Debra Paints a Winter Scene (Nov 2008)

The front cover was painted by Debra Barrett of Kaslo, a friend of Richard’s who designed the JLRC logo. The watercolor painting includes the beautiful lake and valley view from the retreat center. Richard has always liked this image because of its spiritual context in relation to winter, which is fast approaching.

We received our first warning earlier than usual and hurried to dig potatoes and pick the squash just as it froze the squash vines. Now that the temperatures has warmed, Dawn Lasby, a volunteer from Vernon has been transplanting strawberries into the lower field where the squash grew. The field got fenced because we had fifteen people show up for ‘Opening-for-Season Work-Party’ this spring. Last year the deer ate our garlic, onions and potatoes so it was first on our ‘to-do’ list this year. Four years ago there was one six foot row of strawberries in the upper garden. Three years ago I planted the runners into a thirty foot row, three feet wide, and now the new patch is fifty by fifty feet. I use magazines and sawdust in the pathways and wood chips between the plants to slow down the weeds and keep the strawberries clean.

I feel grateful that the retreat season has come to a close. When five people showed up for the Closing for-the-Season Work-Party, I listened to myself talk about the summer and explained how the tree houses needed dismantling. It was the Thanksgiving weekend and Richard’s back was aching. Knowing I had a deadline I still choose to organize the ‘work-party’ for I enjoy people but I have learned I pay the price for such distractions. For here I sit, twelve hours a day, piecing the magazine together, knowing I am a day or two behind schedule.

It is so wonderful that people arrive and are so willing to help out. All summer, the perfect combination of people arrived to make the season successful. Each workshop had its own energy as the cooking, cleaning and gardening happened.

I love being in the garden but instead I cooked most of the season, as that is what was needed the most. No one had signed up for this year’s experience of being our primary cook, so I took on the responsibility which I do with ease. Food always tastes great when it is organic, fresh from the garden, cooked with love and spiced well. Vegetarian cooking is simple once you learn the basics. I feel grateful that a participant signed up for each of the Healthy Habits Cooking time slots, eager to help out, making my job so much easier. Besides learning many recipes from our cook book some also learned to make pickles… because we grew lots of cucumbers; and rye bread… because an earlier participant sent us some sourdough starter. Many thanks to the various ‘kitchen divas’ who showed up to wash pots and pans and tidy the kitchen.

For me, cooking so much of the summer felt like a ‘choice-less’ choice since there was no one else to do it. Often Richard was the third person in the kitchen and he cooked most of the breakfasts. Being in-the-moment kind of person, I focused on the priorities of serving our guests and later on I would muse about possible solutions as I listened to myself complain.

I know when I am really too busy… and after this year’s experience I know it is time to arrange for someone else to cook so I can be the back-up and have time to enjoy a hike in the hills or some yoga. I do get a certain sense of satisfaction knowing that my ideas to make the Center busier than when I arrived, has worked… but I don’t like being so busy or tired I can’t enjoy our guests.

I have decided I would like to hire a couple, one who likes to cook and one who would enjoy gardening or helping Richard with his numerous projects. Jean, a willing worker from France, stayed the entire season and was instrumental in making
the gardens productive. I learn so much each year and with the lower garden in full production we will indeed need lots of help.

I have already started my visualizations to find the right couple for next season. They could live at my little house just down the hill or we have caravans. I know to manifest something I need to get clear and writing about it in Issues is the beginning of the process. I then let go of my expectations and trust that my angels will do their best for I have ‘put-it-out-there’ in the ethers. Some days I get impatient and remind myself to be grateful while I muse over the recent lessons, for I do learn something from every situation.

Since getting ‘Community’ off the ground has been slow going, returning to the basic business model and hiring a few key people makes sense. I do want JLRC to keep growing, but not as fast as my strawberries. In my heart I hope we can figure out what it takes to keep people here but right now there are so many choices. I looked at the Intentional Community website, there are 48 listings in BC, all looking for the right person to make their place, home. On the average most retreat centers/communities don’t last as long as we have and a few like Findhorn, Twin Oaks and Dancing Rabbit have survived and thrived and gives me hope that we can do it too.

Abundance (Sep 2008)

Abundance is a feeling that has been in my awareness for sometime now. Sometimes I feel there is too much abundance, too
many choices in my life … and, of course, too many things that need doing. I am grateful for my skills and the ability to stick with things. This edition of Issues is published with a new publishing program called InDesign, on a new computer with a mouse that has three buttons, and with a deadline that is earlier than normal. I am grateful the “Women of Spirit” event was cancelled so I have the extra time to get Issues to print and next year we will plan with my new schedule in mind.

I did set time aside to learn the new program but it took longer transferring files than expected. Then it was time for my family reunion and once I got back I did a bit more learning, but soon it was time to cook for lots of people and get the Retreat Center ready for their arrival. So once again, I am learning as I go … Luckily, it is relatively easy as most short-cuts are similar and it is just a few oddities that keep slowing me down. I can see the advantages to this new and improved program.

Over the many years, I have also learned that the universe is way more intelligent than I … and even though I sometimes react in the moment, very quickly I re-focus on my breath and think about the bright side of whatever happened, trusting in divine guidance. We indeed did get the right amount of help for all the cooking, gardening and getting the place ready and… Issues got to print in time.

Thirty-five years ago when I was raising young ones, my husband came home and announced he had quit his job. I remember my body stiffening as I asked how we were going to buy groceries and pay the mortgage. He reassured me there were lots of jobs to be had. One year, he had six different jobs, and several times I had to tell myself, “I have never gone hungry or without shelter and I am NOT about to start worrying.” That belief system, which I adopted early in life, is now deeply embedded.

Being in the “now” is good. Trusting the universal flow and learning to listen to my breath via many years of yoga, bodywork and breathing exercises has helped me enjoy being busy and not be stressed. I enjoy most challenges and I get to practice staying centred in that busyness even if I don’t have a plan, for I trust I will have one when the moment arrives. A part of me prefers working in the garden, but since I enjoy the benefits of networking and organizing festivals, here I sit typing my next edition, knowing that all will be well and look better than ever.

The photo on the front cover was taken with some veggies in our garden that I am ever so proud of. It has been three years since I took over responsibility for the garden, which at the time was overrun with grass. I think part of the reason the broccoli grew so large was that it was an old heritage variety, plus we added organic W.O.W. worm castings and RainGrow fertilizer as well as our own homemade compost. I am ever so grateful to the many kind souls who have volunteered to dig, plant and weed so we could have an abundant crop of organic food to serve our guests this summer.

While I was distributing the last edition of Issues, people asked me questions about the image of Kuan Yin, goddess of compassion, that appeared in the section about the Wise Women Festival. I forget that not everyone knows her name. Combining my love of rainbows with her presence amplifies the abundant energy that we create with our intentions. So far, Marion has had fun taking registrations and Christina is looking for a few more healers and readers. If you are interested in the event, which takes place September 19-21, please either find last month’s edition or go to our website.

I feel blessed that many women have stepped forward to make the festival happen. I already feel the excitement building for I know the magic that happens as we evolve conscientiously in our already abundant world.

Christina and her Angels (Jul 2008)

Choosing this month’s front cover reminds me of all the angels in my life, of which I have many. Christina and her daughter Claire, created these two angels and gifted them to me a few festivals ago. They are so bright and cheerful that they deserve to be on the cover and were photographed by Victor, Christina’s husband. I first met Christina about eleven years ago when I was distributing magazines around Penticton, BC. I asked her if it was okay to leave a few copies in the waiting room of the office where she worked. She smiled and said, “It’s a great magazine,” so I stopped to chat for a few minutes. A few years later, she completed her Langara College Holistic Practitioner’s Program and rented space in the Holistic Health building. She volunteered to type articles and answer phones two days a week. In 2002, she taught a workshop at the Wise Women’s Weekend and offered more help if it was needed. I found her to be a great organizer and soon, she took over the Healing Oasis for both the Spring Festival and the Wise Women. In 2003, when I moved to Johnson’s Landing and wondered what I would do for a drop-off point in Penticton, Christina came to my rescue and offered me her newly-acquired office space. She continues to do the mailing out of Issues magazine, does the proof reading and reviews many books. She likes to cook and often creates meals for our get-togethers. She loves her healing work and is so enthusiastic it is contagious.

When Laurel decided not to continue hosting the Wise Women’s Weekend, it was Christina who convinced me that the event needed to continue, and even found a good friend who could help with registration. I reconfigured my print schedule to five editions a year to make room for resuming the organization of this special event. It does take time, but the energy flows easily and I love watching the magic happen. The Wise Women Festival is September 19-21 and the schedule is on the flip side of this magazine. This will be the 11th annual, so join us if you can!

Christina loves being creative, and this year she created angel name badges for the instructors and crew. Mine was a copy of an angel that she actually cross-stitched as a wedding gift for Richard and I in 2006. Richard’s badge was also very special … a favorite photo of myself at Findhorn, sitting in front of the winged doors of the Universal Hall. The wings were bigger than the badge, so they really stood out.

As I look around, I see so many angels in my life, including Richard and the beautiful painting I got from him for my wedding present that has graced both the front cover of Issues and the Johnson’s Landing Retreat Center calendar. The native drum near the wood stove I received from my brother David, which was hand-painted by Julie Draper and made by her husband, and has our totem animals on it, an angel and a duck … So many reminders hang on my walls and windows.

Another one of the angels that have flown into my life in the past few years to help out is Teresa Cline. She has a garage in Penticton where I store the extra Issues and my many garage sale items till I can load up for home. She baked us a huge cake for the 30th anniversary of the Spring Festival celebration, and she took over in the Festival store when my volunteer did not show up. She used to attend my yoga classes in Penticton and is now trained to be a nutritionist, reflexologist and Intuitive Healer. Then there is Marion Desborough, who organized the healers’ potlucks so we could keep our costs down and will be the registration person for the Women’s Festival.

Plus there is my old-time angel Terez in Kamloops, where I crash on my road trips, Diana who proof reads Musings, Kylie who created the Wise Women front cover and the many angels that have shown up with gifts of “presence” here at the Retreat Center – helping to cook, clean, garden, landscape and build, all the while teaching Richard and I what it means “to live in community.” I feel so grateful for all the love that is given that it makes my heart smile. I would also like to thank my loyal advertisers, who mostly make my job easy, and the readers who support them so that Issues can continue.

Dorothy Mclean from Findhorn (Apr 2008)

This month’s front cover is dedicated to a special woman who, through her trust in the Divine, let go of her ego and co-created a community that continues to flourish today and set new standards for what it means to ‘be in community.’ Many of you know of the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland and the social and ecological work it is doing worldwide. If you want to know more, go to

Dorothy Maclean has written many books detailing her knowledge of the devic realm, and her ability to trust the messages she hears. She now lives in the United States and, at the age of 87, travels world-wide with her assistant Freya Secrest, sharing her knowledge and encouraging us to connect with our inner knowingness. One of her recent book focuses on trees. Her article about them is on page 24-25. If you wish to learn from Nature, you need to take time to be in it, and if you are interested in joining Dorothy, she will once again present at the Johnson’s Landing Retreat Center this summer. Visit for details.

Recently, I watched the movie Sicko by Michael Moore, which reminded me of the children’s story, The Emperor’s New Clothes. So many good people are now waking up to the knowledge that multi-nationals and Big Pharm are greedy organizations. Like the tailors who diverted the money that was supposed to be woven into fine clothing, the corporations have left Americans naked. Why is it so difficult for the majority of Americans to accept the fact that they have been taken to the cleaners and now have to figure out how to have a health care system that works for their benefit? Throughout the movie, Michael interviews citizens in France, England and Norway who live a comfortable lifestyle and have a health care system that takes care of its citizens. Even Cuba does a better job, selling inhalers for only twenty-five cents compared to the hundreds of times that amount that Americans are being charged.

I am thankful the Canadian government has universal health care as a human right, but that may change soon: the Food and Drug Act is being challenged, Big Pharm is lobbying hard to change the rules, and rumours of privatization talks are creeping into the media. Soon we may lose our right to buy easily accessible, reasonably-priced herbal supplements. My hope is that Canadians realize that our health care system may become the property of the vested interests of the corporations and their shareholders and if you believe their propaganda, it would be “for your own good.” Which reminds me of the book by Alice Miller, For Your Own Good, one of the most illuminating and life-view-changing books I have ever read. Alice studied philosophy, sociology and psychology and took her doctorate in 1953 in Zurich, Switzerland. As a researcher on childhood, she is the author of 13 books translated into thirty languages. In For Your Own Good, she profiles the life of Hitler, to show why he did what he did, and goes on to discuss prisoners who had brutally murdered children. Her thesis is that once we injure the integrity and dignity of a child, and even if the consequences are not visible right away, as adults, this dynamic violence can deform some victims who take revenge on whole nations and become willing executors for dictators and other cruel leaders.

In later books, Miller explains that society’s ignorance remains immovable and that most people tolerate human violence because of the way they were forced to obey as children. If no bonding happened when they were a newborn, or if they were hurt as a baby, the psyche has to act out the pain because the body cannot put it into words. In her more recent book, The Body Never Lies, Alice writes about the importance of feeling our feelings and re-parenting ourselves so we can live a better life. Alice Miller thinks that once we become aware of this dynamic, genetic conditioning, the chain of violence against humanity can stop, and she devotes her life-work to this enlightenment.

Many of us are learning to reprogram/reparent ourselves and today there are literally hundreds of ways to start that process… which seems never ending to me. There is meditation, yoga, breath-work, tapping, life coaching, rolfing, counselling and/or non-violent communication training, to name a few. It is best to have guidance when first stepping onto the path of awareness, but how do we reach the ones who need it the most, and from their point of view, need it the least? Isn’t it wonderful to have both the freedom to choose and the opportunities to choose from.

On March 1st and 2nd, Richard and I added Dynamic Governance to our understanding of how a society can operate, as taught by John Buck from Maryland,USA. Sociocracy, we learned, was developed from the Quaker principles by Kees Boeke of Denmark, who was an internationally known peace activist and educator. During WW II, he was arrested for helping Jews travel to safety. In his pocket they found a declaration that said “No Dictatorship,” which almost cost him his life. Kees had analyzed the weaknesses in the democratic system, such as endless debates in parliament, mass meetings where the most primitive of passions are aroused, over-rulings by the majority, unreliable election results and government actions that were rendered inefficient by the minority’s persistent opposition. He saw strange abuses creep in and dictators winning elections through intimidation. In his teachings, Kees reminds us that we have taken for granted for too long our present system and that we do not realize that the party system and majority rule are not an essential part of democracy. If we really wish to care for each other’s welfare, we must set aside quantitative principles and find another way to organize ourselves. He advocates a kind of democracy that does not depend on power but cooperation.

Kees Boeke is perhaps best known outside the Netherlands for his book, The Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps (1957), which served as the basis for a movie called The Power of 10 and an interactive website, that was created so that children can realize their relationship to the world, and feel connected as a whole. In 1926, he founded the Children’s Community Workshop where he implemented the values he felt would lead to a peaceful society. After World War II, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands chose his school, for she liked the idea that her children would learn with other children, and together they created a self-governing community of over four hundred students and teachers that promoted respect for all. During the workshop we practiced Circle Meetings, which is used to reach agreements. One person presented a request, then everyone in the group said what they thought of the idea, then the facilitator condensed it into a motion. If need be, the motion would go around a second or third time with amendments so that everyone felt heard and was part of the agreement. This process activated a common search that brought our group closer together as we looked for ways to get everyone’s needs met. Rather than the expected stalemates, we experienced mutual trust and a desire to act in the best interest of the group.

If you are interested in learning more about this useable system of governance that has proven its effectiveness in the workplace and beyond, then please read John Buck’s book, We the People, Consenting to a Deeper Democracy or visit Eric Bowers who organized and co-presented the workshop in Nelson, BC will present this topic at the upcoming Spring Festival of Awareness. To end, I would like everyone to know that I am going back to my original publishing schedule of five times a year. This will allow me time off in July for a family reunion and for visiting with the many guests that arrive at the Retreat Center during the summer. The next edition of Issues will appear June 1 for June, July and August, then a September and October edition, followed by a November, December and January Issues. This schedule will also allow me time to resume hosting the Wise Woman Festival in September at Naramata. Christina Ince and Marion Desborough will be my partners in this endeavour as Laurel, Samarpan and Urmi have decided not to continue. I am also excited to announce that Lori Ann said she will be joining us next month to help with publishing. Yeah!

Mountain top near Argenta (Feb 2008)

Another year has arrived and life stays the same and yet somehow it is different. In numerology, this is a “one” year for the world, (2008 = 2 + 8 = 10, 1 + 0 = 1), the beginning of a cycle, a time to plant the seeds of tomorrow. I have learned that life is a reflection of my desires, will and karma, some of which is not so obvious, called the sub-conscious mind, which I have read controls about eighty percent of my thinking and doing. Becoming aware or conscious means paying attention to the subtle feelings or sensations in my body which helps me to stay connected to the knowingness within. Slowing down and breathing deep is something I have learned to do, as my family were doers, we got praised for thinking on our feet and getting a job done. Today I have the attitude that my body knows best, so I don’t use caffeine if I am tired or alcohol to relax. I get rolfed, massaged or do yoga if I have body pains, I talk things out if I am feeling sad or confused. Messages from my angels can be words but are often shivers down my spine or hair standing on end. We are given amazing bodies that are not always appreciated or understood so I practice staying conscious or ‘in present time’ and enjoy life as it unfolds, trusting the flow and knowing that all is ‘perfect.’

I also like watching my thinking patterns and strive to improve my communication skills. I realize that part of my dilemma is that I do not think logically. I think with my heart and I often sense what other people want. Often it is easier to give a quick yes than to be clear with what I want. Sometimes I have no opinion, sometimes I feel a vibrating rage moving upwards but most often it is just a naggy feeling, that I wasn’t being thoughtful or truthful. If that happens I breathe deeper and ask myself ”What is ‘really’ bothering me?” Often the resolution is easier than I expected. This reaction happens because my parents argued lots when I was a child so I learned to expect resistance.

Since I enjoy being conscious I often make mental notes, especially if I created an unconscious situation that forced me to get clear with my truth. Richard is helping me fine-tune my communication skills as thinking logically comes natural for him. I also notice how easy it is for him to stay focused on what he wants for he is a male, and an only child. Practicing nonviolent communication has been good for both of us as it challenges our ways of speaking and being with people, especially when things don’t go the way we expect. He is learning to notice how he reacts and I am taking lessons in slowing down and being more clear. Osmosis is a good teacher as we take turns evolving. Like ‘the yin’ and ‘the yang’ we repeat the circular movement of growth.
When I heard that Elizabeth May, the new leader of the Green Party, was in Vernon last November, I wanted to know more about her. When I realized how empowered she was, I wanted to show her my appreciation, the same as I did for Colleen McCrory and Maude Barlow when I featured them on the front cover. I like people who inspire me to think differently, are concerned for the planet, and offer their life as service.

When I mentioned that idea to Richard, he cautioned me that Issues should not feature political people on the cover, or if I did then I should feature them all. Richard’s concerns caused me to search deeper within myself. So many questions circled in my head like… why do I not appreciate Prime Minister Harper, nor want put him on the front cover? Since I am a ‘new ager’ I am working with the concept that ‘we are all one,’ and that humanity is a reflection of me and therefore pain, anger, or joy cannot happen in the world unless it happens inside of me. I looked at the part of me that does not feel empowered enough to speak the truth all the times. Why and when do I do that?

Often we are trained to ‘be nice’ rather than honest and our bodies reflect that truth. Which is what Caroline Myss and so many others say in the different books. Emotional suppression amounts to disobeying Nature’s law in the struggle for social acceptance, which requires a certain amount of strength and determination, because it entails departing from the herd.
When I pay attention to muscular tensions and postural habits, I get in touch with subtle, unconscious attitudes and emotions. As I recognize my habits I get to choose how I react to them. It is like letting the bogeyman out of the closet … once done, the unfamiliar feelings dissipate.

It was good for me to think deeply about my impact on the world as I wondered if choosing a snowscape or a political leader for the front cover really makes a difference. A small detail perhaps, but choosing a safe image is not how I think. I make a choice because ‘something’ resonates within me and I like supporting others on his or her journey. I chose to focus on encouraging people to live up to their potential. We do make a difference and each one of us does affect the earth… like waves on the ocean, separate but one, for better or for worse, we are committed to evolve as a group.

Every year there is a Christmas Fair at Argenta, a small community near us, which my friend and I attended. I was attracted to buying a photograph of a snow scene as I liked the blue sky and the ancient trees spoke to me. I thought about ‘my many thoughts’ and decided to honour the snowy season that had just passed, for even with all its busyness it has a certain stillness that refreshes me and maybe the readers would like a more serene front cover this time of the year.

As I reflect on my choice, I realize this is an image my eldest brother, David Nanook Brousseau of Grand Forks, would have liked. David died on January 6th, 2008 caught in an avalanche while ski-dooing. This story and others were shared by his buddies at his Memorial Service which had moments of grief and howls of laughter as people shared and celebrated who he was. The mountain tops have always called him upwards, and dying in the saddle skimming the snow was a good way for him to depart even though it saddened my heart. For those who loved the early front covers of ‘us kids’ in Mom’s homesteading photographs, David is my third brother to die, with three brothers and myself still living. Being around David always helped me to contemplate ‘my programming’ as it seemed obvious ‘why he did what he did’ and often it helped me to be more aware of some of my deeply ingrained traits.

Jim Lawrence is the photographer that I met at the Argenta Christmas Fair. His photos can be viewed and/or purchased at or you can call 250-366-4649. The front cover image is taken from the mountain just above the Retreat Centre, looking towards the Selkirk Mountains and the picture of Elizabeth in on the next page along with her story.
I am once again looking for an apprentice for Issues magazine who would like to learn the art of creating a magazine while living in a remote community that grows organic food. This position is not for someone who simply loves to write, but for someone willing to spend a year or two learning the practical side of the business, as well as living in community with lots of hours on a computer. If this appeals to you, please go to the website and click Creating Community.

Maude Barlow in Kelowna (Dec 2007)

On the front cover is Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians, and Bob Ages, treasurer, enjoying the presentation Troops out of Afghanistan along with approximately 200 people, including the Raging Grannies of Kelowna, on Saturday, October 27. Maude learned early in life to empower herself, and now she is empowering many people to speak clearly to our government about our rights.

I drove to Kelowna on Friday, October 26, to listen to her speak and joined a conference room filled with social justice activists from across Canada, the United States and Mexico. It is great and important that she travels around the world exposing the secrecy of the World Bank/WTO and multi-national corporations.

I was delighted Maude’s group chose Kelowna as the site for their 22nd annual AGM. Maude was joined by Wenona Hauter, Executive Director of Food and Water Watch in Washington, DC and Claudia Campero Arena, founding member of COMDA (the Mexican Committee for the Defense of Water Rights). They took turns explaining the harmful effects of continental integration on water and the environment. Wenona spent extra time giving examples of how President Bush’s deregulation policies are affecting the food they ship to Canada. She had lists of toxic chemicals and the irradiation used to preserve food so that when it arrives it is considered “safe” for us to eat.

Towards the end of the evening, Maude answered questions about the SPP, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, and the negative impacts of this proposed deal, so that we can develop strategies for resistance. Maude believes the SPP is a threat to our environment, our civil liberties and our social programs, and she is making sure it does not move ahead without public discussion or parliamentary debate. Maude also told us how North America’s richest corporations would like us to believe that it is in our best interest to trust them and become locked into an undemocratic move towards continental economic and social integration that is aimed at establishing common policies between Canada, the United States and Mexico. The 300 policy areas include Energy, Security, Food and Health Standards, Foreign Affairs, the Military and Immigration.

The sole advisory body to the SPP process is the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), an elite body of 33 corporate giants, comprised of ten from each country with three extra from the US. For regular updates about what is happening with the SPP, please visit or

After the meeting, Maude autographed her new book, Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, which outlines a bold new solution to address the water crisis threatening Canada and the world. Details about the book are on page 22 and an article about Maude on page 08.

For me, life is exciting as we turn the corner to 2008 … only four years left before 2012. With the vortex of change rapidly approaching, this energy will force us to get off the fence or get sucked into the mechanized world where corporations rule. Movie series like The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings and even Harry Potter hint at the coming upheavals of duality, a reflection of what “Oneness” means.

Either an internal connection to the Divine and our knowingness of what feels right, or the external control of logic as the “One World Government” tells us what we can and cannot do. This yin/yang shift of energy shift-shapes as each one of us inputs our thoughts, feelings and actions into the giant computer database in the ethers. It is important that each of us becomes aware of how we spend the life force that we are graced with when we are born. We do make a difference and we must become the change we wish to see in the world.

Many movies today depict similar scenarios with the same message. I believe we are given choices to make in life about how to use this power, and that we need to use our will power to make good, clear choices about love and loyalty so that we can overcome the monster (corporations) we have created through our ignorance or innocence. We have been trained by society and by our school system to be seen and not heard, to use the logical brain and succeed above all else.

Now is the time to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway,’ to be seen and heard, to become conscious of our ability to shape our future or die doing it, only to be born again with the energy of our presence still intact. The opportunities we are given today represent many lifetimes with many choices, often called Karma. With so many good books, people and organizations around to help the shift happen in a way that does not infringe on our free will, I encourage you to get involved and support people like Maude and the Council of Canadians. The choice is yours.

Colleen McCrory in Germany (Oct 2007)

After four years of introducing you to regional Retreat Centers, Ashrams and Meditation Centers – places that empower people – we are now featuring people … special people who empower others to be all that they can be. Being passionate about life is the best way I know to be of service, and I am happy to be able to recognize and showcase valuable role models that we can emulate if we choose.

Marshall Rosenberg, who founded The Center for Nonviolent Communication, was featured last month, and Colleen McCrory is this month’s inspirational person. Colleen died recently after thirty years of service as an environmentalist. She and her brother Wayne helped co-found the Valhalla Wilderness Society which has spearheaded campaigns that now protect over 1.2 million acres of land.

Colleen was ‘just’ a housewife living in the Kootenays. She had no training nor role models to follow … just her heart whispering to her what felt right. She had the courage to speak her truth, and in so doing helped to convince the government to protect the old growth forests and their inhabitants from the logging interests. I chose to feature Colleen after seeing her on the front cover of Common Ground, a ‘Get the Big Picture’ magazine from Vancouver. Anne Sherrod, her assistant for twenty-five years, is so passionate about the work that Colleen did as spokesperson for the Valhalla Wilderness Society that she wrote an updated article which is on page 16.

I had heard of the good work that Colleen and her brother Wayne were doing, but I did not realize to the extent their efforts had paid off. She makes me proud to be a Canadian. Many years ago, I knew I had to make a choice about where to focus my energy. I knew it was important to protect the environment so I chose to support Greenpeace with my money. I also bought many beautiful posters from the Western Canada Wilderness Committee over the years. This month I am reprinting an article from their Summer 2007 newsletter that educates us about our water supply… please read it on page 10 and check out the various website. I feel grateful that many people are getting involved and are taking the time to speak up for what feels right. Challenging ourselves to become educated and intuitive at the same time is not an easy path. Discerning what is ‘truth’ in any media coverage is a good skill to develop.

Our survival as a country is now dependent on our collective vision. Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world, for indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Gandhi suggested that we “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” We all vote for what we want on this planet with our time or life energy. The money we make and how we spend it is a reflection of our values: Are you conscious of what your vision for this planet is?

I feel that Colleen is still with us, working on influencing others, just on a different plane of existence. Perhaps she can work even better from the other side. If you hear her whisper, “What can you do for your country?” perhaps it is time to get involved, as each of us do make a difference. Another great website is

I was told by Anne that Colleen died two weeks to the day from her first headache, which reminded me of a deal that I made so many years ago with my angels: that I would be given two weeks’ notice if they wanted me to work on other levels of existence. I wanted ‘peace of mind,’ so when I travelled, I would feel safe. I also figured I needed two weeks to get my ‘papers’ in order, to make life a little easier for those left behind. For me, death is a time of transition and I would like to see it celebrated the same way as when a child is born into the world. Hurray for Colleen, hurray for Canada. I wonder what kind of statement she was trying to make by choosing Canada Day as her departure date. If you would like to know some details about the death process please read Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s CD review on page 33.

Marshall Rosenberg in Nelson (Aug 2007)

This month’s front cover is a picture of my husband Richard and Marshall Rosenberg, writer and creator of the Non-Violent Communication Trainings. They are playing with Marshalls puppets, the jackal and the giraffe. Marshall uses these animals as a symbolic representation of two very different communication styles. The jackal is critical and antagonistic, while the giraffe brims with empathy and compassion. In his seminars and literature, Marshall teaches us how to improve communication through speaking about our needs in a gentle, non-invasive way, which promotes genuine understanding of and by our fellow human beings.

I have listened to Marshalls CD’s many times and I like what he has to say. Marshall makes it clear that when we are angry, it is never the other person who makes us angry; rather this anger is a signal that some basic need of our own is not being fulfilled. Since we have only a dozen or so basic needs, we need to ask ourselves, “What do I need to say or do in this situation so that I act and not react?” As I learn to observe my reactions, I can see what he is talking about, for I often hear blame and want to defend myself with words.

Richard and I have such different personalities that we regularly get to practice Marshall’s format for speaking our needs. Richard’s strength is logic, which makes him an amazing technician. Troubleshooting and coming up with brilliant solutions to fix a problem is his forte. He is also a Gemini and likes to communicate. My strength lies in flexibility and going with the flow, without a plan, expecting my angels to help out. I am a Pisces: I like to observe and often do not always put my feelings into words. Over the years, I have noticed a time lag between things that were said and my reactions to them; I am guessing this is a survival technique from childhood that has served me well.

Saying no has never been easy for me, and since I don’t usually have a plan, and can feel other people’s ‘wants,’ I am easily swayed into being helpful, which is something I like doing and often use as an excuse if something goes wrong. Separating my needs from theirs is something I do once I am out of their auric field. My logical brain knows I have a choice, but sometimes my conditioning takes over and I just do as I am told. If my body reacts, I ask myself for clarity. Marshall has a list of several questions to help with that. Richard will often sense the shift in me before I do because the tone of my voice will have changed, so he will ask “Are you feeling grumpy?” To which I reply: “No, I was quite fine until you came along giving orders.” Being aware and conscious of my behaviour helps me to change. Focusing on being positive, kind and loving helps shift my perspective when things are not to my liking, for I know that I attract to me what I need to learn. Being clear is something that Richard is good at and that I am learning; it can just feel so frustrating at times. Isn’t life a paradox? Our greatest strength can often be our greatest weakness.

We have two new community members, Ian Fraser, who is a New Thought minister from Winnipeg, and Megan Girvin, a young woman from Kamloops. Megan is doing lots of the cooking and will slowly learn more about the computers as time allows. She has good English skills and likes to edit the articles. Ian seems to enjoy life in general and appreciates the hands-on experience of living with the land. We are glad to have two enthusiastic people helping us as they fulfill a few of their goals in life as well. Ian has an article on page 18, and Megan’s picture is to the right. Eric Bowers has an article on Non-Violent Communication on page 8 and will return to the Retreat Center this September for another workshop, the dates are on page 11.
Isn’t life grand? I do so appreciate mine!

Clear Sky Meditation (Jun 2007)


The front cover introduces you the Clear Sky Meditation and Study Center, near Fort Steele, which opened its doors in the summer of 2005. Details are on page 14.This is the second spiritual organization that has built in the Cranbrook area and now the Ishaya’s are developing land on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. I have not found the time to visit either of these new Centers but I hope to when I travel in that direction. It is great to see so many Light Centers popping up all over the land.

My spare time lately has been taken up with planting the garden and organizing the Spring Festival of Awareness. Being of service is something I enjoy, for it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. It weaves my personal life into the work I do for the world and brings a sense of the Divine into it. It is interesting for me to reflect on my progress as I step forward into the gifts I have acquired over many lifetimes, fine-tuning them with each new volunteer or community member and whatever needs doing in each new project. Other people seem to recognize the amount of energy and talent my work takes more than I do. For me, it is another day doing what my angels ask. . . .

I seem to be good at organizing, whether it be an event or the environment I live in, for it comes easily and naturally. Balancing all that needs doing with what I can actually do seems to be my life’s lesson. I thrive in organized chaos yet I find it easy to over-extend myself. This, I believe, is a positive quality. Otherwise, I might not have agreed to organize the Spring Festival of Awareness, help Richard with the Retreat Center, or endeavor to co-create community.

These days I feel pulled in different directions. I want to be in the garden as growing our food is important, even magical, yet new volunteers need guidance, the meals need to be readied, cookies baked, clothes washed and then… the magazine has this deadline. It seems to be separate from the community … yet provides an income to help make the community happen. I would prefer to be outside doing physical work rather than sitting and writing but here I sit, typing my column, creating ads and answering emails and feeling a bit frustrated that I can’t do it all.

When I ask myself why I take on so much, my best answer is “Why not?” When I take the time to feel my frustration, I come to appreciate my ability to keep on task, knowing the magazine has a magic of its own and always gets to print. I have purchased another Mac hoping that some of the computer work will soon be shared and then it will feel more like a community project. Now the trick is to prioritize my time to bring my vision to fruition.

Once I am on the road doing the magazine distribution, I arrange to take some time off and visit my sons and grandchildren as well as the many advertisers who have become friends or associates. I also book a Rolf session and am celebrating ten years of being structurally realigned. I highly recommend rolfing as well as yoga and some breath awareness sessions if you wish to hear your body speak.

I am ever so thankful to all the volunteers who showed up at the Spring Festival to make my job easy and more volunteers and community members who have arrived to work in the gardens and help with building projects at the Retreat Center. Together we are co-creating a new world vision. This nourishes my soul as I watch the paradigm shift that is defining what wealth really is. Every dollar and every hour of my life force is spent voting for what I believe in. Creating the change that I know is possible keeps me hopeful for the future and I am glad to be part of it. I am also grateful for the support of so many advertisers and the intelligent, optimistic readers who support them so we may all continue to progress in this journey.

Tai Chi on the Lawn (Apr 2007)

The front cover is a photograph of “a group of committed citizens changing the world.” It was taken during one of the annual Kootenay Lake Tai Chi Camps. Camp founder Eric Eastman stopped hosting this event a few years ago. Harold Hajime Naka, who was part of the Camp for many years, was so disappointed. During my distribution route last spring, he had just finished teaching a class, so I stopped to chat for a few minutes and listened to him lament the loss. We then talked about options and what it would take if he or someone else were to take it over. This winter when we were doing some programming, I mentioned my conversation to Richard, who got really excited and suggested that the Retreat Center host it. He then phoned Eric, who loved the idea. We now have four instructors busy spreading the word with Hajime writing about his Camp experiences so you can decide if this event is for you. The 30th annual Kootenay Lake Tai Chi Camp will take place at Johnson’s Landing, July 13-18. More details on the back page and in Hajime’s report on page 15.

April is Earth Month and April 22 is Earth Day. It is great to hear that so many towns, cities and people are concerned about preserving nature and the planet. Since I moved to the mountains four years ago, I keep reading more and more data about the ever-growing list of support groups that are designing themselves to help the overall population understand what changes are needed if we wish to continue living on the planet. Words like Sustainable, Peak Oil, Peak Food, Food Security, Re-Ruralization, Intentional Communities, EcoSystems, Grassroots, etc. are appearing in many newspapers, books and videos as we try to grasp what is happening.

In his recent book, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, author David Korten states, “Hope for the human future rests, therefore, not with institutions of power, but with the millions of individuals all around the world who are awakening.” He points to the possibility of creating a post-corporate, post-capitalist world of living democracies, mindful market economies and authentic cultures.

Korten works closely with the publishers of Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures, who are dedicated to enhancing awareness and facilitating alliance-building in order to transform a world that is dedicated to the love of money into a world that is dedicated to the love of life. Briarpatch, a Canadian magazine from SK, dedicated its entire latest edition to finding a healthy balance between optimism and pessimism. They claim that we are unprepared to deal with the many limits that will soon arise with regards to food, energy and the spectre of scarcity.

Since I believe that “We, the people” do have the power to control our destiny, I love the fact that more people are getting involved and are feeling motivated to help the shift happen. Computers are making a difference and helping us to connect on a global scale. I liked the ad in Ode magazine that shows a chair with an image of the Earth sitting in it and the copy reads, “Your Mother would like a word with you. She would like you to help create a better world for future generations. We’re Global MindShift, a growing online community of people and organizations working together to find new solutions.” Ode is also developing an inter-active website and features articles written for intelligent optimists, like me. I subscribed after reading it online.

I enjoyed the article in Ode entitled “Real Men play Nice,” in which sociologist Riane Eisler outlines the emergence of “female” values. Taking as an example how some northern European countries demonstrate partnership rather than domination tendencies, she writes, “As the status of women rises, so does ‘the evolution of cooperation.’ ” As more people think in terms of equality instead of superiority or inferiority, she believes a high level of mutual benefit and care will develop and that high levels of abuse and violence will decrease. She says, “Once we have cooperation based on support and empowerment instead of hierarchy based on control and fear, we will progress to a much nicer world.”

I am thankful the world keeps changing. So much has happened in the last one hundred years that we all need to keep sorting out within ourselves what to keep and what to get rid of and then… that will be be reflected in the world.

To honour all the work that Findhorn has done to shift the consciousness of the planet, I typed out the words below from a photograph I took while at Findhorn – words on the wall of the work station where Richard’s group met for morning meetings.

A community Like Findhorn is a kind of school
for learning how to live one’s beliefs.
There are no gurus or fully enlightened beings here.
Each of us seeks our own inspiration from within.

The work departments are the main classrooms
The teacher is whatever broom and dustpan or
moody co-worker you find in your path.
And the lessons are in your response.
To any situation in which you find yourself.

You can always choose whether or not
to sweep the path with love.
In this sense, all of life is the teacher and the school.
It is a slow but effective education in Transformation.