The Road to Wholeness

As this year draws to a close and the season of giving is upon us, many will wonder what they truly want. This happens to me every year, because people ask me what I’d like to receive and I haven’t a clue. This really frustrates the person asking, but it really is true. I really don’t know.

Well, I do know what I want – it just isn’t anything that can be bought. I want to be together with loved ones, sharing the joy of the season. I want peace, as many us do, especially in the wake of the recent tragic shootings.

And, wanting peace can be a satisfying answer for a while, at least for me.

But, if I ask myself, long enough, what is it I really want, I can come up with 4 answers: I want deep, meaningful, long-lasting friendships; I want health for myself and those I love; I want money – at least enough to pay the bills, but I really want enough to do something meaningful with; and I want time enough to do what needs to be done, but moreso time enough to spend quality time with friends.

Some with wisdom, tell us that if we want these things in our lives, we have to be friends with them. For instance, most people will not have money in their lives if they are not friends with money. That may be true, but it’s not a very satisfying answer when you’re broke and needing money. But I thought I’d try being friends with these 4 things. Then, maybe my life would be perfect.

That didn’t work. It took a while, but I found that my relationship problems weren’t with money, time, health, or relationships. The person I wasn’t a friend with was myself. Now, it’s not that I hated myself. But there were certain aspects of my life I wasn’t fond of. First, of all, there were these dag-nab emotions. Slowly, very slowly, I became friends with my emotions. I started with the simple ones – like joy. And, eventually, even offered friendship to emotions like loneliness. After 50 years of living in the dull-drums, most of which were lived as a Vulcan without emotion, the Happy Baby I was born as, took control once more; though not without a fight.

But, even though Happy Baby was in control, life wasn’t perfect.

I learned how to drop deeper and deeper into my heart – out of my brain loops. The first place I found was very pleasant. But as I dropped deeper, I found all my worries and tried to fix all of them. Some of that was helpful, but there were just too many, so I dropped deeper into my heart. I got to a place where everything seemed possible. That was great, but only for a while. I needed to go deeper. Going deeper took me to a place where I faced my worst nightmare, the one I denied existed, the one I hadn’t faced my entire life. And there was only one choice – to acknowledge that pain and drop even deeper. At that deepest point was a place of connection, I just had to brush all the little baked on specs off the rim of the jar that is me, so that it can be sealed with a lid. Painful, excruciatingly painful to brush of those specs, but short-lived. Then I felt connected as I never had before – to life, the universe, to everything – and I could relax.

Being connected is NICE! And once I took that route, I could return often to being connected, usually much faster than the first time.

But it didn’t give me those things I wanted – deep friendships, health for my family, money, and time. At least it didn’t give me enough of them to satisfy me. So, I started again to wonder if I really wanted those things.

It’s not that I didn’t want those things, I wanted something more. I noticed that although, some parts of my fractured self were becoming less fractured as I became friends with those parts; there were others that were still fractured. For instance, I spent my life in one of three places – my physical sphere, my emotional sphere, or my spiritual sphere. But I rarely spent time in two of those spheres at the same time, and never in all three. Wanting the pain of that fracture to end, I allowed those spheres to come together and overlap.

And, as my fractured self became less fractured, I realized that what I really wanted was Wholeness, which I suppose is the same thing as Peace. And, with that realization, I resist it less and less. I keep moving towards Wholeness, even if sometimes it seems I’m moving in the wrong direction. I keep moving towards the type of Wholeness where I keep falling madly in love with my life over and over again!

We’re all on the road to wholeness. Some of us are more aware of it than others. We’re all taking different paths to get there, but many will encounter these things on their journey – Living from the heart, rather than the brain; Deep Connections; Loving yourself and your life to pieces; Happiness; Relationship becomes everything; and days when you realize you’re living in Paradise.

Dale Stubbart
Yellow Bear Journeys
A Friend on your Journey

Advisory Board to Brief Commissioners on Stormwater Rules in January

With as much rain as falls on us and our property and our reliance upon the health of our aquifers and the Puget Sound, you would think managing stormwater runoff would be among the foremost concerns hereabouts. However, in our area, as well as much of unincorporated Thurston County, the impact of development on runoff and the effects of that runoff on water quality rarely enters our minds. Stormwater pollution can pose serious health risks and significant environmental threats to the quality of freshwater, including our drinking water, and the Puget Sound. The Thurston County Storm and Surface Water Utility provides programs and projects to reduce flooding, erosion and pollution caused by stormwater runoff, while protecting and enhancing aquatic habitat. The Utility is supported by property taxes. As ratepayers to this Utility, we ought to familiarize ourselves with the Storm and Surface Water Advisory Board (SSWAB). This Board provides homeowners with an important means of influencing important local policies.

At their meeting on January 17, 2013, the Advisory Board will brief County Commissioners on new standards for the management of runoff caused by development. There is a real opportunity here for important public comment. That is, provided the public can become informed enough to participate in a meaningful way.

UPDATE: SSWAB will brief the County Commissioners during a meeting of the Commissioners on February 20 at 3:00PM. The meeting is in the Thurston County Courthouse Building, Room 280. The SSWAB will likely recommend the County adopt NPDES standard and the so-called “65/0” development standard. What is NPDES and 65/0? Read on to find out. . .

What is the Storm and Surface Water Advisory Board?

According to the web page for SSWAB:

The Storm and Surface Water Advisory Board reviews issues affecting Thurston County’s Storm and Surface Water Utility, and makes recommendations to the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners. Among other things, the board examines utility rates, construction projects, public-information efforts, staff work plans and stormwater policies. Members are appointed by county commissioners.

SSWAB members are appointed to represent specific areas in the County. Tom Holz is the representative for Eld Inlet. Also near to us, Bob Allison represents the McLane Creek Basin and he is also the current vice-chair for the Board.

What are the Stormwater Rules at Issue?

Federal law requires counties to adopt rules which minimize stormwater pollution under what in Thurston County is called an “NPDES Phase II Permit.” The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System is a federal permit system based in the Federal Clean Water Act. To make things more complicated, in our state, the state Department of Ecology develops and administers NPDES municipal stormwater permits in Washington State. In adopting standards to be enforced under the NPDES, the Department of Ecology has landed itself in hot water. Their Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit was appealed by thirteen cities and two counties which refer to themselves as the “Coalition of Washington Governmental Entities”. None of these cities or counties are in the south Sound. This coalition sought to weaken the Department of Ecology’s permit requirements. In a summary prepared for our Board of County Commissioners by Thurston County staff reported:

The Coalition’s notice of appeal asserts Ecology acted “unreasonably, unjustly or unlawfully” in imposing prescriptive and expensive requirements in the permit without considering reasonable alternatives or cost.  The appeal identifies seventeen specific permit conditions or provisions that the Coalition contends will adversely affect the economic health of their communities and impose “economic burdens on Coalition members and their communities.” The permit conditions being appealed include the Low Impact Development (LID) performance standards and its impact on land use planning and compliance with the Growth Management Act, field screening 40% of the stormwater system before 2017 and 12% every year thereafter, inspecting catch basins every two years, required annual fee to Ecology for the monitoring program and various procedural and process elements of the permit.

Appeal such as that made by this coalition are heard by the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Other interested groups believe the Department of Ecology’s standards are too weak. In August 2011 The Carnegie Group of Olympia wrote to Governor Gregoire asking that she “intervene to prevent the adoption of a proposed rule that most likely will spell the demise of Puget Sound by failing to protect tributary watersheds.” The Carnegie Group and others have taken issue with Ecology’s standard with respect to how much forest must remain, after development, what portion of the development can be made a “hardened surface” which will cause water to run off, and how much of the water falling on a property may be allowed to run off.

In September 2011 we published a piece entitled “Will Proposed Low Impact Development Standard Protect or Harm Washington State Watersheds?” which details Ecology’s proposals and the calls for higher standards to be adopted.

How Can You Get Involved?

Do a little reading about stormwater runoff, what’s at risk and why it’s management is important, and learn about easy steps you can take to reduce runoff on your property. Click here to read our past pieces regarding stormwater runoff.

Make your opinion about the NPEDS permit known to the Storm and Surface Water Advisory Board. Their meetings and general agenda topics have been added to our Community Calendar. NPDES permit language and a briefing of the County Commissioners is scheduled for the meeting on February 20. Click here for more information regarding the SSWAB meeting schedule.


Yuma Myotis One of the Bats Living Near Us

There are 15 bat species native to Washington, one of which is Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis). This little bat is medium dark brown with a darker brown face and ears. Yuma myotis can live up to 20 years and have an average weight of 6 grams. They are about 3-5 inches long with a wing span of about 9 inches.

Yuma myotis love to live near calm or “slack” water, where they can fly swiftly just above the water’s surface to catch small insects like mayflies, midges and mosquitoes. Places with extensive open freshwater lakes and wetlands provide ideal foraging habitat.

Summer roosts for Yuma myotis bats include crevices in cliffs, old buildings, mines, caves, bridges, and abandoned cliff swallow nests. Here locally, that means thousands of Yuma myotis can be found roosting at Woodard Bay, the largest known colony in Washington State and only 1.5 miles from the Lonseth Preserve.

Bats are the only flying mammals and are extremely beneficial because of their ability to eat enormous quantities of bugs. Yuma myotis is an important riparian species, but likely has been eliminated along many streams in western states by habitat loss and disturbances to colonies while they are hibernating or when mothers are nursing offspring.

Sources: Bats About Our Town, Bats Northwest, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Idaho State University.
See Michael Durham’s amazing bat photography and more at

Reprinted with permission from the Fall newsletter of the Capitol Land Trust. 

Click here for more on the nature around us.

In other news regarding the Capitol Land Trust, we learn of the successful completion of a restoration project in our neighborhood:

For over 50 years, the Allison Springs property, located near the southern terminus of Eld Inlet, contained dikes that blocked fish from spawning. This past year, we worked with South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) and other partners to remove all six dikes and to revegetate along the new creek channel. On the adjacent Randall Preserve, we removed three structures and decommissioned a road before planting the area. The total planted area from both projects is over two acres, with about 3,000 native plants installed!

Restoration project partners were Washington Department of Ecology, South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Conservation Corps, Sound Native Plants, People for Puget Sound, Ralph Plowman – Black River Farm LLC, Thurston County, Shelly Bentley, City of Olympia, South Sound Green, WSU Extension Native Plant Salvage Project, Mason and Thurston Conservation Districts.


Capitol Land Trust is celebrating 25 Anniversary. Mark your calendars for their 8th Annual Conservation Breakfast, Tuesday February 12, 2013, 7:00 to 8:30 AM at St. Martin’s University.

The Griffin Neighborhood Association is proud to have creates the Steamboat Conservation Partnership with the Capitol Land Trust. The Partnership was created to conserve the rich and diverse natural landscapes of the Steamboat Peninsula region. Click here to learn more about the Steamboat Conservation Partnership and how you can help conserve habitat right here in the Griffin area.

Our Potlatch Culture

Countless Potlatch gatherings were held for millennia by the Native Peoples of the coastal Northwest. The Paddle to Squaxin 2012 was the most recent Potlatch held on south Puget Sound.

Historical Potlatches

A Potlatch is an important gathering or festival of Native Peoples celebrating a major event of the host. Guests from far and near attended a Potlatch. Feasts were held, music performed, dances were performed, stories were told, and spiritual ceremonies were conducted, but most importantly, the hosts gave away most of their wealth to the honored guests.

The term “Potlatch” is a Coastal Salish Lushootseed word meaning “throw through the air” or “throw at”, relating to the practice of hosts giving gifts away at the Potlatch to visitors. This term is also part of the Chinook trade jargon, a language used by Native Peoples from Oregon to Alaska. Much of this jargon came from the language of the Chinook Tribe that lived at the mouth of the Columbia River. Other words came from languages of other Native Peoples, English and French.

Normally, a high-status person hosted a Potlatch. However, Potlatches were also held celebrating major events of the host family, such as the marriage of children, the erection of a house, a funeral, or the birth of a child. The entire village assisted in preparations for a Potlatch. Traditionally, the most important Potlatches were held during the winter, after food had been harvested and preserved.

A Potlatch could be held in a Potlatch House, erected in most larger villages, or in the host family’s long house. Both types of houses were constructed of cedar planks and were often quite large. The largest Potlatch House built by the Snohomish Tribe at Tulalip was 150 feet long and 43 feet wide. Most other Potlatch Houses were smaller. At least one traditional Potlatch house was located on Eld Inlet, and presumably all other inlets of Puget Sound.

The essential Potlatch practice of hosts giving away most of their wealth offended white settlers. Accordingly, white authorities attempted to ban Potlatches as part of their efforts to drive traditional practices from Native Peoples and “civilize” them into the ways of the white man. However, the Potlatch tradition continued.

Southern Puget Sound Native Peoples

In south Puget Sound, separate bands of closely related Native Peoples lived along the shores of each major inlet. The Clam Legend of the Puget Sound Native Peoples teaches that very long ago, the Raven stuck people into clamshells and dropped them all around Puget Sound. This started the various small bands of Native Peoples up and down Puget Sound.

A winter village was constructed at the closed or protected end of the inlet. Each winter village contained from one to three long houses of roughly 100 feet in length. The winter village of the T’Peeksin peoples of Totten Inlet was located at the southern end of the Inlet on Oyster Bay where Schneider Creek enters the bay. The winter village of the Squi-Aitl band of Eld Inlet was located at the southern end of the Inlet on Mud Bay, south of today’s Highway 101. This winter village had three long houses, each housing about 100 people.

Members of the band congregated in their winter villages during the cold months. This is where children learned much of their traditional stories and culture. During warmer months, members of the village moved out along both sides of the inlet, living in family units in temporary housing, and harvested food.

The Squaxin Island Tribe was created by administrative fiat of Isaac I. Stevens, the first Governor of Washington Territory, as part of the Medicine Creek Treaty in 1854. Seven bands of southern Puget Sound, including the T’Peeksin and Squi-Aitl, were combined into the Tribe.

Squaxin peoples continued holding Potlatches after contact with whites. This includes Potlatches held along both shores of Steamboat Island peninsula.

Tobin Potlatches

At least two major Potlatches were hosted by the James Tobin family along the north shore of Young Cove, off of Eld Inlet, on the Steamboat Island peninsula. James and Louisa Tobin were very prominent residents of this area who owned most of the land north Young Cove, as well as oyster lands stretching from the mouth of Young Cove, around Flapjack Point, and past Frye Cove county park. Mrs. Tobin was the only surviving child of Sitkum Kettle or Kettle Labatim, one of the last chiefs of the Squaxin Island Tribe.

The Tobins hosted a Potlatch in 1900 celebrating the marriage of their daughter Katie Tobin to Edward J. Smith. Smith was the son of the last chief of the Chahalis Tribe. The Potlatch celebration of the wedding lasted three days. It is estimated that as many as 300 Indians attended the affair. The Morning Olympian reported that attendees included “many Indians of Puget Sound, some of them famous chiefs in pioneer days, whose names and deeds were in those time [sic.], household words. There were representatives from the Squaxin, Nisqually, Chahalis, Neah Bay, Puyallup, Skokomish, Oyster Bay and Mud Bay. Many whites also attended the multi-day affair.” The bride’s grandfather Chief Kettle was in attendance, but would not allow his photo to be taken. Most guests arrived by canoe.

The Tobins fed all of the guests. Food was served in a 35 foot long shed behind the Tobin house and under nearby fruit trees. The Tobin house was located just north or across the street from the modern-day boat launch on Gravelly Beach Loop. The fare included beef, bread, potatoes, oysters, clams, and side dishes. A dancing pavilion was erected near the house. The guests camped along the shoreline, which was the north side of Young Cove. The Potlatch continued for three days. The Morning Olympian reported that “it is most unusual now days to see so many Indian celebrities gathering at one place, and the wedding will have a resting place in the minds of the Olympia visitors who attended.” It referred to wedding as “great doings of a society nature”.

The Tobins hosted another Potlatch on their property in 1910, celebrating the double wedding of two sets of brothers and sisters – Angeline Tobin married Steve Frederick and Benjamin Franklin Tobin married Jessie Frederick. The Frederick brother and sister were the children of Joe and Mamie Frederick, prominent members of the Puyallup Tribe. Joe Frederick was know as one of the most prosperous Native Americans on Puget Sound. Again, more than 300 Native American guests attended the wedding which lasted for several days. Dinners were eaten on tables set out in the Tobin orchard. Again, most guests arrived by canoe.

Paddle to Squaxin 2012

The most recent Potlatch on south Puget Sound was the Paddle to Squaxin 2012, held this summer. Native Americans paddled almost 100 canoes into Olympia, arriving on the afternoon of Sunday, July 29, 2012. Canoes held members of many different Pacific coast and inland water tribes celebrating this year’s Native Canoe Journey for 2012. The Squaxin Island Tribe hosted this year’s event. Some paddlers paddled for weeks traveling many hundreds of miles from as far as the Queen Charlotte Islands and Bella Bella.

Elaborate landing ceremonies for the canoes were held at North Point, the northern end of the Port of Olympia’s facilities. Prior to landing, the crew of on each canoe, or group of canoes, raised their paddles into the air as a sign of friendship and requested permission to land. Members of the Squaxin Island responded and invited the paddlers ashore. Thousands of Native Peoples, and other people, viewed the landing, including Governor Chris Gregoire and Olympia Mayor Steve Buxbaum.

Canoes landed continuously from 1 PM until 6 PM. Crews of from 7 to 15 paddlers were aboard each canoe. Most canoes were cedar, dug out canoes. Many were 40 feet long. Canoes traveling the furthest landed first. Canoes from the Quinault Tribe, that will host the annual event in 2013, landed second to the last. Canoes from the Squaxin Island Tribe, representing this year’s host tribe, landed last.

The festivities continued through the week on Squaxin properties at Kamilche. Members of each participating tribe danced and sang their songs. The order was similar to the order of canoes landing – tribes from the furthest away performed first, with Quinaults, next year’s host performing second to the last, and the host Squaxin Tribe performing last. Great emphasis was made to instill pride, mixed with being humble, and emphasizing native languages and staying sober. Tribal youth were a real focus of the event. Elders were celebrated, including William Peters, a World War II veteran and one of the most venerated Squaxin Elders.

Guests at Kamilche were greeted by two huge tents, both about 100 yards long. The intricate ceremonies were performed in one tent, with bleachers along the sides. Food and beverages were severed at no charge in the second tent for all attendees, Native American or otherwise. It was a real treat to observe these ceremonies and partake in the friendship at Kamilche. A strong spirit of friendship and hospitality was evident.

Native Canoe Journeys are modern Potlatches where Native Peoples tell stories, dance, sing, and celebrate. The Squaxin Island Tribe presented gifts to the paddlers, reminiscent of Potlatches from many years ago.

Copyright 2012 by Steve Lundin

Steve Lundin is a long-time resident of the Griffin community located in northwest Thurston County. He received a B.A. degree from the University of Washington and a J.D. degree from the University of Washington Law School and retired as a senior counsel for the Washington State House of Representatives after nearly 30 years.

He is recognized as the local historian of the Griffin area and has written a number of articles on local history and a book entitled Griffin Area Schools, available from the Griffin Neighborhood Association at a cost of $10.

Click here to read more of Steve’s articles on the local history of the Griffin area.