Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Body Love Workshop Sat Nov 24, 2018

Do you find yourself feeling crushed with the weight of all the bad news? Or low-spirited with the seasonal change and a lack of sunlight? Are you wishing you could relax and enjoy, instead of feeling stressed, just for one day?

The workshops I offer are full of soul-tending practices, to help you garner your deep inner wisdom through journaling and SoulCollage(R). 

SoulCollage(R) works with images, intuition and imagination to access what your subconscious already knows. Through a simple creative process, we enter flow and change the way we feel about ourselves. More lovingkindness, self-compassion and joy are the rewards we reap.

Your divinely feminine form and body are a wonderful instrument. Instead of judging and hating our bodies, let’s create a sacred space to listen in and let our body teach us about self-love.

Join me for a one-day workshop Body Love in a Dangerous Time, Saturday, November 24, from 10 am to 5 pm, at L’Ermitage Ste-Croix, in Pierrefonds, a beautiful retreat center on the water.

Lunch is included in the Registration fee $80 by paypal or e-transfer to

Friday, November 02, 2018

Mid-Life Lessons

SoulCollage(R) card: Ready to Blow!

Some people associate mid-life with their forties, but menopause doesn't hit some women until their mid-fifties, and that is one of the great disruptors, along with divorce, illness, death of a loved one, end of a career, and empty nest.

Sometimes the G-force of mid-life changes flattens you back up against your seat like on a Roller coaster. You lose a friend to breast cancer, a parent dies, your children turn into strangers in their teens, and you begin to feel as fragile as a one-winged butterfly blown in the wind. You, who were the strong one, the stable influence, the core and heartbeat of the family, the one who held it all together, begin to feel like you are falling part.

As I wrote in my book The Tao of Turning Fifty, the greatest lessons I learned (and am still learning at age 64), are these:

  • you cannot do it all alone - ask for help and release the Superwoman Syndrome
  • you are allowed to rest, take naps, take a break to breathe, Pause often and do Nothing
  • surrender, stop fighting the current
  • stillness and solitude are great allies - book some time to Get Away!
  • girlfriends who can listen to your rants and angst are a great Boost, cherish them
  • tell your husband and your family that this temporary insanity will end and to be extra patient with you, as you swing high and low. Get them to help out and expect them to pitch in!
I know for me, my shoulders were carrying the burden of taking care of everyone and doing it all myself. As the eldest in a family of eight, I had been brought up to be the One in Charge, responsible and dutiful. It was very hard for me to soften the reins, loosen my grip, and ask for help when I needed it. Sore aching shoulders, (calcific bursitis) lead me to get some TLC and extra massages, which was a real boon. I was so used to Soldiering On, despite the pain, but I was forced to give in and get help.

That is why I am writing this message for you, mid-life women, today. You don't have to do it all alone. Grant yourself a prescription for loving kindness, small little ways to reduce the load and love yourself at the same time.


ps see my website for information on the upcoming one-day workshop Body Love In a Dangerous Time, with SoulCollage(R), and journaling exercises to help you love your body and soul!

SoulCollage(R) card: Angel Blesses my Belly
My Body is not a Danger zone

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Body Love in a Dangerous Time

“What is your truth? Ask your heart, your back, your bones, and your dreams. Listen to that truth with your whole body. Understand that this truth will destroy no one and that you’re too old to be sent to your room.” ~John Lee, Writing from the Body

There is a war on Feminine Flesh. Do you know that song sung by the Bare Naked Ladies, Lovers in a dangerous time? These feel like dangerous times for women’s bodies. The worst part is that the assault comes from within us, not just from men in power, or from magazines, news, TV and video. Inside of ourselves there is a war going on against female cycles, female flesh. We either have too much or not enough. We look in the mirror and hate what we see. (I know as my pot belly gets bigger that this is an issue for me, that buying bigger pants will only partly solve!) In spite of the great consciousness awareness surrounding abuse and disrespect coming out of the #metoo movement, in 2018 it is still difficult for women to feel love and accept their own female bodies, just the way they are.

None of us seems to be happy with our shape, or our hair, (if it’s curly you want it straightened, if it’s straight you spend hours curling it); our body size, our legs or sagging arm flesh, or our boobs heading south as we hit menopause.  This gets harder as we get older, as our aging bodies go through even more changes (why can’t I get rid of that last 10 lbs as I enter my mid-sixties?) and all this self hatred and judgement has lead to a boom in cosmetic surgery and diet crazes.

But I think it’s not just about bodies' aging. An awful lot of young girls and women feel anxious about their bodies, and it starts at a young age. My daughter, at age 8 came home from school one day to tell me she had a big tummy. Her friends were starting to criticize their bodies already!  It starts with anxiety about being “perfect” – all the celebrity images prime us for self-criticism - looking through a big pile of magazines recently, I could not find any positive images of women over size 6. They were all super thin, slim, and gorgeous or a few of the opposite – extremely overweight and unhealthy – where is the middle ground? Where are the images of women who fit somewhere in the middle, who look like you or I?

These ridiculously strict standards cause serious restrictions on our self-image, our self love and our  freedom: we’re hit from all sides - from the fashion  and cosmetic industry, even at the local parents’ committee, there are  body police everywhere, measuring us up, judging us on our weight gain (or loss), our clothing size, hair colour, how much cellulite we have, and offering the best surgery or botox to correct our imperfections….the harsh criticism from self and others never ends.

Food is no longer about nourishment. We are constantly monitoring our hunger, our food intake, counting calories, working out to lose the bag of chips we just ate, punishing and rewarding ourselves for lack of effort or sticking to the diet and exercise plan, hating ourselves in the mirror. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to look and feel our best – but we go to extremes - either obsessing about it or we numbing ourselves with cookies, ice cream or alcohol.  We have learned to disconnect from our bodies, from our intuitive knowing, and from our feelings.

Which ever way you look at it, there has been a long history of conflict surrounding women’s bodies, all the way back to Eve. Our bodies, our cycles and our sexuality have been banned and sent underground for so long, either seen as depravity and evil or simply banned and nonexistent, ignored by generations of women too traumatized to know differently. We have lost our collective memory, the knowledge that used to be passed down from mothers, aunts and sisters to their younger daughters, nieces and sisters. The once sacred women’s rites around the menstrual cycle and childbirth for example became suspect and connected to witchcraft, and thousands of women were burned, drowned or hung. There are many hundreds of years of history behind our relationship with our feminine nature, our bodies and our intuition.

I think it's time to declare a truce on the war with our body. What if we picked one small part of our body to reclaim and love back to a healthy relationship? We may not be able to transform our attitude overnight, but we can take little steps, one body part at a time. What if we actually began to feel worthy and deserving of self-love? 

What is Women’s Wisdom? We can only counter the negative baggage by beginning with ourselves, with loving our bodies, one part at a time. Embodied living means learning to live consciously, in touch with our inner guidance through our thoughts, emotions, dreams, and with acceptance of the feelings in our body. It means believing that our bodies are able to receive and transmit energy and information. We can begin to develop our intuition, our feminine wisdom.

Because I need to heal my relationship and begin listening to my body too, I am offering a women's one-day workshop called Body Love in a Dangerous Time. We will start by re-establishing some open communication with our bodies, by looking at one small part, acknowledging it, listening to it and dialoguing with it in our journals, in a judgement free zone of lovingkindness. 

That’s where we begin, and then in the afternoon we’ll make a SoulCollage(R) card for a body part we want to improve our relationship with, or send some love to. SoulCollage(R) is a nourishing, expressive art form that uses images, intuition and imagination to make small 5 x 8 collages that reflect inner parts, emotions, archetypes and energies. (

We’ll also spend some time breathing deeply and relaxing, finding and releasing areas of tension, and inviting in a sense of self-love, gratitude and wonderment at the beautiful beings we are.  We will take baby steps to feel good about our body parts, and infuse them with love and attention.

We will baby ourselves, ladies, we will love ourselves like we would love a precious child and make a start at healing the disconnect.

The Church says: the body is a sin.

Science says: the body is a machine.
Advertising says: The body is a business.
The Body says: I am a fiesta.”  ~Eduardo Galeano, Walking Words

much love to your on your journey
more information, times, date, cost at 

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Reclaiming Space for Solitude & Joy

Art Journal collage: Creative Play 

You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning...a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. ~ Joseph Campbell

Give yourself a day of doing nothing to balance the days of doing too much. Rest, with time alone or engage in joyful activity: your choice, what recharges your batteries?

Plan a home-spa day: give yourself a bubble bath, some foot care, breakfast in bed, curl up with cozy blankets and a novel

Get lost in flow....Learn a new musical instrument, or other form of self-expression. Play in the garden, swim laps in a pool, sketch in a notebook, do some collage, write in your journal.

If you and your inner self have been out of touch: make a date with yourself. Julia Cameron recommends a weekly artist date, a solo trip to a place that interests you – the art museum, fabric store, a lunch hour concert, the arboretum, taking photos of tiny things like snow crystals.  Cultivate your curiosity and your creativity.

Trade off with your partner or a friend: this Saturday afternoon I’ll be out from 1 – 4 pm, if you watch the kids - next Saturday it’s your turn.

Make a list of what you could do with stolen moments: tiny tidbits of time – walk to work, eat lunch outside on a bench, breathe deeply and check in with your body every hour or so, gaze out the window and daydream. The practice of doing nothing feeds your need to replenish, which is just as important as the to-do list.

Do one thing at a time. Don’t make the bed while brushing your teeth, check your voice mail while eating lunch or half listen to the kids while glancing at the news.

Take a half-hour walk with a friend and leave your cell phone at home. Focus on discovering something new in your surroundings you’ve never noticed. Read Hokusai Says poem. 

Be silly. Grab a girlfriend or sister and run through the backyard sprinkler, have a pillow fight or a splash up with water balloons.

Tell three people you love that you love them –right now. Now is the best time to express your care for others.

Do one fun, spontaneous thing that makes you laugh – dance alone in your room, blast a CD during morning commute, eat a peach in public.

Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness. ~ Scottish author George MacDonald

 (inspired by an article in O magazine)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Midlife Wisdom

Midlife walks you into that wisdom, that this is what transformation looks like—the mess of it, the tapping at the walls of your life, the yearning and writhing and pushing, until one day, one day you emerge from the wreck embracing both the immense dawn and the dusk of the body, glistening, beautiful just as you are.    ~Victoria Erickson

 Welcome the midlife transformation!


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fall Equinox and revamp

SoulCollage(R) card: Colour Life Art

Dear readers,

What a hot summer we have had in Montreal! I have also done some traveling outside of the country, on an artist's residency in France and on a week long retreat with Prem Rawat, but I'm back in town, getting ready for the new fall season.

Happy Fall Equinox by the way! I can feel the cooler air and see the geese already winging south overhead. It makes me feel a bit melancholy to hear that honking, as the wheel of the year turns, and we head into fall and winter.

But with a new season comes a new look for my website - you'll probably see it at the beginning of October. I'm very excited about the new video, and can't wait to show you what I've been working on!

Apart from the revamp, it's been a little quiet from the blog and newsletter (haven't sent one out in a year!). Nada! you must be wondering what I have been up to.

All will be revealed, very soon, in a few weeks.It still involves SoulCollage(R), journaling and sacred self-care and seasonal retreats, but I'm stepping away from offering weekly classes. Hoping for more down time, more inward musing time, perhaps more writing time, who knows?

In the meantime, here's a poem by Meister Eckhart to whet  your whistle.

A human being 

has so many skins inside, covering the depths 
of the heart. 
We know so many things, 
we don't know ourselves! 

Why, 30 or 40 skins or hides, 
as thick and hard 
as an ox's or bear's, 
cover the soul. 

Go into your own ground 
and learn to know 
yourself there.

Autumn colours 

That is the lesson our life journey brings us, doesn't it - how to know ourselves.

Please stay in touch!


Monday, June 18, 2018

SoulCollage(R) card, Caring and Caretaking with Compassion

Compassion is one of the most beautiful presences aperson can bring to the world and most compassion is born of one’s woundedness....The greatest evil and destruction arises when people are unable to feel compassion.” John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

7 Stages of Descent Menopause

7 stages of the descent at menopause

Based on the story of Inanna, and her descent through 7 gates to the Underworld, where she is transformed. She is looked upon with the eye of death by her sister Erishkegal, then is revived with the water and earth of life by her assistant and friend Ninshubar. In my experience, what seems like the end is only the beginning of a new phase of life. This is my personal version, and an exercise I give to women in the Heroine's Journey at Mid-Life class.

I share this with you so you may have hope!

7 stages of descent (what do you give up?)

I gave up my will to volunteer all my free time (and postponing my own work)
I gave up multitasking  - unable to do it anymore without breaking something, brain is in a pea-soup fog.
My defensive armour is too heavy, especially around my shoulders. It must come off!  (acupuncture, physiotherapy, osteopath helped, seeing a counsellor helped peel off the scales)
I have lost my ability to mother and take care of everyone else -  I am exhausted and in bed at 8:30 pm. Even the plants are too demanding. Get rid of them!
My libido has disappeared and the desire for sex has gone underground
When I broke my leg skiing,  I was forced to learn how to ask for help. I feel my muscles are mush, liquefied, I am losing wrist strength and muscle mass.

7 gifts I reclaim (what learnings do you return with?)

I surrender and let go. I have no vision for the future, only questions.
I realize my limits. I need rest and downtime, less striving and pushing myself so hard.
I find my voice, the power to say no and the power to choose what is right for me
I claim the power to stand my ground and stay rooted in my truth
My sexuality blossoms, I allow, I receive, I enjoy pleasure
I release the rescuer self in me, and that has freed up my energy for my own work.
I allow time for creative loafing, creativity in all its forms, evolving and moving, staying curious.

If you want to read more about the journey through menopause, see The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties needs to Know (linked on my website).

Soulcollage card: East, Rebirth, 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Birth and Death Mother poem

Poetry month is coming, and women's day just passed. In honour of the Feminine, and in honour of a Fairy Tale class I'm currently doing online with Stephanie Anderson Ladd, I posted this on my Facebook page, and now here on my blog.

It represents a half a lifetime of reading and thinking and writing about the sacred feminine. We hear much more about the fertile mother goddesses and forget sometimes that her cycle includes death and descent to the Underworld, as in Inanna's story. Joan Borysenko first introduced me to this story in her book, A woman's journey to God.  Then I went to a workshop in NY City where we embodied the descent to Erishkegal's realm, and encountered what was buried, rejected or neglected in ourselves.

My first book "Little Mother", a book of poems and birth journal, dealt a bit with my mother's alcoholism and how it affected my childhood, and later my mothering. This poem was written when I was fifty, and reconciling the love-hate, love-anger, of this primal relationship.It is unpublished, so far, because my mom is still living, still alert and feisty at age 87, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings by including it in my last book, For the Birds.

Birth and Death Mother

In she walked late last night, tiny black shoes
like a Chinese woman, dangling a box of Timbits.
Little elder, not too wrinkled for 73,
alone now since the death of  my father.

Night owl, no innocent Madonna, long ago she drank
herself into oblivion on the living room couch.
Now food allergies, gut rot coffee keep her up all night.
She dozes all day – vampire shift.

Vacuum’s growl prods her out of bed.
City trucks, leaf blowers prowl, gruesome
chopping noises, Cyclops’ jaw crunching bone.
Oh deity, if you are mother, you are also a
devourer of small children..

Birth and death mother, knick-knack
Paddy-whack-give-the-dog-a-bone mother,
beehive hair on Fridays at the salon mother,
fruitcake ukulele singing mother,
are you in there, are you up?
Singing in the rain, musical junkie mother,
a hundred thousand miracles’ mother,
can-can dancing mother,
basement smoking on the john mother,
teeth grinding drool-stained pillow mother,
leftover butt stale ashtray mother,
vanilla in your coke-glass mother,
crispy pig knuckles baked beans in a pot mother,
bend me over your knee with a wooden spoon mother,
smack me on the head with your plastic hairbrush mother,
leave me alone with the seven dwarfs mother,
couldn’t have done it without your help’, mother,
never forgive never say sorry mother,
black holes blank history mother ---
tie me up in a leash to my bed suck my thumb mother,
cry too long for you not coming mother.
botched suicide attempt lady Lazarus mother.

I try to cut you away
but you stick like Velcro.

my healing & anger are wrapped up
in letting your squirming body off the hook,
where you hang in the Underworld.
Since I’m down here anyway, I may splash a little cologne
from the plant of life, resurrect you,
Queen of the revenants,
beg you to join us in the dawn of the living.

I would have left you rotting on that perpetual tree,
but they told me I could not come back up alone,
until I have settled with you,
flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.

What will I sacrifice?   Hardly anything.
 I will let the mother god know I am hers, and that one day,
my own daughter will be down here to claim my corpse,
draw me through her ragged skin-cape.

This is how the living feed off the dead.
And the dead feed off the living.

SoulCollage(R) cards for Inanna's Descent, meeting Erishkegal in Underworld. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Drinking Serenity Tea

in the quiet snow of January, I am drinking a cup of serenity tea and watching Prem Rawat's New Year's message on Timeless Today

What is my focus on, he asks, something lasting? how to hook up to the real joy and prosperity

Is my focus on how to be fulfilled?

After an intense training session this morning, followed by a thirty minute Thai massage which targets my very sore shoulders and neck, I realize this armour that is being broken down, painfully, comes with a harsh attitude towards myself. I push myself harder than I need to, out of this fear in me of not being "enough", not a good enough writer, or a good enough house cleaner, or dog owner, or parent.

This shoulder pain is a good teacher.

It says, ease up on yourself. Stop thinking everything is urgent.

Stop the hypervigilante mode, breathe, relax.

Start paying attention to how full you feel.

Start being fulfilled, not with the things you buy, the things you decorate your home with, the things you feel you need to get by. 

Just be fulfilled, with life, with existence.

I am pressing the Start button now.

I am pressing the Easy button now, today.

I am lifting this armour off my shoulders, bit by heavy bit.

Serenity begins with me.