Boularderie Island Walkabout

I live on an island (Boularderie) within an island (Cape Breton). That’s a pretty unusual thing in itself. In fact, I seem to have a history of finding myself living on islands throughout my life. I was born in Montreal, situated largely on the island of the same name at the confluence of the Ottawa and Saint Lawrence Rivers. I’ve also lived on Campobello Island in New Brunswick just adjacent to Lubec, Maine. And I’ve spent a fair amount of time on Cape Cod – a spit of land separated from mainland Massachusetts by a canal.

A few weeks back I had an itch to do some longer walks so I decided, on a bit of a whim, to walk around the island I currently live on – Boularderie Island. I had heard that there are local folks who sometimes do this in the spring as a fundraiser, so it was not entirely an original idea! Judy and I made an initial drive to get a sense of the distance. The circumference of the island, as measured in our car, is about 90 km. I figured if I walked 10 km each morning I should make it in nine days. Turned out I walked a bit more each day so it only took eight. They didn’t happen all in a row as I chose not to walk if I woke up to pouring rain or had a morning appointment, so it took me about two weeks to find eight walking days. And what a lovely walkabout – there’s so much to see when moving at a human pace! Continue reading

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

henrietta lacksMany have read this book and written about it. It was #1 on the NY Times bestseller list and is recommended reading for those involved with bioethics and other ethical issues, physicians, researchers, etc. For those unfamiliar with it, the book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks (and her family), who unknowingly “contributed” the first “immortal” human cells to be grown outside the body. These cancerous cells became the foundational elements for many vital medical discoveries, while all the while Henrietta and her family knew nothing about what use her cells were being put to, had no health insurance themselves, nor received any acknowledgment of her role. Continue reading

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Such Gratitude For Our Larger Selves (Cells)

One of our commitments, when we decided to make some changes in our lives that resulted in Nicky leaving full-time employment and our choosing to live in a tiny house, was to spend more time with family and friends and to let our spiritual lives come back into focus.

We have recently returned from a three week journey split between Colorado and Maine. Our original intention booking flights to Colorado last year was to attend teachings by the Dalai Lama in Boulder and also visit with friends in the area. Then he cancelled due to illness. We waited almost a year to use our plane tickets, hoping that he would reschedule, but our tickets’ lifespan was soon to expire so we decided to just do the friends part of the journey. (Ironically, two days after we booked our tickets the Dalai Lama announced he would be in Colorado exactly one month after we would!) Continue reading

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Spiritual Renewal Retreat

Please Note: We are considering cancelling this workshop due to low number of participants. If you are planning to come and haven’t let us know yet, please email us at before Friday, April 29th. Hoping we can still make a go of it! 🙂

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I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital transforming events take place.” ~Rufus Jones

Does it sometimes seem like your life consists of rushing – from one pursuit to the next, one place to the next, leaving you feeling more like a human who is ‘doing’ than ‘being’? Are you longing for something else, something more? Continue reading

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When did the pilgrimage begin? When will it end? [An existential journey]

Ideas often come to us when we are walking our dog, Shanti – morning and evening. Two times a day we get to stretch our bodies and let our minds roam freely. We are not walking for five or six hours, day after day, for weeks on end as we did in Spain. But we do walk every day without fail. Lots of time for reflection. We are nearing the time when we flew to Madrid two years ago, to make the transition to Leon, where we began our Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. We began writing monthly reflections on the impact of walking the Camino almost a year ago, to check in with ourselves about whether this was just an experience we had that was fading into the background of our lives, or whether it has stayed with us. We figured we wouldn’t know if we didn’t set aside time to consider it. So here we are at the end of a year of reflection. Continue reading

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Now and Then – Then and Now – Step by Step

2014-05-15 07.23.52We often reflect on how walking the Camino helped us stay focused on the here and now and how easy it was to lose our way when not focused on the present moment. It seemed like we might only lose track of the yellow arrows or shells momentarily before we were wandering off the trail and onto another road or animal track – sometimes together, and sometimes even losing track of one another! The rhythm of walking could sometimes lull us into inattention of our guideposts. The realization that we had lost our markers helped us return our attention towards finding The Way again. Awareness seems key! And in life off of the Camino, one can “walk” a long way off the path before realizing we are in the weeds of our lives, so to speak.

Now that we are settled into Tiny and cozied up for the winter the universe is sending us gentle reminders not to get too cozy. For one thing, the land we are renting just sold! The new owners aren’t planning on moving out this way for over a year or more and they are quite happy to have us here in the meantime, but it’s still a reminder that we can’t be here forever. Continue reading

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Tiny’s First Power Outage!


We’ve been in Tiny just under 3 months now and as we’ve mentioned before it’s still a time for “firsts”. The past two days were no exception. Tiny just survived her first power outage, and it was a doozy. A little over 45 hours with no electricity! Continue reading

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Walking in a Relaxed Manner

“There is too much hurry and worry in our lives.” ~Joyce Rupp2014-05-07 08.50.54

Prior to arriving in Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago trail we promised ourselves to go at our own pace; to not get caught up in any kind of expectation of how many kilometers to walk a day or whether we’d make it to the “best places” to land. We were determined not to carry any anxiety or stress mixed in with our pared down backpack items. And for the most part we were successful. Continue reading

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Holiday Raw Nog :)

Thinking of this raw vegan nog today so reposting it! Interesting that I first posted it on my birthday last year :). Enjoy!!

Learning to Reawaken

Today is my birthday 🙂 (Nicky speaking) and traditionally, I like to offer others gifts on this day. So I’ve spent quite some time this past week having fun experimenting with creating a raw version of a holiday favorite – eggnog! In truth, I’ve never particularly liked the taste or idea of eggnog, but I do love the combo of spices, and I used to drink the soy alternative that “traditionally” shows up on grocery store shelves these days. When you look closely at the labels on these products you’ll often note the ubiquitous “natural flavors” as an ingredient. This is code for “we have a secret recipe and don’t have to share with you” (fair enough) yet more importantly, it’s also code of “since it’s a secret we can put anything we want into it”.  And in all likelihood, some of it isn’t particularly good for us!! Since I…

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Housewarming Gifts for Tiny :)

Now that Tiny has landed temporarily and we are cozying up for the winter, friends are wanting to offer housewarming gifts. It’s such a lovely tradition and we are so moved by this intention and care. We had no idea how many people we have known over the years have been following our unfolding adventure.

But…2014-01-27 15.11.30 Continue reading

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