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Serving the People Yoga

“Money doesn’t change you; money magnifies who you are.” – Tony Robbins

I frequent the beaches around Victoria during the summers, and one summer I kept spotting a gentleman (who used to attend the occasional yoga class of mine), on the pebbled beach near where Dallas Road and Cook Street meet, walking his dog. Eventually one day he stopped and sat down on my Mexican blanket to visit with me.

“Can you talk about astrology with people from Saskatchewan?” he asked, rhetorically, after I inquired about his birth date and we discovered that we were both born in Saskatchewan.

“No,” I responded.

When I reflect back upon my life, 2011—despite its heartaches and hardships—has been my best year on planet Earth yet. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate current and growing levels of clarity; but in 2011, I was healthy. I can say now, that even though I was learning how to love and honour my body then, I took my good health for granted. I didn’t have a legitimate perspective of the opposite.

If I only knew in my early twenties when I struggled with oscillating body weights that at least I could lose the excess, though I think I experienced glimpses of immaculate perspective then, too. I knew at age 24 that I couldn’t work for newspapers with their insistence on sensationalism and framing, and I knew by age 26 (no matter how difficult or unlucrative) that I had to do what I loved for a living. I didn’t understand why so many people on income assistance seemingly lost their minds, but I knew my sanity depended upon meaningful work. I didn’t know then, though, that my affinity for astrology could be anything more than a pony trick, or that writing and teaching yoga weren’t considered real jobs.

At the dawn of 2012, I found myself on Main Street in Vancouver ringing in the New Year with friends. I wasn’t drinking heavily but smoking predominantly weed, so I had my wits about me. At the time I thought my husband would be either a Cancer or a Scorpio. The two men after me in the bar that night? A Cancer and a Scorpio. Long story short, I ended up dating the Scorpio for less than a month, so I obviously remember his name. The Cancer? I remember his birth date, but not his name.

I don’t remember who approached who at the London on December 31, 2011. He may have been buying me beers, but the Cancer refused to divulge his exact birthday, or even Sun sign, when I probed.

“Guess,” he taunted, unaware of what he was walking himself into.

“You need to give me three questions,” I pressed.

“One,” he snapped with the conviction of a weak yet aggressive man.

We settled on three. I won.

I can only logically deduce the questions at this point, but I remember asking only two of them.

I have admittedly dropped a lot of jaws in my life, so I wasn’t surprised when his jaw dropped to the bar after I guessed his exact birth date. June 25. He wanted more, but the Scorpio won because he wasn’t engaged to be married. The Cancer tried to convince me to date him under his fiancé’s nose, so that he could have a chance to assess his options. He even chased me and my plume of friends out of the bar and down Main Street, only to find me walking next to the Scorpio.

Or what about the time in, or on the way to, the elevators? I had been visiting with a guy born on the 15th of a month, talking about a woman he was interested in born on the 15th of the polar opposite month. Astrology piqued his interest, but he mostly thought it was horseshit. So, we finished our business on the heated, harbour-front patio of the Steamship in Victoria, and at the elevator on the way to the restrooms stood a man. I poked the man mildly, then asked (after I can’t remember if it was a glass or two of Prosecco), are you a Cancer? The man stood back. All three of us boarded the elevator. Not only was he a Cancer, but he was my polar opposite. The two men’s hair blew back. The nonbeliever’s jaw hit the floor. Like I said, it wasn’t the first time.

Several years earlier in 2008, I had a friend tell me I wasn’t pretty enough for a guy I had met at a climbing gym who was born on Earth Day. I’m thinking in hindsight that having sex with him may have been an immature act of rebellion… Regardless, both times I slept with him, he told me he would sleep over but snuck out in the middle of the night instead.

And then in 2010, a relative convinced me to try dating online. I experimented with four different profiles. With the first profile, I didn’t post a profile picture. I remember some guy in his early twenties (I was 27 at the time), haranguing me to see a pic. When I finally PM’d him a picture, he blocked me—I’m thinking, because, he didn’t think I was pretty enough for him.

Then I can’t remember if it was the second or third profile where the guy born on Earth Day—his brother (whom I had met briefly in 2008), PM’d me and asked me out on a date. Okay, maybe I browsed his profile first and he swallowed the bait. Either way, we carried on for a bit before he asked me out on a live date. After exchanging information, I couldn’t hold up the edifice of the lie. You’re (that guy’s) brother? I asked, incredulously.

We hung out once, at Spinnaker’s, and it obviously amounted to nothing (I drew the line at making out with brothers in junior high school), but he did tell me that every prospective woman he had met had already had sex with his brother.

I realize now that women who lock down husbands plan for it their entire lives.

Now, in 2018, I just counted 9 bodily conditions that impinge upon my physical health and require attention daily—ranging in severity from pesky to permanent—thus (and understandably) taxing me psycho-emotionally.

Out of necessity, I’ve learned to pay attention to what comes easy: yoga, astrology, quantum thinking—the latter of which reminds me to affirm improving health. To distract myself, I get lost in my work and focus upon my personal legacy.

Legacy, in my opinion, paramount. I admittedly have a penchant for mischief, but it was Wayne Dyer who strongly advised against dying with our music still in us. He left a tenured position at St. John’s University in New York City to pursue a writing career and apparently invented the author tour. If I can heed Maya Angelou’s advice and live until I’m 88, then that gives me approximately 53 years to deliver. Unfortunately the federal government isn’t offering me a one billion dollar bailout in the event I don’t.

As it stands, the collective legacy western civilization is leaving on planet Earth looks something like this: Many of the common people of the time who worked in societally acceptable roles—government, military, petroleum, law enforcement, pharmaceuticals, medicine, law, etc.—weren’t able to acknowledge Nikola Tesla (all these years later…), or the great Indigenous genocides of North America that are still happening today. Apparently, the Indian Act was as invisible as Nikola Tesla. “We’re not willing to give up our lifestyles or our toys, and I mean come on guys; we have families to feed!” they cried. Yet these same people didn’t seem to care that their ancestors ripped family and lifestyle out from underneath the Indigenous peoples—first on the land—who actually cared about future generations. Consequences? “What are those?” it didn’t occur to them to ask. That information was invisible, like the Indian Act and Tesla.

Go us. We could rewrite the story, but cleaning house is key to unlocking the gates of appreciation. Denial only causes further division. I’m looking forward to the day we can all agree on, and subsequently correct, corrupt taxation.

On the one hand, the system is designed to help people in need; while on the other hand, the people who forget the point of altruism forget that their tax dollars also pay for obscenely expensive war, unnecessary bureaucracy, and deceitful, ineffective politicians. Shall we compare head to dollar figures? Many corporations (not necessarily the groundlings who work for the corporations), evade their taxes—legally. Why haven’t the groundlings’ tax dollars been used to pay for advances in education, health care, affordable housing, retirement, and sustainable technology for the last twenty years? People are homeless and hungry. I lived in Calgary in 2001 when gas prices were 46 cents. Industry “boomed” and no one complained about job loss then. Why does no one question the elusive concepts of market value and inflation now? Has it not occurred to anybody that social assistance would be a lot less necessary if basic living costs were a lot more affordable?

Little to no foresight has been exercised in the last twenty years, marijuana won’t be out of prohibition confinement anytime soon, and Team Earth is being asked to take Big Oil’s word for it that Big Brother is covering everyone’s future asses. Yet, we seem to be pioneering conflicting futures.

Anyone who makes life more expensive for people, and consequently more difficult, is a psychopath, and current political systems are normalizing psychopathic behaviour. Gas wars? Really? Vampires. There’s obviously no congenial way to stand up for yourself when you’re being crushed by dead horses with money.

Ego, according to Anita Moorjani (who wrote a book called Dying to Be Me), is the part of us that speaks up for ourselves. Ego can be vampiric or evolutionary. Humans can be manipulative and play dirty, or we can subdue and transform undesirable realities. The game is mental, though both our thoughts and actions bind us.

These people, and in many cases, vampires, are fighting for their incomes, not their jobs (with the exception of some engineers who love what they do for a living)—and the only way they’ll ever truly understand social assistance is if they legitimately qualify for it themselves. People think it requires strength to do what they loathe for a living? I’ve been told by insurance companies, social workers, and all manner of corporate and blue-collar blowhards that what I do for a living isn’t real work. That conversation is barking up the wrong tree.

You give up a lot more than your lifestyle on basic social assistance, and you must qualify for disability to receive it. Unless you’re resourceful on disability assistance, you’re often forced to choose between medical or paramedical attention and nutrition, which is merely one disparity. You’re not likely to be nourished on basic welfare. People who love slinging the “tax burden” insults couldn’t, and wouldn’t want to, imagine the deficit.

Disability would be a vacation only if you could relinquish your lifestyle and your toys and didn’t actually need the support. In which case, you would be an actor and an asshole. Otherwise, if you legitimately required the help of social assistance, you would likely want to be compensated for all the time you’d spend attending meetings where you’re told that you don’t qualify for supports that could help you reach financial independence. Working in the petroleum industry isn’t a viable or reasonable option for everybody.

“The best help is that which eliminates the need for help,” Deepak Chopra said during the 2017 Hay House World Summit. Hay House is the largest self-empowerment publishing company in the world. Louise Hay, a high school dropout and former model, founded the publishing house at age 60.

Interestingly yoga encourages people to use supports when we need them and leave them when we don’t. Yoga also urges us to clean up our karma.

We could likely unanimously agree that I’m neither nor meant to be a model during this incarnation, which is maybe why I’m blessed with the fortitude of a writer and thinker (although Louise Hay was blessed with both). Nonetheless, the idea of cause and effect makes sense to me. Apparently, it’s a universal law, and I’m thinking it’s somehow tied up in this notion of karma (or, bondage). Perhaps it’s not unfathomable to think that we tote our unresolved ignorances around with us from lifetime to lifetime—like telling people that what they do for a living isn’t real work. Then it would be up to a higher order to qualify each individual’s path, but none of us knows what that higher order looks like. We do certainly think, however, that our systems and structures are original. Few of us ask, who and what do we emulate?

Consider for a moment the movie Sausage Party, starring Edward Norton and Seth Rogan: “A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence.” It’s a terribly relevant movie. I don’t mean to spoil the ending, but… everybody wants to experience some degree of hedonism, whether we’re willing to admit it or not.

Thanks to that guy born on Earth Day, though, I do what I love for a living. He called me jaded while making out with me on the pebbled beach near where Dallas Road and Cook Street meet, for hating seagulls (or rather, shit hawks). Then he came to my home and slept with me, but he was right. I was jaded. He and his friends all did what they loved for a living, and I didn’t. None of them know it, but they inspired me. Within a month of seeing him the last time, I signed up for my first yoga teacher training. And now, whether those who hump the backside of capitalism with their constricted thinking acknowledge it or not, I specialize in astrology and serve the people yoga for a living.

Thumping Beds, Not Bibles, Since 1998

“That’s why I talk about Life. To me it’s more than God. Is God limited to one planet, or are we talking about the God of the entire universe? There are thousands of universes—what are we talking about when we say the word ‘God’?” – Louise Hay

The planet is in peril—there’s no way around accepting that truth—but we don’t want to dwell in that old news. If you’re one of those fortunate humans who can pay your way out of contrast, good for you. Unless you’re altruistic, then, this information may not apply to you. I, personally, do not know how to extricate myself from hell without the help of angels. That’s not the book I’m writing. I’m not qualified to teach that class.

I’ve mentioned on social media that from now on I’m attempting to remove the word “God,” referring to an omnipotent power, from my vocabulary. Although it seems to me that I interact with an inner being, angels, guardian angels, archangels and spirit friends, I don’t personally believe in a punishing man in the sky keeping score of my transgressions like Santa Claus. I’m naughty and nice, but that depends on your definition of naughty.

I’ve also mentioned that I intend to refrain from using the word “heaven,” unless I’m referring to that state of being—heaven on Earth. Somewhere within 2013 and 2014, I began questioning everything I had learned about yoga. In 2015, I began questioning what I had learned about Ayurveda and astrology. And in 2017, I began questioning everything I’d learned about spirit, mystical experiences and angels. I think the one thing I can count on as a Life Path 5 is that my opinions and perspectives are subject to change.

I don’t like what the word “God” means in orthodoxy, and I don’t like what religion (namely Christianity) has done to the people of this world. Growing up Christian qualifies me to speak my mind on the subject. As such, I’ve decided that I can no longer go along with the word “God,” because the word hasn’t bothered me, anymore. “God” is inaccurate to describe what it is describing.

The word “universe” isn’t all-encompassing in existence, but it is omnipresent in our physical reality. I still appreciate this word. For example, the universe loves me. I like how Louise Hay skirted the issue of God by saying “life loves me.” Life, now that word pervades universes and realities.

I grew up Roman Catholic for the first thirteen years of my life. In those thirteen years, my mother placed an angel, not often a star, on our family Christmas tree. I daydreamed too often in church to listen to the boring sermons, so I don’t remember much talk of angels, but there was that television show Touched by An Angel; Los Angeles is called The City of Angels (with a movie named after it); and, even Bill and Ted encountered an angel on their bogus journey.

The list of angels in popular culture could go on. I myself have been studying angels in depth since 2013, with an inadvertent focus on biblical angels for the last year. I don’t consider myself one of those angel people whose so sensitive, though, that I can’t handle a good fuck. Fuck is my mouth’s second favourite word and (with a gerund on top) my donkey’s first favourite activity.

The whole bible episode of our existence can, as far as I’m concerned, suck my mouth’s first favourite string of four letters. The biblical version of reality bastardized angels as much as it bastardized sex. I don’t rule out demonic gods, and I also don’t believe in fallen angels. How could you be both an angel and an asshole? It doesn’t make sense, unless on the higher dimensions, we are those powerful, benevolent archangels—which is why we have instant access to them, and that is what the Pleiadians mean when they talk about multidimensionality.

Archangels are nondenominational, omnipresent, and can assist everyone who calls upon them at once. I like to think in terms of codes, and the codes for several of the archangels I feel comfortable working with are as follows. Please Note: The proceeding exploration is not an exhaustive list of the archangels or their specialties.

Archangel Michael – The great protector angel, Archangel Michael is the code for protection. I think of him as king of the angelic realm, overseeing all of the archangels and angels. On the most practical level, Archangel Michael can be called on for courage, strength and protection. He’ll also help you line up with your divine life purpose, or at the very least, your dharma along your path. Many facets of terror characterize post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I find that calling in Archangel Michael to burn away the horrors galloping through my mind works wonders to diminish that terrorizing facet. I’m even aware of calling out Archangel Michael’s name during nightmares. He basically lives with me and I see his royal blue lights blinking everywhere.

Archangel Michael has saved my ass more times than I can count or remember, though I feel compelled to share one special moment seared into the forefront of my memory. It was summer 2015, my deathbed year. I lived around the corner from Pluto’s Diner near the intersection where Fort and Cook Streets meet. Yes, streets in Victoria cross streets.

I had just left my apartment to walk to a physio appointment in Cook Street Village. From behind a fence, I could hear an engine squealing but not turning over. I immediately felt sick for the driver of what I discovered moments later to be an old pickup truck, because I knew how I would feel if that were me. Over and again the engine screeched but wouldn’t turn. The truck was behind me at this point as I walked through Pluto’s parking lot, so I asked Archangel Michael if he would help the man start the engine (if the man’s inner being would allow it). A split second later, the engine turned over and roared to life. My head shot back in disbelief while the man sitting in the driver’s seat of the truck looked up at me simultaneously. His jaw hit the dashboard in front of him. “Thanks Archangel Michael,” I whispered under my breath, and smiled back at the man.

Archangel Raphael – The code for healing. These days I call on Archangel Michael the most, and Archangel Raphael second most. This could change as my life continues to improve, though these two powerful archangels work in conjunction in one of the most practical spiritual applications you can learn: cutting cords. Whenever you catch yourself feeling drained or wrought with sharp, unexplainable pain, chances are another being (human or otherwise) is siphoning off energy from you. First, I ask Archangel Michael to cut any cords of dysfunction between me and whoever, then I ask Archangel Raphael to heal any energetic wounds from the cutting. The second step isn’t necessary every time you cut cords, but you’ll likely know when it is.

Archangel Raphael is said to heal with the emerald green ray of white light. Yogi adepts please note here that Anahata chakra emanates green loving, healing energy from the heart. Whenever I’m experiencing a physical health challenge, I thank Archangel Raphael for continuously flushing said body region with his emerald healing light. Healing miracles, though seemingly rare, do exist within the totality of possibilities.

There are two types of prayer to consider when seeking angelic assistance: (1) Prayer of supplication where you ask for help; and, (2) Prayer of affirmation where you affirm, or thank said angel for, the help that follows the moment you think of it.

Example: Thank you, Archangel Raphael, for helping me breathe easy in all ways.

During my formative years, punk kids often poked fun at me for having carny (as in, carnival) hands—because, apparently, I have small hands. “These hands were made for loving,” I would insist, yet somehow I was also told that I was built like a brick shit house.

One day in probably the eighties, my dad watched me hide in the back of his yellow half ton pickup truck, then jump out of the box and chase a boy on our block up the street wielding a blue cattle cane. I remember the boy and the blue cattle cane, but I barely remember chasing the boy up the street.

More recently (in 2017), I found myself visiting with a woman who was squirming in pain. She had two lumps in the right trapezius muscle, where the neck meets the shoulder—one the size of a golf ball and the other the size of a lemon—and she kept reaching her left hand over to rub the area in an attempt to alleviate pain. Eventually I couldn’t stand to watch her suffer a moment longer, so I intuitively rose up from my inertia, grabbed one of her massage tools and attempted to work out the knots with the tool. The attempt was fruitless, so mindlessly (or intuitively), I dropped the tool and began massaging her neck with my own bare hands. I knew to honour the signals of my body I couldn’t overstrain or exert myself to work out the tension for her, so I silently called in Archangel Raphael and his emerald healing ray. Within (not minutes) but moments, the two massive knots dissolved under my fingertips like they had never been there in the first place—with no extraordinary physical efforting from me. My friend, who believes in angels, experienced immediate relief.

Archangel Metatron – I call on this glorious angel every night before I fall asleep to balance my chakras and prepare my body for dreaming and sleep. This mighty archangel could adeptly be considered the angel (or code) of balance, making him the patron angel of yoga. If you want to see traffic part for the ultimate j-walking experience, don’t call on Moses; call on Archangel Metatron. He can also bend time, so you can always make it to appointments, engagements and obligations—on time.

Archangel Uriel – Archangel Uriel is known as the psychologist angel who offers infinite wisdom and insight. I like to think of Archangel Uriel as the angel (or code) of brilliance, and nothing ignites brilliance more than loving sex. Dirty Angel. He sexifies my writing.

Not surprisingly Archangel Uriel is associated with my favourite zodiac sign, Aquarius, who rules the blood and is not so surprisingly balls deep in the feelings. Loving sex… At my best, I’m electric. You know Archangel Uriel is with you when you’re electric.

On a less sexual note, call on Archangel Uriel and his sparkling golden light to release stubborn anger, unforgiveness and resentment from your heart—you know, poison? Archangel Uriel energizes the Vagus nerve, the electrical link between the heart and the mind. He himself could be likened to the heart-mind. Personally, I tend to think that current civilization is forgiveness-retarded (myself included), and if we could all call on angels more often, we could speed up the evolution of, not necessarily technology, but most importantly our collective mental acuity as a species.

Archangel Jophiel – The angel (or code) of beauty! Archangel Jophiel is associated with sparkling pink light, as well as rubellite and pink tourmaline crystals. I embarrassingly had zero art on my walls, save for an eight by eleven photograph of Janis Joplin, when I landed my first arts column back in 2011. Now, however, seven years later (and after calling on Archangel Jophiel to beautify my home and my life), that scenario has dramatically altered.

Of the most practical benefit, negativity cannot exist within the vibration of sparkling pink light. Call on Archangel Jophiel to beautify your vibration, your thoughts, and your mind. I often thank Archangel Jophiel for helping me gain a positive perspective. Archangel Jophiel beautifies insight and is the yin to Archangel Uriel’s yang.

Archangel Raguel – This mighty archangel resolves conflicts and it’s said, we’ll call him a him, that he’s most closely associated with the zodiac sign of Sagittarius. A couple years ago, I found myself in a heated discussion (with a Sagittarius woman whom I adore) that nearly escalated into a fight. As I watched her demeanor shift into savage gear, I instinctively called on Archangel Raguel—angel (or code) of harmony and conflict resolution—to mediate the unintentional rift. The woman softened immediately and instead of quarreling with me, she cracked a joke.

Calling on Archangel Raguel works brilliantly to resolve both innocent misunderstandings and buck energy vampires off your back (temporarily, if you don’t remove them from your life), and, as a result, probably onto someone else’s. I wouldn’t bank on those breadcrumbs of change.

Archangel Gabriel – The angel (or code) of communication. Communication is the cornerstone of relationship, and relationship is the cornerstone of life. Communication, in theory, elicits understanding, though game probably over if you’re dealing with an energy vampire.

Archangel Gabriel doesn’t rule Libra, so there’s no room to mince words here. You want help composing your thoughts into words? You know who to call; Ghostbusters. Kidding. Obviously call upon Archangel Gabriel. The only thing to annunciate here is honesty.

I may not be the poster child of diplomacy, but the only way I know how to communicate honestly without hurting a vampire’s feeling is by not talking to them at all. It’s not fair to ask me to lie to placate you. And trust me, I notice when I’m obligated to censor myself. Also, if you’re tired of manipulating people (through sex or otherwise), call on Archangel Gabriel to direct communication between you and whoever you may be mindlessly or intentionally inclined to seduce. Your audience may accuse you of being guarded, but that’s better than announcing potentially unwelcome feelings. The machine gun only speaks when spoken to.

Archangel Ariel – The code for winning—turning challenges to victories. All these years later, Charlie Sheen is still the poster child of “winning” on Google Images. Jokes aside, winning encompasses nature, the ocean and animals. Humans are and were the divinely appointed guardians. Questions? Yes, ponder them.

In short, it’s blasphemous to discredit the idea of angels once you’ve survived a 180-kilometer, combined-impact, head-on highway collision. I must not totally be off my rocker either if Christian fundamentalists call me dark and demonic. In the spirit of rebellion, I exercise my baser instincts when I want to find God. If, however, I simply wish to connect with the divinity within (which is always)? I slow down. I meditate. I breathe. I read a book. I write. I throw a mat down. I sing. I dance. I frolic in nature. I smoke weed. I eat a delicious, nutritious meal. Indian food is the best. Not even Indian takeout fattens my donkey.

My experiences have shown me time and again that the angels are my teammates and my friends. Perhaps the angelic realm is a gift to us from us. We are, after all, the Original Planners.

If nothing else, thank the Angels of Light for blanketing Earth in pink and white light every night before drifting off to sleep. Otherwise, if it feels good—I am not your psychotherapist; feeling good is good enough for me.

Yoga Teacher Does Ativan

“Allopathic medicine is insufficient. Not wrong, insufficient.” – Caroline Myss

I refuse to be ashamed of the fact that my doctor prescribed me Ativan for PTSD, six years after I’d been struck with it.

In light of Michael Stone’s untimely death, I feel compelled to speak up about a taboo subject within the holistic community in general, and the yoga community in particular.

I didn’t know Michael Stone when he was alive. I never met him. I wasn’t interested in knowing him. Nearly everyone I knew in the yoga community who adored him and his books are—or at the very least, were—assholes. Competitive, stifling, appearance-obsessed assholes. I figured that if that many assholes praised his work, then he must have been an asshole, too.

And then I met Michael Stone after his body expired.

I read the media release from his wife shortly after he overdosed on fentanyl in the streets of Victoria. Apparently, Michael had been struggling with bipolar disorder and had been contemplating revealing his struggles publically. He obviously didn’t trust his audience with the information, though, which likely contributed to the severity of his condition.

Then he tragically died and the support poured in on the crowd-funding pages. In all fairness, I do figure the only way to apologize for being an unrelenting asshole is with money.

I’m by no stretch of the imagination a professional medium, but I have on occasion communicated with “dead” people, and the experiences have been validated. So, because I’m hung up on the notion that dead people can read my thoughts, I knew I couldn’t lie to Michael Stone about why I wasn’t interested in him. And, being the honest, Indigo, mercurial Capricorn that I am, I wanted to have a conversation to clear the air.

The first impression I received of Michael flooded me with compassion. He was present. He unconditionally understood my indifference towards him and loved me anyways. I did not see him with my physical eyes or hear him with my physical ears; I’m clairsentient and claircognizant. I felt him in my heart and knew him in my thoughts. He encouraged me to let the misfit out of the closet.

From my perspective, acknowledging that you’re a spiritually bypassing asshole is like white people acknowledging that we’ve been socialized to be racist. It’s not easy, but if you want to be more like Michael Stone (or the Dalai Lama), stepping out of your denial is worth it. I’m sure his fans would be comforted to know that he’s not the one calling them assholes.

I don’t resonate with the camp that believes that bipolar disorder is simply a chemical imbalance in the brain, but I do recognize the potential need to treat it psychiatrically. As much as I’d like to believe that I live in a friendly, cooperative universe, I also acknowledge the harried distortion in which everyone who reads these words breathes.

There are those of us who can keep pace, and there are those of us who struggle. I admittedly fall in the latter category. For the last year or more, I’ve been following the work of medical medium Anthony William, who claims that bipolar disorder is actually caused by toxic heavy metal poisoning in the brain. Where these toxic metals are coming from is another story next to no one is willing to contemplate.

Anger is a temperature gauge. Climbing temperatures heat up foreign metals in the brain that then melt, trauma is triggered, then adrenaline pumps through the system like a blowtorch. William says that there is literally a hot metal storm raging in the brain when this happens. Following the manic episode, depression suppresses the nervous system, thus cooling the body. Eventually ecstasy (which I don’t necessarily consider mania) kicks in, indicating the activation of the body’s healing chemistry, and the cycle starts over again.

If William is right, it’s imperative to eat foods that remove toxic heavy metals from the brain. With the exception of sensitivities, foods to eat include: wild blueberries, cilantro, lemon water, celery-cucumber juice, coconut water, banana, Vitamin B12 (meat), sweet potato, potato, winter squash, sprouts, microgreens, asparagus, radish, and butter lettuce. William recommends a low-fat diet when detoxing from heavy metals. It would also be helpful, if possible, to reduce or avoid triggers. Within the totality of possibilities, anything is possible. Unless, of course, you’ve kicked the bucket and you’re dead. Although then death, too, falls in the realm of possibility.

If yoga has taught me anything, it’s to honour my body. If yoga communities have taught me anything, it’s that they are herds operating within a tribal mentality. I have not made it global like Michael Stone, and with the exception of a few gems here and there, I do not feel supported by my yoga community. That said, I haven’t died in isolation. I also happen to be flush with opportunity. I do believe, after all, that I create my own reality.

Speaking of… In 2012, I got into a car accident moving for a man who decided after six months of living together that he didn’t love me. He was a kept man, but the going got too tough for him compounded by his mother’s disapproval of me. He never had my back.

She just doesn’t like to work, his mother repeatedly chirped in the months following my 180-kilometer-impact car accident. Her words spewed forth from his mouth like broken glass. Eventually she convinced him that he didn’t love me, and because he treated me like garbage, he didn’t disagree.

The car accident disabled me and the settlement bankrupted me. I uprooted my life and compromised my career and my health for a man who was not worth the consequential hardship. Permanent injuries that affect my spine and nervous system remind me of my tattered choices daily. Although I’m no longer bursting at the seams with anger and hostility, I have not figured out how to forgive myself.

On the bright side, it’s not lost on me how I created the experience, and fortunately I’m aware of triggers. My support system includes daily rituals to ground me in my home station and connect me with my spirit. Daily routine and rituals balance Vata dosha. Ayurveda, the ancient healing art of India, uses doshas to describe the varying constitutions of the human body. Veda means “science” while ayur means “life.” Vata and, to a lesser extent, Pitta have rung wildly out of balance in the years following the accident. I practice physical yoga nearly daily, I micro-dose CBD oil in the mornings before work, and I’ve been experimenting with medical-grade lavender oil to relax my nervous system in the evenings. Occasionally, though, natural options aren’t strong enough to alleviate severe anxiety, or worse, PTSD. It never occurred to me to ask my doctor to write me a prescription for Ativan. I was hell bent on managing anxiety naturally.

But, I’m over contracting obstructive nasal polyps that encroach upon my sleep, etc. Fighting with myself about my circumstances and lack of understanding from others, along with being too busy activates cortisol, which then initiates the production of histamine. Histamine breeds polyps, etc. I can’t smoke weed or consume THC when nasal polyps are active, and I like smoking weed. Smoking weed is my psychologist and my friend. Cannabis—unlike the conditional, unloving yoga community—doesn’t judge me. In my experience, most yoga teachers are not trauma sensitive. They simply paid for the training and credentials.

Sure, I might be jaded, but maybe there’s room for Saturn in the book of Scorpio here. I’ve never been willing to tolerate abuse (leaving me with a charred reputation to begin with), yet I am willing to grow up and cooperate.

Even taking a gram or half a gram of Ativan once a week seems to be enough to stop me from wigging out on nervous system overload. I do prefer marijuana over Ativan, but ganja doesn’t suppress my nervous system. Resistance can still fester on weed. THC is by far the best option available to me to manage chronic pain and acute depression, but THC is useless to combat mental health malfunction when DHEA levels are tenaciously low. Prolonged depression and agitation are indications that DHEA levels have plummeted. DHA is a fatty acid (found in omega 3’s), whereas DHEA is one of the most abundantly circulating hormones in the human body. DHEA promotes vitality. Wild salmon is considered the most abundant natural source of omega-3 fatty acids to boost DHEA, yet my Vata-imbalanced body seems to detest both fish and omega-3 supplements. Happiness, of note, also boosts DHEA.

So, there you have it. It takes courage to write a blog, and even more courage to be honest about who you are when no one’s looking. People often comment that they feel comfortable being themselves around me. In truth, I command it from the field. And nothing, from my perspective, provides relief from psycho-emotional suffering more than compassion and understanding.

There’s something about being left to my own devices and valued for who I am. Filters, yes. Facades? No.

Yoga – Science of the Mind

“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.” – Niels Bohr

Yogic sages from India reverently declare that Patanjali, who is said to have written the Yoga Sutras, founded modern yoga. These sutras, or threads of knowledge, have come to be called The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and over eleven hundred translations can be found tucked away in homes, libraries and bookstores encircling the globe.

I’ve read Sri Swami Satchidananda’s translation and commentary cover to cover, to give you an idea of my scholarly authority over the subject matter.

Patanjali, in my opinion, did what any other writer and thinker would do and wrote a book on a subject he felt passionate about. He likely knew of his purpose or dharma, and possessed the gift of prophecy and vision. I wouldn’t be surprised if he could see into the future of the looming Piscean Age and the forthcoming holographic insert of Jesus Christ Superstar dying on a cross. I imagine spirit inspired him to intervene with lofty yet practical idealism.

If we’re arguing over semantics, I’ll agree that Patanjali is the Father of Modern Yoga, but I have reason to believe that yoga (along with sacred and ritual dance) date as far as back or farther than Atlantis. India undoubtedly established and then disseminated yoga to the rest of the world, but I also suspect that the yogic teachings were given to us by our ancestors in other star systems—like the Pleiades—considering yoga has strong roots in Africa as well. Indigenous cultures spanning Earth report relationships with the various star systems, including the seven sisters of the Pleiades.

Yoga teaches us that we shape our realities with our minds. How many times have we heard so-called New Ageists quip, “you create your own reality”? Seth of Jane Roberts, Abraham of Esther Hicks, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay… Even ancient Hermeticism points out that The All, or Creation, is a mind.

First published in 1908, The Kybalion is a classic esoteric text that teaches people how to put Hermetic principles into action. The term “Hermetic” is derived from the Greek god Hermes, known for writing and Divine magic, as well as his associations with Thoth and Merlin. The Kybalion states that, “True Hermetic Transmutation is a Mental Art,” and, “The All is Mind; The Universe is Mental.”

We can’t see thoughts, yet we know we think. Many of us who haven’t been graced with mystical experiences, however, dismiss the notion because we’ve found neither our thoughts nor what Wayne Dyer called the commander in the command center. Furthermore, we haven’t come to terms with death.

Vidya Vonne opens the introduction of Satchidananda’s translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras with the following statement:

When the word Yoga is mentioned, most people immediately think of some physical practices for stretching and stress reduction. This is one aspect of the Yogic science, but actually only a very small part and relatively recent in development. The physical Yoga, or Hatha Yoga, was primarily designed to facilitate the real practice of Yoga—namely, the understanding and complete mastery over the mind. So the actual meaning of Yoga is science of the mind. … Traditionally the word Yoga by itself refers to Raja Yoga, the mental science.

Master the mind, master reality.

Abraham (received by Esther Hicks) is of the greatest Raja Yoga teachers of our time. Abraham teaches us that feeling good, thus being in vibrational alignment with our Source (or inner being), is more important than working hard. Abraham contends that we don’t create through action, but rather vibration, which calls action from us. Within their seminal works, The Teachings of Abraham, Jerry and Esther Hicks insist that we get what we think about, whether we want it or not. The relationship between our physical selves and nonphysical Intelligence is our own guidance system, or what yogis would call the true emotional body. Blockage in the manomayakosha—psycho-emotional body—manifests initially as emotional distress, and then eventually (if unattended to) escalates into physical or mental illness.

Abraham (through Esther) asserts that we can tell how we’re affecting future events, including our health, by how we’re feeling about them right now.

“Monitoring thoughts can be tedious and tiring,” the Hicks write in The Vortex: Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships, “so the best approach to deliberately change the direction of your thought is to reinforce your desire to feel good.”

In his book, The Power of Intention, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer offers the following affirmation to reprogram the subconscious mind in moments of suffering: I want to feel good.

Louise Hay said, “Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation.”

The only way to deactivate a regressive thought or vibration, is to activate another. Remember the yogis call regressive forces asuras, or demons.

Of all the Pleiadian teachings and teachers out there, I pay attention to only a few teachers at the moment—most notably Barbara Marciniak. Marciniak has been channeling the Pleiadians for nearly as long as Esther Hicks has been receiving Abraham (since the eighties). For whatever reason, these teachings resonate with me.

In her book Bringers of the Dawn, Marciniak writes, “In our teachings we always emphasize the importance of oxygenation, because oxygen feeds the coding and awakens the junk DNA in your body (which certainly isn’t junk at all).” Ever hear a yoga teacher reminding you to breathe?

Through Marciniak, the Pleiadians emphasize that the universe is the result of thought, and that understanding, manipulating and working with thought is the nature of our purpose here. The Pleiadians caution that although the thinking portion of ourselves is central to our experience in this world, our thinking center must be connected to our feeling center—what the yogis would call the heart. The heart chakra is our vital link between our visible selves and our invisible selves.

The Pleiadians define light as “the promoting, dispensing, and sharing of information,” while darkness controls and withholds information. Most schools of yogic thought would agree that there are only two primary emotions: love or fear. Love vibrates within an abundance of information, whereas fear vibrates out of a lack of information. We move beyond fear when we are informed. If it’s true that we feed darkness with fear, then it would make sense that we feed lightness with love. Caroline Myss’s teachings beg the question—are you thinking and acting in league with Darkness, or are you thinking and acting in league with Light?

“The big secret that has been kept from the human species,” Marciniak writes in chapter ten of Bringers of the Dawn, “is that thought creates experience, and thought creates reality. All reality is created by thought.”

Your experiences are a direct reflection of your thoughts.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer wrote several books on the matter, two of particular note: You’ll See It When You Believe It, and, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. Louise Hay wrote a book called Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Ways to Overcome Them. This book could effectively complement yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda: Science of Life. Ayurveda, a comprehensive healing and balancing system designed to sync you with the cycles of nature and life, is governed by two guiding principles. (1) The mind and body are inextricably one system, and (2) emotions drive our physiology.

In chapter 5 of his book, The Biology of Belief, Dr. Bruce Lipton writes,

When we change the way we perceive the world, that is, when we “change our beliefs,” we change the blood’s neurochemical composition, which then initiates a complementary change in the body’s cells. … When yogis demonstrated that they could consciously override autonomic controls, such as the regulation of body temperature, blood pressure, and pH, they provided evidence of the conscious mind’s ability to influence the body’s innate intelligence.

Dr. Lipton is a renowned stem cell biologist and pioneer in bridging science and spirituality. He started out his career as an atheist until he discovered in the 1960s that the nucleus of the cell is not the brain, but the gonads.

Gregg Braden, a geologist also bridging science and spirituality, offers the following analogy to understand chromosomes: Think of the cells in the body as the library. Within the library (cells), you’ll find books (chromosomes). Within the books (chromosomes), you find chapters (DNA). Within the chapters (DNA), you find paragraphs of information (genes). You read paragraphs of information, correct? DNA composes genes. DNA is more or less responsible for cellular replication, but the environment of the cell that interacts with the membrane is responsible for shaping gene expression. In other words, your cells are affected by how you feel.

Based on his research, Lipton holds that each cell in our bodies is its own point of consciousness interacting with the invisible realm, in much the same way that human consciousness or awareness interacts with the invisible realm (or, quantum field). As an aside, genetics are responsible for approximately one percent of all disease on the planet, according to Lipton.

Interestingly I’ve heard Abraham-Hicks say that beliefs are thoughts we keep thinking, and now science is proving that our beliefs shape our lives. Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer insisted for decades that we can change our thoughts, which would infer that we can change our beliefs, and thus reshape our lives.

For purposes of simplicity, I correspond the quantum field with dark matter. We can’t see it (or, science hasn’t discovered it yet), but mathematically we know it’s there. Abraham-Hicks talks about a Vortex of Creation that precedes all physical manifestation. I equate Abraham’s Vortex to the quantum field.

In 1952, the great Indian Yogi sage, Paramahansa Yogananda, left the world with his seminal and spectacular life story, Autobiography of a Yogi. George Harrison of the Beatles kept stacks of this book in his home to gift to his guests. Yogananda taught Kriya Yoga (meditation) throughout the West, promoted spiritual happiness, and founded the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles.

When Yogananda’s guru Sri Yukteswar died, he returned (like Jesus), except he didn’t kick a big rock out of the way. He simply appeared and apologized to Yogananda for being a stern master. At one point, Yogananda (a Capricorn) described the process of whittling away at the ego like uprooting diseased teeth. Capricorn tends to be arrogant and cocky—that is, not humble. Sri Yukteswar, a rigid Taurus, ran a tight hermitage. Caroline Myss might say he played hardball. Yogananda thanked Sri Yukteswar for being a formidable teacher, but Sri Yukteswar explained that (from his perch in the astral realm), being hard on one another is regressive.

Self-realization, after all, requires perspective.

During the mystical encounter, Sri Yukteswar expounded upon the three planes of existence: (1) causal realm of ideas; (2) subtle, astral realm of thought and emotion; and, (3) physical realm of planets, stars and galaxies. Sri Yukteswar likened the quantifiable universe to a basket, and the astral universe to the hot air balloon above. The astral universe, he said, hundreds of times larger. Something tells me Sri Yukteswar Giri had a fine sense of humor.

Of Yogananda’s written works, I’ve only read Autobiography of a Yogi. He didn’t record in this particular book, though, any conversation about what the hot air balloon floats around in. I’m guessing the causal realm of ideas? The Pleiadians do discuss twelve spinning universes, so I wonder if there are neighboring balloons…

At the very least, I’m a journalist synthesizing and presenting information. The more I learn, the less I realize I know. With electrons in mind, there must be union between what Deepak Chopra calls local and nonlocal experiences. Aldous Huxley wrote a book called The Doors of Perception, inspired by a phrase in William Blake’s poem, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” Jim Morrison borrowed “The Doors.”

Yoga is a legendary mind-body-spirit discipline. If biology and physics study the physical universe, while spirituality studies the metaphysical universe and quantum mechanics bonds the known with the unknown, then it makes sense in my mind that yoga (through its study of the mind) addresses the Doors—the convergence between the Great Mystery and what the Great Mystery reveals.

Winter Solstice: Prelude to the Coveted Birthday Season

“Winter Solstice, probably the best known and certainly the most appropriated of all the old pagan Holy Days, is celebrated as a time of rest and quiet. … Midwinter Solstice festivals … are cultural winter therapies that … rekindle the human spirit.” – Kim Duckett

“Summer is just around the corner,” my late Grandpa Bob would proclaim at the turn of each winter season.

In the northern hemisphere (where I live), the days shrink, while night expands. At the far North Pole, darkness saturates the landscape for months, save for the compensatory nature of the aurora borealis. Fortunately, winter solstice heralds the dawn of days growing longer. Sun worshippers rejoice! Astrology deniers, take note.

I understand why people resist prophetic interpretations of astrology (I do, too), but we can’t escape from astrology entirely. The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, for example, marks not only the beginning of winter, but also the day the Sun enters cardinal earth sign Capricorn—the zodiac’s first winter sign. The tropical zodiac is oriented to the seasons and originated in the constellations of the ecliptic. The precession of the equinoxes has since been discovered, which explains why the tropical zodiac as we follow it today no longer lines up with the constellations. Astrology may understandably lose enthusiasts as a result.

Nevertheless, each tropical zodiac year begins in March when the Sun plunges into the cardinal fires of Aries, marking the Spring Equinox or the northern hemisphere’s entrance into spring. The Summer Solstice—International Yoga Day globally, or Aboriginal Day nationally in Canada—marks the Sun’s entrance into the cardinal water sign of Cancer. Lastly, the Fall Equinox transitions summer to winter, and marks the Sun’s entrance into the cardinal air element known as Libra.

To recap, the cardinal signs include: Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. Cancer and Capricorn form the summer-winter solstice axis, pole or polarity, while Aries and Libra form the spring-fall equinox pole. The cardinal signs usher in seasons. Along with cardinal signs, the tropical zodiac also hosts fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) and mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces). For the winter solstice, however, we focus upon Capricorn—the proverbial night and shining rock star of the zodiac.

To start, I find it interesting that Capricorn opens and closes each Gregorian calendar year. Next, nobody knows for sure when Jesus was born, but for all intents and purposes (as Kris Kristofferson so adeptly pointed out), Jesus was a Capricorn. I don’t personally have a problem with Jesus, but I’m over the baby in a manger broken record. Son of God can go, too. Regardless of religious dogma, Capricorn claims fame to Jesus. Jesus was a misfit. The yogis love Jesus. Win.

Chiefly I love Christmas for the lights. Trees wrapped in lights warms my spirit. Decorative lights rock my world. There’s also something about generosity and pleasant surprises.

For the last five years I’ve had two or so weeks off during the holiday season. I enjoy this trend. I could spend Christmas on a beach if I wanted to. In the spirit of holiday cheer, we decorate our homes, businesses and trees, stuff stockings, and exchange gifts. We stuff our faces with turkey dinner, festive treats, and collections of Christmas chocolates. Mint Ovation After Eight for moi, si vouz play.

Then on New Year’s Eve, it’s not uncommon to watch fireworks—that is, lights. We purchase stilettos and sparkling sequined dresses, and ring in the New Year with champagne on ice and passionate kisses.

Undeniably a new year inspires new intentions. This last year I intended to reach new heights of discipline, which I only recommend if you can handle the universe holding you to the pronouncement. Capricorn can become cocky in this “you create your own reality” business, and consequently, forget that honesty about trends walks a fine line with definitive declarations. Careful what you wish for. This next year I am intending to reach new heights of peace, harmony and ease.

With me in mind, the end of birthday season is all about me. My birthday often wraps up birthday season, although I was born with the Sun at 28 degrees Capricorn. Each zodiac month breaks down into 1-degree increments from 00 to 29 degrees. Each degree coincides with a birthdate. I share a birthday with the iconic likes of Janis Joplin, Edgar Allen Poe, and Dolly Parton (to name a few), as well as the actress, Katey Sagal, who played Peg Bundy on Married with Children.

For the coldest, darkest month of the year, Capricorn irrefutably leaves a legacy of lights. Since I’m born on what usually ends up being the final day of Capricorn, I like to think that I’m the light at the end of the legacy. Capricorn closes out the year, and I close out Capricorn.

Backtracking to the winter solstice and centuries ago when people followed, not zodiac signs, but planets… The ring’d taskmaster Saturn governs the domain of Capricorn. For the last three or so years, Saturn has been transiting the mutable fire sign of freedom-loving Sagittarius, traditionally ruled by the gas giant Jupiter. Jupiter is known for expansion, while Saturn (ruling the physical reality) is known for limitation. Although Capricorn can party like a rock star (think Elvis, Janis Joplin, David Bowie), Capricorn is also known as the workaholic of the zodiac.

Shamanic astrology interacts with the planets as sentient beings, and teaches us to develop relationships with the celestial bodies accompanying Earth in our relatively small solar system. Saturnalia is an ancient Roman festival that honours the Roman god of plenty and peace (Saturn, ruler of time), while in contemporary times, we could simply celebrate the planet Saturn. Nonetheless, the festival opens the winter solstice each year, paving the way for the Sun’s entrance into Saturn’s home cloak of Capricorn. In 2017 (in a curious twist of astronomical fate), Saturn dove rings first into the goat-mermaid’s pie in the sky during Saturnalia, mere days before the Sun. Only time can weave the story of how this planetary transit stirs us individually, socially and collectively.

With respect to yoga, Jupiter is known in Sanskrit as guru—the wise sage within. Light transmits information. The siddhis—or information—occur to us when we feel relaxed or inspired, and thus receptive. The physical practice of yoga helps us to feel more balanced and receptive.

Each different zodiac sign governs different parts of the physical body. Capricorn rules the teeth, knees and bones. Bones, like stone, are said to house or store information. Examine the idiom, “I know it in my bones,” or, “I feel it in my bones.” The Sanskrit word samskara indicates emotional scarring (or resistance) in the tissues, which blocks access to information that could plausibly be stored in the bones. Ever notice random memories surfacing during a yoga practice?

Yoga is an intelligent, effective, versatile technology. Consider the breath. How often do you hear your yoga teacher encouraging you to breathe? Why is the breath important? What is it about the breath that sustains us? On planet Earth, we cannot live without our breath. Breathing is an autonomic response, meaning we breathe automatically. Along with soaking up light through our skin and eyes, it is said that we take in information through the breath. Inspire. In yoga, we breathe in as deeply as possible to oxygenate (or inform) our cells. Trillions of cells compose the human body. Obviously these cells must communicate, be informed, and exchange information.

Along with informing the cells, Prana—life force energy harnessed from breath—nourishes the pineal gland, which then interacts with the endocrine system. We’re either in growth or survival, depending predominantly on the thoughts in our minds. The mind is a soul. Psychology originally masked astrology (study of the soul) within academia, but textbooks don’t share this information. Consider for a moment why inhaling essential oils can be such a pleasurable experience. From a cosmic perspective (for those who appreciate comfort and information), we breathe for the pleasure of breathing.

How about thinking for the pleasure of thought? Oh wait. We’re running ahead of ourselves here. That’s Aquarius, which brings me to be the last best thing about birthday season. On the tropical zodiacal wheel, Capricorn cozies up next to my favourite constellation: Aquarius. Aquarius rhymes with hilarious.

Known for a “dry” sense of humour, Capricorns are like fine wine in that we ripen with age. I joke that Aquarius can talk my panties off in five seconds. At the very least, Capricorn can’t help but break the bonds of resting bitch face to laugh in the company of brilliant expression. Jilliant, when I’m being bashful.

And that, my friends, is what winter solstice and subsequently birthday season mean to me. Next stop? Summer.

Pain Relief, Naturally

The truth is, the only real thing you can do to alleviate chronic pain is relax your nervous system—consistently—which means zero inappropriate stress, along with zero negative thinking.

Well, as we likely all know, if you’re living on planet Earth in 2017, that’s not possible. Unless, of course, you’re watching the person doing it, then step aside.

I spent an hour or so recently with a gentleman who lives in my building, and he didn’t want to hear about the accident, again; not because he doesn’t have compassion for me (he lets me use his internet for free), but because he doesn’t see any good reason to drum up the past. He offered me a new way to look at running out of steam: how is a car supposed to move forward if it doesn’t have any gas?

I told this gentleman that, given my circumstances, I couldn’t build a reputation for myself based on masks and appearances. Burning ourselves out to take our dying bodies to our graves isn’t living. And let’s be honest, how sustainably are we collectively living on this planet anyway?

You know what I intend to take to my grave? Building a reputation on being myself.

All through grade school, I did the best I could to fit myself into the boxes that society laid out for me, and I did a pretty good job given my Sun and Mercury in Capricorn. I honestly don’t know how else to make sense of it, because I’m learning now (and to some degree in university) that I learned a lot of untrue garbage growing up. Even in university, though, I eventually gave in and by my final year just gave the teachers what they wanted. With very few teachers did it matter that I could, not necessarily think for myself, but follow my own impulses.

Interesting how we’ve demonized the word “impulse.”

Before I follow impulses these days, they usually yell at me a lot before I’ll consider acting on them. As a Capricorn, I can spend months and years contemplating moves before I make them. I don’t care what mainstream society thinks; mainstream society is flawed. I could write books, which I plan to, with elaborate explanations and stories illustrating why I don’t need asshole people—who don’t fucking know me—thinking I don’t know who I am.

That said, focusing on negative phenomena creates negative phenomena. At my best, I like to be proactive.

During the latest full moon in Taurus, I threw my neck out, again, although it hadn’t happened in nearly a year. Admittedly I felt uncontrollably bitchy with the Sun, Mercury and Jupiter moving through Scorpio. I couldn’t get a handle on it, so the universe whac-a-mole’d me.

Contrary to inaccurate belief, I don’t smoke weed every day. I also don’t look to conventional society for answers. Please understand that conventionally, or clinically, trained doctors, psychologists and the like are subsidized predominantly by insurance premiums and tax dollars. If you pander to that noise, you are not always paying for answers; you are in many instances paying for bureaucracy.

Marijuana is the only “drug” I’ve taken to date for pain, anxiety and depression, but even ingesting cannabis allows for unstable compounds to circulate through the bloodstream—that, when combined with histamines and other cytokines released from stress hormones, can aggravate conditions in the body. Like, nasal polyps. I wish, like in the case of George’s fractionally distilled aloe vera, that scientists would figure out how to remove those precarious compounds from the plant, leaving only the therapeutic benefits of the THC behind (for severe cases like obstructive nasal polyps). Oh wait. Shatter. Paraphernalia pending.

So, when I stress out too consistently for too long, nasal polyps can bloom. Changing seasons in the last couple years seems to exacerbate the issue, but not cause it. The cause is mental. The cause is always mental.

Imagine driving on empty, and you’ll get a sense of what I live with every day. The only thing that seems to lift me up is serving others. When people act entitled to my time and energy, however (without considering compensating me, so maybe I could fuel my gas tank), I’m human! I can run empty. It took me throwing out my neck to realize that maybe my electrolytes were out of balance. Sure enough, drinking coconut water helped. I drink coconut water with no added sugar, so no monkey business for me. Blending coconut water with a cup of frozen organic tart red cherries worked even better. One replenishes electrolytes, while the other reduces inflammation.

I would quote studies, but since I’m not the one who needs convincing, maybe this would be a good opportunity for readers who require extra work from me to do that work for themselves. I’ll give you a hint: scientific studies have been conducted on high-profile athletes in the States, in which drinking one cup of tart red cherry juice per day following intense workouts resulted in speedier tissue recovery. It was within these studies where scientists discovered that tart red cherries also reduce inflammation. This, of course, is not an option for you if you’re allergic to cherries, or coconut. The endocrine system does change every seven years (why I’m not an advocate for allergy testing), but do you see how we’re all different?

You know what I do when I want more information or I don’t understand something? I research. In this flawed age of instant gratification, consider it the fast track to thinking for yourself. You could also trust that you’ll learn said information when you’re meant to. Throw it out to the universe; see what bounces back.

Now, something to consider: if you want to reduce inflammation (and thus, pain), you have to consume organic food. Yes, I understand the confusion and the argument. I lived the argument for many years—with the exception of bananas and maybe a few other foods, because my taste buds could taste the difference. Genetically modifying food is a technology based on flawed thinking that creates inflammation in the body. Our cells cannot assimilate the technology. If you have any health conditions whatsoever (including being overweight), eat organic food. Yes, we could improve our agricultural practices. The technology already exists. But, how are supposed to enact necessary changes when we reject the people who are willing to question the general consensus, and furthermore, remain stuck in the painful thinking that created harmful unsustainability in the first place?

But yeah, better throw on those masks. We have appearances to defend.

Notes from My Twitterverse

“Tweeter of the Amused.” – Jillian J. Lang

I told this dude I wouldn’t have sex with him, and now he’s sitting next to me without pants. Or boxers. He’s a nudist, he says. This isn’t about you, Jill. He’s over me. That only took approximately five minutes from Time of Rejection (TOR). He’s already farting in front of me.

Vancouver: Where all the white people look the same.

On his 30th birthday, she sat across from him and arrogantly asked, “So. Now that you’re 30, do you have any plans or goals, or have you even thought about it?” He stuttered; I almost punched the bitch.

So, I could have been honest with the chick about what I think of her business sense, but instead I acted like a mental lunatic. I came by it honestly, but I think my blatant opinion insulted her anyways. I was just being honest about why working for free isn’t sustainable.

The scariest thing about living in the moment is nothing.

Who doesn’t like hanging out under a blankey? I like hanging out under a blankey so much, I’m hanging out under two.

Walking down Cook Street, eating a cold smoked sausage out of a brown paper bag.

At the market earlier (totally in the clouds), and I’m walking up to the bananas like a fairy, softly exclaiming, “Bananas! Bananas!” This old man, approaching the bananas, after hearing me softly exclaims, “Bananas! Bananas!”

My 13-year-old nephew had to explain “wheeling” to my 27-year-old brother.

Taking Kettle Salt & Pepper ripple chips to a bocce tournament, and I just had an old man boarding the bus tell me I have good taste in chips.

Google Images unanimously agrees that Charlie Sheen is the poster child of “winning.”

Vancouver is legs and boots.

If scientists studied My Pet Monster’s nose, I wonder how many kisses they would find…

Today after cooking eggs, the pan was relatively easy to clean, with only a hardened yolk in the exact shape of a sperm.

You know the universe loves you when Super Garth meets the guy you gave a foot job to in grade 9. He and his wife recognized me by my laugh.

Instead of monitoring parking, maybe commissionaires could monitor littering.

Apparently collections agents don’t work on the day that Jesus died on the Cross.

“You have too many questions. We’ve gone over the 5 minutes. I’ll get someone to call you back, probably not today.”

In the spirit of Joan Rivers, another one bites the dust.

I once attended a pool party, hosted by lesbians, where gay dudes were yelling “HUMAN SHIELD” during water fights.

I posted a picture of David Beckham’s ass on Facebook, and even straight men are flirting with it.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I just returned toilet paper because it was chapping my ass.

I had a dream that I was trying to buy a white, chocolate banana bun from Whole Foods, but they wanted two weeks for it, so I told them off.

Woke up, looked at the sky and saw a dick plunging the clouds. “That’s a dick,” I said, and crawled back into bed.

Strung out, silver-hair’d man walks by me and says, “You just need a little extra padding and you’ll be alright.” Keeps walking.

Governments and terrorists, peas and carrots.

Without people who breed, there would be no people who fail to breed.

Immaculée Ilibagiza. Know her. She’ll give you perspective.

Yoga is my playpen.

What the world needs now is a hug, a big hug.

I just asked the universe if it’s possible to commit suicide in the Vortex, and then spilled an entire jar of freshly poured water.

Humans own land; aliens own planets.

I’m giving my Capricorn friend a birthday card with a bulge.

Angels of Marijuana. Angels for everything.

I wonder if my cells know that they work in a body named Jill…

The writer just told the doodler not to punctuate the double exclamation with a smiley face.

A tall, good-looking said “hi” to me tonight. I ignored him. I’ll do better next time.

News is blaring on a television behind me at an Indian food joint, and all I can think is: it’s fabricated hurricane season!

Vigilante Jill

Words by Henry Skey (written c. January 19, 2012)

The actors huddled in a semi-circle, stomping their feet and cursing the weather. Nobody told them it was going to be this cold. The producers mentioned that they would be needed for the “party in the summer” shot, filmed in February of course, but to dress warmly. What they didn’t mention is that they would start filming three weeks early, and that a blizzard would hit the region with the force of a drunken linebacker. Jill stared at the sky, trying to think positive.

“Oh good, more snow. I’m so pleased that I can’t feel my toes. This was a good idea. This was a good decision. This was a..ah…argggg FUCK THIS SHIT!

“ALEXEI!!!” Jill screamed towards the costume tent.

A small, ratty looking man burst out of the tent, looking around for the source of the commotion. As he saw Jill and the actors beckoning him, he sighed. It was always the actors causing commotion. He lightly jogged towards the group, making a point not to look at them until he was right in front of them. He paused, looked Jill in the eye, with an exaggerated smile.

“Yes?”

“Alexei, can you please ask wardrobe for some coats while we wait? It has to be 10 below now and it’s getting colder.”

Alexei, knowing this point of contention would come up, expanded his grin and prepared to make a statement.

“Before you speak, Alexei, just remember this; I know who has been stealing the director’s favorite whiskey every night. I also know that you’re here illegally and that you’re using your cousin’s passport and identity to work here, even though he’s dead. And I also know that if you don’t go get us some fucking coats, all of us are either going to walk out on the movie, or die here on the gravel. Understand?” Jill was unwavering, nor was she joking.

The other actors, while stunned, agreed with every word she said and stood cross armed with her, staring at Alexei. The rat was trying to come up with a solution, but he couldn’t. He mumbled something. Jill’s eyes widened and she leaned forward, “I’m sorry? Didn’t catch that.”

“I SAID I’ll go see if I can find some spare blankets.”

Jill, content, nodded. Cici whispered in her ear, “girl, that was amazing.”

“I know. How long do you think before they figure out we’re not the actors?”

To connect with Henry and learn more about his work, please visit dollerz.com.

Krishna was a Shit Disturber—He was Everything

“That is the beauty of the teachings of Yoga: they’re not asking you to believe; they’re asking you to understand.” – Anand Mehrotra

I cried the day Super Garth moved from Victoria to Vancouver, late January 2011. We met six months earlier when he moved into the basement suite (of a character house) across the hall from me. I was 6a for asshole, and he was 6b for bitch. We lived on the corner of Woodstock and Marlborough.

“It’s ok, Jill,” he said. “I know it feels like a boyfriend is leaving you, but I will never leave you. I live just across the ocean. We’ll see each other lots.”

I visited him a week later. Vancouver lights were calling.

Going into my second year of university, I found myself living with a guy we’ll call Buck, who not so secretly wanted me to be his submissive wife on a subsistence farm made by the Landmark Forum. The year before, I had rented a room in a house without meeting the landlord, and paid both rent and damage before moving in. That landlord wouldn’t let me move in and wouldn’t refund my money. Not moving in worked out in my favour, though, as it turned out the man received visits from the cops almost daily for belligerent behaviour and had a history of abusing women.

Suffice it to say, Buck and I talked on the phone for over a month before I moved in. We had spirituality in common! Once we were living together, however, I wasn’t too impressed with how Buck gave me “homework” assignments, aggressively encouraging me to pay for everything (for the community…) and go to Forum school.

“It’s worth the $500,” he’d say.

I knew living with Buck was a bad idea after he fed me Ecstasy and massaged my naked breasts. I moved out four days after I moved in, and moved into a house with four other girls—two I got along with, and two I didn’t. When I moved to Vancouver to be closer to Super Garth on July 1, 2011, a roommate from that living situation, Ann Marie, needed a roommate. How perfect! We got along great five years ago. I would regularly tell people that she was the only roommate I’d consider living with again. I also told people that if I ever lived in Vancouver, I would live in Kitsilano. She lived in Kitsilano!

Before I moved in, Ann Marie made it clear that she didn’t want me smoking pot in the apartment—which I respected, when she wasn’t around. Pot smoke dissipates, especially if you keep the windows open, and it was summer; Ann Marie didn’t know. After the first night, she told me that I couldn’t burn incense, and three weeks after I moved in, Ann Marie sat me down and told me that she couldn’t live with someone who gets as depressed as I do.

I couldn’t believe it. I’d stuff my face to calorie load (when I could), and then I’d watch TV quietly instead of actively listening to her whine about her mother, or her boyfriend, or how the girl at work was being mean. My particular birth date is characterized by highs and lows, but I couldn’t do anything when Ann Marie was around except engage with her. I must have been well-fed when we lived together the first time.

The night of the lecture I had eaten a pizza from Whole Foods to myself, followed by a brownie. I had literally overdosed on sugar opiates, but Ann Marie took it personally anyway.

“It’s already happened three times!” she cried.

“This has nothing to do with you,” I charged back.

My fire startled Ann Marie. To that point, I had been profusely accommodating of her moods.

“I have no energy,” I continued, “my body is digesting. I can’t watch TV without talking now?”

Ann Marie started crying.

“It makes me feel bad when you are quiet!” She yelled, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Jesus fucking Christ, I thought. This is how men must feel.

“Would you like me to go to my room when I’m like this?” I asked, adding, “I just moved in. I have no money to move, and I’m barely working. You can pay for my move if you want me to move out right now.”

Ann Marie said she would appreciate it if I went to my room when I wasn’t feeling chatty.

A few weeks later Ann Marie wanted to get high. I rolled a joint, at her request, and was preparing to step outside when she stopped me.

“Let’s smoke inside,” she said, smiling. “It’s cold outside.”

Interesting. We could only smoke in the apartment when Ann Marie wanted to get high.

“Just not all the time,” she said.

Noted.

Fortunately for me, Ann Marie spent most of the summer vacationing or sleeping at her parents’ house in West Vancouver. And I couldn’t complain because I’d smoke at Kits beach when I couldn’t smoke at home. I’d smoke in my car if it was late or raining, but mostly I smoked at home. Ann Marie didn’t know, and the smell didn’t linger. I also burned incense.

Because Ann Marie was gone a lot, I kept up with the cleaning of spaces I used and washed most of the dishes, with the exception of the two weeks after I accidentally punctured my hand stabbing an avocado pit. Even then, Ann Marie only washed her own dishes. No one cleaned.

I ended up cleaning before a visit from my mom mid-August. Two weeks later, I debuted my donkey at Wreck Beach—Vancouver’s premier nude beach—with Super Garth. That same Labour Day weekend, Ann Marie was home and wanted to clean, but she didn’t want to clean alone. She wanted to see me contribute.

Ann Marie was transparent, so I knew she was pissed that I intended to spend my free time basking in the sunshine instead of staying home to help her clean, even though I had cleaned the apartment all summer with no help from her.

I had taught one yoga class on the Friday evening of the long weekend, three classes on the Saturday, and one class on the Sunday. I had Monday off teaching between Sunday and Tuesday. Work was picking up.

After teaching my last yoga class downtown on the Saturday evening, I ran into a childhood friend from Saskatchewan at a bus stop on Granville. Incidentally he was my first friend ever beyond siblings and cousins. Buzzing with excitement, we decided to hang out. One of his friends rolled me a joint to help me calm down (I’m a water dog in Chinese astrology), and sent me home with a free baggy of pure, creamy MDMA.

After teaching my last class of the weekend, I spent the Sunday afternoon accumulating Vitamin D at Kits beach. I had a sneaking suspicion that I’d arrive home from the beach to a note, and I returned home to a note. Ann Marie had been living in the apartment for over a year, me two months, and somehow she expected me to participate in a cleaning overhaul. Fuck you, I thought, and immediately called her out.

Sunday evening I meandered back across the Burrard Street Bridge—one of my favourite walks—and into the West End, where I had been Saturday night. The West End is like the California of Vancouver.

Looking back, I’m impressed that I had the good sense to savour the last days of summer before (unbeknownst to me) moving away from Vancouver six months later. Summer 2011 was my best summer yet. Vancouver slow-roasted consistently with blue skies all summer.

The battery on my Blackberry was almost dead on the Sunday evening around midnight when I gambled on texting Super Garth.

Jackpot.

We gleefully reunited and wandered serendipitously through shops, bars and streets in Vancouver’s West End. We pranced around like delicate fairies, stopping in at the Junction (where Super Garth made out with a stranger), then we fervently felt up rubbers dicks and vaginas in a porn shop. We crouched behind cars parked in a concrete lot, sprinkling white powder onto outstretched tongues—our heads cocked back—while the warm summer breeze kissed our faces. We danced along the beaches with beer in our hands, music playing softly from Super Garth’s iPhone. At last, we crossed the Burrard Street Bridge and strolled barefoot through the cool sands of Kitsilano Beach as the hot Sun rose in the morning.

I returned home with Super Garth to sleep for a few hours before kicking off our naked beach adventure with breakfast at Bon’s Off Broadway. I can’t remember if I woke up to Ann Marie crying, or if I stopped at home between breakfast and the beach to find Ann Marie crying, but I do remember having it out with her in the foyer. She, of course, cried and wanted me to believe that she tried really hard to sound nice.

“I’m 28 years old, Ann Marie,” I said. “Three years older than you. I’m not paying half the rent to be told how to live and what to do. Funny, I have to smoke pot outside rain or shine, but we can smoke pot inside when you want to? Well, I smoke inside every time you’re not here and you never smell it. It doesn’t stick to everything—go smell my room,” I said, pointing to my bedroom.

“You can’t tell. You never can.”

Ann Marie’s jaw dropped to the floor in utter embarrassment.

“Ann Marie,” I continued, “I have done nothing but respect your wishes and try to make this a comfortable living situation for you. Christ, you make me go to my bedroom when I’m not being all about you. That’s ridiculous, Ann Marie. You didn’t help me clean all summer and I never once left you a note. I’m a grownup. I don’t need you leaving me notes telling me how to contribute—I don’t care how nice you think you sounded. From now on, I’m going to worry about making myself feel comfortable in this apartment. You no longer have any say in anything I do.”

In 72 hours, I’d taught five yoga classes, participated in an 18-hour MDMA-a-thon, and made my debut appearance at Wreck Beach. Ann Marie could give me a weekend.

At Wreck Beach, I was naked, all tits out when a guy I knew through mutual friends approached me mid-afternoon.

“Hey Jill, you look great!”

Nick walked out from behind the blazing Sun wearing shorts and a wide grin.

Of course I look great, I thought, I’m basically naked.

“Hi, thanks,” I said as he hugged himself against my naked breasts.

He asked for my number and we made tentative plans for burgs and beers the following day.

I was on a date with Nick the night I received the eviction notice from Ann Marie. We ate hamburgers and drank beer out of green bottles at the Local in Kitsilano, and were having a good time until I saw the red light blinking on my Blackberry. I only read the email because it was from Ann Marie with “Moving” in the subject line.

“Hi Jill,

I just wanted to send you a quick email. I am really unhappy with the way this situation played out and I do not feel you handled it fairly. I have been filled with so much anxiety over the past few days that I do not feel comfortable coming home or being there at all. I have felt constantly sick and unwell and I just don’t want to live this way… it’s too hard for me. You said to me when we spoke that you had to think about yourself and now I am doing the same. I just think we are incompatible roommates; I do not want to tell you how to live, nor do I think it is my right; however, I also deserve to live in a way that makes me comfortable and right now I do not feel comfortable. This is not the first time I have felt this way, but it is definitely the worst. I am sending this in email because I wish to avoid conflict but I have decided that I do not want to continue living together. Right now the lease is under my name so if you wish to stay in the apartment I will talk to Joe and transfer the lease to you, or if you would prefer you can move your things out. Please let me know your intentions as soon as possible so I can make the appropriate arrangements with the landlord.  So just to clarify, either I will be moving out or you will as of October 1.

Ann Marie Piscova”

So I sent her a quick email back.

“Sure, Ann Marie, I’ll move out October 1.”

It was September 6, and she had given me less than a month’s notice to find a new place to live with $500 credit, and I still owed money from the previous move. I didn’t make a fuss, though, and moved on deadline again. I had been paying her $36 a month for my share of utilities, which she fully expected me to pay for September despite her lack of integrity in giving me proper notice. I once moved out on a roommate on the second day of the month and left $100 for the first two days. Well, this time Ann Marie could stand in line with the rest of the bill collectors.

Poor Nick. I raged, not at him, but in front of him.

“You know, Nick, things aren’t going well and haven’t been going well for a while,” I confessed. “I moved to Vancouver for Super Garth, but I wasn’t making enough money to survive in Victoria, so it was also kind of a leap of faith. Ann Marie and I lived together before and got along, but I suppose all the signs were there…”

It didn’t seem to matter to Ann Marie that I counselled her—for free—on countless occasions during the course of our “friendship,” or that I read her tarot cards for free at Kits beach, or that I bought her lunch at Earl’s on my credit card when I couldn’t afford it. Truthfully all Ann Marie ever gave me was bad dating advice. Okay, to be fair she shared chicken sausage and dessert with me from Whole Foods once, maybe twice. And, to her credit, she also brought it to my attention that I wasn’t properly washing dishes with the dish wand.

Otherwise, I had to persuade her to drive me to St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver after puncturing my hand after midnight (she happened to be awake), a drive ten or less minutes out her way. I told her I would be keeping the $10 in my purse for the cab ride home, but I didn’t expect her to wait at the hospital with me. Naturally I was in a state of shock, with blood spurting out from the center of my left hand, yet she was the one who needed consoling.

She even accused my friend of stealing her sunglasses, which she later found on the backseat of her car. If only hugging children in Africa could save us from our mental slavery.

“She doesn’t know from broke, and she feels guilty for being privileged,” I went on after reading the eviction email from Ann Marie. We were sitting on a bench in the beach area above the grass across the street from the Local. The plan was to grab a bite then smoke a joint together.

“She feels guilty when I don’t eat for a few days, because she has never had to starve. I don’t make her feel bad, but I have no energy to actively help her process all of her problems. She feels bad because she knows she’s greedy and completely unreasonable. She’s just used to throwing fits and crying until she gets her way.

“And to be brutally honest,” I continued, “I might have Chlamydia.”

I had been waiting on test results from a walk-in clinic and had Ann Marie convinced that she could catch Chlamydia from sharing a toilet seat with me. Nick sat next to me looking horrified.

Shortly after my rant, Nick offered a polite goodbye and hurried away without looking back. It turns out I took one for the team, considering Nick married one of my friends six years later—almost exactly to the date.

As an aside… How nutty is it that as I was moving out of Buck’s house several years earlier, a guy named Mark was moving in, who coincidentally went to high school with Ann Marie? I later learned that Mark lasted all of two weeks living with Buck.

A couple weeks after eviction, Super Garth was with me on Davie Street the night I got recognized for being awesome at Wreck Beach.

“Hey, I know you!” a flaming stranger yelled.

“Who, Super Garth?” I asked.

“No,” he exclaimed, pointing at me. “You!”

Super Garth and I stood there confused while I swallowed a mouthful of donair. The stranger stood facing us with his arms crossed. He tapped a finger against his lips a few times before shouting, “I know, you’re Jill from Wreck Beach!”

He then turned around and beckoned to a harem of homos.

“Hey guys, look! It’s Jill from Wreck Beach!”

The harem hurried over, surrounding me and Super Garth. They began recounting stories they’d heard me tell at Wreck Beach, applauding me with jumping ovations when I would finish them.

Darling Super Garth. He clapped his hands and jumped for joy, too.

The Cuban Man Who Praised White People

“Perfect love is to feeling what perfect white is to color. Many think that white is the absence of color. It is not. It is the inclusion of all color. White is every other color that exists combined.” – Neale Donald Walsch

When I moved to James Bay at the end of 2015, I promised myself that I would spend more time in nature with a park nearby. The universe held me to my promise by moving me into a smoke-free building. Thanks, universe.

Did you know that universe means “one song”? Uni, one; verse, song.

Smoking a joint at my park one Friday evening in the late spring of 2017, I noticed a man I’d seen a few times before with his dogs. This particular day he had four dogs with him. We had never hung out all that close to each other, but this night one of his dogs wouldn’t stop barking at me. The man eventually ran over, the other three canines trailing behind, and sat down on the bench beside me. We introduced one another—me, the man and the dogs. I can’t remember her name, but the barking dog stopped barking, and a Shih Tzu “with a face only a mother could love” rested for the next three hours in my lap.

The man was in his fifties and originally from Cuba. I had a burning desire to rebuke genocide and systemic oppression of Indigenous people in Canada, while the Cuban man with the dogs wanted to put an end to collective complaining. The charmingly handsome Cuban Scorpio not surprisingly just wanted me to listen. I can’t help but think of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and how it’s the woman’s job to stir the conversation.

The Cuban man had grown up in Cuba under Fidel Castro. He grew up without clean, running water and freedom of speech. He not surprisingly had zero interest in moving to the United States, but was thrilled to eventually immigrate to Canada. He worked his ass off to support twins and a wife in university across the country. Now that his kids are grown up, he doesn’t care if he lives in a house or a van. He’s just happy to live in a country with clean water and free speech—and social assistance, if he needed it.

The Cuban man was concerned that Canada is moving in the direction of Cuba. He didn’t understand the transgender discussion. I explained to the Cuban man that I believe in spirit and that we choose to come here, and that some people intended to be the opposite gender before entering their bodies, and since I don’t know how that feels, it’s probably best that we support them. The Cuban man could live with people wanting to change genders, but he didn’t want to prescribe to semantics or the rhetoric of keeping up with pronouns.

The man had also spent a substantial portion of his adult life living and working in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and said that the First Nations people in Fort Mac are happy to cash in on the crude oil party.

“They’re the richest First Nation in Canada,” the man said.

He was referring to the Fort MacKay First Nation, according to a brief search on Professor Google. The Cuban man mentioned how the First Nations in Canada fight amongst themselves (much like white people, might I add), and can’t agree on values with respect to resources. This understandably confuses white people because we’re largely uneducated about the history of fucking anything in Canada.

I think it’s worth mentioning, though, that not all First Nations in Canada have access to clean, free-running water, and certainly not all First Nations in Canada are connected to the technology grid. Canada is a big, often cold, country. But I understood what the Cuban man was saying. His life experience taught him nose to the grindstone, appreciate everything, and complain about nothing. He himself was a quarter African and three quarters Hispanic.

“Do I look white?” The man asked me.

“No,” I responded.

I think some people adapt to the current reality more easily than others, regardless of gender or race. It bothers some white people that we were born into the debts of our ancestors, while those same white people have no problem with our friends of color being born into systemic oppression. Their problem, we say, we didn’t choose that for ourselves. It’s so easy to be diet racist.

We continue leaving these debts for subsequent generations, yet we can’t see how we’ve been socialized to be racist.

They chose the systemic oppression? We chose the debt. It’s our job as white people to right our ancestors’ wrongs. We can’t reverse the damage, but we can change the policies. (People form governments…) We can legislate new laws. We can give them back their land, and if we can’t do that, we can pay them for it. The money in question already exists in trust—35 billion dollars—with “handouts” burned off from the interest.

We could toss the Indian Act and interact with them as a sovereign nation peacefully. These are not ideas I’ve thought up myself; I’ve extracted them directly from literature I’ve read written by people of Canada’s First Nations.

On that note, we could make it easy for Indigenous people to integrate into our cities and culture—if they so choose.

Speaking of integration, white is an inclusive color. Other than location, please understand that there is no difference between shooting rubber bullets and grenades into crowds of Indigenous people protecting their water at Standing Rock, and driving a car into mixed race protestors in Charlottesville. Notice how we are talking about water again?

I find it interesting that rednecks are hung up on so-called handouts, yet we draw the line at Nazis. Not only did Nazis hijack an inclusive color (white – think of refracted light), but they also hijacked an ancient Sanskrit symbol of oneness. The Swastika is a two-dimensional cross section of an Om sign. Om, according to the ancient yogis, was the sound the universe made at the time of its birth. For scientists out there, Om was the sound created by the Big Bang. Om is said to be the seed sound of creation.

So, we can all agree that Nazis have hijacked inclusivity and oneness, yet we think it’s okay to kill Indians for oil in 2017.

I wish I would have told Whitey before he blocked me that people who hate what they do for a living are contributing to white supremacy. If you’re close to retirement, ride it out. We support you. If, however, you’re nearer my age? Get your ass into work you love asap. You are doing nothing for people of color sitting in your armchair, hating your job.

Perhaps more white people experiencing socioeconomic marginalization isn’t a terrible agenda. It’s the closest thing you’ll experience to systemic oppression, yet you don’t come out the other end of it subject to a White Person Act.

On the one hand, I can appreciate that the Cuban man would miss white people if we were all gone, yet on the other it’s insulting to think that Indigenous people—people of color (with the exception of extremists everywhere)—would turn around and act like assholes like us.

History doesn’t repeat itself, stupidity does.