Sparkling With All

The sparkles of our stories are like candles in the window that draw us together

London Adventures

I’m learning new respect for those of us that survive through posting online! It’s a beautiful day in Hartlepool England, and the following was supposed to be posted yesterday but internet wasn’t good in the train and not in my room at this hotel either. They are reassuring but I have little confidence. Sitting here in the bar because there I s internet here! (Has nothing to do with wanting (needing?) a beer after all this…

An oasis of peace in the centre of London’s East End, Annette’s house is the epitome of an English artist’s home, stocked to bursting with beautiful things, reminders of inspirations and hard work. I was lucky to see her most recent work, a tribute to pigeons and gulls in The Tidal House, a reclaimed derelict mill, once powered by the tides, now a museum and film location. When we dropped in there was a party going on, an English form of wine and cheese (gin and nibbles!) with live jazz, a real-life crowd-funding for convicts or something. Her origami pigeons, flocks of gulls and great falls of beautiful handmade and painted paper were a brilliant accent to the ancient dark wood and girders. Gave all the dressed-up ladies and gents an extra something special to contemplate as they made out their cheques!

My next experience of Annette’s London was Wanstead Park, an expansive wildish acreage once held by an heiress and her spendthrift husband. There are ruins of a grotto (see picture) where he locked her up when she wouldn’t give him anymore money. But there came a day when there just wasn’t anymore and they lost the place – no more was she captive in the rock-work house set into the hillside beside a small lake, part of a network of waterways. The canals and lakes are home to many birds including coots, mallards, cormorants, swans and robins (different from North American ones) and the ever-present sparrows singing their hearts out. Birdsong was so much more present in London than I’m used to – made me feel confident that, when we bring trees back into other cities, songbirds will come back too.

Annette’s London also includes a jewel of a theatre where we saw Love N Stuff, a stage play of acting genius wherein 2 actors created a comedy of epic proportions that made the large stage seem crowded! The only sound heard in the theatre, other than the actors many-accented lines, was laughter. 90 minutes of that was a great workout for the belly and facial muscles! 

A day walking along the Thames from The Tower of London through to Trafalgar Square was a workout too! It was perfect until, just after taking pictures of the man creating floods of beautiful bubbles to the delight of the children (and all others too!), Annette’s camera was misplaced and all the pictures she had taken were lost too. Though she has my pictures, they aren’t the same and she’s out a camera, a must for an “indigo” artist of her caliber and experience. She shared some of her films with me last night and I’ve been appreciating the many forms of pottery and artistry cached in her small home, catching my eye every time I turned around.

Walking with Annette through her London, it was easy to see why she loves it – it loves her! The joy on people’s faces when they greeted her was clear evidence of the high esteem in which she is held. I am so very lucky to be her friend…

Extremely lucky today, too! Apparently, the British banks do not recognize my bank card. We found a way at her bank; with the help of Visor Johal (I’m not sure of his name, but that’s close!) we were able to put some money in my pocket. Thank you, Annette, for all your help!

I’m on the train now, on the way to Hartlepool, on the northeast coast of England, to meet up with Bret and Tan who are in Skelton, a few k away. Seeing where Tan grew up and meeting the family, especially Gracie, her niece, is anticipated with great pleasure.

I hope the weather cooperates as well as it has so far…!

We Share at OuiShare 2016


I almost didn’t come; it seems I choose, sometimes, not because I WANT something but because I want to avoid something. I imagine that is quite usual but I wish it were different – and perhaps it will be, in time. It is the goal of the Noomap team: to be able to do what you want and little else. Can you imagine a world like that? People living their passions…

Today I had a chance to talk about mine. I haven’t for awhile, being focused on assisting others to achieve theirs, and I’ve found that quite fulfilling. Perhaps you know the feeling? I love to celebrate the successes of my friends! And what I’ve seen today helps me to realize that my friends successes are woven in with mine. The pattern is becoming clear, or at least it seems to be! Today I asked a question and received much more than an answer.

It was a simple question to a panel gathered to discuss: From Seed to Mouth, How Open Source and Decentralization Can Transform Our Food System. I asked for their ideas about how to feed the people in our cities and mentioned that I have a plan. It was not an easy question for them to answer, being outside of the areas of interest of the panel members. After the Q&A, people came over to follow up with me about my idea. A couple of them were from CHINA! We did a short interview and I may be seen IN China before I see China! I was able to share the concept of Our Heart Gardens, and the good news that I move into our first location next month. 

I came to Rotterdam at the invitation of The Meesteren Foundation. They welcomed me and encourage and support me and my ideas – I love that I get to do what I am doing. I am only one of the people whose lives they have affected and the Mayor and City of Rotterdam have noticed – they received the Hart of Rotterdam award last week. Meesteren’s goal is to prototype the sharing economy and show how it is a viable and desirable alternative to business as usual. I have wondered how I was going to get a location and a city that was open to the dramatically different methods of dealing with so many of the problems common to large cities. 

Rotterdam has a wonderful mayor; his office includes a woman with the mandate of developing a “We-Society”. They signed The Charter for Compassion on May 20 and have plans for competing in the Compassion Games. With the first Our Heart Gardens as another way to support them, the citizens of Rotterdam have some major innovation coming their way! 

Sitting here in this cozy apartment at the top of one of the tall residential buildings here in Paris, I am reflecting on the love that has sustained and facilitated the progress of this dream of each of us helping to support each other together. This is Spirit in Action in my life – it’s exciting and what I came here for (this life, I mean!) I had no idea I was to be any more than a witness to what happened for Noomap while they’re here. I just wanted to avoid being alone by being with people I care about – often the best criteria for making a choice.

Women’s Circle

Driving into a fiery sunset showcasing a big sky, underlined lightly by the rural Holland countryside; a friend’s intelligent, thoughtful, heartful conversation; a fire in the centre of a circle of amazing women… A story was brought; a question was asked.

We listened, and we shared our own stories. Personal stories told in circle are not shared outside the circle without permission; what others are moved to share, I look forward to reading. We talked about life today and men and society; we talked about curses and beheading and forgiving. I put into the circle, into the fire, the murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada; I talked about how lucky I am to know the gentle-men I do. We heard about the culture of Mongolia where houses are built with two central columns representing Mother and Father. Children are taught that neither is to be leaned on and that they support the house together. Another story was offered of women who lived long ago in a culture very different from any of ours, diverse as we were. The Amazons were a tribe of warrior women; women who kept men as servants or studs, and killed surplus boy babies. Some of them were so passionate about archery that they removed their right breast to allow better bow-handling. They lived in a place so powerful that, to this day, men cannot endure being there; a place where water flows through round pools named for the 9 different kinds of love – love of mother, of child, of man, etc… It was appreciated that there were 9 of us.

We talked about synchronicity and magic, about power and guidance. We talked about the thousand fires that were lit on a plain in Mongolia in December 2012 that moved a comet from impact trajectory and saved the planet.

Beautiful drums were handed out, different from any I’ve ever seen. Mention was made of neighbours so we struck a soft beat – mouth harp, soulful singing and spirit orbs filled the circle of women’s faces lit by the soft light of the dancing fire… long, how long…? The call of an owl signaled our work was done!  Laughter… I love laughter!

After such a full day, it was hard to turn away from the fire to face the drive home 2 hours across Holland, but needs must… good music (and trying to connect with the keeper of the keys to the door behind which my borrowed bed lay) kept me awake.

My deep thanks to Karin Lindeman of The Hague, of Four Worlds Europe and my friend, and the other women of the circle, all of whom I shared circle with at Castle Millemont just outside Paris after COP21 back in December, 2015. It was amazing then; and again last night… and will be again…

Breaking the Blogging Silence

May 5, 2016

United Earth is exciting and it’s what’s happening for me and it’s taking too long to write individual responses to emails so I have to break the blogging silence! Also, I want to keep track of what happens with United Earth and Noomap and Meesteren and traveling and immigration and my problems with data storage–you’re probably not interested in that, unless of  course you are, and then you can email me–but no promises (see above re emails)!

United Earth

(My) Vision:  A free and healthy world that is intelligently and dynamically networked

(My) Intention:

  • to make the invisible (Movement of movements) visible and show it to itself through free news and educational shows and events.
  • Become aware of and blend the gifts with which we’ve each been blessed, to create both a physical location and an online presence that encourages people to learn about alternative options to the status quo.

That’s what I’ve been thinking about. Now I’d like to share a bit of what else I’ve been thinking of – I’m lounging on the deck of the apartment that Nico shares with his two roommates (see the picture) in beautiful downtown Dortmund Germany. It’s a lovely quiet* sunny day and I have good company – all my needs met, and a lot of my desires. It’s hard to become motivated to make plans that will change it. And yet I must…

* quiet… very. There is no traffic. I am astounded; a car or motorcycle comes by sometimes but I hardly hear it, here in the middle of a grouping of medium-tall old buildings that feel like they’ve been here forever. This is in the old part of the city, where almost all streets are walking only, behind where the walls used to be rhere are a huge number of stores and restaurants and although I hear people vaguely having a raucous good time outside, it’s still pretty quiet in here. There’s a street celebration going on because of Father’s Day I think – I had my fun last night.

Jillian Hovey, permaculture pioneer, wise-woman and circle worker, is coming to Rotterdam on Monday. Nico and I will drive 3+ hours in the morning to be there. Jillian will be coming to work with Synergy Hub* participants – she’s going to make Antonius her home-base for awhile. Antonius is ours from June 1; we have to prove our concept (prototype Synergy Hub interwoven into the community) in the first 6 months to keep it. Jillian can give us 3 days for some deep delving and communication skills-building, then she must fly again.

*It is becoming abundantly clear to me that similar models are popping up all over the world. While we need to find each other and unify, it’s still hard to give up our own hard-won version – and we’ve each fought on our own for our own vision for a long time. Spirit manifests in us and through each of us differently. We just need to blend the edges a little. We, and our plans, were created from a plan but we’re not given a map. Noomap is, I think, the map of the larger us. Perhaps when we see just how many of us have similar intentions, it will be easier to step into the future.

Nico already has a community here in Dortmund – on Saturday we will be having a Kamin Philosophen (Fireside Philosophers) BBQ to introduce me and United Earth. Late last year the group stated their desire to live together in a sustainable, etc. way, totally in alignment with Synergy Hub, and Nico found UE right after that,  like an answer to their prayer. I’m interested in co-creation of Antonius – it would be good practice for when they set up their own fractal of Synergy Hub, and we could benefit from their participation. Apparently Nico brought me here with this in mind, though I didn’t really pay attention to his motives. He’s such an engaging fellow! He’s out on his motorcycle right now, to buy a new cellphone; a 45 minute ride each way so, better I just wait this one out (& an opportunity to write this!)

4 weeks until I have to leave (at the beginning of June) or get a residency permit. Anthony said he’s working on it so I’m not worrying (much). I have been thinking that I should ask my good friend Karin Lindemann (of Four Worlds International Institute (Europe) if she has a contact in South Dakota for the Gathring of Eagles because I could go to Eastern Canada for three weeks before dropping down into the States for that on June 28 (Karin has been such a wonderful friend on this trip, making me a part of the family and letting me use her bathtub. She’s generous and thoughtful and I look forward to our next circle.) but  if I don’t tell people I’m interested in coming, I won’t be able to do anything!

But I don’t really know yet  if I am… Yan is off in Portugal homeschooling his daughters while their mom goes out to work, so he’ll use Skype to join us in circle with Jillian. His email yesterday was pretty clear he’s feeling disconnected. I feel like I want to go down to Portugal so we can work together for a change – I’ll make that decision next week after I’ve had a chance to talk and work with Jillian and everyone.

And then there’s Noomap – they are a very interesting group working on an overarching computer network like what I envisioned for Our Heart Gardens. Noomap is a new technology that maps things in order to connect individuals and groups with interests, intentions, skills and resources and/or needs that scream out “Synergize me!” I’ve been very impressed with Chris Larcombe’s recent presentation of Noomap and look forward to more. It’s a fractal world and I’m glad to be a part of it!

Nico, my host, is now part of Noomap, and of United Earth, and had some difficulty with deciding how to divide his energies for the greatest good. He spent his time trying to find a place for the Noomap team to spend the next 3 weeks because they have jobs to do, that they need to concentrate together on, and don’t have a place. They have said they’d like to have me join them, and I would love to. We wanted to be close to Yan in Portugal but the places cost double our budget – now it must be figured out but the question is – where? We are hoping for an invitation to manifest… we have visions of a caravan and canopies and draperies gently flapping in the breeze.

IMG_0342.JPGThis is Nico and Vera and Gregor. What lovely people, thoughtful and fun!

I could be all wound up with my energy going in 7 different directions but I’m putting it aside for the main part, and having a very good time. I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? (though I could use some focus!) After dinner and drinks at an open air pub last night, Nico and I went dancing. I was a bit of a sensation (I don’t know what they see, looking at me, judging by the reactions I got)(all positive!) I didn’t feel (too) awkward being bowed to, with full flourish – the young man should have had a big hat with a feather! And I’m happy to say that I have once again survived dancing in a mosh-pit!

Life is so much fun!

Following the Signs

Taking with me the lessons of the past, setting my nose to the trail of guidance from Above, I have landed here in The Hague, in the Netherlands, Europe. What a whirl it has been!

It all started when… oh my, I guess it was before that! OK…

Last year I flew across the Atlantic for the first time – because of working online with United Earth on their website and the COM21 Conference of Movements, they invited me to come to Rotterdam to co-host the conference. More than that, they asked me to meet them in Paris to interview some of the people who had come to be a part of COP21, people involved in the Movements that we wanted to invite to COM21 in Rotterdam after the Paris event was over. I’ve spoken about my experiences there in a previous post. I want to talk now about what happened after I got home to Kamloops with an invitation to return to Rotterdam…

Choices – how do YOU make them? Do you make lists of pros and cons? Do you think about what it will be like to live in your new choice? to leave behind the familiar and strike out anew? How will you get around, where will you live – how will you survive, let alone thrive?

I did… I did all of that. And then I threw my hands in the air and said, “You need to tell me; I can’t make this decision alone!” I surrendered to Spirit, knowing that any decision that I make alone would never be as good as one made with the support of that part of me that is more than me. And it wasn’t long before I got my answer!

My mind was churning as I was leaving an evening with “The Ladies” (Mom and a couple of our lady-friends) – the evening’s conversation whirled around their wishes to have me stay or, if I went, what would it take; what would it mean? Should I stay or should I go?

As I emerged from Mom’s building into the brightly lit parking lot, there was a soft snow falling. I was startled by the beauty: the fresh blanket of pure white snow brilliant under the lights, the falling sparkles bright against the black night sky. Walking out of the shadow of the building I was embraced by the light of the full moon and was reminded of a night long ago. I’ve written about it, a time when I was about 15 when my heart flew to the Moon and I made a promise that I would answer Her call when it came. I was reminded of that promise and I realized – this was it – the time had come… To be the person I believed I was, I had to answer the call.

Sitting here in the sunny living room of a Dutch family with a borrowed laptop is a testament to the validity of that decision. All the things that have happened have been less stressful because of knowing: although I walk alone, I am not alone. If there was only one thing that I could get across to people, it would be: there is no separation; it only feels like we’re alone! My adventures have been so very exciting, and more than I would have dared because I know this, and I hope you find the courage to trust that there will be signs to follow, if you just ask and watch for the answers.

What happened between the decision and here? I packed up all my cares and woes, singing low… No, no, no!  I had a great time being loved by my friends and family and then packed up what I wanted and loaned or gave the rest away to friends and family, gave up my apartment and moved in with Mom for a couple of days. Then we went on a cruise!!

In my mind the classic “family” thing to do has always been to go on a cruise. I never dreamed I’d really go because it’s expensive and my mom and I were not friendly for a long time and my brother has his own family and my dad’s passed on. But when I retired they gave me a retirement bonus, my mom and I reconnected and the opportunity presented itself. My brother still wasn’t interested (and Dad can drop in anytime he wishes!) so Mom and I and a couple of other women signed up. When I made the decision to go to Rotterdam, it was just days after the final date for cancellation of the cruise so, gee, I had to go or forfeit the deposit. While it would have been comforting to have the money for this trip, it seemed I was supposed to do both! Being here now, I’m very glad I went – I know that for Mom the time & trip were everything she has dreamed of since she traveled with her mom, and for me, I now have wonderful memories of traveling with my mom… full circle to the next generation. I guess that’s a spiral, isn’t it?!

Three days after we landed from the Panama cruise I took off for Rotterdam, via Calgary and London. Through Mom’s needs, I had learned on the Panama trip about dealing with physical limitations and the benefits of using airport wheelchairs. With my sore feet, and being directionally challenged, I’d never have made my connections. Because of their help, I  never felt lost and always was well cared for. There is an element of powerlessness that I had to fight down once in awhile but knowing that their purpose was to help me made me willing to be patient and allow it all to unfold. I also learned that I need to pay more attention what airlines I’m booked on, and to the different rules of different airlines – the local airline between London and Rotterdam allows only a modest amount of fluids (anything spreadable!) I had to allow much of my creams, lotions, shampoo, etc., to be thrown out because I couldn’t take it with me. Lesson learned (take a different airline!)

In Rotterdam I was not met as expected and I had cancelled my phone before we went cruising. I did, however, have the free wifi of airports everywhere (that I have been) so I messaged my friends. Waiting gave me time to catch up on emails, rest my weary self, and before very long I was whisked away to the old university where some of us gathered until the scattering that landed me in this Dutch haven. Because of this dispersal-adventure that seemed so disruptive and possibly tragic, I’ve seen more of Holland than those whom I’m joining tomorrow (they’ve been here weeks longer than me) and I am very glad to have had the experience. I have walked a dyke between lakes so large that a windmill on the far shore was barely a finger-width high. I circled with powerful beautiful women in a house with glass walls. I have walked up and down steps so steep they would be called a ladder back where I come from! walked a beach so big I can’t think how to describe it! spent time with a family with different customs and speech but the same body language and vocal inflection that I’ve been used to all my life; slept in an attic, and with revolutionaries, and reveled in the genius of singular minds meeting, and tomorrow night I will sleep in the basement of a bakery. I am homeless – and thrilled with it!

It helps, I’m sure, knowing that I have resources and people who could rescue me, and for that I am eternally grateful. Without that safety net I could never have made the decisions I’ve made – and I believe it is important I do what I’m doing. What I do empowers others; and what we do empowers even more people. It is empowered people who will make the difference as we go forward.

Going forward there shall be peace – I received the promise (and wrote about it). If we keep doing our best we will achieve it, though not by our planning and efforts alone. There are too many variables for any human to arrange such a huge thing, but it cannot be done without our choosing it. Our lives are the warp and the weft of the fabric of time within which we live – all of us together – and the more we act together, the stronger the fabric is. To this time, we have not had a way to see what has been done by a few for the love of power/money. With the internet, not only do we see more, we are able to come together to counter the actions of those who work only for themselves or their groups.

United Earth is working with people developing a new internet technology that cannot be controlled by those in power. We are reaching out to grassroots leaders talking about alternative ways of operating in this world. We’re going to be starting a network of grassroots media so we can know what’s REALLY going on out there! We have been spoonfed “news” that suited the “suits” and have had no idea of what is really real! Since before the ’60s we’ve been talking about being sheep since but haven’t had the power to do anything about it – now we do! And we’re doing it, as best and as fast as we can.

It was being in the middle of a conversation, what Barbara Marx Hubbard calls “supra-sexual” engagement, that ignited my passion and led me here. She describes it to be what comes after procreation – it is co-creation! Meant for more than two, it gives us something new, different and exciting for this time when humanity is larger than our Earth can support. It is what I long for; what I moved for; what I want always around me – we are co-creating Synergy Hub 1, a living example of the sharing economy where people do what they are inspired to, and little else! It’s amazing what people are inspired to do…

It is imagined that, like a tree seeks balance by growing symetrically, humanity will create balance within the entirety of itself by each of us making our choices based on our own inner guidance.

 

Islands of the Son

The Victrola stood at the top of the driveway looking very forgotten – but it wasn’t, and new adventures were just around the corner… The purpose for which it was created had been thoroughly enjoyed long ago, but it had been shuffled from place to place for years, and had waited powerless for something exciting to happen again. Used as a table to display pretty sparkly things, resurrecting its original intended purpose would have taken a lot of effort: things removed, mechanisms learned, records to be found, and the time to enjoy those ancient sounds to be carved from the prevailing reality.

The week before I got a call from my brother, who owned the driveway, the house and the Victrola – and he told me the house had been put up for sale and they were moving to the lake. There would be no room for the beautiful old piece of furniture that our grandfather had ordered and shipped from Great Britain so long ago – he and his wife had some money to either buy more land next to their very large farm in mid-Alberta, or something else. Going with his heart, he decided on something else… the Victrola was shipped across the ocean, down or around the Great Lakes and across the prairies, picked up at the train station, probably by horse-drawn cart, and installed in their family home where generations of the entire community enjoyed the beautiful strains of music captured by the technicians of the day. When he died, the music was put away. His widow lived on without his music, without him. She lived a long time and when she died, she passed the Victrola on to my brother.

Like me, my brother is not a very musical person. When he received it, he was pleased and honoured, but it didn’t get any use. It remained a beautiful piece of furniture that displayed other beautiful things… until this change. It had become a burden and was at risk of being dumped! He offered it to me but I didn’t have room. I couldn’t take the Victrola – but by a stroke of inspiration I found someone who could, and the tale will unfold for you as we go forward…

A little bit of philosophy: while it held all those beautiful things, along with the keys and purses and daily debris of life, I wonder if perhaps the Victrola forgot what its original purpose was. Did it remember the music it brought to life, and the joyous gatherings, the special private moments between dancers? Community was created within reach of its waves of sound, an island of music where people set aside their worries and, instead, allowed their hearts to lead them in a dance inspired. Did the Victrola know of the changes to come? Did it feel anxiety because of the plans that would spell the end of the place it stood? Did it feel helpless? Did it feel…  

Does it feel? I’ve read that some people believe that ‘inanimate’ objects do feel, and have an awareness. I’m not sure how that could be but it is an intriguing notion – and it could be True. We certainly don’t know everything – we’re finding out every day just how wrong we can be! I’m using the capitalized version of “True” vs. the lowercase “true” to differentiate something bigger than what could be simply a belief: one person’s truth is not necessarily the same as another’s! Each of us, I believe, have a piece of the Truth living within us. When we share what we believe, we can test how true it is. If it rings True to others, by sharing we allow our piece of Truth to merge and become part of the bigger Truth. If it doesn’t ring True to them, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong, necessarily. Perhaps they didn’t hear the ring of Truth. Maybe they weren’t ready to hear it, unable to catch the tune; perhaps the beat wasn’t solid or the melody unsteady, the timing off. It may just need work. Being inspired helps…

The Story Continues – I digress:

While volunteering at the community kitchen, I came to know the chef. I spent an evening at her house getting to know her, joined her and her friends for a Norwex party and some crafting evenings. She is a wonderful woman with a very generous nature. When I needed a screen to provide privacy at a Fall Fair, she dove into her shed and produced exactly what I needed – I’ve always wanted one just like it! I was a good borrower and returned it promptly afterward, and when I needed it again, she said, “Why don’t you keep it? It’s just taking up storage space here!”

When I was offered the Victrola, it didn’t take long to come up with the idea of passing it on to her. She lives in a family home: her daughter’s family lives upstairs and she lives downstairs with her husband. She was also the obvious recipient because of the other item my brother had offered me – an electric grain mill from the same era as the Victrola. She had asked us a couple months back to keep an eye out for one!

Another bit of philosophy – synchronicity! When things happen that are just too perfect, pay attention. They help you notice that Spirit is present; living in and through your life, and the lives of those around you. I find that very encouraging. Knowing that things are being affected, arranged and presented for our attention and benefit has astounding extension into the reality that we share. This is a Truth that more and more of us are becoming aware of. While it is not yet “common knowledge”, this is the process we are in right now: the realization of Spirit and Purpose and Sharing – the Awakening.

Some of the concepts that I’m pulling in here may be a little “New Age” for you, and I respect that. Each one of us has our own idea of what Truth is – unless we have accepted the dogma of a religion. Pervading religion was a step in humanity’s development, I believe, that allowed us to maintain a commonality of intention that was really important while we were increasing in number. But while people blindly followed the rules, religions were amassing fortunes, taking over and exploiting the Earth, our only home! Long before the 60s, individuals started thinking for themselves, and they spoke to others. Now, most of us are aware that, just like the Victrola, we need a secure, healthy and loving home.

The Story Continues:

I didn’t hear from the chef for awhile. I saw her announcements in my Inbox but I was busy so couldn’t join them at the kitchen. I wondered and hoped, (almost) confident that someday I would hear about the Victrola – and one night I heard from her. I had emailed her with a picture of a desk that was taking up too much space and, when she said she could give it a good home and mentioned an extra night in the kitchen, I suggested she pick up the desk and me on the way to the kitchen. She brought her 2 grandsons (3 and 5); we loaded the desk and were off – it was a great evening of teamwork and good community. I brought home 8 cans of salsa and stewed tomatoes and relish for only $5! I cannot emphasize enough the joys and benefits of our community kitchen and the church that provides the facility for it! (Yes, there are good things that churches do, but dictating the thoughts and behaviours of people is not one of them!)

On the ride home I heard the story of the Victrola – not having been in touch allowed it to be told like a good story, from the tragedy to the happy ending! She got the Victrola home and set it up; chose a record and picked up the arm to set the needle on the record – and it fell apart in her hand! She was devastated! But she didn’t just throw up her hands and decide to use it as a display cabinet: she started searching the internet for how to fix it.

After weeks of fruitless research, on the second-last day of a trip across the continent for a different purpose, she learned of a man who could help her – and he was just an hour and a half train ride north of where she was, instead of across the country! She and her husband took that trip and found the one man in all the world (it seemed) who knows how to fix it, and has the workshop with the replacement parts. She told me that even her husband was happy with the trip – meeting the man with the fabulous workshop was as much a treat for him as it was for her! It worried both of them that the man, Don Woodward, has no one to pass the workshop on to when he passes on – he has clients all over the world! He is 73 and last year he had a brush with mortality. When asked what would happen when he died, Don replied that his kids would probably just throw it all in the dump.

Before the final bit of the story, one last bit of philosophy and the purpose of Islands of the Son – it may get a little strange here and I urge you to consider the bits, as well as the whole. Problems with religions are primarily that the leaders weren’t able to share their Truths widely; their followers skewed them in their favour; and those speaking their Truth died before the texts were written. History is written by the victors and the Truths told did not support the victors’ visions of success. Basic Truths still remain, though, buried in the foundations of the great religions.

I offer here some of my truths, bits that have come to me through religions and philosophies, prophecies I’ve heard, dreams I’ve had and what has come to me through meditations and life experience. What we do, going forward, will be what We WILL it to be–the majority of us–and the rest will be carried along, as they have been carried along, all along. No one HAS to be a part of the Awakening – it’s going to happen anyway – it IS happening anyway. What we become will be the result of thinkers sharing, and action-takers doing what feels right and Truthful to them. It’s already happening and it’s really exciting but there is still this majority of us that are still asleep. There’s talk of a tipping point…

The question is, what do We want to be made up of? Do We want Victrolas to be part of that? We are not only our bodies; we are also ethereal, something not of this reality/world. We are the things we make and do, the choices we make and the experiences we have. We are more than the people alive today on this planet – We are our ancestors and We are the ones that will come after. Time is a construct of humanity because we have had no way to conceptualize the idea of no-time. Spirit/God is no-time – eternal.

Have I lost you? I hope not because this is where it gets interesting… I’d like to use my words, if you don’t mind – it’s easier to say what I mean if I use my words. Instead of God, let’s use Spirit… living inside us, around us, through us – it is the Great Mystery and it includes All That Is: the Sun, the Moon, the Universe, the Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and life: plants, animals and… you get the picture. Each of those things is created from the same things – stardust and Spirit. Going back to the idea of the Victrola having an awareness of its risky position in reality; this begins to sound feasible, doesn’t it? If we are only stardust and Spirit, and so is the Victrola, who can say it has no awareness?

The fabric of our reality is built upon expansion by duplication – fractals, basically: patterns formed of patterns based on the patterns that formed them. Everywhere we turn we see evidence of new life born from existing life–male and female usually, although some plants and animals do it differently, and maybe that’s important too (clownfish can choose their gender!) And we learn by example. We smile and speak to our children to teach them to be happy and how to communicate. As adults we go to a new job and learn by seeing what others have done, or do. As people, looking at the evidence of what we see in our world, knowing that Spirit is pretty smart, and believing there is an underlying purpose to our existence, what are we supposed to learn from these examples?

Perhaps the life cycle of a God…an awakening of our Awareness… Remembering that we each have our own little bit of the Truth, and weaving those small bits together into a tapestry that holds together, one bit that has rung True for me is that a Child is to be ‘born’. I believe All That Is was created as a womb for the Child. That Child (Son, Daughter, or something Other) will be the Child of God – or is that Gods?  If we are the Child We are meant to be, Our mother is certainly Mother Earth and the sun would be Our Father, providing the energy for us to live. Comforting to have two parents, isn’t it?

As a reward for your perseverance and tenacity, and listening to what rings True to me, I’ll tell you what is happening in the “life” of the Victrola. It is now settled in its new home, has a new arm and new needles – did you know that each time a record is played, a new needle is used?! Now the Victrola is turned on almost every day, a new needle is applied to an old record and beautiful music is heard by a wonderful family, a small basic fractal of All That Is.

But Our story is not done – We are just awakening! In our existence as humans, cells within the body of the Child, we have been islands – of experience, emotions and knowledge; islands of Spirit–islands of the Son (/Daughter/?) It is time to build bridges between us because many of the most wonderful things in this world are being lost. If an apprentice for Don Woodrow, the Victrola Repairman, is not found; when we lose him, we lose a vital link to a wonderful segment of music history – of human endeavour and enjoyment. In this amazing world of today, we have an invention that is just as marvelous as the Victrola was in its day: the Internet. Through our connections we can find the perfect person to help him. Please share this with anyone who you think could be, or could help find, an apprentice for Mr. Woodrow, or with anyone you think might enjoy the story. Feel free to contact me or the Canadian Antique Phonograph Society.

My 1st European Experience – and COM21

First, impressions – Europe – Sinks with one tap, cobblestones or brick roads, buildings built right on the edge of the road, bicycles, beautiful old old buildings, spires and wrought iron balcony railings, traffic dashing hither and thither but few horns, expensive cabs and confusing Metro, (but that’s common everywhere!) open-to-the-street vegetable stands and fresh-baked flaky croissants. I wish I could have smelled them, they looked like they smelled marvelous!

It would have been nice to follow my mother’s advice, to contemplate all the adventures and long walks and write down my memories each evening, but sleep and work always awaited. On the long trip back across the ocean, the touchscreen set into the back of the seat in front of me, for my amusement, didn’t like my touch – it was more trouble than it was worth! Now, I am sitting on a plane with no wifi and the guy next to me is working. Time has been provided to me. Now I’m on the connecting flight to Montreal, having spoken for a little while to my favourite girl and going through customs and walking (one of the very long walks that seem to be a theme on this trip) to get to my gate just in time to be too late. They shuffled me over to the next gate and now I’m in the air again… I wonder if my touchscreen will like me any better this time… or I could just write. I also have lots of hours in Montreal in which I could write so, no worries; all will happen as it should.

Sometimes The Plan is very obscure – and tiring! Why am I feeling so much more tired now than when I landed in TO?

When I first landed in Paris I stopped at the Information Desk to ask how to get to my hotel. She flipped open a map to explain how to get there on Metro. I was confused after 3 transfers and, when she continued with two more, I asked her how much it would cost by cab. It was a really long distance and cost twice what she said but I might have made a different decision had I known! But it was perfect – later that day I got lost 5 times on my way to the Louvre on the Metro – 3 of them the same mistake repeated time after time! I am SO directionally challenged!

My first long distance on foot was across the courtyard of the Louvre. While walking I saw a platoon of young men in fatigues walking toward me holding machine guns across their bodies. Chilling, and disturbing to see such fresh faced young men, sons of mothers who worry. I then had to find the Mona Lisa and there are a lot of stairs involved, and a lot of naked artful bodies. When I got back to the hotel, there was Yan, working away while waiting for me. We went walking the streets (another long way) looking for a vegetarian restaurant – which we didn’t find and what we did find really wasn’t good, but we enjoyed each other’s company. Having known each other for a year and finally being in each other’s presence was a real kick!

Things weren’t very long distance the second day but I did stretch – my very first time doing interviews! The Climate Tribunal gave us a whole big room to set up in and Randy, the cameraman, was perfect! The original camera person decided not to come and so Robert, the third in our United Earth COM21 team, had to find someone else – exactly the person we needed: a professional with experience rather than a student doing a school project. Randy was so very nice and treated me so well, even gave me a little bit of gentle direction when I needed it. But I knew with my first interview that I was in the right place, doing the right thing – her name was Shannon too! What a perfectly lovely gift of encouragement from Spirit!

The third day we went to two more places for more interviews. In the first place (Place to B), we met Rolf Winters and his family – they made (lived!) the movie Down to Earth, about meeting, talking with and filming wisdom keepers and medicine people in tribes around the world.

Going to the Global Landscapes Forum, we learned the easiest way to get into a venue is to say you’re media – no entry fee and no line-ups! Without any advance notice we just sailed in, found a corner and set up! Then Leah Barclay found us – perfect! She was why we were there but we had no idea how to find her. Her Soundscapes were supposed to be part of the COM21 but we weren’t able to make it happen so she’s setting it up around Head Office in Rotterdam and we she’s to be part of the online festival in March (more about that later!) We got a lot of very good interviews over those two intense days and very little sightseeing although, apparently, I had to see the Eiffel Tower – when I turned down the opportunity to see it up close, I was told to “get out of the car!” and go see. I’m glad I did – it was worth every moment, and seeing all the things around it gave me some perspective. It is so much larger than I had ever thought. There are two big carrousels with beautiful horses and other things (lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!) all going around (I’ve always loved carrousels!)

Then we started driving – THIS was a VERY LONG distance! Our drive took us out into the countryside… Not much to see really, other than flat land and rock/brick walls right on the edge of the road. Lots of trees lining the roads too. I was told that Napoleon’s men couldn’t figure out where they were on the featureless flat grassy meadows. To help them orient themselves Napoleon had trees planted along the roads. It does give definition to the land but there were no wild places! I missed that.

We were on our way to a castle… and my first meeting with Chief Phil Lane Jr. – a man full of passion and purpose, doing all that he can to bring us all together. I had never met him personally, but had taken an online course, Indigenous Wisdom for Compassionate Living and Unified Action, that he had presented through The Shift Network. Over the year since, we had come into contact and I had introduced him to Yan and Robert of United Earth. Brother Phil had invited us to be present that evening and while we felt honoured to be invited we were not sure what was to take place. The castle, a chateau really, was very old and I loved the feeling of age. We gathered in a smaller building (~20’ high ceilings!) across from the main building, with lawn and trees between. Many many indigenous people from all over the world filled the room, some who had gathered there, like Uncle Phil, for the Wisdom Summit at which a number of Marine Sanctuaries around the world were declared. Uncle Phil presided over the proceedings of the evening. He was in his element; people looked to him, gathered around him, honoured him as he graciously and humbly greeted and smiled at everyone, making sure that all were comfortable and everything taken care of. He suggested I sit behind the altar that had been created on the floor and at one point my shoulder was tapped by a young person who whispered, “That place is reserved for special people. Maybe you should move away.” I thought about it and replied that Chief Phil Lane Jr. had invited me, and she quickly replied that of course I was in the right place and she was sorry. It was very nice to know that I had been placed there intentionally, to honour me. He was a wonderful host and there is no doubt in my mind that he is doing this work because he is called to do it. Over the days that followed when he was part of the COM21, he was not well but covered it well and gave everything we needed to our gathering.

The ceremony we witnessed was for a young woman whose whole family was killed right in front of her due to a “land dispute” with a mining company – her father would not sell his land. Uncle Phil asked her who she would like to help her and she chose two grandmothers from different cultures: one who anointed her with spring water, washing away her pain; and the other gently patted her long hair, shoulders and back with a feather. During the long and powerful song that followed, women placed their hands gently upon her back and shoulders, and others upon their backs and shoulders, creating a conduit through which to send their compassion, energy and strength to the young woman – it seemed to help her, and being a part of that conduit, that ceremony, was a truly powerful experience for me.

We were then fed royally and used another iteration of the extremely small sinks and very efficient toilets that always seemed to be available. I remember when I was small there always seemed to be difficulties in finding facilities – we even had to pay sometimes (oh, right, that happened in the Library in Amsterdam.)

We then drove onwards to Rotterdam. Our beds weren’t ready yet so we stayed at Robert’s house on the floor of the living room – another night sleeping beside that beautiful man. Damn I wished I were younger! I knew, however, that it was perfect the way it was because, had I been younger, we may have been distracted from our work.

Perfection was a repeating theme throughout my time in Europe. First in Paris; and after, it just continued being perfect. Though there could have been some disagreement about what perfect looks like, every time we thought about the challenges, we realized the perfection underlying it and the reasons why it wasn’t some other way.

The next morning, we drove into the cobblestone parking lot / courtyard of a huge empty building, walked up looong flights of stone stairs – into our very own office. It was a refuge and a home after so much time away from home. Immediately I picked my place, moved furniture and plants, and connected my iPad. The building is a school built in 1923 of stone and brick and our office is on the top floor in the middle. No view out the high big windows at the back and only the corridor out the front – though through a small window into the corridor you can see the windows on the other side of it that look out (if you stand on a chair!) over the courtyard / parking lot. The children from the school across the street play there during their breaks. There are 4 floors and all the stairs are stone. There’s a circular marble one that leads down from the auditorium to the conference room. Ooooo…. But that’s getting ahead of the story… Let’s go back to the office. One of the smaller rooms, it has no view but it has Internet and is next door to a toilet.

Yan and I slept the first night in the office, before anyone else got there. The dorms didn’t have any bedding yet and the rooms would have been cold and echoey. Besides, we had work to do and we worked like crazy people. It was so wonderful having him in the same room instead of across the ocean! He has a mission and he so wants to get back to doing what he loves – teaching permaculture, etc. He says the mission comes first for him – reminds me of the commitment shown by Uncle Phil!

Throughout the day Bret came with Chris and later, Nico arrived. All are beautiful young vibrant passionate men with skills and ability that impressed me greatly. They were amazing… I listened to Chris and Bret talking Noomap and computers and I was blown away – I’ve dreamed of this! I’ve felt a deep longing for it. And they love me. I feel like we were parted at birth and have finally found each other – who’s to say it’s not true? I got to speak to Andrea, Bret’s wife, and she and I immediately felt connected. I’ve felt that with Sheri too – she’s the fourth of the Noomap team and has curly hair I have been fascinated by all my life! Anyway, I’m getting off the subject…

Lisa joined us and worked with us, getting together the Children’s altar and being so very helpful and bright. Next day Annette joined us and we then had 3 in our dorm. Karin joined us for a couple of nights and then a young woman from Amsterdam, Aansan.

We just worked like mad until time for the conference and we dealt with all the challenges and made it look easy. Skype was an impossible challenge and I hope to have canned material next time, to fill in should the connections go awry. We lost a lot of time with that, but for the most part, I think that the participants felt engaged throughout, with just enough downtime to make it enjoyable. Yes, there was too much on the agenda but it allowed us to drop things and concentrate on the things that were important. It was important to keep on top of things and I kept losing things (business cards, programs, etc.) but maintained, I think, an air of elegance. I’d like to think so – had one young man come up and ask me “how do you do that?” referring, I gathered, to my hosting/speaking. After telling him it was partly a gift, I told him about Toastmasters. I think he will be starting a club in his University!

Talking about the conference here, without anything to refer to is difficult but I can recall the high points – moving the chairs from lecture format to circle and welcoming everyone; telling them the plans for the afternoon/evening, supper and writing things to be burned, supper of Chinese food (because when you’re living in a sharing economy, sometimes someone else enjoys the bounty before you!) going outside to burn notes containing things of today’s world that will be fodder for the future, food for the Unity Tree of Peace we planted the next morning with Uncle Phil,  the children from the school across the street and city officials. Nicholas dug the hole and in the morning when we came out, the ashes from the fire had already been put in – there weren’t many because it was blowing so hard the night before it almost blew the fire out! Instead it made the fire very hot and the only reason we had any ashes at all was because Annette found cement paving stones at the side of the garden and brought one, and others followed suit, and we sheltered the flames and the ashes so some were left for the tree! Makes me think of the way of the world, we are living so fast we are burning everything and leaving little behind. It was a lovely ceremony. Uncle Phil wore his headdress and did a ceremony and song – one I knew! Wy-on-ki-ay… And then we went in to start the work of the conference.

First we heard from Yan and Robert about UE and then Chris and Bret talked about Noomap and then Uncle Phil had to leave. We had some small breakout groups to talk about Next Actions and we women all got together to talk about a 24 hour free online festival to bring attention to UE and the need for Global Unification and collaboration. Rajesh from Share the World’s Resources came to add his expertise and experience to the hot fire of inspiration burning in Aansan and Annette, Lisa, Miriam and me. At one point I went to talk to the small group that were talking about networking and came asking questions just when they needed to be refocused on their purpose… how could I know? But everything, magically guided, was perfect!

The third day we gathered in circle, as we had the previous two days, then did more talking, managed some Skype interviews and failed on others, decided on our course of action for the short term and then got together in circle again to reflect on the things that happened for us throughout the conference. I said something like: “Coming into this room was like coming out of the whitewater into a wide deep river, with lots of stuff going on under the water – I was a scuba diver trying to navigate gates that kept changing!” I could have said many things, like I’ve written here, but I was so full of excitement with the finish line being in sight, that I lost all power of rational thought. It had been such a blast of not knowing, dealing and adjusting; it was exciting and inspiring and so in-the-moment decide NOW. I loved the experience but was disappointed that I wasn’t able to remember and focus – I just did the best I could, knowing that the agenda was loose and we were creating parts on the fly. I know that I threw a few curves at my co-hosts but they were gracious and worked with what I gave them. It all seemed to work, and I cannot fault myself that it wasn’t perfect – because it was, even though it was a different perfect from the perfect I had in mind!

After our conference many of our participants melted away. We went for supper and waited for the Zeitgeist conference to start. The most amazing part of the whole time in Rotterdam may have been what happened at the Zeitgeist conference, the influence we had on it. It was the first conference of the European Chapter and their leader gave a presentation (his first, we were later told) that suggested a leaflet in mailboxes campaign. The audience were very polite. They even applauded, but they seemed depressed – the very air seemed dark and dangerous. We ladies slipped out the back. Shortly after, the leader decided to take a bathroom break in the middle of his presentation and then someone stood up and said he wanted to talk about collaborating with other movements. At that, Anthony stood up and told them that next day we would be presenting UE and a new computer program that would assist them in creating the Resource Based Economy they desired. Their appetites were whetted and they were primed for the next day!

While Yan and Robert, Chris and Bret worked on their presentations, Lisa, Annette and I were taken out for some sightseeing by Astrid, one of Anthony’s volunteers. I was very pleased to visit the indoor market that I’d seen on the Internet a few months back. It’s now famous and it is entirely justified. Apartments line the walls and overlook the market under the huge arch, like an aircraft hangar but bigger, with the inside painted like a huge garden. Even the windows are painted green! We felt smaller than ants in a green and abundant garden. The goods in the stalls were top quality and so very varied: vegetables and fruit, chocolate, cheese, balloons and flowers, ceramics and bags – bags were inside and then when we went outside there were more bags. How can the vendors make enough money when they have such similar products? I wondered.

We then went to visit another building owned by the Meesteren Foundation, that Anthony is a part of, like our head office, and I met Abe who printed our programs, posters, flyers and business cards. I took a photo of some of our work lying on the machines! He did such beautiful work!

We got back in time for me to take part in a Speaking Workshop. It was nice to be part of a small circle, especially when I have experience to offer.

Later that evening, Chris and Bret presented Noomap and then Yan and Robert presented UE. We had debated, then decided to present Noomap first because it would appeal to the youthful members of Zeitgeist. We were right – and then Yan recited the first half of his poem – they sucked it all up! They were so hungry! And it was exactly the sustenance they wanted!

A great collaboration was formed – the European chapter of Zeitgeist has joined with United Earth and an invitation to a further Zeitgeist conference in Greece has been received. Noomap will definitely be going. I don’t know who else… But they are with United Earth so we will all be there, at least in Spirit!

The conferences were over. Uncertainty set in once again – where do I go and when? I spoke to Aansan and she invited me to stay with her in Amsterdam until I could stay with Yan and his Mom. Turned out I never made it there – instead I stayed with Aansan and we went walking the canals  and streets, and visited some shops, and we worked and thought about going to a Buddhist night but worked instead. I stayed with her for 4 days in her 2 little attic rooms without once getting cross or bumping up against each other! Such a nice young woman, and she lives in such an interesting building. It’s very old – it was, I think, a family home but it has so many levels all connected by steep stairs, the first one straight up; then two spiral staircases that I’ve always wanted to experience. Her building is one of a whole block of 4-5 story homes with stores at ground level – that is the dominant building style I found in Europe. I’d wondered what the inside of those buildings looked like!

Aansan didn’t even bat an eye when we showed up a day early – just introduced us to a couple of her roommates, (all of whom share the kitchen) and went up to straighten up. She hardly took long enough for us to tell them about UE but we did our best and it was good enough to interest them both in becoming part of what is growing. Roos and Stopphil are an artist and a permaculture/business consultant (not sure about that but that’s what it sounded like!) Roos had just finished an opening, showing her geometric artwork and it had been a great success. Stopphil is looking for work and was very interested in the possibility of creating a garden at Head Office in Rotterdam.

When I asked Yan about his plans (he is also into permaculture) he talked about the work he wants to do in Amsterdam, as well as channeling the stuff that is coming through him – he deeply desires someone that can support him in his inspirations as there’s too much coming through for him to catch it all. He feels we all need to have personal assistants. He talked to Aansan about it, suggesting she might know someone that might be able to do it and she said she’d think about it.

The next day, the day before I left, Yan and I got together – he and his mom came to get me and we went for lunch at a restaurant she had found during her last visit to the opera – The Magic Flute, live-streamed from the Met in an old theatre converted to a cinema. It is one of the old buildings created back when they embellished things so beautifully. I’m so glad that kind of decor still exists. After lunch she went home and left Yan and I to walk the canals and streets on our own. We found a “coffeehouse” and I experienced a pang of regret for my lack of a sense of smell – I would SO have loved to experience the smell of legal pot! But there was no room for us so we went for a walk and found a little doorway into a courtyard that had a church in it. While I appreciated the building, Yan built us a joint and we went for another walk, looking for just the right place to puff (looking at a head shop!) Trying to figure out how to use our time to greatest benefit, we went looking for an Internet cafe (because I had no juice in my phone and need wifi, and he had left his laptop at home) but when we finally found one, it cost too much. More brainstorming… finally, library! So we made our way there and found we needed to have a card to access the machines. Yan couldn’t get a card because no bank account so there we were… no electronics and no place to go!

We decided to talk. It had taken us a long time to get to what I think we were meant to do! I told him about the prophesies of Jake and the 2 stones. I told him about the book that Miriam and I have talked about publishing. These were things he needed to know about me. We’ve been so busy ‘doing’ that he hasn’t really been aware of me, just enjoyed the synergy – and every now we share, whatever the miles between us.

He also knows that I am directionally challenged – he has taken such good care of me! I miss that already! Aansan also went out of her way to make sure I went the right way… I cannot believe the disconnection with directions I exhibit. I’m so glad I have Kamloops figured out! If/when I go places, I’d so very much appreciate having someone to lead me along! And to gather the business cards and ideas that spring up like flowers all around me!  

And to make plane reservations so I don’t have to do things like what I had to do to get home! OMG, what a challenge that was. Missed flights because of trying to do what I couldn’t do and having to get bags and stow bags and hurry up and wait. During my visit to the library with Yan, I had misstepped on the stairs and twisted my ankle a bit (good thing I had his arm) and then there I am waiting for my flight from Montreal, after waiting 6 and a half hours and spending 3 of them standing in line-ups, sitting at Gate 4 till 10 minutes past boarding time but there was no one around and so I asked and found out I was supposed to be at Gate 50… and they were leaving NOW… ankle didn’t really bother me until after sitting on the plane and couldn’t stretch.

Finally home, I had a nice long bath to soothe my ankle and my tired self – and use up some of the daylight hours that they tell me I should stay awake for to avoid jetlag. Seems to have worked except that my head really wanted to get some work done… finish this up and get onto planning the festival, etc…. finally slowing down now that it’s 5 hours later, just 9:42 am. But I’m still cold so must crank up the heat and close all the drapes and shades and make a hot chocolate or something…

A trail of thought has crossed my path and needs to be investigated here… Mom asked me within the first 15 minutes when I’d be taking off again and I said I didn’t know. I told her about the opportunity I was casually offered, to move to Rotterdam and become one of the “home team”! I told her about the online Festival happening March 20 and that I feel I need to be there.  There are so many pieces that need to be considered! My beautiful comfortable home here across the street from her and next door to the shopping centre; the Panama Canal trip that she and I and a friend have booked for February/March; divesting myself of, or storing, all the stuff accumulated over the years including my Cool Car – a PT Cruiser I wrote about in my blog. We talked about the path I walk, the goals I have and how to achieve them. We talked about my strong belief/awareness that, as I step forward, a steppingstone forms beneath my foot and becomes solid as I place my weight upon it – and my feeling that now others’ stepping stones are being placed next to mine – and it is not a footpath anymore but a road, a highway that leads us all to the more beautiful world we know is possible.

Uncle Phil says: By walking the path we make it visible for others…

Bobbing On Down the River of Time

The most exciting things have been happening over the past year! It’s like a cork popped out of time! That’s why you haven’t heard from me for 5 months; the Red Garden was a great success, and since then it’s been a heady ride!  

I know I’ve mentioned some of this before, but it’s been an amazing flow from one thing to another – instead of being overwhelmed, I feel like I am that cork and I am being swept along into an exciting future with great things in store. Here’s a rough sequence of events (riding the rapids):

  • writing the Our Heart Gardens website; my first–I learned a lot and created a virtual space for what will soon become a physical reality;
  • the Indigenous Wisdom for Compassionate Living and Unified Action course through The Shift Network;
  • the Rising Women Leadership Jumpstart course, also through TSN;
  • the Community Innovation Lab here in Kamloops which gave me the opportunity to get to know some of the movers and shakers in my community;
  • the Kamloops Food Policy Council (I now attend monthly meetings);
  • planting the Red Garden (whew!) in June; highly successful, due in large part to the dedication of volunteers and the amount of hours put in after the planting was done; and
  • the Earth Dreaming Retreat–a dive into the esoteric, and a welcome respite.

From the two Shift Network courses came weekly calls that have both supported and challenged me: I have the best cheering section a woman could have and the Indigenous Wisdom calls led to an invitation to be a part of:

  • the Grandmothers’ and Supporting Women’s Council,
  • the Indigenous Peoples United Nations, and
  • United Earth, more of which I will speak below.

During the summer, I have had visitors:

  • a beautiful European writer/editor on her way around Turtle Island and
  • another beauty who came to visit B.C. from back East,

both of whom gave me reason to explore, go to places I haven’t been for awhile, and to show off the wonder of the environment that surrounds me.

 

Underlying it all have been the foundations of my reality: my home, my mother, bi-weekly Community Kitchen gatherings, and the weekly beading class I lead at Mom’s seniors community.

I’d been looking forward to resuming my world travels starting in February: my mother and our closest friend decided to take a cruise through the Panama Canal and they asked me to join them. But now, my travels start in December–

I have been asked by United Earth to co-host the COM21 (Conference of the Movements) in Rotterdam, Netherlands (from December 9th after lunch until the evening of the 11th). Before the conference, our team will meet in Paris to interview and invite people, such as those who are attending the many conferences in Paris (e.g. COP21), to attend COM21. The excitement that I feel to see Paris and Rotterdam is (almost) overshadowed by the excitement of the events that I will be a part of. Chief Phil Lane Jr., who presented the Indigenous Wisdom course, will be joining us in Rotterdam to help other change-agents, grassroots leaders, organisations, and movements from around the world to move beyond words and into coordinated, unified, and collaborative action towards a whole-systems transformation of human society.

This, this working towards positive transformation of society, is the work I came here to do–have been waiting all my life to do. And it is happening without my seeking it! The opportunity with COM21 arose from the things I’ve done, not from plans I made. But plans are fun to make, and the OHG website would never have been created if I hadn’t been imagining the future.

What I hadn’t imagined in my future was a collaboration with a web-wizard genius-type of great youth and beauty who loves the English language at least as much as I do. She is helping me to rework the website to make it easier for you to understand the scope of what Our Heart Gardens can do for the world. The updated website is not ready yet, but progress is being made!!

I am looking forward to launching the website because Our Heart Gardens is designed to provide a remedy for one of the leading causes of disability around the world: depression. Bestplants.com talks about a study that proves there’s something in soil that is a remedy for depression – it improves mood, health, and brain function.

Our Heart Gardens in Transit Stations could provide it easily to commuters–it just takes 15 minutes breathing the smell of rich fertile earth to get the benefits. Under-utilized malls and other large buildings can be converted into Our Heart Gardens–already linked by transit to their communities and other Our Heart Gardens, they will become important nodes of nourishment and activity, and give us places where we can develop a new culture. While in Europe to do the work I’ve been called to do, I’m going to talk to people who could introduce Our Heart Gardens in their cities, who could accept the offer of the gift I’ve been given.

I’m just bobbing along on the river of time, staying afloat with hope and a prayer!  I hope you’re well, and having as much fun as me… whee!!

 

My Mom is a Village Builder

Being unaware of the term, she wouldn’t call herself one, but being a ‘village builder’ is the underpinnings of who she is. A deep desire to have happy engaged people around her, she does everything possible to make it happen. Perhaps a little too enthusiastic at times, she always has everybody’s best interests at heart. I watch her now, in her seniors community, as she helps the less able and encourages the weary ones, arranges this and coordinates that. She provides the best example of a Village Builder that I could have.

A long list of inspirations has brought me, most recently, Our Heart Gardens and The Red Garden and the Provisional Grandmothers & Supporting Women’s Council of the Indigenous Peoples UN, and now Jon Young’s Village Builders. Shore Charnoe, of the PGM&SW Council, gave me two transcripts of the course he developed over the last 30+ years in which he teaches what Mom does instinctively. He believes it is a human imperative that enables us to be happy and successful, individually and collectively, and that by encouraging  connections with nature and each other, we encourage the desire for right action for the Earth, all our relations and the next seven generations. Shore thought I would resonate with his platform and she was right, but there was a problem.

The transcripts were difficult to read. There were many terms of speech that don’t come across well in print: like, you know, run-on sentences… I found it so difficult to concentrate that I decided to edit the text as I read it. I thought that, if I sent it to Shore, she could offer it to Jon and the worst that could happen was that he would be offended and not let me have any more transcripts. Instead, he was very pleased and wants me to continue because the course is being considered for a Masters program! Even better, it is something the PGM&SW Council can offer in exchange for providing the course to our members.

I really feel the movement of Spirit in my life and am glorying in it. Not that it’s easy – it isn’t! Trying to maintain my home, my body, my friends and my projects requires me to stay in the moment and be aware of all that is going on, and I do it best by staying connected, as Jon prescribes and Mom models.

Surprise! A new direction…

As pumped as I am about Our Heart Gardens, there is something that I must do first. The UN has requested that an Indigenous Peoples United Nations (IPUN) be formed – the men have asked that a Provisional Grandmothers Council be formed to guide them, consistent with traditional ways. I have accepted the invitation to be on the council. This is, I believe, the work I came here to do. And is there ever work to be done!

Coordination is the first thing and Shore Charnoe is just the woman for the job. Her abilities have astounded all of us as she herds this bunch of cats, urging us toward a blending of skills, experience, visions and ideas. I’m not going to introduce the rest because there are just so many – perhaps they will comment, say a little something to introduce themselves.

The work before us entails blending documents of desires and demands, hurts and hopes, into various new documents for signature by nations and individuals, with sovereignty being one of the goals. Another is to bring the 4 races together “like the fingers of one hand” so we go forward together, as has been prophesied for thousands of years. Other prophesies have come true, like the Reunion of the Condor and the Eagle (papers signed in April) that presages the coming of a New Spring after 500 years of Winter. As welcome as the warmer weather now is, it cannot be as welcome as the Spring of prophesy will be – actually, IS… Always turbulent, spring is the time for ice melting, earth moving, new growth, new hope. The Winter has seen great progress in technology and population – good resources to be re-formed into what we need to carry us forward into a great Summer when we all can be Sparkling With All.

Update:  IPUN and the Grandmother’s & Supporting Women’s Council has had a parting of ways. They each find their way forward as best they can and will walk separate paths until such time as relationships are repaired. Until then, and always, I am doing the best I can to follow the path before me. Chief Phil Lane Jr. says Indigenous Wisdom holds that “By walking the path you make it visible for others.” I say, “As I step forward the stepping stone forms, and it solidifies as I place my weight upon it – my path becomes visible by walking it.” Now I see that my stepping stones are being laid beside others’ stones and they are not stepping stones but paving stones and the path is becoming a road more traveled and a highway to heaven.

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