A Money Coach in Canada

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It’s fun, it’s quirky, and naturally it’s from the Netherlands, I think. Click the image below.

(thanks toBattlecat for the great image)


Our first Sunny Saturday in forever is coming up, and naturally that’s the day I’d set aside to do my taxes (except for an hour out when I’m going to STAND for housing.) Thankfully, Isabella the blogging therapist, gave me this amazing visualization exercise to help. It may help you too, if you’re in the same situation as me! (if you are, leave a comment, and maybe we can cheer each other on, Saturday)

__________________________________________________________________happy gardener

Can you take 45 minutes to do something worthwhile?

You won’t regret it.

Make sure you are in a comfortable surrounding. Loosen the belt, take off those shoes that have been stuck to your feet for the last 10 hours. Shake yourself a bit, like a poodle coming out of the water. Put on some quiet music if you like that.

Sit comfortably. If you can hold your spine erect, all the better. Let your hands rest loosely in your lap. Close your eyes.

Aaaah. Breathe. Watch your breath. In and out, in and out. Pay attention to the outbreath and make it longer than the inbreath. Observe your shoulders relaxing as you breathe out. Make a noise on your outbreath. Aaaaaaaaaah.

Count down from 10 to 0.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 3, 2, 1, 0.

Imagine the zero, a big fat zero, big, big, big like an archway.

Step through it.

On the other side, you see a wide expanse. First it is foggy but as you walk further into it, you notice it is the surrounding of one of your favourite activities. Maybe a golf course. Or your garden. Or your family living room.

Take it all in.

What does it look like?
What do you hear?
What do you smell?
Touch something and walk around. What do you feel under your feet and with your hands?

If there is anything in this surrounding that does not feel good, let it evaporate. If it won’t evaporate, just don’t pay any attention to it and focus on the parts that are pleasant.

Now imagine yourself taking up your activity. Notice how easy it is. Notice how willingly your body and mind move. Notice a little smile on your face and how good your body feels. You are flowing your activity with ease, joy, grace and efficiency. It’s all good. It all feels good.

Stay there for a while. Stay in the play and flow of your activity.

Feel how energized and grounded you are by the activity and the wonderful surroundings.

After a while, when the time seems ripe, notice someone walking up to you. This person, or entity (maybe it’s an animal or a fairy? who knows), comes close, maybe shakes your hand, and thanks you. The entity thanks you for what you’re doing and tells you how your activity is benefiting all around you. Maybe it makes the flowers grow more vigorously. Maybe it helps people you’ve never heard of, in ways you had never imagined.

You take in this gratitude, drink it in, and feel it fill you with even more energy.

Then you slowly walk back to the archway. As you come close to it, you notice something lying on the ground. You pick it up and investigate it. It is your memento. Hold it close to you.


Before you walk back through the big zero archway, you look back on the place of your activity. Drink in the image. It is a place you can always come back to. It’s yours alone.

Walk back through the zero archway.

Slowly count to 10.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

When you’re ready, open your eyes.

Look at your hands. Imagine you hold the memento.

Look around the room to see if there is something tangible that can represent the memento. If it’s small, something you can hold in your hands, all the better – but it’s not necessary, it can be anything.

Now, for the rest of the 45 minutes, go and do your taxes, or some other paper work you haven’t been enthusiastic about.

Let the play and flow of your visualized activity carry all that you do and think. When you feel stuck, look at, remember or touch your memento. Remember all the people who benefit when you prepare your taxes.

Thank you.

1. My colleague Lana – and I can’t speak highly enough of her – is offering a free workshop:

PricewaterhouseCoopers presents Taming the Credit Monster, one in a series of free community workshops.

Wednesday, April 23, 6:00 – 7:00 pm
@ Surrey Public Library, Newton Branch (13795 70th Avenue, Surrey).

The event is an overview of how to manage or eliminate debt, debtors’ rights and responsibilities, and options for resolving for more serious financial problems.

For more information, contact Lana Gilbertson at PricewaterhouseCoopers, 604 806 7700.

2. Set Sale!
Thur, Fri, Sat next week, 9am-5pm
Building “K”, Vancouver Film Studios
2727 Boundary Road (enter off 11th Ave.)
Thanks for the tip, Steve!

3. Shoes. Shoes. Shoes.

A. The Army & Navy legendary shoe sale starts Wed. April 16th.

B. Shoe Sample Sale is just around the corner! April 11th, 12th, and 13th at the North Shore Winter Club in North Vancouver. 1325 East Keith Road North Vancouver


10615906_0ca81abb7f_m.jpgAny readers from Calgary or Montreal? I’m interested in your anecdotal take on the net economic benefit or cost when you hosted the Olympics.
Full disclosure: I voted for the olympics to come. I envisioned the many jobs that would be created. I wanted the funding for infrastructure from other levels of government. I wanted the world to visit Vancouver.

Increasingly, I’m regretting my vote. The economics aren’t playing out the way I had thought. For instance:

BC Hydro donated $20,000,000.00 (yes, $20 million) in services. I’m guessing that’s not sitting around in a surplus, so guess who’s footing that bill. You and me, bro.

Vancouver Airport Authority has just signed up as an official sponsor, providing special amenities. It’s anybody’s guess what the dollar amount is. Watch for airport improvement fee hikes.

And MP David Emerson (he’s the one who crossed the floor) has committed $20,000,000.00 of federal funding (yes, $20 million again) to the opening ceremonies. To the opening ceremonies. (that’s some party. I haven’t been invited. Have you been invited?)

And then there’s all the extras which may, or may not, be Olympics linked: $150m to repair BC Place roof. Funding for the streetcar demonstration project. Extra police costs.

I actually don’t mind paying taxes so much, for things like social housing, or help for people with mental illness, or keeping uni education affordable, or re-employment programs.

But $20m on the opening ceremonies alone? When we somehow can’t figure out how to house the homeless lunatic who sleeps next to the vent on the building across the street from me?

I’m losing my enthusiasm.

Photo credit: KK

1574784372_699ba35edc.jpgAnyone else been reading up on the UBC kids who got themselves arrested on Friday?

When I was attending UBC back in the early 90’s (yeah, I’m middle aged) the protests were over part of (now named) Pacific Spirit Park, which was cleared for development. Who lives in the development? Not students. Are you kidding? These are pricey, gorgeous units (in my dreams would I live there). At the time, I was hardcore right wing, and much more interested in my grades (law student wannabe) than those protesters with nothing better to do.

Having now seen Vancouver become a city where basic homes are out of price range for your average citizen who works here (I was one of the lucky ones who bought early) I look at the current protests through different eyes.

Best as I understand it, the protest wasn’t really about the ‘grassy knoll’. The knoll was symbolic of further development – and not for student housing, but more high-end development (presumably to fund UBC’s ongoing expenses). That touches a nerve with me. I might be tempted to protest, too, now.
After a peaceful day of protest, some of the students lit a bonfire, and claim that this particular space does not have bylaws against it.

Enter the firemen, who were blocked by the kids – are the kids drunk? being immature idiots? or asserting themselves?

So the RCMP arrived. They arrested two students, then released one. The other students linked arms around the police car still detaining the other student, and sat there, arms linked, for a couple hours. Things went downhill then, and by the end, 19 students were pulled out of the linked-arms-ring and arrested. The students claim the police moved in on them with heavy-handed tactics.

I’ve seen police be wonderful (!) in the dtes, so am reluctant to ask this … but ….

Doesn’t it seem kind of … weird… that some kids protesting development of exclusive property on a uni campus, who buit a bonfire … resulted in 19 students being arrested and held over the weekend? And isn’t accusing them of ‘assaulting’ a police person stretching it a bit?

And why are canadian citizens so quick (see comments left on any mainstream coverage) to diss them as ‘treehuggers’, ‘idiots’ etc.? What if they (some or all) are intelligent, informed, and genuinely concerned about something we should all be concerned about? What if they aren’t “professional protesters” but kids who believe they should have a say in how society organizes itself?  Even if they kinda lost control of themselves a bit?

Yeah, maybe they were awkward, rowdy, rude (watch for the f-the-p’s) and didn’t know when to stop. And maybe some of their motives were muddied.

But for those of us who were cozily home enjoying “BSG” on tv … I think the least we can do is give them a break already and layoff the dismissive comments. They’re doing what we should all be doing more of: getting informed, getting involved, speaking out.