Category: Design Your Life
Dr. Stacy’s Design Your Life Clinic, opening soon at suite 209, 321 Carlaw Ave

I am moving again.  Don’t worry…nothing is wrong.  It’s all good.  So good actually.  This is not a moving away, but a moving towards something even better.  After spending two years renting from established places with spaces that are great in their own right, I am now preparing to move into a space of my very own and I can hardly wait.

Like much of my journey as an entrepreneur thus far, I have been learning as I go.   Before I had a physical space to work out of, I built a virtual space on line with my website, a place where I defined my mission for myself and others and created a space to connect.  I had no idea where I was going to actually see clients, but I was confident that I would figure it out.

I literally stumbled on my first location at Magenta Health Family Medicine Clinic as a result of following my attraction to the building.  The facade drew me in and as I stepped in, I not only liked what I saw, but how I felt in the space.   It was clean, bright, modern and embraced technology in a way that was functional and easy from a user perspective.  It was clear, thoughtful, and…cool.

That first impression compelled me to learn more.  It was while exploring the Magenta Health website that I learned that they rent out their space to other health professionals.  Hmmmm… I contacted them, and two of the owners of the company invited me to come in to meet face-to-face.  We immediately clicked.

Interestingly, just as I had connected with the design of their space, they connected with the feel and look of my website.  And when we met in person, it became clear that our connection went beyond the mutual convenience of me becoming their tenant.  Our connection reflected shared values and a way of doing things that broke with convention and embraced the importance of connection not only for those who would receive their services but for those who were there to provide them as well.

This is what made the clinic feel like home, a place where I would actually enjoy working.  As a result, I felt naturally inclined to take care of it and the people who worked there.  My focus early on was on seeing how I could be of service to the doctors.  So I introduced myself with yummy treats (of course) along with information I have shared with other doctors in education settings that could be of use to them in their practice.  They gave to me by referring their patients.  I credit the doctors at Magenta Health for playing a large part in helping my practice get off the ground and grow to the point where maintaining its own property is not only economically feasible, but a more economically sound option for it to continue to thrive.

The Chi Junky Yoga and Wellness Studio, where I spent my afternoons and Fridays was another home for my business that seemed to magically appear at the time I needed it.  You can read about how this came about in my previous blog post.  The level of zen you experience when you walk in the doors is off the charts.  It is beautiful.  A true gem in the city. And the feeling you have when you walk in has as much to do with the design as it does with the owner and the level of attention given to ensuring anyone entering the space is immediately able to leave the outside world behind the heavy metal doors upon entry.

I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work in such a beautiful space with other gifted practitioners.  And as I begin the process of designing a space of my own, I will take with me all of the qualities that I appreciated about my former homes.

The Design Your Life centre, will be modern and clean, but also warm and welcoming.  It will be a place that will always invite each person to find that inner calm. It will be quiet.  It will be private.  A place where mental health is approached holistically, with the understanding that not everyone resonates with the same thing.  Sometimes we need to talk.  Sometimes we need to write.  Sometimes we need to move.  Sometimes we need to feel a vibrational tone that opens us up to a new understanding.  It will be a place where there will be different levels of service, with a focus on making the information and experience accessible to as many people as possible.  There will be more workshops and groups, movie nights, and curated discussions.

This is the future of my practice.  This is the future of mental health.  And I am completely confident it will happen…because it’s needed.

This new space will allow for all of these possibilities and more, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

For those design enthusiasts who are interested in building and design, I invite you to follow me on instagram (@drstacytoronto) and Facebook where I will post pictures of the process as it unfolds.

And I will be sure to let you all know about the grand opening.  It will be a party that you will not want to miss.

Dr. Stacy

 

 


Growing Forward on the Path to Parenthood: A women’s group for building resilience while trying to conceive

The need for resilience in order to navigate the ups and downs of the infertility journey is an understatement.  This year, my work in the area of infertility had me engaging in thought provoking conversations with some very inspiring women.  Jennifer Vanier  is one of them.

I was e-introduced to Jennifer, after she put out the call for a psychologist to contribute to a retreat she was organizing for women who have experienced infertility and/or pregnancy loss.  It was Jennifer’s compelling story that made participating and supporting her event a no-brainer for me.  As you can read on her website, Jennifer and her partner know too well the grief and turmoil that come with pregnancy loss.  She also knows what it is like to be dealing with such life changing events with few to no professional resources to assist her and her partner in their small community outside of Peterborough.  Rather than accepting the status quo, Jennifer decided to do something about it, and has been working to bring infertility services to her community.  The retreat was just one of the things that Jennifer started in order to do just that.

Nikki Bergen is another woman who some of you might know as a result of her work in the Toronto wellness and fitness community as well as her decision to share her story regarding the challenges she and her partner face as they too turn to infertility treatments to try to conceive.  Nikki was kind enough to grant me an interview soon after she “came out” on social media, and I am telling you, she drops some serious wisdom in both parts, particularly in Part 2.

When we did the shoot, I wanted to make sure that Nikki was clear that the only way we would do this is if the process was good for her.  Well, I am happy to say, that in the months that have followed since this interview, Nikki has watched it in order to help herself benefit from the wisdom that came through in her own voice.  Click here to see what I am talking about.

Both of these women exemplify what it means to Grow Forward in the face of life challenges.  There was nothing they did to deserve the challenge that life gave them.  And this challenge did not happen in order to teach them the lessons they have learned and continue to learn.  Life dealt them what it dealt, and at some point they made a decision to engage with the process, and to make use of the experience to serve themselves AND others.  As a result, they have evolved into an even better version of themselves.

These women,  the others I had the pleasure to meet at the retreat, the clients I have seen one on one, and others I have met personally have inspired me to do more.  And so, starting this fall I have put together a very special group, to support women on this journey so they too can benefit from the growth that this life challenge has for them.  And I am bringing a kick ass lineup of some serious women’s health warriors with me who are just as passionate as I am.

The group is called Growing Forward on the Path to Parenthood. Click here to learn more. If this is not your particular struggle, I encourage you to share the information about this group with anyone you believe will benefit.

This group for women challenged to conceive is just the beginning.  For those of you who have learned about the group and have told me that you wish you could participate in a similar group to help you deal with the challenges of rebuilding your life after divorce, or are struggling to find the balance as a busy career woman, or are dealing with the challenges of another serious illness like cancer, or the loss of a loved one, I want you to know that I am thinking about you too.

My vision is to make Growing Forward a community..dare I say a movement.  My vision is to create a place, on line and in person, where people who are similarly focused on Growing Forward through whatever life might bring, can come together to learn and share tools that work.  A place with good information as well as inspiration, so that you, we, can support each other to Grow Forward through anything.

If this sounds like something that you believe would be of value to yourself or others you know, please reach out and tell me the issues you would like to see as a focus of this offering.

I am here to listen and ready to serve.

Dr. Stacy


The MUSE Headband: The One Piece of Tech I Let My Son “Play” with As Much As He Wants

A few months ago, while immersed in creating curricula to assist families incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives, I realized that I was becoming the caricature of the acclaimed architect who leaves her own house unfinished.  The fact is, that while I was focused on guiding and encouraging others to find ways of integrating meditation as a mindful practice, I was not doing the same for the people nearest and dearest to me – my own family.

And so one day during dinner, I decided to announce my hope that we would all start a regular meditation practice.  The reason I gave my audience, made up of my husband, my 2 year old daughter and 6 year old son, was that it is a practice that essentially gives us super powers.

Meditation is like doing push ups for your brain.  It literally makes the part of your brain that is in charge of controlling your emotions, your behaviour and your creativity, bigger.  The stronger it becomes, the better you are at focusing your attention, which is important for performing your best at whatever you want to do.  It also feels good to do it and it is a tool that you can use to calm down when needed. Dealing with challenges without feeling overwhelmed, leads to better decisions, and ultimately allows us to lead happier lives.

I am telling you, I sold it well.  Everyone was on board. The sell was easy.  As for the implementation…?  Well, that did not go as smoothly.

To be clear, it’s not that my children are completely new to meditation.  I have incorporated some kind of guided meditation in their bedtime routines for years.  However, I felt it was time to up the ante a bit and make it a more conscious process, so that it could become a go-to strategy they could use in their waking lives.

My initial idea was for all of us to get in the habit of doing a breath meditation for 2 minutes when we got home as a way of transitioning from the activity of the day to time together at home.  Sounds good in theory, doesn’t it?  But the reality was that, for my son, 2 minutes of quiet focus was up against the lure of LEGO, toys, TV or whatever it was he had his heart set on doing.

Soon, the enthusiasm he had for the idea in the abstract, quickly became the barrier to fun in reality.  It was something that had to be done in order to get to the good stuff of being home; something that had to be done to appease Mom. This was definitely not the vibe I had intended nor was it conducive to the practice itself.

And so I retreated and recognized that the answer to getting my family to buy into adopting a meditation practice lay within the core of the resistance I faced.  I had to find a way to make it fun.

As if in direct response to my quest, the Universe answered in the form of an Instagram post by my colleagues at the Integrative Health Institute featuring the MUSE Headband. Bingo!  I had my answer.

The Muse Brain Sensing Headband essentially reads your brain waves as you engage in a meditation session and gives you feedback in the form of a change in the sounds you are hearing to let you know when you have drifted away from focusing on your breath to reviewing the to do list, replaying a scene from the day, or the million other random things that pop up when the monkey mind is in full swing.  When you are in a calm meditative state, you hear soft rippling waves on the beach. When you maintain that calm state for a while, birds start chirping.  When you drift, you hear the low rumbling of thunder, like a storm approaching from the distance.  This is the cue to just come back and refocus on the breath. Brilliant!

me-with-muse-headband

Even cooler, is that once your session is done, you get to see your own data:  the percentage of time your brain was actually in a calm vs. neutral or active state, and a graph of exactly when those different brain states happened over the course of the meditation.

muse-interface

 

And for those with a healthy sense of competition, there are extra points you can earn based on the amount of time spent in the calm zone, recognition for high levels of performance and the ability to advance to a higher level once you have demonstrated mastery.

Whoever developed this device clearly knew their stuff when it comes to both brain science and how to foster motivation.  Not surprisingly, a quick perusal of the team behind the product confirmed that none other than Dr. Norman Doidge, Toronto psychiatrist, and bestselling author of The Brain’s Way of Healing and The Brain That Changes Itself is on the advisory board among other top researchers and tech developers.  Enough said.

So now, with the help of the MUSE, we are playing “the meditation game”.  My son not only loves it, but like many children, he is a natural Zen Master.  And he is curious to see how he will do as he advances to the next level and meets new challenges.  Mission accomplished.

Just as going to exercise classes with me from the age of 3 months to 3 years helped to imprint exercise as a fun game he loves to play vs. something he “should do”, my hope is that playing the meditation game as a family and cheering each other on as we progress to higher levels using the MUSE will help ingrain this practice as part of a healthy lifestyle that will be maintained for years to come.

In the meantime, I am curious to know what you might have tried to integrate meditation into your family life?  What has worked?  What have been the challenges?  I’d love to hear about your experience, so please share your thoughts and experiences.  We can all benefit from learning from each other.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Stacy

Order the Muse Headband on the D.Y.L. Shop!

 

 


DYL Video Series: Part 2 of Coping with Infertility with Nikki Bergen

Here it is: The long awaited Part 2 of my interview with the amazing Nikki Bergen on her process of navigating the challenges of infertility.

In Part 1 Nikki gets real about what this journey has been like for her, what led to her choice to share it with the world, and the benefits she has experienced as a result.

In Part 2, she goes even deeper and shares insights that are relevant to all of us, no matter what challenge life might bring. Watch. Absorb. Learn. Share. Discuss. This is only the beginning of the conversation.

Thank you again to Nikki Bergen for being so generous and open with sharing your experience and wisdom with all of us. My hope is that participating in this conversation, has been as beneficial to you as it will undoubtedly be for others.

Have you been challenged with infertility and/or pregnancy loss?  Would you like to participate in a moderated group designed to help you move through the inevitable feelings of grief and reengage with living fully again?  Please email me.  I would love to hear from you to gauge interest as well as obtain your input as to how this group can be tailored to best suit your needs.

Best,

Dr. Stacy

 


Want to Succeed at Those Resolutions? Embrace the Process of Change

93-5team

Thank you Carter and King and 93.5 FM  The Move for the opportunity to share some of my expertise on what it takes to succeed at making lasting lifestyle changes.  Our discussion  prompted me to dig out this “throw back” I developed for a public health talk I did in Hamilton just over 10 years ago.

As I mentioned on the show, change happens in stages.  We know this, as a result of ground breaking research led by two psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo Diclemete who studied how people make positive changes to improve their health.  Their studies of about 150, 000 people over the span of 35 years revealed that no matter what kind of change people are trying to make, be it starting an exercise program, improving their diet, quitting smoking, or use of other substances, they all go through the same five stages.

Research based on this Stages of Change Model, not only gave us insight into what happens during each of the stages, but also what it takes to move through the stages and ultimately achieve our goals.

I have summarized this information in the chart below.  The left column outlines each of the Stages of Change, and the column to the right outlines the appropriate action to take within each stage to help you move forward in the process.

I say process, because that is what change is.  Change is a process – it is not a singular event; it does not happen instantly.  In order to succeed at making healthy lifestyle changes, it is important to commit to the process.

I also want to emphasize that it is entirely normal to move back and forth within these stages.  Change does not happen in a constant forward direction.  It is normal to get started with something, and then fall backwards to a previous stage and then move forwards a bit further and fall back a bit again.  This is  important to recognize and accept.

If you can accept that it is normal to lapse from your plan, then maybe you can skip the tendency to beat yourself up (yes, Blake I am talking to you ) and simply refocus on figuring out why the slip happened, what you could do to prevent it from happening again and get back on track with resuming the healthy behaviour.

The key here is being able to look at your situation both realistically and compassionately.

For anyone reading this, I applaud you for continuing to strive to Design Your Life.  Don`t ever give up.  You owe it to yourself and everyone else around you to become your best self and live your best life.

And if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

Let`s keep the conversation going.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Stacy

stacychart1

stacychart2

 

 

 


New Year, New Voices of Inspiration: The Design Your Life Video Series.

Designing Your Life certainly involves setting goals. But it also requires the ability to see reality clearly, with an attitude of acceptance of what is, and an openness to embracing the process. This is one of the lessons shared so eloquently by Nikki Bergen who had the courage to reveal on social media that she is dealing with the challenges of infertility and had the grace to grant me the opportunity to interview her on camera so that we could all benefit from her wisdom.

This is definitely an interview you want to make the time to watch. Because as much as the focus is on the experience of infertility, the lessons from this specific challenge are relevant to the process of living fully when the one thing you believe you need to be happy seems out of reach.

This is Part 1 of 2, 20 minute videos with Nikki, shot so beautifully by the amazing Robert Young who was kind enough to lend me his talent for this project.

My hope is that you will set aside the time not only to watch, but also reflect. What stands out to you about what Nikki has to say about the lessons of her challenge with infertility? What do you think about the choices she has made to cope? How might this be relevant to your own situation?

As always, I welcome and encourage you to share this video with anyone and everyone you think could benefit.

And if this was helpful to you, please let me know.

This is just the beginning of the conversation. I look forward to seeing how it will continue.

Dr. Stacy


New Year, New Collaborations: Introducing the Design Your Life Dream Team

One of the key elements to being successful at anything is having the right plan.  And by the right plan, I don’t mean a one-size-fits-all, paint by numbers approach.  The right plan is a plan designed with a clear understanding not only of where you want to go, but also of where you are at this point in your life.

With the dawn of a new year, many of us are focused on making changes.  And many of us will have fallen off the wagon by mid-February.  Anyone who regularly attends a gym all year round is intimately familiar with this pattern:  Sudden crowds in January shutting you out of classes you used to sign up for at the last minute, followed by things settling down back to normal levels, 6 weeks later.

Just because this is typical, it does not need to be the case for you.  It all comes down to having an appropriate plan that is developed with an accurate understanding of who you are, what is happening in your life at the moment, and where you are in the process of making the change you are seeking.

Learning to assess the particular stage of change that a client is in, is a core competency I spent years teaching other health professionals in my previous role on several multidisciplinary teams.  When it came down to it, all of the technical skill in the world meant little if it was not applied with recognition of the client’s readiness to make changes themselves.  And the only way to know this is to be really good at listening.

Needless to say, each member of the Design Your Life Dream Team was chosen, not just for their high level of skill, but because of their dedication to providing services that are tailored to the unique needs of each individual client.  Empathy, that is the ability to truly listen and respond accordingly is at the core of everything they do and is central to why they are so good at it.

rachelle-headshot

 

 

Rachelle Wintzen, Certified Yoga Instructor, Holistic Nutritionist and owner of the Chi Junky Yoga and Wellness Studio, became a collaborator almost immediately after our first chance meeting at a coffee shop.  Her entire business was modeled with a focus on providing each client with individual attention and helping her clients make sustainable lifestyle changes.  Just a quick perusal of her bio clearly indicates that she is indeed a leader in her field.

 

Ben Barkworth, owner and creative director of Just B Salon and the recently opened    B Side Beauty, is another superstar in our midst.  I had the opportunity to sit down with Ben to get his perspective on the connection between hair and our sense of self recently, and what came out of it was another addition to the collaboration that took the entire enterprise to 11!

I chose to interview Ben for my blog post on the connection between hair and self concept, partly because of the name and motto of his salon:  Be Beautiful, Be Bold, Be Brave.  Just B.

 

ben-bw

We spoke for 90 minutes. To be blunt, the man blew me away.  The level of sensitivity he brings to the entire enterprise of joining with someone to refine their image is so rare and special that I could not help but forget my agenda and just dive in to learning more about him and how he works.  Believe it or not, his first meeting with any new client is just about getting to know him or her as a person, where they are in their lives and where they want to go (check, check and check). And so when he expressed interest in joining Rachelle and I in providing a special curated experience that would help people make a change externally that reflected the changes they wanted to make on the inside, it took this entire enterprise to 11!

And like that, The Design Your Life Dream Team was born, which was quickly followed by development of our first project:  Your Best Self Master Plan for 2017.

your-best-self-master-plan

 

I, that is, we look forward to working with you soon.

Sincerely,

Dr. Stacy on behalf of the Design Your Life Dream Team

 


In Praise of Wisdom Beyond Years

From the moment she first saw me, and gave me a look as if to say, “Who the heck are you?” I knew that I had brought a fierce female into the world.  This tiny creature with pale skin, dark eyes, enviously long eyelashes and a head full of black straight hair was born with attitude and so far, she has continued to live up to this first impression.  She is the classic precocious second child.  But of all of her accomplishments in her young life to date, none have impressed me more than the wisdom and courage she demonstrated this past summer.

My daughter had been stung by either a bee or a wasp while out playing in the park with her nanny and friends.  I learned about the incident at the end of the day, but as there was no visible sign of a sting, her nanny believed that my daughter was distressed out of fear not because she was actually stung.  By the following morning, the swelling between her eyes which transformed my daughter’s face into Cymba’s twin, indicated that she had indeed been stung by something.

A few days later, my daughter and her nanny returned to the same park to play.  Not surprisingly, returning to the scene of the painful incident triggered her fear response and my daughter insisted that her nanny hold her the entire time.

(Now, I know what you’re thinking – this kid isn’t sounding too fierce at the moment.  Just bear with me… it gets better).

I responded to the latest news of her fear of bees by sitting and talking to my daughter about the source of her fear, and expressing empathy for why she would be afraid to return to the same park where she was hurt.  I also talked to her about the downside of allowing fear of what might happen get in the way of her ability to have fun with her friends in the park, the same park where she has played so many times without ever getting stung.  I didn’t appreciate the impact of this brief conversation until a few hours later after I returned from a speaking engagement and learned about her very unusual request.

While I was gone, my daughter asked my husband to turn on our gas fireplace.  The first and last time she had seen the fireplace lit several months ago, she screamed hysterically like an accused witch in Salem about to be burned at the stake, and was inconsolable for at least an hour afterwards.  Moreover, for several weeks following this incident, my daughter spoke daily about her scare with the fireplace and made every effort to keep her distance from it.

Just a couple of hours after talking to her about the importance of not allowing fear to rob her of having fun at the park, this child asked to see the very thing that terrified her months previously.  She was only 2.5 years old.  Astounding.

Clearly, some aspect of my talk must have resonated, and the only way that could have happened is if she was able to appreciate the truth in what I was saying.  Her courage to essentially say “bring it on” with such determination and calm, well that just absolutely blows my mind.

This story will forever serve as a reminder to me to never underestimate the wisdom contained within all of us, particularly our children.  My hope for myself as her parent is that I always respect my daughter for the unique individual she is, forever connected to me but separate from myself.  And that I appreciate the importance of being her student as much as her teacher for how to live with courage and to trust one’s inner wisdom.

You go girl!

Much love and respect,

Mom (aka Dr. Stacy)

 


My Vegan Journey

 

Someone dear to me thinks it’s just a phase, possibly brought on by a mid-life crisis.  Call it what you want. I don’t feel the need to label it or myself. All I know is that I woke up one day and knew that I needed to stop eating meat and dairy, and I haven’t looked back since.

This awareness came after weeks of just not feeling great in my gut. I felt blocked, bunged up, stuck … sluggish.  My first thought was to do a cleanse. I had done cleanses in the past, and to be honest, at this time in my life it just felt like too much work to organize.  So rather than complain and do nothing, I decided to make things easy for myself and enlisted the help of Belmonte Raw.

As soon as I walked into the store I knew I had come to the right place.   Upon entry, I was met by a Cleanse Specialist who walked me through the range of options available.  As I had already had some experience with cleanses, he suggested a 3-day Transition Cleanse which essentially involves a series of juices and elixirs plus one gourmet, raw vegan meal/day.  All I had to do was pick up my food in the morning and eat (or actually mostly drink) in the order outlined by the numbered containers.  Easy Peezy.  It was also suggested that I start drinking a litre of room temperature lemon water first thing every morning in addition to 4 litres of water throughout the day at least 20 minutes before or after a meal so as not to impede digestion.

To prep, I was advised to minimize my consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and animal proteins for 3 days prior to the cleanse to allow for a smooth transition without any major side effects.  No problem.

And when I say “no problem” I literally mean it.   The entire process was incredibly easy and the results were better than expected.

All smiles as I pick up 2 days worth of meals from Belmonte Raw

All smiles as I pick up 2 days worth of meals from Belmonte Raw

First, on a practical level, it was sooooo lovely to not have to think about what to eat or to have to actually go through the process of preparing food for myself.  As the person in charge of feeding two young children and a husband, this part was absolutely luxurious and worth every penny.

But more importantly, I felt amazing.  The blocked feeling in my gut disappeared, I had a ton of energy and never felt hungry.  The only negative side effect I experienced was the occasional, brief, 30 second pang of a headache. That’s it.

cleanse-sched-close-up

In the two months since the cleanse, I have continued to follow a vegan-ish diet.  I say vegan-ish, because I do have eggs on occasion and will have cheese sparingly, typically when eating out on a weekend.   But for the most part, I am eating vegan and I am loving it! And based on the changes I have witnessed, my body is too.

Here is what I have noticed so far:

  • I am less hungry in spite of maintaining the same level of activity. Previously, I would be feeling pangs of hunger about 2.5 hours after breakfast, sometimes even sooner if I worked out before eating.  Now, my breakfast (typically a chia pudding with nuts, and berries, and an almond milk latte) keeps me going for at least 4 hours, even on days that I work out.
  • I lost 1-2 dress sizes within about 3 weeks of making the change. I mention this point with a bit of hesitation as I did not do this in order to lose weight and don’t want to be promoting weight loss.  But, I would be lying if I did not admit that seeing the last remnants of baby weight literally fall off me feels really good.  It’s like I pushed a reset button and returned to my former pre-baby size.
  • My habitually dry skin is improving.
  • I am excited about food again. I know that this might seem counter intuitive, but it’s true.  I am excited to learn about new foods, new restaurants and about new ways of cooking.  It’s like an entire new world of food has opened up to me, and the possibilities seem endless.  And whether it’s a reflection of my heightened awareness or a sign of a growing trend in the city, there isn’t a week that goes by where I  don’t hear about  a new vegan focused establishment or food experience happening in this city (case in point:  This article in the current Toronto Life Magazine)

As happy as I am to ride this wave and see where it takes me, I need to understand why I have experienced these physical changes.  Why am I less hungry?  Why did I lose weight so quickly?  Is it just a function of me drinking more water?  Does it have something to do with the way my body is digesting and processing this kind of food?  Or does this have nothing to do with the type of food I am eating at all, and just a positive side effect of my meditation practice and being more conscious and aware of eating out of hunger vs. for other reasons?

This is how my brain works.  I need to know.  And so, in the spirit of science and exploration, my plan is to investigate these questions and share the results with all of you.

And for those of you, who really don’t care about why and just want to learn more about the yummy food I am making and eating, I plan to share this part of the journey as well.  It so happens that I know a number of vegan chefs in this city.  So why not invite them to my kitchen to teach me a little about what they know, film it and post it on YouTube?  How’s that for multitasking:  cooking, learning, socializing, sharing to social media, and getting dinner ready for the family, all at the same time.  Booyakashat!

Stay tuned….

Dr. Stacy

 

 

 

 


ABSURD BEAUTIFUL WORLD

 

The alarm goes off at 5:20 am
Some would say that is absurd
But legs strong, brain alert
I choose the most fluorescent shirt
Safety first
It’s still dark outside
And I realize that summer has already started its departure, in spite of its humid heat

Ankles creak at first, but loosen with the rhythm of each step
Thankful for their ability to carry me forward
I know it will get easier as I keep going

I am encouraged by the Briar Rabbit on the path
Long brown ears and white cotton tail
I stop to admire his beauty
Not wanting to scare him by lumbering by
As he is in the middle, back turned,
Far from the safe refuge of the bushes behind him and beside me

Feeling my gaze, he turns around and looks
I smile and wave and say “hello” in the sweetest voice I can muster
To let him know that I am a friend

We have a moment.
He makes the first move and hops towards the bushes.
He stops before entering and looks at me one more time before taking off out of view into the green.
I delight in the exchange, as I know he is watching and wishes me well on my journey.

It’s brighter now
Pastel pink all around
The air is think and heavy, but fails to oppress

What’s this unusual sight up ahead?
A baby grand piano, close to the water’s edge?
One man at the keys
Two others holding long sticks like trees
Likely recording the marvellously absurd scene

How lucky am I?
And as I run on by
I am reminded that you need to rise early to catch the shine.

Further inspired, I run along and thoughts of a client enter the fore
A young woman, so gifted but fearful of sharing her talents
I know she is talented in spite of never having seen her perform
I know this because she is a creative, her talent oozes out of her pores
Her talent is so strong that it has been a constant in her life
In spite of the turmoil, challenge and strife

Yet she is afraid
She comes by this honestly as life has exposed her to tremendous cruelty
But interestingly, as she gets stronger, and starts to share her own voice,
No longer satisfied with playing roles crafted by others
She is being pulled to express herself through her stories and songs,
But knows that expression without sharing is not where she belongs
She is a communicator, she needs to be heard
And to know that others understand her message

Yet she is afraid
She is afraid of being bullied
Of being diminished by sharing her voice
Of being told in so many ways that she does not have a right to exist
With the internet providing the vehicle that can be used too easily to dismiss
All that she has to give

And yet, what she cannot fully see
Is that she is still here
In spite of all she has been through, the ways others have tried to silence her
That light, her light, continues to burn

She is acting to protect that light, as she is afraid that exposure to the darkness will snuff it out
What she cannot see is that light always trumps darkness
And that light attracts light
What she is not seeing is that the other diminished souls include the bullies in our midst
And that the bully needs her light because he and she were bullied too.

If she can connect with the compassion contained within her light
She can rise above any hate that might try to slight
She can see those who spew it as lost in the darkness
And maybe, if she can become strong enough to see that the hate has nothing to do with her,
If she is strong enough to see past it, and stay the course, maybe, just maybe she is able to inspire the light to grow within the haters too,
because they need it most.

I need to help her get stronger, to fulfill her mission
Because her journey is about more than she or me
It’s about honouring her gifts that have the power to unite us
Through her courage to share her humanity

I arrive at my spot, an outpost jutting into the water
This morning’s meditation definitely calls for eyes open
Pastel skies continue as backdrop to barely rippling waves, the light cutting
through them in the most interesting geometric patterns.
I breathe it all in making mental notes for later
Because no camera can capture this quiet splendor

Time to rise and run back
An extra spring in my step I notice the echo of approaching feet
And realize it’s the sound of my own making reverberating off the trees

High fives and “Hellos” are shared between me and other runners
I marvel at the most unusual of tree huggers
Hanging by knees and one hand on a branch that looks too forgiving for this old man
I pray its flexibility is strong enough to carry his weight

As I get close I notice he is outfitted with protective black gloves
I wonder, is this the latest exercise craze? Tree climbing to become nimble and limber?
Or maybe a pursuit just for fun, as it is for my son
Who will climb anything he can
Because it’s a challenge he is driven to overcome

That sight of a grown man playfully climbing a tree
Seems to ignite the little child in me
Up in front of me once again is the man at the piano by the water’s edge
No men with sticks this time, this time apparently alone
And I think, about my creative client and all with great gifts
Who deserve an audience to receive them and honour their talents
So I run down to the lake for a morning serenade

For a split second I reconsider my imposition
But the curious child in me puts all thoughts of politeness aside
This opportunity is just too rare to let slip by

I arrive and meekly ask if I can listen
Without even a glance in my direction, he says “Why not?”
I silently sit in the sand, aware now that his performance is indeed being recorded
As his fingers hit the keys, I take in the heavenly sound
Made even more heavenly by the setting that surrounds
Pink pastel skies, quiet waves and seagulls chirping,
I take a deep breath and take it all in
I have walked into a live version of the countless recordings I’ve prescribed
To help guide those seeking a moment of peace.
This moment I chose to shamelessly take for myself,
Will forever be catalogued among other amazing experiences
That I can call upon when needed to get to my happy place

As the piece comes to an end, I thank him with a deep Namaste bow, and I take off for home
Completely inspired, I fly
I have none of the fatigue or heaviness that typically visits at this point in the run
I am filled with light
And I can’t wait to get home to write
As the magic feels so fleeting
I must get to my pen, I must get to my book,
So that I can share this great morning
With those who were not early to rise
Who too often overlook the shine
So that they too can be inspired to look for and find
The beauty in the absurdity of this world.

Dr. Stacy

PS: Click here to learn more about the mysterious piano man by the water and hear some of his musical offerings:

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/09/25/solar_piano_man_takes_to_the_beach_at_sunrise.html

PPS: Any interest in joining me on a run? Check out My EVENTS page for details about my weekly SOUL Powered Run or go straight to my Eventbrite page to learn more and reserve your spot:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/soul-powered-run-with-dr-stacy-tickets-28195447342

I look forward to running with you soon!