Tag Archives: grief

Be Knowing the Opposite of Love 

I am a feelings girl. 

I no longer apologize for this. 

I feel things deeply. 

I am impacted by the words and even vibe of the people around me. 

I know this. 

Now, I harness this. 

People are powerful. 

We have emotions that fuel behaviour. 

We have passions. 

We have love!  

In my personal journey that I entered into as I walked through the gift of grief, the loss of my mama, I saw love.  

Pure love that no amount of pain could suppress. 

One moment my mama would be writhing and the next moment my boys would walk through the door.  

In that single moment, a smile would come on my mama’s face. Her eyes would open up and she would see them. She would hear them. She would be fully present and LOVING!  


On this journey, I also learned the opposite of love and it wasn’t what I had thought. 

During my four decades of life, I have surmised that the opposite of love was the feelings, thoughts and actions of hate. I realized the untruth of all of this. 

The incongruency. 

The inconsistency. 

I witnessed people, people I dearly love, be silent.  

Be unpresent. 

Eyes closed. 

Ears firmly shut. 

I asked them “why” and implored them to tell me “What could I do differently?”.

I received no responses. 

I had to sit with no answers. 

And then the moment hit me that the opposite of love had never been hate. 

Hate allows for discussion, emotion, action of some sort.  

The opposite of love has never been hate. 

It’s apathy. 

The nothingness. 

The unresponse.  

Love and hate are actions. 

Apathy is lethargy. 

Action and apathy are opposite. 

Apathy is meeting people to go sledding and one person decides to take a nap on the top of the ski hill.  This is not love! 

Apathy is inviting someone over for a two hour birthday party and they fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the party. (Note: The person is in their 30’s!). This is not love! 

Apathy is talking to someone daily and seeing someone weekly and then never being invited over to their house again.  They end up texting to tell you they are selling the house. This is not love! 

Apathy is having your phone in front of your face when someone is trying to have a heartfelt conversation. This is not love! 

Living in my gift of grief and my apathy examples, I implore you to be awake to love and aware of apathy.   


Keep your eyes open.  

Ears ready to hear.  

Be present. 

Be loving. 

I am a feelings girl 

Apathy is brutal! 

I no longer apologize for this. 

Nothingness is worse than hatred. 

I feel things deeply. 

I am impacted by the words and even vibe of the people around me. 

I know this. 

Now I harness this. 
I don’t spend time with apathetic people. 

People are powerful. 

If THEY choose to be! 

Overflowing with love, with action and knowing it’s opposite. 💖

Lessons from a Super Nana who would be celebrating her 75th birthday this week!   I love you Mama. 😘 Joanna 

Be Having Spongy Strategies

A little while ago, I went on my facebook live to talk about “standards” and got all us thinking about whose standards we are living by.  Our parents? Our culture? Our teachers or coaches?  Our pastors?   In the video, I also talked about: “What is the standard of being a good person?”.  Being a good person used to be my standard.  Now, my standard is LOVE, giving love. Freely, without barter.  Like these words that I pour out through my feelings and thoughts into this blog.  Giving freely with no expectations of any behaviour. I encourage you to listen to this facebook live and ponder your own personal standards.

After considering my own standard for living life, I became overwhelmed with depth of feeling about what I was dealing with in my daily life. These past weeks have been a deep, cherished growing time.   I work part time as a Physical Education teacher, I run a full time nutrition business that I am very passionate about.  I am loving on an elderly labrador retriever.  Add on to my plate running a VRBO guest house, creating time to write and workout all while pouring love and being present to three beautiful boys, that will give you a small snapshot of daily life.   As my husband has been travelling in Asia the last few weeks, my sponge has gotten more and more full.  I can tell that the sponge has become too full, as one night I yelled at my boys to put on their pajamas.  Really!  Yup, yelling, crying, feeling disgust and not being open are my ways of knowing my sponge is becoming full! Do you know your feelings that arise as your sponge gets saturated? And what the f does one do with those feelings?

Let me give you the privilege to share what I did this past week to make it to the end of the week still upright, continually smiling and still living within my standard.

Every day I move my body.

In some way.  Anyway.  Kitchen dance party or going to the gym.

I find a way.

Laugh.

Find someone who always makes you laugh or listen to something.

Find a way to laugh.

Bath.

Showering helps too!

There is something that is very refreshing and soothing about water.

Even though your sponge is full, find a way to get water moving around your body.

Limit your input.

For one day this week, I did not check any type of social media.

I purposely stayed in the “real world”, present to what was going on around me.

I found a way to have less input and more me.

Go within.

Pull the curtain back.

Look in the dark corners.

Thank those places that brought out the anger, the tears, the disgust.  Allow them to be.

That’s where I find me.

Hiding in the back, around the corner.  Truly me.

Live through the spongy times.

Fully awake to what you are feeling.

Knowing they will take you to a deep place.

A place to learn, to grow, to create roots to keep you from blowing over in the stormy weather.

A place to create an even larger sponge to deal with what comes your way in life.

A place to feel deeply.  Look deeply.  Be Deep.

Time to rinse out that sponge.

With one deep breath.

With the “spongy strategies” from the gift of grief from my mama.

Move.

Laugh.

Water.

Limit.

Go within.

xoxo Joanna

Be Awake 

Awake.  

The world around me sleeps. 

Calm, rhythmic breathing, like a heartbeat.  

Steady.  

Predictable.  

Breath.  

Awake. 

Pondering the dying.  

Their raspy, grasping breath, like a tight fist holding on.  

Wavelike. 

Unpredictable.  

Breath. 
Awake.  

Allowing my thoughts to tumble.  

My thoughts to jumble. 

My heart to mumble.   

Mumbo jumbo. 

Awake.  

Allowing myself to be, just as I am.  

Awake.  

Open. 

Pondering.  

Unafraid to feel. 

Deeply.  

Awake.  

Alive.  

Outside in. 

Coming out of the fog of oversaturated information from the world around me. 

Going within. 

Fully alive and awake to what is happening around me.  

Living inside out.  

Rightside up.  

Standing strong. 

Weak in the knees.  

Pondering a future on earth without one of my role models, my overcomers, my heros! 

Awake.   

Steady.  

Feeling.  

Inside out. 

Facing forward.   

Looking into the unknown.  

Be Having a New View 

When do you feel your knees shake or your mouth turn to sandpaper?  What makes your mind spin with emotionally charged random thoughts? 

For me, up until today, it was that building with the gigantic H on the top of it. Yessiree Bob, the hospital. 

Knee shaking. 

Sandpaper mouth. 

Mind blowing. 

Emotional muscle building hospital. 

I walked through seven years, um I mean days, of hospital time with my mom exactly three and a half years ago. If you followed my blog back then you know this meant pain, excruciating pain, worried nurses who thought they were going to kill my mom with pain meds, a stolen chair, sleeping on said chair and a final ambulance ride in the snow with my mama to the incredible hospice house. 

Hell 

Healing.  

Stretching. 

Restoring. 


Today, I walked into the hospital to see another dearly beloved family member.  I didn’t want to go, but my peeps are so much more important than any discomfort that I may feel.  I put on my armour, remembered what I learned in my last journey and walked through the doors.  

Walked through the doors with a “New View”, knowing that I had experiences that could help, a story that could support others and the keen sense to find tea, be in the right place at the right time and know the questions to ask when that magic right time happens. 

Shit, I have learned something and grown into it!  

I walked through the valley of he shadow of death, embraced it, rowed the waves of grief through it and now I can see the sun! I can see hope!  I can see a completely New View.  

Standing strong. 

Calm, steady words. 

Mind calming. 

Emotional muscle built hospital. 

The gift of grief keeps on giving and will for the rest of my life. My mom’s life and death had been one of my greatest teachers.  It brought me to my knees and helped me learn to stand.  Let this five all my fellow grief journeyers hope.  

Standing in my truth. 

With my experience. 

Soaring in my gifts. 

With my journey. 

Soaking in my New View. 


With love and gratitude for all that I can do and share. This post is dedicated to a beautiful couple who are our role models and the hospital that is supporting them in their journey. 

Be Leaving a Legacy 

Words often can’t do moments justice, except maybe if you are an Inuit person who has fifty words to describe snow. 

Today, I had an incredible moment where my mom showed her heart and the legacy that she has left myself, my boys, her family and her friends.  I pray that my words will do this moment justice.  

Since my mom died three years ago, there are a few memory making places that I haven’t been back to because of circumstances or choice.  The beautiful Cottage Day Spa with the extraordinary human being, Pam, was one of those places I chose not to go.  The Cottage Day Spa holds a very special place in my heart as it is a place where my mom felt peace and was truly cared for, in body, mind and spirit.   Pam has a gift to share and a beautiful Cottage to share it in.  


For my mom’s last birthday, I planned an elaborate surprise birthday party including a limousine scavenger hunt, poster collage, brunch at her favourite restaurant and an afternoon with Pam at The Cottage for a facial.  

Jump forward three years and I hadn’t made an appointment to see Pam. Before Christmas of this year, was when I ran into Pam for the first time.  I hadn’t seen her in years.  I then ran into Pam a second time in the parking lot of our ski hill about a month ago and I knew it was time to go back for a visit. 

Today, I stepped into The Cottage Day Spa.  The memories of coming with my mom enveloped me. She was always so full of joy coming here.  Truly free and truly happy. Today, I was shocked when I sat down and Pam pulled out this note from my file: 


Before my mom died, she paid for my treatment today! Pam honoured my mom’s legacy gift to me from over three years ago and today I was given the most relaxing, kind, beautiful, mom-inspired facial.  

Legacy. 

Living legacy.  

Loving. 

Learning.  

Giving.  

Thoughtful.  

Kind. 

My mom’s legacy.  

What will you be leaving as a legacy through your thoughts and deeds? 

My hope is to leave a legacy of:

✨ My love of ALL people. 

✨ Being a river of money, constantly supporting and passing on. 

✨ Home being a place of peace and joy. 

✨ My desire to be strong and athletic.  

✨ My moments of creativity and inspiration through solitary actions of writing, painting and photography. 

✨ My gratitude for God’s divine moments in our lives woven through people, greatness, mistakes and living imperfectly perfect.  

My legacy. 

My mom’s legacy.  

My inheritance.  

My heart interwoven through her constant encouragement and presence in our lives. 

Forever and always. 

Amen. 

Be Living A Brut-iful Life!

img_8886 As I sit, ponder and let my mind wander, I think of all of you reading this 2017 message. Each of my Facebook friends and all 996 of you that follow my blog. I want to pour out extra love to everyone going through their sprinkling of brutal and beautiful as I did three years ago.  Couldn’t that be all of us?  Isn’t life imperfectly perfect?  What a brut-iful life we are living here in the stunning Okanagan Valley!  A sprinkle of brutal, but ALWAYS beautiful!

Three years ago, I walked with my mom as she was being released into heaven.  I walked as a daughter, an advocate, a pain reliever, a massager, a water getter, a midwife and had to make phone calls that I never thought I would have to, I think back at how brut-iful these moments were.  Brutal moments where I just have to lie down and cry and beautiful moments where I lie down and rejoice!  All magically weaved together into living each day with the gift of grief.

My boys were playing in their “Astronomer’s Lair” a few days ago, and I was very surprised to walk in and see them playing with old Tupperware bins.   I experienced one of my brut-iful moments when they proceeded to inform me that the extra bed was a place for their beloved Nana.  It was a lying down rejoicing and crying kind of moment!  The boys were 2, 4 and 6 when my marvelous Mama went to heaven, but she is still very much present in our lives!   It is slowly moving from brutal memories into beautiful moments.  Don’t underestimate your power to leave an impact on peoples lives!

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As I send  you wishes for an healthy, energetic, adventurous 2017 filled with dreams, may you savour all your brut-iful moments knowing that they are neither good nor bad, they just are.

Day by day.

Beautiful.

Brutal.

Memory-Making.

Healthy.

Living EVERY day.

Brut-iful living.

Brut-iful life!

Smooch, Joanna

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Be Walking out your Grief 

It is such a privilege to walk with someone and hear their story about living through the death of their precious mama.  

This is a treasure. 

It is an incredible gift to hear how someone is truly feeling about their life on any given day because of packed scheduled, presentations, or sleepless nights. 

This is rich.  

It is profound to get to know so many people negotiating grief while experiencing divorce, death, dog bites, loss of jobs, moving… The list is endless.  

This grief journey is priceless. 

I am blessed to be having these deep conversations on a daily basis now that I have been sitting in my own gift of grief. 


I am now learning to walk it out.  

Honesty, most days I still want to hide.  

I am broken inside. 

I am softer and more affected by life.  

My heart leaks out of my eyes at unexpected moments, like today when beautiful Crystal told me she was proud of me.  

I want to lie on my laundry room floor and pray and wonder and ponder and rest.  

But, I know I need to walk it out. 

My lying down days are gone.  

I have lying down moments, like today in Superstore, which I still really enjoy. They no longer need to humble me for the whole day. 

I get out and walk. 

I talk. 

I swim. 

I write and play with words.  

I run. 

And I talk to people, lots of them because I love people.  

I bike.  

I workout.  

I do this to keep working things out. 

My body moves. 

My relationships grow. 

My minds ponders.  

My gift of grief keeps unpacking itself.  

Into this deep place where I am now able to have the privilege to walk with others.  

In their grief.  

On their own personal journey.  

Walking it out.  

What a blessing. 

I am blessed.  

I am enough. 

Each breathe. 

Each day.  

I am enough.  

Be Working Out to Work Things Out 

It was snowing this morning when I woke up. 🌨

Large. 

Fluffy. 

Snowflakes.  ❄️

It was cold. 

I lifted my head off the warm pillow, put on my work out clothes and headed out the door. 

Gloves and toques on. 

(Sidenote: sending love to Joan and Christina this morning💜) 

And then I ran.  

On the road, around the trails, under the ski lift.  

I ran to work things out this Thanksgiving weekend. 🍗

I work out as much for my body as for my mind. 

I have encountered grief many times in my life through friendships lost, moving, injuries, and the loss of my beautiful mama. 

I have watched people journey through grief during the process of divorce, their children aging, losing a job, gaining weight, not getting a contract and even not meeting a business goal.  

Grief is a daily journey.  It is a daily gift to take us to a deeper place as human beings. 

Awake.  

Feeling. 

Beings. 

In this grief that I have felt and witnessed through others, I see that we have FOUR choices, daily, sometimes moment by moment choices: 

1. First, we can numb ourselves with an outside substances or activity.  I tried nightly alcoholic drinks for awhile after my mom died, my greatest grief journey, but this just numbed me even more, so now I rarely drink.  If what you are doing is not allowing you to feel, then consider taking a break from the substance or activity.  I take rest days now in my workout weeks, thank you Coach Garry.  This has helped me tremendously as I choose not to numb. The greatest gift we have is to feel.  

2. Create a life of busyness and be a human doing is a second choice that I had to ponder and overcome.   This perpetual busyness allows us to keep going, feeling productive, going through the motions, but not living as a human being.  This “get ‘r done” girl knows this one well. I now purposely take time throughout my day to pray, meditate and be. It is important to feel as we live with grief. 


3. A third choice would be putting our ‘stuff’ onto other people.   We need to be 100% owners of our grief journey.  No two peoples will look the same.  We can walk side-by-side momentarily with people, but we won’t always walk together for long.  The feelings and thoughts that grief unfolds is as unique as each individual person.  Be gentle with yourself.  Be gentle with others.   Anger showered towards other people is an energy suck.  Bless and release.  Thoughts about others journeys is pointless.  Bless and release.  Telling others how it will be is a lie.  No one knows what grief will unfold for people. Who knew I would become a triathlete author who loves loves loves helping people be their healthiest selves through a nutritional system I discovered one November day at boot camp? We can only share where we are coming from and then allow other grief journeyers choose what will fit for them.  

4. We have one more choice, that I see on this journey. Sit, lie, walk, workout and stand in our grief.  Feeling it deeply with gentleness. Allowing ourselves to go to a deeper emotional place in whatever ‘position’ helps you grieve.  

My laundry room is my sanctuary.  This is where I lie. A place where I can be alone and lie on the floor, feeling my emotions. I lay there yesterday, crying, feeling, thinking and shifting.  I reached out to a divine-inspired friend, shared my heart, felt, prayed and then shifted my state.  

This morning, I ran. I worked out to give my mind time to churn. Space to think about my mom who always created magical holiday memories.   Time to be in nature and allow myself to feel.  

And now I stand.  I am ready to celebrate this magical thanksgiving weekend with my boys.  I have proactively processed and know I can react to anything that comes my way. 


Numbing. 

Busyness. 

Owning. 

Feeling. 

Our grief. 

Our feelings. 

Our journeys. 

Walking alongside those fellow awake, heartfelt people.  

Keep going my beautiful friends. 

Working out to work things out.  

You are not alone.  

Be Living In Between 

⚡️I had always thought that if you worked hard enough, you will get where you want to go.   Magically, everything would just all fall into place.  Nope I am still living “in between”. 

⚡️I had always thought there was a magic wand where “poof” healing would come after my mom had died and all would be well.  But all isn’t well. I feel things incredible deeply when I find out a friend’s mom has cancer or a preschool friend has cancer or a surgeon treats a friend poorly, just like what happened to my mom.  Sometime “in between” just sucks.  

⚡️I had always thought that if I did ‘my work’, communicated kindly and directly that all would be well.  I thought my relationships would flourish and we would all sing “kombiya” together.   I have some relationships with my family of origin that I couldn’t even consider “in between”, they are non-existent.  

⚡️I had always thought that if I reached certain goals in my life that all would be well.  I envisioned that life would be more fun and that there would be an ease or flow to it.  I have reached those goals, but I still sit “in between” as those goals have now changed.  


THIS I NOW KNOW FOR SURE… 

✨ I am “doing less” throughout my days, but I have never experienced so many more incredible opportunities coming into my life. These “in between” places are BEAUTIFUL.    I have more quiet times, more moments of “no coincidences” where I have to lie down and less ‘busyness’.

✨ My healing is a journey not a destination to be tackled. Actually, I don’t even know where my healing journey is going to take me next! Being “in between” the healing journey creates MIRACLES.   It has deepened my relationships, helped me focus on what’s important and allowed me the privilege to see into the beautiful hearts of women like Heather, whom I met today.  

✨ Relationships are like a game of baseball, each person needs to be willing to catch the ball.  I have been playing a ton of catch with my “people’s” back to me.  Imagine a baseball game looking like that?  You can only apologize so much, talk so much, and try to get someone to play for so long.  “In between” relationships are RAD because they mean I am REALLY free to be me.  

✨ It is truly each moment that makes life sweet…moment after moment.   Every day I love savouring the weather, the age of my boys, the laughter at myself when things go wrong, the watching as our dreams unfold.  Step by step, one lunch box making, wrestling match breaking, toy taking and sheer joy making day at a time.  “In between” is a SWEET place to be. 

Life is powerful when we are awake to the processes “in between” 

To the beauty and spaces that surrounds us every day.  

To people’s eyes. 

To people’s stories.  

To the sheer grandeur of the non-coincidences that unfold before me.  

The presence of God. 

Doing less. 

Being more. 

Healing and… 

Being broken. 

Playing catch. 

Facing forward. 

Leaning in. 

Moment by moment. 

In between. 

Awake. 

Savouring. 

Tasting.  

Enjoying.    

Knowing for sure that RIGHT NOW… 

I am ENOUGH! 

Living “in between” 

Be Off Track

I was a racehorse running a race on a track that I hadn’t signed up for.

Living the life that I thought was expected.

Trying hard to be ‘good” to all people, but myself.

I was running hard and fast.

I was constantly pushed around the track by the daily winds and the other horse and riders.

Feeling like I could never train enough, do enough or be enough to run the race.

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One day my main cheerleader, my amazing listener, my main supporter, my incredible mama died.

This horse stopped dead in her tracks.

I chose to hit the pasture in the middle of the race course.

I made a decision to eat some of the best food on the planet right now.

I decided to rest with the other horses on the inside of the race course.

I stopped in my tracks.

I went off track!

Yup, that’s me in the middle of the race course hanging out, living out of this race called life.

I am off the track.

AND I FLIPPIN LOVE IT!

My expectations on myself and those I choose to be in relationship with are GONE!

My idea of what my life could look like has completely changed.

My time is precious, the greatest gift that I can share on this earth.

I am full of gratitude!

I am able to be myself.

Full of thoughts tumbling in my head and words pouring out of my fingers as a Wordsmith.

Energy radiating out of my being as I move through my day.

Love flowing from my heart for those I see living life around me and through the beautiful medium of Facebook.

Peace sitting within my being as I hold and allow myself to be imperfectly where I am.

Honest, authentic and often waaaaaaay to blunt for some people’s likings.

Yup, me hanging out off track!

AND DID I TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE IT?

Love a duck, I am the most fortunate woman in the world.

I have found my path in life, the way I am meant to wander.

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Off track.

In the trees, like I am ten years old.

Playing in the powder with my boys.

Full of emotion, wet kisses and lots of hugs.

Having the time of my life as I play, make mistakes, learn and LIVE in all areas of my life!

I am alive!

Off track.

AND LOVING IT!