Hope and action for the next 150 years

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A year ago, hundreds of kindred souls joined in a walk from Victoria Island to Parliament Hill.

Indigenous People and allies gathered, walked and demonstrated their support for protecting a sacred place in the heart of Canada’s capital. I joined in too on that hot, sunny day.

We were protesting the condo development that was being allowed due to various cracks in the system of our courts and unfair, unclear zoning laws.

This year, the Faith is Peace march on June 23rd was championed by interfaith leaders who supported the movement to protect this sacred place. We were accompanied by clouds and intermittent rain which seemed appropriate for the tears of disbelief that this demonstration is still necessary during Canada’s 150th birthday year.

Faith is Peace march to Parliament Hill June 23 2017

Faith is Peace march to Parliament Hill June 23 2017

We gathered on the Hill for almost two hours, listening to drummers, singers and speeches. We heard once again about the sacredness of Akikodiwan, the importance of clean water, spiritual ceremonies, partnership of men and women – and with reassurance, the importance of the role of women in Indigenous communities.

Through the rattling and banging of the Canada Day stage construction, the faith leaders’ sound system persevered.

We heard speeches from representatives of various faith groups who reinforced the importance of recognizing and respecting sacred spaces.

We heard young people speak their views on the issue.

Faith is Peace demonstration and speeches on Parliament Hill June 23 2017

Faith is Peace demonstration and speeches on Parliament Hill June 23 2017

 

During the final week of June, Canadians observed interesting developments as a group of Indigenous People, water protectors and their allies made it past Parliament Hill security to erect a ceremonial teepee. After some dispute with police, they were allowed to set up on the East side of the hill. The day before Canada Day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the demonstrators.

Officials allowed the teepee to remain on the Hill throughout Canada Day celebrations. Progress…

Not many people were eager to participate joyfully in the 150th milestone of colonialism while Indigenous people’s rights were still being ignored. Some downright boycotted it.

Personally, I avoided the crowded downtown Ottawa streets and observed celebrations from the comfort of my dry, humble home and watched online or through the various television broadcasts.

I consider myself a settler descendant. I accept no responsibility for atrocities committed in the past by governments and other institutions. I will accept the opportunity and responsibility to learn more about the issues and offer my voice in support. 

You can learn background information through these resource links:

Sign the petition to the House of Commons in Parliament Assembled

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1153

In particular:

  • The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples declares that indigenous people have a right to protect their sacred places. This must be done for the Sacred Falls and the Islands.

 

Thanks for dropping by and reading about this issue. Please share with family and friends.

I hope it won’t be necessary to join another walk and demonstration again next year. If it is, I will be there.

T

Balancing act

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Can Canada heal itself from within while strengthening its international leadership role? 

I was pleased and proud to see our Minister of Foreign Affairs and Federal Government take a stand about world leadership and show support for the Paris climate treaty.

We are a welcoming people to immigration of political and religious refugees. Our constitution protects religious freedom. Our nation though seems to be struggling with appropriate ways to support healing of the Indigenous people in forms of reconciliation.

I am surprised and ashamed that different levels of government are not recognizing Indigenous spirituality with the respect and attention it deserves. I am in disbelief that a condo developer has been allowed to slither in to make offers and divide the very people that could benefit from restoring a sacred site in the middle of our nation’s capital. Read this analogous story describing the history and present challenges. Read about the vision of a spiritual elder.

Why offer an abandoned US Embassy building without wide consultation? Why not summon the political will and heart to lead in an opportunity for healing?

As a mother, settler descendant and citizen, I once again feel compelled to show my support for restoring the sacred site in the Ottawa River. I will take a day off from my professional role to walk with hundreds of others from an island at the site, to begin a peaceful march up to Parliament Hill.

You can too. Let your god or spirits call to us as the right thing to do.

#Canada150 #Reconcilation #Healing #Leadership

Thank you.

T

Wherever you go – it may be raining

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Spring travel whisked me away from the rainy Ottawa Valley to Vancouver Island.

It rained there too. 

My objectives were made months in advance:

  • Travel somewhere within Canada
  • Push my air travel anxiety limits – further than before
  • Visit with family
  • Do touristy things
  • Do not think about work

My destination was Vancouver Island, just off the coast of British Columbia. The long stretches of flying, sitting, waiting, flying, sitting, etc. tired me out. At various destinations I welcomed opportunities for walking tours and restaurant outings. Soon that tired me out too!

I practiced mindfulness as much as I could, savouring moments and reminding myself to breathe.

One family member took me for a drive up the east coast of Vancouver Island, humoured my request to stop where I could dip my toes into the Pacific Ocean.

Theresa dipping her toes into the west coast ocean waters

Pacific Ocean (well… some inlet) I am in you!

Soon I was on a bus then another bus to the beautiful city of Victoria. I was happy and comforted that relatives were waiting for me, extra umbrellas in hand to provide an escort to my hotel.

While in Victoria, I was treated to sufficient walking excursions, visited a castle and tried food from different restaurants. We had one sunny, windy day.

I spent one rainy afternoon by myself, enjoying bright flower gardens and inhaling the scent of trees in full blossom.

Flowers rain Victoria

A rainy tourist outing in downtown Victoria

A wet park bench

A wet bench and colourful flowers

Soon one of my adult children joined me after his own cross-country tour by train, ferry and bus. He got to meet one set of cousins for the first time. He accompanied me for a walk by the docks, an appropriate lunch and a walking tour up to Emily Carr House.

Lunch at Red Fish Blue Fish – Victoria

As with my tour of the castle a couple of days earlier, we exited through the gift shop and I picked up a few souvenirs.

Blonde Lady sitting at tea table in Emily Carr house

A chance to sit down during a tour of Emily Carr house

Did I achieve my objectives?  Yes! I practiced mindfulness moments wherever I was, taking in the experiences, breathing in and breathing out.

After a long day of travel east, I returned to Ottawa in the rain. I observed the local news about severe spring flooding in our region.

I was glad to be home, to have the chance to do laundry and rest in my creature comforts.

Snuggles was glad to see me too and perform his morning routine of waking me up to serve breakfast and read the online news together. Creatures of habit…

Black cat on lap

“Good. You’re back where you belong – with me!”

Thanks for dropping by.

T

When you were ten

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What did you enjoy doing when you were a child?

Did you like to run and play ball in your big backyard or in the park with other kids? Did you like to colour, to play in the dirt or puddles? Did you try to run away into the nearby forest but return home in time for dinner?

I think that the age range between 8 and 11 years old is one of innocence, adventure and discovery.

This deep thought has been brought to you by page 106 in a book of daily inspirations. I think it is a good reminder for ambitious, jaded adults.

Quote from book invisible force

Good advice: observe babies

…except for the part about pooping in your pants.

When I was ten, I enjoyed playing in big puddles, engineering canals and small towns. I enjoyed playing with Barbie dolls, playing school with my siblings and friends.  I enjoyed drawing pictures. As I matured, I had dreams of creating greeting cards or children’s books.

I didn’t care about fashion or boys. I didn’t know our family was poor. I was oblivious to the inhumanity happening in our country, in our world.

I didn’t even know I was fat until it was pointed out by a friend’s older brother.

The jerk.

 

This particular winter sucks

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It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter. In my opinion, March came in like a soggy little lamb.Old Man Winter has since elbowed his way in and frosted up my windows again.

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I am tired of wearing my bulky winter coat and big boots. It’s no fun while waiting for city buses that don’t show up on time.

I have aches in my body and my tender heart. I have no motivation to do morning stretches. I have to push myself to get on the buses in to the city. Some days I just want to stay home and putter.

I am tired of supporting flakey technology that doesn’t provide consistent results.

I feel inconvenienced. I used to like puzzles and technical challenges.

I feel like an old grump.

 

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Je suis déçu!

On the other hand, I have been embracing my inner child, nurturing and encouraging that shy artist from my awkward adolescence.  You can read more at the blog where the Tabby Cat rules.

Thanks for dropping by. Excuse me as I grumble, preparing to take the weekend buses in a quest for new stretchy pants and “stylish” Mom jeans. First world problems…

T

To everything there is a season

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and a time to every purpose under the heaven

Ecclesiastes 3 King James Version (KJV)

Central Experimental Farm and tractor

Central Experimental Farm, reaping what was sown 2016

For me, 2016 was a year full of challenges and opportunities, reunions and departures.

I can accept that winter is here and we should acknowledge its presence as part of the cycle of life. Also, I can’t afford to travel to somewhere exotic or warm…

Central Experimental Farm December 2016

Central Experimental Farm December 2016 – Covered up and ready to start all over again

As a parent and grandparent, I have concerns for the future of our planet and humanity now that the pendulum has swung back to allow for unbalanced, machismo leaders to take the reins of power. Many of us are wondering what the heck went wrong…  Yet, I can cherish the moments I had with loved ones this year and will embrace naive hope for sharing happy times with them again.

My gift to readers of this blog is another time-lapsed photography project. You may remember and hopefully enjoyed the four seasons with two trees from the autumn of 2014 and summer of 2015, and that whimsical cat grass grow-up project this past summer.

This latest obsession was started with joy as I celebrated new opportunities and gave thanks while waiting for the weekend bus near the Central Experimental Farm.

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Thank you for dropping by. I hope you enjoyed that. Here’s a soundtrack and some nostalgia for those of you born before 1963…

You can also visit the Tabby Cat’s blog for the recent offering or my pen name’s blog to see what she is up to.

Wishing naively for peace on Earth and good will…

T

 

Why are you here?

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That question was recently asked by what could have been a younger, curious version of myself.

A few times each month, I spend three hours of bliss volunteering in a small bookshop.

I get to meet interesting people, stroke and skim through the latest items placed on the shelves. Not a month goes by without me purchasing something of interest to me or someone I love. I like the fact that sales revenues go towards purchasing new books and supporting programs for our local libraries. Being in that book shop is the closest I can get to working in a library – for now  🙂

My recent volunteer shift was graced by the usual lingering regulars and families attending events nearby. It warms my heart when children express delight as they find a book or two that they want their parents to buy.

One particular tot caught my attention while exploring books with her older sister, parents and grandmother. She approached the front desk, her blonde head barely above the counter, her blue eyes peering at me.

“What’s your name?” she asked in a sweet and barely audible voice.

I responded with a smile and asked about hers. Her Mother responded on her behalf due to the child’s limited conversation skills.

Then the child asked, “Why are you here?”

“Why am I here? Well… I like books, I like meeting new people and selling them books.”

Then she skittered away to explore the shelves with her family.

Soon she returned to ask again “Why are you here?”.

After I repeated my previous response I wanted to ask the wee thing if she was being philosophical about the big picture but I decided it would just confuse matters.

It was cute. It was thought-provoking in a naive kind of way.

I think that was a helpful experience for those basic queries we should ask ourselves often, like “Why am I here?”.

If we cannot answer the why, we could at least ask, “What am I doing during my time here?”.

T

Reminders for the love of life

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I recently contemplated the delicate balance of life and human relationships.

An elderly relative passed away after years of loneliness from losing a spouse, falling into unhealthy habits and an unpleasant lifestyle.

Those of us who were able to travel for the funeral benefited from reconnecting with each other and catching up with old friends in the town of our birth. The occasion gave a sobering twist to Halloween and All Souls Day.

It was a long journey for a short visit. The surrounding events provided opportunities to hear stories from others who knew your relative for years or recently formed friendships through shared interests.The sombre experience reminds you to enjoy times with those beings you love and cherish despite their shortcomings.

You venture into the new version of the church you once attended a lifetime ago, the religion you abandoned due to differences of opinion. You reach into the crevices of your memory for that sense of community and shared values. You notice they transported the large crucifix from the old church, the one with the bleeding savior you could not look at as a child. You find the strength and spirit to join in song, to celebrate a life and provide a smooth, harmonious send-off to the next dimension.

You contemplate how we should treat our deceased with respect and dignity. Without getting too elaborate, I feel it’s important to plan ahead for your own funeral, to make decisions for your mortal remains, to lessen stress on loved-ones, and put your house in order.

Although emotionally and physically drained, you enjoy companionship on short, refreshing strolls about town and down memory lane.

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Shuffling through the fallen leaves, you visit the streets, the town park and the library where you recall misadventures and fond memories plus learn to enjoy new experiences. You let yourself laugh, share updates and hopes for your children. You dream of a future with the grandchildren who have entered your life and nestled into your heart.

As you contemplate the next decade of your independent life, you are determined to continue with those small changes to improve your health, to reconsider compromise and expectations. You tolerate the brief interruptions and annoyances, knowing that they too shall pass.

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Breathing in. Breathing out.  Repeating as necessary.

Thanks for dropping by.

T

 

 

 

Bending, stretching, sweating and remembering to breathe

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I don’t like rushing into things.

Three weeks ago, the resident artiste provided me with five morning lessons of gentle sitting and stretching, gentle Yoga moves for Salute to the Sun. That was three months after she gifted me a “high-end” Yoga mat for Mother’s Day.

Like I said, I don’t like rushing into things.

On the first day, the Tabby cat took position on her living room perch in preparation to supervise. As we have seen in a previous post in another blog, she’s not a fan of exercise for the sake of exercise.

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On the sixth day, I proceeded to perform the sweaty, grunty feat in the privacy of my room. Soon the Old Boy wandered in to complain and rearrange my sweaty towel.

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The Salute to the Sun routine goes something like this. With time and commitment, I shall be so graceful and poised. It has been two weeks during which I think I have succeeded in getting myself into a routine as part of a healthier lifestyle.

  • I aim to perform this sweaty morning ritual at least five days a week;
  • I time each session for 15 to 20 minutes;
  • These are small steps in supporting a healthy habit for body and mind;
  • As with most challenges in life, you just gotta remember to breathe – and repeat as necessary.

I am grateful for the resident artiste, bread baker, cook and cat sitter for persistently nudging and motivating me. It’s only a matter of time before she turns me into a vegetarian too.

What small steps do you take to keep yourself in good overall health?

Thanks for dropping by.

You might be interested in this book I wrote about a priest, his biological daughter and a retired exotic dancer dealing with family issues in a small Georgian Bay town during the 1970s.

T