Aiming High (Jul 1998)

Life on the farm was not always work, especially if company came. Mom always enjoyed having the nuns from town come out for the afternoon to play. They were game for just about anything, including baiting their own hooks if we went fishing for the day, looping their skirts up into their waistband if we were going for a mountain hike, or getting serious if it was a day to practise shooting a gun or bow and arrow as shown on this month’s front cover photo.

As I gaze at the photograph I wonder about the gifts that were given to me by having this group of people in my life. Feeling connected to God is part of it. Seeing both sides of these women helped broaden my horizons for it was quite a contrast; the strict, controlled, do-it-perfectly side, and the let- it-fly-in-the-wind side. At Rosswood, many boundaries were crossed concerning what nuns were allowed to do. When I asked them if they could do these things, they said… “it was their day off from church and they could do what they wanted.”

One of the older nuns had more gumption than the others. She set an example that the other nuns could choose to follow if they wanted to. She was delighted to be involved in whatever was happening in the moment. And if that included tucking your skirt so high that your leggings showed, so be it, for it made sense if you were going on an adventure. They laughed loud and often, squealed when the fish wiggled in their hands, they oooh’ed holding the baby moose, and grunted while pulling back on the bow string. They never swore, but they said words that meant the same thing. The nuns said and did things that felt honest to me. They were real people when they came out to Rosswood, while back in Terrace they had to be their more formal selves. They confided in me one day that they didn’t always like being so disciplined, but that was the rule in their commitment to God. I thought it was good that they knew the difference and accepted their roles. I much preferred the noisy, fun-loving side of them to the hushed, follow-the- rules, be-on-your-best-behaviour side.

Being around many different types of people at an early age gave me an opportunity for choice… I liked trying out different ways of being. This training was largely unconscious at the time but it did plant the seeds for me to allow myself to be unique. The nuns could have fun and be themselves, even if it was only one day a month. Mom’s other friends were also unique. Aunt Cathy was publisher of the Terrace Herald, a weekly publication up in Terrace, the town nearest to where we lived. “Aunt Cathy,” was our chosen name for her. She was given that title for that was how she treated us, and all our real aunts lived far away. Changing the rules to suit the situation was something my Mom did well. Looking back on some of her antics still brings a smile to my face for it took courage and she taught me more than I can put into words.

This issue is focused on women, women who have changed themselves and their surroundings to make the world a little more special. Following our heart’s desire is not encouraged by the education or business sectors of our society. Children today get programmed by TV, peer pressure and the school system… being guided by their instincts no longer comes naturally. I am thankful I grew up in an environment away from the “normal” society. I still have no time for TV but once in a while I take the time to enjoy a movie.

Looking back on my upbringing, I see the similarities. My latest emotional release session brought up another memory that helped me to release some old blocked energy. As Ken and I chatted, I said how tired I was feeling and that I needed a rest. At the same time I know how much needs doing and since I made the commitment and do enjoy what I do, it is hard to take time off. As the session progressed and after I had done my deep breathing, Ken asked my emotional body why I push so hard. I could feel the tears rise as my throat constricted while a memory flashed. It was an incident with my Dad coming down the stairs and telling me, ” I want all the boys’ beds made, their rooms cleaned and the laundry done before we get back from fishing.” I fumed silently, for it was not my job to clean my brothers’ rooms, let alone make their beds. I just glared at him till he left and then had a chat with Mom. We decided to do some cooking and we gathered up the dirty clothes, for doing the laundry was my job, and I enjoyed being outside where our old wringer washer and clothes line were.

Ken then asked me “What was it I wanted to say to my Dad but didn’t at the time.” I could feel the frustration but my more mature self didn’t want to get angry. Ken coaxed me along and in no time at all I was sticking out my tongue, hissing and shouting at Dad to get the hell out. I was surprised at how much energy was in me, for it took six to eight minutes of telling him off before I could feel the charge dissipate. As the energy dissolved, it made sharp, knifelike sensations in my lower colon and my left cheekbone.

Then he asked me, “What do you want from your Dad?” I knew Ken had said something, but I had to ask him to repeat it. I concentrated real hard to hear what he said and I then answered his question in a roundabout way. He then said, “You still didn’t give me an answer.” I gave him another answer and he repeated, “What do you want from your Dad.” I explained that it was not possible to get what I wanted, he wouldn’t listen and if I protested I usually got a boot in the butt. Ken then rephrased the question … “Pretend your Dad is sleeping and you had an angel that could whisper in his ear and he had to listen and give you what you wanted … what would you ask of him?” Tears came to my eyes and I said, “I don’t know.” I was quick to add…”Time off, at least once a month.”

Then I started to remember some of the time he did spend with me and most of it before we moved to Rosswood. By then I was seven years old and he didn’t know how to be with a girl; the boys were more to his liking. He spent so little quality time with me that by the time Mom and he split I was glad, for his way of joking often hurt her and she was still my friend. One repetitive comment that I remember most was … “just to hear you holler.” Mom would ask him for something and he would say no, then she would ask why and they would argue. Exasperated, she would throw her hands up and walk away. He would then slap her on the butt and say… “Of course you can have it…I just wanted to hear you holler.” I didn’t blame her for fuming and stomping off, mad, hurt and more determined than ever to change her circumstances. Leaving him was not easy and I give her a badge of courage. She went to work for Aunt Cathy, got a bank loan to buy a house and once a month took off time to have some fun with her friends.

I can see how my parent’s programming influenced me more than I can consciously be aware off. Each awareness I have helps me to love myself a little more. Learning to be gentle with myself takes time for I am more used to pushing. The push-and-get-it-done-regardless-of-what-it-takes side of me is the part of myself that Dad liked best, so that is the part that got most developed. Now I am discovering there are other parts of myself that need nurturing and noticing. My homework for the month is to ask myself… ” What does little Angèle want to do that is special for herself… something different from the way I usually do things.” I have some excellent teachers, so it shouldn’t take too long to change. It sounds easier than it is, for it does take constant vigilance not to repeat old ways of doing things. Each time I do it, the more I feel free, and the more creative I become. Generally speaking, I do know how to allow the flow to happen and with each new awareness things flow a little more easily, with less doing or figuring out on my part.

To allow me to change even more, I need more help. Help publishing ISSUES Magazine and running the Holistic Health Centre. It is time for one more person to join our company. Someone with advertising, promotions and computer skills who is holistically and metaphysically inclined. We ask that you volunteer at first so that Jan, Marcel and I can get a sense of how we work as a team. Once we are all comfortable that we can work together, buying shares in our limited company is the next step. If you want to know more please phone me.

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