Your Soul Is Not Made In China

Today was pretty wonderful. Beautiful weather, great conversations, a full moon, and inspiration all around. My creative writing class was cancelled, so I had some extra time in the morning to work on my blog (as I write this, I still have not shared this blog with a single person!), and also I stumbled upon a video of Walk In Her Shoes in the U.K. and was deeply inspired by how much it has taken off over there. And so I announced on Facebook that I would be doing this 10 Km walk for the entire year, thinking it was kind of a big thing since I had been struggling with it so much, but no one even noticed or cared. Lol. So I set off. I walked along University Ave, where I saw a reporter from Global News discussing the Sammy Yatim case, and as I walked by I thought that maybe that will be me one day, reporting on Walk In Her Shoes and what women experience on a daily basis in all parts of the world. I do believe that it is the greatest human rights crisis of our time, and is the root cause of many other conflicts in the world.

I continued up University, through the MARS centre, stopped to have lunch at Hero burger, and briefly stopped at one of my favourite used bookstores on Yonge street, where I read a bit of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground. Reading it made time stand still. His books are truly works of the soul. Twisted, dark, clever, and offering deep insights into human nature, our demons, struggles, and triumphs. I can’t wait to read all his stuff. I eventually made it to the reference library where I read a bit of The Great Work of Your Life and First There Was a Mountain, about a woman around my age that goes to India to learn yoga with B.K. Iyengar, a Guru that developed his own system of yoga based on Patanjali’s yoga teachings. I love reading this book because I feel like I’m in India, where I often long to be. It’s weird that it feels like home even though the last time I was there was when I was 15.

I went to Balzac’s where I chatted with Isaac, a guy that comes in there often, about starting your own business and what it entails. Then Raj, my mythology teacher, called me and we discussed pretty much the same thing. He is my accountability partner. We are both developing our own brand and thinking of what we have to offer to the world, and holding each other accountable on a weekly basis to make sure that we are progressing on our goals. Raj is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. His ability to transmit ancient stories, transport you into another world, heal your wounds, and take you to higher place is something that you need to witness for yourself. I feel like everyone would benefit from his teachings. I am taking his Faces of Power class about Indian goddesses, and the last class was about Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, learning, and artistry. She represents the subtle. She will take you to your higher self and bring you awareness. Someone asked a question about patriarchy and why it exists, especially in India where the Goddess is worshipped and revered. He said that patriarchy is a response to fear of the feminine power. I couldn’t agree more! He also talked about how Saraswati represents the soul, and how the soul has no colour or race or geography (“Your soul is not made in China” he said).

After that I walked home, through Nathan Philips square where I watched the skaters and bopped to Jesus Walks by Kanye that was playing in the background. I got home and I just finished watching Justin Trudeau speaking at the World Economic Forum. He talked about how men should not be afraid of the word ‘feminist’, and how he refers to himself as a feminist all the time.

I’m incredibly proud to have a partner in my wife Sophie, who is extremely committed to women and girls’ issues. But she took me aside a few months ago and said Okay, it’s great that you’re engaged and modeling to your daughter that you want her empowered and everything, but you need to take as much effort to talk to your sons—my 8-year-old boy and my 2-year-old—about how he treats women and how he’s going to grow up to be a feminist just like dad. And by the way, we shouldn’t be afraid of the word “feminist.” Men and women should use it to describe themselves any time they want.

I just love listening to him speak about this stuff. As you can see, I am a sucker for charming men!


The Girl and The Golden Key

Wednesdays are always great because I have my toastmasters meeting at SickKids. Like meditation at the Shambhala centre, it was something I picked up years ago, and then I stopped going. At the time I was really really frightened of public speaking, and even more so scared of not appearing put together, letting my insecurities show. I could barely even introduce myself! This time around things are a little better. I’m more comfortable with myself and more willing to look foolish. What a relief it is to allow yourself to be vulnerable! Rejection is never fun (I say this as I await the response to a question I just asked a friend), but once you get used to it, a lot of doors open for you. Because the worst that can happen is the person says no, or you don’t get the job, or you fail. And for me it feels deadly. Like it actually sears my heart. But I’m getting stronger and I think I’ve just had a lot of practice in getting rejected!

The theme of today’s meeting was ‘striving’, and the word of the day was ‘optimal’. The table topics are the best part, where the table topics master prepares a list of fun and interesting topics that relate to the theme, and people go up and choose one and deliver an impromptu speech between 1-2 minutes. The topic I chose was: “Many movies describe strivers and their journey towards achieving their challenging goals and dreams. What is your favourite striver movie?”.  I chose to talk about Wild, a movie about Cheryl Strayed’s solo journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. Reese Witherspoon was amazing in this movie and really portrayed the emotional journey with rawness. I related a lot to this movie because sometimes I feel as though my struggles with depression and anxiety are never-ending, but each step along the way, there has been wisdom gained and also heart-breaking beauty. I can’t say that it’s been worth it but I know that it has opened my heart. One of the topics that was presented beautifully by Lynna (who wants to start her own statistical analysis consulting business) was: “You have turned your hobby or passion into a thriving business. Describe the process and the challenges along the way.”  I loved this topic because I am planning to start my own consulting business! It’s actually really exciting and unbelievable. I never thought I was the entrepreneurial type, but turns out I don’t like being told what to do and I like to do things my own way!

After the toastmasters meeting, I sat in the Sick Kids cafeteria and edited my friend Daniela’s beautiful children’s book (the picture above is one of her illustrations). It is a story about a girl who is given a magical golden key and eventually finds that it is the key to eternal happiness and laughter. She experiences loss, adventure, and encounters many wise souls along the way. I loved editing this! It reminds me of my Mom’s dream of publishing a children’s book. Hers was called Tom Makes A Difference, and it is a wonderful story about a boy who is always nice to everyone and willing to help, and through his example inspires others to change. I hope to help Mom publish this book one day!

Went to Freshii and had my favourite tex mex burrito, and read the newspaper. I came across an awesome commentary on Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau’s bizarre singing of “Smile Back at Me” that she wrote for her daughter. I love how she is unafraid to bare her soul and be herself no matter what anyone thinks! I have faith in our prime minister simply because he is married to her! Great line from the article:

Yes, Gregoire-Trudeau’s performance was painfully awkward, ill-timed and in some places not quite in tune. But can you really dis a woman who bares her soul in such a weird and spectacular way? Even if she chose to do so at a profoundly inappropriate moment, are we not all richer for it?

Yes, yes, and yes!! So inspiring and makes me feel better about my ill-timed baring of the soul. :p