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Finding Yourself in Special Places and Spaces

Do you believe in magic?


To me, magic happens when I am present enough to experience a high frequency version of awe.  


And in truth, that version of awe is you. You are the magic. You are the magic, I am the magic, we are all magic!


I’ve always been clear that is about your mind, body and spirit.  This episode is about bringing those pieces of who you are together, to find magic, to rediscover magic, and to hear the story of tiny samples of the magic in my life.  


I’m inviting you to where I am as I write this. I will take a photo once I break the flow… The wind is rusting the trees, the sound of a creek gurgles nearby, and Cameron Falls is in the distance, a squirrel is chirping assertively at a couple chaired in the shade with their books. I can see Mount Vimy over my computer screen, and the wind – it is rarely a still day in Waterton – reminds you that change is constant and you can’t control everything. You just go with it.



For several days, my family and I in various versions, have had the incredible experience of spending the better part of the last two weeks in the magical environment of Waterton Lakes National Park.


Remember when I said magic happens?


When I am present enough to experience a high frequency of awe.  


Stay with me here, I’m going to break it down for you.  


In past episodes I’ve talked about HELP – that unstucking your what the fuck is based in those four critical elements – no matter what you what the fuck is. HELP is my fancy ass acronym for honour, empathy, love and presence.  


I’ll start with presence because they don’t happen in order. Magic can only really happen when you’re paying attention. And that doesn’t just mean with your eyes. Presence is being aware in yourself and your body, to connect with what you’re doing, feeling, smelling, hearing, tasting, and even sensing, intuiting, or experiencing in any other realm of knowing.


Mind, Body, and Spirit, Bitches!


Think about a time when you were present enough to experience awe.  It happens when one or many of our senses connect positively with an experience. We can only experience awe when we are totally present, because otherwise, life is just fucking happening to us.


Did you notice that I tossed the word positively in there? Yeah – we can experience negative awe too. Those are the what the fucks – but create a negative frequency, so, not magic.  


So let’s talk frequency. Everything and everyone has a frequency.  In humans we are wired to be able to connect with one another’s frequency. You’ve experienced it by being walking into a tense room and felt it at a romantic wedding. You’ve also seen it in the toddler at the grocery store and know that their frequency was affecting the frequency of others, and likely especially the mom’s.


Here’s the funny thing, that mom – likely just needed an empathic smile, someone to say I’ve been there, and offer assistance, and be present for her or her kids for a second. Honour, Emapthy, Love and Presence. For a second. And guess what, it can actually create magic.  


Presence enough to create the experience of high frequency awe.  


The awe may be:

  •  Being seen without judgement

  •  Experiencing Empathy

  •  The kind eye contact of another human

  •  Or whatever else she needed at that point


Delivered with love.




What I want to point out is that awe doesn’t just happen in experiences like the personal one I am about to share with you.  


Today I am honoured to share magic that brings together some stories of my past with today – literally right now – to show you various layers of magic and invite you to consider your own.


See, when this airs I, along with various versions of my family, will have returned home from having spent the better part of two weeks in a place that I call energetic magic.


If you’ve never been to Waterton Lake’s National Park, don’t go. Parks Canada would never want me to say that, but I do love how quiet and unknown it is. It’s a hidden gem. It was actually Canada’s fourth and smallest national park, and on the Canadian side of Waterton Glacier International Peace Park. I know I said don’t go, but I also know that when we love something we want to share it. So the cool thing is that this is my way of sharing Waterton Magic with you!


Some may say that the magic of Waterton is in her essence. The park is on traditional Blackfoot Territory, and the traditional Blackfoot name for Waterton Lakes is Paahtomahksikimi (BUCK-toe-MOCK-sick-ih-mee). It means the inner sacred lake within the mountains.


If you have been to Waterton and experienced her magic, you can understand why the Niitsitapi, or Blackfoot Peoples, named her so aptly. Her inner sacred lake within the mountains is magic.


Do you have places where your mind, body and spirit come together to experience magic? Sacred spaces and places exist all around us. Maybe you’ve visited once, frequent, or even live in a space that is magic for you.     


Clearly Waterton is a sacred space for me.


My first time here was in January of 1993. I had been dating my first husband John for a few months and the winter blues had hit us. We were cuddled in a single rez bed, mine – and he was telling me all about his love of Waterton and his adventures as a bellman at the Historic Prince of Wales Hotel. He told stories of The Knights of the Bell Desk drawings in the elevator basement of the hotel, and we laughed at the weird ways we’ve left our mark in the world.


It wasn’t long before we were parting ways and agreeing to meet in 15 minutes with an overnight bag, and were headed to this mystery place, Waterton.


Winter Waterton, on clear days, an easy hour and half from Lethbridge, so maybe it would take a little longer, but who doesn’t love an adventure? Keep in mind this was before the days of road and weather apps!


There was a little bit of snow falling when left Lethbridge, but it soon turned to blowing snow, and icy roads. We drove in darkness like the young and dumb kids we were, despite the blinding snow in the darkness of the middle of the fricking night, we drove on as the roads got worse, and the wet snow thickened.  


As we entered the park gates, it was as if entering a snow fortress. Walls of waist or higher white bordered the narrow winding road. As far as I could tell, Waterton may simply be where we were stranded if we got there in one piece.


I felt comfort in knowing John was safely driving my car, mindful of speed, basically a crawl along the windy park road toward the townsite – and had driven it several times in the past.


With the glow of the road the reflection of the headlights back at the car, and literally sheets of snow coming at us blidingly, we slowly wound down the white walled snake toward the townsite. With enthusiasm he was telling me what we would see if we could see – anything that wasn’t white. Kootenay Brown’s Grave, The Horse Barns, The Cemetery most didn’t know existed, Pass Creek and the campfire song nights, Driftwood Bay, Linnet Lake – and the famous Bears Hump. All the while pointing to where out the windshield the Prince of Wales Hotel would be.  


Perhaps it was to pass the time, or a way to calm his own nerves because the roads were actually treacherous if I am being honest, but we had plenty of time for the stories as our pace had slowed to a crawl.  


Can you believe I am going to tell you this place is magical?  


Well, if you can see the passion with which John carefully drove, spoke lovingly of her majesty, and remained calm on those crazy fucking roads to go there in the middle of a stormy winter night, you’d start to get it.


We pulled up to a small hotel, the Kilmorey Lodge, and it felt like a quieter, creakier and warmer version of Newhart, coupled with a tad Hitchcock let’s be real – it was dark, scary, isolated, and the middle of the night. I kind of expected a version of Larry Darrel, Darrel and Darrel to jump out of the darkness.


Inside the dim light was warmly inviting to a small lounge – clearly closed hours ago to the one or two guests that may be in the Lodge at the end of the road. A reading room to the left, and a vacant desk ahead, we stomped the snow off of our shoes and trudged toward the “ring bell for service” and looked at the little dome like we were about to use an airhorn in the still of the night.


He rang the bell and we waited. At this point I was nervous to be young kids getting a hotel room in the middle of the night. With only cash in hand – we didn’t even own credit cards! I was also struck with the relief we were there safely (it was touch and go a couple of times), and the fact that this was going to be the first time I was sharing a hotel room with a guy. My boyfriend, but still.  


I don’t think I had any expectations around what that first hotel with a partner experience may have been, but I am pretty sure I didn’t imagine a lone inn at the end of the road in the middle of the night – with a fucking storm.


The middle-aged man surfaced rubbing his beard, took one look at us and asked very few questions. John asked for a room with a view to the Prince of Wales and Lake. I’m pretty sure he was the age to have potentially had young adult kids of his own. This 2am arrival perhaps was meaningless to him, but it was hilariously awkward for me, and simply a means to an end for John.


John was excited that we were able to be assigned the top northeast corner room – with two double beds.  


John’s introduction to the magic of Waterton was not limited to the way we chose to use only one of the beds, but also in the subtle way he let me find her.  


We woke in the darkness with heavy curtains drawn and only cracks of light streaming into the hardwood floor with throw rugs. The room was chilly, but I wanted to see where the hell we were now that there appeared to be sunlight, so I rolled from the bed and made my way to the northern facing curtains.  


Those moments of awe – it was one of those for me!


It felt as if the sun as brighter than I’d ever seen it, the snow was whiter than I’d ever seen it, and I was looking out to a winter postcard scene - magic. I looked to a frozen bay and followed the trees to massive hotel standing in majestic confidence atop a hill overlooking the small village across the bay and below to where I stood peering from the window. It wasn’t just pretty.


It felt different.


I understand why Waterton was his choice to beat the winter blahs in the middle of what turned out to be a stormy night – to arrive in her healing and loving energy. I didn’t have the words I have now, but I distinctly remember the moment I felt her special energy.  


And I hope in sharing this story you will remember your own places of magic and remember that you can discover new ones with adventure that aligns with your heart!


I also know that some of our listeners have experienced her magnificence and been present enough to bask in her magic – and this will resonate for you, I am sure!


Through the windows the sun rose over the mountain across the way, I later learned to be Vimy, rocky and covered in the fresh snow of the previous night’s storm. Down it’s rocky face, snow-capped trees carried my eye to the water’s edge. Water? The lake was a deep blue-black against white where it had not yet been hushed to stillness on the surface. Where there was smooth surface in the bay, it was obvious that the wind was a sculptor of dedication where the water had been and edged the open water. Jagged ice formations that looked like broken glass were the work of Waterton’s winds (which are easily known to get up to 100 km per hour in winter!)


That day was still windy, calm rarely exists in Waterton, and we walked among the boarded stores and hotels and even lone gas station, Pat’s, and few cabins that were closed for winter, boarded with their own ways to keep out what clearly can be harsh winter.  


Yet, in it’s winter silence, quiet, and hibernation I could feel the magic that Waterton seemed to possess. Despite the season he described having never been winter – I now realize he wasn’t describing a season, he was describing the sacred energy of every new day in her space.  


Waterton has a peaceful essence. A quiet, loving peace. She invites a place to breathe, notice, be, adventure, create, receive, give, and express. She is Paahtomahksikimi.


Some friends of ours – a beloved soul sister and high counsel of my heart – have a cabin in this magical village of Waterton. They generously offered it to our family and it has been… ummmm! As I search for the word – HELP is the one that lands – It has reminded me of the power of honour, empathy, love and presence.  


Healing happens in Waterton. I have already experienced so much awe, so much magic, such deep presence, and it’s no secret I have a history with Waterton.  


John returned here the next summer as a bellman, and I as a gift shop girl at the Prince of Wales Hotel. We didn’t finish out the summer because of a disagreement about co-mingling in the residences, which didn’t fare well for my already awkward relationship with the people that would be my future in-laws. When John told his parents we were quitting because our manager suggested we “comingle” in the cookhouses around the park. Yeah, awkward af.


On what would have been our 14th wedding anniversary John made his final trek up to his favourite mountain top in Waterton. This time on my back. Energetically carried by my best friend, John’s best friend, and a few other important people in our lives at that time, the boys and I scattered his remains to the wind, earth and water of her sacredness. He became a part of Lineham mountain, just as it had already become a part of him.


The 9.5 hour trek in and back was a reminder that in the name of love we do hard things.  


The boys were just 5 ½ years and 18 months, so when I say we do hard things, I also honour and love the three men that helped carry the boys up - they carried a different kind of load. They carried their own experience while also the extra weight and energy of the boys. Each person on that trek was there for a special reason. I acknowledge their help in the deepest ways – their way of showing up truly was the essence of HELP (honour, empathy, love and presence).  


If I’m really honest about that day, I will also honour that I was comforted knowing that one of the people, a friend at the time, was a doctor. Carrying the weight of my body, my heart, my emotions, care for the boys – all with John on my back – I had many fears that to some degree or another I might collapse.  


I knew I had to do the hard thing, I wished I had been in better shape, but it was important and was the right time to do it, so we did. We all did. And I was comforted having a doctor there, even though her assistance wasn’t needed – thank goodness!  


Over the years the boys and I, either solo or with variations of family and friends, have come to Waterton to experience “time with dad” and share her majesty and healing beauty with the gift of staying here, let a bit more of her magic into them. I saw it. I saw them get the magic in simply by being in her energy – playing, resting, exploring, and creating more memories. Being blessed to wake in her presence and sleep in her peaceful darkness is a gift they may overlook now but will perhaps cherish in the future. I know that they let her magic in, and it was more than just biking, hiking, and kayaking in her grace.


This trip I discussed going to the cemetery with them. I’d never been, they had never been, and it felt like the time to ask if they wanted to go. They had always known he was a part of Waterton, not a part of the cemetery, so when they didn’t show a lot of interest, it was okay.


It was actually John’s family that arranged for a plaque to be placed on the Friends of Waterton Memorial Wall. I always felt like it was their thing, not mine, so it had never been a priority.


Peter and I were looking to take the dogs to Driftwood Beach but there were people there, so I suggested we go check out the Cemetery. The fires of 5 years ago showed their devastation. Some monuments and headstones survived the massive Keno Fire that ripped through much of the park, but many appeared to be incinerated by the fire’s intent for rebirth. The memorial wall stood at the far end. Mountains surrounding with inspiration, and burnt forest being enveloped in rebirth all around it’s feet.  


I searched the wall, found his name, and felt peace, and presence. A simple acknowledgement that he was indeed one who loved Waterton too.


Sometimes I wonder about places that feel magical. I know that for some it is about where we create memories, perhaps when we also have deep feelings. It has been said that we have different levels of awareness. Memories can definitely invite us to think – magic. Creating feelings also allows us to deepen the acknowledgement of magic. That’s why so many therapists will ask you to create a safe space in your mind – and so many of us will go to a place that felt magical to us.


That’s the thing though – to feel magic the way Waterton invites it – is to also know Paahtomahksikimi in a spiritual sense.


I know so many people who have reported feelings of peace, harmony, balance, and tranquility, while in Waterton, I am not alone.  


For me, Waterton is that, and it also promotes personal reflection, deep insight, and a clear mind. Waterton somehow acts as acts as a powerful centre of physical and/or emotional rejuvenation. 


The magic doesn’t have to take days, it can literally be hours for me. I feel more connected to myself and to something greater, whether that be God or the Universe itself – whatever you want to call it.


Maybe you think I’m describing an energetic Vortex, I know little about them, but did Google to see if Waterton was, by chance, one, but a deep dive wasn’t a real priority for me. I’ve learned I can just know what I know, and that I don’t have to have someone else tell me what is Magic.


Peter has watched me video wildflowers, and streams, trying to capture what I feel to share with you. Simply watching my social media will hopefully show and allow you to experience some of her healing magic if you can’t do it in person. It’s a small gift I can give to you – inviting that peace, harmony, inspiration, and rejuvenation – even if for a moment!



If I were to sit back and describe her relationship with visitors, I would say she seems to absorb the love, appreciation, and presence that those bring to her, and then gives it back to each and every one that takes the time to honour themselves in her love.


Her wildflowers seem more colorful, her rain more cleansing, her wind blows worries to the distance, her waters bring icy presence, her sun warms a soul, and her darkness is inspiring.


Waterton is identified as a Dark Sky location by the International Dark Sky Association, so if you just stay up late enough in the townsite, you can see amazing stars – but if you get out of town it is stunning… I don’t know if there are really words to express what it was like to night hike and stargaze. I’m terrified of bears, so I only dreamed of stargazing from a remote location. However, Dark Sky Guides bravely took us to a remote location, gave us a tour of the sky, and then we were able to lay back and take in the incredible night sky.  





Laying there taking in the sky, I was aware that I am simply a little speck of dust being in this magical place of Waterton, in Southern Alberta, Canada, North America, The World, the Milky Way, and all of the stars, planets, and universes beyond. And yet, I have the ability to have thoughts, emotions, connections, emotions, experiences, and feel the divine connection of spirit – for which we all may have a different name, or no name at all – within this speck.


All of the beauty in Waterton is because of change, purpose, and the intention to not just survive, but thrive. Waterton’s renewal after the devastation of her fires, is a reminder that we can go on, and create a new, unexpected, and totally magnificent beauty – literally from the ashes. And many of her wildflowers seemingly go unnoticed, but they continue to bloom forward because their beauty is for themselves. Their destiny.


Waterton is magic for me, and perhaps it is or one day will be for you too. She provides an energy that invites honour, empathy, love, and be presence in the most beautiful ways!


Are there places and space in your life where you feel that deep connection, energetic healing, insight, peace, harmony, or simple love? I call that magic.


It’s the high frequency version of awe, which we take in so it becomes part of us. Where do you absorb magic from? I’d love to hear from you about your experiences of magical places and spaces.  What do you feel, experience, sense? How do these magical places add to your sense of honour, empathy, love and presence?


My friend, divine speck of dust – you are magical!


Your life, your experiences, your memories, your love, beauty, insight, wisdom, and adventures are magical! May this podcast inspire you to be reminded of the magic within, the gifts of memories, and the gifts of finding your own sacred places in your own ways. Your life is your adventure!


Tanya xo