Posts Tagged ‘Home’

Okay I am prepped for the hate mail on this one, but in regards to the new Fantastic 4 (yes with the teen cast, and the African-American Johnny Storm) I need to go on the record that this was a true Fantastic Four adventure.I know in Marvel fandom it is a fun past time to pan all the Fantastic Four movies, much like one does Wolverine Origins or X-Men Last Stand.

However, I have viewed all 3 of the FF movies, and loved them. These are stories of family, science fiction and adventure. So I must admit I was a fan, loved the team growing up was saddened when Marvel made the decision to pull the plug on the series (although with their mega event to mega event one really can’t get into a series cheaply anymore).

However, back to the reason of this post. It was a re imagining of the origin of the Fantastic Four. Quite priceless tying in new scientific ideas and theories from physics, but also seeing how these super powers would come to be within the scope of science themselves.

It dealt with the idea family not being about blood, but about belonging. This was seen by the fact the Storm’s adopted Susan (Sue) from Kosovo. But the updates rung true in our New World Order.

Think of a wealthy foundation cherry picking the smartest kids to work on making inter-dimensional travel a reality. The American Military watching these experiments to see what could be weaponized. As well, how would the government react and try to usurp new youths with hyper skills tied to their personalities?

I do recommend this movie for fun to watch, but also as a movie for a discussion group. The topics that can be conversed around are?

  1. the should/could questions of science,
  2. what is family?
  3. what is home?
  4. what is belonging?
  5. What is one’s responsibilities in choices?

Once again the four colour world can raise ethical questions for our existing world today. The power of story. The power of family.


It is a funny question, and usually how we identify ourselves in new social settings. “What do you do?” It is not some deep existential question looking for validation of vocational calling, rather it is the question of what one does for work to earn money, and then based on occupation and how many spaces on the pay cheque before the decimal point one can assess if you “fit” their societal grouping.

Also along the lines if you mention an impressive job title are questions around your education.

Then there is the abnormality. I pride myself on being the abnormality, when folks here what I do, and the education I have they get the deer caught in the headlights, evil robot short circuiting eye glaze. It is one of the little joys of life. But isn’t bragging about oneself the point of Linkedin and not conversation of getting to know one another at beyond a superficial level?

My kids tell people I give people homes. Many believe I am in real estate, no that is buying and selling housing. An admirable role, but not mine. I believe in homes for everyone, and that is what I do. I walk alongside and aid my neighbours in becoming part of community and growing themselves a home.

I should say this is something I stumbled into, but really it was a path laid out that I chose from a young age. My parents taught me to speak out for what I believed in, to question and critically analyze societal issues, and to be welcoming to the other. I mean c’mon I grew up a child of `78 and was part of a peace march in elementary school to get Gorbachev’s attention to speak out on ending the Cold War.

I was a teenage journalist and activist challenging politicians and world leaders to understand that policy decisions were not just words on paper but affected people as a whole and individually. Yes I was one of those pains in the butt and even ran for office. I lived what the Creator laid on my soul by building communities of welcome for those we like to segregate by labels: homeless; youth; seniors; young adults; differently abled; mentally ill… think of a few more can you? The drive was a label-less world.

Follow your heart

-My Daughter, Justina, age 8, Calgary Centre for Spiritual Living

Some may read these words and say with a drive like that your home life growing up must have been perfect hell. That’s a nugatory. I had an amazing childhood with loving family, that encouraged my dreams and passions. Let us as children to develop into the adult’s we were meant to be, and to shape beliefs that resonated beyond the surface level. They showed us what a home was, and this is what everyone deserves regardless of situation and with proper supports it can be achieved.

See that is why I do what  I do…because it is part of my created being. I have answered J.S. Woodsworth’s over 100 year old question, who is my neighbour? It is each and every person I connect with in this world.

Discover your passion, then figure out a way to make a living at it.

-My Dad, Wayne Ragan, to me 16 years old in a Marketing Research Project at Lester B. Pearson High School.

So why do I do what I do?

Four little letter everyone desires, deserves, and I have been blessed to know deeply.



800 years ago, give or take a few years St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron of my Spiritual Charism, cast a new order to go beyond Order of Friars Minor (think Robin Hood’s Friar Tuck) and the Poor Clares (think Nun’s with Feminism dashed in, kind of like Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg if you will)…

Yet. Much better than a but, Y-E-T- as Francis’ mendicants (insult meaning beggar) travelled spreading the gospel message of poverty, charity, love, and justice for all the interconnected of creation many who were married wanted to forsake their vows and join the celibate orders and…

Yup plus an A-N-D- there was some friars and sisters that well, let’s be honest humanity like every species on the planet is designed for procreation. Francis was an astute spiritual guide in that he realized this and blessed those that are called to be together, to make babies, to populate the world for that is the original commission within the Hebrew Scriptures go forth and out of the indwelling love of Spirit populate the world in love.

This is what birthed the Third, Lay or Secular Order. It was a work by one of these Franciscan’s 19 years into my journey of trying to remember paradise, discover the Spirit within, that working in a bookstore I stumbled upon John Michael Talbot’s (1998) The Life Lessons of St. Francis: How to bring Simplicity and Spirituality into your Daily Life. For someone who had journeyed through many Eastern, Celtic, Pagan, Western and Alien spiritual paths finding myself back in the Christian Church as a Sunday School teacher, this little volume showed me how my beliefs around love and inclusion worked together with belief and living out of God’s love, from the divine spark, the star dust that we are created from.

So dear reader, you are probably wondering what this 800 year history lesson has to do with anything? Especially the book you have picked up to read on different centering values to create a fuller you?

Simple, it is part of the formation of the writer of this book, it has influenced my understanding and shaped any bias within the stories to be found within. Also, when in the mid-2000’s I took the Munay-Ki Shamanic Rites, I was blessed to be labelled a Wisdom Keeper, one that holds the truths of the ancient stories for today.

In the Franciscan story there are many truths for today, but the one to remember as we move through these pages is perhaps the simplest lesson of all:

Within Francsicanism there is no historical Reformation (where the Protestant Church split from the Roman Catholic Church) rather it is a moment by moment reformation of one’s own heart, soul, spirit and community that one is called into.

So thank you for stepping into this new journey, it is a collection of values for all ages. To prepare for this spend time cleansing your energy, exhaling out the negative, and opening your heart to seeing things in a new light. There may be terms that are unfamiliar or may not resonate with you, this is due to my family’s Judeo-Christian Heritage, simply as you are reading replace them with terms that resonate with you.

I encourage you to find the best time of day to do the soul work with these values, take along a prepared kit:

Monk’s Bag of Tricks

  1. A simple bag, back pack or attache case
  2. Place within pens, pencils, crayons, pencil crayons, pastels,
  3. A fidget toy (perhaps a koosh, some Lego, a slinky, mystery box figures, something to play with to clear your mind when you get stumped).
  4. A journal
  5. A book of Wisdom teachings that you can read a snippet of each day.

Armed with this bag in your daily life, either identify a place in your community or your home that you can use as a retreat space to commune deeper within yourself.

So are you ready? This will not be your traditional spiritual formation journey, I mean the book is called Left Field, which for any sports metaphor you know it is usually the unusual team members that do not fit anywhere else.

That is us, those that are seeking the personal ongoing moment by moment reformation of St. Francis of Assisi, not only for ourselves but for our community and out world. So the question is now in your hands, close the book and walk away…

Or turn the page, step into left field with gusto and accept the challenge to create a new you.

Left Field

It is so weird when we speak of inclusion that there are still the “stigmatized” out there. I remember years ago when I first entered my mental health journey being told, “don’t say anything” or “others will see you as weak if they know” or “leaders don’t speak of their weaknesses.”


That is the wrong term to be used in regards to depression/anxiety, or even disabilities. All misnomers. Our world is made up of many different types of people, who have different abilities, and also mentally/spiritually experience the world differently. By moving towards exclusionary terminology, labels or even worse degradation to less than they are capable of being. For it is in building a world, where each person can excel to their fullest potential that is needed, not one where we place our own ideal of what is “normal” or “civilized” or “healthy” onto everyone else. For it is in trying to bring others up to our desired level that isolation, aloneness and seperatedness from community happens to the point where I believe it creates a huge contributing factor to the rise of addictions of every shape, for it is easier to allow something to overtake your life to the point of not being in touch with the reality around you, than to be a constant disappointment to the reality around you.

Think about it?

Are you willing to provide support for individuals to become full partiicpating members of community in a healthy way?

Are you willing to look beyong labels to who they truly are as a divine being?

Is the community you are a part of willing to open their arms in a welcoming fashion regardless of cultural/societal label and create a courageous and safe space for all?

Hmmm… or are the words of inclusion empty platitudes to make us feel better while we do not need to transform ourselves or our world for the better?

What is inclusion for you?

What does it take to shine the light into the Dark Nights? And allow the rainbows through the bleakness of day?

How much does it cost for everyone to find a true Home?

It is quite a thing. As I have written about previously, at my Mum’s funeral having neighbours share about the food pantry she used to run for the neighbours, knowing she would provide child care, and really there was always an open door for friends and family.

Throughout my life volunteering with the Guys and Dolls Seniors Club and work with churches, as many elders transitioned from homes to apartments they felt the need to aid me and sent quite a few household items and furnishings my way that has built many homes for many folks transitioning out of homelessness; garage sale fodder to support many youth projects, non-profits and political campaigns. Heck in 2006 I kicked of my campaign by doing a donation drive for the Mustard Seed.

This week as the last few donations have left the house, garbage swept up…it is obvious that the era of that for our humble abode has come to an end after nearly 40 years.

Yet a note in one of the condolence cards from my work rings out, that points out live the lessons she taught.

So that is a guiding point in restarting our potluck nights/afternoons with movies, etc…through our home to gather together.

One era ends…another is renewed this Sunday.

It is amazing in the era where the “Robin Hood Tax” is a movement (the idea of the rich paying their fair share for life shared of Star-ship Earth) and the focus on the justice issues; the ideal of romance between Robin Hood and Maid Marian (even though she was a romantic era morphing his devotion to Mary of Nazareth, which in turn was a Papist morphing of his devotion to mother Earth, but I digress).

Yet there is another piece of the story that deserves to be highlighted. For you see, Robin Hood is a meta-narrative, it is why this battle for justice and life has endured through the centuries.For at its heart is the story of the Merry Men in Sherwood Forest. It is not just Robin Hood’s battle against those that stripped him of his life, it is the community of the “Outlaws” that are in hiding for choosing to heal and live life together, and not allow injustice to be visited upon them.

In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves this was drawn out more fully in the film, by it being not just the outlaws, but their families. The Homeless of the Crusades period, placed outside society due to socio-economics, and choices of what it means. Indigenous Peoples (Saxons) cast outside of the newly invaded and chosen Norman society. Whichever era of Robin Hood mythos you wish to explore it is a story of power/oppression; belonging/loss; and reclamation of deep rooted things in the human spirit:

Love. Peace. Faith. Hope. Compassion. Respect. Empathy. Community… and finally… as the moment of celebration of the wedding scene at the end of most modern films: Family and from family…


Which is what the recent BBC Robin Hood series finale captured beautifully with the regain,

“We are Robin Hood”.

So, are you willing to live it out. . .

The above is a lyric from Nathen Aswell’s conscious pop song, Little by Little and I was reminded of it this morning sitting in a pew at Unity of Calgary. The family was revisiting an old spiritual home due to Nathen’s service, because he was the first real singer my Son resonated with, and it was a surprise on a foggy Calgary Weekend.

Yet the song of the little steps needed to come to love and through that build a home. In the Western World we have a grave assumption of home, okay in Calgary for sure, and that assumption is that a home is a “house” and has four walls, where one has utilities, food… but it is more.

Home is about safety. Home is a sanctuary where you discover to love yourself for who you are, and others love you and it is reciprocated.

This is a journey to discover and build home. Some of us were blessed with this growing up, others discovered it later in life, but the journey of making home new in each circumstance is what is needed. Knowing that what we have gone through before has allowed us the freedom to be in the life we are now. And little by little we need to release the past, heal from it and love into the present.

It is a journey, for those from the Judeo-Christian heritage, it is the story of the Exodus. Just think about it. The Hebrews could have easily just gone from Egypt to the Promised Land, but the stories shows us something more. It shows us an illustration of the metaphysical Easter Story.

The old Hebrew (You) dying away, and the rebirth into the promised reality. That of Home.

So the question is are we willing to take the little steps away from the past to become the new?

Are we willing to move Home?