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    defining depths, scaling heights. to upgrade our world, to new version - with new vision. feeling this world thinking of that future join to begin. here & now.

    Debbie Ouellet


    The Stuff of Dreams

    Film, Media & Consciousness  |  17.Feb.12

    What is the stuff of dreams? Random flashes of subconscious bric-a-brac, discarded brain bits and pieces? Are they journeys to another plain of existence? Is it the brain’s way of sorting out problems — reaching deeper into our mental capacity to reason and create? The truth is: we really don’t know. How a person might answer any of these questions out of their own personal experience relies heavily on their cultural background and spiritual beliefs. Whether it’s a scientific or spiritual approach to these questions, there is a common thread of agreement: creativity and our dream life are often linked.

    The Scientific Explanation: Most dreams take place during REM sleep when our heart rate and breathing quickens and our blood pressure rises. We can't regulate our body temperature as well and our brain activity increases to the same level or even higher as when we are awake. The rest of the body, however, is all but paralyzed. This paralysis is caused by t... more

     

    The Act of Kindness

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  15.Dec.10

    What this world needs is a new kind of army – the army of the kind.  – Cleveland Amory, author


    Search the headlines in the dawn of this new decade and you’ll find countless examples of everything that’s wrong in the world today. The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. Genocide in Dafur. A deadly earthquake in Haiti. Recently, a friend commented, “The whole world’s gone to hell and there’s nothing we can do about it.” The acceptance in that comment troubled me. It’s not the first time I’ve heard the sentiment voiced.

    Is there nothing we can do about it? The question stayed with me for some time. Let’s face it: the problems plastered all over the evening news are so big that whole governments can’t seem to find a way to correct them. What hope does a solitary person have in making a change for the better?

    Like other Truth seekers, I decided to go looking for an answer - and found its... more

     

    Bearing Witness

    Film, Media & Consciousness  |  02.Dec.10

     

    A voice is a gift; it should be cherished and used… Powerlessness and silence go together; one of the first efforts made in any totalitarian takeover is to suppress the writers, the singers, the journalists, those who are the collective voice.   —Margaret Atwood

    Margaret-atwood2There has been much debate over the years as to the role that literature and art in all its prism facets should play within a cultu... more

     

    The Power of Belief

    Film, Media & Consciousness  |  18.Mar.10

    I believe in the power that comes 

    From a world brought together as one

    - Nikki Yanofsky, “I Believe”

    I've always believed in the power of belief. There is a synchronicity, a connectivity to the universe we inhabit. A thread that pushes, pulls, sets us free, binds us. Motivational speakers call it positive thinking. Scientists have studied its effects for years. Theologians call it faith. However you describe it, whether spiritually or with cold hard scientific data, it is based on a simple premise: it is your chosen belief in a purpose, whatever it might be, that is the determining factor to whether (or not) you are able to accomplish it.

    The Ripple Effect of Shared Belief: It's one thing to have a firmly rooted belief system in your personal life and to see its effects. It's quite another, however, to see it in action when a large group of people combi... more

     

    Oh! No Canada! The Cultural Identity Crisis

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  31.Dec.09

    Why have we as a people been able to continue to exist? Because we know where we come from. By having roots, you can see the direction in which you want to go. 
— Joenia Wapixana, attorney, Roraima Indigenous Council, Brazil, quoted in the NY Times


    As a taxpayer, writer and parent with a daughter in the Ontario Public School system, the state of the educational system as it relates to literature and the arts has always been a concern for me. I’m also a proud Canadian, aware of the privileges we enjoy through our constitutional freedoms and the vast diversity of our population.

    But as our schools teach our children what they need to become contributing members of our society, how much of that information relates to the rich roots in history and the arts that is their homeland? Nothing captures a culture’s essence better than its poets, writers, musicia... more

     

    Holding On and Crossing Over: The Rituals that Define Us

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  17.Dec.09

    Return to watering holes for more than water—friends and dreams are there to meet you. -African Proverb

    As a writer and poet, it's my job to notice things. Bear witness, as best I can, to those defining moments, large or small, that resonate and overlap the boundaries of age, gender and culture. These moments are what define us. By paying tribute to them, we honour the very essence of our humanity.

    In North America, the months of December and January are pivotal times. Ends and beginnings.  Reunions and separations. Remembering and moving on. They are rich in the rituals of family: reunion, storytelling, reaffirmation, returning to your roots. They are times of crossing over: sorting through the tangled strings of our lives, making c... more

     

    Woman’s Right to Choice

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  03.Dec.09

    The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.  ~ Lucretia Mott

    An article in the Toronto Star on October 25th told of a young Toronto Muslim woman, Maryam Rana, who chooses to wear a niqab—a black veil used to cover the face and hair when traveling in public places. Her choice, and that of many immigrant Canadian women like her, has sparked much debate in the human rights and feminist circles about the oppression of women. They argue that the wearing of these coverings is symbolic of the rights denied to women who are forced to cover themselves and bow to male-dominated laws in many parts of the world today.

    What these groups fail to recognize is that the wearing of the niqab by Rana represents a pinnacle expression of the exact opposite—freedom for women—a hard-won right earned over the past century in North America. Human rights; freedom of expre... more

     

    Red Fridays - Lest We Forget

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  05.Nov.09

    “If ye break faith with us who die
    
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    
In Flanders fields.”

    In Flanders Fields— Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

    In Canada, November 11th is the day set aside each year to remember the sacrifices made by the veterans of war. Right or wrong, whether or not you buy into the politics behind the conflicts, the sacrifices made by the countless young men (and now women) on the front lines in order to uphold our personal freedoms must never be forgotten.

    There is a growing movement in Canada to recognize and s... more

     

    The Language of Less

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  29.Oct.09

    "The impulse to enter, with other humans, through language, into the order and disorder of the world,
    is poetic at its root as surely as it is political at its root"
    - POET Adrienne Rich In "What Is Found There"

    Throughout history, poets and the language they employ in their metrical conversations with the world have reflected the mood and pulse of their culture. How could they not? Language itself is the first element of culture that defines a people.

    Ezra Pound once said, “Poets are the antennae of the race.” Recently, in the wake of the economic upheaval that has rocked North America, I’ve seen a subtle shift in poetry posted on on-line boards. Though these, admittedly, are not always the best example of the highest caliber of poetry of... more

     

    Return of the Spoken Word

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  18.Jun.09

    The participatory element of poetry continues to pull people in... Digitalization, the ease of self-publishing, of webzines, of recording your own MP3s. This is the reemergence of the oral tradition in the digital age.” Bob Holman

    In late March 2009, I was asked by a Grade-Six teacher at Woodbridge Public School in Woodbridge, Ontario to visit their classes as part of the poetry segment of their language studies. Would I talk to a roomful of teens about writing poetry and what it means to be a poet? I have to admit that I had my doubts. These were eleven and twelve-year-olds from widely diverse cultural backgrounds, plugged into ipods, WIIs and MP3s. What could a fifty-five-year-old poet and them possibly have in common?

    What I found in that classroom packed with fifty-two adolescents was unconditional acceptance, and the beginning of a revelation. These young people had been primed to accept poetry from an early age. The advent of hip-hop, rap and slam poetry... more

     

    The Paradox of Creative Choice

    Film, Media & Consciousness  |  30.Apr.09

    That each person is compelled, day by day and deed by deed, to choose his or her life; and that though this choice is by nature extremely personal and individual, it is nevertheless a choice not only for the person choosing, but for all mankind. - Milton Acorn1

    Most of us, throughout our lifespan, acquire a collection of identifying labels based on the choices we make. There is the role we take on in our chosen career: leader, teacher, tradesperson—a choice often driven by a need to provide for a family or loved ones. There is the position we assume within that family group: parent, caregiver, provider. There is the role we perform within a community: mentor, spokesperson, listener. And there is the greater calling that we are compelled to follow whether it be creative or spiritual (if it is possible to separate the two). It is a paradox, especially in North American culture, that the choices and subsequent roles that bring us the most personal and spiritual satisfa... more