October 22, 2017
I have decided that for my blog I would like to offer everyone the knowledge I have acquired through my years of experience. I do not, by any means, consider myself an expert in any field of study. I do, however, know that I possess knowledge that others do not. Though I just discovered, while writing this, that I have not yet gained the knowledge of how to open my truck door without setting off the alarm occasionally. A lesson that I share with anyone, walking within twenty metres, quite annoyingly.
Today I received a copy of Herman Siu’s “Find Your Passion Questionnaire”. I am going to take it seriously, as it suggests, and try to answer the questions as truthfully as possible. I plan to share “some” of my answers with you along the way.
The first part talks about Parents & Family. In my case my father is still living so I won’t be sharing some of those answers with you as they will be too personal. My mother passed away from cancer back in 2013 and I might share some of my experiences with her with you. This journey will help me to grow and might help others too.
To help me differentiate and not disrupt the flow I need to take a minute and come up with a visual marker here to separate text.
Question one – describe each of your parents the way you remember them as a child.
Since I was a “child” until I was 18 I’ll consider this to mean when I was a kid up to my early teen years.
In the years growing up my father worked forty hours a week as a furniture maker. He would leave for work early in the morning before I got up for school and return every evening. I remember him being home in the evenings. I remember laying on the basement floor watching television and he would sit in one of the chairs. He was not a regular figure in my life, but he was still there in the evenings and weekends. He was strong but understanding. Any discipline was done by my father when I was younger. He did rule the household and while my mother was the more outspoken one he appeared to have the final say. He was the rock and our family was well balanced as a result. He was very conservative, we got things when we needed them not when we wanted them, but we were never left without. He was the workhorse and worked at the same job, until it closed, for over 30 years.
My mother was more emotional. She was in my life a lot more. I would be up for breakfast and she was there. I would come home from school and she was there. She was the housewife in every sense of the word. I know when she was younger she worked outside the home and while I was growing up she did babysitting jobs but for the most part she was the one who raised me. She would get sick a lot from ulcers, I remember my friend next door watching me a couple times while they took my mom to the hospital. She had a necklace that looked like tweety bird, she called it her “worry bird” and would wear it a lot. I think she had a lot of anxiety.
Question two - How did each of your parents compliment you? What specifically would they say?
This question is hard. I don’t think they ever did but I’m sure they did. I remember doing things and achieving things, but it just seems to me like when I did right it was “normal” and when I did wrong I heard about it. I’m not going to accept the fact they didn’t compliment me as an answer to this question. I am going to say that the praise or compliments I was given were not over embellished or given just for the sake of boosting my ego. I think they wanted me to have realistic expectations.
Question three – Did either of your parents criticize you? How?
For the most part, no. If I acted like a child I was treated like a child. I mean when I was a bit older.
Question four – How were disciplined at home? What role did each parent play in disciplining their children and you specifically?
I remember not being grounded very often. I was, for the most part, a good kid. I think the longest grounding I got was a couple months for doing something stupid and I don’t even think they enforced the entire term. My mother was the role of jailer. My father handed down final judgement but because she was home all day she had to carry out the time off TV or being forced to “play outside” and so forth.
I remember one time I wouldn’t eat something I didn’t like. My mother told me I had to sit in the chair until I ate it or for 45 minutes if I didn’t. I let it go cold, she took it away and I sat there. I think it was about 20 minutes or, so she said I could leave but I stood my ground and didn’t leave the chair for the hour. She never tried that tactic on me again. I don’t remember all the circumstances, but I do remember sitting on that dining table chair looking around the kitchen at things trying to entertain my thoughts to stand my ground without getting bored to death.
I got the spank on the butt from my father when I was bad, as a child. It worked, and I didn’t turn out as a serial killer as a result I might add.
Question five – what did each of your parents do for a living?
I think I answered that one. For the most part of my growing up my father was a furniture maker, my mother was a housewife (or home maker if you want to use PC titles) and she did babysitting when I was a teenager.
Question five A – what role did each parent play in supporting the household finances?
My father was the “breadwinner” as they say. He made the most income and provided us with all the needs, food, shelter and clothing. I think my mother was the “supplemental income” and worked when his pay alone couldn’t cover all the bills. I believe they could pay for everything and never owed any great deal of money. While I didn’t learn for several years my parents certainly understood what it mean to “live within ones means”.
Question five B – What did your parents want you to be growing up?
Happy. No seriously. They never placed any direct expectations on me. I know some people say, “well they wanted you to work, to get an education, et cetera”. Yes, sure. They wanted me to have an education and to find gainful employment. But they never steered me toward any field or career. I remember years later when I asked my mother about religion she said that they had raised us to be open minded and to find our own paths.
Question six – What was each of your parents’ main advice to you about life?
I don’t think they gave me advice, persay, in the “sit down and listen to me” sort of way. I think I learned certain things just from their actions and the way they lived their lives. True, some things took making mistakes to learn – like finances and debt, but others came more naturally.
Work hard to provide yourself with the basics, food, shelter and clothing but don’t make work your entire life.
Don’t give up on something you don’t achieve the first time but don’t become obsessed with something that you don’t pursue other things.
Be honest, loyal, family is important but apparently not after you become an adult (I’ll explain that one more later). You don’t need material things to be happy.
I had and still, albeit buried sometimes under crap, an active imagination.
You don’t need all the toys and crap, material things, to be happy.
I never really learned to fight because my father was, overall, a pacifist. I think it came from being raised in post WWII Europe and then coming to Canada as a teenager. That isn’t to say he didn’t get into his own sort of trouble, he never really talks much about his growing up, so I don’t really know.
Question seven – How would each of your parents describe the way you were as a child?
I think my mother would have said I was quiet, compassionate, loyal to my friends. I was easily hurt, honest to a fault, perhaps a fiery temper. I am an Aries and used to be very much the fire sign it represents.
My ex-wife told me that my father once said that I was quiet and introverted growing up. I didn’t have a lot of friends but the ones I did I was very close and loyal to. The kind of friends you make for life, which is funny because of my two best friends growing up I only message one of them occasionally, while the other one abandoned me. I do make friends and keep them for many years even decades in some cases. I think my father would describe me as quiet, kept to myself, had an imagination and wasn’t in to sports.
Question eight – Do you know who you’re named after? Is there a significance or story to it?
I am not named after anyone. I think my parents just liked the names I was given. I know my mother said she liked my middle name but when the school wanted to use it to differentiate me from other “Kevin’s” in the class she said no. So, there was a significance to the order of my first and middle name if not to their specific meaning. I do know that I adopted this and did not like my middle name for many years. I only started to use it when I returned from the US because there was, by that time, one other Kevin Klerks’ in Ontario and four in the world.
Question eight A – Do you know which parent named you?
Like I said my mother attached some significance to my middle name being my second name not first, so I get the impression she named me. I should ask my father about it some time. Growing up I had a musical toy that included my middle name in a whimsical song. You would turn the wheel on the front of it and it would begin to play the song. I heard the song so many times over and over that I can still recite it in its entirety today.
My name is Michael, I’ve got a nickel, I’ve got a nickel all shiny and new, I’m going to buy me all kinds of candy, that’s what I’m going to do.
I’ve never actually thought to look it up and see who wrote it. I should check Google right now and see if it has ever heard of it or not. OMG it is, it’s part of a song called “Playground in My Mind” by Clint Holmes. I never knew that, perhaps all this time the key to something has been sitting there right in front of me?
October 20, 2017
There is a gift to remaining silent. A few years back I worked at a summer lodge. In the evenings we would all gather in the common room to watch TV. Most of the people I worked with drank alcohol and a few would be well plastered. I would sit there quietly with my coffee mug and watch the show. Near the end of our summer one of them commented on how I never or rarely drank alcohol. I looked at them and said, "what do you think I had in my coffee mug?" Every night I was drinking a rye and coke to end the evening and no one knew. Everyone assumed because I sat quietly, rarely got involved in the drunken discussions and never said I was drinking that I was some boring, straight edged, non-drinker. In the meantime, I had figured out who to trust, who to believe and who to avoid while keeping in the loop about everything going on at the lodge. Silence is golden.
October 5 2017
Today I went for a hike at the Allan Park Conservation Area located just east of Hanover, Ontario. I have not been here for several years now and I was quite pleased to see that very little has changed.
The objective of my hike, which I feel I achieved today (unlike yesterday which I’ll explain below) was to re-connect with nature. As you may have figured out during the past several months, since about March to be exact, I’ve been experiencing a real separation of myself from my natural surroundings.
Now for the average person this might not seem like such a big deal but those who are neo-pagan or pantheist such as myself will understand. We, as individuals, feel a part of something much bigger than ourselves when we are connected with nature, or the Gaia as some will refer to it as.
The Gaia is, in its simplest forms, Mother Earth, all that surrounds us, that feeds us, clothes us, shelters and entertains us. As a Pantheist I believe that everything is interconnected including those items we define as “man made”.
But from time to time, or months at a time, we find ourselves consumed by the world around us. The world that our consciousness and personal intentions construct. It is a cruel, cold, harsh world. I know some of you will debate that while others will deny it entirely. I don’t really care what you believe or don’t believe so long as it does not affect me.
Many people nowadays, when they take a walk in the forest, find it the best time to catch up on emails or to share photos of something weird with their followers. While I don’t condemn this action, since the sharing of knowledge and experience advances any society, I remind people that this is not the reason you went out there.
There is a sort of philosophical ritual I have learned back around the time I owned a bookstore, and I have shared it with several people in the past. It is called, quite simply, “pet the moss” and it means exactly that.
We are becoming more and more disconnected from nature, from Gaia, from the very thing that makes us who we are – humanity. I have met a few people in my life who have been consumed by the world, drowning in debt, in family dramas, in health issues, and they have forgotten the importance of connecting with the energy that surrounds them.
The ritual is quite simple and can be done almost anywhere. For example, today I went for a walk through several of the trails here at Allan Park, up small hills, through massive stands of trees and past more than a dozen rocks and stumps covered in green moss. The ritual involves stopping whatever you are doing, bending down, extending your fingers and – touching the moss.
Yes, that’s basically it. I know, easy eh. There is more to it, of course, and that is that you must feel the living organism that you are touching. It is one thing to plunk your fingers down on it and say “ok, done, now what”, it is quite another to take the time to experience and live in the moment.
And that is truly what the ritual is about. To stop everything you are doing and just live in the moment. Put the phone down, stop talking, or tweeting or snapping photos and just connect with something that you believe is not a part of who you are. I think you will find, the more you do this, that you are more connected to the world around you.
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