First Day of Summer

The sun is hot on my back and the deck boards burn my feet as I hang the laundry. Overhead the Maple Giant tree is caught in a wind dance and the neon colored plastic clothes pins are insufficient for the task they are called upon. They move the laundry like a trickster hand surrendering up the idea of stillness.
The deep blue sheet slides along the line caught by the confused wind. It hisses its presence through the trees and bushes from first one direction and then another.
The flooding has occupied our minds for weeks. The lake and the springs were creeping up onto the land, swallowing septic fields, and seeping into basements.
We watched the news, packed our escape backpacks or plastic storage containers. Everyone created their own “survival minimalist” story.

Coral Rose

But now, on the first day of summer the garden is lush. There has been water feeding from under the surface. The columbine were five feet tall and richly trumpeting their presence.
The roses cluster on the rose bushes. In past years, they presented buds to only have them burned a brown on the petal edges. Even the rose that I stood over with my two gardening neighbours and received the triple diagnosis of “dead, dig it out,” has come back in profusion.
The breeze is cool. The clouds in the sky over Kelowna are uncharacteristically flat like boccoccini slices. Their brilliant white is pushed against a mediterranean blue sky.
While everything lyrically dances in the garden, the tree twists its long flexible branches, there is color bursting everywhere.

nature alive

At certain times, the Kelowna presence is a coming together of picture perfect natural beauty. And today is one of those days; the first day of summer.

Mind the Gap

Mind the space. Mind the transition step. Be mindful of the arrival, the new landing place, the change in height. Watch out for systems failing. Be ready for Cascadia slippage and the new flattened horizon of West Coast cities. Look carefully at the shifting values of money; of governments; of societal structure. The train ride we have been on has lulled us. As we slumped tiredly against the side of the car, the rhythm gently banged our heads. Moving. Moving. Moving. Moving.

We knew we were in arrival mode. But all of the murmuring of seismic specialist; all of the three part harmony singing of financial analysts was just muzak. We could feel we were in a tunnel… we could not see the future. It was all somehow shifting.

We knew it but we didn’t know it. We could repeat the lyrics occasionally. There was no sharp edged definition to the messages. It was just white noise. It was just the sound of the wheels on the track.

Japan suffered the loss of 25,000 people in the shocking blink of an eye. The names of far away nations, or unrecognized cities are repeated on the news as they sink into a new configuration on the earth.

The geologists standing in the debris of former quake areas take soil profiles and warn us the big one is coming. And we are lulled by the very repetition of the prophecy.

“Yeah. Yeah,” we say. “We have heard it before.”

Japan was careful. Japan built for a “little” earthquake. It prepared for a less intense tsunami. When it hit, the massive force of the water just slid easily over all the carefully engineered walls and barriers.

But North America has done none of the preparatory work.

North America is optimistic.

The debt load is the highest in history. In North America, Jim Rogers, a financial specialist, tells us we are spending on two things:

1. We are spending to keep enemies. 2. We are spending to purchase status.

In Asia, he reminds us people are focused on investing in education, making business partners out of other nations and finding technological advances that will solve problems.

structural problems

This year’s expedition of scientists who ship out to measure the icebergs could not set forth. It was too dangerous. The ice is melting too fast. The sheering face of the icebergs can no longer be approached. Too many ships are reporting distress who are in the seas where the icebergs are found so a secondary concern is that the ship built for studying icebergs cannot leave other ships to flounder and sink.

The water level is rising. Flooding is becoming a reality. People are learning what “ground water” means.

We say, “It is an incident.” We refuse to see it is a new reality.

Scientists have stood on the hillside wrapped in their print outs of papers, mumbling out to us their data like some Druid choir. And we have not listening. We heard it all before and we don’t believe any of it. Yet.

The train ride is hypnotic. We think we will just travel. We think that it will be the same as always. The warnings are just muzak and we cannot quite make out the words.

beach gone boy looks at raft.

But the train is coming into the station. We will leave our encasing structure of how it has been as long as we can remember. We will leave the sense of wheels turning over exactly as they have been.

The train will slow down and arrive at the station. We will have to get out, to get off, to step onto the new platform.

Somewhere a voice will call out, “Mind the gap.”

And everything will have changed.

Lessons Arising: We are always half baked

I am always interested to see how my ego works. If I am misunderstood, I feel confused and small. When my heart reaches out to someone to try to help them out of the illusion of a “trapped” place and they respond by fighting fiercely to hold onto victim… I feel stirred up in my chest.

Seeing oneself

The source of that was living with two adults who were emotionally corrupt and I needed to not believe the world they created. It would drag me under. It would destroy me. And so I learned to stand back while I was very young and simply watch how others operate. I needed to separate my reality from theirs. It is a gift that all those born into a chaotic environment are given. We question everything and discover our own truth.

But having them believe my words never happened. My perceptions were always wrong or crazy. They attempted to control my actions, not their own.

And then as time passes, I remember in my past when my reactions were exactly the same reactions  as those I am currently trying to help: when I refused to listen and to learn. It is like planting something in the garden… a new understanding, a new sympathy for them and for my younger self that KNEW so much. And then I can see the entire lesson from all sides.

Being patient with how long it takes me to back off of the fear when I have been misunderstood is where I am right now. Yes. It is taking me time to “get it” and yes I am probably not “getting all of it” but being in submission to the process of learning is getting easier.

As I was making the beds today I thought of all of the messages those who were older, more experienced and wiser had given me. I remember the very instance when he or she reached out to me and held up a mirror. The scenes flashed before me.

Standing and watching riots across the United States in 1967 at a Professor’s house, I expressed fear. I said, “It is all being destroyed.” And a very tired looking, sage academic asked me, “Why do you fear the destruction?”


I was too young. I was too sure of my mental agility. I was too ego bound with being right. I rejected the wisdom because I was not ready. I did not hear the words but instead turned them into only that which I could see. I refused to understand that others who had suffered more, faced death more intimately, survived more humiliation were wiser. Because I was too ego bound I condemned myself to learn through pain and loss. I would not listen. I could not listen. I did not understand their words. My ego defence system kept them out of my fortress. And because of that I chose the more difficult path.

Something remarkable has happened to me in the last two years. The life of mindless spending out of time no longer calls me. The life of doing that which others decide is correct no longer satisfies me. There is a separation between who I was and who I have become. And I am more content. I am more curious. I no longer know what I will be. And it is glorious. And it is glorious.

Today I saw a video reminding me of Marcus Aurelius who hired a servant to following him every where repeating in his ear, “You are just a man. You are just a man.”

nothing remains static

And it by knowing that we are at the service of the lesson that we grow. Keeping focused on the truth that it is not the results that I seek. I do not want more power, or more recognition, or greater safety in the world. I want to be of service. And that means releasing the need to know what I am becoming. Thank you friend for allowing me to see my ego in action again.

Intention Gym

learning to love ourselves grows our spirits

After viewing Gay Hendricks’ videos about upper limit problems, I now clearly see how pattern/habit works.

I think of how my children would dig out grooves in the soil on our northern property so that the melting snow and downfall of rain could run in the gully established for it. They would take turns running their stick tools repeatedly in the soil. When a rain would come, they would go out and unblock the areas where rocks, tree needles and clumps of dirt would try to dam up the flow.

my cheer leading shirt

Habit is both my friend and my prison. As I mindlessly attended to the preparation of my rental rooms for airbnb, I watched myself. I am such a voyer of my life. I had no difficulty emptying the dishwasher, putting the laundry in, making the beds, cleaning the bathroom. Even picking up the small broken leaf fragments from the floor is ingrained.

But the larger things, the higher limit things are resisting me. There is a block. There is a big, fat ole rock that has rolled into the groove of wanting my book published.

Looking closely at the inner beauty

First I do that which is programmed in my data base because I see it as successful. Perception is completion.

After five years of running a bnb, the habits are in charge. But the larger dream, the dream of having Walking the Streets of Blood are a challenge.

I laugh at myself for not wanting to seek out yet more rejection from publishers. As I hang sheets on the line I think of Stephen King who came home from his menial, unfulfilling job and was able to sit down and put in another work day of writing. He sent his work out repeatedly to be rejected.

As I work in the even, open and flowing groove of habit, I am mentoring myself. I am talking to myself about the possibilities.

The conscious mind can be a life coach. The pre-frontal cortex can be the loving parent. The higher mind can be a cheerleader.

And the ability to calm down my frustration with myself for not being what I can see myself called to be is very like what my children did. They did not go out and swear at the blocks in the designed flow of energy. They simply removed the blocks. And soon there were little rivers moving down the hillside according to their design.

Thank you to Stephen King, and two children for reminding me of that lesson today.

Living in the Future Is Nowhere Land

It is an absolute virus of mind warp. Our culture teaches us to drive blind. If I were driving in the manner that I live life, I would have my eyes down on Google Maps and be doing searches for alternative paths. I would be searching Know the City for places I am not moving through. I would be reading blogs describing someone else’s past in order to formulate what my future destination will be.

Looking through a lense

This is “impaired” living and I should be given a whopping fine. I and everyone else is dangerous on the energy road when we have our eyes down searching inside ourselves,  searching out forecasts of futures that are actually just projections of our past.

What we see is a mere reflection

How many ways of lost can a directionally impaired person become? Oh it is enough for four or five stand up comedy routines.

I had my eyes on the future picture of a perfection coupling when I married the man who at the first meeting was drunk and actually set his pocket on fire while lighting a cigarette. I thought it “cute”.

What about the man who asked me to lunch but only had enough money to buy himself wine? No clue there….
Or I had my eyes on the projection of perfection fairy tale when I took a job that left me chopping wood for my furnace for nine years in a town wherein suicide was considered the best method of dealing with depression. Grimm at best.

Shadow Self

The future is nothing more than the recreation of the story of our past.

When I first read the studies that 95% of our mental activity is traceable to the area in our brain that was constructed by our experiences under the age of 7, I pushed back. I resisted with all the mite of my five, six and seven year old self. I slammed doors in my mental construct housing. I threw glass objects at the walls of restriction in a futile attempt to break out of the truth telling.

And then, I examined the ashes of my past narratives. How many times had I burned to the ground and I was left only with charred photos of what I had convinced myself was the truth.

I stood in the ruins of four different massive failures in my life with sooty fingers and realized that I had created all of it by not knowing that I was creating all of it.

I did not hear nor did I see what was in the present because my eyes were down.

I would pet the nice kitty and only realize it was a mythical beast of destruction AFTER it had consumed a part of me.

What I hope to God I have learned and what I hope I can bring to my clients as a coach is the understanding that all of us need to keep our eyes on the road.

What is happening now? What thoughts am I having? What fears and anxieties am I paving the road ahead of me with… a stretch of turbulence, a tight winding on the edge of a cliff?

The future is in the breath. The future is in the dreams. The future is in the light that surrounds and protects us. Get off of your devices and be present.

You create all of it.

Everything will change. Everything will shift. Welcome to NOW.

And breathe.

Everything Does Not Exist

Everything Does Not Exist:

I have been surrounded by some people recently who are ill. He or she has had a relationship fracture. A dear life partner has been caught by a disease or the turning upon the body of itself.

Meanwhile, the social media feed has become a sewer pipe of toxic waste. The environment is under attack. Political systems are like a dissatisfied person sitting on a bar stool. Random flirtations with something new, looking for answers in all the wrong places.

Children of only the select few are protected. Women’s rights are being eroded so much it is like watching a glacier recede. The society is time traveling to the 1950’s. Naomi Wolfe in her book Vagina analyses the fear based resistance when women are gaining power. It accounts for much of the current claw backs of equality.

An issue that has people in a state of disbelief is the strategy of passive genocide. From the earliest day in American history, the settlers embraced the concept of Outward signs of Inner Grace.

And in today’s political climate of the billionaire congress, there is a reversion to the old philosophy which has always run underground.

If a person is selected by God, that person will be male; that person will be white; that person will be physically attractive; that person will be healthy and lastly the badge of God’s love comes with the presence of wealth.

The removal of protection for the weak, the ill, the deformed, the outcasts, those who are not a mirror image of the white male billionaire model, is the logical result of the philosophy of grace and damnation. Passive genocide works. Street people die in the cold. Drug addicts overdose in a system of selectivity. The “lower classes” have a higher infant mortality rate.

While the uber rich are having new hearts popped in like battery renewal. Hips, knees, shoulders, kidneys, facelifts, breast renewal options float around this select group.

At the same time, so many are in free fall out of the middle class because of the lightening strike of a single illness. A factory closes; a job ends and with it the entire structure of a life crashes to earth.

The greatest darkness that a social system can carry is the blindness to the understanding that no single person, or family, or class must earn the right to be included. Care and protection is a birth right. And it is in those countries that have the vision of equality that economic success is most vibrant.

The soul of a nation can be blighted. Slavery, native India genocide, racial hatred is a deep sickness that will be carried within the history of a country. The first step in creating a world that is calm, a world that is safe is to address the soul sickness that is held within a nation’s story.

Compassion, inclusiveness, equality, commitment to humanity are the real outward signs of inner grace.

Inevitably, each person and each nation selects a philosophy, a cosmology to reside within.

It is a time when each of us must select a way of moving in the world if there is to be a world which survives. We all count. We all count.

Kelowna: What the garden teaches.

Today I awakened at 7 am because it is too hot to mow the lawn at noon. I pushed the hand mower around my yard like a three year old would a Fisher-Price toy. I made patterns and swooped. When I saw some raggle taggle weed poking out from my giant purple Iris clump I would drop the handle and go over to pull the taunting weed out with a sudden jerk.
I drifted off to weed a neighbouring bed of peonies and daisies.

Then I was back to mowing. The oriental enamelled leaves of the new Japonica in the center of a patch of front yard are breath taking in color. If they were jewellery or the paint color of a convertible car they would be admired, stop people in their tracks, cause wonderment.

I walked behind the mower with its toy like noise. The grass smelled sweet releasing the odor of memories. I could hear my neighbours of 24 years talking together over the fence. My guests sat on the deck reading the books that I had placed on the shelf.

The tulips were here to explode into color the fireworks of celebration. Now their petals curl in. The petals have lost their color and curl into a fist before dropping to the ground. Their job is done once they had exclaimed, “Winter is dead. Winter is dead.’

As I walked the yard I saw the flat handed white of the daisies opening up. They are a busy, simple flower that has crept into my lawn and every bed they can reach.

“Good for you, daisies,” I encouraged them as I mowed.

There is something so deeply extraordinary about the acts that we repeat to the point that they become a ritual. Mowing the lawn is one. I first mowed a lawn when I was eight and it was with a push mower. Now I am 72 and every garden I have ever moved through comes back to me as I walked.

A transition of seasons, the changing birth and dying of species of flowers and plants, a rhythm of existence is not about anticipation. It is the farthest point possible from anticipation. Now becomes a discovery. And how I move through that which I have planted is about acceptance and excitement.

The columbine are gigantic this year. In previous years, they were closer to the earth and timid.

I plant, I weed, I attend to the repetition of taking care of what is around me. The repetition sows the seeds of delight.

And above all, it teaches me how to connect to the earth when I am working in the garden. It teaches me about intention, selection and persistency of practice.

I do not know if this seed will flourish or perish. It is about trusting that no matter what happens the lesson will blossom. 

Floods, Storms, Rain, Heat…Frowning Nature: Kelowna Floods

Today I planted some hot peppers and tomato plants in the 20 degree heat. I first had to clear the leaves, seeds and broken off limbs strewn across all of the surfaces after the violent storm of the previous night. After several hours of raking, I cleared the signs of the destruction and could turn to production.

As darkness approached, I lay in my bed looking out my window at the gigantic maple tree which looms over my home.  It was sown in 1946 or 1947. The branches flung out slapping at my roof and then snapped back in the opposite direction. Winds reached up to 80 kilomteres an hour. I could see the arch of limbs flailing frighteningly close to the glass through which I viewed the show. Idly, I thought about how one of the branches could snap off and come through the roof pinning me to the bed, or crushing my limbs with its limbs.



But eventually I was too tired to stay awake to see if I would die. Rolling over onto my left side, I turned my back to the threat. I figured that I would be there if anything happened, so I stopped watching the dance. I fell into a fitful sleep.

Currently, my house and my neighbourhood crouches on the edge of the edge of the lake. Some people have lost their piers or their beach front decorations to the water which now stands at 127% over the top of the lake. Residents receive updates from the city which may tell us to evacuate should the water begin crawling towards us. We walk along the disappearing beaches and watch the news nervously.

We are told the snow pack is only 20% melted and there is little joy in hot weather when you are so aware that the orange bladder like snake that has been laid along the waterfront will not prevent a turbulent surge of flood water.

It is an unsettling time. The B.C . election was just decided by a count of votes in one district. The orange buffon is visiting various religious capitals to generously share  the vapid, idiotic and effete personal style that he wears. In case any country has not seen exactly how misguided the United States has become, he takes his travelling freak show far and wide.

There is an irritability in the energy field. The bombing in Manchester, the striking and killing of a bus load of Syrian children, the revolutions in Venezuela and the Philipines are all pushing into the spotlight which becomes a darker and darker place.

And so we wait. We wait to see if the lake will rise and send us out of our neighbourhood. We wait to see if the B.C. government will form in a way that honors the earth and conducts itself in an humanitarian manner. We wait to see how the circus act President will end his performance. We wait to see if our federal government will fulfill the sunny ways promises.

Today I planted and walked around the garden with so many questions in my head.

. Where is the centre of this turbulent time? What truth is waiting to be revealed?

The sun was warm on my shoulders as it melted the snow into torrents down the hill sides. All I can do is stand quietly barefoot in the garden.

Overhead a bunch of Canada Geese flew very low and close to me. They were all squawking at once. There was no formation. Each flew alone, low and loud.

Snap Shots of Toronto and Montreal

The gift of leaving my circumscribed life is to be more awake and open to the lessons which arrive.

On the airport bus woman behind me from Nova Scotia fishes out change to help very distraught Chinese woman and her mother who get on without change, runs out of the bus… flags down relative who has no change, runs into a store and comes out without change and everyone just sits on the bus waiting. The driver could throw her off but sits patiently.Woman behind me keeps holding out the change. Finally the Chinese woman with no English grabs it, gives her a five dollar bill and successfully enters the bus. I say to the woman, I have met so many people who have a story. She says, “You want to hear a story? I have a story. I came into town for my nieces funeral but the day I arrived was my birthday. We had a birthday party that evening and attended the funeral the next day. I went home to my sister’s house and her husband became ill. We rushed him to hospital and he died. There was a birthday, a funeral and a death in the three days I have been here.” I said to her, “You are so open and friendly and helpful. You do not seem to have let it diminish you.” She said, “We create our world. People die. There is grief. But we have to chose how to live.” I was so glad I was sitting next to her.

I met two young women sitting next to me at The Book of Mormon. One was a soccer player athlete and the other a serious Rugby player. They leaned forward laughing meeting the energy of the actors with their bodies. Their faces were open with delight. There were four of us in a row daring to make noise and laughing when we wanted to. We connected in our desire to just hoot out happiness. Two young women athletes, a 72 year old artist and a talented video editor from India and we were a tribe. Travel is magic.

I met a man on the Metro in Toronto who got up and helped a confused chaotic mother and grown daughter get their luggage put away. He was glowingly fit, centred and calm and radiated a sense of light in the world. I pointed to his wrist. “Where did you get that,” I asked about his bracelet. Brazil he said. “I went to Peru for the change.” We both smiled. He said, “I go there too.” Then we each sat quietly thinking about those who seek to grow up. We knew that each of us had moved with courage through a forest of problems. And now, he knew when two people were in chaos exactly what he could do to help them. The world is full of magic.

Toronto Love

I met a woman in a coffee shop in Toronto who had lived in one place all her life… did not think her life “fit” her any longer so she got rid of her stuff except for a very few pieces of furniture, sold her house and was in the process of find a place close to by North of Toronto. She wanted to begin a new book… not a new chapter.

I met a man named Wigglesworth whose sister is Detective Wigglesworth in Vancouver. He is sitting in a coffee shop in Toronto and we talk. His job is managing the on line presence of several companies in Finland. The spice of travel… the people you meet. He told me he chatted with an author who asked permission to use his sister’s name in his next book.

I met a Chinese Ph.D student from China who is working on her live long project examining protein cells with the goal of preventing and curing cancer. She spoke little English and yet this brilliant woman and I spent most of the day together going to St. Joseph’s Oratory and then lunch at Vego. We talked of how we seek out book stores, churches, architecture, art galleries for our joy. We talked of how strange we were compared to others in our culture. She has never “partied” or “dated”. Her life is focused on learning. We understood one another through the barrier of language differences and felt validated. Travel brings in the tribe.

Spider thing

I met lovely woman on the plane who is an executive for Westjet and works in Cargo Efficiency. She told me of her responsibility to transport stem cells and organs to donors. And then she walked me to my gate which was well out of her way. There are so many things I haven’t thought about before that travel teaches me. It was such a gift to meet her and talk during the flight.

I met a couple from New York in the airport in Toronto. She was from Mexico and works as a commercial photographer in the big city now. Her partner was a sound engineer listening to a new artist’s recording that he had completed just before their trip. They were sparklingly authentic and open. We found one another on social media immediately. Love those quick, open connections.

I met a man on the Metro in Toronto who got up and helped a confused chaotic mother and grown daughter get their luggage put away. He was glowingly fit, centred and calm and radiated a sense of light in the world. I pointed to his wrist. “Where did you get that,” I asked about his bracelet. Brazil he said. “I went to Peru for the change.” We both smiled. He said, “I go there too.” Then we each sat quietly thinking about those who seek to grow up. We knew that each of us had moved with courage through a forest of problems. And now, he knew when two people were in chaos exactly what he could do to help them. The world is full of magic.

Off My Moorings

Being off my moorings causes me to cling to the sides of my row boat, fingers digging into splintered wood. My rascal imagination pictures unseen whirlpools, sudden waterfalls, an unfortunate meeting with rocks. It is so much easier to let the fog of boredom slide in over the structure of the landscape of events. Of a piece, the same, predictable routine of anesthetized existence will prevent my death.

The wolf soul is tranquilized and told to go lay in the dark. The growling ferocity of self is drugged with fear and denied.

When I untie my self from caution, I am filled with fear. Where are the bow and aft ropes that stabilize my place?

My ability to be dissatisfied is a skill I have perfected over my 72 years. I want more of less and less of more and not that, this. The craving for unrealized goals calls out over the river front of my kedged existence.

I could be more; bigger; powerful; outspoken; of a leader. I could be less; down a size; in debt; lonely; hesitant; questioning.

And what shows me how I can stir up mud in my river shelter is the sense of resistance. I just want to have an adventure but not to leave home. I just want to be in a sustaining relationship but not go on a date. I just want to have a successful business but not get any further in debt.

at shore

There are times when it is necessary to untie my boat, put a bag over my head and kidnap my conflicted self.

I am headed off to Toronto and Montreal and I can hear the muffled voice of whining hinderance beneath the cloth. It is time to see what happens when I push off in pursuit of new stimuli for the senses.

And I already know I can swim.