Part 1: A Story to Open Your Heart To LOVE

HL, my girlfriend, told me the other day, “I thrive on LOVE.” She knows this. And in all honesty, ALL of us thrive on love. When we are in love, we feel better, we perform better, we live better. HL wants this for all of you, and she is gently cracking open the door for you through her vision below.

Welcome to part one of a special 5-week series. This is a chance for you and I to unpacking HL’s vision and open your heart to LOVE. (If you missed my first email announcing this series, you can see HL’s full vision statement below.)

This week let’s  explore the first line, “As the tale begins…” I’m giving my thoughts, and I strongly invite your input, thoughts and how you are touched by her words. My in-box is open to your emails on this.

As the tale begins…

HL suggests we are at the beginning of something that is going to happen – a story. Tales are usually for entertainment, and if it is a good tale, there will be wisdom within it – a learning – that will change the listener – transform her life.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, and expert on story telling writes in her book, Women Who Run With the Wolves,

Stories are medicine. I have been taken with stories since I heard my first. They have such power; they do not require that we do, be, act anything – we need only listen. The remedies for repair or reclamation of any lost psychic drive are contained in stories. Stories engender the excitement, sadness, questions, longings, and understandings that spontaneously bring the archetype, in this case Wild Woman, back to the surface. Stories are embedded with instructions which guide us about the complexities of life. Stories enable us to understand the need for and the ways to raise a submerged archetype.” (Estes 1995: 15)

HL is opening all of us to a journey – a journey that is for the benefit of your capacity to feel love. She is pointing the way. She is engaging our psyches in a gentle and skilful – and perhaps most importantly – a LOVING way.

Certainly she is telling this story from the spiritual place of her love for me. Even moreso, she wants to help her community – she wants to have a positive impact on her community of women who love women. Through her story, she is reaching her hand out to you, to help you find your delicate path of opening your heart to deep loving.

Part 2: The Power of Good Lesbian Leadership

We are in the middle of a process of sacred “Revelation” – of revealing the vibration of LOVE, as it has been communicated by my own dear love, HL. She composed a vision for Find True Lesbian LOVE on April 28th. Now I’m pulling out my pick and shovel to dig in and grapple with what her sacred message means. I invite you to dig in with your own tools and contribute your thoughts as well – I WELCOME it!

All of this grappling is for opening your pathway to LOVE – your unique sacred pathway. It will not be magically gifted to you – You will have to work for it! What I am offering is a vehicle for your work. I would LOVE to engage with you on the sacred words HL has presented us. If anything touches you, make that effort and send me an email. Your grappling will add to the vortex of LOVE that we are building together here, and it will feed both your heart and your journey into LOVE.

This week we grapple with the second passage of her vision:

Once upon a time, on the Island of Lesbos lives a Queen, who is so graceful, loving, caring, compassionate, and beautiful. She gathers her strength and power through her incredible intellect and a pure heart to gift women who desire love and to be loved. Her vision is boundless, for her wisdom is limitless. 

“Once upon a time” are famous words for beginning a story. These words have become empowered with the ability to transport us into another world – a world where there can be dreams and fairy tales – a world where we can imagine new possibilities that would be impossible in the “real” world. These words transport us into a place of possibility and dreams.

And what do we find in this other world? A sacred island for us – for lesbians – for us who can be outcasts in this patriarchal world – and if not outcasts, perhaps we just never feel like we fully fit in. So here is a space where we belong – and we belong with each other.

The Island of Lesbos – I imagine warrior women who are strong and who live much closer to nature than what we do here in the city. I think of Amazons – women who are filled with bravery and who love fiercely. I see masculine women and I see feminine women, and there is a strength in their love for one another that I do not see often in the “real” world.

In the “real” world, I see wounded women who hide their emotions in addictions. And I see these women coping and leading lives formed around defending themselves from being taken advantage of. I see lonely women who have been hurt and no longer know how to be loved. And I see these women hurting each other –not because they are bad people – but because they have been deeply hurt in the past and this has led to them being disconnected from their own love and power. So they bring each other down. It saddens me!

So that is why it is such a beautiful vision HL gives us on the Island of Lesbos – where women have been in strong loving community for generations. I see strong healthy love flowing through their bodies! They are deeply connected with the earth and how to care well for themselves and each other. They are strong in their womanly power, and they look happy – genuinely happy – and healthy with clear skin, colour in their cheeks, and a star of aliveness shining in their eyes.

And there is a Queen, a”Queen, who is so graceful, loving, caring, compassionate, and beautiful “. We struggle to find good leadership in the “real” world. When we do find a good leader, it’s like finding an oasis in a vast desert. Here in Ontario we recently got Kathleen Wynne in as our premier. She is an exceptional leader. Yes, she is lesbian (which is fucking AMAZING!), but perhaps more importantly she is intelligent, caring and trained as a mediator – she is able to open situations in a way that brings the best out in people. She cultivates goodness and peace. Wow! We have needed a leader like that for a long time! President Obama is a similar amazing story. These people don’t have to be perfect, and it still feels amazing to have skilled leadership that operates from heart and is truly working to make this world a better place.

So our Queen on the Island of Lesbos, she is inspiring to us through her grace, love, care, compassion and beauty. The world feels in order having a good leader serving us – someone who lifts up our hearts and opens our abilities to believe and to stretch ourselves towards the light of the sun. Having a good leader makes all the difference for society. So we are graced to have such a good woman leader on our island.

She gathers her strength and power through her incredible intellect and a pure heart to gift women who desire love and to be loved. Her vision is boundless, for her wisdom is limitless. 

This Queen has the ability to lead Lesbian women in the journey of loving. HL cites her intellect and purity as key to leading women to be able to love. Intellect refers to seeing clearly and clearing away illusion and delusion. Clearing away the clouds that keep women down in patriarchal society. Perhaps I will add the image of a strong wind here to clear away those clouds – so women can remember who they are and take leadership in their own lives and hearts.

And purity because at long last, women need someone they can trust to lead them out of the desert of pain we find ourselves in after thousands of years – generation after generation – of living within patriarchal society. It has been damaging. It has been soul crushing. And great purity – a very pure heart is needed to lead women out of the darkness and into the light of reconnection.

Women’s capabilities to give love and receive love need to be cleaned and re-awakened after all these generations of oppression. We have had moments of love shine through over all this time, but the oppression of darkness has been a heavy weight on us – as so many women are raped and killed by their fathers, husbands and boyfriends every year – the people who we are taught should love and protect us. We have born a heavy, heavy weight – and it has absolutely impacted our hearts and how we give and receive love. Our hearts need to be washed with tears.

And the good news is that it is possible to heal that and reclaim our ability to love and be loved well. HL gifts us with her vision of a Queen who possesses boundless vision and limitless wisdom – fully capable of leading us back to loving ourselves and one another.

It is important to create a space within our hearts to hold this vision – and to protect it. Let us nurture this beautiful vision, and together we will make it manifest. We can create this within our community here. I myself am working towards that – and it will take all of us to contribute our special abilities to accomplish this vision.

Nothing is too silly! Please bring forward your heart and gift us with your good energy – your positive vision for our Island and for how you are bringing beauty and womanly strength into your life. And how you are witnessing the awakening of LOVE in your heart.

Leave a comment below, and let me know what is starting to stir in you!

There is nothing more precious than this space of home

By Andrea M. Winn, MEd

Soft winter breeze
brings me present
to the beauty
amidst the bustle.

Why is it so easy to get lost?
Or better,
How can I open to more of these moments?

What causes moments of presence?
Of remembering to be


I sit in meditation
To come home to my heart
To ease the inner hub bub.
There is nothing more precious
than this space of home.

When I am present with my heart
I feel more joy
I can feel the pain of others –
            And act from compassion
I can be more welcoming
And I can be more fun!

There is nothing more precious
than this space of home.

May you receive this gift
of delight:

            To be home within your heart
            this holiday season!


December 17, 2012
Andrea M. Winn

Lift up your heart!

By Andrea M. Winn, MEd

December is an incredibly busy time – when we are putting on that last crunch to finish the year, plus on top of that getting ready for the holiday season.

What is the antidote to this madness?

At times the antidote is … to lift up your heart!

Physically opening up your chest and pressing your heart up and out, and experience yourself leaning into the joy of all this activity. There is much to be thank-full for, and we can take a moment to pause each and every day to reflect on this. This moment inspires us to naturally lift up our heart and welcome the joy life is offering us at this special time of year.

I warmly invite you to come out for the December dream whisperer teleseminar to take an hour to relax in a lake of gentle being-ness. I will lead you in an experience of simply being present. Then I will guide you in a process to harvest the wonderful and important gems of your year’s activities.

Register now



Creating a moment of peace for the weary heart

By Andrea M. Winn, MEd

Do you feel weary? Perhaps weary to the bone even? It is natural to feel that way as we approach the end of the year. And especially this year – 2012. Many predicted this would be a year of profound transformation, and 2012 has not left us disappointed!

But perhaps at times confused and weary.

That is why it is important now to allow ourselves the time to breathe and be present with all that we accomplished in this big, big year.

Having put so much energy into our dreams and mega-transforming, it is time to complete our efforts and let go with joy. Begin to allow space for the gems of your efforts to descend into your waiting heart.

This time of harvest is crucial to our morale and sense of well-being!

All growth and change requires times of activity and times of stillness, two energies that feed each other in the dynamic of healthy evolution. Think about the importance of allowing a field to lay fallow from time to time, for the earth to rest, to heal, to restore. Then the next year it will produce more beautiful and nourishing crops!

It is the same with us – after abundant activity, we need time to simply be.

Our society does not teach us how to let go and “lay fallow”. Our society is about do, do, do – at times it seems compulsive! We can see when all the “doing” strays into being a dysfunctional trap that hinders our evolution and growth.

Here’s the good news: It is never to late to learn (or re-learn) how to let go and be.

The December dream whisperer teleseminar, Complete 2012 With Grace and Dignity, will be your ticket to transition into harvest. I will lead you in an experience of being, and together we will harvest the wonderful gems of our year’s activities.

Register now

And may your heart become aware of the wide open space for this transition.


Dating and the art of giving ourselves permission

By Andrea M. Winn, MEd

I’m taking a risk and sharing something personal with you this week. I started dating early this Fall ~ an adventure that demands great courage! I am blessed in my circle of friends, and it includes a dating coach. Yes… someone who is an expert in the art of dating!

Amy has been giving me excellent tips and strategies for about 6 months, as I’ve been preparing for this leap into the dating world. Like, allow a week in between dates so your body’s hormones can settle down and you have time to process your experience.

Another strong guidelines she gives is to date several people so you don’t put all your eggs in one basket too soon. I suppose this is like interviewing several candidates for a position – it leads to a better hire.

Well, I started off as an enthusiastic coachee. I was pursuing three dating candidates. Candidate 1 was delightful! Candidate 2 never responded to my invitation to tea. And Candidate 3 had too much going on and wasn’t available for further dating. Other people in my life know Candidate 1, and they kept telling me how sweet and amazing she is. Each time I saw her I grew more impressed with her presence, communication skills and playful grace.

I didn’t want to date other people! I wanted to explore this wonderful opportunity with Candidate 1! My coach raised a flag of concern, that this was a common tendency people have – to narrow their choices way too soon. I had a lot of transition happening in my life, and so she suggested I take a 2-month break from dating to allow myself to grow to a stronger place. She concluded that meeting by saying: Ultimately you need to follow your own truth.

I am very committed to attracting a good relationship. I know Amy has been a dating coach for years, and she’s good at it. I thought I’d better follow her expert advice and put my dating adventure on hold.

I went into a mini-depression. Doing the “right”, “smart”, “practical” thing felt like a prison. I wanted to pursue my joy in a way that felt honouring of me and honouring of Candidate 1.

So… I went rogue! I decided to date only Candidate 1. If it turns out we’re not a good match, then I will return to the field of candidates. After three weeks, this decision is still feeling good – very good. And I continue to use most of Amy’s strategies, because they support good pacing within the intense experience of dating.

I’m baring my tender heart in sharing this story because maybe you are doing the “right”, “smart”, “practical” thing in your life – doing what the leading experts inside and outside your head are suggesting.

What can I say? It is a blessing when we open the space for permission to explore something different ~ what feels right ~ allowing our truth to flow through.

That is the topic for this month’s free Abundance teleseminar: Opening the Space for Permission. I would love for you to join us for this heart-full transformative event Wednesday evening. As always, the recording will be available for those who can’t make the live event – just be sure to register to get that recording.

And if you are interested in developing your own strong dating strategies, Amy and I are teaming up to offer some exciting programming on dating in the new year. So stay tuned…


What is the key to mastery? Connection.

By Andrea M. Winn, MEd

Insoo Kim Berg

Insoo Kim Berg, Founder of solution-focused therapy

One of my idols, Insoo Kim Berg once said,

“If you wanna go fast, go slow.”

Is this a Zen koan? What is she getting at?

If I think about a professional race car driver, she has spent hours upon hours training. She’s probably had boring days where nothing worked. She’s probably had emotional meltdowns where she flipped out at her trainer. And she’s probably had some bad crashes. What I’m getting at is that she had to develop her skill inch by inch, day by day, through all kinds of weather until she embodied mastery.

Imagine that commitment. The stamina. The willingness to find a way through her fears, the doubts of those around her, all of the bone-crushing hardships along the way.

Where does that kind of stamina come from? I would suggest from her connection with herself.

That kind of connection can only come through slowing down and being present with yourself. I teach people to do this through meditation. Others propose spending time in a hammock. The key is to regularly take time out from your busy, demanding life and connect with the beauty within you – your living, creative, dreaming inner being.


Times Change

By Andrea M. Winn, MEd

Eleanor Roosevelt  said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Many of us have become jaded by the “realities” of life, and we have forgotten how to open our hearts and to dream. We have forgotten how to share the best of ourselves and perhaps most tragic, we have forgotten that we can make a positive difference in the lives of actual people.

I’m a dream whisperer, and my career as a dream whisperer began at Times Change Women’s Employment Service. Times Change offers career and educational counselling, a wide range of computer services and a comprehensive resource centre, all free of charge to women seeking employment. I’m going to share about how they gave me the gift of dreaming and how to operationalize my dream.

Before Times Change

I had a non-traditional upbringing in a Tibetan Buddhist community. The main value I was socialized with was to relieve suffering in the world.

When I was 21, I felt I needed to get serious and decide a career path. At the same time, I had just gone through some pretty traumatic life experiences. My parents divorced and I was raped by a stranger. These experiences were overwhelming, and I felt no space to dream or explore my special gifts. So I chose a safe career, which in the 1980’s was software development.

After completing a Masters of Computer Science, I easily got a job in IBM’s Toronto Software Development Lab as a Software Developer. I had a stellar first year at IBM and was nominated for Rookie of the Year.

However, after my first year, things began to unravel. I valued good communication and relieving suffering in the world, and this was a poor match for IBM’s strong corporate values. I grew unhappy and spiraled into a depression. My doctor took me off work and I went on long-term disability for a couple of years. During that time I participated in a lot of individual and group therapy, and I also took training in mediation and business.

Things were really tough during this period of time. I was psychologically fragmented and I had little money – at one point I couldn’t afford to buy food or pay my rent, and I had to move in with a friend.

Coming to Times Change

When I was starting to rise up out of the depression, the same friend  I had moved in with suggested I go to Times Change Women’s Employment Service. Since they are funded, I was able to access their services at no charge.

Up until then I had been struggling deeply and I was alone in that struggle. Times Change was an island of sanity for me at a very, very challenging time. The culture there is kind, encouraging and supportive. I no longer felt alone, but rather a part of a caring, wise women’s community where I received a much-needed professional career service.

I enrolled in the Career Planning course and got individual employment counseling. The career planning course is a well-thought out course – the curriculum carefully supports a journey of self-discovery – specifically tailored to women. It gave me the space to look at what is important to me – my values – and what kind of employment would resonate with me.

Through the Career Planning course I uncovered hidden resources that went untapped in my career as a software developer. Two important resources were:

  1. I am a capable spiritual guide – I grew up in a Tibetan Buddhist community and have a lifetime of experience in advanced meditation practices.
  2. My passion to be a healer – having gone through my own healing journey, I have highly developed intuition and a powerful toolkit of healing strategies

After much research and wrestling in the Career Planning course, I decided to become a therapist. My friends immediately loved my decision and said it suited my personality so much better than working at IBM!

Where the Times Change program has led me…

I went on to do a Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology at OISE/UT  specializing in treating trauma. I have also done extensive business training.

I bring my healing and business expertise into my current work as a dream whisperer. I coach soul-inspired, heart-centered women who are struggling in unfulfilling work. I have developed a Dream Employment Discovery Method where I guide women through healing their hearts, identifying their career dreams and goals, and then creating a step-by-step plan for focused action to bring those career dreams and goals into reality.


Times Change was crucial to my journey. It was through their Career Planning course that I finally opened to becoming a healer and guide to relieve suffering in the world. This empowers people so they can be healthy contributing citizens. It obviously suits me and it is my biggest way of contributing to society.

In preparing this story I wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t found Times Change, and I was a bit stumped. I think I would have continued making limited, safety-oriented career decisions that would have kept me in unfulfilling work and I never would have brought my unique gifts for helping people forward.

Thanks to Times Change, I was given the gift of creating my dream career, and now I make my livelihood helping others create their dream careers. To read more about Times Change and to donate to this important community organization, go to


I have a dream

By Andrea M. Winn, MEd

View from the Lincoln Memorial toward the Washington Monument on August 28, 1963

Martin Luther King Jr. enflamed the hearts of over 200,000 people with his I Have a Dream Speech delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial August 28, 1963. He powerfully proclaimed his dream of racial equality and an end to discrimination.

Listen to 30 seconds of his speech now

Less than 50 years after King’s powerful moment of dreaming, the world has witnessed the election of Barack Obama, a man who was judged not by the colour of his skin but by the content of his character.

Wow! The power of a dream!

A dream starts out as a fragile thing. Something that needs nurture. Something that needs protection.

There are forces of darkness that want to snuff out dreams, keep things the way they are, and hide the rich beauty of our living, beating human heart in some cold, dark cave. We see countless examples of dream snuffings. Including the assassination of great dreamers like King.

But you know, the most insidious attack comes from within – those voices within us that say, “You could never do that”, “It’s just not right for someone like you to do that – only important people can do that!”, “only rich, slim, beautiful people can do that!,” or the worst one… “That’s a stupid idea!”

Let me share a secret with you. Whenever you get that last message resounding through your head, WAKE UP! Because that is a sure sign that you are onto something good! You better grab that dream with both hands and wrap your heart around it. Whatever that little whisper was about, it has shaken up the forces of sleep that just want everything to stay the same – the same ol’ comfortable dark way.

And how do you manifest a dream? How do you nurture it? How do you grow it? It is like bringing a child into this world. You need to love it, and you need to attend to it in different ways at different times, as it’s development calls for.

People have told me they’ve read hundreds of self-help books, but they have not made the changes they want to make – they don’t know how to *be* the person they want to be or live the kind of life they want to live.

I’m offering to be a guiding light for you in this. I have received a calling from God to be a light of creative love and wisdom to help people like you. Let’s be clear — I’m still fully in the ballgame of lifelong learning. What empowers me as your guide is my lifelong commitment to developing dream-manifestation techniques and the core primal ability to do so. I’d like to share my wisdom and my inspiration with you in ways that will incite your own dreaming and dream manifestation.

Dream manifestation is not done by a magic incantation or snap of the fingers… or the right anti-aging cream, like many of today’s advertisers suggest. You *will* need to develop yourself through spiritual discipline. It requires work and courage.

But it can also be fun! A lot of fun!

And it can be a whole lot easier and faster with a guide. I bumbled around for 30 years figuring out what I have figured out through my practice of Buddhism, studying with a shaman, going to therapists, taking courses, reading books, and learning in the school of life. My experience could have been *way* more enjoyable, easier and faster with a skilled dream mentor. This is part of what has motivated me to step up and develop myself as that kind of mentor.

I’m in process, and I invite you to be in process with me and enter the magic of transformation. The *real* kind of magic! A magic based on spiritual connection and practical strategies. I am very inspired to lead you in this!

I feel that this first communication to you in 2012 is very important. So I decided to bring in the power of Martin Luther King’s dreaming, some practical advice about dreaming, and… perhaps best of all… I have decided to share with you my experience of forming and manifesting a dream. So please come along for the ride, and receive this gift from my dreaming heart to yours.

I had a truly kick ass experience working with the company I hired to develop my website in December. Joseph Rodrigues, the Project Manager, and I gave birth to a creative relationship through the intense fires of birthing an AMAZING website in just 3 weeks. I infected him with my passion and precision, and he infected me with his open heart, generosity and willingness to engage through *every* experience. Prior to meeting Joseph I kept my phone ringer off, but I had to start being available to consult with him numerous times per day. YIKES! What a leap for this quiet little dreaming introvert!

Joseph at work on his balcony in Playa

Fast forward to January. Now Joseph is manifesting his dream: experimenting with running his business from  the Mayan Riviera for a month. I love this! He is so courageous! So adventurous! He could just stay home and stay safe, keep things stable and the same (the deadly same!). Instead, he is down there this very moment connecting with the local people, spreading connections of love and honour and building bridges of inspiration and respect between the people of that area and the people of the outside world. I love this!

I have been working for the past three months with the book, The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss, which is all about lifestyle design. And Joseph has ignited a very dry pile of hay created by my work with this book. I WANT TO DESIGN AN AMAZING LIFE OF JOY AND BRINGING PEACE TO THE WORLD! Universe, I hope you heard that! Because I want to do this in a BIG way! And I need your support in that.

Me in the Tulum Mayan ruins in May 2010

I was at the Mayan ruins in Tulum a year and a half ago and was totally invigorated and moved by them. The Mayan calendar ended in 2011, attuning all of us to the profundity of the year 2012. The old system is finished, and we have arrived on the threshold of a new way of doing things – we are creating a new world order. That is very exciting! And I want to connect with the Mayan wisdom at this time. I don’t know how else to put this other than I have a very deep calling to go down there and be in that space – interact with that space – and explore how to make this wisdom of transformation available to all the people I love back home, and to all the people of this world.

I did some preparation for this dream with The 4-Hour Workweek just after Christmas in Kensington Market’s Moonbeam Cafe. I did an exercise on writing down a clear picture of my worst nightmare – everything that could possibly go wrong if I did this trip. I’ve decided I can handle even that worst nightmare scenario – I *could* survive. And of course, it is unlikely my worst fears will happen. This exercise opened up my realizing the benefits and possibility – and opportunities – that are part of this spiritual adventure to Tulum.

So I told Joseph I want to come down there and join him for a week. He loved the idea and said he can show me around and we can do more work on my website. I love that!

My excitement is there, but I have to tell you, this dream is still at the tender new stage. I had two nearly sleepless nights last week, and that really didn’t break until yesterday. I got up and showered to wake myself up after a light 4 hours sleep for a Skype meeting with Joseph at 9 yesterday (Saturday) morning. We covered off the items about my website and then got into a deeply spiritual and inspiring discussion for another 2 hours. We stepped into tender places of sharing and dreaming. This is a beautiful way we are forming our relationship, and it is propelling both of us further in manifesting our dreams.

Temple in the Tulum Mayan ruins

At this point I know what dates will work for me to go down there. I know I want to be near the ruins in Tulum and I want to be near Joseph so I can work with him. The unknowns are: (1) where I will stay, (2) how exactly I’m going to pay for this adventure, (3) how I will ensure my elderly cat gets the sub-cu fluid treatments she needs while I’m away, and (4) when I can reschedule the meeting that week with my life coaching group.

Joseph Rodrigues, a good partner for dreaming!

I talked with Joseph again last night, and I decided to go ahead and book my flights -> because as the clock ticks, flight prices are going up and flight choices are dwindling. Joseph is in the process of making connection with a sustainable resort in Tulum. And depending on how his meetings go, I may stay there. Joseph may stay there the week I will be there, too – so we can do some inspiring work together – both on my website and on manifesting both of our’s dreams. I think I’ve found a wonderful dreaming partner in Joseph!

So, I invite you to come along for the ride with me and see how I navigate and negotiate my way into manifesting this dream – a dream lifestyle where I can connect with the spirit of the Mayan people on a beautiful beach and bring the energy and inspiration of that to you, my people in the world, through this glorious internet. Maybe I’m going to have to learn how to set up a blog to share my experience. I’d like to do that. In fact, I’m inspired to do that! Because I have developed a grounded, spiritual, sophisticated and RAW approach to manifesting dreams. And I’d like to rouse my courage to come out of my shell and share my heart through sharing my approach to manifesting this dream with you. And of course the whole purpose is to inspire YOU to develop your own dream manifestation skills. Everyone has their own way of dreaming and manifesting!

And this is why I speak of the joy – the joy-full  environment that we create around ourselves as we are dreaming. That is part of the protection from the dream assassins. Create a field of joy to nurture and protect your dreaming process. We will talk about other aspects of dream protection at another time. The dream incubator is one of my fortes, and I want to enjoy sharing about that with you over the coming months.

So, wow!! I managed to open my heart and begin to share with you about my current dream – an adventure with Joseph in Tulum later this month! Come on along, and you too can start to show a little love to your dreams. It’s 2012! What better year to open to a whole new way of being – a whole new way of organizing your life? To open to joy and abundance, and to digging down deep to see what you have to offer to this world. Because I know that each and every one of you has your personal gift – your personal legacy – to bring forth to help this planet and all of us who enjoy her grace in living here. Your gift is needed. From my heart I am asking you,

Commit to your dreams in 2012!

With blessing,

Welcoming an ocean of love in 2012

By Andrea M. Winn, MEd

Popular wisdom teaches us to keep busy… fill our lives up with anything that might keep us entertained with a superficial promise of fulfillment… smooth over the raw moments and then promptly forget they ever happened –> to crawl into a comfortable dark cave of ignoring what is happening and slip peacefully into a blissful hibernation. And that is how it becomes possible to miss our lives. Although we have all had the good fortune to hear advice from great teachers such as Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, and a host of others, when it comes down to it, it is always a personal choice of whether to live in the brilliance of this moment or to crawl into our cave and sleep. The New Year is always a particularly potent time in which we make this choice.

In Tibetan Buddhism we say protector chants at dusk – chants that call enlightened protective energy to us. The reason for this is because the time of changing from day into night is a particularly powerful time in which we are more open-minded and there is more potential to grow and change; because it is such a powerful time, we are also more vulnerable to the attraction of hiding away in our cave. Therefore, we call in enlightened protective energies to come and be with us and to guard our mindfulness. It is an important and powerful practice… and a practice that is OH so easy to neglect in a busy Toronto lifestyle!

Similarly, the year end is potentially a powerful time to open ourselves to deeper awareness, growth and change. I would like to take this opportunity to call on the Wisdom Awareness Protectors to leap into action for everyone who connects with this article, and to bring their wise compassion to protecting the minds of these folks as they approach the end of this year and enter into the powerful next year.

Buddhism encourages us to live our lives fully – to value the opportunity we have in this life to develop our wisdom and to contribute to the welfare of this world. It can be easy to forget this and get caught up in meaningless minutiae, collecting material things, and focusing on the external rather than cultivating the internal. Just as in meditation, when we realize this has happened, all we need to do is bring ourselves back to our core purpose in life, take a deep breath, and take the next step forward.

So I would like to encourage all of you to take an hour to harvest the crops you planted and tended in the past year, to honour your work and your accomplishments this year, to mourn the things that didn’t work out the way you wanted, to re-discover what is truly meaningful to you, and identify your goals for the coming year. This is an important part of living life joyfully, mindfully, and true to the course of your life mission. If you are the kind of person that likes a good writing exercise, I offer you a link to the exercise , “Seven steps to spending more time planning your life than planning your vacation.” I love this title because vacations are nice, but living a joyful, mindful life is so much more fulfilling! This includes things like working in a job that resonates with who you are and your gifts; investing in the relationships that truly matter to you; living in a home that is genuine, warm and comfortable; and last but not least… pursuing your core heart dreams!

So on that note, I make a heartfelt wish that all of you may receive both blessings and protection as we transition into rockin’ 2012. There are so many people predicting that 2012 will be a year of mind blowing transition. And I say, “Bring it on!”. This world needs a whole lot of healing, and my heart is open wide to 2012 being the year that we welcome that Great Ocean of Love into our hearts to heal old wounds, make us whole, so we can all participate in creating a beautiful world – together. Where there IS peace. Where there IS joy. Where people care for themselves and each other and this precious earth. Thank you for being here, and may our connection grow in mutually empowering ways in the coming year. Cheerful New Year to you all!

Choose to be present this holiday season

By Andrea M. Winn, MEd

Living in Toronto we are surrounded by people of many cultures with many traditions, some of whom celebrate at this time of year and some who do not. No matter what our tradition, it is hard to escape the messages of Christmas. Even as a Buddhist, I have noticed their impact. In western culture, the holiday season is probably the most emotionally loaded time of year, with messages broadcast through the media to be cheerful, loving, generous and to spend quality time with family. What if we have a challenging connection with our family, or no connection at all? What if we are poor and can’t afford to buy the gifts that supposedly demonstrate our love? There are innumerable ways in which people may not fit the close-knit loving family vision for the holidays, which opens the potential for pain and judgment. That is why it is important to consciously choose to be present this holiday season, in a genuine way, moment by moment, whether we are fitting the season model or not.

It is a time when we are called to open our hearts and be generous of spirit with all people. We are encouraged to send cards and connect with the important people in our lives, especially family. There is little that can tug at the emotional strings of our hearts more than family. These are the people who gave birth to us and guided us into this magnificent, big world. They profoundly imprinted our beings with their style of loving and their hang-ups; in some cases these hang-ups were so significant they became child abuse. On the other side of this, parents also have to face their imperfect and sometimes disappointing relations with their children. Our connection with family is profound, whether it is positive, negative or likely a mix of both. And all of that gets stirred up at this time of year.

In my tradition, we see that as a good thing. It is a time that offers opportunities for healing old wounds, a time when we can more deeply mend our hearts and connect with ourselves. Healing is a process that we have to engage – it doesn’t just happen on its own. Oftentimes part of that healing process involves consciously seeking perspective. For instance, plan emotionally for the holidays. Nobody knows the emotional challenges you face during the holidays better than yourself, so take some time to think about it ahead of time and look at how to support yourself in being grounded and joyful this holiday season. For some that will mean building in supports for sanity and self-connection while visiting family, such as journaling or arranging to be in touch by email or phone with friends back home for check-ins. Others are not in contact with family, and they might arrange in advance to get together with “chosen family”, people with whom they choose to spend the holidays. At such a special time of the year it makes sense to think about what will bring you joy, what is important to you, what will ground you, and how to build in supports for your mindfulness and connection with yourself.

Also, be honest with yourself about when you need help. There are times in all of our lives when we need help to process or move through something. It is important to listen to ourselves at those times and to seek out the help we need, often in the form of a therapist or other emotional/spiritual healer. Our purpose in life is to grow and become our potential. Be generous with yourself this holiday season by ensuring you have the support you need to be able to open your heart and be loving and generous, both with yourself and others.

One easy way to give yourself a gift of support for this holiday season is to receive my Free Meditation. You can get this by clicking the button at the top of this page. Enjoy, be merry, and be present!

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