The Old Saw Mill (Dec 1999)

The final issue of the year, the decade, the century and the millennium. What to write about…. the pressure is building, I can sense why so many need to talk/write about it. Not me. I think our calendars are a bit out. The Year of the Dragon starts in mid-February and since I was born in 1952 that makes it a monumental year for me. All in all I can feel the need to change and Jan’s leaving has brought about many. I have found that once a void is created, either by cleaning my closets, my mind or my environment, nature fills it, so I expect the New Year to be as awesome as watching the changing colour of the leaves or listening to the big wind as all the leaves fall. I enjoy raking leaves especially when the morning sun is shining in all her glory. I like change and it is easy for me to let go and let it happen. Over the years I have learned to differentiate between my needs and feelings and what is guidance from a higher source. The difference is subtle.

The front cover photo shows an old portable saw mill that my parents found abandoned at Mile 13 on the Nass Road. They hauled it home to Rosswood behind our truck and used it to cut up logs so they could fit into our wood stove. It usually took two or three men to hoist the large logs up but it was well worth the effort for in those early years Dad didn’t own a power saw so this sawmill came in handy. This photo shows Grandad in the forefront and Dad pushing the log into the saw blade. It took lots of time and manpower to keep our cabin heated and food on our table. For the entire first year after we moved into the wilderness, Grandad and his nephew Chuck plus Mom and Dad worked twelve hour days so that we could live. Nobody worked outside of the home until we got settled, then Chuck left and Dad went to work for Columbia Cellulose as a logger. Grandad and Dad continued to hunt, fish and spend time canning or smoking meat on the weekends.

Grandad was 72 years old when he came to live with us. He woke up at 4 am most mornings and got the wood stove and the pot belly heaters going. He kept busy till us kids woke up at around 7 am and then he went back to bed till we left for school. He worked slow and steady, taking three or four naps each day, and going to bed by 8 or 9 pm. He lived until he was 86 years old and died peacefully in his sleep. He was a kind man who didn’t speak unless spoken to. He had a daily routine of one cup of coffee followed by one hand-rolled cigarette and a two mile walk.

What I remember of Rosswood was the cold floors. We all had slippers and I wore mine most of the time but still my feet were always cold. One day when I was ten years old. I got to sleep at a friend’s house in town. I still have a vivid memory of putting my feet onto the carpet and with a great surprise saying, “Wow, a warm floor.” It made getting out of bed so much nicer. As a child I would sometimes forget to keep myself warm, especially if I was having fun skating or playing in the snow. By the time I came inside, I would have to thaw my feet or hands and go through the pins and needles sensations as they got warm.

As a teenager I developed ways to stay warm such as tucking my toes into my knees whenever I sat to eat a meal. Eventually I learned to lie down and go to sleep in a half-lotus position. As an adult living in town we had electricity, I would warm my feet in hot water before jumping into bed. I tried an electric heating pad and even a waterbed for a few months, but soon got rid of them as I realized how they depleted my energy. Years later, I noticed how quickly I warmed up whenever I meditated, when I practised Reiki my hands got hot. I also began to notice how certain thoughts warmed my blood. I learned breathing exercises so I could feel my chi circulating and I eat hot foods most of the year.

During my latest session with Ken, as I breathed into my body and described how I was feeling, I could feel the lack of circulation to my toes. I breathed in deeper, letting go and softening my legs. As I did a deep ache throbbed, as if my legs were still frozen. I visualized the layers releasing the cold energy. When it got too intense I would allow thoughts to come back into my awareness and the pain would recede, but I have started to realize how much tension I still hold in my legs. During this last month I went deeper on my own, staying attentive for as long as I could, but this is not the same as having another person witness what is happening. When I am in Ken’s presence I cry easily and that helps to release the old tension and blocks. As I did I started to hiccup and another memory came to the surface. I described to Ken how my Dad stopped my hiccups. He clasped his hand over my mouth and kept it there until I was kicking to get out of his grip. I remember feeling the panic in my chest as I tried to breathe. Finally he let go and my hiccups were gone, but scaring the daylights out of me seemed a bit harsh, so I didn’t ask him to do it again. It was interesting to note the memory was still there.

Yesterday as I was doing my breath work, I noticed that my mind wandered as I started thinking of an impending business matter. In less than a minute I brought my mind back to focus on my body, but in that instant my right side tightened and felt colder. I breathed in and let go of the thought and asked my body to release, remembering how tight I used to be. Five years ago I would ask my body to relax and release every two or three minutes. Now when I notice my body tightening I tell myself all is okay and I slow down and breathe. Changing how I react unconsciously is taking time and my sessions with Ken are certainly helping.

Today I can listen to my body as I speak my mind even though sometimes I would prefer to stay silent, especially if the subject is uncomfortable for either of us. It would be easier to agree and give them what they want but I am learning that it is not possible to help everyone, for people have to become responsible for their actions, and if I take away that opportunity, both of us lose. Unless they are ready to learn, they don’t accept my input anyway. As I learn to speak my truth I feel lighter and stronger and my hips are shifting into alignment. My head feels more balanced over my spine, rather than my chin jutting forward and my back swaying.

I am looking forward to the year 2000, and by mid-February the Chinese community will be dancing in the streets honouring The Dragon. I expect to have lots of opportunity for growth both personally and in business. May your New Year be as eventful as mine.

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