Becoming a Compassionate Witness

Becoming a Compassionate Witness

This week I will be traveling with my husband from our home on Salt Spring Island to South East Asia, for our first visit to this intriguing place. After a few days in Bangkok, acclimatizing to our new environment, we will fly to the UNESCO heritage city of Hoi An in...
A Creative Mentor Muses On Her Craft

A Creative Mentor Muses On Her Craft

I love supporting students to explore their creativity and develop their authentic expression. As a mentor, my gift is in paying attention. Being present to my students’ stories, to their thoughts, feelings and how they interpret the world, helps me to...
Home Words – Writing in Community

Home Words – Writing in Community

The performance of a new story or role can transform a person’s life, but only if the story is performed for the correct audience… a person arrives at a sense of authenticity in life through the performance of his or her stories to an appreciative audience, with a...
Strong on the Inside —Writing Alone Together at School

Strong on the Inside —Writing Alone Together at School

Welcome to Strong On the Inside, a project funded by the BC Arts Council through the ArtStarts in Schools program, SD 64, and Opus Art Supplies, Victoria. Aertist-facilitators Ahava Shira and Sam Barlow meet with a group of students weekly at the high school. During...
The Remedy of Contemplation

The Remedy of Contemplation

  Whatever takes us to our edge, to our outer limits, leads us to the heart of life’s mystery, and there we find faith. Sharon Salzberg I want to say I have never felt this much pain before this past year, but I would be lying. I have felt pain before. Physical pain,...
Love is Like This Video

Love is Like This Video

Love is Like This is 20 tracks of poetry from the heart. Here’s the video poem for track 18 – Clouds & Mozart. Love is Like This evokes the dance of relationship. From the intimacy of first crush to sweet and sour memories of kisses, the joy of conjugal seduction...
Longing for the Support of My Own Words

Longing for the Support of My Own Words

As I was poring through some old journals recently, I stumbled upon this entry from journal #16. October 21, 1992 Such a hesitancy to start again. How long has it actually been since I’ve been here. It seems like forever. How quickly I forget the path, when I stray...
Creating Utopias is Realizable

Creating Utopias is Realizable

  In Transforming Feminist Practice, Leila Fernandes (2003) speaks of utopia not as an unattainable ideal, or a wish for a future perfect state of being and living. “Utopias are realizable…exist at the moment when suffering is transformed into love. Utopia is the...
This Listening Gift

This Listening Gift

I I love to listen to birds and images, as much as to people. There are many ways I love to listen:    I listen with my eyes… and my imagination…  I listen to colours…  and to shadows… and to black and white…  Perhaps it is my favourite gift, this...
Writing: Loving, Inseparable

Writing: Loving, Inseparable

  Stuff goes into the writer, a whole lot of stuff, not notes in a notebook but everything seen and heard and felt all day every day, a lot of garbage, leftovers, dead leaves, eyes of potatoes, artichoke stems, forests, streets, rooms in slums, mountain ranges,...
Taking A Year to Love

Taking A Year to Love

We live in a world that is as complex as it is dynamic. Our interdependence with others and the world beyond ourselves is a fact, not an option. We are surrounded by other people and countless nonhuman species, by made and natural objects of the most extraordinary...
The Pleasures of Generosity

The Pleasures of Generosity

“It’s my pleasure!” I find myself saying this a lot in my life when someone thanks me for giving them something, whether it’s a mentoring session, help with their bags, a ride to town or a compliment about their outfit. “It’s my pleasure!” are the first words out of...
Plenty of Joy in the Circle

Plenty of Joy in the Circle

A human being is a part of a whole, called by us “universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison...
What Friends and Family Are For

What Friends and Family Are For

  Finally home after almost three weeks away on a gorgeous holiday with family and friends. How grateful I feel to be able to travel to see those I love and to spend time with them, making new memories and seeing the world through their eyes. One of the most vital...
In Her Red Shoes

In Her Red Shoes

  I burned my left foot this week. Poured a kettle of boiling water into a glass that broke in two. Now it is healing, pain-free. Bandaged, so I am having to be extra careful how I step, walk, do downward dog and child’s pose. Because of where the blisters are, only...
Finding Resiliency and Refuge through Calling in our Lifelines

Finding Resiliency and Refuge through Calling in our Lifelines

  I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s...
Cleaning Up The Mess With Mindfulness

Cleaning Up The Mess With Mindfulness

  A delicious sunny Sunday morning of breakfast and snuggling with my lover. Then the weekly rituals of cleaning: Accompanied by the ethereal electronic beats of British musician Imogen Heap, I scrubbed the tub, toilet bowl and sink, wiped down the ceiling and the...
Grief, Impermanence and the Spring Rituals of Robins

Grief, Impermanence and the Spring Rituals of Robins

  After a seriously intense week of recording videos for my upcoming Opening to Joy retreat, sea-planing over to Vancouver to speak on a panel for UBC education students about ‘jobs outside academia’ and graduating my second class of heartrepreneurs, I chose to spend...
How to Play Attention*

How to Play Attention*

  Act 1. first sounds first words: pick a direction, any direction you could have any man you want you have to struggle why can’t you just choose one thing and stick with it   Act 2. I need a drink a job a bag of chips a lover a second to breathe to think my own...
Be a Dancing Fool

Be a Dancing Fool

  Dance the dance of a fool Become what you become without a thought of what you could have been   Be the fool, dancing your body the present unfolding before your eyes a moving picture of a paradise your body the paint as you explore your many colours on canvas  ...