Primordial Soup and Swamp Wisdom 2024:
Liz Jansen
by lizjansen
3w ago
Primordial Soup and Swamp Wisdom 2024: Three years ago, while hiking on the Bruce Trail, I chanced across this shallow body of water in a small clearing. Rich in plant and animal life, the mature, mixed forest I’d been walking through surrounded it. The primordial soup emanated a tangible generative energy, and a fallen log at its edge made a natural bench. Sitting there in contemplation has since become an annual spring tradition. It’s “discovery” came at an opportune time as the footpath has since been rerouted, although it is still accessible via an unmaintained road allowance. Merriam-Webs ..read more
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Can’t See the Forest for the Trees?
Liz Jansen
by lizjansen
6M ago
Can’t See the Forest for the Trees? Look around! Wherever our gaze lands in our natural world, the beings with whom we share this planet teach us about adaptation, resilience, and flexibility. But often we can’t see the forest for the trees. Photo by mali maeder It turns out ants have been showing us how to survive in times of crisis for longer than human beings have walked the earth. It’s a topic that is top of mind as I explore how my immigrant ancestors adapted to the Canadian west in the 1920s. Most importantly, what wisdom do those forebearers, who found themselves on the unique settlemen ..read more
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Cultivating Intergenerational, Intercultural and Ecological Relationships
Liz Jansen
by lizjansen
10M ago
Cultivating Intergenerational, Intercultural and Ecological Relationships Take three disparate cultures, each with their own history, languages, perspectives, and beliefs, bring them together in southern Alberta in the 1920s and 30s, and what do you get? Wisdom from intercultural and ecological relationships that remains relevant a century later. It is where my father spent ages four to eleven. My Master’s thesis focuses on understanding how the experiences my ancestors brought with them influenced how they adapted to a new home in Canada. It has brought me back to the area this summer. Land w ..read more
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Stories Across Time and Space: Ancestral Journeys
Liz Jansen
by lizjansen
1y ago
Stories Across Time and Space: Ancestral Journeys Connecting with Kin Connecting with a woman I’ve never met, but with whom I share great-grandparents feels ethereal. Our Klassen grandfathers were brothers. Both of our fathers carried the same names. Our life journeys have been quantum leaps apart, but we carry common blood—and wisdom. Exploring that together is an unexpected, and unfathomable, treasure. She will assemble more family for a gathering later this month in Germany. Together, we will unearth our common heritage—stories across time and space. For decades, the manner in which we car ..read more
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Unearthing the Stories of the Land
Liz Jansen
by lizjansen
1y ago
Unearthing the Stories of the Land My search to understand stories of the land has so far raised more questions than revealed answers. My interest lies in the farmland of Namaka, southern Alberta, which became home to a young Mennonite boy between 1930 to 1937. two months before his passing, my 91-year-old father brought me back here. Standing on the Range Road looking east, the grain fields and stories extend beyond the horizon. The peacefulness belies their place at a political, cultural, and environmental epicenter a century ago. Here, in the 1920s, three disparate cultures, Mennonite, Blac ..read more
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The Universal Law of Success: Eyes Up! Throttle On!
Liz Jansen
by lizjansen
1y ago
The Universal Law of Success: Eyes Up! Throttle On! Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova 2022 was a landmark year. After fifty-two years of riding, the time came to call it quits and free up space to explore untapped interests and aptitudes. Graduate studies have more than filled that. They have also exemplified what I’ve dubbed the Universal Law of Success: Eyes Up! Throttle On! The skills that kept me safe and secure on the road, transfer seamlessly to any situation demanding one’s full attention. My biggest adjustment has been adapting to a wholescale identity shift. This includes how I see myself ..read more
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The Grace of the Land
Liz Jansen
by lizjansen
1y ago
The Grace of the Land Five years ago today, my father passed away. It was fitting that he, a farmer, a man of the land his entire life, should pass on the Harvest Moon. My studies into how my ancestors related to the lands they lived on has renewed my exploration into where and how they spent their time. Because Dad’s father died when Dad was two, and none of the rest of his father’s immediate family (whose name was other than Jansen) came to Canada, he never knew them or anything about them. Although he had second cousins here, his heart ached to know more. He also yearned to return to the pr ..read more
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Winter Solstice: Remembering Who and Where We Are
Liz Jansen
by lizjansen
2y ago
Winter Solstice: Remembering Who and Where We Are At this time of year, Winter Solstice for those of us in the northern hemisphere, I’m awed by a sense of beauty, interconnectedness to nature, and constancy. We’ve embraced a time of hibernation as darkness has increased during the past few months. Now that the turning point has passed, we welcome and celebrate the return of the light. We are reminded that no matter what chaos surrounds us, the seasons and cycles of nature are immutable. Each year I like to take pause during this particularly reflective time of year. It took me a long time to ..read more
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Snow White, Cinderella, and Mother Holle Drop By
Liz Jansen
by lizjansen
2y ago
Snow White, Cinderella, and Mother Holle Drop By This month I met three old friends at university whom I haven’t seen since childhood. You’ve probably heard of them: Snow White, Cinderella, and Mother Holle. They were part of a larger cultural group but these three in particular revived memories, albeit with meaning I wasn’t ready for when heard them for the first time as a little girl. So fascinating were they, I thought I’d share them with you. The Tale Behind the Tale In case you think I’ve succumbed to the pressure already, let me explain. This year’s courses in cultural studies are relev ..read more
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How do You Make a Difference in a Complex World?
Liz Jansen
by lizjansen
2y ago
How do You Make a Difference in a Complex World? How do you make a difference in a world facing so many existential threats? Pick your favorite nightmare from global pandemic, climate crisis, nuclear risks, rising fascism, or add your own. There are no shortages. Yet before I send you into your own crisis, more than ever, this is a time for hope, not despair. We can all do something to make this world a better place (besides limit time on social media and network news.) Photo credit: dutchy_42 on VisualHunt These three tips will get you started. Do the one thing you’re called to do. Do it well ..read more
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