Friday, April 20, 2018

Happy In My Dirt

Alone Images

 I'm not a fan of Winter. I experience the affects of Seasonal Affective Disorder. These symptoms of SAD can also appear in the early Spring and are more commonly experienced by women for whatever reason..

I know I shouldn't wish my time away, but admittedly I spend a good portion of the Winter months wishing for those warm, sunny, Spring days, so I can play outside, in the dirt!

I planted a number of seeds early in the year, that are now germinating and growing, reaching for the sun as they prepare for Spring transplanting. I grow a lot of plants inside and especially love the flowering ones if I can find them. Doing this makes my creative soul happy.

Gardener's know instinctively that digging in dirt makes them happy, it's why they do it. But it's a scientific fact there is a Happy Hormone, called Mycobacterium vaccae found in soil that humans can benefit greatly from, as it's is a natural antidepressant that can help to combat the affects of SAD and the decrease in Serotonin levels that affect our feelings of happiness..

Yesterday I transplanted some succulents, two slips I got from a friend has beautiful little bright yellow flowers, that are about to bloom I hope. I also planted some pansy seeds, that ironically I had to place into a completely dark spot away from the sun for ten days, in order for them to germinate. Pansies don't complain, they like it, and it's what helps them grow.

And so each Winter I now try to consciously embrace my inner pansy, to adapt and cope with, those biochemical SAD feelings that happen, due to the lack of sunshine. It makes my Spring so much sweeter when I do.

So if you're feeling SAD get your hands into the dirt, grow something, You'll feel better, and you might even find it to be a trans-formative experience.

Wild Flowers - Egg Tempera on Ceramic Tile - 2012 - Catherine Meyers

Friday, April 6, 2018

Jeremy Dutcher - Wolastoqiyik - People of the Beautiful River

Wolastoqiyik - "People of the Beautiful River"

It the kind of day today when I can't seem to get out of my own way. So I do a bit of writing, reading, muffin making and thinking about getting outside for a walk, but it's cold and suddenly feels like the last blast of Winter in spite of the sunshine! I know I'm being wimpy, but I'm allowed once in a while.

I just wished Spring would hurry on up which is my favourite time of year. I've planted some seeds that are growing fast inside and will plant more tonight. So if all else fails to help me out of my funk, music always lifts my spirits and inspires.

Recently I hear this incredible musician, composer and singer, Jeffery Dutcher from the Wolastoq First Nation. He's a classically trained, operatic tenor and honestly I'm never heard anything quite like him.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Freedom Highway

                                           "The time is always right to do what is right"
                                                                                - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Fifty years April 4th 1968 today Martin Luther Jr. King was assassinated. His legacy lives on and will never die. 'Keep your eye on the prize.'

Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday - Making the World a Better Place - Awakening Creativity

Lent, Palm Sunday and Good Friday always leaves me with conflicted feelings of sadness, but with the joy and hope of Easter to follow. It is my favourite time of year coinciding with Spring, the Paschal Moon and being so grateful for all of God's creation who is the Master Artist of all.

When I was ten years old I remember so poignantly an experience I'm so grateful for, that I had with my mother, and it'll be forever etched in my psyche. We'd watched the Easter story on our old black and white T.V. one afternoon, just the two of us together. When it came to the part of the story where Jesus was crucified we were both crying. It was a time when my mother and I felt an intimate closeness in out shared sorrow. I remember asking her, why did they do this to him? She simply said, "I don't know."

Little did I know then, all these years later, how this childhood moment I shared with my loving and faithful mother as we cried together, it would still affect me to this day. I still ask they same question, but more importantly now what I ask is, what I can do to lessen suffering in my search for a better world?

Found within my mother's honest heartfelt reply to my question, was an answer to the questions I still have. I find myself still frequently asking why, regarding the sufferings in the world, both past and present. I could find a myriad of reasons, but what is more important for me today, is figuring out what I can do about this suffering, and now causes me to reflect on what Payam Akhavan the human rights activist and Lawyer, who insight-fully and so wisely stated.

"Where there is empathy there is always a solution, where there is apathy there is always an excuse"

" I had a stark choice: to exercise my freedom to become a bystander, or to commit my life to struggling for justice."

" It is painful struggle that makes the world a better place not effortless feel-good platitudes."

                                                        - Payam Akhavan

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Laughing Til You Snort and Pee Your Pants

I like dark humour. I heard about these two women who wrote a comedy series exploring taboo topics such as anxiety, depression and suicide through dark humour. This might sound like a contradictory combination, but to me it makes perfect sense.

Having and giving the gift of laughter is a kind thing we can do for ourselves and for one another. It's a path to happiness and healing in the thick of incidental difficulties and the miseries of life that make you doolally. It's one of the best coping tools I think we can have and laughter's been my life long happy place default.

In the process of looking for this series on the site I came across this laugh out loud snortin' kind of this video Womannequin. The site is full of female comedians, and the series I was looking for called Ghost BFF  is also found on this site.

Monday, March 19, 2018


In the 1980 I left my Nova Scotia home, traveling to Toronto Ontario to study Mime. It was here that I met my dear friend Kate. We were both studying Commedia dell'arte . I immediately made a connection with her, we became good friends.

It was during this time in Toronto I'd met my late husband Bill who had serious health problems, having brittle diabetes and drug induced paranoid schizophrenia, which ultimately resulted in his death at the young age of 26. Kate had kindly attended Bill's funeral as she'd gotten to know Bill. He was very fond of her, as I believe she'd felt the same about him.

I lost touch with Kate, but the short story is, many years after I found myself working a night shift with time on my hands in the North West Territories. I decided to watch a program on Vision T.V. I was suddenly riveted to the television after realizing Kate was on the T.V. screen. She was being featured on this program and was talking about this one woman play she'd produced and acted in, relating her personal struggles with mental health. I was so excited and from that point on I was determined that one day I'd find her again. Understand this was well before Facebook, so it wasn't until several years later I was able to connect with her through Facebook.

Kate along with her husband, actor and producer Bill Rogers, established the company HumourUs that promotes the benefits and the importance of humour and how much it can help us to overcome. This is something  I inherently knew as a rather troubled kid, because I always felt better when I could make myself and others laugh. Humour helps to keep us humble and reminds us of our humanity. These three tools have long helped me to lighten my load, to live a healthier and happier life, and Kate has also helped me to learn this important lesson, and I'm grateful for that.

Today Kate posted this article, written about what she does and who she is, and  I wanted to share.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Arthur Rothstein - "the power to move men's minds."

Rehabilitation client at spinning wheel, Ozark Mountains, Arkansas 1935 Photo Arthur Rothstein

The above photograph was taken by one of the premiere photo journalists  Arthur Rothstein. This photograph of the Great Walking Wheel I especially loved as I recently had the great fortune to purchase one of these magnificent antique spinning wheels. I don't know the history of my particular wheel, but if it could talk I know it would tell a compelling historical story.

Arthur Rothstein was in the same company of photographers such a Walker Evans, who co-wrote the book with James Agee Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, in 1936. Working for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) between 1935-1940, during The Great Depression, these photo journalists reflected the culture of the time within America, documenting rural life and small town America. This documentation poignantly reflected the displacement and migration of farmers and industrial workers . Even more importantly was, what Arthur Rothstein described as his prime motivation to be documentary photographer.

 “the power to move men’s minds,”  and explaining, “The aim is to move people to action, to change or prevent a situation because it may be wrong or damaging, and to support and encourage people.”

Born in 1915 Arthur Rothstein  grew up in the Bronz of New York City. He was the son of Jewish immigrants,  Isadore Rothstein and Nettie Rothstein (née Perlstein) who fled the Nazis during World War 11. Arthur Rothstein died in 1985.

Until today I'd never heard the name Arthur Rothstein. His daughter Ann Segan gave an interview today about recently discovered photographs taken by her father, when he was assigned to work in China, and that were presumed lost for 25 years. This collection of photographs were discovered with the assistance from a very unlikely source.

Arthur Rothstein in China