Manifest Your Will

The Road Less Travelled by Steve Hanks

We all would like life to go our way. This is what is meant by manifesting our will. It may be a time in our lives when we are at the crossroads of some change typically forced on us, or something we stumbled into. This COVID virus is a good example of something that has forced many of us to that crossroads.

Standing there in a kind of limbo looking down the roads open before us and knowing that there is no going back to travel them all. So what can we do to start life going our way?

Step one is to clarify our will. We need to imagine ourselves with what we want and start today on using all the resources available to us to begin the manifestation. It is a good time to take an inventory of all the blessings/strengths to which we have ready access in the now.

Next step is to look back and inventory all the accumulated wisdom of our past. After all, what is life, if not an accumulation of wisdom? Perhaps some of us cannot get over the pain and anger of the past which forms a great barrier to benefiting from all the light and love hidden back there. We need to envision that in the dark cave of our past life, there is a wise hermit carrying a lantern holding our light of life ready to brighten and enlighten our present. We should not be afraid of this hermit in us. The hermit has so much wisdom to give!

When we manifest our will, our cups fill up with radiant energy, and we see our reflections as beautiful, full of character and grace rather than self-loathing and other very dangerous ways of looking at ourselves.

Between the Cars by Mark Lague

The future, past, and present are all connected intimately when facing these crossroads or multiple pathways. We should not wait to start the journey down a chosen pathway today. That pathway is formed by the Universe, of-course. But we are the free-willed children of this Universe. And the Universe loves us and wants us to be in harmony with its magic pulse. Our will, manifested, will shine light and create good energy and perhaps even help in the bringing forth of new, and beautiful life into this enchanted space in which we dwell.

One Step at a Time by Steve Hanks

A Recipe for Borscht

Borscht is a soup made from beets giving its unmistakable colour and flavour: red is best. I love the stuff. My mother makes a fantastic borscht and I have learned to make it myself.

My recipe follows. It is beetle approved, so why not turn up some Beatles songs, get some fresh beets and make some soup? May I suggest, “Back in the USSR” as a starting point?

“Marv and Brenda” Original Painting by Elena Diadenko

Borscht

Boil peeled and sliced beets in water for at least 30 minutes or until soft and translucent. Note: boil gently to get the best flavour and colour. If you have time, simmer for a longer period.

You may include washed beet tops in this boil as well as other vegetables but it is not necessary. I will sometime include carrot tops in the boil if I have them handy. This does give the finished soup a slightly different flavour, however. Also, this will make the broth less red, and the rich red colour is part of the appeal of a great bowl of borscht. I have also sometimes included bone broth in this boil: chicken bones are what I typically would add to the boil if I have them handy from leftovers.  This again will change the flavour slightly, and you will have skim the fat from the broth once the boiling/simmering is over.

Strain all vegetables (and bones if used) from the beet stock.

Add vinegar to taste to the stock. This is a personal preference.  Start with a small amount of no more than a tablespoon.  What you are aiming for is the perfect balance between the sour of the vinegar and the sweet of the beets.

You can use just plain white vinegar, but for other flavours, other types of vinegars are good to try such as balsamic. My favourite is to use garlic vinegar from Olive Us. (The tasting room on main street, Vernon).  Well worth it, but not necessary.  Also they have other types of vinegar that I would like to try sometime.

Add some fresh dill to taste once you have added the vinegar; use freeze dried dill if you do not have fresh dill.  Again, start small. I like to use a teaspoon in about 4-5 cups of broth. Dill can overpower the other flavours, so be careful; you are aiming for a complement flavour with the dill.

Serve the soup hot.

You can add other things to the hot soup to taste at the table. I have recently tried adding Greek plain yogourt and loved it. Other options include sour cream, sweet cream, cream cheese.

Add salt and pepper to taste in the bowl, if desired.

Enjoy!!!

Violence is Not the Way to Achieve Racial Justice

In my classroom while teaching the paragraph, I often will use this sample paragraph by Martin Luther King Jr to illustrate how a great paragraph works. King’s use of repeated key words, pronouns, and syntax to achieve coherence; his clear and arguable topic sentence; and his concise/effective development and summary are writing skills to which all writers can aspire.

Here it is:

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral.  It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all.  The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.  It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert.  Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love.  It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible.  It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue.  Violence ends by defeating itself.  It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.  A voice echoes through time saying to every potential Peter, “Put up your sword.”  History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations that have failed to follow this command.   – Martin Luther King Jr.

These words, however, have taken on a new and important meaning for me as I watch the violence, looting, and rioting occurring in the US over the past months since the horrible (and morally repugnant) death of George Floyd.

Rioting, burning, violence in the United States: July 2020.

Martin Luther King Jr, if alive today, would be laying his life down to stop this madness and descent into chaos. And the thing that bothers me most today is how none of our Canadian leaders or even general population (like myself) will take a stand and say, unequivocally, that this lawlessness and violence is wrong!

I do not know exactly how many people have been killed (including children) or how many law officers have been killed and injured; it is hard to get exact numbers…but seriously, how bad does it have to get before we say anything in support of those forces that are trying so hard to keep the peace and stop the US from sliding into a civil war? …don’t think it couldn’t happen. How long will it before the extreme right starts marching with armour and assault weapons (flying Confederate or Nazi Flags) as I saw on the news: a group of black paramilitary marching through the streets flying their flags? Is this what we want?

Is this okay? Would it be okay if these people were White? Is this a way to get your way in a democracy that is founded on principles of tolerance, peace, equality, and liberty?

I get that the problem is that our leaders (and many Canadians) sympathize with the BLM motives–so while they, like Trudeau, will kneel down in support of BLM, they dare not criticize the protests/violence/rioting/looting/statue desecration, etc. and come out in support of those brave people trying to restore order because it upsets their world view of us/them–or to put this in its most basic (allegedly) morally superior terms: the racists (represented by law enforcement) verses the non-racists (represented by those throwing insults, bottles, bombs, and even bullets at the police.)

Trudeau kneeling down in support of BLM, but not standing up to oppose violence occurring right now.

When we refuse to come out and say that we want this violence to end, our silence is condoning it. Another great quote from King is that “the only thing required for evil to triumph in the world is for good people to do nothing.”

Many people and leaders who are appalled at what is going on are too afraid to say anything publicly against the rioters because then they will be called a “racist” and could even lose their jobs because of it. Look what happened to Don Cherry, as an example of the 1984 Thought Police ethics that are now patrolling all public discourse in our country!

Don Cherry did not deserve to lose his job for saying “you people” on television. A person can be against immigration and refugees without being a racist. A person can be opposed to Canadians who do not wear a poppy on Nov 11 and not be a racist. The minute we do or say anything critical, out comes the “racist” label and then the violence starts: and yes, losing your job as what happened to Don Cherry is a form of violence. Ron MacLean’s coaches corner the day after the “firing” was like hearing someone justifying violence that I hear too much of these days.

I know that there are many people, even among my family and close friends, that will vehemently disagree with me and express their holier-than-thou attitude that there is just cause for these horrible demonstrations that are anything but peaceful and non-violent. They say: We have to end White Privilege and Black Exclusion–at all costs! and through any means! This attitude (as reflected in our leaders’ silence on the rioting) is very dangerous and is very mainstream today.

So I hope you all can see how I think that this silent (condoning) attitude toward violence is dead wrong. Please give a fair hearing to Martin Luther King Jr. Or if not him, open your mind to the certain teacher, alluded to in the final line of King’s paragraph. According to the accounts written in the Gospels, when Jesus was being led away to the crucifixion, Peter stood up and drew his sword, cutting the ear off of one of the Roman Guards about to arrest Jesus. Jesus said to Peter (and I am paraphrasing here) put your weapon away. Violence only breeds more violence. That is not want I want for the world or my legacy.

Peter defending Jesus from the Roman guards who were taking him away to the crucifixion.

His words still echo in my head and have the ring of truth to them. I encourage everyone to listen, weigh them with an open mind and heart. And ask yourself if violence to achieve racial justice can ever be condoned, justified, and/or successful?

Jesus, healing the ear of the guard whose ear had been cut and going peacefully with the guards.

…and on the Seventh Day,

It has often struck me as kind of odd that “Thou shall keep the Sabath Day Holy” is the #3 or #4 (depending on the version) in the Ten Commandments

I don’ think there is a kind of order of importance for these ten, but being up there in the top 5, seems put an emphasis on this directive that doesn’t manifest into our society and civil laws as well as many of the other commandments like don’t kill, steal, commit adultery, etc.

This are the Sunday laws from Ontario, early 20th century

But maybe it is very important for we humans to have a day off once a week? And may it be doubly important for our globe, at this point in our massive population surge and related environmental catastrophes?

Moses and the 10 Commandments by Philppe de Champaigne

The recent Covid-related lock-downs have shown the world what happens when we stop the 24/7 world in which we live. Birds returned and sang, waters cleared and fish returned, skies opened to show the beauty of the mountains and oceans for many city-dwellers who hadn’t seen them in years and, possibly, life-times for the young.

Satellite image of India showing the clearing skies due to Covid lockdown.

Can we imagine a world that more-or-less stops one day a week–like my world used to do in my youth growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, when we still upheld The Lord’s Day Act? What other benefits besides lessening our brutal treatment of our planet would there be? Better health and less disease? More peace and less war? etc…

I know that stopping our 24/7, jet-speed world for one of the commandments will never happen these days, but one of the things that Covid has shown us, is that it is possible to stop the inessential stuff and still carry on.

Downtown Kelowna during the Covid lockdown.
Busy downtown Kelowna.

Wishing Forward, not Backward

Wishing is a human trait that has (like all of our traits) a dual nature: good and bad or helpful and harmful.

Perhaps too often, we find ourselves wishing that our past had been different. In extreme cases, this backward looking wish mental activity becomes so obsessive that we fail to experience the moment as anything but mental anguish. And here is the worst part: when we fail to wish forward, hope barely glimmers in the dark depressions that can follow.

The moon reflecting the light of the sun back to us–reminding us that even in times of darkness, light remains.

If we think about it, a backward wish cannot do anything, while a forward wish can move mountains. As trite as it may sound, we cannot change the past, but we can change the future. But the future will not change if our present is mired in regret, guilt, anger, self-pity, inactivity, self-loathing, self-abuse, etc.

Fishing is essentially a wish-forward activity! “Fish” and “wish” rhyme…coincidence?

Our physical, earth-bound selves are wired to learn from mistakes: this is, of-course, a key survival mechanism built into our humanity. So it is very easy to let this natural tendency to obsess over past mistakes occupy more of our minds than than future actions and possibilities. This is why I believe it takes so much more human effort to wish forward than backward.

Another strange thing about our humanity, is how intense and vivid our memories are of past mistakes and emotional trauma. For example, I have had gout attacks off and on for the past ten years. When the attack is on, the pain is so intense that I could almost cut off my foot or leg to get rid of it. But when the attack is over, I cannot bring up a vivid memory of the hurt. Whereas, some remote emotional hurt, like when I was insulted or had lost/failed some dream of years ago, can come to the surface/present with the same burning intensity.

We hold the future in our hands, and the past is beyond our reach or repair.

These two aspects of our humanity may be why our wishing tends to be more backward than forward, thus doing us and our brief time on this planet more harm than good.

So when I find myself falling into those backward wishes, I have to make the effort to start wishing forward, kindling hope instead of despair. It works almost all the time (for me) to pull me out of that dark world of regret, guilt, and lost hopes/dreams. It changes my focus to what can be from what was and cannot be any different.

“If you never shoot, you can never score.” – Wayne Gretzsky. “If you never cast, you can never catch.” – Marv Machura

Perhaps this is why so many people find prayer helpful? Because prayer is essentially a wish forward and can be a very powerful weapon against those mean adversaries of guilt and self-pity.

As far as we know, the Universe goes forward, not backward. So should we.

Marv Machura with daughter, Emily. “Teach your children to pray” May be another trite expression, but prayer may be one the of the most effective wish-forward techniques we have!

New Song/Video!!!

Hi Friends!

So happy to announce the launch of this new song and video!

It has been a while in the works: I first learned of the Chilcotin War in 2018 while looking through some library books at Okanagan College, this picture caught my eye.

Chilcotin Chiefs by Shawn Swanky

I started reading about it and was hooked. I knew immediately that there was a song in here. And after a few months of research, the song took shape.

I presented my research and song at a few conferences over the past year, but did not get down to the recording until this past spring. I recorded it in a studio I built in my home in 2016: I call it the “Walter Machura Studio” because it was my first solo-building project that I had ever done. I will never forget the day when it was completed, and I was thinking about naming it.

As I thought and enjoyed that incredible moment of accomplishment (along with a nice cool scotch and soda), it occurred strongly to me that my dad (who can build and/or fix anything) is in this work that I have just done! That’s the name!!

It has taken me more time than I thought to start releasing some music from this great studio, but oh well…we all know how life laughs at our plans!

So, without further ado, here’s the video and song–the first song from my upcoming album, btw.

The Chilcotin War

Marv Machura

The Medium is Still the Message

Marshall McLuhan’s Family Home in Highlands Community of Edmonton, Alberta. I used to live on the same street in this great neighbourhood and would frequently walk by this home which has now been restored and preserved for its historical and culural significance.

Here we are–another Sunday in the Covid lock-down of spring 2020. It is a beautiful morning here in the Okanagan with a promise of warm day ahead, of which we have had not too many lately.

I have added a couple of new pages to my website lately that are both directly related to the late, great media theorist, Marshall McLuhan. The first is a copy of my 1990 Master’s Thesis: The English Curricular Response to the Mass Media. In this thesis, I show how English Language Arts Curriculum has responded to the introduction of various media of communication that got their start and/or reached their peak during the 20th century.

Also, I have added another Machura on McLuhan selection: On Internet Porn. This is a piece that explores our pair-bonding natures and our relationships with our tools and technologies.

Have a great Sunday everyone! Life is good! And the “unexamined life is not worth living.” – JP Satre.

After the Storm

Lake Okanagan, Vernon, BC. Looking out over Adventure Bay.

Conflict is not part of the human condition; it is the human condition.

One of the things I have done since moving to Vernon, BC. is perform at many seniors homes and long-term care hospitals. If it were true that we are happiest when all of our needs are being meet, and we are provided with the most conflict-free environment possible, these places would be incredibly happy. Yet, the opposite is true–as with life in general.

A conflict-free life is not a life at all. And those of us who buy into the capitalistic/protestant work myth of aiming for a conflict free-future, as with a golden retirement and future bliss of comfort and ease, may be missing the point entirely. And importantly, we, as a society largely driven by this myth, are not only wasting the earth and all her abundant and precious beauty and resources the process, but also wasting our own precious few days and years that we are allotted on our wonderful planet.

The storms of life come upon us–and some we create ourselves. Either way, these conflicts challenge us to stand up, be human, and experience the range of emotions that are our birthright and ultimately the fire/rain that shape our destiny.

We can thank the storm–especially, as we carry on (stronger, better, and more humble) and perhaps with the divine spark of life shining a bit brighter in our eyes and smiles, for all to see.

Hope Sustains Us

The hand of fetus reaching out to grab the doctor’s finger during in utero surgery.

The shortest pessimistic poem in the world goes like this: “Hope? Nope.” – unknown author.

We can see in the photograph the hand of the unborn child reaching out of the womb and holding on to the surgeon’s hand. He or she is not giving up or letting go; he or she already has hope in his/her small, beating heart in the world of not only today but also tomorrow.

It is hope and faith that keep the black dogs of despair, self-pity, depression at bay. When they threaten us, we as people, couples, families, communities, cities, nations, and world citizens, can sicken, resort to senseless violence, forsake our fellows, and even self-destruct.

So it’s good to keep hope alive in our lives and perhaps realize that our daily struggles and conflicts are best backstopped by the great human gifts of hope and faith.

My dad puts life’s struggles and conflicts into a simple adage by which he has lived: “As long as you leave the place better than you found it.” And I agree. Perhaps we get closest to our purpose as mortals when we see that our living and dying, underpinned by hope, will not turn to gloom because we keep our aim on that rule and heroic struggle to brighten–and not darken–our world.

Today’s the Day!

Hi Friends,

I have working on this website for the past few weeks and am now ready to start promoting it! Yeah! And now that I have my vision in place

My life has been an interesting, engaging, and exciting experience being a teacher, writer, and performer. I have done a fair amount of work in each of my three life disciplines–and continue to engage in them now. So, they are all up here with the latest information and updates. Thanks WordPress and the World Wide Web for the privilege! As imaginative as I was as young boy, I did not dream of this happening in my lifetime.

I remember when the Internet was first coming out; my brother who has always been on the vanguard of technology first showed me how he hooked his computer up to the Internet. He said, “See, I can find out the weather in Vancouver.” I said, “I don’t see much future in this Internet because who wants to see the weather in Vancouver!”

I also once said, “I can’t see a future in software because once you have the program it will never wear out like a machine, and it is all you need.” I think I said that when WordPerfect 5.0 came out.

Cheers! and happy launch day for this new marvmachura.com site!

Pre-Internet Days: Ice Fishing somewhere near Smoky Lake, AB.