My name is Gina Bearne.
Career – creating change and connections
For the major part of my career, I defined my life in terms of an ability to facilitate others, especially in relation to change, and create connections. I did this in the context of community and statutory organisations in the UK, mostly with a focus on empowering people in contexts that have been coloured by pain and suffering.
Coming to Canada
We emigrated to Canada when I was 51 and, somewhat to my surprise, I found myself working as assistant to an Anglican Bishop in Toronto. Perhaps even more of a surprise was that I was able to bring to this much of the same spirit of helping to create community and being an agent for positive change. It offered me a wonderful overview of so many aspects of Canadian society and culture. I was privileged to meet some truly amazing people.
Having passed my half century, I am increasingly inclined to believe that the world is changed most when we focus and build on what is best, rather than struggling with what we are getting wrong and what is most painful.
I have also reached a place where I can begin to allow myself not to do things. Even as we embraced life as Canadians, I already knew that what I want to do with the rest of my life is simply to shift my focus from responding to pain to connecting with joy.
Return to rural life and the transition to early elder-hood
In 2016, we made a long intended move to rural living. I have been so blessed to ‘come home’ in the deepest sense to a place that is truly my sacred space.
Still in the midst of transition, I am trying to grasp the shifting shape of the person I am becoming in response both to aging and to a concussion in 2015 that has, so far, never entirely dissipated.
I am beginning to understand that ‘elderhood’ may require from me a shift of perspective. I may no longer always have the stamina to ‘effect’ change, but I can still ‘affect’ what happens. We have built strong links within our community and I am humbled and gratified that it seems our ideas and suggestions are often useful to others.
I am also learning that in elderhood it may be that the focus of growth ceases to be forward or up, but instead in.
More than anything though I want to tap into the deeper wisdom, to the sense of spirit in all things, of the invisible world beyond all things; to do
what I was born for –
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over
(Mary Oliver, from Mindful)
And if I can find ways to share even a pinch of this with others, to enable one or two people to see with fresh eyes, to connect even a little more fully with joy and gratitude, then life will be rich indeed.
I started writing poetry as a small child; it kept me sane during a time of great loss during my teens; intermittently, I have experienced moments of return; now I am trying once again to find my voice. I feel out of practice and clumsy, but we’ll see how it goes.
I wish you joy!
(Revised February 2018)