Friday, July 28, 2006

A Teacher Will Come

Many years ago, as I was fumbling my way through my chaotic life, I asked the Powers That Be a question. I will I ever learn what my life is all about? Why am I here? What can I do to change? When will it happen, and where?

I was told, in a dream, that my teacher would come. I waited; I stewed; I searched the eyes of each new person I met.

Much time passed. My daughter died, my marriage went on its chaotic way, it seemed, and still no teacher appeared. I studied the Tarot for inner understanding, and went a long way in my journey. Still no teacher. I studied the Wiccan way of life, and although a great deal of what I was taught resonated within me, something was still missing.

During this time, I met many people who took me in hand and taught me different ways, but eventually they drifted away. It seemed as soon as I took and assimilated the lessons and teachings these mentors gave me, I moved on to wanting more. Sometimes the teachers moved on because I was searching for more than they were able to give.

Some of the teachers I found are still in my life; others melted away. It seemed the more I learned, the more the learned found me. I spent many years after my marriage break up with a counselor who taught me to really see myself and who I was. I spent time with a Shamanistic practitioner who taught me the world outside the bottle, as I began to break the hold of alcoholism.

During this time, I had a friend who battled mental illness. She eventually took her own life; yet during the time she spent with me on the voyage we took together I learned an immeasurable amount. I learned compassion, I learned understanding...and then I learned how to deal with grief and mourning, when she decided to end her life.

I learned that death can bring guilt to the living. Her death was the precursor to the death of my daughter; I battled guilt for many years, wasting enormous amounts of energy as I tried to make everything all better for everybody else. But guilt was also a teacher; guilt made me look hard at myself and others. Guilt made me change.

At some point, I realized I was constantly surrounded by teachers. When I was told a teacher would come, my image was of one person, one enormously wise being who would take me in hand and teach me the proper way to live. I was wrong...there are teachers all around me, some for only a moment. Awareness was the key; I had to watch very carefully throughout the days for answers to my convoluted questions.

And then, a suggestion from another student of life...perhaps I should look into Shamanism? Many of my thoughts and ideas were Shamanistic in nature. I was hesitant; how on earth would I find a Shaman who could teach me what I perceived Shamanism was? I remembered my Shamanistic practitioner, who taught me so much about myself when I was drinking. She did not teach me Shamanism; she taught me to look at myself...her Shamanistic background was not a subject for conversation. She tended to hide it, only allowing those close to her to know the secrets she had learned.

I soon found out my ideas of what Shamanism is were clouded...I did not really know anything about it. The few books I had read on the subject confused me even more. It seemed the ones I read were fixated on drug/alcohol use to reach the Inner Worlds. Even though the thought of journeying to find the answers was fascinating to me, how would I do it when I no longer drank?

Surfing the 'net one day, I came across Shaman Elder Maggie Wahl's site. I sat reading it throughout the entire day, sometimes with tears coursing down my cheeks. I could not believe Shaman Maggie would teach me about Shamanism for only $135, with unlimited access to her knowledge. Was this lady for real?

It turned out she was. Shaman Maggie took me under her wing, as she did with all her students. The energy she has is not of this world; she receives much guidance and aid to do all the counselling and writing and contact with students that she is able to do in a day. Throughout her course, she never hesitated to tell me about better ways to live my life, ways that brought peace and joy to me. And she never hesitated to tell me when I was heading down a wrong road.

She truly is an inspiration. She is now in the process of building a Life Healing Community, with only her faith as guidance. She does not receive grants; she has little funds to build this place, she depends on donations... but she has the land, situated in Winona, Mo. Clearing the property for building has been largely done by Shaman Maggie herself, with a few volunteers who are able joining in. This is on top of her lessons and counselling and writing. I did not think there were that many hours in a day.

Maggie reminds me of the energizer bunny...she keeps going and going. She allows nothing to deter her from her mission. With that in mind, LHC will be built for the use of all...already students and people in need are flocking to her, even before any buildings are up. She just has the ability to draw beings in, for sustenance under her giant wings.

She has taught me a whole new way of life...of looking at it from a different perspective. And so have all the previous mentors and studies. When I was at a stage in life that required guidance, someone who could lead me further appeared. It's happened over and over.

I believe when I was ready to go on another parallel voyage (with many sidetrips...Shamanism is full of them) the teacher appeared...and that goes for all the paths I have taken in my life. Living is a series of steps to soon as you have mastered one, the next step is slightly easier. And sometimes, I had to stop to take a breath.

With my memory being the way it is...that dream I had way back when was perhaps telling me that some steps are harder to reach. That, during this time, many teachers will come.

I can count on it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Alternative Medicine and Specialists

Yesterday, I visited a Rheumatologist. He is one of three specialists I have had a visit with regarding The Pain. He tells me I have bursitis in both hips and in my shoulder, possibly as a result of accomodating the Sciatica in my left leg for such a long period of time. And he tells me I have osteoarthritis, no news to me. Osteoarthritis is a disease that has been passed on to me by my mother, who suffers very badly with it.

I have a diagnosis. But, you know, when I think back on the extreme pain I was in, not so long ago, bursitis is nothing compared to that. I refused a cortisone shot. I will wait a little longer before I allow that invasive medicine to enter my body.

As a result of having the cortisone refused, the doctor and I spoke about alternative medicines. I told him, when he asked what I did, that I was a writer. He asked what I wrote about. This question was a tough my experience, doctors are not receptive when I tell them what I do. But, in for a penny, in for a pound...I told him I wrote about Reiki, Shamanism and the belief system. Pretty much all in one quick, breathy sentence as I was anticipating the usual scoffing reply. I was girding my loins, so to speak, to defend my beliefs.

What a huge surprise I received! This doctor was so interested, having had some experience with the benefits of Reiki and the belief system. His questions were succinct as we shared stories...there was little time for much discussion, as his waiting room was full. But I left with the knowledge that this doctor felt I was well on my way to understanding what I had to do in order to combat The Pain. He left me to my own devices, with his blessing.

So I have looked up some herbal and natural remedies. Calcium and Magnesium are the first on the list. Calcium is needed for repair of connective tissue and magnesium balances calcium. It is also needed for proper muscular function. Vitamin A is required for tissue repair and immune function. Vitamin C reduces inflammation and helps the immune system. It is essential for the formation of collagen, a protein in the connective tissue. Vitamin E is an anti-inflammatory free-radical scavenger. I will take Grape Seed Extract, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Phew!

And then there's Celedrin, which I use as a massage cream, and in capsule form.It helps reduce pain and inflammation due to osteoarthritis. The capsule form doesn't sit in my tummy too well...I tend to run to the bathroom a great deal with it, so I only take one every three days or so...but the cream is amazing. It gives instant relief, to me and to everyone else I have recommended it to.

Something else I picked up the other day is Horsetail tea, which can be made into an infusion, if you let it steep for 7-12 minutes. Horsetail supplies silica, a form of trace mineral silicon, which is necessary for tissue repair and healing. I haven't tried it yet, so can't comment on the taste, but the package literally jumped out at me when I was shopping. Anything that desperate to get into my shopping cart, especially since I didn't know anything about Horsetail, might be just what my body needs.

There are also other recommendations in dealing with bursitis. There is the suggestion to go on a seven-day raw-food diet, followed by a three-day cleansing fast. I may wait awhile for that sounds drastic to me. And then it is suggested to eat no processed foods or any form of sugar. Ok, I already do most of that one...just a half a teaspoon of sugar in my coffee in the morning and no processed foods.

It is also recommended to abstain from activity and get plenty of rest. If there is physical activity, I am not too push myself too hard or too long. Oh oh.

And then they talk about honeybee venom. The venom contains a powerful anti-inflammatory and can provide rapid relief. I once watched a friend go on the hunt in his garden for honeybees. He was very happy when he was stung, claiming huge relief. Of course, you can also inject the venom with a needle. Seeing as how I know instantly within myself that I could not do this, I may try the Bee Venom Balm I see advertised, which is in cream form.

These are the tip of the iceberg in the nutrients and herbal supplements that are listed for bursitis and/or arthritis. There are many more.

I am relieved. This is not the dire diagnosis I feared. There are so many far more scary diseases out there that The Pain could have been related to. I will deal with this one in a pro-active manner, accepting the bad days and embracing the good.

It's really ok.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Summer Heat

We have experienced a heat wave on the east side of Vancouver Island, along with the rest of the province. It is unusual here because of the ocean breezes, which keeps us cooler on some of the hottest days.

But on Saturday, Ocean looked like a shimmering piece of blue glass...looking innocent, as if the wild winter storms could never happen. The beach was full of people seeking cool respite from the mind-boggling heat. There was not a breath of air, and the birds and insects, usually so prolific, were nowhere to be seen. Movement or exertion of any kind was avoided. It was still.

My study, where I work, faces South, and has a window with only a small opening, not that there was any Wind at all, anyway. But the room's placement makes it the hottest room in the house, with Sun streaming in all day long. It faces the garden, making it a peaceful, quiet room, and when we moved here, I thought it was an ideal study.

I soon found out that in the afternoons, the heat in this room is not conducive to writing...I just fall asleep. Almost immediately. Not much work can be done unless I do it early in the morning. So Gray and I decided to move the study to the other end of the house, which faces North. It is the coolest room in the house. It is the room with the Hidden Closet.

This room has strange energies. It is the oldest part of this old house. It has painted pine plank ceilings and walls. It is always cool. The room has a door that locks from the outside, strange in itself. But it faces North, and as far back as I can remember, I have always written facing North. North brings clarity of thought...a sharpness of mind I don't feel when facing other directions.

It used to be Scott's bedroom when he lived here, and now it is a guest bedroom. Bree is uncomfortable in this room, much preferring the South room, where I work, and which used to be the guest bedroom, also. The South study is a quiet, gentler room than the North bedroom...more open to relaxation and quiet times contemplating Rose, which climbs all over the window. Bird song is prolific here. It really is an ideal guest bedroom.

We picked up the paint for the walls early in the morning. I started to dismantle the North room, making it ready to be painted. The warmer the day got, the cooler this room felt. It was strange. And it came to me that I might be facing something bigger than me, in this room.

The North room has been cleared and smudged many times. Most especially when we discovered the Hidden Closet. The smoke from Sage and Sweetgrass billows strongly in this space. The Hidden Closet will no longer be boarded is going to be opened and used, giving the closet its purpose back. What will we find when we cut through the drywall?

Another strange thing here is that this is a house with only one walk-in closet. There are others...but they have all been dismantled or covered up in some manner. Gray and I wondered why anyone would not want closets, coming up with all sorts of reasons and ideas. I guess this is one of the weird things about this house that we will never find an answer for, and we just decided to accept it and put the closets back in order.

I was led to an odd colour, in my choice of paint. It is very like the gold of Tuscany, with a slight greenish tinge to it. It goes well with the oak floor. Once we move the long, fir table Graham built in as a desk (Graham will make modifications to the table to accommodate the computer, etc.) the warmth of the colours will at least give the illusion of warmth. My Dad's chair, which I have inherited, will go nicely in here, next to the bookcases filled with all the books both Graham and I brought into our union.

I cleaned, covered the bed, and patched the walls. Graham painted. I tried, but Gray tells me my painting days may be eyesight is poor when it comes to close-up baseboard painting. I didn't realize it, but Graham tells me there were many errors. I didn't believe him, at first, feeling very sure of my careful painting ability...but he was right. As I stood back, looking at the work I had done, I became quite horrified at my paint job.

The thing is, I had to stand back to see how bad it was. I may have continued thinking I was a great painter, if nobody had told me, because I couldn't see the errors. People coming to this house to visit would have wondered why we didn't hire professionals, if I had painted this place.

We worked on this room all day, during one of the hottest days of the year. We should have been wiped out from the heat, but this room was cool and a very pleasant place to be. The window faces Ocean, with Elderberry Tree climbing the outside wall and attempting to join us inside, putting its branches laden with berries right into the opened window.

The walls are thick in this old Lady of a home. They're made from lathe and plaster, at least six inches thick in the end. Lathe and plaster seals very tightly. This does contribute to the coolness, of course, but all the rest of the rooms are built the same...and, trust me, they were not cool on this day, no matter which way their windows were facing.

It became stranger as the day wore on. The energy I was given was amazing in itself. Even after a couple of nights of hardly any sleep, I was filled with the urge to complete this room. I couldn't do that, of was getting late, dinner was going to be held up as it was, and sleep that night would also be difficult. It was time to quit; yet I felt drawn to continue, feeling absolutely no tiredness.

I watered the garden, instead. But I watered the garden bed that grew on the North side...I felt the need to be close to this room. I contemplated, wondering about the coolness, the Hidden Closet, and the lock on the wrong side of the door. And I wondered about my energy, which on a really hot day is usually nonexistent.

We know little about this home. When I moved here, I was told this house used to be called Rose Cottage. That part could be true...there were few plants other than roses here when we first came...huge, old rambling roses that clambered all over the fence. We know the builder had a wonderful reputation and that is borne out by the fact that this home is extremely well built, with many built-ins whose purpose is discovered more and more. There is an indication that the lot next door to us once belonged to our lot, as sidewalks and underground pipes lead to the fenceline between the two properties, stopping abruptly at the fence.

And there is Grandfather Tree, a Sequoia growing away from its natural environment.

There is power here; I am not alone in feeling it. Perhaps when the closet in the new Study is opened, there will be some answers. Or maybe not, and we will be left to wonder. If we are to know the history, it will become apparent.

All I know for sure is, I am looking forward to moving in and displacing any negative energies with good ones. I am looking forward to writing in this room.

If Saturday's burst of energy I received was any indication, the work that will be done will be prolific...and for me, that is always a good thing.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Belief Systems

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts .... "

William Shakespeare

The foregoing quote is one I have always remembered, from way back when...too many years for me to count, some days.

The experiences I have had throughout my life have changed me many times over. Some of the lessons I have been given to learn from my time on the earth plane have been absorbed; some have not.

Other lessons just need practice; I have become aware of them. I have become aware of how my belief system has shaped the person who I am. And, in finding those beliefs, in dragging them out from the corners of my mind...I am able to question. Do I really believe those opinions or actions I have? If I saw them in another person, would I necessarily be attracted to their belief? Where is the root of my actions and opinions?

Most of my beliefs have their roots in childhood, as most belief systems do. My mother and I spoke the other day about housekeeping. My mother stated that throughout her life, her belief was that clutter had to be organized, had to be returned, immediately after use, to their original spot. By her words or actions, as a small child, I understood it was not a good thing to leave things laying about. In fact, it made me anxious. The consequences could be dire.

And therein lies the seed of my need to instantly put used glasses off the counter into the dishwasher. And the urge to immediately clear the table after dinner, sometimes even before the last fork has been laid upon the plate. The need to instantly put away the kids' toys, just because for a moment, they laid them on the table. And the inability to sit down and relax, until every last thing was done.

These were not popular actions, to the folks around me. What was the rush? So I tried to stop the behavior, but I still felt the anxiety...which was then squashed somehow. At least until I could clean things up.

I had no idea why I felt anxious about such a little thing. It was an aha! moment for me when Mom told me her belief about housekeeping. It was a relief to finally tell her that I had to stop myself from behaving the same. Her reasons for her behavior may be different from mine, but my belief came directly from watching and feeling her actions during my childhood years. Her anxiety at disorder around her transferred itself to me, but I was far too young to know if it was warranted or not.

It is such a relief to know I can leave things out now, sometimes for days, without anxiety that the world will come crashing down. I never understood my behavior because I don't really care if a glass sits on a counter for more than five minutes, if dinner dishes are not cleaned up by bedtime...if...if...if. But a deep-rooted, hidden belief that punishment was inevitable for messiness kept the behavior well watered and nourished.

That particular belief will no longer be fertilized by me foolishly walking around finding items to return to their space, thereby wasting a good deal of energy. I am an adult now; childlike fears can be put to bed. But I had to understand where this one came from in order to complete the circle and stop all facets of this behavior, instead of squashing them.

As my beliefs change, as I become more aware of energy draining behavior, as I persona becomes different. There is a surety in behavior that comes from finding my truth; and not what I believe because I was told to, or felt some trepidation if I did not.

I've played many parts throughout my life. I hope to now live it by making decisions based on what I feel is true.

But first, I have to ferret out all those weird and wonderful, deeply hidden beliefs I hold so tightly...the ones that aren't mine.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Family Unions

We had a mixture of the some of the members of our family and friends for a celebration of Scott's and Graham's birthday this past weekend. I may not be related by blood to all of these people, but I know one thing...our group of souls have been together long before this lifetime.

There was that sense of easy familiarity between one another. Different backgrounds, different experiences in didn't matter. I located the party under Grandfather Tree, knowing the medicine wheel and Tree's wisdom would calm and centre each person who came. Grandfather Tree pulled us all together, as we sat and talked and laughed, sharing stories about each other.

Earlier in the day, Jerr had taken Graham for a motorcycle ride along the coast road...a twisty scenic drive. On his 55th birthday, for the first time, Gray became a passenger on a motorcycle. He has his own bike and is always the driver! This day, he handed over the controls to Jerr, with a little trepidation, which was soon dispelled by the energy and the thrill of the ride.

It gave me time to think and plan, do the small things involving this party... without interruption. The alone time centred and grounded me; it gave me time to commune with my guides and ask for their help. I asked that my body would hold up throughout and I told them my intent for peace and joy during this event.

The garden contributed to the sense of peace and well-being later, when the arrivals began. I listened to the laughter and gaiety as I put the last minute touches to the dinner. There were two beef and one pork...on the BBQ rotisserie. Prawns were grilled at the last minute, after a bath in a marinade of lemon, garlic, salt and olive oil.

No matter how much I plan to have everything ready before people come, there is always something that has to be done at the last minute. The prawns were one. The barbecue needed to be switched back to grilling mode. The roasts had to be taken off for that to happen. Then the prawns were placed on a special seemed never-ending! But Heidi and Leanne pitched in, working well together, mixing the salads and placing them on the special outdoor table Graham had built to hold the food and drink and all the paraphernalia one needs to have a picnic outdoors.

It was a beautiful day, not too hot...but the shade from Grandfather Tree would have made the hottest day bearable. The dogs were put into the garage at first; then the general consensus became they should not have to stay in there for the duration of the party. And so, against my better judgement, I let them out.

My heart in mouth, I watched as they raced out of the garage with boundless enthusiasm to greet all these people who were calmly enjoying the afternoon ambiance of a garden party. Quickly, drinks and food plates were lifted out of the way of enquiring dog noses, but there were one or two swipes of the tongue on a wayward plate. Nate threw his ball onto everybody's lap, hoping for a game, and Lucky insisted on greeting each person by placing his paw on each knee. Bree and Jane jumped on the trampoline, with Lucky barking his trademark Whooowoowoo bark with each jump.

The dogs never really settled down; I had to put them back into the garage while we ate. Bree and Jane, Bree's friend, took them for a walk after dinner. But Rabbit chose that moment to dash across the road and we almost lost Bree and Jane, who were dragged a few yards by these leashed hounds who wanted to get that Rabbit! It was Lucky's birthday, too...he was born on July 16, Gray's birthday. He thought he deserved a rabbit or two...and raised holy, howling hell when he actually saw one.

Eventually I just accepted that I was the only person bothered by their unruly behavior. When I did that, it seemed to me that the dogs became somewhat more mannerly.

Acceptance of circumstances I can't do anything about always works. It just takes me awhile...I need that time of beating my head against a brick wall for a bit, it seems, before I give up and ask for help from the Powers That Be. My guides were already helping me; they just stepped up the pace. When I gave Jane a little Reiki for an ache she was instant relief. The vibrations were so intense here, on Sunday.

There were so many last minute decisions! All the planning...and still there were things I missed. The pasta salad almost never made it to the table...I had forgotten it. The beef roast was still too rare. As I searched for the candles I wanted to place on the pies, a question arose which required my presence, and the candles were never placed on them. The homemade ice cream Gray and I made was still too hard by the time dessert was insisted upon, by a few members of the party. So it seemed as if we were chiseling the ice cream out of its container. I forgot to put out the special brand of chocolate milk Bree, Scott and Leanne like. But I knew it didn't matter...those details were insignificant. They would not be remembered after the festivities were over.

We sang Happy Birthday with gusto if not with talent, to Scott and Graham, in whose honour this celebration was.

Reiki was discussed, later in the evening. And freely given, underneath Grandfather Tree and the Medicine Wheel, where all these different souls had come together, as at a homecoming, sharing dinner and the good energy created by this simple act.

My body held fact, I felt little pain throughout the evening. It was not a quiet day for me; far from it. I felt as if I was racing from early morning till late evening. But it was fun. And very heartwarming to watch all these people, whose lives may intertwine in the future, enjoy the garden, the conversation and the food.

A birthday celebration to be proud of.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Weddings and Weekends Photos

Tracy and Rich tied the knot on July 08, 2006.

Can you sense the release of the tension that came before.... during the preparations, the anticipation and the sheer other-worldliness of getting married?

The married couple...aren't the words..."You may kiss the bride!" full of the promise of huge changes to come?

This is Kyssa waiting for her mother to walk down the aisle. At this point, the ribbons hadn't been tied around her neck, but the colours were lovely with her soft, silky black coat. She's such a ham...I asked her, in the midst of this crowd of people, to pose. She did, a number of times, always with a smile.

Tracy and Rich intently wrapping the hand-fasting ribbons around their hands, signifying their bond with each other.

Isn't handfasting a beautiful old tradition?

I want to wish Tracy and Rich a warm, wonderful, exciting life together. Graham joins me in sending huge Reiki blessings, with the very best Intentions for a life together that may, at times, be filled with Stones and Boulders. You will find wisdom amongst those seemingly hard, unforgiving Rocks and tall, rugged impossible Mountains.

And I wish for much joy in the years to come when the Rivers flow smoothly, when the Oceans are smooth and serenity is your companion.

I wish you both a life together that will be well-lived.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Weddings and Weekends

My niece got married this past weekend. It seemed like the hottest day ever, as Gray and I waited for the bridal party in the covered Celebrations tent at the Queen Elizabeth Park's Rose Garden in Vancouver.

I can't look good and sweat at the same time, so I gave up and let the droplets of perspiration run...and took as many pictures as I could. Tracy and Rich married in the traditional manner, along with a few differences.

They held a hand-fasting ceremony, and passed a sword to Rich to welcome him into Tracy's Scottish welcome him into the clan. Every move was explained as they moved along in the ceremony; I was too busy trying to take pictures to really listen. It's another reminder to me that I can only do one thing at a time! Good thing I had Graham with me...he listened as I clicked and sweated.

Kyssa, Tracy's dog, was also decked out in pink and mauve ribbons, the same colour as the handfasting ribbons. I couldn't help but marvel at Kyssa's manners; had I had Lucky and Nate at any would have been a disaster. I shudder to think about it. But Kyssa seemed to handle the crowd and the excitement with aplomb.

Tracy was late, as was her prerogative as a bride...the problem was she had forgotten her veil! So the limousine, in the middle of Vancouver construction and road closures, had to return to
Tracy's home for it. What a wonderful memory to have...

When she arrived...ohhh! She was absolutely transformed from the thin, ethereal child of the mists that I she was a sophisticated, lithe who has grown into her power. But she also has that family trait Heidi and I have...the one where nervousness morphs into giggles, giggles on the edge of tears. How I sympathized with her as she fought for control and conquered her urge to laugh with huge abandonment! Or to howl or sob wildly.

Lorne, my brother-in-law and Tracy's Dad, walked Tracy down the aisle with perfect flair, giving off that certain Scottish air...the one where it seems there is no choice but to step into battle with no fear. Regina, my sister, covered her emotions with charm, smiling and chuckling at something that was said, when she appeared, before Lorne and Tracy. But her eyes lit with relief when her eyes met mine...a familiar face.

I just continued to take pictures, giving up on containing the emotion that now guided my eye, most often flooded with tears.

Gray and I stayed at the Georgian Court Hotel; we were about five blocks away from Capone's in Yaletown, where the reception was held. The dinner was extremely tasty, each course served by the waitstaff to each individual...I chose, from among other delights, crabcakes and prawns, green salad, roasted vegetables, slices of lamb, beef and duck with mashed potatoes, mousse and champagne sorbet and creme! A meal fit to celebrate the re-union between Tracy and Rich, for these two have definitely spent lives together before.

I look forward to knowing Rich better...his perfectly dark twinkling eyes hold great promise of a sense of humour I could really enjoy. Martin, who demonstrated a sensitive side to his nature I had always known was there, gave his toast to the bride, his sister, with remarkable decorum. His stories he remembers about Tracy were beautifully chosen and so characteristic of Tracy's and his relationship.

Other speeches showed me the grown-up side of Tracy...the sophisticated one I had lost track of, a little, over the years. It was good to know a bit about that side of her, too. And further, Rich's childhood friends gave a rendition of Rich that confirms my intuition about his sense of humour.

Graham and I walked back to our hotel; the streets of Yaletown were crowded at ten PM...the time when Gray and I are usually sunk deep into slumber. But this was the new generation...the one that replaces our own...and they were out in full, enjoying the Saturday night ambiance of cafes and lights and music and whispered confidences.

On Sunday, Graham and I visited Granville Street Market. It had been many years since I had been fact, the only thing I remember about it are the cement trucks. I won't tell you how many years that has been.

We found the most unusual items...sea asparagus, lemon vinegar (the best I'd ever tasted), dried chervil, fresh ginger...and I couldn't resist the bread bakery, where I bought bread and buns for a family birthday celebration next Sunday. The produce sections were a feast to the eye. The butcher shops laid out mind-numbing arrays of different cuts of every kind of meat you could imagine. Entertaining would be so easy if I lived closer to this market...if an item is difficult to find, you can be sure it will be here at this market.

But the Island was calling us; it was time to return home. I dragged Graham away from a $500,000 Lamborghini, and we headed for the ferry, our weekend sojourn over.

A beautiful wedding where the guests were treated with honour, and a wonderful shopping excursion...what more could I ask for on a warm summer's weekend?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I woke up in the middle of the night, knowing I was missing something. And then I realized...The Pain was not there. For the first time in two years or so, I have not had to walk around the house in the middle of the night to unkink.

Last night, when I took a warm, epsom salted bath (Sherri believes that toxins will be dispelled faster and with less discomfort if an epsom bath is taken directly after. She's right, I've tried doing without and spent two days fighting nausea and tummy upsets), an unbelievable sadness came over me. Tears came from nowhere; they flowed freely, as I wondered where this all came from.

It was part of the clearing. I am still not aware of what the sadness entailed within me; I just let it happen without question. It was not the time for logic.

The Pain will return; the lack of it last night reminded me what it felt like to not have the Pain as a constant companion. During the days, sometimes I tell myself I have not always felt like I am
walking with a sharp stick lodged in my spine. But it is so hard to has been so long.

I tell myself I am not so bad...others are far worse physically than I am...perhaps mentally and spiritually, too. I have so much to be thankful for...I am finally living a life I have longed for for as long as I can remember.

Because I have no clear diagnosis, I feel as if I am floundering...what more or what else should I be doing to treat The Pain? To give it what it needs, and send it off with love and forgiveness? What piece of the puzzle am I missing?

I wrote the foregoing a few days ago. Some of the answers have become a little clearer. I was given directions from Grandfather Tree yesterday, and they are working. I am a little clearer of what I have to do that I am not doing.

The Pain had come back, you see. I had the reminder that night of what it felt like to have no pain. I needed this. I had forgotten. And so, when The Pain returned, I remembered what I was working towards. Wellness became the golden apple for me, it made me reach harder; it became my goal. My absolute clear intention, which I would approach with authority and no fear of any consequences.

I asked Grandfather Tree a very poignant question...just basically why? There was no answer to that question; the answer to what I could do to help myself was. I felt as if I were in a dream as I was directed to turn around, my back to him, and take both hands and press down on my hips and below, from The Pain radiating from my spine. I felt a tweak; it was so light it felt as if a feather had brushed my spine. Instant relief.

I was told to do that particular movement ten times a day. And it has helped immensely. Last night my leg and ankle were swollen; they are better today. This morning when I went for my walk, I was again directed to watch my posture...I felt as if I was being moved into proper position...and again the pain eased for a time, long enough to allow me to handwater the garden.

My focus must now be not The Pain, but The Wellness. And how to get there.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Photos of Gabriola Island

The deep, sheltered coves and bays give secure haven to the marinas and the boats moored there. Many kayakers also love the waters around Gabriola Island.

Can you believe the colour of the water? It is the bluest of almost looks as if it drained the colour out of the sky.

A Day on Gabriola Island

A trip to Gabriola is something I've wanted to do for a long time. Graham works on Gabriola Island; he has many stories that he tells about the beauty of its beaches and the rural quality of the Island.

Gabriola Island boasts some of the most spectacular beach walks I have ever experienced. The beaches are sandstone; as such the formations on the beaches made me feel as if I was walking in the presence of some very wise figures...from a distance, some looked as if they were in conference. The waves have formed amazing little pools filled with seaweed and sea life...I could have sat and contemplated each pool for hours...they were infinitely fascinating.

This Island, with a population of about 4,000, has a strong sense of community. We were greeted with smiles wherever we went; upon arriving at Silva Bay, we wandered through the Farmer's Market that sets up there on Sundays. We arrived late; many of the Vendors had already left or had decided to enjoy the long weekend elsewhere.

But it was a great experience nonetheless. Gabriola has been called the Isle of the Healing Arts. It is the name of Gabriola's Guide to the Natural Health Practitioners on the Island, a small booklet explaining each member's area of healing expertise. As we wandered through, we noticed one of Gray's Reiki students, Joanna Horton, who has opened her own studio...Angel Hands Therapy. I had never met Joanna, but instantly I could sense her innate peace and kindness. Joanna is an intuitive practitioner and it showed.

Viva Kiviloo, a Certified Reflexologist, sold me some of her handcrafted lotion that she uses on her clients. I had the choice of Chocolate Peppermint or Vanilla Spice. I tried both; the chocolate one made me want to start to nosh on my hands, so I chose the Vanilla Spice. The last thing I need is a constant reminder of how much I love chocolate!

However, just around a corner, Leigh Ann was selling her Yummy Licorice. Oh! My gosh! The taste was unbelievable! This is Leigh Ann's own recipe...the ingredients are molasses, organic wheat flour, licorice root and anise, each piece covered in powdered sugar. Leigh Ann donates 3% of all her sales to Old Growth Forests in BC. I bought three bags...and I have a feeling, as much as I love licorice, that I will be in contact with Leigh Ann the not so distant future.

Krysta Reed, a Reiki Master/Teacher, of Sacred Healing, was giving a treatment to someone, in a peaceful spot under a spreading tree. As I watched her work, I thought how much I would have liked to be on that massage table, with the view of the Bay and the boats that were anchored there. Under a tree. I could not think of a more peaceful way to receive Reiki.

Krysta gives Burmese Massage, amongst other courses and workshops; I quote from her pamphlet..." a relaxing, unique and deep full body massage, that awakens energy pathways and relieves physical tension." She had just attuned her young son (I forget his age, but he must have been eight or nine) to Level 1 Reiki, I think she said. It was difficult to hear, in the midst of the hubbub of the market. She told us she was moving to Qualicum Beach in the near future; she was such a positive person, it would be great to see more of her.

This trip to Gabriola Island was Graham's idea; he wanted me to see the places he spoke of at home...the beaches where he sometimes meditates at lunch time, the colour of the water...a warm, sweet blue...and the Rocks and Boulders and Trees and Eagles that inhabit the place, allowing human beings to reside and live amongst them. I understand now. Gabriola has an age-old energy...there are many, many ancient spirits there.

The view from Twin Beaches boggles the mind...from one side of the road, you see the mainland in the distance and on the other...Vancouver Island. It was a hot, sunny day on the Canada Day long weekend. Parking, towards the end of the day, was becoming difficult to find, but when Gray and I arrived, the beaches were deserted, or nearly so. On a stormy winter's day, there would be no other place I'd rather be.

The Island has a way of enfolding one, holding one to its rocky bosom and warming the insides. I suspect the winter storms can be awe-inspiring...the Rocks and Boulders and Trees all speak of them...but again, that is my favourite scenario...howling, shrieking wind and pounding surf. To experience these clears my mind, opens my energy centres and balances me. It is the best type of holiday I can think of.

To live on Gabriola Island would not be the easiest existence...there are no services other than electricity, which means septic systems and wells and cisterns. Some roads are gravel. Power outages in the winter are common, sometimes for days. The ferry system must be dealt with on excursions off the Island, keeping one to a schedule.

But in spite of these drawbacks, I could easily live there, with the Rocks and Forests. Beside the Ocean. Listening to the age old stories told by these spirits, soaking up the powerful energy that still resides on Gabriola Island.

Can you imagine?