I got the idea for this episode when I listened to an interview on the CBC podcast, Tapestry. The interview was with the editor of the book, Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us. That book is a compilation of essays written by the authors about a pivotal experience with a stranger. The editor, Colleen Kinder, observed, “There’s a power in slowing down and circling around a story.”

This got me thinking about how we often we forget to pay attention and let our lives pass by in unconscious blips. In this episode, I argue that we’d all benefit from a practice of circling around our stories, not just our stories of wonder and awe, but also our stories of deep suffering and pain.

One of the stories I refer to in this episode is Allison Russell’s story of transmuting the sexual abuse and racism she suffered as a child into exquisitely beautiful songs and music. Allison Russell was nominated for 3 Grammy awards in 2022 for her album, Outside Child, and her hit single, Nightflyer. Allison is currently on tour in the US (May and June 2022). You can see her concert schedule at https://allisonrussellmusic.com/. Here’s a link to Allison’s 2022 Grammy Premiere Ceremony performance of Nightflyer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPw7tfcBlr0.


If what you’re hearing in this podcast is connecting you with a desire to expand into something new, but you just can’t seem to get there on your own, you’ll find the help you need in The Magic Room Experience, my new group coaching experience beginning in June 2022. We’ll work together to break through the BS your brain throws up as obstacles between you and your dreams. You’ll end the program feeling unfettered, expansive, excited and open, and you’ll be actively creating the life you want.

To learn more about this program as I roll out the details, sign up for my Creative Expansion newsletter by clicking on the subscription link at www.gracedcanvas.com. My website’s in the midst of a complete overhaul. Depending on when you read this, you’ll find the subscription button for my Creative Expansion newsletter either at www.gracedcanvas.com/podcast or, later, at several places throughout the website.

Want to hear more of my ideas? Discover my posts on Instagram @gracedcanvascoaching or meet me live at GRACE Studio. GRACE Studio is where I show my paintings, host workshops and sponsor other live events. You can find out what’s on at GRACE Studio at www.gracedcanvas.com or by subscribing to my newsletter.

In addition to the Magic Room Experience group coaching program, I offer limited individual custom online coaching spots, as well as custom mini-retreats at my property. If you have a specific, expansive goal you’re struggling to make happen, there’s an experience suited to your tastes and inclinations. To discuss opportunities for your custom coaching or mini-retreat experience, book a free personal strategy session at www.gracedcanvas.com.


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I’m a former international tax lawyer and senior partner of Ernst & Young in Toronto, where I serviced banks and other large multinationals and led a large group of professionals.

My life expanded when I left the law in 2014 to learn how to paint, something I’d always dreamt of doing, but had no reason to believe was possible for me. After a couple years of painting and selling my work, I became passionate about helping other people who yearn to feel more personally fulfilled, invigorated and soul connected in their lives every day, and I became certified as a life coach.

I now spend my time painting, coaching, and creating live events at GRACE Studio (more formally, the “George Russell Academy of Creative Expansion”) in beautiful Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada. And, of course, producing this podcast for you.