Humuh Monastery (Apr 2003)

The front cover is of yet another retreat centre and I have a few more yet to feature as time moves along. BC seems to be a growing oasis for people seeking knowledge and reflective time. The Hümüh Monastery in Westbridge, is where Gerry from the Juicy Carrot is moving to. He has been feeling the call for quite some time and now that the building has been sold, it is time to move on. The Juicy Carrot and the Rainbow Connection Book/Gift Store and Yoga Studio will no longer be in existence as of May 15, 2003. The lady who bought the building is going to transform it into a Health Spa. It is a perfect location, and this old building will love the face-lift. Issues Magazine will continue to rent its portion until Oct. 1.

I invite all my friends, shoppers and well-wishers to drop by and check out the sale of used books and unique gifts from April 10 to May 10. I will be spending the summer teaching and hosting workshops at the Retreat Center at Johnson’s Landing. I will be back and forth to help with printing the August edition, and getting ready for the Wise Woman Weekend in September. When the Oct/Nov. edition is complete, I will pack up the office and move it to the Kootenays. I would like to invite our readers to visit our sanctuary and feel for yourself the serenity of the mountains and the magic of the land.

My intention in moving to the Retreat Center is to create a community of people who wish to work cooperatively on the land, creating a living for ourselves and sharing organic vegetarian meals. As well, I will get some experience running a retreat center as I continue to publish Issues Magazine. I have lots of ideas and I will soon find out if Richard and I can attract some creative people who would like to join us on the journey. I am not sure what the journey will look like, but I am a trusting soul, and assume the universe has a plan. It took only a week for the buyer to be manifested once I had decided to let go and move on. She said she was looking at land in another part of the city when a thought came through quite clear that she was to check out my place.

I am encouraged by the fact that Findhorn in Scotland is celebrating its fortieth year of being an intentional community, and I love the depth of content their programs offer. They teach stewardship in the true sense, that looking after the Earth will help us to look after ourselves. It all started when God spoke to Eileen Caddy and the nature spirits spoke to Dorothy Maclean. They were given clear instructions on the day-to-day planning, without a vision of how big it would become. When I spoke to Dorothy last summer at the Retreat Center, she said that if they had known the bigger picture, it might not have turned out as well. She is glad to live in the moment and now travels around the world teaching people how to communicate with the devas. With time they were joined by David Spangler, an American. David’s three year stay expanded and clarified the vision of Findhorn and the responsibilities of cooperation.

In one of Findhorn’s books, published in 1975 and entitled The Findhorn Garden–Pioneering A New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation, this opening quote appealed to me. “Our radiant energy pervades and gives rise to all life. While it may speak to us through plants, nature spirits or the human beings with whom we share life on this planet, all are reflections of the deeper reality behind and within them. Myth has become reality in the Findhorn Garden, not to present us with a new form of spiritualism, but to offer us a new vision of life, a vision of unity. Essentially, the devas and nature spirits are aspects of our own selves, guiding us toward our true identity, the divine reality within. The story of the garden is a celebration of this divine life in its myriad forms. May the joy we experience in participating in this celebration deepen our commitment to revealing the total beauty of ourselves and all life around us.”

The lessons learned from the growing of plants were applied to the growing number of people joining the organization. Then Roc joined, an English researcher into the elemental kingdoms, who had heard about the forty-pound cabbages and other plants growing in the sand and wind in Northern Scotland. The energy drew him like a magnet. As a child, he passionately believed in fairies and loved both the Greek myths and their Norse equivalents, whose Gods were very real to him. He had already met the God Pan, through the ethers, and their long conversations about the nature of man as described in the book, intrigued me.

This Greek mythological creature came alive to Roc and spoke of his love for man but said that his destructive ways were affecting the devas. They too had a choice and many no longer wanted to help humankind. They don’t understand why we are clear-cutting the forests or spraying toxic chemicals on the fields that the elemental beings inhabit. Overall, the book does a great job of explaining the etheric energy and archetypal patterns of plants and even describes how quarrelling affects their vibration.

Modern man has forgotten how to listen to wind and water, flower and tree, angel and elf. The consciousness of the archaic cultures, Tibetan, Hopi, Sufi and Celtic are making a comeback because they contain the wisdom we need for the survival of our species. Our ecological footprint has become too large. We must change or the changes will be made for us. I for one know it is
time to start a new phase of my life, and look forward to the possibilites of growth for my soul.

Johnson’s Landing Retreat Center Group Room (Feb 2003)

The front cover is a photo of the Johnson’s Landing Retreat Centre near Argenta, two hours north of Nelson. Surrounded by large trees and overlooking Kootenay Lake, it has a serene and peaceful atmosphere. I know because I spent a lot of time there last summer and will be arranging my life to spend more time there in the future. I am hoping to start the process this June and know it will take time.

To build an office there, I will need to sell my holisitic building In Penticton. It is a 3,000 sq. foot commercial building that backs onto Ellis Creek, near the downtown area of Penticton. It is semi-divided into three sections: 1) The Rainbow Connection, a metaphysical/holistic book and gift store with an attached workshop or yoga studio; 2) The Juicy Carrot, an organic juice bar and eatery; and 3) the Issues office plus my personal space. I think it would be ideal if two to four people who wanted to work cooperatively bought it. Gerry would like to move on, so The Juicy Carrot is also for sale. I figure it will take a year or two to move my office and Issues Magazine to the Kootenays. I expect I will be back every few weeks to keep an eye on things until a sale is finalized and the move actually starts to happen.

Last spring when I told my guides I was ready to have a man in my life, I suggested it would be great if he were the type that would enjoy helping me develop what I had started here in Penticton. I even spent some time surfing the web, but after a few months, I lost interest. All the men lived so far away, and no one bothered to email me back. Late one night as I was finalizing the Spring Festival edition of Issues, I had one small space left to fill in the Natural Yellow Pages section. It was beside the Soul Mates column. I thought to myself..should or I shouldn’t I? I had started this column a year earlier on the request of several people who wanted to get in touch with the type of people who would pick up and read this type of magazine. Each month we would get a few ads and a few replies. This time no one had placed an ad, so the space was empty. I started typing, and out came a simple ad of less than thirty words…Interested in meeting a spiritual man who is holistically minded. Hopefully he likes to cook, live simply, enjoys meditating and yoga. Just after that, I got a phone call from a man I knew slightly because I had been to his retreat centre. He was asking for a favour…he needed a place where his new brochures could be delivered until he could get into town and pick them up. I like socializing with my advertisers and people who are involved in the New Age movement, so we went out for dinner and caught up on what was happening in our lives. I never mentioned the fact I was looking around, and neither did he. Later that night, he asked me if I had an Issues around. I thought to myself, “What a dumb question,” and found one for him. He flipped through the pages and pointed to my ad and asked…”Is this you?” I laughed, thinking fast. My heart said… be truthful. So I said “Yes,” He said, “Then I would like a date.”

It has been almost a year since I put the ad in my magazine and with Valentine’s Day near or just past, I thought you might enjoy the story of how Richard and I met. We feel we are a good match for each other and have lots in common. I feel like I am being guided in a slightly different direction than where I thought I was going. I am looking forward to the change, but not the change-over. It will make my life even more full than it is and creates uncertainty for the people around me, but I trust that the universe has a plan and I need to be patient as it unfolds.

Another way to meet people of like mind is to attend the Spring Festival of Awareness that happens every April. See inside the back cover for details. If you want some romance in your life, follow your instincts, get clear with your intentions, tell a few friends, and be patient. It may take time before the other soul is ready.

The Angel and the Rose (Dec 2002)

The front cover is a photograph of a painting that took five years to complete… by an artist in Nelson who says this is his last work of art. He is a friend of Richard, the man in life, who was thinking of using it on his brochure this spring. We agreed it was most appropriate for the front cover of Issues for several reasons and they are:

1) ‘tis the season to send greetings and images of peace and joy. Since my name also means angel or messenger of God, I have always felt connected to these heavenly creatures… I still remember the feeling, when I was about ten years old and read the definition—my head automatically nodded in agreement with the book for I felt the connection deep within. Today I know we all are angels… living in the paradise that we create, individually and collectively.

2) I often feel gifted by the universe, on many levels. To me this was a physical representation of what a psychic said to me when she came into my store this October and asked if she could tell me something. I nodded as she stared at a space above my head and said. “Your third guide is about to join you… he/she is here to help you through this next passage in your life.” She went on to describe what the three of them looked like. Her description of the two I knew matched what I saw in a meditation many, many years ago when I first entered the world of metaphysics. I have been making mental notes in the subtle differences in my personality since its arrival. Mostly I feel more intuitive—with quicker, more clear messages of what is about to happen or needs to be done next. I feel blessed that I have been given extra help as I make this next transition and move to the Kooteneys next summer to start the process of developing an intentional community at Johnson’s Landing.

3) Roses are my favourite flower, the smell and beauty of them grace my table often. In the summer I often snitch them from neighbours who grow these majestic shrubs. Many years ago I told the story about meeting Jan, my past business partner. She caught me early one morning and poked her head out the door and hollered, “Take two they are free.” I grinned sheepishly and complemented her on her green thumb. Perhaps it was the only way the angels could provide me with the help I needed to do my next assignment. I think of this as one of the many small miracles that often happen to me. Today I get roses or other flowers delivered to my door with a kiss and a dinner date, from a man I am growing very fond of. The more time we spend together, the more we appreciate each others qualities.

This Christmas will be our first together as was going to print on a new MacIntosh computer. I had bought the iMac in the spring just as Richard came into my life. After the last few years of upgrading to keep up with my printers needs and the knowingness that the new screen have less emissions … we decided to buy. At the time I figured I had the summer to learn, but after meeting Richard and spending all my extra time helping out at the retreat centre it just sat under my desk. This is the first edition of Issues put together with Quark Express. The learning curve was intense now and then, but Richard has been using one for awhile—his help as well as did Millie and Dena at Webco and Mark at the Mac Doctor has all been appreciated. As you can see we have survived the experience and I have been told that putting Issues together will only get easier.

I am sure the universe has other things for me to do besides formatting ads and I look forward to the experience. Blessings to everyone this festive season, may it be as blissful as you can imagine.

Temple of Divine Light (Oct 2002)

The cover photo is of the Yasodhara Ashram’s Temple of Divine Light. The Temple, which overlooks Kootenay Lake has eight sides each representing a major world religion. Swami Sivananda Rahda started Yasodhara Ashram in 163 and it was her vision to build a spiritual community that honours the Light in each individual an d in all religions. The Temple is now ten ears old, is a manifestation of that vision. The Ashram offers yoga courses and retreats year round. Everyone is welcome to come and experience the Divine in his or her own unique way. www.yasodhara.orgWhat an incredible sight and feeling the Yasodhara Ashram offers. It is near Nelson, and we feature it on this month’s front cover. It is one of my favorite places-it is beautiful, serene, affordable and has a peaceful feeling that is almost palpable. Swami Radha was a visionary guided by the voice of God. The seeds she planted bore much fruit, and although she has passed to other planes, her love still Iives through her initiates at the ashram. For details read page 7.

What an incredible sight and feeling the Yasodhara Ashram offers. It is near Nelson, and we feature it on this month’s front cover. It is one of my favorite places-it is beautiful, serene, affordable am has a peaceful feeling that is almost palpable. Swami Radha was a visionary guided by the voice of God. The seeds she planted bore much fruit, and although she has passed to other planes, her love still lives through her initiates at the
ashram. For details read page 7.

A lady came into my office just before the Wise Woman Weekend; she hinted that the name of my magazine sounded bland and suggested that I rename it. I decided to look up the meaning in the dictionary and we were both impressed with what it meant. I had never thought about the actual meaning as I kind of knew what it meant and since it was ‘the voice’ in my head which gave me the title, I didn’t question it. Here are the formal definitions: 1) to send out; put forth, as in the government issues new stamps 2) come out; go out; proceed, as in Smoke issues from a chimney 3) put into public circulation; 4) discharge, emit 5) emerge 6) result (from) as in The game issued in a tie and lastly 7) to be born. It is probably time that I looked it up since it has been twelve years since my first issue of Issues. In the early years of publishing, I made reference to feeling like I was in kindergarten, for I was busy learning how to type, write, sell ads and figure out the best spots to leave the magazine.

After six years of producing it by myself, five times a year, from my apartment, I moved downtown. Jan became my business partner and we started publishing ten times a year to pay for the increased rent and wages. A few years later Marcel joined us, and we moved to the new building for we needed more space. I felt like I had passed into high school. After four more years of busyness and deciding to publish only six times a year, we down-sized back to our original location with some alterations. Now that I have met the man of my dreams, I would like to start the process of graduating from high school to the next level of learning. Richard owns a retreat center in Johnson’s Landing where he would like to start an intentional community, something I have wanted to do for some time.

The idea has come to me that it will take about a year to phase myself out. I would like to have the buildings used for metaphysical/holistic businesses, and since I feel I was chosen as steward of this land, I figure the universe will give guidance as to who will next take over. I have the personality of a pioneer and when the paperwork processing becomes more than I can handle, it is time to let someone else do it. Marcel and Samarpan did a great job of running the office without me for half the summer, and as we convert to a Mac computer, the putting together of the magazine should get easier. The magazine will be easy to move if need be … we’ll see how long Marcel and Samarpan want to be here. The Rainbow Connection Gift Shop needs more looking after than I can give it, so it will be good to have someone else take over.

The last adjustment will be letting go of my yoga classes. I am here until next June and would love for someone to take over for the summer and beyond if possible. I will return twice a year to facilitate the Spring Festival and the Wise Woman Weekends. I have enjoyed the many learning opportunities and wonderful weather of the Okanagan and I shall continue doing the distribution as long as I enjoy the travelling and seeing what is happening in the various communities.

Vipassana Retreat Centre (Aug 2002)

The front cover is a photograph submitted by Robert, the caretaker and outreach coordinator of the Vipassana Retreat Centre near Merritt. Marcel and I like the idea that Issues be used to promote spiritual places… spaces that help to heal our souls. Places that are quiet, serene and usually planted deep in nature.

Nature has the power to heal and I believe Dorothy Mclean was correct when she said in her book, ‘To Honor the Earth,’… “Large trees are conductors of energy. They stand ever ready, channeling the universal forces that surround and are part of this planet. They are carriers of especially potent vibrations, sentinels of cosmic energy, transforming the power in an aura of peace. Large trees are essential for the well-being of the Earth. No other can do the job they do. They and humanity each represent the apex of a particular form of life, and you can gain much by association with them. It is no accident that the Buddha is said to have found enlightenment under a tree. Let your love go forth to the trees. Give thanks for their Creation.”

Growing in the midst of these tall trees in central BC are several new retreat centres. The Vipassana Centre in Merritt is one and the Birken Forest Monastery near Kamloops is another. Last summer, log buildings were created near Rock Creek for the Hümüh Monastery Buddist Meditation Retreat Centre.

I just spent two weeks at the Johnson’s Landing Retreat Centre near Kaslo/Argenta where a variety of Findhorn presenters have taken turns enlightening participants with their knowledge and insights. Dorothy Mclean, a presenter, was one of three co-creators of Findhorn, in Scotland forty years ago. God spoke loud and clear to each of them with instructions on how to be. As Dorothy said during her talk… “If we had known what we were doing, we would have destroyed the bigger plan. Instead, we took one small step at a time, following our inner guidance. There were to be no public announcements and yet people showed up from all corners of the earth to participate.” This organic process made it a lasting monument to the trusting nature of all involved.

The Transformation Game was another gift that evolved from that community, along with many deeply committed facilitators, including Brita Adkinson, whose workshop I attended, called Living Your Life with Purpose. I loved playing the Transformation Game. It helped participants delve deep into their consciousness and with Brita’s guidance could see how to change their thinking and open their hearts to the process of living in the present moment. Our understanding of who we are became clearer as the game proceeded and soon we felt the presence of our angels. Once our blocks of fear were expressed, the steps became clear as to what needed doing next to Live our Life with Purpose. Putting our plans into action will be the challenge as well as our gift to ourselves and our community.

Upon arriving back from the wilderness retreat setting, I had a difficult time sleeping. I was awakened more easily than normal by the sirens, the people passing by the window and the roar of vehicles, including one bus that beeped for a long time while it was backing up.

I have reminded myself of that old saying, “Be careful what you ask for, you may get it.” I told the universe I was ready to have a man in my life and gave fairly clear instructions what I was looking for. Lo and behold, he showed up on my doorstep and now, many months later, we are both sure our angels made a good match. The problem for me is that I have a busy life doing things here in Penticton. Richard has a retreat centre in the Kootenays where he would like to create an intentional community. This is something I had thought of long ago but never managed to manifest here. Perhaps there just aren’t enough tall trees to produce the energy needed.

Honoring the Feminine (Jun 2002)

As Rod Stewart sings in one of his songs, “May God bless us all with a little romance.” I have often blown kisses up into the sky or into the creek for the wonderment of being alive. These day I am feeling even more blessed for I have connected deeply with a wonderful man who is my age, a man who doesn’t watch TV or even care about the sports or stock reports. He is a long-term vegetarian who likes to keep fit, meditate, listens to New Age music and reads holistic books. As I said to Marcel, my editor, after our third date… “I didn’t know men came so nice.”

Richard and I have lots in common and every weekend that we are together we get to discover more. We are busy people who live in different towns and realize it will take time to rearrange our lives so we can be together, but the magic we both feel is awesome. We are both interested in one day creating a spiritual community/retreat centre, so if you know of land that is suitable, please contact me. I expect the universe will give us guidance when we are ready.

The next most exciting news is a five-and-a-half pound granddaughter …Isabella, born to my oldest son and his wife in Abbotsford on May 13. She was so eager to get here that she came two weeks early. I am looking forward to having her bright light in my life. I am so glad the universe slowed me down enough so that I have the time to enjoy them both.

People often say to me, “You are an inspiration, creating a living doing what you love,” and I tell them, “If I can do it, anyone can.” I too was born into a dysfunctional family but still lived a fairly normal existence, in a body so frozen with undealt-with emotions that I could barely lift my arms without discomfort. I knew I had to change, but where to start? I am grateful to my inner voice for guidance that graced me with choices of yoga, meditation, rolfing, organizing the Spring Festival, along with some weekends with a Reiki Master. I knew deep in my heart that changing careers in mid-life was the only sane thing to do. Once I accepted that fact, the speed with which the universe moved was awesome. I feel I have been given a divine mission and have looked back only to see how far I have come in learning to be an authentic person and not the one who was conditioned by society and all its rules. I love the challenge to be more than I am and feel blessed with the many teachers along the way who have showed me how to be a wise woman; one who lives closer to the truth in my heart and the feelings in my body.

The front cover is not the painting by Graham Pettman of Vernon exhibited at The Lloyd Gallery in Penticton which was chosen because for me it represented a Wise Woman. I liked the vibrant colors, the image of an eagle soaring and the buffalo grounding her to the Earth. It was timely because this issue includes the program for the Wise Woman Weekend taking place at Naramata, BC, Sept. 13th to 15th. The back cover is a past Wise Woman parade to the gym for the Closing Circle. It is led by Laurel Burnham, an enlightened soul who enjoys sharing her love of the Earth with everyone. This image is one of the tables inside the Great Hall that honors the return of the feminine, other tables represent the four directions.

If you are searching for more meaning in your life and want to mingle with like-minded souls, the Wise Woman Weekend is good place to start, as are the Hollyhock and Johnson’s Landing Retreat Centres. As I said last month, it is important to recharge your batteries by being around loving and inspiring human beings who can offer guidance.

Another incredibly wise and brave woman who just released her third book is Ghislaine Saint-Pierre Lanctot, M.D., She was a medical doctor who followed her heart and was banned from the College of Physicians and Surgeons after speaking out against the misuse and abuse of the system. Her new book, is entitled What the hell am I doing here anyway? and gives great examples of how we can change the system if we don’t like it.

Here is a quote that I resonated with from Ghislaine’s book: “After writing the Medical Mafia, I came to the conclusion that only a change in individual awareness can lead to unlimited health and help heal the health system in general. Most people are fixated by the bad news—the hell we live in, and do not hear the good news—the paradise we are about to create.” I agree with her and feel that many people do not accept their divine-ness. If people spent more time learning how to reprogram themselves instead of watching TV and reading newspapers they would soon learn that each person that changes does make a difference to the whole.

The healing crisis facing us is on a planetary scale, and the collective can only be healed by each of us individually. To heal the world we need to heal ourselves, and that only happens when each of us is ready to accept our divine-ness and accept responsibility for our choices.

As Ghislaine says… “I am here to transform my imaginary fears into love. Discover that life has a direction that makes sense. Experience self-fulfillment, find happiness, laugh, get younger and healthier. Learn to think, speak and behave like the divine being that I am.” Her book is reviewed on page 8 and is self-published.

A View from the Retreat (Apr 2002)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naramata Centre Chapel (Feb 2002)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Goddess Within (Dec 2001)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Yoga House (Oct 2001)

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

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

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

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

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