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Happy New Year

I will not die an unlived life.I will not live in fearof falling or catching fire.I choose to inhabit my days,to allow my living to open me,to make me less afraid,more accessible,to loosen my heartuntil it becomes a wing,a torch, a promise.I choose to risk my significance;to live so that which came to me as seedgoes to the next as...

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frozen keys

From Darkness Into Light

On this darkest day of the year, may those in pain find moments of relief, may those fleeing harm find safe refuge, may those who are alone feel the company of strangers, may those without enough find generosity, kindness and justice, may those who are sick find moments of peace, may those who are tired find deep rest, may those...

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The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

A Story of Life for All Ages, by Leo Buscalgia Spring had passed. So had Summer. Freddie, the leaf, had grown large. His mid section was wide and strong, and his five extensions were firm and pointed. He had first appeared in Spring as a small sprout on a rather large branch near the top of a tall tree. Freddie...

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The Ties That Bind

How can we tell when a tie that once was helpful is holding us back from learning, growing, and living our fullest life.  Connection and belonging is as important to us emotionally as water, food, and oxygen is to us physically. We need to feel connected to people, places and ourselves in order to survive. It’s no wonder then that...

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I Miss My Dad

I miss my dad today. Not because it's Father's Day in a couple of days, though I'll miss him then too. I miss my dad because my Coleman stove is broken, and I don't know how to fix it. And of course who do I want to call to ask about it? My dad. He could fix anything. Well, he...

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Mothering, Gratitude and Grief

Memories, mine and others': Sometimes you were there and listened, and then you weren't and I disappeared. A dropped cup of milk, shattered you, then me. Why did you take my new pair of jeans without asking? Did you think they looked better on you? Celebrating signs of spring. A drawer full of new bras that I didn't ask for....

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From Overwhelm to Action

When a challenge we’re facing in our lives or in the world feels overwhelming, we often have difficulty taking effective action right when we need to the most. The good news is that there are practical steps we can take to increase our emotional resilience in times of adversity and come back from overwhelm when it does occur. One of...

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Speaking Up

Why is it so hard to speak up when something isn’t working for us, when our needs aren’t being met, and we need something to change? Most of us don’t like conflict, and will go through a lot of trouble to avoid it. And with good reason! We’ve suffered some of our deepest wounds, and most humiliating experiences of disempowerment...

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Grief Counselling 101

Would you like to know what Grief Counselling is all about? Have a listen to this radio interview that I did with Kim Logue on her show "Conversations Worth Having" on CFRU 93.3 at the University of Guelph. In it I describe: the different kinds of loss we go through how I help people navigate their emotions and reconnect to...

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Hello Darkness

I used to think there was something wrong with me, especially at this time of year. I’ve always felt uncomfortable and out-of-sync with the festive season. I thought it was because I was somehow off, depressed, ill-at-ease, and unsociable... that it was somehow my fault, my failing. My favourite song this time of year: Joni Mitchell’s “I wish I had...

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How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

Most people come to see me for counselling because they're suffering from a broken heart and want relief from the pain. How they get it often comes as a surprise. The way out is in We’re hardwired to avoid pain at all costs, and for good reason. You and I are alive right now because our ancestors, back through to...

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A Tool for Times of Transition

Sure, we all know "to everything there is a season," but times of transition can be emotionally challenging, even if the transition is something we’ve looked forward to. If you’re feeling busy or stressed, and your cup is already feeling empty, even a simple transition like the seasons changing can feel like an upheaval. Transitions are tough One reason is...

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Facing Our Fears

Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.~Fred Rogers For me, fear is the most challenging emotion to face. Even just thinking about it, I notice that my...

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Coping with Emotional Overwhelm

We all get overwhelmed by waves of big, difficult emotions from time to time. Here’s my favourite grounding tool to cope with emotional overwhelm, be it anxiety, anger, fear, grief, or when I’m blanking out and not feeling anything at all. It’s very effective in bringing our brain and body out of a fight/flight/freeze reaction to a triggering event. But...

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Trusting Grief

  It's September first. There's a chill in the air, and an ache in my heart. As I let myself feel this ache, it opens me to the grief I'm feeling because summer is over. I could talk myself out of experiencing this feeling of loss, but I know better. I could tell myself, "Cheer up! There are so many...

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Wild Spaces 1

We Need Wild Spaces

I’m feeling sad today, sad and angry. In my body, I feel a kind of numb drowsiness, and also a deep volcanic uprising in the core of my chest. And so I feel this, and breathe, and feel, and try not to turn away as I tell you about it. One of the last local, walkable wild spaces near my...

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How to Get What You Need

Did you grow up like me, feeling ashamed of your emotions? They seemed too much for the people around me, and I got the message that there was something wrong with me for having them. And so, I stopped having them, or at least I tried, with drugs, alcohol, and any other distraction I could get my hands on. I...

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How Do I Navigate My Emotional Wilderness?

How do you feel about the surges of emotions that you experience? For me, even though this is the work I specialise in, difficult emotions like fear, anger and sadness can be very hard to navigate, and so painful that I just want them to go away. When I have a big, strong, difficult emotion come up, I forget everything...

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