About You – Barbara Barnett

In a recent community update, to advertise the upcoming farewell to Charlotte gathering, Marc posted some bird pictures and invited readers to name the bird (Charlotte is an avid bird-watcher).

The winner was Barbara Barnett.  The was a prize (a $25 gift certificate), and also, in Barbara’s words, a price…

The price was Marc’s invitation to write about life after CCS. I completed my term as Anglican co-chair of Central Council 2 years ago, after a challenging time of change and transition for the community. When I look back, I realize that my 6 years on Central Council were significant for me in my own time of change and transition. I had made the decision to leave my position as Coordinator of Spiritual Care at Deer Lodge Centre in Winnipeg, after treatment for breast cancer. I knew that my life was worth more than my pay cheque. CCS offered me the gift of community, and the opportunity to exercise my gift of administration and facilitation as I eased into this new stage in my life.

How do I use those gifts now? On a much smaller scale, I am the “loomsetter” for the Manitoba Sacred Web/Earth Charter Singers (women who gather in circle to sing the music of Carolyn McDade – who was the first Companion of CCS). Together with women from 10 other singing circles across Canada and the U.S., we are preparing to record another CD (Widening Embrace) at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts in August. Carolyn’s music is ever evolving – some of the music is reflective, meditative, chants or mantras repeated several times – a little like Taize music, all is passionate, all is beautiful.

“Singing is a way of weeping in the soul” – one line of the one of the songs on Widening Embrace . My love of birds started at the age of five, and has grown and deepened into a love and deep pain for the planet which we share with them, and the more than human world. So I come and I sing, and I also try to live into the words. I lead school groups at FortWhyte Alive – a not for profit environmental education and recreation centre – created on reclaimed industrial and agricultural land. I love helping people learn, and so have also ventured into leading Beginning Birders groups at the Spring Migration Birding and Breakfast (where I bump into Charlotte – who is not a beginner!) I’ve volunteered for the past two years in planning Manitoba EcoNetwork’s Reel Green Film Festival.

Swimming and gardening, some labyrinth facilitation and photography – I’ve discovered the joy of a macro lens and seeing deeply into unexpected beauty in surprising places”