eleventhbeatnik

musings of an aquarian age counterculturist


4 Comments

Birthing a Dream

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” Hugh Laurie

For years I have daydreamed about bringing an idea, a certain heart-centred dream,  to life. And for just as many years, I have been wholesale unconvinced I could entertain doing any work on that idea until the perfect opportunity/ time/ money/energy scenario made its presence known which would in turn signal a universal “okay” to proceed.

As you can imagine, the result of waiting for the perfect moment in my case, until now, has resulted in: NOTHING.  Because putting things off for a better tomorrow, or an ideal moment, generally results in a whole lot of nothing in terms of progress.

Late last year, I decided to take the proverbial leap, trusting that a net would appear, as needed. I created a draft outline of the non-profit I had been envisioning and began making concrete plans. I started by hastily set up a social media page (promising a website coming soon), organized a speaking event, and booked event space – sight unseen.  Best. Decision. Ever. The event was a great success and feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

And now, with the help of some amazing volunteers, we are going live with the non-profit website today, January 11.  Which, not coincidentally, is my birthday.  The motivator in choosing this day to launch was simple: what better time to birth an idea than a birthday?  It is so personally significant and it feels so right.

To learn more about this project, please check out GaiaPeaceCollective.com  Your feedback is greatly appreciated so do contact us with any suggestions for improvement.

Even better, if you are able and inspired to do so, please support our crowdfunding efforts by donating and /or sharing this initiative.

https://www.youcaring.com/gaiapeacecollective-728119

Please help us plant seeds of peace by donating and/or volunteering.  Together we can create a more peaceful world – I have no doubt.

With gratitude and love,

eleventhbeatnik

 

 

img_0985

 


The Story No One Wants

“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them,
but to be indifferent to them:

that’s the essence of inhumanity.”
George Bernard Shaw

This is the story no one wants.

This is the story I’ve sat with time and time again since 2011, wondering where it could go, and who would dare look.”

So begins the narration to the short film The Slaughterhouse, the first collaboration between myself and Kelly Guerin.

I first saw Kelly’s work when her film, Animal Auction, went viral in late 2014. I was really drawn to her filming, editing and sensitivity to the subject matter of our relationships with animals. I asked if she would look at, and try to make sense of, some of my more difficult material; video that I’d shot of the killing of animals, but hadn’t been able to put together in a way that didnt make people turn away. In endless emails, we mulled over how to craft this short film, and I think that, after much careful and thoughtful work, Kelly has done a really beautiful job with stitching the photos, videos and narration into what is now The Slaughterhouse.

I’ve taken photos of animals being killed in Europe, southeast Asia, North America and in Africa. It was in Tanzania that I was able to spend the most time with the workers and with the animals. I’ve witnessed the brutal treatment of animals, but at the hands of kind humans, who are frustrated, underpaid, and would rather be working elsewhere. They have almost unanimously said as much. Many of the farm and slaughter workers that I’ve encountered have been illegal and migrant workers, and have shared that they are the casualties of class of caste. And then, many of us just kill (and consume) out of ignorance. We’re not taught to think otherwise, or to open our minds and hearts to other possibilities, and caring is not only painful and challenging, but stigmatized.

Doing this shoot was hard. Really hard. But it was interesting to witness the men seeing the animals anew, through my eyes. They actually felt sympathy for me, as I struggled, at times, to maintain composure, while documenting the cows and goats being killed. Some of them expressed sympathy for the animals as well.

This is the story nobody wants to see. To look at our treatment of animals, no matter on which continent, is to witness both suffering, and our complicity in that suffering. But in bearing witness, we can learn, and change.

My hope is that, through this work, we can all look, care, share, and change.”

Jo-Anne McArthur
We Animals

For more information on Jo-Anne’s important, courageous and
compassionate work, please visit: We Animals

It is my core-held belief that it is by shining light on the dark places we illuminate ourselves.  Once enlightened, we can – each and every one of us – make decisions and choices every single day that contribute toward a more peaceful and compassionate world.  It has nothing to do with perfection and everything to do with intention and living from a place of love. Most importantly:  it is never the wrong time to listen to your heart.

Wishing peace for all,
eleventhbeatnik

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to bet better.  It’s not.”

Dr. Seuss


3 Comments

Sustainability: Secret No More

Please take the time to watch this brilliant documentary. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is required viewing for anyone who even remotely cares about the environment, human health and animal welfare.

This mind-blowing film is so well done.  If the stats revealed here do not pull our collective heads out of the sand, I honestly don’t know what will.

Kindly support the filmmakers who did such an outstanding job despite many roadblocks along the way by purchasing the download or DVD from the documentary’s website:  Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.

As Maya Angelou once said:

“Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better”.


3 Comments

Becoming the Best We Can Be

“What if our ancestors got it wrong?”
Lyn White

Hello friends.  It’s been awhile.  All attempts at writing lately have ended before ever really starting.  Basically, I’ve been feeling flat and uninspired.

Until now.  I stumbled across a presentation called Becoming the Best We Can Be the other day.  Watching it set off firecrackers in my head and filled my heart to the brim. It is so good, so hopeful, so inspiring, so beautiful. So much so, I saw it twice.  It has awakened a part of me that has been quiet for awhile.  Suddenly I’m remembering all the things that matter most to me and why.  Things that too often get buried under the weight of the day-to-day distractions and to do lists.

Do yourself a favour.  Do the world a favour.  Press play.  The entire presentation is available to view online for free and is worth every second of your time.

More soon. I feel it.  xo

Full presentation available here:
Becoming the Best We Can Be

Lyn White


3 Comments

Strength in Community

photo credit: google images

photo credit: google images

After viewing the film Food Matters, I started reading everything I could find on the subject of Orthomolecular Medicine.  Last week I attended a seminar rooted in that philosophy.  The topic was “Dietary and Supplemental Support for Stress, Anxiety and Depression.” Some of the information presented was new to me; other parts were review of nuggets I had previously stumbled across on my own.

The presentation was really interesting and reinforced many, if not all, of my personal beliefs surrounding the role of nutrition in achieving and maintaining vibrant health.  I attended this talk with certain filters in place, keeping in mind that as an ethical vegan, I often find myself on the sidelines of many discussions involving mainstream nutrition or flavour-of-the-month dietary fads .  As always, I had to remind myself going in that this was a generalized nutrition talk within the realm of “natural medicine”, meaning I would have to do “compassionate replacement therapy” in my head every time I heard the words “meat”, “protein” and/or “fish oil”, etc.  Gah!   Anyway.  By reminding myself that the animal protein bandwagon is firmly not an option for me, and that there are always compassionate alternatives available, I took in the information relevant to my situation and set aside everything else not in line with my personal ethics around food.

In the end, it was not the content of the talk that turned out to be a major revelation for me.  The light-bulb moment that evening occurred as I surveyed my surroundings.  Looking around, I was amazed to realize that the event was not simply well-attended, but brimming to capacity.  It was a full house:  standing room only.

At this realization, one thought dropped down in my mind like a tonne of bricks:  “A sold out seminar directed at those suffering from depression and anxiety.  This is a sign of the times.”

Every person in that room was touched in one way or another by ‘mental illness’ (a term I abhor, but have yet to hear another that everyone understands or accepts).

Every person in that room was someone, knew someone, or had heard of someone suffering with major depressive disorder, general/social anxiety, PTSD, bi-polar disorder or perhaps one of many other stress-related conditions.

Every person in that room was looking for answers, alternatives, ideas.

Every person in that room was hopeful.

Every person in that room was in community.

Perhaps it seems rather Pollyanna-ish to focus on hope in the face of the mind-boggling numbers of people struggling with the symptoms of this far-reaching spectrum of dis-ease.  But I sincerely believe that as long as people are seeking solutions there is hope.  That room was full of people seeking solutions.  Full to capacity.  Full of hope.

I believe depression can be overcome with time, patience and guidance.  And my heart is full.

I believe that suicide is not a foregone conclusion with respect to mental illness.  And my heart is full.

I believe there are antidotes to stress and anxiety available and possible.  And my heart is full.

I believe there is love and healing in community.  No matter what that community looks like.  And my heart is full.

It is my intention to incorporate orthomolecular medicine into my own experience of depression and anxiety in a way that works for me.  I am hopeful.  In community.

My heart is full.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
Marin Luther King, Jr


2 Comments

Unity

Mom 1968
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer as a young woman in her early 30’s.  I vividly recall her having the surgery which involved a lumpectomy and removal of the affected lymph nodes.  This was a highly progressive procedure in the day and age where standard operating procedure was complete mastectomy, no questions asked.

I remember my father taking my sister and I to visit her in the hospital afterward.  I remember the subsequent chemotherapy sessions.  I remember hearing that a classmate of my sister’s shared in “show and tell”, that our mom was dying of cancer.  When my father went to work to support us, I remember my mother driving herself back and forth to chemo sessions with kids in tow until the day came that she simply could not physically do it on her own anymore.  I remember witnessing her suffering through terrible nausea and vomiting nearing the end of that course of treatment.   Despite all of that, I remember our mother fighting to get well.  I also remember being completely confused by it all.  I was in Grade 5.

Fast forward 20-odd years from my mother’s initial breast cancer diagnosis and a lengthy period of clear clinical follow-ups.  After a time of feeling vaguely unwell and chronically exhausted, she was sent for a colonoscopy which resulted in a blood transfusion and diagnosis of colon cancer.

The news came as a complete shock.  I had just moved to Toronto a couple of months before.  I asked her if I should consider moving back to Manitoba.  She said, “Absolutely not.  It wouldn’t help anything and would only make me worry more.”

The months of treatment and recovery that followed were very difficult for her.  She endured it all quietly and stoically.  It is a testament to her strength and will to overcome that she lives to share her story.

At one point in her healing journey, my mother discovered her tribe: a group of cancer survivors participating in a dragon boat team to support each other and raise awareness. Since joining the team called “Waves of Hope”, my mother has attended many festivals and events that help to educate others about prevention and early detection.

This is an aerial overview of the recent Dragon Boat Festival in Sarasota, Florida.

At the end, you will see a cluster of boats joined together.  Every person seated in the boats are cancer survivors.  And every single rose you see dropped into the water represents someone.  Someone who didn’t make it.

My mother was there, in Boat #5.

Blessed be the survivors in their unity above and beyond adversity.  May hope and healing continue to expand in their wake.


5 Comments

Seeking the ‘Good’ in Goodbye: Part 3

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak
whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.
~William Shakespeare

photo credit: eleventhbeatnik

photo credit: eleventhbeatnik

Twenty years ago today, my father departed this world.

On August 2, 1994 I learned that my father had died in a car accident.

Sometimes it feels as though it all happened centuries ago.  Other times, like today, it seems like only moments have passed.

On August 3, 1994, I boarded a plane for Winnipeg to attend his funeral.  It was as though time had stopped.  My body was doing what it needed to do, getting me from point A to B.  My brain was in a spin.  I knew I had been informed that Dad had died but I was still reeling from the shock.  Nothing and no one around me made sense.  My heart had exploded with pain and no number of band-aids, well-meaning words or deeds, could plug up the wounds fast enough for me to process any of it.

Arriving at the airport in Winnipeg I was met by family.  I was in a daze as I descended the escalator to meet them.  The first two faces I saw were those of my mother and my aunt.  I dissolved into a shaking mess of tears before I ever reached them at the bottom.

The car ride from the airport to my parents’ home was endless.  Small talk was out of the question.  I asked straight out: “What happened?”.  Although I already had heard the basics, I needed to hear it again.  Perhaps in hearing more details I would get an answer to the unanswerable “why” or allow me to uncover a huge misunderstanding.  I still hoped to hear the words:  “mistaken identity”; to know that my father in fact was safe and well.  In reality, those words were never uttered.  Although from time to time I still hear them in my dreams.

Everything that transpired after my arrival was a cascading swirl of activity:  organizing funeral arrangements, answering phone calls, accepting sympathy visits, reading messages. All of which was deeply appreciated, but infinitely exhausting.

Through all the almost business-like making of arrangements, I held it together.  It was not until the day before the funeral that I absolutely lost it.  The emotional tide swept in and overtook every part of me, fast and furious.

The minister presiding over the funeral service paid a visit to our home.  He was genuinely kind and compassionate, but I was in no way ready to face the clergy.  Or a burial.  Or the finality of the death of my father.

My father never expressed the desire to be cremated so a traditional funeral and burial had been organized.  A “viewing” had been arranged for immediate family.  I adamantly refused to go.  There was no way in hell I was going to allow the final memory of my father’s face to be from a casket.

The minister was amazing with me and I’ll never forget it.  He said, “I understand your reasons for not wanting to go.  All I ask is that you remember that you have not had a chance to say your good-byes.  If nothing else, attending the viewing will help you accept your father’s passing and give you the opportunity to express yourself as you see fit in your farewell.”  It was enough to convince me.  Begrudgingly, I attended.  And to this day I’m grateful that I did.

Before the viewing, I wrote my father a letter and a poem.  I rolled it up scroll-style in my favourite photo of him and put it in the casket near his heart.  I recited words flowing from deep inside that I knew intellectually he could not hear.  And yet.  I felt he did.

The funeral service was held the following day.  I remember nothing about it except watching his coffin being lowered in the ground and my knees buckling at the sight.  When the funeral was over, I subsequently stayed with my mother and sister for a couple of weeks before I returned to Edmonton to start school.

It was a dark and painful time.  But I look back on it now with a certain degree of gratitude and some semblance of peace.  If nothing else, what that devastating experience did was revealed to me a strength I never knew I had.  More than that, a supportive and beautiful relationship with my sister was forged.  Because we went through something so difficult and transformative together, an amazing friendship was built between us that remains to this day.

Twenty years ago today, I lost my father.  And I withstood unimaginable pain.

Twenty years ago today, I lost my father.  And I truly understood what “forever” meant.

Twenty years ago today, I lost my father.  And I learned strength in adversity.

Twenty years ago today, I lost my father.  And a loving friendship with my sister was born.

Twenty years ago today, I lost my father.  And I came to understand that grief is fluid, not finite.

Twenty years ago today, I lost my father.  And I still miss him.

Twenty years ago today, I lost my father.

And I remember him with love.