• redmaplecoaching

Newsletter - Q1, 2021

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

Reflections from Red Maple's Owner

by Raechel Pefanis

Well, 44 was the year the wheels came off the bus. Everyone tells you that 40 is the start of the downhill motion of health and vitality, and so maybe I got lucky with an extra four years....but, man-oh-man, did the 40's ever get real for me this year.

It started in February when I noticed myself squinting at my computer screen and giving myself a headache. One call and a few weeks later, I flunked a vision exam with jazz hands and pizazz, and so now I have joined the "where did I leave my reading glasses" club. Then, while out for a brisk walk with a friend, an ache started in the arches of my feet that I thought was a "growing pain" (yes, I see that now) that I couldn't get rid of....and so, orthotics became part of my world. Next came an antihistamine each night to control an unknown allergy, needling my inner feral child, that had been raised in the woods and ponds of a small town. WHAT. THE. HECK. Thankfully, the antihistamine helped me to sleep better since, la dee da, debilitating insomnia had also set in. And then, in a crowning moment, I wrapped up 2020 with...a shiny new set of hearing aids. Masks, it turns out, limited the many compensatory strategies I had created for not actually hearing a dang thing. It's been a year, hasn't it friends?

Well, the day I got my hearing aids and put them on, I was speechless. The clarity and crispness of sound simply awed me. The technicians "t's" and "s's" were noticeable to me in ways I had not had any ability to hear in more years than I could even guess. My new hearing also hilariously confounded me; someone really should have been filming me when I walked out of the ENT's office and, padding down the hallway to leave, I turned around to tell the person behind me "it's COVID! Would you please not walk so close to me?" only to find that the footsteps I'd gotten so mad at...were my very own. A lot changes when you hear. And see. And can sleep. You get the point.

At Red Maple, we have a saying: you have to slow down to go fast. It is a pain-in-the-butt reality that we cannot go as fast as we'd like to without stopping to do some maintenance every now and then. Despite many of our inclinations, it is unfortunately in our slowing down that we make some of the most astute diagnoses and observations needed in our lives. There are important factors, information and shoots coming up in the ground of our lives and workplaces, things that we won't be able to notice at high speeds. There are tones, distractions and noise that we can't notice when we whiz by our lives. Perhaps most importantly, our emotional wellbeing (or that of someone we love) might very well be aching along, screaming for supports and alignment, that we can't address if we're racing. It is a pesky truth of the universe that without a stop to do some tuning up and straightening out, we won't be able to get optimum performances out of ourselves, our work, or our family life. We just plain need it.

If you've read anything else I've written, you'll know that I am afflicted with the same weakness that we so often coach others for here at Red Maple, which is the unwelcome requirement for patience, and to stand still sometimes. I just hate it. Not only do I like life in the fast lane, I get a little bit high off of feelings of getting things done, crossing off tasks, and the feelings of having attained a superhuman amount of output. I love high powered people and processes, and I hate -LOATHE ENTIRELY- that at times, my emotional wellbeing is limping along. I become irritated with delays on projects, or inefficiencies that slow down creativity. But here's the thing: while we don't have to like slow downs, we do need to value them.

The two are not the same thing, this "liking" and "valuing." Feeling warmly is not the same as respecting deeply. If we want to be able to hit top performances, we're going to have to stop and do some maintenance. If we want to hear the important tonality of a critical relationship, we're going to have to check our current hearing. If we want to see new resources, pathways or wisdom in our lives, we're going to need to dial in a bit. At Red Maple, we call this process of sloowwwwwwing down to see what can't be seen, or hear what isn't easily heard, discernment. It's an incredibly important way of being, one that you probably never learned about in undergrad. But there are important things, right there below the water line, that must be seen. And it will take some quiet to do so.

The cold, winter months are here, and we'd all do well to use it wisely. At Red Maple, Q1 has been dedicated to a big dose of discernment. We'll be doing some quiet work over here to shore up our infrastructure and clean up some processes. I've done some hiring and empowering, and I've freaking-bloody-hell agreed to slow down and get our house in order, with Kara and Adrienne's help. Fine. FINE. I'm doing it reluctantly....but I am doing it. And it helps me to remember that if we do so around here, we'll be able to go faster come the spring.

Take heart, friends. We are almost certainly at the tail end of this pandemic, and when we close this chapter, we will all have a bit of a new lease on life. You are getting what is probably the very last of this unique time to go inward, get quiet, see, hear, and adjust. And if you and I both do so, valuing this utterly precious gift even if we don't "like" it, we will surge forward in just a couple months' time. So join me. Let's slow down to go fast.

Happiest of holidays to you and yours.

Offering #1 - CBT for Weight Loss

Wednesdays – Jan 13, Jan. 20, Jan. 27, Feb 3, Feb. 17 & Feb. 24

6 weeks, 12:00pm-1:30pm EST

5-8 participants

Facilitators: Raechel Pefanis / Kara Steyaert

$100 CAD per participant, per week (covered by the “RSW” under most benefits plans)

Contact info@redmaplecoaching.com to register

CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is a powerful approach that helps everyday people take a hold of their thought patterns in various areas of their lives. CBT holds the assumption that when we change our thoughts, we change our behaviour. In this small group, we will meet together for six weeks to learn and integrate more of the mindsets that make for healthy and improved eating habits. We will learn to identify the psychology behind why we overeat, how eating acts as a "numbing" behaviour for uncomfortable feelings, and how to motivate ourselves toward new, more healthy ways of nourishing ourselves. Today, we must negotiate our choices about food in an environment that sabotages healthy nutrition at every turn, and so together, we will find our way through the following modules in this group. Please note that there is a supplementary book needed for this group, which you will need to order as soon as your registration is confirmed: The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person by Judith Beck.

· Week 1: The Power of Thoughts: Preparing for Weight Loss Part 1

· Week 2: The Power of Thoughts: Preparing for Weight Loss Part 2

· Week 3: Hunger and Cravings: Responding to Sabotaging Thoughts

· Week 4: Tolerating Distress: Soothing Ourselves Without Food

· Week 5: Boundary Setting: Managing Stress and Resentment that Lead to Overeating

· Week 6: Begin Again: Recovering From Setbacks

· Note: We do not give nutritional advice in this group, and in fact, we discourage dieting. Be aware that this is a group on mindset, and not on calories. Participants are encouraged to establish the right diet for them in consultation with your medical doctor.

Offering #2 - Dare to Lead: A Full Day Immersion

Friday, March 5, 2021

9:00 am - 9:00 pm EST

Up to 16 participants

Facilitators: Raechel Pefanis / Kara Steyaert

$350 CAD per participant (covered by the “RSW” under most benefits plans)

Contact info@redmaplecoaching.com for registration

In 2018, the work of Brené Brown took the world by storm, bringing the topics of courage, vulnerability and shame to workplaces everywhere. Over the last three years, Red Maple has brought this curriculum to thousands of people across Canada, and here's what we've found: in spite of all the reasons not to, there are people everywhere that are ready to get brave in ways they never could have predicted. 2020 was the year of shaking you up and destabilizing all you once knew; you've had lots of time to stay home, sit and think about your life...and now, we have a big question for you: what's your call to courage? Join us for this intensive one day immersion:

  • Module 1: 9:00am-11:30am

  • Module 2: 1:00pm-4:00pm

  • Module 3: 6:00pm-9:00pm

Offering #3 - The Wisdom of the Stoics: Old Techniques for Creating a New Mind

Tuesdays – Feb. 16, Feb. 23, Mar. 2 & Mar. 9

4 weeks, 6:30pm-8:00pm EST

5-8 participants

Facilitators: Raechel Pefanis / TBD

$100 CAD per participant, per week (covered by the “RSW” under most benefits plans)

Contact info@redmaplecoaching.com for Registration

Are you prone to catastrophizing, blaming, ruminating or lashing out at others? Do you experience your mind to be a continual rehashing of perceived offenses, feared situations, or bad luck you’ve encountered? Do you need some fresh ways of “perspective taking” on your problems and challenges? The Stoics, an ancient group of philosophers, believed that the path to happiness was in accepting each moment as it presents itself. They believed that destructive emotions result from errors of judgement we don’t know we’re making. The solution, they said, lies in learning to harness our relentless striving into the future, or rehashing of the past. Join us for this evening coaching group, where we will end our Tuesdays with like-minded others working to quiet their minds. Tea in hand, each group will include time to share our experiences, struggles and wisdom in this precious area of our lives. We’ll look at some content that helps us learn new techniques for perspective taking, and we’ll end with a meditation and exercise to take into the next week.

  • · Week 1: Begin Here: Meeting Yourself Again

  • · Week 2: Hedonic Adaptation: Striving for Now, Rather Than "Happy"

  • · Week 3: Wistfulness and Nostalgia: The Perspectives of Future You

  • · Week 4: Eating a Pound of Dirt: The Power of Negative Thoughts

Offering #4 - Design Your Life: A Quest for Value-Centered Living

Wednesdays – Mar 3, Mar. 10, Mar. 24 & Mar. 31

4 weeks, 12:00pm-1:30pm EST

5-8 participants

Facilitators: Raechel Pefanis / TBD

$100 CAD per participant, per week (covered by the “RSW” under most benefits plans)

Contact info@redmaplecoaching.com for Registration

At Red Maple, we notice something: people that have hit their own highest potential have designed a life that is unapologetically driven by their core values. Rather than building a life driven by scarcity, envy, people pleasing or mindless busy-ness, the best among us have given themselves permission to make choices based on what will help them express their own core values. What are yours? How do you behave when those values are solid and clear? What about when they’re not? And...why are you living the life that you are? Today's world is a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), and core values are the arrow that pierces through to decision making. Come join us to etch out yours, make them clear, and build a life that is on purpose.

  • · Week 1: The Traps of Value-less-ness: A Chat with Ourselves

  • · Week 2: Naming our Core Values

  • · Week 3: Values Driven Behaviour: Tough Choices and Big Rewards

  • · Week 4: The Intersection of Values and Cooperation


Be sure to check-out the Just One Q podcast hosted by Dr. Melissa Horne of Learning Snippets! In the 2-part “Winter and Wellness” episode, she interviews Raechel and they discuss human connection and support, the impacts of the ongoing pandemic, working remotely and the stigma surrounding mental health.

Both episodes are available on Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts:



We hope you enjoy AND feel better equipped to support yourself and others in the face of the experiences we’re all living through together.

Happy Holidays Everyone.