Posts Tagged ‘Home’


This Ol’ House

 

This Ol’ House is literally the house in the community of Rundle in Calgary, AB I came home from the hospital to as a baby. I purchased it when my folks moved full-time out to the land, Countess, AB during my Mum’s battle with breast cancer and the PTSD that came with it for her. It is the only home I have ever known in my life. I am proud to have been able to raise my own family in it.

Yet, as life progresses sometimes one needs to reassess home. It is an interesting idea of what makes a home. This humble split level had been a hub of home for many on our block, and city. Whether it was just being neighborly, aiding others as a food bank, ensuring the family tradition of any child that enters becomes family or the years that my family ran our own home church…it was a home for many.

During the ART treatment, when discussing with my therapist where my calm place was it was no contest that the calm place was the living room of this ol’ house. Calm? How is that possible, when most think of the calm place they go to it is a beach, peaceful, tranquil, forestry, yet I picked a hub that can have people in it or not and still be calm for it is a space of belonging, the living out of my beliefs.

Within this ol’ house too is the container. What is the container? That imagined mind projection of something seal-able that you can place the overwhelming memories and feelings to have a place to place them to move on with your day.

For me, it is the old, probably falling apart from the inside blue steamer trunk my Nan (Mum’s Mum) brought across from England with her when she was a war bride. It was a place to keep memories, and it was a good memory place. As you work through ART you realize it is about becoming the director of your own memories to work through them to create the tranquil feeling or positive emotions sensations so that you do not freeze or collapse. It was the story of my Nan taking a leap of faith on love to traverse the Atlantic by Steamer Ship, trusting that her husband, the love of her life, was authentic and would be in Halifax harbor for her.

That is why the container was chosen, it is the leap of faith in the treatment process to know that at the end, through love…there will be healing.

As I walk this ol’ house at night, I know it no longer functions for us. As my son grows with his accessibility needs, heck, as I age with my bad knees, the idea of a house that functions through stairs is not usable. The time is coming to close a chapter on this physical structure rapidly, yet taking the heart message of love and belonging to the new home that awaits us on the other end of healing, and new beginnings.

 


April 2017 my son went into the Alberta Children’s Hospital for double foot reconstructions. Yes, it is as bloody painful and arduous as it sounds. It also illuminated the stark contrast between being church, and stewardship church in my mind. The United Church congregation we were at during this time for even though some things were done well, pastoral care and simply being was not among them.

They were an accessible building. Which is truly what accessibility is about, can we get into the building to participate in the events (we shall not discuss washrooms, or their annoyance of locked doors). They were inclusive in that there was space created for people to be a part of with the adults. The children’s ministry was amazing not for the spiritual formation that happened, but rather the lady that ran it created a space of belonging for all children.

Continue reading- Odd.

Out with the Old

Posted: January 19, 2019 by Ty in Musings
Tags: , ,

I am blessed in the fact that I am raising my kids in the house I was raised in. The house I was brought home from the hospital to, and have called home my entire life. As I sit here the new living room furniture and kitchen set is coming in (Thank you Brick and your delayed payment events!). As I had shared with my wife, it is not that I dislike new, or change in the home environment, it is after all our home.

The challenge is in the short term watching what is so familiar go away and the new come in. Quite a metaphor for the change-grief process of life. The old fades away to a memory as the new reality solidifies. Bless her, my wife said we didn’t have to get rid of X, Y, or Z but then we just wind up storing that which when paid forward can bless another family.

For that is the story of this old house.


I was gladdened a few weeks ago when the newest affordable housing complex in Calgary broke ground that the government corrected the service provider gently on the use of terms. It was deemed by the service provider as “permanent supportive housing” yet the MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly), when announcing pointed to it as “permanent housing with supports”. Many will think this is just semantics b.s. that does not amount to anything but hair splitting. But it matters for the terms lead to the conditions which lead to the ability to create healthy communities through an interconnection of healthy interdependent citizens and their homes. It is the terms and conditions which outline the corporate and personal responsibilities for all stake holders.

Despite the long battle the City Council of Calgary had over secondary suites, and folks attempting to justify who their neighbours should be through red tape, let us be honest—we all have good or not so good neighbours—it has nothing to do with how they live (rent/own) but rather other life events that have shaped their personality. (and yes I am gladly awaiting new neighbours with secondary suites, and lane-way/mini housing). This is the hitch, and why words matter when describing housing (or as one round table for the federal government on housing in Calgary phrased it with member of Parliament (for Calgary Centre and at that time Cabinet Minister) Kent Hehr, spectrum of homes which is not just rental, but ownership).

I look to my own neighborhood. It is a mash up of group homes; long term care; seniors residence; affordable housing (which is a spectrum from near market; percentage off market to geared to income) rentals; family and friends couch surfing; shared accommodations; at one point I am sure folks residing in hotels; market rentals; condos; townhouses and houses (owned/rented).   As noted in rental there is different ways rents can be figured in; same with seniors or assisted living facilities or group homes, ½ way houses; Supportive Roommates (supported independent/interdependent living), sober housing and harm reduction (sometimes sadly becomes harm acceptance). All rolled up for singles; couples; roomies; and families (sometimes fur family allowable, sometimes not). As well, home ownership which can be straight through Canadian Mortgage; Habitat for Humanity style ownership or Affordable Homes (or perhaps another way I have not heard of yet).

These ways have a qualifying mechanism which can be as simple as credit/debt ratios to sweat equity to income levels to medical and/or care provisions. Each, depending on where they fall on the spectrum; have rules, regulations and laws that govern contractual obligations, complaint mechanisms, accountability tools, acts and levels of government that may or may not oversee, whom to seek out for conflict resolution or mediation. Essentially it lays out in computer terms for apps the terms and conditions. That is what are the rights and responsibilities for the owner/service providers/landlord/tenant/owner while building a healthy home, and when the need arises through positive or negative means—transitions out of that home to the next.

The contractual obligations before signing, while signed and at dissolution.

This is why I applaud the NDP (New Democratic Party) government in their subtle caring way for reminding us of that. In this example Permanent Supportive Housing falls under a legislative licensing act in Alberta which has a ministry; specific protocols of provision (i.e. housekeeping and/or meals); and a very specific anonymous tip line for complaints to protect the resident. This aids the tenant and the staff of the facility. For it lets the staff know their rights and responsibilities, also for the tenant, it allows their rights and responsibilities to be clearly understood and known by not only them but their circles of support (professionals paid to be in their lives, and social supports ala family, friends and chosen family).

The terms and conditions allows one when seeking a home, whether it is moving from one tenancy to the next, or into care or out of shelter to understand that what they are needing/looking/qualify for…is what is being offered by the operator and/or property.

Seek clarity, on what specifically the terms and conditions are.

More precisely, seek clarity on what this means for the rights and responsibilities of all involved in the contractual arrangement.

By knowing this. By being informed. It allows for a healthy home to flourish for the individual, couple, roomies or family…and by proxy be a healthy piece of the puzzle for the growth of healthy communities in truly living out the understanding of being and knowing neighbour.

Ty Ragan Psy.D. has worked many decades as a community builder in many styles of housing  for what many would term vulnerable populations, but are always someone’s neighbour seeking a healthy home.


I had the privilege several weeks ago to be a guest on Light News Radio where we discussed a multitude of topics, as I phrased it after, the old data banks haven’t had such a work out for awhile. Yet the heart of the show was the discussion of moving beyond inclusion to belonging. For regular readers, you know I have been in the midst of re-discovering how my brain works, and the journey continues. The show had two times when there was dead time:

  • The shameless self-promotion. For those who know me, have taken courses from me, or been apart of groups/programs I have run know that this is just simple uncomfortable for myself. Some may call it humility, I simply put it out as the things that I have been blessed to be apart of, congealed together in the right moments with those the Holy Mystery intended to be apart of it. I have several books and articles across the last 33 years that share the experience, pieces I have aided have become political party policy, and sometimes pieces of legislation and laws. But the best is when someone who thought they had no place to belong finally find that safe zone to grow into the authentic them from. One friend keeps reminding me when we meet for spiritual coaching/direction “If you could get self-promotion you would be bigger that Wayne Dyer.” I simply laugh it off, just cause we’re bald doesn’t mean anything. But I do thank Deirdre on the radio for the highest compliment I can be paid, “you walk your talk.”
  • Your journey: this is the question when you can literally if you are listening close enough you can hear me having one of my neuro-glitches, thank you Dr. J and Deirdre for carrying the conversation until I came around. What was missed though is what I would like to share now. I have been blessed to find belonging in the midst of change. I live in the same house I was brought home from the hospital from, my family bought it from my folks, and yes it was the first house built on the block. I love where I live. NE Calgary is the world outside your door step. We are a midst of the socio-economic classes, spiritualities, we have shared accommodations, renters (market, affordable and Calgary Housing Company) and homeowners (and guess what, how one pays for their home does not entail if they are a good neighbour) and cultures that make the mosaic of the human race beautiful (98.5% non-western European descent, did a study on it in seminary circa 2006 when I was a Franciscan serving an Anglican parish). Our communities were built before Calgary forgot what planning entailed so we are well resourced with a hospital, malls, grocery stores, schools (public and separate, and all grades); the highest numbers of churches per capita with the lowest percentage of residents that are Christian (circa 2006-7 data). Like any community there has been places that have accepted us, and scorned us. My daughter got the fun in her pre-school years to explain Good Friday as “we are going to the church that baptized Daddy and killed Jesus” (as I was the first baby on a baptismal roll) to her being able to be the second generation to attend a Presbyterian Vacation Bible School in our community (it is one of the little churches that could). It is a place where I was able to be at the cornerstone laying ceremony for Canada’s largest Mosque. Where we learned as students to be a good citizen means to constructively query those in power, and hold to account for what needs to happen. Through actions of my family and neighbours learn how to support one another. It is where as we raise my son, we know that there are enough oldsters around to watch out for him (and my daughter) and enough newbies his smile and laughter had ingratiated him to them they will watch out for him.

This community had multiple religions in my Alliance Church pre-school as a child, and allowed for curiosity, open exploration of other understandings of religion and the world. We accepted openly refugees (the Vietnamese boat people) and lived out the mosaic ideal of Multi-Culturalism. I remember my elementary school spear heading the first special needs class room for the CBE, and y’know what those 3 kids were just part of our community.

It is a place from my vantage point where I mourn the entrenchment and extremist hate I see once again resurfacing in my country, for there will be those that will miss the beauty of a world where there is no other, only a family member we have not met. It is where my family openly discussed differing political viewpoints; shared the importance of acceptance, of women’s rights, where my Nan shared the story of her gay cousin who took his life and how that was wrong over someone for how God made them. Hearing my Grandma Ragan having tossed American troops from her Montreal diner for their racism. My Grandpa Joe winning a humanitarian of the year award. My Granddad and Nan, hearing how their home was the safe home in their community, a sanctuary for the loving parents no matter who you were.

The type of home my parents made for my brother and I and our friends. My brother was more social than I, but our home was open. It was the safe place, and yes our friends no matter our age referred them as “my brother’s name or Ty’s” Mum & Dad. That is the lesson of belonging. As my family grew into the space there are many things and those stories by those we have called friend are there’s to share. My family simply saw our neighbour, and opened ourselves up to friendship, and sometimes became the family that is not made with blood and DNA.

The lived journey is what brought me to understand belonging. The messy process that is missed in data sets, codifications, and labels. It is what lead me down many educational paths to get the skills necessary when presented with new situations and challenges. When I speak of the question “who is my neighbour?” it is about creating a space beyond accessibility, inclusion and affirmation.

It is creating a home of belonging where you feel open to drop by, pop in, share a meal or a cuppa. Whether it is just needing a place to be, or explore a book or a movie, chat, games, let the kids be kids…or simply abide until the pain passes or to share the joy. That is the journey of belonging and the heart understanding I bring to the pathway.

The Radio Show


I was wracking my mind and heart about what to share on this day of new life. Then I do what many do on Christmas day, a family tradition. We would gather throughout my life to watch the Queen address the Commonwealth. So the wife and I once again did today, and her message, the 60th on television, she was the first monarch to use the medium (and has been the only one since)…celebrating her platinum wedding anniversary to Prince Phillip. Speaking of the light in the darkness, the love of neighbour and self through first responders, charity, church and reclaiming/claiming home.

“The simplicity of the call of home this time of year”

-Queen Elizabeth II, head of the Commonwealth, Religious head of the Church of England (Anglican Communion)

From our family to yours this season, please join our tradition, read the article and listen to the Queen’s Christmas Message 2017.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A BLESSED NEW YEAR.

 


mustard seed

  1. And Jesus spoke a parable; he said, The kingdom of the Christ is like a little seed that one put in the ground;
    39. It grew and after many years became a mighty tree, and many people rested in its shade, and birds built nests and reared their young among its leafy boughs.

Aquarian Gospel 140:38-39

You can read the rest of chapter 140 that leads up to this parable, but it is safe to say the journey we have been on in this social gospel series has reached a zenith or a climax for the literary about. The rising action in this short length of Jesus-story has achieved to this parable just in case the preceding 140 chapters were not clear enough on the world that is possible.

That is what this is about. A little idea, a little dream, one little thing planted within the Holy Mystery—within us—and watch it bloom. Want to know something else that happens out of the original blessing we are created and called into/out of???

The tree that provides for all, welcomes all exactly where they are and who they are. It provides not just a space for existence but belonging, growth and thriving into who they are and are meant to be and become.

How?

The space to rest is the beginning.

For when you can pause enough in the rat race of survival. One can then have time to dream a dream. Baptist Pastor,  CCF Premier of Saskatchewan, and Greatest Canadian Tommy Douglas would remind us “dream no little dreams” for any dream in the fertile soil of the love (cosmic dust) we are bound through…creates new reality, new life and like the tree that springs from the smallest tree— H-O-M-E.

What a wonderful outcome of our original blessing when creation was given to us to explore.

So what is your little seed?

What soil will you plant it in?