Ep. 32 – Talk to your pets!

32 talk to your pets!

This episode I recorded nearly two weeks ago, but thanks to my own silliness in fiddling with the wireless modem, I managed to screw up my internet connection.

I blame Mercury.

Anyway, it’s all uploaded and ready for a listen!  I’ve answered a few questions I received over the past few months on facebook about talking with your pets and how to know when you’re succeeding.  How can you tell if your pet “gets” the message?

I hope you enjoy it!

Do you have Wealthy Enough-ness?


I feel like there are two conflicting messages floating out there in Spiritualist Land: 1) You shouldn’t need stuff to be happy, and 2) There is unlimited stuff to be had and you’re entitled to every bit you can get.

#1 is about Buddhist non-attachment, that we create our own unhappiness by *wanting* something other than what we have – that true happiness can be attained by simply learning to love and accept what you have.

The trouble is, what if you don’t have enough?

“Enough” is a moving target. It’s different for everyone, and it shifts depending on our life circumstances, our needs in the context of our life. When I was 19, I was living off of $600 a month. I was sharing an apartment with a friend and adopted Leo, my first cat. I was happy. I had enough.

It was enough until my roommate threw a mushroom party without giving me advance notice. Then I needed my own place. I needed my own door that locked.

I changed jobs, started making a few hundred more a month, and moved down the road into my own 1 bedroom attic. For the first time in my life, people needed permission to be in my space. I even had a few pieces of furniture. That was enough for a while.

“Enough” shifts. For me, “enough” is about safety and opportunity for enjoyment in life. Safety breaks down into “enough” income and privacy. When I don’t have enough safety, I can’t be productive. I can’t do my best work. I’m in survival mode. Having the opportunity to rise above survival mode is an incredible gift!

So much has changed in the last few weeks and months. Hell, looking back on the last 10 years of my life has seen white-water rapid change. Are my feet finally on solid ground now? Have I reached this mythical island called Enough?

I love our new house. It’s so quiet. It’s HUGE! It feels like a real home. I feel safe there – so safe, I’m hesitant to leave the house, ever! I just want to sit in my kitchen, writing and drinking coffee, or cooking and chatting with Sweetie. Or I want to sit in my office, working with clients, plotting my class and podcasts. OR, and this is the best one, I want to hang out in bed – our big, comfortable bed that’s off the floor, that has bedside lamps and enough storage space to contain all our clothing.

I would never want to live in a tiny house. That’s not enough for me.

When Sweetie & I moved out to the coast in 2009, we bought very little with us. No furniture, just a laptop computer, a few Rubbermaid bins of kitchen accessories, and our four pets. We travelled almost 5,000 km by train from Toronto to Vancouver, then drove out to Ucluelet with a rented truck. We had very little in terms of “stuff”. We moved into a bachelor cabin for six months and barely made a dent in the place.

Sure we can adapt, and “enough” is a moving target. If I was homeless, a tiny house would be heaven on earth. But for the me I am right now (see what I did there?) enough is the sweet spot between what I need to do what I want, and what I have. When those things line up, God, life is good.

The flip side of Enough – the blindingly shiny side of the coin – is the abundance philosophy. I haven’t quite figured this out yet. There are great things about the *ideas* of creating immense positive expansion through leveraging your earning potential and building personal financial wealth. There’s freedom and enormous creative possibility! Just look at a well-backed self-published book launch, or a high-profile concert or art show! Money is energy you can use to power your creations!

The thing is, I’ve noticed that a lot of people *selling* the idea of wealthy abundance don’t have the energy of calm, peaceful enough-ness. So, I kinda don’t believe them! People who have calm, peaceful wealth aren’t on facebook constantly sharing quotes from The Secret.  They’re not trying to sell me their secret to life. No, they’re quietly and generously supporting the good things in the world.

I think that’s my definition of wealth. Enough is when you have what you need to feel safe, do your work with the support you need, and to do the things that make you happy and balanced. Wealth grows from enough, and it’s not simply money. How many financially wealthy people make sacrifices that are too steep, which impact their feeling of “enough”? Surplus money but deficit family / vacation time? I’ve burned out enough times to know that money can’t buy your way out of adrenal fatigue.

Enough can’t just be about financial security, it’s about moving with that shifting target.

I’ve heard a few women declare that work / life balance is impossible to achieve. Nothing in life is about balance, and a great way to accelerate change is to create IMBALANCE in your life.

I guess that’s one way of accomplishing things. It’s liberating for some people to give themselves permission to focus intensely on a project to the exclusion of all other things. Some people do their best work that way! Maybe that’s their “enough”! Enough time to start this new thing – they need ALL of the time!

Personally, I need that balance. It’s hard to live on a swinging pendulum. I like my nest, I like my work-life balance. I love having enough. Big enough, quiet enough, safe enough. I am wealthy with enough-ness right now.   I feel like a boat that’s weathered more than a few ocean storms, who has finally made the safe harbour and is moored in peace.

We’ll do repairs, we’ll stock up, and at some point, we’ll head out again.

Signs in Spiders


Alrighty. Thank you everyone for hanging in during this blog-blackout. How do I explain what happened? Well, between the move, and all of the overwhelming family stuff, I became pretty blocked. I’ve always used writing as a way of getting through difficult times; not being able to write has made things more difficult to process. Once you stop writing, it’s more challenging to get going again – you stopped for a reason, in my case I was feeling pretty shit-kicked, emotionally.

I’m not sure what I was waiting for. I’ve written several posts in my head without actually typing them out, so I’ll start with that one.

In sessions, a lot of people ask about signs from their loved one – how do they know when she or he is around? What do they do to get our attention?

My grandmother, (my mother’s mother) sends most of the family lady bugs, although I believe she helped send me those orcas in September 2013. As lady bugs are rare in Tofino, I’ve noticed really huge, unusual houseflies tend to come around when my grandmother wants to say “Hello! Just checking in, can you see me?” I always say “Hello, grandma!” out loud, so she knows that I noticed.

This is one of the suggestions I have for people: when you *think* you see a sign, just say hello. “Hello, sweetheart! If that’s from you, I see it!” Saying it out loud is THEIR confirmation that they’re reaching you, so it encourages them to keep trying. The more you acknowledge these little signs, the more they tend to happen.

Before my mother died, she told me she’d send me schnauzers. When I was a teenager, our family dog was a schnauzer named Heidi, and Heidi was my first real teacher in animal communication.

I said to my Mom, “Great – but there aren’t many schnauzers around here at all! It’ll be hard to send me schnauzers if there aren’t any to divert. What about sending me birds, too?”

“Okay,” she agreed. “Schnauzers and birds.”


The morning I got the news that my mother had died during the night, there was a damn big spider in my bathroom sink.

This is unusual because I have a deal with the spiders. The large ones stay outside, the small ones are allowed inside only until they’re as large as the nail on my pinky. Preferably, they stay out of sight. Ever since I cut this deal with the spiders, they’ve generally stayed hidden. They’ve stopped doing things like showing up on my PILLOW or on MY FACE!

My mother was the first person to point out that those creatures we’re most afraid of are often used as spiritual messengers. Why? Because we NOTICE them. A beetle or a fly I might ignore, but a spider? They cause me to freeze instantly. Other than predators who could eat me, there really aren’t any other creatures I’ve encountered that literally paralyze me just by showing themselves. Yeah, I freaking notice the spiders.

So when I saw this spider in my bathroom sink, I thought it might be from my mother. But why would that be? I was just seeing hummingbirds outside the bedroom window. Those birds don’t come into my yard because the neighbours have feeders. There’s no reason for them to detour into my yard. Besides, my mother had said she’d send schnauzers and birds. Spiders were not a part of the pre-arranged deal.

A week and a half later as I was packed and ready to go to Ontario for my mother’s service, it happened again. Another spider, slightly larger this time, perched on top of my luggage.

Okay, this *might* be something, I thought.

Why wouldn’t I just ask Mom directly, being a medium and all? Because I’m grieving. Sometimes, it can really hurt to be in contact with a loved one just after they pass, before you’ve had a chance to heal a bit. I think this is one of the reasons some mediums make up rules about loved ones being “unreachable” for a certain period of time after their death, or insisting on a certain period of time passing between a death and a client’s session to speak with that person or animal.

When Mocha (my big dog) and Leo (my tabby cat) died, they immediately came to hang out in spirit. I had to actually send Mocha away that first week, because it was so painful to have her presence around without her body.

For some people, they experience this spiritual closeness with a visiting spirit by suddenly thinking about them, and feeling overwrought with grief, when a moment ago, they felt fine. Our bodies react with certainty when we experience these things. We *know* what we experienced was real, even if it doesn’t translate as profoundly when you try to share the story with someone else.

So there was me, and there were the two spiders – one in the sink, and one on my luggage. While on the six-seater plane to Vancouver, I whispered to Mom, “If those spiders are from you, I need some more confirmation.”

Two days later, I was sitting at my mother’s service. It was perfect, I think it was exactly as she wanted it.

Can I let you guys in on a secret? I *hate* funerals. I hate eulogies. It’s just not for me. This is not how I grieve, and it’s not how I want to grieve. My mother’s service was the very first formal funeral I’ve been to.

You know what I prefer? The wake, or the before / after gathering where family and / or friends gather to eat, drink and tell stories full of love, laughter and recalling the full character of the person we all just lost. I love informal gatherings. I despise formal services. I can’t justify exactly *why* they turn me off so strongly, and I’m not saying they’re wrong or that people shouldn’t do them.

I just *do not want* one for myself.

That said, my mother’s service was perfect.

My very favourite part was when her Buddhist priest stood up to talk about my mother’s relationship with Japanese Buddhism. He didn’t use any of his own words – he read a speech my mother had written and presented to the Buddhist circle of practitioners. It was a talk on how mindfulness practice impacted her life.

When the priest got to the part in the speech about the spiders, that made my heart twist like a sponge, wringing out all the conflicting emotions at once.

She’s talked about how she used to hate spiders, she’d kill them on sight. How mindfulness practice helped her get above her visceral reaction and merely *notice* the spiders. How interesting they are, how beautiful, even. She could appreciate them, even love them – as long as they weren’t too big!

That was it for me. That was my confirmation, and I cried because I got that message, and it felt like it was just for me.

Of course, if I’d said anything at the time, it would’ve looked pretty crazy. That’s pretty much par for the course, eh?

After the service, there *was* a gathering of family with stories and laughter. My little squeezed-out heart sponge started to untwist, soften, become pliable again.

That night, as if there was any doubt left, there was a medium-sized spider in the bathroom sink.