Tracy, Social Justice Research

Lesson of the eagle feather.

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2018 at 1:43 am

Last year I decided, for no real reason, that I wanted an eagle feather. I don’t know where the desire came from, it just suddenly took hold of my creative mind that I wanted an eagle feather. For about 6 weeks, 3 times a week, I scanned the waters from the canoe between Maple Bay and Salt Spring and up the narrows, and while I saw plenty of feathers, usually white, fluffy seagull feathers, I never found an eagle feather.

One day, after bringing the canoe back to Maple Bay, I decided to stay and enjoy the beach. I wandered up and down the water line, and found, right next to the boat ramp where we’d launched the canoe, a little hand-made boat, made of sticks,  and a feather for a sail. It was an intriguing little find; upon examining it, my friend remarked that the sail was probably an eagle feather and pointed out that the counter-balance was assured by a perfectly wedged stone. It was an impressive work, and I was deeply touched that someone had made this perfect little boat and left it there, so obviously, to be found, a gift for anyone who wanted it.

We launched the boat out to sea from the ramp at Maple Bay. We watched it until it couldn’t be seen any more; presumably it sailed on its own little journey, maybe landing at a new shore for someone else to find. Or not.

It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized I’d found the eagle feather I was seeking. I didn’t recognize the feather when I saw it-my friend had to tell me, and it didn’t come in the way I expected it, floating out of the sky and onto the sea, waiting for my eyes and hands to grasp it in a solitary exchange between the universe and myself.

I stopped looking for eagle feathers after that. There arose in me a sense of humility and joy; humility that I was granted a gift before I was ready to receive it, and joy that I was allowed to learn the lesson in private.  That is the benevolence of the Creator.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, water, nature and outdoor

New Paradigm: Indigenous Canadians leading the way

In Change, inspiration on February 22, 2016 at 11:50 pm

Haida Gwaii On the EdgeFrom the memorable first glimpse of the Haida Gwaii archipelago, to the hopeful, familiar and heart-warming last scenes of our neighbours to the North, the beautiful BC Northwest is lovingly revealed in the stunning documentary: Haida Gwai: On the Edge of the World. Gently revealing the heart of the Haida Gwaiian people, whose culture thrived for 10,000 years until its people were decimated through disease, rampant commercial logging and industrial over-fishing, this film explores how, with humility and determination, the Haida Nation is recovering, and teaching others, like ourselves, essential lessons in community building and collaboration.

Award-winning director Charles Wilkinson (Oil Sands Karaoke, Peace Out), Haida hereditary Chief Allan Wilson, renowned activist Guujaaw and activists work alongside scientists, organic farmers, artists and quirky islanders to create a new vision of sustainable development. Yet, like the beautiful Cowichan Valley and the pristine coasts of our island, Haida Gwaii sits squarely in the path of the proposed Tar Sands seaway to Asia. The overwhelming and fierce desire to protect land and sea will inform and inspire the similarly challenged residents of the Cowichan Valley.

Duncan United Church Social Justice presents:
Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World (film screening)
Thursday, March 17th, 7pm
admission free or by donation

trailer: Haida Gwaii: film trailer


The Purpose of Sensitivity

In Communication, Uncategorized on December 24, 2015 at 5:00 am

Sensitive trailer


Did you know that there is a group of people whose genetic variations cause them to function with much greater sensitivity than the rest?  20% of all humans, and 99 other species, show a genetic trait of High Sensitivity where environmental information actually processes differently, alerting the individual to shifts that the rest of the group does not sense.

Four areas of sensitivity occur in individuals with this trait.  These people (and other species) process information at a greater depth, are more easily overstimulated by sensory information, have a higher emotional reactivity, and are cued to pick up on more subtleties than the general population.  The trait actually assists group survival by allowing a percentage of the population to be much more aware of subtle environmental changes and retaining the knowledge more readily should change in action be required.  Think of it as natural insurance for a group.  If two in ten people sense danger that the rest of the group doesn’t, and lead the group to safety, the entire population thrives.

How does a  highly sensitive person’s brain differ? The insula is activated to process more subtle, and greater volumes of information, while retaining this information readily in memory. However, with such intense activity comes overstimulation.  A HS individual processes more information at a deeper level but is also more easily overstimulated in a shorter amount of time.
Another difference is in mirror neurons. In the brain of the highly sensitive, mirror neurons are more active, allowing the individual to experience greater empathy with others and other life-forms. The greater stimulation of mirror neurons assists the HS to know others’ intentions and feelings in non-verbal ways, again potentially leading to overstimulation, but also allowing the individual to sense hostility or friendliness, thereby cueing the rest of the group.*
 Finally, HS individuals access and process more subtle information, using it to strategize and assist in life’s various tasks. They may have sharper senses (acute hearing, sense of smell) or not, but the HS consistently process the information in a more conscious manner, creating a richer bank of experience to draw upon.
If we are not highly sensitive, then we probably know someone who is.  This is the child who is slow to warm up to new situations, is easily overwhelmed by noise or bright lights, observes more, and ‘picks up’ on subtle changes in the emotional environment.  The adults with high sensitivity are similar, but, with more years living, are, perhaps, better at adapting to the environment.  Close connection with these people reveals their highly sensitive natures, however.
Whether you are highly sensitive, know or work with someone who is, or have a family member who seems ‘sensitive,’ the fact is 20% of human population experiences the world differently to the other 80%.  Join us at Duncan United Church, Thursday, January 21st to watch the landmark documentary about this fascinating genetic trait, and explore our experiences with the highly sensitive.
Jan 21, 7 pm
Duncan United Church
Admission free or by donation
*Some may think that emotions cause illogical thought-processes. But this is not true: recent research has placed emotion at the centre of wisdom. Without an emotional connection to an experience, a lesson is likely to be forgotten, however with an emotional response, it is more deeply embedded and available to inform us in future scenarios.