A number of years ago I went through a phase where I was craving an NDE (near-death experience). I did not want to leave my body permanently, but there was a desire to have more understanding about life and death, and I thought the best way to gain more understanding would be to actually have the experience of dying. I had read about near-death experiences and noticed that those who came back had a refreshed outlook on life, felt more spiritually awakened, lived life with more awareness, had a greater sense of purpose, and no longer feared death. [Read more…]
I live in a house on the corner of two moderately busy streets. The daytime soundscape includes whirring of buses along cables, car tires cutting through the rain, and the occasional clamor of pedestrians on the sidewalk. The noises of the day go mostly unnoticed, standing as a backdrop for the activity of the day to play upon. But, at night this part of the city is calm and any sudden sound invades the silence of the night.
I was woken in the night by an unexpected siren resounding through the street. Slightly disoriented, I remembered the days when I used to live one street off the main route to Vancouver General Hospital. Sirens blared day and night and were usually disregarded unless they caught me in a more lucid state of mind. If it was one of the rare moments when I took notice, I’d send a prayer or just a thought of love out as the sound waved in. Last night though, in my startled state, I was just left wondering whose lives had possibly just changed forever. [Read more…]
As I’ve acknowledged the value of relationships more and more over the years, I’ve found it difficult not to get attached to certain people or certain ideas of how they are supposed to be in my life. A reason for this, I think, is because I spent most of my life pushing people away, and since it hasn’t been that long since I started to let them in, it feels almost counter-intuitive to let them leave, or even ask them to get out. It’s been a matter of trying to find the right balance between keeping some people close and letting others go. It takes both a certain discretion and a tuning into the heart, but sometimes the two conflict, and there is not always a clear answer on what to do. [Read more…]
I legally changed my name a couple of years ago. It may have seemed hasty to onlookers, but I had been thinking of changing it for a number of years before I actually did so. The very first time I thought of changing my name, I wanted to change it as a way to distance myself from my family; I felt I didn’t fit into their world and that I should just create my own. But, I knew that wasn’t the right reason to change it, so I held back my impulsive nature.
I went on to spend months and years in spiritual communities where name changes were common. There was that person would try on a new name every year, some who chose a new name and stuck with it, and others who waited for a name given by the teacher, as an acknowledgment that they reached a new point in their evolution. Although the motives or methods for changing names varied, the idea that one could call themselves something other than the label they were given at birth appealed to me. I pondered names in those years but let it go until a time when I felt more inspired. [Read more…]
I don’t know where the time has gone – today marks four years since I was officially diagnosed with Lymphoma. At that time, I was told I could recover in six months; I thought that seemed like a dreadfully long recovery, yet here I am… four years later, still in this situation. It’s not the same situation though, life has changed – I have changed.
Usually, I don’t think much about it; in past years, this day has come and gone without much acknowledgment on my part. I’m thinking more about it this year, perhaps because now I can actually see an end to it. It’s not that I wasn’t positive or hopeful before, I was, but something feels different this year. It’s more than hope or a positive outlook; I feel the confidence in myself to finally get through this. I have witnessed myself get through everything until this point, and reflecting back on what I have pulled myself through so far, the rest just seems easy now; it’s quite a contrast to the impossible endeavor it once seemed. I also feel like I’m in a better place than I’ve ever been. I feel able to do what I need to do in order to move on with my life – or, perhaps I should say that I am ready to move on with my life; it’s become apparent that I wasn’t ready before. [Read more…]
I have been in a phase of examining my interpersonal relationships these last weeks, considering which ones I’d like to nourish more and which ones I should let go. So, naturally, when I confirmed some plans to meet up with an ex-partner I got thinking about what my relationship with him should look like. We were friends for two years, then a couple for five. After a somewhat disharmonious parting, we didn’t really speak to each other for about a year. We had met twice over the last year, the first time to smooth things over and communicate the appreciation we have for each other, and then months later we caught up over a coffee when he was in town on business.
I found our last visit with eachother very dry; I listened with eyes glazed over as he went on and on about what he had been doing since our previous meeting. Although the content of what he was saying was interesting, he wasn’t leaving space for me to engage. It was his typical way of relating; talking incessantly with no awareness that I had reached my capacity of what I could take in. [Read more…]
As the summer transitioned into autumn, I found myself falling into a bit of a slump. I was struggling over where I stood regarding my Expressive Arts Degree; it was difficult to get myself motivated, and I questioned whether I should stay with it or not. This came as quite of a surprise because I was so in love with my chosen path just a few months earlier. Spending July at EGS was one of the most inspiring things I’d ever done. I felt calm and grounded, yet excited and challenged at the same time. It was very fulfilling to be immersed in the expressive arts every day and surround by like-minded people, all while being held and inspired by the abundant beauty of the landscape. [Read more…]
Stuck at home with an injured foot; I’ve been in this scenario more times than any one person should be – but, every time it happens, there seems to be a gift with it since it makes me stop and take a step back to look at my life. I have been feeling overwhelmed in a few areas of life, uncertain about the directions I wanted to go. Now that I can’t really go anywhere, I’m making the time to sit and reflect on my priorities again, to think about where I want to be and the kind of people I want to be with. [Read more…]
As my friend Tara and I sat waiting in the hospital the other day, I noticed a man hobbling by on crutches. Trying not to sound too uncompassionate I expressed how nice it has been not to have needed crutches for such a long time. There was a period of a couple of years where both Tara and I were on and off crutches a number of times. Luckily our injuries never occurred at the same time, so we could at least help each other when others failed to show up for the task. We reminisced a bit about the struggles and pains of being immobilized. We sighed in relief that we both had two working feet.
My body has been through so much, and I often find myself astonished at how strong it still is. I should be not only content, but very proud of what it can do, yet I find myself at times, feeling like it just isn’t enough. Most days I feel fantastic, and I can accomplish whatever physical task I set out to do. Two years ago I was grateful to just wake up alive, now I take waking up for granted, and feel I must perform some kind of physical feat in the day to be happy in my body. [Read more…]
Saas-Fee, what to say? For three intense weeks, I called you home. After waking to the sound of cow bells each day, I got ready to step out into the crisp morning mountain air. Making my way down to breakfast, I strolled alongside the fields of wildflowers, gazing at the 360° alpine view, I was filled with a sense of freshness and awe. The hills of Saas-Fee certainly are alive!
Most mornings I was excited and energized, eagerly awaiting the offerings of the day. But there were also days when weariness took over my body and mind. Slowly sipping coffee with my classmates, we would try to delay the day’s happenings. But, no matter how tired I felt, once I was back up the hill and settled into the EGS classroom, it was easy to remember why I came. [Read more…]
I’ve been up since 5 am, is it excitement or ? Both, I suppose. I also could not wind down and get to sleep last night, but when I did, I slept hard and well. I wasn’t willing to try and sleep more. For my first night, I am happy with five hours; I don’t want to waste a moment here in Saas-Fee, there is no time to roll around in bed. I got up, made myself a cup of tea and did sun salutations as I watched the golden glow of the sun slowly illuminate the snow-capped mountains. [Read more…]