Are you living in the Red Zone?

the red zoneI have seen at least half a dozen people this week alone, that are living on the edge.

They are running full tilt, working, volunteering, managing households, cooking, coaching and they are moving full speed ahead.

I see this and it scares me.

Work needs them, their kids need them, teams need them…and then what…

Is this what we’re made for?

Running at a sprinting speed over a marathon distance?

I don’t think so.

I’m not throwing stones from a glass house. Please hear me out – I have been there.

I didn’t even know I was there until I got sick.

I am one of those people that very rarely gets sick. I haven’t had a cold in 4 years. At the point I hit the wall I was homeschooling my kids, working half time, all the kids were in lots of activities and I cooked a nice meal every night and that’s all I knew. If someone had told me to slow down I wouldn’t have even known how, or why I would even consider it.

One day I woke up not feeling well and my heart was racing, I developed what appeared to be the flu and later that day and I was achy and wiped out. I had a fever that eventually lasted for over 2 weeks, I developed a heart condition, lost 30 lb and developed chronic pain that took over half a year to see any relief from. I was tested for leukemia 3 times, every autoimmune disease around and I homeschooled my kids from the floor some days.

The doctor was doing all she could, but medicine can’t fix worn out. Eventually I ended up at a therapist’s office, with severe anxiety, thinking that I was never going to get better. We eventually settled on three goals per day.

I was reduced to:

  • Smile at the kids one time each day
  • Connect genuinely with the kids one time per day
  • Try not to worry about dying and be more present

Ok there was a 4th I was told I had to stop making casseroles. I had 23 casseroles in the freezer so I would have food to feed the kids if things got worse or if the leukemia diagnosis came back positive, then my family would have home made meals – (I don’t think I’ve frozen a casserole since)

Want to know how I got there?

There was nothing left.

I caught a bug and my body disintegrated – I was flattened.
Not only will I probably never freeze another casserole – thank heavens and cooking for me is now making sloppy joes.

I will never live at that pace again – ever.

I am allergic to ‘too busy’. I don’t even use the B word and if I do, I know its time to reign things in.

When I see people doing that to themselves I want to shake them and then lovingly scoop them onto my lap and open their eyes to see what they’re doing.

Your kids, partners, teams, and workplace want you to be alive, not wrung out. They want you to say no so you can say yes to life.

I’m not saying we all don’t have busier seasons but when that pace is relentless – there will eventually be a problem; disintegration of your health, your relationships, your mental health…its all too expensive.

What will it take for people to see that energy, and immunity and health are limited and precious resources?

My heart breaks for the over extended who keep ‘doing’ because they can or someone needs them or they feel alive when they help others, or their kids will be disappointed if they don’t get to participate in a couple sports or my fave ‘if I don’t do it, who will?’.

Want to live a great life?

  • Scale back,
  • Don’t offer help,
  • Skip a kid’s game or practice,
  • Take a day off of work,
  • Be really brave and take one off without pay if you need to-
  • Please listen to your body,
  • Give it rest,
  • Be accountable to someone else for not taking anything else on.

Assess what’s on your plate and take off a few things. I don’t care if you have a plate full of what you’re good at and even brings you JOY, try living at 80%, ok even 95%, capacity so when life fills up a bit you still have room; you have the resources to make it.

Life is so precious and so are you, I want to skid across the finish line with you, happy and healthy, (and diaper free-to be clear) at the ripe old crinkly age of 101 and having experienced delicious spaciousness and grace that can only be found with the richness of free time and ease.

Ease up just a wee bit and see what goodness seeps in.

Leona deVinne

6 Key Messages That Your Anger Might be Trying to Have You Pay Attention To

We all boil at different degrees.

I’m pissed off!

And now I’m not.

I get angry often – having said that I rarely ACT angry. I can’t recall the last time I even raised my voice.

When my kids were little it was a sign that I should just keep motoring on – so I kept busy, only noticing that I felt angry after a night of no sleep and I couldn’t do anything so I kept moving.

Lately I have been becoming more mindful of my anger. I don’t know why my triggered emotion is anger and not sadness or anything else, mostly it’s an angry feeling that rises up and then subsides. Guess it just is.

Do you find yourself getting angry? Are you aware of what triggers it?

When I get angry I notice it in my body, my chest gets tights and feel like my blood pressure increases, sometimes by heart beats faster.

While anger is often deployed at others it has been my body’s message to focus inward, like a bratty feeling two year old needing some attention while it has a melt down on my ‘emotional kitchen floor’.

Some of the inquiry that helps me receive my much needed messages are:

1. Is there a value violation here?

Our values are who we intrinsically are. When someone else does something that is outside of our values we can feel angry. Zero in on what value is being violated?

An example – I have a real value around respect, when someone treats me in a way that feels like I wasn’t respectful, add in a lack of kindness (another value – I see red)

My ‘job’ is not to discharge my flurry of feelings on them, my ‘job’ is to recognize that I am triggered, ask if I need to do or ask for anything and only if I’ve processed this moment and can act within my own values do I act.

Sometimes I just walk away (think of someone cutting you off in parking lot and then them giving you the finger – I don’t need to stop the person to have a conversation about that)

Want to discover more about your values? Click here for a great tool

2. Am I blaming someone else for something and feel ‘judgy’ and like flinging my crap onto someone else? (Youch)

Blame is how we discharge our own pain. Perhaps we didn’t ask for something we needed or hold someone accountable for something that we did ask for.

It’s a tough one, but worth circling back and seeing if there’s something that needs to be addressed, a want/need that wasn’t expressed or a boundary that requires some reinforcement.

Great video here with some wisdom by Brene Brown, that explains blame and what we can do about it

3. Is there a misunderstanding? What if you misinterpreted someone else’s intention about something?

This is where you get curious over critical

That could look like “I thought we had made some plans for the weekend, but I haven’t heard from you and was wondering what happened?”

AHHHHHHH – this feels, spacious, generous and non judgemental and opens the door for a conversation that will shed some light on a situation and allow for designing how you might do things differently next time.

4. Are you mad at yourself?

If something hasn’t gone well, it’s a great opportunity for learning and adjusting your sails.

Talk to yourself like you would a friend that’s struggling and be kind to yourself in this process.

Beating yourself up takes your gooey, thinking, creative part of your brain off line and makes you more reactive and myopic in focus.

If your brain is anything like mine I need the best parts of my brain to be running on all cylinders or the whole system could go to crap – some days I can barely identify my own offspring in a line up, I don’t need my brain function to deteriorate even further.

This skill is called self compassion and it can be learned AND the more self compassionate one is the better their self confidence is as well – see how self compassionate you are here.

5. You’re pissed off. PERIOD.

Perhaps this is where some self care comes in. Answer these questions, with out editing:

  • What do I want more of?
  • What do I need?
  • What do I want less of?

Take those answers and get on it.

Hire someone to clean your house, do your taxes, go take a bath, go for a walk, take yourself out for coffee, go to the zoo – listen to what you long for more of and schedule that in.

When we feel stretched thin, wrung out and packed full, that’s the perfect fertilizer for resentment to grow in.

6. Is the anger hiding another emotion?

Anger is considered a secondary emotion. Anger is usually covering up another emotion. What emotion is underneath the anger?

This may require some softening and mindfulness towards the feeling of being angry. Go for a short walk, talk it out with a friend or journal and try to observe the anger, like it is outside of yourself and see if there’s sadness, frustration, disappointment underneath it.

Even simply recognizing and naming the emotion goes along way to diffuse it.

Feeling angry, is in the end a gift, a wee high octane messenger that’s trying to get us to listen more deeply to what we want and need.

The next time you feel angry, look inside for its message, it may turn out to be more of a friend than a foe ☺.

Leona deVinne

Create More Stillness in Your Life and It’s Not Champagne Bubbles that Come to the Surface


What does it mean to be mindful? There are lots of ways to be mindful but for me lately it’s coming up simply as awareness.

I want to notice the small things in life, the little exquisite ‘beauties’ in life – that’s where the joy is and I don’t want to be too busy to miss out.


I’ve been trying to implement more mindful moments.

Seeing as I actually looked up the symptoms for adult ADD just last week you can imagine this slowing down doesn’t come naturally for me and maybe it doesn’t for you either.

I’ve been walking away from my office and sitting and drinking my coffee without my phone near by – doing nothing, at least for a few minutes.

Sitting on my porch yesterday and feeling the sun on my face so deeply that it choked me up.

The more time I take the more I feel ‘feelings’ bubble up.

Some of those feelings aren’t so pleasant or pretty. Or easy to let you see. I’ve been feeling jealous of people that have been travelling for spring break; their pics on the beach in the warm sun, taking a break from work, all making me feel envious. I don’t normally feel like this.

I saw someone walking her dog – she was walking so SLLLLOOOOOWWWW and I felt irritated. I thought, ‘who has time for that?’

My immediate answer, ‘People, who are clearly awesome and perhaps way more evolved than me, have time for that’. Gulp.

I warned you it’s not all a bed of roses growing in my mind.

But it’s where my truth lies and if I really want more joy it’s what needs to be tended to. Busyness, discipline, military style inner voices keep that awareness from coming to the forefront and keep us from living, fulfilling lives.

I’m not into that and I imagine you aren’t either.

Lately I feel drawn to not work, to play, to explore, to relax more, and to be a fairy dust throwing love spreader, if I was to be honest.

I want less routine, I want less rules, I want less inner critics who try to convince me that I’ll be starving to death by the end of the month if I follow the path of what I long for.

Who are we kidding, these inner voices lie A LOT.

They say it will be over by the end of the week. It’s not true and constantly I’m drawn to spaciousness but I honour that in very specific ways and mostly to avoid growing more brain tumours like walks and short, very timed naps.

I don’t know what ‘play’ looks like – the last time I had a desire to play I started a non profit and while I love that wee Joy Sock baby of mine, its not so playful as its grown into toddlerhood, and I’m not about to start anything big.

I don’t do lunches or coffees. My week is very planned and strategic and I told my daughter yesterday that I was having the best day because I was doing laundry during a work day and it was making me very joyful.

LAUNDRY DURING a WORK DAY brought me joy?! She had a similar reaction.

That’s great, but also feels deeply odd and part of the reason was that I never let myself do that. I work from home and have become super disciplined to get everything I need to get done and to maybe deep down inside prove that I am enough and to stop my financial worries that these businesses of mine will dry up and I will be handing out Joy Socks on the street that I live on (out of a cardboard box – my fears are BIG and I recognize: odd☺).

So space and more mindfulness are great and also awkward.

I believe that in the stillness of our lives, lies the truth of what we truly want and what we truly need. I also believe that the universe has a wee bit of weirdness for us all to follow so that we can shine our light in only a way that we can AND celebrate our own brand of nonconformity and joyfull badassery.

I’m into that.

So I’m mixing things up, I’m taking longer breaks and went to a local boutique last week between clients – so yum. I went out of town to lead a workshop and took myself out for dinner and even went out for a glass of wine after one of the evening sessions and it’s so quickly made me feel more at ease and happier.

If you allowed more stillness in your life, what might bubble up for you? What would you do to honour you?

I know I always want more truth in my life, I want more stillness and I always want more joy. So I’m committing to connecting more deeply to being more aware of what’s bubbling up around me and being available for what’s there. I don’t know what will happen, but I’d love some company, will you join me?

Leona deVinne

I want to be perceived somewhere between an accountant and a lawyer (including a tool from the upcoming Brene Brown workshop)

permission to be yourself!I want to be perceived somewhere between an accountant and a lawyer. 

That’s it. 

If you spent five minutes, ok maybe two, with me you’d know that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Just last week I shocked even myself when I met someone, in person, for the first time and hugged them as soon as I saw them and even I was horrified that I jumped right in! (It was a joy socks contact in a palliative care ward, so I justified it later that she probably needed some extra love)

Don’t get me wrong I know lawyers and accountants that come in a variety of shapes and sizes and with a wide variety of personality styles. 

The hybrid that I’d aimed for is very confident, knowledgeable and has a keen attention to detail. I wanted to dot all my ‘i’s and cross all my ‘t’s before anyone even knows that it’s necessary. I wanted to speak with such eloquence that butter risked melting in my presence and to show up at my clients’ offices in a conservative blue suit and be posed and prepared for anything that came my way. 

I went for an interview with the CEO of a large organization to coach one of their VP’s. I was starched up and well prepared. It was so hard to stay so ‘corseted’ up. I could barely breathe; which is exactly what I wanted. I walked in, imprisoned in a facade and had stuffed myself into all the weak spots in my costume where ‘Leona’ might escape from. 

As the universe would have it I left the office with my skirt on sideways. The joke was on me. I’d twisted myself into something I was not and my skirt couldn’t even keep from contorting itself. 

I vowed to never do that again. I felt like a fraud and I hated being all ‘twisted’ up to get a contract. 

What was I hiding? What was I so committed to keeping behind closed doors? 


The ‘me’ that was so far from being what I was so committed to appearing like. 

I couldn’t do it again. It was fake and so far from integrity. The truth is I love people. I do know to shake hands with people upon meeting them but to be honest many meetings do end with a hug – that’s me.

I love connecting genuinely, I have strong leadership and business expertise and I can have an intelligent conversation and I have good business acumen. I also get choked up easily, I laugh heartily, have a good sense of humour and have fun all while getting some serious work done. I tend to wear blazers with big flowers on my lapel to remind me of joy, all while being classy and showing a wee bit of sass.

If that range doesn’t suit someone or their organization then I’m not your girl and I’m coming to terms with that being ok.

More than ok.

I’m not anywhere close to a detailed person. I’m the last person that you’d want to do your taxes (although we’d have some good laughs and a lot of wine, and I might teach you some new ways to use profanity). Once I get to know someone I use happy faces and exclamation marks in my emails (oh Horror) and I have as some of my corporate values, for two of my businesses – fun and joy. ☺

My skirt doesn’t twist in quiet rebellion anymore and I am blessed and honoured to work along many amazing clients – from doctors, to accountants, to business owners and artists – all becoming more keenly aware of who they are and how they want to show up in the world.

What hit home for me, even when the skirt being on sideways didn’t change me forever, was doing an exercise at training session with Brené Brown where the accountant/lawyer lie smacked me in the face. I know I wasn’t being 100% me but couldn’t put my finger on the real issue.

We answered questions like this – try it for yourself (source the Daring Way)

Ideal Identities:

How do you want to be perceived?




Unwanted identities:

I do not want to be perceived as:




Then going back to the first section answering the following questions next to each identity

1. What does this perception mean to me?
2. Why is it so unwanted?
3. Where did the messages that fuel this identity come from?

Now looking back at your list of unwanted identities, complete the following sentence:

If you label me and reduce me to the list of unwanted identities, you will miss the opportunity to know that I am complex and that I have many strengths, including these:

I also realized after going over this exercise with my coach was that I had made up a story that people don’t think that funny or goofy people are smart or have much to offer. We explored that and she said, “What about Patch Adams?”

My homework was to watch the movie and I was choked up the whole time. Patch is crazy and deep and loved other and works hard for what matters to him. I can do that. I do that.

So now I’m goofy and funny and me. I’m flower and Joy Sock wearing. I do my best to be kind, to honour other people; their uniqueness and flavour. I hold space equally for struggle and achievement. I avoid numbers like the plague, but am hoping to make the world a better place, just like you, in your own way.

You’re here to have an impact that only you can. In your life; in how you do business. Lay aside what you hope people will perceive you as.

If blue suits are your thing – get more. If numbers light you up, BRING THEM ON.

You’re here to bring your truth to the world in a way that only you can. Let’s set the world on fire together with truth, authenticity and courage.

If you want to dive more deeply into what Brené Brown’s research could do to bring out more of the real ‘you’ – I’d be happy to help.

I’m offering a Daring Way workshop where Brené leads the sessions via video, in Calgary, on March 24 in the eve and all day Saturday March 25th. If you aren’t changed by her work, I’ll refund your money ☺

If $$ is an issue – there is no shame, let me know as there are some Scholarships available – all you have to do is ask.

Space is limited so sign up today

More info here

Leona deVinne

I’m Not Enough (Upcoming Workshop Announcement)

I am enoughI knew it. I’d known it for my whole life, but I felt like anyone could smell the ripeness of this truth on my skin that day and for many years to follow.

I wasn’t smart enough, thin enough, young enough, energetic enough, independent enough, and spunky enough. The list was endless.

I wasn’t enough of so many things that would make it possible for someone to love me unconditionally. Of course someone who possessed everything that I wasn’t would appeal to my husband and who would want me?

It was my worst fear confirmed.

Everything that I had hoped would never see the light of day was now blinding me.

We all have those places that we try to keep hidden. We feel like imposters when we get a certain job, we feel vulnerable when we wear a bathing suit (or terrified), we fear that we ARE too sensitive and no one will love us just the way we are.

We don’t work hard enough or we work too hard.

We are too fat, or too bony, or too loud or too awkward.

We are not enough and too much of something all at the same time. If someone finds out and worse, someone we love or someone that our livelihood depends on – we’re laid bare and will be turfed out on the street, smeared with shame.

We fear that our inadequacies will be brought to the light and we will drown in their truth.


What if that’s all a lie?

What if it is our vulnerabilities that make us beautiful and unique and true?

What if it is our quirks and sensitive souls that actually fill this dim world with light?

What if, while we are so desperately tying to fit in, we may stumble upon the few with which we belong. What if some extra pounds and boisterous personality is just what makes us deliciously loveable and more than worthy of desire and true love?

What if when we allow ourselves to show up and be seen for who we really are we shine a light into the world that only we can?

What if, by living out loud, with all the lights on, in the most brave and courageous way, we give others courage to do the same?

After my ex husbands affair I thought of writing a book with the first chapter being called “Cellulite and Wrinkles”. I thought it was fitting as that was all I could see; what I thought were flaws, all that made me clearly unlovable. I would use the chapter to write about my ‘uglies’ and I would feel redeemed by hoping to shine a light on my shame.

I did a lot of work to climb out of my pile driven shame hole that I quite frankly had dug most of myself.

We weren’t meant to be perfect, we were meant to be us.

Flaws and all.

Cellulite and Wrinkles.

Shame is a liar, it whispers that we aren’t enough, it yells from a mountain top when we’re about to apply for a new job, go on a first date, deal with a terrifying health diagnosis.


Hide, shrink, shrivel if we must, but don’t risk the vulnerability of being seen.

When the truth is, the vaccine for shame’s ‘taunts’ are self compassion that warmly rubs your arm and says “Oh honey, of course you’re afraid – this is terrifying, but so are so many good things, show up and at least try”, and the salve of empathy from another courageous soul that walks alongside and says, “Me too, I know that darkness, that slimy pit of ‘not enough’, but you’re not alone”.

Suddenly shame’s grip is loosened and its chokehold is not so tight. Perfectionism; shame’s sultry side kick, suddenly not so appealing.

Just because things don’t always go our way and we are clearly not perfect and beautifully and belovedly imperfect – we are enough. We are smart enough, good enough, worthy ‘enough’ to live a life of courage and truth and as we own that others will walk alongside us in the brave marriage that is courage and vulnerability, to create a small revolution of brave warriors that make a new whole hearted world.

Let’s lay down our shields, lay down our swords of perfectionism and lower our defences. Real life, rich living and true love are on the other side.
Take up courage, embrace bravery; show up and risk being seen – that’s where real living begins.

Will you join me?

If this shame of not feeling enough is weighing you down or perfectionism is catching you at every turn, I’d like you to consider an upcoming workshop series I’m hosting featuring the work of Brené Brown.

Maybe you’re parenting someone who lacks self confidence or has been bullied and you don’t know what to do or you’re leading a team that’s lost their creative edge and enthusiasm, then I’d love to help.

Please join me at the upcoming Daring Way weekend workshop series based on the work of Brené Brown (eve of March 24 and all day March 25th).

More than anything her work has transformed my life from fear of inadequacy to whole hearted living and loving. I attribute her work to helping me launch a non for profit, being in a thriving relationship and showing up as a mom and leader in my businesses.

She leads the workshop with videos covering a variety of topics and I co lead and roll out the curriculum that she and her team have created.

I’d love it of you’d join the wholehearted revolution with me!

More info or to register:

Leona deVinne

Wow Honey That Was Amazing!

happy coupleWe usually end it off with a kiss…

My partner and I look over at each other and say that almost weekly.

What we’ve just finished is our weekly meeting – we call “state of the union’

It’s not that much different than a business meeting, to be honest; it brings our relationship front and centre, we connect and we create a deeper understanding of how we can love and appreciate each other more deeply.

We’ve laughed at times that we have 42 years of combined marital experience – which sounds funny, but the heart break of a long relationship ending was by far the most devastating experience of my life.

I don’t want it to happen again and given the second chance to love someone is truly one of the greatest gifts and I’m giving it all I have.

I invest A LOT of time and energy into intentionally building my businesses and I help others do the same. To be bold – I want it all: a healthy life, thriving businesses and a vibrant life with a long relationship with my love.

People define success in many ways but I’ve always thought if one could build an empire and their personal lives fell apart in the mean time something was really wrong. Don’t get me wrong – things happen outside of our control but if you’re not balanced in your investments of time and energy in your health, your relationships and your work -there’s bound to be some problems.

Are you being as intentional with your primary relationships as you are with your business or with your career?

I often see people get into a relationship and at first its very exciting and the investment becomes easy – its like loving a bite of a chocolate bar – its yummy and delicious and how can you help but to swoon over it and by the end – its chocolate and its ok, but the nuts just don’t crunch the way they used to. So what do you do then?

You’ve settled in and you go out on ‘dates’ and the most recent Facebook post seems to have more sparkle than your love life. You talk about the kids, work, the neighbours…Donald Trump; now there’s a distraction

I work with dynamic business leaders and in the course of a year they have meetings with their accountants, their staff and other strategic allies to assess how things are going with their companies and see if they need to switch things up to make things sing in their businesses and yet we rarely evaluate and put a lot of energy into our relationships. We have reviews with our staff to make sure things are going well and provide feedback for growth, but yet we don’t invest the same amount of energy into our primary relationships.

What’s holding us back?

I can hear you saying “I’m going to have a meeting with my partner and see where things are at?”

Yes I’m saying that – exactly, but unlike at work you can have candles, wine and hold hands if you’d like – this is about maintaining a love relationships and the little things DO COUNT.

When’s the last time you asked your partner or even your kids what they need from you to make the relationship even stronger and you had a chance to sincerely give feedback as to what would make you thrive?

40 years of research on relationships, based on the work of Dr. John Gottman, shows that 5.5 hours of time investment is required a week to have a thriving relationship. (Don’t panic – I know you think you don’t have the time).

Even take one of the tools and try them out and then you can add to it ☺

He refers to them as the Magic Hours:

Weekly ‘State of the Union’ using the following format
(This is scheduled in like a meeting)

  1. Start with telling each other what’s going well in the relationship
  2. Tell each other 5 things you appreciate about each other
  3. Select an issue that may not have been resolved that you’d like to talk about
    • Start gently, with ‘I feel’, in what situations, and ‘I need’… more info in his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
  4. Ask one another what you can do to make the other feel loved that week

We also look at our calendars so we know what the week is like for one another and set a time for a date or two.

More Magic Hours goodness:


  • Don’t part in the morning without knowing one interesting thing that will happen in your partners’ day. Part with a six second kiss.


  • Start with 6 second kiss.
  • Stress reducing conversation – each take 10 min to ‘unpack’ your day. Offer support and no advice. Understanding must always proceed advice.

Admiration and Appreciation

  • Find some way everyday to genuinely communicate affection and appreciation towards your partner


  • Show each other lots of affection – be playful and have fun everyday


  • Weekly and in addition to doing the ‘State of the Union’ ask open ended questions, show genuine interest, and enjoy each other

Pick one and invest in your relationship, it’s so worth it and without it you’re risking it deteriorating.

Think this is over the top?

I get that, but Dr. Gottman can predict a couple’s likelihood of divorce by watching them interact for 15 minutes with 91% accuracy (youch!) and these tools have been developed and scientifically tested in order to avoid becoming one of his statistics.

Love is one of the greatest gifts we share and like all good and delicious things, savour it and do what you can to help it grow.

Leona deVinne

Are You Done With That?

Then take care of it and move on.


Not always.

There is little that gives me more joy than completing tasks. Most days I have a long list of tasks and I love scratching things off the list. There is joy in completions. I know people that write down what they’ve done after they’ve completed them just so they can check the items off their list.

Productivity experts say if you have a task, like a short email and can answer it in less than two minutes do so, if you have a couple pieces of clothing lying on the floor, pick them up and deal with them before you go to bed. Those little completions go a long way to increase an over all feeling of well being and increasing our locus of control (fancy psych term for feeling in control)

What about those bigger pieces in our lives and businesses that aren’t complete? Those can be an energy drain and a drag on your brains operating system.

Last years taxes that we don’t have done – we just need a couple more receipts.

A file that we have been meaning to address and haven’t gotten around to in months.

A tough situation with a client that we have been putting off contacting because of over due invoices.

Last week I handed over a file that contained stale cheques from 2007. I’d found them in the back of my filing cabinet – may I remind you that its 2017. I held onto the file for a bit after I found it because I didn’t know how to address the situation.

I physically felt heavy every time I saw it.

I’d managed community memberships 10 years ago and I had put an envelope in the file that had 6 cheques that were to be cashed and I forgot all about it.

Even worse, was the shame I felt, as I currently run two businesses and a non profit (that are managed happily by bookkeepers and accountants – thank goodness) and all I could think was what would the president of the community association think of me if I handed her these 10 year old cheques? It didn’t matter; I had to complete this situation. When I saw her, I told her my mistake and included a personal cheque to cover the outdated ones. I felt a weight lift as that situation was complete. I owned my part as best I could and moved on.

That was relatively easy to do compared to when you think of a relational incompletion. It’s hard to move on after people have hurt us or continue to do so or a relationship that has changed or ended – what do we do with those incompletions?

Often we feel like we need to do something and we don’t even know where to start. Those places can be filled with pain and how do we move through it?

I often pass on a tool; a ‘simple’ set of questions, for my clients to use to use to process what’s going on for them.

If you spend sometime with each one and sail through them with no reaction – you’re probably quite complete. I use this tool to see where I feel stuck and help me process what I need to do to move on. Sometimes the process can be a matter of journaling the answers in an evening and sometimes it can take years; going back and working through the questions or even just using one that feels sticky and working through that one over a period of time.

I’ve used these questions when I was considering meeting my ex husbands affair partner to speak of forgiveness and to close up that portion of my life. This tool helped me a great deal.
I knew I was ok to move past that exquisitely painful time when after going through the questions I felt no emotional triggers or hard feelings.

The questions are simple but your answers may not be. The more intentional one is about the questions like writing out the answers and burning them, as an example, the more you’ll get out of them.

Be sure to make a list of the places in your life that you feel incomplete and then go through the following questions

  • What am I willing to let go of?
  • What am I willing to give up?
  • What am I willing to take responsibility for?
  • What am I willing to forgive another for?
  • What am I willing to forgive myself for?

Take each of the areas identified as incomplete and determine which steps would help to facilitate closure.

When we have a feeling of incompletion we so often feel like if we could just talk to the other person and work through a ‘completion’ it would be so much easier. That’s not always possible and even the best laid plans to have conversations with another in order to facilitate completion can still can still leave feelings of pain and incompletion.

The truth is that completion is about us. It starts and ends with us doing what we can and being intentional about creating our own completion.

If nothing else take a wee step toward completion on a daily basis. Look around you – put the cup in the dishwasher instead on in the sink, put away the empty laundry basket instead of leaving it by the stairs, tidy up your desk before you call it quits for the day, close off open tabs on your computer…you’ll notice a difference.

When you’re ready to, you can take a look at the bigger pieces of your life and business that could use some completions too. Baby steps.

And on the other side of those steps are more room for possibilities, freedom and of course Joy.

Leona deVinne

This is an Orange

This is an orange
If you hold an orange in your hand and just ‘be’ with the orange, what do you see, smell, feel?

An orange. That’s it.

We rarely allow our selves to just be in any moment. Even now, besides reading this, where else is your brain? Your next client, your grocery list or perhaps your next spreadsheet (heaven help you, I hate spreadsheets!)

And so what do we do when we experience challenging emotions? Perhaps stressed about those spreadsheets or a tough conversation we just had.

We let our brain take off with interpretations like a jet engine. That’s what we DO.

What’s that cost us? A lot

Let me give you an example.

It was my first day back after Christmas that I had appointments and meetings. I had worked all through the week prior, but I woke up with some apprehension about getting back into the real work swing of things.

I feel a sense of dread about going back. Within a millisecond I hear the inner “beat up brute’ inside my head say, “Of course you feel this, you’re a lazy $&#*!” wow – she’s a little harsh, but she must be cute, because I keep her around.

Another voice “You don’t like to work’ and the chorus of catastrophe chimes in so less than lovingly “How are you even going to keep your head above water? It’d be a miracle if you have any clients soon”, then thoughts of being impoverished and trying to find work flooded my brain.

This doesn’t happen over 20 min – this is all in a matter of a second.

Maybe I’m the only one that has a feeling, and then interprets that feeling and then catastrophizes, but I don’t think so.

What does this have to do with the orange – it has EVERYTHING to do with the orange.

The orange is a form of mindfulness. We experience the orange in that moment as it is. We don’t usually think of the orange squirting us in the eye, we don’t think of it rotting in a week. We allow ourselves to experience the orange, in that moment.

If we experience an emotion, especially a tough one, being with it with kindness, and not piling on a freight train full of thoughts and interpretations, things become so much easier.
The thoughts about the dread I felt stayed with me for the better part of the morning.

AM I really lazy? What would I do if my businesses collapsed? How long could I survive? Would I need to pursue that pole dancing, back pocket back up plan?

What started with a wee bit of dread over going back to work had smeared my brain with self doubt and frankly crap.

What’s the alternative?

Be mindful and kind – that’s not easy

  1. Notice the feeling or sensation, observe it like the orange.
  2. Don’t judge it – it’s a feeling, like the orange, it has every right to be what it is.
  3. Realize that whatever you’re feeling, it’s NORMAL – there are no right or wrong feelings.
  4. Sprinkle on some sugary sweet self compassion so you can move through this and let this go.

Kristin Neff, a self compassion researcher, suggests that you speak to yourself as you would a friend. If your friends call you a ‘Lazy $&#*!’- get new ones.

I need extra help in this department (CLEARLY) so I also call myself ‘honey’ and rub my own arm. Wee fact, your brain can’t tell whether it’s someone else touching you or not and it picks up a signal that it’s being soothed and that’s all that matters.

Now when I feel a tough emotion, I’m trying to stop and I rub my arm saying ‘Honey, this is hard, you’re ok’ after all is just part of the fruit bowl of life and I want to be with and squeeze all of the goodness out of all them ‘oranges’.

Leona deVinne

I Do Not Have Ducks and They are Not in a Row

squirrels at a raveI have squirrels and they are at a rave.

I saw that saying on FB a couple of weeks ago and literally burst out laughing (LBOL).

That describes my brain and sadly my actions at times. I know I have a hard time sticking to one task. Maybe I’m normal, maybe I do actually have ADD, and at the very least I do think I have my own version of ADD – Adult Distraction Disorder.

I’m mildly concerned that I’ve damaged my brain from having too many balls in the air for a wee bit too long, or my brothers sticking a large can over my head and hitting it with a hammer when I was 4, or as a last resort I can always blame my brain tumours, which when you pull that card – no one messes with it ☺

Anyways – see, even there I seem to have gotten distracted.

SO many options and directions to be pulled in!
I hate feeling scattered and I’ve even taught classes on productivity, but we all fall off the wagon, so lately I have been trying to observe where I get off track.

I do things like; as soon as I am brushing my teeth, I attempt to put on my jewellery, or get dressed or last week – fold some clothes to tidy up my closet. Only when I slow down do I notice that I am not actually brushing my teeth AT ALL.


At this point you’re probably considering the brain damage option listed above, I’m with you, believe me.

I will start putting on my make up and decide to get dressed mid way, only to tidy a few things in my closet, while I’m half naked and then go put on earrings, answer an email, do my hair, put on a bracelet, go to my office, pull my client files for the day, realize I have half my make up on when I pass a mirror, put on water for tea, go back and complete makeup, go back down, forget water has been boiling, have a client call and get my day going…


I’m not going to beat myself up, I’m just observing after all (even though I do feel like bit of a nut job) I am choosing to laugh at my behaviour and learn from it as to what I need.

Your ducks may be so much more in a row than my raving, albeit it cheerful, squirrels, but I think we could all learn to be more effective in our behaviour and processes.

This is what I’m doing to at least have my squirrels start a reasonably good conga line at their dance party:

  1. SLOOOOOOW things down
  2. Gently Observe – your ‘rave’ might be going full speed ahead – that’s ok – no judgement
  3. Be open to try new things – you may need to experiment with what fits for you
  4. Be Intentional about building in new processes
  5. Complete small tasks before moving to the next one
  6. Get help if needed – I work with a coach that has a VERY good sense of humour and a gentle Squirrel loving demeanour and I’m hiring an assistant to brain storm where else the squirrels are hiding nuts in my office and businesses.

I am happy to report that I do literally have to tell myself not to do anything until my routine items are completed – you will no longer find me half dressed, with my make up half done and my hair done. Perhaps small steps, but it feels great.

Although I am still forgetting about my boiled water, I’m blaming that on my age ;).

Leona deVinne

When life give you lemons

When life gives you lemonsThey’re in His Eyes

They’re what? I say.

The Dr. says to me as she examines my sons eyes, ‘He has tumours in his eyes’.

I’d just finished telling the ophthalmologist that my mom was blind in one eye from the medical condition that I share with my son, but no one since then has eye tumours.

Until now

The first thing that goes through my mind is ‘oh god, why not me?’ I was checked just before him and I have the genetic disorder that means we are missing a tumour suppression gene and we are at high risk to grow tumours in 10 places in our bodies. SO far we both have brain tumours; I have spinal tumours and one on my pancreas.

I am his mom, I’m sitting there with my pupils dilated and I miss the bullet and he gets two; one tumour in each eye.

How do we navigate through these tough times without being bowled over?

I want to start by saying: I think I have an amazing life. I am very blessed and I am committed to squeezing every bit of goodness out of each gooey day. But this is shit and I’m not happy about how things go.

I don’t, however hate this condition. You see it on social media F#$& cancer… when people have been impacted by a certain disease. This condition, for one thing, is on every strand of my DNA and my sons and I love every bit if his DNA and I’m learning to love mine. SO I can’t hate it.

Plus some of the tools I’ve learned to deal with that crap is so helpful when life lobs another bit if crap my way. And it might help you too. (Link to some journaling prompts that will help you navigate the ‘lemons’)

Someone asked me how I do this without getting depressed.

I do feel down and I do feel sad, but I don’t let those feelings take over any more than I let joy or happiness rose colour things.

First of all I feel the feels, all of them

I feel soooooo guilty that it’s him and not me. I ‘feel’ guilty I hold that emotion a part from me. I feel it, logical or not. It a feeling and its worthy of time and space and I don’t over identify with it.

I tell someone how I feel

These people are those that I trust with my soul. That means they will hold the space I need to be me, whatever that looks like – me feeling guilty, sad, or laughing that my pupils still look like I did a line of coke… they love me and I trust them.

I try to stay in the moment

I live where my feet are. I can’t ‘future surf’ to what could happen. It could be good or bad and rarely if we feel overwhelmed do we go to the happiest of endings. SO I don’t go anywhere. I stay in that moment.

I tell myself the truth

And I am as accurate as possible. I had Josh not knowing that I carried a dominant gene which meant I had a 50% chance of ‘giving’ it to my kids and that we have a 90% chance of developing tumours and cancer in a wide variety of places in our bodies.

When stuff like this happens, I feel guilty because my reactive, protective mom brain goes to beat me up and says “I gave this to him’ and it literally takes my breath away.

The TRUTH is I didn’t ‘give’ him anything. I catch myself and I say to myself, with kindness, ‘it was passed onto him and it’s not your fault’. I keep going back to that truth when my brain tells me that any of this is my responsibility.

I try to find one thing to be grateful for

And usually I find way more than one. My big beloved son is such a Rock, he takes things in stride, he is infinitely brave, always so beautifully kind and he has a kick ass sense of humour even in these situations. AND we have an amazing Dr. who started his first treatment that day; delaying others to make Josh a priority – she’s amazing.

And the piece de resistance is

I don’t fight it

I do not fight my tumours or his…I don’t like that we have them, I’m so disappointed and at times devastated by his, especially. But I can not put on the boxing gloves and battle with this. I will always lose.

So I surrender

That’s my greatest peace provider. So this ‘is’ and I can not do anything to change it but I can give in and walk alongside this stuff, incorporate it into my life and take it along for the ride. The less I fight it the smaller it becomes and the more I focus on all the other fullness in life, the less I worry about it.

The not fighting, rather letting it informs me of how I want to live, the more content I become.

I also learn the lessons

We, ok I, complain about things, my wrinkles, my cellulite and when things like this happen I DO NOT CARE! If my income is less one month, my dishwasher breaks.

Whatever. I take it in greater stride. I am healthy, can see and run and work and do so many things that many can’t and I want to soak in gratitude for the grace that has been lathered on me and given to so many.

And finally when things get hard I make a mental list of what I can control and what I can’t.

I have a saying that helps me let go of the gritty prices on the “can’t control’ side which usually sound like “I’ll have everything I need” Which I don’t always know what that looks like and bad things have definitely happened, but I have always made it and I continue to trust that.

Then I turn my attention to what I can control.

That list is usually longer than I think and more simple than one might imagine.

The ‘I can control’ list usually starts with me being more present, really being with the people I love, I become more spiritual, I joyfully exercise, and I become more intentional overall.

Surprisingly I experience the most exquisite joy spots, because life, even the hard parts, are so rich in meaning and gifts I am most often in awe by the goodness I’ve been given.

This part of the journey is just begun, but I hold onto hope that we can navigate this with grace, trust and wisdom, that always accompanies us. I just need to remember.

Leona deVinne