The Soul’s Work Podcast is Live!

Hey cafe goers! I posted this on my JaniceHoCreative blog, but wanted to share it here as an update. I hope everyone is doing amazingly at the start of this New Year! xo

This week has been a pretty momentous one for me, having finally launched my new podcast, The Soul’s Work Podcast! *WOooOOOoo!!!* :)

This show is where I pretty much bare all about my spiritual journey, which includes sharing a whole lot of my past experiences in life. ‘Cause before the spiritual awakening, there’s usually a lot of shit, angst and turmoil that you’re mucking through!

I talk about what that muck looked like for me in Episode 1 (Introduction). Seriously, back then, I really couldn’t see a way out of the dark hole I felt I was in.

Looking back at that time from where I’m standing now, I just want to send my past self a whole lot of love and compassion. I definitely needed it back then!

Episode 2 (Honesty) is also up on my podcast website, as well as on SoundCloud. Here’s where we really start getting into our soul’s work!

Honesty has been the guiding principle in my life, ever since I went through some huge life changes almost three years ago: getting laid off from a job, ending an 8-year relationship, and having to move yet again (this all happened within the span of a month).

The future was so uncertain and unknown at that point, but having my life turned upside down by those events made me take a hard look at what was the truthful path for me to take. It was time to look honesty square in the face.

Episode 3 (Courage & Fear) is also coming soon! I truly hope you guys enjoy the podcast. I’d love to know what you think, as I’m just starting out with this new creative venture and am always up for improvement!

I was confessing to my coach Ivy the other day that I felt scared about taking some time off work to really focus on developing this podcast. It’s not like I’m rolling in money right now, but my gut instinct knows with zero doubt that I have to give this creative project my full attention, at least for a little while.

Ivy asked what my motivation for doing this podcast was in the first place. And I said — with some fierce determination in my voice(!) — that my soul was calling me to do it, plain and simple.

It was saying that I must share my story, my vulnerability. And I must do it now.

I’ve been deeply blessed to have had so many incredible experiences in life. Even the tough ones have gifted me with invaluable lessons to make me a better person and get me to the point of spiritual awakening.

And now, as I explained to Ivy, sharing my story with others is basically the main thing I feel I need to do now before I die. (Strong statement, I know! But the soul knows what it wants.)

Sure, I’ll have many more experiences from here on out. But if I knew my time was going to be up in a month, sharing my story, my experiences, my spiritual learnings, would be my last wish.

It’s not because my story is special. It’s not. But that’s kind of the point.

My story is strewn with a whole lot of sadness, anger, depression, escapism through alcohol, harmful relationships, self-doubt, hopelessness. Those things — unfortunately — are not unique to my life.

But while many of us go through those common struggles, we oftentimes feel alone, like we’re the odd person out, that everyone else is so much better off than us.

We stuff away our shame, anxiety, hurt, and sadness. We put up our guard, wear our masks, and drown our problems deep inside the bottle (or whatever your particular defense mechanism might be).

So, sharing my story means expressing my vulnerability — removing the mask — and letting others know that it’s okay. Someone else (me) has been there, too. And that amidst the struggle, there’s still hope. There’s always hope.

Lots of love and self-love, my friends. <3

Janice xo

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NatureImmersed and JaniceHoCreative

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Dear friends,

It’s been a long time! Well, I realized I haven’t updated you guys on what’s been happening since I left my career path in October.

As you know from my last post, I had decided to move away from the city and quit the cubicle life so that I could spend more of my life in nature, where I am the happiest!

I did end up travelling to Tuscany, Italy to volunteer (or “wwoof”) at Castello di Potentino, an organic vineyard, for a month. It was a mind-blowing experience with amazing scenery, delicious food and wine, and wonderful new friends.

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Upon returning home, I moved to my friend’s farm just outside of the city. I have been there ever since, having lots of crazy adventures with the farm animals (sheep, dogs, pigs, cats, ducks, turkeys and chickens!).

I have learned so much about farming, animals, the environment, and most of all, myself.

To share my journey living the farm life, I created a website called Nature Immersed. I also share some stories and tips from my backcountry camping adventures, as well as experiences exploring places of nature abroad (like a vineyard in Tuscany!).

This will be my main home in the world wide web, and where I’ll be actively writing and sharing about my new journey in nature.

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There’s one more blog site that I want to share with you. It’s called JaniceHoCreative.com, and it was just created today.

Aside from embarking on my new life in nature, I’m also pursuing a larger quest — one that involves discovering and honouring my life calling.

The blog on JaniceHoCreative is much more personal than my writings on Nature Immersed. It is about my journey exploring spiritual development, creating and sharing my music, and writing my first book!

This is a regular WordPress site, so you can follow along in your Reader if you’d like, or also subscribe to receive new posts by email.

I’d say that NatureImmersed and JaniceHoCreative combines both styles of writing that you’ve read on Your Daily Dose Blog — fun storytelling and more introspective, reflection posts.

And in true Janice fashion, I’m working on creating more of a community and discussion on NatureImmersed with a new section called Your Take on Nature. It’s where I simply ask a question related to nature, food, the outdoors, or the environment, and you do all the talking!

You know that I really love hearing from other people’s experiences. I’ve learned so much from all of the people who have passed by “the cafe” and left their mark here. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and stories with me :)

That’s all for now. I may be back again here, on Your Daily Dose, in the future. In the meantime, I hope to see you at my other homes in the blogosphere. We can always have a coffee there and chat!

With love,
Janice (a.k.a. Cafe) <3

Janice on Song Talk Radio! And Twitter!

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Hey cafe goers!

So I’ve been fluttering around the big ‘ol Twitterverse lately, doing some live tweeting for a local university radio show called Song Talk Radio.

I’m so in love with the show because it’s all about exploring one of my favourite things in the entire world — ah, no, not fine, single malt scotch, but close(!) — songwriting!

I was actually a guest on Song Talk Radio last month and played a few of my originals (including a new song, “Dance Without Judgement”, live in studio)!  The best part about Song Talk is actually being able to discuss the songwriting process in an intelligent and interesting way — as you know I love to do ;)

And that’s because the hosts — Phil, Bruce and Neel — are so knowledgable about the vast world of music that I often feel like I’ve been living under a very heavy rock.  Plus, they’ve got the kind of laid-back, witty banter going on that has hooked me into hanging out with them every week to tweet for the show!

So here’s the podcast with my Song Talk Radio interview if you want to actually hear the voice behind this blog :)

If you’re also chirping away on Twitter, come join me for the live chat: @SongTalkRadio!  I’ll actually be tweeting in about an hour from now (Monday at 7 pm EST)! [Note: Song Talk is now on Tuesdays at 7!]

And here’s my personal Twitter nest that has a fully-functional coffee machine so we can continue our caffeine-induced chats no matter where we are!: @JaniceHoTweets

See you in Twitter Land! :)

– Cafe <3

My (Sort of) Last Blog Post on Your Daily Dose

Dear blogging friends,

I guess this may come as a surprise to many of you. But I’ve given it a lot of thought. And I have decided to make this my last blog post here on Your Daily Dose.

It has been an amazing journey since I opened up shop here about a year and a half ago. I can still remember when I used to only get two comments on a post. Now, there’s almost 600 bloggers subscribed (minus you blogging robots ;), plus anyone following through Facebook and Twitter. Over 35,000 page views. 5,500 comments (including my own, of course). It seems crazy to walk away from such amazing readership, but I really do believe that it is the right time for me.

You’re probably wondering: Why? Well, I think there are a few reasons. But the most important one is that I no longer feel that I can maintain this blog with the same consistency and drive that I’ve had in the past year and a half. And those are two things that are important to me, as a blogger. I would rather walk away on a high note than drag it out, sporadically popping in and out and not necessarily having the same level of inspiration and love for writing behind each and every post that I’ve always strived for. I am really sad at the thought of this being the end, but I want to just reflect on all of the great things that have come out of blogging here at Your Daily Dose.

It’s very apparent to me now that through this blogging experience, I’ve been blessed with the motivation to pursue my creative passions — especially music — and to be more fearless in going after the dreams I always thought were unreachable. I have all of you to thank for your constant encouragement, support, and words of motivation. Without your help, I wouldn’t have gained the confidence to keep going full speed ahead :)

I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for every time you dropped by the cafe to chat with me. Thank you to anyone who has read, liked, re-blogged, and/or commented on a post. Thank you to everyone who has been so thoughtful to pass on a blogging award this way. I feel truly honoured that you have shared your own personal stories, experiences, thoughts and advice here with me and others. I have been inspired and moved, and have learned so much from you all. It really has been all about creating a blogging community here for me, and you guys have helped make that happen.

I will be leaving this blog post up and exporting everything else to another, private site, just to have as an archive. I will be closing my Facebook and Twitter pages in a day or two, but I for sure will still be on SoundCloud where you can feel free to follow me and check out what’s going on in my songwriting journey. If I happen to create another site within the next year, I’ll be sure to update you guys here with a new post so that we might reconnect elsewhere in the world wide web (so don’t unsubscribe yet! :).

But that doesn’t mean we won’t ever meet again! I hope to find time in the future to drop by many of your blogs, to say hi and see how you’re all doing. But in the meantime, I find comfort in knowing that you have an amazing blogging family around you that will continue to inspire you, cry and laugh with you, and cheer you on in this crazy thing called life :)

Again, it’s been an incredible experience and joy spending the time that I have with you all. I wish everyone the absolute best. Don’t ever stop dreaming big and going after your life goals. Always keep searching for ways to be inspired. And always remember what and who are truly the most important things in your life. Time is too precious and life is to short to waste on doing anything other than that.

Your friend, Cafe <3

Update: I’ve been really touched reading all of your heart-felt comments so far and will try to post an update on any new songs I write during the year for anyone who would rather follow here than through SoundCloud. Thank you to everyone who has made me and this blog feel truly special! xoxo

Update – Part 2: Visit here to find out what’s happening with Your Daily Dose!

Going Dark on Facebook

A few days ago I looked down at my Blackberry and threw my hands up in the air. I had just about had enough! Flinging my phone to the ground, I declared: “Facebook must die!!!”

Okay, fine, so it was slightly less dramatic than that. What really happened was that over the past few weeks, I had been frequenting my personal Facebook account less and less. I just didn’t have anything much to say. I found myself browsing my newsfeed purely out of thoughtless habit.

Sometimes I did come up with things to share with the world: “The TTC should burn to the ground.” “It is freezing like a biznatch out here.” “Watching Alias makes me want to drink red wine.”

But after instinctively reaching for my Crackberry and hitting the Facebook app to spread these profound thoughts far and wide, I paused and asked myself: “Does anyone really care?”

Yesterday, I had been chatting with my cousin about potentially disabling my Facebook account for an indefinite period of time. An hour later, I came across a Freshly Pressed post, Are you Being Squeezed by Social Media?, that asked the readers what justified us staying on Facebook and what would it take for us to leave?

Then today, I was scrolling through my WordPress Reader and came across Mooselicker’s post. It really didn’t matter what it was about (I don’t mean it like that, Tim) — all I saw were the words “Soul Sellers” and “Facebook” together and my mouth dropped open. My God, it was a sign.

What did justify me staying on Facebook? What the heck did I do on there anyway? I decided to take a browse around my page to determine this answer.

I found that I used Facebook to broadcast urgent requests:

I used Facebook to update my friends on what had become of me …

… and about my vacations and crazy new adventures.

My Facebook page was the home of many a football game commentary, where friends would take the opportunity to diplomatically discuss their thoughts on my favourite team.

But Facebook was also where friends would send me links to interesting videos and news articles:

And where I could easily connect with family who lived in different countries:

So at the end of my search, I was nowhere closer to figuring out the answers to my burning questions:

  • Would shutting down my account actually lead to more meaningful communication between my friends and I?
  • Or would I simply lose connections with people I did care about, but who choose to mainly communicate through FB?
  • Are emailing and texting actually more meaningful ways of communicating? Do we give FB a lot more flack than it deserves?
  • Would I be more productive with the time I was using to mindlessly browse my newsfeed? Or would I at the very least feel less like a FB automaton?

WOULD MY LIFE CHANGE WITHOUT FACEBOOK? OR WOULD ITS DEMISE BARELY MAKE A DENT?

I’m curious to find out. But I’m not completely convinced just yet. Thoughts, people?

– Cafe <3

Photo Credit: Facebook stats