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Celebrating Wisdom and Generosity on Mother’s Day




I began drafting this newsletter on my return home to Montreal after a wonderful time in Guelph  surrounded by nature, music, and amazing women. I feel more centered, peaceful and calm, my shoulders are less tense and my breaths are deeper. 


I want to share some reflections with you. 


Reconnecting with Nature


I love living in Montreal, it’s a vibrant city with a population of over 2 million. The cultural scene is rich and there is always lots to do. The streets, buses, subways and trains are buzzing with people, all with their own back story, future dreams, present agendas, and concerns. 


The city can wear you down. I have not left Montreal since January, and being in a smaller city like Guelph, with a population of around 150,000, was a well needed break. I took long walks in nature, which revitalized my spirit and decontracted my muscles. On my morning walks I saw the wild spring flowers and tree blossoms gradually opening up, and I could feel myself opening up. I was reminded of the friendliness of smaller cities: people actually wished me good morning, and sometimes there were even short conversations, and time to pet a friendly dog. I stepped into a coffee shop and the person at the counter engaged me in a conversation as she heated up the milk. I was no longer rushing about  in “a city of strangers” (“Another Hundred People” by Stephen Sondheim), instead I’m exchanging moment by moment experiences and observations in a verbal improvisation with strangers.






Women’s Music Weekend

I facilitated improvisation and contemporary vocal techniques at this spring's Women’s Music Weekend. This was my first time experiencing a retreat specifically for women. Since this was a very last minute arrangement with one of the organizers, Jane Lewis, I was the surprise guest facilitator. 


I was not sure what to expect, so I went in with an open mind and heart. 


Most of the women there were of a certain age, with me at 59 yrs old falling right in the middle of the average. When I saw how vibrant they were, I immediately felt like it was going to be a great weekend. Women over 40 are all too often so busy that we don’t even notice all the amazing things we do. The media continually reminds us that we have to do everything we can to combat aging. Ageism is prejudice or discrimination against people of a particular age and especially against the elderly. I have experienced feelings of being invisible and even been questioned about not coloring my graying hair. Thankfully I’ve grown up in a family where older women are appreciated for all the experiences they have to share. I want to feel magic and experience awe at every stage of my life, and share that with young people. 



The Amazing Team after an amazing weekend! These women are incredible! Please check out the available links! From left to right: Mirella Cazzola, Liv Cazzola (Tragedy Ann), yours truly, Coco Love Alcorn, Jane Lewis, Cheryl Wallace, Connie, and Katherine Wheatley.


I spent last weekend with authentic women sharing songs and poetry. We watched and listened to each other, we sang together, we ate together, we talked about life, we felt seen and we felt heard. Each of us celebrated our womanhood giving voice to the joys and pains of loving and living: of raising children, navigating the ups and downs of marriage/partnership, grief, joys and frustrations of family life, caring for our parents, hope for the next generations. We expressed our love for nature, cried out for the wars to stop and for our suffering planet. Some lyrics expressed the passing of youth, the joys and pains of motherhood and of grandmotherhood, the body as it weakens, living with disease, and caregiving. With humor and compassion we reconcile with aging and leave all that we don’t need behind us. This weekend was rich with life stories and songs that enriched my life. 


There were many light moments filled with laughter, jokes and self deprecating humor, all in a spirit of radical acceptance. Life is complex, rich and sometimes downright painful, but the highs taste sweeter than ever. 


If I had to use one word to summarize this weekend, it would be generosity. 


Jane Lewis and Katherine Wheatley, two wonderfully talented singer/songwriters have been holding these weekends since 2013 and they have created a most beautiful space for any woman or non-binary person who wants and needs to connect, create and share. 


Many of my voice students are women over 40, and I just love working with them. They bring so much experience, richness and enthusiasm for learning. They are curious, smart, talented and willing to take risks. This is the glorious strength of women. 


I love all my students, but I needed to take this moment to praise those who are all too often overlooked, taken for granted, and misunderstood. If we take the time to listen, we discover the colorful and inspired lives we all lead.



The beauty of youth does not fade


The beauty of youth does not fade

It is transformed by the creative spirit.

It expands outwards beyond the physical self 

And fills the spaces that surround it.

Like the ripples of water created by the stone that broke the surface,

Or like the radiating sound waves that grace our ears. 


From hands that are worn by time, beauty is created,

From eyes that smile with lines all around them sparks fly.

Her voice grows deeper and richer with some edges that reflect a full life.

Her ideas, experience and wisdom flow out in song.

She fills her surroundings with color and sound. 


Here is a wonderful thought: the vibrant colors that autumn leaves take on are actually the true colors of the leaves! The green is a chlorophyll mask. The leaf unapologetically reveals its true colors during its last phase of life. Let’s celebrate! 


Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mom, and to all the women and non-binary persons in my life who make such a difference! Happy Mother’s Day to all - please keep spreading your wisdom and beauty! 




a picture of a woman standing next to a bouquet of  white flowers
MY BEAUTIFUL MOM!


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