No Sleep For The Lucky Few

Monday was an incredibly hot day. I think it must’ve been 40 degrees with the humidity. I woke up early and went to the Starbucks at 525 for a couple hours to work. I’ve been doing that lately to get myself back to a morning routine. Hopefully the right job will come along soon. I interviewed at Cota Inspires last week and the interview went pretty well – they will let me know next week if I got it. The job is an Executive Lead to lead a campaign to provide 20,000 homes for Toronto’s homeless by 2018. It is an exciting job that I would be honoured to be a part of.

I sat outside on the benches at SickKids and read the morning Metro. There was a study about sleep deprivation and how there are certain people who genuinely don’t need a lot of sleep – only a few hours will do. Sadhguru is always talking about how little sleep is required for those who are vibrantly alive and get their energy from life energy. There are yogis that can survive just off coconut water because their kundalini is activated. I’m definitely not one of those people – I love my beauty sleep!

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I walked through the MARS Centre and came across this white board filled with suggestions on who people would like to see come speak at MARS. I agree with a lot of them – Obama would be amazing! And Drake, Oprah, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk.

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I started reading Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women in Afghanistan. As you can tell, I’m obsessed with Afghanistan. And Islam. And Women. Not to mention I love author and journalist Sally Armstrong. I saw her speak at a GenNext event at Spoke Club one time and she was so inspiring. She was one of the first journalists to report on the crisis that women were facing during the Bosnian genocide. She said that since then the media has come a long way in terms of giving attention to the atrocities women face, especially during times of war. She thinks that Facebook is instrumental in gathering forces and providing a platform so that everyone has a voice. The book profiles extraordinary women, like Dr. Sima Samar, who is a doctor, activist and a natural storyteller.

“Let me tell you a story,” she began. “A sixteen year old came with her parents to my clinic. She was six months pregnant and terrified. She had been raped. The law, according to the extremists, is that a woman who is raped must have four male witnesses to prove that she didn’t cause the rape. Naturally, no such witnesses are ever available. Without them, the family is obliged to kill the girl to protect the family honour.”

I made it to Balzac’s where I did some work, and then went to the ROM to get a refund for some tickets I bought for Friday Night Live and didn’t end up going to. I asked to use the bathroom (which they normally don’t let you do because it’s inside the museum) but they let me so I took advantage of it and saw the exhibits for free. There is something so calming about being in the presence of a Buddha statue.

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Buddha statue at the ROM

Then I met up with Marissa from my Toastmasters club so that she could help me with my interview preparation. She is the director at AIS (Accomodation, Information, and Support) and is very knowledgeable about homelessness and supportive housing. We met at the Toronto Western hospital. She quizzed me on a few things like what my first steps would be in implementing changes described in the consultants report, and why I was good for the role.

On the way home I stopped by the jazz festival and caught the rehearsal of a jazz ensemble that was performing later that evening. So talented!!

 

When I Dance, I Forget Everything

Today was pretty great, although I’m feeling tired and a little broken right now. It was a long day.

I walked along University Avenue and went to my creative writing class. It’s the second last class – I’m sad that it’s almost over! We talked about techniques for writing stories, such as writing lists, doing research, and drawing upon personal experience and observation. Kelli said to trust your instinct and your fascination with a certain topic or subject – that thing that gnaws at you, that you can’t seem to stop thinking about, or that you can spend hours on end researching. There are so many things that I want to write about, but most of all I just want to see where my imagination takes me. I tend to get stuck on certain ideas and limit myself, so it’s nice to write about something completely out of my comfort zone.

We broke into groups to review each other’s work. I had written a story about a young girl Kamini who is from a village in India and is forced by her parents to marry a local village boy. She can’t accept that this is her fate, and runs away on her wedding day. This of course is something that many little girls face on a daily basis, and it is an atrocity. I got some great feedback on how to revise the story, and everyone in the group loved it and wanted to hear more. It was amazing because I had actually started it in a previous class not thinking it was very good, but as usual I was being overly self-critical and hard on myself.

Following the class, I stopped by the ROM gift store (image above) and discovered a fascinating book about Hindu temples in India and the stories they tell. After that I walked to Balzac’s and saw that it was closed! So I went to Aroma instead to do some work and catch up on my reading. I read an editorial on the CARE Canada website about women and girls that are vulnerable in emergencies. One of the girls whose entire family was killed in the Central African Republic, said that dancing helps her to forget the pain. “When I dance,” she says, “I forget everything.” I’m similar that way – dancing makes me forget the pain. I think that’s why One Billion Rising is such a great movement, because dancing is a liberation of the spirit, and is healing and freeing.

The editorial also described the story of a young girl named Muzoon from Syria, who flees to a refugee camp in Jordan, and witnesses the marriages of many of her friends. She herself wants to fight against child marriage and become a journalist one day.

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On the way home I ran into my homeless friend Marc. He recognized me and said that he’d been thinking of me – LOL – all good things I hope! It was his first week sleeping on the street (at Nathan Philips square) and he was actually enjoying it better than the shelter. He said that he slept better outside and wasn’t bothered by other people. I’m sure I’ll see him again soon!

 

 

Breasts Like Cups of Nectar

I went to the ROM today and was mesmerized by the bee colony. The kind gentlemen who works there spent probably twenty minutes explaining the inner workings of the colony, and how everything works synchronously, with all the bees doing their own part without being told what to do (don’t you wish humans were like that?!). It seems as though it’s by magic that everyone knows their roles, without being told, bribed, or without any hope of reward. Basically the queen bee runs the show, the worker bees know exactly what to do in their respective roles, and the drones are only needed to fertilize the queens. The feminist part of me loves this – impregnate me and get out of my way. Ha! The drones die soon after mating, or else they are ejected by the worker bees once the food runs out.

I listened with fascination as he told me how some bees may return to the colony drunk off the pollen. These drunk bees are killed because they are useless and can’t work. Bees get bloated with the honey and pollen and when they return to the colony, they regurgitate it to release it and put it into the cells. There are undertaker bees that carry away the dead bees and dispose of them far from the hive (so that animals are not alerted to the presence of the hive). Everyone has their role, their duty, and nothing is out of place. Everything is exactly as it should be.

So fitting because it is similar to what was discussed in my Myth & Meaning class this morning. The teacher is Raj Balkaran who is a gifted storyteller and scholar in comparative mythology. He talked about Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey. All of us are on a hero’s journey. A part that struck me was when he described his conversation with his friend who was experiencing deep grief, and he said to him “think of when King Dashartha had to part with Rama when he went into the forest for 14 years” and his friend was able to see that his grief was not unique, it was a shared human experience.

The power of narratives and stories is that it sheds light onto human experience, which has lost perspective in the age of reason, where everything is logical and not valued unless scientifically proven. He talked about a subtle reality that exists, where energies align and events occur that appear like coincidences but are actually examples of this synchronicity at work. I’ve experienced this myself quite profoundly over the last 3 years, with the number 69 appearing over and over (God only knows why that is my number!), suddenly tuning into the time at 11:11 over and over, and having thoughts that lead to my questions being answered, or running into the person I was thinking about, or something or someone coming into my life that addresses my very thought or intention.

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At the Eastern civilization exhibit, I came across a beautiful picture of a dancing gopi. Gopis are the dancing cowgirls who were all in love with Krishna, and would leap out of their beds and leave whatever they were doing when they heard the enchanting sound of Krishna’s flute. Gopis were in a state of constant ecstacy, because of their complete surrender to Krishna and abandonment of their self-consciousness and wordly obligations. There is nothing that could stand in the way between them and their beloved. Gopis are revered because they exhibit the purest love that only complete devotion can yield. Radha was Krishna’s favourite gopi, and the two of them enjoyed many ‘loving pasttimes’ together (aka sex).

Then I went to visit the dinosaurs. I feel like a little kid in this exhibit, because I cannot believe that there was a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth!!!

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Overall an amazing day! I wish I could spend every day at the ROM!