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The Freedom We Seek

by Marilyn Manderson

July 1, 2016 was the 149th birthday of Canada. I live in the province of British Columbia. What comes dominantly to me at this time is the profound privilege it is to live in this country where there is space and time to be oneself and be the voice of reason and hope for others world- wide.

Today I ask myself, have I fulfilled to the fullest the opportunities which this country beckons? Have I honoured this space which is mine in this part of the world which allows for abundant exploration, giving, and creation? Have I given my all into the purpose for which I reside in this precious home?

Our national anthem has the words “With glowing hearts we see thee rise the true north strong and free.” and another line, “God keep this land, glorious and free.”. Are our hearts engaged in acknowledging the strength and freedom which is ours to express? In our minds, do we see the potential of glory and freedom which is ours to bring…. the potential for all of its people, for the natural world, and for sharing that beyond our borders and around the world?

In the beginning there were individuals who were attracted to this land with genuine passion to know something new and fresh, and to be relieved of the old colonial ways of doing things. Yes, it is inevitable that we bring ourselves with us wherever we go, so some of the past got planted here. Yet something new began to appear as well. Something which reveals acceptance, pride, pioneering, and a brand new day.

This past week the leaders of Mexico, USA, and Canada met in our capital. I know the naysayers would simply claim it as a political ploy or photo op, but I felt and heard a genuine connection among these men. They are looking to find the tie that binds among them and between them for each of their countries. They worked hard and they had fun together. Their theme was the bond they share, as well as a welcome to others to be part of the connection which they know. They see themselves as leaders in this new day, particularly in the area of welcome and openness to the oneness of mankind. I found this thrilling.

You may think this is just naïve rhetoric but I know different. There are many people on this planet whose passion it is to recognize the truth of who they are and to get to know the truth of others and let that be the way to experiencing oneness. The matters which divide us are never going to lead us to a place of harmony and peace. The freedom which we actually seek is that of being the Truth of ourselves, while joining with one another in expressing that Truth into our worlds.

I live in Canada where I have all the space in the world to let this be a reality for myself. Am I going to fritter away this opportunity, or am I going to dedicate my whole life to letting this Truth be my experience? That is the question, moment by moment. I believe we have become numb to the fact of how ridiculous this choice actually is. Wasting one’s time on hate, greed, fear, blame, criticism and shame is not why we came onto this planet. Love, truth, compassion, joy, blessing, giving, creating, and caring are just some of the options we have moment by moment to let this world be made new.

Pluck a flower, disturb a star! This analogy is true through our thoughts, feelings, and actions, one with another, as we proceed through our days. I believe that what we express each moment has its impact at the level of the truth of the oneness in our global community. May individuals, leaders, countries and continents take a look at the base from which they move and celebrate the freedom and creativity possible in these very days on this planet.


Marilyn Manderson 400Marilyn Manderson has been associated with Emissaries of Divine Light British Columbia since the 1970s. She lives in Kamloops, is a retired RN, and has a passion for Attunement, a spiritual healing practice offered by the Emissaries. Marilyn is presently the chair of the EDL, BC Board. She loves sharing time with her friends and family, gardening, renovating, and reading.

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To Explore, Learn and Connect

By Jeannie Martin

I have fond childhood memories of the camping adventures we had as a family. Frequently throughout the year we would pack up the car, hook on our little boat and head off for the ‘great outdoors’. I didn’t know then that those experiences would seep permanently into me and influence me throughout my life. Walking on the earth with bare feet, swimming in the ocean, lakes and rivers and exploring the forests gave me an appreciation for the natural world and a sense of my connection with it. I could have never known this connection through a book, a movie, or someone telling me what it was like. There is nothing like being there. Not even close.

I have known people who have never (ever) been outside of city limits or had their feet on anything other than concrete, bark mulch trails or the odd lawn. Even summer swimming was in chlorine pools, and the forest was perceived as a place with bugs and wild animals. What can I say? I think they have missed something truly magical!

We are all keenly aware of the impact that industry and so called development is having on pristine forests, waterways and farmland. Due to this increasing awareness I am extremely pleased to observe that there is a strong movement towards re-connecting with the natural world. This movement is being primarily driven by our young people. They are interested in the world they live in; not only the possibilities that technology may offer them but also the sustainability of natural resources and habitat. They recognize it is all about living WITH nature, not destroying it. As well, they are also aware that if the local power grid failed or some other challenge to survival came up, it would be a good thing to know how to grow a garden, what wild plants to eat or how to make a shelter from natural sources. It may never happen--but it could, and they are taking it seriously.

For many reasons the outdoor learning environment that Edenvale Community Garden & Education Centre plays a key role in outdoor education of generations to come. It provides a rare opportunity for schoolchildren--and anyone else who needs to be with ‘Mother Earth’--to explore, learn and connect with nature. One hundred eighteen acres--with a pond, open fields, thirty acres of pristine forest, and streams that flow through the property--provide an array of experiences and plenty to learn about! We have Trilliums in our forest. Did you know that it takes a Trillium flower seven to ten years to bloom? Did you know that you could make a delicious, colorful salad from flowers and plants that grown wild in the forest? Did you know that a walk through a grass field or a forest trail can reduce stress and improve energy? Did you know that there are thousands of natural remedies that nature provides? Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Every child has a primal infinity for nature and all of its wonders. They thrive in the atmosphere of clean air, open fields, oceans, lakes, rivers and forests. Watching the school children as they gleefully explore nature with their boundless energy and inquisitive minds is a sight to behold.

I can say that I do enjoy a few nights in a nice hotel, shopping trips in a big city or other things that are found in and around concrete. I took my children to Disneyland. But the best vacations and family gatherings have always been outdoors, in nature. My kids and grand-kids are campers, just like me. They love their connection with nature. They love it because they have experienced it. They touched the earth and it has touched them back.

I love my role in supporting children and adults to re-connect with the planet they live on; to learn things that only nature can teach, and to watch the transformation that takes place in every person as they let the energy of the natural world ‘seep’ into them.

Please visit “Edenvale Community Gardens & Education Centre” Facebook page and enjoy the news and photos!

Jeannie Martin is the Program coordinator for Edenvale Community Gardens and Education Center, which provides an outdoor learning environment for elementary school children and others who wish to experience and embrace the values and Spirit of nature.

After 30 years in the corporate world, Jeannie now offers her experience into assisting and supporting programs and events directly involved with outdoor education and community building.

Primal Spirituality

By Maureen Waller

(Definition of primal: basic, fundamental, essential, elemental, vital, central, intrinsic, inherent)

Have you ever wondered about the fact that there are so many religious paths existing on the planet? Even though the paths that I am most familiar with generally accept that there is one God, the teachings about that one God are so disparate. For example, that one God is called upon to assist both sides in a war because, even though the two sides are killing each other, they are convinced that they have right on their side. So how does that make sense?

I am not looking at this from a political standpoint but from the standpoint of common sense. However, in asking for God’s support in taking sides (and sometimes both sides at once) in a war seems to be expecting God to have a political viewpoint.

There is a way in which the various religions over time have built up many beliefs and concepts and many of them bear no resemblance to what the founder of those religions originally taught. There are whole sets of rules and regulations for adherents of the various religious paths to follow. The religion I am most familiar with is Christianity and try as I may, I cannot find in the teachings of Jesus where most of these rules and regulations come from.   

The Experience of Peace

by Maureen Waller

There is a growing interest in spirituality in the world and it seems to be keeping pace with the awareness of the results of human activities on the planet.

There have been all kinds of attempts by well-meaning people down through the ages to “make a better life” but these attempts have been clouded by the fact that the actual originator of life has not been included in the plans. Or if included has been used as a sort of wishing well or a means to support something that was dreamed up by human minds.  And again, often well-meaning human minds.

Politics cannot solve all the issues that we have created.  I think that is evident because there is so much division and self-serving amongst the different political structures of the world. 

Religion has not been able to solve the problems of the world either for something of the same reason. There are so many versions of God with the accompanying rules and regulations that are man-made.

These divisions in both cases have often led to extremism and therefore not contributed to peace.

We have minds for a reason, of course, as well as all the other parts that make up a human being but none of these parts could function without that mysterious commodity called “life”.  There have been attempts to make life in test tubes and laboratories of all sorts and these have resulted in nightmarish creations. Life only comes from life. 

When we look at the vastness of creation and the living nature of it, could we in all sanity think that the human mind could create something like that?  And yet there seems to be no end to the attempts to alter this magnificent creation to suit some ideas of our own.  It does not stand up to reason to think that we can do something like that and not reap some destructive results because in order to alter something, we would first have to know all there is to know about it. What generally happens is that we interfere with nature and then discover that we have wreaked havoc somewhere else in nature.  There are plenty of examples of that.

Everything and everyone is interconnected and that is another thing that is becoming clearer and clearer to those who are paying attention.

We are not living in a hostile Universe as some seem to think.  We are living in a loving, intelligent Universe which, when we really start paying attention instead of being caught up in our own self-centred worlds we can see and feel.

Stillness is a wonderful commodity.  If we allow all the anxieties, opinions and stresses and strains to recede for even a little while, there is a sense of peace.  Where does that come from?  Certainly not from the world that we have created so far. That peace is already present and just waiting to be allowed through our consciousness so that we may experience life as it was meant to be. By that means we can recreate our world.

We can experience what the mind is really capable of when we are able to let go of all the stresses and angsts we may have developed.  Clear, enlightened thinking is then possible and we are able to have a sense of how much more amazingingly and wonderfully made we really are.

This seems too simple for the human mind but is it not worth a try?  There is no trick, no imposition, just the opportunity to experience what true peace can feel like right here and right now.


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What is Spirituality?

I grew up without knowing that there is a distinction between religion and spirituality and I believe that that is still true for many people. One of the concepts I had when first introduced to the term “spirituality” was that it had something to do with séances etc.

I am not sure whether or not that misconception is still around – it is certainly not in me. My interest is in life, not in meddling in the realms of those who are no longer in human form. That is something that I do not spend much time considering.

Spirituality is innate and can be called Primal Spirituality. It is the spirituality that we were born with and that allows the joy that is our true nature to be streaming through us as little ones. Have you noticed how little it takes for small children to be joyful? This is before all the conditioning has been laid upon us, mostly by well-meaning adults who want us to have a creative experience in life.

If you have been present at the birth of a child, it is obvious that it is a sacred experience. There is a part of Keats’ “Ode on the Intimations of Immortality” that has such a ring of truth to it and conjures up the feeling of how it really is:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come

So what happens to that experience? In many cases, the adults surrounding the child, parents, relatives and teachers have never been exposed to the possibility that there is so much more to our presence here on the planet than the usual human round. There is the danger that those early experiences we had, if ignored, will be totally occluded.

Thankfully, if we are persistent, there is something within us that will not let us rest. It has been described as the “still small voice” and it is to our advantage to pay attention to it because it is the path to satisfaction, service, happiness and all that we need to engender the sense of purpose that is true for us. It is useful if someone who has discovered that this is so provides encouragement but it is a personal matter and does not require an intercessor but is something really does require our own commitment.

Maureen Waller

Maureen has always been interested in finding out what makes sense and has meaning and has explored many avenues in that quest. She has worked with troubled teenagers, managed a country hotel in England, managed a retreat business and served on the board of a hospice in Ontario and a charity in BC. She currently teaches workshops on practical spirituality, does personal coaching and has lived in community for many years.

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