Archive | July, 2014

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Six: Coast to Coast Calling

30 Jul

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Six: Coast to Coast Calling.

IMG_7097

Coast to Coast Calling

Impenetrable darkness

The Pacific bonfire questions the night sky
“How bright am I?”

Aurora’s luminescent spirits
hiss at the stars

Thunderbird’s wings
slash open the skies

Forest’s wild flames
scratch the night awake

Cygnus’ crystals in milky galaxies
flicker and fall

Light wars
Merely distractions

The Atlantic waters
quietly phosphorescent
reply

“I see you”

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Six: Coast to Coast Calling

30 Jul

IMG_7097

Coast to Coast Calling

Impenetrable darkness

The Pacific bonfire questions the night sky
“How bright am I?”

Aurora’s luminescent spirits
hiss at the stars

Thunderbird’s wings
slash open the skies

Forest’s wild flames
scratch the night awake

Cygnus’ crystals in milky galaxies
flicker and fall

Light wars
Merely distractions

The Atlantic waters
quietly phosphorescent
reply

“I see you”

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Five: There is Something About Roberts

22 Jul

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Five: There is Something About Roberts.

HANDSTOUCHINGS-33

Roberts Abound: It is with some trepidation that I confide a phenomenon in my life that revolves around the many Roberts that I have met as friends or dated. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and at the risk of sounding like a Robert stalker, or a delusional Robert reporter, I was told recently by a friend that perhaps I should share my interesting Robert journey and see what people think. It is an interesting tale.

The Tale of Roberts: From eighteen years of age on, I have had the good fortune of knowing many Roberts. I have been single most of my life, so I have had some periods throughout it where I have been dating and not in a significant relationship. Until recently, it had not really dawned on me how many “Roberts” I have known. Just to clarify, I have never actually sought out, nor asked out a Robert. Instead, they seem to find me…on trips, in stores, at sporting events, at special events, etc. For example, when travelling to Italy, I met a Roberto. I also was friends with a Robert from Australia for years. Very recently, I was asked out by yet another Robert. It finally dawned on me that something supernatural about Roberts was unfolding. I sat down and made the connection. In some ways, it felt embarrassing to know that I had overlooked this very glaring phenomenon for so long. What was it about Roberts?

Robert the Recent: Recently, I have been writing a novel with the main character named Robert. It seemed natural to choose this name as a protagonist seeing that this male name kept popping up over the past thirty years of my life. The choice was unconscious until I had my recent epiphany. The irony is that shortly after I started writing this novel, another Robert, or “Rob” entered my life. He tried a couple of times to get my attention. It was then that I started connecting the dots. Again, what was it about Roberts? I shared with him my interesting background with his name, and he was intrigued (and likely taken aback a bit) by the unusual circumstances. (Had the situations been reversed and he told me the same about Shelley’s, I think I might not have responded with as much grace).

Behind the Name: I wonder if perhaps, my last name “Robinson” has anything to do with it in some sort of magical or spiritual way. Robin is a derivative of the name Robert, and thus, “the son of Robin” could be the same type of equivalent to Robert. Another possibility is the sheer popularity of the name. In the United States, the name Robert is ranked as number 62 on the popularity scale. The name itself is from the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning “bright fame”, derived from the Germanic elements hrod “fame” and beraht “bright”. It is true that all of the Roberts that I have met have been nice men, and interesting to be around–gentlemen.

The Universe Conspiring: What I wonder is why the universe is conspiring to have me meet Roberts. Or, am I supposed to have learned something from Roberts and then move on?  Perhaps I am to stay clear of Roberts.  It is just an interesting anecdote worth sharing.  

Cheers!

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Five: There is Something About Roberts

22 Jul

HANDSTOUCHINGS-33

Roberts Abound: It is with some trepidation that I confide a phenomenon in my life that revolves around the many Roberts that I have met as friends or dated. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and at the risk of sounding like a Robert stalker, or a delusional Robert reporter, I was told recently by a friend that perhaps I should share my interesting Robert journey and see what people think. It is an interesting tale.

The Tale of Roberts: From eighteen years of age on, I have had the good fortune of knowing many Roberts. I have been single most of my life, so I have had some periods throughout it where I have been dating and not in a significant relationship. Until recently, it had not really dawned on me how many “Roberts” I have known. Just to clarify, I have never actually sought out, nor asked out a Robert. Instead, they seem to find me…on trips, in stores, at sporting events, at special events, etc. For example, when travelling to Italy, I met a Roberto. I also was friends with a Robert from Australia for years. Very recently, I was asked out by yet another Robert. It finally dawned on me that something supernatural about Roberts was unfolding. I sat down and made the connection. In some ways, it felt embarrassing to know that I had overlooked this very glaring phenomenon for so long. What was it about Roberts?

Robert the Recent: Recently, I have been writing a novel with the main character named Robert. It seemed natural to choose this name as a protagonist seeing that this male name kept popping up over the past thirty years of my life. The choice was unconscious until I had my recent epiphany. The irony is that shortly after I started writing this novel, another Robert, or “Rob” entered my life. He tried a couple of times to get my attention. It was then that I started connecting the dots. Again, what was it about Roberts? I shared with him my interesting background with his name, and he was intrigued (and likely taken aback a bit) by the unusual circumstances. (Had the situations been reversed and he told me the same about Shelley’s, I think I might not have responded with as much grace).

Behind the Name: I wonder if perhaps, my last name “Robinson” has anything to do with it in some sort of magical or spiritual way. Robin is a derivative of the name Robert, and thus, “the son of Robin” could be the same type of equivalent to Robert. Another possibility is the sheer popularity of the name. In the United States, the name Robert is ranked as number 62 on the popularity scale. The name itself is from the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning “bright fame”, derived from the Germanic elements hrod “fame” and beraht “bright”. It is true that all of the Roberts that I have met have been nice men, and interesting to be around–gentlemen.

The Universe Conspiring: What I wonder is why the universe is conspiring to have me meet Roberts. Or, am I supposed to have learned something from Roberts and then move on?  Perhaps I am to stay clear of Roberts.  It is just an interesting anecdote worth sharing.  

Cheers!

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Four: Mail Order Bride and the Leap of Faith

6 Jul

slushpile

What if… you were a young woman in Finland, writing back and forth to a young man from Finland living in Canada (whom you have never met) who has taken it upon himself to pioneer out to Canada in the early 1900’s? You have been hooked up to each other through friends and are now part of a series correspondence blind dates. Through beautifully scripted hand-written letters (as you are both creative), you forge a strong friendship over the course of a year. You start to learn more about him and his adventures in Canada, and he starts to learn a bit more about you. You exchange a couple of photos, and the rest of the correspondence is an outpouring of hopes and dreams.

You realize that you are getting older (late 20’s), and are now one of the few single ladies left in your town. This is an eligible bachelor, well-respected in his community (through word of mouth) regardless of his desire to live in another country. Even though you haven’t met him, you have a pretty good feeling and intuition about him through his letters because he is educated, articulate and motivated to make his way in the Canadian frontier. If he proposed on his next visit to Finland and asked you to go with him to Canada, would you?

From Mail to Meeting: This was the correspondence that occurred over the course of several months between my grandmother, Tyyne Kattelus; and my grandfather, Onni Kattelus while he was getting oriented in British Columbia. In 1931, he went back to Finland to finally meet my grandmother, Tyyne Kattelus) in person; marry her; and, as a result, return with her back to Canada (all in one trip). It was a magnificent leap of faith. The words and the time that they took in their initial correspondence helped them to forge a strong enough belief in each other and their respective dreams, to act upon them.

Settling: After much hardship surviving the rough and undeveloped landscape around Field, BC, they eventually settled into Golden, BC where my mother and her two siblings grew up. They had a hard-working life amongst other Finnish settlers in the Columbia Valley with very little leisure time. I remember from my visits to their home that they were always working at something on their property: chopping wood, planting and harvesting the orchards and gardens, making carpets on the loom, etc. However, I especially enjoyed the hot steam saunas that we would share at the end of the day.

They had a small farm, a larger garden and ran properties within the town, while my grandfather worked on the CPR as a carpenter until he passed away and left my grandmother to tend all of it on her own. She took care of her property admirably until she passed away in her 90’s. In the end, they were well-respected members of their community, and she in particular as one of the oldest living Finnish pioneers. In retrospect, both of my grandparents were highly conservative people with an incredible aversion to risk and failure. They worked hard and were incredibly meticulous and careful about everything that they did. By nature, they were not prone to making large risky decisions.

Leaps of Faith: Sometimes our circumstances, personalities, dreams, fears and issues call us to make leaps of faith. I am always fascinated by what actually motivates people to take that final step. The idea of “readiness” is an important one, but sometimes, people may not be entirely prepared for the big jump, but they do it anyway. Why?

Impetus: I would suspect that sometimes people want to jump out of the fire, hoping that they will land anywhere but where they have been. The fire that they are escaping is burning them alive, and they need to jump away, just as people sometimes do from burning buildings. Other times, people believe that what they are jumping to is so incredible–this fantasy opportunity, that they will do anything to experience it. These motivators, I believe, are the two extremes on the leap of faith continuum and can also sometimes be equated with being “impulsive”. However, other leaps of faith happen for other reasons (sometimes ranging from the simple to the complex). The stories about why people make these life-changing decisions can be fascinating as each tale holds some very small detail of their impetus for change. “Impetus”, from the Latin word “Impetere” means “to attack”. It often involves the passion to actually “attack” our dreams.

Second-Order Change: However, what is even more fascinating to me is why so many of us don’t leap. Fear is the obvious reason. None of us like to be outside of our comfort zones for long. In some cases, it is wise to stay put, and be present in the now without having any need to search and grasp beyond this moment in time, place or people. However, there are times in our lives where if we pay close enough attention, we know that we need to make a change. However, sometimes, in order for the change to be the meaningful one that we know that it needs to be, it has be to be a big change. There is no other way around it. We can’t just talk about it. We can’t pick at it or tweak it. Instead, it needs to be true “second order change” (starting all over again and building from the ground up). It requires incredible courage and then fortitude to first make the change, and then to make the change work.

Commitment: I think of so many immigrants to Canada whose stories were successful ones. They made their decisions work. There was simply no choice. They had no safety net or people or finances. They just did it. Others pioneers, some from my father’s ancestral family (writing that I will save for another article), were not as successful. Therefore, leaps of faith require leaps of intentional action, but they also need steel-willed fortitude and calculated follow-through. It may not need to all be preemptively planned and orchestrated ahead of time, but there needs to be a deep commitment by the people involved so that they can draw upon it when they need to count on it for determination: “I am going to land on the other side, and I am going to enjoy the landing.”

Sisu: I write this article because I have taken a leap of faith moving to BC, and am now working on “enjoying the landing”. What will I need to do to be sure that I am happy and successful now that I have made the leap? It will continue to require of me a tenacity that is sometimes evasive. Therefore, I look to my Finnish ancestors as examples of those who took a leap of faith (independently and interdependently) and made it work on the other side. I have to trust that I, too, have this Finnish personality trait defined as “sisu” that my grandmother always said that I possessed. It means “bravery, determination and resilience”. In some cases, I also think there needs to be a measure of good luck, and so I will wish for a little of that as well.

“If we never had the courage to take a leap of faith, we’d be cheating God out of a chance to mount us up with wings like eagles and watch us soar.”
― Jen Stephens, The Heart’s Journey Home

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Three: Messages from Up High

5 Jul

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Three: Messages from Up High.

IMG_0171

Signal Hills, Temples, Fortresses, Domes and Steeples: It has struck me today as I climbed up to Signal Hill on Pender Island, that I am always climbing to communicative vantage points. In almost every country that I have visited, I have this fascination with getting to the highest points where their citizens have found inspiration. In turn, they have used these places to communicate with their people because of the visibility from up high. These citadels, minarets, bell towers and other have been used throughout the centuries for various military, political and religious reasons to protect its people, and present important communication over land and, sometimes, sea. There was a sense of security in each community beneath these communication points knowing that someone was manning these towers and could communicate key pieces information to other relevant parties through light, bells, voice, instruments, flags, semaphore, Morse Code, and other agreed upon signals.

I remember, in particular, when I visited Boston, the story of Paul Revere warning his people of the British Red Coats coming. Beyond all odds, he found the highest point in the city in the steeple of The Old North Church:

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

Mass Communication: Since then, we communicate through all sorts of modern means: mail, radio, telephone, email, video conferencing, etc., and in some respects, we are relying on our highest points of satellite to be our newest technology temples. We have become quite connected through multi-media across various communication management systems and social media venues. However, what seems most interesting is that the more connected we become (with less of a need to stand on mountain tops in order to be heard), the less clear it is becoming about what are truly the most important messages. The key messages are being diffused by the trillions of other messages that are being transmitted millisecond by millisecond to millions of sources in the immediate and global vicinities. We are left decoding: “What is important? What should I pay attention to?”

Messages from Up High: What becomes critical then, is to consider the source. All of this information may be coming through a place of high visibility, with what seems to be very interesting news. However, these sound bytes of information, often static in their importance and tentative in their longevity, may not be meaningful for long. What we need to be listening to, instead, is our information from our higher collective power. Our intuition and our connection to the spiritual energy within and around us is what is most important. It helps us receive information that is authentic and meaningful from the external sources from around the world.

Through these spiritual lenses, we filter and make sense of the valuable signs and symbols. We then learn to appreciate the magical synchronicities of these messages and our experiences. We learn to know what messages are the powerful ones because we start to trust ourselves with how we receive and interpret them. We become both the signal towers and the receivers. Therefore, instead of looking up to find the high places that have traditionally been the telegraph hills, look within, and in doing so, the messages we hear will be certain to be the necessary ones. The “lanterns” hung up at the steeple are never lost where we pay attention.

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
― Mary Oliver

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Three: Messages from Up High

5 Jul

IMG_0171

Signal Hills, Temples, Fortresses, Domes and Steeples: It has struck me today as I climbed up to Signal Hill on Pender Island, that I am always climbing to communicative vantage points. In almost every country that I have visited, I have this fascination with getting to the highest points where their citizens have found inspiration. In turn, they have used these places to communicate with their people because of the visibility from up high. These citadels, minarets, bell towers and other have been used throughout the centuries for various military, political and religious reasons to protect its people, and present important communication over land and, sometimes, sea. There was a sense of security in each community beneath these communication points knowing that someone was manning these towers and could communicate key pieces information to other relevant parties through light, bells, voice, instruments, flags, semaphore, Morse Code, and other agreed upon signals.

I remember, in particular, when I visited Boston, the story of Paul Revere warning his people of the British Red Coats coming. Beyond all odds, he found the highest point in the city in the steeple of The Old North Church:

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

Mass Communication: Since then, we communicate through all sorts of modern means: mail, radio, telephone, email, video conferencing, etc., and in some respects, we are relying on our highest points of satellite to be our newest technology temples. We have become quite connected through multi-media across various communication management systems and social media venues. However, what seems most interesting is that the more connected we become (with less of a need to stand on mountain tops in order to be heard), the less clear it is becoming about what are truly the most important messages. The key messages are being diffused by the trillions of other messages that are being transmitted millisecond by millisecond to millions of sources in the immediate and global vicinities. We are left decoding: “What is important? What should I pay attention to?”

Messages from Up High: What becomes critical then, is to consider the source. All of this information may be coming through a place of high visibility, with what seems to be very interesting news. However, these sound bytes of information, often static in their importance and tentative in their longevity, may not be meaningful for long. What we need to be listening to, instead, is our information from our higher collective power. Our intuition and our connection to the spiritual energy within and around us is what is most important. It helps us receive information that is authentic and meaningful from the external sources from around the world.

Through these spiritual lenses, we filter and make sense of the valuable signs and symbols. We then learn to appreciate the magical synchronicities of these messages and our experiences. We learn to know what messages are the powerful ones because we start to trust ourselves with how we receive and interpret them. We become both the signal towers and the receivers. Therefore, instead of looking up to find the high places that have traditionally been the telegraph hills, look within, and in doing so, the messages we hear will be certain to be the necessary ones. The “lanterns” hung up at the steeple are never lost where we pay attention.

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
― Mary Oliver