Sunday, June 29, 2014

one of the most fascinating things about my favourite animal is the amount of affection that they have for one another; if one goose falls sick or becomes injured, two additional geese drop out of the v-formation to help and protect him. if the injured goose gets better, the three of them find another flock and continue flying; if it doesn't, the two geese refuse to leave the one's side until it succumbs to its injuries.

geese take care of each other and stick together.

research shows that as each goose flaps its wings, an intense uplift is created for the birds behind them. even further, studies state that geese are able to fly with 71% more range when flying together than they are alone. 71%? that's insane!

but when a goose leaves the formation, the opposite happens. not only are they able to fly with less range, but they immediately feel the resistance of the air and find it difficult to fly alone.

i don't know about you, but i find it difficult to 'fly' alone, too.

my newsfeed, though all about image, is full of couples, families, and vacations that people take with their friends, and i sit here and continue to scroll through it alone wondering what's wrong with me, why i can't stop scrolling, and why i can't seem to connect to people the way i long to.

sometimes i keep how i feel to myself, and other times, i blog about it.

i wonder, though, what people would do if i really shared how i feel? would they, like my favourite animal, leave their formation and sit with me for a bit, or would they keep flying? and the bigger question - is loneliness something we all struggle with despite what our newsfeeds imply, and something we just have to accept and persevere through?

maybe. but i'd like to believe that, like geese, we get more range - and a lot more out of life - when we stick together.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

as humans, we use our car horns to get someone's attention, show someone how annoyed we are at them in traffic, or as of late, celebrate a world cup win. [unless you're an england or spain fan that is - oh burnnnnnn]. geese, however, honk to encourage one another to keep going.

luckily, our words have the power to do the same.

my roommate and his family have been facing an unfathomable situation as of late, and i sit here feeling heavy hearted and helpless. i felt led to write him a note of encouragement this morning before i left for church, so i grabbed a post-it note and did just that. when i got home, i noticed that not only did he keep the note i wrote, but he placed it somewhere where he can read it over and over. a timely word can give us hope, and the courage to keep going.

i started an extremely challenging job this week, and felt overcome by feelings of inadequacy as i attempted to remember everything i need to know about the company i work for and the role i've been given. i felt so overwhelmed, in fact, that i found myself tearing up throughout one of my shifts.

a day later, one of the girls from the office came up to me in the bathroom [awkward], and told me how smart i was, and how well i am doing. i may have walked into that bathroom feeling discouraged, but i walked out feeling like i was - hear this - smart and capable. words have the power to uplift, and make you feel like you can conquer the world.

call me crazy, but i think these geese are on to something; let's follow suit and get honkin'.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

1) cell phones.

i have a love/hate relationship with them. sure, they're convenient and a handy thing to have on you in case of emergency, but i can't stand the fact that no one can seem to put them down and be present. why is it that we spend way so much time scrolling newsfeeds full of crap about people we don't know anymore, never did, or don't care about, instead of engaging in conversation with people we do?

that, and they keep us from the beauty of enjoying moments alone. when's the last time you waited for a bus, sat in a coffee shop, or walked through the mall without staring at a screen? i wonder how many opportunities we miss around us, and how many beautiful moments we overlook when we fail to put our phones down.

2) PAULAtics.

i cringe every time i see a political commercial. why? because instead of letting the public know what they will bring to the table if elected [which, let's be serious, could be a lie any ways], they waste two minutes of their time - and my time - bashing their opponent. why is it that we humans feel the need to bash other people instead of shining ourselves?

3) elliot rodgers.

let me bring your attention back to a story that filled the very newsfeeds we were reading a few weeks a go instead of spending quality time with our loved ones. [just playin'].

seeking 'retribution' against both women whom he said sexually rejected him, and sexually active men who were living a 'much better life' than he was, elliot rodgers went on a killing spree, killing six and wounding thirteen.

like you, i have many problems with this.

one, the world places too much emphasis on sex and men are not entitled to it.[disclaimer: i am in no way implying that every man feels this way; i'm just merely commenting on elliot's mindset when it comes to this, knowing that he's not alone in his thinking].

we live in a world saturated with sex. so much in fact that pre-teens and teenagers are in a hurry to 'get rid of' their virginity, feel like something's wrong with them if they don't, and young adults and adults alike are jumping at any chance they get to give into their desires for both sex and intimacy far too quickly, and lack self-control as a whole.

these, of course, are just my observations, as anything i write in my blog is, but i know they hold some validity.

regardless, is sex really worth somebody's self-esteem, emotional baggage, or in this case, someone's life?

my heart breaks for young girls who think that they need to have a boyfriend to be complete, feel attractive, or be deemed worthy. we need to teach our girls to be somebodies and not somebody's.

my heart also breaks for guys like elliot rodgers, who think that masculinity is defined by the amount of notches on their bed post, and feel as though they need to prove their manhood in other ways, like resorting to violence, if they don't 'measure up' otherwise. we need to re-evaluate what being a man looks like. [again, not implying that every male or female fit into these boxes, but a lot do].

and two, stories like these only add negative feelings to the already inaccurate stigma attached to mental illness.

"oh elliot? he was just mentally ill".

oh yes, i'm sure he was, as are a lot of people, but i'm tired of this being used as an excuse when people go on killing sprees, and making it hard for people who genuinely struggle with mental illness to admit it to themselves or others in fear that they'll be deemed crazy. not all mentally ill people are crazy, in fact, studies show that people who struggle with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it.

let's be realistic here; i've struggled with mental illness [depression] my whole life AND still haven't had sex at age 34 and you don't see me shooting anyone and everyone who has ever rejected me or is having sex as i type this.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"we assume life will go a certain way, and then it doesn't...and we find ourselves in a place we never would have imagined on our own. and so it was difficult and unexpected and maybe even tragic - and yet it opened us up and freed us to see things in a whole new way. suffering does that; it hurts, but it also creates..."

a few weeks a go, i wrote a blog about the hurting side of suffering; you know, the part that most of us focus on, and the stuff that we'll do anything to avoid or cover up. this week, though, i'm turning our focus on the outcome of it, the 'end' result, the creation, if you will.

it takes me all of five seconds of scrolling down my twitter feed or watching the news to read or hear about something horrible that's happening in our world, but what the news doesn't show you is the good that can come out of tragedy and suffering ... if we let it.

situated in the core of toronto, the first freestanding HIV/AIDS facility in canada, casey's house [], exists to provide treatment, support and palliative care for people affected by this life-altering disease. what you wouldn't know from reading this, however, is that casey's house was birthed out of unimaginable pain. after losing her only son at the hands of a drunk driver, a lady by the name of june callwood decided to open casey's house to ensure that no one would ever have to die alone or uncared for. suffering creates.

emma was a beautiful soul with an unshakeable faith in God and a passion for kids. at the age of 15, after a courageous eight and a half month battle with acute myeloid leukemia, she passed away.

i watched her family, as they faced insurmountable grief, carry on the legacy of their daughter by creating an organization by the name of 'emma's house' [], which exists to build orphanages across the world. i'm proud to report that the very first 'emma's house' was built this past spring and is currently home for eight orphans in northern uganda, with plans to build their next one in zimbabwe, and many more after that. suffering creates.

a lot of us may not be able to relate to the grief and pain that comes with losing a child, or anyone close to us for that matter, but we all know what it's like to suffer in our own way. the question i pose to you today, however, is this: do we all know what it's like to allow the pain that once paralyzed us to be used to create something good?

it doesn't have to be as big as creating a home for those dying from a horrible disease or african orphans; it may look as small as letting your pain free you to see things in a new light, propel you to reorganize your priorities, give you the kick you need to start following your dreams, or it could look as simple as creating a deep connection between two people who desperately need to know that someone else can relate to the loss or pain that they feel.

whatever it is, don't just suffer; create.