The front cover this month is a photo of my family dressed up for a Halloween party at our one-room schoolhouse in Rosswood, BC. Community gatherings were few and far between, as were the homesteads. We looked forward to these special occasions, for we knew there would be fresh-baked goodies to eat and time to play with the other eight kids that lived within a ten-mile radius.
I usually dressed myself and then helped my brothers find suitable props to create the character they wanted. David wore his favourite hat and added a cape, sword, eye-patch and beard and became a pirate. Phillip went as a hobo and if you look closely you can see his sack tied on a stick. I went as an Indian princess. Mom let me use Grandma’s hand-beaded ceremonial cuffs and belt. These were given to her by some native women in Saskatchewan in appreciation of her teaching and healing skills. Brother Paul was Cemetery Pete and as far as we were concerned, wore the fanciest costume because it was store bought. Billy was a French Dude and Michael dressed like a girl in some of my clothes. Eventually, the youngest, Donny, did get dressed-up.
Mom is standing in the background. She got dressed up as the devil. She dyed her long johns red and made horns from cardboard and carried a trident made from wood. Vicki, a neighbour, came dressed as a devil also. I remember them laughing hard as they belly-bounced off each other in a playful way. They had both padded their bellies with pillows and found it amusing that they both dressed alike.
I don’t remember eating chocolate bars till I was about thirteen and had moved to town. The first year I went trick-or- treating, I was so enchanted with the giveaways of fruit, money, popcorn balls and candy treats that I kept going till my pillow case was full and heavy. I gasped when I got home and looked at the clock and realized it was 11 pm—no wonder the people had surprised looks on their faces when I knocked. It took a few days to sort through the candy. I kept my favourites, threw out the suckers and shared the rest with my brothers.
Events influence our lives more than we realize. The younger we are and the more times something is repeated the more impact it has on our psyche. Often I can see the program but don’t take the time to fully realize the impact it has on my life until I get a chance to reprogram it during one of my breathwork sessions. Then I get to ask myself— “Is this who I am and do I want to keep this belief system?” Relationships always bring up the deepest memories, for love opens the heart. I am always grateful to see my programming, although it doesn’t always feel that way when I am in the middle of it.
Gerry and I have continued to change and our relationship reflects it. We are both busy people who love what we do and no longer make the time to be with each other. Intimacy is not easy to understand, so rather than figure it out, we will just be business partners. The shift has been gradual, but our differences have become greater than our similarities. I have had some sad moments, but the letting go process is now over. It is I who needed more out of this relationship, and talking about my needs hasn’t made a difference, so …c’est la vie. We work well together and appreciate each other’s skills and willingness to put in long hours to make our businesses grow. Never again will I allow my shoulders to cave forward to protect my heart. No longer am I willing to stuff my feelings and keep quiet when my heart speaks, and if that is uncomfortable for another … so be it.
I thought it was about time to show my ‘before and after’ photos. The picture on the left was taken six years ago by Gary Schneider, a Rolfer from Kamloops who came to the Centre once a month for sessions. The work to change myself started in earnest at this point, for I had asked the universe to help me from becoming any more hunched over than I already was. The picture on the right was taken three months ago as I felt the last big shift in my hips happening. Many of my deep internal muscles have shifted, and I can now stand up with both hips almost in alignment. As you can see, I no longer learn forward with my nose against the wall. My rib cage is slowly lifting upwards and as it does my chest opens and I can breath more deeply. My right shoulder is still lower but the rotation is gone and my neck spasms have stopped. I have more width between my shoulder blades and my fingers no longer fall asleep. My feet feel planted as I no longer carry all my weight on my outer arches. I am half an inch taller and feel strong in my body. Yoga lets me continue the stretching work of the Rolfers as my body realigns itself. Gravity no longer works against me and energy flows to where it is needed more easily.
And I needed all the energy I could get to make sure Naramata Centre was ready for the three hundred women who arrived to learn ways to empower themselves at the Wise Woman Weekend last month. The networking, the sharing and fun everyone had allowed us to open to new ways of thinking so that we can allow the shift that is happening. Everyone had their story to tell, and each presenter helped us find other ways to connect to our core selves. For if we are to change the planet, we must first change ourselves. Khrishnamurti once said, “Wars start within… unspoken words or energy that didn’t get heard gets reflected in the bigger picture for all to see.” Our society and political systems reflect the combined intent of everyone on the planet, and each shift each person does is important in the tipping of the scales. When enough people want the same thing, the energy they create makes it easy for it to come into existence.
Zachary Williams - 02/05/2023
Congratulations on completing your book.
Richard - 02/05/2023
Great to see your book is complete