Tonight I was blessed to be asked to be a substitute facilitator for a book group exploring Valarie Kaur’s No Stranger, here are the notes. As well, my opening Land Acknowledgement, I have also attached a poster from Centennial College on things to consider in regards to Land Acknowledgements.

This week as we enter the love ourselves portion of the compass; it is about taking time to breathe. Which can be a triggering statement for many, yet at its core, is about centering in the holy presence within, through and without the interconnection of creation. The chapter, for those engaging, will see the personal and communal crisis that intersect, and how all these pieces interplay within our own holistic (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health), as well, for the helper/advocate how easy it is to disengage from our own care to continue the struggle for a better world to our own detriment. 

Before this Thursday, take time to breathe. Engage in this body scan, to slow down, and reconnect the pieces of us we tend to keep separate: 

Mindfulness – Body Scan – Anxiety Canada 

As well, please note the attachment from Centennial College, some things to consider in regards to Land Acknowledgements, so it is not simply a passive exercise or words but can grow into more a point of engagement, reflection and reconciliation.

Now onto the questions: 

For Breathe from No Stranger: 

1.       When someone says to you, breathe, what do you feel? 

2.       When have we had an intersection of personal and communal crisis as Kaur was sharing? What were our perceived responsibilities (i.e., work, church, volunteer activities, etc.) that we continued to push through? What happened? What did you learn in the process? 

3.       It is easy for us to wonder into the USA context Kaur writes from, but what are communal crisis or changes in Calgary or Alberta that we need to practice breathe? Remember that change happens in life, what is usually forgotten in the process of change is that it brings grieving with it, it can be instantaneous such as our favourite brand of coffee is out of stock at the grocery store, or longer term with health, career changes, or loss of loved ones. But being present, through breathing can aid (for more on being present you may want to explore U Theory). 

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The Dahls, The Mays, The Lewis’, The Prestons, The Ragans that gave for our Freedoms. My Granddad was part of the Royal Canadian Signal Corps overseas, where he fell in love with my Nan on furlough in Stour-Port-on-A Severn, UK. My Great Uncles and Aunts served, in the field, and on the guns trying to stop the bombing of England. My Great-Granddad Lewis (my Nan’s dad) served in both world wars, as a Sherwood Forrester (those who know what inspires me know); and when he came back took up the fight with his own government to give a damn about our veterans, to care for them.

My Uncle Red (who was like my grandpa in Jr high and high school) was on continent, with my Grandpa Joe (who in his tortured soul, was a victim of the CIA brainwash experiments at McGill-declassified by the Trudeau government), in the air force.

So many stories fading into the fog of memory and lore, so that some believe the Holocaust (13 million people exterminated for their crime of being Jewish, LGBT, disabled or born a multiple) never happened, and that it is okay to think Hitler was right, when we say never again, this is our stand and our time to actualize that in the West, we have failed many times since with Indigenous Peopels, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Palestine and the list goes on…can we make 2022 the year that our grand parents, great grandparents and their generation fought back against evil in the shadows and plain sight a reality in our world?

Or will we simply forget.


So often diving rage is misunderstood, mislabelled, or misrepresented. The Hebrew Bible is filled with stories of Divine Rage, the Prophets and Judges showing and telling where the people have gone wrong by not living Micah 6:8:

It was and is about compassion, love of the Holy Mystery (that is within everything created, and everything created is within them, thank you Matthew Fox for bringing back the mystic concepts of folks like Eckhart which are woven in Creation Spirituality and the idea of Panentheism). This is seen within other world belief systems, and in Valarie Kaur’s book See No Stranger a memoir and manifesto of what living transfiguring love can look like in the world. I choose the word transfigure instead of transform, for the simple call back to Jesus’ own transfiguration story, imagine is this happened over all creation?

Yet, we can confuse the concept of rage being the anger emotion that does not have movement. It being seen as the one that stops transfiguration, and this is possible. We have bore witness to this with Brexit, Jan.6 in the USA. The Convoy-Coutts-Ottawa Occupation. The resurgence of neo-naziism, the slide of western democracies into authoriarianism (I mean we have a premier in Alebrta that could not see why support Putin was wrong int he war in Ukraine), basically a world coming out of a time that should see the emrgence of Star Trek Utopianism, instead we have digressed into polarized tribalism of anger machines. Not-divine Rage, a rage that wants to hold the ground, continue to be beneficiaries of systemic racism, economic disparity systems, us-them mentalities, colonialism, cyclical global intergenerational trauma, living into a closure-justice story focused on revenge (not, as Indigenous nations show us justice focused on healing and restoration of slef and community, a true and deep understanding and living of reconciliation as shown in our Jesus story that we abandaoned for Empire).

To hold ground to a time where one’s skin, gender and sexual orientation mattered for power in the system.

This is the rage our world is currnetly trapped within, and needs to end.

Yet, there is rage, as Kaur’s book enters into the second phase of her writing. A divine rage is a useful rage that propels to change, health, reconciliation, accepting of the truth. Could this be a step in why this past two weeks our parliament voted unanimously that residential schools were a genocide.

It was a week, where my Trekkie ways showed a clear understanding for maybe the non-siritual, and I would encourage if you watch only one episode of Star Trek, Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s “Beyond the Stars” is it. The Prophets (Wormhole Aliens, the Bajorans see as there Gods) are once again interacting non-linear time with Sisko (The Emissary), and have him involved in visions and another time, and shows what can happen. It is a discussion starter and thinking episode, note when you can see divine rage? Can anything change? Should it? Will it? Where do you feel okay with how things are? Where do you feel the hit that there is something wrong? These are intuitive pieces of self-reflection. Take time to journal (which can take any creative form to engage your intellect and creative side). Then engage in discussion with others, do not watch in isolation, seek out others who may not share your point of view (if safe) to be in discussion with, to be part of the transifguration.

This is but one small piece, but have you ever thought your value as a person has been pulped?

What is the root of it?

Is it propel to change for those without value? Or is it to break your own power?

Bonus Content:

A church in Calgary doing things differently, reading the Holy’s two scriputres (Bible and Creation, engaging God everywhere), last Sudnay’s confession and first step in reconciliation:

To the Psalter for my son

Posted: October 23, 2022 by Ty in Spirituality
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I sit

In the silence

the eerie hew of the tracking monitor illuminating the small space

a hosptial stay

to discover what may be

good news will come

but news for naught as well,

glimmers of the old him

want them to remain strong

emerge more

as medical Hail Mary’s (not of a Rosary or visitation)

thrown,

but is it simply to check a box?

For the same old refrain

of systems, beliefs, and research

not fully actualized,

is it because,

they cannot see

the beautiful image bearer?

The passaionate fighter?

The smart ass of humour?

The curious mind

who is not held back

or bound

by diagnostic labels

But rather…

shines through the bushel they try to smother him with diagnostics

to simply be him,

God–

how long, will his light shine bright?

Just let who he is…

shine that love into the world

Continue shattering what is deemed “label”

to be

what is him.


Long or even new readers will realize the concept of the transfiguring power of love for self and community is a bit of a theme of my writings. Whether the Belonging Pyramid (latest- Soul Risk to be released soon, watch this space for where to buy) to my rebooting of My Neighbour to even my pulp super hero writings that explore beloninging inside to name but a few. These under currents come from a moment in the book one of my life trilogy, a simple few refrains from Jesus, in a broken spined Gideon’s New Testament found while cleaning my room, that led me to start attending church formal:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

-Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version)

It was revolutionary, for the simple fact, Jesus did not define neighbour by being those we liked, but by being everyone that is created in the Imageo Dei (Image of God). These thoughts strated connecting as I read through the introduction of Valarie Kaur’s (2021) See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love (Valarie Kaur Breathe and Push) for it is speaking to the transformative power of love for our communities. I encourage reader’s to dive into their own reading, listen to the video clip from a New Year’s Eve talk, see the way interreligious work and dialogue can heal our world. The first step though is move from a selfish focus, to the other focus that revolutionary (Great Commandment) love brings.

Now we can easily slip into sentimentality of the word love, because that is the most familiar within the English language, but this is not about romance, this is the love that does that hard lifting, that risks grieving, loss, joy and hope. The love that allos us to healthily feel our spectrum of emotions:

It is also the love that does not give a pass to hatred, bigorty, prejudice, conspiracy theory, lies or doing harm in the name of b.s. (belief systems whether political, economic, family, or religious to name but a few). It is the love that so shook the ancient world of Brother Jesus, that the powerful b.s of the time could only execute him to attempt to silence the outward flow. This is the love that Kaur speaks and writes of.

It can be so easy to lose oneself in othering the story as well (the idea of defining our own communities simply by saying well at least we are not like them…y’know how Canadians mostly define our national identity by saying at least we are not American). By doing that though on thsi journey of reading, you will miss the power of these words.

Taking this work as a lens into your own commuity and self, is where the manifesto begins to work, yes Kaur is writing from a Sikh lens, but this type of revolutionary love, is found rooted in many systems of transformation and transfiguration.

As an Albertan, enter into reading the work, look at the current stare of our province. The darkness seeping into our communities. The polarizations. The hatred. It was less than a generation ago you could drive our province and see “proud KKK country” (also less than a generation since they lost their charitable status by a bookkeeping error). In my lifetime, I remember shopping for comics, toys and hockey cards at the local flea market and seeing the pins decrying “No turbans (more explicit racist term) in my RCMP”. This centurty when Sudanese refugees faced hate filled backlash in Brooks. When our “saint” Ralph as Preemier mused using the not withstanding clause to disallow marriage equality. 1996 (my graduation year) when the last Residential School closed (so many young souls with Creator)… The past 3 years where Swastika’s and other white supremacist slogans and images were in our streets. When actual religious clerics (Christian and others, but I can only speak into my own context) pushed eugenics, so they could gather. My own lifetime when the last person with a disability was forcefully sterilized in Alberta. My year seeing loneliness and poverty driving MAiD in our province.

It can be simple, even easier to not look into our own pond, for what may be seen. But if we only look into others, to make ourselves feel better, we are deflecting, projecting or living in dissonance not actually living into, through and out of revolutionary love.

These were thoughts that connected from the first few pages, this is a 6 week book exploration at my church, I will be sharing throughs as we go along, but dear reader, I encourage you picking up this book however you engage with story and begin to explore what this can look like in yourself and community.

Valarie Kaur’s Ted Talk


Back from the lost era of the 1990’s, in a program known as Junior Achievement, where high school students one night a week, with corporate volunteers created companies and ran through from beginning to closure and sold products.

In this wild time, I was a VP of Production, back when there was craft stores in malls, where googlie eyes, ribbon, cotton tails and bath beads would be purchased, so a wash cloth could by folded to look like a bunny–

A Soap Bunny

For the annual report at the end, a legend, and bit of fun–


Image  —  Posted: September 29, 2022 by Ty in Current Events
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Growing up my Nan always joked that she had blue blood (yes I realize blood is blue before oxygenated in air), but it was an allusion to her being royalty. She was a war bride, and we did engage in culture from England. Part of that was having the monarchy as part of who we were. We would see different events on television, watch different messages. Understood the flags, and different songs. Even though I was not a regular church attender, got that the Queen was head of the Church of England (joking with my Catholic Friends, Anglican guilt was like theres but came with a British accent).

Regular readers, will know that my family has had a tradition to listen to the Queen’s Message on Christmas Day. Before streaming, it would be at noon Calgary time on CBC or another local channel, and we would stop what was happening and watch the television. In the past 10 or so years, we have been able to watch it live on line, and then on the Royals’ channel but it has still been a part of the day’s journey.

I remember family discussions of who would be the next in line, due to tradition and laws around divorce.

My youngest, would have a ball with her Great Granny (my Nan); when we would go to church or visit, as before tea time, she would take time together to get “ready” as the Royals.

Since 2012/13 my kids lost two of their matriachs, with my Nan (Great Granny) and Mum (Nanna)’s passings, the message was a way to continue to connect.

Now we are on the day, when the message goes silent, it is a weird void. Yes I realize it would not go on forever, but let’s be honest, at 96 years old and still doing duties 48 hours ago, how many ever thought it wouldn’t?

I chuckle though, as I think of the metaphor my family uses for the next life. Our kids started losing people far to young, and it became the story of the Grand Tea Party with Jesus. And then I smile, at my Nan’s analogy of being a blue blood, and think that Grand Tea Party just got a bit more festive, and after all this time she would finally have her tea party with the Queen.

Re-entry

Posted: August 26, 2022 by Ty in Spirituality
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The eighth morning since discharge is almost done,

as the noon day sun approaches.

It leads to a simple ponderance, that has always been in the back of my mind.

Shifting gears from the poetic, to a bit more exposition. I mean we have just journeyed through a disconnected time. I even tried the EAP on the phone line, to be told that they were unable to figure out how to support (perhaps it was a trigger or a bias?).

Anyways.

One of the things we miss in care for one another, is the afterwards.

We may be in an organization that allows for 3-5 days off when there is a death (I have accessed many times, and had to push back on how the organizations define the term family for using this time). Some places also have special leave to cover emergencies within the family, which is definately helpful, of course depending on the role, and time of year, may or may not be able to fully use as some things still need to happen as we crawl through the crisis.

So yes, there are supports that exist by law or by organizational provision to aid in the midst. When it comes to a loss, the 3-5 days may cover travel, or simply, depending on one’s role, the planning phase.

What is missing though?

Simply put what comes afterwards.

That is the re-entry to life. Navigating fully the reality of the change when things are supposed to be back to they were.

We ripped the band aid off post when we said the pandemic was done but did not fully appreciate what afterwards looked like.

How many in grieving could do with 3 days post funeral as well as the time before to process and prepare for new reality? Re-entry back to the world of work?

As someone who has had to use the short and long term disability due to a health crisis, I can attest, there is no support for re-entry when that time ends, once pronounced “cured” you are left to your own devices, no overlap support access as you navigate back into the world of work or the afterwards grieivng in the vocational course correction.

It takes time, but a bit more aid would be helpful.

And this is where we are 8 days out of hospital, at re-entry. Too often, it is a celebration! Discharged! Home! and then those that were onside for the journey, fall silent, and fade away.

Though you are left

to renegotiate

the resettling of hte unsettled

the minor to major rewoarking of reality

re-engaging with life

re-entering to concepts of life

and relationships

Re-entry

in the afterwards

that no one seems to understand,

needs support,

just like the crisis

yet the help line

is silent.

Ah re-entry, where does this road wind us to?


A blessing of love at Countess for the youngest,

on the day you would not awake

and the 23 day journey to come…

The fear since you stated “No more owies”

cascading through as I lifted you to the van

Was this the time?

The unwanted walk for those left behind?

Were you sipping tea at the Grand Tea Party with those that had gone before?

Unanswered questions

Prayers that fell on a deities deaf ears

As Trauma hits in the hospital

the offense of the soul is more than simply my son in distress and wondering if he will survive?

Is it Metis or Disabled on your file?

That causes the berating of questions?

Are you inbred?

Did he get into your drugs?

No, We’re a sober house.

Oh so he got into your Fentanyl.

No, ya dumb ass what do you not understand about S-O-B-E-R

Questions of the past

that no longer matter

yet they fumble about a file in the room with you

I know the revisti of pain upon you

even if they think you are not able to hear or understand

as rescue drug

after rescue drug is administered

Is it simply epilepsy?

Is it more?

Those moments you spoke of being tired of loss

Have you simply said you will not open your eyes?

In PiCU looking like a Borg…

they try to say it is stabilized base line

For they only know the you here and in the file,

not the you the world loves and loves the world,

Your Mumma shows video

of your loving curious self to prove them wrong

They see you as a person

The darkness yet to come,

not fully yet foreshadowed as they would lose the plot

of you as the super hero of this tale

Three research studies in and yet you will not wake up

BPAP comes off

You struggle to breathe on your own

an oxygen line

Sepsis

and mystery

as we move (4 days in) to a unit

bacterial pnuemonia

You still won’t awaken

Another round of push back to unit staff

about going home

As you are at baseline

NG Tube as you show some alertness

Two Student doctors

who do not see the person

push

crisis

as the feed tube comes out

nourishment

how you got your medications

refusal to do what needs to re-insert

the clock is ticking

4 attempts

14 hours

no go

they finally hear

when asked, if they do not see you as a person

because you are disabled or a metis

They saw it as hostile

I saw my boi in pain

caused by those who were to heal

4 more attempts with x-ray

clock ticking

22 hours

still nothing

new doctor

as I sit vigil

to try to ensure you do not slip away due to SUDEP

asks what can be done

A useless question

A happenstance

of a fill in the next day

Tries to say the staff sees you as a person

Shocked by the word bullocks state only actions matter now

And at hour 40 you got into radiology, live imaging, tube back in…

meds…nourishment

another lie revealed,

physio never contacted…

an order finally put in

and within hours in to see you.

The regular team tries to brush off as a minor hiccup,

only a few hours,

Another time of push back,

revealed a star pupil was the cause

could this be why the cover up?

Research study #4

on racism int he system

too many scared to speak out, my gut says simply, for fear of further lack of care

So many fun nurses and doctors

engage

laugh,

learn who you are

as you are heard, we are heard

they slow down

your system in healing, catches up

and your own super powers kick in

from bed to sitting to a walker

to walking from gym to room

to me seeing the twinkle on day 2 of this

you giggle, “gotta say hi”

and your greeters soul

walks the unit greeting staff and neighbours

No tubes

from purees to soft foods to beloved foods

Not fully at baseline

but more you than you have been for awhile

is it time to go home?

As dinner time approaches

Day 23

we enter rush hour…

home…

*The vast majority of staff we encountered on this journey saw my son as a person, and were negaged in his healing, the unfortunate piece is the few that were not, caused the largest traumas and set backs because the rest of the team would not speak up or out against them.