Saturday, December 31, 2005

Steve Martin's Holiday Wish for YOU

A Classic from the great Steve last posting of the year.

"If I had one wish that I could wish this holiday season, it would be that all the children to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace. If I had two wishes I could make this holiday season, the first would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing in the spirit of harmony and peace. And the second would be for 30 million dollars a month to be given to me, tax-free in a Swiss bank account.

You know, if I had three wishes I could make this holiday season, the first, of course, would be for all the children of the world to get together and sing, the second would be for the 30 million dollars every month to me, and the third would be for encompassing power over every living being in the entire universe.

And if I had four wishes that I could make this holiday season, the first would be the crap about the kids definitely, the second would be for the 30 million, the third would be for all the power, and the fourth would be to set aside one month each year to have an extended 31-day orgasm, to be brought out slowly by Rosanna Arquette and that model Paulina-somebody, I can't think of her name. Of course my lovely wife can come too and she's behind me one hundred percent here, I guarantee it. Wait a minute, maybe the sex thing should be the first wish, so if I made that the first wish, because it could all go boom tomorrow, then what do you got, y'know? No, no, the kids, the kids singing would be great, that would be nice.

But wait a minute, who am I kidding? They're not going to be able to get all those kids together. I mean, the logistics of the thing is impossible, more trouble than it's worth! So -- we reorganize!

Here we go.

First, the sex thing. We go with that. Second, the money. No, we got with the power second, then the money. And then the kids. Oh wait, oh jeez, I forgot about revenge against my enemies! Okay, I need revenge against all my enemies, they should die like pigs in hell! That would be my fourth wish. And, of course, my fifth wish would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace."

Happy New Year and may you always maintain a glorious sense of humour, and never take yourself too darn serious!

Go Leafs!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Amazing Career Opportunity

Prime Minister
Location: The Country of Canada, based out of Ottawa, Ontario
Open to all Canadians, even white able bodied males despite the fact that recent applicants have not worked out too well.
Start date: January 24, 2006


Canada, established in 1867, is a country dedicated to bringing world-class solutions that meet the changing needs of Canadians today, with tomorrow in mind. With a population of more than 30,000,000 strong, a diverse geographical make-up of communities stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic, two official languages, historical conflicts that continue to erupt and divide especially during election time, Canada is looking for a leader extraordinaire to take the reins and inspire the nation. Destiny is calling!

The ideal candidate is a visionary with a gift of inspiring others through exceptional interpersonal skills, and the ability to quickly identify problems and to execute strategic direction by building solid partnerships. You will lead by example that will gain you credibility and trust both inside and outside the country, thereby setting high ethical standards for accomplishment and trust. Combining financial expertise, a history of working real jobs with real people outside the bureaucratic political fantasy world, you will have the opportunity to heal this Country's reputation while re-establishing the pride and committment most stakeholders are wanting to feel again.

Can you get things done and deliver on time? Can you actively work to improve yourself, stay grounded and to know your own strengths and weaknesses? Can you accept risk and take on difficult assignments? Do you have good table manners? Do you chew with you mouth closed? Do you have the emotional strength to stand up when under fire? Do you have a good sense of humour; the ability to see the absurdity in life? Can you colour between the lines, but also think outside of the box?

Are you able to focus on the end product, and yet enjoy the process of creating? Do you mind picnics, Bar BQ's, sleigh rides, hockey rinks, frisbee and football throwing, and babies? Are you cognizant of what a good photo opp is and that you will avoid all cheese cloth dew rags, cowboy outfits, jet skiis, and karoke sing songs? Is reality a concept you understand? Do you know understand the fine line between trustworthy dependable staff and idolatry?

Will you hold yourself and others accountable? Can you handle stress without breaking out in hives? Do you believe that all sincerity is bullshit?

Now is your chance to make a lasting impact!

If you are able to answer yes to these questions, and are still interested..........walk don't run to the nearest media outlet or internet blog site and announce your intentions. Time's a wastin'.......

Previous and present applicants need not apply again. Your qualifications do not meet our standards, though if another candidate doesn't appear in time, one of you will take on the role of "Acting PM" until a suitable candidate can be found.

"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better." Harry Truman

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Red Ring Around the White Collar

Just when the Christmas wrapping paper, bows and glittery bags have been put away for another year, a nicely wrapped parcel with a bright red bow appears on the doorstep of the Harper household. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm what could it be?

Open the lid.............Oh! Another white collar scandal nicely displayed on a turkey platter.

The latest RCMP investigation into the stock market activity on income trusts preceding the last budget has once again opened the door onto a ballroom of Liberal scandal. If Martin and crew had hoped that the Gomery talk would be tucked away with the Christmas decorations, and that Canadians would slip back into the Liberal doesn't look like it's going to happen!

The fact that the RCMP has released their intent to investigate this potential crime during the middle of an election instead of waiting until January 24th, speaks loudly of the seriousness of it. CTV News has been poking and probing at this issue since the day of the budget announcement. They have been digging up e-mail transcripts, interviewing trading experts to verify that the wording in the e-mails seem to be lifted right out of Goodale's budget announcement speech. But the timing on their journalistic investigation was poor. People were too busy with Christmas preparations to fully pay attention.

Not anymore!

Whether the activity was criminal or just an accidental slip amidst the rush to start the election is moot. For some who were privy to the leak, they were able to make stock trading deals that made them more wealthy. Scandal! Will it be one too many? Will this latest scandal be the one that will take the hypnotic spell off the voter?

There will be no time for hibernation this winter.

Canadian voters better get ready for some slick back spins on one side of the fence, and loud finger pointing accusations on the other. We are about to be inundated with negative ads, accusatory debates, backspin announcements, and pleas of innocence........a cornucopia of campaign diatribe. We're in for an interesting finish to this winter election.

Harper, Duceppe and Layton may have felt the fullness of their turkey dinner a couple of days ago. Now, they're licking their chops, hungry to take on the new item on the Liberal menu...........lame duck.

Please pass the gravy train.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Lost Innocence? Lost Naivete.

The gun violence in Toronto just burst it's imaginary borders from supposedly one corner of the city, the infamous Jane-Finch corridor. The perception is that it has spread out onto Yonge Street, the heart of the city with this recent horrendous killing on Boxing Day. In fact, it is the third shooting in the downtown area this year alone. What makes this such a wake-up call is that it took place in during the day amongst scores of shoppers. As well, the gangs involved seem to be from different parts of the city. The violence is not just a Jane-Finch sociological problem. It is a big city problem, that hits close to all Torontonian's homes.

Rationalization won't work anymore. A 15 year old high school athlete from the Beaches has been killed..... an innocent bystander probably out with her friends purchasing something with a gift card she was given for Christmas, was killed on the sidewalk in the heart of Toronto the Good.

From the Toronto Sun:

The police chief calls it "infuriating." The mayor is "saddened and angered." The PM blathers about "the consequences of exclusion" (whatever that means), the Premier blames "the insanity of guns" (can guns go insane?), and a senior cop declares "Toronto has finally lost its innocence."

No, no, no, no, no! Toronto lost its innocence long ago -- not with this, our 78th murder and 52nd gun homicide of 2005. This isn't even the first shooting near Yonge and Dundas this year -- it's the third.

What we have lost -- we hope -- is our naivete.

We've lost the dangerous illusion that the escalating gun violence that has scarred this city in recent years -- not months, years -- is an isolated problem, confined to a certain community, a certain income bracket or certain neighbourhoods.

We've lost the self-righteous notion that guns and gangs are problems imported from somewhere else. We've lost the elitist view that this kind of thing doesn't happen in "our Toronto."

Monday's victims are from all over; they are male and female; white, black, Asian. They are all of us.

One approach to solve this issue is not going to work, though I'm sure an attempt will be made to blanket the problem. No. It is a multi-leveled problem with historical roots. It needs a multi-pronged solution generated by all levels of government, in concert with the public. Poverty, familial breakdown, lack of focus in the school system, poor early intervention programs, victimization mentality, the addictive sense of belonging that a gang provides, easy access to guns, acceptance of violence as a means to dealing with conflict, a very poor consequential judicial system for youth, rampant drug problems, a breakdown of values, lack of personal ownership to dealing with problems, lax immigration laws that allow for unresolved issues from other countries to be played out on the streets of the city ALL play a role in creating this problem. ALL have to be addressed.

Before any of those issues are addressed however, the violence must be stopped in it's tracks NOW! The gangs and thugs, who seem to be taking control of the city, must be told in no uncertain terms that they are not in charge. Serious consequences have to be enforced. Politicians and Community Leaders must take back the city and break down the gun culture.

It is the culture of violence that has been allowed to evolve that needs to be addressed. How this has been allowed to occur I'm sure has many different theories, but the climate of political correctness and the acceptance of a mosaic of values being allowed to permeate Canadian society without it being questioned for fear of hurting someone's feelings has to have played a key role. Sure poverty plays some supporting role, but that's not the whole picture! There are pockets of poverty in different parts of this country that are far worse than where these thugs are thriving. On top of that, there is much less intervention (community centres, drop in centres, intervention programs etc, etc) happening than in Regency Park, Jane-Finch, and Scarborough!

Use some tough love with some bite! If the present laws arent tough enough, strengthen them! If the approach to youth crime isn't working Fix it! If immigration policies are too lax, tighten them! Let's move on this, and show these thugs that this country won't stand for a culture of violence, that this country has a set of values and a way of life that is clear, strong and free of gun toting lawless people who have no sense of right or wrong.

This is not a time for the Father O'Malley approach to life. Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman are not going to sing their way in to save the day. It's up to the leaders and the community to show them whose boss and throw them in jail.

We have to quit throwing millions of dollars into the pot to develop the touchy feely approach to dealing with the violence. Deal with the violent killing now...................then deal with the infrastructure. It's gone too far to navel gaze and form a art therapy program for drug dealers.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Moment of Thought

On December 26, 2004, nature unleashed it's first angry tantrum in what turned out to be a year of heart wrenching scenes of destruction in different parts of the world.

A year ago, the world was overwhelmed with the pictures and stories emanating from Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Indonesia, and Somalia after the unpredictable wall of water devastated the area. Yesteday, memorials were held around the globe, but none more poignant than the vigils held on the beaches in the 13 countries where 222,000 lives were killed or listed as missing. Entire towns and villages were destroyed.

Survivors in Thailand launched a boat laden with flowers, candles and incense and said prayers for the dead. Beachfront ceremonies in Thailand were the first of hundreds due to be held to mark the disaster's grim anniversary in the dozen countries hit by the earthquake-spawned waves last Dec. 26.

At Bang Niang beach in Thailand's Phang Nga province, Western tourists who were caught in the disaster joined locals early Saturday to placed offerings into a brightly colored, bird-shaped boat that was floated into the Andaman Sea as members of the Moken, or sea gypsy, tribe chanted and banged drums. The Moken believe the ceremony helps ward off evil spirits.

Sri Lanka paid tribute to more than 30,000 people who were killed on the island. Small private ceremonies were held to mark the moment the waves struck. Thousands of people lit coconut oil lamps on beaches on the southern coast after dark. The government held the official ceremony at Peraliya on the southern coast, where more than 1,000 people died when a train was swamped by the incoming water. Temple bells rang out. Buddhist and Muslim priest chanted blessings and everyone fell silent for two minutes.

In the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India, a memorial column was unveiled in the worst hit district, where more than 6,000 people died. The huge waves also claimed the lives of thousands of people in the Andaman and Nicobar Island, where some of the most primitive tribal communities in the world lived.
As part of the memorial vigil, groups of people walked from village to village in silence, in memory of those who lost their lives.

In Banda Aceh, survivors wept and prayed beside mass graves and at beachside memorials. Mourners filled mosques in Indonesia's shattered Aceh province, the region hit hardest. Survivors relived the terrible awe they felt when the sea rose as high as 33 feet and surged inland for miles with seemingly unstoppable force, carrying along trees, houses, train cars -- and thousands of people -- in a churning rush.

Somalis gathered in mosques along the east African nation's coast to remember the 289 people who disappeared in the waves and to pray for the tens of thousands still homeless.

Each one of us is left with certain pictures from the disaster that pulled at our humanity. I'll never forget the interview with a European woman who was holding her toddler, while her 5 year old looked on. She spoke of her experience, left alone with her two children at a beachfront restaurant while her husband had returned to their hotel room for something, when the wave struck. Unable to hold onto both children, she had to make a choice to let go of the hand of her 5 year old and hope that someone else would save him. As I watched this interview, I was struck by the devastating fear and sadness on the little blonde boy standing alone, looking at his mom while she spoke openly about choosing his brother over him. I have thought many times about that scene, wondering what I would do if faced with a choice like that, but more importantly wondering how that little boy is doing now. Is he so traumatized by his experience of almost being swallowed up by the tsunami and by his own interpretation of being abandoned? Will he be scarred forever, his childhood innocence gone at the age of 5?

The other story that will always stay with me is about a little boy as well who was on the train in Sri Lanka with his mother and sisters when the wave engulfed them. Somehow, he miraculously survived and after a few days, was reunited with his father. The reunion was powerful and glorious, but it was combined with the devastating mournful grief of losing the rest of their family, home and village. How are they doing now? Does their love of one another, and the feeling that they were part of a miracle amongst a disaster give them strength to plan their future and move forward?

The tsunami generated one of the most generous outpourings of foreign aid ever known -- some $13 billion in pledges. But frustration is growing among the 1.4 million people still living in tents, plywood barracks or with family and friends. Nearly 2 million people lost their homes after the tsunami. The grief and hardship continue. The emotional scars will live on.

Take a moment to send your thoughts of hope and love......................

Sunday, December 25, 2005

12 Days of Christmas

During the time when Catholics were forbidden to practise their faith in England, the 12 Days of Christmas was written as a way to secretly celebrate their faith without the Puritans in knowing. It became popular as a Catechism song. Each item in the song is representative of the doctrines of their faith.

So, what are the meanings........................
  • Instead of referring to a suitor, the "true love" mentioned in the song refers to God.
  • The "me" receiving the presents is symbolic of every baptized person.
  • The partridge in the pear tree is Jesus Christ, and in the song, He is symbolically presented as a mother partridge who feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings.
  • Two turtle doves: The Old and New Testaments
  • Three french hens: Faith, hope and charity
  • Four calling birds: The four Gospels
  • Five gold rings: The first five books of the Old Testament or the Torah
  • Six geese a laying: The six days of creation
  • Seven swans a-swimming: The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Eight maids a-milking: The eight Beatitudes
  • Nine ladies dancing: The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
  • Ten lords a-leaping: The Ten Commandments
  • Eleven pipers piping: The eleven faithful disciples
  • Twelve drummers drumming: The twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed
I have always loved this song and more so now that I am aware of it's meaning and importance. Merry Christmas


For many, Santa Claus personifies Christmas. The mythology surrounding him originates from the true stories of St. Nicholas. Nicholas was born sometime around 280 in Patara Turkey. His name, Santa Claus, comes from the Dutch Feast of Sinterklaas and the Dutch Sint Nikolaas.

Nicholas was a bishop who was distressed by the poverty of his parish. In order to try to alleviate this, he began delivering — secretly and at night — gifts to his parishioners. Before long, he became a legendary figure, and his legend turned into our modern-day Santa.
Word spread of his generosity and soon Christian pilgrims from all over the world came to visit the church of St. Nicholas and carried his legend back to their native lands, melding it within their own cultural smorgasbord of much earlier traditions, such as that of the gift-giving shaman.

But the image of Santa we hold today stems from 1881, when political cartoonist Thomas Nast drew on a poem called "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" to create the first likeness that matches our modern image of Santa Claus. Nast's cartoon, which appeared in Harper's Weekly, depicted Santa as a rotund, cheerful man with a full, white beard, holding a sack overloaded with toys for children. Originally cast in green, Nast gave Santa his bright red suit spruced with white fur, North Pole workshop, elves, and his wife, Mrs. Claus. Then, in the 1930s, Coca-Cola, in a bid to move from the adult to the children's consumer market, launched a massive advertising campaign fronted by Santa, and trademarked the colour red that we associate with Santa Claus.

Hope St. Nicholas came looking for you last night. Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005

O Holy Night

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Child Poverty in Canada

In 1989, the House of Commons unanimously resolved to eliminate poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000. At the start of 2005, 1.2 million Canadian children, or nearly one in six, are still poor. Most of these children are members of families where one or more of their parents are working. Here some disparate statistics that should make every Canadian wake up and smell the coffee.

  • The child poverty rate has been stuck around 18% of the population since 2000, despite the economic growth in this country
  • Inequality between the rich and poor has deepened despite economic growth. Canada's top 10% of the richest families with children had average incomes that were more that 13 times higher than the bottom 10%
  • The number of children living in poverty has risen 20% since 1989
  • 41% of food bank users in 2004 were children.
  • Child poverty rates for Aboriginal, immigrant and children in visible minority groups are more than double the average for all children.
  • Child poverty rates among children with disabilities are 27.7%

These are shameful statistics. We need to do better.

Public concern over child poverty in Canada has consistently been ranked a priority issue, along with health care and education, both of which can affect the rate of child poverty. Significant resources have been devoted to healthcare and education, and yet the challenges remain the same. During this election, there has been an increase in public concern about gun crime and youth violence in some parts of Canadian cities notoriously poverty stricken. We have also been shocked recently by the continued deplorable living conditions on First Nations reserves.

An effective plan to address child poverty needs to be tied to healthcare, education, housing and work/labor opportunities. Research and common sense has shown time and again that there is a link between a healthy start in life and the long-term impact on the well-being of children is clearly established. If the rate of child poverty was significantly reduced, this country could see a reduction of health care costs over the long term. Offering an equal playing field from birth for all children is essential to promoting progressive economic growth........the key to equity.

What needs to change?

An action plan that could make a real difference, and would utilize the 40 billion dollar surplus that the Liberal government is stashing for a rainy day. The minimum wage and the consideration of an income supplement program must be seriously considered. Affordable housing, so that families are not spending more than a quarter of their wages on rent, must be provided. Early intervention and "Headstart" programs as well as "well child" clinics need to be implemented across the country.

The numbers are not going to change, unless we start taking responsibility for the innocents of this country who have no voice. Investment now means psychological, physical, economic and productivity growth in the long run. Is there a party that is willing to think outside of the "4 year mandate window" to make a long term investment?

1 in 6 children.........................we must do better

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Turning the Heat Up.

The biggest disagreement between Canadians is the topic of unity. How ironic.
Yesterday's playground fight between Martin and Harper allows this disagreement to continue. Like putting another stick into the woodstove, this campaign is heating up real good. Even before the election was called, Martin was espousing his "I love Canada" mantra, which seems to have mesmerized some voters outside of Quebec, and has stoked the separatistes fire within. Harper finally came forward and pointed out this tactic......that Martin would like to see the PQ elected so that that the Liberals can don the role of defenders of national unity.
That was how I had read it..............didn't you?
Trembling and playing the role of "shook up PM", Mr. Martin said yesterday that his opponent had stepped over the line of common courtesy. He said he would never make such a suggestion about Mr. Harper, and Mr. Harper shouldn't make it about him.

"As different as our views might be, I would never for a moment suggest that Stephen Harper would prefer, for partisan political reasons, to see a separatist victory," he said in Halifax. "As a Quebecker, as a lifelong federalist, and as the Prime Minister of Canada, I believe that I am entitled to the same courtesy from Mr. Harper and frankly, as a matter of basic courtesy, I'd like to hear him say it."
Using National Unity as a dramatic tool to stoke the campaign fire and to redirect attention away from the sponsorship scandal is the only clear gameplan that the Liberals have presented to the voter so far. It's a very scary roll of the that a "lifelong federalist" would choose only if he is feeling the fire lapping up his pant legs.

"Seek to live in harmony with all your neighbours; live in amity with your brethren." Confucius

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Power of Creativity

Creativity is more than just producing a piece of art. Creativity is a way of thinking and a way of living life. It is the engine behind progress.

Any creative endeavour, whether it involves painting, sculpting, writing, dancing, designing, acting, expressing share similar characteristics. It involves thinking or behaving imaginatively with a purposeful and value-added objective in mind. It generates originality and a sense of accomplishment. It promotes skills that are highly regarded in the community and workplace. And yet, our school system has basically shut down many opportunities to promote creativity through curriculum. In fact, do any elementary schools in this province even hire an Art specialist to teach and promote the knowledge and the act of creating?

So what are the skills?

Creativity teaches a person to envision possibilities, to ask questions, to problem solve and find solutions, to accept challenges, to cope with ambiguity and to take risks in choosing a new approach when tackling a project or problem. In other words, creative endeavours promote Thinking, Choosing and Acting.

The human brain needs nourishment, and thrives in an enriched environment where the thinking process is alive and well. Without it, our drive to learn disipates. Musicians, artists, actors, athletes, writers, and dancers all share the same fluid flowing thinking process, all the while allowing for emotions to be felt and shared to others. The drama of a wonderfully written play, the moving lyrics to a song, the harmony of the orchestra, the expression of a soliloquy, the sensory stimulation of an original photograph all have the ability to nourish.

In order to promote more creative opportunities, a program has been developed in the United Kingdom called "Creative Partnerships." It's mandate is to provide school children with the opportunity to develop creativity in learning and to take part in cultural activities in the community. This is considered an avenue to forge partnerships with schools and artists of all genres with the objective of enriching school life. "Creative Partnerships" helps schools identify their individual needs and then enables them to develop long-term sustainable partnerships with organizations and individuals that are involved with museums, theatre companies, dance studios, cinemas, recording studios, website designers, etc. The main purpose is to promote the fun of thinking "outside of box."

The first 16 areas that were chosen to benefit from this program were all considered the most economically and socially challenged communities in the UK. Using the creative experts in various fields, the teachers in the school system and the children have been involved in a variety of projects that have stimulated the learning environment, which in turn stimulates new thinking, new methods of teaching, and new learning. It's a powerful tool in transforming the education system in the UK. It's one that this province should consider adopting.\
"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap!"
Cynthia Heimel

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Constitutional Discussions Back on the Front Burner

"English Canada must clearly understand that, whatever is said or done, Québec is, today and forever, a distinct society, that is free and able to assume the control of it's destiny and it's development."

Robert Borassa spoke those words during his infamous speech delivered right after the Meech Lake Accord went down to defeat in June of 1990. Fifteen years later, I believe that the words are just as poignant and true. Are we ready to recognize this reality and understand the depth of the conviction?

The first signs of hope that we are arrived yesterday, when Stephen Harper offered the beginning of a plan to try once again to wrestle with unity productively. Harper has offered an olive branch by promising to bring Quebec back into focus with the rest of Canada by acknowledging the distinctness of la Belle Province. This would include allowing them to play a role on the international level; something which Martin has clearly refused to consider in the past. Today, Jean Charest gave his endorsement in a positive interview with the Quebec media. All good news as far as I'm concerned.

Martin's response to Harper's announcements? He tried to spin the idea that the National unity and bringing Quebec into the constitution is not the priority for Canadians. Too darn late! The Sponsorship scandal and the mess that the Liberals have made in the province of Quebec has clearly put this issue on the front burner. It is a priority. Canadians are gradually becoming more and more aware of the crisis that is brewing in Quebec, with the Separatists leading the way again.

While I'm hopeful that one of the leaders is attempting to offer an alternative choice in Quebec, we have a very long way to go. The Conservatives have no base to work from there, unlike the Mulroney years. However, neither do the Liberals anymore. The timing of Harper introducing his ideas in this election (just before Christmas) isn't good either. It may get lost in the shopping and office party frenzy. But, it is definately something to build on after the New Year when the undecided voter is feeling more pressure to review the platforms of the parties.

I look forward to watching this issue unfold and to see if Harper can define his leadership capabilities by providing his vision of unity to a disillusioned country.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

On Compassion

"Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival."
Dalai Lama

"All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness ... the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives."
Dalai Lama

"My message is the practice of compassion, love and kindness. Compassion can be put into practice if one recognizes the fact that every human being is a member of humanity and the human family regardless of differences in religion, culture, color and creed. Deep down there is no difference."
Dalai Lama

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
Dalai Lama

"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."

Frederick Buechner

"It is lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others."


"The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another."

Thomas Merton

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Post traumatic debate disorder

Was that a debate last night? It seemed more like an updated version of "Reach for the Top" or "Headliners" than a debate. Whoa! We have swung from one end of the continuum to another. The debate during the last election was a free-for-all yellathon with the candidates swinging blindly at one another, hoping for a direct hit that would make the 11pm news. This time around, it was bland, one-dimensional and just a contrived infomercial. Can we not find a happy medium? Is there any way to stage something a bit more oxymoron, I know, but Mark Burnett manages it, why can't the Canadian media and the political parties???

Is it just me, or are others feeling like they want to vote for Gilles Duceppe? He seemed like the only genuine person behind the podium last night. The guy has a vision, albeit one that I'm not too keen about, but a vision nonetheless. The words he chose seemed forthright, concrete....not lofty at all. He's obviously very intelligent and matter of fact. I like the guy. And yet.....when asked about what he would do regarding the whole issue around same sex marriage, his answer was that the issue has been dealt with and one shouldn't be voting on the same issue again. It should be put to rest.
Excuse me, Monsieur Duceppe! Wasn't there a referendum on Quebec separating that took place in 1995? Double standard? Distinct voting rules?

The other 3 Leaders vying for our attention last night?

Despite his utter loathing of the little guy from Shawinagan, Paul Martin continues to use the emotional trump card, covering himself in a pile of maple leaves and bellowing out his love of the country like a beagle howling at the moon. "I love Canada." AWWWWOOOOOOOO! Havent we heard that before? Didn't Chretien hypnotize this country with that mantra? The voters fell in line and voted him in with a majority. Martin knows how to stir the cauldron. No one is going to take his country away from him. I fear, however, that he and the Liberals have turned the heat up too high already........The Liberals may win this thing, but the damage done in Quebec is terrifying for the future of this country.

I was impressed with Layton's ability to start each answer with a sharp direct newsy-length clip that summarized his answer, and end each answer by mentioning his party affiliation. He's a media master, our Jack. Saavy and sure-footed, he also turned to the NDP trump card too and mentioned the beloved Ed Broadbent's name a half dozen times. Didn't I read somewhere that Mr. Broadbent, sickened by the whole scene in Ottawa has gone back into retirement? Was that the only reason he has walked away?

That leaves Stephen Harper, who appeared genuinely nervous during some parts of the evening. He stumbled over phrases and words on several occasions, while trying to make a point. He also seemed to be interrupted by the Moderator much more often than the others. The other Leaders were given leeway time during their oh so impromtu answers, while the egg timer was set for Harper. He was allowed no elbow room whatsoever.

The Moderator also had a lot of her own opinions that she felt the necessity to share with us. That was weird. But, I guess she felt the need to express her bias in two ways.

If one could get beyond the puzzling look on his face, a smile/frown thing, and the fact that he has adopted the condescending cadence of Bernard Lord, Harper made a lot of good points. And yet................

Still up in the air.............still looking for answers................still hoping for substance.

Best go back to wrapping presents, writing Christmas cards, and preparing for a more important day than January 23rd. The New Year can wait. I'm focused on Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Anthony de Mello on: Labels

The important thing is not to know who "I" is or what "I" is. You'll never succeed. There are no words for it. The important thing is to drop the labels. As the Japanese Zen masters say, "Don't seek the truth; just drop your opinions." Drop your theories; don't seek the truth. Truth isn't something you search for. If you stop being opinionated, you would know. Something similar happens here. If you drop your labels, you would know.

What do I mean by labels? Every label you can conceive of except perhaps that of human being. I am a human being. Fair enough; doesn't say very much. But when you say, "I am successful," that's crazy. Success is not part of the "I". Success is something that comes and goes; it could be here today and gone tomorrow. That's not "I". When you said, "I was a success," you were in error; you were plunged into darkness. You identified yourself with success. The same thing when you said, "I am a failure, a lawyer, a businessman." You know what's going to happen to you if you identify yourself with these things. You're going to cling to them, you're going to be worried that they may fall apart, and that's where your suffering comes in. That is what I meant earlier when I said to you, "If you're suffering, you're asleep." Do you want a sign that you're asleep? Here it is: You're suffering.

Suffering is a sign that you're out of touch with the truth. Suffering is given to you that you might open your eyes to the truth, that you might understand that there's falsehood somewhere, just as physical pain is given to you so you will understand that there is disease or illness somewhere. Suffering points out that there is falsehood somewhere. Suffering occurs when you clash with reality. When your illusions clash with reality when your falsehoods clash with the truth, then you have suffering. Otherwise there is no suffering.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Invisible Child

Yesterday, a new and disturbing report was released by UNICEF, entitled "The State of the World's Children 2006." It describes the plight of hundreds of millions of children who have disappeared from sight and are considered "unreachable and invisible" due to many factors such as child trafficking, and closed door work environments such as mines, factories, domestic jobs and the sex trade. There are also street children and orphans who may be heading up their own families that are living in plain sight, but they are not connected at all to the social services, or school systems. These children are not being helped through any type of development relief campaigns.
The report identifies 4 key situations/circumstances in which children are most likely to become invisible and forgotten:
Children without an identity: More that 50 million children are not registered at birth and therefore are not counted in statistics or even officially recognized. Consequently, they have no access to education or health care. They have an increased risk of being exploited.
Children without parental care: One in every 13 children in the developing world (143 million children) has lost at least one parent. 15 million of those from AIDS alone. Consequently, the loss of the parent makes the child vulnerable to economic poverty. They have to drop out of school, and go to work to care for siblings. They become prone to exploitation and abuse, and losing their housing/shelter.
Children forced into adult roles: Approx. 250,000 children are currently serving as child soldieers in armed conflicts worldwide. They are forced to participate in and experience horrific atrocities and extreme violence.
Children who are exploited: Children who are victims of exploitation are arguably the most invisible because they are shut away by their abusers and become very difficult to track. The best estimates indicate 8.4 million children work in the worst forms of child labour.
Where does one start to even absorb these numbers let alone try to find a way to help solve such a monumental and overwhelming problem? It's mind-boggling and unacceptable. the beginning.............Taking responsibility of the safety and health of the children in your own part of the world is a small step.............supporting UNICEF, the world leader for children is another.....staying informed, learning about the Millenium Development Goals set by World Leaders to be reached by 2015 is a start.........
It's so difficult to have a leap of faith. Is something really being done about this? I don't like the feeling of having no control over the plight of these children.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Jiffy Pop and Hops.

There's a fine line between a healthy dose of displaying a sense of loyalty and worshipping someone. So, what happens when a Liberal Director of Communications for the PMO who has crossed that line and is allowed to bellow out derogatory put downs to the Canadian public?
The worshippee and the leader sit around drinking beer and eating popcorn, while complimenting one another........"you're great"............"no, you're greater"........"no, you're even greater....."
There are many people in high places whose egos necessitate the need to be worshipped. Consequently, they surround themselves with starry-eyed lambs who build a fortresses around them and block out any flow of fresh air that could possibly bring in a dose of reality; a different perception. Bias clouds even the best minds.
Surprisingly, this election has begun on a high road. We have been offered ideas, clear options, and issues to consider, rather than the hideous verbal slaughtering we witnessed 18 months ago. It is more intelligent and respectful to Canadian voters, which makes the "popcorn and beer gaffe" seem all the more repugnant. What Scott Reid did in one statement was denigrate the whole issue of quality childcare. He should feel sheepish.
With the first official debate only a day away, let's hope that the other leaders don't take the party bashing bait dished out by the Liberals. Let's hope for an intelligent display of political fencing and footwork that sparks the voters to really think about who they want to support.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Thought du jour

It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again;who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
- Theodore Roosevelt

I was impressed with this message that I happened to stumble across today. It got me thinking about the need for more individuals in this country to get involved, particularly in the political arena. It just seems to me that it is always the same familiar faces and names whom I read about, both locally and nationally. What is most blatantly missing are women. Why is that?
My feeling is that the idea of an "arena" where one is "marred by dust sweat and blood " just isn't too inviting. Who wants to jump into such a place, knowing that one's ideas, reputation, personality, and actions will forever be under a media microscope? Who wants to be fodder for the evening news, when the attention wouldn't be on ones intelligent opinions but rather on the fact that you had a run in your nylons or that your hair just wasn't as flattering as it could be. Who needs it?

And yet...........the voices and perspectives of all kinds of women needs to be shared. Would this happen if the arena was renovated? Where's Debbie Travis when you need her?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Thoughts on Christmas

Christmas is a time to tenderly remember the past, especially the loved ones who were there to help mold you into the person you are now. It is a time to enjoy the present moments with family and friends and to give thanks for the moments of grace felt throughout the Christmas season. It is a time to acknowledge the many blessings given to us and to embrace the hope for peace for the future.

The magic of Christmas comes in the joy of sharing your friendship, your sense of hopefulness, faith, openness, and warmth to others. Because of the magic, what you share always returns to you in abundance.

Christmas is a sparkling time when everyone should dig deep to find the childlike excitement once again; to find the feeling of restless anticipation of an upcoming celebration. It is a time to remember the well-known stories about the events surrounding the birth of Jesus and to acknowledge the day by giving, sharing and singing.

Christmas can also be a time of introspection and of feeling loss in a much more profound way than any other time of year. So many struggle with the mulitude of feelings and hardships that this time of year conjures up. It is these individuals who are suffering for whatever reason that we need to be most cognizant of so that we can open our hearts to listen to their sorrow and to provide comfort when they come looking for it.

The gift of friendship and understanding far outweighs any other gift a person give to another. There is nothing more powerful than feeling a sense of love and belonging.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Your Friend Along the Way

Yesterday while driving to and fro attempting to tackle the various Saturday morning errands that seem to run my life, I noticed a long line up of idling cars patiently awaiting their turn to order their "double-double" and cruller fix for the day. Wait a minute, I thought. When did this Tim Horton's establishment open? I swear the last time I paid attention while passing this spot, it was a vacant piece of property. Like it rose from the ground overnight, there it was. A new Tim's, the 11th by my count, in a city of 60,000 people, has opened. Obviously it fills a need, given the caffeine converts snaking their way past the drive thru. Amazing.

Who knew that one day brown coffee cups would produce litter spread so evenly across our country? Who knew that the Canadian Identity would eventually be defined by hunks of fried dough? Who knew that the meeting centres in our communities would gravitate towards a coffee shop chain that has even sprouted up in villages and rural areas? Tim Horton and Ron Joyce may not have had the same life jolting dream as Ray Kinsella did in the novel Shoeless Joe Comes to Iowa, but they sure started with a good idea. A trip to Tim's is part of the Canadian fabric.

Here are some facts..................yes I began to perseverate on the phenomenon and looked up some dirt.....just thought that the next time you find yourself in the snake line at your local Tim's, you can ponder these Timbits............

  • First established in Hamilton Ontario in 1964, Tim Horton's has grown to over 2100 sites, including some in the United States.
  • In 1964, a cup of coffee cost 10 cents.
  • Tim's employs over 55,000 employees, including management and 800 franchise owners.
  • In 2003, Tim Horton's collected $5.5 million during their annual Camp Day.
  • There are 6 camps running across Canada (and one in Kentucky) that provide a wonderful camp experience for children who wouldn't ever have a chance to.
  • The term "double-double" made it into the Canadian Oxford Dictionary in 2004
  • Tim Horton's real name is Myles Gilbert Horton. "Timbits" sounds much better than "Mylesbits" don't you think?
  • Tim Horton, played for 22 seasons in the NHL. At the time of his death, he was playing for the Buffalo Sabres and was driving home from Toronto when he had his car accident.
  • In 2005, Donuts only represent 20% of the revenues.
  • You know that commercial about the retired couple who driving across the country and stop at Tim's along the way? It's true. Whether or not the hosers driving the other way or the letter home from the son travelling through Europe is true.........well I didn't see any facts about that!
  • There are two women, Faye and Florence who have been working at the very first Tims in Hamilton for over 30 years each. Saw their picture. Plan to say hi the next time I happen to be driving by their town.
Ron Joyce? He's got his own plantation, airstrip and private golf course in his hometown of Tatamagouche. I heard through the grapevine that he's a bit lonely. Maybe I'll drop by with one of those new hot smoothies and talk shop, and beg for a franchise opportunity.

"If you build it, he will come." Ray Kinsella, Field of Dreams.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Childcare: This Month's Political Football.

A year ago, Social Development Minister Ken Dryden spoke at a National Conference on Policy and Child Care held in Winnepeg to professional representatives from the field -- frontline childcare workers, policy makers, and researchers. Dryden spoke about taking stock of our current child care situation across Canada in which less than 20 percent of children under the age of six are in regulated care — despite the fact that more than 84 percent of families have both parents in the workforce and 70 percent of women with children under the age of six are in the workforce. He acknowledged that workers in this sector are paid some of the lowest wages in the country. He referred to the recently released Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, which was critical of Canada's underfunded and uncoordinated patchwork of child care.

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reviewed 20 countries for the child care report. It said Canada's system was chronically underfunded and found subsidies inequitably distributed to a small number of the poorest families. As part of the report, four European investigators toured dozens of programs in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, the only four provinces that agreed to be in the review.

While they did find several examples of well-run daycares, more often they came upon centres that were shabby, with workers who were poorly trained and who frequently quit. In many centres, they found barren, poorly lit rooms with an abundance of plastic toys and games that were "of doubtful learning quality." Playgrounds were lacking as well. Overprotective child care workers frequently forced youngsters to sit down and not move.

Unlike other cold-climate countries such as Sweden and Finland, which have highly rated systems where preschoolers spend hours at a time outdoors, the Canadian children spent almost all of their time inside.

The report also stressed that Canada has among the highest percentage of working mothers of young children, yet it invests less than half of what other developed nations in Europe devote on average to early-childhood education, says the report. While this country has regulated child-care spaces for less than 20 per cent of children under six with working parents , 60 per cent of young children in the U.K. are in regulated care, and 78 per cent in Denmark. It also recommended child care be integrated with kindergarten, and that recruitment and training be improved.

Based on these findings and other extensive research conducted by experts in Canada, Dryden stressed the need for building a system, using Canada's current education and health systems as examples of national systems built out of what were originally fragmented services. The federal government promised to pump $5 billion over five years into provinces and territories that create early-learning and child-care spaces that are regulated and universally accessible.

To summarize, the Liberal government, prior to the election worked towards having all of the provinces sign a commitment to work towards developing a national childcare infrastructure that would strive to encompass quality, universality and accessibility, with the intention of using Quebec's system as a model of excellence. Since the election, the Liberals have doubled their time and money alloted. It's now 10 billion over 10 years.

What are the Conservatives offering? Details of their plan include:

  • a $1,200-a-year allowance for every child under the age of six per household -- money which families can use in any way they want.
  • $250 million in annual tax credits to fund a community child-care investment program.
  • The $1,200 "Choice in Child Care Allowance" would be taxable in the hands of the spouse with the lower income.
There has been no discussion on the process of developing an infrastructure so that a child in Newfoundland or British Columbia or New Brunswick, or Manitoba, or anywhere else in this country will be provided a licensed place that is safe and loving; where healthy meals are provided, interesting and fun activities are organized, where there is a social sense of belonging and interacting, and where they are encouraged to be a curious explorer. No, the Conservative party is basically bringing back the baby bonus and throwing money at families without acknowledging the intial reasons behind the whole purpose of starting to establish a national system. They have turned the tables and made the "reason" one of "the rights of the parents to choose."

That's not it!

The need for high quality, accessible childcare is a reality. The statistics support this. We are beyond a point where most families have options to have one parent stay home with the children. 2 income families are the norm. Single parent families are the norm. Sure there are some who have the choice to stay home or enter the workforce. And yes, there are conflicting studies indicating what's best for the child which feed the ongoing (and very tiresome) debate over whether or not childcare centres are developmentally healthy for the child. Enough of the defensive finger pointing. Let's move on...........

I don't have to read the OECD report. I've seen their findings with my own eyes. I have seen understaffed or undereducated staffed centres where they were sorely lacking in the basic toys, books, craft supplies, or outdoor equipment. I have seen centres where the lunch provided did not reflect the menu posted on the bulletin board. I've walked into centres when children were napping way too late in the afternoon and that hadn't been cleaned properly. I have been in a centre that was not licensed to provide care for babies, and yet I found two of them were sleeping on the daycare owner's personal bed. There weren't even cribs. All of these centres were licensed, I was responsible for monitoring them. Because the regulations at the time were not tough enough, I wasn't able to enforce any major changes. The regulations havent changed that much since then. I have never had a job before or since where I felt less power.

ON THE OTHER HAND................

I have also seen bright, colourful, welcoming, expressive, happy, interactive environments run by dedicated individuals who provide a "home away from home." There is absolutely no comparision.

Childcare centres, whether they are run out of a home or a church basement, or the YMCA, or a building specifically designed for childcare services are here to stay! And, because of this reality, they need to be as warm, safe, wonderful and inviting as we can make them. They need to be run by caring, educated, devoted individuals (who by the way need to be paid better!!) who are full of energy and ideas that promote the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of every little child in their care. It doesn't matter where a kid lives in this country, it is our responsibility to provide this.

Dryden's intiative with the provinces is by far our best option. And yet..........the whole childcare debate is now a political football, with all sides vying for big news quotes bonus points. It's seen in the media and with voters as a "big touchy-feely idea" which is a good thing when one has an election at Christmas time. The whole purpose behind the intiative is getting lost. Will it fly off the post-election table once again?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Thought du jour

It isn't enough to talk about peace.
One must believe in it.
And it isn't enough to believe in it.
One must work at it.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Living for Today...........

John Lennon left us with many gifts through his lyrics and harmony. By far the most poignant gift is the song Imagine.Written over 34 years ago, this timeless piece captures a vision that is hopeful and a dream to find peace.

This is the time of year when we celebrate life with a renewed sense of hope. Let us all strive for the ideals that Lennon so beautifully described. Let us all strive to live a life of peace.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Friday, December 02, 2005

"Believing I Can ... Empowering"

Yesterday when I arrived back to my office after a meeting, I found an envelope laying on my chair. It was a Christmas card from a colleague friend, Kim, whom I havent seen since August because she is on "extended leave" battling Multiple Sclerosis. Despite her latest setback, she's still winning the battle if the message in her card is any indication.

Kim was diagnosed several years ago after many rounds with doctors and specialists. From that day forward, she became an expert on all types of interventions and has never let the medical community take the lead on her treatment or her future. Instead, she has worked with them as an equal and quickly gained their respect as she doggedly attempted any and all that was available to her. When an experimental drug became available, she fought the insurance company to have it covered. When she learned of a Neuro Specialist renowned for his work in the field of MS, working out of Halifax, she made sure that she was one of his patients. When she experienced a "bout" and needed to be admitted into the hospital for some type of steroid treatment, she demanded that she be considered an "outpatient" so that she could be home with her family every evening. Everyone in Kim's medical world seem to be receptive to her requests and demands. And, it all comes down to her positive attitude and her unspoken belief that no matter who you are, you're no better or worse than me. She has the uncanny ability to "level the playing field." Kim has somehow maintained her absurdist sense of humour and has held tightly to her independence.

Her first serious setback was when she lost the sight in one eye. It happened overnight. That was 5 years ago. The Doctors told her that there was a high percentage rate in her sight returning. It didn't and it didn't stop her. In fact, it seemed to spur her on. With the added enthusiasm and love of her husband, Kim continued to work long hours, to travel to her dream destinations, to attend several rock concerts and events, to be actively involved in community organizations and with her daughters' schools, to write and create and to continue to be the nucleus of her extended family. A couple of years ago, when she decided to teach her daughter how to ski despite the tingling numbness, she fell and broke her leg. She was out of the office for a while, but continued to work from her home while convelescing.

There were periods when she would be overwhelmed by the fatigue and stress of this horrific disease. We just never saw that side of Kim. Instead, she would return to the medical community for another round of treatments, take some time to regroup at home and return to work upbeat and determined to reassure all of us that she was just fine!

Last August during the peak of the heat, which is an enemy of MS, Kim started feeling the symptoms of another bout coming on. In order to try to tackle it head-on, she contacted her Neurologist to arrange for another steroid treatment. It was scheduled to begin the next day. When she awoke that morning, she was blind. Her sight has never returned, despite the initial reassurances that "the percentages were in her favour." As soon as Kim woke that morning to the new reality of her life, she knew that the blindness would be permanent. She was right.

Since then, she has taken on the task of reorganizing her home in order to maintain as much of her independence as she can, while she leads her family through the process of acceptance of her new unsighted world. No doubt there have been rages and tears over the past couple of months. No doubt her family worries about her, as they rally around learning to cope. Based on the note tucked in the Christmas card, I have no doubt that Kim and her family have continued to hold onto their faith while reflecting on their reality and sharing some of life's lessons.

Kim writes: "Recently I began the task of writing our annual family Christmas letter to friends who live afar. Part of my preparation was to take some time and reflect on my family's experience that past year. Following is a summary of what we learned from our 2005 roller coaster ride. I thought some of our newly gained knowledge might also touch you.

  • No time is better than the present to get done what you want
  • From every negative experience comes positive lessons, if you take the time to find them.
  • Worrying doesn't change situations, only actions can.
  • Losing something doesn't mean you've lost. It provides an opportunity to discover what's always been there and ignored
  • "What ifs" arent important -- "What is" should be your focus.
  • You'll never know what you're capable of......until you try.
  • Saying I can't is crippling. Believing I can.....empowering.
  • Wishing for more isn't important. Being thankful for what we have is."
Kim continues to write........
"Most of all I learned:
Somewhere, someone is envious of my life!"

She continues to inspire me.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Vitality of a New Idea.........

"The vitality of thought is in adventure. Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them. When the idea is new, it's custodians have fervor."
Alfred North Whitehead

Over the course of the past month, an assembly of kindred people have started to gather through the magic of technology. And, it all started by the initiative of one person who sent his idea out to a group and asked for input and feedback. Soon, the initial idea sparked more ideas, and an adventure of planning and of developing a more effective means of communicating followed by others who embraced the idea.

What's interesting is that the idea was generated by a sad event shared by the kindred group. Separately, we learned that the summer camp where we all spent warm memorable times was closing for good. It came as a big shock. It wasn't expected. There was an assumption that the camp would possibly be sold to a new owner, but that the physical place would continue to be there. It was thought that Kawabi would always remain at the end of the camp road retaining the laughter, the songs, the secrets and friendships, the activities and experiences and the personal growth moments of the kindreds to revisit.

Opportunity and hope has grown out of something negative. A celebration is in the works; an opportunity to reconnect after years of leading individual life paths has begun, and it is definately a much merrier way to deal with the end of an era. In fact, it may just be that the vitality behind one idea has started something new.

On the last night of camp, one small candle was lit from the dying fire. The flame then went on to light the candles held by the leaders and counsellors who in turn helped light the candles held by the campers. Soon darkness turned into a warm glow that shone on the faces of the kindreds as they sang their last song. At the end of the refrain, the tune was hummed by all. One at a time, the lit candles were thrown into the campfire as the procession of people quietly walked away with their groups to embrace their last night together. They left behind a resparked fire that continued to glow in the solitude of the night.

Thank you Bow for passing the light of your candle. Together we all will bring your idea to life.