happy new year 2010

December 31, 2009

Here’s to a wonderful, peaceful, healthy, safe and happy 2010. I hope life gives us exactly what we need and some of what we want.

So much to look forward to – birthdays, travel, winter Olympics, summer sun, drumming, learning to dance, House MD, finishing school, badminton, friendships, deep conversations that leave you raw, shallow debates that make make your eyes roll, love, walks, poetry, listening, calming deer, reading out loud, healing, hugs, sarcasm, cooking, eating, sipping wine, being in nature, Chinese tigers, self-discovery, inevitable pain, drifting in a canoe, corralling cats, silence, enjoying company, comfort in aloneness, coffee, melting chocolate in my mouth, laughing, making commitments, learning to smile again, skipping when walking, finding peace, rebirth. You know, just the usual.


Cutting and Healing

December 27, 2009

Read the following words by either reading each column as two separate poems or by alternately reading verses from each column starting from the top-left.

I wrote this for someone special a year ago so that they know they are not alone, they are not judged, and they have someone to talk to when the urge arises.

Cutting, which is a form of self-injury, is a coping mechanism used for a multitude of reasons – for the expression of deep suppressed pain and sometimes to feel alive after feeling nothing at all. It is not conventionally associated with suicide, but is not a healthy expression of pain. Cutting is predominantly done by girls and women.


December 24, 2009

I’ve recently been thinking about love – the word, its many uses, and the different types of love. Before I think about the myriad uses of the word ‘love’, I must answer the most basic question: are there actually different types of love? Is love universal or is romantic love somehow different than love felt in friendships? The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that they are one and the same – love is love.

I definitely feel that there are different degrees of love, and that the love I feel for my long-term romantic partner is much vaster than the love I feel for a casual friend. But I strongly feel that love itself, at its core, is one and the same. We are taught, however, that love between siblings or between a mother and her child is very different than the love between romantic partners. And we are often discouraged from using the word to describe the relationship between non-romantic friends.

It is often our social conditioning that instructs us on how to interpret the words “I love you”. For some, the words have such potency that they must be reserved for the special few in their life. For others, the words are contextual and their meaning is derived based on Read the rest of this entry »


December 22, 2009

In the autumn two years ago, during a party at a friend’s house, I picked up a book and started reading in a room filled with green plants and yellow light while the party hovered somewhere above me. I was lost in the words only to be brought back occasionally by the unnatural laughter of uneasy people upstairs. I did not finish the story that night as the party eventually tumbled downstairs with all the subtlety of a crashing elephant. Little did I know the effect that the book would have on me – my ongoing search for recreating that moment that I lived in the book and the story flowed in me.

“Om is the bow, the arrow is the soul,
Brahman is the arrow’s goal
At which one aims unflinchingly.”

“Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse is a wonderful story about the self-discovering journey of a young man. I was mesmerized by the river of words and its currents that swept me from bank to bank – sometimes gently and other times with a ferocity that jarred me. It had everything to do with the moment I was in – the room, the light, the smell, the fragments of music flitting down, the contrast of being alone in a crowded house. I have attempted several times to start the book again and to finish it in a moment where I am lost until the end. Maybe this holiday I will find that time again.

welfare and health

December 22, 2009

Doctor Roland Wong has been filling out special dietary allowance forms for a few people on welfare at his Spadina clinic. He recently came under fire after a complaint from Toronto City Councillor Rob Ford that he is breaking the law by authorizing the allowance without properly checking the facts. The allowance gives people on welfare an additional $100 to $200 a month for buying healthy food. Doctor Wong states that he follows all the rules but refuses to interrogate his patients and treat them like criminals.

“If you put it all in perspective and taking a look at what Mike Harris has done in the past, then you realize that poverty is pervasive. And we know that poverty is the major determinant of health. Given that. how can we just let it go on?”

I applaud Doctor Wong for his courage to sign the forms when it would have been easy to ignore the people. Welfare recipients have been marginalized in this province since the Mike Harris days when Mike and his party distracted Ontarians Read the rest of this entry »

winter solstice

December 21, 2009

At 5:47 this evening, the Northern hemisphere of the Earth will reach its maximum tilt away from the sun and slowly start tilting back towards the sun. In other words, the days will get shorter until 5:47 pm and then start to get longer again. The sunlight is, ever so slowly, coming back.

This phenomenon was very important to people long ago who depended on the sun in a very direct way. (Obviously, we still entirely depend on the sun, but we like to pretend that we don’t). Festivals were created, gods were praised and fires were burned to entice the sun to come back. Music, and especially the drum, was often an important part of these celebrations.

Many major religions have adopted the solstice (both summer and winter) as dates for their major celebrations. The most famous being Christmas and Easter for Christians and Hanukkah for Jews. I will drum this evening to welcome the sun back into my life (because sunlight is critical for my personal outlook on life). Here’s to many sunny days this winter. Cheers. Happy Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate in honour of the sun.

standing on melting ice

December 21, 2009

my eyes are shut and the stars in their vastness
are playing with my soul
but there is no spark, no reaction.

I feel deadened, nothing seems to help me, move me
if the stars cannot move me, who will?
but I know. I was awake once. and alive.

the stars used to light fires. I used to dream and weep
and smile and shine. now I am dark
and confused. I am standing on melting ice.

it’s easy to abandon fire if you are standing on ice
I must take a step onto solid ground
so the fires can burn within me once again.