December 30, 2010

Senor Frogs, One Hopping Joint!

Well if yesterday was the shadow, tonight was the light!

I went with my whole family to Senor Frogs. Yes... touristy to the max!! And you know what? It was SUCH a good time. This is their business, if these guys can’t take a grumpy family and put smiles on their grouchy faces then no on can! It definitely worked for us. The only part that sucked about the evening was that we didn’t bring a camera so there is no photo to aid your trip with us to one of the most touristy joints in all of Mexico.


We walked in to this loud, obnoxious establishment and were greeted by a peppy hostess who delivered us to our waiter. His name was Aldos and he was dancing to “You Can Leave your Hat on” by Tom Jones while performing a Full Monty style mock strip tease. He then brought us name tags.

Ayla was “Brittany Spears”
Lily- “Lady Gaga”
Rosy- “Dennis the Menace” due to the fact that as soon as her drink came she accidentally(?) spit juice on Aldos.
My mother in law AKA Omi was “The One who Pays the Bill”
Chris- “The Man”
and I was “The Boss”

Given how tough last night was, with today not being much better,THIS was just the stress reliever we needed.

I use to “not drink”. This changed the minute I entered Mexico. I have taken to drinking tequila because well you know what they say about Rome! With fermented agave running through my system I made the rather unorthodox choice of ordering two platters of deep fried Mexican party food.While we waited a talented man made us balloon all hats. Yes that is right, each and everyone of us scarfed down battered shrimp, quesidillas, tacos and deep fried cheese while wearing elaborate and suggestive balloon hat.

There were employees whose only job was to pull practical jokes on customers. Rosy was constantly entertained and high as a kite on sugar and grease.

While we were waiting for dessert (wait... when does my family of conscious eaters EVER order dessert? Oh ya right, when mom is drinking tequila and ordering in partial sign language over blaring cheesy 80’s videos) a handsome young man arrived at our table to perform magic tricks. This kid was GOOD! I could detect the slightest slide of hand, and I was watching like a hawk! Daniel, our magician, was a gem. He had fallen in love with Ayla and addressed Chris as his “future father in law”. Ayla turned many shades of pink but was having a good deal of fun with the attention. Daniel’s father arrived half way through his performance, he motioned that he would be just a few minutes longer.

I have found it somewhat difficult to deal with the ways of Mexican culture since I arrived. Most Mexicans have a well practised poker face. In the beginning I misunderstood this as grumpiness. I have come to understand that all I need do is initiate, say “Hola”, smile and I am usually rewarded. To let Daniel's father know how much I appreciated him I put my hand to my heart and pointed at his son. He smiled wide and nodded with what I imagined to be pride. And he has reason to be be proud. Daniel is very good at what he does. Not just at being a magician, but at connecting with customers in an authentic way. He was brilliant with every last one of us.

This video is for you Daniel. I hope you find me here on the blog. When you gave the napkin with your email address to Ayla saying she should keep it because her parents might forget it due to tequila consumption, you were right! But we remembered the name of the the only electronica song that you like and will end this entry with it... email me here on the blog and I will send you Ayla’s contact... in 4 years time.

If you come to Mazatlan, put aside all culinary restrictions, all ideas of what constitutes bad music, prepare for over-stimulation, and treat yourself to the best touristy dinner in all of Mexico! They took very good care of us and by the end we left as a bonded happy family... thank you Senor Frogs!

“What do you enjoy that might surprise those who know you?”

December 29, 2010

I Bet Frida Would Understand

I am sitting outside the internet cafe of my hotel. I am hiding from passers-by that I am crying... again. I say again because I cry a lot. I have ideas about my prolific crying which are conflicting.

On one hand I love the fact that I cry. I allow my emotions to flow and take advantage of natures method of dumping chemicals produced during intense experience, this keeps me healthy. I feel much better after a good cry.

On the other hand when I am at my most vulnerable, tears dripping, snot bubbling, I judge that I let my emotions rule me.

Why am I crying this time? I am frustrated, angry and sad. I am noticing a pattern re-emerging in my family that I haven’t had to deal with for quite some time. This pattern had pretty much disappeared because I disappeared. I took a year off last year, or maybe it would be more accurate to say I worked part time. I had become so frustrated with how the dynamic saw me either dissolve into a puddle of tears and/or pounce with fangs dripping that I just opted out. I was still there in my home, raising my children and being a wife, but I found ways to always ‘have an out’ so that this dynamic couldn’t rule me.

Well now there is no way out, we are together all the time. We are usually doing things which require planning, organizing and follow through. My frustration comes not because as mother planning and organizing generally fall to me, but that once the organization and planning are in place it is often not respected. Not to mention that the follow through sucks! Worse yet there is rarely any acknowledgement of the effort put in. When I end up in either in tears or with bared claws I am met with looks of stunned silence which seem to say,“What is mom’s problem?!” What is most maddening is that the activities are organized around what everyone says they want! It is not as though I am draggin them along to do only the things I want to do... ARGH!

I can imagine at this point mothers everywhere are nodding their heads in sympathy and aggravation, my story is not a rare one.

I won’t bore you with the gritty details except to say that after trying to rationally and calmly explain a number of times that I was frustrated, I decided to catch a cab back to the hotel by myself.

I wanted to cry in the cab, but the drunk driver who kept asking me if I had a husband likely would have been thrown. Given his state I thought it prudent to not distract him. I would have got out to seek a sober driver but I was miles from my hotel and only had enough for his fare. I considered refusing to pay but that seemed more dangerous than staying the course. I prayed a lot instead.

When I arrived at the hotel I had a bath hoping to bring on tears of release, but I was still too angry. Just as they began to bubble up I heard my family laughing and running down the hallway. They tumbled over each other rushing into the room to get their swimsuits, they seemed to have forgotten about what happened and were now focused on soaking in the hot tub. They wouldn’t make eye contact and got away from me as quickly as they could which many a mother will tell you is par for the course when we get upset. Tell me, am I the only one who feel so hurt when this happens?

In order to restrain myself from tearing their heads off, I decided to go down to an internet cafe in town. I walked out of hotel and was met by an armed soldier so I reconsidered. It is not as scary as it sounds. I learned later there was a government official staying at our hotel, it is customary for the military to accompany him. It is meant to instil a sense of safety. Funny, a man in camo with a big gun doesn’t bring me a warm fuzzy feeling of safety, a cultural difference to be sure.

I then went into the internet cafe at the hotel, only to be told I can not use my own computer there. I swear the universe was working really hard to push me into a Kali moment!


I finally found a place to sit and use my computer. I was too shaken to write so I watched the following video by Chameli Ardagh called The Fierce Face of the Feminine. The tear finally began to flow.

She speaks of Kali becoming intoxicated with anger, how not even Shiva could stop her rage with force. It was only when he showed his belly, lay before her vulnerable and in complete love, accepted her anger as Divinity, that she stopped. It was the understanding of how she come to a place of rage from not feeling heard, when enough was enough and nothing else would stop the injustice, when he gave THIS his presence she was able to regain her own.

I would really like my anger, frustration, and sadness to be met with presence. Better yet I don’t want to get to the Kali place to conjure presence. I don’t want things to get ugly before I am listened to. When it happens this way as a dynamic, as an ongoing pattern we all have to suffer first. There is an easier way.

For now I will just go find somewhere with no family, no drunk taxi drivers, no armed guards, no internet lounge attendants and continue to let my tears flow... I will find presence within myself for right now and trust that it will come from my loved ones soon. I trust that we will find a way to face this dynamic so it can dissolve. That my Kali will rest more often, laying side by side with Shiva cuddling rather than going at his neck with a machete.

I came up with so many question for this entry, but settled on. “What helps you regain presence when you are angry?”

This post is dedicated to my friend Deirdre who cheered me up while I was writing this entry trying.

“I write about myself because when I am alone I hear the voice of God and because I am the subject I know best”
~ Bernice Raabis

(a rip off on the Frida Kahlo quote and my friend Deirdre’s facebook status)

"I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best."
~ Frida Kahlo

December 26, 2010

After and After

I am still having a blog identity crisis, I am not sure what it’s purpose is.

I don’t feel called to continue the 12 day theme, but then I wonder if the title of the blog will be completely confusing? I don’t want to start a new one, you all know how to find me right here, and to be honest I have no interest in going through building a new blog or buying a new domain... BLAH!! I like to write, to share myself, I do not enjoy techie site building stuff. So until further notice I will just be posting here when I feel called to. The blog feels more like a travel blog than anything else, since this is my fodder most often. Still I can’t ignore that it is most often about me and my thoughts, it is still very personal.... We will talk about this more later, for now I have two things I want to share.

First the fun stuff. We went zip lining today! It was my first time. It was a present bought for our family by my mother in law. We are in a tourist area so when in Rome do as the touristy Romans do! I am not exactly sure what I expected of the tour but there always seems to be a heavy emphasis on getting us to into a gift shop to purchased overpriced souvenirs. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case at Huan Coa Canopy Adventures. In fact other than tee-shirts there was nothing to buy! The staff were super friendly and really good at their job which is really important when guiding something as potentially dangerous as zip lining. Our main guide Jonathan was great with the kids and had a quirky dry sense of humour which meant people were serious about following the rules. We had a blast and it was great to get away from the diesel fumes and hustling of the Golden Zone. If you come to do the resort thing here in Mazatlan and want to take a tour, this is the one. You can walk Old Mazatlan on your own and while we haven’t been to Isla de las Piedras (Stone Island) yet I am told it is better done by yourself. Flying above the canopy like a Crested Caracara on the other hand is most definitely not something you should attempt without guidance!

Ok Second, and this is the part of the blog which is personal, it’s time to talk weight again. I am working on streamlining the facebook side of things. I want to be able to upload lots of pictures but not have to post them here on the blog out of respect for my poor friend Katherine (HI KATH!) who may still be on archaic internet. I plan to upload pics month by month to document our travels as an amendment to what is written here.


Last night I uploaded my first photo album of the trip and held my breath as I included a picture of me in my bathing suit. I know most womyn can relate to this. I have been body conscious my whole life, though now it has taken on a new flavour. I have never been a big person, even when I was at my biggest right after giving birth to my last two babies I was still fairly little with a lot of curves and softness. I didn’t see it this way then, I saw cellulite and folds of skin under my arms that I didn’t like. I use to say to Chris that I just didn’t feel like me.

Starting about 4 years ago I began to return to my pre-baby size. It was slow at first. Then last year when I had stopped trying to lose I shrank considerably. Eventually when my metabolism really sped up I had to work to keep weight on. I spent many a entry last year fretting, explaining, defending and pondering my weight loss.

I would like to tell you that the blog entry which brought the most traffic to my site was one where I waxed words, spread enlightening knowledge which challengd people, eventually changing their lives forever. The truth is it was the one with a shot of me in a bikini. I suspect this was because I used the words “before and after” in my tags (word which search engines search for), I will use them again and see if this one also gets hundreds of hits as well.

We live in a weight obsessed culture. I know I personally have spent more hours than I can even stomach thinking about my weight. What I never expected was the way I would be treated when I became as thin as I am today.

I still have issues with my body. Specifically it can be hard for me to feel womanly with breast as tiny as mine, especially immersed in Mexican culture where most womyn have these gorgeous curvy bodies, sexy hips and bodacious tattas! My mother in law asked me the other day if I have ever considered getting implants and suggested a surgeon. I had to leave the room to stop up my tears and avoid further painful conversation with her. Yes I KNOW I am “perfect just the way” I am, so please keep your medical referrals to yourself! Ugh

As I suspected the picture started off a flurry or comments which began with “Bernice, you look hungry” Again I cried. I replied, going into my spiel about how I eat butter and full fat yogurt, honey, and... and..... Chris gently reminded me, that I needn’t fall into the trap of explaining myself, that their comments were about themselves, their own weight issues, their projections. He encouraged me to save my energy, know what I know about me and send love to those whose path I have walked and understand well. And so with compassion for myself and others I offer this.

I am sorry. Sorry to any of you who I have judged because of your weight or body shape, no matter your size. I am sorry for the times I allowed my misunderstanding of the sacred nature of my own body to become a projection, one I made about you.

Tobias, that beautiful man who helped me create Ayla a little over 16 years ago, use to call himself a Fatist. He openly discriminated against overweight people and it use to really piss me off, partly because I judged myself as overweight. I now have been the target of discrimination based on my weight at the other end of the scale... and it hurts. I take this lesson to heart and thank all who have helped me to see that we all suffer from one form of self judgement or another. It presents itself in many forms. Under it all we want to be loved and excepted for our glorious beautiful selves and that love begins right here inside our own beautiful corazón.

I think I still want to do the question thing here on the blog... that part of the old project was really fun... so here is today's question. “What do you love about your own body?”

December 25, 2010

Feliz Navidad!

This is my second Christmas below the tropic of Cancer. Both times I had a white Christmas but it was white sand rather than snow. The first was 16 years ago. Ayla was tucked warm and snug inside my belly, I was completely oblivious to her existence at the time. I celebrated the holidays with her biological father Tobias. I remember being home sick. This time around I did not miss home in the least.

Chris’ father died on Christmas Eve 4 years ago. Since then the holidays have been a struggle. The sadness mixes with Yule time stress and leaves little room for celebration and good cheer. This year I believe we broke the spell. It was an amazing Christmas. Here are a few of the highlights.

This year we awoke to find presents under the Christmas Piniata!

“Rudolpo the Deer” as he was called in the Hotel Activity Program, was there with a lot of energy considering his late night.

Yes you are seeing this correctly... that is Santa Clause parasailing in... I wonder if his sleigh was in for repairs?

And when he arrived there were presents for all the kids... even the naughty ones!

And no Christmas dinner is complete without entertainment... yes that is Elvis you see in the background, can you see the dreamy look in my eyes? He even came into the crowd and gave me a scarf... I quiver just thinking about it :oP


It was a rather unorthodox Christmas and it was so perfect <3

This is just a smattering of the photos from our White Sand Christmas... If you want to see more pictures click here and it will take you to the 12 days 2 inspire facebook group, from there just click on "Photos".

"How do you move on after experiencing a loss in your life?"

December 20, 2010

Down the Rabbit Hole

Tonight the moon will be cleansed by darkness as the earth passes between her and the sun. She will slip away from the light so that she may be new while she is also full; she will walk on both sides, or float I suppose, lucky celestial body that she is. As we watch she will turn blood red. We will feel the magic as Monday (moon day) becomes Tuesday, as the 20th day becomes the 21st day. We will be exactly 2 years from the fabled day of December 21st 2012, the day predicted by the Mayan calendar to have significance beyond that which I can explain. It is Yule, or Solstice, a holy day for me and many others. Part of the reason for this half year trip to Mexico is to better understand the significance of December 21st 2012.


Last night I couldn’t sleep, my monthly ritual as the moon becomes full. I lay awake contemplating my animal totems. Rabbit, the one I have such a hard time accepting was right there next to snake, who scares me silly, this brings me back to rabbit. Rabbit medicine is fear, this medicine is strong in my life . While I can often appear fearless, those who know me well know how I live intimately with fear. Bravery is not the absence of fear but the willingness to act in the face of it.

This morning was my first time I attempted to walk out into the Mexican streets on my own. I admit to being affected by the collective fear that has been brewed via news reports of Mexican “civil war”. I was warned by many well meaning friends not to go out on my own, they feared who I might meet. As it turns out I met God in the face of a handsome elevator repairman. As I waited to board the elevator the doors parted and there he was. He politely directed me in broken English to use the stairs. I went the wrong way. I returned to the elevator confused and slightly frustrated by my inability to speak Spanish. This is when he invited me to ride on TOP of the elevator. I peered inside to see the old bricks of the elevator shaft, the mechanical workings on top of the box, and a handsome man inviting me for a ride. Seeing the dark cave and imagining entering into its darkness with a man I do not know and could barely communicate with made my rabbit fear jump, my heart began to thump wildly.

I wasn’t sure what to do. I was scared and didn’t know how to express this, which made it scarier! On the other hand I had been invited to experience something new by a beautiful man, this was was exciting, it made me blush a little. I have not been flirtatious for months, I liked felling this part of me stir again.

I have struggled since arriving with how to be a beautiful married womyn (who is in an open relationship) in this traditional Catholic culture. I can feel how my femininity attracts attention and Mexican men often do not hide their interest. This is a dance I can navigate when I am able to communicate verbally but without the language I am left with body language, eye contact and rudimentary hand signals. Not knowing how my eye contact and body language will be interpreted I feel a little like a peces out of agua.

There were so many reasons to say NO! , but I knew there was a lesson from rabbit in this. We are in a resort for the holidays, this was not some roving predator, he was there to fix the elevator. I made a decision, steadied my nerves and stepped inside the dark shaft. I looked him right in the eyes and said “I am scared”. I owned my feelings, took my rabbit medicine and saw my fear for what it was, a tool to protect me and a reminder to consider all factors. I also listened to my other instincts. All things considered I knew I was safe.

The doors closed as the man put one hand gently on my waist to steady me. My body came alive and I felt everything. I was acutely aware of where his fingers made contact with the tight bands of muscles which run down my abdomen, how his pinky brushed against the softness of my belly. I was begin supported by this large strong man and it felt divine. In the total darkness he whispered gently, “It’s chill” in a heavy Mexican accent. The elevator descended very slowly towards the ground. I was taking my trip down the rabbit hole.

When the doors opened on the first floor we were half a story up. The man let my waist go and jumped to the ground outside. I had such a strong urge to forget my feminine grace and jump like a child to the floor where I could scamper away. I remained composed, waiting for him to get into a position where he could lift me from under my arms safely to the ground.

I turned to the man who came to teach me trust and said “Gracias” with a smile which said so much more.

I am a self assured womyn filled with all manners of medicine, snake, owl, lynx, antelope, bear, fox and of course rabbit. Together this strong medicine has created a graceful womyn who can feel fear, honour its truth, and not let it rule. I walked out into the streets of Mazatlan alone and thanked God for this day which would bring me a blood red moon by its end. Tonight I will step over and walk on two sides, rabbit and snake, side by side.

“What animal totems do you relate to?”

December 18, 2010


We are finally in Mexico! And it was no small feet! While waiting for our papers we did $300 damage to the camper, endured a torrential rain storm in the dessert, and Chris and I had our first real fight in months.

It was great actually. We both had so much pent up on this pressure cooker of the trip that it needed releasing. By the end we were cuddling while I cried tears which desperately needed to flow.

I have been through a lot in the last 5 months. The admission to myself that my relationship with Michael while incredible and loving was also debilitating and abusive; the pregnancy that came just weeks after the break up while I was in the midst of a painful hip injury that STILL has me grounded from performing or even dancing. Top that off with the miscarriage that lasted 49 days and then leaving my home for a 7 month journey.... and ya... I needed to let some emotions flow!

I know that conflict has to exist in a healthy growing relationship but I had become VERY shy of it. The way Michael and I dealt with it was not effective, in fact I would go so far to say it was destructive. I realized I was shying away from sharing myself with Chris because I had come to fear conflict. Well it showed up 2 nights ago when I could no longer deal with the sadness which is still seeping along with the anxiety of Ayla being in Mexico without us. She flew into Mazatlan yesterday with my mother in law, we were suppose to pick them up at the airport, but were still stuck in Tucson when they landed. My mama bear came out and so did my claws! Luckily Chris and I have almost 2 decades of experience dealing with conflict and in the end it was just what we needed.

With all the drama out of the way the Universe opened up the gates for us and Chris’s papers arrived yesterday afternoon. We set out this morning at 6 am to take full advantage of daylight hours, we are only travelling in the day for safety reasons. At the moment we are in San Carlos, Sonara.


WE are leaving tomorrow at 5am, so I am going to finish up my Chamomile tea and head to bed in the newly fixed camper, and dream of tomorrow night when I get to sleep in a BED!!

“What do you suppress?”

December 15, 2010

Next Chapter

It has been a while... Hi everyone.

I am in Patagonia, Arizona just miles from the Mexican border. My family and I are travelling down to Mexico to spend the winter following our bliss. I know that to say such a thing is VERY new agey. Lately I have had the desire to stick my tongue out at all things new agey. I am beginning to realize that positive-at-all-costs new age thinking takes its toll, the hard stuff doesn’t go away it just festers. None the less it is true, we ARE following our bliss, going to Mexico to just do what we want to do, to do some major healing and find whatever it is one finds in a place like Mexico.

Our plan was to cross the border yesterday, and we did, but we got turned around 20 kilometres in because of an issue with our truck registration. It is registered in my mother in laws name, which is fine, but Chris needs a birth certificate confirming that she is his mother. His wallet sized birth certificate does not have his mothers name on it, so we are now waiting for the Alberta government to courier us one which does.

The border town of Nogales Arizona where we crossed was a strip mall hell, we camped there last night in a Wal*Mart Super Centre parking lot. The place was crawling with eager Christmas shoppers in a frenzy to fulfill their Christmas hopes and dreams. I could not stand the thought of spending another minute in Nogales so we asked around and found out about Patagonia, Arizona. “A little hippy town near the border”... just like Nelson, perfect.


When this trip was in its incubation stage Chris wanted to drive all the way to Patagonia... Chile. Eventually he reconsidered because of how much driving was involved, settled on travelling just Central America. Soon the itinerary became 6 months of leisurely travel in Mexico to visit communities and understand Mayan culture. Who knew that Chris’ dream of driving to Patagonia would come to fruition within the first leg of the trip?! He is one hell of a manifester!

Patagonia is a funky little town which is populated with mostly retires and artists. It is also home to The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Centre, founded by Dr. Gabriel Cousens, expert in raw and living foods nutrition, and researcher on the natural healing of diabetes. We went to the Tree of Life Cafe for dinner last night. We had a delicious fully raw meal which cost Chris and I 10 dollars each while the kids ate for free... how great is that?! Afterwards we were invited to use the hot tub and infrared sauna. Later today we will go back to sing Kirtan, walk their labyrinth and possibly even swim in their pool. So our first obstacle has worked out pretty well for us.

Before we left home our neighbours gave us one of our two dashboard Genesha’s, a tiny statue of an elephant Hindu deity who removes obstacles. It came along with a note which read “Happy travels! Remember the obstacles ARE the journey”. It would seem that our journey is well under way!

“What is your greatest obstacle?”

December 12, 2010

Squeeze it in!

This post is kind of a cheat, but it is my blog and I make the rules!

This video was shot on December 12th, I am actually writing this entry on December 27th. I wanted to include the video because it has been one of the highlights of our trip so far.

My trip officially started on December 3rd when I flew down to LA. I stayed for a week with my soul sister Rachel and my God daughter Skylah while Chris, Lily and Rosy drove down from Nelson to pick me up. They stayed a night and then we made our way to San Diego where I met up with my friends Matthew and Mary... whose Mary you ask?

Mary Pinizzotto did project similar to mine, but instead of writing every day she danced every day. She recorded, edited and posted a dance on her blog Freebox every day for a year. Now that is commitment!

By divine organization I happened to be in San Diego (thousands of miles from my home) on the very day her project ended. Here is the dance that ended it all! Look for Matthew, Lily, Rosy, Chris and I dancing with the lovely Mary and her wonderfully supportive dance community. You are an inspiration Mary <3

“What do you do every day?”