Exercise in Self-Heeding

Posted on

So, I took the advice I delivered in my last blog, the one about resisting the shrivel; how your work can rob you of your natural juices ….your essence:

As I’d shared, my regular work had become uncomfortably light in the past several months with the majority of my work arriving in the form of referrals. The mounting anxiety encouraged me to be creative in how to formulate a new income and heed my own advice:

Dogs have been a part of my entire life. In the presence of canines I have come to realize the pure value in being “in the moment,” and above all, of being accepted.

Dogs never pretend.

Dogs are emotional and act on the very moment within which they exist. In this light – and my new role as “Liane, the dog walker” I have learned more about myself than I’d imagined possible when I decided I needed to take a dose of my own medicine.

One of my first dog clients was Bailey, who came into my world several months ago when I first signed up on Rover.com. His owners, two professional psychologists, had welcomed a Viszla pup into their lives. They quickly realized that this breed of dog, with his high energy and the usual puppy demands and annoyances combined were a lot to manage in light of their busy agendas and own personal needs.

In comes my first request to board Bailey for five days. I laugh today as I recall the experience, mostly because it’s now faded and secondly because I’ve taken care of Bailey twice this week alone and three months since that day and will again tomorrow. Before I go on with this post, I will attest that Bailey has come a long way since that first super-long weekend we spent together.

Now to refocus on my own growth. When one is not operating within their full demand, feeling valued or being paid their worth, they have a lot of time to contemplate the void (or grey) spaces. In my case, since I do not advertise my business in the usual ways, the realization of the economy was pronounced; the contracts were few and far between.

Frankly, I was getting bored. I reminisced the days I would wake up and walk my dog, regardless of the weather ….and winter was quickly approaching. With it typically meant long periods of time ….sometimes days ….where I often would not leave the house since my work is freelance and did not require me to.

That was when my daughter told me about Rover.com.

For some time, as I repositioned my days into managing walks, with daycare and boarding and the odd writing contract that managed to find me, I tried my best to stay present and accepting, like my own gospel and a mirror, a reflection of how I saw the dogs whom I sat and fed and walked every day.

It was at the time of my first emotional meltdown – probably after a full day with Bailey — the rambunctious Viszla – that I realized I scripted my very own evolution as I resisted my very own ‘shrivel.’

As it turns out, the canine-loving business has become quite profitable, if not a complete deterrent to my writing business (which is now picking up again). I’ve become quite selective in my ‘clients’ and decide just how long and how many I wish to manage on any given day.

I’ve recently adopted a larger dog for an extended period while its owners tour Indonesia for six months. Never having been a large dog owner myself, it has become an adjustment, but a very welcomed one. Knowing full well the hermit I tend to become when the weather freezes over and work slows down over the Holiday Season and somewhat beyond, I knew that caring for a large dog would force me to become more active and venture outside more than I typically would.

Today, I hosted Naja, whose owners are spending all of January in England; tomorrow (as I stated) Bailey will return to my doggy daycare while his owners tend to the psych needs of humans and Sadie, my adopted dog gal is going to be annoyed most of the day while wee Bailey plays with her toys and chews her new bone.

Me? I’m excited to report that I have a couple writing files to close off, a brand new one to begin tomorrow and a phone call from a prospective new client expected at 9am.

There is a New Moon rising tonight and with that comes the end of certain cycles and the promise of new beginnings.




Evolution of Shrivel

Posted on

Occasionally I wonder about those people (of whom I may have met two or three in my lifetime to date) who claim they love their work so much that they cannot wait to get out of bed every day. I wonder if they are just really lucky, or the hardest workers on the planet, or perhaps possess the most clarity possible, disillusioned, stoned. Or have they actually discovered their true professional callings?

Okay, I’ll admit I am jealous.

As for the majority of us, we likely spend more time wondering how we are going to get out of bed and what we may do (or might have done) to be happier and more fulfilled with our careers. Have you ever wondered how much longer you can stay working under the helm of a tyrant who seems to believe that you owe him (or her) your best energy (or juices)? Have you ever dreamed of what I might be like if you weren’t wasting your ‘juices’ on someone who does not seem to value what you bring to the boardroom table and how much more juicier you’d be if the results of your skills translated into profits in your own personal bank account and not your boss’s?

Further examination of these lovers of their careers tends to pull on and pronounce a recurring word: “passion.” Herein, may be the answer to the prayers of all of us rolling from wakeness to sleepness in the fuzzy arms of mediocre day in and day out and shriveling like last week’s grapes left out on the counter in the process. How do we maximize our juice and resist drying up under the heat of our employers’ radiation?

A recent discussion with someone who loves her work illuminated my theory about passion. This gal makes her living promoting brands, services and products of her clients by applying her connections to network these businesses whilst igniting all the available platforms of media (social and otherwise) and marketing with her results. She happens to be a fashion consultant, who will be the first to attest that her life is not as glamourous as it appears. I’ve watched her being interviewed on the local tv news, showcasing the latest models, their fashion wares of the most notable brand names and she herself looking as much like Shania Twain on stage in Vegas – every eyelash and hair in its most gorgeous places, donning fashion none of us can afford that hugs a body most women could only carve out in their dreams. Her work is not easy, but she makes it look that way. Her social media channels show clips of her being sent complementary product boxes from a vast spectrum of her clients, covered with bows and spilling with cards gushing praises of her talents while she smiles gratefully and flashes their brand names to all her loyal followers.

She admits her schedule is grueling, her personal time limited and even confesses that she wishes she had more leisure time with her small son, but she attests she loves her job: “Being surrounded by beautiful things, beautiful people and clients who are grateful to have me promote their businesses is very rewarding. What I give them (in exchange for services, pay and product) makes both of us very gratified and successful. I am passionate about my work and also passionate about my clients’ passions. Feeling that they need me is a profitable contagion; one that gets me up every day and feeds my lifestyle and my ego, keeps me aware of all aspects of how I live my life, my self-police, if you will.”

I myself have encountered a multitude of challenges this past year where my business is concerned. I’ve weathered a very tough economy and a constricting marketplace  creating a shrivel of my business. Navigating these tough proverbial waters and torrential storms of uncertainty can create turmoil in all levels of one’s life. Pairing down the reality of circumstances and aligning your talents to opportunities are the key to sourcing your next career movement and being successful in the process.

If you are true to your own personal callings (here is where I turn to meditation and time in nature when I’m feeling lost in the chaos) from this tumultuous existence can emerge what you may have not recognized as your next career or extension of your current one. If you revert to the things you have always loved doing, the very tasks or movement that have caused you to feel whole, accomplished, then you know you are within your passionate realm and totally capable of completing the project with finality and finesse.

Once you identify what that is and how to get there, here is where you must work hard to stay in order to stay awake, nurture your self-juices and financial viability so you can fall asleep and happily wake up so very excited to get out of bed at sunrise.


De-valuation: a process

Posted on


Something is only worth some ..thing if it possesses value. Hence, if something is suddenly devalued, it’s seemingly worthless ….right? …not quite.

The process of devaluation can be quite valuable, actually. Consider the energy that goes into deciding whether or not you actually need the item at all …may it be an investment, a purchase, a relationship, a job …or whatever?

When it comes right down to deciding whether to purge or pursue, one likely has gone through a series of processes to get to the juncture of whether to devalue or not.  Let us consider quitting a job, or a relationship, or even deciding whether or not you should buy that big-ticket item:

You’ve likely invested time, energy, maybe even money, sweat equity or goodness knows, anxiety over the decision.  All things said, once you have decided that the item (or whatever) is no longer needed (hence valued) it becomes virtually worthless in your mind.

After years and years of commitment to a job (a relationship, a project, etc.) it has been decided that it no longer serves its valued purpose in your life. That’s the moment the ‘thing’ has crossed over from valuable to unvalued, undervalued …or devalued.

Sometimes this decision presents itself as ‘black and white,’ such as a car you’ve been considering to purchase which is no longer in your budget or you’ve decided it’s now the wrong model …whatever it is the notion of possessing it no longer serves you as it once did. So you’ve made the decision to let it go.

Once the mind has done the math or logically displaced the item or concept, there are very few reversals. From the point of decision, the brain relies heavily on the rational process that led you to this point of making the decision: you’ve now accepted your choice as best and ideal, based on your circumstances. You are happy with your decision and you commence your new commitment to live by your choice.

But is your choice always ideal? Did you slip up somewhere along the way and apply the wrong logic? Did you forget about the elements that convinced you to invest in this concept in the very first place? Do they still carry value? Are you adequately informed about this issue? Did you do all the research? Will your decision to devalue cost you future gains?

Who knows? All we really know is that we needed to shift something. Hold firm that there was an issue in play that triggered the devaluing. Resolve to stand by your decision and do not doubt the valuable process of devaluation.


Facing Adversity

Posted on

Adversity comes in countless forms. It may erupt on a very singular or personal level, in the governmental space, culturally or in the workplace. Regardless of where adversity rises, it’s disturbing and causes negativity.  Some definitions include terms such as these:

  • Setbacks
  • Misfortune or bad luck
  • Crisis or tragedy
  • Hard times
  • Disaster
  • “Hell on earth”

One of my favourite works of literature is LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel where a young man is stuck on a small boat following a horrific shipwreck with a Bengal Tiger for 227 days while the boat floats aimlessly on the sea. For Patel, the 16-year-old South Indian boy, adversity comes in many forms throughout his entire life and eventually he is forced to find ways to survive for nearly a year with “Richard Parker” the Bengal from his father’s own farm.

LOP-1 – Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma) and a fierce Bengal tiger named Richard Parker must rely on each other to survive an epic journey.

Contending with adversity requires change. Whether one succeeds adversity depends very much on our abilities to shift or transform. In some cases, it’s a shift in mindset, such as acceptance of other cultures or someone’s debate regarding an issue. In other situations, a complete transformation of a program, thought process, lifestyle or career role is required when adversity rears its large head.

As a communications specialist, I am no stranger to adversity since my mantra is formulating the most powerful messages possible; the fact is, I thrive on it. I work with clients who require my skills to empower them with a strong message or improved documents (such as a resume, white paper or presentation) often during a time where they are (or have) experienced great adversity in their life. When we rise to the challenges of adversity by applying positive tools the shifting is often imperceptible, mostly because the focus is on the outcome, we grow …change ….succeed.

When adversity comes in large doses and by surprise, it is often extremely difficult (and sometimes impossible to surmount). When I think about my time living in Montreal (about one year), moving there from western Canada, I surrendered my strong desire to fit in as a different version of a Canadian. Simply, I was not accepted by the greater culture of the French-speaking residents, despite the fact I could comprehend and speak French and my heritage spawned from Quebec. The adversity (or ‘difference’) became more notable the more I tried to rise above it – in my case, I continued to speak my western version of the language. Frankly, it made me miserable. Eventually, I succumbed to speaking English and accepted the fact that being different (or ‘western’) was my safest and most comfortable option. Fortunately (and unlike Pi in the lost boat with a Bengal), my life did not depend on my inability to be accepted by the other people living in Montreal; the intelligent choice was to remain ‘adverse.’

When adversity rises, look it straight in the eye and weight your options and the risks and how important it is to contend or change. Sometimes not contending is the best choice. Some things are meant to be broken.



Posted on


The word itself is virtually ‘foreign’ by the notion of “nation” — a land removed or sanctioned from others.

Seriously, I’m an expert in the craft (0r art) of procrastination — proudly so — and happily successful by its demanding expectations and products. Truthfully, I celebrate it quietly as I can attest to my most brilliant/proud results a product of the definition. I recall so many university assignments due in mere days without a speck of commencement in the physical form, but having nurtured so much already cognitively weeks prior, storing my goodness inside my head …not yet ready to hatch. But when it did, it erupted in exceptional form, brilliant in context and rewarded appropriately.  This tendency continued into my professional career as an editor and priot a features writer.

This NEW YORK TIMES article I found is a wonderful explanation of the science behind what drives professionals and superiors of art and professions who poise themselves for the final moments of pressure to perform to their utmost capacities.

Procrastination is not a weakness, rather a powerful tactic in performance. If you are a procrastinator, celebrate your edginess and ability to succumb to the pressure of minimal timeliness. And if you’re ultra curious, check out University of Calgary’s resident expert, Dr. Piers Steel, who can explain this phenomenon in all its positivity.

Yours in motivation,



In Positive Light

Posted on

What better time to write a new post than the first day of a new year. Moving forward into this clean space affects us all uniquely and differently from year to year. Personally, 2018 has been a real mix of positive and negative – a new career role, the ending of a long-term relationship, completing my next novel manuscript, improved health and wellness regime, the ending of the same career role and the reunion of four dear friends with whom I’d lost touch with over the past 5-6 years.

One of the aspects I’ve embraced with much seriousness this past year is daily mediation. In doing so, I have come to be a more accepting person of what the universe brings me. Whatever we endure we choose to embrace it in either a negative or positive light. Some of the challenges I’ve endured this past year, such as ending a seven-year relationship as well as departing a toxic career role, have actually been gifts granted. Toxicity is something we may not directly seek to attain, but we all deal with it at some point and in many situations. For me, both these scenarios were highly toxic and I had merely found ways to manage them, but all the while knowing they were like a growing tumour. Coming to terms with the fact that I actually had a choice not to endure these matters was hugely empowering and relieving.

Despite the fact I am starting 2019 unemployed, I am not daunted. As a freelancer, I’ve proven to myself many times that my next great opportunity is always just around the next corner. I’ve decided to focus on the forward steps of allowing myself to vibrate in positive energy and view these circumstances as opportunities to open my self and spirit to attract new and brighter situations.

May you go into this new year feeling empowered and excited about all the great choices you have and how much potential there is to bring into your realm whatever you require to be successful.

Happy 2019,



Contending with Change

Posted on

Three months ago I accepted a full-time role that requires me to work in an office environment. After a decade of independence as a freelancer working wherever I needed to or wanted to (and sometimes that was on a beach), I had a much harder time adjusting than I’d expected I would. I struggled with the obvious differences of working in an unfamiliar space versus my home office, conforming to rigid hours, as opposed to whenever I wanted or needed to. The list of things I had to adjust to became very long and after a week or two at my new role, I was feeling quite overwhelmed.

One would guess that the challenge might be predominantly in the job itself, the tasks, the demands and the learnings required to perform my duties. In truth, that was the easy part. I am an excellent editor, qualified for the position and given a large element of trust by my team, so that was not the issue.

As the days and weeks expanded and I successfully published my first issue of the magazine, I realized I needed to make some changes in order to be more content and ideally more excited about going to work than I actually was. Added to the demands of going into the office each day were evening events and travelling. As a daily meditator and yogi, I spent a good amount of time thinking about how I was going to do this. One of the largest elements missing in my day had become solitude. As a creative mind and someone who values silence and unstructuredness in order to be creative and productive, I knew I needed to carve more solitude into my workday as well as more time feeding my spirit and health. My weekends quickly became opportunities for me to hide away from others. I would serial watch European futball, knit like a maniac and cook large meals to freeze or eat for lunches the following week.

My life was out of balance.

When our lives are unbalanced, our bodies are the first to react: lack of sleep and a busy mind, bloating and skin breakouts, mood changes and tension in the muscles.  So I booked my first massage in months, got myself to a spin class and rode my bike on warm days through the forest near my home. I went to the market and bought healthy fresh food and planned meals in advance. I set out my supplements so I would not forget to take them and I decided to spend more time working from home and less time conforming to rigid office hours.

I’ve noticed the biggest change in my attitude; it has relaxed. I feel less resentful for the loss of my liberties that I’ve worked for so long to achieve. I am embracing the self-gift of sleeping later if my body is tired, attending a noon spin class because my fav instructor teaches it and working later in return, and saying no to evening events if I feel attending might cause imbalance the next day.

Plugging into your self is the key to recognizing a need to change in the face of change. The solutions are not always easy to establish, but if you can identify for starters the things that provide balance and nourishment you’re well on your way.




Lose the Bra!

Posted on

On my commute home this week during the home rush traffic, I spotted a black bra in the gutter beside where I was stopped at a light. I was en route to a speaking engagement that evening to deliver a motivation speech to a room filled with professional women whose careers were steeped in the construction and design industry. An environment I would easily label as ‘a man’s domain.’

Seeing this bra cast off into the street brought images to mind of a woman having reached her maximum and removing the constraints of social norms and protocols. Aspects of my speech came to mind: gender wage gap, ageism, conformity and denouncing scripts.

How do we know when we’ve reached our limits?

How do we know when to pull out and cut our losses …and metaphorical ‘burn our bras?’

In the moments where we realize we are not voiceless or at the mercy of others’ dreams and career objectives is precisely THE moment. As soon as we realize this, the invisible (or physical) constraints can easily be tossed away …or at minimum this is our urge.

I liken a career to a financial investment: astute investors do a lot of research to find the best type of fund, or best and most trusted advisor. And, like investments, we typically lock in our careers for the long haul and weather the bumps as the external factors influence the ride. When we realize the investment is no longer serving us (this can also be in the form of a relationship), we sever the commitment and cut our losses. This analogy is all fine in theory, but often not practical when more than the actual investment is involved (emotions, children, income, logistics, etc.). Despite the added layers of challenge, therein exists the power to make changes of some format. For example, you may want to quit your job because your boss is a tyrant, or your life partner hogs the bed leaving you sleepless most nights. While you may not be in a position to completely evacuate, you can ask for a transfer to another department …and maybe sleep in another bedroom in the house.

While those examples may be superficial, the point I’m impressing is that once you’ve made the effort to establish a difference, or change the circumstances (ie: status quo) is the moment that the ripple of your efforts imparts results that affect others. Indeed this may cause conflict, but awareness, questions and a shift may also be the results. Nonetheless, if we don’t make the first motion, we may be wearing the same black bra ten years from now.



“Lux Time” versus “Lull Time”

Posted on

I recently commenced a new full-time corporate role as editor-in-chief of a longstanding (nearly 30 years!) national fitness magazine. On a personal and professional level, this is a dream career role, one I’ve vied for numerous times, came close, missed, marked  ….and have now secured.

I am excited, indeed! Competitions run high for these rare positions and I, being the lucky successor to the previous editor who dedicated eight years to the role, feel elated and empowered. Now, all gloating aside, I wish to digress ….

Inside the past decade of hard-carved freelancing, I pimp myself for every single contract I secure, and many I fail to. This new role, is very different, in that interested parties lavishly lay out their wares, skills, wishes and products to me, without even an ask on my part. The difference of which (is obvious and) has rapidly become a measure of the ‘odd space’ where in which there is currently only a mild version of static, zero activity and an option for productivity (which may, or may not, arrive in a timely manner), and thus forcing me to prove I am an excellent manager of my time.

As a freelancer, I have learned to creatively embrace these voids (if you will) and fill them with other means of work, play, sourcing, rest, vacation ….or whatever, in order to maximize the potentials that the uncontrollable rhythms or off-beat syncopations running your own business hurl at you. Case in point: as I write this blog, I am toggling my yearning to blog versus my need to eat healthy food (the bbq is flaming!), lacking the long-standing luxury of having any moment in the day to prepare a healthy meal. My normal is different now as I depart my home (office) at 7:30am and do not return until after 5pm. Nowhere in that period exists 30 minutes to get a jump on dinner — a healthy dinner — or take the dog, or me for that matter, on a rip around the parkway paths nearby. Nope.

What I am learning is the fine art of multi-tasking-by-prioritization …..if I am not the first one to coin that term, I now own it. Fact being, laundry tonight is not essential, nutrition is — for tonight’s meal and tomorrow’s lunch. To prove my point, I stomached Costco on a Sunday so I could ensure healthy nutrition for me and my family for the week ahead. Seemingly, long gone are those days where I laced up my leathers, revved up my cruiser (or mountain bike, or road bike, or convertible) midday and took a breather from the stresses of the office (or a heady contract) to run a few errands while traffic is calm, dinner is on the simmer, and my workout is complete and ….oh, and my clients are satiated.

Enter the zone where my time is that of my new boss, a great boss I must say, but a boss all the same. To ensure my next paycheque and the satisfaction of my soon-to-be adoring readers, I will now learn the necessary (new) skills of maximizing lull-time and learn to transform it into the most productive time of my every day.


Bringin’ it

Posted on


It feels like it’s taken me the equivalent of what it takes for a camel’s worth in water to cross a desert to arrive here, silent immeasurable hardships in the quest of reaching a goal many deem impossible.

The realization comes in knowing you’ve made it to in a place that comes with a tangible sense of accomplishment  but always tainted with risk:

Here we are!  Welcome!

As a published author and dedicated editor, I strive to convey a solid message for any and all audiences. My dream to leave behind a sensation that may have any form of shift on my reader, be it likened to a few grains of sand falling into the impression left by a foot tread, or a barrage of water hitting a surface from a 100-foot icy waterfall. It’s all about initiating changes — ideally positive ones.

My passion for writing stems from being a listener — a human who needs to know how my gifts can empower my subject. For most of my life I have tested my communication skills, sometimes to the point of failure, but oftentimes to the point of emotional euphoria.

My journey has brought me here to the point of introducing you to my next novel, a noir thriller, of which I am in the throws of seeking the ideal literary agent for representation. Not disillusioned by the reality of restricted access to the major publishers of the globe (most of whom will only court best-selling authors), I (currently) feel empowered by the alliances I’ve attracted and nurtured and the avenues I’ve selected to tread after this long journey to get here.

I welcome your insights, your diversions and your sharing, with the intent that we are all growing and that being enlightened is a good thing.

In positivity and light ….let’s bring it!