Archive for the ‘Culture and Art’ Category

Beating Resistance

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

wallI am locked in a fight with Resistance. She’s been kicking my ass for a while. Resistance lobs grenades at me, mortar shells, spit balls, and mean names. She shows up at my door every evening with a bottle of cheap wine and a stink bomb, hidden in bunch of fake roses. Every day she says: not here. Not now. Not you.

Resistance tells me to relax. Watch a movie. Smoke some weed. Take a day off, take a load off, take a vacation. Take a life off. Resistance whispers in my ear that I am not quite ready to do my life’s Work. Who are you, she says sarcastically, to do this? When I get riled she says hey, hey, don’t take it so personal. You can start your life’s work…tomorrow. Or the next day—I hear the weather’s supposed to be good on Thursday. Or maybe, the day after that. (more…)

The Bicycle Buddha rides!

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Looking over my shoulder at the milestones on my path, one thing stands as constant: nothing is so sweet, so fun and so fruitful as working in creative partnership. And so at last, the Bicycle Buddha is ready to hit to the road, in tandem! With my co-bicyclista and dharma sista, Red Sara.

This Canada Day holiday Monday, Red and I will lead a ride to discover some of the Buddha’s East Van hangouts. It’s a tasty sampler plate of buddhist flavours, from ancient Asian to contemporary DIY, including Yanviriya Thai Temple, the Tilopa Centre, (more…)

Because even the word obstacle is an obstacle

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Try to love everything that gets in your way:
the Chinese women in flowered bathing caps
murmuring together in Mandarin, doing leg exercises in your lane
while you execute thirty-six furious laps,
one for every item on your to-do list. (more…)

My valentines party

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

I am fantasizing a Reclaim Valentines Day party. A party dedicated to love, without the mating-and-dating imperative. All the fun of 2nd-grade V-Day minus the popularity politics. Here’s how it goes:

It has the essential bones of my favourite party-type endeavors: an intimate and funky space like the Dharmalab, a few choice dance-crazy dj’s, possibly some live-music jamming, good snacks, minimal alcohol, and a broad range of partyers of all ages and socio-spheres, (more…)

Lessons of Chaco Canyon

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Early this morning I sat wrapped in a blanket on the frosty back patio of Querencia. The sun rose over Pikacho Peak. Ravens and chickadees chattered, dogs barked, coyotes scattered, footsteps crunched on snow. The highway woke up then too, commuters zooming through the valley to Santa Fe. Each engine momentarily obliterating the birdsong and the silence.

I saw in the sun’s rays an image of Chaco Canyon, the ruins of a proud civilization that thrived and peaked 800 years past. It took 300 years to build it, twelve generations, each individual life dedicated to constructing just that wall, that doorway, that kiva. Four-lane highways to nowhere. Two hundred thousand massive timbers hand hauled from distant forests. All to build a vast monument to hubris and the illusion of permanence. All in the end, burned, abandoned and collapsed.

And I took comfort in the truth that this too shall pass. One day this highway will crumble to silence. The sun will still rise and the birds will keep singing, and the coyotes will leave footprints in the snow.

New Year’s Renunciations

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Renunciation! Now there is one scary word. Joyless ascetics giving up all worldly pleasures. Shaven-headed cave-dwellers. Celibacy. Ugh.

Well I am thinking, never mind the resolutions that stem from feelings of failure and inadequacy. New Years is a great time for renunciation, and so I renounce all the hindrances that hold me back from shining fearless as the sun: greed, anger, pride, envy, and the mother of them all—delusion.

I renounce my own bullshit. I renounce “not good enough”, “too old”, “what would people think?” and “can’t afford it.” I will go to New York. I will get my teeth fixed. I will get a new bike.

I renounce all the things that no longer serve me. The old projects, old identities, old relationships long outgrown. I renounce my resumé; I am not that. (more…)

Going offline

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

The first snowstorm of the year came yesterday, high howling winds, blowing snow, and a power outage. It was no big deal, Upaya stayed warm, and thanks to the gas stoves lunch was served on time. But something very different did happen. For the first time in my three months here, residents drifted into the living room. Draped themselves over chairs. And lazily, cozily, conversed in shared space.

Normally everyone would have been off rapping away, alone with our little white boxes. But no power means, no Internet. (more…)

Hopeless for hockey

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

I surrender, I cave. I do care about hockey. I kind of–well, I confess: I kind of love it. I’m a hockey nut out of the closet.

I love the sound of the game – the icy echo of the crowd, galumphing organ music, smack of sticks, thud and rattle of bodies against wood and glass. The very  Canadian cadence of the announcers’ voices – he shoots, he scores!

My mother was from Montreal and my dad from Toronto and that sound takes me right back to Leafs vs Habs showdowns, clustered around the tv in pajamas with pop and pretzels and snow piling up outside. Hockey games and Passover seders, my only memories of family gatherings. Ma nishtana halila hazeh? Why is this night different from all other nights? A cup for Elijah and a cup for Stanley. Hallelujah. (more…)


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