Saturday, September 17, 2011

Charles Leblanc continues to shake, rattle and roll all over this province!

I call him "CrazyMan Blogger" because he's outrageous.  He calls me "The Irving Blogger" because its ironic. And, well, for a short stint, I published a blog on their media website thinking this was a good thing.  And, he's never let me forget it.  Like I had paid off the devil or something.  

When God made Charles, he threw away the mold.  Thank God he is in my life, this man who is who he is........ one of the most intelligent, politically astute, emotionally driven crazyman I have ever met.   He's the Jerry Lee Lewis of blogging!  Shake Rattle and Roll!

Most days, he checks on me through a chat pop up on facebook .......... Sometimes we swap quick opinions, juicy news, clips of stories, maybe even an email or two.  And every now and then, we have a chance to catch up live and in person.  But by then, so many stories, personal experiences, events have flowed under that darn Westmorland Street bridge that its almost impossible to get to a point in the conversation when there's nothing left to catch up on.  Our discussions have no ending......... it just continues where we left off after we've hugged and said our goodbyes. 

Charles Leblanc is a constant in my life.  A good friend. Someone who cares and someone I care about deeply.  It's a mutual respect thing........ but goes deeper than that.  I think we get one another.  Two misfits who see the world through similar eyes............ well, at least the political swirly world.   And the  man cracks me up!!!!   Sure we are very different.  Our upbringing couldn't be more opposite.  Even now from a surface perspective, our lives appear to be very different.  But, we have much in common that allows us to connect cognitvely, emotionally and spiritually at a comfort level that I don't share with many others.   We have shared the vulnerable stories that make up our spirits, as well as the piss and vinegar side of our selves.  How many people can you say that about in your life??

The majority of what we discuss never ever makes it to either one of our blogs. Blogger secrets!!!  I know he's shared stuff with me that will allow me to go to my grave laughing.  I have done the same!  I love it when I can share something with Charles he hasn't heard yet.  That is a feat in itself because the man is EVERYWHERE and knows the dirt on most people in this whole freaking province!

My God, the man is wired into the pulse of this place and it scares many! However, people knock on his apartment window night and day to find out the dirt, and to share some dirt.  Dirt swapping.  It's good journalism, because MOST of the dirt is news.  Sadly, this province's media is predominantly tied up with one family.  The Irvings.  Charles, "Crazyman Blogger" has a love/hate relationship with them that is healthy, wealthy (for them) and wise (for both).   He has the same relationships with paid journalists too.  They know where to go to seek out some facts.  Fiction too.  'Cause sometimes he has facts that go beyond the realm of what really happened.  This isn't a surprise given that so many people are in touch with him.   But, I got to say, the  majority of information Charles acquires is the honest to God truth.  

Some of it is heartbreaking.  Some of it is butt slapping hilarious.  A lot of it is eye popping.  Can I just say it's a breath of FRESH air to talk to someone who is the salt of the earth and who sees it in the others around him and writes about it?  He also sees the pontificating phonies too and they know it.  That's a threat eh?

So, why am I writing about my friend tonight?  Well, he's had a momentous week.  He spent 70 hours behind bars (without his medication btw!) for going TOO far with his megaphone antics in front of the Fredericton police station.  Drove everyone batty!  Created havoc in the boardrooms within listening distance.  Irritated the throngs of folks who work in the area barking out his mantra about being treated differently than others.  All over a ticket for riding his bike on the sidewalk.  They arrested him for disturbing the peace.   Hello?  He's been disturbing, shaking, challenging and rattling the peace all his life.  And good on him!  More people should be like Charles.  But then, he wouldn't be as unique, as effective if others were like him.  

Charles is one smart fella!  Never one to keep his opinions, nor his feelings on a matter to himself, he lives above the radar.  Can you imagine always living above the radar?  But, that's where he has chosen to remain.  What an advocate he is too!  Think about how many stories have been revealed by this man, many of which would never have made the light of day. 

 For the past couple of days, this "place of honour" has foisted him into the "first news item" time slot in the media.  Good God, he even usurped the Harvest Jazz and Blues headlines by becoming the top headline in the local Irving paper.   People are talking either about the headliners at Harvest OR about Monsieur Leblanc.  It's a hilarious combination.......... I heard both discussed at the Market today, and on the radio this week.   Ironic given that he normally skips town when the Harvest takes over his downtown.  You gotta laugh at that one Charles! 

As much as he was probably striving for this attention, it is still stressful. and I don't think he ever thought he'd end up in JAIL!    But, believe me there are more folks out there who admire and appreciate Charles' work as a journalist blogger than the folks who find his antics beyond the realm of acceptable. But,  he has a point too.  

His choice of driving everyone batty on the police station end of Queen Street in this anal retentive conservative city of stately elms may not be "acceptable" to the folks who have to sit in boardrooms in strategic planning sessions.  Loud speaker phones are comparable to screeching brakes on a transport going downhill.  But, because he has chosen to live above the radar actively documenting the political, personal, and community based events in this part of the world, Charles is now treated differently than others.  He's a marked man.  He's pissed people off.  He's created a power struggle and by doing so has exposed the hierarchical hypocrisy of our system.   

Who else gets a ticket for riding a bike on a sidewalk for God's sakes??  Unjust.  Simple. 

No, I am not seeing him through rose tinted glasses.  I see his real-ness because he has shown that to me.  I am well aware of his previous shit disturbing, most recently his over the top ADHD/OCD sandwich board messages during the last election.  He made the local MLA sitting member's life miserable!  And he lost too!   I probably would have been irritated if I had to work in the area while this madman was barking out his mantra over a speaker phone.  (who the hell gave him that piece of equipment anyways???)  However, I believe it could've been handled very differently than it was.   Like everyone on this planet...... Like Charles does himself for others......... he wanted to be listened to.  Why wasn't someone listening to him instead of simply dismissing his message as noise?   He HAS been treated differently than others. 

I call him "CrazyMan Blogger" because he's outrageous.  He calls me "The Irving Blogger" because its ironic.  More importantly, we call each other friends.   Will someone please listen to this human being?  Drop the charges and lets all move on before it becomes even more ridiculous than it already is! 

ps.......Charles?  Thank God for you.  Yes, you are a marked person and you've known it for a long time.  You've chosen a life of shaking, rattling and rolling.  But, that doesn't mean that anyone can treat you any differently than someone else.  You always have my support and I hope you will always know that.   The gift you gave me when I needed it the most?  I will never forget it.  Neither will dozens of others who have experienced the hurting side of life and found you by their side walking a  mile or two with them as they struggled to find their footing again.  You sir, will find your footing again.  Keep on walkin'!  Keep on talkin'!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

prayers, pauses and gratitude.

lovely Lisa, Boyce Market, sept, 2011

I think this has been one of the most emotionally draining couple of days I've experienced in a long time.  Is there such a thing as an emotional perfect storm?  Yes, and I truly thought I was losing any semblance of internal order.  Waves crashed over the riptides in my soul and I simply couldn't get a grip on the steering.  Many hours were spent in horizontal meditation, aka my girl cave, as I tried to process the multi-sensory onslaught of encounters, events, activities, confessions, tragedies, and realities.   I think I scared the shit out of my friends and my kids.  I know I scared the shit out of me!

One of the more difficult lessons I keep plugging away at in an attempt to LEARN should be entitled "Balance and Limitations."  I used to be good at that, but finding these two teasers as a single Mom working full-time with a personal life that is full, "balance and limitations" ALONG with "bounding boundaries" keep slipping out of my hands...... leaving me bobbing in the rolling waves!!!  

I get these burst of energy, especially at this time of the year, and take on too much.  It used to be that I could juggle several projects/tasks etc at the same time, but I had the back up and support from a life partner to keep the home fires burning so to speak.  Now, I'm on my own to do both and let me tell you, my house wouldn't win any awards right now!  Hurricane Hazel seems to have blasted through the hallways and rooms!  Always stuff to do on that to do list....... and I lose energy by the end of a busy day/week to even attempt to get some order. 

Don't you find sometimes that internal order is help tremendously when the home surroundings are in order?  Routine can be a re-fueler.  A grounding.  A place to start.  Im a stumbling bumbler when it comes to maintaining a routine these days........ it'll happen.  Seasonal transitions shake it up a bit!

Aside from the necessary mundane tasks that have to be accomplished, as well as the nagging other "fixes" that must be attended to (can someone please fix my shower faucet?  the duct tape is looking pretty redneck) there are many homefront responsibilities that take a back seat when all the energy I have burst through during my day job.  this is what happened on the weekend.  Add the emotional highs and lows of counselling anyways, and the very real needs of my little brood at they adjust to big changes in their lives..... add the anxiety of paying bills etc, AND my emotional response to the anniversary of 9-11?  Well, a perfect storm hit my innards.  

Ok, hormones too!  Yeah, 50+ years old.  Hormones play a role!  I admit it.

I went quietly into the horizontal meditative position and let a day linger on by while I re-fueled on soft chanting music, and the breeze of the fan in my room.  I let the emotions visit, linger and then move on.  I remained as quiet as I could be in a self made cocoon.  In my head, as it cleared, this prayer was formed.  I had the honour to deliver it on Sunday......... the day of my birth.  And the 10 anniversary of September 11, 2001.   By the time I found myself comfortably standing at the pulpit of the church looking at the congregation which included my children and a few very special friends in my life, my stance was solid.  My focus was clear.  My heart was open.......... My pace was found.   

Prayer, pauses and gratitude.......  Here is the prayer I offered...........

sunrise from my back deck, Sept 8, 2011

Good morning God.

Thank you for this blessed beautiful morning in the Saint John River valley. Thank you for surrounding us with those seasonal signs of change that help us to recognize our own transformations and to realize we are never alone in this journey.

As we gather here before You with the renewed breath of Your Spirit, we give our heartfelt thanks for the bountiful gifts You provide with abundance every single day. Allow us to hear the encouraging words from a friend. Help us inhale the lingering aroma of summer breezes. Let us remember the people who have been touched so deeply by the events on September 11, 2001. Guide us to connect our hearts to their hearts and to our loved ones who live far away. God, help us look deeply into the eyes of another with the understanding we are all one at heart. 

We are all loved.

In our stillness, God, help us to remember how to take those steps towards accepting the changes in our lives knowing that sometimes you have to grieve a thousand times before you can inhale the refreshed scent of an old breeze. Help us to walk into the centre of our vulnerable holy space over and over again to touch upon the wound that weeps those trapped remembering tears so that the old stories of a loved one that were once too painful to recall can be told again with a merciful heart and a smile. 

Please help us remember that overwhelming feelings today will soften in the light of days to come.

As pilgrims dear God, guide us to share a story with another, to have that conversation that feels too difficult to start, to use the gift of our senses so that we can appreciate the freshness of this harvest season, to delight in the knowledge that we are unfinished human beings, beautiful works in progress, who know how to give and receive love and kindness with an open heart.

May we leave here today with a lighter fullness in our walk, refreshed breath of the Holy Spirit and the energy to pass our kindness onto to others. Thank you for Your presence in all that we do, say, think and feel.


Friday, September 09, 2011

vestiges of summer.......

Creeping vines and weeping willows.

Even if I'm not on vacation, I find summer has an elastic sense of time and structure.  Routine takes a skinny dip. Glorious starry nights free up my thinking beyond known borders.  Shared car trips become the touchpoints of growth in my relationships.  Celebrations, concerts, bonfires, BarBQ's, reunions, campouts, late night laid back dinners on the back deck with a friend, risking my heart in the dating game, tempered by moments of quiet contemplation, or plain old loneliness and complicated misunderstandings as the signposts of life lived.  

What happened to canoeing?? I never got out in a canoe this summer!!! Where did the time go??

Summer has a pulse of its own that stretches afternoons into the lingering lament of twilight beauty.  Darn it!  I didn't capture much of it in writing. So, now I am left standing here at the counter in my kitchen pounding on my trusty little laptop keys overwhelmed  by the numerous vestiges that define my summertime with such colourful and visual acuity.  It feels like I've walked a thousand and one miles.  On the other hand, it feels like I havent moved an inch!  How can that be?  Internal growing pains take time to settle.    That's what winter is for!  A time to ruminate on the green fields of summertime blossoming.

Of course, I've journied on....... my life is more full by the connections and the new roads I have travelled.  Some with others.  Some on my sandaled foot after another.  Healing continues as I gather new courage, clearer insights, confidance.  As I take time to melt into it.  From Grand Manan  New Brunswick  to the Gaspe pennisula in Quebec where I fell in love with the raw beauty of our Canadian landscape,  to Times Square NYC!!    Stops in Spencer's Island Nova Scotia where my heart still longs to belong to a wondrous weekend retreat just outside of St. Andrews where the fireflies flickered the ultimate freedom dance that left me with new insights. To my own backyard sipping wine and sharing secrets with a friend.  Big shifts!!!  Wow.  

One astounding night happened at the end of July.  While happily standing in a crowd of people, I opened my pores to  receive a multisensory assault to the body and soul.  U2 came to town.  I hope Bono didn't mind me belting out "I Still Havent Found What I'm Looking For......."  as tears flowed and caught in the throat of my vulnerable spirit.  My son and friends all around me..... all ages.  All ages......  spiritually enhanced.  Together.   I only wish that my daughter could've been there with us.  But, she was immersed in her own journey at camp learning big lessons....... stretching her talents into new awareness. 

Hurts too.  Sad eye days.  This summer has introduced new and re-introduced older painful thorns along with the blossoming roses.  Changes in people I love.  Sad changes in relationships.  Aging.  Relating.  Mismatches of thinking.  Poor communication.  Misfires. Bad timing.  New realities that are so hard to swallow.  To accept.  Someone whom I admire deeply said that much of life is griefwork because changes mean we must look at letting go of the losses before we can move forward.   It is so tiring sometimes.  Confusing too.   Tears may bring strength, but before that happens, the fatigue is bone weary awful. 

So, now it's Friday.  The end of the first week back to school.  Routine is mocking us!  The buzz word around here?  Overwhelming.  My son began high school.  My daughter is now at College.  Big transitions in seasons and in milestones.  Aside from my number one role as Mom,  my work week was spent orchestrating Orientation activities for 200 students and counselling on the fly............ at home, at work, at play.  

I never got away from it and I'm completely spent.  I feel such a tremendous need for someone significant to be kind and loving to me.  Unfortunately that isn't the case right now.  As much as this was an amazing week of connections and deeply shared confessions and feelings that has left me feeling abundantly satisfied, I am struggling with loneliness and heartache.  It sucks.  Will I always be on my own?  God knows.  He ain't sharing that with me!

The best we can hope for in this crazy life is to be kind to one another...... to take the time to at least try to understand where another is coming from in their journey..... to invite these pilgrims in to your home and heart, and to hope that there will always be another to share our life altering little moments that make up our summers of wonder and growth.  May we all find that passionate love someday soon.  And if you're someone who is sharing your bed with your soulmate, may you recognize just how blessed you are.

Here's to turning the next seasonal corner.......... AND getting a good night's sleep!!!  At least I won't have someone snoring or elbowing me in the ribs.

radical beauty

 Bonavista Island,  Perce Quebec

Our lives are comprised of opportunities to view both internally and externally moments of recognizing beauty.  The presence of radical beauty, however,  is an awakening so forceful it leaves you bewildered by its balm. Electrified by its energy.  Held by loving hands.  Kissed by bliss.  Left naked in a place that straddles fear and courage.  The choice is ours which way we eventually lean after its vital spirit moves on.........

Radical beauty is a bulls-eye to the heart and soul comprised of a wild surge of feelings. It's like standing under a cascading waterfall drenched by its arrival. When we encounter one of these trembling moments, we are knocked us off balance by its surprising force.  

Radical beauty quickly strips away the sludgey complications of a stress filled life and leaves a twinkling smiling desire.  Raw vulnerability transforms into naked grace.  Confident love.  In the now.  Poignantly more intense when it happens when our vulnerable hearts need massaging.  It grabs hold of our attention, and shapes our focus.  Regular ticking time alters its distance.  Breathing happens without our awareness.  

These sacred moments in our ordinary lives are difficult to describe with the words we have. Its a spiritual voyage beyond meaning-full words.  If we're blessed to share this intimately with another? When we are given the gift of seeing our own beauty reflected in the eyes of another, it can literally take away breath.  Alter our lives.   Radical beauty fills our pores with love and belonging. It tickles the temples of compassion as well as the protective pulse of anxiety.  

There is no denying it.   As much as you may want to. 

 U2 concert, July 2011