A Pledge


 

Sunset, November 28, 2016 in Richmond , BC

I have not written much in the last six months.  In fact, I’ve not been writing much at all in any capacity.

Understand that it is not a lack of ideas.  This head of mine never turns off, and there are times where I dearly wish it would take a break.

No, the ideas just pile up.  When I slip into bed they fight for position and I promise to commit them all to the page so that I can get some much needed rest.  At some point I will.

Been a tough year and half though.  And at some point I had to finally accept that I am human after all.  And I’ve been far too human for the majority of my life.  What do I mean by this?

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The pain of being incomplete…at least in my head.  The pain of rejection, of not being loved by those who would impact my life directly (i.e. family), and the desire to just be whole.

So the quest was taken on and in 2010 such a major breakthrough!

I was soaring.  Finding aspects of myself I’d never known and growing in every way imaginable.  I was tearing down walls and breaking chains that had confined for a lifetime and I was scared shitless at all the emotions and moods that were enveloping me.

I produced my first book, was running 1/2 marathons and taking control of my life in a way I’d never done before.  I liked who I was becoming…loved the direction I was moving in.

Then physical ailments hit me.  Heart issues…a stent was inserted and then uterine cancer.

But I took these on the chin.  I wasn’t prepared to let them take me down.

In January 2015 I had been working with a trainer for 3 months and had started back with my running group when the car accident happened.

'I can never do anything with my hair phobia.'

‘I can never do anything with my hair phobia.’

But it wasn’t just that.  It was being let go from a position I’d held for 5 1/2 years because chemo had messed up my focus.  It was taking on a job that was far too stressful considering my physical issues…it was the a back injury that compounded  all the issues and then the condo I owned having no hot water and a serious special assessment needing to be paid out.

I’ve never had a back injury.  Finding myself in a position where just going for a walk left me in agony was so tough to deal with.  I was trying desperately to hang onto what…I wasn’t too sure.

2015 was such a bad year for me.  I toughed it out though. I had to.  In typical fashion I figured I could do everything myself.  HA!

Oh yes, I kept records for ICBC.  I tried to get back my health only find I was worse off.  Then depression hit.  I was sinking.  I was let go from the stressful job unceremoniously and without cause.  My confidence was non-existent.

Between Cancer treatment and my pity parties I had put on 80 lbs.  I felt and looked awful.  I was in pain constantly and started to wonder if it all the shit was worth it.  I was spending money irresponsibly.

I found another job after a few months but I was scared. My old place was sinking me and I was drowning in debt.

In the New Year I saw my place fixed up and sold it by mid-April.  Paid down a big chunk of my debt and got set up in my new home, which I love!

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Still, I was moving a frenetic pace.  A new program at work…a reunion,..getting back on track with my health and trying to deal with behaviours that had reared their heads once again.

And now I’m sitting here hoping that my tenacious attitude to try and deal and resolve all this will succeed this time.  And I pledge that I will never give up on whatever it is I am supposed to give back to this world.

Peace out!

 

Grievances…A History Of Sorts


 

20160929_072536After a year and half the American election finally came to bitter end.   The outcome was not what anyone expected.

We watched closely up here in Canada as the ugliest campaign in history unfolded. I could not believe that a man such as Trump could even be considered.  He has legal cases pending in court, he is loud, obnoxious and has virtually no experience in the political realm.

He’d somehow become something of a celebrity with his show ‘The Apprentice’.  The Donald, as he sold himself some 20 years back,  has an insatiable appetite to be in the spotlight.

What you have to understand is that it’s not just the U.S.A. that is experiencing radical change.  There is global unrest and a lot of it.

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We should be coming together as a global collective to remedy the issues that exist, and I fear with the choice Americans made on November 8, 2016 that the shock waves will be felt for years to come.

What I have seen my neighbors to the south try and hold onto is the old adage that they are the greatest country in the world and they have this ‘American Dream’ thing that, like their love guns…they cannot dismiss or let go.

And what is the American Dream?

Here is Wikipedia’s description:

The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.[1]

The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”[2]

There you have it.  Yet it seems that for many, the factory workers, those who were not has fortunate somehow felt cheated to some degree.

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The ALMIGHTY ECONOMY (a.k.a. Oil) became the ruler of the day after the Second World War.  With technology advancing at a rabid pace from the 1970’s forward tens of thousands of factory workers found themselves out of a job.  Small towns became ghost towns as their citizens lamented over the good ol’ days.

Several economic recessions and the crash back in 2008 left many with absolutely nothing.   No educational options, no retraining options, no jobs, no home, no nothing.

Meanwhile in other countries such as Bosnia, Ruwanda, Lybia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, etc. corruption and war had made it impossible for their citizens to eek out a living.

The exodus began as refugees sought out new lives for themselves and their families here in North America. The American dream has been sold globally and many made their way to Canada and the United States to begin a new life.

For many of the citizens down in the U.S. with no job and having lost so much, they found the idea of immigrants coming to their country as offensive.  These people were stealing their jobs, their livelihood.  Even worse were the ones who gained entrance illegally.

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The setting was ripe for a man of Donald Trump’s nature to come in and tell these U.S. citizens that he was going to build a wall to keep out the illegals and toss out all the aliens who had come to America.  Yet he could walk across the street to a different rally and feed a line of bullshit to that group, even if it contradicted what he had just spoken about, and quite often it did.  In fact, the contradictions were absolutely astounding.

Riots were breaking out at his rally’s.  He was having people tossed out and continually made derogatory remarks about women.

Women became the devil and he was running against a woman.

And yet the Republican party, even though many didn’t like him, didn’t want him to lead party allowed it anyway.

Trump may think he can build a wall, tear up trade agreements, trash the U.S. healthcare system, send immigrants packing  and repeal women’s rights in order to make ‘America great again’ but those are not things that can be done with the snap of the fingers.

Trump had best be careful as all those people who voted him in may turn on him when he doesn’t deliver their brand of justice.

Let’s hope that President-Elect Trump doesn’t do anything rash out of the gate.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

Human Touch


I met a friend for dinner this evening.  We met after work down at Kits Beach at The Boathouse Restaurant.  Jayne and I always have great discussions.

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I mentioned that I’d been downtown shopping a couple of weeks ago and I had seen the ‘Free Hug’ people in front of the London Drugs at Granville & Georgia St.  I told her how I stood waiting for the light to change, my spirit feeling  considerably  lighter at the idea of a stranger willing  to put their arms around me and share a moment.  I told her that I simply opened my arms and was hugged first by the woman and then by the man.  hug 2

I was surprised she’d never heard of this.  It has been in Vancouver for quite some time now.

Just an act of kindness and a moment shared through human touch.

There is something so intrinsically beautiful and simple in this act. As we parted ways and I made my way home through the streets of Vancouver to the North Shore where my daughter lives, I got to thinking about the people that touch our lives on a daily basis.

I thought of the friends I have, the jobs I’ve held and those who have entered my life and left leaving lasting impressions.

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I thought of people from my past that I’d tried to please who seemingly caused me to bleed the energy from my soul and wondered why I had given this so freely?

Truth is I wanted, craved, desired, needed the basic interaction of human touch.  To feel genuine caring and to feel loved.

I think we all do.  And every once in a while getting that ‘Free Hug’ reminds me that I’m not alone and that I do belong to the collective known as the human race.

Namaste.

Guns, Guns & More Guns?


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I’ve voiced my opinion on the whole luv-a-affair Americans have with their guns a few times..

And I just don’t get it.

You claim to value life, yet mass shootings have become commonplace in your country.   After the Orlando shootings the reports that came out were poorly researched and  somewhat sensationalized as a ‘terrorist’ attack.

And despite the fact to the contrary it is still being sold as a terrorist attack.

The individual responsible was in fact an American.  Born and raised in New York with a license to carry a concealed weapon as he had been working as an armed security officer for some time.  Apparently a background check was done back in 2013.  I’m not sure what that entails but from what we have come to know he was an abusive individual with severe emotional issues.  Because he was of middle-eastern descent, it was assumed he was a ‘terrorist’.

New York_1 324The Occupy NY movement in Timesquare, Sept 2011, photo taken by N. Pilling

The tragedy that occurred has once again brought up the all too familiar issues surrounding gun control.

They cannot even get a bill struck down that will allow them to study gun violence!

‘Former Rep. Jay Dickey of Arkansas authored an amendment that restricted funding for research into gun violence and its effects on public health. Dickey tells Steve Inskeep he now has deep regrets.’

For the entire interview the link is below.

http://www.npr.org/2015/10/09/447098666/ex-rep-dickey-regrets-restrictive-law-on-gun-violence-research

Four days after the Orlando tragedy, they tried to again just have this clause removed.  They just want increased funding to study it!!!  It would seem the NRA has a stronghold, however, and it was shot down in a heartbeat.

Pun intended!

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Shops in New Westminster, BC  Canada step up to show their support during Pride, photo by N. Pilling

I just watched an interview with Chris W. Cox who is at the top of management in the NRA’s organization.  According to Mr. Cox, guns are not the problem. It is the ‘radical Islamic terrorists’ that are the problem.  It is the government that is the problem.  Americans have a God given right to defend themselves.   This phrase caught my attention.

Let me ask Mr. Cox this.  Should all of us not have the right to protect ourselves under the eyes of God?

Are we not, according to any number of religions around the world,  of one God?  Yes, the prerogatives of ‘God’ seems to have been lost in translation as well.

Chris Cox states that restricting the type of weapons Americans can purchase has been tried.  I find it really difficult to listen to this kind of rhetoric.

I live in Canada where we do have gun control.  I’d like to see it toughened up even more though.  I completely understand those that live in the rural regions of our country may very well require shot guns and some high powered rifles.  They come into contact with animals in the wild far more frequently, and if they have livestock then they need to be able to protect.

I get that totally.

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Timesquare, New York, NY  Sept 2011, photo by N. Pilling

What I don’t understand, will never understand is why any person living in an apparent civilized society needs to be in possession of military grade weapons that can mow down a room full of people in a few minutes.

When the 2nd Amendment was enshrined in your constitution back in the 1790’s, just six guns made worldwide in the 1700’s.

1717 – Charleville Musket/ Muzzle loading Musket – France
1720 – Blunderbus/ short ranged musket – Netherlands
1722 – Land Pattern Musket (Brown Bess) – Britain
1730 – Kentucky Rifle/ Muzzle loading Musket – U.S.
1750 – Sea Service Pistol (Flintlock Pistol) – Britain
1795 – Harpers Ferry / Springfield Model Musket – U.S

The other popular weapon of the day was the cross-bow, and while they were effective, guns provided a higher degree of accuracy.

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Taken in New Westminster, BC, Canada in support of Pride, photo by N. Pilling

‘The Second Amendment was based partially on the right to keep and bear arms in English common law and was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Sir William Blackstone described this right as an auxiliary right, supporting the natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.[8]

Well, it is safe to say that guns have evolved.  I have to wonder if the forefathers of America would have put this in place had they known the impact it has had on their country.

What I would like to know is why my American neighbors feel their rights are being infringed upon by being restricted from purchasing guns of this magnitude?   The ones of military grad.

If they want a gun, why can they not be content with a hand gun or a rifle?  Regular rounds…whatever that may be. Six or something like that?

It almost smacks of paranoia that Americans are falling over each other to add to their arsenal.

I feel a sadness for my neighbors as I don’t know what it is like to live in fear that I will be attacked or hurt at any given time on a daily basis.

Once again to the families and friends who lost there loved ones in this senseless act I offer my prayers and condolences.

Peace.

 

 

 

Letting Go…Just a Thought


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Vancouver from the top of Grouse Mountain

I have spent a lifetime learning from my mistakes and continue to do so.  Technically I should be a genius at this point as I’ve puzzled my way through the same dilemmas time after time after….

How is it that I continue to make the same the mistakes, yet I try to reason through them in variations that are if nothing else, inventive?

What is it then that brings me back to issues that cloud my judgement?

What is it that causes the fine mass between my ears to suddenly go on autopilot and slip into ‘auto-destruct’ mode.  It is these recriminations that I invite back into my life seemingly unaware.

(This message will self-destruct in 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1).

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I find the solution with seconds to spare only to wonder how I found myself in that particular situation….again!

Trying to isolate the brain patterns responsible and re-wire the cognitive functions around how I act and re-act to the infinite possibilities this life offers is an ongoing mission.

For the moment, I’m going to try and just let go.  Identify a negative pattern then release it from my being.

Funny, I don’t even know if that is possible.  But hey, why not give it a whirl?

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Get Outta My Head…And Into My Car!


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Alright then, the title is a play on words from a Billy Ocean song from years past.   The idea that sometimes I am too much in my head…that I over analyse a situation or an idea.  I’ve been accused of this many times.

And yes, dammit!  I confess!  It’s true.

I’m sitting here on this beautiful Sunday morning with the window to my office open.  I’ve had a thousand things running through this head of mine as I stare at the computer screen.  I should go for a walk.

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I should write more.

I should plan my out my seven minute speech on sex, though I already know what it is I plan to discuss, however, I want to leave the audience, which will be Douglas College students, with a thoughtful impression.

I want to discuss ‘consent’.  This word gets bandied about quite a bit in sexual assault cases.

It isn’t relevant what someone is ‘into.’  What is important is that they discuss this with their potential partners.

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Of course, I’m thinking about the Jian Ghomeshi trial that recently wrapped up. He was aquitted as the three women who came forward were considered ‘deceptive & manipulative’ in their evidence.

This is where Ghomeshi should have enlightened the women as to what his sexual preferences are.  Now, some women may be curious, just as some men would be about trying something a little risky.

It is, however, imperative that if you know that your sexual preferences could be considered outside the ‘normal’ realm, then you need to convey this to potential partners.  Never mind that….we all need to talk to our partners!

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In short, each of us, men and women, have a responsibility to NOT make assumptions.

The other thing I want to discuss is the shame factor and the way by which women are still ‘blamed’.

I call it this because in many ways it is just that.  Phrases such as ‘she was asking for it’ come to mind.  Or ‘look how she was dressed’.

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If someone, anyone is dressed provocatively this is not an invitation to be sexally exploited.  If someone is highly intoxicated or on drugs of some kind,  then consent is really not possible.

Women are sexually assaulted all the time.  The majority do not come forward.  Many feel they brought it on themselves.  They’d had one too many and made a few really bad choices.  Choices that will unfortunately have an impact on them for the rest of their lives.

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And here we are in the 21st Century.  We’ve been to space and back and we’ve developed amazing technologies.  Yet when it comes down to interacting with each other on a fundamental level the great divide still exists.

Well time to get back to doing tax stuff.  Enjoy your day.

 

 

Silver Linings


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I am a person who will experience an epiphany and suddenly the whole world and my existence in it makes perfect sense.  Yet as quickly as the insight arrived it sinks faster than the Titanic back into the abyss of my subconscious.  And for me it is a shadow that I will try to pursue, try to recover and analyze.

Usually I have no idea what I’m doing or what I’m trying to discover.  And I just realized that is one of the absolute joys in living this life.

Being open and present.

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I would like to say that I’m open to new ideologies. new thoughts, however, I really don’t think there is anything really new about much of the information that draws me in.   The thing that changes is perspective.  Of how we see something, of how we regard our place in this world and participate in it.

For example, back in the day…way, way back human sacrifice to the Gods was acceptable and considered necessary.  The idea of having angry Gods was a frightening factor no doubt.

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And I often have these questions that creep into my mind’s eye regarding our existence.  How is it that we came to chart the stars?  How is it that we came to understand that they would never change and guide us on midnight journeys across foreign lands and oceans?

Back in 1632 Galileo would be tried and found guilty of heresy regarding his findings that the Earth was in fact circular and orbited around the Sun.

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And mathematics has had a long history in this world and just as I ponder how the written word came into being I too wonder how it is that the science of math began its journey as well.  I would think some of the first measurements would have been made by our own appendages of fingers, feet and hands.   Of course cycles such as daily, monthly, seasonal and birthing became recognized.

But how is it that someone decided they wanted to measure the speed of light from one star system to our own?

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Unfortunately a lot of information has been destroyed and lost to us over the millenniums.  And there is apparently information that the powers that be feel we should not be privy to.

I look for the silver linings in pretty much everything.  There is always a lesson to be learned or a fascinating piece of knowledge tucked away.

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If I rise each day with the idea that I’m open to learning, open to discovering more of what constitutes life and its infinite layers then this is a good thing.  And while I know that life has the bookends of birth and death…it is the fabric in between that we weave that fascinates and humbles me.

Namaste.