When James* called upon me, he asked that we meet in an open restaurant downtown Vancouver. Asking him why there instead of my office, he laughed and said, ‘Because I need it this way.’ On the agreed upon date and time of rendez-vous, James sat down in front of me and immediately placed his hands under the table where I could Not see them. This gesture alone told me a lot about James, how easily he pretended to be emotionally open yet felt the want to hide once in front of me. Through my talking with him, I found out James was one of nine children from a very large Catholic South American family. He grew up being an altar boy, going to Sunday school, and saying prayers. But something was Not working for him… In his teenage years, he realized he was gay and being gay is
Have you ever experienced a gushing water leak in your home? Where was it? Was it underneath the kitchen sink? Was it in the basement where water pipes tend to run hidden in the dark? What did it cost you to repair this leak? In 2001, I bought a showroom townhouse. It had many upgrades like granite countertops, wooden kitchen cabinets, and so on. I loved this house house very much, it looked great on the surface… until the day I had my first water leak. The day it happened, I did not know where the water valve was, so I ran panicking to my next door neighbour. He calmly came over, turned the water valve off, and told me to call a plumber. I had never had to call a plumber before and it made me feel deeply anxious and stressed out. Ever been in that situation?
HOW FAR AM I WILLING TO GO? Am I willing to go beyond the stars Where you and I were born Where the sun befriends the moon Where rainbows bridge us all? Am I willing to go further than the eye can see Where trees plant their roots Where flowers drop their seeds Where leaves take in the colours of seasons? Am I willing to go deeper than the ocean floor Where all the river beds make one Where the illusion of division is triumphed over Where we all feel as one? How far am I willing to go? I am willing to go At the centre of myself Where I hear it all begins The point of origin That unites us all. I am willing to go Where ‘broken’ lines disappear Where there is no you or me Where there is only a
I -- USED TO THINK I used to think A tree was just a tree I saw it with my own mind Roots, trunk, branches, leaves. I used to think You were different than me I saw it with my own mind Bodies, fences, judgement, fear. Thanks to my mentor, I met me For a moment, I stopped thinking, In stillness, my mind cracked open Discovering sunshine cooling breeze within. How refreshing To hear inside the giggles of a small child Who never thought we were separate Who's always known we all belong. Because of my love for this child and me The lines in my mind are becoming blurry If there is nothing separating you from me Then, who am I? What are we? Willing to know, I ask her to show me the way How I may serve her from a place
Have you ever wondered what makes us human? Me too... especially in light of what happened on Sunday morning… Last Sunday morning, I decided to stop by my favourite coffee shop before going on my walk. Looking at the burgeoning trees and blooming flowers around me, it is easy to imagine spring is here. As I enter the shop, I sense something amiss. Maybe because the first pair of eyes who greet me, those of the barista, they look distressed? She is squinting badly and a frown line is crossing her forehead horizontally. Perhaps the object of her concern is what is going on at a specific table? There, sobbing massively, with big heaving hiccups coming out of her, is one of the homeless women I often encounter on my daily walks. I have known her for about three years now. Though she always seems to remember
Like children perhaps, we often learn via storytelling. Therefore, let me take you back to a once upon a time…. Once upon a time, I met a little girl who seemed to be fascinated with flowers and trees. She shyly shared she could even hear the wind whispering to her ear, but in the village where she came from, she was often ridiculed for caring so deeply about such ‘trivial’ things. One day, on her daily walk, she felt greatly led to meet the most gigantic tree she had ever seen in her life. The tree seemed ancient, branching in all directions of sunrises and sunsets. Its trunk was so large that her two little arms could not even join together at the hands when she tried to circle it all by herself. She stood in awe in front of this majestic tree, noticing the crisscrossing barks
AWAKENING I awoke in the middle of the night, Frightened and scared, Thinking I was alone. I looked around the bedroom, Stillness and shadows greeting me. What an unfamiliar sight, I thought to myself, To be alone with one’s thoughts, To be shyly greeting one’s feelings. Out of habit, I called out a name, Thinking you would come, But the echo came back empty. I did not yet understand, Love is neither a name or a game, It is a flowing feeling, Like waves, rising and falling, Amidst our own waters. Thinking I knew better, I turned my bed into a raft, I paddled day and night, Still hoping to find you, Afloat on another raft nearby. Feeling more lost than ever, I finally stopped doing this crazy thing, And started instead to Listen to the wind Who has always known my name. It said,
I am somewhere deep in the countryside. It is Sunday afternoon, sunny, and beside me is sitting my 16 year old listening to her music on her headphones. I love driving on this back road, it is full of twists and turns, a road less travelled, or so it seems. On each side of the road is a large dug trench as a ditch. Each lane is super narrow, nowhere to stop the car, really, unless I want every car coming behind me to stop as well. Every once in a while, we meet an old fashioned mail box, with its flap either up or down, signalling perhaps someone’s driveway nearby? But none of it matters because, right now, I need to pee. I really really really need to pee. Yes, I did pee back at the restaurant and I need to go again.
His eyes fascinate me, two white eggs with two brown pancakes in their middle. Every time he looks at me, I feel transported inside the world of an innocent child, perhaps confused by how many years seem to have flown by him. His face, a maze of zigzagging lines, looks like a race against time. The more I look at him, the more I want to know the heart behind the beggar I see on the street. Unlike many other pedlars perhaps, he does not verbally ask directly for money to me. He usually leaves a hat or an empty cup in front of him and silently waits. For a while, I even thought he was mute... On some days, I notice him holding a big fluffy brown rabbit in his lap. He seems to love his rabbit very much and the rabbit seem to reciprocate greatly by
I BELIEVE we all have this friend, you know, the one who loves to give advice, especially when said ‘advice’ is unsolicited, unwanted, and perhaps non-needed? I used to be this ‘friend’. I used to make it my mission in life to ‘enlighten’ others. I believe I was older, ‘wiser’, ‘smarter’. Yeah, I was kind of the female version of a massive jackass in a pencil skirt walking on 3 inches heels. www.walkingniside.com Oblivious to the fact I was the one who needed to heed my own words, I piled theory after theory upon others. I believed I was ‘loving’ and ‘caring’ in that moment. ’You have a headache? You should take an Advil. Your back hurt? You should lie down.’ And to any argument that might come out of their mouth, I was quick to ‘tut, tut, tut…’ while fretting 'happily' upon them to silence them.