Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TALK SHOE - THE CHANNEL'S CHANNEL...

If you would like to check out my guest appearance on THE CHANNEL"S CHANNEL... please hit the link below... and join us for a dive into life behind the books and blogs, a brief glimpse into the journey of the channel.

Talk Shoe

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Difference Between 3rd World Compassion and 1st World Complacency

A typical Sunday afternoon chatting with a friend about world issues can sometimes lead one to ask some controversial questions. Such a question recently came up while talking to an old friend about the current flooding situation in Quebec Canada. While I was sitting in his store, he mentioned that he had a customer who was one of the many flood victims; she was for the moment staying in a hotel, which she could apparently afford yet he wondered what would become of the multitude of people who had suddenly found themselves without a home. At first glance, there is a huge outpouring of compassion for those who have been hit by this year’s disaster yet if one is to dig deeper the question inevitably comes up ... As Canadians are we doing enough?
Sure our army is there sand bagging and the Red Cross is, as ever, diligently collecting donations; two major actions taken with hundreds of individual efforts no doubt being made outside of the public view. Being Canadian I have faith that the homes of those who have not been affected by the rising water have been opened to victims,yet it concerns me when I look at the news and see that for all the articles and broadcasts about the disaster I have yet to see an announcement of a major relief fundraiser.
I don’t know, maybe I missed it, perhaps I was not watching the news that day... I could have, goodness knows my eyes and ears cannot be everywhere at once; I pray that if I am wrong in this somebody will send me the good news that ‘yes – of course the artists of our world are banding together for Quebec Aide’ – It is a story I would love to see... As of today however I have not seen it so I write in the hopes that if the right word is whispered in the right ear our artists and musicians will come to the rescue of those who support them...
Why the artists? Why the musicians? Because to me it has always been these people who have held the strongest position for change... It is their voice that rises above the din to pull at the hearts of the listeners and what a voice it is.... Japan, Haiti, Philippines... the list I am sure is miles long of places that have been literally lifted up by the melodious sounds of big name artists who have sung out their desire for support. I can’t sing... and I would have no idea how to even attempt to go about collaborating such an event; I certainly don’t have the resources but as usual I have my pen...
So who do we talk to? How do we make this happen and why bother?
I’ll start with ‘why bother’...
Let’s face it, regardless of the numbers of helping hands that are now being leant to the efforts to curb the flow of water, and the countless volunteers who have promised their time for the cleanup efforts when the waters do stop flowing there is one flow that will still be must not end. The flow of cash; these people are left in a desperate situation. As much as we would like to believe that the help will be there for them when they need it, we have to stop long enough to ask; will it? The government resources are limited and strained; Quebec is not the only victim of natural disasters in Canada. Our army has man power but do they have the money? There is always the Red Cross. They are set up for this but they can only be expected to handle so much; they do after all cater to the whole world, and tomorrow there will no doubt be another disaster for them to focus some of their seemingly endless resources on. Insurance is not an option, this disaster most likely falls into the realm of ‘ACT OF GOD’ and the unfortunate truth is that the insurance companies are under no obligation to dish out any money. The banks however are under an obligation to collect on any of the mortgages that may be held on destroyed homes. And what of the jobs affected? I was told today the lady staying in the hotel lost her job because she stayed too long from work in an effort to save her home; her choice, her consequence... I would have done the same. What of small business, farms? What do they do? There will be no end to the need when all is said and done and we are missing out on our most powerful tool to pull people together in a time of need. Music has ever been the life blood of all peoples; it is what pulls nations together and given the vast talent of the artistic community in Quebec I have to wonder why a relief concert has not been announced.
Is it simply that we are so used to this idea that our social system is set up to care for the needy that we neglect to reach out to our own people? Are our own people less important than those in other countries who do not have the resources; we as Canadians have always stood by the belief that we are not MORE important and has it perhaps come to a time when we might have to take a step back and tell ourselves that while we are out there trying to help the world, there are times like now when we might also have to help ourselves. Thank goodness we live in the country we do; caring and compassionate, willing to give and more than willing to work hard and fight for what we believe in... That is the Canadian way...
It got to to pondering however - Have we become complacent...?
I don’t believe it, I can’t believe it... Refuse in fact to believe it... I think perhaps in this case it may just be as simple as ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ If that’s the case then all it will take is the idea being put out there before those generous, welcoming people we know to be our people take that idea and blow it up into a hugely successful movement to raise these people up out of despair to a place of hope for a new day. So I ask, given the fact that I am certainly no musician are there any out there who will sing for chance at a new life for the people of Quebec?
Who do we ask? How do we do it? I have no idea how but artists like Celine Dion and Karl Wolf no doubt have the connections and that is just the first two names that popped into my head... Is this a new idea; certainly not... Is it my idea... don’t be silly... I am just taking the cue from the amazing feats accomplished in the past by artists like Michael Jackson. Can I talk the artists into doing it – who knows...? Am I going to try...? I am right now, in writing this blog and putting it out there for you all do with what you will... The only question now is how big can they make this concert and how many lives can they change with the money? I guess as usual – only time will tell...
Vive le Quebec...
P.S. I might live in the Montreal area now but I am from Toronto and in this case, me being of an out of province english speaking girl has nothing to do with how much I care – I am CANADIAN; scratch that – I am a human being from the planet Earth – these people are my family too...
Jean Victoria Norloch
www.feenxrising.blogspot.com

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Birth of Strength...

Giving Birth to Strength...
As a mother I remember well the long wait from the time we discovered that we were expecting to that magical day when our angel decided it was time to come into the world. There was so much anticipation surrounding the birth; excitement mingled with fear then added to by every other emotion in between , that when ‘D’ day (I guess I should say ‘B’ day) finally came it was hard to know exactly what I was feeling. From the day we decided to take on the task of producing this film the emotions have been as varied as those experienced while awaiting the birth of my own daughter. Could we do this? How would we make it work? How amazing was this opportunity? Could it get any more exciting? What joys awaited us in the future and could we possibly have any more fun in the moment than we were already having? The intensity of the feelings throughout this adventure have produced an ongoing sense of wonder for the team; none more so than that magic moment yesterday when we realized we were in the final stages and ready to give birth; yes my friends the strength family is in labour.
In laymen’s terms that means we are editing, even as I write this the team in Germany is laying out the footage and beginning to meld together two years of blood, sweat and tears into a dream come true. A long awaited moment, not just for the team but for those who have stuck by our side for the long wait. As our extended family I imagine it has taken much patience and dedication on your part to continue to follow our crew as we explored our own inner strength and fought the good fight to keep the film alive. It has taken the love and nourishment from so many out there to keep this project on track that it could possibly take a month for me just to write them all down but you do know who you are so we would like to take this chance to again say thank you for your support.
For those of you who know our work well, the use of the metaphor above will be no surprise; many of you are well aware that this project has for many of the team been our baby. Right from the start it has been built out of a combination of good will, donated time and energy and a great deal of love and passion for the children and for the work. For those of you who are new to the work we can offer up the promise that when the film is finished you will see with your own eyes why we are so driven to not only give birth to this amazing show of strength but to raise her up to be an example of what can be accomplished when you truly believe in the gifts that life has given you.
Of course there are often hidden behind the scenes adventures that the audience who watch the film may not get the chance to see so over the next few weeks we will be posting some blogs about some of the interesting and unique encounters that we have had during the making of the film to give you an inside look into the people who were involved and a glimpse into the heart of the team. We were lucky enough to witness miraculous things in the making of this film and to share our time with some incredible people and it is now time with our baby now on its way to share some of those stories with you.
Although we have had some quiet moments it was the moments when things were in full swing that left a lasting impression on those involved and it is those magical moments that have driven the team ever on ward in our quest to bring to you our vision of STRENGTH.
Again we thank you for your continued support and are as always looking forward to exploring further the social issues presented by the film and highlighting the incredible individuals who are the solution.
Here’s to many more months of sharing and exploring,
With love...
The Strength Family
www.project-strength.com

Friday, May 20, 2011

Just Another Crazy Tale...

They say that sometimes a series of random events can lead you to be in a specific place at a specific time that will in turn lead to an event that will change your life; they also say that most of the time you have no idea that this is happening...
This is one of those stories, a week full of irritating circumstances that led to a completely new way of life...
She was visiting a friend in a city about six hours away from home. The morning of her departure came and she hopped in the car on her way back to her daughter early on Monday morning hoping to miss rush hour. She had a very busy week coming up, as the car she was now driving was being put up for sale that week and she had made arrangements already to leave it with a family member until it was sold. She was a single mom and in the middle of balancing an up and coming move to another province with her responsibilities as a mother and her recent change in careers; things had gotten so financially challenging that for the first time in 20yrs she could not afford to have a car, she felt she had no choice now but to sell it. Still she was grateful that friends had stepped up to the plate lately to assist her as much as possible even going so far as offering her a vehicle to use temporarily until she could get back on her feet. As much as she knew she would have a lot of running around to do in preparation for the sale, she was looking forward to spending some quality time with both her daughter and her friends; life lately had meant much travelling back and forth and she was anxious just to enjoy being a mom for a while.
Too bad the car it seems did not want to be sold; not 30 minutes after her pulling out of the drive she found herself stalled on the side of the road. Now thankfully the car was fairly new and still under warrantee so she called the emergency hotline and waiting patiently for a tow truck. While waiting she called family in the city to make sure somebody would be there to pick her daughter up from school, it was early after all and she figured it was more than likely the car would be fixed by the afternoon. Not so, as it turns out the part they needed had to be shipped in, ironically from the very city she had been trying to get to and so it was that she ended up back at her friends for a couple more days missing her daughter and wishing she could figure out a way to get home. Wednesday morning came and she drove happily out of the dealership once again looking forward to being reunited with her daughter; it had been a crazy two days with too many phone calls back and forth trying to make arrangements with family so that her daughter (thankfully now 14yrs) would have a place to stay until mom could get home.
About an hour into the trip, comfortably touring down the road at 110k the engine abruptly quit and our lady found herself yet again sitting on the side of the road dialling her phone in an attempt to get another tow. She began to wonder as she sat in her car by the side of a busy highway if there was not some strange purpose to all of this. Another town this time, a different dealership and more phone calls to family while she waited in a tiny room, coffee in hand; home it seems would have to wait again. She felt lucky though, given that the car had quit while doing highway speeds that she had not gotten hurt and even more grateful that a tow truck driver had pulled over and rescued her long before the truck she had called for would have gotten there. It had not been comfortable sitting in her car being buffeted by the winds of the big rigs rushing past her on the highway and every time her car had been shaken by a truck she had silently wished that somebody would get there sooner than the hour that the lady on the phone had promised. She got her wish and was grateful that the staff at the dealership were so friendly, it was hard to imagine that she was broken down yet again but life is what it is and as much as she wanted to be home she had learned long ago that getting angry about her situation would not help so instead she made friends with the lady at the front desk and ultimately had a pleasant afternoon waiting for her car.
Finally around 4pm it was ready to go and she hopped on the road yet again thanking the heavens she would be home in a few hours. Of course 45 min later she was wondering if she would ever make it home as she was now sitting in her car yet again waiting for somebody to come and get her. Another tow truck, another town, more phone calls to family and her patience as they say was beginning to run out. It was late in the day, so here she was 2 hrs away from her friends, 4 hrs away from her daughter and the dealership was closing. They could not look at the car until morning as all the mechanics had already gone home. Still the owners were kind and they drove her to a nearby restaurant that was close to the highway so her friend who was now in a car and on the way could find her easily. She walked into the coffee shop and dumped her bags on the floor, went to the counter and explained her situation asking them how late they would be open and if they would be willing to let her charge her phone. It was now out of batteries and she had many more calls to make. They were very accommodating and she soon found herself seated with a coffee, sandwich and phone plugged in so she could update her family on her latest news.
Now all of it seemed somewhat unbelievable, three dealerships and two tow trucks in one day is not exactly a normal occurrence for any traveller. Her daughter, anxious to see her mother was by this time mildly upset by the situation and made it quite clear that all she wanted was for her mother to come home. Mom consoled her by telling her gently that all things happen for a reason and to not give up faith that even this seemingly out of control and disappointing series of events might still prove to turn out to be to their advantage. ‘Sometimes’, she reminded her daughter, ‘ we don’t understand the why of the direction life takes us in but we have to have faith that all is well and that all roads lead to where we need to be’. Her family, although supportive and understanding were going far beyond the call of duty with regards to balancing their schedules now to accommodate this odd situation. It was obvious now that whatever was wrong with the car would not be a quick fix and that getting home now would be a matter of days not hours. It would seem that our young woman was stuck, with no offer of a loaner vehicle from the dealership she would have to simply stay at her friends’ until the car was fixed and it appeared at this point that nobody knew when that would be. Still she felt fortunate that she had the kind of friends who would drop what they were doing to come rescue her and the kind of family who would put their own life on hold to make sure her precious daughter was safe. Instead of getting angry she began searching for the humour and the meaning behind all of these happenings because she still believed that everything happens for a reason.
Of course why she would be in this particular town at this particular moment was something she could not fathom, yet here she was so she figured she might as well get comfortable and make the best of it.
While waiting for her friend she wandered over to the store next door to get some gum. The ladies at the coffee shop were keeping an eye on her bags so she was able to wander around a bit and stretch her legs. While in the store she realized she had two lottery tickets that she had not yet checked, so she asked the clerk to scan them and felt this strange surge of energy when the clerk asked her if she wanted the encore on the free ticket she had just won. She said yes of course, an extra dollar to win a million; seems like a fair trade...
On her way out she realized that something about the air tonight felt a little different, and her mood that had been an effort to keep steady and positive took a sudden up swing; she was literally bubbling with excitement, though after the week she had had such emotion made no sense. Still she turned to the clerk on her way out of the store and told her; ‘today is a very, very good day to buy a ticket’...
Soon enough she was back at her friends waiting for the car and when the car was ready two days later her friend drove her down to pick it up. Finally late in the evening mother and daughter were reunited and in the excitement of just being able to hug her child she forgot that the draw for the winning ticket was past. They tucked in that night just grateful to be together again not worrying about tomorrow would bring, they were grateful for the moment just to be. The next morning however dawned bright and clear, the most perfect of spring days... On their way to get breakfast they stopped to fill up on gas and in the blink of an eye as the ticket was scanned and the bells on the machine went off loudly announcing to the world that she was now a millionaire her life changed forever.
They say that sometimes a series of random events can lead you to be in a specific place at a specific time that will in turn lead to an event that will change your life; they also say that most of the time you have no idea that this is happening...
Apparently it helps though if you keep the faith and believe that all things happen as they are meant to and nothing in life, even the seemingly nasty, random events that irritate us and interrupt our lives should ever be taken for granted; you see you just never know where those nasty, random events will take you and in the end you might view them as being one of the best things that ever happened to you...
Jean Victoria Norloch
www.feenxrising.blogspot.com
www.feenxrising.com

Friday, May 13, 2011

My message to the Naysayers...

My message to the Naysayers...
Goodness knows, there are more than enough of you out there, I myself do battle with at least one of you every day. Our world as it is, full of doubt and fear, overtaken by power hungry men who would control the planet at the cost of the freedom of all others; this world that you perceive to be so full of evil cannot in your mind ever possibly change. So what does one say to this idea that all the efforts in the past and in the present have or are failing, how can one possibly argue against such logic. You point to the histories, battles, invasions, persecutions, the rising and falling empires and you say ‘you see, it has always been this way’. You point to our current troubles, religious wars, corruption, greed and a new invasion of a different kind (now they simply buy the country rather than overwhelm it with troops and force their way in) and you say ‘you see, it has always been this way’.
Yet I have to ask you, even as you point to these things, how on earth with eyes so wide open did you miss the small, seemingly insignificant acts that are the core reason why the dark side has not yet won? How is it you cannot see the power of the light in a child’s eye or the smile on the face of a stranger; how is it you do not see the millions who yet face this seemingly scary and dangerous world with laughter in their hearts and a spring in their step. Is it because the idea scares you, being the self proclaimed battle agent that you are that if on the off chance the war as you see it is won then you and your kind will have become obsolete? If there are no dark forces to fight, what then becomes of the light?
A wise man recently reminded me of the worth of these things and (albeit the long way around) also reminded that it is not in the grand acts of self sacrifice that the true treasure of this life can be found. I have written often enough about the little things and spent much time with pen in hand in an attempt to show others the power of those simple acts, yet perhaps I missed one that we forget the importance of. For all that there will always be those who will come to us and say – ‘don’t you see – the killing, the death, the destruction, don’t you see the torment and the abuse of our planet, don’t you see how much hate there is in our world’, there will always be those of us who say...
‘Yes I see, I see that people will always be there to tend the wounds of those who have been hurt by others, I see that for as long as there are hungry and homeless there will be those who are ready and willing to provide food and shelter, I see that for as long as there are those who are willing to destroy our planet in the interest of gaining wealth there will always be those who will pass by the garbage on the street and take the time to bend and pick it up.’
It is not about denying these acts of self interest that still exist in our world; it is about believing that these things are not acceptable and then acting on that belief. It is not about forgetting and ignoring the fact that yes in this world there is dark but rather it is about remembering and acknowledging that alongside that dark there is and always will be light. It is in fact about choosing which of these two elements of our world in which to put your energy and your focus and above all it is about acting on that choice.
Of course I have to admit I am also aware that sometimes the naysayer is merely a tool, an instrument to reignite the defiant fire within and remind some of us that yes we vowed to never give up – never give in and never admit defeat. Warriors of light some have been called and if that is the case then so too must we live by the warriors code –my path is loyalty, courage, mercy, awareness, balance, and if the battle I would rather avoid must be fought and if I must go down during the battle ; I am going down fighting.
So I leave you again with this mild reminder, as you go out there into the world and you do what you can to take action to change it; the most powerful weapons you have in this battle are your mind and your heart. So when they say to you ‘do you not see’ you will say ‘yes of course I see and for that reason it is more important than ever for me to believe and live as if the change we wish to see in our world is already here’.
Jean Victoria Norloch
www.feenxrising.blogspot.com
www.feenxrising.com

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Mother’s Inspiration...

Every year around this time it comes to pass that millions of mothers are honoured and cherished for the sacrifices that they make for their loved ones throughout the year. Blogs are written, loving, moving, touching tributes to the women who stand behind us and are our guiding light. In keeping with the traditions of me not following traditions I think this time I will turn the tables on Mother’s day and let you all in on a little secret; something the mothers out there already know. In motherhood there is no sacrifice – only love...
There was this magic moment 14yrs ago when this tiny little bundle of gleaming light was gently laid into my arms and my life has never been the same. Not one moment has gone by that I have not thanked the heavens for bringing my angel to me as it is a knowing deep in my heart that without her my life as I know it could never be complete. You see she is special, my child; a gifted and talented girl with mischievous eyes and a wry smile that adds a touch of quirkiness to her gentle personality. Reflective she is, at times looking so deep within that she seems to become completely lost in herself and at other times looking so far out that I fear she may never come back. She is kind, compassionate, and calm; slow to anger and more apt to simply give you a look of ‘you did not just say that’ then to ever talk back or raise her voice. My own flesh and blood is one of the most complex personalities I have ever met and the person I may for most of my life be the one person I struggle the most to try and understand. She is and always has been for me a challenge; on occasion revealing profound insights that set me to pondering if life as I know it is really as it is. Yet more than being a challenge she has been an inspiration, and my reason for never giving up and never giving in. Quite simple put she is my life.
I have been asked often why I do what I do and although over the last two years I have offered many answers when it comes down to it I realize I do it for her. I push myself further and fly higher than I had ever dreamed simply because I cannot fathom offering my daughter a life in a world that will not welcome her tender heart with open arms. For her it is that I work so hard at doing my part to make our world a better place.
I tell her often I am not perfect, she accepts me as I am...
Can a mother ask for more?
If it seems at times that I work too hard or take too many chances it is only because I wish to show her that it is ok to take risks when you believe in your dreams and dedication to your chosen path is something we should all be proud of. If I bend and break the rules at times it is only because I wish her to understand that in life not all rules apply to all situations and all peoples; the choice is one that must always be made by the individual and the right to make that choice belongs to all.
If at times I do things that seem to be selfish and take action that seems to be all about me and my own happiness it is because I have learned that if I am not whole and happy in myself I cannot offer all of me to her. I would wish her to see that in this life your happiness must always be yours to control and to maintain because you cannot truly love and accept others until you have learned to truly love and accept yourself.
If at times I seem to wander off in odd directions it is only so that she will know that the path you walk is your own and it is something that you alone must own.
She tells me there are no limits and with her in my life I very much feel the truth and the freedom of those words.
Strong, independent, determined and stubborn... apparently in some ways at least she takes after me.
Yet why on earth would I write about my daughter instead of writing about my mother? It is after all only a couple days before Mother’s Day and it is expected I suppose that it is my mother I ought to be focussing my attention on.
Perhaps it is best explained this way; that in this life without this precious child’s consent to become a part of my life I myself would not have the extreme honour of being her mother and it is for that reason that today I write. To speak for the mothers out there who are receiving everyday the love they need in the loving eyes of their child, for the mothers out there who see and love you as you are and not as they would wish you to be.
On behalf of those mothers I say to our children...
Thank you for being the light in the dark, the spark in the fires of our hearts, the driving force behind our passion for life, our reason for being and our most precious and treasured gift. For in the eyes and the heart of a mother our children will never be anything other than the most profound miracle we have ever born witness to and it is for that reason that while you are thanking us this weekend and showering us with gifts we will be silently thanking you for the simplest of gifts already given because there is nothing more special to us than you.
Happy Mother’s Day ladies even though we know that really every day is Mothers Day and none of us would have it any other way...
Jean Victoria Norloch
www.feenxrising.com
www.feenxrising.blog.spot.com