The Year I Became President

Last year I decided that instead of having any New Year’s resolutions or goals (which I often end up carrying over to the next year and leave me flooded with feelings of guilt at not having achieved them), I would choose a Word of the Year.

I learnt about the Word of the Year through Christine Kane and her Word of the Year Discovery Tool. This tool is used to help you choose a word to guide you through the year. It serves as an open-ended intention and contains that special combination of focus and surrender. It gives you a defined energetic intent, while allowing this intent to manifest in it’s own way.

The Word of the Year I chose in 2011 was FLOW. I had no idea how subtly yet powerfully it was to impact my life. Like the power of water, which is both yielding and unrelenting, my Word of the Year flowed through my life and left it’s mark. I found myself…

FLOWing into posting regularly here on my blog.

FLOWing into this updated website. Admit it, it’s pretty darned fabulous.

FLOWing toward investing personally in my health, education and coaching practice

FLOWing toward the knowledge that my digestion just wasn’t up to par and my years of restrictive diet regimens and yo yo dieting had taken its toll. I was not absorbing all the nutrients from the food I ate, even when it was of the highest quality.

FLOWing away from my strict vegan regimen because of undeniable health problems, and toward a less restrictive vegetarian diet, focusing on fresh, natural, unprocessed whole organic foods (with the occasional chocolate and packet of potato chips. Just because I’m vegetarian doesn’t mean I’m not human!)

FLOWing away from helping with the cleaning and dog walking at Pet’s Villa* (even though it broke my heart to not be able to interact with the animals) and acknowledging that I just didn’t have the stamina and capacity to help out with the physical work load anymore.

FLOWing into helping Pet’s Villa raise funds and making the commitment to donate 10% of all my earnings to them.

FLOWing into my certification as a Martha Beck Certified Coach.

FLOWing into the first year of a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology run by the University of London International Programmes.

FLOWing into the Presidency of my Toastmasters club and learning a lot about managing a team and the responsibilities of running a club.

FLOWing toward supporting the other members in the committee at my Toastmasters Club to fulfill their roles in their own way, while still holding them accountable to their duties and best efforts for the betterment of the club.

FLOWing away from a friendship that crushed my spirits so completely that I felt immobilized and was starting to lose my inspiration and connection to life itself.

FLOWing back to sanity and emancipation with two friends that nursed me with their unyielding compassion, steadfastness and morning walks in nature.

FLOWing out of the arms of a disingenuous selfish man that could not look me in the eye (now I know that was because he had several women in tow and no genuine intention beyond his desire to please himself) into the arms of a Scandinavian hunk who was decent and had a body that just would not quit. Fleeting though that was, it showed me that there is more. Oh so much more.

FLOWing out of the thought that I needed a man in my life to be complete to the realization that I already am complete, and while a man would be a fantastic complement to a life I gain much joy and contentment from, all sentient beings are the true loves of my life and the best is already all around me.

FLOWing toward the realization that my life is better when I have an appreciation for the simple joys of life- fresh food lovingly prepared, pure water, doing work that allows me to offer solace and healing, quality time with my loved ones, the feel of warm sunshine on my skin and beautiful bright blue skies.

This year my Word of the Year is EMPOWERMENT and I can’t wait to see what jewels this new gem brings into my life, heart and soul.

* Pets Villa is an animal shelter that provides lodging, food and care for 500 stray or abandoned dogs and cats that would have otherwise been put down. If you wish to volunteer your time or donate to this well deserved shelter please go to

My Dirty Secret

I have a dirty secret. I don’t make a lot of money. I often just get by financially, and not because I overspend, but because I just don’t earn a regular income. I have to think before I spend more than $50 and I can’t afford to travel as I used to.

I am not in debt, and never have been. In fact my family has always offered me help, but recently I decided I would not depend on them as much and learn to live within my own means. Well, it’s been over a year now, and I’ve exhausted my savings (the little nest egg I had saved hard to build as a safety net) and am worried I made the wrong decision.


I can’t deny loving the sense of independence I feel because I am living within my means.

I can’t deny how freeing it feels to have simpler choices. When I go grocery shopping, I can’t buy any and everything that I want now. Instead I buy mostly what I need and is within my budget. There is less to choose from, and funnily enough, I feel happier.

I can’t deny that knowing what I have in my bank account will not last me beyond the next 2-3 months makes me motivated to create more workshops and share what I have learnt about health, healing and purposeful living with a wider audience.

I can’t deny that I appreciate and am immensely grateful for the clients I have now and want to find the best way I can to serve them.

I can’t deny that spending less money, mostly on what I need, rather than what I want or can spend money on, makes me no less content. Modern society has conditioned us to think that more money and material things will make us feel secure and happy, when in actual fact, recent studies have shown that ‘once wealth reaches a subsistence level, its effectiveness as a generator of well-being is greatly diminished.’*

Deep down inside I knew that depending on my family financially just didn’t feel good and in fact it made me feel disempowered and resentful. I feared it kept me as a child and in fact I am often mistaken for being much younger. While my vanity revels in this, I can’t help feeling like this is also because there is a part of me that has yet to fully grow up.

Maybe that’s what matters most, that I am doing what feels empowering and truthful for me.

When I was in this same position last year, down to just about enough money to last me a few months, I received a cheque for $10,000 after the death of my Godmother. She said she would look out for me and even in her death, she did.

In retrospect, I’ve always had enough to pay for my necessities and a little more, on the odd occasion a lot more, which has enabled me to study, travel and broaden my horizons. So this year, I decided I would make a conscious decision to keep going, keep moving toward my dream of independence and financial freedom. One step at a time. Maybe that is how you succeed. Not by never failing, but by making a decision to keep going even when you don’t.

* Quote taken from Wikipedia page on Happiness Economics

What Caesar Taught Me

Caesar is the animagus that lives at Pet’s Villa, the animal shelter I volunteer at. I met him last year when I was mopping the floor at Pet’s Villa.  There I was that humid day, furiously mopping the floor, when I felt a light scratch at the back of my arms. I turned around and in front of me was a pair of brown lipid canine eyes set in a broad black face with an wide muzzle and a medium sized body, not unlike a Labrador. This beautiful dog had just used his paw to get my attention.

‘Love me’ he replied silently, ’Take a moment and love me’.

‘Oh’ I startled softly, caught off guard by the vulnerability and honesty of his gentle request.

Thoughts of all the cleaning that needed to be done then came rushing back to my mind

‘I have a lot to do’ I thought to myself,

‘Hang on!’ I replied brusquely and continued mopping the floor.

‘I can’t just take a moment to give him attention. I’ll do that when I’m done.’  I reflected in my mind.

Caesar (Photo by Animal Lovers League)

So I finished up and about half an hour later I went to look for him and could not find him. It took me another couple of weeks to be able to pick him out from the other 350 dogs and find out his name was Caesar. During which time he appeared and disappeared on occasion, always asking for my attention.

Each week I wondered increasingly if I could take a break from the cleaning that needed to be done at the shelter and pay Caesar more attention. After all, I volunteered at the shelter because of my desire to express my care and concern for the abandoned and stray animals there. I had just got so caught up in the practicalities of what needed to be done that I had forgotten to show them this care and concern in a concrete way. When I eventually took a moment to do so, I was hooked. Now a regular part of my time at the shelter is spent showering the dogs with affection. Each time I do, I feel a ton of love coming right back to me.

In the busy lives we lead, it’s easy to forget to take the time to show love and appreciation. Caesar reminded me that even when I don’t think I have the time to stop and show some love, maybe I still should. Appreciating Caesar and the animals at the shelter gives me great joy and makes me feel connected to the world and my inner spirit. I often get so caught up in my work and trying to be successful-whatever that means- that I forget the things that I really want, peace, balance, joy and love. Maybe it’s time I redefine what being successful is to me. This is what Caesar taught me.

Caesar (Photo by Animal Lovers League)

Pets Villa is an animal shelter that provides lodging, food and care for 500 stray or abandoned dogs and cats that would have otherwise been put down. A portion of all proceeds of my coaching and healing services and workshops are donated to this shelter. If you wish to volunteer or donate to this well deserved shelter please go to