In June of 2017 my attention was drawn to someone who resembled me in some ways…. the photo (which I can’t find) was a doppelgänger for sure. His name is Maxime LeClerc-Gingras. We are both from European ancestry, long haired with salt and pepper beards, (although mine is more salt now five years later).
He has what I view as an enviable alternative lifestyle. He and his companion Ann-Marie live off grid in the woods in rural Quebec and on his Canine Ranch he takes care of dogs among many other things including hosting retreats, offering dog sledding experiences etc/ You can read about him here.
He is very open about his spiritual journey recovering from addiction and his musings, reflections and meditations have been a source of inspiration to me and others (I presume) as well. Although I, myself am not an addict, my many years of recovery in Al-Anon from the effects of alcoholism on my life make me feel a kinship or brotherhood with this man who I have not yet met in person.
His posts are uniformly intelligent, compassionate and insightful. His writing about his wife Ann-Marie who suffers from severe migraine (as I do) and his writing about her strength and beauty despite this affliction gave me strength as well.
A short time ago he wrote this wonderful poem which I copied and saved. I was inspired this week to set it to music and have included my demo video (warts and all) to bring this lovely work out into the light of day. I hope you enjoy it and share it widely.
One of the lessons in a successful recovery and indeed for being a better person is “service”. Helping others makes us feel less helpless, less alone. Today with global warming; this awful pandemic; and being seemingly on the brink of what might be another world war, I ask myself “what can I do?” “”How can I help?”
Comment puis-je aider? J’ai longtemps cherché, Cherché qui je suis, Cherché le sens de ma vie, J’ai vagabondé, Je me suis perdu, Je me suis noyé, Pour un jour, m’envolé, Ç’a été long, Mais je sais aujourd’hui, Aujourd’hui, je sais mon destin, Je l’ai trouvé au fond de la nuit, Essayer, tant bien que mal, Souvent maladroitement, Être utile à mon prochain, Peut-être, humblement, Certainement sincèrement, Apporter un soupçon de paix, de réconfort, Alléger un peu le bagage, Marcher quelque temps, Ensemble sur sentier, Retirer un caillou de nos souliers,
For those of you who don't understand French, here is a crappy translation of his beautiful words: How can I help? I searched for a long time, Finding out who I am Searched for the meaning of my life, I wandered, I lost myself, I drowned, Then one day, I flew away, It's been a long time But I know today Today I know my destiny, I found it in the depths of the night, I try, somehow, Often clumsily, To be useful to my neighbour, Perhaps, humbly, Certainly sincerely, To bring a hint of peace, comfort, Lighten the baggage a little, walk for a while, Together on the trail, Remove a pebble from our shoes,
Shout out to my good friend Nathalie who helped and reassured me of my pronunciation of some of the lyric.