Archive for May, 2015

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The 2015 federal budget vehemently argued that raising the annual TFSA contribution ceiling would benefit lower- and middle- income Canadians. But is that really the case? Find out in our latest analysis: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/number-games

Thanks to AP and CLP, who added “and the Harper lies continue”

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FB-u-cant-change the part-MJS

You can’t change the past.

But you can do the next best thing.

You can change your perception of the past and so transform it.

When we had grown to adulthood, (or near to it), my brothers and sisters would sit and tell each other the stories of our childhood. It was the ones that were terrible that we laughed at the hardest. Not because they were really funny in any way. It was the WAY we told those stories to each other, turning the tragic into the comedic, exaggerating every scene, finding the ludicrous in the sorrow.

And we’d roar with laughter, tears rolling from our eyes.

I didn’t know it then, but we were engaged in a special kind of magic.

See, the way our memories work in the brain isn’t like a file system where you open up the folder, take a look, and then replace it.

What you do is call up the scene and sort of watch it again. As you do so, your present experience of the memory overwrites it and as it gets stored again, the original memory is gone. What remains is the memory of your memory.

It’s an entirely different thing!

So when we were laughing through the trauma, my siblings and I were re-writing that trauma and so the memories that remained were comedic, laced with love and joy. Those memories became powerful learning experiences for us and through our shared laughter we began the road to healing.

A lot of people will drag out a sadness, a slight, an anger, abuse or injustice and dwell on it. They’ll wrap themselves in it. They will find their identity in the pain. They find their worldview in the rage or sorrow.

That’s normal.

But if given the choice, I think most people would choose joy if they could.

Now, childhood trauma can affect a person in major physiological ways. That’s real. Some horrors are so great you can’t just laugh them away, not really.

But you can love the child. You can nurture and protect the child. You can gently help the child grow out of that place. It will take time. It will take support. It will take falling back and starting again.

But it can be done.

We are not our memories.

We are our perception of our memories.

Choose how you are going to interpret your life, what light you are going to shine on the past, and you will determine the direction of your future.

Make it bright…

Words&Art: Aaron Paquette

Thanks to MJS, who wrote, “About the magic of transforming past trauma.”

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For generations the children in my family have been under attack, despised. More recently in the form of being stolen from their home and either put in outside/foster care or sent to Residential School.

The Schools were often many tens of miles away from home, sometimes further. That way it was difficult for parents to visit.

These Institutions were generally run by religious organizations (Anglican, Catholic, United, and Presbyterians) on behalf of the Canadian Government, officially starting in the 1840’s.

Approximately 150,000 children went to Residential School.

They say that 50,000 of them died there or in trying to escape. Many others were starved or exposed to disease or cut into for “medical research”.

At school, they were taught that their grandparents were evil devil worshipers and that their language was the Devil’s Tongue. If they spoke anything other than English, the children were punished.

The first thing that happened to them upon arrival was the cutting off of their braids.

Most of the children were abused physically, all emotionally and many sexually.

This from the people who were indoctrinating them in Christianity and the Word of God’s Love.
The last Residential School closed in 1996. Not 1896…1996.

The stated aim was to “kill the Indian in the child”.

So imagine, if you will, what kind of damaged person emerged from a place like that. They have lost their culture, their language, their sense of self worth and their grip on proper behaviour.

Now imagine them trying to piece a life back together in world that despises them for their skin, their family, their culture, their very existence.

Now imagine their feelings when their own children are taken away, and they know what is happening to them, but they can’t do anything about it. Many tried and were arrested.

A shadow of shame and violence descended and for generations no one talked about their experiences. They hid their pain in alcohol. They perpetuated their own abuses.

Some didn’t. Some found healing again in their culture. A culture that the government was actively attempting to stamp out, that had to be kept secret.

I am the first generation of my family that wasn’t taken from my home.

Imagine that.


And that’s just one issue.


All people have suffered and come from a long line of suffering.

For some of us it is sickness, in any of its forms, for others it’s secrets or loss.

We are born into suffering and grow in it. It shapes us.

If we only go with the flow, we become lost in it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can navigate these waters, these tears.

Suffering makes us strong if we let it. Even as the body weakens, the spirit can become unstoppable.

If your body is whole, pushing it can build muscle and endurance. The same truth is reflected in spirit.

But we need to see a path. A way. When we are lost in darkness it feels as if there is no choice that could lead to something better. We get stuck in the tangles of the woods, the forest of our mind.

That’s when we need to stop struggling, stop recounting the horrors of our journey and simply rise above it.

To “get away from it all” we often watch tv or have a drink or play video games…check Facebook, lol.

But that activity only makes us sleep. Our soul shuts down and we become numb.


I have found that a creative state, a prayerful state, a meditative state…these have the same effect of allowing us to shed our stress. But instead of going numb, we do the opposite. We become alive.

Learn to dream while awake and aware

Not in the sense of a plan or accelerated thoughts, but in a peaceful state that allows you to see. The shadows are banished.

It takes practice. It takes time. It takes a willingness to be calm, slow down, become still.

In Cree culture, we have many methods to attain this state. It’s embedded in the culture itself. The strongest elements of Cree spirituality and well being demand that you put the world aside and become present.

The same thing is found in Indigenous cultures across the Americas and the world.

It’s how we survived the centuries of attempted genocide. How we laugh when things are darkest.

It’s what heals the people and gives them strength.

It’s how we continue to offer peace, to talk and find solutions, to love those who would destroy us.

It’s a gift left to us from our ancestors, preserved through the generations.

The fundamental teachings are what will save the world.

And it’s what will save your personal world.

Learning how to think about your problems, to view them as opportunities for learning and growth – to view them as spiritual gifts – that’s what will completely revolutionize your life, your community and the world…

Words & Art: Aaron Paquette

Thanks to MJS

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Wild Morels

nFB-My-first-big-find-ever-MJSORIGINAL CAPTION: My first big find ever

Dont forget to soak them in salt water in the fridge overnight just to be sure….sometimes they can be really sandy too, so rinse them well.

Photo thanks to MJS; info thanks to JN

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