As children growing up we had four or five pigs, the long ones that produce the most bacon, and every spring they had piglets. They were so cute and they loved being scratched, but if you tried to lift one off the ground, it squealed so loud that Mama came running to find out what was happening. I found our pigs to be very sociable creatures with poor eating habits. They would oink and fight for best position in the feeding trough, slurping and dripping their food everywhere. In spite of that, they were quite clean and were trained very early to poop in the same spot in their outdoor pen. They loved to bury themselves in the dust or mud, depending on the season. They loved to root up the ground and once the ground was clear of weeds and roots, we would move the pigpen and plant a garden. This picture is one of Michael as he coaxes the piglets to come closer. In the background is the log barn that Dad, Grandad and my brothers built.
I have looked at this photo a few times over the last few months wondering how I would relate this photograph to what’s happening in my life today. Well… I thought of it with a laugh as I was driving home after my family reunion. It has been ten years since Rae and I divorced and I almost didn’t recognize him, for he had grown jowls on his face and a large gut. We were staying at a cottage we had rented at Sylvan Lake, Alberta and my boys were frying up bacon for breakfast when I made a comment that “We are what we eat.” As usual, it wasn’t appreciated. I find it hard not to speak my truth especially when it is something that is harming my family. But as Keith said, “Dad won’t change and we all know it, so why say anything?” It made me wonder why I keep trying.
I haven’t eaten bacon for thirty years and consider it to be one of the least healthy meats to eat. Factory farming has given rise to pigpens being stacked six high and the pig shit dripping down through the cages and has created a system where they are force-fed with hormones and drugs. I believe that it is unhealthy to cage animals and take away their animal instincts, and that when they are raised in these unhealthy ways, it creates unhappiness and fear in them that is kept in their body at a vibrational level and passed along to humans who eat their meat. And that is not to mention the side effects of the drugs and fats that our livers have to handle.
After about six years of marriage and three little children keeping me busy I asked Rae to help me with the cooking and the dishes. He refused and he wasn’t about to discuss it. I felt frustrated, not being able to come to some sort of compromise… as far as he was concerned there was nothing wrong, it was me that was unhappy. I remember him coming home one day and telling me about a log that went through the window of his logging truck and how it had just missed his head. The only thing I could think was, “Damm… life would be so much better without him.” We talked about separation and my heart made the decision that my boys deserved having a Dad and I needed to change my attitude. I learned to make myself happy as my shoulders rounded to protect my heart and my stomach became finicky. I learned about nutrition and organic growing so that I could keep my systems functioning, for the medical authorities had no answers that could help me.
Once the two oldest boys left for college and Dale was in grade 12, Rae and I decided to divorce. I remember going down the steps of our split level home and feeling a change in my legs. I ran up and down them and by about the third time, I had figured out what the change was. As I got to the top Rae asked me what I was doing. I said, “My shackles are gone, my feet feel light.” Feeling like a slave while knowing he was a good guy, didn’t make sense so I had stopped speaking about my feelings many years ago. Surviving was all that mattered and I kept my mouth shut, most of the time.
The reunion brought up old memories and being around Rae and the boys made me feel like I was from another dimension. Watching them devour their steaks, listening to Rae repeat the same few phrases, and having the TV turned on whenever he walked into the room made my heart sink. It felt good to say what I was feeling, for I had nothing to lose, at the same time I felt a great loss and I cried to let go of the pain.
During the weekend I had gone for walks with Gordon and Keith, they both hugged and said they loved me… it was me who was feeling like I didn’t belong. I wanted to spend time with my boys, not Rae. As we were leaving I told him that… it didn’t go over very well. I cried most of the way back to Calgary and it felt good, thinking about the past… for I did well as a teenager raising three good kids. I figure I owed Rae or the boys some karmic debt, and I paid it off with love.
I have always had strong feelings about the killing of animals and protested as a child when they killed my favourite piglet. Moose meat was a little more acceptable as food. Today I also protest the use of chemicals to grow and preserve food for it just doesn’t feel right. I choose to be around people who agree with my belief systems and I feel more connected to them than to my family.
My session with Ken brought up feelings that were buried so long ago that I had forgotten about them. Breathing deep into my belly I could feel where the energy was blocked. I pressed on it and my jaw started vibrating as old grief rose to the surface, for deep within my psyche it felt like I had lost my soul at age seventeen… pregnant by somebody I didn’t really know or love. My Mom said she was too young to be a grandma and wanted me to have an abortion. Rae wanted to marry me and that seemed to be the right thing to do. He eloped while his parents were on holidays so he didn’t have to tell them and I left with my Mom refusing to speak to me. Back then there was no support for unwed moms and in marrying I did what I thought would be best for the child. I survived, learned my lessons well, learned to love parts of Rae, and to not discuss anything he didn’t want to hear about.
Each day I grow stronger and my feet feel lighter. Letting go of old trauma frees up my energy systems. The vertebrae in my back and neck are straightening out and my digestion is getting better as long as I don’t eat gluten or lactose. I drove all summer wearing cheap sunglasses and when I put my glasses on to read the telephone book I could barely make out the numbers so I took them off and the small letters were much clearer. I guess it is time to get rid of my glasses for good… but first I need to do my eye exercises for my eyes still tire after five or six hours of being without them.
Zachary Williams - 02/05/2023
Congratulations on completing your book.
Richard - 02/05/2023
Great to see your book is complete