Sunday, January 31, 2016

We Should Be Growing Old Together...

This piece is fiction. But it is an inevitable scenario when dealing with someone who is an alcoholic or has a drug addiction.  

I dropped a tear in the ocean. The day it is found is the day I will stop missing you. - Unknown

It shattered my world when you died. The news of your death sucked the air out of me, I couldn’t breathe. The world as I knew it changed forever in an instant. I thought I couldn’t experience any worse pain. However, this pain is excruciating, unbearable.   Tears cascade down my face as I try to process that your beautiful spirit is on its final journey home.

I’ve got to breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

You’ve struggled most your life. But the fact that you never accepted how very much you meant to all of our family and how deeply you were loved and admired was your downfall. The last few weeks before your death, I got emails on a daily basis asking me how you’re doing.

I totally understand you were unable to deal with the unfathomable pain, helplessness and loneliness you felt. You also felt that family didn’t support you, but each one of us did. You’ll never know the impact you had on everyone of us. You have inspired me in many ways, by your strength, tenacity, and authenticity.

I was your champion. I championed for you unconditionally. I really wanted you to kick this alcohol disease in the butt. I felt, if anyone can do it, you could. You were the only one bad assed enough to do it.  Sadly, I was wrong.  You gave up like you had no more fight left in you.

We had so many conversations about how this addiction had controlled and consumed other people you loved. How helpless and hopeless you felt to help them. Too many tears you shed over them. You felt they would fall victim to it and would die too young because of it.  I know the agony was a burden too great for you to carry alone. Ironically, it is you who fell into the dark hole of despair and had no strength left in you to climb out of it.

I was truly blessed to have had you in my life. We chatted…disagreed sometimes…but laughed more…we shared stories…but one thing for sure, I know, …we LOVED.  Your strength and your wisdom will always guide me forward.  I know you loved me dearly and would do anything for me. But the one thing I really wanted was for you to live and grow old with me, but you couldn’t do that for me.

I can’t stop the tears and I can’t breathe. I am broken into a million pieces.
This didn’t need to happen.  Life could have been different. You and I would visit, have tea and tell stories.  We should have grown old together, two little old ladies laughing about our adventures or misadventures.  Talking about our great-great grandchildren and how kids these days don’t know anything. You would write in your journal to leave a legacy for your descendants. Words, of wisdom, to guide their life.

It could still happen. Maybe. Hopefully. My wish. This is a nightmare and I want to wake up now and have the life we should be having. We should be growing old together. We should be…

Thursday, January 28, 2016

14 days out of 100 DaYS oF GRaTiTUdE

On January 15, 2016, I joined this challenged to write about being grateful for 100 days.  My plan was to blog about it when I completed the challenge.  But instead I decided to post it as I go along. This first post is a bit long, so I promise next time it won't be as long.  lol

These two weeks have been very interesting and I find myself actively looking for the positive in everyday normal events.  There are a number of studies that reveal being grateful is beneficial in numerous ways. I am interested in seeing what this challenge will reveal to me and about me. 

Day 1
I have been inspired by my friend, Jean Cardinal, after reading her 100 days of gratitude posted on Facebook. So, she was the inspiration for taking up this challenge. What an amazing human being she is and her words have really inspired me. Thus, on my first day, I am grateful for her and her dedication to inspire others.

Day 2
Annie and Mary
I am grateful that these two beautiful and lovely ladies, my big sisters, Annie
and Mary. They never cease to make me feel totally and completely loved. They teach me gratitude, compassion and acceptance. Thank you, sisters, for always being there for me.

 Day 3
I am thankful for my friend Lou Corona, for teaching me how to make almond milk. . Ever since I've learned to make it myself, I have not purchased it from the store. You get so many real benefits from making it yourself like quality control and satisfaction of doing it yourself. It is fresh and delicious. 

Day 4
I am grateful to authors who pour their heart and soul into their books that serve to entertain and introduce me to powerful characters and compelling stories.

Day 5
My brother Rossi is still struggling with an assault that left him with permanent damage on January 9th, 2015. He often talks about a our NYC trip, which I think, is one of his treasured memories. Today, I am grateful that he is still in my life.  I wanted to do something special for him, so I created a memory of our trip. I ordered the pictures of our trip to be made into a coffee table book for him. 

Day 6
I was talking to a friend recently about how our childhood relationships form our character and how we relate to one another as adults. It might appear as unusual to be grateful for my experience at Holy Angels Residence, in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, but I am.  It was there that I formed a life long bond with other students from my community. These years taught me sharing, caring and the meaning of true friendship. 

Residential school harborer some really dark secrets that left so many students broken, as I wrote in a letter that was published in the OttawaCitizen, but I am forever grateful for the life long friendships I have.  We may not see each other for years, but when we meet there is an instant recognition and connection because of our shared experience.  To all the women who were in little girl’s room, I am so grateful we survived and continue to love and live life to the fullest.  Thank you for being my life long friends. 

Day 7
I am grateful for my home, which I acknowledge is situated in Algonquin territory.  And the fireplace that is soothing and comforting while winter is swirling outside. As I look outside my window I am reminded that I am also sharing the territory the indigenous animals, the wolf, the deer, and the eagle among others.  All I have to do is be aware of my surrounding to see the natural balance of nature in play. 

Just a short while ago the wolves downed a deer and shared their feast with the crows and a lone eagle. Now, how many people get to see this drama unfolding outside their window? I am grateful to be reminded of the cycle of life. 

Day 8 
A few years ago, when I was volunteering at a Theravada Buddhist temple, I asked the resident monk to bring me a Buddhist icon when he returned to Canada from Thailand.  I was thinking a tiny jade Buddha.  But instead he gave me a beautiful large bronze Buddha statue. 

I am so grateful to have been given such an amazing gift, which reminds me to be patient, compassionate and forgiving.   And to being present in the moment and living everyday with the choices I make and how I conduct myself with others.  It reminds me that our lives are both infinitely challenging and infinitely rewarding. 

Funny story:  I used to drive this monk around to pay his bills and run errands.  One day we were running late and I had to pick up my son from pre-school. (That is how long ago!)  

Because I didn’t have time to drop him off before going to get my son he came with me to the school.  I went into the school and met another mother, who asked if I wanted to go for tea.  I told her I couldn’t because I had a monk in my car. She said, really, I would like to see. I shrugged my shoulder and said why not and we walked out to my car.  

I opened the back door so she could see him, and she almost died laughing on the spot.  She said, “when you said monk, I thought you meant you had a Buddha in your car.” The monk, smiled and bowed his head, but because he didn’t speak English he couldn't understand why we were laughing so hard with tears running down our face.  True story. J

Day 9 
In the face of yesterday’s tragedy in La Loche, I find it difficult to be grateful for myself when I know so many people are dealing with unimaginable pain.  

But I am grateful that I am able to meditate on loving kindness. It is occasions such as these that we need to breathe, focus and pray for those directly affected by this horrific tragedy.  Because whether we are directly involved or not we have been affected by what happened. Two of my blogging friends have elegantly blogged about the incident. Here and here.  I am grateful for their insights. 

Day 10 
Aunt Marie
I am grateful today and everyday for my one and only aunty. My aunt Marie demonstrates her love for us through her cooking; she is an excellent cook. Not only that but she has a wealth of knowledge on traditional ceremony and our Dene language. 

She does not have email or go on Facebook, so she is one of the few people where our communication is either in person or by calling her landline.  Yes, no texting with that old chick because she does not have a cell phone.  I try to ensure that not too much time goes by between our chats.  

She is indeed an exquisite and precious gem.  I love her dearly. She is not perfect, but in my eyes she is extraordinary.  I am grateful that she is part of my life journey.

Day 11 
I am grateful for friends who see something so phenomenal in their friends that they want to introduce them to each other.Yesterday evening I had an amazing conversation with someone who was introduced to me by my good friend, Vik. 

During our conversation Tanyss asked me how I knew vik, which took me down memory lane. This line of introductions started when I first moved to Ottawa, over 20 years ago. I moved to Ottawa to take a position with the Federal Government to establish the Indian Claims Commission. I barely knew anyone in Ottawa at the time. I decided to try to find someone in the transcendental community so that I can at least continue my meditation with a group. I called the TM office. Incredibly, Moneca who answered my call was a former resident of Edmonton. So we had that in common. Not only that she was also a person who was active in establishing landmark education in Ottawa. I had taken a number of courses by that time and was familiar with landmark. We had many long and deep conversations.  

Moneca is an extraordinary woman, who is currently in Africa taking a Landmark course and making a difference to students there. A few years ago, she said, you need to meet Vik, he is amazing!  I called Vik, and we had the most incredible conversation.  He is not only a graduate of Landmark Education but is a principle owner of UnstoppableConversations. We ended up doing business together. If you want to make a difference in your life, your work, and in the world, this is the company to contact. 

Vik, Introduced me to Tanyss. Tanyss’ intention is to transform a school in northern Alberta into a place where students will discover their extraordinary self and soar. After what happened in La Loche, we need to envision a new reality for First Nations schools.

Thank you Moneca for introducing me to Vik, and thank you Vik for introducing me to Tanyss. 

Day 12 
Matcha with gold flecks 
At times, I find myself, so grateful for the little things in my life. For example, to simply enjoy a perfect cup of matcha tea whilst listening to music. 

Day 13 
I am grateful for friends who remind me of music I've forgotten about, And at this moment for Tchaikovsky’s timeless and beautiful music, which I listened to again, after reading the above link. Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique” op.74, was written during Tchaikovsky’s difficult period.  I’ve heard somewhere that someone asked could music save your mortal soul? Listen to this piece and you might have your answer. Watch out for 11:11 Boom!
14 days 
On January 27th, I received a gift in the mail. It was a beautiful pair of naturally smoked moose hide moccasin. They fit perfectly, like my feet are getting a warm snug hug.  Nothing trumps receiving an unexpected present.  I don’t usually get gifts out of the blue like this and this was a teaching moment for me. It taught me to be humble and to accept the gift with graciousness but at the same time, to allow myself to feel worthy.

I immediately called the person who sent it to me to thank her and I got another gift.

The gift of laughter!  Never fails, she always makes me laugh. She has a quick wit that comes out of nowhere. Sharing a laugh really does make you feel connected. It is good medicine.  According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, a good laugh has great short and long-term effects. I encourage you to call a friend and share a good laugh. I am grateful for these gifts. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

No Ordinary School Day

A tragedy occurred yesterday at a high school in La Loche,Saskatchewan, in a Dene community. It could have easily been my community, I know people in the community. It surprised me when I mentioned it to someone and they didn’t respond the way I thought they would.  As though I said something ordinary.  Perhaps, it was a misunderstanding of the events but a shooting in a community should always raise an emotion of some sort. 
Marie Janvier (Teacher's Aide)

We must not be complacent or think that this is an ordinary event. It is shocking, it is tragic, and we should not accept this as normal. What happens when a Society does not react to the killing of innocent students and teachers at a school? This is one place they should be secure and safe after all. 
Teacher, Adam Wood 

School shootings is a worst kind rebellion. Who knows what goes on in the mind of a shooter? It   It distresses me to know that yesterday, loved ones, didn’t come home and will never be coming home. Yesterday, young lives were cut short.It is clear that the students, teachers, and the community’s lives will forever be altered by the incident.

Drayden Fontaine, Student
Breaks my heart.
Dayne Fontaine, Student
Incidents such as this underscore how life can change in an instant. Take those moments you have with your family and friends to be present.  Listen to their stories. Tell them you love them and hug them that one second longer before you let them go.  However, I do know the Dene people of La Loche will come together in ceremony, to begin the process of healing.  I am extending my condolences and prayers to the families and the community of La Loche, Saskatchewan.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Happiness in a small Package, yes, please!

Any day you receive a gift in the mail is a good day. 

But the day when the gift includes ‘JOY BLISS RAW’ organic chocolates, a treat from the owner, is an awesome day! As soon as I opened the package the sweet chocolate aroma escaped and filled my soul with happiness. Crazy, I know, huh.  But I've been waiting for this special package for awhile. 

I decided to try the Half n’ Half Bar first.  It didn’t disappoint and I found it very appealing.  As I bit into it I knew immediately that almond nutty flavour mixed with seeds and the maple syrup with dates gave it just the perfect amount of sweetness.  Not to mention that the coconut oil and cacao butter added the smooth texture that prolonged the taste on my taste buds.  Although, I only had a small piece it was enough to satiate my chocolate craving. 

The best part is that these chocolates are ‘raw’ and without any dairy.  Did I mention it is also healthy for you?  Well, it is! But don't let that stop you from buying some because it tastes like "it's bad" for you. So minus the guilt that we chocolate addicts have every time we indulge, will make you love this chocolate even more. 

I highly suggest giving it a try because it has more personality than any other typical chocolate you buy off the shelf. Take it to the next level and treat yourself. :) 

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