Orphaned Moose in Peace Country (Dec 1998)

Many thanks to all the folks who mentioned to me that they ‘love them ol’ photos.” My Mom deserves the applause — she wanted a record of homesteading and captured many moments for history. This month’s photograph is not one that she took but one that she saved. Let me introduce you to Uncle Bob, Grandad’s oldest brother, “an unclaimed treasure or a man who never married,” as Mom would say. This photograph was taken at the Edmonton Exhibition Grounds in the 1920’s. It is Fall Fair Time and the surrounding towns liked to partake in showing off their treasures. Grandad and his three brothers lived on a farm in Grimshaw, Alberta, where they trained these moose to pull their sled. They would drive them to town and to do errands around the farm. I chose this photo for this month’s front cover for the moose remind me of reindeer and Christmas.

Each family has its traditions, depending on the memories that are passed down and included in the next generation. I don’t remember Santa and his reindeer dropping down on our roof when I was young, but since I had lots of invisible friends to play with I believed that anything was possible. By the time I was eight years old, I helped Mom with the shopping and wrapping of Christmas presents so by then I knew better. Christmas holidays were a time to socalize and relax— sort of. Cooking a turkey and fixings for ten to twenty family members took time and effort as did the dishes, but we all loved the left-over turkey and the abundance of desserts, so we continued with the tradition till I became a vegetarian.

As I became older Christmas gift-giving became less important in our family. Dad didn’t like going to town, let alone shop and Mom preferred to give when she felt like it and not just on stat holidays. To me that made a lot of sense, and as my awareness shifted, so did what I wanted to do. Nine years ago on Christmas Day, I moved from our family home. I remember walking into the building and listening to my new landlord gasp, as she saw Rae’s truck pull up. She said to her husband, “I can’t believe that they are moving her in on Christmas Day.” I could, for it made sense to me: my three sons were home for the holidays and I had the muscle power to move my belongings, one load each day. Besides it gave us something to do as a family, and I thought it was a great way to end our relationship.

When my marriage ended, I asked the universe for a rest. I needed time to myself, to find out who I was, someone other than my children’s Mom, Rae’s wife or a lifeguard. After living alone for six years and enjoying every second of it, I could feel a change in my bones— it was time to allow a man into my life. I looked up into the sky and said, “If you have a man in mind, drop him in my lap, for I don’t have time to go looking.” For the next year I eyeballed each man as he came and went from the Centre, wondering who the universe had in mind. Then in March of 1996, a young man registered for a vegetarian cooking class, who afterwards asked questions about the Spring Festival of Awareness. Wanting to be part of a group with similar beliefs, he volunteered to make posters and anything else I could think of. After the Festival he took off to Chile for three months to work and when he returned, he dropped in to the Centre to say Hi to everyone. He was waiting for a phone call to go back to work. The call never came, but in the meantime, he kept busy helping with the Fall Festival of Awareness. He then made a trip to Edmonton with me to deliver ISSUES and share some time with my boys. He was a good driver, had a great sense of humour, and we talked about our many similar interests. He was a dedicated vegetarian right from the start and we enjoyed eating out but vegetarian restaurants are few and far between so we had fun sharing the cooking and eating at the Centre.

One Saturday night there was a potluck at Urmi’s, so Gerry and I went in his truck. Late that evening he dropped me off and as he left, I asked him, “Are you taking a break from volunteering tomorrow?” He replied, “We’ll see how I feel in the morning.” About ten am, I heard his truck pull up while I was still in bed. I laughed to myself, looked up to the sky and said, “Thanks, I now know what it means to have someone dropped in my lap.” With this as a clue that he might be the one for me, I asked for his birthtime and had my astrologer check him out. I wanted to know if there were any major obstacles if I got involved with him… for I am very practical woman who does not believe that love is blind. The astrology reading was delightful, with lots of inside info as to potential possibilities, with hardly any negative aspects, considering our age difference.

It was now a month before Christmas and he had time on his hands and was hoping to see more of BC, so he decided to take up the challenge of driving my Mom from Terrace to Penticton, in her Motorhome, to be with me at Christmas. He took the bus up and my Mom actually liked him. Later he told me he enjoyed her company and her many dogs… I gave him two bonus points for it was starting to be obvious that he was the one, but still I wanted confirmation. Christmas Eve arrived and the three of us visited and as he left to bicycle home to Summerland, I gave him a big hug, one that lasted several minutes. As I did, a song started playing in my head. It took a while for the tune to become clear but after he left I kept humming it till I remembered the words. It had been a long time since I had heard it. The next day we went for a walk and I sang the song, that had been in my head, to him. It went like this… k a Do you love me, I can really move, e Do you love me I’m in the groove, e Do you love me … not that I can tell…..? After listening to me sing the song he looked at me with a puzzled look and said, “What do you think it means?” I said, “I think it means I am supposed to ask you for a date.” He just about lost his footing in the falling snow and said, “I will think about it.” Over the next several weeks we had some serious discussions as to the implications of the two of us dating, but as far as I was concerned, this was who the universe sent and I seldom question its wisdom. Gerry needed time so we let the process happen slowly. An occasional movie, trips to Kelowna to do yoga and long walks or talks. During one of our evening chats we both had an amazing experience as we watched each other’s face change shape in the soft light of the room. We took turns describing each other as the images appeared and faded for we both sensed that they represented ourselves in past lives. Today our commitment is comfortable and solid and we look forward to what the season brings.

Moving the Piano (Nov 1998)

“They said it couldn’t be done.” These words are on the back of this month’s front cover photograph. They were written by my Mom as a momento of her accomplishment. Getting her beloved piano moved from Michigan to Rosswood, BC was quite a feat since my Dad didn’t even want her to play it. He didn’t like piano music and asked that she not play whenever he was in the house. To me it seemed such a shame but Mom always found ways to make herself happy despite her circumstances. Once, when we talked about her being in the convent for her entire school life, she said, “It was the only way a girl could get an education and that was important to my Mom.” Grandma was very educated: she spoke four languages, including Russian, and rode horses as her husband was a veterinarian. In the convent, all the young women learned to play the piano. There was also drawing, cooking and sewing classes as well as the regular school work.

When I was about ten years old, we moved from the original Rosswood homestead to the new one that Dad built a few miles away. I remember helping Mom unpack boxes and for a moment I stood in awe looking at the beautiful art work she had created during her last years in the convent. One of the pictures was of a white cat curled up in a fish bowl. The subtle details and the beautiful look of the cat made me ask why she didn’t become an artist. She said she was busy raising a family. I loved listening to her sing when she played the piano for she had trained with the Royal Conservatory of Music and had passed their high standards. I enjoyed the many sing-songs we had on the long, bumpy road when we drove into town. If Aunt Cathy was with us it was even more fun, for she loved to sing and she knew lots of songs.

Mom attracted to her women who were different and they provided good role models for me. I thank her and my Grandmothers for giving me a feeling deep in my bones which knows about being myself and doing what makes me happy. After last month’s release I know that I still carry memories in my body of my mother’s feelings about events that happened to her.

As the year draws to a close, I take time to reflect on my chosen journey. I ask myself… “Was my soul given the opportunity to learn what was asked of me?” My 1998 journey was to learn about Maturity and Trust, and with all the shifts and changes in my body and a recent dream I had, I would say my journey feels complete. Even the bones in my feet are shifting. For the past several months when I get up in the morning, my first few steps are intense. My heels feel like they are stepping on spears as the energy shoots up the back of my calves. After the Wise Woman Weekend that sensation stopped, and now the soles of my feet are very itchy. To me itchiness means more blood circulation and therefore healing as my hips and one more vertebra shift into place, allowing my spine more ease so that my shoulders can roll back a little bit easier.

My breathing has changed once again. Now it is easy to feel my breath going into the top of my lungs without effort. It just happens. I try to notice this new sensation as much as possible for I know that with time it will fade and all that will be left is a memory of how tight my lungs used to be.

I feel I have matured this year. My relationship with Gerry has grown into being a helper in his business as I get a chance to improve my cooking skills by making soup for the lunch special at the Juicy Carrot. My oldest son got married this summer and I got a chance to dress formally. It has been ten or twelve years since I have put on a pair of pantyhose, regular shoes and a plain colored dress. Listening and watching my son and his fiancèe plan every detail for over a year helped my heart to open, for I have judgments around spending a lot of money on a wedding. My business relationships with Jan and Marcel have deepened as I come to appreciate their unique qualities more and more. They allow me to grow and expand as more things just seem to happen. Our Centre is thriving because there is so much love in each one of us. We are learning to live in the moment and let go of fear, knowing that each of us will speak our truth in an honest, open way.

Menopause has also arrived and I am experiencing warm flashes. I won’t say hot flashes because I am a person with deficient heat and I savour each heat wave. As Jan says, “You are the only women I know who thinks hot flashes are a blessing.”

And finally the dream I had, one that is much lighter than last month’s release of energy. This dream showed me how far I have come with getting in touch with the various parts of myself. The dream goes like this: I am about to cross a busy street, one with at least six lanes. The cars stop and I am about half-way across the intersection when I realize I have to go pee. There is no holding and I feel the warmth on my thigh but instantly, I realize I have a pad on and it is okay. I can let go and it will be contained. Half way across the street I notice a woman following behind me. As I reach the other side I see an outhouse in the bushes and I hurry up the slight incline. As I close the door I look at the wise, dignified woman, dressed in a business suit and think to myself, “She can wait, she has the look of a mature woman who knows herself, she is in no hurry.” I then lean over the hole of the toilet seat and start wringing out my wet pad.

To me this dream has a simple interpretation: it is the younger side of myself letting go … wetting my pants. Urine is the by-product of the kidneys and water in my dreams has to do with my emotions. In Chinese Medicine the kidneys rule the emotion of fear. I am wringing my old fears back into my childhood, for that is what the outhouse represents. The woman waiting for me is my wiser self, a patient, mature woman who knows how to hold things. She is waiting for me and has lots of patience. Her presence reassures me that I can call on her any time for assistance. The wise woman part of myself is making herself known, I just have to remember that she is part of me and all I have to do is ask for help.

All in all, this year has been very productive, very full, and I feel very blessed to be living in my body, feeling all the sensations that it has to offer and learning to slow down enough to enjoy the process.

Sunday Morning Pancakes (Oct 1998)

Seems like so much happens between each writing … each time I sit down to type, I ask myself, “Where do I start? Where am I at in my life? Recently I made the comment to Betty Nickerson, as I drove her to the airport, that I seem to work best while I am in the middle of process. She had remarked on how well the Wise Woman Weekend was organized. I thanked her, for it was a special weekend of incredible networking and educating people that there are choices and the first step is being aware of them. To her and the 160 women who attended, it opened up the possibilities of growth, freedom and love of themselves. For me it was a time to process deeply. With that many woman appreciating and showing their love with hugs and words, it was easy for me to sink into myself, feeling some deeply buried pain that has been inside of me for a very long time. Pain way beyond me, pain of women who have been raped, including my Mom.

I will start at the beginning and try to put into words my understanding of what is happening. As many of you know, I have done five years of intense bodywork and emotional releasing. Each session of release being reflected in my yoga asanas. As I stretch deeply, there is a point in my left shoulder that feels like a knife is cutting me. When I hold the pose long enough, I feel like throwing up. To localize this point of pain, I have had to let go of the many layers of tightness around it, becoming more aware each day of the subtle energy that is in my body. Many times, I have asked my body to let go and release and finally the other night I had a dream which I shall repeat to you later in the story, where something shifted, but first I need to update you on some details.

Five or six years ago, while Mom was visiting Grand Forks, a group of motorcycles pulled up and parked beside her as she walked on the sidewalk. She almost fainted, to the point where a policeman walking by asked if she was alright. What had happened was that this incident brought up an old memory, one that she had forgotten about. I was delighted that she had the courage to tell me about the rape that happened to her when she was 17. Just out of the convent, she had returned home to Portland, Oregon and found a job driving taxi and late one night, a phone call came in to the taxi company; someone wanted beer and pizza delivered to a park nearby and they wanted Tess to deliver it. My Mom being naive and wanting the work said “Yes.” It wasn’t till she parked that she realized it was a group of Hell’s Angels. She was gang-raped for hours and left to die. When she came to and drove home, the only person she could tell was her brother, for you didn’t talk about those things in those days. He grabbed a gun and went looking for the men but they had moved on. Mom didn’t get pregnant but she was badly hurt.

At the time she told me, it was just information; I could sense Mom’s distress but I didn’t feel the pain and neither of us cried. After my Rolf session last month, a small bruise appeared just below my left collarbone, I rubbed and kept loving it. The bruise disappeared in a few days as the pain shifted. During the next week I noticed whenever I breathed deeply, the inside of my lungs hurt and when I lifted small items the pain went down my arm. It then shifted to my sternum, which felt like it had been badly bruised. But life goes on, so I kept my awareness on my breath and how my body was feeling during the business of doing workshops and looking after details of the Wise Woman Weekend. On Sunday after packing up, I could feel intense sadness and the need to be alone, so I begged off going out for dinner with Betty and the organizers and went to bed. Tears came easily and thoughts of my Mom passed through my mind as well as remembrances of things she had said to me as a teenager that never really made sense at the time, like “Never tease a man,” or “Don’t say it unless you mean it.” I would respond with a puzzled look and say “But Mom, I don’t do that.”

After these thoughts passed I let myself become a rag doll, broken and battered and hurt as I cried myself to sleep. I awoke at 10:30 pm to go pee, something I had done all weekend every couple of hours. I had made note then that I was peeing more than usual and I wasn’t drinking that much so I figured that my body was releasing old fear from my kidneys and cell tissues as the energy cleared. As I repeated my dream to myself upon waking, what was happening to my body started to make sense. So now I will tell you about the dream that happened the night before the Wise Woman Weekend started.

The phone rings, it is my Mom, and she needs something…something to do with computers or telephones. I say I will be right over. Gerry and I jump in a vehicle and we start across town. As we go through the downtown core, (it seems bigger than Penticton) I see a commotion, and a woman I know is laying on the sidewalk. As I get closer she raises her head. She is a native woman, and she feels powerless to move. There is a man half-laying and half-sitting to her left side, holding her hand. I sense his powerlessness as he watches what is happening. I sense she is pregnant. I look at her and see her vagina. There is another man clawing at her thighs. I grab his hand and start to bite it. The first man says “I wouldn’t do that, he has pneumonia and it is contagious.” I stop in mid-air, assessing whether I have punctured the skin. Naw, I am okay. Now there is a glass window between me and the threesome. The man starts clawing his way up the woman’s legs again. I knock very hard on the glass as I feel the energy in me bursting out. I say in a loud, stern voice “You never enter a woman’s body without her permission.” A loud round of applause happens as I leave the scene looking at my watch. It is 2:30 am, and it is too late to contact my Mom, so I will try later.

My interpretation of this dream is as follows: the phone is a way to communicate, and this time it is with my Mom. I leave with both parts of myself intact (the masculine and the feminine)… for it is both Gerry and I in the dream. (Please realize that as in all dreams, all the characters are a reflection of the different aspects of myself). When a town seems big, I take it to mean that the issue is bigger than me, it involves community. The lady is my Mom, the native part of myself. Seeing the vagina and the man scratch her thighs expressed the rape and biting the man’s hand was my way to express rage, for when I was very little, I bit hands and everything else I could find. My Mom has had pneumonia more than once, which Traditional Chinese Medicine says is grief stored in lungs. Knocking hard on the glass was a way for me to release energy as I spoke my truth. The most vivid part of the dream was feeling this intense power inside of me. The cheers from the crowd symbolised the joy my dream ego felt as I spoke my truth for all women. Looking at my watch and seeing 2:30 am, could refer to the time when the original incident happened. And once again there was a reminder to communicate with my mom before it is too late.

I am sure there are many levels and many ways to work with a dream that is this intense but I am grateful to be aware enough to know that most of it has to do with clearing up unfinished business. The details will come to me as I am ready.

The front cover photograph is one of Grandad making pancakes on a Sunday morning, one of my favourite times. Mom, my brothers and I sure appreciated having him around. Perhaps another time I shall share some stories about him. I choose this photograph as a reminder that there are sweet times in life and that men are certainly a part of them.

I put time into my release work once a month, when I am least busy here at the Centre — my reward is that after each session I have more energy and can stretch deeper into the yoga asanas. Both my real work and my release work are important to me for I do believe the person who said ” To heal the earth, we must first heal ourselves.”

Sweety Face Our Cow (Sep 1998)

Living in the country, forty miles from the nearest town on a bumpy gravel road, it wasn’t always possible to keep milk cold till we got home and during the hot summer, the creek wasn’t always high or cold enough so that it didn’t turn sour. My Mom was taught that children needed to drink milk, so after that first summer of not being able to provide it for us, she decided she wanted a cow. She had met a man who was selling his land and just wanted to get rid of his Ol’ Betsy. She mooed and bayed as Grandad pushed her up the ramp into the back of the old school bus. For good luck the old farmer threw in a few chickens and a pig. Mom had to stop at the post office on the way home. She made it a quick one for the chickens were clucking and flapping themselves against the windows trying to get out. Grandad fed our Jersey cow lots of yummy oats as he talked to her, making sure she had lots of fresh hay in her stall until she settled down and could be trusted to stay near the barn without a tether. She loved being around children and had such a gentle disposition that Grandad renamed her Sweety Face, for it suited her much better than Betsy. Once when Mom was taking a family picture of us she wandered up the hill and included herself in it. This month’s front cover photo is her coming up to the front door and mooing. Her udder was full and she wanted to be milked. Grandad would answer back, “I’m coming.” Our door didn’t have the latch so it was easy to push on the door and have it swing open. As children we thought having farm animals as pets was pretty cool, but it wasn’t encouraged by our parents as it was annoying to step in cow patties or chicken droppings just outside the front door.

Learning to look at the trees and the clouds instead of looking at the ground whenever I walk takes practice. Letting go of my childhood programming of watching out for animal poop and rocks may seem simple but it is easier said than done. For example: my Mom always told me to stand up straight and I would try, but it took so much effort, and my shoulders would roll forward just as soon as I took my mind off them. Knowing that I had poor posture didn’t really matter to me until one day my arms started falling asleep when I was walking. By then my kids were in high school and I had some time to start educating myself. Reading books on alignment and nutrition helped me to understand the basics. Going to yoga classes, getting rolfed and becoming a vegetarian helped me put into practice what I was reading about. Changing myself is changing the way I perceive the world.

In the workshop I took this summer with Hermann Müller, we learned that the face and the body are a reflection of our soul and the work that it has chosen to do here on earth. He said, “The bones of the body and the face is the karma we have come in with and the flesh that fills in and around them shows us what we are doing with our promise to our higher selves.” To me that made a lot of sense as he explained in great detail how yin and yang (matter and spirit) are in constant motion to help teach us balance. As our ideas of ourselves change so does our appearance, it has to… to reflect our new belief system. One tool for self-awareness is observing the breath, which Hermann and many others have helped me to become more aware of.

For many years it was only when I swam or ran that I even noticed it. Then about eight years ago, after a Jin Shin Do session with Arlene Lamarche, I could feel a hollow spot in my left lung. After that session and for a good month I needed to suck in more air than I was used to. Several years later and after some very intense rolfing sessions my breathing shifted again, seemingly on its own. I awoke one morning gasping for air. I just couldn’t get enough air into my lungs, even though I was breathing the same way as the day before. My lungs demanded more of me. All day I yawned and yawned, allowing my breath to deepen. I put my intent on this aspect of myself and Ken Martin showed up. He is an Integrative Body Psychologist from Nelson who comes to Penticton once a month for private sessions, assisting people to dig a little deeper into their bodies, discovering and unlocking their emotional blocks.

Each session with Ken involves deep, rapid breathing: sucking in as much air as possible through the nose, then relaxing and letting the air out through the mouth, with a sigh. After ten or fifteen minutes, my body starts to tingle…everywhere. It feels like electrical impulses, as pins and needles send warm sensations to my toes and fingers.

As I practice the exercises that Ken gives me, I am learning what it means to stay present in my body. For example: I recently got myself into a situation where I felt pressured to hurry up and work hard to get a task done. As I went up and down the stairs I noticed that I was thinking about miscellaneous things that needed doing, anything to take my mind off the hard work. I went into robot mode. If I didn’t think about what I was doing the job got done easier. Even though I recognized the old pattern of hurry up and get the job done regardless of how tired I am it was hard to slow down. It was good to be the witness, watching myself. Understanding my basic programming is the first step, putting new ways into practice takes awareness and determination. I am finally realizing that when I am busy in the office, it is hard for me to slow my pace when I cook lunch. As I hurry through the preparation and then hurry to eat, I feel the coolness in my fingers and the lack of breath in my body. As I slow down and breath deeply I feel the tingles surge through to my finger and toes reminding me once again to breathe deeply and let go.

Ken says, “The mind likes control: as children we learned if we went into our heads, our feelings didn’t overwhelm us. Staying with the feelings and not allowing the mind to take us out of our bodies is the only way we learn to stay present.”

In my last session with Ken I accessed my emotional body once again. This time my body felt light, tingly and empty. After describing my body sensations to him I could feel a tightness in the back of my throat and my eyes started to water. Ken pried some more… “What is the feeling, Angèle?” I said, “Frustration… anger.” He said, “What needs to be said.” A scream from deep within released itself. He persevered, “What needs to be said?” I yelled, “Stop telling me what to do! Stop telling me what I can feel!” I could feel my face screwing up as I stuck my tongue out and hissed. It was clear to me I was screaming at my Dad. Ken then had me imagine my wiser-self assisting the younger-self in speaking my truth, even if it meant risking not getting love. My wiser-self said it was okay to get angry and tell Dad or my brothers to get out of my space. Stuffing those feelings from so long ago was using up lots of my energy reserves. It is tiring afterwards as the energy shifts but then I feel my shoulders and chest open up and my breathing deepens and the next day I feel stronger and more alive.

When I do the breathing exercises in the early morning I can sense feelings of anxiety or excitement deep in my belly, but to bring them to the surface on my own is difficult as is making the time to do it. Soon enough it is time for the day to start as my mind reminds me of all the things that need doing, so I stretch and yawn and get up.

Gerry tunes into these sensations in his belly more consistently than I for he didn’t learn to suppress them as well as I did. He uses them as a guide to what feels right and makes his decisions accordingly. He also learned to say “No” more easily than I. Paying attention to my body, my breath and listening to my higher self (a voice inside of my head) will help me do all that I have come here to do. Feeling good from the inside out tells me that I am on the right track.

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.

Washing the Dishes (Jun 1998)

Two photographs this month, one of Dad pouring cold water into a copper pot so that once the water was heated, it could be used for washing faces and dishes. Soap was whatever we had on hand. Sometimes it was left-over slivers of hand soap, sometimes it was the liquid from a squeeze bottle. One year, Mom tried to make soap from a big old bear that had lots of fat. She rendered it, boiled it and added lye to it, but it didn’t take out the bear smell. I can’t remember if we used all that soap or gave some of it away.

The other photograph is of Paul and me doing the dishes, as we were the in-between kids. The older boys had other important things to do and the little ones didn’t have the motor skills or concentration necessary to stay on task for the hour. I learned to wash the glasses first, and then the silverware and plates. By then the water was cooling off and the soap suds were gone, but I usually continued on, letting the rinse water take off some of the grit. Scrubbing the pots in dirty water made sense to me, and helped me to finish off using the last of the water before it got taken outside and thrown on the rhubarb plants. The pots got a quick splash of hot water from the dipper to sterilize them for by now the water was scummy.

Once, when special guests were coming, Paul and I had to scrub the bottom of Mom’s pots with a special copper cleaner. We rubbed them till they shined, and I complained, for it made no sense to me why we had to do it. I knew that as soon as she put them back on the wood stove, the pots would be black again. I guess Mom figured that everything had to glow for company was coming.

Washing so many dishes for so many years taught me lots about working hard. Helping my family to grow and to live instilled in me a sense that hard work done with love is what the world needs. I am glad I had the opportunity to learn that lesson well. Once in a while, I would rather have been busy playing with my friends, but we didn’t have many of those where I lived, and I felt good helping my Mom.

I was a pre-teen when Mom and Dad split, and the boys moved back to Michigan to live with Dad. I shed no tears because I was grateful not to be washing so many dishes. After two years a few of my brothers returned, but by then Mom and I had moved into town, which allowed us the luxury of instant hot water. Since we were all older, the jobs got shared, for there was less wood hauling and no animals to take care of.

When I got married, my husband bought me a dishwasher so that he wouldn’t have to help. He didn’t like cooking or cleaning as that was woman’s work, besides he was busy outside fixing trucks. At first, I balked at the thought of spending five hundred dollars on a dishwasher, for there was just the two of us and a baby. Life was pretty easy and I couldn’t see why we should spend money on a machine. Buying the dishwasher proved to be a good investment for as the family grew, it allowed me time to do things outside of the home. The boys took turns clearing the table and loading the dishwasher and afterwards putting things away. I felt thankful that I only had pots and pans to scrub.

When Rae and I divorced, I got to do dishes again. Washing for one was fun and if I got busy, I let the dishes stack up. Some days, doing dishes felt like a meditative experience, for the time alone helped me to sort out my feelings as I let go of any resentments around housework and dishes. I started to enjoy watching the soap bubbles once again.

Moving in with Gerry and sharing this job is yet another adventure, for he has his own style of dishwashing. It is fascinating to watch, for he washes the dishes much more thoroughly and slowly than I do. One day I had gotten the dishes started and then went to wipe the table. When I came back, he had his hands in the water and said “I feel like finishing the dishes.” I was speechless, as I felt my body lighten with joy for never in my life had someone volunteered to wash my dishes. Lately, I feel like I am on a magic carpet ride: hanging on and enjoying the ride is all I have to do, as things and people just keep showing up. I know this manifestion is happening because I allow the time it takes to heal myself. Listening to my body, discovering what it is that makes me light and happy versus what makes me tired and complaining is helping me find balance. The rolfing, yoga and emotional release work that I have been doing for five years is certainly paying off, for I have never felt so balanced when I walk or sit. My shoulders no longer tighten up as the day progresses. I feel like I am in the flow, and I love it.

Just noticing and watching myself breathe has become an awesome task that I have taken to heart. As I listen, subtle impulses let me know what they want me to do. Intellectually, I would prefer not to go through the pain of being Rolfed but at the same time, I know I would prefer to do it now while I am still young enough to change physically and emotionally than later, when it would be so much harder. Each time I see a person that reminds me of how I looked ten years ago, I feel so grateful to be doing this work. The lightness and joy that my body feels after going through a session are indescribable as is sometimes the experience, but I usually do try to put that it into words to share with you.

The last several sessions have been about releasing energies deep within my bones. As I got on the table I was light and bubbly for the Spring Festival was magical, the financing of the Holistic Health Centre building had gone through without a hitch, and I had just finished having a great week on the road doing distribution. Ken, my emotional bodyworker’s, first question was, “How good can you really have it?” I was about to answer when my body started reacting… I could feel a lump rising in my throat. What was this… I know I was feeling happy, so why the tears? As I tuned in, there was feeling of separateness, no one to blame, just me. I could feel myself as soul, choosing my parents so I could learn the lessons that they would teach me. As I breathed, this very subtle and deep ache pulsated through my right hip. I mentioned the sensation to Ken, and he asked me to ground the energy. He had me put my feet on the table and lift my pelvis. Pushing hard with my feet and grunting, I could feel the energy in my jaw bone start to move down the centre of my body, through my hip and right leg, and into the table. I stayed with the feeling, growling and grunting as I pushed harder and harder. My teeth started to chatter and my body started to vibrate. I started thinking about something that needed doing next week. “Ah, ha,” I said to myself, “I see the pattern … my mind manager is trying to protect me from feeling any more pain.” I blessed that part of myself and said, “But I want to feel deeply. I want to be strong, I want to do well.” I could see myself as Daddy’s little girl with many brothers and me wanting his attention. I chose not to be physically strong so that I wouldn’t be like my brothers. I asked my body to support the new me and help me to grow strong so that I may have the energy needed to do what it is I need to do. I want body awareness, and I want a strong heart.

After about six or eight minutes my teeth stopped chattering and I felt complete, I had done good work, pushed through another block, and was ready to rest. Afterwards, I realized how deep and unconscious core belief programming is. I am now allowing myself the time to go slowly and enjoy the process, instead of rushing through it just to get something accomplished. That includes cooking and doing the dishes. It also includes taking the time to watch my breath as I ask myself what is it that I feel like eating or not eating. This is an experience I am not used to but it is a skill that Gerry has, and so with his help, I will learn quickly because I can see the importance of using the breath as an indicator of what my body wants. I know my mind has been programmed. Each session I have with Jeff or Ken takes me deeper into my core and I learn to be more present with each situation. I love learning new skills, for I so want to change.

Namaste

Like Mother, Like Daughter (May 1998)

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and to all women who are involved with raising children. With each generation, it is becoming easier and harder to ‘be true to thine own self.’ Today it is TV, magazines and peer pressure that influence people. In my Mother’s day, it was the church, men and lack of societal support systems which kept women in their place. Birthing seven children, Mom had little time for self-development or awareness but still her uniqueness shone through, and for that I give her credit and a special thanks from deep within my heart. It wasn’t easy thirty to forty years ago, but her Mom and Grandma Kost were both amazing women and Grandma provided a role model for her as Mom has been for me.

Looking at this month’s front cover photo of Mom and me standing in front of her home-on-wheels, loaded with two canoes, moose and caribou horns, you would have to guess that this lady had guts. She even had her wheel cover painted. Over the years, the motor homes have gotten more colourful and dazzling. Mom always liked it when people stopped and made comments about her travelling show, for she always said she was part gypsy. Dubbing her mobile home Freedom set the tone for that stage of her life, as she was about to guide a woman caravan up the Demester Highway to the Arctic. The turn-out was small, but they did have a great time.

Growing up with Mom taught me many things that I would never have learned in school or even in university. She seldom took no for an answer and when it did happen, she gritted her teeth, seethed a little and figured out how to make happen whatever it was she wanted. Her determination is her blessing and her curse. She needed to be strong-willed to create the life she wanted and at best it was a compromise. When she married Dad, he promised her a hunting lodge in Alaska but first it was time to visit his folks in Michigan. Soon she was pregnant and Dad liked being around his family, so she had no choice. After three kids, she had had enough of no choice, and packed it in and went to live with her Mom. Money was scarce, Grandma couldn’t help her out forever and finding work was difficult, so when Dad promised to change, back to Michigan they went. She penny-pinched and invested in some land even though Dad could see no reason for owning more land than you take care of. When the property values increased, she sold the land and bought the school bus that moved us to Canada. Sorting through the slides I noticed she had written on the slide that shows Dad and his three brothers moving her piano into the bus. She wrote … “And you said it could never be done!”

During the last several months of talking to bankers, land assessors and lawyers to arrange for financing to own the Holistic Health Centre building, I could see myself acting like her. The men responded in a similar manner as well. They liked my energy and enthusiasm for I was like a breath of fresh air, but they had their doubts that two women could make money renting rooms to holistic health practitioners.

Dealing with these men triggered many buttons for me and left me crying more than once. Tears of frustration from long ago set off my program of fear around Male Authority. The first visit was the strongest … as I tuned into my body, I could feel the tension and the tears rising while I walked to the Credit Union one block away. Instead of worrying or rehearsing what I would say, I listened to the creek bubbling and the birds chirping and I felt the freshness of the day on my skin. Once inside, I said what I needed to. Banker Peter was busy and business-like as he explained the rules and the costs involved. He would let me know after he had a look at the information whether financing was possible. As I walked back to the office, I could feel the tears welling up from inside as the tension released. I stood by the creek till the flood of tears was over and then went inside and told Marcel and Jan how I was feeling. I said, “The banker was a nice guy but it feels like I am being punished for something I didn’t do. It’s the same fear as facing a principal or my Dad when it came to report card time.”

Each time one of the men phoned, my heart and my breath rate would speed up, my stomach would sink and my bowels would move. I took the time to listen to my body and feel the fear. Each time it happened I asked myself to let go, to be present and breathe. In my heart it felt right — there was no fear there but my body kept reacting.

Jan and Gerry are excellent role models when it comes to being present, for the best time to learn is in the moment. It was wonderful to have supportive people to help me let go and trust that if the Centre is meant to be, it will happen. The Credit Union did agree to finance the building with a twenty-year mortgage and a guarantee from ISSUES if we default. The initial set-up fees are expensive, but in the long run we have security and the best commercially-zoned property downtown that has a creek running through it. Now we will have to trust that the right practitioners will show up — people who want to be part of our growing community. Starting in May we have a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine moving here from Vancouver. He will be available for consultations, massage, acupuncture and nutritional advice, so drop by or phone if you wish to meet him. Dwight’s Reflexology moved into the back space and Jeff Queen, a recent graduate of the Rolf Instituite, is now available, as are Ken Martin, Cassie Benell and the usual faces that you see on our advertising page. Urmi will be back from Costa Rica at the beginning of May, ready to resume her fine-tuned energy massages. We are looking for intuitive readers and anyone else who has skills to share on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Each session with Rolfer Ken Martin takes me deeper into my core self and at a recent session we got in touch with more sensations in my belly. This time it was sadness… a deep sadness that was never allowed to express itself. As I sobbed and gasped for breath, I could feel the pain of never being asked how I was feeling. Ken had me imagine myself holding that part as I gave permission for feelings to rise to the surface. I asked him, “How do I hold a part of myself that I can barely feel?” Together we spoke to that part that has worked so hard for so long. I softened my attitude from asking in an authoritarian voice, “Why?”… to asking “How are you helping me ?” The answers that come from my emotional body usually have tears with them, and that is how I know that truth is being thought or said. This time there were tears of release, tears of recognition that a part of me was finally being heard. These are not the same tears as those that come with pain. In the midst of crying, I got an answer to a question that I have asked myself many times: “Why don’t I listen to my body when I feel full?” This time I see myself as a five-year-old, trying not to bother my Mom who is very busy. I have decided to stuff myself with extra food at each meal so that I won’t be hungry in a short time. I learned at an early age to override the wisdom of my body so that I do not have to feel her frustration with having to feed me again. She was always cooking or feeding us. Now that I know why I made the decision, it will be easier to change the habit.

The emotional releasing and rolfing have been affecting my hips and parts deep inside my pelvis for the past year. My body is realigning itself in a way that makes it easier for me to lift myself upright, against the earth’s gravitational pull. My chin and head still need to move back and as I put my attention on it, they too will change. If I can do it, anybody can. I have learned that I can ask for help and accept it when it arrives, and then pass the knowledge along. Awareness starts with individuals taking responsibility for their feelings and speaking the truth in the moment. Feelings are the glue of the body, the link between structure and emotion: the two are intimately connected. As my body changes it allows me to connect more deeply with the messages, and as the messages become more clear my body holds less tension. When I grow old, I shall walk lightly with a sparkle in my eye.

Finding Balance (Apr 1998)

Another family photograph, this time out in the woods, our playground. A time when the river overran the banks and we had to cross over walking the logs. We learned not to look down at the moving water but to focus on where we were going, testing each step carefully before taking the next. As a child I remember this being fun, for I always loved a dare. I considered myself equal to my brothers in the fact that I was able to learn fast and enjoyed the challenge. As we got older the logs got smaller, but learning balance was a thrill and still is.

Homesteading in Canada’s north in the 1960’s meant no power, no TV, no corner stores, etc. My dad learned to be a logger, the only job that paid well back then. Mom cooked, cleaned, fixed things and every second week drove back and forth to Terrace, a town forty miles away on a bumpy, gravel road for groceries, gas and to make deals on what the farm needed. Grandad guided my parents through the learning process of farming, hunting, and wood gathering. Grandad taught us how to skin and tan hides, build smoke houses and make picture frames from birch logs so that we could have a surprise gift ready for Mother’s Day.

Memory is a funny thing. Aside from annual Christmas photographs, which we all dressed up for and learned to say “cheese,” I don’t remember posing for pictures. I am now starting to appreciate my childhood collection of photographs and I am delighted that I can share them with you. It gives me incentive to write the ongoing story of how I am getting well. Creating a healing centre is part of the process as it helps me to access healers and allows them to make a living as we network and provide support for the segment of the population that believes in self-responsibility and are willing to take the time to understand how their bodies work.

As I go through the various stages of healing, I am understanding ‘why I am the way I am’ much clearer. Each month I feel stronger in my body and clearer in my intent as to what it is I am here to do. Being in my body (as opposed to being in my head) as I type, as I eat, as I go about my daily tasks, takes constant practice. Quietening the monkey mind and assuring her that she is still loved has been a ten-year educational process, but it is helping me to change. I do believe that my body is a reflection of my mind, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Slowing myself down is an illusion but most days, I feel that I have taken a few more moments for myself. Enjoying physical exercise, moments in nature and watching new babies lets me embrace life and enjoy the magic.

Writing this column every month gives me a written record of my changes as I go deeper into my body and let go of old wounds and beliefs systems. Being aware of my arms as I type keeps me in my body and I consciously breathe into my fingertips so they don’t go cold on me. Every few minutes I put my attention to my left shoulder noticing how it has rolled itself forward and up. As I breathe into my shoulder, and ask the tension to let go, my back straightens as my body elongates. Staying aware in my business takes diligence and practice, but I promised myself that I would feel my feelings as they came up. Once in a while, that means I have to take time in the middle of my day and go outside and sit by the creek and have a talk with myself or cry if that is what is needed to figure out what my body is trying to tell me.

The Integrative Body Psychology sessions that I do with Ken Martin every month are taking me deeper into my core self and I am glad that my process resonates with so many of you out there. Ken is teaching me to listen to myself as I speak. Whenever I hear my voice or breath change when I am talking about something, I know I still have a charge in my body related to that subject. Knowing that the original event happened long ago doesn’t make much difference; the childhood memories that are surfacing now feel like they are happening in the moment.

As I re-listened to a 1991 cassette tape with Dr. Kaplan, my vision trainer and eye doctor, it was interesting to hear myself talk, laugh and breathe. As I talked about Dad being a hardhearted person, the tension and quivering in my vocal chords was clear and spoke louder than my words. At that time I felt I had dealt with his way of being, for he was long gone; surely he still wasn’t affecting me. It has taken me many years to realize how much my heart had hardened in response to his not being able to be with me as a child. He just didn’t have the skills. Instead of taking the time to listen and honour my feelings, he imposed his beliefs of right and wrong with a good spanking and left me believing that God would punish me by sending me to hell.

The pain and anger that never got expressed then got stored in my belly. Learning to be honest with my body is a slow process, as is being aware of my breath, practising deep breathing and taking the time to meditate. It has taken me five years to open up my emotional body so that I can heal from the inside. After one of Ken’s sessions, which usually involves a fair bit of crying, my eyes feel tired, my stomach quivers from the change of energy flow, and I feel drained. It takes several days to get my energy levels back up, but it well worth it.

My latest session with Ken brought up angry feelings deep in my stomach, old pain of being punished for something I really didn’t understand. It is Christmas time and I am in grade one: we have chosen the name of another child to exchange gifts with at school. I am little enough that my Dad has to pick me up so that I can see over the counter and I choose a ball and jack set. I pick up one for her and I ask for one for myself. Dad says, “No.” I put a second set in my pocket. When we get home I go to my room and play by myself, totally absorbed in the fun and the wonder of a bouncing a ball and picking up jacks. I hear the door open and look up to see my Dad. There is fire in his eyes and I know a spanking is coming, so I jump up and run into the bathroom. As I duck behind the door I am almost blinded by one of the coat hooks as he pushes the door open. I didn’t have memory of the spanking but as Ken asked me questions, I was able to bring up my anger by making faces, sticking out my tongue and shouting at the ceiling, pretending Dad was there. Then Ken had me bring in my wiser self to fill the void left by the anger with loving thoughts of how I would have liked my Dad to have responded. Gift giving made no sense to me at the time and I just got more angry when I had to wrap up both sets of jacks. I remember thinking “I wonder if the kid that got my present wondered why she got two sets of jacks.” As I tuned into what was happening now as Ken asked questions, I could feel the inner contractions as my body tried to protect me from the old pain.

After all these years of releasing, I am starting to understand why it is so difficult for me and other people to access their emotional bodies without expert help and guidance. I now understand why it is so easy for us to become creatures of habit. As I have said before, pain is a good teacher. Ignoring it, suppressing it, or drugging it usually means it will surface later in some form of illness. I decided long ago I didn’t want to be pushing a walker when I am ninety years old, so I am learning to listen and I thank you for joining me.

A Family Outing (Mar 1998)

A canoe ride on Kalum Lake with the family, including Aunt Cathy holding my youngest brother Donny, then me, followed by my five brothers with Dad bringing up the rear. Mom was taking the photograph that is on this month’s front cover. We weren’t wearing life jackets in the photo for they were scarce and expensive when I was a kid. Our canoe was made in the States, with a guarantee not to capsize: it was designed for heavy loads and up to seven people. I can remember my Dad returning from a hunting trip once with only an inch or two of the bow above the water … he had it loaded with two moose. It was painted bright yellow to match the school bus that was used to move my family from the United States to Rosswood, BC. The letters CTDPAPBMD painted at the front of the canoe stood for the first letter of each family member’s name starting with C for Clarence (Dad), T for Tess ( Mom), and then us children in order of our ages David, Phillip, Angèle, etc.

I don’t remember many outings in the canoe. The little ones couldn’t keep still or quiet and Grandad complained that we made such a racket we scared all the fish away. The ole’ fishing hole was the best place to take the family—on foot. There the bites were guaranteed, and the young’uns could run around.

After we moved to Rosswood, there was so much work to be done we seldom took the time to do family fun things. Usually Dad, Grandad and the older boys went hunting or firewood cutting. Mom and I and one of the younger brothers usually went to town to do the shopping. I loved it when the boys all left and it was just Mom and me to cook and wash dishes for … that seemed like a holiday to me.

My Dad was a good guy in many ways, a genuine family man who wanted nine kids. He loved cooking, doing the laundry and even liked changing the baby’s diapers. He was a good provider for we always had quality food on the table and a roof over our heads. My parents seemed to like to work long hours, rarely thinking of themselves. They never drank or smoked and seldom cussed but Dad did have one bad habit… he liked to kick. Most of the time it was one of the dogs, but once in a while it was one of us kids. He seldom repeated his orders about what needed doing. Reminders usually came as a boot in the butt. Sometimes he did it just for the fun of it, and then it really hurt.

Some years ago I told the story of one of my processings … a recall incident that was one of the first major energy shifts for me as I started on my journey towards understanding myself. It was with Dr. Michael Greenwood of the Victoria Pain Centre. He used Acupuncture and deep breathing to help bring up this incident, one of being one and half or two years old and seeing my Dad sleeping on the couch. I could feel my mouth drool as I leaned over and bit Dad in the knee, thinking, “If I bite off his knee he will never kick again.” Before this session I didn’t remember him kicking.

My last session with Ken Martin and Integrative Body Psychology released another memory. For those of you who have never had a session where memories are brought up in the emotional body and released through the physical body, here is a shortened version of what it is like.

I am lying on the table with a warm blanket and pillow, and Ken asks me to check into my body and describe how I am feeling. I do some deep cleansing breaths, building the level of charge in my body, then I describe the swirling energy patterns that I am noticing in the moment. This will continue until I say something of interest to Ken or until he notices a change in my breathing. If that happens, he says, “What thought just crossed through your mind?” As I say the thought, my body will react if it is something that it wants to process, and I never know what that will be till the moment arrives.

This time, my leg started hurting just below the bum cheek. It had been aching for the past two weeks and I kept rubbing it wondering what was shifting to cause this awareness. He asked what my sore spot felt like. I said, “A boot in the butt.” He then asked what my body wanted to do. I said, “Scream! It hurts.” He said, “Go ahead and do it,” so I screamed out my frustration through gritted teeth, growling and biting. Ken then said, “What do you want to say to him?” Choking back my tears, I tell him I don’t want to be hurt. He said, “Tell your Dad that.” I laugh and say, ” I already asked him not to and it didn’t do any good. He’s too big.” I added that I have been watching Mom who always argues, and I’ve decided that her way doesn’t work, so I am not going to fight him. I’ll find another way. By the age of four, I have made a decision not to cry and to do what Dad tells me to the first time and I will avoid him whenever possible.

Ken then clarified that I had not felt supported or loved whenever I said “no,” so I never got a chance to practice this skill as a child. He then brought in my bigger self, my Angel self, and asked me to look into my Dad’s eyes. I looked and said, “There is only emptiness.” “Look deeper,” he said. I stared deep into his eyes, and as I did my Dad’s handwriting appeared in my mind and I said, “He was born a sensitive, just like me,” and the tears flowed for I knew how deeply hurt he must have been as a child to act this way as an adult. I know we repeat what was done to us so that we can look at our patterns and change or heal them. For several minutes I held my Dad in my loving big angel wings, soothing his pain of not being held or listened to.

Then I went back into my child-self state as I drew my legs to my chest and started rubbing the sore spot. Ken asked “What is happening?” I said, “My leg is burning.” He said, “What does it want to do?” I said, “Kick.” He pulled off the blanket and said, “Go for it: it is a good way to release the stuck energy.” I kicked for about five minutes then my awareness shifted to another sore spot in my groin, a spot that when pressed felt like my funny bone was getting hit. I shrieked, laughed and cried tears for about five minutes, and then the sensation was gone and I was back to reality, exhausted but feeling lighter.

Ken and I talked about setting boundaries, and he gave me some visualizations to practice to help change my energy patterns. He said, “By not being given the choice of saying “no” as a child your boundaries were dishonoured by your father, and your body set up a contraction in your pelvis, stifling the flow of energy throughout your body. It is as if your body is still waiting for another boot in the butt.”

Learning to reprogram this automated response will take time but with a man like Gerry it will be fun practising. I know whatever I decide to do is just fine; with him, it is going through the awkward stage of feeling the swirling in my stomach that makes me hesitate.

Marcel brought up an interesting point. She noticed that I always got angry whenever I had a persistent telephone solicitor. I couldn’t say “no” in a normal voice.” It has taken me time to get comfortable saying “no,” and to figure out my bodily reactions and to ask myself if this is what I really want. I still have to remind myself to slow down and that I won’t get booted in the butt if I don’t answer or do something right away, and my armpits no longer sweat when I say “no.”

As a child I did not have the skills to understand my Dad’s pain and did not want to feel my own, so I rationalized why my Dad would hurt me. Going into my head helped dull the pain and the body stored it away, saving it for a time when I would be big and strong enough to let it surface. For the past eight months Ken has been helping me get in touch with parts of myself that I didn’t know existed, childhood survival patterns that are no longer needed, that are in fact causing me pain for ignoring them. I have learned that pain is always caused by contraction, the tightening of thoughts or muscles, physically or emotionally. The two are interconnected. Watching myself make decisions as a child is awesome and is helping my inner child mature. So too is trusting myself and learning to set clear boundaries … my chosen journey for this year.

Reflections (Feb 1998)

A sunset on Kalum Lake during one of the long days of the northern winters, near Terrace, BC. A time of reflection, slowing down and enjoying nature’s beauty. For many, many years I forgot what that felt like. Being a responsible adult to me meant being busy with little time to enjoy the moment. I ate my food quickly, so that I could get my To Do List done. Taking time to notice my breathing and staying in my body feeling the subtle feelings was something I never thought of. My mind had lots of things it liked to remind me To Do, usually quite repeatively.

Trying to figure out why I don’t digest food has forced me to slow down, taking time to breathe especially when I eat. It was not a comfortable feeling and I was surprized at how much tension I was holding in my belly as I put my attention on my food and not a million other things that needed doing. Being in a relationship mirrors back much the same energy. It seemed so much easier to keep busy doing so that I didn’t have to take the time to figure out and ask myself if I was happy. Was I getting emotional satisfaction and support to speak my truth so that true intimancy and feelings could whell up within me and make me teary eyed at a moment’s notice. For most of my life I didn’t know that feelings could be so subtle, only anger and frustration usually warrantted my attention. These outbursts were frowned upon and I even learned to control them and my breathing become more and more shallow as my shoulders rounded forward in an effort to protect my heart. Not wanting to feel pain limited my ability to just be and enjoy beatiful sunsets for as Helen Keller put it so many years ago “Somethings can’t be seen or heard they must be felt by the heart.”

Being present in the moment and tuning into the subtle vibrations that are constantly shifting and dancing in my body is a challenge as my mind likes to chatter and repeat what just happened or associate it with something that happened so long ago. It takes time and effort to quiet the mind and allow the free flow of energy between two people but it is well worth it. Slowing down and really enjoying the taste of each bite of food and savouring each moment that Gerry and I are together brings a sense of calm to my life, somewhat like this months front cover photo. I am learning that everything in life is a reflection of my inner states so I am delighted that this photo spoke to me.

My holiday to Ontario to meet Gerry’s family was much this photograph. I went with no expectations other than to be aware and take it easy. I didn’t think of work once and on the plane trip home I could feel a sense of completness and was anticipating getting back to the office for my body sensations said so, I didn’t have to think about it. The weather was perfect every single day and the last day at Niagara Falls the temperture rose to about twenty above as Gerry and I spent three hours hiking the Gorge. I enjoyed the quietness of Algonquin Park especially after being involved and watching a traditional family open gifts on Christmas Day. I am so glad Gerry enjoys solitude as much as I do. Driving home from Vancouver without music was a real treat.

February for me is traditionally a time I get my theme for the year. Last year it was Being a Teenager and the year before was about Being Five Years Old and the year before that about Support, feeling it 100%. I try and live the theme daily, letting go of old patterns of doing, reminding my mind not to dwell on past expereinces or judgements and enjoy the moment to see what it brings. This year my theme seems to be about Maturity and Trust. After a year of dating Gerry it still feels right for me, Even though there is a twenty year difference in our chronicial ages it doens’t feel like it when we are together. His wisdom, love of books and herbs, the outdoors and hiking as well as our compatibily around cooking and meals is a match made in heaven. Relationships are mirrors for me, letting me know if I am maturing with wisdom or just old programming. Opening my heart to the moment is allowing me to be more in touch with my feelings and my body sensations and that is delightful. I no longer try and ignore them or figure them out with our mind, I just pause, breath deeper and enjoy. Sometimes it is tears and sometimes it feels like my heart is bursting out of my chest, sometimes my body feels excited and sometimes it feels disappointed whatever the feeling it just feels so right to take the time and feel, even if it is the midst of Christmas Dinner. Releasing unspoken feelings because the situation triggered old memories is a gift in itself and I am grateful for each opportunity to lighten the load I am carrying for it allows my shoulder muscles to loosen up just a bit more.

Being in a business partnership with Jan and Marcel is also helping me to mature, they are teaching me the importance of clear communications as is the committee’s I work with. Maturing in a way that I can speak my truth but not be attached to it, letting the universal flow of energy happen as I get myself and my opinions out of the way. Each day brings new insights and strengthens my resolve to heal myself, gently and with love. Dropping the use of will power (which I have lots of) and letting the hidden aspects of myself come to the surface and be accepted and integrated so that I can be whole is allowing deep core healing to happen as I come to understand what health means. As each day brings new awareness and clarity of vision of what I trying to achieve by publishing ISSUES and operating a Holistic Health Centre. Educating those that are ready to change and supporting those on the path is our main focus. Buying the two office building instead of paying rent gives me the long term stability to develop a healing sanctuary that can grow according to the needs of the holistic minded in our community. I think the thirty years of exploring options in the natural ways to get well has given me a strong foundation to be able to help others on their journey as well it gives the experience I need to hold the core energy so that my vision can maifest and provide opportunitues for others to make a living healing themselves and the planet and offering the quiet serene energy that our bodies need so that they can relax deep enough to allow the healing to happen.

It is time once again to ask for what I need. So far I have managed to put down payments on both these building without borrowing any money from the banks and I wish to continue to do so. The owners of the building we just moved into want to be bought out this April. The building is worth $400,000 and I need $300,000 to pay them out. I have the mininum amount of collateral needed to meet the banks requirement but would prefer not to so I am seeking one or several individuals that would like a secure investment of a first mortgage. I am told that land is a much more secure investment than paper backed investments.