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There’s Something Happening Here


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

-Marianne Williamson

Grand Design - Colleen Friesen


I’ve been known to make the odd joke about my Mennonite heritage; the genetic predisposition to being nearsighted, wearing black and loving anything dough-ball-ish made from flour and lard.

But sometimes this Mennonite thing just isn’t that funny.

Take, for instance, this past week.


I had a plethora of good things happen: unexpected assignments from two major magazines and a large newspaper. Dream trips confirmed. Signing an agreement on a fabulous new art studio to share with two other amazing artists.

This is all great stuff right?

Then, to top it all off, I found out that my last year’s grant application to the Canada Council was approved.  They believe in my book project! Now we’re in the realm of off-the-chart amazing good news.

And you know what my reaction was?


This is where that no-fun religion of my childhood (the one that declared dancing, drinking and anything that remotely looked like fun, as a great big ol’ sin) reared up its black-cloaked self and did most mightily smite me down.

Because here’s the deal… one must never commit the sin of pride.

If it’s all going this great, well…something big and dark and horrible is bound to come and squash me and put me back in my place. Back in the dark, where I belong. Because who exactly do I think I am?

As my wise and kind friend said when I told her about my inability to be happy about all this, “You realize this is dysfunctional wiring, right?”

Yes. Yes I do. This is messed up. I know that. And I don’t really know if this is a religious thing or just a totally whacked genetic predisposition. But I also know that it’s not normal to walk along the Cambie bridge crying to another friend about my good fortune. I look at my reaction, or more correctly, non-reaction and inability to enjoy my success and see that it’s ridiculous.

This knowledge, however, does not change the result.

I am hoping, that by putting this out into the world, I can reduce its hold. I can then see it for what it is and perhaps be okay with letting myself actually enjoy these moments.

I want to own this. I want to celebrate. I don’t want to apologise for it.

So. I am not going to let these squirrelly thoughts hide and loom large in my head.

Look! They’re already reduced to tiny little fonts on a cyberpage. Ha! Take that.

Get thee behind me. You heard me. Get back!


Menno Simons


I wrote those previous sentences yesterday morning.

Since then, I have spent a lot of time meditating, walking, writing, and talking to good friends and to my husband. God bless my patient husband.

I’ve sat with the emotions and named the fears. I rode that crazy-train that says I’m not able or good enough or worthy enough or whatever other bullshite I’m so good at feeding myself.

I’ve tried on those ill-fitting-too-tight-and-very-ugly-what’s-the-worst-case-scenario-outfits and then…finally…this morning, when I was once again walking over the Cambie bridge, I realized I was getting excited about these latest challenges.

I felt a fizzy thing that was strangely akin to happiness.

Lord help us.





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I’m Sorry


Maybe it started with that incredible slow-down of time in my two-week stay in that Northern Indian ashram.



Smiles - Colleen Friesen


Then again, the seeds might have been planted during my ten-day silent retreat in the interior of British Columbia where time became taffy, golden and infinite.

It might too, be a cumulative effect of 53-years of wear and tear on my grey matter.

Or maybe the damage from my forehead’s encounter with a truck windshield thirty-seven years ago has finally shook something loose.

Whether it’s one, or none, of these things isn’t the point. Somehow I have arrived at this juncture in my life with a perfectly warped sense of time. A place where my days feel full to the brim…in a really good way (in fact, my current state often finds me muttering, please let me live to experience more, more, more of this gloriously messy perfection) and yet…my response to most situations has slowed to a crawl.

Here’s what I’ve concluded:

I am living proof as to why you need to believe those cliches about not taking anything personally.

I used to be the gal who answered phone calls and emails in a lickety-split fashion. I would even go so far as to say I took a fair amount of pride in my get-’er-done way of dealing with stuff.  But lately I’ve only remembered to return phone calls days and days after they were sent. I find neglected emails languishing at the bottom of my inbox, or, I approve a comment on my blog and forget – completely – to respond. I pencil in dates on the wrong week and show up at the wrong restaurant.

None of this tardiness and errors in daytimers has anything to do with the person who sent the email, made the phone call, booked the date, told me the address or wrote the comment.

It is, quite obviously, not about them at all.

Instead, this new way of operating seems to have snuck up on me, a non-system that has morphed all my previous squares and tickety boxes into squiggly organic lines that morph and swim in ways that defy tidy check marks.


Please feel free to write again, ring me twice, repeat your texts or yell my name. Most of all, please take this as my advance apology for any future tardy responses.

Consider me as your proofed up pudding. The next time I don’t respond – don’t assume the worst. It just might be that my latest hormonal flash tide has swept the beach of my brain clean.

It is SO not personal. I promise I’m doing my best.


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