The Old Saw Mill (Dec 1999)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

White Spirit Bears (Nov 1999)

The mother bear and her two cubs on the front cover reminded me of a time that we fed a black bear cub. The mother was killed nearby and Grandad decided we would help the little guy out. Twice a day we would warm up some milk and leave it in an old pot. When the cub was hungry it would scurry down the tree and slurp up the milk and then hurry back up the tree. If we were nearby, fear overcame his hunger and he didn’t come down, so we learned to let him be. One day the Conservation Officer showed up and took the animal away and we were told that officers knew what to do with hurt or abandoned animals.

Terrace, the town near where I was raised, is well known for the special white bear called the Kermode. My Mom has done lots of research as to why some black bears have white cubs. She discovered that the Kermode originated on Princess Royal Island where they are isolated so they inbreed and the recessive white gene becomes dominant producing one white cub in every ten born. On the mainland only a few are born white. When I lived In Terrace I saw one at the garbage dump.

My Mom has spent the last four years researching and gathering photos and now has her book ready for publication. It is a good project to create awareness about the Kermode’s habitat so that the logging companies don’t go in and strip their native forest of logs. She has a video made by Sue and Jeff Turner, that is a BBC production titled Island of the Ghost Bear and is quite impressive and shows how friendly and curious these bears are because they have never been exposed to humans and have no fear. They play with the camera and love to pose. If you would like details about Mom’s book The White Spirit Bear, please see the centre pages.

As children we had lots animals in our back yard. I remember picking berries about two hundred yards from our home. Once in a while I would hear rustling on the other side of the row, but I didn’t think much about it. When I got to the end of the row, so did the bear. We came nose to nose and looked each other in the eye. The bear turned about the same time that I did, and we both went running off in opposite directions. My parents had warned me many times not to play with animals, so I didn’t, but a few times I would have liked to. One day while I was riding my bike to school, a baby lynx jumped out onto the road and ran alongside my bike just like a dog. He was cute and frisky and wanted to play. But the voice in my head said “Where there are cubs there are usually Moms and they can be protective of their babies around strangers,” so I didn’t stop to play.

Life in Rosswood and my Mom’s love of animals went together, and as the little moose on last month’s front cover showed, we had our share of observing nature in action, with the good and the sad. Sometimes the struggle for food wasn’t easy, and the mother was killed. And sometimes nature seemed a bit too harsh to me but growing up in the wilderness taught me core level appreciation of being alive, and when the sun shines… it just doesn’t get any better.

This attitude is instilled deep in me and makes my life simple. I don’t have many attachments to things or people so when people ask me about Jan leaving to pursue other interests, I am happy, for I love change. I appreciate the ten years Jan and I have spent together. Jan has helped me to grow and prosper and I also appreciate her willingness to accept change on the spur of the moment, even through I knew it wasn’t always easy for her. She has let go of a lot of her programming in the time I have known her, and moving on from Issues, and the registrations for the Spring Festival of Awareness and the Wise Woman Weekend will give her the energy she needs to continue on her journey. Issues, the Holistic Centre and I will continue to grow and change as all things do. I believe I have much support from the devas who steward the land that Jan and I own. The money has come easily to pay out Jan’s share and the time has come for us to part company.

My two recent Musings, about family reunion issues, brought much response from those people thanking me to those who were horror-stricken that I reveal so much of my healing process. It was good for me to work through my judgements about which letters I prefer to receive. They say an enlightened person doesn’t give one more energy than the other, but I still prefer the compliments. Life has its ups and downs and as I say to people who share their feelings with me: “Enjoy the feeling of loneliness or anger, for it won’t be there forever and it will make the good times so much brighter.” For me, the process of putting feelings on paper is simple and I don’t even have to think about it any more. Life is too full. I make the time and then sit down and type what has happened to me in the past month. It is my personal journal made public for those of you who would like to take the time to read it. In the early days journalling helped me to see where I was still holding onto anger and would point me in the direction of my next step.

I still find it fascinating … my journey of discovering who I am. The layers are thick and after ten years of process, there is no one left to blame. It is up to me to change: to get to know my inner child and the many parts of myself that make up the logical brain. Seeing how I got programmed and how I create my reality is incredible and I find my journey as a human striving towards awareness (enlightenment), to be awesome.

My session with Ken last month released more tears, the most I have ever cried at one time, I think. He asked me to locate where my inner child was in my body. I quieted my mind and felt around and patted my belly. He then asked me, “What are you feeling?” All I could feel were tears and I said “She doesn’t have any answers, all she wants to do is cry.” He said “Good. Let her cry.” After awhile it became tedious for I wanted to know why she was crying. I wanted answers, I wanted to understand her pain, but no answers came. Ken said, “Can you see the repeating patterns of how your parents raised you?” I nodded and said, “I feel like shaking the answers out of her.” But there were no answers to be had, only more tears so Ken said, “Sit with her, hold her, don’t question her, just be with her.” I laughed deeply and said, “That feels so strange.” He said, “That is your reason for having these sessions. You want to change, you want to learn new ways of being with your emotions and this is how we do it. Now, in the moment.” I imagined I was holding her tenderly and gave her the space to cry some more. It took patience to just be present. Crying is a great way to release stagnant energy and afterwards I was tired but not exhausted.

I went to work at the Juicy Carrot, serving customers all day as Gerry was in Kelowna doing the October distribution of Issues. And for those of you who ask how my relationship with Gerry is doing, my answer is,”Great!” We make a good team, we have lots in common and we both love sharing our space and time with people who drop by for the good food and good company. The Juicy Carrot is a place to learn about health, nutrition, vegetarianism or share interesting stories about people who are on the leading edge of change so that the world can become a little more special.

Sharing with like-minded people does my soul good and makes me feel less like an alien. Supporting Dr. Krop in his fight against the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and our right to have alternative medicine makes me feel like my struggle to be different is important. Reading Alive magazine and supporting Rhody Lake’s point of view makes my heart grow light as more and more people get themselves educated as to the high cost of drugs, pesticides, bleaches, biotechnology and factory farming. My hope is for people to educate themselves so they can make informed decisions. My hope is for people to feed themselves the proper balance of minerals and vitamins so that they are strong enough to think for themselves and want to look after their bodies and consequently their planet. We all do make a difference.

Orphaned Baby Moose (Oct 1999)

Whew! Finally a few hours to stop getting things done and get typing. Life has been feeling very full this past month but every night before falling asleep I say why I am grateful … it’s my form of prayers to the universe. Besides my usual job of making soup and cookies for the Juicy Carrot, occasionally attending to my store the Rainbow Connection and publishing ISSUES Magazine, this month I also organized the Wise Woman Weekend and helped my carpenter do some renovations and canned pickles, tomatoes and peaches. Teaching yoga classes two nights a week helped me slow down just a touch but it was busier than I liked. I am grateful that Jan and Marcel were able to keep up with the ad info and phone calls as the deadline for ISSUES happened at the same time as the WWW event.

I am grateful that Nywyn, Samarpan, Laurel Burnham, Lynn Work and Christina Goddard were able to help out before and during the weekend. I am grateful that I have the energy to keep up with my willpower. My heartfelt thanks to all the women who expressed their appreciation for my organizing skills and efforts to make the weekend special, for it is my deep desire to make this world just a little better place to live, and it does my soul good to feel appreciated.

And to those women who felt I wasn’t taking good care of myself because I looked tired, that is true; I was feeling tired, for I am not a late-night person and when my day starts at six am and I work past my bedtime, the next day I can feel my energy sag. But if I get half-an-hour off to rest, I can feel my energy surge again. I don’t worry and I take each moment as it comes. I do not use coffee, chocolate or cigarettes to get myself moving any time of the day, so if I look tired it is because I am, and I will get over it quickly. I am grateful for all the organic growers who supply me with quality food that sustains my high level of energy and helps rebuild my blood and bones.

My last column drew many responses from my readers and family. It always amazes me what each person focuses on. My ex-husband was on my doorstep the morning after ISSUES was distributed. It surprised me, since he had told me he couldn’t bother taking the time to find a copy of ISSUES, let alone read it. He requested that I do not keep repeating the story of how I got pregnant before I got married. I asked, “Why not?” adding that twice in ten years is not always. He said, “Because you are hurting our son, Gordon.” I asked, “How I am hurting him? The boys know what happened.” When they were sixteen or seventeen and started dating, I talked with them about the hard work and frustration that I felt being a teenage Mom. I continued, “If Gordon has a problem with my column he will talk to me about it and share his feelings. Now, if you are feeling hurt or are having a problem with my column then we have something to discuss.” His neck stiffened as he lifted his chin into the air and said, “There is nothing you can print that can hurt me.” I replied “Then I guess we have nothing to talk about, unless you want to discuss the pain you are holding in your body.” He denied the pain as he used the chair to lift himself upwards and shake the stiffness out of his hips.

It is sad that he does not see the connection and refuses to discuss his feelings or his pain. I thank all of you who made comments about my courage to write about my feelings as I progress on my healing journey. My condolences to the anonymous person who wrote and said, “I pray your children don’t read this article.” I am delighted with how my boys turned out, for looking back I was a Wise Woman even as a teenager. I am grateful they never got a girl pregnant and I feel that talking about it to them helped prevent it. I am delighted to say that all three of my boys can cook, do laundry and have enough self-esteem to take their time finding the right mate.

My oldest boy Gordon showed up several days after Rae was here and I could feel his distress about my column. His wife Britta, he and I had a good long chat, for they were upset with the fact that I didn’t feel like I was part of the family reunion. They had worked hard to get everyone together and wanted me to feel like I was part of it. They wanted to know what it would take for me to come to another family gathering and I said, “Sharing a vegetarian meal where we take time to give thanks and enjoy. I would prefer to get out in nature and go hiking or horseback riding.” Time will tell how all this goes but they seem determined. When Britta said, “We want you to be part of our lives.” I cried, for I don’t ever remember anyone ever saying that to me. After they left and now as I type, I can feel tears welling up which tells me this is a Big Issue for me.

Reviewing all that I do to create community in my life, I can see the reflection of my need and how deep it is. My emotional counsellor Ken and I are making slow progress as to why I feel like an alien on this planet but the layers are deep and full of tears, and the voice of knowingness has not made itself clear. I do this work and take the time to type for I believe that as I heal myself it resonates outward and will make it easier for others to do the same. Many thanks to those who resonate with my beliefs for a more compassionate world where we don’t factory -farm animals so that rich North Americans can eat beef and destroy the rainforests. Where we are in touch with our feelings and can speak our truths and be honoured for our outspokenness, for the world is not fair. I believe there is enough for all, whether it be food, freedom or housing. We musn’t allow the corporate and government systems to brainwash us into the fear of scarcity. We are creative humans, full of potential, and we have the resources if we want to change the system. I for one am willing to put my heart, soul and most of my waking day into making this a reality.

As for the front cover, I choose it because I was thinking of hunting season coming up. This young moose was found hours after someone killed the mother. When I showed it to Jan, she said this photo is more of a spring picture because that is when wild animals have their babies. And then I remembered Grandad’s voice, cursing the poachers for shooting out of season. This photo is of my Mom honouring the process of life, hours after the birth of a baby moose. We bottle fed it until the game warden arrived and I don’t remember hearing what happened after that. I am grateful to have lived in the wilderness and learned to work hard, and I give thanks for my good health and the wisdom to take care of my body. Now if I could just slow down.

New Piglets (Sep 1999)

As children growing up we had four or five pigs, the long ones that produce the most bacon, and every spring they had piglets. They were so cute and they loved being scratched, but if you tried to lift one off the ground, it squealed so loud that Mama came running to find out what was happening. I found our pigs to be very sociable creatures with poor eating habits. They would oink and fight for best position in the feeding trough, slurping and dripping their food everywhere. In spite of that, they were quite clean and were trained very early to poop in the same spot in their outdoor pen. They loved to bury themselves in the dust or mud, depending on the season. They loved to root up the ground and once the ground was clear of weeds and roots, we would move the pigpen and plant a garden. This picture is one of Michael as he coaxes the piglets to come closer. In the background is the log barn that Dad, Grandad and my brothers built.

I have looked at this photo a few times over the last few months wondering how I would relate this photograph to what’s happening in my life today. Well… I thought of it with a laugh as I was driving home after my family reunion. It has been ten years since Rae and I divorced and I almost didn’t recognize him, for he had grown jowls on his face and a large gut. We were staying at a cottage we had rented at Sylvan Lake, Alberta and my boys were frying up bacon for breakfast when I made a comment that “We are what we eat.” As usual, it wasn’t appreciated. I find it hard not to speak my truth especially when it is something that is harming my family. But as Keith said, “Dad won’t change and we all know it, so why say anything?” It made me wonder why I keep trying.

I haven’t eaten bacon for thirty years and consider it to be one of the least healthy meats to eat. Factory farming has given rise to pigpens being stacked six high and the pig shit dripping down through the cages and has created a system where they are force-fed with hormones and drugs. I believe that it is unhealthy to cage animals and take away their animal instincts, and that when they are raised in these unhealthy ways, it creates unhappiness and fear in them that is kept in their body at a vibrational level and passed along to humans who eat their meat. And that is not to mention the side effects of the drugs and fats that our livers have to handle.

After about six years of marriage and three little children keeping me busy I asked Rae to help me with the cooking and the dishes. He refused and he wasn’t about to discuss it. I felt frustrated, not being able to come to some sort of compromise… as far as he was concerned there was nothing wrong, it was me that was unhappy. I remember him coming home one day and telling me about a log that went through the window of his logging truck and how it had just missed his head. The only thing I could think was, “Damm… life would be so much better without him.” We talked about separation and my heart made the decision that my boys deserved having a Dad and I needed to change my attitude. I learned to make myself happy as my shoulders rounded to protect my heart and my stomach became finicky. I learned about nutrition and organic growing so that I could keep my systems functioning, for the medical authorities had no answers that could help me.

Once the two oldest boys left for college and Dale was in grade 12, Rae and I decided to divorce. I remember going down the steps of our split level home and feeling a change in my legs. I ran up and down them and by about the third time, I had figured out what the change was. As I got to the top Rae asked me what I was doing. I said, “My shackles are gone, my feet feel light.” Feeling like a slave while knowing he was a good guy, didn’t make sense so I had stopped speaking about my feelings many years ago. Surviving was all that mattered and I kept my mouth shut, most of the time.

The reunion brought up old memories and being around Rae and the boys made me feel like I was from another dimension. Watching them devour their steaks, listening to Rae repeat the same few phrases, and having the TV turned on whenever he walked into the room made my heart sink. It felt good to say what I was feeling, for I had nothing to lose, at the same time I felt a great loss and I cried to let go of the pain.

During the weekend I had gone for walks with Gordon and Keith, they both hugged and said they loved me… it was me who was feeling like I didn’t belong. I wanted to spend time with my boys, not Rae. As we were leaving I told him that… it didn’t go over very well. I cried most of the way back to Calgary and it felt good, thinking about the past… for I did well as a teenager raising three good kids. I figure I owed Rae or the boys some karmic debt, and I paid it off with love.

I have always had strong feelings about the killing of animals and protested as a child when they killed my favourite piglet. Moose meat was a little more acceptable as food. Today I also protest the use of chemicals to grow and preserve food for it just doesn’t feel right. I choose to be around people who agree with my belief systems and I feel more connected to them than to my family.

My session with Ken brought up feelings that were buried so long ago that I had forgotten about them. Breathing deep into my belly I could feel where the energy was blocked. I pressed on it and my jaw started vibrating as old grief rose to the surface, for deep within my psyche it felt like I had lost my soul at age seventeen… pregnant by somebody I didn’t really know or love. My Mom said she was too young to be a grandma and wanted me to have an abortion. Rae wanted to marry me and that seemed to be the right thing to do. He eloped while his parents were on holidays so he didn’t have to tell them and I left with my Mom refusing to speak to me. Back then there was no support for unwed moms and in marrying I did what I thought would be best for the child. I survived, learned my lessons well, learned to love parts of Rae, and to not discuss anything he didn’t want to hear about.

Each day I grow stronger and my feet feel lighter. Letting go of old trauma frees up my energy systems. The vertebrae in my back and neck are straightening out and my digestion is getting better as long as I don’t eat gluten or lactose. I drove all summer wearing cheap sunglasses and when I put my glasses on to read the telephone book I could barely make out the numbers so I took them off and the small letters were much clearer. I guess it is time to get rid of my glasses for good… but first I need to do my eye exercises for my eyes still tire after five or six hours of being without them.

The Nuns of Terrace (Jul 1999)

Life… what a wonderfully busy journey. As I flipped through the photographs, it was hard to chose a cover for this month. Do I want a busy photograph of a summer picnic with my Mom’s friends, the nuns from Terrace? Or do I want to focus on the quiet reflections of how the natives of northern Alberta lived in the summer? Deciding reminded me of the paradox of life that I am exploring… these two photographs offered the opposites of life as well. The Judeo-Christian beliefs of only one God and one lifetime, or the belief system that God is in everyone and everywhere and that we get many lifetimes to learn our lessons. As you can see I put the nuns on the front cover and here is the other picture, taken by my Grandad, near his hometown of Grimshaw, Alberta.

With summer coming, I was hoping to get caught up on paper work and learn a few new computer programs, but life has a way of just happening, so we will see how much I get done. My partner, Gerry, who runs the Juicy Carrot, is going to Ohio for a week to be with his spiritual teacher. So I will get to take his place and make fresh juices for his customers, for I think it is important not to close during the busy summer months. Then it will be time for me to travel to Edmonton for a week, where my youngest son Dale is organizing a family reunion, and where I will get to be reminded of who I was. Plus I will take time to meet and visit with holistic-minded people — finding out what is happening in their area.

I enjoy life so all will be fun and I will try not to play too hard. I am happy for I feel like I am doing what I came here to do. Having a body that is strong enough to do what is asked of it is my reward. Stilling my mind from the idle chatter is getting easier and yoga helps me the most. I have instant energy when I ask for it and I don’t need caffeine to get it. Slowing down and getting more done seems to be working as my vision of a Centre, for people who are willing to take personal responsibility for their lives, keeps growing.

I decided not to have another intense session with Ken this month, exploring the depths of my understanding of who I am. Instead I got a deep tissue massage. Taking time for myself and getting the dog out from under the porch (last month’s Musings) has been a good test of my ability to keep taking time for myself and still do what needs to done. I am getting clearer with what makes me happy, and my body is getting better at telling me when I am over-doing my pleasures so I am learning to take a few moments to pause, breathe, look around, say my thanks before moving onto the next task. Putting high quality organic food into my system helps my brain function at the speed necessary for integration and figuring out the best way to get a job done. In the midst of my busy-ness I often get major insights into a question I asked of the universe, or an understanding of why I do what I do, and do I want to change it just now.

I get energy being around people who want to learn more about health and awareness and I feel frustrated with some of the reality checks that the universe gives me… that most people just don’t care or they don’t want to know. Isn’t it obvious that, if one’s body is not strong, it cannot do what the mind wishes … as people grow older they notice the difference, but should it be happening to young people… children, teenagers and adults less than 50 years old? It makes me sad, frustrated and sometimes angry that people do not make the connection between the food they eat and the amount of physical energy they have. And yes, I know there is more to it than this, but one idea at a time.

I also know I shouldn’t get attached to what people want to do with their bodies, but when it involves family members and my partners, my judgements do come up. The letting go or grieving process always involves getting angry, then asking myself, “What do I want from that person?” I know I wouldn’t have gotten angry if I didn’t want something. As I listen to the answer, my heart softens and I let go of another string that has tied us together. Then I remind myself that real love is loving people just the way they are… and I get to see yet another paradox.

I figure that is why I do what I do, wanting to educate as many people as are ready … but I am also learning that learning can only happen when they are ready. If it happens to soon or too much at one time, they rebel, for I am not loving them just the way they are. I have found it easier to teach a stranger than a loved one. When I make a comment to Gerry about his appreciating and enjoying the many unusual meals I sometimes prepare, he looks at me with a quizzed look and wonders why I need to comment. But I am just so happy that I have found someone that appreciates my need for quality food. I do enjoy my comfort foods such as ice cream and cookies but if I eat the poor quality version my body reacts with a tummy ache and I don’t sleep well. Afterwards I say to myself that it will be a long time before I do that again. Being born with a sensitive stomach is a blessing and a curse and since life is a paradox, I shall enjoy it to the max and learn as much as I can in this lifetime so that I may bring that energy and understanding into my next life.

Maybe, if we as a nation have dealt with the toxins that are polluting our earth and ourselves, we will all be able to eat high-quality foods that replenish and rebuild our energy systems. Maybe the government will change how it spends our money looking after us, maybe TV advertising and peer pressure will change, maybe we will learn to handle our daily stresses in another way, etc., etc. In the meantime all we can change is ourselves, and that I enjoy doing, for I am a new person everyday. The divine spark continues to glow deep within my psyche and I do love myself…just the way I am.

A Gift for Mom (Jun 1999)

Finding time to put words to what is happening externally and internally and keep several businesses operating is a challenge. This Sunday I would have preferred to have caught up on some paperwork, but that can wait and deadlines can’t. I am glad when each Musing is complete and I trust that putting these words on paper as a record of my life as it changes is part of my evolvement. Mom preserved our heritage by taking pictures as a record of our homesteading days. I get to record history in a different way, but in essence we are doing the same thing.

This month’s front cover is of me when I was ten or eleven years old, with two of my brothers. We are holding a picture that Dad framed with birch logs. He had cut and grooved them with his power saw, for he was a logger. It was a surprise for Mother’s Day. Even though she had bought the wallpaper prints, Dad took the time to frame them beautifully. The wood bridge we are standing on was typical of those used for logging roads and gave us space to shoot this picture.

The Spring Festival of Awareness kept me busy last month— busier than I had planned. I had decided that I did not want to support the Liptons Food Company and spoke with the cook at Naramata Centre. I explained that the crystals used for the iced tea and artificial juices are made with bleached sugar and chemicals, and that giving them to people to drink compromises my integrity. I also don’t feel well when I drink them as they cause my throat muscles to tighten. We couldn’t reach a compromise, so I decided to do the refreshment breaks myself. The more I am around organic growers and talk with them about their commitment to eat and drink food that is chemical-free, the more I want to be like them. And I want people to taste the difference and understand the dangers of putting poisons in our bodies, even if they taste so good they fool our taste buds. I served organic coffee and tea and made two cold drinks, fresh lemonade made with organic sugar and a Tazo Tea — steeped peppermint leaves mixed with local organic apple juice. I happened to come across a jet spray to keep the drinks cold and bought hundreds of cups and glasses at garage sales so we wouldn’t be throwing out stryrofoam cups.

I arranged for two volunteers to help with setup and clean-up. One of them didn’t show and when that happens I get the opportunity to see what their job is like. Needless to say my feet and legs put in extra time and were very tired by the end of the weekend, but I am glad to have had the experience. Each year I become more appreciative of the volunteers who are hard working, dedicated folks who return year after year.

Sunday night about 9 pm, I was in McLaren Hall putting away the last of the cups. My legs were aching and the sole of my left foot hurt, so I checked into my body. As I did the energy shifted, and this huge feeling of gratitude surrounded me and tears came to my eyes. I felt grateful that my body could work the long hours I had asked of it. I felt satisfied about the weekend for it was special, successful and had an energy of its own. My crew and I did the physical set up but the festival leaders and participants create the magic. I giggled to myself for I was happy and my body felt energized enough that before heading home I stripped a few beds and tidied up the loft. It was midnight before I got a chance to lay down in my bed. Immediately I felt intense pain as the pressure released from my legs and feet. For the past six months I had been making mental notes of the feeling in my feet whenever I walked, especially the first few steps each morning. Saturday, two weeks after the Festival, I could barely get out of bed. My left foot hurt whenever I put weight on it but I wasn’t going to miss my morning of garage sailing, so I quickly adapted and put my focus on shifting my weight forward with each step. Over the next week my hip popped, the groin muscles stretched and the feelings that I had been noticing for so long started to fade. I figure it was my body doing another shift and I am grateful, for this is why I do emotional release work each month with Ken. I have noticed that the universe gives me lessons each month to help me to release old patterning… and then shows me the next layer.

My body knows exactly what it is ready to deal with and gives me situations in my life to put love into practice. For the past several months my focus was on why I work so hard. I asked my inner self this question and an image came to me — it was Hilda the Hun, dressed in her long flowing dress, wielding her sword and poking it at what seemed to be a dog under the porch. Ken asked me to see these two parts of myself communicating. Hilda’s loud voice reminded me of my Dad… feeling very small in front of him… knowing he wanted me to do more but feeling I was too tired to do it happily. I know Hilda is the driving force in me that likes to get things done. I tried my best to imagine the dog under the porch standing up to Hilda for I knew that was part of me also, the part that doesn’t take breaks, even though my body is asking for one. I find it is easy to override any thoughts calling for rest and to keep moving. My exercise over the next several weeks was to imagine me coming out from under the porch and joining with the Hilda part of me as we walked arm-in-arm, as friends. Each time I did, tears welled up, as this quiet aspect of myself felt so grateful at finally being heard.

When Ken came three weeks later my body decided to continue the same discussion. This time when Ken asked me why I don’t communicate with this aspect of myself, my inner child responded by remembering my older brother Phillip, the one on this month’s front cover. He moved slowly and Dad called him lazy and ridiculed him. I didn’t want to be called lazy so I over-rode my natural instincts and worked hard so that I could get the love I needed from my parents. The tears flowed easily and when they do I know my thoughts to be truth.

This was a very quiet session, for I have finally reached a place near my core self where I have come to realize that there is no-one to blame. Just decisions on how I need to change myself. At least now I can hear the quiet voice and sometimes I rest. When I honour the rhythm of my body I have more energy at the end of the day and I spend it meditating and asking for guidance. Being grateful and not controlling how things get done is becoming easier and more natural feeling. Making each moment of the day special allows me to do a walking mediation, enjoying the flowers, the birds and the sunsets as I move from one task to the next.

My Mom arrived In Penticton the day before Mother’s Day and it was great that I could enjoy her company. Listening to her latest escapades helps me become a little more clear about why I am the way I am. I have come to understand that life is a paradox and my mother is a great example. You can read about her on page 26, for Urmi interviewed her and will give you a glimpse into this delightful, free woman who knows few limitations and trusts that the universe will provide. Her energetic nature and love of life are much appreciated, for I know those qualities are in my genes as well.

Stacking Wood (May 1999)

I smile as I look at this photograph, for it does bring back a lot of memories. I wonder what Michael is thinking as brother Bill carefully balances the load for him. It takes experience for both of them to know that this load will not get lifted, for Michael needs to get his feet under him. I am sure they figured it out for they both became great wood haulers.

It took lots of cooperation to live in the woods and keep a family warm. I can remember doing my share of the wood hauling, there had to be communication between two people. When I was being loaded, I had to tell my brothers when my load was heavy or feeling unbalanced. With practice we all learned how much we could carry without either the arms or legs collapsing. A few times I lost my load because it was one stick too high and I couldn’t see where I was walking on the gravel pathway. Learning to work hard at a young age, within a large family, taught me much about life.

As a teenager I lived with Mom, for my parents had separated and Dad took the boys with him. Mom and I lived in town with Grandad and even though we had an oil furnace Mom and Grandad preferred the wood cook stove, so I kept hauling in the wood till I was seventeen and left home. One day I was in a hurry and grabbed a piece of wood too heavy for the shift and down it fell — right onto my big toe. I limped for a few days till the pressure became too great and I complained to Grandad. He offered me an option and said “Drill a hole in your toenail.” He pulled out his pocket knife and started carving a small circle just above the darkest spot. He was not sensitive to my pain so I asked for the knife. Easing up when I couldn’t take it and breathing out as I scraped deeper I punctured a tiny hole in my black and blue nail. I remember being amazed at how soft my nails really were. As the blood squirted out, the pressure released and I could walk again. A month later the nail fell off with another winch of pain, for the skin was not completely dead. This had been a most interesting experience that taught me how to look after my body — with some guidance from Grandad.

As many of you may realize my Musings is typed a month before you read it. This is the Easter weekend and I am fasting for my body has asked for a rest from food. For the past twenty years I have done an annual spring clean. I know I am ready when I get an irresistible urge to tidy my cupboards, scrub floors and clean outside. Then I tune into my body and see if my system needs a bit of cleaning, and I check my schedule to see whether I can slow down and do paperwork for a few days. This year I noticed the dandelions were just perfect for eating, the day was warm and it was easy for me to skip the first meal. Dandelions need to be picked before they blossom and become bitter. I know the dandelions in my garden haven’t been sprayed so I gently dug two or three inches deep around the plant and gave them a good pull. I scrubbed the roots with a brush or dull knife, washed them well and rinsed them in citrus seed extract diluted in water to kill off any bugs. I enjoyed the sweetness of the closed buds, the tender young leaves and chomping on the white root. Dandelions stimulate my liver to cleanse itself. I had five days with no solid food except the dandelions but I did enjoy carrot juice and lemon with honey, and I mixed some Pascalite clay, herbal tinctures and psyllium husks in warm water with apple juice to help scrape the debris from my colon. The herbal teas I make are quite stimulating for the various organs and give my body an extra boost to activate the cleansing process. With no food in my belly to warm me up I was cold till the sun shone in our East facing windows. I went to bed when the sun went down and did some breath work till I feel asleep.

I know from experience that if I have one nibble, the fast is over and I start to crave food. Cooking everyday at the Juicy Carrot made this year challenging but the long weekend helped get me off to a good start. Coming off the fast slowly is best but I don’t do many things slowly and I didn’t feel like eating fruit, so I had a small salad and hot soup, later that day my homemade cookies smelled so good I rewarded myself with one of them and chewed it ever so slowly. I will continue to take my hot water in the morning with wormwood and dandelion juice in it. When the bottle in empty I will see what next I want to try for I have discovered that all herbs are beneficial to my body and help me cope with living life to the fullest. I thoroughly enjoy fasting so it is no hardship as long as I don’t have to do a lot of physical work.

Over the years I have followed many various cleansing programs that I bought at a health food store. I have also done parasite cleanses, the gall bladder cleanse, the grape cure, the Master Cleanse and more. This year I decided to use what was outside my back door… dandelions. The timing was perfect. Easter came early and Gerry went home to Ontario to help his folks make maple syrup. My body was ready and when I listen to it my life becomes so much more in the flow.

Looking back I see why I chose to become vegetarian for I feel so much lighter eating vegetables but now I know better and make a conscious effort to include more protein in my diet, a little bit all the time. For those of you who think fasting is impossible may I suggest a one-day fast of fruit or fruit juices diluted with water, followed by salads on the second day and rice on the third. Breaking the habit of eating bread everyday is beneficial, as is a one-day juice or water fast. Eating simply becomes easier and helps my body get rid of excess toxins on a regular basis. The only way I know I have gotten the flu bug is I feel a cold sensation in my wrist, then I notice l am a bit tired and get to bed early. It has been at least twenty years since I needed a day to rest to get over something. I sometimes get mucous build-up in my throat and chest area when I eat too much dairy or flour products and I can feel myself moving slower and thinking less clear so I try and limit these products.

From experience I have learned how much I can eat of rich, heavy foods and if I don’t, my body rebels instantly and I get a heavy feeling in the stomach and my head feels foggy. I am delighted to talk with so many people who are reviving this very old tradition of fasting. Eating with the seasons and becoming instinctive about my food is helping me feel strong from the inside. I would love to hear your spring cleaning stories.

Making Biscuits (Apr 1999)

Cooking comes naturally to me. As you can see from this month’s cover photo my Mom encouraged us children to help cook. Bill and Michael are my brothers and by the cans on the table I will guess they are preparing some baking soda biscuits for dinner. When I was a teenager, my girl friend and I were discussing what to do one Saturday afternoon, when I suggested making donuts. She grimanced and said, “I can’t.” I said, “Why not?” and she said, “Mom won’t let me get the kitchen dirty.” My eyebrows raised with surprise and I said, “Then let’s do it at my house.” I got the deep fryer out and found Mom’s cookbook. Half way through the recipe, we decided we wanted green donuts. I found the food dye and dropped it onto the dough in spots, but it was too late. It didn’t mix in and the donuts looked like they had measles or had gone mouldy, so Cindy and I ate most of them. We had a fun day and I learned at a young age that people are more impressed with appearances than taste. Grandma always said, “Brown is beautiful, so don’t let colour fool you.” She was talking about bleached flour, dried fruit and the smoke painted on dried fish to make them look colorful. The chemicals used to make food appealing weakens our body systems. Since World War I many chemicals have been introduced into our environment to preserve food and make it last longer. It is crucial that people understand what is happening to our so-called food supply and decide what they wish to support.

Food nourishes the soul and over time, I have learned the importance of using quality organic foods so that my body gets the trace minerals that are so important to repairing the nerves, bones and tissues. Quality food helps me to sustain my high level of energy as does my journey inward with Ken each month. I find seeing another part of myself, very profound. It fascinates me to see the child and how she came to make decisions. I find crying for at least an hour every month to be very healing. As I dive into the old pain and release it from my body systems it gives me extra energy that I can use each and every day afterwards. Feeling and freeing the emotions of the past, standing now in the place of witness, gives me the strength to change.

This month it was about seeing myself as mediator between Mom and Dad who always argued, but never in front of the children. You could feel cold air when a major power struggle was going on and it confused me, for I could sense the anger but no one was talking. My entanglement with Mom is being repeated with my partner Jan, so that I may heal this wounded child part of myself who always wanted to make everyone feel better so that we could have peace in the house and be loved. I wanted everyone to see the sunny side of life and I learned it was easier to pretend all was okay. Today my stomach won’t allow my inner child to collapse into confusion, for she likes the warrior side of me that speaks up, even through my knees shake, my belly whirls and my body quivers.

Twenty years ago, it would take about two weeks before I knew something was bothering me. I didn’t know what anger felt like it was buried so deep. Today it takes anywhere from two minutes to two days but I get inklings from my body that something is not right. I sometimes talk it out with a friend and have learned to listen to the tone in my voice as I repeat an incident. As the tone increases I can feel the tension in my body tighten, my voice gets squeaky and I watch myself react. Clueing into a repeating patterns and changing it in the moment is getting easier as I learn to trust my body sensations. Watching Jan and myself get clear on our priorities is a test as to whether I have outgrown my childhood influences of blaming, triangling or trying to save my parents from each other. Dropping my defences is getting easier and it is fortunate that I have Ken to take me one step closer to seeing my original programming so that I may realize that I have created this situation in my life to help me heal myself.

I am a person of action and I don’t always take the time to think things through: I just do things and figure it out later once I see how things are working, and I expect others to do the same. Jan is the opposite: she needs lots of time to see if a new idea is acceptable to her. For me, getting clear with my needs is something that happens as life happens. As my life changes so will my needs, but communicating this effectively to someone else is not a priority. Sometimes I don’t realize I shifted gears until after it happened. Staying grounded with life moving at my speed is a challenge that I enjoy.

Another program I am negotiating with myself is; that changing my mind is okay. Part of me says that if I change my mind I am being fickle and not a responsible person and I won’t be trusted in the future for doing what I said I would do. Reworking that belief system means learning the fine line of differentiation for I do believe in being responsible.

At the core of me is a compassionate warrior who wants to change the world by getting involved and doing something about it. I have this energy because my soul has lived enough lifetimes to know better than to spend time abusing it with addictions. I want the whole world to have the same amount of vitality as I do and I will share my secret with all who ask, whether it be through Musings, Wholefoods Cooking Classes, Yoga, Handwriting Analysis or chatting with people. I believe that my body is a reflection of my soul’s desire to do what it came here to do, and when I speak from the passion in my heart, it gives me energy. I have always had guidance from the voice in my head and now I get a chance to be in touch with my feelings. Today my body is stronger and more flexible than twenty years ago so I believe it when New Age books say… many people are dead by twenty-five with bodies that react rather than act.

I am delighted to be learning so much in this lifetime. I have a deep knowingness that each day is perfect and I trust my angels and guides that I will stay present and do what needs to done. I have learned that “Your mind and your friends can tell you what you want to hear, but the body never lies.”

My Birthday Celebration (Mar 1999)

Growing up in a large family out in the wilderness with many brothers taught me many skills. Being productively busy is one of them, for it seemed the sun would go down before we finished all that needed doing. We did have candles and propane lights, but they were used sparingly. This month’s photograph is of me having my tenth birthday. I am the one behind the candle. I know this is my birthday party and not one of my brother’s because there are more girls than boys in the picture. Hazel, Gail, Sharon, Laurie and myself were the only girls living in our small community, so it was a special occasion when they all came over for a visit and cake. Presents were usually money or a gift made by themselves or their Mom. This year on Feb. 20th, I enjoyed having my 47th birthday gathering and I made time for it. The twentieth of each month is my ‘going to print’ time and my day is usually spent on the computer putting the finishing touches to ISSUES. Thanks to all who came to my birthday and to those who sent their love and blessings, for I do know how busy life can get.

Life has always been busy for me. I reread some letters that I wrote to my Mom when I was fourteen and my opening sentence on all four of them was about how busy I was. Life doesn’t change much unless we put our undivided attention on what we want and ask for it with all our heart. I love being busy, so I doubt if that will change. My challenge is to get clear on what I want to spend my time doing.

Last Sunday I made time for a walk in the sunshine rather than typing Musings so my story is short this month. Letting go of expectations and at the same time expecting only the best is what I am practising these days. I have ideas on how to make it work, but at the same time, I know I have to be flexible enough to keep changing as the circumstances do. I continue to do the breathing exercises that Ken teaches me, feeling deeply into my body, checking in as often as possible. Lately it is the sensations of anxiety and fear that I can feel moving in my belly. I give them space and instruct my brain not to get caught up in past patterns and to live in the moment. Each time I remind myself to let go of the past patterning, it fades a little. For the past three years my hips have been shifting, a long slow process that seems to be coming to fruition. When I go for a walk I can feel my sway back tucking under and straightening. My shoulders are becoming more balanced over my torso which allows my neck to come into proper alignment. Straightening the twist in my hips and the curve in my low back gives me a feeling of weakness and there are moments when I wonder if what I am doing is for my best interest but they are short-lived. I breathe into the fear and remind myself of what Ida Rolf said about the hips and the sacrum needing to be in alignment with the centre of the Earth so that we feel Her and get a clear connection to our purpose for being here, for I do want to do my best this time round.

Getting the hips to rotate meant my opposite shoulder had to loosen up and the thousands of small intricate muscles within the hips had to stretch and realign themselves. I give credit to yoga, rolfing and my emotional clearing process that I do weekly or monthly for it feels like completion is close, and at the same time I know it only readies me for the next step in my journey.

February is the month I choose my ‘Universal lesson’ for 1999, something to focus my intent on and to remind myself to do things in a different way. This year it is “Getting Clear.” Getting clear with myself and what I want for me and the community that I live in; getting clear with friends, advertisers and readers about what is expected from all of us; getting clear with my business partners about what we need from each other to feel supported; and getting clear within myself on the qualities I need in a new business partner. Issues is now in its tenth year and I feel it is time for more input, more creative flow with someone who loves working on computers and has a vision of networking information. The possibilities are unlimited but it takes dedication, time and money to make it a reality. It is always exciting to see what the future will bring and time is our illusion, so what will be will be. I wish you love and light in manifesting your desires. Breathe deeply and get in touch with your body for it has the answers you need to make yourself healthy and happy.

The View of Kalum Lake (Feb 1999)

This month’s front cover photo is a picture of the Kalum valley from a point somewhere on Mount Goaty. It was where my family enjoyed hiking and my oldest brothers got to practice their shooting skills as mountain goats made great targets. I never climbed this mountain, for I didn’t like the killing and I found other things to do. This month’s Musings is about the mountain I have climbed to establish my business… Visions…Unlimited Network Inc., the legal company name for ISSUES Magazine and the Holistic Health Centre.

After moving to Summerland from Terrace in 1980, I met Hugh Gibbs. He came to pick up the clothes that I had mended for him, he sniffed the air and said, “Smells good.” I said, “We are just about to have lunch. Would you like to stay?” He smiled and said, “You bet.” I liked his honesty, for most people would have been polite and made an excuse not to. He shared with me his vegetarian beliefs and I started attending his meditation evenings. I could feel energy as it moved from the heavens through my body. Herbal, nutritional and metaphysical books have always fascinated me and I studied Astrology when I was living in Terrace. I was glad to meet this kind of person in Summerland for I had discovered that the more time I spent with these people the more I wanted to be around them.

When I was working at the Summerland pool, people would drop by to ask me questions about using natural remedies, and I started to realize how much I knew.  Any extra money from working was spent on educating myself,  travelling to Vancouver for workshops or to Vernon to attend the Spring Festival of Awareness. After a very busy day of organizing the Giant’s Head Run for Ellen, my supervisor at the pool, I  remember looking to the heavens and saying,  “Give me something to organize that I would like to attend.”  By now it had been thirteen years of working at swimming pools and the chlorine was drying out my skin. I was glad to be doing more organizing and promotional work. As much as I loved instructing swimming lessons, the cold water was also starting to bother me. Then one day Ellen hired a new pool manager and I tried my best to please him. One day as I walked around the deck, I heard a voice in my head; it said “Smile, Angèle, smile.”  I argued with myself that there was no way Peter was getting a smile out of me. After I had walked to the  opposite side of the deck, the voice became louder. I gave in and smiled, and as I looked up there was Peter, with his arm up in the air. He was checking my scanning skills, and I had failed miserably. He told me I would never work at a pool again. I remember going home in tears. Rae asked, “What is the matter?”  I told him of my frustration and he said …”Then quit.”  I said “Really? That would be okay?”  Rae replied.”If you are not happy, don’t do it.”  This was advice that I had given many times to him but for me to do it felt scary. At the same time I felt so special and so loved.

Our family needed my wage to make ends meet, so that night I looked up at the sky and said, “Please give me six months to figure out how to make ends meet and I will quit.”  I knew deep in my bones it was time to do something else and that Peter was the kick in the butt from the universe. In about two weeks Peter was transferred and work became fun again, but I remembered my promise and shifted my attention to figure out new ways to make a living.  I scanned Shared Vision and Common Ground magazines from Vancouver and circled every ad that looked like an interesting vocation. A week later I pared it down to about six choices. I  followed with letters or phone calls till I became clear with what I wanted to become, keeping in consideration time, money and that my new livelihood needed to be holistic but kind of grounded and scientific.

The lady on the phone said that I could make $50 an hour once I was certified. I thought to myself I would be happy with $20. So I signed up for a two-year correspondence course in Graphology, knowing I could put in more effort once I was finished working. I then informed my boss of my intention to quit and went through an eye-opening experience. I was feeling a little burnt out and UIC sounded real good in that it would give me a rest and time to make the shift.

August 16, 1987 the Harmonic Convergence meditation happened at Lynn’s house. It was our 18th wedding anniversary and we had just moved into Penticton in time for the kids to start school. I felt like I was in heaven. I had wanted more spiritual connections and it was happening. Some of the meditation group started meeting every second Friday at the Leir House and the Penticton Metaphysical Society was birthed. Cheryl Grismer was our first speaker, and I was impressed. Floyd kept a list of the attendees and I would telephone everyone to remind them who the speaker was and figure out the next speaker. I was using my kids’ computer to type up a schedule and passing out copies wherever I could. As the membership grew it was harder to make all the phone calls, so I tried mailing but it was expensive and I didn’t get the same response. What was I to do?

Earlier that year we had accepted a foster teenager into our family because he was a friend of our son’s so we became Foster Parents and got a twelve-year-boy and a sixteen-year-old girl. The extra income from looking after three more children allowed me the money to finish the Graphology Course. With five teenage boys and one girl consuming enormous amounts of food and since I made everything from scratch, including grinding my flour, I was soon wondering how I had ever found the time to work.

Wanting to earn my UIC money and feeling it was important to do something for my community, I accepted the opportunity to organize the Spring Festival of Awareness. I had so much fun organizing that first Festival and meeting so many like-minded people that once it was over, I wanted to do it again. Urmi, Laurel, David and Marion agreed. I wanted the challenge of doing a better job of promoting and organizing it, now that I knew what to expect. I had discovered how expensive advertising and brochures were and I wanted to find a cheaper way to do it. At about the same time, I decided to check out the entrepreneurial program at SIDCO. I had an idea and the coordinator loved it, for she already had a Reflexologist and a Polarity Therapist on the program and she needed someone to help promote them. Within a few weeks the paper work was done, and I had business cards that said I was a promoter: all I needed to do was figure out how to do it.

This was now the spring of 1989 and with the first festival was complete. I had time to get involved with Shaw Cable and started a TV show, calling it The Holistic Networker. I was told it was a good way to network and forced me to continually find interesting people to interview as I was now the hostess of the Metaphysical Society.

I talked with Samaya at Shared Vision and the men at Common Ground to ask how easy it was to start a magazine. The men laughed at the thought of selling advertising in the Okanagan, but Samaya said, “If I can do it! anybody can!” So, I made arrangements to buy two pages at cost in her magazine and she would print me extra copies to spread around the valley. I called my section Inside BC. I learned lots, met special people, and hired someone to layout the two pages for me. A week later, I headed down to pick up 5,000 magazines. I was thankful to those early advertisers for supporting me, for the Interior Source had just folded and people were shy of being burned again. By August I had sold a few more ads and bought four pages, allowing a little room for editorial. By then I was checking out the price of computers for my son’s two disk drive computer needed a few more features. I wanted to do layout myself for I found it frustrating explaining my ideas to the print people.

The December edition of Inside BC was eight pages and cost me $1,000. Thoughts of starting my own magazine looked promising so I checked out Webco, a printing company. They could print 16 pages for $1,000 and I still got 5,000 copies. When I picked up the December edition of Shared Vision in Vancouver I spoke with Samaya, dreading her disappointment but feeling it was the best step. She surprised me with her reply: “I was thinking the same thing. I am not making any money selling you pages at cost.” We hugged and I drove home full of love, light and enthusiasm.

Once home I mulled over the idea of what I needed to do next. I wanted a front cover that was simple, reusable and not ‘new-agey’ … I didn’t like the latest cover of Shared Vision. When Samaya had told me how much money she was spending on designers, layout people and proof readers, I had felt my body cringe. Besides I didn’t have the money for these options, so-how was I to do it? As my mind quieted I heard my inner voice say, “Use your Mom’s photographs.” I thought what a great idea and called Mom. She was delighted and shipped me down all the photos she had. The next day as I went for my daily walk I heard the voice again, which said, “You are to write your own column. I looked up and said, “And what would I call it?”  The voice said, “Musing.” I said I will look that word up in the dictionary and if it means anything I will try.” I then hurried home. Shortly afterwards, l typed in my first short editorial saying that I looked up the word Musing in the dictionary and it means to; meditate in silence; think deeply; dream; so my column will be to share with you my thoughts and dreams.

Getting that first edition to print reminded me of giving birth to my first child. I worked right through the night so that ISSUES would be ready for print that morning. The staff at Webco was supportive and I had a few days to rest before going on the road to do distribution. After the third publication, someone asked me how to tell the different months apart. “I said by the colour.” That got me to thinking I should put the date on the front of the magazines. That was how little I knew about publishing! At about the same time my husband decided he had had enough and wanted the old me back. He was not interested in helping out with ISSUES, as was originally planned, he felt uncomfortable going to vegetarian potlucks and he was not looking forward to another Spring Festival of Awareness. He asked me to move out. I said, “As soon as the next edition goes to print.”

Over the next six weeks, I found an apartment, bought a new desk and put a down payment on a new car. In the meantime, I typeset the January/February edition and took that to the printers in mid-December. On Christmas Day 1991, my boys came home and helped me move. Two days later I was back on the road doing distribution. I made it through my first year, and there was so much more to learn. I was up to 10,000 copies with office hours officially from 7 am to 7 pm. A year later things finally slowed down enough so could I rewrite my Graphology exam. When I took my papers to Vancouver to be marked, I asked the examiner why she had flunked me the first time? She said, “A voice told me to, it said you needed six months. I felt bad but I have learned to listen to the voice.” We hugged and though I don’t officially work as a Graphologist, I am grateful for the insights that I see in people’s handwriting and use it as a tool for understanding them.

By October 1992 I realized I was working too hard and changed the publishing of Issues from six to five times a year, giving me a month off for the festive season and a month off in the summer. By that fall my vision to create a Wholistic Healing Center grew stronger, and I needed an office downtown. The voice said I was to find property on the creek. While paying the Skaha Sound bill after the fifth Spring Festival of Awareness I heard my inner voice say “This is it, the perfect spot for a center.” Jan stared at the blackened walls and said “Are you sure?”  By the summer of 1994 I was renovating the rented building on the creek, downtown. Jan and many others helped to create an inviting space out of the old Skaha Sound building, that was once a mechanical shop for logging trucks.

My occasional working at the arena in Summerland had now became full time as one of the men had had a heart attack. I worked on the magazine from 8 to 3:30 pm and drove to Summerland to be to work for 4 pm, cleaning the ice with a Zamboni. The Old Timers hockey team finished up around midnight and I drove home and fell into bed. With a downtown office, Issues became a monthly magazine. Jan and MIke looked after the office. Time became a blur. A week before Christmas my boss called me into his office to let me know I was out of work: Harold had recovered from his heart attack. I danced for joy, for now I could focus my energy on building the Holistic Centre and catching up on some sleep. With the money earned from working I was able to put a $10,000 dollar down payment on the building and so did Jan. We continued with the speaker series, Reiki Circles and Health Fairs -–I was starting to get the hang of promoting, planning events and then letting go of expectations.

Many thanks to all who supported me. Special thanks to Gardom Lake Retreats and Larry Campbell for those early ads and to Laurel Burnham and Dave Curson who took time to write editorials. To Hank Peiser, Cecile Begin, Inner Directions, Books and Beyond, Cheryl Grismer, Spirit Dancer Books, Andy Schneider, Kootenay Coop, Moreen Reed and any other long-term friends and advertisers that I have forgotten to mention. Without the continued support of many advertisers ISSUES would not keep being printed.