Here we are at the end of October. The kids are settled back into school and routine and Newfoundland is in a good space with covid-19 cases being kept to a minimum and mandating masks in public spaces. This rock in the middle of the North Atlantic is the place to be – albeit chilly….really chilly.
This is the time of year that I get all my cancer related checkups. I am incredibly thankful that all came back clear and healthy!!! I am also proud that, for the most part, I handled the appointments and waiting with grace and calmness. Having the tools to not let my thoughts and fears spiral into major anxiety is so empowering. You can’t live in fear of the future possibilities.
I was driving in the car with my 13 year old daughter and I joked about that one of the good things that came out of me having cancer is that I haven’t had a period since the day I went in for my mastectomy surgery. haha. I consider that a blessing. My daughter looked at me so puzzled and said “wait, what other good things came out of you having cancer?” That was a big question. Cancer has taught me many things. It has taught me how to love myself. All of me. How to heal my body, mind and spirit. How to show myself the kindness that I have always shown others. It has taught me that we are all connected in a way that as I heal myself, I do not heal alone. How I experience my world is different from how I experienced it 5 years ago. It is a beautiful journey of growth and connection. Cancer taught me how to live in gratitude and wonder.
At 44 years old, I am so stoked for the next 44 years. Moment by moment, I’m gonna keep rocking on. Take care of yourselves. Sending lots of love out to y’all.
Summer is drawing to a close in NL. There’s a chill in the air that inevitably starts after the date of the annual regatta races. They were cancelled this year due to covid.
2020 has really been unexpected, to say the least. It has brought a host of changes and challenges to my life and continues to do so. I know so many people are dealing with an awful lot at this time. In all of the changes, I have experienced more joy even in the darkness. I am always laughing. It feels amazing. I have done a lot of work on my health in the past few years and it’s paying off. I understand my energy and have the tools and resources to live a life that doesn’t include anxiety. I have learned to observe and make conscious responses instead of subconscious reactions. It is very powerful. I was paralyzed with anxiety and stress for a long time. It all happened so slowly that I didn’t recognize it until it was so far gone. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees and I was not using my voice. Paralyzed. I believe it nearly killed me but all of my experiences have also brought me back to life.
Small changes over a long time has been working for me. I shifted my focus to growth instead of just healing and getting healed. Does that make sense? It’s a continuous, lifelong process. The more you heal, the more you grow and the more you learn, the more you realize there is to learn. More healing. More growth. On and on. It’s a fascinating journey.
In the midst of a global pandemic, my husband and I decided to go our separate ways. We spent nearly 20 years together, had some pretty incredible experiences all over the world and, most importantly, brought our two beautiful daughters into this world. All divinely timed 😀 There are exciting times ahead for both Glenn and I and a new chapter of coparenting begins. ❤️❤️❤️
With that said, we have decided to sell our home on Berteau Ave. So many wonderful memories in this house but it’s time for a new start. If you know of anyone looking for an amazing home in the east end, let them know 64 Berteau will be on the market by the end of the weekend. It’s a pretty remarkable property that is incredible for entertaining but one of my favourite spots is in the hammock in the backyard. Haha
26 years ago I graduated from high school. Music was my life and I had a really special relationship with my music teacher, Mr. John Bonia. Just weeks before my high school graduation, John was killed in a motorcycle accident.
I spent a lot of time in the music room during my three years at Prince of Wales Collegiate and Mr Bonia and I always shared a special connection. He taught me a lot about music and we laughed a lot. He even had me playing the timpani in the band one year. He was desperate but knew I’d give it a go. I had to drop out before MusicFest that year because I was terrible and hated going band rehearsal. It was so loud! (I don’t know how you do it, Katie Sullivan! Seriously. You’re a superstar) He didn’t fight my decision to quit. 🤣🤣🤣
The November before he died, he asked me to sing a song he had written at the school Remembrance Day assembly. It was called Crossroads. Although he never came out and said it, I knew it was the story of his battle with alcohol. He played piano for me and I sang. It was emotional because I knew he was being so vulnerable sharing it.
At his funeral, I also sang his song; his words and music. As an 18 year old, I thought I understood. But now as a 44 year old, I hold an entirely different perspective. He was 41 when he died. I am singing Crossroads all the time now and practicing it on piano. (Big shout out to my sweet and talented nephew, Matthew Hardy, for his keen aural skills to help me figure out all the chords. ❤️) I am going to record it and share it in the future but the thing is that my piano skills are rusty and my piano is soooooo out of tune it doesn’t help the situation AT ALL. I am going to get Joe from Pianowise in to tune it asap but for now, I’d like to share a snippet of his lyrics. I do promise to record it and share when the time is right.
This is the last verse and chorus of Crossroads by John Bonia.
I’ve searched for my spirit. I feel hurt and I feel pain. I pray that you’ll help me. I’m not playing a game. Let’s join hands be together. Take one step at a time. Take our strength from each other. Feel that freedom inside.
So hear me now. I’m trying to live just one day. One day at a time. I want to free myself. To move one step closer to being. To being alive. Yes alone I stand. I’m here at the crossroads again. Which way will I turn now? I can’t go back cause I know what will happen and then. I’ll tear out my heart and soul.
It’s a really powerful tune and I look forward to sharing it with you. For my music peeps, it’s in e minor but it ends on an E major chord. 😃❤️
That was one part of John Bonia’s story. He was also a father, husband, friend, teacher, songwriter, he played SOUL music and was a motorcycle enthusiast….the list goes on. I invite you to share your memories of him and look forward to it.
And speaking of memories….I have been wanting to do this for a while and have finally started the process to establish the John Bonia Memorial Scholarship at Memorial University’s School of Music. It will be awarded to a student studying saxophone (or any woodwind major if there isn’t an eligible saxophone candidate) with an expressed interest in jazz. It is especially timely as the School of Music is starting a minor in Jazz Studies program this coming September. How cool is that! I do love it when a plan comes together.
I have personally committed to funding the scholarship at $1000 a year for three years so it can be awarded immediately. Over the next three years, my plan (when all this covid stuff is over enough) is to organize an event where there will be an abundance of music (!) and bring together the PWC community and family/friends of John to celebrate him and raise money to donate to the scholarship fund. Let’s grow it to a level where it can be endowed and paid out in perpetuity. At the University’s current payout rate, $56,000 will support a student at $2000 every year….forever….and it will continue to grow over time. The John Bonia Memorial Scholarship. I am delighted to be able to start this scholarship fund and celebrate John and his legacy.
The photo below hangs on the wall in the School of Music where I graduated from in 1999. Not in percussion. I was a voice major.😃 I snapped this pic quickly as I was walking by last July and sent it to John’s son, Andrew. I had connected with him a few months earlier to ask if he had the recording of John singing his song. Thankfully he had a copy as the tape John gave me in 1993 was lost in a fire at my parent’s house many years earlier. I had no idea that it had been John’s birthday only a couple days before. Just look at the smirk on his face in the painting. His spirit was captured perfectly. I can’t recall the artist’s name but I am going to find out and update.
I visited John’s grave last week and played the recording of him singing Crossroads from my car speakers and I belted it out sitting on the grass. It was a beautiful visit. I know he was smiling down on me.
I look forward to this evolving. Connecting with and bringing together those who loved and admired John. Please reach out to me if you’re interested in getting involved. It’s gonna be fun and I think we all need a little more fun!
Please take care and stay safe peeps. It’s a crazy ole time in the history.
Good morning from sunny St. John’s. That may change in 5 minutes but right now it is sunny.
What a weird and surreal time we are living in in history. Covid-19 has shut down the globe. I have not posted anything since we started working from home weeks ago. For the most part, I feel very hopeful. That this will be a time to reset, prioritize and see everyone as equals on this planet that we need to treat with more love. There needs to be more love! There is also such a heaviness as I know how many people are struggling and scared. Small businesses are getting decimated and people losing loved ones cannot even mourn together. Even the logistics of working and schooling from home can be stressful for families. It is a lot but we will get through this. I am sending out as much love and peace as I can muster to you all.
I am also thankful that I still have a job during this and am able to work from home but man, I do miss my coworkers. They are an amazing group of people and I miss their faces. Zoom just isn’t the same but it’ll do for now. Our team has been nominating a different person each day to choose a song of the day and email the group for a bit of fun. Yesterday was my day to choose one and considering we are all at home I had to choose Alan Doyle’s We Don’t Wanna Go Home. It always makes me smile and seriously, I’d pay 50 bucks to get elbowed on a crowded dance floor right about now. Here’s the video link – have a listen and a dance….it’ll brighten your day.
Today I turn 44 years old. Every day I wake up, put my feet on the floor, stretch my arms up in the air and say thank you, thank you, thank you out loud! I started this habit a while ago now and I tell ya, it changes everything.
Today was no different than any other day but I feel like I am bursting with gratitude. Grateful for my health, the growth in my life, the peace and joy I feel as I move through my day after years of high functioning anxiety, how Julia and Georgia have grown into incredible humans, my morning meditation practice, the healers that have helped me on my journey and of course, the circle of souls that love and support me and my family. Most importantly, I have another day to experience it all. It’s almost too much.
I had some wonderful help blowing out my candles tonight at my parents house. My wish was one to send out as much love, joy, peace and comfort as possible to all of you – wherever you are in the world. If you’re struggling, keep reaching out to the people around you and remember that you’re not alone. Sometimes saying what’s in your head out loud lightens the load. Keep shining your light even on the darkest days. Life is meant to be joyful. 😀
I’m grateful for another birthday. Here’s to 44 more!
I live in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and we’ve been experiencing some wild blizzard conditions for the past 5 days. When I say wild, I mean 70cm of snow fell in 24 hours. The city is paralyzed and has been in a state of emergency since Friday.
Thankfully, we had it pretty easy as we didn’t lose power or have a crisis that required emergency assistance. Ambulances couldn’t get around the city and everyone working in hospitals and care facilities literally worked for days on end as their colleagues simply couldn’t get to work to relieve them. I have so much respect and gratitude for everyone who has worked through this storm to keep us all safe. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
But in true Newfoundland style, there have been so many funny stories come out of this crisis. People are getting out of their houses and talking to their neighbours. Having fires and spontaneous parties.
I love this clip by Mark Critch. He sums it up best and is a really funny man!
We are heading into 2020! Can you even believe it? I really can’t but I’m getting ready to dive in. It’s been a big year of healing and growth for me in so many ways. Some of you know that I attended a yoga service retreat in September at the Tashirat orphanage in Mexico. It was one of the most beautiful and life changing experiences of my life. We spent our days in meditation, sound baths, practicing kundalini yoga, qi gong, hiking mountains in mystical Tepoztlán and spending time with the children and volunteer parents at the Tashirat orphanage.
These children live in homes with 1 or 2 parents and 6-8 siblings. They go to school there and work together as a family in all endeavours. They are also unadoptable in the traditional Mexican adoption system because of severe physical and mental challenges. Daily yoga practice and food is used as their medicine to heal. They come to Tepoztlán taking handfuls of medicine and end up healthy and taking none; living and thriving well past predicted life expectancies. It’s amazing to watch this miracle occur. I have met children all over the world and these kids were the happiest and most joyful I have ever met. It fills me up to just remember it. It is a special place and so very inspiring.
Since returning home from that mystical experience, it has been a really busy Fall and I recognized that I needed some silence and space to revisit the teachings I learned and experienced in Mexico; some time to write and practice yoga and meditate……and sleep. I slept for 14 hours last night! I am blessed with beautiful friends who offered their home for me to do just that. I packed up my incense and yoga mat and headed to my Riverhead Retreat for a few days and it is where I am now.
I am reflecting and setting some goals for 2020. As with everyone, life is busy and I need balance in order to experience joy in every moment. That means prioritizing time, scheduling, some delegating and saying no to some things. I am getting better at setting boundaries and recognizing what is not serving me.
I also need to strengthen my immune system. It has been chugging along but I know it is weak. Since I had cancer, I get sick so much easier. I mean, I use to be an elementary music teacher. My immune system was super strong! But in the past two years, I have had strep throat 3 times and gotten a stomach bug 4 or 5 times. It just feels like I’m always getting sick. One of my goals is to use my diet to strengthen my immune system. Just like the kids at the orphanage. My acupuncturist is getting me some information on TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) food combinations and I am going to go alcohol free for (at least) 90 days starting Jan 4. I have never really done that so now is a good time. My body still has healing to do and this winter is all about resting, restoring and strengthening. I see lots of soup and tea in my future and I can’t wait.
This photo is in Point la Hay, St Mary’s Bay. This past summer I was swimming here and walking barefoot in the grass. I can’t do that today but it is still magical.
And this is my headspace for 2020. Fuck Cancer! (Sorry for the language Mom but it is fitting)
I hope you are having an amazing week and shining that beautiful light of yours. November has been a bit of a crazy month and December has started much the same. I am looking forward to having some time off during the holiday season to rest. I’m tired but I am so content.
This photo came up in my feed yesterday. It was four years ago. It made me feel physically sick. I’m the one on the far right holding the huge plate of Nanaimo bars. Blah I remembered vividly having that photo taken and how much I wanted to bolt. The girl in that photo is sad and anxiety stricken. She is unhealthy and not living her best life or honouring her light. I don’t live there anymore and man….it feels fantastic. Shit got real after that Christmas (too many Nanaimo bars. Haha) and I made some serious changes to my life style. That was two years before I got diagnosed with breast cancer. I just knew something wasn’t right! I have 60+ pounds gone(!) but it is not just about the weight. I feel so much lighter in every aspect of my life.
This was me last night at the Merry and Bright festival at the MUN Botanical gardens. This magical, feel good event is a perfect start to the holiday season! If you have an evening free and are lucky enough to score some tickets, you should definitely take it in.
This girl is happy and healthy. She honours her feelings, her beauty and her light. My chakras are freaking amazing. hehe I’ve been working really hard and it’s paying off 😁.
I just wanted to share. Sometimes the victories get lost in day to day and I feel like celebrating. Thanks to all my warriors who are helping me on my journey. So much love and light to you all.
It’s hard to believe it is December all ready. This year flew by with lightening speed. On this day last year, I was having surgery to remove my ovaries. Not a difficult surgery but leading up to it was difficult mentally for me and it was definitely the lowest point in my life. I felt so old and broken. I had had such a traumatizing experience during my mastectomy surgery 11 months earlier when I ended up in ICU on life support due to an allergic reaction. So I was pretty scared I wasn’t going to make it through. Anyway, I did make it through, using every tool possible, with a new lease on life and a sense of gratitude that is larger than I could ever dream. It has been a tremendous year of healing and growth for me and I am stoked for 2020.
I saw this today and I felt proud. Proud of how I’ve learned to embrace the darkness with the light and how I am trying my best to handle it all with grace and love.
You never know what people are dealing with on a daily basis. Be kind to yourself and others.
I just wanted to pop in here today and share some good news! I had a mammogram the other day and I found out this afternoon that it is all clear! I felt like it was all good but I’ve been wrong before 🤪. What a relief to have it over with for another year.