junie@junieswadron.com | 250.813.0183

14 Apr

Frances Litman, The Woman Behind The Scenes

Frances

For some time now, I have been featuring incredible people in my weekly newsletter who I consider to be heroes and heroines of our time. People who have overcome major challenges and in doing so have become teachers and mentors for humanity.

Today is no exception. If you live on Vancouver Island, especially in Victoria, it would be most unusual for you not to have heard about the 5th Annual Creatively United for the Planet festival that everyone is talking about.

It’s an Earth Week Festival in support of more than two dozen NGOs and charities. In fact, it begins today, Friday, April 15th! Click here to find out about all the amazing programs, speakers, musicians, events that are happening!

But first, read the back story about Frances Litman, the visionary and founder who birthed what has become one of North America’s largest events of its kind.

Why have thousands of people been flocking to it every year? Because it showcases and celebrates the important work that people are doing to ensure where we live, work, eat, play and study remains beautiful, vibrant, healthy and resilient. And thankfully, more and more people care about that! And they are showing up learn more and find out how to get involved.

So, Who Is This Extraordinary Woman
Behind The Scenes?

Let me tell you what I know. Frances was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Far from it! But that is not what I will focus on. Instead I would like to honour what this amazing woman has achieved in spite of her painful beginnings. How she held tight to what she believed was possible—how life, and the world at large, could be beautiful even though her outer world, for many years, did not reflect that.

It is her determined nature and the loving fabric of her being that causes her to become unstoppable when it comes to making a positive difference. She doesn’t just hope and pray for a beautiful, sustainable, world, where men, women, children as well as the seas, sky, and land are protected. No, she turns her visions into reality again and again.

She has won over 25 awards in various professional competitions.

Many of you know that last year she passionately ran for the Green Party, joining her mentor, MP Elizabeth May, one of the world’s most influential women, environmentalist, author, and activist whose values align entirely with the heart of Frances.

I could never say all there is to say about my friend, but if you want to be blown away—and I mean it—take a look at her internationally award-winning photographs.

How I Have Come To Know Frances

I couldn’t remember when or where we first met, but she reminded me that it was at a talk I gave about eight years ago. I soon became aware that she was a journalist for the Times Columnist and an award-winning photographer. Although, when you meet her you wouldn’t know any of that, because she is humble and her focus is on the other, not herself.

To me, she is a natural mentor, role model and inspiration to countless people, for no matter what the circumstances, she will find a way of turning lemons into lemonade.

Although Frances and I did not become close friends over the years, our paths often crossed through common social circles and attending many of the same events.

And here is what I experienced each time we met, without exception. I was greeted by a passionate, wise, gentle and kind woman with a genuine smile and heart of gold. You also knew when she spoke with you, even briefly, she was fully present. She is one of those people, who after spending time together, no matter how long the encounter, you always leave feeling better than when you first arrived!  She just oozes good stuff, that’s what can I tell you!

From Good to Better To Best!

I can also tell you that I am thrilled that our ‘informal’ friendship has taken a turn. We have been enjoying an ever deepening encounter of the best kind. It began when she, Maggie Reidy, another magnificent “new” friend, (although it feels we’ve known each other forever), and I, sat down to talk about entering a business relationship together. It is our intention to take our collective gifts and talents into the world to inspire peace, beauty, empowerment and love via workshops, retreats, podcasts, TV . . . and on and on it goes.

bracelets

Maggie brought each us bracelets from her recent trip to Maui, symbolizing our friendship and united vision for humanity and the planet.

No Pipedreams for Us

Not only is Frances not one for pipedreams—neither are Maggie or I. All of us, in our own right, have been climbing the mountains that are worth climbing, for the betterment of ourselves and humanity. And as a team? Wow! It’s currently beyond our imagination where it will lead us. All we know is that we have been divinely guided and feel blessed by this union.

Our business meetings are hardly traditional. We begin with prayer and intention, followed by what’s happening in our lives. Then we laugh A LOT, dance around in my living room, eat healthy, yummy food, and scribe ideas onto the whiteboard as if there’s no tomorrow! And at the end of our meeting, we shake our heads and say, “Seriously? We got all that done in an hour when the rest of the time we were just having fun?” Maggie’s got a play list to die for! Make that “To Live For!” That’s what can happen when you aren’t doing it alone, with conscious collaboration, with respect and kindness, with untied values and vision. And well, when you are all pretty zany to begin with!

It was Frances’s birthday on Tuesday (April 12th). Maggie and I decided to give her a wee surprise party. Just the three of us (oh, and Matt Kahn dropped in a little later). Do we know how to have fun or what?

party

Creatively United for The Planet. Saturday, April 16th. Come and “Claim Your Gift”

Be sure to Claim Your Gift from Maggie and me at our debut workshop this Saturday from 1:30 – 3 pm.

Location: Royal Bay Secondary, Room 8, 3500 Ryder Hesjedal Way, Colwood.

Room 8. Bonus – It has an ocean view!

Here is a link to the festival website for Saturday.

Can’t wait to see you there!

 

All Blessings,

Junie

p.s.

Two ideas and two writing prompts

1. Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due! Who do you know in your life that inspires you? That makes you feel good? That makes you want to do things that are wonderful? Why not tell them so—through a phone call, an email, or a surprise visit? Do it.

Writing prompt: Today, when I think of . . . my heart expands. Today I want to tell her/him that . . .

2. Are you carrying a vision of something that you are passionate about but don’t know where to begin? I bet there are others just like you who share that passion. And guess what? You don’t have to go it alone. In fact, it’s way more fun when you do it with people who share your ideals. Consult good ol’ Mr. Google and see who in your city might be doing similar things. Contact them . . . and let me know how it goes!

Writing prompt: I am passionate about . . . and would love to come together with others to make it happen. When I think about that,I feel…

As always, please leave your comments below or join us at Junie’s Writing Sanctuary to join the conversation.

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28 Dec

2016: Finding Your Key to the Kingdom of Self-Love

love-rA brand new year is approaching, the holiday rush is over, you are alone with your thoughts and begin to reflect upon the past year. You think about your successes, those things you had set out to accomplish, and you did them. You think about the things you wished to accomplish but did not. Ask yourself, do I put more weight on what I was able to achieve, or on what I wish I had achieved? Rather than get upset by what didn’t happen, know you have not failed. YOU ARE ENOUGH JUST AS YOU ARE.

Let’s commit to making 2016 the year we stop judging ourselves. Let this be the year that we put our hands over our hearts and commit to loving ourselves more than we ever have before. Would we not treat a child in who is hurting with compassion and love? Let us give more love, not less, to the parts of ourselves that are lying awake at night anxious and worried.

Let us stop the barrage of judgments, criticisms, the ‘not good enough’ statements. Instead, let this be our New Year’s resolution—a resolution for each and every day, to feed our tender hearts with reverent kindness.

One of the best ways I know to do this is simply by being honest with ourselves. Instead of slapping down a whole bunch of affirmations for the New Year that do not ring true, bring yourself back into this moment instead and write down what is true.

Let writing become your meditation—a place to rest your heart on the page with your words, your truth, your hopes and dreams. It is private. You do not need to censor yourself or please someone else. Let writing be your key to the kingdom of self-love. Your journal is as close as a hand’s reach away, ready to reveal the deepest insights and wisdom you could ever ask for, possibly even the seeds of a book in you that is gestating there, ready to be birthed. Dream your biggest dreams and may the universe bless every one!

Writing Prompt 
Take an hour alone. Light a candle and set an atmosphere of serenity and beauty. Write a letter to Your Higher Self, God, your Guardian Angel, The Universe. Say everything that’s on your mind and in your heart. Next, write a letter back from that deity or your Guardian Angel, or Higher Self. Don’t engage your monkey mind and start to think that you’re making it up. Simply listen, breathe and allow. Know that your words have been heard and that you are being responded to with love and grace. Know that you are loved beyond measure.

Writing Tip
Yesterday, in my Sunday Afternoon Sacred Writing Circle, we were writing about living our highest vision. Here is an excerpt of what I wrote: “I always knew, even as a child, that somehow I was protected. When I was given my first diary at the age of eleven, it wasn’t just a place to write down my thoughts, it was a place to commune with God. On the pages I have always been met with an omnipotent presence ready to love my tender heart.”

As you write in your journal, allow whatever you believe is All-Loving to be present with you as you write. Perhaps God is not a word you would use. Maybe it is Universal Intelligence, your Guardian Angel, The Beloved, Nature. Or perhaps it is someone you know who loves you unconditionally. Imagine as you write that that deity or person is with you as a benevolent witness, cascading you with compassion and love.

How did this work for you? Please leave your comments below, or join and contribute to our private Facebook group, Junie’s Writing Sanctuary.

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05 Apr

Write Yourself Home One Day Writing Retreat

A Fun & Profound One-Day Writing Retreat

Do you think you can’t write? Well, you can!

Do you think your negative beliefs and attitudes toward writing
can’t change in a few hours? Yes, they can!

Do you think life affirming transformation can’t happen in a day?
Yes, it can!

Come, let me show you how to come home to your heart through the joy
of writing.

Writing has the power to stop time, cut through the extraneous and take us
home to our heart. This absolutely fun experience will engage the writer within
and may surprise you by eliciting prose, poetry, song lyrics or simply stream of
consciousness writing in “no apparent form”. You will learn the fundamentals of
moving past the head and into the heart of writing.

You will be led gently into story and into the soul’s inner landscape where
clarity, creativity, passion, originality and truth are revealed. With
encouragement, safety and the freedom to jump in, you will open to the joy of
where writing can take you.

The sweet whisperings of your soul meet you on the page and something shifts.
You strengthen. You begin to stand taller and one day you notice that your voice
on the page has become your voice in the world.
For those who have never experienced my 8-week writing workshops called,
Sacred  Writing Circles, also known as “Write Where You Are” or Re-Write Your Life, this will give you an excellent opportunity to be introduced to the experience.

 

“When I arrived here I was completely stuck. I felt self-conscious,
worried, couldn’t even think about reading out loud to the group. By the time I
left at the end of the day, words were pouring onto the paper like years of
uncried tears. I read out loud to the group and felt proud of the things I had
written after it was received so warmly by the group. What a personal
transformation in 1 day!”

Gillian Pierson

Saturday, April 7, 2012
Time:  9:30am – 5pm

Location:

Church of Truth
Community of Conscious Living
111 Superior Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8V 1T3

Cost: $125

SEE YOU THERE!!

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21 May

Musical Heart Feast: Write Where You Are

Wednesday’s Write Where You Are workshop session was absolutely awesome. The homework assignment to the group was to find a favourite piece of music, listen to it, choose a lyric, phrase, chorus or simply breathe in the essence of the song, and write what comes up. In other words, write where you are! I asked the group to also bring the full lyrics and a CD which contained their chosen music, to the next class.

What a beautiful, heartfelt afternoon it was! It seems all of them are, but what other than music could bring us into an instantaneous opening of our hearts?

All participants but one did the homework. The others, after much deliberation, were able to choose a “favourite song” or at least one they resonated with the most at that time.

After our usual settling in meditation, followed by a go-around to give each person a moment to check in about their week, we addressed the musical homework. One at a time, each person played the CD containing the song they chose. As we all listened carefully, some of us had gentle tears, evoked by the lyrics, or the poignant music, that accompanied each song.

When the song ended, the person who brought it in, followed our sacred ritual of making eye contact in silence, with each person in our sacred circle to feel their support and love. Then she or he read what they had written. Wow! That in turn evoked more visceral responses from the rest of us. Then we shared our thoughts and feelings with the writer, always with respect, love and encouragement.

During our initial go-around, one of the members of the group told us he didn’t find time to do the homework. Immediately inspired I told him, “No matter. I have something in mind”.

After everyone had their turn, I said to the gentleman who had not chosen a song to write about, “So, Russ (not his real name), if you were to choose a song right now, what would it be”?

Without a moment’s hesitation, he wistfully answered, “Dave Brubeck, Take Five”.

While moving toward the computer I inquired, “Can you tell us about it”?

He said, “Oh, there are no lyrics”.

A moment later, by way of the invaluable YouTube, we were watching and listening to a 1972 live performance of Dave Brubeck’s Quartet playing Take Five in Greenwich Village, New York City.

I looked over at Russ. His eyes were closed and he looked like he was in bliss. When the song ended, with eyes still closed, he took us into the story of when he was a 14-year-old boy, leaving his home in Prince Rupert to spend the summer with his sister and brother-in-law in Manhattan. He said he never would have known a place with the urbanity of New York City existed. He became immersed in the extremes of the commerce culture of Wall Street and to the Beat Generation of Greenwich Village. He then shared his most outstanding memory. The time, his sister and brother-in-law took him to a smoky blues and jazz club in the heart of Greenwich Village where Dave Brubeck was actually playing, Take Five.

I’ve been considering taking out stocks in Kleenex.

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junie@junieswadron.com | 250.813.0183