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Archive for the ‘Political opinions’ Category


MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

December, 2009

                I chose a wreath from Clip Art that reflects Ireland, new light, and re-birth.  It has shamrocks.  I can’t figure out how to insert it, so I’m telling you about it.  I used it for my Solstice/Christmas party invitations, as every year I invite women friends to share my home the last weekend before Christmas.  I hesitated having a ‘party’ this year, because after 23 years, Lois and I are no longer in a ‘partner’ relationship.  It felt strange to have people in without  Lois helping me host our friends.  However, Lois and I are still friends, although we don’t see each other as often as we used to.  I have invited old and new friends, most of whom know each other.

                The invitation asks my friends about re-birth, because Solstice represents the  return of the light.  Check out these websites for wonderful pictures and descriptions: www.knowth.com/newgrange.htm or  www.heritageireland.ie/en/Solstice2007 .  I’ve since thought about my own re-birthing.  Re-birthing is not just one event, but a continuum of growth.  As we age, the physical body deteriorates but the spiritual one ripens.  

My Christmas cactus reminds of re-birthing, as it blooms faithfully twice a year.  It doesn’t last long, but it reminds me of life’s potential,  even when the leaves seem droopy.

 

                I have valued my visits with Lynne’s and Bob’s families this past year.  I celebrated Jesse’s high school graduation with all the family in Prince George in May.    I visited Riley & Nicole in Kamloops after that.  They have re-birthed themselves also, as Riley’s art is less dark now.  His work is truly beautiful.   He’s returned to Thompson University for another year in Fine Arts.   I had great visits with Bob and Dina and Ben in Vernon, in May and in October.  I love playing Gramma with 3-year-old Ben, which truly keeps me young – definitely a re-birth!  I’ve discovered new ways to be with my kids: fewer questions, more patience, more listening and more learning.  It’s never too late.

                Another re-birth is the display of the family scroll, given to my father’s parents when they left Ireland in 1913.  The scroll hung in our dining room until John & Linda received it two decades ago.  Now all the cousins have a copy, and I have framed mine.  I re-painted my kitchen before hanging the scroll, another  re-birth for my house!  Reading the scroll has reminded me of my roots and family values .  I’ll write about these on my website/blog: www.sharonmontgomery.wordpress.com  

I have also re-birthed my book Your Invisible Bodies.  After a year of marketing the first edition I decided there is a market for the book.  Advice from a new friend/editor convinced me to publish a second run with the Study Guide included.  I added new information, two photographs of my auras, expanded the background and references to Jesus and Mohammed, and included the Study Guide as Part II: For the Adult.   The new title is Your Invisible Bodies: a reference for children and adults about human energy fields.    It is a much improved book, so this time I printed more copies.  Self-publishing has forced me to learn new information, and marketing has raised the learning curve even higher! 

Bob advised me to  market via trade shows and expos that would attract my target audience:  parents who are into complementary health and alternative spirituality.  So that’s what I have done.  Because I didn’t  want to sell my book alone  I’ve reached out to other writers of spiritual books.  This has been a marvellous collaboration.  The first event,  in March, was an author’s night at Knox United Church.  We featured Carolyn Pogue, Coral Sterling, Lorna Rowsell and myself.   A month later Coral and I presented at the Women in Business Expo, with 4 other authors.   By this time we had a name for the  collective:  Growing Past the Edge.  The BodySoulSpirit Expo in Calgary in April attracted other authors, resulting in us becoming a collective of 15 self-published writers.  We chose the domain name www.calgaryauthors.com  and Jeane Watier, one of the members, has designed the website.  If you are interested in fascinating reads, check us out!  Growing Past the Edge has been at three fall expos, in Vancouver, Calgary, and Vernon.  I’ve made many new friends and contacts.  Selling books is a lot of fun, especially since I discovered my inner marketer! 

Another plus to the author collective is that we exchange and read each other’s books, so we can knowledgeably sell any of them.  I know so much more now I probably could not write my children’s book, because I wouldn’t be able to simplify the knowledge .  One reason the book works is because it is simple, addressed to children 8-12, giving an overview of energy healing.  Several adults have bought it because it presents contemporary knowledge of quantum physics and energetic bodies in child-sized bites.  I’ve given a copy to Miceal Ledwith (of What the Bleep Do We Know? ) and it has been endorsed by numerous people at the spiritual expos.  If you want to know more about my book or these ideas, go to www.yourinvisiblebodies.com

I maintain my membership at Knox United Church, where I’ve been part of the Healing Touch team for over 10 years.   Our group of eight has become good friends, maintaining our own health as well as offering treatments to members of the congregation.  My book has sold very well within the Healing Touch community in Calgary.  I am in conversation with the directors at Healing Touch Program in the U.S. who may use it for their children’s curriculum.  This little idea has grown far bigger than I ever imagined.  What a re-birth that has created in me!  Writing the book has clarified for me that my priority is healing and health.  I continue to be active with the Calgary Raging Grannies, but realize that healing work is more important than political or social activism.  However, I need both. 

The highlight of the Raging Granny year was being Parade Marshalls for the Calgary Pride Parade in September.  Here we are, in all our finest, at Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary.  I’m holding the rainbow whirligig I bought when Lois and I were at Padre Island in Texas four years ago.

I am amazed at how far gays and lesbians have come in the 36 years since I moved to Victoria.  As I danced along the street behind the lead car, which was playing disco music, I thought about Lynne and Bob.  They both told me before the parade they were proud of me.  I was so happy, and felt their thoughts were with me and all the others.  Lois was at the rally too, still causing a stir with her mullet haircut.   I got a great picture of her with a young scantily-clothed man who bounced up to her, insisting that she was gorgeous.  Too fun!

Speaking of politics, I have just read the acceptance speech by President Barack Obama upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.  His statements remind me that rebirth is possible everywhere.  Go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-acceptance-nobel-peace-prize .

 Jesus talked about rebirth 2000 years ago.  The United Church does today. Solstice celebrations  have honoured  rebirth for at least 5000 years.  Christmas is about new light, new awareness of priorities, renewed energy and amazing Love. 

Let the blessings come!

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I wrote the first draft of this ‘essay’ the evening of Nov. 8, after attending three Remembrance Day Services in 24 hours.  Why would I do that?  Well, the first was to accompany a new friend who wanted to be at St. Mary’s Cathedral for a special service honouring Nicola Goddard.  The second was my regular church service, on Sunday morning at Knox.  The third was a concert I agreed to usher at, held at Knox Church, the Sunday afternoon.  I’m one of the regular ushers for concerts at Knox and I’m rarely disappointed in any of the events I’ve ushered at.  So it just happened that way.  However, by Sunday evening I was so upset I had to write.  That’s what I do to cope with strong feelings.  My emotions inform me of my truth.  This particular  post has become a bit of a rant, which you will discover if you  read it to the end.  It sure felt good to write it!

I welcome your comments!

May blessings come,

Sharon

RESPONSES TO REMEMBRANCE DAY

November, 2009

                After three Remembrance Day services within 24 hours I was emotionally weak – so much intensity, so much sound and music, so much pain and grief.  Why do we do this?  What is the point of  re-hashing the wars of the last 100 years, when it often ends  in romanticism?  Yet this year there was a bit less romance  and nostalgia.  Our men and women in Afghanistan have made many of us more aware of the reality of war.  The articles about Arab-Israeli conflicts, the 20-year anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the shooting at Mt. Hood that killed 13 and wounded 30, all have combined in two days to inflict more pain and heartache in my soul.  It might be preferable to stay away and not experience, albeit vicariously, the grief and pain of war.

                At St. Mary’s Cathedral Sat., Nov. 7, over a thousand people gathered to donate to the Nicola Goddard Foundation, hear 2 choirs, a band and an orchestra, and watch a dance group.  Cum Vino Cantus started the program with a Simon & Garfunkel medley of Scarborough Fair and Sound of Silence.  Next they sang Prayer for the Children, composed by Kurt Bestor who returned to a camp to find all murdered, including the children.  The words were clear, the voices balanced and sweet, the sincerity heartfelt.  I wept.

                The Enchor Chamber Choir sang three songs, Dies Irae, There Will be Rest, and Wanting Memories.  While they sang, seven young women from  Corps Bara Dance Theatre interpreted the songs with fluid drama and poignant poses.   Next the Foothills Brass quintet played Air on a G String (by J.S. Bach).  The piece was well played, with the trumpet, French horn, trombone, tuba, and cornet balanced and harmonious.  Their music swelled.  The second piece, Adios Nonino, was composed by the grandson of a composer of tango music, as a dedication to his grand-father.  The rhythm was so smooth, so tango-ish, I swayed on the bench.  Next they played a wondrous arrangement of Simple Gifts by Gweneth Walker.  I was reminded of my visit to a Shaker Village 3-4 years ago, where a young black woman sang that song as part of a village tour. 

                During the intermission my friend  and I stood to admire the cathedral, which has undergone re-construction. The lighting and windows create a feeling of openness and opportunity, revealing  light in unexpected places.   The woman beside me  confided that she was there partly because her son-in-law is returning to Afghanistan soon for a third tour of duty.  He has a wife and  three children.  We promised her we would keep her son-in-law in our thoughts.

                After the intermission, the above groups combined with the University of Calgary Orchestra to present The Armed Man: a Mass for Peace, by Karl Jenkins.  It is a powerful work that presented  every possible emotion about war  through music and movement.  It started with The Armed Man, followed by a Call to Prayer, sung by Souheil Merhi  from the rear balcony.  His voice soared over the crowd like an ancient song calling across the desert.  I was awe-struck.  Next was Kyrie, featuring a young soloist, Graeme Climie, his clear soprano voice carrying throughout the cathedral.  By this time the Corps Bara Dance Theatre dancers were weaving their way through the aisles and stage, sometimes climbing on chairs, sometimes rolling and stretching across them.  These young women clearly demonstrated the frustration, fear and hopeless futility that women experience when men go to war.  In one of the numbers, a dancer slowly carried a young child, lifeless, to her final resting place.  That part really got my tears flowing!  I was so angry at the pointless loss of our  young people.  When will they ever learn?  Folk singers asked this in the 60s and I asked it again that night.  We have made no progress.  The remaining pieces were entitled Save Us From Bloody Men, Sanctus, Charge!, Agnus Dei, Now the Guns have Stopped, and Benedictus.  All the pieces were exquisitely sung, beautifully delivered.  Music speaks the language of the soul.  The whole evening was outstanding.  When it was over, no one really wanted to leave.  We milled around a little, shared a few more words with my neighbour grandmother, then strolled out. 

                Sunday morning I went to my church, Knox United in Calgary.  This was a Remembrance Day Service also.  The music was outstanding, some of it composed by our music director and organist, Frank McKitrick.  Our church band, Equinox, hooked us emotionally before the service started with their rendition of Peace Train.  After the processional,  two children laid a wreath, followed by a gentleman placing a second wreath.  Robert Lang played the Last Post and we stood in silence a short time.  The first hymn was God! As with Silent Hearts (to a familiar tune) and after the opening prayer we sang Through Ancient Walls, which I love.  We had a responsive reading (Psalm 85) and a passage from the Gospel of Thomas (47-48) where Jesus talked about choice.  Grant Dawson’s sermon was called Reimagining Peace, and he spoke well of what one person can do that makes a difference.  He reminded us of the butterfly effect.  Grant talked about knowing what you stand for and living your own truth.  He talked about the Berlin Wall, and peace within a family, a home, a community, a nation, and the world.  It starts with each one of us. 

                The choir sang two anthems, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace (arranged by Frank), and Remember, a new song composed by Frank.  It was lovely – melodic, soaring, hopeful, strong.  The choir was magnificent. During the offertory, two men read aloud the names of people on the memorial plaques, so we heard the names of members of Knox who served in two world wars.   We ended the service by singing new words to Onward Christian Soldiers, written by Don Smith.  The whole service was very emotional.  After the benediction, Frank and the choir offered another piece of music with trumpet and clarinet.  My heart was full; my spirit strained for expression.  I was overwhelmed.  

                Only two hours later I ushered at the Mt. Royal Kantorei concert for Remembrance Day.  I sat with a dear friend to watch/hear the concert.  Well!  This service was very powerful as the choir was so large.   After the processional and placing of the flags, we sang O Canada, and most of the audience joined in on the first verse.  The choir did a grand job singing the second verse.

                After three choral numbers and a short reading, the choir led the audience in singing wartime tunes, and that’s when the emotions really got to me.  Singing the songs I sang as a child, barely knowing anything about war, brought me so much pain that the tears ran down my cheeks. I could barely sing.  I thought about how the people at home kept up their spirits through song and tried to be so positive while their hearts were breaking.  I grieved for all the families at home, waiting and praying that their men would be safe.  The songs were: It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, We’ll meet again ( don’t know where, don’t know when); Pack up Your Troubles( in your old kit bag); Don’t sit under the apple tree; Lilli Marlene; There are smiles that make us happy, and (There’ll be bluebirds over) the white cliffs of Dover.  I was a mess by the end of those songs, with a discard pile of wet tissues beside me. 

                The next songs by Kantorei Chorus were  Oh Danny Boy, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, In Flanders Fields,  And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears, Amazing Grace (played by a bagpiper), In Remembrance, For the Fallen, Our God Our Help in Ages Past, the Kontakion (just glorious!), and finished with Let Peace then Still the Strife.   It was a marathon of emotion.  I was spent.  The music pushed all the feeling out of my physical body. I was limp.  Yet around me the air was tingling. I felt unbalanced. 

I got angry.  I was angry at the maleness of these three services.  Sure there were women singing in the choirs, but the whole focus in the past 24 hours was about men, and the suffering of men in war.  Well! If men weren’t so bloody war-minded, there might have been an end to war a long time ago.  It doesn’t seem to be the women who vote for war, or who put impossible unreasonable demands on others.  Violence seems the only answer men know.   It is time that men laid down, laid down their weapons, gave up posturing, shut their mouths, and listened.  They need to listen to women.  They need to listen to their mothers, their wives and their daughters. 

It is time for the male-centered culture of the past three millennia to dissipate and allow women’s energy to rise.  It is time.  Men are not capable of making decisions that are right for people, for our cities and communities, for our nations and our world.  Men have shown by their continued reliance on outdated thinking that they cannot reconcile differences.  They cannot find and maintain peaceful solutions to problems. 

Women can.  We can because we are mothers and we raise families.  We raise children and appreciate their uniqueness.  We love them equally and find ways to like the unlikable.  Even the men.  I don’t blame men totally, for they are but the product of their fathers’ teachings.  But those teachings no longer serve the present world.  It is time for a matriarchal culture to arise.  As women we must go within, discover our own strength, and stand up.  We must stand on our own feet, join hands with other women, work together for solutions, speak our truth, and lovingly guide others to peaceful paths.  It is time.  It is past time. 

I predict that in the next five years, there will be massive change unlike any other five years in the past century.  I sincerely hope and pray that by 2015 a matriarchal culture will guide the world.  We will guide institutions like the UN and WTO, world financial institutions, the G8 or G17 or whatever will be, and we will be doing this from a grassroots wellspring.   We will direct these through prayer, intuition, energy work, direct service, leadership, political office, campaigns, protests and policy meetings galore.  We will move our husbands and sons aside, tell them to sit down and take a break, and then we will clean up the mess.  We will assume our rightful place as the mothers of creation, and we will not be quiet.  We will not be passive.  We have had enough. 

Did you know that both the Dalai Lama and Stephen Lewis have stated publicly that it will be only through the intervention of women that our world can reverse its self-destructive habits?  This is not an original idea, as feminists have been saying this for the last 200 years.  However, for those readers who need to know what famous men think, these two inspiring men have gone on record that this must happen or our world will continue to down-spiral.

It’s time.  There must be an end to war.  There must be an end to violence.  It is time to stop what is wrong, and to do only what is right for our families.  Our priorities are clear.  We are women who love.  We will work lovingly and tirelessly to restore balance to our world and its people.  That is our only hope, and it is time.

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It’s been a month since I saw Velcrow Ripper’s documentary film ‘Fierce Light: Where Spirit Meets Action’.  Arusha here in Calgary sponsored a workshop following the film’s opening at the Plaza Theatre.  I attended the Sunday afternoon workshop with about 30 other activists.  I expected to meet a younger, more bizarre-looking man given the name, but Velcrow was middle-aged (do I dare say that?), bald and mellow.  Maybe he shaves his head; I wasn’t close enough to him to tell.  However, my 70-year-old skeptical outlook melted as he spoke, and I soon felt privileged to be in attendance.  It wasn’t just because of Velcrow, although his meditations were wonderful.  It was also because of the diverse people in attendance.  As well as discussion, Velcrow directed three exercises for 2 or 4 people. 

 The film itself is wonderful; if it comes to a theatre near you, GO.   Check out www.fiercelight.org to find out more about it.  The premise of the film is that effective activism springs from a spiritual source, which provides us with the strength to persevere even when the odds are formidable.  Without a spiritual base we suffer disillusionment and burnout, lacking the resources that could lead to success.  In the film are interviews with several spiritual leaders around the world, interspersed with interviews and progress about an inner city garden  threatened with demolition for the development of commercial buildings.  The people who tended the garden were inspiring; indeed, the whole film is  inspiring.

Our spirituality is the most intimate part of ourselves.  It is what keeps us going, what energizes us.  It is a never-ending  journey to  know one’s own spiritual centre.  What makes it easier  is a community of others  also discovering and living their own journey.  Everyone has their own purpose and their own fierce dream.  Interestingly, the spontaneous groupings demonstrated synchronicity  at work.  Our issues and dreams led us to find complementary listeners.  Thus, Spirit met Action within the workshop, easily and naturally.  Thank you, Velcrow.  May many blessings follow.

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A Living Wage in Calgary?


On Wednesday the Finance Committee of the City of Calgary met to discuss, among other things, three options for a living wage.  Members of the public were invited for their input, given five minutes each.   I went, advocating for Option 3, which was that the city would pay a living wage to employees of private businesses under contract to the city.  This would show real leadership, in my opinion.  Most of the other presenters agreed with Option 3, but at the end of the day, all the committee agreed to was Option 2.  This was  to research what it would cost the city to pay not only their permanent full-time employees a living wage of $12/hour,  but also their temporary part-time employees (code 81/86).  As I said at the close of my presentation, Option 1 showed maintenance, Option 2 shows responsibility, and Option 3 shows leadership.  Apparently our aldermen aren’t willing to risk raising the bar, even though these recommendations have been in the works since 1993.   Still conservative and money-conscious, they don’t get the big picture.  Paying a living wage would eventually result in better health and stability for Calgarians, too many of whom work at minimum paying jobs, not even earning enough to rent a place to live.  As a city, we can do much better.  The number of working poor who use homeless shelters in Calgary is appalling.  At the committee meeting,  I was backed up by Calgary Raging Grannies, as we sang our opinion about living wage.  We call it “The Gap’s Too Wide”.  Chair of the committee, Alderman Ric McIvor, tried to stop us from singing, but we sang all 4 verses despite his miked protestations.  Later, the clerk came to get a copy of our song and our names, to add to the proceedings.   This is what we sang:

THE GAP’S TOO WIDE
(tune: The River is Wide) {for Living Wage gig March 11/09} L26b
The gap’s too wide from rich to poor
In Calgary, this is for sure.
Will we ignore what we can do?
It may be up to me and you.

This city has its millionaires
Whose money grows with grand affairs.
A living wage will spread the wealth.
And help our city’s general health.

Will Calgary reach out to give
A plan to those who simply live
The best they can with so little dough?
The youth are suffering, you know.

For if we fail to make a start
Then we deny hope in their heart.
Will Calgary now see the light
That living wages are what’s right?

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Recognizing our Governor General


Tune:  It Takes A Woman

Now it will take a woman, a dainty woman, a sweetheart, a glamour mom too!

It is our Governor General who will take the reins now,

and tell the old boys what to do!

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