Happy Sunday! This blog is a place to share stuff that brings me joy. Well, it’s an exciting day! We have sprouts! I have been wanting a SucSeed growing system since I heard one of the founders speak at a work function a couple of years ago. Emily Bland was the speaker and she told Sucseed’s success story that evening. It all started at Memorial University’s Enactus program and has grown into a social enterprise that supports youth in need by training and employing them to manufacture the garden boxes while offering a solution for food sustainability. The hydroponic growing systems do not require soil or sun so year round greens and herbs in this house. I am stoked!
I feel very lucky to work at Memorial University in the Office of Development. Specifically, I work with our planned giving donors. These are individuals who plan to leave a gift to Memorial in their will and through their estate planning to support students, research or any number of initiatives at the university. It is very rewarding and I love talking with donors about their passions and goals and help them make their legacy giving dreams a reality. I have a deep affinity to Memorial and am delighted to support Sucseed as Memorial alumni.
I shared with the SucSeed people that I was going to blog about my gardening progress and they were so thankful and offered a 10% discount code to my friends and family who would like to try their products. No minimum purchase necessary. Just put MICHELLE10 in the discount code and it’s yours. How sweet of them to offer that! Check out their website at http://www.sucseed.ca
Only joy, only love (and all the shit in between).
Dismantling has been a theme for this past year. Dismantling myself from an unhealthy marriage and life. Dismantling the layers of self limiting beliefs and fear that subconsciously existed and guided me. Dismantling my physical space. Dismantling my unawareness of the world around me. It has been a beautiful and painful process. That’s life, isn’t it.
This is now my second Mother’s Day weekend as a single mother. It has definitely not been an easy year but it has been one of connection and unconditional love and support. Creating a safe and peaceful home for us has been my priority and we’ve done just that. We are 3 months in our new home and love our space and spending time together (and alone) in it. I know my daughters are learning the coping skills to overcome and thrive in all life’s experiences. They’ve been through a lot in their short lives but they know how much they are loved and heard.
This past week was Mental Heath week with the tag line ‘Name it. Don’t numb it’. It always helps to talk about what is going on in your head in a safe space. And by safe space, I mean sharing with someone who will allow you to experience your emotions without inserting their own judgement. Emotions are powerful teachers if you let them teach you the lessons. It is in those lessons that you take your power back.
After my last post where I mentioned toxic positivity, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people around it. People truly want to be supportive but sometimes their words don’t allow for the person to express what is in their heads and hearts. I saw this on Instagram and thought it was an excellent explanation. I actually got rid of a mug that said ‘good vibes only’ and told the girls all vibes are ok.
So the dismantling stage of my life is over. Now I am in the opposite of dismantling stage. Check out these antonyms! Build, Create, Restore, Raise. These are some empowering words to live by.
Sending lots of love out this Saturday morning.
Only joy, only love (and all the shit in between).
I was going to let this blog go. I’ve been struggling with it for a while. It was the “only joy, only love” that was getting me. It felt like toxic positivity and that is not my intention behind it. I wanted a space to share things that raise my vibe. So I have decided to keep it up and do just that.
I have learned quite a lot about myself over the past few years and realized how much fear and judgement were holding me back. I was only seeing the love and the joy and created a narrative around that but I had blinders on so I couldn’t see the big picture. I certainly wasn’t following my intuition.
The reality is that I can find joy and love in every moment. Even the challenging ones. If I do start to feel fear, I have the tools to not let it spiral into a full on anxiety attack. But instead of pushing the discomfort of the fear under the proverbial rug, I can experience it, move through it and most importantly, learn from it. It is pretty freeing and powerful.
I am so thankful for the healers who have helped me in my journey. They all came to me at the perfect time. This was much bigger than a cancer recovery journey for me. I had the unique opportunity to start fresh and create my beautiful life. In order to do so, I have had to do some pretty serious healing work on my body, mind and spirit. It’s a lifelong journey of healing and growth but in retrospect, covid kind of happened at the perfect time for me. An opportunity grieve the ending of my almost 20 year marriage and get to the bottom of my self limiting beliefs in the comfort of my yoga pants with no temptation to socialize. Although my friend and I did sign me up for tinder for one weekend for reconnaissance (seriously better than a concert) but it showed me that I was definitely not ready to date. Haha
Of all the modalities of healing I have used (and learned because I am now a reiki II practitioner), one of the most powerful experiences of healing for me was when I was able to talk to a healer friend and talk openly to her about every single thing that was in my head and heart. I thought the tears would never stop. She listened with zero judgement and unconditional love. It was such a cathartic experience for me and taught me an important lesson about sacred listening.
Do you have someone who can listen to your hopes and fears with out judgement? Without offering unsolicited advice. Just listening – give it a try. It helps :-). You don’t need an appointment with a therapist to get stuff out of your head and sometimes, that is all it takes for your own clarity. I am not diminishing the importance of a therapist…I have my own but this is something even a dear friend can do as Leslie Ann at Featherlight Wellness did for me that day. It was a beautiful experience I will never forget.
Sending lots of love out to you all on the foggy Easter Monday. I took the day off to hang with the girls. I’m also getting my new piano tuned – more about that later because it definitely brings me JOY! Eeekkk!
Only joy, only love (and all the shit in between),
Here we are at the end of October. The kids are settled back into school and routine and Newfoundland is in a good space with covid-19 cases being kept to a minimum and mandating masks in public spaces. This rock in the middle of the North Atlantic is the place to be – albeit chilly….really chilly.
This is the time of year that I get all my cancer related checkups. I am incredibly thankful that all came back clear and healthy!!! I am also proud that, for the most part, I handled the appointments and waiting with grace and calmness. Having the tools to not let my thoughts and fears spiral into major anxiety is so empowering. You can’t live in fear of the future possibilities.
I was driving in the car with my 13 year old daughter and I joked about that one of the good things that came out of me having cancer is that I haven’t had a period since the day I went in for my mastectomy surgery. haha. I consider that a blessing. My daughter looked at me so puzzled and said “wait, what other good things came out of you having cancer?” That was a big question. Cancer has taught me many things. It has taught me how to love myself. All of me. How to heal my body, mind and spirit. How to show myself the kindness that I have always shown others. It has taught me that we are all connected in a way that as I heal myself, I do not heal alone. How I experience my world is different from how I experienced it 5 years ago. It is a beautiful journey of growth and connection. Cancer taught me how to live in gratitude and wonder.
At 44 years old, I am so stoked for the next 44 years. Moment by moment, I’m gonna keep rocking on. Take care of yourselves. Sending lots of love out to y’all.
Summer is drawing to a close in NL. There’s a chill in the air that inevitably starts after the date of the annual regatta races. They were cancelled this year due to covid.
2020 has really been unexpected, to say the least. It has brought a host of changes and challenges to my life and continues to do so. I know so many people are dealing with an awful lot at this time. In all of the changes, I have experienced more joy even in the darkness. I am always laughing. It feels amazing. I have done a lot of work on my health in the past few years and it’s paying off. I understand my energy and have the tools and resources to live a life that doesn’t include anxiety. I have learned to observe and make conscious responses instead of subconscious reactions. It is very powerful. I was paralyzed with anxiety and stress for a long time. It all happened so slowly that I didn’t recognize it until it was so far gone. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees and I was not using my voice. Paralyzed. I believe it nearly killed me but all of my experiences have also brought me back to life.
Small changes over a long time has been working for me. I shifted my focus to growth instead of just healing and getting healed. Does that make sense? It’s a continuous, lifelong process. The more you heal, the more you grow and the more you learn, the more you realize there is to learn. More healing. More growth. On and on. It’s a fascinating journey.
In the midst of a global pandemic, my husband and I decided to go our separate ways. We spent nearly 20 years together, had some pretty incredible experiences all over the world and, most importantly, brought our two beautiful daughters into this world. All divinely timed 😀 There are exciting times ahead for both Glenn and I and a new chapter of coparenting begins. ❤️❤️❤️
With that said, we have decided to sell our home on Berteau Ave. So many wonderful memories in this house but it’s time for a new start. If you know of anyone looking for an amazing home in the east end, let them know 64 Berteau will be on the market by the end of the weekend. It’s a pretty remarkable property that is incredible for entertaining but one of my favourite spots is in the hammock in the backyard. Haha
26 years ago I graduated from high school. Music was my life and I had a really special relationship with my music teacher, Mr. John Bonia. Just weeks before my high school graduation, John was killed in a motorcycle accident.
I spent a lot of time in the music room during my three years at Prince of Wales Collegiate and Mr Bonia and I always shared a special connection. He taught me a lot about music and we laughed a lot. He even had me playing the timpani in the band one year. He was desperate but knew I’d give it a go. I had to drop out before MusicFest that year because I was terrible and hated going band rehearsal. It was so loud! (I don’t know how you do it, Katie Sullivan! Seriously. You’re a superstar) He didn’t fight my decision to quit. 🤣🤣🤣
The November before he died, he asked me to sing a song he had written at the school Remembrance Day assembly. It was called Crossroads. Although he never came out and said it, I knew it was the story of his battle with alcohol. He played piano for me and I sang. It was emotional because I knew he was being so vulnerable sharing it.
At his funeral, I also sang his song; his words and music. As an 18 year old, I thought I understood. But now as a 44 year old, I hold an entirely different perspective. He was 41 when he died. I am singing Crossroads all the time now and practicing it on piano. (Big shout out to my sweet and talented nephew, Matthew Hardy, for his keen aural skills to help me figure out all the chords. ❤️) I am going to record it and share it in the future but the thing is that my piano skills are rusty and my piano is soooooo out of tune it doesn’t help the situation AT ALL. I am going to get Joe from Pianowise in to tune it asap but for now, I’d like to share a snippet of his lyrics. I do promise to record it and share when the time is right.
This is the last verse and chorus of Crossroads by John Bonia.
I’ve searched for my spirit. I feel hurt and I feel pain. I pray that you’ll help me. I’m not playing a game. Let’s join hands be together. Take one step at a time. Take our strength from each other. Feel that freedom inside.
So hear me now. I’m trying to live just one day. One day at a time. I want to free myself. To move one step closer to being. To being alive. Yes alone I stand. I’m here at the crossroads again. Which way will I turn now? I can’t go back cause I know what will happen and then. I’ll tear out my heart and soul.
It’s a really powerful tune and I look forward to sharing it with you. For my music peeps, it’s in e minor but it ends on an E major chord. 😃❤️
That was one part of John Bonia’s story. He was also a father, husband, friend, teacher, songwriter, he played SOUL music and was a motorcycle enthusiast….the list goes on. I invite you to share your memories of him and look forward to it.
And speaking of memories….I have been wanting to do this for a while and have finally started the process to establish the John Bonia Memorial Scholarship at Memorial University’s School of Music. It will be awarded to a student studying saxophone (or any woodwind major if there isn’t an eligible saxophone candidate) with an expressed interest in jazz. It is especially timely as the School of Music is starting a minor in Jazz Studies program this coming September. How cool is that! I do love it when a plan comes together.
I have personally committed to funding the scholarship at $1000 a year for three years so it can be awarded immediately. Over the next three years, my plan (when all this covid stuff is over enough) is to organize an event where there will be an abundance of music (!) and bring together the PWC community and family/friends of John to celebrate him and raise money to donate to the scholarship fund. Let’s grow it to a level where it can be endowed and paid out in perpetuity. At the University’s current payout rate, $56,000 will support a student at $2000 every year….forever….and it will continue to grow over time. The John Bonia Memorial Scholarship. I am delighted to be able to start this scholarship fund and celebrate John and his legacy.
The photo below hangs on the wall in the School of Music where I graduated from in 1999. Not in percussion. I was a voice major.😃 I snapped this pic quickly as I was walking by last July and sent it to John’s son, Andrew. I had connected with him a few months earlier to ask if he had the recording of John singing his song. Thankfully he had a copy as the tape John gave me in 1993 was lost in a fire at my parent’s house many years earlier. I had no idea that it had been John’s birthday only a couple days before. Just look at the smirk on his face in the painting. His spirit was captured perfectly. I can’t recall the artist’s name but I am going to find out and update.
I visited John’s grave last week and played the recording of him singing Crossroads from my car speakers and I belted it out sitting on the grass. It was a beautiful visit. I know he was smiling down on me.
I look forward to this evolving. Connecting with and bringing together those who loved and admired John. Please reach out to me if you’re interested in getting involved. It’s gonna be fun and I think we all need a little more fun!
Please take care and stay safe peeps. It’s a crazy ole time in the history.
Good morning from sunny St. John’s. That may change in 5 minutes but right now it is sunny.
What a weird and surreal time we are living in in history. Covid-19 has shut down the globe. I have not posted anything since we started working from home weeks ago. For the most part, I feel very hopeful. That this will be a time to reset, prioritize and see everyone as equals on this planet that we need to treat with more love. There needs to be more love! There is also such a heaviness as I know how many people are struggling and scared. Small businesses are getting decimated and people losing loved ones cannot even mourn together. Even the logistics of working and schooling from home can be stressful for families. It is a lot but we will get through this. I am sending out as much love and peace as I can muster to you all.
I am also thankful that I still have a job during this and am able to work from home but man, I do miss my coworkers. They are an amazing group of people and I miss their faces. Zoom just isn’t the same but it’ll do for now. Our team has been nominating a different person each day to choose a song of the day and email the group for a bit of fun. Yesterday was my day to choose one and considering we are all at home I had to choose Alan Doyle’s We Don’t Wanna Go Home. It always makes me smile and seriously, I’d pay 50 bucks to get elbowed on a crowded dance floor right about now. Here’s the video link – have a listen and a dance….it’ll brighten your day.
Today I turn 44 years old. Every day I wake up, put my feet on the floor, stretch my arms up in the air and say thank you, thank you, thank you out loud! I started this habit a while ago now and I tell ya, it changes everything.
Today was no different than any other day but I feel like I am bursting with gratitude. Grateful for my health, the growth in my life, the peace and joy I feel as I move through my day after years of high functioning anxiety, how Julia and Georgia have grown into incredible humans, my morning meditation practice, the healers that have helped me on my journey and of course, the circle of souls that love and support me and my family. Most importantly, I have another day to experience it all. It’s almost too much.
I had some wonderful help blowing out my candles tonight at my parents house. My wish was one to send out as much love, joy, peace and comfort as possible to all of you – wherever you are in the world. If you’re struggling, keep reaching out to the people around you and remember that you’re not alone. Sometimes saying what’s in your head out loud lightens the load. Keep shining your light even on the darkest days. Life is meant to be joyful. 😀
I’m grateful for another birthday. Here’s to 44 more!
I live in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and we’ve been experiencing some wild blizzard conditions for the past 5 days. When I say wild, I mean 70cm of snow fell in 24 hours. The city is paralyzed and has been in a state of emergency since Friday.
Thankfully, we had it pretty easy as we didn’t lose power or have a crisis that required emergency assistance. Ambulances couldn’t get around the city and everyone working in hospitals and care facilities literally worked for days on end as their colleagues simply couldn’t get to work to relieve them. I have so much respect and gratitude for everyone who has worked through this storm to keep us all safe. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
But in true Newfoundland style, there have been so many funny stories come out of this crisis. People are getting out of their houses and talking to their neighbours. Having fires and spontaneous parties.
I love this clip by Mark Critch. He sums it up best and is a really funny man!
We are heading into 2020! Can you even believe it? I really can’t but I’m getting ready to dive in. It’s been a big year of healing and growth for me in so many ways. Some of you know that I attended a yoga service retreat in September at the Tashirat orphanage in Mexico. It was one of the most beautiful and life changing experiences of my life. We spent our days in meditation, sound baths, practicing kundalini yoga, qi gong, hiking mountains in mystical Tepoztlán and spending time with the children and volunteer parents at the Tashirat orphanage.
These children live in homes with 1 or 2 parents and 6-8 siblings. They go to school there and work together as a family in all endeavours. They are also unadoptable in the traditional Mexican adoption system because of severe physical and mental challenges. Daily yoga practice and food is used as their medicine to heal. They come to Tepoztlán taking handfuls of medicine and end up healthy and taking none; living and thriving well past predicted life expectancies. It’s amazing to watch this miracle occur. I have met children all over the world and these kids were the happiest and most joyful I have ever met. It fills me up to just remember it. It is a special place and so very inspiring.
Since returning home from that mystical experience, it has been a really busy Fall and I recognized that I needed some silence and space to revisit the teachings I learned and experienced in Mexico; some time to write and practice yoga and meditate……and sleep. I slept for 14 hours last night! I am blessed with beautiful friends who offered their home for me to do just that. I packed up my incense and yoga mat and headed to my Riverhead Retreat for a few days and it is where I am now.
I am reflecting and setting some goals for 2020. As with everyone, life is busy and I need balance in order to experience joy in every moment. That means prioritizing time, scheduling, some delegating and saying no to some things. I am getting better at setting boundaries and recognizing what is not serving me.
I also need to strengthen my immune system. It has been chugging along but I know it is weak. Since I had cancer, I get sick so much easier. I mean, I use to be an elementary music teacher. My immune system was super strong! But in the past two years, I have had strep throat 3 times and gotten a stomach bug 4 or 5 times. It just feels like I’m always getting sick. One of my goals is to use my diet to strengthen my immune system. Just like the kids at the orphanage. My acupuncturist is getting me some information on TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) food combinations and I am going to go alcohol free for (at least) 90 days starting Jan 4. I have never really done that so now is a good time. My body still has healing to do and this winter is all about resting, restoring and strengthening. I see lots of soup and tea in my future and I can’t wait.
This photo is in Point la Hay, St Mary’s Bay. This past summer I was swimming here and walking barefoot in the grass. I can’t do that today but it is still magical.
And this is my headspace for 2020. Fuck Cancer! (Sorry for the language Mom but it is fitting)