The Girl Effect

Today marks the first day of the Girl Effect blogging campaign.

What does this mean?

Tara Mohr is leading the charge and we’re on a mission to educate the planet on why we need to pay attention to girls! From October 4 to 11, 2011, men and women from around the world will be creating awareness on the Girl Effect.

Want to know more?

“The Girl Effect is a movement driven by organizations, individuals, and girl champions around the globe, harnessing the unique potential of adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world. It is not about raising the profile of an organization or even raising money for a particular program. It’s about raising girls’ voices – it’s that simple.”

To read the Girl Effect posts, click here.

F-Tember

Every so often I stumble upon something wonderful… this weekend it was Invoke’s digital media campaign for Fuck Cancer.

They are on a mission to turn September into F-Tember. Their goal is to create awareness surrounding early detection of cancer. How have they implemented it? A strategic Facebook campaign coupled with clever, catchy promotional lines. For more details on the campaign, click here.

So what do you need to do?

It’s that easy.

And if you are cool like me… [and actually follow through with my challenge ;)] you will get this thank you:

HIGH FIVE! :)

On the Fuck Cancer website, they mention that people don’t talk about cancer until they have it. That super hit home for me and couldn’t be more true. Be need to be proactive with health, disease and conditions that could ultimately affect our lives and the lives of those we love.

A bit more about Fuck Cancer:

“Fuck Cancer is a movement that activates Generation Y to engage with their parents about early detection of cancer. Over 90% of cancers of curable if caught in stage one- why the Fuck don’t more people know this? We’re creating a generation of early detection ambassadors who, by learning about what to do to stay healthy, what to watch out for, and what questions to ask, are taking control of their own health and the health of their parents.

Peace and love. Happy F-Tember. ❤

Related posts:

a revelation

It’s 7:45pm and I’m laying on the couch in a tank and panties watching Kimora Lee [Don’t worry… the Kardashian’s is on next! ;)]. I have a hospital bracelet on my left arm and IV track marks on my right.

I have an overwhelming feeling of disgusting.

They tell me I’m legally impaired. No driving for 24 hours — but also I can’t ride a horse, use a food processor, buy a house or get married. Yes, those (plus so much more) are listed in the document they gave me. :/

So what happened?

Today I had an endoscopy to determine if I have celiac disease (allergy to gluten). Woop! Celiac runs in my family, so the docs wanted to do their due diligence to ensure that I don’t have it.

I arrive at the hospital this morning to quicky have an IV put in and soon enough I was in the procedure room. They hook you up on oxygen, give you a bite tray and then anesthesia… which means bye bye bye. The specialist sends a camera down your throat/belly/intestines and I think they go searching for creatures. :)

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About 90 mins later they woke me up and forced me to drink and eat. The tube forces you go collect a little extra air so they want to make sure swallowing and all that is good. I just kept on giving them a death glare and then they said “You sure like the drugs don’t you?” Why yes I do.

So anyways I’ve been home about 7 hours and slept most of the afternoon away. I am totally whiney and need a hug. I feel both exhausted and hungover.

But WAIT… all of a sudden, I had a revelation…

If you experience health issues while single, you are way less likely to get divorced when you’re married.

Think about it… any type of health disease/disorder, procedure or process generally means “sick.” Sick usually means whiney and needy. Whiney and needy is the end of the world in relationships!

So I’m onto something right?

Yes, I’ve had Scoliosis surgery and a lumpectomy. But I’ve also has my wisdom teeth out and now this nasty endoscopy.

Check it out. Less things for my significant other to be pained through!

All I’m really missing out on experiencing is appendicitis and a broken bone. Then I would be set!

By going for an endoscopy, I must be a hotter commodity in this market.

That must be true.

Signed, Independent Woman

[Typed while horizontal from my iPhone]

PS: My current mental state is undetermined. ;) T-12 hrs until drug free!

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will to survive

It’s been 9 years since I walked out the doors of the BC Children’s Hospital.

I was 18 years old.

I remember not feeling ready to leave, but they kept on telling me. It’s time. It’s time…

Not a day goes by that the BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) is not present in my heart. I can’t define my moments there as good or bad — they just shaped me into who I am today.

My first time at BCCH was unplanned. I was 12 years old and it was Christmas Eve. Somehow I ended up getting staff infection above my right eye. A disgusting golf ball of an eye formed, I couldn’t open it and the doctors were worried about me losing my sight. I was rushed to Vancouver for emergency surgery. I remember being in the Emergency Room (likely totally losing my cool) and they came by with a Gund teddy bear. They were doing everything possible to ensure that all the children still had a bright Christmas. They had me confined for days and about 10 days later I was released. I was in Grade 6 and officially had the lamest Christmas break ever. We celebrated Christmas in late January that year and I remember feeling ridiculously self-conscious. My eye took a long time to heel and I wore a big ass white bandage over it to keep it clean. Photos were my nightmare.

The second time I visited BCCH was to enter a formal relationship with the outpatient Scoliosis clinic. Just a few months after my surgery, I was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. I was at a fundraiser for the BCCH on Salt Spring Island and a stranger came up to me and said “You have Scoliosis. You need to go to the doctor.” I looked at her like any crazy child might and was like…. “Right.” I reported back to my mother and we made an appointment with my GP. Well guess what… I owe a lot to that random woman. In 1997 I was diagnosed and in May 1999, I underwent a spinal fusion with instrumentation. It can also be explained as they sliced me up from my neck to tailbone and attached steel to my spine. It took 12 hours and involved rods, screws, hooks and a bone graft. I have next to no memory of the days that followed. About three days later my Orthopedic Surgeon walked in the room… I remember looking at him and being like — “Why did we do this again?” The pain was horrendous. If we hadn’t done the surgery, I wouldn’t be alive to speak of it today.

My spine had progressed from 0 to 65 degrees in less than 18 months.  In the days post-surgery, I learned to breathe (my lungs had suffered), sit up (oy… poker straight back), walk (I grew a few inches) and re-learn activities like climbing stairs.  In the months post-surgery, I learned to adapt to my new way of life — pain, inability to sleep, general neuroticism :) and a lack of self-confidence that came from a mighty big scar. I was told I could carry no more than 10lbs at a time (no textbooks!) and no contact sports for two years. Things weren’t always bright back then but hell did I learn a lot.

Every time I was told I had to go back to the BCCH for follow-up and Scoliosis scans… I got excited. Slowly but surely I was making progress. I loved my surgeon, Dr. Stephen Tredwell, and the orthopedic team. They were my bright lights throughout the whole process. They motivated me to strive high and put expectation on me to continue working, attend university, start my career, have a family, etc. They wanted to ensure that I would consider myself no different than anyone else, to take what I had learned from the BCCH and this experience and use it to help me grow.

In the years that followed, I checked in with the BCCH less frequently. Part of me was terrified for the day that I would be released from their care. Being a children’s hospital, they generally only keep patients until the age of 19ish. If you require more treatment, you’re transferred to an ‘adult hospital.’ Shortly before my last appointment, Dr. Treadwell, advised that he no longer needed to care for me. My spine was stable.

I sent Dr. Treadwell updates, letters and Christmas cards for years. I had – and have – utmost respect for the man. He is Head of the Pediatric Ortheopedic department at BCCH and everyday he is teaching medical students and colleagues how to treat spinal deformity and pediatric trauma. Everyday he spreads light and love to children around British Columbia.

So what brought this all top of mind tonight? A singer, songwriter and guitar playing machine, Calvin Locke, tweeted out a link to the video, asking followers to take 10 minutes and give it a watch:

The video tells the story of a young lady named Logan Johnson-Lay. In 2005, Logan was diagnosed with cancer and since then has had 4 brain surgeries and 153 chemotherapy treatments and 31 doses of brain and spine radiation.

In 2010, Logan was chosen to be the Champion Child of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation – Child Run. It was the run’s 25th anniversary of raising money for childhood cancers and Logan’s 5th anniversary since her diagnosis.

Calvin will be on the road across Canada over the coming months and will be donating all album proceeds from iTunes to a charity of Logan’s choice. One of Logan’s friends recently passed away… a young lady by the name of Megan McNeil. When Megan was 16 years old, she was diagnosed with cancer and began treatment at the BCCH.

Just by reading a few of Megan’s blog posts tonight, I can tell that she was an incredible woman. Megan started a non-profit called Will to Survive. The goal is to assist families who have children battling cancer. In January 2011, at the age of 20, Megan passed away.

All proceeds from Calvin’s tour will support Megan’s legacy by being donated to Will to Survive. Calvin’s album is titled: “Yukon to St. John’s.

Megan encouraged children to keep on fighting. Her video, “Will to Survive”:

I am thankful that children have resources like the BC Children’s Hospital. I am thankful that medical students choose to specialize in pediatrics. I am thankful that children have other children to look up to.

Regardless of illness, trauma or tragedy — positivity will carry children through thick and thin.

Logan and Megan, you are both an inspiration.

I admire your dedication to your own health and to the health and spirit of others.

With all my heart. ❤

Learn more:

unleash the power within

A few months ago a girlfriend approached me asking if I’d be interested in attending a Tony Robbins event, Unleash the Power Within. Not knowing anything about Mr. Robbins, I said “sure, why not.” I absolutely admire so many qualities of this young lady and if she thought to invite me, I better take her up on the offer and challenge myself to learn. I didn’t do the 10 weeks of pre-work, instead the first time I heard an ounce about Tony Robbins was live, from himself directly, on  Thursday, July 14, 2011, in Chicago, Illinois!

For those that know a lot about Tony’s work and know a bit about what I do, it may surprise you that I know nothing about the guy. For those that know a lot about Tony and know how structured I can be, you might wonder why I didn’t research the conference or his style of leadership. I can confidently say that I don’t know why I didn’t google the guy. It may have been a good idea… ha ha. :)

I arrived at the event late overwhelmed.

4 days. 50 hours of learning. 4000 people from over 10 countries.

A brief overview of the days that followed:

Day 1: Turn Fear into Power (10 hours)

  • Intro to psychology
  • Exploring the 6 human needs: certainty, variety, significance, connection, growth, contribution
  • Processing your greatest fear
  • Firewalking exercise

Day 2: Turn Dreams into Reality (14.5 hours)

  • Momentum and drive
  • Exploring your passion
  • Closing your financial gap
  • Importance of peer groups
  • Determining your x-factor

Day 3: Break Through to your New Life (15.5 hours)

  • Evaluating your wheel of life: physical body, emotions & meaning, relationships, time, work/career/mission, finances, celebrate & contribute
  • Key elements of progress
  • Strategies for success
  • Limiting beliefs vs. empowering beliefs
  • Path to mastery

Day 4: Powers of Pure Energy (10 hours)

  • Keys to healthy body/healthy mind
  • 5 sources of disease
  • 12 principles of a vital life
  • Ten day challenge

I can’t begin to sum up what I have learned over the last 4 days.

Partly because I am processing everything still and also because I learned a hell of a lot.

Key concepts from the event:

  • PEAK STATE. You need to find your happy place — and no this does not include mashed potatoes or a glass of wine. ;) For many of the attendees at this event, a bizarre superhero move put them in peak state. Finding state is about finding the place where your strength shines through. The point where you are at your strongest physically, mentally and emotionally is your peak state.
  • BE GRATEFUL. Tony never lost sight of giving more than you take. He continually tied back his content to giving back to the community and being grateful for what life gives you. Appreciate people, situations, moments – the good and the bad. In the words of Tony, “Stop being busy doing stupid shit. Remember what it means to give.”
  • WEALTH. Wealth is not about money! Instead it equals caring and creativity. Being someone who is not money-oriented to start with, I can appreciate a statement like this. ;) You will feel most rich when you give, show love and have the opportunity to be creative. Wealth is about challenging yourself to be your ultimate best self.
  • SHITTY DAYS. Make the worst day of your life, the best day of your life. Enough said.
  • PEER GROUPS. Your friends 100% affect your standards. Tony continually reinforced: “Who you spend your time with is who you become.” He challenges you to accept your family, but pick your friends. You goal should be to surround yourself with people that are equal or better than yourself. Everyone needs to evaluate your current friend circle, discover alignment and then choose to stay or leave. The best team will challenge you — NOT support you. Seems harsh, but ridiculously true.
  • X-FACTOR. How are you different from other people? What value do you add to the lives of others, your organization or the community? By adding intangible value and consistently maintaining it, you are able to master both yourself and your business.
  • RAISE YOUR STANDARDS. Levels of standards are poor, good, excellence and outstanding. The key thing to note though is that standards have changed over time and in today’s society poor = pain, good = poor, excellence = good, outstanding = excellence. A great example that Tony shared was when he was speaking to a man who’s wife recently left him. He said to Tony: “I was a good husband.” Tony says” “That was the problem.” Get it? If you goal is outstanding, yes, you have a lot of work to do, but you will stand out from the rest. For ultimate success, the key is to maintain an outstanding standard in multiple aspects of your life.
  • MASTERY. The key components of mastery are modelling behaviour, immersion and spaced repetition. If your standards are high and you want to try out a new hobby/activity/language/skill etc, you need to give it your all. Modelling is explained through finding someone who has already mastered the game (i.e. find the best of the best) and get them to teach you. Immersion is immersing yourself in the activity or learning (i.e. Do you learn Spanish best while you are in Mexico for 4 weeks or once a week for 10 weeks in your hometown?). Spaced repetition is continually touching back into that hobby/activity/language/skill/etc to keep your fresh, current and engaged. It seems easy eh? Well why does not one do it. :)
  • ENERGY. Health should be measured through energy, instead of skinny/fat, weight in numbers and attitude. Pure energy comes down to vital breathing, live foods, essential oils, alkalinity, aerobic energy, nutrition, structural alignment & strength and a directed mind & heart. If you have constant energy, you are healthy.

Key learnings:

  • MY PRIMAL DRIVERS: Significance and growth. I currently need recognition and acknowledgement of a job well done. as well, I thrive in an environment where I’m constantly learning and challenging myself to be a better person. Tony told us that we needed to determine our current drivers and then decide where I wanted them to be. Tony thinks that everyone should work towards love — it’s always the end goal. I get the reasoning and thought process, but as of right now,  but I choose growth and contribution as my goal. Growth will be even more important as I progress and I intend to raise my degree of contributing to others and giving back to society.
  • MY GREATEST FEAR: Failure. 100%. What’s the benefit of this fear? Well, I’m an overachiever and stride through life not letting myself fail. Good and not good if you know what I mean! A question that I need to constantly ask myself, “If you fail, what is the worst thing that might happen?” Death. No. Learning. Likely. Why did I do the walk across the 12 feet of 2000 degree hot coals during the firewalk on Day 1? Because I couldn’t fail… obviously. ;)
  • MY PASSION: We did an exercise where we needed to reflect on what we love/hate, where are passion lies and what we really want. My list was long for all of them, except passion. My passion came down to education and teaching, writing and giving back. Simple and for whatever reason, I didn’t have that clarity until this weekend.
  • MY WHEEL OF LIFE: There are 7 categories on your wheel of life. My strengths were physical body, emotions and meaning, work/career/mission and celebrate/contribute. My weaknesses were relationships, time and finances. This exercise was extremely reflective for me — not in the sense that it shared something new, more so that it reinforced where I needed to spend my time and how to set goals for the days, months and years to come. I maybe, just maybe, tend to set guys up for failure [run… away… now… ;)], lead a generally all over the place life and have completely disorganized finances. Tons of room for improvement.
  • MY MOST POWERFUL LOCATION: My left ear. Wink wink nudge nudge. If you were wanting to whisper sweet nothings to me, head in the direction of my left ear. ;) Other options were from in front, behind, and right ear.
  • MY HEALTH: I need to get my skinny phat ass back to the gym and keep health top of mind. I’m totally good at all the component of health when I want to be, but it has to be top of mind. The entire 4 days, Tony reinforced the importance of rituals. I somewhat interpret that as routine. With routine, rituals, whatever and a belief in why health is important to your entire being, you make it happen. You just do.

My frustrations with the event:

  • THE ENVIRONMENT. The environment was intense. The only way to define it is ‘rah rah fist pump rah rah.’ A large part of this event was building energy. Rather than processing information in your head, you yell it out to the audience. Rather than smile when you have made progress, you high five. Rather than do team building activities, you have dance parties. Rather than clap in agreement of a powerful statement, you hit your chest and “make your move.” When Tony needs to ensure the participants have understood a concept… he uses a technique called “say… Yes!” and “say… Aye!” The result is chanting in unison. If you were standing at the back of the room or had a birds eye view from above, you would undoubtedly be like “Who the eff are these weird people?” On Day 1, I thought holy shit and participated. By Day 3, I was done. I’ve had enough fist pumping to last a life time. Truly. Lifetime. When I want to center myself, being truly strong to my core and mind, I think of yoga. Calm. Deep Breathing. Reflection.  I found that continually shouting out my degree of awesome was completely illegitimate and distracted me from what we were trying to achieve. The environment worked for some people, it truly did. But for me? It felt cult-ish and crazy.
  • THE FANS. There were groupies. Yes, groupies. Tony has a following of supporters who continually come to the same event to learn more and support him in his mission. The problem is that 1) they were quit odd and 2) they were not making progress. Tony motivates them to make change and they come back to each event making minimal to no change!! Sure this is a generalization, but they took away from the newbie’s experience and were intense as hell. It is not motivating to see people attending this type of event who are not making progress. IMO, attending one of these events – regardless of your issue – should allow you to make progress in some area of your life. If you have come to the event and not learned, you haven’t given it your all.
  • THE SELLING. There was a focus on selling product. I understand that “Tony Robbins” is a corporation, not an educational institution or one-man-show, so absolutely there is a need to sell. Interested in selling to me though? Show me success, results, application and I will come to you on my own. Talking people into trials, deals, discounts, etc does not motivate me to buy. I have even more of an issue with it, because I believe that tons of people get ‘trapped’ into buying product/services all the time. At one point, someone from Tony’s team said just put the down payment on your credit card. FOR REAL? You teach Wealth Mastery and you want someone to put a $2000 down payment on their credit card… having no idea where they will find the next $8000-10,000? Perhaps it motivated some to bust their ass and find some cash, but for others? Total detrimental move.
  • THE LEARNING STYLE. There were numerous times during this event that I tied this experience back to the field of Human Resources and learning styles. Although this event had live speaking, recorded videos, activities, group work and workbooks, I truly believe it catered to one type of learner. One might say, it had to. 4000 people in one room and a lot of content to get through. I learn best in a small, intimate environment, with visual engagement and practical application. Likely why I thrived in college, instead of a university setting. I was most engaged in learning when Tony was speaking to hardcore content, live audience examples and follow-up exercise. Every time that dancing, high fives, fist pumps took place, I was ultimately distracted.

For the most part there were two types of people who attended this event:

  1. Someone with some sort of immediate issue that was taking over their life. For example, smoking, weight loss, job loss, financial issue, etc. They were there to find their passion, get themselves back.
  2. Someone who is Type A, achievement oriented and keen to make themselves a better, more well-rounded, passionate person. Regardless of growth past and present, they need more.

I could think of a hell of a lot of people who would benefit from an event like this… but I don’t believe that everyone is ready. The experience was intense and at times, ridiculous. You will get the most from an event like this when you have an open mind, prepared for growth and committed to having a bit of fun.

So was it worth it?

I spent $500 on the event and 100% received that value back in learning and reflection. I even slacked out on Day 2 and 4, focusing on work for a few hours, but I still got what I needed. Yes there was repeat from other things I have learned and read in life. Yes it was intense at times and seriously thought “WTF.” In reflection, I would say that I needed to attend something like this in mid-2009. At that time, I needed someone to light a fire under my ass. Instead I went to Tunisia, Africa to attend a completely unrelated conference and meet some amazing people who were “my Tony Robbins.” People who inspired me to make change. People who challenged my thought process. People who set my mind up for success. People who told me what books to read. People who taught me that if you bust your balls, opportunities will find you.

“Unleash the Power Within” confirmed that I am headed in the right direction. I am so grateful for everything that has happened in the last few years — the people that I have met, the lessons learned and random things that have tested my values. I am proud to say that I have learned more about myself and my mission in the last 2 years, than in my entire life.

I can confidently say that I am committed to growing and turning life up a notch more.

I need to reflect on all I have learned, get back to goal setting, define my rituals and create a master plan!

Will I attend another event?

I am debating attending Life Mastery and Wealth Mastery in Fiji in 2012 or at some point in the future. Why? Because it is a small setting (60 people – which would be better for my learning style) without the rah rah fist pump rah rah and I truly believe I could get a lot out of it. The concept of peer groups reinforces that in order to excel, you need to surround yourself with people who already have the expertise and are excelling themselves. This event provides one with the opportunity to be connected to expertise in particular fields, but from people that the average individual never would be connected to. If I have a standard of outstanding or exceptional in my life, then why wouldn’t I make every effort to surround myself with best of the best…!

“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” – Tony Robbins

Will I register because of what I heard about the event this weekend? No. I will register because I have researched the event, read reviews, received recommendations and know – know in my heart – that it’s the right decision for me!

Keen to understand a bit more about Tony’s thoughts on life? Check out his TED talk from 2006.

I admire Mr. Robbins. I didn’t watch him on the stage everyday thinking about how fabulously well-rounded he is. I thought… that will be me. No no, not the bizzilionaire with the foundation, million dollar coaching sessions and 19 million companies. The educator. The voice. The passionate, well-spoken person wanting to give back to the world.

Too many people live in that lukewarm shitty place in life.

Make changes. Switch things up. Strive high.

With love from Chicago. ❤

sap-tacular

I know, I know… I haven’t blogged in awhile. I have so much to catch everyone up on… The Top Employer Experience (I know… so behind!), my Belize beach vacation, the nasty creatures I brought home with me from Central America, Dove Canada music video, speaking engagement at UBC’s Style & the City conference, Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship regional exposition, and a hell of a last three months.

 

I’ve been having the time of my life.

 

But if I’m being completely honest, none of this is important…

 

I need to tell you something.

I’ve changed.

I’ve been questioning who I am as a human being.

Why?

 

I’ve turned into a total sap.

Seriously. A sap.

I’m not that girl who cry’s in movies, cares about cats, or thinks babies are ‘to die for cute.’

Lately, my heart has been melting over and over again. I’ve been so close to tears so many times in the past few weeks. The tears haven’t been filled with positive or negative emotion… they have solely been due to my heart being totally overwhelmed.

 

Life has been reinforcing that the world is full of amazing people. Amazing.

 

People who are inspired. People who are passionate. People who are creative.

People who give back and are dedicated to their community.

People who are changing the world.

 

Be the best person that you can be.

Let your heart move. Let your heart move in every direction.

Dare to be different.

 

Music: Adele

Art: Before I Die

Travel: Dale Strawford

Community: Adeu, Barcelona

 

With a completely full heart, xo.

crunch time

Well… 12:21 am on Thursday night (Friday morning – depending on how you look at it) and still awake with hours of homework to tackle.  It’s that evil time of year when university group projects, final assignments, and exams all creep up on you and all of a sudden that feeling of being overwhelmed takes over.  I feel more pressure than usual because it’s my graduating semester. Yes, after seven – SEVEN – years of university… I’m done. T-15 days!

Everyday this week, I’ve thought about my blog. I’ve thought about all the things I really have been waiting to voice an opinion on and exciting (fabulous) things that I can share.  I’m solely writing to say… I’ll be back in a bit. I need to keep myself together over the next two weeks, managing both work and university in an effective and efficient manner… and I’m pretty sure that blogging doesn’t fit in the final exam week stretch plan.

When I’m back, stay tuned for… an update on the Beyond Pink conference and all that was learned… why I love Vancouver and the creative, love-filled Entrepreneurs I met along my journey… the benefits of Twitter chats [yes like #tchat ;)]… Calgary’s Campus Recruiting Forum… attaining my CHRP (Certified Human Resources Professional) designation… the long haul to graduation… tidbits on reflexology and a chlorophyll update… a solo Christmas… my 2011 present to myself… and some sort of summary of the year and plan for the next.

If you’re in university crunch time right now, my thoughts are with you.  Keep you head down – you’re almost there!! If you’re behind on holiday shopping, that’s quite unfortunate… I finished mine weeks ago. :D My tip to all of you… make a list and get everything done.  Spend some time this holiday season… just… enjoying.

With love. ❤

a little bit of green

I’ve always supported the alternative medicine way of thinking.  A few days before I left for Japan, I went for a massage at Embody Wellness Clinic in Calgary.  I met Dr. Michael Schmolke quite some time ago, so wanted to try out the clinic – and a fabulous young woman, named Darci Baillie.

Being diagnosed with Scoliosis over 10 years ago has meant an excessive commitment to alternative therapies, with a huge focus on massage therapy.

I used to have weekly appointments, but since the degree of “busy” in my life has gone up 14,000 notches (and I’ve been feeling great), I had forgotten about the importance of alternative therapy routine.

My massage with Darci was 90 minutes of fabulous.  She is very educated on the various facets of the body and quite realistic with incorporating alternative health into regular day-to-day life.  She also just wrote her traditional Chinese acupuncture exams and will find out results in December – so fingers crossed for her!

Darci suggested that I start taking liquid chlorophyll.  I immediately was like – why?! It sounds disgusting.

According to HealthGiants.com:

Chlorophyll is just similar to hemoglobin except for the central atom which is iron in hemoglobin while magnesium in chlorophyll. As blood is approximately 75% hemoglobin so when chlorophyll is ingested it is believed that it will perform the same function as hemoglobin.

Scientific benefits of liquid chlorophyll involve a boost in energy levels, restore and replenish the amount of red blood cells. This regeneration of a body is at a cellular and molecular level. Most prominent benefits include:

  • Fight against infection
  • Healing of wounds
  • Cleansing of a body
  • Foster immune, circulatory and digestive systems
  • Increase in the number of red blood cells
  • Increase oxygen utilization
  • Reduction in binding of carcinogens to DNA
  • Break calcium oxalate stones

So the question is … if you are consuming regular amount of leafy greens, do you need to take additional liquid chlorophyll? Apparently cooking destroys a lot of chlorophyll’s benefits (high five to raw foodie’s) and we our insides need chlorophyll!

At the end of the day, there seems to be no harm and all information out there claims to “replenish blood stream, aid muscle building, cleanse the body, and make you smell better.” :) Tomorrow starts day 1.  1 teaspoon in a glass of water twice daily. At the very least, I hope that this new addition to my diet cures the cold I am battling!

pretty in pink

Last week I held Pretty in Pink: A Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit.  The idea stemmed from the breast health battles I had this summer and my continual commitment to Rethink Breast Cancer. 

The event couldn’t have been more of a success.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported every ounce of the night – drinks and food galore, with a lot of education, and a touch of emotion summed up the night.  Tasha Westerman, a two time breast cancer survivor and avid Rethink volunteer came to speak a the event – all I can say is that she’s an inspirational woman.  A funny, thoughtful, and sincere mother, friend, and colleague.

As my thank you for Tasha coming to speak, I bought 5 copies of her husband’s book, “Stop, Drop, and Smile.”  Those 5 copies will be donated to 5 people currently battling cancer and all that comes with the diagnosis.  One copy is for my girlfriends mom, who has been battling breast cancer.  Another is for a coworkers friend, who has had breast cancer this summer.  The third book is going to a Twitter friend’s mom who has been a huge supporter of this event. I offered 2 copies to the audience, if they knew of someone who would truly benefit from the work.  I have been approached by one attendee who wants to give a copy to their best friend struggling with cancer.  I have one copy left.  If you know of anyone who would thoroughly relish in every word Ryan wrote, please pass on their name.  If the one book remains unclaimed, it will be donated to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.

Tasha’s blog can be found here: http://tashaengel.blogspot.com/

Ryan’s blog can be found here: http://ryanwesterman.blogspot.com/

I want to extend the following extra-special thank you’s for making Pretty in Pink happen:

  • Tasha Westerman – You are spectacular – your whole being.  You are an inspiration to those around you and I am completely blessed to give my friends the opportunity to have you speak.
  • Tremaine Lea – You made and contributed to the success of the event. Thank you for being flexible and committed to both the organization and my event.
  • Tony Johansen – Couldn’t have done this without you buddy… your mad marketing skillz made event promotion and communications easy!
  • Bethany Wall – Thank you for being the door police, collecting cash, “bouncing” bad folks out of the event ;), and truly being a great friend.
  • Erik Ross – Thank you for taking event setup on at very last minute notice and for keeping me company until the wee hours.
  • Lastly… a huge thank you to Ming.  An unbelievable venue, intimate vibe, and the best staff a girl could ask for.

Thank you to all those who attended the event:

Amanda C., Ahmed, Andrew M., Andrew T., Ashley, Bethany, Brittaney, Bryce, Caitlin, Candace, Charlene, Chris & guest, Crystal, Curtis, Dominic, Erik, Felicity, Fran, Geoff, Gurpreet, Jason P., Jenn De.,  Jenn Du., Jessica, Jody, Joe, Joel, Josephine, Kait, Kat, Kim K., Katie, Kevin, Kristin, Larissa & guest, Leo, Lily, Lindsay, Lisa, Mandy, Mason, Melanie, Micheline, Neil, Nicole M., Nicole S., Rachel, Regan, Rick, Scott, Simon, Tasha F., Trina, Troy, Shelby, Sue, and Zak.

And thank you for the additional donations:

Amanda M., Dawn, Derek, Jason O., Kim M., Kymme, Mark, and Zak.

If you are still interested in donating, please visit my secure site through Rethink Breast Cancer: https://secure.reachout4rethink.org/ParticipantPage-102-17.aspx?L=2&CCID=17&PID=1125&GC=GTv2

To view photos from the event, please visit Tremaine’s website.

As discussed at the event, Rethink Breast Cancer is holding their annual Rethink Romp in Calgary on November 4th.  The theme of this years event is SUPERHEROES! It is always a fantastic night out on the town, for more information visit http://www.rethinkromp.com.

From the bottom of my heart – thank you.  XO

PS – Thank you to Jennifer Dunwoody who recently blogged about the event and Rethink Breast Cancer.

moving forward

Well it’s been an intense few days.  I have no idea why I intentionally add such stress and pressure to my life.  I knew my designation exam was October 2nd, yet I still chose to go “live” with all the health stuff on October 1st.  Regardless of removing myself from technology, I knew that my attention wouldn’t be on the exam.  Le sigh.  I guess the good news is that the exam is over and now I have a few months to wait for marks.

I have felt at peace with the health stuff over the past few weeks – from what I kept telling myself, truly at peace.  Then Thursday happened.  I was nervous, unsure, and scared to go public with any of it.  I kept on telling myself that so many people (and women) in this world go through so much worse than I had been through.  I started to realize that a large part of worried was that it wasn’t about what I’d been through, it was about that I’d hid it from everyone.  Many people in my life see me as a driven, career-focused, community-oriented, young woman.  They see me, I smile… I pretend everything is fine.  Life isn’t fine… but it’s getting better.  I am making progress every day and for that I’m thankful.

On Thursday night, I stayed up until almost 4am editing the blog post… I wanted it to be perfect.  I wanted to ensure that my message came across the way I had intended.  The last thing I wanted was for someone to say “I’m sorry”… I wanted people to reflect on what I’d written and make positive change in their lives.  Whether that means you are a woman who is going to TOUCH. LOOK. CHECK more often, or a friend who will truly offer support the next time someone is in need, or you are going to donate your money or time to a cause that is relevant to you.  My primary goal in writing my story was to make a difference.

A lot happened during the last few months – there is much more to the story than what I have written, but throughout my writing, I realized that health was the most important.  All the other “life” stuff was no longer important; all the garbage just reinforced to me that I needed to come out of this situation on top.

I published the blog post, sent off a quick email to close friends with the link, and forced myself to sleep.

Friday was overwhelming.  The last time I shed so many tears was during the unknown diagnosis weeks of June and July.  These tears were different though.  They were not filled with angst, fear, and stress.  By publishing my health battles, I made myself vulnerable.  My tears came because I didn’t realize how much love and support I truly have.  As confident as I can be, I have been scarred from the past.  I have been screwed over quite a bit in the past few years.  I have been backstabbed, hurt by friends, and not supported in so many facets of my life.  I just keep on telling myself that no one else matters… “Jill, you are what’s important.”  Keep focused, make progress, and eventually everything will come together.  For years I have been waiting for a support system and I’m finally thrilled to say that I think I have one.  It’s unfortunate that it took this situation to make me realize that.

I received a phone call late Friday afternoon.  Tony, Marketing Manager at Melrose, had called to confirm Ming as my venue for “Pretty in Pink: A Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit.”  I couldn’t have been more thrilled.  Little did Tony know, but this was just the distraction I needed to once again re-focus and look toward the future.  I have a short three weeks to plan a memorable event, a glamorous pink wonderland.

In less than a day, I had 307 views of my blog post – my highest view count to date.  I will admit (even though I was supposed to be studying), I did consume myself in the messages of support, inspiration, and love.  Just thinking about a few of them brings tears to my eyes.  It’s funny how in situations like this your true friends always come to light.  I have read every email, text message, blog post comment, and Twitter mention or message.  I have absorbed every ounce of good everyone had to say.  I have been surprised over how honest people are – and potentially, so in tune with who I am as a person.  A huge thank you to Shannon Hilton Photography for utilizing Rethink Breast Cancer as the charity of choice for her recent photography promotion.

What do I plan to take away from this experience?  I fully intend to live in and cherish the present.  I have realized how important it is to surround yourself with good people; people who truly have your back.  In order to achieve my hopes and dreams, I am re-prioritizing quite a few people in my life.  I naturally put a lot of effort into both relationships and life.  I need to be surrounded by people who truly do the same.  I am very goal driven – and function best when I have something to look forward to.  In the short term, I’m competing in KPMG’s “What Makes a Top Employer” video contest (ends October 18th), hosting “Pretty in Pink: A Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit” at Ming (October 21st), attending the JCI World Congress in Osaka, Japan (early November), and I will be speaking at the Young Women in Business’ (YWiB) annual conference, “Beyond Pink” in Vancouver (November 20th).  In the long term, I have no idea, but intend to start thinking about my 2011 goals as we move through the next few months.

All that’s left to say is – thank you.  Thank you for the support.  Thank you for the love.  And thank you for believing in me. ❤

August 2010 – Still healing. Photo taken by a fantastic friend named Madigan Reilly.