Tag Archives: Featured

EI Benefits Explained – Toronto Employment Lawyers

December 16, 2015


EI Benefits Explained – You’ve Just Lost Your Job; What Do You Do Now? Our federal Employment Insurance (EI) program provides temporary financial assistance

Source: EI Benefits Explained – Toronto Employment Lawyers

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The Deer Man

November 27, 2013


Amongst the tribes of human kind, myths speak of supernatural creatures inhabiting the deep woods of the earth. Myths come from the same place that dreams and art come from, they bubble up from the depths of our soul as we seek to interpret the world around us. They can’t be forced or contrived, but can be reinvented and reconstructed to satisfy the human need to explain the world we live in and our place in it. By reinventing our myths, the stories we tell ourselves determine who we become and who we are.Deer Man by ASHe LevesqueClick on image to enlarge.

Image: Deer Man by ASHe Levesque
More artwork from this artist on Society6
Story by John Zeus

The Deer Man (cont’d)

At first glance at “Deer Man” by ASHe Levesque, I was instantly wowed. To think that someone could express such mythos, power and gentleness into a beautiful and vivid image was impressive. The expression on the subject’s face allowed me to feel engaged as if I were a part of the art piece. It brought me back to my ancestral home in the woods, back to a connection forged long ago.

Deer Man is a combination of human, animal and nature. He teaches us that we can never be separated from the natural world, that we are part of the earth. He represents our longing for nature, our need to feel an emotional bond with the ecosystems and other creatures with whom we share the planet.

Something in us dies every time we destroy an ecosystem. We feel a loss of connection. From the depths of our soul, Deer Man speaks to us about what we have lost and gives us hope for what we can save. He connects us by restoring our consciousness of the natural world. To preserve the earth we must love and respect the earth as much as we do our own lives.

John Zeus

About Deer Man – Statement By ASHe Levesque, Artist

When asked about my inspiration to create Deer Man, a tale of my youth unfolds. All through my childhood my parents would take my siblings and I camping for summer vacations. Nature is the most powerful form of hallucinates. It awakens a child’s mind and senses that no other place could. Our nightly ritual around the fire would involve singing, laugher, and of course a spooky story or two. We would be then sent off to our tents leaving the adults to their world. Inside we would whisper and watch distorted images being illuminated across the canvas like a movie screen, cast from the night sky and fire in the distance.

Our stories would unfold of the creatures and animals that lived on the other side of the thin canvas that were either here to protect us or drag us into the abyss of the night.

Deer Man is the protector of all that is pure and innocent. His powerful body protects us, while his angelic eyes search for purity and kindness in all.

ASHe Levesque

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Artist’s Bio

Ashe Randall Levesque was raised in a family of five boys in the small town of Arnprior Canada, Ashe’s house was never short of a story to be told nor was it lacking excitement. His first artistic mentor was his Father, Ed Levesque. Using any surface he could find he would draw (upon request) for his sons, Mickey Mouse or wild ponies would be part of a napkin, or table top.

Throughout high school Ashe knew he had some artistic talent, but never felt a need to pursue it. It wasn’t until his late 30’s that he had discovered his hidden gift. His 1st painting was a large 3’x5′ canvas for a friend’s birthday. He began painting his premier Angel. Ashe truly believed that someone else was inside him when he began to paint. It felt like he had done it before in some other lifetime and some guide was using his hand to create. Ever since that moment he has been keeping his hands to the brushes and enjoy all the diverse options to express himself as an artist.

As a self taught artist, he always challenges himself by setting up a show, and then uses the deadline to stoke the fire! Ashe has found that creative pressure can be most invigorating. Previous showings have been in Ottawa, Canada, and locally in his current home of Montreal. His work has also sold in the international market and through social media.

Ashe works mostly with acrylic-conte on canvas or wood, but recently he has been experimenting with a complex combination of digital drawing/painting on a computer tablet as a base and then transferring the image onto canvas then continuing to work in traditional mediums. He is a diversified and multi talented individual in both life and art. You will take notice, through layers of time as his art takes on various dimensions, moods and reflection using bold color, linear contouring or aura like energy fields around the subject. His process will either bring you into a tenacious point of wonder or send you gently off the canvas after a peaceful journey of the eyes.


Story by John Zeus
Artist’s statement and bio by: / “Deer Man” created by: ASHe Levesque
Browse more artwork from this artist on Society6

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Five Stages of Team Development – Training

February 15, 2013



Set up for success: A leader is needed to provide direction and guidance throughout the development process. To ensure the leader is well-accepted, a supervisor should not appoint a team leader; instead, the team should nominate and agree upon which member should assume that role.

When planning a team training event, development plan or learning cascade the 5 Stages of Team Development is a useful tool to consider.

Teams learn, develop and progress through five different stages of development. These include forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. Here I summarize the five stages and identify the expected outcomes and challenges.


  • A group of people come together to accomplish a shared purpose.
  • High dependence on the leader for guidance and direction.
  • Little agreement on team aims other than received from leader. Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear.
  • Leader must be prepared to answer lots of questions about the team’s purpose, objectives and external relationships.
  • Members test tolerance of system and leader.
  • Little ownership that this is their group. Leader directs.


  • Disagreement about mission, vision, and approaches combined with the fact that team members are getting to know each other can cause strained relationships and conflict.
  • Decisions don’t come easily within group. Team members vie for position as they attempt to establish themselves in relation to other team members and the leader, who might receive challenges from team members.
  • Clarity of purpose increases as goals and expectations are outlined, but plenty of uncertainties persist.
  • Cliques and factions form and there may be power struggles.
  • Resistance to losing individuality and becoming a group.
  • The team needs to be focused on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues.
  • Compromises may be required to enable progress. Leader coaches.


  • The team has consciously or unconsciously formed working relationships that are enabling progress on the team’s objectives.
  • There is an acceptance of working in a team and the quirks of other team members.
  • Agreement and consensus forms among team, who respond well to facilitation by leader.
  • Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted.
  • Big decisions are made by group agreement.
  • Smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within group.
  • Commitment and unity is strong.
  • The team may engage in fun and social activities.
  • The team discusses and develops its processes and working style and members feel that they now have a voice.
  • There is general respect for the leader and some of leadership is more shared by the team. Leader facilitates.


  • Relationships, team processes, and the team’s effectiveness in working on its objectives are synching to bring about a successfully functioning team.
  • The team is more strategically aware; the team knows clearly why it is doing what it is doing.
  • The team has a shared vision and is able to stand on its own feet with no interference or participation from the leader.
  • There is a focus on over-achieving goals, and the team makes most of the decisions against criteria agreed with the leader.
  • The team has a high degree of autonomy.
  • Disagreements occur but now they are resolved within the team positively and necessary changes to processes and structure are made by the team.
  • The team is able to work towards achieving the goal, and also to attend to relationship, style and process issues along the way. team members look after each other.
  • The team requires delegated tasks and projects from the leader.
  • The team does not need to be instructed or assisted.
  • Team members might ask for assistance from the leader with personal and interpersonal development. Leader delegates and oversees.


  • The team has completed its mission or purpose and it is time for team members to pursue other goals or projects.
  • Members may go through separation anxiety.
  • If the group experience has been positive there will be a letting go and grieving process.
  • Members may need help in moving on. Leader facilitates the letting go process and discusses ways to apply the learning to outside situations.

Understanding these five stages of team development and implementing these suggestions can help ensure teams have the necessary skills and tools to move through each phase, especially the storming phase, and to ensure successful outcomes and growth.


Set up for success: The team leader must redirect the team toward the end goal, help reinforce defined roles, address unacceptable behaviors, provide feedback, and facilitate team communication.

Related Readings: Workshop Structure To Maximize Learner Engagement

Original source material: Bruce Tuckman’s 5 stages of team development. Adapted by John Zeus.

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Santorini Angel – A Journey

January 5, 2013


December 20th, 2000 | Oia, Santorini Island, Greece.

In December of 2000, I embarked on a journey to build a shrine on a cliff edge on Santorini Island (ancient Thira) over the caldera of an ancient underwater volcano.
Santorini Angel - A Journey - Lighting the Oil – DECEMBER 21 2000

My pilgrimage to Ancient Thira, a.k.a. Santorini started with a dream inspired by an angel…


Click on the gallery below to scroll through full size images.
Music Tie-in, listen to: Stairway To Heaven.mp3 – Led Zepplin

A reproduction on wood of this Icon is in the shrine. The inscription reads Archangel Uriel written in Byzantine script. More on: Uriel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I found an Iconographer Greek Orthodox Monk in Athens. Told him my story and what I saw in my dream. He painted this image of Uriel in traditional Byzantine style on wood.

I found an Iconographer Greek Orthodox Monk in Athens. Told him my story and what I saw in my dream. He painted this image of Uriel in traditional Byzantine style on wood.

The Book of Enoch describes Uriel as one of seven archangels who preside over the world.  "One of the holy angels, who is over the world... the leader of them all."

The Book of Enoch describes Uriel as one of seven archangels who preside over the world. “One of the holy angels, who is over the world… the leader of them all.”

Location of shrine.


Two of many dogs that call Oia home without belonging to anyone in particular.

Two of many dogs that call Oia home without belonging to anyone in particular.

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The Heritage Farm & Sustainable Living – Experiencing A Way Of Life

September 29, 2012


Cambridge, Ontario. “Doing my chores from seven in the morning until seven at night”.

Experiencing the life of a farmer at my friend’s heritage farm. Sustainable living and ethical farming is hard work. Yet there’s something essential about growing your own food. Getting back into rhythm with the earth and animals that sustain you.

Adopt food sustainability as a lifestyle. Grow your own urban vegetable garden. Eat whole, raw and natural foods. Reduce your consumption of fast and overly processed foods. It you’re on a plant and animal diet source out free range, pasture raised/grain fed meats from your local farmers.

Related Posts:

In many communities food resources go furthest when people produce their own food near to where it is consumed.

Taking it globally, hunger-relief organizations provide assistance not in the form of cans of food, but in technology, education and programs that teach sustainable farming.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

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Workshop Structure to Maximize Learner Engagement

September 24, 2012


7 Key Components for Workshop Structure

1) Introductory Activity/Icebreaker

Start with an activity that introduces the topic – a game, physical activity or collective activity. It needs to be fun and fully engaging to learner. It brings the learner into the world of the topic while keeping them up and ready to engage in the learning. The activity introduces the topic and stimulates comments and questions.

2) Opening Discussion

Follow the intro activity with a few questions about what the learner experienced in the activity. Allow them an opportunity to express what they experienced.

  1. Lead into a series of questions asking the learner what they know about the topic.
  2. Validate their responses. Allow the learners to expand upon one another’s comments -sharing what they know.
  3. Allow all the learners to express what they know about the topic.

This is a good place to use the following strategies:

  1. Record the learners comment for later reference.
  2. Have a learner record the groups comments.
  3. Have the learners share what they know in groups and have one person be the record and another the presenter of their thoughts.
  4. Have the learners look at opposing sides of the topic: positive/negative or brainstorm all thoughts, etc

3) Introduce the topic

Use what has been gleaned from the learners to introduce the topic in terms of their readiness to learn about it – use their terms, concepts, etc., building on them.

Identify what you wish to be the outcome of the workshop – what you want them leave with at the end of the workshop – what is the outcome of the whole session. Let the learners know that the group will return to their initial responses at the end of the session.

4) Set up a series of 2 – 3 tasks geared to exploring aspects of the topic

This is the core part of the session – the two-thirds of the workshop. Identify sub-sets of knowledge/skills that are part of the main topic.

  1. Devise specific tasks to investigate each of these skills.
  2. Use various strategies. Work in groups – pairs, threes or fours. Use a range of strategies for each of the tasks.

Incorporate the five elements of cooperative learning:

  • Positive Interdependence

Learners are linked with others in a way that one cannot succeed unless the other members of the group do their part. This is accomplished by assigning each student a role within the group. Each role is important to meeting the group goal.

  • Face-To-Face Promotive Interaction

Learners help, encourage, and support each other’s efforts to learn. They explain to each other how to solve problems, discuss strategies, teach knowledge and explain concepts to each other.

  • Individual Accountability

The performance of each learner is assessed and the results given back to the group and to the individual. Group members need to know who needs more assistance and that no one can “hitch hike” on the work of others.

  • Social Skills

Groups cannot function effectively if learners do not have the leadership, decision-making, trust-building, communication, and conflict management skills needed. Many learners have never worked cooperatively, so these skills have to be taught to them. These are important skills in just about any workplace.

  • Group Process

The facilitator must ensure that learners are achieving their goals and maintaining effective working relationships. At the end of a working session the groups process their functioning by answering two questions: (1) What is something each member did that was helpful to the group and (2) What is something each member could do to make it even better next time?

Some effective cooperative learning strategies include:

  • work in pairs: Think-Pair-Share
  • work in varied groups: Jigsaw, Round Robin Brainstorming
  • facilitator engages learners during an extended presentation: 3 Minute Review

5) Debrief

After every task, have the whole group come together to discuss what they did before you introduce the next task, which is intended to take the learning further.

Use a range of strategies for debriefing, such as:

  • Three Step Interview: Each member of a team chooses another member to be a partner. During the first step individuals interview their partners by asking clarifying questions. During the second step partners reverse the roles. For the final step, members share their partner’s response with the team.
  • Team Pair Solo: Learners reflects on what they learned first as a team, then with a partner, and finally on their own.
  • Numbered Heads Together: A team of four is established. Each learner is given numbers of 1, 2, 3, 4. Questions are asked of the group. Groups work together to answer the question so that all can verbally answer the question. Facilitator calls out a number (two) and each two is asked to give their response.

6) Closing The Loop

Use a range of strategies to debrief the entire session and provide closure on the learning, such as:

  • refer back to what the group first knew about the topic and then add what they know now
  • ask specific questions about the applicability of what they learned/experienced: where would you apply this? How would apply this? How do think this would help you?
  • use a cooperative learning strategy, such as active listening:

Have the learning participants break into pairs.

Allow learners to share information regarding a personal experience for exactly one minute. The speaker has one minute to talk while the listener may not say anything or interact with the speaker except for nods and “empathic grunts” (“uh-huh, I see.”) After the minute expires, have the listener share the information with the class to see if s/he was actually listening.

Have learners switch with the other member of the pair doing the talking. Allow for discussion time afterwards.

7) Next Steps

Ask the learners to express how they plan to apply what they have learned/ experienced through:

  1. a journal/diary
  2. media, such as digital photography, graffiti, etc.
  3. technology, such as a blog

Recommendations For Curriculum Design

In addition to the 7 key components listed above in the Workshop Structure – there are 6 additional items to include when designing curriculum:

Theory – The role of the facilitator is to present related theoretical materials that support the planned learning of the session outline. It is important to be a resource for the topic and provide the background material needed for the session. It is in this section that a facilitator provides the supporting information of the curriculum being presented. A summary of the research collected and key terms, concept and principles that help in delivering the objectives of the session topic are captured in this area of the outline. Theory is seen and the supporting documents and messaging a facilitator wishes to convey to the learner. Theoretical pieces can often be a collection of key points and used as a learning aid/handout for the session.

Video Tie In – This added piece to the outline provides another forum for including technology with the facilitation of the topic. Including video options with your session offers a visual element for the learners and presents another approach to learning in the session

Web Links – Incorporating technology and provided internet links that support the session enhances participant learning. It is a key component to the outline and provided support research and materials for the session.

Learning Aids – are the handouts and materials provided to learners during the session that assist with the learning process.

Sources – It is important to source and respect copyright regulations when creating curriculum for the program. Items used in your outline need to be sourced. Materials adapted – stated adapted and original source. Include creator reference at the end of the outline.

Workshop Prep. Centre – The prep centre is a summary section that advises facilitators presenting this outline of all the items required and to be prepared. It summarizes prep items and materials needed for each phase of the workshop and a timeline for prep and delivery.

This workshop/training plan was collaboratively developed, written and authored by a legendary team of Curriculum Coaching Consultants, Marylena Angeloni and John Zeus 2012.

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