Sunday, February 19, 2012


I'm sitting at the information desk of the local library in Burlington, Ontario. A young, black woman wearing a worn, dull brown wool coat with green lapels and fingerless gloves has come up to my desk. She's holding her 8 year old son close to her, one arm draped protectively over his shoulder and across his chest, the other gently resting on his head. He stands at shoulder height. They both seem tired after a long journey.

"What is the black community like here? Are they friendly?" She asks quietly.

I'm feeling very excited at the prospect of informing her that the community is very welcoming. We have a population of over 2,000 black people here and are an inter-racial community. But before I can get the words out, she continues speaking.

"We have been through (she lists a number of the States and their respective cities) and they weren't hospitable to us. They wouldn't take us in."

I find this is all very confusing. Why did she need to be taken in by a black community? And why wouldn't her own people take them in? What had they done? What crime could they have committed? All I see before me is a tired woman and child. It feels to me as if she's just arrived from somewhere and for a moment I feel like I'm displaced. Like I'm an attendant at a booth? Does she even know where she is? Do I?

I shake off my questioning mind. I'm going to tell her that, in fact, it's Black History Month here in our community and they will find a warm welcome here. I'm proud that our neighbouring community (and my hometown) Oakville was one of the underground railway's gateways to Canada as early as the 1830's. This was where many African Americans seeking freedom could start a new life, so we have lots to celebrate.

Before I speak, my supervisor reaches over my shoulder to my computer on which I've located an information package to print out for the black woman. He brings up a new window.
"They might find this helpful". He points to the screen on which is written "DEAD" FUGITIVES. I realize that this information is intended for me, not for them. "But there's not a lot about them left these days" he says and then casually walks away without further comment.

I turn to ask him if it means what I think it does and am surprised to see that my supervisor is Joseph, a past life self.
NOTES on Joseph:
"Joseph" was brought to the southern states on a slave ship out of Africa. Strong, resilient and intelligent he most certainly would have been used for hard physical labour. Freed under the guise of purchase at auction by a New England lawyer, he was educated in the ways of his new country and its laws. Joseph served as a paralegal to the lawyer. With the full knowledge and support of his mentor, he provided legal advice to members of the black community and was an integral part of the underground railroad. He died, a well-respected man, having lived a long life of service to his community.
Christopher Columbus Lee
an early African American
citizen of Oakville, Ontario
(Oakville Museum collection)
NOTES on dreaming:
I woke up a little disoriented and spent the rest of my day with my "head in the clouds".
The information on Oakville's role in the underground railroad is fact. READ MORE HERE.
During a dream when I find I'm asking myself questions (and especially of the WHY? nature - as I rarely engage in this line of inquiry in daily life, due to infinite possibilities) it is a signal that I am dreaming and an it's an invitation to become lucid in the dream.
Upon awaking I re-entered the dream to glean more information — my post combines the initial dream and the re-entry.

Some believe that in dreams we slip into other times and places and that is possible for dream visitors to slip into ours. Were this mother and child fugitives, time travellers from that period who had slipped into present day? Or was the scene around me shifting? If I had remained in the dream and turned back around would I have found myself into their time and place?

Perhaps today a few people still trickle into this area, driven by the energies of such fugitives - past-life or genetic ancestors. To what extent are our motivations purely self driven? How much do the unfulfilled yearnings and strivings of our lineage influence our daily actions?

Monday, February 13, 2012

No dreams recalled

"No dreams recalled" is one of the most common statements you'll find at the beginning of my dream journal entries. What's odd is that it's usually followed by a dream entry.

On those mornings I typically wake up without a dream in memory. Note that I don't say, "No dreams last night" or "No dreams to record". The statement "No dreams recalled" acknowledges that I do have dreams I just haven't recalled or remembered them. Fact is that we all dream. We all dream every night.

Though I'm reluctant to write that I haven't captured a dream, something nags me to do so. Maybe it's because writing in my journal when I wake up has become a habit and though I'm generally not a person of habit this ritual is the exception. Maybe it's because the dream is just waiting under the surface and some small part of me feels its presence. Maybe it's because I've made a commitment to my dreams, promising that I'd pay attention to them, so that even recording their lack is paying attention.

Whatever the reason, the fact is that 9 times out of 10 once I've finished declaring my lack of awareness they come spilling onto the page. And as I "feel" it/them out with pen in hand I'm instantly transported back into the feeling of the dream(s) complete with all the details that I need.

This has me realizing how quick we are to declare that we don't dream. In fact a few years ago, when I manned a "TALK TO A DREAMWORKER" booth at a local New Age shop for their Wellness Fare, the people that recounted the most incredible dreams were the ones who'd walk by me dismissively declaring, "I don't dream." or "I don't remember my dreams." Sure enough somehow they'd sheepishly make their way back to my table and sit across from me.

"I don't remember my dreams but..." they'd lean in closer, look this way and that to make sure no one else was listening and in a whisper continue, "there was this ONE dream..." As if testing the waters, a fragment of a dream would be revealed. When they realized that they were talking to a non-judgemental, genuinely interested and receptive audience, with a sense of relief the dream would unfold in great detail. Often these individuals had a long history of dream experiences which for some reason got stashed away but remained just under the surface waiting to reveal their stories and their wisdom.

Our culture has lost connection to dreaming. As a result we as individuals suffer as does our culture.
We lose:
  • our natural ability to heal body, mind and spirit in an easy manner
  • contact with creative resources and innovative ideas
  • experiential knowing that death is a natural part of life
  • a "movie" night out in which we are the creator, director and star in far flung adventures

and so much more...

So, if you have problems with dream recall. Don't be embarrassed, just write down "no dreams recalled". Sometimes we just need to coax them out into our mind and onto the page.

And for more help with recall and all things dreaming...
come join me at our monthly Dreamcircle (for further info click on: workshops, dream workshops, monthly dreamcircle) at Akasha's Den Wed night Feb 15 from 7 - 9pm and learn more about dreams and dreaming. Join us in bringing the dreaming back. Novice and experienced dreamers welcome. No personal information needs to be shared. Come ready to share a dream or just to take in the healing energy of the dreamcircle.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I pick up litter and put it in garbage bins when I'm out in the woods. My younger sister began picking up some items on our last outing. "I pick up about 3 things each time I go for walk" she said casually stooping to add to her take. I joined in and before long we had our hands full. I felt good about what we'd done. It seemed that we'd made a difference to the area in which we walked.

Inspired by her example, I have taken on this "litter clearing" as a daily "practice" when I walk in my suburban neighbourhood, by the lake and in seemingly pristine parks. A few years back while engaging in this practice with my friend Flo, as I struggled to hold 2 handfuls of garbage, I thought I wish I had a bag to put this in and voila there it was under a bush. In this particular place, every time a bag got filled another would appear. I don't remember how many bags we filled, just that there was an infinite supply.

I feel good that I can do this pay it forward practice and yet I'm dismayed that (contrary to the  optimism I expressed in my post of Tues Sept 20/11 - THIS ACT WILL SOON BE OBSOLETE) it is necessary at all. My heart is sad. What troubles me as I watch parents playing with their young children in the park is:


I mean I'm witnessing these families being nurtured through interplay with nature. It's not just that we rely on the products of nature to survive. It's far deeper than that. Our mind, emotions and spirit are connected in ways we can't even imagine.

Here are 2 of my latest de-littering experiences.

SADLY, no need for a gymn membership. Go for a walk in a park. Wear gloves and pick up the first grocery bag you see and begin to fill it as you walk along. Pick up the next one and so on. My take today in 1 hr - 4 grocery bags FULL, 2 produce bags FULL, one box 1 1/2 feet square and 6" high FULL. I was going to stop when I ran out of bags, but there was no end in sight. At least my thighs and abs are toned and the park is less littered.


Before my walk today I resolved to pick up garbage IF I came across plastic bags. Stepped out the front door and there were 2 produce bags in my front garden. I filled them, picked up 2 more handfuls along the way and was "graced" by an empty green garbage bag on my way back which got filled as well. Biggest take today - cigarette cartons, beer cans and plastic bottles (small and large). Not all the walk was picking up stuff; explored a creek, watched the swans (there's a bunch of them out there this year) & enjoyed a beauty of a sunny and warm day.

Today as we walked along the Burlington beach strip, Candy and I gathered up litter once more. With fewer bags on site we piled the objects and compacted them into each other. Our take consisted of far more beer and pop cans, and an endless amount of water and pop bottles made of plastic. Would anyone notice the effects of our efforts? Sadly, probably not; there was so much stuff strewn around that the beach looked untouched.

©Nance Thacker 1990
I guess our relationship with nature is like in any long term relationship, we become complacent. We forget that the simple, little crab tree in our front yard is as fantastic as the towering red wood found in the first growth forests of B.C. or that our polluted lake still holds promise of recovery if we'd only remember how precious it is. Fall in child-like love with nature again:
  • If you can't stoop down and pick up a few stray bottles or cigarette packs at least don't put them, or anything that doesn't belong there in the first place. 
  • If you are a parent see if your kid's grade-school or high-school has a park "clean up day". If they do; get with the program. If they don't; start one.
  • Don't wait for an official clean up day or event; just do it as an individual. 
I think my sister's idea is a great one. You don't have to go nuts. If everyone picked up 3 items what a difference that would make!