Thursday, 26 May 2011

Hit a new milestone; SHAME rears its head

20 kg loss.  OK, it has taken nearly a year but today I have hit this important milestone.  LOST 20 KG!!  And finally it does seem easier to carry my weary body around.

So I am half way to my goal weight - which I will not divulge since I still feel a lot of shame, somehow, about how very heavy I had been.

In many ways, the weight I have carried has been the weight of shame.  I want to think about this some more and speak to it soon.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

First "Courage to Lead" session

"How do you experience the dynamics of care?"  Well, right now I'm in this kind of prolonged hiatus where I have put aside responsibility for the care of others and taken some responsibility instead for my own care.  But generally, I think of care as an exchange, in a 'pay it forward' sort of dynamic, where the care I receive and the care I give both energize and exhaust me, and where I am in the flow, like in the flow of the tides, where the giving creates a small void into which the bounty of the Universe can flow.  Care for me is like breathing; it's what I do, and what I must at times resist doing to make space for the breath.  So that even when, within this emptiness I have embraced, the opportunity to give care in a way that matters comes my way, I experience it as the joy of being alive.

"Which kinds of care do you find difficult?  Or tend to shy away from?"  "which do you find relatively easy?"

Of the kinds of care listed by Stanfield:

  • Care for our work
  • Structural care
  • Rituals of care
  • Symbolic care
  • Care in human encounters
I have some ambivalence around several of these.  

Care for our work Stanfield speaks of as a kind of integrity in the activity we undertake to earn a living; I've kind of abdicated that for the time being.  Not integrity, but working to earn.  Right now I work for joy and for joy alone.  If I learn something, it's for the joy of learning it, and if I create something, it's for the joy of creating it.  But this is very different from how I have lived most of my life, where I was so attached to duty that no matter what honest, straightforward and difficult thing I was doing, I always thought I should be doing something else.  Right now I am trying to get out of doing, and instead pay more attention to being.  

Structural care is a tough one to answer, because honestly, I am really flowy - so unorganized and basically undisciplined and rather messy.  You can think of structural care as having aspects which could lay on a scale from attention to detail all the way up to big picture systemics.  And I really rock at the systems, but I can also spend hours organizing the tiny little beads in their cases; however, my house is a mess and I do nothing by routine.  I am a mystery even to myself.  Last month I bought packages of mixed beads, and sorted them all out into their own tiny boxes.  It's pathological.  But at the same time I think the rituals of organizing the tiniest detailed things are helping to pull the tangled treads in my brain back into a semblance of order.

Rituals of care I can really relate to and have spent my life creating and observing these with others.

Symbolic care - advance thinking to prepare spaces and situations for excellent outcomes and experiences.  I rock at that, but still sometimes find myself scrambling just before the beginning.  

Care in human encounters is at the heart of my vision of myself.  It is the breath of life.  

"What are the different ways you see people relating to their cares?"

In my family and in myself I see a lot of avoidance, punctuated by short bursts of intense focus and care.  In my husband I see joy in care, though it seems he is quite compulsive about doing always more.  I have known people who live by duty to the point that they have no idea what they themselves desire; my mother in law is one.  

"When do your cares make you angry or make you rebel against having so many of them?"  Pretty much anytime I am not immersed in something that brings joy.  Well, to be fare, it's just that I suck at the structural care, at everything that falls in between the tiny organized trays of details and the big picture.  The duties and the needs-to-be-done are so overwhelming that even on days when I commit to making a hole in it, I don't know where to start, so I end up sorting stuff no-one will ever know about.  I'm kind of in a prolonged rebellion, since all the care in the world, that I lavished in the workplace, did not bring success, and I am afraid if I enter that fray again I will be inviting a repeat of the unpleasant and hurtful scenarios I seemed to cycle through for several years.

"What do you do when you want to escape from your cares?"  As above, I sort things.  Or glue myself to wasteful screen time.

"What difference does it make whether or not you care in certain situations?"  'Anything worth doing is worth doing right.' is one answer to that.  I really can't be bothered doing a half-ass job of anything.

"In what areas of your life do you need to show more care?"  Care for my surroundings and my home.

"Name 10 specific acts of care (beyond the usual) that you need to do in the next week."  1.  Order dresses for the wedding.  2.  Order the square boxes Em asked for and design decorations for them  3.  Make up, print, and mail the wedding invitations  4.  Dye my hair  5.  Brush my dogs' hair behind the ears to get the matts out.  6.  Scrub the bathrooms upstairs.  7.  Take myself to the doctor for a different prescription.  8.  Organize for shots for David and me.  9.  Pay the bills.  10.  Kill the ants in the back yard.

"How, in future, are you going to make sure you take care of yourself, that you may continue to care for others?"  Just as I am now.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


Here is a wellness product I can recommend from personal experience.  I had been losing weight, rapidly at first, and then hit a plateau at -30 lbs that I just could not break through.

My friend Holly had learned of a condition called "estrogen dominance" from our shared Naturopathic doctor, Amanda Gammage; and the health food store folks recommended this product to her.  When I read about estrogen dominance ("a condition in which healthful estrogens are pushed out of the way by unhealthful estrogens") and about the product, Ultimate Her Energy, I wondered what it might do for me.  Sure enough, as soon as  I began using it, the plateau I'd hit dissolved and the weight loss resumed, even through a blowout weekend for a friend's wedding!

It doesn't surprise me that I should be affected by estrogen dominance, as I have had a very "well estrogenized" body all my life.  This has caused my ligaments to be very stretchy; I have an amazing range of motion.  When I do Tai Chi stretching, often I need to modify to get enough stretch within my strength limits! I also have a fairly youthful appearance for my 52 years, and have been told I can thank estrogen (although I prefer to thank Lancome!)

Anyway, I do recommend the product if estrogen dominance is an issue for you.

If you are unsure whether your symptoms alone are enough to convince you that estrogen dominance is at play, your naturopath can order some testing.

A list of symptoms of estrogen dominance can be found at: .  They include abdominal weight gain, pms, fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, foggy thinking, allergic symptoms, and autoimmune disorders, for just a start to the list.  I must admit, pretty much anyone with any symptom might conclude estrogen dominance is at play, reading Dr Lee's list.  

Anyway, it has worked for me!

Monday, 23 May 2011

The Empathic Society

Listening to Jeremy Rifkin on Youtube, thanks to a link from Troy Baskott via Armin Jezari; I’ve heard it before, but with my focus re-riveted on thoughts of developing workshops to help communities and groups and individuals with change, creativity, becoming learning organizations and so on, this clip will be really useful.

I’ve placed the link to purchase the book The Empathic Civilization: The Race To Global Consciousness In A World In Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin on my Kobo e-reading list. I am really enjoying e-reading these days and my kids are getting me a Kobo e-reader so I will be able to read outdoors as well as indoors; but unfortunately no-one has come up with a way to safely e-read in the bath.
Unfortunately there are no Jeremy Rifkin books available on Audible. I really love to listen to this kind of positive information while I am artmaking. This infuses the art in some way with a different kind of life, perhaps be activating a higher motive or something.
Recently I have been listening to Mario Martinez, The Mind-Body Code; How the Mind Wounds and Heals the Body. Martinez is in the elite group of psycho-neuro-immunologists, scientists from a range of disciplines who have rejected the lines between realms, between body – mind- spirit, and are seeking to find the ways our thinking becomes embodied, and how our bodies can be brought to our aid in changing our thinking. This work derives from and builds upon the massive work that has been done in cognitive therapy, where the ways the mind can be harnessed to change the reactions of the body have been explored. It goes beyond the limitations of cognitive behavioural therapies, however, by acknowledging the ways the thinking is not only expressed in bodily form, but also techniques for disembodyingthought patterns through meditation, massage and energy healing.

Flowing Chi Beginnings . . .

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while.
Lots of changes have been happening for me in the last year, since I started working hard on my health and personal development with the help of ND Amanda Gammage at Peace Clinic of Naturopathic Medicine (  Amanda suggested a nutritional approach to healing myself of fibromyalgia and arthritis, and I have followed it closely.  This has resulted in weight loss and more importantly, loss of pain.  Whereas a year ago, any standing or walking caused burning pain in my calves, I can now do the entire 24 form three times through!  I also walk frequently with my husband and my dogs.  Pain levels in my whole body are much lower, my thinking is not as foggy, and I am MUCH happier!
Also important in my road to health and well being has been twice weekly practice of Tai Chi Quan with Tammy Bilodeau, and amazing instructor who teaches the 24 form of Tai Chi as well as Qi Gong, Bagwa and sword and sabre forms of Tai Chi.   I also follow the work of Donna Eden and David Feinstein, PhD, who teach Energy Medicine and Energy Psychology.
Can’t forget the loving support of my dear husband, David, and my loving family, as well as the acceptance and affection I have received from close friends and other friends especially in the Fort St John Arts community.  Also, the completely constant love I receive from my two miniature long-haired dachshunds, Java Jive and Chai Latte, who bring adorable cuteness to every day!
So, today all is well and I hope to use these pages to a) chronicle my path to healing in order to support and inspire others; b) take notes as I learn to link the flow of chi more directly with my creative and healing practices and c) invite others to walk the path with me.