Wouldn't stop picking at it

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Talking about writing

Lichen, Mont Tremblant, October 2013

I must seem like the most boring person in the world to everyone I meet lately. Four and five times a day I am asked, “How are you? What’s new?” Each time I answer, “Not much!” and then listen to my voice mumble about work, burnt espresso and a yoga class I want to take…

Having kids, having families

Old Montreal, December 2013

The older I get, the more babies there are around me. And the more babies there are around me, the more I realize that they are part of my extended family, regardless of whether or not there’s a blood relation. I may not have babies myself, but I have a community of relations, friends, children, collaborators…

My mother, death and the present moment

Cahoon Hollow, Cape Cod, August 2013

During a recent meeting of my meditation group, one woman told us that since focussing her practice on death and impermanence, she’s started to see death everywhere. All I could think was, “Then my mother is a Buddhist meditation master.” Maria Palanca can envision death scenarios so fantastic, she should be working for the CSI…

Writing life: Chunks vs. bites

Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

In the last few years, I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit beating myself up about how much I write (or don’t write). Usually following a fierce internal tongue lashing in which I berate myself for being too busy and not making the time. I believed that I needed a chunk of time…

My yoga practice is nothing special

Gasket, Bialetti coffee maker, Montreal

Yes, you read that correctly. My yoga practice was something that used to cause me stress. I worried about my form from the first sun salutation right through to savasana. I wanted to please my teachers. I wanted to show my fellow yogis that I deserved to practice alongside them. If I had a “bad”…

The arrogance of an easy life

Mont Royal, Montreal, Summer 2013

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of dog sitting this sweet pup (–>) for a few days. On the Saturday, once the rain let up, she and I ducked under the trees on the north side of the Mont Royal. We hopped over fallen branches and roots, and mucked up muddy inclines, the…

It’s not you, Facebook. It’s me.

Coffee shop, Montreal, Quebec

I had this friend on Facebook. An acquaintance from university, actually. I originally accepted her friend request to be polite, but I recently un-friended her. I “neaten” my Facebook friend list once a year, removing people who never post, who post too frequently about subjects that I care little for, or people with whom I…

Single for so long*

Merrickville, Ontario, May 2013

At first, people and articles give you plenty of advice on how to live a happy single life. You bring along a book when you dine alone. You learn the pleasures of having the newspaper all to yourself on a Sunday morning. You go on ski trips with friends and sign up for a stained…

Mourning the loss of subtlety

Istanbul Modern, April 2013

I was recently enjoying a cup of chai with the delectable Asma of Curry Go and we got to talking about a phenomenon that happens every spring in Montreal. That is, the minute the temperature rises, the city breaks out with barely contained breasts, half-released bums and long white thighs. We discussed the possibility of…

Teaching music / teaching yoga

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One of the pleasures of reading is the possibility for synchronicity to occur. Your eyes follow the lines and suddenly, you come across a passage that marries two parts of your understanding into one meaningful and electrifying whole. This happened earlier this week while reading an article by Jeremy Denk in the April 8 issue…

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