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Showing posts from 2015

Brighten your world today

As the year comes to a close, thoughts turn to the promise of a new year and all that it will bring. For some, this means the start of something they’ve long aspired to, for others, an end to lingering habits they’ve struggled to shed. Though a powerful motivator, we don’t need to wait for the start of a new year to take action. There are an infinite number of things we can do to brighten our world, today. And that doesn’t mean finding the solution to world peace. Here are 10 little things I did in 2015 that have made my life better: Get a new pillow. At least one third of your life is spent with eyes closed. Needless to say, comfort is key. Anything you can do to improve the quality of your sleep, is time well spent. Take a probiotic supplement. Probiotic yogurts did a lot to raise awareness of the role and benefits of probiotics to digestive and intestinal health. A healthy gut makes for a happier person. Smell the roses. Literally and figuratively. This seemingly small act is hugely s…

Something has gone amiss

Something has gone amiss. When did it become not only okay but a source of pride to work endless hours…to sacrifice the balance so important to a quality life? To give up time with loved ones? To compromise health? 
The economic downturn has played some nasty tricks; not only robbing jobs, but loyalty and any semblance of security that may have existed at one time. More and more people are working contracts, part time hours, without benefits, living paycheque to paycheque, struggling to make ends meet.
Educated or otherwise, no one is immune. I know people doing the jobs of two or more. I know several who have been let go after years in their role. I know people who have been looking months, and in some cases years for work in their field.
With that as a backdrop, I watched with great interest this video arguing a case for the 32-hour workweek. It's clear that balanced lives make for balanced, happy, productive people. Simple. 
So, why aren't more people listening?

A lesson in love

If you follow any form of social media and don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the photo portrait series called Humans of New York
As a photographer and a long time lover of New York, I follow the series closely and see what is published each day.  But you quickly learn that it’s not really so much about photography or New York per se, but about humanity and that which unites us – our joys and struggles alike.Each image is accompanied by a quote from the person or people captured, usually something quite personal or profound.
Today’s image is a lesson in love – that true love that each one of aspire to in this life, no matter our race, creed or religion. I was so moved I wanted to share it here, so that we can all take inspiration from it. It rekindles my faith in the world, in the goodness of people, and in the existence of true love in its purest form.
May we each be inspired to be better and to endure.

Being your own best friend

self-worth [self-wurth] noun 1. the sense of one's own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect.

It’s a well-known fact that women tend to earn less than men for the same work. Why is this so? 

From the earliest stages of life, we’re influenced by the comments and attitudes of other people, especially of those we love. In the face of positive reinforcement, self worth thrives; but confronted by a lack of support or even negative messaging, our sense of self-worth suffers. In broad strokes, women and men receive different reinforcement as they grow and get to know themselves, which directly affects their self-worth. 

The corners within

The folded edges of our minds Reminders of shadows past Linger in corners Emerging strength of a sail’s mast
Arrival unsuspecting Marking ownership of new ground Beware the dimming light Fading slowly without sound
Push out with grace instead The challenging crevasses rooted For retreating to the former

Homeless to Harvard

I came across the story of Tonika Morgan yesterday and can’t think of a more perfect example of someone living a big little life…well, after you hear it you’ll see it’s more of a big BIG life.
Formerly homeless and on the streets, Toni took steps to transform her life and to empower the lives of others through her day-to-day work and her volunteer activities. As a high school dropout, she went against the odds to dedicate herself to challenging the systems that create barriers for low-income Canadians and break the cycle of poverty.

Below the line

How much do you spend in a day? Have you ever kept track?
Coffees, lunch, transportation, snacks…all incidental expenses above and beyond the bigger stuff that adds up easily without notice. But imagine that you had only $1.75 to spend daily for everything?
How would you do it?

My grandmother

March 31 would have been my grandmother's birthday. My mother told me with a sadness in her voice she knew I would share.
I lost my grandmother when I was only four years old. She lived a long life, but because I was so young, my memories of her are not so much about moments as they are about feelings. 
I remember feeling safe when I was with her. Feeling like the love she had for me made me a better person.

There is no finish line

"All you need to achieve your goals and your dreams is your mindset." - Rosie Swale Pope

I recently learned the story of Rosie Swale, a 68 year-old woman running from New York to San Francisco, inspiring all those she meets along the way. And if the run weren't challenge enough, she is pulling a 300 pound load - essentially all the supplies she will need on the nine month journey.

A runner all her life, Rosie took solace in her sport when her husband passed away from prostrate cancer in 2002. Instead of turning inward, she made it her mission to raise cancer awareness through extreme challenges. In fact, a year after his death she undertook a five year run around the world in his honour. 

Rosie is a reminder that each one of us can make a difference. Each one of us has a purpose, often it's a matter of taking life by the reigns. And when in doubt, opt to help others. Happiness lies in creating happiness for others.

Rosie shows us that it's up to you to live a big lit…

What do you see in the mirror?

We all know them. People who people blame others or circumstances for the challenges they may face, complaining about everything from their job, to their partner, their family and friends, and anything else they think isn’t as it should be.  And of course we are all guilty of this to varying degrees.
Complaining is so much easier than making a change, or practicing gratitude for that matter. But consider this: much of our life is simply a reflection of our actions and because of that, you can do something to change what displeases you. That starts with your attitude.

Spotlight on: City of Sleeping Bags

City of Sleeping Bags is a project dedicated to distributing sleeping bags to members of the homeless community who are forced to spend their nights on the street. Founded by Josephine and Jane Mathias and Katherine Heng, all currently university students, the organization has set a fundraising goal of $5,000 to purchase 100 portable all-season sleeping bags and other cold weather necessities for Toronto’s homeless.
I recently spoke with Josephine to learn more about this incredible initiative.

per·se·ver·ance

per·se·ver·ance, pərsəˈvirəns/
noun steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

The man featured  in this video is the epitome of perseverance. It can be easy to take our blessings for granted until they are taken away, or we witness someone faced with different challenges from our own, pushing limits beyond our imagination. This video resonated with me for many reasons. I love cycling and I know first hand how hard it can be to push through the pain - legs and heart exploding, demanding more oxygen or simply a break.

What would this man say about that? 

Next time I am battling the hills, I will remember him, not only overcoming obvious obstacles, but excelling beyond anything that many hobbyist cyclists have, or ever will achieve.
So next time you're inclined to complain or stop yourself because you believe you can't do something, think again. Anything is possible. It is up to you.



Human after all

We're often quick to judge people - consciously or subconsciously - based on what they may look like, where they're from, the work they do, where they live and many other factors that only scratch the surface (if at all) of who they truly are.

This video features a Muslim man at a busy intersection in Toronto soliciting hugs from strangers who trust he isn't a terrorist….a prejudice that many Muslims face today. As I watched this video I cried and smiled at the same time. It reminded me that there is much good in the world and that having faith in that will allow us to overcome.

Despite race, politics and religion we are all the same...human after all.


Sit still already

The demands of modern life can sometimes be daunting. Frustrated by technologies we imagined would make life easier, working ever more stressful jobs in the face of an unstable economy and a changing workforce, often raising children all the while, can make for what feels like an overwhelming life.

As a solution, people often strive to "get away from it all" for just a few weeks each year, and sometimes not even that long. But what if the answer were not in distant places, but with us all the time? Pico Iyer, a respected travel writer, explores the importance of the "art of stillness" as a means of finding true insight and managing the chaos that comes with constant movement and distraction.

Relationships. Training manual needed.

Relationships. Sometimes I think they should come with a manual. Or maybe each one of us should have our own personal manual so that on entering a relationship we could give it to our partner as a means of training for what’s ahead.
I was struck by that thought when listening to the dating challenges of some of my single friends. And I have been there too. Trying to navigate the pitfalls, shortcomings, landmines, and everything in between that comes with the ‘dating scene’.