“You don’t understand. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I need you to be compassionate.”   In that moment, she felt the all too familiar feeling of what it was like to be a Canadian born Chinese wanting to connect with her Chinese heritage.   When Ming* (name changed to protect privacy) first came to see me, her back was hunched forward as if she was carrying too heavy a burden on her shoulders. She nervously pushed her glasses up the tip of her nose before letting her long black hair drop forward to cover part of her face.   When I asked this young Chinese woman what she needed, Ming made the following comment:   Through my talking with Ming, I found out her Chinese grandmother had been the one primarily responsible for her caregiving while she was growing up. Her grandmother, who was living with


When Levy* (fictitious name) came to see me, he quietly walked into the room. He chose a seat far away from me. He sat in the chair, his back straight, his hands firmly crossed in front of him. When I asked him how he was, he answered, “Good.” Asked if he would like a warm cup of tea, he said “no” then he quickly glanced at his watch as if he suddenly had an appointment somewhere else. Taking in Levy’s behaviours, I knew what I needed to do to make him feel I am trustworthy of having him as a client.   Through my talking with him, I found out his father criticized him a lot, often telling him he wasn’t good enough. He said his family was very much money-oriented, with success determined on how much money each member made and saved. Laughing nervously, he said the bigger the


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


When Janie came to see me, she smiled an easy smile and quickly answered “I’m fine!” to the question ‘How are you?’ I watched her as she fidgeted onto her seat, obviously trying to find a comfortable position. She finally sat down after putting a nearby colourful cushion in front of her tummy. This gesture alone told me a lot about Janie, how she most likely was living her life hiding in the background while hanging on to shiny objects for dear life.   Through my talking with her, I found out she has spent years studying for a profession she says she is now hating. She said she felt tired and drained, her bosses apparently not caring about what happened to her or how she felt.     Have you ever been in a situation where you felt unseen and unheard?   After her work shift, Janie confessed she


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?


My tummy was full and I was feeling content. I had my sixteen year old daughter with me and we were sitting in a restaurant decorated like an old fifties’ diner. The food was great, the service impeccable, and I gladly asked for the bill. As I take my wallet out to pay, an elderly couple walks in. He is walking ahead of her, a spring in his step, a bright smile on his face.   He points to the table next to me. It was a round table and he said to me, "I want this one! I love round tables, do you know why?" As I said no smiling, I saw his eyes twinkle in anticipation of a good joke. He answered, “Because I don’t like being cornered!”   Looking at him being happy, obviously loving his joke, I burst out laughing with him. To me, he was like a


ROUND AND ROUND   Round and round We go again On the merry-go-round of life. Ups and downs, We think that’s life Until we get off our mount.   Round and round We go again On the merry-go-round of life. Laughter and tears We think we’re here Until we go deep within.   In and in We go again On the merry-go-round of life, Darkness and light Fuse into one Until we go round and round.   With love & compassion, Anne   What makes any of us go round and round in circles?


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


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,


  “Control yourself!” yelled my mother at me when I flatly refused to obey as she asked me to apologize to my father. In my fifteen year old mind, I had lost trust in this woman who kept allowing my father to curse the day I was born.   “You’re just like your father! You don’t listen!” she stormed as I was turning my heels around, refusing to endure one more second what I believe were hypocritical sermons.   “He’s your father! Can’t you see he is also suffering?” she tried blackmailing me with, as I refused to suffer more by swallowing more of their shame and guilt within me.   “Just do it for me, okay?” she cried as a last ditch effort to move me into resigning myself to the apparently inevitable, pitying my father, her, and me.       Based on what I have just shared

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