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Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category


I’ve spent an hour on my other website, one that promotes my book “Your Invisible Bodies”.  Except it looked very different from the one that usually appears.  The old one appeared, but not the new website developed by Lisa Francis in 2012.  That one is much more attractive, and cost me a bundle!  All I wanted to do was add a new page, and then put my current spiritual thoughts on that page.  However, more than an hour later I want to be able to talk to a person at WordPress.  Lisa used Joomla to create that website.  I need to get back to it.  In a few weeks my colleague Carla will be at the Healing Touch International Conference, and will give out free bookmarks about my book.  So I have updated my website…. and now it has disappeared!  Every time I upload a new offer, these technological tasks get more complex and less easy to use!  Arrgh!

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The Big Picture


 

To Alberta Views (one of my favorite magazines!)

I am concerned about the biased view presented in your Jan/Feb issue concerning the pipeline debate.  Bias in a writer is natural, and difficult, if not impossible, to prevent.  I have lived a long time and have learned that peoples’ realities are dependent on their position in life.  What is real to the radical environmentalist is not real to the labourer who lives and works in an oil or gas town.  A person’s viewpoint is formed by his or her background and position in life, particularly the current situation.  I believe that the closer one is to the front line, or center of the situation viewed, the more focussed and informed one is of the problems involved, and therefore of the alternatives for problem-solving.

However, the further away one is from the front line, the more able s/he is to see the big picture.

What is lacking in the pipeline debate is the big picture.  As I read the pros and cons of the pipeline divide, I learned a lot that I didn’t know before.  I rely on Alberta Views to inform me, particularly about front line concerns.  However, my jaundiced and somewhat cynical mind thinks, “They’re not addressing the big picture.”  Perhaps the writers  are too close to see the full context of the issue.  I try to see the big picture, and I have lived simply for the last six decades, hoping that our country can move forward to a more sustainable future.  I question what is presented on all sides of a debate.  I ask, “Where is this person coming from?  What parts of the big picture does s/he bring?  What parts does s/he not comprehend?  What is missing from this analysis?”

This forces me to listen, to read, to think, and to learn.  I examine my responses to see if these learned opinions will cause me to change my behaviour and attitudes.  The big picture in which climate change is embedded includes economic structures, government regulations, capitalism, how governments are funded, the Canadian constitution, treaties with indigenous nations, population growth, global financial agreements, war and violence across the world, immigration, poverty, economic inequality, diverse religions, and societal attitudes to gender roles. All these factors are part of my big picture.  There are no minimally palatable  solutions within the pipeline debates, or to changes in individual’s viewpoints, feelings, and thoughts.  Most Canadians appear to build their lives upon the central belief that the bottom line is measured in financial terms, and money matters more than anything else.  I hear others claim that our current situation is more important than historical evidence, or future dreams.

The debate is complicated, and will not be resolved within the life span of any democratically elected government.  Nor within my lifetime.  Sad.  Sadder still for my great grand children.

 

g Picture 1

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I just finished reading a provocative article in the May 2017 issue of CCPA (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) The Monitor, which is called Views of Canada.  In it, an indigenous writer, Tara Williamson, writes about the current move toward reconciliation as just another attempt by white settlers to assuage their guilt at forcing assimilation on the first peoples of this land.  She writes “If reconciliation were actually about making amends from the past it would involve actions that accounted for the ongoing legacy of colonization.  We would be having conversations about land repatriation.  We would talk about dismantling structural inequities.  You would give us back our children:”.  (CCPA The Monitor, May 2017, p. 22)

Harsh words.  Hard for us settlers to hear and understand, let alone accept.  Land repatriation won’t happen.  No elected government would ever support that, and I don’t think any government anywhere (nor in recorded history) has ever repatriated land.  Armed struggle and revolution is the only way that land has been redistributed.  Yet there is truth in Williamson’s words.  So what now?

What would Jesus do?  Did he live in a land that had been stolen from its inhabitants?  Oh, yes, the Romans ruled Israel during Jesus’ lifetime.  Yet he said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.  Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Who is my neighbor?  What would it mean to love first nations people as we love ourselves?

How would we see land use and land ownership differently?  The early Jewish people believed they were stewards of the land, not owners.  Could we get back to that?  What would it take for our society to change from land ownership to land stewardship?  Would the banks suddenly stop collecting interest on mortgages?  Are the environmentalists who believe in land respect and stewardship in line with aboriginals?  Do aboriginals and environmentalists work together?

As I weeded my back yard I realized I would not give my land away, not to anyone, no matter what colour their skin or their needs.

“Terra Nullius” is one of the principles followed by the European settlers.  It means “land belonging to no one”.  That belief justified making the Indian tribes who lived on the land invisible, despite their initial welcome to newcomers and their principles of “sharing the land”.  The key words are “belonging to”.  Land ownership is at the heart of settler mentality and colonization.  After all, most of our European ancestors came to the new world as impoverished tenants with no resources, and they came because of the promise of free land upon which to start over.  Are we willing to look at that?  Is land ownership just another of the structural inequities that we must examine?  Could “terra nullius” also mean “land belonging to no one yet everyone upon it”?

Without a common understanding of the land and our place upon it, and without an agreement to live in love and respect for all our neighbours, reconciliation is just a word.

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The Flame Bearer


This book by Bernard Cornwell describes an uneasy peace between Northumbria’s Vikings and Mercia’s Saxons.  Uhtred of Bebbanburg plans how to recapture his birthright home from his uncle and cousin who usurped his land in a previous battle.  Uhtred has leaned the skills of war fighting throughout Britain, and his reputation inspires and scares others.  This is a fast-moving historical fiction read, full of lusty passionate people, and offers a glimpse into life as it was. Bernard Cornwell has written several novels that describe ancient times, and this doesn’t disappoint his readers who expect fast action, brave heroes, and compelling challenges.

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This book, written by Diana Jones, tells the story of a stretcher-bearer in World War I.  It contains detailed information about the region of Picardie, France, and helps us experience the days and nights before the battle of the Somme.  Inspired by tales from her grandfather, who was a stretcher-bearer in WWI, Diana has researched and expanded the story into a tale of fiction.  Since I have known Diana for several years I have heard about the many revisions to her manuscript.  I had no idea she was a skilled writer as well as a thoughtful wise woman!  I am thrilled to have a personalized copy of her book, which I have recommended to many others.  The Bearer’s Burden may be fiction, but it could be true.  Historical fiction that grips the reader, and makes me want to read more about the European men and women of the last century.

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This book, by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear, is another of their historical books about the First Nations people of North America.  This book tells the stories of people who lived 7000 years ago.  Major climatic change was ushering in a 3500 year drought, A young dreamer and a courageous woman from another tribe united to lead their people to a new destiny.  As usual, the authors, who are archaeologists and anthropologists, teach as well as inspire, as they show how people lived during a tumultuous dangerous time.  They have the same emotions and thought processes that we have today, so despite their way of life, the decisions made resonate with us still.

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This book by Madeleine Thien won the Giller prize this year, so I was anxious to read it.  I watched Madeleine Thien receive the award, when the Giller prize was announced, and she impressed me as a speaker.  Reading her book later impressed me by her writing and her wisdom.  She tells the story of an extended family in China during years that I knew about slightly through Canadian media.  However, this book shows the rich humanity and passion of the individuals, over years and generations.  Sad.  Sobering.  I cried, and I learned.  I wanted these people to live, and live well, and reconnect.  I wished I played piano and had experienced Goldberg and Brahms and Glenn Gould.  I have only a smattering of knowledge to bring to these pages, so I received much more in return.

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