Autumn Colors

Autumn colors abound. We've just celebrated the first day of our 2019 Canadian Fall. Warm air, brilliant hues, and good strong winds to lean into.

Autumn colors

TripSavvy Top 10 Fall color spots

Autumn colors, coast to coast, are highlighted in TripSavvy's article by Jane McLean, Best Places to See Fall Colors in Canada. Explore our country and what it has to offer in the prairies, by the ocean, and in the mountains. Our forests are breathtaking at this time of year!

Putting on the Autumn kilometers

I have the happy luck of living near the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. Tonight's walk took me out to tromp in the foothills.
In a short 45 minute trek along the winding, hilly paths of Glenbow Ranch, my friend and I were witness to a dozen blue birds, ambling deer, and the distant howl of coyotes. Bear tracks were everywhere, so carefully spaced by a determined lord of the foothills. Our elevation gave us a perfect line of sight on a farmer's combining precision (such straight lines!). And my friend's dog, Chippy, gleefully sniffed all the sniffs in the prairie grasses lining the paths.

The colors in the park run red, yellow, orange, and countless greens. Berries and seeds grace varied plant life -- they, too, exploding in whites, greens, reds, and oranges. The sun set as we climbed our last kilometer. The grace of hills shrouded in one another's shadows, while some of their faces basked a few extra minutes in the evening light, was palpable.

Breathe deep. Enjoy the vibrancy and artistry of Mother Nature as autumn winds us toward winter's cozy at-home-ness.

Breaking News | When it’s in MBY

The face we turn toward our own unconscious is the face we turn toward the world. ~R. Rohr~

Breaking news close to home

This has been an unusual week in our household. Typically, effects of shootings and other violent crime are far removed from us. We can offer our version of "thoughts and prayers" alongside those of other relatively unaffected citizens. This week, a shooting at a local mall felt very close to home, and it has us talking.

One of our adult sons works in media management for a North America-wide retail store. When word of an "active shooter" reached him on a Monday evening in September, he jumped to action. He and his (wholly untrained) co-workers promptly locked the store down. They escorted customers safely out through a controlled entrance, and found their own way to safety in good time.

The first I heard about it was in the laundry room. My grown-up boy quietly came up the stairs to where I was sorting and began with, "I've had quite a day. It didn't shorten my shift, or anything," (Oh, the details we offer when we're in shock.) "but there was a shooting at the mall today."

Sometimes you just need eggs

And from there the story unfolded. As shock wore off and his body started to adjust from the grip of Adrenalin, problem solving, and emergency response, he wobbled. "I was fine, Mom. Fine. I did everything right. But this was pretty close to home." We breathed a little. He took a minute for solitude and quiet and weeping, and then obeyed my command to come downstairs and "...eat some eggs!" Once at the kitchen island, head lowered in exhaustion, his first words were, "Nothing even happened to me."

But of course something happened "to him." He wasn't threatened with a gun, or grazed by a bullet. Nor did he have direct contact with the police officers securing the mall. He was not physically harmed in any way. But something most certainly happened to him. Our conversation last night brought the wobble to the surface again, and I watched him wrestle with his emotions: he has been impacted by this.

A non-anxious presence in an anxious world

The victim of Monday's attack, and the lives of every patron and mall employee in the vicinity of that shooting are forever altered. The life of the shooter is changed. One more thread of our society's fabric has been tugged on. First responders to the scene that day will never go to work the same way again. And they may not go to the mall the same way, either. My own family's experience is a gentle story of the impact of the anxiety, rage, hostility, and just-beneath-the-surface tendency to violence that some of our fellows are experiencing.

When Rohr says, The face we turn toward our own unconscious is the face we turn toward the world, we can draw both comfort and caution.

Our intentions, our habits, our way of being in the world? It matters. If we are challenging our own implicit biases, and broadening our understanding of humanity and belief, we will contribute to peace and goodness broadly. When we nurture hate and small mindedness? Well, that's what we'll put out into the world.

If we tend to our own interior life with compassion and patience and quiet, we may find that is what we have to offer others around us. A person who does violence has turned, first, on himself. Fear and anger are in the driver's seat; the narrative in that mind is one of self-preservation and survival. There is greed and anxiety coursing through the hand that clasps that firearm.

What would it be like to be persuaded of the value of all people? The right to dignity and safety. The right to life. What if that offering of dignity begins with how we view the value of our own "wild and precious life" (M. Oliver)?

It's not easy being mean

As a (proud!) mama, I note the way of being of my son; I note that of the young man that wielded a firearm in a crowded mall. My son has worked diligently, effortfully to cultivate a life of goodness, gentleness, peace, patience. He hasn't been haphazard about this. He's thought about who he wants to be as a man; he's made consistent choices to practice a way of being that is non-anxious. "But it's hard, Mom. I feel all the feelings. Like, I can handle these crisis situations really well, but the after effects? They're terrible." And yet, he holds. He remains true to his values.

The young boy (because he was just a boy) that decided that an act of violence was the solution to his own struggle has a different process. A thousand factors and choices brought him to the mall with a gun that day. Doubtless, there has been deep suffering in his life. Certainly he has not had the know-how of applying himself to serious self-assessment and character work. But maybe this will be a changing time for him? Maybe he, too, will consider who he wants to be, how he wants to be, in this one short life? Perhaps he can shift his inward gaze to a gentler, safer, more compassionate lens, and thereby alter his footprint in the world.

I lean into the end of the week taking a little stock of what my own self-care/other-care way of being really is. Is that way altered when breaking news violence vibrates the strings of my family web? Are there ways that I can extend deeper kindness and compassion more broadly? Perhaps if I look more tenderly on myself my gaze upon the world be softer, too.

Going to the Dogs

Donate a Car Canada donations going to the dogs one car at a time

Golden Rescue
Golden Rescue

The Canadian Golden Retriever Adoption Service (Golden Rescue) received their first-ever donation through our program in August.

One of Canada’s largest single-breed rescue groups, GR is a Canadian charity run entirely by volunteers. Since 1990, Golden Rescue has found homes for 3, 174 surrendered, abandoned, unwanted, or displaced Golden Retrievers.

Golden Rescue has no paid staff. They have no offices, and no high administrative expenses. They do, however, have over 500 dedicated volunteers throughout Ontario and Quebec, and beyond. One hundred percent of the money they raise goes to helping the dogs. Around 80% of those funds go to vet care and behavioral training.

Curious about adopting a Golden of your own? Visit Golden Rescue's site and see who's waiting for their forever home.

Police dogs in on the donation action

Ned's Wish

Ned's Wish is "a cause for heroes with paws."

Ned’s Wish received their first-time gift in August as well.

NW supports law enforcement by providing financial and educational support to better the quality of life for K-9 retirees in Canada. After human police officers finish serving their communities, their pension funds support them. Due to the cost of health care for retired police dogs, the potential to enjoy retirement can literally rest on a dime. A dog’s quality of life can be significantly reduced, or even cut-short if health costs are too high.

Ned's provides financial support for retired K-9 medical well-being. They preserve and enhance the quality of life for retired police dogs.

Your retired car can help

If these Golden Retrievers and retired police dogs have your attention, donate your vehicle through our program today! Or, visit the websites we've linked to learn of other ways to donate to the charities directly.

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Canadian Music Therapy Fund

Canadian Music Therapy Fund |Charity of the Month

The Canadian Music Therapy Fund (CMTF) wishes to create access to music therapy for Canadians who need it most.

They bring music therapy and therapists to rural, urban and remote communities from coast-to-coast. Their work brings music programs to people on the autism spectrum, and to those living with Alzheimer’s disease. Further, they engage those challenged by anxiety and depression. CMTF also reaches Canadians rehabilitating speech or motor skills, as well as those needing pre- and post-natal care, or living with a brain injury.

Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund
Canadian Music Therapy Fund

CMTF does this by awarding grants, scholarships and fellowships to innovative certified music therapists. As a result, these therapist are then empowered! They use their talents and expertise to make music therapy accessible within their communities.

Work that matters

The Science is in: music therapy works. However, music therapy is not a widely recognized form of therapy. It is seldom funded by private insurance or government programs. This means that, for the most part, if you can't pay for it, you cannot access it.

Music therapy helps us to move and communicate, to cope, to better understand ourselves and to reach our full potential. CMTF wants to make music therapy available to anyone who needs it.

Together, they are transforming lives. With your support, access to music therapy for all Canadians is possible!

Help the CMTF hit the high notes

Donate your car through our program today and choose our charity of the month as your donation recipient!

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