Who Do You Serve?



In Canada on Nov. 11, we observe Remembrance Day, also known in other countries as Armistice Day. It is a solemn day and should be marked with quiet reflection for those who offered themselves to protect and defend our free society and way of life. An honourable service that for many resulted in the most selfless of sacrifice – their life.

Nowadays, Remembrance day is glossed over and disrespected by corporate greed. If you work in retail or customer service, this is no longer a day away from your work to pay your respect to the fallen and the brave. There is not even a pause of somber silence at 11am. It is business as usual.

Consumerism has creeped in on every holiday. Malls and restaurants are open for business like every other day and for the most part, I have begrudgedly resigned myself to this intrusion on our traditional holidays. After all, in a multi-cultural society, not everyone has the same beliefs, or observes the same traditions. I get that.

But to me, Remembrance day is the one exception. Has our society gotten so complacent, so self entitled, that we would rather shop for frivolous frippery than take one day a year to honor our dead. There is nothing folks, I repeat nothing, in a mall that can not wait one day to buy.

Remembrance day is a day that does not favour any religion. It does not support a belief other than freedom for all. What it does do is annually mark our responsibility to remember, to be mindful and honour all of those who gave us the greatest gift of service so that we, as a free society, can enjoy the lifestyle we have today.

No matter what background or culture you come from, you would be hard pressed to find someone who does not have a family member or ancestor who has served in this capacity at one time or other. If you trace back far enough, there is someone. It is for them that we remember.

Disrespecting the sacrifices of the past makes me question how society is losing the importance of being of service. It is my belief that we are here on earth and are given this life, to do 2 things – to experience and to serve others.

A kind, loving world depends on the generosity of everyone. When we experience life, we learn what talents we possess, we learn our strengths, and where we shine. Those are our gifts to the world. To be of service to others is to freely offer those gifts. To give of oneself is the greatest gift a soul can give.

I fear that societies moral compass is pointing off course at present. Just look at all the anger, hostility, protectionism and terror that is infecting our world right now. All emotions that come from an egocentric perspective. A “what’s in it for me” mentality and a mindset of “us” against “them”. There is no service to others here. No freely giving of the gifts of the collective soul that is human kind. Just fear and hate.

Enviably though, conflict follows fear and hate, which brings us full circle to those giving souls who selflessly sign up and offer us the most noble of service in society – to be willing to give their life to protect our own.

So this week, whether you observe Remembrance day on Nov. 11th or not, please take the time to reflect on this sacrifice that thousands upon thousands have made in the past, at present, and in the future so that you can live this day, and every day, free to choose as you like.

But most of all, honour their legacy by committing to be of service to others. Ask yourself, how can I serve? Who can I serve? This world needs your gifts more than ever.

Remember them and then pay it forward. This is our responsibility for the sacrifice they made. They were of service to us, so how can we be of service for them?

























Filed under Good For The Soul, Integrity, Wisdom

The History Keepers

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The Hudson Bay Fort in Nanaimo known as the Bastion in the late 1800’s

There are two ladies that regularly visit me in the little vintage shop where I work that I would like to tell you about. There is great wisdom in these women. Firstly, because they are in their upper years and have acquired this wisdom through life experiences, and secondly, because they have taught me a great lesson.

Their names are Jill and Daphne and they volunteer once a week at our local community archives.  http://www.nanaimoarchives.ca/

Jill is a 90 year old ball of energy who still drives and live on her own. She will waltz into the store, stylish in dress, with some playful anecdote or witty comment. Her animation and joie de vivre is palpable. A life long Nanaimoite born and raised, who is well versed in our cities history. Her and I have had many a conversation about old time Nanaimo.

Daphne is more sedate. Her grace and composure hints at a more formal upbringing. While less gregarious, she seems to play the foil to Jill’s antics. But make no mistake, there is humour lurking inside this English rose but there is also a fierce protectiveness she can not hide for her friend and her family for anyone who cares to look.

So what is this great lesson I speak of that these two have taught me?

Well let me start by talking about the word Crone. I call this blog Crone Confidence for a reason. A Crone is a female elder. Traditionally, she was the wise woman of the village, the healer, sometimes the midwife and on occasion the venerable Crone would act as a mediator for the village should a dispute arise. She was respected for her age, longevity and her acquired knowledge.

Today, as older woman are embracing their own power once again, the title of Crone is being whispered in some circles once again with deference. But because we no longer live in the small villages of old, the traditional aspects of a Crone no longer apply. So new honours are being bestowed that reflect our modern society. Titles like wise woman remain but others like, storyteller, warrior, peacemaker, counsellor, even Goddess are being resurrected with a new slant for current times. But in the case of these two grand dames, the bestowment of History Keeper is an honour I would offer for them.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Jill and Daphne do my city a service that many who live here don’t even know exists. They sift through the information, photos and records of our city’s past and organise and preserve it for easy access for the public to view. The hours they volunteer today, ensures that we are (hopefully) able to learn from our past so we can move forward, with open eyes in the future.

A community needs to understand its beginning and why it came into being. My city’s humble roots are in coal mining and logging. Now, with over 90 thousands souls living in its boundaries, a more diversified economy has emerged. But one can not deny ones past because it helps to understand why we have grown as we have.

The Hudson Bay fort pictured above was built to guard the fledgling coal port from possible hostiles. It was, at the time, a “bastion” of defense. While that kind of security is no longer needed, perhaps Nanaimo would not exist if it had not been built. That is the kind if history that molds a community and that’s the kind of information that can be found in its archives.

Bastian Today

How would we know how life has changed and learn from the past unless someone saves and preserves the history?


Jill and Daphne’s work at the Nanaimo Community Archives is a worthy contribution to the city and it garners my admiration and respect, but that is still not the great lesson that I’ve learned from these two ladies.

That lesson is one of purpose. Here are woman who give of their time to this community with little to no thanks for their service. But in that commitment, they have created for themselves a purpose that goes much farther than their own personal circle of influence.

It is when you give of yourself, with no material reward expected, when you contribute to the greater whole, that you give your life purpose. Here are woman who could just as easily spend their days, quietly in a comfortable chair, watching some useless fluff on the television for hours on end and no one would think less of them. It is in fact, what a lot of folks in their late decades do.

I have known folks who are old senior citizens and ones who are young senior citizens and the take away I get from my observation of the two types, is purpose makes you young.

When you loose your “why” you can say goodbye.

Jill and Daphne are young senior citizens because they have purpose in their lives. They have reasons to get up and get going. They have friendships and family and support, and they contribute to the greater whole of society. These ladies have a why.

And so, I will bestow on these two amazing ladies the title of History Keeper and I will honour their contributions and I delight in their wisdom, energy and friendship. But most of all, I thank Jill and Daphne for the lesson of purpose, taught to me by the example they have set.

Because with purpose in our life, with a “why” to fuel our days, we are all able to live a full, vibrant life. And maybe, just maybe, go on to create our own piece of history for a future History Keeper to keep.

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Filed under Good For The Soul, Wisdom