we do not need words to know one another

On October 23, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima


Today while walking through the woods, I met a little boy with his nanny.

He was different … and as some might judge, disabled. Yet I did not see him in that way because he had the ability to deeply connect with eye contact with myself and with my standard poodle Teddy; more so than most adults that I have known.

He was a truly a social boy … fully engaging with my dog and with myself … we had a spirit-filled interaction together in the middle of the trail … and the deepest connection took place, all without one word.

We do not need words to know one another, to see each other, to feel. We do not need words. We simply need to slow down and to listen, and to let others … be.

This little boy was completely nonverbal, yet he and I had no problem at all communicating. Also, as soon as my dog Teddy could see what was happening, Teddy sat down to allow the boy to connect in his own way. The boy was gentle with Teddy, and Teddy knew exactly what to do, to just sit calmly, and to be … and to let the boy check him out in his own way. Teddy and the boy had their own language … all without one word. Teddy didn’t need the boy to speak words. Again, no words were needed.

The nanny told me that the boy was “undiagnosed” … I know what that means, but really, philosophically, what did that mean? What does that mean? What if he didn’t need a diagnosis? What if we need those only to help ourselves?

I didn’t need a diagnosis. Teddy didn’t need to know his diagnosis.
Are diagnoses constructed to make US more comfortable?

What IF instead, you just connect? What if it were that simple?
I know that much of the world is not there yet … but some people are.
Are you one?


Always Love,


being a beginner is a good thing

On October 22, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

i may just be up to something new.

a learning curve is a good thing.

being a beginner is a good thing.

not caring what others think about you when you are starting out is crucial.

podcast setup

catching up on lost time is near impossible.

regret gets you nowhere.

starting over gets you everywhere.

always love,



On October 21, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

I’m sitting in my car in the dark under a street lamp in a shopping centre parking lot. This is my last stop before I finally get to head home and relax, after driving too many hundreds of kilometres up-Island and then down and back up, on Vancouver Island.

Here’s a little hint about what I was up to in Victoria:

I’m sitting in my car because I made a commitment to myself to write and to post something online here, every day … whether it’s perfect or not even very good, I must keep writing and clicking “publish.”

My dog Teddy and I enjoyed an overnight pet friendly stay in Victoria, for which the overnight not planned, but a spontaneous decision. The pelting down pouring rain on the highway was a deterrent to heading home in the black of the dark of last night.

Some people have snow, we have hydroplaning with too much water on dark and rainy highways in the fall; to be avoided.

Although I was in my car way too much the last two days, there wasn’t a moment that I didn’t feel grateful for living on Vancouver Island. It truly is a visual paradise, no matter where you go, no matter the weather. OK, some times I would prefer blue skies to gray skies, but for the most part, us Islanders are fortunate people … and no wonder it costs so much to live here!

So as I ramble on, tired and wanting to put my key in the ignition and step on the gas peddle, shift into reverse and then first gear and then head home, I leave you with this:

Why did I drive so far when there are other stores that could have helped me in the North and Central Island?

One guy, named Gary, at Tom Lee Music in Victoria. He told me “I’ll make it worth your while” (the drive down) … and he did.

Gary gave me personal ukulele service in a private listening room, and had knowledge that I didn’t find anywhere else. He played and sang for me (he actually IS a ukulele player) and his knowledge correlated with the same information that I had previously researched.

I’m a research-a-holic for anything I purchase, and I don’t like to know more than the person (expert) selling to me. I didn’t!

Gary taught me many things about the ukulele and its history and he knew all the woods (koa, acacia, mahogany, spruce, etc.) that I know ukuleles can be made from, but he actually had been to the factories in person and also had lived in 2 of the countries where they manufacture and hand make the high end ukuleles also. I could not have found a more perfect guy to purchase a ukulele from!

And bonus? What sold me on the phone before I drove down?

Gary and I shared cancer stories.

When you’ve had cancer and survived, you share a common bond, and Gary understood more than most people, the struggle to come back (to music) after a long time away. Gary is awesome.

And I came home with a (deeply discounted) ukulele and tuner, a new case and more ..: I’m pretty happy.

So it’s worth it, for you to go the extra mile (literally) when someone else bends over backwards for you.

I’ve now also built a new business relationship with him and with a music store that I now love even more, because of my experience with Gary there. Win-win! Thank you Tom Lee Music!

So with that, good night from Teddy (lovingly known as Dr. T.) and I, with selfies from our Accent Inns Victoria Hotel pet friendly stay. (Accent Inns treats Teddy and I like royalty, so I am saving that experience for a separate post and will write more soon. I highly recommend them for dog friendly accommodations in Victoria BC)

Always Love,



44:40 : I Strongly Urge People To Have a Daily Blog

On October 19, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

The Daily Blog

In listening to two of my favourite people online, at the 44:40 point in this Chase Jarvis video interview with Seth Godin, you will hear Seth say, “I strongly urge people to have a blog; a daily blog.”


I watched this video a few times, when it was published in 2016, on CreativeLive and several times since.

At that time I decided to blog every day, every single day. I didn’t last. I quit.

Even way before that, many years prior I used to blog every day. Every single day I blogged, on another domain that I used to own.

I had a following, a blog with loads of photos, my paintings, cartoons and art, and my writings. Comments were open.

In a mini-temper-tantrum in the privacy of my own home, after seeing my art and writings being stolen on a regular basis, I clicked a button and it all went poof! Blog and website gone from the internet. I quit.

There! Nobody can steal anything from me anymore, I thought.

You see, you cannot stop people from stealing your stuff online. Don’t do what I did, quit and go into hiding.

The thing is, “I used to” means nothing. I used to blog. I used to run. I used to eat less. I used to write daily, on and on. What we need to do is to start over and never quit. Easy? No. Doable? Yes.

Seth says:

“If every single day, you blog a point of view, something you see, an assertion; your brain will act differently within 2 weeks … because you are going to be thinking about what you want to say tomorrow…”

What is the one key word in the video for me? “Commit.”

Commit to writing and publishing online every day. Every day. No matter whether it’s good or perfect or not so great at all.

Write. Click. Publish. Every. Day.

That’s a commitment to getting better at thinking and at courageously putting out to the world who you are.

And like Seth Godin suggests, there’s really nothing to lose and nothing to worry about (says she with Generalized Anxiety Disorder 😉 because nobody is reading you in the beginning anyway.

So I’m on track. I’ve been writing and posting daily now for a few days. I just have got to keep it up and watch myself start from zero, and progress along the way.

Never mind just try, commit.

Nobody is reading this anyway, right?

Always Love,



The Day Jann Arden Came To My House (in a dream)

On October 19, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

In My Dreams

Fact. 8 AM’ish and this JUST happened. Too funny.

I just had a dream that Jann Arden came into my basement suite. (I don’t live in one)

She was talking in the phone about booking a trip to Nashville to someone in the room next door. The room was attached to my suite but it was in the carport. There were horizontal blinds on the window to next adjoining room she was in and I went to close the blinds and saw her sitting there. That’s how I found out she was there. Had I not gone to close the blinds, I would not have known that Jann Arden was even there. I heard part of the phonecall but tried not to listen. Really I did.

Then she came in the door into my suite, didn’t knock or anything, she just walked in, notepad and pen in hand.

Her face went red when she looked at me. I quickly looked away and down.

My elderly Mom was sitting in my overstuffed chair (don’t have one) off to to right.

I had been sitting reading.

Mom suddnenly lept up (she doesn’t do that) and bolted down the hall off to the left, seemingly worried that Jann was going to go into the room she was staying in and would see her belongings.

After a short time, Mom came back, appearing relaxed, went back in her chair off to my right, like nothing had happened, seemingly relieved that everything was in order.

In the back room that Mom went to, I had just been cleaning out stuff and it was full of garbage bags of stuff to be taken away and to be donated.

Jann was just standing there, off to my left, me still sitting in my chair, and she said “Hi.”

I got up to introduce myself and to shake her hand and my finger got stuck. My right pinky got stuck to the finger next to it. I said “Hi” and that I was Brenda and that “my finger got stuck but it doesn’t usually do that.” My stuck finger made it difficult to shake hands so it was a little awkward.

I went to say “Johima,” my last name, and Jann walked away off to my left down the hall with her pen and notebook, seeming to not care what my last name was, or maybe she already knew?

She was going into the room with this garbage bags! Oh no! I was worried that I would not impress her as she would think it was garbage in the bags instead of stuff to be donated.

Then I thought. “Oh crap, she’s writing a song!” She’s taking notes for a new song and she’ll see those garbage bags, I thought.

Jann was down the hall, while me, I was back sitting in my chair, slouched with head hanging down, frozen with embarrassment. She snooped around my place a bit and left, walked out the door witout a goodbye.

I woke up in a panic, ready to run around and clean my house.

Boing! Time to wake up. Thank God that dream is over. (but what a giggle to start my day with)

Always Love,

(p.s. Funnily, I didn’t sleep well last night at all, and each time I awoke, I tried to write a new blog post, as my commitment to myself right now is to write something, anything, daily. I have a folder full of trashed insomniac drafts from the middle of the night, all of which felt forced, and likely never would be published. And then I finally fell asleep. Thank God, what a relief to sleep. During my best and most powerful time to sleep deeply, between 7-9 AM, this dream happened … along with writing that just popped out effortlessly)


I Disappoint People Every Day

On October 19, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

Disappointing People and Disappointing People

Many many years ago (maybe about 24 years?) when I was going through some challenging times, I was chatting with someone that I really admired, and she told me, “Brenda, I disappoint people every day.”

Of course, I was kind of shocked, as I saw this person as a leader, and one of the most inspiring, kind and loving people that I had ever met (I still place them in this category) and I was so honoured to be getting to spend time with them. I was  surprised to hear those words come out of her mouth.

So what? They weren’t perfect? They let people down? That was news for a perfectionist like me way back then.

I never forgot those words. Her words, still 24 years later, rattle gently around my brain. Often. “I disappoint people every day.” I never forgot those words, but I never became free from perfectionism and from wanting not to disappoint people. It’s a way to lose a big chunk of your life, I tell you. (I don’t advise living that way)

What’s the difference now? At 56 years old, I really get it. (I think) In theory.

I kind of got it before in my mind, but not at the depths of my being and not to the magnitude that I do now, especially while in the midst of changing my own life for the better. Currently I’m letting people down left right and centre it seems, disappointing people, scaring people away (apparently), leaving people behind, and more. It’s what I have to do right now … to be ME.

Sometimes when we try to change, that means that some (or a lot of) people leave, especially when you want to make a total transformation of self and of life, which is what I am attempting to courageously do. Sometimes they leave. Sometimes you leave.

Funnily, this person who said those potent words to me way back then, has actually never disappointed me personally, has always been there for me, even if we didn’t speak or write for months or for many years. Telepathically, I know that they always have my best interests at heart. Always. It’s pretty incredible actually, what a spiritual and prayer connection alone can do.

So, here I am now, me, apparently disappointing people daily, as I struggle to find a new Brenda and to create a brand new life. For you out there, I am sorry. It’s never my intent to hurt anybody. (although truthfully I am not very nice to spiders … they cannot ever be in my bedroom, ever) 

So does this happen to you? Has it? How can you disappoint people? Here are some possibilities:

  • people want you to be who you were and to stay there
  • people want what they want from you
  • people want something from you
  • you are changing your life for YOU and not for them
  • their wants don’t match your needs (at this time)
  • you are scaring some people with your changes
  • you are scaring people with your intense emotions
  • maybe you aren’t as (toxically) nice as before? (this is a good thing)
  • other people don’t want to change themselves yet, but as we are mirrors for each other, when they see you changing, it adds pressure
  • people really don’t get you or understand you anymore; they just can’t figure you out
  • people want to hang on to you like glue, they don’t want to let you go
  • you are being a jerk(ess) and a not nice person (it’s a possibility; I hope not knowingly, so avoid this one, and make apologies and amends if appropriate … it’s not OK to hurt people on purpose)
  • some people are control freaks and you are their target. yep. there, I said it.

What to do about it? I mean, what to do about the other people and YOU? What if you are in the midst of big life changes? What IF you are hearing from people that you are disappointing them? What if you know that you are?

  • do what you need to do for YOU and keep on doing it … stay the course
  • be YOU
  • it’s your life, and you have only one chance to make this life a work of art; make it a Picasso or a Stravinsky
  • live your life with as much kindness and compassion, love and care as you can, and that includes not just for others but also for yourself, and sometimes that means that people will be left behind
  • know that some people will feel disappointed, some people will get hurt, some people will be and stay angry at you … sometimes forever … let it go … keep on moving forward … with kindness for all, whenever possible
  • find a technique to help you deal with your OWN emotions so that when you do disappoint people, you don’t quit trying to make the changes you want. For me, I use 5-4-3-2-1-GO! as The 5 Second Rule is that tool for me.

So for now, I disappoint people every day. One day when I am through the muck and out the other side, maybe not so much.

Always Love,

standard poodle looking out of french door windows on a rainy day


An Old Blog Post in Drafts

On October 18, 2017, in Uncategorized, by brendajohima

I pulled this out of the drafts folder from long long ago, it’s maybe years ago that wrote it? It was time to click publish:

OK. So you go 2 a party. You sit there. You wait. Maybe even stand against a wall, or look out the window, or drink wine or eat cheese and other food. You check your mobile phone, your Twitter feed or pretend to be reading emails. You wait for someone 2 say HI. (Introverts can you relate?) How long do you wait? Or, you walk up and introduce yourself. Say Hi. It’s the same for social media. If you just sit there, follow someone on Twitter for example, and wait and wait and wait for them to click that reciprocating follow button, how long might you wait?

A tip?

Research a few things about them, look up their website, find out something about them, a way to compliment them; maybe an article they wrote, a photo they took?

Then say HI, and … compliment them, congratulate them, notice them, be grateful; whatever it takes to build a relationship right off the bat.

Clicking the follow button is easy.

Connection is why we are here.


Vancouver Island RAIN

On October 17, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

‘tis the season.

The beauty of Vancouver Island is a daily “ahhhhh” no matter where you go, no matter the time of year. It truly is a visual paradise.

Fall brings rain. And more rain. And usually, more rain.

What a perfect way to celebrate my love of the abstract, in art and photography.


Fall Colors

On October 17, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

Fall brings a color palette rich with life; orange and red and yellow along with a multitude of varied greens, which are a welcomed sight on Vancouver Island in the fall, which can be overwhelmed by gray gray gray.


October 17th : 5 Days 5 Seconds 5 Goals

On October 17, 2017, in BLOG, by brendajohima

This is Day 2 of making myself accountable (to myself) for 5 days in a row, using The 5 Second Rule.

I’ll continue on from yesterday with my goals below, and will say that, even though these are tiny goals, putting it out there publicly is scary.

People will judge, and they do, and people may advise you to not do this online in case you fail, or don’t achieve your goals. People may judge your challenges and disabilities, especially when some of the tasks look super easy to do.

(someone already has told me, “I wouldn’t do that” when I let them know that I was posting my 5 goals and challenges per day…they wouldn’t want people to know that they are having a hard time…with anything)

Yet interestingly, putting the hard and scary stuff out there, builds courage and it also sends a message that nobody is perfect; we all struggle with something. As long as I try, other people’s judgements truly mean nothing, except as they say, it says a lot about them. Also, as long as I am posting my outcomes, and hopefully positive change, then it’s all good and helpful in my opinion.

Here we go, Day 2 goals:

  1. Make a call to someone (or issue) difficult to deal with (I have 4 of these on my to do list)
  2. Make a call to someone beautiful and who is effortless to speak with
  3. Get to the swimming pool before 9 AM and swim at least 30 minutes
  4. Call and complete one more phone call on my to do list (I have a LONG list of phone calls that I’ve been avoiding; 4 really unpleasant ones and many that are things that just need to get done)
  5. Revise resume as a first draft
  6. (bonus goal) Get outdoors and make at least one photo and publish online

Yes, I know this isn’t necessary to do The 5 Second Rule in this way, and maybe my approach is too regimented for this week, but it’s my way for this one week, for 5 days in a row. This is also one way for me to get back to writing and blogging.

As you can see, I’ve put a few phone calls on my list. Why? This week, that seems like the hardest thing for me to do and due to the types of calls, they really are necessities that really have to get done.

I know that I can’t be alone as one who stalls (in fear of) making phone calls? Of course I’m not alone in this challenge. Making phone calls can be scary for lots of people.

The 5 Second Rule, as I understand it, was designed in part, to help you get hard stuff done that you don’t really want to do. So if phone calls are it for me right now, let’s get at it! And with no shame.

Always Love,



I leave you with this:

Here’s what Mel Robbins has to say about the 3rd element of The 5 Second Rule:

“The third element of the 5 Second Rule is that you must push yourself. The Rule is about pushing yourself even when you don’t want to. It’s about taking control of your own life, one push at a time.”

Photo Credit: https://melrobbins.com/five-elements-5-second-rule/

Have a read: Mel Robbins explains The 5 Second Rule and how “You Are Never Going To Feel Like It

“FACT: You are never ever going to feel like it. Ever.”

Update : 4 A.M. October 18th

So how did I do?

Long story short, I once again spent many hours in my car (I live on an Island) getting other tasks done. All of my goals weren’t reached. Hey, I’m all about the truth.

Also, I got called by the news media first thing in the morning, to do an on-camera interview on a local topic, so my entire day was taken up by doing tasks and research for that. In the end, after an entire day of my work on it, the news posted a different story. (the on camera interview never happened) Hey, stuff happens. Onward! The good news? I’ve got a whack of research done for a story that I can now pitch elsewhere, or that they can use at a later date. The topic isn’t going away any time soon.

So I’ve decided, that although this was a brilliant and courageous idea, 5 Days, 5 Seconds, 5 Goals, I’ve got too many other things going on in my personal life right now to commit to making these “reached” goals public. The entire purpose would be to inspire and to help others, not only myself, by actually reaching the 5 daily goals that I set. And if I’m not reaching goals, how will that help you?

So I’ve stopped this at this time, and will give it a go at a later date. (or not)

What have I learned?

This idea still IS a success. Why?

  • It take guts and courage to put anything out there in public where you may fail, and may be judged, yet you do it anyway.
  • I had focus all day long each day, and that focus to achieve, was positive.
  • I’ll still use the 5-4-3-2-1Rule during my days, but without the added pressure of a to do list to complete publicly. The 5 Second Rule works. I love it.
  • (some) Phone calls are hard (impossible) for me. (right now) In time they won’t be.
  • It got me blogging and writing online again. That’s a HUGE success.
  • The truth heals. When we tell the truth to ourselves and to others, we help make the world a better place (even when we don’t succeed as we had wished)
  • I put added pressure on myself by making the hardest things public; painful phone calls. That’s OK. I learned.
  • I achieved some goals on my lists and I had FUN doing it.
  • This got me back into the swimming pool, which I’ve wanted to do for months. I went. I will go again this morning.
  • It got me focused on taking photos every single day and publishing at least one, whether good, perfect, or nowhere near that. It’s all part of the creative process and it all matters
  • Not all phone calls are hard for me. Many calls, I dive right into and thrive. Others, not so much. The calls that are too painful (avoidance+fear+anxiety) to make, are too personal to post online anyway (boundaries)
  • It’s a good way to grow personally, by putting yourself out there publicly online; you learn a lot more about yourself when you succeed or don’t succeed at reaching goals
  • In summary, I will continue to use The 5 Second Rule daily, but maybe not in such a structured way online, and will post to my blog some stories on what and how I did, on occasion, after the fact, but not on a daily schedule.

That’s it! Done. Lessons Learned!


Photos I took as part of my daily goal:


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