On November 26, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

For those of us who live with gray skies winters and lots of rain instead of blue skies, snow and sun, or better yet, the warmth and sun of tropical locations, may experience S.A.D. and/or full blown depression and everything in between that makes us feel not so great.

(* Disclaimer : I am not a medical professional, consultant or expert. This is my own personal journal of thoughts and writings and I’m not providing medical advice or recommendations. Please make sure you do what works for YOU only and only what is right and safe for you personally. Please seek out the professional advice of a counsellor, your physician, psychologist, local hospital or otherwise. Thanks!)

I resisted purchasing light therapy for years! However, as last winter was my worst winter on Vancouver Island since 1999, it had me saying this year, “enough!” No more suffering through the fall and winter. The other day after being spurred on by a SAD Light Twitter Conversation with some online pals, I decided that very moment to go out and to finally purchase one; a S.A.D. light.

The one in the tweet above, wasn’t available, and in being in a rush to get started, long story short, after much online research and in-person shopping, I settled on the Philips GoLITE Blue (HF3422/60) which I purchase at my favourite store, London Drugs! (and NO these aren’t affiliate links or a promotional post; I don’t get paid by anybody to say this, I am simply sharing what works for me, and maybe it will help somebody else)

There may be better light therapy products out there and there certainly are bigger ones, but for me, for many reasons, this one is perfect for my needs.

Did it work? Does it work? Or is it all hype?

Some may not believe me, but being the super-hypersensitive person that I am, I felt the effects immediately!

On day one, I was literally running around doing my tasks first thing in the morning. My mood definitely was right away better and I had higher and more sustained energy levels throughout the day without a doubt. Day One.

Yes, these things work! (at least for me)

So far this has continued each and every day that I use it; improved physical energy, ability to complete (physical and mental) tasks better, improved mood, and I mentally and emotionally just feel BETTER.

First thing I do when I wake up is I turn on the light, still while in bed; and guess what? In no time, you don’t want to stay in bed! Up and at ’em! Time to get moving!

Then I bring it into the kitchen with me and put the light on again while I make my morning greens, mixed berries and protein smoothie in the blender.

If this trend continues, I’ll be able to breeze through the gray skies Island winter this year, energized! Fingers crossed.

Always Love,Brenda


philips goLITE blu energy light

philips HF3422 SAD light


I have recently taken on learning ukulele and am totally enjoying being a beginner. LOVE being a beginner!

When you have been an accomplished singer/musician in past, perfectionism can creep in and paralyze, if you have been away from music for a long time like I have been.

This is why in part, I chose ukulele. I have not played a ukulele since maybe grade 4? (in what grade did we learn ukulele?) I have no clue how to play one and that is refreshing and freeing.

One other reason I chose ukelele is I that love Hawaii! … but also, the ukulele is such an incredibly HAPPY instrument, and I find that, as many others do, for me it is impossible to stay sad, depressed, lonely, or to experience any negative emotion, and play the ukulele at the same time.

I am loving the journey so far, I have a long ways to go, and for now my ukulele playing is just for me and for only in private, but what I can share, is my JOY in that I started.

I encourage everybody to be a beginner at something, anything; it’s good for the brain, heart and soul.

And so I leave you with a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole with his ukulele.

Always Love,


Just Be YOU

On November 24, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima


Thank You

On November 24, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

Thank you for blue skies.
Thank you for the sun.
Thank you for the forests.
Thank you for the sea.
Thank you for the rivers.
Thank you for the creeks.
Thank you for the rain.
Thank you for fresh air.
Thank you for the earth and for the soil.
Thank you for fire that cleanses and offers renewal.
Thank you for plentiful and fresh clean drinking water.

As I spend so much time in nature on Vancouver Island with my dog Teddy, I am blessed with a state of gratitude daily. It is impossible to not feel grateful amongst the green lush foliage and greenery of a West Coast rain forest when walking in it. The greens alone, are healing, a visual paradise for all of the senses, heart and soul.

Alongside gratitude, is peace, should we choose it.

Today, may we promote peace, compassion and kindness for all beings. May we have strength the wisdom to bring goodwill to all we meet.

Always Love,


I Can’t Thank You Enough

On November 23, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

Carly Simon and Ben Taylor say it (and sing it) best.

I can’t thank you enough.

Always Love,



Infuse Your Life With Action

On November 22, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”

—Bradley Whitford


Dealing with chronic pain tough but it can be done

On November 19, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

(repost from a 2011 article that I wrote)

Let’s face it. Being in constant pain is no fun.

For those of us who live 24/7 with the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, there is usually a desperation to find something, anything that will relieve us of the seemingly never-ending pain.

I’ve been living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain since June 28, 2000, as a direct result of a car accident on Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia (yet) and no, it is not all in my head.

And chronic pain? Well, I’m not alone there either.

  • *One in five Canadians suffer from chronic pain, children are not spared and the prevalence increases with age;
  • Chronic pain is associated with the worst quality of life as compared with other chronic diseases such as chronic lung or heart disease;
  • Chronic pain costs more than cancer, heart disease and HIV combined. Estimates place direct health care costs for Canada to be more than $6 billion per year and productivity costs related to job loss and sick days at $37 billion per year.

(*Phillips and Schopflocher 2008; Schopflocher, Jovey et al. 2010)

My goal is to offer hope, inspiration and encouragement to so many people who suffer with daily pain.

I offer speaking engagements, and am working toward running (not walking) eight kilometres.

One step forward, two steps back — that’s how chronic pain works.

At the moment, I’m getting help from Mia Sutherland (now Mia Jerritt) a medical exercise specialist at the Core Fitness Studio in Comox. Mia’s chronic pain program is superb.

Exercise, although painful, is crucial to happiness, when living with pain.

I believe that too many people who live with chronic pain give up, stop moving, stop trying.

Although I understand (I have been there, and still is there, on many, many days), it breaks my heart, because people just need support. They need people in their cheering section, and to know, that it doesn’t take much movement, to get the ball rolling with movement again to receive some benefit physically, but even more importantly, socially, mentally and emotionally.

I know exercise well, having studied physical education at a university level, and having worked for New Westminster Parks and Recreation for almost 10 years, and having been the co-ordinator for the pilot project for the City of Courtenay’s Prescription For Health Program.

If you are reading this and suffer with chronic pain, and I could say just one thing to inspire you, it is :

Never, Ever, Ever Give Up.

There is always hope.

There is always someone out there who will reach out and give you a hand, if you will receive it.

This class with Mia Sutherland is that hand for me. After 10+ years of living with chronic pain, I know that with fibromyalgia can come anxiety and overwhelming fear, and that to just show up, to get through the door of any fitness program can be hard for many of us, and takes tremendous courage and mental energy.

Maybe if I can share a little of my journey, it might help you walk through the door?

You can do this.

By Brenda Johima

You can find Brenda Johima on Twitter at @brendajohima and on FaceBook at @johima

Photo: Brenda Johima Nordic walking in Paradise Meadows, on Mount Washington.


Article Update: Mia Jerritt is now an ACCC & Certified Professional Coach through the International Coaching Federation and owner of Integrated Life Strategies.


What the Heck is a Creative Block? Tips to Move through it.

On November 15, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

Have you ever had a “creative block”?

(This is a re-post of an article that I wrote in 2007)

“What the heck is a creative block?” I used to think. I had never had one before, and could never relate or understand how it could possibly happen to anyone. It made no sense to me at some level. And that was in part, how my (past) company, CREATIVE NUDGE, came to be.

I believed (and still do) that we are all creative beyond what we could ever create in this one lifetime.

Our levels of creativity truly are, limitless. I set out to help people to discover their innate creativity and to live their dreams, believing it could never happen to me (a creative block, that is).

Well, I had a creative block! Oh my goodness!

How can a Creativity Consultant, Creativity Coach, Graphic Designer, Creativity Speaker, Website Designer, and Fine Fun Visual Artist have a creative block?

I had deadlines to meet afterall. Was this to be the end of my business? What if people found out? Well, now that I am putting it on the world wide web, they are sure to find out!

Anyway, to end the drama, it was awful. What I did try to do during that time of “blocked creativity” was to “practice what I might preach” in my Creativity Coaching practice to others, and to calm myself down, remove a little perfectionism, and see what could be done about this.

Usually, deadlines and creativity do not go hand in hand. At least not in a truly naturally way. If you truly follow your own inner creative process, it really cannot be rushed or forced. It really goes, and creativity flows, in its own pace and time, when it is ready, and not a moment before, and not a moment after.

Things happen in the creative process, exactly as they are meant to, when they are meant to. That is great. But how does knowing that help you if you are experiencing a creative block?

How do you create on demand if it is required for your career, or for your paycheque?Here are a few tips that I learned from my own experience:

  1. Don’t sweat it. Do something else. Don’t try to force it.
  2. Go for a walk, a swim, a workout. Do something physical, to take your mind off of it, and to get the oxygen flowing back into your brain and body.
  3. Look at the big question “are you afraid?” and if so, “what are you afraid of?” and then once you have the answer, go out and do, that which you fear. It really does work.
  4. Check your inner self to see if you have been getting enough sleep, enough rest, enough vitamins and nutrition through your healthy diet.
  5. Practice deep breathing, breath work, meditation, and try making sounds with your voice, vocalizing and singing. We are trying to release stress, and move the energy here, and to open up the channels again, to receive the creative force.
  6. Create in a different medium. Switch tracks. If you are a designer, as many designers know, move to painting, and get off of the computer, to be inspired. If you are a writer, get out that camera and go outdoors and take pictures.
  7. Change your subject matter. Work on something else for awhile. Preferably something of a completely different topic, or even better, pick something that you know nothing about. Stretch your brain in a different direction.
  8. Stop being so responsible. Stop being perfectionistic. Even if only for a moment, or a day. If that is how you put quality into your work, and create respect with your clients, then you do not have to give it up completely, but you need to give it a rest sometimes.
  9. Go out and have some fun! Fun is an amazing creativity energizer and creativity motivator. After doing something fun and having a great time, and by being distracted from your deadline or project at hand for awhile, it is incredible what will show up, in order for you to complete your project effortlessly, and without worry.

My motto and my own quote of the day for today is “When people have fun, more learning gets done. When people have fun, more things get done.”

by Brenda Johima


To Think or Not to Think, That is the Question.

On November 15, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

“Get Out of Your Mind and Get In The Flow”

(This is a re-post of an article that I wrote in 2007)

“Creative Thinking” is wonderful topic for discussion. We can ALL think creatively and actually do it all day long.Yes, there is a time for creative thinking and there is a time to not think, to let go of control and to let the creative process flow in the direction it is meant to go.

Do you need creative thinking training?I think not always.

Sometimes we simply need an uncovering of the brilliance that is already there, sitting and waiting to be used to its fullest potential.

Sometimes the creative process actually requires that we not think.Are you “out of your mind?

Yes?Great! I say, Great!

You are not out of your mind? Well then, “Get Out Of Your Mind and Get In The Flow” as I would say.

The ability to think creatively, yes, is crucial in life and in the business world. It is a skill, and can be learned. There are many masters in the field of creative thinking and there is an entire movement globally, on Creative Thinking.

We all know about “Thinking.”

We all think and plan, think and plan, plan and think, and this is sometimes a necessary part of the creative process.

And, creative thinking is not the only way to find creative solutions to business and life challenges, and we must not get caught up only in the mind.

Very often, the best little gems of creative inspiration come from not thinking, letting go, and through entering into a meditative like state, or by just taking action. Some people call this “flow.”

I do not mean that you have to “literally” meditate, although I am a 100% believer in the power of meditation. However, that is only one tool and path on the road to creativity.

By not thinking, for example, when one abstract painter lets go of control and is “in the flow,” the artwork simply effortlessly comes out onto the blank canvas. A songwriter’s lyrics seem to come from some place other than from rational mind. A scientist gets his best ideas while swimming underwater. Others get ideas in their dreams.

Very often great ideas come when you least expect it, when you are not thinking.

This is what I mean by not thinking. Sometimes there is too much emphasis on creative thinking in the field of creativity and innovation, and often what we really need to do is just the opposite … relax, have fun, have a good time in life, laugh, let go of control, get out of our mind, and just let the great ideas show up and bubble to the surface.

“Not Thinking” is my favorite place to find creativity. This is when we trust and have faith, and “let go.” Some people feel very uncomfortable here. Depending on your own beliefs, you might call it prayer, creator, believing in miracles, channeling, a higher power … basically, you are trusting that creativity is coming from a place outside yourself, through you. This requires trust, faith, belief and the willingness to let go of control.

You have to be willing to be in the unknown, to surrender, to let go and to see what happens. See what shows up on the canvas of life and business.

An open mind, an open heart and an open channel for the creative force to flow through you, will always guide you to the steps to reach your personal and artistic goals, to complete that project, to paint that painting, and to watch your business grow. •

© 2007 Brenda Johima. All rights reserved.


On Describing The Unseeable and The Unknowable

On November 13, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

When you can’t find a way to describe the unknowable, the unseeable, to those who cannot yet see it or hear it yet …

Stop Trying. It is exhausting. And often, not even possible.

Don’t Do It.

Just Be.

You can simply know what you know in silence, with kindness to self and to others, and for the peace you will then find, within.

If one day you can find the words to express and to teach your wisdom, then and only then it shall be time, and the student(s) who are ready to believe, to hear and to see, will be there.




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