A Blooming Flower

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“Like a wild flower; she spent her days, allowing herself to grow, not many knew of her struggle, but eventually all; knew of her light.”

-Nikki Rowe

How often do we find ourselves in situations we are not sure we can overcome? When struggles ensue that seem vast and perhaps insurmountable, we come face to face with the choice to either back down and give up or to push harder. Could it be that consistency, hard work, late hours, and coming up against our fears and limitations are not in vain? Maybe it is the act and process of striving for what we want that empowers us to do even more. When we engage with what challenges us, while in pursuit of our goals and dreams, we awaken an opportunity to experience and see ourselves in a different way. Often these situations bring us to new depths in understanding of our potential and tests the limits of our capabilities. The choice to take on adversity as a welcomed challenge versus a burdensome necessity has shown me levels of growth and freedom I’d never experience prior. Such a shift in perspective can be extraordinary and inspirational for those who are fortunate enough to realize it. Perhaps building our internal strength (our connection to self and inner drive) could ignite a similar spark in others to experience their version of the same.


Thank you, for Being a Friend

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xeim24A New York Times  op-ed piece released recently about the dynamics of friendship among women has inspired deeper thought for me about the nature of friendship between women.  The author, Rebecca Traister, shares the journey of companionship between her and a long time friend and the several phases of their relationship.  Their story was easy to relate to: two women beginning a relationship driven by a shared interest, a strong bond is formed, and then challenged as the complexity of their lives shift and increase with the additions of careers, new boyfriends, old boyfriends/breakups, and moving.  In the end, their friendship never regained a spark they once had, and I sensed a sadness from Traister about that.  

I walked away wondering why women often struggle  in these relationship.  What if we did not have to choose between our friends and other relationships and interests, as Taister shares in her story? Over the years I have witnessed and experienced these struggles play out in almost every Jness friendship, yet the practice of showing up for each other and upholding the commitment to meet once a week to grow with one another, consistently strengthens the bond between those women and has beautiful effects on their lives.  My wish is for every woman to have such an experience of friendship; the beauty of a bond that is only strengthened by the ever changing seasons of our lives.

The Movement of Women

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womenoftheworldunite2011forglobalfundsubmission2014Everyday I am in awe of the women who are part of Jness.  It really is a  privilege to have friendships that are are deeply committed and loving, I’ve never experienced friendships this way before. I think, in large part, our commitment to one another is  due to  our shared journey with the Jness curriculum.  With each passing moment I see what Jness can offer to the world and why I spend most of my time building our organization, connecting with women, and making our curriculum stronger.  As women, our ability to feel and care for others makes us prime candidates to gently lead the world in upholding humanity.  It’s exciting to me that we can facilitate a movement of women who reflect and ask questions of themselves, which as a result, help them grow more centered.  It’s exciting to me that these opportunities are in Jness.  

A Beautiful Struggle

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“Struggle is the food from which chbutter69ange is made, and the best time to make the most of a struggle is when it’s right in front of your face…True struggle happens when you can sense what is not working for you and you’re willing to take the appropriate action to correct the situation. Those who accomplish change are willing to engage the struggle.”

-Danny Dreyer

In times of struggle, I sometimes think of the life of a caterpillar and its transition to a butterfly. In a period of solitude, like for the caterpillar, there can be changes, it’s often dark, and there is confusion; but on the other side, there is great light and new understandings.  Life seems to be a series of transitions from one cocoon to another and in each one,  we are shaped anew.  What if we practiced patience with ourselves in those periods? Perhaps doing so  could help us embrace every moment of our lives as an endless journey of self discovery and learning.  Perhaps that is why we struggle…


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“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”

– Rosa Parks

There often comes a decision point in one’s life when we can choose to shift from being a passive element in the world, to a person who takes urgent, directed steps on a self chartered path.  The gift of this fork in the road is the unveiling of a journey toward the building of an ideology and purpose that can inform every step, every word, every action, and every decision in one’s life.  What do you think the world would be like if each person took on life in this way; conscious of the power in every decision and its effects on others? What if each person lived “their life as a model for others,” as Rosa Parks called all of humankind to do?  I wonder what we would choose to model.  What do you think? I encourage you to walk around with that this week and I would love to hear what you come up with in the comment section below.  Together, I believe, we can all inspire one another  through our growth, to bring more compassion and empathy to our communities and beyond.

Lessons from the Past, Ringing in the New

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MLK marchingThe ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on where we have been and where we are heading. I find it fitting that the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and work arrives at the start of the year. Pioneers such as MLK, inspire me to ask myself, what do I want? Where am I going? And then MLK Day comes and presents the question, “What do I stand for?” MLK and the leaders of that time were able to accomplish something that we seldom see today; they organized hundreds of thousands of people across the nation from all walks of life, all religions, and all ages, to form a bond under a single principle that was unified through a commitment to peace. Unfortunately, violence against humanity has continued to persist. But, The Civil Rights Movement was so powerful because just about everyone could get behind the call to stand for humanity. In 1963, Dr. King and his comrades helped to bring 100,000 people together in Washington, D.C. where he delivered one of the most memorable speeches in history. Twenty-nine years later, King’s words still ring true and yet, there is still much work to do. Everyday, with each decision, we have the capacity to move the needle of the world, towards peace. It’s in a smile directed toward a stranger, exercising greater patience with our loved ones, and with deepening the love we experience within ourselves. Just as King had a dream, and worked tirelessly to make it so, we too can do the same.

Security Alert

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What is security? We all have a sense of it; we search for it, we enforce it, we expect it. But how do we know if we are truly “secure”? To what lengths will we go to try to ensure it?

These are questions I have been walking around with these past few weeks. As life goes by, my days are full with wonderful things, people and projects, yet I can’t help interfacing with this desperate need for security. I recently discovered that in some American states, children are being sent to school wearing bullet proof vests. I read news of migrant children; drowned, their little, empty bodies washed ashore as their families attempt to escape violence and find peace. It takes hours to clear airport security. Bigger alarms, bigger weapons, stronger borders – all created with the notion that we will be safer as an affect of their existence. We concern ourselves with our safety, on a daily basis… How sad it is that we have created this world.  What do we not see, or feel, that causes us to allow this to continue?

As our violent behaviours; our willingness to destroy, and our increased capacity to do so, escalates, our borders become stronger, our fear increases and our need for security skyrockets. How do we survive in a world where this is so? Do we make ourselves vulnerable to violence? Or do we barricade our houses, vest up our children and block our borders? I do not know the answer; but I know that over the course of my life, I have never seen an increase in man-made security create lasting, positive change. It may take a disaster beyond comprehension to cause us to recognise our humanity and put down our guns. It may never happen. But in the projects I dedicate my time to, and the people I support, I will always keep working to make this so.

Amelia Earhart

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“I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”
― Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was a pioneer for women all over the world. In some ways, I wonder if we were not yet ready to hear the words she spoke. But now, nearly 80 years after she disappeared, I think we are ready to take her wisdom and use it. It is women like Amelia who have shown us that achieving a dream is possible. It is hard work, commitment and a willingness to push against adversity that will get us there.


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Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.

Frank Herbert

It almost seems against nature doesn’t it? Discipline is the path to liberty. This past year has taught me that lesson more than any other. Discipline is the path to any experience of freedom that you may seek. Bring commitment, dedication and delivery into your life and I can promise you, you will find more freedom. 🙂

A Father’s Wisdom

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Apparently Rudyard Kipling wrote “If” as parental advice to his son. One of my favourite poems that indeed, contains enough wisdom to last a lifetime..

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

The Finish Line

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“Crossing the starting line may be an act of courage, but crossing the finish line is an act of faith. Faith is what kepes us going when nothing else will. Faith is the emotion that will give you victory over your past, the demons in your soul, & all of those voices that tell you what you can & cannot do & can & cannot be.”
― John Bingham


How Do You Know A Mother?

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Yesterday was Mothers Day in America. In thinking of all the mothers I have known, I was inspired to consider what a mother represents..
A mother embodies all the qualities of love, care, nurture; what some might say are the innate qualities of a woman. A mother doesn”t necessarily have own children; perhaps she cares intently for her friends or community, perhaps she has people who rely on her for love and support. A mother builds wisdom, earned through years of guiding her young, of struggling and sacrificing for others, and seeing the effects of her actions. To be a mother is to love and uphold love in the world. A mother is responsible and committed. She knows what she represents and acts responsibly with the privilege she holds.
Today I celebrate and give tribute to all the mothers out there.

With love…
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
― Abraham Lincoln

A Master Craftsman

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“Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols” – John Calvin

There is something magnificent about craftsmanship. Taking a piece of material; using the mind to envision something not yet known, and creating it with ones bare hands.. An expression of self – what we as humans are capable of – that is tangible and ever lasting. When I appreciate a piece of art, a sculpture or any material thing; I am inspired to think of what it took to create it. How did it’s creator live? What drove them to create this? What did they stand for?

Imagine if we looked at every material thing that way… We often forget to notice how almost everything we touch is a result of someone else’s efforts. Everything we think about; a product of someone else’s mind. Would acknowledging that change the way you relate with the world? It does for me. If I consider every element of my life; even my being, as a gift granted to me, I am inspired to care more deeply, to act more nobly and choose more responsibly.


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“Resolve, and thou art free. But breathe the air
Of mountains, and their unapproachable summits
Will lift thee to the level of themselves.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I love this quote.. In life we are often taught that freedom comes from absence of responsibility, from happiness, sunshine and blue skies… We rarely consider the hardest times to be our freest, most joyful times. There are some challenges in life that seem beyond comprehension; in the moment we so wish they didn”t exist and plead with reality for anything but “this.” It is only recently that I realised that those are the moments to cherish, for those are the moments that we get to prove to ourselves how free we actually are. I thought that by making my life easier, I would find more happiness..But as I have caused my life to be increasingly challenging, I have found the true meaning of happiness and how to have peace with oneself. Consider something you avoid or a circumstance that you are trying to prevent from happening.. What if you let it happen? What if by making the choice to approach the “unapproachable summit,” you too could lift yourself beyond what you thought possible?

Commitment to Change

I was watching television last week and an interesting story caught my eye..

When you think of an issue like “sex trafficking” – which countries come to mind? I think of third world, poverty stricken places that are very different from my surroundings. I was shocked and saddened to realise this has grown into a worldwide problem. It seems we are either becoming more aware of how issues such as sex trafficking, drug trafficking and enslavement, are prevalent all over the world