Reconnecting to the world: Transformative practices for difficult times
Date: Saturday, March 21, 9am-5pm
Location: The Salmonberry Room in the Stanley Park Dining Pavilion (2nd floor), X̱wáýx̱way, what is now Stanley Park in Vancouver, The traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Tseil-Waututh and Squamish Nations.
Coming together in these difficult and urgent times, we will cultivate courage and resilience, and renew our connections to ourselves, our human communities and all life on earth. A range of experiential practices support opening to the pain we carry for the imperiled state of our world, deepen our gratitude and respect for the gifts of life, and expand our ways of knowing. With strengthened clarity and purpose, we bring our unique gifts more fully into the service of life.
Facilitators: Maggie Ziegler and Olive Dempsey
Maggie Ziegler, MA, brings decades of experience as a facilitator, an educator and a psychotherapist specializing in trauma as well as a life-long commitment to participating in just and sustainable change locally and internationally. Most recently she has been working on community based peace projects in Rwanda and the Central African Republic. Maggie has been facilitating Reconnecting to Life workshops for over twenty years and has trained extensively with Joanna Macy, the root teacher for this work.
Olive Dempsey is a facilitator, engagement strategist and coach, whose work supports the interconnected transformations within individuals, groups and communities. She has worked on social and environmental justice within non-profit organizations, labour unions and in the public sector. Her diverse background has deepened her belief that our inner and outer worlds are inextricably linked, in need of care and attention. She is a Certified Co-Active Coach, holds a certificate in Authentic Leadership from Naropa University and an MA in Environmental Education and Communication.
Maggie and Olive are a dynamic facilitation team and as settlers are committed to doing this work while walking a path of decolonization and reconciliation.
Registration: for details and e-transfer email Gillian Jerome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial assistance: Maggie Ziegler at email@example.com
Full refund minus $20 admin fee until March 2nd.
50% refund until March 9th.
Please note that the workshop will be capped at 20 participants so best to register soon!
This poem was first published in Geist 70 and now in the 20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition.
After the beer parlour, we set off for the islands
drinking whiskey from Tupperware cups. We jimmied
the radio for baseball—Expos were up.
I didn’t know what day it was, or the year.
Finally, I thought, a good-sized man, and held the wheel.
Strands of silence floated up between us
like duck shit in the lake water. It happened
right when the days held ’til ten o’clock. Fireflies. June Bugs.
Every few miles we stuck our heads into the slipstream
to whet our eyeballs. Both of us taken
with the lights flickering on the dash. We felt
ghosts hovering over the scab of last year’s abominable fires.
Have you heard so and so’s having a baby? Well no.
Well yes. I hummed my favorite Bo Diddleys,
rattled off some names of local birds. Jays
scooped it finally. When the car stopped
furs of dandelions flew around us
& we hastened like they did
into that broom.
The morning the quake hit the city
I swore I’d ride full gallop into that sea
and never look back. I listened to Jay-Z, shoved
tiny nectarines into my satchel,
and fled West past the Prime Minister
who stood at the corner of 4th and Trutch
disguised as a Dutch milkmaid with rosy cheeks.
Kits beach was furious.
But I found my pony di Esperia
standing in my dory and so put myself
upon her and we rowed—
At Howe Sound a gang of dinghies
shepherded by muscular oilers slicked up around us.
In their faces the coast was a Shrinky Dink.
Dogs and cats galore were chucked and dunked
into the floatsam. The masked activists who had lain
their bodies down beneath bulldozers at Burnaby Mountain
flung themselves straight as arrows off the Sea-to-Sky cliffs.
Pony and I, in those first days, small in our boat,
shared our raisins and stale Triscuits with pirates
from Fort McMurray who stabbed each other up for their last rails.
All of the city’s private property was now public, but useless,
floating as it was, in shit. None of it, not the iPhones or Jaguars,
the Hunter boots or toy giraffes imported
from France, now bobbing maniacally in the water,
mattered. We shared stories and whatever raisins were left.
Alanis Obomsawin, sitting around our campfire beside Pauline Johnson,
asked what colour the sky was. St. Kateri Tekakwitha,
Ike and Tina, Joan of Arc, Marco Polo, Snuffaluffagus— they all came
galumphing back. Buffy St. Marie. Neil Young. Louis Riel.
We all sat around roasting raisins—
all of us intermittently
marooned on an unidentifiable Arctic island at Great Bear Lake. The sky?
We hadn’t looked at it.
Babies cried. Laura Secord handed out milkshakes.
Georgia O’Keefe stood as still as a petroglyph, entranced
by the horizon. We’d come too seldom
to the ocean. We were too busy with the 21st century.
But eternal return isn’t infinite. Not everyone comes back,
nothing lasts. My pony refused to do the dirty work
and her brackish eyes were glassy. On her way to the slaughterhouse,
years ago, standing in a dark box car, despondent, she felt the sudden
hospitality of a man’s arms around her neck.
Turns out those arms were Nietzsche’s, crash-test dummy,
beloved by thousands of boy students of philosophy
the world over, lover of blood and birds and horses. When, after more
Arctic transit, we moved from ice cap to ice cap and watched off
the coast of Greenland the final outburst of the tide
flower up and die, we stopped
so that Pony could peer into the oily face of the sea.
Published at New Poetry