Monday, December 23, 2013

Part 3: To Give and Receive ... Forgiveness

In my previous blog posting I mentioned “And in giving, so you (shall) receive [pause] …love.” Yes, ‘love’ was the word that followed that phrase as in ‘receiving love.’ The word that immediately came to me after that (i.e., ‘love’) was 'forgiveness' as in “The greatest power is the power of forgiveness.”[Photo: AFP,]

In forgiveness, you also give. You give absolution - that word just came out of the blue now as I am typing this – and it means (I had to look it up), "formal release from guilt, obligation, or punishment" (as per google search).

To me this indicates releasing someone from prison, one that you psychologically impose, and even more so releasing oneself from prison! (It's actually perhaps more like freeing yourself from being in shackles.) The laws of giving and receiving, and that of karma applies here just the same (see previous post, Dec. 8, 2013).

Nelson Mandela, first South African black president, who recently died, was an epitome of forgiveness. Viktor Frankl, prisoner of Auschwitz concentration camp in WWII (who eventually authored Man’s Search for Meaning) is another prime example.

Who do you need to forgive? Your spouse, partner, child, neighbour, enemy, friend, yourself? Can you do so? Now? Soon? Before the end of this year (and start the new year fresh)?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Part 2: To Give and Receive ... Love

Someone recently posted this on FB (Facebook): “The Greatest Power is the Power of Giving.”

I responded with – these words came immediately to me – “And in giving, so you (shall) receive,” that is, “in giving, so you receive” or “in giving, so you shall receive.”

And the word ‘love’ came immediately to mind after my phrase, as in ‘receiving love.’ Thus, the above statement can be read as “And in giving, so shall you receive love.” However, it can also be read as “…in giving love, so shall you receive” or “…in giving love, so shall you receive love.” (Can you tell I love to play with words?)

This spiritual or universal law on giving – there are others! – is what occurs when you give. When you give, you receive in turn. For example, offer love in kind acts of (selfless) service if you wish to have and feel love in your life.

This principle is similar to karma in that whatever action you take, it will initiate a response in kind. It is based on the intent or nature of the act of giving. Essentially, what you sow is what you reap.

Thus, if a good deed is demonstrated, a favourable response is reciprocated (and I'm not referring to the receiver). The reverse can also be said for unkind deeds. Though not always immediate, it does time. In fact, it occurs when the time is right and not necessarily when you think or expect it. (Patience is supposedly a virtue!)

It is ideal, of course, to give without expectation(s) and to come from one’s heart when doing so. This is the highest form of giving which is, actually, a symbol of love. The receiving end can actualize in a vast variety of forms, from as simple as a smile, a hug, flowers, a card, a gift, money, a favour or service, and so on.

Again, to reiterate the importance of giving in coming from the heart, from a space of love as it is the highest expression of giving.

Indeed, the greatest power is the power of love.

What form of giving can you gift others? How is it received?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Part 2: Peace in Times of War

Whether you've have had time to reflect upon the two questions I had in my previous blog posting (part 1) or not, I will give you some suggestions or ideas of how that can occur, i.e., peace amidst conflict and tension.

One way as some or most of you may be familiar with is meditation. Now, I will be the first to (openly) admit I am not a great meditator, or is it preferable to say "not great at meditating." It is absolutely not my forte.

To sit in silence as I attempted to quite a number of years ago (yes, even for 15 minutes or less) is futile, at least for me. Not only do I usually itch and alleviate it by scratching which is what you are NOT supposed to do, I also move my body (usually my butt) with the aim of attaining a more comfortable position: lotus asana (or body posture is challenging for me); see

What I am good at though and that I enjoy is a different kind of meditation. There are other ways to meditate than just sitting still. Isn't that exciting? At least, it is for those of us who have a hard time sitting still. Such restless spirits some of us are! And yes, that includes me.

My favourite form of meditation is a moving meditation. This can be in the form of walking for example - not my favourite as I rarely stroll but walk rather quickly as I do need a bit of a workout - or even dancing. Yes, you heard that right!

Now, this form of dance can be either slow or fast, at least for me. When I spontaneously performed creative dance quite a number of years ago, some of it was somewhat slow. Yet I was so fully present to the process. Isn't that what meditation is about?

However, I have also been in a meditative state through dance when it was a rather upbeat tempo. It was through the rhythmic nature of the music, the steady pulsing of the bass beating in my ears, body, and mind that I entered what seemed like a trance-like state. This usually occurred when I closed my eyes and just felt the music and let it flow through me, kind of like interpreting the music or having Spirit flow through me.

In order for that induced state to occur, I would usually claim a spot on the dance floor (not a night club) and move my body from my ankles up keeping my feet stationary. Sometimes I would move my feet too, though would maintain my space as best I could on the dance floor by occasionally opening my eyes, partially softly gazing on the ground below and around me, not (up) at people around me.

One time when I entered this altered state or dimension, I imagined myself wearing a white flowing dress and twirling as Sufis do. I was spinning somewhat on the dance floor, something I rarely do as I usually get quite dizzy doing this. I'm not sure for how long, but it was a neat experience.

Another way I experience peace and love is when I sing or chant. The latter is a form of singing though I love to do so in Sanskrit which is an ancient East Indian language. While chanting, I enter a state of feeling of oneness: I feel total bliss, love, peace, and devotion. I highly recommend it as a way to open up the heart chakra (or heart centre).

In order for me to keep peace and love in my heart and mind, I live my passions as best I can – in no particular order – singing, creative dance/movement, writing, and walking. If I do this on a regular basis, my mind will tend to be more still, more at peace and I will live in peace within myself.

And if I live in a state of peace this then ripples out to others, those whom I am in contact with, whether in my home, at work, or in the community.

How do you feel peace in your heart and your life? Do you meditate and if so, how? What is your preferred style?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Part 1: Peace in Times of War

Years ago, sometime after the Bosnian war which lasted almost four years, my parents and I visited an area of Croatia (part of the former Bosnia and Herzegovina region. And, if I understand correctly, now known as Serbia.)

This country known for its mild Mediterranean weather was too hot and dry for me. The somewhat barren landscape, sparsely populated with vegetation (grasses) matched the desolate buildings of which there were many, at least what remained of them.

Remnants of (what I presume were residential) brick buildings with shattered windows dotted the road and countryside. It was not a pretty sight. (I still have photos that portray the aftereffects of that stark landscape, though I have them just as clearly etched in my mind.)

Was I as shocked and horrified as those buildings were (metaphorically speaking of course)? Were people living there during the bombings/explosions?

There are many civilians who question war, people like you and me. What is the purpose? Do we need it? Is it just an excuse for atrocities such as genocide and rape?

I have come to see and understand that what we experience as (so-called) reality is actually a reflection of our being. That is, what we think and feel is projected outside of us. Thus, the outer world, our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. This is experienced both individually and collectively.

If you dislike and/or disagree with these words, I totally understand. I used to! However, I have come to learn that this is indeed the case, whether we like it or not. In fact, I learned (the beginnings of) this phenomenon during a course on counselling skills.

There is a term known in the counselling and psychotherapy field as “transference.” This occurs when a client projects (i.e., transfers) their feelings and desires onto their counsellor or psychotherapist. It occurs at an unconscious level and can display in various ways, whether through feelings of love, fear, hate, or anything in between.

Thus, the state(s) of our being in our thoughts and feelings are important as it is the beginning of the ripple effect. Can you imagine the effect positively or negatively rippling in relation to that of a group of people whether in a family/home, at work, in meetings, in a village, town, city, or country? Use your imagination here or think of instances in your world.

Instead of judging others with eyes – and words – of anger or hate, we can choose to focus our thoughts and speech with compassionate and empathic tones. We can choose peace/love/joy/happiness or conflict/tension/hatred/anger in this moment, and this one, and the next, and so on. Hopefully peace, love, and joy will reign over conflict, tension, hatred, and even war.

It has been declared by an international spiritual teacher and author that peace will reign in our time. It is hard to imagine with all the wars and conflicts we have taking place in our everyday lives. Regardless, why not focus on peace...within ourselves first? Then let the ripples spread out...

Let's start today with Remembrance Day in Canada, and Veterans Day in the States: a moment of silence, of peace, of stillness - one (1) minute on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

How can we avoid conflict and tension in the world? How can we cultivate peace and keep it in our hearts and minds? To be continued ...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Parodies in Music

I love videos such as the one above created by Raamayan Ananda, a man I know from the spiritual community in Vancouver. It addresses GMO's (genetically modified organisms), rather, it is an anti-GMO music video that was created to support Prop 522 for GMO labelling.

This first video entitled "Don't Eat It", a parody to Michael Jackson's (MJ's) "Beat It" with partial imagery of MJ's "Thriller" dance routine, has the following storyline: "GMO executives Have Taken Over the Food Chain, a group of dedicated citizens march to face them off in an epic battle, but something nefarious and unexpected happens..."

The lyrics are as follows:

They Told Them Don't You Ever Grow Around Here
Don't Wanna Eat your food, You Better Disappear
The Fire's In Our Eyes And Our Words Are Really Clear
Don't EAT It

You Better Run, You Better Do What You Can
Don't Want no GMO's, You better ditch your plan
We'll fight you to the end, We're making a stand

Don't EAT, If you wanna stay allivee

Don't Eatt it (eat it), don't eat it (eat it)
g-mos will to be defeated!

Show em, its funky, show'em its not right
It DOES matter, who's wrong or right

Don't EAt it..(eat it... eat it... eat it....)

(Monsanto Execs Speaking)

We've got the politicians dealing our hand
You've got no right to know what's in your fruit and bread
Be like a good sheep, and just do what 'sam' says

(GMO Activist Speaking)

Were Out To Get You, Better Leave While You Can
Our kids won't be no lab rats in your business plan
You wanna stay alive, Get GMO's Banned

Don't Eat It.... Better Do What You Can!


The short video below, "Plastic State of Mind" is a parody of JAY Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind." It is about the ramifications of plastic waste in the form of bags. (Both videos are brilliant in my opinion and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Please feel free to share and circulate them as they are important messages.)

These two videos are an example of only one idea (of many) that I have for my non-traditional, co-creative children's/youth choir. Co-creative in that we get to play with ideas - theirs and mine - in creating our own music, rhythms and yes, even rap.

Rap can be especially effective on matters that are close to one's heart and/or the heartbeat of Mother Earth. The results need not be as sophisticated as these videos and that's totally ok. It's the intent and the words and the message that is important.

What are causes close to your heart? Do you take action on them? If so, how often? Do you or can you do so in a creative or artistic manner?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

To Give and Receive

I recently attended Mollie Nye's 100th anniversary on the North Shore in Lynn Valley. There I shared conversation and tea with Jane Thornthwaite, the Liberal MLA for the District of North Vancouver, after having won a new and shiny copper kettle full of bright, autumn-coloured flowers. (See the pot to the right of me.)

The supposed winner of this floral arrangement had missed the call of the draw. I insisted she accept the prize that was meant for her as her number had been drawn. After all, she was busy manning the booth right next to it.

However, since she flatly or politely refused, I graciously accepted her offer. But then did I, really?

When I returned home, I immediately went to my landlady to bestow the gift upon her as I had thought she was sick; her daughter was though so I insisted that they both enjoy it.

It wasn't till a bit later that day when I wondered what message I might be giving to the universe (God), that is, in giving a prize away that I had won and rather quickly too. Was I giving the message that perhaps I wasn't worthy to receive a gift or prize? Or not worth receiving at all? Hmmm.

I realized, or rather relearned that it is truly important to not only give - a great quality of course - but to also receive, and to do so graciously. After all, a giver requires a receiver and vice versa. You cannot have one without the other.

Whether we are speaking about receiving, i.e., accepting the weather (which the forecast initially predicted as rain and cool temperatures, yet later greeted us with bright sun and warmer degrees instead), or serving tea, or winning a gift or prize, it does not matter. The principle applies to all indiscriminately.

Are you willing to give? If so, what are you willing to give? And are you willing to receive? Are you limited to what you will allow yourself to receive?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Part 2: The (Healing) Power of Music

The words I believe that came to me were “The healing power of music” as I listened in stereo sound to the words and music of “Anchor Me” by The Tenors from their album, Lead with Your Heart (

The initial few lines reminded me of Josh Groban whose voice I fell in love with back in 2004 over stereo headphones – how could I not?! – with a similar themed song “You Raise Me Up” the first piece of music of his that I heard: WOW!

Here is a rendition of “You Raise Me Up” with Josh singing with the famous African Children’s Choir: (If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend you hear this choir sing live as they are beautiful and amazing fireballs of energy and love.) Here is another version without children if you prefer. (I would love for Josh to sing this with David Foster playing piano, especially since David was instrumental in having Josh sing this song in the first place. Both are so talented and musically inspiring.)

It wasn’t till I listened to variations of these two songs a number of times that I realized why they reminded me of each other. In “Anchor Me,” the line “will you come and anchor me” resembles the words and musical notes of “until you come and sit awhile with me” in “You Raise Me Up.” Also, I find these songs similar in nature in their meaning (at least to me) as well as the emotional theme of sadness/despair, and someone – a particular someone – to buoy one’s spirit.

Both had such a powerful effect on me as they both reverberated strongly within my body sweeping an emotional tide of inner strength and confidence.

How do you find these songs affect you?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Part 1: The (Healing) Power of Music

My choir director said singing in choir is like mindfulness. It took me a moment to comprehend her statement - I thought she meant meditation - while contemplating instances where music brings me to the present, to the sheet music, listening to others sing, hearing harmonious notes, and the like as she said, namely being aware and present. (My apologies for this outdated picture; however, it's the one that best captures the essence of this posting!)

I believe that dancing and walking, at times, are my primary forms of meditation. However, I can see that singing can be as well, during choir at least for me, as so often I sing while doing something else. For example, I may sing while I work (more so in past) or walking or bathing. This is why it took me a moment to understand her comment.

I have always loved music, have felt its deep and powerful influence – it’s no wonder I didn’t become a music therapist – as music moves me figuratively and literally, the latter as I have a hard time sitting still while listening to music, whether I am part of an audience or not. My body cannot help but to move while I sit, even if it is only my head nodding slightly or one foot tapping. I question how people can sit like a rock, especially when listening to infectious or contagiously happy music.

Does your body feel inclined to move when you hear music or not? (There is no right or wrong answer here by the way.)

Music moves me emotionally as well, primarily to the two seemingly extreme opposite emotions of joy and sadness. I say that as there is actually a fine line between the two. (One place I experienced this was in David McMurray Smith’s clowning class, If you haven’t experienced this personally, you probably witnessed it. For instance, young children and infants in particular can cry one moment and then laugh the next, and vice versa.

I have been moved to tears more often than not as a cathartically healing expression of music, sometimes to tears of joy as a result of such exquisite ethereal-sounding music, usually instrumental or classical. At other times lyrics strike a resonant chord within me, especially when they imitate my life which fuels teary eyes.

What I have come to notice over the years is that I tend to, almost always if not always, hear the music first. If I like it – I’m drawn to the beat first and foremost – then I’m inclined to listen to the words. It’s rarely the other way around. Besides, quite often music drowns out the words in songs.

Do you find that you too tend to hear the music before the words in a song?

Music is so healing, isn’t it?
It can be a vehicle for emotional catharsis whether you are releasing or uplifting your spirit. And it is such a collective universal soul experience: one common language we have as a race of people on planet earth.

What types of music do you find healing? Is there a particular genre that soothes and calms you? Settles and grounds you? Inspires you? Buoys your spirit?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Part 4: In a Funk - How I Got Out!

Though the causes of my depression aren’t as important now as they used to be, I’m (still) curious. However, I believe it’s important for me to pose the questions - see previous blog post, August 25th - since I don’t have concrete answers, as someone (or some of you) might be able to relate upon reading this, thus connecting the dots for you and/or for your loved ones.

In my August 25th posting I wrote, “More recently, could I have felt blue due to two work colleagues who left within the same week, and the director the following week (and all the ramifications associated with that, too many to mention here)? Could I feel like my soul isn’t growing like I’d like it to? Could I feel sad ‘cause I feel to blame and bad about my dream or vision not being fulfilled?

I suspect these points, especially the last one is closer to the truth for me for feeling downhearted as I remembered that I felt somewhat similar last year when my non-traditional, co-creative children’s choir didn’t come to fruition. I truly believe that the expectation(s) and the potential downfall, i.e., fear of failure brought me spiralling down. Yes, even before I realized that at least two children had registered

Through a coaching call that I had made two days prior (July 3rd) to my previous post, I became aware that the same feeling and situation occurred about a year ago when I attempted to launch my dream then! Ahha, there’s the culprit!

It was also pointed out to me through questioning during this call, that my state of funk was most likely due to me not living my passions. Other than my creative writing for my blog which I thoroughly enjoy and singing at choir practice - my heart hadn’t been in it for a few weeks at least - I wasn’t singing otherwise or dancing, another of my top passions.
Do you ever feel that way, i.e., like your heart and soul just can’t get into your passions? And what do you do when you get that way?

If you ever feel depressed or blue, do you ask yourself questions? If not, what questions could you ask? Could they help you to understand and overcome your state? Or what else could you do?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Part 3: In a Funk - Blue since Birth?!

In my previous blog posting, I mentioned that I would reveal some reasons why I might have been feeling blue since my birth. The following questions are a guesstimate of what could possibly be some root causes of depression that I experience from time to time.

Was I depressed in past due to the fact that my identical twin sister – apparently my twin flame or twin soul (even closer than a soul mate) – died shortly after birth? Did I pick up on my Mom’s emotions/energy after losing one of her daughters (my twin sister) and almost another, i.e., me? Did she experience postpartum depression? If so, did I or could I possibly have inherited a genetic predisposition to depression?

Did my parents or my Dad wish for a boy after having two girls? ("It's a girl!" again!!) Was I, due to being premature, in an incubator too long, withheld from my parent’s love, attention, and affection? (One cause of death in babies is a lack of affection.) Did I lack oxygen in my first moments of birth?

How could any of these factors have affected me?

More recently, could I have felt blue due to two work colleagues who left within the same week, and the director the following week (and all the ramifications associated with that, too many to mention here)? Could I feel like my soul isn’t growing like I’d like it to? Could I feel sad 'cause I feel to blame and bad about my dream or vision not being fulfilled?

I suspect these points in particular, especially the last one is closer to the truth for me as I remembered that I felt somewhat similar last year when my non-traditional, co-creative children’s choir didn’t come to fruition. I truly believe that the expectation(s) and the potential downfall, i.e., fear of failure brought me spiralling down. Yes, even before I realized that at least two children had registered this year!

Since my last blog posting, have you or anyone you know come to terms with any possible reasons for your (past/current) depression?

By the way, I did come out of my funk about two weeks after my previous posting and started to sing again and dance too - quite a bit lately - as well as wear bright(er) colours which I love, such as in the photo above. (Not the greatest photo of me; however, I was imitating one of the "Laughing Sculptures" - how appropriate! - located at the foot of English Bay in Vancouver. Yes, that's actually the name of the set of sculptures!)

NEXT POSTING: Stay tuned as to how I came out of my depression.

Side note: During the BrainSolutions Conference this weekend in Vancouver, Dr. Daniel Amen, an expert on brain enhancement stated that, other than the severely depressed, the effect of antidepressants is similar to placebos. A similar conclusion was made by the research findings of Dr. Irving Kirsch, Associate Director at Harvard Medical School where he indicates that antidepressants have little or no effect than that of placebos. (See page 12 in the August issue of common ground magazine.) Mind boggling don't you think?!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Part 2: In a Funk - Why the Blues?

If you can read the fine print on the (maximum-sized) picture, it reads, "Dead on the Heavy Funk".

In my July 21st blog posting, I spoke about being in a funk that lasted at least two months. It ended up lasting about two-and-a-half to three months.

Admittedly, I have been depressed on and off throughout my life. I’m convinced this is due to certain circumstances around my birth. (More about that in my next posting.) With the occasional depression here or there, seemingly circumstantial or what I term situational, I often come to an understanding why I feel blue afterwards or even during these episodic bouts. This occurs when I come to terms with the root cause(s).

It is in part with this knowledge or frame of mind that I refuse (to be on) medication for it as I know my condition is temporary and I’ll get over it…in time of course, yet that’s the irony, isn’t it!?

To exacerbate my depressive state perhaps is the knowledge that every drug has side effects, one in particular common to antidepressants that I wish to avoid.* And there are other reasons for my adamancy.

Please note reader that I am only referring to my choice: it is my decision and my personal path, not necessarily yours. Depression varies – almost wish not to even state that word as it carries such stigma, doesn’t it? – thus it is best to seek medical guidance based on your understanding of you, your life, and your circumstances. Hopefully your inner wisdom will guide you through the process, though not necessarily easy to trust when you are feeling down.

As a result of my emotional flatline state, I had my thyroid and iron re-tested (as I’ve done in past) – all was normal – and I even completed a stress test/depression questionnaire at my medical doctor’s office; the latter proved to be mid-range.

One possibility I had considered that might attribute to my depressive symptoms – were hormones, though I didn’t sense that that would be the primary reason and wasn’t sure if I wanted to undergo testing for this.

Stay tuned as my next posting will reveal some possible reasons why I was feeling blue...might be a clue...for you...or for someone you know.

What might some of the reasons be for your (past/current) depression or for someone you know?

*By the way, there was an interesting article, on page 12, in the August issue of common ground magazine about the questionable efficacy of antidepressants.

Monday, August 5, 2013

In Sync

Stay tuned....I will be posting a blog hopefully later today....was on Co-op Radio today on the "When Spirit Whispers" show - thanks Gunargie!

Click on link or copy and paste onto 'browser' (whatever it's called at the top of your screen/page):

and then click the link on that page.

I’m on at approx. 21:31 to 31:31 on the link. Enjoy and I welcome your feedback/comments!

A brief poem/song that I wrote about three years ago:

Spirit’s knocking on my door
The ideas won’t go away
Won’t leave
Won’t leave me

Spirit’s knocking on my door
…and the ideas won’t leave my soul
my soul

My soul’s gotta grow…ow…ow

How does Spirit whisper to you?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

In a Funk

Be straight with me here: how many of you judged me in my video (previous blog posting, July 5th)? Right, you probably did. After all, we tend to judge others – ourselves as well – critically, callously, and often immediately.

In that blog posting (if you read it), I mentioned that “when I don't sing, it's either because I'm sick or sad/blue/depressed.” What I didn’t tell you was – I wasn’t ready to tell you – that I was somewhat “in a funk.” Though I gave it my all as best I could at the time, it wasn’t my all in terms of my ideal state of wellness, speaking in terms of performance delivery of course!

Now please understand: I love performing and reciting poetry and the like (after the first few seconds of initial nervousness). I felt drawn at the time, despite my mood, to share that piece of poetry and that song for various reasons (which don’t matter per se).

What I want you to get is how much more powerful I (and the video as a result) could have been if I was feeling (more) fully alive and passionate during my performance. Now do you understand?

My funk-like state lasted approximately two months, though still feeling intermittently so with a few recent circumstances beyond my control. That’s quite a long time for me to be feeling blue, especially considering I haven’t been for some time, at least not for that long a period. ... to be continued ...

Have you ever felt in a funk and if so, how often? What did you do or do you do to overcome it?

p.s. I initially wrote this piece the day after my previous posting! Hmmm, what does that say about me?! ;)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Who am I to be...a choir conductor/director?

I'm putting myself "out there" again, exposing myself (baring my soul) and making myself (feel) vulnerable! This by no means is a great performance. I have done much better, truly. I think I was somewhat nervous, in part going first (on quite short notice) and having a fairly 'new' audience (and not feeling 100%). Thus, I would appreciate - spare me please - if you would consider the essence of the message instead, i.e., the words I am speaking...thanks!

I chose this powerful excerpt from Marianne Williamson's book, A Return to Love (based on A Course in Miracles, as the intro to a somewhat impromptu talent show at a summer camp retreat I participated in.

The words are: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

My spiritual self understands at a deep level that I am powerful (indeed!), that I am light, a bright light even - have been told that! - despite my emotional/mental self that so often feels inadequate and powerless.

Why you may ask? The result of listening to the outer world, of comparing myself to others (similar to growing up amidst brothers and sisters), and thus not believing in myself - fully at times - often enough (and that includes my intuition!).

And yet, I know myself and accept and even love myself at my deepest core for I see and understand who I truly am, even though I may be - and feel - 'different.' I do have some commendable attributes! ;) (That's not meant to be a brag by the way...this is said in humility actually.)

One aspect that makes me feel truly humble is fear. When I feel fear, it stops and blocks me. In other words, I stop me, block me, and sabotage me. How sad and pitiful (when you think of it)! It needn't be this way of course!

Sometimes though, I glow (literally) as people have remarked when I "shine." It's not necessarily nor necessary that I be "on stage." However, it's usually when I am feeling/living/expressing/breathing/being my passion(s) and making a difference in the world (just by being me, my true essence). Yes, when I let my light shine.

For those of you curious to wonder, my passions lie in the creative and expressive arts: singing, chanting (primarily in Sanskrit, an ancient East Indian language), creative dance/movement, writing, poetry, drama, and the like (and not necessarily in that order).

These passions of mine take me from my head into my heart when I am fully expressing them and being/living in the moment. And it's when I feel the words that I sing, write, and even speak, that I feel Spirit.

I 'know' this to be true, for example, 'cause when I don't sing, it's either because I'm sick or sad/blue/depressed. I can still sing, though my heart (and soul) won't be "in it." I'm not home so-to-speak in my body or heart. I'm gone ... somewhere ... else ... probably in my mind ... I think too much sometimes, well often! ;)

Nevertheless, I still remember the words I received intuitively at two boot-like summer camps years ago, "Elly, trust yourself, trust the universe. It will support you." I didn't imagine those words and I believe them.

Now it's just a matter of me believing in myself, in me! How would that be? (Hey, I'm a poet, didn't you know it? ;) ...what can I say, I love to rhyme at times...ooh, that just came out (like my spontaneous puns do!). Ok, I'm being silly and it's late...

What do you feel called in your heart to do? Do you heed its voice, its call to 'home' for you?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy, Happy!

Happy 10th anniversary to me today, living on the beautiful North Shore, North of Vancouver, where I was guided to move to from Kitsilano (AKA Kits) in Vancouver.

I moved from Kits with its trendy neighbourhoods, homes, eateries, store-fronts, and beaches. Never thought I would move from there nor expected to, at least in a long time, as I didn't want to. After all, since I had moved to the east side of Vancouver years prior, I yearned and made it a goal to move to Kitsilano, finally ending up there.

The day after my tiring move, I was awakened and startled - I was looking forward to sleeping in! - to quite a number of intermittent sirens of emergency vehicles. Though I had moved about a block away from Lions Gate Hospital, I wondered what the commotion was all about. When I finally rolled out from my lazy bed, I discovered the noise nuisance: Canada Day parade on Lonsdale!

So Happy Anniversary to me and Happy Birthday to Canada!

I'm grateful to be Canadian ...
though I'm proud to be European-born. ;)

What are YOU grateful for?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Do You See What I See?

I often see things people miss or don’t notice, though not dead people like some people (I know) do! Sometimes this is claircognizant and other times observational, the latter for example when I look one way and see something, and no one is looking or has looked that way. There...yes there...over there!

Am I perhaps slightly more aware at times when this occurs? Or is it because I work primarily “behind-the-scenes” and live life a lot, seemingly, “behind-the-scenes?” Hmmm...

One of these occurrences if I can call them that are auras. Though I see them occasionally, I do so more now than in past. I used to see them primarily as shades of white, usually around the head. I have come to see them, at least at times, in soft muted shades usually around the head and upper body.

Another thing I notice and have discovered that some people do and some don’t see this are things that resemble sparkles, like fireflies? I imagine that is what they look like. Perhaps better described though as twinkling Christmas tree lights that flash on and off intermittently and quickly. I experience this as a bunch of small (even tiny?) brilliant flashes of light. It’s like what I see watching the top of ocean waves on a bright summer day. Do you see that too?

I was aware of these lights about five years ago give or take. I just happened to experience this phenomenon one day and thought it was the intense summer sunshine on the pavement as that is where I saw them initially. Since then, however, I have seen this in the air outside (quite often) as well as occasionally on the pages of a book I’m reading, and on (somewhat) cloudy days too!

I’ve been told they’re fairies, though who knows. If fairies are real as some people deem, then that would certainly open up a "cow" as we coin "can of worms" (or C.O.W.) at my workplace! If that exists, then what else does? Do you really wish to know? Are you ready to find out?

And what other possibilities are limited by our vision, i.e., can we see with limited vision? There is certainly more to the world than meets the eye!

A different spectacle is when, just last week, I felt this strong impulse to snap a photo of the following:
What do you see? Do you see what I see? Is it a bird? A plane? Superman? Just kidding!

To me, there was no mistaking the striking image I saw in the shape of the cloud. I saw it and recognized it immediately as a bird, a dove specifically, from the view of the bus window as I was riding home from work.

What do you see that others don’t? How does it make you feel?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, ...

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing
(Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

This is King Macbeth's last soliloquy, after discovering that his wife and former partner in crime(!), Lady Macbeth, is dead (at least, according to William Shakespeare). The King of Scotland ponders death and the meaning of life.

One thing I absolutely love to do since childhood that makes me feel (more) alive is playing dress-up - the only reason I love Halloween by the way - as I did, well, a wee tad while delivering the above verses. I was holding a tealight candle with one outstretched palm while speaking with a fake accent, as I rarely, if at all, perform with an accent (other than this piece). I cannot normally roll my r’s unfortunately; however, a wonderfully unique trick that I discovered when learning Spanish remedied this so now I can!

Did my accent actually sound Scottish enough as I had hoped to portray? - and did I look somewhat from that era with a bedsheet (improvising on short notice) attached with an empire waist-fitting belt and a never-ending, all-in-one-piece scarf (whatever they are called). Never mind - excuse - the jeans beneath!

With bedsheet and all, I walked barefoot to the centre of the room during the talent show for the summer camp I attended last weekend, speaking those lines as silly as I may have sounded or appeared, even in dim lighting.

Nevertheless, I enjoy this piece - it is poetry is it not? - which I have memorized since Grade 9. (That was a homework assignment along with perfect punctuation, believe it or not!)

My interpretation is that tomorrow, like manana in Spanish, never comes. It's similar to the movie Groundhog Day in which Bill Murray repeatedly experiences the same day over and over, regretting things he's done or not done, words he's spoken or unspoken.

As of late however, it seems like time has just been whizzing by. And speaking of summer camp and tomorrow, just over a month from today my summer day camp begins!

My hope for me, as well as for you too of course, is that we live life with our cup at least half full if not full, rather than half empty or empty. And furthermore, I hope that we will not regret our life and the path(s) that we walk on.

What are you working towards completing or fulfilling concerning promises, deeds, words and the like that might have been left undone?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Part 2: Tribute to Mothers ... and 'mothers'

Soprano: Alexis Jorgenson, Alto: Elly Stornebrink, Pianist: Matt Grinke, Violinist: Brienne Powers, Drummer: Marilyn Mann

How silly of me! I had forgotten that there were two other main reasons for agreeing to sing The Mummer’s Dance by Loreena McKennit on Mother’s Day. Was it just two weekends ago?! (This month is sure flying by!)

As a result of a warm-up during the byoV choir rehearsal where members were sounding notes, i.e., toning and humming, I ended up standing relatively near Alexis. A male choir member commented on the lovely harmony we created which I had also noted – pardon the pun (as they just come out of me spontaneously). Thus, I thought we might sound good together creating a nice harmony - had this in mind - when Alexis asked if anyone from the alto section was interested in singing the chorus of a song as backup.

The other reason I had agreed to singing a duet with her was simply that I love that song, rather the music in the song, at least initially. What I mean is that I actually was not even aware of the words to this song beforehand. It wasn’t until Alexis sent me the link to the video that I could learn the words as I read and heard them. Consequently, I love the song even more and in fact, I consider this my favourite of Loreena’s songs.

This is due to the fact that I love nature, especially springtime and trees.Could I be a 'tree worshipper'? – I love to touch, hug, and ‘bless’ trees (occasionally) as I walk by.

I also love to gaze at the moon and stars and do that as often as I can – I have witnesses! – and love to hear birds singing. And furthermore, I love to dance, though I haven’t around trees, at least not yet! ;)

In her own words, Loreena refers to a book that suggests that “mumming has its roots in the tree-worshipping* of the peoples who inhabited great regions of a forested Europe now long gone.” There’s that word* again! (Hmmm…wonder if they were perhaps Celtic and Pagan?) (

Mumming usually involves a group of performers dressing up in masks (sometimes of straw) and clothes bedecked with ribbons or rags, and setting out on a procession to neighbouring homes singing songs and carrying branches of greenery. It’s primarily associated with springtime and fertility, and it has a cast of stock characters, like the Fool, which recurs in some form or another from Morris dancing to the shadow puppet plays of Turkey and Greece and even the morality plays of the Middle Ages.”

“Black Sheep Morris and Mummers” aka “Bowen Island Black Sheep Mummers” ( are not the only mummers in BC. This troupe dress primarily in black rags with colourful ribbons. They’re quite an interesting lot of musicians/dancers in both their look and sound.

I couldn’t quite make out what they were when I saw them for the first time about a year or so ago. I would have if I had understood the meaning of Loreena’s song beforehand!

What aspects of nature do you love and how do you express it?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tribute to Mothers ... and 'mothers'

Eureka! I did it! I just grew an inch at least (and a yard or metre at least in terms of my comfort zone)! Do you wish to know how?

I expanded my comfort zone by singing in public for the first time, well at least as a duet, not as part of a choir singing harmony which I love (as an alto usually or a tenor previously). Maybe one day as a soloist, but not yet please! (The two times I sang solo to a small group of friends in Toronto doesn't count.)

When the altos of the byoV choir I sing in ( were asked by Alexis to sing as backup for her 1-1/2 weeks ago, I took the plunge - gulp - and said I was interested.

That was actually a leap of faith for me and a big one at that. You see, I never thought I had a 'nice' or 'good' singing voice. I'm not sure where that came from and wish I knew - perhaps it could assist in the healing of my thyroid which I am currently working on - as I only started singing in choirs in my early 20's, never before. (I would have loved if they had a choir program in school when I attended, like they do nowadays, as I've always loved to sing...see my very first posting, Call to Action (July 5, 2010),

I took it upon myself to challenge myself for two main reasons: my vision of a children's choir where I will probably sing solo - read my first two blog postings in particular to learn more - and for the potential healing of my thyroid (the self-expression part of the body, metaphysically speaking).

You might wonder, "How does (any of) this relate to Mothers?" Good question!

Well, apparently my Mom had a beautiful singing voice that others for miles - or metres - could hear (and comment upon favourably) as she sang up and down mountains and through forests in her native Austrian homeland. (That's Austria, not Australia! ;)) I say apparently as I never heard her sing and wish I had. (The removal of her thyroid caused that if I have my facts straight.)

By the way, a bit more of my amazing Mother on A Matter of Degrees posting (August 1st, 2010),

Though my mother gave birth to me and my other siblings, I realize that we all are mothers (with a small 'm') in one way or another. Not in the traditional birthing of babies kind-of-way, but in the birthing of creative projects and/or taking care of pets and/or plants even! (My former adopted cat was like 'my baby.')

Please understand that I have a great respect for Mothers, including and especially for single Mothers as this is not meant to lessen or diminish their role and responsibilities at all. (I personally believe that mothers should be paid for their 'work' as I think it is the highest calling and one of the toughest responsibilities in the world....hmmm, maybe that's why I'm not a traditional 'mother' (notice the small 'm'). ;)

How are you a 'mother'? Are you tending to and nurturing your pet projects, dreams, and/or visions?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Dance of Politics

Politics, in my opinion, is an illusion if not a game. And at times, it is like a dance, a dance of power and control.

Political parties strategize in terms of winning people's minds to their party: the likelihood of the public voting in their favour and/or the possibility of swaying people to the contrary of what they may have believed in and/or voted for in past.

Consider the MLAs in BC for example - some in the past year - who have resigned from one of the main political parties to join, usually, the opposing party! (I find that rather interesting and somewhat amusing, don’t you?)

At the end of January or beginning of February, I had witnessed this play of power in the forms of a survey that came via email and an automated telephone message. One could speculate the reason and possible outcome of these surveys as revealed in the questions.

According to the survey outcome, I assumed the parties would reconsider their stance on important electoral issues leading up to the May election in BC. This in turn could challenge me, i.e., sway me as a potential elector to cast my ballot in favour of a particular political party. Isn't that what electoral and political campaigns are about anyway? To influence voting members in their decision to vote for them?!

The distorted survey questions were not only absurd to me and poorly worded, but shaping seemingly into some form of a bribe. I was appalled, yet not 100% shocked given the state of political leaders in past and our political history. Political leaders are known to make false promises, breaking their word after being elected.

The survey alluded to undercover, criminal-like activity on a mental/emotional level, though at the same time outrightly blatant, at least to me. Did the wordsmith(s) deem it innocuous?

The questions posed implied that if you were to lean towards the right – and the political leader was left-wing, then he or she might reconsider their positions on previous decisions they made on grave matters, in order, and only, to gain your vote.

I say this because the survey went more or less like this: If the Liberal party voted in favour of Enbridge, how likely would you be to vote for the Liberals? And vice versa, If the Liberal party were to vote against Enbridge – an important environmental issue for us in BC in this upcoming election by the way – how likely would you vote for the Liberals?

Excuse me?! Hello? Are you kidding me? was the immediate thought I had. I couldn’t believe it. How appallingly preposterous! The juxtaposition of the languaging was not only unusual, it was downright ludicrous. At least, that’s what I thought of the questions they were asking of others and me.

To top things off, the message continued on astoundingly with the audacity to repeat similar questions concerning the NDP party. I was blown away. I just couldn’t believe my ears!

Needless to say, I outrightly refused to answer directly, instead often replying, “neutral” or “not sure” and stating that the questions were blackmail-like in nature; I couldn't think of the right term at the time, I was so stunned. Hmmm, wonder what they did with my survey result?!

Oh, and by the way, did I wish to forward this survey to others as the recording suggested? 'ell no! Though it might have been interesting to see what people’s responses might have been, I wasn’t interested in wasting their time, nor mine. (I hung on till the end only to give them my impression of the survey, even if it was by voice mail.)

I have discovered many years ago, that there are politics in life no matter where you go, especially in business whether public, private, or nonprofit. And politics is definitely a business, a business in itself, in its own right.

It reminds me of a popular 1980's tune with an apropos message in its lyrics, "The politics of dancing, the politics of ooo feeling good...” except the reverse in this case, "the dancing of politics." (See

What do you think of the political climate right now in BC? And the politics of life - life in general and yes, your life also! Is there a reflection? Perhaps a micro- of a macrocosm?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tribute to Mother Earth - Earth Day 2013

"With my feet, may I walk upon the earth and feel compassion” is the opening verse of Jerry DesVoignes, Vancouver's chant master's song, Shine Like the Sun.

Believe it or not, I just learned how to walk – again – this time properly, in alignment (with my body) and lightly on the ground. It’s a (psychosomatic) practice (that feels somewhat akin to meditation or can be) and a skill! (See

Another practice and skill is that of recycling. Thanks to a roommate in my 20’s who introduced me to the concept of 'clean garbage,' - yes you read that right - i.e., rinsing/washing/wiping items so as not to stink up the garbage can and/or room/environment, and also to the concepts of compacting (garbage) and recycling, I began my journey to ‘being green’ environmentally speaking of course!

I’m not perfect though I do my bit, for the most part. For example, I use and carry a stainless steel mug as often as possible instead of contributing to the massive coffee cup crisis as I call it.

Imagine, only Americans (from North and South America) who drink coffee/tea from disposable containers. Add onto that the paper or other material that the sleeve to carry the hot beverage is made up of. Think of all that ending up in landfills due to people’s ignorance and/or lack of care or responsibility for the (health of the) environment.

Yearly, there may well be more than four (4) billion of such Starbucks cups that fill landfills around the world. Witness this powerful slideshow that shows an example of this: And that’s only one coffee chain, not to mention food containers, plastic cutlery, and the like.

Furthermore, I reuse plastic bags, cloth bags, and my knapsack for carrying groceries and other things as well as reuse plastic bags from home or work for garbage, etc.

Perhaps in part as I love trees in particular and prefer nature to concrete jungles (of commercial and apartment buildings), I take my non-recycling goods (i.e., stuff, see below) to be recycled even further so it doesn’t end up in a landfill taking up precious space and land.

Likewise, our Green Team Committee (GTC) at work (that I initiated) does our part by recycling almost everything, including blue box items (papers, newspapers, and flyers as well as metal, glass, and plastic with numbers) in addition to non-blue box items such as soft plastics, hard plastics without numbers, wax or aluminum foil-lined items, and the like. We also have a compost bin; check out for details.

And furthermore, the GTC plans activities for Earth Day at work and Earth Week such as clothing exchange (donating leftover items to a local women’s shelter), a 100-Mile/'green’ potluck lunch in April, as well as week-long, environmental activities during Bike Month in June in Vancouver including

We take this a step further by contributing our agency’s research findings and suggestions to improve our organization's gashouse emissions via a Climate Smart team.

There’s a powerful and beautiful Native teaching about respecting and honouring Mother Earth for seven generations to leave behind for not only our generation and the next. This reminds me that in my grandmother’s and even in my mother’s time, there was no garbage or recycling pickup. Every item was reused.

Have you seen the movie REvolution by Rob Stewart? It’s about the deadening, i.e., extinction of live coral reefs and marine life as well as animals, wildlife, and even the possible extinction of mankind if we continue treating this planet as we do, with no forethought of environmental consequences ( It’s a must-see film if you wish to understand the impact of the ecosystem and how everything is interconnected.

How can you contribute to the empowerment of Mother Earth in being green(er longer)? How will you walk upon the earth with compassion, treading lightly and peacefully?

I am going to start carrying around a plastic plate in a plastic bag in my knapsack (that I've been thinking about doing lately...and keep forgetting to do). Maybe even carry plastic or compostable cutlery (that I already have)!

Ignore Kermit the Frog when he declares: "It's not easy bein' green." It is easy to ‘be green!’

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Birth and rebirth ... of me!

Especially in the sights, colours, and smells, signs of spring are everywhere! Spring, my favourite - and most powerful (as I mentioned in my previous posting), is a time of birth and rebirth, not only in nature but also in me!

There are various theories concerning how often our bodies reinvent themselves, cellularly speaking. You've probably heard it before: along the lines of how often your heart, lungs, and entire body renews itself, the latter believed to be about every seven or 10 years.

Regardless of the science and/or math around that - not my forte! - rebirth means being born again or reincarnation. Though having my own (evolved) theory of "reincarnation," I am referring to being "reborn," at least in this posting.

For me, spring is a time or renewal on a spiritual level, and I believe emotionally and mentally as well. Perhaps somewhat akin to a cleanse (having done my first this spring), it's like letting go of beliefs that no longer serve me - they aren't true anyway - and opening up my heart, more to myself and who I (truly) am...underneath all my layers (of being, i.e., personality, beliefs, etc.). Hmmm...maybe the season of Kenosis is when it all began for me!? (see blog posting re. Kenosis - Learning to Let Go ..., Sunday, February 24th).

Discoveries in the form of a powerful workshop that seemed to awaken something within me and my body (just before the official spring equinox), to another powerful healing modality related to changing ones beliefs by getting to the root (cause) were and are respectively factors in me 'reinventing' myself. (More about that another time?)

Is it because of spring and/or all these changes/discoveries that I've been so happy lately? My heart (chakra) is opening like (the shape of) these fiddleheads I saw yesterdayand I am singing more. I recently joined a wonderful choir (see my bio). Oh yeah, and how can I forget? I also took two weeks off enjoying the most wonderful balmy spring weather we had this year! Oh joy!

How are you reborn: what do you do to renew or reinvent yourself?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring is in the Air

Ah! The first of Spring, signs of Spring: the greening of the grass, scents of flowers, cherry blossoms and the like are in the air, daffodils and crocuses pulling up their colourful heads through the earth. Oh my God! I LOVE Spring!

It is not only my favourite season, but, I believe, also my power season. I'm not sure why that is. I wasn't born in March. I was actually born two months early, actually prematurely, so I'm curious about that.

Spring equinox occurs when night and day are about equal in length, when planet Earth is not on an axis; see for a picture of the earth.

To me, Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth, and growth. How exciting! To me, it's also about potential, potentiality, possibilities, and (being) limitlessness...the latter spiritually speaking of course!

What does the season of Spring mean to you and how are you in Springtime?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Part 2: An Unusual Message

In a previous blog posting, I mentioned that a song I wrote and its story were in a book. Well, I received that book in the mail that Friday evening!

The original request for Edwin Coppard’s second book, Wake Up & Sing, came in the form of an email in 2011 where he requested attendees from his retreats to submit their songs and stories. I did on a whim not knowing if he would choose to publish it or not. Thus I was thrilled, ecstatic even, to receive news of this (see ‘An Unusual Message’ blog posting, dated February 8th).

As I mentioned previously, Edwin is a talented musician, in his own right, who facilitates Your-Voice-is-the-Messenger-of-Your-Soul workshops in Tofino on the Pacific Coast (and elsewhere) to have people uncover and discover their natural or authentic voice.

Because of his out-of-the-box-thinking and passion, I felt a strong pull to attend an intro of his and subsequently his retreat: my to-be non-traditional, children’s co-creative choir is an example of out-of-the-box thinking that has become my passion too! (Read more about this in my original blog postings, Call to Action dated July 5th, and Why Me? Why this Choir? dated July 17th, 2010.)

Other reasons, one of them being that I thought I might be interested in his future training – to do what he does – teach others his method of essentially ‘singing from their soul’ also inspired me to attend Edwin’s retreat. And another was simply that I had heard so much about Tofino including Wickaninnish Inn ( for example – a former work colleague works there now – which I was curious to experience, albeit without a surf board or wet suit! Though it wasn’t held there – too bad! – I was able to get a tour of some the empty rooms as it was non-peak season.
My story as published verbatim by me in Edwin’s latest book, Wake Up & Sing explains the backdrop to my inspired song:

“I felt compelled to go to Tofino for the first time and attend Edwin Coppard’s workshop ‘Your Voice is the Messenger of Your Soul’. I was quite nervous as I usually get shy about singing in public. However, my dream is to facilitate a non-traditional children’s/youth choir. Thus I attended Edwin’s workshop.

After a couple of exercises, I felt very frustrated and at one point, very angry. Angry that I wasn’t getting it, i.e., the exercise. It seemed like everyone did and I didn’t. I think it basically was writing words to a song. The words just didn’t seem to flow as seems too often happen when I try to ‘force’ words onto a page, or so it seems.

As I didn’t come up with a song, I left the room and went to walk along the beach. I was ready to literally self-baptize myself in a sense, clearing and cleansing myself of my anger by stepping right into the ocean. If I had a towel and a change of clothes with me, I would have walked right into the ocean, despite the coldness. I was that angry and determined, at the time! It was while I was standing facing the ocean, that the words came to me:

Love is like the ocean
Love is like the ocean
Its w-a-a-a-aves keep a rolling

Love is like a forest
Love is like a forest
It i-i-i-is protective

Love is like a mountain
Love is like a mountain
So hi-i-i-igh

Love is in the air
Love is in the air
It i-i-i-is everywhere

I really FELT and experienced that song deep within me. I truly resonated with it and connected with it deeply. It helped me to dissolve the anger that I felt within me. I came to leaving a lot calmer and more peaceful within myself than when I arrived.” (pp. 162-163, Wake Up & Sing)

It was with trepidation, of course, that I entered my song in an emotional, raw, visceral state. Though I didn’t sing the third verse ending in higher notes (as per the video below), I don’t think I could have sang at all without the support of Edwin and the group. It was they, plus the environment (and atmosphere, i.e., feeling) of Tofino that attributed to a safe and sacred space in which to sing.

I deeply admire and appreciate Edwin’s creative spontaneity concerning his thinking and music, playing with sounds and songs. Like Edwin, I too feel like I have travelled – and am still travelling – the road less travelled, which, like the poem The Road Not Taken (by Robert Frost) – one of my favourites – mirrors my life for the most part. My to-be children’s choir is part of that journey, my journey...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Expressions of the Heart

The above is the title I got intuitively while pondering writing about matters of the heart…that is to say, that (in italics) is an example of an expression about the heart that I’d like to write about! You probably use a number of these from time to time as they are or can be so close to one’s heart! ; )

We often use emotional expressions using pieces of the heart so-to-speak such as “at heart” as in a person is “playful at heart” or “to heart” as in “I take that to heart” – where is that?…in the middle of one’s heart? More often than not though, we may say something more along the lines of having a “heart-to-heart talk” or “I love you with all my heart.”

Why do we sometimes seemingly love only from the bottom of our heart as in Stevie Wonder’s song, “I Just Called to Say ‘I Love You’” when he sings “And I mean it from the bottom of my heart” – as opposed to the top or even the middle or centre of our heart? What’s that about? Where did these silly phrases or idioms come from?

While writing this blog, to open my heart (and mind?) in preparation of writing this blog posting – parts of it including the beginning was written spontaneously (i.e., intuitively) – I listened to some ‘heart’ or ‘love’ songs. One was from a CD by Antara Dekanic which I got from Luna Ravenchilde aka (also known as) Astraea Starr ( The CD is Chakra Trancen-dance and the piece related to the heart is entitled “LOVE BREATH heart chakra.” I was literally and figuratively moved by the track (as I was dancing to it at the time) to buy the CD immediately after Luna’s dance class!

Another CD is by a sweet couple – Kirkland and Laura Ross – I met them at Banyen Books ( last year when they were on tour with their healing music. The CD “OmniPure, DNA Music” is the one I currently have, as their latest one wasn’t out yet. Best to check out their website ( as I’m sure it can explain their healing music much better than I can!

Lastly, Snatam Kaur (, whose voice I first heard via Abheeru, one of the founders and DJ’s of Just Dance ( Snatam’s music brought forth a premonition (a strong claircognizant impression in my heart/mind) that moved me to tears (and which later proved to be true, i.e., did occur).

When I heard Snatam in concert for the first time a short while later, I was crying most of the time as her voice is not only pure like that of an angel (that’s what came to me intuitively), but brought me ‘home’ to me, my soul. I can’t explain that. Listen to her live if possible, if not her CDs, or better yet, both! She will take you to your heart, your centre, your soul if you allow her to open your heart.

Some of the more positive idioms I like are, “Follow your heart” – I have been working on that for a long time and still am! ; ) – and someone who has a “heart of gold.” (Oh, by the way, if you find someone like that, will you let me know please!) ; )

At times I, and I’m sure you do too, learn or know “something by heart.” For me it’s reciting poetry, including two Shakespearean soliloquies. What is it for you?

How about to “have your heart on something.” I know what mine is…can you guess?! Mine is my vision of a non-traditional, co-creative children’s choir (see my very first couple of blog postings in particular about this).

What do you take to heart? What expressions do you hold close to your heart? Do you pour your heart out? Do you follow your heart?

How have you expressed your heart lately? (For example I read love poems, by Rumi and Hafiz, at work during a Valentine’s luncheon)

What are your heart’s desires? Do you take them to heart? ; ) Have no fear. Take heart! <3 (that is the shape of a heart, at least in FB land!)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kenosis - Learning to Let Go ...

I got to participate in a cool – actually hot! – ceremony today as a result of visiting LVUC ( in North Vancouver, being a member of their community choir, byoVoice ( singing “what i want” a heartfelt poem written by Pat Lowther ( (who happened to be born in Vancouver and grew up in North Vancouver) and music written by Stephen Smith (also from Vancouver).

Pastor Blair Odney defined the season of Kenosis simply as ‘self-emptying.’ According to Wikipedia, “in Christian theology, Kenosis from the Greek word for emptiness is the 'self-emptying' of one's own will and becoming entirely receptive to God's divine will.”

Like I said before it was (both) a cool and hot ceremony. The congregation was invited to write on a piece of tissue-like paper what they were willing to let go of. I wrote “worry and anxiety…” especially concerning a particular aspect of my life.

Even though I witnessed the pastor and a few other members burn and release their paper, when it was my turn – ouch! a slight sting – I didn’t let go completely of the piece of paper like others had. What was I thinking?! Silly me!

What I discovered and relearned in that process was the importance of letting go, not only figuratively, but also literally. I have come to know that the most important aspect of actualizing (or manifesting) something is to let go, completely. If I had let go of the paper (completely) while it was burning – the way it burned so quickly was like magic to my eyes – I wouldn’t have hurt my finger, even slightly.

No wonder then that this morning the card that tumbled from a small deck of cards that I received from Anne Marie Evers, (, the Affirmation Doctor, was ‘Spiritual Growth.’ (See blog posting Mon. June 26, 2011 for picture and another related story).

Later in the day, I rediscovered (as I had forgotten) that the Oscars were on tonight. In the past, I watched them fervently. Now I feel that I have outgrown my addiction for watching award shows as I have other interests (and self-imposed deadlines such as writing blog postings!). I can do without (watching) the Oscars and am totally at peace with that. So I feel I have grown spiritually in this regard.

What are you emptying or releasing from yourself?

Friday, February 8, 2013

An Unusual Message

An unusual voice mail message greeted me upon returning home from work one evening near the end of January: “Um, hi Elly, I emailed you asking you for your address so we could send you the book so, haven’t heard from you, so please ca-all back. Call me or email me with your address. Thank you.”

No (mention of a) company name, no phone number, not even the name of the contact (i.e., person)!

I’m thinking, Who are you?! What book? Why? Am I (mentioned) in a book? If so, why? And why didn’t you, whoever you are, leave me your phone number or email address if you wanted me to contact you back?!

Interesting too in that I’m really great at recognizing voices from people, even from months or years ago, yet I had no idea who this was or could be. I listened to the recording several times to no avail.

Since I was able to press ‘8’ for an automatic reply, I got a recording of the phone number which was a 250 area code (outside the lower Mainland, Vancouver and area). I dialed the number, still not knowing the name – personal or company – associated with it and left a message along the lines of “I have no idea who you are and what book you are referring to. Could you please email me? …” I didn’t wish to leave my number as I thought it might be a scam or fraud...sometimes a business calls using random dialing as opposed to from a contact list that I may have signed up on.

Lo and behold, I get an email February 1st – later, after the fact, I discover that the previous email was dated a few days prior – from Edwin Coppard, musician extraordinaire ( Please send your address so we can send you a book! Thanks Edwin

Upon reading that, my immediate thought was Holy Shit! (pardon the expression) I’m in Edwin's book! I must be in it or else why would I get a free copy? Besides, I recollected that I submitted a story and song to be included in his book.

My email reply was, Oh, the voice mail message came from you?! Sure! That would be mean I'm in it?! ;)

I can hardly wait to read my story and my inspired song! WOW! I am soooooooooooo excited … I can hardly wait … I feel like a kid at Christmas time! be continued

What is something you created that you love? And that someone else admires as well? (not that they have to!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mulling over Mulled Wine

There is so much I could write about now, and anytime for that matter – I’d love to write more often, but am quite busy with work and other commitments (called life! ; ) – especially lately, as there have been some interesting occurrences.

You could say I have been mulling about my next blog posting after the last one, including whether to write about mulled wine, something totally and completely different for a (pardon-the pun, refreshing) change.

I truly have been pondering over mulled wine aka (also known as) Gluhwein, pronounced glue-vine) since drinking this concoction at the Vancouver Christmas Market ( last December. (I really think they should change the name of this market, though situated in Vancouver, as it is a German-based market.)

Gluh wine or Gluhwein (in German) translates more or less to "glow wine" apparently from the hot irons once used for mulling – what is that?! – and the effect of the wine: it makes you glow inside.

It is a mulled wine or (European alcoholic) cider (not apple juice), a beverage popular in German-speaking countries (such as Austria); is usually made with red wine along with various spices, citrus and sugar; served hot or warm; alcoholic (with a shot of rum or other liquor) or non-alcoholic; and is a traditional drink during winter, especially around the Christmas holidays.

In the Netherlands (where I was born), it is known as bisschopswijn (literally "bishop's wine"), though I am not familiar with it. It is made using oranges rather than lemons and is a typical drink during the Sinterklaas holidays (the Dutch version of Santa Claus who looks like a bishop). (Info from Wikipedia,

Walking outdoors at the Christmas market downtown warranted a little – or perhaps a lot – of something to keep the chill at bay, and Gluhwein was the perfect answer. I was grateful for it as it warmed up my innards reflected by my rosy (or glowing) cheeks.

Having tasted a sample of mulled cider during a Christmas tree festival at the nearby Nourish Market ( in North Vancouver made me curious enough to ask for the recipe. So I asked. And it is simple to make.

You can check online for various recipes though I used sweet apple juice, citrus fruit (of oranges, lemons, and limes) as well as spices (cinnamon, cloves, and the like).

For my recent birthday, I celebrated with a friend at Jagerhof, a restaurant specializing in Austrian/German food where I ordered their GluhWein. Delicious! I highly recommend it along with the Weiner Schnitzel, a traditional Austrian meal (though my Mom who is from this homeland used to make it with veal).

Next time, I’ll make the alcoholic version! Prost! (German) or Proost! (Dutch) (A European toast pronounced ‘Prohst’)

What is something different you have tried recently?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Foggy Future

How will 2013 be? How will it be for you? And how will it be for me?

So far in 2013, the future feels like a fog similar to the photo that I took recently from the Seabus heading to work (as shown).

When I was in my teens, the future seemed bleak to me, worse than foggy weather. It appeared black and felt like an abyss. I was afraid of the future: it intimidated me and threatened to engulf me or so it felt.

Since then the future has come to me in different ways. Depending on my mood and/or life's circumstances, it sometimes shows up crystal clear like a bright, sunny day, though more often than not it's hazy or cloudy.

Armageddon hasn't occurred as a number of people suspected with the end of the Mayan calendar - we're still here on planet Earth. Thank God for that! I still haven't used all my unused talents!

My hope and dream for you and me is that we bring forth our unique talents and gifts before we die - why not now? this year? - and contribute them to the world.

What can you (and I) do to begin that process? What is the first step we can take?