Friday, August 29, 2014

Trash talk

From Osho Zen Tarot
Consciousness - Ace of clouds
Thursday Aug 28th - I walk the streets of Victoria looking for places to post my flyers advertising upcoming offerings; feeling vaguely down.

I've just come from mingling with a community of yoga practitioners at a brief memorial tribute to BKS Iyengar at a local yoga centre. I was once an active member of the original group from which this one evolved. Many of those long-time, pivotal members of this vital community, are present today.  It's surreal. Detached, I watch them mingle and chat, a simple interaction so familiar yet so far away. We have all moved on.
"How are you doing?" a yoga friend/teacher kindly asks.
"Good. I love being here" I say. However, I surprise myself when, "but it takes time to settle in," spills out of my mouth. As I speak, this truth, the emotion of it washes through me and my inner voice asks Where do I fit in?

A little over a year ago I returned to Victoria but only in the last few weeks have I felt myself setting down roots. They reach, spread, and dig deep down into the soil of this island. It is a lonely, and of necessity, a solitary, visceral experience: painful, comforting, frightening, uplifting all at once.

My task completed; I continue my wandering. What else pulls at me? The faint voice of my inner whiner spins old, worn out, all too familiar stories of woe is me…doomed to failure…Blah, blah, blah, on and on, round and round getting louder and louder now that it has an audience. The wheel of samskara threatens to etch deepening ruts. I let her run on. No new insights to be found here. I know the stories she tells and how she drags me down and I am done with it.

What to do?

My hand brushes against the net, outer pocket of my back pack and the bags within crinkle to the touch as I reach Clover Point. Without a thought, I pull them out and begin clearing the litter in the park on the bluffs as the ocean waves crash below on a somewhat blustery day. Becoming absorbed in my task,  involved in something far bigger than myself, everything else falls away. Peace at last!

After some time a disembodied voice asks, "What are you doing?"

"Clearing litter," I answer as I straighten up to see the beautiful woman that is attached to the voice.


"Because I'm bummed." WTF, because I'm bummed? Really, you say this to a stranger!

Without missing a beat she exclaims, "Oh, ya me too. What are you bummed about?"

I skim the surface with a brief, vague answer.

She immediately confides in me not only the story and source of her suffering but the wisdom she knows is needed in order to let it play itself out: to listen to her whole story, to feel it, to see the judgment, the accusations, the finger pointing, the blame, guilt and shame, to take responsibility for her actions, her thoughts and her emotions but not take on that which belongs to another, to stand back and to surrender to what is essentially a state of no-mind.

I'm dumbfounded. She has come to me as if in a dream. Her story is my story; the personal, untold one that grips me most deeply in a life where everything has changed.

After considerable time spent conversing like two long lost friends we exchange contact information, hug, wish each other well and go our separate ways.

This is the information she gave me.
Take a moment to listen to GIVE ME A MOMENT by VERONICA IZA

Her words of wisdom echo the card I drew this morning from the OSHO Zen Tarot to gain some insight for the day as no dream was recalled upon awakening.

CONSCIOUSNESS - the state of no-mind "is available to all who have become a master of the mind and can use it as the servant it is meant to be…there is a crystal clarity available right now, detached, rooted in the deep stillness that lies at the core of your being. There is no desire to understand from the perspective of the mind - the understanding you have now is existential, whole, in harmony with the pulse of life itself. Accept this great gift, and share it.

Thank you Veronica. It was very nice meeting you and I'm honoured to share the gift of your beautiful voice.

Proving once again that one doesn't have to sleep in order to dream.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

NOT an Ashtray




This is what happens when I'm without the car for a week.
I'm sticking around town beachcombing nearby.

Background info: Surfrider beach clean up, Cadboro Bay, Sunday Aug 10th, I meet the woman behind the ash can installations that have been showing up in Victoria - 20 as of July 20 in the downtown area. For this clean-up I choose to focus on butts as well as general garbage. I don't remember what my count was that day but it got added to the tally at the end of the session.

224 butts  last week - collected on the land side of Dallas Road between 74 and Menzies St. = 8 blocks. It started out casual enough. I'll just pick up a few on my way to yoga class. It'll add 20 minutes to the normal 10 minute trip; no sweat. No sweat, ha! It was one of the hottest days of the summer and I had no idea when I left our shaded sweet spot that a virtual oven awaited. I arrived sweat drenched with fragrant eau de diaphoresis excreting out of every pore (which I'm sure endeared me to my fellow yogis) from all the squatting and bending under a clear blue, windless sky.
Other findings - cellophane from cigarette packages, the cellophane strip used to open the packages, bits of plastic, wrappers from junk food

Looks pristine, right?
Butts in the crevices; there are a lot of crevices.
800 butts  Wed Aug 20th - collected on the ocean side of Dallas Road between 74 and Oswego St. = 4 blocks. I decide to make a more concerted effort. This locale is perfect. Anywhere people park their butts they will chuck their butts. Prime spots for butt accumulation: park benches (there are about 3), bus stops (there is one), curbs, curbs with parking spaces (a vast expanse covering a few blocks). I quit about ½ way along the breakwater as the smell is getting to me - ugh. When I worked as a waitress and dishwasher, dumping and clearing ash trays was the thing I dreaded the most and made me gag every time.
Other findings - pretty much the same as above though more plastic straws

After the butt clearing I get a pop, take it down to sit on the rocks at the beach to enjoy the sun and waves. Only thing is, I have to clear the space of butts smushed and crammed into what is obviously considered by many to be nature's ashtray.

340 butts  Thurs Aug 21st - collected on the same area of the rocks, the surrounding area and the path up to the sidewalk which has 3 benches - 100 of the butts collected from the rocks themselves. Dismayed by my experience of the day before, I chose this as a 90 minute project; overseen by a resident seagull. There seems to be less than the day before. Perhaps people picked up after themselves but most likely seagulls gobbled some up or the wind blew them into the sea.
Other items - bottle caps of both metal and plastic, broken glass, bits of cellophane and candy wrappers, fast food packaging, and one plastic 6 ring pop can holder intact.
Bag of 340 butts

NOTE: I pick up butts using plastic bags, primarily from packaged bread, some grocery store bags (used for wet produce) that have been washed and reused multiple times. I use one for my hand and the other to put the butts and garbage in. I carry hand cleanser and use it at the end of the pick up or go to a washroom and wash hands thoroughly. I've also used an old pair of leather gloves as they fit better than canvas ones for picking up fine items.

Reactions from people:
- most give me a wide berth
- some thank me or say "good for you"
- one woman stops her pole walking and asks what I'm doing, what organization do I belong to. I tell her I don't belong to any organization per se, just doing it for myself but I pass on information about Surfrider and their monthly beach clean ups. I tell her that I'll blog about my findings - it may be of interest to some people.
- A man says, "That's a thankless task."
  "Not really," I say. He doesn't' realize that I'm not doing it so much for us as I am for the water and the land but I add, "People will still litter but maybe they'll be less inclined to dump stuff in a place that is litter free." That is my hope.
- Another man tells me he collected 1,000 bottle caps at a beach not long ago.
- A couple commend me for my actions and tell me that they used to do this at the hospital grounds across the street from where they used to live.

The ash cans are a great idea yet at the same time I don't understand why people can't just stash their butts in a tin they carry with them or as a friend of mine did, after getting rid of the ash - back in the pack.

Nature isn't our ashtray or our garbage bin it's someones home and it's our home too. Leave it beautiful for the enjoyment of others and the safety of all who inhabit it. It takes no effort to find the garbage bin or pack it back home.

Why am I so passionate about this?
I remember a time when beaches and parks in my hometown of Oakville and its neighbour town Burlington were clear of litter. Read these other posts and maybe you'll see what can happen here in this beautiful place unless we take action now…
A WALK IN THE PARK (Mar 10/13) - here 

Friday, August 15, 2014


Have you ever noticed that the TV show HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL revisits people who have made big moves within the first 6 months of their relocation? Have you ever wondered, why that is? They're still in the honeymoon phase of a major life passage. After that, reality sinks in. OMG we really did it yippee turns to OMG we really did it…what now?

These episodes always end with one last visit with the newcomers. It's the classic house party scenario.  Ah yes, our intrepid newcomer(s) graciously ply a kitchen full of chic, new-found, fast friends with their own hand-made gourmet hors d'oeuvres creations as we say goodbye to them with best wishes for a happy and prosperous future.

Well, it's a year now and no new found friends are pounding on my door for a snack let alone a 6 course meal. Dang, and we bought our first dining room table and chairs for just such occasions.*

As the excitement of newness wears off, we discover that we are the same people who we were before the move. Despite claims that we want change, we tend to gravitate towards habitual ways of being and seeing life. But our surroundings and all that supported those old ways has fallen away and we're adrift and the stress begins to show (stress is a natural state experienced as we try and achieve homeostasis in response to change whether that change is desired or other). It's a painful process that dawns on us that we can't live in another vastly different area without the veneer of our old life peeling away.

I'm not disappointed that we made the move, not at all. I love it here! We live in one of the most beautiful areas in Canada with so much to offer. All one has to do is walk out the door. People say they've heard that it's expensive to live here. It can be. But so much is free or costs little - it's in nature all around us. The other night a new friend (also a Shiatsu Therapist) and I sat at the bluffs overlooking Ogden Point chatting over a picnic dinner and beer while witnessing a golden sunset and, just a few days later, a long time yoga friend and I swam all by ourselves at a local seaside beach a mere 30 minute drive from our apartment.

It's these little things that ingratiate me to the place, not big sweeping changes, grand ideals, and aspirations.

Though born and raised in Ontario I always felt like a fish out of water there. When my much younger self came west in the '70's the land and the sensibilities of the people welcomed me "home". Problem is that by the mid '80's the island spit me out, as they are wont to do, if one isn't suited to take root.

I cried so profusely on the plane trip back to Ontario that people thought someone had died.

In a way someone had.

I slipped back into Ontario Girl's skin, adapted to the demands of living there, reconnected with childhood friends, met my future husband within a week of my arrival, thrived and grew through major life challenges but my soul could never settle in, my spiritual home remained in the west.

Last year I brought my ambitious, driven-self, back here. Armed with a bag of skills honed in Ontario I was ready and rarin' to go. I would finally have the career I've dreamed of, studied for, and worked towards for so long. I hit the ground running setting up wildly successful, exciting (and profitable) dreamcircles, workshops and events… only to discover that I'm in a time warp. Manifestation is lagging behind the  powers of my imagination.

My Ontario persona wasn't ready for this. Shock, anxiety and disappointment hit with a vengeance; old insecurities reared their ugly heads.

What MUST I do to change this? Ontario Woman demanded.

OSHO Zen Tarot -" Creativity is the quality
you bring to the activity you are doing."
Journal writing & sketching
© Nance Thacker 2014

And then festival season came upon us.

Everyone is out and about enjoying themselves. Even the in-demand, prosperous and profuse population of psychics are twiddling their thumbs. The message? SURRENDER to what is, throw up my hands, give up for the time being and join in. Get reacquainted with "Island Girl", the one I'd left behind 27 years ago.

As I settle back into her skin my time-pressured, goal driven, hyper, anxious Ontario self is falling away and I'm feeling more myself. Gone is the pervasive background buzzing that had insidiously wormed its way into my nervous system over the past decades to such an extent that I it became part of "me". A transmutation is taking place as positive aspects of both my Ontario and BC selves merge.

I'm feeling more rooted than before; considering planting different seeds but now with an attitude of water them, till the soil and see what sprouts. Very west coast I must say. And, so that is what I must do. It's all up for grabs.

Other newcomers say it takes 2 years to adjust to pulling up roots and relocating to a new place. What will have transpired by this time next year when the metamorphosis is "complete"?

I greet the future with a sense of curiosity; discovering Island Woman.

* Since beginning this piece our in-laws - father, mother, sister and brother - have visited and we finally got to use the table - yea!!!