Thursday, April 30, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: Z is for ...Zest!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter Z in the A to Z challenge is not Zen as originally planned - I'm no expert! ;) - but Zest. Yeah! That feels right!

Google definition of zest is "great enthusiasm and energy." I know I can get excited easily about things that interest me and stir my curiousity. I feel like a kid and act like one too at times! ;)

Zeal similarly means, "great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective." And zealous its close cousin means, "having or showing zeal."

Zest is shown by my interest and curiousity in learning if it is of a subject especially close to my heart. Also in terms of matters that are close to my heart like the environment - nature - animals and trees in particular.

Photo by Roberto Kaplan

One objective I demonstrate zeal for is recycling. I do so both at home and at work. In fact, I started the recycling and compost program at work, and most items are recycled or rather picked up to be recycled! ;)

I do this as the environment is important to me and even though I do not have children, I have nieces and nephews. Regardless, I think it is important to be respectful of Mother Earth and do the best that we can.

There is a quote - can't find it - but along the lines of, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." (From The Great Law of The Iroquois Confederacy)

What zealous cause will you show zeal for and do with zest? Ok, I'm being silly here!

Seriously though, now that this month's A to Z challenge is over, what will you commit to doing with zest or zeal?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: Y is for ... Yes! Yearning for Yourself!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter Y in the A to Z challenge is Yearning or rather Yes! Yearning for Yourself! ;)

"Huh?!" you may ask or wonder, "What does that mean?!"

The google definition varies from mine as in "a feeling of intense longing for something" as a noun or "involving or expressing yearning" as an adjective.

Photo by Roberto Kaplan

Mine on the other hand is basically saying "yes" or rather a resounding "YES!" to yourself. (Writers can make up their own definitions can't they? I certainly do from time to time!) ;)

That is, you deserve to evolve, to learn and grow, to do better and become a better person, to fulfill your heart's desires. After all, isn't that what evolution is all about? ;)

There is an expression or did I make this one up - sometimes it's a blur! - you are either living or dying ... in every moment by the way! Such implications!

What do you (most) yearn for in your life, right now?

Reading Cat Graham's A to Z blog post on Young makes me think I could have - wish I did - write about being young-at-heart! Oh well! ;)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: X is for ... Xpress!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter X in the A to Z challenge is Xtra as in doing a good deed and going the extra mile, beyond what is required or asked.

Wait a minute! What am I thinking?! How about Xpressive or Xpress as in my blog name? I could even write about "Xpressive" Arts Therapy. (The correct spelling is actually "expressive" and "express.")

Xpress Your Essence - a blog existed with an 'e' in 'Express Your Essence' - was borne out of heart. And it is about heart in part. (I'm not just saying that 'cause I like to rhyme from time to time! Ok, that just tumbled out of me!)

My blog is about our true essence, yes yours AND mine, which is love. Our highest expression is love, and our spiritual/soul self is made up of light and love.

I have a few questions for you: (1) How do you think you best express yourself? (2) What form of expression does your soul/spiritual self naturally take? (3) Are they the same or different? (The first answer may have to do with the creative and expressive arts, though it could be about anything really in terms of creating.)

Picture I drew of my hands

Let me give you an example. I believe I best express myself through writing. (Though I have been informed recently that I have a gift of a particular style of painting, I haven't explored that yet).

At times, that is sometimes, I express Spirit/intuition in "channelled" writing - nonfiction, sometimes fiction and poetry - as some of you may know if you've been following me, that I get words a lot intuitively and I can be quite creative with ideas.)

However, where my form of expression originates is in my hands. This can be through typing and/or writing. However, I strongly feel energy in my hands when I am giving hands-on/energy healing and increasingly when receiving it. My hands also initiate spontaneous movements which I coin "intuitive movements" and that has been concurred by another sensitive soul. (That is for another blog post someday!)

Monday, April 27, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: W is for ... Wisdom

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter W in the A to Z challenge is not Writing, though one can always write more, I had written a few posts on it already: or on Judy Yaron's blog, Cut the Crap Solutions (!elly-stornebrink/c21dr) on 'Expert Writing Tips.'

Yet, writing about writing doesn't seem to flow with the rest of my A to Z theme.

I was considering W for Wild as in being outrageous and living one's life according to one's own standards, though I believe I alluded to that (did I not?) in my U post on 'Unique U' (

However, the word my heart chose is Wisdom. Wisdom comes not only from life's experiences but also from the heart, based on intuition.

There is a well-known expression known as the 'serenity prayer' in the 12-step community where people with similar addictions gather for support in maintaining sobriety: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." ( Isn't there a lot of truth in that!

"Inspired Elly" by Roberto Kaplan

I never considered myself truly wise, more on the foolish spectrum as I oftentimes react impulsively speaking my mind - is this speaking my truth or intuition? (I am sensitive to energy in the environment and in people as well after all!)

When I started getting feedback however, in the form of a reading or a compliment more than once, I started to pay attention and take notice. And of course I am not always wise: please don't make me perfect! ;)

So I questioned myself: What is it about me that makes me wise? Or asked in another way: How am I wise?

Now my turn to ask you: What (do you think) makes you wise?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: V is for ...Values!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter V in the A to Z challenge is Values. (I would love to write about vision as in what we envision for ourselves....hmmm, maybe another time!)

After a busy day of work, attending a poetry reading event (in lieu of Poetry Month), and reading and commenting on other blogger's A to Z posts, I now have just a little over half an hour to post my V letter for the day! Yikes! (Note to Debbie D. Doglady: I am a pantser!) ;)

Values are what we hold dear to our hearts and in our hearts as well! Can you tell I am writing this late and in a hurry? ;)

One such definition is "a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life." Better google speaks than I try to articulate this, especially at this late, 11th hour! ;)

Synonyms for value include "principles, ethics, moral code, morals, standards, code of behavior."

I have thought of and explored my values in workshops as well as everyday life, usually when encountering a person or situation that went against the grain of my personality or questioned my integrity or the like. I believe this is when values come to the forefront of one's life.

One of my top values is authenticity. A successful businessman and trainer that I know despises the term as he declares that you can be authentically inauthentic. He does have a point! Thus, being genuine, genuineness maybe a more suitable word. However, to me authenticity means being true to oneself, so I prefer to use that with that explanation! ;)

Some of my values being expressed (photo by Roberto Kaplan)

Ok, moving on, creativity and self-expression are other top values I cherish. And yes, I am quite creative especially with ideas and I hope with words too as in writing - yes?

Self-expression comes through writing in particular as well as singing, dancing, performance via opportunities through school or Halloween or ??? who knows?!

Fun, having fun is an important value as I believe it is important to let loose and let your hair down once in a while, in a 'clean' and healthy way.

Friends are like family and of course family is important too though I'm not as close to them as I could be and would like to be. However, I hope to change that and am in the process of working on that.

So what are some of your top values? What do you hold dear and close to your heart?

Just an aside here: I chuckled when I had forgotten that I had already posted my letter U for the day wanting to do so just before midnight (as I notice the Indian bloggers who do so, but they are one day ahead!). And here I was in a bit of a panic! AND then, I realized later, I could have posted just after midnight for today! Silly me! ;)

Friday, April 24, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: U is for ... Unique U!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter U in the A to Z challenge is Unique U (or Unique You), as in you being unique and true to your unique, individual self! ;)

Consider this: there is NOT one single person on Earth out of more than 7 billion people(!) who is exactly like you! WOW! Isn't that stupendous?!

What does that feel like? Have you ever pondered that? Does that not make you feel like a star? ;)

YOU are as 'special' and unique as a star in a vast star-filled sky. There is NO ONE, absolutely no one like you at all in the world.

Clones are not exact replicas of human beings. Neither for that matter are identical twins.
"The cloning process would never produce an exact copy of the cloned person. Though an individual manufactured by cloning would posses the same genetic sequence as the person whose nucleus was used, other factors also substantially affect the development of an individual. ... non-genetic factors such as nutrition, home environment, education, economic situation, and culture add significantly to the development of personhood. Just as with animals, cloning humans will never produce exact copies."

"Baa Baa Black Sheep" photo by me representing the first cloned sheep

"There is some misunderstanding about what constitutes a clone. A human clone would be the genetic identical twin, a generation or more younger, of the donor (not the surrogate mother) who provided the nucleus. But because people are more than a product of their genes, a clone would have its own personality, character, intelligence, and talents exactly as identical twins do (who are natural clones stemming from the same egg). You cannot clone a person's brain or mind, and chance factors, the environment, and a person's experiences contribute to individual traits." (Source:
Thus, you are here for a reason. You are meant to be here. But you already know that, right?

So tell me then, do you know your divine purpose or mission in life? Are you aware of your God-given gifts or talents? And how will you share them with the world from your heart, with all your heart?

Cyndi Lauper, a 1980's pop singer sang True Colors [American spelling] with words as in the picture to the right: "I see your true colors, and that's why I love you..."

What are YOUR true colours? [Canadian spelling] What makes YOU unique?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: T is for ... Trust!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter T in the A to Z challenge is Trust. It isn't 'Treehugging' that I will write about today as some of you may have suspected! ;)

I am aware that trust is an issue with many, including myself (at times, ahem)! ;)

Trusting others begins with trusting oneself, yourself! If you aren't trustworthy of others, what is it about yourself that you don't trust?

You see, everything we see in others, both 'good' and 'bad' is a reflection of us. Did you read my inspired poem 'You' on this very issue? ( But you knew that already, didn't you? Didn't you?! ;)

To trust someone is to surrender and let go of any preconceptions and the like. It is akin to God holding you in the palm of His hands - these words are coming through me right now, though I am no longer religious. And yet I do believe in God/Spirit (substitute what term you prefer).

Essentially, it is having faith and belief that all is right in your world, all is well, all is meant to be. Que sera, sera (what will be, will be).

My posture suggestive of surrendering, letting go

Actually going backwards here - could have started with a google definition of trust, both as a noun and a verb. As a noun it is a "firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something." The verb definition is the same sans (the word) 'firm' as in "believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something."

Synonyms for trust as a noun are as follows: confidence, belief, faith, certainty, assurance, conviction, credence; reliance and as a verb: rely on, depend on, bank on, count on, be sure of. These are words that come from the heart ultimately. Both definitions carry a weight of solidity as in a rock or better yet a foundation, say as in building a house.

Imagine for a moment being with a group of people where you are told that you need to jump from a place high above them where they catch you whilst you free fall forwards or backwards. Trust is like that.

Letting go, surrendering, free falling if you will, are some ways to learn to trust completely, fully. Have faith and belief and trust in yourself and/or God/Spirit and this can catapult you to believe and let go and surrender, completely, fully. This can be easier said than done.

Below is a copy of a photo of me rappelling down the side of a cliff. From experience, I can only tell you that I think this act requires A LOT of trust: Trust that I will make it down alive, trust in the ropes and cables to keep me secure, trust in the cliff/mountain to keep me steady, trust in the people who secure me...have I missed anything?!

I was initially petrified when I first attempted rappelling. Yet once I started, I absolutely loved it - it was a thrill - and I wanted to do it again, and again! It ended up being a lot more fun than I imagined!

And what did rapelling require? Letting go, surrendering to the process, and trust and faith and belief that I was going to be okay in the end...and hopefully have fun in the process! ;)

Can you recall an incident of where you had to have absolute trust in someone and/or something?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: S is for ... Singing (Your Heart Out!)

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter S in the A to Z challenge is Singing. (I was originally considering writing about Spirit or senses or sensitivity.)

Everyone can sing if they have the correct anatomy to do so; however, not everyone sings with heart or from their heart. That is ideal as it 'expands' the heart in a good-feel kinda way! ;)

And did you know that singing is also good for the heart? Singing can strengthen the immune system, reduce heart rate, live longer (!) and well, in fact there are quite a number of benefits on a physical, mental (especially if memorizing music), emotional, and social level.

Rather than repeat all the various benefits, I will draw your attention to two websites: (1) and (2) You can choose to google others if you wish just by typing "benefits of singing."

And ahem, start singing, alone at least though preferably in a group. Join a choir! What are you waiting for? (Men especially are often lacking in numbers in many choral groups.)

In my blog post about Mother's Day, May 26, 2013 (, I featured a video of me singing a duet, my first (thus somewhat nervous ...)

Do you enjoy singing and what do you enjoy most about it?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: R is for R&R

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter R in the A to Z challenge is R&R as in "military slang for rest and recuperation (or rest and relaxation or rest and recreation)" and "is a term used for the free time of a soldier in the U.S. military or International UN staff serving in non-family duty stations." (Definition by Wikipedia.)

I prefer rest and relaxation or even rest and recreation as in rec-reation (doing something you enjoy) or better yet, re-creating or renewing yourself by resting and relaxing! ;)

Having time off and personal time are two different concepts, yet both are important in terms of relaxation. The former is obvious, the latter maybe not so. While both can allow you to keep busy, hopefully the first at least will allow you the opportunity to relax and enjoy life - you can do nothing if you so choose! - although hopefully with the latter as well.

Personal time can be time which you spend on doing things that make you feel good and happy such as taking care of yourself through exercise or other self-care needs such as getting a hair cut and/or style, or spending time in nature.

Photo of me hugging a tree

Taking time for yourself is important. It gives the message that you are important which you are! It could be as simple as reading a book or taking a bath or getting your hair done or ...well, I think you get the idea. ;)

I realize that although I have quite a bit of time off - evenings and weekends - I don't spend a lot of quality personal time or at least not as much as I would like or desire, and sometimes that means just doing absolutely nothing but resting, i.e., relaxing! A foreign concept to me it seems as I am often on the go ... busy, busy, busy like a (bumble)bee! ;)

Me 'chilling out' (photo by Roberto Kaplan)

I'm on the computer a lot, with my work and at home. I often blog, catch up on bloggers' posts, emails, and social media. That takes a huge chunk of my time. In fact, most of the day on a lot of days!

What I realize I need and want to do is to get out in nature more, exercise more, and even read more as I have a lot of books waiting to be read! ;)

I need to spend personal time on my time off for the better. And I aim to do just that once I get myself a laptop or equivalent computer so I can take it out with me and not be committed to sit at my desk at work and at home all day or most of the day!

Having down time and me time is important!

When you - your body and your mind - are relaxed, you reduce your stress, you become clear(er) in your thinking, you become more heart-centred, and the like.

What are you committed to in terms of time off and/or personal time?

Monday, April 20, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: Q is for Questioning

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter Q in the A to Z challenge is Questioning.

I hope you read my short post on non-conformity vs. "normal" ... what is that?! - - then you will understand when I say it is important to be of a questioning nature.

Now, I don't necessarily mean questioning everything (as I tend to seemingly do) as in being curious (as I am). ;) More so rather in terms of questioning the status quo, and yes, this may include questioning authority (for those in power are not always right you know!).

What does my chosen word for the day have anything to do with the heart? Good question! I'm glad you asked! ;) Let me explain ...

I had mentioned in my post two days prior ( about the heart either being in a contracted or expanded state. (I believe this has been proven scientifically, though I am too bothered to look it up as otherwise this will be a longer post.)

When you question, you may do so out of fear possibly; however, in doing so you are acting in spite of being fearful. And by stepping into the fear, you can overcome it.

The result of doing this, including the possibility of receiving answers, can lead you to a higher state emotionally, that is, one of openness, a state that expands the heart.

I know this not just intellectually. I understand it at a deep level because of one experience in particular.

To make a long story very short, I left a certain church (no names mentioned) and later organized (and) traditional religion that I didn't realize at the time had me feeling for the most part repressed, not to mention emotional and mental constriction and contraction. Imagine a boa wrapped around my body, especially my neck and heart area.

After I left - I had twice previously - I felt a sense of lightness as if I had loosened a chain or noose attached to me.

I also came to realize that I was starting to feel happy, genuinely happy, more than just moments here and there, but lasting hours, even days in a row. That was unusual for me up to that point in my life.

I had thought I might go back one day; however, after my spiritual awakening (, I knew in my heart I could never go back. It would be like stepping back into time, i.e., going backwards, not moving forwards, evolving.

I became aware of the reasons why I had joined the church in the first place and the reason I could no longer return (as mentioned above).

In hindsight, I believe that I was not able to question authority or else I would be going "against the church." That was a big no-no! And in my heart, I no longer believed that the church was true as it claimed to be.

If I did not question my beliefs (which I did), none of this would have happened. However, I have no regrets.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: P is for ... Poetry!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter P in the A to Z challenge is Poetry, not just because it's poetry month.

Forgive me for not writing poetry this month, at least thus far. Though I didn't plan to, who knows?! I have quite a busy schedule this month and felt it perhaps too much of a challenge, i.e., time-wise. (I could be wrong!)

I had heard of the two following therapies a number of years ago and was fascinated by the concept: "Biblio/poetry therapy, one of the creative arts therapies, is the use of the written word (although it may be read out loud) to bring healing and personal growth." (Source:

Reading poetry
whether silently or out loud - perhaps even having poetry read to you - has many benefits. It stimulates critical thinking, creativity and imagination; increases verbal intelligence, verbal skills, and memory; as well as empathy and insight; and it further develops a greater sensitivity to language. Read here for details:

Here is my favourite inspired poem that I wrote a number of years ago, simply entitled You! ( Or you may prefer the following post which features this poem as its opposite - there is a name for that type of name though not sure... -

Me rapping my inspired 'You!' poem at my Expressive Arts Therapy grad

There are also, of course, benefits to writing poetry. From author Richard Jaffe, here are a few benefits he recognizes: improves cognitive function, helps to heal emotional pain, leads to greater self-awareness, inspires or educates others, and is a form of celebration:

And here are some other - and creative ways of looking at - benefits of writing poetry from poet and blogger, Kelly Belmonte, entitled "12 Most Radical Reasons to Write Poetry" (

Can you feel your heart opening up and expanding when reading poetry or being read poetry and/or writing poetry?

Friday, April 17, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: O is for ... Openness

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter O in the A to Z challenge is Openness.

Open-minded can be akin to openness, being open to new ideas. Similarly, being open-hearted is being open to kindness and love and allowing that (or more of that) to come into your life, your being.

Conversely if you are closed-minded, your state of being would be contracted physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Likewise, if you are open-hearted, you are expanding, metaphorically of course! ;) Energetically, people can feel or sense this about you.

Unless you're a great disguiser of emotions, your openness or lack of it also shows up in your body, including facial expressions: your pupils either dilate or expand, your lips turn downwards or upwards, your shoulders hunch up or relax, etc.

How does openness show up in your life? What are you (most) open to?

Photo of me (years ago) at a fashion show

Thursday, April 16, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: N is for ... Normality? NO! Non-conformity!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter N in the A to Z challenge is Normality.

I could write about
nurturing oneself as that is important in terms of self-love and is heart-related. I was also playing around with neatness thinking "cleanliness is next to Godliness," but what else could I say?

Instead I chose an unusual word today, an anomaly. Normality means "being within certain limits that define the range of normal functioning." Another word for it may be conformity.

Source of picture below right:

Now doesn't that feel safe and comfortable? And though that may (or may not) be heartfelt, isn't that (rather) boring?!

Actually, that is boring! So, I'm changing it (now) to Non-conformity! After all, the ones who change the world for the better are non-conformists, aren't they?

Thus I am going to challenge you to go outside those limits, your limits, and expand your comfort zone.

That is where growth, self-growth and self-confidence occurs and the like. Now, doesn't that feel heart-expanding?

How are you different, an anomaly? Clue: think of what others say about you or how you describe yourself. How does this make you feel?

Photo of me goofing off with a statue by Roberto Kaplan

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: M is for Music

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter M in the A to Z challenge is Music.

I saw this sign on a major street in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada many years ago and have always remembered it: "Music is heard with the ears, but felt with the heart." Now isn't that true?! ;)

I have always been sensitive to music as it moved me deeply. I also used to listen to the radio for hours recording music, especially dance music. As the years went by, I progressed to listening primarily to instrumental and choral music.

As you know, music can uplift one's spirits through inspiring music and conversely can also heal therapeutically as in music with sad tones that might aid in the grieving process.

This can be a part of music therapy. A definition that comes from wikipedia ( is as follows,
Music therapy is an allied health profession and one of the expressive therapies, consisting of a process in which a music therapist uses music and all of its facets - physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual - to help clients improve their physical and mental health.
.In particular,
Music therapists primarily help clients improve their health in several domains, such as cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional development, social skills, and quality of life, by using music experiences such as free improvisation, singing, and listening to, discussing, and moving to music to achieve treatment goals.
As you know, music can uplift one's spirits through inspiring music and can also heal therapeutically as with music with sad tones that might aid in the grieving process for example.

Has music helped you heal and if so, in what way? What genres of music do you love or prefer?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: L is for Laughter

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter L in the A to Z challenge is Laughter.

You may have heard or not that the average child laughs about 300 to 500 times per day: Wow! Adults on the other hand? Well, that's another story! Do you really wish to know? It's rather sober: adults laugh only about 15 times a day.

Though I love to tease and have fun, I know I fall in the latter category. However, here is one photo where I am laughing heartily -

Photo of me laughing by Roberto Kaplan

Though humour is a great way to release tension, it may be challenging at times to find something to make you laugh hard enough - a good belly laugh - to experience all the wonderful benefits of laughter:

1. Helps to reduce stress by decreasing stress hormones
2. Improves immune system
3. Lowers blood pressure
4. Tones the abdomen
5. Stimulates many organs
6. Improves intake of oxygen
7. Stimulates circulation, breathing, and relaxation
8. Increases endorphins
9. Relieves pain
10. Creates a sense of well-being

Dr. Madan Kataria introduced laughter yoga to the world in 1995 when he learned about the physiological and psychological benefits of laughter.

What makes you laugh?

Monday, April 13, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: K is for Kindness

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter K in the A to Z challenge is kindness.

Kindness is epitomized in the book and movie Pay it Forward in which a person fulfills three good deeds for others - not the original giver - upon receiving (the benefit of) a kind deed. A feel-good society develops as this movement spreads.

There are kindness movements rippling through North America (Canada and the United States) and other countries as well.

In my local backyard so-to-speak, Brock Tully started 'Random Acts of Kindness' both as a concept and an organization. He has a bullying prevention program for schools, and he used to host an annual 'World Kindness Concert' on the message of kindness. I wrote about him on World Kindness Day (

Are you familiar with either of these concepts: "pay it forward" or "random acts of kindness" and more importantly, do you practice them? If so, how?

Photo of 'heart mandala' I made out of heart-shaped stones, shells, sand, and cement

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Introducing Tag: You're it!

I was tagged by Carol Graham of Battered Hope on Monday, April 6th to play "I Must Ask You Some Questions."

I will answer her questions here and then appoint four other bloggers to continue the game. HOWEVER... what I would really like to do is have each one of you send me your answers to these questions and I will do a post highlighting your funniest or best answers.

READY? Let's play. It will be a great way to get to know more about each of you.

El or Ell or Elle; Miss Elly (from Dallas); Elly Mae (from Beverly Hillbillies); ‘Ells Bells

Medical Secretary, Administrative Assistant, part-time Jewellery sales clerk, Information and Referral Specialist

3) FOUR MOVIES I HAVE WATCHED MORE THAN ONCE Les Miserables (two nights in a row) and about four different movie versions, 2 variations of musicals; ET; Tootsie; ...?

Toronto and Brampton in Ontario; Vancouver and North Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada

The Netherlands (aka Holland), Austria, Calgary (in Canada), and Utah in the U.S.A.

Nelson BC (for arts and hippievilleness); in a forest; in a park full of trees I can hug; by a waterfall

Soybeans including edamame; shark soup; cottage cheese, frogs legs or any pets, reptiles and insects

Pizza (thin crust, spinach feta; sweets (cookies and dark chocolate); Thai and Indian (but not too spicy)

I haven’t watched TV in years; however, used to love ER (because of Noah Wyle), Picket Fences (years ago), Lonesome Dove (due to gorgeous Erik McCormack, Ally McBeal (my laughter therapy show)

My new home (I just moved!); downsizing my home; downsizing me!; my new choir (the one I currently sing with) and our upcoming performances

"Who invented this?!" or "Who invented this?! I could have done better (than that)!"; "My intuition is ALWAYS right!"; "Where are you from?"; "There’s no such thing as common sense!"


NOW, I am going to nominate FOUR BLOGGERS to write a post answering these questions and they are in no particular order (1) Aathira Jim at (2) Debbie D. the "Doglady at (3) Shantala at and (4) Cathy Graham or 'Cat' for short at

Do YOURSELF A FAVOUR and follow these blogs -- you will be wonderfully delighted!

Waiting (with baited breath) for your answers to my questions...

Friday, April 10, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: J is for (Jumping for) JOY!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter J in the A to Z challenge is Joy and I'm not changing that! ;)

You needn't necessarily jump for joy to be happy; however, it doesn't hurt per se to jump when happy! I sometimes do or at times do what I call "my happy dance." Read more about this on this relatively short post: ;)

Joy is "a feeling of great pleasure and happiness" as per Google. It is one of the highest vibrational feelings in terms of positive energy. Do you ever notice at times how infectious joy can be, similar to laughing?

Likewise, ecstasy can be described as "an overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement" according to Google.

Photo of me dancing with joy by Roberto Michael Kaplan

Joy - or ecstasy also known as 'highest excitement'(?) on the vibrational emotional scale below - is one of the highest expressions of emotions.

Tell me, what brings you great joy? Do you ever jump for joy or dance for joy?

The Abraham-Hicks Emotional Guidance Scale (Pinterest photo)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: I is for Inspiration!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter I in the A to Z challenge was going to be Intuition; however, Inspiration felt like it needed to be heard today! ;)

As per google, "inspiration" means "the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative." It also means "the drawing in of breath; inhalation" as in "inspire." The etymological root of the word on the other hand means "divine guidance."

Inspiration, I believe, is a gift from God or Spirit or whatever you call that. And a loving gift it is indeed, isn't it?

HOW are you inspired and/or what inspires you?

"Inspired Elly" by Roberto-Michael Kaplan

#A to Z Challenge: H is for Home

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter H in the A to Z challenge is Home. How can it not be? I just moved a little over a week ago! ;)

"Home is where the heart is" is a common expression that I find resonates with me as "There's no place like home," a line from the movie, 'The Wizard of Oz.' Isn't that true though?

Home ideally should be and feel like a haven or sanctuary from the storms of life, a place to put your feet up (if you choose) and just be.

My new home not only looks different (of course) from my previous one, but it feels a lot different too.

Though I miss the expansive patio at my old place, my new place has a sense of light and air and space and expansiveness. I think it may be because it is ground level and there are a number of windows bringing in natural light from three different directions!

Part of my new kitchen

It feels good, good to be here, good to be home, a place to relax, and be me!

How does your home feel? What do you most love about it?

While you’re here, check out my guest post, "Heart Strings" over at Blog-A-Rhythm, where the #AtoZChallenge theme is "BLOGGING BYTES." - ... Thank you Shailaja and Blog-A-Rhythm for featuring me as a guest blogger today: It’s an honour to be guest-posting here for the annual April A to Z Blogging Challenge! Thanks for the opportunity!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: G is for ... Growth!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter G in the A to Z challenge is ... not "Gifts" as originally intended but "Growth.".

You as an individual are either growing or dying on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level. Physically too; however, that is another story as your cells rejuvenate at different rates. Thus, your physical body is both growing and dying at the same time! (

Now this also pertains to our inner self, our spirit, our soul. This makes sense when you think of evolution. Human progress and move forward, striving for more, growing and developing. (I know it may not seem that way at times though!)

Let me give you an example so you can understand what I mean: if you are happy with your work and you are continuing to learn, you are growing. If not, you are most likely dying.

Do you know people who live to a ripe old age? Is it because they live their passions? I wouldn't be surprised at all if the answer was a resounding "YES!"

One person whom I think of in this regard is a local man named Dal(las) Richards, a big band leader who is 97 years old or young, depending on how you look at him.

You can see him conducting and singing in his band if you copy the following link and put it in your web browser; I can't seem to copy it:

According to BC (British Columbian) researchers, Dal is a "remarkable and rare, super-healthy old person, an entity researchers call Super Seniors." He is being studied as to why some people never get cancer. Apparently he is or seems to be an exception!

In fact, scientists are studying him to see what his secret is to longevity: "Life has been a stage for Richards since he was 16 and it’s the music, the performing, the adoring fans, the durable friendships with his band mates that he credits for keeping him healthy and vital."

Wouldn't you think that happiness and living your passions would have you kick around longer than most, perhaps even disease-free? ;)

Photo of Dal in 2009 (at age 91) from

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: F is for ... Feelings

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter F in the A to Z challenge is Feelings. (It was going to be "FUN!" because when you have fun, your heart is open, expansive, and you may even glow!)

As there seems to be general confusion between emotion (see yesterday's post) and feelings, I consulted google: Feeling is "an emotional state or reaction." Now that doesn't help much does it?!

Karla McLaren, social science researcher, describes a feeling as: "...your conscious awareness of the emotion itself."

Check out this site for greater clarity (

How does all this relate to my theme of 'heart things, heart strings?' Feelings come from the heart, though they come from the gut too.

Did you know that both the heart and the gut are considered a type of brain? Truly, they are. Science has proven it.

How do you feel today, right now?

Picture source: Pinterest

Monday, April 6, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: E is for ... Emotions!

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter E in the A to Z challenge is not Euphoric or Euphoria as originally planned, but Emotions!

E is a most excellent letter, not because it is the beginning of my Dutch and original birth names, but think of all these wonderful words: enthusiasm, excel, excellent, exhuberant, etc. This is why I originally picked the word euphoria to capture the letter E for today. However, emotions came to me and I sense that is the right word to explore today.

But before I do, did you know that the word enthusiasm means "possessed by a God" or "inspired by a God" or simply "the God inside." I understood it to mean "with God." Regardless, it is a divine word (pardon the pun), isn't it?

Speaking of emotions, there seems to be a lot of confusion between that word and feelings isn't there? Simply put, I think of emotions as energy in motion - think e-motion or emote, to express emotion. However, I had to look it up to differentiate between the two.

Since there seems to be some possible contradictions and confusion, I have opted for a search on the meaning: Google's definition is as follows: Emotion is "a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others." Is that clear (enough)?

There are also different beliefs about the number of basic emotions - take your pick - four, fix, or six. Four would be happiness, sadness, fear, and anger. Five may include fear, love, sadness, anger, and joy. The six basic emotions (according to some) are happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust. (I find it interesting that happiness and joy are both under emotion.)

Karla McLaren, social science researcher, has this to say: "An emotion is a physiological experience (or state of awareness) that gives you information about the world...."

Another source defines emotions as follows:
"Emotions are chemicals released in response to our interpretation of a specific trigger. It takes our brains about 1/4 second to identify the trigger, and about another 1/4 second to produce the chemicals. By the way, emotion chemicals are released throughout our bodies, not just in our brains, and they form a kind of feedback loop between our brains and bodies. They last for about six seconds."
This reminds me of the movie "What the Bleep do we Know!? (!%3F) which I think illustrates the concept of emotions extremely well; however, I saw it years ago and is not so fresh in my mind!

It is important that we express our emotions safely and as best we can as emotions affect our health, including our heart. The heart either expands or constricts metaphorically.

Think of expressions such as a person "dying of a broken heart" or "down in the dumps" or the like. As time goes on, emotions stick to us so-to-speak and become disguised as illnesses and the like. There is proof of this; however, you won't find it in mainstream society.

Do you have a tendency toward one or two primary emotions than others in terms of being?

P.S. Photo of me by Roberto Kaplan. I forgot to mention yesterday that Sufi whirling dervishes dance to a meditative state.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

#A to Z Challenge: D is for Dancing

Today's 'heart things, heart strings' theme for the letter D in the A to Z challenge is Dancing. Isn't dancing delightful? ;)

I heard of dance/movement therapy (and other such therapies) in my early 20's and was fascinated by it. "Dance therapy or dance movement therapy is a form of expressive therapy, the psychotherapeutic use of movement (and dance) for treating emotional, cognitive, social, behavioural and physical conditions."

A little over a decade later, I participated in an intensive dance therapy program that lasted about a year. Though dance in this regard is utilized as an expressive therapeutic modality,
"many forms of dance may be considered an aerobic exercise, and, as such, these forms of dance can bring well known benefits, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, weight control, stress reduction and bring about other benefits commonly associated with physical fitness. In addition, studies have demonstrated a considerable correlation between dancing and psychological well-being. including "reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, weight control, stress reduction and bring about other benefits commonly associated with physical fitness. In addition, studies have demonstrated a considerable correlation between dancing and psychological well-being."
In fact, a British study demonstrated that Royal Ballet "dancers scored higher than national and international swimmers in seven out of ten areas of fitness." Furthermore, an Italian study "has shown that dance is a very good exercise for heart patients compared to other aerobic exercises like cycling. This may be partly because the patients enjoyed it much more."

One of my preferred forms of exercise is dance; however, I haven't danced lately as much as I used to. When I do though, I dance oftentimes with wild abandon surrendering to the energy and sounds (beat and rhythm) of music. Especially if the music is electronic or has a steady pulsating rhythmic beat, I might even enter into a meditative state.

Yes, you did read that right. There are many ways to meditate and moving meditations such as walking and dancing are two such forms!

Do you enjoy dance as a form of aerobic exercise? If so, what kind(s)?

*Source of information for this post was supplied by wikipedia ( Photo of me dancing by Roberto Kaplan.