Embracing Our Passions: The Health Benefits of Play

January 21, 2018 12:44 pm Published by

“I would rather die of passion than boredom.”  – Octave Mouret in Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola Happy New Year! As 2018 unfolds, I wish everyone health, joy and prosperity. The last year for me was a transformative one, filled with travel, new friendships, and assorted challenges. Two pivotal moments stood out – one was waiting for biopsy results and the other was performing stand-up comedy for the first time. Thankfully, as it turned out, both had happy outcomes and lessons to impart. My health scare squarely put life into perspective, and reinforced for me what was, and was not important. Life is short. Yes, it’s a cliché. But it’s true. Now and then, we all need reminders to stop plodding and focus on what gives our life meaning and bliss. For me, it’s about navigating towards my... Continue Reading

My Summer Challenge: I Performed Stand-Up

September 20, 2017 6:20 pm Published by

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”  – Joseph Campbell This summer I challenged myself – I signed up for a stand-up comedy course. The course is Comedy Girl, an all-female stand-up class taught by seasoned performer and writer Dawn Whitwell. The Level 1 training at Comedy Bar was no walk in the park. Week after week, we honed our personal narratives into 3-5 minutes of stage material. It was tough work, which saw the class drop from twelve students to eight. On August 30th, I made my debut at Comedy Bar. It was a rush to be performing on stage. It was also surreal and mind boggling. Eight weeks earlier, the notion of my pulling off stand-up was as likely as my becoming a pole dancer. I’ve always loved comedy. As a kid, I spent... Continue Reading

Embracing My Inner Dragon: Making Aging Positive

July 30, 2017 11:30 am Published by

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” – Joseph Campbell Not long ago I celebrated my birthday, an event made more memorable by my friendly neighbourhood drugstore, which announced that as a “young senior,” I now qualified for a special discount. At the time, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I did both. Yes, growing older has its challenges, like my short-term memory lapses, my body’s mysterious cracking sounds when waking in the morning, and most alarmingly my increasing usage of “those damn hooligans!” in conversations. However, I take comfort from the words of William Wordsworth, “The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind,” and the knowledge that I’m not alone. According to Statistics Canada,... Continue Reading

Boost and Fuel Your Creative Well-Being

February 20, 2017 5:09 pm Published by

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Picasso Creativity isn’t the exclusive domain of the Picassos or Mozarts of our world.  In truth, we are all creatives and creative expression comes in all shapes and forms. Here are simple everyday activities we can all do to spark and sustain our creative well-being. Meditate Research over the past two decades suggests that mindful meditation has many positive effects on physical and mental health, and cognitive performance, such as reducing anxiety, depression, and pain, increasing clarity, sustaining focus, empathy, and introspection, and improving memory. New studies on creative thinking show that mindful meditation enhances insight problem-solving skills. Free Your Mind Author Julia Cameron advocates stream-of-conscious writing or “morning pages” to get the creative juices flowing.  This means that upon rolling out... Continue Reading

The Other Side

December 31, 2016 7:07 pm Published by

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”  – Thich Nhat Hanh  As 2016 draws to a close and a new year approaches, a common refrain I hear from many people is what a lousy year it has been for them individually – illnesses, injuries, relationship woes, work problems, and other disappointments. Personally speaking, it hasn’t been my best year as well, but it’s during the trying times that I’m reminded of the positives in my life, like a loving and generous spouse, supportive family, amazing friends, and for that I’m deeply grateful. When faced with life’s disappointments or challenges, it’s easy for us to focus on what’s wrong or what we don’t have. We perceive that the grass is always greener on the other side as in the Zen classic,... Continue Reading

Even Monkeys Fall From Trees

October 23, 2016 3:55 pm Published by

“Even Monkeys Fall from Trees.”  – Japanese Proverb I have a “thing” for monkeys. This fascination (some may call it a mild obsession), began in childhood with a menagerie of stuffed toys and dozens of Curious George books, grew into assorted baubles, key chains, tees and ultimately culminated with a trip to Southeast Asia. While there, I visited the breathtaking Uluwatu Temple, one of six Balinese monasteries perched on towering cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean…and home to hundreds of monkeys. Teachable moments come in all shapes and forms – like monkeys. As I watched these clever, curious, and resilient animals at play, I marvelled at their physical prowess, their seemingly flawless coordination as they moved through the trees with effortless agility, strength, and speed. Yet, despite their natural born tree-climbing abilities, many of the monkeys would slip and fall, repeatedly.... Continue Reading

I Went Forest Bathing

August 21, 2016 9:17 pm Published by

“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”  – Rachel Carson What a glorious summer.  The season has been remarkably sunny and hot (a gift for those of us weary of long winters), and I’ve returned from trips to the Bruce Peninsula National Park and the Kawartha Lakes region where I pursued my favourite activity – “forest bathing.” When I share my fondness for this pastime with family and friends, the initial responses are invariably “You’re doing what?” or “You were naked?” and accompanied by mixed expressions of curiosity and disbelief.  Nothing lewd I assure them, much to their relief (and perhaps a little disappointed), while I explain that everyone would benefit from the Japanese practice of shin-rin-yoku or “forest bathing.” The term shin-rin-yoku translates as “taking in the forest... Continue Reading

Taking to the Open Road

May 23, 2016 7:42 pm Published by

“Spring is when life’s alive in everything.”  – Christina Rossetti There’s nothing more exhilarating as a sunny spring day.  Mother Nature in her glory of colours, scents and sounds not only awakens our senses to life in bloom but also stirs within us a sense of excitement, joy and hope (especially after a long winter). I love spring.  Spring in all its aspects is a season of renewal and rebirth, an opportunity for us to do something new, something fabulous, something audacious and perhaps, a little outrageous.  We all know how wonderful our homes are after a spring clean.  Imagine doing the same with our own lives.  Once we remove all the old clutter, we can mindfully focus on what’s truly meaningful for us. This spring I’m feeling especially emboldened and optimistic.  After an eventful winter dealing with a personal... Continue Reading

What Does Your Body Say?

November 11, 2015 8:44 pm Published by

“Love is the absence of judgement.”  – Dalai Lama “You’re a disgrace to your profession!”  The woman marched towards me with a scowl on her face.  I glanced back over my shoulder. Is she talking to me? She angrily waved her hands in the air exclaiming, “How dare you hand out this poison!”  “This isn’t healthy eating!” Yup, she’s definitely talking to me. She let loose a verbal torrent of disapproval; after which she stomped off into the crowd.  The ferocity of her outburst left me speechless. This incident occurred years ago at a health show where I had set up a booth.  I had just launched my practice as a wellness coach and consultant and was promoting the concept of mindful eating.  What was the “poison” that the woman had vehemently condemned?  It was a tiny bowl of individually... Continue Reading

Do You See Me?

August 2, 2015 11:10 am Published by

“To be loved means to be recognized as existing.” – Thich Nhat Hanh Have we become invisible to each other? This thought crossed my mind on a recent visit to a favourite café. As I sipped my tea and nibbled on a pastry, I quietly observed a couple seated nearby. It seemed strange to me that not a single word passed between them during their entire stay. She was silently engrossed in her tablet, he in his mobile phone. A glance around the room convinced me that this perhaps, was the new norm. Without a doubt, it requires real effort these days for many of us to be mindfully present in our daily interactions. The hustle and bustle of modern living, a distractive love affair with our smart phones, the internet, and other toys of technology all make “seeing” others... Continue Reading

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