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It’s a cold and sunny winter day which I safely observe from the clinic kitchen window while I type.  Checking in with myself, I feel as if I’m finding my way through a long, dark tunnel.  This tunnel has a definite light at the end, with thoughts of “in a few years I’ll be ok”.  However, when I breathe consciously and let myself sink deeper into the moment, I can sense the light right now, in my centre, and am filled with gratitude for the reality of soul and Spirit.  I notice lately that the light is still there when life seems hard, with almost too much suffering to bear—as I remember to access It!

Eventually I’ll write the details of this difficult time.  Right now I need to keep confidentiality for others.  But I can describe the pieces that are mine.

There are several, beginning with being more aware of my closed heart for which I compensate with “saviour behaviour”—helping others in order to cover my fear of loving and losing, of getting too close and getting hurt.  When I’m in helper mode, it looks and even feels like I’m loving, but as a giver it leaves me free from being vulnerable to loss and hurt; it lets me keep my real heart closed and safe.  It explains why I feel uncomfortable receiving from others and often pick relationships where I can (sometimes obnoxiously) help/fix.  I sense this as a constant tension in my chest and recently realize a lack of deep emotion for people with whom I want to be close, made clearer because of certain current events.

I also hide any anger I may hold for a close person so that I don’t hurt them.  Jim Dowling, a healer in Carp, senses this as a volcano in my abdomen.  I experience it physically as chronic bowel problems which don’t respond to any therapies.  Inevitably the anger leaks out and hurts people in spite of all my efforts to hold it in but I’ve continued anyway.

This coping mechanism of keeping my heart closed and my anger suppressed has served me well enough for decades.  Now it is causing me physical problems, blocking my ability to relate to people I want to love and stopping me from continuing to grow spiritually.  My ability to heal is also blocked.

In EMDR therapy with Mary Ann Carmichael, the part that is trying to keep me safe by closing my heart feelings is arising as a frightening demon, a part that I have kept safely under wraps, unconscious, for most of my life.  As I am forced to look at this behaviour by painful situations lovingly served up by the Universe, I notice that my most tender longings and self-love are also being blocked, that I am hard and unloving toward myself, that I don’t allow my vulnerable and hurt parts to show themselves and therefore to heal/integrate.  I’m split off, unauthentic, partly dead.

At the same time, as this awareness arises, I have solid faith that I can be whole, alive and loving towards myself and others.  I am fortunate and profoundly grateful to be able to get the help I need and am taking notes to apply what I’m learning to a restructured ecowellness centre!  Skating and cross-country skiing with Felix and friends helps immensely, smile.

may your winter be a balance of inner work and playing in the snow!


ps Two books that I read daily to support my process are: Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach and The Presence Process by Michael Brown.  Very different flavours, the first more gentle and feminine, the latter rather strict and masculine.  For Simple Abundance, I recommend to start at January 1 no matter what time of year it is as her process is progressive, as is Michael’s.


crazy-sexy-bean-chiliThis recipe is courtesy of Kris Carr. She is a New York Times best-selling author, wellness activist and cancer thriver!



Yield: 8 servings




  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced (for less heat, remove seeds and/or use half the pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1⁄2 cups ground seitan (alternatives: crumbled tempeh [wheat-free] or finely diced mushrooms [soy-free])
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1⁄2 cup diced potato (any kind)
  • Two 15-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed
  • One 15-ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed
  • One 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (San Marzano recommended)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1⁄2 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • Diced avocado (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. Toast cumin seeds in a dry soup pot on medium heat, for 2 minutes until you smell the robust aroma. (This process releases the full flavor of the spice.)
  2. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Stir consistently until the onion is golden and translucent.
  3. Add in the chili powder, seitan, zucchini, and potato, and stir well. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking.
  4. Add in black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, water, maple syrup, sea salt, and cilantro. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and allow to cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  5. Remove from heat, and stir in the kale.
  6. Serve hot. Garnish with diced avocado and a handful of cilantro, if using.

Want to get acquainted with Crazy Sexy Kris Carr? Click here

by Katherine Willow N.D.

From a holistic point of view, colds and flus are not a matter of catching a “bug”, they are about being off balance, physically and emotionally, through congestion, nutritional deficiency and significant stress.

The interesting thing is that the cold or flu is actually the body’s way of trying to re-establish our balance. These “illnesses” are healing symptoms, with a subsequent improvement in health if they are managed correctly—with rest, fluids, positive attitude, emotional healing and natural remedies.  Drugs are required in emergencies, when a person does not have enough vitality. Drugs do more harm than good during acute episodes if one is basically healthy by suppressing our bodies’ healing mechanisms.

In healing chronic conditions, even cancer, we see patients going through colds and flus as the body starts to detoxify, although we do our best to avoid this by treating slowly and carefully according to the person’s body type.

So how do we prevent these miserable conditions—even if they are supposed to be good for us?

  • Manage stress. Unmitigated fight or flight state is the number one immune buster. Often the cold or flu comes on during the “let-down” phase after a stress is resolved and we descend into let-down/recovery mode with its accompanying detoxification.
  • Sleep 7-9 hours, starting before 10pm when the energies begin to rise, in a fully darkened room, away from electronic equipment; dim lights after dinner to avoid suppression of melatonin which makes us sleepy to recharge our bodies after the stress of the day. Take small naps/rests during the day to pace energy. Good sleep is our best immune booster.
  • Movement helps keep toxins from congesting our body and manifesting in colds and flus.
  • Food that fits the season, warming and nourishing, with raw food in small servings gives us energy, balances our weight and keeps us de-congested; then we rarely need to have a cold or flu. Think non-wheat grains, lots of veggies, nuts, beans, grass-fed organic meat and poultry, wild fish, cold-pressed oils, herb teas and coffees, natural sweeteners and condiments. And the biggest food trick for most of us to avoid illness is: EAT LESS.
  • Do regular cleanses; include herbs for parasites. This is a HUGE flu preventive and overall perk.
  • Supplements include: vitamin A, C and D; echinacea in small doses a few days/week, garlic, digestive enzymes, adrenal support; elderberry concentrates in small doses, homeopathic flu prevention monthly and zinc are a few immune builders when life is stressful.
  • About the flu shot: I don’t recommend it unless a patient is afraid not to have it and use alternative methods to boost immunity and build health.

Treating a cold or flu:

  1. Fevers are therapeutic; only medicate if life-threatening.
  2. Stop eating or eat as lightly as you can. You can stop a flu/cold in its tracks if you do this immediately.
  3. Take echinacea, astragalus or elderberry extract, homeopathic aconite or oil of oregano. Everyone has their favourite, just take it IMMEDIATELY. Once the process takes hold, we’re usually down for a few days.
  4. Rest, rest, rest. If you can’t, you’ll probably be “sick” longer.
  5. Make sure bowels are regular.
  6. Stay warm: baths, hot compresses on chest, infra-red sauna (if feeling strong enough)
  7. Hot fluids: ginger tea, chicken broth, lemon water with raw honey, other herb teas.
  8. Stay positive and smile.


The Carp Ridge Learning Centre is the perfect venue for a variety of workshops, conferences, retreats, discussion groups, creative activities, children, youth and adult programs, drumming, meditation and yoga classes, etc.



Located 20 min. from Kanata and 30 min. from downtown Ottawa, the Learning Centre provides a tranquil country setting close to the metropolitan area. The centre is a large, one-room cedar clad building surrounded by woodlands and walking trails.


  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Comfortably accommodates up to 30 people
  • Large windows provide natural light
  • Wood stove
  • 2 washrooms
  • Small kitchen.

Costs: $200 per full day, $125 per half day

Reserve for your event today:

As you might know from reading my blog, I’ve been putting up with nagging lower back and joint pain for almost three years, trying this and that, getting some results, but not yet having complete success.  I’ve never given in to thinking that this was simply part of aging and always figured that I would come back to a pain-free state.

Well I’m onto my next experiment: Liquid Gym in Bells Corners, a centre with treadmills and exercise bikes under water (among many other offerings, complete with physiotherapists covered by OHIP).  Yesterday I had my intro session with owner Karen Snyder, who showed me what to do on a treadmill in warm water up to my neck, watching my legs on a screen in front of me.  I have been a supporter of Karen’s for years, but never thought of doing this therapy for myself.  She has many inspirational stories of people much more disabled than me who have recovered from injuries and illnesses like strokes through her state of the art equipment.  A woman in the dressing room confided that her sciatica, which had not responded to anything in eight years, had become significantly better in three sessions and was now gone.  She just came for prevention.  There are also athletes who come for training.

After the one session, my back didn’t hurt last night, when the ache is usually worst, but was higher in the morning.  Karen sent me a brief email to see how I was and on hearing this recommended ice, 20 minutes on and off, three times.  I never considered using ice for such a little pain, but it worked!

Too soon to say much, but I’ll report results in the next newsletter.

If you’re interested in trying Liquid Gym out for yourself, here’s the link: or 613-820-8228.

Maybe we’ll cross paths!

warm regards,


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January 2015
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