Monday, June 27, 2011

Mercy buckets and shameless plugs

 I usually try and write my post on Sundays, but this has been a particularly busy weekend with the actual opening of my store “Presence”.  It has been really well received by all who wander in and I have many people to thank… in no particular order (and if I miss you, I do apologize.)

To Sean and Al, my son and his Dad – I am so thrilled that we were able to pull this off in 23 days!  It was truly a labour of love and I really enjoyed working with the two of you.  (Well actually, Duncan was pretty much involved too in spiritu and that helped a lot! (

To Mark Ainley, my incredibly knowledgeable Feng Shui friend – your suggestions make so much sense and they work!  Thank you for your enthusiasm and willingness to lend a hand.  (

To Carole Henshall, who helped make my vision of the Rose Room come to life – it was so pleasant having you work here alongside me and “my boys”.  You did a beautiful job and I have had many compliments and requests for your info!  (

Connie Spiers, my friend and reliable business consultant has been a blessing.  From providing me with inventory, to sound business advice, to accompanying me on fabulous buying trips, to dragging me out to dinner when I’m too exhausted to cook, Connie has been beside me all along and I am lucky to have her!

And at zero hour, the girls of The Bay showed up to help… Nicola who has just opened her Horseshoe Bay Laser and Beauty Clinic, Kim Kavanagh from the Troller Pub, Michelle Cahén-Qureshi who has her own “Mimi’s Corner” inside Presence, and Mary Elliott, who will be busy designing/creating clothing in-store.  Thank you all.  What a great show of support!

Natasha Rosewood continues to play an integral part.  Thank you for arriving when you did and for liking the Rose Room!  Natasha will be coming over from the Sunshine Coast to do readings by appointment.  I am so excited about the possibilities that are unfolding! (

Tasha Simms, my friend and cheerleader.  You know how you have helped.  (

Woody Reid.  Thank you for the beautiful flowers.  And thank you for knowing exactly what to say, especially when I needed a lift in spirits.

Vicky Plover.  You’re great.  Like Woody, beautiful flowers and dropping in everyday to spur me on.  I’m glad you wanted me to stay in The Bay. I am looking forward to boosting the shopping trade in Horseshoe Bay with you!  (

Janice Savage… another friend who came by every single day to make sure I was doing okay… I appreciate your visits very much Janice.  And Janice will also be doing Thursday sessions in the Rose Room.  (

Sarah Taylor… I absolutely love my sign.  Just love it.  Hand painted and distressed.  (Sort of like me some days!!).  And I’m happy you will be having your jewellery in the store again.  (

And to my Wednesday night friends… there are so many of you who supported me in wondrous ways.  I know it would not have gone so smoothly had you all not had a hand in it somehow!

And I mustn’t forget Robbie, my electrician, and Kyle, my painter, who for some strange reason, were available exactly when I needed them!

Thank you all so very much.  May you all be repaid at least tenfold for what you have done for me. 

Love Buns

P.S.  Thanks to my sisters who I know are going to surprise me and come out here this summer to help me.  You can’t fool me!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sealed With A Kiss

Living in downtown Vancouver, mere blocks from the storm of post Stanley Cup violence I have been impacted. I watched with horror as mobs of youth hit the streets unleashing a rage that was an assault to witness let alone be swept up in.  I was worried. I knew my son had gathered with friends at a downtown hotel to watch the game and I didn’t know where he was.  His story, I later learned involved running from tear gas with his shirt over his head and thankfully he was able to duck into an alley. Those in the middle of the stampede were not as lucky. As St Paul’s Hospital set up outdoor areas to wash the victims clean of the noxious spray the rampage in the downtown corridor continued. Police cars burned, looters smashed windows and a crazed mayhem seemed almost other worldly. What city was this? What country were we in?

The next morning armed with brooms and trash bags the shards of glass and litter were swept away by city workers and citizens young and old.  They came from all walks of life united by a common desire to wipe away the stain of shame that had blanketed the city. 
The deafening response to the rioters was a call for retribution, punishment, revenge! They must pay!  The desire to find someone or something to blame was blatantly pervasive. It MUST be someone’s fault, the police, the media, hockey, testosterone, the suburbs, criminal gangs…oh heck… let’s throw in mothers who raised boys like that just cause they tend to be easy scapegoats.  If we don’t find the bad guy and make them pay we will never be safe!
Well, I am going to go against the grain.  Rather than look for blame I am looking for meaning. And when one looks for meaning, choice of perception is the critical element that must be brought to awareness. Honestly it is no different here than in intimate relationship. The same principles apply. Do I believe in accountability...absolutely.                                                                                                                            And those who broke the law should be held responsible for their actions. Yet we as a society, as a city, as individuals, miss the mark if we do not look deeply at the root of this eruption. Just as in personal relationship we miss the mark if we do not look deeply inside ourselves to explain the cause of any upset with another person. We miss our own expansion if we stop at attributing blame.

Most of the rioters were young males. Most were drinking and my theory is that the destruction sprang from an inner core of powerlessness and fear.  Look at bullies. Internally they are insecure and frightened and their need to avoid both that knowledge and the accompanying feelings of helplessness that it evokes often leads to brutal actions. What I saw in the crowd of yahoos was inner fear so painful and unthinkable that the drunken bravado of taking over the city streets gave some kind of respite from their internal pain.  Does this excuse their choices, not at all.  It does however invite some evolutionary thinking around how to best to heal this inner toxicity in our youth so that they can become whole, confident, loving and awake human beings who are a contributing force in our society.

‘To hell with that! Punish them,’ yell the masses.
 I say hold them accountable and TEACH them, work with them.

Imagine if along with every sentence for those found responsible for the destruction came a mandated support group where avoiding oneself was no longer an option.  A group, where waking up to their internal pain, the inner demons that prompted Wednesday’s outburst could actually result in growth and amends rather than retribution. Healthy shame would be encouraged for such inappropriate actions yet toxic shame which infiltrates the psyche and only breeds more reactivity would be released.
The difference is that with healthy shame you are saying, ‘what I did was wrong’ and you take action to make amends.  With toxic shame you say, ‘I AM WRONG ‘and you act it out again, needing the cover of blindness to avoid feeling the agony of this belief. 
I know this is not a popular opinion, especially when people feel victimized but one must ask how does healing occur.  And it is never with more vengeance or revenge or fear based reactivity wanting to lay blame.                                                                                                                                                                                     It starts with a soft heart and desire to understand. This is true in all relationships. If your perception is coming from a fear based reactive mind then that is what you will see. You will lay blame outside yourself and the intensity of that urge is in direct correlation to how much unresolved pain has been activated in you. Whenever we feel victim to someone else and their actions and lay blame as if they are doing something to you, we participating in a cycle of distorted thinking.  If we work on changing our own perceptual filter, softening our hearts and staying in charge of the only place we have any power…inside ourselves …then we become contributors to change and transformation. From that place we are called to gentle action that can ripple out and impact others in a positive way. Action must accompany thought yet deciding which thought one will be driven by is ultimately the difference between issueing an invitation to healing and union or discord and upset.

The morning following the riots as broken windows were boarded up and remnants of chaos still scarred the landscape, two police officers responded to a call. When they returned to their parked squad car it was plastered with sticky notes…notes of love and thanks for the bravery, courage and patience that the police demonstrated on Wednesday night. In many languages, with symbols and flowers, they were all an expression of inspired action.
After the game cars burned with pent up hate…today they are touched by words of gratitude and love.

The cruiser was carefully moved to the Cambie Police Station, sticky notes intact, where it now sits in front of the entrance, a white symbol of service and protection with tiny fragments of emotion fluttering about like wings of butterflies. People gently mill about touched by this essence of loving kindness. It is truly miraculous that we as a species are able to make such shifts in a heartbeat. It made me cry.
I was so inspired to add my voice to this spontaneous tribute of appreciation that I went inside the station to ask for supplies. The gal behind the counter was happy to share paper and tape, nothing officious about her as if a bond already existed between us even through the bullet proof partition.
I poured my emotions into the sticky and smoothed it onto the car.  People smiled in silent understanding. I was walking away my chest expanding with each satisfying breath. I felt good. I felt touched…and then that darned old impulse took hold.
I sprinted back and reapplied my lipstick with the help of my vintage compact. A 40’s pin up girl lounging on a chaise decorates its antique silver cover.  Alas, I wasn’t wearing red that day so the boys in blue got  Coral Blaze.

My heartfelt thanks…sealed with a kiss.

Authentically Yours

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Goethe and the empty-nester

Well I’ve finally done it.  I kicked myself out of my comfortable little nest.  I’m on my own – no more safety net, no more training wheels.  This is it.  My own two wings (or one wing and a prayer!).  There are times when I feel like I am plummeting hell bent towards the ground and then I straighten out and fly right, maybe even soar for a bit, then, in a stomach-twisting descent, head for certain demise – only to find that I actually can fly.  I just have to commit to it.

I speak of course of my decision to go out on my own, business-wise.  In the past, I always had partners or worked for someone as their chief cook and bottle washer … in short, I always had an out.  I wasn’t the buck stop.  I simply never believed I could do it without someone else being in the driver’s seat. 

I am also realizing it runs much deeper than that.  This week while I spent hours painting baseboards, I used each brushstroke as a meditative metronome to sit with this.  What I learned about myself is that I automatically assume that everyone else is superior to me (and therefore better than me).  It speaks to my deep inner picture that I am not enough.  I will go to great ends to not look stupid or incompetent.  And it gets me into trouble.  I find myself in conversational cul-de-sacs that I can’t get out of.

Well, I can’t do that any more.  I am the boss of me.  And I have to make some hard decisions.  And I am going to have to say no when I need to say no, no matter what it makes me look like.  Then I will be able to say YES! when it feels completely resonant to me.

One of my favourite quotes that I read often (especially these days) is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy – the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth – the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
What I have found since I committed to Presence, is that unforeseen incidents do indeed occur – some of them not so pretty, but all of them incredibly helpful – if I choose to experience them in that way.

Love Buns

P.S.  I loved your post about the apples Marty.  I can’t wait until we have a chance to talk about that some more. It really helped me with my ruminations this week.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

An Apple A Day

My friend sent me a new urban word. The word is netglow, which means when a person or thing looks better on -line than in person. To put it more succinctly, the sensitive, ripped hunk with oodles of self awareness in his profile turns out to be an intolerant elitist who hates his mother. Yes I know there is an old fashioned word that covers the same territory, that word is liar but you see the internet and this whole new style of dating has really given rise to self representation that almost assumes you will be showing yourself in the best possible light. Still, there is a difference between good lighting and total fiction. So how does one sift through this potential morass of deceit?

In a way I find it easier to navigate the net than in person. I believe the best of people so it has always been difficult for me to gaze into someone’s eyes and think they might not be telling me the truth. On –line you have the luxury of questions before the windows to the soul can spin your sensibility into melting abandon.  In fact being fearless in what you ask and what you disclose has become my guiding light. Certainly helps me go through the rolodex of choices much quicker and with far less drama.
I asked a much younger man professing interest in me why he was wired to be attracted to older women. He had been married for years to a woman 17 years his senior. I thought this was a question worth considering and would lead to an interesting dialogue. His response, that contrary to popular belief sometimes an apple is just an apple led me to close that door pretty quickly. It’s just not a match for me.   An apple is just an apple?   Are you kidding me?   There are McIntosh and Pink ladies, glistening red candy covered ones and soft caramel chewy ones with sprinkles. Tart Granny Smiths, juicy Fuji’s, apples worth bobbing for and others best left for applesauce.

It’s the same with a person. The varieties and perspectives of individuals cannot be left to cookie cutter consciousness, they demand exploration and sharing. Finding out who we are, who another is, is not just a conversation; it’s the very process of life, the blood and bones of one’s thoughts and feelings and therefore one’s actions. Understanding another person without agenda is exhilarating and always teaches you about who you are, especially when you notice where you contract or might lean toward judging them.   But a closed door…an answer like ‘sometimes and apple is just an apple leads nowhere.’ No light can enter to illuminate or stimulate or stretch and grow. And you all know how fond of those states I am. It’s part of my essence to go for depth and if questions are perceived as threatening or annoying or not important then it’s not a match. Asking questions is the very tool that opens one up to understanding, whether it’s another person or yourself.

Using internet dating as a means to know yourself deeply is exciting. It pushes you to risk revealing yourself in a way that both defines you and expresses you without the netglow. We all like the surface to appear bright and shiny but it is in the depths of ourselves, sometimes murky, always fruitful, that authenticity lives. And what is the point of it all if we are not being authentically ourselves? Even if someone showed up and said, wow you are the best, I want YOU, you could never accept it since you are not being real. You would know that what they are wanting is your netglow.

My advice for impactful internet dating…define yourself and what is at your core. Stand for it, express it and be bold in asking to be met there. How will you know if you are met or not? You’ll know. We always do if we stay true, risk vulnerability and really taste the experience. Take a big juicy bite and let all the flavors and layers touch you, right down to your core.  You will know.