I am finally writing about my time spent in Canada! Much has happened during my stay there that has made it beautiful - a lovely time that was full of growth, challenges, connections, creativity, and gentle moments of reflection that lasted a bit over three months. The stay began with Marie & Pierre-Yves in the countryside of the Laurentides; then at a youth hostel in Eastern Montréal; a detour to Chelsea, Québec for a few weeks to stay with Barbara & Jack; then finally spent the last couple of months of my stay with Pierre, Maxim, and Stephany back in Montréal, near the Riviére des Praries.
When I first decided to journey to meet Marie Roberge, along with Julie Brown and Susan Casey in Montréal, QC, Canada; it seemed so far away in many ways from my life in Carpinteria, California, USA. The timeframe seemed daunting - only a few months! Marie and her artwork was a catalyst, but not the sole reason I decided to make the journey. Her art ignited something I had resigned to an improbability - a long ago purpose of life - to learn, understand, live, and share the Immortality Formula. Up to that point, I did not know how to go about it, as I looked at life, different philosophies, different people, religions, places, they were all but little specks and sparks upon the Immortality Formula. Marie's art however, highlighted whole blotches, swaths, regions of the Immortality Formula! Seeing her art; setting that meeting with the aforementioned three individuals; and all the other reasons I decided to leave California proved too much to be mere thoughts to be left alone or to be filed into the recesses of my mind.
Yet, here I was! I stepped out of the Greyhound Bus, in the Montréal bus station, and as I looked around, my eyes spotted a face I had seen many times in the Living For Your Soul Community Forums / Class; but instead of a profile picture, or a chat avatar icon; it was her in real life. I had finally arrived, about 5 months; 3500-ish, many stories, many events, later. Her smile and demeanor were EXACTLY as I saw in the picture. I was dazed, awed, and joyful to have finally arrived!
The first few days happen to fall on the weekend, and in the countryside of the Laurentides, the mountains, snows, ice, trees, and the 80 bodies of water were nothing short of majesty in the full winter splendor! We stayed at Pierre-Yves's house in the area, and there was much hiking, laughter, conversation, and the creation / consumption of fine foods!
- Meet some of Marie's friends, like Alain while seeing the Beatles perform at Club Soda. I got to hear a bit of the Québec culture and history from their perspective, versus the Westernization that goes on. Their perspective talks about locals; small businesses run by the people; creativity and human inspiration; less separation between all of us; free expression and discussion of ourselves and the things that ignite us.
- Met a young man named Michael whom I taught a bit of English to, while he taught me a bit of French. He was especially keen on learning the necessary bits in order to greet, hold conversations, and ask out females for a date. There were many moments where we laughed; I shook my head in amusement, dismay (for the vulgar approaches in broken English and gestures), bemusement; patience as he learned contractions and common American expressions; and brief moments of bonding between two people that transcend language barriers.
- Alain introduced me to Kin-Jo, a bodywork that has its start in Québec, led by Amelia Lopez that felt like movements that manifested textures, smells, feedback of being in places like playing with sand in the beach, or being in tropical waters; from anywhere. I left the hour long session feeling euphoric, awed that I felt and was there in those settings, in every sensation possible; with just following along with the others in their movements in the studio situated in the 2nd or 3rd floor of the Belgo Building.
- Began to try to learn French with much struggle, laughter, and the the rolling of eyes in amusement. Those rolling R's were a non-starter for me; and I slowly learned that tone, and expression of passion and emotion were really important, including names. I recall an exchange where Catherine was telling me her name, and I kept missing it because I did not pick up on the expression of emotion on the last syllable. I am STILL trying to work on it, although it is a bit harder to do as I do not have as many opportunities now that I am currently in the United States.
- Started to read Katherine Woodward Thomas's Calling in the One book, and worked through the first chapter; which introduced the concept of creating the Love we desire to have in our lives by defining and being that Love. I paused here in the book because at the time I did not know what I wanted in the Love to create for myself. I simply had no idea, and was not familiar with the different experiences. This would ultimately open me up to experiences 'sneak previews' of some of the elements I would have later.
- Explored quite a bit of Montréal - the Latin Quarter, Sherbrooke, Little Italy, Chinatown (as tiny as it is), Mont Royal, the urban area of St. Catherine. I also got really familiar with the public transit system called STM, which I found to be really comprehensive and reliable. I am struck by how each of the metro stops for the underground rail system is unique in its construction, layout, and decorations, and make a mental note to one day photograph them all. Every station is its own entity!
- Observed a lot of cultural differences in Canada, such as milk being sold in bags, state sold alcohol, time-telling, different tax structures, walking on certain sides of the escalators for different reasons; food prices and how expensive meat is; payment systems, etc.
- Ate a custom multiple patty burger at Burger Royal, much to my delight.
- Visited Marie at her art exhibit / silent auction. I got to visit her work studio located on the mezzanine level of a beautiful church overlooking the entire interior and studied some of her paintings up close. Marie paints from her soul, with no intentions or plans on the pieces she paints. I got to see much more of her pieces at the silent auction which was shown elsewhere. Her photos on the website do not do justice to the real paintings. There is a real depth to her art that can only be experienced by touching, looking at from different angles, and observing her works in progress. Each of her paintings tells you a brief but profound story; her inspiration level; how she feels in the space that she is currently in; and a whole other layer that lies behind that tells a message at its highest level. Marie gives me a piece of one of her very large painting. It is of a large eye, as she knows I am drawn to them. The eyes behold an infinite garden of sunflowers; its messages conveying on multiple layers, knowing that for each person, whichever layers they pick up is an adequate communication.
After the auction, Marie prepares for her trip to Brazil; and I decided to visit Barbara and Jack DesBrisay out in Chelsea, Quebec, Canada. They have a very stable household and life that is filled with many English themes, and Jack had multitudes of stories throughout his life of travel and service to the Royal Canadian Air Force. During the three weeks there, I got to see how they lived a stable life no matter what was going on external to them. Jack holds his family history and stories dear, and this extends to his external environment as I saw silverware that are generations old; tables that lasted more than a century still in daily use; dishes that have been in service for many years to the day; family portraits; and daily habits that are followed like traditions, right down to the placement of candles and table arrangements. I observe that these things can help one weather the most severe events and changes in life; and understand that in times of most turbulence and growth, ones values, sponsoring thoughts can be a grounding force that maintains balance throughout. I also got opportunities to reflect, take an online class, look into citizenship, and repaired their computers.
Marie's friend, Cleménce, introduced me to Pierre, after I sought her out for housing possibilities, and I told her of my seeking to experience more bodywork that would connect one to life. Pierre wanted to meet, have dinner, and introduce me to Biodanza that very evening! Talk about diving into things spontaneously, and acting on an intent! I ended up having dinner with Pierre and his friend, Stephany, and attended a Biodanza session facilitated by Maira Martinez.
Pierre also showed me his home, a beautiful household with 4 bedrooms, a full kitchen, a skylight encompassed in two floors. Pierre invited me to rent out one of the bedrooms, and I accepted.
A couple of miscellaneous things I did was become familiar with poutine (first through Barbara / Costco, then through eating at a specialty poutine eatery); and explored Mont Royal, which is Montréal's largest park.
The first building block establishes how we are the artist that is constantly creating upon our canvas, and that what we intend, say, and do results on our life, and that we can choose to be impeccable with our word. The second concept is about not taking anything that happens in life personally, as there are always things, information, and other events happening to others that are outside of our field of awareness. I also got out of it, that we are never victims. The third concept is to not make assumptions, that we can choose to celebrate in not knowing, and to be in the wonder and witness of asking questions - to be inquisitive, curious, and enjoy every moment of life in wonder. The fourth concept is to always do our best. At any given time, we are indeed doing the best that we can given our awareness, choices, and state of being that we are in. We can also choose to do less than our best; and do more than our best.
I started this course while staying with Barbara & Jack; and enjoyed how compact and simple the messages are; yet as you dive into each one, how deep, and multi-faceted they are, that even expanding outward, connect with other messages that build upon them.
This is the area I stayed in with Pierre, Maxim, and Stephany for the last eight weeks of my time in Montréal. It is near Rue Fluery, where there were many cute shops, bakeries, pastry shops, health food stores, my favorite cheese shop, and my local favorite pizzeria.
- Attended the Biodanza sessions every Tuesday for about eight weeks. There were many miniature challenges and areas of growth as I learned to interact with others in an intimate, innocent, and fun way; grappled with self judgement; learned more about setting intentions; learned a bit more French; grappled with the guard I placed on myself; and looking at how safe it could be to let go; struggled with / have fun with being in rhythm with others; and learned how to deal with negative state of being from making self-perceived mistakes; or other dark moments.
- Upon a suggestion of my friend, Janine, looked into Dr. Brian Weiss; and ended up reading four of his books consecutively. I am so fascinated about hypnotherapy, and how the state of hypnagog allows us to be our Higher selves; and how understanding the events that happen in prior lives (the idea of reincarnation and karma) can lead to a higher level of healing in our present lives; as well as influence our future incarnations. This has led to me setting an interest in looking at my own life, my memory holes; and issues that I perceive in my present life.
- I dove even deeper in the teachings with HeatherAsh Amara, in her Stalking Freedom Global class, which is an online class with a duration of nine months. Stalking is a form of going into a intense and deep state of self inquiry in order to help identify patterns in ourselves and therefore setting intentions; as well as a modality of observation and witness in and around ourselves.
- I witness my Sony Vaio laptop die a gradual death, and through a generous donation of an Apple Macbook late 2008 model from a dear friend, Marty & Somerset from California, was able to transition things over to another computer so I could continue doing the work I needed to do.
- Explored, shopped, consumed food from the neighborhood around Pierre's place, which is by the Riviére des Praries. The majority of the places I went to were on a nearby major street called Rue Fleury, which had many small shops, bakeries, pastry stores, health food stores, and two of my favorite places in Montréal - La Fromeragie de Hamel & George's Pizza.
- I got to know Pierre, Maxim, Max, and Stephany a bit, and realized how all of them were mirrors of different aspects of my life and personality; and that this extends to anybody one meets in their life. Pierre is a fellow food enthusiast who was in a similar state of lost as I was a decade ago; Stephany is a fellow intellectual who also experienced abandonment, and who is also breaking patterns by living outside of the mind; and Maxim is a survivalist with a buried heart who is unconditionally loved by his 80 pound Rottweiler named Max.
- Pierre proved me wrong about my ability to float in water and subsequently taught me the beginnings of how to swim. He has me practicing gliding across the water; and doing the basic stroke. This is something I am continuing whenever I can.
- Pierre also re-introduced me to riding bikes by introducing me to riding a tandem-bike. It had been 26 years since I rode a bike. I got into a pretty gnarly accident during my young teenage years and did not get back on the bike afterwards due to several reasons.
- Stephany introduced me to Yoga, by taking me along to one of her classes, which was a group that had been in session for a few years now, so I got immersed in some more advanced poses which left me sore for a week afterwards, but feeling extremely good.
- There was a new person that attempted to move into Pierre's place and ended up staying for a week, named David who, by Divine design, ended up triggering Pierre, Maxim, and I to an extreme point of adversity; and subsequently allowed all three of us to grow. What David ended up doing for me was forced me to face my tendencies of being passive, agreeable, being the bullied, memories of my father, anger; and ultimately overriding some of those patterns by maintaining my Truth; outwitting him; and become more assertive towards him. His stay at the household ended in a violent fashion that resulted in his arrest by law enforcement.
Parc du Mont-Royal - the largest park area in the city of Montréal.