On Saturday night (1 October 2011) I joined Bishop Murray Chatlain, R.C. Bishop of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, and Marie Ingram, Director of the Cambridge Bay (Nunavut) Community Wellness Centre in a fund raiser for the community food bank. The well attended and fun event highlighted local musicians, live actions, silent actions, raffles, good food and a lot of good will.
Well it happened! Somewhere, sometime while I was on my way from Cambridge Bay, via Yellowknife, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Iqaluit to Clyde River, I received an email from CDBaby. CDBaby is the independent music distributor that is selling digital copies of the songs from my CD Healing Ground. CDBaby congratulated me on selling my first copy of the Healing Ground album! The first buyer was someone in Santa Fe, N.M. Google translation says in Spanish, “Santa” means holy, saintly, or blessed while “Fe” means faith, belief, confidence, hope, conviction or inspiration. I take all these words as positive signs that I am on a good journey with my music, work and life! If you want to check out my digital songs, google search CDBaby. Once you are in the CDBaby site search “the bag man” or “garchinski”. I guess with one sale I can’t really say that my digital CD has gone viral, or would that be a slight overstatement??????
You can’t fight the weather in the north, so blow with it! I was on the plane all day today, leaving Calgary at 8:30 a.m., stopping in Edmonton to change planes and then on to Yellowknife, NWT. The flight to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut was delayed by a couple hours but we were eventually in the air. The hour and a half flight turned into a three hour flight as we flew to Cambridge Bay. The weather prevented us from landing so we flew all the way back to Yellowknife. While enjoying the Canadian North service, I read in the Yellowknifer newspaper that Music NWT was having a fundraiser, “Blues Nation” concert tonight, with the headliners Digawolf, Marshall Lawrence and Jack de Keyzer. I was also pleased to see that Pat Braden (bass) and Norm Glowach (drums) were a part of the backup band. I had recorded my first CD “Healing Ground” at Norm’s Spiritwalker Studio in Yellowknife. Norm played the drums and Pat played the bass on the CD. So at 6:30 p.m., I was able to get two of the last four tickets available at the door. My friend Greg Krivda joined me to listen to some great blues. To top it off, Jean Colas who helped out with the Healing Ground CD cover was there and he won the door prize: an electric guitar!
Eighty-five year old BB King put on a wonderful concert tonight. For a grandpa, he still has an amazing voice. Two things I regret: the first was that the sound guys didn’t have the system set up properly, so the first 30 seconds of the opening song did damage to most people’s ears, including mine – my ear drums hurt. The second thing I regret was not listening to my wife. She told me I should take my Les Paul guitar to the concert and ask BB King to sign it. I didn’t think there would be an opportunity for that to happen. But Grandpa King left plenty of time at the end of the concert to throw out BB King Guitar picks, necklaces and to autograph stuff. If I had listened, I could be playing a guitar, signed by the blues master himself!
Cambridge Bay, Nunavut
If I ever think I am in complete control of my life, all Mother Nature has to do is breathe heavy, and I am stuck in a blizzard in Canada’s high arctic. The plane was scheduled to depart at 2:00 pm but by 10:00 a.m. the blizzard was well on its way; I received the phone call that today’s flight was cancelled and I am rescheduled for a flight tomorrow.
The two week, “Men’s Fish, Hunt and Heal” Workshop, which I facilitated, ended today at noon with a wonderful feast. The men in the workshop prepared Musk-ox soup, Baked Teriyaki Musk-ox, and Musk- ox Stir Fry and rice. It is healing that tastes good! The youngest member in the group, 16 year old Ambrose Hikoalok had shot the Musk-ox yesterday while most of the other men in the group were ice fishing. In the first week of the workshop, Ambrose had shot a caribou for the first time in his life. That event was especially good because his father and uncle were also in the workshop and were at his side at that significant moment in his life.
With eight days in healing circles and 2 days on the land, hunting and fishing, the men did some incredible work. The Inuit men were comfortable being on the land. It is a place to be centred as they reconnect with nature and their ancestral heritage.
Inuit of Canada’s Arctic have had to make some extreme adjustments in their lives in the past 50 to 60 years. Moving from a family-centred nomadic lifestyle to living in communities, the social cost has been extreme: high rates of social dysfunction including suicide, addictions (alcohol, drugs, gambling), family violence and poverty.
I would not work as a therapeutic counsellor and workshop facilitator if I did not have hope. I have great hope for the men in this workshop, and for Inuit in general. Even in the midst of much suffering and trauma, I see resiliency and survivorship that is several generations strong.
I start each healing workshop with the prayer song “Sacred Circle Song.” It is a song I wrote and sang for my wife, Elaine Woodward, as she walked down the church aisle just before we got married. The song invites the Creator and the Creator’s helpers to be with us as we journey. It is the first track on my CD “Healing Ground.” As a way of acknowledging the men’s good work, I gifted each participant with a copy of Healing Ground.
Check out www.lifeworks.cc if you want more information on our healing workshops.