Kâkesimokamik – The Healing Garden

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Kâkesimokamik in Cree means “healing garden”.  There is a rich symbolism of nature held safe within the garden.  This is a spiritual place that brings together the earth, sky, water and air.

August 9, 2018 celebrates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which came into being by the General Assembly of the United Nations resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994.   This marked the beginning of the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People proclaimed for the decade, 1995 to 2004.   A Second International Decade occurred from 2005 – 2015, with the theme of “A Decade for Action and Dignity.”

This year, I celebrated International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by visiting “The Healing Garden” in St Albert, Alberta.

The Healing Garden was officially opened on Friday, September 15, 2017.  It is a place of peace and comfort, a testament to St. Albert’s commitment to healing and reconciliation.

Situated along the scenic Red Willow Trail across from St. Albert Place, The Healing Garden is “to be a place of truth and reconciliation, a visible sign of our community’s commitment to walk in right relations with First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples, and with all Nations.”

May we continue to celebrate inclusivity and diversity, experiencing the profound healing power of reconciliation in our lives and within our communities.

53 Seconds

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53 Seconds of Meditation.

Meditation has been defined as engaging in mental exercise, breathing deeply and repeatably so as to reach a special and elevated understanding of our place in the fast-paced, mercurial world that surrounds us.

Reflections, pondering or whatever you believe meditation to be – definitions are easier than the practical application. Simply because of our time-constraints and responsibilities. Our minds are active throughout the day, and according to brain research, achieve heightened activity in sleep.

Today, this is my way of slowing down! Happy meditating.

Stopping Time

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“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”  Anaïs Nin

I have often thought of this quote by Anaïs Nin – not in the context of a writer, but in the framework of a photo. Ever since Joseph Nicephore Niepce clicked the first photo in 1814, humanity has been beguiled by the ability to capture something important.  It is our only way to stop time, to remember our journeys, and proclaim that we have lived, felt love, endured challenges and sustained losses.

I confess that I am a “photo hoarder.”  Yes, even the photos that I consider “second best” remain safely stored on external drives in hopes that some day there may be an editing program that will be invented that will enhance and bring out their beauty. By beauty, I mean the emotional impression of that event.

Just last week, I went back to “taste life twice.”  The year was 2004.  I had purchased my first digital camera, a Canon Powershot A70, for a long-awaited trip to Italy to enroll in a 3-week Italian language course.  The reviews were as generous as I was enthusiastic: “The PowerShot A70 is much more than just a 3.2-megapixel version of its predecessor, the A40.”   I was convinced that this was an excellent purchase.

With a camera in hand, there is added emotional drama at play, more clarity, more interest in the “now.”  This awareness was most keenly felt when I walked the lush paths of Frederick Stibbert’s Garden.  It was a late October afternoon. A gentle light settled on the trees and aging walls, a faint wind tossed the leaves.  A quiet solitude lifted my spirits.  I had recently finished an arduous academic journey and was at a crossroads.

Looking back on these photos, I remember a pivotal decision, made with a recognition that we move in tune with the music of time, surrounded by those who came before and those who will come after. Our myths, our struggles, our joys are intermingled.  Perhaps it is in the retrospective, in knowing what happened afterwards, that reveals a greater understanding.  And with that knowledge, we move forward with profound resolve to embrace the next moment.

 

 

Three Goddesses & A Garden

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The Bandstand

The Bandstand and Sir William Young’s six urns.

There were once three goddesses who watched over the elegant Halifax Public Gardens, a gift from the estate of chief justice Sir William Young.  Born in the year 1799 in Falkirk, Scotland, a city situated at the junction of the Forth and Clyde Canal in the Scottish Lowlands, Sir William Young immigrated  to Nova Scotia with his family in 1814 and went on to become the Premier of Nova Scotia in 1854.  He lived during the Romantic Period when there was a increasing awareness of ancient Greece and Rome, which was reflected in his private garden.

Flora, goddess of flowers, spring and youth,

Flora, goddess of flowers, spring and youth.

On his passing in 1887, three goddesses and six urns were given to the Halifax Public Gardens.  The three goddesses left Sir William Young’s estate to take their place along the Petit Allée.  First there was Flora, the Sabine-derived goddess of flowers, spring and youth.  Next came Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, the moon, nature, woodland and wild animals.  Last came Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain crops, and fertility. These statues embodied the quintessential characteristics of the Victorian age.

Ceres

Ceres, goddess of agriculture, grain crops and fertility.

Alas, in March 2012, Diana was the victim of vandalism, knocked to the ground by unknown persons.  An outcry went throughout Halifax for Diana was a 138-year-old Haligonian cultural icon.  Year after year, families would gather around Diana to take wedding and graduation photos.  Memories were built under her gentle gaze.  Now, the garden is in the keep of Ceres and Flora.

Our Memories of Diana 2003

2003 –  Our Memories of Diana, goddess of the hunt, the moon, nature, woodland and wild animals.

All is not lost!  There are whispers that she is merely resting, waiting to be placed inside a public building.  Myths have survived centuries; they do not stay silent for long.  They live in our music, poetry, dance and literature.  And especially in our gardens…

Anger & Answers

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Sometimes it’s okay to be angry – at injustice, hunger, poverty and discrimination.   These are universal struggles that require the entire global community to focus on seeking answers, rather than assessing blame.

It starts with me.  Today, I will join the community and focus my energies on solutions.

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.”
William Arthur Ward

Grateful for Happiness

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Today, I want to say thank you to my friends who gave me the gift of happiness…you are the gardeners of my heart…

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. “
Marcel Proust