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Showing posts from 2014

These are the parts of me.

I see it all the time. People tearing themselves apart because of what other people say or think about them.  I say there are two words for situations like this. Fuck you.

I never say that in my blog, and I seldom say it out loud except for special situations, but I say it often and always, and always with a smile on my face.  It’s like taking a deep breathe and exhaling for the first time.  It’s that good.

I am not angry at anyone or anything.  I don’t wish bad things for anybody. I do believe in accountability and I do believe in karma.  But beyond that, judgement is not up to me.  What is mine is the ability to not carry other people’s garbage on my own back, and not take it into my life.

That is a practice in itself, because somewhere in the journey of women, we became the mules of our lives, and I believe it is self inflicted. I believe we do it to ourselves when we accept other people’s garbage and carry it as if it were our own.

I too have tended to carry other people’s garbag…


My wish for you

And so this is Christmas.  The season of giving and giving back.  Of family, of food and of all good things.  Of Christmas movies and Christmas trees, of cookies, pies and cakes.  Buttery turkeys and glistening hams.  This is the time of year that some love. It is also the time of year some dread.

Christmas comes at a cost for many people.  I remember the years when we couldn’t afford Christmas.  One year that comes to mind when we had no money.  Our oldest daughter wanted an ice cream making machine.  Our youngest was too young, thankfully.  That year I was working in commission sales and my husband was working as a heavy mechanic for a bus company.  We gave our daughters Fozzy Bears that came from McDonald’s. That year, we scraped together enough money to make a dinner and invited our family over but they declined because of another (better) invitation.  We got through the day, but our oldest daughter reminded us for some years later that she wanted an ice cream making machine tha…

Preparing for Launch: How to be Pink Flamingo in Brown Duck Pond

As a writer, the story never really ends, even after the final sign off.  I signed off on this baby, November 16, 2014. I began writing this story in 2006 and then again in 2012, with an intention that was unclear to me at the time. Over time and after each draft, not only did my intention for the book become clear, my intention for the way ahead also became clearer.

There were four stories written in all:  Died of a . .  (2006), Standing Up and Standing Out (2012), Learning to FLY (2013) - all of which were more like 'histories' of a time past, and finally Painting the Sky, which carries elements of the 'histories' but only to provide context for the story of living in the present and in possibility.  

In 2012, the first draft of over 90 pages flowed like water off a duck's back. But it was all the bad water.  I had to rethink my intention, and find purpose in the telling of the story.

People ask me what this story is about.  This story is a journey, like all sto…

My practice: Living Well

I document this so that some day I will know that I was able to move my body. 

Virabhadrasana - Remembering the warriors who walk among us.

Virabhadrasana I (Sanskrit: वीरभद्रासन ) or Warrior 1 Poseis an asana commemorating the exploits of a mythical warrior.
Tomorrow is Remembrance Day. This day is reserved for our warriors - those who fought for us and for our freedom.  Thanks to them, we are free.  

In yoga, we practice Virabhadrasana to pay homage to the warrior who lives in each of us, to find the balance of holding on and letting go, to face our fears and our insecurities, to find strength in weakness and to find humility in ego.  
The Sanskrit name for the Warrior is Virabhadrasana - which translates to hero (Vira) and friend (Bhada).  The name of this asana is rooted in Hindu mythology.  The story goes like this: 

A high-powered priest named Daksha threw a party but did not invite his daughter Sati and her husband Shiva, an even more powerful guy who also happened to be the supreme ruler of the universe.  Sati decided to go alone and when she arrived, she and her father got into an fight.  Unable to withstand his insu…

The Suits of Armour: See you Later

OK, so I have moved the majority of my former life clothes out of my closet and into another closet. The plan is if I don’t want to wear them when they are out of sight, then they must be out of mind.

The next step to decide what should stay and what should go. My plan is to pay it forward, just as one of my mentors did for me many years ago.

I remember the day one of my mentors invited me out to her car at lunch. She opened the trunk, and  there it was  . . . Nirvana.  A trunk full of suits.  She asked if I would be able to pay $300 for the entire wardrobe and I did, even though that was a lot of money to me at the time.

It was the best $300.00 of my life, because as I wore those suits, I started to feel more confident, more professional and I felt like anything was possible.  She didn’t say it at the time, but this was her way of helping me to improve my professional image in the workplace and increase my self-esteem.

As I started to wear the clothes, people started to notice. I …

Warrior: The meaning of the Word

When I was a weekend reporter working for the local newspaper many years ago, I would write my stories and then hover over the copy editor’s shoulder to make sure he didn’t change anything.  To me, words are placed, not just written.  Sentences are woven, not just strung together.  I take my stories and my words seriously.

What saddens me is when I see powerful words drifting into the cliche when they are used incorrectly or for marketing purposes. Today, I am thinking about the word “Warrior”.

In the summer issue of SKY, I wrote “The Love Story of a Warrior and her Wingman.” The warrior is Dionne, or ‘Warner Warrior D’ as she calls herself, and her ‘wingman’ and husband Graham.  Dionne is an eight time cancer survivor who does battle with cancer every single day of her life, for her life.

In the same issue, I wrote about three women and their stories about fighting cancer in a story called “Warriors under the sky.”  There was Nicki, the patient nurse, who fought colorectal cancer, Leah …

The Suits of Armour: Series #1

It was 2009.  I was an acting vice president.  I was in New York attending a Risk Management conference and working on deadline to complete the Annual Report. My daughter and her friend met me in New York to see the city.   So while I was in conference all day, and working all night, my daughter and her friend enjoyed the city.  I hope to see New York someday, but I have no regrets leaving this suit behind.  That was then, this is now, wearing Sara Armstrong 2013 Collection, Levis, and Vince Camuto shoes at Vancouver Fashion Week.  

My Suits of Armour: Series

This is the way I dress now.  My closet is full of suits that I no longer wear. These suits were my armour when I worked in my previous life in the corporate realm.  To me, it is a realm, like another place that exists in another time.  I described them as my suits of armour. I wore them to do battle in the corporate world of brown ducks.  It was my way of hiding my pink flamingo-ness, although never completely. There was always a splash of defiance - a red sole, an over embellished string of pearls, a men’s tie.  So I have decided to clean out my closet.  I have had a little trouble with this over the past three years admittedly.  I have attempted to shuffle them off many times, but I just keep putting them back in their place from season to season.  Why do I have trouble with this, I ask myself.  I know the answer. I am attached to each piece for what it represents.  So I have decided to send each piece off in style.  Stay tuned.

Two words.

They are the perfect pairing. 
Sometimes I say them aloud, but mostly I say them silently, but always with a smile.  
They are the perfect pairing for those times when profound ignorance ensues.
 My two words are the perfect words for those who take pleasure in disrespecting others. These words are brief. Succint. Superbly accurate.  
I say these words sometimes five times a day, depending on the circumstances. 
My favourite two words are definitively  . . .

Not speechless, nor silent, but painting the sky.

“On that day, I fell from the sky and began to fade to white.”   I had two choices: to stay on the ground and live on as a wounded bird, or get off the ground and get back in the air where I belong. I decided to fight back, and I won, but I also lost something near and dear to me: my voice.  I had been silenced, a fate worse than falling for a woman who makes her living with words.  
I found my words, and my voice.  Now three years later, I am sitting across from a business woman and community leader whom I respect very much talking about the importance of women having a voice in business and politics.   Where did we lose our voices along the way and how do we get them back, we wondered. 
Business and politics is about having an intention and purpose that serves others and actions that follow. If it is self-serving, it will likely fail.  As a business planner for over 20 years, I can say that with 99% certainty.  I also believe that self-serving people do not deserve success.  
Let m…

A Raven, A Road and a Vison for Freedom

To walk through the doors of Queen V Fashion House in Regina’s Warehouse District is to find oneself in the heart of its creator, Fallon Hu man (Mazurkewich), who possesses the intellect of raven and the heart of a freedom-loving entrepreneur. Clear white walls and a well-appointed silver logo sparkling in the sunlight tell the story of a meticulously polished runway-like retail shopping experience. 
But the details reveal the soul of this entrepreneur’s quest for freedom. Inspired by Jack Kerouac, author of “On the Road”, Queen V is for “the ones who never yearn or say a commonplace thing . . .”. A curious collection of ravens, antlers, metals, denim, sequins, sweaters and dresses is carefully curated for the fearless and the vigilantly independent. 
The lone entrepreneur has held her ground in the local competitive market place formidably and created an online and real time destination shop for those seeking refuge from the noisy mundanity of every day fash…

My Heart. My Awareness.

Sometimes I feel an unmistakable loneliness.  The silence that was once filled with noise, chaos and tears is deafening. And I know now that I wished I would have loved and lived in every single moment of their being instead of working too much and wishing for peace.  This week's practice is dedicated to the practice of awareness and living and loving each moment.

Decorating the Tradition with Karma

I think the holidays is a good time to think about Karma - that is what actions are we taking to create a positive reaction? What are we doing to make a positive difference in the lives of others?

This past weekend, we made the decision not to host the family feed.  For the first time in over 25 years, we spent the weekend alone.   This was not the plan at first. We were going to be hosting the family feed, but then decided to drive to a city five hours away to see our daughter. There was an immediate backlash about our decision to not host and attempted guilt trip that ended with a hissing "Karma is a b....”.

Karma, simply put, is an action that leads to a reaction.  We decided to stay home but we also decided to not participate in the family Thanksgiving madness and it wasn’t that difficult. It occurred to me that this strife is part of our family tradition, and one of the reasons that I secretly dread holidays.

Truthfully, our holiday traditions have never agreed with me.  I…

Book Update: How to be a Pink Flamingo in a Brown Duck Pond

So here I sit with my final proof before the book that I have spent the last two years writing and what seems like a life time living, and it’s go time. Sign off time.  The last edit.

I actually received the final edits from my publisher on August 19, and I procrastinated opening the files until today.  There were many reasons that ranged from business priorities to poolside priorities. But the real reason is this: once I open the book, again, I have to go back there, and open up that part of my soul that created the words on the page.

Let me begin by saying I believe in the power of intention, and that once intention is established, alignment begins to happen.   I began writing How to be a Pink Flamingo in a Brown Duck Pond in July 2012. My intention was to write away a very painful time in my life by attempting to make sense of it through words, since that is how I usually make sense of the world.

Going backward is not my specialty but in the writing process,  I was able to come to…

There is a secret that we keep.

There is a secret that we keep, a secret that protects the guilty and hurts the victims.  I am talking about the bullying secret.   I created the Flamingo Project originally to give voice to the secrets that hold us back from living the best life possible.

Bullying tends to happen between two people.
It is isolated and targeted. Very seldom do bullies publicly attack people except for when the practice of bullying has escaped to outright physical, emotional and mental violence.  Until such time as we see it, we tend to overlook the behaviour.

We do things like listen to them instead of telling them to stop. We make excuses for the behaviour, such as “he or she is just like that”, or “he or she has [insert excuse here].  On the outside bullies tend to be charismatic people but they may have narcissistic underbellies.

"Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with nar…

A practice of defiance.

In 2005, I remember sitting across the desk from my duck boss at the time and telling him that my workload was not sustainable. That something had to change. I realized in that moment that it was me who had to change. I had to learn to say no.

I did so by implementing what I call my defiance strategy, that included committing three acts of defiance, practicing imperfection, learning to listen to myself, and avoiding rooms with no doors. I gave myself one year to change my life, my body, my work and even my hair.  Truthfully everything was on the table at that time, even my relationships.

During that year, I worked a ridiculous amount of hours because the company for which I was working had just implemented a merger.  I was a corporate planner, so my job was to help get the ducks in a row.  Suffice it to say, easier said than done, when nobody really wants to be where they are.

I committed more than three acts of defiance that year, easily.  I started smoking, giving myself a deadline…

Reflections on the Traveller’s Spirit

The Autumn Equinox marks the beginning of shorter days and longer nights.  It is the time of harvest and reflection on this journey that we collectively and individually travel. This is also a time of reflection, and second chances.  I ask myself where I am going, and reaffirm my true intentions.  I check back with my vision and passion and reconnect with my own “earth” to ground myself.  I love the season of fall because it is a chance to step back and take stock.   Where am I going? What is my true intention?How do I affect others in my travels, in the things that I do, and my behaviours. Am I a taker or a giver?  Do I give more than I take?Is what I am doing of worth to someone besides me?Is what I am doing feeding my creativity?  Am I where I should be, or is it time to move on? I am a traveller as are we all.  I am always looking down the road and wondering what’s out there. I believe the present is just that, and the future is possibility.  I believe that envisioning the future i…

Who I am: I am a Creep

I rediscovered this song yesterday. Creep, by the Pretenders  Originally by RadioHead 
When you were here before
Couldn't look you in the eye
You're just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry
You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You're so fucking special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

I don't care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
I want you to notice when I'm not around
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

She's running out the door
She's running out
She runs runs runs runs..

Whatever makes you happy
Whatever you want
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here
I don't belong here


Who I am: My name is mother.

Today I was driving into downtown Vancouver, looking up at the apartments in the sky. I imagine myself living in an apartment in the sky.  I envision a life of living downtown, walking for coffee, shopping and being anonymous.  I imagine this life as if it was the life I have yet to live. The one that I forwent many years ago for love and family.

I remember when we got married, my brother in law warned my husband that I was the kind of person who would someday leave to find myself.  I never understood that comment, but on the other hand, I have never really felt like I am where I am supposed to be.  I have always felt like an impostor no matter the ‘job’ of the day.  
Most days I wonder who I am. Correction. I wonder all the time who I am.  I think the source of this wonderment is the fact that I am a mother, and I have built a life of servitude and self-sacrifice for my children. A nameless person with a title, a role, a purpose to fulfill.  This was reaffirmed this week when many t…

Who I am

I created the Flamingo Project on the first day of my emancipation in June 2011.  On that day, I wore gold shoes as one should.  Since then, I have created a new life and a new career as the publisher of a lifestyle magazine, a business consultant and a yoga teacher.  It wasn’t  easy, but it was worth it.

Over the last week, I have written and produced the fall issue of SKY Magazine with the help of my designer and photographer, while attending Vancouver Fashion Week as a sponsor and a media VIP.

As the publisher and owner of SKY  Magazine, I sponsored the Sara Armstrong collection, along with other businesses including Family Management, a Vancouver modelling company, LA Larson & Associates, an accounting firm located in Abbotsford, Kensington Prairie Farms, an enterprise that raises Alpacas and sells products.

On the night of Sara’s show, I was seated at the end of the runway among the photographers, thanks to the graciousness of Vancouver Fashion Week organizers and the (othe…

The Woman Wound Unwound

I have been married for 33 years, and my work life has been successful. However, there is something deep down inside that I have struggled with since my first memory, and that’s self esteem and self worth. Are we born with this or do we acquire it?  Is it nature or nurture? The fact is, everyone has an insecurity.  Some are just better at masking it than others. 
A recent article on Elephant Journal shares a woman’s journey. The author, Kara Leah-Grant, says the “Mother-Wound” is the source of this feeling of inadequacy. She describes the Mother Wound has having the following four characteristics: 

Comparison: not feeling good enough; Shame: consistent background sense that there is something wrong with you; Attenuation: Feeling you must remain small in order to be loved; and Persistent sense of guilt for wanting more than you currently have. 
Stop.  Before you begin saying, ‘I have felt all those things at one time or another so I must have the Mother Wound’,  in the name of logic, stop…