I open my soul You open my eyes, Angels and demons Both wear a disguise. Age is a number, Like an old time clock, Footprints in the sand That I will re-walk. What path will I take? What road will be next? My soul is set free My heart is perplexed. So what do I do? With nothing to hide, I do have an edge My own spirit guide.
Remembrance Day has always been a very significant day for me! From the time I was a very young child, this special day was a day of honor, grief, joy and silence. My father was a World War II Veteran and our Remembrance Day would always start with honoring those who have gone before us who are us by observing Two Minutes of Silence while listening to the radio, or once I was in school, it meant observing this in the classroom or gymnasium with a whole group of giggling students. In my case I always took the observance of Remembrance Day very seriously! My Father had taught us well.
On this day I would like to share with you the story of my father and what I believe honoring him, and others who have passed is all about for me. My dad was a very quiet, gentle and peace loving human being. His father was a Minister, who left the ministry to become a fur trader on an Indian Reserve. This is where my father was born and was raised until he was 14 years old. My grandfather had Physical difficulties, and his physical needs required a quieter and easier life because walking was difficult for him. They moved to a small town where he became the postmaster, and my father pulled him back and forth to work in a little wagon. That was my father’s job, and he performed this job well. I always remember the gentleness and caring of my father throughout my entire life, with the exception of Remembrance Days! This was the day that my father went out with some other War Veterans and usually ended up with him arriving home very drunk and spending the night upset and ill. This day always brought back many memories that he had great difficulty coping with.
From a very young age I learned to question what his life must have been like for him. He was on the front lines, he was young, newly married, shipped to a foreign country, given a gun, lived in tents, on foreign soil and was expected to shoot other human beings. This man who pulled his father back and forth to work in a wagon not too many years prior to joining the army, was expected to fight for his country, and kill other people. This became very clear to me when I was about 8 years old and a new family moved into the house next door to us. My father was very quietly upset and as he talked about how difficult this was for him because the man next door was also a war veteran from the other side and his greatest concern was that he had possibly shot at him while he was fighting for his country. Each time they talked, being the sensitive child I was, I could feel the discomfort radiating from both of them because of where they had been. My father never lived a day of his life without those memories, although he would never talk about them with us. He stated “there are just some things you don’t and will never talk about in your life!” My war experiences are mine, I am not proud of what I had to do, and I will not share them or talk about them with anyone who wasn‘t there! He kept this part of his life private and personal until his death. This is where the story gets very interesting. My mother and father took a holiday to Eastern Canada many years ago to visit family and my mother had always wanted to visit the war memorial! They spent a few days visiting , sightseeing and scheduled a time for the visit that my mother had planned for many years. She believed that this would be a great thing for my father to do now because my father had retired and he would be able to give thanks to all of those he fought with who did not return home. He, on the other hand, believed that it was important to do this for my mother’s sake because she too had gone through the war that created separation and she had birthed and raised a child on her own until he returned. In reality my father did not want to follow through with the plan to visit the war memorial honoring his fallen comrades. The remembering those years of war was just too painful and too much for him to cope with. The morning of the visit to the memorial my father got up, had his morning coffee while sitting in his hotel room in Ottawa preparing for the big day at the War Memorial.
As he sat with my Mother talking about his morning, his memories, and his family, my oldest brother who was born while my father was Fighting in the War, who had come to visit them in Ottawa who had just left to go back to the Maritimes, it all ended! All of a sudden he fell backwards on his chair and immediately died from a massive heart attack! He made a strong impact on me through his death! This gentle, peace loving and kind man died instantly, the day he was to visit the War Memorial in the Journey’s End Hotel in Ottawa, Canada. His actions spoke louder than his words on this day! His last request was to be buried in his army jacket, so his ashes were wrapped in the jacket and as he was laid to rest the importance of World Peace was indelibly imprinted in my mind! In memory of all of those who have passed fighting for us all in the name of freedom, even when it is totally against their personal values and beliefs!
Peace, love, light and blessings to us all today and I still look forward to the day when war will no longer be a part of our wonderful earth!
Each morning when you awake may you greet the sun and give thanks… for your breath… for who You are and for the precious gift of life… May you practice gratitude in all you do and make it part of who you are…. It will awaken your spirit… heighten your senses… and emanate the beauty that lives withIN and around you… It will help you remember why you are here and how you can be of service to a world that is in need of love and compassion…. It will help you see the world through the eyes of your heart instead of your mind, focusing on the sacredness of your being, on things and people you have instead of what is lacking and this will bring you a great sense of peace and joy… Gratitude leads us to love and acceptance in many ways… If we can find the courage within ourselves to open our hearts to being grateful for ALL of that life sends our way, we can learn to embrace our WHOLE being… the light and shadow sides of who we are… because one does not exist without the other… and if we can learn to not only be grateful but to embrace both sides and lessons learned and earned through each, that is when the magic happens…. That is when our inner light shines its brightest! Often, it is in our most challenging and trying times that we are most touched by Spirit… and always remember what the Old Ones say, that like attracts like… If we give up, so will others… If we cry, so will they… If we decide this is a new beginning, others will take courage… We influence other people with our thoughts, words, attitudes and energy… What we think and say sets the stage for what is to happen… We can change our world by changing the way we think… By acting like our prayers are already answered… And taking steps to show we believe it!!! May you learn to Walk in Love and Gratitude, my girl… Knowing that in this beautiful life, WE never walk alone…. All My Relations… For these words I thank our Ancestors, spirit guides, elders, teachers, and my nikawi… Mitakuye Oyasin hiy hiy – Redberry
A very dear friend of mine has a beautiful daughter who has been using Crystal Meth for many years. I have had the honour of knowing this young woman since she was a small child. At the age of 5 “Yoda” was full of life, intelligence and caring although she could be somewhat demanding, difficult and unpredictable.
As she grew up I observed the many changes that were happening in her life. Her mother and father ended up divorced and Yoda seemed to be confused and lost. Her loyalties were split between her mother and father, and she seemed to be having difficulty making friends and deciding where she fit in this life. In spite of this, Yoda was gifted in many ways, including her gift of being able to manipulate and turn situations into chaos to work in her favour.
Several years ago I found out that she was using drugs as a means to fit in and escape a reality which she did not want to be a part of. The reality of divorce and change! Her mother approached me and asked me for some assistance. I did family counselling with Mom, Dad and Yoda, and many times I just wanted to give up on Yoda. I ended up taking my work home with me because Yoda came to the town where I was working to spend time with myself and my partner. She wanted to detox herself from the drugs. I understood then that the only thing I could do was ensure that she continued to breath, sleep, and ensure that her medical needs were taken care of should she need help until she was once again ready to tackle her world.
She was and still is wilful, using dishonesty as her ticket to getting what she wants, blaming others for predicaments that she gets herself into, and at many times is not a pleasant human being to be around. Over the years I have asked the Universe, Creator and God for assistance so that she can find the beauty that lies within her.
One encounter that I had with Yoda was totally amazing. She, her mother and I, went on a road trip so that Yoda could prepare to attend modeling school. Yoda told us that she had been clear of all drug usage, had graduated from high school and wanted to step into the world of modeling to make both her world and the world of others, a more beautiful place to be in.
Physically, Yoda is very beautiful and mysterious looking. She is 5’8” tall, weighs 90 pounds, and seems to be confident in what she wants to do. We all believed that she was clean and ready to step our into the world and beautify it. Our reality changed the week prior to our departure when we learned that Yoda had not quit her drug use, that she in fact had only learned to manage her behaviours in a more acceptable manner to cover her drug usage. I felt torn and was ready to cancel the trip, but when I talked to her mother I heard the urgency and fear in her mothers voice and readily agreed that we would still go on the trip.
“After all, I had been through this detoxification process with her before and I innocently decided that he mother and I would be there only to assist her on her journey into adulthood while offering our love and support”.
Within the first day I learned that this was not the way it was going to be!
Yoda, who chose to come off the drugs, was going through some pretty serious detoxification. She refused to get out of bed, slept, whined, complained, blamed, yelled, fought and created total chaos for herself and everyone who was around her. Yoda holds the belief that the world will have to understand her, the misfortune that is within her life, her lack of good health, and tolerate her behaviours while her needs are being taken care of. Her priority in life was always getting high and staying high and with her mother and I with her this was not possible and she had chosen to be clean.
The first few days we got her out of bed, put up with her abuse mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, while Yoda was attempting to fulfill her dream of being a model! Finally, after I had been hit by a flying pillow, almost knocked off of my feet by her flying feet, being verbally abused and sworn at, I knew I was about to totally lose my patience and my temper! I did, and I picked up the flying pillow, threw it back onto the bed where she was still lying, face hidden under the covers and got into a verbal sparing match with her. Her mother sat back quietly listening with tears in her eyes. Yoda accused me of not listening to her and I quickly realized that this approach was not working, just as it had never worked in my life.
I let Yoda know that I needed to leave, and that I would be ready and willing to listen to her after I had a time out and when she was willing to talk with me.
I went outside to a picnic table and quietly asked for some assistance, from Creator to help me deal with Yoda and this situation.
I knew that I required some kind of guidance to find an inner strength and peace and put this situation back together.
As I sat eating a cracker quietly a small duck appeared in front of me and began to beg for the cracker. I became totally immersed in that moment with the duck and around the corner came four more ducks. I sat lovingly playing with all five of them and suddenly I realized that the guidance and help I had asked for had miraculously appeared!
Yoda loves animals, and I called her Mother to come and watch the antics of the ducks as we played. Within moments Yoda had got out of bed, moved outside and started feeding the ducks, laughing and playing along with her mother and I. The ducks assisted us to resolve the situation, and Yoda and I began to talk. I began to really listen to Yoda, both to what she was and wasn’t saying. She was right, I hadn’t been listened to her. I had only heard the words that she was saying, I had neglected to understand all that she felt that she could not say. As we both became more open a peace came over me and I then knew what true peace was all about. It comes from me!
Thank you Yoda, The Creator, and the Ducks for this most astonishing lesson!
A follow up:
Yoda is still struggling with her drug use, has found out that she has had two heart attacks, (one while we were on our trip) and her pancreas is not functioning properly. She has difficulty eating, is losing more weight and has developed an ulcer. She is no longer seeking help! I pray daily and ask Creator for assistance so that she too may discover that peace comes from within her and radiates to the outside of her. She did not become a model, did not go to school, and believes today that this will not be a reality for her because of what she has done to her body and mind through drug use.
Yoda is now living on the street and is still using.
This powerful poem was sent to me by a native friend on a rez who works with a rehab center. This drug is taking many of our youth, so please send it around and share the poem.This was written by a young Indian girl who was in jail for drug charges, and was addicted to meth. She wrote this while in jail. As you will soon read, she fully grasped the horrors of the drug, as she tells in this simple, yet profound poem. She was released from jail, but,true to her story, the drug owned her. They found her dead not long after, with the needle still in her arm. Please keep praying for our Native People to understand. This thing is worse than any of us realize…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Name: Crystal MethI destroy homes, I tear families apart, take your children, and that’s just the start. I’m more costly than diamonds, more precious than gold, The sorrow I bring is a sight to behold. If you need me, remember I’m easily found, I live all around you – in schools and in town I live with the rich, I live with the poor, I live down the street, and maybe next door. I’m made in a lab, but not like you think, I can be made under the kitchen sink. In your child’s closet, and even in the woods, If this scares you to death, well it certainly should. I have many names, but there’s one you know best, I’m sure you’ve heard of me, my name is Crystal Meth. My power is awesome, try me you’ll see, But if you do, you may never break free. Just try me once and I might let you go, But try me twice, and I’ll own your soul. When I possess you, you’ll steal and you’ll lie, You do what you have to — just to get high. The crimes you’ll commit for my narcotic charms Will be worth the pleasure you’ll feel in your arms. You’ll lie to your mother, you’ll steal from your dad, When you see their tears, you should feel sad. But you’ll forget your morals and how you were raised, I’ll be your conscience, I’ll teach you my ways. I take kids from parents, and parents from kids, I turn people from God, and separate friends. I’ll take everything from you, your looks and your pride, I’ll be with you always — right by your side. You’ll give up everything – your family, your home, Your friends, your money, then you’ll be alone. I’ll take and take, till you have nothing more to give, When I’m finished with you, you’ll be lucky to live. If you try me be warned – this is no game, If given the chance, I’ll drive you insane. I’ll ravish your body, I’ll control your mind, I’ll own you completely, your soul will be mine. The nightmares I’ll give you while lying in bed, The voices you’ll hear, from inside your head. The sweats, the shakes, the visions you’ll see, I want you to know, these are all gifts from me. But then it’s too late, and you’ll know in your heart, That you are mine, and we shall not part. You’ll regret that you tried me, they always do, But you came to me, not I to you. You knew this would happen, many times you were told, But you challenged my power, and chose to be bold. You could have said no, and just walked away, If you could live that day over, now what would you say? I’ll be your master, you will be my slave, I’ll even go with you, when you go to your grave. Now that you have met me, what will you do? Will you try me or not? It’s all up to you. I can bring you more misery than words can tell, Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell.
Somewhere along my journey, I have come to learn that a vision is a calling of the Great Spirit…. The Old Ones say that when you are given a vision, it becomes your way of life… It puts the pieces together and allows you to know what it so, for you… A vision is not just sight, nor thoughts alone, or spirit only… When a vision comes to you, it’s like a butterfly floating in the sky. It is the miracle of transformation. Following your vision is a choice that allows you to discover who you are, to get to know yourself in a precious and meaningful way… To discover your truth and sing the song that was written in your heart… As you unlock the doors of your vision, a self-dedication grows… You grow into the unique and precious being you were created to be… Some of us travel many moons in search of our purpose, for others it comes earlier… sometimes we find IT, and sometimes IT finds us… No matter how it happens… when that time comes and you get hit with great insight in your life, always remember to honor this gift and give thanks… by living the wisdom with which you have been gifted… May you find the courage to let go of old patterns and mindsets that no longer serve you… You came from a place where life was based on Doing… You have now found your place where life is based on Being… May you find comfort in knowing that this way of life is rooted in a sense of belonging and connectedness to All of Creation… and that simply Being is enough, ideal and sacred… We are all One, we are all related… Yet at the same time, we are each unique; blessed with our own visions, purposes and medicines…. May you learn to trust in yourself, in the Great Spirit that lives withIn you… and in the wisdom you were given… it came to you for a reason… and along your journey my girl, always remember, You define a life well lived… You are loved… You are precious. You do not walk alone… For these words I give thanks to our Ancestors, my spirit guides, elders, teachers and my nikawi…. Mitakuye Oyasin (All My Relations) hiy hiy – Redberry
Reflecting on the life I was given…. I see You have gifted me with many earth angels from all walks and ways of life… You brought me love, light and beauty through their Being and presence… You brought me hope when I had none… always by my side… present in so many ways… in:
that little boy`s smile when I felt lost in darkness…
the caring neighbor with a hot meal in hand when we were out of food stamps…
that family who brought us extra furniture when our house burnt down….
that woman who helped me learn how to live when I thought I had nothing to live for…
the spiritual family I found when I had to let go of the one I born into…
the young man who led me to the Soup Kitchen to live a life of service, when I lost my career…
the AA groups I was part of, (where I felt your presence so strongly) when I felt hopeless
that gentle and loving mother placed upon my path, when I lost mine to cancer…
the pastor who brought me back to believing that we are all Loved and children of God…
and the elder who helped me find my way back home…
For Your love, presence and for the many angels you send to help us in our journeys and remind us we do not walk alone, I give thanks… With every breath, may we learn to recognize Your love and Spirit through their companionship, love and wisdom…
May you Walk in Beauty…. For these words I give thanks to our Ancestors, my spirit guides, elders, teachers and my nikawi… Mitakuye Oyasin… (All My Relations)
A NYC Taxi driver wrote:I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’
‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’
‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..
‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.
‘Nothing,’ I said
‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.
‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.
‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
Her name is Molly she’s a gray speckled…15 year old Shetland pony who was abandoned by her owners…when Hurricane Katrina hit southern Louisiana…she spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a rescue shelter…where abandoned animals were stockpiled
While there Molly was attacked by a pit bull terrier… and almost died…Her gnawed right front leg became
so infected… her veterinarian went to LSU for help…but LSU was overwhelmed with other rescues…and Molly became a welfare case…Enter LSU equine surgeon Doctor Rustin Moore…after seeing Molly…he changed his mind and agreed to operate…Doctor Moore observed that Molly was careful to lie down on her different sides…so she wouldn’t develop sores on her body…she allowed people to handle her…without fight or flight…she protected her injured leg…by constantly shifting her weight and not overloading her good legs…she was a very smart pony with a serious survival ethic…Doctor Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee…and a temporary artificial limb was built…But Molly’s real story began when she walked out of LSU School of Veterinarian Medicine…Her story is a parable of Post-Katrina Louisiana life…a human prosthesis designer built her a new leg…she gained weight and her coat began to shine…as she once again felt the love of being groom…Molly’s regular Veterinarian…Allison Barca said the new human prosthetic leg…gave the little pony a whole new life…she will actually ask for the leg to be put on…by extending her half limb outward …and hobble over to you…letting you know that she is ready for her leg to be attach …Enter Kay Harris…Molly’s new guardian who has given her a new job…Kay and Molly visit nursing homes…rehabilitation centers…children hospitals…wounded military personnel and anywhere people need an inspirational demonstration of hope…Molly the pony with the prosthetic leg… makes a positive influence on everyone she meets…
Molly has a big role in life to play…she may be a symbol of New Orleans itself…she survived the hurricane…she survived a horrible injury and thru it all…she never gave up…
Surfer Todd Endris needed a miracle and the Angels of the Sea heard him. The shark — a monster great white that came out of nowhere — had hit him three times, peeling the skin off his back and mauling his right leg to the bone. That’s when a pod of bottlenose dolphins intervened, forming a protective ring around Endris, allowing him to get to shore, where quick first aid saved his life. “Truly a miracle,” Endris. The attack occurred at Marina State Park off Monterey, Califormia where the 24-year-old had gone with friends for a day of the sport they love. The dolphins, which had been cavorting in the surf all along, showed up then. They circled him, keeping the shark at bay, and enabled Endris to get back on his board and catch a wave to the shore. No one knows why dolphins protect humans, but stories of the marine mammals rescuing humans go back to ancient Greece, according to the Whale and Dolphin. In New Zealand, the group reports, four lifeguards were saved from sharks in the same way Endris was — by dolphins forming a protective ring. Several years ago, in the Gulf of Akaba, a British tourist was rescued by three dolphins from sharks. Near the Sinai Peninsula, a ship captain had stopped his boat so several passengers could watch dolphins playing. Three of the passengers decided to swim with them, and one stayed a little longer than the others. To his horror, he was bitten by a shark – and more were coming. Suddenly, three dolphins placed themselves between the tourist and the sharks, smacking the water with tails and flippers, and drove the sharks off so the man could be rescued. In 2004, a group of swimmers were confronted by a ten-foot great white shark off the northern coast of New Zealand. A pod of dolphins “herded” them together, circling them until the great white fled. In another case in the Red Sea, twelve divers who were lost for thirteen and a half hours were surrounded by dolphins for the entire time, repelling the many sharks that live in the area. When a rescue boat showed up, it appeared that the dolphin pod were showing them where the divers were; they leaped up in the air in front of the rescuers, jumping toward the lost people as if to lead the boat onward – as, according to old stories, they often did with endangered ships in treacherous water. Dolphins are our Angels in the Sea.