A View from the Retreat (Apr 2002)

April hints that spring has arrived and soon it will be summer. I started my spring cleaning early because I didn’t do any last year. It feels so good to be back to ‘normal’ or as normal as I will ever be. Catching up from all the renovating means I get to sort through boxes, cupboards and hang up my pictures.

This is the time of the year that people start to plan their holidays, and just in time to help you make some decisions, the Hollyhock and Johnson’s Landing Retreat brochures are out. Another great way to relax and meet lots of people is at the Spring Festival of Awareness, April 26, 27 & 28. With over forty workshops, you will have many opportunities to say hello to all kinds of folks on the same path. Registration starts early as many of the participants return year after year, bringing family and friends. By then the tulips and daffodils will be in bloom with the lilacs close behind, and the fruit trees will take turns blooming.

I love living in this valley, for it gets more sunshine than any other place I have lived. Over the past few years, I have noticed the weather is evening out… No real cold or hot spells. Yes, we get a few days or even weeks here and there, but we don’t get the extremes like we used to get ten to fifteen years ago. We are now having longer but less intense winters. Spring seems to start early and then cools down before it arrives, an indication of the changes to come.

The front cover photo is not the a hand-painted landscape from a window at the Johnson’s Landing Retreat Center, overlooking Kootenay Lake that was painted by a grateful participant, Anne Krystone of Lethbridge, Alberta. She said, “Just expressing my feelings of peace and tranquility, while I was there.” Like a few other photos it was replaced as. it is matter finding the original many years later to insert into the blog. The 2002 brochures are out around the valleys, and if you can’t find one, check the centre pages for information on their website. They offer twenty workshops from May till October, outdoor adventure packages, a rest and renewal program, and vegetarian meals, all with a variety of sleeping options.

Retreats are important, for many reasons, so I like our magazine to focus on them. Retreating helps our soul to evolve to a better understanding of life, and can release old tension faster than any pill I know. The instructors at most retreats have the skills to remind you of your God Self and the power you have to co-create your life. There are many ways up the mountain and although we would all like to live at the top, happiness and growth occur while we are climbing. Surrounding ourselves with loving human beings who are on the path is a great way to help us grow, and being in a group intensifies the learning process. The greater the flow of energy, the more opening in our chakras, allowing us to feel more, becoming the unique individuals that we are.

Educating ourselves is the only way to stay well. Our society is not designed to give us tools. In fact, they confuse matters with much propaganda. You must figure out for yourself who to trust, how to know when something feels right and still keep grounded. In years past we would have gone to a monastery to search for the deeper meaning of life. Today, we need to find our God connection while in the midst of the workaday world. There are many books and as much data as we can comprehend on the net that can help us change how we think. This information highway is still in its infancy, but the insensity has been accelerated … it is as if the data is in the air we breathe.

I am grateful to be living at this time in history, where I live in comfort and have given myself a good education in the wellness field. At the same time, I get to practice evolving spiritually, trusting the God within, knowing that life is perfect and any resistance means my ego is too strong for my own good. It is the daily happenings that make my life so filled with grace and fun.

Naramata Centre Chapel (Feb 2002)

Spring.. it always feels like a magic time to me. The sun’s rays gets stronger, birds return and plants push through the soil to greet the sun. Each moment, each day, each year allows me to be more thankful to be alive.

I have given much thought to the message that many people keep repeating to me, that my injury was a message to “slow down.” That bit of advice doesn’t resonate with me, for it is much more complex than that. I have always made time for me, not a lot, but enough. Somedays I would prefer not to have such a long ‘to do list’ but I have created it because I see so much that needs doing and I get impatient waiting for someone else to make it happen. With that kind of attitude, the help of my angels and trusting that the moment is always perfect has made it easy for me start several businesses and learn to juggle them all at the same time. Once in a while a ball hits the ground, but each year of practice makes it easier, and the transitions smoother, and at least I still have a few balls to keep juggling.

My next endeavour, now that the Spring Festival scheduling is done, is to create a website that connects the valleys together. If you are interested in helping me, please read the details on page ?? and give me a call. I need help in every town where Issues is delivered, so that we can create a list of everyone that provides holistic type services.

The front cover photo was taken by Terry Beadle-McTavish, courtesy of Naramata Centre. It shows their labyrinth with the chapel in the background, the location of the Spring Festival of Awareness this April. The picture reminds me to take a reflective moment and not get caught in the negative energy that the normal media seem to dwell on. It is refreshing to read Shared Vision and Common Ground and other alternative newspapers that encourage and remind us that world events are a reflection of ourselves, and not to get caught up in the drama. September 11 is a reminder that life is fragile: we owe it to ourselves to wake up each morning and retire each night filled with reverence and awe of the miracle, the wisdom and the wonders of being alive at this time in history. I feel humbled by the honour of being an infinitesimal part of the web that weaves us all together. We are all one: the micro and the macro are a reflection of each other and love is what created us. To feel this love we need only to open our hearts and breathe deeply …even when scary things happen.

February 20 is my fiftieth birthday celebration, and this year will be my first since starting Issues thirteen years ago that I will not be in ‘deadline’ mode. Publishing every two months is such a treat, and this year I intend to take some time off. February 12 is the beginning of the Chinese New Year and this year it is the Year of the Horse. I was born a dragon, and they say that dragon people are born with the ability to be active for they like to gather crowds around them. I do not feel stressed when I am busy, but print mode was starting to wear me thin. I used to wonder what the word stress meant, so here is a definition I like. Stress happens when the mind/body feels like it cannot cope with what is happening in the moment. Ten years of breath and body work have given me the gift of being present in my body… most of the time. My mind likes to remind me of my programming but I fast-forward the tape, breathe deeply, feel my heart, let go of my perceptions and spend time with whomever it is I am with, be it good or bad. When the time is up, my body gives me a signal and often moves without me knowing why. Somedays my mouth does the same. Time and time again, I am in awe of the precise timing of all that happens in my life.

Spring.. it always feels like a magic time to me. The sun’s rays gets stronger, birds return and plants push through the soil to greet the sun. Each moment, each day, each year allows me to be more thankful to be alive.

I have given much thought to the message that many people keep repeating to me, that my injury was a message to “slow down.” That bit of advice doesn’t resonate with me, for it is much more complex than that. I have always made time for me, not a lot, but enough. Somedays I would prefer not to have such a long ‘to do list’ but I have created it because I see so much that needs doing and I get impatient waiting for someone else to make it happen. With that kind of attitude, the help of my angels and trusting that the moment is always perfect has made it easy for me start several businesses and learn to juggle them all at the same time. Once in a while a ball hits the ground, but each year of practice makes it easier, and the transitions smoother, and at least I still have a few balls to keep juggling.

My next endeavour, now that the Spring Festival scheduling is done, is to create a website that connects the valleys together. If you are interested in helping me, please read the details on page ?? and give me a call. I need help in every town where Issues is delivered, so that we can create a list of everyone that provides holistic type services.

The front cover photo was taken by Terry Beadle-McTavish, courtesy of Naramata Centre. It shows their labyrinth with the chapel in the background, the location of the Spring Festival of Awareness this April. The picture reminds me to take a reflective moment and not get caught in the negative energy that the normal media seem to dwell on. It is refreshing to read Shared Vision and Common Ground and other alternative newspapers that encourage and remind us that world events are a reflection of ourselves, and not to get caught up in the drama. September 11 is a reminder that life is fragile: we owe it to ourselves to wake up each morning and retire each night filled with reverence and awe of the miracle, the wisdom and the wonders of being alive at this time in history. I feel humbled by the honour of being an infinitesimal part of the web that weaves us all together. We are all one: the micro and the macro are a reflection of each other and love is what created us. To feel this love we need only to open our hearts and breathe deeply …even when scary things happen.

February 20 is my fiftieth birthday celebration, and this year will be my first since starting Issues thirteen years ago that I will not be in ‘deadline’ mode. Publishing every two months is such a treat, and this year I intend to take some time off. February 12 is the beginning of the Chinese New Year and this year it is the Year of the Horse. I was born a dragon, and they say that dragon people are born with the ability to be active for they like to gather crowds around them. I do not feel stressed when I am busy, but print mode was starting to wear me thin. I used to wonder what the word stress meant, so here is a definition I like. Stress happens when the mind/body feels like it cannot cope with what is happening in the moment. Ten years of breath and body work have given me the gift of being present in my body… most of the time. My mind likes to remind me of my programming but I fast-forward the tape, breathe deeply, feel my heart, let go of my perceptions and spend time with whomever it is I am with, be it good or bad. When the time is up, my body gives me a signal and often moves without me knowing why. Somedays my mouth does the same. Time and time again, I am in awe of the precise timing of all that happens in my life.

The Goddess Within (Dec 2001)

I know time has passed since I last typed but it sure doesn’t feel like two months. Still, there are so many trims that need to painted or varnished, so much cleaning and scrubbing and still I need to find new places to keep all the things I own. The move feels good but with the store being bigger it means I have more shelves and more inventory. The issues office is almost complete but my desk may take months to get organized. Extra time is being spent on gluing peacock feathers, that my mother gave me years ago, to a piece of plywood, so that it can be hung instead of sitting in the box so the mice can chew on it, and now that I have the space to hang it — it feels right to spend the time doing it.

This year I decided to do some major improvements to fix up this old building and compounded with a fractured hip, I feel like I have been put through ‘The Test.” I am the eternal optimist and figure I passed the angels test with an A plus. The compounding effect did wear weary on me once in awhile, especially when I let my rational mind remind me of my imperfections but generally speaking I love being busy. I know with winter’s coming I will get some time to rest, but there is a year’s worth of paperwork waiting to be done so that season will probably feel very short as well. When spring comes I have several patio’s to finish as well as some yard work. I am thankful that I don’t have room for a garden and that we have a wonderful farmer’s market that can supply me with wonderful organic veggies. Life does feel good.

I am one of those people who generally think that a job is easier or quicker than it actually is. As my carpenter once said, “So much for a ten minute job,” after spending an hour and a half doing something very simple. Our perceptions of time and what we do with it, effects us in many different ways as we all make time for the things that are important to us. It can give us a sense of satisfaction or time off for re-balancing or healing ourselves. Time is an illusion of this world and we make it linear with our clocks and calendars for the present is all that we really have. The present is about listening to our bodies and our inner selves to know what is important in the moment. The rest can and will wait until it comes to the top of the priority list. I needed to remind myself of this message often this past few month so that I could function in the middle of the hurricane that I created. If the sun is shining than a walk may be most important thing I need to do. I always make time for people, food and family and the rest will get done when the time is right.

So today it is time to sit and type and tell you about the photograph on the front cover, as I still my mind from all the reminders and just breath into my belly, knowing I have time enough to be me. If sitting still for three days was what was required of me I know I could do just that, for my latest injury taught me more about letting go. I couldn’t even focus on reading or meditating for the discomfort was too much and I did what I do best. I breathed deeply into the discomfort, never really feeling the pain. Now that I can walk again it feels great just to be able to get things done.

I have decided it is okay to have a photo of me on the front cover. My mind debated with itself that it wasn’t perfect enough but I let go of my ideas of perfection years ago and still continue to do so since my mind likes to remind me of what could be or was. This is my fiftieth birthday celebration year and I felt honoured that a local artist who has moved to Penticton from Calgary wanted to paint the goddess within. She had done a front cover for Synchronicity last year and felt drawn to walk to my place and speak with me. She also does pet portraits or will paint your favourite photograph on canvas. Her name is Beth Roszko and you can give her a call at 770-2397. As you can see there is an angel playing a trumpet over my head as the colour purple floats in front of my eyes. She said she could feel the business of butterflies as she painted the transformation that was happening.

She was the third intuitive person who told me that a Goddess was starting to emerge through me. This is the time of the great transition, where the patriarchal systems declines and matriarchal systems start to replace them. A time of great chaos and struggle as humanity changes its beliefs systems. I am told that the goddess’ are wanting to return to the earth plane and are looking for bodies to be in. I welcome her presence if that fact is true and as I have said before I try not to get too rational and just allow what happens to happen.

I know that if I want things to be different I have to take the time to change them. In the middle of renovating I made a presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Health when they toured the province when they stopped in Kelowna last month. I think it is important for each of us to speak up when given the chance. Plus I got a reminder from a massage therapist in Terrace who suggested I speak. My written presentation is on page ??. I was given ten minutes to speak my mind as well… which I did as passionately as possible. Several observers in the audience made a point to tell me that they liked my presentation. When I asked one young lady what made mine better than the others, she said, “No fluff.” I said, fluff and she said, “You know, no beating around the bush.” I concluded my speech with an announcement that I had something for each of them. One of the minister’s who appeared to be quite stiff at the start of my talk smiled and said, “I bet it is something healthy.” I smiled and reached into my bag and gave each of then a paperback book on a variety of health subjects as I announced, ‘There are thousands of these books available for people to read to help themselves and just think what could happen if we were supported by the government.”

The world has changed much in thirty years. Many of you have taken the time to educate yourselves and I wish to encourage you to take the time to speak to your Member of Parliament on how you would like to see the system changed. They asked for input on how to save money and still make the health care system work for you, the people. There contact number is 1-877-428-8337 or on the web at www.legis.gov.bc.ca /cmt.

The Yoga House (Oct 2001)

The front cover shows the new The Yoga House in Kelowna. It was built under the stewardship of Margaret Lunam, my yoga teacher of many years. Her students who are now yoga instructors have created a non-profit society to look after this precious resource. Margaret turns 80 this November and looks younger now than when I met her ten or eleven years ago. Yoga changed her life as it did mine and our response to this life-giving ancient art of breath and movement is to give back to our fellow seekers what we have received. The Yoga House was built with Margarets cash and hundreds of hours by volunteers who also wanted to give back some labour of love. The people on the front cover are Doug Bauer and Lynne Bowsher with the shovels, Phofi MCCullogh is cleaning the windows, and Margaret in the hard-hat. They choose to cover the parking lot and front area with grass blocks so that they hurt the earth as little as possible. The wood floor and walls are finished with environmental friendly products as Margaret is a deeply concerned citizen of this planet that not enough thought is given to the damage caused by toxic substances.

When I took classes at her home up Clifton Road her front lawn was full of wild flowers carefully tended so not to use too much water. She often let students trade work for classes and gave bursaries to those who wanted to attend workshops but couldn’t afford the modest fees of the world class presenters. She offered the workshops on a regular basis so that her student teachers could have the best training available. After many years of having students go up and down her staircase to the beautifully built studio overlooking the lake, four nights of the week and several day classes she decided she needed her own space and that her students and instructors needed a place of their own. They rented the Buddhist temple for year or so while construction on
the new Yoga House continued at 1272 St. Paul Street.

Margaret has a heart of gold but my term of endearment for her was sergeant-general, for she likes discipline in her classes. I tried my best but some day it just didn’t seem good enough for her so I accepted the parts of her I liked and ignored the remarks that cut deep as I sank deeper into the poses. She likes to take all of students past where they would have gone on their own and encourages them to breath into the tight places to let go of the tension so the pose can deepen. Each time I attended I became renewed and though my attendance was sporadic I was always allowed to attended whatever class I made it too and over the years she came to appreciate my diligence in the midst of a busy life. After four or five years of building my strength and learning the basics by repetition and having the space in the building I owned, I offered Yoga classes here in Penticton. Basically it was done to help me put into practice what I was learning and it also helped to pay my rent. I call my classes ‘soft yoga’ for though I like the precision of Iyengar my style of teaching is uniquely my own. This fall I offer a newly renovated space at 254 Ellis Street so that yoga can continue to happen. Morgan an instructor from Vernon will be instructing Monday, Thursday and Saturdays. I will be teaching on Wednesday only, until the business of renovating slows down. If anyone wants to make use of the space on Tuesdays, Fridays or Sundays they can contact me at 492-0987. You can meet Morgan on page ?? and more about Margaret on page ??.

To take the time to type this column took lots of discipline for I would prefer to be getting my store back together and put the molding around the floor of the newly laid carpet. I have been living in complete chaos since the early spring and am looking forward a slowing down of the transformation process as winter closes in and the windows get sealed. No more need to paint, gyproc, insulat and replace water lines and electrical wires. If the body reflects the external process then I am a good reflection for my body has undergone metamorphosis also. Starting with a fractured hip that I kept torquing because I didn’t realize it was broken, thinking it would get better with time and only once I had lost much energy did I go to see the doctors. I have kept myself in the best physical condition possible to avoid that possibility of ever experiencing a hospital visit personally but still Karma pervaded and I got the experience anyway. Thank goodness I have a strong body and was able to overcame all the mishaps the doctors managed to do, all with the best of intentions. My final trip was at noon on the opening day of the Wise Woman Weekend which happened Sept. 14, 15 & 16. The surgeon removed the wires that he had placed around my femur that he cracked while fixing my hip. What a barbaric process. First they wrap metal around the bone to stabilize it from further cracking, secondly they use square screws and bolts to clamp the wires together that look like the ones they use to fix cars with. My body reacted to the wire and when x-rays were taken several months later it looked like a mouse had chewed rings around my bones. Each time my knee bent I could feel the wires and screws hurting my muscles. The surgeon didn’t believe me for according to his studies I shouldn’t be feeling them. Only with great persistence from me did he agree to remove them.

Now I feel I can start to heal properly and soon I will be stretching as deeply as used to. I know I need to build more strength into my body and I shall continue doing hand stands but the breath and stretching work is what I love. About the time you read this column I will have taken Donna Farhi class at Margarets new Yoga House. Donna has written The Breathing Book and is considered to a yoga expert. She needed to breath well for she was born with weak lungs. Every day we have opportunities to share what I have learned, as did the forty instructors for the Wise Woman Weekend. It was joy to see so many older woman attending as well as few younger ones. I asked one of the younger woman why she was there and she said because she wanted to be around the wisdom of so many beautiful wise women. Marcel and looked at her and surmised she must have been an Indian princess in her past life and welcomed her into the circle of friends. My heart opens and tears of joy come to my eyes as I recall all the happy moments and help that was so generously given to make the weekend a success. I find myself surrounded by amazing women and men and know that too is a reflection of my own courage to be who I am.

Farmer’s Market in Penticton (Aug 2001)

Another recent photo, taken by me on Main Street in Penticton, one sunny Saturday at the Farmers’ Market. In the foreground is one of the original organic farmers in the area, Catherine McDougal with her son, Sunny. They drive in regularly from Darke Lake to sell their produce and returned again on Sunday for the Canada Day Celebrations. Catherine and her husband choose to live in the country, so they can raise their children outside of the normal social conditioning. Her husband delivered all five of their children. In 1989 when they moved to the Okanagan, they tried to start an Intentional Community on the land they had purchased. They advertised in Common Ground and Catherine spent much of her time replying to the various applicants. Nothing came of it, so they let the idea pass. When my friend Dean Goddard and I went out to visit her farm she let us browse through the responses she had saved.

Dean would like to start an Intentional Community based on a model developed by Rudolf Steiner called the ‘Fellowship Community.’ He has been reading books on how a community grows spiritually by taking care of the aging and living in nature. He feels that the Okanagan would be a good place to develop a similar model. The seniors would pay to be part of the community and are cared for by the workers who live on the land and grow all the food organically. The community near New York City, has been in existence for thirty-three years and has grown to 160 members, workers and volunteers.Interested? Please see story on page 18.

Two of my favourite sayings are, “Every dollar we spend is a vote for what we believe in,” and “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world, for indeed it is the only thing that ever has.“ As I become more aware of the choices I make and the implications they have on our local and world resources, the more I honour what nurtures life, making me a more responsible citizen of this marvellous planet. Co-creating a community is something I have spoken about before. I just have never figured out how to access the land and money to make it happen. Dean has a sincere interest and with support from the community it just might be possible. lt is indeed something that is needed. Seniors, like the rest of us, need to feel useful and good about sharing their skills and experiences. I for one would like my final years spent in a family like setting with quality food.

The other idea that is becoming popular and one that would support growers like Catherine are CSA’s-Community Supported Agriculture. To support the local growers people group together and prepay for the food they would like grown for them. This food co-op group then picks up the fresh food and distributes it to the members. This is one way to keep our food production local and help the hard-working farmers who usually don’t have the marketing skills to make money from wonder how they find the time and energy to grow and sell as much as they do. If you would like to help the farmers with a local CSA, let me know. We can have a few meetings at the Holistic Health Centre in Penticton and see if we can make a difference.

Since the last Musings, I have had a bone density scan and was told that my density was 2.4 above average. The technician said it was the best result they had seen in years and asked why I was there. I said the surgeon had told me that my bones were soft; that was why they cracked. That was not the case: it was the way I twisted when I fell that caused the hip fracture.

Figuring out what my body’s ’real’ requirements are is still confusing. The government recommend 50-60 grams a day of protein, and John Robbins book Diet for a New America says that 20-30 grams is enough. Before I had the scan I upped my protein and calcium intake thinking that I wasn’t getting enough. Many studies have now proven that women who eat too much protein have the same mineral/calcium absorption problems as women who do not eat enough protein. So proven though I ate the minimum grams of protein, my calcium absorption was good, leading me to believe that all the vegetables have been eating must have been good for my bones. I am surprised at how much I am enjoying eating eggs and toast for breakfast. I don’t really enjoy the protein shakes, but will continue with them if I don’t have time to cook. I still prefer the taste and texture of vegetarian food but I now eat a small amount of organic meat so that I can gain a few pounds and rebuild my iron reserves. Getting my blood pressure to increase is harder than I figured, even with the additional salt. As with any change I will see how my body responds and re-examine my spiritual belief that eating meat lowers my vibrational rate.

Paul Pitchford did an excellent article in last month’s Issues about our society’s demand for excess protein. In his book he does recommend broken bone soup, as the gristle and the marrow help to keep our joints greased. The organ meats do the best repair work as long as the animal was raised and killed with love and respect. This meat is better absorbed energetically than the factory-farmed steaks that people usually buy at supermarkets. These a e loaded with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and fear. When I went back for my x -rays my bone was healing nicely and by the time this lssues is out, I will be doing the distribution once a gain. I am glad to be walking and am looking forward to some long hikes. I will continue doing yoga since I know it will help with the stiffness and keep my joints flexible and strong.

Thank you to all the people who sent cards wishing me well and sending me loving energy. As with all of life’s experiences. it is what we do with the lesson that counts. I expect I still have much to learn and being such a willing student of life, I will use this experience to deepen my compassion for others. Tears come to my eyes much easier. My heart responded deeply with the singing of the national anthem on Canada Day and tears flowed. The broken hip incident has slowed me down and I have made a promise to my inner child to nurture that idea of myself. It is very easy to keep busy with important tasks that need doing but now I ask myself if they are as important as the quiet time that nurtures my soul.

Wise Women’s Festival (June & July 2001)

Another switched photo from the original Issues Magazine as I could not find the original to post, instead here is me finding balance with Grandad Henry Brousseau. 

I am looking forward to just standing up as well as this Wise Womens event, as I missed the Spring Festival of Awareness at the end of April. I trust that the universe knows what it is doing, for I sure felt very unaware for someone who is so in touch with her guides and feelings. Hindsight is always one hundred percent and though the writing was on the wall, it never entered my consciousness that the fall I wrote about in the last Musings could have broken a bone. Not me, it was not possible, and on top of that, I had too much resistance to the established medical profession to ask for help.

The discomfort I felt was mostly at night and what I complained about most was lack of deep sleep. I took it as a sign that I needed to journal and release whatever the fall had shaken loose at an emotional level. Yes, slowing down was something I needed to do, and I had plans to do so, but first this or that needed doing. As you who attended the Festival will know, I fractured the ball joint off from my femur.

After waiting six weeks for my groin muscle to heal, and feeling my vitality draining, I knew something was wrong. I went to Pro-Physio and asked them to help me. They told me my leg was rotated and shortened and therefore my bone must be broken. I argued with them for twenty minutes and then something she said went ‘click’ and I knew they were right. I phoned and scheduled an X-ray for Monday, for I wanted to be present at the Spring Festival. On Friday I finished setting up the site and as people arrived and asked me how I was feeling, I felt like crying, so I asked a friend to drive me to the hospital and checked myself into emergency. The doctor and I both had our mouths agape as we looked at the X-ray. A short time later the surgeon arrived and said due to the length of time since the injury the ball joint was decaying and could not be pinned as was usual for this type of injury.

He would be back at 8 am to do a hip replacement and told the nurse to get me prepped. The operation did not go as planned, and when he pounded the prosthesis into my leg, it created a hairline fracture in my femur. More X-rays and a second operation followed putting wires around the cracked bone. That operation exhausted me more than the first one. After one week of complete bed rest, for the surgeon’s orders were not to let me move, even to go to the bathroom, I was told to get up and go home. After twenty X-rays all looked good. I was glad to go home but it was too much for my system and I felt sick to my stomach with a frontal headache. The fresh air felt great but all I wanted to do was to curl up In a ball and disappear.

The best thing I did for myself was to phone Dr. Alex Mazurin, my naturopathic doctor, who was kind enough to come and visit me on Sunday. He helped me to understand what was needed to speed the healing process was different than what my instincts told me. The smell of food made me nauseated so I was drinking lots of herbal tinctures to flush my kidneys and liver from all the morphine and drugs used during the operations. We talked about my diet and why the surgeon had said to me, “Your bones are soft. That is why they cracked.” Dr. Mazurin said, “Even though you are eating a lot of calcium-rich foods, if the body doesn’t have enough protein, it can’t lay down the calcium.” He then recommended that I eat two eggs and toast starting now and every morning for three weeks or so. I didn’t think I could keep one down, but I was willing to give it a try. One egg tasted so good that I ate a second one, and within two or three hours, my headache started to clear and by the next morning I felt better.

Since then, I have been rereading my nutrition books much more carefully. I now know that I need 50 grams of protein a day. My intake for some time has now probably averaged about 30-40 grams. Beans give me a lot of gas, so I have avoided them. Nuts, which I love, are hard for me to digest so I eat them in small quantities, the same with cheese because it creates mucus in my nose and throat. I figured I must be eating all right since I have lots of energy, enough to work seven days a week, twelve hours a day.

Since I don’t find meat all that appetizing and don’t want to cook it on a regular basis I am now going to try some of the powdered protein drinks. Having a shake made with fortified soy milk for one of the meals will help as I am finding it difficult to be hungry three times a day. Eating an average of 15-18 grams of protein at each meal seems a lot but I have increased my bean and dairy intake and will continue to eat fish once a week. I have let go of my resistance to eating meat and if I am eating out and someone has cooked it, I will try some.

The surgeon also pointed out that I was low in iron and gave me a transfusion of two pints of blood after the surgery. Dr. Mazurin advised me to eat more salt until my blood pressure comes closer to the hundred mark. I do use Celtic Salt, for it has all the trace minerals and certainly adds some taste to the eggs, as does the fresh pepper and buttered toast.

I feel great and have had no pain, never really did. My operated leg swells when I have been up for too long. So I use it as a barometer and this stage of healing, I can be up for about three hours and then need two hours with my feet up. There are many rules to follow once a hip is replaced. I will need to modify some of my yoga poses, for sitting in the lotus position is something I am told I will never do again, as is the forward bend, or touching my toes with my back straight. I am told these extreme movements could pop my hip out of the joint. Once my muscles have rebuilt themselves I will have to be very aware of all my movements and go slowly with how far I can stretch. I am sure looking forward to going for a walk and carrying my own food or things to the table. I have let go of my plans to organize the Holistic Health Fair in Penticton this July, as well as the new yoga studio that, just got finished. It will become a metaphysical book and gift store as the Juicy Carrot moves to the other side of the building and Issues Magazines moves back into where it used to be. Marcel and I have decided to let go of the Holistic Health Centre as it is now. A hope of mine would be for practitioners or doctors to join together to run it themselves. Otherwise, it is up for rent to whomever can use the space. If you are interested in co-creating with the people who are presently renting, please give us a call at 1-888-756-9929.

I have always trusted the universe. and I know deep inside that I will always be looked after. I am grateful that I went in to see the doctor before infection set in or I damaged a nerve. Up until now I prided myself that I never had an accident that hurt me, even though my car was hit by a transport truck and a speeding car on two separate occasions.

I am not a klutz, and tripping in my new hiking boots happened because of their poor design. When I talk to people they tell me they have done the same thing, but no one has complained to the shoe designers. Most work boots now have closed catches, for they were considered a hazard. Now it is time for hiking boot design to change as well. I would like to hear from you if you have fallen and could have hurt yourself. I feel these catches are dangerous and want them changed.

There is so much more to tell, and I shall as time and space allow. Thanks for sharing with me and for sending your good vibrations. It is easier to feel them, for I have noticed how much more I can feel with my heart. Three months of crying has opened up something inside of me that was closed earlier in my life.

Sharing Breakfast with Our Dog (April & May 2001)

On the cover is a photo of my brother Michael sharing breakfast with Target, our dog. The sharing reminded me of all the people who have taken the time to help me during the past several weeks and of Dad’s frustration, for he had named the dog Target because of the brown spot on his rump. He said it was the perfect place for booting him. Target was fast on his feet and escaped easily most times but once in a while, he went flying through the air. It was better that Target got booted than one of us kids, which Dad sometimes liked to do just for the fun of it. Mostly, he was a good Dad considering he was never given any parenting classes. He liked having kids and spent lots of time playing with us, but when life became frustrating, he needed to release energy in the only way he knew how, which was kicking something.

The last few weeks have been very frustrating for me but in a different way. I am slowed down to less than the pace of a snail because of a pulled groin muscle, which is a reflection of the imbalance in my life. I was given several warnings but do you think I would slow down long enough to focus on the situation? Even after going down for the third time, I still didn’t sit and reflect and try to figure out how to make changes.

Finally, my intuitive side decided that was that, and took my leg was strong enough to allow my legs out from under me. The pain made my leg throb late into the night. My higher self was asking me to look at some alternative ways to create balance in my life. What was important to me? How could I facilitate all that I do and still have play and personal time?

The answer came as I lay writhing in pain, having a direct conversation with God. I wasn’t happy, so what were my choices? The answer came with my usual resistance, which is the same excuse most people use … “I can’t change because I need the money.” The thought was repeated – “It is the only way” -so I had to think some more. Yes, it does feel doable. There would be a few tight spots but I could see the benefits. When Marcel came to work in the morning, I was sitting in my wheelchair anxious to share my insights. She had to think only for few minutes before agreeing. “Yes, publishing every two months is a good idea.”

When Samarpan came to work the next day she agreed, it would be great if we all got a week or two off every two months. The decision feels right and will put the fun back into writing Musing and being on the road doing distribution. With a month off in the middle of every printing, I will be able to get caught up on everything that needs doing instead of coming off the road with six days to keep all of my other commitments before another deadline hits. I feel very grateful that the solution was that easy, but I am shaking my head as to why I hadn’t thought of the idea sooner.

I had asked my hips to shift forward some time ago so that my head could be more balanced on my shoulders. I had been working on groin stretches and the Warrior Pose in yoga and thought the rolfing and emotional release work would do the rest, slowly and surely. I also made note that in the last two months I had come into possession of two jars of homemade arnica salve. I remember looking at them and wondering why? I hadn’t had any in my medicine cabinet for years.

Now to start at the beginning – I bought new boots several months ago that had quick hooks at the top and stiff laces. When I was out for walk, I fell crossing a wooden bridge. I was moving slowly, looking at the water, so I didn’t hurt myself. Later that day I tripped again, this time on pavement. I was bruised, and talked about it to several people who all nodded their heads and said they did the same thing. I took my boots off and told myself to crimp the hooks so that it wouldn’t happen again, and set them aside. With time my bruises healed and I forgot the incident, and forgot to find the pliers. A couple of weeks ago the shoes I was wearing got wet and so I decided to put my boots on, forgetting about the previous falls. The strange part was there were no reminders from my angels or higher self, who are always so good with their constant reminders not to forget my keys, or warning me of danger.

That morning as I walked between buildings, my lace looped onto the opposite boot and I made contact with the asphalt. I felt a snap in my groin and swore to myself, knowing that it was more serious than the first two falls. I was stranded for about ten minutes before someone came to help me. I shook and cried, took some Rescue Remedy and Traumel as I rubbed in the Arnica cream for the bruising. The pulsing in my hip and elbow stopped about 3 am and I finally fell asleep with the full moon shining in my eyes.

I moved slowly for several days, resorting to crutches to support me. By Sunday my leg was strong enough to wobble around like a duck. People reminded me that this was a message to slow down, but did I listen? I had too many things to do before I left for Calgary. I started pulling a table very slowly. It worked, I didn’t need help. My leg felt fine, so I pulled again and again. “Hey this is working just fine,” I thought when the leg of the table collapsed. I leaned back slightly to keep my balance and felt the groin snap. This time, the pain was more intense and the healing much slower. My Mom got a wheelchair for me and my niece Darci has been helping me get in and out of bed, as well as getting me dressed. After a week I am able to hobble around on crutches. I have cried lots, had some crystal clearing work done on my energetic field, took flower essences and talked to my hips asking them to release any old stuck energy so that as I heal I can move forward in my life. Acupuncture, and CranioSacral Massage has hastened the healing process.

I am grateful to be able to sit and type without too much distress, and will be glad when I can clean up after myself and get on with normal activities. It has been very difficult to stay present in the pain but there have been moments that have been worth it. As I heal, I intend to remind myself to stop and smell the roses more often, for what needed to get done in that moment of my fall is still sitting there reminding me that – it wasn’t important. It was my programming that was driving me to keep busy, and that can be changed.

Tub Time (Mar 2001)

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.

An Igloo for Fun (Feb 2001)

As I promised last month, here is Dad’s replica of an Alaskan Igloo. This month’s front cover photo shows us children playing in our new house. I loved the part where we got to crawl through the doorway and then inside, look through the ice towards the sun. I remember him explaining the technique to friends and his brothers. I listened for as long as I could and then I would go and play, checking in every so often to see how they were doing.

Building the igloo reminds me that technique was just as important as having the right environmental conditions. Their structure was much simpler than our modern houses but the function was the same; to give protection against the elements. North American’s have evolved to the point that technology is at our fingertips but in doing so we have lost touch with the elements and what it means to be human. We have lost touch with the seasons and being grateful when the sun shines.

A favourite book of mine that I had a chance to reread over the holidays, is The Body Revealed by Ron Kurtz and Hector Prestera, M.O. This book gives clear guidance for opening up the body so that we can feel love, for as I said in my last Musing, the body never lies – its tone, colour, posture, proportions, movements, tension and vitality express the person within. Fixed muscular patterns are central to a person’s way of being in the world. They form in response to family and early environment and our definitions of love.

There are four basic body types: Needy, Burdened, Rigid, and Top and Bottom Heavy. Each type has its underlying fears and emotions with characteristic behaviour patterns because of life experiences. The needy types are always looking for support, life is hard to cope with and they have strong feelings of abandonment. Slumped shoulders reflect the burdens carried, along with resentment at being made too responsible at too young an age. A rigid, tense body reflects muscles that grasp for things, a struggle to get what one wants. The jaw will harden or jut forward as the body becomes muscular and energetic. The top and bottom heavy types ignore the needs and feelings of themselves and others and go into their heads for protection, layering tissue over their unmet needs.

When the innate wholeness of the body is disrupted, we ban the impulses that arise in our bellies, genitals, hearts, arms, legs and other parts of our body. We block by creating tension, using our muscles to dam the flow of feelings. In doing so we diminish our feelings and our internal guidance systems of knowing who we are.

These childhood blocks allow us to survive and give us our personality but over time they rob us of the energy to be our wonderful selves. With time the programming fades and the feeling slips from our consciousness. We then search for indirect routes to satisfaction as we progress toward adulthood with a patchwork quilt of roles and games.

In a healthy open person, feelings flow easily into expression. A strong feeling of sadness spontaneously becomes a trembling jaw, tears and sobbing. If that feeling can’t be expressed, it is held by the jaw as the breathing becomes shallow, and the belly finds a place to stuff the pain. In rigid types the emotions are often held in the lungs.

Understanding my family history and getting a sense of my programming is important to me so that I can understand my definition of love as it was imprinted on me genetically. My Dad was like many others, a product of his pain and fear. He was good to us most of the time. He didn’t drink or smoke and he liked to work hard, but at times he was downright mean. Deep down I knew he loved me, but he seldom showed it with words or actions. When he hurt me, I avoided him till I felt it was safe to relax my guard. Most of the time he just ignore me. Today some of those feelings are coming back up as I open up my emotional body during my breathwork and allow them to be released.

My emotional release sessions with Ken Martin always involve lots of yawning and crying and sometimes screaming. We always start with a check-in to see how my body is feeling. I quiet my mind and watch the flow of my breath, breathing a little faster than normal. Then I notice where the energy gets stuck. This time it was deep inside my belly. As I went deeper into the feeling, it felt like a hot poker. Ken asked me to be with it, just allow it to be. Sadness consumed me, then anger and tears Ken then asked that I see my inner child feeling hurt and angry. Then to imagine my higher self and the more grown-up parts of me supporting her in feeling her feelings. I would prefer to figure them out. I think that if I can just figure them out they will hurt less.

Ken asks me to get out of my head and just allow the feelings. More crying and feelings of frustration. I feel angry words and growl to express them. Then I get quiet as I continue to offer my inner child support and love for holding these angry feeling all these year’s. I imagine her feelings in a basket, which she tips over and pours out onto the ground. During all this time I could feel electrical impulses darting back and forth between my neck and the area around my uterus. Hot flashes moved down my legs and I felt like a jelly fish letting go of its tendrils as old tightness fizzled and popped. The next day I attended my Yoga class in Kelowna. I felt like I had a new body. We started with Sun Salutations and I felt strong and balanced. Then we did some forward seated stretches and I could stretch an extra two inches towards my knees, without any extra effort. It has taken me years of bodywork, counselling, breath work and yoga to allow my body to change and I am living proof it is possible. The bonus for doing this work is that I get the energy needed to do the many tasks asked of me. I write this column because I would like to encourage others on their healing journey.

I believe like Ron Kurtz and many others that say- if we let go of chronic tensions we can change how our body looks and feels. I give thanks to Ida Rolf, Mr. Iyengar and the thousands of others who are giving us tools to change our patterning, dissolve old limiting beliefs systems and awaken us to our true potential and the greatness that we are.

A Touch of Alaska (Dec 2000)

This cover photo and quote made headlines in the Alpena News back in 1951. Mom and Dad both loved the North and tried to recreate it when they moved to Michigan. With lots of snow and the annual Thunder Bay Ice Carnival, Mom decided her dog Chinook should be part of the festivities. Cheena is Chinook’s daughter and Mom is teaching them to pull her sled. Some of the newspaper clippings with pictures of women waving from the sleigh say .. “Queen Arlene and members of her court are set for some genuine Alaskan dog-sledding.” “Visitors to our annual Ice Carnival will get to see these dogs pulling a load of beauties through the snow. Not one in a hundred probably will know this breed. They are Mackenzie Huskies from Northwestern Canada.”

While Mom practiced her dog-guiding skills, Dad taught us how to make igloos. We needed special snow to make an igloo, and one crispy morning we got it in the form of heavy dew that froze. This helps the crust stay together so that it can be cut with a shovel. Each piece was cut to size as it spiralled upward and inward. I will put that picture on next month’s front cover.

Mom still has a few dogs. She can’t live without them. She told me that she has never lived without a dog. Even as a child and when she was in the convent, she had a dog waiting for her when she got home for the holidays. When she comes to the Okanagan this Christmas, she says she will only bring two of them… we’ll see. It will be good to have her here for a few months or more. She would like to find a secluded place to live somewhere within an hour of Penticton. If you have a place with some space for her and her furry companions, please give me a call at 1-888-756-9929.

My focus for the past month has been to slow down just a touch. I cleaned out some old files, winterized the windows and painted a few of the practitioner’s rooms. We have two women joining us… a newly-licensed naturopath, Megan Mackenzie and a registered massage therapist, clinical hypnotist and counsellor, Rosemarie Woloch. It is great to have some more people join our community of like-minded souls. I love what has been created here on Ellis St. People from all over drop in to say “Hi,” and check out our Juice Bar, Gift Shop or Yoga Studio. Many people come because they are looking for some guidance in understanding their health, or to feel the spiritual connection that the people, books and videos offer.

Recently I had a real estate man drop by… he was representing someone who wanted to buy my land and build a restaurant. I contemplated selling, for I am always open to the possibility that the universe has something else for me to do. It didn’t happen but it gave me lots to think about, for I have always wanted to start an Intentional Community… a Retreat Centre where like-minded souls could live and work together. The offer prompted me to think once again about this possibility. If anyone has similar ideas, I would love to hear from you.

Another project I have started is producing T-shirts. You saw them on the back cover of last month’s Issues and again this month on the opposite page. It reminded me of the quote… Be careful what you ask for … I really liked Nywyn and Kestrel’s designs and was saddened when they stopped making them three years ago. Recently Kestrel approached me wishing to sell his designs. I couldn’t resist. It fits into everything else I do and will teach me a few more things about being in business. I can take them with me when I travel so if anyone wants to see them in other towns, please let me know.

I don’t celebrate Christmas in the traditional way any more, but I remember the excitement of getting something new. Owning a gift store is like having Christmas everyday. When a parcel arrives or someone drops in on their way back from India with new product, rocks, oils or T-shirts, I can feel the excitement. I get to open the boxes and enjoy the scents or beauty until someone takes the item home. I enjoy the moment and give thanks for my many blessings as I continue on to the next task of pricing, cleaning and even dealing with shoplifters. Each day teaches me much, and in gratitude I blow kisses to the water and the sky for my abundance.

I want to say “Thank You” to all the Safeway stores who have allowed me to use their front foyer space to distribute my magazines for the past ten years. National Distributors Alliance have now bought the rights to put their racks in the foyers. NDA will allow my magazines in their rack for a monthly fee. That I refuse to do, so give me a call if you want to know a place close by to a Safeway store where you can pick it up.

For those of you who noticed that the front cover is not in full color, I am still learning what it takes to coordinate a Mac printer with an IBM computer. We have several experts doing their best to figure out the glitches, and we’ll see what happens.

And last but not least… “Thank You,” to everyone who took the time to respond to Eileen’s Boeur’s comments about needing a reprieve from my front cover photos and personal thoughts. It was interesting to read other people’s comments both pro and con. Eleven years ago when I started writing Musings, I wrote about the changes I felt were needed in our “Health Care” system, for that is something I would like to see improved. Nobody ever made mention that they read it. People told me they generally find editorial’s boring. When I started doing process work I decided I would share my feelings and my healing process. I got lots of good feedback, so I continued. It is a good exercise for me to make the time every month to write—putting into perspective my idea of who I am in relation to how I am feeling. As I stated several months ago when I published my before and after photos, I feel like I have made it through the worst of the energy blockages and now it’s time to slow down and let my body adjust. I will see what the future brings and keep you updated as to my progress. Each month as I reflect on where I am, those of you who are interested are welcome to peek in and share part of my life. Each day I try to be more in touch with my feelings, for the body never lies. It is the mind that likes to play games. Reading Chinese Medicine and Psychology is helping me to understand how energy moves through the system. Meditation, yoga and good food build my inner strength so that I may grow into my unique self and feel blessed with inner peace.

Namaste