published in Achieving Your Dreams, Dreams/Goals, Inspiration, Intuition, Spirituality by Maryanne | August 14, 2018 | No Comments

Awakening the Divine Feminine – Villa Eyrie Photo Shoot


Women in white, taking a break between events

“It’s a perfect moment to quietly meditate on the cosmic Great Mother who can inspire us all; the divine feminine Spirit of nurturance, known as The Goddess, so revered in ancient times and being rediscovered by women today.”

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

You just never know where you’re going to end up on a Friday afternoon

A couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Barbara Edie (I have blogged about Barb before). She was wondering if I would be interested in participating in an afternoon photo shoot at the oh-so-lovely Villa Eyrie Resort (near Mill Bay) where she and her colleague, Mischelle vanTheil, would be hosting an afternoon workshop – prior to their upcoming 4-day retreat, Awakening Your Feminine Divine (Aug 27 to 30).

The purpose of the afternoon would be to lead the participants in several mini-workshops (a sampling of the retreat) – and while we were partaking in these activities, professional photographers would be snapping photos, to use for promoting the retreat.

I e-mailed Barb back immediately with a resounding, “Yes!”

The afternoon was a delight. I had the opportunity to reconnect with some friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, as well as to get to know a few new fabulous women – all the while participating in some very creative workshops that really got me thinking about what it means to ‘awaken one’s Divine Feminine.’

I suspect this means different things to to different people but I must say the timing of the photo shoot – a month before the release of my book, A Widow’s Awakening, as a novel by BHC Press – was interesting. As you may know, my story is very much about the spiritual awakening I experienced after John’s sudden death, including strong links to the Divine Feminine.

I would love to hear what ‘awakening the Divine Feminine’ means to you.

At the end of the photo shoot, we were all treated to an exquisite dinner at the hotel. The view was stunning!

Here are a few more photos from our delightfully Divine afternoon:

Splash of colour with Juan de Fuca strait in background


Maryanne & Jantina


Maryanne & Susan


The stunning view from the dining room, of the Juan de Fuca strait

About the Retreat

If you are interested in learning more about the Awakening Your Divine Feminine Retreat at Villa Eyrie, from Aug 27th to Aug 30th, 2018, here is the link for further information. I wish I could attend myself but I have previous commitments.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

– Anon

Other blogs by Maryanne about Barb Edie

Teaching Kids & Touching Lives – Mothering in the Broader Perspective

Impossible Dreams – Bringing Your Vision to Life

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

A Widow’s Awakening Novel Coming Sept 13th…pre-order at BHC Press



published in Book Reviews, Change, Death, Grief, Inspiration, Life After Loss by Maryanne | August 7, 2018 | 4 Comments

Note: At the time of writing this blog (Aug 7th, 2018) Yosemite National Park is closed due to the Ferguson wildfire. Thousands of tourists have been evacuated and two firefighters have died. My thoughts & prayers go out to the family, friends and colleagues of the firefighters.

The Healing Power of Nature – Mountains of Light Book Review


“I want to simplify my life so that I’m not worn out and frustrated at the end of every workday. I want to move at a pace that helps me notice what is around me and gives me the chance to interact with it.”

– R. Mark Liebenow, Mountains of Light

Looking for a late-summer read?

I recently finished Mark Liebenow’s beautiful book, Mountains of Light; Seasons of Reflection in Yosemite. I have always wanted to visit Yosemite National Park. After reading Mark’s book, now I really want to go!

This non-fiction read is about Mark’s journey of coming to terms with the death of his wife, Evelyn. It is in nature – through repeated visits at different times of the year to Yosemite – where Mark finds peace with his wife’s passing.

This makes sense. In my experience, spending time in nature and/or with animals seem to be able to soothe chaotic thoughts and emotional turmoil like nothing else.

Here are a few snippets from Mountains of Light:

“I feel edgy and certain of my mortality. I came here wanting Yosemite to shake me out of my stupor and help me face death. And it has, but it feels like Yosemite wants to do this by having me listen to its stories.”

“Mark Twain regretted knowing what lay beneath the swells in the water as he learned to guide riverboats down the Mississippi River because he no longer saw its beauty.”

Part of me no longer cares why natural places affect me so deeply, and I’m not really concerned about what does or doesn’t have a soul. If I say that every part of creation reveals something about nature’s reality then I’m challenged to look at everything with respect and find insights…the wild outdoors simply inspire me.” 

Another observation that struck me about Mark’s book was the significant difference between how he chose to share his grief, through his story, and how I shared my experience with grief in my book, A Widow’s Awakening.

I’m not sure whether this is a gender thing or not i.e. do women tend to be more open than men about sharing the details of their emotional journey?

In A Widow’s Awakening, I yank the lid right off Pandora’s Box of Grief and let it ALL out: the devastation, the hurt, the hatred, self-pity, anger, jealousy, bitterness…the confusing thoughts, conflicting emotions and spiritual isolation.

To be honest, I haven’t read that many books about grief, so I found Mark’s candid but subtle journey intriguing. There was definitely a sense of inner struggle as he tried to come to peace with his wife’s passing but it was rather enlightening to read a personal memoir by an author who I suspect is an extremely private person. The depth of his loss and subsequent sorrow is immense; how he chose to communicate that loss to his reader was very different to my approach.

And that’s a good thing.

For everyone grieves differently. And different authors approach the same subject matter in their own unique way. And yet, despite our differences – as people, as writers – we are still able to find the common threads of love, loss, passion and peace.

“Evelyn’s presence is always with me, especially when I spend time at Happy Isles, her favourite place in the valley. I’m surrounded by the words of John Muir, as well as by owl and hawk, mountain lion and bear, raven and jay, coyote and ouzel, which often show up unexpectedly with surprising inflections of wisdom. I’ve finally accepted that death is a necessary part of life and that I have had to turn away from home and live in the backcountry of stone for a while to deal with my grief. In spring I think I will be ready to turn back toward life.”

R. Mark Liebenow

On a less personal but equally important note, I read Mountains of Light while writing the next draft of my screenplay, God’s Country, about Canadian-born silent screen star, Nell Shipman. Nell’s story is very much about her love of the natural world and wild animals. Mountains of Light was the perfect book to be reading while working on this script. I think we sometimes lose sight of how much wisdom the wilderness holds. And what we lose sight of, we risk losing.

I highly recommend reading this beautiful book.

Retriever not included in book giveaway 🙂

*Win a copy of Mountains of Light

If you would like chance to win a copy, please send us an e-mail by Aug 15th, with the subject line, “Mountains of Light,” and your name will be entered into the draw.

*Contest open to WWOW (Weekly Words of Wisdom) subscribers only. If you’re not a subscriber but would like to be 🙂 here is the link to sign up.

A Widow’s Awakening Novel Coming Sept 13th

Please visit BHC Press to pre-order.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.



published in Activity, Animals, Dogs, Nature, Safety by Maryanne | July 31, 2018 | 2 Comments

Tip: If You Are Going to Hold Onto Something for Dear Life, Make Sure It Has ROOTS


“A tree with strong roots laughs at storms.”

– Malay proverb

Hallo…hope you are having a super summer!

If you look closely at the above photo, you will see an orange & blue Chuck-it ball precariously perched on a ledge at the bottom of a small ravine. That ball was (I suspect) strategically dropped there by a certain retriever, just to test how good MY retrieving skills were.

But I didn’t fall for THAT trap…oh no, no! I knew better than to clamber down a steep and slippery embankment in the middle of the woods with no one around (other than Sadie) to pick up the pieces, should things happen to go awry.

So home we went.

But I have hung out with this particular retriever far too much to be able to actually forget about the ball. So when big brother came to visit two weeks later, I took him on the hike and showed him the ball (which, of course, was still on the ledge because who in their right mind would go down and get it?).

Big brother looked around and did a quick risk assessment. He shook his head. “Not worth it. Leave it there.”

But as I mentioned, I have hung out too long with a ball-obsessed retriever…and now, apparently, have become one myself.

I shook my head. “I think I can do it,” I said, then told him my strategy.

He sighed and gave me the big brother look. But before embarking on my descent, I gave him a second orange & blue Chuck-it ball and told him to hold it in front of Sadie – but not give it to her. That way, she would remain with him and not follow me down.

So big brother did exactly as he was told and all went according to plan. Sadie stayed with him, her eyes unflinchingly fixed on the Chuck-it ball on his hand. I made it safely down the embankment, stepped over the creek, retrieved the ball, proudly put it in my back pocket…and then made a last-minute decision to go up that side of the riverbed – instead of stepping back over the creek and going back up the same side I came down.

All was going well until I reached out to grab onto a big rock – instead of the little tree – and the next thing I knew, the rock gave way and came crashing down onto my shin. Ouch! The rock was actually a large slab of shale that was just waiting for a good excuse to release itself from the dirt of the eroding riverbank.

And along came the human retriever.

On the bridge above my head, big brother calls out in alarm, “Googie, are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I reply sheepishly, crawling up the embankment to the bridge. “But just out of curiosity, what did Sadie do when I fell?”

There is an awkward silence then: “Uh, nothing. She didn’t even blink. I knew this dog was ball-obsessed but I have never seen such intense focus. It’s extraordinary.”

It’s also humbling. But at least I know where I stand in relation to a Chuck-it ball 🙂

There are several morals to this story – the most obvious one being to never risk one’s safety for a silly $7 ball. Another one might be: if you are going to hold onto something for support, you better make sure it has roots.

In this photo from a week ago, you can see the wound on my shin:

Thankfully, it is healing up beautifully.

Other than that, I have been having a lovely summer! I am taking full advantage of my quiet rental home in Mill Bay and am making tremendous headway on some writing projects.

I also took a road trip down to the Oregon Coast and Portland for a few days. Here are some photos:

On the Coho Ferry, leaving Victoria and heading to Port Angeles, WA

Gearhart, Oregon Beach


Ruby beer (with a hint of raspberry…yum!) at McMenamin’s Gearhart


Gearhart, Oregon Coast

Back home, Sadie is making like-minded friends at the local swimming hole:

Sadie & Trevor the Retriever

Take care, stay safe and I shall smarten up and do the same!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. She is the executive producer of the documentary, Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here. Maryanne lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.