it’s no shock he won

My first thought when the twin towers fell was, Oh, fuck. My last name’s Abdulla. Actually, it was more like intense dread imploding my gut. I knew in that moment life would never be the same. My last name, which had always felt like a curse, was more loaded than ever.

It didn’t help when, a few years later, my name mysteriously appeared on a no-fly list. I was issued a redress number, which I now must quote every time I fly to the United States, to prove I’m not a terrorist. Apparently it was a case of ‘mistaken identity’.

Right.

Prior to the no-fly incident, when I’d explain to friends my ongoing hassles at the border, most would brush it off. Oh, they do that to everyone. Well, no – they don’t do that to everyone. I found myself shutting down in such conversations, as I had for years. It was difficult to articulate the subtle (and not-so-subtle) discrimination I experienced. People thought I was overly sensitive, imagining it, or – my personal favourite – “too angry”. I told myself those very same things.

An Indian Game (Juggling the Books) - Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun

An Indian Game (Juggling the Books) – Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun

I wasn’t the least bit shocked Trump won…and truthfully, I’m not as upset as others. And not just because I live in Canada. Trump is the glaring, heinous expression of what we have collectively suppressed and brushed off for too long. Maybe now people will truly wake up and realize there’s a problem here. One that affects everyone and has become so gargantuanly big it can no longer be swept under the rug; in fact, it has become “the leader of the free world”.

This shit has gotten real, and it’s about time.

I don’t believe Trump could’ve won unless a huge amount of people (including some identified as spiritual, liberal, democrat, etc.) didn’t hold his patriarchal, racist, and misogynistic views somewhere in their psyche.

I include myself in this group. For years now, I’ve been facing my own inner patriarch, and what I’ve uncovered hasn’t been pretty. It is a long process. The inner bully is loud-mouthed, yet stealth and sly, and hides in pockets. Patriarchy, racism, and misogyny run deep in humanity, and reflect eons of false conditioning. They’re not going to go away without a fight. And when someone like Trump wins, there can be a sense or failing, futility, of wanting to escape it all.

Which is, of course, exactly what the patriarchy wants you to feel.

Most of us avoid facing the grief that underlies our programmed fear. It’s much easier to eat or drink or point fingers or hate. But look at the world we create when we shun our own pain. Who were we before we starting hating ourselves and others? Are we ready to travel the layers within to reach that place?

Are we willing to let go of whatever privileged status we have? Do we secretly cling to it like a security blanket? Have we become so accustomed to privilege that we don’t even recognize it as such? Are we ready to move past experiences of discrimination and forgive, at a time when discrimination has reared its most ugly head?

Here in Canada, we suffered through our own version of Trump for over nine years. Things appeared to turn around when Justin Trudeau was elected Prime Minister in 2015, but not everyone was happy about it. Only time will tell of significant change.

For Americans, now is not the time to immigrate to Canada or move to a foreign country. There is work to be done right where you are. It is a huge challenge, which contains the seed of a huge blessing. Now you know what you’re dealing with: the collective shadow stands right in front of you.

I’ve heard some beautiful sentiments expressed these last few days; those resolving to be more kind, more caring, more compassionate. I myself have felt very raw and open in my interactions lately. We need each other more than ever. No one is exempt.

This is a catalyst for humans to discover their true power. We can choose to connect with others in creating a new paradigm…or we can sink into fear and apathy. That’s the beauty of free will, and it ultimately has nothing to do with who is ‘leading’ the country.

To live in love consciousness, the volcano must explode. Will we be part of the wreckage or the cleanup?

 

why canada’s new leader matters

Canada is abuzz with the recent election of its new Prime Minister, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau. I’m not sure if this made major headlines outside the country, but from my perspective, it is a huge deal.

I don’t follow politics closely; though I understand each party’s basic platform, I generally stay away from the news and mass media. However, I do know what I feel, and that is deep gratitude that my fellow Canadians came out in record numbers to exercise their right to vote – to say NO MORE to a right-wing government rooted in separation, fear, and division.

This post comes from my heart. I won’t say a lot about the politics of Canada’s exiting Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Only that when he was first elected, I felt a profound sense of dread and foreboding, which intensified when he was re-elected in 2011. It saddened me that his win reflected the dominant vibe of my country. Regardless of whether or not the majority of Canadians actually wanted him to win (and various factors indicated they didn’t), the election results were our collective responsibility.

Beautiful red October leaves

Beautiful red October leaves

A couple of years ago, I sat with my cosmically plugged-in friend AM at a coffeeshop in Vancouver. We shared our dismal feelings that our beloved Canada was changing right before our eyes under a repressive, conservative regime. At the time the 2015 election seemed so far away and we shuddered to think what could happen in the meantime. But we knew we could not slip into passivity. I’ll never forget that conversation, because it seemed so much bigger than the two of us.

In the days leading up to last week’s election, the momentum in the air was palpable. It wasn’t about a particular candidate, it was about the masses coming to life: sensing the possibility for change, and feeling the power to create it.

I may be painting Stephen Harper as the enemy, and that’s not my intention. His government’s actions throughout the last 9+ years have prompted me to examine those places in myself where I’ve identified with their patriarchal, traditionalist views. I’m able to see where I’ve been apathetic to important issues. Harper’s initiative to ban Muslim women from wearing the niqab in certain situations triggered my own conflicts with being Muslim. I can’t point fingers. In doing so, I take the responsibility off myself and my contribution to the whole.

That said – enough is enough.

I know it’s far too early to be over-confident about Canada’s progressive new leadership. I know that no political party is perfect and that many politicians never follow through on their promises. I’m not envisioning Canada as a golden age utopia that Trudeau will restore in the next four years (ok, maybe I’m fantasizing about that one a little).

I know that Canada wasn’t perfect pre-Harper, that Trudeau himself has supported controversial bills, and that politics is ultimately another duality-based game. I know that many Canadians are not happy about this decision.

But I love the fact that our new Prime Minister identifies as a feminist. I love that he brings youth, energy, and vitality to the political arena. I love that the woman by his side, his loving wife Sophie, understands that “Humanity longs for more compassion, more emotional intelligence, and less ‘ego-driven’ super powers.” I love that Canada’s Parliament now has a higher than ever number of Indigenous members (and hopefully many more leaders to come), and will soon have equal gender representation.

Canada’s new leadership matters to me because it represents something much greater: a shift in consciousness towards more balance, harmony, and inclusion. I hope with all my heart that Trudeau follows through on his promises. But it’s up to all Canadians to build a more compassionate, caring Canada. We are that powerful.

becoming unbound

“Ah, so you’re a fixer.”

These words were spoken to me a couple of months ago by someone I had recently met. I’d mentioned that my ex, who’d just returned to my life, was going through a rough time and that I wanted to support him. I immediately bristled at her comment. “I am not a fixer,” I said. “He’s fixing himself.”

But her words stayed with me, as did the irritation I felt towards her for saying them. I knew my resistance was showing me something. Was she right? Was I a ‘fixer’?

Love Locks on the gates of Juliet's balcony, Verona, Italy

Love Locks on the gates of Juliet’s balcony, Verona, Italy

How do we know when we’re emotionally supporting someone, and when we’re rescuing them? I’d always disdained the idea of women trying to fix or save men. Why were they wasting their precious energy? Didn’t they see that people are responsible for themselves, that you can’t change anyone?

But things were fuzzy when it came to my own situation. I cared about my ex, and though we were living in different cities, he was back in my life after years of estrangement. I was so thankful for that. Romance aside, couldn’t I be there for him as a friend? I’d been on a path of self-discovery since our breakup. Maybe I had something to offer him. Maybe I could help him get back on track…

It was surreal when he visited me a few weeks ago. It was as if nothing had changed…yet everything had changed. I could feel how I felt with him all those years ago – insecure, ‘not enough’ – yet I also felt a strength I lacked back then. I was living two different me’s in the same moment.

I wanted time to get to know each other again but, like a whirlwind, he left town soon after he arrived. I’d tried not to get my hopes up about a future with him, but it happened anyway. Now that he was gone, I panicked. What if we don’t talk for another seven years? What if I never see him again? What if this is it?!

My best friend saw the distressed state I was in and insisted that I spend the weekend with her. What I remember most from our conversations was her request that I be more vulnerable in life. She knows me better than anyone, and she told it to me straight. I’m the gal who pretends everything is going great, when really I often feel lonely and isolated. It was time to stop wearing that mask. To reach out more to those who love me.

I’d been afraid to be truly vulnerable with my ex during our entire relationship. I hadn’t wanted to appear needy, dependent, weak, messy – like all the other women he knew. I wanted to be cool, confident. Not draining or suffocating him.

But what about my needs and desires? I’d held back for fear of rejection. I’d set my whole life up to avoid humiliation, being laughed at, or (worse) pitied, but all that took a huge toll. After being with my best friend, something roared to life within. No more. I knew I couldn’t live that way another minute: all buttoned up, silent, the unknowns and what-ifs eating away at me. Slow death.

I called my ex and expressed what I couldn’t during our visit. That I wanted us to try again. That we’d waited so long and why not just go for it, when our second chance was right in front of us? I sounded so clear, so raw. He listened and responded that he was not in the same place as me. Through our conversation it became clear that we had very different needs. After a few moments, we wished each other well. And that was it.

***

My emotions fluctuate, but somewhere in there is relief. I feel a sense of peace that I didn’t before. And this could only come from knowing I was true to my feelings. The real pain wasn’t in the rejection, but in the holding back. My own words brought me the freedom I was so desperately seeking.

I couldn’t be his ‘fixer’; I needed my own healing and attention. He showed up at the perfect time for me to really get it: the real power is in the vulnerability.

 

my fiction put me in debt

My first guest blog post, as featured on A Holistic Journey.

A Holistic Journey

Last week my father told me that his local Safeway had closed down, soon to be replaced with a Whole Foods. Normally this news would’ve tickled me – I’m a Whole Foods addict – but I was inexplicably sad. He now scans the weekly store flyers and shops the best deals.

Why did this conversation leave me feeling so tender, so emotional? I realized it was the first time I thought, I want to be like that. Like my father. Careful, methodical. Good with money.

The money story has always been big for me. As a small child I constantly compared myself to others – me often holding the short end of the stick. Everyone else got the best toys, the best food (hot dogs and sugary cereals), the best clothes. I got a dad who seemed to say ‘no’ to everything.

It made me angry. It made me…

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september: it’s showtime!

Thank you to my blogger friends Rob and Sindy for their tweets inquiring as to my whereabouts, and to Linda for her recent award nomination of my blog!

It’s true; I have been very quiet lately. After my last post, the urge to blog had disappeared completely. It was strange – I felt I had no words in me. In addition to that, for the last couple of weeks things have been changing at such warp speed. I’ve been so busy preparing for what’s coming next that I haven’t had the time or focus for blogging.

expansionnowopen

Probably the most monumental thing that happened for me in August was participating in the Landmark Forum. This is not your ordinary personal growth workshop. Over three intensive days, my beliefs about my life and the world were brought to my consciousness in a very powerful way. It’s difficult to articulate just how profound this experience was. Suffice it to say that I was able to express myself on a level I never could before. And this has transformed everything.

During that weekend, I had heartfelt and genuine conversations with my mom, dad, and sister. Conversations that once seemed impossible (or, more accurately, conversations I didn’t even know I wanted to have.) Conversations in which I let them see who I really am and how I really feel, which on some level I’d always hid from them. Conversations where I could barely speak through my tears, apologizing for the toxic blame and resentment I’ve carried within, and the unrealistic expectations I have held of them.

This has been incredibly freeing for me, and the timing of it all was so synchronistic, given that my job is finishing in two weeks and I am making some big plans for the future. I’m seeing how everything in my life is so interconnected. Suppressing who I am in one area affects all areas. If I can’t express my true self to my family and friends, how can I express it to the world? To step onto that larger stage, take risks, and feel safe and confident?

***

So what is on the horizon for me? My plans include studying digital communications for a couple of months at a local university (maybe I’ll finally understand twitter!), and starting my own business with a friend and former co-worker. She and I have been discussing this venture for months, and had spent many an hour at the office sharing our vision for what we want to create. (She quit a few weeks ago.) We are ready to go for it!

This summer has been full of activity – planning, connecting, preparing – and now is the time to ACT. Landmark powerfully cleared away so many stories, interpretations, and meanings I’d concocted about my life, other people, and what I am capable of. It gave me the deep understanding that those stories were never ‘real’ to begin with. It took away my sense that life is a series of problems to be fixed, and delivered the epiphany that there is nothing fundamentally ‘wrong’ with me or my life.

I am seeing everything with new eyes, and this is invaluable as I take my next steps. Yes, it does feel stressful and it does feel challenging. But it also feels electric, intriguing, and alive. I have been craving these feelings for a long time.

11 reasons i quit my comfy job

It’s sinking in that I’ve quit my job. There is no turning back; my employer has advertised my position and the wheels are in motion. Though I don’t regret my decision, I have my anxious moments! So it seems appropriate to remind myself why I made this choice.

rubbing juliet's bosom for luck in verona, italy.

rubbing juliet’s bosom for luck in verona, italy. work your magic!

1. ‘Reality’ was cementing. My day became a fixed routine, going through the same motions over and over. A feeling that ‘This Is Reality’ was lodging into my cells. I know that over time, it would have sunk in deeper. And it would become harder to leave.

2. Where do I want to be in a year? Questions like this have always stumped me, because I’ve viewed them in terms of externals…job, geographic location, living situation. Instead, I began to think about how I wanted to feel in one year. Vibrant. Vital. Proud. Excited about life. Energized. Staying where I was would only lead me in the opposite direction. It was already happening.

3. My body was telling me to leave. In the last year especially, I could feel my energy weakening and my body becoming tired and depressed. It’s always been much easier for me to listen to my head than my body. But it got to a point where I felt very strongly that if I didn’t leave, the decision would be made for me. And I didn’t want to take that risk.

I’m the only one who suffers when I don’t listen to my own voice and intuition.

4. I was stagnating. The comfy jobs can be the hardest to leave because there’s a long list of convincing reasons to stay. But when you’re reminding yourself daily why you ‘should’ be there, it’s not a good sign.

We have to be vigilant with what we tell ourselves, and where that voice comes from. Because ‘comfort’ can also mean lack of growth. And it’s a clever disguise for fear. What about uncertainty, the unknown…and the creativity, aliveness, and excitement that comes with it? I’ve forgotten what that feels like!

5. I have nothing to lose. When I really examined my fears, I realized they were all manageable and, in some cases, irrational (survival-based).

What’s the worst that can happen? I can’t pay my rent? I have friends and family that would take me in. I can’t afford food? Said friends and family would never let me go hungry. I regret giving up my job? Doubtful, but I would deal with it. (And, having that clarity, probably find something better as a result.)

6. I was living in creative and financial debt. When we’re not doing work that creatively fuels us, we compensate for it in other ways. We eat out, we drink, we shop. And the ego may be sneaky here – because we can over-spend on ‘healthy’ stuff too!

I’m tired of the hamster wheel I’ve been running for years. I am totally okay with living minimally, if there is authenticity, inspiration, and creativity to balance it out. That being said:

7. I’m allowed to ask more from life. I’m very aware of the negative self-talk I’ve been feeding myself over the years. Self-defeating thoughts such as ‘There’s only so much to go around’ or ‘Good jobs are hard to come by’ or ‘ Things could be a lot worse’ have only discouraged me from finding what would truly make my heart sing.

So many of us are affected by tired old self-sabotaging thoughts. And it has to stop.

time to feel some colour

time to feel some colour

8. I’m shifting with the cosmos. There’s so much talk about the expansion of consciousness and humanity during these times, and the assistance (seen and unseen) that is available to us in creating what we want. But do I really believe it?

Well, I’m choosing to believe it now. Trusting in the expansion, and surrendering to all the divine guidance that’s available.

9. I wasn’t serving in a way that felt good to me. I need to feel like I’ve made a difference, that the work I’ve done is meaningful and has had some positive impact.

I know that we can be of service in many ways, and that it doesn’t have to be some big grandiose thing. But my work must reflect who I am and what my values are. It can’t just be about me, me, me.

10. When this changes, so will all else. Removing one central element of life naturally recalibrates all other elements. Everything must shift to accommodate that change. This doesn’t mean things fall apart – they just re-organize. And probably for the better.

11. I was resenting my job instead of having gratitude. My job has been wonderful in so many ways, and I will always be grateful for the people I worked with. I don’t ever want to lose sight of what it clarified for me. I wouldn’t have stayed so long, if the people weren’t fabulous!

***

At the end of the day…this is not just about the job! Making this decision has applied to so many areas of my life. This is about ALL the beliefs and behaviours that we know we need to let go of, but haven’t been able to.

I can feel how much of myself I have been suppressing, and ultimately I’m relieved. And I must remember this feeling in moments of self-doubt.

my ancestors made me quit

The last few weeks have been full of activity and last weekend’s super full moon was the pinnacle of intensity!

For starters, I had my amazing international family in town and for nearly three weeks, we ate, drank, laughed, cried, and learned family stories (and secrets!) that spanned lifetimes in India, Africa, Europe, and North America.

Bird Family of Inner Light (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Bird Family of Inner Light (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

The amount of information I was given about my ancestors was extremely powerful and emotional…illuminating my own existence in the here and now. I can more clearly see my life as a product and continuation of those who came before me. And I have no doubt that these revelations had something to do with me quitting my job a few days ago.

Holy sh#t. I quit my job.

I’m still in a bit of a daze over that one. It’s no secret to some blogger friends that I haven’t exactly been happy in my current employment. In fact, I’d given my notice way back in 2013, but changed my mind at the last minute. I did the same thing this year! Instead of quitting outright, I asked for some tweaks to my position, hoping that would quell my dissatisfaction.

But last weekend, something happened. I knew without a doubt that it was time to leave my job for good. And the following Monday morning, I gave my notice.

I truly feel that learning so much about my ancestors somehow crystallized this decision. I felt so much of their pain, trauma, success, abundance, loss, and sacrifice in hearing their stories…and it made me realize how vital it is for me to create what I want in this lifetime. To know that ‘anything can happen’, yet not be passive and let life just happen to me. To not allow 3, 5, 15 years fly by in a job that’s been ‘comfortable’, but has dimmed my fire.

Family Reflections (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Family Reflections (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

In the months before my family’s visit, I’d been feeling a real curiousity about my ancestors. A deeper interest to know who they actually were, and what their lives were like.

Being the first generation born in the West, my ancestry was always something to be hidden or avoided in favour of Western culture – of white people. Only now am I really starting to feel my ancestors as people with real lives and feelings and hobbies and passions. People I’m still affected by.

To be honest, I’ve wondered mostly about the women. Who were they? What did they desire? Did they even allow themselves to desire, and did they know what that desire was?

But, as is often the case, it is the men’s stories I’ve heard – and they have something to teach me too. I’ve learned that these men were powerful creators who started several successful companies and businesses, ultimately losing everything when they were expelled from their home country in the 70s. (There’s a lot more to it than that…but it would require a whole book!)

I can’t help but feel my ancestors’ presence reminding me: All this strength is in YOU. This is your lineage…and we’re looking at YOU now! Where are you going to take us…what are you going to do on Planet Earth this time around?

Inner Strength Through Perseverence (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Inner Strength Through Perseverence (Mark Anthony Jacobson)

Well…I seemed to have quit my job.

And nope, I don’t have another one lined up. I certainly don’t have six months of savings to live off of. I do have some ideas on what I’d like to pursue, but these seedlings may take some time to grow.

A foolish decision? Or a life-affirming one? Either way, there is no turning back now.

I must trust my intuition, and the universe at large. Now more than ever. There is nothing wrong with ‘playing it safe’, especially when you have others relying on you. But right now it is just me that I am responsible for. And I don’t want to spend one more minute doing things that don’t inspire or energize me, for fear that there is nothing better out there.

What is life going to look like at the end of summer? I don’t know. But I do know I’m getting ideas and this delicious feeling of ‘what if?’. What if I did that, and that turned into that, and that turned into that? I know things will be challenging – no illusions there – but I also know that listening to my body and intuition is my priority.

I’m ready for a new direction. And now it looks like I have no choice but to create one!