Summer of YES.

find the fish

There are many times in life when we ride the crest and the fall of waves and tides. From utter bliss to complete devastation. As I grow older, I see more and more that there are deep troughs of challenge, peaks of ecstasy and the sigh of reprieve before it all begins again.

I can say I’ve had a few shit years of health. No, it was not cancer, war, world atrocity, injustice or slavery. So who the hell am I to talk. Yet we all have our challenges depending on where we live, culture, age, and country. Highs and lows, ebb and flow.

But you know what? I just had my summer of YES.

What can I say? I was a hooligan. This last summer, I turned 43 and maybe had the best summer of my life. I don’t recall saying no, sleeping in much and definitely pushed the responsibility envelope.

After almost 3 years of a disabling back injury, topped off with a .01% case of Zika that turned into a mad case of encephalitis and migraine brain change, I was finally pain free and illness free. Able to work again in all my industries and play like a kid.

I realized early on in the summer that I had the inherent potential to overdo it physically. It was the hottest summer in the Canadian Rockies in years, I was healthy, working, no kids, had a super active dog and a stoked husband.

Finally, I embraced a bunch of life lessons and chose to not climb, bike and over hike, as I would normally do. I learned to fly fish, to ride paved or gravel trails in town, to wander with my pup. And it felt amazing to be pain free and have my brain back.

I took a lesson in a soccer field how to cast and put my rod together, and marched into the woods searching for quiet mountain pools dappled in sunlight. Oh I caught fish! The joke is – none of them were more that 5 inches long! “Kiss and release,” a fellow female angler calls it. Did it ever bring me Joy.

I remember one day biking trails around town, fishing rod in the backpack, tunes on my mobile speaker blasting and a beer in my water bottle holder, thinking “This is living!”

I tell you I was worn out by October, exclaiming, “Thank god I can have a break!” when the rain and snow rolled in.

These are the lessons of the highs and lows of life.

I am very thankful I can celebrate life. Make decisions consciously. I had all intentions to work on my business, work more in all modalities, write, and be focused with the new return to health.

Then the sun rose again. It swept the stars twinkling over mountaintops and the morning alpine air called me to a new day. Get outside. Be a kid, explore, and that was that. It was worth every moment.

Boat dancing was my other sport. Thankfully we have great friends with fast boats and massive speakers. Being a personal trainer, all the crew wanted me to put them through workouts or join them in stair runs before the day’s shenanigans on the lake got started. My standard reply this year was, “ I will tell you what to do from the hot tub with a mimosa in hand.”

I swam hard, danced, surfed, and hugged myself with glee under a blazing star filled sky,  feet in the lake and not a sole around. I hiked a few peaks, mountain biked a bit, floated in the lake on my floaty chair by myself many a day, sun on my face and heart full.

Now I reflect on health, after having it for almost a year. I am baffled at the incredible amount of brain space and energy that pain and illness consumes. I am in wonder at all the things I can achieve with a clear mind and healthy body. But then again, how does it get any better than just taking time to really live and enjoy our life in all moments? Perhaps those are the greatest lessons and gifts.

The Art Of Reinvention

Chrysalis Emerging 5

Cartwheeling over one of life’s inevitable speed bumps and landing in a ditch, is the perfect time to hone the art of personal reinvention. We lick our wounds, shake our head and hopefully keep moving forward with a few curses streaming in the wind behind us.

Some people will continue trudging, head down, feet dragging, oblivious to the lessons at hand. The wise will stop, assess the scene and adjust for variables. Most of the time this is done with some foot stomping and a growl or two, but “Oh that moment!” when you surrender, adapt and look for new qualities within to reveal.

This is a beautiful rite of passage that comes with the human journey. The incredible fact that we can always become something else and find joy or satisfaction in new ways. What an amazing moment to savor, emerging from one form of yourself, shaking your wings and taking your first breathe from within the new you.

This is the time for new eyes, new opportunity and endless pathways ahead. Who will you be now?

I am always inspired by those souls who can be in a chrysalis of suffering, pain or loss, and emerge with new understanding or a new plan. To be the athlete turned painter, the builder turned angler, the scientist turned gardener. To see the possibilities spiraling out within any circumstance is true power.

How will you approach this new horizon? How will you reinvent and rediscover other aspects of yourself for the joy of moving forward and thriving in a new way?

Crossroads of Possibility or Regret?




Sometimes while listening to a great song that brings back memories of days gone by, I think about those blazing crossroads that could have taken me in a completely different direction in life.

I can pinpoint so clearly those choices I made that lead me to this exact moment. When you look over your shoulder to past decisions do you have thoughts of regret? Do they fill your heart with sadness, or like me an interested and pensive wonder?

My heart aches a little for all the possibilities within ones life. I like to picture the other road that could have spread out before me. To imagine how it would have played out. Would I have died young, or become something so different? Perhaps.

All of us if we live long enough have moments of decision that we live with forever. When I look back I am so thankful for so many roads I could have taken. I feel fortunate to be thankful for where I am.

I have always had the philosophy that there are no such thing as regrets just decisions that could have been different, and all the ones that may now feel wrong lead to our growth, learning, and our grand path.

Yeah I know I am forever the optimist, and yes you may think screw that, I regret what happened, the decision I made.

But did you learn?

Can you look back with new eyes and see how that shaped you, made you different? Will you forgive yourself  and  share that knowledge to make a difference on the planet for the better? Will you give back, or will you let those decisions define you and take you down the dark path that leads to self destruction?

If you are sitting in a place you do not want to be, remember you are at that fiery and momentous crossroad now. The one you will be looking back on, in the blink of an eye.

Make the choice for you, for where you want to be, for who you wish to become. Create a blazing trail behind you that you are proud of.

A puppies tale.


A Puppies Tale.

After many years of travelling outside of Canada I was home and decided I really wanted a dog. I kept redefining what I was looking for, and after only a few weeks back on the continent, I woke from a dream with her name ringing in my mind. 4 days later she showed up in my life, given to me in a coffee shop. She was an amazing wee companion that was with me for 15.5 years. Her death was not a surprise and I was so happy she went quickly. But the aching hole it left in my heart even two years later amazed me.

I knew I wanted another furry friend, but I could not just go pick one out. Not after the way the last one came into my life. I believed once again that the right one would appear with time and place.

Living in two countries did not seem like a big enough reason to not have a hound, and what our last dog taught us was that they are resilient, adaptable, and conform to your life as long as you teach them early on.

I began to imagine my new friend, we thought about the attributes we would want, I ached for furry companionship, but it still did not appear.

Until a few days ago.

6 weeks before, my husband and I were at a surf spot hanging out in the parking lot – post session, when a cool Nica dog came up for a hello and some pats. The owner was the property caretaker, and we chatted about his furry beast, I told him how much I wanted a new pup. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and lead us around the corner and into his house where seven, 3 day old puppies wiggled in the dirt, and snuffled for their mother and siblings.

Two caught my eye. A brindle male, and a female with a stripe down her back flowing over to the tip of her tail. I got his number and said I would call him in 6 weeks to see if they were still alive or around. Life for animals in Nicaragua is complicated at the best of times.

A few weeks later EJ knew some friends were going to the same fishing village and asked them to take photos of the pups, and they came back gushing that they had picked out our hound.

”You have to get the one with the 4 white paws! She is the best and the only one you want!”

I did not get my hopes up, or attached to the idea yet as the weeks flowed by, yet a calendar in the back of my mind kept track of the passing of days, until one morning I awoke, and all I could think of was the puppies.

I did not know if they survived, if I would be allergic, if they would like the sea, or be healthy. How would we travel back and forth with it? Could we have it in our house rental? So many variables and all I could think of was today was the day our new companion would show up. I second guessed myself and tried to distract my brain from dogs but was restless and pacing, and getting emotional about it. Like all my cells were telling me we had to go look.

I mention this to my husband and was not sure how he was feeling about it all. He said I don’t want to just get a puppy cause they are cute; it has to be the right one. Then we open a thank you card left from his mom who had just visited from Canada, and my breath caught as I slid open the envelope. All on the front were puppies. I look at my husband and whisper, “It’s today.”

I call the caretaker Jose, and at first I think he says no more left. But then the line clears and I hear “ We have one left, a female, come if you want to see.”

I walk into my room and burst into tears. For the loss of my last, the yearning for another, and so many unknowns. I try to distract myself some more until my husband comes through the door and with a voice full of patience and inevitability, he asks, “ Well should we go have a look?”

On the half hour drive bumping through dusty dirt roads, I tell myself, if she is the one you will know. I convince myself we are going for tacos for lunch and maybe look at a puppy that is all.

We are lead in the front of the house, and there in the dirt curled up in a ball, is the pup with the stripe down her back, and with four white paws no less. I knew right away she had arrived in our life, but wondered how I would convince my husband that it was she.

We took her to the beach and with wobbly legs and a curious face she immediately followed along and most importantly was not afraid of the sea when we took her to the edge to wet her paws.

EJ turns to me with her tucked in the crook of his arm, “ Well, should we wrap this up?”

I look at him in shock “Really?”

He smiles at me and then at her and confesses, ” I had in my mind that if it was the one with the white paws she was ours, and here she is.”

I sob with joy and Jose just smiles as he watches us, already enamoured. When we asked how much for her he looked at us and replied, “She is a gift for you.”

Yes. Indeed she is. Welcome to our life Coco (Coconut)




For a moment time stood still.  I gazed at the rippling sea, the womb of my spiritual birth. The place I felt my soul was reborn from, calling me into her arms to heal my ragged wounds, to wash away the uncertainty and fear of the previous year. The sky before me was awash with the soft colors of dawn. The water, a silky gunmetal grey of early morning, oily quicksilver kissed with hues of mauve, and amber.  I was frozen in a second of time, a moment in between the pages of a new chapter of my life. No sound, just a surreal shimmer of this view before my eyes.

The lightest touch upon my cheek brought me to the surface of my consciousness, a breath of wind whispered in my ear.  Slowly sound returned as though lifting my head out of calm water so that a rush of air suddenly filled the quiet space.

The sea tumbled and swirled to caress the shoreline with its salty touch. The soft clicking of crabs excavating sand out of their holes and onto the endless beach. Slowly a myriad of patterns appeared, etchings upon the surface of the sand, created with balls they industriously rolled up and pushed away.

I had waited for that moment for a year and a half, to stand on that shore; the one place that I could begin to cast away the clinging stress and anxiety. Tears streamed down my face as I began to walk into the water with my board clutched under my arm. My shoulders shook and my stomach contracted as I cried like never before. Water swirled around my waist as I waited for a break between the sets of waves. I paddled through the whitewash, sputtering as I tried to control my breathing and duck diving my way through until at last I paddled into calm water behind the break.

I was filled with a torrent of emotions. The feeling of sheer joy at being in the Pacific, of lying on my board and about to ride the waves rolling in beneath me.  Yet at the same time, I felt so frail and wounded that I just needed to sit, watching the fish shimmer beneath my feet and welcome the comforting embrace of the tropical sea.

My husband, at 31years old, was diagnosed with cancer the year before.  We did not know the severity for the first few weeks, and life jerked to shocking halt. My heart went into lock down, my actions into survival mode. We were lucky to find the tumor in an easy to see place beneath his jaw, like a cherry caught in his throat. It was perched in his lymph nodes, yet thankfully was still isolated from the rest of his body. How strange to think that only day’s before he had been rock climbing with a friend, feeling the power of the mountains and within his own body.

He did not feel sick in any way, and yet the thought of having to check into the cancer centre to make himself more ill than ever in his life, seemed against nature itself. He spent five months in treatment, a year fighting for his life. Both of us caught in a test of mortality.  So full of smiles and hope, he would make the other patients laugh, and the nurses want to be around him. He held his head high and only once or twice faltered under the cloak of darkness.

His treatment was successful, and he is healthy for now. We were in Panama to heal our minds and hearts and find comfort in the thought that we may sneak a few more days together. To perhaps buy a month or a year or hopefully sixty before we say goodbye.

My tears were that of a child who has had a difficult lesson, and at the same time, being ones of absolute joy that we made it that far. Those tears were all the ones I wanted to shed when I thought I had to be strong, in the water they tore out of my body in wracking sobs. Yet even as I cried I had joy welling up within me. Looking around at the beauty of the tropics the darkened space filled with wonder, and the ecstasy of being alive.

There I was renewed, beneath the vast and gorgeous sky, with a pelican soaring low over the waves in search for its breakfast. I dove under the water and off my board squealing and wiggling like a dolphin being born. I rolled under water with my eyes open and gazed in wonder at the shimmering surface, my bubbles bursting into perfect expanding rings.

The words “I am here, I am home” echoed in my mind. I erupted through the surface, breathing in the salty air, and looking toward the beach. My husband was there, gazing south and watching the light grow brighter. He stood in quiet reflection, hardly as emotional as I.

I thought, “ It will be a long time before he can allow the reality of his new health to wash over him, to begin the journey of his own emotional healing”.

He would not dare to dream much into the future; he would guard his intricate web of emotions well. Yet for that moment, he was celebrating his recent win.

He smiled and waved, knowing me so well, he had given me time to greet the sea alone.  With his gaze I buried the remaining swell of emotions and my surfers mind took over. I paddled towards the shore, my body changing from a weeping and fragile mess to a strong and powerful surfer.

While catching my first and beautiful wave, sliding down a glassy face, feeling the speed and power of the ocean, I yelled with pleasure at the exhilaration of it. The shimmering golden light highlighting the shape of the wave in front of me, as I carved towards the rising sun.  My husband paddled out as I pulled off, dropping into the water beside him. We grabbed each other’s hands with twinkling eyes and huge smiles. There, together, we began the new chapter of our lives.

Furry Reminders

Life has so many defining moments. Those times where if we come out of ourselves and have a look from the outside, we can see poignant moments and crossroads that hang surreal before our eyes.

Many of us have gone through the passing of a furry family member. This was my first one that was all mine for 15.5 years. I really should say I was all hers.

My dog Tundra taught me so many things. With her passing I am left with so many fond memories but also a private emptiness in not only my heart but also my house.  I “feel” that she is no longer here.

It amazes me the beauty and depth of a silent relationship; the creation of a language between two beings that speak differently. The relationship of a dog with a human is a perfect example of what we Ontological coaches refer to as “Limbic Resonance”. This is defined as a concept of empathic harmony arising from the limbic system of the brain.

It is that unspoken “knowing”. Whether it’s walking into a room and knowing someone is angry, or knowing with certainty that your dog is not in the house.These are the non-visual rhythms we feel while in companionship with our furry friends.

In Ontological Coaching, (a focus on the study of being) Limbic Resonance is an interesting tool to hone within your toolbox as a coach. It is also a great instrument for clients to become more attuned to the world around them, and for communicating deeply.

Unfortunately in our busy world that we live in, so often we lose touch with our deep knowing. So many people get caught up in the treading water of our daily lives, that we forget to take time out of our day for a yoga class, meditation time, or a few clarifying breaths.

I love the words highlighted below, but please read the whole paragraph.

In The Wise Heart, Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield echoes the musical metaphor of the original definition of “limbic resonance” offered by authors Lewis, Amini and Lannon of A General Theory of Love, and correlates these findings of Western psychology with the tenets of Buddhism: “Each time we meet another human being and honor their dignity, we help those around us. Their hearts resonate with ours in exactly the same way the strings of an unplucked violin vibrate with the sounds of a violin played nearby. Western psychology has documented this phenomenon of ‘mood contagion’ or limbic resonance. If a person filled with panic or hatred walks into a room, we feel it immediately, and unless we are very mindful, that person’s negative state will begin to overtake our own. When a joyfully expressive person walks into a room, we can feel that state as well.

This centers on a lot of coaching I do. Coaching to bring you back to the centre of who you are and work out from there, rather than continually replacing band-aids on the surface. Deep healing and deep living, needs to come from a mind-full way of existing.

As my heart heals with the loss of Tundra, I know I can walk outside and feel her in the wind and see her on the mountaintops she so loved.Her passing marks a closing chapter in my life and the opening of a new one. Within the sadness and longing there is an underground excitement of the unknown future.

She reminds me every day to breathe deep and listen to the unspoken truths, to take time to quiet the mind, and be attuned to those around me for both work, and more meaningful living.

T and V