Winter Solstice: maximize this energy

Season's Greetings


Do you feel tired and pulled down by the decreasing hours of sunlight in each day?

I know that I’m feeling a little more tired and sleeping longer. I’m also spending more time in meditation. My body is responding to the changes that are happening with the changing season.

Here in the northern hemisphere, we are inching our way towards the Winter Solstice on December 21. The winter solstice in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the most Yin day of the year. This means the shortest day of year and the longest night which comes with the longest period of darkness.

Yin energy represents darkness, winter, inner connection, transformation, and the divine feminine energy. Although Yin represents darkness, it’s soft, fluid and gentle. Rather than forcing and fighting she softens resistance and goes with the flow.

For many people, darkness carries a negative connotation. However, darkness also carries mystery, the unknown, the energy of creation, and the source of pure potential. When you close your eyes to rest, sleep or in meditation you return to the darkness. With your eyes closed you shut out the light with all the external distractions and connect with your innermost self.

With the coming of the winter solstice, we are encouraged to make time to look within, to reconnect with our heart and spirit, and to revisit our purpose, that which brings us peace, fulfillment, and joy.

Coming so close to the holiday season we are often tempted to ignore this time of slowing down and going within in favor of more Yang activities. We feel like there are a million things to do, places to go, and people to see. This often means that we are ignoring the internal tugs of our finely tuned bodies.

Artificial lighting and heating also mean that we often ignore the body’s natural inclination to rest and recover during winter. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop doing things, rather you need to listen to your body and if you were feeling tired and worn out give yourself permission to decompress, take a warm bath, go for a walk, take some time to meditate, do some deep breathing and Qigong.

As we move into the winter months following the solstice, it is also a time to nourish and you restore your body. This is the time for the nourishing benefits of bone broth soups with black beans, and dark vegetables. As well as slow cooked stews and other warming foods.

We want our bodies to be rested, fortified and strong so that it’s ready for the burst of energy that is needed with the coming of spring and summer.

Be kind to your body this holiday season and through the winter months. Listen to the inner intelligence you have within you that is urging you to slow down, go within and give it nourishment.

You are given only one body, how will you care for it this season?

From my heart to yours, may this holiday season and year be filled with love, joy, peace, and gratitude.

Nature A Wonderful Teacher.

Enjoy the seasonsSince I came back to Canada in 2009, I have enjoyed the unfolding of each season. Each season comes with its own beauty, feel, and energetic signature. I can’t really say that I have a favorite season for each season brings something new and different to behold.

Fall, with its magnificent display of color, is so beautiful it takes my breath away. The cool air on my cheeks as I walk in the river valley reminds me of how vibrantly alive I am.  As I wander about the farmers market, the sight and smell of the vast array of produce from this year’s harvest fills me with gratitude. Standing in the park watching the leaves gracefully float down to the earth reminds me letting go doesn’t need to be a struggle.

Nature is a wonderful teacher. We are a small universe in a Big Universe, the big Universe has provided Nature as a model for us to see and mirror. 

We see this mirrored in the plants as they surrender their harvest to us in the form of fruit, vegetables, grains, and nuts. We too should take stock of what we are harvesting this year. What did you plant, nurture and reap in your life? Take some time to look at the areas of your life and take stock of your harvest. Personally, I view fall, rather than the new year, as a time of inner reflection to view my harvest, to declutter, let go, and to set new intentions. 

The kaleidoscope of color displayed by the trees are their way of celebrating, reminding us to be proud of our achievements and to celebrate them. What will you do to celebrate your harvest?  I will plan an evening out with friends sharing love, joy and laughter. 

As you witness the leaves gently floating down from the trees notice how easily and effortlessly the trees let go of that which they no longer need. We can learn from this and let go of all the things that no longer serve us. 

Decluttering is a form of letting go which can be very healing and nurturing. 

Declutter our physical surroundings – cleaning out our gardens, raking the leaves, cleaning and putting away our summer items creates space in our environment. This is my time to go through my wardrobe letting go of clothes and other items no longer used so that they may find a new home and create some space in my environment. 

We can also declutter our emotions – What emotions are you holding onto that constrict and bringing you down? Perhaps it is time to let them go by focusing on what makes you feel expanded, happy, peaceful and content.  Emotions are our barometers, they tell us when we are out of balance. When I notice this imbalance, I give thanks to the emotion for bringing my attention to the imbalance. Then take steps to restore my balance with qigong, breathing, going for a walk, or meditating. 

Decluttering our minds can be achieved with deep Qi breathing. Whenever your minds get too cluttered with the jumble of thoughts flowing through, stop and focus on your breath for a minute or two and this will immediately disrupt your thoughts. The more you do this, the more you free your mind of mental clutter.

Fall is a time to begin slowing down and going inward. It’s a great time to go for a walk in nature. This helps to declutter the busyness in your life and reconnect you to your inner essence. Walking slowly and mindfully paying attention to your surroundings, your body, your breath, will help to restore balance and reconnect you to your soul. We all need time to slow right down and be fully present. 

Are you mirroring fall’s energy?  What can you do this fall to get in the flow of the season? 

Love to hear what works for you. 

With joy and gratitude, 


Without Water, Everything Withers

rawpixel-687066-unsplashIt’s summertime!  The days are hotter and we are more active, thus we need to pay more attention to staying hydrated.

Do you hydrate your body first thing in the morning or do reach for a cup of coffee, tea, or a glass of juice? How about a glass of warm water?

Does the thought of drinking a glass of warm water in the morning make you cringe?

Well, consider this.  When you wake up in the morning your body has gone without any form of hydration for five to 8 hours. During this time your internal organs have been going through a major detoxification process. All of these toxins and waste materials now need to be eliminated from your body. The best way to aid this process is by drinking a glass or two of warm water. The water helps your body by flushing out the toxins.

That’s not the only benefit that drinking warm water can have on your health.

Here are a few more:

  1. Aids digestion. Warm water soothes and activates your digestive tract. As the water moves through your stomach and intestines, the digestive organs are hydrated and better able to eliminate wastes.

  2. Drinking warm water in the morning on an empty stomach can help to improve your bowel movements.

  3. It can help alleviate pain from menstruation or headaches. The heat from the warm water is known to have a calming and soothing effect on abdominal muscles, which help to provide relief for cramps and muscle spasms.

  4. Improves circulation. Warm water helps your arteries and veins to expand and carry blood more efficiently through your body.

  5. It helps to calm your central nervous system, which may help in reducing stress levels.

  6. May halt premature ageing. The presence of toxins in the body can lead to faster ageing, but warm water helps to cleanse the body of toxins while repairing the skin cells to increase elasticity.

Starting your day with warm water, drinking warm or cool water during the day, and ending the day with warm water will help to ensure that you get adequate hydration. Your digestive system, circulatory system, nervous system, and all your internal organs will receive their daily lubrication so that they can function at their best.  Without water, everything withers.

In Qigong, practitioners drink Yin and Yang water. To make Yin and Yang water you mix equal amounts of boiled water with cool water and drink it while it’s still warm. To help ease into the practice of drinking warm water in the morning you could add some freshly squeezed lemon and a little raw honey. Wait 15-20 minutes before you have a coffee, tea, smoothie or breakfast.

Starting your day with Hydration doesn’t take a lot of work. It does take a change in your mindset and it does take practice to make it a habit.

Do this for the next two weeks and begin to notice the changes in your body, energy levels, stress levels, and mood.

I would love to hear how this has worked for you. Send me an email to share what you discovered. 

With joy and love,


Summertime – Connecting to Earth’s Energy.

small standing meditaitonSummer has arrived!

The season when yang energy is the strongest and the main element is fire. It’s also a time of intensity both physically and emotionally.

Summer is the time when we head outdoors to play, garden, bike ride, swim, and enjoy the abundance of nature. It’s a time of action and movement. However, it’s important to find a balance between action and being.

In addition to action, summer is a great opportunity to connect with Mother Earth. Earth energy is powerful, healing, and grounding.

All my life, I have loved to walk barefoot on the earth. I love the feel of rich soil between my toes. I love the softness of grass on the bottom of my feet. I love walking in the sand at the beach. My feet feel happiest when they’re directly touching the earth.

If you aren’t like me and you don’t like walking barefoot on the earth, you can connect to the earth by doing a standing meditation in your backyard, in the park, or at the beach. It is very simple and very easy. The most important parts of this meditation are your breathing and attention or focus on your senses.

Here’s how you do it!

Stand with your bare feet about shoulder width apart. Let your arms hang by your side slightly away from your body. Create a little space between your fingers, keeping them relaxed.

Take a deep breath in through your nose and gently release it through your nose relaxing your neck, your shoulders and your entire body. Gently close your eyes, put your tongue on the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth and wear a gentle smile on your face.

As you stand there, gently breathe in and out with an easy, smooth, and rhythmic breathing. Feel the air entering your nose and going down into your body and then feel the air gently leaving your body. Smell the earth, the plants, and the air. Just noticed the smells without judgment or labelling.

Focus on your feet, feel the earth below you. Feel the energy, the Qi, coming up from the earth entering the soles of your feet and percolating all way up your body. Notice how peaceful and grounded you feel.

Noticed the earth’s energy finding its way to the palm of your hand and entering through the energy points in your hand and flowing into your chest: connecting your heartbeat with Earth’s heartbeat

Standing in this posture for as long you feel comfortable, connecting with the powerful earth energy. When you are done rub your hands together generating heat and then run your fingers up alongside your nose with your palms covering your cheeks, eyes and down the sides of your face. Do this 3 times and then massage your ears from the top to the bottom, ensuring the entire ear rim is covered, do this 3 times.

Connecting with the earth’s energy in this way has been scientifically proven to help people sleep better, it can help reduce aches and pains from inflammation, it can improve circulation, and reduce stress.

The earth supports all our activities energetically, so getting connected with the earth is a great way to build your energy and ground your energy.

Try it and let me know what you experienced.

Spring Equinox

aaron-burden-205132-unsplashCan you feel it? Can you feel your body, mind and spirit slowly reaching towards the light of the sun?

You are not alone. All of us in the northern hemisphere can feel that bubbling up of energy, an extra spring in our step, and perhaps the gentle sprouting of a new idea or creative endeavour.

This is not surprising as the small universe that comprises our body, is in perfect harmony with the greater universe around us. As we nudge towards the spring equinox on March 20, we are moving to a short time when yin and the yang energies are in almost perfect balance. It is a time when the light and dark energies are almost equal then Yang energy begins to rise.

This time of balance and harmony in the universe is an ideal time to look at the balance in our own lives. Do we have a healthy work play balance? Do we factory in quality time for family and friends? Have we made time in our busy lives for reflection, exercise, communing with nature, and self-care.

This coming week schedule some time to look at the balance in your life and where you could make some adjustments so that your life has more balance and harmony.

When we are in balance our minds are clearer, we more relaxed, we handle situations with ease, and we are more in alignment with the universe.

The Equinoxes and Solstices are reminders for us to check our personal inner and outer balance. How is yours?

With love and joy

Hints of Spring

Photo by Aaron Burden on UnsplashHave you noticed the small changes in the season? You know, the sun rising earlier, that slight difference in the air, and perhaps  you noticed your body craving different foods.

For me, the first glimpse of change came one morning when I suddenly I realized it was brighter. Then I began to noticing other subtle indicators such as my craving for greens and salad and no longer wanting only warm foods. I also became aware of ideas that had been simmering over winter begin to push for attention ready to sprout and grow.

All of these things are signs that we are entering the transition period as winter gives way to spring. This transition period is a time of metamorphosis in nature and in ourselves. There is a moving and shifting that is happening around us and within us. It’s a time when we can feel slightly unbalanced as we shift from one season to the next.

In nature, this can manifest as a late snowstorm as it is right now as I write, a cold spell, an increase in wind interspersed with bright, calm, sunny days and mild temperatures. As we are part of nature, we also may experience days where we wish to continue hibernating and other days where we want to get out and do things. Our emotions may also go through some turbulence.

Therefore, it’s important for us to stay grounded. The active Spring Forest Qigong movement ‘Balancing the Heaven and the Earth’ can help keep you grounded, especially when you feel your feet connected to the earth below you.

In this movement you raise your hands above your head like you are hold a beach ball. With your hands above your head, inhale. As you inhale bend your knees and lower your body slowly and comfortably (only going down as far as you can without pain or stress). As you exhale, you raise your body. While doing this movement say to yourself, “I feel grounded”. Feel this grounded-ness with each breath.

Another way for you to stay grounded is to take time to sit in stillness and focus on your breath. Focus on breathing gently, deeply, and smoothly without any stress or tension. As you are breathing notice the air entering your body and flowing all the way down to the soles of your feet. As you breath out let go of all that you no longer need seeing it shoot our of body in puffs of smoke and returning to the ends of the Universe.

These practices with help to smooth your transition into spring.

The beginning of spring commences on March 20, the time of the spring equinox, when day equals night. For the next six months daylight, the sun, and Yang principle will dominate our lives. We tend to become more cheerful and shine like the radiant sun ready to come out and play.

Allow your self feel what you feel as you make this transition from resting, replenishing and reflection to reaching out to the sun and moving into action.

With love and joy,

Fear & Gratitude: The Yin & Yang of Winter

In the 5 Elements Theory, fear is the challenging emotion associated with winter the water element.IMG_0875

Fear is something all of us experience, including myself. My deepest fear comes from feelings unworthiness. This fear has been responsible for the ups and downs in all areas of my life.

Having some fear is a good thing. Short term fear heightens our awareness and alerts us to danger. Excessive and prolonged fear, on the other hand, can have an adverse affect on our health.

In the world around us today fear is tagged to everything. We are bombarded by fears of food, the environment, our health, our future/retirement, other countries, our governments and the list goes on. 

It’s difficult to navigate this world and know what is best because many of these fears contradict each other. For example, we are told one food is not healthy for us and then a few months later we are told yes its good for us. And often we spend much time and money in the search to find ways to prevent harm from coming to us.

How many of our choices are based on fear?

Emotions carry an energetic vibration and can be every powerful.

In the 5 Elements Theory, living with constant excess fear can effect the kidneys, bladder, reproductive organs, hearing, back, feet, bone density, hormones, breasts and blood.   

The good news is that gratitude is the positive emotion to balance the fear. When we focus on gratitude we support, balance and nourish the organs blocked by fears.

When our bodies are in balance we create the space for healing to happen naturally, for joy to replace fear, and peace to ease stress. 

Over the years I have acknowledged my fears when they arises.  I don’t push them away or try to get of them, but instead thank them for their concern for my well-being and offer them love. Then I turn my attention and gratitude to the abundance I have in all areas of my life at this moment. Peace and contentment follow.

My Qigong practice has helped me to stay centred and balanced. The Qigong movement for gratitude in which we stand with our hands in prayer position, inhale and bow forward expressing gratitude and exhale letting go of what we don’t need while straighten up, is a powerful practice which helps to open and balance our energy channels and bring healing Qi to your organs.

Begin your day with gratitude, give thanks often during the day, and end your day with gratitude. 

With Qi~Joy and gratitude,


Following Nature’s Clues

caleb-george at unsplashNature’s transitions, like changes in daylight and colder temperature, throw many people off balance. The results of this can be seen in feeling down, wanted to stay indoors, struggling with colds and flu or even stomach viruses.

Don’t you find it interesting that Nature’s creatures are able to flow so easily between the seasonal changes? Plants and animals sense when it’s time to change and begin the process.  Plants and trees begin to go dormant, lose their leaves and the sap flows down in the roots preparing for winter.  Nature knows how to prepare for each season.

Following the clues from Nature allows one to flow in harmony with the changes and seasonal patterns. Fall is Nature’s time of letting go. Without letting go, there can be no real rest during winter, and no subsequent growth the following spring. Every part of the process has a reason and a purpose, and it all combines to create the cycle of seasons we witness every year.

This is the time for ‘letting go’ of things we don’t need. This could be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual things. For example, getting rid of clutter, releasing old ideas and beliefs that hold you back or processing life events. In letting go of what may be holding us down, allows our bodies to deeply rest. We build up our Qi, or vital energy, and use it to strengthen our bodies for the winter season.

What remains is that which nurtures us keeping us from getting stuck during winter so that we can be rejuvenated when spring arrives.

Here are 6 tips to help you build your Qi for winter:

1. Let Go: Is there anything physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually you are holding onto right now? Give yourself some quiet time to become aware of what needs to go. Most of us can release feelings of stress, “have-tos and need-tos”, and physical items. Letting go of that which is no longer serves us open the way for contentment.

2. Contentment is the positive aspect of fall. Look around and focus on the all the things that make you feel content. In this past years what positive things did you accomplish and that you are proud of. Will any of those things continue to grow and expand? Celebrate them.

3. Copy Nature: There is less daylight. Nature has slowed down. Match this vibration by allowing yourself to get enough rest. Start to slow things down in your life and give yourself time to unwind and relax.

4. Eat and Think for Healing: Treat your body right! Start by feeding it warm, loving foods and warm, loving thoughts. Remember, on a lower level, you are what you eat. But on a higher level, you are what you think.

5. Meditate and/or Practice Qigong : During this seasonal transition, sit in quiet meditation or slowly and smoothly practice Qigong, especially “Breathing the Universe”. Notice your body, your breathing, any tightness, where everything flow and the gems of wisdom that surface.

6. Get Outside: On a sunny day, bundle up and get outside. Let the sun shine on your face. Absorb all of Nature’s goodness and notice how Nature’s creatures are reveling in the warm sunshine, too.

When you flow with Nature rather than fight it, life is easier, more joyful and you smile more.

Breathe, smile and enjoy!

A Modern Gypsy

How does one know they are a gypsy?old-retro-antique-vintage-163136-medium

In my case it consisted of 5 elements.

The first was being born into family that already has its share of misfits, mystics, and psychics. My maternal grandmother was a midwife, tea leaf reader, and herbalist. My paternal grandmother was a garden diva who’s life revolved around the cycles of the Moon and the seasons. Both grandmothers were psychics.

Added to this generational milieu, was my love of travelling, my secret desire was to be a hippie, the pull of wild gypsy music, and books that took me to foreign countries.

Which brings me to element number two.

I was 16 lazing around in the backyard on a sunny summer day when I heard a voice. Yes, a voice!

This voice stated very precisely, “You were going to live and work overseas.”

As strange as it may seem, those words resonated with me and I had no doubt that they would happen.

In the ensuing years I based many decisions on this voice. For example, my career choice to become a teacher and the subjects I studied.

And although life took me down a few paths that appeared incongruent with the message of this voice, it continued to whisper to me.

An example of this, was urging my husband to pursue an overseas post with his company. Needless to say, he didn’t have the same inner pull that I had.

This became evident when divine intervention, the third element, changed our plans and thus the course of my life.

After much persuading my husband agreed to a holiday in Europe. Four of us planned a summer in Spain but destiny had different plans. For a reason I can no longer remember, that plan was cancelled and instead we headed to Greece.

From the moment I stepped out of plane in Greece and saw Mt Olympus I began to change. The pull of the voice became a magnet which culminated one day on a beach in southern Crete.

I looked over at my husband and said, “I don’t want to go home.” He replied, “You can stay. You have another month of holiday, but I have to go back.”

I looked over at my two friends but they both had solid reasons for returning to Canada.

I left the group and waded into the water looking south. Wouldn’t you know it – there was the voice. This time it said, “Africa is over there. You will be there one day.” Once more I knew this was truth.

As we boarded the plane for home I vowed to Mt Olympus that I would return. The person who made this vow was very different from the one who greeted the mountain a month previous.

In Canada, I not longer fit into the world I had left and a 2 year battle began to raged within me. My spirit urged me on while my sense of duty and guilt tore at me.

Finally, I knew which path I had to take.

Stepping away from my marriage, security, and in some cases friends and family, was element 4. This was the step toward my vision. For the next couple of years, I was lead by an amazing series of synchroncities, one which opened the door to opportunity.

The opportunity was a chance conversation where I heard about CUSO at the U of A. How come I hadn’t heard about CUSO before?

From the moment I entered the CUSO office I knew I was in the right place. Here I was surrounded by friendly people sharing their stories of living in exotic countries.

I wasted no time. I signed up and then waited for my posting.

The voice from Crete whispered Africa but the CUSO staff felt it would be Asia. To be honest, I didn’t really care.

So, where did I go?

Six months later I found my self on a plane heading south to Nigeria, Africa. As I sat on the plane I knew without a doubt that there was a force much greater than myself sitting in the driver’s seat.

The final element in the making of this gypsy came on the day I moved into my new home.

With great ceremony Mrs. Scobie, the headmistress, drove the short distance to the house. She was so proud of it. On the outside a nice bungalow with an attached garage.

On the inside rickety furniture, curled and missing floor tiles, a seatless toilet, sink and tub but no water, a kitchen that consisted of a small stove and couple wooden boards for shelves, and 3 bedrooms with beds I wasn’t sure I wanted to sleep on.

Then there was the dust, cobwebs complete with spiders, termites in the door frames and more interesting creatures to be discovered later.

After Mrs. Scobie left I wandered from room to room and I all I could think of was, “What the hell have I done?” I sat in the living room and began to cry.

Right on cue there was the voice. “You have a choice go home or stay. It’s up to you.” I paused. I stopped crying. In popped the voice, “You wanted this.”

Yes, I did!
I was going to stay, make the most of it and have fun.

This was the final element in the making of a gypsy.

I choose this path, listened to my inner voice, followed where it led, took action, and made a decision to make the most of it.

This had taken me to 80 countries on all but one continent.
I have made the world my home.

My motto was and is: Where I am – there is home.

Stronger Than You Think

I am ever amazed at the resiliency of human beings. pexels-photo-169906-medium

Five mornings a week I teach English and settlement skills to refugees and many other newcomers to Canada.

In my role as teacher, I have heard some of the most horrific and heart wrenching stories. On a day-to-day basis I witness the struggle that these newcomers have adjusting to a new life in a new land were almost everything is strange and often incomprehensible.

Despite the hardships they have faced, the separation from family and friends, and the daily struggle to learn a new language, life and culture, the students arrive at school with a smile and an amazingly positive attitude.

I often wonder what it would be like to be torn away from family and friends and then shuffled about from country to country to finally end up in a place where you were to begin again. You are alone with your nuclear family or perhaps not. You no longer have your family support system. Your friends are either dead or in another country.

I cannot even begin to imagine what goes through the minds of my students.

What I do know is what they have taught me.

  • To go to work every day with a smile.
    To be grateful for everything I have right now.
    To trust that everything will work out.
    To know that in each of us there is a deep reservoir of strength and resilience.


As human beings we have an enormous capacity to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going.

This is an ability each one of us has. To a greater or lesser degree, each one of us at some point in our life has had to pick ourselves up and keep going.

As you begin your day today smile and spread joy wherever you go. Look around you and be grateful for everything you have in your life at this moment. And know, that you are so much stronger than you think you are.

Those dark clouds that you have in your life will pass and the sun will shine again. You can help those clouds move away more quickly by knowing that no situation is permanent and that a slight change in thinking can make a huge difference in your reality.

Let us all show our greatness today and bring the sunshine back into the world.

In Joy,