Saturday, June 20, 2015


Feel the draw of the Elements;
The voices of the Mountains,
The Lapping shores,
The Swaying trees,
The brightly Shining sun.

Ageless is the Rock,
Fleeting is the Wind.
Cleansing Water,
Warming Fire
Gathered ‘round as One.

The Earth, it grounds the Chaos.
The Wind, it scours it smooth.
The Fire burns,
The Water cools
Tempering it – The Tool.

The Tool is then released
To bring about the Law.
What is to come?
The Wild watches
As new-born eyes are opened.

Hear the howls of the Wind
Mourning the day we came.
Whipping wildly
Past sharp corners.
Flowing through grass nevermore.

Feel the Earth’s grumbling
Shuddering destructive shrugs.
Never left in
Peaceful aging;
New skin left all bare.

See the Waves crashing
Upon a barren shore.
Black waves killing
All within reach
Retreating to attack again.

Light burning through the night.
Destruction all around
Orange and red
Blue and grey fog
Searing live and dead.

We sought to control the Powers.
Instead, we freed the Chaos.
In fear, we run
Fighting futile
Battles to extinction.

- Angela Gallant,© 1996

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Our Emotional Triggers

It has occurred to me that humans have a capacity to make changes in their lives through a technique we often accidentally use to our detriment.  I mean, all things that our bodies and minds do are natural, proper occurrences that develop through evolution in order to help us survive.  When we don't understand those processes, we tend to let them use themselves like the path of water streaming downhill with no choice of direction beyond the easiest path at each and every moment.

An example is our muscular structure.  When we don't understand how our structural muscles work, we will stand/sit in ways that cause them damage, or weakens them until they are no longer able to do their 'jobs'.  This creates situations when our strength, or supporting, muscles must do the structural work and that is how they get injured, giving us chronic pain, and sometimes disability.  I learned this the hard way after my third child and my hips and back were in agony for years after.  A physiotherapist introduced me to the structural muscles I had allowed to weaken by not taking care of them throughout the 3 pregnancies and my recovery time.  While I don't know if I'll ever get back to belly dancing fully, I am in a lot less pain these days, just by simply working on strengthening those muscles.

Mentally, we have all been introduced to the concept of the Law of Attraction.  I have, some years ago, posted a blog entry on my thoughts regarding the negative use of this Law.  I concluded that this is a capacity, a tool, that can be used like a knife.  Itself, it is not a positive nor negative thing.  It can be used for useful, practical things, or it can be abused to harm others.  If the Law of Attraction is not used consciously, it can bring great harm without intention, simply because we have no understanding of what it is and how it is to be used.  The long term effects can be great pain and agony.  To fix the situation takes a lot of hard work and determination with the possibility that we may never get back in full what we lost.

So what is this capacity, this technique I started on about?  I was first introduced to it through Anthony Robbins as Neuro-Associative Conditioning (NAC).  I believe it has expanded and evolved into Neuro Linguistic Programming.  In very simplistic terms, our brains use our emotions to link survival behaviours to muscle memory so that we don't have to actively think about whether to fight, flee or freeze.  Our primal emotions are centered on our amygdala.  This organ is the origin of our strongest emotions and our brain links these emotions to memories, behaviours, etc. without having to go through our filtering or judgement portions of our brains.  Seriously, if we had to actually pause and think completely through what do with a bear charging towards us, weighing the pros and cons of each option, we'd have been extinct a LONG time ago!!  NAC speeds up this process and gives us a conditioned response so we can survive long enough to make decisions that CAN be weighed and thought out.

I'm sure you can see this is leading into habits.  Yes, NAC, if not understood can very much lead us astray.  Humans are emotional creatures, and if NAC is allowed, we can become creatures of habit, too.  Habits have this funny way of lasting long after they are no longer useful, and then we have to go through the process of identifying the habit and breaking the cycle of it.  Habits can be as useful as handwashing, they can be detrimental such as imbibing in toxins (pick your poison!), or they can grow to such things as allowing ourselves to get involved with abusive relationships and avoiding helpful situations for reasons unknown (self-sabotage).

Examples of positive conditionings includes our responses to seeing an old friend, seeing our loving partner all decked out in our favourite outfit, the feeling of love when we are held by someone we trust and care for.  We get excited or relax into a positive mindset.  I recently experienced a situation where I have been struggling with self-confidence and stage fright that prevented me from singing loudly and thus reducing my ability to perform in front of others.  I have been out of a medieval association (SCA) for over 10 years.  I use to perform quite well in the SCA, but experiences over the last 10 years left me feeling shy and nervous.  This last weekend I went to an event.  By the third night of attending the bardic circle, I had gained all my old confidence back and managed to sing and talk myself hoarse.  I had such a great time!  All the positive feelings of performing amongst my friends and in the bardic circle filled me and left me refreshed and ecstatic!

The fastest way to break a negative habit is to actively and consciously set in a NAC that creates a positive habit, overriding the negative.  Using our emotions, we can set in triggers to change our thoughts, our reactions and thus our actions in certain circumstances.  Ingrained, strongly negative habits usually require an experienced professional to help us.  However, simple, positive changes, we can do ourselves with some determination and basic understanding of NAC.  This can (and SHOULD) be coupled with affirmations, visualization work, vision boards, etc.  Putting ourselves into a strong positive emotion and then associating that emotion with a positive trigger and goal, can give us an easy way make constructive changes in our lives.

The trick with this tool is to recognize when NAC has been allowed to run rampant and unsupervised in our lives.  Once we realize the triggers and our habitual responses to them, we are able to direct our choices and responses to what we want to see.  We can become our own path's guide, instead of acting as the stream of water and taking the easiest route downhill.

Societal Change

Today's epiphany:  Our society is is slow, but it's growing momentum.  Ever since the start of the#Occupy Movement, agencies, people, Managers, corporations and cities have been making changes.

What I have seen so far:

Ohio started to house the homeless for a reasonable percentage of their income....and if they didn't have an income, they still have a home.
At least a handful of managers have decreased their sizable salaries to increase the wages of their employees.
A few corporations have begun paying their employees a living wage.
Summer Meals program has started in Washington to feed children without prying into the families' privacy.
People have gone into department stores with layaway programs and paid for other people's layaways, giving children better holidays and special times.
Park/bus benches in certain areas have been redesigned to create shelter at night for homeless with advertising of where that person can then find better shelter/help.
Many celebraties/business people with far more money than they need even at a high maintenance lifestyle are speaking out to their peers to change how they view the impoverished and to begin helping.  Paying it forward in great amounts.
A focus on ending violence within domestic/social situations through dance, song and other peaceful methods.  
Speaking up, refusing to accept through silence wrongs of our humanities.

I'm not saying these are solutions in and of themselves.  These aren't even half the efforts that are being made. These are starts and that is what is important to see.  It has started.  No longer are we content to turn away and say it is someone else's problem.  We have begun to see that our neighbour's problems are ours because if our neighbour is gone, they can't help us when we have need.

We are the change.  In little, consistent, practical acts, we make a change in every thing we do, every day.

Love is the answer, Love is the key, Love will conquer and make strong you and me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It's been a while

It's been a while.  Life has a way of waxing and waning.  I accept this and won't beat myself up over it.  With life changes, I get to focus or refocus what I'm doing at the time.

These days, I've added crafter to my list of who I am.  I've accepted the notion that I'm a singer/song writer/musician, poet.  I've also added backyard farmer to my list!  LOL  I kinda had to when I realized I'm planting, not just tomatoes and peppers, but potatoes, corn, beans, peas, salad greens, squashes, pumpkins, watermelons...and then there's the herbs!  Can you imagine?

I plan to explore these little things as I go and continue my thoughts of things that interest me.  Feel free to follow along and maybe what I post will interest you in trying something new for yourself.

Love and blessings,


Friday, August 10, 2012

Learning to be social..again.

We all have those times in our lives.  Suddenly, things happen and we find ourselves coccooned into our homes with little to no contact "out there."  Whether it's for the winter or for a few years, whether it's due to SAD or because the kids or finances make it almost impossible to get out, we tuck ourselves into our homes and barely ever see daylight.  Recently, I went through almost a year of that.  It's amazing how that year looked.  I couldn't even bring myself to get the toddler to the park.  Play was just not something high on our priorities.  Definitely, exercise and overall health wasn't focussed on at all!

While there is Facebook, Google+, Twitter, MMORPGs and a bazillion and one forums and online contacts, it just isn't the same.  You can often tell if someone is isolating themselves.  The trend of their posts, chat, etc. is one of surface expression.  Rarely do they post about themselves or anything deep or meaningful.  They go from chatty, friendly openness to redirecting the conversation on to anything except themselves.  Their Facebook or G+ go from their latest adventure to being full of reposted memes and links.  Trying to go for coffee with them is met with refusals, excuses, explanations and it's like trying to pull teeth without anesthetic.

For almost a year, we had a big problem.  It was a problem that is spreading around North America like crazy.  Bedbugs.  And our landlord wasn't too keen on spending the money to get rid of it properly.  Bedbug infestations are happening more often around our society and social contact is spreading it faster than anyone can get rid of it.  With that in mind, our family kept home as much as possible.  My older kids were homeschooled, we didn't go to friends and we certainly didn't invite anyone over.  Outings are costly in the winter, and being on a tight budget, were not really an option.  We got into the habit of not getting out, not socializing, not talking or being with friends and family.  It went on for so long, it became a habit.

Parents can feel like this when a new baby comes along.  When a person loses a job for any reason and the finances are nil for a while, again, not much one can do without a lot of effort to be out with friends that have incomes.  Illness and injury can create this.  And it becomes a habit that continues even after the circumstances have alleviated.

With a lot of help from friends, family, charities and politicians, we got out of our bug infested place, cleared what we did take with us of the creepy critters and moved into a great place.  It's open, light, clean and healthy!  You would have thought with our freedom that we would be back to being sociable again.  Nope.  It's an effort to remember to invite friends to visit.  It's an effort to remind people that we are available for coffee.  Their schedules have moved on and the places that you used to be in have filled because nature despises a void.  Everyone has to make the effort to make the changes to include you, including yourself.

This is all well and good in the realm of thought and theory.  It's a different story when you are in the thick of it.  When the finances balance out, when the children are old enough to be with sitters or at playdates without their parents, when the illness or injury have subsided, we regain our freedom externally, but we forget to free ourselves internally.  We forget to release those experiences into the past and step out the door.  Our habits are of staying in and isolating ourselves.  We need to let those go, they served us to make our lives simpler and easier for that time, but now is the time to move on to other behaviours.  Behaviours that help us grow and be happy.

Ever since we were mostly settled into our new home and were absolutely certain we hadn't brought the critters with us, I have actively invited friends and family to come visit.  I have made others aware that we are available and want to share time with them.  It's not as easy since it's not just my behaviours I'm encouraging change for, it's the whole family.  Sometimes, if there is an activity or behaviour we want to participate in more regularly, we have to do it consciously and deliberately for a while before it becomes natural-feeling.  Some people navigate the social realm with the ease of a dancer, but even a dancer must practice to regain their balance and steps after an injury. 

I have felt odd about inviting people over or accepting invitations out, but I know this is exactly what I need if I want to enjoy my friends and family again.  It would be easy to make excuses and stay in my habit of staying home and isolated.  I have to spend a moment double checking why I want to say it because I truly want to stay home or am I merely giving in to my habits?

I firmly believe we all need to be aware of our friends and family and watch for the signs they are isolating themselves.  While their choices need to be respected, keeping some time open to spend with them and never giving up on them is just as important and helps them come out of their shells if life has thrown them a curve ball.  We don't need to rescue them, there are usually very good reasons they are keeping close to home.  We do need to keep a line out to them to help them pull themselves out of whatever pitfall life has tripped them up with.

I am very grateful to the friends and family that kept those lines open for us.  Slowly, we are reconnecting and enjoying some fun.  Making it a habit to check in with friends and family we don't hear much from is an awesome way to let them know you care and haven't forgotten about them.  It keeps the line open, the line that just might be what they need to pull themselves out.

Thank you.  You know who you are.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What would you give?

I walked past a gal at a train station being honest, wanting a couple bucks for a pop. I only saw the vending machines and pulled out my only change…4 quarters. I apologized as I handed it to her. She beelined for the convenience store behind me. I realized the possibilities and called her to wait, saying I was also thirsty (true). She tried to grab only a can of pop, but I waved her off and bought her a bottle, then grabbed her a bag of chips (not the small bag). She was shocked and thankful. When I asked her if she wanted a flavoured bag, she was poking at the bag as if she couldn’t read it saying she only wanted plain….was this bag the plain ones? (it was). So for her honesty, she got far more than she bargained for and she was extremely thankful. She then got on the train and left. Honesty pays.

Judging people for “lying” because they want a beer when they can’t afford food most the time, nevermind the beer, is not paying attention to our society. Our society is sooooo judgemental for someone looking to ease the stresses of their lives. After a hard day, I like a beer. Their entire lives are hard…why shouldn’t they get a beer now and again? They’re human. Not cast offs, not garbage…human. They aren’t some sales guy trying to make you buy something you don’t need. They might be alcoholics, but it’s not up to us to change them. They need to make that choice for their lives. Unless something changes (their luck, their opportunities, their choices), they are at the end of their lives…any day they could die. What would you give a dying man if he asked it?

They just want to remember what it’s like to be human and to have something nice when nice things don’t come along at all.

That said, I don't change my actions when they just ask for change.  I give what I have to give.  Her circumstances changed things because I realized could give more and meet her immediate needs a bit more than I originally thought.  I have gone into a liquor store near by and bought the guy a beer (or bought a half sack of beer for myself and handed the guy one).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When Corporations go against Families

We all know how corporations resolve disputes that require mediation or judgement.  Each corporation gathers up all kinds of fluff and measure it up in front of the mediator or judge and a decision is made based on who made the better pile of fluff, whether there is complete and total truth or not.  Spinning the truth is what they do.  The corporations don't have a vested interest in winning or losing, beyond the fact that winning is obviously better than losing.  If a corporation loses, it pays out of its profits.  If the profits aren't enough then there is the choice of dissolving.  No one worries too ever much about this.  A corporation always has the options of either reforming under different terms, scattering to become parts of other corporations or just simply dissolving and disappearing.  This is considered acceptable to our society and part of the risks of being in business.

When a corporation goes against a family, it doesn't change its tactics.  It doesn't change because to it there is only winning or losing and it's just not that big a deal.  It'd rather win, of course, but if it loses, it pays and it moves on.  A corporation isn't a person, it doesn't have feelings or ideas of compassion.

A family is not a corporation.  There are feelings involved.  It's the foundation of our society and is centered on the very real human experience of emotions, compassion and bonds, sometimes even spirituality.  A family can not just dissolve and disappear if a dispute is lost.  A family can not just reform under different terms.  A family can not just scatter to become parts of other families.  A family can't do these things because, for all intents and purposes, a family is as a human being; living, breathing, growing, and loving. 

When a family loses to a corporation, it is left intact with all the debt tied to it with no way of dissolving that loss in any way without dying.  Dying as a human dies is very different in our society than dying as a corporation.

When a family loses to a corporation, they become destitute in a very real, permanent, debilitating,  irrecoverable way.  There is no dissolving the debt by simply dissolving the life that the debt is attached to.  There is no way to simply walk away, the debt follows irreversibly tied to each individual that gave that family life.  Our society abhors human death, thus the idea of a family dying, or even dissolving is abhorrent to us as humans.

This is why corporations are wrong to go against families as they do other corporations.  There needs to  be compassion and indepth understanding as to the consequences when a family loses to a corporation.  There needs to be a change in how the processes work when a family is involved.  There needs to be caring that the family doesn't become destitute, a duty required of the process that the family isn't left without options, isn't left trapped in debt and a useless burden to society.

Corporations need to reach to their human leaders and remember that they serve a society of humans and those humans do not have the options to simply disappear and not exist.