Today on Remembrance Day, I am thinking of the huge number of people who lost their lives, their health, and sometimes their sanity, so that others could live and be free. I was born in Holland, and both my parents struggled with the hunger and hardships of 6 years of occupation. My Dad decided to move to Canada based solely on his appreciation for the Canadians who liberated Holland. My parents judged the Canadians to be both friendly and reserved, kind and caring, but low-key about their contributions. They were just extra comfortable with them. Had they not been so impressed, I’d have grown up as a little Dutch girl, with a totally different life unfolding for me!
I feel 100% Canadian, though I also feel 100% a citizen of the world too. This is not hard when your children live in Hong Kong and Australia, and you’ve travelled to many countries. You realize that absolutely everyone has the same needs and desires, no matter where you live. We all love our children, want to provide for them, do meaningful work, and find our place in the world --- a place of belonging where we can care for and be cared for by the people in our community.
To that end, this Remembrance Day I am focusing more on the veterans we’ve forgotten about or overlooked without meaning to. One group is our indigenous brothers and sisters, who were unwittingly forced to give up their Indian Status in order to enlist to fight for Canada, because if they were gone for 4 years, they automatically lost their status! They did not benefit from the post-war benefits other veterans received (like land, loans, education), because details about these were posted at the Legions --- which they were barred from attending! Can you believe this? After all their sacrifices, it seems that they were not considered Canadian either. I want to honor and respect them in my heart today, though I knew nothing about this. This is Canada’s shameful legacy. We can’t have Reconciliation without first acknowledging the Truth.
And then there are the soldiers who fought on the opposing side --- the “enemy”, as it were. Propaganda and caricatures making the opposing side seem somehow less than human, people unlike ourselves, make it easier to fight, maim and kill them. My Mum tells a story of a small group of Germans who were walking past their house. Their leader, an officer, knocked on the door and politely asked my grandmother if his men could have a drink of water from their well. They were hot and thirsty. My grandmother of course told them to go ahead, and as they were filling their containers one by one, the officer engaged Oma in conversation. He apologized for the hardships the Dutch people were suffering because of his army’s occupation. It was war, and as a soldier he had to do his duty. He treated her as he might have a neighbor down his own street back home, recognizing their common humanity.
If the “powers that be” currently, and in our history, realized this --- there would be no wars, or at least far fewer. Differences could be ironed out by communicating and working together to make this world a caring more peaceful place where EVERYONE’s needs are considered. Because in truth we are all connected, impacting each other and our physical world by the way we live and the decisions we make. I see and hear an “us vs. them” mentality in so many areas of our lives today, fomenting fear, anger and division. Conflict on a smaller scale than full-out war, yes, but eerily much the same.
I do not want to be a part of the problem --- even in my private thoughts and judgments! They carry weight and negative energy. I am as guilty of this as the next person, even just recently! I got upset with a postal clerk who was “obstinately” doing things in a way that I judged might impact the chances of this Christmas parcel reaching a beloved child overseas. I carried the energy of the 2 previous years, when they had been sent to the wrong address, or arrived so tardily that the baking had to be thrown out. Was this history her fault? It was not. Although I apologized to her, she was very cool and not in a forgiving mood. I did not know or acknowledge what other things might have been happening in her life that contributed to her (what I considered) argumentative and “I’m right” attitude. She was so young and inexperienced. I was appalled by my own part in escalating the tension and judged I should have handled it a whole lot better!
So why didn’t I? I used my tapping to come to a place of compassion and understanding for us both, forgiving both her and (eventually--- it’s SO much harder!) myself. I learned I could not “skip” my morning tapping, grounding and filling routines. That day, I had not done even 5 minutes. I was focused on getting my job list done under time pressures, so I could make it to my sister’s place in Markham for our first visit in 2 years. Taking a few extra minutes to calm, focus on love and set my intention for the day would have helped me to behave from a more compassionate place during that testy post office visit. I could have left, for instance, when I saw how it was starting to go, instead of escalating the tensions, pushing through just to get the task done. I forgot I had choices!
Although it may seem like I’ve gone off my original subject --- honoring our veterans, I actually haven’t. I honor and respect their sacrifices, along with those of their families and communities, who endured such unbelievable loss. There is no glory in war and its devastation. We remember them, so we NEVER FORGET the futility and destruction of fighting wars, when better safer solutions are possible. It’s hard work! We can all do our part for world peace when we humanize the people with whom we disagree, tone down our own rhetoric (guilty as charged!), and listen with an open heart at least as much as we talk. Whether it’s vaccines, lockdowns, politics or religion --- preventing wars and conflicts starts in how we handle day-to-day encounters and relationships. “Lest we forget”, indeed.
I am excited, and just a wee bit nervous about starting a Blog. A book is edited and re-edited till the cows come home, until I feel comfortable with both the message and the tone or “feel” of the piece. If I did that with a blog, I don’t think I’d ever get it out there! It’s more of a “state of the moment” sharing --- what I’m thinking or feeling about a topic that I judge may resonate with my readers, very specifically from a present moment perspective. This will not be a daily, or even necessarily weekly offering. I will write when I feel moved by the Spirit to do so!