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the three wise women

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

In my life, the thing that has always made my soul feel the most weary, more than anything else, are the ignorant, misguided judgements and projections, that seem to so easily fall out of people's mouths. They do so much damage, seen and unseen.

I have been guilty of it myself, we've all done it. Some of us have made a career out of it. Some of us have made it a life-long quest to absolve ourselves of the driving force of a wounded ego that is behind it.

Having grown up in a small religious community, I am the most sensitive to religious ignorance that has not evolved. Evolution is scary to any culture or religion. The more you know, the more you know that you don't know everything - and that means you have to take a step back, reconsider and eventually, evolve. The more you evolve the more you have to surrender and the less control you feel that you have. (Until you come to fully know surrender - that she is the ultimate in control that you can have, the truest power that you can wield.) Until you know that though, you are controlled by fear.


You are afraid of surrender because you don't want to lose control.

But you never had control; all you had was anxiety.

Elizabeth Gilbert


So many times in my young life, when I heard adults say the most ridiculously ignorant, outdated and fear-based statements, all I wanted to do was yell something along the lines of:

"Oh for Pete's sake, just because it was true for one person, one time, in some country 2000 years ago, doesn't mean it's true for everyone, forever. They thought the world was flat back then, NEVER FORGET THAT."

Although, truth be told, scholars, Greek and Christian, even 2000 years ago, did hypothesize that the world was a sphere. It was the general population that was slow to adopt it. Which is usually how it goes. If you've read some of my other blogs, like the one on cholesterol and mental health, then you know that I find outdated statements about anything very irritating. For example, when I come across groups that still believe that fats in the diet are the cause of high cholesterol, I want to yell:

"Oh for Pete's sake, just because it was true for one scientist, one time, in North America IN THE 80s, doesn't mean it's true for everyone, forever. They thought mullets where cool back then, NEVER FORGET THAT."

So, today, in honour of all the yelling I have never done. I write down my very best story for you. This is the most pivotal moment of my whole life. Not because I learned something new, but because the experience allowed me to finally embody something old. Something ancient, universal and profoundly true. Something I had always known deep down.

(BTW. As it turns out, I am telling you this story on a day when the funniest story of my whole life, is also about to be broadcast for the world. If you appreciate the heartwarming, worldview-shifting story on this page, then you may want to complete it with some humour. You can find that emotional roller coaster of an interview and my funniest story on Crazy Canuck Truckin's podcast It's here, or if you prefer Spotify, it's here. A YouTube version is here.

Well, then.

Here we go...

Like most little girls, I had dreams of Cinderella's Castle. When my parents announced that we were going to Disney World, my 9 year old self was ecstatic. We flew to Florida that January. I trembled with excitement as we entered the park, I had had visions for weeks, of walking into the castle and climbing up the towers. I could hardly contain myself.

We got to the drawbridge and as we crossed it towards the castle it began to feel like my eyes were lying to me. There were people at tables, eating food. I didn't understand. What were they doing in my castle?! I started running into the castle, looking for the doors that would take me up to the towers of Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel.

There were no doors.

I began to get frantic, I ran back outside onto the bridge and looked at the sides of the castle, wondering if I could climb the edges of the moat and find a door. I looked up at the towers, grief began to well up in my little chest. I ran back through the castle to check the other side.

If you were there that year and you saw a 9 year old girl burst into crocodile tears on the drawbridge of Cinderella's Castle, for no apparent reason. That was me.

I made a decision that day. That would never be me again. I would climb those towers one day. No one was going to stop me. I started forming a plan for my life that very day.


By the time I was 12, my plan was mostly worked out, it seemed pretty straight forward to me. I told no one about it though.

I was to leave the small world I grew up in and head out into the bigger world. I had work to do in this life and I knew exactly what it would look like.

The plan.

Once I was out of the religious clutches and paradigms of the world I grew up in, and did not agree with, I was going to live a life of adventure and stories. I would become a rockstar, sign autographs and be on the radio. I could see myself on the stage and my name in the charts. I was going to live in The Big Apple, wear high heels and sexy dresses, drink champagne and have credit cards. I could taste the finery. I would most definitely live on the other side of the Atlantic, in a cool European City. I felt this was really key. I could almost feel the oldest energy of ancient cobblestone roads and the memories that still vibrated in the stone walls. I would have a cool job and travel for it, one day I'd dine with royalty in the Middle East, Aladdin style. (Remember those fruit shaped jewels hanging around in the old illustrated children's book? From before Robin Williams was the Genie? It was going to be like that.) I'd study natural medicine as well as music. I'd find proper castles, no more Disney bullshit. I'd find them, walk right into them like I owned the place and climb the ancient stairs I'd been dreaming of since I was 4. Somehow it was all gonna fuse together to form something really cool that I would do one day. Eventually I would take my universal education back to where I came from and help people. I could feel that I'd be relatively poor until I was 40, I knew I had a lot of lessons to learn, they would be expensive (they were.) Finally, I would write a wildly successful book about it all and then I'd be that interesting person at dinner parties that tells the best stories and says the most profound things in two sentences or less.

As it has gone, it would seem that only thing left on that list is to finish my book.

In a different blog called "What exactly do you do anyway?" I have written a few details down of some of these adventures, you can read them later if you want. Today I am going to tell you about the Middle East.


I am one of those people that almost always had the answer and didn't know why they had it. In elementary school, teachers would sometimes ask questions at the beginning of lessons to demonstrate a point - we were not supposed to know the answer. Except I usually did. I'd often get that 'How the hell do you know that?" look from my teachers. I swear they'd sign affidavits to that point even now, as being back here, it seems that none of them have ever forgotten me. My journey and assignment in this life seems to have been about affirming and confirming, and then reaffirming, for myself, all that I already know. I don't know why that's the mission I was given when I was born, but when I surrendered to it, life got easier for me.

One of the things I always knew was that the attitude in the community I grew up in, the attitude towards non-christians, towards heathens, Muslims, other religions and spiritualities, was fucked up. I had an innate knowing that we are all the same. I was born knowing that - so the culture I grew up in was shocking to me most every day of my life. That world and the gross injustice and crimes committed in it, that I witnessed, in the name of god, created a systemic sadness in my body that I later spent years in therapy to get out.


When I was in high school I remember hearing a woman talking about Loreena McKinnet and her newest record, that one where she is wearing the long black dress, and she said, "that means she's a witch." And I remember almost blurting out, "that means you're an ignorant jerk." I was about 14 when I thought that. They didn’t have eye roll emojis back then, but I could have used one.

There was a period of time where a crazy ass evangelist came through town a couple times and scared the jesus loving shit out of everyone. Come to think of it, I wonder what happened to him, wait.... let me check. We didn't have google back then. I barely knew the difference between RAM and ROM at that time. (wait. are those even still things?) So hold on, I want to check...





oh god. he's still at it, still propagating fear fuelled, HPA axis triggering, sympathetic nervous system stimulating, pre-frontal cortex shut down stuff and all the things. (I know that's a terrible sentence, but that's what it deserves, I'm leaving it that way.)


good for him. fear sells hard. I bet he has a really nice house.


He came into Winkler with a holy hell fire vengeance. Scaring everyone about the apocalyptic end times, how close we were to them, telling us Bryan Adams and Celine Dion had occult references in their songs and whatever else he felt like scaring people with. And I remember the second wave of him, it was when I was in grade 12, end of the school year. He came through town again.

Some of the girls in my grade and I, were sitting up in the grade 12 lounge, they were going on and on about the end times and all anti-christ everything that was everywhere. I had just fucking had it. I was leaving soon, and I was getting bolder. We were about to graduate and exams where the following week. I finally looked up at everyone, closed my biology text book and binder, folding them neatly into each other, so I didn't lose my place, and I said:

"Well that's great everyone, but just in case the world doesn't end tomorrow, I'm gonna go study for my biology exam. In the library." And I left.

It was the beginning of the leaving. It would take 10 years and then another 10 years to totally leave it all behind. Religious wounds, the barbwires around your self-worth that get wrapped around you the second you say out loud that you were born broken, and need saving and cleansing, are sticky and easily infected. Damning yourself to conditional love that must be earned, that is 'free' the same way that your credit card points are 'free,' and accepting a list of things to do that you will do with the quiet motivation to avoid eternal damnation, takes a lot of work to undo.

I stuck around for a year after high school, and then I went to the city did a year of bible school, looking for something more. Maybe a different denomination had the answer. That year of bible school is where my soul was almost crushed completely. (more on that another time, it was bad) I went to university after that and halfway through my second year I quit that and toured with my band...

(and now I will Intentionally skip half of my book and we will head over to 2008. At the time that this pivotal story begins, I was married to a banker and living in England. We had a flat in Little Venice, in London. Jude Law lived down the street from us and Michael Flaherty was across the canal. It was that kind of life. I'll tell that story another time as well.)

So there I was, in the old European city on the other side of the Atlantic that I had planned on. We'd moved from New York and its high heels, to London, a year earlier. Before New York, I'd been on the radio, signed autographs, won awards and even gotten onto a bill with the Mathew Good Band. I'd done it all and now I was studying nutrition, had a new biology text and was unhappily married, and living in London.

One typical weekend, hanging out at the Montreaux Palace in Switzerland on vacation, as you do, I got a call. It was my colleague Kathryn. I worked with her and her husband, Guy Meadows (he's now known as "The Sleep Doctor" in the UK.) We worked out of a little clinic and pilates studio in Little Venice. She also worked in a physiotherapy clinic in Notting Hill. She was calling me because the owner of the physio clinic, Tony, had just had some of his international clients ask if he could bring a nutritionist along on their vacation. He and his staff were already scheduled to travel to do therapy and movement classes for them, but he didn't have a Nutritional Therapist on staff. Kathryn just happened to be there at the front desk when this discussion was happening and she piped up, "We have one!"

6 days later I was on a plane, to a country in the Middle East, to work for the Bin Laden family.

These were people that my upbringing had told me I should be afraid of. People that Western Media had suggested I be very afraid of.

What did I think of all that? Well, once again, me and my reliable biology text book were, like, "Fuck it. This is gonna be amazing. Chances are good that death will not occur. We're outta here."

Wasn't the library that my biology text book and I went to this time tho - it was a palace.

Here's what most people don't know about that massive family. In Osama's generation there are about 36 brothers, I don't know how many sisters. His father had 6 wives (pretty sure that's right, I am doing my best with what I remember them telling me.) This generation all only have one wife now, just so you know. Most of those women have masters degrees from universities in the USA. The family business is architecture and construction. I hung out with them in one of the palaces they had built themselves, during my time there. The family publicly disowned Osama in 1995 for his involvement with the Taliban. (and you just did the 9/11 math in your head so I won't point it out for you.) As much as I am dying to tell you the funny thing they told me about him, I can't. lol. Sorry.

When we got there, we checked into the resort they were putting us up at and then headed over to the place (palace) where they were staying. Tony and I walked into the main "building" with our host and I almost fell over. I looked over at Tony through the side of my head and whispered. "I can't look at you till we leave cause I'll don't know what to do with this." The scene before my eyes was a throne room, for lack of a better word, 30 feet high marble pillars, a sparkling Red Sea on the other side of the tallest windows I'd ever looked through, and stair cases. Also marble.

Our kind host sent Tony off somewhere, the gym probably. He took me into the 'kitchen' to meet the chefs and cooks that would be doing what I told them to do for a couple of weeks. I met everyone and then he took me into the other kitchen, with more prep space, freezers and fridges, etc. Then he said this to me, casually, matter of factly, like he was talking about how to make jello, he said "This is for when kings come."


"Uh huh. Sure." I thought, inside my exploding mind, "cause I have a kitchen for when kings come, in fact it's being renovated while I am away...working for the Bin Laden' a palace... on the cliffs of the Red Sea. Oh, and I love those 6 metre windows downstairs, that look into the "pool." Very cool. I need some of those"

You get the point.

Those weeks felt like all the best things of my home that I remembered. There were three families. Two brothers and one sister, they had their significant other with them, and their children. Watching them, dining with them (in a dining room full of chandeliers dripping with massive Swarovski Crystals, just like my Aladdin book) it felt like my family - my big ass, bursting at the seams with love, Mennonite family. With all the love and sibling pettiness and teenage angst and the mom's keeping it all under control. The first time I joined them for dinner, one of the men, whose wife had hired me, made the situation very clear to me. He said "you need anything or want to know something, ask her." (pointing to his wife) "She's in charge, even of me. I just listen to her."

We all burst out laughing.

A grandmother was there and she had brought her two best friends from childhood along. So there were three sweet little old ladies running around the palace all the time, usually laughing their heads off, giggling at the very least. Full of joy and love and wisdom. I adored them. One of them was well known in Saudi, as a most devout religious woman, she had the whole Koran memorized. As the time moved on, their English got "better." They began to trust me and become more and more willing to engage. Conversations started happening.

I also had a driver that drove me to the market and carried my bags for me. It was surreal. Tony and I got superstar treatment at the resort. I soon learned that the secret word was "I am here working for the Bin Laden family."

The men came and left on the family jet throughout the weeks, to check on constructions projects in the Middle East and into Russia. When they were there they were working on plans for a free hospital they were building. The family's philanthropy is quite well known in their country.

I wanted to teach them how to make healthy cookies as a nutrition class. The ingredients for that class were picked up at Whole Foods Market in Kensington in London and put on their jet and flown out for us. I am not lying.

When Tony had arrived the day before me, our host had met him on the tarmac and walked off the airport property through a big gate. He didn't get a stamp in his passport.

omg. sometimes when I tell this story I don't even believe myself....

One night we all went out for dinner to the restaurant over at the Four Seasons. We had the whole restaurant to ourselves, I've never been treated so well in a restaurant. It was unreal.

At one point, after dining together back at 'home' we all moved into the main hall with our Turkish coffees. We started talking about my former music career. There was a guitar in the seating area and they asked me to play a song for them.

So I tuned the guitar, walked up on to the small marble podium type thing, where the king and his son sat when they visited. I sat right down in the king's chair. (I mean, why not?) and