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Archive for February, 2012

Women | Life | Wisdom: Unexpected Surprises & Life Lessons

This morning as I was getting dressed, I got hit by a star…literally!

I was pulling clothes out of my closet and a tiny, sparkly blue star fell on me.

It was one of those little stars that are put in gift bags and used as party favors. I guess it got caught on my clothes.

The falling star was a wonderful unexpected surprise and reminded me that life is a mysterious adventure and that my day can be sparkly!

I hope your day is sparkly too!

in peace & mindfulness



wisdom coaching to set your heart on fire and soothe your soul


Women Leaders: The Topaz Lotus Leadership Matrix ~ The Being & Doing of Leadership

I have learned that there is a big difference between learning about coaching and leadership; skills, competencies, theories etc and ‘hitting the ground running‘ as a leader of a group, team or organization.

Prior to doing my coach and leadership training, I had held a significant number of  leadership positions, however, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I was formally hired in a management role.  As I imagine many women leaders find, my first few months were a ‘trial by fire’.  In the past three years I have been challenged to use every leadership & coaching skill I have learned and that’s not due to a crisis or emergency; its due to the reality of working  in an intense environment with limited resources and with people who are diverse, creative and amazing… and don’t always agree!

As a result of my life and work experience and my coaching and leadership training, I have designed the Topaz Lotus Leadership Matrix to meet the needs of Women Leaders. Many women leaders have told me that they feel they want to be a better leader, and while they feel competent, they want to broader and deepen their leadership skills.  With the Matrix, I talk about both the ‘being’ and ‘doing’ of leadership for women and over the next few weeks, I will be discussing this further.

The foundation of the ‘doing’ part of leadership in the Topaz Lotus Leadership Matrix is the Legacy Leadership(R) Model, developed by Drs Lee Smith and Jeannine Sandstrom, organizational development specialists.  I have found that this model truly leads to transformational leadership as it encompasses 5 outstanding Best Practices and comes complete with leadership competencies and behaviours!

When I found myself in the midst of my first chaotic crazy challenge at my new work, I came back to the 5 best practices as outlined in Legacy Leadership and found clarity and a solution!

The first ‘best practice’ of the Legacy Leadership model is:

~ ‘Holder of Vision and Values’ its about direction and commitment ~

I have experienced this  leadership ‘best practice’ as vital!  Knowing and holding a collective vision with a work group or organization, anchored by clear, strong and shared values provides a decision making strategy, a road map and a catalyst for forward movement and change.

Stay tuned for more leadership strategies and skills using the Topaz Lotus Leadership Matrix for Women Leaders and feel free to send me your leadership challenges!

in peace & mindfulness



executive & leadership coaching to set your heart on fire and soothe your soul


Women | Health | Life: Holistic Health Tip of the Week

Discover your unique ‘nutritional truth’.

Nutrition tecommendations for women are often based on scientific research conducted on middle aged men leading to a ‘one size fits all’ nutrition prescription.

Ancient traditions such as Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurvedic Medicine acknowledge metabolic or body differences as well as incorporate the concept of ‘food as medicine’.

Many women feel best when they have determined their own ‘nutritional truth’ and eat accordingly. You can find this for yourself by experimenting, one food or beverage at a time, with withdrawing that food for 3-7 days and be very aware of your body symptoms and energy levels. If you feel better without the food, you know it’s one to avoid. You can do this in reverse when trying a new food and thus construct a list of ‘foods that act as medicine’, neutral foods and foods to avoid. This is your unique ‘nutritional truth.’

This process works best when you have had a stable and healthy food intake to start. Also, be very gentle with this process and yourself if you have a history of disordered eating, ‘food addictions’ or yo yo dieting.

Engaging in a regular yoga, tai chi or other body centered program can help you become more attuned to your body messages and mind-body connection which helps with the process.

You can also work with a professional trained in holistic nutrition, such as a Naturopath or a Holistic Nutritionist/Dietitian to discover your nutritional truth.

Dr. Christiane Northrup has an excellent chapter on nutrition & unique needs in her book ‘Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom’. I highly recommend all her books!

You will know that you are successful in discovering your ‘truth’ when you love eating and ‘overflow’ with life force, a feeling of optimal health and energy.L

in peace & mindfulness



wisdom coaching to set your heart on fire & soothe your soul

Women | Life | Health: Words of Wisdom ~ The Guest House by M.J. Rumi

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all
Even if they are a cloud of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each guest has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


This is one of my favorite poems! I have found that the more I welcome every visitor, the lighter and airier my ‘house’ becomes, there is a freshness and newness with each day and it is easier to greet each visitor with laughter!  This is not to say that it has been easy!  I have found it really hard to ‘welcome’ emotional pain, or perceived wrong doings by someone close to me.  While ithasnotbeen easy, I have found a deepening sense of enrichment coming to my life.

Enjoy your day and as a guest to my blog, lets share a laugh together with this adorable child and camel! This picture I found on facebook, I don’t know who took it, however I would love to acknowledge the photographer.

in peace and mindfulness



coaching to set your heart on fire and soothe your soul


Women | Work | Life: Calling All Women Entrepreneurs, Hippies & Healers in Business

Don’t be a woman going crazy at work, learn sustainable marketing strategies with a hippie marketer and reduce your stress at work.

Check out Tad Hargraves workshops in Vancouver tonight and this weekend!

Tad specializes in helping values based business owners and hippie women entrepreneurs who wish to earn with integrity while being socially responsible.

In peace & mindfulness



wisdom coaching to set your heart on fire & soothe your soul


Women | Health | Life: The Year & Soul-Sisterhood of the Traveling Yoga Pants – Week One

I’ve decided to take a year, starting now and visit as many different yoga studios as possible!

I’m going to try a variety of yoga classes in as many geographical places as my usual daily life allows and report back.

Here’s the deal. I’m a mid-life woman who loves yoga but I have never been trained in yoga nor am I an expert. I’m not a jock, although I’ve enjoyed sports and being active most of my life. I’m simply your ‘average Jane’ , a kind of rounded curvy married working mom with 3 young adult daughters who feels better when I do yoga! I am trained in body centered life coaching (as well as other types of coaching for women) so I do know the many holistic health benefits of yoga!

On to my yoga pants! I currently have 4 pairs: my original lululemon cropped capris with a back slit,, a very comfy pair of classic straight legged mid-calf brown yoga pants from Winners, a pair of long wide legged black Lulus and a pair of short above the knee black athletic shorts.

This week, I’ve already attended a Yin Yoga class at one of my favorite studios, Shanti Yoga in Tsawwassen and my plan is to go to a Semperviva or Moksha Hot Yoga class this weekend in Vancouver!

Stay tuned!

in peace & mindfulness,



Coaching to set your heart on fire & soothe your soul


Women | Life | Wisdom: Holistic Health Self Care Tip of the Day!

Bonus Holistic Health Tip:

After first arising and using the bathroom, I suggest to my life coaching clients that they do three yoga postures (holding each yoga pose for 30 seconds to start and building up to holding for 3 minutes) or 1 long slow down facing dog followed by a short mindful mediation!  This can take as little as 5 minutes or as long as you wish and it is a wonderful ritual to start the day!  I do this in my pj’s!  You don’t even need to put your yoga pants on as it is done in the comfort of your own home!

After your yoga and meditation, and on a fairly empty stomach, try this holistic health tip:

Holistic Health Tip of the Day:

Take probiotics every morning!

You can either do this with food like a very ‘active’ yogurt (homemade natural is ideal) or with capsules containing a mix of probiotics, like acidophilus and bifidus.

Eat a 1/2 cup of active yogurt or make a breakfast smoothie jammed packed with goodness like:  natural yogurt, frozen blueberries, a free trade banana, some ground flax seeds, hemp hearts and flax oil.  You can ramp up the probiotic content by opening the capsules and sprinkling the extra probiotics in the smoothie!  You can even add extra protein powder if you wish! Whip it up in the blender and envision your digestive tract health and balanced!

Our digestive system is filled with ‘good’ bacteria, which help us digest our food and optimally nourish our bodies.  If your digestive system is out of balance and doesn’t have enough of the good bacteria, you may feel symptoms like: bloating, gas, cramps and diarrhea alternating with constipation.

Optimal nutrition starts with a healthy balanced digestive system and when we are optimally nourished our holistic health improves!

Enjoy your wonderful day!


in peace & mindfulness



wisdom coaching to set your heart on fire & soothe your soul


Women | Mind | Body | Spirit: Deepening Connection & Changing Life Patterns

I offer you the following thoughts to deepen your mind body spirit connection…

After my meditation this morning, I was reading from “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times” by Pema Chodron.


I enjoy all her writing and this am, a particular passage struck me, she’s talking about ‘maitri’ or ‘developing loving-kindness and an unconditional friendship with ourselves.’  She goes on the say ‘ It’s not that we pat ourselves on the back and say “You’re the greatest,” or “Don’t worry, sweetheart, everything is going to be fine.”  Rather, its a process by which self-deception becomes so skillfully and compassionately exposed that there’s no mask that can hide us anymore.’


A real life example of this is from my own life.  One of my long held patterns is that when I am hurt, or life becomes too full of conflict or pain, I ‘run away’!  I change jobs, end friendship or withdraw emotionally.  In my daily life, even without something sad going on, I catch myself thinking about vacations and wondering what life would be like where the grass is greener.


Recently, since ‘making friends with this pattern’ and deepening maitri, I have been able to lighten up abit and just ‘hang in there longer’.

What I have found with this process is that it feels very scary for me to ‘hang in’, I actually feel like I might die of shame, hurt, pain etc.  But if I stay, a deepening always happens!  By staying I deepen my connection to myself and to those around me.

So, if you wish, try a different pattern the next time you feel strong emotion and see what happens!

in peace & mindfulness



Coaching to set your heart on fire and soothe your soul

Women | Health | Wisdom: It’s My Dad’s 90th Birthday Today

My dad turned 90 today!

Yesterday, my brothers and I hosted a party for him at the church where he was both pastor and parishioner for many years.

There was laughter and some tears.

At the end, my Dad spoke and it was incredibly touching as it seemed like he was saying all the things he would like to say at his funeral if he could! He spoke words of wisdom and said he was excited about his next phase and for us not to be sad when he passes.

It is an honour to celebrate my Dad’s 90th with him!

Happy Birthday Carl Johnson!


Women | Wisdom | Health: Why I Love Yoga and More Ramblings From A Personal Life Coach!!


I love yoga!  I love doing it, learning about it and reading about it!  I do it almost every day on my own and likely think about going to classes more than I actually go!  I love the natural and holistic health nature of yoga and how it is a ‘complete discipline’.  For me, it develops my mind body spirit connection.

I trace by love of yoga back to Grade 9, when I took creative dance classes and our warm up ‘exercises with Miss Porter’, included movements that I now know were yoga poses.  I kept using these poses as stretches for my running and other exercise programs and am happy to say that I have maintained flexibility through 3 pregnancies and beyond!

Throughout my life I have engaged in yoga in cycles, going frequently and then not going at lot for years .  I tried many different types of yoga without even knowing there were different types!

Certainly not a yoga instructor, nor an expert in the discipline,  I think of myself rather as an ‘imperfect beginner yogini’.

My two favourite yoga books are:

‘An Autobiography of a Yogi’ by  Paramhansa Yogananda

‘Light On Yoga’ by B.K.S. Iyengar

Interestingly, I love ‘hot yoga’ and have tried Bikrams quite a few times.  I haven’t tried Moksha yoga yet, however my yogini friends really like it.  I adore ‘yin’ yoga, using blocks and supports.  I was totally surprised once when I went to a ‘vinyasa flow’ class, thinking it was a hatha yoga class!

I have thought of doing ‘yoga teacher training’ for my own exploration and imagine a time in the future when I spend months in Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand or Bali at a yoga retreat center!  The joy!

Last week, I noticed that simply walking into a calm, beautiful yoga studio gave me a sense of peace and serenity!  On that day though, rather than attend a class, I tried to ‘take the peace with me’ through purchasing a wonderful piece of jewelry.

I’m also interested in Ayurveda or Ayurvedic Medicine which is a whole holistic health discipline practiced in India and which provides a valuable explanation for me as to why folks either ‘love’ or ‘hate’ hot yoga!  I really value clues as to my metabolic type through the practice of yoga.

Perhaps what I love best of all, are the people one meets through yoga, like the yoga instructors and the other students.  I feel like I have found my tribe!

I’m on the upper edge of age for this tribe and even though I live in Vancouver, I don’t usually wear the fancy yoga pants and yoga wear, although I have appreciated the durability of my first lululemon yoga pants, purchased  13 years ago!

For four consecutive years, I hosted women’s life coaching, self care & yoga retreats to Mexico and remember those times with great fondness.  I provided the life coaching and my dear friend Beth was the yoga instructor!  One of my favourite yoga studios in fact, has blossomed in the small Mexican village of Yelapa, where I hosted two retreats.  Judith Roth of Yoga in Yelapa has built a gorgeous yoga reteat center, called Sky Temple and if you are ever in need of a rest and re-charge, travel to Yelapa and take in some yoga classes as well as learn Spanish at YESI, eat amazing food, and relax on the gorgeous beach.

The benefits of yoga are many, including: increased flexibilty and agility, increased core strength, stress reduction, improved digestion and circulation, a deepening connection with your body’s messages, reduced blood pressure, peace, serenity and calmness, to name just a few!  Also, yoga is a wonderful vehicle to bring up un-healed areas of life.  For example, through yoga practice, I have been blessed to learn how hard I am on myself and how my competitiveness no longer serves me, nor those around me!

I encourage all my coaching clients to engage in yoga or a similar body centered discipline.  Busy mom and busy business women find yoga is incredibly helpful with stress management as well as refreshes the  mind and body!

Yoga is my spiritual practice!

Well, enough of the rambling, I guess it’s time to pull on my ‘lulus’ and take myself off to class!

Enjoy your day!


in peace & mindfulness




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