Tuesday, July 26, 2011

mission folk fest reflections

photo taken by Pat Christie
3 days of music under night skies at beautiful Heritage Park in Mission
3 days of meeting musicians from around the world
3 days of hearing singer-songwriters sharing their craft and expressing their passion
3 days of community, friendship, dancing, listening, celebrating
3 days of sunshine, fresh-air and spectacular views
and a wonderful opportunity to sing on a stage
overlooking the Fraser River
beside the woods where many of my songs were born
with beautiful musician friends
Boris, Kat, David, Marco & Rebecca
& the Mission Drumming Circle
I am grateful

Monday, July 25, 2011

promo vid

Here a video from the Love Shines Release concert.....enjoy!
featuring Boris Sichon, Kevin Boese, Philip Janz, Peter Davyduck, Brian Thiessen, Jonathan VanDyke & Rebecca Sichon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

folk festival in mission

when i moved to mission
10 years ago, 
one of the first events I experienced was the 
Folk Festival of Mission
It really is a 'world music festival'
as there are musicians from all corners of the earth
with their beautiful ethnic sounds
it was a magical experience with people of all ages 
dancing under open skies
celebrating life
every year since I've enjoyed this event 
first as an attendee
then as a volunteer
this year for the first time as a performer
I'll be playing at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon if you are able to come!
I'll be singing songs from the Love Shines album 
and some other tunes as well
Boris Sichon will be performing with me as well as Rebecca Sichon.
come and check out a beautiful community event!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I love working hard
I love having goals and plans
I love seeing results
I love living to the full
but I've realized that to live fully I need to rest fully too
I need time to listen deeply to my heart so I know the direction my energy needs to flow
resting helps me know my own self
I long to please others and make others happy - and so it is hard to hear my own voice
what is right for my life?  what is my own desire?
through resting and being still - I again find that inner voice
It has been a hard thing to learn that in following this inner voice, I bring my best gift to the community
I was taught about self-sacrifice - and that is my best gift ...
I think that many of us who grew up in the church have been confused about the words of Jesus...
that if we 'lose' our lives we will find them
and the 'last' shall be first
these words have been used in ways that have brought tremendous guilt about knowing our true selves.
I personally believe that it is only in knowing our true selves  - that we can then offer
our true selves
authentically in service
and this is freedom
and I truly believe this is what Jesus was getting at.
So we start with celebrating being a created being
made in Love
do you ever wonder why you are here?
and just the simple fact that you are here?
you are here!
you are breathing
isn't that a wonder in itself?
to then discover what a wonder you are - is perhaps your holy work
to be all
that you have been created to be for the world we live in
is your holy task
and your joy
and what will bring you life
it is then that you can 'lose' your life as you offer your true essence
and then you will truly find it
I believe it is through rest and times of stillness that we find again
our souls
our deepest selves
and that is our gift to bring
to each other and to LIFE.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


this picture was taken by Christina from one of our retreats on Pender.......

I love the labyrinth.
I walked for the first time in Atlanta, Georgia.  I thought it was rather strange and simple - and wondered what the big deal was when I heard people talk about it.
And then I walked.
The labyrinth is like a metaphor for life.  It is a journey into the centre and then back out again.  When you begin the walk, you assume you will go directly to the centre....and somehow you end up circling close to the centre - but you can't get in.  You have to keep following the path as it loops to the outer edges before coming back into the very centre at the end.
and then you follow this same journey back out again.
It never fails to speak to me and teach me something new.
I learned how to draw a 7 circuit labyrinth in the sand on the beaches of Florida while I visited my friend Christina Kautz.  I now can use chalk and create a labyrinth anywhere I find a smooth area of pavement.
We used this labyrinth for the retreats at Pender and it was a powerful experience for many.
The highlight for me was walking it at night by candlelight with a group of women together....all of us on our journeys - alone and yet together.
A new Christina in my life took this picture of me at the centre of the labyrinth....a place I love to create for others and a place I love to come to myself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011



pender island......summer silent retreat

today on our retreat I am inviting people to consider the state of their roots.
If you were a tree - what kind of a tree would you see yourself to be?
what is the state of your roots?
In our lives, we focus so much on our exterior selves - our accomplishments, our appearances, our outer success.....what is visible to the community.
Most of us rarely focus and spent quality time nurturing our interior lives....our roots.
silence is a way to bring us
in and down
down to the places
pain sits
dreams lie dormant
We are afraid of our pain
We are afraid of our dreams
In silence
there is an opportunity to face
our pain
and realize there is something deeper
underneath the pain
there is life
and love
and hope
and healing......
we can also begin to listen to our dreams
the dreams placed in us at the beginning of our creation
dreams that we are meant to live out
and not be ashamed of
but our pain needs to be healed
and our dreams need to be nurtured

even though you are not on retreat with us - you can join us in this way!
Take time for yourself today.......
If you can take a bit of time for silence and be aware of the state of your heart
Take time to listen to your dormant dreams
and dare to let your imagination fly

Monday, July 11, 2011



eagles have become a gift in my life - an unexpected connection with nature.

It was last summer that I took the zip-line at Whistler called the 'eagle'.  I had to step off a 20 story mountain edge into sheer nothingness.....talk about fear.  It was up to my throat.  I faced my fear and stepped anyways.  That moment became a symbol for me every time I was afraid as I went into the Love Shines recording project. There were so many fears to overcome - but I kept remembering my 'eagle' moment and would keep jumping into new territory even though I was still afraid.  Fear doesn't seem to leave - you just learn to not let it make the decisions for you - you jump and the fear flies with you .....you look at each other and laugh.   Maybe fear is just a jester - seeing what kind of people we really are.  will we settle or will we take courage and leap?
Well, on Friday, my old friend fear came back and visited me on Pender Island.  I received a notice about something that sent my heart spinning with anxiety.  Panic was close on the heels of fear - I guess they are good friends!  At that moment, my Ethiopian friend called me to the deck where you see me standing here.  There were two eagles flying in clockwise formation.  Somehow watching these two eagles was comforting to me in a way that I could not explain.  We watched together from this beautiful deck at Pender and allowed the beauty of nature to fill us.
About an hour later the rest of the women coming on retreat showed up.  One was a beautiful woman from a First Nations background.  I told her we had just seen eagles.  Immediately without knowing what had happened, she told me ' do you know, when eagles fly in clockwise formation, they are letting you know that everything will be OK.'
It was one of those 'ahh' moments.......where nature, people, and God all seem to collide together to bring a message of hope.

wow - and thank you is what my heart says in return.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

freedom of solitude

Pender Island
July 2011

I am here - on beautiful Pender Island
I am involved in leading two retreats through the Mark Centre - the first retreat being 3 days of mixed silence & community and the second being 5 days of silence.
It is an interesting part of my life - bringing people into a journey of silence, slowing down and contemplation.
I would not be so passionate about it - except knowing that this kind of thing helped saved my life when I was at rock bottom.
It was only through entering the deep silence that I rediscovered my own voice, my soul and my intrinsic value as a human being.  It was through the gift of silence that I discovered I was loved - even with doing anything - just 'being'.
Many of us yearn for deeper relationships, authentic friendships and meaningful community.  Perhaps for this to happen in our lives, we need to take time apart and really know ourselves, so that as we offer ourselves to each other - we can offer the depths that we ourselves long for in relationships.
Today I found a quote by Julia Cameron - author of 'The Artist's Way'.....
'Until we experience the freedom of solitude,
we cannot connect authentically.'

Many of us are afraid of solitude ...we feel solitude equals loneliness.  Perhaps freedom in solitude means that we have found interior freedom - we do not need the approval of others to bring us a good day - we are at rest with our souls.  If we are not at rest with our souls - no one can fix that for us.....except us.  There is no one left to blame in solitude.  We are with ourselves and must face what that means.

It is always amazing for me to observe the courage that people have to come on these retreats and to face the solitude even if they are afraid of it.  It is also amazing to see the beauty emerge as people move past fears and find themselves again.  The rich sense of community among 'strangers' is profound as we all travel to deep places and then bring that gift to each other.

I am missing my loved ones at home.....but will continue drinking in the beauty of these days before me at Pender.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

plan b....or c or d for that matter

some days it feels like I'm on the edge of the ocean
and being swept up by a gigantic wave
the sense of losing control
of my equilibrium
and being uprooted
the sense of being disoriented
and unsure of what is going to happen next
takes over
it can be an illusion that I might be the only one experiencing such a thing
but as I am with so many people
and we talk about our lives
it seems many of us are here
plan b
life not exactly how we imagined it
a few unknowns
thrown in
a few unexpected measures of music
in the song of life
a change of time signature
and key change that no one warned me was coming
so what can I do?
what can we do?
in music or theatre - the real artists know that the unpredictable
is always around the corner
you never know what will happen on stage  - because you are
in the moment
the moment of 'now'
is always ALIVE
and anything can happen
It is always nerve-racking- but if one is open to possibilities - it is very liberating and exciting
On the stage - there are no second chances - it just is what it is in that moment...
you can't go back and fix - it already happened...and you carry on
in the stage of life - perhaps that is sometimes the hardest thing - to let go of what happened
and to embrace what is
right now
and to choose
the response
for the next action
or the next word
to remain present
with eyes wide open - and not full of fear
to keep living and embracing
the only reality that is
letting go of a perfect plan a
and saying YES to life as
it is
plan b....or c or d for that matter
with laughter and with grace