How many times have I written about change in this blog?  I grew up a military brat.  Change was the order of the day, and long into my adult life, I have found my psyche continuing to operate on the four year cycle my whole life revolved around.  I have always relished and embraced change, learned to never fear it or run from it.  Experience taught me that the best medicine for an aching loneliness was to get out there and get involved, make new friends, learn to belong asap.

Seven years ago today, that cycle of change brought me to Canmore to begin a new life with my family.  I had quit the legal profession that had stimulated my intellect and sucked out my soul for fifteen years, and turned my life back to my creativity.  We arrived in this town – rootless, friendless, homeless and with no more belongings than we could carry in our suitcases – in search of a more whole life.  We sought peace, and a community in which we could raise our family and pursue the creative life we both so craved.  I will never forget those first weeks, all of us aching in our torn up roots.  And what did this community do?  It reached out, opened its arms and embraced us. 

Now, seven years later, it is hard to accurately remember living any other way.  Our lives so filled with friends and colleagues who have gifted us with their hearts, their friendship, their creative spirit and their love, living life at a level of creative vibration and enrichment none of us could ever have dreamed of.  The last couple of weeks have been incredibly trying, as I have dealt with the fallout of a difficult decision I had to make to remove myself from a role I had fulfilled in different ways since arriving in Canmore.  That decision was painful, and the fallout has been, and continues to be, even more so.   And once again, this community of friends has opened its arms and embraced, have turned shoulder to shoulder to protect one of their own.  I have found myself close to tears often over recent days, and not because of the pain or the sorrow.  No, what has moved me to tears has been the intense loyalty, the love, the support and the encouragement that has shown me truly the depth of bond established with this community.  We came strangers seven years ago, and today we remain as friends.

I’ve ceased to wonder at the things life throws at me.  No matter what idea I have of how my life should go, or the things I hope it will bring for my family, I find life and the universe, God or the Great Mother, or Providence, or whatever you believe in has some very firm ideas for me.  Whenever I take a step off the path it considers right for me, I am given a firm and loving redirection.  Sometimes, if I don’t listen well enough, like any errant puppy being trained to the leash, that correction can be quite sharp and insistent, as now.  It knows me well, it knows if ties are permitted to remain, I will be drawn back to give myself again, to expend my energies fulfilling the drive of a passionate heart and detracting from the energy I need to expend in other directions. 

Seven years have taught me to love, have bonded me to this community in a way I have never been bonded in my homeless military life.    The decision I made created a space in my life into which creative spirit and opportunity rushed.  The last week has brought riches to my feet I never dared to hope for and showed me unequivocally that the decision was the correct one.  I am honoured and grateful for the support that has been shown me, for the many kindnesses directed at me from unexpected quarters, and for the staunch love with which I have been barricaded as I make yet another massive transition in my life.

I bear a tattoo that encircles my upper left arm.  It is of two entwined serpents knotted together in a Celtic knot pattern.   It means Respice Prospice, in Latin.  Translated, it means “Look backward, look forward.”  Now is a time to look forward, and I turn my face to the sun and let the shadows fall behind me.  Those knots mean more to me now than the day they were carved into my arm to mark the end of my old life and the beginning of my new one.  Now, they symbolise the knots of friendship.To each and every last one of you, my friends, my colleagues:   Thank you.  The gift you have given me goes far beyond the help you believe you are giving.  It goes to my heart, and to my soul.  And to my roots.  Happy Anniversary, Canmore.

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