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Archive for March, 2010

Three- Word Phrases That Can Enrich Every Relationship

From the ‘unconditional love’ group on facebook:
The following three-word phrases can enrich every relationship. They are very powerful.

I’ll Be There

If you have ever had to call a friend in the middle of the night, to take a sick child to hospital, or when your car has broken down some miles from home, you will know how good it feels to hear the phrase ” I’ll be there. ” Being there for another person is the greatest gift we can give. When we’re truly present for other people, important things happen to them & us. We are renewed in love and friendship. We are restored emotionally and spiritually. Being there is at the very core of civility.

I Miss You

Perhaps more marriages could be saved & strengthened if couples simply & sincerely say to each other “I miss you.” This powerful affirmation tells partners they are wanted, needed, desired & loved. Consider how ecstatic you would feel, if you received an unexpected phone call from your spouse in the middle of your workday, just to say “I miss you.”

I Respect You / I Trust You

Respect and trust is another way of showing love. It conveys the feeling that another person is a true equal. If you talk to your children as if they were adults you will strengthen the bonds & become close friends. This applies to all interpersonal relationships

Maybe You’re Right

This phrase is highly effective in diffusing an argument and restoring frayed emotions. The flip side to “maybe you’re right” is the humility of admitting maybe “I’m wrong”. Let’s face it. When you have a heated argument with someone, all you do is cement the other person’s point of view. They, or you, will not change their stance and you run the risk of seriously damaging the relationship between you. Saying “maybe you’re right” can open the door to further explore the subject, in which you may then have the opportunity to get your view across in a more rational manner.

Please Forgive Me

Many broken relationships could be restored and healed if people would admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness. All of us are vulnerable to faults and failures. A man should never be ashamed to own up that he has been in the wrong, which is saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.

I Thank You

Gratitude is an exquisite form of courtesy. People who enjoy the companionship of good, close friends are those who don’t take daily courtesies for granted. They are quick to thank their friends for their many expressions of kindness. On the other hand, people whose circle of friends is severely constricted often do not have the attitude of gratitude.

Count On Me

A friend is one who walks in when others walk out. Loyalty is an essential ingredient for true friendship; it is the emotional glue that bonds people. Those that are rich in their relationships tend to be steady and true friends. When troubles come, a good friend is there indicating “you can count on me.”

Let Me Help

The best of friends see a need and try to fill it. When they spot a hurt they do what they can to heal it. Without being asked, they pitch in and help.

Go For It

We are all unique individuals. Don’t try to get your friends to conform to your ideals. Support them in pursuing their interests, no matter how weird they seem to you. Everyone has dreams, dreams that are unique to that person only. Support and encourage your friends to follow their dreams. Tell them to “go for it.”

Three powerful words: I Love You

The the most important three words that you can/should say. Telling someone that you truly love them satisfies a person’s deepest emotional needs. The need to belong, to feel appreciated and to be wanted. Your spouse, your children, your friends and you, all need to hear those three little words “I love you.”

A gift from a member of the Unconditional Love Group

peace, namaste & hippy love for generations,

Staying Humble: I Love to Clean Toilets

OK, so maybe this is weird and I am sure there could be a whole psychoanalysis done, but I love cleaning toilets!  I really am not too interested in cleaning but somehow, if no one else around here will do it and I get the “toilet duty”, I take great pleasure in having a spic and span, sparkly clean toilet.

When I was growing up as the youngest and only daughter in a family of five with two older brothers, I was the house cleaner!  Every Saturday it was my job to clean the house top to bottom.  When I got married and had three daughters, I said that I would never clean again, I would let them do it.  Yes, I realize that I am falling into conventional gender roles!  I hope that if I had had sons, I would have expected them to clean too!

Both my husband and I have felt that in our family, rather than hire a cleaning person it is good for all of us to do the weekly cleaning and so for the past many years, this has been a regular Saturday activity, complete with a ton of grumbling, complaining, procrastinating (mainly from me) and yet all five of us get out the brooms, dust pan, earth friendly cleaning agents (more recently) and just do it.  I could say that “a family that cleans together, stays together, stays together”!

Back to my love of cleaning toilets.  I was privileged, as a young person to be taught by a master!  One of my summer jobs was working as a cleaning person in an old folks home.  It just so happened that I started the same week as a flu epidemic hit the facility.  My boss was one of those women who was made to clean.  She was spry, wiry, in her 50’s with a very interesting updo and wow, could she clean.  I learned things about cleaning toilets that you wouldn’t believe!

All levity aside, for me cleaning toilets connects me with my humanness and my humility!  Every time I clean a toilet I say to myself, I am no better or no worse than any other person on this planet, we all….(something to do with elimination) and we all clean toilets.  It is actually, I guess, part of my spiritual practice!

peace, namaste & hippy love for generations,


For Women Entrepreneurs: “Life Lessons from Anita Roddick and The Body Shop”

“Life Lessons from Anita Roddick and The Body Shop”

I still wear a favorite t-shirt from the Body Shop even though it is raggedy and has quite a few holes. I still wear it for one reason and that is the bold, bright and beautiful quote on the back of the shirt. This quote is by Walt Whitman and reads:

“Re-examine all you have been told…Dismiss what insults you soul”.

This quote and the other values that Anita Roddick and The Body Shop exemplified have long served as inspirations for my life.

I had the great pleasure of hearing Anita Roddick speak in Vancouver in the late 90’s. She walked on stage, wearing a funky understated outfit and totally captivated the audience of over 2000 women. She modeled her personal values and essence to me by standing fully in her powerful presence. It was clear to me then as it has been in the ensuing years that she “wore her skin well”, that she knew who she was and what she stood for and that this “knowing” informed all of her actions.

I attempt to live my life and operate my business in the same way; from a sense of knowing who I am; from a foundation of a clear vision and the values of integrity, authenticity, freedom and respect; from understanding that one’s heart and soul need to be nourished through their life and work as well as their work meeting the needs of their clients; from an understanding that one’s uniqueness is an attribute to be brought forward and exalted, not hidden. I love the quote by Anita Roddick’s mother (page 33, “Business As Unusual”), “And my mother taught me how important personalities are in business. She made me realize that you can’t be a nondescript person or you will have a nondescript product. Be special she would always say. Be anything but mediocre.”

So, my encouragement to you as a woman entrepreneur is to go forward boldly and courageously in your life and business and be special, be anything but mediocre!

peace, namaste & hippy love for generations,


Ponderings of a Middle Aged Happily Mystified ‘Mystic’

I picked up “Integral Spirituality” by Ken Wilber a while ago from my favourite bookstore, (Banyen Books in Vancouver) and I devoured it, I loved it, it filled an unmet need of some kind for me, it felt that the final missing piece had clunked in.  It really felt like the logical, linear, science type part of me had a “thrist quenched”.  I felt like buying copies for some family members who are the “pure science” types and from whom I have a distinctly different view of life and religion and spirituality.  It was like this book could finally convince them, (because of the mathematical formulae) that I was right.  Yes, a brief glimpse into my family of origin issues which are integrally involved in my shadow the “filter” with which I view my world I acknowedge!  Yes, Ken Wilber, to me could represent my “unresolved” brother issues!  Yes, and……another part of me says the following……

I had never felt drawn to read any of Ken Wilber’s work before, being more interested in reading Barbara Marx Hubbard, Riane Eisler, Vicki Noble and Margaret Wheatley.  I think it was the word “spirituality” that drew me and I totally respect this work of Ken’s to attempt a ‘meta analysis’ of all religions, all spiritual traditions and all states, stages and lines etc. and pull it all into a framework.  It totally felt to me like the most “cutting edge” framework that I could find.  I immersed myself in the Integral Institute website, thinking of doing advanced training with them or at the very least some workshops.

I was ecstatic to see a women’s event.  Eagerly skimming through the program, I felt like I was hit with a sledgehammer when I read that the key feature of the retreat was watching a video of Ken Wilber talking to us.  Yes, there was some sacred dancing thrown in and a few other “divine feminine” type activities but I was absolutely stunned at the program which did not in any way feel integral to me, nor was anything close to what I had expected.

I chatted about this with 2 wise women friends, one of whom is very familiar with Integral theory and we both felt that there is something missing from the integral framework.  She said what is missing is “concentric circles’, I said what is missing is “heart”.  We both felt that it is very “heady” and for us, being bodycentered and integrated in mind and body, living in the present moment is how we attempt to live.

So, I ended up with more questions, ponderings and felt experience.  I have been asking what a wisdom council of grandmothers would say about this book.  I am asking, what is beyond “integral theory”, what about cycles, I feel the lack of heart centered body centered acknowledgement, I don’t think religions can be the conveyor belts of anything until the shadow of all religions is brought to the light.  I am triggered, questioning, uncertain and unknowing and just “sitting with it all”.  Yes, I am right in the middle of “include and transcend”.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

peace, namaste & hippy love for generations,


Women: Self-Care Is Not Self-Improvement!

Love Your Self: Self Care is Not Self Improvement!

I hope you enjoy this article, have a wonderful  day and share your hippy love with your friends and family!

peace, namaste & hippy love for generations,


Do you ever find yourself wondering exactly what does “unconditionally loving one’s self” or “self care” mean? In my coaching practice, I have many women ask me, “but isn’t it selfish to put myself first”? In the following coaching conversation I often use the phrases “motherly love” and “compassion towards yourself” as capturing the essence of self-care! Another word that fits into this discussion is “maitri.” Maitri is a Sanskrit word often translated as “unconditional friendship with oneself”.

What strikes me is that as we can develop “unconditional friendship with ourselves”, we bring compassion and gentleness into our “self-care” practice. Starting from the perspective of gentleness and respect allows life to flow forth in quite a different way than striving towards the completion of projects.

Self care is not self-improvement!

In coaching, my clients and I also talk about self-care and how the tendency is for many women to start making lists of how to improve. The lists often include: eat better, exercise more, start meditating, spend less, get organized, do more yoga, pray more, lose weight, spend more time with elderly parents and on it goes.

Self-improvement as a generalization, starts from the place of being “not good enough”, and “there’s room for improvement” and certainly, there is a time and place for self-improvement (like, say, when you have just had a heart attack and there are a whack of new lifestyle changes to make). Yet, self – improvement is different than self-care.

Self-care is about starting from the place of “I am enough, I am good enough, I have enough, there is enough, I know enough, I do enough.” Self-care is about affirming “my life is unfolding perfectly, in the right order, with the right events, in the right timing.” Self-care is soft and gentle and respectful of your basic goodness.

Now, of course there are times in our lives when self improvement is necessary and important. The key part is in recognizing in oneself if there is a pattern of “not feeling good enough” and continually playing that out in one’s life. Practicing daily “self-care” can help to shift that pattern and deepen a sense of self-acceptance, peace and fulfillment.

So, from that soft and gentle place for the month of February, here are some exercises for deepening your “self love” with “self-care”.

1. Read the descriptions of self-improvement and self care again, then stop, go inside yourself and see if you feel the difference in these two important concepts. Use the following questions to help:?• if you had to give the two concepts each a colour, what colours would you chose??• when you say the phrases self-care and self-improvement where in your body to you feel each phrase??• what does your heart say about each phrase??• what does your head say about each phrase??• hold each phrase in your hand (metaphorically), which one feels heavier??2. Write about the above exercise and your “learning”.?3. Explore the concept of friendship, and consider if you hold yourself to a higher and different standard than you hold your friends ie are you more critical of yourself than you are of your friends??4. Be gentle with yourself and notice when this is easy or difficult.?5. Celebrate your wonderful heart! You may wish to buy a new journal or buy yourself flowers or design another ritual that helps you say “I love me”!

“May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in beauty and joy each day.”

– Native American Proverb

Citizen Journalism Evolving – The Institute For Citizen Journalism

I became interested in ‘citizen journalism’ being a student of mainstream journalism, and my naivete has slowly dissipated.  I have cast a keen passionately female eye on stories in the news and have found these filled with gender inequalities.  I have watched and read during times of great conflict and have seen nothing reported on the Peace March I participated in with 5000 people the day before.  I have questioned ethics, objectivity and research ability.  I see how the internet and social media allow for immediate reporting from all of us.

Happy I am to find a Vancouver based organization devoted to supporting Citizen Journalism.

This is from the website for “The Institute for Citizen Journalism”

Radio and TV Interview in Chimoio Mozambique

‘The Institute for Citizen Journalism (ICJ) was founded by a group of active journalists and citizen activists in Vancouver, Canada, as an independent non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality and integrity of journalism internationally. ICJ provides research support, journalism expertise, and innovative, accessible platforms for citizen journalists.’

I plan to join!

peace, namaste & hippy love for generations,


Acknowledge International Women’s Day by Learning More About Sexual Exploitation of Kids

Yes, today, March 8th is International Women’s Day and women all over the world are celebrating and acknowledging the realities, the struggles and the gains of women.

While I believe that significant gender inequities  still remain in Canada, there have been improvements.  We are aware of the massive inequalities in other parts of the world however and we need to continue to educate ourselves about this reality.

Learn more about this at:

Right here in the lower mainland of Vancouver, Canada, child and teen sex trafficking occurs regularly.  In today’s Vancouver Sun, journalist Gillian Shaw writes “Pimp offers pregnant teen for sex in online ad” and goes on to describe how the internet plays a role in child and teen sexual exploitation.

I believe that it is time for us ‘well behaved priviledged’ women to take our blinders off and learn about the realities right here in our own ‘town’.  Educate yourselves, talk about it, learn the facts!  Make your celebration of International Women’s Day a social action and wear a fuchia ribbon this week to acknowledge that is it “Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Teens Awareness Week”  ! Learn more:

Remember, “well behaved women seldom make history” (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich), misbehave a little by educating, advocating and saying “no more” to child and teen sexual exploitation!

peace, namaste & hippy love for generations,


A Shout Out To My Friends ‘Bobs & Lolo’ For the Juno Nomination!

My friends, Lorraine Pond and Robyn Hardy (Bobs & Lolo) have received a Juno nomination for their wonderful ‘Action Packed’ CD! Far out and Groovy!

“Bobs & Lolo are dedicated to connecting kids to the natural world with music, movement and make-believe. Sharing musical stories that engage, inspire and educate, they teach kids to care about themselves, their neighbours and the planet.

Robyn Hardy – Bobs With a background in teaching and linguistics, Robyn is an enthusiastic and caring individual with a passion for conservation education. On stage she loves to sing, dance, clap, snap and tap!

Lorraine Pond – Lolo As an environmental educator and kinesiology major, Lorraine is an energetic performer with a flare for creating connections between young audiences and the natural world. On stage she loves to sing, dance, wiggle, slide and glide!

Growing up on Vancouver Island, Robyn and Lorraine have always shared a love of the natural world and a passion for working with children. Creating the dynamic duo Bobs & Lolo has allowed them to combine their diverse academic backgrounds with a mutual love of teaching and the creative arts.”


Lorraine & Robyn, I send you a big green & groovy shout out on your nomination!

peace, namaste & hippy love for generations,


Exploring Mid-Life Spirituality: One Woman’s Thoughts

I recently read “Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother Daughter Story” by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. This book is “a wise and engrossing book about feminine thresholds, spiritual growth, and the relationship between mothers and daughters” and I loved it!

The sections by the mom, Sue explore many facets of aging and deepening spirituality, while Ann’s chapters are lighter, exuberant and achingly truthful.

Being the mom of three daughters and personally going through many of the mid-life questioning and questing that Sue is doing, I am savoring this book as one would savor a big, round ripe pomegranate! I am finding a deepening and an enriching of my spirituality emerging with the reading. It also gives me distinct pleasure to be reading this book in an area of the western world that has welcomed Eastern spirituality and religious freedoms. Vancouver, with it’s partner city San Francisco, spawned the hippie movement, which provided a gateway for the emerging Eastern spirituality and the furthering of a differentiation between religion and spirituality

First, here are some definitions from Wikipedia ( ):

“Religion: A religion is a set of tenets and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, or religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience. The term “religion” refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.”

“Spiritual: Spirituality, in a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters of the spirit, a concept closely tied to religious belief and faith, a transcendent reality, or one or more deities. Spiritual matters are thus those matters regarding humankind’s ultimate nature and purpose, not only as material biological organisms, but as beings with a unique relationship to that which is perceived to be beyond both time and the material world. Spirituality also implies the mind-body dichotomy, which indicates a separation between the body and soul.

As such, the spiritual is traditionally contrasted with the material, the temporal and the worldly. A perceived sense of connection forms a central defining characteristic of spirituality — connection to a metaphysical reality greater than oneself, which may include an emotional experience of religious awe and reverence, or such states as satori or nirvana. Equally importantly, spirituality relates to matters of sanity and of psychological health. Spirituality is the personal, subjective dimension of religion, particularly that which pertains to liberation or salvation.”

So, while spirituality may be connected to religion for some, it can also be the subjective sense of “a power greater than oneself, a sense of expansiveness, connection and awe” that is experienced outside the realm of organized religion. It is this sense of expansiveness and connection that guides hippy grandma to keep the hippy love flowing for generations so our children and our grandchildren and on and on, may also catch some star dust!

“The true harvest of my life is intangible – a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched” – Henry David Thoreau

Enjoy your day.

peace, namaste & hippy love for generations,


Yelapa, Mexico – Reflections

Hotel Lagunita, Yelapa

Hotel Lagunita, Yelapa

The gentle waves muffle the Mexican “rancho polka music” which has started again after a brief respite. The music plays all night on Christmas Eve and for me is a strange blend of irritating and slightly hypnotizing. Earplugs simply take the edge off. Earplugs plus pillows, with my head sandwiched, seem the most effective method of muffling, which I successfully utilized at 4:17 am.

I sip my coffee, wishing it were organic Chiapas blend but enjoying what we brought from home. The roosters interject an occasional crow, although their additions are less frequent since sunrise.

I hear a water taxi leaving, a dog barking. The tiny hummingbird hovers at the brilliant red flower spindle. I hear the slap slap of flip flops on the stone stairs. I would have said ‘thongs’ a few years back but my daughters have trained me otherwise.

The temperature rises and a black and yellow striped butterfly glides in front of the tiled patio. The musky wet smell of the jungle intermingles with wood smoke, sea water smells, manure, diesel, fragrant flowers and a waft of laundry detergent. The air is wet and each breath seems to bath individual bronchioli.

I saw a furry little mouse this morning, hiding behind the dish soap (bright orange “Salvo- mi Salva Detergente Liquido Concentrado para Platos”). I startled it and so fast I wasn’t sure I had actually seen it, the tiny thing squeezed under the brown and gold Osterizer blender we use to make fresh fruit smoothies (our favorite is a papaya, banana, coconut, yogurt blend). Or, maybe, what I saw was a gecko.

The mama grey whale and her calf are quiet this morning. Perhaps they too are exhausted after the marathon night of music.

The ‘gang of teenagers’, my phrase to describe the flock of wild canaries who swoop and chatter in the morning, following the sun along the trees, scream by. They are quite unruly.

I notice a new flower has opened, yellow with saffron orange streaks and a fragrance that is mildly spicy. A lime plops to the ground. A velvety brown bird comes for a visit, perching on the iron railing at eye level. I hear chacalacas in the distance. Their sound is identical to their name. I am waiting for the pair of military macaws to cross high overhead in their daily fly by. It is said that there is a tree up river where many macaws roost and if you get there by 5 am you can see them. I’m not up that early here.

My mosquito bite itches, even with a thick pink coating of calamine lotion, glop, glop. The smell of the lotion transports me to my childhood on the Prairies and hot, lazy summer days playing in the fields and flushing out gopher holes. I wonder if I will get Dengue fever and am mildly concerned. Would it be gopher karma?

The church bells rang early this morning, calling the community to mass. I counted 16 bells, with a pause and then another bell. I may have miscounted.

The ants are busy this morning, scavenging the crumbs from the banana bread we ate out on the patio yesterday. A bright orange butterfly floats by and another magical Yelapa Christmas Day begins.

peace, namaste & hippy love for generations,


Our family in Yelapa (minus one)!

Our family in Yelapa (minus one)!

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