The Gift of Presence

I watched as a man folded his meal into his paper plate as if it were a fajita and bite into it, plate and all. Later in the evening he cried out in pain when he tried to get up to leave. He hurt all over yet didn’t want an ambulance and was barely able to articulate what he was feeling. Surrounded by more packages than he could ever carry, he was determined to leave without any assistance.

I spoke to a woman; I’m guessing she was in her late 20s or early 30s. She looked much older than her years, living on the streets has a way of doing that. She was kneeling on the floor preparing a plate of seconds to take with her. She carefully placed another plate on top of her plated meal and slid it into a zip lock bag she pulled out of her belongings. She fastened the bag until most of it was sealed and then she sucked the air out of the bag to vacuum seal it and placed it in a large plastic bag with the rest of her belongings. She looked up at me and my heart sank seeing her black eye and other cuts and bruises on her face. She was holding up a clean pair of underwear and asked if she could use the washroom before she left to change into them.

I spoke to a young man who couldn’t possibly eat all the food loaded on his plate. His pale steal-blue eyes flickered as he struggled to keep them open, his hands swollen with infected cuts moved painfully slow to get food on his fork and into his mouth. He had the kindest soul and he graciously tolerated me when what he really wanted to do was watch how the guitar on stage glowed with various coloured lights. Mesmerized he asked how it could be doing that. We wondered together if there were lights on the floor shining up on the guitar and the musician playing it.

The truth be told I felt crushed under the weight of what I was witnessing that night. My mind was scrambling and I felt panic rising within me to find answers for these tortured souls because it hurt too much to see their pain. Yet upon taking a closer look at what was going on around me I was humbled by their level of gratitude for the meal, for the jackets, mitts and hats and the warmth they felt being there. Gratitude radiated like the sun in that church gymnasium.

And then I remembered.


Why do I keep forgetting?

The best gift I can give any person is my presence and full attention, to really listen, accept and love every soul where they are at in that very moment, all the while resisting the urge to “fix” them solely to make myself feel better, on what quite literally is sacred ground.


It’s Either This or That Thinking

Yesterday my good friend reminded me that every garden has weeds. In other words there are bad apples in every batch.

Yesterday, I went to my first Freedom Rally in Memorial Park, downtown Calgary in regards to Vaccine Mandates and Vaccine Exemptions. I went to see for myself what people were saying, what was motivating them and quite honestly, I wanted to see if they were extreme in their views. That last point is important to me because I struggle when people are polarized in their views, when a situation has only two possible solutions. When it’s either this or that. It’s so divisive. There’s got to be a better third option.

What I found when I went to the Rally, were good people with families in tow peacefully demonstrating and sharing their experiences. There were all kinds of people from different backgrounds there. They were smiling and dancing and friendly and motivated by a deep desire to stand up for the good of all of us. They made some very good points. They also made some points that seemed a stretch to me, maybe even unsubstantiated broad-stroked statements. But this is true of both sides of this issue. Every garden has weeds.

FREEDOM RALLY Calgary, Canada Feb 5/2022

I started this pandemic journey getting doubly-vaccinated. I did this from a place of wanting to protect vulnerable populations. I have family and friends who have underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to bad outcomes if they contract this virus. This is a huge step for me in the sense that in pre-pandemic times I never got the flu shot. I’m healthy, I have what I believe to be a good immune system, I hardly ever get sick. So I really had to mull it over. But I feel good about my choice to do so. Many people made this choice. All kinds of people from different backgrounds, for different reasons and from a place of wanting to do good for everyone.

As the pandemic went on, I became frustrated that it didn’t seem to make a difference, even as we approached satisfactory levels of herd immunity. And the inconsistencies in mandates were so exasperating, i.e., this group needs to do this to stay safe, while this group can run around Willy Nilly just didn’t make sense to me. And then airports – people coming and going from places that were nowhere near achieving herd immunity because, in my view, the vaccine formula was not freely shared with these countries. If science was truly to be accepted why didn’t we act like it? Honestly it feels like it’s about money. It’s about politics. It’s about greed and not about the common good of everyone.

Yes, I hate polarization. Perhaps that is a flaw in my belief system. And perhaps I even unwittingly participate in polarization. But just as I grow as a person and hopefully become a better version of myself, perhaps any great thing that humanity has ever achieved starts out with polarized views which result in one-sided truths. Maybe this is the process it takes before we become open to hear the other side and hopefully come to a place of understanding, not through government, not through corporations, but through the masses as we choose to not see each other as the enemy and work together to break through ‘it’s either this or that’ thinking to get to the better third option.

What do you think?

May your 2020 be packed with meaning and moments of pure joy

Christmas Day sunrise on the farm

Well hello there!

I’ve certainly been missing in action, haven’t I? Nevertheless, I haven’t forgotten my community here and so I wanted to pop in and say hello and share my word(s) for 2020 with you.

Meaning and Joy

I’ve grown to understand that continual happiness is a human construct and unrealistic. I mean if I were continuously happy, would I even know it? Life is an ebb and flow of emotions and circumstances and the low times are teaching times and the high times are those moments of pure joy. I relish both. I accept both, not in a ‘resigning to the way things are’ kind of way, but in a ‘what am I supposed to learn here’ way. I am content.

And maybe that’s why I haven’t really been here. I’ve been waiting to be me again since my dad’s passing in 2015. And it’s slowing dawning on me that I am me, just a different me. a me that is just as valid as the old me, a me who is more quiet, yet still alive and grateful for so much, and truthfully I really like the new me.

So here’s to 2020 and all its possibilities. May 2020 reveal its awakenings in each of us!

❤ Diana xo

Me, Michaela and her husband Werner




Christmas Fund: Oxford House recovery centre builds on the power of peer support


The night Jason Carriere’s friend offered to help him check into an addiction recovery centre, he knew it was the turning point he’d been so desperately looking for.

“I literally went downstairs and slept by the front door, so I’d be ready,” says Carriere, 42.

In the morning, he woke up and threw back a drink before heading out the door with her.

“That was at 7:35 a.m., July 5, 2017, the last drink of alcohol I’ve had.”

Read the complete article here

I was there when Jason was interviewed for this story. He was honoured to do so and does all he can to give back in the hopes that it will help someone else who is struggling. Please share or reblog this story!

Diana xo


Picking Up Where We Left Off


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On April 20th I boarded a plane to visit a dear friend and celebrate her birthday. Sue and I first met in 1981 when we were neighbours on Rue Narcisse in Chateauguay, Quebec. Our thirty-seven year friendship saw us cross paths many times over the years, from Montreal to Kamloops to Calgary, with Sue eventually leaving for Vancouver to stay. Our friendship, in all honesty feels more like we are sisters.

The last time I saw Sue in Vancouver was during a business trip in 2009, and then we planned a Thanksgiving trip in our old stomping grounds in Kamloops in 2012, even making time to drive up the mountain to Pinantan Lake where we both lived until Sue and family moved to the mainland.

The really cool thing about a friendship like ours is that it doesn’t really matter how much time or distance comes between us, we pick up right where we left off when we finally see each other again.

Pinantan Lake, BC in the late 80s

While there, on this recent visit, I also had an opportunity to catch up with other friends, like Stephanie who was a teenager when we met at the Mustard Seed. And Scott, who also hails from Chateauguay, and Marie whom Sue first met in Montreal, and I later met in the late eighties in Pinantan Lake, British Columbia.

Stephanie, me and Sue – April 2018

It was so wonderful to sit around a table sharing meals and memories with these wonderful people. And walk around Sue’s neighbourhood, including a five kilometer hike to the falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park. I’m also very grateful to Scott for giving us a tour of the Fraser River on his boat.

Who knew that three days with old friends in beautiful British Columbia could be so energizing and good for the soul?

Thank you my friends for your over-the-top hospitality. I’m already looking forward to the day when I can visit again!


There’s nothing more precious than friendship.



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While you are upon the earth, enjoy the good things that are here.

John Seldon

We tend to see imperfections, things, that at first glance, don’t fit right. They stand in our way like obtrusive obstacles.

But what would happen if we purposely looked for beauty?

I think we would find beauty. I think we would see how each inanimate object, each living creature, including you and me, can bring balance and create beauty in our world.


Of beauty, khalil Gibran writes,

…a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,

But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.

It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,

But rather a garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.

But you are life and you are the veil.

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.

But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

The Story of Your Life


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That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

Friedrich Nietzsche

I recently read that when you want to bulk up your muscles by working out, it tears your muscle and creates a scar. That scar is what makes your muscle bulkier and makes you stronger.

Reading that reminded me of the above quote.

Every scar. Every physical, emotional and spiritual wound. Every stretch mark you endure, tells the story of your life. It shows what you have endured and survived, and makes you stronger.

Our scars make us stronger. They make us more beautiful, more uniquely us, and as an extra bonus, more compassionate and kind toward others. They tell the story of our life.

But just as with any workout routine, you first decide to be healthier, you embrace the current discomfort, you work through the pain, you rest when you need to, and then do it again. it takes time to see the results.

Consider this the next time you feel broken.


Happy 22nd Birthday Oxford House!


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I’ve been working here at Oxford House for just little over two years and I can attest to what a great organization it is!

Hardly a day goes by that I am not hearing an amazing story, or learning something new about myself about honesty, integrity, sweating the small stuff, and the list goes on and on!

So I’ve just now decided a small way I can give back. As soon as I’ve published this post, I am making a $22 donation to Oxford House in honour of its 22nd birthday here  and I’m going to challenge you to do the same.


if you’ve ever been helped by Oxford House, or you know someone who has, or you knew Ron MacMillan, Founder and past executive director of Oxford House, and want to donate in his name, or you know someone who is struggling with addiction or has lost their battle with addiction, and you just want to help someone else in their name, who is living in an Oxford House, will you consider donating today?

Thank you for considering my request.


Click here to download a copy of Oxford House’s annual report