change

Change is on the Wind…

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Something has happened to me. I don’t know what caused it, but today, when I stepped out of the house for the first time and felt the wind, I thought

Isn’t that a nice breeze… just the sort to “blow the stink off ya.”

Whoa. It was -18 C out (about 0 F)!* This nice breeze is WINDCHILL to everyone else in the world! Yikes. What has happened to me?

I’m turning into that lady from Cambridge Bay who — when everyone else is flipping their collars up, re-wrapping their scarves and pulling their toques on tighter — walks down the street with the wind gloriously blowing through her long black hair. It’s like she’s at a Hawaiian beach, she’s enjoying it that much. Any sort of wind we might get is like a gentle breeze compared to what she’s used to. For a split second, that was ME!!

Now, every Canadian knows how +5 C in fall feels so cold, and +5 C in spring is definitely T-shirt weather. It’s all relative — it all depends what we are used to! Once you get used to -40 C, as I have in the month, then -10 C with a breeze is still pretty pleasant. I figure with that breeze, it was about -25 C with the windchill — still a good deal warmer than -40 C. It’s all relative, and when the changes are incremental, it’s not so bad. We gradually inched our way down to -43 C a few weeks ago, and yes, it was bleepin’ cold, but we were more or less able to function.

toomanycheezies

So it seems to me, we can get through huge changes as long as they are fairly gradual and we are able to adapt. I wonder if I could apply this personally, to a change I want to try and make in my life. Could I make it gradual enough that it is fairly easy? Could I stop eating cheezies and other junk food by gradually eating less and less until I don’t eat any at all? Could I gradually change my life and my relationships by defining what I wish they were like and then gradually changing the way I act towards people around me?

The Big Leap cover
I think it just might work. If it’s gradual enough, it won’t even be painful or difficult. So rather than worrying about how something in my life isn’t working very well, I could take small steps to make my life a little bit better. If there is a “big leap” that must take place — like selling our house and moving — preparation helps to make the leap possible. I know that taking a big leap is an amazing way to change, but it can be really hard to do. I also know that we are always changing, so I ask myself

Am I becoming a kinder version of myself? Was I sweeter today than I was yesterday? Did I listen better and try to understand those around me? Is my integrity increasing; is my procrastination decreasing? Am I appreciating the good things around me more each day?

In a year’s time, I wonder how different I would be?

Our change is gradual, sequential and inevitable. It’s just a question of what we’re changing into. Among other things, I am turning into a real, serious northerner. For those especially cold days, I have ear flaps on my hat, but for the other days, I’ll let the wind blow through my hair a little.

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Big Time Activism

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There have always been people who stand out on their own, who buck “the man,” who stand up to authority. Well, perhaps that isn’t entirely true — there may have been a time in the distant past when people were so focused on mere survival, they didn’t have the luxury to protest, or when “the authority” was so much more powerful than the common man, it was too dangerous or difficult to stand up to it.

But in the 70’s large scale activism really got going! Rallies and protests became common and they have been going on in one form or another ever since. Most of the time, their goal is to gain awareness of the problem by getting lots of media attention.

There is a slight problem with these type of protests, however.

We will do things in large groups we would never do individually, because, as everybody knows, there is strength in numbers. But that strength is artificial; it is bolstering our egos; it is the courage of the masses. To be truly courageous, stand on your own. Take action when no one else is. Do something in complete privacy or anonymity to make a difference.

Let’s take the Occupy movement as an example. Why not do something personally to take some power away from Wall Street? Stop investing in the money system. Stop giving it power. Stop treating rich people differently. Don’t do things just for the money.
Whatever cause you believe in, can you figure out a way to single-handedly make a real difference? Not just get lots of media attention. Not just meet a whole bunch of like-minded people — those things are fine, but they often, unfortunately, do not actually make a difference. Could you instead work towards becoming an elected official, or upper management in a corporation, and get into a position where you really can make changes in laws and policies? People in those positions sometimes do not even use the power they have, and they probably didn’t get into those positions to be activists… but what if some did? What if you stood up as a leader?

What sorts of changes could you make privately or anonymously? Could you just silently stop buying products you don’t agree with? What about treating people differently — personally being the change you want to see in the world.

Or, what if you made a personal change but perhaps mentioned it on Facebook? Doing so could call others to take their own, personal action. It isn’t private or anonymous, but it could very well be an individual thing. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying rallies are demonstrations are bad. I’m just saying they are not the only way, or the best way, not by a long shot.

The New Activism

This winter, my awesome roommate and I discovered the new way of activism.

A friend of ours was driving back from Yellowknife when he came across a family having truck trouble. He piled them all in his pick-up and drove them to Fort Simpson where he gave them his second truck to drive back to Yellowknife, a distance of over 600 km. He had to go back to Yellowknife in a few weeks, so he would get the truck back then. That made a difference. That kind of thing changes the world. Giving cinnamon buns away to hungry, tired truckers changes the world. Driving a co-worker 400 km so she can pick up the new vehicle she bought changes the world. The man who drove his vac-truck from Saskatoon to Calgary after the flood and pumped out basements for free is changing the world!

It makes no sense to get people angry for peace. Using fear to fight fear is backwards. Rallying just for show is pointless.

The new way of activism is this: frequent and surprising random acts of kindness that are big, individual, and life-changing.

It’s a bit like paying it forward (remember the movie?). It’s an explosion of caring, a flurry of friendship, offered freely and fully, to strangers and family alike. If it gets some media attention because it is so big, then fine, but that’s not the purpose.

Want to join me? : )

Wedding & Honeymoon

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Let me share some pictures of the wedding and honeymoon! It was a great time… feels like longer, but it was only 3 weeks ago! Hard to believe!

Reverend Patrick starting the ceremony
Reverend Patrick starting the ceremony
Part way through the ceremony. I am putting the ring on Darren's finger. All of a sudden, multi-tasking (talking and putting the ring on) became so hard!!
Here I am, putting the ring on Darren's finger. All of a sudden, multi-tasking (talking and putting the ring on) became so hard to do!
The kiss! Woo hoo!
The kiss! Woo hoo!
Weary travelers that we were, we made it to Jamaica!
Weary travelers that we were, we made it to Jamaica!
Our perfect honeymoon cabin (at Royal DeCameron Resort, Runaway Bay, Jamaica)
Our perfect honeymoon cabin (at Royal DeCameron Club Caribbean Resort, Runaway Bay, Jamaica)
One beautiful evening
One beautiful evening
Sunset over the resort. This picture was taken from the Jetty Bar, which was built over the rocks/water.
Sunset over the resort. This picture was taken from the Jetty Bar, which was built over the rocks/water.
One of the beaches. There were 4 "coves" that made up the beaches. Very nice!
One of the beaches. The beaches were in 4 "coves." Very nice!
Need I say more?
Need I say more?

So I’ve been thinking 2 things lately: Things usually happen gradually — everything from changes in the world, to the weather, to what kind of person I am becoming. So who am I becoming? Am I gradually becoming more loving, more kind, more understanding? Or am I becoming more judgmental, snappy or sarcastic? I do get snappy when I am hungry, but that is usually preventable, if I only make sure to take care of myself. In fact, if I take care of myself emotionally and spiritually, I am far less likely to be judgmental or sarcastic, too.

As for world changes, the “financial crisis” is pretty hot in the news (even though I never watch it). Well, it seems to me that when you play with pretend money too much, you are going to get in trouble. (“Pretend money” is loaned money, stocks and such.) In Jamaica, the majority of people live in small/half-finished houses, because the lending rate is so high, no one can afford a mortgage. So they save real money, and build on as they can (it is similar in Mazatlan, Mexico, where I visited in February). So although it may not be their dream house until they are old, it is all theirs, bought and paid for every step of the way.

The second thing I’ve been pondering — remembering from a class I took — is that when some new idea comes along, test it by saying “if that were true for me, would I be more free?” For example, if I hear that the real estate market is going downhill, I can think “if that is true for me, would I be more free?” The answer: nope! I might start to worry or mope, which is not adding to my freedom.  So, I don’t focus on it, and in that way, it’s not true for me. I don’t think it is true, so it has no power over me then. Make sense?

The same phrase can be applied to a new thought like “so-and-so is a hag.” Does that make me more free?  Nope! Because then I want to avoid that person (which is hard work in a small town!) or I have to work at biting my tongue… definitely not more free! So I can choose to have a new thought, one that is more understanding or less judgmental.

Anyways, that’ll give you something to think about! Have a great day!