Over the course of the past few weeks I kept seeing this event pop up in my Facebook newsfeed – {the GRATITUDE kit} workshop being put on by Kate Durie. I couldn’t quite figure out what this workshop entailed but as I read the description I knew it was something that I had to be part of since it involved an abundant array of art supplies, an artsy coffee shop, and a “whole pile of inspiration!” As far as I’m concerned, that’s the perfect recipe to entice me into {almost} anything.  So at the very last minute, I decided to just go for it. I’m happy I did!

Not having ever heard of The Studio Cafe {which is fabulous, btw. You should go. Also “like” them on facebook right now!}, I google mapped my destination and set out for the night. Upon arriving, I was happy to find ample {free} parking. I was pleasantly surprised by the vibe and decor of the coffee shop, and that Kate took such care in setting up everyone’s workspace.

I immediately grabbed a drink and a delicious carrot cake cookie {omg!} and found a spot at one of the 3 large tables.  Before I could take a closer look at the contents of our kit, in walked a familiar face, then another and yet another.  What a pleasant surprise to participate in this workshop with so many unexpected familiar faces! This kind of thing usually only ever happens to me when I’m in Savannah, having lived there for so long. I’m so happy it’s starting to happen in Ottawa more and more.

By now the room is abuzz with friendly chatter and little by little everyone is making introductions, catching up, and swapping out their journals making friendly trades for a cover that more closely suits their tastes. As Kate begins to address the room, one of the first things she announces is that it hasn’t gone unnoticed that we’re all trading our journals. Busted! Surprise, surprise we will be covering them with our own artsy creations. We really should have known the cover of our journals would have absolutely no significance on what we were doing 🙂


” A gratitude practice has the power to slowly reverse the
downward spiral, so on those darker days and moments we can
think of all the things we are grateful for!”


In the kit are the building blocks to starting a gratitude practice {I don’t want to divulge too much because I think you should participate the next time she offers the workshop.) Kate goes on to explain that it’s called a gratitude practice, so we really have to work at actually practicing to make it a habit. One of the most eye-opening statements she made was that we don’t actually have to feel grateful right now to practice it. We can start with all the everyday things we should notice and be grateful for, like being able to breathe, waking up, enjoying the sunrise, coffee, having a job, or even the ability to walk or smell or touch.  I can easily list off about a hundred more, like being able to talk, see, write, washing and drying our clothes with appliances, actual modern appliances, shelter, friends, loved ones, jewellery, clothing, bikes, shoes, our cell phones… We don’t really think about this stuff because we take it all for granted! But we should be EXTREMELY grateful to have these luxuries, abilities, and people in our lives, because some do not. How lucky are we?

Beginning with this easy list really gets you thinking about how much we have to be thankful for in our lives, which then makes it easier to start seeing the positive instead of the negative. We can pull from a place of abundance instead of lack.  The more you start seeing what you have and are grateful for, more of it will come your way.  Your eyes and heart will be open to seeing and receiving all the goodness!

That brings me to the next point she made… Gratitude starts with being mindful. Stopping to notice and savour. When you stop to really look at a sunset or the ducks on the river or a flower blooming, you notice how magical and magnificent it all is. Seriously.  Stop reading this right now {but come back right away!} Look outside. What do you see? Whatever it is, it’s freaking miraculous and we should be grateful it’s happening around us.

Once you begin noticing and seeing the wonder of everything, be thankful. Journal your gratitude and express how magnificent it is. As part of the workshop, we were given the tools and art supplies to create our own gratitude journals, something Kate advised us to make use of everyday, even if it’s just to write one word of what we’re grateful for.  Everyone made such beautiful and unique creations. It was so much fun to {attempt to} step outside the lines, ignore the rules, and create like a kid again.


“We are slowly re-wiring our brains to see life in a new light. Seeing what IS possible. What we are grateful for. What we do have. Who we, and those we love, truly ARE. This project is about learning to lead a life that celebrates the full human experience: love, joy, happiness as well as sadness, suffering and grief…then inspiring others to reach that same soulFULL state. Remembering that life is not a straight line. We don’t have to feel grateful to practice gratitude. So no matter where we are on this journey, each day, each moment, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. And bit-by-bit, this practice turns what we have into {not just} enough – but true abundance.” -Kate Durie



Yoga :: Art :: Life Coach
After a Traumatic Brain Injury shattered my world – wide open – I embraced life as the most brutal and brilliant teacher of all. Loss, pain, and grief are all inevitable truths of being human. When our world shatters – we are blessed with the opportunity to choose which pieces to pick up, which pieces to leave behind, and which pieces to develop or create with. There is great wisdom in loss, yet we so often struggle to talk about it…never unlocking the beauty within the pain. Building community around death and loss, grief and life, is powerful beyond measure. Truly transformative.
I spent about 10 years building my career as an HR Professional. Honours Biz Degree, Post-grad in HR Management, top scores in my professional designations exams {CHRP}, sat on the board of the local HRPA chapter, climbing the so-called corporate ladder. Ambitious. What you might describe as a Type A, overachiever, workaholic. I had big dreams. Big plans. I loved my job, my profession…BUT, it would seem the Universe has other plans for me. Due to my injury and ongoing issues as a result, I am unable to return to that world.TUTU?
I’m certainly a free-spirit when it comes to what I wear. I no longer put on fancy {awesome} outfits to go to a corporate job everyday, and I spent a great deal of time in my jammies post-accident. Now, yoga clothes are like a quasi “uniform” for me {also, super awesome}…but this girl has always loved to play dress-up. I’ve realized that life is just too damn short to NOT wear a tutu. My collection is growing. So whenever I have a workshop, presentation, or special event {like going to the Ballet/NAC} a tutu is a must!!


1. If you could tell people to do one thing that could potentially change their lives, what would it be?
OH MY. That’s nearly impossible to sum up in ONE THING. If I have to list just one it would be: Breathe.
Breathe consciously. Mindfully. Slowly. Fully. This has the power to shift everything and anything. Mood. Energy. Situations. Experiences. Possibility.2. What’s your favorite smell?
I believe life has a smell-track to it… so scents are huge huge huge for me. Here are a few of my all-time faves:
– Nag Champa incense
– Pink Sugar perfume
– Whatever Essential Oil I’m working with for healing
– Campfire
– Ocean Air3. What do you do when you’re feeling low?
Yoga. Meditate. Create {h’ART, journal, anything}. Walk. Lay in the grass and look at the sky.

4. What is your favorite time of day?
Probably the morning. There is a magical stillness to it. Deeper connection to spirit. Full of possibility.
Symptom-wise {headaches, pain, etc.} , it’s also usually the best time of the day 🙂

5. Do you have a favorite restaurant in Ottawa? If so, what is it?
So many right now …. likely Cafe My House, Supply & Demand, Whalesbone, Green Door.

6. What’s your favorite thing about yourself or what do you think others would say it is?
She skipped this so I’m going to answer for her… I’d venture to say it’s authenticity & living in the moment.

7. Favorite cuss word? You’re not allowed to skip this!
Shut the Front Door… and if I’m being honest probably the big ol F word. F#%K. Feels so damn good to say sometimes.

8. What’s your favorite social media outlet?
Instagram @kateUdurie

9. What book or movie should we read/watch right now?
Too many to list but always be reading something for pleasure AND for growth.

10. Name one person living or dead who has made a difference in your life and briefly explain how.
Patanjali and Buddha {aka the 8 Limbs of Yoga, and the 8 Fold Path of Buddhism}
These two spiritual texts, paths, sources of inspiration, guidance, philosophy, whatever you call them, have been so foundational to my healing, my journey and continue to lead me, guide me, and inspire me.

xo Kate

kate1Kate Durie is a Registered Yoga Teacher, Blissologist, Certified Yoga Therapist, Creativity Catalyst, Metamorphosis Guide, Whole-hearted Grief & Life Coach in the making… and a work in progress. She teaches her workshop to groups big and small, including corporate events, as well as private gatherings. She also teaches group, semi-private and private sessions for yoga and yoga therapy. She currently teaches Yoga at Pure Yoga Ottawa, The Healthiest Home, and Yogatown. She also co-hosts Death Cafe Ottawa several times a year with Emma Woodman.

TWITTER: @katedurie
FACEBOOK: @kateunderhilldurie
INSTAGRAM: @KateUdurie



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