It’s Sunday afternoon and I am sitting watching the snow fall outside my living room window.  It is so gorgeous and also a reminder that we are actually in Winter.  I often wonder what we have done to mother earth to have changed our seasons so drastically it seems. In the local paper today, there was an article about the Blizzard of 77. I remember this blizzard as I was living in Niagara Falls, one of the hardest hit areas and we were snowed in beyond belief.  I recall that my dad was in Montreal for a business trip and drove slowly and carefully home, passing many accidents along the way because he wanted to make sure his family was safe and to be home with us.  We were never so glad to see someone walk through the front door. It was a miracle as the radio was reporting that the roads were closed – but my dad found a way somehow. He was that kinda guy.

And here we are with what feels like maybe our 3rd or 4th snowfall of the season and we are already moving into February in a few days. ‘ Times they are a changing…’

It has been about 5 months since I have posted-I always hope to do so sooner but it seems  like life has had other plans for me.  In my last post I talked about making the decision to move fully into my private practice.  I knew intuitively that this was the right decision and this has only been confirmed with all the new opportunities that have arisen for me.  Someone told me I was good at manifesting what I desire in life. I get what they mean.  If I get my fear and ego-driven desires out of the way (a feat in itself), I find I get a call or an email with the most phenomenal request and opportunity. I think it is kind of like this – I just finished re-reading  The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho and in the book the young boy, Santiago, learns about discovering and living your personal legend – that which you were born to do, the gift you were given to offer to the world. Santiago discovers, that if he follows his legend,  the universe will conspire to help him.  This is kinda what it has felt like to me especially since I took my leave in September 2010 and then  made my decision to change my path in September of last year. It feels like the universe is conspiring to help me by presenting numerous opportunities to me that are in tune with what I want to do in my life and I am so grateful…..

In the Fall of 2011 I took a trip my dream trip to Italy.

eating the yummiest gelato in Siena: feeding my body, mind and spirit!

The Pantheon blew my mind: who built this thing and what gatherings took place here?

I met relatives I never knew I had, I saw the home where my ancestors lived and the church where my grandparents married and my dad was christened.  The weather was gorgeous, the food phenomenal, the sights unbelievable and the experiences unforgettable. It could not have been any better…(although I could have maybe done without the harrowing, heart stopping, ride down the side of the mountain on a dirt road in a brand new rented Mercedes that had been hit the day before….but that is another story…that we thankfully survived to tell..)

I returned to a full plate of work –  new clients wanting to move toward wholeness in their lives; continued workshops with health care professionals trying to find a balance between giving to others and honouring themselves; a trip to Ottawa to present on compassion fatigue and life/work balance at a conference celebrating the 100th anniversary of  Andrew Fleck Child Care Services (these people really know how to throw a party!);  new workshops with those working in child welfare and probation and parole; on-going meditation teaching alongside my teacher and colleague and dear friend Dekyi Lee Oldershaw; and finally, fulfilling a 6 year dream of offering a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course geared towards healthcare professionals with a new, dear colleague Anna Taneburgo of Whole Healing.  What more could I ask for and it all feels just right…

I also sit on two committees that are interested in bring mindfulness and mindfulness into healthcare and clinical practice.  Research has shown that practicing mindfulness techniques  actually helps decrease compassion fatigue in care – givers and I am all about looking after those who are taking care of me and those around me!

McMaster University, Faculty of Health Sciences Program for Faculty Development is offering their second series on Mindfulness Meditation: Interprofessional Certificate Program.  This is also geared toward those working in health care. I have been part of the group that brought Michele Chaban, Marco Mascarin and Rob McFadden here from Toronto.  This is my second go through and I continue to learn and be inspired and be given the opportunity to deepen my own practice. Blessed with more phenomenal teachers – I am so lucky…

There is a newly developed Hamilton Mindfulness Steering Committee looking at how to support these practices in our community.  Local community members are looking at ways to connect us in our desire to live and practice mindfully.

Cool stuff…exciting movement toward bringing compassion, reflective practice and relationship into care-giving.  I love it and am soooooooooooooooooooo blessed to be right in the thick of it!

And so I will continue to ‘lean into’ all of this: deepen my own practice; work toward my own self awareness, self-care, and mind/body/spirit health so that I can sit with myself and with others on our journeys whatever arises…