Sunday, December 26, 2021

Christmas Day 2021 Make it your Goal to be The Game Changer of Your Life


I am writing my year end blog earlier because I want to bask in the spirit of Christmas as I write. It is a time for giving and receiving, the goodwill surrounding the season in homes everywhere.  My first draft of this blog post was scrapped.  Instead I chose to write more lightheartedly and look at my blessings rather than my losses.  

Christmas morning I woke up with feelings of gratitude and blessings.  There is so much to be grateful for beginning with my sister  Rose who was not only moved out  ICU after being in a medically induced coma after getting  Covid  but she was discharged from the hospital days before Christmas.  I have a  lovely home and wake up to a loving family.

 Rose meeting Minister Carolyn Bennett

Here is a fun fact you may or may not know about me. I have  aphantasia which simply means I cannot form images in my mind of objects that are not in front of me. When I close my eyes and try to imagine an image, all I'm left with is darkness.  The ability to create images in your mind is an ability that at least 99% of the population takes for granted because they don't know there are people like me in the world same as I had no idea that the majority of humans could form images in their mind. Some can even can hear music or if they think of  something like cinnamon or an orange they can actually smell it in their mind. Wow! 

I only discovered this about myself recently and It blew my mind. I discovered that the majority of the people in the world  have the ability to create an image of the ball in their mind, they can make it red blue white or whatever color they want.  Try it.  

Because I can't rely on visual images in my mind, to remember people's faces or places my felt perception is enhanced, I feel deeply.

I have a picture of my late older brother Samuel Rossi on my iPhone because I cannot create an image of him in my mind I can however create the feeling I have when I saw him.  When I discovered this about myself it made a lot of sense. It is the reason my sense of felt perception is so developed.  

 As a writer I draw from my memory of felt perception.   I am intrigued by this about myself,  and when I first learned about it I asked friends if they could hold an image in thier mind. 

In 2021 I began  a remarkable journey of growth and transformation after enrolling in a leadership course with Unstoppable conversations.  Thank you Tony Kevin, Vik, and Tanyss. I got my life out of taking the course. I discovered how to show up in my life as large and stop living small, letting go of my ego. I discovered words like  integrity and authenticity matters.  I discovered how to  recognize when I am out of integrity when my ego was running me.  I further discovered, , people's unexpressed expectations of me are mine to fulfill, That concept  I admit was difficult to comprehend! how could I be responsible for that!!!  

After graduating twice from Being a leader I created a context that included what is possible for me to step into a created life with purpose, something bigger than me. This is a game changer.  I founded a charitable foundation to transform lives. Imagine a world created without obstacles or your limited beliefs holding you back because of fear of the unknown. Imagine what you can achieve.  

The biggest breakthrough for me was the discovery that I didn't have to be right and that if I was open to possibilities it would allow me to see choices that would be not otherwise be obvious.  The discovery that I had aphantasia allowed me to be accepting and understand who I am. More importantly it gave me insight to the fact that we never know what other people's limitation or special gifts are, because we don't know what we don't know.

Chewy about to rip his Christmas present open!
My intention in 2022 is not about losing weight although I could stand to lose a few pounds, it is not about exercising more. I could do more of that too.  My intention, my goal for 2022 is to not live small, to show up in my life because  my actions matter and the people in my life deserve to see the very best version of myself.  The next Being a Leader course starts in January 2022. If  your interested in creating the best life for yourself connect with  Tanyss (250)  305-4848  Pacific time. 
In  2022 I will continue my journey of growth and transformation,  particularly as it pertains to the  foundation  Seventh Generation Indigenous  Foundation and Training. (G.I.F.T) It is a journey  of realizing our vision of healthy  Indigenous communities. across Canada.  I’m really excited about the possibilities known and unknown, for an extraordinary foundation  with capabilities to be a game changer. Thank you for your support and confidence in me as founder of G.I.F.T. 

 From my home to your home  Happy New Year! 

Hubby Alan way across the room opening a present!

Son Andrew is happy with his Christmas gift from Hawai!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

A Respected Dene Elder enters the Spirit world December 21, 2021

Liz & Marie 

With her great niece, Karen

recreating an old photo with nieces Liz and Annie


Picking rhubarb and then made a pie. 

Marie Albert Bruno (nee Adam)  August 1939 -  December 21, 2021

On a hot humid Ottawa summer day, a number of years back, I went for a drive around rural Ottawa, first to Rockland and then to Cumberland.  My aunt Marie was my passenger and navigator.  She’d say turn down this dusty dirt road, then this one, not too far now.   We would stop and she’d get out, thoughtfully looking at the landscape, her eyes searching for memories.  Then she’d nod and say, this looks the same and get back into the car.  She’d say, I remember walking down about a mile or so this on this road everyday to go to work.

It astounded me how well she remembered landscape where everything to me looked similar, farm after farm. She looked at the gravel road like it held a treasure. But my first thought was with all the missing and murdered Indigenous women it would have been easy for someone to grab her from that dusty road, with no houses in the vicinity, she had walked a lonely road twice daily to get to work to support her three young children. 

Finally, we drove down another dusty dirt road and stopped at a huge old farmhouse.  I said, are you sure this is the right house?  Yes, yes, she said.  This is it! 

We went up to the front door and knocked. I was not only apprehensive but a bit afraid.  A lady, maybe in her early fifties, opened the door. Auntie knew her parents who owned the farm. It is hard to say how old she was. Her face seemed haggard and full of stress and that might have aged her prematurely.  She exclaimed, oh my, I have not seen you for years!!  She reached out with a big smile and hugged my aunt and called her by her name.  Come right on in she invited us cheerfully. 

We visited almost a couple hours as they reminisce about the old days. We sat in the kitchen from which I could see antique furniture in the living room and and knick knacks on shelves.   The kitchen was filled with the aroma of comfort food ready to be served all laid out on the counter, like she was expecting company.  But my auntie said, this is how it is on the farm, plenty of food cooked and taken out into the fields to the people working. 

It was a pleasure to drive her down memory lane, literally and figuratively.  as she told me stories of her time in Ontario as a young mother with her three little children and an abusive alcoholic husband.  She worked as a chamber lady at a motel we drove by. It was still standing but was but looking pretty worn down. When she spoke of her boss, she said he was a very nice man and treated her well. He never made her feel badly when she showed up with a black eye caused by her husband or if she had to miss shifts because she couldn't walk into work.   We ended our trip down memory lane with tea and soup at a restaurant she worked at, again, describing the owner as a sympathetic boss.  People she worked for clearly respected and liked her.  I wish I had had an iPhone back then. It would have been amazing to take pictures of her at all these stops. 

I am grateful for my auntie. She did not have email or go on Facebook. She remained one of the few people where our communication is either in person or by calling her landline.   Knowing this, I had to keep our communications frequent over the years.

Marie Celestine Adam was born in  Northern Saskatchewan.  She was the seventh child of Christine Laddi and Chrysotome Adam. She had two sisters, Therese Deranger, my mom who passed in 2015 at the age of 96 and Victorian Powder. She had six brothers; all deceased now except for her youngest brother Horace. 

Aunt Marie demonstrated her love for us through her cooking; she was an excellent cook. She said you have to be creative when you don't have much to cook and have to feed three hungry young children. What impressed me about our drive to the various farms she lived at is how isolated she must have felt.  Her husband was away for work much of the time.

She  was a great guest and visited us on at least half a dozen occasions in Ottawa.  She made herself at home,  baked cinnamon buns, bread and made the most delicious chicken soup with dumplings.  

On her first visit she asked do you have flour.  I said yes, but not much and then she said ask your neighbour to borrow some.  What?  I can't do that I said. she said on the farm neighbors help each other it must be the same here, so I called my neighbour Lucille Abbott who happily gave me an unopened 10-pound bag of flour. When the cinnamon rolls were done, we walked over and took her some. 

My aunt Marie had a wealth of knowledge on traditional culture and our Dene language. She was a strong advocate of the environment and would often speak of the destruction caused by the oil sands to our traditional territory, especially the water. She was a respected elder and attended Treaty 8 elders’ meetings as a representative in our community. She lived life on her own terms and seldom back down from a fight.   the last few years of her life he began giving away her things.  in the end she had nothing but the clothes on her back.  

She was an extraordinary human being, one of the last traditional elders with sacred knowledge of our traditions. She spoke fluent Denesuline.  I loved her dearly. 

She was not perfect and had a strong stubborn streak, as most of in our family do, but in my eyes, she was extraordinary. I only wish that people could have seen her through my eyes, they would have been witness to the richness of her life, her tenderness, and her willingness to help the cause of missing and murdered Indigenous women.  In the early 1990s, she searched tirelessly for a granddaughter who had been put up for adoption. All she had was a picture of the baby that she carried in her purse until a few years ago when she was robbed leaving the bank. When she told me the story, she said I held on to my purse so tight not because I was afraid to lose the money, but it was the only picture I had at my granddaughter she said tearfully. In that moment I felt her pain. That search ended happily, though, as my aunt’s daughter was reunited with her adopted child and has a relationship with her.

with a daughter,Kuni

Her search for her granddaughter was tenacious.  She would approach lawyers at meetings at every opportunity for help, even though she couldn’t retain them.  One of those lawyers became my husband.  Well before we met, he recalls attending Child welfare meetings in Edmonton and my aunt would approach him for off the cuff advice on finding a adopted child.  He had to tell her politely that it was not something he could help with.  He still remembers the passion and anguish she carried with her.

I am blessed that she was my aunt and was part of my life journey. I am grateful that despite my move to Ottawa she got to know my husband and my son, and that I was able to help her relive memories of her past, while she helped me to understand more of our language and culture.

My aunt went to the spirit world on the winter solstice 2021, I think it was fitting that she would leave us on the longest night of the year. It represents our connection with the natural world.

David, loraine, Vicky

Visiting Dunrobin in summertime.  The plant in the background was accidentally
removed by landscapers in 2021.  I made them replace it in memory of Aunt Marie I will think of her when it blooms. 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Following my heart 29 Years




Twenty nine amazing loving years and counting! 

Good communications are necessary in any relationship and,  we need to be willing to bring up uncomfortable conversations is not only healthy but necessary. 

That said, at the end of the day, we must be doing something right to celebrate 29 years today, November 11th, 2021!

Recently I discovered Joseph Campbell’s A Hero's Journey. And thought it would be interesting if this post was written using the phases in a hero's journey. Initiation, separation call to action, challenges, cultivating allies, transformation, home.

It begins with a calling. A calling, as I understand it is an occurrence that grabs your attention.   It is a disruption to your ordinary life, and it will continue showing up in different ways until it is answered.  I am not impulsive, but when I get an idea in my head I move forward quickly. 

When I met hubby, we connected immediately almost like we had known each other for years. I trusted him immediately.  I guess, I could interpret it as a calling to a committed relationship, an adventure as it were. I embarked on a journey september 10, 1992, our first date into the unknown, I answered the call to an adventure of a lifetime.

Initiation- a Call to Action   

We had a whirlwind courtship and married two months after our first date.  The first several years of marriage we were fortunate to travel to Venezuela, Paris, Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Fiji.  We lovingly call these trips honeymoons. It was truly an adventure.  We were married five years before our son, Andrew blessed us with his arrival into our life. It was exciting times, marriage commitment, a new home and we had Andrew. 

Trials and Challenges

Throughout the 29 years we experienced the loss of parents, siblings, and some friends. I resigned a senior position in Alberta sold my condo in Edmonton, Alberta and bought one in Ottawa’s east side.   When I moved to Ottawa, I knew nobody. It was risky and exciting at the sametime. 

I admit the risk for hubby was greater. His also involved a city change a move from Toronto to Ottawa, leaving his partnership, and starting a sole practice. And, he didn't really know me. I couldn't imagine his thought process, though there must have been apprehension, and certainly some fear, it took courage and confidence in who he saw in me to make a commitment.   People in both our lives cautioned us not to jump into the relationship. We paid little attention to what others said we should do or not do as most young lovebirds do.

We didn't have many major disagreements and seemed to come to a consensus on the important things.

They say pick your battles; I don’t know who “they” are. But I noticed it’s important to select the right time to raise issues.  Moreover, it is not helpful at all to be passive aggressive, say what you mean, and follow through with what you said you would do. Always speak up and don't allow issues to fester.  I absolutely am one to bring up and push for honest answers.  When we were first married  Alan would not make a decision on little things, like where to go for dinner, what movie to watch etc.  I would push it until he made a decision. I didn't always want to be the one to decide where we should go what we should see. it was important to me that he was an equal partner in our adventure.  

As a young wife I was headstrong. It was either black or white and there was no gray for me.  I drew a clear line. Fortunately, hubby knew not to cross it.  As the years went by, I became more easy-going as my trust in hubby grew.  Still, I held integrity, and honesty to be of utmost importance. Which meant trust is essential to have a good marriage. We navigate the marriage with that in the background. 

A Call To Adventure A Global pandemic 

Suddenly without warning we were thrown into a global pandemic in 2020.  The world was turned upside down. Life became challenging and smaller, restricted to our homes. At same time it became larger as it became necessary to use technology specifically, zoom to participate at meetings.  For hubby that meant no more rushing off to meetings and hotels. At the beginning it was a welcome respite, then I think he began to miss it.  it was a change of scenery and routine that he missed not that rushing to the airport in the early mornings. 

During the pandemic I felt it necessary to re-establish our connection to each other. The entire world was disrupted, and people adapted and pivoted.   I noticed we needed to reconnect. 

Hubby and I scheduled a daily chat to check in with each other a few months into the pandemic. I believe this was necessary because before you know it months could go by without checking in with each other and seeing how we were coping with the restrictions and limitations brought on by the pandemic. Emotions like fear and anxiety need to be talked through and processed. I am glad we initiated our daily fireside chats. I did this with Andrew as well, scheduling the time where we can connect and do something together. My daughter lives in Hawaii I also kept communication open with her regularly.

At times our conversation became challenging but listening with compassion and being nonjudgmental created a safe space for both of us.  I looked forward to our daily chats. In a recent chat, hubby said what he noticed about me since a stroke three years ago that I’ve become laser focused. I think that was a compliment, at least I took it as such. I felt that in myself as well. I gravitated to exploring my purpose give meaning to my life. 

Departure Disconnect and a New Beginning

Months into a global pandemic I resigned my position as chair and resigned from the board of governors which I had been part of for decades.  I experienced a void and answered a professional calling which resulted in the creation of not-for-profit charitable organization. Seventh Generation Indigenous Foundation and Training (GIFT) It was challenging to undertake creating a new organization during a pandemic. Indeed, it was uncharted territory for me. I picked the name that would have this acronym. it reflects both my gift to first nation and the students who take the course and to the community. 

With help from friends the foundation was incorporated, a bank account set up, a website created, Board of Directors appointed, and a mission statement and mandate in process. I feel a sense of purposefulness and as I request donations, I hope my passion for the work is felt by others who are willing to help.

  However, the truth is, sometimes I feel alone in this mission. I am 100% focused on making this a successful foundation.  I  recognize that in following the hero's journey there will be challenges but through those challenges will be growth.  

Return to the Beginning

As we approach a new year in marriage my intention is to continue supporting the relationship by being open and curious.  I am willing to discover new things about hubby, to be surprised and intrigued.  I am excited about this approach because I know there are things, I still don't know about him that will be a pleasant surprise to discover more about him.  For example, as I undertook to decluttering our home, I had to be patient with him because his tendency is to hang on to old items. I remembered when we first married, he mentioned that when his family moved from Scotland to Canada his mom gave away his favorite toy, a train set. I think his disappointment of losing his favorite toy, without being asked stayed with him all these years.  As much as I want to throw away things that no longer spark joy or are useful, I am mindful to keep him in the loop and give him a say in what happens to his stuff.   

To be completely honest, this past year hubby’s health has not been great, and I can’t help but feel irritated.   I know I shouldn't. But  had he taken responsibility for his health earlier he would be in a better health today. But I lam learning to let those feelings go.  For things to change it is important for each of us discover for ourselves what it is we need to do to be healthier and grow emotionally and spiritually.  Moreover, I can only let him know I  support him becoming healthier in the decades to come, however he wants to get there.  what happens to him, is his journey. The truth is I am a tad bossy, and I remind myself daily, I must give him the space to discover for himself the best path for him on his health journey.

The vow I made is to be committed through sickness and health. At the same time, we all are responsible for our own health, and we shouldn't avoid this responsibility.  Indeed, some things are beyond our control.

I suffered a right brain medical induced stroke during surgery in 2018. It was comforting to know that it was not my lifestyle or anything I had done to create this health issue.  Fortunately for me, my recovery was short and quick but ongoing.  Still, it is a lesson, whatever is within our control, we shouldn't ignore.  Such things as eating healthy, getting exercise, drinking water, having a good night's sleep.  It is all about prioritizing the important people and things in our life. And to take nothing and no one for granted. my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother lived long into their 80s and 90s my great-grandmother reaching 100.  

My intention for the next 30 years is that we continue to be healthy in mind and in body and we each take seriously the responsibility for what is within our domain to ensure we can continue to enjoy life together. 

 Indeed, when I look back over the 29 years I know we have grown in many ways, intellectually, emotionally,and spiritually. I have come into my own. Stronger  and more confident. And I got the best anniversary gift, a Switch with a Mario Kart game.  Lucky me!!! :)  When hubby saw how excited I was he comment he didn't think I was serious when I asked for it until our son Andrew told him, how much loved it.  Hubby said " it is easy to please you"  :)  like I said to him 29 years ago basically I am just a small-town girl with simple needs. 

Best Gift ever From hubby!


Hubby’s Anniversary Message

29 years ago, I was in a crossroads. I was just recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship and assumed that I was going to be spending a lot of time alone before I would emerge from my hiding place and take a chance on another relationship.

The funny thing is, that when we had our first date in September, I knew that I had met someone very special, and when I say someone special I felt as if we knew each other deep down and could trust each other. We ended up spending that first weekend together and at the end of that weekend I gave her my house key.

It seems kind of crazy in retrospect and I suppose it was, but it didn’t feel that way at the time. It just felt natural and easy. Those first eight weeks between that first dinner date and standing in front of a judge uttering vows to each other were fun, passionate and yes, always easy. We spent a lot of time watching the Blue Jays when the World Series. The morning after that win, I went out to my little backyard in the Beach with a cup of coffee and was greeted with the sight of a Blue Jay on one of my trees. I took it as a sign, went inside and proposed.

Now, I do need to admit that I am not an easy person to live with, to get close to and certainly not to be married to for 29 years. Over the course of my life, I have managed to erect many defences. I hate being ordered about and I am always prone to misinterpret spousal conversations as if they are either orders or criticisms. Nearly always, they are neither.

Angelina is an exceptional person, unlike anybody I have ever met.  What amazes me still is how easy it all was and how naturally it evolved from a first casual dinner date to getting married in a few short weeks, all with absolute certainty that it was the right and necessary path.

My first impression was that I could completely trust Angelina and I could be completely open with her without having to fear being abused for that openness.  Within a couple of weeks we knew everything about each other.  We had an instinctive and absolute trust in each other.  29 years have gone by and that trust has never wavered. 

As Angelina says in her blog post, my health has not been great this year. I have not taken care of my health and I am paying for it now. Frankly, I am living with a great load of fear about the future.

But our marriage is rock solid. Everything Angelina suggests to me is for my own good. She is always surfing the web and listening to podcasts to try to find the keys to a healthier life not only for herself but for me as well.

It’s really funny, but the first impressions I had of her 29 years ago have been completely correct. I am married to a wise, caring, beautiful woman with an old soul. For a young soul like myself life contains a lot of insecurities. I don’t know that everything will turn out right. But she has enough security and wisdom for both of us, I think.

Next year, 30! Thanks, love of my life! 

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