Step 75 - Living your Dreams:  “All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

After a good rest yesterday I found myself thinking quite positively about some really challenging problems.

In part having made the commitment to write everyday my brain seems to be less cluttered. 

Now when I have to consider and sort through what is real, what is a historical message that is not useful I do get to clarity more quickly and in a less stressful way than I used to, and when I'm stuck in a problem I write my way out of it - this is my Haiku set from this morning:

Synchronisity was on my side because I also listened to a funny and thought provoking talk by Larry Smith from the University of Waterloo Ted Talks series.  "Why you will never have the career of your dreams"  Talk about historical messages!

So for this step, today, I invite you to click on the link and listen to Larry

Step 74 -  "Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives."  Tony Robbins

A few years ago I listened to a sermon which told the story about a man of great faith who believed that God would rescue him no matter what.  

" One day the man's house began to fill  with water as the local river banks burst.  The flood rose and rose.

 The man had a life jacket in the house and could swim but, he thought, if I swim I may get swept up in the current.  I will wait for a sign from God. 
 As the water rose higher the man climbed up to the second floor and out onto the balcony.  Along came some neighbours in a dinghy - "get in" they told him. 

  The man looked at them and said "but you are not of my faith.  I will wait for God to rescue me."
  A couple of hours later the flood filled both floors of his home.  He climbed onto the roof of his house.  Along came a helicoper, they dropped a ladder to him.

 The man did not grab the ladder.  He shouted "no I can't do that, I am too afraid.  God will rescue me."

  The next day the news reported that the man had drowned in the flood.

When I think about this story I am reminded about the times in my own life when I have chosen not to take practical steps and have perhaps had some other grandiose thought that somehow something outside of myself will fix it - make it better.  Usually that is a sign that I am trying to avoid something that is painful or difficult and whilst I certainly have had the gift of grace throughout my life through the kindness of neightbours, family and friends, the times that I am strongest are the times when I rely and know my inner resources and strenghts.  Sometimes the strength is in letting go and admitting that I don't know the way to go.  Other times it is sucking up what I don't like or want to do and getting it done.

I find those resources come for me through the experience and process of making art.  At those times art is a prayer and in the words of Picasso "the unthought known" emerges.  It can be a beautiful thing.

Exercise 74

On some index cards write out the strengths and inner resources you know you have and when you have used them - write out what the situation was and how you overcame it.  Use one index card for each.  If there is a situation in your life now that you believe you are not able to manage well consider the help you need to find that.  Who to ask for support from.  When you discover a way to manage- which you will - remember to record it on the index card and describe the situation, place and date.

Step 73 - Changing the Record.  "I am not a victim, no matter what I have been through, I'm stilll here.  I have a history of victory."  Steve Maraboli

Yes, I know I have said this before, differently, but it's important and sometimes it takes lots of practice to change the way we think about our current situation and not have it continually compounded by negative messages from the past.

When we see ourselves as a victim in a situation we give away the power we have over the given situation and opportunity to learn from it.  When we stay stuck in the victim role the messages get louder and worse.  I know this is true because I have done it for years.  It has been my experience to keep telling myself the same story over and over again - nothing moves - I can say I told myself so.
Yay for me NOT!

Once I learned to change things around life did not get simpler - it got way more complicated but in a good way.  Suddenly I had options and choices and acceptance as companions, those excitable little guys got me hopping over fences towards dreams that I couldn't have conceived in my old way of thinking.  Sure there were and are still mistakes but that's life - right?  Human beings make mistakes.

If you have messages that keep playing in your mind that tell you "you are the victim" - change the message, look at it differently.  What would it be like to not feel and think of yourself as a victim.  How much power or control would that give you?  It may feel fake at first but over time it will feel good and your thoughts will be cleaner and clearer about what choices you can make for your future.

Exercise step 73

Find a quiet place to sit inside or outside and concentrate on your breathing.  When you feel relaxed, imagine yourself  walking purposefully up the first slope of a mountain.   You are fit and dressed appropriately for the environment.  As you stride you know you will make it to the top.  You have no fear.  When you are ready to open your eyes, either draw, or write, or do both, an image of the mountain (or cut out a picture or paper to represent it).

The mountain represents the next stage of your life where you are no longer a victim.  That is behind you.  When you think, feel or hear the old messages coming back repeat the meditation and visualize yourself.  Look at the pictures and or writings you have made and remind yourself, there is no turning back.


Having 100 people visit my hub pages in one day
Commencing on-line art therapy with new registrants
Making time to take care of my family, myself and make time to write
Eating wheat and gluten free
Accepting my chocolate binge and not mentally beating myself up for it!


Persnicketyness yesterday over nothing
Chores at home
Keeping faith about $'s for the UK trip

Be well 

Step 72 - Gaining Momentum and Living Life Large - "And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anaïs Nin (1903 - 1977)

One of my colleagues stated last week - "I keep wondering what I will be when I grow up", we all cracked up - she is 56 and I get it.  Seems to me that so many of us are on the hamster wheel and when that darn wheel turns slowly enough for us to get off we just speed it up again. Oftentimes doing what you want to do seems harder than doing what you have to do, when it comes to letting go and believeing in yourself, your dreams and your creativity.

Now that I have made writing every day a habit for me, I absoluitely have to write.  As a result my mental health has increased positively and my stress levels have decreased.  Sure I do sometimes have "writers block" or wonder why on earth anyone would be interested in what I have to say but since January around 2,500 people globally have read my work here and on hub pages - that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't started sharing my writing.  I find joy in the small stuff, the everyday. That feeds my writing and generates ideas for hubs and sharing here.

This morning is a great example - listening to North by Northwest on CBC presented by Sheryl Mackay I woke to the sounds of O World.  One song re-recorded many times over by different musicians form different genres.  A beautiful Living Life Large project, the dream of one man who brought it all together.

Rosa Parks is a wonderful example of the power of one. Ghandi said "be the change you want to see in the world". If you want to see change within the world, within yourself, within your family the power  is yours - change starts with each and every one of us.  The rest as they say will be history as the positive changes occur.

Exercise Step 72

Go to and listen to the different music and watch the videosThis all started with the vision of one man.  The power of one - it's a beautiful thing.

Have a Great Earth Day!


Step 71 -  Living in the Now.  "The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."

I have heard it said that if we are anxious it is because we are not living in the present moment - our anxiety is caused by worrying about the future or the past which we cannot change.  Living in the present is, however, challenging in our present day society where so much information, need for planning and demands on our time come at us on a constant basis.

My children are often bemused by the fact that I can quite happily leave my cell phone at home or just let it ring or not immediately leap up to check the cause of the "beep".  That's one of my "good" habits.

When I find myself yearning for peace and quiet and when those opportunities present themselves, I can get pulled into thinking about the jobs around the house and child or professionally related tasks that I am not doing.  Thus not really "drinking in" the present or taking advantage of the time I could give myself as a gift.

Stressors for me are definitely around money flow, time for house related tasks and having to have things completed on other people's time schedules.  When that happens, if I become anxious and overwhelmed I choose one of two things - eating for comfort or watching TV.  Neither makes me feel good and both lead to negative thinking.

Participating in a physical activity is a good strategy for living in the present and is a healthier alternative to inactivity or eating. Yoga, meditation, running, dancing or singing all create a surge of endorphins which have been shown to reduce depression and anxiety and stimulate creativity.  I also like what this writer has to say about  his experience when his creativity is stagnated

Exercise - Step 71

Create a flow chart about time/money/chores where ever you know your stressors are present and
examine how you normally respond to them - how does it flow?  Does it spiral into more negativity or greater stress?  Create an alternative flow chart which shows what the alternatives might be. Feels fake right?  That's OK it's the beginning and at least now you know that there are alternatives and can start to put into practise changing thought patterns into positive action. 


Continuing to maintain weight loss and not pile back on any pounds - despite the recent Easter Bunny leaving treats all over the house.

Listening to my body.

Networking and making new social and business relationships.

Commencing an offering a pilot on-line art therapy programme - go to for more information or to register.


Working through "stinking thinking" and recognizing historical thought patterns

Making the most of time and opportunities

Be well....

Step 70 - "It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" - J. K. Rowling

If J.K. Rowling had not written the Harry Potter series or had given up trying to get it published after the initial rejections from publishers, no doubt her current circumstances would be quite different from the ones she currently enjoys.

Her choice to continue writing despite evidence that, at that time, children's fiction had a limited future for an author, has generated new writers and spawned a growth in reading for youth.  Imagine what the world would be like if those with vision - Leonardo DaVinci, thought - David Suzuki, courage - Winston Churchill had chosen not to do so.  Makes you think doesn't it.

I don't know how much Ms. Rowling believed in the fact that she would get published but her actions, her tenacity, prove her choice not to give up paid off.

Of course there are times that trying something different is the wise choice  and that may be mean letting go of a dream.  It is said that if we let go of something and it comes back to us then it is meant to be ours and if it doesn't come back then it was not meant to be.  The hard part sometimes is making the choice to let go and recognizing when our choice to let go is, in fact, opting out.

As our thoughts control our feelings our mind controls our brain. It is our choice to take an action, permit a thought and thus a feeling to inform what and how we manage our lives.  We have control over our actions despite circumstances and natural events.  Sometimes bad things happen and sometimes good things happen - it is how we choose to respond to them that can and does make the difference.

Today I chose to tuck into a huge slice of a yummy sponge cake that I made at the weekend.  It is not wheat and gluten free and I ate it intentionally knowing that physically I may not feel so good later and accepting that.  The cake - a Victoria Sandwich is a positive taste from my childhood and I wanted to experience a metaphorical hug fom the taste.  It was worth it!

Step 70 - Exercise

Consider times when your actions are led by a feeling.  Perhaps when you feel less than positive about your life or circumstances.  What is the thought behind the feeling and what is the message behind the thought.  Engaging in this exercise will help you to recognize how to overcome negative messages that influence thoughts and that in turn give rise to negative feelings about yourself and your circumstances.   Understanding this and when and why this happens will empower you in your journey towards your inner Fiji.


Embarking on the on-line art therapy pilot - for more information go to

Completing a personal inventory of thoughts based on historical message and feelings that ensued
Writing and achieving level IV commentator status at hub pages.  If you want to write for hub pages click here  and sign up.

Wearing a pair of trousers (pants) that were one size too small last year and zipping them up with room to spare!  Yay:-)


Flow between work, family and personal goals
Exercise - making a choice to get back to it and not doing it.  Uggghhhh!!!!!

Namas Day

Step 69 - "It's impossible" said Pride, "It's risky" said Experience, "It's pointless" said Reason.  "Give it a try", said the Heart. Anonymous

About ten years ago my friend and professional colleague Janet Christie and I discussed starting up a non-profit society to help mothers and their children for whom addiction and mental health was a day to day reality.  Ten years before that I had started a not for profit in the UK called ACT (Arts Counselling Trust).  ACT was successful and like many non profits stumbled from funding application to funding application.  We received positive recognition through research by the University of Loughborough for our work setting up art and drama therapy programmes in prisons and young offender units.  ACT had an amazing board and the vision of opening a residential post-prison arts based therapy centre almost became a reality.  Policies changed, funding dried up my energy and drive was spent and thus the work stopped.

When I came to Canada I said," never never again will I start a non profit society" .  Well as "they" say, never say never and three years ago Janet and I began the process of establishing and registering The Addiction Recovery Coach of Canada Society.  The Society held it's first AGM yesterday and we are on our way to establishing on-line and community based initiatives to assist familes, mothers and their children who are leading complex lives through mental health and addiction.

In order to inform and develop best practice for on-line services we are offering an 8 week pilot program to 30 participants to experience on-line art therapy.  Registration for the pilot is now open.  If you are interested in participating in this pilot and think it may help you as part of this journey please contact me at .  A description of the project can also be found at

Honestly if I had listened to pride, experience and reason I probably would not be doing this but it is my passion.  Seeing women and their children's lives changed because they have supports and can access services which make a difference is so rewarding, I am glad I didn't listen:-)

Step 69 Exercise.  Consider taking part in the pilot programme or consider what barriers there may be that prevent you from engaging in something you care passionately about.  This does not have to be related to helping others - maybe it's writing a novel, running, loosing weight or making a trip to a long dreamed of destination.    What is the message that has or is creating the barrier?  What does your heart say? Make a collage about this.


Writing daily
A beautiful weekend with a balance of rest and busyness
Opening my mind to new horizons
Spending time with my family
Baking up a storm for the AGM including wheat and gluten free orange cupcakes


Concerns about financing my trip to the UK this summer
Making time for researchand practicalities to support my ideas
Thinking and then acting

Namas Day

Step 68 - Tenacity and Acceptance  "No, you can't always get what you want / No, you can't always get what you want / But if you try sometime, you just might find / You get what you need"  Jagger/Richards 1969.

I woke up with the words and music from the Rolling Stones 1969 hit in my head this morning.  Not my favourite band but this song I really like and the words are particularly apt for me today.  Who knew when I was shaking my 12 year old self to the music in 1969 they would, 30 years later, become an inspiration to accept that trying and trying the same thing that is not working means accepting what I want and what I need are two different things.

Sounds simple when I write it out - of course what we want and what we need are not the always the same, but sometimes we don't know what it is we need and keep going after what we want.  That tends to lead to frustration, negativity and away from inner contentment, peace and happiness.

I have long struggled with an inner conflict that flips between my security is in the home I own to own nothing, owe nothing.  As a single mum providing a safe and secure home (in my mind owning that home) has been essential.  However, my journey owning real estate has been based on very unrealistic financial stability and the struggle to keep it all going has been terrifying sometimes.  I have spent way too many hours figuring out how to" rob peter to pay paul" just to stay afloat on a month to month basis. Those hours were unproductive and did not bring me closer to security or anything like happiness. 

Accepting that what I need is a safe place to live, not a safe place to own has been a sobering lesson. Truth to tell I struggle with self talk around failing to provide for my family.  Those are historical messages that have no value and no place in the actual and amazing security I provide for my family.  The fact that I now can put into practise sound financial plans to create my "want" at a later stage is also freeing.

Letting those historical messages go has created time opportunities for me to put into more creative and practical endeavours which are more inwardly and outwardly satisfying.

The worlds message, the family message, the message from a school principle or some other person in authority is oftentimes the message that we listen to that informs us about what we want.  But like the snake oil salesman, it can deceive.  The message takes us to what we think we want and away from what it is we need.  That is what will fulfill us and make us happy.

There are many anecdotal stories from men and women who have led successful lives only to find that actual joy and fulfullment comes after a crisis or life changing experience.  New horizons open up, creative, social justice and humanitarian ventures replace and replenish their earlier stated wants and beliefs.

Exercise 68

Reflect on any messages that you are still listening to that don't feel authentic to you.  Or, consider something that you keep trying to do that keeps not working out.  Why and what are those messages/activities important and are they based on need or want.  Can you think about them or try them differently - not harder. 

Write out the message or activity and what the opposite message or action is.  Consider how it would feel to do it or think about it differently.  Make a list of the positives for both and choose if it falls into want or need.  Write out what steps or adjustments you choose to take.


Creating a realistic budget and savings plan
Supporting a friend through a recent loss
Continuing to feel healthy and eating wheat and gluten free
Not becoming obsessed with weight loss being stalled
Writing and seeing small increments of income through hub pages - click here for more informatin about writing for hub pages


Working through the process of acceptance
Creating too many projects and deciding which ones to let go of
Not enough physical exercise - hence the weight loss stall!

Namas Day

Step 67 - Its all in the timing.  "Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking
of yourself as a success.
" - Dr. Joyce Brothers

Sometimes we have to acknowledge that the timing of events and occurences in our life simply do not gel with what how where and when we thought those things should occur.   

Failed financial applications, job loss or lack of funds to re-train for professional opporunities can really put a damper on our motivation and attract thoughts and feelings of failure. 

It is a common fact that we can have a great day but the one negative comment or happening lingers longer and can become the only memory, obliviating all the success and happier events.  That is one of the reasons I include keeping a record of successes and challenges here. 

Hopefully by now, you are finding it easier to record successes as we journey on and the challenges are more challenging to recall and record.  Or that the challenges are cancelled out by the success of how you managed them.

Today, for me, could definitely have spiralled downwards so I took a page from my own book and began to look at the problem differently.  In perspective I could see and take ownership of the fact that I had set this particular ball rolling and in retrospect made a very poor decision, based in feeling.  Never a good way to go:-)  However spending the day worrying and beating myself up mentally about that would not change the outcome.  I am where I am today and this is where I am meant to be. 

Of course, that can sound really trite especially when we look at situations around the world where people, through absolutely no fault of their own, are caught up in the most horrific situations.  I am talking about personal responsibility.  The responsibility that each of us has to create the best out of every situation and to look forwards.

Sometimes however we can't simply "think" our way our of the doggedness, sadness, frustration, anger. We need help, either outside ourselves or by participating in exercises and techniques that we know within ourselves to be helpful.

I have created three exercises using art therapy which are simple to do and can be used over and over in different situations. 

Exercises for step 67 go to:


Making myself write
Re-thinking current events and not burying my head in the sand
Taking care of myself and taking a day at home


Fighting a cold and not wanting to admit I am sick
Hearing the "bad news" and wanting to bury my head in the sand

Namas Day
Step 66 - Action.  "Watching the sea will not help you cross the ocean, staring at the clouds will not fly you to your destination, thinking about what you want to accomplish will not achieve accomplishment - but take action and wow baby - you're gonna get there!" Liza Miles

If you are, like me a self starter you probably have lots of projects big and small on the go.  Chances are some of them are complete but a good many aren't.  If you are not a self starter you will have a billion really good ideas on the go, some of them may even be started but none or very few will be completed.  It doesn't really matter if we are naturally self starters or not, the outcome is the same if we do not take action then we will not achieve and accomplish our dreams and goals.

I have started and re-started a children's story so many times. If I had continued writing and gotten to the end of the story, that is still in my head, the manuscript would have been edited and ready to publish by now.  I have wasted so much time thinking about what it will be like when the book is published I didn't make the time to take action and write the darn thing.  Daydreaming the future is not the same as achieving the future.

One of my beefs about the book and film The Secret - - is the fact that its premise on the Law of Attraction (and I'm not against the principle of the Law of Attraction) suggests that if we want something badly enough and think that it is ours then it will be.  The problem is that action is not part of the recipe and thus sets people who do not understand the basis of the underlying message up for failure.  I want, I think, therefore I am, without action, simply does not work out.

Whether our goals are small or large, they will not be achiveved without taking action. What stops us from taking the action and understanding the whys and wherefores of that is part of the solution to an ongoing problem.  Once we understand the blocks and barriers we can deal with them and take appropriate action - our inner motivator becomes alive.

If you are looking for help with taking action and working towards completing your goals please contact me to register for the up coming six week  motivational journey on line course I am offering, commencing May 1st. .  The cost for the six-part program is $175.00 and will include speakers, experiential exercices, on line discussions and webinar coaching sessions. 

Exercise - Step 66

Goals review.  Looking back at the earlier goals you created make a graph or flow chart depicting how much closer, if at all, you are to accomplishing those goals or some of them.  If you haven't made a start please register for the on-line motivational workshop.  If you have made a start but are stuck, please register for the on-line motivational workshop.  If you are seeing progress and are happy with the progress please share your experiences and examples with readers.  This is not a punitive exercise - it is a reality check - I am doing it too. 

Now to record your successes and challenges......


Creating an on-line motivational workshop series I am proud to share
Creating a potential funding formula for to empower women struggling with addiction and mental health issues
Cooking a wonderful Easter lunch and sharing the day with friends and family
Writing, writing and more writing!


Missing my mum who is in the UK and hearing how her illness is making her life more difficult

Namas Day

Step 65 Transformation - "A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more."- Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Before I became a mum and over a period of several years I was part of a church choir.  Easter Friday - Good Friday - morning was spent participating in a three hour service reflecting on the stations of the cross and the crucifiction of Christ. It held a deep and important connection for me to God.

Today, as I walked around Ritchets Bog Nature Sanctuary with my children enjoying the natural beauty, I felt as close to worship as I used to inside the church.  The transformation of my understanding and relationship to God does not depend on attending church and I feel more connected to the community at large and the beauty of the world overall.

The transformation that people from all religions experience when participating in holy and religious services, the transformation we experience when we fall in love, the transformation we experience when we become parents, and the transformation when a fatality or crisis happens may not, at first glance appear to have common ground.  But, like the crucufiction of Christ and the Passover - disimliar stories from different stages in history, the vision is the same -transformation.

Oftentimes a crisis can become the catalyst for intrapersonal transformation - para-olympians are living testonomy of triumph against all odds.  Terry Fox lives on in the lives of those who continue the work he started through his corageous walk to raise money for cancer research. His act of courage and committment transformed fundraising and awareness of cancer across communtiies.

In her work Karen Armstrong is championing the act of compassion for change in the world.  Her work is growing throughout different cultures, religious groups and countries.  Her passionate and learned understanding of what brings us together within ourselves and as a community offers hope and the opportunity for transformation - from fear and judgement of others to understanding and empathy.  We may not like individuals but the call to understand them transforms our relationship and brings potential for peace.

Exercise 65

Read or reflect on the story of Easter and or the story of Passover  .  Consider what these stories teach us as a parable - you don't have to believe or follow a religion to do this.  Think of a time in your own life when transformation happened - when you changed direction and started to live and connect differently.  Whether this was positive or not so much write down what you learned and how you understood the situation.  How can you, or do you already, use the story of that experience to help others.

Record your successes and challenges.....


Achieving 50 hubs on The Hub Pages
Taking a potentially bad situation and turning it around by asking for help and thinking about it differently
Surviving the "teen sleepover" my daughters had last night - more like "up all night"!


Creating income for our travel plans this summer
Managing work/social/writing time balance
Writers block!

Namas Day

Step 64 - "Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them, And they flew..." - Guillaume Apollinaire

Yesterday, Fiji the place was hit by a cyclone.  Locals and tourists have been affected and there may be ongoing health problems due to damage to the water supply.

Fortunately cyclone Daphne passed through and Fiji was spared overwhelming and devastating carnage.  Certainly there was damage and people got hurt but it could have been a lot worse. For more news go to  

Metaphorically, the storm reminded me of how plans that we make in good faith, can go awry due to circumstances beyond our control.  Job loss, an unexpected health issue, bereavement or relationship break up can throw us off course and , even if the circumstances are somewhat anticipated, result in a period of  unpredicatble feelings and responses. 

For some people those feelings and responses start to take over their life and "the peanut gallery" is formed - constantly whispering negative and "what if" warnings that erode  creativity, capacity and joy.   I was working with a young teen today for whom reality is an ongoing sense of not being good enough.  Messages from her mum, sister and other family were robbing her of her own voice, of the person she really is and the potential she can be.

Sometimes, in my work, it is necessary to take others to the edge and encourage them to fly solo.  Resources, cheerleading and trust become the parachute but ultuimately they are responsible for the decision to step off the edge and fly.  Some do and others do not.  For the latter category they usually remain stuck in the same cycle and circumstances do not improve.  If they step off and a cyclone comes along it is still, in my opinion, better than not stepping off at all.

I have experienced my own life cyclone's - some I have created and others because a butterfly flapped it's wings in Mexico.  It doesn't matter, the hard part is still believeing that, despite the devastation - serious or minor, I am where I am meant to be at that time.

Exercise - step 64

Write on a sheet of paper "thank you" as many times as you can, covering the whole sheet.
On a separate sheet write about an event that happened that knocked you off course for a while and then consider what you learned by having that experience and what about that experience you are thankful for (not necessarily the experience - what has happened afterwards for you).  Write about that ending with the words, thank you for this gift.  Put the writings into an envelope and ask a friend to mail it to you sometime in the next month.


Feeling and remaining optimistic about finances for our UK trip
Being pro-active about making the UK trip happen


Work/life balance - work is very busy right now
Laughter - I would like more in my life
Balancing the books:-)

Namas Day!