Winter Workshop

WORKSHOPS WITH WILMA WINTER 2016

WRITING THE SEASONS CANMORE - 4 Sessions
Monday 1st, 8th, 22nd, 29th Feb 7pm-9pm
Canmore Collegiate High School
Our life patterns journey around in cycles and spirals. We will use the seasons summer, fall, winter, and spring as inspiration for self-reflection, to free our inner rhythms, to glean personal insights, to open up our creativity and unlock the muse. This will develop our courage as writers and help us become a more alert and vital human beings.
Register at
Elevation Place course #13251
http://www.canmore.ca/Courses-and-Programs/
Phone 403 678 8920 In person - Elevation Place

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 5th Feb 9.30am -12.30pm
Viscount Bennett - course 84088

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 19th and 26th Feb 9.00 - 3.30pm
Viscount Bennett For Registration see course84073

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
Sat 5th March 12.30-3.30 course 83829
http://www.chinooklearningservices.com/




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 www.wilmarubens.com

Friday, June 23, 2017


The yoga lounge is a place

………………..where I am known by name

………………..where I am breathed

 ………………..to puddle into juicy spots

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

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

………………..to let go of possessions and titles

………………..to live in the moment

………………..to 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

Hullo,


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.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Celtic Roots

The young man in CafĂ© Books, Canmore replied to my question with a strong Irish accent. “I am from Wicklow, south of Dublin.”
”Do you have Celtic blood?” he asked.


“Yes, I have just returned from two months in Scotland and Europe.” I replied.

 What is Celtic blood? Does it differ from Canadian, Croatian or African blood? I wasn’t born in the Scottish highlands but in Aberdeen the heart of the Calvinistic northeast. It is the aquamarine seas of Mull that floats into my mind’s eye.

 In June, Clive and I spent a week on the island of Mull on the west coast of Scotland. On our first night in Salen, serenaded by the urgent calls of oystercatchers with not a midge in sight, I walked down by the pier on a carpet of pink thrift. I remembered the good times I, as a teenager, spent with my older sister Ruth who left this world prematurely in 1999. She taught in the two-teacher village school for a few years in the seventies. Almost fifty years ago she and I hung out the train window as wind blasted through our hair, as we sped past Loch Lubnaig, collected multicoloured shells on the deserted beaches, walked under the ancient oak trees, on the orange bladder wrack, cut peat, licked pork chop juices off her frying pan, sang Petula Clark’s hit song “down town” as we shopped in village grocery store that smelled of soap, and sang Scottish songs as we walked miles over hill and moor.

This time Clive and I cycled to Tobermory. In dazzling sunshine, red, blue, white buildings crowded the bay, yachts bobbed lazily on their anchors and Clive said the dense jade forest could be Tahiti. I was so very present, soaking in the fresh greenness, the wide seascapes, and the island air. I longed for the day to last forever.

The next day we walked along the track through the purple heather and bracken on the Island of Ulva. Again the sea vistas was scattered with close and distant islands, sun glistened off a million spring leaves, the call of the cuckoo, the antler discarded on the bog, seals and eagles captivated me.

This was followed by a well-spent day striding over Ben More’s rocky ridges, pulled upward by the call of skylarks, curlews and the unfolding views. My character was strengthened by a bike ride in the rain alongside silver beaches, over the forested pass to Pennygael.

 After a long sleep we had a sunny bike ride over the moors to the south coast where we walked along a narrow track beside lapping waves, through the marsh, bog myrtle, honeysuckle, glossy silverweed, familiar smells of childhood, feral goats, a herd of deer, to the dramatic basalt columns, the Carsaig Arches,  eroded by the constant motion of the sea.

The cycle to Iona wasn’t long enough. The cool western island breeze bewitched as we crossed the short straight to Iona dominated by the austere grey and pink granite walls of the Abbey.  But it wasn’t the Abbey I had travelled so far to experience but the silvery sands, the turquoise water, the emerald grass of the machair studded with blue, yellow and pink flowers, and the evocative crack of the corn crake. It was the pebble beaches, the pink, green, white rock smoothed by eons of wave action that took my breath away.

As a child I was rooted in this landscape. At first in father’s Airdire garden, then summers spent on the Island of Arran, as a teen to the Island of Mull and as a university student my roots deepened in Glencoe, Skye, Kintail, Ben Alder, Ben Nevis, mountains climbed with the Edinburgh University Club. Since then they have encircled the planet.

Lingering on Mull, I connected footstep by footstep with the land of my birth and formative years. It was a homecoming, a recognition of the magic, of the tangle of the Islands. And as I felt the mystical call I responded with my full attention, took numerous photos in hope of  capturing the essence of the beaches, yellow irises, and islands to carry with me as I returned to my adopted home in the Canadian Rockies.



Friday, January 20, 2012

Woman's Mystical Wisdom

Are all the mystical poets are old bearded men

with pointed turbans who lived centuries ago?


Do women have mystical wisdom?

we who bear children

experience the mystery of pregnancy

we who lend our bodies to the growth of another

we who labour to bring the child from the inner to the outer

we who suckle our babes

feel our breasts hard with milk

feel it drip bounteously from our nipples

we who see the mystical in the mundane

laundry dirty dishes perfect salads

snotty noses sick children

well made beds clean kitchen sinks


we are no strangers to the unknown and the agony

since the beginning of time

we have created groaned nurtured

our babies into being

we have screamed at the wailing wall

as our children have been wantonly killed by bombs bullets cars

our handiwork is the work of God

yet destroyed as thoughtlessly as the work of the devil


women’s work is love

not the romantic kind

that ends happily ever after

but ongoing tough love

that expands through pain tears and forgiveness

love that causes our tender hearts to ache for the pain of another

love that breathes us into acceptance

love that keeps on loving after tragedy

wild courageous feminine love