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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Taking Pride in P.R.I.D.E!

Taking Pride in P.R.I.D.E.! - May 31st, 2015

Just two years ago today, we moved 'up north' from Barrie to Elliot Lake. It was not a move that we had been planning - it was the culmination of a series of fortuitous events. 

Back in February of 2013, Mark happened to read an ad by Elliot Lake Retirement Living where they were offering 2 free nights at a hotel in the city, on the condition that we did the tour. Being mercenary in nature, we thought - 'Great - we've not been there, and we don't have plans for March Break - let's go!' 

After seeing the surrounding scenery, having a taste of the open-hearted welcome of the fine people in the city, and looking at the options of living accommodation that Lori gave us on the tour - it was a done deal! We went back to Barrie, put our house up for sale (it sold in just 2 days, at the asking price, with no conditions - now there was a clue!!), submitted my retirement to the School Board, and moved up just a couple of months after we first set eyes upon this 'Jewel of the North'. Since then, we haven't looked back. We have embraced the community - and they have embraced us! 

That being said, some of our friends had expressed their concerns about our move to a mining town in the North. They were wondering how we would be accepted as a couple and whether our experience would be a positive one. 

Much to our surprise, the weekend we moved in just so happened to coincide with Elliot Lake's very first Gay Pride Weekend! Taking an hour off from unpacking, we dropped in to the BBQ at the Civic Centre, and were given a truly warm, royal welcome by Mayor Rick Hamilton, the MC, Doug Elliot, and the gathered community of about 100 people. Our caring friends were agog when we told them! It certainly seemed to us like a huge sign that our decision to move north had been the right one for us!

Move on to today... can you imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from Natalie Bray (an amazing woman with a huge heart of service) asking me if I would accept the honour of being the 'Emperor of Algoma' for this year's Pride Event in the town!!  I was taken aback, but felt it would be an excellent way of giving back to the community that had embraced us. 

And what an honour it was to be a part of this extraordinary weekend. It kicked off on Friday evening with the Official declaration by Dan Marchisella - our current Mayor (a genuine man for whom we have a great deal of respect) in the City Hall. 

Arrival at City Hall
It was a pleasure to be driven there, escorted by members of the Toronto Amazons Motorcycle Club, who had generously journeyed north for the event. I was honoured to be partnered with the resplendent Miss Conception (a.k.a. Kevin Levesque), who is an amazingly talented drag artist from Toronto. She had been chosen to be the 'Empress'.

We arrived in style at the Town Hall, where we were greeted by a crowd of about 50 people. 

During the short ceremony, we were invested as Emperor and Empress of Algoma!
Investiture as 'Emperor of Algoma'!

(No delusions of grandeur here... Mark has made it clear that all pretensions to Imperial Authority disappear the moment we cross the threshold of our apartment!!!)

Raising the Flag.
From there, we took a short ride to the Civic Centre for the Flag Raising Ceremony, followed by a gathering at the Fireside Grill, here in town, which was decked out with rainbow flags for the occasion. 
Gathering at the Fireside Grill

Momo blew us away!

On Saturday afternoon, the BBQ gave us an opportunity to meet with friends - old and new - and we were treated to some live entertainment with Matthew MacLeod (Momo), from Toronto, and Amber Piette, from Sudbury. 

The Amazing Amber!

Toronto Amazon Motor Cycle Club

Bringing back memories!

A key moment for me was the heartfelt presentation from Vincent Bolt - a transgendered young man - who shared some of the challenges he had faced in his journey to freedom. 

Nothing could have prepared us for the sheer pleasure and hilarity of attending the evening show starring Miss Conception, herself, who kept us entertained with song and laughter for nearly 3 hours as she wove her way through various Disney characters with no less than 10 costume changes!!! It was one of those times when you laughed so much that your tummy and sides ached! 

So much fun! 
Under the Sea

Cruella De Ville

Lumiere (Beauty and the Beast)

The Lion King

The Little Mermaid


Mary Poppins

Snow White

If you ever have the chance of attending one of her shows, you will be in for a real treat, and we certainly intend to visit Sault Ste. Marie in September, where she will be presenting her 'Wonderful World of Miss Conception' at the Water Tower Inn

The weekend will finish off on Sunday morning with a service (and guest speaker) at the United Church, here in town. 

Here in Elliot Lake, we have so much for which we can truly be proud. We consider ourselves true Northerners, and are amazed at just how much we feel at home in this beautiful city. 


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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Looking to the Past...

Looking to the Past

Facebook is always changing and it is important to keep up with these alterations. Some changes have been unwelcome; but there are some that have added to the social media experience. 

Recently, a new feature called, 'On This Day' has been added. You'll get a notification saying, 'You have memories with...... look back on today', and some of your posts over the last few years will be presented to you privately for your perusal. 

This got me thinking about the pros and cons of 'looking back into our past'. 

We seem to be creatures of nostalgia, and there's nothing quite like a memory from the past to make us realize how quickly time as passed since those events. I know that, for myself, if I hear certain songs being sung on the radio, a vivid recollection will come flooding back. I remember where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing. This desire for nostalgia is easily captured via YouTube, where there is a plethora of memories to dig through - short movie clips, songs, old T.V. and Radio shows, as well as documentaries and other recordings of  seemingly timeless events. 

What to do about this 'looking to the past'? Is it helpful? Is it healthy? Does it lead to us living in the past at the expense of living in the present? Or is it just a harmless way of passing the time?

I'm a follower of the teachings of Abraham Hicks and the Law of Attraction. They have some insights on this that I, personally, find helpful. 

To provide a context, the basic understanding of the Law of Attraction is 'that which is like unto itself, is drawn'. In other words, what you give your attention to draws more things into your experience that is of similar essence. For example, if I focus upon negative things, I will be drawing more negative experiences into my life that match the essence of what I'm thinking about, (mostly by default - because few people deliberately choose a future experience that they do not want). Conversely, if I give my attention to positive things, I will draw more things into my experience that are pleasing to me. If this is true, it will serve us well to be more picky and deliberate about what we give our attention to, because what we are thinking about now is actually creating our future experience of life.  

How can we know whether we are creating a future experience that will please us, or one that is unpleasant? Abraham tells us that we can know whether we are in alignment with who we really are or not by our emotions. Any emotion that doesn't feel good is a signal to us that we are focusing upon something in a way that is unlike the way our inner being focuses upon that same subject. The gap between the two aspects of who I am shows up as negative emotion. So, if I am feeling sad, depressed, jealous, angry, bored, doubtful etc., it just means that what I am giving my attention to at that moment is leading me away from my alignment and attracting more stuff that will give me more to feel negative about.

In the same way, if I am feeling love, joy, peace, excitement, passion - it means that what I am giving my attention to, at that moment, is closing the gap between me and who I really am. I am in alignment with my higher/inner self, and am attracting more experiences into my life that will be positive. 

The Emotional Scale
Our 'emotional guidance' system helps us to know, in every moment of the day, whether we are widening the gap or closing the gap between those two aspects of me. When I am widening the gap, I don't feel so good. When I am closing the gap, I feel better. Since, at the core of our inner being is Unconditional Love, anything that is less than that, will show up as negative emotion. It behooves us to pay attention to what we are feeling so that we can 'course correct' - little by little, gradually working our way up the emotional scale, and pave the way for manifesting experiences that are more pleasing to us. This takes practice; but anyone who has trained themselves to do this on a regular basis will testify to living a more joyful life experience.

When I am thinking about something, I activate the vibration of it and it starts to attract similar things to it. It doesn't matter what I am giving my attention to - something in the past, something happening right now, or something in the future... the vibration of it is being activated, or reactivated. Have you ever been telling the story of a past, unpleasant event and you felt that anger, all over again? It's almost as if I am reliving it, here and now. Even my blood pressure has risen when I have repeated some stories from my past!  Other memories have evoked laughter and a feeling of happiness. If I am worrying about something that may happen in the future, or looking at something right now that doesn't make me feel good, or remembering something unhappy about the past, the emotion I am feeling tells me that I am, at that moment, activating the vibration of it in my NOW- my present state - and Law of Attraction is beginning to respond to that vibration. If I am excited about a future event, or enjoying something in the here and now, or remembering something that made me happy, then I am, at that moment, activating its vibration in my now, and Law of Attraction is responding. 

So, looking to the past does not really have any pros and cons other than the emotion the memory evokes within us. If we are looking at our past and it makes us feel good in the remembering of it, then we are closing that gap and paving our way for an enjoyable future experience; if we are looking at our past and it makes us feel uncomfortable, unhappy, annoyed, angry - in fact, any negative feeling - it's an indication that the past, at this time, is not serving us well. 

Our emotional guidance system acts as our own, personal G.P.S. Most of us know that we want a desirable future life experience, even if the details are not totally clear. If we pay attention to our emotions, and follow the desire for improved good feelings, we'll gradually move towards a destination that will fill us with positivity and happiness. And from that new platform, we'll continue to create a joyful future. 

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