Persistence – Invaluable

All sewn up!
All sewn up!

Our lap blanket really does exist! I am weaving in the loose ends, then the Maplesoft Therapeutic Knitting Group can present the finished product to their recently opened Multi-faith Chapel.

Weaving in ends in knitting and in life takes persistence, returning focus again and again to one object. In our fast paced lives many other distractions compete for our attention. I accept this work happily, knowing that the effort will benefit many. This is my meditation.

Mindfulness Skills for Well-Being


Benefits of Mindfulness
Benefits of Mindfulness

This 8 Week Mindfulness Program is intended to teach you the practice of mindfulness through meditation, so that you can ultimately develop a mindful awareness.

Mindfulness can:

  • reduce overall levels of anxiety and depression
  • reduce harmful levels of stress
  • enhance your immune system’s performance
  • enhance clarity of mind and creativity
  • boost your quality of life

 Program Details

This Mindfulness Program is an 8 week introduction to mindfulness through practical instruction, meditation, mindful movement, direct observation and home practice. It is designed to help you increase your sense of well-being.

The program includes 8 sessions of 2 hours each, a full day of meditation at the mid-point of the program, guided meditation recordings, and supplementary materials to reinforce the weekly sessions.

Dates: Thursdays 10:30 am – 12:30 pm starting May 7 2015 through to June 25 2015 including a day-long Meditation Retreat on June 6 2015

Location: City of Ottawa Archives; James K. Bartleman Centre; 100 Tallwood Drive; Room 115, Ottawa, Ontario

Fee: $150 for 8-week course, 1 day retreat and all required materials [ec_addtocart productid=”248″]

Nicki Benton will  facilitate this program with Francine Portenier’s assistance.

Francine Portenier
Francine Portenier

My first career in Systems Design Engineering focused on “making things better”. Now  I focus upon communicating and being with people to help make their lives richer and fuller.


Francine founded Twin Willows Farm to initially offer Equine-assisted Therapy. She now facilitates the first Therapeutic Knitting Group in Canada and Meditation Practices, assisting in Mindfulness Programs. Francine shows you how to cultivate well-being as an individual and to boost resiliency – your ability to bounce back from setbacks.

Nicki Benton
Nicki Benton


Nicki Co-founded the Ottawa Peer Recovery Centre, and also facilitates recovery programs, empowering individuals to find their voice and walk their unique recovery path with confidence. She has been practising mindfulness in her own life for five years.

 [ec_addtocart productid=”248″]

Peace in every Breath

One day just to ensure that I achieved the right frame of mind; Shanti, my cat, hopped into my lap. Her name means peace, and she did help me feel peaceful, once she finished kneading my legs with her paws and settled down to rest. There is something very calming about the quiet purring of a contented cat.



Lovely “Loving Yourself” Workshop

Monday evening was a good time to be outside – the temperature was warm but not humid. We gathered in the shade of the gazebo, the freshly cut lawn underfoot, sitting by the cherry and the apple trees, overlooking the horses’ pasture and the perennial gardens. The bees drowsed in the asters and Shanti my calico cat dropped by as well.

We started our workshop with a brief meditation on our breath, feeling the earth beneath our feet and realizing that our breath is always with us.

We then discussed the facets of ourselves that we need to pay attention to – our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects. We talked about how we could care for these aspects of ourselves, how to make the time, save the energy for ourselves and accept ourselves just as we are now.

The harvest moon rose and outdid the sunset, I haven’t been able to command the sunset to perform – and tonight the harvest moon was warm and full and luminous. Thank you.


Gardening Meditation

It’s been 29 days, and still it hurts.  My days are much lighter now, I see the beauty in many things. My wild roses are budding, and this evening, I finished weeding, pruning,  removing exuberant coneflowers, and  mulching my 4th major perennial bed in my backyard.

I’ve been working on growing and adding to my perennial gardens for the past 15 years. I’ve tried to use plants that are native to this area, as well as plants that are drought-tolerant, because  I don’t want to spend my summer watering and babying plants along. It has worked very well, as long as I enjoy Comfrey, Coneflowers, and Goldenrod.

I do, of course, but sometimes I long for Lupins or Cardinal flowers.  They usually get out competed by the Coneflowers.

Luna, my 14 month old lab mix, got hit by a train on May 5th. 29 days doesn’t seem very long time – one fourteenth of a lifetime.image