Tag Archives: Quaker

What does it mean to be a Canadian Citizen? Winter 2015

What does it mean to be a Canadian Citizen?

January 30 – Canadian Citizenship. We just got our letter. We have been invited to become citizens. Our ceremony is March 13, 2016. This is the culmination, a final achievement, and a last step in a seven-year journey. It begets the privilege to vote as I have already been paying taxes (in both the US and Canada). It is a testimony, a commitment to a path, which took us to another country. It is also an insurance policy. Not only is achieving citizenship in Canada symbolic of “walking one’s talk”, it gives me permission to finally speak my mind and walk my talk here without fear of being deported. (As an immigrant, especially emigrating from the US, deportation lurks as a fear especially with Conservative Prime Minister Harper tightening up the immigration policy of this great nation that prides itself on being a “Cultural Mosaic”.) I can join my Quaker Friends to protest the expansion of oil exports through first nations’ lands and nature conservancies. I can be political and I can vote for the amazing green party leader Elizabeth May or the Liberal Party’s Justin Trudeau.

As a committed Quaker who strives to lead an authentic life, the welling up of tears and the rising of emotion surprises me. Strong emotion. It is joy, relief, and maybe even sadness – I have stepped ahead and made a commitment to a new life in a new country – albeit as a dual citizen. I have not left my nation of origin behind. There is a sense that I have changed my allegiance, but my allegiance is not to a country and not to a government.

However, what I realize at this moment is that my allegiance is to family, friends, and ultimately to spirit. My final and utter allegiance is to this beautiful earth. Everything comes back to a sense of place, which transcends all rules and regulations and laws. It is the unity of heart, mind and spirit that makes me who I am and makes me a citizen and child of Mother Earth. This is what Ravens View Farm means to me; sacred ground that happens to be in Canada, that called to me and invited me to steward it into the future for the next generation. This sacred ground is waking my spirit and my understanding of life, death and existence. The final frontier is actually in our own back yards.

Friday, March 13th, our lucky day! Today was the day Mark and I became Canadian Citizens. So anxious was I, it turns out I input the date for March 11, 2015 as our Citizen Ceremony date. So we made the trip into Kelowna and our friends came to celebrate with us, but as I said, “Better two days early than two days late!”

It was a wonderful ceremony so many immigrants from all over the works and all walks of life. Today 84 people from 30 countries became citizens of Canada. And there are only one million people currently in the queue to become citizens like us. Of course the journey has been a tremendous ride of applications, visa renewals, permanent residency and finally citizenship. They took our permanent residency cards, our proof heretofore of our ability to return to our community, our farm and now our adopted country. This is a culmination of a long life-changing journey. No longer are we legally tied to the racism, sexism, and increasing incivility of the United States as manifested in what is called a democracy. We are now proud and honoured citizens of Canada, which is truly a polite society that is incredibly gracious welcoming, and warm despite being the land above the 49th parallel. Thank you Canada.

The day after the 2012 Election in the US

Wednesday November 7, 2012, The day after the 2012 Election in the US.

It is interesting in this day after the 2012 election pondering what this means for the United States and how I feel as an expatriate.  I am still a citizen of United states although am a permanent resident of my adopted country Canada and will soon be applying for citizen ship having been resident for now fives years. 

We are expatriates, my husband Mark and I, having left the United
States after the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004.  When Obama was elected four years ago so many of our friends,  family and acquaintances who knew of our “defection” asked, “Are you going to move back now?” Well if Canada and the Okanagan Valley had not embraced us so warmly and so generously, maybe I might have considered it. But it is clear that we are meant to be here in Canada, in British Columbia, and in Peachland, on this lovely little “hobby” fam.  But of course we replied that  we will wait and see.  And how prophetically this convenient answer was to this query, because how sorely disappointed we have been in the performance, the decisions and the lack of honouring promises made by this idealistic and amazing young leader.  But when Guantanamo Bay’s prison was not closed down and still detains, to this day, suspected terrorists without due process of law, I wonder, “Where is Justice?”  When the war in Afghanistan, albeit an inherited war, continues as a Quaker I ask, “Where is the peace making?” 

One cannot deny that Obama inherited a hideous situation not of his making and was challenged far beyond what any president since Roosevelt faced with war, pending economic collapse, and countless other debacles that were foisted on the American people by an ineffective and glib and ignorant president who was at the beck and call of people fueled by greed and the hunger for absolute power.

So you can see my politics.  But what are my politics?  In this time of spiritual upheaval and spiritual renewal and spiritual awakening, where are their politics. And what do I believe is the meaning of
this election in which Barack was re-elected by a hair with a country divided in their politics, their beliefs, and their values. 

It is an election where people have

  • respected people of the same sex to marry. 
  • recognized that maybe marijuana is not much different than alcohol and should be legal.  And that the
  • understood that the United states is a cultural mosaic like Canada and not a melting pot in which everyone is assimilated into one, but a country in which we have our differences of race, creed, sex, sexual preference, education and whatnot. 

In a country that is nearly evenly divided, are we “polarized” or are we coming into balance? Are we no longer giving credence and lip service to the extremists, but realizing that there is value in recognizing and respecting our differences? Maybe we are getting closer to becoming “one”.  Is it blind optimism to believe that we are witnessing a shift? We all saw how Romney went from the extreme right trying to appeal to the “Tea Party” to becoming more and more moderate to appeal to a larger electorate. There is a coming together in this balanced and evenly divided election.  I find hope in this election like I haven’t felt in a long while. 

Reconciling Buddhist Practice within a Quaker Community

Meditations on Buddhism – Reconciling Buddhist Practice within a Quaker Community

Taking Refuge

Taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha . . . What does this mean to a person who identifies herself as a Quaker and who comes from a White Anglo Saxon Protestant background and sang in the choir of the family’s Episcopal church even after her parents left the church?

Taking refuge in the Buddha is taking refuge in the knowledge that we are spiritual beings. Just as all Christians have that of “God” in all of us and all Quakers are guided by our inner light and recognize the inner light of others so to we are all Buddhas.   Essentially this means we are all one regardless of our religious backgrounds and beliefs and in the end we are all spiritual beings.

Taking refuge in the Dharma is taking refuge in the teachings of Buddha and the masters and teachers who are instrumental in sharing knowledge of the practices that aid us in fully experiencing our humanity and understanding our path in this life time.

Taking refuge in the Sangha and taking refuge in a community of people who hold deep spiritual beliefs and hold the space for spiritual practice and understanding and support us on our path to realize ourselves. My Sangha is my Quaker Community.

Reconciling Buddhist Practice within a Quaker Community.