Bobbing On Down the River of Time

by Shannon McArthur

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. 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!!