"For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes." - Dag Hammarskjold

Sunday, June 30, 2013

celebrating lives greatly full :: donna davis

I first met Donna Davis when I signed up for a running clinic at the Elation Centre in Westboro (Ottawa) a few years ago.  Little did I know that my connection with the Centre would lead to my first introduction to a vegan lifestyle, one that continues to influence my food choices today. 

Donna is truly a community leader in promoting and facilitating a healthy and active lifestyle.  The Elation Centre's focus on yoga, running and nutrition speak to a holistic approach to personal wellness.   

Donna - you've always been a great cheerleader for me as I strive to make healthy choices for myself.  And I love what you have submitted to the project - what a celebration! Thank you...

I want to thank you Jo-Anne for asking me to take part in the Gratitude Project. The daily dedication to gratitude plays a huge part in my life, each morning as I wake up I remind myself to be grateful for the day head, as one of my esteemed yoga teachers Beryl Bender-Birch reminds us “wake put your feet on the ground and be grateful you can make a difference in the world.” Because of Beryl’s teaching I wake up each morning and the first thought for me is Thank You – for the day ahead, for my health, for my early morning yoga classes, for my home, my family, the list is endless.

The other yoga teacher in my life who has made the most impact is Yogi Vishvketu, who I am honoured to have taken my 200hour teacher training with, he continually reminded us each day  - just smile. Such a simple practice that truly changes your life.

I want to share with you a piece I wrote after returning from the Lululemon Ambassador Summit in April, which I attended with 100 other Ambassadors from across the world. We all decided to submit a story for a fundraising book we are creating – the title for each of our submissions is How I Elevate the World From Mediocrity to Greatness, I believe it fits beautifully with the Gratitude Project – I am grateful for the gifts I have been divinely blessed with and grateful for my ability to share them each day.

How I Elevate The World From Mediocrity To Greatness

I have to admit this has been a challenging project for me; questions keep popping into my head –
Who me elevate the world, Really??
I just teach Yoga
I just help women eat a cleaner diet
I just lead run classes
Then I decided to give myself a shake, breathe deeply and I looked through some ‘thank you’ emails from students; I realized of course I teach yoga, teach people about new food choices to improve their health, get people off the couch and moving. Ah, but there is so much more to it – I do all of this with LOVE, COMPASSION, ACCEPTANCE AND JOY.
To each class and workshop I bring passion and enthusiasm, and when I bring these qualities to my ‘work’ (which is really my play), passion and enthusiasm are infused into all areas of my life.

Being an upbeat, positive, joyful person becomes my default setting and you know what?? This raises the energy of everyone around me people want a bit of what I’ve got, they want a bit of the magic, the happiness, the enthusiasm.

Then just like magic a whole room of people are smiling and radiating; they take that to their workplace, they take it home, they internalize this uplifting energy. And Voila – whole groups of people are Elevated, Mediocrity is no more, and we all feel Great!

How do I elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness?

I Smile, I Care, I Love.

Simple steps that we call all take each and every day.


Friday, June 28, 2013


I met Susanne my very first morning on The Canadian, in the dining room at breakfast. Rather than sit at the empty table by the entrance to the car, I invited myself to her table, where she was chatting with another couple, A.C. & Jim. It was my first venturing out; it was both a little uncomfortable and daringly brave to me.

I soon learned that Susanne was from Switzerland. She was nearing the end of a 2-month journey that would bring her to four different countries. Her launching point had been Southhampton, England where she embarked on a cruise ship and crossed the Atlantic, reaching NYC seven days later. From there, she flew to Cuba where she spent 4 weeks before returning to NYC and eventually making her way to Toronto. She was taking the train as far as Jasper, where she would be renting a car for the remaining two weeks of her journey. She wasn't quite sure where she'd go after Jasper, but she knew of someone's relative in Prince Rupert and thought she might head north.

What amazed me the most about my conversation with Susanne is that, out of the blue, she asked me if I was a meditator. I was taken aback! No one had ever asked me that before, certainly not someone I had just met. I responded that, yes, I was a meditator. She too was a meditator and we quickly began to share stories about our respective traditions. (She, Vipassana - me, Christian Meditation.) I eventually asked her why she had asked me that very odd question. She explained that she was very sensitive to energy and that I had an energy about me that was calm and clear and grounded. It was an instant connection.

Susanne & I spent lots of time together on the train. At times, it was simply in the observation car, sitting quietly as we each enjoyed our personal space. At other times, we joined others at lunch or dinner. I had to laugh when she continued to read her book as we travelled through the Rockies. "How can you DO that?!", I asked her. She then reminded me that she had been raised in the Swiss Alps. :-)

Our conversation eventually lead towards gratitude. I asked her: What are you grateful for? Her answer came quite easily: Freedom. She was very grateful for a life that allowed her to travel so frequently and so freely. She LOVED the freedom of knowing she could choose her path. She loved a life where she could work just long enough to pay for her next great adventure.

Yes. Freedom. Certainly something worth celebrating.

So, I now have an invitation to visit her in Switzerland! As long as she's not away on yet another adventure. I believe the Trans-Siberian Railway is next!

Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar, Susanne!

gratefully yours,

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 23, 2013

celebrating lives greatly full :: alex munter

Our format is a bit different today because of a wonderful opportunity that came about, thanks to Twitter!  Ottawa's very own Alex Munter reached out and shared a speech he had given to the Nepean High School graduating class on June 24, 2010, when he was Executive Director at the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa. I was blown away by the speech and immediately asked if he would grant permission to share it here.  He graciously agreed. 

Alex is a well-known member of the broader Ottawa community.  He has been recognized by many organizations for his tireless advocacy for a wide range of issues related to health, children, youth, family, the elderly, equal rights (just to name a few!).  He served on city council (where he chaired the Health Committee) and came in second in a tight mayoral race in 2006.  Our city's loss on that night may also have been our city's gain, as he has continued to serve in various roles with humility, passion and dedication.  Today, as President & CEO of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), he oversees the care provided to many of the most vulnerable in our community.  THANK YOU Alex.  For everything.

Now, a great message for all of us...

First of all, it’s a thrill to be here – I grew up in Ottawa and Nepean H.S. has always been a legendary institution in our city. So a real pleasure for me to be here… 

And a special thank-you from all of my colleagues at the Youth Services Bureau – Nepean H.S. students’ support for YSB at WestFest two weeks ago helped raised money for programs and spread the word about our services. 

It’s traditional at these kinds of events for speakers to come and tell you that’s it’s all about you and all about your achievement: that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. 

So let me tell you something different. Let me tell you that it's all baloney. in fact, you can’t accomplish anything you set your mind to … You can’t turn your dreams into reality. 

Not by yourself, that is. 

Today, you should indeed be proud of this diploma – and be relieved that your 13-year marathon has finally reached the finish line! You should stand tall, aim high. But you should also be grateful. You did a lot to reach the finish line. But not a single one of you did it alone. 

The most important thing you can do in your life, every day, is to be grateful for the people, circumstances and good fortune that have brought you to this milestone – and to every other milestone. 

For most of us, gratitude is probably a daily struggle. It is hard to be grateful when you’ve faced a setback. Couldn’t afford the things others have. Fought with your parents. Have suffered the loss of a relationship. Experienced illness. 

But here’s why our community, our world, needs you to be grateful… 

I did not have a privileged upbringing. But I was privileged to have the upbringing I did. My parents are immigrants. They sacrificed, worked hard so that my brother and I could have the opportunities we did. As kids, we had the love, emotional support and material/ and financial means to be able to reach our potential. 

Then, I got involved in the community and in local politics. I was supported by people who believed in me. When I ran a weekly newspaper, people invested in my business, bought advertising, wrote articles, read the paper. When I ran for office, people helped me – volunteering, giving money, voting. When I took on tough issues as an elected official, people stood with me. Now, as executive director of a social services agency, I depend on hard-working colleagues, donors, volunteers to help me accomplish almost anything that I get done in that role. 

Have I worked hard? Sure. Did I offer people something for their support of my business or my political career? I hope so. Are the choices I made, and the effort I invested, responsible for my success? Sure, a little … but probably not as much as I’d like to think. I am not a self-made man. I am grateful for what I have received from my family, friends and community. I believe that I owe others a tremendous amount for my success. 

To quote the American writer E.J. Dionne: “There is, in fact, no such thing as a purely self-made person. There’s the obvious: that we are brought into the world and (usually) reared by our parents. Having decent, caring parents is surely one of the great gifts life offers – and none of us can count on that as an achievement we had anything to do with.” 

Let’s take the example of the world’s most famous self-made made man: Bill Gates. 

Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book Outliers is about success. Its premise is that there is no such thing as innate talent … people succeed because of lots and lots of practice but, mostly, because of luck. The cards you are dealt have a lot more to do with success than almost anything else. Example: Bill Gates … and his opportunity to go to one of about a dozen high schools in the U.S. in the late ’60s that had a computer. Think how that changed his world (and ours). 

Imagine how his life would have been different: if he’d been born 10 years earlier, if he’d been born 10 km away in a low-income neighbourhood, not an affluent one, if he’d been born in a low income family, if he’d been born a she, etc. The point, simply, is that we are all a product of our experiences. That many of us have been born with enormous privilege. 

Every day at the Youth Services Bureau, I meet young people and I hear about the struggles they have faced and I often wonder if at their age, at your age, I would have had their courage and strength. 

So I count my blessings. And counting my blessings leads me to believe that we all need to think about how we, together, ensure those who do face those kind of obstacles can still have an opportunity to attain their full potential. 

Now – take the opposite scenario. Imagine if I believed, as some people might, that it was all about me. That the ONLY reason that I am successful is that I worked hard. What if I was not only ungrateful for the opportunities I was given, but maybe even resentful of the sacrifices I had to make to be successful? What if my conviction that I did it all led me to be blind to the taxpayers who paid for my education or to those who invested time and patience in me? What if my belief that I am the sole author of my good fortune leads me to conclude that, well, if I could do it, so could anyone else… 

This is a worldview that encourages people to see the world as nothing more than a marketplace where we can buy commodities. It is a vision that neglects instruments of community-building like volunteerism, philanthropy, political engagement and public services. It is a vision that undermines the values of community – like solidarity, equality, respect and compassion. It is a worldview that is born from an absence of gratitude. 

Being grateful, being other-focused, results in a call to citizenship, which is the best way to make the world the kind of place you would want to live in. 

So be grateful for this day. And be grateful for all the people – your parents, your teachers, your friends, perhaps a youth worker, a coach, a grandmother, a neighbour – who helped get you here.

And use your time, your talents and your energy to help build a world where there’s lots and lots to be grateful for …

June 24, 2010

Monday, June 17, 2013

adam, krystyna & gosia - world travellers...

During my first dinner on the train, Sunday June 16th, I had the pleasure of being seated with Adam, his wife Krystyna and their friend and travelling companion, Gosia. They are from Melbourne, Australia and are in the midst of a two-month long trip in North America.

I may have missed a detail or two, but basically... Started in Los Angeles, went to Arizona, Nevada, flew to NYC, drove to Canada along the east coast, visited Boston (Salem, MA was a highlight), Acadia National Park, made their way to Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto. They are now making their way to Jasper, and will catch the train from there to St-Rupert. Their plans also include a visit to Alaska, then returning to L.A. for their flight home. Wow!!

Conversation revealed that they were originally from Poland but left there in 1974 under the communist regime. Adam & Krystyna ended up in Africa (Zambia) where they lived for 14 years and started their family. They eventually emigrated to Australia with their children.

I was amazed at the extent of their travels. So I asked Adam, amidst all this, was there anything he was particularly grateful for. He took a few moments to reflect and surprised me with his response. I was expecting something related to his travels, but here's what he said:

He was grateful for the life and the opportunities his parents had given him.
Yes, he was most grateful for his parents. His father owned a bakery in Poland (I forgot to ask where) and worked throughout the night to ensure fresh baked goods would be ready for his customers first thing every morning. Adam admitted that he never really appreciated it at the time, but now that his parents were no longer here, he knew the sacrifices they had made. I thought this was a particularly beautiful response on this Father's Day. His parents never left Poland, but Adam & Krystyna went on to build their own family in Africa and Australia, and are now the parents of two, grandparents of three with a third grandchild on the way.

Later in the conversation, Gosia shared one of her travel highlights from her own visit to Africa: being on the Serengeti and witnessing the great migration with her own eyes. She was moved to tears and vowed that she could never again visit a zoo.

Many thanks to Adam & Krystyna Parzybok and Gosia Urbanski for sharing their gratitude - and for their wonderful company!

gratefully yours,
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

the west coast adventure begins...

It all begins here. In Toronto. The area surrounding Union Station is a mess due to construction. But that doesn't stop the throngs of tweens and moms and cowboy boots from making their way to the Air Canada Centre, drawn by the promise of Taylor Swift brilliance.

Inside Union Station - quiet anticipation. Transition. From the here and now of Taylor Swift, to the possibility of the then and there of anywhere.

I am directed to VIA Rail's Panorama Lounge where I'm asked to register. A guy named Mickey signs me in.

Mickey: You have been assigned Sleeper F - who are you travelling with?
Me: Just me.
Mickey: Niiiice! You have the extra space that everyone is always wanting!
Me: So it's a good room?
Mickey: Oh yeah.

After registering for my meal seating for the following day, it's time to wait for the 9:30pm boarding to begin. I am thrilled that Hubby and Mum-in-Law are waiting with me, helping to pass the time.

Then, it's time to go!

I easily make my way to Car 121 and am accompanied to Sleeper F. Mickey wasn't kidding! The bed is already made up (complete with chocolate on the pillow that I won't eat but appreciate anyway) and there is tons of room for my bags. I have my own little vanity area as well as private toilet.

The train pulls out of Union Station at 10:00pm sharp! I'm pretty tired by this time, so I just make a quick trip to the observation car, where champagne and sweets are being served, then I make my way back to my room. It doesn't take me long to fall asleep, rocked by the movement on the rails.

gratefully yours,

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 16, 2013

celebrating lives greatly full :: greg kelly

I met Greg Kelly through mutual friends more than 10 years ago.  Since then, I have watched him make some courageous decisions regarding his musical career - and his life!  He has released two CDs and has become a driving force and inspiration in creating opportunities for local musicians to perform and share their stories.  Whether by coordinating regular Open Mic events, taking part in songwriting circles or inviting guests to perform with him during the Tunes at Noon event Saturdays at Michel Ange Café, Greg has been actively sharing his musical gift with us and with the community at large.  To me, this is putting his gratitude into action! 

Thanks for sharing some of that gratitude here, Greg!

Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in your daretobegrateful blog.  It certainly is well named.  Sometimes humility is a stumbling block to gratitude....excuses, excuses.  :)
You ask what personal experience am I grateful for and why; what skill am I grateful for and why; and, what failure am I grateful for and why.    Tough questions indeed.
My name is Greg Kelly.  I am successful.  I am a failure.  I am human. 

Being human was the toughest one to face. 
I married at 21 and stayed together with my wife for 27 years before we separated in 2001.  We raised our daughter together and are proud grandparents of 2 young 'uns.  Although separated, we continue to do things as family with our daughter and grandchildren.  To be able to maintain mutual respect, and yes, continued love (albeit in a totally different manner), is something that I am incredibly grateful for...and proud of.
The skill that I'm most grateful for is being able to communicate with people from all walks of life, and to bring people together through music...either by encouraging participation in an open mic, or by helping in their song-writing, or by performing my music for them, or inviting people to perform for others.  My music skills were close to zero when I was actively using alcohol and drugs, but sobriety and time have helped me re-discover what I believe I am meant to do in my life.
The failure I'm most grateful for and why....now that's either tough or easy.  To tell you the truth, I'm glad that I fell as far as I did through alcohol abuse.   Happier still that I was able to re-connect with myself through sobriety.  My first year of sobriety consisted of me finding out who I am.  Ever since then, I have been discovering who I am not.  And that's okay.  It's okay to be able to fall and get back up, fall and get back up....cuz that's what life is for me.  So, yeah... although I wasted many, many years with drunkenness, and messed up in many ways, I would never have been able to see me for who I am - and am not - had I not sobered up. 
And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Friday, June 14, 2013

thank u - alanis morissette style...

Wow!  Up until 30 minutes ago, I was still in a "dealing with disappointment" mode because, by all accounts, my train trip to Vancouver was not going to happen.  When I went to bed last night, there was nothing to suggest that a strike by CAW workers could be averted. 

I woke up this morning to a whole new script.  Game on!!  The West Coast Adventure will proceed as planned! 

I had planned to share this video regardless, as Alanis sings of her thanks to many things that we would not even think to be grateful for...

As I was living through my disappointment yesterday, I thought, who better to sing me through this than my fellow Canadian (and Ottawa girl!), Alanis Morissette.

Although today is a new day, with a new reality, I still give you...

(still) gratefully yours,

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

walking the talk of gratitude...

OK.  When I started this project, I just knew it would challenge me... It would ask me to view my own situations through the lens of gratitude.  It would look me straight on and say: 

walk the talk.

Just yesterday, I read an update on the VIA Rail Web site saying that their labour negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers' (CAW) union are ongoing.  Although they remain optimistic, should they be unable to reach an agreement with CAW, the union will likely follow through on its stated intent to go on strike on June 14 at 00:01a.m.

My train is scheduled to leave Toronto on June 15.


My first reaction was a quickening of the heart beat, a rise in blood pressure and the early signs of all-out panic.  The sound of Aaaaargh! resonated in our home.  I have been saving for this trip for years.  I have been planning for months.  I have been preparing for weeks. The cross-country train ride is the very springboard that launched the idea of *the gratitude project: dare to be grateful*.

Oh but wait!  VIA Rail has set up a contingency plan to maintain basic service.  All good, except that basic service does not include sleeper accommodations and dining service on the Toronto-Vancouver line.  Do I really want to ride economy?

As I felt the blood pounding in my temples, I have to say, I was surprised at how quickly the following question popped into my head:

What would this situation look like
through the lens of gratitude?

Whaaat?!  You mean this gratitude stuff is actually kicking in?!?  So I stopped my thoughts-run-riot (yes, it can be done) and I re-directed my energy towards this question.  What DOES this situation look like through the lens of gratitude??  It looks like this:
  • I am grateful that my train is not leaving on the day BEFORE possible strike action, as this is the case for many travellers, I'm sure.
  • I am grateful VIA is offering the chance to cancel my ticket for a full refund at any time up to the planned departure, leaving me almost two full days to make alternate plans.
  • I am grateful labour talks are continuing.
  • I am grateful for Facebook, which is allowing me to keep in close touch with what is happening at VIA Rail - and with other travellers.
  • I am grateful for a life view that does not lead me to blame VIA Rail, or the workers, or anyone else who might be within reach.
  • I am grateful for a Hubby who is relaxed and does not add any negative energy to the situation. ("Worse case, we'll just fly you to Vancouver", says he...)
  • I am grateful that *the gratitude project* is evolving to be more than a train ride. 
And so, we wait.  (With fingers crossed. :-))

gratefully yours,

Sunday, June 9, 2013

celebrating lives greatly full :: kara laricks

I met Kara Laricks in the Fall of 2010 in NYC. (See her beautiful words of how we met below!)  Little did I know that this encounter would lead to a delightful friendship and a wild ride as I continue to watch her fashion career take off like the star that she is
The first time I met Kara, I found her to be so kind... and approachable... and remarkable.  I loved her style and nervously asked her if I could take her photo.  (I had never before, nor since, asked a vendor if I could take their photo!) The following year, I returned to NYC and to the Young Designers Market and was astounded that she even remembered who I was.  She came out from behind her table and gave me a big hug! It was only upon reading her blog submission below that I realized why...  I will always cherish my Kara Laricks originals as I fear I will no longer be able to afford her!  :-)  You can follow Kara on Facebook and on Twitter.
Kara, it is a thrill to know you... You are one classy lady!
As a former fourth grade teacher turned Fashion Star, I cannot help but put those things I am grateful for into acrostic form.  

But before I do, I must share the story of how I met the incredible Jo-Anne, author of this blog and one of the most positive, “can do” (and “does do”) women I know.  Several years ago, I had taken a huge leap of faith, changed careers from education to fashion, moved across the United States from San Francisco to New York City only to be laid off from my very first design job in NYC.   As I sat jobless in the middle of Times Square, I decided to pick myself up and start my own accessory line by the name of Collar, Stand + Tie.  Collars attached to ties were what I could afford to produce.  I sewed my accessories during the week and sold them at local markets throughout NYC on the weekends.  
the day we met
Jo-Anne was the first person to purchase one of my ties – I'm not sure she will ever understand how grateful I am for her unique sense of style and the pivotal boost of confidence she gave me the day I met her at The Young Designers Market.  Since then, I have gone on to win a design competition by the name of Fashion Star on NBC and have created and sold collections in H&M, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue.  Over the years, Jo-Anne has continued to boost my confidence and support me, so when she invited me to write a blog post for The Gratitude Project...well, I was simply grateful to have been asked.
Back to that acrostic...

G stands for Greetings from Good People.  In our busy day to day lives, I am so grateful for those who take the time to smile, say 'good morning' or simply 'check in.'  Whether it comes from my family, friends or the the great guy who makes my morning latte – a little bit of human connection makes life so much brighter.

R stands for Risk, Reward and Recovery.  I am grateful that there is risk around every corner and quite often taking a risk comes with a reward like growth, knowledge or satisfaction.  Sometimes taking a risk ends up in a 'recovery period,' and though things may not have gone as I planned, the rewards are still there.

A stands for Almost 40.  Yes, I am almost 40 years old and I could not be more grateful for the relationships I have had, the experiences I have gained, my careers both as an educator and as a fashion designer and the lessons I have learned along the way.  Here's to the next 40 years!

T stands for Trying Something New.  I am grateful for the freedom in knowing I can try something new at any time.  Whether it's switching to almond milk in my latte or visiting Rekjavik for my 40th birthday, I am grateful for this world and its people we have to explore.

E stands for Experience.  Grateful for Each and Every one...

F stands for Fashion Star and Failure.  As I mentioned above, I recently won a design competition by the name of Fashion Star.  A little bit of money and a little bit of fame came along with the win for which I am very grateful.  However, I cannot put a price on the things I am most grateful for that came out of my Fashion Star experience - new friends, the opportunity to create a full women's wear line and see women feeling confident in my clothing, the chance to reconnect with old friends, colleagues and students and the affirmation that the risk I took in changing careers paid off is only an abbreviated list!  I am just as grateful for the failures (I prefer the term 'growth opportunities,' but that does not start with an F) that I have encountered along the way.  Failure reminds me that I can problem solve and that I am stronger than I think.

U stands for Understanding.  I am eternally grateful for those who treat me with understanding.  We all make mistakes, we all have good days and tough days and we all experience success and strife.  My partner, Melissa, is extra good at understanding – she gets my 'highs' and 'lows' and loves me through it all – is it possible that 'grateful' isn't a strong enough word here?

L stands for Love, Laughter and Life.  Oh, and a Layoff...which ultimately led me to my friendship with Jo-Anne and the opportunity to write this blog post, for which I am most grateful.

With love and gratitude,

Kara Laricks


Friday, June 7, 2013

in the words of... kak sri

Any situation can look different when seen through the lens of gratitude...

photo & image by jag

gratefully yours,

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

11 days and counting...

How is it that I've been planning this trip for months now, and all of a sudden:  IT'S HERE!  (Well. Almost.)  Eleven days and counting.

It's as if I have been planning someone else's dream all this time.  These kind of things are not meant to happen to me. I mean, who am I to take off for a month on my own and travel across the country?  Right?!  And yet, accommodations have been booked. Travel has been confirmed.  Connections with friends have been made.  I have done all these things!  On my own. 

I keep thinking of things I need to do to get ready, then I start wondering what else I am forgetting!  I'm really not used to this kind of thing.  What if I don't even know what I'm supposed to be remembering. (!)

Truth be told: I'm sceered.

There. I've said it.  I am excited AND I am terrified.  In a good way. (I guess.)

*the gratitude project: dare to be grateful* has brought me so far outside my comfort zone that I figure I may as well keep stretching.  Then I think, in order to s-t-r-e-t-c-h, I need to keep one foot inside my comfort zone, with the other venturing out further and further. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

What would happen if I gently, bravely, and decidedly stood outside of my comfort zone - with both feet? What if I chose to write a new internal script, one that says: I can do this. 

Yes, what if...

Stay tuned.

And in the meantime, I went to see this film on IMAX this past weekend.  Amazing!  Certainly gave me an appreciation for this journey I am taking... for the rails I will be riding.  Lives were sacrificed to create this marvel.  And in just 11 days, I will become part of that story too.

gratefully yours,

Sunday, June 2, 2013

celebrating lives greatly full :: deb gleason

Deb Gleason is one of these inspiring women who left a traditional career (well, if you can call Homicide Detective "traditional" :-)) in order to follow her passion.  She is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Vegan Lifestyle Coach and founder of Wellness Warrior Coaching.  She is one empowered woman, setting out to empower anyone who is ready to make significant changes in their life!  She is an advocate for a compassionate lifestyle, one that respects ALL beings.  I have learned a lot from Deb and am honoured to welcome her to *the gratitude project*!

The thing I am grateful for most is a moment of courage I experienced 13 years ago. This was the moment I woke up from my own human daydream to ask a simple and naïve question about where my food came from. It was this courage that allowed me to fully absorb the horrifying answer. Digesting the term ‘factory farming’ and it’s ugly definition was disheartening, disgusting and extremely painful. The choice to embrace a vegan lifestyle as a result of digesting that truth led me down a path I could never have anticipated, a path that has been so intensely rewarding and filled with unending moments of gratitude.

Today I love every moment of my work empowering others to find their own voices as they look at their dietary choices from a critical instead of passive perspective. Watching people change before my eyes as they embrace the power of a clean, vegan diet is something that will never cease to amaze me. The opportunity to see painful diseases halted, hear people talk about how they feel lighter, healthier, more whole and even more loving is so much more than I could have ever imagined 13 years ago.
For this I have unending gratitude.