Symbiotic Relationships

 In General

How Things Are Done & Symbiotic Relationships


A few years ago, I owned a private retreat centre on beachfront property on a secluded island bay in Thailand.



Chaoloklum Bay Koh Phangan.


People flew in internationally to work with me.



The village was generally speaking male-dominated.


The culture of the village is traditional Thai and Thai Chinese.


The women run small street food vendor businesses, and the men do the fishing for the island.
I spent time with this man, and he taught me how to make nets with coconut tree leaves.




In some cases, the women own the boats, and the men go out on the water.


Together they generate income from the tourism industry to support their families and communities.

There is no social support system in Thailand; therefore, local entrepreneurship and small business are the only way to generate income.


Out on the water, there is NO competition between the fishermen.
They keep an eye on each other and are very superstitious about their boats and the Spirits of Nature that keep them safe.


While Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, these people believe in a Female Spirit that guides them and keeps them safe.

They make offerings to Her.




On the beach directly outside my business, the fishermen anchored their boats.



By understanding how things are done within the culture, I showed respect to the fishermen fleet captain.

He saw me working hard every day.


We built a lovely relationship where he used my water supply for his boats, and every morning I was given fresh fish from their daily catch.


It was never a spoken arrangement.

It evolved naturally.


2 people with vital resources we both needed (food and water), so an equal exchange was naturally cultivated within that environment.


Never was I spoken down to or treated with disrespect by these men.


Human Beings Being Human.


What I valued most was the connection to the fleet.


They watched out for me, and I watched out for them.

Since the boats are their livelihood, if tourists interfered with their boats, I called them.


Some early mornings I’d be awake at 2 am and made them coffee on the way out.
While the rest of the island slept, these men worked VERY hard.


In bad weather, all the fishermen sat under the roof of my place and made sure their boats were ok.



In a subtle way, we protected each other in an uncertain, ever-changing environment, with no tabs or scorekeeping.





Human Beings Being Human.


When I closed the retreat centre and left Thailand,  I donated 5 truckloads of equipment to the local temple school.

In the picture is the school principal Phi Jok on the left, a fellow teacher and local school students.



Phi Jok asked me what I do.  Phi is a term of respect and endearment for someone older than you in Thai.

She is Phi to me, and I am nong (younger) to her.


Rather than say business owner, I said, “I’m a teacher”.

She suddenly had a big smile and said, “Oh! Me too. We are the same!”


“Yes, I said. All 3 of us are the same.”


It’s so important for me to find common ground and maintain pleasant relationships in any local community I am involved in.




I moved into a new house in Ontario, Canada.
There was still construction underway in the area.


Again I found myself in a male-dominated environment.
The construction site manager introduced himself and was kind enough to help me with practicalities, which he didn’t have to do.


No Agenda; Just Being Kind.


Yes, it’s true. Some construction and tradesmen are Yogi’s.


One of the first things I did was buy new plants.


I bought the site manager a beautiful pot plant,  one of my favourite flowers and left it on his desk.


Seeing him later in the day, I joked and told him he couldn’t shout at me for any reason now because I’d already bought him flowers.


He and the group of men he was with laughed and went on their way.
I thanked him for looking out for me.


By acknowledging his kindness, I knew he and his entire crew were likely to keep an eye out for me.

As a woman in a male-dominated environment, be kind AND respectful.


Work with the leader of the crew, and his crew will respect you.


I enjoy cultivating WHOLESOME relationships with people.


Be kind.

Be yourself.

Treat people with respect.

Ask for help if you need it, and remember to




It’s Newton’s Third Law of Physics.


for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.


Not much different to the Buddhist understanding of Cause and Effect.


What you send out into the world, you WILL get back in some way. ( aka Karma)


Humans do not thrive alone.


Regardless of how independent and self-reliant you may be, you STILL have to work with others.
People never forget you if YOU make a little extra effort.


Character and relationship building is not very different to house building.


If you choose the wholesome bricks, your foundation is likely to stay strong.


The result of my interaction with these men every day during their project was that the project finished ahead of time (corporate financial cost-saving), and the men enjoyed being at work (societal benefit).


Every day one of the workers came to speak with me about what was going on in their lives.

I intentionally made myself available every day for over a year (at no cost) and helped them manage their stress levels at work every day, mostly to prevent burnout for these men.


The outcome was that the construction company directly benefitted from this, the workers benefitted from it, the families of the workers, and the community at large.


It was self-evident to all of us.


Once the project ended, I contacted the construction company and submitted a proposal to work directly with the company for everyone’s benefit on future projects.

The CEO was very interested.


The proposal and ideas were handed over to lateral management.

A meeting was set up three times to discuss this offer further.


Twice, the meeting was cancelled at the last minute, and the third time was a no-show, no communication.


Even though it was self-evident to everyone that the outcome of my efforts and my offer would be of benefit to everyone, the proposal was squashed by management, regardless of the CEO’s interest.


I am that woman who got up at 4 am and took care of the community garden every day, as the community horticulturist, to get the lawn grown and the garden beautiful for the community to enjoy green space. (community & societal benefit)



Because I understand the importance of Community Well-Being and the impact of stress.


I understand the importance of healthy green spaces.


I understand the importance of safe places for children to play.



Once the lawn was beautifully grown, people brought their dogs to the lawn to use it and left the outcome of their dogs behind for someone else to pick up.

Even though children play there.


Once it was done,  I had to STRUGGLE to receive payment from the contractor who asked me to do it and agreed on an hourly rate.

No payment without an unpleasant struggle.


Why is that even necessary?


Then, after making an effort to contribute to the community in a helpful way, I received a Facebook message from a woman, letting me know that I was being discussed at the bus stop by a group of women in the morning, who had nothing kind to say, and none of them had actually met me.


My response was that they were more than welcome to knock on my door, make an effort to meet me and draw a personal conclusion, rather than engaging in community gossip. My suggestion was to come and meet me and take a book to the bus stop to read.

In my mind, discussing a book is always better than discussing people in your neighbourhood.





I  realised how things are done are how things are done.


It usually comes down to people protecting their own best interests and competing instead of realising the impact of the ripple effect & the Big Picture.

The big picture for me was being available as human being making an effort to prevent burnout in the community.


Ultimately in my own case, when I realise there is conflict within management or an organisation, I have learned to walk away for my own well-being unless they choose to contact me.



In Ontario, the culture is different.




I have realised that an uphill battle of power struggle and organisational politics is draining.

If the primary decision-maker is not on the same page from the beginning, we are wasting each other’s Lives.


During Covid, I am that woman who had her phone blow up with a bunch of pure sleaze from within Ontario, wasting my time, even though it is obvious what this business is about.



Covid has shown me what is alive and well.



I am now at that point where, when I give my business card out, I have to say……DO NOT send me sleaze.


Why is that even necessary?

Because I’ve seen it now.


Both personally and professionally, I have worked very hard over the years to build my career and earn my reputation.


My reputation is something I value highly.


To receive a constant stream of sleazy texts and calls annoyed me.


Thankfully not all people are painted with the same brush.


Show me the same amount of respect I show you, and I’m happy to work with you.


If that is not possible, I cannot accept your appointment.






Some people are in support of harmonious living, harmonious relationships, and harmonious communities, while others are not.


If  YOU ARE  and you’d like to work with me personally or professionally, you are Welcome to make your appointment for a Thai Yoga deep Tissue Relaxation massage, private retreat or online mediation.








If you are a primary decision-maker within a corporate environment & you realise BOTH the cost-saving benefit opportunity as well as the societal benefit to having HARMONIOUS TEAMWORK in your company, rather than fear & conflict based offence-defence leadership,  more info on international corporate-related work can be found here.

I am willing to work with you in terms of organizational transformation and motivating your people.


People who are appreciated & are treated well within teams and enjoy going to work are more productive.




Collaboration and interconnected collaborative thinking with motivated people offers the potential for increasing rates of return.


Multicultural progressive forward-thinking people & companies realise the benefits of their diverse talent.


Everyone involved Thrives.



Keeping in mind, I’ve consistently been asked what I’m even doing here.


I’m making an effort to prevent burnout in Ontario, offering services needed in Ontario since Canada is short on experienced people.

Hence we have skilled labour immigration, which I am in favour of.


Cultural Mosaics are valuable.


To Thrive as a society, Broadening Horizons is a good thing.


I realize that being well-qualified, well-experienced, sincere & warm-hearted with a conscience is rare.

THAT IS WHY people CHOOSE to work WITH ME and probably why I’ve been referred to as a needle in a haystack.


The Big Picture.

In my mind, if you cross paths with a person who can improve situations for everyone involved, solving problems instead of causing problems,  then work with that person in the best interests of everyone concerned.


Author, Speaker, Trainer, Mediator  Colleen McClure





905 902 3106


Recommended Posts