Pushing through pain on The Camino will produce one of two results. You’ll reach the desired destination victorious or your body will teach you who’s boss. Video In hotel-Burgos 

 My first view of the Burrgos Catherdral


  How did they know this is how I feel after a long day walking? 


  Look up.. Look way way up. 


 inviting location 


After discovering I had tendinitis, I surrendered and relaxed for three days. It’s well known on the Camino, there’s always an option to take a bus or cab to the next village, if you find yourself unable to continue. It was my turn to push Camino guilt aside, I hopped a bus to Burgos, checked into a hotel and for the entire first day, held up in my room, relaxing, recovering, and savouring being alone.

In every village, town and city along this historical pilgrimage, I’ve been  amazed by the kindness of the Spanish people. 

The day I arrived it was raining and I went to buy groceries. It was no surprise to me when I found myself lost in a new city. I stood underneath an archway examining my map when a gentleman asked me if he could help. Even though he was walking the opposite direction, he turned and walked me personally to my hotel, pointing out places and people. I understood very little of what he said, his kindness was a gift and was offered selflessly. 

Another day, I was looking for a sport store to buy new runners. I was on the corner looking at a map, when a young man approached, asking if I knew where the bus station was. I felt good to be able to help, we located it on the map. It was across the street and over two streets. I smiled at him and marveled, how we can communicate even without a common language. 

When the light changed, he insisted I cross the street. It became clear, he thought I was looking for the bus station. He asked if I needed him to walk me there. When I declined his offer to chaperone, he walked off happy to have helped a pilgrim. The Spanish are so gracious, they help even when you don’t actually require any!  

 My favorite meal … 


 Loved the cheekyness of this place


video of me leaving Burgos

The result of having tendinitis has been that I’ve had to walk slower. Walking slower has changed my Camino. Due to my slow pace, I’m the one people walk pass, with that there is now an opportunity for them to talk. With the sign on my back: “what are you grateful for” it engages many people. 

  beautiful walk out of Burgos this morning 


 The rivers and bridges in Spain are a gift to the eyes. 


  Fork in the road.. You can see the yellow arrow on the wall. We follow arrows all day! 

VIDEO Day 17  

     sitting outside San Antón. i almost missed the treasure across the road as the gates were closed and it looked deserted. lucky for me fate intervened 


    Ruins of chapel in San Antón

video Day 18    

  San Antón Ruins 


  Dinner with a lively group of pilgrams in a 12th century  monastary in San Antón

 Video-Day 19 

Video- Lunch Break

  Walking the camino, the sun is always at your back.

 Video of my shadow walk 

 Mist in Sunrise 

Video-Day 23 Mothers Day

My Mothers Day walk offered a unique twist. A young Texan named Daniel, gave me the gift of company. We walked together for hours, then happened upon, what we affectionately called a Hippie Alburge. It came complete with a fantastic, if not unusual, host from Germany. He stayed to work at the place, after falling in love with the relaxed atmosphere over a year ago and has no plans of leaving.
I napped in the hammock, watched a donkey steal someone’s lunch, found comedy in the interaction between chickens, geese, dogs and a heard of sheep. I cooked dinner for the first time in weeks, sat around a campfire with new friends, then slept in a teepee. Without question, a unique Mothers Day.  

 Resting after a long hot walk. Mothers Day 


    Hugs for Daniel. He filled in as my son on Mothers Day 

  I shared the teepee with The Great Dane -Bjorn

There’s a pilgrim tradition to walk the Camino at night. It seems unusual and unsafe, however, it turned out to be a night of laughter, new friendship, bar hopping, singing, sharing life experience, a police chase, (or something like a police chase) and a sky filled with Spanish stars. We walked from 6p.m. until 2 a.m. We giggled ourselves to sleep under the night sky. By morning it was cold, damp, uncomfortable and the pilgrims were cranky. Coincidentally, we were camped out next to a 5* hotel. It didn’t take us long to decide to treat ourselves to private rooms with big bathtubs. Excellent decision!!  


 Church along the way on our night walk 


  We slept under the stars. . It was beautiful to start, however the ground was hard and cool by morning… burrr!

 There’s never a dull moment on the Camino. It is filled with pilgrims who nurture your spirit, open new doors, teach you, inspire you and often walk on the next day. It’s important to make every moment count here, you never know if you’ll seen these people again. It’s a brilliant metaphor for life. 

 Night walk with Bjorn and Helen 

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So much to share of the previous five days. 

I’ve experienced physical, mental and spiritual blisters. With it, an abundance of Gtatitude has flourished around and through me. 

“What Are You Grateful For” (This photo was taken of me by a fellow Pilgram)

On the lighter side, I’ve been ordered to rest in a hotel room with a bathtub and a vast selection of local wines..(I’m not 100% sure if the last part isn’t a slight exaggeration) Que the harps and let the choir sing..  

Day 8- Leaving Logroño, I had the privilege of walking with a gentleman from Sweden with a remarkable life story. He reluctantly (at first) shared his journey from brain cancer to the Camino. For 20 years he put off walking. After finishing treatment two weeks ago, he made the commitment to walk to Santiago. To my delight, our paths crossed, on this remarkable path.

“The Camino Provides.” Is something you hear often while walking. For me, expansion lives in those 3 words. When you least expect it, you have the very thing you need. Rarely in the form you expect. Accepting what’s offered and releasing resistance to the lessons, are key factors on the Camino. 

After our walk and enlightened conversation, I met Michael the owner of Pilgrams, in the village of Navarrete. He has walked the Camino 5 times himself and is now living his dream of owing an Albergue along the Camino. 

He suggested several unique Albergues for me to stay in villages dotted along the Camono map. 

Michael..owner of Pilgrims Navarete


Dinner at Albergue – Pilgrims


Church outside the village

Enchanting little pensione

I find myself walking primarily alone and often it leads to interesting conversations with myself and the landscape around me: Appreciating the vines

Day 9-My path crossed these two interesting fellows who’ve been walking the Camino 4Years. They might be a tad touched, you decide by clicking here:




Walked with Angela and Daniele in the last 3km after communing with the grapes. Sanity at last.


Angela from Spain


A cross on top of a hill is not uncommon.


I’ve walked 200km…Didn’t know I had it in me. “Insert Happy Dance here”

Beautiful village I passed through.

Day10-In the tiny village of Grañón, I felt I’d earned my PilgrimStatus. Funny how communal cooking, a local festival in the village, complete with chiros generously slathered in sugar, followed  by sleeping on a mat in the loft a of church, has the power to transform. I LOVED the experience.  

Sunshine on the boots helps freshen the unfreshanable… No, not really!


The church reception

Conversation corner-

Kitchen where magic happens

front door and courtyard

Main entrance to the church


The door and only sign denoting this Albergue


Did I mention I LOVE this door


Pilgrams waiting for the wine . personally i wouldnt make them wait too long…


Communal dishes.


Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see myself trading in my wardrobe for a munks cloak anytime soon.  

Church view Video- click here:

Day 11- was one of those days where you learn more than you ever thought possible in a 24hour period. I stayed in the tiny village of Tosantos. The accommodations were similar to the previous night, the experiences surpassed everything so far for several reasons.

  • In the final 5km, I had a burst of energy and allowed it to romance me into thinking I was an Olympic walker. A painful idea in the end. 
  • The Albergue came with a Padre who was both spiritual and playful in his teachings.
  • During a non-denominational gathering, we read, out-loud, a selection of wishes and prayers of Pilgrams, from the weeks prior. The padre prays on the wishes of these people, every day for 20 days. Imagine that!! We had the opportunity to add our own wishes to the gilded box holding these slips of paper. (A sliver of time impacting all who attended)

Before going to bed, I discovered an unusual blister on my heal, no doubt due to my power walk. My foot and shin ached throughout the night. 

The following morning, not listening to my body, I falsely believed I was in perfect walking condition. In less than 8km, my leg had its own thoughts on the matter, in the form of a sharp pain in my leg and heal. 

Long story short.. I’m grounded in a village called “Villafranka” for 1 or 2 days. Fortunately, there’s a lovely hotel to ease my aching leg. Hotel San Anton  The owner and his two sons are being attentive to my every whim. Ice pac, ibuprofen, a medicinal leg rub (not the pleasant relaxing kind though..this one had me limping worse than before) 

All is well:  I’ve learned an important lesson:

Listen to the experienced voice of the Camino de Santiago.. “This is not a race”

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 Day 5-6-7 Camino de Santiago 

Puente La Reina

  Street scape   For you M.M.

   From the middle of the bridge at dawn.

 Iconic bridge along the Camino   Sunrise I happened to follow a photographer. I was intrigued by the things he’d stop and photograph. He inspired this shot. Little did he know I was watching him so closely. :-)

 That’s me walking toward  a coffee.

The object of my affection.. Coffee and a croissant, in da-village-ahither..

 Poppies abound and this one was particularly bright. (Can you tell I love poppies?) 

I rested on the far side of this serene bridge, with “Hero” who’s from Japan. He shared his snack and I shared my tea. Friendships blossom in quiet moments along this mystical trail.

  I was blessed to share a fascinating  conversation with Warren, He’s an engineer from Denmark who is currently on a new life path.

  After walking 23km, I stumbled upon paradise, under the auspicious name of La Casa Magica  in the village of Villatuerta-this is the mediation room.

La Casa Mágica    I’ve had my shower, washed my clothes and I’m relaxing in a hammoc with wine and a book. Really…Does it get any better than this?

  My little pod..  

 View from my cozy pod. 



 Dinner truly was Delicious and the company fascinating. Everyone enjoyed themselves and I’m sure slept well…the wine and conversation flowed that night.

Click here to view VIDEO:

On the road again.  Heading to places unknown. 

 Water droplets and a spider web!  


Unfortunately this church was closed.  

VIDEO-Church Bells in the rain 

Now that’s a Door!  

 Bridges never disappoint.

 Church in Estella  

click to view nature VIDEO

 Views are special even in the rain.  

 Wine or Water on tap. Gotta love the Spanish!

   Museum of wine 

In the museum of wine. My kind of place.      Irises blooming   


Click to VIEW VIDEO:Interesting afternoon on The WayClassic Camimo de Santiago picture. I appreciated the flowers in the boot. 

    Oh oh…Foot problems. I see a break in my future. 

  The fountains intrigue me. 

A carnavors delight.   

  Evening in Logrono with pilgrims      

   Friendships are forged on the Camino. 

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Identifying with the rogue horses in this video. (Sorry to use the link to YouTube,  I’m unable to add video directly from my phone)

Walking to Pamplona today was a lovely experience. Only 21km and it felt easier than day 1&2. I’ll be spending two nights here, it’s too beautiful to walk away from after only one afternoon. 


   Grateful to be cossing the bridge into Pamplona.  I’ve developed a small blister on my big toe! Need a little R&R, a glass of wine will help ease my tired tootsies! 


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This video was taken 2 hours into the day. WALIKING IN THE WOODS

The terrain changed drastically 10 minutes after this was shot. Five hours later, my enthusiasm to walk the final 5km vanished into thin air as I stumbled into the sleepy village of ZUBIRI. 

I’m sitting comfortably , freshly showered, drinking wine and listening to the host prepare dinner. Don’t even think of challenging my decision.  :-)  

Filling my water bottle . This depicts the ancient and lovely water fountains  on the trail. (The running water below, I believe, is run-off from the recent rains) 

  Sheep grazing in the spring sunshine 


Quaint village. The church bells were ringing as I rounded the end of this road. Spectacular!! 

  Newly paved paths. I’ll like it once nature distresses it a little.

 Graceful old building , I liked the look of.

  On shaky ground here. I’m hungry, hot and tired. Hun-ho-tie!! Not a Happy Camper!  Uprooted tree. There was Flash-Flooding, on the trail, last week. 


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As a woman walking on a public path, there are certain limitations when nature demands attention. 

Below I explaine  Coffee vs. Full Moon Rising

Or watch on my Camino blog: 


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I’ve made it to my starting destination in France. Sitting enjoying a caffe and pastry to start the day. This is the day to relax. 

Last night I stayed with 2 cousins from Nepal who now live in Canada & the U.S. As well, a woman from Zimbabwe who raised her family in South Africa and now lives in Australia. Makes for a charming accent and lively conversations. 

The sun is aching to make an appearance through the clouds. Tomorrow’s forecast sunny with a chance of showers. Muddy and wet on the pass. Gators will defiantly be used in the morning. 


Having my Camino passport officially stamped by Jacque. He made a mistake and stamped it upside down. He wanted to make a new one, as he’s never done that in 29 years. A good start to a unique journey… I love it!!  

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This is what they say to those walking The Way of St. James: BUEN

Below is a video I shot on the hill outside Barcelona yesterday morning. Have a lovely day, when I see you next, I’ll be on My CAMINO:

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I’ve been training and organizing last minute details, here in Barcelona. I’ll head to France Saturday morning.

A 4 hour train will deposit me in Pamplona. I’ll transfer to a bus which will whisk me off to St. John Pied de Port, France 6pm-ish. (7-8 hours travel)

It’s my intention to spend Sunday in St. John enjoying the scenery, applying for my Pilgram Passport, (not a complicated process) and taking it easy prior to Monday, April 20. Monday, will be my 2ndofficial start date.

I have butterflies today. They remind me of the significance this historic pilgrimage will have on my life. I know the woman I am today will be left behind.

Enthusiastic anticipation is my constant companion this week. I feel prepared for the first step of the 780 km walk.

camino de santiago

I’ll allow 40 days to complete. I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll find myself in locations where an extra 24-48 hours will be as beneficial to my journey, as the actual walking.

Thank you for WalkingWithMe, it gives me comfort knowing I’m not alone.

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I arrived in one piece… delayed, NOT discouraged. 


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easter_eggs_8It was a frantic Easter weekend preparing my home, luggage and life for a year overseas. April 6th: Easter Monday was D-Day. My original KLM departure was cancelled, I was rebooked on an Air Canada flight.

Brimming with Gratitude, Barcelona was 13 short hours away.

As I settled into my seat to Spain, the woman behind me attempted to raise a 27lb suitcase into the overhead bin. It slipped from her hands and landed on my unsuspecting head.

Overhead luggage

Below is a 5 day odyssey, kicking off my WalkWithMe journey.

April/6th: With a goose-egg forming on my forehead and growing aches in my neck and shoulder, I was escorted from the plane by a paramedic and 3 flight attendants. Considering it took over 45 min from the time of impact, the remaining passengers gave me an unceremonious send-off, better known as: The-Walk-Of-Shame.

Even though I was mobile, insurance rules required me to be wheeled through the airport on a stretcher, to a waiting ambulance. The upside of riding with this particular medical escort, was the hilarious exchange between the two female paramedics.

Darcee Smith

Darcee waiting with me in Emergency.

Darcee and her partner in crime, had me in stitches and incredibly Grateful to be in the company of professionals who love what they do.


Inspirational reading for Hikers of all ages

I was given a clean bill of health by the attending Dr. and due to the fact I’d cancelled my cell phone, I couldn’t even inform my loved ones of my predicament. The only working phone was for a cab, I called and headed in the direction of my daughters home. I was homeless in my own city as my house was now in the possession of my renters.

As the cabbie passed my favourite pizza place Pulchinella’s, I asked him to let me out. Cardinal rule of drop-ins: never arrive unannounced and famished when begging family or friends for a place to sleep.  I ordered my in-flight meal: a sizzling margarita pizza with a glass of red wine. No turbulence on this journey!


April 6th-7th-8th: My convalescence consisted of: Giggles, tears, laughter, cuddles, potty-training-calamities, sumptuous meals and family time wrapped in the loving arms of my daughter, husband and 2 adorable grand-babies. My Gratitude cup runneth over.

Grandchildren April 8th & 9th: I was rebooked to Barcelona with a quick stopover in London. There was a slight hiccup due to the Air Traffic Controllers strike in France. Flight after painful flight to Barcelona was cancelled. An unlikely landing awaited me in the form of  a hotel near the airport. Gratitude oozed as my aching head touched crisp linen sheets.

Park Inn London Heathrow

April 10th: A 3:45 a.m. wake-up call to board the 4:15 shuttle for a 6:20 flight. A friendly waiter from the hotel offered me a complimentary espresso brewed especially for me as I waited for my ride. It’s interesting how effortless Gratitude flows, when kindness is obvious and recognizable.

Gratitude, patience and joy, eluded me at check-in with the discovery I was one of several over-booked passengers. As the manager from British Airways apologized for the mixup, tears spilled from my eyes and I surrendered defeat. He was ever so kind, kneeling beside me, personally guaranteeing I’d be on the next flight. I looked in his eyes and recognized an opportunity: by offering him Gratitude, my luck would shift.

It’s funny, I know these 5 days were given me, to test my belief in the power of Gratitude. We teach what we need to learn and in order to truly learn, we are given examples after example until our belief is stronger than our doubt. Apparently, I required several direct blows to the head in order to understand, the path I’ve chosen, will have its challenges, it will also be brimming with simple pleasures, when I’m conscious enough to appreciate them.

April 11th: I have ARRIVED!!  I’m writing this from a garden in Barcelona, Spain.


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Walk With Me – Reason #1

This video by David Faddis, conveys, through music and visual expression, why I’m walking The Camino.

Music: “We Don’t Eat” – James Vincent McMorrow (2010)

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Just Do ItMy WalkWithMe journey has morphed into a 12 month rendezvous with Gratitude and walking. As you can imagine, I have more than enough to keep me in a frenzied state: Endless lists and suggestions on what to take, what to leave, even how to pack. Increasing the waking/training schedule and then this week, I had a lesson on how to walk with poles. I can see needing a lesson in pole-dancing, who knew I required one in pole-walking? Perhaps, I’ll combine the two. It would make an interesting statement on The Camino!

I found a remarkable couple to rent my home. They love to cook and entertain and I liked them instantly. Get this, they walked Camino de Santiago a few years ago. I’ll rest easy in the knowledge they are enjoying my house and yard as I do.

Between decluttering and organizing my space, I’ve been squeezing in goodbye visits with friends and missing them before I’ve even boarded the plane. I have a sneaking suspicion a few of the diehards will find their way overseas, before the year is out.

As if 40 days on the Camino weren’t enough, I have additional walks planned for this yearlong Gratitude journey. My WalkWithMe itinerary is free-flowing and comes with a caveat, when I crave my children or grandchildren, dates & locations WILL be tossed aside, accommodating endless cuddles and family time. Perhaps, there will be an opportunity for my kidlings to actually walk with me.


 *April – 2015
1 week Barcelona
2 weeks (part 1) – Walking the Camino de Santiago from France to Spain 
*May – 2015
3 weeks (part 2) – Walking the Camino de Santiago from France to Spain
1 week R&R – somewhere in Spain 
*June – 2015
4 weeks Barcelona (family)  
*July – 2015
2 weeks Ireland – (deciding where to walk) 
1-2 weeks Scotland – Highlands
 *August – 2015 
4 weeks Portugal (family)
*September – 2015
2 weeks Italy, Florence: Writers retreat
1 week volunteering Antinori Winery during harvest.
1 week waking the Chinque Terre  
*October – 2015
4 weeks – Monasteries of Italy: Assisi, Naples, Amalfi, Pompeii, Reggio, Sicily   
*November – 2015
2 weeks Greece – Greek Islands
1 week Turkey – Istanbul
1 week Turkey – Cyprus 
*December – 2015
4 weeks Spain Barcelona (family)
*January 2016
2 weeks Australia – Ayers Rock
1 weeks New Zealand – (reviewing options) suggestions?
1 week Singapore – Gardens of Singapore
*February 2016
2 weeks Thailand 
2 weeks Vietnam 
*March – 2016
4 weeks Bali (6wks total) 
*April  – 2016
2 weeks Bali
2 weeks Tokyo Kumano Kodo, Osaka

Click here to view my Vlog post on: SOUL RESISTANCE

I can’t possibly be the only one, share a time when you stepped outside your comfort zone?

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FIVE things I didn’t  know about training for THE CAMINO.

#5 ~ People shopping or working at MEC, Atmosphere or REI, ask questions such as, “What brand of socks do you prefer and why?”  My response doesn’t exactly satisfy their query: “This colour matches my hiking boots.”

A collection of Smartwool socks

A collection of Smartwool socks

#4 ~ When you don a backpack in the city, you’re suddenly mysterious & intriguing. Enquiring minds want to know…?images-1

#3 ~ Feet become your focus. You even take pictures of them.

I discovered I was tying my shoes too tight. Problem solved.

I discovered I was tying my shoes too tight. Numb toe issue solved.

#2 ~ In the hiking world, there is a portable container called a WaterBladder. Seriously, they couldn’t find a better name than bladder?  Not to worry folks, I’ll alert Wikipedia and have it changed to WaterOnTap

water bladder

#1 ~ Hair & Make-up take a backseat to Gear & Function. What will become of my lipgloss collection?images-2

My 2nd video on YouTube: Sunshine and Shoes

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The commencement of training for my Camino began a few weeks back. With a mid April, start date in glaring view, I’ve stepped up my conditioning to walking several hours per day. The Camino de Santiago requires me to walk 26km (16.1 miles) each and every day for 30+ days. Daunting to say the least. (When I say, “I’ve stepped up my scheduled training”, I mean that in loose terms)

Camino de SantiagoMy mountaineering friend and trainer Laurie Skreslet, has agreed to keep me on track by cracking the proverbial whip when I break into childish whining and absurd justifications. I suspect he’s heard every clever excuse I have stashed up my newly adorned Patagonia sleeve.

it's too hard

This weekend, I recorded my first VideoBlog~Vlog, introducing the pilgrimage. As the trail is physically demanding, I’ll be filming Blogs in place of wordy postings, while walking the Camino. Be prepared for spectacular scenery, unkempt hair, child-like whimpering and preposterous rational. Not necessary in that order.

Click here to watch my 1st: Walk With Me~Vlog

A humorous side-note: one of my daughters thought I looked suspiciously happy, asking if I was on drugs while filming it. She laughed and added, “Mom, I can see you’re high on life.”

High or not, I’m feeling the love, support and encouragement from my family and friends.

Tell me, have you ever challenged yourself in a physical way? This is a first for me…


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Camino-de-Santiago-2005-278-1024x550Now that I’ve made this declaration to walk the Camino de Santiago, I’m being tested on my commitment. Last night, I woke to my heart skipping in my chest. Not the skip you feel when Matthew McConaughey removes his shirt: oh-no, far from it.

Mattew It’s the grip of fear that races through your solar-plexus at 3 am asking: “what makes you think YOU can do this, it’s 791 kilometres?”  Fear is malicious, it allows doubt to flourish and is packed with clever sayings and shameless common sense. Where is Matthew when you need a cuddle?

I came across an author from Boise Idaho, Kurt Koontz. He wrote an inspiring book on his month walking The Camino titled; A Million Steps.

A Million StepsOh My God, a million steps?   One MILLION…..Seriously?

See how quickly I fall into panic mode. I know I’m allowed to back out, this is a choice and all I have to do is make another choice.

One snag, The Camino is begging me to walk with her. (Is a pilgrimage a Him or a Her?) I’ve decided it’s a Her. Only a female entity would provoke you physically, pack the journey with quiet moments allowing inner growth, then place it in a remote location, fostering space between your previous life and the opportunity for expansion.

camino de santiago

To quell my fear and give this journey meaning, I’ve decided to dedicate this walk to my favourite topic: GRATITUDE. If you’re interested in following my facebook group, click the link below, I’d be honoured to have you join: CULTIVATING GRATITUDE. I post a little ditty on Gratitude every 2-3 days.

In addition, to expand the power in Gratitude, I’ll write about my time on The Camino through blogging. Firstly, this Blog requires a spectacular name. I’m open to any and all suggestions. Here are a few I came up with.

1. Walking 4 Gratitude

2. Cultivating Gratitude (not exactly new)

3. Your brilliant suggestion goes right here!

Here’s to kicking fear in the arse….


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Have you ever had the feeling life is on the verge of transformation?

I’m in that fuzzy place between a comfortable existence and an unquenchable thirst to walk the 780 km pilgrimage from France to Spain: The Camino de Santiago Trail.

imagesI know what you’re thinking, “Shauna, you are not the adventurous type, unless you consider a quiet afternoon at the beach….adventurous.” The Camino is 30 days of hiking, slugging a backpack by day and evenings spent in an Albergue. (a fancy spanish word for hostile).  albergue

Initially, I considered blaming this deranged idea on my youngest daughter. She lives in Spain and was the first to mention the trail 3 years ago.  The unfortunate flaw in trying to absolve myself of any and all accountability is that when she was young, I made the mistake of repeating, “We are all responsible for our own actions”.

be careful *Parents…be careful what you tell your kids, they remember and are waiting to use it against you when you’re older.

Lacking a scapegoat, I find myself in the annoying position of having to admit this idea is a product of my own design.

Camino de Santiago

In the coming weeks, I’ll report on my progress. I eagerly await your tips on footwear, rain-gear and all recommendations of psychologists specializing in mid-life lunacy.

What are your thoughts on Spain in spring?



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The afternoon sun embellished the threads of my linen shirt as it dried on the rooftop clothesline. This was my chance to snap one of those ‘artsy’ photos. I raced down the stairs of my daughters apartment to grab my camera.

Not the actual photo as I never made it back to the rooftop.

Not the actual photo as I never made it back to the rooftop.

In my haste and enthusiasm, I missed the last step tumbling to the landing without the slightest hint of grace. The last stepI’d hurt myself and despite the tantrum seizing my foot, my mind was screaming this one objective: “I’m going to Paris on Friday-I am GOING to Paris on Friday, Pleeeeeezze” Fortunately, it was only a sprain and the following 4 days, I treated it with the tenderness and respect it demanded.

Friday arrived, I was grateful for minimal swelling and only a slight limp. I made a last-minute decision to wrap my ankle in the tensor bandage I’d abandoned the previous afternoon. Barcelona to Paris is a relatively quick trip, however I knew I had a considerable distance to cover on foot. Rest-Ice-Compression-ElevationEntering the Barcelona airport, I was thrown off-balance by hundreds of impatient passengers standing in line after line. The terminal was experiencing electrical difficulties with computers, lights, telephones and self-check kiosks. My heart sank – after all my stringent pedi-care….Paris bistros, croissants and quiet afternoons along the Seine seems to be slipping through my fingers.

longing for Paris What to do, what to do? Without considering possible consequences, I headed toward the check-in counter playing up an exaggerated limp. I scanned the faces of the frantic staff and decided a tall gentleman with a walky-talky was my best chance of making the flight.

walky talky

A pang of guilt griped my throat as he reacted with kindness to my unrehearsed theatrics. I knew I was on a slippery slope when I overheard him radio ahead for a wheelchair. Seriously, all I wanted was an opening near the front of the line. I was desperate people, I NEEDED to get to Paris. (Ok so ‘need’ is a slight exaggeration)

In my own defence, I never park in handicap zones, or occupy the large stall in the washroom. Over the next 3 hours I systematically forfeited any brownie points I may have accumulated in my lifetime. sillateyder-150x150Within 10 minutes, a lovely young lady arrived with a wheelchair. I was now committed to this performance. Meryl Streep had nothing on me as I lowered myself to the waiting chair.. She wheeled me for 5 min across the terminal to an X-ray machine designed for passengers with strollers, wheelchairs or oversized luggage. My only hope of absolution, once on the plane, I could let my guard down and take shelter behind my Oscar for Best Lead in the Duplicity category.


And The Oscar Goes To…

After the customary security pat down, my escort rolled me the 10 min to gate D42, she handed me off to a cheery gentleman in a green onesie with matching reflective vest. He wheeled me in the opposite direction to a service elevator where we descended 3 floors to the tarmac below. After loading me into a wheelchair van, he drove to the base of the stairs of the waiting plane. To make maters worse, the able-bodied passengers had been delayed boarding until I arrived. They were crammed into a humid transfer-bus, waiting on my arrival. The jumpsuit clad chaperone graciously offered his arm and guided me up the stairs to my appointed seat.

Finally…… This charade was coming to an end.

Vueling To my embarrassment, the flight attendant upgraded me to the second row. Catholic guilt reached epic proportions when they informed me assistance would be waiting for me in Paris.

OH MY GOD…. I’m going to hell for sure Gates of hell ***Have you ever told a “little white lie” and found yourself in the middle of a self-imposed drama?

Posted in Barcelona, Enjoying Life by Slowing Down, Gratitude, PARIS, Spain, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


Four weeks in Barcelona to write, decorate, absorb a new language, and visit with my daughter & her boyfriend. There’s not a single reason to shield my eyes from the Spanish-Splendour surrounding me… then again the day is young.

Barcelona Beaches

Adhering to a strict schedule and not wishing to miss the spectacular sunrise, I spring from my cozy bed, slip into running gear and head for the promenade adjacent to the beach, for a 20 minute run. Afterward, I meditate for 30 minutes at waters edge.

I return to the apartment refreshed and Zen-like, sprinting the 68 steps to my daughters 4th floor apartment. The three of us sit down to a nutritious breakfast and discuss our plans for the day. I skip off to the Chiringuto (a beachside restaurant) and order, in quasi-acceptable Spanish, the first of two iced coffees and write for several inspired hours under a red umbrella warmed by the hospitable Spanish sun.


That’s how my day looks in my imagination….In reality, this is my wake-up call in Barcelona.

Jet-Lags extensive grip torments every muscle, including eyelids ~ I turn my back on the glossy 6 am sunrise. Two hours and several deep sighs later, I inch, sloth-like, into cropped leggings, that seem to have shrunk in my suitcase. I stumble down the 68 steps in the direction of the beach walkway, for what I hope will be an invigorating run…. I settle on a restorative walk and scope-out a tranquil spot next to the water for my intended 30 minutes of meditation. (seriously Shauna, 30 minutes?~that’s never going to happen)


A near empty beach soothes me as I sit crossed legged facing the unusually calm sea. Despite the welcoming and compliant sand, I twitch and squirm as my right foot insists on falling asleep. My marginal concentration is challenged by boisterous masculine voices, as five elderly gentlemen, in undersized speedos, have chosen this exact spot, despite miles of empty beech, to suspend their walk and socialize.

Generally speaking, Europeans over a certain age, tend not to waste unnecessary material on beachwear. The particular angle of the sun catches and emphasizes an aspect of the male physique that should never, EVER, be compressed under such a thin layer of spandex.

I take a deep cleansing breath and turn my head in the opposite direction.

Taking my mind off the men to my right I focus on 2 mature ladies in bathing suits, walking along the breaking waves. The women seem to be carrying partially filled sandbags suspended with a thick layer of fabric draped around their necks. The taller of the women is burdened with the larger sacks and they oscillate awkwardly over her navel as she speed-walks along the sand. The only thing I can think of is this is some kind of neck strengthening exercise

While focusing on the heaviest part of the flesh coloured sandbags, a shiver of realization runs through me. Those aren’t sandbags, I’m staring at exceeding low pendulous breasts. As they pass, one of the ladies furrows her brow and gives me an inquisitive look. It would seem, I’m the only person out of place on this beach!

With little appetite, I forgo breakfast and head directly to the beach restaurant for a much-needed shot of caffeine.

After butchering the Spanish language ordering espresso, I sit quietly under the red umbrella, allowing the soothing mediterranean sea to heal my scorched retinas.

Red Umbrella





Posted in Barcelona, Beachwear, Enjoying Life by Slowing Down, Gratitude, INSPIRATION, Mens Speedo, Spain, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

MINDFUL EATING ~ What’s that?

Mindful Eating Practice by Lorraine Driscoll

* I stumbled upon Lorraine Driscoll’s website BOHEMIAN NUTRITIONIST (don’t you just love that name) a few days ago and wanted to share her approach to Mindful Eating. Today I sat at my table and gave myself the gift of savouring my food, my life, my family, friends and opportunities. Thank you Lorraine for helping me to slow down and enjoy life.*

Mindful Lunch

My Mindful Lunch ~ I feel so healthy..

Eating mindfully, helps us to slow down which in turn makes us more conscious of what and how much we are eating. Slowing ourselves down is a process; making mealtime an opportunity to form meaningful connections with our loved ones as well as ourselves requires effort and intention.

Set the Stage

1) Eat at a Table – Make a point to eat only at a table. Years ago I read the book “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano. The author points out that in France people do not eat in their cars and on their couches. They sit at nicely set tables to eat. In fact, unlike North Americans the French do not even have cup holders built into their cars, at theatres and every other possible location because eating and drinking is reserved for sitting at a dinner table.

It is almost guaranteed that if you are eating anywhere but your table, then you are definitely not eating mindfully. How can you eat mindfully when you’re sitting at your desk working and eating or standing at the counter playing on your iPad? Sitting at a table to eat with no distractions is the first step towards making eating a mindful experience instead of a chore.

2) Jazz up the Dinner Table – Mindful eating will seem less like a chore if the dinner table isn’t stacked with papers and magazines. Take the time to set the tone by tidying the kitchen before you eat: clear the kitchen table, set out the nice dinner plates and light some candles. You may find this is an extremely effective way to unwind from the day. The quiet peacefulness of your new found dinner table may end up being one of your new favourite times of the time.

3) Feed Your Ears – Be aware of what you want to listen to when you are eating. One technique that has proven to be extremely effective in reminding our brains to calm down and to improve digestion is listening to slow-paced, relaxing music during dinner. Listening to relaxing music at dinner can make all the difference in making dinner time a meaningful retreat from the day. On the flip side, if you work in a noisy environment, sometimes listening to nothing at all is preferable. Need I even say that TV does not count as food for your ears?

The First Course

Once you have made the preparations for mindful eating take a moment to engage with your body and how you are feeling before actually eating.

1)Just Breathe – Taking a moment to take a few deep, slow breaths before you eat will flood your system with oxygen and turn down the stress hormones. This simple strategy is very effective for portion control because the act of pausing and breathing brings you back to centre and reminds you to be mindful. Try taking six deep belly breaths and allow yourself to feel your body progressively relaxing with each breath.

2) Eat Your Feelings – Eat the way you want to feel. My mother always said ‘Garbage in, garbage out’. It took me years to understand what that really meant. So ask yourself how this food is going to make you feel and if you want to feel that way. If not, then consider if there is a better option. Try to shift your perception of eating healthy to one that sees yourself as nourishing your body when you eat healthy instead of depriving yourself of junk food.

3) Check-In- This is a key element in mindful eating. Before you put one bite into your mouth ask yourself why you are eating and how hungry are you? Rate it on a scale from 1 to 7 ( with 7 being hungriest). As you continue eating, continue to rate your hunger—stopping when it has reached a 1 or 2. Ask yourself how you are feeling emotionally and physically.

4) Gratitude – Taking a moment to focus on all the blessing in your life regardless of your spiritual beliefs is an excellent way to dissolve stress. No matter what you are going through gratitude has been found to be one of the most powerful ways to alleviate stress and depression, even among those who are facing the most difficult of times. This helps to create calm and prevent emotional over-eating.

5) Engage in the Elements – As an addition to gratitude, you can also become a more mindful eater by considering before or while you are eating, the connection between your food and nature. You can even turn this into a before or during dinner game.

• Ask yourself and your children if sunlight, rain, and soil were involved in the growing and harvesting of your food.
• Consider who might have planted, cared for and harvested your food and how long this took. Where did your food come from?
• How will you save leftover food or and dispose of containers and scraps? Compost? Garbage? Recycling? Ensuring we have a small ecological footprint is another aspect of mindful eating.

In Lorraine’s post Mindful Eating: Your Relationship with Food, Your Waistline and You… She wrote; “we are eating spiritually when we are eating mindfully. Eating spiritually or mindfully does not begin and end at the dinner table. We do this when we purchase food that supports a sustainable and eco-friendly world, when we support companies that provide safe, fair wages to their employees or when we opt to pay a little more to support organic or local family farms”.

Breaking Bread – Making Connections

In a time when people are so busy driving their children to hockey practice and dance lessons, completing homework and working shift work it is little wonder that many families do not sit down to eat dinner together. However, whenever possible, make the point to sit down together and to eat as a family. Tell your children to put the electronic devices away and turn the TV off. Make dinner time an opportunity for everyone to connect after a day of hurried schedules.

Start a Tradition
There are too many games, traditions and rituals to mention that can be practiced at the dinner table and while at first they may seem silly they can be powerful in reminding us of our connection with food. The sooner you start this with your family the more they will eventually ‘buy into’ it. Younger children are particularly responsive to this.

1) Gratitude/Prayer – As I mentioned earlier taking a few moments before you eat to breathe and offer thanks can greatly shift your attitude. If you are not religious then try demonstrating some simple gratitude for all the individuals and elements that were involved in the creation of your meal.

2) High/Low – This is a relatively simple exercise and offers a great opportunity for meaningful and connected discussion at the table. Essentially, each family member takes the time to share their ‘high’ and ‘low’ of the day. This is a great way to keep the lines of communication open with your children.

Example: My high of the day was going for a walk with my mother. My low was waking up late.

3) Mindful Eater – I recently heard on the radio that the French have a long history of being mindful eaters—hence why their waistline is much smaller than the rest of Western civilization. A regular practice at French dinner tables is for parents to encourage their children to describe the different textures, tastes, and smells of their food. Taking time to describe your culinary experience is a great way for everyone at the table to be more conscious of their eating as well as how much they are eating.

4) Politics, Religion and Keeping the Peace – Ever wonder about the wisdom behind not talking about religion and politics at the dinner table? It is because when we are tense, argumentative and or ‘fired up’ our digestion is poor. Even a slightly heated discussion causes the sympathetic nervous system to go into flight or fight mode thus slowing digestion. So save family meetings or heated topics for later on. Keep the topics at the dinner table peaceful.

5) The Final Act – Clearing the Table – I really believe a part of mindful eating is sharing not only the conversation and the food but the clean-up as well. Eating mindfully is about showing gratitude to the person or people who prepared the food by firstly taking only what we are going to eat so that we are not wasting, as well as saving any leftovers.

When we take the time to make food preparation, eating, connecting and cleaning as sacred we cannot help but make better choices for ourselves. By now you should have several strategies and ideas on how to make meal time more mindful, meaningful and pleasant. The shift is to see eating as an experience to reconnect with yourself and your body. If you have not been doing any of the practices that I have mentioned already then you may even feel overwhelmed with all the changes you feel you need to make. I really believe slow and steady wins the race. Unless you feel particularly motivated to try several of the ideas at once I have recommended, I would suggest adopting one or two each week. Make those a habit and then gradually incorporate more mindful eating habits into your lifestyle until eventually mindful eating becomes second nature.

As you begin try and plan ahead when doing groceries. If you go into the grocery store without any idea of what recipes you plan on making then you will likely find yourself buying the same meals that you may be trying to avoid. Choose recipes that are both nourishing and tasty. Without a doubt, it requires a slight learning curve to initially try a new recipe or to find those new ingredients that you have never heard of. However, after you have made it once you will likely find it a lot easier to incorporate a new recipe into your diet. Even if you try just one new recipe a week, in no time you will have a whole array of healthy, tasty recipes that will be part of your diet.

There are plenty of websites and cookbooks that offer healthy recipes that can cater to any preference. Find a few cookbooks that are particularly appealing to you.

A few of Lorraine’s favorite cookbooks are:

The 21 Day Sugar Detox – Diane Sanfilippo
I Quit Sugar – Sarah Wilson
Meatless – By Martha Stewart Living
Eat Clean – Tosca Reno
Power Foods – by The Editors of Whole Living Magazine

For more articles go to:

***I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did. Lorraine has a passion for healthy eating and a true flare in her delivery.

***Have you incorporated mindful eating in your daily routine and if so how?

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Michael Hyatt is a gifted writer and business coach. The below post is from his website where he elegizes one of my favourite authors Maya Angelou.  

How to Live a Life That Matters: 5 Lessons from Maya Angelou

The desire to create lasting transformation in the world is what really drives us as leaders, right? Since the news of her death, I’ve been thinking a lot about Maya Angelou. Her legacy offers several valuable insights for living a life of true significance.

Maya Angelou

The odds were against Angelou in her early years. Her parents divorced when she was three, and she spent several years under the care of her grandparents.

Then, when she finally moved back with her mother at age eight, she was sexually abused by her mom’s boyfriend. Within hours of his conviction the abuser was murdered.

Angelou blamed herself for the man’s death. Can you imagine the trauma? It was so overwhelming she became a mute and wouldn’t speak for years. But somehow writing gave her a road out.

She wrote poems as a teen, moved to New York as a young woman and joined the Harlem Writers Guild, and then traveled abroad as a journalist, working in Egypt and Ghana.

At home in the States she was active in the Civil Rights movement and also worked as a singer, actor, and screenwriter. She’s best remembered as a poet and the author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of five best-selling memoirs.

Sure, people will debate the merits of her work, disagree with her politics, and criticize her literary contribution. But whatever your opinion, Maya Angelou has a lot to teach us.

I’m sure others could come up with their own lists, but here are five lessons from Angelou’s story that resonate with me as important for living a life of lasting significance:

Lesson #1: Faith Is a Source of Courage

A foundation of faith can give us the confidence we need to act boldly.

“When I found that … I was a child of God,” Angelou told an interviewer about her faith, “when I understood that, when I comprehended that … when I internalized that, I became courageous. I dared to do anything that was a good thing.”

Look at the long list of Angelou’s accomplishments, and ask what we could do if we could take courage in our faith. I bet it’s more—and better—than we dream.

Lesson #2: Excellence Pays Big Dividends

Everyone today says we should follow our passions, that we should do what we love. I agree. But that’s only a recipe for significance if people care about what we love.

I like how Angelou put it: “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”

Whatever our passion and drive, we have to contribute to others for our lives to matter to them. We need to offer something they really need, something they just can’t let go of.

Lesson #3: Success Takes Work

Angelou’s writing is so graceful it can seem effortless. But it’s not.

“Being a natural writer is like being a natural concert pianist who specializes in Prokofiev!” she saidduring a talk at Johns Hopkins. “To write well one works hard at understanding the language. I believe it’s almost impossible to say what you mean and make someone else understand.”

It takes practice, training, and cultivation for talent to become more than potential. A life that matters requires work.

Lesson #4: Optimism Puts Us in Control

Speaking about the South, Angelou said it’s easy to see it as “a repository of all bad things,” but she decided to see it differently.

“It’s beautiful!” she said. “That’s why people have fought for it. The place where I live is lovely.”

Why be so upbeat? I think the key is in a line from her book, Letter to My Daughter: “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

Optimism puts us in control of negative events. Sometimes the only thing we can control is our reaction. And refusing to let the tragic and unfortunate get the upper hand is the best response if we want to rise above.

Lesson #5: It’s Worth Taking a Few Dares

Sometimes others know us better than we do. A challenge from the outside can be just what we need to trigger excellence.

Initially, Angelou didn’t want to write I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, but a friend, James Baldwin, conspired with Angelou’s editor Robert Loomis.

“If you want Maya Angelou to do something,” Baldwin said, “tell her she can’t do it.”

Loomis followed Baldwin’s advice, called Angelou, and told her to forget it—writing the memoir didn’t make any sense. “It’s nearly impossible to write autobiography as literature,” he said. She took the bait.

“I’ll start tomorrow.” And the rest is history.

And thank goodness. Maya Angelou has had a global impact for these and many other reasons. Perhaps the best way to honor her accomplishments is to take what was best in her life and let it fuel our own.

Visit Michael Hyatt website and take a look around.

What has been your experience with Maya Angelou?



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We are at the 21 day mark. Tell me, have you grown or acquired new Gratitude skills? I know I have.

21 Days of Cultivating Gratitude ~

This experiment of mine, born of an impromptu speech which mushroomed into a 21 day challenge, has been a lesson in fortitude and expansion for me. If I’ve held up my side of the contract, you’ve discovered a few techniques and morsels of inspiration to bring you closer to a daily practice of Gratitude. It is my belief, through practicing Gratitude, we increase contact with those aspects of our lives we so love to interpret in poems, sing along with in lyrics and yearn for, through quiet nights of solitude:                                               Love, joy, bliss, happiness, laughter, inspiration, companionship…

** 21 Days ago we learned the 5 Steps of Cultivating Gratitude.

1 ~ Taking Stock

2 ~ Practicing Acts of Kindness

3 ~ Practicing Positivity through your Thoughts, Feelings and Actions

4 ~ Awakening Forgiveness

5 ~ Celebrating Your Blessings

** I loved and learned from Brené Brown to practice Joy & Gratitude by LIVING Joy & Gratitude, through a tangible Gratitude practice. I’ve added a nightly practice of taking 5 minutes as I’m drifting off to sleep, to review what I’m grateful for that day. For example tonight, I’ll be thanking the universe for my Mom. I’m staying at her place in Vancouver Canada, sleeping in her spare room, savouring her cooking, strolling beside her along the water and waking to the sounds of her preparing coffee and breakfast for me ~ her little girl. We are never too old for our Moms…

** We journeyed through The Five Realms of Gratitude.

** We discovered our way to Joy is through Gratitude in  an inspiring talk from David Steindi-Rast. “The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not Joy that makes us Grateful – it is Gratitude that makes us   Joyful…..”David Steindl-Rast: Want to be Happy? Be Grateful.


** New ways of Practicing Acts of Kindness with the added bonus of the universe having a reimbursement system that returns to you what you give out. Love for Love ~ Honesty for Honesty ~ Kindness for Kindness

** Awaking Forgiveness from a true master Azim Khamisa, who forgave his son’s killer.

** Through my metaphysical mentor Bernie, we discovered the 3 Steps to Asking:

#1 ~ A Request, Affirmation or Prayer, (choose the word which resonates with you) is “The Question”. Once you’ve asked for what you want, stop and listen for the answer.

#2 ~ When requesting for the People, Places or Things you want in life, introduce these ideas to your consciousness through a powerful set-up statement of:                                Please give me THIS _________________ OR BETTER.

# 3 ~ Show Gratitude to the People, Places and Things currently in your life.

** We touched on the below experiment with Gratitude through writing a letter/note to another person for the influence they have had in our life?  An Experiment In Gratitude and I personally find it a brilliant demonstration in the Power Of Gratitude.

** Moving Beyond and Releasing Grievance assisted us after the realization each Grievance we hold in life is a “self imposed” burden, similar to a 10 pound rock you carry with you.  A 30 Day Forgiveness Challenge, with Desmond Tutu and his daughter gave us a tool for working through our Grievances.

** Taryn Galewind offered us encouragement through her “Rewards of Gratitude.

** We worked on Gratitude toward Friends, Family and Loved-ones, Bedtime Gratitude and finished off with Gratitude toward ourselves for ourselves.

Finally we have today, our 21st day. Dr. Maya Angelou speaks on Doing Right. She speaks on how “right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul.

I love this Gratitude talk by Louie Schwartzberg It’s a view of Gratitude from the perspective of a child and an elderly man. (be sure to watch past the 3:40)

During the 21 Days of this Gratitude blog, I’ve had the pleasure of being present IN Gratitude. The very idea of cultivating ideas for you to read each day, has offered me tremendous gifts in ways I never knew possible. I’ve developed new friendships, renewed a few from the past and experienced the abundance of Gratitude as it grew and passed through me. I can’t thank you enough for your attentiveness and generosity in your responses. I have no idea what’s next or where this will go. If any of you have suggestions I’d be willing to listen and give them a try. Many of you closest to me know I’m working on a book and for those of you who don’t here goes:

My book, Controlling The Sunrise, is a journey of 12 individuals who’ve experienced cancer. Through their diagnosis and subsequent treatment, the interviewees have shared their experiences and how they have grown in positive ways because of the cancer. They have found their Passion or Purpose and have moved forward in that direction. I have had the profound pleasure of interviewing 6 remarkable men and woman from across the world. Canada, USA, Singapore, Australia and Italy. I’m currently searching for 6 others from Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and perhaps Antarctica.

I know the Gratitude lessons I’ve learned from my work here with all of you, will give me the grounding and sturdy base required to navigate this new and exciting direction. I have the support of my daughters, family & close friends. What more could a girl ask?

As for the 21 Days to Gratitude… I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you for walking hand-in-hand with me toward Gratitude.


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For close to 3 weeks, we have been Cultivating Gratitude for the sweetness of our lives, our family, friends, inspirational teachers, pets, co-workers, (interesting how pets came before co-workers) as well as the multitude of insignificant and monumental moments which have shaped us, changed us or taught us.

Today, I’d like you to focus on the  indomitable force that comes from within. Your Light ~ Your love ~ Your Spirit.

So often we forget to treat ourselves with the same love, compassion and caring we so effortlessly extend to others. When was the last time you thanked yourself for a kindness you extended to you? Wouldn’t  a word of encouragement for the simple and or complex achievements be worth the 5 seconds it takes to offer it? Consider the moments in your day when you could begin a ritual of being kind to YOU.


Suggestions to remind you:

#1 ~ Press pause on your morning alarm and give yourself a few words of encouragement. I can’t think of a kinder way to begin or end your day.

#2 ~ While bruising your teeth, take a look in your own eyes, Cultivate a little Gratitude for the reflection in the mirror. No need to focus on your flaws, you’ve become an expert at negative affirmations, try on a few positive thoughts this morning.

#3 ~ While driving, on a bus, train or bike, take one slow breath in, while holding your breath in your lungs for 5 seconds, think of one kind attribute you know about YOU.  Release and repeat.

#4 ~ Program a positive thought you know to be true about you, into your phone, sent an Alert to go off at 10:00 – 2:00 – and 5:00 o’clock.

Take time today to get to know who you are free of all the labels we place on ourselves: friend, daughter, husband, artist, worker, boss, etc….. For a few minutes today consider your accomplishments, your kindnesses, your attributes. Invest a portion of this day to the most important of all individuals.  Step back and get to know you.

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What does Celebrating Your Blessings look like to you?   Spending time with family or friends?  Gathering in a sacred space?  Going out with friends?  Enjoying the company of yourself or someone special?

How would a few minutes of Celebrating Your Blessings look to you? Would you express yourself through song, tender words written on special paper, meditation?  A Grateful smile at the end of a long day?

If you knew you had a limited number of days remaining in your life, how would you Celebrate? Who would you celebrate with?  What’s holding you back? Are you too busy, too poor, too exhausted, too angry, is it too soon, or too late?


What exactly are you waiting for?

Consider the next 24 hours Celebrating Blessings Day. This day does not require planning, money, reservations or invitations.  You have 1440 minutes to be spontaneous with your imagination on how you choose to Celebrate the Blessings in your life.  That is exactly 1440 chances to make your heart expand. If nothing else, allow yourself just one of those 1440 minutes to slow down and Celebrate the things you are Grateful for.

I’m so very pleased you took the time to stop in, how are you enjoying the 21 Days to Gratitude?

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While attending a conference in Vancouver, Canada, one of the speakers, Caroline Myss, had a brilliant suggestion for restful sleep, and pre-programming for a blissful day when you wake.


She suggested we take 5 minutes before sleep to consider all the wonderful aspects of how we see the upcoming day playing out. Her belief, “Why think negative thoughts and marinate in them for 8 hours?”

Like Caroline Myss, I believe our minds are sponges and through thought, we have the power to enhance or diminish the experiences that are played out in our daily lives. I love the idea of pre-programming you dreams. In this moment, it’s late at night. I’m extremely tired after a busy day, all I can think about is sleep. What better way of honouring today and my tomorrow, than being grateful for one and pre-programming the next?

Tonight take 5 minutes before you close your eyes, consider the qualities of the day and how you see tomorrow playing out. You decide if you want a fantastic day, filled with everything you love swirling around you, or a day filled with issues. This is absolute a decision you can make

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The above was sent to me by a friend I recently met. She is the embodiment of my understanding of this quote. She breezed into my world and made it brighter with her sunny personality. Being surrounded by lovely supportive people, is one of the fringe benefits I’ve experienced since allowing Gratitude to blossom.

There are times in our lives when we are given precious gifts in the form of family, friends or loved ones. I’ve been truly blessed with remarkable relationships in my life. They have come to me in a multitude of unique parcels, never in the same form and always a pleasant surprise. A few arrived tied with silky ribbons, others bundled roughly with twine, several have been wrapped in shiny gold paper, and still others came stamped with foreign newsprint. Regardless of their exterior packaging, the end result of their appearance in my life has been a rich and diverse understanding of GRATITUDE.

Sit quietly for a few minutes today to consider who in YOUR life personifies this quote.

Think of a way to show your Gratitude to him, her or them. This exercise has no limits or restrictions of the number of people you choose to extend your Gratitude to.

The beauty and magic of Gratitude is when you shine a light on Gratitude ~ Gratitude multiplies.


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Releasing a Grievance is not making you right and the other person wrong. It has nothing to do with the measure of the perceived Grievance. It has to do with YOU no longer carrying around baggage for an event in your past. For many of us, holding a Grievance is coupled with loss and Grief. The act of holding on, is degenerative to our physical and mental health.

With this knowledge we have a smidgen of work to do, so let’s get to it…..

#1 ~ Bring to mind a person against whom you currently hold a grievance—someone other than yourself. Hold the person and the grievance in your mind. Review the situation in which the grievance arose: how it got started, what happened, the aftermath, and anything else that comes to mind. Get in touch with everything associated with this grievance, as clearly as you can. Write it down if need be.

#2 ~ How does this situation resonate within you? Underneath whatever surface feelings of triumph or satisfied self-righteousness you may have. Does holding this grievance really serve your happiness today? See if you can get in touch with the pain this grievance is causing you. Mental pain is the consequence of holding this grievance, however much you may think holding it makes you right, or justified.

#3 ~ Now imagine this Grievance as a 10 pound rock you carry with you each and every day, never having a moments rest from the weight. This rock/Grievance is controlling you, not you controlling the Grievance. Yes, it WAS hurtful, yes it was cruel, embarrassing, unnecessary, excessive, inexcusable, you choose an adjective to describe it. The key word here is “WAS”, it’s in the past and you are living it in your present day. You are giving this person, event, action all your power. The energy required by your body to generate this Grievance causes depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety and a constant state of stress. Among other things.

#4 ~ Now here’s the tough part, your overall health is desperate for you to forgive this person/event. Forgive them for YOU, forgive them for your own physical health, for your future, for your happiness. As long as you refuse to forgive this person, you are carrying that rock with their name on it. It is weighing you down. Degenerating your life. Think about that. Your life, your health, your joy is trapped under a 10 pound rock and you are holding the rock in place. Do you really want another other person to maintain that amount of power over you? Haven’t you given them enough of your energy. Wouldn’t now be a good time to break free of the past?

“Forgiveness is not weak. It is not passive. It is not for the faint of heart”.  Desmond Tutu

If you’re anything like me and require an in-depth explanation and a plan of action, I invite you to join the 30 Day Forgiveness Challenge with Demond Tutu and his daughter Mpho. Everyday you’ll receive a brief lesson to fill-in online. They provide guidelines, suggestions to assist you and encouragement. You work at your own pace and it’s not difficult, (expect the part where you have to forgive someone) Even if you sign up and don’t get around to participating until day 10, (like me) you’ll have the workbook in your inbox to absorb at your leisure.

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Humans are powerful creatures, we are born with a remarkable ability to discern our environment as well as the  people surrounding us. A small child has no issue conveying his/her needs to their parent. It may take a few attempts however a child will eventually win most arguments and within moments will let the grievance go completely.

Somewhere along our path, we loose this innate ability to ask/insist on what we know will add to our comfort and enjoyment in life. We also develop the ability to hold grievances. Some of us are able to hold these grievances for years, decades, lifetimes. The fundamental drawback of never letting go of a grievance, is the strength they have to cause physical, emotional and financial decay.

If you had a backpack strapped to your shoulders for the remainder of your life and this pack was filled with a 10 pound rock for each and every grievances you currently hold, calculate the excess weight would you be carrying. 10 ~ 90 ~ 280 ~ 5000 pounds?

Each Grievance you hold in your life is a “self imposed” burden. Even if the other person did an unspeakable wrong, holding that Grievance will impact you, not them. I repeat: holding that Grievance will impact YOU, not THEM. The individuals we believe harmed us, are off in their own little worlds worrying about their life, their grievances, their issues. You, on the other hand, are carrying a load only you can release. Imagine how it would feel to unzip your backpack, remove the 10 pound weight with their name on it, lower it to the ground, and walk away. The grievance serves no purpose, it has no function, unless you consider degeneration a function worthy of holding on to.

Today write out a list of those you are holding a grievance against.

Tomorrow we will take steps toward dissolving them. 



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It has been scientifically proven that your Happiness is in direct correlation to the amount of Gratitude you show. I know, I know just another study right? It seems to me you can’t go wrong on this one though. I doubt they will come back and say they were wrong, considering history has been reporting on Gratitude for thousands of years. Leaders, sages, holy men and women all agree on this one point. Gratitude WILL produce enduring Happiness. Like anything, it takes practice to build your Gratitude muscle.

Have you ever thanked another person for the influence they have had in your life? Below is a YouTube video taking a group of people through an experiment. They had test subjects write down a letter describing a person who they are most Grateful for in their life. As a surprise to the subjects, they asked them to call that person and read the letter. It’s called  An Experiment In Gratitude and I personally find it a brilliant demonstration in the Power Of Gratitude.

 Our lesson for today is to write down one such letter/paragraph and read it out loud to the person you wrote it about. If you can’t bring yourself to read it to the person, send it in the mail. Snail mail if possible. It doesn’t have to be a full letter, it can be one or two paragraphs. Describe how their actions improved your life. Thank them for their contribution. If they are no longer with us, read it out loud as you stand in front of a mirror. Remember to look at yourself when you are reading it.

To me this Experiment is filled with Growth. I dedicate this blog to Mary Moss a truly remarkable woman with a gift for Gratitude. Mary was the mother of a friend of mine Maddie Moss. Maddie is a woman who never lets a compliment slip by, a quality she inherited from her mother. Mary passed away in July of last year and she was a “quote machine”. She found an opportunities for Growth in most every situation. One of my favourite quotes she said to her children, when they were in the middle of a difficult life challenge was: “THERE YOU GO, GROWING AGAIN”.  To me this saying takes what is perceived as a hardship and allows Growth to flourish.


For many of us this Experiment In Gratitude will be a challenge. Consider it an opportunity to Grow. Who knows, you might even enjoy it and spread your Gratitude to a multitude of friends, family, co-workers, teachers, parents, siblings, cousins…. the list is endless. Have some fun with it. Start slow if you have to, build up to the one you are most uncomfortable imagining yourself writing to. There is where the real growth resides.

An Experiment In Gratitude


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Asking for and wanting a specific Person, Place or Thing is part of who we are as humans. We are set on this earth to move forward, to evolve, accomplish our goals, achieve our highest desires, to give and receive love. There is one tiny-tiny condition when asking for the very Persons, Places, or Things we believe will improve our lives. When we lose sight of the joy of our life journey, by becoming so attached to the outcome, we push those People, Places or Things further away. When we focus in so intently on the acquisition of our requests, the Persons, Places or Things senses our desperation and literally vibrate off in a new direction.

Tonight, I had a conversation with a mentor of mine. I asked him how to advise a friend, who is currently in a state of urgency over the acquisition of a large purchase. My friend is in a position of “Wanting the conclusion to arrive” more than “Enjoying the process” and she is finding the stress uncomfortable. I’ve been there many times in my life and appreciate the anxiety associated with wishing for something so intently, my perception and judgement was distorted.

The sage advice my mentor offered me was two-fold. #1 ~ A Request, Affirmation or Prayer, (choose the word which resonates with you) is “The Question”. Once you’ve asked for what you want, stop and listen for the answer. I guarantee you, the solution IS inside of you, if you are willing and open to it: For some, allowing the answer filters in through meditation, or a contemplative run or swim. Still others, a walk in nature, writing, singing, or creating. Choosing what works for you is key.

#2 ~ When requesting for the People, Places or Things you want in life, introduce these ideas to your consciousness through a powerful set-up statement of:

Please give me THIS _________________ OR BETTER.

I love the “OR BETTER” aspect of this. It softens the request and opens it to new possibilities we are unable to see in the moment of urgency.

I’d like to add a third avenue to bring you closer to your dreams

# 3 ~ Show Gratitude to the People, Places and Things currently in your life. Gratitude is the shortcut to fulfilling your dreams. When you are thankful for what you have in your life, what you have expands in new and unexpected ways.

What am I Grateful for today?  I’m Grateful to you…. for allowing me into your lives for these 21 Days. I am truly honoured by your dedication to this Gratitude process. I know it takes time, effort and some discomfort, in searching out new ways of thinking and thanking. I’m exceedingly proud of your efforts!





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 Better Quality of Life: The Rewards of GratitudeBy Taryn Galewind

You have the daily gift of 86,400 seconds to spend as you will—and you can almost certainly afford one second for gratitude. Meister Eckhart von Hochheim, a German philosopher and mystic born in the Thirteenth Century, calculated the seconds in a day to remind his students that gratitude has rewards. Here are ten for you to consider.

1. You’ll smile as you give gratitude for a favour done, and the doer will smile back. Laughter and smiles extend life and promote good health.

2. Gratitude strengthens relationships by making the thanker and the giver each more aware of their responsibility for the other’s well-being.

3. Expression of gratitude makes the recipient happy, rewarding them for having provided for you and encouraging them to do so at another time.

4. Your attitude turns more positive—think about it. If you focus on something good someone did, how can you think negatively?

5. You grow spiritually by recognizing another person’s gifts and talents.

6. A popular inspirational series, 48 Ways to Wisdom, says that acknowledging spiritual gifts by saying “I am now aware of something very important that I wasn’t paying attention to” helps you to recognize what you’re learning on your path to wisdom and enlightenment.

7. Expressing gratitude leads you to switch your focus from what is missing in life to the abundance that brings real joy. Remember that abundance is not just about what you have, it can be about what you were spared.

8. Saying, “Thank you, I’m grateful,” sets an example that can be easily paid forward by those around you. You’ll plant the seeds of a garden of happy interactions and reap the rewards of finding more love surrounding you.

9. “Thank you’s” and gratitude enhance your vision. You’ll see other people and yourself in a new frame of reference when you take that short one second to acknowledge that it’s a beautiful world.

10. If your heart is filled with appreciation for all that you have and for those who care for you, you’ll be prepared to face adversity, when it comes, with courage and dignity.

**Find a way to keep track of how consistently you feel grateful and how often you express it. You might keep a journal, log your grateful moments on your computer, or just pause and reflect when you’ve remembered to say thanks. A French proverb calls gratitude the memory of the heart.

What a beautiful thought as we go about our days. Doesn’t it seem worth it to tithe one second out of nearly 100,000 on any given day and create a memory in your heart?

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 Today I was searching YouTube for an interesting talk for you on this the half-way point on our 21 Days to Cultivating Gratitude. Something you should know about me, I have a geeky side and I just LOVE TedTalks. I’m even involved in a TedTalks bi-monthly Meetup group.

I found this TedTalk on Gratitude with Brother David Steindl-Rast. I’ve listened to David Steindl-Rast in over the years and have found him an exceptionally wise and easy to comprehend teacher. He was born and raised in Vienna, Austria. Received his MA degree from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Vienna. He emigrated to the United States in 1952 and became a Benedictine monk in 1953 at Mt. Saviour Monastery in Pine City New Your.

th-8He Co-founded the Center for Spiritual Studies. His writings include Gratefulness, the Heart of PrayerThe Music of SilenceWords of Common Sense and Belonging to the Universe. He also co-founded A Network for Grateful Living, an organization dedicated to gratefulness as a transformative influence for individuals and society.

With his extensive study in the realm of Gratitude, I thought you might enjoy thisTedTalk on Gratitude by: David Steindl-Rast: Want to be Happy? Be Grateful.


Enjoy your Sunday….. Shauna





David Steindal-Rast

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Today let’s review our Gratitude List.

If you haven’t made a list of what you are Grateful for, I’ll give you a few minutes……


Consider the words you placed on the original list. Do they resonate with who you are today? Now is your chance to start again, or simply expand your reach. Every minute you live is an opportunity to make a new selection. We mistakenly believe the choices we made last year, last week, yesterday, an hour ago, are the end of the story.

Rummage around your world for people, places or things you are Grateful for. If nothing comes to mind, your focus might be too sharp, squint a little, blur the edges. Relax to the breeze that is Gratitude. It swirls around us like mist in the morning and if we have our protective layers zipped too tight around our awareness, we miss the subtle undercurrent.


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Suggestions for connecting with The Five Realms of Gratitude ~ Inspired by a meditation by Davidji

What is one thing you’re grateful for about your Physical Realm? Think of a part of your body you feel grateful for. Bring that one physical trait to the forefront of your mind and be thankful for it. Praise it as you would a good friend, let it know how you appreciate the work it is doing to make your everyday life easier. For example: “I’m grateful for my eyes for allowing me to see my granddaughter take her first step this week”.

What is one response you’re grateful for in your Emotional Realm? All the emotions that you experience: Love, Kindness, Joy, Grace, Bliss, Forgiveness, Gratitude, etc. What are you most grateful for in your Emotional Realm?

What are you grateful for in your Material Realm? As you look around at all the items you surround yourself with, the possessions, the touchstones, the treasure-trove of all the material things in your life… What are you grateful for and why? For example, I’m grateful to my bed for supporting me throughout the night.

What are you grateful for in your Relationship Realm? Consider all the relationships in your life and highlight one in your mind. It may be a particular relationship, or a thread that runs through all your relationships. What relationship are you most grateful for today?

What are you grateful for in the Realm of your Belief System, your Trust in the Universe, or your Higher Power?  It could be as simple as your gratitude to the sun for warming your face as you walk.

I was at my Toastmasters meeting last night and the gratitude my fellow toastmasters offered me for creating this 21 day blog, literally filled my grateful cup to overflowing. There’s a power and strength when we offer a heartfelt word of encouragement to another for contributing to our life experience. An irrepressible sense of accomplishment replenishes you when you know you’ve touched the life another human being.

Your ability to offer gratitude will be mirrored back to you in situations and circumstances you’ve never dreamed possible. Open yourself to the potential of GRATITUDE.


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Florence, Italy

Those who refuse to Forgive ~ destroy the bridge they themselves must cross.

Awakening Forgiveness inside is rarely an easy task. We mistakenly believe if we forgive someone for a perceived wrong, we are telling the person it was all right in the fist place. This type of Forgiveness is a function of the ego getting in the way of Forgiveness by placing conditions on the Forgiveness. Being unwilling or unable to forgive keeps us stuck on the treadmill of blame and resentment. We punish ourselves with these negative emotions and rarely is the other person impacted by our lack of forgiveness.

Holding on to anger is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.. Buddha

There is magic in Forgiveness. It opens the soul to possibility.

The Top 10 Misconceptions about Forgiveness ~  by Azim Khamisa

1.  Withholding forgiveness hurts the other person.
The truth is: Withholding forgiveness hurts yourself.

2.  Forgiveness is a passive endeavor.
The truth is: Forgiveness is a very active endeavor, where you can ultimately reach out in love and compassion to the other person.

3.  Forgiveness lets people off the hook, so they aren’t accountable to their actions.
The truth is: Forgiveness and accountability are not the same topic. You can have both. Forgive another by offering empathy and unity; yet still uphold the process of accountability within the social structure.

4.  Forgiving someone tells that person that whatever he or she did was acceptable with you.The truth is: Accepting their actions and accepting their true nature underneath it all are two very different things. You can make that clear.

5. Forgiveness is for the other person.The truth is: Forgiving another is an act we do for ourselves, to free ourselves from the pain or bitterness.

6.  When you are forgiving, you are “pardoning” someone’s bad behavior.

The truth is: There is no “pardoning,” just a clearer perception on who that other person truly is, and what they can still provide to your life, to a community and to a society.

7.  Forgiveness is done by saying the words “I forgive you.” 
The truth is: Forgiveness resides not only in words but also in thought, feeling and action.

8.  Forgiving another person doesn’t do any good really.
The truth is: It not only uplifts you AND that person in ways unseen, but it brings that much more light to a world in need.

9.  Forgiveness is only for religious people.
The truth is: It’s for all of us walking the planet.
10.  It’s too hard to forgive.                                                                                                 The truth is: It can be hard, but not too hard, not when you have the right support and perspective.

Take time today to think of one person in your life you would like/need to forgive. Go through the above listed 10 Misconceptions with him/her in mind and see if you are able to come to a resolution of how to take the first step in forgiving this person. Anger, hurt and an unwillingness to Forgive, are like holding onto the end of a rope, never allowing it to touch the ground. It takes energy to keep that rope in the air. The other person may not even be aware you are working so hard to keep your end of the rope suspended. Even if they have a firm grip on their end, imagine what it would be like if you simply dropped that rope of anger. This is an exercise to allow YOU a step closer to dropping your grip with an emotion that is not serving you. Even if you are not aware of it, the lack of Forgiveness is in control of you.

If you would like additional resource Cultivating Forgiveness, I’ve attached a link for a Workbook on Forgiveness by the author of the above: 10 Misconceptions About Forgiveness.  Workbook: by Azim Khamisa. Azim is a father whose son was murdered and through this tragedy and his remarkable journey, he is now teaching workshops on Forgiveness. For additional information on his courses and his story go to (Just so you know, I don’t have an association to his work or teaching, I simply like his honest way of teaching).

Have you had any experience with Forgiveness? Please share, it’s nice to know I’m not alone in needing guidance where Forgiveness is concerned.

With gratitude…. Shauna



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