Innocence Wants to Be Seen

As I sat this morning, I found myself wondering why I have been so drawn to share struggles, vulnerability and shame?  It has been a compelling urge so I have trusted it, but today I felt a need to spend more time feeling into the sensations of shame.  

With a little will and a lot of open hearted desire, I was able to fall “behind” the pain of shame and observe and witness the thoughts and sensations without judgement or attachment (this is the work of Michael Singer, Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodron and many others…work that we will continue to explore during our fall session).

From this position or “seat” as Michael Singer calls it, compassion emerged and I heard a soft voice saying: “I just want to be seen, that is all, nothing more.” It was innocence speaking to me. 

 I was then drawn to a notebook of mine, a dog-eared collection of handwritten notes covered in coffee stains, and I turned directly to page of notes from Pamela Wilson’s Satsang retreat in March of 2017. On this page I had written down a quote of Pamela’s that read as follows:


“All shame comes from being told you are not ok. Innocence wants to come out of the shadow cast by this untruth.” body relaxed, my thoughts relaxed and my heart opened. 

 Deep Presence



Courageous Vulnerability

I have articulated these four qualities many times in the past and today it has become clear that this what our circles are truly all about!

When the "Teacher" gets Cancer

When I first designed my website I created a blog and I even made a few entries (which you can find below). Within a few months I hid the link. Blogging did not come naturally to me and now I know why. Up until now I was not able to write freely. I didn't realize it at the time, but I wrote with a filter of "how do I want to present myself to people?" versus "what is true for me?"

Well that was then and this is now. On November 8, 2017 my world changed pretty dramatically when I was diagnosed with multi-focal early stage breast cancer. After extensive research and even more extensive soul searching, I have opted to have a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction (my surgery will take place at the end of January, 2018).

When I first heard the words “you have cancer” I was overwhelmed by the shame I felt. Sadly, I have since learned that shame is one of the most common emotions experienced by cancer patients - we often feel ashamed for having a disease that we think we should have been able to prevent. Of course this is ridiculous, but it is real nonetheless.

As a teacher of a modality that is intended to improve health and vibrancy, I especially struggled with the fact that I got cancer. I honestly felt like a failure and I even began to doubt the power of qigong as well as my abilities/worthiness as a teacher. Fortunately, I had the insight, courage and will to sit with these emotions and to recognize the conditioned patterns that were behind them. It was not easy (and it still isn’t), but I can honestly say that I no longer feel any shame or failure - in fact I feel quite the opposite!  As I let go of the illusion of control that I have been clinging to for years, I find myself giggling and smiling at the sensation of freedom that has overcome me. It is as if I am finally free to fully step into my authentic self, and to do so unconditionally!

Qigong and meditation have played a key role in my journey towards peace with my cancer and my surgical treatment. I am grateful to have such a deep practice, and above all, I am grateful for the freedom I have found the grip of control, regret and shame.

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'Gong' Means practice

'Qi' means life force energy. 

'Gong' means the skill that is cultivated through steady practice.

Qigong, therefore, is the practice of transforming energy to live a life of optimum health, wellness, and happiness. 

In January 2016 I took a 100 days of Qigong challenge as suggested by my teacher, Mario Argento. According to Master Chuny Lin, if you practice qigong for 100 days in a row, your body will naturally start to balance at that time each day, even if you have to miss a day. A practice session must be at least 10 minutes long to qualify and it must be done each and every day.

As a bookkeeper, I like numbers and measurable results. So I decided to track and quantify the results of my qigong practice. I wanted to know if it really worked, especially since I was planning to teach. So being the type A person that I am, I developed a spreadsheet to track my qigong practice each day and correlate it to how I felt. I picked five particularly troublesome symptoms that I wanted to alleviate. Each day I ranked them on a scale of 1-5 (one being bad/present and 5 being good/absent). The symptoms I tracked were: ANXIETY, IRRITABILITY, FATIGUE, PAIN AND HEAD-FOG.

Since I believe the millions of people who swear by qigong I wasn't surprised by the results, but I was astounded to see just how dramatic they were. Within a few weeks almost all my symptoms had virtually disappeared! I felt more happy, loving, calm, clear, motivated and generally excited about life. After 15 years of trying various holistic modalities, it seemed I had found my "magic bullet"! 

Chuny Lin is right, I was able to miss a day of practice and maintain my balance. But, as I have discovered, I can't miss more than a few days.

So, folks, here's the kicker....


As I write this, I am about to end a wonderful summer vacation with my family on Vancouver Island. While travelling, I did qigong, but not every day and not at the same time every day, and not always with focused intention. Now, 3 weeks later, I have noticed that my symptoms have snuck back up on me. My head is cloudy, I'm  a bit lethargic and some of my familiar aches and pains have returned. I know that all I need to do is get back on track with my qigong practice, but I've been lacking motivation to do so.

And here is where the practice of GRACE comes into play. There is no need to feel bad or berate myself. There is no standard to uphold. This is life and grace allows life to flow just as it is.

I am reminded of a famous Chinese expression - "Where the mind goes, Qi flows". 

So with a  focus on LOVE, KINDNESS and FORGIVENESS, I find myself inspired and empowered to wholeheartedly practice qigong.

'Holding up the Heavens' on the Ferry between Crofton and Salt Spring Island, BC.

Relaxing into the elemental

April 4, 2016

This past weekend I had the privilege of sharing a deep and powerful Satsang in Calgary, Alberta with Pamela Wilson. In Sanskrit, "sat" means truth and the "sangha" is a group that gathers to sit with truth of their being. This particular sangha was one of the most beautiful groups I have ever had the privilege of sitting with. The collective desire to uncover the truth was palpable, and the group energy facilitated a serene and calm unveiling that can only be described as a homecoming.

Pamela Wilson sharing Satsang

Pamela Wilson sharing Satsang

Pamela shared concepts that resonated deeply within, a few of which I paraphrase here:

"The divine experience and the human experience come and go. But that which animates both, the Elemental is unchanging"

"Love doesn't leave. The form of love changes, which can feel like the greatest devastation (as in the death of a loved one). But if you ask Love itself, it will tell you that it has not gone anywhere. The Divine Romance is constant."

I was particularly struck by the words Elemental and Divine Romance, as I sensed a deep connection between my experience of Qigong and my new found awareness of what I am calling the Great Love.

In her eloquent and gentle way, Pamela began weaving these truths together into a gorgeous tapestry, and I found myself wanting to get closer and feel the texture of the cloth. So I was not surprised when I found myself sitting in front of the sangha asking Pamela to tell me more.

Pamela explained that the best way to understand elemental is to look at nature. A tree lives on the elemental energy provided by the earth, water, air and sun. The tree does not seek experiences, nor does it rely on faith, hope and trust in order to be able to keep growing. It does not mourn when the tree next to it dies, nor does it worry about its own death. It just rests in the spaciousness and stillness that is elemental...that is life.

I became curious about how qigong fit into this notion of the elemental. 

"Qi" means life force, breath, the essence of life. "Gong" is work or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. So, qigong is the cultivation of the body's vital energy.

In Chinese Medicine, the Five Element Theory states that the Five Elements (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood) organize all natural phenomena into patterns in nature. In the human body the elements combine in varying concentrations in different parts of the body. When in balance, the human body experiences physical and mental health. qigong helps to maintain and restore this delicate balance to the human body.

I have practiced qigong everyday for the past 84 days and I have found it to be the most authentic practice I have ever done. It is both relaxing and invigorating. It has soothed my anxiety, increased my energy levels and greatly enhanced my overall well being. When I had my revelation about my relationship, which spurred me to launch Project Love, I had been practicing qigong for 37 days. 

And so, as I sat with Pamela, I wondered:

Is it my experience of "being" with the elemental that is enabling me to explore the true meaning of Love?

Could it be that my experience has unfolded so organically and in real time, simply because it is truly natural and elemental? Just like a growing tree.

I asked Pamela, even though I already sensed the answer. She confirmed that, yes, this is nature expressing itself. The ego can relax as it has no job to do, and nothing to protect.