Spring is coming, so that means that my birthday has just passed. This month’s front cover photo is of me in my birthday suit. My two brothers are also having fun playing with the water bottles. I don’t remember much about me playing in the water but I do remember how much my sons loved to have a bath and splash around. They even threw hockey pucks into the toilet to get a splash, which caused a bit of distress till we learned to check first, before flushing.
When I asked my Mom about this picture of me, it took her a long time to think about it, for it was taken forty-eight years ago. Finally, she said … “It was taken in Michigan in our basement, down in the furnace room. We had no bathtub upstairs, as Clarence preferred a shower.” Mom insisted we have a bathtub so he found an old concrete wash basin from a restaurant renovation and installed it downstairs. She used the tub lots to bath the dogs, do laundry and once a week us kids got to splash around in it.
Growing up in the wilderness, we had a cold lake to plunge into on hot summer days. We discovered a few mud holes that were warmer and a girl friend had me put my face in and I learned to float, then to kick real hard till I got to the other side. I liked the water and when I moved into Terrace, swimming lessons were available at the Lakelse Hotsprings. Once a week I caught a school bus for the half-hour ride out, and with time, I got good at swimming. I remember a few teachers berating me for not being able to swim in a straight line. With time I figured out how to lift my head out of the water to check the direction and then put it back down to blowout my air. Then they invented goggles and that became part of my regular swimming gear and the chlorine didn’t burn my eyes.
When I was twenty or so, our town, Terrace, raised money and with help of the government, built a swimming pool. When I heard they were looking for instructors and lifeguards I became involved in the training and the pretrials that were offered. Within six months I was qualified, though barely, according to today’s standards. But I was thrilled with my part time job that paid $4.30 per hour. Over time they offered more trainings, and courses and I took them all. I loved teaching kids how to swim, then adults, then the Scaredy Cats Club and throughout it all I became a better swimmer.
I was a good instructor because I was such a terrible swimmer. I had learned late in life how to swim, so it was easy for me to be empathetic when the adults spoke of their fears, and I developed tools and techniques to get each one through. I loved instructing and when we became part of CUPE, the union got good wages for us. With time the chlorine eventually burned out my system and I retired to get into something I really wanted to do – holistic health promotion. I feel it is vitally important to be knowledgable, so that we can make informed choices. Today the options have become so broad that I find most people find it overwhelming. They ask, “Where do I start?” I say, “With the way you eat and treat yourself-it is all a reflection.” We are what we eat, and now more than ever we had better know how and where things are grown. Food has become big business. Processing, for the sake of convenience and profit, provides us with foods that have very little nutritional value. As a nation we are paying the price with our health.
I believe that our bodies are always striving for balance and will teach us what we need to know if we trust and listen to the small voice or vague feelings within. If we learn to trust the voice eventually it becomes clear in a soft, subtle way. Otherwise our bodies continue complaining in any way they can until we have some sort of weird disease and no longer have a choice, but to listen. Taking time to educate ourselves is important, for city life puts extra stress on our bodies along with the environmental damage of living within a city. Consumers need to decipher for themselves the vast amount of information available or find people they can trust to give guidance until they learn to trust their own instincts. I have found many teachers over the years that I feel I can trust to give me an honest report of what is really happening. My refinement process of understanding the basics is teaching me the old cliche, “The simpler the better, “ and that is what I pass along to others in my classes.
Since last month, my Mom and my niece, Darci arrived from Terrace with two dogs. At eighteen, Darci is my brother Michael’s oldest daughter. He was the one who was crawling in the snow on last month’s front cover. Darci would like to start training as a nutritionist and has been studying live blood analysis and reading all kinds of books on health. She is here for a few months to learn to make soup and cookies from a nutritional viewpoint. I had wondered whether I was going to find the time do these classes but once I knew she was coming, I made the time, and by the time you read this they will be half over.
This spring will be very busy for me. Besides teaching the Yoga and cooking classes and producing this magazine each month, I will be attending two Health Expos, one in Vancouver and the other in Calgary. By then, the Spring Festival of Awareness will be right around the corner with all of its business. In the meantime, I am coordinating a few different people to help with renovations to the building at 254 Ellis St. It is time for the Juicy Carrot and the Rainbow Connection to expand and grow a little bit more as we get ready for the many people who come to enjoy the Okanagan summer heat and bountiful produce of peaches, apricots and cherries. I am hosting a Health Expo of my own in mid-July, as we block off Ellis Street in front of my businesses. It will be a great opportunity for exhibitors from other towns to bring their latest technology and information to the valley.
I had contemplated not writing my column this month as my time was needed to prepare for Vancouver, but it came together easily so I felt it was meant to be. We will see how next month goes but this column is no longer a priority. I feel I have learned a lot about writing and putting my thoughts on paper and the repercussions. I never realized how differently some people think.