New Beginnings

Again, it has been a long time since I wrote a blog post. Now it is 2019!

It is my retirement year from family medicine! By the end of 2019 I hope to have completed the writing of my next book You Are Already Whole : A Daybook of Rediscovery. I am convinced that at the core of every human being there is a beautiful essence/an ‘ Original Self’. I am hoping to help each of us reconnect with that whole essence by offering a little book of 30 meditations, with an expressive arts invitation or visualization to accompany each one.

I also look forward to offering more personal growth type workshops, and more Nia classes.

It’s an exciting time of life, as I transition from identifying primarily as a family physician, to identifying as an author, an artist, and a personal growth facilitator.

I am so thankful I have been able to serve as a physician for 40 years and I look forward to hosting my Meds 79 class reunion at Queen’s in October 2019.

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Thank you Sheri!

Sheri is visiting this weekend and she  has helped me update my website. We have used a new template which reflects the autumn season of life I am in.

As well, I was hoping to start writing blogposts I can share more widely and so we have now created a subscription list on the website.

It is exciting to be entering a new phase of life, the beginnings of writing a new book, and celebrating that by using a new website template.

And it's finally spring!


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It's time to write again!!

I had thought my next book would be Clarity Therapy, the book I know I want to write some day about my philosophy of coaching, complete with a 'magic toolkit' of tools and techniques I have found really help, sometimes even transform, people.

I also wanted to write a storybook to pass down to my daughters called My Shelter and My Song, a book of experiences I have had where it was clear God loves me, God loves us all, and how He/She loves to intervene in our lives, in dramatic ways, to demonstrate that strong, loyal and effective love.

But instead, I am finding myself writing a book called, provisionally, We are Already Whole. I am convinced that at our core, each of us has an Original Self, an untouchable place of beauty and wholeness, that cannot be damaged by anything that life throws at us. I have found that this concept of the Original Self has been lost and I want to remind us of it. I am writing it as a book of short reflections, a daybook for 30 days. I am hoping to include a few tools that I will also put into Clarity Therapy, tools which connect us to our core, a quiet untouchable place of beauty and truth within. I have found that walking a labyrinth, making a mandala, and proprioceptive writing are shortcuts back to our center. I am excited about writing this little book and I feel it will take less than the usual 2 years to put it together. Sheri is coming to visit next week and I am excited to begin to talk with her about it!

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A Soul Disentangled.

This month, I have been taking a course on Personal Myth with Sarah Ban Breathnach. Last week she shared with us a quote written by WB Yeats. I have been captivated by it!

"There is for every man and woman some one scene, some one adventure, some one picture that is the image of our secret life, for wisdom first speaks in images and this one image, if we would brood over it our whole life long, would lead our souls disentangled from unmeaning circumstances into that far household where the undying gods await all whose souls have become as simple as flames."

In our course, Sarah is encouraging us to find that one image. It has been a wonderful quest to look at images of women throughout time and space and produce a book of the images that really speak to me. We are being asked to winnow our images down to the one that speaks to us the most. For now, for me, that image is a painting by Haynes King, done in 1872, called The Letter. A woman is sitting at a writing desk focused, serene and beautiful, fully engaged in her task. Light is coming in her window into an inviting room. I love this image and could look at it for a long time!

Being so captivated by this image, it seems to me that the time must be coming close to start writing my next book. I am waiting for the 'daemon of creativity', as Elizabeth Gilbert refers to it, to begin to move  through me! I am thinking it will soon! Woo hoo!!


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The studio closing

Again it has been a long time since I have visited my website and written a blog post. Life has been busy! But something big has happened. June 30, 2017 was the last day of the 10 year lease of my studio. I decided not to renew the lease, so I have been in the process of winding down my time there. June 3 we had a beautiful ritual of closing for the studio. Many dear friends of the studio gathered and we drummed together, made a collage, danced and shared memories of our times together there. Then began the process of sorting through all the stuff that had accumulated, deciding where furniture would go, and what to do with all the really large paintings I had made especially early on in my time in the studio. Meni joined me on June 30 to share my final hour in the studio before it was time to lock the door for the last time, and head into the next phase of my life. I feel very grateful for the opportunity to create a beautiful space where core values of Connection, Creativity, Challenge, Learning and Growth, and Movement could be honoured.

I am pleased to say that I have been able to create a new studio space called 70 Clementi Expressive Arts Studio. It is smaller, cozier, more intimate space, but large enough to host a small drumming circle or workshop. I can make my own art here. I can write my next books here. It is going to be lovely to create here with new core values guiding me, the values of Mercy and Kindness, Comfort and Joy. I am transitioning from adulthood to elderhood in my own life. I am making the transition archetypally from Mother to Sovereign. It is time to slow down somewhat, while still doing meaningful work in the world. Dear 370 Expressive Arts Studio, I will miss you and I will evermore be grateful for all you gave to me and to others. I am excited, 70 Clementi Expressive Arts Studio, for all you will mean to me too. Let this new phase be characterized by Comfort and Joy, for me and for all who will join me here. Amen and Hallelujah!

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Running With the Stars

A New Year has begun! Where will we focus our attention this year? I read a lovely quote this morning and I am looking forward to making a painting to illustrate it:

"Dwell on the beauty of the life. Watch the stars and see yourself running with them."

Marcus Aurelius


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Glad Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Lately, I have been enjoying a book by Christine Valters Paintner called Illuminating the Way. It is a study of 12 of the archetypes illustrated by monks or mystics who embodied them. I was stopped in my tracks by the archetype of Sovereign. Christine says that in olden days when women did not live long, women lived three archetypes: the Maiden, the Mother and then the Crone. Nowadays we are invited to step into another archetype between the Mother and the Crone. She is the Queen. Oh my goodness!! I decided I needed to take a day off just to concentrate on this archetype, mining it for what it can offer me for this time of my life, as I am about to turn 62. It has been a beautiful morning reading the information about the Sovereign type, doing the suggested meditation and colouring a mandala to deepen it all for me.

When we step into our Queen we come into contact with the parts of us which are calm, strong, centered, stable, powerful, joyful, and full of grace. We can contact the deepest thing we feel called toward and we can know deep within ourselves that we will find a way to live it out it the world.

I want to say that the deepest thing I feel called toward this day is to be a bearer of glad tidings of comfort and joy. Through my books, through my dance classes, through the workshops and coaching I offer, I know I am to be a source of comfort and joy. Now that I know this deeply, may it be so in 2017 and beyond!

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The necessity of acting on creativity

I recently finished reading Liz Gilbert's book "Big Magic". She made so many powerful points about creativity that seemed so very accurate. On pg 171-172 she says, " Possessing a creative mind, after all, is something like having a border collie for a pet: It needs work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble. Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents (eating the couch, digging a hole through the living room floor, biting the mailman, etc.). It has taken me years to learn this, but it does seem to be the case that if I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something ( myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind.)"

WOW! She speaks the truth, at least from my perspective. I have been ill at ease, and pacing inside my own head for a couple of months now. I knew something was off, but couldn't put my finger on it. When I read Liz's words, suddenly I knew: I am a writer who hasn't been writing for 9 months or so, and it is now time to give myself to my next writing project. The first step is writing about it here, and now I must go and begin to work with the beginnings of the book manuscript I already have. I looked it over yesterday, and Yes! It is a book! I have the title, the dedication and a beginning made on the Table of Contents. It is time to let the book have its way with me. It is as if it has been quietly sitting there these past 9 months, waiting for me to come back to it. I know that it is a book that only I can write as I am the only one as far as I know who has the unique mixture of experience that a family physician/ life coach/expressive arts practitioner could bring to writing about this topic. So here goes! "Clarity Therapy" is about to enter her own period of gestation, whether that be 9 months or 18 months. I am going to aim for a launch date of October 2017. It is good for me to have a goal like this to work towards. Let the games begin! Woo hoo!!


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Oh Summertime!

Don't you love the lazy, hazy days of summer when you can swim, eat fresh fruit and barbequed food, and go late at night for ice cream cones? Yum, yum, yum!

For me, it is also a time to look on for what the new releases of fall are going to be. Today I pre-ordered the new Jeffrey Archer, Felix Francis, James Runcie, Charles Finch, Charles Todd, Jacqueline Winspear, Jack Higgins books. From October to December I will receiving some wonderful packages from UPS!

Although I love summer, I must admit that I am also looking forward with excitement to a fall season of reading. Yahoo!

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Happy Spring!

Hasn't it been a glorious week? It has been such a relief not to have to contend with winter weather! With the return of warmer, longer days, I can feel the urge to hibernate lifting and in its place,creative urges returning. Since transitioning to family practice in Kinmount, Ontario, I have been mulling over my work of the past 13 years, which was mostly life coaching + expressive arts + supportive psychotherapy. I have been thinking about what I learned from this work about what it takes to heal people. I asked an esteemed art therapy teacher, "How do the expressive arts heal?" Without a moment's hesitation he said, "The expressive arts heal by allowing the patient to externalise, transform, and then re-integrate their inner experiences." This really rang true for me as|I have seen this process occur over and over again in people I have served. I am beginning to feel the stirrings of a new book wanting to be conceived within me! I do have an idea for the title already. It would be Clarity Therapy: The Magic Toolkit, or something like that. I love the very beginnings of writing a new book. It feels like spring within my soul. I pray that something is happening deep within you that feels like spring also!

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