Stacking the Wood (Sep 1994)

It is going to take some getting used to…. having an office downtown and a receptionist. I enjoyed the convenience of publishing from my apartment but it is time to let ISSUES expand and become a monthly publication. It will be good to have people working for me, including three advertising representatives that will do distribution and keep me informed of the changes in the towns where ISSUES is distributed. If you know of a place in your town that would like to carry ISSUES, give the office a call or phone Bev Franic in Kamloops or Theodore Bromley in Salmon Arm, Vernon, Revelstoke and Nakusp areas. Sue Montgomery will be helping me to do Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays…. and my Mom does the route between Prince George and Terrace. Their phone numbers are listed on the right side of page 5.

I am very pleased that there are so many people adopting a holistic approach to maintaining their well being. To support them, three women friends and I spent the summer renovating an old building in Penticton into a healing centre. It was great fun and we had lots of laughs as we cut and hammered boards, plastered and painted the walls, and finished the ceilings and floors. In the long hours we worked together to creating this central space, we deepened our commitment to networking and sharing information about holistic health and metaphysical awareness in Penticton. The financial contributions that continued to arrive were appreciated and well spent. Jan and I love going to garage sales and it made our day to find items we needed at a price we could afford. The Grand Opening of the Holistic Healing Centre is September 10 & 11. We invite you to attend. Please check out the schedule of activities on page25

Working long hours is something I am used to: as a child I had no choice, as everybody in the family had to work to survive in the wilderness; we moved to town when I was a teenager and I found paid work so that I could buy clothes and go to the movies; when I got married and had children, I learned how to juggle many different activities and 14-hour days were the norm. Back then we had two acres with a garden and chickens, a business that I helped run and boarders to feed so that we could afford to buy our home. After our third child was born, we had no room left for boarders and I started working two or three nights a week. It was a great experience and I got to talk to adults.

I taught sewing and quilting classes, as well as swimming lessons for seven years in Terrace. Although the only teaching experience I had before that was helping my brothers or friends with school work, it never occurred to me that I wasn’t qualified. I loved what I did, and passing along the knowledge helped me to get clear on the best way to present it. As I told stories of my struggles to learn, it encouraged my students to keep trying. For example, being told by my swimming instructors to give up because I wasn’t a natural only made me more determined to continue. When I first started sewing, I used to burn the pattern instructions because I couldn’t follow them. It was easier to just do it and then try to figure out what the instructions meant. Many of my students made clothes or quilts that were much more beautiful than mine and many of the children I taught were able to swim better than I. When I left Terrace to move to the Okanagan in 1980, I didn’t want to see the classes stop. I had to spend a fair bit of time convincing several of the ladies that they were much better teachers than I and that they should continue to teach the classes. By then, the local swimming pool had set up Red Cross Swimming Programs that taught life guarding and swimming instructions and many of my students had signed up for the courses.

What I have discovered in living my life is that many people learn how to do things much quicker than I. The difference between us is that I just do whatever it is and they prefer to take time learning it before they are comfortable doing it. Doing things right is not as important to me as just getting them done. People who dropped by The Centre while it was being renovated commented that I had taken on an enormous task and that 1800 square feet was a lot of space to be fixing up. My reply was that I am doing what needs to be done. I would have preferred someone else to have done it, but I have become impatient waiting for that person to show up. Renovating this old building confirmed to me that I do not need to know what I am doing beforehand, as long as I am committed to an idea. I figure out a way to get things done just as soon as I get started.

I think my attitude is due to my upbringing as well as my karma. If I just don’t perceive long hours of doing what must be done as ‘work’ it’s because my years of living have backed up my ability to be patient. When the time is right and my homework is done, I know I will be in the right spot at the right time to be given my next set of teachings. I believe that the earth is a school house for life and that I create opportunities to accomplish my goals. Failure is not a word I am familiar with. Whatever happens to me is for the best. When experiences happen to me that I don’t enjoy, I take the time to try to figure out what the universe is trying to tell me so that I don’t have to repeat them.

When I need it, I take time out and get a massage or read a book, but it is hard for me to take time off when I know there is work to be done. When I am feeling really tired and over-burdened, I will usually pick up a book or magazine article about people who didn’t give up and the effect it had on the people around them. I am grateful to the many people that have inspired me to keep going when it would have been easier to stop. Once I am re-energized, I start with the task that I least want to do and the rest seems to flow smoothly.

The front cover shows five of the Brousseau family stacking wood: everybody who could walk helped. My Dad didn’t have to go very far for a tree as there were lots of fallen ones around the homestead that had been vacant for many years before we rented it. We helped to steady the logs as Dad used his chainsaw to buzz them into short lengths and then split them with an axe. After the chopping was done, we stacked them ever so neatly against the house. The following spring Dad built a little roof over the wood pile so the rain and snow wouldn’t get the logs wet. Wet logs were difficult to burn and they smoked up the house.

As a child I loved my grandmother’s stories about how she got well despite modern medicine. When I went to visit her in Oregon at the age of five, she took me to a nature doctor’s office to help me with my hay fever. They put little plastic tubes up my nose and pumped salt water through my nasal cavities. I remember gagging on all the mucus coming out of my mouth but I have never been stuffed up since. Grandma talked of her many travels to far-away places to get help.