Friday, 23 August 2013

Heart Is Where The Home Is!

The dizzying heights, the colossal beauty, raw energy & power experienced at the "cliffs" not only touched & healed my heart, but have forever changed my life!
Before my visit April 2011, I had lived my life in Victoria, Canada (51years old then) adopted at birth my ancestral origins unknown - an inheritance that I attempted to ignore, unaware that I was powerless.
Circumstances and the universe conspired and while attending a workshop locally, facilitated by an Irish fellow, I was presented with an opportunity to come to Ireland. By this time I had some vague "clues" that my roots included Ireland - now I simply had to find out. I liquidated the foundation of what was to be my "retirement nest-egg" and booked a flight.
A group of us were staying at a retreat center "Bog Hill" and visited the cliffs on an afternoon excursion.
Each day I spent, every rock and tree, spoke to me and revealed more certainty of a "home coming!"
My visit to the Cliffs of Moher was indeed a crowning glory. As we walked the pathway along the cliffs we encountered a musician that was entertainer and gatekeeper both. As he coaxed the haunting refrain from his harp, portals of time and space opened within and without. The wind and waves danced at the command of his fingertips. I was overcome with emotion and recognition that reverberated through ever fiber of my being as I heard for the first time the voice of my ancestors!
The cliffs are indelibly within my heart - in fact they are far more than photogenic landscape. They are gateway both, to the southern Burren region and my soul!

I have since verified through DNA testing, Irish ancestry on my father's side. The ancestors continue to call - "to be continued!"

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Memories - To be or Not to be?

What was it Barbara Streisand said (or rather - sung) "memories, like the corner of my mind - misty water colour memories, of the way we were."

In case you hadn't guessed "memory" is on my mind. Recently I began a "new" fitness routine (well.. that might be overstating it somewhat, I intend, that it become "routine") - in doing so I'm reminded of muscles I haven't had cause to think about for sometime! I "remember" how not so very long ago I could get up and down from a chair without feeling every fiber of my hamstrings and "glutes."

Also within the grasp of memory is that sometime ago, I was in considerably better shape physically - this knowledge can help or hinder. Of course it can remind me I've done it before, therefore, I can do it again - or I could allow it to get me down, the fact that exercise I did with ease in the past, is at this time, challenging. Memory can also inform me, that though I at one time, achieved a high level of physical fitness - I wasn't particularly "buff" emotionally or spiritually. Now that the pendulum has swung the other way and I have spent far more time, studying, meditating (& writing) - I bare a striking resemblance to the "laughing buddha" on my deck. I am reminded therefore, of the need for balance. Fortunately I have a vast reserve of coaching and motivational knowledge (as well as the technical know-how) from my days as a personal fitness trainer. In those days there was no question I walked my talk - therein lies my answer (more walk - less talk!) I recall the idea of "muscle memory" that it is easier for the previously trained body to "recall" the necessary neural pathways etc. to resume the exercise. I do feel good to have initiated this - however I'm pretty sure my body was quite willing to forget! Even a long standing lifestyle of exercising regularly can gradually give way to less arduous pursuits, until the triathlon looks like - a run to the corner store (for chips) a couple flights of stairs to the "re" cycling (event) and a shower.

As pointed out earlier, memory can be a useful tool or become a self-limiting factor. I might not have the sharpness of memory of my youth when homework involving "memorization" of poetry or multiplication tables was a breeze, however my observation is that it is variable, depending on my motivation (interest and presence).

While I write this - sitting in my condo, an "Apple TV" internet radio station (commercial free non-stop classic rock) provides me with a backdrop of the music of my youth. I gotta say - its been on for a couple of hours (including the previous time while exercising) there was no bad music in the 70's! Without a doubt music is an effective bridge for memories (well..... unless of course, some of those memories involved activity that somewhat dulls some of the pertinent details, leaving recall a little hazy) - anyway not the scope of this piece.

Fact remains what amazing music! I will do my utmost to avoid statements such as ("they don't write 'em like that any more!) - oh what the hell, they don't! This couldn't possibly be anything like my parents or grandparents "singing" the virtues of the music of their generation (allow me to demonstrate: "Bye - Bye Blackbird" or "Bohemian Rhapsody" need I say more?) nor could it be entirely resistance to change (clinging to the familiarity of my past) rather than embracing the current array of musical artists - there's actually no comparison! (in fairness there are many gifted artist/poets/musicians currently - too many for me to even begin to keep track) o.k. there is something to be said for the familiarity factor! Of course I must point out that some of those lyrics convey ideas that are timeless (& continue to be relevant) - like "Imagine." Then again at this moment I'm hearing "Muskrat Love" - didn't get it then, I still don't get it!

Memory is though, a slippery deal - politicians are granted another term after a previous dismal performance. On the other hand the memory of lessons learned from history, keep us from repeating.... okay - bad example! I can't even claim that one hundred percent in my own life - though I see now, cause for great hope! I would have said at one time, that I have worked hard to heal from my past - it's at least equally true that I unknowingly worked pretty hard at holding on to it as well. This I must say, makes it difficult to create much of a different present or future. Everything get's coloured by "memories" of the past or, I'm so fearful that the past will repeat - I have effectively sabotaged the present opportunity.

I'm not advocating blindly ignoring the past - but there is no way to further my potential if I think I know everything there is to know about myself (that how it's been, is how it will always be) - this often can apply to others as well. There is to consider, whatever is necessary for one to take care of themselves and their needs, but also there is much to be said, for "holding space" for someone to show up differently (not putting your life on hold) but not assuming/presuming, they are the sum total of my limited beliefs about them. (more likely my own projections of myself)

I don't know about others but some of my "worst memories" have resulted in some of my greatest personal assets - to the point that they really can no longer be deemed "the worst." I don't wish to diminish the painful memories of anyone else. I do know that it is possible to find peace - it is of course up to each to determine how they will go about doing that.

In this the "age of information," endless "to do lists," passwords up the ying-yang and access to all of my financial assets, reliant on my remembering my PIN # can you blame a guy for seeking the comfortable embrace of a little REO Speedwagon from time to time?

Monday, 12 August 2013

The Web (Untangled)

A “thick skin” might serve…
 If I was an armadillo
I came however, not for battle
Why then do so many condone aggression
Rather than invite an open heart?
Arms outstretched I stepped out in transparency
Too sensitive is the consensus
(Is that even possible?)
Baffled to discover, “your authenticity is not welcome here!”

“Truth be told – we much prefer deception”
It is necessary in order to survive
Yes of course… you too, we will see to it
It’s for your own good!

Water off a ducks back – the world counsels
I came not to repel
Nor to walk a guarded path
With open arms – I came
To embrace all I encounter

Naïve to say the least
Starry-eyed foolishness
Now then
Feet on the ground
Stop acting like a child

But I am…  a child?
This can’t be right!
I can’t breath in here!

You’ll get used to it!

But it’s dark in here…
I can’t feel anything

It’s better this way – you’ll see

How old are you boy?
I’m not a boy… I’m a man!
You look young to me
I’m older than I look
Are you lying to me boy?
Oh no, you can trust me!

The art of deception is surprisingly easy!
I think I will come to enjoy this…
Unless – no, couldn't be..... of course not!
 This is the way of the world!


What are you talking about?
I just did what I had to do.
It was expected of me!
It’s what you wanted
What everybody wanted!
You know … “Dog eat dog?”

Actually dogs don’t eat dogs!
Don’t you care?
It’s not all about you…
Do you have no, feelings?

Of course, I have…
Well I mean – I seem to remember….
That at one time
It seems so long ago!
Trying to remember
Just makes me feel sad.
It’s so painful to remember
A lifetime of forgets!

How did I get here?
I can’t go on like this?
What do I do now?
I need help!

No one can do this for you!
I can give you a clue
Honestly behold your mirror
Therein lies your answer!

Wait, that doesn’t make any sense!
I have been honest my whole life!

Are you sure?
Well…. I’m no different than anyone else….
I’ve only done what I’ve had to
To get by!

Which I’m going to guess includes, deception?
Well yes, of course but it wasn’t my idea!
I was taught that in order to…

Have you stopped to consider
That you may have been deceived?

No, that can’t be that would mean…
My whole life has been a lie?

Now there’ some honesty!
Take that and your mirror
And you’re well on your way!

But wait – you can’t leave me now
What am I looking for?
Where will I find it?

You need not go far
And not it, but who
He has never been far away
Just well hidden

Are you talking about me?

None other!
Your authentic self
Is awaiting
Your invitation and welcome!

My welcome?
Are you saying…?

That’s exactly what I’m saying!
Permission for you to show up
Is yours to
Or to

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Ask and You Shall Receive

I was at a local fundraising event this afternoon, one I might add, I had no prior knowledge of and therefore no intention to attend. I was sitting in the local coffee shop lost in the process of writing, when the whole neighborhood began to reverberate from the procession of Harley Davidson motorcycles going past. I looked up to see where they were going, across the road where they all rode in, I could see a city fire truck parked, people coming and going; and reasoned there must be some sort of "community event," occurring over there.

I wondered if one of the group of riders included a friend I had been trying to connect with (he happens to belong to group of "bikers" that ride and socialize together, as well as fundraise for local youth). I finished my writing and decided to go and see what was happening. I was stopped at "the gate" which is normally just an open playing field - there was a stage with live music, a dozen or so "show and shine" muscle cars on display, just as you enter. I was informed it was a fundraiser for a group in town called "AC/BC" (I had seen them at a community event in the past - they build some amazing looking "chopper style bikes" - but the organization also centers around mentoring youth and community).

I thought both, a great cause, I don't mind supporting this, and; huh I bet that was my friends group that rode by (one of their fundraising dances donated the proceeds to this very group).  As they were nowhere to be seen in the "parking area," I thought they had already gone. Coming around the corner it all came together - there were the black leather clad men and women of the one club (including the friend I mentioned) and all their bikes - apparently "guests of honour;" their parking spot was right in the event itself - no doubt that entrance stirred the adrenalin among the attendees).

Turns out the "A" in AC/BC is more than just a clever knock off, yielding a name that signifies that many of their custom designed bikes, reflect the love of classic rock (that alone wins my favour) but it actually stands for "Angels" - which was abbreviated from the original name "God's Angels Chopper Bicycle Club." One of its young members had come up with that name, to make it clear they were not "Hell's angels" (even better). The new shortened name did allow for the "Rock related acronomyn"

So now, my "hunches" seemingly satisfied, I wandered through the gym where there were more bikes on display and all the "stuff" for the silent auction. The bikes are an amazing feat of creativity and I suppose engineering (I'm not particularly mechanically gifted, so it's somewhat of a guess). I vaguely recall various "modifications myself and friends attempted on our bikes when we were kids - nothing nearly as elaborate as these folks, even still, there were varying degrees of success and failure, as we occasionally discovered what was likely rudimentary physics (loads, stress, tensile strength ) often at the cost of sacrificing the flesh on our elbows and knees.

I had thought (of the auction stuff) nothing I need here - when I happened upon the book table (by donation) like a moth to the flame, I am instantly captivated. As an aside (and somewhat a dramatic precusor) I have very recently become interested in the teachings of Esther and Jerry Hicks, I knew of them previously (but my focus was elsewhere) - anyway I have been viewing some of their presentations on YouTube which had led me to their website (there I could see they have dozens of books and audio products - scheduled speaking engagements etc.). I decided for now, I can get what I need from the free videos and perhaps a book of the "basic teachings" if I come across one. A trip to town and a jaunt through a metaphysical shop I haven't been in for a long time, yield me a like new copy of one of their titles "The Law of Attraction" - The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham." The first book I see on the donation table (another of theirs) "Ask and It is Given - Learning to Manifest Your Desires."

I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying this and thank the universe, God and the angels (I don't want to leave anyone out) for so attentively listening!!

Tonight, I feel drawn to go for a wander around town - a warm summer night, streets filled with happy tourists and street performers. Followed by what I believe will be the pinnacle experience of the evening, a "B"movie shown outdoors under the stars in our world-class park!

With apologies to Elton John on this eve. "Saturday Night's Alright for Delighting!"

Before Following - Ask, Where are we Going?

Okay then - right out of the gate I'm going to violate social convention ("stay away from discussions of religion or politics.") to tell you the truth I don't know the origins of this supposition (nor do I feel inclined at this point to do the research) I suspect it might have something to do with the propensity of people to get rather passionate around these topics, next tempers flare and the neighborhood barbeque deteriorates into a turf war.

I happen to believe these discussions should be encouraged, although the rules of engagement might be reconsidered. If the discussion remains on the surface it is more likely to rapidly become polarized, time must be allowed for each to really understand the human values of the other (they could well discover they have much in common and from there, a greater likelihood of a continued dialogue).

I tend to think that one has not got all they might have from any given religion (or spiritual path) if all they can do, is use it as a platform from which, to exclude all those adherents of other paths and/or make the paths themselves wrong.

I suppose I should qualify myself on both fronts - (if for no other reason than to extend the courtesy of having done so - I don't know that any amount of verbiage will actually qualify me). I'm not a card carrying member of any particular religion - I have not spent a lifetime steeped in the principals or practices, comprehensively studied the theology or scriptures (which some might conclude "disqualifies" me). I happen to believe it gives me less preconceived dogma and prejudice to unlearn. I found it necessary in my own life to walk a spiritual path (I am guided by the wisdom of many paths but bound by none of them). Of course I have been swimming in the collective consciousness of the culture I have lived in, so I am not without mistaken beliefs to sort out (I'm just saying I haven't added to that, by further adopting the group conscious of a particular religion).

As for politics - I certainly can't claim to deem myself (what do they call themselves?) a pundit. I am astounded by those that seem to have unlimited recall of various politicians and details of their careers. To me it's somewhat like ardent sports "fans" (and their ability to recall statistics) - surprising their isn't a line of bubble gum - "politician collector cards" (on the back their stats: i.e. terms in office, number of corporate favoured legislations passed into law, # of lobbyists awarded political appointments, criminal indictments, infidelities, payola, kickbacks, backroom deals). I don't know - maybe there is some point in tracking this stuff, to me it seem like the forest is lost watching the trees.

Are "we" quite sure that sports and politics aren't the opiates for the masses?

Over time I am transitioning from a passive observer and sideline chronic critic to a more "active" participant. I actually don't know when one can accurately deem themselves an "activist" (I hesitate to don another garment of persona). I once attended a "Pipeline rally" - initially "joining ranks" with a group that had "organized" ahead of time. I am concerned about the environment - I value the interconnection of all life, I value the lives of the First Nations communities along the route of the proposed pipeline - but when one women said to me -"we're going to do this" and "we're going to do that!" I replied - "I will be guided by my heart and conscience (at all times), I will not blindly follow this group anywhere!" "I will decide at all times in what and for how long, I participate - I will also determine when the need arises to walk away!"

Of course there are innumerable worthy "causes" that affect the masses - I can't see where following a group on a misguided intervention, makes it any more appropriate because all the "activists" are doing it. I also recognize that grassroots movements have the power to bring about change.

I guess my point is that there can be some "strength" or measure of comfort, in the body politic (whether that is a "political movement" or within a "spiritual organization") on the surface it's all politics. Here's the deal for me - much of my life has been profoundly affected by "peer pressure" - if I don't grow to overcome that, it won't matter what the group calls itself (I could form the Hillside Ave. arm-chair transcendentalists or the Coalition to give the Wool from my Sweater Back to the Sheep) or join any other pre-existing group - but if I'm not clear who I am and what I'm about, I am subject to the whims of the group (like a fart in a windstorm). If and when "it hits the fan" I had better be clear about why I was there and what I believe, because the group will no longer be there, I will need to be accountable for my actions (which I would hope are in alignment with my beliefs) because I will then be living with the consequences. Either way I might not "like" the consequences but I submit, that it's preferable they come as a result of what I believe in, rather than allowing myself to  become intoxicated (having "drank the Kool-aid") resulting in my acting out of my own unhealed shadow and then masqueraded as "altruism." The wrapper does not determine the contents!

I have trouble with the phrase join with "like-minded" people - by which I mean, superficially there might be a "common interest" but no one can presume from this, that I "believe as you do" nor do I expect that you believe everything I say as true. Taken to the extreme, the members of the Edelweiss Underwater Yodelers might advocate killing the Polka Revivalists, because they accordion player wasn't wearing organically sourced Leiderhosen  and then played a "Weird Al Yankovich" cover at Octoberfest! Absurd - I'll grant you, but I'd be willing to bet there are people dying for equally nonsensical reasons (if the origins were to be traced) and it is being upheld by nothing more than because everyone else is doing it (or believing it).

Ideally a group would come together to harness the exponential increase in effectiveness of cooperation and collaboration (for the greater good) - this ceases to represent the higher good, if it is not beneficial across the board. The higher good is not represented by actions that lead to oppression, exclusion or death of one group ushered in by another and is not made "right" by more people believing in it.

In this respect the "finger pointing at the moon" (which I believe I read in a book influenced by Buddhism) for me, is a useful metaphor - (i.e. the finger is not the moon) "the map is not the territory" the individual needs to establish their own connection with the divine (or whatever they decide to call it) and seek their own guidance - take these religious directives and decide for themselves, what works for them. The spiritual paths of the world address the various aspects of the human condition and some specifically address a personal connection to "God." (I use the name for convenience rather than to be interpreted as representing any specific framework). - I suppose to be completely inclusive, I would need to recognize that no matter what I use the word "God" to represent, it will not, reflect the view of the atheists - so for them connect to whatever it is that guides you, as an individual, when that is what is called for (besides the other atheists -or  the "atheists guide to the universe" and determine what is the right choice for yourself. I'm not advocating an everyone for themselves attitude - life I believe is an organic process - so too is the guidance of the masters. Two people could internalize a passage of scripture (at least) two different ways, or could be in seemingly similar circumstances in their life and two different spiritual messages, might be perfect in the moment for each. A one size fits all - solution is not helpful.

I believe the same to be true of "spiritual leadership" - without question there is benefit for one to have a mentor/teacher - I've never had a guru, but I would see the potential benefits as being the same (if guidance is the function). I strongly believe that the role of teachers/leaders etc. is to cultivate more leaders (not proliferate more followers). Ultimately each must come to recognize their own "inner" master (teacher/guide). To condone implication that we all are "rudderless" ships that need constant direction from religious or political leaders is to abdicate personal responsibility (not to mention the abandonment of powers of discernment) - it also completely diminishes the value and unlimited potential of each person.

Many positive changes have been brought about through political will - many religious individuals and groups, are part of making the world a better place to live. However there have been many atrocities committed by groups of all political & religious persuasions. Laws are created to uphold agendas that have nothing to do with the greater good, people are manipulated to "obey" through coercion to be "patriotic" or "law-abiding" citizens or in worse case scenarios, lives are threatened or lost for non-compliance. It cannot be presumed that the leaders of any group represent ones best interest or those of the people, they may be far more interested in power and control. It is necessary for each to develop their own powers of discernment, for the day may come, when "civil disobedience" or non-compliance/conformity are the right and perfect action - that which is perfectly aligned with their heart & soul (a "higher authority") rather than the "law of the land!"

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Freedom - Not Just Another Word!

What can I say about freedom and what has prompted me to ponder this now? Perhaps it is my near approaching birthday (which will mark the beginning of my 54th year) which conjures the reminder that if I am to obtain the coveted "Freedom 55" (at least with regard to "Financial Freedom") the time near approaches! Therefore, I will need an accelerated high yield strategy - in fact it will need to bend space & time, and go contrary to accepted industry norms, in short, a miracle!  Scoff if you will - I am exercising my freedom, to set the intention of my choice (and it so happens that one aspect of "freedom" the way I understand it is, that sometimes, it might be "freedom" from convention that one seeks. In this regard I could "free" myself by not having the same expectations of a lavish lifestyle thereby freeing myself of the need to have the income to support said lifestyle. I could freely choose to adopt a "less is more" belief system - thereby "freeing" myself of the incessant need for more.

There is many a belief that are widely held as true - but my experience is that they don't necessarily hold up for me personally (maybe you as well?) It can't hurt to examine these things - where do they stem from? Who says they are true? Do I believe it's true for me? We all are "free" to decide despite the power of advertising, urban myth, family or cultural tradition. I'm also aware that it "costs" something to go against the grain. Still each is free to make the choice and I find it more empowering to recognize I'm am choosing - rather than maintain "I have no choice!" (yes I have a choice - I might just not be willing to face the consequences of choosing differently, regardless there will be some consequence).

It is not my intention to be dismissive or cast dispersion upon money, wealthy people, or the free will choice of others to have nice things (I appreciate quality). I would say though, that a huge bank account alone, can't guarantee freedom. Of course the next meal would not be in question, but there are those with incredible financial wealth,  even still they are not free of the concern for (the scarcity of) money and/or material wealth. There is an ongoing concern for making more, for the loss of present assets (who is out to get a hold of them) these people may continue to hoard their money and behave in a miserly manner despite enormous assets - not exactly free.

Others may have more modest savings etc. but are more generous about putting their money into circulation and service. To me one demonstrates an "inner freedom" by not being obsessed with "lack" behaving as though there is never enough, no matter how much they have. To be clear, I'm not saying that all wealthy people are miserly and those of the middle class or low-income earners are more generous. I'm simply making the distinction that freedom is not attained through financial wealth alone or lack there of.

There are other aspects of freedom worth considering. I just read a quote for example: "You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice." My understanding of that is I'm given complete free will choice (even to do or believe in ways that are not in my best interest) that is the depth of unconditional love available through what I believe to be, a "loving universe." With the freedom of those choices comes consequences - not "punishment" mind you, consequences (cause followed by effect). Of course the "effect" can be uncomfortable (and may well seem as though one is being punished). I know I have on occasion (okay frequently) wondered to myself or said aloud "why is this happening to me?"- as though some capricious force outside myself is dishing out my cosmic comeuppance. This is both a perspective of victim thinking and denial of personal responsibility. A more useful question might be - "what is my part in this?" (attitude, belief, behaviour) - you can bet your bottom dollar I'm "involved" Trust me there has been a rather lengthy process arriving at this awareness in my life (accentuated by the ebb & flow of my resistance to what is).

As I mentioned earlier I am free to believe as I wish (which doesn't necessarily represent "the truth") but the truth of how the universe works can only be revealed to me in accordance with my willingness to be open to the truth (of course I could benefit now, from a more expanded awareness of the truth, however my free will cannot be violated to enlighten me. So I'm absolutely free to both orchestrate my openness and willingness or to stand in my own way. Some days I find this exhilarating others times, well let's just say, I experience some growing pains on my road to spiritual maturity.

Still each is free to choose how they experience life's "highs and lows" - even to the point of deciding for themselves, whether it is necessary to define them as "highs and lows." (I know this to be true for me anyway - I have significantly lessened the duration of "suffering"that I experience by deciding it will be so - not ignoring, repressing or denying)  same or similar circumstance in my external world, but a completely different inner world experience.

Another consideration that I have come to believe about freedom is that it exists inside the understanding, that we are not "separate" and are interdependent versus, "I'm free to do whatever I want." None of us operate within a vacuum, therefore - there really are no "isolated acts" the well-being of the whole, is the responsibility of each of it's parts (which doesn't necessarily mean there is "only one way of being") but it might lend more credence to such ideas as "I am my brother's keeper.")

Victor Frankl had these reflections regarding freedom:

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

 "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose ones attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose ones own way."

These powerful insights gained during three years spent in a Nazi concentration camp (under which the horrendous conditions were such, that a victim mentality might understandably be more readily adopted). If he can maintain such a perspective while under-going such duress - surely I can learn to more skillfully, respond to the challenges in my life. (of course I can, I will and I am) perhaps the growing capacity made possible by each and every event throughout my life. 

Which raises another consideration where "freedom" is concerned - it must coexist along side responsibility (ability to respond). I have operated from the misguided perspective that increased responsibility must result in decreased freedom. For sure it has been a path of continued learning for me to come to distinguish what I am truly responsible for and what belongs to someone else. But freedom without responsibility creates an imbalance as well. Again, there is the consideration of the bigger picture (of which we are all a unique part) as well as a responsibility to ones self to step up and "be all that you can be" which of course benefits the whole. In my life that has looked various ways - sometimes my choices reflect my fears, self-imposed limitations and wounds, other times as I allow healing and transformation in my life, the opportunity to discover latent talents, expand my awareness and realize more of my potential is made possible (that otherwise may have never come to light). I don't reveal that exclusively to blow my own horn (I am grateful my life has included this "Ugly Duckling" chapter) - I also happen to whole-heartedly believe that it is possible for anyone. 

I just saw a "YouTube" video in the last couple days, of a women in Australia that was paralysed from the waist down after a motor-vehicle accident, she went "surfing" by being duct-taped on the back of one of her son's friends - what an amazing demonstration of will, openness to possibility and "respond" ability (from both of them). Now I am not advocating the comparison of ones self to another, but when I see things like that, I realize I need to work on an ongoing "attitude adjustment." Each of us have our dreams - I know I have surrendered mine for less compelling reasons than paralysis (well of the physical variety) - only to see even that is not an acceptable "reason" for some, they go after their dreams regardless.

 So now I recognize I am responsible for the realization of my dreams (which of course means keeping them "alive") but I now begin to wonder if it goes beyond personal joy and contentment one experiences upon realizing a dream come true, perhaps there is more at stake in this regard. What if we are each being "dreamed" that the conundrum of "life purpose" could be solved by looking no further than my (or your) dreams? Maybe the world is literally waiting for our dreams to be realized - it is not just a "passing fancy" it might define for each, their "reason for being." Of course as described throughout - one would be free to "give up on their dream" or to believe that it "simply isn't possible." I don't wish to negate personal gratification - I actually believe enjoyment was part of the intended life experience. I'm just suggesting that if I abandon my dreams - ignore my gifts and talents, I'm not only choosing to cheat myself of the satisfaction of living in alignment with my "purpose" but I might just be choosing to say no to the contribution I was meant to make, which could impact far more than just me? 

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that it is likely less painful to fail in the pursuit of ones dreams than to not pursue them at all. As always freedom of choice prevails, but how long would one have to reckon with the knowledge that they chose to abandon their dream?

I am not beyond self interest - I eagerly and hopefully anticipate a world where more people embrace their dreams and bring them fully into being, I believe we all would benefit immensely!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Peace - A Summer's Night Dream

What a night - on the one hand sad, that we were all brought together to remember or not to forget, the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, just the same it was a powerful evening and a good example of what the human spirit can accomplish through collaboration.

We were all given a chance to make our own lantern which was to be floated on the local "Gorge" waterway. I'd include pictures, however at the present I am attempting to  negotiate peace between my iPhone and my Mac laptop (you'd think there would be "seamless" interfacing, however they seem to have found something to be at odds over). Once our lanterns were complete, we all gathered around for the pre-launch presentations.

There was some traditional Japanese folk dancing (Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society) - next up, a local group of young children from the Victoria Japanese Heritage Language School  - they sang us 3 traditional songs - their enthusiasm, joy and innocence was heart-warming, though also a reminder that there were many young innocent lives among those that perished 68 years ago today (and again 3 days later).

A poem was shared first in the original Japanese and then translated to English, so that the stark expression of an eye witness to the immediate carnage and aftermath to follow was made hauntingly clear and immediate - told with such rawness the tortured reality of those that survived, some whom would live out there lives continuing to suffer immensely, the mercy of a life spared, escaped them. To hear of the devastation and the suffering sent chills through my body and brought tears to my eyes.

Next there was a couple teenage kids from a local church community that read the personal essays of two Japanese teens that had been younger children at the time of the bombings and then wrote of their experience (I believe it was 5 years later) again the graphic description and personal accounts put an all to human face on unimaginable terror and inexcusable inhumanity.

A large contingent of international students from a local college (Pearson's) then gave a stirring performance,  first a South African "gumboot dance" (said to be a dance of defiance during Apartheid) and then a beautifully sung 4 part voice collage, that contained the traditional chants of 4 different religious paths. It was indeed something to behold - the voices harmonized so exquisitely an amazing metaphoric representation of just what was possible, 4 paths - many voices - one song! Deep in my heart I know the truth of it - it could be this way - IT MUST BE THIS WAY!

We then went to the beach to launch our flotilla of lanterns - all adorned with open-hearted artistic expressions of Remembrance, Hope, Love, Peace, Unity, Forgiveness. As we watched the small fleet drift away from shore (with the initial help of some of the kids in the crowd, who were all to willing to wade in and push the lanterns further "out to sea") we were handily lead by the Raging Grannies in some 60's peace anthems and then joined hands and were led through some "peace prayers" that were somewhat like the Hawaiian Ho'oponopono.

The following is an excerpt from a letter from the mayor of Hiroshima - which contained short accounts from people in the city during the attack:

Indiscriminately stealing the lives of innocent people, permanently altering the lives of survivors, and stalking their minds and bodies to the end of their days, the atomic bomb is the ultimate inhumane weapon and an absolute evil.  Hibakusha (translated: "explosion affected people")
 Survivors of the bombs that are physically, emotionally and spiritually scarred during the nuclear storm, who have suffered with endless health issues and have been marginalized and ostracized by those that were not affected by the blast - because of fears and ignorance, surrounding their being "irradiated" and therefore health concerns to everyone else. As a result it has negatively impacted their relationships, employment prospects - child birth. No part of their lives has been left untouched. (emphasis mine)

The hibakusha, who know the hell of an atomic bombing, have continuously fought that evil.

Under harsh, painful circumstances, the hibakusha have struggled with anger, hatred, grief and other agonizing emotions. Suffering with after effects, over and over they cried, "I want to be healthy," "Can't I just lead a normal life?" But precisely because they had suffered such tragedy themselves, they came to believe that no one else "should ever have to experience this cruelty." A man who was 14 at the time of the bombing pleads, "If the people of the world could just share love for the Earth and love for all people, an end to war would be more than a dream."

Even as their average age surpasses 78, the hibakusha continue to communicate their longing for peace. They still hope the people of the world will come to share the longing and choose the right path. In response to the desire of the many hibakusha who have transcended such terrible pain and sorrow, the rest of us must become the force that drives the struggle to abolish nuclear weapons.

If ever there was a compelling story for peace I believe this must rank highly among them - countless lives lost on those fateful days, thousands more left in some sort of exile, a living purgatory. These are the stories of those that are dwindling in numbers due to age and deteriorating health, yet they hope that before they breath their last, their life will have been given some meaning, through inspiring nuclear disarmament and peace.

Wars continue to be waged - countries that currently have nuclear weapon capabilities include:  U.K., China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, United States, Israel, North Korea. Countries that continue to seek to develop nuclear weapons: Syria and Iran.
So while the voices of those so profoundly affected become fewer (albeit no less relevant) I'm left with the question isn't it time to at least give the idea of peace - "A Chance!"