Day 76 - Mahara (3rd person I approached)
March 17, 2014 - Mahara was born and raised in North Vancouver. She is the 12th of 14 children. Mahara was raised by her grandparents, while the other children were raised by her parents. Of her childhood, Mahara says life with her grandparents meant she had a low-middle class upbringing, while her siblings were raised in a very poor household. Mahara attended two elementary schools, one junior and one senior high-school. Mahara told me,
“I went to a Catholic elementary school, and in Grade 7, I had a teacher from hell. Truly. She was a lay teacher, not even a nun and it was not a good year. I failed Grade 7. My grandparents didn’t want me to have that teacher again, so I went to a public school and repeated Grade 7.”
After high-school, Mahara went to University, studying English.
“I think the idea was that I’d go on to become a teacher, but instead, I became a flower child and dropped out of University,” she tells me with a wry smile.
Mahara had started to move toward the hippie movement in high school, around the age of 16.
“I changed my name to Skyros (sky-rose) at around 20 years old,” she said. “I got the name from Greek mythology, as well as it being the name of one of the Greek Islands. I liked that it sounded like ‘sky rose’ as well,” said Mahara.
She worked in a couple of children's Daycares and if a child wasn’t well enough, Mahara would go to that child’s home and look after them. She had received some training in child care through various government sponsored training programs.
At about the age of 28, Mahara attended a talk at the Society of Kabalarians, a harmony of Eastern philosophy and Western science.
“I saw a woman there have an analysis done of her name and her numbers, birth date, month and year. Based upon the numbers in one’s life, the belief is that if you have a name suited to your numbers, it helps one towards a path of enlightenment. I still have a long way to go,” says Mahara, again with a slight wry smile and and a quick glance at me.
“It was there that I was offered a selection of names that would better suit me. The name Skyros presented problems because most people transposed my first and last names, and then assumed I was a man, based on that information. 'Mahara' just felt right, and I’ve had this name ever since,” she said.
When I asked Mahara about when she had moved on from the hippie stage of her life, she replied that she had done so when the hippie movement ended. I said that I thought some people felt it was still going. We both had a bit of a chuckle at that. Mahara got married and has one daughter. She stayed home and raised her daughter until about the age of four, when Mahara started back in the paid workforce. Through schooling and life experience, Mahara has carved a career for herself in care-giving.
“I worked for a time as an addictions support worker on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. That was hard work, although I certainly met some very special people there. After about four years I had to stop though. The work is so taxing and hard,” Mahara said.
For the past twelve years or so, Mahara has been hired on to Masters degree level jobs, working in care and support counselling, with provincial and municipal care facilities. For a time Mahara worked in the education system helping the parents of troubled children with family counselling. She is due to retire from this line of work in just over a year. Mahara then tells me about her future goals.
“I plan to go back to school, and study to become a personal life coach. I’ve benefitted from a life coach myself, and over the years I’ve worked with individuals helping them to attain and maximize their full potential,” she said.
On being a flower child, a mother, changing her name twice, studying Kabalarian Philosophy, offering support counselling and working through a number of years spent helping others, Mahara says of her own enlightenment
“I’m still aspiring.” #notastranger