Earth Day and Easter Monday in Montreal

Earth Day and Easter Monday fall on the same day  this year–next Monday.

Grand Potager will hold a free family urban agriculture day at the Verdun Municipal Greenhouses and Coop CAUS will participate.

If you have children ten years old and younger, be sure to come at 11 a.m. for an easter egg hunt in the vegetable gardens. Every kiosk will have activities for the young ones all day long.

You can also pick up compost, seeds, seedlings, gardening gloves, shears and other items for the season ahead.

Then, in May, the entire island of Montreal celebrates gardening with Cultiver Montreal. There will be workshops all month.

Hope to see you there!

 

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Somewhere in the Middle with Michele Burard

Interview

Had a wonderful conversation with Somewhere in the Middle host Michele Burard that was posted Friday night.

Michele’s podcast features conversations with wellness experts, coaches, entrepreneurs, politicians and writers. Her goal is to create a:

 safe place where we can learn and grow together. We discuss a variety of topics, ranging from love to politics to money and business and beyond, because the human experience is wide and varied.”

We spent an hour talking about creative entrepreneurship, spirituality, family history and working hard to profile real people in a way that helps us understand the present.

Michele was born in the deep south so we talked a lot about colonization, democracy and the differences between living in a hot climate and surviving in what Michèle calls the “frozen north.”

Hope you enjoy our conversation.

 

 

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Farewell SouthWest Mission

I’m so sorry that the Southwest United Church in Verdun will close its Mission in Verdun Elementary School on Melrose Street at the end of June when their current lease runs out.

Community group members have known about this for a while and church members for a bit longer than that, but the decision became public after Sophie Poisson wrote an article in French about it for the Verdun Messenger last week.

A day later, SouthWest posted more info to their Facebook page.

The Wednesday community lunch and the Mini-market are relocating to Dawson Boys and Girls Club as of April 24th.
In case it is ambiguous from reading the article, SouthWest Mission will remain in the Verdun Elementary building until the end of our lease on June 30th. In terms of Bonhomme à lunettes and the Halte allaitement (not halte garderie), we are hopeful these services, as well as two weekly AA meetings, will continue in the Mission space after SouthWest leaves, but there have been no guarantees. We have encouraged these groups to communicate directly with the school board which will make all decisions about the use of the space.

It’s going to take Dawson a while to restart the lunches, so the last one will be April 17 and the new ones will start sometime in the summer.

For more than a decade, Verdun residents who speak English have counted on the Mission to get healthy local food, have a gathering place with immigrant and French-speaking neighbours, and get local community projects underway (Un plante de tomate, Good Food Box, Wednesday mini-markets, marché-mobile, Verdun sans Faim, and événement santé to name a few). This despite the fact that very little public funding can be distributed directly to religious groups. The SouthWest Mission worked with partners who served as fiduciaries.

Throughout all this time, everyone involved worked hard to keep the Mission and the Church aligned. Looking back now, it’s clear that the project has been teeter-tottering over the last few years. Cracks appeared in the happy dedicated ambience that marked the location in its early years. Volunteers and employees struggled to work happily together. I wish things had been easier for all of you. Thanks so much for your work.

And thanks especially to Darlene, Léonore, Sheila and the others who have stepped forward to continue their projects at Dawson Boys and Girls Club. Your efforts on behalf of the community are so appreciated. Thank you enormously. And thank you Dawson for offering to help keep the projects going. We so appreciate it.

And lastly, farewell to Reverend David Lefneski. Thanks so much for making Verdun a better place.

Throughout all his years working in Verdun, David worked tirelessly with Amy, Darlene, Léonore, Sheila and countless others to get vulnerable people assistance, attention, community, health care, nutrition and whatever else they needed. Most of those of us who work on community projects have his cell phone number. I can say first hand that he responded to needs almost any time of the day.

I’m sorry to hear that Verdun will lose him as a regular leader in our community. He has been splitting his time with a church in Cowansville for several months now and will move there permanently at some point in the future. I hope his new community appreciates his enthusiasm and good-will just as Verdun has for many years. If any of you are reading this, and you want to get to know your new pastor, please listen to my podcast interview with him. I hope he’s as successful at building community there as he has been in Verdun.

In some ways, it’s not farewell anyway. Knowing David, I trust that he’ll find a way to connect Verdun with Cowansville in some wacky project in the future.

At least I hope so.

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Create Your Best Life with Imagination

Watch this in video

Have you ever created something that you didn’t even think was possible?

You imagined it and then it happened.

For me, my whole life is a little bit like that.

When I first moved to Montreal to become a writer, I had no idea how exactly you create a creative career.

And now it’s 25 years later. I’m married I have two children, but more than anything else I’m a writer.

It’s astonishing to me that my dream came true.

If you had told me when I was a little girl that I’d actually be writing books and writing and being a journalist and doing all the things that I do to make a living, I wouldn’t have believed you.

It was like a dream that lots of us had.

There are entire worlds that get created out of imagination.

It’s not just my life but the entire world around us.

We have Elon Musk actually sending off rockets into space.

We have the device that I’m filming this on is a tiny little thing like which is even smaller than the shoe.

It gets even more amazing.

\When he was a kid, Barack Obama couldn’t imagine being president, nor could Jimmy Carter.

If anyone would have told him when he was a kid that that would have been possible, he wouldn’t have believed it.

Justin Trudeau was a teacher in British Columbia. At that time, I’m sure he didn’t think he would ever be Prime Minister of Canada. It’s so amazing what you can do.

Everybody knows you can create entire worlds out of imagination

Just look at what J.K. Rowling has done with the Harry Potter series. All of us, all of a sudden, can imagine flying broomsticks and playing quidditch.

We can actually imagine two different worlds where some people are magical and the rest of us are just muggles.

And she created that all of her imagination.

It works in nonfiction too

That’s what I really want to talk about today.

I want to encourage you to create out of your imagination the life that you want.

Obviously you can imagine it. And what you imagine isn’t necessarily what’s going to take place, but at least you can create something is different than it would be if you didn’t try imagining something great.

There’s all sorts of books that that make this really clear.

Have you read the Blue Ocean Strategy? This is just an idea and somebody created an entire new way of thinking about business with this just one single idea. Do what’s unexpected.

There’s another book by Norman Doidge called The Brain That Heals Itself. This is something that people never imagined was true. And he discovered it is true.

Look at black holes.

Look at Steven Pinker’s world. His ideas is that we live in a kinder more gentler world.

These were all initially moments of imagination

Then the person who imagined something went out in the world and went to see if they could find evidence for their idea.

And they did.

And then the idea got stronger and then we all imagined it.

The United Nations has just announced that they want the Zero Hunger by 2030 they’ve created a campaign.

They are there.

They want saner agriculture practices. This is something that I think all of us can imagine would be nice. What if everyone woke up with enough food to eat and that it was so nutritious that they didn’t get sick. This is an extraordinary moment of imagination that I hope we can all get behind.

What else can you imagine?

What moments can you think up would be something that we can all get behind.

Every community is based first on a vision that people imagine and then they share

Each person imagines something they share their ideas with others and then you create a joint vision which is just a joint imagination.

There is Dan Sullivan and Peter Diamandis from Exponential Wisdom who talk a lot about extending human lifespan. Peter Diamandis wants to live for seven hundred years. Dan’s a little bit less optimistic; he’s only aiming to live for 156 years.

These are imaginary moments but they’re working on actually making this happen.

Peter Diamandis has created an organization where you can go down and get your genetic background to see if you are going to get sick. Basically it’s like a health organization to work on where you are at now so you can treat anything that might be found before it actually gets worse.

Obviously if you find and treat an illness really you have a better chance of survival.

So I mean this is just the way you look at basic medical treatment. The past looks barbaric now because people imagined better.

Antibiotics didn’t exist. A simple piece of mould had no value until somebody imagined more. Then they did the work.

All good ideas start with imagination and then they take work to accomplish. And that’s the hard part. But you have to begin by actually imagining something that’s amazing.

I think that the world of nonfiction is built on proving that what we imagine is true.

I’d love to hear how your using your imagination to create a better life for yourself and just let me know in the comments.

Thanks.

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