Sunday, March 30, 2008

Today's feel good moment

If you haven't seen this performance by six-year old Connie already, it's well worth watching.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Taking things in stride

I've been feeling very blessed over the past year as things really have fallen into place. It has been as if the universe was helping me along my path, encouraging and validating decisions. Have you ever had moments where you felt this sense of guidance?

Years ago, my friend Sandra and I were on a canoeing trip to Temagami and in the dusk at the end of a long day of paddling she walked off a cliff while searching for firewood. I saw her disappear over the ridge and ran, heart in throat, to see where she had landed. She had fallen about 8 feet or so and was completely fine. At the time she said it was as though a huge hand had cradled her descent downward, gently placing her on the ground below.

I've thought about this image many times since then and can honestly say I've had that sense on a few occasions as well. Driving in traffic and feeling the pull away from a wayward driver. Walking along the sidewalk with Maggy and feeling the need to stop suddenly - to be missed by another wayward driver. Or simply feeling the positive influence of something greater than me, assisting me on my way.

All that said, this past few weeks it hasn't felt as though things are falling into place at all. Instead challenges have arisen. These are the times when I've learned to put down my head and keep on going. And/or to simply observe what's going on to hopefully see the bigger perspective and lesson to be learned. Some glass-is-half-full-thinking and a bit of resilience may be all that's in order for right now.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Snow, snow, snow

Two weeks ago in Vancouver there were crocuses and cherry blossoms blooming, lush vegetation everywhere, green grass, open water and the sun was shining. It was a stunning contrast to what I had left behind in Toronto - ice, cold, wind and an impending snowstorm.

In my five days away, TO hosted two major snowfalls. Since then, we've had more snow and the forecast is for snow tomorrow and Thursday. It's unbelievable how long and cold and windy and snowy this winter has been. Everyone is grumbling about it and perhaps most of all those that have escaped to sunnier climes only to return to this uncharacteristically bitter weather.

Today while sitting around my parents' kitchen table we were glancing longingly at a magazine that featured lilacs and magnolias and sandals and spring/summer clothing. Then we watched some golf on tv where it was warm and bright and we could only dream of smelling the cut grass and balmy air. Stir crazy doesn't do justice to the unrest that many are feeling, especially now that spring has officially arrived - on the calendar at least.

Though I tried to declare a moratorium on my winter boots and down coat last week (and froze in the process), it appears they are still required for a few days or weeks yet.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Taking pause

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, travel and emotion. Amid all of that, I've remembered that it's time to take pause.

One thing I learned living in Vancouver (from Debrah as well as Georgiana, Luanah, Venetia, Yael and Evelyn) was the practice of the pause. Taking time to stop, breathe, breathe and breathe again.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

An inspirational story

With all that has been said and done since Debrah's passing, the prevailing message is to embrace life and treasure love.

A true example of this was the relationship of Debrah and her husband Don. While it is sad that he must now continue without her, we all know that her spirit, memory and legacy will live on.

Don has posted this beautiful tribute that he created for Debrah's memorial, including the song that he wrote and performed for their wedding.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Over the past week several media channels, including CBC, have covered Debrah's story as the word has gotten out that she died of C. difficle, one of the awful superbugs that can threaten patients in hospitals and other health care facilities. This following a routine surgery about six weeks earlier.

In husband Don's words, Debrah was "a bundle of energy and the picture of health" as she was a yoga instructor, health and wellness consultant and coach. She practiced what she preached, including healthy diet, exercise and self-care, and was truly an inspiration to others. The most common terms used to describe Debrah at her memorial were "luminous" and "radiant".

The fact that she gave birth to twin daughters in July - at the age of 46 - was a testament to her vitality. And so it has been a shock to all that Debrah could succumb to a health crisis. How could this happen? Although medical terminology may describe how it did happen, it seems unacceptable and unfair. Is it simply a random example of the state of our health care?

This has resulted in many saying we should all stay away from hospitals and surgery unless it's absolutely critical. This, on top of Debrah's untimely death, makes me very sad as I fervently believe in Canada's universal health care system.

I truly hope that the awareness generated by Debrah's story, and of the many others struck down by mysterious infections, will result in the better understanding and prevention of these viruses. It is no secret that the shortage of personnel, training and funding are affecting the standards expected and required in hospital wards and operating rooms across our country.

It is difficult to reconcile how someone who practiced a holistically healthful approach all her life has become the victim of a system that's there to care for us all.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sad and yet glad

Many of my past conversations with Debrah centred around paradoxes and this trip to Vancouver has proven to be such a thing.

I arrived with sadness and disbelief that such a luminous soul was no longer with us. And yet this visit, including reconnecting with very dear friends and attending a wonderful celebration of Debrah and her life, has left me inspired.

I am blessed with so many genuinely great people in my life. And I feel the impulse to pay that forward as Debrah would do.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Debrah Rafel

It is with a heavy heart that I write that a wonderful woman, Debrah Rafel, has passed away in Vancouver at the age of 47. She has been an amazing friend as well as my yoga teacher, coach and colleague over the years. I will miss her very, very much.

My thoughts and love go out to Debrah's beautiful young daughters Ava and Marlowe, step-son Tyler and husband Don, as well as their family.