The Grind 

The Grouse Grind

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Where the wild things are

Growing up in rural Ontario, nature has always been my preferred place to be. When things became too boring inside the house, I headed outdoors with my cats and used my imagination to create fantastic jungle stories where my kittens were fierce lions and tigers and the wild grasses were the deep, dark, exciting jungle. I could play for hours in a abandoned lot covered in wild flowers. And this is how I developed a deep love for nature.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more. – Lord Byron

And because of this life long love of nature, I can’t help but be concerned about wildlife during BC’s monster fires this summer. Their homes are being destroyed and they can’t get away from the smoky air by going inside an air conditioned building the way we can.

I am incredibly saddened that so many beautiful trees and wild animals have been going up in flames this summer with no end in sight. By building bigger and bigger cities with bigger and bigger homes, we are already encroaching so much on the habitat of the beautiful wild things of our planet. If even more of their home burns, what will be left for them?

Even forests near my Vancouver home (a temperate rain forest) are tinder dry with leaves starting to wilt from lack of rain. It’s hard not to have a heavy heart when I see the forest suffering. We are so connected to the earth but I feel like so many of us have become disconnected from that reality. If Mother Nature is in distress, we are all, sooner or later, going to be in distress with her.

If you would like to help out in this desperate situation,  local wildlife rescues are being bombarded with displaced and distressed wildlife, two great ones to contribute to are BCSPCA and The Furbearer Defenders.

These fine people need all the help they can get right now.

Hiking Adventures 

A friend and I were trekking along a trail on Cypress Mountain yesterday and all of a sudden a blur of shiny black fur lept across the trail, about 25 feet away. “Is that a huge German Shepherd? Where are his owners?” I thought. Then I saw s cute, little, round beach ball of a baby black bear scurrying behind. My brain took a quick second to compute. Bears!!!

My friend and I looked at each other, then hung on to each other, then slowly backed up and finally turned and “calmly” walked away, with our hearts pounding almost out of our chests. We did not want to threaten Mama Bear in any way, shape or form.

Eventually mama and her baby went deep into the forest and we guardedly continued up the mountain. 15 minutes or so later we heard a splashing sound and peeked through the branches to see another big black bear hanging out in a stream.  I didn’t stick around to get any photos but this was turning into a bear~y exciting, adrenaline rush of a hike.

I don’t have a lot of one on one experience with bears (we used to drive to the dump when I was growing up in Ontario to watch black bears go through the garbage and I saw a grizzly in Alberta but I was safely locked in my friend’s vehicle) but I remembered a hiker telling me about his close encounter with a grizzly in Alberta and how, after that solo experience, he would only go hiking in groups of six or more as bears won’t bother that many people grouped together. I don’t know if this is true but I believed him and when I spotted a family hiking on the trail just ahead of us. I called to them and we formed a bear-proof pack (there were 6 of us including my dog) and hiked safely together up to the view point and back.

There were no more bear sightings that day. Maybe our little group scared them off or maybe the bears had better things to do deeper in the forest. Either way, we had an awesome day in nature, made a few new hiking  friends and walked off the mountain with a good story to tell.

An eco-friendly dog birthday party

Yes, you read the title right. An Eco-friendly doggie b-day party happened a few days ago for the Nickster’s 8th birthday.

What made it eco-friendly and why am I having a birthday party for my dog? Good questions.

I’ll start with the why. I never had kids and totally missed out on the fun of having little rugs rats running around, excited and on over-drive from a chocolate cake sugar buzz. Now that I’m a dog mom, I get to invite my friends over for wine and cake and get to see a bunch of excited pups run around barking and chasing each other. Close enough.

And how did I make my fete eco-friendly? In so many ways that I’m excited to tell you about.

Here are the top ten:

  1. The (super elegant) crystal stemware I used is from craigslist
  2. The beautiful turquoise bowls were from Salvation Army
  3. The chocolate cake was vegan
  4. I asked for the plastic to be removed and re-used when I bought the flowers
  5. I picked some of the flowers from an abandoned lot
  6. The (people) menu was vegan
  7. The only gifts allowed were edible, ie. treats
  8. I asked that guests didn’t use packaging for the gifts
  9. The wine and sparkling wine were local, from the Okanagan
  10. The napkins were from the Salvation Army

And, with all of this eco-friendliness, the party was still very chic, and very easy on the budget. Simple is elegant, easy on the earth and cost effective too. xo

BC Day

Beautiful Pacific Spirit forest.

Our province is on fire with gorgeous forests like this one going up in flames and there’s no end in site. Forest fires are getting bigger and stronger the past few years because of global warming and this tragic situation is making me incredibly sad and anxious.
Humans are heading to the edge of a cliff and we need to decide now if we’re going to save ourselves or topple into the abyss.
What if we all shifted our priorities? Ego and greed could be the first to go. They don’t make anyone happy anyway. What if we made caring for our beautiful earth job one?

Here are a few ways we can do it:

1. Drive as little as possible. Walk (it’s amazing and good for you) or take transit (it’s not that bad. Really. I promise.) instead.

2. Stop eating meat (or eat as little as possible. The greenhouse gasses produced by animals raised for food are astronomical. A side bonus of this is that less animals will be treated cruelly and you’ll look and feel better too).

3. Stop buying a whole bunch of crap oops, I mean stuff, you don’t need. Products made for retail are the 2nd biggest polluters in the world (oil and gas, you’re # 1). Forget retail therapy and get some nature therapy instead. Trust me, it’s way better for the soul.

Do these things and collectively we can all help our beautiful, little green planet re-balance itself and come back to health. As David Suzuki says “You may think that you’re only one drop in the bucket but if there are a million drops, things are going to change radically.” Remember your power in being able to make a positive change and we’ll have this gorgeous province to call home for many more moons.

Keeping Your Peace

As I read through A Course in Miracles, I notice that a recurring theme is not allowing people or situations to steal your peace. Peace of mind is one of the many goals of the workbook and thinking about internal peace has revolutionized the way I walk through the world and how I show up in my relationships.

In my last romantic relationship peace of mind certainly wasn’t my goal or even a consideration really. I wasn’t happy with how the person I was dating was showing up for me or how I was showing up for him so, instead of realizing that this just might not be a good fit, I put all of my energy into changing him/myself/the relationship with very little success. Trust me when I tell you that this is not a happy or peaceful place to be in. Finally, after two years, I decided to stop focusing on how great the relationship would be in the future when it got better and decided to start focusing on how I was feeling in the present, right now, when I was in his company. And I realized that a low level of anxiety seemed to live in the pit of my stomach when we were together. I felt lonely often as he often created a fair amount of emotional distance between us and my ability to be triggered very easily undoubtedly added to the distance between us.

So, when I finally started checking in with myself and realizing how unhappy I was in the present in this relationship (and the present is really all we have) I couldn’t let the situation steal my peace any longer. The breakup happened naturally and it was drama free. It just didn’t make sense to be together anymore. When you realize that a healthy relationship involves two people coming together in love, with the intention of creating a safe space to help each other heal their wounds and then grow as people, it becomes very difficult to stay in a connection that doesn’t provide those things.

Sometimes we stay with people who are less than optimal for our health, happiness and self esteem because we’re afraid of being alone. If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s not to sacrifice your peace of mind for anyone. Being single has its challenges at times but also a wonderful sense of freedom. Being single also gives you all of the space you need to do a little soul searching.

Ultimately I believe that we all have someone out there waiting to meet a partner with our quirks, strengths, sense of humor and our weak points too. And I believe that we meet them when the time is right. I think we all have love waiting for us when we are ready. Our only job is to make sure we are in the right place to be able to recognize this love and in a place to be able to receive it too. And then, we we find it, another adventure begins.