Justice. Hope. Peace

Week 30. This is the walk from July 18, exactly two weeks ago. I wore my Walk In Her Shoes T-shirt, which always takes me right into the centre of it all, making me feel raw and vulnerable. I listened to Break the Chain before I headed out and danced my heart out. I grabbed a latte at the Starbucks at 525 University and then headed to Nathan Philips Square, confused about everything and the direction my life is heading in. I was debating whether to take my next creative writing class now or just cancel it in order to save some money. I called the Continuing Ed office and the sound of a comforting voice on the other end made me cry. It’s a good thing I stayed there because I was suddenly transported into another world, surrounded by the sounds and movements of traditional Chinese dancers. I was mesmerized by the beauty of it all.

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Here is one of the performances which was oddly danced to “Buttons” by the Pussycat Dolls.

It was interesting that I came across the Chinese Cultural Festival, because in Veiled Threat I’m at the part where Sally talks about misogyny throughout the centuries, including the ancient practice of foot-binding in China. It always takes a small group of dedicated people to change barbaric practices. In China, a small group of women called The Healthy Foot Society was formed at the end of the nineteenth century and dedicated themselves to eradicating this practice throughout the country. The key to their success was making public declarations that included all women.

I will never bind my daughter’s feet and I will never allow my son to marry a woman whose feet are bound.

In less than a decade of making these declarations, the practice was stopped. Makes me wonder what kind of declarations we can make for ourselves? Personally, as long as there is violence against women, I will never stop doing Walk In Her Shoes. Ok that is a big commitment, so I’m going to need your help! That reminds me, I’ve set the annual group walk for Sunday Aug 21, so I will be walking either in Toronto or in Ottawa. So excited!!

After Nathan Philips, I went to the Ronald McDonald House where I’m helping out with the summer camp activities. We built boats out of aluminum and tested them out in tubs full of water. It was amazing how some of the kids’ boats could float even with 80 marbles!

Then I continued to walk along Yonge and made it to Balzac’s where I wrote the blog post for the previous week’s walk. I swear I’m going to get better at organizing these. :-) A lot has been going on lately, and meanwhile time goes on and life doesn’t stop. So I’d better keep going despite it all.

While at Balzac’s I saw this flyer for Peace Fest happening in Toronto on August 12. I thought it was for world peace, but as I looked closely it was about shedding light on the atrocities of WWII in Asia. I guess it was an Asian-themed day today!

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World Peace Flyer, Balzac’s @ Yonge & Bloor

On my way home I caught a glimpse of the moon and it was beautiful. There is nothing that compares to seeing the moon and recognizing your place in the world, and being simply humbled by the sight. Never gets old.

From Herbal Remedies to Spiritual Lotus Flowers

I’m sitting in Balzac’s writing about last week’s walk. I don’t think I’ve ever done this before actually. It reminds me of the day when Terrence and Gosia followed me around and I was wearing my Walk In Her Shoes t-shirt. I’m wearing it again today. It’s confusing because I’m doing today’s walk while writing about last week’s walk, while worrying that getting a job means no more walks, while flipping out in general.

I started volunteering at Ronald McDonald House on Mondays as part of the summer camp. So I set out and walked along University, stopping at the Starbucks, and making my way to McCaul Street to the wonderful place that is Ronald McDonald. I thought I would have to do an activity or something but instead I got to just sit and watch a wonderful magic show, performed by Tim, one of the tutors from Tutorbright. He awed the kids with his ‘mind-reading’ abilities and ability to straighten out his twisted arms. I recognized a couple of the kids from the school, and it was really nice to see them.

After that I had lunch at the Village On The Grange, at this cute little vegetarian restaurant that I used to go to years ago. The owner is still the same and she greeted me warmly with “Hello gorgeous!”. I stopped at a cute little art gallergy after – how pretty is this picture?!! Reminds me of something Gosia would paint. I felt a little like I was in Pretty Woman because I was dressed in a t-shirt and jeans and the woman working there was not being very friendly or answering my questions. I think she might’ve even rolled her eyes at me!!

Photo at Baux-Xi Photo Art Gallery

Outside the art gallery was a brain. I love how The Brain Project has taken over Toronto.  There is nothing more beautiful than the human brain (except perhaps the human heart). Or the ability to go on in the face of overwhelming obstacles. This brain was about psychological trauma, so it hit close to home.

The Brain Project, Steven Nederveen

The Fertile Mind is covered with lush greenery, vibrant flowers and a host of birds indicative of a miniature ecosystem. Vegetation pollinates the mind with fresh life and ideas while the birds carry strings of thought, connecting one busy cluster of growth to another. The greenery contains all kinds of flowers, from herbal remedies to spiritual lotus flowers to the poisonous berries of the Nightshade plant. A healthy ecosystem embraces renewal and decay. Problems arise when some aspect of the system falls out of balance. With the brain, there are physical and chemical imbalances but psychological issues may be equally debilitating. With a view to disease and trauma, the vegetation that wraps around this brain can be seen as an invasive and parasitic overgrowth that feeds off its host.

On my way home I passed by this couple making out in the park. How cute!

Couple kissing at Queen’s Park

Lastly, I passed by this symbol of unity of all religions near Nathan Philips Square (image above), which made me pause and reflect considering everything going on in the world right now. In times like this, it is important that we remember that we are all in this together.