WORKSHOPS WITH WILMA 2020



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.
Thursday April 23 2020 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 1st 8th May 2020 9.00 - 4.00pm

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
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

Monday, May 4, 2020

2020 The Year of Covid


"How others will react to this quarantine is none of your business. Make a commitment to change and not forget. Make sure this storm shakes you up so much that it completely revolutionizes your life." ―Elena BernabĂ©, Indigenous Peoples Cultures. April, 2020
My life was ticking along with great workshops scheduled in March, April and May. Enter the wee virus that came with a destructive intention. Just like that we were all introduced to staying home and social distancing. All my workshops cancelled and businesses except essential services shut down.
In my seventy one years I worked hard to create my own reality. And pouf, covid dared to classify me as elderly. Although I did recognize I had much to be grateful for - living in a beautiful home in the Rocky Mountains.
Then on the 9th of April an email labelled ‘manuscript submission’ arrived in my inbox. “Dear Wilma, Unfortunately it has been decided not to proceed with your manuscript……..” - my seventh rejection letter in two years. I told myself, I am strong I can handle this. When pains in my right hip and thigh announced sciatica, I consulted my long time guru Louise Hay. In her book ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ I read the negative belief under sciatica was, “Being hypo-critical. Fear of money and of the future.” This rang a bell. Rejection, self-criticism, not good enough, comparing myself with others have been my floating subconscious for many years. For a few days I repeated her positive affirmation “I move into my greater good. My good is everywhere and I am secure and safe.” Along with stretching, and ibuprofen the pain left.
Next I consulted Dr Google a brilliant psychiatrist, on how to deal with disappointment.  His first piece of advice, “Do what makes you feel better” was a challenge given our endless winter of cold and snow and skiing banned due to our friend the virus.  The second suggestion, “Time by myself” was a no brainer in covid isolation. The third piece said, “attach yourself to your desire not your goal.” Now I had been writing my memoir for so long I had almost forgotten my original purpose - to share my travel experiences of exotic people and places. However as I delved deeper into the writing process I learned a good narrative is not about ‘we went there and took a photograph,’ but about tension, suspense and yes conflict.
When both my editor and a friend asked me if my manuscript was about my mother I rebelled. It had never been my plan to write about mother. Nevertheless I am sure that somewhere in my subconscious I was indeed trying to show her I was right in pursuing my truth not hers. What is/was my true desire?? Approval from others? Money? A career? Telling the world how it should be? Or hard it was/is for mothers?
This led me to days of introspection. I remembered how in the fall at our women’s writing retreat, deeply buried under my nice girl persona, tears in my eyes, I uncovered my profound shame of my words. To grow up in Presbyterian Scotland without being shamed was impossible – smacked over the knuckles in grade one, humiliated by my French teacher, mother burning my book The Naked Ape and feeling abandoned by father’s death at age 10.
Some years ago hiking in the Rockies, it came to me that I was in a cocoon and my writing self barely a teenager. Recently as I meditated on a Medicine wheel I recalled projects and life itself were seasonal. My writing needed the fall to let go, winter to hibernate, spring to sprout new life and fruit would arrive in the summer.
Back to the internet, “Disappointment is helping you become a stronger individual, with new awareness and growth.”
From experience I have learned to watch my thoughts like a cat catching a mouse, that ‘love is letting go of fear,’ and the comfort of a hot bath. To me freedom is rooting myself hiking by rivers, in forests and mountains.
As I contemplated the benefits of writing I appreciate the passionate people I have met who encouraged me to know myself. The classes that I taught that make me feel as if ‘I was born to do this.’ I have slowly learned be compassionate to my erroneous thoughts and my immature writer on her growing edge.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Don’t call me a girl I am a woman.
I was a girl who grew up in Scotland and hung out with my two sisters. A skilled seamstress my mother dressed us in identical dresses. I was expected to be a nice girl that meant sweet, do as I was told, be a virgin until a married a good Christian boy. My sisters and I took delight in judging others, who could never come up to our high expectations of skinny bodies in matching outfits and shoes.
As a girl I rebelled and took off to India.  In Kashmir I left my girlhood behind. There the males touched me as a western woman in objectionable ways.  When I walked down the street if I was touched I thumped him or another male.
When my Mother came to visit she was upset by my displays of anger. I never discussed my woman hood with her nor, what being a woman meant to her.
Now I am a wise woman –opps that almost slid off the page. I am passionate about being called a woman not a girl. I have two grown children, a long term husband and a career. I have earned my womanhood - definitely a wise woman.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020


My Mother’s Story  by Wilma G. Rubens
Dedicated to my female forebears who were nurses – my Scottish grandmother Russell was the matron of a hospital, her daughter, my aunty Ella was a nurse and married a surgeon, her daughter Anne trained as a nurse and midwife, my mother Gladys, her sister Amy and my own sister Dorothy were nurses.

At my mother’s funeral her sister Agnes told me “As a young woman she was a snob and a great one for the boys. She lived more in heaven than earth.” 

Born in Belfast 1911 my mother Gladys was the oldest of three sisters and one brother. Growing up she experienced ‘the troubles’ and drunken men fighting in the streets. Her mother, my grandmother Agnes Cargo said that she would never have had all those kids if she had heard of Marie Stopes. Stopes was a campaigner for women's rights and a pioneer in the field of family planning. 

In the past humanity has been devastated by infectious diseases.  My mother’s beloved Grandmother Marie Cairns had five children. Amelia 18 and Margaret 23 died of tuberculosis. Hodgkin’s disease killed Tommy at 24 and a duodenal ulcer killed William at 37.

Mother left school at 14 and became a skilled tailoress. Her ambition led her to talk to an influential man and she was accepted into nurses training. As a child she taught me to make my bed with tight envelope corners and no creases in the sheets. “When I trained we worked 70 hours a week,” she told me. “The sisters were very strict. We had to make the beds perfectly.”

After her training in Ireland she left to work at a sanatorium in England. Her young patients had tuberculosis. The treatment was based on fresh air and rest.


She contracted Tuberculosis at the hospital. I don’t know how long or how ill she was. I do know that she recovered with close attention to her diet. I am certain we were the only family in central Scotland that ate brown bread, salads and made visits to the Health food store to buy coconut treats. For sure none of our neighbors made treacle scones with soya flour. One day as a child I accompanied my mother to the Doctor to have her lungs x-rayed. She was very quiet and I sensed she was embarrassed as if she had something to hide.

After her recovery she trained at Glasgow Royal Infirmary to become a midwife. She worked in the borders of Scotland during the Second World War as a public health nurse and midwife. She told stories of courageously driving at night through the snow to deliver babies.
She became a fervent evangelical Christian. I imagine she met my handsome father, a minister, at some church event. When she married him I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for her to give up the career she had worked so hard for. I remember taking Mother to visit her younger brother my uncle Harry and how he challenged her, “Why can’t a man have a drink in the pub with his son or daughter?”

And now we face the corona virus. A new experience for our generation. I have a profound respect for my mother’s recovery and her incredible dedication to care for the sick.