Photo: New Millionaire Circle members, Heath Plummer, and Pete Scheiber with Dirk Brinkman (Kitty Ypma photobomb)
Gratitude for 2017: Dirk Brinkman's Christmas celebration speech
We are gathered on the unceded territory
of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tseil Waututh territory,
territory that lies on the shores
of the unceded Salish Sea.
We choose to gather each year
on, or close to, the longest night.
Martin Luther King said
"Only in the dark, can you see the stars."
The solstice is when Earth's axial tilt
turns back again towards the sun,
towards spring, towards life.
2017 was the year in which Canada's
Truth and Reconciliation Report
issued its Call to Action.
"Reconciliation is a process
of healing relationships
that requires public truth sharing,
apology and commemoration
that acknowledge and redress past harms."
We chose to gather here
at the Aboriginal Education Centre,
in 2017, Canada's Year of Reconciliation.
The last time I was here
around this fire pit
was just over 25 years ago,
with 21 aboriginal inmates
from BC's prison system.
All had been in maximum security
over 12 years, many for longer.
Now in Ferndale's minimum security centre,
their challenge was how to transition
back into society and hopefully,
back into their communities.
John Huizinga and Sydney Brannon,
two of our project managers,
had worked them through a program
of our silviculture work in the Fraser Valley
as preparation for their release.
Here we were in the Native Education centre
around a fire, with sweet grass ceremonies
drumming, healing, forgiveness and completion
before their release in a few weeks.
But one slipped away, escaped during the ceremony.
Working with these young men
gave us a bit of insight into the darkness of
assimilation without consent, of abuse.
It gave us a visceral connection with
the darkness of rage.
How one hurt leads to many others.
In our own small way,
we are also in the business of reconciliation.
Not just through our aboriginal partnerships,
but in the unique way of reconciliation
with the land.
Fourty nine years ago
I was slashing ahead of the rising waters
of the Bennet Dam in the flooding valleys
of the Findlay River, up by the lngenika.
Witness and abuser in the absolute destruction
of the Findlay, Peace, Parsnip and Nation Valleys.
One day I learned something unique
about the ultimate potential of human performance
from my aboriginal friend
Francis Isaac, Tsey Key Chief.
A slasher had started a fire in his slash that
threatened to burn up all of our work.
Francis called me to follow him
and he began to cut a swath
through this tangled randomly felled slash
in a way that was like a mad dance.
He cut each Log with lightning speed,
some sprung free, seemingly in any direction
he anticipated each logs action
stepping out of the way without
without breaking stride with his long saw.
I threw the logs out of the fire break
and we contained the fire.
That was the first time I witnessed
a High-Ball Flow-State,
moving impossibly dangerously fast
without fear or hesitation.
From that day
I determined to discover high ball falling.
Two years later I welcomed
the opportunity of reconciliation
with the abuse and misuse of land
and the opportunity to adapt highball treeplanting.
We have all had moments of flow state.
When time seems to dilate, so
an afternoon goes by like it is five minutes
and each moment seems to slow down like
Flow state requires focus and goal
it arises from a clear purpose.
It is that highball flow-state
that is planting one point four billion trees.
It is that highball flow-state
through which we manage constant change.
In remote project environments,
where anything can happen.
Flow state gives us extraordinary abilities.
Boosts the immune system,
and overcomes health and physical effects
you might expect, from doing
the hardest work in the world.
Tonight we have gathered here
people who work with us
in the reforestation and restoration of the land,
restoring developed areas.
This is also the path of reconciliation
with the land and the biosphere
on which the peaceful future
of all peoples and on which
all of life, depends.
As the abuse of land is exposed
through public truth sharing,
the work of acknowledging
and restoring past harms
will be as important as reconciliation