Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always stuck up for the underdog. Whether it was stopping a friend from being bullied in school or demanding that at all cultures be equally recognized at a euro – centric student leadership conference, I have always valued equal opportunity, meaningful relationships, and social justice. Above all else, I cherished the ability to touch and inspire the lives of others.
Initially, this passion took me to theatre school and the craft of stage acting. I played the lead role in a national fringe tour, acted in a Shakespeare festival, and directed stage shows for a local theatre company. Even after working in commercials and film, I never forgot the power of the stage – its ability to inspire an audience to make meaning in their lives. Through theatre, I discovered that how a story is told can have a profound influence on how a person makes meaning in their lives. I continued to search for ways in the arts that I could inspire people to live meaningful lives.
While I didn’t realize it a the time, acting was teaching some of the most important foundations of therapy. Acting demanded being present in the moment, an awareness of my body, and the controlled discharge of emotion. These same skills reappeared in my work as a therapist in the forms of mindfulness, somatic awareness, and the controlled release of emotion.
In the other parts of my life, I have been involved in movements that can make a difference both in my community and our world. Perhaps my most satisfying experience was founding a national campaign highlighting our antiquated animal welfare laws.
Many may remember the story of the sled dog slaughter just after the 2010 Olympics. Like many others, I was outraged by the way these dogs were killed. In Feb of 2011, I launched a Facebook animal welfare campaign called A Vigil for the lost lives of 100 sled dogs. The campaign received international support from countries as far away as South Africa and Australia. On April 23rd, 2011 vigils were held for the sled dogs in every province across Canada and around the world.
The campaign was successful in raising awareness about violence against animals. In addition, national news coverage by Global, CTV and CBC educated Canadians about the reality of our antiquated federal animal welfare laws. As a result, new provincial legislation was enacted criminalizing violence against animals.
Sled dogs standing in front of parliament stating, ” We are not going to take it anymore.”