Louise Thomson ~ ZEN Shredding…
May 18, 2009

Michael and Louise at book launch!


As I start to write the first few words of this blog entry at 4:30am, I can hear the sounds of the birds as they begin their very early morning chorus.  A new dawn and a new day has begun as I attempt to word a few thoughts on the very common, seemingly “final”, subject of death.

Death of any kind is a deeply personal thing.  Premature death from accidents, violence or disease is particularly disturbing, even to those you do not know.  As much as I have been acculturated into previous conditionings and the more unconventional teachings of progressive spirituality, I am affected by death; we all are affected in unpredictable ways, when it arrives at our doorstep. 

I just received some news, the kind of news no one really wants to hear.  Upfront I need to say, I’m not really interested in writing about the premature death of one of my closest and dearest friends, Louise Thomson to cancer.  I’m more interested in celebrating and sharing with you a few of my thoughts; to express in words, the gratitude I have for the gift of her life on mine. 

I’ve known Louise for around seventeen years, and it’s been an honor to both experience and witness the unconditional love of this amazing human Being.  To see how it has touched not only my own life and heart, but also the lives and hearts of countless others in a hundred, thousand, different ways.  This is the fact, truth and joy; I was able to experience untold blessings as a result of meeting and befriending Louise Thomson.

If you have been reading this blog or, if you have read my book ZEN Shredding, you might remember from the “acknowledgments” page, the name Louise Thomson.  In it I wrote:

“To Louise … thank you for your continued friendship over these many years.  The courage and conviction you have so easily expressed in your life has influenced and inspired me deeply in unforeseen ways…”

You can’t not be around an incredible human being for that length of time and not be influenced in some way.  I consider meeting and befriending Louise a real miracle in my life.  I have expressed before in my writings how rare, how unique and how “special” it is to finally meet someone who “gets you” totally ~ unconditionally.  It’s a rapport that occurs beyond an intellectual level.  It’s a bond that occurs at the deepest of Soul levels ~ at the core of your existence.  It’s the juicy, profound, blissful experience of getting to spend time with someone, without the need of the protective masks of your human “I” dentity; to momentarily relate to someone, essence to essence.  It’s the gentle reality of being able to show up in your pain and suffering or your purposeful joy, and, by simply being, slip helplessly, freely and religiously into the present moment now.

The pages of my book ZEN Shredding are filled with the influence of Louise.  They are in many cases an articulated expression of how she lived her life in her own very unique way.  Embedded in many of the insights are the inspirations that came from the hours of intense, intimate conversations that I had the pleasure of experiencing over many years.  Conversations that arose from her own worldly experience and the wisdom of the relationship she had to her own Soul.  Conversations that informed her directly in how she lived, practiced and breathed her life.

One of the highlights of my creative life, that becomes more meaningful day by day, was last year’s book launch of ZEN Shredding. My greatest joy came in the opportunity to bring together all but a few of my closest friends to celebrate in their own unique way, the launch of my book.  Louise was there in all her glory as she shared her own commentary and insight from my book.  I felt truly honored by her attendance, I was grateful for her presence.  With glee, I marveled at her grace, ease and authenticity, as she shared with us the magic of her own inner knowing.

I find it ironic that it would be a liberated, wise woman who would come into this gay mans life to role model the skills that have lead him to become a fuller expression of a “whole man” than any man could ever do; to unconditionally love, when it’s much easier to react.  To listen, when it’s much easier to talk; to be tender with oneself, when it’s much easier to judge, hate, run or hide. 

More than anything Louise role modeled consistently how to be truly courageous in life and purpose, when it’s so much easier to bend or break to your real and not so real fears; to thrive in the clarity of your own boundaries, when it’s so easy to be marginalized by the expression of your past conditioning. 

Louise was a walker of the talk, and constantly strived to be an impeccable expression in character and passion.  She navigated and mastered life through the art of being, strengthened and built on the foundation of her allegiance towards being the consummate expression of her own inner wisdom and experience.

When I think about what made me feel so safe, so loved and so affirmed while in her presence, I realize how rare it is to find another human being that can be emotionally present, to be emotionally available with and for you.  I realize that only when “the other” has faced the wound of their own false core/false self that they then can have the ability to draw on the compassion, strength and power of their own essential core, to live life with the greatest of awareness and integrity.

I have lost a treasured friend in my life, but I will always have the memory of experience that will live on in my mind and heart.  Life does go on; life willfully goes on, and so will the inspiration and expression of love that was Louise Thomson, that continues to live on in the mind and hearts of the hundred, thousand, others, her life touched…


Insight #44 ~ ZEN Shredding…
April 28, 2009




Witness the flow of your life. 



The current of your life can change in a moment, an hour or in a day.  It’s important to recognize that at any moment you might need to slow down, be attentive, speed up or simply stop because that is the call of the moment. While this may or may not coincide with your own plans, learning to surrender to the flow of your life will minimize the degree of struggle you may or may not be having.


Extended commentary:


As I write these extended blog entries based on my book ZEN Shredding, I am constantly “floored” as to how many of the insights have recently struck a cord of meaning and relevance to my present moment experience.  It’s almost like another version has unfolded inside of me and could hit the press with regards to the perceptions I am having with those insights in the present moment now. 


For the last 20 years of my life I have been actively exploring and immersing myself in the world of so called spirituality and personal growth.  I have had some amazing experiences, made some amazing friendships, and discovered many illusions while grounding myself in some of the world’s greatest, timeless teachings.  “I” also have imagined that as a result of this tenure, on some level, that “I” had “done” enough of my homework to be able to step into the enlightened side of simply Being.


 This last year 2008/2009 has been an “interesting” time; it peaked in the spring/summer of 2008 with the publication and promotion of a three year book project ~ ZEN Shredding, in the fall it dived.  I received news that I would not only be losing my accommodation [free rent living in a cabin in the woods] but also, that my day job was coming to an end.  Whistler, Canada is NOT the ideal kind of place to be looking for work or accommodation, in the late fall.  As a resort destination, the population of seasonal workers increases dramatically, as the population of incoming employees increases the available accommodation decreases with regards to accessibility. 


For “me”, it was a recipe for disaster.  I could not find work and I could not find a place to live.  As a way to ease the situation I decided to move into an alternative substitute ~ “Harvey” the RV.  I have now just finished the glory of “living the dream” of my first winter living in an rv.  While there were some enjoyable moments, overall, a large part of “me” feels like I’ve dived into the deep end of an Olympic size pool and is almost, treading water…


In the contemporary world of new age spirituality there is a great expectation and fever for ever expanding levels of success and happiness in all areas of our life.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with this intent as long as we do not become attached to the idea of living in an UP universe; the idea that there is some mystical magical moment when our life will permanently tread a Bullish style market. 


My experience over the last six months has reminded me once again how delicate life is; how easy it is to slip from the experience of being a bliss bunny one moment who appears to be on track and dialed into life; into the suffering created by shadows of fear and grief over the loss of meaning and purpose, a perceived friendship, and the circumstances that exist in ones life.  While my currant situation has improved from an external point of view, my internal world has fallen into chaos and shock.  I have stepped into the shadow of a mind of ideas and a heart filled with emotions that touch the deepest fears, judgments and conditionings of the person I imagine myself to be.


No human being, however “enlightened”, is immune to the comings and goings of life; the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the ins and outs that occur in the story of our day to day existence and our identification to a body/mind.  Realization of any degree has no guarantee’s; life continues to unfold in its juxtaposition of opposites: pain and suffering, joy and bliss; the ups and downs of change appear to be the only constant as the “I” dances in the world of form and phenomena.


As we begin to identify ourselves too the timeless factor that is our real and only Self ~ the ONE who is the witness; an experience of resilience begins to spontaneously appear, independent too the ebb and flow of our life.  As we begin to identify ourselves AS the timeless factor in a time bound experience, we begin to realize that this Self, our true Self, can rejoice in itSelf always, regardless of what may appear or disappear in the moment to moment story we call life.


The discovery of Who We Are, is a “personal journey” of an imagined “I”, that believes it is a separate, individual and distinct entity, with a past, present and future story based on personal volition.  The spontaneous, unconditional, acceptance of the juxtaposition of opposites within our life occurs as a result of our stabilization to our Self, and provides the space for a subjective experience of freedom to express that requires no external change for corroboration or affirmation. 


You are Who You Are, independent of the circumstances and situations that occur within your life experience.  As we learn to witness not only our life, but also the ONE who witnesses our life, we become aware of a level of freedom that was always available; the timeless and eternal factor that we label “YOU”, has only temporarily imagined itself as space and time bound, “me”.


* Much, much more than a footnote;


I have just received news that one of my closest friends and mentors, Louise; has been diagnosed with some kind of cancer.  Treatments begin this week.  I want to dedicate this entry to you Louise.  You are my role model; “teacher” and Angel in life.  You are someone who has shown me what is possible, that there is such a thing as unconditional love… 


I need to slow down and stop, now.


This was never part of “the plan”…    



Where is the flow of your life taking

you ~ do you need to slow down, be attentive, gear up or stop?


To order a copy of ZEN Shredding please visit:






Check out “Living The Dream”, the gift book version of the slideshow/movie that is available to view free on You tube or the ZEN Shredding website; an inspiring read with full color photo’s of Whistler/Blackcomb Alpine…








When you get a chance, please visit the home of my latest work:




The Essentials of a Good Life…




(c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.






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