Monday, August 28, 2006

The Garden

In downtown Toronto, on the corner of King and Church Streets, there is a majestic old church, called the St. James Cathedral. It's bells ring every hour, and on Sunday mornings, if I open my balcony doors at just the right time, I hear their angelic song, drifting on currents of air to my ears, 6 blocks away. It's beautiful, serene and always inspiring.

Next to the church is a park, fittingly called St. James Park. Until this year, the park was filled mostly with homeless and indigent people gathering in groups, drinking or taking naps on the benches. A few of them end up cocooned in the doors of the great church next door, sleeping peacefully and safely in her arms.

This year, at the beginning of spring, bulldozers, trucks and men entered the grimy park. Stone statues of angels appeared, their eyes looking heavenward. Row upon row of cheerful flowers were planted. A fountain took centre stage. These changes appeared as if by magic, fancifully created while I slept. By June, the garden had blossomed into a cacaphony of colour. Amateur photographers and wedding parties moved in, delighting in the gracefulness of nature. Young lovers replaced homeless old men on stone benches, holding hands and whispering to each other.

And though no one told the homeless to leave, they left anyways. Propelled out of the park by the beauty of its flowers, as though undeserving of such a gift.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


A Course in Miracles says that the most effective way to teach a child is not by saying, 'Don't do that,' but 'Do this.' We don't reach the light through endless analysis of the dark. We reach the light by choosing the light. Light means understanding. Through understanding, we are healed...

...Spirit accepts people unconditionally. To the ego, this is an outrageous thought, because unconditional love is the death of the ego. How will people grow if we all go around just accepting each other as we are all the time? Accepting people as they are has the miraculous effect of helping them improve. Acceptance doesn't prohibit growth; rather, it fosters it.

People who are always telling us what's wrong with us don't help us so much as they paralyze us with shame and guilt. People who accept us help us to feel good about ourselves, to relax, to find our way. Accepting another person doesn't mean we never share constructive suggestions. But like everything else, our behavior is not so much the issue as the energy that it carries. If I'm criticizing someone in order to change them, that's my ego talking. If I've prayed and asked God [the Universe/Divine/Source] to heal me of my judgement, however, and then I'm still led to communicate something, the style of my sharing will be one of love instead of fear. It won't carry the energy of attack, but rather of support. Behavioural change is not enough. Covering an attack with sugary icing, with sweet tone of voice or therapeutic jargon, is not a miracle. A miracle is an authentic switch from fear to love. When we speak from the ego, we will call up the ego in others. When we speak from the Holy Spirit, we will call up their love.

- From A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Grandmother, I have not seen you for many years. But still I remember your face. I remember you chasing me around our trampoline, in the backyard of the house I lived in in 9th grade. You were scolding me. I was running, scared of you, but laughing and rebellious too.

I see your strength and stubborness in my mother. I feel it in me. A legacy passed through generations, as real as the breaths I still take.

My mother tells me you passed on as purely and cleanly as you lived. No loose ends. 97 years.

It has been 20 years since I saw you last. My connection with you is faint, a memory deep in my belly. But now I am crying. Why? I feel my grief for you through the grief of my mother, as she feels it for you. Resonance. Vibration. Cycles.


I love you Mom.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ten Keys to Happiness

This is from Deepak Chopra's newsletter Namaste. It's so beautiful and simple, that I thought it was worth sharing his insights. Sometimes happiness seems so elusive, impossible almost, when really, it's just sitting there inside you, waiting for you to take notice.

1. Listen to your body’s wisdom, which expresses itself through signals of comfort and discomfort. When choosing a certain behavior, ask your body, “How do you feel about this?” If your body sends a signal of physical or emotional distress, watch out. If your body sends a signal of comfort and eagerness, proceed.

2. Live in the present, for it is the only moment you have. Keep your attention on what is here and now; look for the fullness in every moment. Accept what comes to you totally and completely so that you can appreciate it, learn from it, and then let it go. The present is as it should be. It reflects infinite laws of Nature that have brought you this exact thought, this exact physical response. This moment is as it is because the universe is as it is. Don’t struggle against the infinite scheme of things; instead, be at one with it.

3. Take time to be silent, to meditate, to quiet the internal dialogue. In moments of silence, realize that you are recontacting your source of pure awareness. Pay attention to your inner life so that you can be guided by intuition rather than externally imposed interpretations of what is or isn’t good for you.

4. Relinquish your need for external approval. You alone are the judge of your worth, and your goal is to discover infinite worth in yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks. There is great freedom in this realization.

5. When you find yourself reacting with anger or opposition to any person or circumstance, realize that you are only struggling with yourself. Putting up resistance is the response of defenses created by old hurts. When you relinquish this anger, you will be healing yourself and cooperating with the flow of the universe.

6. Know that the world “out there” reflects your reality “in here.” The people you react to most strongly, whether with love or hate, are projections of your inner world. What you most hate is what you most deny in yourself. What you most love is what you most wish for in yourself. Use the mirror of relationships to guide your evolution. The goal is total self-knowledge. When you achieve that, what you most want will automatically be there, and what you most dislike will disappear.

7. Shed the burden of judgment – you will feel much lighter. Judgment imposes right and wrong on situations that just are. Everything can be understood and forgiven, but when you judge, you cut off understanding and shut down the process of learning to love. In judging others, you reflect your lack of self-acceptance. Remember that every person you forgive adds to your self-love.

8. Don’t contaminate your body with toxins, either through food, drink, or toxic emotions. Your body is more than a life-support system. It is the vehicle that will carry you on the journey of your evolution. The health of every cell directly contributes to your state of well being, because every cell is a point of awareness within the field of awareness that is you.

9. Replace fear-motivated behavior with love-motivated behavior. Fear is the product of memory, which dwells in the past. Remembering what hurt us before, we direct our energies toward making certain that an old hurt will not repeat itself. But trying to impose the past on the present will never wipe out the threat of being hurt. That happens only when you find the security of your own being, which is love. Motivated by the truth inside you, you can face any threat because your inner strength is invulnerable to fear.

10. Understand that the physical world is just a mirror of a deeper intelligence.
Intelligence is the invisible organizer of all matter and energy, and since a portion of this intelligence resides in you, you share in the organizing power of the cosmos. Because you are inseparably linked to everything, you cannot afford to foul the planet’s air and water. But at a deeper level, you cannot afford to live with a toxic mind, because every thought makes an impression on the whole field of intelligence. Living in balance and purity is the highest good for you and the Earth.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Wow! I can't believe a whole year has gone by since I started this blog.

It feels so much shorter than that, but when I think about how much has changed for me in that time, it makes much more sense. And really, do we measure time by the clock and calendar, or do we measure it by the events and emotions in our lives.

When I started this blog, I was in a pretty dark place. Closed, negative and blinded to all the beauty that's out in the world. I look back, and I can't believe that person was me. I can't believe that I subjected myself to that. Did I really hate myself so much? I have since learned to integrate the dark and light aspects of myself, and to accept them both equally with gratitude.

They say that hindsight is 20/20, and the longer I live, the more I believe this to be true. Looking back, I know this journey started the day I was born, and that there was a reason behind every event. Even the bad ones. At times, it was tough...more than tough. In those moments, I thought that nothing would ever change - that I would be locked in hopelessness, despair and apathy for all eternity. But now I know that those very things made me who I am today, and I could not want for anything more or less.

I am still evolving and changing and growing - this is a process that never ends, but for the first time, I can truly say that I am looking forward to what life will bring with optimism, hope, joy and excitement. And I wouldn't trade this feeling for anything in the world.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Truth be told, I had a pretty crappy day yesterday. I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, that it was just one of those days when things are simply not clicking. A one step forward, two steps backwards kind of day. Extremely frustrating! By the end of it, I was ready to give in to my internal sabatoeur and walk down the low road of self-destruction. It's hard to take the high road of acceptance and gratitude some days, that's for sure.

Messages come to you if you're paying attention though. Even on the most trying of days.

"Why are you stressed?" Rosa asks, in her thick Chinese accent, as she briskly massages my face, "You have a good job. Lots of friends. A family that loves you. A nice home."

And she's right. I do have all that. Besides, why am I complaining? I'm getting a facial. Definitely a huge luxury! And Rosa is a blessing, always going above and beyond.

It didn't stop there.

I got home, and the security guard in my building stopped me, his white teeth smiling bright against the dark of his face.

"You know," he said, "You are one of the 5 loveliest people in this building."

"Really?" I was doubtful.

"Definitely," he said kindly, "You always have lots of friends and family coming to visit, and I can tell by your outside that you have a good heart. If your inside is not good, the outside cannot be good."

I smiled. The struggle of the day disappeared instantly.

I'm listening, okay?