A post from 2016 popped up in my memories Jan 4. I remember taking this intention to heart and didn’t realize it was so long ago already. The words that came to me five years ago are credited to Laurel Bleadon-Maffei and were originally posted December 5, 2012, on IlluminatingSouls.com:
“One day she decided to forgive herself. And she forgave everyone else, too. It was time to let go of what could never be changed and allow her heart to open to even more love. Then she began singing the song of her soul. The world grew still and the sky turned pink. She allowed her self to step into her destiny and shine her gifts upon the world. Somewhere the angel smiled. The girl had awakened to the miracle of her life. Things were about to get really, really good.”
Life has been very good the last five years – although I must confess I am still working on forgiving my self and others. I will always wish I had known how to be a better parent ~ that means I would dealt earlier with my own childhood traumas. And that means there would have been different people to guide me or even before that, people in my life would have been graced with compassion and wisdom. We can not change what was, only what can be.
So what has shaped my five years of miracles?
2016 included several vacations, a keynote speech in Edmonton, and travel to Ottawa for the MMIW Inquiry launch. My volunteer work with students was very rewarding. Pivotal events included collaboration with Mufty and her Redress Photography Project and being invited to join the her women’s writing group. Maybe all that happened at a time when I was ready to archive my life ~ or perhaps opening new opportunities for expression allowed for deeper reflection and resolution. I wrote many letters, published an article and joined an amazing writing course. At home, we recommissioned the basement and added a pool table to allow more entertainment and room for visitors.
2017 was my VMI course – Vancouver Manuscript Intensive – where I reflected on and transcribed memories of Cara into the Seasons of Life. I started work on my website and co-authored another article with my former thesis advisor. Several Red Dress presentations, another writing course and other awareness events filled my year . I also credit participation in EFT workshops – Emotional Freedom Technique – with an increased ability to shift and calm my thinking. We enjoyed several trips, the MMIWG Inquiry came to Edmonton, and we bought a new-to-us Journey SUV.
2018 I continued editing my manuscript, working on my MMW data, and finally launched my website. The serendipitous purchase at a fundraiser of a digital billboard, five seconds a minute for a month, led to unexpected publicity and ongoing promotion of MissingCara.ca. A Woman of Courage award was gifted by CEASE. That summer I turned 70 years old and we hosted a wonderful backyard party.
2019 started dramatically. I travelled to Ontario for Faytene TV, was snowed in for a day in Burlington, and eventually carried on to Coburg for a lovely last visit with a long-time friend. Our annual Mexico vacation happened in March. I assisted with another major article, attended Oprah live, and participated in more amazing projects, conferences and workshops. Several family holidays rounded out the year.
2020 took us back to Manitoba in January for a family wedding. My husband celebrated his 80th birthday and we fortunately planned our Mexico vacation in February before Covid struck. This was followed by many months of virtual study. My Sept 1st blog, Unidentified Body Found, spontaneously reached over 3000 readers. I was honored to receive two awards, Daughter of the Year in Sept and Star of Alberta Volunteer in December. I was also blessed to join an Alberta Avenue Community initiative to name and develop a Memorial Park in honor of the many MMW who disappeared from that area.
“How do miracles happen?” I wondered. Reflecting on the last five years, I can identify the solid base of a loving and respectful relationship, a supportive network of family and friends, openness to new ideas and people, commitment to learning through workshops and conferences, opportunity for travel, time consciously spent in service of others, paying attention to thought and behavior patterns, supporting causes I believe in, and daring to risk new adventures. All of this happened of course within a healthy life context of prudent financial management, adequate sleep, and drinking lots of water, etc. Oprah often talks about spiritual practices. Other than tuning in to Super Soul most Sunday mornings, my routine is simply taking time for reflection, choosing inspirational projects, and writing my thoughts. My hope is that all readers can find their own miracles.
My vision for 2021 can best be summed up in the statement: I want to be part of the generation that ends human trafficking.
To this end my primary project of the year will be collaborating with my friend Andrea to produce an anthology on “Buying Sex in Canada” – stories of exploitation, survival and advocacy from a uniquely Canadian perspective. As daunting as this sounds, the miracles of the last five years give me hope that we can play a significant role!