By Wendy Zak
Something’s gotta change! We’ve all shouted it, but we must have shouted louder than most, because change it did!
Let’s go back a step.
This time two years ago my husband,Tarance, and I were living life as usual. Between us we had a landscaping business, a tree farm and a freelance copywriting business. We had three children in various stages of fledging the nest, and we were the proud owners of enough RRSP’s to last us a good 25 minutes into retirement.
Something definitely had to change because our retirement plan involved at least one rich, grateful kid (is one out of three too much to ask?). Our plan B was to turn one of our businesses into a money making machine, but we hadn’t come up with a strategy around that one yet.
Never mind, we thought, when the youngest graduates from high school maybe we’ll sell the house and reinvent ourselves. Then we’ll probably get rich.
Until a friend of my husband’s said “we’d like you to buy Greenview Nurseries”. Oh how we laughed! (Some context: Greenview is a 50 year old nursery, tree farm and garden centre sitting on 105 acres just east of Calgary, and Tarance has been a wholesale customer for years).
Could we even count the reasons why it was a ridiculous idea? Well firstly, we reasoned, we need to make our lives simpler, not more complicated. And we’re in our 50s, so we’re far too old for such a huge venture. And we wouldn’t even know what to do with that much land. And we’re in our 50s. And we don’t know anything about running a garden centre. And we’re in our 50s. The list goes on.
Well that was that. And then … driving home from a weekend out of town, one of us said the magic word, “but”. Followed closely by “what if?”.
Maybe this is the opportunity we’ve been looking for to build something of value, we thought. The youngest is already in Grade 11, so it’s only one year ahead of schedule, we reasoned. We’re ready for a new adventure, we agreed.
Plus – when such an amazing opportunity drops into your lap, is it right to turn it down? Isn’t there something about it only knocking once?
By the time we pulled into Calgary we were the new owners of Greenview Nurseries – at least in our minds.
Change is good, right?
Just seven months later, we had uprooted our children from the only house they’ve ever known, and moved into the middle of nowhere. We were filling three greenhouses with flower seeds for a bunch of commercial growing contracts, with no experience in growing anything except trees. And we were dealing with the mess and chaos of a farm that had been winding down for about seven years.
In answer to my above question … yes, we’ve found that change has been good. It’s terrifying and exhausting, but we’ve never looked back.
One thing we’ve learned so far, is how to go with the flow. We arrived with a definite plan for the place and it’s changed about 15 times so far. The first change was taking on those greenhouse contracts, because why would we take on a business we know nothing about? Turns out the greenhouses are my happy place, and the crop was beautiful.
Then a landscaper, out buying a tree, asked if he might be able to rent a piece of land. Great idea, we thought, and the deal was made!
After that we rented out some pasture to a rancher; a plot to a guy growing herbs in a converted sea can; the garden centre space to a fellow horticulturist; and spots to a compost tea specialist, an online plant company, a landscape maintenance company and most recently a holistic landscaping company.
“That’s quite the community you’re building out there,” said my daughter. “No, it’s a horti-cult,” I replied. Well there was no way I was going to let that one slip away unnoticed! I told everyone it was a horticult until it finally stuck and now it’s here to stay.
What’s happening here is so fabulous that it’s become something of a force unto itself. We have a group of tenants who are pumped about what they do; who want to collaborate and build something special here. We’re talking about building an eco-friendly, passive solar greenhouse, and other exciting projects that we couldn’t possibly have envisioned a year ago. We even have people contacting us specifically because they want to join the horticult.
We’d love to tell you it was all part of a strategic master plan, but it was more a matter of recognizing opportunities and running with them.
Remind me again, how change is good?
Last September, the garden centre owner told us that it wasn’t working out, and she would have to break the lease. We’d all known it was coming, and we let her go without penalty, but it left us with a conundrum.
We had been adamant from the start that we didn’t want to run the garden centre, but many locals had told us how pleased they were to see it open again. We wanted to keep it going, but didn’t want to risk having a series of tenants, and a different name each year. So we decided to take it over ourselves – another change of direction!
On the other hand, what an opportunity. Last year I grew more plants than I knew what to do with, because the garden centre wasn’t giving me a market for my own greenhouses. This year, I have more control over that.
And so Bloomfield Garden Centre was born.
Creating a Garden Centre That’s Worth the Visit
As we don’t seem to do simple anymore, we decided to completely renovate the space to create something different; something worth leaving Calgary for.
Outside we’re building winding paths bordered by huge logs that kids can jump on, with benches and play areas along the way. Inside we’ve created a beautiful gift shop, with a coffee nook where people can stop, have a drink and a snack, and browse our selection of gardening reference books.
We’ve got all kinds of plans like a tasting garden where visitors can pick whatever happens to be ripe, and drop-in kids’ workshops so that parents can browse in peace.
We’ll have all the plants and gardening accessories people will expect from their new favourite garden centre, but we will be particularly specializing in the edible, chemical-free garden. We will help people find plants that repel bugs, plants for companion planting and a lovely selection of vegetable and fruit plants.
And for spring we’re creating a gorgeous selection of unique containers – one-off pots planted with a fabulous arrangement of annuals for people who want something special.
We really hope you’ll come out and pay us a visit this spring.
Bloomfield Garden Centre opens for the first time on March 31st!
Visit bloomfieldgardencentre.net to learn more.
By Marsha Hebert
2017 is your year to EAT for life, feel better in your body and look better that your age. Care about what you care about, YOU are worth it!
Dietary Focus: Gluten-free, Lactose-free
Makes 18 – 20 cookies
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin seeds, raw and shelled
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 shredded coconut
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
Large mixing bowl
Tablespoon for cookie measurement
Wooden spoon or spatula
2 Cookie sheet
Food processor or Blender
Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Put the sugar, egg and vanilla in bowl and mix well with wooden spoon or spatula. Set aside.
Ground pumpkin seeds. Add to sugar mixture with cranberries, coconut and sesame seeds.
Stir until thoroughly combined.
Scoop tablespoonful of the mixture and put on prepared cookie sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 – 10 minutes.
Carefully transfer to the cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
Marsha Hebert is a gluten-free and lactose-free cookbook author and EAT for Life Consultant at EATforLifewithMarshaHebert.com
I love the tradition of holiday baking, amid the scent of warm spices and chocolate. Sharing the gift of food is a time-honoured holiday tradition. However, those of us who are gluten-free and lactose-free the food sharing is not very enjoyable.
Now, you can joyfully participate worry-free! I am eager to share my gluten-free and lactose-free Christmas cookie recipe. It is one that everybody can enjoy!
1/2 cup gluten-free margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 cups spelt flour
1/4 cup mashed fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup mashed fresh or frozen kiwi
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar.
Beat with electric beater for 2 minutes.
Add egg yolk, vanilla and salt (optional). Beat for 1 minute.
Add spelt flour and mix well with wooden spoon or spatula.
Scoop out tablespoon of mixture and shape into rounds.
Use desirable cookie shape press and make enough room to add filling.
Use 1/2 teaspoon measure to add filling to cookie.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until edges are golden brown.
Let cool on cookie sheet for about 1 minute, then carefully transfer to wire racks to completely cool. You may need to add some extra filling on cookies.
Make 16 to 18 cookies
Marsha Hebert is a gluten-free and lactose-free cookbook author and EAT for Life Consultant at EATforLifewithMarshaHebert.com
I tend to hear, feel and even see music everywhere. Being a musician, I am admittedly a little biased, but, come to think of it, we all are––musicians, that is. We hum, we whistle, we sing and swing. Our everyday vocabulary is infused with musical terms: we resonate with people, things strike a chord, we feel upbeat or downbeat, we act in concert and on and on it goes. More importantly, we have within us two immensely powerful instruments, the brain and the heart. The brain is the keyboard that plays the music our mind composes. The heart is the metronome that beats the rhythms of our emotions; the soundboard that amplifies the subtle music that plays within us. So, in effect, we have all we need to make beautiful music. Or do we?
Are we really creating our music? And assuming we are, do we actually truly play it on the stage of everyday life? Hardly. The question then is: What does it take to become the composers and the conductors of a harmonious life symphony?
Today and in three sequential articles, I’ll share with you a musical perspective on creating harmony within, expanding on insights I have gathered in my new book 7 Keys to Serenity. In fact, I would like to invite you to imagine being the conductor of a huge orchestra, an ensemble that counts trillions of musicians who play the sacred music of your life: your cells.
To be that conductor, you’ll need to cultivate the art of listening, which is precisely what my first key, A, stands for: Awareness. It is the master key that opens all doors or, to stay in our musical analogy, the note that is sounded before the concert begins, bringing all instruments of the orchestra to play in complete connectedness around one standard frequency––in the Western music system, that is.
But how exactly do we define awareness on the stage of life? No doubt we all experience on a daily basis the symptoms of its deficiency: the eye glasses or the car keys we desperately look for, our vehicle itself we spend a frustrating amount of time locating in a busy parking lot; and on and on it goes. We simply don’t pay attention.
We often speak about mindfulness or consciousness. But awareness is much more. It involves intuition. Rather than a state of simple mental alertness, it is a balanced combination of mind and heart, a seamless integration of doing and being, of thinking and feeling our way through life. We might want to compare it to an embedded antenna that allows us to naturally and effortlessly scan our inner and outer environment, detecting the subtle variations that take place beyond the denseness of our five senses.
So how exactly is awareness going to help us create this harmonious life symphony? First, rather ironically, we must create silence. We do this through deep breathing and pausing. Pauses help us create a few “intermissions” in our daily routine, during which we disengage and become the observer, looking at and listening to ourselves from way above, like a disembodied entity, an angel of sorts––often shaking our heads in disbelief, to be sure. We then come to realize how caught up we have become in the autopilot mode, driving our lives mindlessly like we tend to drive our cars.
Awareness will help us align our thoughts, words and actions, creating in the process vibrations of similar frequencies and therefore overall coherence and clarity. Harmony in music is all about alignment, coherent and balanced combinations. And so it is in life. And yet, how often do our actions contradict our values? Incoherence leads to conflict, subtle as it is. Unbeknownst, we deplete our reservoir of internal life-energy by allowing what science calls “destructive interference” to take place. The result is dissonance, false notes and disempowerment.
Awareness helps us to attune to our bodies and minds, to listen––like the conductor listens to his orchestra––to the subtle music they play, correcting and adjusting the volume and rhythm of our emotions. Our cells vibrate at different frequencies, according to which section (organ) of the body they are playing in. Yet, by nature, they all play together, in holistic coherence and connectedness, executing a symphony called homeostasis, a wonderfully balanced piece of music that keeps us well and alive. At one point or another, however, some of these cells may begin to play out of tune. If you, the conductor, don’t notice this discordance in time, the initial harmony might, over time, degenerate into a cacophony, creating a lack of ease and therefore dis-ease.
Awareness empowers us to live in authenticity, to discover, accept and be who we truly are. To sing our own song. Life is an ongoing performance, yet, how often do we play music that does not really resonate in our hearts and souls? If we are not in accord with ourselves, if the music does not resonate with us, how can it possibly resonate with others?
Awareness makes us realize the existence of the laws of attraction and resonance. Like attracts like. So, when we attune to a given thought frequency, we attract similar frequencies. In other words, you get what you think about. Although this sounds a bit clichéd, it is a very powerful universal law that needs to be kept in mind at all times. What we think, how we think, creates our reality. In the next issue of this magazine, we’ll examine an arena where awareness plays perhaps the most important role yet: our belief system, the matrix where our thoughts are created.
Pianist – Composer – Recording Artist – Keynote player
Author of new book: 7 keys to Serenity
By Janet Love Morrison
Most of us, at some point in time, have arrived at a space where it’s time to let go of the old and create the new. Is the way you are – the way you want to be? When we are the way we want to be we are in order. This order is mastery; a movement within this order; is meditation.
How do we start? Master Dhyan Vimal, a modern-day enlightened Master from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, created the Mastery Meditation and it’s a tool for the modern man to stimulate and nurture one’s inner possibilities. Enabling one to achieve all that one can be, which is one’s rightful birthright.
The meditation is a dynamic and active form of meditation. The technique comprises of five parts, with step-by-step guidance and instructions by Master Dhyan Vimal. He created it to awaken your within, to recognize you are the creator of your life. In time, from using this meditation you learn to master your energy.
The Dhyana Centre Vancouver is an oasis of learning open to everyone who wants to awaken to their highest possibilities. We are a community of individuals across Canada (Victoria, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal) dedicated to sharing the teachings of Master Dhyan Vimal whose personal insights provide a pathway to powerful transformation.
The daily meditations, weekly programmes and workshops offer you the opportunity to look deeply into the joys and challenges of your life and gain a unique awareness of who you truly are and how you can be who you want to be.
What is the learning about? There are three core themes that run through the teachings of Dhyan Vimal. These are mastery, meditation and living in abundance.
The understanding that your reality is created by you. An examination and contemplation into belief structures which form the selfs you carry.
When you commit to see you, commit to be in contact with you, and this is the key understanding, and all else is born from this.
Living in Abundance
Seeing that the personal poverty you suffer is your creation. When you break past conditionings that keep you in poverty, creation happens naturally for you to live in abundance.
What format does the learning take?
We experience learning through meditation, video and audio talks from Master Dhyan Vimal, individual reflection and group discussions. The atmosphere is open, inclusive and non-judgmental. There are different levels of learning from beginner to advanced and all are welcome at any level. Join a free introduction to meditation to get you started, then try Simirthi Initiation Programme. Here you will learn to put yourself back into the centre of your life using meditation to come to the remembrance of yourself.
You can choose to join any of the following activities to awaken your possibilities:
Daily meditations are single evening events where you can learn different meditation practices to deepen your understanding of yourself and the art and science of mastery.
Weekly programmes are a series of three to five evenings where themes such as healing, creation, self-awareness and mindfulness are explored.
Workshops are usually two full day events where you can go deeply into structured learnings that deliver the understanding required for the transformation of the individual within and without.
Visit facebook.com/DhyanaCentreVancouver or send an email to email@example.com for further information. You can also find more learning resources at www.dhyanvimal.com
Click here to view the Atma Rahasya Workshop Poster