Day 13: Being “Special”

This one’s been driving me crazy over the past couple of years. Probably since the moment they handed me my degree. That was when I was supposed to march out into the world and Do What I Love, Follow My Passion, Chase My Dreams. Just one problem. University, budding adulthood, going from one of the smartest kids in school to a mediocre face in the crowd – it all kind of knocked the wind out of my sails.

I’m definitely part of the generation that was raised constantly being told I was special. And I’m not sure it did me much good. Despite the loving intentions of the adults around me, I didn’t hear “You are inherently special” so much as “Our expectation is that you be special, and you demonstrate your specialness on a regular basis.” Continue reading “Day 13: Being “Special””


Day 12: Why Self-Love is Vital

I’ve heard it a thousand times: learn to love yourself before you try to love someone else.

I always thought it was a prudent game plan, an act of self-protection and diligence, like putting on your knee guards before you step out on the ice. You’re just…supposed to love yourself before giving someone your heart. That’s the order of things.

I didn’t realize loving yourself is how you learn to love others. That without practicing radical self-acceptance, you can’t love other people.

That’s right. Can’t. I don’t believe it’s possible.  Continue reading “Day 12: Why Self-Love is Vital”

Day 10: The Work I Love

I’m writing so much these days. I absolutely adore it. After such a long personal fallow season of writing only diaries and prayers, to be making poems, overflowing with ideas – it’s such a rich time.

I’m watching the first season of Smash, a show I watched religiously when it first came out a few years ago. Seeing people working towards their dreams, following their hearts; it’s such a timeless, sweet theme. Well, most of the time.

When I saw Zootopia last year, despite thoroughly enjoying it, I couldn’t help but think: “Ugh, Disney, another wide-eyed ingenue pursuing her dream. Really?”

It can definitely be overdone and oversimplified, especially in family movies – the endless exhortation to “Follow Your Heart” can be dry and flat, and even frustrating when your passion or interests are particularly elusive. So what is it about now, about this show that makes my sentimental heart flutter against my ribs when last year I might have turned up my nose in disgust? Continue reading “Day 10: The Work I Love”

Day 8: Perception

“Listen to this! Jess, listen! He’s saying “It’s so hard to keep this mouth on my face!””

“I really don’t think so, B.”

“No, here.” My brother skipped back on the song and held out his phone to me.

“It’s smile from my face.”

No. How can you not hear it?”

He played it over and over, utterly sure he was right.

I grinned at his conviction, then googled the lyrics to prove it to him. “See? Stuck in the Middle With You. “It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face.””

“Well it’s wrong. I hear “mouth.””

“Why don’t you listen again and try to hear “smile”?” Continue reading “Day 8: Perception”

Day 7: Things Get Trickier

The numbers 1111 have been popping up a lot for me lately. I find myself glancing at the clock dead on whenever it ticks around, I see it in books and on signs. Because I’m super into Doreen Virtue right now and have a lot of free time, I decided to look up what that means in her world. What I learned is repeatedly seeing 1111 around is a sign from spirits, angels, the Universe, whatever name you’re most comfortable with, that you need to be watchful of your thoughts because they are becoming form instantly. Be careful what you think, it’s immediately coming into being around you.

Damn. No pressure or anything. Continue reading “Day 7: Things Get Trickier”

Day 6: How We’re “Supposed” to Feel

I went upstairs a couple of hours ago to see my mum watching a video on Facebook.

“This is yours,” she said.

Mine? I hadn’t made a video. Watching it, I saw a request from a family who seem perfectly lovely for a nanny/homeschool teacher to travel around the world with them for a year.

An incredible opportunity, right?

A friend of mine had tagged me in the link and my mum was actively encouraging me to apply. They very sweetly thought of me and quite innocently suggested I take a look.

A suggestion my brain chose to interpret as … an expectation. Continue reading “Day 6: How We’re “Supposed” to Feel”

Day 5: Passion and Zen

My 14 year old brother is one of the most passionate people I know. He eats, sleeps, breathes, wears, reads, and polishes cars. Sometimes it seems there’s not much room in his brain for anything else. I don’t think I’ve ever known someone so single-minded in their love for something.

Okay *shuffles feet* maybe I have.

Today he had to write a poem for class based around an abstract idea of his choosing. He picked passion. A wise and pertinent choice, I thought.

I tried to come up with a few exercises to help him clear his mind and let him experience his passion in its raw, pure state. “What does that look like? How does it move? How does it feel?”

He wrote such a joyous, full-hearted poem about his love for cars, about being carried away on the wings of something like that. About losing yourself in devotion.

One of the things I am most passionate about is spirituality, in every form. And one of my favourite forms is Buddhism. I’ve been meditating on and off for ten years, with fervent passion and zeal, seeking the bliss and peace of enlightenment. The more I studied about Buddhism, the more I wondered if my passionate fiery personality was something to be quashed. Was my intense sensitivity the root of my suffering? The reason I struggled to get to the mat every day? I didn’t know how to stop feeling so much. I could watch my emotions; sometimes I could even have the awareness that they would soon pass. But I couldn’t get rid of them.

It’s only recently that I’ve started to realize without being so passionate, I never would have sought out meditation practice. I never would have read book after book after book on Buddhism, Taoism, Yoga, and Sufism. I wouldn’t still be getting up at dawn to keep my commitment to a 31 day yoga challenge. My feelings aren’t the problem, quite the reverse. Me being over-dramatic or overly sensitive is what has made me into the person I am and keeps me pursuing new knowledge and realization. It keeps me working ever harder to be the best version of myself. Passion keeps me moving in pursuit of peace.

Passionately Zen. It’s a bit of an oxymoron, I admit. But Zen is also about learning how to live with ease amid apparent opposites – being and non-being, Oneness and the Void.

So there must be a way to harmonize my fire and zest for life with the calm, observing part of myself I work so hard to cultivate. Can I learn to listen so closely (and yet with ease) that I can pick out the moment when the notes of passion and peace come together to produce one soul-stirring chord? What would that sound like?

For me, I’m beginning to think it sounds like poetry.


my heart is burning

under Shiva’s dancing feet

to limitless ash



I try to ignore

longing to go to the woods

yet the flute plays on



P.S. I now have an Etsy store up and running, in an attempt to raise a bit of money for The Humane League, and express my creativity at the same time. Check it out if you’re interested. Thank you very much🙂