A Money Coach in Canada

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Art of Contentment posts are about appreciating what is, and experiencing life as richly as possible, as a small act of freedom from the relentless pull to buy more.

Summer’s here way up here in Yellowknife – boy is it ever – and I am determined to take in every summery experience possible.

So I hitched a lift with a friend and visited the local swimming hole of choice for locals. I haven’t been since I was a teenager in my pre-Vancouver life. It’s something alright. Unless you’re one of my BC readers (and even then, I’d only begrudgingly cede) , I bet you ain’t never swum at a place like this before. Keep scrolling below the fold, btw.

THE SAFE(ISH) SWIMMING AREA. COOL AND CLEAN AND CLEAR WATERS.

I DIDN’T HAVE THE NERVE. WOULD YOU?

SAFE ISH BECAUSE JUST AROUND THE BEND, SUPER-CLOSE, IS THIS

OH. YOU WANTED A CLOSER LOOK? YOU GOT IT!

AND, SOMEONE TELL ME —–> OFF ONE OF THE TRIBUTARIES — IS THIS WHAT I THINK IT IS???

AND AFTER THE DRAMA, THIS VISTA:

Yeah, that sounds kinda nuts.

But here’s where I’m coming from.   In 2009 I saw the film Food Inc., and have never really been the same since.  I went without pork for a year, and bought only free-range meat when I could.  I even valiantly tried to learn to fish and fillet them. Thankfully, a group of Yellowknifers went together to buy organic beef, pork and chickens from a pretty cool farm in Alberta, so bacon’s on the table once again.

This is all very good, but I have been aware of how utterly disconnected I  remain from my food (which has possibly prevented psychosis).

This summer was different.  In the UK, animals and farms are extraordinarily visible.  Again and again I was within yards of sheep, cows, pigs, goats and chickens.  They were how I like to think of livestock:  ranging freely, in lovely green pastures and rolling hills. If only that were the norm in North America!   I was even able to pet some of the cows and sheep!  While I’m still confounded about taking their lives eventually, at least knowing they had reasonably natural and peaceful grazing lives eases my discomfort.

When is the last time you drove by your future food?

And as ridiculous as it seems, this was my first time that I can recall that I ever saw cows chewing their cud! (ignore the talking in the clip).

Not once, not ever in my life, have I had to worry about any Americans either formally or informally raiding my country with guns or bombs. Nor ever in my life has Canada been overwhelmed by waves of refugees from the USA fleeing their leaders.

And while I rant and fight against aspects of the underbelly of our neighbour, and will continue to do so, on the whole I, like most Canadians (I hope), have an ongoing, quiet love affair with so much that the States is, and gratitude for what it has contributed to my experience as a Canadian (or indeed a global citizen).

For NASA, which generously shares its discoveries and images from the deep mystery of space (of outer space!), Thank you!

For Frank Lloyd Wright, who brought such a refreshing vision of what architecture could be, and for the Chrysler Building, arguable NYCs most recognized building, with good reason, Thank you!

For all the American innovators who in my lifetime have opened the world to anyone with access to the net, the folks behind Google, YouTube, Flickr, Apple, Expedia, Thank you!

For the gutsy, lonely, on-fire-for-their-cause heros, for Gloria Steinem who forced the conversation about what it means, or doesn’t to be a woman, for Martin Luther King, for Malcolm X, for Dorothy Day and Eleanor Roosevelt Thank you!

And particularly dear to my heart, Thank you to the many business pioneers showing us it *is* possible to care for the Planet AND People AND be profitable! Ben and Jerry’s, Tom’s of Maine, Tom’s Shoes (no relation!), EcoScraps, Method … vive les social entrepreneurs!

Art of Contentment … so glad to have such an all-kinds-of-awesome neighbour.

Happy 4th of July!

photo credit: supa_pedro

I spent much of Monday on an English Seaside. The picture speaks for itself. Later, a friend found this poem by Robert Frost which I thought apropos to both the experience, and the act of jumping off the consumption train (this month’s blog theme) in favour of the art of contentment.
______________________________________

Why make so much of fragmentary blue
In here and there a bird, or butterfly,
Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye,
When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?

Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)—
Though some savants make earth include the sky;
And blue so far above us comes so high,
It only gives our wish for blue a whet.

For some time now I’ve been buying free range eggs.

But I’m ruined for that now. I’m currently in England and my hosts … well, I’ll let the photos below speak for themselves.

Dear Chickens Maisey and Mrs. Pepperpot, Thanks so very much for a delicious lunch!

As ridiculous as it may sound, I’m really chuffed to have the opportunity to closely connect my food with its source. And such clucky, feathery, cheery sources!

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