What If God Was One Of Us

I’m at the Jimmy’s Coffee across the street from Raju’s, and I just adore this place! Three floors, mostly full of hipsters… definitely not 9-5ers. I’m sitting here with my latte and book (If Nuns Ruled the World), at the long wooden table on the second floor. I love these tables because it makes me feel like I’m part of a group. Ok, it’s not like we talk to one another (the girl across from me has her headphones in and is texting away) but it just feels nice and connected somehow. I love the natural light in this place, it fills the floors and lifts my spirit.

Alright let’s see if I can remember the walk from October 6 (week 40!). I left my place at York & Queens Quay around 11:30 AM, walked up Bay and through Nathan Philips Square, and got to the Duke of Somerset at around noon. I met with Steve, my old manager at CCO to discuss a potential role as a Senior Analyst. It was so good to see him and I have to be honest, it brought up so many old memories. Good ones and painful ones. He is as passionate and clever as ever, and when I looked over the role and said that I didn’t think I was qualified, he said “Of course you are. You are smart and capable.” We chatted about work and how important it is to pick the right people to join your team (he has a great knack for that). I had a veggie burger and I think he had a burger too… we were a little pressed for time because he had to run for a 1:15 PM meeting, but he pushed it back a little further so that we had more time to talk.

Then I went over to 525 to see Jasmine and get my eyebrows done by her lovely colleague. She took me into the boardroom that she’d booked and cleaned them up for me, gave them a little more shape, and it all cost only $3. Wow! I normally pay more than $25 at La Main Dor Salon, but Shahla is a goddess and she’s been doing my eyebrows for years. She plays the most beautiful Indian classical music or Spanish guitar or haunting Persian songs. Sometimes we talk, but sometimes I just lie there and take it in. I fall into deep relaxation on that table.

Oh I forgot the main event of that day – I got a job offer from CAMH!! So the whole morning I was reeling and informing everyone. At the time it wasn’t final, still dependent on reference checks, but in my heart I knew that it was and I think I just couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it. I’ve been applying there since 2012 when I left CCO and I just didn’t know if/when it would happen. When I set my New Years resolutions for the year in January, for #10 I had originally written “Get a job at CAMH” and then I changed it to something more general. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess! Anyway, I’m still feeling overwhelmed and I can’t believe that I start on Monday! Holy moly. What a crazy way I’ve been living… not even “on the edge”, but “at the edge” as my Dad says.

I continued to walk to University College, where I meandered through the Harry-Potter like buildings (my favourite is King’s college) and I went up to the second floor where they were setting up for that weekend’s book fair. The year before I went with Gosia at Victoria College and it was a magical experience where we picked up lots of one-of-a-kind books. The lady there told me that it wasn’t actually open yet so I had to leave. I found an almost abandoned classroom with two girls working away, and I sat down and worked for a bit. It was an interesting afternoon since my phone had died earlier on (that’s why I don’t have many pictures in this post).

Ok I have to stop for a second because Colin just messaged me and said that CAMH called and he provided the very last reference check. I love that guy.. he has really been looking out for me lately. I told him I owed him a drink (and he gladly accepted). Hmmm.. the most amazing song is playing right now at Jimmy’s, and it’s giving me goosebumps:

What if God was one of us?
Just like a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home

If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?

I feel like my writing has been like an episode of Family Guy lately… it seems to be following a story, and then goes off on a tangent. Well that’s how my mind works lately. In fragments. In memories. In bursts of laughter. In confusion. In poetry. In emotions so deep that sometimes I beg that I won’t feel them. In drama. And hopefully if all goes right, in peace. In groundedness. In love. In compassion. In expansiveness. In freedom.

I carried on and came across this poster for Mindful Moments at U of T – every Monday and Thursday they offer meditation classes. Hopefully I can go for free with my U of T card!

U of T Campus, Kings College Circle

Then I went to the Eaton Centre, standing in the line at Shoppers listening to two young girls (teenagers I think) chat about Angelina Jolie and how she has no soul and isn’t as nice as Jennifer Aniston. I joined in the convo and defended her, saying that she has seen a lot of suffering in her life through her humanitarian work, and I’m sure she carries that with her. My two cents haha! I went to Canadian Tire and bought more boxes, and dragged them home on the subway, knowing I had a full night of packing ahead of me.

In If Nuns Ruled The World, I read about Sister Madonna, who made a wager with God: If she couldn’t complete this 2012 Canadian Ironman triathlon, she wouldn’t try it again. But she did it. And at age 82, she has run more than 366 triathlons!

Running not only helped me solve my problems, it reduced my anxiety and cleared my soul, taking away any brooding darkness that took away my positive attitude.

When I got home, I had a message from Mandeep who sent me a quote that I totally needed to read. (picture above). That Dr. Seuss was a wise man.

If Nuns Ruled The World

Week 38. I’m sitting in bed at Jasmine’s place, just finished watching another episode of The Night Of, a stirring, beautiful HBO series about a Pakistani boy who is accused of murder. His parents are played by two amazing actors, Peyman Moaadi (a great Iranian actor who was in the movie “A Separation” that premiered at the film festival a few years ago), and Poorna Jagannathan who I am a huge fan of. It took me about halfway through the second episode last night to realize that she was the producer and one of the stars of the play Nirbhaya, that I saw last year and shook me to my core and caused me to set this goal of walking every week. She is also one of the 50 most beautiful women in India, a humanitarian, and a wonderful actor.

Ok so back to the walk. I’m hesitating a little because it felt slightly uninspired. I awoke on Sunday after my Mom’s Laksharchana that she hosts every year and I think after being surrounded by so many people and so much love, I didn’t really want to go for a lonely walk through the streets of Kanata. I talked to Hara for a bit and tried to help her with her engineering assignment, but was pretty useless when it came to remembering steel and stress and alloys.

It was a really nice day, and I walked my usual path, with a plan to go to the library to pick out a new book since I haven’t been reading anything related to women’s rights lately… or should I say, related to powerful, inspiring movements that are changing the world. You know, like another “I Am Malala” or “The Underground Girls of Kabul”. I just haven’t found anything of that calibre recently. I walked past the golf course, and the sun shone through and I met it with my weary gaze.

Kanata Lakes golf course

I approached the library and the anxiety and irritation hit me, and so I took a detour and walked around my old high school, Earl of March, adjacent to the library. I remembered my days there, especially being picked up after school by Manar’s Mom, or missing school because of a painful period, or being dropped off in the morning by my Dad at exactly 8:42 AM, when the bell would ring. Actually I think there were two bells, the warning bell and then the actual one. Either way, I was always late!

It was Sunday so the fields and buildings and portables were deserted, and I was free to snoop around. It was gorgeous with the leaves changing colour.. can’t believe it’s already fall!

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I didn’t remember there being portables when I was there, but I think they had to add them because Earl now includes grades 7 and 8 so it must be at full capacity. At the library I was overwhelmed by the choices, and narrowed it down to these fabulous five books (I plan on reading them all at some point):

All great book contenders, Kanata Public Library

I ended up choosing “If Nuns Rules The World” by Jo Piazza, about ten feisty, inspiring, no-nonsense, blessed, high-spirited women, who surrender themselves to Jesus, society, and are utterly devoted to their missions. I’m almost halfway through already! Jo is a contributer to the Wall Street Journal and a commentator on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. She states that she doesn’t believe in God, but she fiercely “believes in nuns”. It’s hard not to after hearing these inspiring stories. There is Sister Jeannine Grammick who supports gay Catholics and has tried to be silenced and dismissed by the Catholic church time and again. But she doesn’t let it faze her, because her compassion and principles know no bounds.

“People always emphasize sex, sex, sex….. And it isn’t about sex. It is about love. It is who you fall in love with that makes you lesbian and gay. Love is the important thing here, not sex.”
– Sister Jeannine

Then there is Sister Megan Rice who campaigns against nuclear weapons, and was sentenced to three years in prison for breaking into a nuclear complex in Tennessee to call attention to a nuclear threat. What a hero!

Following the library, I walked to Walmart where I bought some conditioner and sifted through magazines, and read a great article in O magazine by Elizabeth Gilbert. Then I was saved by the bell. My brother sent a snapchat of my cute mother sitting in Home Sense with a picture of the Buddha behind her. And I said “Where are you? I’m at Walmart!” and then I didn’t hear back so I wandered over to Chapters and got a latte. Eventually my Mom and brother came there and picked me up. I glanced at my phone and confirmed that I’d walked at least 8 KM (over 10,000) steps and decided to call it a day! As we drove back we chatted about the day. It felt good to be home.