Just passing through......

Musings of a lowly pilgrim
Life lessons | Mental Health | Nature | Photography | Social Issues | Stewards of our planet | Travel


March 16, 2019

Life is indeed an adventure, whether you travel the world or stay in one place. I go to more places in my mind than I ever will bodily. Things are getting better, but not because of any outward changes, though I am working on a few of those.

Late afternoon from my window

In my last post, I was in a mighty battle with resentment and, guess what? I won. That thing is evil, we all deal with it, but it will suck the life out of you. I had an intense discussion with my dad a while back and emptied my pain onto him. I needed him to know the reality of how I felt. Funny thing, reality. My truth is most definitely not his, and that’s fair. You know, I have tried for a while now to understand how my dad became the person that he is. It has occurred to me that he must have suffered something truly traumatic in his life to have so completely shut down the ability to feel. And he has, such a miserable life he doesn’t talk much about it. I have to pry it out of him. So, when I asked him how he felt about my confession, he could say truthfully that he could not comprehend how I could experience such hurt and anger. That says a lot about him, his ability to deflect anything that would cause him pain. The downside of that is the inability to feel anything. And, so, for my own heart’s benefit, I apologized for any possibility of causing him grief. I am relieved, though, to have made my peace with my dad. It no longer matters to me that he wants to deny events from the past. And now I hope that he will never come to the full realization of what his actions or inactions have caused. It would kill him. It killed my husband.

There is a reason the Lord’s prayer says “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Whether or not you believe in the existence of God, the rule applies. If we do not forgive those who hurt us, then we will not receive forgiveness, not because God or the universe is trying to punish us, but because we are nurturing a cancerous growth within and it poisons no one but ourselves.

Costa Rican forest

So I carried around a backpack of guilt on top of the suitcase of resentment for a couple of weeks while I worked on unloading each one bit by bit. It was awesome! I hate to use that word because it is so overused, but shedding all that negativity felt like a metamorphosis, with fragments of the old dropping off while this joyous creature was revealed, arms stretching to the heavens, face aglow with jubilation and thankfulness. I don’t think I have had to work so hard at losing those emotions before, but once I was focussed on turning my back on the evil that was destroying me, it became easier. Each time that demon popped up I just held my hand up and said “no”!

I had forgotten how evil tries to take a person down. So I had a little refresher course, and I’m equipped again to resist. And I am amazed to observe the parallels between the secular and non-secular world once again. You can believe in the teachings of Christ, or you can believe in the teachings of positivity, the point is to turn away from the angels of darkness that flock to the side of anyone cradling resentment.  I understand that it is overwhelming for some who have suffered extreme trauma and I’m not judging anyone who is in the conflict. I’m just celebrating my own emancipation.

Costa Rica

And not all feelings of pain are necessarily bad. The bad is when it corrodes your insides and turns you into a bitter person. And that’s only bad because it destroys your life. If you can take that pain and somehow use it to help others or hold it as pain and not let it transform into a malignancy that becomes your undoing, then it can occupy a place in your life. I hope I never reach a point where I can’t feel, whether it is pain or joy, but I do hope that each time I face evil, I will be able to stare it down and trample it underfoot. Speaking of which, do you know the story of Amanda Lindhout? She was a freelance journalist from Red Deer, Alberta who was kidnapped in Somalia and held captive along with her photographer for 460 days. If you are in need of an inspirational read, I recommend her compelling book, “A House in the Sky.”

Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Costa Rica

So now I am struggling with my schooling. It is so depressing, learning about all the injustices in this world along with the snaillike speed of change, that I’m not even sure I can continue. I am trying, but I am also trying to search out activities that will lift me up. Studying all the issues women face, even in this modern society, causes me to reflect on my own life and the result, as you may have noticed, is not good. The next few months will determine whether or not I will keep going. I know, I’m so fickle. Maybe one day I will discover where I belong in this world. Until then I will continue to explore different avenues. I have managed to complete one of my courses and, though I bombed on my research proposal ( 77%, so disappointed with myself), I pulled off a 98.13% on my final assignment.

I have offered my voluntary services to the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society and attended an orientation session last weekend. I will be mostly cleaning out animal cages and preparing the food for the residents, but I love wildlife so much that being around the animals will be such a thrill. At least that is what is in my mind at present. I have been wrong so many times in the last five years that I could be wrong again, but I will give it a try.


I have also joined an amateur photography group that gets together fairly frequently. My first meet up was so much fun even though I was the most amateur photographer in the group. I mean, some of those people already make money with their photography. It was terrific to be amongst humans, though, and I even met a vegan who I was able to identify by the winter coat she was wearing. (It was a Noize coat, in case you are wondering, vegan, cruelty-free and affordable).

A model from my photography class. Isn’t she beautiful!

Hannah and I attended a peaceful demonstration against Canada Goose on the weekend, a luxury outerwear company that uses coyote fur and goose down in their clothing. I will spare you the horrors of how that is acquired but if you are interested click on Canada Goose. Be warned, though, it is disturbing. The response to our little group, out there freezing with our signs, was genuinely uplifting. I don’t attend a lot of demonstrations, but I have been to a few in the past several years and never have I experienced such encouragement before. I’ll tell you, the vegan community is growing, and it is terrific. There are always demonstrations happening in Calgary, one of the benefits of living in an urban area, so I plan on attending more of those. And maybe one day I will be selfless enough to become 100% vegan, but, until then, I will continue to support their efforts to make this world a cruelty-free, sustainable place to live in.

Hannah at the Canada Goose demonstration

I had a visit from my sister-in-law a few weeks ago, and she had an interesting perspective on my complete lack of sense or self-control over the past couple of years. She said it was natural that I would go a little wild after being controlled for so long. I never thought of it that way before, but I like it! Any excuse will do!

Nerah and Shalom enjoying their new cat tree
Nerah and Shalom enjoying their new cat tree

I am always amazed at how I am influenced by my environment. I must be the most susceptible person on the planet. The weather, the people, or lack of, my reading material, everything……..but that can be a good thing at times. One of my co-workers always comments on what a special person she thinks I am, but it is she who is special, and always radiates such beautiful energy so that I, like the sponge I am, just soak it up. But, see, that’s the key. Spread your beauty around, and it will cause you to shine while casting warmth on those around you. And, by the way, I’m loving working at the library again, humble though it may be. Humble is good, and so are the people I work with.

I have come through the valley of the shadow of death, and I’m okay. My apologies to those of you who have been caught in the peripheral of my darkness. It hasn’t been pretty. And I wonder if I needed to go through all that miry slough or was I being self-indulgent? In the end, though, life is good. I just have to want to find the goodness. The moral of this story is: there is a time for everything, but be sure to keep moving through the valley.


And also my apologies to those who aren’t fans of David Bowie. He was a large part of my teen years and early adulthood. I always enjoyed observing his changes. Now I am observing mine………

  1. Despite my lack of faith in any god, though I certainly believe in good, we have so much in common, Tina. Maybe I have more difficulty staying positive in my unusual solitude but I keep fighting each day for as long as I can. My little garden of Eden and the nearby countryside are helping – when it’s not too cold to be outdoors.
    The winter has to end soon, before the hay fever season starts!
    Love, Robert

    1. The longer I spend on this earth, the more I believe we are more connected to others than we think we are. I don’t think we are meant to be solitary creatures, it has been my experience that too much time alone is not good for the soul. It’s not good for mine. You’ve had a rough go of it and I don’t pretend to know what’s best for you, but for myself, life is a constant battle, a battle to overcome the grasping fingers that are forever reaching out to drag me down. But I’ve had enough of the torment of those clasping bony appendages from the depths of Hades. I will not allow them to get a hold of my soul. I will get up each day, thankful for the life I have. Just as your garden and choir give you respite, my little excursions into nature do the same for me, while my connection with my family and friends keep me from shrivelling up. What more can we do? ❤️

  2. Much love Aunty Tina x life is not an easy path to walk. I’m finding life’s journey challenging often blinded by life’s negativity that ties you in knots. I’m in therapy for the 3rd time in my life trying to make sense of my mind and the trials of life. I hope to find the light at the end of the tunnel and find peace. Sending love and prayers. I try to live with the belief God works in mysterious ways and he’s been beside me all my life, he’s giving me joys words can’t describe so I choose to believe he is there, he will help me through the darkness however long it lasts. There will be light x

    1. There WILL be light! There will ALWAYS be light. Life is really hard. Whoever said it was easy was lying. It’s up to us to try to turn our thoughts around. One day at a time. Start in the morning, think of things to be grateful for. And when you want to quit because it’s just too darn hard, keep going, keep focussing on the little bit that gives you joy. You don’t have to face all the pain. It’s okay to turn your back on it. Keep looking ahead, keep following the light. I’m not saying you will be happy all of the time. Nobody is. But you have to find reasons to keep going. I’m glad you have your faith. That’s so important. Much love ❤️

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