Monday, April 30, 2012

A Passionate Life: April 30, 2012

Mother & Son

My oldest son is home from university, and I am so glad to have him back! It was extremely difficult to let him go in September. My first born leaving, going far away—it was akin to torture. That first week was spent in waves of tears: tears of pride, tears of joy, tears of loss.

I have three wonderful boys, and my problem lies in the fact that I love the little suckers way too much; it hurts like Hades to let them go. Both me and my husband missed him terribly when he left—my husband, for the record, cries more than I do, and he made no effort to quell his emotions in the weeks leading up to residence move-in, and the weeks afterward.

It was thrilling to watch my son set off into the world, yet frightening since this was his first big transition away from home, but I was so proud of his accomplishments and of the man he had become. I encouraged him every step of the way and put my own trepidations on hold.

Each weekend when he came home a rush of joy swept through the house, and when he left, he took a little piece of my heart with him. By the end of the year, that little piece didn’t hurt quite so much because he had taken such good care of it while he was gone. And now I feel like everything is where it should be. It’s nice to have him back... even if it is only for the summer.

I love my boys, but I digress. What does any of this have to do with living my most passionate life? What exactly was it that made me feel good today? Well, part of the university experience is the dreaded freshman fifteen, and he was not entirely immune to the sway of limitless pop, pizza, and buffalo chicken wraps. When he came home he decided he wanted to get back into shape and part of that routine involved going swimming with Mom.

I love swimming. The feel of the water rushing over my skin, the feeling of weightlessness, the sound of my breath and the way my body slices through the water with each stroke. I can lose myself swimming. It is as blissful and meditative as my yoga practice and it was a joy to share that with my son today. Even though our exchanges were limited to smiles and sporadic chatter in the car on the way there and back, and to words of encouragement as he made the effort to find his stride once more, it was absolutely glorious because he wanted to be there; he still wanted to hang out with his Mom. :D

I love my boys. xo
In gratitude,

A Passionate Life: April 29, 2012

I love Sundays. Lazy and slow, I love to sleep in and just putter around the house all day. The finishing touch for me is Sunday night dinner out! I love it when someone else does all the cooking and cleaning, and I just have to sit back and enjoy! Last night was Crispy Chicken Stir Fry at Jack Astors.

Even my younger kids love going out to dinner because it offers them something different than the 'boring' food Mom makes. Plus they get decadent desserts like Orange Sherbert and Brownies, which they are not privy to at home. And my oldest loves any and all opportunities to eat Chicken Fajitas—a perennial favourite—despite my chagrin that it is usually the most expensive food on the menu.

I love family time, and dinner is a special time in our family. It has a strict no computers, handheld video games, or cell phones rule. We all unplug from the big, busy world and tune into each other. I love hanging out with my boys!

Sundays are a great way to celebrate the end of the week and always give me the opportunity to appreciate and anticipate all the awesome things that I will experience in the days ahead!

In gratitude,

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Here we are at Chapters!

Since the last picture I posted only showed two empty chairs, I just wanted to prove it was really us! LOL

A Passionate Life: April 28, 2012

On a scale of awesomeness—today was totally awesome! My co-author and I had a book signing at Chapters Indigo in Ajax, Ontario today. We were greeted with free Starbucks coffee by Jennifer, one of the lovely managers, a table right at the front of the store, and a beautiful announcement telling customers all about us and our book Life!

We met some incredible people today. A lovely man buying his wife a mother's day gift, who had just finished taking his daughter to riding lessons. Another gentleman who had just come from a refreshing Tai Chi class. A beautiful woman who had just returned from Taiwan, after living there for ten years. Another delightful woman who regaled us with her latest trip to India... the day was filled with wonderful connections.

By the time our visit to Chapters was finished we were completely sold out of books and had made lasting relationships with some of our readers!

It doesn't get much better than that!
In gratitude,

Living a passionate life is all about doing the things we enjoy, it's about finding time every day to engage in activities that make us feel good, that make us happy.

Try to do at least one thing every day that ignites your passion, that fills you with vitality and joy. Then add a comment below and share your passionate life with others!

Join me as we get the happiness snowball rolling!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Passionate Life: April 27 2012

Today I got to hang out with my writing group because we are planning a writer's retreat weekend in May, and this was the final pow wow for hammering down the planning details.

I love these women. They are supportive, encouraging, observant, helpful and awesome. My life would be dimmer without their brilliant presence!

Writing groups and friends rock!!

In gratitude,

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Passionate Life: April 26 2012

I had a blissfully lazy day today! I puttered, I tweeted, I blogged and I learned a lot at a seminar this evening. Not only did the seminar align with my passion: writing and yoga, but I met several people I hadn't seen in a while and made new friends too! It was awesome catching up and sharing smiles and stories.

In gratitude,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Happiness Snowball

When we dwell on the negative we draw negative experiences, feelings and thoughts into our world.When we emphasize the positive our world fills with good feelings, awesome experiences, and happy thoughts.

I love my son dearly, and I am very proud of his accomplishments, but he is extremely hard on himself. Rather than celebrate his accomplishments and successes, he is quick to point out the areas where he underperformed, or didn't live up to his high expectations. Whenever I try to talk about staying positive, he groans and says, "that's just your yoga talk." Now I can laugh, I know my kids may not appreciate my point of view... yet, but I hope one day they will see that their mom isn't crazy and that whatever we project into the world is exactly what we get. Like attracts like. Positivity begets positivity just as much as negativity breeds negativity.

My son is not interested in changing his story because it's too easy to just say, 'ya whatever Mom' and go back to his negative self-talk, and dissatisfaction. Whether it makes logical and rational sense or not, we may find ourselves addicted to a certain state of being—even if that state of being is miserable. After all, we are comfortable there, it's what we know, and we will continue to tell our stories of unhappiness to those around us because misery loves company. I like to call this behaviour Dancing with the Blues. In a dance there are certain steps and there is a specific way we interact with our partners. When we dance with the blues, or anger, or frustration, or negative self-talk, we follow the same steps—the same behaviours, and those around us react or interact with us in familiar ways, in predictable patterns. I say, "I had a bad day; my job sucks." And my friend pats me on the back and says, "There, there, don't worry about it, your boss is a jerk; it's not your fault." In this scenario I threw out negativity and got validation: I'm right, my boss is wrong.

The dance becomes habitual and keeps us dwelling on the negative. So we keep complaining and stay stuck in our rut, and the good meaning people in our lives keep enabling this behaviour by playing along—they keep dancing with us.

No one can force us to become more positive: think of the saying 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.' We have to want to change, we have to want to be happier, we have want to live a passionate, fulfilled life! But when we make that decision, when we genuinely, deep down inside decide that we want more out of life, that we want to be happy, then we have to change the dance. We have to change our steps so that others will have to react to us differently. If negativity was your thing, change your story. Become the most positive person you've ever met!

I loved the movie Yes Man. In it, Jim Carrey played a perpetually negative character, until one day he started changing his dance steps, he consciously changed the way he interacted with life. Low and behold, everyone and everything around him changed and adjusted accordingly, they learned the new steps. He learned to say "yes" to life instead of "no," and by the end of the movie he was genuinely happy. His life changed for the better and he was deliciously positive!

If you desire change, if you are looking for happiness, it starts with a simple baby step. Do something—anything (caveat: as long as it does not hurt another), that makes you feel good! Change your dance steps. Listen to some upbeat, awesome music and burn up the dance floor of life!

A passionate life is about filling our days with the things we enjoy, with the things we love. The things that bring us pleasure and make us happy!

Take one bold step toward a life of happiness and fulfillment every day—get out there and play; have fun, and then tell us all about it! Share your passionate life! Every day I will post something that I did that made me happy. I'd love it if you shared one special part of your day too! Add your comment below! Let's get this happiness snowball rolling!!!

In gratitude,

A Passionate Life: April 25, 2012

Living my Passionate Life!

April 25, so far I got up on my spinning bike, listened to some awesome blues - Howlin Wolf rocks - and caught up with my tweeps on twitter! Feeling pretty amazing this morning!

In gratitude,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What are you balancing?

I asked my yoga class today what they needed to bring more balance into their lives: ‘money,’ ‘schedules,’ ‘slowing down,’ ‘doing less,’ ‘more planning,’ were just some of their answers.

In our book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day, we talk about a key concept: wisdom.

“Grace stopped and turned toward Eve. “If you project yourself forward to near the end of your life, Eve, where do you see yourself? Are you sitting in a solitary chair surrounded by luxury homes, your life filled with material possessions and empty relationships? Or are you sitting on a porch swing beside your soul mate, surrounded by your children and grandchildren? Is it the stuff or the people that are important? Is it the quantity or the quality?” Grace’s searching eyes held Eve’s gaze. “You see, Eve, the answer to that question is true wisdom, the knowledge of what is truly important to us. Everything else is extraneous.

When we are out of whack, when our lives are out of balance our Alignment System lets us know we have jumped track and are no longer following what is important to us.

“The alignment system is trying to tell us that we need to align with what is important and let go of everything else. Any time we do not feel good—be it about a decision, a situation, a relationship, our thoughts or fears—it’s the alignment system, our soul’s way of trying desperately to get our attention. It’s just like being sick. If we catch a cold, a runny nose, sore throat and raspy cough are all symptoms of an infection in our body. The alignment system works exactly like that, giving us the symptoms of ruts, stress or general feelings of discomfort, fear, malaise, sadness, anger, guilt, doubt, etc. to let us know we have lost touch with our true priorities—what is genuinely important to us.”

If your life feels out of balance ask yourself if you are stressing about the ‘quantity’ in life: your status, your lifestyle, the admiration and validation from your peers, the accumulation and/or holding on of material ‘things,’ a house, a car etc,. Chances are if you really look at what it is that you are trying to juggle, that you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off chasing, that you are stressing and/or lamenting over, you might find that they are just superficial things and ideals.

We cannot take anything with us when we leave this glorious existence. And in the end, we all know that when we look back it will be the love that we shared and felt, and the joy we had in living that we will cherish most. We will not be lamenting the loss of a big screen TV.

Enjoy each glorious moment and remember what is truly important to you. Let go of striving for and trying to hold onto quantity. Follow quality instead. Follow what feels good and you will enjoy a balanced life of happiness and fulfillment every day!

In gratitude,

A Passionate Life

With Neil Pasricha, author of the Book of Awesome, finishing his 1000 Awesome Things blog, I thought it was time to up the ante so to speak and start another chapter in Life’s blog called A Passionate Life.

Neil’s journey and juicy contribution to our lives was his commitment to noticing all the awesome things in life. I am proposing that we all join together and share and document the awesome things in life that we are doing! How are you living a passionate life? How are you following what feels good?

Every day let’s take a moment to share at least ONE thing that we did that day that made us feel good. How are you bringing passion into your life, what are you doing today that brings you joy?

April 24, 2012
My passionate life:

Today I took time to edit my novel in progress. I went for lunch with a good friend and I laughed and ate far too much then I enjoyed a piece of decadent chocolate cake!

What did you do today to live a passionate life?

In gratitude,

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thank You!!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Official Launch Party for LIFE today at 3 Steps Up Coffee House in Whitby!!
We have the best fans, and friends EVER!!
Love and Hugs to all!
In gratitude,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

LIFE in the news!!!

Durham authors on 'a mission to help the world'

Self-help book also a work of fiction

Durham authors on 'a mission to help the world'. BROOKLIN -- Annemarie Greenwood and fellow Durham resident Marissa Campbell have co-authored 'LIFE: Living in Fulfillment Every Day'. March 27, 2012 Jason Liebregts / Metroland
DURHAM -- Another self-help book?
Collaborators Annemarie Greenwood of Oshawa and Marissa Campbell of Brooklin already know what you're thinking: they're often heavy and dry.
But think again: they're LIFE: Living in Fulfillment Every Day is not your typical self-help book. It's a work of fiction, a story about Eve, a mom who's balancing family, work and school. While she has a busy life, Eve feels that something is missing. When she meets Grace, the two begin a dialogue and Eve begins a journey of learning about herself.

And it's easy to see something, maybe a lot, of ourselves in Eve.
"LIFE was really written as guide for you to find your own unique path to fulfillment," Campbell says.
"As Eve goes through this transformation, she goes on a personal journey of growth and the reader goes along," Greenwood says.

The women are yoga instructors and took a course together in Toronto. They would talk about philosophy during the trips, asking 'why are people unhappy'. Campbell ultimately said, 'we really should be writing some of this down' and the book was born. They argue that, like Eve, our lives are so busy that we never take a moment for self-awareness, to ask ourselves what it is that motivates us. Instead, expectations are externally placed on us, obstacles that prevent us from living every day with passion and joy.

Greenwood jumps in to stress that the authors aren't claiming to have the cure for depression. But Campbell says they were on "a mission to help the world."

As for the writing, the two made an excellent team. Greenwood says "writing for me takes a long time," but the retired teacher enjoys brainstorming and editing. As for Campbell, she was a published author before LIFE.

They've already received some great feedback on the book. And the highest praise of all has come from some of their students, who have said, 'I feel like you're writing about me'.

"It really makes you feel good to know you're helping people," Greenwood says.

The authors launch their book on April 21 at Three Steps Up, 605 Brock St. N., Whitby, from 1 to 3 p.m.

On April 28, they'll be signing copies at the Ajax Chapters from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visit to learn more.
And check out their blog at

 Source: Durham by Mike Ruta

Can LIFE really be that simple?

It can be! 
And our book can show you how.

LIFE is now available on KINDLE!!  Only $3.99

Get your copy today: LIFE on Kindle!


"Fans of Eat, Pray, Love will enjoy this story." Read2Review, UK

"I picked it up and after starting to read it, I could not put it down." Noanie, Ontario

“I tell everyone I can, don’t wait another day, get the book” Kim, Ontario

"This book is an answer to a prayer." Erni, Ontario

“This book truly changed my life.” Tonya, California

“The LIFE book is as spiritually powerful as anything written by Eckhart Tolle, yet literally, as gentle as two women sharing a conversation by the beach.” Alan, Oshawa

“This will forever be my ‘go-to’ book when I need to be reminded as to who I am and what makes me truly happy.” Moya, Ontario

"Each & every page is filled with truth & wisdom. Thank you for sharing these teachings with me and the world." Irena, PA

"It doesn’t matter where you are in your life, your age, or experiences, this book was written for you!" Laura, Ontario

Embody your fullest potential & live the life you've always wanted!
In gratitude,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ready to change your story?

On Oprah’s last Life Class, Tony Robbins spoke about overcoming fear and living a more courageous life. The last two episodes of Oprah’s Life Class have really focused on ‘story’. The story we tell ourselves, and have been telling ourselves for years, that hold us back. I often write in this blog that whatever we think we draw toward us. Negativity breeds negativity, positivity breeds positivity. It really is that simple. And while we make it difficult, because our Ego doesn’t want to let go, we can change our lives by changing our stories.

In our book, we use the exercise of the ‘Shoebox’ to illustrate the concept of removing negativity from our bodies. Essentially, if we remove the old story, we can find our way to a new story, a new life.

Take a moment for yourself. Lock the door, close your eyes, and get nice and comfy while you play with this concept.  I want you to imagine a shelf in front of you. On that shelf is a shoebox. I need you to suspend all disbelief and work with me here. For a moment, just try and remove every negative emotion, memory and feeling from your body and mind. This is not a test, you are not trying to get rid of it forever; I just want you to see what it can feel like if you let go of your past for one uplifting moment.

If at any time you become uncomfortable, please stop. Take several deep breaths and repeat something that makes you feel calm and centred, perhaps saying in your mind ‘love’ as you inhale and ‘peace’ as you exhale. Only continue if you are ready. The exercises in the book are much more detailed; my intention here is to give you a taste of what you are capable of, a glimpse of your true potential. You can change your story and conquering your obstacles once and for all!

Here is a list from the book of some of the things I’d like you to remove from your body and mind and place in that shoebox. See if you can go slowly and truly feel each and every one of the suggestions. See if you can feel yourself get lighter.

Place into the shoebox:
Your past memories.
Your beliefs and biases.
Your personality, (all the adjectives and descriptors you use to describe yourself).
The many masks you wear on a daily basis, (these are the labels that you use to identify yourself—the concepts that you are a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a teacher, a worker, a healer, a victim).

Then see if you can remove any and all negativity feelings you’ve ever felt, or may be feeling right now.

Place into the shoebox:
Feelings of betrayal
Painful memories
Feelings of abandonment
Emotional, or spiritual hurt

Remove all your hurt and pain, all your anger and guilt, all the fear and questioning from your heart, your mind and your body. Lift all the negative emotions and feelings from deep within and lighten your entire body. Remove it all and place it into the shoebox.

Envision all those painful memories and emotions lifted from your body and see them safely secured away into that shoebox. Feel how the memories and emotions are no longer a part of you. Sense that they are now completely separate from you.

They are all there in that shoebox and you are here, well and peaceful without them.

That shoebox is your story. It is full of all the things that have held you back. But you can choose a life without them. It is possible to leave that old, tired story behind for good. Have the courage to walk away, start a new story, a new life, a new you. Don’t look back! Follow what feels good! Embody your fullest potential and live the life you’ve always wanted!

In gratitude,

Weekly Wisdom for LIFE: Excerpts from the book.

“Life really is simple,” Grace continued, as if reading her mind. “We think it is complicated because the ego distracts us from what is truly important to our heart and our soul. It leads us away from what really makes us feel good and sends us on wild goose chases in search of material and financial acquisitions and status. It does not want to lose its identity and hold over us! So it will do everything within its power to make us falter on our path. It will throw handfuls of doubt, buckets of guilt, and mountains of fear our way. As we move up the path to fulfillment, we must remember that enlightenment, or waking up, is a rather tumultuous stage of growth. In the game of life, these first couple of steps are similar to a rugby match. This is no gentleman’s sport! It can be downright dirty and hard. We may take two triumphant steps forward, only to fall face down as we struggle to overcome the firm grip of the ego’s negative back talk, doubts, fears and limiting beliefs. However, if we doggedly persevere with our intention of feeling good, then we will find the fortitude to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and plough ahead."

Friday, April 6, 2012

LIFE Featured in Paper!

"Another self-help book? Think Again: They're LIFE: Living in Fulfillment Every Day is not your typical self-help book. It's a work of fiction, a story about Eve, a mom who's balancing family, work, and school. While she has a busy life, Eve feels that something is missing. When she meets Grace, the two begin a dialogue and Eve begins a self-learning journey."

"LIFE was really written as a guide for you to find your own unique path to fulfillment."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beautiful Words

Beautiful words from our Facebook contest winner, Irena 

Dear Marissa & Annemarie,

I rarely win things so I was pleasantly surprised to be the winner in your raffle. I am sure the universe conspired to put your amazing book in my hands for it came to me at a time when I needed it most. Each & every page is filled with truth & wisdom. I am delighted to say that I am now on my way to being happy! I know I will be reading this book over & over again. Thank you for sharing these teachings with me and the world.