Kudoos to this lovely St. Lucian couple for getting our young athletes to compete on the national and international stage!

As a tribute to observe St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Day Celebrations on February 22nd, I am featuring 10 St. Lucians on my blog who are making  a positive difference in uplifting the human spirit and adding inspiration and motivation to the lives of others. Meet Martial and Martina Charlery, two ordinary people doing extraordinary work in lives of young people in St. Lucia.

Martina and Martial

They formed the Rockets Athletic Club in November 2004 as a result of requests made the by parents of the Camille Henry Memorial School, who felt that  Martial Charlery had made a significant contribution towards the training and development of the track and field athletes at the school and felt that he should continue to work with them. Never did they  think that Rockets would be what it is today!

(Athlete Nevin Kester Brian below is from Vieux fort he won the Victor Ludorum in district 6 in the under 13. He dominated at his school sports winning gold medals in all his events.)

Nevin Kester Bryan

The club can boast of having won regional and international  medals: 21 medals in Trinidad and Tobago at the Western Springfield Championships in 2007, international medals, in  2008 our primary athletes (ages 8 and under) won a team bronze in the 4 x 100 meter event, in 2010,Kamillah Monroque, won a bronze in the 800 meter, in 2012 she won a gold in the 3000 meters, and a bronze in the 1500 meter event. She also received an ESPN rising star medal. Shaquille Greenidge represented Saint Lucia at the Windward Island Games in 2013.Janille Greenidge in 2013 represented Saint Lucia at the World Youth Games in the Ukraine. And Beverly Ann Hippolyte has been shortlisted to represent st.Lucia at the Youth Olympics in China later this year.

(Janille Greenridge represented St. Lucia at the World Youth Games in the Ukraine)

Janille Greenidge


(Above, in the middle is  Kamillah Monroques  who won gold in Orlando Florida)

The club is focused on the holistic development of every member, inclusive of the parents. Workshops are conducted not only for the athletes, but the parents as well. There are a number of social activities, (such as, trips, family day, island tours, etc) that are organized in an an effort to encourage the bonding, improving of social skills while the children develop their athletic ability. It is a family oriented club.  On top of that,  the team supports community based activities, and contributes  by making donations to the children’s home, the hurricane and flood victims, provide technical assistance to the schools in districts one and two.  They raise most of their funding through Barbeques, cake sales, raffles, talent shows etc.

Rockets Athletic Club - dabetes campaign

Attached to the club is a counselor, who conducts workshops, with the athletes and parents and provides counseling services once recommended by the Management Team or requested by a parent or athlete.

All the athletes have excelled at the school level in track and field, holding titles and records at that level. In February of  2013, Rockets hosted and conducted a Track and Field Development Clinic with three international Coaches namely: Peter Thompson IAAF consultant, Matt Lydum USATF Coach and Author, Dave Shrock USATF Coach and Lecturer. Teachers, athletes and coaches from across the island were invited to be part of this clinic.


Both Martina and Martial finds working with young athletes very rewarding and would like to expand their services to build a home for Rockets with a conference room to conduct all training workshops and activities for parents and athletes, an office for the counselor, and a 200 meter track for training, and hosting of clinics and camps.  They believe that the Rockets Athletic club provides the youth with a safe place to exert energy, and be positively engaged. It allows them to learn, develop skills and identify talents within themselves.



TuneIn today to embrace those wonderful people who StepUp to contribute to our young people. StepUp to support  them in reaching their goals.

You can contact Rockets Athetic Club at rockets_slu@yahoo.com

Here are some stories of more inspiring St. Lucians!



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Contact me if you would like me to highlight someone you think is truly inspiring!



Want lovely skin, free from blemishes? Meet St. Lucian born, Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose, a pioneer in the study of natural herbal medicines.

Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose 

Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose, A St. Lucian Who Inspires Others

As a tribute to observe St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Day Celebrations on February 22nd, I am featuring 10 St. Lucians on my blog who are making (or have made) a positive difference in uplifting the human spirit and adding inspiration and motivation to the lives of others.  Meet Saint Lucian born, Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose, is a source of inspiration, for women, in particular. She is the owner of Eden Herbs and a pioneer in the study of natural herbal medicines. She rebranded her company and its products and will be launching her new brand, with a soft launch for Saint Lucia’s 35th independence anniversary and an official launch in April 2014. Eden Herbs sprouted from the Caribbean’s healthy tradition in natural herbal remedies to blossom into a unique service of health and beauty enhancement … naturally. This re-branding strategy is aimed at increasing its market share in North America.

Dr. St. Rose is passionate about herbal medicine which she describes as exciting, because there are so many health benefits and the line of products has something to offer to everyone. She believes that a healthy person is essentially beautiful, in a state of physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing which is manifested through lovely skin – skin free from blemishes, spots, pimples, and rashes. The countenance or expression is the result of an inner peace, which is possible when one is at peace with oneself, God and their fellow human being. The positive mental attitude, which overcomes or accepts difficulties in faith and hope, is another important ingredient for this inner peace. Eden Herbs, strive to enhance your health and beauty, by using completely natural products in agreement with your body and mind.

“Our motivation is to restore a patient to the maximum possible state of personal well-being. Herbal remedies do not have the aggressive and invasive action of modern drugs. Instead, they provide the necessary trace elements, vitamins and medicinal substances in a harmonious whole, so as to return you to full health” Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose

Dr. St. Rose practices Integrative Medicine privately in Vieux Fort and is the Chief Executive of herbal manufacturing and distribution enterprise – EDEN HERBS. Dr. St. Rose is also the past president of Caribbean Association of Researchers and Herbal Practitioners [CARAPA] and president of Caribbean Association for Plant Science, Industry, Commerce and Use in Medicine. [CAPSICUM]. Dr. St. Rose is the holder of a Diploma in Phytotherapy, from the College of Phytotherapy [Herbal Medicine] – Sussex, England,  a Diploma in Practical Dermatology from the University of Wales School of Medicine, General Practice Training at St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London, [Commonwealth Scholar award], Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery[{M.B.;B.S.] – University of the West Indies, Distinction in Anatomy, Canadian International Development Agency [CIDA] award, based on the UWI open scholarship examinations. Finally, Dr. St. Rose is the past president Rotary club St Lucia South.

Dr. St. Rose continues to serve her island, Saint  Lucia, in the area of Integrative Medicine and also as an entrepreneur. She is also very active in her community by demonstrating social responsibility through voluntary organizations like Rotary Club, St. Lucia South. As St. Lucia prepares to celebrate its 35th independent anniversary, Dr. St. Rose stands out as a pioneer in her field, a mother of four and a corporate citizen.

Visit Eden Herbs: http://www.edenherbs.com/

flag of St. Lucia

TuneIn today to all the people who have been instrumental in shaping your life!  StepUp to express  gratitude to them and let them know how they inspired your life.

You can also support my Ist TuneIn and StepUp Challenge by joining us for our Independence Day Gala here in Ottawa where we will further celebrate St. Lucia and St. Lucians. Read more: http://tuneinandstepup.com/2014/02/07/my-1st-tunein-and-stepup-challenge-for-2014-supporting-20-families-who-have-been-affected-by-flooding-in-st-lucia/

This week we have recognized four other St. Lucians  who inspire others through their lives.

Read more here:

Chale - group of three


Mrs. Louis


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Contact me if you would like me to highlight someone whom you think is truly inspiring!



Recognizing Mrs. Ruth Magdalena Louis, a retired St. Lucian School Principal who saved me and inspired my life and the lives of many others!

As a tribute to observe St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Day Celebrations on February 22nd, I am featuring 10 St. Lucians on my blog who are making (or have made) a positive difference in uplifting the human spirit and adding inspiration and motivation to the lives of others. Today, I would like to recognize Mrs. Ruth, Magdalena Louis, whom most of us know as Ms. Brett, who was the principal of the Augier Combined School from 1970 – 1979. She in now 76 and I feel blessed that she is still with us and I can say thank you to her for the great impact which she had on my life as a little girl of 3 years old and which until today, she has no idea about!

“Thank you Ms. Brett!  Your gentleness, sweetness and empathy for me and others, left an imprint on my life, which I use every day to further help others.  By breaking the ‘rules’ you saved me.”

( Mrs. Ruth, Magdalena Louis below embracing her daughter Kay at Kay’s Graduation as a lawyer.)

Mrs. Louis

Here is my recollection of what happened.

My earliest memory of myself  is about 3 and a half years old and it is still quite vivid. My mom had six of us and I was the 4th girl.  Every morning she walked the three older girls to the Augier Combined School where they all attended school.  I was too young to go to school so she would carry me on her hips back to our house which was about  20 minutes away.  Every morning, we went through the same drama – she would let the older girls go the school yard and I would start my yelling and screaming, “I want to go to school too!”  One day, she lost all patience with me.  In my screaming match at the house, she hitched me back on her hips and walked back down the road shouting, “You want to go to school… I will take you to school.” Of course, I got a few spanks along the way too.

And that was the day, I met Ms. Ruth, Magdalene Louis, whom we knew as Ms. Brett.  My exasperated mother went to her office (with a dishevelled me) and bluntly said, “Do you have space for this child?  Every day she cries that she wants to go to school. I don’t know what to do with her!” 

It was the gentleness in Ms. Brett’s eyes I will never forget.  She looked at me in the sweetest way and said, “You want to go to school my child?”  It was the look that said, “Poor child, I need to save you and save your mother too!”

I nodded “yes.”

Now, I think that my mother’s plan was get me to hear Ms. Brett say that she could not accept me because I was too young to be accepted at the school and the morning drama would stop.  Surprisingly, Ms. Brett told my mother to leave me with her that day and she would find a space for me. (On  that day, I learnt that rules could be broken because my mother told me all along that the school would not accept me because I was not 5 years old yet.)

That was the first time Ms. Brett saved me.  She saved me from staying home with my mother!  She placed  me in Stage1 and I remember overhearing her conversation with the teacher. “Just keep her in your class because she is too young for us to register her.” 

I loved Ms. Brett because she was so sweet and kind to me.  She looked out for me because I suppose she knew that I was just a baby really.  There were two situations where she intervened and I will never forget them because to a larger extent it  inculcated in me a deeper sense of empathy towards the vulnerable, simply because she stood up for me.

The first instance was being in that Stage 1 class.  The teacher was not at all pleasant to me.  Maybe she did not like me because I was not supposed to be in school.  Every single day, she would beat me on my head with an open Math book.  It would start out with her calling out the name of each student and  would hand them their Math book.  She would deliberately ignore me when my hand went up and then after handing out all the books except mine, she would say, “Why didn’t you raise your hand?” and before even hearing my answer, she would beat me with the my Math book on my head. I hated that math period.  I hated being beaten and I felt powerless.

One day  Ms. Bret walked into the class just when the teacher was about to hit me. I heard her voice say, “Why didn’t you give her the Math book? She raised her hand.”  From that day on, the beating stopped but this created a lifelong trauma for me with Mathematics and with that teacher.  That was the second time Ms. Brett saved me!

Since I was not an “officially registered” student, by the time I was ready to move to the next grade, she placed me in Stage 2B.  Back then the classes were graded A and B, with the “bright students” going to A and the “not too bright” one going to the B class.  The Stage 2B teacher was sweet and loved me.   Her name was Ms. Edith. I loved being in her class and I won all the prizes for spelling and daily quizzes.  By the time that year was over, I had figured out the “A” and “B” system and I knew that I did not belong to a “B” class.

The following school year, I was determined to go to Stage 3B but didn’t know how to do it. One morning, it dawned on me that maybe all I needed to do was just simply go to the Stage 3A line… and I did just that!  That morning, my move caused a huge commotion in the school yard.  The students in the Stage 3B line started shouting, “Magdalene, come back to your line,” and the students in the Stage 3A line were yelling, “Magdalene, this is NOT your class… go back to your line!”  I remained rooted with my little bag on the Stage 3A line.

That was the 3rd time Ms. Brett saved me.  She came over and said, “Why are you not on your line?” Again, in her  gentle, sweet voice.

“I want to go to Stage 3A,” I answered.

“O.k. You go there only for the morning, but in the afternoon you will have to go back to your class.”  She said a bit more firmly.

The students were all shocked but I felt  elated that I could go to the “A” class.  She spoke to the teacher.  That very day, I got a beating from the  Stage 3A teacher because I could not spell the word “umbrella” which we had not learnt yet in  Stage 3B!  Stage 3A was quite  a learning curve for me!

I never went back to Stage 3B.  I remained in Stage 3A.  No one ever told me to go back.  I have no idea what Ms. Brett did but she always smiled at me when she run into me at the school.  I continued my education as an A student.  I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had remained in Stage 3B.

Those examples I have mentioned above may seem to be quite trivial but they were critical in my development as a child. I am grateful to Ms. Brett because as a  head teacher she did not have to break those school rules, but she did to give me a chance and to give my mother a break. She did not have to stop the teacher from beating me – she could have ignored it, but she challenged the teacher and protected me.  She did not have to let me stay in Stage 3A but she never bothered to send me back to Stage 3B.  Most of my life I have worked with vulnerable people – both children and adults.  Often enough I have broken a rule to support someone else to get to his or her goal and I often draw strength  from people like her, who did what they needed to do for  others with humility, integrity and genuine concern.

“Thank you Ms. Brett!  I have never told you this story but I am so glad that I have finally let you and the world know, that you are indeed a beautiful and gentle soul, and I was truly blessed to have you in my life at such a young age.  Thank you!”

(The picture below is of the beautiful family with her husband Watson Louis, amazing children, in-laws and grand children.)

Mrs. Louis with family

Sons and daughters of St. Lucia, love the land that gave us birth….keep on flying high!

As we celebrate 35 years of independence, let us all remember that our greatness is in our service to others!

(My mom and I below – I know about the boobs – it’s o.k. It is my favourite picture with her and that makes the boobs o.k  :))


flag of St. Lucia

TuneIn today to all the people who have been instrumental in shaping your life!  StepUp to express  gratitude to them and let them know how they inspired your life.

You can also support my Ist TuneIn and StepUp Challenge by joining us for our Independence Day Gala here in Ottawa where we will further celebrate St. Lucia and St. Lucians. Read more: http://tuneinandstepup.com/2014/02/07/my-1st-tunein-and-stepup-challenge-for-2014-supporting-20-families-who-have-been-affected-by-flooding-in-st-lucia/

Yesterday, we recognized three St. Lucians in Ottawa who are making waves in using their talent to bring a Caribbean cultural experience to people in Ottawa.  Read more here: http://tuneinandstepup.com/2014/02/16/three-inspiring-st-lucians-in-ottawa-providing-a-culturally-rich-experience-which-brings-the-caribbean-to-the-people-of-ottawa/

Spread the good karma by sharing this blog! You can also FOLLOW the blog by subscribing to it (on the side bar) or LIKE our  FB page!

Contact me if you would like me to highlight someone you think is truly inspiring!



Three Inspiring St. Lucians in Ottawa – Providing a culturally rich experience which brings the Caribbean to the people of Ottawa!

This week, St. Lucia celebrates 35 years of Independence!  I am from the small island of St. Lucia – 238 square miles and about 170,000 people.  Apart from the majestic beauty of our island, I am inspired by the greatness of our people and the incredible talent and warmth which they bring across the globe!  As  a tribute to observe St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Day Celebrations on February 22nd, I am featuring 10 St. Lucians on my blog who are making a positive difference to the world in uplifting the human spirit and adding inspiration and motivation to the lives of others. (Contact me  if you would like to submit the name of someone you think is truly inspiring!) 

My first three INSPIRING  ST. LUCIANS are Hedwick Holder, Jaimanne Leopold and Tarrah Mauricette who have teamed together to create an amazing group called Chalè in Ottawa. Chalè is a creole word meaning heat, derived from our St. Lucian creole background.

Chale - group of three

” All of our events are truly a labour of love with immense support from friends and family who volunteer their time to us. We, the founders, started this organization, first because we are good friends who work well together, but moreover because we are passionate about our Caribbean culture.  We believe that the love we have for Caribbean culture can be appreciated by people of other cultures, if we present it in a wholesome, educational format that is also fun and entertaining as is characteristic of Caribbean.”  Tarrah Mauricette

Last weekend, I witnessed Chalè in action as they hosted, “A Roots Rock Raggae Evening – Night of Education, Entertainment and Grooving, with special tribute to the Raggae Icons Delroy WIlson, Sugar Monott and Jacob Miller.”    They also presented  the great documentary, “Fire In Babylon“, which is the incredibly captivating story of the glorious domination of the West Indian cricket team who, with a combination of phenomenal skill and fearless spirit, became the longest reigning winning team in sports history. It is an attention grabbing story of the history of the  West-Indies Cricket Team!  Sitting in the audience, watching the film, I was completely blown away as I finally understood my roots better and the role that cricket has played in the political and social landscape of the Caribbean.   This is a film which should be shown in every home and school, to build national pride.  This film truly demonstrates that greatness and success can be achieved with vision, collaboration, determination, drive, focus and how we can overcome challenges.  Those early West Indian cricketers left a legacy – their story inspired me to rise higher in  giving to this world, all that I have, for the betterment of humanity.

The evening was classy, well organized, professional and best of all, audience were well taken care of by the many volunteers who run the evening with smiles and a friendly and welcoming attitude! At the end of the evening, everyone was treated with the most amazing Caribbean food, which was all donated by Tic-Tac Catering.

“Our mission is to always deliver an overall high quality Caribbean experience at all our events and to bring the Caribbean to the people of Ottawa.”  Jaimanne Leopold.

The work of Jaimanne, Tarrah, Hedwick and the many partners and volunteers who work with them, is selfless.  They work tirelessly in putting up those events because they are driven by a mission to provide a cultural experience for people from the Caribbean.  From since 2012, they have put up several events in Ottawa.

“We now have an annual Reggae Tribute as part of Black History Month, presenting a carnival band for Carivibe, Ottawa’s Caribbean festival, hosting a Caribbean Carnival Soiree at the Rideau Carleton Raceway and giving rise to Caribbean Fit Fete, which is a dance fitness class to music of the Caribbean.  From this we have also hosted ‘Hot and Sweaty’ parties where we workout to Caribbean music in a party atmosphere with a live DJ.”  Tarrah

 They  have also collaborated with many other community organizations at their events such as: Children’s story telling with Jaku Konbit’s ‘Under the Mango Tree’; Contributing to One Billion Rising, Ottawa; Hosting a Caribbean carnival with the City of Ottawa’s summer wade pool program; Hosting a Caribbean carnival for the Ministry of Health’s Caribbean Day;Volunteering with the Jamaica Association;Organizing a day of activities for Ottawa’s ‘Culture Days’.

(The picture below shows the many volunteers who worked so professionally in executing a seamless event with all the professionalism you can imagine!)

Group Photo - Volunteers

Putting on events of the calibre that they  aspire too requires quite a bit of time and resources, which they do not have individually. They therefore rely on many networks and collaborations to achieve their goals.  They usually work on a barter system where they  promote the businesses of individuals and organizations who volunteer their time and resources to us.  For example, at the  last event, Tic Tac catering provided the delicious food in exchange for gaining exposure to their  audience.

“We have also partnered with the West Indian Student Ensemble of the University of Ottawa whose members give tremendous support as volunteers at all of our  events.  We are also grateful to have the support of our resident DJ, Hypnotx Soundz, as well as our webmaster Thomas Wilkinson, who donates all of his time and resources to us. We are always looking to work with people who are interested in such collaborations.” Hedwick Holder

They also have a Junior Chalè crew, made up of students 15 years and under, who assist with social media and volunteer at our age appropriate events.

The Caribbean is a melting pot of diverse cultures.  Our vision is to therefore showcase more of that Caribbean culture through educational presentations, cuisine and more. It is our  vision to mirror the many incredible festivals of the islands exhibiting the rich and progressive nature of the Caribbean.

(The picture below is with O’Shea Adagio,  CKCU 93.1FM Vintage Love’s host, who lovingly hosted the evening)


This is another example of ordinary people doing extra ordinary things within their community. We belong to the world… our service is not limited to our country of origin.  We don’t have to win the lottery to make a difference. However, I must say, that as a St. Lucian, I feel incredibly proud when I see us using our talent to contribute to the world economy!

St. Lucians – Keep on Flying High!  As we celebrate 35 years of independence, let us all remember that our greatness is in our service to others!

flag of St. Lucia

You can also support my Ist TuneIn and StepUp Challenge by joining us for our Independence Day Gala here in Ottawa where we will further celebrate St. Lucia and St. Lucians. Read more: http://tuneinandstepup.com/2014/02/07/my-1st-tunein-and-stepup-challenge-for-2014-supporting-20-families-who-have-been-affected-by-flooding-in-st-lucia/

TuneIn to the many ways in which you can contribute to this great earth planet.  StepUp and pull others with you to add value to life!

Spread the good karma by sharing this blog! You can also FOLLOW the blog by subscribing to it or LIKE on our FB page!



Just in case you need more information:

For Tic Tac’s great Caribbean  food, you can contact them at: 613-600-6434;Tictac_ca@yahoo.ca

The Film:  Fire In Babylon can be found here:


Chalè:  Chale.entertainment@gmail.com


Going past the affair – can your love be that strong?

Happy Valentine’s Day! Some of you may celebrate valentine’s and some may not. I celebrate everything which has the power to bring people closer to each other because I believe that love is the greatest of all.

Last night, before going to bed my daughter came to my room and brought me this present. I am yet to find out what is inside of it (I am sure that you can guess!).


“Just in case I miss you before you leave in the  morning,” she said as she kissed me goodnight. “It is from all three of us.”

Of course I am touched by their gesture – as each one of us will be today when someone acknowledges us and reaffirms that they love us.

Over the last few weeks, I have gathered several love stories from people about their “falling in love” experiences.  I will publish a few of those but what I got to really appreciate is that love is at the core of all of us – waiting to be expressed or waiting for someone  to express it to us.  One of the most touching love experiences I heard  was this story of a wonderful old man in his 90’s who shared with me his intimate love story.

In his old age she cares for him with love, grace and compassion.  The two of them always had that special bond but there was a secret shared only by him and his wife. She was the child from an affair – a child who was not his.   Yet, his love for his wife was more powerful than the affair. She could have left him or he could have left her.  They could have chosen to spend the rest of their lives in an emotional prison but he bravely stuck to her side and never betrayed her.
“You are free to leave, if that is what you want.” he told her.  “But if you stay, I will treat this baby like my own.  No one ever needs to know.”
His love carried her through.  It carried them through.  They created their own story.  The  baby grew up with their other babies.  No one knows that secret.  In all the children, she is the most loyal, the most humble, the most loving.  It is as though their relationship was specially created for them.  He looks at her as a gift from heaven.  His devotion won the heart of his wife even more.  Their bond is unbreakable.  Their secret is divine.
If he had to do it over, he would do the same.
“Love forgives easily.” he says.  “Affairs happen, but what do you do when you truly love that one person? You accept him/her completely.  Your acceptance of the person, makes things right.  A child is a child. Love is the most powerful gift you can give someone.”
TuneIn today to see all the many ways in which love is expressed to you or around you.  StepUp to express love to someone – you will be surprised at how it can create a change in your life and someone else’s life!

Is that you having an anxiety attack? What happens when the body and mind cannot move in sync with each other?


I felt tense and my stomach was very unsettled.

It was 4 p.m.

I needed to be somewhere at 8 p.m.

But between 4 – 8, I had a list of 8 things to do, which altogether required about 6 hours.

My body became anxious because my brain was screaming at me to “SLOW DOWN” because it could not keep up with my physical body trying to accomplish all the things I planned to accomplish before 8 that evening. My agenda was tight – I needed to shop for an outfit, go to the gym, pick up a friend, take my daughter out to her friend’s house, have a telephone interview and prepare dinner for the kids… all before 8p.m.

My heart was beating faster than normal and my hands were sweating. My body felt like curling up and never walking up. My phone was beeping constantly and I knew if I picked it up, it would delay my evening even more. Someone else needed my attention while I was falling apart trying to keep to my agenda. I suddenly started getting upset at myself and everyone.

My chest got tighter and tighter and my breathing became very shallow. I felt that my body simply could not move with the normal agility which I am used to. My head felt lighter – almost dizzy.

What was that feeling? Anxiety? Stress?

As I shopped, I kept monitoring my body and I got the signal from my brain to “just stay with the shopping… that is all we can do today… don’t do anything else… if you do, you will crash.” After my shopping expedition, I decided to listen to the signal and I stopped. While the rest of the stuff were all important, it was better to go home, get a bath, relax and just get to the event at 8:00p.m. The rest of the stuff, were not life threatening.

Interestingly enough, as soon as I made the decision to go home, my entire body relaxed. My breathing pattern changed. I got home, relaxed in the shower, took my time to dress and felt much better. My friend whom I had to pick up called to say that she could no longer make it to the event with me. I felt sad but at the same time, it freed some more time. At the end, I had an enjoyable evening and all the stress that seem to have been captured in my body got released (especially after dancing to some reggae music!).

My brain said, “Thank you Magdalene for listening. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Learn to pace yourself. You need to get the brain and the body to work in sync.”

I thrive living a high pace life. I get bored if I don’t have several things going on at the same time but I had never experienced that high level of anxiety before (or maybe I have but simply kept going) so I decided to do some research around anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population). Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.”

As I read through the article, I took a few moments to analyse what triggered such a high level of anxiety and came to the conclusion that my brain and body simply went off balance in trying to manage my expectations within a timeframe that was not physically practical. Therefore, the best way my brain and body could protect me from harming myself further, was to shut down. How could I have not known that? But as I studied my own behaviour patterns over the last few weeks, I also realize that as I picked up some new activities, I let go of the most important ones which are necessary for my wellbeing: exercise, lots of water, lots of fruits and vegetables and lots of time to relax. My patterns changed and this anxiety attack became a positive clue for me to take stock of myself again.

Some of the things that also heightens our anxiety levels are over commitment, procrastination, not making decisions quickly enough, lack of sufficient exercise, not having enough time between activities to unwind, expectations which do not match reality and  lack of planning. In my case, I should have realized that I could not do 6 hours of stuff in 4 hours!

If the studies are true about how anxiety affects so many people, then we are all bombarded at some point with someone who is literally falling apart. Here are a few things which the the Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends to help you feel better:

  • Learn to manage stress in your life. Keep an eye on pressures and deadlines and make a commitment to taking time out from study or work.
  • Learn a variety of relaxation techniques. Physical relaxation methods and meditation techniques really do help.
  •  Look after your physical self. Eat healthily, get regular exercise and try to keep a regular sleep pattern. Avoid alcohol, cannabis and junk food.
  • Practice deep abdominal breathing. This consists of breathing in deeply and slowly through your nose, taking the air right down to you abdomen.
  • Learn to replace “negative self-talk” with “coping self-talk.” When you catch yourself thinking something negative like “I can’t do this, it’s just too hard,” try to change it to something more positive, like “This is hard but I can get through it.”

TuneIn to how you feel on a regular basis and note when your body is sending you signals that something may be a bit “off.”  StepUp and become aware of what triggers your anxiety. With small changes, you can work way back to feeling better.

What triggers your anxiety? How do you manage your anxiety? Is the expectations of others higher than you can manage? Is social media a cause for anxiety? Do share your thoughts!



My 1st TuneIn and StepUp Challenge for 2014: Supporting 20 families who have been affected by flooding in St. Lucia

Every single day I ask myself, “What can I do to create a positive change in someone else’s life?”

Sometimes, it is as simple as having a conversation or buying a coffee for someone.  Sometimes it is taking care of myself so that I can have the energy to take care of others.  Sometimes, it is being strict with my children to make sure that I fulfill my responsibilities as a parent to raise them to be responsible citizens. Sometimes, it is as complex as my job in helping others reach their employment goals.

This month, I have taken on a new  challenge – my challenge is to support 20 families in St. Lucia who were affected  by a trough on December 24th, 2013.  This trough created havoc on the island, caused flooding which destroyed hundreds of homes and infrastructure to the cost of  one hundred million dollars. Although there has been support to victims from the international community, I feel compelled to do something which will offer some relief to families who have lost their belongings and are trying to rebuild their lives.  St. Lucians all over the world have been doing the same!

I  teamed up with the St. Lucia Ottawa Association, which is also fund-raising to aid flood victims too. I engaged with my amazing work place,  colleagues and  friends to join in the challenge.  My colleague Jack DuJong who is the head of our fund-raising committee at work,  happily headed the first initiative for the challenge – a potluck fund-raising lunch on February 5th.

Fundraising Lunch -SLOA 025

(Jack and I above with the amazing german, chocolate, caramel walnut cake,which Unita Louis donated to the raffle)

Our colleagues supported it, brought in great food and donated great items of clothing, food, toiletries and bedding for our 20 families. We run a raffle with the top prize being 2 tickets to the St. Lucia Independence Day Gala on February 22nd at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa.  Unita Louis donated two amazing cakes (one which we raffled), plus a basket of the most delicious bread to sell!  We presented a video about St. Lucia and promoted the island as a top destination for travel!

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Fundraising Lunch -SLOA 038

It was an amazing and successful lunch filled with positive energy and a great spirit of community.

The results:  We raised $612 plus collected lots of great clothing items, toiletries and bedding for our 20 families and even sold some more tickets for the gala!  I think that everyone now has St. Lucia on their list of travel destinations!

Fundraising Lunch -SLOA 050

(presenting Nathalie Perterkin, Chair of the entertainment committee of the ST.Lucia Ottawa Association, with the funds)

My challenge will continue until the end of February by which time I hope to have enough items of food, clothing, toiletries and bedding  to give to those twenty families on behalf of all of us.  Through the St. Lucia Ottawa Association, we have secured free shipping of the goods to St. Lucia.

How can you help?

  • You can contact me if you would like to make a donation.
  • You can contact the St. Lucia Ottawa Association, which is a registered charitable organization and make your donation through their PayPal account.  Check out the link: http://www.stluciaottawa.com
  • You can buy a ticket for the St. Lucia Independence Day Gala in Ottawa on February 22nd.  It is always a great evening filled with entertainment and  I love the dancing part at the end of the night! It is also at a great place – The Westin Hotel!

Fundraising Lunch -SLOA 019

To learn more about the trough which affected St. Lucia, you can access the following links:

Press Release by the Government of St. Lucia


Video Footage:





TuneIn to “something” which you can work at to make a difference in the lives of others!  StepUp and  take a small action step to move that “something” to reality.  What is your challenge for this year?  Want to join me on my 1st Challenge?



What is the cost of NOT pushing your boundaries?


“No” is a complete sentence. Anne Lamott

Pushing boundaries (going beyond setting boundaries) is something which I have not always been comfortable with but it is something which I have come to value more as I get older.  It is perhaps because I care less about what other people think of me as I strive to find clarity and real answers to the many questions I have about life. Some people call it bold, as my school principal did when I was four years old.  One day, he called me “Madlene” at the school assembly. I  boldly  walked up to the front of the assembly and corrected him by saying that my name was “Magdalene” and not “Madlene.”  Now, at four years old, I don’t think I knew anything about setting or pushing  my boundaries. I was simply responding from my heart to fix something which did not sound right to me. From that day on, he held huge respect for me and even now (4o years later) we both remember that distinct moment and he never called me “Madlene” again!

As I got older, I noticed patterns in my behaviours where I simply accepted what others did or said because I did not want to step outside my comfort zone, for fear of hurting them or having too much information which could hurt me. It became increasing difficult for me to say “no” and I would actually prefer not to know about some things because knowing would need action on my part or would make me feel uncomfortable. When we look deeper into the issues of why we do not push our boundaries, it is all rooted in fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of being unloved.  Fear of losing control.  Fear of not having enough.  However, as our soul expands and seeks truth and clarity to live our soul mission, those walls begin to crumble. An enlightened soul is no longer afraid of asking questions and pushing against the boundaries because we know whatever the responses are, negative or positive, the universe will provide all that we  need for the next steps of our journey.

A young woman once told me that she was dating a guy whom she was not sure about.  I asked her why and her response was, “I feel that he is not really interested in me.  He takes a long time to ask me out.”

What should she do?  Push the boundaries.  She wanted to stay in the safe zone and wait for him to make the next move.  He was clearly not giving her the green light.  I asked her to invite him out on a date to meet some of her friends.

Reluctantly, she agreed and asked him out.  His first response was, “Can we talk about this?”

“Why?” she asked.

“Because I am not comfortable meeting your friends yet.” he responded.

After six months of “seeing” someone, how can you not want to meet their friends? How can you not want to know more about them?

By pushing her boundaries in asking him to meet her friends, his response brought clarity to her that he was not ready to engage in a serious relationship with her.  She ended the relationship because it was not in alignment with what she needed in a relationship. By not pushing those boundaries, she could have remained in this undefined relationship for a longer time.  Several months later she met someone else who was happy to meet her friends right away.

Here is a list of situations which could be resolved if the boundaries were pushed a bit.

  • You feel stressed all day about not being sure whether you are meeting the expectations of your boss.  Push the  boundaries by asking a question about your performance. It is better for you to know so that you can  take charge of the situation and improve your performance if you need to.
  • You are bored doing the same job.  Push your boundaries by asking for additional responsibilities or a another  position.  You may want to push your boundaries even further by applying to other positions outside of your company.
  • You want to exit  a relationship but you are  afraid that  you will hurt your partner’s feelings. Push your boundaries by speaking about it. For all you know, your partner may also want to leave and be free. Start by saying something like, “I am not feeling happy or fulfilled in our relationship anymore. I would like to get a divorce / separation.” By being clear, you give the other person an opportunity to respond.  It may lead to a divorce but it can also lead to a better relationship.
  • You notice that the decisions being made in your company will have an adverse effect on the business. Your fear  of speaking up and being opposed causes  you to remain silent but you are  furious with yourself  for not speaking up.  Push the boundaries by putting your thoughts  in writing or gathering the courage to speak at the meeting.  Everyone may not agree but what if they did?  You could become a huge asset for this company.
  • Question the cost of things which you pay for regularly.  Most of us accept high insurance rates; we are scared to question our utility bills or afraid to negotiate a better interest rate on our mortgage or credit card. Push your boundaries by asking questions to make sure that you are receiving a fair service and the best price.

What does it cost you NOT to push your boundaries?  Loss of self-worth?  Loss of adding more value to the quality of your life?  Loss of money/income?  Loss of having fulfilled relationships and work?  Loss of living your soul mission?

As one person said to me, the cost of pushing boundaries for him was exorbitant!

“Pushing these boundaries require courage….the costs can also be exorbitant! I have spent my entire life pushing boundaries and have been punished for doing so. However, since I am aware of the consequences, I have also placed a lot of effort in preparing myself  for the consequences….this is what has made me into a better person. I have discovered a new me at all stages.”

When I push my boundaries  I feel that my soul expands. It takes courage to go beyond setting boundaries. It frees my mind, my soul and my heart and creates space for me to grow. Sometimes, we have simply outgrown a boundary  and need to explore beyond.  I have concluded that if people truly love and respect me, they will also love and appreciate my growth when I  push those boundaries.

“Tolerance is nothing more than patience with boundaries.”
― Shannon L. Alder

TuneIn to areas which are not exactly your comfort zone. StepUp and pay attention about what matters to you.