"I was born in Toronto June 21st. 1935. Had an Irish mother and a British father. My education was mostly in Canadian Private schools as my father, after WW2, became a School Master. After I finished school in 1952 I went to Guernsey in the Channel Islands where my mother was living. I started work on a Dutch cargo boat taking tomatoes from Guernsey to Belfast in Northern Ireland. That was fun! I also rented out deck chairs at a beach. Finally, in 1955 after a quick trip back to Canada where I got a job with the Bell Telephone in Montreal, I returned to London and joined the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank – now HSBC – and was posted to Malasyia in ’57. While in London with the bank I also got interested in ballet along with my then girlfriend. Then, on the same day that the bank informed me of my posting to Singapore, that evening at ballet practice my teacher – Margaret Morris – asked me if I’d like to join a new ballet company – The Celtic Ballet - she was forming in Glasgow, Scotland! What a choice, and all on the same day! I chose the bank, as I knew my father would undo his nut if I chose the ballet, as he had been a strict military officer as well as a strict schoolmaster. I also wanted to live in other cultures and learn - but it was a hard decision. I worked in Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Caribbean and finally on Wall Street. Then I went to the Yukon in 1970.
It was my wonderful mother who opened my eyes to the spiritual path. That was on an island called Sark near Guernsey where she had taken me one beautiful day in 1952 to quietly introduce me to her spiritual insights. I embraced it immediately! Then when I went to London to the bank I connected with a spiritual group called the White Eagle Lodge. They were wonderful people and still exist. I also went overseas to Buddhist temples and learned from the monks, and also to Hindu temples for the same reason. Finally, I became a member of the Theosophical Society first founded by the Russian lady Helena Blavatsky in the 1880s. Wherever I went I always connected with spiritual groups with whom I felt comfortable. I learned much.
In the 1960s I had two special teachers who were a great influence on me. The first was the very well known Major Tudor Pole who worked with the King and Churchill during the war and who, at the time, was in Glastonbury, England, where my mother was. I was again on my 6 months home leave from the bank after another tour in Pakistan, and became intrigued in helping to restore the Chalice Well and Gardens there, which TP had started to do. He had a very powerful influence on me, although I didn’t entirely realise it at the time.
The other teacher was Namjyal Rinpoche whom I met when I returned to Toronto in 1967 having then changed banks and joined the Bank of Nova Scotia’s foreign staff in the Caribbean - Trinidad. When I went home on leave it was he who in 1970 influenced me to move to the Yukon and leave my banking profession. He had had a vision and knew that the northern lands of the earth would be the safest in these critical unfolding times as we pass between Ages.
So, my first 10 years in the Yukon were living in the bush off and on where I built a log cabin and a greenhouse and survived very well - eventually with a loving and beautiful wife, and two children. Rinpoche actually came up with some students in 1977 and brought them to visit me in our bush home, which was 7 miles off the main road on a bush trail! It was, it seemed, his stamp of approval! He taught me so much. He passed from this life in 2003. He is greatly missed.
While in the Yukon I worked in real estate where I did quite well and was, at one point, in the top 100 in Canada out of 90,000 – not bad eh! At one point I also worked in a local organic bakery called The Alpine Bakery.
I would also like to add that since I was 18 I have been a vegetarian, feeling that all life is sacred and a healthier way to eat. At 77 and still healthy I feel I have proven that. It is however important to eat organic foods otherwise your body cells do not get the nutrition they need. North Americans are the sickest people in the world and no one is asking why! The way to health is to look at the CAUSE of ill health not ‘cure’! Of course medical doctors have their place but I look to the Alternative health professionals first, and herbal cures before others.
I love the Yukon and its relative quiet and beauty, especially these days when you look out at a world going mad! For those who also recognise this unfolding crisis humanity is facing, here in Yukon would be a great area to live and be an example in which to demonstrate community living, while it – Yukon - still presents such pristine beauty and inspiration.
Thank you Aaron for this opportunity to share with others. Live Long and Prosper! J Michael."
Bloggers note: Michael Brine lives in Whitehorse, Yukon and has been a good friend of mine for over two years. When I asked him to share his incredible story, he graciously obliged and wrote this passage for my blog. Thank YOU Michael for sharing a small part of your life. What a wonderful picture you paint.
Michael Brine is currently a regular columnist for the Whitehorse Star and active blogger on the website Mission Ignition - Beyond the Box. He can also be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.