Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

You’re never alone, friends.  Enjoy!



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You are here to be you.  Uniquely you.  Colourful you.  Joyful you.  Stay you and hug the ones who are uniquely shiny and walking alongside you.  The world needs your colour. (Click on the link below.  It’s a safe one.  😉 )




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What would it be?

I think mine would sound like this:

Have you found your soul-sound yet?  Share it with me?  Let me know you in the place beyond words.

All my love,


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heart doors open


My yoga teaching career began in the dusty corner of a church basement.  This was the same church I had gone to as a child and even though I had stormed away from the place at the ripe old age of 18, there was a certain comfort in coming back.  There was something special about offering the yogic path in a sacred space that was open to spiritual community, that was filled with the pungent scent of incense, and that, from time to time, offered the voice of the choir as background music.  There was an ease to those days when I would skip down the church stairs to the basement, bags of towels and blocks in hand, to clear the always-cluttered back corner and to make space for my students.  Eventually my series ended and my classes shifted to the professional space in my home.

Last June, I found myself back at the church to discuss the possibility of running another series in the basement.  I remember walking through the doors, rounding the corner to the hallway that led to the church offices and stopping dead in my tracks.  In 36 years of association with the place, I had never seen anything like what was facing me–WALLS.  Walls had been built around the offices, completely obscuring them from view, and the windowless door that led inward had a security keypad attached to it. There were no signs but the message was clear–KEEP OUT!  For the first time ever, I felt unwelcome in this place.

The meeting went well and it was decided that I would run another series come January, but a few things had changed.  I would no longer be able to simply arrive at any time and begin to set up.  The doors to the church basement were now permanently locked until 45 minutes before any session was to take place. More blockage…less flow.  All of this, the walls upstairs and the locked doors below were the results of parishioners not respecting the personal space of the priest upstairs, and community members thoroughly trashing the holding space downstairs that contained donations of food and furniture for those in need.  It makes sense, then, doesn’t it, to build walls and lock doors?

But does it?

Since we’re talking about a holy place here, I can’t help but think of the Christian, “What would Jesus do?”  Or Gandhi.  Or Mother Teresa.  Or Buddha.  Would these highly compassionate forward-thinkers put up walls and send out a  message to keep out?  I can’t help but think–NO.  Somewhere in my bones I get the sense that these great people would resist the urge to close down and would instead open themselves up further.  They would throw open the doors.  They would invite people IN to their homes.  They would wait in the space that has the goods-for-donation and open a discussion with those who had come to destroy.  I imagine them asking, “What’s going on for you right now?  How can I help you?”

That’s the hard stuff, isn’t it?  Staying open when we feel violated or betrayed.  Daring to allow for free movement and connection even when it makes us incredibly uncomfortable.  We humans don’t like that much.  Punt us out of our comfort zones or trounce on spots we take personally and we’re suddenly up in arms, defending “our” space, and rushing off to the hardware store to buy drywall and an alarm system.

When I told K. about the locked doors and newly built walls, and the reasons behind them, she asked, “Do you blame them?”  I was surprised by my answer:

I expect more from them.  I expect them to lead by example, to take the hard road and to remain open.  I expect them to demonstrate how to bridge the divide between people and, in that way, stand as true beacons of peace in this world.

But churches are, after all, places filled with humans with all of our foibles, and when walls are built against certain people, it speaks to me about the wounded hearts of those who lead these communities.  So maybe, then, it comes down to each individual, to you and me.  Maybe the task is for each and every one of us to take up the great challenge of staying soft and open even when we feel betrayed.  Maybe we need to learn to bridge the gap between ourselves and the ones with whom we quarrel.  I don’t think the end result is as important as the process, so maybe that gap will never be bridged but you, in making the attempt, have grown warrior-soft in the heart.  In that way, you help make this a better world.

I dream of the day when:


is replaced with:

you belong here


Can you imagine what that would do for this world?  I can, so I keep working to inch this crusty heart open.  Will you join me?

In love and daring,


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I’ve never really understood the whole New Year’s resolution thing.  Maybe it’s not the setting of resolve that baffles me, but the way in which we go about setting intentions for ourselves that has me confused.  As the year comes to a close I witness more and more people stepping onto their soap boxes and proclaiming a long list of things that they WILL accomplish in a year, so help them God.


– lose 50 pounds by following the (fictitious) Iceberg Lettuce Diet

– go to the gym 5 times a week (when I haven’t worked out at all in 25 years.  Do yourself a favour and book some space in the ER for day 3, k?)

– practice yoga every day and become enlightened (I’ve never done yoga a day in my life.)

– quit smoking

– quit my job and follow my dream of becoming a pipe cleaner statue artist

-etc., etc.


Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we heap such pressure on an already overly pressurized life?  Why do we proclaim enormous lists of unrealistic things to the whole world?  Why do we set ourselves up for failure?  The University of Scranton estimates that 8 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions (approximately 45% of the population) succeed (Source:  http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/).  8 percent, folks!  That’s dismal.

Don’t get me wrong (I say that a lot, don’t I?  🙂 ), I’m all for dreaming and goal-setting.  My dear god, how dreary would life be if we just sat there, striving for nothing?  Be whimsical.  Imagine.  Dream.  Create.  Push your limits.  And be realistic about where your life is at.

Humans, generally, do not like change.  Like our pet cats who all seem to know when 5 a.m. rolls around and demand to be fed (and don’t you dare move their favourite pillows!), we like routine.  I think it gives us a sense of safety in an unpredictable world.  Change, even when it’s positive, creates stress; there’s an upheaval in our nervous systems and we need time to settle down and find ground again.  Trying 15 life changes at once, just because the calendar reads “Janary 1”, is chaos!  It’s absurd.

How about 1?  Pick one.  One thing that means so much to you that you’d like to make it a priority in your life.  Put that carrot ahead of you and see what happens as you begin to grow towards it.  And leave the door open to the possibility that, as you move towards your desire, your desire will change or it won’t seem so desirable any more.  By all means, quit smoking if it’s that important to you, and understand that you may discover you’re not quite ready to go there.  Love yourself enough to allow that to happen.

Maybe we can all let go of our inner Drill Sergeants that insist on long lists of “must dos” set at the beginning of the year and simply open up, quietly and gently, to the life that unfolds before us.  It’s the difference between blasting your way through rocky mountains using dynamite, and moving slowly through a forest, pushing undergrowth aside using your hands.

May your life open up to you like a flower blooming in the sun.  May you take the time to slow down enough to watch this unfolding and unfurling of the complexities of your beautiful life.  May you continue to grow (gently), to plant seeds (consistently), and to change course when that’s what your soul really needs.

Happy resolution-free New Year, dear readers!



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For me, it starts with the Christmas letter, a generally American tradition that we Canadians are slowly picking up (and I wish we weren’t  🙂 ).  The one I read this year was all gushy-gushy, filled with a sense of “our lives are perfect over here”.  It stumped me.  This letter was set to go out to the sender’s closest people and it was filled with only half the story.  The other half goes along the lines of, “My business is struggling and my partner has been laid off.  We’re pretty scared because there’s not much money coming in and we don’t quite know how to pay the bills.  Still, we’re not giving up.  The kids are okay in the sense that they’re physically healthy, but X is extremely depressed, almost suicidal, and refuses to seek counselling, while Y, I think, pretty much hates me.  Admittedly, I’m not too fond of Y myself.”

Of course, reading that, no one in their right mind would send it out.  Who wants to spread that kind of negativity?  Still, it lends balance to the story.  Balance is what is so needed at this time of year and it seems to be so hard to find.  The holiday season is full of contradictions.  You have chipper, syrupy music tinkling over loudspeakers in stores as patrons smash each other in the face with doors and scream at store staff.  Christmas movies portray a snowy time of miracles, tearful reunions, and quality time with family sitting around the perfectly trimmed table.  Meanwhile, in reality, the miracle never happened for “Aunt Trixie” who gave up the ghost and died in December leaving a hoarded house for the family to grapple over.  “Cynthia” had too much to drink again and ended up causing a fuss at the dinner table.  And the Joneses next door, the ones with the 3 children, put up a good front but had to visit the food bank to put anything at all on the table; there was nothing left over for gifts.

Unlike those movies, Christmas is messy.  It’s like a soup:  all kinds of scraps and gnarly things are thrown into a pot, everything gets heated, and, if all things go well, sometimes something nourishing and magical emerges.  A long lost friend shows up again and heals that wee tear in your heart.  You may be estranged from a parent but, somehow, this helps you realize how precious everyone is who remains in your life.  Maybe you couldn’t afford extravagant gifts this year but, if you have a roof over your head, food in your belly and people who love you, you’re pretty damned rich.

As we all prepare to get into the soup pot together, and as it starts to heat up, I’d like to share with you some of the things that make my end of this world special:

– the sweet client who just showed up at my door with homemade pickled beets and a card

– snowflakes

– squirrels flinging themselves at bird feeders suspended from the clothesline

– human smiles

– our capacity to love

– the blessed face of a baby and the blessed face of an elder

– the many, many people in my world whom I love and who love me right back.  How lucky am I that there are too many to name?

The list goes on…and on…and on.  So many things to be thankful for.  This is the healing balm for the shit that goes along with the season.  So maybe you’re feeling a bit down at this time of year.  Perhaps you can love yourself enough to list the things that warm your heart.  They are there, even if they’re not obvious. I have faith in you.  I believe that each and every one of us has SOMETHING that makes our hearts sing, no matter how dire the situation of our lives right now.  Even if it’s only one thing, one miniscule thing, it is everything.  Sing that one thing to yourself.  Sing it over and over and over again. Allow it to crack your heart open.  Allow that one thing to fill you with love.

This will be Twisted Positions’ last post of the 2012 season as I prepare to take time off during this soupy time of year. I will miss you.  May your worlds be filled with magic.  May the tears cleanse your eyes and your soul so you can see the bits of gold strewn throughout your life.  May you be healthy, happy and whole.  And my favourite blessing of all:

May you be happy.

May you not suffer.

May you know peace.

All my love and see you in 2013!



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Leaving Your Mark

My Grandfather worked so hard at his signature. He took FOREVER to sign things so his "mark" could be perfect.

My Grandfather worked so hard at his signature. He took FOREVER to sign things so his “mark” could be perfect. He was so proud of his name.

I have to admit, I like email.  I like that I can send something off to someone in the dead of night without worrying about disturbing her.  I like that communication exchanges can happen at lightening speed and, sometimes, can expedite the resolution of one situation or another.  But when my partner opened the box of Christmas ornaments this past weekend, lifting out a stack of cards from years gone by, I was reminded of what I don’t like about email–sterility, homogeneity and the erasure of a human’s touch and personality.

From the pages of my old school agenda from 1988/89.  We worked hard at making them art pieces.

From the pages of my old school agenda from 1988/89. We worked hard at making them art pieces.

How many of you have kept those “special” e-cards?  I haven’t kept one.  But I have this:

A birthday card from my grandmother.  It still lights up!  :)

A birthday card from my grandmother. It still lights up! 🙂

And this:

The woman who used to rent the upstairs apartment at my grandparents' became like a grandmother to me.  She has now passed, but I can still look at this and feel her love.

The woman who used to rent the upstairs apartment at my grandparents’ house became like a grandmother to me. She has now passed, but I can still look at this and feel her love.

How much effort did it take Pani Eva to write that with her English as a second language and arthritis in her hands?  So much different from this:

God Bless you

All My Love

Pani Ewa &


Dontcha think?

Part of why I moved towards typed notes was because of so many years of being shamed about my penmanship.


My Grade 3 teacher made me write passages over and over again “working” with me (forcing me, actually) to lighten my push on the page.  She would flip the page over and feel the paper.  If she could feel the writing with her fingertips, she’d send me back to rewrite the passage…about a zillion times.

Personally, I think handwriting, no matter how hard or light the push, is beautiful.  It shows personality.


It reveals personal flair.


I think it makes people a bit naked on the page.


Maybe that’s what we’re afraid of.

Friends come and go from our lives and when we find ourselves missing them very much, unable to grieve the loss of the connection, we can dig into our piles and retrieve this:


In some way, maybe, we can feel their touch again and bask in the sense of friendship we once had.

Different, so different, from this:

May this next year bring you peace

and goodness and love.

I love you dearly.



These impressions we make with the pen (or pencil, or marker, or crayon) leave impressions on people’s hearts, very real, tender impressions.  As we press into the page, taking time out of our lives to hunt for that perfect card (Or paper.  And the pen. Where the heck is that pen?), we press a piece of ourselves into the hearts of those we love, those we send messages to; we leave our mark.

When we move away from the pen and towards the cold sameness of the keyboard we also leave our mark–we walk away from it, from a piece of who we are in this world.

Sign me up for the signature.

happy spring

I will soften and open my heart, I will allow you in–leave your mark on me.

nan and gramps

Love me enough to make the impression.  I will love you enough to allow you to do so.


Love the world enough to do the same.  Please, let us see your mark.

Many blessings and all my love,




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