Hello to all you Wonderful Women

Welcome to my new Mindfulness and Intimacy site for women. I can’t think of a better time to launch something new than the beginning of Spring. To celebrate, I have chosen the symbol of my beautiful little crocus patch, each blossom heralding longer days of sunlight, warmer winds and splashes of colour everywhere.

Springtime is the season for renewal and new life. You may be noticing a familiar kind of springiness in your limbs and spirit, a signal  that there is something new just around the corner. Whether it’s a new job, creative project or simply the urge to clean cupboards and dig in the garden, most of us experience a desire to freshen up our world, both inside and out with the emergence of Spring.

Those of you who follow Mindfulness and Intimacy-Mortifee Training on Facebook will know that this July 18-22nd, Deepa Narayan and I are co-facilitating an exciting five day Women’s Retreat called Women Healing Together at the Hollyhock Life Long Learning Centre on beautiful Cortes Island. Immersing ourselves in the tranquil surroundings of Hollyhock , we will be able to sink into deep personal work as well as enjoy the creature comforts of delicious organic food prepared with love, kayaking, yoga and wonderful bodywork.

Over five days there are windows of alone time, opportunities for walking, swimming and hot tubbing under the stars. I love it there and you will to. The time to register is now at http://www.hollyhock.ca

Also coming up is my new private interactive blog, designed to allow women who have attended my retreats or personal sessions, an opportunity to engage with one another, share experiences, resources and ask questions. I’m really excited about this new direction.

So welcome to the new look and feel of MTI. Please take a look around and perhaps even read my most recent post “Naked Option; a last resort”.

As always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions.

with much love,



Naked Option; a last resort

A few weeks ago, my stepdaughter Claire sent me the link to a deeply moving documentary called “Naked Option; a last resort”.  Recently chosen by the Athena Film Festival as one of the 10 Movies that can change the world, the film chronicles the banding together of women in Nigeria’s Niger Delta to fight against the economic, social and environmental devastation resulting from the presence of multi-national oil companies on their homeland.  After years of silent suffering and watching the efforts of the village men failing, the women threaten, as a “last resort” to strip themselves naked in public, violating one of most serious cultural taboos.

Women of the Niger Delta

Watching the film I experienced many feelings, including rage and deep grief over the suffering of these people. “How can this STILL be happening?” I cried.  (link to film below)

The next morning, during in my meditation, my mind returned to the scenes in the film. I tried to pull back and witness my reaction to the film. I’ve learned that when something on the “outside” hits me in such a powerful way, I need to use it as an opportunity to ask, “How am I like each of the characters in this drama?” Thich Nhat Hanh, in his famous poem, Please Call Me By My True Names, teaches us how all human experience weaves together into a single tapestry of the whole. All that we may consider beautiful, horrible, positive and negative, is found within oneself, if you are willing to take a look.

Please Call Me By My True Names

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow-even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: ever second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old-girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labour camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my truse names, so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.


So, I ask myself, “How am I like that multinational oil company?”

We may try to only invest in socially responsible businesses, and yet, do I really know how the people are treated in the factory where my running shoes and cell phone are made? And how about the raw materials that go into the creation of my wonderfully fuel efficient little Prius? Is the health of someone’s drinking water being compromised?

With increasing regularity, I see pages of Facebook “complaints” about the state of the  world that leave me hungry for personal ideas and self-reflection. How can I/we be more mindful of our OWN actions and responsibility for our world? How can we expect to change if we think Monsanto’s behaviour has no relationship to our own?

The women of Nigeria have been afraid to speak up, afraid of the violence, rejection or abandonment that might result from taking a stand, especially in the face of the masculine. How are they different from women living in a world of privilege? Learning how to speak up has been one of my biggest life challenges. I can say the same for many of the woman I have worked with.

It takes courage and conviction to suspend our judgment of our self and others long enough to find our compassionate nature. As far as I can tell, it’s the only route that can lead to personal and subsequently, global, change.

So thanks, Claire, for helping to remind me to keep asking the difficult questions of myself and encouraging others to do the same.

The Naked Option- Click here to watch the film.

Healing the Feminine Heart ~ Cascadia Retreat Centre November 2012

Healing the Feminine Heart this Fall.

November, 2012  TBD

Join Nancy for a full and enriching residential Weekend Retreat on B.C.’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. We gather at 7pm Friday evening and finish at 2:30pm on Sunday. Once again I am delighted to be joined by Carol Sill.

Treat yourself to this perfect weekend get-away that brings together deep personal work with laughter, creativity and creature comforts of cosy beds and delicious meals.

Retreat Cost: $150 * (includes all meals, materials and accommodation)

* In keeping with my desire to make my work as accessible as possible, I only ask that the costs associated with the workshop be covered. I do not take a fee. Payment can be made in a variety of ways, so please contact me directly.

Women Healing Together ~ Hollyhock Retreat Centre July 18-22nd, 2012

Please join me this summer for a extraordinary opportunity to go deeper into this work in the nurturing company of other women. Deepa Narayan and myself will be co-facilitating at Hollyhock Retreat Centre, a life-long learning institute on beautiful Cortes Islans.  The workshop will be experiential and allow us to discover new ways of relating to ourselves, others and our lives. Deepa and I will be teaching only what we have learned in our own lives and through the past decades of training.

Click to register on Hollyhock's site

If you have ever felt, “if only…why doesn’t he/she change…life isn’t fair…I wish…I am afraid…
I am not responsible for this.. I want more out of life….”, come and join us!

Deepa and I are committed to creating a judgment free space for women from all walks of life to explore  what holds us back from a fully authentic and intimate life. We will be using many different modes of creative expression to wake us up to trying on new behaviors. We also guarantee lots of laughter and fun.

Hollyhock is a special place and because we have 5 days to work together, there is time to wander the beach, go kayaking or take advantage of the wonderful bodyworkers.

Register soon as places are limited. Please see the attached brochure for details and feel free to pass it on to other women you know.

Any questions about accommodation and transportation can be addressed to Hollyhock staff. If you want to know more about the workshop, please contact me directly.

Read more about Women’s Retreats

View from the deck at Hollyhock

Enjoy a garden tour

Meditation Sanctuary

About Deepa Narayan, my co-facilitator at Hollyhock, July 2012

Deepa Narayan has a Ph. D in Human Development, specializing in cross-cultural psychology. She has 30 years experience in research and facilitating workshops around the world to empower women, men and youth. She now focuses on more intimate circles. She has won many leadership awards and published over 15 books on empowerment of self and poverty.

What Women say about working with Deepa:

Nancy and Deepa

My most memorable and deepest session with Deepa lasted less the 10 minutes. We got started and minutes later Deepa said, “ I think we are done”. I continued to sit in that place for the remainder of the hour. It was magical and she just knew where to take me.

Deepa has allowed me to dive into the knowing that lives in my body yet is almost always overridden by my thoughts.
I have come to know the strength of my inner judge or critic; the one who drives me to do more, and say more and whose expectations are killing to my body. Deepa’s warmth and total acceptance of the body’s wisdom has allowed me to experience some of this within myself, for myself.

Working with Deepa this past year has been a healing journey.  Deepa’s compasssionate and non-judgmental approach allowed me to tap into some deeply held beliefs and disturbing past experiences.  She helped me work with them to a point of feeling a shift in my energetic and emotional systems.  I have developed a deeper understanding of my psyche and the work I need to do to continue on this journey.  

“My body responds to the sound of Deepa’s voice. My shoulders drop,my breath expands and my face muscles relax. Deepa has guided me on a journey of self discovery. Deepa works from a place of non judgement where so much personal grow is possible. I’ve begun to integrate many  aspects of myself I hadn’t wanted to look at. This process has helped me to open and experience more of what life offers. With firm and gentle guidance Deepa has helped me go to new places and revisit the places where I’ve been stuck before. Working with Deepa has been a gift.”

A New Direction for MTI

Mortifee Training was co-created by Nancy and Peter Mortifee in 2007.

Nancy and Peter are married with four daughters between them and live in Vancouver & Naramata, British Columbia. When they met, Peter, a physician, specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation and Nancy an educator,  began  a five year intensive Intimacy Training and apprenticeship with Naomi and Douglas Moseley (The Moseley Method). They went on to study Gestalt Awareness Practice with Christine Price at the Esalen Institute and then began to share what they had learned with individuals and couples. They brought over 100 years of life experience to their practice.

Over the next few years, Nancy’s focus began to shift towards working with women and in particular, women in groups, creating the Healing the Feminine Women’s weekend retreats. Peter’s passion for social finance and governance structure, has also led him to exciting new projects, including becoming a member of the Ashoka Foundation Support Network and director of the Trust for Sustainable Forestry. Peter also is very active with the MANKIND PROJECT. (MKP) where men are supported in their deeper journey inwards.

Together with Peter’s sister, Ann Mortifee and her husband, Paul Horn, Nancy and Peter are also directors and stewards of the
Somerset Foundation.