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’ll take 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.


“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

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.


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.


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.

Moon Dog with the Roses in His Eyes

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain

Thirteen days into 2017, a white person attacked me (during a conversation he started) for talking about the quantum field. That’s where my love life is, I insisted. He didn’t get it.

The conversation started out with him whining about his job. Then suddenly I was being attacked for being a capitalist and a racist. I admittedly had no idea that the whole “you create your own reality” shtick mimicked capitalism.

What Whitey didn’t know, however, was that in November 2014 I attempted to teach an Indigenous man on the street—Moon Dog—about quantum principles. I told him to start imagining his way out of his hardship, like I was attempting to do.

“No,” Moon Dog said firmly, “you don’t understand.”

He was right. I didn’t understand, but Moon Dog still smoked his joint with me anyways.

The white person who attacked me had also never spent a Christmas alone, and as such it never occurred to him to forego family dinner to feed Indigenous people on the street. On the evening of December 25, 2016, I modestly fed Moon Dog, Yvonne and an unnamed white guy. The streets in Victoria that evening were cold and relatively barren.

“It’s getting harder and harder for people to find me,” Moon Dog said as we hugged.

“I walked downtown hoping to find you,” I said to Moon Dog.

We weren’t standing together for long before an Indigenous woman named Yvonne joined the party. Yvonne didn’t consume substances, but she was crushed that her kid wanted nothing to do with her on Christmas. She had spent all her money on everybody else, and had nothing left for herself. Nobody gave her anything, she said.

“Do you want some Brussel sprouts?” I asked Yvonne, reaching into a plastic bag for a care package. I had enough Brussel sprouts to make up six small packages. Each care package consisted of Brussel sprouts, strawberries, chocolates, and a joint. Yvonne was stunned.

“What can I give you in return?” She asked, reaching into her pocket as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“Nothing!” I exclaimed.

“You mean this is free love?” she asked.

“Free love!” I declared.

Yvonne was floored that I wanted nothing in return for the meager serving of Brussel sprouts. We hugged at least six times.

Before Moon Dog and I walked up to Centennial Square to smoke a joint together, we stopped in front of Shoppers where the lone white guy sat. I gave the guy a care package, while Moon Dog dropped the change he had collected into the white guy’s hat. We all wished one another a Merry Christmas, then Moon Dog and I carried on.

I can’t help but consider story time with Moon Dog, who’s in his fifties, a privilege as well as a good opportunity to practice my listening skills. Did you know that “listen” and “silent” share the same letters?

After Moon Dog and I sat down on a bench in Centennial Square, he gave me shit for my posture.

“I told you to start sleeping on better pillows,” he reprimanded.

Moon Dog is a healer. When we first met in 2014, Moon Dog stopped me on the street and asked me if I would smoke weed with him in a nearby park. I obliged. I bought him rolling papers and a lighter, and we walked to the park where he proceeded to give me a postural assessment. I don’t recall telling Moon Dog that I had been in a rather traumatic car accident, and he didn’t tell me that he was “uneducated” or illiterate, yet he instinctively placed my body back into alignment. He told me to get a better bed. I was fresh off the boat onto disability, but I didn’t tell Moon Dog that either.

Moon Dog, a bona fide body worker, understandably refuses to work at McDonald’s. I remember at my first and only income assistance group intake meeting, a guy younger than most of us telling us that he wasn’t the Ministry and wouldn’t tell any of us to work at McDonald’s like our case workers did. Moon Dog hasn’t spoken to me about residential school or the sixties scoop, but he did tell me the last time I sat down with him that he was getting his mind straight and that he’s not ready to go yet.

“I’ll just have to live with this pain,” he said.

Moon Dog’s life has been rifled with injury. Apparently he and a friend are banned from Yates Street in downtown Victoria. He said they walked into one of the theatres downtown without paying for the movie. They were minding their business when the police were eventually called because they refused to leave. A couple behind Moon Dog and his friend offered up a free pair of tickets, he said, so that the gentlemen could stay and enjoy the movie. The “owner,” however, wanted them gone. Moon Dog said that the police didn’t say anything to him and his companion about the beer they were drinking. They got to keep their beer, but they couldn’t stay to watch a movie that the couple behind them offered to pay for. Moon Dog said that the “owner” of the theatre also owns Yates Street, and banned them from both. Apparently police are upholding the ban.

“Yates Street will miss me,” Moon Dog said.

I don’t know; I’m inclined to believe Moon Dog. Regardless, I figure if you’re rich enough to own an entire city block worth of buildings—including a movie theatre—then you’re probably rich enough to let Indigenous people watch movies at your theatre for free.

The Writer Just Wants to be Honest

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

I had no desire to fall in love with a married man, but there I was: enraptured by a perfect stranger. I hadn’t slept in 48 hours. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t breathe through my nose. Dr. Google pointed towards nasal polyps or collapsed sinus valves, both of which apparently required surgery that in most cases didn’t work. I figured treating myself to breakfast sausage on a new moon in Taurus would magically heal my sinuses, while I half expected the universe to make up for the hell I’d been through by hooking me up with my man.

On my walk down to Victoria’s inner harbor, I remember watching a man hand, what appeared to be a young homeless woman, twenty bucks and thinking, I wish someone would hand me twenty bucks. Then I remembered that I could afford to buy breakfast.

Down at the harbor I learned that the Flying Otter Grill (where I intended to eat) stopped serving breakfast a few months earlier. I wanted breakfast, not lunch, so I continued on to watch the harbor ferry ballet while I renegotiated plans with the universe.

When sinus valves collapse, you can’t sit or lay down without your sinuses seemingly closing up on you. Nasal polyps are similar. The solar plexus shifts into overdrive, while the frontal cortex takes a beating so severe that you’d have to be living a short distance from your body not to know that you aren’t getting enough oxygen to your brain. Breathing through the mouth activates the stress response (fight, flight or freeze), which causes stress hormones to surge through the body—shunting blood from the organs to the limbs, and suppressing the immune system. Human bodies were not designed to handle chronic, 24/7 stress. Adrenaline pumping nonstop through the system wreaks havoc on the kidneys and adrenal glands. Sinus problems indicate a lack of peace and harmony in one’s life, according to Louise Hay in her little blue gem of a book Heal Your Body. For whatever reason, I can’t breathe through my mouth and sleep at the same time. I wake up immediately and feel like everything’s wrong in the world, like I could die prematurely—the exact feeling that would affect a person’s sinuses in the first place.

Fifteen minutes passed by and I couldn’t muster the attention span, or interest, to watch sea taxis play ballerina in the water. I couldn’t get past their warm-up. Off to my left I noticed the Hotel Grand Pacific, where I remembered once (or possibly twice) eating a bountiful breakfast buffet with my dad. The Pacific Restaurant stops serving breakfast at 11:30 a.m. daily, which gave me thirty minutes to get there, be seated and load up on food.

In the restaurant, I found myself seated alone at a four-person table facing the windows. I was told to serve myself at my leisure. Up at the buffet table I irritated a tall, unfriendly, married man to my left because I was struggling to scoop up long slices of cantaloupe and honey dew melons with spoons. I couldn’t find a fork in sight. Shortly after sitting down to feast, a good looking older couple (in I’m thinking their sixties) were seated across from me at the windows with three young girls, two of whom were walking. The, I assumed, grandmother was in agony and not making any attempts to hide it. She openly moped between their designated table and the buffet with the toddler faceted to her hip, making whining noises out her whiney looking face, while the man did what he could to attend to the two older girls.

“When are they getting here?” I heard the grandmother whine towards the man several times. He didn’t know. He looked detached, amused and exhausted. I caught the sense that he wasn’t the girls’ paternal grandfather.

The three little blonde girls were adorable but clearly busy. I imagined the parents pulling up in a Subaru Outback, and when they did finally arrive, neither were smiling. I remember the blonde mother wearing hot, black boots, her hair tied back in a braid, and her eyes lined with black makeup. Her face was strikingly pretty. Unhappy looking and on the verge of tears, nonetheless, she slumped down in a chair beside her unhappy (I’m now assuming) mother, both blonde, neither speaking to anyone but each other. The little girls, especially the older two, were elated to see their dad. There weren’t enough chairs at their table to seat the dad, so their waiter asked me if they could borrow a chair from mine.

“Those chairs are for my invisible friends,” I said (with a straight Capricorn face) to the waiter who laughed and hesitated before snagging the chair.

Not wanting to miss a moment of what my subconscious heart had decided was my dream man, I watched in awe as this superstar dad ensured all members of his family were comfortable and feeding. He even held down the fort for his wife like a perfect gentleman while she filled a plate for herself, before visiting the buffet a final time to fill up a plate for himself. I looked down at my plate and noticed that it was nearing empty.

“I figure I might as well eat more bacon and breakfast sausage since I’m paying $25 for it,” I said to the dad, who true to form, stood back while I dished up first.

“Take your time,” he responded, flashing a bright, warm smile that melted my knees. We shared a genuine laugh together. I understand the frontal lobes are involved with judgment, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior, but up close and personal I didn’t want to rape this dad; I wanted to merge souls with him and fill him with all the appreciation I could.

Back at our respective tables I continued watching the reality show before me, unable to understand why the wife wasn’t being nicer to my husband, or why for that matter, my husband was married. I wanted to stand up on my table and yell at his wife to be nicer to him. Meanwhile I was also carrying on a winded conversation with my Virgo waitress about how I hadn’t slept in 48 hours, and that this had been going on for over a month.

“That sounds like a slow form of torture,” the waitress said consolingly. I can’t remember her name, but she had her own story of sleepless nights from a car accident and chronic, debilitating pain.

I finished up my breakfast and left the Hotel Grand Pacific feeling delusional and defeated. I didn’t explicitly say “married man” to the universe, but apparently “taken” was active in my vibration. I would totally marry that guy, I contended. If he gets himself unmarried, I said to the universe, you send him to me.

Why did my dream man have to be married? Was the universe playing a cruel joke on me? To make matters worse, the breakfast sausage didn’t heal my sinuses. So, I walked the shame back to my apartment and smoked weed with a neighbor who thought I might want to have sex with him because we share a birthday.

Throwback Thursday – A Tribute to Louise Hay

“Life loves me.” – Louise Hay

Because of Louise Hay, Hay House exists, and because of the Hay House publishing contest, this blog exists.

A couple years ago, my older brother suggested that I transition my writing onto a blog, but I didn’t have the money at the time. He mentioned something about monetizing the site, which I attempted to do recently, but those ads looked so terrible that I couldn’t do that to my readers or myself. Even on welfare, though it may not have appeared as such, I did have standards.

Sustainability has been the latest theme song of my life, and with that in mind, I intended to post bi-weekly in coordination with the moon cycles when I first started this blog back in February. I’ve already deleted the first blog post, because it sucked, which is the thing about deadlines: without them, we might never release crap; with deadlines, however, we at least release something.

Failing the bi-weekly schedule, I’d like to post a minimum of twice per month. I found out on August 11 that I would be moving by August 27, so that is where my efforts have been. Capricorn can’t fail herself, though, so below is an article I published in the Winter 2011 issue of Homes & Living Magazine—right, of course, in the nick of time.

I love mirrors, and I never thought to call it “mirror work,” but several years ago I started smoking weed and having loving, appreciative conversations with myself in the mirror. Somebody needed to tell that babe with the quasi-mullet and emaciated face that she was beautiful. Then I find out last year sometime that the queen of affirmations herself had adeptly coined the activity “mirror work”? Of course!

Since you’d been stashing mirrors in your bras for as long as I’ve been alive, this one is for you Louise.

P.s. I am surrounded by mirrors.

H&L’s Galleria: Mid Century Art & Décor is clean and shiny (H&L magazine, Winter 2011)

Victoria may have been slow on the uptake with Emily Carr, but we’re on the fringe of mid-century modern furniture, accessories and artwork, which is making a huge comeback on Vancouver Island. I’m particularly elated by the resurgence of mirror and crystal glass creations

I think what I like most about living spaces decorated mostly with crystal and mirrored glass is not a lot of homeowners do it anymore, which makes it somewhat elusive to collect. [2017 Addendum: I will talk another day about my aversion to mass appeal. It’s something I’m working on.] Too much of anything can be obnoxious, sure, but when chosen and displayed with minimalist intention in mind, glass can be tasteful and elegant. Let glass be the anchor for furniture and minimal décor in the room. Enhance the experience with appropriate and inviting shades of colour. Glass décor options are clean, shiny and perfectly modern.

Mirrors and decorative glass notwithstanding, post-war architecture makes sense on the West Coast landscape, as does the mid-century art and design found blossoming in West Coast homes. Perhaps the comeback is not the art form but Vancouver Island getting back to its roots. [2017 Addendum: Canada’s roots are Indigenous. Decorate your homes mid-century modern, sure, but include Indigenous art. Also give credit to the unceded territories on which you live and conduct business.]

The early modern décor mantra, “form follows function,” applies, yes, but Vancouver Islanders have been hit with Big Shiny Ball syndrome; [2017 Addendum: Okay, me.] art reflects not only the honesty of the work but also a legitimate part of function: delight. Clean spaces in the home make room for rare finds that delight your heart and express your flair.

The modern art movement in Canada alone is appealing for so many reasons, and then you open your home up to Italy and the rest of the world, and a true human being of the earth would not grow bored of honest and classy décor options. Danish teak furniture and accessories designed and produced mid-century, for instance, are becoming functional art for the home, and contemporary pieces make this practical Scandinavian art form affordable for most homeowners. Vintage furniture, lighting, ceramics and glass can be found in showrooms, as well as reproductions of classic mid-century designs. Jazz up a Hans J. Wegner sofa table with a Florence Knoll sofa. Make your home a classy yet minimalist melting pot.

Also hot in the market is furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames, late American design duo well known for the Eames Lounge and Ottoman, which has been in production continuously since its creation by the Herman Miller furniture company in 1956. The original /vintage chairs used Brazilian rosewood veneers (which have been on a worldwide embargo since 1992) and were constructed of five layers of plywood and leather. The chair is an icon of modern style and design and was called “the chair of the century” by influential architectural critic Esther McCoy.

The Eames Lounge and Ottoman have appeared on both House and Frasier and tout an impressive acting career in television. The chair is stylish and comfortable, and satisfies the refined retail therapist’s need for conspicuous consumption. Although, I guess that depends on your idea of chump change. If I had $9,000 to spare, I’d like to think I’d pare down some debt; instead, I’d probably buy art to dress my body when I get back from reviving my suntan in the tropics. Perhaps I should start saving for a Coach to go with my Eames.

If you’re up for taking risks, Italy will blow your mind with its unconventional and cutting edge art décor and design. Italian design is vanilla. [2017 Addendum: This line may have fallen flat, but I meant it’s like vanilla as in an aphrodisiac. I borrowed the line from a Starsky and Cox astrology book (Cosmic Coupling). The authors were discussing the sex life of a Scorpio and Capricorn.] The smell of the Pininfarina chairs adorning an expandable glass table will enrapture your guests more than the food you serve. Don’t forget the mirrors.

In the spirit of supporting Canadian artists and designers, you can always opt for ceramics and art and copper enamels from Quebec, or other rare Canadian finds, including radios and stereos from the 60s and 70s, as well as salt and pepper shakers, to name a few. Modern or not, I wouldn’t scoff at a wooden chest, but that’s just me.

Much of what’s being collected is vintage, but retro pieces and reproductions are popular in furniture showrooms as well. The M3 Chair by Thomas Feichtnerby of Vienna, for example, boasts an open, wooden cantilever construction and makes creative and honest use of oak wood. The chair is said to be comfortable, too. And then, up close and local, Walter Dexter, one of the great fathers of design in Canada, lives in Oak Bay and is still producing pottery and ceramics. [2017 Addendum: Walter Dexter died on June 2, 2015.]

Jettison mid-century modern art and design into the future, and you’ve encountered post war meets shiny ball. Contemporary furniture design, accessories and artwork accompany sleek curves, honest use of materials and creative use of colour. Throw in a brick wall and a Mexican quartz donkey, and you may be the next style icon for your postal code. Oh, and don’t forget the decorative mirrors.

I Am Good, I Am!

“Don’t complain, don’t explain.” – Raymond Carver

The Moses Code.

The burning bush, or God, introduced himself to Moses as I Am That I Am. That’s about as much bible as I can handle, too.

I have not read James F. Twyman’s book The Moses Code. Nonetheless, the comma between “That” and the second “I” is the Moses Code, as in I am [that], I am. Notice the emphasis on the second “I am.”

“I am” are the two most powerful words in the English language, because what comes after—or what those two words strung together affirm—creates the reality in which we breathe. I started becoming acutely aware of this concept several years ago while my life was in shambles. I, of course, knew about and practiced Sankalpa (intention) in life and yoga, but I didn’t understand the gravity of the Moses Code until recently.

I Am represents the God force and leverages the energy that creates worlds. Remember we live in a universe governed predominantly by the Law of Attraction. This universal law states that like attracts like. Look into your own life to answer your questions. What type of experiences do you attract when you are in a foul mood? What type of experiences do you attract when you’re feeling peppy? Be a scientist. Put your questions to work.

Now… throw in a lunar eclipse in Aquarius for good measure, and watch life cascade into boxes of chocolates. Nobody, not even astrologers, can tell you what you’re gonna get. Who else has spent way too much time focusing on their missteps?

Let’s, for a moment, focus on everything I’ve done right lately. Every day, I wake up, which means there’s no need to feel suicidal because the universe is gracing me with yet another day. After I wake up, I usually smudge with sage or palo santo; I burn lavender incense and chant in favour of my goodness; I meditate, and I also practice yoga nearly every day. I’ve even been eating half a melon for breakfasts lately, which (according to medical medium Anthony William in his book Life-Changing Foods), constitutes both an intravenous vitamin therapy as well as an anti-aging serum for the body. William, with an impressive body of work to back him, claims that he channels his information from spirit (he’s clairaudient, so he can hear messages), and everything I’ve tried out in said book has worked. As an aside, channeling a book clairaudiently—that is, by dictation—would be awesome. If that were the case, I’d probably have a few written by now.

Let’s see… What else? I show up to work every day I’m scheduled to teach yoga classes. I’m writing on this blog bi-monthly. The last time I saw my older brother (who can push my buttons), he told me that I’m freaking out less. Here I thought he was laying off, while I just wasn’t reacting.

I drove a car in Vancouver for the first time since the accident and started losing patience only while driving through the West End on Pride Sunday (think congestion). My younger brother happened to be in the neighbourhood, though, and rescued me on a skateboard. I hopped in the backseat and didn’t pay a sniff of attention to the streets as he drove me to my older brother’s penthouse.

I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in thirteen years, and I finally met another friend’s fiancé.

I’ve only put one penis between me and my ex, whom I loved with all my heart, and that relationship ended nearly five years ago. Relevance? You could call me a sage, maybe, but definitely not a slut.

I doubled my income in a year. I’m being smart with money.

I could go on, but creating your own reality is personal. P.s. I don’t have a problem with promiscuity.

I could also yammer on in the vein of Namaste, but you know what I could benefit more from in my world? Manergy. That’s right. Man energy. You know what I like about men? They rarely apologize. They like Leos that way. No condemnation, no apologies necessary. However, there are as many communication thresholds as there are humans on this planet. We’re not navigating a political system down here; we’re navigating volatile communication threshold barriers.

If you’re afraid to mess up, you will. And if you’re focused on opportunities, you will rendezvous with opportunities—opportunities to mess up, if your wires are crossed. Canadian neuropsychologist Donald Hebb famously said, “Neurons that fire together wire together.” We’re talking neuroplasticity, that is, building new neural pathways in the brain.

I am.


Take a moment with mindfulness. Breathe. Relax your back, your shoulders and your jaw. Smile. I saw it there for a moment; you’re… happy!

You might as well be good-feeling things since you get to choose. You could think of it as adjusting your attitude, the barometer being how you feel. Every time someone else thinks you messed up—whether you agree with them or not, whether there’s proof or not—think of what’s occurring in your reality in terms of results. What results would you like to achieve? Peace? Harmony? There’s officially no judgement here. We’re not weighing a recalibration upon anyone else’s thoughts (spell-casting aside). There’s nothing shameful about results.

You get to decide what you adjust to improve your results: your thoughts, your actions, your diet. You get to choose if and how you medicate. You get to choose who you relate with. You get to choose who you are; nobody else gets to choose who you are for you.

Most importantly, you get to choose your thoughts. Sometimes thoughts float by seemingly unannounced, yet welcome. Sometimes we conjure up thoughts. Other times thoughts plague us like viruses. Nonetheless, you get to choose to continue thinking a thought—or not. Those thoughts, and the feelings stirred by those thoughts, attract more ‘like’ thoughts until you create or manifest a like experience. Our feelings let us know what we are attracting. But, during a lunar eclipse, in Aquarius (for example), not practicing mindfulness could bite you in the ass.

Refocusing on results, however, reminds us that we are simply producing a result (thanks Wayne Dyer). The practice of mindfulness could be looked at as perpetual reorientation towards one’s intentions—a multitude of your “I am” beliefs, shifting like tectonic plates and shaping who you are. Who are you? You, along with your life experiences, are a compilation of your beliefs. Beliefs are thoughts you keep thinking. Beyond beliefs, you are pure conscious awareness.

Focusing on the wheel, though… If beliefs are thoughts you keep thinking, and beliefs shape your life, then you can change your thoughts to change your beliefs to reshape your life.