Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

27 May, 2012


“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein
Thoughts create everything. But here’s the problem. Most people spend their time thinking about what they don’t want, and they wonder why it shows up over and over again. This is often referred to as the “don’t want” epidemic. When people think, speak, act and focus on what they don’t want, they keep it alive.
Thinking Electro Head"You can free yourself of this epidemic by thinking and speaking about what you do want. Your thoughts not only matter, they create matter," says author, visionary and self-help guru John Assaraf. "Thought is where everything comes from. And your thoughts are where your business comes from. Consciousness is what the universe is made of; matter and energy are just two of the forms that consciousness takes."
So, what are we saying here, that everything is made of thought? That thought creates the physical world? Yes, that is exactly what we are saying. In a nutshell, here is the conclusion so far of humanity’s epic quest to understand the world:
1. Everything in the physical world is made out of atoms.
2. Atoms are made out of energy.
3. Energy is made out of consciousness.
If all of this seems difficult to grasp or accept, imagine what it must have seemed like to the people of Galileo’s time when they were asked to consider the proposition that the earth travels through space around the sun. Or the idea of a spherical earth to pre-Socratic philosophers. The truth is, we don’t see what is there. We see what we are prepared to see, what we are conditioned to see.
Once we know that everything is energy—that there is no absolute distinction between matter and energy—then the boundaries between the physical world and the world of our thoughts start to disappear as well.
You’ve heard the old expression, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” But that’s not really how it is. The truth is more like this: “You’ll see it when you believe it.”

I know this to be true.  I have applied  the theory many times and it has worked for me, almost without fail.  Why then do I still harbor negative thoughts and often give the down side more consideration than I do the up side?  Why do some of us so easily accept mediocrity in spite of  the thought power we all possess yet choose to ignore?

Sometimes human nature gets in the way of our imagination and ability to achieve.  We would all do well to be more consistently in tune with our consciousness.

It's all about energy.  Some of us are blessed with an abundance of it while others have to look hard for it in their lives.  But look we must...See what is there.  And believe!

I am a self-proclaimed second-guesser, frequently questioning events in my past life, but I came across a statement this morning that really made me stop and reconsider this overwhelming tendency.  "How can you see the future clearly, if you are forever looking back at the past?"

Message to self: "Stop it!"

24 May, 2012


What follows is a new post that I have added to my "Dresden: Father and Son Turn Back the Clock" web site.  I thought I would share it with readers of Wrights Lane too, because it is a favorite piece of family heritage that I occasionally dig out of a 100-year-old strong box, just to read and to let my imagination wander to the point of communion with a grandfather and grandmother that I never knew.  I keep hoping that I will find answers to nagging questions, but know full well that I never will.  Still, it is a precious partial link that draws me close.

Here is a letter dated July 30, 1902 that was written by grandfather Wesley Wright to grandmother Louise Wright.  It was post-marked "St. Paul's, Minn."  The brief 110-year-old letter posses some obvious questions: 1) What was Wes doing in the State of Minnesota? and 2) Who accompanied him?  Was this a business or pleasure trip?  Documentation from the period shows him as being a farmer and/or a yeoman but he was also a financier of sorts, loaning money privately, holding township and Huron & Erie debentures and investing in numerous mortgages on properties in the Kent County area and Township of Sandwich East.  The source of his capital remains a mystery.  Chances of me ever having answers to these questions are quite remote as I am now the sole survivor of this branch of the Wright family.  My father passed away when I was only 13 years old and never got around to telling me much about my grandparents' affairs.

Contents of the letter, however, tell something of my grandfather's personality and character.  A throwback entrepreneur, he was no doubt a quiet man who was not all that comfortable expressing his emotions.  Judging from the sentence structure and spelling in his letter, he was not an overly educated man.  Here's the letter as he wrote it:

July 30
Dear love  Just a few liens (lines)  I was glad to hear from you  I have visited a good many places around here  it is very nice but I am tired of it  their (there is) no place like home  I leve (leave) the first for Dulugh (Duluth) then take the boat Saturday August the 2
I will tell more when I get home  we are both well  
I hope this will find you all well  love to all and a big share to your self
Yours truly
(P.S.) poor little kenith (son Kenneth who would have been three-years-of-age at the time) I which (wish) I was sleeping with him to night

Note: Both Wesley (1920) and Louise (1932) were deceased by the time I was born.  I which...oops, sorry..."wish" that I had known them -- and they me. 

22 May, 2012


Like the subject of its research, The Promised Land Project that has been underway in the Chatham-Kent area for the past five years, has been low-key and largely under the radar of public scrutiny.  That is not to say that the project is deserving of well-kept secret status -- quite the contrary.  It is the work of a number of enterprising university students, associates and devoted community volunteers whose reward will be in how the public eventually views Black history in this tight-knit corner of Southern Ontario.  I encourage my handful of Kent County readers, Dresden friends in particular, to support an initiate that will impact community heritage as we know it.  And, that will be a good thing.
An award winning and international best-selling Canadian author will be in Chatham-Kent, June 15, to share his experiences about writing and researching Black history in Canada.  Lawrence Hill will be the keynote speaker for the fifth annual Promised Land Symposium held at the old Capitol Theatre in Chatham, June 14-16.

The Promised Land Project is a five-year, $1 million research endeavour funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (involving several universities and community groups) to study the early black settlements in Chatham-Kent, including "Uncle Tom" Josiah Henson's historic Dawn Settlement that would ultimately incorporate the early beginnings of my hometown of Dresden and other small neighboring villages and hamlets.

Over the course of the five-year period which began in the summer of 2007, the PLP’s focus is to study the role and evolution of the early black settlements in the Chatham-Kent area. Their freedom experience has been a largely uncelebrated contribution to Canadian society.  The accurate but limited and limiting description of such communities as the “final stop on the underground railroad” points to an overarching historical ideology suggesting that this extraordinary heritage is just an ending to the story rather than viewing it as the birthplace of something significant and unique.

Project literature, for instance, points out that it is not widely known that when Canada became a country in 1867, the sixth-largest population group consisted of people of African descent. The prevailing Canadian national history still terms these citizens as “fugitive slaves” even though they had a profound effect on the fight to end slavery in the United States, on the implementation of civil rights in modern Canada, and on the social, cultural and economic development of this region.

"The Promised Land Project will begin by working to preserve the historical materials documenting the experience of blacks in the Chatham-Kent area.  The research team and dedicated community partners will create a comprehensive database of letters, tax records, journals, photographs, oral histories, family narratives, newspapers, and other important primary sources.  This catalogue will cover the period in history beginning with the American Revolution, when this Southern Ontario area first began opening up to settlers in Canada, through to the birth of the modern Civil Rights Movement in Kent, and ending with an assessment of the contemporary black communities.

"The PLP will then facilitate the integration of these materials and fresh insight within a common body of knowledge created through the interaction of community and academic partners.  From this body of knowledge, the PLP team and community partners will develop new educational materials, create new community projects in the arts and in public history, further the debates on historical and contemporary manifestations of diversity in Canada and encourage new scholarship and teaching.  The overall aim is to highlight the historical importance of the Promised Land communities as an unrecognized yet pivotal story in Canada’s past, and draw attention to its current relevance as a model of multiculturalism predating the current discourse of multiculturalism in the global age."

As I have stated before, it is regrettable that the history that has been taught in schools over the course of the last century has been void of any reference to a period that was such an important and interesting part of our Canadian heritage.  Hopefully, the Promised Land Project will rectify much of that.  It is indeed a commendable exercise that will in time lend itself to enhanced understanding, appreciation and respect.

I look forward to reports and project papers that are not too scholarly for the average person's consumption, yet truly reflective of the time period; balanced, non-prejudicial, unemotional and unbiased -- precedent setting...The stuff of which ideally innovative Grade 10 texts will be made in the future.  Hopefully, Lawrence Hill will underline most of that in his keynote presentation to a representative cross-section symposium audience.

21 May, 2012


I have previously written on this subject and feel that it is time to renew it once again in Wrights Lane.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will host its fourth National Event in Saskatoon at Prairieland Park next month, June 21-24. This is an opportunity for all Canadians, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to learn more about and bear witness to the 150-year legacy of the residential school system.

Over the course of a century and a half and several generations, 150,000 Inuit, M├ętis and First Nations children were placed in Indian residential schools in an attempt to assimilate Aboriginal peoples. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established as a result of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Its mandate is to inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools, and guide and inspire a process of reconciliation and renewed relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.

As parties to the agreement, and to their credit, the Anglican, United, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian churches are actively supporting the work of the TRC.  Worship services in my St. Andrew's Presbyterian church in Southampton which neighbors the Saugeen First Nations Reserve, will be devoted to the healing and reconciliation process for the next couple of Sundays leading up to the meeting in Saskatoon.

This National Event will help to unveil the unique experiences of residential school survivors from Saskatchewan in particular. Survivors, both direct and inter-generational, former school staff and others affected by the schools have been invited to come forward and provide private and/or public statements about the impact of residential schools on their lives, that of their families and of their communities.

All members of the public are invited to observe the proceedings as witnesses. The role of a witness is to observe or account for the significance of the event. Bearing witness to the thought provoking statements of residential school survivors and others helps to validate the survivor experience and brings us on a path towards reconciliation.

A number of churches and the Canadian government were involved in the residential school system for Aboriginal children, and therefore it is critical for all of us (churches and the Canadian public in general) to be aware of, if not involved in, the process of truth-telling, healing, and reconciliation which is the aim of the TRC.

Besides schools in Saskatchewan, churches operated the Birtle school in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the Cecilia Jeffrey school near Kenora in Ontario. These schools, which had opened in 1883 and 1902 respectively, continued to operate until the 1970s.

In September 2007, while the Settlement Agreement was being put into action, the Liberal government brought forward a motion to issue a formal apology for the treatment of children in these schools. The motion passed unanimously. On June 11, 2008, the House of Commons gathered in a solemn ceremony to publicly apologize for the government’s involvement in the residential school system and to acknowledge the widespread impact this system has had among Aboriginal peoples.

The federal government's apology was met with a range of responses. Some people felt that it marked a new era of positive federal government -- Aboriginal relations based on mutual respect, while others felt that the apology was merely symbolic and doubted that it would change the government’s relationship with Aboriginal peoples.

Although the apologies and acknowledgements made by governments and churches are important steps forward in the healing process, Aboriginal leaders have said that such gestures are not enough without supportive action.  Hence, communities and residential school survivor societies are undertaking healing initiatives, both traditional and non-traditional, and providing opportunities for survivors to talk about their experiences and move forward to heal and to create a positive future for themselves, their families, and their communities.

The four-day gathering in Saskatoon will be a major step toward healing and reconciliation, as were the previous three national meetings, but I will be surprised if we read much about it on the front pages of newspapers here in Ontario.  Our national media can, and should be, a major player in the process too.

In my next Wrights Lane post I will talk about another important initiative in the form of the 5th Annual Symposium, Claiming the Promise. A Retrospective On African Canadian History, which will take place in Chatham, June 14 to 16.  This event is part of "The Promised Land Project", a multi-disciplinary research undertaking funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council's Community University Research Alliance.  The focus of the PLP has been to study the role and evolution of early black settlements in the Chatham-Kent area of Southwestern Ontario which includes my hometown of Dresden.  It is another story that deserves wider circulation and the attention of all of us.   

19 May, 2012


The starter switch on my three-year-old Tecumseh lawn mower broke down this spring, prompting me to pay a hasty visit to our local lawn and garden centre for necessary repairs. With my grass growing by leaps and bounds, I was greatly relieved  to receive a call the next day from the resident small engine repair guy telling me that the mower was ready for pick up.

When I arrived at the shop, I was greeted at the counter by a rather gruff, slender, no nonsense type of man about my same age.  The tell-tale grease on his hands indicated to me that he was "the guy".

"When you were in yesterday you said that you were having starter problems, but I found a number of other things that needed attention too.  For one thing there was old gas and oil in the engine, so it would not have started even if the starter was working properly.  The blade was also completely worn out...I just couldn't let it go out of the shop that way," he explained with demonstrative concern and nobility.

"You really don't like that mower very much do you?" he continued, thinking perhaps to catch me off guard..  I readily agreed, with tongue-in-cheek, that "yes, the only thing I hate more than the mower itself is having to use the damn thing."

"Well, if you don't take better care of it, you won't have it for very long," he snapped back, ignoring the humor in my remark.

Feeling suddenly very negligent, I sheepishly left the shop taking the mower and  scolding with me, leaving behind a cheque for $85.40 in repairs.

I didn't ask for an itemized invoice, but I assumed the scolding was free of charge.

18 May, 2012


Rosanne lives vicariously through her television game shows -- The Price Is Right, Let's Make a Deal, etc., etc.  When she is otherwise occupied, which is very rare, she even tapes them for later viewing.

She cheerleads the contestants from her reclining lift chair, applauding the winners and shedding tears for the losers.

This morning I heard her excitedly exclaim, "I picked the right one!...I picked the right one!"  "What did you pick," I asked from the other room?

"The number," she proclaimed, adding "and I won a car!"

"Oh, good," I said, trying to mock her enthusiasm..."When can we pick it up?"

"Don't be silly," came her suddenly sober reply.

10 May, 2012


My grandfathers' 100-year-old pocket watches and my wristwatch needing a new battery.  Are they all going the way of the sundail?
Several months ago my wristwatch stopped running.  All it needs is a $10 battery but I have procrastinated on getting a replacement and you know what?...After the first day without it on my wrist, I haven't really missed it.

I was thinking about that earlier today and realized that time just might be running out for "clocks" that we wear.  I spend a lot of time on my computer and it has a digital time display.  My smart phone tells me the time as does our several television sets.  Every room in our house has a digital clock of some kind.  Our kitchen actually has three time-telling devices, including the stove and microwave.  I turn on the ignition in my car and there it is -- the time of day flashing on the controls panel.

It is interesting to note that The Beloit College Mindset List, a much-cited annual index of the rapid pace of cultural drift in the digital age, observes that members of the college class of  2014 are so unfamiliar with the wristwatch that "they've never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day."

Westerners have long been keenly interested in horology, as David Landes, an economic historian, points out in Revolution in Time, a landmark study on the development of timekeeping technology.  "It wasn't the advent of clocks that forced us to fret over the hours; our obsession with time was fully in force when monks first began to say their matins, keeping track of the hours out of strict religious obligations."  By the 18th century, secular time had acquired the pressure of routine that would rule its modern mode.

Generations have indentured themselves to the clock's efficient mastery, welcoming centuries of development of chrono-mechanical technology.  The miniaturization of the clock into the watch was key to early globalization's navigational and communication infrastructure.  The watch was not just jewelry, but a marker of the early 20th century's obsession with making sure that everything -- from steamships and railways to infantry charges -- ran on time.

Now, in turning to mobile electronic devices and the networked time they keep, perhaps a retooling of the unsegmented sense of time makes a degree of sense.  In the 1900s, we told time using a device dedicated to the simple display of the hour, minute and second.  Not so with the watch's networked offspring.  Hundreds of time-related apps (an acronym or abbreviation for "applications, as in software") are available for the iPhone, from old-fashioned clock emulators to kitchen timers or tools to help keep meetings from running overtime.

The advancement has been incredible.  A San Francisco web company has created an iPhone mapping app that lets the user overlay historical photographs of places onto the iPhone's camera view, combining past and present in a single picture.  Everywhere on-line, time comes loose from its moorings:  Google combines books from all eras into one big book, YouTube brings motion pictures from the early 20th century into dialogue with today's viral videos.

Such displays of time on mobile devices go beyond the ticktock of the grandfather clock and the insistent pulse of the wristwatch, no longer pointing at one moment but indicating all the hours at once.  Our lives, too, are more fluid now; our careers move in fits and starts; our childhoods and twilight years are of indeterminate length.  For those of us in today's world it is experience -- of tools, of society, of kids growing up -- that ultimately governs our perception of time.  All of which gives application to the smart phone's broad spectrum of time.

There is a very real possibility of the watch as we know it slowly going the way of the sundial, the factory whistle, and other quaint measures.  Time, as they say, marches on...And it may well eventually become just one temporal computation among many.

I suppose that I'll eventually replace the battery in my watch, but it does not now have the urgency it would once have in my life.  I've got nothing but time.  I'm engulfed in it.

03 May, 2012


Mention "providential care" to the average person today and they will more than likely think that you are talking about the health care system in the great Province of Ontario. There is a failure to understand that there is only one true providential care in the world today and it is the one inherent in our Christian faith. In essence, we ARE talking about "health" in this case, but it is the kind of health that God has in store for us, should we be of a mind to embrace it.

We really do not know how God works providentially to make things come out the way He wants them to. We know from the Old Testament, however, that He works in "providential ways" -- that is, ways in which He provides for His people. We know from Joseph’s statement in Genesis 50:20 (“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”) that God can sometimes work in ways that are well beyond our understanding and not immediately recognized as being in keeping with His "providential" care. 
"God's eye" or "God's eyes" are symbolic of God's providential care. He is a guiding spirit and gives us counsel while constantly being watchful over us. He is unquestionably aware of our daily activities, our personal circumstances, of what we set our minds to do, and all He asks of us in return is to include Him in our plans and to commit those plans to Him so that He can cause them to succeed and bring us breakthrough and deliverance in our times of need. Proverbs 16:3 says to, "Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed."
The word "thoughts" in the Greek speaks of our intentions, inventions, calculations of the mind and imaginations. The power of imagination includes the ability to see with insight and foresight. "Insight" is the ability to apprehend the true nature of a thing, especially through intuitive understanding or penetrating mental vision or discernment; the faculty of seeing into inner character or underlying truth. "Foresight" is the ability and power of prevision or knowledge gained through looking forward; a view of the future so to speak. Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]--blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he."
If our vision is blocked or distorted, we lack not only the ability to "see" and to perceive with intelligence, but we also miss out on seeing God in the ecstatic state of worship. Our very spirits were meant to live in a place of ecstasy with God forever in that heavenly place. When our minds are aligned, we see what God sees. We see clearly. We see through God's eyes and we see His providential care, and our hope is restored for the future.

That, in a nutshell it what keeps me alive -- and living as I do.  I call it the good old-fashioned "faith of our fathers", literally.  My parents raised me to trust in the love of our Heavenly Father and to obey His biblical Commandments, and there has been life-long comfort in that for me. I look to God's blessings in life, and they are countless, to sustain me.  It is as simple as that. I look for no profound insights. I ask no special favors of Him, because I know that God's providential care will provide for me in all times and in all ways.  Beauty in all things coupled with God-granted peace and tranquility sufficient to commune with the nature that surrounds all of us, is sustenance enough for my inner-self.

My "faith" is what sustains me!  I pray that my vision never fails and that I have foresight sufficient to follow Christ's example, given my human foibles, shortcomings and failings. I have to continually work at it. I must be forever vigilant, trusting and thankful for all that I "see" and for all that has and will sustain me to the end of this worldly journey.