Monday, December 27, 2010

Love Is

Love is...


Bringing her a blanket, a wet cloth, a glass of water.

Wrapping the blanket around her trembling body, placing the cloth so gently on her forehead, bringing the glass of water to her blood-red lips.

He is here.

A constant in the ebb and flow of life. A heart that beats her story, their story. A heart that never falters.

He is present, not only for the moment, but for the moments. All of them. The seemingly menial moments that make up a full life.

This love is fierce.

And selfless.

And true.


Escaping to a haze of smoke and live music and asking the stars her questions.

So young. So old. So ready to kiss the world, kiss its neck, and watch it melt.

She is here.

A being of extraordinary beauty, a goddess in disguise.

She is a seeker of truth and of self and of others. She needs to be heard, needs to share her secrets, her dreams, her mind-made delusions. She finds comfort in a squeeze of the hand, a lingering look, a shared glass of wine.

This love is eager.

And dizzy.

And loud.


Sitting under the eclipsing moon, mouthing a promise to each other.

Touching the Earth, breathing the sky, caressing the moment and its infinite power.

They are here.

Enveloped between the folds of passion and fear and tenderness. A living poem written on the palms of their hands, in the lifelines that make them both flawed and flawless.

This love is gentle.

And healing.

And brave.


Beautiful strangers grasping for the meanings behind the stories, vowing to wake up in the morning and make another choice, finding the courage forgive and forge ahead.

All of us, lucky mortals inhabiting this precious planet, understanding nothing and trusting the miraculous. We carry faith in our bleeding hearts and hope in our pockets.

We are here.

Floating in the cosmos on a blue water marble as delicate as a drop of rain, a testimony to the magic of this world. We protect and preserve and self sacrifice.

We enjoy snowflakes on our tongue and skin against skin. We climb mountain after mountain because the view from the top is worth every step. We say, “I love,” “I’m here,” “I care” and we really mean it.

We sit around the Christmas tree, filled with awe and gratitude, not for the gifts so perfectly wrapped, but for the people who know us, cherish us, and share the journey with us.

We cry until we’re blind and yet we still manage to find our way home. We do the best we can. We do what we can. We are beams of light.

This love is all-encompassing.

And human.

And bright.

This love. That love. Your love. Our love.

Is strong.

Is for now.

Is forever.


This week's affirmation: Love is all there is.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ode To My Costa Rican Morning

I sit with you.

In the hammock, toes in the sand, under the leafy tree, and the wind moves me.

I am in awe.

I close my eyes. I open them.

The blues and greens and whites of the ocean and of the sky unite on the horizon in a seamless fusion of matter. The two become one and then the one becomes me and then, suddenly, it all makes perfect sense.

The illusions of time and space dissipate until the only thing that matters is the intangible cord that connects us and nourishes us and makes us whole.

You breathe your salty air right into my pores, through my pores, and infiltrate the innermost chambers of my heart.

You swim in my veins and around my organs, dissolving barriers and creating new pathways.

You wake me up.

The sound of the surf lapping against the shore is settling and strengthening. In these waves, I find rhythm, heartbeat, breath.

I linger for hours.

Taking you in. Tasting you and cherishing you and allowing myself to be cherished in return. There is so much love here, on this deserted stretch of beach, at five o’clock in the morning.

I dread the moment of separation. I don’t ever want to leave you. But I know I have to because there is no way to contain you.

You cannot be stuffed into my suitcase and carried on-board. You cannot be bottled up and placed on the mantel as a keepsake. You cannot be worn as a dangling necklace around my neck. I have to walk away.

I walk away, in the early morning hours of another blissful day, and I promise to remember all of it, all of you, and all of me within you.

The glorious perfection of it all. The miracle of interconnectedness that exists between all things. Our divine love affair.

For some time, I do. I remember all the vivid details and I see you everywhere: in the midnight sky, in the early morning frost, in the howling wind, in every single teardrop. I am incredibly alive and full of sacred knowledge.

Then, as I had feared, I start to forget. The process is gradual - first a sight, then a sound, then a smell - until the entire feeling of you and me, of you encircling me, and of me as an integral part of you, has faded beyond recognition.

You are a dog-eared postcard now. A digital image on my laptop. A magnet on the fridge.

You are a fragment of my past and you no longer make my heart flutter.

But there are those moments - few and fleeting - when I swear I can still taste you. You sneak up unexpectedly - when I’m on the subway, at the tea store, standing at my kitchen sink - and for a split second, I am back there. With you. Within you. We are one.

I thank you.

You, my sun-drenched lover, reached down and around and rocked me to sleep, to life, and to that mystical world between the two where the subconscious mind wanders freely. You, unnameable force of nature, cradled me in the palm of your hand and showed me I was precious.

You, ethereal reminder of all that truly is, evoked within me awe and gratitude for a single speck of sand.

You, love, brought me home.


This week's affirmation: I recognize the flutter in my heart and I feel it fully.

Monday, September 13, 2010


The air is crisper now. The days are shorter.

It is mid-September and many are mourning the end of heat, of beach, of children running free in the streets.

But summer will come again. It always does. Everything comes again, in its own time.

Now’s the time for the comforting crunch under my well-worn boots. For jeans and sweaters and scarves lovingly knitted by knobby hands. For carving a pumpkin and baking a pie. For the scent of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon filling homes and fueling hearts. For morning walks under a cool blue sky and evening talks over steaming cups of tea, over-steeped and slightly bitter.

Fall is near. That mystical time of endings, of beginnings, of appreciation. I can hear it in the wind and I can feel it in my skin.

I fall into it, whole-heartedly and without hesitation.

I let it carry me, inspire me, remind me of the mystery inherent in all of life, the beauty intrinsically woven into every death, every last breath. I let it guide me to a place of gratitude and grace. I allow it to caress me and surprise me and move me to tears.

I say: Goodbye. Hello. Thank you. Don’t go. I love you. I miss you. I’m sorry. I forgive you. I am safe. I am strong. I am moving on.

I discard those thoughts and habits that have kept me stagnant and shriveled. Now is the time for change. For lessons to be learned, inside and outside of the classroom.

There is a change stirring within me that is both wondrous and frightening. The course of my life is being entirely altered. Thoughts that have been percolating for some time are being unleashed - fully brewed and delicious on the tip of my tongue.

I am taking that next, crucial step. It is honest. It is time.

I fall into this moment, losing my grip on the fears of yesterday and embracing the rush, the release, the unravelling, the discovery.

I wait for the reds and the oranges, rich purples and deep browns to once again transform my world into a watercolour painting of astonishing beauty.

I see myself, in the painting. I radiate.

I fall. Deeper and deeper into myself, acknowledging the less-than-perfect parts and loving them anyways. Dusk knocks at my door, always a few minutes earlier than the day before, and I welcome it with a smile, a sigh of relief. The blast of cool air is a tonic, energizing and propelling me forward.



I anticipate the brilliant landscape and I am filled with hope.


This week's affirmation: I surrender to the free fall.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Popcorn and Pyjamas

Twelve years old.

It was a time of sun-filled days spent lounging around the pool, of bike rides and drumsticks and dreams about the future.

A time of posters plastered on bedroom walls and horror movies and dance parties.

A time of firsts: first kisses, first periods, first cigarettes.

A time of growth spurts and sex talks and boys with blue eyes and yellow dirt bikes making hearts flutter and skinned knees go weak.

A time of girls.

Gangly girls who thought they knew it all. Who thought they had it all. (Didn’t we?)

Some were friends I knew would last forever (they have). Others were friends I knew would eventually drift away (they did).

I see it so clearly: pyjamas and popcorn and bowl after bowl of Heavenly Hash ice cream.

Staying up until sunrise sharing the secrets that hid in the deepest crevices of our hearts and trusting that they would never be repeated. (They never were).

There were silly moments and scary moments as we giggled our way towards the unavoidable task of growing up.

Then, we grew up.

We met more girls along the way - in high school, in university. Some are now sisters. Others crossed our path for one brief moment and in that moment they made us laugh, or cry, or question. They taught us a lesson we were ready to learn.

Different girls at different times and so many popcorn-fueled confessions.

I miss those confessions. That feeling of harmony and solidarity that came from just being girls, in pyjamas, chatting the night away.

These days, I see my girlfriends once every few weeks, if I’m lucky. We try to connect over a rushed lunch date or last-minute coffee break and barely even get past “hello” before it’s time to go.

We often plan to have a nice dinner, catch a movie, talk until the bartender kindly asks us to leave. Sometimes these plans work out, but usually they don’t. They fall to the bottom of our list of things-to-do while work or family or other more pressing commitments consistently take the top slot.

And women everywhere are suffering because of this.

Women need women just as girls need girls.

We need to relax, unwind, discard the heels, the makeup, the earrings. We need to turn off the cell phone, turn off the charm, turn off the polished skills of the accomplished professional and just chill out.

Like we used to, when we were 12.

So, ladies, I am bringing it back. I am reinstating the slumber party. I am checking my calendar, choosing an evening, booking it off, and treating myself to a night of uninhibited sharing and squealing and ouija boards and pillow fights.

There can be some tweaking, of course. We can substitute root beer for red wine, M&Ms for dark chocolate, and chips for brie cheese and crackers, but the rest must stay the same: the pyjamas, the popcorn, the ice cream, the horror movies. These are the slumber party staples.

I see it so clearly: women reconnecting with their girly selves, their childhood aspirations, their genuine feelings. Women, freed from the pressures of city life, loose and giddy and unguarded.

And though the evening itself is sure to be fun, I am certain that bringing back the slumber party will have repercussions far beyond the living room.

Imagine a world in which women are regularly encouraged to take some time for themselves, to unclench those fists, peel off those tights, and talk and share and dissolve into giggles.

Imagine a world in which women are encouraged to detach themselves from their various roles of girlfriend, wife, mother, staff member, boss and relax into the realms of girl and friend.

This is a world in which women feel valued and worthy. It is a world in which women can more easily shrug off stress because they understand the importance of putting themselves first. It is a world in which women give themselves permission to throw on some pyjamas and replenish their reserves of strength and passion and power.

Yes, power. Women, united in a sisterhood of love and trust and laughing fits, are a force to be reckoned with.

Ladies, let’s make this happen. Let’s take care of ourselves, and each other. Let’s indulge in some guilt-free girl-time and remember who we once were, before we became so many things to so many people.

I am having a slumber party.

Who’s in?


This week's affirmation: I am grateful for the women in my life.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reclaiming Sad

I remember.

The slow and steady slide into dark, into murky.

I remember knees buckling, heart splitting, breath catching between a word and a thought.

I remember melting into a puddle of the person I once was.

I remember sadness. (And I know you do too.)

We have been sad. We have felt the foundation crack under the weight of insurmountable sorrow. Slumped forward, head in our hands, we have been broken and frightened and completely alone.

We avoid sad.

We swallow the lump, we crack a joke, we chug a beer, we smoke some pot, we watch TV, we go to sleep. We become accustomed to the tightness in our chest and the numbness in our stomach. We choose the numbness; there is safety there.

But the numbness is killing us, incinerating us from the inside out. Our bodies are breaking; our minds, detonating. We pop the pills and go to work while the emotional eruption that is continually suppressed spits toxins into our veins and threatens the integrity of our cells.

We are dying of suppressed sadness. We are drowning in diversions. We are so terrified of embracing the sad that we constantly look away. Everyday, we look away.

The result is our planet, in a state of decay.

I reclaim my planet.

I see myself swimming upstream, through the weeds and against the current. Reaching the calm waters that soothe and sustain. Feeling safe again, floating in my Mother’s womb.

I allow the barriers to disintegrate, the facade to crumble, the numbness to fade until all that remains is the crimson heart that feels and hurts and breaks open, rendering me (and you) so very vulnerable and beautifully human.

I reclaim my beauty.

There is so much beauty in sadness. Because sadness is real. It cannot be faked or shaped or dressed up. It is crude and fervent and powerful. It brings us to our knees and makes us heave and swell and sob and churn until we are raw. Until we are ready.

For the stillness.

There is an infinite source of resilience and strength that follows every sadness. It waits until we are drained and hollow before making itself known. Like the luminescence that lingers after the downpour, it waits until there is a space. A pause. A silence. Then it bathes us in colour, floods us with wonder.

It replenishes our stores of hope and faith until we can breathe again. Until the mist lifts and we can see again. Until we can take another step, dance another dance, ask another question, take another chance.

Suddenly we find ourselves standing tall, shaken and unsettled, but immersed in the moment and more sure-footed than ever before. We no longer fear the diagnosis, the circumstance, the bad news, the outcome. We no longer fear at all.

There is nothing to fear about sadness. Without real sadness, there can be no real joy.

Let us be sad for the child without food, the woman without a coat, the dog without a home. Let us be sad for the friend with a broken heart, the patient with a scary chart, the bird with a broken wing. Let us be sad for the disintegrating health of our forests, of our oceans, of our skies. Let us be sad for the poverty-stricken families, the war-torn countries, the abused and the lonely and the desperate and the lost.

Let us cry and ache and break and feel. Let the sadness strip us, rip us, and pummel us into the ground until it is time to heal.

Let us be wide open. When we are wide open, love rushes in. Love rushes out. We become a vehicle of love and compassion. We become goodness itself.

Let us not look away, run away, stay away. With eyes open, heart broken, let us stand. Let us reach out our hand.

I reclaim my sadness.

I don’t want to be cheered up or picked up or distracted. I don’t want to hear your joke, answer your question, or make up excuses. I want to see what needs to be seen and feel what needs to be felt. I want the waves to crash over me and leave me dripping wet.

Let me be sad. Let me be human and godlike and childlike. Let me be present and vulnerable and afraid. Let me weep for the world and strive for redemption. Let me find my rainbow, my strength under the sorrow. Let me help you find yours.

Let me remember that in order to rise above the misery I must first slide into the dark, murky depths of it.

I remember.


This week's affirmation: I reach out my hand whenever I can.