Monday, November 23, 2015

The New Normal

I was asked earlier this week if I was to give a Ted Talk what would the topic be.  I realized I could only talk about what was currently alive in me and I was being challenged to get very concrete about my core values and determine whether they were truly non-negotiable. 

The recent tragedy in Paris stuck home, close to my heart. Yet as I reeled from the impact I also asked myself why I had not experienced the same degree of devastation when I read about the earlier strikes in Lebanon? Mere weeks earlier 43 people were killed in the Beirut bombing. Twelve days before that a downed Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula was obliterated, with 244 lives lost.  Why was the world, why was I, responding so strongly with solidarity now? 

I had to ask the hard questions, especially since one of my core values was radical honestly. I couldn’t help but notice how much I knew about the lives lost at the Bataclan Theatre in comparison to what I knew about any of the people hit in Beirut. People blamed the bias of media coverage but was that all? Could it be indicative of some form of cloaked racism? 

I have always stood for sameness and equality and dissolving the concepts of ‘us’ and ‘them’ yet here was some shadow hidden from consciousness that begged for observation. And I didn’t believe I was alone in my blindness.
Everywhere people were reacting!! As I watched, read the news and tuned into the internet, even Facebook posts, I heard everything from downright ignorance to racism and even the supposed spiritually awake expressing conspiracy theories. All seemed to be looking for places to lay blame. 

The more I listened to my soul, the more pain I felt at the division this kind of posturing was provoking. Add in the conversations about the Syrian refuges, ‘us’ and ‘them’ and it seemed fear-based thinking was leading the pack. 

What could I do? What was my part? If there is only love or a cry for love, what, inside myself needed changing or healing in order to act as love would?

I know the only answers worth listening to must come from one’s core. I increased my meditation time and listened with my heart.  When people were crying bullets, generalizing about others and radiating fear, my heart would contract. When others, like the newsfeed of the French dad explaining the terrorist attacks to his six year old son and advocating flowers instead of guns, went viral, my heart softened and stretched to include everyone’s pain. Yes, even the recent perpetrators, young people who everyone labelled monsters. They too made my heart hurt.

Tears came at the oddest moments and the biggest pain was feeling hit with prejudice where I least expected it. Seeing the violence toward Muslims and their places of worship here in Canada made it so clear to me that my tolerance for fear-based actions was zero.

Linking Islam with ISIS is as ludicrous as linking Christianity with the KKK. This is not the time to feed ignorance by playing small and cautious but rather a time to stand for our values and express them in our actions. Even in the privacy of our own thoughts.

I do not profess to have answers. The global situation is complex and there is a great need for accountability, the kind of accountability that admits the mistakes of the past and uses that knowledge to learn and evolve. It is not that much different than our responsibility in human relationships. To the extent that your focus is outside of yourself seeing another as the cause of your feelings, your reactions, to that extent will you be contributing to a fear based world.

We all need to turn inward and bring our shadows to the light. Let our souls be advocates for sameness, inclusion and compassion. We are all being called to ask, what can I do individually and collectively as an ambassador of love. And staying blind, out of the fray, is no longer an option. 

Some call the current climate a war and that may actually be true. A revolution really. An internal revolution. In every reaction, every thought, every opinion we voice, we have a choice and how we choose will determine the experience. 
We are either championing the light or feeding the dark. 

Simple. Pain will always push until vision pulls.

Branded and marked,
Authentically Yours,
Tasha aka Marty

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mommies and Poppies

I’m still digesting the news I received last night that my Mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. While she is in relatively good shape mentally, and there is the possibility that she will retain her current level of memory for 6 months to 3 years, it’s still a shock. Oh, the things that have been coursing through my brain since last night are many…

I’m thinking this could be cathartic for me, and possibly healing for some of you to just journey with me for the next few minutes as I try, as best as I can, to capture my stream of consciousness, that is threatening to be a debris torrent.

We all thought Mom was forgetting things because she was still in mourning for her life partner of 60 years.  We thought she was depressed and that she would move through that phase eventually. We all miss Dad. We are just all processing his passing differently and we thought her way was through being stuck in her sadness.

Dad loved, and I mean LOVED poppies.  It was his favourite flower.  Because of that, poppies made my top-ten list as well.  One year I remember collecting poppy seeds in the wild and mailing them to him for a Christmas present. He loved that gift.

November and poppies have always signaled “Lest We Forget” to me.  I can remember as a young girl the smell in the air, that cold, fresh, almost snowy smell that heralded the pinning of a tiny felt poppy on my lapel.  Even before I knew what it meant, I knew it was special and something that needed honouring.

I have always felt patriotic and a deep gratitude for my country.  I know my Mom instilled that in me from a very early age. I cry when we march into an Olympic venue with our red and white colours proudly worn. I cried when Justin Trudeau was announced as our new Prime Minister because of the relief and joy I had, realizing we just got our country back. (I also cried the day I got the rejection letter from Margaret Trudeau saying I didn't make the cut to be Justin's nanny!)

Now, in the wake of this latest news of my Mom, (who ushered me into this world when she was but 19), poppies, November, “Lest We Forget”, all have an even deeper meaning than before. I don’t want to forget.  And it saddens me that she may not be able to hold onto the delicious memories of experiences that she conjured up for us that helped to mold us into healthy souls whose values strongly echo her own.

I love my Mom.  (That one’s for you Susannah!)

Now, more than ever, I am committed to living in the present and enjoying each moment fully.  While I of course will contribute to the decision making regarding her next steps, I don’t want to get embroiled in the “it’s going to be so sad when she can’t remember us any more”… another one of those phrases I can’t bring myself to say out loud.

I want to continue to spend as much time with her as I can.  Quality time. Where I’m helpful and where we are both nourished by each other’s presence.

I’m feeling really sad as I write this and at the same time am making friends with the reality of growing old… something that I’ve considered an enemy for many years. I’m beginning to see a glimmer of how being friends with all this can be so healing and helpful.  (After all, I’m no spring chicken either!)

Mom. You are an amazing woman.  I couldn’t have picked a better person to help me navigate through my life. As you have always been there for me, I am here for you too. 

The next 6 months to 3 years are going to be kickass.  I’m coming over.

With love from your favourite daughter,


P.S.  I remember you used to cry when I would sing this song.  I’m not including it because of that, but because I get it now. See you soon.