Archive for the ‘Higher Self’ Category


UN International Day of Peace

Keen! If you are in the States, you can send a text message. Living anywhere else? You can send a message of peace online.

Goodness knows we could use some uplifting and peaceful thoughts these days. I could get in to a long speech about how our thoughts are energy and have a tangible impact on the world of matter – but I won’t. At least not right now. Just go for it. Think peace for a little while. See how it feels.

Here’s my first shot:

Peace will never be felt while we are divided. While one gender is treated as inferior, while the earth is taken for granted, and while we allow one group to suffer for the benefit of another. When we realize we are all one – then we will have peace. Create a compassionate world that cherishes peace, abundance, and diversity.


Posted by Vanessa on September 2nd, 2008

Filed under Higher Self, human rights, politics, UN | Comments Off

Our Charter rights under threat?

Just in case you don’t read this blog yourselves, I thought I’d share. is run by Osgoode Hall students to keep track of what is happening with the Supreme Court of Canada – it’s funky cool (well, for a law junkie).

This post is about section 24(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is the one that protects us from illegal search and seizure – the procurement of evidence in court by means that violate our rights. The author, D. Silva, contends that a couple of recent rulings by the Ontario Court of Appeals totally negate 24(2) in cases where a gun was found.

I realize that there is a gun problem, and yes, it would be nice if something could be done about it. However, I’m not sure I’m ready to sacrifice my Charter rights in order to be ‘safer’. Actually, I’m pretty positive about that.

Of course, I feel pretty much the same way about a lot of the ‘security measures’ put in place to combat terrorism. For me, it boils down to the question of security – and what that means. It seems that we are trying to create a society where everyone is always safe all the time. The image I get in my head is of a society of people in bubbles – totally protected but totally isolated and looking pretty stupid with no real freedom.

Here is my own personal version of security:

There is no way that the state is ever going to be able to protect me from every nutjob out there who wants to hurt me. If someone wants to kill people, they will find a way. Harm done to a person that way is a violation of their rights, no question, and needs to be dealt with by the justice system – but we will never have a totally safe society. You can’t produce a society with no risk if people are to have any freedoms.

BUT when the risk to my personal rights and liberty is posed by the state itself and has been made a part of the system – now that’s scary.

The willingness of citizens to give up their rights and freedoms because they are scared is the biggest threat to my sense of security.

Section 24


  1. Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.
  2. Where, in proceedings under subsection (1), a court concludes that evidence was obtained in a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, the evidence shall be excluded if it is established that, having regard to all the circumstances, the admission of it in the proceedings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

Posted by Vanessa on February 29th, 2008

Filed under Canada, Civil Society, Higher Self, human rights, integrity, justice, law, Ontario | 1 Comment »

Cuba: really an island prison?

Here is my response to Theo Caldwell’s column on Cuba and Canada’s relationship and tourism to said country.

“Dear Theo, I look forward to reading your next article on the Chinese dictatorship and an equally strong exhortation to the Canadian public and government to not only sever trade relations but to also boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an act of appeasement that gives me the shivers.

Or, if not, here is my actual comment. I am disappointed, but sadly not surprised by Theo’s article.

It is the venom with which Castro’s regime is discussed by many ideologues (neoliberal, neocon) that I do not trust. If that level of vitriol were equally directed at other dictatorships I would find it easier to accept – it’s the adjectives that get to me.

Generally, dictators who have allowed liberal market policies and have repressed ideologies that the ruling classes find offensive have been tolerated if not embraced. On the other hand, Castro has always been vilified and targeted. What I am trying to say is that ill treatment of one’s populace has rarely been a criteria for trade policies and Canada has cozied up to regimes that are far worse than Castro’s.

I’d just like to see the same standards applied across the board – not just to countries who are so resource poor that all they have to offer is a warm beach.

Having said that, I agree with you. Cuba is not at the top of my list for warm holidays. As a matter of fact, the whole “sunny holiday to desperately poor nations” obsession of Canadians leaves me cold.”

I’m still reeling from the idea that I joined the forums at The Post, but one does what one must to join the conversation.

Posted by Vanessa on February 23rd, 2008

Filed under Canada, China, Civil Society, Cuba, foreign aid, Higher Self, integrity, IR, Olympics, Theo Caldwell, travel | Comments Off

Canada’s Woeful Performance in Bali

Canada has twice been awarded the daily Fossil award by the Climate Action Network this week in Bali.

Understandable. Our government has embarrassed us in front of the world with their false concern about climate change. From one side they speak of Canada’s commitments while from the other they work to sabotage the attempts by the rest of the world to actually do something. To do something now. Before 2020. Before the next election cycle. Our national short-sightedness is disheartening, to say the least.

Here is a link to sign a petition specifically for Harper and newspapers across Canada. Please sign and add your name to the (hopefully) huge list of people in Canada who actually care about our global reputation, not to mention the relatively minor issue of the catastrophic damage being caused by climate change.

I am stunned that people still vote conservative.

But I guess what really upsets me most is what the conservative position says about the character of Canadians. Are we really a nation that gives up so easily? My understanding is that when the Harper government took power they were faced with a difficult decision on what to do about Kyoto. After years of neglect by the Liberal governments – who pretended to care while doing basically nothing – it looked almost impossible for Canada to meet its commitments under the Kyoto agreement. I appreciate that.

But instead of saying “Gee, Canada’s international reputation is on the line – we had better buckle down and do some pretty amazing things here to do the best we can to meet our national commitments. But it’s okay, we know that Canadians are totally amazing and we can come together as a country and do what needs to be done.”

They said, “Gee, Canada’s international reputation is on the line – we had better back out of a legally binding agreement and postpone taking any action until long after our government’s term will be over. That way we won’t have to do anything and we’ll be able to blame it on the Liberals.”

Shame on them. And shame on us for letting them get away with it.

I believe that Canadians can do amazing things and that we can help lead the world – but we certainly won’t with the government we have now.

It is time for a different type of politics.

A few more sites of interest:

David Suzuki (the Nature of Things) calls the government’s spin on climate change “humiliating” and “ludicrous”.

The former editor-in-chief of CBC news discusses the damage done by Canada’s climate policy to our international reputation.

This is a report from CTV on Canada’s performance (or lack of) at the conference so far.

The Fossil of the Day Award site.

Posted by Vanessa on December 11th, 2007

Filed under Bali, Canada, climate change, environment, Green, Higher Self, integrity, Kyoto, politics | Comments Off

Canada’s Integrity = My Integrity

Here’s the thing – I am passionate about Canada, I love being Canadian and I proudly identify myself as Canadian wherever I go.

Here’s the problem – if Canada is my country (and as a democracy there is no way I can get out of taking responsibility for it and ownership of it) then when Canada does something that violates its integrity, it violates my integrity.

Well, I’m pretty partial to my integrity and I don’t like having it screwed up by my government. (Shockingly, this is not a Kyoto tirade.)

And it is being screwed up, has been messed up and is increasingly being lost. Canada has the interesting distinction of being the country who has signed the most international agreements and is part of the most international organizations – that means that we are the world’s most committed country to international relations.

So when we break our commitments, we lose integrity. Today I’m a little upset about our arms trade – did you know that we are in the Top 10 and possibly in the Top 5 of the world’s largest arms suppliers. I say possibly because Canada has not kept accurate records and reporting for the last several years. Our transparency rating on arms sales is now placing us just above Iran. Seriously, how embarrassing.

The worst part is that the arms we do produce quite often end up being used by states against their own civilian populations. So now, not only do I live in a country that is a major arms supplier, I am also complicit in egregious state-committed human rights violations. Fabulous. That is a definite compromise of my integrity.

I am so not voting Liberal or Conservative.

Posted by Vanessa on December 1st, 2007

Filed under arms, Canada, Higher Self, integrity, justice, law, politics | 2 Comments »

Why do we need a Vision?

GAB got me thinking about the idea of a national vision and how we don’t seem to have one, or at least not one that has captured my fancy.

What is a Vision? Here is one answer from Susan Ward at, adapted for politics:

“What you are doing when creating a vision statement is articulating your dreams and hopes for your country. It reminds you of what you are trying to build.

While a vision statement doesn’t tell you how you’re going to get there, it does set the direction for your planning. That’s why it’s important when crafting a vision statement to let your imagination go and dare to dream – and why it’s important that a vision statement captures your passion.”

I have a personal Vision Statement and it has created the space for me to go back to school with the aim of heading off to Law School. One year ago, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and if I had not sat down and thought very hard, brainstormed very creatively and dreamed a little I would still be slogging away, my life much the same, sinking slowly ever deeper in debt and knowing that something was amiss but not knowing what it was.

My Vision has wrought massive change in my life, I am moving in a month, I’ve gone back to school, and I’ve had to re-evaluate my volunteer commitments.

The point is that creating and believing in a Vision creates massive change but it acts as a support and guiding light to inspire you forward. The change becomes empowering instead of frightening.

I too wonder when we will see a politician of great vision in this country. One who can give the rest of us something better to aim for than ‘resource whore’.

The Green Party has Vision 2020:

The Green Party holds a positive Vision of Canada, now and into the future.

We will strive to support a society where the pressure to make a living does not crowd out having a life; where having more does not supplant being more.

In our Green Vision, Canadians enjoy a higher quality of life, experiencing health and wellness, education and meaningful work, prosperity and economic success supported by ecological health.

In our vision of Canada, ability or disability, economic, racial, or cultural backgrounds do not preclude individuals from contributing to and benefiting from a prosperous Canada.

Canadian communities – urban and rural – thrive in our Green Vision, including communities dependent on fisheries, forestry and agriculture.

Canada plays a positive role in the world, working cooperatively with governments, North and South, to ensure equity, global security and peace.”

While I buy into the Green Part Vision, it seems a little long to me. I’d like to see a one-sentence Vision Statement, something short and snappy. Personally, I vote for Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness. :-)

Posted by Vanessa on November 30th, 2007

Filed under Bhutan, coaching, Green, Higher Self, politics, Vision | Comments Off

Remembrance Day

November 11th is a tough day for me – as I’m sure it is for so many. Of course, my memories are not linked to any of the traditional wars. Nope, November 11, 2004 was the day that I finally took my mother to the Emergency Room in Toronto and waited 8 hours to finally discover that she had a tumour in her brain the size of a plum.

Today though, is beautiful. The sun is shining, the sky is brilliant blue and, after a hard frost and a temperature a few degrees below zero Celsius, the maple trees on my little court appear to be, quite literally, throwing off their leaves. I can sit and watch them fall in a shower that would normally only be caused by a squirrel or bird rummaging amidst the branches.

It is a thrill for me to sit here and watch them, early on this Sunday morning, comfortable and safe in my little house. A house that I have recently sold because I plan to move down to the city. Which, today, reminds me of how fortunate I am to have the freedom to live where I want in this country, and even, if I ever wanted to – to move beyond the borders to one of a multitude of other countries.

Of course, I’m moving so that I can be closer to my school. I confess the reason that I am up so early is not to watch the leaves or enjoy the brilliant fall weather but to work on my essay that is due in a couple of days. I actually feel a little guilty, I am loving my schoolwork perhaps a wee bit too much. So I am grateful for this as well, there are many parts of the world – the majority of the world, in fact, where I would certainly not be allowed to attend a school of higher education and be learning about International Studies. As a woman, there are many parts of the world where I wouldn’t be able to leave my house alone at all.

So, on this Remembrance Day, I feel gratitude. Deep, deep thanks for all the men and women who have worked so hard, who gave their toil, blood, and lives when called upon to do so to provide me with these amazing freedoms that I often take for granted. To those who continue to do their best for me today, no matter how often I disagree with them, I admire their passion and will to go on working.

Thank you.

Posted by Vanessa on November 11th, 2007

Filed under Canada, caregiving, Higher Self, Mom, Remembrance Day | 1 Comment »

My email to Stephen…

Dear Sir,

I am sorry to hear that your speech at the UN was not so well received but perhaps you can earn some points for Canada by bringing up this issue during your stay in New York.

There are hundreds of thousands of monks and pro-democracy believers, marching through the streets of Myanmar/Burma, demanding freedom from the oppressive military junta. Last time they tried this, thousands were killed. Please don’t let it happen again.

Please say something to support them, please say to the UN that these people deserve our attention. They are desperate for democracy and they have suffered long enough.

Don’t let your stated commitment to protecting and developing democracy in other countries ring hollow. Prove that you truly support the freedom of the soul and the body.


Posted by Vanessa on September 25th, 2007

Filed under Burma, Canada, Harper, Higher Self, IR, justice, Myanmar, politics, religion, UN | 1 Comment »

Something important is happening in Burma

If you dig through the National Post you can find it on Page A18. There are protests happening in ‘Myanmar’ or Burma as it was called before the military junta took over decades ago.

The revolt in 1988 was viciously put down by the military and thousands were killed.

Since the middle of August, there have been more and more protests.

Today there are 40-60,000 monks – that’s right, monks – leading protests of civil leaders, students and others demanding democracy. Marching through the streets of Rangoon and other towns. Hundreds of thousands of people rising up and demanding democracy. Literally risking their lives for freedom. Literally, of course, because the government has promised to crack down on the marches. And when they say crack down they mean with bullets, not with flowers.

Visit for more information and to lend you name to a petition to the UN Security Council. While Ahmadinejad is mistreated in New York as the U.S. marches to war against Iran, this issue is ignored. While the U.S. and Canada pick and choose their targets (based on uncooperative governments, I suppose) the very real dictatorship in Burma has been unopposed for decades. DECADES!

To learn more about this issue and one of my favourite people on Earth, here’s the link to Wikipedia for Aung San Suu Kyi.

If you have a bit more time, please send an email to Stephen Harper, he just happens to be in New York this week making an ass of Canada before the UN. Maybe he’ll enjoy an email or two.

Pay attention – the monks are leading the way. It probably won’t hurt to send them your prayers.

Posted by Vanessa on September 25th, 2007

Filed under Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma, Canada, Harper, Higher Self, indigenous, IR, justice, Myanmar, politics, religion, UN | Comments Off

I will help you speak

It is a well-known tidbit of info that many people are more afraid of public speaking than of death or it’s a close second to fear of death. I know that everytime I get up to speak in front of an audience my throat starts to close and my voice decides to stop working. That was a big part of the reason I took singing lessons – to force myself to perform in front of a crowd. It didn’t really work but I was glad to face my fear. Maybe that’s why the following Bible passage really got to me.

‘Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” ‘

You’ve gotta love Moses. I mean really, can you imagine saying no to God. If God appeared in front of you, performed all sorts of cool tricks: a burning bush, a staff that became a snake, and a hand that went from healthy to diseased and back again. Really, if all these things happened and the entity that was making them happen asked you to do something AND said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be right beside you, helping you and caring for you,” would you still have the guts to say no? I wouldn’t. I would love that sort of reassurance.

Moses had balls, I’ll give him that. Weird though, because he was trying to get out of his God-sponsored mission because he was afraid of earthly consequences. Both gutsy and a coward.

It brings up an interesting question: Which do I fear most, heavenly consequences or earthly ones? Am I more concerned about my soul or my body?

How about you?

Exodus 4:10-14

Posted by Vanessa on September 4th, 2007

Filed under coaching, ego, Higher Self, sacred writings | 1 Comment »