Essays

Baking with Metta

I‘ve been retreating off and on for three decades. Every retreat has a schedule that retreatants are encouraged to follow, although no one takes attendance and keeps track of what you are doing. For all of the retreats I’ve done I’ve followed the schedule pretty much. Sitting meditation. Walking meditation. Guided meditation. Sitting meditation. Lunch break. More sitting meditation and walking meditation. Dinner break. A dharma talk in the evening. Do the daily chore I signed up for, which could be washing dishes, wiping down tables, or ringing the bell to announce the next sitting meditation.

Baking cookies has never been one of the chore options.

On the first day of this four-day silent retreat, a few hours in, I spotted an open two-hour time segment in the schedule. There were no teachings or guided meditations to attend. I was a bit restless, as is often the case for me at the start of a retreat. That two-hour interval seemed like sufficient time to get some cookies made. I did feel a little guilty; perhaps I should have been meditating or walking mindfully during that time interval.

Keep reading

Why We must not just ‘get over it’

“Why don’t they get over it? How much longer do I have to hear about those Indian residential schools?”

I believe that the above sentiments, sadly, are held by many non-Indigenous Canadians.

I am a non-Indigenous woman and an ally working on reconciliation.
I live on the unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and I do not share these sentiments. I want to speak to why that is.

Imagine you are five years old and a stranger who speaks a language you do not understand comes to your house.

Keep reading

This year, I need good cheer: my holiday snowman stayed up longer than it should

It wasn’t easy making the decision to take her down. But it was the end of February and she’d been with us far longer than I’d imagined. Standing beside her that last night, giving her the news of her upcoming hibernation, I had a genuine sense of sadness. I wasgoing to miss her.

A few weeks before Christmas, when I knew my son and daughter-in-law would not be joining us for the holiday, I was feeling sad. I live in British Columbia, they are in Ontario and it had been over a year since we’d been together. I’m not sure if my disappointment propelled the inclination, but I noticed the Christmas inflatable toys in the village and remarked to my partner that one of those might be fun. A few days later she came home with an inflatable snowman. Very quickly, being a long-time feminist, I renamed her Sally rather than sticking with Frosty the Snowman.

Keep reading