May 31, 2009

Day 3 Asking For Help- Passion

My dear friend Vita, from across the planet, sent me the question; “How do you live your passion?” for 12 days journal # 48, along with this answer:

“I dance every day. i listen to shells on the beach when they talk to me. i smile at strangers. i dress like the sexy copperflame that i am. i salute all living animate and inanimate objects, believing that everything has a consciousness. i laugh with the magpies and flirt with the sun. I insist on the best, in food, company, friends, lovers, surroundings and name a few.
i live to love.

Vita is most definitely a sexy copperflame! I am not surprised that she would ask a question about passion. It seems to me that passion is her passion. We have this in common. Passion is my passion. In order to live my passion, I love passionately and I write passionately.

Usually that is. Today I feel dried up. I have sat with this damn computer on my lap for hours now, trying to come up with something entertaining? Poignant? Humorous? Vaguely interesting? I feel empty and uncomfortable. I have been eating sugar to try and dumb down the discomfort. Now I have a swollen, painful belly along with my original discomfort.

So if I live my passion, which is passion, by living passionately, does this mean I completely disappear when my passion disappears? I should write THAT question in a journal!

My friend Kelly assures me it is not a lack of passion that is preventing me from writing, it is an overabundance, a bottleneck. I can see this. So what do I do with this over abundance? Where do I put it if I can’t get it onto the page? If I can’t put this passion in the places it so badly wants to live? What happens when the way I want to express my passion, the way I want to feel passion, is no longer an option?

Yes, I think Kelly is right, there is no lack of passion, just a bottleneck, which is slowing the flow to a drip drip drip and creating an uncomfortable bloat. Which it is threatening to explode. Hopefully all over the page so that I have something to share with you tomorrow.

May 30, 2009

Day 2 Asking For Help- School Days

So my help today came from a couple of smart, handsome, intelligent 13 year old boys. Two boys who are likely going to be ticked at me for writing that last sentence. But they are all those things so I am going to leave it in! They sent me a whole SLEW of questions but the one that I am going to choose  for 12 days journal #47 is “What do you remember from your days in school?”. I chose this one because I spent the morning at The Nelson Waldorf Kinderhouse where my youngest daughter goes to school celebrating their annual May Fest.

School was a challenge for me as a child. I was tiny, had a funny name and was the youngest in my class, bad combination. I struggled, and have come to understand that although I felt alone, I certainly wasn’t, that many others had a similar experience in school. I have a vivid memory that comes to mind, I was in grade 8. I was walking to science class, which was held in the basement of my jr. high school. I remember rounding a corner and seeing the blank cinder block walls, painted eggshell white. In a moment of clarity and wisdom beyond my years I thought to myself “How can I be inspired to learn in such an uninspired building?”. I believe that there were a lot of factors which contributed to me not being fond of school, but the building, it's surroundings and it's complete lack of soul played a significant role. Even outside it was just cows and wheat fields for miles. I knew back then I would choose something different for my children. 

We have made lots of educational choices for our kids. The eldest two were homeschooled until they went to a Waldorf school in Whistler, BC.  Rosy is our first child to ever go to Kindergarten. Far from being made of cinder block, her Kinderhouse is a strawbale building with much soul and natural flow. All materials used in today's crafts were natural: flowers, pine cones, beeswax, feathers. The shortcake and cookies served were wholesome and homemade. The puppet show was low key, the children watched with focused concentration as two teachers used hand felted puppets to tell a delightful story of an orange that the forest folk mistook for a sun seed. Finally we went up to dance round the May pole, a structure made from delicately coloured ribbons, driftwood and real flowers. The whole day was a celebration of what nature has to offer. This is  what I would have liked to have been surrounded with when I was in school, but that was not meant to be... and I trust that. I am so deeply happy that my children will have memories of being educated in a organic, nurturing environment.

Like my science class room in Grade 8, this part of the Kinderhouse is actually partially underground, but look at what a difference the big sunshine windows make! This is me singing with the Waldorf choir.

Rosy Made this all by herself, isn’t it beautiful?

A friend with his beautiful daughter. Notice the beauty of this interior, with its womb like colours, soft textiles, and so many windows.

Round the Maypole, a timeless ancient ritual. In the background notice the mountains, trees and the rest of the school which is lovely and organic as well. Yes my children’s school is a beautiful place. this makes me, and I think them, happy.

May 29, 2009

Day 1 Asking For Help- What do you do anyway?

Ok I admit it I am overwhelmed! I was thinking the other day that some who read this might be thinking "Doesn’t this womyn have a job?!"  Well it feels like THIS is my job! This experiment, this project, this blog, these commitments.

When we moved to Nelson I had planned to look for part time work having left my job at the Whistler Waldorf school as the handwork teacher.  I worked there only part time as my Rosy was just little and still needed her mama a lot. Chris was working 50-60 hours a week, so even working part time was hard. Our family home-schooled for many years. Always having at least one of us parents around was the way we did things, it was what we believe was right for our family. Since Chris had other commitments this meant I was the “go to” parent the vast majority of the time. 

Then Chris had his accident and our whole lives changed.... in MANY ways. There were the hard parts, there is no doubt about this! But there was a whole other side to the injury that was unexpected and, to be honest, quite wonderful. I suddenly had so much more time than I used to, or at least a different kind of time than I used to. Chris was put on a strict protocol for healing which included a regimented schedule. He took over waking the kids up in the morning, taking them to school, picking them up, making dinner and putting them to bed. While he had always helped with these things, they were now his responsibility as a prescription towards wellness. You may be able to imagine the freedom this gave me! Not right in  the beginning. It was MORE work at first, I had to hold his hand a lot,  keeping him on track. The injury really messed with his memory and ability to multitask. But by 9 months into it he didn’t really need me any more. So I did something I hadn’t done in 13 years. I went back to school. 

I attend the Tamalpa Institute in Marin county California. I fly down there for one week every month. I go to school, I dance and I spend time with the many friends I have made. After 12 years of hard core parenting, much of it on my own, I felt like I had been reborn. In many ways I was, ask anyone who knew me from before! When I am at home in Nelson I take distance courses through Thomspon River University. I am earning the degree I stopped 15 years ago, when I instead journeyed into motherhood.  

I have hated the question “So what do you do?” my whole life. Mostly because my answer was never simple and it rarely involved much of a pay cheque. My ventures have always been holistic and artistic in nature. The answers I had to the much dreaded “what do you do” often didn’t even make sense to the person who asked. In this area I have always felt somewhat marginalized. Technically I am a student at the moment, so I have an easy answer. Of course now I would have to answer “I WAS a student”, because since I began this project I haven’t done any school work! I am thinking that I might have to take the rest of the year off to complete this! Which my logical mind tell me is a crazy thing to do. But this experiment is too good to give up, and it is not in me to do it half assed. So today when someone asked me, “What do you do?” I said . “I am writing and doing a research project”. Funny thing, it was just official enough that the asker nodded and was content with the answer. Who would have thought?! Now I wonder what I will say when I am finished this whole thing in 312 days?

I received this question and answer, from an anonymous follower, for 12 days journal #46

“Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

“In ten years I see myself in a very good place. I see myself surrounded by the people I love. I have a wonderful relationship with my children and my wife and I have a lot of love in my life. I see myself financially abundant and living in a beautiful house full of lovely art, some created by me, some created by my family and some purchased to support local artists. I see myself travelling the world in environmentally respectful and adventuresome ways. I see myself as a published author who writes books that become best sellers and I give talks to audiences full of people. I see myself as having had to travel a tough road for a time that opened up many, many new possibilities and opportunities in my life. Yeah!!!”

Wow. Can I just borrow your answer? It sounds pretty gosh darn good!

Before I give today’s journal to my friend, I will include an answer to his question. I am going to keep most of what I write a secret, but I can tell you it will include that within the next ten years I will have a concrete answer to to the question “What do you do?”

Latest Commitment! Asking for Help- Ya I mean you!

Ok I am overwhelmed! This project has taken over my life! There are commitments to complete, journals to make, blogs to write, emails to answer. Don’t get me wrong, I am loving it! It is one of the best things I have ever done. But I need help! I was thinking about the anniversary story I wrote two entries ago. Thinking about how much easier my life became when I was willing to ask for help, how I struggle with it still, and how I watch so many others do the same. So this brings me to my commitment for the next 12 days.

For the next 12 days I am committed to asking for help. I am asking YOU! You who is reading this right now. My friends, those who follow this blog, you who is reading this for the first time, even those who have already received or written in a journal, to email me a question for the journal of the day. If you feel inspired (and I SO hope you do!) please also send me an answer to the question. Email me at, and include your address if you live far away. This way I can send YOU the 12 days journal of the day, for you to send out into the world.

How does this help me? It gives me a break. I will post your question (and answer, if you send one) to the blog. This can be done anonymously or with your first name, just let me know what you would prefer. I will write something in response to the question. I will still write everyday, but with less pressure to climb a mountain, find a stranger, go to an event, etc. I need some time to build up energy for the next two 12 day commitments, which will be done mostly in the United States. In mid June I am going to Esalen, then returning to school, going to dance camp and then finally my family and I will road trip home through California, Utah and Washington. With the help of this 12 days commitment of asking for help, I will be able to take care of all I need to before embarking on this exciting journey. A journey where I will get to connect with you all while on the road.

I want to say THANK YOU!! in advance. If you get to this point in this post, and are thinking any of the following;

“I can’t come up with a good question”

“She doesn’t mean me”

“She probably has enough responses already”

or anything even remotely similar I can tell you this, YOU ARE WRONG! and I don’t say that very often. If you get to this sentence right here and have even the slightest interest in participating in this experiment then click here ----> and send me a question! SERIOUSLY!

May 28, 2009

Day 12 Community Support- Long!

It may seems a little silly that it didn’t occur to me until moments ago that there is a fair amount of significance to today being my 12th wedding anniversary. I am completing a 12 days cycle on this day, the day I celebrate 12 years of commitment while engaging in a 12 month long experiment in commitment. The number 12 was not really chosen by me, more for me. This experiment started from an idea I got while on a 12 day long Wild Rose cleanse. I simply continued with this number which had already been decided. But today I began to see it’s significance.

Chris gave me a beautiful anniversary present. An ammonite pendent with a silver spiral overlay. Both the ammonite and the spiral have much significance in my life. As I searched round the net looking for interesting information about the significance of “12” I found out that the nautical spiral, which follows the Fibonacci sequence, has a connection to the number 12 in sacred geometry. I will not pretend to fully understand the connection, but that it was gifted it to me today with no knowledge by either of us of it’s meaning, is mystically synchronistic. I will take this over understanding, for today felt both mystical and synchronistic.

I woke up and prepared to teach my first ever movement class here in Nelson. I was nervous. It turned out I had no need to be. The class was only 6 people, but it was a grand 6. I had built a beautiful altered space at the front of the room with fresh lilacs, seeds and stones. There were also angel cards and 12 days journal # 45. By the end of the practice it was infused with community spirit. I was so very happy to be able to give it to my friend Dan, who showed up to support me. Inside is written “What does the word community mean to you?”. Afterwards Dan and I went for coffee while Chris took care of some business.

Next Chris and I snuck off to Red Sands, our local nakedness friendly beach. This time of year in the Kootenays' the sun is very hot while the water is very cold. We took a quick dip, sunned our whole selves, then rushed off to get Lily who was finished school. We went to help a couple friends move their art studio. Then to a BBQ to celebrate another friend flying in, literally.

Benjamin Jordan is paragliding across Canada to raise money to send kids to camp. He touched down at Lakeside Park as his support crew pulled in in their techno-coloured bus. Our kids got to put their hand prints on the bus, which will be done by children all across Canada, as Ben flies into schools and youth camps until he reaches the Rock (that is Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province to you non Canuck folk). His aspirations are to inspire kids to follow their dreams. You rock Ben!

I had to leave the BBQ early and leave my family behind to go to my World Fusion Dance troupe rehearsal. There I unexpectedly connected with a new friend who is a force in the yearly creation of Shambala, our local music festival which brings thousands of people into the Kootenays every August for a huge dance party in the forest. This year Shambala is fundraising to get Nelson a skateboard park, something that is desperately needed in our community and is put on the back burner time and time again. After rehearsal we spoke, as we watched the awesome power of the Cottonwood Falls, and worked out my volunteer position at this years festival: running a movement based expressive arts workshop. I walked back to town from rehearsal with a smile pasted from ear to ear, there is so much going on, and I am loving being a part of it.

I met back up with my family and just as I thought the time had finally come to slow down, go home, get the kids settled so Chris and I to go to dinner, we found ourselves a street festival! The International School of the Kootenays (ISK) was throwing a party. There was a marimba band, food, a huge mandala to paint, dancing and more...we could not pass this by! So we turned the car round and our entire family danced and created art until the sun began to disappear, which in Canadian summer means way after the kids’ bed time.

Chris and I did not make it to the restaurant until 9:45pm. We looked at each other as we sunk into our seats and, with a simultaneous deep sigh, finally rested. This day had been filled with more community than I ever dreamt possible. Then, in a true sign that we have spent a lot of time together, we both exclaimed “And today is only Thursday!” Though we sat alone for part of the time, as is inevitable in this town, we were eventually joined by friends. Jamie served us delicious dish after dish of creations he made just for our special day, each item trumping the last. We sat at Fusion sharing wine, food and conversation until 1:30am.

So who did I support specifically? I gave up trying to figure that out. The idea I had at the beginning of the day was to support myself, to name myself as a talented individual living here in Nelson. And I am! But this commitment of “supporting local talent” has been somewhat mystifying. Most days it was hard for me to claim I was supporting local talent, because it usually felt more like they were supporting me. I thought at the beginning of this commitment that it would be cut and dried. I show up, show support, write some stuff on the blog and leave a journal, done! But this is not at all how it worked. It made it really clear to me that support is symbiotic, both the giver and the receiver are equally necessary and who is who is often ambiguous. So as this commitment ends I can say it was by far the most difficult one to reconcile day to day, but it was also some of the best fun I have ever had. Thank you Nelson my lovely, lovely home town.

May 27, 2009

Day 11 Community Support- Rocks!

Today I am cheating a little bit. Tomorrow is a very special day, for a number of reasons. This has me doing my current 12 days commitment a little differently. I will be passing out 2 journals tomorrow. To help you understand why, let me tell you a little story about a boy and a girl.

Nearly 17 years ago a very handsome boy met a very feisty girl. They had a lot of fun together. After about 3 1/2 years they were joined by a sweet baby girl. When this baby girls was 1 and a half the boy and the girl decided to get married. This happened in secret, beside a waterfall with only 3 witnesses, the baby girl was one of them. This was 11 years and 364 days ago. The boy and girl hid that they were married. Then a year to the day later they had a big party, with a white gown and a uniform and cake and flowers, all by the same waterfall.

The family of 3 then moved to a town called Slave Lake in northern Alberta, they didn’t like living there but they were in love and were best friends so having each other was enough. While living there another sweet baby girl was born in the couple’s living room. That night they all snuggled in bed, a lucky family of 4.

Some years later they moved to Pemberton, British Columbia. A beautiful little town in the mountains. The family was very happy about this, and very happy also that 3 months after moving there arrived ANOTHER sweet baby girl, born in their new living room. Now they were a family of 5.

Years passed, and things took a turn for the worse. The family was mostly happy but the boy, who was now a man, was sad a lot. He was having a hard time with all the sadness and pain he saw everyday in his job. The girl, who was now a womyn didn’t know how to make it all better. They still loved each other, but sometimes they wished they could have back the days when there was more fun and less pain.

The family moved again, this time to Nelson British Columbia, a place where the girl who had become a womyn had dreamed of living her whole life! The boy who had become a man moved there first while his family stayed behind to finish school. This was 1 year and 364 days ago. He didn’t like being in their new home alone, there was too much time to think about all that he had seen in his very violent job. He had been sick for a while, sick with a pain in his heart that was beginning to affect his head. Once his family moved to Nelson the womyn decided she had to leave for a while. She was quite angry at the loss of the fun loving boy she had married. She didn’t know what to do with his anger, didn’t know how to make life fun again. So she ran away for 2 weeks. She told her family she was going on a surf trip with a friend for a 40th birthday, but really she was going to yell at the ocean, ask God to make everything the way it use to be. When the womyn was away the man decided he couldn’t take it any more. He rode his mountain bike down a steep hill and ran into a big big rock. He wanted the pain to stop, he found a way to make that happen. The man broke his leg and hit his head. The womyn came home and was happy! This broken leg meant a break for the man from work, a chance to be away from death and unhappiness. Neither the man nor the womyn had any idea what troubled times lay ahead. The mans brain was injured in the crash. He was very angry all the time, he couldn’t think straight, he forgot things. He lost his sense of humour and didn’t laugh anymore. He was in constant pain and was irrational. The crash did not take away the pain in his heart, it made it worse, because now he was too confused to understand any of it. The womyn thought she should leave the man for good, take the kids and go. The man thought she was probably right. But the thing was they still loved each other. What were the man and womyn to do?

Well they struggled, and they fought, and they loved, and they cried, and they went on day after day. They learned to ask for help, and they got it too! Mostly from very unexpected places. The man saw some wonderful doctors and counsellors. He worked very very hard to heal the damage done, not only by the rock, but also the job where he wasn’t taken care of very well. He worked SO hard. The womyn worked hard too, to get him the support he needed and to tell his truth when the damage done to his brain and his heart meant he could not stand up for himself. They just kept on loving each other and supporting each other even when sometimes they made choices in their marriage that others did not understand, that was ok, because THEY understood. And so it is now 11 years and 365 days since this boy, who became a man and this girl, who became a womyn were married. Tomorrow they will go out for dinner at Fusion, a restaurant run by the most talented chef in all of Nelson. The womyn will take
12 days journal #44 with her and give it to the chef and owner Jamie. Inside will be the question “Can you think of a time when you stuck through something really difficult , and later were very happy you did?”. They will eat delicious food, prepared by a talented local, to celebrate their commitment to one another, through “better or worse”. She will drink wine while he drinks something fruity and fizzy, because he is committed to healing his mind and his soul and this means not drinking alcohol. She will get a little silly and flirty on her wine and he will think this is adorable, because even after 17 years she is still the most beautiful womyn in the world to him. I know this because the boy, who has worked very hard to become an absolutely amazing man, tells me, the girl, who is now very much a womyn, this very thing nearly every day.

Happy (almost) anniversary my sweet, loving, devoted husband. I love you with all of my being. Thank you for all the hard work you have done; In raising our children, in the work you did for the force, you were the most amazing member I EVER knew, and for all the work you have done to get better, including choosing that rock.

Taken 10 years and 364 days ago, when we were married the second time. Very few people know this wedding was a “fake”. Well until now!

May 26, 2009

Day 10 Community Support- Contact Comfort

Anyone who has taken introductory psychology is likely familiar with the wire mother experiment by Harry Harlow. An experiment which proved that the need for “contact comfort” is as integral to our well-being as food. I remember footage of the Romanian orphans, kids rocking manicly back and forth in a desperate search for comfort. The children where housed, fed, clothed, but they were not held by another human being. Not long enough anyway to prevent serious emotional damage from lack a physical love. I woke up this morning CRAVING “contact comfort”. As I brush my teeth I decided I better go find my good friend Erin. She always cuddles me, rubs my shoulders, absentmindedly strokes and squeezes my thigh as we talk, sits nice and close. I adore it.

On yesterdays blog a very astute follower commented that normal is just a statistical measure of how far something falls from something considered to be deviant. What this means is human needs and behaviours falls within spectrums. There may have been some children in those orphanages, who happened to need less contact comfort than others, and who happened to have a caregiver who needed it more. This fortuitous combination may have saved this child's soul. As for where I live on this spectrum, well I would be on the end of “touch me I dig the endorphin release!”. And so as my anonymous commenter on yesterdays entry pointed out, because of this I make the “choice” to surround myself with a “sub sample” of cuddly folk. In a number of the crews that I hang with I am the norm. Right smack dab in the middle, a scientist’s dream representing the average, just the right balance between maintaining personal space and desire to touch and be touched.

I found Erin right where I thought I would, and she fulfilled my need for contact comfort. I also got cuddles from two of my girls in bed this morning, before they went to school. I haven’t seen Chris today, but I am sure when I do he will have some snuggles for me. About an hour ago I lay on a massage table, coming up from the depths of a contact comfort induced meditation. My Mother Goddess of a friend, Pam, is the talented member of our community that I am supporting today. Supporting someone else never felt so gosh darn good! Her fingers are the human embodiment of Durga Ma:

"One who can redeem in situations of utmost distress".

My muscles were in distress, my heart still a little raw and needing skin to skin contact. She worked softly and in silence until I was hypnotized and satisfied. I feel full again, ready to now give the comfort that others desire. And this my friends is the cycle of love! Filling up and giving away, filling up and giving away, preventing the heart from becoming stagnant. My “giving away” part in the love cycle this afternoon will be taking 12 days journal #43 to Pam's house with payment for the massage. I have found that people really feel loved and honoured when they are given a journal, it is deeply satisfying to give love in this way. It is a way of taking care of me, while taking care of others. Today’s question is “How do you take care of yourself?”

May 25, 2009

Day 9 Community Support- Normal?

“Normal”. The “n” word.

Is that “normal”?

I think it is “normal”.

God! I hope it is “normal”!

Funny thing about the word, if you say it quickly 20 times, the word no longer sounds normal. So what does that say? If even the word itself ceases to actually be what it claims to define? Do you think all this talk about the word normal is “normal”? Is there something wrong with me? Is it normal to get so focussed on one little word? Well when the word has so much power I should say so!!

I lie in bed this afternoon watching a TED video by Helen Fisher. I found her book Anatomy of Love, recently in a thrift store. I will be honest, I haven’t read the book cover to cover, just snippets, but Chris is reading it. I know this because he keeps following me round the house, book in hand, assuring me, with a hint of astonishment, that we are normal! The book explores the natural history of monogamy and makes some pretty bold statements that are far from popular. In the video Helen speaks about antidepressants ruining ones ability to love. I have some friends who have given in to taking these drugs just to feel “normal again”. I wonder if they even realize they are messing with their ability to form attachments; their ability to love? Life without the intense feeling of love seems so sad to me. I really do believe love is the single most important thing there is. I reached out to a friend today, in love, we haven’t spoken in some time. He reached back, then for reasons I can only guess at, ran away...again. I came home and cried. It hurts to love and be rejected. I know that the rejection had NOTHING to do with me, but somehow this didn’t make it hurt less. In a moment of painful sadness, I thought “What is wrong with me?Why do I love so strongly? Why do I reach out in love to others so often? Is this normal?” It was after this I watched Helen Fishers video. I wasn’t looking for answers, more like distracting myself from my weepy heart, but along came an answer anyway. The results are is in folks, and they are normal.

I have no fancy segue into today's community talent, though I can tell you he appears to be normal. He is Thomas, I barely know him. I don’t know what he does with most of his day, whether he is married, has a brother, or likes coffee. I do know he is fiercely dedicated to running our local Contact Improv Jam, and that he continues to show up week after week, even when the numbers are small. Contact Improv is a really hard thing for, I would say, MOST people. It involves touching another human being, usually one you don’t know very well, and accepting that neither of you has any idea what happens next. It is the ultimate in letting go of control, at least in the beginning. Once you begin to get used to it there is more control in that you know you lived through it last time and likely will again. I am sure this description is making you all want to run out and join a class! The upside? Well the upside is hard for me to explain because it is a deep, soft visceral feeling. Connecting with another human being with such vulnerability is rare outside of the bedroom. When participating in contact improv the goal is to touch, to tap into the movement of the other, no leader, no follower, just a subtle energetic back and forth. It is a close as I have come to proof that we are all truly ONE. When I relax, let go of my thinking mind, use nothing but senses, then magic happens. I can explain it to you this way; have you ever had a moment ,say, on a beach at sunset, or while surfing, or at the sight of a child's smile where you knew beyond any doubt that God existed? But when you try to explain it words ALWAYS fail? That is the experience I have felt in contact improv. The kicker is I didn’t experience it alone, I experienced it with another, a stranger. I fell in love on the dance floor. This doesn’t happen every time, but it does happen. Knowing this possibility is what gets me through those awkward moments of rolling round on the floor with a sweaty stranger, wondering “is this normal?”

12 days journal #42 was given to Thomas. “Do you think of yourself as normal?” is the question written inside. While writing this entry tonight it occurred to me that Thomas, not knowing about this experiment, might wonder why I gave him a journal with this written inside. I sent him an email assuring him the question was not directed at him specifically, I am very interested to get his response!

May 24, 2009

Day 8 Community Support- New Moon

I invite you in this very moment, to look up into the sky, no matter where you are or what time of day it is, and set an intention for the coming 29 1/2 days. For tonight is the new moon, a time to quietly plant a seed, and know that as the seed is planted the deed is done. That now it is a matter of being open to receiving the shoots and leaves which arise from the ground bearing us the exact fruit we chose. An ordinary miracle!

Just as I was imagining the waters had become shallow, I see that this was to allow a long cool sip of air before diving deep! Tonight I attended a New Moon Sister Circle. These circles are as old as the moon herself. When the night is at it’s darkest it is a natural time for us to gather in tight, speak our plans. Tonight there was much talk of beauty. The beauty of the apple blossom. The diversity of beauty, how it is not a static state but one that comes in so many seemingly incongruent forms. We spoke of the beauty of blossoming sexuality, and how fear and shame have cloaked the simple beauty of being divinely, sensually human. As I sat in this circle which is not lead by one but by all, I saw that “local talent” like beauty has so many forms. That while some is showcased on a stage, or classroom, so much more than that goes on every day in living rooms and parks and about anywhere you or I could imagine. That everyone of us is an amalgamation of so many skills, of so much wisdom, that we are all “local talent”. That without a neighbour to show us how to turn off our water intake when the pipe has burst, or the friend who knows how to deal with those pesky cabbage moths, or that brother who knows just what to say when all seems lost, that we would all be just that... lost. Community is a combination of the words common and unity. As we come together in union and share the skills that we have, teaching them to others until they are truly common, until they colour our everyday. As we evolve first as families, then as villages, nations and finally as humanity. Standing on each others shoulders while giving a hand up, that this will be the ultimate manifestation of all local talent. If you want to find local talent to support, go into you living room or step out your front door, the next person you meet has something to teach you.

Our circle tonight was at first an apple blossom of 5, then when Pamela arrived it was a 6 pointed Star of David. I was full of joy when I discovered that there was 3 of us in the circle who knew of this experiment, that had experienced it out in the world. The circle was held at my friend Eau Vive’s home, she took home 12 days journal #36 which I had left last week in dance class. The other was a womyn I met for the first time tonight, Anna. She found one of the journals I left on Pulpit Rock, over a month ago. I was of course the third. I took from this experience that since half of us knew about the project that it must be growing roots. During check in Nicky spoke of the tangle of roots under the surface, she spoke to the tenacity of quack grass. Yesterday I felt like throwing in the towel. No journals have returned, comments on the blog have been waning, I was feeling less enthusiastic. Nicky's reminder of roots, helped me to visualize the roots of this project, that they are silently taking hold beneath the ground. That my intention was set with the commencement of this commitment, I planted the seed, my job now is to be open to whatever fruit is borne of this mystery seed. 12 days journal #41 will be given to my sister Nicky. Inside is written “What is you intention for the next month?”. I know what hers are as they were spoken in circle, but I would like her to have the journal as a token of how much I love her, of how grateful I am that she welcomed me, included me, when I moved her 2 years ago. Thank you Nicky, I am so very blessed to have you in my life!

And finally a song. A song I sing for the New moon, for those who long for lovers far away, and for the spring that gives way to summer as Solstice approaches. My intention for this moon is to Let Love Rule! And so it is Bernice, and so it is!

May 23, 2009

Day 7 Community Support- Secrets


Ever since Chris’ mother read Post Secrets, and divulged that Chris had a sister, I have been obsessed. I have read the Post Secrets blog, posted a comment (which mysteriously disappeared, I wonder if it was because I linked the comment to this blog?), I have watched all of Frank Warren’s (the creator of Post Secret) videos on you tube, and dreamt up more than a couple of my own Post Secret postcards. Partially this obsession has to do with procrastination. I was putting off writing this today. I have a couple of secrets, hell I have a bunch, but I have two pertinent to this project.

First Secret. I am worried that writing every day is ruining my artistry in this skill. I worry that writing every day, as opposed to only when I am inspired, is causing me to write predictably. And that by being predictable every day, I am forming a habit of predictability. How is that for a vicious cycle?

Second secret. I don’t know if I can do this. I am not yet 2 months in, and I don’t know that I can do this for over 10 more. It is overwhelming and takes up a lot of my time.

These secrets (and one more) are written deep inside 12 days journal #40 which asks, “Do you have a secret?” I will take it with me to The Velvet Underground tonight when I go to see...hmmm. Well you know I am not sure who, or even if they are local. Tonight when I support “local talent” it is not so much the talent on the stage, as behind it. Shola Phoenix et el, have worked their butts off to get Nelson an after hours club. As a performer I know all too well, and with a tinge of guilt, that it is those behind the scenes who often make a show, and who generally get few kudos. So Miss Shola, kudos to you darling, for providing us with a venue to show case the many wonderfully talented folk that either live here or come through town. Without venues there would be no place for talent to perform and our funky, artsy scene would dry up leaving this town one dull place to live.

May 22, 2009

Day 6 Community Support- Never a Dull Moment

I want to start by admitting a truth. I never left 12 days journal #38 at The Royal last night. I trust that you will agree I had a very good reason. I will be giving the journal to my friend Kibby, who I danced with ‘til the place closed down. The crowd was thin but this just meant more space on the dance floor. The Band was fantastic, every number was improvised and yet they never slipped into a rut. Kibby (note: not her real name, as she is ULTRA secretive...darn Sagittarius’) has known about this project from the beginning and has never written in a journal. I think it is about time.

My mother in law’s taxes took far longer than I expected. Our new “improved bandwidth” internet is super slow and kept disconnecting. By the time Chris and I were actually getting ready to go we were already running quite late. We were chatting as we hurried, I relayed a strange conversation I had had with his mother that morning. She had been reading Post Secret, the book version of a blog that was one of the inspirations for my experiment and blog. She broached the subject of the book and told me that she had a “secret”. While I wanted to know what it was, I didn’t want to know, more. I had a feeling it was not something I wanted to hold under a clause of “if you promise not to tell”. She made a few vague statements;

“It is not MY secret. Telling it will effect someone else a lot more than it does me.“

”The secret is not really bad, it is the fact that it was kept a secret that is bad.“

She obviously wanted to be free of it. I got a little more info from her: it was Chris, my husband, who would be effected most, and she worried that this would be a bad time. I have pretty strong feelings about ”the truth“, I shared them with her. There are very few situation when the truth is not the best bet. Other than the questions ”Do I look fat in this?“ or ”How old do you think I am?“, which are traps, the truth is generally the way to go. I told her there would likely not be a ”good time“ for a while yet and that it was probably best to let it out. That if for no one else she should do it for herself, to let go of the responsibility of holding this truth for someone else. I thought about it a bit more during the day and oddly, though I am usually a super sleuth, I never came up with a plausible explanation for what the secret might be. As I discussed it casually with Chris while plucking my brows, he didn’t even skip a beat in saying ”I wonder if I have a brother or sister?“. Of course! He called his mother into our room and asked her straight out. She denied it at first but then says only ”Yes“.

Chris has a sister who is 4 years older than him. After 37 years, he is no longer an only child. Chris’ mom knew very little about her, she was born of a different mother but shares a father with Chris. We drove to the show in stunned silence. I forgot the journal. I had other things on my mind.

I am off with Chris, who I have now affectionately dubbed ”Lil Bro“, to see the art of two of Nelson’s finest visual artists. Both womyn, both beautiful, both funny, both modest about their talent.

The first is Bree Prosser, at Hemp and Company, click HERE to find out where and when.

Then off to see Kelly Shpeley at Our Glass, click HERE to find how to get there.
I will take 12 days journal #39 to the openings. Inside it I ask ”How important is it to tell the truth?“. To be honest...I am not sure who I am going to give the journal to. I might tell and I might not!

May 21, 2009

Day 5 Community Support- Radius and Ulna

I am beginning to wonder if any of the journals are ever coming home? I know it has only been a month and a half, but (sniff sniff) I miss them. I have officially hit over 100 unique viewers to this blog. YIPEE! I am so chuffed. So if any of you “unique” viewers know where any of my little journal babies are, please drop me a line. Now I know how the Old Lady Who Lived In The Shoe felt, so many babies to worry about!

So today a friend told me that another friend is following my blog and has made her own 12 day commitment. (YA YOU Lady! Waving from over here in Canada) I seem to always hear these things on the days when I am wondering what the hell I have gotten myself into. The other night I sat in bed making journals and couldn’t believe that I have only made 50 so far, it feels more like 150! To think that by the end of this experiment I will have made 350..... I must remind myself to breathe, take it one day at a time. It has become a bit of a full time job. I would make a crack about the pay being terrible, but that would only be taking monetary pay into account. The pay, instead, comes like it did today, hearing about a friend from a far off land taking actions because of my words, that is a pretty good return. Thanks Matty for telling me, I love ya brother.

Ok! So, I need to cut to the chase, no deep and meaningful word for ya’ll, just the facts! I need to do my mother in-laws taxes before going out to see Terradactagon.

“Terradactagon throws down thick doses of cultivated improvisation with a sound that is flavoured by jazz, funk, electronic, and world music. The band features Adrian Wagner on vocals, hammond organ, keyboard & samplers, piano, & percussion, Jimmy Lewis on vocals & Drums, and Cormies on Bass.

This trio has been known to ripple the walls, finding the wave of the night, and riding it with the audience into ecstasy. A complete improvisational experience, the Nelson BC based project brings decades of musicianship to the world of purely live synaptic exploration.

A sound to be experienced.”

Yes, I know, cutting and pasting from the website is just gauche! But there you have it folks. I am going to shake my booty to the music of these fine boys tonight. I am going out with my friend Kibby (HI KIBBY) and will meet many more friends there. I love that about this town. Even if I were to go out alone, I never end up alone. Wait...that came out wrong. I better get away from the keyboard before I incriminate myself.

As for today’s journal... listen up I’m gunna give it to you straight! 12 days journal #38 will be either given to someone or left at The Royal where Terradactagon is playing. Inside is the question “What role does humour play in your life?”. I have a few answers which I will write in the journal but it seems appropriate to say, before jumping into the fascinating world of tax land, that I often use humour to pull me out of a bad head space. At the beginning of this entry I was kinda bummed and now I am smiling and making jokes to my 13 year old. Whom, I just found out, forgot to deliver 12 days journal #37 to her teacher. Little sheisse! Good thing for her I am in a good mood otherwise I might have grounded her until next fall...does that seem a little extreme?

May 20, 2009

Day 4 Community Support- Who is supporting who?

I went to choir today. I haven’t been in quite a while, not since it was decided we would not be participating in the Christmas concert. Our numbers are small this year, there were too few of us to pull off a performance. I can’t really say why I stopped. I love choir. There is nothing about it I don’t love. But it is at a time I often forget, right when the kids are coming home from school. I am often away on Wednesdays. These aren’t very good reasons, they are reasons, but not good ones. I was asked this last week by two members of the choir to come back. That some “strong” voices were needed. I like that my voice is considered strong. I made a commitment to both that I would come back, to support the choir. And I did. I walked into the mandala room where choir is held, everyone was so happy to see me. They told me what changes had been made, got me music that I didn’t have, let me stand in the middle of my parts so I wouldn’t be thrown off. Wait! Who is supporting who here? Here I had flaked on them and they were welcoming me back with open arms. At the helm is the talented Bree. She is also the music teacher at the Nelson Waldorf School, the school where all three of my children spend their week days. The children at the school sing like angels. Now I know all parents are obligated to say their child sounds like a song bird, but these children really do. Ask a non affiliated, less bias parent who has had the honour of hearing them, and they will tell you the same. All the music that comes out of our school is truly amazing. I can’t tell you what it is that Bree has, how she manages to bring out the pitch perfect best in all those she teaches, but then that is what makes a truly good teacher isn’t it? They seem to be able to work some sort of magic, making wine from water. Not that those of us in the choir or our children are water. Our potential, our voices are our own. Bree just has a knack of coaxing our best out. She is a no nonsense choir leader, and I am told by my children a no nonsense teacher too. We are expected to pay attention, and follow direction, but it is all done with smiles and encouragement. She has high expectations, and so we live up to them. So much so that when people comment how good our choir is, and are then encouraged to join, they usually say something like “Oh no! I would never be allowed in!”. This is not the case, Bree includes anyone who is willing to commit to choir practice, and in my case even this seems to be overlooked. She works her magic with each member to find their inner soprano...or alto... or bass. We at the school are very lucky to have this wonderfully talented music teacher. As I left choir she asked me how I was, I almost gave her a standard “good”. But it would not have been honest. I told her that right now I was feeling like I had bitten off more than I could chew, that with everything going on I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. She thanked me for making the time for choir. “No“ I said ”Thank you! Coming here and singing, makes everything more manageable, makes things better“. The choir supports me as much (if not more) as I support them.

I wanted to give 12 days journal #37 to Bree, but I forgot to take it to practice. I will send it with one of my daughter to school tomorrow. Inside the front cover the question ”What makes a good teacher?“ is written. Bree should know all about that.

May 19, 2009

Day 3 Community Support- Dance Ugly

As I spiralled round the room this morning, eyes wide open behind closed lids, I thought about how much I appreciate having this safe space to “dance ugly and drool”. I first heard this saying in the dance dome at Esalen. Actually it is where I first read it. I womyn from Boulder, Colorado had knit a whole string of prayer flags pulling inspiration from her Soul Motion practice. The one that caught my eye had this mantra knit into the pattern, one that kept rolling round my brain while I danced my 5 Rhythms practice this morning. “Dance ugly and drool”.

I love dance, nearly all forms of dance. I believe every sort has it’s very own window to the answers beyond. I love to dance like I did yesterday at the May festival, fully conscious of the flow between musician and dancer. Feeding the band my energy , that they in-turn feed into the music which feeds me back, a wonderfully symbiotic relationship. One where I am dancing with my attention focused outwardly, fully present to the crowd, my fellow dancers and musicians, part of the creation of an inclusive environment of celebration. I love to dance at night clubs too. I find my spot on the floor early, enjoying the wide open space which will soon be filled with sweaty bodies. Club music here in Nelson is often a blend of live musicians and dj’s. I make a game of finding all the different lines within the music, gliding between being driven by the beat to snaking round a melody. In both of these dancing situations I feel a need, for the most part, to stick to my “look good”. Certainly in a night club atmosphere there are social morays, I don’t HAVE to adhere to them, but it does make my life easier. If I were to end up laying flat on the floor in the middle of the Spirit Bar, shaking my legs in the air, concentrating on keeping my jaw relaxed by letting out a long slow tone, well management would likely send over a door man to escort me off the floor, assuming I had had too much of.... SOMETHING. But this morning in 5 Rhythms this is exactly how I moved, and no one blinked an eye. More to the point it is in no way out of the ordinary. Being able to hold a space where movers can do pretty much anything, where they are not questioned, mocked or ridiculed, this is talent. Maryanne, our local 5 Rhythms guru, has this ability. She is soft spoken, somewhat shy, and understated. So much so she doesn’t have a single page online that I can link to to showcase her work. Yet she can move with wild abandon and encourage us to do the same. She has led the 5 Rhythms here in Nelson for a very long time, with a dedicated following. She danced in New York with Gabrielle Roth, the Diva creator of the 5 Rhythms. I have never spoken with Maryanne in depth about these times. I am not sure how long she danced with Gabrielle, or in what capacity. I do know she danced with Vinn Marti the creator of the Soul Motion movement practice, the work I am presently studying. I also know she is able to seamlessly hold a sacred movement practice for her students. One of the things I know I am meant to do in this lifetime. I am so blessed to have elders to show me the way. I imagine I might have to duck if I were to tell her this face to face! Maryanne is beautiful, young and feisty! By elder I mean that Mary-Anne and Vinn are wise and strong, that they walked the path, step after step even when they were weary. They continued to follow what it was they somehow knew they were mean to do in this life. In a brilliant moment of synchronicity Maryanne spoke aloud the “Dance ugly and drool” mantra long after I had been pondering its wisdom. We were flailing around in chaos, jaws open, hair flying. I didn’t occur to me earlier that she would know this mantra. Somehow she always knows what to say.

I used 12 days journal #36 during the movement practice to write down some lyrics that grabbed me. Something like “I want to talk to God but I am scared cause I ain’t spoken with him for so long”. I know this fear. I wrote these lyrics in the journal because it was the only thing I had to write in, but later it was clear this was by design . The question “How did you know what things you were meant to do in your life?” came to me later while I was dancing. For me the answer is to follow the voice of God. That might seem like a pretty hefty statement, but it is simple really. We are all connected to the source, we have many different names for this source. After years of resistance I took to calling this source God...simple enough. The way it works for me is I just listen to my heart. I love my fear and know it is there to protect me, but I quiet it down so I can only hear my heart voice. This voice, that I often find it when I am dancing, NEVER leads me astray. This voice tells me the things I am meant to do with this life. Leading movement is one of those things. Raising my babies with love, boundaries and a commitment to communication is one of those things. Loving with a wide open heart is one of those things. Writing this blog, committing to this experiment, sending out journals into the world is one of those things. I don’t know what all of that makes me, but that is OK. God knows, and that is good enough for me.

I had left the journal on the counter at the studio in my haste to get back to dancing. A friend from class picked it up and then agreed to take it. If you read this I want you to know how much I loved dancing with your feet today, I felt the connection. And I want to say, sister to sister, all hippy languaging aside, that you are an inspiration, someone I am honoured to know. I love you.

May 18, 2009

Day 2 Community Support- Lucky #13

Thousands of techno coloured ducks racing down a torrent of spring run off. Children dressed in period costumes, braiding a pole with pastel ribbons in a classic Pagan ceremony. A parade so short and fantastic that it goes round the block TWICE, which means double the thrown candy! The mingling aroma of hot-dogs, buckwheat crepes, Indian pakoras, and gourmet tofu BBQ....can only mean one thing. That it is May long weekend, and the Kaslo May Days are here again!

“This celebration is over 100 years old. From the days of the silver boom to today, it is a quaint festival celebrating Queen Victoria's birthday. The May Pole dance has been performed by the young for almost as many years. If you have lived in Kaslo long enough, you or your family members have danced this ancient dance. The weekend begins with the choosing of the May Queen on Friday. Saturday and Sunday are filled with logger sport competitions, ball games, carnival games, car show and craft faire. On Monday watch the parade and relax to music in the park. It is a festival not to be missed.”

There was also music. Of course! No celebration is complete without music. There was the Gramma to Gramma drumming band, the kilt clad Kilty Pipe Band, and finally Nelson's own Moving Mosaic Samba Band. These folks are just so gosh darn good! They got it all! Always entering in style, usually from afar, marching in already deep in a funky Brazilian rhythm. Their costumes are eclectic and homespun. They dance, sing, play cow bells and get the audience moving early, so that by the end there is always a crowd following them when they depart as well choreographed as they came in. It was a bit of a conservative crowd but there was a handful of us that could not help but shake some tail. Kids are great, most are less self conscious than adults and there were many of them up dancing showing us how it is done. I would love to join the band, but with travelling I am not reliable enough for rehearsals. For now I will get my fill dancing with them at community events, as they seem to be at most of them. They are one dedicated group of rhythmically talented musicians and dancers.

When we had finished dancing, eating our fill of delicious food and cheering on Ayla’s lucky #13 in the great ducky race, we wandered over to the hoola hooping area. A womyn who teaches Hoop Dancing had about 20 handmade hoola hoops laying out for everyone to enjoy. I was a good adult most of the time, I let the kids have my hoop when they stared at me with hopeful eyes, but their interest generally waned after a few minutes and I would have it back. It is a wonder that a little pvc piping, and electricians tape can be so much fun. Not to mention work! After dancing with the Samba band, running down the river bank and hoola hooping, I felt like Jane Fonda after a good aerobic session! I need activity nearly every day, if I don’t sweat I get cranky! There are times when I actually get a little obsessive, contemplate not going out to events like today because it doesn’t leave me time to “exercise”. As I looked at my family all rosy with sunshine and activity, I saw how healthy they all looked. I have a healthy family, I am immeasurably proud of this. We eat good food, spend lots of time playing in the outdoors and have a lot of love for each other. “What things do you do that keep you healthy?” is written inside 12 days journal #35. I left it on the clip board for the Hoop Dance womyn. If you read this, I want you to know how grateful I am that you bring your handmade hoops to share with everyone, I imagine it must give you much satisfaction to witness the joy you inspire.

I heard today from a follower of this blog, she told me that she planned to use my blog as inspiration to get through bed rest following surgery. I so love to hear these things! Thank you sweet sweet you for YOUR “YOUness”, for telling me how I have touched your life, and for supporting me. Get better soon..... so we can dance together!!

May 17, 2009

Day 1 Community Support- Cuddle Everyone didn’t happen. We got down to the studio and unforeseen circumstances of a maritally discordant nature meant we missed the start time. It is the kind of studio where one can walk in late, the womyn who runs the place is truly an angel of compassion and understanding. But we were giving off some fairly intense “pissed off” vibes and didn’t want to take this into the room. We decided to return home. Before driving back up the hill we stopped for coffee. By “we” I mean, I went inside and Chris sat in the car “breathing”. I suppose this means that he at least got some Pranayama practice in. We have been together a long time. We didn’t get this far without learning some tricks. I bought him a piece of pizza. When I got to the car he was still breathing, eyes closed, very meditative. I held the piece of pizza just under his nose. It took only a few seconds for the aroma of cheesy goodness to waft up his rhythmically flaring nostrils and POP! open went one eye. A smile quickly followed. Humour and offerings of food are always a sure bet for reconciliation.

Still wanting to get some activity in we went for a hike with Chris’ mom, and our friends Kelly and Dallas. Kelly Shpeley is a fantastic local artist whose opening I will attend on Friday at Our Glass on Ward and Victoria. After the hike Kelly, Chris, and I went for dinner at the Redfish Grill to hear the silky voice of Sarah McGlynn with Rich Rabnett, of the Rabnett 5, on guitar. They come together every Sunday at the Redfish Grill and when we are lucky enough they come together with other local talent as Drive If You Must. Sarah is such an amazing performer, and a sweetheart. I gave her 12 days journal #34 after her show and briefly explained the project. She told me how great she thought it was and gave me such a wonderful loving cuddle, I can still smell her sweet perfume on my skin.

I was really struggling to come up with a question for today's journal. The dinner conversation was all over the place. It was stimulating and thought provoking...yet I couldn’t come up with a damn thing! As I was grappling, Kelly and Chris started to talk about music. What music they liked and why? Listening to them I realized how much what a person says about music says about them. What they are looking for, where they are at, what inspires them, what they HATE, which is not a whole lot different we decided than what they love. That passion at either end of the spectrum is evocative and fertile. Lately I have been listening to Alexi Murdoch non-stop. I WANT to stop. He is driving my melancholy, but I just can’t. He needs to be heard right now, and who am I to say any different. It is hard to say just what it is about his music. Is it the everyday sadness in his voice? The way the simplicity of only guitar taps so deep? There is something about listening to him that makes me want to forgive all of humanity for all that has ever happened, makes me want to cuddle...everyone. Sigh. And so I asked whomever decided to write in this journal to “Tell me about your favourite song”. Here is mine for today....

Latest Commitment! Community Support- Feeding the Flow

Nelson is such an amazing community, in so many ways. I have wanted to live here since I was 14, it took me nearly 20 years to get here, and now I am home. For this next 12 days I am fortunate that I am here for the entire time. This will allow me to do something with just Nelson in mind. On Friday night I went to see The Mary Scarlet Revue, a neo-vaudville style variety show. Performing in the show was my good Friend Erin who teaches Latin World fusion dance on Wednesday nights. The night before I watched so other local talent who have yet to name themselves at the Coconut Lounge. There is so much talent in this little mountain town of 10, 000 I could easily attend a show, class or opening everyday for 12 days and still have the difficult task of choosing between. And so this is what I am going to do! Starting today with attending a yoga class at our fantastic home town studio, Shanti Yoga Studio. I used to go to Shanti all the time when we first moved here, but life got full and while I do “Yoga” in the broader sense each and everyday, my assana practice has fallen away. Today I will go find it again.

I have been loving the comments on the blog, please keep them coming. It is the strangest thing, I have tried to leave a few comments myself but for some reason that I can not figure out despite dedicating a number of hours to it, it just won’t let me. So I decided it was a sign to leave the comments as domain for my readers. There has been many insights and certainly much bravery in what has been left so far, thank you for trusting this space I have created, for opening your hearts. Keep em coming!

May 16, 2009

Day 12 New Friend- Words of Affirmation

In the wee hours last night I had what my husband refers to as “a dark night of the soul”. I suddenly decided that all the decisions I had ever made in my life had were wrong, that no one believed in me, and that none of my dreams would come true. It was not a logical state, there was nothing rational about any of it. It was not dissimilar, I imagine, to a bad acid trip, though thankfully without hallucinations, and I was eventually able to sleep. These fearful and deluded introspections often happen at turning points as I peer over the edge of my life into the teeming void of my future. I suspect this is a normal phenomenon that happens to many. I, though, have a very fertile imagination and when I use it for evil instead of good...well I can come up with all sorts of terrible stories! I woke up this morning hung-over from a night of doubts and dread. It took me a while of lying in bed, blinking, staring at the ceiling to come back to reality. Why had I been filled with so much self doubt the night before? Why had it taken hold in the way it did, sucking me into a cycle of beration and negative self talk?

Once I emerged from my room I went to the farmers market with my family. I stopped at a stall run by my lovely friend Rachel, a talented goddess with a gentle fairy way. With genuine love she told me how much she was enjoying my blog. That she liked to make herself a warm drink and sit down with uninterrupted time to read. And that she had been inspired by the project to write 10 Open Heart Letters. Ok, so here is real live proof that this project was not a “wrong decision”. Besides Rachel I was surrounded by many other womyn friends, new and old, who tell me constantly they support me, believe in me, are conspiring towards my success.

After leaving the market I bumped into another friend, one who I dance with and knows of Soul Motion, the movement ministry I am working towards facilitating. I told her of an opportunity that recently came into my life, to work with a group to facilitate an ecstatic movement practice. I told her of all the fears that were covering me, clouding my vision. Asked if she would support me. She said “I already do! I so know you are just the person to lead this kind of group!”. More proof that my community supports me.

Next I walk into a local Hemp shop where a friend has recently hung her artwork. She tells me, as I admire the clean simple lines, that I am a big part of her art going up on the wall; that in encouraging her to do so she felt supported to take the leap. She spoke of overcoming fears with her art work, I spoke about my fears of leading a group in movement. She then tells me she can’t wait to dance in a space where I am facilitating. More love and support, more affirmation that I am on the right path.

As if all this loving encouragement was not enough, I then have yet another conversation to counter my fearful prostration from the night before. I am told that I exude confidence. This friend says he had no idea I EVER didn’t believe in my abilities to do ANYTHING. He was blown away that I was experiencing self doubt, said I ”hid it well“.

So why? WHY? Why with all this evidence to the contrary, is the dark side of my mind so bloody believable in those moments where I doubt all that I am? I know that likely tomorrow it will be clear, my answer to this question will come. For right now though what I really want to say is, THANK YOU friends! THANK YOU family! THANK YOU community for supporting me, for speaking your love for me. I really do need this. I recently had a bit of a running joke with a friend about ”Love Languages“. According to Dr. Gary Chapmen there are 5 of them. After a short online quiz I determined my love language is “Words of Affirmation”, meaning I need verbal encouragement. To all of you today who saw my need , whether you did so consciously or not...thank you, your support means the world to me. Not only that but it inspired the new 12 day commitment which begins tomorrow...but you will have to wait to find out.

12 days journal # 33 will be going out dancing with me tonight. I am confident that being amongst my many beautiful, talented, and intelligent womyn friends that we will meet more than a few strangers on the dance floor. Inside the front cover it reads, “In what ways do you receive support from your friends and family?”.

May 15, 2009

Day 11 New Friend- Fighting For

I read my Open Heart letter to myself last night. I succumb even though the timing was not right, kids running in and out of my room. I think I may have done this so the words on the page couldn’t get all the way through my ever so sensitive skin. My words touched me, but I turned away from their full power, they merely glanced off my heart. I have been quasi ill since last week when I was in California. This odd illness comes and goes, I get tired and achy, my ears fill of fluid, my throat swells up with a burning that makes it hard to swallow. Makes WHAT hard to swallow I wonder? This colicky illness lingers, refuses to either leave my body or take hold of me in the relegated to bed sort of way. I was turning a blind eye to the distinct possibility that it is emotionally based. This morning my friend Roland asked, “Is there something emotional you have yet to deal with, to speak about, that you that you are avoiding?”. Well DUH! This mystery illness started right when I closed a door in my life. A friend once asked me if I wanted him to fight for me, I was struck by this bold and concise question. He has a knack for those kind of question , it was a similar one which started our friendship, back when he was a stranger. It was liberating to be able to answer, “Yes! I do”. I am a fighter, always have been, must be locked deep in my genetic code. Last week when I shut a door, i gave up on a fight that I realized was no longer serving me. Giving up on a fight is not easy for me, especially given my kind of fighting is not done against but rather FOR things I believe in. I have been mucking round in a bit of a melancholic inertia since I came home. Like my illness, not quite taking hold of anything, but also not moving forward. I decided I needed to do something about all this. I had tried feeding my illness sugar and wine to push it into full flourish, a deliberate poisoning, with no luck. Today I tried something else. Marching myself up a mountain, perhaps this would help move things through. I marched up the trail, still feeling my symptoms. Thought about my letter to myself, the fight I had thrown the towel in on, my mystery illness, and remembered something I have written so many times, in so many journals. That no matter what the circumstance , this choosing of me, getting out, breathing deep, taking the time. This always makes things clearer. This is a big part of how I fight for me. I seem to forget it as often as I write it, luckily I also rediscover it time and time again. The fight I gave up on was not working because I had forgotten to include myself in the equation. A fight “for” anything can not succeed unless the heart of the fighter is cherished. Walking up the mountain today was a recommitment to my fighter spirit, and a reminder that my heart is my strength, and worth fighting for! I am interested to see how my commitment moves this mystery illness.

Thank you to everyone who is commenting on the blog, it is adding a whole new dimension to the project and is inspiring me in my writing. I read a comment by Rob-a-tron once I had come down from the mountain. In wondrous synchronicity he mentions “doing ones best”. Which is one of the four agreements as laid out by Don Miguel Ruiz .

The four agreement;
  • Do your best
  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Don’t take anything personally
When I went up the mountain today I took a journal on the chance I would meet a stranger. I met a man whose name I never got. A man who had a quote from the constitution tattooed on his arm. It was a beautiful quote which I wrote on the first page of 12 days journal #32. Chris and I chatted with he and his hiking partner, a womyn I had danced with before. Just before heading down I asked them if they would take the journal, they gave me an enthusiastic “yes”. I had to come up with a question for the journal on the fly, as I had not decided on anything yet. I was thinking about his tattoo, something obviously very important to have had it tattooed on his forearm. I thought about what words could be used to sum up what I believe, what my mantra was. I quickly scribbled “What is your mantra?” in the front cover. Buried deep in the journal I wrote the 4 agreements and one other thing that I am going to keep for myself.

May 14, 2009

Day 10 New Friend- Good Enough

It is only 1:00p.m. in the afternoon and twice now the term “good enough” has come up. Once when I was trying to respond to a comment on the blog (YEAH for those who left comments on the blog. I LOVE YOU!), and another time when my friend Matthias asked me if I was using the “good enough” model of housekeeping in regards to yesterdays blog entry. I am not sure what he meant by this, but the fact that this idea of “good enough” has come up twice today...well that is “good enough” for me to know that it is what I am meant to focus on. I will use it as the inspiration for the question in 12 days journal #31 which I will send out into the world today, once I have found my stranger of course. But I am not sure how to word the question. What is it about “good enough” that pulls at me today? “Good enough” means many things to me. There is the way in which I am reminded that I AM good enough, just as I am, and that this is true for everyone around me. That there is no need to fill my mind with toxic thoughts of my thighs being too big, or my work not bringing in enough pay, or my way of living being too...something. That who and what I am is perfection in this moment, and that I can choose to celebrate what I am or nitpick it, neither changes what I am . Then there is the ”good enough“ when it comes to my day to day doings. If I decide to clean the kitchen and set myself an impossible standard, I go in conspiring towards my own failure, especially if I have time restraints, which is almost always. If I go in with the idea of ”good enough“, as in I will clean for the 15 minutes I have and the results will be ”good enough“, I am conspiring towards my own success. If I set myself an impossible standard that I cannot achieve, I generally don’t even try. Where as if I accept that what I can do is ”good enough“ and do just that, I am further along than if I never started, no matter how much I do. Since I have been home I have been worrying that my stranger encounters were not ”good enough“. The conversations have been fairly limited, the encounters a little forced. Not only were all these meetings ”good enough“, I am also forgetting to consider how these meetings effected the strangers I met. I realized my idea of ”good enough“ are often based in instant gratification, how the meeting went, rather than the out fall, or long term implications. Who knows, perhaps one of my strangers put the journal in their front pocket then in some freak circumstance it deflected a stray bullet which would have taken their life! Now that would make a great blog entry...but for now this one is ”good enough“.

And so in the spirit of ”good enough“ today’s question reads simply, “Are you good enough?”. Also in the spirit of “good enough” I am simply leaving this journal here in Sidewinders, a local cafe where I often come if I am away from home to use their internet connection to send these entries. Here I had a simple, lovely conversation with a womyn who I have seen round town but have never talked to. We spoke of the snow which fell this morning. How snow this time of year can get people so riled up but that it is merely an illusion as it melts as quickly as it falls. This simple but beyond the superficial conversation could easily be the beginning of a friendship, or we may never speak again, either way it is as it should be, either way it “good enough“.

May 13, 2009

Day 9 New Friend- Housekeeping

Today feels like a housekeeping day. I have heard from a few folk about journals and have yet to put it here on the blog. So here is the skinny:
  • The Open Heart Letter which was sent to Salt Lake City with 12 days journal #15 was received. My good friend Matthew said he was speechless, which while heart warming, doesn’t make for great blogging. (You know I love ya brother)
  • Chris, my partner, was hand delivered an Open Heart Letter with 12 days journal #16 inside. He has sent it away to Manitoba to a dear friend who was in our wedding nearly 12 years ago (can you flippin believe that? I still feel 22 how could I have been married 12 years?!)
  • I had been keeping this project a bit of a secret, slowly coming out with it. I had wanted to keep it a secret from my kids until they got their Open Heart Letter and 12 days journal #19, but yesterday My eldest let it slip that she knew about the experiment. She saw a journal in town, recognized it from the ones hangin round our house, read it, and found the website. There is no keeping secrets from a 13 year old. She didn’t however remember which journal she had seen. Bummer. Incidentally their letter and journal still sit in our mailbox, I haven’t had all 3 kids in one place all week, I want them to discover it in the mailbox together.
  • Just today I FINALLY mailed the Open Heart Letter containing 12 days journal #14. It took me till now to get her address as she was off in Europe being her fabulous self.
  • 12 days journal #21 which was sent to yours truly by...well yours truly, arrived today. I have not opened it yet, I want to wait until my children are asleep. I want to be alone, perhaps in a warm bath, when I open it. When I can really take in what I wrote to me just over a week ago.
  • I started a facebook group where you can find out about events, and updates. You can join here.
Yesterday was the first day I came out with this project full force on facebook. It also is the day I received more views of the blog than any other. So the blog side of things is going well. I admit to getting impatient on the journal side of things though. I want for the answering of the daily question to be a big past of this. I WANT PARTICIPATION! I would love to hear from YOU! Ya you, who is reading this right now. It would be easier to be patient in waiting for the journals to return home if there was some back and forth right now about the questions being asked....SO...PLEASE use the comment section below each entry to write comments or better yet answer the daily question. I know a very important part of being able to answer freely is anonymity so I have set up this blog to allow anonymous posting if you prefer. Just don’t post anything you will regret...SPEAKING OF REGRETS....(how's that for a cheesy segue?) When I outed my eldest daughter last night on knowing all about the experiment I did so by asking her what she thought a good question would be. She came up with a great one; “Is there something in your past you would like to make amends for?” which went inside 12 days journal #30. which brings me to today’s stranger. First off I have to say...this stranger thing is hard! It wasn’t in California but has been since I got home. Like yesterday I fretted all days and just when I thought I might have to give up.....

I was in the office supply store buying journal labels when I heard an acquaintance and a TOTAL STRANGER, talking about purchasing journals, discussing which were best. I butt my nose right in and and sang the virtues of my beloved moleskine’s, the only journal I use for the 12 days journals. The womyn asked “Really? what do you use them for?”. Right there in my hand was 12 days journal #30, we chatted briefly about the project and I asked if she would take the journal. She agreed...phew! Only 3 more strangers to go...

May 12, 2009

Day 8 New Friend- Desperation

I must be putting off a desperate vibe. You know, that vibe you get when a good friend joins Agel or Melaleuca or Amway or whatever multi-level marketing craze is swooping down turning completely logical adults into lemmings? That vibe that has you avoiding them at all cost, because when you see them, all they want to talk about is how “EXCITED!” they are about this “Great new opportunity that has the power to change lives!!!!!”. Their face cast with a manic smile which screams, “I must make back some of the cash I dumped into this sinking ship!”. Well right now I am vibing, I NEED a stranger and bad! I am at the coffee shop trolling. I smile make eye contact and they go the opposite direction. Usually when I am here doing work I have to wear headphones and hunker so close to my computer that I am likely radiating my brain, just to get some peace. Often times this doesn’t even work, I will be interrupted countless times a day by friends and strangers alike looking for conversation. But not today, today as I sit all perky and ready to talk, I am ignored. What is this all about? What happened to manifestation? Perhaps Tuesday is grouch rules day for manifestation, I must have missed the email. The music has now been turned up loud, the plants are being watered. I am admitting defeat, it is just not going to happen.....not here. I must go vote anyway. Perhaps I will meet a stranger at the polls.

I got about 3 feet beyond the front door and met a travelling stranger. The saying, “All who wander are not lost”, came to mind. This soul looked a little lost, not in the never to be seen again way, but definitely on a journey of the soul. I let him know the coffee shop was not open, he inquired about where else in town to go. I directed him to the Coco Nut lounge, the only place in town that stays open late. And then I seized the moment. Just before he turned to walk away I asked him if he would do me a favour. I briefly explained that I needed to have a conversation with a stranger today as part of an experiment. I got today's journal out of my basket and asked him if he would take it, I told him he was my ”last hope“. He thoughtfully flipped the pages, eyed the book and said softly and with a just palpable hint of pain ”Thanks, perhaps this will bring mine back“. Apparently manifestation is also on for Tuesdays; looks like I just needed to be patient because someone needed the journal more than I needed an easy stranger.

If you are the travelling soul who I gave the journal to today I need to ask a favour. I usually write in the inside front cover where the journal was released and the date. Could you do this for me if you read this before passing it along? Thank you....and thank you for being my stranger for today. My wish for you is that you find the ”hope“ you have lost.

I am now off to vote for who will lead my province for up to the next 5 years. I am choosing someone who will not sell our rivers, our life blood. In honour of the Provincial elections the question, ”In what way are you the change you want to see in the world?“ is written in 12 days journal # 29.

May 11, 2009

Day 7 New Friend- Ho Hum

I don’t know if it was the rainy day, the fact that I am a little under the weather (still), or settling into the comfort of my own domain, but I just couldn’t manage a deep and meaningful conversation with a stranger today. If I would have gone out of my way to solicit one I could likely have, but that is not really want I am going for with this commitment. I want it to happen naturally, to be in the flow of things. The closest I came was a conversation with a womyn who approached me in town asking if I was hooked into the internet. I told her all the places where she could get connected, told her which ones had the strongest connection, which places were relaxed and didn’t bother you if you stayed a while. When she left I realized I had forgotten the best place of all, the local Library! Our family goes on a road trip every year, and libraries are always a God send. Internet cafe’s are wonderful, but having to buy coffee every time I want to do email (my main method of communication) is hard on my wallet and worse on my adrenals! I walked (well ran through a deluge actually) over to the library this afternoon and found the womyn I had NEARLY had a conversation with earlier. She had made her way despite my oversight. Before I left I placed 12 days journal #28 on one of the tables in the internet section of the library. In the interest of manifesting a great stranger story for tomorrow I wrote the question “Do you remember a time when a meeting with a stranger changed your life forever?” inside the front cover. I suppose not everyday can be filled with WW2 veterans and new age lawyers from Sebastapol!

“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.”
- Fydor Dostoevsky

May 10, 2009

Day 6 New Friend- Mother of all days

Just when I think I have it all figured out things go an change on me. As I sat in bed this morning anticipating my cold eggs and soggy toast, I was instead served coconut water straight from the nut, sliced apples and a spelt English muffin slathered in organic butter and buckwheat honey. I was given three colourful cards, a walking stick that had been sanded and oiled, a pair of earrings and a colourful tissue dyed scarf. All were handmade. My children have such amazing skills and take such care, as do so many of their friends. For instance a facebook chat bubble popped up while I was waiting for my breakfast. It was one of my eldest daughters friends. She says “Happy Mothers day!!! do I make coffee?” We chatted back and forth, I walked her through making coffee in a bodum. When she was finished she thanked me and went off to serve her mother breakfast. We live in such an interesting and fantastic age. I am surrounded by children who, partly due to the culture in which they are immersed and partly attending Waldorf education, have an array of old world skills like woodworking, knitting, blacksmithing and many more, while at the same time they can use the internet to stealthy access their community to ask how to undertake such complicated endeavours as making the perfect cup of Jo! In the afternoon we went to brunch with my mother and brothers and their families, a crew of 11 of us. Then went garage saleing where a womyn was selling off all her earthly goods to go travelling. This delightful womyn sat patiently and told my daughters where every item they were purchasing came from, a hat from Bolivia, a pendent from Ecuador. They were enthralled. I thought about all the different kinds of mothers in the world. This womyn did not have biological children, but here she was taking the time to care for mine, she was so kind to them. As we walked away from the sale my girls were all smiling ear to ear, they were happy about their new (used) purchases, but more than that I believe their self esteem had been bolstered by this interaction with a stranger who cared. So here is to all that “mother” in this world but who are not mothers! You don’t have a Hallmark style day set aside but I want you to know that I see what you do and so do countless others. Thank you from one mother to another!

I went back later to give the 12 days journal #27 to her, but she was gone. I was sad, I wanted to give HER a gift this day. I had to settle for leaving it just outside of Save-On -Foods where I was headed to next. I knew once I made it home from getting groceries for that nights dinner I would not go out again, so the release of the journal was only loosely connected to today's stranger, but I am ok with that. In honour of today, the day of honouring mothers, the question inside the journal reads simply, “Tell me about your mother?”. This journal was the first I forgot to write in before it left my instead here is a picture of me and my mama (Oh and hey that is Pulpit Rock there in the background!). I have not told her about the project seems like a good day to do that. Happy Mothers day mama, I love you and all you do for our family. SMOOCH!


May 9, 2009

Day 5 New Friend- So many Brads'

Home again home again jiggety-jig! I nearly didn’t make it on my plane today. The airline lost my reservation. I stood at the check-in counter, while the flustered ticket agent went round and round with someone on the other end of the phone. When I fly home, I must touch down by 9:00 p.m. The border crossing into Canada closes at 12:00 midnight. It takes 3 hours to get to the crossing from Spokane where I land State side. As I stood at the counter the time tick tick ticked, at I began to realize I wouldn’t make the flight if I waited any longer, so I purchased a full fair ticket and told her I would sort it out on the other side. I ran full out to the gate to find out that the flight had been over sold and I wouldn’t make it on anyway. This is when the tears began to threaten. I have been told that I am about the most relaxed traveller there is. I didn’t get angry at the reservation being lost, cheerfully found my own solution to getting on the flight by buying a new ticket, said I would take care of refunding it myself later. I just wanted to get home in time to get across the border, to be able to fall asleep in my own bed and wake up to a delicious Mothers Days breakfast in bed of cold runny eggs and soggy warm bread. Mothers Day is by far one of the most fantastic days of my year. My children almost always make me something at school, and as they go to a Waldorf School this means the loot is generally very well made and filled with love. After making it all the way to the gate with a ticket in hand this womyn was still telling me I would not get on my flight, that instead I would be put on another that would get in after 9 p.m., my heart was breaking. I was imagining their disappointed faces at finding out I would not be home. Worse was how I imagined they would be so strong, say it was ok, they understood, all the while poking down their feelings of abandonment. So you know what I did? I just didn’t believe it. I saw myself getting on the plane, imagined myself walking down the gangway within the next 10 minutes. I did not get angry with the Southwest representative, I could see she too was frustrated. All I said was “Please get me on, I need to get home to my kids for Mothers Day, this flight is my only chance!”. I could see in her face she wanted to help, but didn’t know how she could. “We are missing 7 passengers”, came the voice over the intercom. She looked more excited than I did! she says “Did you hear that? Let’s go!” she took me over to the gate, smiled and said. “Happy Mothers Day!”. So here I sit, on my original flight. I will touch down in Spokane with plenty of time to get something to eat, drive back to my home country, slip under the covers, fall fast asleep, and wake up to 3 wonderful girls jumping into my bed to tell me I am the best mama in the world. I am not sure if they are right but I do know I have the best kids in the world...ya I know I am bias, but I don’t really care.

On the plane I sat next to a man named Brad. We spoke nearly the whole plane ride. He and his wife were going to see the eldest of their 5 sons for Mothers Day. I enjoyed speaking with brad, he told me stories which I will likely never hear the likes of again, at least not in person. He flew for the US Navy in World War 2, stationed out of Pearl Harbor. When he returned from the war, he found that his wife had chosen to move on. He said to me “I got a Dear John letter...I didn’t even know what a Dear John letter was...didn’t stop me from getting one though!”. He married again about a year and a half later to Cheryl, the womyn who sat on my right reading and occasionally confirming the odd bit of information Brad had forgotten. He and Cheryl had been married 63 years. When it came time to order our drinks Brad ordered white wine with ice. Cheryl tells me that he never ordered alcohol on flights before and certainly she had never known him to drink white wine, this was his second of the day. Nice to know that after 63 years there are still surprises. Brad was sharp, but being 93 he didn’t understand the concept of blogging. So when he asked for clarification about what I was writing. I said I was doing research and writing about it. He asked if I was going to write a book. Before I even really thought about the answer I said yes. He gave me his full name, address and phone number and told me, “Well you better hurry up and write it, I want to read it before I die, and at 93 I haven’t got much time left!”. Ok’s a deal.

I left 12 days journal # 26 in the back pocket of my seat on Southwest flight 2816. I asked Brad if he would like to take it but he said he didn’t “do all that stuff”, meaning anything to do with computers. The question inside the front cover was inspired by this stranger who I met today, it reads “How long do you believe you will live? Why?”.

May 8, 2009

Day 4 New Friend- Nearly Sick

I think I may have to admit to myself that I am sick. I had two naps today, one in my rental car in a sunny but LOUD parking lot and the other where I am staying. I have known since Tuesday that I was coming down with something, I got a stomach ache that made it hard to walk. Now i can feel it in my head, and ears, in how tired and cold I am. What I find amazing is my ability to hold it off. I don’t really feel I can get sick here. I am not in my own space, don’t have anyone to bring me tea. I have to make a flight home tomorrow and being sick in air travel is just way too much work. So while I am admitting to battling something, I am not letting it take hold till tomorrow evening. Tonight I will attend a party being thrown at the house I am staying at. There will be many strangers there, I am fully confident I will have a conversation with more than a few new friends tonight. I will leave 12 days journal # 25 at the party, inside is the question “How strongly do you believe in your bodies ability to heal itself?”.

I know this is a lame blog entry. What can I say, I am sick...well not yet but I just can’t spare the strength to make this any more interesting.