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  • Tanya Hammond

Embraced by Inspiration

This weekend I attended the “Inspired for Life" event at the Brockville Country Club and if an event can be judged by how welcoming it is by the number of hugs received then this one was by far the most welcoming one I have attended. The atmosphere was one of inclusion and acceptance with a wide array of vendors. An impressive gathering of 70 exhibitors featured, each with ample room to display their wares and provide such services as mini massages, intuitive readings and more.

Sandy Buck, Bryan Martin and Friends

There was also a talented line up of speakers presenting throughout the day in an intimate setting on the upper level. Truthfully, with full intentions of sitting in on a number of the speakers, I simply ran out of time as I spent the day immersed in the many stories shared by those participating as exhibitors.

I was fortunate enough to get to the event in time to watch the drumming performance by Sandy Buck, Bryan Martin, and friends, a unique and welcome addition to the show. The stage also featured some skillful musicians including some very talented students from Fulford Academy.

For me, the vendors stole the show. One such person was Metis Artist, Colleen Gray from Franktown, who creates spiritual paintings that make you stop in your tracks and look deeper, wanting to know the story, the meaning behind each one. Colleen’s stories were mesmerizing, with the ability to transport me to a different place and time. Her devotion to her art and Canadian Indigenous communities is admirable. As Founder of The Art For Aid Project, she collects and delivers art supplies to remote Indigenous communities where they struggle to have quality-teaching tools in their schools and community programs.

Colleen also heads up The Map to My School Initiative and The Mylar Blanket Warm Home Initiative as part of her commitment to helping address some of the problems faced by the First Nations people. The sale of her art helps raise funds required for shipping supplies, and if you are like me, you will have a hard time trying to pick just one piece. I decided on a pack of greeting cards so I could have more than one print, but I have no doubt, that I will be meeting up with this awe-inspiring Artist again.

Anyone who knows me well knows I love books and as luck would have it or should I say fate, there were some authors present at the event. Yaeb’Et Bot’An from Zen Acres was there with his book Herbal Inspirations.

Interestingly, Yaeb’Et and Cherie Hebert from Your Ascension Journey both provided me with some interesting insight regarding my experience with being struck by lightning. The day provided me with many enlightening conversations and joyful encounters from both exhibitors and attendees.

The always upbeat and cheerful Sonia Haynes was there with her book, The Power of Money, a good read for those curious about their relationship with money.

Winhara Burrow

Sandra Jean Buck’s book From Fearful to Fabulous was a must on my little shopping spree for the day. As was The Power of Our Voices Sharing Our Story” an Anthology that includes an inspirational story shared by the gifted Winhara Burrow. I know from experience that Winhara’s voice is calming and peaceful adding to her strength as a Reiki provider in her business Soul Venture.

With so many alternative health care providers, set up that day there was sure to be the right fit for every person visiting the booths. There was the lovely, Vickie Dickson; a Holistic Health Practitioner set up with her wide selection of essential oils. This brilliant beauty not only serves the people of Smiths Falls with her nutrition, yoga, and aromatherapy services, but she also travels the world inspiring others to do the same. Event visitors were also fortunate to find a complimentary thirty-minute consultation card from Vickie in their grab bag.

I was also delighted to catch up with the youthful, Mother-Daughter team, Heather and Shannin Hudson who were set up with their health and wellness business handing out samples. Their obvious interest in the well-being of others and their eagerness to listen sets a person at ease immediately. Another Mother and Daughter duo who deserve mention are Judy Todd, the colourful creator behind Allthingzenergy and her equally talented Daughter Tania Todd of Peaceful Inspirations. I was wearing a “Judy Todd Original” at the event and had many compliments.

B's Bubbles

With art, clothing, jewellery, cosmetics, books, oils, food and so much more to choose from I must admit I found it difficult to stick to my budget. I made a brief stop by B’s Bubbles and picked up a Natural Beeswax lip balm. I bought some chemical free Body Butter from Linda Davis of the newly branded Burdock & Nettle, and I could not pass by Jennifer Ryckman’s stand, Sincere Preserves without purchasing some freeze-dried preserves. A snack with just one ingredient listed on the back, now that is impressive!

Tasty Indulgences

Sue Torrance of Tasty Indulgences one of the women who helped bring this event to Brockville was also set up with her premium gluten-free meals and desserts. Sue works tirelessly to serve those in an ever-expanding area, providing nutritional and take it from me, very tasty goods, ranging from soups and salads to cakes, entrees and even catered events. With food allergies so prevalent these days it was also interesting to meet Siobhan Brodowski, owner of 1000 Islands Bed and Breakfast whom herself has twenty-eight different allergies. Her sensitivity to those with allergies and her ability to create a delicious full breakfast for all of her guests isn’t the only reason their Bed and Breakfast is a popular place to stay. They have an in-ground heated pool, they are fully bilingual, and their 5-star place is surprisingly pet-friendly.

Ashley Holmes-Brunke Mint Wellness

My day of discovery certainly won’t end as I will be following up with some of the businesses and service providers I met in the days and weeks to come. One such business that intrigued me was Mint Wellness and all they have to offer at their new location in Brockville. I was impressed by the strength and agility Instructor and Owner, Ashley Holmes-Brunke displayed during the demo of her pole exercise.

Even more impressive is the community of business women that this organization is building with spa services, hair services, exercise, and a salt cave soon. I spoke with Reflexologist, Arlene Laberge, about the services she provides as part of the Mint Wellness team and I look forward to trying out the new salt room upon opening. Arlene’s passion regarding people’s pursuit of wellness was obvious as was her commitment to the community of women within Mint Wellness.

Purple Door

As if meant to be or perhaps the shiny

gemstones in my pocket from Purple Door played a role, I won a door prize before leaving.

The prize, a one-hour session with Heather Elliott from Mindful Change and Author of “Same Shit Different Day” will help me live an inspired life. Now if that isn’t the ultimate way to end the “Inspired for Life” event.

A day created because a First Nations Elder, White Buffalo, gave one woman by the name of Ursula Dowd a mission, to connect communities. Bringing Brockville and those from surrounding townships together was a day with “many people working together to create something inspiring and positive” as Dale Fraser Pearson stated. A selfless act by the organizers saw all donations at the door generously donated to Leeds & Grenville Interval House and Victim Services of Leeds & Grenville.

Live life and embrace inspiration when you find it.

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