I am sitting in my fav Edmonton restaurant – noorish; I am drinking a ‘noorishment dream’ elixir, filled with nettles, holy basil and stress tincture. The restaurant is quiet, the music is tribal; herbs, and Superfoods surround me, and I would say that I am in bliss. I am content.
Today I am trying to capture stillness as my soul is still trying to process the last week of my life.
Yesterday I drove 6.5 hours from Cranbrook to Edmonton – from St. Eugune’s resort to Shane’s house; in that time, as I took in the breathtaking surroundings of Mother Earth's grand scenery I worked diligently on processing the events that took place last week, and I can only come up with 2 words that truly reflect how I feel:
Last week I was in one of the most unique resorts I have ever been in, facilitating the coolest work I have ever had the opportunity to do. I was leading a weeklong wellness retreat for 50 UFCW Local 401 Employees. Facilitating, teaching, and public speaking are a core dream I have always wanted to do. People continue to ask me how I got into this gig, and truly the best answer I can come up with is this:
I stayed so unwaveringly true to my soul’s paths, and hearts yearning that this was just the inevitable place that he universe needed me to land. I feel a very deep sense of purpose with the work that I do, for me it is not a “j.o.b”, but it is my souls calling – it is the reason I walk on this earth. I feel as though I am a vessel for this work, and that there is a greater cause at play. A lot of my life has reflected the beet I often talk about, a lot of the growth in my life has been happening under the surface, in the darkness, amongst the void. A lot of it felt very unclear to me, a lot of it was based on a sheer whisper in my ear from what sounded like my heart…. A lot of my choices have been made on faith, on passion, and on risk. It’s humbling to me to see the sprouts of my life’s work coming through the ground, making an impact and starting to flourish.
I feel deeply grateful to be in the position that I am. At the retreat, I had the participants get outside for a meditation walk – seeing 50 people roam Mother Earth (some even walked barefoot!) brought such fulfillment to my soul…. 50 people got a chance to just BE for 20 min, they got a chance to connect to earth, to soul, to each other. Not a lot of things in life are more healing than that.
The real peculiar part of the energy of the week for me came in the location that we stayed at. We were right outside of Cranbrook, down a road marked as “Mission”. The sun was blazing hot each day, the sky was stunningly blue; the mountain ranges whispered stillness and peace, and the smell of lilacs was an all-consuming sensation. The resort backs onto a beautiful golf course, surrounded by tall dark green evergreens. The walkway into the hotel was grand, and on each side of the sidewalk was perfectly groomed grass, tall trees and flowers. The actual hotel was a stunning old brick building with live green vines taking over the whole front of the building. But there was something very energetically off about it to me. It was welcoming, but unsettling. It was very soul wrenching for me.
I quickly found out that this stunning old building was an old residential school, and suddenly this mix of heavy and unsettling energy made sense to me.
Residential Schools – wow. How on earth could we as human beings have ever, EVER thought about treating one another with such terror and disrespect? I am continually horrified with the behaviour of humans, it is a deep struggle I have always battled with. This topic, for some reason, really hits a sore spot in my soul. I know in history there are far too many examples of human repression; but these schools really, really hurt my heart. It is important to emphasize that for some, the experience was a good one – but for many it was not.
First Nations children were separated from their families, were not allowed to speak their own language or practice their own culture. It was mandatory that these children attend the schools, and punishment included imprisonment for parents that did not oblige by the rules. Under the Indian act they were considered wards of the state, and were subject to whatever treatment was deemed necessary by the people in charge at the schools (teachers, nuns, priests etc). Of 150 000 children that attended the 139 residential schools that spread all across Canada from 1831-1996 there are an estimated 80 000 survivors
The 1st morning we were there, an elder came and blessed our conference. He was a student at the school, and he still lives there. I will repeat that: This man - he still lives in this school that brought him, and other First Nations children such pain. How? How can he still be there? How could this be turned into something so beautiful? The elder (out of respect, I am leaving his name out, but you can likely find out more information on him and other survivors at the St. Eugene website) told us stories about the hardship and his desire to commit suicide through alcohol; he sobered up 7 years ago and has been diligent in his healing work, and in the healing work of the community.
This is where I think the story gets really divine….
Today, through partnerships with the Ktunaxa Nation, Chippewas of Rama First Nation and Samson Cree Nation have decided that rather than burn this building to the ground, or hate the building for what has happened in the past, they would focus on moving forward. Instead of burying the past, instead of ignoring it, they have decided to turn pain into healing. Absolutely nothing is more courageous to me than this act. Facing our pains, leaning into our darkness and searching for the light is an evolved thing to do. I admire this act so deeply.
This is a very real part of Canadian history, a part that we need to own, and a part that we need to work on healing together, .....as a tribe.
On my last night at the hotel, we went on a tour of the building with another elder who also went to school there and still lives there. He was a man who was clearly doing his work, and leading the way in healing. I was so impressed with his stories, his persona, his joy, his ability to share, and his willingness to heal. He was so raw, and so real. I felt I was in the presence of wisdom, of a man who is on this earth doing exactly what is soul is meant to do. On the tour I found out that the room I was in was the old girls dorm. The girls used to get locked in there at night by the nuns so they could not escape – if there was a fire, the girls would have been trapped. My heart just aches, and I can not find it in my soul or my brain to comprehend this sort of treatment. I don’t get it on a human level, I do not understand how we do it to animals, and I do not understand how we can have such dark hearts to be able to hurt Mother Earth the way we do. To make this even more mind boggling, you should know that the last residential school was shut in 1996; that was only 19 years ago for heavens sakes!!!
Perhaps I am out of line or politically incorrect, but in the heart of authenticity and speaking my truth – I think this is absolutely barbaric that this happened, we know better than this. It is disappointing. When will we lean in together, as a whole, as a human race and see that we all have something to unique to bring to the table? When will we end this insane judgment that we have towards one another? When will we hold hands and work on healing seeing that we are all the same in our amazing uniqness and different walks of life – we all have our struggles, and our hardships. We all have hopes and dreams and hearts and feelings.
We are humans, and we have so much to learn from one another.
It was both hard, and humbling to be in that building. It was humbling to be in such a sacred space of conscious healing working with a group of people on self-care. It was overwhelming to see the resiliency of the human spirit. It touched my heart to hear the respect that these elders showed to Mother Earth, and to the Creator. It was amazing to see humans be raw and open up there hearts to share their pain, their healing and their stories. It was also humbling to see the Local 401 employees embracing their own healing, and evolution. It was amazing to witness a group of indivuals that fight for peoples rights on a daily basis take the time and space to learn self-care, to lay on the grass, under the sun, amongst the wise trees and write out lists of gratitude. I was filled with gratitude to put on a Tabata timer and push people to sweat, or to explore and discuss the world of Omega 3 EFA’s, GMO’s and healthy dining out tips.
I suppose, one of the biggest take always from that week was this:
We are all on a healing journey, we are all trying to figure out how we can care for our sprits, and show up in life the best way we know how. Im honoured to be surrounded by people that deeply care about one another, that view this life as a chance to make this world a better place.
I think the Creator would be very proud of the people that gathered together over the past week, I certainly know that I am.
P.S… I finished this blog post, and found this posted on my FB wall – the timing is too divine, so I am sharing this for you to read:
"When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force. Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others. Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals. For love we live and die. Love is God and God is Love.
This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation. If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it's too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! ".