Taking Off the Mask…again.

Truth Byte #60

“Being real will get you there.”


I have tried on a lot of flavours in my life. After my early years as teacher’s pet and uber-nerd, I moved to my teens where I tried hard to make hip-hop culture fit me, and then into my early twenties, when I joined the pseudo-spirituality of the New Agers.


It is finally now, in my later thirties, that I am settling in to a hybrid version of all these other identities. I have come to peace with loving books more than people and the urgent-yet-glazed feeling I get when I am wrist-deep in a new novel. I have internalized the struggles of the marginalized, joining marches and protests when there is a social issue I just can’t keep quiet about. And I Feng Shui my house, and teach my kids how to stop their bodies from bruising through simple energy healing techniques.
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The Upside of Getting it Wrong

Truth Byte #58

 “It’s okay to make mistakes you can learn from.”


As a recovered perfectionist, I had a hard time believing it’s okay to make mistakes for decades. I believed, deep inside myself, that mistakes were the result of poor self-control or a lack of planning or some personal weakness finally come to light. I was okay with other people making mistakes, but if I did something wrong, it deeply impacted my self-worth and ignited this caustic self-talk that would burn holes in my sense of personal worth and goodness. I was really determined to be as perfect as I could be in the areas that mattered to me.
What that meant is that I really didn’t take many risks.


Because I didn’t want to fail.

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From Baseball to the White House

Truth Byte #42

“You have been sleeping, and it’s time to wake up.”


Have you had the sense lately that you have been sleepwalking through a pretty pleasant dream, and you have woken up to find the world is not quite how you left it?


I sure feel that way right now.


Two historic things happened for my American husband this week: the Chicago Cubs won the World Series (first time in 108 years!) and Americans voted in a new president.


One event took us to the moon with joy.


The other made us feel like we were walking through a cold, terrifying night in Hell.


I will let you postulate on which event had which impact.


The one event from last week (you know which one I mean, right?) has got me thinking about what it means to be free.  It has me devouring history textbooks to see how societies of old managed belligerent, steam-roller dictators who put the shouts of the many over the cries of the vulnerable.  It has me predicting world events like I am some sort of self-proclaimed political scientist.  Many of my friends and colleagues are using the language of fight or flight.


I could go on for pages, but I won’t.


Because this blog is all about your own choices, and the truth as I understand it.


What I know to be true is that no one can give you freedom.  Just as no one can take it away.  Sure, someone can take your things, take your land, take your family, force you to change you name and your religion, but no one, and I mean not even the Devil himself, has a right to the part of you that actually matters, your spirit.


In the most inhumane circumstances, the human spirit has survived, and lived to see another generation of love come forth.


Today, we need to wake up and see that we are the creators of our own personal destiny. And yes, we are part of a collective.  We have neighbours and friends and co-workers who have ideas that may be different than our own.  But we also have agency.  We have agency over our actions, our thoughts, and what emotions we let flood our bodies.


I would implore, to all my brothers and sisters who believe in the human spirit, now is the time to remember your anti-bullying workshops from high school.


Maybe it’s been a while, so let me remind you.


Bullies thrive on attention.  They thrive because they get a rise out of people, and they get an audience.  In order to stop a bully you have to a) refuse to react and b) band together.  In the anti-bullying training my son receives at his elementary school, a program called “Bully Back-Off”, children are taught specific words to say to a bully when s/he is picking on someone.  The bystanders are taught something very simple.  They are to stand beside the person getting bullied, and say, firmly and with direct eye contact: “I want you to leave us alone”.


They say “us”.


They don’t say leave him alone or leave her alone.


The bystander joins in and says, “I want you to leave us alone.”


And sometimes, a second or third or fourth bystander will join in and say, “I want you to leave us alone”.  And the group keeps growing.  And surprise surprise, eventually the bully backs off.


I implore you, let’s remember to stand together, and tell the haters to leave us alone.  The people who will are most afraid are the ones who also will find it hardest to speak when the bullies come knocking.  But if enough of us say, “I want you to leave us alone”, then the bully backs off, once and for all.


So enough about that, let’s go back to the Cubs.  Years ago, I attended a game at Wrigley Field.  It was the most incredible experience.  This team hadn’t won in a century, and yet the stadium was packed up to the bleachers, and everyone knew the words to every song and chant.  There was such happiness and hope, and even though they lost that day, I felt like I was part of something so meaningful.


Cubs fans never gave up on their team. 


And finally, they played the game we were all waiting for, and won it.


If we could believe for a hundred years that this team would rise again, just you wait till 2020.


We are finally awake, and we are not going back to sleep.


More thoughts on “waking up” on my weekly YouTube Talkshow, Today is your Day.