Category Archives: Uncategorized

Turner 8

Turner 8 – 1471. That’s the way we used to say it over 50 years ago. It’s a telephone number.

Turner 8

“Turner” was the exchange; a telephone number from Winnipeg. “Turner” was the exchange for the suburb of St. James. All my friends had 888 as the first part of their phone number. Everyone knew which part of the city you lived in when you rattled off your phone number.

triple eight – fourteen – seventy-one

It’s the phone number my mother had for over 65 years.

phone

Then came the day when she could no longer hold a telephone. And her dementia prevented her from really enjoying the technology which once served her so well.

It was a day I cried.

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100 Things About Me

Although the title sounds slightly narcissistic, this little trendy blog idea has been a good exercise for the soul. Read it, if you care. Thanks Jen for the idea.

In no particular order:

100. I was born in Winnipeg on the Canadian prairies.

99. When I worked as a professional organizer I once handled over 20 mounted, taxidermied trophy heads of African animals, some of which were extinct. The experience was a mixture of repugnance and holiness.

98. I hate shopping for shoes.

97. Campfires are special to me because it gives me time to ponder.

96. The most claustrophobic moment in my life was climbing up inside the pyramid of Khufu at Giza, Egypt.

95. I performed with Len Cariou and Catherine McKinnon in My Fair Lady at Rainbow Stage. I ‘painted’ in a cleavage for a ballroom scene with a décolleté gown.

94. I worked beside Jimmy Carter on a Habitat for Humanity worksite.

93. I eat sweetbreads (organ meat, beef pancreas to be exact). (See #16).

92. I can play guitar and I can lead a really good campfire singalong.

91. I’ve read every Maeve Binchy novel but not every book of the Bible (even though that was one of our assignments at Bible College).

90. I like to knit.

89. My favourite thing to do is shore walking and beach combing.

88. I wore braces on my teeth for seven years.

87. I like entertaining.

86. I am a sonic mystic. I sing improvisationally. I like to call it sacred jazz.

85. I’m one of the few people in Canada who play church tower bells.

84. I build little natural artworks or ‘land art’ for people to find. I wish I knew Andy Goldsworthy.bowl

83. As a teenager I collected leather Lee jean patches by ripping them off the backs of my friend’s pants.

82. I suffer from Raynauds syndrome which means one or more of my fingers can loose all its circulation for up to half hour.

81. I designed and helped install two 70 foot stone walking labyrinths at two retreat centres.

80. I worked at the famous Scott Mission in Toronto for three years.

79. I took New Testament Greek in university. It’s all Greek to me now.

78. In the village of Sipesipe in the Bolivian highlands I visited the home of a very poor woman who knitted alpaca sweaters.

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77. I am an artist, or as my son says, a creative hoarder.

76. I had a detached retina. It was very traumatic.

75. I’ve given birth twice. Both times were amazing and the results were too!

74. I hate Hallowe’en.

73. I was married to a Baptist minister for over 20 years. I’m still married to him but he’s not a pastor anymore.

72. I have had the same amaryllis bulb for over 25 years. And it still blooms (and it had a baby).

amaryllis

71. I have no body piercings or tattoos, not even pierced ears.

70. I absolutely loved my first car which I named “Molly”. She was a 5-speed standard Mazda Protege.

69. Two pieces of my mixed media art hang on the set of the CBS sitcom, Mike and Molly.

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68. Until 4 years ago I was deathly afraid of dogs. Then our kids got a dog and that cured me. I now have a grand-puppy named “Molly”.

67. I have, as my grandmother Winifred would have said, widdled numerous times in Lake Winnipeg. It’s a big lake.

66. I worked the counter at a donut shop.

65. I am terrified of climbing mountains but I did climb a glacier in Norway.

glacier

64. I know how to pronounce Islendingadagurinn, the name of the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba.

63. I wash out and re-use ziploc bags.

62. I’m addicted to potato chips, kettle-cooked please.

61. I have a passion and gift for facilitating creative events and creating nurturing space for people.

60. I witnessed my father’s death and it was one of the most sacred moments in my life.

59. I have trouble telling jokes and getting the punch lines correct.

58. I have lived in the same house for almost 28 years.

57. I attended Grade Two in Albany, CA while my Dad attended U of C (Berkeley).

56. My husband and I facilitate a self-help group for married couples because there is just not enough support out there for “the marrieds”.

55. I love winning Scrabble or UpWords against my husband.

54. I know now that I will never be famous. So I just try to ‘show up’ for my own life and bloom where I am planted (that was a poster in my childhood bedroom).

53. I have two older brothers who couldn’t be more different.

52. I don’t do well with practical jokes.

51. I collect books to read to my grandson.

50. When I was nine I voluntarily peed the bed at my BFF’s cottage because I too cozy in my sleeping bag to get up and go to the privy. The sleeping bag wasn’t cozy any more. Forgive me Helen.

49. I snorkelled on the Australian Great Barrier Reef, despite my paralyzing fear. I had to hire a private instructor/guide just to get me through it. That’s her hand on the lifesaving ring.

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48. I’m compelling to pick up every heart shape stone I find.

47. When I played tooth fairy for my kids I kept all their teeth. (I still have them).

46. I get S.A.D. and I sometimes loathe myself for being an H.S.P.

45. My first job was as a driver for a speedy messenger company, RoadRunner Courier in Winnipeg. I only got one speeding ticket.

44. I was on the basketball team in Junior High school.

43. Once I smuggled a goldfish over an international border. My kids named it Clifton from Cleveland.

42. I value deep conversations.

41. It was only three years ago that I learned to play tennis. My brother says I’m pretty good at it. Coming from him, that’s a real compliment.

40. I adore making soup from scratch.

39. I try to keep informed about social action and justice issues, except I feel I’m never well-read enough. I do what I can locally to help in small ways.

38. I bought fair-trade coffee years before it was trendy.

37. Finding unexpected treasures at thrift shops nearly takes my breath away.

36. I like photography, but dislike cameras (SLRs).

35. I prefer Taize chants to unsingable, theologically shallow, me-focused ‘praise and worship’ music.  I tolerate Country and Western but, I’m sorry, rap music just makes me puke.

34. I feel way too lucky to have been born in Canada, almost guilty.

33. I buy myself an inexpensive little potted hyacinth every winter because it cheers me up and the fragrance transports me. Then I let the bulb dry out and plant it in my garden.

32. When I sing to people and they say it’s like tripping out on drugs (I would’t know).

31. Ice cream at Gimli Pier. The best.

30. I here confess that I intensely disliked my High School French teacher, Miss Merlevede, but felt deep compassion for her. Everyday she wore the same white Peter Pan collar on her dress.

29. I am allergic to most perfume.

28. Sometimes I feel like a fraud.

27. Badly placed furniture makes me want to scream. I can barely hold myself back from rearranging rooms in some of my friend’s houses.

26. My spirituality infuses everything.

25. I dig out dandelions by hand.

24. My father taught me composting and recycling since way back in the 1960’s.

23. I am proud that in 1942 my father started the first public health laboratory in Winnipeg and in the 1980s was the Director of the Department of the Environment for the Province of Manitoba.

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22. Being a prairie girl, I know nothing about tides.

21. My niece’s husband is the famous selfie guy.

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20. I am extremely proud of my children, both of whom earned Iron Rings in Engineering. But especially because they developed into independent, beautiful, caring individuals who are productive members of society and live soulfully. I would love them anyhow.

19. I listen to the Queen’s Message every Christmas Day. Even though she was born into it, I think Elizabeth is an amazing woman with pluck and wisdom.

18. At our wedding reception I sang a song as a surprise to my groom, Bert, from Mary Poppins, Oh, It’s a Jolly Holliday with you Bert. Unfortunately he had never seen the movie so the significance of the song went right over his head. Who hasn’t seen Mary Poppins!?!

17. I was once kicked out of a MacDonalds for being too rowdy (a long time ago).

16. My favourite breakfast is hand-picked saskatoon berry pancakes with real maple syrup, bacon and fresh coffee on my cottage deck. My favourite special breakfast is mixed grill Butcher’s Breakfast. (See #93). Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day.

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saskatoon picking with my grandson

15. I am attracted to the spirituality of the Enneagram and I wish I could figure out what number I was but I’m sure I’ll get it wrong so I’ve never studied it (that should be a clue).

14. My favourite card game is Racko or perhaps Countdown but always at holiday time with family.

13. I like lots of choice for my carrying and organizing tasks so I have a huge collection of baskets some of which I make myself.

basket

12. I’m afraid that if I say something I’m fearful will happen it may come true just because I said it.

11. I hated taking piano exams.

10. My husband reads Bill Byrson to me in bed at night and sometimes we laugh so hard we can’t breathe.

9. When I find a typo on someone’s website I actually write and tell them.

8. I have been a guerrilla pruner.

7. My college roommates hung my shoes out the window because I had such bad foot odour.

6. My favourite movie is a tie between Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. Both affected my outlook on life and theology, both positively and negatively.

5. My oldest brother is a clergyman. Ours was the first wedding at which he ever officiated. He had to get a special dispensation from the Province of Manitoba in order to do it.

4. I suffered from benign positional vertigo for 16 months. It was one of the biggest challenges of my life.

3. Breaking through the burnt sugar topping on creme brûlée. Ah!

2. I wore my mother’s wedding dress more than once. At numerous fashion shows, as the bride in my high school Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, Trial by Jury, and at my own wedding!

wedding00081. I was taught never to let the sun go down on your anger and that is something I’ve try to practice in my marriage.

The Labyrinth Lady – Sylvia Senensky

Sometimes you sit in a coffee shop and, even though you don’t really mean to, you overhear the conversation going on at the next table. That happened to me last week. And I truly believe that I was in the right place at the right time.

The group at the next table were engaged in conversation and all of a sudden my ears perked up when I heard the name “Sylvia Senensky”.  I turned to the woman and interrupted. “Did I hear you say the name Sylvia Senensky, the Jungian analyst? “

Yes.

Back in the mid 1990’s the idea of the labyrinth had come into my consciousness.  A friend showed me a copy of a newsletter of the Jungian society in Canada which had an article about labyrinths. It was written by Sylvia. She and I were both native Winnipeggers. And that connection and my newly sparked interest in labyrinths possessed me to contact her, hoping that she would let me read her thesis on labyrinth work. After some initial questions, she wanted to know who I was and why I was so interested, she mailed me a copy.

Sylvia had a profound influence on my journey. Through her I discovered the Divine Feminine, the hidden feminine face of God which I had never experienced. I found it in the centre of the labyrinth.

Ev & Sylvia Senesky

Ev & Sylvia, 1995

She opened a new way for me to engage in my theology and spirituality.

“In our lifetimes, we undergo multiple journeys in and out of the center… A journey into the dark can entail facing our own destructive capabilities as well as acknowledging and dealing with others’ conscious or unconscious destructive feelings and acts toward us. Equally important, it can connect us with repressed talents, with our latent creativity, and the open, loving hearts that are our birthright. The more we work with our inner demons, the more we open ourselves to the larger story of who we really are and what we can become.”

I attended workshops which she held in Toronto, early offerings which she was developing in her Jungian practise. She was committed to sharing the power of the labyrinth as a tool for personal and community transformation.

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laying out the Chartres design labyrinth with masking tape on plastic, Toronto, 1995

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labyrinth by candlelight

She spearheaded one of the earliest public labyrinths in Toronto in High Park in 2001.

HIgh Park Labyrinth, Toronto

HIgh Park Labyrinth, Toronto

In 2003 when she published her book, Healing and Empowering the Feminine: A Labyrinth Journey, I drove to Toronto for the launch.

book cover

Healing and Empowering the Feminine A Labyrinth Journey, Sylvia Shaindel Senensky, Chiron Publications, 2003,194 pp.

In the book she “probes the inner depths of the labyrinth as a source of archetypal feminine energy—the womb, the cave, the domain of the Goddess, the core of the earth, the encounter with planned chaos and the consequences of the ignored shadow. Senensky draws on powerful personal experiences, the stories of women she has worked with as clients and workshop participants, and a rich literature of myth and fairy tale that includes Theseus and the Minotaur, Demeter and Persephone, Inanna, and Vassilissa the Beautiful. Poems and quotations also serve as examples.”

“The Feminine is about process and relationship. It is about playing, experimenting, doing several things at once. It is not goal-oriented, although there may be a goal towards which we are heading. It is the process of getting to the goal that is all important. The twists and turns, the forward and backward movement of the labyrinth, the dancing between the quadrants, the act of allowing the unexpected to affect your journey, the still point at the center – that is static and containing while honouring the rhythms and movement of life and death – all form an exquisite portrayal of how Feminine energy manifests itself.”

Many years later I had lost contact with Sylvia and tried to find her on the internet. Her website was not to be found. She seemed to have disappeared.

That day in the coffee shop I found out why.

The lady had been a childhood friend of Sylvia’s. She told me that Sylvia had moved from Toronto to BC, had fallen in love but then tragically developed dementia. She is now in a personal care home.

Sylvia’s eyes were very unique and I often wondered why she always looked so sad. The woman in the coffee shop unlocked this mystery. Sylvia was born without eyelids, a genetic trait for which she had had many surgeries. It was because of this that she chose not to have any children.

I felt glad for the update about my mentor and thanked the woman very much. I told her of Sylvia’s profound effect on my life. It seemed to make the news of her mental demise a little easier.

Thank you Sylvia for your wisdom and insight. You held the thread for me as I traversed the labyrinth of my own personal healing. You had the courage to share your discoveries with the world in person and in print. I’m grateful that I have a signed copy of your book to study and which to refer.

I am also grateful for your deep personal journey and how I walked with you for a few brief steps of it.

“…We have lost touch with what it means to live in the mystery of existence. Most of us get caught up in the ebb and flow of daily life, following paths laid out for us by social structures we have come to accept as the norm. We forget that life is not lived in a straight line. We forget that death is always sitting on our left shoulder.”

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth woven mat, Evelyn Ward de Roo

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth woven mat, Evelyn Ward de Roo

Sylvia has 24742_apa bachelors degree in Occupational Therapy and Masters degree in Adult Education and Applied Psychology. She is a Zurich- trained Jungian Analyst and a graduate of Jean Houston’s training program in the Cultivation of Human Capacities. She spent the first part of her career working with physically handicapped and emotionally disturbed children, followed by many years teaching at community colleges in the Toronto area. She has lectured internationally on Jung and the labyrinth and its connection to the Feminine as well as being an experienced workshop leader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prairie Longing

I’m looking forward to nature’s marvellous prairie display very soon.

“There’s nothing like the freedom over miles and miles of land.

And it’s something about the prairies that strangers just don’t understand.

And it’s something to feel the pull of a strong southern wind.

Smell the coming of a summer rain.

You can almost see your life before you in the land.

It’s something to see the clouds as they’re rolling in, the sun blood red in the summer sky.

You can almost hear your soul in the sounds of the whip-poor-will’s cry.

And it’s something, the space around you like it never ends.

Highways go forever and don’t look back.

You can almost see your life behind you as you pass.

And it’s something to feel the pull of a strong southern wind.

Smell the coming of a summer rain.

You can almost see your life before you in the land.”

Nothing Like the Freedom by Deborah Romeyn from “Distance in Her Eyes” album

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Lent

Just in time for Lent. Purple toilet paper.

Sombre purple is the liturgical colour for Lent, recalling the allegedly royal robe the Roman soldiers mockingly placed on Jesus. purple toilet paper

I can’t think of anything so useless to our world as wasting precious resources to dye toilet paper. But then maybe my priorities are askew.

You gotta love the brand name though. Renova!