Hard work trump fear and hate

photo of David Suzuki

by David Suzuki

We can’t count on governments to make the changes we so desperately need. It’s up to us. We must be the change.

Now what? Many people in the United States and around the world are dismayed that a bigoted, misogynistic, climate change denier has been elected to the highest office in what is still the world’s most powerful nation. His party controls the House and Senate, meaning pro-fossil-fuel, anti-climate-action representatives who reject overwhelming and alarming scientific evidence will hold the reins. It will be a government firmly in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry. But global warming isn’t going to pause for four years. It’s going to accelerate. Do we give up?

No way! Governments move slowly at the best of times. People were filled with hope when Barack Obama became America’s first black president. Sure, there was progress in some areas, but the fossil fuel industry continued to expand as the world got warmer. Here in Canada, after a decade of watching our political representatives backtrack on environmental and climate policies, Canadians elected a party that promised climate leadership. Despite many progressive and positive initiatives, our government is still encouraging, subsidizing and approving fossil fuel projects and infrastructure.

We can’t count on governments to make the changes we so desperately need. It’s up to us. We must be the change. We have our work cut out for us, but work we must. Perhaps this is even an opportunity, albeit one fraught with great challenges. The election exposed nasty currents in US society, but it also revealed a profound and rising dissatisfaction with the status quo.

The answer isn’t to throw more gas on the fire. Many Americans just did that. Now, it’s up to those of us who believe in a brighter future to bring the fire under control without killing the flame. On the day after the election, the David Suzuki Foundation’s Alaya Boisvert posted, “Let the fire that ignites from this madness outshine the darkness that precipitated it.”

We can’t be complacent. We can’t let fear and despair stop us from working to make the world a better place for everyone, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, physical appearance or limitations, country of origin, political leanings, education or social circumstance. And let’s face it, the planet isn’t in trouble, humanity is. Earth’s natural systems always find balance, but the corrections they make to overcome the damage we’ve caused… don’t favour our species and the path we’re on.

We have so many possibilities and so much potential. We have knowledge and amazing technologies. We have ancient wisdom that teaches us how to be a part of this miraculous, complex, interconnected existence. Most of us want the same things: health, happiness and connection with others.

We mustn’t let fear overcome us. It’s time to stand together to work for justice and human rights, for equity, for liberty, for a cleaner environment, for governments that serve the people rather than corporations – for the values the United States of America was supposedly founded on. We must listen to each other and promote dialogue rather than debate.

The US election has brought things to a head, and the boil is erupting. It’s more important now than ever before to come together to heal the wound.

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington. Learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org

Be someone’s valentine all year


by Larry James


To be a special Valentine to your partner takes lots of energy, time, attention and love. Let’s all give some thought about who we are being in our relationship, what we can do to make them better and who we will have to become to have them be healthy and successful. Let’s make every day Valentine’s Day for our partner.

V for Validate: Your relationship with your partner must be an equal partnership, one that mutually supports each other in their dreams and visions of what is best for one another. Make it a point to let your partner know that you value their opinions, ideas and especially their feelings.

A for Attention: Paying attention to the little things is not always easy. It takes practice and is one of the most important aspects of a successful and healthy love relationship. It is the little things that count. If left to simmer without attention, eventually they may erupt into major conflict.

L for Love: Be consistent in expressing your love for your partner in “words” and deeds. While the gift of a rose, a box of chocolates or a special greeting card is an expression of love, it is important for your love partner to hear the words, “I love you” at least once each day.

E for Enjoy: Make the best of being together. Be present when in the presence of your partner. Enjoy each precious moment. Couples who enjoy each other’s company are happier and more satisfied with their relationship. Do fun things. Go fun places. Place a high priority on enjoying life together.

N for Nurture: To nurture is to nourish. Nourish one another with love. Encourage each other to openly communicate your needs. Accept your partner for who they are and support them in their individual needs and endeavours. Offer understanding by being an attentive listener. Acknowledge your partner’s goodness!

T for Time: Spend “quality” time together. Make a promise to have a date with your mate no less than once each week. No excuses, please! Pretend you are on your very first date. Reminisce. Hold hands. Make eye contact. Talk. Really listen. Focus on your partner. Make each moment you are together count.

I for Intention: We usually get what we place our intention upon. Synergize your intentions on what you want, never on what you do not want. The combined effect of two partners working together on similar things is much greater than the sum of individual effects. Highlight your intentions to one another and concentrate on the specifics of those intentions.

N for Needs: We all have individual needs: to be loved, accepted, understood, trusted, respected, appreciated, encouraged and the list goes on. Acknowledging our needs and the needs of our love partner gives purpose to the relationship. Learn to express your needs in ways your partner can listen to and understand. Erich Fromm once said, “Immature love says, ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says, ‘I need you because I love you.’”

E for Energize: Breathe new life into your relationship each day by consistently focusing on new ideas that keeps the fire of love burning. Partners feel energized when both are dancing to the same tune.

To describe love is very difficult, for the same reason that words cannot fully describe the flavour of an orange. You have to taste the fruit to know its flavour. So with love. –Paramahansa Yogananada

Copyright © 2011 Larry James. Reprinted with permission. Adapted from Larry’s books, How to Really Love the One You’re With, LoveNotes for Loversand Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers. Author Larry James presents seminars nationally for singles and couples. Subscribe to Larry’s free monthly LoveNotes for Lovers eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. Email Larry James via www.CelebrateLove.com

The perfect relationship

by Devrah Lavall

A very wise meditation master once said, “The greatest suffering in the human form is that we are not seen as already perfect and divine.”

I’ve recently spoken with many people, all from very different cultures, who feel that they can no longer bear the conflict and pressure in their relationships. Such complaints are reflected in our divorce rates, which are unprecedented, and they beg the question “What is the real purpose of relationships?” Many people are coming to recognize that relationships based on externals such as sex or power or just not wanting to be alone, are like houses built on shifting sand. They won’t hold up when the waves and the storms come. The delirium of romance can be intoxicating, but once the honeymoon stage has passed, unless we deepen our connection to the real essence of Union, we will only flit to other partners, never experiencing the deep rewards arising from relationships based on true love.

The turmoil of personal relationships is exacerbated by stress arising from the acceleration of time and the proliferation of technology and is reflected in the violence and wars in the world, and in the destruction of our planet. The Hindu scriptures speak about this age as Kali Yuga – the dark age of man or the age of quarrel and confusion. At such a time, all of our ego tendencies are amplified, which is problematic on one hand, but also poses a unique opportunity for our souls to evolve more rapidly than they would otherwise. Just as coal, when subjected to intense heat and pressure, can become a diamond, the human being, subjected to the intensity of Kali Yuga, can become one with the God Self, which is the true source of relationships.

Our soul work starts with the ones we love, the ones who know our deepest secrets and our worst fears. These close relationships are the primary stepping stones to learning how to love unconditionally. But bringing love and compassion to one another in these dark times is more easily said than done. Our insecurities, disappointments or expectations that the other person is responsible for our happiness can get in the way. No wonder we want to run from or push away the relationships that most strongly reflect our darkness.

Just as Kali Yuga is an opportunity for the individual soul to evolve, it is also an opportunity for our relationships to evolve as we learn to embrace one another and to have compassion for the human foibles we all share. Those who have been in long-term relationships know the rage, hatred and disconnection that can arise as we mirror each other’s deepest pain. How can we bridge such separation? How can we become one with those we love? How can we transcend the endless conflicts about finances, domestic routines and intimacy issues, never mind the cultural, religious and political disagreements that create even more reasons for us to push one another out of our hearts? Communicating our feelings about these things may not necessarily help if they are not shared in an openhearted way, or if the other is not ready to hear what we have to say.

Perhaps we can take our cue from the 13th century mystical poet, Jalaluddin Rumi, who said, “Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.” This applies to our hearts as well as our physical surroundings. It expresses the “perfect” relationship to others and to life itself. When we can be the soul of the relationship we are in, when we can remember that this person whom we might be upset with just wants to be seen through the eyes of love, we can change the lens through which we are looking. Instead of seeing only the problems and accompanying flaws in the other, we can see their inherent innocence and divinity.

We can often shift out of our dissatisfactions in relationships when we focus on what we are grateful for rather than on what is lacking. When we focus on our complaints, we will reinforce others’ shortcomings, but when we focus on love, gratitude and forgiveness, we empower the other. This applies not only to our personal relationships but to our world as well.

Another practice that helps transcend blame and hatred in relationships is to ask ourselves this question: “What part of me is he or she expressing right now?” This is an effective way to own the deficiencies we so often project onto others. None of us is free from darkness. This contemplation can help us develop compassion and love for the other because it reminds us of our own foibles.

Where there is love there is no ego. When we make our love stronger than our greed, we will be able to protect each other as well as our Earth. When we make our love stronger than our judgements, we will listen to and understand the unique beauty and intelligence in others. When we make our love stronger than our pride, we will see God in everyone, even our enemies. When we make our love stronger than our criticism, we won’t sweat the small stuff. When we make our love stronger than our doubt, we will never feel alone. We will have a constant relationship with the Perfect One, who knows our every thought, word and deed and is closer than our own breath. Every day, we will see the whole world and each person in it as a part of us and we will experience the sheer joy of being in the most perfect relationship of all.

Devrah Laval is author of The Magic Doorway Into the Divine. She is a spiritual counsellor and has facilitated groups and workshops for over 25 years. www.themagicdoorway.com

Love & history – a winning double bill for the Hollywood Theatre

by Mackenzie Gray

Passion, movies, romance in the dark! Love has been present in the cinema since the famous “Rice-Irwin Kiss” in Edison’s short film, The Kiss, which first screened in 1896. People have been kissing in the movies, at the movies and watching the movies ever since. Love has been shown, nurtured, developed and inspired by movies. And since the beginning of cinema, people, in turn, have loved the movies and the magical places they are shown.

hollywood exterior night

On October 24, one of Vancouver’s best-loved theatres – the Hollywood Theatre on 

West Broadway in Kitsilano – celebrates 75 years of flickering love. Owned by the same family, at the same location, since it was built, the Hollywood Theatre is a movie-lover’s favourite haunt. Since opening to great fanfare in 1935, with the showing of Will Rogers’ film Life Begins at Forty, the Hollywood has changed very little. To celebrate this remarkable milestone, The Hollywood hosts its 75th anniversary celebration in similar fashion. (See sidebar.)


The Hollywood Theatre began as an idea. The current owner David Fairleigh’s great-grandmother, Margret Fairleigh, in the early years of the Great Depression was aware that one of the businesses that seemed to thrive was the cinema, despite the harsh economic situation, Margret pressured her husband Reginald to build a “Movie House” to ensure their sons would have steady jobs during the depression. Reginald traded his house on Dundee Street in Vancouver for the vacant lot where the Hollywood Theatre now stands and he began work immediately. The building itself began as a labour of love and in those days, things were built to last.

Lots of love planned for the Hollywood Theatre’s 75th anniversary celebration

Oct 22-24 
Gala parties begin 
5:30pm each night
showtime: 7:30pm

Step back in history at the Hollywood, with candy and cigarette girls, 1930s ushers, a star-studded opening and big klieg-lights lighting up the sky; the original Hollywood Theatre sign will be fully lit in all its glory. Hosted by Mackenzie Gray with Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell making an appearance. Celebrations presented by the wines of the Languedoc region in the South of France. Wine flows for $4/glass (4 free wine samplers). Treats include the Hollywood’s famous real popcorn. Free catered food: Oct 22 by master restaurateur Harry Kambolis (C Restaurant, Nu and Raincity Grill). Oct. 23/24: by The New Bohemian. First feature: The American. Second feature (in the works): Cinema Paradiso, Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 masterpiece. Come out and enjoy live music in a vibrant mix of actors, directors and producers and, of course, movie lovers. And there will be love. Lots of it.

Hollywood Theatre
3123 West Broadway, 
Minimum donation $8/adults, $6/seniors. (Oct. 27: A lo-fi, short video celebrates Harry Kambolis’ induction into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame.) www.hollywoodtheatre.ca

Reginald met Margret in a dentist’s office, where she was so scared, he offered to hold her hand. They held hands for the next 50 years, building a theatre that became an institution. Margret was always the owner of the Hollywood, right up to her death in the mid 1960s. Reginald oversaw it, always dapper in a suit and tie. He came from a strong Catholic background and while he had a no-nonsense demeanour, he also had an adventurous spirit and a warm heart. His son David Fairleigh was the theatre’s first projectionist and he managed the theatre from 1935 to 1998. David actually had to learn how to be a projectionist and he was not a member of the Union. The Projectionists’ Union, belligerently active due to the fact that it was the Depression and union members needed work, picketed the Hollywood Theatre. At one point, 300 projectionists, waving signs and wearing cardboard sandwich boards, stood outside the theatre, blocking the entrance. Reginald, determined to clear the picketers from the theatre, hired and paid a dozen women to walk among the protesters, with “Just Married” signs on their backs. The protest quickly dispersed. Reginald and David joined the Projectionists’ Union after defeating it in court, and, in a strange turn of fate, Reginald became the business agent for the Projectionists’ Union 348 because he was so popular with the rank and file and had such good business sense. Ironically, he shared his love of cinema with his former adversaries and continued to lead them for many years.

Love and cinema go hand in hand. Young couples have used the flickering darkness of cinemas for many amorous adventures and the Hollywood was no exception. The kissing and petting from the back rows drowned out many a film’s dialogue and Reginald, who was not a fan of this behaviour, would walk around with a sign reading, “Please show respect to your date as you would your mother and sister.” Once, standing next to a couple playing an intense game of tonsil hockey, Reginald raised the sign and the young man exploded in shrieks of laughter. The sign disappeared at some point; no one is quite sure when. Couples have been found in flagrante in the balcony, in the back row and even behind the screen itself, where the lovers could see the audience, but the audience couldn’t see them because of the film being projected. Talk about a Hollywood kiss.

And true love has blossomed at the Hollywood. Couples have met there for the first time or gone there on their first date. Some have even gotten married there. One of the Farleigh’s met her husband there when he short-changed her buying a ticket. She pursued him to settle the money and ended up with a ring on her finger soon afterwards. Current owner David Fairleigh, grandson of Reginald, met his wife Thelma while apprenticing in Prince Rupert as a projectionist. Their son, Vince, met his wife when she worked at the candy counter in the Hollywood. Alice Fairleigh, David senior’s wife, is in her 80s and still works the box-office a few days a week. She’s been a part of the Hollywood since the 1940s. Love is in evidence everywhere in that theatre.

For over 75 years, the Hollywood Theatre has been a vital part of Kitsilano life, and indeed, Vancouver life. It is still the cheapest theatre in town, with double bills costing $8 or $6 on Mondays. The theatre has screened every Oscar-winning and nominated film since 1935, along with every Genie award-winning film. It has shown European films, Japanese classics and independent films and it is a favourite location for special screenings and events.

With the same décor from 1935, its unique period feel is a favourite with filmmakers and it has been a “set” for many Hollywood films and TV series. When I have a film playing in town, I love seeing it at the Hollywood. It feels like I’m watching it at home.

This month, come out and join the Hollywood Theatre’s celebration of 75 wonderful years. Bring your hearts and feel the love in Canada’s oldest, independently owned and operated theatre. I’ll be there, hosting the big party, helping the grand old lady of Kitsilano light up the silver screen once again. With love.

Mackenzie Gray was born and raised in Toronto. A professional actor for over 30 years, he has appeared in over 120 films and television shows. Mackenzie was recently seen in director Terry Gilliam’s feature film fantasyThe Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, the Lifetime film Storm Seekers as well as the Hallmark mini-series Knights of Bloodsteel.

Since moving to Vancouver as a series lead for the television series The Net, he has appeared as a recurring guest star on Human Target, Young Blades, The Collector, Da Vinci’s Inquest, First Wave, So Weird and will star as the new Lex Luthor on Smallville. mackenziegray.com

Words of wisdom


Life lessons: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

Love life: Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it. You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.

Forgiving yourself: I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes – it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, “Well, if I’d known better, I’d have done better.” That’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, “I’m sorry” and then you say to yourself, “I’m sorry.” If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being.

Don’t complain: If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain. If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home then go out in the street and start grinning “Good morning” at total strangers.mayaangelou.com