‘Take him out’

Dear, dear Hildegaard,

I headed out for a walk today, thinking about how weird it is that in a couple of months, I will be spending most of my day, everyday, walking.  Even the short time that I was out today was a little upsetting  for my muscles, reminding me that this may be more of a challenge than I would like.  I think I will be moving out of my comfort zone with this.  I am planning on walking 20 kms a day, minimum, and hopefully, I will be able to do more after the first week.

I am wondering how I am going to document this.  Colin and I have been brainstorming around the table coming up with ideas, and there have been some good ones, but things have to get moving on soooo many levels for this walk to be as successful as I would like.

I had what I think was a fantastic idea yesterday while I was at work, about coming up with patterns that have to do with the Maitland Valley watershed, and selling them to help support the costs of the walk.  I will be off work for almost 3 weeks while doing this walk, and it is important for me to also be looking at how I can be supporting my family while doing this.  

So many wonderful things to do!

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about the walk.  While walking I was passing by the Listowel Community Garden, and there was a man working in the garden.  We had a wonderful little chat about how great the garden was, and how important we felt it was to the community. 

Over behind the garden, I saw an animal move.  It was a groundhog coming out of his home to enjoy the sunshine.  After we finished our talk, I went over to see if I could get any closer to this ground hog.  I was able to get about 15 feet away from his home, and he stayed very still looking at me.  The man from the garden began to speak:

“Oh, are you an animal lover?’

“Yes, I am.”

“Well, I better not take him out in front of you then.  They eat food from the garden, you know”.

“Well”, I said, “they have to eat to, you know”.

I said goodbye to the man, and then wished my ground hog friend good luck, wondering if there was something more that I could do, and hoping that the man left the ground hog alone.

I have since commented on the Community Garden Facebook group letting them know that I think it would be a good idea to create a guideline about how we can share the space with the animals in the best way possible.   Who knows, maybe the community will decide that it is the best to ‘take them out’, it isn’t for me to decide.  But I know what my vote is!

Lovely connecting with you again,



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River Walking 2010

Dearest Hildegaard,

I am feeling a little freaked out about this walk that I have been planning on doing.  But, I guess that you don’t really know too much about it, because I haven’t told you yet. 

Some years back, I heard of an Anishanaabe woman, Josephine Mandamin, of the Mother Earth Water Walkers, who was walking around the Great Lakes, to bring attention to the state of the Great Lakes.  This was really inspiring to me, and I wanted to join her, but as I found out more information, it seemed that though the walk was to assist us all, the actual walking was reserved for Native’s.  I followed with interest because this was so amazing to me.

Then, last year, I watched the movie Water Life, and Josephine was talking and walking in this movie, and again I was inspired, and I thought, “I have to be walking, maybe I should start where she started, and continue this walk that she has been doing”.  But I clearly received an idea that I didn’t need to start with Lake Superior, I could start with the water that supports me and my family, and community directly.   I could start with the Maitland.

Then I became nervous because I didn’t exactly know why I wanted to do this walk.  What is my platform?  Do I even need a platform?  People started asking me what I was raising money for, and I really had no thoughts of raising money for anything.  This walk was to appreciate, honour, and give thanks to the water that sustains us.  I also want to learn.

Soon after watching this movie, Water Life, I came up with a basic plan for the walk that I would be doing, it consists of 270 kms, and though it is on roads, the path mixes the meeting of river and people for me to learn from.

Hildegaard, I am very out of shape at this point in my life, and I am very scared about the discussions I may have with myself as I undertake this.  Questions like, ‘What was I thinking?” that I will have to fight hard to not answer, “I don’t know because this is ridiculous!”.  Also, hearing that voice that may be saying, “You know you don’t have to do this.  There is nobody else making you do this.  You could just go home and do some knitting, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?”. 

So, I did some Shamanic Journeying this afternoon, to try to get a clearer sense of what I can be doing to train effectively for this long walk that I will be taking, and I received some good info…  Look at lots of green, eat lots of green, specifically broccoli (sunflower seeds aren’t green, but they were mentioned), and dance lots of green.  We’ll have to see what that means!  There will be so many more journeys to do before setting off on this walk.

This morning, I even did an hour of yoga.  I was thinking that perhaps I should record and send you a video of it, maybe you know some 270 pound women that need to know that it’s not impossible.  I will have to view it first though!

As I am writing to you, I realize that the walk is 270 kms, and that I am 270 lbs, perhaps this is an adventure that will shift every pound in my body, or maybe every km on the walk will be different when this walk is finished.  I don’t know, we’ll have to see!

Love you lots,


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Dearest Hildegaard,

I know you were asking before but I never got a chance to tell you much about that time that I learned how to do a Shamanic Journey.

I had been watching a website, and looking at a retreat, called, Journey Within, and it took me a while to decide to go, but when I finally went, it was completely what I needed.  It was difficult because I went by myself, and I didn’t know anyone there.  I also was having a weekend where it seemed that all I was able to do was cry!   But by the end of the weekend, I knew that this place and this learning was exactly what I needed.

We began by letting go of our fears, and I had sooo many of them, because I wasn’t really sure if what I was doing was ‘right’.  I had no idea who I was getting involved with, but really felt, deep inside, that it was what I needed to do.  We were told that we needed to be able to visualize a place in nature that was really important to us, and we needed to try to smell, and see, and hear, and feel, and taste this place.  What was the weather like?  Were there animals there?  We had to really be in this place.

We were taken to this place by Martha’s drum, she beat her drum between 80-120 beats per minute, and it was like I was riding her drum beat deep down into the earth!  At first, we were told to just explore this place, and not talk to anyone, but I had a fox talk to me, he told me I had to leave my mask on the wall of the tunnel before I would be able to leave the tunnel, and travel out to the bigger world in the earth.    This was just the beginning, and since this time, I have done many journeys.

Martha told us some things that Shamans may be able to help with.  Sometimes if a person has an accident or other trauma, and they feel like they are not all there after the accident, the Shaman can help to bring the missing soul part back.  This is called soul retrieval.  Or if someone is experiencing bad luck, or a loss of power, power animals can be brought back to a person to help with that.  It was really interesting, and I love the power animal that I received during that first weekend.  We have done a lot of work together!

I know all this may sound really weird, but Shamans have been around for a long time, at least 40,000 years, and this is something that belongs to us all!  There is no 1 tribe or group of people that has more right to a drum beat, and imagination than any other.  We are all able to do this, if that is what we want!  There may be some people that have a natural ability to do one sort of work or another, but that is why we need each other.  We can help others with their work, and they can help us.  We all have a piece of the story of the world!

I learned so much, and expanded who I was so much at that basic course, that I signed up for the 2 year program, and finished that in 2009.  I was so concerned that that would be the end, and like my highschool and college friends that I don’t get to see anymore, we would be done, and move on to different places, losing contact.  Instead, what happened was that I have met many more wonderful people who have continued to grow, and to witness me grow! 

Now, I am getting ready to assist while others are learning how to journey, and I am really a little nervous, as well as tremendously excited, because I know that these people are going to be teaching me as well!

We’ll talk more about Shamanism again soon, my dear!

Much love,


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Things are a changing!

I haven’t done much with this blog, and it seems that I always have so many different ideas and creations that I would like to share, and to hear about from you!  I wasn’t sure how all of this would work in one blog because sometimes things are scattered, but I am going to give it a try.


This tree inspired me when I first met him in October 2009.  He lives at my friend, Coyote’s place.

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Celebration of Milk

Celebration of Milk

This painting represents self nourishment.  So often, we look outside of ourselves to find the nourishment that we need.

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Ocean Mask

Ocean Mask


Ocean Mask and Wig

It seems that much of the work that I have been doing over the last few weeks has been with the theme of clean, healthy water for all life. In this mask, I tried to bring forth the depth of the ocean, as well as the beauty and colour in it. The red mark on the left eye is a recognition of the destruction of the oceans that are happening at this moment. Shark finning, overfishing, and pollution being the main subjects that I was thinking about while creating that red tear.


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This is an 11 x 16 print on heavy paper. The original was acrylic on canvas.

During our Medicine for the Earth weekend at Northern Edge Algonquin, we were making our creation stories, and designing our symbols for creation. I don’t want to describe this image too detailed for what I see in it because abstracts are so much fun to create within. I was inspired by fire, cell division, chromosomes, and chakra’s. I would love to hear what other’s see in it.

(The Medicine for the Earth weekend was based on the teachings and the book, ‘Medicine for the Earth’, by Sandra Ingerman)

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