The Big Move (Oct 1997)

The year is 1959, the location is northern Alberta, a pit stop just before we pick up Grandad. I am seven years old and my family is moving from Alpena, Michigan to Rosswood, a small settlement in northern BC. This month’s picture shows us fully loaded, including Mother’s piano. The water tank shown on the cover of the July/August issue is at the front of the bus behind the mattress springs.

Mom had made money selling some land and with the profits, she bought an old school bus, called it Chinook, and, like the wind, she decided to move. The decision to move took several years, but Canada offered land at two dollars an acre and the hunting and fishing were extra good. I remember the move as being fun, and the effort was made easy with many people helping. As the farewell party gathered we all said our good-byes to Dad’s family, and we seven kids left for the adventure of a lifetime. We met Indians living in tipis and trapping salmon in cages. At one village a ninety-year-old Indian woman whose skin was so dark and so wrinkled that she could barely see, sat on the floor of our bus. She had heard of horseless carriages and wanted to check this one out. After she slowly climbed the stairs, she sat in the middle of the aisle, on the floor. She had never sat in a chair and could see no reason why she should do so now.

There were two sets of bunk beds set up at the back of the bus so that we kids could sleep while Mom and Dad took turns driving. We had a sink, a stove and a bucket for a toilet. At night, we set up the tent and had campfires while visiting the various parks along the way. I’m glad my parents took the time to enjoy the journey and that we visited so many spectacular sites along the way. The hardest part of the trip was the potholes. I think they started just north of Prince George and grew bigger and deeper the further north we travelled. At one point, they got so deep we had to have a grader give us a pull, and then we followed slowly behind it till we got to Rosswood.

This September has also been a big move for me as I moved my bed as well as the offices of Issues magazine and the Holistic Centre. An adventure as always, complete with a whirlwind of happenings. Our move was just next door but at the same time we also did distribution and organized the Wise Woman Weekend, so there seemed to be lots to do. Gerry and I have decided to be room mates and have moved into the two-bedroom apartment upstairs above Issues. It is wonderful to have my own space once again. I was getting tired of having to make up my bed every morning and every night. Another plus is that the new office has space for two extra desks. It was getting difficult keeping track of TO DO Notes as I shuffled from desk to desk, and when I hear myself complaining, I know it is time to make a change and reorganize. The space will allow us to expand so that we can provide more services, more easily.

Both Jan and I have done a reality check, and we know that supporting bodyworkers and unlicensed practitioners is what we are here to do. The times feel unstable, and support for such people is important to provide as the changes in the system happen. The education they facilitate and the work they do is very valuable and we need to work as a team. I am appreciative of the help and support from Michael and Larry and many others who showed up for a day or two and helped make the move special. Now that the sawdust has settled and the paint has dried, I hope many of you will come check out our new location at 272 Ellis St.

Change and stress are not something that bothers me. In fact, it is usually the opposite: they make me get creative and that energizes me. Taking calculated risks is something I do: if it doesn’t work it adds to my reservoir of experience. When it does work and I feel like I am in the flow, it’s a time of celebration. The long hours of thinking or working do take their toll, but I still made time for my continuing saga of emotional release work and massages. After my session in September I said to Gerry, “It takes more work to release these old memories then it does to move boxes.”

I got a little lax with my yoga practice this summer but I made sure I got in time for walking and a bit of running. The walking trails in Penticton have staircases and the ones I live nearby are the equivalent of five or six flight of stairs. The first time up is the hardest, my heart pounds and my legs quiver, but by the fourth or fifth time, I feel great as my heart stabilizes and my legs feel strong.

Gerry likes to walk, and until he moved in upstairs, it was mostly in the evenings that he joined me, at a time I prefer to stroll. When he started joining me in the early morning, I felt compromised because I wanted to run up and down the stairs, and he wanted to check out the various weeds. The first couple of times when he stopped to pick the flowers, I helped him so that we could get done faster and continue our walk. After we had climbed the stairs, I said,” I want to go up and down again.” “Once is enough for me,” he said. I felt frustrated, as I wanted both his company and I wanted to exercise. In my mind, I figured that if I helped pick his flowers, then he would have extra time to go up and down the stairs. I tried to encourage him by saying, “It’s good for us.” He said, “No, that is not what I want to do.” I said, “Then I don’t want to help you pick flowers.” I could feel the frustration build … but what could I do?

He started picking mullein flowers, and I started jogging on the spot watching him pick. Then I ran to the end of the block and back, and he was still picking, so I circled the block. Yep, he was still there picking when I got back. I thought of my mother and her dogs and how they would run in circles when they were let off the leash. Was this how I was feeling? In some ways yes, I could feel lightness and clarity come into my body as I told myself …”I have a choice, I don’t have to help Gerry pick. I can choose to do something for myself.”

My body felt strange as thoughts of my childhood surfaced. I was the one who always helped Mom to look after my brothers. Being helpful made me feel important and at the same time, if I had said “no,” I would have been made to feel guilty, for putting my needs first was not being a good girl. After a few deep breaths, I worked through my need to help Gerry. My body surged with energy as I mentioned my thoughts to him to explain why I didn’t help him pick flowers. It turned out that he could have cared less: actually, he didn’t want my help for I am not a careful picker.

It is so freeing to be able to say how I am feeling, knowing that it is being heard and accepted without judgement. It gives both of us the courage and the commitment to continue being honest about how we really feel and not just give each other a pacifying response so that we don’t hurt each other’s feelings, or think we are being helpful when it really isn’t wanted.

Inventing new recipes and sharing our cooking skills is what we really appreciate about each other. As is our love of organically grown herbs and vegetables, and the bonus is being able to share our meals together.