Posted by: kbater | November 1, 2017

Adventures in Paradises

It has been way too long since I wrote on this blog.  The last two years have been a time of big transitions.  I left Banff in August of 2015 after 32 years of  exploring, collaborating and contributing around community, leadership and learning.

I spent two years working in end of life care as executive director of the Kalein Centre in Nelson, BC.  I learned so much about this (new to me) field and loved the collaboration with many community, provincial, and global partners.  I especially enjoyed my relationship with the Nelson and District Hospice Society and their executive director Jane DiGiacomo.

During this time both my father and mother died.  Working for a hospice society helped me so much as I have been immersed in the world of loss and I had supports coming at me from all angles.  These two large losses also sat upon the losses of my marriage to divorce and my daughter having a health crisis that has improved but is ongoing.  I also had to adjust to a new community and build a new social network.

What I realized was that all of this loss created a mix of emotions for me.  Sadness, lethargy, insecurity, and also excitement, optimism, and hope.  I had to work hard to re-build, I had to consider the big questions (as Dr. David Kuhl illustrated in his book – What dying people want) who am I, what do I want, and who do I want to be connected to?  Diving into this work –  on my own, through my employment, through many reading many books, through the medium of song-writing, through many deep conversations with old and new friends and some counseling, it all helped me create a new me.  In many ways not so different but with a clearer sense of what is important – friends, belonging, music – playing and listening, beauty (natural beauty, art, music, connection and experiences with others), fun, freedom, and pursuing pleasure.  This was not a narcissistic approach to pleasure but a grounded experience of pleasure – in eating good food and savoring the flavour, in listening to an exquisite piece of music (Birds of Chicago – til it’s gone or real midnight), really deep conversation – full of insights, laughs, tears, and increasing understanding and connection.

I found other ways to pursue pleasure, one good example being my extended play/vacation time this summer.  I left my job at Kalein In April and gave myself the whole summer to explore, play, adventure, connect and so I went to a wedding in Sask, my daughters’ convocation in Vancouver, two trips to Cortes Island to visit friends, play by the sea (even on the sea in a sailboat – which led to a me writing a new fiddle tune – “A trill a minute”), numerous trips to Banff, 5 or 6 music festivals, many music party and jam sessions, performing a few times (Ymir hotel on friday nights etc.) and fun time here in the Kootenays with new friends, using my paddle-board to cool off during this amazingly hot summer in western Canada.

This has led to me making more shifts this fall.  I am doing small amounts of work in leadership development and coaching.  I am looking at other possibilities in end of life care, developing new ways of approaching elderhood, working with men, boys, parents around approaching our lives more consciously and finding more supports for our development (I really believe we aren’t mean to do our work alone).

My mom told me numerous times in the last few years of her life, to pay attention to what makes me happy and to pursue that.  I have taken her advice to heart and I am experimenting with how to do that.  To be engaged in the world and be able to make some commitments while at the same time providing myself with enough freedom to explore the many ways of being happy, experiencing pleasure, and being connected.

It is clear that I want to work less and explore, learn, connect and enjoy live more.  I am going to return to my blog to dig into some of these new areas I have been exploring and to share with others so I can receive ideas, feedback, and new perspectives from others.
Stay tuned!

 

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Posted by: kbater | November 11, 2015

Music moves me

Music is big in my life again these days. I often find music on my dulcimer –  chords that work and become a song, but seldom do I put words to the song and when I do they often disappear. Recently I wrote a song, and as usual the music was there right away and the lyrics where a struggle.  I approached Local Nelson poet Zaynab for help crafting the lyrics and it was great to collaborate on a song.  I haven’t been able to do that for a number of years.  I played the song recently at the monthly poetry slam that Zaynab hosts.

Along with this I have also been to a number of concerts this fall.  My old friend Ken Hamm ( a great blues player ) played at Expressions and it was fun to listen, sing along and laugh as we remembered we were both born in Thunderbay (It was Fort William and Port Arthur then).

Ken and I laughing together

Ken and I laughing together

Then a few days later Hawksley Workman played Nelson and it was so great to listen to this poet and singer extraordinaire.  I love the way he lets his voice soar and be an instrument and not just a vehicle for lyrics.  Hawksley worked with my good friend Colin Funk on a play called History Skip with Colin using Hawksley’s music for the play.  When it came time for the performances in Banff, Hawksley showed up and played drums in the band but kept a very low profile and let it be about the kids.

Hawksley Workman

Hawksley Workman

Music feeds me and I have been so fortunate in my life to play with so many great musicians. I’m looking for more opportunities to listen (the Bahamas play Nov. 16th) and play (with local musician Max Hawk).

Playing my dulcimer with Lars and Eliz

Playing my dulcimer with Lars and Eliz

Posted by: kbater | November 11, 2015

There’s no place like home!

Well after 32 years living and working in Banff I have moved to Nelson and a fresh start.

my favorite ski near Banff - Stanley Glacier

my favorite ski near Banff – Stanley Glacier

I loved living in a National Park, hiking, skiing, running the day care, working on school board, co-founding the Banff Community Foundation and the Banff Ideas Bank.  I grew up during my time in Banff, finding myself by engaging intensely in life, friendships, adventure, challenging work. Banff became my home for 3 decades and each phase in my life in Banff I took on challenges, learned about myself and the field I was working in, make great connections with the other people involved and after a time, it was time to move on.

This winter I came to a major decision about how far to take this process.  So paying attention to this need for the next challenge, the one that came to me was the Executive Director position with the Kalein Centre in Nelson.  I found myself in a huge dilemma.  Great opportunity, building an organization from the ground up, re-connecting wtih life span development work, and how do you leave Banff, friendships and 32 years of work and connection.  I decided I had to take a leap, create a fresh start, and be an adventurer and rediscover myself and find new passions.

Here I am in Nelson.  My great buddy Colin Funk came to Banff and we loaded up a u-haul with my stuff along with some items for him to take home to Cortes and his son’s belongings going to Victoria so he could attend school.  My daughter Hana and I loaded her stuff in my car and headed to Nelson.  They helped me set-up house (just 1/2 km outside of town right on Kootenay Lake) and then I started work.  Hana hung out in Nelson for a few days hanging pictures and art and then we drove to Vancouver on the labour day weekend to get her set up for school at Emily Carr.

my early days in Nelson

my early days in Nelson

The Kalein Centre is a great place for me to use my skills and knowledge in new ways.  Nelson is an interesting combination of laid back, community focused, counter culture place and while I have to work hard to make new social networks, it is a place of promise. I have been trying out new adventures in Nelson – stand up paddleboarding, and last Sunday I performed a new song I’ve written at the Monthly Poetry Slam during the open mic,  It was hosted by Zaynab a local poet who helped me in crafting some lyrics.  I met her at the Cottonwood Market in May and she wrote me this poem about moving to Nelson. (click on the photo to get a larger version that is easier to read)

IMG_2962

My writing in my blog will shift more towards life span development and issues with death and dying and living fully at all stages of life.

Posted by: kbater | December 30, 2014

A long and winding road

Well it’s been months since I blogged.  What a year – my father is dying of cancer and I have been adjusting to life as a separated person moving towards divorce.  Some days I go, enough already what am I supposed to be learning, and others I just deal with whatever is in front of me at the moment and apply my zen philosophies as best I can.

I actually have learned a lot:

  • People are very helpful when you do ask for help
  • Medical science is a long and winding road with many tangents and answers often come slowly
  • You have to push for answers and persist and you also have to have patience (who me?)
  • It is so important to connect with friends and have fun as well as asking for support
  • Living in the moment to grieve, to rant, to cry, and to laugh – is so important and at times so difficult
  • It is easy to let fear consume me
  • It is hard to accept that right now things are hard
  • The Buddhist philosophy of impermanence and non-attachment are very helpful and yet so difficult to maintain

I see 2015 as a chance to deepen my daily living practice around these lessons and to be thankful for life, friends, family, life experience, beauty, and the opportunity to breath in and notice and breath out and let go.

Grandpa Bater, Grandma Bater, Hana and I

Grandpa Bater, Grandma Bater, Hana and I

Hana and I in Barcelona a year ago

Hana and I in Barcelona a year ago

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