Saturday, October 7, 2017

KEEPERS OF BALANCE


AN EXPERIENCE WITH TUNDRA, NAHANNI & MAHIKAN

Today, was a day like no other. Well, I can say that for everyday of my life because, everyday is different, but today was unlike any other because, today I met one of my childhood heroes, The Wolf. Three Wolves to be exact.
Tundra, Mahikan, and Nahanni are there names. Mahikan is the Cree word for Wolf, which was quite fitting, if I do say so. 
Ever since I was little I loved Wolves, never really fully understanding them, just really appreciating what they were on this planet. The Keepers of Balance. 
My Father, use to read to me the book White Fang by Jack London, when I was 6 years old, and I grew up with the cartoon The Legend of White Fang as well, I would watch that show religiously, and always cringed when commercials came on. Ha ha ha. Penny and White Fang, were always having such amazing adventures. I can recall getting upset whenever the people of the Northern Yukon village, would try to hurt or hunt White Fang, only because he was severely mis-understood or different, and what they saw as a threat, because he was a wolf-dog, he was wild after all. Today I met three wolf-dogs (90% wolf to be exact) that were the most curious, and most intuitive animals I have ever met. Which really put that fear to shame. They are wild animals yes, but you are more likely to be killed by a Deer, than a Wolf, how ironic huh?
I had a big love for wolves when I was young, that I also read Call of the Wild, and a favorite, Never Cry Wolf, written by Farley Mowatt. You could say wolves have been around me in some form or another my whole life, (up unto this point in time anyways.) Wolves and Big Cats of course. As a youngster I studied Wolves and Big Cats, like they were going out of style, and for the first time today I got to meet Wolves in person.
It was an experience like no other, and filled with so much knowledge of these beautiful  creatures.

Mahikan, I was really quite fond of, her eyes were so captivating, like fire that pierced into your soul. You could tell she kept a very close eye on you. I felt my heart beat deep within my chest, whenever our eyes would meet.




     Pictured: Mahikan 
                                   "To look into the eyes of a wolf, is to see your own soul."


Wolves are such intelligent, sentient beings, they can tell what you are thinking, before you think it, they are always one step ahead.
Mahikan, kept a very watchful eye on my youngest son, through the fence, but what might she have been thinking? Lunch? Or just a deep curiosity of who he was? Only she knows.
While visiting, we got to feed the Wolves a little snack of chicken. That in itself was intense, as once you would slip the meat through the fence, you had to be so careful not to get your fingers chomped off. They would snatch that meat out of your fingers, faster than you can say Wolf.
Every movement, every look, was magical. The sheer power and smarts in these animals, is like no other.

       
  
      Pictured: Nahanni

Why I refer to these animals as the Keepers of Balance, is because once they are introduced to certain areas, things begin to change. (Which totally off topic for a moment, everything at one point or another was an invasive species-just some food for thought).
We watched a short video called "How Wolves Change Rivers", where they re-introduced Wolves back into the eco-system of Yellowstone National Park, where once upon a time, Gray Wolves were the Apex predator of those lands. But they were killed off, by man, and the Elk that roamed there took over, and not in the good way. They wiped out so much of the grassland, by the copious amount of grazing they did, nothing had a chance to really grow. Instead of the Elk being browsers, where they had to constantly keep an eye out for oncoming predators (i.e. Wolves) they became grazers, where they could feed on all the greens all around without having to worry about any threat, because the Wolves were gone. With the Elks being grazers a this point, what do you think happened to the eco-system? You guessed it, it started dying off. Eventually becoming what looked like a barren wasteland. But not all hope was lost. Something magical happened when they re-introduced the Wolves. They began to kill off the sick, old, and weak Elk, which because of all the grazing they did and no longer needing to browse, they were easy prey for the Wolves. With that change, the Grasslands were able to thrive once more. Which brought back a lot of Grassland dwellers like Rabbits, Mice, Foxes and Beavers, which brought back the birds of prey, life began to flourish again. The eco-system was brought back into balance, simply by bringing the Wolves back!
Don't believe me? See for yourself -->LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q

As Gary would say, "when we take the keystone out of the middle of the arch, the whole thing will come falling down",and it's just that, that had happened when they wiped out the keystone predator, the Wolf. The safety of our eco-systems is so crucial! 
It's like the Butterfly Effect, you can make one small change, and it can either make or destroy life. Like a pebble dropped in water, the ripples are the effect and usually those ripples do create a BIG effect, and it effects so many. The cycle/circle of life, we are all CONNECTED!

       Pictured: Douglas Fir
     
 "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
-Dr.Seuss   

Wolves and Humans once worked together, once upon a time. The First Nations always told amazing stories to tell of these amazing Spirits of the land. Once a hunter from a village had saved a Wolf from a trap, and to reciprocate their thanks, the Wolves helped feed the village. When the hunters would go out to hunt, the Wolves would chase the prey towards them, so that the hunters could make the kill. It was a very symbiotic relationship, between man and animal.

      Pictured: Tundra

My family and I learned so much about these truly intuitive creatures, everything from behavior, science, legends and, so much more. I was very tempted to howl, just to see if they would sing along with me. When you bond with a Wolf, you bond for Life, as it goes when they find a partner to make a family with. The Pack.

Watching Tundra, while we took her through the forest was a very joyful learning experience, as we could see first hand, how a Wolf would interact with it's surroundings. The constant smelling with that powerful sniffer, that can smell things 2 KM away, the ears constantly listening to every sound, shifting and turning like little satellite dishes, picking up every signal, the eyes watching every movement, which nothing got past her sight. It was like our own personal Wolf Documentary. Tundra would see people coming, before we even knew anyone else was there. At times we had to be very wary of other dogs, as Tundra would be very cautious of them, as she would watch them with her deep eyes, as we kept our distance away as they would pass by.
At times she would get excited, and pull Gary along with her, as she would chase a fly, or just run because that's something Wolves do best. It was thrilling to watch her get in tune with her inner Wolf pup. When we stopped at the water's edge, Tundra would bat the water with her big paw, and then lap it up into her mouth. I was curious, why she did that. Was there something to it? Was she mixing up the nutrients of the soil under the water to get some added minerals? Or was she perhaps fooling around with the Salmon that swam by? It was a very curious experience. 



Speaking about Salmon, when a Bear or Wolf kills a Salmon, they will often eat the head and leave the rest, as the head contains all that they need in the brain and eyes. Often when they make the kill they will leave the carcass near a tree where the Salmon eventually decompose and becomes part of the Tree, part of the whole Forest, as they are great nutrients for all of the Tall People, again that Eco-system, the circle of Life, connecting to the World Wood Web, the Mycelium that connects everything together underground, that is how the Forest communicates to each other. I could go on about that amazing natural phenomena, but that will have to be a blog for another time. 


When Tundra would spot something, she would stop and stare with Eagle eye focus, that when the boys would pet her, it was as if she did not even feel it, because of how laser focused she was. I felt so safe walking in the woods with Tundra and Gary, because I knew that if there was any kind of threat, you bet she would already, see, hear, and smell it, before any of us would. As I said Wolves, are always one step ahead.
It was such a wonderful experience, to get a little taste of Wolf behavior, with Tundra in the forest today. A real walk on the wild side. AAOOOOOO! 

     Pictured: Gary Allan with Tundra

"Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference."
-Dr. Jane Goodall   

I am extremely grateful that Gary has created this Sanctuary for them, and has created a place for people from all over the world to come learn, and study these incredible beings.
Help save the eco-systems, through educating yourself, and doing what you can with every opportunity that comes.
Gary was such a joy to learn from, he is a well of knowledge on the treasures of our natural world. The smile on his face always showed when he talked about his passion, and it was a true honor to learn from him.
Thank you Gary, for being apart of the change, and for studying, and observing our wild Brothers and Sisters, so that you can share their deep wisdom and knowledge with others, so that we may understand better, and build a deeper awareness of the health and healing of our Mama Gaia.

"Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can't expect them to help protect and care for it." 
-David Suzuki           

For more information on what Gary does, and to come visit these glorious creatures, please visit www.whospeaksforwolf.com
Gary offers his teachings through donation, so that he can continue to teach, and help speak for the Wolves. He travels all over the island teaching at schools, events, and welcomes home school learners, and families, to come have a very educational experience.
Because without these powerful creatures, the balance will be lost. Thank you for being their voice, so that others may listen.

Help keep the balance alive!

"Through the eyes of the Wolf, we can see creation."

CHANGE, STARTS WITH YOU!

Monday, September 25, 2017

EYE CONTACT

EVERYONE IS WORTHY
    Photo Credit: StephXt Chan

On September 23rd, 2017 I partook in a Worldwide event. An event that really showed me what it is like to have Compassion and so much Love for every Soul that crossed my path that day.
This event was part of The World's Largest Eye Contact Experiment, and it was nice being apart of something bigger than myself. Being able to BE there, to BE present and in the moment with all those who would come to make Eye Contact with me.
I was blown away at the amount of people that came out to support this Free Humanitarian event, all people from all walks of life and even animals came to be still and present. It was like something straight out of a fairy tale, the amount of magic that filled the area that day, was beyond anything else I have ever witnessed.

As the event was reaching it's last minutes to begin the Eye Contact Experiment, we gathered together in circle. We shared a beautiful poem written by Thich Nhat Hahn, and chanted a beautiful song of Peace. As I circled around the circle smudging everyone, with the intention to ground and send out Loving energies, I was able to experience everyone ground into their bodies. Seeing and hearing complete strangers come together in circle was something so profound and beautiful, my Heart was all a glow. I love the sound of a large group of people coming together to sing. The power of sound is immense, especially when it is our own voice that is singing forth for all to hear. A beautiful sharing.

"May the sound of this bell penetrate deep into the cosmos
Even in the darkest spots living beings are able to hear it clearly
So that all suffering in them ceases
Understanding comes to their heart
And they transcend the path of sorrow and death.
The universal dharma door is already open
The sound of the rising tide is heard clearly
The miracle happens: a beautiful child appears in the heart of a lotus flower
One single drop of this compassionate water is enough
To bring back the refreshing spring to our mountains and rivers.
Listening to the bell I feel the afflictions in me begin to dissolve
My mind calm, my body relaxed
A smile is born on my lips
Following the sound of the bell
My breath brings me back to the safe island of mindfulness

In the garden of my heart, the flowers of peace bloom beautifully."
                                                                       -Thich Nhat Hahn

Peace I give to you. Peace, peace, peace
Photo Credit: StephXt Chan

As we broke circle we all went to sit in our location, to begin this beautiful Experiment, of sharing 1 Minute of Eye Contact with so many beautiful souls. Though I felt 1 Minute was not enough, it was nice to let it be what it wanted to be for every person that came to sit with me. Some of us sat for a minute, others for up to 3-5 minutes. Everyone having a very different experience, yet feeling so absolutely connected. I loved hearing what others experienced in their time looking deep into each other's souls. 
I wanted to share with you my personal experience with what came up for me during this experiment, and I encourage others to also share the experience they had as well, at this beautiful gathering. I can only be excited by the thought of how it was for everyone, after they processed and digested the happenings of that day.

when we look deep into another's eyes, there is no need for words
Photo Credit: StephXt Chan

Transformation, was absolutely present in my experience as I began the experiment, the very first woman who came to sit with me, was super giggly, she was nervous as this was her first time doing anything like this, as it was the same for MANY who came to participate that day. I looked deep into her eyes, with a gentle smile on my face, and I acknowledged her nervousness, it was beautiful to see her use her giggles as a defense, a safety to not make things feel so super awkward. I was looking at myself in this woman, she was me and I was her. I had such Love in my Heart for how nervous she was feeling and it felt amazing to feel that, with every different person that came to sit with me, I felt as though I was looking at very different parts of my Self in each and every one, a beautiful Spectrum of so many wonderful souls. It was magical, beautiful and Heart felt. When the very last person came to sit with me, we engaged in some of the deepest Eye Contact I think I have ever experienced, I was seeing who I am today, as we locked eyes we had a deep conversation about Life as we know it.

                                            Google Image

We talked about how so often we are looking at tiny screens in front of our faces, instead of engaging in human connection with other human beings. As her eyes gazed so deeply into mine, I found myself feeling almost nervous with just how engaged her eyes were into mine, which was as intensely as I felt to go. 
We continued on about how people will often break eye contact, and look all around the person with the copious amount of distractions we experience on the daily. I made an example of what that looked like and found myself giggle with nervousness as the lady at the beginning. I was intrigued with just how far we went into our conversation whilst making eye contact. She continued to talk about labels and how everything in life has a label, every single thing, even Nothing is a label, because Nothing is Something! 
Which labels are only put in place to help us distinguish the difference between things, they help to convey the idea of what something is. Our conversation went many places, and I found that to be exciting.

                                         Photo Credit: StephXt Chan

She asked me if I believe in different realms, to which I replied OF COURSE! The idea that these realms are constantly around us and how some of us just do not have the capability to see them. But they are always around. We talked about how we are all connected and one and the same, but out of all the magic we talked about, what really stuck with me was, when we look deep into another's eyes, there is no need for words. That what we perceive in the world around us is created in our mind, but also felt through our Heart. If you can see the world through your Heart and not your mind, how different could it be?
It was an absolutely incredible collective experience.
There were times when I would look so deeply into the other's eyes, that it was as though I could see what they were really feeling/thinking, there were times when I saw great pain, loneliness, fear, sadness, and it was all absolutely beautiful, because deep within all of those I saw Love, Light and Compassion.
I have been each one of those people that came to connect that day, the nervous giggler, the hippie, the introvert, the friend, the traveler, the mother, the nature enthusiast, the foreigner, the teacher, the artist, the soulful one, the lover and beyond. 



I SEE you and in turn SEE myself, and it is all beautiful
Photo Credit: StephXt Chan

Every person reflected back at me different aspects of myself, and all I could do was LOVE each and every one.

I walked into the experiment with excitement, and left with a Heart FULL, that it felt as though it was glowing. I also learned something beautiful, that when we engage with each other and greet each other, we put our hand on our heart and say I am........ I thought that was an absolutely beautiful claiming of who we are, owning it as it were. I AM Octavia.
I look forward to doing this again and hopefully from this, we can practice eye contact everyday, because Eye Contact can change an entire conversation and what was once something so Common has become so rare. 

Looking around and seeing so many people engaging in eye contact was absolutely beautiful, I saw joy, I saw tears, I saw laughter, serenity, I saw Peace. It was something of the marvelous.
How beautiful is it that we get to have these experiences? We truly are blessed.
Photo Credit: StephXt Chan

I am EXTREMELY proud of all of you that came out today for this beautiful Global Event!!
Thank you for coming to share apart of yourself with all you connected with. 

                                     
    Photo Credit: StephXt Chan

ONE MINUTE. ONE HEART. ONE LOVE. ONE VISION. ONE HUMAN FAMILY.

                                                                      Google Image





Monday, August 28, 2017

SELF-DESIGN

As many of you know, last year my family and I embarked on an adventure into Homeschooling, (A.K.A Unschooling)
What is the difference between the two you might ask?
Homeschooling is very structure based. The kids would receive books or programs on their computer to accomplish the tasks given to them. Pretty much like what you would do at school, except at home.
Unschooling is way more unstructured. The kids have the freedom to pick and choose what they wish to learn about. To discover what really lights their spark and what they are interested in. It is way more stress-free.
I often hear the question "well, what do they do for testing?" Well they don't test them. But that isn't as scary as you would think. Depending on what it is that they wish to aspire to when they are older. They can go and take programs and courses to Level Up towards that which they wish to achieve for themselves. Kind of like how we get our License to drive, we have to study and practice in order to get that piece of ID, to acquire the skill to drive. Well that is kind of how it is for the Unschooling life for these guys. Whatever it is they become passionate about learning then they can pick and choose what they will need to do to get there. They really have the freedom to think outside the box and to not be pushed to fit inside one.
You can't put a star shape inside the square slot, unless you really determined to make it fit.

"Get back in the Box and start thinking like the rest of us."

When it comes to getting into the high school grades, they can actually receive certification, or a diploma as it were from the program they are under, which in case you were wondering, is called Self Design (https://selfdesign.org/). Once they reach High School, they may decide to go back into the system, but for now just really enjoying this process of having them create/design their life and their Learning Plan.

When we first made this decision as a family, we were honestly scared, we had NO idea what we were doing, or how we would do things. I worried whether or not they would learn enough. It was sometimes a battle to get them to keep with their basics of reading, writing and math. But I could not push them to do it. They had to make the choice of their own will. Which is so beautiful.

At the end of their public school year in the summer of 2016, the boys were fed up with school, which of course is normal by the time summer break arrives, but this was a bit different. They were unhappy, they were stressed, my oldest son Mason had developed deep anxiety. I was grateful though, that his year before this big change, he had a great year with a wonderful teacher. Someone who understood what it's like to be a boy, and who actually cared! It was a blessing.

My youngest son Noah was only in Grade 1 and he was already tired of the system and more than happy to stay home. His words, "I feel like I am not learning anything", "they are not teaching the things that I want to learn about" which at the time was Dinosaurs. Noah knows SO much info about Dinosaurs, he has read books upon books of Dino information, that he actually got to the point that he could not find any books that told him any new information. That was it, and that is why we chose Self Design, because well, the name says it all. They have total freedom for the way they want to learn and what they want to learn about. Creative Educational Freedom!

BRAG ALERT: Noah began to get more into fantasy than learning more about Dinos, he got himself into the first Lord of The Rings book, the Fellowship of the Ring, yes I did just say that my 8 year old is reading Lord of The Rings, and yes he is grasping it. He actually can tell you what parts were different in the book than in the movie. He also reached Grade 3 Level Math, which he felt he was not being nearly challenged enough when he was in public school doing Grade 1 Math. It was too easy for him. So while being at home, through a program called Kahn Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/), Noah reached Grade 3 Level Math and is now almost at Grade 4 Level. Yeah, I am pretty blown away too. He has now decided to read from the beginning of the series with The Silmarillion.

This year for Mason, was a bit challenging, but it was an excellent learning process for myself and my spouse. This year for him was mostly a healing year, of letting go of the old system of schooling and easing into this 'Unschooling' way. It was often a battle with him to do anything, but what we learned from that is, when you don't use it, you lose it! Mason and Noah have made the decision to do better this new learning year, and to really make sure they keep up with their basics, because they really don't want to lose that. Which is fantastic that they made this discovery for themselves. Teaching happens, when the pupil is READY to Learn.

Speak to your children, as if they were the wisest, kindest, most beautiful, and magical humans on earth. For what they believe is what they will become.

Our first year on this adventure, was pretty much a year of Unlearning, in order to WANT to Learn.
The fears that came up for myself, was that I did not feel disciplined enough to be able to pull this off for my kids, will I be good enough at teaching my kids? do I know enough to be able to teach them? I worried a lot and well my worry looked a lot like being an angry Momma Bear. Which was some great awareness for myself. When I get scared/worried I often came across as angry or sad. Oh, the beauty of fear. The worry of whether they were learning enough, especially when they would show no interest in wanting to learn the basics. The boys were amazing teachers for me when those moments would come up. Often saying, "Mom, don't worry about it", well they showed me. Looking back I really did not need to worry, they got this! I have been blown away at how much my kids know and how much they process.
I came out of that year knowing HOW to teach my kids, and also learned a beautiful thing called PATIENCE. I got to see how different they were in their learning ways, and it was a well of knowledge.

This Summer, the boys decided they want to learn Spanish, just so they can understand what the people in their video game Assassin's Creed are saying. I say, that is AWESOME!! That a video game has inspired them to be curious about a different language. Once they become fluent in it, they can take that with them anywhere. Another skill acquired.
Video Games have inspired my kids on many accounts, they learned how to read from video games (and by my teaching) and when they did go to public school. They learned hand eye coordination from video games, they get curious about how they are made, and also because we are a family of geeks, we like to look at life as if it were a video game, except we only have one life. We Level Up, we purchase items, we fight bosses (inside ourselves=challenges), we CREATE THE WORLD WE WISH TO SEE! That one is my favorite. The boys have even made up their own learning lessons using video games like Minecraft. They would work on designing buildings, and running their own little villages. They would add, subtract, divide and multiply with blocks. It may sound like my kids have a very virtual life, but I assure you they also have an incredible balance of getting outside to play in Nature, and socialize with other Humans. They understand the importance of living a balanced life.


We have raised our kids to be very open, they will talk to us about anything they are curious about, because honestly, how wonderful is it to be able to talk to someone about anything, and working on it together to find solutions to our challenges. Something my Mom has always said to me since the day my first came into this physical plain of existence was, "always talk to your kids." In doing so, my kids have grown to be incredible young men. I am constantly beyond blown away about how much my kids have learned, the challenges they faced, and the incredible lessons learned from them.
I no longer worry, because when I see how they engage with the world around them, I know we have done all that we can as parents. Our family has created an amazing Team Unit, and everyone has their own part to play.

When we sat down for a family meeting and talked about public school and how the boys felt about it, we took a HUGE leap into the Unknown. It was scary, especially when you have no idea what you are doing, but that is where the beauty lies, because in not knowing you begin to learn and understand and only get better day by day with every lesson. We have learned SO much as a family and as individuals and honestly it is only going to get better. We welcome every challenge, so that we may learn and grow, and to always become a better version of ourselves everyday.
BRING IT ON!

One of my favorite quotes, by the beautiful Maya Angelou:
"you want me to do something, tell me I can't do it".
Powerful words!

We look forward to diving into this New Year of Self Designing!
So excited for all that comes our way and watching my boys grow like the mighty trees that they are.

Much Love and Gratitude