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YOUR people... and how you know.

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In interviews, I’m often asked what my most fundamental belief is.

I have many... as do you.

My mama’s mantra: “Don’t postpone joy," is ever a chart-topper.

But the one that I tend to find myself saying is most often:

“YOUR people want you to succeed.”

It may seem pat, but when I feel into what it is that folx listening need to hear and know? It’s that.

“YOUR people want you to succeed.”

Hear this though:

NOT EVERYONE.
But YOUR people do.

In my household, we have been reciting Maya Angelou’s axiom “When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” since my Kid was old enough to have her heart broken by her peers.

But who are YOUR people?

It’s a question I try to answer as best as I can.

I say things like:

They are the ones committed to you knowing what you are HERE for.
They are the ones committed to you showing up in your PRESENCE.
The ones who are not afraid of your power.
The ones who encourage you to know your self.
The ones who encourage you to show yourself reverence.

But Nayyirah Waheed says it so much more clearly. Like she does.

This is NOW what we ask in our household when we are trying to discern our people:

Are they expanders?
Are they contractors?
Or are they neutral?

This IS how you know.

This is how you know who to COUNT on.
This is how you know who to RELEASE.
And this is how you know who can stick around... at least for the time being.

This is how you know who YOUR people are.

And trust me.
YOUR people want you to succeed.
That’s just true. (They told me so.)

How do you know who YOUR people are? Comment below and let me know.


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I wanted to take some time to make sure you know about some of the fantastic things MY business friends are up to. The ones whose stories make ME expand. In the hopes that they will do the same for you.

My pal Theresa Reed is some kind of magic. That’s just truth. And every Sunday I receive her Astro-Biz digest. And it’s how I map out my week. Now you know. And now you can too. (Unrelated...we share a love of noodles.)

Tara McMullin has been one of my most trusted business besties for close to a decade. I am lucky that way. And she is convening her next Venture Mastermind/Montana retreat right now.It’s not going to be for everyone... but it’s for some big thinking business folx ready to VENTURE. Maybe it’s for you?

Jo Casey is running a free class on Saturday the 20th of October (replays available for those who register and can’t make it) called How To Create An Unstoppable Business where she’ll go through her (BRILLIANT) methodology and provide a framework for building an authentic and profitable coaching or healing business. You can sign up here. She’s a marvel.

You know how people talk about creating Patreon page but don’t know how to go about doing so... or even if it’s the right thing? Monica Herald is offering a brainstorming/ exploratory call for those considering Patreon as a creative playground that offers sustainability and community. Cost? $100. You can read more here.

Stay tuned for some pretty boss things happening in MY business.
Expanding and deepening.
My favourite energies.

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Two words no one EVER wants to see on a feedback form...

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The two words no one EVER wants to see on a feedback form?

“VERY POOR.”

And yet, I did.

It was just this past June. I mean, I survived, ‘n all, but still. Settle in.

I had been speaking at a conference in Florida. It felt fantastic. I was connecting with the audience and could even feel the naysayers coming around. There was laughter and tears of recognition and relief and a huge line of well-wishers after the fact. All signs pointed to #stellar.

So when the email came in with the results of the feedback form a couple of weeks later, I ignored my own rule about reading emails on the weekend as I was eagerly anticipating the sweet nectar of glorious praise. Because yum, right?

My eyes scanned the results, passed the rows of “excellent” and landed on the one “very poor.” I stared so hard it burned my retina.

I felt sick and I immediately thought of the pitch proposal ready to go out the next morning for another gig. My only thought was: Nope. Not gonna do this again.

Okay. Let’s pause here.

I’ve been at this speaking business long enough to know better and yet, I was hooked. 
I’ve been at this Impostor Complex work long enough to know better and yet, I was hooked.

Lie #3 of the Impostor Complex is that we are “all or nothing,” remember? So although this is my work, I keep coming around and around and around to it.

Clearly, I am sharing this moment of abject human-being because I know you get hooked too. It’s what we do. We want praise. And we want to avoid criticism. That’s just true. I've heard Oprah say that every single guest on her show (Gloria Steinem! Sidney Poitier!) over the years asked her how they did when the cameras stopped rolling.

So I got hooked, but I didn’t get stopped. Because that’s what the Impostor Complex would have me do. Stay out of action. Feel alone and isolated. Doubt my capacity.

Here’s what I did instead:

  1. I allowed myself to feel it all. The petulance. The snark. The nastiness. The shame. The disappointment. Then I tore my eyes away from those two words, closed them, and required myself to take in the truth as I felt it on that stage as well as the emails I’d received in the days that followed the gig. Sense of capacity restored.

  2. I reached out to a dear friend who facilitates a LOT. She had some wise counsel and plenty of compassion. She helped me to dig into the balance of the feedback and get to the honey of the evaluation. No one needs to do any of this alone. 

  3. And I made the pitch for the next gig. (Which I won.) Action for the win.

Happily ever after, yes?

It was. But still.

With all of that said? I’ll confess that it wasn’t until yesterday when I spoke with that client again who shared that I was, in the end, the top-rated speaker of the conference that I could fully receive the praise and glowing comments living in that feedback form:

  • amazing job

  • very entertaining

  • content was powerful

  • thought-provoking

  • SO IMPRESSED!!!

  • lively presentation style with great charisma

  • The content was INCREDIBLY relevant

  • This is probably my biggest takeaway of the whole conference

  • Tanya is a great speaker

  • LOVED her, the topic, the messages

So, yeah. I know better. But still so much for me to know much MUCH better.

In love and all humanness,

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This interview with Michelle and Nicole of The Sparkle Hour was pure delight. We talked about joy and grief and activation and sparkles and it was exquisite. (And they even said so!)

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I’m celebrating YOU. You made my birthday last week some kind of wonderful. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.


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Happy Birthday to us, TG!

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Hey, You -

You did it, boo. You really did it. Another cycle around the sun.

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See those fabulous lines around your mouth and eyes?
Let’s talk about them.

You didn’t sleep, move and hydrate enough.
It’s okay.
You’ve had your hands full.
Let’s recap.

You lost your Dad and found the ground still firm beneath you.
You’re deepening into the analysis of your work with the Impostor Complex. And it is LIFE.
The Kid is rocking high school.
You made good on your promises to others...and even kept many to yourself.
Your clients are kicking ass and taking names.
Your near-health scare and a near-car accident reminded you twice in three weeks that life is precious and not to be taken lightly.
And.
You’ve taken life lightly and that was good too.
You’ve loved your man big and wide and deep and true.
Your speaking is on fire.
You felt the mountain rain.
You spread Dad’s ashes everywhere in France that he requested, and found laughter and tears in all the spots.
You launched a super useful quiz that helps folx unpack the impact of the Impostor Complex.
You let some people go who didn’t value your love and time and affections. With ease.
You welcomed in many more. Your people. Your really REAL people.
You beautified your home with a new backyard.
You journeyed with thirty women in the Starring Role Academy and you will never ever ever be the same. (In the words of one of your truest loves, “give thanks”.)
You tried to get along with Instagram.
You spent precious time with the family you were given and spent sacred time with the family you chose. (Like this one who just knows.)
You said hard things. And you held back on saying a couple of hard things too. (Let’s not do that any longer, okay?)
You gave and received.
You wrote good words and your beloved readers told you that they were so. And you hope that you have managed to convey your deepest gratitude for them.
You celebrated the micro steps. You learned from the missed steps. You integrated the meaningful steps. And you stepped up.

And so today, you will celebrate. You will do the thing you have said for the last ten years that you would like to do. No work, just rest in celebration. This is one more promise you have made to yourself that you will keep today. You can celebrate that too.

Tomorrow is a new day. And what a day filled with surprises for some. Maybe even for you.

And the year ahead?
Still so bright, you’re gonna needs shades. And to roll up your sleeves. There’s work to be done.
And I’m here for it.

Love love,
Me

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Three truths.

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I swear that I WILL give you a rest from hearing about my Kid entering into high school... soon. But for the moment, it’s still a grade-A biggie for me.

As her parent, for sure. I shared why this was so significant over on Instagram this week.

But also, as a student of the Impostor Complex. You see, my daughter is now of the age that I was when I started to notice the Impostor Complex in myself

Or rather, she is the age I was when I started to exhibit the behavioural traits that we run to to avoid feeling like the Impostor... or to cope with feeling like an Impostor.

The people-pleasing.
The leaky boundaries.
The comparison.
The diminishment.
The perfectionism.
The procrastination (okay... that may have begun pre-high school).

I didn’t know that’s what it was, mind you. And it’s taken me most of my teen years, 20s, 30s, and 40s to understand why I would try to run and hide in those behaviours that were doing me more harm than good. Because you can run, but you cannot hide.

That much has always been clear.

But it’s ALSO clear that in spite of the false starts and insecurities and disconnections and miseries endured from not doing what I’ve claimed I’ve wanted to do, I can see that all along I have ACTUALLY known three truths, and they have guided me up every hill I’ve ever desired to climb:

  1. I don’t have to go this alone. I CAN. But I don’t have to.
  2. I’ve done hard things before. And I can look to those accomplishments as proof of my capacity.
  3. And when the desire is greater than my fear, those fears will not - cannot - stop me.

That’s what I want to remember.
That’s what I want my daughter to remember.
And that’s what I want YOU to remember.

Today.
Every day.

PS - If you want to know which of the behavioural traits of the Impostor Complex is in YOUR way, be sure to take my quiz!


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We’ve been cooking up a beta for a six-week coaching program on Unshakeable Confidence that is limited to 20 people. We’re announcing it next week to the public AND we’ve already sold close to half the spots just by opening our big mouths about it on Instagram (more reason to follow me there!). If you want more info, hit reply and we’ll give you the goods.

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COOKIES. Because first day of high school means we make cookies with pals, doesn’t it? With sprinkles and all the chocolate chips in the cupboard and all the cinnamon? Isn’t THAT how we hang onto to the moments by our fingernails? Probably not, but it was a delicious attempt in any case.

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Jen Louden is a love and a friend and has been a client, but mostly what I want you to know is she does a fantastic job supporting creatives to stay committed to their voices and to be resilient.

She recently wrote, "Fear camouflages itself as confusion and keeps brilliant creative women from the pleasures and successes of a fully expressed life. And fear’s number one choice when trying to trip you up? Your inability to choose. Your refusal to take a seat at the table of desire. To say, 'I want this! And I am willing to work for it!’” Can you relate?!

Jen is working to turn fear of choosing into clarity and ACTION. She’s offering a free challenge to guide you to choose your next creative project with love and in a spirit of enoughness. It starts September 10 for one week ONLY and you can sign up here - so go sign up!

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If you just don’t feel like yourself...

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Every day this week - one full week before the official school year begins - we’ve watched our daughter head off to her new high school (!!!), backpack and high ponytail bouncing off behind her.

Her new school has offered what they call “transition week." We haven’t really known what that was, so have been calling it “boozeless frosh week." But we’ve discovered it’s largely a settling in of taking subways, finding lockers, getting student ID pics, and getting the kids acclimatized for what they keep threatening will be the fast pace of grade 9. And if I’m guessing, I’d say also designed to settle the butterflies of overprotective parents (ahem).

She’s been asking me a ton about high school. We’ve been sharing our highs and lows. Mostly the highs for me. I came ALIVE in high school.

At some point in an epic basement cleanout over the summer, I came across alllllll of my yearbooks. Every last one that I thought I had lost over several moves. Starting from grade 8 all the way through to grade 13 (and if you didn’t know how old I was before and you live in Ontario, NOW you have a sense.)

Stay with me for this next boring point about Ontario’s public school system. Some middle schools went from grade 7-9 and the corresponding high school started in grade 10. That was the track I was on. Other high schools started in grade 9... like my kid’s school.

My middle school years were unpleasant. And so I left the stream after grade 9 and made a fresh start at a new and different high school where I knew no one but two cool guys I coached tennis with. (Which was my version of cool back in the day. Yep.)

But when asked why I left years later, I couldn’t ever really put my finger on it. It wasn’t like I was BULLIED in middle school. I wasn’t in TROUBLE. History is a funny thing and time can either harden or soften the edges. All I recall in my retelling of why I chose to leave the track I was on was that “I just didn’t feel myself.”

My daughter has been curious about that language: “I just didn’t feel like myself.”

And then we opened up my grade 9 yearbook. And she SAW. And I SAW. 
 

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That was the picture my peers chose of me. That was the pose they put me in. They said I looked like Micky Dolenz from the Monkees (never mind the misspelling on my t-shirt). And something about having smelly feet. Okay. Ouch, but okay.

And I, of course, was not the only one poked fun of. The kid who struggled with her weight was put in a sumo suit. The boy who, well... I won’t say more. Let’s just say each of our insecurities were amplified and caricaturized. And far worse. Homophobic, ableist, and racist visual “jokes” on every page. “Hey, lighten up”,right? “It’s just kid’s stuff back in the mid-80’s!”

My daughter was horrified to see the drawings. Wondered who the staff advisor was who allowed for such cruelty.

And thennnnnnnnn we got to the yearbook comments and signatures. Yikes. All but a few were mean-spirited, snarky, thinly-veiled insults. I kept seeing her watch me out of the corner of her eye, wondering how I turned out so well. Feeling her 14-year-old self wanting to reach my 14-year-old self.

We couldn’t get through them all together, my daughter and I. She even proposed we burn the book.

I said: “I told you I didn’t feel like myself there."

Because you know what I see in those eyes of mine? Not a kid who didn’t like herself. Naw. She liked herself juuuuuust fine. But a kid who wasn’t liked. Who wasn’t celebrated. And she couldn’t quite figure out why.

So she decided to leave and go where she might find her people.

And she did.

She started fresh at an entirely new high school. It meant leaving the classmates that she had been with for ten years and going to an entirely different area of the city. It meant disobeying her parents in her first real act of rebellion by sneaking out of the house to enrol herself in said out-of-district school. It meant big fights and lots of tears. It meant uncertainty and lonely lunches for the first month. But she needed to do it.

And she found her people. Many of whom are in her inner circle to this day. Her greatest champions, advocates, and challengers. Her chosen extended family.

It’s not easy to make another choice.

They are often not celebrated.
They are often uncertain and unsure.
But if you have choices available and staying the course is threatening to cause harm to your spirit, you must make it. You must take it.

Especially if on this current track, you don’t feel like yourself.

What is the BEST choice you ever made?


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Speaking of changing what must be changed, we are juuuuuuuuuust about ready to share with you the NEW DIRECTION of my podcast “In the Spotlight Live w/ Tanya Geisler." I am madly in love with all the conversations we had last year (you can find those conversations here), and am ready to go even DEEPER into my exploration of the Impostor Complex... uncollapsing when the barriers to leadership are INTERNAL... and when they are EXTERNAL. It’s TIME for these conversations. They may not be easy. They may be uncertain. They may be messy. And they are ESSENTIAL.

In the Spotlight Podcast with Tanya Geisler
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The business world (especially online) is constantly evolving and this can lead to excitement, opportunity, and at times, overwhelm. We’re told to work longer hours, hustle harder, follow blueprints, "crush it," and "reach six figures" at all costs.

But what if that’s leaving us exhausted, burnt out, disillusioned, and lonely?

Jo Casey is a coach for meaningful business owners and specialises in helping women overcome their feminine conditioning (the messages society gives about how to be a "good" woman) and build businesses that allow us all to thrive.

She’s put together a online, 5-day event focused on conversations about how we can create businesses and lives that are TRULY sustainable. Businesses that are sustainable ethically, emotionally, energetically, and financially.

She’s brought together some of the wisest, funniest, warmest, and most insightful women she knows to share their experiences and expertise in building their own meaningful businesses. And I’m one of them.

Join us here.

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Savouring this exquisitely bittersweet moment of the year. The space between summer and fall here in the northern hemisphere. I’m savouring these last sips of summer. The last of the peaches and the tomatoes and the hot days and thinking of apples and sweaters and fires.

One of our end-of-summer traditions, 40-some years in the making, is to go to the end of summer fair called the CNE. I’ve been taking my daughter and her bestie every year. This may be the last year they’ll let me tag along and buy them crap, but this was the first year my kid got on THAT crazy-assed ride.


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Given that, what now?

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We’ve picked up our daughter from her two-week stint at summer camp (there may have been a tear or two) and we have been reconnecting up at our in-law’s gorgeous cottage for the week.

We are enjoying books, hammock time, s’mores, Monopoly, tennis, and the rain day which saw us baking cookies and devouring lasagna.

As I type this, I hear the two of them on the lake. He’s in the canoe and she’s chasing him on the SUP. She is laughing hysterically as she splashes him with her paddle. She is fully clothed and I suspect will end up in the water soon. (Updated to add: I was correct.)

The days are still hot with a little bite of fall when the wind blows from the east.

The air is clean and the water is cleaner. This is no small thing.

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We give thanks a thousand times a day and it is still insufficient.

All of this grace led to a very complicated and necessary conversation over Monopoly around power, colonialism, white privilege, “the tax,” and generational wealth. (Everything is an opportunity for discussion if you decide to make it so.)

As ever, there were more questions raised than answers given, which has had to be fine. For the moment. Because this moment, you know? It’s truth. It’s what we have. It’s what we know. But THIS time I followed it up with the question my friend Jenn McCabe raises: “Given that, what now?”

This is a question that can cut to the quick... and the true. It won’t quit me.

The game of Monopoly will never be the same for any of us.

Giving thanks for that. And for the good questions. And for the clean water.


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Clearly, I’m savouring much these days. Including:
These intersectional feminist podcasts.
Staci Jordan Shelton’s new digital digs and her new offering ALCHEMY is SUBLIME.
The lake.
This piece from Bari Tessler on firing her CFO.

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Loved my interview with Colleen Gratzer over on Creative Boost. Alllll about the Impostor Complex. She wasn’t afraid to ask the stumpers.

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Have a podcast and want me to speak to your listeners about the Impostor Complex or Unshakeable Confidence? Email me and let's talk.


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Do the work.

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It’s DO THE WORK month in the Starring Role Academy.

There will be products launched.
Self-care regimens implemented.
Sites revealed.

Podcasts RElaunched (*raises hand*).

And a whole host of other things I will hold in sacred confidence.

But the point is... work will be done.

Hey. I know. Oh, how I know. Steve Pressfield said it best and it’s a drum we ALLL bang on.

Why? Because nothing happens without actually doing the work.

Like... nothing.

In the Academy, we’ve set ourselves up pretty well by claiming the goals, meeting our internal critics (and the Impostor Complex... daily), bolstering our sense of capacity, and gathering our cast.


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So now there’s nothing to it but to do it.

This is where the rubber meets the road.
The undeniable precipice of the DOING.

We’ve been here plenty of times, haven’t we?
Hired the personal trainer.
Signed up for the course.
Bought the book.

But if we don’t show up to the work, or lift the weights, or engage with the community, or crack the spine, we don’t get where we say we want to go. 
And boy oh boy...that’s precisely what our Impostor Complex was counting on.

Action, Loves. It’s only action that counts.

Because the work doesn’t work unless you do it.

And like I shared on Instagram: there is still plenty of time.
AND? Not all the time in the world. Get going.

PS - Speaking of “doing the work”, I have signed up for Rachel Cargle’s #dothework challenge. I’m not excited to face my own privilege and white supremacy. Which means it’s time to do so. Stay tuned.


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Grateful for this big ol’ shout out from the one and only Michelle Mazur. Listen in as she talks about the three key things she’s done to completely transform her mindset (and her results) in 2017.

And Casey Erin Wood shares how she is getting the second draft of her book done this month in the Academy, which is to say with planning, tracking, and accountability. DOING THE WORK. GORGEOUS.

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Did I tell you about the best pad thai I’ve ever had? Had some friends over Saturday night and we were shown how to do it. WAYYYY easier than I had thought. (But it’s pretty involved shopping to be certain.) Trick I’ve learned is to SOAK the noodles...not boil them. Game-changer.

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Have a podcast and want me to speak to your listeners about the Impostor Complex or Unshakeable Confidence? Hit reply and let's talk.


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Laziness or angels. And what now?

“My family is safe... but you know, we were very verrrrrry close to having gone to that area for dinner last night. Laziness kept us home. My heart breaks for everyone who was there, everyone affected... in truth, my heart's kind of breaking for EVERYONE these days.”

This was the message I wrote to my sisterfriend Staci Jordan Shelton when she asked if I was safe the day after the shooting on the Danforth here in Toronto. (As a subscriber, you may have noticed that my mailing address is a PO Box on the Danforth.)

The exchange continued:

Staci Jordan Shelton: Laziness or intuition. Either way I'm grateful you weren't anywhere near there. I'm so heartbroken for the people there.

Me: Thank you.

SJS: One day I'll tell you how being lazy kept that tree from falling on me. Thank the angels for lazy days and the willingness to listen to the pull to be lazy sometimes.

Me: Yes.Yes, you are so very, very right. I wonder just how often that happens... and then remember the grace is in the noticing... not the needing to understand.

SJS: Yes indeed... and in the heeding that small voice that tells us to slow down, be still, or "not today."

I wrote earlier this week that it doesn’t matter what took you so long.


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That there may be a hundred factors at play. Including angels nudging you back onto the couch under the guise of “laziness."

But I’m here to remind you, as I feel I do every week (and could probably do every hour): You’re here now. And what you do NOW is what matters.

The same day as 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis were shot dead for being alive in Toronto, 18-year-old Nia Wilson was shot dead for being Black in San Francisco.

Unacceptable. The shooting the stabbing the hatred the disease. Totally and entirely unacceptable.

AND.

How long can we wring our hands and bemoan how it is all so unacceptable? I don’t have the answer, but I’m going to keep asking the questions of myself. Questions I ought to have been asking all along. About mental health and gun control and oppressive systems and marginalized communities and white supremacy.

Because if angels or laziness has afforded me the good grace to be alive, then I have things to do.

And what I do NOW is what matters.

Stay tuned.

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A few years back, I attended Anne Lamott’s book reading here in Toronto. Wrote about it here. Her special guest was musician Steve Bell. He sang this song called Mercy Now and it was haaaaaaaaunting.I must have heard it hundreds of times in my heart as my father was dying. And I’m thinking about it a lot a lot a LOT this week. We could all use some mercy now.

Savouring deep and nourishing conversations with my loves this week including Jamie Ridler in The Living Room and sweet and quiet mercy-counting walks with my man and the sunrise.

This bit of levity and righteous resistance was welcome respite that I’m savouring thanks to Desiree Adaway.

And you? What grace and mercies are you savouring this week?


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