Monday, October 17, 2016

My name is J

I was born.

My father left.

I died.

My mother

. . .

I was alone.

I left.

I met the sea.

I fell in love.

I cried.

And cried.

And cried.

We had a son.

I woke up.

Holy shit!





I met a man.


I married him.

I am whole.

 I am HOME.

I am peace.


No I'm not!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bouncing yogini

My story is unique.

And so is the life of every other security guard I have ever worked with, or met along the way. One of them is a lawyer in his country of origin. He cannot practice law in Canada, he is here without his family, working his ass off in hope to see them again one day and offer them a better life. I can barely freaking understand his English and yet, I love him for he is a great man in my heart. He makes next to no money, putting his life on the line for me, for his team, for his family, and for each and everyone of you.

I have immense respect for my fellow men, and I will continue to stand by their side. Whatever colour and personality they may have chosen to cloak themselves with, these men have been with me for a long time. During times of war, of celebration, in mourning, in proud moments of bravery and compassion, in times of struggle and in illness. I have come to call these men my BROTHERS.

I love them.

That said…

General security and BOUNCING are a different baby.

If you think a marriage is far from being perfect, try relating to a team of boys that are half your age and pretty much have more ability to crush you with their thumb, than you have strength in your whole body. Their humour is phenomenal, unmeasured, yes, it's the stories that get me.

I literally got to know these people having a beer with them after work, and listening to men who were a minute ago professional and put together, now going to great and amazing lengths to embarrass themselves like boys. I will absolutely not divulge any secrets here, privacy of those lives are my priority, but let me tell you this, even my worse ass moment with a young male bouncer, is worth telling. It ends up being one of my most memorable lessons of compassion in my life. It's easy to hate a man who crosses you, but it's quite another to hate a kid whom you know is only so open to your 40 year old female wisdom. It's like a teenager to a parent really, and yet he's a man and you're not his mother.

I have gained a truckload of humility as a guard and as a martial artist since becoming a security professional. Training and working with men who serve, in one way of another, does that to you. In the navy, I wasn't all that popular since I brought a man to court right in basic training. I charged him and stood up for my sisters who had all fallen. I was asked to wait next to him in the hallway, without a guard, awaiting for his sentencing. He was a master corporal with leadership abuse issues. Oh, let's just call it for what it is, a sexual predator and an asshole. He got a slap on the hand for his misbehaviour. This incident was one of the MANY I experienced in a very long year of service for our country.

NEVER ONCE, have I ever been treated disrespectfully like that by a bouncer. All of the men I have ever worked within the club industry, have respected my boundaries. And the team leader always had my back, all ways. Some guys were my age, so it's not just that I was too old. A lot of the guys were martial artists. As much as they used to hire bouncers from a gym, my team leader had a dojo, and was himself and very highly ranked martial arts instructor, so he valued skills over looking intimidating. That is how I came to have the job to begin with. My husband and I ran a dojo ourselves, and came to meet Ari Knazan. The rest is history.

Ari was my cooler, or what you might refer to as the security manager. He was in charge of our sorry asses, and has had to deal with more then one interpersonal conflict in his life because of us. He may be younger than I in numbers, but in spirit and as a warrior, this guy is ancient. I am pretty damn sure we've been in wars together, because I run with him in the direction of any battle without even blinking. My biggest problem is RETREAT! I discovered by his side what it's like to be a lioness, and to listen. I saw what I'm made of much more from being security, than by ever fighting in a kickboxing match. I've learned to work as a team in ways the CANADIAN FORCES failed in a superb way.

And yet I left.

I discovered that even though I loved my job and my team, there are just certain things I cannot negotiate. Loyalty is a very important concept for me, and so is INTEGRITY, but the bar scene is difficult to digest. I am a big fan of honesty, and if we have reached a point where our paths must separate temporarily, let it be so, but it deeply pains me. My love and commitment is my honour. Those lifelines matter when you work in this industry. So to be mistrusted by your fellow soldiers, is not really the way to go if you wanna make it home at night.

I've learned the difference between movies and dojo a long time ago, but I never found out about reality outside the dojo as a fighter until I joined the team. They named me PHOENIX. Most of them have a colour for a name, which I later learned was based on a movie. These men are often nerds and geeks gone samurais. It's an absolutely pleasure to be in a pub with them no matter what, but I've never felt as  safe as being among fellow warriors…

These men come to the rescue of their brothers when they need them most, and will literally give their shirt away if you need it. They have our children's back, and I have seen our children be extremely rude and disrespectful. I've seen patrons spit in our faces, vomit on us, verbally abuse us all night, throw drinks, try to hit us and sometimes succeed, threaten death, and shoot at my team. Meanwhile, we revived their friends sorry asses when they are were unconscious.

You deserve the best care when it comes to your children, and we do our best to babysit with kindness and professionalism, those same kids you complain about on Facebook because they talk back to you. If my team uses force, we must have a really good reason. Remember they are ADULTS in OUR house, and it's a HUGE house, and we are sober. This goes for everyone actually, I'm sorry to say that women are often the worse, especially with female security, so don't you be thinking it's just a guy thing.

I have learned that boys will not always be boys, and girls can be much worse.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Slow and steady

I don't think there's a more difficult task than to identify and learn from a turtle as a "type A" person. Most of the time, I would rather die than be still and chill…

The thought of slowing down and breathing, in and of itself, is not scary. It actually feels pretty good, as long as I can do it with EXCELLENCE! Most people like myself will power through everything, until they crash, one way or another. It's only wise to attempt to be more balanced and learn from experience, but if you've tried meditation of any kind, you might know that when you stop long enough, things can get ugly fast. 

I've tried a few things in my days in order to address the chaos, both in and out of my mind, and wherever it has led me seemed to required huge effort and motivation. I've been to Church, zen practice, stayed home and read, listened and watched a gazillion tapes and videos. Whether in group or alone, led by a teacher, or not, at some point or another I have reached a major block. 


It is said that those are the places where you grow most. I get that, and I am not afraid of hard work, but I do dislike conflict, unless I'm in charge and I can fix it. What I am terrified of, is to LET IT GO and LET IT BE.

I've been practicing hot yoga since last August. I think it's a perfect fit for me. Before finding Moksha, I dabbled in a couple intro classes in a studio, and online videos. There are so many wonderful approaches! I am feeling blessed with abundance in having access to all this wisdom, it's like going to University, but better.

 I love learning, trying new things and MOVEMENT!

 I was delighted to see that there are teachers from different backgrounds at Moksha. Each and everyone of them have a unique approach to yoga, and even though they all are trained for the specific Moksha series, they all bring a different flavour to this unique practice. I have met and practiced with a few that I will introduce to you.

Today was AIRLIE.

As I moved on my mat, working hard, sweaty and happy, Airlie was speaking about being kind to ourselves, perfection, sensations, and patience. There was so much she said I had heard and rejected before, but today was the right time. I found myself understanding some very basic principles, and seeing patterns within me. For instance, the tendency to push hard and excel, but to get frustrated and quit. I judge people who are slower in movement, and it brings up resentment and anger. Oh my god! Does it ever it challenge me! And of course, as the Universe would have it, I have been blessed with a husband and a child who are very opposite in temperament.

What kept me away from yoga for so long, was the cluster of women, what that represents for me, and the popular culture of yoga. Somehow, since I've decided to accept my own feminine nature, I have been more at peace with life and consequently found new friends who have led me to new experiences. 

Today, I looked at what I have learned by training with men, in the military, sports, the gym or in martial arts dojos. There is often more emphasis on toughness, hard work, aggression, explosiveness, sharp bursts of energy, perfection, precision, mind blowing records in competition, speed, distance, height, resilience and of course power. I noticed how it is reflected in my whole being. Today, I see the beauty and benefit of grace, steady flow, ease, soft breath, prayerfulness, persistence, openness and patience. Airlie said something that was very powerful to me about it not being better of worse, but to give opportunity for new sensations. 


I understand how these qualities are possibly available in many activities, but I haven't given myself the chance to appreciate them. Some martial arts training for instance, are quite balanced, but I have yet to find a teacher who embraces the spiritual teachings and shares them with their students. As far as zen practice is concerned, the spiritual foundation is very strong, but the patriarcal setting is not a fit for me anymore I find sitting excruciating, so I kept on searching for something that makes my heart sing.

 Today's class was the perfect experience for me, truly PERFECT!

 Everything I heard was on point. I was able to listen not only because I was moving, but because I could relate and apply the knowledge immediately in my asana practice, and later in my daily living. Today I experienced perfection in WHAT IS...


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sacred Friendship


How could you NOT love that face?!

I can already hear her say: "Oh my goodness!"

Lindsay is, among many things, a yogi, and the owner of FIERCE yoga and martial arts studio. I could share her whole professional bio with you, but I won't. You can easily find it for yourself. What I will do, is tell you how much I love this human being…

You won't find many teachers like Lindsay on Instagram; she's very humble. That's exactly why a friend like me is essential. Lindsay is as beautiful externally as she is within. You would see that if I had chosen a more "appropriate" picture to demonstrate what a crazy beautiful woman she is. But this is my favourite picture of her!

What I love the most about Lindsay, is her willingness to express her whole being, and courageously tackle the work at hand. I've watched this woman break through walls since the day I met her. All I know is that my gut said I had to talk to her, and I haven't regretted that decision. Lindsay's friendship got me to see myself in ways I hadn't experienced before. That's always powerful.

 We are literally opposites, I think. She's tall, and blonde, walks softly, has a killer smile with sparkling teeth, she is ultra feminine and tactful and sweet, almost powdery. Light and quiet, private, introverted, sophisticated and elegant. She reminds me of a full moon reflecting on the ocean. I am short and stout, dreadlocks, I swear a lot, I'm loud and intense. I like to think I have a huge heart, like dragon-size big. I love to play hard, I have a bad temper but I have a good sense of humour. I hate housework and anything that resembles housewife behaviour. I'm more like the hot sun reflecting on the sand, warming your face and giving you sunburn.

One would wonder how two people like us would meet, let alone be friends. We happen to have many things in common, such as a strong meditation practice, friends and students who compete in martial arts tournaments, love for the ocean, laughing our asses off, talking about things from the heart, etc. We also happen to both be married to masterminds in the martial arts world. Let me rephrase this. We are both married to SUPER FREAKS of martial arts, movies, superheroes and gaming. Actually, there are days where our conversation is based on how "fascinating" being sensei's wife can be. It's a lot like living in a fairytale, but not quite like what we imagined as little girls, in fact, not at all to be honest. But there are still dragons and swords, and battles and feasts and drinks and weddings, and yes, games nights...

I am the kind of queen who loves to hang out at the round table with Kings and knights, swinging my sword and learning their battle cry. I love to listen to the stories of their incredible quests, have a pint with them and having the privilege of hearing conversations most women are excluded from. I mingle with the children and people who wish to learn how to stand strong and survive this world filled with fear and violence. And I love to build strength through alliance by connecting with other kingdoms.

 Lindsay on the other hand, is the kind of queen who is so bloody sweet, she hangs in the kitchen with her maids, sings songs of prayer for the world with her people, or softly breathes alone while chanting a mantra, studies in the field with the birds, the mice who speak to her while deer pick and throw flowers on her path as she walks. She reminds me of beauty, graceful strength and innocence all in one tall gorgeous package. She's a hard working and quiet soul. Not a big fan of chaos, she surrounds herself with beauty, wouldn't hurt a soul if she could help it, and does her absolute best to understand and find compassion for people who do.

The best thing about Lindsay is that she provides space and balance. I see the same in her teaching.
I love that about her. That is what I have found from yoga practice as well.
There is so much growth and freedom in that!

I'm so excited to enter this new journey with her, where my yoga practice will be new common grounds to explore and a language that can possibly deepen our understanding of what it's like to be a human being, 

I would love to tell you more about this amazing woman, but I would rather you meet her yourself and get your own experience. You should really get to know her, go meet her and Ari at their new studio, you won't regret it. 

770 Bay Street
Victoria BC
tel: 250. 590. 5065

click below for FIERCE website and offerings

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A sacred space...

I've been surprised at how internal and private my experience with yoga has been so far. I thought I was going to be more vocal about it. Somehow the opposite happened. My trial month is over, and I've only gone five times I believe; I obviously reached my goal not to be excessive! My body has been relieved from most of the pain I was struggling with before the first class, enough so that I can practically walk as long as I want to now, that's huge!

I read an article yesterday on how to take care of your mat, and the first paragraph really touched me. The author was referring to her mat as her second home. I stopped at the words: "I cried on it." I have certainly experienced this in earlier yoga classes and in martial arts. We often refer to the dojo mats as our second home. For many, it's their first home. Some people it's a zafu where they sit zazen, others a bike, a board. It's been interesting to notice how little I have wanted to go to Moksha considering the impact it has had on me, and as much as I trust my body to do what it must, I have to say I'm curious…

Today, I sense that I'm going to make my way there. My body is suffering from a long walk last night after I had an argument with my husband. The conflict was about family/inlaws, space, safety and healthy boundaries. As a counsellor, I am a little more involved in the psychological and emotional aspect of that topic, but he gets it. He's a highly experienced self defence instructor, he better get it! That being said, my reactions to triggers are a little more explosive than his, so I have had to be very mindful. We don't argue often. He's very easy going, and I'm a specialist in conflict resolution. I got LOADS of practice.

I've been a nomad all my life, but lately I seem to be nesting and wanting to create roots. I'm not sure if it's my age, or a phase, but I'm going with it. In the morning's stillness, I kept hearing the word TRANQUILITY, a concept I not only have been foreign to for many years, but one that seem extremely unappealing to me. I felt the residual effects of being out of sync with my lover and needing to stir the water.

I trust the process!

I feel overwhelmed though, and keep breathing into that placeI love how yoga keeps bringing the image of creating SPACE. I look at pictures of spotless environments and I miss it, I crave it. When I lived alone, my home was OCD clean and uncluttered. Now with a kid and a husband, I've had to let go of my anal ways to make space for peace. Not everyone appreciates this organization style and is willing to play along. So now I'm watching my own patterns unfold, and my mind having it's little freak outs about MY SPACE being invaded. I love spaces like zendos, yoga studios and some of the dojos I have practiced in where order, cleanliness and spaciousness are top priority. But it seems like if I really want to live in perfection, I will have to accept that I need to find it temporarily or by being in nature more often. To some degree, that brings me sadness. I keep thinking that I should be entitled to that in my own home without having to fight about it all the time. However, my little family is really harmonious in itself; our relating is very loving and peaceful in general, and that's worth something.

So, on the mat I go!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

First class!

The good news is that I am almost speechless...

            Wow, that was amazing!

It wasn't what I expected, much richer actually. The best part is that people were quiet before and after the class. Even in the change rooms. I mean that's unheard of. In 46 years of existence, I have NEVER heard this much silence when girls gather. 

I am thrilled! 

The teacher was filling in and believed it was Friday, so she taught a different class than what was scheduled. I had registered for a beginners class, so it took me by surprise. I was pleased to observe that I could hold my own and that my body may not be as weak as I imagined it to be. The class was more challenging than difficult. I knew enough to survive.

The heat?
I knew I would...

My first impression?
I am grateful. 
I think I am HOME. 


                So I'm feeling guilty.

My zen teacher told me once that we tend to have a GO TO emotion, and that we are more than likely have this response about things in our life. This is true for me. He also said that it didn't surprise him to see that a Catholic girl would feel guilt in reaction to many things.

I don't sit zazen anymore, for many reasons. One of them being that my body just doesn't bring me there. I know it's normal to make excuses, so I won't. The fact is, I don't know that it is the best practice for me at this time, regardless of what I think. I trust my intuition. I have loved being there, and I love the results, but there is something significantly off.

I was on my way to see my friend Lindsay last night, but her studio was closed. I continued on my journey to go and meet my husband. It's our fifth wedding anniversary next week, and I asked if we could try acroyoga at MokshaYoga. I am so stocked about it! (Apparently we don't stay stocked anymore say some teens, but hey, I said it, therefore it's cool…) Victoria's community is quite small, and I'm privileged in knowing quite a few people, so Jason and I will be taking a private lesson with our friends Katie and Brandon. Two hours of pure bliss. Well, I am not that naive really, it might be a little harder work than blissful. For the sake of honesty, this past year has been very difficult on my body. Since I've stopped training martial arts full time, I am hurting something crazy. After seeing some specialists, I have decided to follow advice and intuition, and start a new practice…

I was intending to go see Lindsay for therapeutic yoga. She just came back from some pretty amazing training and I know she's extremely good at what she does. I'm deeply interested in the experience she is acquiring. I love the journey she's on and I was keen on supporting both her and I by practicing with her. Somehow, my body said: "NO." Apparently that is not where I am going to be. I need to forgive myself for doing what I believe is in my highest and best. I know she loves me, and I know she would probably advise me about what to do and not to do if she was really worried about my choice; I would do the same for her. That being said: "Yuk!".

Yes, I still worry about what other people think of me, silly me… GUILTY!

It is with that thought that I make the first step within. I will inquire. I have many tools at my disposal. I know I will love hot yoga, I just KNOW it. I am such a fan of the heat it's not funny, and when it comes to yoga, I've cried practically every time I've done a class. It brings me to a place where I just feel deep gratitude and as though I have come home. So based on that, how can it be wrong for me? I know better than to push too hard, and I listened very closely when I was told about stretching in heated environments.

I thought it would be a good idea to start something before throwing myself on top of my husband as a flyer. Poor man, I am not the lightest of beings nowadays! But then again, neither is he. I want to explore a practice where we can have fun together and connect, doing something we're both good at. We both love dancing, no, I mean we LOVE dancing… In fact, it's one of the strongest thing we have in common. But as fun as it may be, I want to do something a little more spiritual and something to get our asses in shape. Dance can certainly be that, but it bring more the sexual self out of me than the sensual and spiritual. Acroyoga is a huge challenge that will require some adjustments in our lifestyle I think.

I've tried Kundalini Yoga at home and I really liked it at first, and then the pain became unbearable. I'm hoping that with experienced teachers, I can modify the poses and perhaps do things more effectively. I get a little discouraged with research when it comes to a topic I know nothing about, so taking a class sounds like a good choice for now. I like the idea that yoga is a solitary practice as opposed to martial arts. People get on my nerves pretty damn fast, so it's not a good idea to throw myself to the sharks.

Also, I realized recently that I feel overwhelmed with being in a self defence frame of mind all the time. I don't know how my husband does it, but I feel out of balance if I live there too long, so it's time to look at that. Maybe I'm more YIN than I thought, or maybe, I finally expressed it all and I'm ready to be at peace. Wouldn't that be something?!

So I plan on keeping a journal, and seeing/sharing what this practice brings. I know I don't like first times in a new place, but the front desk girl was nothing short of amazing and genuine, crap, she even loves working there. I don't like feeling vulnerable and scared, and I particularly do not like not knowing where shit is. I hate thinking I'm fat, I don't appreciate thinking I look foolish, I can't say I'm a big fan of not knowing sequences. Okay, it's time to practice being a white belt again. There are plenty of things I love, and I have everything I need to deal with my lovely mind who seems so eager to have me fail.

I'm ready to let you go EGO!

My first class is at 18:30
I'll probably be there super early
and breathing.

See you on the flip side!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A dragon is born.

I was born in Montreal to a beautiful and powerful single mother, at noon, on August 6 1968. She told me she met my father on vacation in Bermuda, and that one thing they had in common was a broken heart. What I remember is that it was a sad story. My mother had just lost her great love, and my father was a soldier leaving for Vietnam the next morning. That's pretty much all I got. I wish I had more details for you, but it's one of those things that will forever remain a mystery. That's a lot more than I had growing up! I don't even remember being curious about it, well, maybe a bit about my father and his work. Interestingly enough, what I was hoping for the most was having a twin sister. I was pretty lonely at times...

My father went to war, and my mother returned home, pregnant. After some soul searching, her decision was to give me a better life than what she thought she could provide me with, or so she thought! She nursed me, named me, I was baptized and sent to a new home. I was never to see her again until years later whenI took the steps to find her. Unlike many children, I didn't grow up with the story of my birth whispered in my ear to rock me to sleep. Instead, I was told by my new mother about the miraculous day her and my father found me…

It was no surprise to hear that I was born a ginger, actually it's one of the things that make a lot of sense in my life. I'm so intense, that somedays I'd swear a dragon birthed me. I am not entirely sure if it is due to planetary alignment or a very challenging childhood, but there is no denying the fire in my belly. Apparently I was pretty miserable right from the start when I was brought home. It must have been hard for everyone involved. It's always lovely to hear about a childless family who finally get their wish come true, but you have to wonder about the natural mom and what she has to do in order to cope for such a loss.