“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 Ming’s family,


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


Aplomb is not a word we perhaps encounter every day, yet we all seem to want it in our life, because of what it might mostly represent: self-confidence, self-assurance, and self-composure.     Since aplomb seems to be so sought after for one’s well-being,   Where does aplomb come from?     Centuries ago, masons and carpenters used a string to which was attached a piece of lead to erect structures that were perpendicularly straight. They used lead (which is termed ‘plomb’ in French) because lead is considered a metal that carries a lot of weight.   Therefore, isn’t it what aplomb implies?   To be able to carry one’s self with a lot of weight?     Is this is so…   What kind of weight does aplomb require?     The easiest way for me to answer this question is to use Chinese Mandarin as vertical leverage.  


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,


ANY DENIAL IN YOUR LIFE, WHAT IS IT COSTING YOU? If you ‘love’ your denial, move on, because this blog, well, it might hurt…   When I was fifteen years old, I promised myself I would NEVER be like my father. Ever said something like that?   I was standing in the kitchen and my mother wanted me to apologize. I refused. She looked at me, ‘You’re just like your father! so proud, so vain, you never apologize, you’re full of anger, Anne! Control Yourself!!!”   Her words hit me hard. I felt the blood like draining out of my body; I became like cold. I was like my father? That rageful man?   ‘No, I’ll never be my father,’ I thought, ‘I’ll apologize, I’ll be nice, I’ll stop being angry.’ I looked at my mother and in a low voice apologized to her. I remember the words being hard

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