Work of Heart 2018 was a magical experience of love and light. For me the weekend started on Friday night when I gathered at the Hotel Wingate in Dieppe, NB, with a group of women, led by founder Angela Harris. We each received a workbook and a contract for us to sign, the Work of Heart Weekend Pledge. It gave us permission to focus on ourselves, and to allow us to be open to trusting the process. During discussions that evening, many of the younger women spoke of feelings of guilt at taking this time for themselves. Those of us in our 50’s could commiserate with them, and we shared our experiences of getting through that and realizing that this type of self care was the best gift not only for ourselves, but for our loved ones. We were joined by Tracey MacDonald, who was one of the speakers for Saturday’s main event, and her input really helped to set the tone for the weekend and made me even more excited to hear her presentation.
Saturday morning found me back at the hotel, bright and early, soaking in the energy and atmosphere. The stage was set with beautiful pieces from Impertinent.ca, and the room started filling up with people, many of whom had been to Work of Heart 2017. The feeling of community and expectation was growing. I sat in the front row, so I wouldn’t miss a thing.
Angela welcomed us all and encouraged us not to try to make all the changes that we would be inspired to take on, but to make choices about what we could do, and deciding what we could do differently. The theme of “silencing the inner critic” carried over from the night before, set the tone for the day.
Cearagh Vessey, co-founder of Marrow, our guide in 2017, returned to that role for the 2018 version. She welcomed us and gently invited us into the space, telling us of a quote from a friend, saying “You are already who you want to be”. She introduced each speaker, and at the end of each talk, she would give us questions to journal about, and then allow us time to do so.
The first “official” speaker of the day was Stephanie Johnston of The Goddess Gatherings. She confessed her nervousness at this, her first speaking engagement, but as she led us through the story of her finding her passion and the seemingly “random” events that led to the creation of The Goddess Gatherings, she seemed to find her voice. She reminded me to connect with the childlike wonder of my heart, and to recognize the opportunities, events, and nudges that life throws our way. I look forward to someday taking part in a Goddess Gathering experience.
The next speaker was another “newbie”, Marc Basque. He said in his opening that when Angela asked him to take part, he was filled with anxiety, and that was how he knew he would do it. That was a powerful reminder to me that growth only happens when we step outside of our comfort zone. His presentation was funny, energetic, and real. I hope to see Marc onstage again, as I believe that he has only just begun on a journey of sharing powerful insights.
Then came Tracey MacDonald of Tracey Mac Coaching. I had gotten to know Tracey through the Coffee and Ideas group that came into being after Work of Heart 2017. She told us all about her roommate who criticized her first attempt at a speaking engagement, and all the terrible things that “friend” said to her. Of course, that roommate was her own inner critic, that voice in her head that told her she wasn’t good enough. Many of us have that voice, and she challenged us to change that inner critic into an inner cheerleader. One way to do that is to acknowledge the thought, and then question it. As Byron Katie says, “Is it true, helpful and kind?” She also suggested that we recognize whose thought, fear or belief it really is, where did it come from, and to send it back.
We then broke for lunch, and we were encouraged to connect with people that we didn’t know and to share our experiences of what brought us there. I felt fortunate to spend that time with Yves Doucet. Lise Fournier and Alisha Leblanc. We all came from different backgrounds, but we shared a great conversation.
The afternoon brought the final 3 presentations. First was clutter coach Kim Sneath. She spoke about clutter representing unmade decisions, a thought that struck home for me as I chose the word “cleanse” to represent 2018. When she said that stuff holds energy, and a home reflects one’s life, I knew I was on the right track. She challenged us to not only identify our passions, but to also identify where in our lives to create the time for them.
Next was Marcel Petitpas. I had first heard Marcel speak at Work of Heart 2017, and again at his own event, Master Mindset. Each time I have learned something new about myself from him sharing his story of moving through pain into power. He exudes strength and gentleness and caring. Even as he announced that he would, by request, finish his presentation by leading us through “the Ritual”, he expressed concern that people would feel it was gimmicky. It was anything but that. The Ritual, which Marcel learned at a retreat that he had attended, is a powerfully affirming process, especially when shared with a group of people who are so open to the experience. It made me smile as those of us who had gone through it before made sure that we had plenty of tissues on hand and passed them along to those who were new to it.
The last speaker of the day was Natalie Davison of Marrow. I have been blessed by getting to know her as a friend, and to watch her grow as a presenter. I could listen to her for hours as she speaks her truth from her heart. She is not afraid to show herself as human and so she creates a community where it is safe to be yourself. Her advice to Do more hard things (but only the things that you love doing), edit your posse, and to choose love, was everything I needed to hear. She reminded us that we only have so much time, and none of us know how long that is. She finished off by speaking of the difficult time her family had over the past few weeks after her uncle had passed away. Natalie’s mom Michele was sitting next to me, and as I reached out my hand to hold hers, once again I was touched by the “random” event that brought us all together in that space.
In creating Work of Heart Angela has invited us into a world of opportunities where we can create our best selves. By highlighting presenters with a variety of experience we can more easily see ourselves in roles that may challenge our view of who we are meant to be. Most of all, Work of Heart is becoming synonymous with a community of people who support and encourage each other. I end this post the same way Natalie ended her presentation, with words of wisdom from her grandmother, Nanny Chapman, “You can’t love too much”