Tuesday, March 27, 2007



Is it really relevant where you learn what you need to learn, as long as you're learning it?

I have post-secondary education, but not a Masters, or a PhD, nor am I Doctor so and so....but I have learned much in my short stint on this earth, and continue to do so. Until recently, I thought my using the term "Earth School" was my own, but it turns our Gary Zukav uses it in his highly acclaimed best-selling self-love books "Seat of The Soul" and "Soul Stories"....I've only just read some of Mr. Zukav's work, so "Earth School" is not a phrase I had heard anyone else use. So, thanks Mr. Zukav for bringing the phrase to the minds of millions...it's a good one to know....The "Earth School" is this place that we are, where we are born, where we grow, where we impact and share ourselves (in various ways) with those we encounter, enter into intimate moments with, give birth to, lose and love with.

There is no greater teacher than this Earth we are on, or the moments shared upon it, or the people we share those moments with.

Classroom teaching is one method of learning...being spoon-fed what to read (and indeed HOW to read, HOW to count, HOW to multiply, HOW to deduce; HOW to behave, etc.,) how to go about solving problems, told what to contemplate and hopefully, if you've one or two great teachers, you will have been gently led back to yourself so that you learn the necessary skills you need to learn in order to keep on learning.

Our experiences on Earth, are also great teachers. Every encounter is an opportunity to learn something about yourself, how you affect others and what it is you have to offer this Earth and those inhabiting it.

I don't understand people that think that the acquisition of a piece of paper teaches you about living. Or that somehow OWNING a piece of paper, which means you have completed a set of tasks, a pre-assigned set of readings and have written about those readings, and been TESTED on those readings, and that you've paid for the privilege, means that you (if you own this paper), are somehow better than the person standing next to you; the person you are married to; the person next door; your co-worker; your brother or sister, etc.?

(Having said that...I'd like to know that a Surgeon cutting into me has completed those pre-assigned tasks in order that I am confident that they know WHERE and WHAT they are cutting into when they slice me open...but surgery is an extreme life situation, and is not necessarily about learning about living. Medical School still has a lot to teach doctors about bedside manners.)

I went to University, in Canada, AND I emerged from that experience a different person than when I went into the classroom, the theatre and the labs. But I do not think, nor do I believe that I am a better person than the man who fixes my boat (which, by the way, I do not own or have) with a Grade 8 education. This man, with oil encrusted into the lines of his hands & with nails blackened by the grease he works with daily, has handled the machines, the vessels of transport and leisure, for hundreds (maybe even thousands in his lifetime) of people and...for every boat he works on, he has a human experience with those people that trust him with their water vessel and the lives that they put into it. Perhaps these people have discussed the state of politics in the world today with him, or him with them. Or perhaps he has seen too many oil spills destroying the fish habitat and water quality in the thousands of lakes that surround his livelihood and he's doing something about that in his spare time? IF this man is AWARE of himself and grows in personal ways with each experience he has, with each day that passes....he is a better man than many. I am not, nor is anyone else, a BETTER person than this man because of WHERE I've done my learning. If this man is learning about life, about who he is, about how he effects others and how he may work for the betterment of living, then he is the better man than I. Or vice versa.

When I had my first child, I ran a daycare for a brief stint. A stay-home, unlicensed daycare. I got up at 5:30 am and my first children arrived at 5:45 am. I worked until 6pm, or until the last parents finished having tea with me and rolled on home. I worked, I made a good home for my child and I, and I did so by caring for other people's children. I hated myself for this choice.

At the time, I thought this work was beneath me. I thought I was lessening myself, my status in life, by opting to stay home with my child and raise that child in the ways I thought best. I did not fully understand, at that time, the gift of this time with my child, and with these other children. I was in the Earth School...I was learning to be a mother and, at the time, hyper-critical of myself doing so. It wasn't about money. Most days, I made $200/day and stayed home. I hated myself for staying home...even though, this is what I wanted to do and felt was right. I felt an external pressure, from an undefined source, to be elsewhere.

I only stayed in business about 8 months. The sense that I needed to be OUT in THE REAL WORLD making a REAL LIVING, was too immense for me. I sold my house, moved in with my parents for a while and went OUT to work, my mother looking after my child, the whole time sensing that my sense of SELF was to be had OUT THERE in the workforce.

How wrong I was.

All day, I ached for my child. All day, I pushed paper, answered phones, ran the lives of important men and wasn't with my child. I felt foolish for selling everything we had, only to find out that THIS was not living. I had been so sure that the answer was out there in the business world, waiting for me to find it. I guess it was...but not in the way that I had assumed I would find it.

I had assumed something magical would happen. That, from an external source, something (undefinable) would somehow define me as a worthy person.

Sometimes we learn best what we need, what we truly have, by NOT having it.

The "Earth School" taught me the value of Me; of time with a child, my child; of valuing what mother's do, what I do; of valuing what I do as a mother as a teacher to this child, a life-coach to this child and a mentor to this child. There is no course, no classroom, no degree or diploma in the world that can offer this lesson.

You won't learn about love (whether it's loving yourself or others) in the classroom.

You won't learn about giving in the classroom.

You won't learn about WHO you are, in the classroom.

You won't learn about what you need to do on this Earth, in the classroom.

Not unless you have a teacher that belongs to the "Earth School" and is there, in that classroom, to help you realize your potential, your gift to this world and the love that is in you to give.

Many of our best teachers are right here in our backyards. Your boat mechanic, your plumber, your wife, your child, your grandparents, your neighbour, your friend, or that friend you have yet to meet.

It's important that we not discount the experiences we have with one another. We have much to learn from one another. And so much more to share.

When we wake up to these experiences, even if we don't like how they are coated or how they manifest, we are learning. We learn what we need to learn and that...THAT is learning.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Each of us are born uniquely, to (usually) two unique parents (at some point in our conception there were two) who have been raised, and will raise each of us, in their own unique way. Patterns of nurture that are uniquely handed down one generation to the next are the beginnings, the formation and the foundation of our own unique cultural, social, emotional, political, psychological, sexual and spiritual encoding. We are the products of our environments.

So...why should we be surprised that with this unique set of coding we find ourselves living in a world FULL of individuals born of different social and religious beliefs? How is it that some people think that they have the right to enforce their own codes; their own set of beliefs on others? How is it that we can be tolerant of some spiritual practices and beliefs and not of others? How is it that some people just think they are RIGHT?

There is no being RIGHT with something as subjective as upbringing; in social or spiritual encoding.

This past week, CBC (Canada's Broadcasting Company...our national reporting system) aired a story about how most Canadian Universities are intolerant of Muslim beliefs or practices. Their story outlined the results of interviews made across the country and the results were this:

1. Most Muslim students felt that most social activities held on campus had beer/alcohol at them thus creating a situation where they were unable to attend.
2. The academic calendar/exam schedules did not take into account sacred Muslim holidays and celebrations.
3. Things like swimming....only one University in this country allows 1 hour of women-only swimming to accommodate Muslim females' code of modesty.
4. Generally, there is an intolerance for Muslims in Canadian Universities

When I heard this report, part of me wanted to stand up and say, "WHAT!?!?! How is it that I live in this civilized nation that does not support this minority?" Then the other part of me thought, "So...we should take into consideration Kwanzaa and most African celebrations and rituals? Aboriginal festivals/holidays and tradtions? Chinese New Year and other Chinese holidays? Or the regional festivals/traditions that mean something to Japanese cultures?" There's no smoking inside any public buildings in this country....what will become of smudging, which is sacred and vital to the spiritual and living practices our First Nation's people? What about the Pagan's who seriously want to jump around camp fires naked (and our social rules don't allow for it?)...what about the millions of other practices, holidays, beliefs that I'm not even coming close to addressing?

I found myself thinking...WHY is our entire calendar year based on the Judeo-Christian holiday's fused with the Roman calendar?...oh right...the Christians went out as Missionaries, carried out Holy Wars, won all those bloody wars (years ago) and established themselves as the powerhouse. Hmmmm...isn't this what's going on in the Middle East right now too (and has been for several decades)? Haven't they ALL (Christians, Muslims, Tsuti's, Samurai's, Korean Armies, etc, etc, oh and etc.) pillaged and plundered and beat people into subservience...that's how you win, apparently. At the end of the day, we all have beating hearts, we all have oxygenated red blood pumping through our bodies, we all cry, we all feel pride, we all get scared, we all need each other, we all have brains....So why do we pummel one another? Do we do things 'properly'?

What's right? Does 'properly' mean allowing for Christmas (which is actually a neo-pagan/Christian holiday and has very little to do with Christ) but not Ramadan or O Bon Dori, etc. ?

It's difficult to stand up and BE right about spiritual, ethical or social (even political) standards because those standards are as individual to us as are the 64 million chances of your DNA lining up the exact way that they do in order to create YOU, as you are.

Perhaps Universities need to cease with observing any and all spiritual and religious holidays and perhaps students need to inform their individual Professors of the time that they will need off from their studies, exams, projects and papers in order to facilitate their spiritual lives.

Or perhaps, we should implement ALL spiritual holidays and practices into the academic calendar year... and hope that there is still a day or two left for learning something, which last time I looked, is the reason we pay those exorbitant academic fees.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Body Image

Mesomorph, Ectomorph, Endomorph...just some of the glorious shapes and sizes our bodies come in. Apparently this affects you if you are a woman. Men, are either buff or flubby. Hmmm, or more joyously...don't care.

I'm sitting here about to dribble on about how important it is to LOVE YOURSELF, just the way you are...but that's not true. Unless you are walking and waking perfection. I've yet to meet that. (Isn't this all some kind of journey?)

I can't speak for men, so I won't.

Women...are CONSUMED with how they look. It's hard not to be...even if you're a tree-huggin', free-spirited, birkenstock-wearin', animal-lovin', organic-livin' type...there is an insidious underside to each of us estrogen-filled Beings...does my hair look ok? Omg...WHEN did that pimple show up? Do I look ok in this?

Even in a yoga class, where you're supposed to be focused on your breathing, your Self and your Awareness...the sideways glances are there...checking out the girl in the funky capri-length flared yoga pants, hmmmm, no panty-lines either (must be wearing a thong...or nothing) and she's dressed, holistically, in WHITE. Dang, I can't quite get that downward facing dog stretch all the way.........ugh, SHE can. Of course she can...she's in WHITE.

I aspire to deep breathing, Self-Awareness and WHITE.

I've tried not caring how I look. I've tried not wearing the little bit of makeup that I do (black mascara and lipstick...ok...I wear blood-drenched red lipsticks usually...but that's it!) and I'm met with, "OMG...are you ok? You look ill." Doesn't matter if I'm at the office, at a Parent Council meeting, on a Fire Call, running an event with the Mayor, or slopping ice-cream at the community centre for an event...it MATTERS how I look.

There's a LOT to be learned from tv shows like "What Not To Wear"...seriously great show. My husband started dressing me after he found the perfect episode that described my particular condition: The girl that buys clothes the next size down so that she can work her way into them and then continually complains that she has NOTHING to wear. She has (I have): small shoulders, striking neckline, small waist, ass-bomb behind (hey, kids'll do that to a girl), large thighs, small boobies that get loads of help from La Senza's amazing undergarments...a good bra is worth the money. In the right proportions, all of these imperfections go together pretty good...they call that curvy....or Ectomorph.

Whatever my husband learned from "What Not To Wear" works...he picks my shirts...I get complimented. Hmmm, and feel great...despite ANYTHING I might want to say about not needing external approval for a sense of Self-worth, the ugly truth is...we do. Which is why this consumer society we live in WORKS...it creates a sense of self-worth by endorsing whatever products it is that you will have, consume and wear that create, generate and exploit that external approval. We feel great when we are noticed. And in our raw state...we aren't noticed. So, we need these products. Or so we're told we do...and then start telling each other that we do.

Whenever I wear anything that I've chosen for myself...it's not worth mentioning...there's no external approval.

I hear you saying...omg...I can't believe you're THAT shallow!?!?!?

I'm not.

I AM brutally aware though that there are favourable responses to my body type and how I dress it and what make-up I'm wearing. Sometimes I choose to care. Sometimes I don't. When I don't though...it's not long before I start feeling really cruddy about mySelf and I find myself needing to read some Self-Love books, meditate more, take Warrior pose one stretch yonder, BREATHE, and remind myself that my purpose on this Earth is infinitely more important than the fabrics dressing mySelf or the paint I slap on it.

Are we all this shallow?

Let's put it this way...advertising works for a reason.