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Once upon a time, there were three bear adventures and a lot of magic…

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Once upon a time, I was terrified of bears.  Actually as a kid, I was pretty terrified of a lot of things. Bears ransacking our campsite didn’t help. And my two older brothers, who delighted in terrifying me even more with horror stories, finally left me anxious camping and absolutely refusing to camp in obvious bear country like Jasper National Park.  Ever. Again.

And then one day, many years ago, I took my daughters (at age 4 and 7-ish) to the Shuswap Narrows camping by boat access only. Back then it was still ‘wilderness’.. only the occasional private houseboat, and the adventurous boat campers.  Yes, brave for a bear phobic woman… but it’s too amazing at the Narrows not to go.

I won’t make this first bear story a long story.. although it is long and the telling, I think, is entertaining.. but that’s just me.  This post will be long enough without all the details! Ha.  But you see, I need to feel brave right now.. and, like magic,  today a bear helped me.  First, though.. the first bear who changed my life:

Suffice to say, we arrived at the Narrows, set up tent, and went for a walk. My daughter Megan said, “Oh look, Mommy, a bear!”  and there, 20 feet away, sat a giant Grizzly.  Sitting, she was about half the size of the outhouse beside her.

I said to Megan, “Take your sister’s hand, walk down to the beach. Walk right into the houseboat that is on the beach. And wait until I get there.”  ( I knew there would be people to look after them!)  Megan and Courtney did exactly that, bless their sweet selves. Even Frosti the dog went with them, apparently unaware of a bear in her midst.

I stood still.  I was not afraid: ‘Mommy protective instinct’ was in full force. If the bear was going to attack, it could attack me, but not my children.

The Grizzly walked towards me, and still I wasn’t afraid. As she came to the path, she simply crossed it.. looking at me calmly.  Her fur swayed golden as it caught the light through the trees, and I thought she was one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen.  Surreal. Awe Inspiring… as I felt a bond of motherhood between us.

As it happened,  she was the first Grizzly to be spotted in that area in 10 years. I felt honoured.

A few years later I was sitting on my sundeck at home asking myself, “When did you stop being afraid?  When did you stop worrying so much? When did you get brave?”   (Having lost my Mom when I was  9, and my brother when I was 26, had simply fueled the excessive fears I seemed to have  been born with.)

And it struck me that so much fear had left me the day I encountered my Grizzly.  Besides the fact that she didn’t kill me, I had realized that all of my years of fear and worry about bears had been wasted “thought-energy”because the day I actually ran into a Grizzly turned out to be a memorable, extraordinary and sacred experience.

That day on the sundeck I realized that my shift in thinking from fear of bears to something so sacred, had unconsciously flowed over into the rest of my life.  Worry had faded. I was pretty brave in many aspects of my life, and it felt good. The Grizzly had given me a very empowering life changing experience.

The Bear became a sacred symbol of Motherhood, Strength and Magic.  (Okay, along with my other symbols… for those who know more of my wild and crazy story.. faeries, merlin, stars, the night sky, tall ships and a touch of pirates) It’s the Bear that I wear on my finger every day.

Sooo, fast forward past other bear stories to a couple of years ago.  My daughter Megan was diagnosed with a rare cancer.  She is healthy and wonderful and well now.  At the time she went through very aggressive chemo, had some life threatening events and suffered two strokes.  Let me mention again: She is sooo well now, got married last summer.. and we all danced gloriously in celebration. (Update 2016: she now has two beautiful daughters)

As you can imagine, during her treatments was a very difficult time. One day I sat at the top of a mountain and sent messages to the universe, the gods, the goddesses, the family on the other side, the faeries, the angels, the guides, “and all who are good and  listening whether I believe you exist or not” (Okay, I was desperate and not about to miss a single helping spirit)  to help my daughter.

As I walked the path down the mountain, I turned a corner and there was a Momma Black Bear and her two children.  My dog gently sat beside me and watched – which in itself signalled a magic moment. My hiking friends watched. And I started to cry because I knew the Bears were a sign that the Universe was listening and my daughter and  family were supported.

And now…

And now.. fast forward to yesterday.  On Wednesday, I will be having a second surgery for breast cancer.  In many ways, this was feeling easy. ‘Ridiculous!’ and some “WTF’s,”  yes,   yet in comparison to what Megan went through, my diagnosis seemed simple, and still does.  But results from a lumpectomy weren’t ideal and this past 10 days, as I wait for a masectomy … well, actually, I’ve kind of filled the days with beautiful things, with the help of my family and friends.. spas, hiking, paddleboarding, games, dinners, sketching, writing, even having my breasts painted by artist friends (thank you), playing with grandchildren …  I’m doing what I can to connect to energies that feed my soul, to hang onto as I heal.

A series of events evolved into my sharing what was happening on facebook, (I hadn’t intended to share.. that seemed very hard for me) and now I’m in awe .. total awe.. at the spirit lifting support from friends and family a result.  So, yes, I am feeling supported.

And it is a bit scary anyway.  But here’s one more thing for you to imagine. Imagine my awe once again, when today, a large beautiful black bear with a rich brown snout, bounced across our path.  This time, I was in my car with my 4 year old granddaughter, driving back from a hike. (That’s good because there was no houseboat to send her to.)  I gasped in delight, and she gasped in delight: ” a real bear! I’ve never seen a bear in real life!”   I stopped and watched the Bear run up the mountain side, pausing, graciously to allow a photo.  I don’t know why the photo is blue tinted.. except perhaps that the spirit of my Dad happened by.  He’s all about ‘blue.’ I do know that the Bear was ever so kind to show up and remind me that I can be brave. But I don’t always have to be. I am supported. There is magic.

                                         And they all lived happily ever after.


On this journey,
I will use creativity
I will use magic
I will use laughter
I will use adavan …
I will hang out in nature
But most of all, I will bask in the love and support
and wonder of those around me
For all of that, I feel blessed
My wish is that we all start sharing our magical stories.
Perhaps you’ll recognize that a magical connection you’ve had was truly
a magical connection and not ‘just a coincidence’ and that you can let go of ‘the scientific explanation.’
Perhaps, like me, when you share the stories, it helps to bond their truth within you.
The more stories we tell, the more normal the magic of the Universe will become.
And that simply opens us up for even more.
I wish for you a safe place to share your magical stories. And if perchance this is the place, you are most welcome.
And thank you for reading ALLLL the way to here!

About Janet

Author and artist with a tall ship and mystical twist, Certified Professional Life Coach (ICA), Master Creativity Coach (KMCC), Curator/owner of Writerly Kits, workshop leader and creativity group facilitator trainer. Author: 'Beyond All Imaginings'- a magical memoir. (on Amazon, if you are keen, or contact me for a signed copy) Outdoor enthusiast and Tall Ship sailor. Been through breast cancer and found her own tools of play, lightness, creativity, nature, thinking differently and visualization assisted healing through and after treatments. Ever ever so grateful for all the wondrous people she is surrounded by.

21 responses »

  1. Loved your stories of inspiration, courage, and bravery! Thank you! May your healing journey be magical and filled with love!


  2. Oh Janet, today i wish you love and support and bravery and a feeling of being physically and emotionally supported by the bears you love as well as all the people that love you! I was so excited to see your post, as I am in the midst of something particularly scary as well, and thought- “Oh good, a post from Janet!”…and then it was about bravery- perfect! I truly would love to have coffee with you someday, between wriing and potting, and being counselors, i think we would have buckets to talk about. Please post about recovery, i will be waiting to hear! Hugs and much love!!


  3. Dear Magical Janet – yes, you are much loved and supported. I wish for you healing and strength as you move into and past these next few days. You are watched over by the fairies, the angels, your guides and all that is good. You are the phoenix.


    • Thank you lovely Steph, I so appreciate your words.! You are amazing and your certificate not yet sent says so!!!!


  4. You are such a wonderful woman and a true warrior of love and magic dear Janet, your grandgirlys are so very fortunate in this life to have you and wonderful Meagan helping their mommy guide them. Thank you for sharing your journeys. I will be holding a vision of good health and happiness for you always……. Thinking I will go sit me on one of those mountains sometime soon……:)) xo


    • Thank you! And if I have moments of doubt I will read these words, and think of my bears. and Picture you on the top of a mountain. ~smile~


  5. WoW. Your storey is amazing.The picture with the blue tint is stunning. I am sitting here
    crying and not feeling sad. Thank You and know I will be thinking of you often tonight and all day tomorrow.


  6. velvetbuttons

    That is such a beautiful reminder of the magic and synchronicity that life will present to us when we are open to it and Janet you are surely open to the magic of the Universe. It brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes when we have these profoundly meaningful experiences and later tell the story, something is lost because the meaning is often so personal but your story and the way you recounted it felt very magical, meaningful and synchronous to me. I think everyone who reads it will see the connection and feel the magic. Thank you for sharing this my Magical,Angel, Goddess, Merliny, Faerey,Pirate, Nanna, Coach, friend!!


    • Dear Buttons.. thank you.. I didn’t know if the telling might not portray the magic, and am glad you felt it. Now to finish the book, huh? Love to you from magical, angel, goddess, merliny, faerie, pirate, nana, coach, a momma, and friend, (BIG SMILE)


  7. Dear Marvelously Magical Janet … your amazing post has my eyes swimming with Love and Beauty and Wishes for Wonder and Wellness to surround you and dazzle your incredibly gorgeous essence. Your photo of the bear (I swear it looks to me like the bear is waving!) is just awe-inspiring … such an icon of protection and power… no doubt the Great Goddess of Wow is watching over you. I think of you so often with Muse Love and affection and will be thinking of you extra-much tomorrow and sending bright heart sparkles to you as you heal. Here’s my hand … and a Muse kiss I’ve placed in the palm that magically transfers it to yours … press it to your cheek any time for a reminder that you are loved and celebrated and totally have it going on, girlfriend!!!


  8. Janet, I was really taken with your story. I too had a fear of Bears and I have encountered them in Yellowstone NP but always at a safe distance. I love how the bear keeps coming to you in your time of need. The Raven is like that for me. I wish you a speedy recovery and continued health. I am having surgery Thursday for something not quite as serious as you. Just a removal of my gallbladder. We shall be recovering at the same time it seems. I’ll send you lots of healing energy for tomorrow and beyond.



    • Oh goodie.. we can have a healing bonding!! Wishing you super magical healing, and me too, and let’s connect as we heal, Kate.


  9. velvetbuttons

    I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow and sending some big green healing light your way with lots of love. Lets see how your feeling and if you would like me to come do a Reiki session Thurs. or Fri. I’m good with that or even on the weekend. We’ll just play it by ear. Much love!


  10. Janet, I love your story and think that animals do provide a look into the sacred world of magic and wonder. I will be thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers. I love the photo of the bear and the way he is looking down; sending his own healing light and love.



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