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photo by Kelly Sikkema

Today we are writing during the emerging stages of yet another wave of Covid in our Gabriola community and in our homes. We have been advised to refrain from indoor gatherings, limit social interactions, stay away from places of worship, gyms, music concerts and other events. Essentially, we are asked to stay close to home, avoid non-essential travel and maintain caution whenever it is necessary for us to be out and about. Perhaps under these conditions we can strive to move from isolation to insulation.

We all know that just before the sunrise there is deep darkness. For many of us we try to remain in our beds as the sun find its way into daytime. We just wait, mostly because we believe and feel confident that the sun will eventually rise and shed some light on our waking existence. Sometimes we don’t want to wait. We rise early from our beds and begin to do to try to get through our day. We want to make the light shine. How can we do this, both alone and in community, here on Gabriola during these next few weeks?

As you might be aware, several of our GES programmes for the coming month of January have been postponed until we are able to gather safely together again. What and who can we bring with us as we isolate/insulate in our homes, and what can we do to find meaning and gratitude in times such as these? We know that both are already there within us. So how do we find them?

There are many avenues open to each/all of us to pursue. Books, music, movies and TV shows, churches/places of worship even if only online, supporting community members at large, connecting with our agencies and services on Gabriola to help others in ways in which they can’t help themselves, these are all helpful activities in living through trying times. Intentionally embracing those around us, whether it’s person to person, video chat, email communication, telephone calls or walking outside together, these are positive ways of connecting in times such as these.

All methods of communication that we have available to us now can be utilized to help us feel connected and cared for. Even a kind word can brighten someone’s day, and it’s okay to take that chance because it
never hurts to simply share a kind word.

Audrey Hepburn says: “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” It’s that simple. Perhaps we can plant a garden on our windowsills to remember that growth happens with light, water and love. And soon spring will provide new life and rebirth.

Max Ehrmann, writes in Desiderata (1927): “And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God whatever you conceive him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

“The inspiration you seek is already within you. Be silent and listen.” Rumi


Bring in the Light!

December 6, 2021

in Other

Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

As we are writing this article, we are in the midst of a full moon! I’m sure many of us have noticed it as it travelled across the sky during our waking moments through the night. This time of the year is dark! The sun sets earlier and rises later, and hours without sunshine are the norm. For many, this darkness ultimately affects our moods in a negative way. S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a well-known phenomenon related to the lack of sunlight. There are several supplements and/or vitamins available to address this condition. Our local library has purchased special lamps that simulate sunlight, and they are used by many people. As they read under the lamp, the light stimulates serotonin levels in the brain and helps adjust the circadian rhythm, the body’s process for regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

If we are seeking other possibilities of shedding light during these times, there are many opportunities in the next few months that we can take advantage of. Every faith tradition that we are familiar with has a celebration where light is a critical component. Many of them occur during this season.

Diwali is the Hindu practice where people light clay lamps outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects them from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.

Chanukah (Dedication) is the Jewish holiday of light. Each sundown people are invited to light candles in a menorah as a dedication to life and religious dignity, and a reminder that miracles are possible.

Christmas is the Christian reminder of the light that Jesus brings to so many believers. The light of God’s spirit, the importance of enlightenment or knowledge, and the warmth of family love are all represented by the lights displayed on Christmas trees and ornaments as well as the many candles lit in peoples’ homes and places of worship.

In the Buddhist tradition, light offerings symbolize wisdom, because the light of the candle overrides the darkness of ignorance.

Many of us think of light as the illumination of the darkness and the elimination of ignorance. Sometimes we will need to bring intention to our practice. Turning on a light in our room to find something that we know is there is obvious. Remembering to bring a headlamp outside when you are leaving your friend’s house in the dark is reasonable. The search for wisdom also requires illumination of our mind and spirit. Turning on a light switch is easy. How do we ‘turn on the light’ within our souls to brighten our spirits and guide us through our journey?

Community, nature, prayer, family, friendship and love are all powerful components of a strong solid spirit. At GES we explore together many different traditions and practices in order to enhance and build on our internal light.

This coming month, we will be inviting everyone to sing in celebration of the light. Stay tuned for details of our annual Christmas carolling event on December 16. This is an opportunity to bring your own memorable religious songs and practices that you want to share with others. Leah and Lynnette will continue their monthly offering on December 19: The Voice of Wonder (online for now) continues to delve into the art of listening: to each other, to the natural world, and to the call of the Divine (God, Source, Spirit, whatever language you choose).

Let us together… brighten up ourselves, our friends, family and communities… and our world
simply by being there for and with each other. Bring in the light!


Changing the Stories We Tell Ourselves

November 2, 2021

On the evening of October 27  we hosted a presentation by Harold Johnson at the Community Hall with a great turnout of 45 people. Harold a Cree/Swedish […]

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November 2, 2021

We have so much to be thankful for! October in Canada is when we make time for thanks. This year GES sponsored our regular dinner at the […]

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Giving Thanks Dinner

November 2, 2021

The 17th Gabriola Ecumenical Giving Thanks dinner was an amazing success this year. Registration was limited to 50 people, and we reached capacity within 48 hours of […]

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Reflecting on Life

September 28, 2021

There are no answers to the book of life. Life is what we learn as we live it. And what we practice as we live it is […]

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Transitioning into a New Paradigm

August 16, 2021

For the past 16 years GES has presented to the Gabriola community a great number of excellent programmes that range from spiritual faith-based awareness to practical spiritual […]

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Emerging GES Theme for 2021-22

August 15, 2021

Early in August the GES Board and Program Committee gathered at the Netloft to reconnect and talk about what kind of theme for this year could possibly […]

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Change is Constant

July 6, 2021

Our lives continue to change here on Gabriola. According to Buddhist consciousness, “change is constant”. We are creating a new paradigm as we transition into a world […]

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Reflections from Pilgrimage Gathering 2

July 5, 2021

We had a wonderful in-person gathering on Tuesday night with Reverend Karen Hollis to share our Pilgrimage #2 experiences together. Below is just one reflection from one […]

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Pilgrimage in our Traditions

June 1, 2021

Pilgrims are persons in motion – passing through territories not their own – seeking something we might call contemplation, or perhaps the word clarity will do as […]

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Pilgrimage Journeys

May 3, 2021

With all its sham drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful, Strive to be happy. Desiderata by Max Ehrmann On Gabriola right […]

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The Spirituality of Action with Pandit Tejomaya March 21, 2021

April 9, 2021

You are a Divine being.  You have been created out of Divinity through Divine actions and are the physical embodiment of Divinity itself walking upon the Divine […]

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Mind, Body, Spirit

April 9, 2021

We are all connected in this world. As individuals, as community and as we create reciprocal relationships with our natural environment. We are all connected in this […]

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Spirituality of Action

March 8, 2021

We hope this last month was a good one for all of us here on Gabriola. The winter months have the potential to be bleak, depressing, anxiety […]

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The Guest House

February 18, 2021

This month’s article highlights a deep and meaningful poem from Rumi. It is entitled “The Guest House” and calls to us because it invites us to consider […]

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GES Carolling Event

January 23, 2021

Since it was impossible to gather in person for the Ecumenical Society Annual Carolling evening, it was decided by the GES Board that we would keep the […]

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