I mentor women to develop the confidence and freedom to express their authentic creativity.
Are you a creator?
Are you at your happiest when you are making beautiful things?
Do you love to collect things? Are you a hunter-gatherer of words, stories, journals, papers, textiles, paints, stones, images, colours, quotes, photographs? Not that you know how you will use them, but that’s a part of the fun!
So how come you find yourself doing everything but your art. Or criticizing everything you make, which stops you from creating, which makes you feel terrible, about your art, and yourself.
My passion is supporting women to discover your unique ways of expressing yourself and sharing that expression in the world.
To get there, you need a huge dose of self-love, a safe place to explore your art—before you share it with the world—and a loving community to mid-wife your creative journey.
A Year to Love will stretch you. Grow you. Love you up and allow you to love yourself more deeply.
Experience journal writing as a communal practice for creativity, compassion and connection.
As a creative mentor, I invite you to explore and discover who you uniquely are. Through my open-hearted, intuitive listening, I guide you along a path of transformation. I provide a safe, nurturing space for you to feel seen, heard and valued. You can think of me as a life coach for women creators. You can trust me with your creative dreams and vulnerabilities. I have a PhD in Arts-Based Education from the University of British Columbia, where I developed the practice of Loving Inquiry, an empowering process for freeing your creativity.
I have the deepest gratitude for this time & space of A Year to Love. It has helped me create an entirely different relationship with my creativity and released me from a lot of inner turmoil and torment.
With no pressure, a lot of love, acceptance, support and most importantly recognition, I have been able to find a lost part of myself.
I learned that I can completely trust my creative process, that I can stop questioning my creative choices. I can trust what materials I am drawn to and what I want to do with them, without needing to intellectually justify these choices.
Thank you Ahava for this amazing year of release and for the finding of buried treasures at long last discovered.
Jane Mackenzie, Fabric Artist and Poet
A Year to Love opened the doorway to possibilities that were untapped, stored away deep within. It was good to enjoy creating again, returning to quilting and fiddling with fabric, trying new things, and writing.
I have never kept a journal so this was an interesting insightful process for me, how a question could often produce so many more questions.
Learning to touch my heart and saying, “stop” when I am having unkind thoughts about myself. I will take this with me for the rest of my life.
Always welcoming, warm and kind, encouraging and skillfully guiding everyone to explore their creativity, Ahava, because of your generous spirit, you have created the opportunity for women to explore their lives with curiosity, openness and compassion.
Judith Barnett, Quilter and Writer
When I received a new gate every two weeks, it was like opening a little present, chosen with care for me. Your poems, your own experience as a learner in life, and the questions you asked, Ahava, were always thought-provoking. I often didn’t know what I was going to say as I started writing, and then ended up being surprised about what had happened.
My journal became a companion who would always listen to me without judgement. And it became a vehicle for my meanderings about the art exhibitions I saw and my photographic projects.
I loved the warm and heatfelt atmosphere at our retreats, and the food, cooked by our chef Gregory, was delicious! Thank you, my companions of this journey, for your listening and sharing.
And thank you, Ahava, for your gentle attention and guidance.
Denise Okan, linguist, photographer and traveller
My growth happened around changing my personal story from one that was about weakness, fear and ‘stuckness’ around my creative process to one of strength, joy and having a vision for myself.
Knowing that I am a writer has led to discovering the sheer joy of pen in hand and watching with awe what flows onto the page. The transformation to my inner soul is quite remarkable. I’m now exploring becoming an illustrator.
Ahava, you have this wonderful ability to listen and then reflect on what I shared with you. Always, whatever you said or challenged me to do was just right.
You are really good at creating a safety net for fragile creators, there is no judgment, no shame, no blame, just celebration of whatever little steps I took towards opening into my bigger self, thank you.
Rineke Jonker, Writer and Storyteller for Adults & Children
As my creative mentor, Ahava encouraged me to find imaginative ways to address the places where I felt stuck creatively. She offered me the opportunity to explore a variety of areas using my own artistic means of expression: words, collage, poetry, painting.
Through A Year to Love, my creativity was freed. I could play and feel great with the results, without judging myself or waiting for others’ approval. I realized just how important it is for me to tell stories, to help others tell theirs.
There was always an ease in working with Ahava that felt like a collaboration. What I like most about working with her is that she encouraged me to see the possibilities rather than limitations.
Ahava was open to listening to where we are at as individuals, respecting our own process, work style, and whether we wanted to share. She was encouraging, playful, flexible.
Working with Ahava is working from and in the heart.
Sam Barlow, Writer, Photographer and Multimedia Collage Artist
Driving up to Butterstone Farm for an afternoon of writing and sharing with a dynamic and interesting circle of women has been a treat for my soul. As the car pulls up the driveway the big beautiful gates slowly open to receive us. It is like a warm embrace drawing us into an intimate space of beauty and peace where we explore our passions, pain and promises about life and living.
We emerge at the end of the afternoon feeling lighter, inspired, nourished and joyful from the experience of exploring the inner spaces of our hearts, our minds and our souls through our writing. I am deeply grateful to Ahava for being a caring catalyst in the unfolding of who we are as authentic women.
Thank you for a sweet and deep creative journey of A Year to Love. I felt so loved and embraced by your kindness. I learned how to give my story the time and attention it deserves, so my audience could be drawn into each living moment.
Ahava, you have an amazing gift for listening and co-creating poetry with music, movement, props and thoughts. Thank you for expanding my creative consciousness, helping me to appreciate my golden years and turning my straw into gold and my dreams into reality.
Premilla Pillay, Poet, Writer and Dancer
Ahava created a space to know myself, love myself, honour myself, to move inside creatively, honour my vulnerability, reflect on my work, to witness and value what I’ve done and step into more of my creativity. Through her presence and creative mentorship, Ahava brings out the genius in others.
I am so inspired to continue on my path of creating a world for myself that allows me to play more, risk more, and most importantly, believe in myself more. I feel like I am standing straighter, like I am honouring myself and my unique ideas.
The program helped me re-connect with myself. I always loved the beginning of taking time to just breathe, and come in, as this gave me a great place inside myself to start from.
Ahava, you are incredible at listening to others and then repeating back what you hear, and then either sharing your own wisdom from experiences or posing interesting pointed questions to help us with where we are at.
Julie Howard, Painter, Writer & Energy Healer, Heart Space Healing
What Ahava does is hold my hand. Ahava knows that I know the way, and so she gently reminds me that my own wisdom lies within me. Ahava has taught me a new way to see and to listen. To be able to witness her beautiful, playful way in the world has been such a blessing in my life.
Ahava, what I really loved about you as a facilitator is that you really do just go with what is happening at the moment. You really trust the moment and you work with it and this helped me to relax and open up to the experience too. I also love to see that you are learning about yourself along with us.
I see that you are just as much a student as you are a teacher. It feels good to know that we are offering you gifts in your journey- things that you will probably offer to future students!
You are also a bit silly- and I love that!
Odette Graham, Dancer & Floral Artist
It was perfect and gentle and just what I needed. After having a business for ten years, I really needed to shift and reevaluate what is important. Ahava provided that new perspective on things.
My most valuable learnings were how to examine my fears, how to re-create my vision without the old story getting in the way and how to value what I do in the world. I feared that my ideas or offerings would not be good enough or compare to the other women’s background.
Ahava showed me that there are no right or wrong ideas, that we all bring to the world what we are best capable of offering in the most pure and joyful way because we are all so unique.
Rachel Ogis, Weaver and owner of Iridescent Arts
Ahava helped me to ditch the self-sabotage talk, to do away with that attitude. It’s a confidence, self-worth thing.
Ahava set a tone with her voice and the space that was very calming and relaxing. She is easy to talk to and very open-minded, like a soul sister. She encouraged us to look at our ideas with fresh eyes and a fresh approach.
The course was very exploratory and rewarding. It was also inspirational to see how other women are creating their lives.
Amy Gessinger, Leather Worker & Owner of Bareback Leather
Thank you for creating this space in which I can be open-hearted and playful, explore who I am and what I want to be doing with my life.
The periods of transition are the hardest times in my life. I grasp for the things that give me security, like the past. Ahava offers a tangible tool that’s giving me a way to move through this challenging time. Instead of beating myself up or falling into despair, I am learning to use this time of transition to learn new ways of being.
When I move through the gate, it’s like a transformation.
Ariana Salvo, Writer and Farmer
I couldn’t have planned anything better for me to be part of A Year to Love.
In the past year I have been on a wonderful journey to discover myself and explore my life from a different perspective; as a loving, inquisitive observer.
Writing and journaling and discussing my process of grief has been a very healing journey.
I am so very grateful to Ahava and each woman in this group for their loving support.
Charlene Wolff, Filmmaker and Weaver
What I valued most was the way you gave me permission to not know what would happen, to explore and discover what was possible, what was needed moment to moment. You believed in me and communicated this through your words and your actions, helping me believe in myself and my writing project.
You brought the heart of a brave companion, and the intelligence of an experienced writer, together wrapped in love and curiosity.
Lynda Monk, Co-Author of Writing Alone Together, Journal Coach & Founder of Creative Wellness
Ahava, I loved your spontaneity in facilitating our group this past weekend!
The benefits I received were many and varied: expanded creativity, greater confidence in following my own unique path and deeper insight into my truest gifts.
The warmth of your loving guidance brought out the best in us. With gratitude, I basked in the beauty of all that is feminine.
Circles within circles…a playful and moving experience. Namaste
Sheila Sayer, Poet and Performer
Courses & Retreats
A Year to Love
Are you a writer, poet, dancer, performer, filmmaker, photographer or storyteller who’s been hiding your talent but wishing you had the support to bring it out?
Do you love to create beautiful things but find yourself procrastinating and always being busy with something else?
Spend a whole year learning to love yourself and express your creativity in a community of supportive women.
A Year to Love is a 12-month transformational journey.
LEARN MORE >
Writing Alone Together
Last fall I published a book on journal writing called Writing Alone Together: Journalling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection, co-authored with Salt Spring writers Lynda Monk and Wendy Judith Cutler. Now I offer workshops and retreats using the insights and exercises we developed. Set on a beautiful farm retreat on Salt Spring Island, my Writing Alone Together retreats offer a nurturing space for self-care and creative sustenance.
LEARN MORE >
As a creative mentor, my passion is fostering artistic growth in women of all ages and creating transformative community. Fuelled by my own artistic practice over the last 20 years, here are some of my published offerings, embracing poetry, spoken word & music, personal memoir and collective storytelling:
Embrace Your Creative Life
Online lessons in artful, heart-full transformation