Dell's Canadian Tails

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dell on Campbell & Tolle

My grand-daughter, Shelley, and her friends will be out here shortly for the weekend. Fine night for a sit around the bon fire. Most of her friends are regulars out here: have their own "flop spot", as Shelley says. The lake is like glass this evening and there's enough of a breeze to keep the bugs at bay.

Excuse me if I just give you a head's up on the situation with my Shelley. Because I took her in with me as a teen, after that business with her mother's boyfriend, there were some who thought I rescued her: it is exactly the other way around. She opened my eyes to so many things over the years and brought vigor to an age I wasn't particularly looking forward to reaching. One thing in particular she brought me gave me a sense of hope for the future like nothing else had done for years.

After I had my fill of organized religion, I used to wonder how the next generation's children would be able to find the way to any sort of spiritual truth. To my way of thinking the only good thing about organized religion is it provides a context and symbols, as old as humanity, that satisfy certain human longings.

For those of you too young to remember, PBS had a series back in 1988, The Power of Myth : Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers. Hugely successful, the six part series preceded the book by the same name and is still available on VHS. The book is beautiful with illustrations and art history accompanying the various subjects discussed in the series. Some might know his bookThe Hero with a Thousand Faces from university reading lists but it is this book, based on the PBS series Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth  that I keep going back to time and again. Campbell was pointing the way to finding your bliss  as he called it.

I had to wait another twenty-five years to read a book as illuminating. Shelley brought it out to me with the advice : don't start reading it at night, Grampa.

"That good, huh?" and she was right.

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose  by Eckhart Tolle. Apparently, it's a huge success. I'm not one bit surprised. People search for the purpose of their lives; they are seeking the bliss Campbell was talking about, found in the symbols and myths that abound through human history.

Do you recall the story of Jesus and the woman he met at the well? Personally, I am convinced this woman would have been labelled Borderline Personality Disorder if she were alive today, but that's not why I mention that story. My point is Jesus gave her good advice, and to my way of thinking it's pretty much the same advice Eckhart Tolle has for his readers. The truth isn't here or there, it's inside of us.

Our truth is revealed to us and each man's truth is as unique as the man himself. Jesus' teaching and other great writings are as relevant today as when first written. To find your own bliss you just need to have an  awakening.

I'm hoping to get into this topic some more tomorrow. Right now I've got to skee-daddle and put some liquids to chill before Shelley, Dorg and Co. arrive.

Dell on Aging Gracefully & Decisions

You will recall I posted on Seniors' cottages/camps regarding taking charge of what to do with the family camp: keep it or sell.

Too many older folks give up their life at camp the minute they face their first serious health issue. If you had planned to spend your retirement at camp, as I have, there will be adjustments in areas such as mobility, maybe blood work on a regular basis, monitoring, prescriptions, appointments and the like.

Aging is a process: processes require time; usually, good decisions require time, too. My advice is this, "Don't rush into big changes the second your body starts to act up."

Naturally, there will be some who will suffer severe ongoing medical problems: giving up the camp will be a non-issue for them.

More often, a medical crisis will resolve or stabilize over many months. You will adjust to new medications, learn to live with some physical limitations and find new ways to do the things you formerly took part in. Given time, you might just discover you can continue your retirement plans after all, perhaps in a modified fashion.

In my case, I maintain a small apartment in a town almost an hour away. I spend most of my time at the lake. My camp uses satellite radio contact  [skype works for some], and manage to spend most of my time at the camp [pretty nice for a camp: most people would call it a cottage].

Aging Gracefully by Norma Roth, addresses typical preconceived notions on aging and then gets into what our Silver Generation can do to take charge of their lives, make good decisions and live independently with dignity. Ms. Roth offers sensible advice, bringing a sense of humour along with a whole new set of rules for seniors. Included in this book are her ten tips for keeping people off your back: I refer to them regularly.

I'm off now to take my power nap. If there isn't a crowd here tonight, I'll be surprised. The rain has passed and it's shaping up for a lovely evening.

Dell on Native Identities

Ron boated over to the camp last night and was out of here at dawn with a sky that threatened to empty all over him. He was home about an hour [gave me a head's up using the two-way radios]  when the sky let loose with rain that formed a wall of water moving across the lake. Intellicast [my trusted online long range weather forecast] had noted thunder-storms were possible. The generator is outside doing its thing, so I'm good to go.

What I want to share today is something Ron and I were talking about last night. Have you been following the CBC National? This week they featured stories from Canada's Four Nations' survivors of residential schools: they suffered because of government policy at the time that attempted to eradicate the native culture and replace it with the "white man's" ways: they suffered emotional, physical, spiritual, and every pain known to man while most folks looked the other way. Ron and I got talking about the native identity.

Ron reminded me about Long Lance. Now there's a documentary you might want to watch. Canada's National Film Board has archived, and continues to add to its archive, projects produced over it's lifetime [a great use of the tax dollar].

Long Lance [55 mi.] , a documentary by Bernie Dichek, based on the book, Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance: The Glorious Impostor by Donald Smith, is the story of a young man who hid his black heritage behind a native identity. He became so well known, following the 1928 publishing of his autobiography,  that Long Lance starred in  Silent Enemy a 1930 movie that almost didn't make it to release, because Paramount was told one of its stars was not native but in fact of black descent.  Long Lance: The autobiography of a Blackfoot Indian chief had plenty of truth in it, but it wasn't Long Lance's history. He had taken the true tales of a Blackfoot and made them his own identity.

The original movie, Silent Enemy, had a voice over introduction and depicted the life of the Ojibway native. It was a box office failure in 1930: talkies were the latest thing; however, many who have seen the remastered movie, believe Silent Enemy may well have influenced the making of Dances with Wolves : Kevin Costner's 1990 award winning movie. Canadian native actor, Graham Greene, was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the film.

The social and cultural issues surrounding identity are thought provoking material and, to my way of thinking, should be discussed in Canadian schools. Now that Canada's National Film Board is finally making its documentaries available to the public for purchase, I have put together my own collection on the subject. My experience has been "It's hard to see where you're heading in this world, if you don't know where you've already been."

I've got to stop here. One perfect cup of coffee is waiting for me.