All posts by Beverley Golden

About Beverley Golden

Beverley Golden is a writer, raconteur and song creator who has written everything from song lyrics to magazine articles. She enjoys researching, designing and building stories and loves stimulating ideas and inspiring conversations. Beverley is the author of Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie, her first full length book; a memoir combining her anecdotal stories taken from her years in the entertainment industry, coupled with her stories of survival, from a lifetime lived with health issues. She has lived her life as a “self-professed guinea pig” willing to find and test unconventional ways to shift paradigms in the playing fields of health care, storytelling and world peace. She continues to take what she is told is impossible and transform it into possible.   You can currently find her writing at the Huffington Post among others.   Reach her at:   info@beverleygolden.com www.beverleygolden.com. Or follow her on Twitter: @goldenbeverley  

Memories, Nostalgia and a Loss of Innocence

President John F. KennedyFall is a tough time of year for me. It’s a hard thing to admit, as so many people love the autumn change of season. For me, the loss of colour and beauty, as the trees shed their leaves, coupled with the darkness of shorter days, has always been personally challenging. The fall is also a constant reminder for me of where my health journey all began.

November 22, 1963. A day everyone remembers as the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The whole world mourned America’s “loss of innocence.” For me, it became a pivotal day. A day that changed my life — forever. As a world, we mourned a collective loss of innocence. That day, I experienced my own personal loss of innocence. A loss that would in many ways, inform the rest of my life.

As a junior high student, vice-president of the student council at the time, I’d been suffering for several years with undiagnosable health issues that had me subjected to doctor after doctor, test after test, with a predicted, yet unlikely, prognosis that I was a “perfectionist.” I was down to a shocking 85 pounds and was considered deathly ill. Although the perfectionist diagnosis was possibly the truth, it probably wasn’t a viable diagnosis for the physical symptoms. Through years of seeking and exploration, I know now, the two are absolutely connected.

On November 22, 1963, my father, Louis, picked me up from school and we talked about the loss of president Kennedy and what it meant to us all. It had only been briefly mentioned at school that day, from my memory. Perhaps that memory is lost forever, as my father then announced to me, with great relief in his voice, that the newest doctor I had been taken to finally found “something.” My large and small bowel had somehow twisted themselves in a huge knot, an unusual “never before seen” phenomenon, that was later written up in a prestigious medical journal.

The gastroenterologist was referring me to one of Toronto’s top surgeons who was going to “fix” me. Cut date was scheduled over the Christmas holidays and they assured my parents, who had already spent more than enough troubled days and nights, that I would be “good as new” afterward. If only life were that simple.

The experience was horrific for me. That’s putting it mildly. Waking up with a tube down my nose and throat (the infamous nasogastric tube) is still so real for me that it set the stage for how I would move through the traditional medical system for the rest of my life.

My parents didn’t really ask a lot of questions before the surgery, as they were just grateful that someone had found something. I believe that is the key moment in my life, as young as I was, that I vowed to always ask as many questions as I needed to, to be prepared and get answers so I’d know what to expect. It’s also possible I asked a lot of questions before this. Funny thing how we create a story about a memory and it becomes our “truth.” This became one of the stories in my new book, Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie.

That day is only one of many in my life that is not only nostalgic, but one where the memories are so alive, it’s almost as if they happened yesterday. There are other key world events that create the same instant recall in me too. I happened to be in Los Angeles with my family in August of 1962, when Marilyn Monroe died. My brother Niel says he believes he remembers that we could see the funeral procession from the window in the restaurant we were eating in. That, I don’t remember.

Some years later, my best traveling buddy Sharon and I were in Los Angeles spending a fun summer. It was August 1969. Then the Manson murders shocked and rocked the world and being in L.A. immediately ceased to be a carefree summer holiday. These are two trips I have never forgotten. Precise moments in time, which created indelible memories.

Years later, when my daughter’s television series Ready or Not brought us to New York to film promos for its American network, we were comfortably settled in the studio enjoying taping the segments, when we felt what seemed to be an earthquake shake the foundation of the building. Everyone was visibly rattled, as there was no logical explanation for what this possibly could have been. It was February 26,1993, the morning of the day the first attempted World Trade Center bombing happened. Luckily, the bombing was somewhat unsuccessful. It was a very unsettling time for the world, maybe a forewarning of a more tragic time, with a much more devastating event to come.

The following year, on May 19,1994, my daughter Lani and I were back in New York and heard the sad news that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had succumbed to lymphoma, which had only been diagnosed in January of that year. We joined the world and mourned this iconic lady.

As I revisited my life to write Confessions, these stories surfaced as very vivid memories. Somehow the synchronistic timing of my life and my travels, with these key historical events, seemed to have left a permanent impression on my memory. I believe that many people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing for these same events. The day John Lennon died is another one of those events. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing?

On this 50th-year anniversary of JFK’s death, listening to people’s stories of where they were when they heard he had died, and the impact it had on their life, was incredibly moving. For me, it brought up both the collective and personal memory of that day again.

It’s interesting to look at what we remember. I’m blessed to have a remarkable 97-year-old mother, Lil, whose memory is still so accurate, she astounds people. She’s an inspiration and shows what is possible. Our lives are made up of memories. As a curious observer of human nature, I am continually amazed and fascinated by the way we spin the stories around these memories. Facts are the truth. Stories are the colour that bring them to life. That’s what is so amazing about creating your own individual life. There are so many unformed memories yet to be lived.

What are the memories that still live on in you?

Visit me at: www.beverleygolden.com  or follow me on Twitter:  @goldenbeverley

Creativity as the Path to Peace

"Mr. Hand Poopy" Original Textured Acrylic Painting on Canvas by Four Year Old Jayden 17 May, 2013Sometimes, something is so close to you, you’re unable to see it objectively. While preparing to launch my book Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie, I’m grateful to have had an opportunity to re-examine my personal biography, and revisit some of those significant pieces that have contributed to who I am.

Twelve years ago I was living with a somewhat undiagnosable physical illness that had me weighing in at 89 lbs, suffering from severe and crippling malnutrition, with those around me divided on if I would survive. The consensus was, “this could go either way.” Synchronistically I found Arscura-School for Living Art and embarked on a journey back to health; a journey using “art” as a way to rediscover who I had been to now and who I could become in my future. I confess this candidly in my book — art contributed to saving my life. Literally. Through the art, I arrived at a place of inner knowing and peace, embodied so eloquently in the words of the Dalai Lama: “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

While organizing an initiative around my book launch, I was introduced to some very important work being done in the world. Work that embodies the hippie values of peace and the arts. Two values that reminded me of my own journey and align perfectly with who I am and what I stand for in world.

First, I was led to the Children’s Peace Theatre, which has been doing inspiring work since 2000, creating a culture of peace among children and youth, using art, theater and music. They instill in their participants a “peace is possible” sensibility and ask us all some interesting questions to reflect on.

As artists, how do we inspire our children and youth to take up the practice of peace? If nothing else, we must remember that art is derived from the freeing up of all boundaries combined with the ability to imagine something new, and the ability to recognize the humanity of others. Who else, therefore, is better suited than the artist to inspire alternatives and alternative ways of thinking?

This powerfully mirrors my personal experience, as the art freed me to transform from the inside out, allowing me to reinvent an unexpected and beautiful future by unleashing my inner artist.

I questioned: Is it possible that creativity expressed through the arts, is a path to peace? It became very clear to me that I do see the arts as an important road to peace. I envisioned a simple idea, “paintbrushes for peace” and imagined what might happen if we offered children or adults a paintbrush and asked them to engage their creativity to ignite new possibilities for the world. It seemed that if we could take the frustration and separation people experience in our current world, which often leads to isolation and violence, and invite them into a community to make art together, we’d foster a sense of belonging and connectedness and through this, some magical new creation would become possible.

Next, I was synchronistically led to ArtHeart, which has been working in the Regent Park community of Toronto for over 20 years, offering free year-round drop-in art programs, art education and art materials for children, youth and adults, also serving up free meals to all participants, true to their philosophy of “no starving artists”.

Their programs use art as a vehicle to address child poverty, homelessness, lack of employment and mental health issues, while helping to develop self-esteem, creativity, life-skills and learning. They continue to foster the arts in a community that can’t otherwise afford access to making art and being creative. ArtHeart remains unique, as it is the only visual arts organization in the community and their successes are sincerely remarkable.

With more and more school arts’ budgets being cut, what ArtHeart offers is invaluable. I believe we need more funds for programs that foster creativity, not less. How is it that we’ve allowed ourselves to create a world where the majority of people do not have access to expressing their creativity through making art?

To see ArtHeart’s amazing work, you can join them at this years’ Nuit Blanche on Oct. 5, a yearly celebration that makes the arts accessible to all, where they are joining forces with The Regent Park School of Music at their home base in the Daniels Spectrum.

Photographer Chase Jarvis’ talk “Creativity is the new literacy” at the World Domination Summit in Portland this July, sparked me. He presented the idea that as human beings we’re all hardwired for both language and creativity. There have been many studies examining creativity, exploring if it is a natural inborn talent, or if we acquire it. I am of the belief, as is Chase, that we are all creative and that it’s often stifled early on in many educational systems. Creativity is at the heart of what it means to be human. He elaborated that the world we live in is facing a “crisis of creativity” with the solutions to all our problems based on human creative potential.

So if creativity is innate to who we are as humans, and the solutions to our world problems can be found in creativity, then engaging our individual creative muscle through art and music could be a viable path to peace.

Then I stumbled upon a recent article by the brilliant Charles Eisenstein called “Bombs, Badguys and the Brink of Peace”, which speaks volumes.

We are experiencing today the emergence on a mass scale of ecological consciousness. No longer is the world an arena of struggle from which man emerges triumphant. We now see that the defeat of any species is the defeat of all; that the paving over of one habitat deadens something in all of us. The ecological crisis is teaching us that the good life does not come through winning the war against the Other.

With the recent world reaction to the atrocities in Syria, Eisenstein went on to say,

Translating this awareness into geopolitics, we become less prone to believe that the solution to the problem is to overthrow the bad guy. That, or some lesser version of it – to intimidate, warn, punish, deter, draw a “red line,” etc. – is a perception of a world populated by separate and competing Others. And we are weary of that. We are awakening to the reality that “bad guys” are created by their context, and that that context includes ourselves.

Like Eisenstein, many of us believe we are remembering the necessity of being part of community, reawakening to the value of connectedness, versus the breakdown brought about by separation. We’re entering a new era of understanding, transforming old beliefs to create new paradigms of possibility. If we continue to bring the past into the present, we’re limited to create the same future, denying ourselves the freedom to generate something totally new. Perhaps this is what art and music can bring to the conversation. They are tools to paving a road to peace. They engage and include, rather than isolate and separate. Maybe we’re arriving at that magical tipping point of change. Albert Einstein said it so clearly “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

It feels perfect to end here with words from John Lennon’s timeless song Imagine: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” Here’s to creativity, peace and the arts! What kind of world are you committed to creating?

Visit me at: beverleygolden.com or follow me on twitter: @goldenbeverley

What Makes a Great Relationship?

cute penguin couple - exploredIt seems that everywhere I go, every conversation I choose to engage in, the relationship issue shows up as the central theme. If I thought monogamy was a hot topic, it seems relationships are a crackling wildfire. Generally, the feedback I’ve been getting, is that good relationships are few and far between. And, the longer people have been together, the more challenging it appears it is to stay together. How very sad to me.

I recently told someone (a somewhat disheartened woman in a 30-year marriage whose spouse’s hip pain had put out his fire), that I was finally ready to be in a great relationship. She smiled and said she admired my optimism, but our conversation made me quickly realize that I’d be wise to take off my rose-colored glasses and take stock of what’s going on out in the real world. If a good relationship is almost impossible, a great one, although an admirable pursuit, may not be attainable. I’m determined to keep hope alive though.

I admit I’ve been on my own, relationship-less, for many years. My principal relationship has been with myself for all those years. The obvious reason was for my own physical healing (most thought I would not be here to even tell my story). I was so far down that frankly, the only way was up. It was, even more importantly, about my personal spiritual growth.

I’m trusting this concept of personal spiritual growth isn’t big news to anyone anymore. It is part of our human challenge and condition. Anyone who ever watched Oprah might agree that she offered a great service by bringing these kinds of topics to the everyday consciousness. I believe it is an ongoing conversation that needs to happen for our human species to keep evolving. I’m sure this means different things to different people, but I don’t think we can easily ignore it anymore.

My personal belief is that all of us are here to experience and learn through relationships. These opportunities come to us all the time. With parents, children, friends, business associates and even the casual stranger we meet and connect with. Every interaction with another, offers us a chance to be in relationship.

No man is an island.” John Donne.

For me, I’m most curious about the one on one personal and intimate relationship. I remember many years ago reading Gary Zukav define the concept of a “spiritual partnership”. In his incredible 1989 book Seat of the Soul, he says, “A spiritual partnership is a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth.” I know this is what I want, but wonder where do I find the other who is ready for the same thing?

Zukav goes on to brilliantly explain his four “c’s” or guidelines for a spiritual partnership. Briefly, the guidelines are: commitment, courage, compassion and conscious communication and action. It is well worth reading their full explanations here. I learned much from his wise words and know these are what I see as keys to putting the “great” in a relationship.

I’ve actually heard that people make “lists” of the things they are looking for in their ideal partner and stick by that list until they’ve ticked off all the boxes. This seems like somewhat of a futile exercise to me. Personally I’m more about another person’s energy, than a list of must-haves.

I’ve also discovered many people say they are ready for a relationship, but in actuality may not be ready. I smiled when I got a recent Hugh MacLeod Gaping Void daily email. Subject line: Forever. Graphic and Message: It took forever before I was ready… to find you. The piece went on to say:

And as we all know, Mr. or Mrs. Right isn’t just floating out there in the ether like some abstract, platonic ideal. You too have to be ready. You don’t get the person of your dreams ’till you’re ready to be the person of their dreams first. The giving precedes the getting, always. It simply has to.

We do all know this, right? Thank you Hugh!

I’ve been asking for interesting, intelligent, creative, and spiritual men to come into my life, and I admit a few have bravely shown up lately. Age doesn’t seem to matter as much anymore. Not to me anyways. I know that in our youth-obsessed culture, if there is to be depth and meaning, it has to be about something more than just the external, the physical.

I was shocked to read that 96 per cent of all adults say they would change something about their appearance if they could. This is one of the factors that led philosopher Jonathan Zap to say,

Suffering associated with body image has reached such epidemic proportions in our culture that it must be counted as one of the greatest spiritual plagues ever to be visited upon mankind.

My recent observations would lead me to agree. A culture that has lost it’s ability to age gracefully, looking for the fountain of youth, hoping to find it using fillers, injections, implants, surgeries and more. It’s not even that hard to tell who is keeping it real anymore. Somehow, it is no longer okay to get older and look it too. This isn’t only a women’s issue, as men are playing catch up in this arena as well. There are lots of statistics, if one cares to check out who’s doing what to themselves in the name of staying young. Perhaps I might need to explore this more fully in another piece.

In regards to the every changing way we do relationships, it is sad to see that current statistics show 50 per cent of all marriages end in divorce. But, the actual statistical breakdown I found, shows even more startling results. The range of results indicates that divorce rates might be anywhere from 50 per cent of first marriages, 67 per cent of second, and 74 per cent of third, depending on the source. The odds seem to clearly be stacked against the possibility of successful marriage.

Enough to make me re-examine how a future relationship might look to me. As one of my men friends recently said to me, “Marriage is a contract two people try to make work.” And I tend to agree. Sometimes for all the wrong reasons if the statistics are correct, and with very discouraging results.

Many years ago Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a changin’.” And they are. Many of the institutions we have clung to for so long, including the traditional concept of marriage, are changing. And quickly. I feel grateful that I’m at a place in my life where I have total freedom and can take responsibility for every relationship I choose to be in.

I admit I’m still the little girl who believes in happily ever after, but I’m aware how that must start with happiness from within instead of looking for something out there to “complete me.”

If I can take anything from the brilliance of Marianne Williamson’s lecture “Relationships and Spiritual Adulthood”, it relates to this one line: “It is our job to affirm a person.” She explains, “It’s not our job to change a person. It is our job to celebrate a person. It’s not our job to imprison a person. It is our job to free a person.”

I see a bright and hope filled future in this. The more I do my own spiritual work, I can only draw closer those who are doing theirs as well. Somehow in my own seeking, I continue to trust I will be found.

We all deserve to be seen and loved for who we are, not a media ideal we will never attain. It is our individual responsibility to continue to explore and reveal who we are both as individuals and as a species. This will be the key to attracting the other who themselves is doing the very same work. As the Beatles said, “All you need is love.” Sound too simple? We all deserve to give and receive love. In many ways I believe it is that simple if we allow it to be.

So, let me ask you, what have you found makes a good relationship? Okay, dare I take this up a notch… What makes a great relationship?

Please visit me at:  www.beverleygolden.com

 

Originally published November 2011

Return to the “Summer of Love” – World Domination Summit Style

Happiness SprinklingIt’s taken me a few weeks to digest a question I’ve been living with. “What just happened?” It was a two-and-a-half day whirlwind of positive energy and happiness sprinkling of love, peace and community.  An outstanding example of how 2,800 people can come together in authentically supportive community. It was hectic and overwhelming at times, and joyful and inspiring at others. “It” was the yearly World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon, instigated by author and world traveler Chris Guillebeau.

As I’m approaching the launch of my book, Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie, I’ve been sharing with people that we are all hippies at heart. People often turn up their nose and say emphatically, “I’m not a hippie.” I smile. I’m talking less about hippie in a lifestyle sense, and more about hippie at a core value sense. Then it struck me. The people who come to WDS are the hippies of this generation.

The WDS credo of “community, adventure and service” is this generation carrying forward the values the hippies birthed back in the 60s. Hippies were considered counterculture, revolutionaries who stood for peace, love and changing the world for the better. Radical for the time. WDSers stand for living remarkable lives in a conventional world and being of service, as they lovingly plot their world changing. Hippies were known to live alternative lifestyles and many WDSers definitely live alternative lifestyles.

Hippies stood for the very values that are currently part of the popular conversation. Do you live from a place of gratitude, include music and art in your life, and see how being in community and of service, are fulfilling why we all are here? You are a hippie. Do you meditate, do yoga and continue to do inner transformational work? You are a hippie. Are you a seeker, exploring spirituality and contributing to being a co-creator for a conscious planet? You are a hippie. Or maybe you value organic living and sustainability and are compassionate, showing reverence for all living creatures. You are a hippie. At the core of who we are as human beings…we are all hippies.

MarchFourthAs I reflected a bit more, I began to see that WDS is a mini return to the “summer of love”. The 1967 convergence on the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco of up to 100,000 people, is credited for having initiating a major cultural and political shift in the world. It was a revolutionary time, with the energy and excitement of the era translated to the world in many ways, most memorably, through the music of the times. At WDS, music and collective group energy was alive, as we took over the zoo for our love-in opening party. We took over a zoo! 2,800 of us sitting in the open amphitheater Woodstock style, spread out on the grass, dancing, talking and connecting, as we were being entertained by MarchFourth, a colorful marching band whose outfits are a throwback to the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band attire.

Back in the 60s, we lived sharing music and art when coming together in community.  Today, WDSers have the power to spread both the individual and group message and energy to millions of people worldwide in a matter of seconds via technology. And they do. One of my unexpected favorite speakers this year was Jia Jiang, whose “rejection therapy” talk demonstrated how powerful stepping outside your comfort zone for fear of being rejected can be, as it often produces the most amazing life affirming results.

For me, the interesting parallel between the 60s to now is actually written in the heavens.  Back in the mid-60s, Uranus (planet of revolution, rebellion and sudden change) was conjunct Pluto (planet of transformation, rebirth and breaking with tradition), igniting an inescapable time-release charge of radical transformation in culture and individuals.  Before this time, the human potential for enlightenment of “all people” had been reserved for an occasional saint or guru. Back then, this taste of expanded consciousness germinated a cultural seed, giving birth to a new kind of individual. Suddenly it became an expansive possibility for everyone, and hippies were the first to get that. Right-on.

In my understanding of astrology, what happened during the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in the 60s, would manifest globally as soon as these two planets reached their first square. If you haven’t heard, we are in a period where we are experiencing seven exact squares of Uranus and Pluto, starting in 2012 and ending in 2015! Supercharged times of revolutionary and sudden changes at the core level of both individuals and institutions. Where have you felt this in your own life?

People often wonder where have all the hippies gone? They became lawyers who sued for protecting air and water quality and for damages from chemical pollution. They began changing the world by starting companies that produced products that were Earth-friendly, ecologically-sound, technologically advanced and socially conscious. I see Portland as a progressive hub of this energy, alive and flourishing. And it is spreading out into the world at gatherings of people like the World Domination Summit.

An ageless example of what WDS stands for was 84-year-old Bob Moore, founder of “Bob’s Red Mill”, as his deep understanding of the value of working in community was reflected in his “Put people before profit. Share with those who helped you build it.” Bob MooreThis consciousness allowed this visionary Aquarian to give the company to his employees, handing it over to them on his 81st birthday. Cool.

For those of us WDSers who actually lived in the 60s and got to be part of this shift in consciousness, it’s incredible to see what was known to a relative few worldwide back then, but which is now alive and part of the big earth shifts.  Consciousness and spirituality are embraced as part of who we are. Yoga is done by millions of men and women everywhere daily, and meditation is encouraged for inner peace, the only place world peace can start from. Creativity is the new keyword in education, business and life. Connection and person-to-person sharing are still alive, even in a technological world that is often credited with creating isolation.

This is the real reason people come to Portland each July, to meet face to face with amazing people they want to connect with. WDS is a strong and powerful community. It is a growing community. It is for people of all ages, all ethnicities, from all walks of life. It is a love-in, a peace-in and a groovy way to spend a few days in absolutely, awesomely inspiring company. Power to the people. Until next year’s return to the summer of love. Peace-Out!

Visit me at: www.beverleygolden.com  or follow me on Twitter: @goldenbeverley

Images of MarchFourth and Bob Moore courtesy of Armosa Studios

The Four Faces of Intimacy

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 5.16.10 PMIt started with a simple question. That question (not surprisingly for anyone who knows me) led to a series of additional questions. When I couldn’t get clear answers for myself, I started asking others. The results of this process have fascinated me, and I wanted to explore the topic more fully. The basic question: “What does intimacy mean to you?”

The range of responses I received was wide and varied. I asked both men and women, different ages, some in relationships and some not. Most people had to stop for a moment to really think about and put into words what intimacy meant to them. As I looked more deeply at the topic, I found that there seem to be four types of intimacy we engage in in our relationships.

1. Sexual Intimacy

The people I asked generally started describing the most common of the four types of intimacy: Sexual. This wasn’t too much of a surprise, as sexual intimacy is probably the most stereotypical and most familiar definition of the word in modern society. Having sex, however, often has less to do with intimacy and more to do with a physical act between people. As it ended up, the people I spoke with desired more than just the physical act of sex, they wanted depth. They wanted to feel safe being vulnerable, wanted to be seen by their partner. That makes sense, as this form of intimacy also includes a wide range of sensuous activity and sensual expression, so it’s much more than having intercourse.

It is interesting that the word intercourse is actually defined as “connection between persons or groups” and as an “exchange especially of thoughts or feelings.” Curious to explore why intimacy is challenging to people in their relationships, I continued to look further.

2. Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy occurs when two people feel comfortable sharing their feelings with each other or when we’re able to empathize with the feelings of another person. The goal of emotional intimacy is to be aware of and understand another person’s internal experience. My guess is that women have an easier time with this, but I’d like to believe that men too are becoming more comfortable experiencing emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy is a healthy part of the exchange in all relationships, whether female or male. But not everyone is comfortable with it.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D, refers to the fears people have in relation to emotional intimacy. She says that, “Many people have two major fears that may cause them to avoid intimacy: the fear of rejection (of losing the other person), and the fear of engulfment (of being invaded, controlled, and losing oneself).” This makes sense to me.

In this area of intimacy, people must act from their hearts and love unconditionally. As I talked about in my piece on what makes a good relationship, the heart of a spiritual partnership is love. Love is also at the core of emotional intimacy.

3. Intellectual Intimacy

Intellectual intimacy is personally the face of intimacy I am most comfortable with. This one is all about communication, and as someone who lives and breathes words, it’s extremely familiar to me. Intellectual intimacy happens when two people share ideas and explore the similarities and differences in their personal opinions. The ability to do this in an open and comfortable way can lead to a very intimate relationship indeed. As someone who engages in this type of interaction all the time, I can say that it has offered me a wonderful and fulfilling form of connection with people I care about. I think this may be my strongest area of intimacy.

4. Experiential Intimacy

Experiential intimacy is the intimacy of activity, and it happens every time we get together with a group to create art in a silent process. This type of intimacy is all about letting the art unfold and working together in co-operation. This form of intimacy is not about a verbal sharing of thoughts or feelings, but more about the activity and feeling that emerges from this involvement. I recently experienced this at a Contact Improv jam with a complete stranger. I interacted with a young man, letting our body energy lead the dance, with no eye contact and no words, just movement in a sensual and open, if not dramatic, dance. I was somewhat surprised to learn that experiential intimacy actually is in my intimacy vocabulary.

According to Rick Hanson, Ph.D, to have intimacy in our life, we must have a natural balance of two great themes — joining and separation — which are in fact central to human life. Almost everyone wants both of them, to varying degrees. He goes on to say that “individuality and relationship, autonomy and intimacy, separation and joining… are often seen at odds with each other, but this is so not the case!” This also made perfect sense to me. Yin and yang. Light and dark. All the polarities we live in life, lead to a balance.

My understanding and curiosity about intimacy were greatly expanded by asking others about what intimacy means to them. I  believe that when we establish balance in the four faces of intimacy, we find a deeper connection and understanding in all the relationships of our life. I also fully recognize that we all have different definitions of intimacy. Are men and women’s definitions dramatically different? A fascinating conversation to continue to explore.

I recently received a daily Gaping Void email by Hugh MacLeod with the subject: Has your soul been seen lately? Synchronistically, the topic was intimacy. What followed was a beautiful way to end my piece:

Intimacy isn’t strictly about romantic relationships, or even relations with family–sometimes it happens quickly, and often times in ways we hardly notice.

I’m talking about that moment when someone allows the world to see what’s inside…what they are really about. It’s about seeing someone for who and what they are and that the glimpse was offered either voluntarily or without the person’s knowledge. This is an incredible moment where our existence suddenly makes sense and all comes together in a singular place. 

For those of you who have experienced this, it’s something that never gets lost in memory or time. It’s like a little mirror we take out every now and then to remember a time when something so complex became so inconceivably simple. It’s pretty incredible.

For me, this is the essence of what intimacy is really all about. Dare to be vulnerable, dare to be seen.

Now let me ask you the question I began with: What does intimacy mean to you?

Visit me at: beverleygolden.com

 

Originally published February 2012

The Art of Traveling Lightly

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 10.53.10 AMFor 3,000 people, it’s that time of year again. Friday July 5, is the kick-off to the third annual World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon and the attendees are buzzing on Twitter and Facebook. The city of Portland is getting ready to rock with a mini-invasion of sorts. Really rock!

What started as a small and intimate gathering of 500 of author and world traveler Chris Guillebeau’s legion of loyal supporters in 2011, has morphed into a not too intimate gathering six times that size this year. The theme of WDS, which I wrote about after last year’s event, is “How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” Nowadays, more of us understand that this is the only way to live our lives and be at our most creative and productive, in a world that seeks conformity and security. That isn’t the world we live in anymore, though, and WDSers (as we affectionately call each other) have known this for a long time.

Last year I ventured to Portland alone, literally not knowing even one person. I was in a fairly insular place personally and was prepared to see what came towards me during my six days there. Having always wanted to visit Portland, I intuitively knew this would be the perfect opportunity. Synchronistically, although not surprising to me, I met and forged a friendship with one other person (who happened to be staying in the room across the hall in the hotel) and we are both returning this year and co-hosting a meet-up and doing a pre-WDS Radio Enso appearance to connect people who like us, are seekers on a spiritual path, wanting to create a more conscious world. WDS is a friendly mecca for connecting with a wide range of like-minded people.

One fellow attendee posted recently on Facebook asking “What are you bringing to WDS?” It made me smile, as I saw what one female was bringing in a picture she posted. It was one of last year’s gifts, a WDS backpack surrounded by very few belongings and her cat half hidden under the backpack. Hmm. It got me thinking about the art of traveling lightly. Not something I know how to do. I’ve mastered the art of packing to maximize my suitcase interior and keep my clothes relatively uncreased, however, “lightly” is not part of my travel vocabulary.

Having had many health issues in my life, I have learned to always be prepared. And as a woman, I find myself curious, yet in admiration of other women who can pack everything they need in the tiniest amount of space and carry it onto the plane to make a quick departure on landing. My toiletries alone, always seem to be well…pretty heavy.

It might have started for me as a teenager when my best friend and I did a lot of globe trotting together. The summer we headed for the south of France, we became somewhat of a running commentary, when people on trains and in hotels wondered (out loud) what exactly we needed to bring that filled these huge “valises”. In those days, luggage didn’t have wheels, so we were lugging trunks filled with who knows what, onto train platforms and up many flights of stairs, in charming, but elevator-less French Riviera hotels. Somehow not too much has changed for me. Except I do have luggage with wheels now.

Not that long ago, when luggage weight allowances were still at seventy pounds, my daughter Lani and I had an amazing trip to Sedona, Arizona where we always go rock and mineral shopping. When we checked in to return home, her bag weighed slightly over the seventy pounds and the airline check-in person asked “What have you got in there, rocks?” “Yes” we answered in unison shaking our heads, “in fact we do have rocks in there.” Smiles all around.

So I started packing early to see if I could somehow adopt a new attitude on this trip. To see where I could lighten the load. It’s summer, so my clothes don’t weigh much. Good. Then I came to the vitamins and supplements and toiletries and realized that unless I dramatically change my health protocol, much lighter isn’t going to be too possible. Yes, to travel sizes of everything. I even checked online to see what experts suggest. The recurring theme was smart and practical. I seem to have done mostly everything that was recommended and still, alas, I know my bag will not be light.

As I was packing, I realized that maybe some of us aren’t meant to travel lightly. Literally and figuratively. I’m light in other ways in my life. As an air sign with five other planets in air, I do travel lightly as I cruise the cosmos of ideas, hovering slightly above the planet most of the time. Living in the physical has always been challenging for me and has been a life-long journey which I write a lot about in my upcoming book Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie. For you earthbound folks, it might be hard to understand, however, it isn’t always that easy for some of us air people.

This year I know will be different for me at WDS. I have three friends coming, partly because of my enthusiastic reporting of my last years’ experience. And this year I’m not as insular and am feeling overly anticipatory about the possibility of connecting and meeting as many new people as possible. For now, I’m okay leaving the traveling lightly to others. I’m fine with whatever weight I bring with me to the event.

Love to hear what tips you have on the art of traveling lightly.

Visit me at: www.beverleygolden.com or follow me on twitter: @goldenbeverley

Redefining Beauty and Brains as a Middle-Aged Hippie

WBeverley-online-Ghen I was much younger people saw me as being so beautiful or so smart. Some who knew me very well, actually saw both. I strove at all costs to have my intellect be recognized as my principle asset and, heaven forbid, someone would relate to me as ‘just another pretty face.”

To some degree that worked. I left high school early and went to play with a large group of boys at university, who were all eager to make their mark in the big bad world of business, as was I. At graduation, I was awarded the gold medal as the outstanding graduate from a class of 400 business students. Not bad considering only ten of us were women. Times have definitely changed.

Now that I’m older, I’d like to think that I’m still smart. My mother at least confirms this for me by telling me “You’re too smart for your own good.” Although I’ve never quite figured out what that means, I am going to take it as a compliment. The beauty issue is quite another story. Actually, it is in fact intertwined with many, many of my life stories, which are chronicled in my upcoming memoir Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie, to be published this summer.

Up until a week ago, the picture that lives of me in cyberspace, (although only two-and-a-half-years old), apparently looks to some people like I am a lot younger than I am. One man told me I look like a single woman still in the dating scene who is in her late 20s or early 30s. Yikes! I immediately booked a photo session, as I wanted a fresh new authentic author photo that represents who I am today. Having always photographed well, I’m grateful that most of the time, I do look good in pictures. However, I admit that like many aging women, I questioned how real would be real enough to accurately represent me now. Tough question indeed.

My life, as I write about in my book, has been a journey to shift paradigms and show what is truly possible. Pretty much in most areas of my life. I know that through the magic of Photoshop or air brushing, it is quite easy to appear flawless and young. Does what I represent in my stories and how I live my life mean my author photo needs to be au naturel and show that I truly walk my talk?

As a highly visual person, (with a very strong Venus influence in my astrological chart) I openly confess that I love beauty. Youthful, innocent, flawless beauty. Beauty of course is a very subjective topic, yet for me, I sometimes wonder if having been young and beautiful might have been totally wasted on me back when I was. People still tell me I am beautiful. Somehow I hear the subtext “for your age” in the statement, even though it isn’t spoken. I understand that this might seem to be shallow and I confess it might be.

As a wise cousin once said to me “When you grow up as the pretty one, you learn to walk through the world differently than those of us (meaning her) who aren’t as pretty.” I guess that’s true, however, I can’t know her experience, as I haven’t walked in her shoes. Although technically I did, as I had to borrow her shoes to get married in, because my four-inch platform heals were vetoed before the wedding ceremony. Full story in the book.

Not only do I love beauty, but I find thin plus beautiful even more attractive. Coming from a family who are generally plump or zaftig, I figured out a clever (remember I’m smart) way to get thin, by creating a very mysterious gastrointestinal illness that led to me malabsorbing mostly everything I ate (sometimes up to 4000 calories a day), resulting in me becoming painfully thin. I write about all this in my book, exposing myself in a very raw and vulnerable way, in hopes that it might be of some help to others. I even include a picture of me at 89 pounds looking like a walking skeleton, when my health was so bad that people didn’t think I would make it. But I did. In my case, pictures have always been worth way more than the proverbial thousand words.

Having spent almost an entire decade at an abnormally and unhealthy low weight, I have no idea what I would have aged like, as I moved into middle-age. My fall was so dramatic, that I had truly all but lost hope of ever looking “pretty” again or even getting above 95 pounds. I did emerge after a very long and arduous climb back. Maybe that is partly why this issue is so emotionally charged for me.

Even after all I’ve been through in my life, when the photographer asked if I was nervous about the shoot, I had to admit that the idea of having a new picture taken still surprisingly excites me. After all, I’ve had men become totally enamored with me (before even meeting me) just from my picture, intrigued by my eyes and smile and hopefully, the way I express myself. These might not be the “smart” men that are still out there.

So this middle-aged hippie took the plunge and had a photo shoot done. I’m ecstatic to report that it turned out wonderfully. We left most of the lines in my lower face and around my eyes, but not all of them. Some of the pictures are still pretty scary to me, however, and I won’t make those public. Many are exceptional. When I posted one of these new pictures on Facebook, the comments were incredible. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Radiant. Captured your shining inner spirit. One person asked how long ago the picture had been taken? Three days ago. They thought it was from when I was much younger. Hmm.

I’m still working on accepting the beauty I’ve grown into at this current age. I understand that, especially in North America, we have set warped and unattainable standards because of our obsession with youthful beauty. Times are changing. They have to, if we want to encourage young women to love and accept themselves as they are, so they are equipped to reach their full potential. It is imperative to foster their self-esteem, so they don’t diminish themselves by attempting to be something that is unrealistic and unobtainable for most.

I’d like to be someone who sets an example of what is possible relating to aging. It felt wonderful when a young thirty-year-old friend commented that when she clicked on my new picture online, she was delighted to see I wasn’t trying to look like a 40 or 50-something line-free, flawlessly Photoshopped woman. That I look beautiful and still represent my older age. A great affirmation for me.

Beauty is still an incredibly sensitive subject for me. I know that true beauty does come from inside. It radiates out from the soul. Hopefully my life experiences are shining through and I can continue to contribute to this ongoing conversation about aging gracefully, especially in a time when women feel compelled to have all kinds of “work” done to their faces in an effort to look young. Much of the time, ending up not even looking like who they are, but some fake virtually unrecognizable version of themselves. Each to their own. My vote goes to real and authentic.

All any of us truly wants is to be seen. So with Mother’s Day approaching, I encourage us all to shift the way we look and “see” the true beauty in everyone — regardless of age.

Love to hear your thoughts on women, aging and beauty.

Visit me at: www.beverleygolden.com   or follow me on Twitter: @goldenbeverley

Addictions, Confessions, Your Health and Beyoncé

Diet Coke with IceAs a prelude to the upcoming release of my book, Confessions of a Middle Aged Hippie, I thought it might be good to reveal one rather embarrassing, public confession first.  A confession that only those who know me well, would already be aware of.  When I was much, much younger, I was addicted. Seriously and completely addicted.  To diet Pepsi. For a lot of years.

Weekly, I would scour the grocery store flyers to see who had the best price.  I would buy case loads at a time, to feed my eight-can-a-day habit.  My ex and I would make sure we hit the stores early, to stock up and not miss the low price sale.  Everywhere I went, I took one with me.

In our apartment, there were trails of opened cans that almost looked like they were part of our decor.  No one, other than my wise mother, ever suggested that maybe, just maybe, drinking so much Diet Pepsi might be contributing to my worsening health issues.  Major gastrointestinal problems that kept me in chronic and often acute debilitating pain, eventually leading to major surgery.  My gut was a mess.  That is putting it mildly.

I feel pretty lucky though.  When I decided to quit, as with most of my significant life decisions, I went for it and just stopped.  Cold turkey.  Days of jitters, shaking hands and mood swings, but overall, I got through it mostly unscathed.  I never went back.

When I recently read that superstar Beyoncé, a role model to millions, especially her legions of young fans, signed a 50 million dollar deal with Pepsi, I was compelled to speak up.  A lifestyle brand!  Seriously?  That’s how she described the soda giant.  Plus, as a public spokesperson for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, aimed at getting American youth moving with the goal of ending obesity, I’d have to ask “Where do Pepsi products fit in with that, Beyoncé?”  I’m actually curious if Beyoncé drinks Pepsi products, or if she would allow her young daughter to drink them.

With so much current information on the risks of both diet sweeteners, (like aspartame which Diet Pepsi contains) and high fructose corn syrup, present in regular sodas, it’s important to continue the conversation and raise awareness of the dangers of ingesting these proven harmful substances.  Research confirms that high fructose corn syrup is a major contributor to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and possibly even strokes.  Not just in adults, but in children too!

And then there is aspartame. If you read my piece, Obesity, MSG and Rats, you already know that both MSG and aspartame are excitotoxins, substances which over excite neurons to the point of cell damage and eventually cell death. So, in the case of aspartame, if you think it’s a healthy diet sweetener and you are drinking diet sodas to lose weight and get slim, increasingly the research shows that it can actually contribute to weight gain!  And research also shows that artificial sweeteners, aspartame in particular, might even be more dangerous than high fructose corn syrup!

For convincing research on the alarming health risks of both MSG and aspartame, I direct you once again to the work of John Erb, a former researcher at the University of Waterloo in Canada, and his eye-opening book, The Slow Poisoning of America.

Artificial and low calorie sweeteners can also activate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings and stimulate fat storage, leading to weight gain.  A glowing example for me, is from a good, but overweight friend of mine, who was heavily hooked on very super-sized diet sodas.  He recently reported that he finally stopped drinking his daily diet soda fix and actually lost 19 pounds in three weeks.  Just from cutting out his daily diet soda habit!  Personal experience always speaks volumes to me.

With Beyoncé’s Pepsi announcement, there are many who have vocally spoken out against her choice to align with them.  In a poignant and pointed letter to her, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, encouraged her to reconsider and at the very least, donate the money to causes doing research on obesity, diabetes and other soda-related diseases.  So far, no response from her.

A piece in Frugivore Magazine expresses the two sides of the debate on Beyoncé’s deal:

“Reactions have been mixed. Fans view the campaign as a momentous accomplishment for the singer, while others chide Beyoncé for supporting a sugary-soda brand which is a health affront to many American consumers. They even accuse the diva of hypocrisy for appearing in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to encourage good health among children and later, selling Pepsi cans.”

We live in a world where transparency is imperative.  This is a good thing, making everything immediately visible, encouraging people to speak out and use their voice.  Do celebrities have a moral responsibility to talk their talk and walk their walk?  I believe they do.  Can they get away with immoral choices anymore?  Not too easily.

With so much information available, it seems virtually unbelievable that consumers are not already aware of the potential health risks from consuming both diet sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup found in sodas.  Apparently, lots of people still won’t listen.

I confess I was one of them way back then, and it was challenging for me to admit that maybe my diet Pepsi habit was contributing to my health problems. And now that Taylor Swift has signed on as a spokesperson for diet Coke, the battle of the cola war superstars is in full swing and I can only urge people to educate themselves and continue to put their health first.  And the health of children everywhere. So many young people are highly impressionable and more so than ever, it is all of our responsibilities, whether a celebrity or not, to bring attention to issues that are important to the overall health and well-being of not only us as individuals, but to us as a collective society.

What are your thoughts on artificial sweeteners, soda pop and Beyoncé’s deal with Pepsi?

Visit me at:  www.beverleygolden.com and follow me on Twitter:  @goldenbeverley

photo by: Mr. T in DC

A Little Gratitude – Please and Thank-You

As our world continues to go through dramatic changes and shifts as we approach the end of 2012, we are all being called to serve. Every one of us has unique and individual ways we can serve others and the planet every day. I believe it is more important than ever to recognize this and to consciously act from a heart-centered place of sincere caring and concern.

My wonderfully spirited daughter Lani, who shines her light out into the world and serves others through her performing talents, also literally “serves” people every day at a family-oriented restaurant in midtown Toronto. From what others have told me, she shines particularly brightly at this, as well.

One particular incident that happened to her could have, and probably does, happen all the time to servers in towns and cities around the globe. At the time, her restaurant was offering a “buy one, get one free” entrée promotion to try to restore patrons’ confidence after a health scare that had been publicly blown out of proportion.

It was a busy Thursday night, and after serving what to her appeared to be a trustworthy family of four, she cheerfully left the billfold and check for them to pay when they were ready. No pressure and no sign of anything that in any way showed that they weren’t 100-percent happy. She went off, and in her efficient and enthusiastic way, she continued serving her other customers, making sure everyone was equally happy and enjoying their dining experience. Not too long after this, she returned to this family’s table and found that they had left the building, taking the billfold and check with them. Not only did they not leave a tip, but they didn’t even pay the bill! When she told me, I was shocked.

This family had already received two free entrees, and the bill was not high. In short, their actions showed a total lack of respect and gratitude for the restaurant, the food and their server. Because of restaurant policy, the server is responsible for the bill. Ouch! Her fellow servers rallied to support her; however, as we are all human, this understandably scarred her otherwise great day and night. It left both of us questioning how anyone could consciously behave in a premeditated way that so lacks integrity and illustrates an unflattering side of human nature: acting without gratitude.

Being who I am, I looked for a lesson in it, believing that there is always something to be learned in every situation by the people involved. Maybe the family was hungry and actually couldn’t afford to pay for the meal. Maybe the husband thought the wife paid or vice versa. Maybe there was a misunderstanding, because English was not the family’s first language. Maybe the actual reason doesn’t in fact even matter.

Trying to see the positive in it, I still find it challenging to understand why people forget to act from a place of gratitude and aren’t able to express it openly and freely to others, especially those who serve us, all the time. Have we lost the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and see what the view looks like from there? Is it really that difficult to consciously stay aware and display gratitude for service?

As I walked today, grateful for a glorious, sunny fall day, I found myself wondering when and if we as a people will be able to demonstrate genuine compassion and gratitude to others. Although it often happens in times of crisis, when we are called to rally together in community, why can’t we do it all the time?

What someone does for a living is not who they are as a person, but how someone treats another person does indicate the kind of person they are. What kind of lessons are adults like this teaching their children? I don’t have the definitive answers, but I believe we can all start by taking personal responsibility for how we choose to interact in the world. The law of karma tells us that what goes around always comes around, making it important to make gratitude a daily practice, both personally and by showing it to others. Conscious intention is one place to start.

I know my rose-coloured glass optimism keeps me somewhat naive, but I honestly do believe that people are good, trustworthy and honourable, and I see expressions of gratitude all the time, everywhere I look, more often than not.  During this time of Thanksgiving, I encourage us all to keep gratitude alive and well; it is really such a simple thing to practice. I’d love to hear stories from others, servers or not, of how grateful or ungrateful behavior has impacted their lives.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
–John F. Kennedy

Visit me at: www.beverleygolden.com  or follow me on Twitter: @goldenbeverley

Vancouver: The Future Greenest City in the World

photo: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ
For a very long time, I’ve had a mostly distant love affair with the West Coast of both Canada and the U.S. It started with frequent trips to southern California in my youth to visit family and continued when I discovered Sedona, Arizona in the mid-1980s; a place I continue to return to as often as possible. It’s actually visiting the West Coast that always inspires me to sit down and write about it.

My most recent trip had me visit both Vancouver and Victoria B.C., after loving and having to leave Portland, Oregon. There is something magical, a very different energy I experience in all places west of the Rockies. I’ve also been interested and curious to find how many West Coast cities are far and away leaders in the green and environmental movements. I hadn’t been to Vancouver for many years and found, (like I discovered and wrote about in my piece on Portland), it too was living up to its vision of creating a greener future for the city.

I believe that if you want to know the future, create it. This is exactly what Vancouver is doing. With a pretty bold future oriented vision to become the greenest city in the world by 2020, they are already well on the way to accomplishing their goal. According to the city website, they currently have “the smallest carbon footprint of any major city in North America and we’re a leader in green building, planning and technology.” Impressive.

With a comprehensive 10-step plan, they seem to have looked at and are encompassing all the important areas necessary, to accomplish their goal. From extensive plans for developing a green economy, with green buildings and green transportation, to achieving climate leadership with clean air and access to nature, they have examined everything that is important to creating a totally sustainable and progressive cco-conscious city. They have not only identified what’s necessary but have put into action initiatives to achieve this.

One of the terms they use a lot in describing the way of achieving their goal, is by creating “green collar jobs.” Their intention is to double the number of green jobs in the city by 2020, (over 2010 levels) which could mean as many as 20,000 new jobs are created. Vancouver currently has about 12,000 green jobs in eight sectors. These account for three per cent of Vancouver’s jobs, in industries ranging from clean technology and education, to green building and materials recovery; from local food and urban agriculture to transportation and infrastructure.

Vancouver also has ambitious plans to become a leader in urban food systems and in realizing zero waste by reducing total solid waste going to landfill or incinerator by 50 per cent from 2008 levels. A practical and doable plan that should continue to attract both new business and new residents to the city.

In fact, among 27 cities examined by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a study sponsored by Siemens, only San Francisco rated better overall as the greenest city in North America. Vancouver is already the greenest city in Canada. The only other Canadian city to challenge them, is my hometown of Toronto, which came in at number nine. Seems like we all have our own work to do in this area of greening our cities.

Having now revisited Vancouver, I recognize its unique attraction. Surrounded by natural beauty, the attitude is laid back and West Coast relaxed. Stanley Park, a 1,000-acre rain forest just north of downtown, is ringed by the Pacific Ocean on three sides. A living and breathing Canadian rain forest. I admit that this is something I just discovered. The perimeter of the park is lined by two paths, one for pedestrians and one for cyclists and in-line skaters.

There’s also an abundance of other opportunities for cycling, sailing and skiing close by, with year-round communing with nature a real possibility. In fact, Vancouver is unsurpassed in not only its natural terrain, offering seemingly unlimited activities to choose from, but is also steeped in cultural and historic possibilities to explore as well.

The climate is vacation friendly year-round, although some might bring up the fact that it rains a lot in Vancouver. It does, but on a clear day… well, it almost seems like you can see forever. The moderating onshore breezes make the air already among the cleanest air to breathe of any major world city. This time around, a friend guided me to new and interesting locales throughout the city, letting our feet lead us on a long and invigorating walk along the shoreline starting at Jericho Beach. A perfect day of sun, sand and warm breezes.

This recent return to Vancouver, captured for me its attraction and charm. Its plan to become the greenest city in the world by 2020 might seem ambitious to some. For me, it’s the fact that the plans they have put in place are supported by everyone. It’s a plan created by a forward-thinking government. It is for the people and in many ways, by the people. It’s a co-operative and socially conscious effort for change. I’ll look forward to seeing how Vancouver achieves their goals and in some ways, leads the way for all of us.

Visit me at www.beverleygolden.com or follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@goldenbeverley

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