Jadyn and I did a little make up, as you can see.
It’s been -40 C with the wind chill here in #Muskoka, there have been snow days and we couldn’t go outside (well, we didn’t want to go outside!). We needed to find something to occupy us. Jadyn wanted to do my make-up for “date night”.
Jadyn: “So the theme was date night and it was going OK at first,
but then I tried liquid liner, and then all of this happened! (See photos…not good!)
Me, the mom: We just got carried away, but I have to tell you, we laughed our heads off.
We laughed really hard—Jadyn says, “Yeah, my gut hurt!”
Sometimes you have to get a little silly, with make-up, your kids or whoever is with you.
It’s free and fun! Hopefully this make up washes off, or you will never see my in public again!
“Jadyn, thank you so much. It’s been so much fun!"
So on a freezing cold day, or any day,
figure out how you can get silly,
have fun and laugh until your gut hurts!
I have just recorded my Hunter's Bay Radio interview with Allie Chisholm-Smith.
Allie is the founder of Ahimsa Yoga Studio and ENLIVEN (along with Joanne McLean).
Allie: ENLIVEN is an organization in Muskoka designed to help cancer patients,
their caregivers/families and healthcare providers, with issues along the cancer journey.
Yvonne: What I love the most is that you encourage people to tell their story,
as they are struggling—just being real with it—and of course, that is a big part of my message. We have to acknowledge and allow grief and be able to have these real conversations.
You support others with whatever they need; nutrition, yoga, everything… all encompassing.
Allie: Yes, support through chemo, support if you opt out of chemo… whatever you need!
Yvonne: For those with cancer, their families, caregivers, healthcare providers…everyone.
You and Joanne started this 2 and 1/2 years ago,
and it’s growing and changing organically. Cancer is something that affects everyone!
We can’t even say “most people.” We ALL know someone who has been diagnosed or
we have been diagnosed ourselves. This kind of support is extremely important.
I love what you are doing and will support you in any way I can.
Namaste, and thank you.
It’s a few days before Christmas and I just wanted to take this moment--
from my heart to yours—to wish you a very VERY Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays… whatever that means to you!
I wish you many moments of joy. Sheryl Sandberg (COO Facebook, Author of Option B)
spoke of a gathering where they said, “All Feelings Welcome.” I think that’s wonderful.
I know that this is a hard time of year for some people. Please, ask for what you need,
give yourself what you need. Have has much happiness as possible, despite all the rest.
Here I am in Muskoka (Canada) where it’s been snowing and we’ve been snowshoeing.
And now… it’s raining! Life is like that sometimes, isn’t it?
So all the very best, take good care of yourself and
here’s to much happiness in 2018!!
As promised once a month I am sharing one of my 7 Take Aways for living life to
the fullest, learning to grieve and support others, and having “The Talk” about
end of life, long before it arrives and diffusing the fear.
This time I’m sharing Take Away #3; when someone is grieving… Just Show Up!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I don’t know what to do,
I don’t know what to say!” So we often avoid, don’t we? When someone is facing
a crisis, loss or someone they love died, it is awkward, it is uncomfortable.
We don’t know what to do. We don’t know what to say.
But the truth is, there is no magic formula. There is nothing we can say to fix it.
We have to allow grief. We have to feel it. It is the path to healing.
We think, “What if I remind them about what happened?” I promise, they haven’t forgotten.
It is so much better to acknowledge and just be there. Just Show Up!
How? Hug, text, sit silently, cry, walk their dog, call. Do something.
We feel so strongly and passionately about this message that we started the
I Just Showed Up Movement. I’m wearing my bracelet to remind me.
We don’t have to do anything magical. We don’t have to fix it. We just have to allow
our “human-ness!” Grief can be messy. Life can be messy. We need to be okay with that.
The truth? Grief shows no mercy. It arrives unannounced and uninvited.
It does not care what else you are going through. It does not care if you’ve had enough.
It’s a part of living and loving. But it’s worth it, and our hearts will heal (never the same, battered and scarred), if we learn to take good care of ourselves and each other.
And we learn to… Just Show Up!
I just recorded my interview on Hunter’s Bay Radio with Frankie Picasso,
airing December 9th, 2017 at 8 am, then available on their podcast channel.
Frankie is one of my heroes. She is a Canadian Socialpreneur, Talk Show Host,
Champion for Change and has been helping people transform their lives for over 30 years.
She founded the Good Radio Network and she is Unstoppable!! Her Unstoppable brand
allows her to specialize in the impossible.
She has done more in this lifetime than you can imagine, and had lost almost
everything in 2003, after a motorcycle accident. She was declared “catastrophic” which
means that more than 60% of her body has been injured. She spent months in the
hospital in pain, and lost most things in her life, except her spirit. She is unstoppable
and I am proud to share her story.
Frankie has now collaborated with Alex Okoroji, a Nigerian actress and founder of
The Naked Truth. Together they have created the “I Bared My Chest” movement,
where 21 women from around the world share their truth. This book will be
coming out soon!! I am so proud to be a part of it!
Please listen to our interview, check out www.frankiepicasso.com and
www.ibaredmychest.com and if you want to be inspired by someone, meet Frankie Picasso!
I was at the Port Sydney Community Centre, for a wonderful Christmas celebration.
I sat across from a lady who was really struggling because she was grieving
(I am a grief magnet!). Her husband died a few months ago. She left the room and
when she came back she said, “I’m sorry I had to leave for a moment, I was having a
hard time”. I replied, “You know it’s OK to allow your grief. It’s OK to allow your tears.”
She smiled and in the next moment was having fun as everyone sang and kids ran around.
The most important message I want to share with everyone is:
It’s OK to acknowledge and allow your grief,
but it’s also OK to take grief breaks!
It’s OK to be a part of the festivities, even if you are grieving.
Have laughter and joy in between all the grief. Don’t ignore your grief, but certainly
take breaks from it. So, if you are grieving—you’ve had a loss, facing life’s challenges or obstacles—enjoy all the moments you can. Easier said than done? Yes, most of this is!
But it is worth the effort! If you can have laughter and joy, wonderful!
It’s all interwoven sometimes; grief, joy, laughter…it isn’t always just one or the other.
Don’t feel bad or guilty. And remember…
Take a grief break as often as possible. Enjoy every moment you can!
Today I had the privilege of speaking to some of the staff at SickKids Hospital
in Toronto. It was truly an honour. I reminded them, as I would like to remind everyone--
healthcare professionals and those who are dealing with sick children or those
with chronic illnesses—we really need to ask for what we need, and take good care
of ourselves and each other.
Show up for yourself first and then Just Show Up for others!
Reach out to your village, and be a part of that village for others.
None of us can do this alone, and certainly being at SickKids is a great reminder of that.
Go home tonight, hug your children, hug someone else’s children, or just hug whoever you can! Be SO grateful when they are healthy, let the small stuff go… it’s so unimportant.
Being at this hospital was a huge reminder of that!
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to anyone and everyone who works
with and supports sick children, their families and loved ones.
What you do is simply amazing. Thank you.
Take good care of yourselves and each other! Let’s be that Village!
As promised, once a month, I am sharing one of the 7 Take Aways, on how to live life to the fullest, learn to grieve and support others and how to have “The Talk” about end of life, long before it arrive and diffuse the fear. This month I’m sharing Take Away #2:
It takes a village to support the ill, the caregiver, the dying,
the bereaved and each other.
Many times when someone is facing a crisis, a loss or challenge, we look to
the professionals to take over and think, “Thank goodness they’re here and the person
struggling is now in good hands.” While that may be true—we need hospice, palliative care, victim services, bereavement, counselors etc.—but we also need our village.
There are many moments/hours in the day that we need our friends, families,
neighbours and co-workers. We don’t only need professional help. When people
have addictions, chronic illness or are in the dying process (which can take months),
they may not even have that support. One thing I’ve done is to learn more
about my neighbours. Here’s a great story:
One of our neighbours had cancer, was going through treatment and was absolutely exhausted and so was his wife (that’s not the good part!). Their winter wood was
delivered, they were overwhelmed and didn’t have the energy to pile it.
Another neighbour sent out a text saying her family was going over on Saturday
morning to pile wood for this couple, and wondered if anyone would join them.
And you know, 25 people from around the neighbourhood—some who didn’t even
know this couple--just showed up! We piled all that wood in one hour. It’s such a
great story and meant so much to this couple. We were that village!
So my question is, and I’d love you to be more observant and more aware, do you know
what your neighbour might need, or a need in your community? If we all open our eyes
and our hearts will we suffer less, when grief arrives.
It takes a village to support the ill, the caregiver, the dying,
the bereaved and each other.
Julie Veitch and I just recorded our Hunter’s Bay Radio interview which was great, so fun.
We have been on a journey together for many years, but in the last three years of creating
new careers for our second act of life.
Yvonne: Now you’re embarking on a new part of your adventure and moving to British Columbia, joining your husband Brian who left in August. Muskoka has to say goodbye, although we can stay in touch virtually. (And I let her know, I will be visiting a lot!).
On the show, we shared this magnificent Inner Core Coaching, you founded. Tell people about that, because I’m pretty proud to share. You helped my tremendously, with my transformation, from nurse to author and speaker. I couldn’t have done it without you!
Julie: And what a treat it’s been and will continue to be. More than ½ my clients have never met me in person. But I have this really intimate relationship with them. We meet virtually and it’s trans formative. In fact, it’s very convenient not to need to get out of their pajamas
and be in the comfort of their own home. I’ve been supporting women in midlife mainly, who’ve created success externally, but yet still feel this sense of unsettledness and dissatisfaction on the inside and don’t know why. They want something more for their lives and in their lives. But there are often these long-lasting emotional blocks that are getting in their way. So we work to uncover those. And the freedom and joy that emerge is amazing; women leaving toxic relationships, stepping into their dreams, change their careers….
Yvonne: I had so many “Aha” moments that I thought, “Ok, hang on, I have to slow down, and I’m having several ‘aha’ moments at once!” Working with Julie has been extraordinary—life-changing—and I encourage everyone to reach out at www.innercorecoach.com. She is available for people all over the world and what a gift she is! I will be Skyping regularly
and we will be doing more podcasts together!
Julie: I want to say that Muskoka has been a huge catalyst for my evolution and my ability to morph my gifts into being able to sever on a broader scale. So I have a lot of gratitude for my time here and all the relationships. They will continue and grow in a new direction.
Yvonne: So on behalf of Muskoka, I wish Julie a wonderful journey out west where she will join her family! Hear our interview on HBR podcasts anytime!
As you may have guessed, it’s Halloween, 2017. My children, as always,
expected me to dress up. So I thought, “You know what? I’m going to do it!”
So I dug into the old costume box and found Thing 2.
I had a wonderful day! I went to the hospital fracture clinic (because I broke my toe,
but we’ll leave that story for another time), I hung out with the volunteers, I went to
Staples, then to our local health store, the Great Vine. Last stop was the library.
Wherever I went I said, “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!” and tried to make people smile.
And it worked… well most of the time. Sometimes I just got a weird look,
and that made ME smile!
That’s what it’s really about, isn’t it? Making people smile!
So, if I can do this at age 52 with a broken toe, you can too.
Maybe you can dress up next year? But in the meantime…
Any chance you get, make people smile each and every day of the year!
*Most of the magic in my life has happened when my life is shattered.
*You become real when the shine wears off of life.
*Grieving with another human being is one of the most holy places to be.
*We avoid pain, but sometimes pain and grief is the place to be with people.
It’s the realest place we can be.
*I spend some time allowing my heart to be broken open for someone else.
That’s how we end up feeling connected.
*When a friend is grieving, all we have to do is be present.
If we just accepted our presence as a gift instead of always trying to find the
right thing to say, people would feel more capable of grieving with each other.
*That’s where the wisdom is born—when everything falls apart.
*You have to let everything fall apart before you find out what’s indestructible about you.
Thank you Glennon Doyle Melton for sharing your wisdom.
Lately, there has been so many serious things going on.
And people often feel you either have to feel sadness or joy; it has to be one
or the other. We can’t have both at the same time.
I’m here to tell you that when life is serious, people are grieving or facing life’s challenges,
we should bring humour into it when we can. Why? Because it’s already serious enough!
So I’m going to dare you today, to share one of your most embarrassing moments with me. Because it you can’t laugh at yourself—you’re taking life too seriously!
I've had many situations to choose from. But this is the most embarrassing moment
that I could think of. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this before. Here it goes:
It was several years ago when Geordie and I were dating; a time when I really wanted to impress his parents… especially his mom. We were at the Hidden Valley Beach in Huntsville.
I had gotten dressed in a very big hurry, threw my bathing suit on and left.
Geordie’s mom arrived at the beach and was walking toward me. I was lying in a lawn
chair in my bathing suit. Suddenly, my friend looked over and said, “Are you wearing your underwear???” They were the same colour as my bathing suit, so I thought—when I was rushing—that I had put my suit on. My mother-in-law was close so there was nothing I
could do but lie there and hope and pray that she would not notice….that I was indeed in
my underwear! I told my friend not to say a word and to please get me a towel ASAP!!
To this day, I have no idea if Nancy, my lovely mother-in-law, realized and wondered.
Wow… I felt so hot and I know I was beet red! That was embarrassing!!
So…I dare you to share an embarrassing story so that we can all have a good laugh.
Because sometime life to too much and we go through hard stuff. We need a break.
And if we can’t laugh at each other, we are taking ourselves too seriously! So let’s hear it...
What was your most embarrassing moment???
I’ve decided that once a month I will share one of my 7 Take Aways.
These are what I share in my presentations, as an audio download, webinar (coming soon)
and they are written in my book, Love Your Life to Death.
They are the culmination of what I learned in 27 years of nursing as well as in the last few
years hearing many people’s stories. I believe they are essential, if we want to live life
to the fullest, learn to grieve and support others and to have “The Talk” about end of life,
long before it arrives and diffuse the fear.
Take Away #1: The best time to talk about, plan and prepare for grief is when we are young and healthy. The next best time is… Now!!
We are expert procrastinators! People often say, “Why should I talk about grief when
things are going well in my life?” Why? The truth is that grief can arrive at any time.
And grief isn’t just about end of life; it’s divorce, diagnosis, job loss… anything that
causes sadness or misery in our lives.
But if we talk about, plan and prepare long before we are facing grief, at least we can
create a soft landing for ourselves; in life, grief and end of life. I’ve planned my life well, knowing that there is no plan that is perfect and that change is the only constant.
At least I have a direction.
I’ve also planned my end of life and so has Geordie (my better half!).
My extended family has as well. It was such a relief for most of us. We felt empowered
(and yes, emotional). We has great conversations and sorted out things that would
have been horrible to figure out in a crisis.
It is each and every one of our responsibility to plan our life and our end of life.
Here’s something to think about:
*Do you have coping skills and strategies that will help you navigate through grief?
*Do you have beliefs about life and death?
*What else could you do to talk about, plan and prepare for before long before
it arrives and diffuse the fear?
Take Away #1: The best time to talk about, plan and prepare for grief is when we are young and healthy. The next best time is… Now!!
I just interviewed Jenny Cressman for my radio show. I initially had booked Jenny to talk about “Just Showing Up” locally and globally, and now there has been mass destruction from one hurricane after the other in many areas.
Jenny spent many years with the Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group - who help women and children in crisis. Now she spends much of her time in Cuba, enjoying and helping the locals year after year. I asked Jenny about her new adventure:
Jenny: “Yes, I “Just Showed Up” in Cuba! That led to a new life for me. Now my focus in on traveling to and writing about Cuba. I just finished a novel, fictional but based on the resort I will be taking people to, on October 25th, 2017 (and a couple of times a year!).
Yvonne: “I love that many in your groups bring an extra suitcase full of necessities to leave for the locals, because they are in need year round.
Jenny: We’ve been able to take 2000 pounds of clothes and supplies. We’ve also brought 85 bikes; great means of transportation that make such a difference. The buses are very limited.
Yvonne: Although your area did not get hit directly by the hurricanes like many other areas, there is always flooding there. We often think “I can’t give thousands of dollars”, so we don’t do anything. Then we feel helpless and bad, and try not to see what is happening in other parts of the world. But the truth is…
Jenny: On average, Cubans make $20 per month! And some things, like a fridge or a stove can cost as much as they do here.
Yvonne: So…if we’re thinking we don’t have extra money, but we could donate $5.00…that’s a week’s ages!!! That was my “aha” moment!!
*Jenny, you are continuously helping in Cuba and are a champion for the Dubois Charitable Foundation, which is sending disaster relief aid containers to Cuba.
There is so much we can do. One of my favorite sayings: Heroes do not always wear capes.
*James Solecki does work in Turks and Caicos and has started a Hurricane relief fund.
He also donates to KIVA with every new Integra contract. To learn more click here
* I have donated some money, and I’ve donated a lot of time and clothing locally (and part of proceeds of book sales). Now I have put together a small bag of clothes and toothpaste for Jenny. I asked my son Tanner if he has some nice t-shirts he no longer wore (he grew about 6 inches this year!). He gave me 5 shirts!
Jenny, Thank you for what you do, for Just Showing Up! and sharing your hero story!
We all can make a difference. It is better to do something than to do nothing.
Just Show Up. You never know where it will lead!
I listened to my inner voice. I vacated my comfort zone and I am following my dream,
fueled by my passion. And I am creating a life I love!
But like most of us, I have unwanted visitors; doubt, fear, anxiety and worry.
Every now and then, I allow these dream "stealers" to take over my joy,
my optimism, my purpose.
I catch myself, then I reach out for support, I read something motivational or I spend
time in nature. And then someone sends me a video that helps to lift me up again. Thank you, Mrs. Kujala, for sharing with me AND for sharing with my children and your class!
Here is that video.
Watch it whenever those unwanted visitors appear and ask yourself:
Do I have the courage to grab the dream that picked me?
Video by: Prince Ea
Hi everyone! We are here in Picton, ON and it is September 16th, 2017.
We are here for a family wedding; Cousin Sam just married his lovely bride Jessica.
It is a beautiful place and a spectacular day!
It also happens to be the 2nd anniversary of the launch of my book, Love Your Life to Death.
I am wearing my launch dress too! We have had a beautiful day and we are
celebrating so many things!
Our 14th wedding anniversary is also in a few days, on September 20th.
Fun fact: Sam and his twin brother Luke were at our wedding when they were the
same age as our twins. Jadyn and Tanner!
I am just thrilled with the tremendous positive feedback we have received from you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who have supported us,
read and shared my book.
Just keep Loving Your Life to Death! :)
I interviewed my friend, Saree Sasson, for my Hunter’s Bay Radio Show
(which will be shared on my website!). Saree is an amazing young lady who is sharing
her story of a downward spiral into the frightening and dangerous world of anorexia.
She shares her wisdom so that others can be supported and maybe not go down that road!
Y: Saree, what is your most important message to people going down the road of anorexia and to the people around them?
Saree: The biggest thing is that it’s okay. You don’t have to be ashamed. You don’t have to be worried that you are doing to be judged (even if you are, that’s their problem!). It’s life, it happens. But you need to get help or you need to help that person. Don’t worry about what people are going to think. It’s just being there, being there for yourself. Like you said, just showing up!
There are so many people that push it under the rug.
They don’t want to talk about it or get involved.
They don’t want the pressure or to have to worry.
Y: “I don’t know what to do! I know what to say! It’s awkward, I can’t fix it!
“That stops a lot of people. I say,“Then find somebody who can. And show up anyway!” Reach out, even if your friend is going to be mad at you. When your mom was trying to
talk to you, you were angry because you didn’t want to look at your own issue. But Too Bad!!
Saree: She saved my life! If she hadn’t been that way with me, I probably wouldn’t be here today. So… even though it sucked at the time and I hated her, well, I loved her too but…
Y: You hated what was happening, being confronted!
Saree: Yes, but again, I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t be who I am, I wouldn’t be able to share my story. And that’s the message…you gotta say something! And now I know that I need to be there for myself as well.
Y: Absolutely! Show up for yourself first! And if you didn’t in the past, or you didn’t show up for someone else, forgive yourself and do better next time! And you keep showing up for yourself, and you are quite fabulous. Not perfect, we don’t want perfection!
Thank you for sharing your story, Saree, I have no doubt you will be helping more people than you’ll ever know. And good luck in New Zealand where you will be going to school. I think I should visit to see how you are doing. And yes, I will bring you lots of maple syrup!
If you see something, say something. Just Show up!
Here I was, once again, at Camp Can-Aqua where Geordie and his sister Lindsey
were campers then counselors for over ten years each. They talked about camp
SO MUCH I thought, “What on earth is so special about this camp?” So I became the
camp nurse for five years. Geordie and I were known as “The Doctors.”
And I found out how truly magical summer camp is.
Each year, when I come back I am reminded of the important things in life.
It is extraordinary to see kids of all ages and cultures, where no one cares if you’re a jock,
a nerd, your sexual orientation or how much money you have. Everyone just wants
to build relationships, be out in nature and have good clean fun. You learn leadership
skills, although a lot of the time you are not even aware of it, amazing life lessons
and reminders of what you can be.
To see these kids grieving because they are saying goodbye to each other tugs at my heart. They have had the greatest summer ever. They’re in their socks and sandals and messy hair,
just enjoying being together and forming lifelong friendships.
What is important? It’s what’s in your heart. We all want and deserve the same things; acceptance, respect and happiness. I thank Camp Can-Aqua for giving my children this amazing opportunity, where they feel all of this and so much more. This was Jadyn and Tanner’s 7th summer. It wasn’t easy to convince them to come home.
Thank you to all summer camps everywhere for teaching children
what can be—acceptance, friendships regardless of differences
and good clean fun!
Julie and I hiked up and sat at the top of our mountain (well, more like a big hill,
but it’s our mountain!) at Hidden Valley. We have climbed this mountain more times
than we can count, for years. We would talk, envision, dream and we wanted more--
more for ourselves, for our families, for our friends… for our lives.
The two of us have encouraged and supported each other to climb our mountains
and we each took our leap of faith. I left my nursing career and Julie left a 17 year career coaching. Julie says, “I left last year and have not looked back!” We are celebrating!
We are creating the change we want to see in the world. I’ve written my book,
I am speaking and doing all kinds of wonderful things (that’s right!). Julie is working
one on one with clients, facilitating workshops and creating presentations on
mindfulness. Working through removing emotional blocks with people so that they
can climb their mountain!!
Julie: The thing about a mountain, is that it’s one step at a time. And that’s what
we’ve done! That’s all that people have the capacity to do, is take one step in front of
the other and take whatever right action is in front of them.
Me: You don’t have to know how to get to the very top, you just have to do the next step,
then the next step and you know what? You might be surprised halfway up, and you
go in another direction and you’re going to a different place.
Right now we are both climbing the summit of our mountains and I am saying to
everybody…Look out for us, because we are doing some stuff!!
Don’t be afraid to climb your mountain at any age.
You just might surprise yourself (like we did!).
To learn more about Julie and her work visit:
I thought it was going to be a nice sunny day.
I didn’t really look at the weather, but it changes anyway. Apparently it is teeming rain!
I was a little disappointed at first, I’m not going to lie! But then decided to go with
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!”
So, I’ve got my lovely rain boots, my rain gear and I’m going for a really nice long walk
and I’m going to play in some puddles and probably get soaked. I’m going to make it
a really good day, despite the weather.
Life is unpredictable. Prepare for anything.
The weather is certainly unpredictable and sometimes Mother Nature does have a little
bit of a temper, doesn’t she?! I’m going to enjoy the weather, no matter what.
I hope you have a really great day, rain or shine! So remember…There’s no bad weather,
only inappropriate clothing!
Do you have a story about having fun in the rain?
I’d love to hear it!
Geordie and I realized that we never celebrate our successes,
well not as much as we should! We work long hours and we love what we do.
But we don’t take the time to really celebrate all that we’ve accomplished.
So tonight, we had “date night” our kids are away in *upstate NY, we became tourists
and went all the way to Bracebridge to El Pueblito, the Mexican Restaurant and had
the most amazing time. With wonderful food, great decor, atmosphere and fabulous
Spanish music playing in the background, we toasted and said,
“We are doing so many wonderful things! Good for us!”
I encourage you, each and every day to take the time to say, “Well done!” to yourself,
your team, your family… whoever! Celebrate successes, big and small. We need to
give ourselves more credit and be proud of ourselves! Enjoy!
Celebrate your fabulous self!
In 2014, when I started Love Your Life to Death I had no idea what I was doing!
So I reached out to people who were creating a culture of change around death
and diffusing the fear. One of those people was Jon Underwood, who started the Death Café movement in 2011. I thought to myself, “What the heck is a Death Café?
So I read up on it, was intrigued and realized, it was amazing!
A Death Café is a group directed discussion about death, with no agenda, objectives
or themes. They are also respectful and inclusive. The purpose is to increase awareness
of death with a view on making the most of our finite lives. And eat cake too!
Jon gave up his job and he gave his heart and soul and was so passionate starting this movement. There have now been Death Cafes in over 50 countries and more than 10,000 people have gathered to discuss death so they could live their lives fully. I’ve hosted a few Death Cafes myself and they were incredible with inspiring and empowering conversations.
So it is with a heavy heart, I share that Jon Underwood died in June 2017 at the age of 44.
I was stunned and shed many tears. He leaves behind a beautiful wife and two young children. The Death Café legacy will live on forever and continue to help so many people.
I take this opportunity to say thank you to Jon, for starting this incredible movement.
My book, Love Your Life to Death is a resource on the Death Café website.
I am proudly going to donate $5.00 per book ordered from this site/my website,
to help the Death Café movement carry on. They have also started a fundraiser for his family.
Jon left his job and used his savings to bring this to the world. This is a great way to give back.
I’m going to do my part. I encourage everyone to check out the website and even to host
your own Death Café. It’s just a conversation with coffee, tea and cake!
Thank you, Jon Underwood, for your selfless gift. I send love to your family, friends
and following. I promise to continue to do everything I can to bring death out of the
darkness and into our conversations and to diffuse the fear.
You have left a legacy of love and I will be forever grateful.
What fun, attending the Muskoka Pride Celebration in downtown Huntsville.
Michelle Emson, a dear friend, advocate and just a really great person was on stage
in her fabulous butterfly dress, sharing her message. I asked Michelle why this was an important celebration:
Prides everywhere are so important in order to raise visibility and awareness, and also to build community; to let people know, ‘hey, we’re just humans!’ And come on out and party with us, because we have fun!
I add: “Inclusion, rights, respect… and fun!”
Michelle: “Yes and there is a whole week of activities! So join in if you can,
and if not this year, this is an annual event in communities everything!"
Thank you, Michelle, for all that you do to help others have a voice, for supporting people everywhere so they know they are not along and to know it’s okay to be who they are. We all deserve the opportunity to be our authentic selves. We all deserve…
Inclusion, rights, respect… and fun! FOR EVERYONE!!!!!
*Michelle spends much of her time advocating for rights for people globally.
You can check out her website and see some of her amazing, tireless work and
even her documentaries here.
I had the honour of attending the Muskoka Seniors Gala, which was an incredible event;
over 170 people dressed in their finest plaid, great food, awesome music, fabulous decorations and prizes… the works. What were they celebrating?
People of all ages who give of their time to volunteer for seniors!
With laughter and activity all around us, I took a few minutes to chat with Donna Nairn,
one of the Directors and Barb Mooney, a long-time volunteer. I asked Donna why this was an important event and what the volunteers mean to the community:
Donna: “Muskoka Seniors has a small staff. The volunteers provide the service in the community. Without them, we couldn’t do the work that we do. With this event we celebrate and thank them for what they contribute.” What did they contribute?
*5,473 Meals served at Friendship Luncheons
*6,968 Units of transportation were provided
*4,695 Meals on Wheels delivered
*13,509 Telephone Calls – Friendly Visits
*89 Free Income Tax Returns e-filed
*20,434 hours of recorded volunteer service!!
This is incredible and also makes an important message very clear; anyone can contribute!
We don’t all have to carry the 10 pound bags of potatoes! You can make call or visit.
Barb adds, “That’s right. Just be there!”
I asked Barb why she loved being a volunteer. She shared: “Because I get to see the same people each month and they look forward to my visit. And I look forward to seeing them too!”
I have to add my two cents: “With volunteering, you get as much as you give, if not more!
It just makes you feel so great; just listening, just being present.” Barb enthusiastically
agrees with an “Absolutely!”
Donna shares that there are seniors helping seniors and young people helping seniors too. There is something for everyone.
Our volunteer programs have allowed people, particularly seniors, to have meaning and purpose in life by giving to each other, whatever “gifts” they may have.
Could you volunteer, a little time here and there?
You can make a difference!
Yvonne Heath is a Canadian leader, Inspirational Speaker, Blogger, Television Host, Author and Creator of the #IJustShowedUp campaign.