My Search For Meaning



When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves – Viktor Frankl.

20 years ago, I was introduced to logotherapy and Viktor Frankl through the book, Man’s Search for Meaning.  This book was given to me by my doctor, to assist me through a particularly rough time in my life. It helped me to come to terms with some stuff that I was living with, why I was living with it, and it allowed me to find a way out, and start saying yes to life.  Today, I got to visit his museum.  His book changed my life – and today, I got a big reminder of why exactly it did.

20 years ago, I thought I was losing my mind in a big way. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t remember my own name.  When I improved enough, I slowly read (that was the only book I read that year, and it took me the entire year) Dr. Frankl’s book. I learned how he survived the holocaust, and lived a life full of meaning, and without hate. I am still learning how to live without hate – but I do live a life full of meaning.  It took me until today, to realize that I actually do have a very meaningful life.

According to Viktor Frankl, a meaningful life happens when you are a creating, experiencing, suffering person. Suffering doesn’t necessarily happen, when the first 2 are absent.  The museum shows you how to understand and apply logotherapy in a fairly easy fashion. I won’t explain it here- but its worth reading about. I have found that its a great way to explore empathy.

Today was a profoundly positive experience – one that contained some emotional moments (that I don’t quite want to get into tonight, better to just process them for awhile). But there are 2 things that I want to  mention.  The first being that when referencing anxiety, Frankl suggest that you take your anxiety out for a walk – like you are walking the dog.  This conjures up great imagery for me – and will be doing exactly that, from now on.

The next are the 10 Theses on the Human Person – these are as follows:

  1. Every person is an individual.
  2. Every person is un-summable, cannot be constructed by adding individual characteristics (the person is more than the sum of separate individual parts).
  3. Every person is a new creation.
  4. Every person is a spiritual being.
  5. Every person is real (exists in reality, is existential).
  6. Every person is self directed
  7. Every person is a united whole (of body, mind, and spirit).
  8. Every person is not a closed system, is dynamic and open to others.
  9. Every person can self-transcend the situation.
  10. Human beings understand themselves to the extent that they transcend (reach beyond themselves).

Sometimes we forget these things, especially if others are not like us.  I really enjoy #3 – Every person is a new creation. Saying it this way, gives us permission to make mistakes, to learn – to experience something differently.  It gives us an opportunity to not judge. To view in kindness.

All we can do is our best – The Viktor Frankl Museum reminded me that I often do my best – but I can still do better. But more than that, this museum helped me to realize how strong I am, and that I do have a meaningful life.





Its Gonna Be Great

IMG_1953The past couple of years a lot of us have moved away from making resolutions, and instead have chosen three words to focus on for the coming year.  I have been one of those people.  In the past, I have chosen words like: practice, learn, imagine,  sparkle, engage.  Some of the words I have chosen were completely within my comfort zone, and some were ones that I simply wanted more of in my life – because at the time they were nonexistent.

For example, practice is something I do everyday – if I am referencing my guitar.  Sparkle on the other hand – is something I am still lacking, unfortunately.  But I am not going to punish myself for being a bit dull.  I will simply add it to this years list – along with 3 more.  But I am going to do something a bit different this year- and that is add some specific action items to go along with each word.  I will say, that I plan on keeping up with my regime from 2017 – practicing every day (trying to reach 90 minutes), reading every day, and cooking at home as much as possible (maybe even try to learn proper spanish cooking this year).

So here is my list of 3 words + 1 word from last year.

Broaden – this refers to my outlook.  So I plan to travel, go outside, talk to strangers (good luck Laura), take myself out on solo dates once a week, learn a new language, look for new opportunities (purposely vague) and listening to podcasts.  Things that i plan on continuing – reading every day (incorporating more non-fiction).

Float – this is to remind me that I need to let things go.  If a plan doesn’t work out -I shouldn’t get upset, rather I should learn from it – and understand that there are reasons for things not working out.  Just let things happen, and don’t force them.  It’ good to paddle.  But sometimes we need to let go of the control.

Energy – I spent most of 2017 in rehab for an injured elbow.  I have come a long way – and I am ready to move into more intensive forms of exercise.  Along with a physical therapy regime that puts me in the gym/therapy offices 3 days a week, I will commit to a daily yoga practice – which I will steadily improve on, with an aim of getting to an actual class in a yoga studio by the end of June.  I have already gone back to a vegetarian diet – and am looking forward to getting into a stricter vegan diet, because that is I feel best when I don’t eat or drink animal products.  As well, I am going to practice becoming less introverted this year. I spent 2017 turning down invitations and instead spending time reading or alone thinking.  Its time to add some people into my life.

And last but not least – Sparkle.  The only thing I managed to do last year, is grow my hair, and get my skin looking healthier.  Im not really sure what sparkle really entails – but I think its along the lines of looking and feeling my best – and maybe smiling a little bit more than occasionally.  So thats the plan for 2018.

Do you have any resolutions/focus words for 2018? If you feel like sharing, I’d love to read them. Maybe we can help each other reach our goals.

The Renaissance – Part Deux




It’s good to shut up sometimes ~ Marcel Marceau

This is not a time to be quiet. In fact the opposite is true. It appears that it is  our time to speak, yell, take action. To do anything but stay quiet. People who have endured abuse are coming forward to tell their stories. Stories of which we should not be ashamed of. There are so many, these stories are bringing down powerful people, and people who just abuse what little power they have. But people of both genders have come together to say #metoo – and from what I am reading, its working, people are taking their power back.

I have not been shy of talking about my experiences with abuse. It’s not easy to talk about – and my history with it is complicated.  But I don’t want to talk about sexual abuse, or my relationship with it. Rather a type of abuse that is not so easily defined, by me. Emotional abuse is something I am still struggling with- and for a long time I didn’t view it as abuse at all. I thought of this person as someone who knew more than I did, and who shared his rules of conduct passionately, eventually that passion became a bit constricting, and then over time became threatening.  This is where I am now. But lets be honest, it was emotional abuse right from the start.

I use social media mainly as a way to connect to people, to friends that I have had for a long time, or with people that I share common interests with.  I am completely authentic online, as I am in the “real world”. I find no reason to pretend to be someone else. So if I am sharing that I had a breakthrough, it really happened – and if I am sharing that I am having a really bad day, you can believe that I am really struggling.  So I don’t find it terribly productive, when someone I used to know sends me incredibly toxic and threatening emails, calling me “pathetic” or a “sick fuck” or referring to the fact that I am mentally ill, and that I am hurting people by being honest about who I am, because he is unhappy with my online presence. We aren’t connected on any of these platforms- he is seeking out my content, without my permission.  If I was really worried about what people thought about me, then I would just post videos of puppies being puppies.  But I am not a puppy, I am a person. A person who has passions and interests, and emotions. I have good days and bad days. I have people who care about me, and people that I care about. I don’t have time for someone who sends me threatening and hateful emails, just because he is too cowardly to post his comments publicly. This is not an invite to post nasty comments, I truly have no interest in reading anything negative towards me or the people I care about.

In the weeks that have gone by since I last heard from this individual, I have gone through some stuff. Most of that stuff is fear. Then fear led to growth, which has developed into some strength. I can handle things now. But during the time I was experiencing fear, I wasn’t afraid for my personal safety – it was something a lot more personal than that. The fear paralyzed my creativity. I lost the ability to express myself. And this is unforgivable. I have a business where my imagination is my most important tool. If I am unable to create, tell a story, come up with new ideas, then I don’t have a business to speak of.  Fear took that ability away from me.  These are some of the things I experienced, and what I did to get my creative self back. Continue reading

An Easter Visit


For Easter, I went to a cemetery. For no reason other than to lay flowers on graves of people that I have never met. This is not something I would normally do on Easter, or really on any other day. With the exception of burial services, I have never had a reason to visit someone’s grave. For the people I have lost in my life, I think about them all the time, and I have never felt the need to visit them graveside. But its Easter, and a friend of mine suggested we go. Since she is visiting from Toronto, I decided it would be something interesting for us to do together. There is a great deal of history after all – and just by looking at the types of headstones, you can learn a lot about the styles of the day – and the kind of person that they were.

But we hit a couple of snags. First, we couldn’t find flowers. You’d think that there would be plenty of flowers to be had on Easter, but we couldn’t find any. So we settled on mandarin oranges. There are cultures that put oranges and other kinds of food to wish good fortune, to show respect towards the dead, or to offer it to the evil spirits – so they will not eat the souls of the departed. But we chose this because I have a friend who does this for someone who loved oranges, and I thought it was a really special offering.

Second, we didn’t actually know anyone who was buried in the cemetery, so we walked around for awhile, until we connected with a headstone. We would talk to it, or just stand quietly and meditate on their lives a bit. And for ones we connected with, we placed an orange on the stone, as a sign to let them know we were there and thinking about them.

The last orange I offered, was to a woman named Ethel, who died in 1935 at 28 years and 11 months. Her family chose not to use her last name. I found the bolster gravestone an interesting one – and the design of the cylinder balanced on a slab of granite, made me feel like perhaps she was a bit undecided in life – or maybe even just a little chaotic.

RIP Ethel.

Photo by Sisi – Taken at Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, BC

The Chocolate Patronus

I don’t actually believe in the patronus.  I once img_1012
thought it would be great to have the spirit of a golden retriever, but friendliness doesn’t come naturally to me, and I feel kinda meh towards tennis.

But last night a good friend of mine gave me a chocolate with a bee on it. Bees are her thing -and its super cute for her. My last name sounds like a bee is nearby (if you are buzzing right now- you are very close to having a handle on my last name).

This chocolate made me think about what qualities bees bring to the game. They are industrious, sweet, community minded, hard working, social, takes no shit (also said friend swears a lot) from anyone, and is found in nature.  This does describe my friend who gave me the chocolate quite well. In case you are wondering the centre of the chocolate was a honeyed caramel.

So if I was to be turned into an animal and served on a chocolate what would I be? It would be one that prefers to be alone, always has a book in hand, and sees the world in a somewhat skewed way – but definitely on their own terms.

Seems to me, that I would be the Tootsie Pop Qwl (to hell with the chocolate).