Culture of White

“Culture may even be described simply as that which makes lifeworth living.” T. S. Eliot Notes Towards a Definition of Culture(1948)

Statue in downtown The Pas, MB – The Gateway to The North!

I’ve reflected on the idea of culture many times before and I love immersing  myself completely into new ones on a regular basis, the root of this curiosity stemming from a perceived lack of culture in my own life. What I learned about myself through this was that  I am my own culture. I believe we all are.

The more ways I experience life, the more open minded I become and the more I see that I am not in need of belonging to any one way of being in the world. If anything I am grateful to know the freedom associated with not being attached to one way of life.

That being said I love seeing cultural practices alive and well because there is ALWAYS an element of connection to the earth and the creator which is so primal and calls to the very very animal nature in all of us.  So this is the dichotomy; the love/hate of it all. I see how people fighting for their culture can become angry and resentful, pulling them further from their truth. I see how one culture believing they are “right” has detrimental effects on other human beings.  I see what one needs to give up in order to stay connected to anything pure. And I see that fear lies somewhere beneath the surface of all of this.

Rwandan drummer practicing with traditional dancers at Inema Art Centre, Kigali, Rwanda. The sounds and movements are rooted in the earths pure energy.


Fear of what? Fear of not knowing who we are if we are not our culture? Of feeling a sense of being lost in the world without it to identify with? Feeling like an outsider on the inside when we run into something within a culture that doesn’t seem to fit us?

My 10-days of Yoga retreat group at Yasodhara Ashram, 2010.

Through the practice of Yoga, which in itself is a culture, I came to understand myself as something much greater than any external thing, rule or idea. I practice identifying with my highest Self which is a practice everyday as I am met with my very real human nature which my physical self and my mind provide for me.

If I identify with my Soul, as the term Namaste suggests, then what purpose does Culture serve in forming my identity and is it beneficial to human evolution?

Traditional mukluks made by woman in God’s Lake Narrows and traditional snowshoes make for a fun afternoon in the bush!


As a “white” person living in Central/Northern Canada I am reminded daily that I am not a native to this country in various ways. My heritage is questioned every day at my workplace as I engaged with Native people of this land. In Rwanda it was even more blatantly obvious that I was not of the land by the simple fact that I had white skin and blond hair. And yet in both of these places I felt I belonged somehow and found great connection to the people. Traveling to other countries and immersing myself into cultures helps me see the thread which runs through all of us……….Oneness.

The human spirit knows no barriers.

My ancestors came from Norway, Ireland, Scotland and England as far as I know. I identify mostly with the Norwegian side, I think because of my blond hair and blue eyes…….also the gap in my front teeth which I inherited from my Grandfather who was full blood Norwegian. This is my fathers side of the family.

Me and Gramps out for a winter walk on the farm!


My grandfather married a local girl in Alberta whose parents were from England. My great Grandfather, her father, started the first Newspaper in Vermilion, AB – the Vermilion Standard which still exists today. It wasn’t until I started to write that I realized I had roots in this field and I began to see myself more clearly in terms of my genetic blood line, my human qualities began to take more shape.

One of my first published stories for the Opasquia Times


My mother’s mother was Irish and married a Military Airplane Mechanic whom she met in her 30’s. He was of Scottish decent as far as we know. I never met my grandfather but from what I hear he was a quite and gentle man. My grandmother was not! She was feisty and independent. She loved to dance, cook and gamble! I definitely see myself in her! They didn’t meet and marry until their late 30’s which in that day and age was very late!



All of these people are living in Canada today because someone in their family was brave enough to get on a ship, sail across the ocean with very little and enter into a new land with hopes of a better life, or maybe just for the adventure. They did so with great courage, personal strength and faith – wether they knew it or not these are the qualities they brought over with them began planting some very wild seeds. It is these seeds which laid the foundation for the next generation of adventurers, my parents and now me.

My parents… Awesome are these two!

My parents, two farms kids from rural Alberta got married and moved to Northern Manitoba in their early 20’s. Adventures by nature, they flew the coop and unknowingly created what would become my norm. I was born and raised in Manitoba and consider the North my home. It wasn’t until I left that I realized how much the Native culture I grew up around had influenced who I had become.

It may not be a ship but it gets me across the ocean waters!

So with all of these characteristics, genes and cultural backgrounds how on earth could I identify with any one culture. And with life being so easy these days compared to the harsh reality my ancestors faced to provide me with the only life I know, how is one to find a cure for the inherited fiery adventurer spirit?

Winter Peacock!

Never identifying as one type of person and constantly updating and recreating how I exist in this world. I go against the grain, searching for meaning in all experiences and utilizing the gift of the life I have been given, thanks to my ancestors efforts at a “better life” for themselves. They may not have experienced much of the supposed “good life” that they thought was awaiting them but I benefitted from their goal being realized to a certain point. Is it then my role to continue building on their dream by creating my dreamlife? It’s as if every soul/life is connected and seeks to support the next generation in reaching a “better”  place in which to be human. Evolution of the human spirit one generation at a time.


Village in Rwanda, searching for Nataraja!


Being “white” (as I am referred to in The Pas) or a Muzungu (which I am referred to in Rwanda) I am lumped into a category of people which has become a diluted version of various European cultures which facilitates, if one is to place weight on culture as identity, a great sense of disconnect from me as a human being, the same as everyone else in the world.

The practice of identifying myself as something greater than anything  earthly supports me in this place of lacking a pure cultural identify which once held my life hostage.  I believe as humans evolve and move away from identifying with these ideas there will eventually be more peace in the world. Not that cultures will disappear but the fear around losing them will be replaced by a celebrating heart which seeks to share in our common human experience.

World Dance 4 Humanity,  a group of women dancing in Santa Barbara, CA to support cooperative in Rwanda and making a huge impact on everyone involved. Talk about sharing in human spirit!

Where I once felt lost I now feel at home. My existence on earth is unique in this day and age with the ability to travel to the other side of the world in only a day or two and communicate in different languages with friends around the world on my phone. Instead of holding tight to someone else’s idea of who I am, I now have created my own culture which lives within me. It has flow, movement and is always taking in, shifting and updating along with me. It has become who I am and how I exist in the world, I don’t need to think about it or fight for it as it simply exists.

What worked for me one day may not work the next but I carry the experiences with me in my back pocket for when a time arises where I am called to utilize the skills I acquired and thus more learning takes place as I see how one experience facilitates success in another.

Learning Water Release Therapy* with my Orca brother, Rob Harrington in Santa Barbara, CA – Water is a Culture near and dear to my heart! My lifeguarding and Nursing background were very useful tools for success here.

What began as a barrier is now my key to freedom. The feeling of being lost led me to an awareness of a life long journey full of wonder and curiosity. This is my practice, my art, my Culture of Self.


Hoop Dance Culture rocks my soul! As well as creative expression being captured through the lens of another being. Photo by my dear friend Amy Senecal,






Way of the Atihk (Caribou)

Connected to the rhythm of the earth, roaming the land in search of sustenance, never stopping to get comfortable or stable or stuck, simply listening and following through. Pulled by the Creator to move on, keep doing, in order to live. They do not store fat, no  excess “just in case” – they trust.

As much as I try to live my life in line with the cosmic pull that I feel within, the system of this society itself is strongly set up to create the opposite, in my mind as a way of controlling and limiting conscious evolution and is a result of fear and lack of trust in something greater. As a human, I feel weak and helpless compared to other animals. I don’t come equipped with the survival adaptations they do for life in the wild, yet humans tend to treat them as if they are the lesser being – which I find laughable. We are totally dependant creatures which lead us to create all kinds of gadgets and technology to support our needs. We need them to survive. Without the sacrifice of animal lives we would not have had life and would not know life as it is today. And if and when technology fails us we will once again be called upon to connect to our survival nature.


As I settle with the reality of this and take part in modern days cultural rituals (i.e: me posing with a dead animal) I feel a sense of connection to a very vulnerable part of myself, my human self. I am not or have not conquered anything as the photo would suggest but instead I have survived another day and the relief that comes from obtaining sustenance in a fear based world view is what drives me to sit on top of a dead animal and claim dominance – false dominance because it is actually a balancing act. Ones sacrifice leads to another’s survival and so it continues in various new shapes and forms in todays world.

I have found great freedom in letting go of strong believes about what is good or right. I have gone from one extreme to the next. Hunter to Vegan and anything in between. But the learning for me in all of this is when I am presented with opportunity to look at why I do what I do and decide if it serves me in the present moment or not. Right now reconnecting with my survival skills feels important and it is here for me in every day life, so I take the opportunity every chance I get and this is a gift.

Animals come in packs, flocks, gaggles, and very few survive totally alone, independent from others yet we, humans, attempt to do it alone all the time. Separating ourselves emotionally, mentally and physically from others into our own lives. Like an injured member of a herd, I find myself wanting seclusion so I can heal or allow parts of myself to die, in my case give birth to a new version of myself.

Often people around me jest about a perceived lack of commitment on my part, my transient nature, I feel, because there is a blind fold to what I am really doing in my life. I, similar to the Caribou, am living in line with my instincts and intuition therefor the draw of owning a home, having a husband and children, a career, a pension and everything I need  at my finger tips does not exist the way it once did. I exist this way because I have experienced both sides and know I find great joy in flowing with my Destiny, my Divine Plan. I am 100% committed to this and only this.

There is a myth attached to this kind of lifestyle as well which is just that….a myth, that living life without the responsibilities of society norms is somehow easier and more free, more fun. From my experience, both are equally challenging in their own unique ways. It is a conscious choice to be separate from the norm and that, in many circles, can mean death.

As I dive into what looks like a relatively “normal” lifestyle, at least from the outside, I am anything but playing this game the way I did before. I take comfort in the beautiful space I have created and the financial gains my education/experience has brought me but I am not attached to them. I will let them go once again when I am called to do so, when it is time to go. For now the adventure is to stay, settle within my self and soul and allow all the seeds I have planted to begin to take root.

As much as I find it painful at times to be on this part of the journey somewhat alone, my herd scattered around the globe,  I know it is necessary and I am met with challenges daily.  My energy being asked to focus on areas I don’t want to focus on, things I don’t want to look at and things that seem so all consuming I wonder where I even begin. I know that until I do this work I will not move on, or at least I will not naturally move in flow with what is meant to be which would only make the lessons harder to learn. I do not just jump from one fun experience to the next, I do the work I am called to do and when I feel the pull to move on I take steps to do so.

Caribou leave an area when it no longer sustains them, supports them or gives them what they need. As much as my dreams are bigger than living in a small, remote Northern-ish community with all its beauty and limitations, it is here – and only here, I will develop the skills, strength, support and courage to step into the bigger picture, the one that no one else sees but me. In this I find the limitations are not limitations at all but gateways to unlocking potential. I have given myself a way of focusing of what really needs attention by living in a space free from many other distractions which seek only to pull me off course. I practice surrendering  to my human desires for entertainment, stimulation, excitement and all the luxuries many other places offer because I know that road does not lead me to true happiness and I learn to refine my desires into a balanced view of needs and wants which seek to move me forward.

The Pas is known as the “Passageway to the North” and for me it describes exactly why I am here. I am here for ReBirth and am currently in the labour stage of this process. I’m patient and push only when its appropriate, keep on breathing and trust that this natural and beautiful event will deliver me into a new world view.

I want to go “UP” and I am sitting at the gates right now, arranging my tools, supplies and preparing for the journey ahead. Spiritually I bring with me trust, faith, and a deep sense of knowing. Physically I have financial support and practical tools for meeting my human needs. The tangible results from  seeds planted will facilitate success and survival in the next step. Emotionally I have maturity, balance and awareness. Mentally I have strength, confidence, clarity and peace of mind.

These are the things which brought me here and I did the work to move into the place I am in today, taking every step as seriously as the next. When I arrived just over one year ago I had a duffle bag and a broken suitcase. I entered into the coldest winter in decades with only a few worn out summer clothes available to me. I had no income. I had to open the doors of support and allow the ripple effect which I had created to flow in and help me out.  I had to surrender to my needs and allow myself to receive. I did the work everyday to build on what I had put in motion many years earlier.

Now I have a beautiful home space. I have some nice clothes. I have multiple career paths simultaneously flowing abundance into my life and affording me the financial support I need to move forward as well as nourishing my soul.  I have a business and a car.  I have food on my table and hot, running water  – I am wealthy beyond my basic needs. I am slowly but steadily building a community and am engaging in beautiful traditions of the people in this area.

I am not stuck here. I am not doing anything so I can “get out of here”, instead I am staying where I am, soaking it all up until it sustains me no more. When I consume all that is here for me I  will move into the next place of abundance, eventually – but never stopping, coming to a balanced place of thriving.

*Inspired by my time spent with Mr. Rodney Forbes skinning and packing two Caribou. Thank you Rodney.*IMG_2058



Settling In

I am sitting in the aftermath, not quite sure of what is right or wrong, working very hard on not beating myself up internally as the mirror reveals yet another layer of truth. How in one moment can I feel so certain that what I am doing is exactly what I am meant to do and then turn around and see the many other sides, options and choices I had.

From experience I know that in that moment I was right. I was right in that moment and then that moment passed and the momentum of my choice was set in action. There is really no right way or wrong way, it just all leads me back to an new layer, another opinion and another truth. This cycle feels frustrating at times and days like today when I feel like a fool it takes strength to keep on trusting that I am ok.

I am no different than anyone else. I am a human and sometimes I seek to find myself as “other”. I search for ways to be different and ways to not fit in yet there in no escaping the fact that we are all on the same path just in different vehicles. I used to seek out the “other” in order to feel special or different which I believe came from a lack of self-awareness and a need to feel loved externally. As I watch myself continue to do it, and this time on a much grander scale, I feel the impact of it on my daily life and I want to run and hide from what I have created. I don’t want the attention anymore, I don’t need it. I want to be somewhat anonymous, alone and unseen but I know that is not what I have created and in many ways thats not what I really want either.

The whirlwind has stopped. The magical adventure of life “on the road” has passed and now I am settled into a life that looks very familiar to me which I have resisted very strongly, even though I KNOW it is what I need to do. It is in the doing of this that the deeper layers of truth reveal themselves and then I understand why I was resisting – it hurts.

Its painful to face the repercussions of ones decisions and when that swirly roller coaster of  having to be constantly moving in order to survive finally came to a halt – BAM!! I was taken by surprise, knock the wind out of me.  The consequences need to be faced and I can guarantee myself that I will face them but man there is part of me that puts up  a fight. Part of me is still really scared of myself.

I become very in tune with my emotions, my feelings, my senses and my intuition and that actually makes me feel quite vulnerable depending on where I am . Where I am now I feel very guarded and protective and am beginning to hear it in my voice and see it in my actions. I am not in Rwanda dancing for Joy, I am not in California doing Water Therapy and I am not living in an Ashram studying Yoga. I am in The Pas working in my profession, living in an apartment, paying bills, in the freezing cold and I am here alone. I am am now more aware of how the fear has played out over the last year and its quite staggering to honestly admit to myself.

I see why. I know why. Do I like why – no!! But I will carry on and keep on settling so that scared part of me will feel safe enough to emerge so I can reassure her and calm her down. For now I am using Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix to soothe her but that is running its course all too quickly! My practices of Yoga, dance and light are calling me back, they are my knight in shining armour and they never leave me, it is I who leave them.

I am here to face things that are quite scary to me. All the work of starting a business/non-profit, hosting Thrill The World, and trying survive on a ridiculously low budget has become a thing of the past. I have shed my exterior self and am now free of my amour. I watch as I try to distract myself and avoid what I am feeling but its all there. It keeps me up at night, it sits in my shoulders, neck and jaw and tightens up in my chest. These are the signs that I am processing something that will eventually rear itself and be passed. I take comfort in the passing as I know the drill and I know it is what I want. What I want this time is to not give it all my attention, not let it take my power and render me helpless to its energetic pull.

My truth is I’m freakin out inside with all that is being revealed to me over the last few months and I am just starting to allow myself to really feel it. I feel shame, guilt, embarrassed, judgment and even mortified. I watch as I project and misplace my pain onto others. I watch as I put up walls and put on faces, voices and tones. At times waves of feeling like the worlds worst human being for being on this journey BUT I know that I am a good person, we all are, and I know that I can change the actions that don’t feel good to me in the future (the key here is I can only change my actions, not the actions of others). Some how my past is what helps me see it more clearly and in this space I can forgive myself. The more good I do in the world the more doors open for me to see my dark side more clearly and I can rest my head and heart on the fact that I am creating balance.

“Christmas is a hard time of year”, I’ve heard that a lot about places like rehab centres, areas of poverty and the Ashram would turn into an emotional epicentre during this time as well – so much so that we openly joke about it! Its like everything all comes up to greet you at once, family, friendship, money, food, work, religion, you name it its here at Christmas!  At the same time the bonus lies in the fact that ….Its CHRISTMAS and most people are more friendly, there are more community gatherings, more giving, more light, more more more and its an openly spiritual time of year. Its like a big giant cosmic hug!!

So to end this on a bright note, I can look at my life today and because of where I am, exactly where I am, I can literally see the fruits of my labour surrounding me and I can just sit back and enjoy this part of the process in my swanky new round love seat, chair thingy I have dubbed “the nest” – just one of the many perks to being settled!


Pieces of my Tribe

“I get it,  you’re lonely” he states with confidence behind his gentle knowing voice. Somehow that word just doesn’t fit, its not the right word. So I decide to look it up!

I don’t usually go to books, internet or outside sources to help me pinpoint how I am feeling but I just wanted to know what lonely actually meant so I could see for myself what this interpretation of my request for company was.

Definition of lonely |ˈlōnlē|:
sad because one has no friends or company 
without companions; solitary 
(of a place) unfrequented and remote

Well this did not fit how I feel at all and so I moved on with the search of what was really at the root of this desire to be around people which is a new phase of the journey for me. I have been very much alone, not lonely, for nearly 4 years. Either in process, travelling, engaging in healing activities but always with a strong sense of isolation from those around me.

So I typed  “basic human need for companionship” into the computer to see what kind of info I would get about what feels to me as something lacking in my life at this point. What I got was – Maslows Hierarchy of Needs and this fit me perfectly!

Here’s what I found:

Level 1reduce current physical discomforts first: hunger, thirst, pain, air, temperature, smells, balance,  noise, light, and rest (sleep).

When those are satisfied enough now

Level 2:  We try to fill our need to feel safe enough in the near future. Safety comes from trusting that our level-one needs will be reliably met in the coming hours and days (our safety zone). In our society, that translates into believing that we’ll have a dependable source of money to buy those securities. The safety zone is short for some people, longer for fear-based (wounded) others.

      Maslow suggested that when we feel comfortable and safe enough, we then try to fill…

Level 3: our need for companionship: our primitive need to feel accepted by, and part of, a group of other people. We need to feel we belong to (are accepted by) a family, tribe, group, or clan. The alternative is feeling we’re alone (and unsafe) in the world.
 He proposed that if we fill our level 1, 2, and 3 needs well enough, then we focus on filling…
Level 4: our need to be recognized as special and valuable by our group. We need to be more than just a featureless face in the crowd, we need to be known and appreciated as a unique, respected person. Survivors of low-nurturance childhoods who were shamed too often as young children may search endlessly for the specialness and praise they never got.
Level 5: the need to be self actualized. A key reason people still value Maslow’s ideas is the universal longing to be fully ourselves. That implies we each have unique talents and abilities that we long to develop and use to benefit the world if all our other need-levels are filled well enough, often enough. Then we can become creative, energized, centered, focused, and productive and live on purpose, “at our highest personal potential.”
taken from:
Here how it relates to me:

The most basic level is physical human needs in order to stay alive.

While living at the Ashram this was taken care of for me 3 times a day for 2 years which allowed for freedom to move easily into higher levels of functioning. Since leaving and being on my own with very limited financial means I have been struggling with this one for nearly 2 years which makes functioning at higher levels a challenge, the catch 22 is that because I had 2 years of experience living at these higher levels of potential and the tools of Yoga to facilitate a connection to something much greater behind it all, I have actually been able to move into levels 4 & 5, while living in a state of poverty.

I have at some point in my life over the last 4 years experienced all 5 of these levels being both extremely high and low. At the Ashram I reached new levels of potential and the seeds were planted for more. In Rwanda there is no doubt in my mind that I reached a very high level within myself and my potential. But I did this with little financial stability and my basic needs being met minimally. Now I am really seeing how my lack of support for self in level 1 & 2 is leading me to put much more intense focus on level 3, out of fear of lacking. I currently have no stable place to call home, have taken holiday from my business, and other work so stability financially is illusive as well!  This sets me up for an intense desire for safe, secure interactions with people.

I am now going back to the basics and looking at what could be possible if I build from the bottom up this time, ensuring that I have my level 1, 2, and 3 needs met. I need to look at what my needs are and find out what it is I have access to here that will allow me to feel satisfied. Imagine what level 4 and 5 will look like with a  solid foundation beneath them!! I think its exactly what I am here in The Pas to do and that is why I am here to stay.

Bringing it all together into a balanced pyramid will open doors to things I was unable to visualize and imagine for myself because of the shaky legs I was standing on up to this point. I have done amazing things for myself even with this reality and I am now ready to soar into the new higher heights of my own potential taking all that I have learned along the way.

In the end I am happy to have confirmed that I am not lonely! I was just working my way around, in and out of, sideways through and round about this pyramid of needs, instead of climbing it one step at a time. My plan now is to consciously build up each level to a place of abundance in order to reach full potential.

I have recently been in conversation with my family again and that opening has given me more strength in Level 3. Family alone is not enough. I need different kinds of    relationships and people in that mix to help me feel fulfilled, safe and secure. I have this as a whole with all of my connections around the world but without having the ability to see, touch, or be in the presences of them all I feel like my tribe is scattered and that leaves me feeling unsafe and insecure. I see my tendency to have difficulty feeling fulfilled when my community is scattered but the truth is there is lots of community here in The Pas and my friends all around the world are only a finger tip away thanks to technology! Its all about how I see what I have in my life and that is my work!

I am currently housesitting in a beautiful quiet space (while I seek my next new home) not wanting to be here alone because I want to share, experience and be with my tribe, my village, my people and I am seeing the work that lies ahead which at times feels frustrating, exhausting, maddening, isolating, and yet I know, after all of this time, that I am doing it all right! It will come with time and then I will move into something else as a focus and not even remember how challenging this time was! I know this because I have done this a hundred times before!

Inward self reflection and seeking high levels of self awareness can lead to extreme isolation, even if only in the mind, and it is in a lot of ways a very lonely journey to be on.  I am blessed to have so many close friends in my life that support my journey and I feel as though I am ready to loosen the reins and let the learning come to life in a new way, a more relaxed and unconscious flow into truth.

No man is an island, even when we think we are alone we are never really that far away……




A way back into Love

I have entered a new phase. I am feeling quite done with the alone time, the big travels, the need to be putting my words, face, name and cause out there for all to see and hear. I am done with writing about my past, trauma and old desires. I am coming out of a cocoon of sorts that this journey wrapped me tightly in. A warm, soothing yet harsh, reality that transformed me at my core. My metamorphosis has reached a new state and I am ready to become fully this newer version of self.


I feel as though the last year or two have been a symbolic replay of my teenage rebellion. Previous to that, transition into womanhood was symbolically done while living at the Ashram. These rights of passage needed to happen and were holding me back. I felt stuck in the canal of my own birth – feeling caught, breathless and half way there most of the time. The cord has been removed from around my neck (what a powerful symbol that was!) and I feel like new life with fresh eyes has been given to me.

Because the necessary rituals and rites of passage have now been performed I can see the validity in the way society goes about things without all the pent up emotion around it, which I now see was an immaturity that created a fear about going to a place I had not taken the steps to get to internally. Just because I am old enough physically does not mean I am mature enough emotional or developmentally.

How can I be in a healthy relationship if I am still a scared 13 year old confused about her role as a woman and unsure about her body? How can I marry if I am still ashamed\resentful\ignorant of my ability to birth another human being? Does that make sense? I couldn’t and so I set out to give myself the experiences I needed to move forward and grow internally.

IMG_3874It really began to unfold in Rwanda, as I rode on the back of a Moto I had this rush of energy surge through me and in that moment I knew I wanted to be a mother. I have never had that feeling of knowing about myself before even though way deep down inside I have known that to be true, the realization and acceptance of self was a huge victory. This feeling came after months of exploration with sexuality, being surrounded by tribes of women carrying sweet little ones on their backs and witnessing family and community in a whole new way. It did not just suddenly appear  – I was intentionally working on healing the barriers to my own truth and each layer had to happen as it did, in its own time.


I am now back in my own culture, witnessing the rituals that take place here and they make much more sense to me now. I no longer feel anger and bitterness around weddings and marriage. I see babies as an amazing creation to be cherished and I see relationships as beautiful gifts of healing and growth. I also see work and money as a way to achieve my goals and create the life I need and want for myself.

I feel much more calm, settled and free inside myself than I have in the past. Almost as if the seeker in me can now take a bit of a break and sit back to reap the benefits of the hard work I have been doing for 4 years. Thats a really long time to be intensely studying myself, healing and consciously creating major transitions in order to become a better human being BUT I wouldn’t  change a thing about all that I have done.


I am here in The Pas where I will stay and continue to grow and learn with the help of my community and loved ones, old and new. I will engage in old things in new ways and witness the changes I have made in action. I am here to settle within myself on a new level and although it feels at times like its all way to simple, I am seeing that that is the gift! Life can be simple and maybe that is exactly what I needed to learn – Simply how to live in this world, as this human being. Part of me knows but is pleasantly surprised that it will look very similar to the life I left behind me but another part of me knows that internally it will be a very new experience.




(My home 4 years ago, which I now see as an amazing creation of love and self expression)

Photo 131

(My favourite pet Thelonius Sphere Hoyle!)





(4 Years ago I Iet this person and this life go and it is just now that I am able to appreciate it for all that it really was and what it offered me. Now I see the way we are looking at each other and the love that did exist between us with more clarity.)


There is less of a draw for attention, no need to be seen in the same way. A cabin in the woods with a loving husband, a beautiful baby, a few pets and a garden all sound really fulfilling to me now. I have not lost my sense of adventure, instead I feel as though I have refined it to now allow me to see it in all the things that are very common to us as humans.

Love, family, home, new life, connection, responsibility, sharing, comfort, security and stability are an adventure I am ready to take once again, this time with a brand new intention and a greater capacity to embrace!

Om Radha Om





Here I Am World

I have never lived my life more authentically then I am in this very moment. I returned from Rwanda with a swagger that is unshakable. My time there showed me the strength and confidence that was just waiting to be seen, other people have told me  they see it but I needed to see it for myself. I transformed daily. With every corner a new experience awaiting to call on my trust and inner knowing.


(This  is the first of many dresses  I had made while in Rwanda. This was an amazing creative adventure. I began to step into parts of myself that I had put away until the moment I was ready to explore them. I knew I would know when the time was right!)

From hailing a “Moto” or eating strange food to dancing in large groups of men and speaking a new language – it all asked me to step up and be who I really want to be. Rwanda was the finishing touch to this amazing journey of healing. It showed me where I was, who I was, and how far I have come. I come away from this  experience more my Self than I have ever been and I know  it is but a peak into my potential. I am soooooooooo proud of that girl who walked out of her home, her engagement, her career and her life with the intention of healing at all costs. I continue to be proud of myself and all the hard work that I have done to get where I am today and I am not afraid to say it!


(You are as your name speaks to Amanda – Worthy of Love! I so proud of the girl in this picture! Even at your lowest you still knew your worth and were willing to fight for it, you are a survivor!)

I have seen my life unfold into a magical, amazing adventure that not only heals me everyday but also does great things for  those around me. I know through my experiences in life that we are all connected and what we do impacts everyone.  I also know that there is no such thing as “Good” or “Bad” as one  always leads to the next in some way shape or form. The impact that my choices have on others can sometimes lead to Kaos, Ruin, Heartache, and Pain as well as Love, Joy, Inspiration and Peace – all of which are necessary for change and growth.


(My first official, self guided project: Love Hoop Rwanda. A project to introduce something I love and brings me joy to the people of Rwanda. Venturing into the remote villages of Nyanza to share this gift with the people helped me build the confidence I needed to get to this place I am in today, only a few months later. Murakoze to all the people who shared, laughed, danced, hugged and rejoiced with me in this project! You are all with me now giving me courage to continue on. You are all truly some of the Bravest Souls I have ever met!)

In my life, the Ruin lead to Love , the pain to peace, the Kaos to Joy and Heartache to Inspiration. We need things to get dark before we can truly see the Light! I look at it all as one big picture, the focus being on the balance of my life as a whole.

In the moment it may feel dark, sad, and lonely but I have lived enough to know that when I  come out the other side I am a much wiser and stronger person. I embrace it all and at the same time let it all go. One moment at a time we are lead into into the next page of our life story, the whole while the pen is in our hands. How do you want your story to look?


(Santa Monica Pier, just days after returning from Rwanda. My future’s so bright I gotta wear shades!)

I have found my groove, my flow and the connection to my life is so strong that I feel pulled by it continually. As I walk down the street, I allow myself to truly feel where I want or need to go next. When I listen and follow through wether it makes sense to me or not, I go. The other day I decided to go with a new possibility that had been presented to me by a friend and went to inquire about a Government program called “Self-employment Program”. I had known about this for over a year and a half but it just never felt right.

When I returned to The Pas I began to see myself through a different lense, with the help of my friends, a business lense. I knew I wanted to start a non-profit and continue my work in Rwanda with Gilbert and the kids but I wasn’t sure how to do that. After  2 months, a few shifts at “Snakland” to help out my friend and myself financially,  a phone call from my friend Sarah, and a few long chats with my friend Paul. R, I suddenly saw things very differently. I needed to look after myself first and then think about starting a non-profit AND I did have what it takes to start my own business. The business of LOVE IN ACTION!


After a few weeks of building this idea in my mind, I went to the employment office in town and inquired about the program. I was caught of guard when asked to describe my business idea to the man behind the counter but gave it a shot anyway (how to describe what I do in my life and do it well enough that a Government employee is going to take it seriously?). I did it and he was sold enough by my 30 sec explanation to pass me through to the next step and from there it became clear that I had met the right person to help me through this next phase. Thank you Paul L.!

The work I have done in the past was easy to explain; lifeguard, Nursing, swim instructor, laborer, etc. as it all fit into the societal norms and made “sense”, meaning I didn’t have to explain what it was I did as the job was self explanatory. I lived in a very rational world, very male energy dominated paths of determining success; money and material possessions. In order to bring balance back into my life, I have spent nearly 4 years living in a very irrational world where the intuitive, the “feeling” has very much  become my norm. I am now at a place where I want to bring the two worlds into balance in my life.


(Ok, so I found a way to be myself even in the Rational world but really what I see when I look at this picture now is how much I used my sense of humor as a mask for my insecurities. I always felt like a “fraud” as a Nurse and did not take myself seriously most of  the time. Now I am able to bring back those parts of myself and have it be authentic. I have moved through the doubt and into a new confidence!)

I gave away my belongings, left my home, my life and my career so that I could Heal from the inside out.  I have healed to the point where  I want to bring back in the things I need to thrive in a way that is true to who I am now. To do that I need money because this is the reality I live in today. I do want my own space to call “home” as I know how important personal space is for me and what it provides for me. I also know that I will not do “work” that is not in some way meaningful to me, which can mean I work at “Snakland” to help my friend and ultimately myself in the short term but what I really mean is that I am not willing to push or force anything that does not naturally want to open up for me. I can find meaning in anything but what is it I am meant to be doing?


(Letting go of possessions I said I would NEVER part with, like my 1970 VW Beetle named “Inga Ja”, was one of the biggest tools to my healing. I realize now that I can have possessions that serve to provide me with the life I want to live and not as an escape from the life I am living. )

I have explored the path of Nursing many times throughout this process, each time the doors just do not open or if they do, only enough to take a tiny step forward and make an internal shift towards going back into it to support myself and my vision. What that tells me is that even though I have a really nice safety net if I really need it, in terms of money and security, there is something bigger awaiting me that wants me to focus on it and not fall into old patterns of fear. I feel that until I fully embrace this business of being myself I will not be able to fully step into Nursing, although things seem to be happening simultaneously.


If I look at my situation right now I have everything  I need to survive. I have food, clothing, a roof over my head and the love of all the people who support me in life. There is no reason to jump back into something just because it will give me money. What I need is to focus my time, energy and life on creating, even further, the life  I am meant to live. So that is what I am doing!


(After a visit to The Pas in 2012, just after leaving the Ashram I knew I needed to be here but the time was not right. I stayed for one month and then headed to California to study Water Release Therapy ( I had no idea where this would lead me but I knew I needed to do it before I committed to staying anywhere long term. Little did I know I needed to Rwanda first!)

The gift of friendship that my best friend and I share is something so transformative,  unique and beautiful – it can hardly be described. We take turns being the rock and the water. We are creating a beautiful dance that supports us both. We both have nothing to fear when we have each other in our lives as we both understand or “get” each other in a way that facilitates change.


(On our way to the “Welcome Back Unicorn” Party that Carrie hosted for when I arrived!)

Together we have gone through many phases, trials and tribulations but through it all we have had an unshakable bond of sisterhood. This part of the journey is just a next logical step for both of us and makes perfect sense to us!!

So, after a few more meetings with the people at Employment Manitoba I feel more confident and supported than ever before. Something about sitting in a room with a man telling me that he believes in my vision allowed me to believe in myself at a new level. To be taken seriously by myself has been one of my life’s biggest challenges and I know that when I embody my beliefs I make others feel the same way about me. This was a very clear indicator of just how serious I have taken myself since March 7th, 2010.


(My home  and “studio” in Rwanda where I created Healing Art, Love Hoop Rwanda and began the journey into seriously being ME in action!)

This is what I have come to see myself as, a facilitator for change and this is what my business will be. I will continue to take the next steps into what is being offered to me with grace and gratitude. I know the Universe had guided me to the people I need to be with during this time and that all I need to do is allow myself to receive the gifts that await me!

Hari Om

All Washed Up


(Hendry’s Beach, Santa Barbara, CA –  4 days after returning from Rwanda!)

We are all the subjects in the experiment called “Life”.  Each one of us with our own version of “normal”. Not one single person can have the exact same view of “normal” as the other because we all interpret the world around us in a unique way based on our experiences. As I learn more about my “norms”, I embrace some of them but for the most part I work very hard to change them into choices. I don’t like being the victim of unconscious patterns that direct my speech, thoughts, actions and the path of my life. The work I do is all about being more conscious and aware of myself so I can make changes to live a more positive, satisfying and authentic life for me.

Each one of us has the right to live the life we want to live and we need not justify it to anyone. Even when I was living a life that created a person filled with anger, resentment, and fear, although unconscious at the time,  it was a consequence of my choices. Now I think about my actions on a level that tends to separate me from most people I meet and has separated me from my family.

I am willing to do this because this is the life that has allowed me to Heal. I do not do it to make others happy or even with others in mind. Any response to how I live my life is for the person doing the judging to learn from. Seeing as I have experienced everything from people thinking I am insane and telling me they hate me to people who love me so intensely it is almost unfathomable, I cannot be attached to either one of those extremes or anything in the middle. I get pulled out of my own life and into the energy of the other people when I choose to give up my power in that way.  I found a way to give myself meaning, fulfillment and purpose in life everyday and with this comes an intensely  powerful feeling of what it is  to truly live my life.


(California and “Hendry’s Beach” became my “Norm” when I was 27 years old. Coming from a remote Northern community, growing up places like this were but figments of my imagination. I have always been drawn to California and because of stepping into my fear it is now a place I call “home”!)

My thoughts, most of which I realized were not mine once I really broke myself down, were telling me that my life was not something I wanted to live or that I had to do it in a certain way in order to survive or even be happy. When we live unconsciously, we are but a consequence of  many layers of “brainwashing” from a variety of sources that mainstream society is bombarded with on a constant basis. From food choices to sexuality; Education, radio, TV, movies, advertising, internet, family, friends, careers, money, government – you name it, there is a message behind all of it that seeks to keep us under control.  In my life, some of it well intentioned, some of it seemingly positive but underneath it all lies control. Even deeper underneath there is a thick layer of Fear that drives it all (if we let it!)


(What is there to be afraid of in my life when this sweet boy, Mohammed, has no food in his stomach and no mattress to sleep on every night! Survival is the deepest root of Fear and even though he is barely surviving, he demonstrated a spark for life that captivated me. I am sponsoring him to attend school and I am committed to take him as far as he wants to go, even though I have no “Job” or steady income right now, I have a deep knowing and trust that I am more than capable of providing this gift to him. He in-turn motivates me to move through my Fear and be my most authentic Self! Urakoze Cane Mohammed.

Oh, and that sweet little man behind him with his finger  pointing at Mohammed is “Issa”! He received a mattress and a fluffy blanket, for his family of 6, from the work we did together to raise money by Dancing!)

We are all subject to these influences in some way, at some time in our lives. Once I started to understand my mind and see how it was running all the time, like a freshly wound time piece without any control from myself, I realized that I was a simply acting as a puppet and handing over the control of my life. Something that was easily manipulated to fit into a system, a system that I did not want to fit into. I don’t really feel any of us fit into this system as it is so far removed from what is natural to humans beings. Since coming back to The Pas, I relate to the Aboriginal culture in a very different way and it was Africa that helped me see this culture through new eyes. Again, stepping boldly into the face of fear allowed for growth that changed the way I viewed the world around me.


(I have walked this path, which has changed now into an actual path and is no longer just a trail through the bush, many times before. It is the path I took to walk to Junior High, High School, and College! Needless to say I have seen this path many times but this time around I have a deeper appreciation for how amazing it is that I was/am so surrounded my Nature in my life.)

Everyone doing the same, all thinking and acting alike, even looking alike so that we all feel safe and comfortable in the world around us, which speaks to an innate survival instinct that we all have, can hold us back from living our lives authentically.  I feel that any thought can be put into someone’s head if done repeatedly and from a variety of angles. This leads to unconscious behaviors that then draw us further and further away from our true selves. If we are all lost together then at least we can feel safe in that fear. To be one of the few who chooses to go against the grain, against mainstream and go with the flow of their own life is a very challenging road to choose. When I am immersed in a place where I feel I am greatly outnumbered it is even more challenging. Now here I am again, in my hometown surrounded by the same people and energy I had growing up, yet I am able to see it as a gift. What I see and what I know I was drawn here for is the potential that lies within this community for change both within myself and those around me.


(Rwandan people are deeply connected to the earth, which is demonstrated in their language, body movements, gestures, dance, art, communication, spirit and daily lives. It was through this that I was able to understand the Aboriginal culture that I grew up surrounded by in a new way. I returned with a deep appreciation for both cultures.)

Who am I to waltz into a community and say that it needs to change or that this is right or wrong? I am not doing that. I am simply noticing the habits, the patterns, the energy and how it feels to me. How do I want to feel while I live here and how can I create a space for myself within this community that feels positive for me? How do I make it a healthy place for me to live?  For me it means consciously connecting to the culture and embracing all that it has to teach me, along with taking whatever next steps are presented to me while I am here. This is a practice that comes with me whenever I travel and is a very valuable tool to helping me be well in any setting.

I practice being conscious and aware of my thoughts, actions, speech, body and mind constantly so that I can make choices that are authentic to who I am at my core. I see the old patterns play out very clearly, especially now that I am back in my hometown where I was in many ways a completely different version of myself. Its not a coincidence that people that live together look alike, talk and sound alike, walk alike and relate to each other in a way that they are all familiar with. This is the power of community influence and it can be used to make positive change. I miss my community in California, The Kootenays and Rwanda very much but feel extremely grateful for  having created them in my life. Knowing I have them to go when I need the kind of support they offer is such a blessing. I also see that there is a richness to my childhood home that I have long taken for granted. I am here to  make peace with that within myself.


(My best friend and I, age 13, were both born and raised in The Pas. I moved around until I was 11 years old, then returned. We both had a challenging time as teenagers and left before the age 20. Somehow we are now both back here, living together, supporting each other and healing what needs to be healed – together.)

By striving to create a space that feels positive for myself, I can also create an environment that is open to others who are drawn to feel that same energy. This is not about implanting another form of brainwashing or manipulating anyone, it is about offering myself as an example of change and anyone who wants to join in can and will. I am the holder of the space. I hold the space within myself and it radiates out in my work, my life, my speech and my actions. This is how I attract those who want to learn more about how to hold that same kind of space within themselves.

Even my time at the Ashram can be seen as a form of brainwashing except there is one HUGE difference, Choice. It was like I was handed the strings to the puppet called My Life. I was never told anything, no question answered only asked more questions. I was given control and that was very unsettling. Since when do I get to make my own rules? Can I really say what I feel and ask for what I need? When I do or say something and I clearly hear a tone or feel an energy that is not authentic to who I am, I  can change it? I was given back my power by being given the space to think autonomously.


(During my time at the Yasodhara Ashram I gained 35 lbs, found my Spirit and my Will to live, let go of  emotional baggage that was causing me physical pain, and truly began to Heal myself! It was both my refuge and my launching pad!)

In many ways it was the ultimate “Brain Wash”, I literally cleansed my mind from the negative thoughts that held me in unhappiness and pain. I felt “washed” and like a clean slate coming back into the world. Everything seemed so harsh, so rude, so sexual and people even looked like robots to me at times. I got to see the world from the eyes of a new born and now am learning to keep out the things I do not want to expose myself to and consciously allow only what I do want into my life. No more wasting energy on things that do not feed me.


(On my way to meet with Bunny from the Self-employment program that I am hoping to be accepted to!)

Knowing full well that the only person or thing I can change is myself, I step into this next phase with a confidence and strength that comes from experience and knowing what works for me. My life, My way, My Self!

Fate vs Karma

C.G. Jung — ‘Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.’


Am I destined to repeat the same cycles over and over again in love?  Am I meant to be alone? Am I meant to be in one, life long committed relationship with a man? My answer is “NO!”

I am in relationship with everyone who crosses my path; young, old, male, female, dog, cat, tree. I am in relationship with nature. I am in relationship with my Self. Everything gives and everything takes in order to achieve balance. My life is a part of the balancing act of the whole world combined. I am doing my part in the relationship to create a more beautiful space for me to live in, the world in my mind is very different than the one I lived in externally.


My patterns in romantic love come from a variety of sources and some of them, I believe, came with me from past lives because I believe in Karma. These are the lessons I was meant to work with in this lifetime and they are what bring me closer to enlightenment or oneness and ultimately freedom! This gives me a positive outlook on my life no matter what comes to me because I see it as a gift. A gift that will lead me towards understanding myself and facilitates change.

So my patterns with male energy are obviously Karmic as they are very deep and have  been my most painful lessons, this last one no exception. But one thing, one very big thing, has changed – I am aware of myself playing them out as they happen and can make changes in the moment. I have learned to listen to my thoughts and see my actions before I act on them by practicing control of my energy, emotions and self.

Awareness does not mean or even imply perfection, almost the opposite in my view. To be aware means that I am watching for my imperfections and flagging them. If they are something that I want to change, I begin to consciously watch for them with the intent to make a different choice. Not every imperfection needs to be changed but the ones that cause me repeated pain are the ones I focus on.

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(These finger glasses help me to focus on my unconscious behaviors…..or this is just a funny photo!!)

Even with years of practice, I still play out unconscious behaviors, which when they become conscious I cannot help but think – how they heck did I let that happen – AGAIN?? Thank goodness for friends that are wiling to hold me to my truth (Kristen, Carrie, Catherine) and not judge me! All the work that I have done in this area including intensely practicing celibacy for 4 years has given me room for much growth but also reveals to me how deeply these patterns are ingrained.


(Amanda: I think I found Mr.Right!!!! What do you girls think??? Carrie: Ummmmm, that’s a blow up doll, he’s not real Amanda!! Kristen: “We’ll he’s got a mustache but I thought you didn’t like mustaches? Catherine: “What??????????”)

Celibacy for me is a dynamic experiment in which I engage in my sexual energy in various ways to give myself real life experience of who I am and make changes to facilitate who I want to be. I am currently teaching myself to be friends with men, to respect them and see them as real people. As I engage with willing participants in the experiment I learn about the patterns, I like to call them worm holes or rabbit holes that my mind loves to drag me down), and watch how my mind can create something out of nothing. This is the power of the imagination (Third Chakra) and it is also something that can be redirected towards positive, healthy outlets. I spent most of my time in relationship unconsciously and was always unhappy on some level because my partner was never going to live up to the person my imagination had created  in my mind.


(My friend Brian helping me learn about being in a loving, kind, caring friendship with a man and what an amazing young man you are! Gratitude for you!)

Once I learned, through experience, that the energy which drew me to that person was created within me by my Karma, it flipped everything on its head. I began to question the idea of Soul Mates, Marriage, Purpose, and Love to the point of ….well…… Truth (for me anyway!).  If the energy that drew me to someone who I thought I was supposed to marry and be with forever  is now gone, as well as his physical presence, then wouldn’t that mean I was not living my life according to “the plan”? Would that not mean I would be very unhappy now in life? The way that the energy simply disappears after time leads me to believe that I have healed the part of me that was drawn to this person.



Karmically, I was now free of that burden and the lesson had been learned. Fate is then nothing but an unconscious pull towards old wounds of lessons unlearned in the past and we can choose to stay in this unconscious place OR we can choose to see it, learn, and grow.  This may mean letting go of the relationship and the idea of Forever with that person and it may shatter our facade of our safe and secure lives, at least in our minds. If we hold tightly to the security of the idea of Soul Mate then we may be keeping ourselves in an old pattern that serves to create more pain.

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(Check out the size of that “Rock” on my finger! It was big enough even to fool me, the biggest on non-believers in this type of demonstration of Love.)

He was not my “one and only” or  my “Soul Mate”, none of them were, at least not in the way most people use those terms. I feel everyone who crosses my path in this life is a Soul Mate as they are here to teach me something. Imagine all the souls out there in the Universe, floating around waiting to be reborn,  and of all of those the ones who are on this plane right now are all meant to be here so we can learn from each other. Some come into my life in much more intense ways and I feel that we have lived together in different lives in the past. Others may be new to me energetically and as I do the work to heal my soul I will be met with a more and more enlightened earth in which I live.


I know, Im getting a bit “spacey” here but is it possible that when we do the work in one life we can come back to another life (or “Earth”) that is on a new level and eventually we reach a place called Nirvana, Ananda (Bliss), Heaven, Shangri-la? Are those places that can exist in a human form or are they reserved for our Souls only? Who knows, I sure don’t but I can go there in my mind and if that is what gives me Joy and gets me through this life then so be it!! The mind is a powerful tool and each one of us can choose to live in whatever  reality we desire!

To me, Sexual energy is Creative energy. When I  stopped using it soley for sex (and all that comes with that ie: clothing, self-worth, language, etc.) I saw just how much of my time and energy was consumed by this unconscious pull towards mating, relationship, security, and reproduction. As I learn to channel it into things that I want in my life, I see how powerful it is! It is creative energy that created my life, it literally created me and is the reason I am alive. It also created a lot of pain. Now I use it for expression and living life authentically. The redirecting and control I now have over my creative energy (First and Second Chakra) has given me an amazing last 2 years of my life and especially these last 12 months.


(Self-expression through my outward image became a tool for creativity and a vehicle for change! This is costume making day for Thrill The World Kigali and it was an amazing creative project for all of us!)

At the Ashram, I stripped away everything that I thought was sexual in nature, ie: clothes, my hair, make up, self care, speech, eye contact, relationships, and focused very firmly on awareness around the subtle ways in which my patterns still managed to impact my life. I was lucky enough to be in a community that wanted to help me with whatever area I was choosing to work with. I had a lot of people to offer me insight into what I was not able to see for myself.

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Situations were presented to me in order to call on my strength and many, many challenges in which to find my voice and see myself more clearly. I had a wonderful mentor who gave me support in a way that I can only explain as a gift from God. Firm, commanding, no nonsense kind of support that said to me, “ok, you say you want to change well this is what I see.” Not many people can give this kind of support in such a loving way and not many people can handle this kind of honesty but when we really want to change the most important ingredient is Truth, especially the truths that we cannot see or choose not to see for ourselves.

I  have allowed men into my life who treated me the way I felt I deserved to be treated.  Because of the way I was raised, where I was raised, the way I was taught to see my role as a woman, societal pressures, media, and of course my Karma were all factors in these pairings. Now, here is where there is a thin line between blame and acceptance of facts. To acknowledge that I chose this life and everything in it, from a Karmic point of view, takes the blame away for me as I believe it was my choice to have this exact experience so I could learn these lessons. I also believe that the lessons get more and more harsh if they have not been dealt with and the more times I take the same path, the more severe the consequences. So this is one area in which I know I brought a lot of Karmic baggage but I am doing the work this time for sure and I see how much growing I have done in a relatively short period of time. The men that come into and stayed in my life in the last 4 years are different because I am different. Especially the men I met in Rwanda, Gilbert, Justin and all the young men dancers. They have transformed me and healed me!


(Justin Bisengimana, my brother, my friend, my mentor and my healer! Ndagukunda Cane Cane!)


(Gilbert Rutaremara, my inshuti, my creative partner, co-creator of my vision, my inspiration! We are Love In Action!)

I believe that all of my work up to this point was to heal me in all areas of my life. Everything is intermingled within our minds and lives, there is no way this issue of sexuality has not impacted every area, every choice, every word, every thought. Im working with some very powerful energy and as I learn to become friends with it, which literally means becoming friends with myself, I see the beauty that it holds when it is used consciously.