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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Last night after singing with The Helen Creighton Society in Halifax NS I was discussing how I got into music n found my self pipping off at the moon, rambling on you might say, the poor woman I was talking to must have thought I'd lost my mind and for reason I will not go into here I probably had for a few moments.her husband gratefully rescued her.
So whiling away my hours since breakfast  today it dawned on me that if Im so passionate about that singing happening in my life, perhaps it would be fun and interesting to explore here in blog-ville the experience.
I ended up in Barbados in 1993 on vacation, I know tough work but someone has to do it! While there I found the expats community very English and very boring.Sitting every night looking at the beach and the sunset was not my cuppa tea.So off I went to a few Keroke for a month or so.Well they had a contest and I took first prize, with my rendition of House of the Rising Sun! whada ya know!!! Im off to the races!!! I started to sing with them every Kerokee night.
When I returned to Canada in 1996 I was outted from work, the system I wirked in would not hire me as I was old meat and over 50.They were looking for new meat.So I started to do hairdressing and wrote my papers again.This allowed me a small income and off I went to Kerokee.
All went very well, my voice was feeling strong I was certainly getting my self esteem that a divorce had kicked out of me two years before. Thats another story! Yet I did not have mental fortitude in my music  and my musical experiences .So I decided to keep it as a hobby and return to University to finish my B.A. I was 50 years old and braver than a bear!!!I switched from W omens studies at Mount St. Vincent> to Irish Studies with Cryil J Bryne, it would be his retiring year. I fell in love with his Chaucer, his Yeats, and all the Irish folk lore we studied.My soul began to fill with poetry and song and story about my ancestors. I began to compose and write all sorts of great little ditty's.On weekend I woud go to Kerokee when ever I cooed get there in good voice.lololol
One fine winter day walking back to the school about 100 years off campus I stopped to admire a 1977 V.W .popup camper in a woman's drive. I bought it!!
I decided to go where the music took me, I had been designing Gaelic Garden rocks and began to sell them for 10.00 this bought my gas and off I went.I took along with me my trusted camera, my Drum Boran` and my voice.
I spent the summer photographing the Bay of Fundy and singing in The Fair trade Cafe` in Truro NS.I got a job as a hairdresser with Liz a really great lady there. 
I stopped my truck pulled out my drum one Sunday afternoon up to the cafe as I had seen instruments and a piano with mic's in the window. I walked up to the counter " anyone play those instruments?" Ray the owner ask "Why can you sing?" Do you Play"? "Yep I can sing" I replied. "Come over and sit a spell and have a coffee on the house Ill be right back". The man Ray Merryman left the cafe`. I sat for about half hour was kinda getting bored, when he walked into the cafe with a 72 year old black man Hal home for a bit from Montreal and who had played the blues guitar for years up in Montreal.Hal and me hit it off like bother and sister and began to harmonize as well as host a weekly open mic at the cafe for about four months. We certainly developed a lot of respect, humility and love for our gift of music, bringing together all those folks from miles around to sing at the cafe` I went to a blue grass festival that year an held my own with all the boys ( very male dominated genre`)  sang straight for 11 hours one night.Beautiful people and a wonderful experience.
Then one day a  Native American man from the Truro reserve ask me to give him lessons in voice.I remembered all the exercises my old teacher taught me so I started to teach him these small seeds of knowledge and off he went.Got over his shyness and is still going strong today. What a great feeling when you can share what you know with someone who loves to sing as much as you do.I guess its like that with most things. When I was doing hair my sister learned to cut hair,my daughter learned it too. They liked it so well they learned it by watching me.
well this put another bee in my bonnet and off I came back to Halifax for the winter and began to sing at a bar in Young Street with a bunch of old Blues-ers .They were excellent players and soon I was singing The House with a live band for the first time and live music was and is my favorite, I began to be very entertaining.Then my ego got out of wack and I ended up on the board!!! I had already been there done that so I left. There were people there far more smarter than me to do that job and they were not short in letting me know it!! OUCH!
I continued to teach voice for the next 7 years and still do if the person passes the one hour consultation I have set for myself. they think its about them but its really a way of knowing if Im wasting my time and theirs. One of my students is now singing and playing composing and holding his own in the field of music at Dalhousie University Music department of arts.hes an excellent guitarist and Im hoping he can play for me again sometime.last year he was in Prague at a composing conference and composition contest. 
I got interested in the Boran` and was taught by a Englishman at open mic sessions at The Old Triangle, here in Halifax and I continue to sing and play there weekly. For me Irish music is the heart of all Music and has been the sounding board of many traditional styles and compositions all over the world. It is for me one of the oldest forms we have of music in Canada I'm sure there are may in Europe and other countries.The drum and rattles and strings in Gaelic music date back to African times and i love it so much I may not ever leave.I do try to study the old styles of voice and of their music as often as I can.
So that brings me to my very first night in song with the Helen Creighton Society  last night where I was pipping off at that unsuspecting soul about my musical trails that will have to hover here for a bit like a beautiful hummingbird waiting fr the next sweet song-ful nectareal notes to set the spirit free for a short time to feel the joy of song for a another moment to moment, up hill and down vial le  music is almost all my reality, my life, my friend in Gods grace and my gift to you.
see you on the flow in the notes and books of song.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It ins't every day one bursaries their son, and there are a lot of new things to be aware of, like walking into a store and seeing white socks. I started to cry, not long, nor embarrassing, just remembered no box would go to Oshawa this winter for Christmas. Mostly we go through the difficult times with grace and hope fr a better tomorrow and a home on peaceful shores for our loved ones.Everyone came out to help bring this wish true for me and my son Justin.It was not a very difficult time at all until three weeks ago.
I went to six banks to find his account for closure and it brings closure for the one who is responsible.I had felt very good as I dealt with government workers who did all they could for us and then some, the Ontario special disability benefits department made an exception in Justin's case and donated 1300.00 towards his funeral, it was as if his ancestors were with us thorough the sad ordeal.I felt a strange kind of validation for us.
The first bank my own was sure he was not in their national bank list of customers. So I went to the Royal, on Quimpool Road . We did not find him but a very kind lady there took me into the office and talk at length about this process, she and her mom had gone through with her uncle out in Calgary last year. She assured me it was doable and not a difficult task would take about a week to completed given the correct papers, she had just looked over with me.There should be no problems at all.
Finally we found his account at the Scotia Bank one street over from my house, Justin was always pulling little tricks on me over the years, it how some sweet little boys say "I love you mommy"
On August 15th i went into the bank of Nova Scotia with the correct official paper work, today is September 19th and this task is NOT complete.
The search took almost 20 minutes, I was calm.Then the clerk looked up with tears in her eyes and said "we have him here" I cried openly the connection to him fresh again, again the loss. I just stood there.The clerk went to get someone to help her as she apparently had no experience with this kind of request.So I just stood there for about a half hour.She explained to me my next task in the process would be to come into see a loans specialist on Friday at 2:30.
I came home and called friends and family to say how relieved I was we had found his account and would close it off properly.For some reason perfection is required in this grieving process.Ha! not one of my strong points.Ha!
I met with miss Spiffy who was very quick to relay to me her deaths in the family over the past few months.She spoke about the papers needing to be sent to another department and we should have this completed in there to five days.Since I had a Scotia Bank account the 700.9 dollars would be transferred to my account directly from his.There was no will no need for pprobate. This was also confirmed by my laywer. I cried.She said she would call me. I didn't ask any questions I just trusted the process.I realized it was not personal to them, I went home again to call friends and family for reassurance and validation.
The following week I went in on Tuesday morning to be told she was on vacation for a week and no the amount in my account was zero.I returned on Friday still zero.
On Friday September 14th I filled a complaint with the manager, who reassured me that she was making this request her top priority come Monday she was not sure if the bank was open on Saturday or not.I am however positive she the woman on the phone speaking to me was working in the bank of Nova Scotia. 
I waited all day on Monday still no call from them to move this task forward.
Today is the 19th of September with October looming just over the horizon and still not word, In honor of my son and his affairs I will go there this afternoon and come hell or high water will continue to do so until this mess is settled.I have not ever in all my 50 years of business seen such inefficiency, uncommunicative, cold, unreasonableness. i will not ever walk into another bank of Nova Scotia, nor do I suggest anyone else do so.The excuses they have given me, like the branch manager left, the bank is a small one...etc etc. point only to their mealy miserly old ideals in business today.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

I Lost Him Twice

I lost Him Kathleen Carter Steeves

I came away to work some three hundred miles away when he turned two.We had the "first" moments together....we laughed we cried....we learned.....we blessed.Then the "US" was gone.
I cried into my pillow at nights for three weeks.I went to work everyday.
Over the next ten years a riff of separation seemed to develop, who know how or why its not important...thats life for some.
I felt like a stranger in his little world.He did grow closer to his dad over those years and his uncles.We brought him along with us in the summer and he loved it! Being close to  his dad was all he ever wanted.He grew up fast and hard on himself like so many of us.Not accepting that sometimes there are no reasons or answers life is just like that.He grew strong and lean.handsome like his dad before him.Sometimes he seemed to have a chip on his shoulder sometimes he seemed genuinely happy.He grrew to be kind to those who had less and not tolerant of those who had more, he knew how to share and did not suffer the fools who did not learn this art of sharing. He did not learn to live beyond his drinking buddy lifestyle.
he loved to work like his dad before him.He was what most men of his class would call a hard worker.
When his grandmother was dying in hospital he suffered her pain as well.He found healing and validation with the Native American Spirituality, he felt a closeness to the wolf.He went into the sweat lodges and prayer circles with the pipe-carriers. he moved to Oshawa, "The Crossing Place"
He fell in love with many false starts like his mother before him.Until this time we were not close.
Then I got a letter from him.He was in jail. We wrote for about six months.We began the road to US again.
We became friends.His Post Trama Stress disorder would flare up sometimes and not one word made sense, through the dark drug induced haze.Sometimes in the beginning I hung up then I learned to simply listen. Try the soft approach I thought, it worked for awhile.I only saw him cry once when his grandmother died.
I visited him once in Oshawa, when he was with his little family he helped raise.His woman and her two children.She lost the children when he went to jail one time.We had a great time Kentucky fried chicken on the lake park lawn.We laughed and he told stories that day he loved to tell stories like his mother before him and his grandfather.No woman could live up to the caring,kind saintly woman his grandmother had been.Who in reality was as four sided as we all are.
He would call me to brag or complain like his mother before him.
Sometimes I got a glimpse of a man who was carving out a life path for himself his own way, no top no bottom, no sides going no where in particular. Not flowing against nor for anything.he stayed his path by the suppressed values he had learned as a child from his grandparents, nature and his own powers of creation.
His letters were full of fun and games with the guards and other inmates. Mostly loss and gain stuff with those in authority.He hated anyone to lord a hold over him in any way.He walked his own way forward, a sweet soul,like his father before him.he loved to talk about how it was with his dad and me in the good ole days.We had many long talks about stuff I was amazed at remembering.
Then one day he called to say"Mom I'm dying, I have fourth stage liver cancer, the doctors give me a year to live".I was in shock for a month. Thank god for my support systems, music and writing.I went on a vision quest in Arizonia with the Sisterhood of The Sheilds for a week.
When he told me: all I could see was this scrawny little five pound baby boy laying there in my arms, fighting for his life.He was underweight and not growing as quickly as they would like.He had to have an operation on his sphincter muscle. he could not digest his food.The chances of having that were one in a thousand.Then the other side of me heard this strong mans voice saying something "dont worry mom I dont want you to worry, I can beat it, well for awhile anyway."
I know Nan is on the other side waiting to help me cross over.We laughed we fought we cried we came back together as we weathered the storm of fear of death together over the phone.Then on August 4th he was gone.
He got lucky he lived in that hell for only four months.He was gone as he slept in a deep comfortable peace in palliative care.
Over those months I learned to simply listen.
Then I got the call at 6am.After I hung up the phone I remembered the morning he was first placed in my arms again, and I remembered the prayer I silently spoke to the Creator.God help this little baby boy help me keep him safe.I need you to look over him because I dont have a clue how to do this"
I sat on the edge of my bed knowing I had to call the funeral home, but not able to move.I hung my head and just listened to the early morning silence."Be with us God" was all I could say,and  before the avalanche of tears I heard God wisper "Nothing real can be threatened, everything real is eternal.""What is eternal is already at peace."
I wept!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Prayer The Drum

Its ten to two Friday my second day there and I begin the walk to our meeting suite on the easst side of the complex just past the pool.Im walking in silence and appreciation of the day and the birds when like a sweet breeze from the left side of my mind I realize in my heart I have come home I realize why I have come, what has been missing from life. I hear the faint heartbeat of the Native drums.Five or six women are drumming us into our first meeting with our Teacher Lynn Andrews.We enter the room women are chanting dancing and drumming some hold rattles all are smiling and feeling the Unity of Spirit in the room.I decide to be a simple witness for today, so I sit off on the east wall with a few quieter like minded souls. Two other drummers are in the room and the sound of a low harmonious flute begins to flow out over the air in the room, its magical and very beautiful to feel a part of.This is my first time at a Joshua Tree ceremony. The women were dancing in a circle or trying to.There were at lest 100 of us in this small space. Thankgoodness for air conditioning !! lolol
It was a happy and cheerful beginning.My body began to relax yet my mind still wanted to compare this to other pow wow dancing which is slower and more orderly sacred and with a purposeful type of footing work.This could hve been in any nightclub downtown. I did not feel this a sacred ceremony, as many of the women did.
The music continued, the dancers swept by me, the flute allured me, then something exciting happened for everyone started shouting and giving hooray into the air.Lynn Andrews arrived and they love her!!!She took a seat at the front of the room then began our first lecture on dreaming.At one point she walked around us with a bowl of Christmas lights, its meaning was lost on me.I didn't get the drift of what was actually being represented in its ritual at that moment.Later on I was told the bowl of dreams would stay lite through out the event and our  prayer strings and ribbon's were placed beside it.The lecture covered the history of Josuha Tree and other house keeping notes with a few stories of her experiences.I never grow tired of her stories.They are true.Ive lived  long enough in Native American environments to understand the wonder and ancientness of what she says happened and that the Sisterhood of Sheilds is real.On this account I have utmost respect for her teachings and her work in healing addictions.Healing fear of fear, something that started a long time ago.
So this format was the first of six sessions where we would meet with Lynn and do visualization exercises .This event had the same feeling as a POW WOW . There is a feeling of the sacred with you,in you and around you.You know you are walking on holy ground and at times in the visualizations you can feel the transcendence of the Divine guiding you.At one point I was totally in the moment with a brown bear, my dreaming totem, we walk through a sunny meadow together.I was there! A few weeks before I was wondering about if the bear was my dreaming totem or not??I didn't know it was BROWN and this does have a meaning only to me.
Another time I was deep in meditation and saw my Celtic Grandmother a wonderful elder all dressed in green and woolen shawal.She knew me and smiled at me, I felt very good and uplifted my heart opened and I was filled with Divine light from somewhere in my soul and my mind was clear my body relaxed.
This is the heart and soul of Lynn's work for me.She , The Sisterhood of Shields ad her apprentices can invoke the Divine presence.The visualizations differ, the stories differ, but they all have one common purpose.We are all created in Divine beauty divine joy and love.We are all original teachers and students of this divine love and can tap into this grace,as we need it is our sacred birthright.From early childhood we are taught otherwise, so we need return to our original instinct and begin a shift in perception, then receiving this Divine protector and guidance.This is the journey one undergoes in the Mystery School and has a small experience with at Josuha Tree gathering.Living ones destiny you might say.
My experience throughout these meditations of visualizations was far greater than anything \i could have imagined.I hve been studying for three years online courses and have some experiences with her abilities.In person was far better.
The soft drumming took us off to the supper hour.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Prayer The Drum

At the Sky Harbor, Phoenix airport my ride is no where in sight of the pick up spot i was told about.
After borrowing a cell phone and waiting a half hour I step into an air conditioned SUV from terminal 4 and head for the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale.
"How come so many trucks and SUV'S here, you dont have snow "
"Well its kind of a cowboy thing here.The guys go up in those sand dunes you see in those hills over there and just house around." "Thats what they like to do here " That's would have made perfect sense to me when I was 12. I miss my little brown Fiat back home, in an after thought.
The ride in cost me 35.00 and the ride out on the Franciscan account cost me 20.
There are two lifestyles in Phoenix, the haves and the have nots. It took me a day or two to learn how to sidestep the hustlers the quick dough makers.I also met the kids in school and working.One little guy told me his grandpa gaving him a guitar and when he dont think life is so great he can sit and play and sing.We had a lot on common.
Im not at the desk of the Franciscan Renewal Center , when Im met by a cherrful smile and bright brown eyes of a lady named Colleen. The first wiff of Celticness since I left Nova Scotia!!!Refreshing!! We laugh and joke a bit then she sets me up with all I need for the four minute walk to my quarters.What a lovely place!!! A true oasis in the dessert of commercialism!! St Francis of Assisi would be proud of this glorious endeavor. I pass a temple, a pool,a kitchen,coolers,the most wonderful cedar trees I have ever seen and a rose bed! All kept immaculate by volunteers.
The facility was a paradise 6 or 7 hummingbirds played and frolicked outside my window the whole time was there filling my heart with Joy healing me to greet another very hot day, and rising.The meals were delicious and the staff were on the spot.I would return in a more winter setting just to visit this sweet and silently hillside casa .It is truly a spiritual gift to have been able to live for a week within its walls.
Cacti glore met my eyes at every they are majestic and wonderous at survival in the hot temperatures! Im amazed at their endurance!
My favorite spot was a circle of rocking chairs about 50 yard from my door, so at 5am I made my way there in silence, smudged with sweet grass, prayed, meditation, then off to breakfast.I felt safe and grounded in this little cicle of rocking chairs.It was as if I had been welcomed into a healing circle of ancestors, who knew I was comming and knew my every need.
Behind this grove was a small temple, the original built in 1784.I went here to meditate on my last day and thinking it was just a perfect place for the acoustics I sang my last prayer of worship!
As I was thinking about what to sing I sat in stillness and silence looking at a white dove pictured in the carpet,the sun shone through a stain glass window .I thought os how many prayers were already said in the holy place, I thought of my son, I thought of all the people who helped to bring me to this moment in time and I felt pride in who I had become as a woman.A song came from my lips that I have not sung in many years as a girl in church, and I sang it with gusto and tears streaming down my face in joy and some sorrow.I knew I was releasing my son from family commitments and leaving him to do his final soul work here on the earth.
    Oh Lord my God when I in awesome wonder
     consider all the world thy hands have made
    I see the stars I hear the rolling thunder
    Thy power throughout the Universe displayed
     Then sings my soul my savior God to thee
    How Great thou art How Great thou art............
I finished the song, gave thanks and left for my plane home.

The Prayer, The Drum

It's a dark ,cool June,3am morning in the underground garage where my daughter keeps her car.The one that has decided not to start for reasons we wont go into here .Im on my way to catch a flight to Phoenix Arizona for the 29th Joshua Tree  gathering with women from around world. Lynn Andrews is a shaman woman of renowned distinction , author or more than 20 books on the ancient teachings of The Sisterhood of Shields. She has a mystery school for self healing and a school for artists who are learning to write called Writing Spirit. For Lynn it all began with a dream and so like unfolds from our dreams.This pilgrimage, the vision quest from the shores of Nova Scotia to Arizona is a dream come true for me and Im not surprised the car won't start.Every good thing has a price.
If there is one person who believes in me its my oldest daughter Kelly. She gracefully wipps out her phone calls a friend cabby and Im off to the airport in style .I am constantly in amazement of her and she has become one of my best friends.
We are ordinary women with extraordinary skills most of which we have honed in the Great Mystery of life.These women who are hosting with Lynn are students of her mystery school. Im excited yet Im cam and sensible for I know not to place anyone on a pedestal and all gifts are equal to Great Spirit?God, Allah, Buddha, Higher consciousness of the Universe.
There is only one great death trap awaiting me in Phoenix which I have absolutely no awareness of. HEAT !!! Unbearable heat and a killer for someone a ignorant of dessert life as I am.
The plane is huge but seems small its over crowded and worn.
The trip to Toronto is without incident and I arrive in US customs where I take off my shoes to be inspected. That,s a first. You can smell fear everywhere.
We take off for Phoenix, the man beside me on the left is very afraid of flying and sleeps.\he is pale and I intuit he has taken pills to allow him some sleeping comfort while flying.The man on my left is talking about his philanthropic endeavors; of he and his wife, who is seated in the isle seat beside him.He speaks openly anout his money, his wife, his connections and all the goods he has shipped all over the world to third world countries.And make no mistake he owns it all. . He is a good man. His ignorance is that he beleives like so many the America is number one in the world, in abundance , in love, in goodness, in grace,in generosity etc. He cannot see the starving in the streets, he cannot see the lonely in the old peoples homes......he is as Jesus said poor in sight. So we listen to him then he turns to a movie and I meditate.
I can see out the window now all there is NOT for me to see.I who just left my beautiful eat Atlantic coast line of Nova Scotia.I see barrren dessert, no trees no hardwoods, no ocean or water at all,.I see sand craters and grid and grid of little houses with pools. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The young girl waited in the borrow for her horse, a white stallion of silken hair to come to her beating heart.. She was so excited to see him once again she ran all the way over the fields and the bridge at the edge of the farm. She ran past the witching tree and waved to the old woman who lived in the cracked wooden shack at he edge of the village.
Chalice had been wondering most of the morning over the green fields eating and  feeling strong in the wind of the north south.He watched the farmer bring in the vegetables from the fields, cabbages, carrrots, his favorite, and some of the last bits of hay another favorite of his. He was feeling lonely since his friend the mare had been sold off the farm last spring. he hoped Margaret would be at the burrow and they would go flying. he only knnew how to fly with Margaret on his back because she had a very special medicine of sky sound, and when she sat on his back they could fly out past the earth, the hemisphere and the Pleiades. This brought him great comport and seemed to be very healing and joyous for Margaret as well.
Sometimes they would land on an island star and drink for its regenerative waters and just breath in the holiness of the renewing air there.Then return to earth .he never knew how long they were gone from earth but then horses did not need to know these things anyway.
There she was all dressed in violet and yellow dress and hat waiting for him. She scooped up her skirt stepped off the rock and sat easily on Chalice's back.All the magical mindfullness her grandmother had taught her about seeking adventure and knowledge far out into the Universe came back to her and they lifted off for another adventure in the sky beyond mind.