Happiness Dwells In The “Little” Moments

Last week was quite delicious. And gratifying. And exciting. And rewarding.

I did not win a mega jackpot lottery or get a new car or home or land a huge contract. What I did get were the oh-so-sweet rewards for years of patience, dedication and determination. I got pieces of my life back.

Every Monday night as far back as I can remember is Pilates night. It took me years to master the moves, strength and agility needed in class. In 2011, I still had moves to master but I was so happy with how I had developed over the years. Then I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2011 and Gluten Ataxia in 2013. I lost all strength, dexterity and my brain and body literally forgot how to do anything and my brain was not sending the proper messaging to my limbs. My legs would plummet to the floor, my arms did not work and were in severe pain, my body would tremor in protest and the simplest moves became utterly exhausting. I would silently cry throughout every class either from complete system overwhelm, sheer frustation or both. And I would leave walking like I was drunk having just got off a roller coaster. Over the years, Pilates grew to become an integral part of my physiotherapy as it was one of the only forms of physical movement I could participate in.

On February 1, 2016, in a Pilates class, I got a push-up back after years of trying.  It was one of the sweetest moments of my life. I did feel like I had won the lottery. This Monday I got another “simple” move back – after 7 years of sheer dedication! My teacher laughed out loud in celebration as did I. Sweet victory! I still have to adapt a lot of moves and hold my legs up with a band but I am grinning. I am thrilled. I am so beyond grateful it is ridiculous. I never thought I would get back to this level of strength.

The next day I did a photo shoot – in high heels. Something that again, I used to do regularly as a model which left my life when I developed severe balance and dizziness issues and an adverse reaction (not being able to walk or talk)  to gluten in make-up and beauty products. I used my own gluten-free make-up kit for this one and rocked those heels!

And to close a week of ridiculously sweet accomplishments, I did a fashion runway show on Saturday. In high heels. Under bright lights with loud pumping music. I flashed back to the last runway I was able to walk in 2012, in which I was in a complete panic as I walked out in severe pain to a massive crowd at Toronto Fashion Week and felt the room swirling around me, my feet and legs feeling like they would give out, the music and lights actually hurting and splitting into a million moving parts attacking my senses, knowing that something was severely wrong. I flashed back to having so much trouble simply doing up a button, a zipper, changing my own clothes, putting on shoes. I’ve done a plethora of runway shows over 25 years and I don’t think one can be sweeter than the last. What a gift.

A simple exercise move. Standing in high heels. Walking in a show. We don’t realize what lights us up until it’s taken away. We don’t realize how many pieces of our identity make us who we are until they vanish from our lives. We don’t realize the gift of movement and how it helps define us and the confidence and joy it gives us until it disappears. And we don’t realize how many gifts are given to us regularly in seemingly insignifcant moments. Life is delicous, every moment, every day in so many ways.

Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine

The last few years have been seriously filled with a million and one utterly beautiful life lessons. I appreciate them with every fiber of my being. And then some. And then more. I have learned so much about myself, the world and my place in it. While going through and earning my PHD – Personal Health Discoveries – I got down to what really matters on every level. I really could not have asked for better schooling to appreciate this world in every minute detail. But here is the thing…like any serious studying with an incredible reward at the end of the tunnel, there has been little to no fun in the process. Zilch. No laughter. No belly laughs. Lots of pulling hair out wondering when it would all finally be over. (Ok…and with Hashimoto’s, it just kinda fell out on its own…) Let’s be frank here, with as much beauty as I have found and discovered in the pain and frustration of autoimmunity, there were vast swatches of sheer and utter suckage. No laughter. Lots of suckage. And I have become determined to bring the funny back. I NEED to bring the funny back.

I  made a pact to have copious amounts of belly laughs this year. Like rolling on the floor, tears pouring down my face, grasping my stomach, practically peeing my pants, stop-I-can’t-breathe kind of belly laughs.  There has been so much tension – physically, mentally….on a soul level. I needed a comic release. Having taken tons of improv classes over the years and even stand-up, I yearned for the weekly hilarity of the classes I used to take, the crazy, brilliant, quick minded individuals I used to improv with at Second City. In the pain, I forgot how to be funny. In the pain, it was hard to laugh. In the pain, it was tons of work trying to move away from the pain. With a broken and foggy brain from Gluten Ataxia and Hashimoto’s, thoughts were not firing the way they were supposed to if they were firing at all. If my legs and arms didn’t know where to go, neither did any glimmers of humour. My funny bone was seriously broken.

This year I have decided to bring on the goofy.  Bring back stupidity. Bring on the fun. Laugh until I cry. Text my friends ridiculous inside jokes. Have funny banter with strangers. Earlier this year, I took a drop-in improv class. After a few simple hilarious warm-up games, my brain was fried. The room was spinning. My body was protesting and was in a lot of pain. It was like a physiotherapy session with tons of hand to eye coordination needed with clapping and memory games. But glimmers of funny came out from hiding. “We’re still here! We’re still here!” I freakin’ loved it. My body and brain may have protested over the next couple of days but my soul determined we were completely on track.


This was taken on International Ataxia Awareness Day, September 25, 2016, as I tried to leap in the air. It still makes me laugh. Not only was I thrilled to be jumping which has eluded me for years, to be goofy at the same time proves my mind, body, soul and funny bone are all hanging out in the same room again!

I decided on my birthday in May that I needed to bring in the upcoming year with humour. I believe in setting our intentions for the upcoming year on our birthdays. I took another drop-in improv class.  (And umm….I skipped my nieces’ school recital. Yes, I did. I r-e-a-l-l-y needed to get my humour order in….) Best. Idea. Ever. (Sorry nieces. Love you!) The room was still spinning and if you were to see me try to clap you would crack up.  I figured I could make my drunk-like ataxia actions into a fairly hilarious character. Work with watcha got…

I’ve done some more drop-ins and am taking a public speaking course at Second City. And it IS my physiotherapy. It IS rewiring my brain bringing back the funny. It is helping me tell painful aspects of my story with light and humour. It is recharging my spirit. And I have been laughing my ass off as my fellow classmates share their stories, their jokes, their humour, as we share our collective vulnerability whether we present something serious or light hearted. It is a joy trying out new ways of expressing myself outside the confines of my “PHD.”

I can now flash to several times over the last few months in which I have had deep belly laughs. How many times I have had tears pouring down my cheeks dying over something with a friend. Laughter really is the best medicine and a medicine that we need regularly. I aim to embarrass my nieces with my goofiness in public while teaching them that we must honour all aspects of our personalities.  There is a time for seriousness….but having been stuck in seriousness for several years, I really need to honour fun. Laughter. Goofiness. Our souls need it. My soul needs it.




The Body Love Series: How to Help the Positivity Resonate Mind, Body & Soul

How to get from here to there. Sometimes it seems easy. Sometimes it doesn’t.  I often speak of something “resonating” with me. If it resonates, I support it, I buy it, I tell others about it, I BELIEVE in it.  It’s an easy sell because it feels right to me.

When it comes to developing body love, sometimes it is not as easy as it seems to get from here to there. Sometimes doubt creeps in, lack of belief in something being true creeps in. Believing in the beauty of your body or a body part doesn’t ring true.  The body love is not resonating so it’s hard to make changes. And I don’t mean physical changes – I mean changing those doubts in your cranium that keep you from celebrating your body exactly like it is like rocking a bikini, wearing shorts or confidently showing off your gorgeous arms without feeling the need to wear long sleeves. It’s all about creating a mind-body-soul connection that feels unified and true to bring about real change and happiness.

I recently discussed easy out-of-the-box ways to meditate and bring about body love every day with an incredible crowd at Curvy Expo. I’ve had several conversations with women about it since so I know the topic has struck a chord.  I gave the audience easy 1-2 sentence mantras to build up body love.  These are positive affirmations that can be said to quiet your mind throughout your day and send yourself some loving vibes. But here is the thing – we are all on different journeys with different starting points, different experiences that brought us to today. So what might be really basic for one woman to believe in her heart could be very difficult for another.  What really resonates as true for one, could feel totally awkward and wrong for another.

On my healing journey, I would often send certain body parts some TLC especially when they weren’t working properly. I’m human – some days it was really hard to believe my legs were strong when they could barely move to allow me to walk, were cramped and aching. I could say “my legs are strong” several times in my head while the rest of my body would be bellowing,’Not this month they aren’t!” I found ways to get over this disconnect….and you can too.

What if your body image issue is with your arms?  Or what if you arms aren’t moving or working how they used to and you are frustrated? What if they have changed in appearance in some way through an accident, dis-ease, aging, scarring, acne or something that bothers you? How do you tell your arms you love them and how do you truly grow to love them when you are at the stage where all you want to do is cover them up?  In order to have a belief resonate throughout your being, you need to feel it mind, body and soul.

Here is a simple way to grow that belief in the core of your being. I am using arms in the example – feel free to replace with whichever body part of yours needs some TLC. Check out these stages to see what types of mantras resonates with you.

Total Arm Love

You find it easy to compliment your arms, deeply feel that words like “strong” and “beautiful” are true and they resonate with you. If you were to think of the praise as compliments from someone, you would accept them with a big grin on your face – it would make your day and you would walk around all sassy after.  These types of statements not only make you feel comfortable, they make you happy and energetically peaceful.

My arms are strong and beautiful.

My arms are curvy and beautiful.

My muscular arms are amazing. I appreciate what they do for me.

My arms are sexy and strong.

My stunning arms give me gifts every day.

If these have resonated with you, fantastic!  Use them throughout the day or create new ones you love. If the above mantras aren’t resonating with you, if you can’t “take the compliments” you’ll feel it – in your gut, in your heart, in the doubt in your head. And that’s ok.  We just need to tweak the body love TLC a little bit for you!

Working Up To Total Arm Love

It’s sometimes easier to see what gifts your body & its parts provide outside of you.  Thinking of your everyday life, how much joy, love and resourcefulness do they bring to you daily? What functions – even bare bones basic – do they provide for you every day?  How do they help you do your job and thus make a living?  Interact with your family and friends?  Pursue hobbies you  love?  Start celebrating everyday “little” actions to see how many amazing gifts you receive on a daily basis.

My arms are strong. They allow me to hold my beautiful baby.

My arms are amazing. They let me hug my beautiful children.

My arms are powerful. They allow me to work at a job I love.

My arms hold love. They let me hug my partner.

My arms create healing. They allow me to make healthy meals for my family.

My arms bring me gifts of movement every day. I am blessed.

My arms allow me to do my job and provide for my family.

My arms hold knowledge. They help me cook/paint/sew/knit/play the piano.

My arms create fun and laughter. They allow me to push my child on a swing.

I promise you, if you can tweak your way of thinking, you can tweak your way of believing allowing yourself to appreciate the powerful, beautiful gifts your body brings you daily.  If you start thinking of all the gifts you receive daily, all the tasks you are able to do, your perception will change. And this doesn’t have to take long. This could literally change your life in less than30 seconds a day!

Please let me know if you create a body love mantra for yourself. Would love to hear about it!


The Body Love Series: Monday Mantra

I spent the weekend writing and recording meditations that I am looking forward to releasing and sharing with you all this year. The more I wrote, and the more I listened to my recordings, the more I felt the need to KISS – keep it so simple. I tried to speak slower using less words, in a calmly energetic, soothing voice, trying to keep in mind what makes me relax. After several recordings of a particular track, once I listened to it and really felt myself sink into the meditation, I knew I was onto something.  So I guess you could say I was doing a meditation within a mediation?  (Ask me about this theory after about 1000 attempts at recording!)

I started to write down some simple mantras that I have shared before.  These really helped me reconnect my mind-body-soul connection when none of them felt like they were hanging out in the same room due to massive levels of pain and having limited abilities from Hashimoto’s and Gluten Ataxia. When I was frustrated and my mushy mind was all over the place, when I was exhausted and my body wasn’t working, I told myself to keep it simple. And I would repeat the same phrases – or mantras – over and over willing my mind, body and soul to come together and hang out again. And the more I would repeat them, the more the energy of these positive words would resonate with me throughout my entire system. I felt better after. I literally could feel the positivity oozing into my cells. My cells were believing these words. My fractured brain was believing these words. My heart was believing these words.

Send yourself some body love with simple mantras – or if you can’t wrap your head around that word, tell yourself you are going to create one or two simple sentences that will be your positivity-go-tos that will help create a positive shift in your life. Close your eyes and listen to this simple mantra for a great example. Repeat it in your mind a few times in the shower in the morning. Close your eyes on the subway on your way to work and say it in your head. When you look at yourself in the mirror, say it out loud. Feel it resonate throughout you. Feel your body accept it.  And just KISS – keep it so simple. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated.  We survive on hugs – think of this as giving your body and soul regular hugs.

Looking forward to creating many mantras, meditations & guided manifestations to share with you all.  I know they have helped me and I know they can help you. Body love starts with us loving ourselves and magnifying that love to bring others in.  Just KISS and be kind to yourself.

Freedom On Two Wheels – And Another Aha Moment Too…

Every time I think my major life lessons are over another one hits me upside the head and says,”See?  You still have some major awesome stuff to learn!” I sit in the new energy often through lingering vibes of pissed-offedness (because some of my biggest breakthroughs seem to come through while feeling like utter crap) mixed with the sheer and utter gratefulness of another major “aha moment.”  I usually smile and sit in silent wonder thinking how the latest breakthrough has made a major impact on my being – and by being I mean my soul as a being and my everyday way of being –  how I will now go forward on this planet with my new knowledge every day until the day I move on over to the other side. Then I start grinning a lot. The grinning part is so much more fun than the frustrated part…

There is a quote by Pema Chodron that I discovered a few years back which has guided me and cradled me in some confusing and frustrating and painful times.  Every time I get cocky thinking my health journey is over…

I’ve got this!

I’m a rock star!

I am on fire!

Buh-bye autoimmunity!

…and do a little too much and am zapped – either can’t walk properly, start slurring my words, my brain shuts down, can’t leave the house, can’t be social, or all of the above and then some, or have an experience that teaches me even more appreciation and gratitude, I reflect on this quote and ponder what my latest lesson has taught me – how it’s made me a better person, how the ripple effect of the lesson will reach into the rest of my life and how my changed perception will in turn trickle out to others.


Good right? I know. Sit with it. I’ll wait.

These words of wisdom hit me yet again about a month ago.  I had the honour of meeting a new friend who was house sitting next door. Jayne is sweet and vibrant and owns a sassy new seafoam green Pedego electric bike perfectly matching her bubbly personality. What I didn’t realize at first is that she also has mobility issues.  Or that her bike had opened up a new world of freedom for her. She looked so sporty in her bike helmet. She looked so happy showing off Sedna – that’s the bike’s name FYI – formally known as Sedna Seafoam. ( A bike with this much mojo has to be named after a goddess)

She offered me a turn on her bike several times and I politely kept putting it off. Deep down I realized there was no way I could pedal a bike and make it around the block without losing all energy. Then one day the universe intervened – the bike had a flat and I offered to help her take it in my car to get fixed. As we stood with the newly repaired bike in the parking lot, she said with a twinkle in her eye,”You really should take it for a short spin to try it out.”  Sooo…I got on…and had no idea how much the electricity could carry me. I was in shock. And awe. And I burst out crying from happiness. In a few moments, I felt a multitude of possibilities open up.

I took the bike out for a spin the next day.  Just putting on the bike helmet was thrilling. This simple act made me feel active.  I used the throttle mostly so I didn’t have to pedal much and made sure not to stay out too long because I really had no idea how much energy I would need. I hit the path along the lake I used to walk along several days a week for years. I would always do a loop hitting a magical little pocket in the heart of the city surrounded by glimmering water. It felt like being in cottage country without the massive tax bill. It was always heaven – like finding treasure right in your backyard.

As I passed a particular point on the beach, a wave of revelation hit me. I realized I had not been able to walk past this spot since…2011.  Five years. Five years of feeling like a dog tethered to a very short leash.  My body and brain had allowed a limit of up to a thirty minute walk on a good day. And every time I tried to reach a further destination, or walk a little longer, I was always yanked back. But not this day.  This day I had wheels. And no leash.

I circled pathways ten times over that I haven’t been able to visit in years. I marvelled at the beauty of the boats in the marina. I looked at the city skyline framed by the sun and lake. I passed one guy fishing and by the sixth go-round, he was staring at me with amusement. By the tenth pass I think he thought I was spying on him – or about to steal his fish. I freaked out picnickers as I circled them numerous times and could see the “You again?!” looks on the faces of joggers.  And I looked really rather goofy with the biggest grin plastered to my face (and err….ate some bugs too). It was a giant can of awesome.


Emotions and a multitude of thoughts bombarded me along the way…

And I realized several things on a deep soul level I needed to know…

Freedom of movement makes you feel empowered and alive.


The importance of actions revealing what is in your soul – feeling athletic, looking athletic. Even if I wasn’t really pedalling, my soul was pedalling



Being perceived as the active person you know yourself to be.



The importance of feeling the wind kissing your face, sunshine beaming down on you and inhaling fresh air.


The need to feel like we belong and not being cut off from the world. Smiling at toddlers on their killer trikes navigating the bike path. Happily making eye contact with a lovely older gentleman who tips his hat as you bike past.  Watching a family bent on a picnic day try to ignite their little barbecue – ten times over.


More freedom.


Feeling like YOU. The active YOU that has got stuck for some time. The YOU you want to world to know.  The REAL YOU.


My mind exploded with ideas.  In less than half an hour, I realized I could travel the world if my body couldn’t carry me long or far enough. I could visit the streets of Amsterdam and see the beautiful canals again, explore back roads of small towns, go around the lake every single day. I could buy bikes for those in need in the future –  opening up pathways of freedom the same way I have got to experience. All the visions in my head were of smiling faces – freedom mixed with sheer joy. In thirty minutes, my entire world opened up to new possibilities – simply by riding a bike.

Yesterday I picked up Sedna and have the honour of hanging out with her for a whole two weeks. I could pinch myself. Ok, I did pinch myself!  And after making some more health changes over the last few weeks, I am so excited to have more energy.  I am so jazzed to see if I can pedal a bit more! But more than anything, I am so grateful for another major “aha” moment I wouldn’t have had in perfect health. To have hit an even deeper level of gratitude.  To have a lesson in joy and aim to bring that joy to others in whatever way I can going forward. To let my joy settle in my soul. I am so honoured to have been able to experience a multitude of lessons that were revealed to me in a beautiful bike named Sedna.

And now I am going for another spin…