Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26th annually, people in countries around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness. Last year, people in dozens of countries on all continents including Antarctica participated in Purple Day! ~ Purple Day website
I am so grateful that Purple Day has informed SO MANY people about epilepsy and that there is nothing to fear. Purple Day has gotten so big over the years and it is going to keep getting even bigger and I would like to thank every one of you for all your help. I couldn’t have done this without all of you. THANK YOU EVERYONE <3 ~ Purple Day founder Cassidy Megan
All over the world today, people are wearing purple and holding events for epilepsy awareness. I salute those who are doing so much, including the good folks at SUDEP Aware who are highlighting what the day means to families bereaved by epilepsy. (See their PDF compilation of family statements.)
My wife Traci Cleverley Pink lived with epilepsy from a young age, but she never let it dominate her life. Considering that her seizures were largely controlled through medication, her death from SUDEP in November 2011 at the age of 39 came as an utter shock. Hers was a compassionate, generous soul and she left a large hole in our community. I pray for the day when no one suffers the devastating loss of a family member from SUDEP, and thank the organizers of Purple Day and the SUDEP Aware team for continuing to spread awareness about epilepsy and SUDEP. ~ Doug Cleverley, Purple Day statement for SUDEP Aware
This year, this blog post is my own humble effort. I would like to do more, perhaps organize a concert, and promote epilepsy awareness through the media. Maybe next year. For this year, I will wear purple today, and promote the day through my blog.
If you or members of your family have epilepsy, I encourage you to find out all you can about seizure prevention and about SUDEP. It’s been said by many that epilepsy has been in the shadows for too long; then there is SUDEP, hidden in the shadows of epilepsy. How many family members of people with epilepsy know nothing about SUDEP? Don’t let tragedy be the reason you find out, as it was for me and continues to be for too many families.
For more information, I highly recommend SUDEP Aware’s “Making Sense of SUDEP” eToolkit – click here to visit the campaign page and download the materials. For general information about epilepsy, I recommend you visit Purple Day’s Epilepsy Resources page or the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance website.
Will you join me in wearing purple today? Help bring epilepsy and SUDEP out of the shadows!
- Today is Purple Day (valleyroadrambler.wordpress.com)
- Purple Day now legally recognized in Canada (epilepsymatters.com)
- Tuesday March 26, 2013 is Purple Day: an Epilepsy Awareness Article (hsjhpantherpress.wordpress.com)
- Please Join Us (teamaidan.wordpress.com)
- Purple Day with Little J…. (grannyblossom.wordpress.com)
- Purple Day (smelltheflowersblog.wordpress.com)
A Rambler Interview
Kyle Haight is an artist, graphic designer, muralist, and musician, a father, a husband, and a truly remarkable man. He has been painting, designing and creating art for most of his life, and recently just finished his second solo show Wilful Probability, at Gallery de Boer in Owen Sound. The show’s theme was based on the concept of reclaiming your life through chance occurrences, a subject near and dear to this writer’s heart.
One of Kyle’s most unique contributions to the local cultural scene is “live painting” during concerts, from heavy funk to the symphony, integrating live-art into a live music performance. He donates his time and talent, with the painting he produces auctioned off at the end of his performance and the funds raised donated to a worthy cause. One of the first live painting events occurred during the Lupercalia Festival in downtown Owen Sound. This was at a gala concert, dedicated to Traci Cleverley Pink, at the Roxy Theatre in February 2012, with the proceeds going to SUDEP Aware.
Here’s Kyle the live painter at another recent event:
Kyle graduated with honours and received several scholarships for illustration and design from the three-year Graphic Design course at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario. Currently he works as a freelance designer/muralist/house-painter for his own companies, Pridnear Painting and KH8 Design.
With much pleasure, allow me to introduce you to my friend Kyle Haight.
Kyle: A Cantilevered Reality sounds really interesting and a great song title as well. I love the title.
My reality is anchored on one end by creativity reigning supreme over all things monetary. So having reality cantilevered as you stated fits this perfectly as I am dangling the possibility at the end of a fishing rod of divinity, supporting it with commitment, painting or living in the moment, and a sickening work ethic. If creativity is a major choice for anyone they have to realize that life will no longer be perfectly balanced; it will be a cantilevered reality where your creativity must anchor life itself. Doing anything creative is interpreting vibrations of divinity.
The Rambler: You’re a man of many dimensions. You paint, you create fanciful sculptures from junk, you’re a proud and playful dad, and a musician with a really interesting, powerful sound. All of that can’t be encompassed in one response or even in one interview, so let me just ask you this: where do your creative inspiration and motivation come from?
I truly believe I was put on this planet for a creative purpose or endeavour. I gather my creativity and inspiration from a combination of Progression, Diversity and Refinement. Progression is in all I do from reading books and texts on new techniques, to painting technologies, and stylistic trends in application and approaches. Diversity is in what I am influenced by such as new artists, new music and cultural influences as well as interesting people.
It seems many people are unwilling to explore or approach new ideas with a diversified approach. If nothing we create as humans is truly our own, then the more diversity in your influence, the more chance of diversity in the work.
I truly believe that Refinement is the key to maintaining these other attributes in my work and life. I progress my learning, I diversify my influences and then I refine what I have learned to work in the most effective way I know. It’s a constantly changing process.
A lot of these ideas involve a lack of necessity when it comes to editing ideas too quickly based on outside influences. So many people these days do not pursue what they want based on the misconception that they can’t stop judging their own ideas or dissecting an idea before just going for it. It’s all about the moment and having a fine balance between thinking and feeling.
If a creative idea is over-thought, then lack of belief or doubt creeps in and this is the opposite of being in the moment. Too much feeling without thinking it through is sometimes counterproductive as well. I try to balance the process between feeling and thinking. I usually will paint 5 or 6 canvases in one night, but strictly backgrounds, without any thinking attached except colour and experimentation. Then after this process I reinterpret the pieces with thinking by adding learned artist elements that create balance, rhythm, contrast, fluidity, and aesthetically pleasing imagery. Obviously this is all subjective based on one’s background, cultural influences and belief patterns.
I have to search for inspiration and ideas through books, music, old movies, and random magazines. I avoid mainstream television commercials and radio ads as I truly believe this is mental pollution. This is where the next revolution becomes a reality: the “revolution of the mind.” I have made a decision to no longer listen to the inner monologue of “how” I am going to attain this dream of lifelong creativity, and only focus on the good feeling that is already a “reality”.
Simply put “the Know-how is: there is no How.”
The Rambler: You recently had a show you called “A Wilful Probability” at the Gallery De Boer in Owen Sound and many of your works are still on display there. Was this your first major solo show? How did it feel? What do you think it accomplished?
Kyle: The Wilful Probability show was my first major show but I did have a small show at Mudtown Pottery as a lead-up to this show – special thanks to Kate McLaren.
It was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment to finally be recognized for my creativity and be able to work towards more work and other shows in the future. I now have “Official Representation” by a major gallery so this is the beginning of the future. This show accomplished an established place among other great and well-known artists which is the first step to really making creativity a first priority in life. Being among the community of artists is important as it offers chances for future shows and helps to spread the word about upcoming shows and works to come.
The Rambler: What is the significance of Nikola Tesla‘s legacy and its impact and influence on your work?
Kyle: Nikola Tesla was one of the most important scientists of the 20th century. Unfortunately his greatest ideas were destroyed by capitalist greed and government corruption. He was directly responsible for the idea of free energy for all of humanity, and what a different place this world would be without the overbearing reality of working your whole life to pay for natural resources to be eliminated. These ships [in my paintings] are based on Tesla’s idea of infinite energy. The ships morph and transform as they figure out how to function and create themselves – much like human beings, as we are true sources of energy, always changing and morphing and transferring energy through, ideas, inventions, and life itself.
The Rambler: Can you explain what “sacred geometry” is and how your work is informed by its concepts?
Kyle: Sacred geometry is prevalent in many of my earlier works and is the basis of all life. The shape of a number is much more important than the actual calculations involved with math and science. Although many would disagree with this statement, the importance of a number lies in its relationship in art, nature and science. Sacred geometry’s inherit artistic qualities have an overlap between what nature creates and what science can prove, and how this overlap relates to the human mind. My art relates to sacred geometry in the sense that it feels entirely natural – even from a young age – to explore and manipulate these geometric relationships for creative means. It’s very intuitive and natural for these relationships to appear. Once one really explores the variations, the significance of sacred geometry is undeniable.
The Rambler: Crystal ball time: where do you see yourself in ten years?
Kyle: In ten years I will have established a body of work artistically and musically that inspires my daughter to continue this passion of a life of total creativity, with little or no feelings of angst based on finances and monetary ridiculousness. I hope to get some work sold around the world, as I have currently have a buyer from Germany interested in my work, so this is the start of the 10 year cycle. Several other albums musically will be accomplished as well. My band bLOBJECt is about to release a second album for the beginning of the summer entitled “Monsters of Novelty”. Music, art, and creativity equals progression, diversity and refinement. Add great community and family to the mix and the next ten years are going to fly by.
The Rambler: One last question: Beatles or Stones?
Kyle: Beatles for sure. They were a major influence on my creative pursuits. But the Stones have always reinforced the importance of letting go of total perfection for a little party time. All work and no play makes Kyle a dull boy.
The Rambler: There’s nothing dull about you, Kyle. Good luck with all of your future endeavours.
All artwork © Kyle Haight. Reproduced with permission.
I’ve felt a little depressed and moody lately, and wondering why. Am I feeling a little SAD (seasonal affective disorder) at the end of a long, grey winter? Is the sense of absence in my house and in my life restricting my ability to be happy? Well, yes and yes. So what do I need to do about it? How can I create a little happiness here?
Then it struck me: I haven’t written a blog post in a while. Writing and sharing with you all here has been my therapy, my solace, and a gift that keeps giving as readers respond and share their own insights and stories. When I began this blog, I wrote of feeling compelled to create. For whatever reason, I am feeling less compelled now, and it seems to take more effort, but I still feel the need to share, and the desire to figure things out. Things like grief, getting back on my feet, supporting causes I believe in, and making sense of life. You know, nothing major!
This week, inspiration struck in the form of a blog post, also shared on Facebook, by life coach Christina Rasmussen. Her work emerged from her own personal tragedy several years ago, and focuses on giving people tools and insights into recovery and re-entry into life after loss. In her post this week, Christina writes of Giving as a way of emerging from sorrow. She also focuses attention on two different personality types she has met in her work: the Life Extractors and the Life Generators. (I prefer the term Life Enhancers – when you give to someone, you enhance their life.)
Christina discovered that “the people with less will give the most,” while others not only “would say yes to anything you could give them, they would also expect you to keep giving … They would take life from you, eat it up and then ask for more and never give anything in return.” These are the people she refers to as Life Extractors.
A Life Extractor is a person who remains stuck in loss, someone who seems to feel a sense of entitlement in their victimhood, who expects to be given to without giving back. We all need to receive help sometimes, but we also need to help others so that we ourselves can heal. I believe there are extremes, as she describes, people who take too much; there are people who give too much, too, but I think most people have a little bit of both personality types in them, the Life Extractor and the Life Enhancer.
Christina asks her readers a “tough” question:
Are you a life extractor or a life generator?
Do you give people attitude if they do not give you their time or are you grateful for whatever they could give you?
If you want to heal, be grateful for all the help you have received and give whatever you can to someone who is kind and deserves help.
Your own healing will be activated alongside theirs.
As I read the above, and reflected on my own life, I couldn’t help but think of Traci. She was in every way a life enhancer, even as she struggled with her ongoing health issues and lived with chronic pain. As I’ve mentioned before, she was the kind of person who would buy a cup of coffee for a stranger, or visit a gloomy friend on the spur of a moment to cheer them up. She set an example for me which I am trying to follow, setting aside my own selfish desires to help others out when I can.
A few months ago, a friend who in recent years became a committed student of Tibetan Buddhism decided he wanted to go on a volunteer work trip to northern India to help refugees escaped from Tibet. This friend, whose adopted Dharma (Buddhist) name is Karma Thinlay Thome, lives on a disability pension and has very limited finances. Along with another friend, I offered to help with the fundraising for Karma’s trip. We set up a trust account for his expenses, and put on a benefit concert in January at which we raised over $800. This past week we launched an Indiegogo campaign. Please click on the image below to visit the page and contribute to this effort:
It’s important to make life-affirming choices, both for yourself and for the people around you. I chose to help my friend Karma without much deliberation. I choose to support this effort because it feels like the right thing to do, but it isn’t from a sense of obligation. I choose to help him because by getting involved in efforts like this, we raise all of humanity just a little bit. Anytime somebody supports another with no thought of personal gain, not only does the person being helped benefit, it’s a healing gesture for the person helping, as Christina says above.
The ripple effect from a single kind act may also affect many others beyond the people directly involved. For instance, when Karma gets to India, he will be spreading a wave of lovingkindness, which began here in Ontario, across the Pacific Ocean and into central Asia, and from there, who knows? Ripples can go on seemingly forever. The ripples Traci set in motion with her kind actions during her life are still reverberating today.
What waves have you set in motion? Whose life will you enhance today? Who do you know that gives selflessly and brightens the lives of others through random acts of kindness? Please share.
It’s been a busy few days in my life, with the Sarah Slean concert on Thursday followed by Lupercalia 2013 on Friday and Saturday, the Owen Sound Cultural Awards ceremony on Sunday, and a vigorous snowshoe hike yesterday, a holiday Monday. With all that behind me now, I want to rewind to Thursday night and share with you my peak experience that evening.
I’ve written before about the powerful role music plays in my life, for healing and for marking important moments. And I’ve mentioned before that Sarah Slean’s music moves and inspires me, particularly the songs from Sea, the second disc of her double album Land & Sea released in late 2011. Her concerts on this current tour primarily feature the songs from Sea, so I felt really keen about attending the show in Meaford. And what a show it was!
On this tour, Sarah and her team are recruiting local musicians to play in a string ensemble on stage with her. They have a few weeks to learn the songs from sheet music, and just one afternoon to rehearse with Sarah and her touring musicians. It was a thrill for me to see two friends, Richard Mascall and Keira McArthur, playing violin and cello, respectively, in the string ensemble.
Sarah’s voice soared above her piano and the other instruments and it all blended together beautifully. Films of oceans calm and storming played silently on the stage backdrop during the performance. There were many funny moments – Sarah comes across on stage as kind of quirky and flamboyant, but somehow also very down-to-earth and relatable.
The overall experience was wonderful – definitely in my top 10 list – but let me share with you the moment that brought it into my top 5 and made it a peak musical experience.
Well over a year ago, after connecting with Sarah on Twitter, I sent her a fan email, in which I described how the music from Land & Sea, especially You’re Not Alone, had helped me through a very rough time, and told her about losing Traci and how difficult that had been.
To quote my email to Sarah: “You’re Not Alone is, quite simply, the most beautiful, exquisite song I have ever heard. I can’t imagine ever tiring of it. The string arrangements are wonderful, and the vocal harmonies … wow. It’s literally helping me find the strength, not just to carry on, but to carry on in a meaningful way. And other songs on the album, particularly on Sea, are similarly inspiring.”
A little while after I sent that email, thinking it might not even reach her through whoever manages emails for her, I received her thoughtful and compassionate reply, which I quote here in part:
It seems to me that when a song truly resonates with someone, as you say it has with you, that the common spark in all of us is recognizing itself… goosebumps and shivers… the unity of all things becoming palpable… that’s what I mean by “you’re not alone” – that a presence is constantly with us… we may turn away, but it never abandons us…it’s life itself…. ~ Sarah Slean, personal communication
Imagine my surprise last Thursday, when over a year later, Sarah begins to introduce a song by telling the audience about this email she’d received from someone in the audience who shared with her a touching and heartfelt story about losing a person he was very close to, and who had found comfort and solace in her music. She says it’s the kind of email that every songwriter dreams of receiving, to know that their music has really touched someone and made a difference for them. And then she said, “This one goes out to my friend Doug,” and began to play You’re Not Alone.
I sat in awe through the song. I felt so fortunate, in spite of all that’s happened, to be in that moment, and to be sharing it with the friends who were on the stage and in the audience. All along, my grief has been lessened by the support and comfort of friends, and that night was no exception, beginning with Sarah’s admirable thoughtfulness from the stage.
I thanked Sarah after the concert, and I would like to do so publicly again here. Thank you, Sarah, for your generous spirit and thoughtfulness. Thank you for giving me one of the peak musical experiences in my life, and most of all, thanks for your music.
Love is not a free gift, yet it asks nothing, save that you give it.
Love comes in many forms. That which we give with our arms, hands, mouths, skin, and heart. That which we give with our minds. And that which we give with our spirits, when all else is dust.
So cherish love, but do not seek to put it away. Do not keep it in your heart, but let it pass through, with the works of your mind and your hands. Let these be the testament to your living love, and what you give, may you receive in return a thousandfold.
Love has a way of growing on you.
(c) 2000 Doug Cleverley
All day today, Dala‘s cover version of The Cure’s “Love Song” has played in my head. I tried to find a video or an audio link for you, to no avail. It’s a stunningly beautiful, stripped-down, slowed-down version of the song, and if you don’t already have it in your music collection, I highly recommend you buy it for 99 cents at iTunes or Last.fm.
Tonight, for a special Valentine’s Day treat, Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Slean performs with a string ensemble in my neighbouring town of Meaford. Her music weaves a spell on its listeners, and I am truly looking forward to the enchantment. Included in her set list is this song, a fitting one for today:
THE ONE TRUE LOVE
all across the battlefield
bells of death and sorrow peeled
but in the air above the silence
there were birds,
a song that rose from the earth
a song of mourning,
yearning of the one true love
the world, at last, our only church
we bow to thank the universe
for blessings and distressing
every whisper you heard,
even the darkness is burning
burning with the one true love
the magic wand of empathy
said I am you and you are me
but somewhere on our way
we have forgotten
who we are
and we drifted so far
but now and ever
returning, turning to the one true
Love undoes the mystery
of time before and yet to be
the axle of a wheel that’s
as within, so without
feel it in you, the burning
burning of the one true love
so we sing a final verse
the lovers dance it unrehearsed,
the beating of their hearts is an
the name we give to it all
wherein the names all dissolve
and turn into the one true
turn in, turn into the one true,
turn in, turn into the one true love
I come from a long line of clerks, salesmen, gamblers, hawkers, and civil servants, with the odd artist and doctor here and there. Going further back, we would find landlords, agriculturalists, farmers, peasants, maybe even nobility – English, Scottish, Irish. “The typical Canadian mongrel,” as my self-identified OjiCree friend Rose once said.
I come from a long line of settlers, proudly carrying the flag of British and Christian superiority. People to whom labels come easily, to whom categorizing into types, separating by way of language, comes reflexively, without thinking. It is in our acculturation, but it might as well be in our DNA.
Yet in those bloodlines, too, there were people of the land, once. People who lived in community with each other and with the land, and to whom relationship, not sorting into categories, was the reflex in language and thought. Categorization and labelling, separation through language, these are the tools of the conqueror. Once, long ago, my people were separated from the language of relationship, and forced, in order to survive, to speak the conqueror’s language of division. (Maybe this is a bit harsh. Maybe, as Daniel Nikpayuk suggests, the language of separation is an understandable product of an agrarian lifestyle. Maybe. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that the language of division is an essential colonialist tool.)
Let me be clear. The process of categorizing and labeling is also intrinsic to the scientific method, and as such, has helped bring about many benefits to humanity: technology, alleviation of poverty, elimination of disease, etc. Science is the gift of the white race, in the traditional worldview expressed in ceremony here in Saugeen Ojibway Traditional Territory (and I acknowledge that, outside of that particular worldview, this is a problematic statement). I begrudge neither that gift nor my inheritance of it. Language, even as it separates one thing or one race or one person from another, can also bring us together. The four races, in local tradition, each bring their own gift, and together, we create a future for humanity that is just, sustainable, and harmonious with nature and each other. At least, that’s what the prophecies tell us will happen, if the white race’s “gift” doesn’t poison us all first.
The stark reality of this inheritance, a language that divides, struck me during a recent thoughtful email exchange with writer and artist Christi Belcourt. My comprehension grew when I read this article by a young Inuk writer, Daniel Nikpayuk, in which he compares his mothertongue Inuktitut which is relational, to the English language he is studying in, which sorts things by type. Born in an environment in which change is constant, language too is dynamic, not static.
It was Christi who inspired me to re-write and re-publish a recent post, How to be a #settler ally, under the new title As long as the drums beat. I sent the first version to her for consideration of being published on her new blog, Divided No More. She wrote back to me, and respectfully called me to task on my use of the labels “settler” and “settler ally:”
Perhaps because I’m Metis, I am a fierce defender of the idea that people need to define and label themselves. I’ve had too many discussions in my life with people for and against “who is a Metis” and ”who isn’t a Metis” to not fully understand that the idea of labelling others is offensive to some. Out of respect, I refuse to do that to anyone else. Along with ancestry, self-definition is a fundamental pillar of the Metis Nation. I like that. ~ Christi Belcourt (personal communication, published with permission)
Through this perspective, I can choose to label myself a “settler” or an “ally” – but I don’t have the right to label anyone else. It’s like those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, but instead, it’s “Choose Your Own Label.” Thus:
Who are you? Who are you really?
The label “settler,” as Christi says, “doesn’t tell me anything about you. Except that you are non-native and you acknowledge your ancestors (or you) settled on Indigenous land and have reaped the benefits collectively with other non-native people. But what about you? Where is your ancestry from?”
As I wrote above, England, Scotland, Ireland … I am indeed a “typical Canadian mongrel.” Is this another label? Let us define “label” as “how others define us” and claim our own identity through self-definition as we each see fit. I am playing with an idea here, inspired by Christi, that is fundamental to the process of decolonization, whether one identifies as indigenous or non-indigenous.
Self-definition encompasses the idea, the wonderful concept, of personal sovereignty. Self-government – personal sovereignty – begins with the self. This is a concept I learned in British Columbia, working with the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en First Nations. Anyone who “takes the red pill” to detach from the Matrix, to use a popular movie reference, is choosing self-definition and personal sovereignty over the colonial system. No matter your racial and cultural background, if you feel that the world as delivered to you by the dominant culture is unacceptable, it’s up to you to first, define who you are in relation to the world, and second, live as though your self-definition is entirely realized, even if it is as yet little more than a mental concept. To change the world, in other words, I must first change myself. “Free your mind,” as Morpheus says.
Freeing your mind and liberating yourself from the colonial power structure is easier said than done, of course, especially for anyone who’s struggling just to put food on the table for their family. But even a struggling person can choose to define themselves, not as others see them, but how they perceive themselves, just as people from a particular First Nation can begin to speak the name of their nation in their own language instead of the language of the oppressor, or the name as white history has recorded it.
Let us admit it, the settler knows perfectly well that no phraseology can be a substitute for reality. ~ Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 1963, p. 45
I do not feel that self-definition gives someone with a privileged background a free pass when it comes to their past and who they may represent to people who have experienced oppression. I may be an idealistic and enthusiastic supporter of indigenous rights. I may be willing to revoke the privileges my whiteness and middle-class background provide me with – as if that were even possible. I may make personal decolonization the central project of my life and dedicate myself to learning and sharing what I learn with others who are on or are considering making a similar journey. None of that erases my background or who I may represent, because of my background, to someone who has been oppressed. I recall, when I was younger, occasionally meeting an older Native person who seemed shy, deferential, or even slightly timid around me. Until I learned about the effects that residential school sexual and physical abuse had on generations of indigenous people in Canada, I never understood this response.
Now, I won’t claim to understand – I haven’t walked in their shoes, after all – but I can listen, and learn, and shift my self-definition in relation to another’s reality. Not in “empathy,” but certainly in solidarity. Solidarity, as defined by Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández, which is relational, transitive, and creative; recognizing differences between myself and another, and seeking points of relationship which are not based on historic lines of division and the colonizer/colonized paradigm, but rather on “an understanding of treaty … as a process of making and keeping good relations” (R. Sehdev, cited in Gaztambide-Fernández) between individuals of different cultures as much as between the cultures themselves.
So. Who am I? Am I a settler? Am I an ally? Or am I simply a white guy who cares? I am much more than all of that. I am the Rambler, crossing a bridge between a colonialist past and a decolonized, ecocentric, relational, creative, indigenous-culture-honouring future. I am the Rambler, following Morpheus down the rabbit hole to see how deep it goes. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Allies at what cost? (decolonization.wordpress.com)
Reclaiming Ourselves One Name at a Time (dividednomore.ca)
- The Terms of Engagement with Indigenous Nationhood (decolonization.wordpress.com)
- Reflections of a #settler in Canada, 1991 (valleyroadrambler.wordpress.com)
The spirit of our loved ones lives forever because of our emotional devotion to them. ~ Waubgeshig Rice
Another year, another birthday.
41, she would have been today. She missed her 40th birthday by less than three months. One year ago today, her friends and I threw her a party anyway. I gave away her clothing and accessories, musician friends played beautiful and powerful songs, we shared a meal and lots of laughs (and yes, some tears too), then we set a sky lantern alight with all our wishes and prayers, and sent it soaring into the night sky:
That soaring sky lantern is how I always want to remember this day. Not as a day of sadness for one who was born on this day and is no longer here, but as a day of gladness for who she was and all that she gave while she was here. A day to enjoy the present moment and feel hope for the future.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, this year I’m feeling less the loss of love than I am the endurance of love. Love, that incredible bond between two people, so strong that it even transcends death. This lingering love sustains me even on my darkest days, and reminds me that what is worth enjoying in the moment, is worth treasuring forever.
It’s love that keeps “the spirits of our loved ones [alive] forever,” and love that gives me a reason to not only get up in the morning, but to keep striving and caring about life. It’s the inspiration of love, the blessing of love, the promise of love, that keeps me going.
So Happy Birthday, Traci. Thank you for sharing your love with me, and showing me how to stay positive, no matter what.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you. ~ Walt Whitman