Monday, November 9, 2020

ACTUALLY, YOU CAN HELP WHO YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH

                                                                            2010





28 years ago I met a man I had a crush on in person at a law conference in Ottawa.

My crush on him started a couple years prior to us actually meeting each other.  I read a couple of speeches he wrote for the then Attorney General of Ontario, Roy McMurtry. in addition, I also read a number of legal opinions he had written on treaty and aboriginal rights.  To clarify, I had a crush on his brain, his intellect. Who is this man?  He made complex legal arguments understandable.  This said to me that he knew his area of specialty, and he also had a clear and uncluttered mind. As it turned out we knew a number of people in common. 

That lucky day in Ottawa, we spent the whole afternoon getting to know each other  after his presentation. Later that evening we had dinner at Sitar,  an Indian restaurant with lawyers we both knew, my current boss and a lawyer I worked with before I moved to Ottawa.  By the end of the dinner I knew this was the man I wanted to marry.  He was intellectually stimulating and we also had chemistry.  And although he said he would call he didn't.  And we didn't see each other until that fall at a business meeting in Toronto we had. 

To be sure, our 28 years of marriage had its challenges, but nothing we couldn't overcome.  Not long after our marriage Alan drafted the beginnings of a novel. It described eerily perfectly the view of our future house from the river shore, before we even thought of selling my condominium in Ottawa and moving to the country.  Recently, after minor changes to his manuscript, I convinced him to go back and complete his novel.  I am so excited to see it finally completed and in print.  

The reason I believe we can choose the person we fall in love with is because I had a clear vision of who I wanted to spend my life with, someone who is not run by his ego or his profession. Who is intelligent, authentic and has integrity.  Alan is all of this and more.  In fact, while we were dating I said something to the effect that he was a nice man.  He didn't want to be known as "nice."  I think he wanted to be described as a wild man! 

I am grateful to have met and married such a beautiful wild man who knows me like no one else in the world.  He is my best friend.  Happy anniversary darling. I am so blessed you said yes when I proposed, and when you were ready I said yes when you proposed.  



November 11,1992







 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Indigenous Heritage Month 2020

November is Indigenous heritage month it is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge important cultural contributions made by Indigenous peoples to the world. The picture above is of my dad, who was a traditional trapper, and an older brother. 

         Water needs flow to stay fresh, humans need to  adapt to challenges to create a life that is                             meaningful and purposeful.  Indigenous peoples are survivors, they have adapted, and continue to teach us by their example.  

In the summer 2020 during a global pandemic four professional Indigenous women  came up with a plan and met to discuss a vision  I am one of them.  What followed was an electric conversation, filled with inspiration and insight.  We had noble aspirations to combat addictions in Indigenous communities across Canada.  Our idea is to  develop curriculum based on intergenerational trauma as a source of addictions.  

  I admit the subject of addictions is  broad and complex and cannot simply be reduced to  effects of trauma. This point cannot be ignored or understated.  However, coupled with looking at the effects of the impact of colonization on Indigenous Peoples is a pathway to uncovered a possible link of intergenerational trauma and addictions.  There is Overwhelming trauma in our history. 

It goes without saying that the impact of the global pandemic created a perfect storm for addictions to take hold in Indigenous communities,  due to  months long lockdown, loss of income and security. People suffered and continue to suffer and is placing a  burden  on their mental health.  These stresses are exactly what drives people to  turn to substance abuse.

Since the onset of the pandemic suicides, and abuse incidents have increased in communities.  communities are  under insurmountable grief.  The four women decided to do something to mitigate the damages done by the pandemic and step into an huge undertaking.    The fruits of their conversation resulted in the creation of  7th Generation Indigenous foundation and training, also known as GIFT.  it is no mistake that the foundation acronym is GIFT it was by design.  the foundation is a gift to the communities. 

 Careful consideration was given to people who were invited to sit on the foundation.  An ideal director would have the following qualities, leadership and knowledge in the area of addictions, integrity, a strong desire and commitment to be part of the solution.  In turn, the foundation   aligns with their inner purpose for  meaningful service to  their communities.  Essentially to be involved with a movement greater than themselves, a noble cause. 

 The foundation's work will transform individual lives and communities by creating healthy relationships. 

 We are extremely pleased that we have attracted  Scholarly and established Indigenous people to sit on the foundation.  Day one they showed up engaged and ready for the challenge ahead. 

 Through the efforts of the foundation we are creating a vision of healthy  communities. We are creating a new reality,   Our plan includes uplifting all Indigenous peoples to be the very best version of themselves.  

November is Indigenous heritage month I salute all Indigenous peoples across turtle Island who show up every day for their communities, giving their  time, energy, and dedication   for a  healthier year-round environment  for all Indigenous communities.  A special acknowledgment for the women who shared a vision with me and have joined me on this journey side-by-side on the foundation.   Our work is a reflection of what is in our spirit.  

In just a couple short months we were able to act on this vision from spirit of our ancestors.  Their strength has led us to include Harm reduction as a  model in reducing substance  abuse.  This is not just a theoretical idea.  Countries such as  Denmark, Germany, and even Canada have establish regulated medically  supervised, safe injection sites.  These facilities operate by avoiding stigma and shame on those who use the facilities.  When a safe humane program is available it increases the probability of them seeking treatment to combat addictions on their own. It has demonstrated this as a  successful approach, perhaps most significantly they build their confidence and ability for them to tap into their inner source for healing.  

 A question I will leave you with, what would a future look like for Indigenous Peoples if there were professionals or organizations that not only provided a safe environment but also focussed on  offering resources on  mental and physical health?     This foundation is a start towards  fulfilling that vision.  If anything you read here aligns with  your spirit, and you would like to help with a donation, all gifts will receive a tax receipt.  

 







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