Meet Emily Cattelan, one of our featured speakers for the launch of Soulful Encounters

Is it possible to find this perfect partner?  I believe so and so does Emily!  It is a wonderful gift to see the love that is shared between Emily and her husband Roger.

In January 2014, I sent out a Face Book request for love stories and ‘what makes you feel safe and valued’ in your relationship.   At that time, I thought I was going to have  an special valentine issue for Mags Magazine.  Emily sent me an article about her relationship and the reasons why she feels safe in her relationship.  I immediately thought “WOW!”  We did not do a publication for Valentine but we thought it was a perfect article for Soulful Encounters! She has hit the nail on the head because what is working so beautifully well for them, are things that most of us want in our relationship!  She clearly does appreciate the many things which Roger does – both in words and in action.  A wonderful example of a positive SOULFUL ENCOUNTER.

Come out and listen to her story on May 25th, 2016 and share in the blessings of love.

Here is a little snippet on Emily:

Roger and Emily

Emily Cattelan has a zest for life and a passion for helping others succeed. She was born in a family of World War 2 Italian immigrants. Her parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, came to Canada to make a better life for themselves and their children. In this big loving family, Emily was taught to love and respect all living things and to always help those in need. This helped to shape Emily’s belief that our most important role on this earth is to support each living thing in becoming the best that they can be. She believes that this can be accomplished through nurturing, mutual love, respect, and random acts of kindness. She has instilled these lessons in her daughter and she is looking forward to teaching her 2 young grandchildren these same lessons. She is here to share her story of how she found her perfect life partner

Look out for our next featured couple:  Dale and Trevor Stevenson!

Our featured keynote speaker: Laura Traplin


Get your tickets

poster for event






My three deep soul regrets today


Yesterday, I got the sad news  that my friend Maija Kajis had crossed over.

Streams of tears of regret flowed down my face in my office. I did not cry because she crossed over.

I cried because I wanted to  see her so much and did not get to.

I cried because I did not get the chance to tell her how much she meant to me.

I cried because I did not get a chance to say goodbye to her.

Over the last few weeks, I knew that she was not doing well.  I was told that she was hospitalized and had limited visitors.  I was told when she got discharged and went home… and all through these days I kept on saying:

  • I will send her a card to show that we are thinking of her
  • I will send some flowers
  • I will drop by – even if it would be for one second to see her.

I did not get to do any of these things. It was partly the circumstances of the last few days but when I look back, the least I could have done, was to drop a card in the mail.

Why was Maija so important to me?

I met Maija through my friend Jean when I first arrived in Canada.  I was immediately drawn to her. She had a warm and generous spirit and embraced ALL of me without knowing anything about me.  When she met my children, she did the same thing – She embraced ALL of them, as though they were her own.  As a new immigrant to Canada, Maija reached out to me.  She invited me to plays and concerts – things which I would not have ordinarily known about.  She even paid for the tickets. She invited me to her home and introduced me to her friends and her network.  She bought me my first pair of wool socks and told me how important it was to keep my feet warm in winter.  She brought me my first beeswax candles and made me the first fruitcake I received in Canada.  When she had not seen me for a long time, she came to visit me at my office and brought me lunch all wrapped in a warm towel. She invited me to her 70th birthday party and that made me feel very special to be a part of her group of friends.  When one of my friends needed a place to stay, Maija opened her doors to him and he stayed with her for about a year.  She shared her travel experiences with me and always filled me in on her trips  across the world. I found inspiration in her photos and in her home and especially her bookshelves.  I was always thrilled to listen to her anecdotes from her visits to her daughter and twin granddaughters, whom she loved unconditionally. She told me about her son and her parents and her mom in particular and her efforts in capturing her family history.

In all our conversations, I would sit and admire her quietly and sometimes even think to myself, “I want to be like Maija when I grow older.”  She was beautiful in body and spirit and always dressed very elegantly.  One day, in her living room, she said to me: “We Canadians have so much space to live in.  We don’t need all that space. People in many other parts of the world, live in tiny spaces and they are happier.  We feel that we need so much individual space…”  She reflected quite a lot on social justice issues and how new immigrants were integrating in Canada.

We always believe that we have more time. I wish I had told Maija all these things.

My last regret – I don’t have a picture with Maija. I can’t even explain how this could be.

Don’t put off the things you need to do for your soul.  Don’t forget to take photos with those you love.  Don’t forget to send that note or card to say, “I am thinking of you.”  Don’t forget to let your loved ones, know that you  love them.  Don’t forget to thank those who have done something good in your life.

Maija, our memories will live in my mind, heart and soul.  May your soul rest in perfect peace and may your words of love and wisdom always remain in our hearts. I know that you touched the lives of many, many people… and also know that there are many who are welcoming you to your new home.









Kindness and compassion makes life better and easier… always!


I was touched today to see two young men host a birthday dinner party for their moms.  The two young men were my son Jelan and his friend Zac.  Zac and his family are also our next door neighbours.  Zac’s mom and I celebrate our birthdays a day apart and Jelan and Zac celebrate their birthdays one day apart too!  Strange coincidence!

We have watched the boys grow up over the years and it is quite remarkable to see them take on more and more responsibility for their lives but more importantly to practice kindness and compassion towards others.  The effort and love which the two of them put into creating this little dinner party for the two families touched my heart.  They planned the menu, took the afternoon off and created a joyful space for the celebration. Neither one of them cook much at home – so I was very impressed with the culinary skills and the great  BBQ.





As a parent, I have held my breath many times as I raise my kids for all kinds of reasons. I have lived with the fear that they would take the wrong path; I have had doubts about my parenting skills; I have spent sleepless nights wondering if they would get home on a particular night and I have prayed millions of times for God to guide them and protect them wherever they are.  Parenting, as most of us who are parents know, does not come with a manual for our unique children.  We apply some best practices and common knowledge but the soul is each child is so uniquely different that we must also allow them the freedom to explore and have the confidence that they will turn out to be fine individuals.

I have repeatedly asked myself the question, “What evidence would I need to have, to know that my children would be fine in the world and be good, contributing citizens?” My answers have been to complete their education, have a good job, be financially responsible, have their own families, own their own home and to have great relationships with others.

Lately, I have added a few more items to the list.  I want them to be able to live harmoniously  with other people and to have compassion and kindness in their hearts towards ALL people, not simply those whom they know or are privileged to spend time with them on a regular basis. As easy as this sounds, it is not always easy to practice kindness and compassion because we have grown to be quite a cautious society with judgements about others which can cause us to be indifferent, unkind or sometimes even hostile.

After watching them in action today, it is my hope that they will continue to remain grounded in humility and find small and big ways to add beauty to the planet through the consciousness of kindness and compassion.



Have you caught that elusive thing called happiness?


 Have you ever caught that elusive thing called happiness that smartly lures you with promises to reach this blissful state if  you could:

–  get these new shoes, purse, clothes, bag, jewellery….

–  earn a bit more money

–  get rid of that person who bothers you at work all the time

–  just get that book written, that project completed

– you could take a break from life and go on a fabulous  holiday

– get rid of that beat up guy or woman in your life

– get the kids to do the dishes and sort out their laundry

– complete this degree, course, certification you have put off for so long

– forget this terrible childhood you had

– have a fixed retirement income and security

– win the lottery ticket

– find your happily after romance

– simply get some more sleep each night

– get rid of those extra pounds

– never see “those people who cause you anguish and stress all the time……

Someone recently told me, “the same thing that made me so happy, also brought me great grief.”

I don’t know about you but lately I have questioned that elusive word called happiness and I have stopped holding  my breath for that ‘thing’ to happen in the future to make me happy. All these things are external from our inner spirit. What if we simply decide to be happy and embrace all the other emotions we feel?  Do we need to stop looking for that magical, mythical ‘forever after’ state of happiness?

Let us be compassionate with ourselves and embrace all life experiences as gifts towards our learning.

Be with yourself  NOW. Dream but don’t let your dreams deny your happiness NOW.

Take a deep breath…………………. and let that feeling of peace and content….. for simply the breath of life….. fill each cell of your body.




First and last drink with my father – a life changing experience.


At 43, I had the first and last drink with my father, a man whom I loved dearly but we had a great divide between us – alcoholism. Upon the request of a friend on my way to Saint Lucia in 2012, I brought my dad a beautiful bottle of Crown Royal, a Canadian whisky. At first, I resisted getting that bottle, knowing full well that if I gave it to him, none of us would have peace in the house until it was finished. My friend said, “You must bring him something he likes.” Alcohol was the thing and against my better judgement I brought if for him.

One night, after visiting my mom from the hospital, my dad and I were sitting in the verandah and I had the sudden feeling to have a drink with him.  I got the bottle of Crown Royal and I poured a drink for both of us. It was the first time in my life where I was having a drink with my father, as a “comrade” and a “daughter.” We raised our glasses for a toast and drank that wonderful whisky. Unexpectedly, a quiet feeling of relief settled somewhere deep in me and there was a feeling of unity with my father – sharing with him that thing which he loved  and which was a huge part of his life. In that moment, my eyes saw my father in a light of compassion and love. I suddenly saw the little child in him who had grown up with a habit which had obviously given him some comfort. I saw that bottle taking all his fears away and making him feel like a strong man.  I saw the young man who had no one to counsel him and befriend him or to give him an alternative to drinking. I saw the father who provided for us and did his best, even with the demons of alcoholism. The resentment which I held against him for so many years, suddenly released it’s grip on me and a feeling of acceptance came over me. In the quietness of the evening, we drank, laughed and had a deep conversation about life.

Several nights later, after my mom crossed over, we spent hours looking for him, worried that something dreadful had happened to him. Someone referred us to a small rum shop  a distance away from where we lived. My sister and I found him there without shoes, completely drunk and “preaching” away to the folks in the rum shop. That evening, when he saw me, he said, “My child, how did you find me here? How did you know I was here?” He came towards me in his drunkenness and held me, half falling over. I held him, put on his shoes, paid his bill and led him to the car to take him home. A man in the rum shop shouted, “Mr. Cooman, you have a beautiful daughter.” He laughed, swaying away,  as I struggled to help him keep his balance.

The funny thing is that I too felt I had become a beautiful daughter by accepting him for who he was.

For the days that followed, even after his death, I realized that I had let go of all the pent-up anger I had towards him. It did not matter any more. That anger  had prevented me from seeing all the wonderful things my father brought to my life. All my life, I wanted to change him to be a good man who did not drink and felt disappointed that no matter how hard I tried, he did not change. The truth is that it was not my work to change him. My dad was a good dad who had a generous spirit, a genuine concern for others, a deep mind and a humble spirit which I have  found in few people.

Alcoholism puts a different spin on everything and I know from first hand experience the damage it can cause to a family. I remain grateful that God gave me the opportunity to heal this wound with my father before he crossed over. One of my greatest moments was having that first and last drink with him and accepting him for who he is, without having the need to change him anymore.

All of us have our imperfections. Maybe we come into each other’s lives to teach love, compassion and acceptance.

mom and pap with the girlsdad 1dad 2Dad graduation





Why do I care less at 46?



Happy Birthday!

Why do I care less at 46?

Today, I celebrate my 46th birthday and I have concluded that I don’t need to be “a strong woman” or an “independent woman” or a “professional woman” or a “homemaker” or “anything” kind of woman.

I simply want to be a happy person who want to live more happy moments.

Just as God made the birds and the trees; the moon and the stars; the heavens and the earth… I too was created as part of the great universe. I have the right to be here. Just as in the life cycle of a flower which blooms and dies, my life too will bloom and die. At the end of my life, I simply want to die knowing that I took full responsibility for this one life I have – MINE.

At an earlier part of my life journey, I lived with so much guilt for not fixing all the problems I saw around me and not doing more to show how responsible I was in making the world a better place.

Now, I know for a fact, that all of what we gain or lose in this lifetime, has to do with the seeds which we plant in our souls from our previous lifetimes and within this lifetime. Each seed is sown in the moment and each moment should never be taken for granted. Fear and love are the two spectrums which dominate our lives all the times. If all of our moments can be rooted in love, which also roots trust, then we can all learn to care less and live more. Fear roots us in doubt and robs us of our joyful moments. Even when we feel the grips of fear, we can consciously create a better moment by saying, ” I embrace this fear/anxiety/uncertainty which I am faced with in this moment, but I choose to trust that life/God, will take care of me and all my needs will be met.”  We can choose to live in love or in fear.  We can choose to move from fear and doubt to love and trust.  We can do it moment by moment.

What is a moment anyway?

A breath.
A thought.
A blink of an eye.
A heart beat.
A look.
A touch.
A smile.
A feeling.
A space.
A conviction.
A consciousness.
A decision.

Although I don’t have complete control over each moment (God is always in control), I know that I can decide how I want to shape each moment. A pleasant thought, a pleasant feeling, a pleasant action, a pleasant space… collectively each of those moments create the future.  We don’t need to live the future by projecting our fears.

So I care less about all the things and people and situations that create calamities and destruction  of people and societies and nature.  I no longer feel the need to fix them.

I live for moments that make me feel alive, happy, healthy and joyful. All those moments will vibrate into the same wavelengths of others who choose to live this way and collectively we will create harmony which will result in a better world… but most importantly, my consciousness is fueling my body to LIVE and FEEL happy.

The world needs more people rooted in love and trust.