip the childhood 'triggers switch'.  After reacting, what we really needed to examine was that Mama's mental health began to significantly deteriorate with the lock on the door.


She has never liked locked and/or closed doors.  She has claustrophobia issues and for much of her life things were out of her control.  We observed she was displaying paranoia, retreating and appeared defeated.  The worry lines were increasing and she was failing.


So what to do?  We love her enough as her primary care givers and Cesca has power of attorney to muster the courage to ask Marion to have the lock removed.  Of course the facility does not want to be libel for or responsible for a potential fall: nor do we want her to fall.  But Mama loves us dearly and acknowledges this most times we see her.  She is grateful and appreciative.  We don't want her last time on earth to be spent in angry defeat, feeling unheard and limited in her choices.


So with formal letter acknowledging we understand the risks of her falling, the lock has been removed, the door is open.  Within a day Mama's disposition shifted.  May Creator look over her and protect her from serious falls and may we continue to have the strength and courage to fight systems to advocate for her well being.




Love is friendship that has caught fire.  It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving.  It is loyalty through good and bad times.  It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. ~ Ann Landers


Years ago, two women met, one the homecare provider for the other's young children.  From that time of babies and toddlers, has evolved a friendship and loyalty that is to be respected and honoured.


Jenny's dad was sick when she was a child and vacations had been limited.  Teri loves to camp and introduced this to Jenny and her young family.  With preschoolers in tow, off they went on a "girl's road trip" to Emily Park.  It became the first of many and Teri is a fabulous gatherer of folks and has organized large groups of 14-15 families to go camping together.  Fun and a life style were created that Jenny and Teri share and cherish.  Jenny says "Without Teri I might have missed the adventures of camping and the richness of families coming together with laughter, shared memories and love".


Children grow up, relationships shift and dissolve yet doing family activities with their kids continues to be a highlight of their friendship.


Teri, a single mom of three teen/young adults has had headaches for a long time.  Doctors suggested the cause of her migraines was stress, sinus, allergies, and an infected tooth needing a root canal.  On Labour Day weekend the pain was severe and took her to the hospital two days in a row.  Teri has been saying for a long time something is wrong and an astute young ER doctor who saw Teri both days did a quick test with a tongue depressor and predicted she had a brain tumour.  Turns out there was not one but six and also malignant growths in her heart and lungs.


Jenny, who has her first degree Reiki asked with Teri's permission for her to be on the distant healing support line.  While working full time, Jenny continues to give Teri Reiki, support her with driving and is organizing a community support event for her.  It is Fri October 7 at Port Hope Recreation Centre at 7 pm.  Silent auction, Urban Angel music and amazing loving people in support of Teri Selleck.  If you want to support this event let us know and we will connect you.

Teri is having chemo and in spite of her exhaustion she is in good spirits.  Her dream is to watch her three kids ski at Mount Tremblant.




"Continual stress disrupts the growing brain" ... "Bush should put money into early child development" ... "Breastfeeding fulfils part of the sensory pathway for brain development.  Touch during breastfeeding will help brain development.  Parents could even lick their children - that would help as well".  ~ Dr. Fraser Mustard


I have been attracted to the teachings and writings of Dr Fraser Mustard since my kids were little and my eldest has just turned 40.  Dr. Mustard is world renowned for work in early childhood development and is described as having a "raging curiosity matched with intellect". He died in November after years of contributing to the well being of Canadian children.


From the age old debate re: nurture versus nature, he came solidly in favour of the need for quality medical care for pregnant women.  He advocated for universal and comprehensive preschool education for children worldwide.  His knowledge about brain science and how we learn was the driving force behind his early year's campaigns to change education policies.


While politicians were lamenting the Brain drain of brilliant Canadians to the US, Dr. Mustard was concerned that the real brain drain happens in the first six years of life.  If a child's brain is not challenged, stimulated and nurtured her/his potential to be a high functioning adult is greatly lowered.


He was one of the founders of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, an internationally acclaimed organization.  A man ahead of his times, Mustard created a way for scientific researchers from across the country and beyond to collaborate on large complex issues without putting money into a building and location.


His latest joint research findings will be presented this month in California.  This is the report of a massive international research project about the Experience - based Brain and Biological Development Program.  How does early experience in the womb and infant/toddler years impact on our life and personal development?  Without knowing the empirical evidence, I know the findings will reveal these years are fundamental to our well being and our ability to learn and develop executive brain function.


Dr. Mustard, thank you for your many gifts to parents, educators and political leaders who work to create better lives for children around the world based on the information they have gleaned from your research.




"The wisest mind has something yet to learn" George Santayana


Francesca and I are members of The Reiki Alliance, an international organization of Reiki masters who acknowledge Phyllis Lei Furumoto as a Grandmaster in the direct spiritual lineage of Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi and Hawayo Takata.  If you have your first or second degree you will have heard about Phyllis.  If you are not a Reiki student, then she is still a person worth knowing more about.


I perceive Phyllis to have a brilliant inquisitive mind.  She appears to be a deep thinker and has dedicated much of her life to teaching and travelling the world bringing Reiki to thousands of students.  Phyllis provides an enriching service to the Reiki community at large and she has a popular following of the weekly radio show, "Reiki Balancing Form and Essence"  Her love of life and her ability to create meaningful connections with others comes through clearly.  The radio show is a testament to her belief in the oral tradition.


She writes "In my travels through the world of Reiki, I meet many people.  All of them have great stories, profound insights given through their practice with Reiki, and inspiring experiences.  It is my joy to be able to share these with you through the interviews."


Since the summer of 2007 she has been offering this service to the Reiki community and the world.  I urge you to check out the talk show web site and listen to a couple of the conversations.  They may be an inspiration and or provide a unique way of thinking about a topic.  Have fun exploring.






"Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact." ~ Robert McKee

Some of life's most precious moments bring laughter and/or tears.  The sentiment is rich.


A woman whose Mother died a few months ago helped her elderly Dad clear away and give away many of her Mom's possessions.  A few weeks later when visiting her Father she noticed that her Mom's purse was hanging on the back of the chair at the front door.  Using humour she joked and asked Dad if he was taking up carrying a purse.  He replied: "When your Mom was alive I always looked to see if her purse was there when I came in the door.  That way I know she was at home.  I need to remember her being at home."


A father raising three children in their late teens is challenged by his middle child.  The young man has an autism spectrum disorder.  He functions very well but can be a constant worry and concern for his Dad who always feels as if he has to give so much more to this special boy.  He is often exhausted and feels burned out from the effort of parenting on his own and wonders if his son will ever live and be independent.  But still he makes the effort.  On a particularly discouraging day that involved his best parenting skills, the man's sister wisely told him "Whatever you are doing now, you are putting stars in his pockets and the day will come when he will shine - sooner than you think."


A couple was doing their 'bucket list'.  They were creating the list of what they want to do or learn before they die.  On the lists were places to travel, languages and musical instruments to learn.  Their elder Mother was with them and she became involved in the discussion encouraging and empowering them.  They turned and asked her what was on her bucket list.  She replied: "well with my bad knee and hip; I hope I can make it to the bucket without tripping or falling.  And I sure hope I can see it when I get there."




Our friend and respected colleague Pamela Miles, author of REIKI: a Comprehensive Guide, offers a weekly blog that can inspire, challenge and motivate me.  If you are curious to know more about Reiki or want to deepen your own Reiki practice go to


Pamela recently wrote that she "spent two weeks in Guatemala attending Mayan ceremonies in Chichicastengo, Tikal, and Lake Atitlan to celebrate the change of the era, as articulated in the Mayan Calendar (misrepresented in our culture as a prediction of the end of the world).


It was a profoundly moving experience.  In Chichicastengo, we were a fortunate handful of foreigners (including the ambassadors from the European Union, the Netherlands and Korea to Guatemala) in crowds of Maya and some Guatemalan dignitaries who had traveled to hear the address given by Don Tomás, the head of Guatemala's Quiché Maya.  I share it with you here in English.*"


In part Don Tomás said "The road ahead can be traveled, but we must travel hand in hand with obedience.  We have to respect our elders, as we must respect our authorities.


This is how we need to set an example for the future generations - the example of the obedience with which we follow the grandparents and the ancestors, and the obedience that we must have ourselves.


This new era will be full of goodness and happiness, but it depends on us to leave the hatreds, revenges, intrigues, jealousies, quarrels and together form a better people, a better region.


And then, in this way, if we change our hearts, our children and our grandchildren will also change their hearts.  Because each one of you is an example for your family, as well as we and the authorities are examples to our society."


Pamela continues: "My time with the Maya in Guatemala still weaves its way into every day.  It was profoundly moving to witness daily life enriched by the traditions and wisdom of the ancestors, a present-informed-by-the-past I had also experienced living in India decades ago.


Of course culture changes organically as people live it.  Since people have lived Mayan culture for thousands of years, there is much diversity.  In Guatemala alone, 22 Mayan languages and 2 Mayan dialects are spoken.


Yet Mayan culture has survived recognizably.


Have you ever wondered what Reiki practice will be in another hundred years?


Mayan culture would not have survived if the Maya had no sense of being custodians of their tradition, keepers of tradition as well as livers of tradition.


When we understand ourselves to be custodians of something larger than our individuality, we take care to preserve tradition and we don't make arbitrary changes.  A culture cannot survive if people make changes arbitrarily.


Let's explore our Reiki legacy together.


Looking forward, let's share a respectful, thoughtful discussion of Reiki culture and legacy.  Realizing that our choices have consequences for the future, let's look forward to consider how we can individually and as a community ensure that Reiki practice remains available for our grandchildren and for their grandchildren.


How do you feel about Reiki culture and tradition?  What would you like your Reiki legacy to be?  What choices are you making to create that legacy?  Click here to read the entire post and add your thoughtful comment about your Reiki legacy.


Francesca's sister Colette Whiten was recently awarded the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts  


Her impact on Canadian visual arts has been profound.  As an early feminist, she was challenging gender dynamics and political power through full sized plaster castings of men and women.  Many years ago Francesca gifted her with a piece of cross stitch needlework and this became a turning point in her career where she began to create political statements using art forms that have been traditionally described as women's work crafts.  She progressed to fine petit point reproductions of newsworthy issues and then to full sized beaded curtains that reveal the vulnerability and strength of the human body and spirit.


She has co-created with her husband Paul Kipps noteworthy sculptures that are found around Toronto and across the country.


As a professor at Ontario College of Art and Design University for over 38 years she has taught thousands of students and greatly influenced the Canadian arts scene.


In her acceptance speech of this prestigious award, Colette graciously acknowledged the influences her siblings have played in her career and went on to state that without the inspiration and stimulus of her students she would not be where she is today.  Her courteous recognition of her teachers is significant.


Dr. Usui challenges us in the five precepts to honour but also to earn our living honestly.  Colette literally breathes enthusiasm about her students and the gifts they have brought to her.  She is truly a student of life and her livelihood has successfully been created by the deep love she has for teaching, expressing and creating.  I can think of few others who are so singularly focused on earning their living doing what they love to do.

Congratulations Colette!


Since you are reading this, there is a high probability that you have been touched in some way by the energy of Reiki.  In the past few years the Grand Master of the Usui Shiki Ryoho method of Reiki, Phyllis Lei Furumoto has been speaking about Reiki Home.  There was initially some concern that this was a project that was being created in Arizona and it had no relevancy to the rest of us around the world.  But what if there was a physical or virtual "place" where Reiki energy is held for all, not just those initiated into Reiki ?


Francesca and I had some intense conversations with our colleagues at the retreat about Reiki Home and are touched by the dedication and strength of willingness to serve that some of our closest international friends display.  If Reiki has touched your life significantly you may want to consider becoming a friend of The Reiki Foundation International.  I cannot describe the concept better than it is said in the website


"The Reiki Foundation International has heard the call for a place where all students, masters, and those who have been touched in someway by the energy of Reiki can join a virtual Reiki family.  Through your membership in the Circle of Reiki Friends, you are joining hands with thousands of people who have been touched by Reiki and wish to be a part of energetic healing in the world on every level.


Your membership is an expression of connection and celebrates our common experience of Reiki practice and allows the RFI to maintain the Circle, assisting in fulfilling the dreams of the Circle, and empowering those experiences that we have in common.  


The Reiki Foundation International asks the members of the Circle to dedicate ten minutes on the first Monday of every month to celebrate our natural connection as human beings.


Circle of Reiki Friends
Through your membership in the Circle of Reiki Friends, you are joining hands with thousands of people who have been touched by Reiki and wish to be a part of energetic healing in the world on every level.
Your membership is an expression of connection and celebrates our common experience of Reiki practice."




Last month, I wrote about Reiki Home and I think my attempt to give the concept justice was lame.  Thanks Jeff and others who drew this to my attention.  So starting again, Phyllis Lei Furumoto the lineage bear of Usui Shiki Ryoho shared.

"In the last years I've been changing the focus of my work in Reiki and much of my energy is going into something called Reiki Home.

I feel that what Reiki Home is calling out from us is to create a place on the earth where the way the earth is cared for and people are nurtured and is congruent with the practice of Reiki.  Through this we create a conscious concentrated field of Reiki in this place.  We can establish a kind of foundation of this practice that will last for many 100's of years after I die.  And to create a place where masters and students who want to be active in their practice of Reiki, can come, be nurtured and then go home to nurture others.  This is a place of pilgrimage where those who will be called will be able to come.  The field of energy will be felt everywhere and will support all the students of Reiki.

So we could say this is a big dream, but what I have come to realize is that Reiki Home already exists.  It is my work, with great pleasure, to connect to this existence and to do what I can to make myself available for this existence.  I hope you receive what I want to communicate because it is difficult to say in words"

In small group discussion at the Reiki Alliance conference, Donna Stetser and Rick Bockner both of whom are members of the board of Reiki Foundation International whose work is to support the office of the Grand Master Phyllis Furumoto, assisted a group of masters in better understanding the concepts of Reiki Home.

They suggest that if Reiki has touched your life significantly you may want to consider becoming a friend of The Reiki Foundation International.  I cannot describe the concept better than it is said in the website



A dear former respected colleague is the mother of a four month old sparkly eyed baby.  The depth and wisdom in his eyes crosses the miles via Facebook.  He was delivered by caesarean section and this was his profound gift to his parents.  At delivery they discovered that Amanda has stage 4 ovarian cancer.  Without surgery, her cancer would have gone undetected.  He saved her life.


In the brief months of her child's life she has had a complete hysterectomy, including removing cancer spots from other organs.  She has had traditional chemotherapy and now is having chemo drugs injected directly into her abdominal cavity - a painful, aggressive and excruciating treatment.


Amanda's will to live, be the exception and to maximize all her moments with her child is incredible.  I respect the courage of this 34 year old Mother and her attitude about life and her son's gift to her.


Her husband Scott is a popular early morning radio host in Halifax and he has a blog that makes me weep  He is determined to inform the public about ovarian cancer.  Through his vulnerability of sharing feelings and information he is an incredible spokesperson.  Amanda, Scott, Gordon, All of you are sparks who light the flame.


If you have Reiki, please send distant Reiki to the Simpson Family in Halifax, NS and if not, keep them in your thoughts and prayers.





"A part of my vision has been to shift the way I think and 'problem solve'.  
The way I see Reiki in the world and what its service is to the individual student as well as our planetary well being has become four dimensional.  
There is so much that we are holding in our Reiki hands." ~
Phyllis Furumoto



You may or may not have been initiated into Reiki.  If you have Reiki then the new year is a fresh opportunity to increase the awareness of the gift you have in your hands.  The potential to change yourself and the world in which you live is enormous.


If you are not initiated into Reiki, 2014 could be the year you consider this as an option for yourself.  Consider it a gift to you and your potential.  An opportunity to be the change you want to see in the world (Please note the dates for the upcoming trainings).  Francesca shared "In sixteen plus years of teaching Reiki with hundreds of students, I have never heard regret from anyone about taking the class.  Only appreciation and awe about the changes in their lives."


If Reiki has touched your life because you are a student, or have received a treatment or spent time with someone who practices daily Reiki self treatments (Cesca and Donna), then I urge you to spend some time exploring the website 





"True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils.  Strive to have friends, for
life without friends is like life on a desert island... to find one real friend in a lifetime is
good fortune; to keep him is a blessing." ~
Baltasar Gracian


At our brother-in law's celebration of life, his best friend of over 45 years spoke.  Gunther and Paul have been friends who challenged each other, laughed and played hard and were connected deeply by shared belief systems.  His words were touching and tears flowed.  They truly loved each other and this was evident in his words.


But the honouring that really touched me was when Gunther's 27 year old son said after the eulogy: "Dad that was really a great speech.  Thank you for teaching me how to be a true friend.  I have watched the two of you for years."


Sometimes our mentoring and teaching is never created with that purpose in mind - but happens because of right action being observed.





We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder. You always have a choice." ~ Dalai Lama


I recently heard the expression "I didn't have a map."  The comment reflects the lack of information on how to live our lives, make decisions, feel our feelings, create healthy relationships etc.  This is true for many.  If your early years were filled with neglect, abuse or trauma, you may have to create your own map.


Yet, there can be a different way of thinking of this.  Even in tough times, a map is being created, one of survival, tenacity, persistence, courage and vulnerability.  What if our parents, teachers and elders demonstrate a challenging way of living, can we choose the opposite direction?


A teen boy, who is astute beyond words, suggested to me that his parents are giving him a map: "They show me one way to live and I have a choice if I want to follow that path or try a different one.  When I am an adult, I will probably do some of the same things they do and do others my way."


It doesn't matter what happened to you.  You have to ask yourself - What have I learned from this?  In this way we honour.





"This day is brought to you by the Letter B" ~ Sesame Street


There is much wrong in the world, in my connections with others, and how I perceive things.  The truth is; there is something wrong with everything and nothing is perfect.  No matter what I am looking at, I can find some imperfection - Something that seems not quite right, something that could be done better or differently.


But there is always something perfect in all that happens - even when it is painful.  What do you choose to see?  Are you prepared to learn and look at an issue differently or to simply use the mantra suggested by our good friend Martha Comfort?  She suggests "letter be."




"It is never safe to look into the future with eyes of fear." ~ Edward H. Harriman


At one time I was afraid of death because it brought pain and uncertainty to my life.  Over time this has lessened.  My world has not totally fallen apart when significant people have passed in my life.  In fact their deaths became, over time, openings to new ways of experiencing my life.


Death and grief have been a part of the fibre of my existence.  The end of June reminds me of my own Mother's death some 48 years ago.  I acknowledge that she was a feminist spirit ahead of her time who taught me much about advocacy and living life passionately.


This time of year I fondly remember my first mother-in law, Charlotte, as it is her birthday.  Charlotte was a Martha Stewart before the concept of simple elegance was ever coined.  She was the woman who taught me the most about making birthdays be special and honouring those we love when it is their day.


And now at this season saturated with memories of women who have are significant in my life, Aurora, the matriarch of Francesca's family will soon transition.  Sitting with her, feeding her strawberry flavoured protein drinks and holding her hand, she has moments of incredible alertness "Are you Reiking me?"


Today she made me chuckle.  I am wearing a tank top under a sweater to keep warm and I am bending over her in her wheel chair.  Aurora says "Your breasts are bigger."  I say "I don't think so."  She replies "oh too bad breasts are so much fun."  We had a good laugh and then she slipped into a distant place and her lucidity was gone.


I was reminded of a prayer I heard recently.  "Let me not die while I am still alive."  So I honour my Mothers and strive to live life fully.



"Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain" ~ Robert Gary Lee

My sons are some of my best teachers.  They are currently grieving in very individual ways adjusting to the reality of not hearing their Dad's voice and not being able to call him for an opinion or advice.  As I observe with love and respect, I see the full range of emotions associated with Elizabeth Kubler Ross's profound work on Death and Dying.

I recall my own pain of the transitions of my parents over 50 years ago and I breathe deeply knowing this is what happens.  I honour the process and the gifts of learning from our experiences and what others have to teach us - if we are willing.


"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in life has a purpose.  There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from."  ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Sometimes the universe creates messages that can't be ignored.

Last week we stood with our son at the grave site of my parents.  It was my father's birthday, and if alive, he would have been 114.  The rain came down in sheets and we commented on my mother's name and how one doesn't hear the names Doris or Lenore any more.

Later, Francesca and I stopped at a quilt show and as we were leaving spotted lap quilts for Alzheimer's patients - fidget quilts with buttons, bows, zippers etc.  Asking the price, I was asked if I knew anyone with Alzheimers.  Saying yes, she folded it and handed it to me - "They are for you to give to that special person you know."

The woman said they were made by the elderly woman at the desk.  I went over to thank her and she informed me she is 97 and also makes baby quilts.  Her name badge said Doris so I told her my mother's name was Doris.  She piped up "I'm Doris Lenore.  My daughter Donna and I do quilting together."  I left with tears and warm feelings about my Mom. 

The next day, I was performing a wedding and met the two grandmothers of the groom.  Yes, you got it Doris and Dawna.

So I have been thinking about my Mom a whole lot since last Thursday.  Miss you Doris Lenore.  I am grateful for your lessons.


Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family,
but once the sisters are grown it becomes the strongest relationship." ~
Margaret Mead

My dear sister Julia is a very supportive gal.  She is a care taker extraordinaire.  She cooks meals, writes cards, sends flowers, makes calls and visits when she can.  She is six years older and still likes to take care of me.  So, when I had my third fall which resulted in a concussion, she has become her solicitous self and my love for her expands.

She has quite the repertoire of colloquialisms.  So I smiled when she sent me the list for 90 year olds.  She is here to remind me as I heal that however good or bad a situation is, it will change.  'No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up', 'Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will', 'Life isn't fair, but it's still good', 'When in doubt, just take the next small step.'

The last one I am taking very seriously.  So, if I appear slightly cautious when I am with you, please know I purposefully taking things easier, being more cautious, using hand rails and planning on taking a 'falls prevention' course J.


"Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectations of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you." ~ Princess Diana

Friends of ours sold their home with a closing date in mid May. They are planning on downsizing and making life a bit simpler.

Then life took a turn and on Sam's Facebook page, with a picture of their home destroyed by fire, he wrote:

"Thank you all! Tomorrow the rebuild starts. Beth and I are both fine. Dogs are 0K. We were short a cat till this afternoon but all is well now. Settled in with family so all is well."

Sam's next post was:

"What's on my mind? Feeling lucky, a complete stranger saw fire from the 401, he got off 401, called 911, and beat on our door till we answered, and helped us exit house. Then he disappeared. Never got his name!"

Our friends are confident that all will work out with the insurance and new buyers.

What lessons these people teach us.

With gratitude for the man who awoke them and that they are safe.


"Life always offers you a second chance - it's called tomorrow." ~ Author unknown

There are amazing people in our world. They are the silent heroes who, one step at a time, change our world for the better. I think they share a common characteristic called resiliency. They have been taught by one of their teachers, parents or elders to: in the midst of adversity, have "an ability to recover from, or adjust easily to, misfortune." Webster Dictionary.

A friend recently did a 120 km walk over 6 days as she is preparing to do the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in the fall. When she told me about her walk, tears sprung to my eyes.

We all remember the tragic train wreck that created devastation to the town of Mégantic in Quebec a number of years ago. How do people recover from the deaths of their friends, theirs businesses, their environment? What happens when the media leaves the town and how do they recover? A couple created a business plan and urged individuals in the surrounding towns who were now unemployed to open their homes as Bed & Breakfast Accommodations.

The couple assists hikers by transporting their luggage from town to town. There are now 42 B&B`s in the 7 surrounding towns. Some homes also serve dinners for the hikers. The name of their programme is called 'Parcours demarche au Coeur de Mégantic'. Unfortunately, their web site is only available in French at this time but the couple does speak English.

Theirs is a heartwarming story of resiliency and compassion. I like their logo - a heart with feet.

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Susan McDonald is a potter with a sense of humour.  Her business name is ‘Practically Potty’ and she gets lots of enquiries from harried parents trying to potty train their toddlers. Susan’s pottery is whimsical, functional with intricate designs and unique glazing. She specializes in teapots. I was assured after listening to her description of how a proper spout is made that we would have a dripless pot.

I was excited to be giving this gift knowing I would get to use it too. I really liked the sophisticated lines and marbled blue colourings. At Christmas morning brunch, we tried it out, only to find we had Earl Grey in our cups and on the linens too.

Telling Susan this, she said come over and bring the pot. She asked us to look around her home studio and see if there was a pot we liked. We were drawn to an angular midnight blue and stone pot.  Susan drew it down from her shelf and said I know this one pours well, I use it frequently for my breakfast tea. She insisted we take it.  As we were about to leave she handed us the original pot I had purchased as well.  ‘Take this with you, I can’t sell it knowing it doesn’t pour well – you might as well have it”. Integrity!!!

To view Susan’s practical tea pots go to  


 “Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for the love of it." Henry David Thoreau

Dr. Robin Whale and his wife Dr. Caroline Taylor own and operate Northumberland Chiropractic Care in Port Hope and Millbrook. When you enter the doors you have the instant sense that something is different here. It is truly a business of service where relationship building is evident.

Barb, Laurie or Cathy is there to greet you, provide you with heat packs and set you up for your treatment. Upstairs there are two massage therapists Janice and  Monique and Sabine, a gentle, gifted acupuncturist. No one is the boss. All of them are a team and they recognize and honour each other’s work.

On the wall is a blackboard acknowledging recent referrals. Not only do they accept referrals but equally important they give them out as well. We have received numerous requests for our services from their clientele. The Centre staff truly believe that there is no such thing as competition. We are all on a healing journey and when we connect others who need to be connected, we all contribute to it being a better world.


 “Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another, which both attracts and heals.” J. Iaham

Cesca and I have a superb hairdresser. Lori Douglas is our hair diva. She gives awesome cuts, massages when she washes your hair and really listens. In truth, if she did nothing but that I would be a satisfied and loyal customer. In the past my hairdressers have worked with enthusiasm to tell me I would look younger, if I dyed my hair or wore it in a more up to date style. One even had the audacity to tell me I needed to shift from glasses to contacts because my glasses took away from his design work. So when I started to go to Lori three years ago, I was expecting more of the same.

Surprise! I have learned that I can and do ask her questions. She is a wealth of information about nutrition, nutritionals and is an engaging health coach. Lori has her second degree Reiki, is an Iridologist and offers Co-active Life Coaching She challenges, asks thought provoking questions and our conversations are always stimulating. Her vitality, energy and enthusiasm for life are contagious. She is a wonderful Mom. Imagine being sixteen and going to painting classes with your Mom or having your birthday surprise be an overnight visit to an exclusive spa. When I come back in my next lifetime I sure would love a Mom like Lori. 

Lori also has a wealth of Astrology information and she won the prize today. She suggested that since I am so focused recently on my health and making changes I might be in my Second Saturn Return. I want to be vital, flexible and energetic as I move through my sixties, seventies, eighties and into my nineties.

Second Saturn returns between the ages of 56-60 and it is the second time the planet Saturn completes its cycle. It brings restructuring and a unique opportunity for change and major adjustments to lifestyle. It provides you with the opportunity for completing work that you didn’t do between 28 and 30.

Wow, I paid for a haircut and got so much more. Congratulations to Lori she operates her business and her life with integrity.  905-697-3720


I slept and dreamed that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold service was joy."  Rabindranaih Tagore 

We recently had the opportunity to visit an amazing B&B near Buckhorn ON. We went away for a relaxing weekend and came home inspired with the inherent goodness of the owners of Woodhaven Country Lodge.
David McKinstry and his partner Michael were the first gay couple in Canada to legally adopt a child. They have two wonderful sons. Their fifteen year old is from India and adopting him was an amazing story of the pitfalls and complications of international adoption. Their second son now fourteen was gifted to David and Michael by his mother who was dying of AIDS.
This is where THE business aspect of this couple's lives is awesome. Woodhaven is not a regular B&B. You can rent a room with your own hot tub, have breakfast, use common rooms, go cross county skiing or swim in Sandy Lake for a comparable rate to other inns and B&B's in the area. However, all the rooms in a B&B are not booked every day of the week, fifty two weeks of the year.
If not booked with paying customers, David opens the doors to people and their dogs who need a free, two day, vacation. He specializes in reaching out to HIV, AIDS and Cancer patients and elderly care givers of Alzheimer patients. Over the Christmas holiday Woodhaven welcomes women and their children who are living in shelters having escaped from violence.
Over ten years ago. A woman came for a free two day vacation with her two teenage daughters and a four year old boy. She was dying of AIDS and wanted her kids to have a lasting happy holiday memory. Within twenty four hours after hearing David and Michael's efforts to adopt a child in India, she asked if they would adopt her son. She could feel the love, the deep understanding of people in need and she wanted her child to be raised in such an environment. Within twenty one days the legal arrangements had been made and then the Mother died. They have been raising her sensitive, likeable son ever since. Imagine a boy reading Conservations With God by Neale Donald Walsch and desperately wanting to visit the psychic John Pothiah in Peterborough. He is a very gifted and special child. Kudos to his Mom and her spirit that watches over him.
When we suggested to David that they are very generous men he humbly replied. "The room is here. It costs pennies to do a load of laundry and serve yogurt and cereal for breakfast, soup for lunch and a burger on the barbeque for dinner."
To visit them on line go to  Better yet, go and visit or arrange for someone you love to have a well earned vacation.

4e) Earn Your Living Honestly

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ...
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. ..." Dali Lama

I love the hustle and bustle of our local YMCA. Monday mornings are particularly hectic, the parking lot is full, the dressing rooms are crowded and a bevy of individuals all with a common thread of desiring to be fit, hang out together. The aqua fitness class is especially busy. Here the grey haired crowd is joined by some young folks (those between 30-60). Community Living brings a group of developmentally disabled adults to our class and they add greatly to the spirit of the class. They remind us of the inner child within us, our need to be spontaneous and free in our bodies. We embrace our buoyancy and ability to move.

The diversity is wonderful and I respect those who are recovering from knee and hip replacement surgeries, and struggling with fibromyalgia and arthritis. I marvel at the 84 year old woman with dream catcher earrings and tight white curls who lives independently with her husband. Dear God, may I please be like her.

The YMCA Northumberland facilities are old and need repair. The hope for a new Y is in the air and funding proposals have been put forth. The spirit of the volunteers and staff who run this place are a testament to the concept of building community. One of THE reasons to go to aqua fitness class on Mondays is Merete Brooks. She is a zestful woman who leads us in nonstop motion with incredible dedication to her role as a leader. She is so patient and kind to all the participants and greets most of us by name. If she doesn't know yours she will ask and then not forget. This simple gesture is so welcoming. Her enthusiasm is contagious and many are surprised to learn that she is a volunteer and is not paid for her efforts.

One of the occasional life guards is Lynne Caffin. She is a full time staff person, who is drawn into the pool area to watch over us when there are more than 30 bodies in the pool. She is so conscious. She watches attentively as the elderly women climb up the stairs teetering at the edge of the pool when they get out of the water. She bends down and quietly speaks to the newcomers and offers them assistance with the noodles, and styrofoam weights. The caring shines through her eyes and her attentive posture. She is a joy to watch.

4f) Earn Your Living Honestly

My father told me, ''Find a job you love and
you'll never have to work a day in your life.''  Jim Fox 

So what does this Reiki precept really mean?  Not cheat our customers or bosses?  Don't steal pencils and play video games while on duty?  For me it means earn your money with integrity, do something you love while feeling you are making a difference.

In the spring we put out the request for the universe to provide us with a win - win grass cutting arrangement.  Well, as an update, let us share that we have found a gem of a guy.
Meredith volunteered her husband and then suggested she would see if he would come out to look at the lot and see for himself how steep the hills are and how much weed whacking etc needed to be done.

Geoff, who has been recuperating, seemed hale and hearty when he arrived and seemed comfortable with the small amount we could afford to pay him.  He was looking for things to help him keep in shape. We settled on a once every two week schedule and since then we are in awe.

The lawns (rather the manicured weeds) have never looked so good.  Geoff arrives early with his trusty mower in tow and completes the job within 3 and ½ hours.  We are delighted to see him arrive.

He and Meredith have recently purchased a century home in Port Hope with the intentions of turning it into a B&B.  Having seen pictures of their existing gardens and knowing the incredible job he does for us, it will certainly be a success.  I hear they are great cooks and I trust their service will be complete and with a smile.

Thanks Geoff, you make me smile and I look forward to promoting your business when you are ready to launch it.

4g) Earn Your Living Honestly

"Are you living to work or working to live"
"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing"
Theodore Roosevelt

Grey haired and over sixty tends to imply that one should be retired.  With all the hype about freedom 55, are we implying that if you are over 55 and still working that you are a failure?  I frequently get the question when are you planning to retire.  It appears to be for many a rite of passage or cultural expectation.  It confuses me and I fumble periodically for a quick quip of why I am still working.

For starts, I never worked for the government and/or established business so after many years of self employment my pension plan is scanty and is dependent upon what I have managed to save.  According to the financial planner people - it is not enough to continue living the life style to which I am accustomed.  But it is way more than a money issue.

I love what I do and I have felt an additional burst of energy as I have read and listened to recent interviews of Christopher Plummer.  At 80 he is performing a rigorous role in the Tempest at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival, 4 nights a week.  He is also in the process of preparing for filming, not one but two new potential box office hits.

One of the women I respect a great deal in our Reiki community is Anita Levin who lives in Toronto.  She and her husband both in their 70's have active careers.  Their vibrancy and energy is an inspiration.  When we attend international Reiki gatherings, I recognize that I am a baby in the number of years that I have been experiencing mastery and most of my friends and colleagues are much older than I am.

My work life is diverse.  I coordinate, teach, counsel.  The universe seems to provide me with the right number of clients, contracts and opportunities.  My day is never the same and all the incredible people who come to see me are on a journey and it is a privilege to be a part of their process.  So, as long as I enjoy my counselling and teaching Reiki to kids, I will continue.  At the start of a new year I feel motivated to explore what is next and my head and heart are filled with the delight of exploring my next courses of action and learning.  I like being a student of life.  I'm working because, I want to and being of service makes earning my living honestly joyful.
4h) Earn Your Living Honestly
"Whenever you see a successful business, someone made a courageous decision"
Peter Drucker


I personally love shopping in small down town Ontario.  Going from store to store exploring their unique wares is my idea of quality shopping.  My dislike for large box stores and shopping malls is apparent.  Perhaps it is a feeling of claustrophobia with the crowds, I don't like not being able to see outside.  Perhaps it is the sameness of all the products.  I am disappointed when I discover that the four shops I usually buy clothes at are all owned by a conglomerate.  No wonder I couldn't find a royal blue sweater, apparently it isn't the "in" colour this year.


I love the attitude if it isn't right or doesn't fit, please bring it back; the friendly cheery acknowledgements; the genuine "what is it you are looking for?"; "I am sure I could order that for you".  It is retail with a heart and I enjoy supporting these shop owners.


One of my favourite places to shop in Cobourg is Burnham Family Farm Market.  Their commitment to service, quality products, excellent home baking and community consciousness is exemplary.  They are closed for the season but I look forward to being welcomed back in the spring.


Where do you shop?  Does it really support the local economy?  It's a good idea to think before we spend.  One of my friends works retail.  It is a small clothing shop and sales have gone up dramatically since she started working there.  Why?  The product line hasn't changed.  Deborah has worked in this community for over 30 years.  She is well known here and well liked.  People drop by to say hello and then discover there is something they want to purchase.  Relationship marketing works - an honest way to earn a living.


4i) Earn Your Living Honestly


"Man is by nature a political animal" Aristotle  

I struggle to comprehend that we Canadians are going to the polls for the 4th time in 7 years.  My son Scott declares it is embarrassing.  I feel ashamed at the incredible waste in resources, energy and posturing.  How can anyone justify this expense when poverty, illiteracy, inadequate healthcare and unemployment exist in our country?  I am disgusted by personal attack advertising that is defaming, knowing in the school yard a child would be expelled for bullying for similar repetitive, degrading remarks.

As a nation we seem to have lost compassion and the vote no longer seems to be a privilege and a right but a disposable throw away.  Our young people are disenfranchised, don't give a damn and aren't interested in a gang of elders who slam each other at every opportunity.  Imagine how the suffragettes in 1919 who fought valiantly for women's right to vote in Canada are now rolling in their graves.

In an election, I am looking for solutions and creative thinkers who can present their ideas of growth.  People who aren't afraid to speak the truth and challenge with respect, people who can disagree and find a place of consensus without contempt of parliament.  So does this pipe dream of mine exist?  I wonder.  Yet, ironically here in Canada our native leaders in Nunavit and the North West Territories have consensual leadership.  There are 19 members in the legislature.  All run as independents based on their principles and what they believe they can bring to the table.  It is non partisan.  Together once elected they collectively decide on the premier and then 7 cabinet ministers.  The premier decides what portfolio the cabinet will lead and the rest of the members of the legislature act as the official opposition.  So in principle it is a minority government and all members must collaborate.  The majority rules and while they reportedly have strong debates the expectation of the people (the voters) is that solutions will be found and budgets adhered to.

The sheer volume of members in Parliament in Ottawa and the need for strong regional representation make this model unrealistic.  But individuals who have been hankering for change need to keep talking about representational voting and more free votes in parliament.  While we are at creating parliamentary reform, lets have more appointments made by parliament and not the Prime Minister.

So between now and May 2nd, even if you don't think you care anymore - pretend.  Ask questions, get back to the real issues and make your views known about mudslinging, temper tantrumming and blaming behaviours.

To check out where your own political viewpoints lie in policies that may be hidden by rhetoric, go to votecompass on  European countries have been using this technique for over 10 years to help clarify complex issues for the voting public.


4j) Earn Your Living Honestly


"I wanted the influence.  In the end I wasn't very good at being a president.  I looked out of the window and thought that the man cutting the lawn actually seemed to have more control over what he was doing." ~ Warren Bennis


A few months back I wrote about decision making, and the surrounding events led me to resigning my position as the coordinator of the Northumberland Domestic Abuse Monitoring Committee.  I have had this position for the last five years and it has been both rewarding and challenging.  Originally, my goal was to get to know the people and issues in Northumberland as we were transplants from the Durham Region.  This has been accomplished and I now consider many of the social service providers and justice partners to be my friends and allies.


As soon as I decided to dedicate myself more to my private practice and the Employee Assistance Program work with Shepell-fgi, the phone began to ring.  So this is helpful and reminds me that the universe always provides.  But this is more than about money and replacing income.


The Domestic Violence work placed me in the middle to a triangle of belief systems.  The Justice system sees women who have experienced abuse as victims.  Social services refer to these women as survivors.  The wellness industry sees women with a lived experience of violence as thrivers.  It is from this viewpoint that I want to look at and work with men, women and children who have had challenging life experiences.


Thank you to the Reiki precepts and my elders who have encouraged me to learn that working honestly is not about taking pencils and being kind to ones customers or work associates.  Most importantly to me it is about being true to me.  Recognizing and acting on the truth of what I really want to do makes me a happier, more productive woman.

So, with my new found time I could say I have time to garden and cut the grass.  Well, being honest with myself, that isn't what I really want to do.  Two years ago we put forth in this newsletter that we needed someone to cut our grass.  Miraculously, Geoff Shaw appeared.  His work has been stellar and now because of his health we are looking for a replacement.  Perhaps this is you or someone you know.  Job description includes being an energetic soul, reliable and willing to go up and down hills.  Please contact us.

4k) Earn Your Living Honestly

"Build up your enthusiasm so that it's higher than your fear.
Have fun.  Playing in your work is the way to find your energy.
 You can't do this work if you don't have a lot of energy because it requires everything.

It shouldn't feel like work.

You've got to find a way to make what you're doing feel like play."

~ Jane Campion, director of Bright Star


I have been confronted with some lessons in life stages in the last year.  The comments and questions I have received are very reminiscent of those asked in my late high school years.  What are you going to do with your life?  Where are you planning on going to school?  What will you be when you grow up?  All came with the expectation that I should have an answer or at best a plan.  I didn't appreciate them back then and now the questions of today are equally irritating and anxiety producing in their own way.


I am 65 in August and those knowing that this is "The big year" anticipate my having a glowing story of riding into the sunset of blissful retirement.  Self employment means that there is not a pension plan and my savings are reasonable but would be restricted if I decided to live solely on them and the government coffers.  Service Canada has dutifully sent me application forms for old age security and CPP and has informed me I get my OAS dollars starting in September.  I have declined applying for my CPP at this time.


Truth is, I want to work.  I love my work and the people who cross my path.  The incredible persons who share so courageously and yearn to find solutions to their lives are awesome individuals.  It is a privilege to assist them in their journey and be a part of their personal discovery and change.  The exchange of energy is invigorating.


Sometimes, I need a more compassionate and loving boss who does not schedule such long days and hours of counselling without reasonable breaks.  I make efforts not to have a wait list but the price tag is sometimes too much work.  My  non-retirement plans include: establishing a wait list and saying no when my client list becomes to long, continuing a few weekly activities that are just for me, taking extra days off after Reiki Teaching weekends, spending time with my grand kids and planning travel time.  "Freedom is my middle name". 

4l) Earn Your Living Honestly

"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from." ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


The phrase "earn your living honestly" may be perceived as referring to honest work, where we don't steal from our employers and we give quality service to our customers.  Paul Mitchell, one of Mrs. Takata's masters, speaks eloquently about the levels and layers of meaning in the precepts.  The discussion of the relevance to each of us takes us on many pathways of thinking.

For me it pertains to creating a livelihood that reflects the purposes of each of our lives.  Why are we here?  What if  earning our living is not based on the issue of money but having the courage to give your highest gift?  There is no security in doing something to make money when you are dying inside while doing it.  Just ask a shift worker with 20+ years on the line who is struggling through his last few years before retirement.


About ten years ago, Francesca was a successful chemist working in the food industry in a highly stressful job.  The exacting work of research and development and maintaining accurate ingredient and nutritional labels was a fast paced career.  It was sucking the life blood out of her.


Neale Donald Walsh would describe her at that time as a person who was "taking care of the body at the expense of the soul.  And a withering soul cannot help but produce a withering body."


Her decision to work full time as a Reiki master and hypnotherapist is a brilliant strategy for her.  The energy healing work that she does is extraordinary and she beams when working with others.  She is physically healthier and infinitely happier.


So, is making big dollars and holding out for a pension "taking care of yourself" or are you killing your spirit to keep your body alive? - Just asking


Walsh asks "How long will you put off what you are dying to do?"

4m) Earn Your Living Honestly

"Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know
whether you did it or not." ~ Oprah Winfrey


The woman who cleans our home every other week is exceptional and does an amazing job.  Some of her customers lovingly call her "Wifey."  Years ago Gloria Steinem wrote an article about the plight of women who have careers and raise a family: "Everyone just wants a wife"


Barbi likes her work and provides good service even when she is not feeling well.  Recently, she has had a health scare and is making dramatic changes in her life.  So when she arrived this week, we suggested that she take it easy and not push herself too hard.  Truth is we were grateful that she arrived and surprised that she did given her health issues.


She had agreed to come and is a woman of honour.  At the end of her work she was upfront and said "I didn't vacuum the stairs, it was just too much."  The truth is, she could have walked out and not acknowledged this and I would not have known the difference.  She took the high road and spoke the truth.  She was vulnerable and willing to speak with honesty rather than avoidance or withholding.


Way to go Barbi!


4n) Earn Your Living Honestly


"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes." ~ Marcel Proust


Zhaklin Dimitrova Petrova - Komitova from Bulgaria is a determined and highly principled woman.  She was initiated as a master in 2009.  In both her career and her work as a Reiki master she adheres to a strict discipline which is not the norm for many of us.


As an appellate court judge, Zhaklin had to sign a declaration that states she cannot accept any income for any activity, other than what she accepts from the courts for her job.  The issue of corruption and bribery in the courts has been a long standing problem in Bulgaria and this is the government's attempt to keep the legal process clean.


So to be in alignment with TRA members, how is she to deal with the issue of money?  She is unable legally to accept money for her classes or for treatments.  Zhaklin went deep into a process to come up with a creative solution to her problem.  She is no stranger for finding solutions to the problems she has experienced in her life.


Twenty years ago, when facing infertility challenges, she and her husband decided to adopt children.  They felt for energetic reasons it was better to adopt than go through the invitro fertilization process.  Their son and daughter, now 19 and 18, were both adopted at 13 days old.


Her daughter had serious health problems and this became apparent shortly after she was born.  She had immature lungs, her breathing was laboured and it appeared as if there would be some serious developmental delays.  Zhaklin moved from a Pediatrician to a Naturopath who then suggested her daughter would benefit from Reiki treatments.  By this time her child was 7 and Zhaklin knew immediately that Reiki would help, so she learned Reiki so she too could give her daughter regular treatments.


At 9, her child needed hormones to assist her in her growth, and her daughter then decided it was time to take her first degree.  If in pain she puts her hands on herself.  Zhaklin says "She needed to wait until she is 18 for her second degree so the decision will be hers as an adult."  Any issues of developmental delays have shifted.  In September Zhaklin's daughter will study art at the Italian Academy of Arts in Florence.


The plight of orphanages in Bulgaria is severe.  Zhaklin has always been aware of the lack of financial support and a political will to provide for abandoned and handicapped children in her country.  So this knowledge became the key to her alignment challenges.  She fully understands how important it is for students to pay as an exchange of energy.


So, if someone wants to see Zhaklin for a treatment or to attend a Reiki class, they have to go to an orphanage, pay the amount and then bring a receipt to Zhaklin before the session or class can begin.  This requires the client/student to be very interested and committed and it protects Zhaklin from breaking her employment agreements.


Zhaklin's story brings a new meaning to the principle "Earn your living honestly."




"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." ~ Mahatma Gandhi 

Behind big business/corporate America there can sometimes be a shining light of humanity, caring and exceptional service.

We were in Ottawa for 2 ½ days because my sister Julie Baldwin is in the ICU at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.  She has been seriously ill with a very large blood clot from her ankle to above her groin.


Fortunately, post Christmas, her daughters and grandchildren were still there to help but it meant that we could not stay at her house when we went to visit.  There were a number of the big chain hotels near the hospital and we pulled into one calling to find out if they had a room and their rate.


A cheery voice asked "What brings you to Ottawa?"  I replied "a family emergency."  The desk person said "Do you mind me asking what your emergency is?"  After telling her, she responded, "We can offer you a discounted rate for the next two nights given your situation."  Wow the quoted rate was nearly $50 cheaper per night than the usual cost.


Congratulations Best Western for empowering your front line staff to ask questions and make decisions that put the customer first.  We are appreciative of their service and the way they extended their hand in a time of need.


"It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference." ~ Tom Brokaw

What if life is really inviting us right now to be someone who is making a life; rather than a living?  When you move toward your passion you are vibrant and attract great things to yourself.   It is possible for you to express through your daily work and your daily activities what it is that lights up your soul. 

Initially it may not be how you make your money but money is attracted to your enthusiasm.  What you call work should be a joy and it can be depending on your attitude.  The work for today, no matter what it is, can be a pathway to where you want to be.  Share your passions, speak of them, teach them and live by their example.  Do not believe people who say that you cannot do this.   Do it anyway.


"There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children." ~ Marianne Williamson

Being a parent is a tough and often thankless job.  Parenting is hard work that doesn't come with a large income, but many rewards.  Kids don't come with an operating manual and even twins whom one could think are similar can be quite the challenge.  There are five sets in our immediate family.  Their Moms and Dads are exceptional humans.  Each has brought a dedication and commitment to parenting that is admirable.  In reincarnation theory we choose our parents so these twins have done well in their choices.

They are all fraternal, two sets are opposite gender and 3 are the same sex.  The oldest pair from the get go were night and day different.  One is highly sensitive and the other a determined go for it ambitious boy/man.  They now live in New Zealand and Canada and rarely see each other.  Their parents miss the connectedness they had when the kids were little.

The next set are boys, well really, young adults.  One is in university while his brother is staying home to discover what he wants to do.  Their parent support for each son with their very different ambitions and dreams is a stretch but they make it seem effortless.

The next set of twin boys arrived at 26 weeks.  One son, Tate, died after a few days and his brother has Cerebral Palsy and many other health challenges.  Their parents are inspiring.  Their research skills and advocacy for one son while supporting each other with their active grief brings them the upmost amount of respect and admiration.

Outgoing Ruby and quieter Frank are four.  They will get to celebrate their birthdays on different days as one was born late one evening and the other early the next morning.  The facebook postings of their development is great fun to observe.  What creative parents they have with always a new craft or adventure for those two.

The youngest set has made us laugh at great length.  Their parents frequently post hilarious antics on instagram.  They have long names and they have re named each other with shorter versions of their old fashioned but very beautiful names.  Looking very similar, they have already at 3 decided who they will "be" at day care.  Recently, as their Mother was getting ready to go to work she kissed one child and said Ì love you.  The child promptly said "I love you too Momma."  The next daughter was kissed and told she was loved.  She responded. "I love cheese curds."

Parenting is often viewed as just what you do, but I applaud these parents and parents everywhere who are doing their best.  It takes courage to raise healthy whole hearted children.


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Carol Grant Sullivan is an extraordinarily adventurous Canadian woman – a triple A driven personality. Three years ago, she, her husband and guide climbed 14,000 feet to a summit in the Andes. They planned to ski off a cornice like ledge with a near 90 degree drop through a narrow chute with enormous rock faces on both sides and careen into the valley floor below. Within seconds of pushing off she lost her balance, becoming airborne, she began to pinwheel down the mountain hitting and ricocheting off the rock face.

She describes being taken away in a white light and a force. A voice took over commanding her to “stay loose”. Repeating this like a mantra she tumbled over 2,000 feet (that’s farther than the height of the CN Tower), at 90 miles an hour to land in a soft bed of snow with vibrant blue skies overhead.

Her initial thought was “I am dead and this is heaven”.  As she regained consciousness, she recognized tremendous pain in her left shoulder and arm and that she had movement in her toes. The only way out of this remote wilderness was to wait for the medic evacuation or to ski out. She chose the latter.

Carol’s gratitude is immense – her heavy back pack supported and saved her back and neck; 2000 hours of physical rehabilitation therapies with an awesome team who believe in her; a softened and humbled personality and a periodic tremor that connects her neurological trauma and her spirit.

To read more about Carol, her newly published book is Fall Line: A Woman’s Survival in the Andes and Return to a Life of Balance


“You must be the change you wish in the world” Gandhi

Food for thought: If you have experienced abuse or violence in your life there have been many deep lessons learned. You might not be able to do the work you do today without having had those experiences.  Imagine writing your abuser a letter of gratitude for the lessons she/he has taught you.

The family story is that you were an unplanned pregnancy and under different times and circumstances you would have been aborted. However, your Father was a devout Catholic and prevented this from happening. Imagine giving prayers of Gratitude to the Catholic Church for saving your life.

These examples are a part of Dr. John Dimartini’s work called a Breakthrough Experience. I recently became aware of his teachings. He has incorporated specific learning’s from numerous disciplines including mathematics, physiology, physics psychology, metaphysics, theology etc. The goal of his method is to create a breakthrough experience when you are stuck. The predetermined series of questions assist you to bring with clarity the grains of truth essential for personal transformations. The bonus is in the physical body where there is a shift. Gratitude and love move into the space where anger, fear or hate previously lived.

To learn more go to

Set yourself free - be happy in the moment.


 “Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to
count up past mercies”
Charles E. Jefferson

The New Year brings me to a place of overwhelming gratitude. Our blessings are many and the riches of family and friends are extensive. I recognize love more easily now than before. I rarely ask myself “what do they want” which used to be a frequent refrain when others told me or expressed their love.

My former Mother-in law, Charlotte is in a Nursing Home with debilitating Alzheimer’s. She knows no one yet she delights me when we visit her. My memories of her love and support over the years even after, I divorced her son are heart warming and draw tears to my eyes.

Francesca’s Mother, Aurora is 84 and today we spent a couple of hours with her as she struggles with a fever and bronchial problems. The Nursing Home required us to be gowned, masked and gloved. Not the easiest way to build connection yet as I smiled at her behind my mask she smiled back. The love flowed between our eyes.

My own mother died when I was 19 years old. At the time she irritated me and got on my nerves. I never had an opportunity to care for her as she aged, to wipe her brow, help her to the bathroom and encourage her to take a drink. Today, I have gratitude that Aurora and Charlotte have provided me with this opportunity to express love and to receive it.


“Winter is on my head but eternal spring is in my heart.” Victor Hugo


 What do we see?

Perhaps on a snowy morning we see work. There are drifts of white stuff that need to be shoveled and a car that needs brushing before one can set off on one’s day. Or perhaps we see the calm after the storm and the magnificent beauty of a landscape painted by a snowbrush.

The howling swirling wind on our hill has upended the bird feeder. Do we see a feeder that needs to refilled or the five Dark Eyed Junco’s on the ground scavenging for the fallen feed in the snow?

Do we see the rabbit’s footprints - a clear trail from beneath the feeder and out to the trees and hills beyond and marvel or do we see annoying evidence that our newly planted Hydrangea is being chewed.

Do we look at the winter sky and see snow clouds and potential storm or do we take in the awesome patch of blue?

Do we see a woman with her night dress hanging below the burgundy housecoat, boots on bare legs taking the picture below? Good. You weren’t supposed to.

For those of us who love winter there are twenty more days until spring so enjoy what is here; ski, make snowmen and take walks on a snowy night. For those of us who love spring, visualize the bulbs you planted breaking forth with colour and search for the first signs of spring - Robins, puddles and bud growth. If you love all the seasons lets be grateful what a wonderful world we live in.

5e)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing

"Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal." Martin Luther King Jr.

I sat beside an inspiring elder woman today at the Peterborough Unitarian Church. It is a fellowship that meets in the synagogue and we are drawn to attend when we can. In her seemingly frail state her hymn book quivered and she appeared to nod off periodically during the sermon. Yet she glistened with energy and her eyes attentively followed the capricious blonde toddler in the row in front of us. The child asked during the meditation "Why aren't they talking" "Why can't I light a candle"

At the end of the service we held hands creating a ribbon of hand to hand connection through out the congregation. She clasped mine firmly. It was cool to the touch and she whispered to me. "Be at peace."

Her wisdom spoke to the truth- to achieve peace you need to be peace. My heart filled and I knew she had influenced my day. Thank you pew partner.

Gandhi Greeting of Peace

I offer you peace (hands face outward, separated)
I offer you friendship (hands clasped together)
I offer you love (hands spread outward from heart)

I hear your needs (hands cupped behind ears)
I see your beauty (hands cover eyes and then open to 'see')
I feel your feelings (cross hands over chest and hold own arms gently)

My wisdom comes from a higher source
(left hand palm up at heart, while right hand comes from overhead and meets left hand)

I honour that source in you (Indian greeting Namaste, palms joined at heart)
Let us work together (fingers intertwined, clasped hands - meaning let us work for peace)

5f)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing

Neil Pasricha was going through a rough patch, struggling to keep himself up when he decided to start a blog that has changed his life and influenced the lives of many (  Neil  in his early thirties coming out of a disintegrating marriage and the suicide of a best friend was looking to escape from being sad and disappointed.  He longed to have feelings of contentment and gratitude for what he has.

Now, he lists one new thing five days a week that is "awesome".  This isn't awesome as in the true definition of the word meaning filled with the supernatural or highly unusual.  Rather, they are the awesome slang from the 80's concepts that many of us find comfort in and solidarity with others for liking so much.  Many of his awesomes are the simple pleasures i.e. the cool side of the pillow, warm underwear fresh from the dryer, the last crumbles of potato chips at the bottom of the bag or bakery air.

Look for The Book of Awesome.  It is sure to be a best motivational best seller.  Number 515 is Nailing the perfect move in a board game.  I can relate to that.

5g)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing 

"That it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Take a look today at what matters.  As you sit reading this newsletter, glance around your personal space.  What do you see?  I hope you will recognize some symbols of what life really means to you.  Is it your screen saver?  Mine is a flowing message of hope, an affirmation of what I know is true but sometimes self doubt interferes.  What does the wall paper on your screen look like?  Mine is a photo we took of a magnificent ancient tree.  We were in Hawaii with Phyllis Furumoto, the Reiki lineage Bearer,  visiting the plantation where Mrs. Takata used to work.  It felt like sacred space and today the picture grounds and settles me.

Do you have a family photo nearby?  Is there art on the wall?  Our office walls have a series of art that contains images of circles.  To my left is an original by Prairie Wakerobin entitled "Mahina".  To the right is an amazing piece that has a flower created in the native art of birch bark biting.

I have a good supportive chair, a Jade plant growing on my desk, and piles of organized clutter.  There is a circle of creativity stones made up of Garnet to increase self esteem, Lapis Lazuli for good judgment and Emerald to stimulate my open mindedness.  I choose to surround myself in my workspace with many things that make my heart full.  But often it is things more important than stuff that starts the flow of gratitude.

A recent simple exchange with my grandchildren floods me with gratitude.  My son Scott says to 5 year old Ella: "Do you want to go to Grandma and Cesca's overnight or stay home and go to the birthday party at Chucky Cheese?"  "Grandma and Cesca's!"  Cousin Rylie (10), overhearing this said "I'd go to Cesca and Grandma's too".  "Why?"  "It's more fun there."

5h)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
Thomas Merton


People create, and some appear to be more creative than others.  Some earn their living creating works of art.  They are painters, sculptors, actors, dancers, musicians and poets.  Our respect for the great ones is usually evident.  We pay good money to be entertained or to enhance our home or work space with works of art.  But are we appreciative?  Do we value what we see and hear or do we take it for granted?  Is it a part of our daily landscape that is a blur as we rush through life?  Do we recognize the heart lifting as a favourite tune comes on the radio?

We all have creative abilities and some of us have had more opportunity to develop these skills and or freedom to play creatively.  Do we value a Shakespeare sonnet more than a ten year olds prayer for peace?

All art is in the eye of the beholder and comes from a power bigger than us.  Don't let all this go unnoticed.  Your world is shouting out to you, revealing something intrinsically glorious about itself.  Listen carefully.  Love art, the way art loves Life.  The Creator is saying hello.

5i)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing

"When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time.  Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?" ~ G.K. Chesterton


Francesca is well and healing from a traumatic fall.  She is blessed that her back was not broken and that she is not permanently in a wheel chair.  Thank you Creator.

We joyfully celebrated Christmas with my siblings and their spouses on the January 7-9th weekend.  The 8 of us laughed, talked, shared, ate and drank and connected well as family.  Annually, we gather to spend a weekend together and then in the summer we gather with children and grandchildren for a fun weekend at the beach in Southampton.

Attempting to keep the Christmas spirit alive and also being very lazy at the start of the New Year, we left the tree and decorations up.  By the 10th of January, our nine foot Balsam Fir was still holding its own as long as no one touched it.  The cats had made a cozy nest underneath it and were drinking regularly from the Christmas tree stand.

So the time was right but the time allotted was on the tight side.  Decorations off and boxed, lights off, tree outside and rolled down our hill; we were now faced with putting things away and cleaning up the carpet of needles.  With vacuum in hand I was working up a sweat when there was a screech, a thud and the cats went running.

Cesca in her infinite wisdom and careful attention to detail had figured out how to get the large box of decorations downstairs by herself; even though it had taken two of us to bring it up.  With an "I can do it myself attitude"- one that I am very familiar with, Cesca got the box to the turn in the stairs going to the basement.  Attempting to step around the box and onto the step below the landing she slipped.  This is an open staircase from this point down and she tumbled /crashed down and off six feet of stairs.  Below was laminate flooring laid on concrete.  To add insult onto injury a heavy massage table leaning by a nearby wall came crashing down on her face.

It was a scary time until we realized that she was able to move and not paralyzed.  A trip to the hospital and x-rays revealed compression in her lumbar spine.  Old or new, we are not too sure.  What we are sure of three weeks later, is that the bruising is diminishing, the swelling lessening and her ability to sit/walk are moving back to normal.  Ice, Holy Basil, Turmeric, Magnesium, Traumeel, Ibuprofen, a wonderful supportive Northumberland Chiropractic Team of Dr. Robin Whale, Barb Pemberton and Laurie Bradshaw and the Reiki support line for long distance healing have all played a big part in her healing.

(For those who don't know, the Reiki support line is a group of second degree students who send distant Reiki treatments to those in need.)


5j)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing

"Wake at dawn wit a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving" Kahil Gibran

Thursday February 3rd, 7:05 am, we awoke to shouting and the discovery that our next door neighbours home was on fire.  As the day progressed, the magnificent blue board and batten home on top of our hill burned to the ground.

Our neighbours are good people.  Lesley brought us homemade bread and fresh vegetables from her garden when we moved here.  Paul has consulted with us about reclaimed asphalt driveways and climbed a ladder to reattach siding that blew off in a wind storm.  Chris has roared up and over our hills on his dad's riding lawn mower.  Amy has been our cat sitter extraordinaire.

We are grateful they are all alive.  Unfortunately the fire spread too rapidly to save their four cats and hamster.  Pets are family and the loss of them so tragically is immense.

The kids, actually young adults, were home alone while their parents were vacationing in the Caribbean.  Amy, getting ready to leave for school, heard the smoke alarm; awakened her brother and they discovered smoke and fire in the garage.  They called 911 and got out of the house.  Within minutes the fire spread and the frame, cedar shake roofed home was ablaze.

Getting out of the bitterness and away from crackling overhead wires, we gathered with the kids in a neighbour's home.  Shocked, numb and struggling, we came together as a community lovingly attempting to support the kids.  Selflessly, their concern was for their parents; dad, who had built their home himself, mom's special relationship with their cats and all the efforts she had made to find their antique and unique accessories.  They grieved the loss of family photos and Amy's portfolio of art she had prepared for her Ontario College of Art interview.  We all absorbed the Reiki, hands on and distant.  Francesca's and my hands felt as if they were on fire and our hearts bled for the profound sadness.  We were grateful to have Reiki to offer in a time when there was really nothing to do but be.

So post fire, we have overflowing gratitude for responsive volunteer fire departments who did their best in adverse conditions.  The involvement of neighbours is comforting.  We are now a tight knit group.  We acknowledge our friend's pain as they regroup and rebuild their lives.

Yes, they will rebuild.  The house plans were on file in the Township office.  Much has been lost but intact is Paul's sense of humour.  "There is nothing we will change about the floor plan but this time there will be a sprinkler system."

Thank you for creator for keeping the family safe and for a few treasures discovered in the ruins.  Our renewed gratitude and connection for our community of neighbours is profound.

5k)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing

Amazing Animal Adventures

If you talk to the animals

they will talk with you

and you will know each other.

If you do not talk to them,

you will not know them,

and what you do not know

you will fear.

What one fears one destroys.

Chief Dan George


Northern woods and lake country is our idea of a restful and rejuvenating holiday location.  We always travel with our Ted Andrew's books Animal Speak, Animal Wise and Nature Speak. 


There are lessons to be learned from nature and its creatures if we are open to receiving and seeing.  If you haven't got your binoculars with you and need a pair, Wanja Twan, one of Mrs Takata's Reiki Masters, taught us this trick.  With both of your hands, cup them to create a tunnel with thumb to forefinger and raise your personalized binoculars to your eyes.  This works exceptionally well with Reiki hands.

The reiki principle - show gratitude to every living thing - also attunes one to our surroundings and awareness is heightened.  We were treated to doe and fawn experiences and one was exceptional.  Turning our car around on a dirt road in Bon Echo Provincial Park, Cesca spotted a deer at the forest edge.  We parked and watched.  She seemed cautious and kept looking from us to the forest.  Soon she was joined by her spotted faun who quickly latched on and started nursing.  Mother placidly turned and ate selective leaves while her baby suckled.  We watched the pair for about 10 minutes.  A very special moment.


While swimming in Lake Kashwakamack, an osprey came winging across the lake, circled overhead then dove into the water.  Rising with fish in mouth and flapped off across the lake.  Andrew's says when ospreys appear "it is time to check our commitments to those people and things closest to us and the commitment of others to us"


It's the middle of a hot still night when I was awakened by disturbing sounds.  "Cesca, what's that noise?"  Like a flash she is on her feet and stomping on the floor.  I am much slower to rise; she is already exclaiming "there's a raccoon in the kitchen".  Well by now I am in full chicken sh_t mode and ready to head to the bathroom and lock the door.


Ms. Raccoon is standing on the counter trying to get out through the screen.  Soon she scurries back behind the bench in front of the window overlooking the lake.  Out she goes through the screen she has pushed in.


Now if you were a raccoon and enticed by the smell of food on the counter what would you go for?  The options were corn, tomatoes, peaches, bread, butter and cinnamon buns.  Butter was her choice.


Once settled back in bed with the window securely closed we heard a repeated whack, whack - nose against glass trying to get back in.  Raccoons bring messages about dexterity and disguise.  Apparently if you are trying to make changes or endeavouring to hide changes you are making from others until you are ready, raccoons can guide us.  Raccoons - thank you for your lessons.


5l)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing


"Life offers you an amazing opportunity in every single moment to see and experience - Who You Really Are." ~ Neale Donald Walsh


I feel very blessed as I think about the summer and all the gifts we have received.  We are grateful for those who show up in our lives and demonstrate who they really are.

Sisters who share their cottages for us to retreat and rejuvenate offer the gift of increasingly close and developing relationships.  Thank you Colette and Julie.

Clients who barter and share their cottages in exchange for counselling know how to trade with value added.  You know who you are and we appreciate your generosity.

My sons, their families and Francesca knew to gift me with a camera beyond my expectations for my Birthday.  Wow!  What a heartfelt gift from those I love.  Hugs to Francesca, Rob, Trish, Rylie & Morgan, Scott, Tara, Ella & Bree and Neil.  Now it is time for some lessons.

Aurora's great granddaughter, Shayla made the most extraordinary cupcakes for Momma's 90th birthday.  Imagine lotus looking cupcakes and other's looking like stylish high heeled shoes.

Cat sitters who willingly come to the hill and stay with our critters to ensure they come in at night keeping them out of the clutches of coyotes, foxes etc.  Merci Jennie and Jane.

The gardening folk ease the burden of keeping the gardens and yard in shape.  Jean, Jennie, John and Peter, you relieve the stress of having a big property.


The roofing crew were polite and worked diligently on some of the summer's hottest days.  We highly recommend Crowe Brother's Roofing.


The work shop facilitators and volunteers in the sustainable living and wellness villages at SVFF.  What a great crew of very special people who share the work load with humour and attention to details.  Special thanks to Kathryn, Susan, Vicky, Daphne and Astarte.


Our hearts are full.  How does it get any better than this?


5m)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing


'If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart.  I'll stay there forever." ~ Winnie the Pooh



Last weekend we met with a group of friends in Niagara Falls for our 10th annual event.  We live in different areas across the province and don't see each other often enough.  But when we do time stands still, memories are created and stories shared.  We toured the Butterfly Conservatory, were mesmerized by the falls at night, shared great food, went to a play at the Shaw festival and strolled the streets of Niagara on the Lake.


These women are my teachers.  Within the group there is a 25 year span between the oldest and youngest.  We share laughter and tears.  We learn from each other about the devastations of lupus, severe chronic back pain, and the impact of death.  We left fulfilled and enriched with the time spent with friends.


5n)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing


"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." ~ John Ruskin


We Canadians, myself included, sure do like to talk about/complain about the weather.  I heard a CBC comedian laughingly say "Where else in the world can you find 'Cooling Centres' so people don't die from the heat and 'Warming Centres' so people don't die from the cold?"


Yes, this is THE winter to remind us all of the winters of our childhood.  Frosty cold, lots of snow and days where the school buses do not run.  I have fond memories of snow forts, sliding on the ice, outdoor skating and helping Mr. Higley shovel his walk.


So this February, one that will be filled with winter and more winter and more winter, what about gratitude?  What are you grateful for?


I am grateful for our neighbour Mike who used his snow pusher to clear a path up our street when it had not been plowed.  I am grateful for cat litter under the front tires of client's cars who found our driveway challenging.  I am grateful for our wonderful plow man Bill who comes before 9 and only comes if it really needs it.  I am grateful to Francesca's making of a big pot of chili on a bitter night.  I am grateful for the never ending abundance of snow that gives me the only exercise that I seem to be having this winter as I push it around and sweep it off.


And wow it is beautiful - the drifts, the clinging to branches, the rosy cheeked kids and lots of sparkling white.  Thank you creator!


5m)  Show Gratitude To Every Living Thing


"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~ Marcel Proust


Francesca brought to our home a chair, loveseat and couch from her previous marriage and by now it was dated, worn and just tired out.  Along came Pete who will do a dump run for us - Man with a truck and trailer.  Within minutes the decision was made and out they went.  Francesca and I were doing a little pat on the back dance as we managed to get the couch from our upstairs den and down a steep set of stairs to the garage.


Francesca's sister was getting rid of a leather couch and we had negotiated a price.  We rented a U haul and drove to Toronto to pick it up.  Then the challenge began.  Three not so very strong woman and one couch that is very heavy with legs that need to come off to get it through doorways and then there is no place to easily hold onto it.


Colette lives opposite a lovely park that on this sunny warm day was filled with families gathered around the playground equipment; the squeal of children's voices filled the air.


Standing off to one side were two Dads trying to have a conversation as they pushed their kids on the swings.  I boldly walked across and asked if they could help.  Willingly they came over and wow were they a proficient team.  Within minutes it was maneuvered and into the truck.  They laughed and said they had done this many times before.  Our offer of money/wine/beer was refused.


Once home we managed to slide and walk it off the truck and into the garage where it sat until Pete and a friend carried it upstairs.


So, last night watching TV, we were filled with respect and gratitude for the people involved who made this happen.  Life is good and easier when we ask for help.




"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." ~ Dr. Seuss


The month of November brought great abundance and gifts to us.  Some might describe us as being "lucky".


I perceive our "winning streak" as a reminder to think abundantly and be grateful.  Francesca did a "spin to win and won a $500 value gift certificate for treatments and meals at St Anne's Spa in Grafton.  I won the door prize at a local pottery show.  Our car insurance reduced our bill by 10% because we have snow tires on both cars and then when Francesca bought a new car, the insurance went down again.  Go figure???  This week at training, I won the table centre piece at our table and Francesca won a door prize of one of Gabor Mate's books.  We are grateful.


What if gratitude always comes back to you?  When you are thankful for what you have, you also are more thankful toward other people.  This cultivates positive feelings, and as the saying goes, "what goes around comes around."


Life is and has been complex of late but gratitude makes my problems seem less daunting and more manageable.  When I'm thankful for the challenges in my life then the problems lose their potency.  We all have issues from time to time with work, family and friends.  Gratitude reminds us of what truly matters in life.  It is all too easy to get caught up in day-to-day stresses and take for granted the things that are important to us.


Nourishing our souls with gratitude at the start or end of your day can become a habit that costs nothing, but you end up with enormous benefits.  A short list of five things that fill your heart is one of the best wake up calls you can have.  You can say the list out loud, speak inwardly to yourself or write it down.  The benefits include feeling lighter, less frenzied and more energized.  From this place problems that seemed insurmountable become easier to manage and solutions appear.  It is a great exercise to include when you do your daily Reiki self treatments.  Want to learn more about this process?  Contact




"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
Albert Einstein


There is nothing like travel to expand ones vision of what one sees through fresh eyes, and then there is nothing like coming home to see the beauty of your own surroundings with relief, comfort and awe.


The west coast of the US is amazing.  Large moss covered trees in forests that go on for miles with ground hugging ferns and then fronds of ferns as tall as we are.  There is even a rain forest in northern Washington State that is dense and oh so lush.  The beaches are covered with drift wood.  Coves are filled with enormous bleached tree trunks.  If I could have figured out a way to package them and bring them home, I would have.  Rhododendrons are prolific.  Rich pinks and purple flowers.  Scotch Broome, while apparently is an invasive plant, adds vibrant deep yellow to the sides of the roadways.


Our friends Gary and Ellen from Oregon shared their cabin on the Salmon River, a bend away from where it flows into the Pacific Ocean, with us.  Watching the tide come in and out with the wild life that is attracted to this process was awesome for us land-locked women.  Sea Otter frolicked, Herons scooped in and a Bald Headed Eagle and its young one flew in to land on a tree overhead.  We could see in the hills beside the ocean a herd of at least 50 Elk grazing every morning.  Later we learned that full grown Elk weigh over a thousand pounds.


On our return, once the car was unloaded, we did a walk about of our own property and oohed and awed at the new growth as spring has finally appeared.  Seeing the Japanese maple against its backdrop of pines warmed our hearts - Francesca's Dad gave it to us as a wedding present eleven years ago and we moved it when we came to The Hill. 


Good to be gone and good to return.  May your travels be filled with the richness of all that you see and experience and may coming home be a joy.





"We need to engage in social movements and social initiatives that challenge destructive practices and replace them with constructive ones.  We need not be passive human resources, in the service of imbalance, but can be resourceful human beings, in the service of our progeny and our planet." ~ Erin Anderson  

I have heard a new word that I really like, Awakeners - One who, or that which, awakens.  To awake; wake up; rouse.

I have been awakened in the last month to the innate skills and deep levels of caring that many Personal Support Workers (PSWs) have.  The staff at Cobourg Extendicare is exemplary.

Their respect for the elderly in their care and the treatment of the residents with dignity and gentle loving patience is admirable.  Aurora was loved by many of the staff who used humour to connect with her, tolerance of her demands and insistence were viewed as her strengths, and not something to complain about.

My experiences in the last 2 ½ months while making daily visits have awakened me to a lot of things for which I am grateful but also awakened me to the many holes that exist in our systems.

I am awakened to really knowing that our assisted living homes are not just for the elderly but for people who need daily nursing care.  So young people in their 40's who have MS, or perhaps compromised systems or cognitive impairments live amongst the frail and elderly because there are no alternatives for them when their families can no longer care for them.  This is not what these people need.

I am grateful that we do have long term care facilities but I am awakened to the fact that the staff are overworked and underpaid, not because the home or administration of the home isn't good, but because there is not enough government funding.  The resources are inadequate and we baby boomers are going to flood a system that is barely making ends meet as it is.

So, I am grateful of the information and my personal need to advocate, educate and continue to be open to discovering new and alternative ways to assist those in need of care.  Helping people stay in their homes is an obvious.  Even more obvious is making healthcare be a question to candidates in the Federal election.  Speaking of which, I am grateful that I vote and live in Canada.  I will be doubly grateful if you vote and encourage someone who doesn't usually vote to go with you to the polls.

Together we can create THE change we wish to see on October 19th.



"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children"


Francesca gave me/us an amazing gift for my birthday - a train trip to the Agawa Canyon (north of Sault Ste Marie).  This has been on my bucket list for a number of years and the trip did not disappoint.  Sheer majesty of hills, forests, water - falling, flowing, stagnant and still.  The glassy lakes mirrored images of trees and colour on their surface.  The canyon rock faces stretched in solid grandeur.


Peace entered deep into my soul as we travelled away from the hectic pace of home and our lives over the last few intense months.


Spontaneous spirits led us to visit our friend Herta Heckler in Sudbury - an amazing wholesaler of semi precious stones and rocks.  We shifted our return travel plans and opted to drive through Manitoulin Island and take the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry.  An interlude on the water with bright sun warming us as we sat with wind blowing our hair, soaking up the last notes of summer. 


While at the canyon we asked an elderly couple if we could sit at their picnic table for our lunch.  A pleasant enough chat about farming in the north and then they were gone as chance encounters are; only to appear on the Chi-Cheemaun and sunbathe with us.


Arriving on Manitoulin, the cheerful Betty Boop gal on our GPS shared that we only had ¾ hour to spare and make it to the ferry in the designated time.  Not a good plan to miss the last ferry of the day.  Quick decision, we have time to stop at one Native Art Gallery and it will appear for us.  Getting closer to the ferry we were beginning to think we were out of luck.  Then there was a faded sign pointing to a dirt road: Native Art.  The location was serene beside an interior lake building at best standard reservation home.  Opening the door we were stunned.  There, in the middle of seemingly nowhere was probably the most spectacular collection of Indigenous art we had ever seen in one place.  The man behind the counter reading a book, pug dog in his lap was Blair Debassige (Nimkee Art Gallery). 


The handicrafts, beading, sculpture, quill boxes, magnificent paintings were way out of our price range but we stood admiring soaking up the energy with stunned expressions.  Each new room revealed more and more and more.


It was an awesome four days of connection with self, each other and nature.  Our cathedral - the trees, rocks, water and sunshine.  Thank you creator for the life we lead.



"It's not your job to like me. It's mine." ~ Byron Katie

With appreciation and gratitude you can acknowledge the beauty that surrounds you and the random acts of kindness that thrill you.  You may even find understanding from the challenges that come as disappointments and lead you to a place of awareness that the test was a gift.

I was reminded in a New Year's message of recognizing and accepting self as one of the most positive gratitude's one can express.  I believe that we are always doing our best.  You may not have all the right words and actions - nor do I, but we are a work in progress.  So today I express gratitude to myself for being who I am with all my idiosyncrasies, foibles and open hearted spirit.  And to you our readers, I have gratitude and respect that you are who you are and connect with us in the myriad ways you do.



"Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life" ~ Rumi

My heart is full and I am so grateful for the experiences that my work as a Lay Chaplain of the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough provides.

This past week, a call came into the Fellowship from someone looking for a memorial service for Friday afternoon.  As chance would have it, I was available and eagerly said yes.  Thus began a whirlwind of activity that included meeting with the family, writing the eulogy, choosing the readings, editing the eulogy and working intently with the deceased woman's children and ex husband to create a meaningful and acknowledging service.

This was my first celebration of life, and I knew that I have been thinking that I was ready to do one for quite some time.  I thought, the weddings I have officiated at for the past two summers were a good preparation.  Yes they were but... was I going to be able to keep my own emotions and experiences of grief in check?  Could I read the powerful poem written by the deceased woman prior to her death?  Could I honour the woman with respect in the ways she deserved?  Could I pronounce the Scandinavian names without stumbling?  Could I be a calming presence to others when I was a bundle of nerves inside?

What a beautiful experience it was.  In spite of my apprehension, I was calm, articulate and able to interject some humour when two toddling grandchildren were running in the aisle.  I could see Francesca in the back row quietly reassuring me with her presence and knowing she was sending distant Reiki.  But I did cry - just a few sweet tears when Serena Ryder, a family friend sang Amazing Grace in acapela.


"Gratitude shines like a mirror reflecting its beautiful light whenever the sunshine of kindness makes somebody's spirit feel bright." ~ Author Unknown

Today I am once again awed by coincidences and the magic they create in lives.  Francesca was at the hospital for a meeting with fellow palliative care volunteers.  As she was rushing towards the parking lot she saw a man she knew but it was out of context: "Who is this?  I know him but from where?"  She walked on and then with a click of gratitude the brain connected and she turned back and spent some meaningful time with him.  We know him as a very close friend of Francesca's sister and niece, who lives in Toronto, but have never seen him in our corner of the world.  His mother was currently having cancer surgery and he was alone and in that moment needed a connection.


"Gratitude opens the doors to... the wisdom, the creativity of the universe." ~ Deepak Chopra

Our life is full and rich with opportunities and blessings.  When I do my Reiki self treatments I frequently repeat the Reiki precepts and they become like a mantra.  Sometimes I get focussed on one particular precept as I did this morning and my mind is flooded with recent experiences with the precept.

In the past week, thankfulness has been pouring in.  I have so much appreciation for:

Pete and his brother Thomas who have cleaned up the gardens.

Our sisters, Julie and Colette gave us plants from their gardens to enhance ours - Ostrich Ferns, Blood Root and Pulmonaria.

Understanding clients willing to switch appointment times so we could visit my sister in Ottawa after her surgery.

Tulips ready to bloom with wonderful memories for us of our times in the Netherlands and the bulbs we sent home.

A friend who brought two lovely women to our April Reiki support night and the heartwarming message from one of them who was pain free for 4 days after her treatment - she can't remember the last time she was pain free.

The Unitarian Fellowship is holding a garage sale in May and we have lots of things ready to go to new homes.

A woman at Liberty Taxes who did Francesca's deceased mothers taxes and waived the cost.

Jennie and Stephanie, our caring and dedicated cat/house sitters.

I recently read in the Optimist Daily that, acts of kindness help to curb anxiety.  Psychologists at the University of British Columbia have discovered that engaging in acts of kindness on a daily basis from washing a roommate's dishes to donating to charity can improve symptoms of anxiety by strengthening social relationships, increasing social engagement and reducing the fear of rejection or conflict in social situations.

I agree, knowing that I feel better when I stretch and give.  But I believe a study will prove that those who receive random acts of kindness also have less anxiety.

5v) Show Gratitude to Every Living Thing

"We all live under the same sky, but we don't see the same light." ~ Chinese proverb

Gratitude is what we give to change the world.  Recently a very dear friend posted the following on Facebook "Happy Mother's Day Mother Earth, with gratitude and appreciation for all you give to your inhabitants."

When my emotions are raw and present, I seem to hear and see more clearly.  The heightened awareness of my environment and all that can so easily be taken for granted arises in my consciousness.

I have been singing this hymn periodically and it seems appropriate to share.  Feel free to change Folliot S. Pierpoint's Lord to God, Creator, Allah


For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind's delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.


5w) Show Gratitude to Every Living Thing


"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein

The word thanks comes from the German word to think and sometimes we need to think thanks when we don't like what we have received.

We have all received giftings that haven't been to our liking.  There is the family story of my sister receiving a surprise load of sheep manure for her garden for her birthday one year.  Her husband never repeated that one.  Yet she had asked for it saying she needed to improve the soil in their vegetable garden.  So a family expression around here is. "Be careful what you ask for."

But are you grateful for the lessons that come your way?  Some can be extraordinarily painful.  Marriages end, jobs become redundant, disease and illness comes, relationships change and friendships dwindle.  To be grateful for every living thing can seem fairly easy especially if everything coming your way is rosy.   But what if it's not?  Can we be grateful for our lessons especially when they are difficult?

I think it's possible, but it does take practice.  Life offers us and creates innumerable situations to look at life differently.  It is said this is how we learn our lessons.  A stoic woman who has never cried and is now in her 70's is in immense grief after the unexpected death of her husband and three other family members.  She recognizes that in her vulnerability she is closer to her children and friends.  She didn't want the losses but is grateful for the ensuing connectedness she is experiencing with her people.  Being aloof and appearing strong all her life had not worked for her the way she wanted.

5x) Show Gratitude to Every Living Thing

Our niece, Laura and her family live in a small community about 90 minutes away from Ottawa.  They had a fall project to put a new roof on their turn of the century home.  It would require scaffolding as the house is tall; the roof is steep and very close to the road/highway.  Contractors hesitated and backed away from offering a quote.

Then their lives were distracted by Laura's health when they learned her cancer that had been in remission had returned after 11 years.  With Large B-Cell Lymphoma, she has started some aggressive rounds of chemotherapy and then will undergo stem cell transplants in the New Year.

So imagine her surprise when she came from a chemo treatment to see their home surrounded by scaffolding.  The next day a team of volunteers arrived with shingles and they were provided with a new roof courtesy of the benevolent hard working members of their community.

Gratitude for their neighbours generosity is a given.  As the gas and grocery store gift cards arrive at their door, they are realizing how their own kindness and contributions to their community has paid off.

They are learning that gratitude in advance is the most powerful creative force in the universe.  Expressing thankfulness as a daily way of being is a concept that isn't always discussed.  Giving thanks before things happen is an act of faith.  Remembering you don't have to wait for a thing to happen and then give thanks; you can do it now.

5y) Show Gratitude to Every Living Thing

"Live until you die. Don't die until you live." ~ Marta Getty                   

Marta Getty is a dear friend, colleague and elder in our international Reiki community. Her name may be familiar to you because we have periodically offered her workshops called 'Healing the Family Tree.' We have just returned from spending time with her and about 80 other Reiki Masters in Bulgaria. What an experience. As always it is a gathering of a diverse community often without a shared language but with the shared passion of connectedness through our Reiki experiences.

Marta facilitated a loving and tender memorial for the 4 Masters who had died since our previous gathering. Two of the Masters she has initiated have recently died. A painful loss for her for sure.

When we discuss the precept of showing gratitude for every living thing, it can be of course for people, places, things. It is appropriate to be grateful for experiences of connectedness and heartfelt relationships. But, sometimes what is overlooked is the other potentially deeper meaning behind life experiences. We can be grateful for the positive aspects of our life but what about the painful ones? The ones where the pain is immense, doesn't seem to go away and the internal struggle feels overwhelming?

The potential gratitude from these lived experiences which are grievous or abusive is that behind them there is a gift. Yes, what did we learn, how did it change our lives, reframe our thinking? So familiar to stay trapped in the emotional and stuck place of pain but with willing grateful hearts, we can truly live before we die.

The process of releasing old hurts eases the pain of holding onto things in the past. The question; "What am I supposed to learn from this?" This holds the nugget of gratitude.                


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