Welcome to the latest Impact Update on Magawa, your adopted HeroRAT. In February Magawa broke his personal best for landmine detection, sniffing out three deadly anti-personnel mines; devices capable of killing and maiming people in an instant. Thanks to your support and Magawa’s intervention, local families in the SraePou village near Siem Reap will be able to live free of fear for the first time in decades, knowing that they can farm their land and explore the local area freely like they used to.
Magawa not only sniffed out three anti-personnel mines, he also discovered another two unexploded remnants of war. The APOPO team have now fully cleared the area and returned the formerly lost land to the local communities living and working in the area.
Did you know? – The National Level One Survey in Cambodia conducted in 2002 found that 20% (2776 out of 13908) of all villages in Cambodia are still contaminated by minefields and/or cluster bomb areas with reported adverse socio-economic impacts on the community. These adverse impacts included restrictions on access to agricultural land, pasture land, forests, and water resources, with 102,778, 105,707, 172,878 and 84,588 families being affected respectively.
Saturday was an amazing day.
I want to go on and on about all of the speakers, and there were amazing moments throughout the day and into the evening.
But I also just found out that I’ll be taking on a wonderful number of bridal clients from the store that I have been working with and am overwhelmed with the details I need to work through for that. Add ing them to my own client list will take some focus and integration magic – in a good way, of course!
So I am going to add images and tell you for now – next year – attend the event!
I started teaching belly dance in January 1998.
There was an ice storm. Some folks might remember that.
The roads were slippery, but my classes began a few days after things were starting to recover, so while it was a small private class, it was fun and it happened.
Many classes, class parties, Bazaars and Dancers’ Newsletters later, and I’m ready to step aside.
As with everything, there is a season. There also should be a passion. And it has been fun.
Bellydance For Fun has been a part of my world for 20 years.
And the passion has burnt down to a gentle ember that, while generating a gentle glow, no longer flames a strong energy that drives me to take self- improvement dance workshops, to push my students, to give huge amounts of time to a community that is deserving of new life and fresh energy to keep it alive.
So, as with all things, my teaching life is beginning to a transition to whatever I feel like doing next. Bottom line: I’ll be phasing out of teaching community classes after this spring session < perhaps during the spring session, that is being determined and you’ll know as soon as I do.>
ON this morning’s walkabout, I was thinking, as I often do, about how beautiful the trees, the clouds, the sky, etc. can be when we have the time to appreciate it.
And I took some photos on my phone as I often do.
Then I started to think about how photographers, videographers, and anyone who takes the time to document those real moments in their lives, either for they own future appreciation or to share with others, are blessed in our present world.
We can easily capture gorgeous images, momentous images, subtle and delicate images that represent the moment of their taking, our mood at that time and help us hold on to those precious moments for future revisiting.
My mind then wandered to two other shots I shared this week of my 15/16 year old self as a blonde. and I wondered at that young person, who was also a creative soul, doing crazy fun things and having great friends to support her on that journey.
Thanks and gratitude were strong today.
Here are some of those shots I was mentioning – I took them for me, but if you enjoy them as well, cool.
Growing up, I recall my parents hosting a “wine and cheese” party in the first house I grew up in. I think it might have been as my father was getting into local politics, but I was probably around 10 so I’ll go with what my perception of it was.
I do not recall being around for the soirée itself, but I was around for the preparations and I was imprinted with the “hostess” energies from that moment onwards.
When we moved to the house I spent my teen years in, it took me a few years, but once I was in high school, I started hosting my own parties…theme parties at that!
-Toga party- because I loved playing with fabric and wanted an excuse to create a draped gown;
-50’s party so that I could make up a beautiful dress pattern I had found, and I got to make my BFF a poosdle skirt
-60’s in Paris party – I had found another cool pattern and made this amazing black Audrey Hepburn type two piece top and skirt, and a faux stained glass wall piece depicting the Eiffel Tower.
And my high school friends were so awesome, they came in costume and we had a blast- at least that’s what I recall.
My grandmother also contributed to that imprinting as we usually went to see my grandfather and her every Sunday; there were classic items always on the menu- butterscotch pie, cream puffs, meat pie, baked beans, and various squares and cookies.
It was comforting, it was tradition, it was good.
In the intervening years, depending on where I was living and what my life was like at the time, I have continued to enjoy hosting and offering a safe and funny place for people to sit, chat, meet new folks, and reconnect with old friends, etc.
And about 4 years ago, my anxiety started to get worse, and I had to start looking at ways to reduce my stress. While hosting events and parties was still fun, it was part of a larger picture of “too much”, and I started to cut back.
Retiring from organizing official events was the first step, and when we had to move into the ” interim apartment”, we hosted one party there and then shifted away from it.
This past weekend, we celebrated with friends in our new apartment-one in which my husband has been exercising a joyful amount of decorating savvy, and I get my own studio/room!
So, we cleaned, hung photos and art pieces, prepped food and one friend commented in advance, “don’t go nuts!”….
And it was nice. I still need to make sure I do not resume the ” Too much” inclinations of my youth, I am happy to have spiralled back to a place of healthy hosting.
I live in a great little neighbourhood that is “just colourful enough” – there are folks from all over the world who live and settle in the variety of rentals and owned homes, and yesterday some of the folks held a party
A post shared by Tracey A Vibert (@tavcreations) on Jul 15, 2017 at 4:07pm PDT
I met people I did not even realize lived so close to me, met lots of dog parents who I had seen many times but did not know their names, and generally stayed up way too late and had a great time.
Once in a while, do something fun in your neighbourhood.
Yesterday was the Bell Let’s Talk day so, that’s cool. Folks started sharing, and Bell will give money – that’s a good thing.
I saw someone post that they “did not need Bell to tell them to talk about mental health issues.” and I thought, wow – shouldn’t we be supporting both the big and small initiatives that bring positive attention to mental health issues? Why put down something that might be the ONLY WAY others will even begin to feel like they can talk about it.
Now there is a counter-argument to the Bell adventures well expressed here, that addresses a larger issue of our present love/hate relationship with technology. But until something takes out all of our infrastructure, this < internet and phones> is one of the ways we reach each other.
And yes, mental health should be talked about all year long, and my social media streams are FULL of people taking the initiaive on their own to share their stories and express their situations throughout the year. But that’s the social media stream of me, a creative person with creative friends from all walks of life who have created our own safe community in which we can be purple whacky on occasion, as we know we are not alone.
Thank you, Bell, for doing something to bridge the gap between those of us who are struggling daily with a variety of issues, but do have a safe place to talk, and those who would be dismissed or treated with disdain if they really told people what was going on in their minds.
I also read this article and shared it – so here it is again – loads of the people who do not feel comfortable talking about it are high functioning…”anxietists “< that’s not a word. I’m being lazy/creative>: https://themighty.com/2017/01/high-functioning-social-anxiety-mental-illness/
So, if you have read this far, here’s a bit of my journey. I’ve done therapy a couple of times with different levels of therapists. One test I took to determine my level of anxiety < I had developed random panic attacks> put me at 60-65% on the scale. 50% meant you were fine, and not really needing therapy, so I was just dipping a toe into the pool of purple whacky.
When I had first talked to my physician about the panic attacks, I was told by this very athletic woman to,” Just go for a run”. Hi, have you met me. I don’t run unless it’s to catch the bus or my dog. and even then…
Her tone was dismissive, reinforcing the voices already in my head that told me to get over myself already. I know what I have to do to be healthy – eat better, exercise more, get proper sleep…blah,blah,blah.
But there are the other voices that say, “You are self employed, and cannot refuse work, so you must work as much as possible; and YOU MUST BE PERFECT WIHT EVERYTHING YOU DO. You must do all the things, you don’t have time to cook a proper meal so just grab something quick and yummy.”
I try to exercise regularly < dancing and walking> and try to mix things up every once in a while with different activities to prove to myself I’m not totally out of shape – which by the way – is how I feel in my head most of the time.
I try to eat healthy and prepare meals, but reality in my world, I have a niche clientele that I predominantly cater to and “Bridal season” is even longer now than it once was. And convenience is a thing. But yes, I feel guilty every time I choose something easy and hopefully semi healthy over fresh – but budget and time are factors, so that’s a thing too.
AS I type this, All I can hear is – excuses!!! these are just excuses!!!
So, yeah – it’s constant.
And I should get to work. because while I know that work is a distraction from focusing on me, I also have bills to pay and clients that I want to serve in my best possible way.
Oh, and in my sewing business, when I don’t achieve the perfect finished garment – OMG – it’s a shower of self doubt, why do I do this, I’m not good enough to claim I can do this. I do make to not express my disappointment in myself nor be a disappointment to my clients < I know there are some unresolved issues in there>, and I apologize to those clients who have seen the darkness creeping out through the cracks in the veneer.
But we are supposed to talk about this mental health stuff right?
Thanks for coming. Thanks for dancing. Thanks for supporting. There are so many people involved in the OCCPs that I hope I have conveyed to each of you my profound gratitude in person so that you know you have helped make all of the years so very special.
Now, in answer to the many questions…sort of , at least.
My mom always said she is only 39 – thus I had to stop counting my age at 37 so that I never get older than her.
37 is a wonderful prime number and, as a reckoner of time, 37 shows a reasonable amount of life experience has been garnered but there’s still lots of juice left for adventures.
So, December 14th was the 37th Class Party < the name changed to the Ottawa Centre, then Community Class Party maybe 10-12 years ago> I will have organized since I began teaching in 1998.
And it’s a good time to stop.
Many of my friends already thought I was done when I announced last year that I would no longer host a June event, but I had been a bit vague about December’s event.
After a very “community-minded “lunch with two influential folk – my husband, and best dance bud, it was expressed that doing one more, and then making with an official announcement, might be a good way to pass the torch.
So from a crazy BBQ in my backyard for the the first few June shows – remember those Linda and Susi? – to various restaurant locations for the December shows, growing to a peak of 400 + attendees for a few years and needing the Bronson Centre as our venue, with a variety of community centre locations along the way, I have been most happy at the University of Ottawa Alumni Auditorium location – even with the construction, crazy displays in the hallways and the other whacky challenges.
I’ll always be grateful to my friends who have helped over these many years by volunteering to herd the dancers, help with set up, stage management, emceeing, promoting and of course performing and bringing their student groups out to dance!
Our community has lots of potential. And I hope that those who decide to take advantage of the opportunity to create they own community minded dance showcase/ presentation/ etc will continue to offer new dancers ta safe space in which to perform.
But really, it won’t be my show anymore, so just be sure to save me a seat – and a slot for my students/ and/or crew to dance! Classes start January 18th – go sign up!