Spending a year in Canada has been a huge step in working towards freedom.
The previous six years involved working in a government office/call centre environment giving consumer legal advice, such as helping people solve their legal disputes and problems. It was not a job that I really liked or wanted to do. I knew it was wrong, but I did not know how to escape. For a brief period of time only, it could have been beneficial as it showed me the relativity of different laws that we have on earth. It also helped with my communication skills. I learned how to tactfully deal with problems and difficult people and situations.
It also gave me a good understanding of the weakness of society. Such as how people give their power away by depending too much on the government and other people to solve their problems, whilst failing to be part of the global loving solution themselves. I saw the weakness of the government industries, office industries, financial industries, insurance industries, legal industries, criminal industries and all the other types of wrong industries and jobs. I had a whole list of jobs I knew were wrong and which I did not want to be part of, and this job was one of them.
It was a waste of life. At the same time I was travelling to India to do spiritual stuff. It was like two vector forces acting in opposite directions, making me dissociate from everyday life. I did not really care about my job or my life.
Spending time in India doing what I did may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it was something I alone chose to do and sacrifice for. But I was far from being free and happy. So I decided that freedom is important to me. It is part of my eternal nature, future, and it is my responsibility to be absolutely free. And I believe that finally oneness with God or God union will equate to ultimate freedom.
To really be spiritual though I learned it is necessary to have all life arranged in a loving way, which usually means having a job that only serves and supports the loving side of creation. Plus a spiritually correct prerequisite for going on any type of spiritual retreat, and for it to be truly beneficial… is to be debt free. I know this to be true, because I discovered how wrong it is to have financial debts, especially where spirituality is concerned. True spirituality should only make people free. Your spirituality and your life can compliment and uplift each other. There can be holistic harmony within all aspects of life.
It may be wrong to exclude every day life, work and family from spirituality, as this is where most of our spiritual lessons and learning reside. See “Spiritual Treasures – Final Edition” free download for more information.
So one day I decided to pack my bags and get on a plane, and go to Canada to do tree planting. My guru suggested to do something like this to grow strong and free in life. I know what my particular lessons are, and what I have to do.
I got the tree planting job easy by email, as they are always looking for people who want to do useful hard work such as tree planting. The person who hired me does a lot of traveling and likes having people from different countries. There were also two Australian girls and one guy from New Zealand as well. She thought it would be awesome and advised me on what type of visa to get. Most come on a Working Holiday Visa.
I was welcomed to Canada. My guru once said, only go wherever you are welcomed and help is needed. Help meaning useful work in this case.
So I flew to Timmins via Toronto and was traveling through this big exotic foreign country, up north to the forests. My destination was the french speaking place called, Hearst in northern Ontario. You can read about my tree planting in Canada adventure here.
This was a big opportunity to get back to basics in life and live in the nature, in the forests to do some useful work that is in harmony with nature and God.
It felt good doing something I wanted to do. To know that I am doing a useful loving work, instead of feeling bad for doing something I know is wrong. Living in a camp in the middle of nowhere, in the forests, with a rapid river as our supply of water, it had it’s challenges. But it was a once in a lifetime gift of an experience. Probably the closest thing I could immagin, how people once lived and worked thousands of years ago. By living in the forests, in a very simply but loving way in the nature.
So after spending a couple of days checking out Timmins, it was agreed I could arrive early and stay at the shop for a few days and then head out with them to help set up the camp.
I arrived early and was picked up at the Greyhound bus depot at about 1am by 2 hippie like Australian girls in a truck, who turned out to be our cooks. They took me to some outback place called, ”the shop” in Hearst that was full of old buses. I was shown to my sleeping quarters, which turned out to be an old school bus. They felt bad as it was the best they could do to accommodate me. It made me laugh, but actually I was so happy to be doing something unusual, fun and adventurous.
It turned out to be cold that night and I couldn’t sleep, so I spent the rest of the night inside the work shop, around a stove/fire with some guys who were getting drunk. One person was spontaneously making up crazy songs with his guitar. They turned out to be my best friends.
I was a bit nervous at first, as I was in a foreign place in a foreign country at night around a fire, with people who have different accents. They thought it was hilarious and awesome, that I had just literally come straight out of England and went to another country to the do one of the craziest jobs. I ended up sleeping in a shower trailer.
Hearst was some remote outback French speaking town up north, and you could see massive piles of logs all around that appeared to be 80-100ft high in the distance. The rest of my planting experience was fun and you can read about it in the above link.
After tree plant I stayed with some friends and got to see some everyday life in Canada, and then I travelled with some friends to the Okanagan, British Columbia to look for cherry picking work, where I lived beside a beach in a tent whilst looking for a job. I then travelled on my own to a near by city, Kelowna. I got some temporary work insulating a house, and also worked for a lady in a hostel, by doing painting work for her. This work was available whenever I didn’t get work from the agency. Again I wasn’t expecting this kind of work opportunity. I saw the value of useful work and enjoyed it.
I got a regular construction job through an agency, before getting kicked out of all the hostels in town. So I ended up living in a homeless shelter for several weeks. There was only around 3 of us who could be bothered to get up early at around 4am every morning and walk several miles to the agency to go and work. I even offered to pay the homeless shelter, but they refused to accept my donation.
The Okanagan is like a vacation on a beach, so when I got home every evening I would hang out on the beach and go sunbathing or swimming, and go in a coffee shop to use my laptop. It was an amazing experience.
It was funny and interesting living in the homeless shelter and having coffee there. It was full of what they call, “crack heads” and prostitutes etc. Because it’s a holiday destination during the summer, everywhere was booked up. I actually decided to stay there at the homeless shelter for a little while just to be among the poor people and to learn about them. I met a lot of interesting people, including some native American/Indian people.
I went for a walk with this old native chap next to the beach and he was telling me the procedure of how to do sweat lodges and how to do some cures, such as healing a wound/cut with the sap of a tree to prevent scaring etc. It turned out I was the first person he had opened up to and talked to for many years. I met a lot of spiritual people who are travellers and prefer to sleep outdoors where they can better connect to the cosmos.
My construction job was fantastic valuable experience of learning how to do real work and how to be useful. I was the only one who was constantly being sent back to the same place each day, the same construction company everyday in Penticton. A lot of people did not like the foremen there, but I got on really well with them and they loved having me there and teaching me, and kept on ticking the box to have me back each day.
Every morning I would go into the Labour Unlimited, have a cup of coffee, and then I would be woken up when it was time to go to work. I would be driven to Penticton to work. We would chip in on the ride for the person who was driving and the agency also would give them money. Penticton is another vacation on a beach type place. It’s often 100 degrees during the summer, and it’s a desert surrounded by two beaches. While people have ideas of Canada snowing, this was a desert. It was the hottest place in Canada. I was lucky to be there. More opportunities and gifts from God in exchange for doing/learning useful work.
I met some lovely people who found it funny when they gave me a ride back home, to the homeless shelter. They were laughing, “look at all these crack heads!”, “I can’t believe you live here”. One guy came up to the car and said he punctured his bicycle tyre, and do we have a puncture repair kit? When we said no, he said, “well do you have any glue?”. “He doens’t want the glue for his bike, he wants it to sniff!”. When I got out, my friend said “don’t let him steal your wallet!”.
When I bought a new bag, I wanted to give my old bag away. Someone said to just leave it there and if someone wants it they will take it. So I left it on the table in the homeless shelter, as an experiment I waited to see how long it takes for someone to take it. As soon as my back was turned for one second, I turned round and got the glimpse of someone carrying it away and sneaking it out the door. It made me laugh. Especially when he gets round the corner and there is nothing in it. But hopefully it made a good bag for somebody.
To some people I seemed like a sweet person, and people liked my British accent and thought I was cute, so they wanted to keep me. So they took me away to Penticton. We stayed near the site in Penticton, and lived in a property that was being renovated. We had full permission to be there, and we camped outside in the garden. We were able to use the kitchen for cooking and the bathroom etc. In exchange we would help out with some of the renovation of the house. All of this added to the adventure. And next door even gave us the password for their wi-fi.
We decided that we were going to work for the construction company directly, and that’s why we moved there. It would be easy for me especially as I had been there for a long time. I would just have to give them my resume.
It worked out, and we were hired directly by the company. I learned that it is okay to ask, suggest and negotiate whatever is reasonable and whatever you want when it comes to work.
After a month or so when the place was nearly finished we moved into a camp/travellers site. Then every evening after work, our job would be to split wood for the fire in order to cook. We continued to live very basic.
Since I had a decent job now, and considering the negative effects that drink and drug addictions have on people… I asked God to help me create a loving solution to my problem, to get me out of where I am camping/staying, and for me to live close to my work, and away from any alcoholic!
Within an hour the superintendent of my company approached me. He said he heard I am living in a tent, and offered me a place to live on site, in the middle of town.
He gave me an RV/camper van on site with air conditioning, cooking facilities, shower, hot water, tv and electric. I offered him a reasonable donation, but he insisted that it be free. And when the contract is done I can have the van if I want.
Since I was a valuable hard worker, responsible and didn’t take drugs or drink, I was invited by my company to live on site in an RV/motor-home, which was another fantastic loving gift/experience to dissolve the conventional boundaries and separations of work/home/friends and family. Since I was living on site, it was an easy commute.
Another similar experience of God solving problems. Suddenly I felt concerned that maybe I offered myself too cheap, but really I did not care, nor did I want to be greedy. I may have actually been feeling the concern of someone else. So I threw it to God, and asked to be paid whatever I deserve, leaving it for God to decide what is best. Then the superintendent approached me and said that since I do all the hard and difficult jobs that need to be done by somebody, and never complain like other people do, he is going to give me a pay rise. He said I deserve it. This was just after my first week of being hired and after a health and safety inspector came in and took photos of me and sent them to the Superintendent in an email so say how great it was that I was wearing full PPE, glasses, ear plugs, gloves and dust mask whilst drilling.
I was also working 7 days a week, 10 plus hours per day with the occasional 16-18 hour shift.
It took a lot of work to maintain and fix the motor-home when there were problems- such as when the roof became damaged or when there was a problem with the gas or water supply. I lived there until it got cold. Then I stayed in some comfy motels close by. I got a good monthly deal, and the rooms had an en suite kitchen with cooking facilities. I lived a life of luxury as it felt, until the job was completed and it got cold. Pnticton became transformed from a desert into snow over the winter.
People in Canada are always very hospitable. Someone offered to pack me up and take me to Vancouver, and I rented a room there in a nice place in a nice area. It does not snow in Vancouver, but it rains a lot. I got a roofing job there in a surrounding city, and for a short time I was able to come back to Penticton to stay with a carpenter and some friends whilst doing some deficiency work in Pentiction. I had a good time. I then got a job on a bridge near Vancouver. This was excellent experience too for one year.
One week I had cheques from 4 different companies, so I was moving in the right direction to becoming self-employed. I learned how to live a very basic life and to stay within my limits, and I experienced more freedom than I ever had before. At the same time I was getting a wealth of valuable work experience such as carpenters assistant and knowing my way around a construction site etc.
Lots of different companies think I am an awesome worker and like having me around, and I did not have any problems finding useful work in Canada. I also invested in different certifications/work tickets like fall protection and first aid, which helped me get better jobs.
It was not just because it was funny having someone with an British accent working on site, but because I leaned how to be useful and work really hard. On the roofing job, I offered myself fairly cheap and I did the work of 2-3 people. When they were short of people and tearing off an asphalt roof, I would be the slamming it all down the shoot like I was in battle. I had it all cleared in no time. This is one of the companies that are sponsoring me to come back. This firm was a small family business, and it was like being part of a family. I really enjoyed it.
Some of the jobs challenged my weakness and encouraged me to be more direct in communication, such as working on the bridge as a subcontractor. One of my weaknesses was not observing the full picture as to what was going on and asking too many questions. In my last job most people loved me asking questions, as they liked teaching me. Also the more questions you ask the less chance of screwing up a job.
But on the bridge some people did not like questions. I learned to be very direct with people in my communication. It was normal practice for people to shout and swear at each other. We didn’t take it personally though. A lot of people who I worked with on this job, most of them had been to prison for drugs, driving offenses and “punching people out”. Some used to sell stolen cars, women and drugs. I yelled at a few people, and some of us started off stormy, but then we bonded well and by the time I left, everything was very peaceful and loving and all the angry people had calmed down.
I also learned to look around more, and understand more of what was going on to get the bigger picture and ask less questions. I managed to maintain my reputation of being helpful, dependable and a hard worker.
My foreman defined himself as a redneck and was one of the most difficult people, and was often described by people as being an asshole. He was such that it was funny, but we got on very well and being an asshole just turned out to be part of his humour. He said he can get me a job on the oil rigs anytime.
When I first started, he got us all together and threw a grinder that was broken and said that if we break the grinders he can’t work us. The parts to the grinders need to be ordered and come all the way from California.
He made us put all the broken tools and grinders together on a table and told us to fix them, and if anybody ends up without a grinder and full set of tools by the end of the day, they would be fired. Luckily I managed to fix one. I think there is a chance he might have been a drill Sargent in a former life.
He used to work on the rigs as a driller for 10 years, and he said that if I can put up with his bullshit, I should be ready to go, for working on the rigs. This job was probably tougher than tree planting and it made me strong physically as well as prepare me for work, such as the oil rigs. The tools are very heavy and I had to carrying around compressors and cat cables and gfi boxes all the time. It was a very dangerous and dirty job that involved working at heights and with lead.
This company is also sponsoring me to come back to Canada. If this all goes to plan, then after a short while I plan to go on the rigs to pay off my student loan, and then continue to become more free and strong by working hard. Then maybe at some point a reasonable goal would be to become self-employed, like a self employed builder/carpenter maybe, or do some kind of apprenticeship with a humanitarian organisation. We will see what happens.