Category: Uncategorized
Spotlight on Fellow “Emotional Wellness Warrior”, Allison McDonald Ace

“Emotional Wellness Warriors”.  This is how Allison referred to she and I in one of our early emails soon after we met. It is a moniker that is entirely fitting for  us and others in the wellness space who are dedicated to bringing together all of the training, skills, and innovation at their disposal in an effort to affect meaningful change from the inside out.

The universe brought Allison and I together at a time when I was asking it to guide me to figure out how I might be able to have a greater impact.  It was on that very morning, when I was wakened by the answer, that I came across a piece of Allison’s writing that moved me so much, I felt compelled to not only comment, but to also track her down. My curiosity led me to her website where I discovered that the idea about how I could help more people, was in complete alignment with Allison’s expertise.

My idea was to develop a guided journal to help people grow consciously in the midst of life’s challenges.  It so happens that Allison, who is a writer,  is also trained in teaching expressive writing (a.k.a,  journaling) as a practice to facilitate healing.

By the end of our first in-person meeting, I was committed to providing a forum for Allison to reach as many people as possible.  While I was impressed with her inherent wisdom and training, I was more impressed with her genuine desire to make this essential skill accessible.  Backed by good science, expressive writing is a practice we could all be using to improve our mental and physical health. And the best part is that it is portable, does not require an appointment to access, and is basically free.

Allison is a pretty cool woman with this easy, self-effacing sense of humour that immediately puts everyone at ease.  It was ‘her vibe’ and dedication that caused me to immediately form a connection with her and decide that I wanted to support her ability to do her purpose in whatever way that I could.

And so I am deeply honoured and delighted that she agreed to run Healing Through Writing Workshops through my practice.  Our pilot workshop in November was unbelievably well received.  Those who attended, were blown away with how much they had in common with people they otherwise would have never met.  Being able to have this experience, live and in person, rather than in the virtual space is another aspect of this workshop that makes it special and more likely to have a lasting impact.

Allison setting the table for November’s workshop

Diversity captured around the table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here today and make 2018 the year you learn how to harness the power of your authentic voice and Design Your Life.

And if you are interested or even just intrigued, do not delay.  The word of mouth in response to the first class was so great that the next date filled up before I was able to post and promote it here on the blog.   In fact, given the demand, we have added another class in January. And we will continue to add classes as needed at your request.   It is our contribution to making the world a better place.

We both look forward to meeting you at a workshop soon.

The Emotional Wellness Warriors

Dr. Stacy & Allison

 


Curated Life Magazine – An invitation sparks Inspiration and ultimately Innovation.

As much as I am a somewhat reluctant user of social media, it does have it’s upside. Earlier this year, I received a message through instagram from Julene Chung, editor of Curated Life Magazine  asking if I’d like to contribute to their Mentor Moment.  The magazine is geared towards female, millennial entrepreneurs, and is as informative as it is beautiful to look at.  So, of course, I said yes.  You can download Issue 3 here where my article, “Design Your Business, Design Your Life” appears on pg 32 and 33.

One of the points I made in the article is this: “Focus on giving and you will receive more opportunities to serve”.  My experience with Julene and her readership, clearly exemplified this point.  The article I wrote for the magazine was followed by an invitation to be one of the speakers at a Master Class on Confidence that would be part of the launch for the Third issue.  And of course I said Yes.

The millennial bosses in the making.

Me & my co-presenter, Rachelle Joaquin, founder of jewellery company, QUINSCO

It was an awesome event that gave me back so much in return.  Meeting these young women and witnessing how they are creatively contributing to make this world better was incredibly inspiring.  Their openness in sharing their ideas and enthusiasm in response to my offerings that evening, prompted me to take my business to the next level with publications, in-person and on-line workshops on how to use those tools and even t-shirts (yes tshirts) that all function together to shift the collective consciousness to focusing on changing the world from the inside out.

All of this will be rolled out before the end of the year and I can hardly wait.

In the meantime, I encourage you to check out Curated Life Magazine online or in print and follow them as they continue to give us the inside scoop on some of the best innovators in this city who are walking the walk to Design their Lives.

Dr. Stacy


YEARNING

The spot, my spot, my refuge in the city.
The place I have gone on the same day, at the same time for the past year
Is now fenced off due to “Hazardous Conditions”.

The waters have risen so high that it has almost become completely submerged
The landing becoming visible only briefly as the waves recede.

On other days it was an island with rocks spaced in a way that tempted me to try to
take a leap to try to traverse the gap.
I laugh at how my mind tries to find ways to go back
In spite of the natural and man made barriers that prevent my return.

I need to find a new place.

So I start my search.
I choose a day other than the one when I typically do this run to begin my exploration. When doing an exercise to be present, I don’t want to feel like I am floundering to find my place.

The first option seemed like a good idea; another look out point among the trees. Until four legged friends and the balls they were chasing proved to be too incongruous to the sanctuary I was seeking.

The next week I went a little further to the boat house. A look out point away from the boardwalk that juts out into the lake. It was rocky but there were some flat rocks should I choose to sit. There were even kindred spirits doing yoga on the beach close by and amazing pebbles and polished glass on my mindful walk back to the path that I collected in my back pocket.

It was a great option and yet…

Today I didn’t go there. I had to check on my spot, my place, my refuge in the city. The waters seemed to be receding elsewhere. Maybe it will be OK.

I stopped there today. The barricades were still there. But I know I could have made it onto the landing with just a little skip from the closest rock. I laugh again at how attached I have become.

Today I don’t run to the other good option just a few minutes away. Instead, I find a way to sit cross legged on the large log that found its way to the beach right beside the now hazardous site.

I focus on being present there and its good.

As I run back to where I started, I laugh again at how attached I have become to the spot, my spot, my refuge in the city.

I know that I need to let go of my attachment to allow myself the ability to fully enjoy other options that are magnificent in their own way. But to be honest, part of me doesn’t want to. And so I yearn. And I am comfortable with that. Because that place meant something to me. It was special. And I am not ready to let it go.

This was not my home. I was not born there. I did not have family there. I didn’t find my purpose there. I did not create a lifetime of memories there.

It was just the spot, my spot, my refuge in the city.

As I get ready to go on with my day, my heart has grown a bit bigger, my empathy more profound for all those in this world, who have been displaced by natural or man made barriers, making their spot, their refuge, their home a hazardous place.

I can only imagine. Can you?

Dr. Stacy


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

 


A Sliver of Light

Standing near the water’s edge
Among the dark and clouds
I tune into the sounds

The crashing waves
Pushed by the westerly winds
The same winds that attempt to push me

I stand steadfast in my stance
Delighting in the resistance of my body
As it meets the elements

After some time, I open my eyes
I am drawn to the white caps of the waves as they smash against the boulders along the shore
A contrast to the muted, muddied waters, made grey by the turmoil

For no particular reason, my gaze travels skyward
And I take in what is
A dark, dull canvas

And then…

A curtain of sky is drawn
Ever so slightly to the right
Moved by the same wind my body was resisting

Revealing
The most spectacular
Sliver of light

The perfect crescent, a thin curved line in the sky
Made all the more brilliant by the reveal
And its elusiveness

In a breath it was gone
Quickly covered again by another cloud traveling in from the west
But its impact remained

Profound

Standing in awe of this moment
My soul responds with a single tear from my left eye
I am clearly moved by the message

I understand completely
The impact of the glimmer of light
When on the surface, all we can see is darkness

The light is there.
It is always there.
It just requires us to be present to notice.

And when we do encounter it
Its brilliance has a funny way of making us
Thankful for the dark.

 

Dr. Stacy


New Year, New Location: The Chi Junky Yoga & Wellness Studio

How I came to work in this chic, Zen oasis in the heart of Leslieville is a story onto itself.  I was literally sitting in the Dark Horse Espresso Bar, thinking about the need for a new location when Rachelle Wintzen, owner of the Chi junky Yoga and Wellness Studio walked in and gave me the opportunity to work in the office of my dreams.

I recognized Rachelle from a wellness networking event I attended in the summer that was organized by my former high school.  Rachelle was one of 5 panelists who spoke about her journey to finding her passion for wellness and how she turned that passion into a business.  The honesty with which she shared her story of going from party girl to a wellness professional and owner of a boutique studio was both engaging and inspiring.  The fact that she created a studio where class sizes were limited to ensure that each participant received individual attention really stood out to me as something special.  That it also happened to be located just a few blocks from where I worked at Magenta Health prompted me to make a mental note to reach out to her to see what and how we might join forces.

Even though it was several months later, I instantly recognized her when she walked in wearing the chi junky logo and waited for an opportunity to introduce myself.  Thirty minutes later, after talking to her about my practice and my aspirations for it, she invited me to take a look at her studio to see if I would be interested in renting space there.  It was as easy as that.

Those of you more mystically inclined might say that I manifest this opportunity. I am a bit on the fence when it comes to that theory.  What I do believe is that having a clear vision of what you want,  and being willing to put your self out there by sharing your vision and acting on your gut instinct to go towards those people/places/things that you feel pulled towards vs. giving into the excuses that keep us in the same place is how dreams become reality.  And when the process that follows unfolds easily, and is such a good fit, well there is your confirmation that you are on the right path, and that maybe it was meant to be.

chi-junky-hallway

 

And when I say good fit, I am not just talking about the aesthetics of the space.  For the bulk of my career I have collaborated with other health professionals as part of various multidisciplinary teams to help clients achieve their goals.  This kind of team approach is, hands down, the most powerful way to provide any kind of treatment and is why I chose to situate myself within a family medicine practice.   As much as my access to the family doctors has been invaluable, there was more that I felt was possible that I had yet to see offered when it comes to the concept of helping people Design Their Lives.  What I was yearning for was the ability to collaborate with professionals with a range of expertise who were all about helping people take their lives to the next level.  Professionals focused, like I am on helping people move past surviving life’s challenges and to a place where they are truly thriving.  I knew instantly, that this was the place where I could make this happen.  And I did.

I have come to refer to them as The Design Your Life Dream Team.  They are focused, they are at the top of their game, and they are dedicated to bringing you a level of service typically out of reach for most people.  You deserve nothing less and I am so excited to be able to bring this to you.

I have assembled the team.  My question to you is, are you ready to get serious about Designing Your Life?

What are you waiting for?

Let’s get to work.

Dr. Stacy


Meet Kaytranada

I don’t know much about him, but from the moment I heard his music I have been hooked.  Actually, it’s more than hooked…I am obsessed.

My first introduction to this amazing Montreal based artist was courtesy of CBC radio during a discussion about his win of this year’s Polaris Music Prize.  Kaytranada is the first black artist and the first hip hop/electronic music artist to win the esteemed prize, which has served to launch several previously unknown artists into the spotlight.

As stated by Del Cowie, one of this year’s jurors who voted for Kaytranada’s debut album 99.9%, “It moves the head, the heart and the feet. It recalls the past, articulates the present and it suggests the future.”

I couldn’t agree more.  The only thing I would add is that within the mash up of 90’s house, hip hop, and pop, influences is a hint of his Haitian/African roots.  Where else but in Canada could this incredible mix come together?

Kaytranada is the most exciting and interesting musician/producer I have heard in ages, and is the reason for the perpetual beat in my head these days.   I hope his video for Lite Spots puts a groove in your step and a smile in your heart.

Enjoy.

Dr. Stacy


Milton’s Secret: Bringing the Message of Mindfulness to Movie Goers Far and Wide

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to see this project finally come to fruition.  Milton’s Secret, the movie is finally out in theaters and is a must see.

Based on the children’s book of the same name by Ekhart Tolle and Robert Friedman, Milton’s Secret the movie brings Tolle’s teachings to a wide audience with a story to which most children and families can relate.  Milton is a pre-teen with loving parents who is overwhelmed not only by the bully at school, but also the stresses to which he is exposed in the family as a result of hard economic times.  As each member of the family copes in their own way, we see that the disconnection between them adds to Milton’s state of anxiety.  Then grandpa comes to visit.  It is through grandpa, played with amazing finesse by Donald Sutherland, that we see Tolle’s teachings of mindful presence and compassion in action.  The result is a shift that appears to naturally occur in others as they learn from his example and awaken to living more consciously.

As you can tell by this brief description, this is not your typical Hollywood Movie.  In fact, the producers of the film knew that if they took this script to Hollywood it would have never been made.  The only reason this film is here today is because of the kick start it received by conscious people around the world.  Crowd funding helped bring this film to life.   I was one of those contributors and this story, which was so lovingly crafted and directed by Mr. Barnet Bain, has far more value than the money I contributed to the cause.

 

Here I am with producers, Ryan Lockwood (left) and Stephen Huszar (right)

With producers, Ryan Lockwood (left) and Stephen Huszar (right)

Listening intently as Barnet Bain , the director, shares his insights during a moderated discussion on bullying as part of the Creator Talks at VIFF. The cast members in attendance pictured here from left to right were William Ainscough (Milton), Hays Welford (Tim) , and Mia Kirshner (Jane, Milton’s mom)

Talking to CTV's Norma Reid about my involvement with the film

Talking to CTV’s Norma Reid about my involvement with the film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The movie is just the beginning.  The really exciting part is what’s coming next:  materials that will help people learn how to put Ekhart’s teachings into practice to benefit their ability to navigate life’s challenges, relate better with each other, and get more out of life.

Go to miltonssecret.com to find out how you can see the film and for updates about accompanying learning materials as they are released.  I encourage you to share the film with friends, family, classmates, schools, coworkers…and get talking.  And please send me your thoughts and comments about the movie.  They might just inspire some of the content of teachings that are to come 😉 .

Stay tuned…

Dr. Stacy


LIVING IN GRACE

I am terribly near sighted, and from the age of 12 I have lived with the awareness that I may one day lose my sight entirely.

Several years ago, I went for a consult to see if I qualified for laser eye surgery.  I dreamed of being able to wake up and see perfectly.  But, as luck would have it, my corneas were too thin.  Unbelievable! It is probably the only time that the word “thin” will ever be used to describe any part of my body, and it’s the wrong part!

I understand that the technology has progressed a fair bit since that initial consult and that I might now be able to get laser surgery in spite of thin corneas.  However, as much as I like the idea of seeing perfectly all the time, part of me appreciates being forced to not take my sight for granted.

Living with the knowledge that I may one day lose my sight literally changes the way I navigate the world.  When I see something that moves me, it’s as if time stands still and I need to catalogue it in the special file I have in my brain which holds all of my “OMG! Isn’t this world amazing???!!!” memories.

The sheer beauty of my daughter’s face as she looks at me from under a sun lit sheet with pure joy and love in her eyes is one of my all time favourites.  Technicolour lightning storms on the beach in Jamaica, or finally getting a chance to see the seductive green dance of the Northern lights in Saskatchewan are a few others.  And I could go on.

As I write this today, I realize that the gift of my condition is the understanding of impermanence.  Because I know that there may be a time that I will not be able to see, I tune in that much more.  I notice that much more.  I am that much more connected and alive.

If we accept the truth of this world, that nothing lasts, you can’t help but live in grace and to appreciate the moment, the experience right now.

So today, as I lay in bed without the benefit of my glasses, I look out my window and delight in the movements of the fuzzy forms I know are trees dancing in the wind.   And I am thankful.

 

Dr. Stacy