Winter Workshop


Wednesday 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th March 2019 Arts Place

Create stories to enrich future
generations. Bring photos, letters, artefacts or stories to help you explore,
reflect and write about your place in the history of your family. Imaginative
exercises and meditations will enable you to glean the wisdom and legacy of
your ancestry.

Calgary Board of Education - Chinook Learning Services

Managing Workplace Emotions
You can't change conflict and opposing points of view in the workplace. You can, however, change the way you react. Become more emotionally aware, harness your emotions and express them positively with control, confidence and composure.
Friday 1st March 2019 12.30pm -3.30pm

Conflict Resolution for the Workplace
Successful conflict resolvers are not born; they are trained. Build your skills as an effective conflict resolver and mediator. Learn to recognize conflict patterns and what triggers and escalates conflict in others, master strategies that reduce conflict escalation, assert yourself confidently and give constructive feedback. These skills will help you work more productively and harmoniously with clients, colleagues and superiors. See Course Outline.
Instructor: Wilma Rubens - see Instructor Profile

Fridays 8th and 15th March 2019 9.00 - 3.30pm

My story straw to gold
We live our life forwards, yet read it backwards. Discover the unique story that your life makes as you reflect on where your desires, struggles, and insights have taken you. Learn to use free-fall writing, guided meditation, and discussion to put your conflicts into a bigger picture and see yourself as the hero/heroine in your own wandering journey even as it is happening. No previous writing experience is necessary.
Read Course Reviews. Instructor: Wilma Rubens - see Instructor Profile

Entangled Enchantments

Entangled Enchantments
My very first collection of poetry. These poems celebrate my journey on the uncharted waters of the feminine. For your very own copy purchase at Cafe Books, Canmore, or Pages in Kensington, Calgary or contact

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Christmas Letter 2018     

It was the night before Christmas…..

Last year as refugees from twenty-seven Canadian winters, Clive and I biked along the Carretera Austral through Patagonia. The Carretera is a 1,200km mainly gravel road.  Had I known I was going to spend Christmas Eve miserably wet I would have planned better. The 23rd Dec our friend Pedro, from Rio, Clive and I pitched our tents in a wooden shelter by a lake. Just like British Columbia, rain hovered over the tree clad hills, water lapped on the shore, as we warmed ourselves by a fire. In the morning it rained. Not much was said as we packed our saddle bags and set off. After a couple of hours, the road steepened, dripping wet and weary we biked past a road workers shelter. Pablo and Annibal, student Chilean bikers popped their heads out. “Hi, it’s dry in here.” Full of smiles they looked as if they were having the best adventure ever. Fuelled up with milo powder mixed with yoghurt and their youthful exuberance, we biked on the wet ripio - gravel road - to the pass.

Tongues of snow descended from the gloom that obscured the summits. Waterfalls spilled over cliffs and snaked through the forest. We zipped our rain jackets up to our chins then hurtled down. Trembling, cold to the bone, I hugged my instant coffee and hot dogs purchased from a roadside food van. The rain trickled down my face as we biked the next 30 km of tarmac past more waterfalls and rushing rivers, breathing hard up the final uphill to the small village of Villa Amengual. I passed a hand painted sign for the Refugio Para Cicilista but we hoped to find better lodging for the night. We dripped around a small supermarcado with well stocked shelves. After knocking on several the bed and breakfasts we were disheartened to find there was no room at any inn.

Wet and close to hypothermic we headed to the Refugio. Once again Pablo and Annibal welcomed us with their big grins.

“Come in. There is a wood stove.” We entered a basic room, their bikes on one wall and mattresses on the floor. I held my wet back to warm stove.

“Come and meet the owner Inis. She lives across the hallway.”

            “Hola! Make your selves at home,” she said beaming. “Yes I have hot shower. You can dry your stuff by the stove. I thought I was going to be on my own tonight. I will make a meal for you all.” Her place was so minimal I was touched by her kindness.

Clive headed back to the supermarket and returned with champagne, Chilean Merlot and snacks.  Meanwhile, Lean and Manuel, Argentinian cyclists who we had met a week ago as they emerged from under their night under a bridge, joined us.  We were with five cyclists, from Chile, Buenos Aires, Rio, Inis and her teenage son. Warm and dry we shared wine, laughter, chatting in Spanish and English. Wonderful aromas came from Inis’s kitchen as she and her son cooked. We sunk our teeth into juicy ribs, chicken, salads and the finest lemon meringue pie. To round off the night, Pablo played the guitar and sang Chilean folk songs.   

Christmas Day after a delicious breakfast, we hugged Inis goodbye. Basking in her Chilean  generosity we rode through the stunning Lago Torres Reserve with wild tall trees and snow covered peaks, our hearts full of gratitude for the true spirit of Christmas.

On our return we celebrated Clive’s 70 birthday with a family back country ski in perfect weather. Then a party.  It was great that we all got together for this milestone.

The year continued with trips, canoeing down the Red Deer with Andrew and Shona in the May long weekend, hikes and backpacking here. 

Clive went to Greenland with his friend Douglas, Andrea, and their son Leif. The trip was cut short when Leif had a serious problem with his one eye and had to rush back to medical care in Edinburgh via Reykjavik.

I met Clive in Scotland. I had a wonderful day with my niece and her three kids 9, 7 and 5  hiking their very first Munro – as Scottish mountains over 3000 feet are called. It was an international day with my nephew in law’s mom, Glynis and his brother, Kevin from South Africa. The kids were amazing – and romped up and down the mountain with hardly any complaints - impressive.

Then we were off to North Berwick for a beach day with my other two nieces and their 4 boys.

“I am loving this 110%” said 7 year old Lewis searching for crabs under the seaweed.

“I am 100% bored” said 5 year old Lucas.  They had a great time climbing on the ancient walls of Tantallon Castle – a place of intense fighting 600 years or so ago – now surrounded with peaceful fields and looks over to the Bass Rock surrounded by swooping gannets.

After a five day sail around Mull with Douglas Anderson and time with friends, Clive and I took off to the French Pyrenees for a wee 15 day hiked. It was fantastic.

In spring Chris spent a month in Tibet on a ski trip – you can watch his adventure “Higher Truths” by Salomon TV.

He followed this with 10 days trekking in Nepal then headed to Sri Lanka surf vacation. He and his girlfriend Jesse visited us in Oct on their way to the Baha. There was a big snow storm here. The roads were horrendous but they were on a mission and left with 6 inches of snow on their surf boards. Fortunately they made it to Calgary and then south where the roads improved. They looked very relaxed on their return 5 weeks later.

Shona and Andrew are enjoying living in Kimberly. She is an Environmental Officer monitoring water contaminated by the disused mine.  We had some good times with them walking around their beautiful mountain town that is much quieter than this part of the world.

We plan to stay home this winter apart from a short trip in January to stay with a friend in Arizona and visit a Mexican Dentist!!

As the days shorten, the temperature drops we are enjoying the eating, skiing, skating and friendship season.  

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Strong Women

I surround myself with strong women, women who have broken the chains of their oppressive pasts, their insecurity and their toxic culture. 

Women who embrace their remarkable bodies that come in all shapes and sizes; who reject the demand that only bodies shaped like barbie dolls are valued; who stretch, breathe deeply, and lovingly respect the temples their bodies are. 

Women who delve into the darkness of their shadows, the emotional pustules that suppurate in their minds stealing their power, their strength and their dreams; who confront the painful wounds that keep them stuck as if a steel umbilical cord is tied to their pasts.

As we women cry, rage the dragons and monsters within transform into friendly helpers, each with rich gifts, ready to support us at every turn on the bumpy road ahead.

Women around the globe seek to connect to their inner light and out of the ashes of patriarchy delicate shoots emerge with strong roots that delve deep into the recesses of mother earth. This new growth withstands the storms and the heavy brutish footsteps trying to eliminate the light. These resilient women serve as beacons for other souls lost in the toxicity of victimhood.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The yoga lounge is a place

………………..where I am known by name

………………..where I am breathed

 ……………… puddle into juicy spots

…………………to feel the fear and do it anyway

…………………to feel vulnerability and strength

……………… let go of possessions and titles

……………… live in the moment

……………… connect to all that is

………………..of friendship and yoga-coffee

                                 A place of peace and grace

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Unwanted Passengers

“Until the lion learns to write every story will glorify the hunter.” African Proverb
Mr Criticism and Mr Anxiety two thickset bullies catch up with me as I drive toward the jagged Rocky Mountains. After facilitating a two day Conflict Resolution workshop for fifteen people for the Calgary Board of Education, I am content. I enjoyed young Devon 18 from Calgary and Kumar from India who ran his own business, spent many years in Japan and spoke several languages. He brought in a box of Robins donuts while another participant brought coffee. A first in my experience.

I watch the flaming sunset illumine the ridges, my hands on the steering wheel, my foot soft on the accelerator as a wave of exhaustion spreads across my eyes, weighs on my shoulders and abdomen.  My thoughts churn.  Anxiety is in the backseat while Criticism sits bolt upright, towering over me in the passenger seat. I jump when he jabs his spiky fingers into my right shoulder blade.

I know these two fellows well. They have been acquaintances of mine for as long as I can remember. The more I chase them away with pitchforks and hand grenades the more they pounce on me when I let my defences down.  “How did you terrorists sneak into my car?” I ask.

With a sneer, criticism the smart Alex replies, “What’s the matter with you? I thought you’d be pleased to have company on the way home. We’ll keep you awake.”

“Actually I am not happy. The last thing I need is your company.” I replied.

“Don’t you know you’re mother gave me the job of accompanying you through your life, so here I am,” anxiety chimes in.

As I pass fields with golden hay bales, they frisk me and suck out any remaining joy. Criticism carries on his relentless tirade, “Why did you tell that dumb story about your eleven month old daughter jumping out of her crib. That has nothing to do with conflict in the workplace.” He drains me of any feelings of wellbeing.

Anxiety chirps in, “How much money did you make? You spent over a week preparing for the two day workshop.”

“You spend all your time writing and creating workshops because you love it.  Wilma how many times have I told you, you need a real job, one that pays? You’ll end up a bag lady with a shopping trolley, roaming Calgary’s frozen street ,” criticism continues.

Shivering I cower into my seat.  Then something in me snaps. “Enough,” I yell. “How dare you berate me like that?  You two have sucked enough of my life energy. It’s time for you to walk.” I pull over onto the shoulder, open the door and turf them onto the frozen verge.

“After all we have done to help you, how can you be so mean to us?” they whined.

“You can think about how to change your ways on the walk back to Canmore.” I said. I slammed the door and began to sing, “Joy to the world, all the boys and girls.”  Lightness spread like a wave across my body as I began to nod my head to the music.

Then I heard another couple of voices, melodic tones as if from angels. I looked around. There to my astonishment beaming at me, were two young women with olive skin, and dark brown eyes.  “Where did you come from?” I asked.

“We have been sitting here all the time. I am curiosity and this is my dear friend enthusiasm. Those two bullies drowned out our soft voices. We love to accompany you on your adventures,” Ms. curiosity replied.

“We hang out in your writing room and whisper words of encouragement.  We are totally present when you lose track of time and spend hours in preparation fascinated by presenting your material in a more meaningful way.” Ms Encouragement added.

And the three of us sang all the way to Canmore.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Seasonal Insights

Let me have patience with winter,
        germination and hibernation,
        dark and light intertwined.

Let me nurture my new seeds,
        their need to sprout,
        in spring sunshine.

Let me let go of the self-doubt,
        criticism, the desire for perfection,
        that stunts my creativity

Let me respect this release,
        and know that it will compost,
        into nourishment to fuel new buds.

Let me trust this process of expansion,
        dreams like plants demand time.
        to blossom and yield fruit.

Let me honour stillness,
        in the silence spirit whispers,
         all is love.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Letter 2013


Another year of good times has flown past. This time last year Clive and I returned to Australia and New Zealand. There we renewed many great friendships and were welcomed with warm and generous hospitality. It was an exceptional time.

A degenerative tear in my left meniscus marred the ski season for me. I am happy to say it is almost 90% better and I am about to go skiing again!

I was in Scotland for two and a half months while Clive was there for 4 months. I spent the first two weeks in May with Shona and then Chris and his girlfriend, Emma came in June bringing exceptional weather. The main purpose of the visit was to see 96 year old Theo, Clive’s father who still lives on his own. He has an unbelievable constitution.

Clive and I biked the C2C across Northern England, hiked and biked on the islands of Canna and Rhum. In June we headed to Austria for 3 weeks and met up with Karen and Tim from NZ. Unfortunately we had to abort our planned trip after 4 days, as the weather was similar to a Canadian winter! We had an attempt at a high mountain but again the snowy weather forced us down. We met a violin player in the Vienna Symphony who had been lucky enough to be rescued from falling into a crevasse. Clive and I headed to the Leinz Dolomites which was lower and did a few trips then met Alistair and Margaret from NZ for a couple of fun days.

Meanwhile back in Scotland my niece gave birth to a beautiful baby girl Esther Grace and a fine addition to her family Daniel 5 and Kirsten 3. After some time with them I returned to Canmore mid July to write and hike. I did some great trips in the extraordinary Rockies and made progress on my writing. Clive went sailing for a month in the west coast of Scotland and helped his dad out. He returned to Canmore in September and promptly went mountain biking.

In the fall I created and taught a new course, ‘Writing the Seasons.’ I loved the concept of looking at life and projects as seasonal. The idea uses journaling as an integrative tool and I am excited to teach it again in February. It is a good addition to the work I do with Conflict Resolution.

Chris has had a good year and was in a ski movie called ‘Into the Mind’ which was creative and courageous for the ski world. (You can buy it on itunes!) He works for Salomon freeski TV – you can google this. He and Emma just bought a house in Revelstoke. We are heading there for Christmas with Shona and Andrew. Shona has had another busy year. She is in her third year of environment geology at the University of Calgary. In the winter on weekends she is a ski coach and in the summer she and her Olympian friend run ski racing camps in Whistler for young girls.

Clive and I just escaped a very cold snap here –37 in USA, mainly Arizona. I have to say it was fascinating and good to visit with friends. However we are happy to be home in this beautiful community, minus the endless malls and 4 lane highways!

I hope that 2014 brings lots of laughter and good times.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lessons picked up on the beach.

I brought back a bag of rocks and shells, treasures from the beaches of Australia and NZ. Not the perfect shells I used to search for, but cracked and broken ones revealing inner spirals and iridescent coatings. Back then I thought it was possible to have a perfect life. Now I know that life is messy. Risk, chaos and uncertainty are catalysts for transformation in the process of becoming.

The trip provided an opportunity to revisit previous choices, decisions, the pain and suffering of friends living with illness, and the joy of others. The integration of these experiences is fertiliser for new growth. As I let go of worn out stories, relax into the space between my thoughts; I am propelled forward on my growing edge. Brokenness reveals an inner magnificence not seen in perfection.

“It is the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance” Bette Midler.