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Having A Vision AND Routine

The key to development along the Buddhist path is repetitive routine guided by inspirational vision. It is the insight into final freedom—the peace and purity of a liberated mind—that uplifts us and impels us to overcome our limits. But it is by repetition—the methodical cultivation of wholesome practices—that we cover the distance separating us from the goal and draw ever closer to awakening.
– Bhikkhu Bodhi, “Vision and Routine
Even though this quote refers to Buddhist practice, it offers insights into naturopathic healing. While working with people, I help them clarify their vision of health. What do you feel and see when you think of your own optimal health? Each person has a unique take on this goal. Without a plan of daily action, though, such dreams never materialize.
So then the work begins — to cultivate daily habits that bring you ever so closer to the optimum of health. Merely going through the mundane activities of the day, even if they’re healthy,  can be draining. Indeed, it can be easy to think what’s the point, why bother? When habits are tied to a greater goal, however, motivation can always be renewed. 
So what is your vision of health? Immerse yourself in every sensory pleasure of that vision. And what will you do today to support this goal? Even the smallest step in that direction is important. Small changes done consistently over time make the most massive transformations. 
I would love to know how you envision your peak health and what you do to actualize it. Please leave me a note on this blog.

The Tension About To Be Released

In recent days, I have been experiencing all manner of distortions of time and place. Sometimes time seems to move so slowly. At other times, I wonder where I truly am in this life. Last week, I did a Sacred Space session with one of my teachers, Dora. It really seemed to open up this vortex of changing times and places. It’s Sunday now and I am easing into this new reality. I feel, too, that the true start of my new year is about to happen. For the first few months of 2013, I have felt like an arrow being tensioned in a bow. I’m ready now to fly. Has anyone else felt this shift in the energy of the universe? As though you too have been held back but soon will be free? Please leave me a comment here to let me know that I am not alone in this experience!

“Your time is l…

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address

Looking Closer…

Looking Closer…
In Toronto right now, everywhere I look, I see the grayish- brown hues of early spring. The snow has melted, revealing the debris that winter hid. It truly is a muted, ugly sight. Yet when I look more closely, I see the buds of my neighbour’s crocus patch in his front garden. I notice that dogs linger a bit longer on their walks , seeming to enjoy all the new smells that the melted snowbanks have offered. Just a few days ago, two robins sat on the roof outside my bedroom, seeing only possibilities of nesting and creating new life.
In these moments I realize how the scale of my vision is off. By adjusting it down to these details,  I can only see beauty and opportunity.

Embracing Change

Since the New Year, I have been focusing on murturing my body. For much of my adult life, I have cultivated my mind, absorbing all the knowledge I possibly can. Although I still love my curious mind, I felt lopsided. My physical being felt withered under my benign neglect. So now I am eating slow- carb, healing a lingering hip injury, and having fun with exercise. All the changes I’m making are challenging but I try to avoid making them in fear. Fear is helpful to signal discomfort and give initial motivation for a change in behaviour. Living in fear, though, is ultimately destructive of the spirit. And changes made in fear are rarely sustainable. For real transformation, get clear about your endpoint. Why do you want it? What or who are motivating you? What gets your passion up? Not sure? Just follow those moments of joy in your everyday and the clarity will emerge.


My Year of Facing Fear

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am not a fan of new year’s resolutions. I must admit, though, that I have thought of what I want to accomplish in 2013. To my surprise, when I meditated on this question, a quiet yet urgent voice emerged. It told me “face your fears. It is time.” Honestly, I wanted my theme of 2013 to be something like ‘receiving the abidance of the universe’ or learn how to revel in the pleasures of life’. But no, my path to joyousness (which I discussed in my previous post) appears to be lined with confronting fear. Fears have always trailed along me, from infancy onwards. Fears have both lurked in the periphery and in my centre. I have struggled with panic attacks and vague fears throughout long periods in my life. So, it actually makes sense for me to finally turn and look directly at the monsters. I know that in doing so I will release the strictures on my passions and create even more energy with which to create my life. So, here it goes. I will use every day as an opportunity to face a fear, whether tiny or deep. I will endeavour to share my successes, challenges, and insights here on this blog. Perhaps I can help to inspire you in your own relationship with fear. 

How do you relate to fear? Are you a brave warrior heading straight into the heart of it, or do you turn your back in hope that the fearsome monster will disappear? As always, I am eager to hear your feedback. Please send me a comment about this post. 

Use The Momentum of Possibility

As many of you know, I am not a fan of new year’s resolutions. I never understood why you would save your motivation for a particular time of year. Instead, make change now, in whatever way you can. Still, I do feel the New Year’s buzz of excitement at the gym, in emails from my mentors, and with clients. Why resist the opportunity that presents itself at this time of year. I wonder, though, if there can be more success with a different approach to the new year’s penchant for self-improvement. How about visioning on how you would like to feel this year. What are the emotions that you would like to bathe in each day? After some thought, I declared 2013 the year of joyous abundance for me. Every day, I have been visualizing myself as a virtual sponge for all that is good and light and joyful in the universe. I accept all the good and reflect it back into the world. I am not thinking of what I have been eating or how much I weigh, whether I have an ache in my back or feeling tired. I just soak in the joy. Even though it’s only been a few days, I have noticed a change in how I interact with the world and how I feel in my body. I look to have experiences that support this feeling of joy. I make decisions based on the pursuit of the joyful state. My goals naturally flow from maintaining joyousness. It really has been a transformative experience thus far.

So, how do you want to feel in 2013? What are your desired feeling states? How will you pursue them? I would love to know, so please send me a reply to this blog entry.

The Sweetness of (Un)Certainty

Recently, I have been the lead lecturer of the first year Health Psychology course at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. I began the course with the intention of engaging the students in experiential learning and lively discussions. I also consciously avoided the temptation to merely read the powerpoint slides to them. As the semester has progressed, the students have meditated and visualized, listened and discussed. Some of them, however, have expressed concern that I haven’t followed the powerpoint slides closely enough. They’re worried about how they will study for and excel in the final multiple choice exam. Despite my repeated assurances, some students remain unconvinced.

At first, I felt sad that I had failed in my experiment in teaching the students how to think and to practice as naturopathic healers. I realized, though, that I had the same worries as a new student at the College. That I allowed fear to guide my thoughts and actions all too often. How it took time to ease into comfort as a naturopath and lifeline learner. So, I compromised this week and followed the powerpoint slides more closely. I met the students in the middle, just outside their collective comfort zone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be comfortable, but learning and evolving exist outside of comfort. My job as their teacher is to offer a bridge to the places where the students fear. I hope that I have done that.

How do you stay in comfort? How do you resist the urge to stay in its warm yet stifling embrace? How have you challenged yourself to go outside of this? Let me know by posting a reply to this blog.

The Daily Love

Lately, I have been exploring on-line coaching resources and have joined a few email lists. One of note is TDL (or “The Daily Love”) written by guy called Mastin. What I really appreciate about his daily messages is the idea of persistence. He writes an entry every day whether he feels particularly inspired or not. In this daily commitment, his member list has grown as has his reach. He has been interviewed by Oprah and will be publishing a book through Hay House soon. And to think that a year ago, he was couch-surfing. He had a dream of a bigger, better presence for himself and persisted through all of the challenges. In many ways, Mastin is an inspiration to me. To do what I feel compelled to do, in the service of the highest good of all beings, regardless of any difficulties that may arise. Writing these blog entries helps me to clarify what’s inside of me while also connecting with kindred spirits like you. How will you take action towards the realization of your gift today? How will you let your light shine?


Getting Into The World

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I have recently been taking golf lessons. I chose to take some lessons because I wanted to avoid developing bad habits of form and swing. I spent quite a few sessions in an indoor golf facility, letting a computer analyze my swing form, speed and yardage. I have to admit that I had trepidation about setting out on an actual golf course. What if I hit the ball errantly? What if the other golfers become impatient with my slow play? What if I make an absolute fool of myself?


On one rainy day during my holiday, I showed up to the golf course awaiting the golf pro for another lesson. He never made it to the lesson, so I was confronted with a decision. Leave the course without playing, or embark on my first round of golf. That wise little voice within me, encouraged me to get out on the course. Although I did hit a few errant balls (that’s why you call “fore!!”) and completely missed hitting the ball a couple of times, I had an absolute blast. Instead to playing three holes as I planned, I completed eight. I was actually much better playing the game than I was in the practice facility.


This experience reminded me the importance of just getting involved directly in the world. Actual experience is such an effective teacher. Although I still practice my golf skills, I crave testing myself against a golf course. It helps me to assess how I’m doing in a real world situation.

So, in the spirit of stretching yourself, what will you do today (in whatever small way) to get your amazing self into the world? Practice, yes, but flex your courage to actualize your dream.



BTW – I never did keep score of my first golf game, but I can tell you that I avoided all the water hazards and sand traps! An accomplishment in itselfJ