You and I are cut of the same cloth, born of the same eternal life. The ‘details’ of our stories may appear to be different – yet at our core, we are all heading Home.
I was born on the west coast of Canada on November 26, 1961. When I was six months, we moved to the prairies, where my father entered his residency in psychiatry. As his professional awareness developed, he and my mother became instrumental in introducing non-drug therapies to mental health care. Essentially, they were recognizing systems, and the wisdom of respecting the inherent nature of them. This was the environment I was born into.
I loved school. I had a voracious appetite for learning. Math, English, French, Sciences – it all intrigued me.
I held a deep respect and honor in my heart for all of my classmates. Some of them were First Nations. Some of them were ‘poor’. Some of them were struggling to find a positive self-image. Some of them were bullies. None of them bullied me, I sense because they knew that I respected them.
One day, at the end of the school term, the phone rang. It was one of my classmates, someone I knew yet rarely ever spoke with. She asked me, ‘Did you pass?’ It occurred to me that this was an unusual question, as I always passed. Then I realized that she wanted me to ask her. ‘Did you pass, Marcella?’ ‘Yes!’, she exclaimed. She felt so proud. She called me … because she knew I could respect her victory. I could celebrate it with her.
I was naturally a leader. In Junior High School I began noticing inequities and bringing them to the administration’s attention – being a spokesperson for my fellow students. I initiated and organized the first Junior High School grad. In High School I expanded the yearbook threefold, and introduced the first Mini Folklorama – a celebration of the diversity of cultures we represented in our school. Nothing seemed too large for me to approach it. If I could ‘see’ an idea, I could deeply believe in it.
It was in Junior High School that I first experienced myself as a ‘coach’. A classmate was enthusiastically remarking on the clothes I was wearing, asking if I had made them. I had. I loved to sew and design things. I remember the moment her mood switched – from elation, to defeat. She said, introverted, as if to herself, ‘I couldn’t do that’. Immediately I shifted my focus from the clothes to her. ‘What do you love to do?’, I asked, drawing forth from her a realization of the gifts that she had. Her mood immediately shifted – from despair, to hope. Her faith in herself was restored.
I grew up in nature. We lived on the edge of a town, with a marsh and forests and fields to play in. Living on the grounds of a mental hospital, in a row of houses dedicated for doctors and their families, I had few playmates. My friends’ parents had the misconception that the grounds were unsafe. They couldn’t have been more of a safe haven for children. Sadly, virtually all of the patients were inside virtually all of the time. The ones that did come out appeared so drugged out of reality that they weren’t even aware of our presence. It was a surreal environment.
My family, for 103 years as of this writing, has stewarded an island in the Canadian Shield – granite rock cliffs, deciduous forests, loons calling, starlit skies. I spent spring and autumn weekends there since the year of my birth, and entire summers – until my dance training became my focus. This wilderness haven touched me deeply. I spoke with ‘spirit’ there.
When I was seven I began dancing – first tap, ballet, and baton, then a full focus on ballet and later modern dance. I trained with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, concurrent with my full-time schooling. On the hour bus ride each way to my dance lessons I did my homework. I learned ultimate efficiency of energy and of time.
When I graduated from High School, my classmates were baffled why I wasn’t proceeding to university as they were. I anticipated I’d study there ‘later’ – once my dance career was complete. It wasn’t until they saw me perform, a few years later, that they truly understood. I had a gift, and I pursued it. Many of them, even after several years of university education, still didn’t have a clue what they wanted to ‘be’.
I toured internationally for several years with two successive dance companies – Anna Wyman Dance Theatre and Judith Marcuse Dance Company. The first was phenomenally rich and multi-disciplinary repertoire. The second was even more of this, with an opportunity to work with high caliber choreographers from around the world.
In 1988 I experienced an ‘accident’. I was in a rare occasion of riding my bicycle to rehearsal, when a man opened his door minutely without looking. It nicked my handlebars, and I went down. Unlike the ‘tragedy’ that onlookers and colleagues assumed this to be, it was actually an ordained wake up call.
Within weeks I was ‘cracking open an egg’ – an egg of pain I had been carrying, well disguised, nearly my entire life. I entered Day House, a brilliantly designed non-residential group therapy program at University of British Columbia. I began to unravel the mysterious hidden events in my childhood – events that happened on rare occasion, yet had a profoundly bruising affect on my life. I began to heal from sexual and ritual abuse at the hands of an elder two generations removed, and a cousin.
This 'lifting the lid' – releasing of pent up emotions – freed me in a way I had never experienced before. A tap was open, and a surge of creativity flowed out. I healed my broken knee and hand – the physical results of the bicycle accident – completely. I began to receive ‘visions’ – initially of how I would return to the stage, not as a company dancer, rather this time as a solo touring artist. And I did. Nine months after striking the pavement, I was on stage, solo. “there’s a camel on my back” toured to sell-out houses and “must see, not to be missed” reviews. I was sharing something that people thirstily wanted. I was sharing transparency. I was sharing honesty. I was sharing vulnerability. I was sharing truth.
The expectations of people around me reversed – from assuming my broken bones meant the end of my career, to assuming I would continue touring solo indefinitely. Both were wrong.
After three cities and eighteen performances, I knew I was hitting a wall. I could feel it. Something ‘beyond’ me was trying to speak to me. ‘Let go dance’ was what it said when I finally slowed down enough to hear it. And I listened. People around me thought I was insane. ‘Why give up something so precious and rare when you’re ahead?’, they puzzled. Because ‘there was something I had to do, that only I could do’.
I began experiencing a rapid acceleration of insights, realizations, and profound awakenings. It turns out that my solo touring and the physical and emotional healing that preceded it – what I described as “the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life” – was simply a rehearsal: a practice ground for trust – trusting myself, trusting a source of wisdom beyond what I had ever known before.
Within months I was in ‘seclusion’, a period of time foretold by a vision I had when I was ten. In this vision, I saw myself alone, sitting at a table outside a log cabin, in a clearing in a wood. I was writing a book. About what, I did not know.
Serendipities and synchronicities made it clear to me that it was ‘time’ – time for this vision to become tangibly real. I trusted it ... and I entered in.
I had never personally known of anyone who had experienced what was beginning to unfold for me. Essentially, I was untied, like a boat, from a familiar shore – that of the culture and the world I had been raised in and believed was ‘real’. And I was care-fully, lovingly guided by unseen beings – just slightly beyond ‘form’ – into a new reality. My world view was meticulously dismantled several times during the seven and a half months of seclusion. And each time it was reconstructed with more inclusivity, more ‘sense’, more holistic resplendence. I was being woken up.
I was gradually weaned from this remarkable process, first interfacing with a dance colleague I barely knew as I transmitted out of New York City (the final location of this deeply transformational journey) and via Toronto. She so deeply, intuitively recognized the potency and uniqueness of my experience, that she immediately committed to moving with me to Vancouver, to be my aide in easing my journey ‘back into the world’.
What I experienced, essentially, was an elongated Vision Quest – yet with no physical elders guiding my safety and checking for my well-being. In the physical world, I made this journey’s passage on my own. And it was a ‘spiritual emergence’ as mystic scientists like Stanislav Grof were beginning to recognize and to revere.
With Vision Quests – which are essentially the going ‘out’ to non-physical realms to retrieve potent wisdom, retrieving it for the holistic well-being of the physical community – it is often recognized that the courage to take the journey, leaving behind the comforts of society, is surpassed only by the courage to return. For the gifts we bring ‘home’ are not immediately recognized. Their purpose is to expand us. And so resistance can ensue.
I ‘returned’ into the world from seclusion in the spring of 1991.
It is 20 ½ years, as of this writing, since my ‘return’. This has been a magical 20 ½ years.
I have essentially been guided to weave, like a ribbon, like a thread, in and out of society’s focus and consciousness numerous times, essentially “sewing the seem … between darkness and light”.
Immediately following seclusion, I grounded while I integrated deeply, working in Banyen Books in Vancouver while I attended to this. It was while I was there that I realized that 'I must be physically present at the United Nations Earth Summit' – the largest gathering of world leaders discussing the implications of human development on the environment that had transpired to date. I flew – and I participated in its Global Forum in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. I also experienced the Amazon rainforest, where ‘wisdom hung thick in the air’.
Returning to Vancouver, I intuitively saw a gap and I filled it. I convened the ‘Post Earth Summit Conference’, a gathering unlike typical western conferences. A talking stick, a First Nations elder, and a circularly organic process led the day. At the end of it, half the people left, saying ‘this isn’t a conference!’ (in other words, they didn’t recognize its format), while the other half pleaded, ‘please don’t tell us this is all there is: I’ve been waiting my whole life for this!’
And so ViA Vision Into Action Society was born. Again, I was in a leadership role, intuitively designing processes and projects. This time (it’s always the same, simply in different guises of awakening / bringing out the best in people), we were creating community initiatives that leap-frogged people right over their limiting beliefs that they are not creative and thus have nothing to contribute to visioning positive futures - that is, the well-being of the whole. We creatively engaged them in a way that lifted them right past their stuck points. We gave them active tools to participate in constructive and life-affirming, hope-filled ways.
Again, this was not meant to be my focus long-term. Concurrent with ViA I found myself present in the Conclave of Michael, a visionary conference held at the Banff Springs Hotel. My own visions began to flow with gusto. A gentleman from Hawaii asked me if I would be willing to speak on international conference calls, sharing with an expanding group of people the visions I was receiving of planetary transformation. Yes, I would. And yes, I did.
These conference calls escalated rapidly. Within months I was giving away my physical possessions, leaving my continent of birth indefinitely, following my cues and moving to a new land – not for a ‘job’, as we traditionally perceive these, yet clearly for a purpose.
I convened the ‘London Conclave’, a gathering of visionary leaders in science, education, spirituality, and beyond. This led me and my international ‘colleagues’ – a handful of people I was meeting who resonated deeply with what I was ‘seeing’, as if our own personal pieces fit together like a jigsaw puzzle – to travel to India to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Which we did. Four of us met with His Holiness in two private meetings to discuss cosmic concepts of very real planetary transformation – essentially, the evolution of human culture to one of peace and prosperity for all.
Once these meetings were seeded, and several other luminary cultural leaders included in them, my facilitation training began in earnest. In London, England, in the summer of 1995, I began leading movement workshops that inspired participants to envelop their thinking minds inside a deeper inherent wisdom. People thronged to these. Within weeks I was adding “Dancing Into God – A Tantric Reawakening” to the original “Dancing Into Ecstasy – Dancing From Within” workshops. Again, the room was full.
The design of these offerings leaped so rapidly, challenging and championing me to keep up with them – in action and in courage. Within weeks I was also offering “Psychic Empowerment” workshops in which I shared my intuitive and rapidly increasing catalogue of practices to awaken beyond the physical world. A single weekend workshop based on the principles in The Celestine Prophecy, and the stage was set for my first retreats. Before I even began to ‘advertise’ the first weekend retreat – and without anything to name it by – it was already full. A second retreat date was set, and this too filled immediately.
These workshops and retreats were the basis – my training ground – for leading a community of people in a deep meditative inquiry. As soon as the retreats were complete, I knew I was to offer to share my ‘visions’ over the course of a weekend - with whoever had the constitutional strength to endure the potency of their energy. Twenty-eight people appeared. My innocence was superceded yet again, as this sole ‘weekend’ became the launching pad for a two year intensive experience in which I ‘led’ this group – the self-named ‘AT Group’ (Ascension Teachings) via my own visionary experiences into collective visioning. We literally entered group consciousness, in which some people played the ‘anchors’ and some people played the ‘seers’. As if actors in a Shakespearan play, we were revealed in utmost credulity the beginning of ‘Time’. We were both witness to and participant in the unraveling of the ‘story’ of how time, and evolution, and human experience began.
After two years of intense and phenomenal collective experiences, the AT Group dissolved. Like a release from a Vision Quest, we were all to begin the arduous task of integrating this powerful richness into our daily lives.
My own journey led me to return to Canada, where I swiftly met my husband. By now familiar with the rapid transformational nature of my life and work, I knew intuitively to launch my first corporate consulting practice. ViA Vision Into Action Consultants assisted companies to clarify their vision, mission, and values, and to integrate wellness practices into the fabric of their daily business lives.
Two years into ViA Consultants, I officially became certified as a Solution-Focused Eriksonian Coach and as an Energy Medicine practitioner. No sooner had I found the next phase of my professional calling – the vehicle through which I share my industry with the world – I realized that it was time to ‘dance again’!
At the age of forty, I toured solo again for three years. What sublime joy!
On the tail of this resurgence of my silent communication of spirit, heart, and courage via dance, it was time for my husband and I to ‘spill our wisdom’ and make room for more. We birthed four books simultaneously in 2005 – HeartSong: The Secret to a Fulfilling Love Relationship, When A Man Really Loves A Woman, Awakening Instinct * Running the Gauntlet * Windows Through Time, and Birds’ Eye View – A Travel Guide to the Universe which is essentially an abridged accounting of my time in seclusion.
After a short and inspiring foray into convening gatherings of people in nourishing activities through which they could meet and grow enriching communities, it was time to lead retreats again.
In June 2008, my next book H.O.P.E. = Healing Ourselves and Planet Earth became the foundation of a deeply transformational series of retreats.
As if lifted to the peak of a mountain with expansive new views, it was time for me to bring this rich wisdom into 'the world' as many people know it. Again weaving the ribbon, the thread of more inclusive consciousness into human culture, I began focusing my energy and passion in assisting leaders. Veraxis Coaching, Training, and Consulting is essentially a four-legged offering – Leadership, Relationship, Wellness, and Success. My focus is primarily in Leadership, which essentially includes the other three.
I support creative professionals (designers, inventors, innovators) and business leaders who are committed to bringing holistic values of people, planet, and ethical profit into the foundations of their business and organizational practices. I assist these leaders to catapult themselves to their greatest possible effectiveness, such that they – and we collectively – reach the ‘tipping point’ sooner, the point at which inclusive, sustainable values become the norm.
My current Veraxis focus is primarily 1-1 with Leaders via Executive Life and Leadership Coaching and also group with Teams in ‘Fluid Team Dynamics’. Both of these routes identify ‘energy leaks’ and seal them, essentially harnessing potent energy for clear investment while inviting new energy into the system to inform it. The result is dynamic leadership with heart, inviting organizations and businesses to live from holistic values that include and expand beyond their own well-being.
Simultaneous to my professional Veraxis focus, I weave public webinars, tele courses, and similar learning and inquiry opportunities into the mix. I occasionally teach meditation and yoga. I invite my ‘global project colleagues’ to join me in ‘experiments’ in which we dedicate ourselves to explore deeper integration of our physical and our non-physical selves. This has taken the form of several ‘Lifting the Lid’ retreats as well as the recent publicly offered Be The Wave webinar series.
And simultaneous to this – for my ‘work’ is always a mix of three concurrent levels: professional, public teaching and facilitated exploration of new frontiers, and personal inquiry and ‘mapping’ – I am in a constant evolution of my own personal growth.
I live my life recognizing that it is an experiment. Like Gandhi, Jesus, Buddha, Teresa of Avila, Fuller, Jung, and countless others who have come before me and exist now with me, I am seeking to demonstrate the full embodiment of who I am: the marriage and mergence of the heart, mind, body, and soul. This is not academic. This is a practical inquiry calling for courageous and curious experimentation, prototyping, beta-testing. As we find routes to deeper integration of our ultimate capacities, we demonstrate this to our fellow humans. Thus, together we show the way and accelerate the route out of suffering and into peace, serenity, harmony, respect-for-all, and benevolence. This is the reality we came from. This is the reality we are returning to.
My work and play, in all of its manifestations, is a moving into this. I dedicate my life to the Divine. I remember this: I was born to forget, and to awaken, and thus to show a route to awakening.
I am a ‘carrier’ of several names … (esoteric) Anaqua Borealis, (First Nations) Dragonfly Woman, (mystic) Minerva, tearer of the veil, (nicknames) Sunshine, Breath of Fresh Air, Kiran, ‘the light before the dawn’.
To me, Ariole means ‘bird flying upward’. We are this bird – this ‘Dove’ – this union of our core beingness as One.
I am seeking to remember the ultimate truth. So far, what I recognize is that Truth is Love – Love for all beings, sentient and not, Love for all Creation, form and non-form. In short, Truth is Love.
I am committed to becoming a model as Jesus was – of the simultaneous integration of body, mind, spirit, and heart – such that none is in conflict with the other. Hence, I am committed to becoming a model of inner peace, a complete union within myself.
Whether this be applied to leaders in business, government, or organizations; to individuals in their daily lives; to systems and their evolution … the discovery of peace as a way of being is a gift to all humankind.
May you find refreshment, inspiration, and remembrance in what you have read above. May it spark you to want to be the most beautiful glowing essence of who you can become. For U R Light!
With much love,
October 3, 2011
Rocky Mountains, Canada