Mare's Interview: Authentically Inspirational

Mare McHale is a Canadian YouTuber & Radio Announcer, sharing her journey in daily vlogs. She created the Mareathoner community ( to ensure others feel less alone. She's a strong woman with a strong brand encouraging women to take care of themselves. 

Mare is an advocate for mental health, women's health and special needs. She has a son, Thomas, who is deaf and autistic; she's determined to help him and educate others by example. In June of 2017 Mare's husband Jeremy took his life after battling depression and anxiety for years. This tragedy spurred Mare to be vulnerable and honest about her journey, with the hopes of helping others.

Find out more and join the Mareathon at and on her YouTube channel.


Candace's Story: Leukaemia, The After Life

Just before I turned 38, I was informed that I had leukaemia and under two years to live unless I had a bone marrow transplant. I was the single mother of a beautiful 14-year-old son. I was working full-time and had two part-time jobs on the side to to make financial ends meet. Quite simply, my life consisted of work, feeding my child and I, repeat.

Because of this life schedule, I did not have the time for a personal relationship. As such, I remained a single white female when diagnosed with my illness. My support system was my kick-ass family: Ma, Pa, little sister and middle brother (who, by the way, saved me with his stem cells/bone marrow — another story for another day which can be read in my book, When the World Dropped In On Me.)

When I was diagnosed, my world stopped turning. I stopped working but continued to be the best parent I could with a quarter of the energy. I slogged through my cancer treatments in Seattle, WA — two-and-a-half  provinces and one state away from my home in Saskatchewan. My fighting spirit along with the caregivers, my family and those friends who lifted my spirits for the critical six months in treatment helped me to live. I was one of the lucky ones. I was one of the 40% of patients who were expected to live through this medical procedure.  

Today, 13 years later, I feel extremely grateful for my physical health. However, I am now realizing how my life after transplant is being impacted.  

My mind, memory and overall emotional health has been affected. I continue to explore and better understand these 'results' of my treatments. It seems that I have pockets of memory loss. Although my family and friends are incredibly patient and non-judgmental when I ask them numerous times to remind me of ‘the time when….,’ I feel their concern. I try not to dwell on it, but my memory loss is a real thing. If I look on the bright side of ‘chemo brain,’ I get to hear old life stories as if they were new, and it is very difficult to hold onto resentment if you don’t remember what you’re angry about!

Overall, most days my mental and emotional health is moderately balanced (other than the memory loss). Other days, I question why I was one of the chosen ones to survive cancer. I’ve read that this is called survivor’s guilt.

When I feel off-balance, my emotional/mental health is like a roller coaster ride inside my head. I become agitated when I cannot complete tasks I knew I could before the disease and treatment. I am angry when I hear other human beings complain about their minor health struggles and setbacks. Other days, I just want to cry for me and those who surround me — and the whole world for that matter — in hopes of cleansing and re-filling all those who need it with the pure unconditional love of the Universe.

In some instances, I feel neutral, having no emotion at all. At other times, I am amazed at the life I have created in my life after cancer, which sees me living a simple and comfortable life in the beautiful Okanagan Valley with my business and life partner who loves me inside and out. This is my after life — undeniable, uncertain, but oh so entertaining! Who knew that my mind had so many intricacies of emotions, opinions, memories/no-memories, judgements and appreciation of life’s colours?

My biggest fear is to understand that my mind is being challenged in ways that may affect my future decisions. Can I work my job? Can I love unconditionally? Can I be loved unconditionally? Will I lose my partner or friendships?


I currently tune into mindfulness (a daily job) with meditation, humour, exercise combinations of outside hiking and gym, and am currently experimenting with cannabis solutions for the days that seem unexplainable within my mind. And I always feel better when I hydrate with water instead of wine!

I am constantly becoming. My biggest lesson as a 51 year old mother/grandmother/cancer survivor is that I must care for each of my personal relationships as if they are precious baby birds: take care of them; feed them with unconditional love; encourage them to fly on their own; and nurture them — even after they have left the nest.

I am human. I am always in practise mode. I have benefitted from reflection of my actions and 'placing myself in another's shoes' scenarios. I have apologized for those mistakes I feel I have made. I try to 'give good' on a daily basis as much as possible, meaning every time I feel sorry for myself or reflect on uncomfortable thoughts/emotions, I send loving thoughts to those who have been hurt. I am realizing now that I cannot control any other person's actions and must accept my relationships as they are.

I have lived a good life with ups, downs and questions. I am no different than any other woman my age. I seek peace and compassion and understanding from those around me, and chose not to live in an eager/anxious/disrespectful world. I try be the best role model I can be to those around me. I am ever-evolving and have accepted that every day will be different — both physically and emotionally.

I am me — unique and there is no one else out there that has the same abilities, thoughts and patterns as I.  

How do I try to try to stay balanced?  

  • Accept that I am going to have good and bad days. Roll with each of the days by staying in the moment and breathing through the tough moments.

  • Read and research: seek knowledge and understanding and ‘Hey Google’ help me to inspire my brain to think and keep the juices flowing for a healthy mind.

  • Do artsy things: create, create, create.  Gardening, painting, sewing, etc. Try anything once.

  • Send out love: invisible (thoughts or prayers to another) or visible (mail, notes, cooking, creations, etc.). Love feels good to send. I ensure that my family recognizes how much I love them.

  • Exercise, hydrate, nap and sleep 8+ hours each night. We all know all about this. Putting it into action is what helps.

  • Try something new every month: read a new book, try a new recipe, take a walk on a different path, go for coffee with someone different or to a new cafe, try a new recipe etc. etc. etc. Life is meant to be lived!

  • Make good choices: I ask myself before I commit to any life task, encounter, or appointment: “Is this a healthy choice?”

  • Allow myself to enjoy and indulge in life. I try not to be afraid of the societal ‘rules of life.’  Be sensible, respectful and kind to all others and our environment, but try to enjoy small nuggets of happiness — loud music, vacuuming naked, singing off key, eat a bag of chips without remorse, hiking, extra time in the bathtub etc.

  • Believe and accept my after life. There is a Universal path designed for only me. I have some say in it, but also realize the choices I make dictate the side roads along my path.

Enjoy the journey. Period.

To order When the World Dropped in On Me — A personal and unusual guide to help cancer patients and their caregivers survive cancer, email:

Candace and her partner create beauty and light with their business, Follow them on Facebook, too.

Jill's Story: An Unlikely Entrepreneur


Jill Van Gyn is the CEO of FATSO, a high-performance peanut butter that’s taking Western Canada by storm, and soon, the rest of the country. She didn’t grow up dreaming of being an entrepreneur and CEO, and certainly had no designs on being a peanut butter maker. In fact, she had a completely different plan in place. In this interview, she shares her story of becoming an unlikely entrepreneur.

Photos supplied by Jill Van Gyn

Learn more at: and on their social channels.


Rosemarie's Interview: Reinvention through Challenge

Rosemarie Barnes is a Professional Speaker and Presentation Trainer, founder of Confident Stages Executive Development, and international best-selling author. Whether from stage or page, Rosemarie champions others to strive for excellence in personal, professional, and leadership roles through respectful and clear communication, through team leadership strategies, and by cultivating increasing confidence in all areas of our lives.

In this interview, Rosemarie shares how drew strength from her inner drive to reinvent her life, and how challenges, especially BIG ones, create growth in our lives. Her words of wisdom will inspire you!


Find out more about Rosemarie at or contact her at

Candace's Interview: Becoming Bullet-proof

Candace Seon is many things: a daughter, sister, EA, wife, friend and mom with a love for nature and family. She lives just outside Regina, Saskatchewan where she can take daily walks down a country road and hear the birds.

In this two-part video interview, she shares how a tragic outcome to her pregnancy helped her become bullet-proof. She’s real, honest and inspiring.



Parents who’ve experienced similar losses are encouraged to reach out to Candace through Facebook or LinkedIn.

Learn more about donating breastmilk here:

Adera's Story: Following Her Light

Photo courtesy Adera Angelucci

Photo courtesy Adera Angelucci

Adera Angelucci is a TV host, director and producer, and a spiritual teacher/student and coach to women looking to find their inner light and own it.

I was always a curious and playful human. When I was little, I would dance, dress up and lip-sync to my favourite tunes. I loved to perform for whoever was interested in watching. I loved to act in school and was part of many plays. My first dream was to be an actor in Hollywood, playing characters.

Once I reached my late teens, however, I realized that I didn't want to stand out by pretending to be someone else. I wanted to stand out being myself. The way to do that, I thought, was to be a journalist or interviewer and have my own TV show.

So, when I was in my 20s, I joined an improv troupe, learned stand-up comedy, went to clowning school and got an agent to help get me in commercials or anything I could potentially do to perform. My goal was to avoid a 9-to-5 job. I knew my passion and purpose would be squashed in that box.

I was restless. I had 65 jobs before turning 30, everything from waitress, to bindery, to deli counter, retail, door-to-door, preschool and after-school care, summer camp guide, stilt walker, emcee, hostess, travel agent, promotions coordinator and in marketing and sales. You can’t say I didn’t try!

It was a long road, but I finally worked as on-air talent, producer and director, which led to me landing my dream job: my very own TV show. Now, it may seem like a crazy amount of things to do to get to my goal. I could have just gone to broadcasting school or took a straight and narrow path, but that would've dimmed my light. I knew I needed to take the unconventional, wild and winding path.

I learned that no matter what, I will find my way because I follow my light. Every time I tried something new, there was something aching in my heart telling me this wasn’t for me, and that kept me going. I knew that I was meant to do something else, but I had no clue really what it would be or how it would manifest. I didn’t want the kind of life that I’d have if I settled. I knew my heart wouldn’t feel settled unless I followed by light. So I kept on.

Life trains us to take the straight and narrow path. I’ve discovered my job is to un-train my clients so they can follow their light down their own paths and carve out their own careers doing what they are most passionate about. My light felt to me to be the only thing that was real. If I didn’t follow it, I would never know what it felt like to be truly self-expressed. I would be living a life that wasn’t true to who I am, and I really can’t see a point in that.

Curiosity fuels my passion. I spent my life learning how and why people did what they did. The paramount piece of knowledge I earned was that there is no one way to do something and there is no wrong way, as long as you follow your light.

I have been my own boss for seven years, and have built a beautiful life with my husband and our dog. Through my video storytelling company, I have told over a thousand stories of good people doing good work in the world.

The hardest thing I had to face was by far disapproval. Disapproval from some members of my family and friends who cared about me, who were worried that I would never find my feet or settle down. They worried that I was all over the place, and they would worry about my future and the choices I was making. Well, I didn’t always make the “right” choice, that’s for sure, but I was smart enough to eventually learn from my mistakes.

In the present moment I have no regrets. I love every bit of me. I love everything I did to get me to where I am today and I love my life now. I am constantly tweaking it so that my work and my relationships feel more aligned to my values. I push myself every day to try or be something new. I don’t settle! The people who stuck around through my journey now look up to me, and have come around to seeing that in fact it’s me that’s living the good life. That’s humbling to hear.

Photo courtesy Adera Angelucci

Photo courtesy Adera Angelucci

Now I am on another new journey, not out of restlessness, but out of gratitude. I am grateful to be in a place where I can explore what else is possible and how I can best serve in this new phase of my life. After much soul-searching and trusting in my light, I have found the answer: I am meant to serve women leaders, to help them ignite their light so that they can share it with the world and inspire other women to do the same.

There is a shift happening right now. You and I are a part of it. Our light as women is being called to serve, to create change and to lead. The world needs our voices, our power and our light. There is a rise in women leaders standing up and making themselves heard. This shift has a lot to do with women being fed up with having their light dimmed and finding the courage to say, "Enough is enough and it is time for a change."

The advice I got in my early 20s by one very significant person in my life at the time (which I now tell a lot of 20-somethings) is: GO BE YOU!

Go experiment. Go adventure. Go do that thing that your heart is calling you to do.

There won’t be a better time. It’s the one time in your life where you are truly FREE to explore the world with eyes wide open. Before kids, marriage or mortgages. You have nothing to lose but to set your heart ablaze and see where the wind takes you.

The knowledge you gain by following your heart is astounding. It’s the best school there is, in my mind. I wish someone had told me back in my 20s that exploring was the right choice, a perfect choice, for me. I feel like not enough people say that, so I am.

Learn more about Adera and her work at:

Trina's Story: Sweet Surrender

Photo courtesy Trina Markusson

Photo courtesy Trina Markusson

For me, living a HEARTRAGEOUS Life means honouring and listening to my heart’s path.  

Last spring, I made a big decision to leave my 20-year teaching career to follow my passion sharing mindfulness with students, parents, teachers, businesses and organizations. I had already been sharing these life wellness/tools for almost 11 years, but with teaching half-time and speaking half-time, I got to the point where I was too busy to do both well. I felt the “busy-ness” in my mind and body and I didn’t like it. I began to feel off-balance trying to do both roles 100%, plus be available for my family.

Soon after that, I began to feel a gentle nudge, a feeling that I needed to give one of them up. I shared my idea with a couple of my closest family members. They weren’t surprised and knew it was time as the concept of mindfulness was now gaining momentum in the mainstream. Soon after, a quote came across my computer screen that read:

“Is what you are doing every day taking you to your higher purpose?”

That was such an easy question to answer. I heard softly, but clearly “No.” I loved being with my students in the classroom and was proud of the connections and growth we made academically and emotionally, but correcting math books for hours in the evening was not taking me to my full purpose. I wanted to be doing something else with those hours that was really making a difference. I knew there was something more I needed to do, for me to reach more people with my message. Leaving the classroom would give me that opportunity. I had a decision to make.   

I feel the hardest part about that decision was that it was solely my choice, an internal decision. I wasn’t being forced to change my career. There wasn’t an illness that pushed me out, a loss of a relationship or job loss that forced me to move in another direction. I had to decide: Should I stay in the safety of the classroom with a regular paycheck or should I just risk it all?? I think it would’ve been easier if the decision was made for me and I was forced to switch directions, but I didn’t want to live with regrets. I knew if I suddenly received a terminal diagnosis, my biggest regret would be that I did not honour my path and I wanted no regrets.

I took some time to explore this decision and connected with my heart to listen deeply. One of the biggest signs that I knew I needed to honour this path and message that I share, was because of the book that I wrote, “Good Morning, Sunshine! – A Story of Mindfulness.” This was not a book that I sat down to write. This book was a gift that came through me at a time of connection and pure alignment. I knew I had to honour that and to be used in service to help others.

Book cover image courtesy Trina Markusson

Book cover image courtesy Trina Markusson

Throughout this process, I used my own life practices and resilience tools to support me with my decision. I practiced mindfulness of my thoughts/feelings and meditated daily. I spent time asking for guidance to the higher powers that be, by asking “How can I best serve?” Then I took the time to listen for the answer. I became still. I also used EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or “Tapping.” I am a certified EFT Practitioner, so that is always one of my go-to tools to identify and take care of doubts and limiting beliefs. I went deep into those beliefs about what I thought about myself. I want to be the speaker who walks their own talk.

I also checked into the motivation and what was driving me to do this.  Was the motivation coming from my head through the ego, which would involve more attention, more money, etc? I didn’t want this to be what was fuelling my passion. I wanted to make sure this path was being motivated from my heart, my true self, my soul. Only then could I feel good about myself, trust in the path and feed my soul. I checked in with the motivation often and still do. I know that if I follow my heart, I will always find peace and happiness in what I am doing.  

I also spent time forgiving those who may have appeared as a barrier to my initial plan of what my life would be like. In hindsight, I feel gratitude for the role they played in appearing difficult for me. I believe those that come across our path to challenge us are there for a reason and when they pull us down, they also make us spring further up when we soar. I remember them with gratitude and know that they served their purpose, that they were all part of the plan.

After making the choice to devote myself fully to my new path, I began to notice moments of fear or resistance – which was all about fear of failure. I love the work of Steven Pressfield and often thought of his quote: “The more important an activity is to your soul’s evolution, the more resistance you will feel.” I knew this work was important to my soul’s evolution, so I expected some fear and resistance. But those difficult emotions didn’t last very long. I didn’t fight against those emotions; I took care of them by noticing them with non-judgement, whispering “there you are” and just letting them be there. I “tapped” down the intensity of the fear and replaced it with a trust that I would be taken care of. I knew that when I am in a state of alignment, those doubts and fears wouldn’t pop up and I am in a state of ease. Because of this, the word “ease” resonates with me. If I am not in a state of ease, then it’s a sure sign that it’s not the right thing for me to do.

Most importantly, I decided to surrender to my purpose instead of trying to “find” it. I really felt my purpose was there all along, I just needed to get rid of everything that was blocking me from seeing that.  That’s when I felt 100% trust. We hear a lot about the importance of “striving” and I tend to feel a negative tone to this word. Striving sounds like exerting lots of effort and hard work. If I feel like anything is coming from a “striving motivation,” I back off. I would rather be in the state of “inspired action,” feeling joy and being in the flow. I can easily access that through sitting back and trusting in the moments of stillness and silence.

I turned to my family to support me through this, especially when I was feeling any doubt or fear. They were always there to reassure me, even my three sons who believe in all I do and continue to encourage me. It’s important for me to have my people around me, those who I trust and who want me to succeed, those who feel joy for me as I share my message. One day, my administrator called me into his office. He shared with me that he had recently heard a speaker who was “telling” an audience about mindfulness and he told me that it was just information being directed their way. He said, “Trina, when you are sharing the message of mindfulness, you are not just talking about it -- you ARE mindfulness. Get out there and do what you’re supposed to be doing!” 

I literally broke down and cried when he said that to me. There was more validation that I was on the right path. I appreciated these kind moments of encouragement.

One of the biggest things that I had to give up was my personal connection with the students in my classroom. Since I shared a classroom with a colleague, I had the opportunity to teach and practice mindfulness together every second day with the same group of children. When the children left the classroom in June, they didn’t have to “remember” mindfulness, they “were mindful.” Each year, I witnessed the shift in the children as their awareness and resilience grew. Presence became who they were and it appeared to make a difference in their life.  

With my new path, I am still teaching and connecting with others, just on a larger scale, and the little moments we share together in the precious present moment have the ability to ripple out into the world. I have already seen evidence of this and nothing could make my heart happier. I also believe when doors close, new doors open with powerful connections and new people to learn from.

Deciding to listen to my heart has impacted my life and who I have become in my soul’s development. As a woman, I have become more confident and independent, as I trust this is the right path for my heart.  The doubts are gone and I’ve settled in for the ride. In fact, I feel like I am putting my hands up, letting the wind take me where I am supposed to go. I feel more open-hearted and balanced with my family as I now have time to spend with them which in turn, nourishes me. I gained freedom and time. I used to find myself saying “I don’t have time…” Now, I believe I have plenty of time to do everything I need to do in my life. I’ve gained the freedom to take my message further distances and to share it with more people. I feel I have found a sweet spot.

My words of wisdom?

The best advice I could give when following our heart and passion is to surrender to our life’s purpose. When I take the time to listen, to connect in silence and find alignment, my higher purpose shows up. Sit back and trust that the messages that we need to hear will come to us.

The more I listen and surrender to what life has to tell me, the happier I become.

Learn more about Trina’s work at:




Trina's Interview: Sweet Surrender


Jilly talks with Trina Markusson, a speaker, author, teacher, Mindfulness Coach and Certified EFT (tapping) Practitioner. She has shared the benefits of practising mindfulness with thousands of people via conferences, professional development sessions, school/author visits and private sessions. Trina uses her life experiences, peaceful presence and trainings in Mindfulness to inspire others to find peace and balance in their busy lives.

In this conversation, Trina shares how she made the decision to leave the teaching profession for a year to pursue her passion.

Emily's Story: Regret vs. Risk

Photo courtesy of Emily Haruko Leeb

Photo courtesy of Emily Haruko Leeb

Emily Haruko Leeb is a Transformational Life & Business Coach. She is an advocate for self-love, self-acceptance and living your most epic life. She is also a singer/songwriter and her first album is set to release in early 2019.

When I think about what obstacle, challenge or question I had to face in order to live from my heart, I come up with four difficult things I had to address:

My addiction to marijuana.

Having two abortions.

Denying my desire to sing.

And asking for a divorce.

Without facing my addiction I would never have been able to build the business I am building or contribute to humanity the way that I currently am. I would still be carrying uber amounts of shame for being high all the time and never letting my true light shine through to the world.

Without having chosen to have two abortions in my early adult life, I would not be the mom I am today with the kids and lifestyle of my dreams.

Without acknowledging my passion for singing and my voice I would never have recorded my first album and been able to heal the wounds of my soul through music.

And without asking for a divorce, I would have been suffering inside a relationship that deflated me, that sucked me dry and I would have been living a life that others wanted me to lead, not the life I want to lead.

With all of these challenges, I had to seek support and I had to be willing to receive that support. The abortions, and particularly the second one, were rough. I had no one to support me even though I was living with my boyfriend at the time. I took myself to the procedure by myself and I took a taxi cab home by myself. My boyfriend carried on working and living as though nothing had really happened. I fell into a deep depression where I couldn't leave my house, let alone my couch, for weeks. I turned heavily to the weed at this time and was stuck in a cloud, unable to face what was really my life, my choices and my relationship.

I needed a community of people around me that understood my desires, and understood what was at stake in order to break free from my addiction and to find the courage to let myself sing and write and record. I needed people that believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself.

Community is paramount.

First though, I had to be willing to open up. I had to dare to suck. I had to bare my soul to people and even though it felt risky, I knew this was the only way to live my best life. I still practice this vulnerability on a regular basis and support my clients to do the same.

My biggest fear was that I would suck, that I'd be rejected, unwanted, abandoned, alone. This was all before I realized the most important relationship I have in the world is the one I have with myself. Once I realized that, I began to nurture myself. I began to accept myself fully. And I really began to love myself.

At my lowest points, I turned to drugs. I turned to infatuation. These perpetuated a downward spiral. Despite that I had done a lot of personal growth work early on in life, I had lost that momentum in working on myself. In my early 30s, I began to really get into personal transformation work, and began cultivating a better me through yoga, meditation, spiritual coaching, life coaching, business coaching and practicing a deeper level of vulnerability in all of my relationships.

This started the upward spiral. I fell off a few times and the more I did, the more I realized how important it is to find momentum in your personal growth and nurture it. I became more of my true essence -- the self I had always dreamed of cultivating -- and I'm not done. This journey isn't ever over until it's over. And even then I believe it's only our physical bodies that die. Our soul is on an evolutionary trajectory all on its own.

My advice to other women would be to slow down, like, really slow down.



Don't spend energy on anything that doesn't lift you up.

Have the courage to be fully yourself.

Live the life and make the choices YOU want.

Never do anything for anyone else that you don't really want to do.

And be willing to go inside and learn to trust that voice that you know is aligned with your hopes, your dreams and your desires.

Get support, hire a coach, find a fellowship, a community or anyone that will support you and make sure they are aligned with the most optimal version of yourself that you can imagine.

You don't have to do this alone.

And you must learn to love yourself.

Learn more about Emily’s coaching business and music at:


Instagram: emily.haruko

LinkedIn: emily-leeb-acc-0b735776