My passion filled life
Thoughts and threads of passion and experience that have woven the fabric I call my life.
My passion filled life
On September 24th I volunteered to help out Reconciliation Canada with the Walk for Reconciliation that was taking place in Vancouver. The work and goals of the Truth and Reconciliation commission has become very important to me, and although none of us can do everything, all of us can do something. Volunteering that day seemed like something that I could do.
I headed out from home early, as I had to catch the 7am ferry to be able to get there on time. I felt courageous and brave as I headed into downtown Vancouver by myself for the first time. I also felt tired. I'd had a couple of heavy weeks with hosting company, preparing for another trip back to Manitoba for Orange Shirt Day, and helping my presenting partner and adopted son Trem with some of the grief that continues to have a hold on him in the years since my son's passing. I was tired, but I was also very excited.
I arrived at the grounds of the event about an hour before the walkers were to arrive at the site. I'd been assigned to support the survivors and elders in the tent set up for them. Our role was to ensure they were offered something to eat and drink, be a listening ear if it was needed, and to support them in whatever way would be most meaningful to them.
Having a bit of time before hand, I had the chance to see the beautiful collection of rocks that had been painted by school children from across the country as gifts to be given to survivors. They were decorated with words, pictures and colours of hope. They were beautiful.
I also got to explore some of the tents that were set up providing information, food, artwork, among other things. However, it wasn't long before the people started making their way to the tent I was stationed at, and the work of the day began.
Watching the hundreds, in fact thousands of people that streamed in to the grounds as the walk concluded left me with a lump in my heart. All these people who had experienced what we are only now learning about, and have carried the pain of that experience for decades. It was so hard to come to terms with the reality of our country’s historical treatment of our First People. There is so much work still to be done, but at least the work is beginning
Throughout the day I had the great honor of serving and listening to the stories of many of those people while the festivities, honoring and presentations of voice and music resounded all about us. There was wisdom in the speakers and performers, and passion in the audience. Passion to recognize, celebrate and find understanding. It was a powerful event for everyone that attended.
Throughout the day, in one corner of the tent, a couple offered cedar brushing to anyone who asked for it. I watched, not really understanding the ceremony, but interested in learning, and at the end of the day, when most of the elders had left, I had my chance. I knew I was experiencing something incredible when he told me that the grief I was carrying was what was causing my throat to be so sore. I hadn't said anything about it, nor was it affecting my communication. It was just a deep ache that I'd experienced for a couple of days by that time. I realized this stranger who was offering his healing medicine had read through my words into my tired spirit. He offered comfort and support as he swept away some of the burden I'd not truly realized I was carrying. He kindly explained the process and the beliefs it represented. In giving of myself that day I received such a gift in return.
He also reminded me that the teachers that I've been gifted to have in my life throughout the years were with me still, whether they were in the spirit world or this one. It was such a powerful experience for me, and the most wonderful ending to the day.
Driving home that night I was incredibly happy that I'd made the effort and been offered the opportunity to participate in something so amazing. I am not naive. I know reconciliation is going to take years of work and a lifetime of effort on the part of all people involved. None of us can to everything to fix what is so broken in Canada today, but I was reminded that each of us can do something, if we so choose. I thought of the many stories that had been shared with me. People giving away small pieces of who they are and what they'd experienced so that the rest of us could learn and grow from that. I thought of the resilience of the people I'd been with, and appreciated how incredibly strong their spirits must be. I know that in their having shared those small pieces of who they are, they made me a better person. I know in the offering, I was the one who was gifted. I hope each of you get the opportunity to experience that as this work continues in the many forms we will see it take in the years ahead.
A couple of years ago, while I still lived in Manitoba and was still the Senior Coordinator for Innovative Life Options (LIFE Inc), I was involved in what we lovingly called the ‘Kitchen Table
Talks’. The project was created to bring families who had a child living with a disability and who were not yet being provided services in the adult world together for open, engaging conversation. Our hope was that we could garner some wisdom from these families as to how things were working, what they were most proud of, what would be most helpful and what ideas they had for their son or daughter’s future.
We learned, more deeply, what we already knew. Families are amazing! They are strong, resilient, innovative and are hungry for information that will make their child’s life as full, inclusive and meaningful as each of our own lives strive to be. By keeping our conversations on the 'Appreciative Inquiry' stream, whereby we focused on what had gone well that we could build upon, rather than things that were not, we were able to garner a glimpse of the amazing things that families have done to provide the best they can for the children they so dearly love, whether their child is a youth, or an adult.
We realized much of what the families most wanted to know more about were things that could best be answered by other families who had walked this path. To build upon the wonderful initiative started, it was decided the next step would be to gather some of those answers, and I had the great privilege of being chosen to move the project forward.
It was decided that the best way to do that would be to compile a book through interviewing families using the questions that had arisen in the Talks. I sent out a call to the families I knew that were involved with ‘In the Company of Friends’, Manitoba’s self-directed, independent living model for adults with developmental disabilities. Ten families came forward to share their stories, and ‘Family Matters’ was born.
It was wonderful to spend the time in deep, connected conversation with the amazing people that participated. Many of them had been as much a support to me when I was raising Shane as I ever was to them in my working role. They shared, inspired, laughed and often cried, as they recounted the joys and the challenges of the lives we come to know on the unexpected roads of the world of disabilities. It was humbling to be given that intimate glimpse into each of their lives, and to be given their trust and faith that their story would be shared with dignity and respect, so that those who might benefit from their wisdom would.
So now the project is completed. ‘Family Matters’ has been published and shares these stories through the voices of the families that have lived the experience. These stories talk about inclusion, support networks, relationship development, the education system and of the many incredible steps that each family took to make sure that what their child needed to be a part of their community was put in place.
The book, ‘Family Matters’ is now available on Amazon, in both hard copy and on Kindle. At only 140 pages, it’s an easy, informative read where it can be picked up and explored one chapter/one unique story at a time.
It was the hope of every parent that participated and myself that in sharing our journeys, another parent raising a child with different, special needs, might feel a little less alone as they journey through life. Our hope was that something that we learned, some pearl of insight or achieved wisdom might take some of the bumps out of the road for another.
Parents are truly the greatest experts when it comes to what is needed and what is possible for their child. Parents also have to appreciate and then build upon the efforts and the work of the ones that came before, so that we can keep moving our world forward into one that is more inclusive, accepting and accessible for all persons, with and without disabilities. Family matters provides some of the history and structure that was laid as foundation of the work for the building that needs to continue. Maybe that work can be achieved a little more quickly and a little more easily, by sharing our lessons and learning, so that previously invented wheels might not have to be recreated.
Thanks to all that contributed. Thanks also for taking the time to read this. Please share this information as far and wide as you can, so that all parents who might benefit from the opportunity to access and read these stories, will know that they are there waiting for them!
5 out of 5 stars: A MUST READ!!!!
ByAmazon Customer on August 20, 2017
This book is a very touching book with many stories. Everybody should read it! Teachers and families that have a challenged child in their family should definitely read it! Helps to give you support you need!
4 out of 5 stars: Great work!
ByAmazon Customer on August 3, 2017
ICOF is a new concept for me, but I'm already a huge fan. Great work!
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming obstacles and ignorance to lead normal fulfilling lives is at the heart of this amazing read. Lynda is extraordinary writer who tells her ...
Bydixietomchukon September 11, 2017
An interesting and honest review of the lives of families living with a child with special needs. Overcoming obstacles and ignorance to lead normal fulfilling lives is at the heart of this amazing read . Lynda is extraordinary writer who tells her story and that of others in an open and honest way . There is help and resources available which is pointed out throughout the book. I love how the stories are told by answering 18 thought provoking questions.
It’s become my typical morning routine. Cecil prepares my Bullet-proof coffee, I relax in my living room chair, and go through my social media on my IPhone before starting my work day.
A couple of mornings ago, I happened to notice a new follower my Truly You Twitter page. It was Daniel Dolphin! Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that, so I had to look a little closer! I can’t ignore it when any dolphin speaks to me, and certainly not Daniel!
You see, dolphins hold a very special place deep in my heart. Maybe I didn’t even realize how deep until this connection happened and I began taking a more conscious look around me, here in our new home on Vancouver Island. It has been an eye-opening couple of days.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Shane was my dolphin-boy. There was never any doubt that he loved dolphins, because even though he wasn’t able to communicate verbally, his eyes always told us what was on his mind and in his heart. We’d known dolphins were his thing for a long time, all you had to do was follow the eye-gaze with tv, shopping, toys, magazines and stories. Then listen for the hoot that would follow.
In 2004 it was explained to us, by a very insightful little 10-year-old in a swimming pool in Winnipeg. Shane had been chosen by the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba to participate in Air Canada’s Dreams Take Flight that year. Because we lived so far out of town and the flight for the one day trip to Disney World for a plane load of children with various life challenges, we were put up at the then Greenwood Inn in Winnipeg for the night before the trip. Shane loved the water, he always had, and so the night before the flight we headed down to the pool for a few hours of swimming before bed.
While in the pool, another ‘dream’ recipient named William attached himself to Cecil, Shane and I. We actually don’t know what Williams last name was or where he was from, but he just connected to us and swam and played and chattered away. He had a very big scar that ran the length of his chest and stomach, so we suspected that he may have had heart surgery, but we didn’t ask. We just spent our time having fun together.
After a while, William explained to Cecil, “You know why Shane likes to swim so much don’t you?” We had to admit to William that we really didn’t know the answer to that, only that he did love to swim. So, William clarified for us, “Well just listen to him. When he laughs, he sounds just like a dolphin!”
That was the first time we actually heard it for ourselves. The unique combination of laughter and delighted squeal that was Shane’s way of telling all of us he was in his glory with whatever he was doing. From that day on, we referred to him as our dolphin-boy, even though he’d given us lots of clues about his interest in them before. Sometimes our teachers come in the form of little, health-challenged boys that pick up on things quicker than we as the distracted, over stretched adults ever do.
Shane passed away in 2009, but I’ve come to know that his love of all things dolphin was passed along to me before he died. I’m just beginning to see how deeply, and as I look around my house, I am having an awakening myself, because I am seeing dolphins everywhere! They are both reminders of Shane and sparks of inspiration and joy for me. Through different spiritual belief systems and cultural philosophies, dolphins can represent many different things. People who identify with the dolphin totem are usually peaceful and gentle, but with a deep inner strength. They trust their instincts and intuition. Dolphins live in harmony with their environment and practice love for each other, and have been witnessed helping the young and sick, even those of other species. They have a well-earned reputation as protectors as they balance their animal nature with a higher intelligence. They could teach our own human species a lot.
When we moved from Manitoba to Qualicum Beach this year, hours were spent sorting and choosing what items were coming with us, and which ones were not. Whether I realized it at the time or not, except for a few of Shane’s personal ‘dolphin’ items that I gave to some of his friends and family, everything dolphin followed me here. In fact, everything ocean is here surrounding me, and the lightbulb in my head is finally going on.
So back to Daniel Dolphin. With the twitter follow, I had to look further, and realized that Daniel Dolphin is going to be “a 3D-animated adventure film for the whole family inspired by the bestselling novels of Sergio Bambaren. Our goal is to push entertainment to a new level of audience participation and environmental awareness. Daniel Dolphin will share the larger message that we have to protect what we love: our oceans and each other.” I felt the call to become involved, and through a donation to their fundraising page to support the next steps of the film’s development, I have done so. I’m excited about it, and it just feels so right to me.
A couple of posts ago I shared that I have come to terms with accepting the fact that I will not be leaving my lineage in this world when I pass beyond it. Shane was my only hope for that. I am, however, committed to leaving a legacy with and for my chosen ‘kids’ and grandkids, the work I am able to do, the music that I write and the causes I choose to support. This cause calls to me, just like my return to the coast after all the years in the prairies did. Maybe there is a deeper connection even with that. Maybe part of this move was to position me to be more actively involved in what is happening to our oceans, by seeing for myself what is going on around us. Maybe Daniels’s voice will be the one that speaks to the children of today, who themselves are going to be the protectors of tomorrow, so that they will do a better job of taking care of Mother Earth and her oceans than we’ve managed to do so far. I hope so, and I hope my discovery of Daniel will help me to be part of the change in the world that I wish to see.
Maybe his story will spark an interest in you as well. If it does, consider supporting this Canadian project and the possibilities that it holds. If you were thinking of sending me a Christmas card or a gift this year, consider making a contribution to get this project off the ground instead by simply clicking here. That would be a gift that would keep on giving if we could inspire the Guardians of tomorrow through our actions today.
“Follow your dreams. Listen to the voice of your heart. Whatever others might tell you, never forget that you only live once, and that your dreams, big or small, are the biggest treasure that will guide your life to a wonderful destiny. Don’t let your fears stand in the way of your dreams.”
— Sergio Bambarén, Author of The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer
So, as you know, this blog is all about living MY passions. My work with life coaching and being a Passion Test facilitator allows me to help my clients figure out and work towards their goals and dreams. I love doing that, there is nothing more rewarding, however, if I am going to be doing this work authentically, I need to walk the talk, and so here is where I share how I do that.
Don't get me wrong, I don't spend all of my time travelling, taking pictures and playing music. However, I do make those things a priority that I work towards on a daily basis, because those are my passions. It's been a lot of work to learn to say no to the things that matter least, so I can shout a resounding YES to those things that matter most to me.
In living this passionate life, I've always fancied myself to be a pretty good photographer. I've had a camera in my hand since the age of 6 or 7 when my Dad gave me his old square box one from the 40s. When at 19 my parents offered to by me a car, because they'd neglected to earlier, and had done so for both of my siblings, I chose instead that they buy me the Canon AE1 35mm Program camera instead, as it was the newest, hottest thing on the market at that time. And my passion continued to grow.
As time has gone on, I've come into the digital world and have gone through a number of good cameras, continuing to move up the ladder and love the snapping! Especially now that I'm not throwing money into the fire by having to pay for the hundreds of pictures that weren't really all that great once they were developed.
Over the years, I've continue to enjoy the hobby with no real training. Now that I'm living my passions more intentionally, I decided that it might be good to see if some of this passion could be translated into an income that would allow me to enjoy more time with it, and so it was that I recently signed up with Dreamstime. A new adventure has begun!
What I can tell you is that I have much, much to learn! That has been a really good lesson for me at this stage in my life. One things you've figured most of it out, but I've learned that in the world of stock photography I really don't know a darn thing. But that's okay! I am a life long learner, and this is one more lesson that has come my way. I'm loving it!
These photos , sadly didn't make the cut. But, the good news is that from what I'm beginning to learn from my mistakes is paying off in that now my photos are beginning to. This, like everything worth doing, is going to be a much slower, harder journey than I first thought it would be. But I know it's going to be well worth it in the end.
Now, do I mean well worth it in terms of money earned as a stock photographer? Not likely, but who knows about that. Time will only tell. But well worth it in that I'm giving myself permission and a push to pursue something I love, love, love doing. I'm looking at my photography through a different lens now you might say. Realizing that there is much more I can be doing to turn my passion into a craft. Taking time to read all the tips and suggestions and yes...getting better at it. Sometimes success lies in just knowing you're improving at whatever it is that you're passionate about. For now, I'm good with that....so off I go to snap away!
Note to my readers: I need you to know that if you do decide to click on any of the advertisements on my site, I may receive compensation as an affiliate of these businesses that I support...but I hope you know that in doing so you are supporting my Freedom 55 plan and my dream of living my life in sandals! Merci!
We'd set the clock for 6am the next morning, and headed down to catch the sunrise. That day we got a spectacular view, as the clouds gave way to the glory of the eastern rising. We enjoyed it thoroughly, wondering why we didn't make this a part of our day to day life, rather than a rare occasion in a distant land. It was breathtaking and much more enjoyable because we'd remembered to take our towels and sweaters.
The plan for the day was to explore Otranto. We'd been lost in the town a couple of times, but never really seen too much of it. Over morning coffee, I had read through the brochure that was given to us when we checked into the hotel, and decided to make sure that we saw both the remains of the castle as well as the Cathedral.
We parked a few blocks away and were there in good time, prior to 9am. The streets were relatively calm, with many shops not yet even open as we began to explore the seaboard and the streets leading up to it. We continued to make our way along the marina wall until we found the outer shell of the castle.
Once inside, it was like we'd walked into an entirely different town! The streets became even narrower, lined with shop upon shop selling all manner of souvenirs, jewelry, shoes, clothing, pastas and breads. There was little you couldn't find there, although many of the restaurants and shops were still closed.
We walked to the end of the castle walls, then made our way back, stopping to check a few of the many shops for souvenir ideas, and local crafts. Pottery is a huge thing in the area, and many of the shops had walls and walls of cute chubby little pottery people, dressed in every kind of apparel. They were adorable, and several caught my eye, but the worry about how to get them home with out having them shatter convinced me to leave them where they were.
After finishing most of the first street's sites, we took a walk upward, on another narrow winding street, not knowing where it lead, but curious to continue exploring.
Half way up or so, we realized that we had found the Cathedral that I'd read about. We entered in, and found ourselves in a beautiful ancient structure. There wasn't a clear indication as to when it was built, but the Pantaleone Mosaic on the cathedral floor was to have been done by a monk from the Abbey of San Nicola di Casole between 1163 and 1166. His artistry depicted life of all kinds from that period, both mythological and real, as the floor was covered completely with symbols, animals, humans and what is likely the 'Tree of Life'. How painstakingly patient he must have been to place the tens of thousands of tiny tiles in their position as he created the artwork that remains today.
When the Turks attacked Ontranto on August 14, 1480, many women and children took refuge in the Cathedral we stood in, but history tells that in the end the sanctuary was invaded, and most were killed. Over 800 people died trying to defend the town from the invasion, and in one small room on the right side of the church, glass cases house the bones and skulls of many of the murdered people, the men, women and the children. It's a chilling reminder to all of the brutality of war.
There is an eeriness to spending time in such a place, as you think about the horror of their deaths, the lives unlived, the centuries between then and now. This is but one reminder of atrocities that have been committed when men pit themselves against men. You can't help but think about how the spirits of those who died live on in the history and architecture of this town, and so many other ancient towns like it. It's a reminder of the shortness of life...both theirs and our own. It makes you want to grab onto life with both hands and hold on tight, as all to soon it will be over.
I was left wondering how many dreams were sealed behind the glass with the bones of the dead. Then I had to ask myself what dreams have I put behind glass, not allowing them to breath and come to life. How long will I leave them there stagnant and protected, before I realize that the days are long, but the years are short, and the clock continues to tick.
What dreams do you have tucked behind glass yourself? When will you take them out, dust them off and bring them to life?
Welcome to My Passionate Life!
The Passion Test supports you to live your life more passionately, creating the life you dream of, doing the things you love!