Women… taking the stage

It’s International Women’s Day March 8th, 2017.

I’m not going to go on about all the rights, movements, motions, marches, liberation, suppression, equality, love, violence, hate, bigotry, motherhood, sisterhood, beauty, nurturing, bold gestures, going back in time, empowerment, daughters, peace, activism….

Many are addressing these issues. And, well… I guess I sort of am. A tiny bit.

We women still have a long way to go to gain our place in this world. But… I believe our inner mother nature is sliding around quietly influencing, more than ever. And, we need it urgently.  In the past three days, Continue reading “Women… taking the stage”

Nature Guidance….

Two weekends ago I was having a rough day. I was not in the “flow”. Our usual Sunday together was disturbed and I found myself alone and needing some nurturing.

I turned to nature.

I got in my car and drove to Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver(only 10 minutes away). I got myself into the woods and went for a hike.

I passed others hiking in small groups, family outings, but eventually found myself solo surrounded by gigantic mothering trees. My brain slowed down, and the wooded energy started to envelop me. One tree seem to beckon me closer so I could admire the strength in its thick beautiful bark. The tree transformed into a being, reaching out for my arms.

“Oh great. I’m going to hug a tree.” I glanced around, and promptly scolded myself for worrying what others might think. “Who freakin’ cares!” I surrendered to the tree, wrapped my arms as far as I could. I admit, the contact felt strong and reassuring.

I continued on, slightly slower, my gaze absorbing more.

That’s when I saw the fallen tree. Then another one, And, another one. Nothing dramatic, just down. These trees were parts, dead parts, fallen from some reason – wind, disease, or even a strategic chopping to keep the path cleared.

Nurse Log in Lighthouse Park

But, you would not realize they were dead. There was too much life happening in and around them. New life had enveloped them, bringing a lower level beauty to the forest that couldn’t have occurred otherwise.

Nurse logs. Yes, they are officially known as “nurse logs“. Fallen spirits, no longer existing with their own food sources, they become rich grounds for the young. For a long time.

Yes, there is a log underneath the flora!

I stared at log after log of this incredible nurturing. The metaphor provided solace. Even the dead provide a fertile, happy place for fresh new green life.

A new nurse…

I entered the woods with a busy, confused brain.

The forest nursed me with calm observations.

I left, altered, thinking of the nurturing grounds of those close who have passed on. Kind of comforting, don’t you think?

Nature clearing the way for the Muse…

Kaleden in the Okanagan

Since our film editor friends moved to the Okanagan to become vineyard masters, I have dreamed of picking grapes for them. (My first job as a youngster, outside the family business, was picking strawberries. Gathering food from the earth seems to be something in my blood.) Plus, there seemed to be a bit more stress floating around, and my instincts plucked at my sleeve to get back to doctor nature.

Picking merlot grapes (and the bucket became a container!)


My dream came true last weekend. A perfect sunny, dry weekend in the Okanagan draped itself out for us to dive under grape leaves and discover the bulbous clusters of merlot grapes.

Abundant merlot grapes!

I was in heaven, and Peter seemed pretty happy, too. Between the four of us, we picked over a 1000 lbs of grapes before the light faded to dusk. Ahhh… good healthy tangible work.

While I was picking I never thought of anything else. Nothing. Just me and the grapes. The best meditation ever!

Peter happily picking grapes!

But, that wasn’t the end.

Nope… We were taken on a journey that would usher us into the late night of wine making.

However, we did have the odd break for wine tasting,  cheese savouring, and other food making, bien sur!

The steps to wine making were new to me, so everything was an adventure. A focussed healthy physical experience.

Loading up some of our buckets of grapes

Once all our grapes were in the building, we loaded them in the bins, passing them through a crusher. This is to help separate the grapes from their stocks. The merlots were  a bit stubborn so we had some grape handling to do as well! (no feet)

Crushing the grapes, catching most of the stocks

Once all squished into the bin we had to leave the grapes sit for awhile.

Wine consuming, I mean tasting, time!

Later in the evening, we had to decide whether to wait until morning to siphon off the juice for a rosé, or seize the moment before bed.

After testing the colour a few times, we concluded everyone had to get off the couch and head out for the “pressing”.

Which we did. And, it was the right decision.

Squished grapes into the press (see the juice!)
Pressing! Those grapes make you work!
The remaining crushed grape "cake"
After 2 pressings- our final result.. varied rosé

The juice we siphoned off will sit for 6 months before being bottled next April.

After this enriching weekend, we will never look at a grape again in the same way.

The following days, once returned to the city were calmer. And, I was clearer and able to listen to a very important bit of advice that came to me in my solitude. The muse could finally confer with me without any interference. I reevaluated a situation and made a wise decision.

Thank you to our friends for the opportunity to meditate with the grapes. (And, make some wine!)



I remember Lucille Ball had a little bit different experience with her grape crushing time in Italy! Not so meditative!

Jam… As My Therapy… yes, Jam…

The summer has passed without a wee blog post or two from me. I have a good excuse.

It was one of those periods in life where you suffer, you grow, you pull your hair out, you cry, you pretend you’re a stand-up comic to get through moments, you rise to the challenges, you defend, you protect, you want to kill, you pack, you lug, you accept angelic help, you write (journal), you question, you are a hero, you are blamed, you are loved, you create, you be-friend, you pretend, you don’t sleep much, and….. somehow, you survive.

Now that I’m back in our humble abode, in Vancouver… Continue reading “Jam… As My Therapy… yes, Jam…”

Passion at its youthful best….

When I was a kid, I remember lining up my teddy bears (a very motley crew that I loved very much) on the couch, putting on a “record”, and getting my conducting stick out. The songs were simple Christmas tunes with choral singing. Away I went!

I never got quite as passionate as in the following video, but I don’t think I really wanted to be a conductor as much as the 3 year old boy’s talent reveals. His joyful actions are such a testament to true passion. I love watching his unbridled enthusiasm, right up to the end!

In case you ever need to inflame your passion, or an energetic shot in the arm, watch this! Rediscover the 3 year old in you and fall off your chair with energy!

Negative feedback? … Just keep going…

My Dad once said, “Don’t take no for an answer.” My Mom was equally bold in her advice. It was good.

When I decided to audition for “Le Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique”, one of my French teachers rolled her eyes, and exclaimed (en Francais) that she knew French people who had tried to get in and didn’t make it. Certainly an “anglophone” had NO chance. I decided to not go near her during my preparation time, avoiding her black cloud energy. It was tough enough without her input!

So… you can imagine the delight I had when I announced to her that this “anglophone” had made it through two auditions and 2 days of observation, and was accepted. She was as they say in Quebec “bouche bée”… mouth agape!

The following post by Geoff Talbot reminds us of famous people and their (wrong) naysayers. A reminder to take opinions with a grain of salt.

Do you have a similar situation to share?

…Famous Wrong Predictions…

In the world of art & entrepreneurship be encouraged… when it comes to innovation no one really knows  anything…

“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.”  Opponents to Edwin L Drakes plan to drill for oil in 1849.

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles in 1962.

Read the rest at Seven Sentences by Geoff Talbot

Earth Day 2011…

Today is Earth Day.

It strikes me strange to have an Earth Day because every day should be organically, naturally Earth Day. However, that’s what we need to do now. Name days so we don’t forget.

When I was a kid, being near nature and the earth was the essence of my being. I was fortunate to be raised in both the Rockies and the eastern Maritimes, in the country. I know what it is like to be at the summit of a Rocky Mountain, to walk barefoot in the sand, to swim in a lake and the salty ocean, to hike through ancient forests, to lay in the middle of a field in the wind. I have a respect for the expansion of the prairies, and the approaching storms. I have hiked solo through the summits, and felt the smallness of my existence. A humbling experience.

Today, I’ll give a special nod to the gifts nature has given me.

Thank you to Michael Jackson who gave his energetic passion to the voice of Nature.

Meditation under a mask…

“Get a mold done of my face, tomorrow? Really? We need to do that?”, I gulped. I had had this done once before and didn’t particularly enjoy it. Feeling panicky, I had to really, really concentrate so claustrophobia wouldn’t take over.

Currently, I’m starting to work on a project that entails mask work; therefore, we needed a form of my face.

I show up today, a day filled with many appointments, so the mask making wasn’t the main event, which was probably good, and tried to be nonchalant about the task at hand.

When Marlene first started to apply the wet strips to my face, I imagined I was having a special kind of spa treatment. And, really, when was the last time you let someone touch your face for twenty minutes, and then sit peacefully for 45 minutes in the dark?  I found it relaxing and appreciated the rest in my crazy schedule.

Drying under the mold

During the drying period, I kind of “zenned out”, and enjoyed the break from facial expressing, and speaking. I could breathe well, and I also knew it would be over in a relatively short period.

As I drifted in and out of my quiet thoughts, an unexpected image suddenly popped into my head. I saw myself sitting across from me at the cafe where I had just been with my friend. It was as if I could suddenly see myself from another person’s point of view.  I watched myself talk, and express what I had been earlier sharing, and I felt an overwhelming sense of compassion for this person, me. I had a strong sense of just wanting to hug me.

Being trapped in this mask, which was actually me, brought forth objective images I had never before experienced.

Behind the scenes of the mold

And, it felt warm and reassuring.

I think I learned something today…. under my own mask.

Blossoming time…

Today, I chose to walk to a meeting in my neighbourhood. Well.. the meeting didn’t happen but it gave me another chance to admire spring, observe new plants, buds, and blossoms poking up everywhere.

I recalled my first winter (early spring) in Vancouver when we wandered around in awe at the cherry blossoms in FEBRUARY!! Our move had been delayed as we had been completely buried in a huge snowstorm. Cherry blossoms seemed so unreal… but heavenly.

They still are 19 years later.

However,  Mother Nature can be mysterious and I love checking her out, seeing what signs, and guidance she can give me. As I was passing a tree today (I have had this thought prior) I marveled at the blossoms exploding from it…without leaves. The blossoms weren’t waiting for any slowpoke leaves to get their spring springing! They were going for it, and nothing was going to stop them.

blossoming tree...without leaves
blossoming tree...without leaves

Hmm… I thought that was a really good example of not waiting for everything to be perfect. That’s it… that’s all I want to say.

Buffoonery Flash Mob reactions…

On April 1st, 2011 downtown Vancouver, a big black limo stopped outside the Vancouver Library. Out came some very mysterious characters called bouffons. They roamed curiously, and discovered the area, and the humans present.

They were quiet for awhile, and then..

Bouffon Flash Mob dancing
Photo by Chara Berk Photography

…they danced. And, then they invited the humans to dance, too.

On that drizzly day in Vancouver there was a big bright spot of colour, and some very big grins. My goal as the leader of this wacky project was to bring unexpected, un-distracted joy to anyone near. Life can be challenging and sometimes we just need to let go, be our bouffons, and dance.

The result ended up on a wonderful video by Michael Julian Berz, and many more grins were made because of it. For that I’m grateful.

One of the video viewers wrote this poem. Actor, Energy Practioner, (and bouffon), Tom Tassé permitted me to share it with you.

To the Buffoonery Queen of  Hearts – Princes and Princesses

Genius of heart

buffoonery bandits

enlighten the world

with waves of laughter

your souls speak with

the tickle horn hidden

In your back pocket

engaging, releasing precious

hearts of the unsuspected

the wand of magic from each of

yours eyes, blessed thieves

of darkness stolen

tonight we sleep with

smiling faces


Thank you, Tom…. my objective is met. If you haven’t enjoyed the video yet….. have a peek and dare to NOT smile!