I’m sitting at my desk, the sun is pouring in, and the long icicles on the roof outside my window are on the verge of breaking off. I’m distracted by the sounds of birds chirping – there are moments of total quiet, and then the cacophony starts, wild and urgent trills, as if friends are reuniting after a long winter indoors. I look out and see a red cardinal feeding from the neighbour’s birdhouse, and another bright red bird – the brightest I’ve ever seen! – perched high up in a tree. I look it up and I think it’s a scarlet tanager, a bird that migrates from South America and have been spotted in Ottawa. Such a beauty!

Scarlet Tanager Breeding male
Scarlet Tanager, Photo: allaboutbirds.org

I started working as an educator at the Kanata Learning Centre a few weeks ago, and I’ve really been enjoying it. I teach mostly math and English, and support the students with their homework and educational goals. The centre is affiliated with the Kanata Psychology Centre, so it’s considered an essential service. So cool to have my bio up on their website!!

I was in need of some inspiration this week, so I looked up my old friend Dr. Raj Balkaran, who is a teacher of Indian mythology and wisdom, and really one of the best story-tellers and scholars out there. He’s teaching online courses at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, and I signed up for Faces of Power, a course about the feminine divine, the female goddess, the Devi. He delves into stories about Goddesses Lakshmi, Durga, Kali, and Saraswati. Kali is wild and demonic, dark and vicious. Her tongue hangs out, her eyes bulge, and her fire ‘burns away all impurities.’ Not sure if he realized that his timing of the Saraswati module this week coincides with Saraswati Puja, which was yesterday.

Devotees believe that worshipping Goddess Saraswati, the wife of Lord Brahma makes the world a better place by bringing enlightenment, knowledge, creativity, and purity of thoughts.

TIMES OF INDIA

Women have so much power, and sometimes we hold back… but then the world misses out, and we don’t fully realize through our experience what it means to truly be powerful.

Yesterday I watched ‘Captive’, a documentary by former CBC journalist Melissa Fung. It’s about how she travels to Nigeria to connect with girls abducted by Boko Haram who have been rescued and returned to their villages. She shares her own story, of how she was also abducted during an assignment in Afghanistan in 2008. She was kept in a hole for 28 days. I read her book, Under An Afghan Sky, years ago. One day I was reading it on the Starbucks patio, on a hot summer day just outside my place at Harbourfront, and the man sitting next to me glanced over and said, “That’s a really good book.” I was pretty surprised and pleased that someone shared the same reading interests, and replied, “Yes what an amazing woman she is.” He said, “I was her camera man on another assignment to Afghanistan.” How amazing!

We have to do all we can to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place. Girls are still being abducted today – just last week Boko Haram invaded a village, and as we are all consumed by Covid news, we are clearly not doing enough to help them out. Send in the military, stage an intervention, do whatever it takes, but we can’t continue to let these crimes occur and then regret our collective inaction later on.

Melissa said that the girls are in her heart and she can’t wait to go back there when she can travel again. They are receiving counselling and are on their way to healing and finding a way to thrive, get educations, and achieve their dreams. The full documentary is online here, it’s a must-see.

The past couple weeks for me, despite some stress and anxiety, have been filled with lots of serendepity and perfect timing. A beautiful friend is pregnant, a baby is walking with boundless energy, a child writes and writes with enthusiasm and passion, and the snow that piles up around us is shoveled by kind neighbours. Happy Wednesday!

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