Campbell River Photos

I am now back in Vancouver.  Hanna and I took the Island Link Bus from Campbell River to Nanaimo together this morning as she was going down to visit her dad for a few days. It was nice traveling with her and getting a crash course on the iPod Touch.  Looks like I may buy hers from her if she gets a new iPhone.  So she was basically my personal DJ for the whole trip.  She had one ear bud and I had the other and she’d surprise me with songs.  When she was about 9, I used to drive her and Paige to school in the mornings.  In the car, we’d listen to all sorts of things and sing along.  She played a song we used to listen to off the album SO by Peter Gabriel and shot me a smile.  I can’t believe that she remembered that!!

Paige was away at sleepovers for much of my visit so I didn’t get any pics of her.  Yesterday, Hanna was off work so we spent the day together at the beach and at Willow Point Market.  She is studying photography and has a really great eye.  The photos that follow are taken by her.

No sneaking up on that sharp cookie of a godchild!  She caught me in the act.

Scary BIG barbie (that’s a full size dresser she’s all splayed out on) Hanna and I found at an antique shop. We left wondering who would buy such a thing.  It reminded me of a horror movie my older cousins made me watch when I was in primary school (by sitting down on me so I couldn’t escape) called DOLLS.  It was about dolls that came to life and killed people.  I still have an fear of any ceramic dolls whose eyes move or are eerily frozen in a cheery expression.  No thrillers or horror shows for this girl!

Later that night, Hanna, Doris and I went out to dinner at the local pub.

I attacked Doris with a kiss when she least expected it!

Chillin’ in Campbell River

I am here in smokin’ hot Campbell River at the moment visiting Doris and my goddaughters.  It’s been great catching up and spending time lovin’ them up as I don’t get to see them as much as I used to when we all lived in Vancouver.  Before dinner last night, Paige and I went down to the pond and cut some wildflowers to make arrangements to decorate the table.  I really enjoyed doing this creative project with her and it was nice to chat with her about ideas as we walked.  The only flowers in these arrangements that came from her garden were the hibiscus:

When Doris saw my travel worn feet, she offered me a pedicure!  Needless to say, I decided not to post a before picture but here is the after:

I gratefully accepted.  Thanks, Doris.

After breakfast and yakking at the table for two hours over cups of coffee, Doris and I were finally ready to head down to Salmon Point Beach at 1 pm.  I read my book (THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE- which I highly recommend!) and she read her “trashy mags” as she calls them.  We talked more and wandered around taking pictures.  Here are some of them that I took:


Chillaxing at Salmon Point

Doris hiding her translucent Austrian skin under the shade of an umbrella.

We found this huge uprooted tree on the beach and I snapped this picture when Doris went over to check it out.

This photo was taken on Gabriola of my friend Ann.  She might be a bit embarrassed that I am saying this but I just have to let her know how much of an inspiration she is to me.  We honour her as the grandmother in our group.  She is in her 70s and I hope that when I am her age, I am as creative, alive, curious, and playful as she is.

You rock the party!

I love you!

Scotland Photos from Kyoto

Thank you, Myong Hee Kim for sending your photos of Findhorn to me.  It was truly an honour getting to know you in all your elegance and grace.

Here she is on the left along with Monica, Barbara, and Thomas

When we went to do Earthshare and work in the fields, I met a cat who I immediately fell in love with that lived there with 3 legs.  I was amazed at how this cat motored around!  What an miracle he is.  One of the farmers reflected that if that would have happened to a human, that human would probably felt sorry for himself and gone into despair.  How much animals have to teach us about losing our self-pity and really living life with gratitude for what we DO have.

A bit muddy and happy after working in the fields weeding carrot and onion rows.

And my fellow comrades…

Our last day at Findhorn.  Myong Hee catches me taking a picture.

Brown and Lumpy: A Story

I thought some of you might enjoy this story written by then my 10 year old goddaughter some years ago.  It was her final project for a unit on the Digestive System.  She reminded me of this story at breakfast this morning and gave her permission for me to post it here.   It still makes me laugh when I read it.



Brown and lumpy!!!!

I’m now in a brown, lumpy, slimy case and since you’re all here I’ll tell you my story. It all stared two days ago, I was just telling my wife her afro is starting to grow mold and we should probably start seeing other people , when a human opened the fridge and grabbed me and a couple other’s. I looked at my best friend bill, he looked almost as excited as I was, we shared the same dream, bill and I. I was put in a bowl. I always wanted to see the outside world, the big vast outside world. Minutes later I was picked up and dipped in to white chunky stuff; this must be a spa of some sort. The other’s started to scream, I wondered why. Then all of a sudden I felt a slight cold rush on my head … I looked up …… My Afro it’s gone!! Then I was dipped again and shoved into this cave with huge white stone’s. All of a sudden the stone’s started to grind me to death. I wanted to scream but my mouth was by afro. From then on I was moved to a long tube. I could feel the peristalsis move what was left of my body. I was started to relax but then the tube came to a end and “ Slap’’ I hit the liquid and started to melt. I looked to my side and saw my buddy bill so I yelled “Hi bill’’ (I had found my mouth by than.) Bill just stared at me, a rumble started and up went bill!! Guess bill just didn’t fit in. well finally after 3 hours, I got passed though this tube! (I think it’s was about 7 and a half meters long). After that I started to grow brown and lumpy. Then I was passed to L.I (large intestine.) I was just passing to the rectum, when I heard my wife’s retched scream. So I looked back and villi caught my eye and I blacked out. When I woke up I was brown and lumpy and holding my wife’s moldy afro

The end!!???
By Paige

On the move…

Well, I’ve been home for a week and my traveling shoes are back on.  I’ve spent today doing laundry and packing my stuff; I will be on Gabriola Island for a week for our annual Rainbow Bridge Ceremonial Society meeting and Earth Dance.

To find out more about the Rainbow Bridge Ceremonial Society go to:

For those of you who are Shamanic Practitioners, I went to watch a fascinating movie last night called INCEPTION.  Although this is a fictional story, I found it really interesting how many parallels there were with shamanism in the movie.  My roommate was telling me that it took the writer a decade to write this movie and it is clear that this person understands a lot about psychology and has read a lot about dream states. Check out the trailer:

Then I am off to Campbell River to visit Doris and my goddaughters, Hanna and Paige. I’ll take a picture of Doris during our visit and I when I return and post it here.

Hanna and I in May

Paige (Summer 2008)

Speaking of Doris, here is a piece I wrote a while back in reflection of my friendship with her and how it has evolved and changed over time:

Living Outside a Container

Recently, I suggested to a new friend that we make a pact to plant our roots in the ground instead of in a pot so that we can continue to grow alongside each other throughout our lives.  In every long-term relationship, there are defining moments: moves, metaphorical deaths and births, shifting ground, standstills.  Moments where I’ve wondered if this is it- the end of the road for us.   I’ve had these with my friend, Doris.  For some friendships or love relationships, it has been the end.  They lose their willingness to keep growing alongside me.  They want me to stay in that pot that’s much too small for me.  I’m easier to track and figure out that way.  But like every plant that stays in a pot too long, there’s a price to pay.  Her growth is often pruned back to accommodate life in the container.  Roots are cramped, water and other nourishment is absorbed too quickly and multiple feedings are necessary just to make sure the plant doesn’t die.  Such a plant does not thrive; it is on life support.  Every good gardener knows this simple fact and any gardener who truly cares for her plants makes sure that the container she’s in allows her roots to grow and spread.  Of course, in the natural world, there are no containers.  Plants grow in the ground, on trees, on stones, and even in the cracks of cement!  Plants are tenacious and so am I.  I need room to grow and spread out to live out my full potential in the way that nature (not humans) intended. The benefit to being in the ground is that such plants are always well provided for by the Earth.  They are watered, nourished, and fed regularly.  There’s trust there that these will be given.  And even in droughts and storms when plants suffer, nature has provided usefulness to their passing.  They are compost for new life to emerge.  I wanna be like a plant- giving beauty and life just because I can.  I wanna trust those natural cycles and allow the old wood to sluff off of me so that the new shoots can grow and flourish.  I can’t do that if I am worried about what others think or if I am trying to make them feel comfy with my changes.  Doris supports me in the end even if we have rough patches (which we have).  We made a pact to continue to support each other through new growth.  She and I planted our roots in the ground and here we are 14 years later still growing alongside each other.  Have we both changed?  Immensely in some ways.  What has never changed is our love and affection for each other.  I know she’ll always support me in the end.  I don’t have to prune my growth around her.  I am grateful for that.  I am grateful for her.

Wildflowers growing on Rock Wall

(Stornoway Pier, Scotland)

Druidic Prayer

Thanks, Ken from Edinburgh for teaching me this lovely and ancient prayer:

We swear by peace and love to stand

Heart to heart and hand in hand

Mark, Oh Spirit, and hear us now

Affirming this our sacred vow.

Unreasonable Love

A few years ago, a mom I work with told me about Scott Noelle.  Every day, I get little messages about parenting from his site that are always perfect guidance for the day.  He often has really ingenious strategies for staying in our hearts and he seems to understand how hard parents are on themselves and how to get them to lighten up.  Now, if you don’t have kids, his column is still great.  I often ask myself: how can I parent MYSELF better and use his wisdom to help me do that?  Here’s today’s message:

Hugs (Findhorn Garden)

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle

:: Unreasonable Love ::

To love *unconditionally* means you don’t need a
“reason” to justify loving. In other words…

1. When you have a good reason to love, then you love.
2. When you have a good reason *not* to love, you love anyway.
3. You love for no reason at all.

In our conditional-loving culture, “reasonable” loving
is the norm. So today let’s practice the second and
third types of loving…

Whenever your child behaves in a way that would
conventionally be seen as an excuse to love *less*,
be a rebel and love *more*! That doesn’t mean praising
behavior you dislike, it means responding with your
heart wide open.

Also, draw a heart on the back of your hand (or create
any easily noticeable cue), and whenever you notice
it, say “I love you” or offer your child a hug, a
loving gaze, or any loving gesture.

How does it feel to love “just because”? Are you
willing to love *yourself* “unreasonably” too? 🙂

More Scotland Photos

I thought I’d add more photos.  These first few are of my roommates at Findhorn.

Sophie Coyle (Ireland) loving me up

Ever graceful and inspiring Maho from Japan

Maho and I walk through the forest with Flora behind us

Alisa took this one of me as I was returning from the sand dunes in the morning.

Alisa and Sophie at the beach

Flora (from Hungary) in the funkiest skirt I’ve seen

I have one of her butt too but thought I’d post the PC version 🙂

The Green Man sculpture outside Cluny (Findhorn Foundation)

Me on Scotrail

Ullapool house window

Scottish Breakfast (pot of tea with milk, oat cakes, sausage, bacon, and black pudding)

Iona wild flowers

My sanctuary flower arrangement

Mosaic detail at Findhorn

Angus Clan Lineage Stone (Aberlemno)

Me leaning up against Angus lineage stone

Me at Carloway Broch

Edinburgh Seagulls

Edinburgh Castle (cannon with view to the city below)

Remember Braveheart?  This guy is a William Wallace impersonator

(and a history teacher at a local school in Edinburgh)

The sword is HEAVY, by the way.  He stood back while I swung it 🙂

PS.  That’s not me in the picture 🙂