Wednesday, December 20, 2006

perhaps a bit too honest

“I think our difficulty in accessing happiness lies in large part right there: We are usually preoccupied with being useful – doing something with an outcome in mind, rather than being open to where we are at this moment . . . happiness, not to mention joy, can help us forget ourselves altogether, at least for a time. It can take us into the wide world beyond our own self-preoccupations. It can join us to the trees, to other people, to cows and to stones and to the living pulse of humankind itself. It can join us to the china mug of tea in our own right hand. Strange, then, that it should seem so fleeting and difficult to grasp.
Happiness is our natural state. It is the feeling tone of who we are when we are most at home in ourselves. It means there is nothing to add to what we already have, or to who we already are.
Let us . . . remember . . . that some great music is playing, even now, in the midst of it all, and the happiness inside us is part of the melody.” (Roger Housden, "Taking a Chance on Joy," Oprah December 2006, 277-278)

Yes, its from the Oprah magazine. Big surprise.

Happiness has always been a struggle for me. Not in attaining it persay, but in my struggle with how to approach it. Is it something to be desired? To be pursued? To be cherished? Does happiness provide any sort of meaning? Is it in essence merely a reprieve from suckier parts or moments of life?

Basically, is it something that I should want, or merely something I should be grateful for if it happens?

I’m not quite sure that I agree with the author when he states that “Happiness is our natural state.” I think that he assumes that if we take those little moments, those moments looking at trees or simply enjoying a hot cup of tea under a blanket on a cold day without anywhere else to be, that if we just stop focusing on all of the busyness and tyranny of life, then happiness will creep in and envelop us. I very much understand the value of appreciating life as it is right now, and I am very much a fan of pursuing simplicity in forms such as this. But life is a painful beast. And there are moments when I am very much enjoying my tea under a fuzzy polar bear blanket and I very much appreciate that moment, yet I am not at all happy. It is often those moments where everything is quiet, where I am content physically and am thankful for that very moment which my mind and heart laments passionately and painfully for the existence of mine and the world’s sinfulness, for the very existence of death, for the frustrating mysteriousness of God, for lost dreams, for broken relationships . . .

Should it frighten me that the “feeling tone of who (I am) when (I am) most at home in (myself)” is one, at least lately, of overwhelming sadness? Should I embrace that? Should I fight that? Should I struggle through that? Is this merely a phase . . . a temporary part of the journey . . . or a permanent fixation?

Is this me? Or not?

Am I too pessimistic? Too busy in my head? Am I getting life wrong? Am I getting myself wrong? Should I just learn to freaking relax?

Happiness would be great. But I don’t think that’s in store for me today. And honestly, sometimes I am ok with that. Sometimes.

Was Julian of Norwich happy? Hmm.

Monday, December 18, 2006

selfish day...but it felt so good

I frickin’ watched 4 movies yesterday – with 4 different sets of people. That’s what I did. And I slept. Lots. I slept so much I thought I was Jack Van Impe. Wait, I think I mean Rip Van Winkle.

So here’s a helpful hint; whenever somebody tries to convince you that genetically modified foods are the answer to ending global hunger, tell them this: Hunger is Due to Injustice, Not Lack of food.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

are you supposed to peel turnips?

I’m such a loser

I cried twice already today, and it is only 8:30 am. First I cried when my bus came and the driver was dressed like Santa Claus and there were Christmas carols and he was so happy. That made me smile lots. But then I watched when at every bus stop people would get on, and then their faces would brighten so fast and there was such a feeling of commonality and goodness on their faces. There was something special and significant there, and it is all thanks to the bus driver who doesn’t have enough personal shame not to dress up like a badly dressed old fat man. I have lately begun to appreciate Christmas in ways which I haven’t before. Though not all in North America profess Christ, or may even understand what Christmas is all about, there is still something there holding people together. Something special about this time of year which everybody understands, even if it is just fleeting or very subtle. Something is there which brings strangers together in a very small way. And that is cool. And it made me teary.

Then I cried again when Quincy gave his life to save Madame Mina from the evil vampires. It was very touching.

Yesterday was the first time that I remember ever eating a turnip. I’m not even sure if I made it right. Are you supposed to peel turnips? It seemed like a good thing to do, so I did it. I made Stock with it. But now I have a half of a turnip left, but don’t quite know how to cook it. Any help? Janie? Martha? Luke? John? I claim ignorance in turnip-ness. Perhaps its not even a turnip at all, but was something which seemed to me might be a turnip at the time. There was a bin of 4 things, and one of the labels above was turnips so I took my best guess. Don’t mock me for my ignorance – it’s not my fault that my mother deprived me of turnips as a child.

Anyway. Happy Christmastime, all. That’s all for now.

Oh, yeah. Wait. I met with Jenny Gerbasi this week at Hy’s Steak House. SWANKY! It was fun, and I learned lots and also got 2 free tickets to a Hillbilly Burlesque show, dessert, and a picture for my wall (not of Jenny, of Portage avenue, though I think I can tape a picture of her in front of the MTS centre. We’ll see). It was great, and very eye-opening. Sometimes I think my calling is in politics, sometimes I think my calling is more pastoral, other times I think and wish I was called to more of an unemployed and hippie-ish type life where I eat the roots out of my backyard and spend all day trying to make a non-animal harming djembe out of berries and moose snot. Sigh. Where will the future lead? Who the heck knows?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Is Water A Human Right?

In 2002, Canada was the only nation to vote against accepting water as a human right at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Canada has not since changed it stance on water in International affairs. This stance also affects Canada’s domestic water policies, as the inquiry into the Walkerton water situation discovered that Canadians are not guaranteed the right to water anywhere in Canadian legislation.

Why are the implications of proclaiming water as a human right?

1) If water is declared a human right, than privatization of water is limited or abolished altogether. This means that Internationally vendors and governments can no longer deny their customers and citizens access to water because they are not able to pay for it. This means less profits for governments and multinational corporations. People die and suffer everyday because they are denied access to water which is readily available, though they cannot afford it.

2) If water is declared a human right, governments will be forced and obligated to provide all of its citizens with healthy, potable water. Again I reference the situation in Walkerton. Likewise, there are a number of Canadian reserves which face issues of access to safe drinking water. If water is declared a human right domestically, the federal government would have to address these issues and be responsible for providing potable water to all communities.

3) If water is declared a human right, governments will be forced to mandate more strict environmental controls into place to protect this human right.

I have provided some resources which I encourage you to take some time and look at. I have also added a voice defending water privatization for some balance. If you feel so moved to contact the government to speak out against this situation, click here.

The Council of Canadians

Blue Planet Project

World Health Organization

CBC News In-Depth

Pro-Water Privatization

THE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL OF WATER PRIVATIZATION - a report paid for by American Water Works Inc.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

thank you all . . .

. . . for thinking that i am cooler than I actually am.

Most of you thought that I chose Ace Burpee. Nay, you have too much faith in my coolness. I chose councillor Jenny Gerbasi. She is actually one of my local heros - she does great things to fight poverty and to fight for equality of everybody. So I will have lunch and bask in the wonder that is her for an hour. I am really looking forward to learning as much as I can from her.

Does anybody know that I am still considering politics as a career? Does anybody else know that Ace Burpee and I went to the same high school, knows my brother, and that I know his real name? I am afraid of being sued, so I won't tell you what it is.

More questions: Who the heck thought I would hang out with the Manitoba Hydro Guy? And who is it who still thought, and probably continues to think, that I didn't win this stellar prize? It is true. I will give you an update after it actually happens. I don't want to be a geek or anything and stalk her or whatever, but I would really like to have a picture taken of this momentous event. Would somebody be willing to hang out at the restaurant and take discreet pictures of us? You know, pretend you are taking a picture of the plant or the sexy lady at the table (me) but actually be taking a picture of me, Jenny Gerbasi, and the security guard who most likely accompanies her everywhere?

In other news. A bunch of wonderful sexy ladies chipped in around my birthday and gave me money to buy a drum. Thanks, girls! I have chosen one. Its very pretty. Unfortunatly nobody else is here to take my picture of me drumming on it, so i attempted to photoshop a pic of me playing a drum. It didn't work, as I don't have a picture of myself in that position. So then I tried to photoshop a picture of my head and hand onto it. It was creepy because I was a floating head and hand around this drum (my mom would like it, though). So then I tried to photoshop a body of a little person onto my head, but this particular little person was wearing all black so it didn't really turn out too well. So then I gave the person a yellow shirt. Yay!

Thanks, girls!

Oh, yeah. And check out this Adbusters article: Who Owns the Word Terror? It's interesting. Words are so powerful.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Super Random

So I won a lunch with a downtown celebrity. No, I am not joking. I had a choice of four individuals:

- Ace Burpee - Hot 103 DJ

- R.B. Brennen - CEO of Manitoba Hydro

- Scott Arniel - head coach of Manitoba Moose

- Jenny Gerbasi - City Councillor

I thought it would be great fun if you guys tell me who you thought I chose. Follow this link to vote (feel free to leave your name in the comment section . . . or not)


The "Truth" will be revealed on Wednesday! Have fun!