Friday, October 28, 2016

Thank you Donald Trump

I know,  I know... don't panic.

The toxic invasion of The Donald into the airwaves and psyche of millions has been terrifying and yet illuminating.

As a parent raising teenagers in this unfortunate and distressing era of US politics, as a human being and citizen, a defender of democracy and believer in personal responsibility,  the events south of the 49th parallel have sparked more than a few conversations we might not otherwise have had. 

We now banter the word "misogynist" around the dinner table like bosses. 

Jokes aside...... we have had some engaging and intense conversations about power and race and gender that have allowed us to be explicit about our values on those topics (again) and to have intellectual conversation about living our lives in ways that that mark them as starkly contrasted to the Trump Tribe.

We have engaged in good discussions on Christianity and abortion and fundamentalism and what Jesus really meant. We have wrestled together about how to make sense of it, how to walk in integrity.

We have discussed family loyalty and parenting and marriage.

Plagiarism and authenticity came up as did truth and lies.

We have discussed the democratic process, the challenges of two party systems, the issues with not voting because of a leader.

We have sent and laughed at the 50 billion memes of The Donald and shaken our heads in utter despair but that has led us to conversations about the power of social media and the bias of media and the power of celebrity.

And finally we are thankful for the cautionary tale The Donald offers regarding self tanning and hair products.

My US friends- we do not envy the fiasco your country is living through - but we hope like crazy y'all stay sane and pick the much lesser of the two evils.

So the Trumpkin....sort of. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Squeaky Shoes

I had a breakfast meeting today after a late Board meeting last night ( for those of you loyal enough to have been reading this blog for years you will know that  I am notorious for scheduling snafoos - like THIS one).

I found myself surprisingly early for the meeting and decided to use the 30 minutes to get some steps in.

I found the walking oval in our central city park quiet and dark and full of puddles but, as is ever the case, intrepid walkers and runners are always out there.

And so I grabbed the old pair of runners in my car and joined the track. (possibly without considering how I'd be arriving at my meeting with soaking wet pants from the knee down).

I guess as much as steps I was also craving just a few minutes of peace and quiet to steady myself ahead of another long day (the middle of 3 long days/evening - see aforementioned scheduling challenges).

I walked out my prayers and thoughts.

There were distractions aplenty.

Mr squeaky shoes up ahead - my first thought was "Great...just great"  but I decided to use his squeaky cadence to sync my own pace.

The construction site next door was starting up and soon the hammering and other building noises "Great...just great" until I decided to look at what was being built and then when I one day stand on those stairs, in the completed building, I can say I saw it being built.

The Tai Chi ladies who were surprisingly grunty today and whose slow movements almost mesmerized me to the point of slowing my own pace.

The ladies in the stands meditating on mats with their music playing on a portable radio - chants and bells.

The conversations of those walking behind me in other languages defying my over-hearing tendencies.

The regular rhythm of a lady running in jeggings and a sweater with a sparkly cat on it, breathing hard, making little puffs of air.

Fire trucks with sirens and light, the ever busying streets, as the sky lightened with every lap.

But I found that the peace and quiet I needed filled my lungs and heart and mind with every cool breath of air I took and the lesson was not lost on me.

Peace is what you are gifted in spite of your circumstances (and squeaky shoes)

Peace is a choice in spite of the surroundings (and squeaky shoes)

Peace can be practiced (even when there are squeaky shoes).

I walked into the dawn and the sky tinted pink behind grey clouds.

It was a good way to start this day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Relentless "Hello"


The world is a big and often scary place.  

And for some people like me the weight of that can feel crushing at times.  

I am a taker-on-er.  

I hear it and I see it and I allow my heart and mind to take it in.  Some things stick around in my head and heart too long, or with too much intensity.

I have trouble letting it go or dismissing it. 

Which is why I pray a lot in the long dark awake hours of the night.

But I find the best way to sort out my heart and mind is to DO something.

Finding the "right" thing to DO can be hard and paralyzing in itself.

Writing a cheque only goes so far for my heart.   I'm not looking to assuage guilt or silence the questions on my mind - I am looking to face them with authenticity and grace and energy.

I don't have all the answers - I am still working it out for myself....some things have worked and other have not .... I think the point is that I am still wrestling with my role, my personal response in the face of the suffering of others.

The one thing that surprisingly takes a lot of effort and also has some pretty great results is my relatively recent decision to relentlessly say "Hello" to every person I pass while out walking.

Seeing as walking is also often my internal processing time and I am often deep in my own thoughts - it is super easy to keep my head down, eyes averted and just keep walking.

But that keeps me separate and disconnected. 

So in spite of feeling a bit shy (yes me) and a bit odd at times, I now keep my head up and I look directly at those I walk by or pass and I say a cheery "Hello"....and keep walking.  

So many times people look surprised and then they greet me back by a smile, a nod, a wave and often their own "Hello" as we pass. 

I see that sometimes I startle them out of their own reverie and sometimes I meet searching eyes looking to connect. 

Very few people make no response.  I see some regulars starting to anticipate my "Hello" now.

And it doesn't matter who it is - a plugged in teenager, a old chinese man who lives on our block, other walkers, children on bikes, shoppers... I WILL say "Hello" to everyone.

"Hello" and a smile is a bridge - a universal connector and I always feel better when I finish my walk and know I saw my neighbours, my fellow humans
on this journey, and left them with a "Hello".  

An acknowledgment that they exist and are noticed.

Obviously I am not walking in Aleppo or Haiti or Uganda.... I am walking where I am right now where there is relative poverty, ageism, racism, rampant individualism.... hurting hearts are no respecter of geography, ethnicity, age. 

Loneliness is a universal experience.

And "Hello" is free.  It takes zero expertise.  

It surely does not solve any of the worlds big problems and far more may be required of me but insofar as change starts with me .... I choose to be relentless in saying "Hello" believing that it just may lead to more than that with someone, sometime.

So in case you missed it at the top.... "Hello!"

Saturday, October 1, 2016


My little island home - Richmond is home to a huge harvest!  One I have never actually seen midst harvest.

For a week or so I have had it on my mind to google when the harvest is and where to see it.

But life...

And today I had a long TO DO list.

First up was ordering the anti-biotic free happy happy turkey for Thanksgiving so I headed towards the farm store.  I wondered if I might spot a field being harvested, even wondered if I could afford the time to search for one on my way to the City. 

And the, just before the turkey farm, VOILA, cranberry harvest underway.

I was more than delighted and I spent quite a while watching the process and watching the farm kids play in the water and millions of cranberry's.  

I let our Community of Richmond FB know where to find this and was delighted that almost 100 people were interested and many caught the harvest themselves today.  

It was super cool to watch and I am so happy I finally saw it!

A Cranberry Bog before it is flooded
The field is flooded and the cranberries float up and are "captured" by booms

Workers in waders drag the berries toward the intake which washes them and puts them in the containers

Farm kids having some harvest fun


Here's the official story!

Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., a Grower-Owned cooperative officially kicked off the iconic cranberry harvest this week in British Columbia. Over the next six to eight weeks more than 80 farm families will harvest about one million barrels of cranberries, up slightly over last year's crop of about 990,000 barrels. A barrel is the standard measure for cranberries and is equal to 100lbs or 45Kg. Most of the province's cranberries go into Ocean Spray® products, which are sold in more than 100 countries.