Have you ever had a friend that, without them in your life, your life simply would not be the same?
A friend whose unconditional love, wisdom, compassion, humour, kindness, along with the ability to be real at all times, is enough to make you weep with the kind of gratitude that goes far beyond words?
For me, that person is Judith Rockert. Judith and I have known each other for over 40 years!
Last month she called to tell me that the doctors told her she has a short time to live.
That was enough for me to fly the 3,000 miles from Victoria to Toronto to be with her.
What I didn’t know was that she has a death date. She has chosen M.A.I.D. (Medical Assistance in Dying).
On June 27, 2022, Judith will take her last breath. It’s hard to wrap my head, and especially my heart, around this.
Here is our interview, recorded on June 12, 2022:
This is my first experience with someone who has chosen assisted dying, and what is remarkable to me is that if you were to meet Judith, or even talk to her on the telephone, she is one of the most positive, upbeat, incredibly optimistic people you would ever meet.
She told me, “Junie, I’m not afraid of dying. I’m going onto my next adventure.
I’m afraid of living in a body that is rapidly breaking down, and — God forbid — it would be up to my family to have to take care of me.”
Judith and I speak often, and every time, she is the one who uplifts me! I ask her, “Judith, how are you today?”
Without a moment’s hesitation she replies, “I am in escalating bliss!”
Then she’ll go on to tell me about her day and who came to see her and the incredible gift she has been given to have such rich visits and conversations that are straight from the heart with the people she loves and who love her.
I know all about that. We have had so many of those precious exchanges. And whenever my mental health challenges reared their ugly head, Judith was my champion, my lifeline.
Even with that — even with the unthinkable grief that a parent endures in the face of losing their child, Judith chose LIFE.
She found ways to re-frame and re-write the story, focusing on the incredible gift of having Mitch in her life as long as she did — a man of great beauty, artistry, love, and kindness. Well, they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
One day, every one of us will be saying our final good-bye
LIFE IS PRECIOUS.
EVERY BREATH IS PRECIOUS.
Choose to live the best life you have, and let your love be your everlasting legacy.
These pictures are the tombstones of my mom and dad, Minnie and Jimmy Swadron, and my sister, Barbara Freedman. I was able to visit them at the cemetery during my trip to Toronto.
What I wouldn’t do to hug them today! Be sure to tell everyone you love that you love them while you can. And know that You Are Deeply Loved in Return.
We can choose how we are going to live our lives
Judith enthusiastically said “Yes” to this interview. She has the wisdom of the ages, and I know that this interview will inspire countless people with her legacy of love.
None of us know how long we are going to live (unless we have chosen MAID, like Judith), so why don’t we just take the high road now and make our lives magnificent?
All blessings, Junie
PS — If you did not see this interview with my beautiful fiancé David talking to my dear soul sister, Pat Sheveland, about the unexplainable gifts that came from beyond the veil after the death of his beloved daughter Cat, watch now and be inspired.
I can show you how, and work alongside you as you do it! I have a few seats left in my fast-approaching author mentorship program; the course starts on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. There’s still time, but don’t delay!
About the Author Mentorship Program:
📚 Are you ready to write your book but don’t know where to begin?
📚 Are you a business leader or coach wanting to make a difference in the world?
📚 Are you ready to write your memoir?
This comprehensive 10-week program will give you everything you need to accomplish your dream of writing your book!
📚 Ten weekly 2-hour group Zoom calls
📚 One-on-one coaching
📚 Publishing opportunity
📚 Free publicity — the opportunity to have an exclusive VIP Interview on The Soul Connection Podcast
📚 Private discussion group to share your writing process
Your Life Matters! 8 Simple Steps to Writing Your Story
Do you want to write your book but don’t know where to begin?
Let me guess: You get excited about the thought of writing your life stories, but then, a voice inside your head stops you cold, saying things like, “Who would read it? What could I possibly teach others? Besides, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start.”
Wendy Kenny was one of the students in the last mentorship program, she and many others are now published authors!
“At first I was not really sure about this workshop but in the end I am happy to have been a part of it. Thank you for opening your home and heart to us. You provided a safe environment and encouraged us—no judgments, but truths. You helped me to believe that I have a story and that it is worth writing down—especially because of the healing that it has brought me. In your sharing it shows how courageous and strong you have been on your journey and that overflowed during our time together. Blessings to you.” —Wendy Kenny
Your life matters, and your life stories matter too!
Are you an entrepreneur with a great product, service, and brand? You need to get it out there in the world with your book! There’s nothing like having a published book to give you credibility.
How do you want to write your life stories? You could approach your project chronologically, from birth to where you are today, with all the wisdom you have gleaned along the way. Or, you could organize around themes—travel experiences, career, marriage, and children, spirituality, illness, times you were stronger than you thought, transitions and crossroads, teachers and mentors—it can all be done.
The main thing is that Your Life Matters and that you find a way to honour your life so that you can see how every story you have ever lived has come wrapped in gifts and lessons, ready to be transformed and integrated. I can show you how to write your book from the most empowered, joyous place within you so that you’ll be proud to celebrate your legacy out loud—with family and friends or with a wider audience at your book launch!
In Your Life Matters! Author Mentorship Program, you will learn how to:
📚 Inspire others with the wisdom you’ve attained in your lifetime
📚 Achieve your life-long dream of writing your memoir or sharing your entrepreneurial knowledge
📚 Bust through your blocks and write with confidence and ease with eight easy steps
📚 Free yourself from your painful past at last by unleashing your authentic voice
📚 Allow the hard lessons life has given you to become your greatest gifts
We all have fears around writing our stories, but we need to acknowledge that our life is the most important one of all and that the stories we want to tell are worthy.
The intention is that once you learn all the reasons why you CAN write your book, you’ll be saying an absolute YES to joining a group of committed upcoming authors in my Your Life Matters!Author Mentorship Program and writing your book. Apply now, and I’ll see you very soon! Course starts Tuesday, May 11, 2021.
“Junie brings her enormous heart and ignited spirit to each lesson, as well as to each and every person. She is a creative wellspring, inspired and supportive, and that all comes through. Thank you Junie for sharing your gifts and experience with us!” —Patricia Campbell
“I deeply appreciate the way Junie encourages her students to be comfortable and fearless at the same time. I found that I could go further than I’d expected in my writing, and this course inspired me to continue to work at this craft. I hope to take more courses with Junie in the future!” —Melanie Cook
I interviewed myself today! A friend asked me the first question, and I just kept going. This as a writing technique I recommend you all to try — interview yourself! It will help bring you to so the same point I will be making throughout this reading that everyone should write a book.
Junie, you talk a lot about helping people get their books written. Do you think everyone should write a book?
Well, personally, yes, I do think everyone should write a book! But of course, I’m biased! I’ve seen the benefits of the writing process since I was a teenager, when putting my thoughts, fears, successes, failures in my diary gave me an instant inside story to my mind.
I could see how my mind travelled — how fears were followed to their origins, the dots were connecting of how this event led to that seemingly unrelated one, and I would watch nightmares morph into my best poetry in my morning writings.
Later Julia Cameron, in her famous book, The Artist’s Way, coined the term “Morning Pages,” and millions of people across the planet found out first hand just how powerful a daily writing practice can be.
What kind of writing do you teach?
I teach stream of consciousness writing — the kind where you just “let the writing do the writing,” where you’re not judging and planning and critiquing what you want to say. This kind of writing allows you to access the unconscious mind, and you begin to truly know yourself.
When I write, I feel that there is a benevolent presence sitting beside me, guiding my hand across the page or keyboard. I can’t explain it, but the words just come tumbling out of my fingers from a source I can only call God, words I cannot seem to reach otherwise. They release the muse out of her secret kingdom to alchemize ideas into creative offerings that flow out in myriad ways. Sometimes it’s poetry, sometimes, prose, books, song lyrics, stage plays, short stories . . . Who wouldn’t want access to all that goodness?
But people aren’t always able to discover this on their own if they’ve had their writing or anything else criticized as kids — when they were putting their best efforts onto the page and a teacher red-penned everything:“You should have said it this way.” “You spelled that wrong.” “That idea is impossible, why would you say that?” and then their own mind tightened the grip from there.
That person probably never wants to write again, or they become mute. Or if they do ever summon the courage to write, they often judge it as being awful before it even hits the page, or they mutilate it with their harsh opinions afterwards.
How does the process work when you’re helping people write their books, or their stories?
I firmly believe that everyone should write a book. The 8-step process is where you learn to let go of all those critical voices and keep your hand moving across the page. Sure, there are techniques to employ later when crafting a piece, but the most profound writing comes when you step out of the way and allow what’s been meaning to come out to simply come out. To let your true authentic voice have its say before you cover it over with what you think would be socially acceptable to some random critic in your head to whom you are still giving away your power.
For 20 years, students who come to my Sunday writing circles – who have been afraid to write for eons — cannot believe what comes out of them from one twenty-minute writing prompt. With genuine bewilderment, they declare, “Where on earth did that come from?” “I didn’t even know I felt that way, I am amazed!” “I just got the biggest aha!” . . . and on and on it goes. They genuinely like or even love what they wrote — and I get the biggest joy of all, witnessing a new writer emerge.
So again, should everyone write a book?
If they want to know their mind, they should. If they want to understand their relationships and bring clarity to their life stories, they should. If they want to find out how creative they are, they should. And most important of all, if they harbour a dream to write a book, and the dream doesn’t go away, then of course they should, because it’s their soul’s calling.
Also, if they have people telling them for years that they should write a book, and it resonates true for them, then it behooves them to honour that truth instead of laughing it off, only to regret years later that they never did it. The worst is, dare I say, that they are on their deathbed, when it’s too late to mend any regrets.
I adore working with my book writing clients because even though they may have fears and resistance going on, they do it anyway — and before long, their fears are channelled into writings that go out in the world, and the next thing I know, they’re offering me an autographed copy of their published book!
It’s through this evidence that I’ve seen over and over again that I birthed my motto: “Your soul meets 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.”
I would like to share a story with you about how love creates miracles.
I used to live in an apartment on a peaceful street, and the building I lived in was filled with many friendly people.
Not long ago, on Christmas Eve, I suddenly heard loud voices outside my door. I was startled, as it was the first time I had ever encountered that.
I opened my apartment door, and the neighbour’s door across the hall was ajar but open wide enough for me to see in. The young man and woman who lived there, who I had not met as they had only recently moved in, were shouting and throwing things. Then I watched as he punched her. She punched back.
I ran down two flights of stairs to the manager’s apartment and told her what was going on. She came out as fast as she could. In the meantime, my fighting neighbours slammed their door shut. Frightening screams were heard into the hallway.
We knocked and they wouldn’t answer. The shouting continued. We knocked louder. Finally, they opened the door and the manager, in a loud voice said, “Stop this immediately or I will call the police!” They paid no attention.
At that moment I was inspired to walk into my apartment and get a candle. I opened a cabinet containing special treasures and chose a beautiful white candle. I lit it and walked right into their living room.
In the middle of the chaos, with loving backbone, I declared, “Hey guys, this is Christmas Eve and this is a candle of peace. How about a time out?”
They were stunned. In the pause, I walked over to the man and offered him the candle. I caught him off guard. He glared at me but he took it. He held it awkwardly.
Then I said, “Would you like a hug?” He was shocked. He stood there looking at me with a frozen expression on his face. I looked back with all the compassion and love I could muster. Then, quietly, in almost a whisper he said, “Okay.”
I stepped closer and hugged him and he began to weep. His hands that a moment ago had been formed as fists, hung limply at his sides while I, a total stranger, tried to comfort him. I looked over and Liza, the manager, was already holding and consoling the woman. I think we were all crying at that point!
After a few moments, the man left my embrace and walked over to his partner, took her in his arms and said, “I’m sorry. I am truly sorry.” “Me too,” she answered.
We left and quietly closed the door behind us. Then Liza gave me a silent embrace that spoke volumes. I went back to my apartment, lit a candle for myself and said, “Thank you, God.”
I will never forget that night. The night I heard a message to go get a candle and didn’t think twice. If I had, I doubt that I would have had the courage to go into the middle of a physical fight and try to break it up.
I had no experience with that. But I do have experience with what love can do. I know that love can cause men and women to put down their weapons and go home. Both figuratively and literally. Home to their hearts and home away from the battle fields of insanity.
WE ALL KNOW BEYOND ANYTHING ELSE,
THAT LOVE CREATES MIRACLES.
Let us try to remember that a simple candle delivered with love can melt away the insanity of divisiveness.
If there are people in your life that you are feeling anger towards, separate from, I invite you to do a lovely ritual that can heal the wounds and close the gap.
In so doing, you will step into a brand new year with the courage and wisdom to lay down your weapons of self-destruction — fear, anger, resentment — and choices that are not nourishing to your soul.
Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients: A Journal, A Pen, An Open Heart, and a Willingness to Receive
Directions: Carefully blend the ingredients together in this order:
4. Write a letter to The Universe. Let it be your prayer.
5. Ask for what you need to find peace, tranquility and love in your relationships and with yourself. Love creates miracles.
6. Ask for guidance to melt away everything unlike love, such as regrets, guilt, depression, anger, fear, and unworthiness.
7. Listen with reverence and an open heart to the wisdom that will be revealed to you on the page.
God and the angels are listening to every prayer. Every word. Every wish. It is we who come and go.
They are always here waiting in the wings to guide us and love us back to who we truly are, have always been, and shall always be — Children of The Universe — loving, gentle, beautiful, and remarkable spiritual beings having a human experience. Love creates miracles and I have devoted a lot of my work towards helping you all understand that. In my book Your Life Matters, you will be reminded of your inner power as well as 8 steps towards writing your own book.
And when we take this in and embody who we truly are, our light will shine through us and into the lives of others who are still afraid.
And this is how we shall restore the earth.
When we awaken and treat ourselves and each other with kindness, we also make choices to love and protect our beautiful land, sky and seas, and all the creatures who live there.
It takes huge courage to be human. To operate under the guise that love creates miracles. We didn’t come here with a manual. At least not an obvious one. And we won’t find it on the outside until we find it first on the inside.
And when we do, our outside world will reflect it back to us with unlimited gifts from Heaven. More than we could possibly imagine.
Heaven is simply waiting for us to say, “Bring it on! Love creates miracles!”
This is a talk I gave at the Church of Truth in Victoria, BC on November 17, 2019
To Introduce the Topic of the Dynamics of Change; I’d like to recite this Ojibway Prayer
Look at our brokenness.
We know that in all creation
Only the human family
Has strayed from the Sacred Way.
We know that we are the ones
Who are divided
And we are the ones
Who must come back together
To walk in the Sacred way.
Teach us love, compassion, and honour
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other.
Today’s topic is poetic reflections on the dynamics of change
We’re looking at poems about memories and how writing is instrumental in integrating the dynamics of change.
So, what about memories? William Standford wrote this. It’s called:
You Reading This, Be Ready
Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along the shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life —
what can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
Your Life Circumstances as Poetry
We can all read the poetry of Rumi or Hafiz, David Whyte and Mary Oliver, or in this case, William Stanford, and have our hearts lifted to the heavens by the simple weaving of their words.
But what if the harshest circumstances of your life were also considered poetry? Poetry in motion. Events, when funnelled through the Heart of Awareness become the alchemy of Grace leading you to transformation, leaving you triumphant — a Phoenix rising ever upwards from its own ashes, the dynamics of change. Poetry in motion.
Perhaps by now you have come to expect the trickster lurking around every corner. God’s secret design to mould us humans into a poetic mosaic featuring all possibilities. Divinity showing off its finest attire. Forcing us to traverse and transcend as we forge through parched deserts and darkened forests, swamps and jungles of heartbreak and grief, loss and fear until we awaken upon sparkling waters and coral colour beaches leading to abundant meadows of dancing wildflowers kissed by sunbeams drizzling through raindrops that transform into rainbows. God’s glorious archway of effervescent colours offering us The Sacred Promise. A Promise Of Hope. A Promise of Coming Home while walking right here upon our Earth.
Yes, Perfect Poetry in Motion.
I had never thought of us that way until I was invited to do this talk, but as I considered it, it makes perfect sense. After all, as God’s Children — and even more — inhabiting the spark of God within us — we are that! The absolute poetry of God. At our core, we are creative, expansive, exquisite beings of Light and when we tap into that aspect of us, the purest poetry is born, birthed in a million forms, just as we are billions of people and among billions of species on this planet, each a different expression of God’s creation, one part of the vast tapestry of the One Mind. The One Heart.
And those of us of the human kind, when we fall away from our connection to our Divinity, well, the Trickster moves in to get our attention. True? So that we can grow from and out of the inevitable painful set of circumstances that are delivered to us, reflecting on the dynamics of change, only to lead us back home to the Garden once again, to The One Heart of Creation — The One Heart of God.
As Rumi so stunningly penned, “Come even if you have broken your vow a thousand times, come, yet again, come, come. Come, come again, whoever you are, come.”
Yes, the invitation is to move beyond the sorrow and back to pillars of joy! Our true natural state. Come, come back again. Even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.
Rumi also wrote:
“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”
Re-Write Your Life, Chapter 2, p. 9: “One day my mother sat me down . . . ”
I would like you now to listen to a poem that no one can recite better than the author himself — David Whyte. This is Sweet Darkness!
Now, I’d like to read you a poem I wrote which emerged from darkness, giving me a horizon further than I knew I could see. It was in the darkness that became the sweet confinement of my aloneness where I truly learned that anything or anyone that does not bring me alive was too dark for me. Through the dynamics of change, this poems emerged on the page:
You can talk about yesterday or talk about tomorrow
You can talk about the falling dollar, talk about your sorrow
You can talk about chemicals and how they’re poisoning the earth
You can talk about how bad it is and how it’s getting worse.
Or you can take this moment and softly close your eyes
Breathe a breath from deep within and do not compromise
Take another and then another and in the stillness feel
The wonder of this moment — can this too be real?
Stay within the silence and notice what you hear
Listen with your heart and watch your fears all disappear
For in this very moment a miracle is due
If you listen with your heart there will be a message just for you.
A child is being born right now; can you hear the sound of life?
In a little church just down the way, vows are being made as man and wife.
Somewhere on a hilltop a traveler has found her way.
And the dew upon the morning grass has welcomed a brand new day.
Stay within this moment for the miracle is here
There’s nothing that you need to do, nothing but be sincere
Life is bursting forth in every breath; And in the stillness find
A place to love, a place to join with every heart and mind.
Rejoice, for in this moment you can send blessings near and far
Rejoice, for in this moment you are a living star
And every time you feel afraid and wonder what to do
Come back to this one moment and know the miracle is you.
Transforming Grief to Joy, Scarcity to Abundance, and Fear to Love
The beauty of being human is that we are the only ones on the planet that can actually change our states of being through our intentions and our actions. Using the dynamics of change; we can transform grief to joy, scarcity to abundance, and fear to love. Other life forms can only respond to the circumstances in which they find themselves. Knowing that we have been given this gift by The Universe, this absolute privilege — our gift back is to change our state, to move from sadness to joy, and to intend to live a fully, loving, joy-filled, loved-filled magnificent life!
And now for another of the world’s greatest poets and musical geniuses, listen to this song by Leonard Cohen: Anthem.
My way through has always been writing. It brings me out of despair into a place of hope, into the place of all possibilities. It’s bizarre. I know that writing does that for me — yet even today, there are times that it’s not the first thing I go to in order to move through a challenge. Sometimes, it’s the fridge to toast another bagel. Or two!
I know I’m not alone. We all have our drug of choice. Me, I can’t help it. I’m Jewish. So it’s not my fault. When I was born, my mother, being a good Jewish mother, threw a dozen bagels into the blender and fed it to me as pablum. When I was teething she’d shove a whole bagel into my mouth — usually pumpernickel — until they came out with lox and cream cheese, my fave.
So, now you know why bagels are the number one comfort food for Jews across the planet! But me, I like to find ways to improve my bad habits, through the dynamics of change, so I went to a 12 step program for bagel addiction and — I thought I was at synagogue! There wasn’t one Christian or even a Muslim in the room! I have a strong suspicion that the person who set up this particular meeting place, also a bagel addict like me really doesn’t want to quit. And she doesn’t want us to either. All our meetings take place in the room above Mount Royal Bagels with the waft of sesame, pumpernickel, lox and cream cheese and everything bagels — moving through the floorboards and into each of our olfactory senses — throughout the entire meeting. So, you can hardly hold it against us when we relapse after every meeting. What can we do? Nu?
Putting Humour and Poetry Together with Music
Anyway, writing . . . poetry . . . poetry in motion. Song lyrics are definitely poetry in motion. And humour and poetry put together into song can be a spectacular way of movin’ and groovin’ out of the blues! We all know the truth of this. Put on a favourite dance tune and within seconds your body can’t sit still. Right?
So, going back to my earlier years, after many trips in and out of mental institutions, I met lots of people as screwed up as me — and didn’t feel quite as alone. We all had fears and phobias of one sort or another so I simply wrote a poem about it which is now going to be part of a musical I’m writing. My friend David just wrote the tune for it. It’s appropriately named, “The Phobia Song.” I’d like to leave you with this song.
Here is THE PHOBIA SONG, inspired by people everywhere — and all our conditions!
THE PHOBIA SONG Lyrics by Junie Swadron Music by David Halliwell
Fear of Dying and Afraid of Life
Fear of Flying and Afraid of Strife
Fear of Losing and Afraid to Win
Christ Almighty — Where do we Begin?
Are we crazy? — No We’re Not
We’re Simply Concerned By What We’ve Got
Fear of Anger — Afraid of Fat
Wars, Chores, and Doors — Imagine That
Claustrophobia, Agora Phobia
Phobias we can’t spell
Pathophobia — Xenophobia
We know em So Well
Hydrophobia — Zoo-o-Phobia
What’s Your Favourite? — Do Tell
Every Day is Crazy
And Life’s a Living Hell
Are We Crazy? — Well Maybe Yes
You Decide — It’s anyone’s Guess
Are We Crazy? — Well Maybe Not
Isn’t it Something Everyone’s Got?
Fear of Cats — Afraid of Snakes
Fear of Laughter — For Goodness Sakes
Fear of Getting Old
Or Getting Too Tall
Fear of Waking — or Sleeping In
Fear of Pleasure — Afraid of Sin
Fear of Being Seen
In Your Own Skin
We’re Not Crazy — We’re Not Crazy
We’re Happy to Tell All Our Friends
We’re Not Crazy — We’re Not Crazy . . . exit stage left!
My prayer for you: May you be perfect poetry in motion and co-create a magnificent, safe, loving, peaceful beautiful life of Joy, Peace, Grace, and Harmony!
All blessings, Junie
Writing Prompt: Your Turn
Is there a story in your life that you could transform? Can you re-write it so that you can benefit from its lessons and feel free to move on? Try your hand at transforming grief to joy, scarcity to abundance, or fear to love. Write your story!
If you like, share your writing in Junie’s Writing Sanctuary (if you’re not a member yet, just ask to join and I’ll get you in as soon as I can).
The Creation, Comfort and Healing Induced from Journalling
When I was thirteen years old, I was given a diary for my birthday. I treasured that little red book with its tiny lock and key. It brought me into a private world that no one else was allowed to enter.
Journalling set me on a path of writing and healing that I would never have known about back then. That writing became my panacea—the healing tool that I would use throughout my life that also become the bedrock of my career.
I learned at a young age how important our stories and journalling are, as they not only reflect the life journey we are on, but also the events and circumstances that have shaped us and the decisions we’ve made from the myriad choices available.
Why did we choose this path over that one? And what inspires us to move in the directions we do? It’s complex, and there are so many reasons.
It was my natural curiosity and ability to see and hear what isn’t always obvious to others that brought me to the work I do as both a psychotherapist and writing coach. My greatest joy is to inspire others to live the lives of their dreams.
When you’re afraid and living with anxiety or depression, just walking out the door can be a huge triumph. In my counselling practice, I teach practical tools that foster hope and confidence. As my clients transform the pain of their past, many wish to write about their success.
As a writing mentor, I guide people to find their voice on the page, which eventually becomes their voice in the world—both in their communication with others and through books they write and often publish.
It would be my honour to guide you into having the same kind of confidence while writing your life stories—to find the voice that may have been stolen from you since childhood. To not let nasty voices in your head stop you ever again from following your heart and living your dreams.
I love my work because I get to hear the enthusiasm and joy that comes from people who have worked with me:
“I can do this.”
“I AM a writer.”
“I love what I have written.”
“I can’t believe that just came out of my pen.”
“I feel so much better.”
“I have so much more clarity.”
“I have a direction.”
“My life does matter.”
“I’ve written my story. Yippee!”
Mostly I hear, “Thank you.”
You never know who is going to read your writing and say, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” Your voice is just waiting to move from the page to the world, where the Universe takes care of the rest. Your job is to simply write. Mine is to guide you.
I’ll soon be launching Your Life Matters, my new Author Mentorship Program for people who have worked with me in the past. Please let me know if you’re interested at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven’t written with me yet, there’s no need to feel left out! Come to Sunday Sacred Writing Circle. It counts! And it’s amazing.
This week I’m sharing something very personal, a letter that really touched me.
We don’t always know who we will touch when we simply show up with our hearts.
The other day I received an email from one of my very first therapy clients ever – 30 years ago!
Without my knowing it, she found me, subscribed to my newsletter, and wrote me the letter below. I had tears streaming down my face as I read it.
The reason I am sharing it is two-fold (probably more but I’ll keep it to two). ????
One: Because during the Covid period, my moods have been fluctuating all over the map. I’ve been here, there, and everywhere. Gratefully, mostly grounded and happy! Still, I want to be transparent and tell you that it’s not 24/7. Even though I am very capable of showing up for others, and do my work successfully, I have had some serious knee-jerk reactions to triggers that have brought up things from my past.
People in my present-day reality have said and done things that unconsciously reminded me of someone in the past — but they are NOT that person. This has brought up things for me to heal. Oh boy! Luckily, I have the tools. If only I had used those tools as trigger action plans before the event, though, I could have prevented the pain I caused.
Still, it’s how we all learn, grow, transform, and ascend the rungs of that spiritual spiral ladder we are on. We can only grow when we become conscious of our pitfalls and take action steps to correct them. One step at a time. Fall. Get up. Forgive ourselves, others . . . whatever it is. We know the drill.
If you see yourself in what I have described, take out your journal and write. Write into the truth of whatever has come up for you because it will free you! Punctuate it with a forgiveness letter to yourself and/or the ‘other,’ and a loving letter from The Universe to You, reminding you that you are perfect and whole, just the way you are!
Two: I’m sharing this because I would like you to think of someone you can write to this week who has changed your life for the better. Tell them. Please let them know. It will make their day, perhaps their life!
I was carrying so much shame for my recent explosion, that it was very hard to find the goodness in myself. When this email from my past client came in, it reminded me that I am so much more than my judgments of myself. We ALL do this to ourselves and it is not necessary!
I have since written back to my former client Diana and thanked her with all my heart for reaching out to me.
With Diana’s permission, here’s the email she sent to me after she watched the interview I shared in last week’s newsletter. If you haven’t watched the interview yet, it’s not too late! You can view it on YouTube here.
Letter from my client from about 30 years ago (circa 1990):
“Loved the interview Junie. (Junie still sounds strange to me as I have thought about you for years as June!) It was superb. There was no place to comment or I would have done.
I think you were new to the business when I saw you. And I was new to psychotherapy. Your apartment was so welcoming, cats and all, and so were you. Of course.
You got out your application form and I sat across from you and at about the third question I broke down. You then abandoned the form and encompassed me. I sat by you and sobbed out my story about my addicted son, a heroin addict, and you heard me out.
My sessions with you saved my life at that awful time. I had not shared my grief with anyone close to me. Always trying to be the go-to person to everyone else. I hardly shared with my husband the horrors of the day when he came back from the office.
You taught me that I needed to share with him as I needed his help. You taught me a lot as probably one of your first clients. And you had me write a diary or journal. So the seeds of your future were always there.
Writing. Enhanced by your work as a psychotherapist. Bravo, Junie. You came across in that interview as a totally amazing person, an angel in fact, a person anyone in distress would want on their side, in their corner.
I am stunned by the number of different jobs you have done all the while fighting your own battle with bi-polar disorder and abuse as a child. I remember you sharing that with me, too, about your being locked up in a psychiatric hospital. That sharing is so helpful, in fact it is beyond words is what it is.
Please use this letter in any way you need in order to further your work.
Your hair was blonde and you wore a motorcycle jacket when I knew you.
I prefer your silvery curly hair now. It suits you to the ground.
I became a writer, a writing instructor for the Toronto Board, a social service worker — but that got cut short when anything I wrote became published. I did every kind of writing imaginable.
In 2003 I wrote a book of short stories for teenagers which were well reviewed and placed in the top ten teenage novels of that year by the Canadian Library Association. Despite this it died on the shelf!
But I had an email from a high school teacher a few years ago and she said two of her students had been able to come out because she used a coming out story in the book in her grade 12 class. Would you like a copy? I have a lot!! And if so please send me your address.
I hope you live forever and continue to help those in need. You are in fact an angel. And still stunningly beautiful, June.
Want to find out what writing from the heart can do for you? Join us on Sunday mornings for Sacred Writing Circle. Here’s the link to register.
You’ll find a lot of friendly writers in Junie’s Writing Sanctuary on Facebook as well, where you can continue the conversation.
Like most of us with heart, (and I believe that is the large majority of us on Planet Earth), I have been truly affected over the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man on the streets of Minneapolis on May 25th. Enough is enough! My emotions have run the gambit from rage to heartbreak, and this post is about feeling what we feel and having space to acknowledge it out loud in whatever ways we can.
If you have ever had, or still have, places within you where you do not speak up when your heart feels called to, then this is an opportunity to read the following and ask yourself some of the questions I pose here. Keeping things bottled within us causes everything from rashes to cancer, aggression to depression.
Let me ask you if you still carry feelings deep within you about people places or situations that are important to you — circumstances that align with your heart and truth but are afraid to say them out loud.
Or maybe you are someone who does share what’s going on for you with the people who matter most in your life, and if so, that’s beautiful because it’s one of the most empowering things any of us can do. This is especially true when most of us have had our voices stolen in childhood. Enough is enough, telling our parents or authority figures how we felt about things wasn’t usually acceptable. “Children should be seen and not heard” was part of the popular vernacular that most parents went by because it was exactly what had been passed down to them.
It’s a big deal to tell the truth out loud. Risky business. What if people don’t want to hear? What if you’re rejected, ridiculed, shunned, laughed at or bullied? Enough is enough.
At what point do we say enough is enough and speak up in spite of our fear? When we hear or watch others lashing out against someone, what is our typical response?
There is no right or wrong answer. It’s just putting up a mirror for each of us to look at ourselves, which isn’t always comfortable.
The first time that I spoke out publicly “in spite of myself” I was 50 years old and it was against mental illness — all the names I had been called in my younger years — stupid, crazy, idiot, weirdo, mental, coo coo, nuts. I co-wrote a play with Victoria Maxwell to dispel myths and stigmas about mental illness because we are more than our doctor’s pathology report and the labels put upon us. Thank goodness, in spite of my terror that it would end my career as a psychotherapist and workshop facilitator, it actually advanced it — because people found a safe place to express their own truth. Not easy but necessary.
Last year, I made a business investment with a company called The Author Incubator. One the reasons I did so was because Dr. Angela Lauria, CEO of that company, said that she only works with people with “a servant’s heart.” I felt I knew what she meant — that it was someone who likes or even lives to serve others in the best ways they can. That one tenet alone is was what stood at the top of the others for me. I wanted to be associated with a company ,that at its heart, was about integrity and heart. Once I became involved with them, I learned the larger meaning of what having a servant’s heart meant. It’s about standing up for justice and equality no matter where, when and with whom. I found my tribe!
As a baby boomer, I was part of the hippy generation that espoused love, peace, and brotherhood. I sang out my sentiments with the best of the folk singers of the time and marched for peace and demonstrated in sit-ins to uphold justice.
On Wednesday this week, I went on Facebook Live, in spite of the fact that I’ve been afraid to do that for more that a month with respect to talking about my upcoming workshops . . . shy, I guess, when it comes to marketing in that fashion. It’s very direct and I felt too exposed.
This time, when it was for a greater cause, I couldn’t have stopped myself if I wanted to. I was compelled to speak out at the horrific actions that were caught on camera for the world to see that have sparked demonstrations across the United States and across the planet where people are standing up in solidarity.
We can’t all be on the front lines. But we can all tap into our own divine inner guidance that tells us to write to our member of parliament, or protect our children, or join in a peaceful march, or just talk from our most authentic outraged and broken hearts.
A few nights ago, my fiancé David and I drew and painted hearts and put them up on our windows and the front door of the house. It makes me happy to know that when people walk by they will have a moment of knowing that our hearts are somehow connected with their own and they can smile and take a deep breath.
The days of the lone wolf are over. We are One Human Family that must have a servant’s heart — and be prepared to speak our truth. Sometimes that’s just even your truth to yourself in your journal. That’s where it ALL started for me.
Writing Prompt: Your Turn
Take one of the questions above, sit down with your journal, set a timer for 20 minutes, and write from the heart. If you’d like to share your writing with others, join Junie’s Writing Sanctuary on Facebook and post it there. We will welcome you!
All blessings, Junie
Interview with Michael Beckwith and Lewis Howes
Watch this inspiring interview with Michael Beckwith, a beautiful spiritual leader of Agape Church in California.
Michael talks about growing up with racial violence and offers solutions on how we might get involved if we are wondering what we can do in ways that can truly make a difference:
It gives me tremendous joy to introduce you to Carlie Kilduff. Some of us have the privilege of meeting someone and immediately knowing that we’ve met a friend for life. That’s how it was for Carlie and me. Carlie is a spoken word artist, and my friends thought she would be a perfect fit for my fundraising event, Eyes On Talent. They couldn’t have been more spot on!
Carlie not only agreed to perform spoken word, but as an event organizer, she offered to help me bring the details of the evening together. It would take me too long to describe the heart and soul of this woman and her brilliance as an organizer (and former high school teacher). I simply know is how blessed I am to have met her and call her my friend. Here now is her story:
I had no idea what was in store when I first met them. They were a group of rowdy, unruly grade nine students with a reputation for sending teachers on stress leave. Some of their teachers were referring to them as “The Sweat Hounds” but I call them “The Class”.
I was not supposed to join the roster of teachers assigned to them in September 2011, but with a sudden change of fate I found myself welcoming them into my classroom a few days into the new school year. I was supposed to teach Social Studies, but since I had never taught this subject before, I begged to have it changed. I did not want to add the stress of a new subject to an extremely challenging class. I was granted the opportunity to teach English. I had never taught English either, but since I loved to read and write, I was much more keen to accept this mission.
It could not have come at a worse time in my life. Hard stories from some of my family members were spiralling out of control, I had just landed back to work after two years of leave from the birth of my first son, and I was trying to conceive my second child with some difficulty (no wonder why!). The way that I had always prided myself on perfectly planning and staying on top of every little detail was being chipped away day by day. Looking back, it was my “perfect storm” and many great and amazing things have followed.
The bell rang that morning and I braced myself as the class came bursting through my door. There was an energy about them, alerting me that I’d better pay attention. In my years of teaching, I had worked with some very tricky students and classes, but this was a whole new level. They trickled in, a slow parade of teenage hormones and the smell of Axe cologne.
One girl in particular seemed to be in charge so I watched her intently. She pulled a desk out of the lines that I had arranged and placed it beside her friend’s desk, right at the back corner, and threw her legs up on top of the desks with purpose, placing her head down in her arms with a look that said: “Go ahead and try me.” I was familiar with students trying to make hard-core first impressions before but every one of them had previously taken a step back when I approached them with kind firmness and gave them a cue of my expectations. Not this girl.
When I asked her to separate the desks and sit up properly, with full respect and gentle guidance, she said: “No!” The show was on and a few eyes and ears perked up as I had to quickly adjust my strategy, trying to offer her a doorway out of our confrontation, by suggesting that perhaps she was not understanding that I was serious and would have to send her to the office if she did not cooperate with me, making for an unnecessary first experience together. She very slowly and reluctantly did as I had asked, with every ounce of resistance and attitude she could possibly muster while still towing the line. I knew at once that this was going to be a gruelling hour.
It was a few weeks before I was able to teach a full lesson with the class. Managing their behaviour was a massive job, and keeping them emotionally and physically safe was a priority beyond curriculum. This also fell in the midst of terrible conditions due to teacher job action. Teachers and administrators were not communicating functionally, making everything much more difficult.
This was a class full of high needs. On paper there were far too many with various learning and behaviour challenges, but in reality, there were only three or four out of thirty who would be classified as “typical” and who seemed keen and ready to learn. Poor kids. All of them.
No matter where they sat, it was always at risk of fights breaking out and I would have line-ups of students saying that they must be moved because they could not sit near so-and-so or so-and-so. There was not enough space to hide the dysfunction and damage. When I dug into their family stories I was horrified to learn what had shaped them. Collectively, as a class being together for many years in the school, they had encouraged several teachers to leave them due to stress. Individually, they were a motley crew of horrendous pain stories.
It all made sense even if it was overwhelming. Since my life was a series of pieces falling apart at this time already, I was finding my own health and well-being to be on a slippery downhill slope. I had been diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder in my early twenties. I had been on medications for many years, weaned off, was back on, and was off again when working with the class. Since I was trying to conceive a baby, I did not want to get back on medications or I would have to postpone the conception, seeing as it would be developmentally damaging for a fetus.
I was riding a tight line. I was keeping careful watch on my own health and professionalism. The stress was beyond anything I had ever experienced. I had always kept up with a busy lifestyle very well, being highly organized and hardworking, but the seams were falling apart and there was nothing I could do about it.
As this was happening, a small voice seemed to assure me that it was alright. I found a calm place in the storm and began to hang out there. It wanted to tell me some very important things. Letting the outside loosen, I was able to dive into this new space and it was here that I began to investigate what these students needed from me and how I could possibly give it to them.
It was a call for self-love, for compassion and nurturing in ways I had never known in my own life. This was the missing piece. There was a form of love that they needed, and school had been far too busy and preoccupied to offer it to them. Life in general does not teach us about this kind of love. Excited to have put my finger on it, I found myself at a loss for how to bring them this love, since I was also without it.
My mission from that point became one of learning how to love myself in this way so that I could love them and teach them to love themselves.
Things in the classroom radically changed and we made some serious transformations. It was surreal in many ways. Young lives were deeply touched but none more than mine. This was the defining moment of my life.
After some forward movement with the class, I had calmed down enough to conceive my second son, and with a tiny growing life in my womb, I was aware that my health was still at risk, so I had to make a tough decision to reduce my teaching load before taking maternity leave. Sadly, I had to say good-bye to the class. I had avoided it as long as I could because I did not want them to think that they had scared me away, I wanted them to know that everything we had been through together was real and true, and most of all, I loved them.
There were many tears as I wrapped up with the class. I continued teaching part-time until taking my leave to prepare for the birth of my son. My pregnancy had been hard and I needed some rest and self-care.
My beautiful son was born on June 20, 2012, making me a momma for the second time. Rather than experiencing post-partum depression like I did after my first birth, I hit the ground running. Something had touched me to the core. I was a new creation, and I had work to do.
Many amazing stories have come from and through the class. It has been a mixed bag of emotions and stories. Since working with and learning to love them and myself, I have embarked on a journey of self-discovery and self-healing. I have transformed from the inside out. This is a process still underway . . . it never ends!
I have resigned from teaching and am now offering spoken word poetry shows at local coffee shops in Victoria. I share powerful and passionate messages of love, joy, peace, healing, shifting world, and self-value. My work is deep, moving, and electric. Many people have connected with it and lives are being changed.
I encourage you to find my videos on YouTube (go to YouTube and type in my name). Please take the time to watch. If you like what you see, will you please help me spread them far and wide through your social media networks and word of mouth? This is not a business, but rather it is a ministry of the heart. I am a truth seeker and speaker. Our world is starving for truth but many are reluctant, and so I need all the help I can get in connecting these messages, delivered so beautifully through my spoken word poems, with those who need to hear them. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Carlie to Come
I have sensed a change of direction, or a deepening of mission for a long time. My show series has come to an end for the summer. I plan to do some busking downtown for fun and when September rolls around, I will begin anew. I am not sure exactly what is to come, but I can feel it creating within me. I will continue to share my spoken word poetry, but I see myself doing more speaking and advocating. I will be calling myself a Spiritual Health Educator and Advocate. I feel called to take on some very gritty topics like “The Voice of Depression and Suicide”, “Reconciliation with Religion”, and “This Game’s Not Fun” (about bullying).
We are always becoming. We are grown from the moments that we experience. I am forever grateful for the class and all that has come from them and the messy lessons they have taught me. Now, everybody who is touched by my work has been blessed by the class!
Be sure to watch Carlie’s Spoken Word Performance, Beauty Redefined:
I met Pam Sylvan approximately two years ago. She had just recently arrived in Victoria and happened to walk into a Sunday morning service where I was the speaker. Afterward she told me how much she appreciated my talk and asked me if I would like to write an article for her new online magazine, Downtown and Around.
That article soon became two, then three, then four, and finally a “Dear Junie” column.
What impressed me was how savvy Pam was. Having JUST stepped into this city, knowing no-one, she was taking Victoria by storm! She was quickly learning who’s who in a host of industries from art and music to the best restaurants to eat, the most popular events taking place and putting them in a magazine she was creating as she went. Pretty impressive for being the new kid on the block. Chutzpah or mojo? Pam is all about mojo and is the self-proclaimed Mojo Maker, teaching others how to get their own mojo working!
Pam Sylvan is someone who is the epitome of what the Re-Write Your Life series is all about. She’s a woman who had a very rocky start to life. She underwent some harrowing experiences and she was living her life according to what she learned from them. It was when she almost lost her life and doctors were scurrying around to save it, that she made a conscious choice to turn things around and made her life about learning how to do that. Now she does what she knows how to do best—help turn life around for others who don’t have the know how, confidence, or courage to know where to begin.
Here’s Pamela in her own words:
Today, I’m known as the Mojo Maker. It’s my way of signalling to the world that I’ve taken on the task to help those who are ready to spiral their inherent power and use that defined energy to tell their stories. As well I offer them the necessary tools that will attract people to their businesses and messages and to build the courage necessary to be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise. Basically, I’m a publicist that knows how to move a person past their blind spots, turn them on to their uniqueness, and point them to where their audience awaits.
I wasn’t always this person. Actually I started out as the most afraid and self-limiting person you would ever care to meet. The belief that drove me went something like this, ‘ . . . everyone else is better and more deserving than I am’. That simple sentence shaped my life experience.
Where did I get that belief, you may wonder? I come from an upbringing of fear and violence. Needless to say, I prepared each day to meet the noise that arose from my parents’ battles. That noise created a belief that life was unhappy and unsafe which fostered an unhealthy dose of shame since I appeared to be the only one among my friends living in such a bubble.
This was the first half of my life. Survival, shame, oppression, and self loathing. Quite the load for one so young, but not uncommon from what I later learned. As I grew into adulthood, those early messages came right along with me. Because there was no counselling opportunity for me to appropriately deal with the interjects of my early training, life was hard and happiness very fleeting.
The majority of my major life decisions were tainted with the belief that I was unredeemable and because these choices were made in my unaware state, they greatly and negatively affected the quality of my life going forward.
Despite all of this, I count myself as one of the lucky ones.
My mother is one of my greatest fans
. . . Not because it’s her duty as my mother, but from her witnessing me fall down time and time again, refusing to be beat and to somehow keep going. She remains a close ally even though at one point during my teenage years, I gave her an ultimatum to leave my father or I would disappear never to be seen again. At that point I had had enough of the violence and even though young, I summoned up the courage to take a stand. Of course this courage unknowingly was beyond my awareness, and I continued to see myself as powerless and unredeemable.
One of my major unconscious choices was my choice of spouse. We did not suit as a couple. Our temperaments differed greatly and my unhappy state continued. My one joy was the creation of my daughter.
At this point in my journey I was still unaware that I was attracting my life experiences based on my beliefs, expectations, and attitudes.
Again, I had to summon up courage to change course in life. I began to dive deeper into meditation and reading. That’s when I found direction that came from within. There was no need for opinions from those outside myself; I had the answers I needed. I listened and made the necessary moves. But first, I was laid on my behind in order to hear the wisdom coming from within.
A Wake-up Call
It seems dreamlike as I share this now. It took a bout of extreme illness for me to listen to my inner voice. Basically I was laid out so I could hear myself. I landed in the hospital nearing a stroke. As the attending medical staff rushed around me, I quieted down internally and had a conversation with myself. I realized that the reason for my illness was my inability to take the necessary actions to change my life. In that moment I made a promise to life and to myself that I would do whatever I had to do to ensure I lived and lived fully.
Today, after leaving my hometown, home, family and friends, I have restarted my life setting a new course with the decision to do so coming from a place of power instead of guilt, shame, and hopelessness.
It hasn’t been easy. At the age of 50, starting over is a bit tricky. Coming to a new town with only two suitcases, no friends, connections, or prospects was daunting, and I am still working out the finer points of new beginnings. Most of all I’m learning about myself and the inherent power I call ‘Mojo’. It’s all about knowing one’s strong sense of self to meet all challenges that show up.
We all have this ability, the difference being whether we are aware of it or not. When we wake up to ourselves there is newness to life and what seemed difficult and stressful is not there anymore. Life is not challenge free, only the knowledge that whatever shows up will be handled in divine timing.
I now lead a growing company that includes a magazine, a radio show, a boutique PR agency, and mentoring practice, all designed to help others find their own sense of power and success in what they do.
My journey has taught me a few things: it takes courage to be happy; happiness is found in the ‘now’ moment; we all have the necessary power to live the life of our dreams, and practicing extreme self love regardless of the thoughts of others is the most important thing an individual can do for themselves.
All of us are called to wake up from sleep, from living a life where the same old things keep happening. The players may change, but the events, well, they just keep on miserably repeating themselves. Sometimes we become aware through a gentle epiphany, such as in a meditation when we are still enough to hear our inner guidance. Other times the dramas are a lot louder than our heartbeat, so Life offers us a wake-up call in the form of a two-by-four.
Can you think of a time when you were either gently awakened from inner guidance that whispered, “take this road instead of that one” and you listened and found yourself moving with the tides? Or can you recall a time when you woke up from a bad dream only to realize you weren’t dreaming? You, in fact, were hit by a two-by-four and had no choice but to change your thinking and your ways. Which one of those two scenarios speaks to you at this moment? Pick up your pen and write about it, and then consider what you learned from that experience. Reflection is good (and even necessary) for the soul.
In today’s Re-Write Your Life installment, I have the privilege of featuring Tom Evans.
I met Tom via Skype approximately three years ago. I had just returned home refreshed after a wonderful carefree vacation spent with family and friends in Toronto.
Now back in Victoria, I was falling victim to my never-ending to-do list. Grace and serendipity led me to Tom’s online program, “Living Timefully”, and it couldn’t have better timing or better medicine. It wasn’t about traditional time management. I was actually learning how to bend time using mindfulness meditation techniques and slowing down the speed and nature of my thoughts. Not only was I getting more done in less time, I reframed my “to-do list” to a “to-love list” and I was no longer pushing to get things done. I was moving through my day with ease and not falling into bed exhausted every night.
Tom moved from being an engineer to being a modern day mystic and healer. You can read in Tom’s own words below how that happened.
Over time we have become friends and I have admired him for his ingenuity and his selfless contribution to humanity . . . and budgie birds. If I had been at all skeptical about long distance healing, I would have put that to rest immediately when he healed my budgie Joey via Skype, all the way from his house in England to mine in Canada.
My sweet bird had lost most of his feathers, was hardly eating anymore, and he sat motionless on his perch. It was getting worse and worse. A bird expert told me to add Omega 3 to his water. My veterinarian, after many examinations and procedures, told me there was nothing else she could do and said it was time to consider euthanasia.
That’s when I approached Tom and asked him if he could heal budgies. “I don’t know, but I’m willing to try, he said confidently.” I asked Joey what he thought of the idea. He said OK but didn’t exactly pose or dress up for the occasion. He was as listless as ever as Tom was offering his love transmissions over Skype.
But within one month, Joey had gained weight, grown back all his feathers, and started singing up a storm. More than that—he was flying again!
Although I want to attribute the entire miracle to Tom, I have to give credit where credit is due. It’s that “birds of a feather” equation factor. His girlfriend Madeleine never left his side. She comforted him day and night.
Before long, the two budgies were racing to see who could fly faster from the cage to the curtain rod. Madeleine didn’t stand a chance. Joey forgot he was a budgie. He thought he was an eagle! Thank you and God bless you, Tom Evans!
You can listen to Joey and Madeleine share their personal experience in a future talk on Tom’s podcast, The Zone Show. Tom is currently learning to translate Budgie to English. I haven’t mentioned that to him just yet but I wouldn’t put it past his capabilities. In the meantime, you can click on the links below to listen to some enlightened conversations with enlightened thinkers on The Zone Show. So, here in his very own words, is Tom Evans!
From Bored to Awakened:
The (re-) birth of a modern day wizard
Before I awakened in my mid 40s, I was a pretty happy and successful guy. I was talented in what I did, as an engineer and consultant, in the broadcasting industry. I was feted and in demand but essentially bored and a bit frazzled. Fortunately, I didn’t have to go to edge and come back from the brink as a part of my mid-life crisis. It was more of a mid-life hiccup in my case.
Someone told me I looked stressed and that I should learn to meditate. At first I resisted and said I didn’t have time and couldn’t make my overactive mind go quiet. I persisted though and as a result then all kinds of weird things started happening to me. I started to channel and discovered I could heal. I learned I could ‘see’ through time and see past and future lives in peoples’ auras. I partially levitated once and fully levitated another time. Since then I’ve spoken to several people on my podcast who have done these things too so I suspect, and hope, I did not go mad.
My first instance of channelling occurred on a 747 somewhere over the mid-Atlantic. The whole of what became my first published book, 100 Years of Ermintrude, came in from nowhere. I was in floods of tears and discovered later this is what happens when we get touched by the angels.
Healing-wise, I discovered that I could ‘see’ a body part back in time when it wasn’t afflicted and get it to replace the affected part of the body. I also found that some ailments, like rashes and allergies, were more like entity attachments that could be persuaded, with love and kindness, to ‘move on’.
As an engineer, I became intrigued about what was going on and set out on a mission to research what was happening to me. Initially, this research was a personal exploration. I had no idea that it would lead me to a new career and down an entirely new path.
So I went on some courses to learn about hypnotherapy, past life regression and channelling and signed up with two esoteric schools to widen my horizons. I still study with them today.
As part of this journey, I became an author’s mentor and writer’s unblocker. I found that all cases of writer’s block were actually life blocks. The writing had just brought them to the surface. I discovered how to clear any blockage and to tune people into their Muse so they too became a channel.
Typically, someone might have got a bad mark for an essay and as a result, later in life, would ‘fear’ publishing their work in case it got a bad review. Personally, I got demoted from playing Joseph in the Nativity Play when I was seven and took a fear of public speaking into my mid-40s. I discovered four types of fear were in operation—the fear of ridicule; the fear of the unknown; the fear of failure, or the fear of success. Once a writer understood the underlying source of their procrastination, and embraced it as a protector, they could move on.
Sometimes the writing itself was cathartic and I would encourage writers to switch from first person to second or third person, so they could use the memory but not get sucked down by it. Other times, we translated the action to a family of animals and used them as metaphor.
At some time, whilst busying myself in what I thought was my new calling as an author’s mentor, I was gifted four DVDs of esoteric information from someone who I can only describe as an Earth Angel. They told me I would know what to do with this information. This set me down a new path. The result was two books that deconstructed the Major and Minor Arcana of the Tarot and explain them in a contemporary framework—Flavours of Thought and Planes of Being. This led to more and more books on philosophy, mindfulness and the nature of time.
Becoming a ‘spiritual engineer’
I became a ‘spiritual engineer’; I started to create courses on how to channel, how to bend and stretch time, how to heal, how to move to heart-based consciousness and how to have ideas ‘off the top of your head’. I also moved to a new place where I had never earned less money but never been happier. Money worries disappeared; I was giving most of my stuff away free or very inexpensively. Yet, if I needed any actual cash, some would pop along, just in time. At first this way of living was scary but, with some trust, I got used to it.
At the same time that this new modus operandi kicked in, I was given access to more esoteric tools and ‘told’ how to decode them for a modern day audience. As a result, I channelled in a method of what can only be described as ‘death-less’ reincarnation that allows someone to evolve to a higher state of being and awareness, without the inconvenience of death and rebirth. This involves energizing and unifying the chakras such that higher chakras open.
As an author’s mentor, I became known as TheBookWright and that’s my main moniker online. For a while I ‘hid’ behind this persona while the real ‘Tom Evans’ lurked in the shadows. I’ve finally come out now as a wizard, mystic, healer, temporal alchemist and a generally good bloke to have a beer with. TheBookWright moniker persists historically though but these days I primarily work on the ‘book of a persons’ life’ by helping them remember why they came and assisting them to fulfill their life’s purpose.
What goes around comes around. So, by way of thanks and recognition for what started this all off in me, I have made many of my own meditations available free of charge on an app called Insight Timer. My mission these days is to help the planet awaken to a new level of consciousness by getting everyone meditating, one person at a time.
Tom first interviewed me on The Zone Show two years ago. Here I share some of my story and at the end, prompted by a certain question, I talk about my dream-vision, which still rests in the heart of me today. I just need a team to build it! Let me know if you are interested. It is for a centre called ACHA. That stands for The Academy for Creative and Healing Arts for people with mental health challenges.
In the video below, Tom and I discuss Re-Writing Your Life in Retirement. We refer to Retire, Re-Wire and Re-fire. I first heard the words “Don’t Retire, Re-Wire” from my friend Dr. Melba Burns, who is writing a book on that subject.
Tom Evans added Re-Wire because in fact, we do need to re-wire our brains from thinking that retiring is the end of life as it often was in our parents’ generation. Now that we are living so much longer, staying healthier and alive so much longer, re-firing our mindset is a fabulous choice to make. That’s what I’m doing and my life has become more exciting than ever!
Is there someone who has come into your life who has changed your perception of things, like teaching you to ‘bend time’, or heal your pet from across the ocean, or anything at all? Were you convinced that the world was flat and the atlases were all wrong? You know, something along those lines. You can be as silly as you like while writing it as I am being now. Or serious . . . or anything in between. You know the drill, just write. And if you aren’t sure how, make sure you attend our event at 7 pm on June 14th for tons of tips: Everything You Want to Know About Book Publishing.
On Wednesday, I put out a Facebook post asking for unconditional love because it was the first day in as long as I could remember where I didn’t want to get out of bed and face the day.
The outpouring of love and kindness I received was beyond what I could have ever imagined. I learned again that the energy of love, prayer, and kindness travels unseen from the hearts of those who send it directly into the hearts of those who are ready to receive these blessings.
My heart was fully open and receptive and I am blessed beyond measure. My well of gratitude knows no bounds. Here are some of the things I was reminded of and I hope they will, in turn, serve you.
First, it was essential to take the day off for my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
Mental — I gave my mind a mental break by choosing not to engage in the dozens of projects I have on the go. When thoughts of ‘must do’ came up, I consciously replaced them with ‘not now. I will come back, I promise.’ Acknowledging that I will return to those tasks allowed my critical mind to feel reassured and to soften. I gave that part of me (my ego) an official break as well. It didn’t need to stand on guard endlessly reminding me that this and that are awaiting my attention.
Emotional — My heart was heaving with grief and sorrow. The sudden passing of my dear friend, Joseph Martin, triggered anguish that has been sitting in my cells seemingly forever. I was feeling grief not only about those who have passed, but also about the dangers threatening our world today, from a man like Donald Trump who disrespects everything that upholds truth and justice and equality, to the state of our beloved Mother Earth, the air, waters, the animal kingdom, our plants, our inhumanity towards one another, wars that don’t end. I found myself ruminating on the lyrics to Where Have All the Flowers Gone? My heart felt like it was being split open as I recited the Ho-‘opono’pono prayer, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.
I also let the tears fall freely as different people appeared sporadically throughout the day on the screen of my mind. Some have left the earth plane, some have left because of disputes, family members who I thought would be the closest have been the furthest away, and others have left and never told me why. The last two were the catalyst for my deepest sense of heartbreak, triggering memories of abandonment from my earliest days.
As each memory arose, or even when it was simply a felt sense with no memory attached, I offered up what I, myself, was asking for—unconditional love. I also wrote a letter of apology to someone whose heart I hurt last week through hurried, unconscious behaviour. I asked Joseph’s spirit before I went to sleep the night before to write the letter for me. I know he would have done so with a full and open heart. I listened and the words spilled onto the pages of my journal which I transcribed verbatim into an email which evoked a heart-felt response in return.
My day and night ran the gambit of love and fear. Of aloneness and yearning, intermingled with acceptance, gratitude, and long sought out peace.
Physical — I allowed my body to rest. To meditate. To sleep. To eat comfort food. To listen to soothing music. To walk to the beach in the early evening without my phone. I felt blissfully at peace as I sat upon the rocks allowing the ocean winds and waves to cleanse and heal the melancholy that inhabited my body and mind.
I had an instinct to take my gaze away from the mesmerizing sway of the waves and look up. Directly above me was an eagle swooping unusually close. I felt like he was waiting for me to notice him and when I did, he soared and circled above me for a very long time. I was captivated by this gift, this miracle, this totem of freedom that came into my life at this exact moment. I laughed out loud and gleefully shouted out, ‘Thank You. Thank You! Namaste! Thank You’.
Then, I practically skipped home, stopping only once along the way to buy epsom salts to add to my long, luxurious bath of lavender. I settled for popcorn and a movie instead. Go figure! Then, just before turning out the light, I read another chapter, from Wayne Dyer’s book, I Can See Clearly Now. The book I have been savouring since he died.
Spiritual — Every breath, every thought, word, and action is spiritual, is it not? How can it not be since the omnipotent and omniscient presence of Love is always here? God is present in the pain and the glory. I knew I was being held in the arms a divine presence while I cried out my tears, just as I knew God’s hand was at play when the eagle soared above me, inviting me to hop on his wings of freedom. In fact, a part of me has always known I am never alone and never have been.
A perceived sense of separation is part of human existential yearning to go back to the garden. I have felt since I was a young child that the earth was not my real home. But I also know now what a privilege it is to dance on top of the earth and there’s no place I’d rather be.
In summary, I can say that I am happy I was able to reach out on Facebook and tell my truth. It took a lot of courage, I must say, to have reached out publicly in that way.
I also believe even if I hadn’t reached out, reaching inside, asking God (or whatever name you wish to give that which gave us Life) for guidance, or calling a friend, or reaching for that one book that is a touchstone to our spirit—that can be the salve we need to heal our melancholy.
There so many ways to look after ourselves. And it’s essential that we do. Please see the writing exercise at the bottom of the page and tell us what yours are.
I am reminded that feelings come and go. That nothing stays the same. And that I need not be alarmed when they come up in wells and swells so deep and I wonder, ‘how can this be? Haven’t I dealt with this many times before? ’ And the answer is, ‘Yes, I have’. And this is simply another layer and it doesn’t take days, weeks, or months to process. It moves through so much faster when I just honour what is and let go.
How well did you love, how well did you live, how well did you learn to let go?
I have a tapestry hanging in my hallway. Embroidered upon it are these words, ‘In the end, what matters most is, how well did you love, how well did you live, how well did you learn to let go?’ On Wednesday, I did it all. I just need to remember to repeat it on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and every day, to the best of my ability. One precious day at a time.
Thank you for sharing in my journey. May you have the most awesome day and for all the days and nights that follow, may you be blessed. Love, Junie.
Re-Write Your Life
Most of the time it’s better to let people say things in their own words rather than trying to paraphrase and explain.
Please watch these videos to learn about the profound transformations that completely liberated these people as a result of participating in my Re-Write Your Life signature program.
You will hear Jan Falkowski share his riveting story of how he went from blind rage to being able to fully forgive the man who caused the car accident where his daughter was killed.
Next watch Annie Lavack as she talks about her fears and insecurities of not knowing what she wanted to do in her life. She states that it was the processes that she learned in Re-Write Your Life that enabled her to reclaim her voice. Today she is the Minister of the Centre for Inspired Living in Victoria.
The next video that Shaw TV filmed some years ago will show you what happens in a real group setting.
The program hasn’t changed, nor have the results. What has changed are the people who have made the commitment to go forward with their life in this way.
After watching the videos, take some time, then ask inside whether you too are ready to re-write the painful storms of the past and make peace with them. Every story, no matter how painful, can become the elixir of healing, transformation, and ultimately joy!
Above: Jan Falkowski’s experience with Re-Write Your Life
Above: Annie Lavack’s experience with Re-Write Your Life
Above: Shaw TV’s The Daily visited a Re-Write Your Life class
and interviewed participants
Re-Write Your Life
An 8-Week Workshop That Will Transform
Early Bird Price extended to Monday, May 23rd!
Wednesday evenings 6:15 – 8:45 pm NEW:Beginning June 8th
Early Bird: $345
Write a list, or better still, draw a mind map, about the different ways you do or can take care of yourself when you are feeling sad, lonely, loss, grief, or despair. Then write about a time you did take action using one or more of these tools and what the outcome was. I just wrote about mine. Your turn!
I met Teya in 2005. It was approximately one year after her close to fatal car crash where she’d had to learn to walk all over again, something the doctors weren’t sure she’d be able to do.
What I can tell you for certain about Teya is: don’t ever tell her there is something she can’t do. She’ll say, “Oh yeah, watch me!” And seriously, you should watch her. On a dance floor! It didn’t take long after she started walking again that she was dancing. This woman has an indomitable spirit stemming, no doubt, from her Francophone roots. I’d even go as far as saying she has an obsession to be healthy and happy and her joie de vivre is infectious.
This is what she said about that time.
“Totally committed to regaining full use of my hand and body, I found the creative process of making jewelry to be a very effective tool on my healing journey. My heartfelt desire is to inspire other people to never give up and use their own personal artistic expressions as a medium for their own healing and recovery!”
You can find Teya at Victoria’s Bastion Square Public Market from May to September where she has been a jewelry artisan for the past seven years. Look for the woman with the big infectious smile standing behind her booth called, Dangles—Simply Elegant Jewelry. And tell her Junie sent you!
Here is Teya’s story about how she did whatever it took to walk, be productive, continue being an amazing single mom, and change her career from massage therapist to jewelry maker:
An Almost Fatal Car Crash That Changed My Life Forever
by Teya Danel (excerpted from Junie Swadron’s book, Re-Write Your Life)
I’m floating in space and all of a sudden find myself in a restaurant I worked in. Everything is twilight and surreal. I step into the restaurant and see one of my former coworkers. There is a sudden understanding that I cannot possibly be there physically. I see lots of flashes of bright light and they seem to swirl and twirl around me moving in and out of consciousness. Where am I? What is this place? I drift back into unconsciousness.
My eyes are closed and I start to stir slowly. Again, where am I? Everything is hazy and I can’t move my body. A sudden paralyzing fear hits me: Oh my GOD, I think to myself, where’s Daved? What’s happened to him? Is he alive? My heart is aching and beating hard. I become full of apprehension. I vaguely remember him being with me but cannot place my finger on it.
The realization that something really terrible has happened slowly enters my mind. As I open my eyes the first thing I see is a railing on the side of my bed with a photo of my eight-year-old boy taped onto it. He is sitting in a hospital bed surrounded by my relatives and I see a big smile on his face. Huge relief flows through my body. He’s okay. He made it. I take a deep breath and I start to cry with relief and gratefulness—he’s okay, we’re okay. I’m still here. Where exactly is here? Where am I? I look down my body and I see contraptions on my legs. My whole body feels numb and I recognize that I’m in a hospital and I’m sensing I had a car accident. I wonder how long I’ve been here. I can hardly believe the state I’m in.
It’s August 6, 2004 and I’ trying to make sense of my condition. All I know is that I’m lying in a hospital bed just about broken to pieces and very high on morphine. I’m in very rough shape and my face is all swollen and I look like death warmed over. Thank God for modern technology and pain relieving drugs. I can’t imagine what kind of pain I would be in if I could feel my body.
I learn that I’ve had a very close call and in fact, it is a miracle that I’m still here. I’ve just been through a 14-hour tandem operation with surgeons working on saving both my legs and my left arm. There is so much damage that they can’t deal with it all at once. More surgery is scheduled. I’m in ICU and fade in and out of consciousness. It turns out that there are multiple breakages in both my legs. They went through the floorboards of my car and my right leg is off by 10 degrees. My left elbow has splintered like chicken bones, a number of ribs on my right side have been broken and the right side of my face, which hit the steering wheel, is caved in and black and blue. I’m lucky that I still have my eye.
I find out later that on my way to Nanaimo to pick up my older son, I went through an intersection, up and over an island and straight into a post that scrunched my car on the driver’s side. Much later when I get to see the pictures, I can hardly believe that I’ve come out of there alive. I’ll never really know what happened that afternoon; I have no memory of it whatsoever. In fact all I can remember is leaving the house. The rest is blank.
But there I was sprawled over the steering wheel in deep shock and not even conscious. However, the mothering bond is so incredibly powerful that even in the midst of such incredible trauma, I managed to somehow inform the police that I have a 14-year-old son arriving at the ferry terminal. Don’t ask me how I do that. I ask him a year later about his experience that day and he tells me that when he heard his name on the speaker at the ferry he intuitively knew something was terribly wrong. The policewoman takes him to the hospital in Nanaimo where he sees me and his brother in pretty bad shape. I’m screaming and have not stopped since they pulled me out of the car. I can imagine how horrifying it is for a young 14-year-old to witness his mother and brother in such an unbelievable condition.
He ends up being taken under the wings of a woman who runs a volunteer organization called Victims Services, which I’ve never even heard of. When I hear the story of his journey I say a prayer of thanks to that woman who took my son home with her, gave him a bed that night and money the next morning so he could board the ferry back to his father who is here in Canada to enjoy a holiday on the Sunshine Coast.
Meanwhile, back in the hospital, my sister Mona comes to visit every single day. She takes good care of me. She makes sure I’m comfortable and washes my hair every few days in a special little basin that sits snuggly under my head. Having lived in Vancouver, I still have a good number of friends there and they start to file in and offer support in whatever ways they can. My adopted mom luckily lives only a few blocks from the hospital and she visits me almost daily. Having my friends and family around me offers me much comfort, courage and hope that I’ll make it through all this.
Will I ever lead a normal life again? Will I ever walk? I cannot even bend the middle finger of my left hand and am unable to feed myself easily as my one hand does not reach my face. I was born a left-handed and learned, with my grandmother’s prompting, to write with my right hand in the days when it was not proper to use the left hand. Anyway, I’m grateful for my ambidextrous skills now, because I’m going to need them to feed myself. It’s about the only thing I can do for myself at this time. Being unable to take care of my basic needs is quite humbling, to say the least.
I feel a very strong sense of determination and commitment to do whatever I need to get back my life and heal my body. I believe that I can and I hold on to that thought with all my heart and soul, even though a small part of me has huge doubts given the nature and extent of my injuries. The mere thought of spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair is completely overwhelming. I begin the long journey of rehabilitation and healing and there are no guarantees being offered as to what the outcome will be.
I end up spending a month in Vancouver General, and when I am well enough to make the journey I ask to be transferred back to Victoria where the Royal Jubilee Hospital will be my home for the next two months. The surgeon who is taking over my case, a fine man by the name of Michael O’Neill, informs me upon arrival that I’m a very lucky woman. He says to me “not that long ago, you wouldn’t have made it” and I know in my heart that that is the truth. As I lie in my bed, day in and day out, I am astounded at how strong and grounded I feel. I can barely move and yet I feel totally powerful instead of powerless, which one would kind of expect, given my circumstances. My spirit is strong and my will to live and heal is just as strong. I make peace with my situation, totally surrender to it and accept what is.
Every day I get better and better. Even the pain and the long sleepless nights seem somehow manageable. As I start to get stronger I learn to shuffle my butt slowly as I inch my away across my bed and into my electric wheelchair, which offers much me mobility and a change of scenery.
Every day I am working out in the rehab section of the ward named RP2. I remember being taken into the rehab section one day and with the help of three therapists I was able to grab onto a pole and stand up on my good leg. My right leg was damaged the most and I’ve been told that I cannot put any weight on it for at least three months. So here I am standing on one leg, holding onto the pole and having a realization that there is yet some hope for me to walk. Before too long I graduate to a walker and make great progress, one day at a time. I come to realize how much of my daily life I’d taken for granted and in my present state, I truly begin to appreciate every small thing that I can accomplish on my own. You have no idea how humbling it is to have to have your bum wiped for six weeks—to not even be able to take care of the basics.
I’ve learned that out of so much adversity, so many gifts have come. The biggest one being a deepening of the bond between my sister and I. I learned, big time, not to sweat the small stuff and to be grateful every day for my life and my healing abilities. I know now that I’m going to be okay. I can see that I am an inspiration to many of my friends and acquaintances. They tell me they feel strengthened by my courage. I acknowledge myself for having reclaimed my life and my body.
Now, 3 ½ years later, I’m waiting for my last small surgery, which is an implant in my face and after that, it’s clear sailing. I am astounded by the progress I’ve made and pretty soon you won’t even be able to tell that I had a broken body. I will never look at a disabled person in a wheelchair or scooter ever again in the same way. I’ve been there done that, and my compassion and love for people has taken on a whole new dimension.
I am free and standing tall and so very thankful for who I am. I know in my heart that sharing my experience will help a lot of people. I really believe there are no accidents in life. I was meant to have this experience, to get through it and learn so much from it. It has been a huge gift, the importance of which I am only now able to even fathom. I see life very differently now and have learned to never, ever again take anything in my life for granted. I am excited and await all the new adventures that are coming my way with great anticipation and joy. I have a new appreciation for life and intend on living it to the fullest from now on.
One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.
What does this quote from Helen Keller conjure up in you?