Archive for the ‘Social Issues’ Category


I was sitting outside yesterday, bogged down by feelings left behind by a disturbing dream.  It was loud back there, the air full of bird-song.  I thought back to a year ago when we first moved in to this house.  The backyard was overgrown, dark and desolate.  Nothing seemed to live back there except the most annoying maple trees that blocked the light and sucked all of the nutrients out of the ground.  You could hear birds up high in the trees but there was no reason for them to visit.  The absence of bird life made me shudder so out came the feeders.  One year later, the yard is alive with more goldfinches than I’ve ever seen in my life.  And somehow this gets me to worrying.

I worry a lot.  In fact, I think I live in a perpetual state of fear and angst, which gets worse over the winter as I’m stuck inside the house and inside my own head.  As the season is primed to change, to burst into Spring, I think it’s as good a time as any to fling open the windows of my mind, as it is to open the windows of the house.  Let’s get some air in here!

I don’t share this to burden you.  I’m not really looking for answers (unless you have them…hahaha). But sometimes, despite your best efforts, nothing works except to share.  So here I am opening the windows to what worries me most these days.

  • I worry that one day I might find myself in a situation where I will no longer hear the birds.
  • I worry that the cost of living will rise to such an extent that that I will be forced to live in a horrid and tiny place that denies me access to the ground (a yard).  I won’t be able to grow beautiful things.  I won’t be able to watch the birds and the creatures.  I won’t be able to smell the earth.  I’ll be stuck in a horrible pod, jammed in with a million other people living in their pods.
  • I worry about the long term effects of looking down at a screen all the time.  What will this do to our self-esteem to always be looking down?  What will this do to our ability to dream if we can’t look up at the sky?  
  • I worry that if we raise children in tiny pods (condos, apartments, townhouses with no yards) they will become increasingly separated from the Earth.  They will not feel grounded or connected to things larger than themselves.  They will fear Nature.  Then who will take care of Her?  And where will they learn to find quiet, space and solace?
  • I especially worry these days that every last field, meadow, open natural space will be bulldozed to build houses that I’m not sure we really need.  Where will we grow our food if all of the land is gone?  Where will the animals and birds live?  What will happen to our hearts and souls if we’re surrounded by concrete and lights, and we can’t get away from each other EVER?  Where do we find peace?  How do we survive?

That last point is especially hard for me.  It actually makes my stomach churn.  I can’t breathe.

You know, I write these words and they feel so empty.  They cannot possibly capture the feelings that all of these thoughts conjure up.  My one teacher has complete faith in the evolution of things.  I don’t think he would lose one seconds’ sleep over any of this.  I aspire to be like that one day.  Until then, this is it.

How about you?  Do you worry?  Do you fear things?  Are you able to give it air?  To a journal, a therapist, a spiritual guide, a friend, a partner, to God Herself?  I hope you have a place where you feel safe and able to let some of your burdens go.  If not, well, let me offer up this space here.  I won’t provide you with answers, but my ears and heart are open, because I understand worry and I don’t wish it upon anyone.

May your burdens be eased.  May your heart be soft and full of compassion.  May your mind be relaxed.  May you be at peace.



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We hear this question a lot, don’t we?  I think all generations have asked this question about those who are coming up the ranks.  Now it’s the “Millenials” who are catching the flak. Please watch this video.  It’s one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time.  While the focus is on the Millenials, I would like to stretch the message a bit further to touch all of us.  The message of this video is about all of us.  What the speaker talks about is for all of us.  Just watch……..and absorb.  And then, find the courage to contemplate:  How is this about me?

All love and blessings,


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Think about it.


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There are very few things in this world that baffle me more than the human relationship to money.  This really came to the forefront of my mind a few weeks ago when speaking with a self-employed friend of mine.  K. does great work as a one-woman home reno/decorating/painting/fix-it business. One of the things that makes her so great is that she cares–she cares about you, the client, and she cares about the quality of her work.  This is not just about money for her, it’s about helping people make their homes as safe and beautiful as possible.  But she always comes across the same feedback, “You don’t charge enough.”  (Not that you can ever win this game because there are always those who gripe that you charge too much.)  Admittedly, I’ve heard the same thing about my class fees.

What the heck does this mean?

“You don’t charge enough”  seems to equal:

– Your work is crap.

– You have low self-esteem.

– You don’t value the work you do.

Since when did this:  money






What if all of that is wrong?

I keep costs in my business low and I do it consciously.  I do it so people on fixed or limited incomes can still access the healing benefits of Yoga. I do it because I know first-hand how it feels to really need something and to not be able to access it because the cost was way out of my league.  I do it because I know the suffering of “not enough”.  In order to do it, I take on more responsibility.  I am the one who cleans, mops, vacuums and does the laundry.  I do my own bookkeeping.  I print my own advertising material.  I teach from the most affordable place in the world–my home.  I do this so I can prevent the bleeding of costs into my students’ lives.

None of this impacts the amount of time I spend on class planning or on continuing my education in order to keep me fresh and qualified.  My classes remain high in quality and are affordable and accessible.  This helps me adhere to my personal philosophy that the world would be a much better place if everyone simply asked for only as much as they need and not as their greed dictates.

I recently read an article where a company in London, UK produced the most expensive t-shirt ever.  For the cost of $400,000 US you can own an organic black t-shirt studded with 16 certified diamonds.  (You can read more about this here.)  Yes, the t-shirt is produced in an environmentally sound manufacturing plant, but does that warrant the price tag?  Some may think it’s a reasonable price to save the earth, but look underneath the sparkle. Look at the diamonds.  Diamond mines are environmental disaster zones and are linked to war.  There’s blood on them diamonds!  So, does this blood and war soaked t-shirt made in a high tech plant hold more value than the $15 t-shirt at the local farmer’s market that was hand-dyed using local plants grown and harvested in a neighbour’s backyard?  You tell me.

My take on it:


does not =





Money is a method of exchange. It helps you purchase a product or a service.  There are some who have the desired product or service who will charge an inordinate amount of money, not because it is worth any more than any similar product or service on the market, but because they know someone out there will pay the price.  I’ve heard it myself, “Some idiot out there will pay it.”  There are others out there, like me or K., who charge what they think is fair, asking only for what they need so that those who don’t have as much don’t need to be excluded from the experience.

We aren’t bargain basement service providers.

We’re ethical entrepreneurs.

There’s a difference.

Take your thinking, turn it around, and look at it from different directions.  Wonder about the origins of your thoughts.  Question the products you purchase.  Oh…

and don’t be the “idiot who will  pay for it.”

You’re better than that.




If you liked this post, you may also enjoy reading, “Why ‘Charging What You’re Worth’ is Bullshit” by Tad Hargrave.

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Thank you, Gurbeen, from Aangen (www.aangen.com) for turning me on to this.

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During my muscle release session yesterday with my yoga teacher I learned that tense muscles are not necessarily strong muscles.  Unable to relax, rest and rejuvenate, a consistently tense muscle exhausts itself, begins to stagnate and becomes toxic.  In the long run a persistently tense muscle weakens, opening itself up to disease and atrophy.

In order for a muscle to be strong it must take into itself life force—energy. It does so by contracting and increasing tension.  A muscle exerts power by releasing this pent up energy, by lengthening, moving outwards, expending itself fully, and returning to a state of rest.  It recovers.

In contrast, a muscle that is constantly holding tension has nowhere to go.  It can contract no further.  It is unable to draw life into itself.  The muscle locks up, unable to move forward, unable to take action, unable to expend, and unable to relax and recuperate.

 (Try this:  inhale as deeply into your lungs as possible.  Exhale only half of the breath you have stored in your lungs.  From this halfway point, inhale again.  Exhale halfway.  Inhale and begin to notice how you feel in your body.  It is likely that each time you are able to take less and less breath into yourself.  There is less and less capacity for new breath, new air, new life to infuse itself into you. And at the same time, that initial breath has never fully been expelled.  It sits in your lungs, stagnating, taking up space, diminishing your capacity to live and breathe fully. How does this make you feel in your body?  In your mind?  This is like a muscle in a constant state of tension/contraction.) 

Day after day, year after year, a locked muscle remains in the same position, weakening, dying.

Wise ones throughout the centuries have noted that “as without, so within”; therefore, as our bodies, so our communities.  Recently, I have watched as our city has prepared for the G20.  We began to harden the heart of the city by erecting concrete and metal structures that create separation and polarity.  Us and them. An increase in tension. We’ve armoured ourselves.  Less space and ability to move.  Police are donning Kevlar riot gear and are prepared to use force to beat back any threats, threats that amount to the soft flesh of other human beings.  Increase in tension. Tension on top of tension.  Less capacity to breathe and move.

I hear the echoes of my partner’s voice in my ear, “PEACE DOES NOT WORK!!!!!”  How do we know? Historically, in this country, we have never tried it. (Gandhi used peace to create some of the greatest social change in his country.  Peace, clearly, has some tremendous transformative powers!)  As settlers we forced our way onto this land and have torn through it ever since creating separate communities, separation from the land, separation from ourselves—creating tension.  More and more tension.   Greater and greater weakness.

What truly would happen if we softened towards one another?  What would happen if, today, as that police officer raised a club to strike the 18 year old girl in front of him who only wishes to express herself, a lightbulb goes off in his head and he thinks, “That is somebody’s daughter.  That could be my daughter.” And he put down his club and refused to strike.  What if that rage-filled anarchist protestor thought, “That horse feels fear and pain like I do,” and “That store was built by the blood, sweat and tears of a person who hopes and dreams like I do”?  And she put down that rock, refusing to throw it.  What would happen if the leaders who are here right now said, “I can no longer stand knowing there are people in my country whose basic needs—food, clothing, shelter—are not being met.  It breaks my heart and I can stand it no longer.  Let us all use this money to feed, clothe and house our community members in healthy and more-than-adequate ways”? 

It is much more challenging to speak and act from a soft and tender place.  We have been trained to believe that hard is strength and soft is weak.  But, like a healthy muscle, remaining soft and pliable allows for the drawing in of energies that lead to greater strength and more efficient movement. It takes far more courage to soften, to speak from a place of vulnerability, to listen with an open heart, and to solve difficulties in a tender way.  Chogyam Trungpa writes that through sadness and tenderness,” …the warrior can be very brave…Without that heartfelt sadness, bravery is brittle, like a china cup.  If you drop it, it will break or chip.  But the bravery of the warrior is like a lacquer cup, which has a wooden base covered with layers of lacquer.  If the cup drops, it will bounce rather than break.  It is soft and hard at the same time.”

We don’t need more tension and force in this world.  Our society is locked up like a tense and stagnating muscle.  As a community we are accumulating toxins.  We are stagnating.  We are weakening and we are growing evermore diseased. 

Perhaps it is time to try something new.

*  Trungpa, Chogyam.  Shambhala:  The Sacred Path of the Warrior.  Boston:  Shambhala Publications, Inc.  1984.

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