Sweeten Your Dreams

Holding my clients in the light of their greatest potential is easy for me.

Although they are often hard on themselves when they express their challenges, I see them effortlessly moving forward.

Our work together helps them find a healthy perspective toward their lives, a perspective that gives them more breathing room to make choices that create a life they love.

One of the ways we do that is by cultivating self-love.

When you are able to find compassion and love for yourself a whole world of wonderful opens up.

I create rituals that are imbued with ease. They seem so simple but finding a way to committ to them wholeheartedly moves you powerfully forward.

Here is a very simple practice to nudge you along your way.

Well Done!

At the end of the day stand and place your hands on your heart. Take a relaxing breath and let your mind slide back over your day until it lights on one thing you did well. It can be small or large. Don’t employ effort to go searching, just let the memory arise on its own.

It could be something like “I went for a walk last evening and the mist in the air was invigorating” or “ It felt so good to spend some quiet time watering my plants” or “Instead of arguing I took a deep breath and I listened. What a difference that one breath made”.

Let the memories of three things you did well bubble up into your consciousness and recognize them one by one.

In between each memory take a breath and let the wellness of each action have a chance to expand within you. Breath.

After you have rested on 3 memories of doing well, take one final breath and let your hands gently fall to your side

Cultivating self-love before you fall asleep each night will usher you on your way to sweet dreams while you’re sleeping and when you are awake.

Sweet dreams!

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A few nights ago…

A few nights ago I was outside walking my dog in the darkness. The sidewalks were cleared of the snow that had fallen a few days earlier. The air was cold and calm.

At one point I looked up through the snow-lined branches of a large tree to see the moon nestled in the deepest blue sky with one bright star.

I stood there for a few minutes taking the scene in, my heart warmed by a sense of gratitude for the natural world.

Ever so gently I was brought back down to earth when I noticed two paws resting on my leg and my dog Daisy, tenderly looking up at me.

It was such a sweet moment.

Step outside your door into the nourishment of the natural world. It only takes a few moments of connection for all of your cares to wash away.

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Starlet Singer

When I was going through some of my mom’s paperwork preparing for her memorial service and writing her obituary, I came across a newspaper clipping that I’d never seen before. It had a photo of her when she was about 17 years old. It read …”Highschool senior will be the youngest soloist with the youngest band at the Plains hotel. Wayne Morrison, with his starlet singer, will play with three other Cheyenne bands for the benefit of the war relief fund.

Starlet singer….oh my gosh, knowing my Mom I imagine that newspaper article made her bloom with pride.

I also came across a bio that she put together at some point later in life that said…”Mary Beth studied voice at under the direction of Mrs Strombotni at the Cheyenne Conservatory of Music”.

I had never known that she studied music.

What I did know though, was that part of the story she carried with her was one of regret. It was well known in our family that as a young woman Mom had been on her way to becoming a professional singer when she met and married my dad. A few months after their wedding, my father left to serve in the south pacific and my mom was pregnant with her first child. Her dream of becoming a professional musician was never actualized and that sat sadly in her heart.

When I read these two articles something fell into place for me and my mom took on a new dimension. Reading the words, starlet singer and the discovery that she was studying music has helped me have a deeper understanding of why she lived with regret. I feel compassion for who she was and understanding about the choices that unfortunately, in that day and age, were never hers to make.

Even so, Mom didn’t let the path not followed get in the way of her love of singing.

She had such a beautiful voice. It was big enough to fill a room. She was never afraid to sing, she never held back. It was pure joy for her to let her voice shine.

When I was a young girl I remember all of a sudden Mom would break into song. A seemingly insignificant incident would remind her of a particular song and sing she would.

Mom was happiest when she was singing. And our family was happiest when she was singing too.

I remember standing next to my mom in church, her strong voice leading the congregation. At times she would get choked up with emotion and her voice would quiet as she composed herself.

That happens to me too when I’m singing in my church or community choir. I get teary eyed by the sentiment of a particular song or I feel a knot in my throat when I sing a song that reminds me of my mom.…my beautiful mother with her beautiful voice.

My mom passed her love of music on to me and in doing so she gave me one of my greatest joys. Now I am blessed to carry her with me in the songs I sing.


Writing something about a loved one who passes away will become an important support to you during your grieving process. Consolodating a life into words carefully chosen, expressing your connection to the person who passed away or acknowledging some awareness that comes to the forefront after death is a powerful way to experience the life affirming potential of the grieving process.

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An Unexpected Ritual

In times of great need, I’ve always relied on personal ceremony to bring me back from the brink. But a few years ago after my sweetheart moved 9 hours away from home, I was beyond distressed. Fortunately, my 18-year-old son Gabe came to my rescue.

I was supportive of my partner’s move. I wanted for him what I had… work that is meaningful, work that changes the world. He had found a dream job.

I was sure we would shift into our long distant relationship with ease. After all, our relationship had begun with us living a plane ride apart for a year and a half. Our Skype dinner dates, email communications and phone conversations were sweetened with by-monthly in-person rendezvous. We had perfected the art of long distance relationship.

I wasn’t prepared for the grief I felt when he parted. The van filled with his belongings made the enormity of the change sink in on a very deep level.

One Sunday afternoon when my tears were flowing my 18-year-old son came to my rescue. He started by asking me a few simple questions that served as a lifeline. “What did you have for lunch?” “Who did you talk to this morning?” In answering I began to relax.

Then he asked me if I wanted to go for a walk and I gratefully accepted.

Gabe said he wanted to take me to a special place. He drove to some trails outside town where we walked and talked, watched the chickadees and listened to the gurgling water of an icy stream.

At one point he suggested we go off the trail and through a stand of trees to a clearing that was a farmers field. We stopped near a log and he took off his backpack and pulled out a blanket for us to sit on. I had no idea he’d brought a blanket!

After we sat down, he presented me with a lighter and a stick of aromatic wood that I had given him for doing his own ceremony. He said, “I brought this for you to burn Mom, and you can let its aroma take you anywhere you want to go”.

I took a deep breath. We both did. I let the gently swirling smoke remind me that I am not alone.

My son’s caring and the sweet aroma started to settle me.

He produced a pencil and a small piece of paper and he told me to write anything I wanted to on the paper and then we would burn it. I needed his clear directions and it was easy to write words that had meaning for me in that moment.

I wrote words like courage, willingness, grief and trust.

Then I rolled up the small paper and lit it on fire. I watched the flame curl it beautifully before letting it go on the snowy ground.

I took another deep breath. I felt my son’s love and I basked in his ability to comfort me.

There was a beautiful healing in that moment as my emptiness was gently filled with my willingness to receive the loving ritual my son offered me.

We hiked back to the car and with each step I could feel the earth supporting me. I felt so much better!

Ceremony can be so very simple. It’s potency rests on your clear intention and your willingness to rely on its power to transform.

When you or a love one are in pain try creating a very simple ceremony as a loving support.

Find a special place in your home or somewhere in nature.

Engage your senses.

Look at a candle.
Listen to a stream.
Touch the earth.
Taste a cool glass of water.
Smell an essential oil or some incense.

Read some inspiring words, ask for guidance, accept support in whatever form it arrives and you will experience the transformational power of ceremony.

And…if you share the power and pleasure of ceremony with your children, know that one day they will come to your rescue.

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The Healing Moment

Today I offer you this beautiful writing to remind you that you are held by the universe and you are enough just as you are.

The Healing Moment
by Elizabeth Tarbox

Each day I am newly reminded of my unworthiness—a dozen thoughts misspoken; another day when the good I do falls short of the good that I could do; myriad small interchanges; moments of sharing that strain to the breaking point my desire to be generous, helpful, and kind; months of careful work lost by a moment’s impatience, a careless word.

But when I am here at the edge of creation, breaking with the small tide over the sand, the need to do good rolls away; the question of what is right diminishes to insignificance and is easily borne away by the tiny waves.

Here, where no words are spoken, none are misspoken.I am with the broken stubble of the marsh grass that holds on through the wrecking wind and the burning flood. I am with the grains that mold themselves around everything, accepting even so unworthy a foot as mine, holding and shaping it until it feels that it belongs.

I stand somewhere between truth and vision, and what I don’t know ceases to embarrass me, because what I do know is that the water feels gentle like a lover’s touch, and the sand welcomes it.

What I have done or failed to do has left no noticeable mark on creation. What I do or don’t do is of no moment now. Now I am here and grateful to be touched, calmed, and healed by the immense pattern of the universe. And when I die, it will be an honor for my blood to return to the sea and my bones to become the sand.

Reassured, I am called back to my life, to another day.

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A Life Well Lived

Sometimes when I’m in need, I draw on the memory of a particular beach I used to walk on during my winter trips south. I visited the same area many times over the years and developed a sense of belonging most particularly to the beach I walked each morning.

I remember clearly the sensation of my first step down from the concrete onto the cool welcoming softness of the morning sand. I recall the long stretch of compact sand along the ocean when the tide was out, the excitement of discovering a shell, the refreshing breeze on my face, the gradual build of warmth as I walked in the direction of the morning sun.

But most of all, I remember the moment when I’d reach the end of the beach where I’d stand and take several conscious breaths encouraging myself to take in the moment absolutely and completely.

Occasionally I’d sense that I’d stepped away too soon and I’d will myself back to my breath, eyes closed for a few more moments of silent appreciation. In doing this I’d feel nourishment fill me from head to toe and sometimes I’d receive what felt like a hidden message that had been awaiting me because of my willingness to be there completely in the gratitude of the moment.

Let yourself linger in the moments and you’ll feel more wonder in the moving clouds, more awe in the newly opening rose, more refreshment in the cool water on your feet, more love in the gaze of another.

Give yourself another chance. There is more for you here. Return to your breath and deepen your experience of a nourishing moment.

In savouring these moments you’ll enliven your connection to the world around you, you’ll notice the place of wholeness within you and you’ll cultivate the feeling of a life well lived.

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In Memory

My mom passed away on New Year’s Eve day. She was 93 years old.

My sister and brother and I had all visited her in Iowa 3 times in the past 6 months. We kept thinking she was going down hill but each time we got there she was doing well and we had wonderful visits.

But just a few weeks ago she had suddenly gone from being a gal about town driving her car here and there everyday to needing help getting in bed at night. We went to move her from her apartment into a room in the retirement center where she would receive round the clock care.

It was a good visit. The people who cared for her were so kind and fun loving. We hung paintings and filled bookshelves so that her room had the same flavour as one of the many homes she had after moving from the family home many years ago.

She was so appreciative of our visit and we felt satisfied that we’d done everything we could to help her settle into her new home. I still remember the smile on her face as I turned around to say goodbye one last time.

Mom had been very healthy all her life always having energy to burn. In the end she only had one day of pain that was tempered by evening. She died during the night.

There’s an indescribable preciousness in loosing a parent.

New Year’s Eve seemed a good day for her to have passed. As a child I remember her sewing a sparkly dress every year in preparation for a New Year’s Eve out dancing with my dad.

This New Year’s Eve I set up a simple altar adorned with a picture from her younger years. I lit a white candle and turned out all the lights and I sat in the comfort of my memories imagining Mom’s spirit all shimmery and free.

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Winter’s Warmth

It’s been bitterly cold the past few days. I’ve been bundled up in my puffy winter coat. My head, hands and feet covered with hat, mittens and boots.

This afternoon as I was bracing myself in the cold, pumping gas with the wind whipping around me, I turned my head to see… the sweetest pink sunset blessing the western sky.

I love contrasts.

• Messy and clean

• Dark and light

• Happy and sad

• Hot and cold

Embrace the contrasts in your life today.

• Warm your cold hands against cup of hot cup of cocoa.

• Step out the door into the frigid air and take a brisk walk that makes you all sweaty.

• Sit by the fire or snuggle up with your comforter and drink a cold glass of water.

Invite the cold of winter to reveal the warmth in your life.

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Making Way for a New Year

As 2016 comes to an end, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting over the past year.

Set a few uninterrupted hours aside. Make a cup of tea, get out your journal and find a comfortable place to sit to mine your memory for the things that nourished you, inspired you, motivated you, brought you joy, enlivened you and delighted you in 2016.

Try setting a timer as you reflect on each quality and write without stopping in a stream of consciousness manner. In this way you’re sure to discover some gems.

Sit with the memories that arise. Let the good feelings wash over you.

Then ask, “What am I especially proud of?”

Try filling in the blank one after another.

“I am proud of _______________.”
“I am proud of _______________.”

Let yourself be surprised at what comes both big and small.

Then ask this question “Who or what supported me in moving forward in my life/ being my best self?”

It is said that, “the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones.”(Rick Hansen)

By framing your year in the positive, you will move into the new year feeling kindness towards yourself and you’ll be motivated to nurture future opportunities.

There are some wonderful suggestions on how to support this practice here in Rick Hansen’s post “Take in the Good”.

In every moment choose the way you tell your story.

I’m wishing you a wonder filled New Year!

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Holy Peace

Last weekend, it was such a pleasure to take my 4 year-old grandson to the green house to choose a poinsettia. He and his dad were as happy as I was to step into the warmth of the greenhouse. It was a sea of colour!

Over the years, I’ve shifted my attention from gift giving to celebrating the magic of this season through simple pleasures; a trip to the green house, singing in concert with my choirs, making something special to add to the meal I share with my extended family, cutting some greenery in the forest to make a wreath, a wilderness walk on Christmas day.

Where I live the cold moves in, the darkness settles and yet even in the contraction of winter, there are twinkling lights illuminating the night and a there’s a feeling of hope in the air that accompanies me through the time of darkness.

It feels as though the veils between the seen and unseen worlds are thinnest this time of year. I can feel the holy moments more strongly than at any other time of the year.

I encourage you to cultivate inner peace during the holidays. Set up a simple altar in your home.

You could cut some evergreen from your garden or purchase white flowers for a vase or a bowl and place a candle near them. Light the candle and spend some time each evening in quiet contemplation.

Create a place of peace in your busy life and you will experience important insights and expand your feeling of gratitude.

Listen to this song by Peter Mayer called “Holy Now”. I hope you resonate with its sentiment.

I’m wishing you well.

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