What if?

I am sitting under the tree that still has many leaves to shed. Those already fallen, spread around my feet, a carpet of gold.

I had to come outside. With the walls pressing in, fresh air was needed.

The temperature of the world has surely gone down this past week as the world reels in the wake of atrocities with many innocent caught in the middle.

Little ones, growing ones, parents and elders.

Dear Teenagers – thinking of you during this COVID-19 pandemic

Dear teenagers,

As we find ourselves in the middle of this pandemic — a new and disorienting experience for all of us — you, whose developmental stage it is to venture out into the world with curiosity and growing confidence, have been on my mind. Surely also because I have a teenage daughter whose daily life is suddenly stopped short. Staying home is not what you are cut out to do, even the introverts among you love to visit with a friend and stay busy with your various activities, from what I can tell.

But now you are being told (another thing that doesn’t sit so well with your natural and healthy state of wanting to figure things out for yourselves, make up your own mind and become more independent, not less!) that you must stay home. Just you and your family. Your family that you love or may have a challenging time with, or quite likely you both love and are challenged by, and a whole bunch more feelings in between.

Now you have had more cancellations happen in the past few weeks than in a usual year or decade even… swim meets, dance practice, outdoor program adventures, long-anticipated trips, soccer matches, performances and exams and graduations you have worked so hard for, parties, hangouts with friends, your first job…

I know this feels overwhelming. Unfair. And hard. Likely bewildering too — what just happened?! You didn’t see this coming even as your future has already long been shadowed by threats of a climate out of balance. But this? So fast and so drastic. You may be feeling disappointed, scared, angry. Your mood may be changing from one moment to the next… you may say things to your family members you afterwards regret, but you just feel so out of sorts. You may not know what to do with yourself… a lot of the usual options are gone for now. You may be worried about your schooling. You may just want to ignore the whole thing and pretend it’s all fine. But your go-to people when things feel hard at home — your friends — are also holed away, and as used to virtual connections as you are, it’s not the same as hanging out in the park, skateboarding together, giggling and snacking together, or chatting for hours.

On top of all that is the big unknown. While unknowns were likely already a huge part of your life (what will I do after I graduate? What do my peers think of me? Does s/he like me? How will I ever study for this exam with all the extra-curricular stuff going on? etc.) this is a whole other order of unknowns. On top of that the adults around you seem to be as bewildered as you are. Perhaps quicker to snap too, worried and stressed.

So what now?

Truly, I don’t really know. I so wish things were different. As my daughter sat with her first wave of big disappointment, I sat there with her and wished I could change the situation (believe me, your parents would love for this to go away and your life to get back to usual!). She was sad. She was angry. And stressed.

And all I could do was sit there with her and feel it alongside her. Feel my heart breaking as I felt hers crumble in dismay.

All I could say was: “I know. I’m so sorry. It’s hard. It really sucks.” And then just silence, I didn’t have more words for a while and neither did she. But then, they came: “We’ll get through this. Remember, we can do hard things. One step at a time. Let’s try not to think too far ahead, there is so much we don’t know right now. Let’s just take it one moment or day or week at a time, whatever chunk of time works best for you”.

So, as you can see I don’t know much. I just know that being there with her matters. And, even in the middle of all the unknowns, here are a few more things I do know:

1) You teenagers deserve the truth. So when parents and adults and politicians and decision makers don’t know the answer to something, they should just say so. And when you have heard enough news, just say so. If it makes you too anxious, then tell them to give you only what you need to know, no more. You can also ask your parents to not talk about the virus all the time, it will be good for them too, to take a break. We, for example, have decided that meal times will be “virus-free” conversation.

2) You also deserve comforting. Even as you are older, and possibly taller than your parents, doesn’t mean you don’t need comforting. Don’t be shy to ask. Parents of teens sometimes get unsure if their comforting is still welcome. If it is, just let them know and also how they might best express that… it might be a hug, or them giving you some space or being extra patient, or making some yummy food, watching a funny movie together…

3) Your feelings matter and make sense. You are allowed to feel whatever you feel. I hope you have a safe place to let those feelings roll through you and not get clogged up. Just remember that feelings and behaviours are different: allow all the feelings to tumble through, but don’t harm yourself or others as you express them.

4) Coming to terms with this kind of “new normal” takes time. Don’t worry if for days you feel frozen, and can’t get the energy up to do much. It’s a lot to take in and adjust to. Take your time. Do nothing for a while — most of the time you teenagers are way too busy anyways. Your energy will come back sooner if you let yourself chill for a while.

5) You are one of the most creative segments of the whole human population. The way your brains are growing during these years, the way you question things (and us adults!) and have your own ideas, the unique way you look at reality and feel intensely: all that makes you creative. I trust your creativity. I trust that you will come up with some awesomely cool ways to deal with this sh*t show.

6) In the middle of lots of Unknown, having some kind of a beat to your days, a rhythm of sorts really helps. Just a general outline (or if you’re like my daughter, a very specific list) of things that help you roll through a day and feel good about it afterwards… some creative time, some exercise, some helping out on the home front, some screen time but not all day long (on that note: monitoring how much news you listen to can really help — too much is too much. You’ll know when you feel deflated or anxious afterwards), and some time outside even if just on your porch or your yard or sticking your face out the window. Take deep breaths.

7) On that note, sometimes it helps to do things even if you don’t feel like it. Like getting up in the morning. Or playing with your younger sibling. Or reading that book you were in the middle of when school suddenly stopped. Or baking something yummy. Or apologizing when you blew up at your family. Or doing that one thing you never had time for but wanted to do more of… like writing a song. Choreographing a dance. Organizing your photos. Writing a real letter to your grandparents.

And as much as I encourage you to show up for yourself and then for your family (which includes being gentle and nice to yourself when you don’t manage!), now is also a great and important time to show up for the big wide world. Remember all those heroes and heroines in stories you read or watched as a kid? This is your time to be one of those. To do the hard thing with as much patience, courage and stamina as you can, which right now is: to stay home. Not to fly off on all kinds of adventures. Just to stay put. And to do this on behalf of the Whole, of the most vulnerable, those who could get really sick with this new virus making its rounds. It is a time to truly remember that we all belong to each other. That our actions affect others. So please, stay home — as much as that goes against your innate natural next step to seek out and find your own footing in the larger world, to move into intimate spaces with others, to explore and adventure out into your future.

If there are ways we can help you have more fun and make it more manageable staying home, let us know. If you have ideas on how we can support you in spreading your wings, even as you are asked to stay put, tell us.

As said, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let yourself crumble, be mad and sad, moody, unsure… whatever you might be feeling. Let that be too. It will pass if it doesn’t get stuffed down. But be both: the you with all that you may be feeling in any given moment, and also the you who can stretch and surprise yourself with showing up and making a difference in small and big ways. You matter. As does everyone else.

And again… I’m so sorry. It’s hard. But we can do hard things. And I can’t wait to see you get back to your dance & theatre performances, baseball games, fun times with friends, schedules you might complain about but also rely on, grad parties, travels, and feeling like the future is a friendly place. Until then, may we adults learn from you how we can best support you.

A mum.


Evolving Traditions — Keeping the Spark Alive

Once upon a time, when my daughter was a wee lassie, I spent a few evenings bent over the sewing machine, stitching together little bags from colourful scraps. Twenty-four bags to mark the journey of Advent for her, a cherished tradition from my childhood in Switzerland that I wanted to pass on. The bags were then filled with “pretty little things” as she would call them, and sometimes a treat (dried mango, chocolate, some nuts). Oh, how she loved this daily gift and preparation toward Christmas! It suited her 4-year old self quite perfectly. Read more

She did it!

In my home country – Switzerland – on All Soul’s Day – we wander to the cemeteries, and honor the dead. The cemeteries in the small mountain villages are alive with young and old, visiting their loved ones who have travelled on.

This year my grandmother died. I spent a week with her, just before she passed. It was a holy week, I will cherish it for always.
And tonight some words arise as I sit here in Canada, visiting my grandmother on this All Soul’s Day with my thoughts, memories and the heart that knows no distance. May your loved ones who have crossed the threshold join you this season when the veil is thin, the moon just a slice.

She did it

A strong heart, beating for over 840,960,000 breaths,
A sparkle of soul, finding the glisten of humor for over a century,
A keen caring mind, ready for wit and reflection for over one thousand two hundred months,
A heart so merry and kind, pouring out generous love for over a century.

A life full of friendship, tended relations, enfolded in a hearth she helped build,
A long life, complete with grace, hardship, pain and blessings,
Choosing over and over again to surrender to what is,
To see the gift hidden in the furrows of human turmoil.

Hands soft and gentle, reaching out in caress till an hour before departure.
A person ready to leave her earthly garment, so very ready.
But how, when there is no sickness and no accident?
How do you get out of a body, an old and fading body, but one with a strong beating heart?

We ponder together. We laugh and we wonder.
A puzzlement not met before.
We wait. Chat. Sing. Touch.
We rest together in the precious lit up moments of an unknown threshold.

And then. She does it.
A nap turns into a change of breath,
A depth of slumber like no other,
Turns into a release of breath.

She did it!
The first words that come to me as I hear of her death.
She did it. She crossed the threshold, over to the other side of the veil.
She left her body behind, she climbed out and on.

Her heart, her over one hundred year old heart stopped beating,
And freed her soul to travel on.
Bless her heart. It was a grand one.
A truly grand mother was she.


My grandmother had a deep abiding love for Mother Mary. I sang this Ave Maria (by Gounod) at her funeral and share the recording here in the spirit of my grandmother and this all soul’s day.

Ave Maria – sung for my grandmother – August 2019 >>

Renewing Culture – Keep, Chuck or Recycle?

Last week in our parenting course, one set of questions we reflected on as we consider where we come from and what we pass on to our children was:

“What do we include and bring along from our past?

What do we choose to release and discard?

And what do we transform?

In short: keep, chuck or recycle?

My lovely neighbor, Sally, sent me this photo from our community’s recent day of the dead celebration. As I sit with the many lights on the grave sites, the lineages that have come before us lie there, still. Their efforts ripple on, we carry them on within us.

Then I look at the photos of course participants’ children: wide-eyed, open, core-goodness yet unhindered. Their future in formation.

What do we as a culture pass on to our children? What chain reactions in our lineages are ready to die off, be done with, healed and laid to rest?

What can we do, within ourselves and between one another, to truly lay our dead to rest, by consciously facing and choosing what we inherit, rather than continuing an unquestioned hand-me-down version of humanity through generations?

May the light our ancestors shone, continue to guide us.

May any trauma they felt and died stuck with, be healed through us.

May we forge a new future, together.

Love Takes Many Forms ~ As Does Parenting

Often our love for our children expresses itself in hugs, in yes’s and “for sure’s”. In “let’s do just what you wish and want”, in following our little (or big) one’s lead, beck and call.

And sometimes love expresses itself in clear direction, in no’s, in putting your foot down and saying “not beyond here”. In obstructing a desire. In negating a wish.

The yes’s are usually the easier way to go. Love pours out naturally that way, and comes right back at us. With smiles and happiness, with thank you’s and contentment.

The no’s can be hard to deliver. We want our children to be happy right now. We also want them to like us, right now too. We like being their immediate heroes and heroines. We love seeing joy erupt in them. It is hard to see disappointment or hear downright “I hate you’s” coming out of their eyes, skin and words.

But no’s – if sourced from the Stillness at your centre, if coming from love and creativity rather than trigger and reaction – those no’s are just as sacred, just as loving as the yes’s coming from that same place and state within ourselves. Just as loving.

Consider this:

It’s a cold morning, minus 7 degrees celsius (that’s 19.5 fahrenheit). Girl gets dressed in her usual garb: jeans, sneakers, cute shirt, with hoodie ‘in case’ it gets cold. And specifically: no hat, no gloves, no winter boots, no winter coat, merrily and obliviously attired for a regular day at school.

Dad sees the unfolding mismatch between dress and outside temperatures, and puts his foot down, “Either you get dressed warmly, or you don’t go to school”. Distress ensues. Some dialogue too, but mainly distress and, “You don’t get me, you don’t listen to me, I’ll be fine!”

Dad stays firm, calm, loving. Doesn’t budge on the condition and knows he is not going to be the popular parent today. He takes a deep breath and stays the course.

Girl comes downstairs, holding out wrist warmers. “Can I wear these instead of gloves?” Hmmm, what will dad do now? Here’s a chance to appease her if he gives in. It will make her feel heard, offer a sense of compromise. He considers. He is tempted for a moment. The whole energy would relax, things would slide back to their usual amicability. But she had frostbite last winter. Her fingers get cold fast. He leans into the deeper recesses of his father-love and again holds the line.

Another explosion ensues, and the announcement: “You never listen to me!”

Finally both get out the door, dad and girl, dressed for the minus 7 celsius, silent girl, dad with a nod to mum, “I know she can’t stand me right now, but I love her too much to let her freeze or risk getting sick. She’ll be OK. and I’m OK too – I’m OK being the ‘bad’ guy for her to stay warm. I love her.”

There it is – another form of love.

A key distinction between conditions, boundaries and non-negotiables being ‘extensions of love’ versus ‘unnecessary’ force is where they come from. If they are based on fearful projections, desire for power or senseless discipline, they are not love in action.

The discernment of where a ‘no’ originates from is one of the ongoing practices of parenthood.

Choosing love over and over again, and being willing to go all the way with the choice so that it stands regardless of the forms it takes, regardless of whether popularity and ease ensue, or not: that is the love our children need from us in order to grow well and in health.

photo credit: Gregory Colbert – Ashes and Snow

Weaving Threads of Care and Love Across the Planet

These past couple of days my mother-heart stretched again some more. It seems this is and will be a lifelong stretch. What struck me today is how visceral it is above all else. My mind was calm. My emotions too. What was in movement, where I was noticing the stretching happening, was at the layer of sensation in my body, literally as if cells were being asked to make room for more, to release, to grow my trust in this Life, to love and to let go.

And now throughout the day as my daughter wanders off into the high mountains for four days with a 40lb backpack, a new circle of friends and an extraordinary teacher as part of her wilderness school experience, it is my body that keeps sensing into her adventure… that holds her both close and far, regardless of whether my actual thoughts are with her or not. I focus on what lies before me, I enjoy the day, and simultaneously I sense expansion off into that wilderness, with her, the heart-cell-awareness ongoing.

Similarly, when she went on her first 10-day trip earlier this summer, flying on her own away from home across the great continent of Canada to stay with her aunt’s family… That day of travel, aware of her flight across plains, hills and mountains to the city of Montreal, my heart felt stretched like an accordion. It wasn’t unpleasant, although it took a bit of getting used to. My accordion-heart stayed that way for 10 days, spread over the continent before it folded back together as she neared home and walked in the door with a big grin on her face. I remember thinking of all the accordion-hearts stretched across the globe at any moment in time… threads of care, of prayer, of connection.

I watch this visceral stretching today and note with wonder the glimpse, embodied, of how interconnected we all truly are. We may notice it in much deeper fullness and clarity with loved ones, especially with our children. But doesn’t it just point to what is there under the surface anyways, all ways?
Think of those days when you cannot place sadness due to your own personal life, but you feel it seeping in under your skin, passing through, perhaps on behalf of others? You shed tears and they may be yours or they may belong to someone you will never meet.

Or the times you look at a view, or hug a friend, and sense that you are doing so for one departed from their body – lending him or her your eyes, your arms for a moment?

Or that delightful experience when you witness someone dancing or singing or doing something you would have loved to do more of, had you more time, a few parallel lives to dedicate to the many loves of this living… and then you see a friend or someone you don’t even know, doing just that and doing it so well and so beautifully and something in you relaxes, because even if it is not you doing it, it is happening, that movement, that song, that stroke of paint on canvas is happening.

These and other moments give us insights into the transpersonal nature of our humanity. The ways we are both in ourselves and beyond ourselves. We are distinct, unique, and we are undeniably connected and interwoven.

This is where my body-heart-stretch leads me today in my experience, reflections and awareness-coasting every once in a while over the mountains as I love my girl and wish her well, so well.

Sending love to all the mother-hearts and father-hearts and caring-hearts that weave threads of care and love across the planet. May those who are truly alone today, be touched by these threads, for they belong to all of us.


Father’s Day – Thank you!

Dear Fathers!

Today we celebrate you. We pause and reflect on all the ways you shape who we are, as individuals and as a humanity. We celebrate the many examples you share of courage, protection, strength and deep care.

We thank you for all the time you get on your knees and play wholeheartedly with your little one.

Thank you for all the catching, throwing, launching, holding, comforting you do!


Thank you for each moment of Presence you offer your kids – it is water to their souls, earth to their spirits, nourishment to their minds and bodies.

Thank you for the many many days you go off to work, missing so many of the small daily and intimate family moments to provide for your family. This ongoing gesture of Love is so appreciated. And thank you for all the times you don’t go off to work and stay home to tend to the hearth, to hang out with family!

Thank you for leading with what you sense and know is possible, rather than limiting your fathering to what was given to you, as well-meant and magnificent, challenging or stuck as that may have been.

Thank you for every time you allow your heart to soften, and encourage your sons’ and daughters’ hearts to soften, showing them that we humans can be both brave and tender.

Thank you for the confident and calm boundaries you set, allowing your children to run free, guided by handrails and accountability.

Thank you for the manageable challenges you provide, the stretches that make space for your child to grow into his and her potential.

Thank you for modelling what evolving fatherhood looks like. Today we celebrate you with full hearts and much gratitude!

In my work with fathers, I get to witness the incredible dedication, love and care fathers have for their children. It is humbling and incredibly inspiring. I thank you for this too.

Today I light a candle for you all and offer this wish, this prayer:

May you receive in giving.

May you feel loved in loving.

May you heal in discovering your own vulnerability and strength.

May you stand for justice and truth, kindness and compassion.

May you find Joy in providing Joy for your, for all our young ones.

And may you continue to evolve what is possible as FATHER.

Every blessing for each step along your journey.

All my love, Miriam

Mother’s Day Love ~ The Breadth and Depth of It

Dearest ones – mamas and mothering ones, all of you who pour your hearts and minds, bodies and souls into nurturing and sustaining Life in its myriad forms – so, to all of you, blessed keepers of the Hearth,

I wish you a most blessed mother’s day!

As I sit quietly at the dawn of this day, present with Mother’s Day, many strands of the mothering adventure come to heart and mind… 

the impossible task it presents – to love so completely, to be carved out in surrender to a child, and then be required to release, to let go.

the yearning to be mother to a child that may go unmet, and the depth of ache and sorrow this leaves in many.

the bounty of love poured in this world, day by day, moment by moment, by all who mother, taking care of Life, watering it and helping it grow.

the overwhelm and loneliness that mothers sometimes experience when the village isn’t there.

the pivotal place you stand as mother between how you were mothered and how you choose to mother, calling forth healing, integration, and renewal so that Love can flourish more fully in the future. 

the grief that never fully ends when a child dies. the love that continues forever.

the cycle of nurturing continued as children grow up and nurture their aging parents. That, the mothering force in action too.

the many ways beyond mothering a child that mothering takes – in the aunties of this world, in the listeners and birthers of new, in each and every moment your magnificent heart opens to presence, to pouring care and love into another.

the mamas to newborns this year. May you feel enfolded in our love and support for you, as you navigate that first incredible, crazy, all-encompassing year.

the love that widens us, grows us, deepens us as we tend to our children, day in, day out.

With you, I honor and celebrate these and all the unspoken and unseen dimensions on motherhood today.

Thank you for every ounce, every caress, every snack, every note and prayer and stitch and vision and hope and sweat and dance of Mother-Love you share with the world. Thank you for You!

Take a moment to allow yourself to really feel seen in this mothering work you do. Because it takes you softening the layer of protection you may hold around your heart, to let it in. Then Mother’s Day can actually “land” in you.

And know, wherever you are, however mothering shows up in your life, that you are not alone. We only seem separate. Truly, we are all travelling together in one big caravan. Your tears are our tears. Your joys are our joys. Your concerns are our concerns. Your hopes are our hopes. Your children are our children.

Whenever we mother, we mother for the Whole.

With all my love, and much gladness to be journeying with you along the path of mothering,