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


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?


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


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,


“Put yourself in my shoes!” yelled my 14 year old daughter to me before storming out of the kitchen crying. As I heard her bedroom door slam, I whispered softly, “I am trying, sweetie, more than you might possibly know.”   The sale offer for the house had been finalized and I had just announced to my daughter that we were moving downtown, be about one hour away from her school and friends.   She was adamant she was not moving. She was determined to finish high school where her two elder siblings had graduated from before her.   In the past, when I talked about the house being for sale, she usually became quiet, silent, withdrawn, as if the landscape outside the kitchen window was far more interesting than what I had to say.   If I asked her if she was listening to any I was sharing about


I used to think co-dependence was a good thing, that is fostered a sense of loyalty and belonging, as if co-dependence could fix all my insecurities, all my failed hopes, all my hopeless dreams. It has taken me decades to realize that,   Co-dependence is like an extension cord   controlling the lights on our Christmas tree.   How so, you may ask?    Every Christmas, I retrieve my Christmas tree along with a couple of boxes containing my favourite decorations. Do you do this too?   I take my tree and straighten it. I pin it in its stool, hoping it remains solid without wobbling.   I open up its branches one by one like a big fan. I want my tree to show a full rounded skirt without gapping holes. What can I say? I like my decorations to be balanced, just like in real life.   I


Three years ago, I was asked a similar version of this question by my future mentor Dov Baron. He phrased it as something like, “Who are you hurting by playing small?”   When I first heard his question, sitting in the audience among hundreds of others, I immediately told him to fuck off… in my head of course.   I started feeling agitated inside, angrily pondering, “Who is he to ask me such a question? After all I have been through in my life!”   Back then, I was very much a victim and, like all victims, I might not have noticed I was playing small out of fear.   Which brings me now to this incident yesterday…   I have been actively doing lane swimming for the last three weeks after almost a ten years absence from the pool. Jumping into the water, I had ‘forgotten’ how cold it


The next thing I know, I hear Lucky’s barking and snapping snarls in the driveway. I hear with him the soft whimpering of the little black and white Shih Tzu I am babysitting. Shit!!! I run outside.  In the driveway is the next door neighbour’s German Shepard. He and Lucky are going at each other’s throat. The little Shih Tzu is laying on her side, her chest labouring to breathe. Patches of blood are staining the snow.   I start screaming, running over to separate them. Hearing me, the Shepard’s owner comes running down from his house. Bigger than me, he yanks his dog off Lucky. Sharp words are exchanged; I believe the word ‘police’ was mentioned. Both of us are furious! Both of us likely want to be right.   How does blind anger impart responsibility properly?   The little Shih Tzu has a couple of scratches. Lucky has

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