How becoming a Canadian made me want to be a better person

How becoming a Canadian citizen made me want to be a better person

by Lindsay on September 22, 2011

in Attitude, Environment, Inspiration, Personal Growth, Souls

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On September 20, 2011, I officially became a Canadian citizen along with 77 others from 38 different countries.  As they called us up to shake the hand of the Citizenship Judge and announced the countries we were born in, I marveled at how we are all truly connected, and this country embraces that and gives us the opportunity to live peacefully with one another.

I was born and raised in the USA, but I moved to Canada for love many moons ago and have remained in this country long after that relationship ended because I love the diversity, the people, the peace.  Canadian ideals of social justice, equity, protection of vulnerable people and our environment are my ideals. And finally after years of paperwork, waiting, more paperwork and thousands of dollars spent, I am officially a Canerican. Yes, I made that word up. Roll with it.

It’s been said that countries have their own Deva  – their own energy pattern. Hiro Boga says, “Everything that exists, on this earth or anywhere in creation, has a spiritual counterpart which holds the pattern or the blueprint for its perfect unfolding.” Even countries have their own Deva. You can feel the subtle energetic presences when you travel – each country feels unique, as if it has its own energy force that lives within its boundaries; within its people.

As I sat in the immigration office for one last time (hooray!), to my right was a pregnant Russian woman. To my left, a Chilean businessman. One who seemed to have brought his charming Latin ways with him to Canada, btw.  In front of me sat a young family from India. Behind me, an older Filipino couple.  The process of emigrating from one country to another has provided me with an opportunity to reflect on how living in a multi-cultural country has shaped me. It also reminded me that we are all connected.

During her speech, the citizenship judge asked us all to be the best citizens of Canada – of the world – that we can be. She asked to us to volunteer. To help out those who need it most.  But most of all, she asked us to be kind. She left us with these parting words, “Small gestures have mighty consequences.” 

Photo courtesy of chigmaroff on flickr

An important part of our growth as citizens of the world lies in contributing to the greater good, being part of something greater than us. But not all acts have to be grand, sweeping gestures. So for the next month, I’m going to make it my mission to do one small gesture/act of kindness per day and see what good comes out of it. I’ll do nice things, including (but not limited to):

  • Tip generously
  • Give a stranger (or a friend!) a compliment
  • Send real letters in the mail instead of emails
  • Lend a book to someone
  • Share my knowledge and teach someone something
  • Be open & honest about my feelings
  • Pay for a stranger’s coffee

PS – During the citizenship ceremony, I looked down on the floor and beneath my chair, next to my foot, was a dime. I smiled, picked it up and got a little teary. What can I say? It was yet another affirmation from my guides that I’m on the right path. Love it!

What suggestions do you have for my “Be a better citizen of the world” project? Share them here – I’ll do any and all suggestions! Within reason…

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie | A Clear Sign September 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

Lindsay,

Congratulations! I am so excited for you and glad that the application part is done. I usually just keep my eyes open for opportunities that present themselves and things that “call out” at me and seem to want my attention. Let us know how the month goes :)

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Lindsay September 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

Thanks, Julie!

Yeah…I’ll keep my eyes & ears peeled for opportunities. Haven’t had one yet so far today, but that’s primarily b/c I’ve been sitting in the same chair since 9 am! lol

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Laura September 22, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Wow! Congratulations Lindsay! I have heard that immigration is quite a long process. Time for some celebrating! (The dime manifestation is awesome.)

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Lindsay September 23, 2011 at 9:03 am

Thanks, Laura! This immigration process for me has been 10 years. From student visa to permanent residency to now – finally – a citizen! I keep meaning to email you back…I will, I promise! I’m such a bad emailer sometimes. :)

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Teri September 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

GREAT post, Lindsay and congratulations again on your citizenship! I’m sure becoming a citizen of a second country gives you a greater appreciation for your primary citizenship, as well, that most of us will never have the opportunity to experience! And I had to LOL about the charming Latino businessman! 😉

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Lindsay September 24, 2011 at 9:51 am

Thanks so much, Teri! I’m still riding the high…all paper work done, forever! And yes, I do have a greater appreciation for my primary citizenship/the USA, too. I just think I (well, we) are so lucky to be born where we were. I have a lot to be thankful for!

And yeah – the Latino guy was hilarious. He kept hitting on me, complimenting my new photo ID, my outfit (it was a fleece sweatshirt and jeans), etc…So funny!

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Justin | Mazzastick September 23, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Hooray Lindsay,

My wife is not from America so I know what a pain in the ass it is to become a citizen of another country.

Canada sounds like a great place, I would love to visit there some day. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Canada from friends who have vacationed there.

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Lindsay September 24, 2011 at 9:52 am

Oh, you know all about immigration woes, then! Pain in the ass is a great way to put it, Justin.

Canada is wonderful. I’ve lived in Montreal, Vancouver and now Toronto and I can tell you that just about anywhere you go in the country, there’s something beautiful to see and the people are nice. If you’re ever visiting Toronto, make sure you let me know so we can meet up! :)

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LB September 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Congratulations on your new citizenship, Lindsay! And I love what the judge said small gestures having big consequences.

Even the small things we choose *not* to do can have a positive rippling effect . . . like choosing not to text while driving, or making a conscious decision not to drink (even one), or eat while driving. Or choosing to look not just to our left for oncoming traffic, but also to our right for pedestrians who may be in our path. The same guidelines apply to those riding bikes, btw.:)

All these practical actions can serve as a metaphor – as our vision broadens and our caring becomes more inclusive and focused, we begin to see other humans in the world around us more clearly.

I’d add to your list:

Practice smiling and saying hello and thank you during any service transaction, even ones that take place on the phone.

Smile and greet strangers on the street; offer to help someone who appears to be struggling.

Offer to check in and run small errands/get groceries for an elderly neighbor, especially during extreme weather conditions when many become shut-ins.

Forsake one evening out a month and instead, donate the money to a favorite charity – maybe one that helps feed the hungry.

Find out important government phone numbers or email addresses, then let your elected officials know how you feel about important issues, even those that don’t impact you directly.

I can think of many more, but I’ll stop while I’m ahead. Hopefully, other readers will think of many more kindnesses.

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Lindsay September 26, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Thank you SO MUCH for these awesome ideas! I really appreciate them. I did your “practice smiling during any service transaction” today on the phone and I honestly think it made a difference! I also like reaching out to elected officials. How many people have complained about politics or the state of affairs of our country(ies) and done nothing? This is a reminder that we all need to take action to see results…no matter what it is we’re doing or what changes we want to see.

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Jimmy September 28, 2011 at 6:14 am

Hi Lindsay,

Congrats! You must have waited a long time for this.

I have been to Vancouver and stayed there for a while. You are right there is a very different and positive energy to the city and the country. No wonder it was rated the most livable city in the world for many years. This year Melbourne has surpass Vancouver.

My family and I also look forward to a new life abroad. The immigration process is really a long and tedious one. But I see it as test of our true destination. If you are meant to go it will happen.

Too your new status.

Cheers

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Lindsay September 29, 2011 at 9:29 am

Hi Jimmy! Thanks so much for your congrats and kind words. I hope you and your family have a smooth transition and paperwork nightmare-free transition to your new life abroad. I look forward to reading about it!

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Mehrsa April 10, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Lindsey,
what a great experience! I know because it happened to me when I became a Citizen for united states of America! The freedom and joy that I experienced was as if I was born again. I also believe the ability to choose your home rather than inherit it, makes that land even that much more special.
Thank you for sharing!

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Emma April 25, 2014 at 2:06 pm

It’s my belief system that God places everyone where they should be for the moment. It looks like Canada ‘The Great White North, aye” is where you need to be in your life. :O)

Wishing you good health, happiness & prosperity.

Emma

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