Ten Thousand Days

I Did a Hard Thing

May 24, 2023

Photo: Luca J

Day 3098 – Day 3202

I did a hard thing.  To do it, I had to be diligent and determined.  Time and again I was humbled.  Who I used to be is not who I am now. 

But isn’t that true, of all of us, if we are actively engaged in this thing called life?  Some of our attributes decline with time – physical beauty being the easiest one to bring to mind.  And, some of our qualities develop with maturity.  I wouldn’t say they are a trade-off for one another but to one who witnesses life, there is a certain dance that we experience. 

I could tell you all about the hard thing I did.  I could feel ego gratification over my achievement or grief over my loss, depending on how the hard thing turned out.  But what I really take away from the experience is the humility and faith that became entangled in the process. 

Humility came in learning that I had limits.  When I was younger, I had not experienced my limits.  And, while this was maybe not the upper limit of my potential, I certainly met limits of time, energy and capability along the way.  I had to pace myself and accept that some days were better than others and rather than push myself through any wall I hit, I learned the gentleness of having grace with myself and letting myself rest. When I rested, the next day was usually better and more productive.  Working with my own inner rhythms worked far better than pushing my body and mind to go beyond where it was willing to go.  As an over achiever all my life, learning compassion, coupled with discipline and determination was a potent potion and a much more comfortable way of being with my aspirations.  I’m grateful for the gift of limitation because it led me to the choice of self-compassion over Self-annihilation.

How can we achieve anything if we let ourselves off the hook?  That, for me, is where faith comes in.  It was simple.  I prayed daily for the strength to achieve what I wanted, and if that was not to be, for the gift of insight when the time required it.  And, if that was not to be, for the persistence to try again.  And, I prayed that after I had exceeded the number of attempts I was permitted, if I was still unsuccessful, for the ability to surrender the outcome and accept that this was not meant for me.  In attempting to do something that I was 60 percent sure I could not do, I am grateful for my faith and the choice of surrender.

To me, the process got me unstuck in a number of ways.  Firstly, it was a step towards a future that I would like to create for myself and it was an act of empowerment to start to work towards building that future.  The compassion that tempered my ego got me through my inertia that I had developed as a result of letting my limitations dictate what I felt I could undertake.  My faith, my determination my discipline and my ability to surrender the outcome gave me the space to learn a new way of being guided by life, rather than guiding life to where my ego wanted to go.  

When I first started this journey of gratitude and joy, it was suggested to me by a very learned person to keep religion and faith out of it because it would have a wider appeal to an audience that is increasingly non-secular.  I wonder now, if following that advice is the best for me and for my potential audience.  My faith is probably the single most defining attribute of this blob of flesh and blood and consciousness that I call me.  What I believe in is not the most important thing.  It is the act of faith – over and over again – in the face of things that could make one lose faith – that is really what matters.

I write about my personal journey and I hope that it inspires others to improve their own lives by taking a different viewpoint on the circumstances of life.  Faith is an important part of that process for me and I’m eternally grateful to have been gifted that faith and that it has only strengthened in adversity.  That, much like gratefulness, is a choice. And often that choice amounts to doing the hardest thing.


For what are you most grateful today?


Ten Thousand Days

Bending Time

February 7, 2023

Photo: Mason Kimbarovsky

Day 2924 – Day 3097

I’ve lost track of the days and weeks and months since I was last here.  To be fair, I’ve lost track of the time period.  I realized this weekend that I’ve lost more than 3 months of my life and I fear that I may yet lose more.  I’ve been ill and the recovery is still ongoing.  I’m back at work but I can’t work the hours that I did and even what I can do seems to be a daily struggle for me.  Some days, I have to admit, I have felt hopeless.  Because I’m at work, people don’t register that I am still ill and rather than accept what I can do as the truly heroic effort it has been on my part, I know that they resent I am not doing more.  Unless you’ve been in the skin of someone with the old lingering C, you have no idea what a struggle it is some days just to breathe.  When I’m not at work, I’m on bedrest.  It’s not much of a life.  And yet, here we are, at the same place this journey began.

When I began this journey of gratitude, I never anticipated that it would become a ten-thousand-day commitment.  I was living one day at a time, accepting that I was ill and isolated and I had no control over when or if this would turn a corner and I’d return to normal.  Life looked bleak, to be fair.  Nobody understood except for the 6 women who were part of the same hospital study group and with whom I navigated a diagnosis that had neither a treatment nor a cure.  The rest of my life could be filled with unpredictable disablement and the sacrifice of all energy to the necessity of earning a living to pay the bills.  Some days, that cycle seemed a pointless pursuit of a life devoid of quality and filled with suffering.  

And here we are again.  Nobody understands.  This thing comes in waves and is unpredictable.  It is frustrating and people only see me when I’m well enough to leave my bed so they can’t imagine that I’m actually sick and I spend 16 hours a day in my bed, barely able to undertake the basic necessities of life.  Somehow, I seem to have bent time and returned to Groundhog Day over and over again.  Why do we never return to the happiest moments of our lives?  I have no answer to that.  

I’ve spent three months asleep and when I haven’t been asleep, watching videos on YouTube because that was all my brain could manage.  I got curious about this Harry Styles dude and went down a rabbit hole of One Direction fandom for about a month.  I came out appreciating the solo careers of each of the boys and realizing that music was much more soothing to the soul than most of the tat on YouTube.  I started listening to music again and rediscovered my love for harmonizing that I lost, when Covid came, and we could no longer be present with one another to make music.  

My world has shrunk even more than I thought imaginable after 2 years of isolation and distancing.  It is just me.  Just me.  And my God.

I used to love travel and I’ve not been more than the distance to my city core in 4 years.  In my delirium, I had many dreams where I travelled to new places and old beloved destinations.  The dividing line between my waking and sleeping state these past 3 months has been almost invisible.  When I would awaken from my travels, I was never quite sure – for several minutes – if I had actually been to those places.  I’m not sure what happens to the soul when we die (who is?) but if we have a soul, I do know what happens to it when we are forced to sleep for long periods.  We journey.  I’m not sure that my journey has been pleasant but it has been profound.  I don’t have clarity on where and why my soul journeys, but I trust that will come in time.  Or, it will remain a mystery.  I’d like to journey to Vienna.  I miss my favourite city and it would be nice to go again, even if only in my sleep.

This week, I will be referred to a clinic for this particular malady.  There is no cure.  They really don’t know what to do but I will aid the research and be with doctors and practitioners that are motivated to support me and learn from me and others like me.  Having been down this path before after a recurring viral pneumonia, I know there is not much on offer but a place to be believed.  I’ve thought about my mortality and lamented that I’ve not accomplished this or that or left a legacy that I had planned.  Oddly, that fell away.  It seems to me that my intention has become to leave nothing behind.

My sister died just a year before I got so ill and I’m grieving the loss of her still.  I’m also grieving the loss of my father even though he is still alive.  There are many ways we lose an elderly parent before they pass on and I’m in a privileged position to experience the slow sorrow of it.  Time bends and the loss of my mother becomes fresh again and I feel her here with me and grieve her, too, all over again.  I don’t know why I’ve been gifted the early deaths of both my mother and sister and the slow loss of my father, but I’m choosing to see these events, and the opportunity to re-experience long term post viral complications, for a second time, as experiences that contain a hidden treasure.

I have anxiety and hair loss, debilitating fatigue, difficulty breathing and brain fog.  My sleep is disturbed and my dreams are more disturbing. And then there are stretches where I feel perfectly fine.  But then I’m slapped down again and the contrast is all the crueler.   Although I label this as unpleasant, it is certainly an experience not everyone gets to have.  I try not to envy the healthy who get on with living life vertically.  I try not to get angry with the false virtue and lack of empathy of those who think I should pull up my boot straps and just get on with it like they did. Reacting to other people’s judgements wastes precious energy but I admit that I still do it.  I’m human.  I know there are hidden blessings of learning compassion for self and others who suffer, of letting go of the ego’s drive to accomplish and achieve, of dreamtime travel, of surfing the waves of panic and despair, and of focusing on every single breath.  I may yet recover, over time.  And, I may not.  Either way this is a process of letting go, letting go, letting go.  I suck at it.  I’m petulant and prone to tantrums.  This is a stage in the process of letting go and as uncomfortable as this anger and panic is, I will move more quickly through it if I allow myself to be present with the uncomfortable experience.

When the world shrinks, the aloneness is almost unbearable at times.  Almost.  Nobody said walking a spiritual path was easy.  It is, in fact, a death.  It can be painful or not.  I suspect the difference is surrender.  But, if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that I know nothing.

With these unwanted experiences, I am making the choice to find the small moments of gratitude: a cool breeze through the window, a beautiful piece of music, a few hours of undisturbed sleep and those moments where my breathing is easeful.  When the world shrinks and time bends, even these things are sublime.

For what are you most grateful, today?

Ten Thousand Days


August 3, 2022

Day 2869 – Day 2923

I’ve been going through a kind of awakening in the past few months (more on that in another post).  As I’ve been awakening, my dream world has been changing.  Some dreams are just nonsense, but there are dreams in our lives that are important and if we are on a path of soul work, we would be wise to pay attention.

The last dream I wrote about was about the Twin Flame and his play that made no sense to me.  Analyzing that dream helped me to integrate many lessons and things have shifted in me and in my inner landscape.

The next dream I had was about my own talent as a writer.  I dreamed that I was watching all the films that I had made during my time in the Creative Writing program and I realized that I was a pretty amazing writer.  I have this experience when I come across old writing – whether it is a short story, a part of a novel, a play, film script or even my thesis for my Master’s degree about Children’s Rights and Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/Aids in the developing world.  I’m a really good writer and I never give myself the credit that I deserve, to be honest.  In this dream, I watched a film that I had made and I had a cameo appearance.  The camera panned across the scene at ground level, and there I was, under a bombed out building, on a gurney, in some state of repose.

I feel like I’ve been in a coma for a long time.  In my previous dream about the Twin Flame, I felt that I had awoken from a fugue state and I’m feeling that in so many ways, in my life, right now.  My life has been difficult (a monumental understatement) for many years, now.  Its been too much to take in.  On some level, I have been in a kind of coma and partly, this has been self-induced but partly it has been by Grace that I have been numb to it all.

The dream seems affirming about who I have been and who I can be again.  My ego was wounded by the Twin Flame when I sent him my writing and asked to do some work together.  He just blanked me.   I could see that he was reading my writing but the fact that he never responded to my offer left me feeling rejected and as if he thought my writing was crap.  It hit a core wound in me, where I never felt affirmed in my family of origin and so it was difficult to really believe in myself.  When he blanked me, the LACK of affirmation opened that wound and it took a couple of years to heal. I wondered why he kept coming back to read my stuff if he didn’t like it.  Then I noticed that little bits of my writing would appear in some way, in his work.  Whether that was consciously done, or not, I felt not only hurt, but exploited. 

My dream also reveals that my family of origin (with whom I am now again enmeshed) left me feeling that my soul was unsafe and needed to be put into a coma in that dystopian world, to await a safer time to re-animate.  In the dream, I am the watcher, the storyteller, and a part of the story all at once.  It is a metaphor for the revelation of meditation.  It is an empowering dream of how we can create our own reality and how it is still just a story.  As long as I’m on this planet, playing a part on this plane of existence, it is time to build a world in which I can awaken.

I’ve been ruminating on what comes next for me, in life – the story I want to tell.  I’ve been thinking about which of my many skills I want to trade in the next phase of my career.  I am feeling compelled to edit and publish some of my work.  I need to spend some time on my writing.  Storytelling is an ancient part of my spiritual tradition.

Another part of me has been thinking of going back into Sustainability and development.  Its been awhile since I’ve done that work so I’ve been working on updating my skills.  Perhaps I am feeling a little insecure about it because in my next dream, I attended my convocation ceremony in the UK.  My luggage did not arrive and so I had to go to the ceremony in jeans and a baseball cap.  But, I was hugging old friends from the London School of Economics and feeling happy.  When I arrived, however, I noticed the Twin Flame was sitting in the far upper left hand (the past) seat of the bleachers, also in jeans and he was wearing an orange baseball cap.    In my dream, I noticed he was there but I turned away, sat down and ignored him.

I think the dream was a kind of transition dream.  I am preparing myself for a change and whether it happens in a month or a year, it is already in motion.  I’m not happy that the face of the so called Twin Flame is still a part of my dreamscapes but if he represents my inner masculine, then when I fully integrate that aspect of myself, he will no longer appear – in the corner or not.  My inner masculine will just be a part of me.

If there is such a thing as Twin Flames and if he is visiting me on the dream plane, then no matter how two souls might be connected, a married man – as long as he is married – has no place in my life or in my dreams.  If this is a dream-plane visit, eventually, he will see that he can’t get past my boundary. He will get bored of being on the edges and quit visiting my bed.

At the level of analysis, the dream probably represents some trepidation I have about this possible career path.  I remember feeling frustrated that, at a time when governments and businesses still had the chance to limit the impacts of climate change, many placed their focus on how to harness the inevitability of climate change to their advantage.  It was so disheartening.

In my next and most recent dream, I was given a positive message about a third career option I have considered and I was offered a choice of three necklaces (three different paths in my life?) and the most beautiful one was made from “medieval chemistry.” (I think this is what we might call Alchemy) I commented that although I had started University as a physics major, I had gotten frustrated with the memorization of chemistry.  I wanted to understand how things worked on a subatomic level, not simply memorize the chemical formula for Salt or Hydrochloric Acid.  Chemistry turned me off, and so I switched my major from Science (that is all true, in my real life).

The so called Twin Flame was an unseen presence hovering around the edges and I could feel him judging me about my experience with Chemistry.  I went to pay for the necklace but I had to buy gold to do it.  I ordered a Science stock and 100 pounds of gold (a metaphor for the alchemical transformation)and then realized I’d made a typo.  I didn’t have that kind of cash to settle the trade – I thought it might be around $9000 (more like several million dollars).  Suddenly, the building started to crumble around me and everything started melting.  I ran outdoors and grabbed onto a lamp-post as everything around me melted into a pool of molten lava.  I watched the Universe implode around me.  A man, in a scuba suit, swam up and held onto the same post with me.  I got a message that my cross-platform trade had caused an error and this prompted the end of the Universe.

In real life, I have observed that this so called Twin Flame is sometimes very judgmental  but I think his judgement in the dream is the part of me that feels guilty that I couldn’t do more to stop climate change.  The judgement comes from the inner masculine responsible for taking action.  The man in the scuba suit was not the Twin Flame and may be a new face of my inner masculine.  As well as being the force of action in one’s psyche, the inner masculine is also the protector.  

The night before this dream, I was feeling grief that we are already seeing so many of the predicted impacts of climate change.  I fear we going to see some of the worst impacts within my lifetime and they could be catastrophic.  We are still working with a consumption and profit paradigm and aren’t willing to make radical change.  I think I am mourning the opportunities missed in the past and recognizing the possible futility of returning to the field when the paradigm has not shifted.

I’m not sure what it all means but I was clinging to “the light” (God) as I watched the end.  While I’m still exploring my options for what is next in my career,  I believe my soul is telling me that the real work that I need to do in the next part of my life is spiritual and monumental.  It is a hint at soul transformation and Storytelling is probably a part of it and so may be the third life path that came to me in the dream.

My dream space has been extremely potent.  Last year, while my sister was still alive, I dreamed that she, her husband and I were on the banks of the River Thames (a metaphor for the River Styx? For baptism? For the rituals of Varanasi?).

The so called Twin Flame came whirling down the river towards us as a massive storm made of light.  Perhaps the lost opportunity to be a part of one another’s lives and the times he hurt me were just the beginning of a storm of transformation and awakening.  

As that storm, the Twin Flame was perhaps a metaphor for the dervish or for Shiva, the destroyer of worlds. In the outer world, it is my sister who died, but on the inner, perhaps, it is my own death to ego that is being offered.

If my soul has been in a fugue state or a self-induced coma, I look forward to what these dreams may awaken in me.

For what are you most grateful, today?

Milestone, Ten Thousand Days

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today

June 23, 2022

Photo: Robert Thiemann , Cathedral of St. John The Divine, NYC

Day 2868

Twenty years ago today, Sgt Pepper might have taught his band to play, but more close to home, I was ordained as a Minister. 

It was a journey that started out as a calling that I couldn’t even put into words.  But from childhood, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to God.  In time I found that renunciation was not the life for me, and that I was born to serve, with one foot in the spiritual life and one foot in the secular world.  It was a long journey to the altar, but my dedication really began in childhood.

I was raised a Catholic and to think of dedicating my life to God and not be a nun was not going to go down well with the older generation of the family.  On my other side of the family, my mother was from a spiritual tradition that did away with clergy and believed only in the direct relationship of the individual soul to the divine, without any need for intermediaries.  Where I chose to become ordained was a Seminary that celebrated all faiths and trained Ministers to serve people of all faiths, within their own traditions.  That is not to say that I am an expert in all of the world’s religions, but I had a broad enough training to conduct ceremonies and rituals in the major traditions and to serve in the spirit of these traditions, with empathy, and compassion.  There is a church to which I am affiliated, but there is no congregation or institution that supports my living.  I’m not paid or supported by a church and, like all of my cohort, I have had to find my own way to keep one foot in heaven and one foot on earth.

Of all the things I’ve decided to do in this life, I think that this has been the most profound journey.  First, to dare to manifest that still small voice that was within me, calling me to God, then to study to become ordained, and then to dedicate myself over and over again to my own spiritual path, in order to serve others more profoundly.  One thing that I think we forget, when we take vows, is that we need to continue to do our own spiritual work.  Without this, we can easily become the same sorts of hypocrites that caused so many to flee the boundaries of traditional religions.  Doing our own work, as Ministers, is crucial.

I struggled for some time to figure out how to serve without a congregation and without a wedding officiant business (as many of my cohort have done).  Over time, I found that quietly serving God is possible anywhere – even in the corporate world.  I found this matched the work I did especially in the world of Sustainability but I also found that I could serve in the world of Governance, Risk and Compliance.  Wherever there are people, I’ve found, there is a chance to serve with compassion and empathy.  I may not have been overtly serving religious needs, but I have found that I am always confronted with the opportunity to serve the spiritual needs of others – sometimes simply in their process of facing redundancies.

Ten Thousand Days of Gratitude has become a primary vehicle for me to serve.  I want to thank my readers for witnessing my own journey and for allowing me the privilege of thinking that perhaps I might have something to pass on to my readers.

I am grateful to the many friends and family members, who supported me along this entire journey.  On the day that I was ordained, my sister (now deceased) and her husband travelled to New York City to witness my ordination and the church was filled with so many friends who have been on this journey with me.  Although the door is a door one must walk through alone, I am grateful that I had so many supporters there to witness it and others (not present) cheering me on.  It is a lovely warm feeling to be so surrounded with that affection and, over the years, their witnessing it has helped to keep me accountable to my vows.

The thing is, it doesn’t require such a momentous ceremony and all the pomp and ceremony of a commitment to God in order to be of service to something greater than oneself.  All it takes is the decision to find what matters to you and to be of service to that.  It might manifest in serving a cause, or an ideal.    Volunteering for a cherished cause is a great route, for many people.  

Service does require sacrifice, sometimes.  I made vows and some have been easy to keep because they go with my natural inclinations but there are others with which I’ve struggled – like everyone who tries to live their values.  But living a life misaligned with our values creates a kind of spiritual discomfort that can lead to hopelessness, a sense of lacking meaning, and ultimately, despair.  Whether happiness, or spiritual enlightenment is your wish, the sacrifices of living a life of integrity is essential.

Service, especially when it aligns with what we value the most, gives us purpose and it makes us feel like our lives are meaningful.   I encourage you to experiment with ways to be of service and see what feels right, and most rewarding, to you.  I wish you so many blessings on your own journey.

For what are you most grateful, today?

Ten Thousand Days

We Never Know What’s Coming

June 19, 2022

Photo: Johannes Plenio

Day 2853 to Day 2863

A year ago, this weekend, I saw my sister for the last time.  She had been unwell but my family chose denial and missed the preciousness of the moment.  It wasn’t long afterwards that she went into hospital for the next few months.  She never came out again.  Because of Covid, we were not allowed to visit her.  This pandemic has been cruel to everyone who lost someone.

When you are witnessing someone’s illness, I think that if you’re emotionally mature, you will understand that we never know what is coming and so you will begin to make your peace with them.  I’m grateful that I was able to do this.  But, nothing prepared me for the day when I got the call that she had passed away, and there was nothing in place to help me to put closure to her death.  Of course, I have a strong enough spiritual practice that I was able to make my own ritual to help me to make peace with the moment and mark the passage in my own way. 

For the most part,  I’ve been grieving my sister’s death on my own. It hasn’t been a full year yet since she passed away.   I did not anticipate the way that her death would change so many things for me.  How could I?  I’ve never been down this road before.

Yet, her death is just one of the many losses I have faced in the last few years and this has been one of the toughest times of my life.  My grief has layers.  This whole journey of gratitude has been a journey of tribulation, for me.  I began this journey deep in grief, and I chose gratitude as my companion.   I’ve been very ill,  I’ve had a broken heart, I’ve suffered losses in my career, I’ve given up all that I knew, and I have been bereaved so many times in the past few years that I’ve lost count.  What gets me through is the hope that we never really know what is coming.  It could be worse, but, it could also be better.  All we really have is now.  So I work to make peace with what is, by practicing gratitude.

I am grateful that I have a strong faith in my God, and that I’ve had the benefit of spiritual fellowship throughout this time.   I am grateful for all the friends who have stood beside me through this prolonged period of difficult times.   

The pandemic isn’t over but we are just learning how to live with it.  There is war, economic uncertainty and climate disaster threatening our peace.  My wish for you is that no matter what is going on in your life, you, too, will remember that we don’t know what is coming (some of it might even be good).  No matter what, I hope you will make peace with what is, and that you will find a way to choose gratitude.

For what are you most grateful, today?

Ten Thousand Days

In Twelve Moons

May 27, 2022

Day 2833 – Day 2841

Today marks another 12 moons.  My sun sign is Gemini but my rising sign is Cancer.  Cancer is ruled by the moon.  Alas, my moon is in fiery Aries so the combination of Air, Water and Fire makes me a whole special brand of something, indeed.  Of all the planets that are supposed to rule me, I relate to the moon the most.  I can wrap my head around its cycles and map my moods with the pull of the tides.  And, I cannot get too attached to them.  They will pass.

There was a time when life was measured in moons, because my grief was too acute to believe I would not die of a broken heart.  With each passing moon, my heart recovered just that little bit more and eventually, when enough moons stacked up one on top of the other, I was able to climb out of the hole that I was in.  The moon was my friend.

The moon is still my friend, and now I am measuring my life in moons again.  In 12 more moons, life will be very different, and rather than keep my eyes on the small changes from cycle to cycle, I am keeping my eye on the moon and where I want to be in 12 cycles.  In 12 cycles, I want to be in Malta.  I used to go to Vienna every year for my birthday and enjoy the art and coffee culture and (if I was lucky) photograph the gorgeous blooms in the Vienna Rose Garden.  Vienna has always been a happy place for me and I look forward to being back there again one day.

But in 12 moons, I’d like to be in Malta.  I spent much time in Europe seeing the works of  one of my favourite painters (Caravaggio) until a comprehensive exhibition in Budapest brought all his major works from throughout Europe to one place.  I still enjoyed travelling to see them again – particularly my last trip to Rome, where I went specifically to see one remarkable painting that did not disappoint.  I had to book in advance a limited entry to see the Rest on the Flight into Egypt.  And, I think of my trip to Madrid where I had one of the last private tours of the artworks including the Caravaggio piece in the Royal Palace, before it tours shut down for some time following the abdication.  There is at least one of his major works in Malta, that I haven’t seen, but Malta was also an important place for Caravaggio in his later years and so I look forward to spending some time there.  And that sea is so very blue.

This has been a very frustrating period in my life and I’m looking forward to leaving this era behind.  Rather than look backwards at what I have given up, or what I have lost or what I have had to let go, I am looking forward to where I will be and Malta is my touchstone.

I look forward to sending you a postcard from a seaside cafe.

For what are you most grateful, today?



Ten Thousand Days

Under Construction

May 18, 2022

Photo: Umit Yildirim

Day 2828 – Day 2832

You may have noticed that the website is changing and things are moving around and some posts are going to no longer be available.  I’m envisioning some ideas for the future of this project and this will mean editing the website.  It might be under construction for a while.

It makes me think about the way that the self-help movement and the new spirituality gurus can leave us always feeling like a human-becoming, work-in-progress, never-quite-enough person.  If you’ve ever lived in a house under construction, you know how uncomfortable that can be.  

Last year, I spent some time depressed because I felt I had not fulfilled my potential – despite the many, many, many accomplishments I have achieved.  This has been a theme in my life borne from parents who motivated achievement by pointing out failure.   I grew up never really savoring the moment of an achievement, before moving on to build the next accomplishment.   I suspected that I was not alone and I asked around.  Whether it was a specialist surgeon, a multiple time New York Times bestselling author, a leadership coach, artist, accountant or grocery clerk – nobody I spoke to felt that they had reached their potential and it causes them some regret.  This is the human tragedy of the spirituality and self-improvement machine.

Our potential is infinite; we can never reach the apex.   As we grow, so does our potential.  We must not live our lives under construction.

I encourage you, dear reader, to do everything in your power to shift your mindset from believing that you are a human-becoming, and come to understanding the truth of yourself as a human-being.  And, as a human being, the only place we can BE is in the present moment.

Let’s not waste our time with regrets about the past or yearnings for a seemingly elusive future.  It’s trite but true: life is about the journey and not the destination.   As we spend this month looking at Purpose (capital P, of course) and MEANING (OMG!), we can get caught up in the comparison game with our peers or where we thought we should be.  

We may have a yearning within, because we have a sense of how great our gifts are.  And still, where we are at – right now – is the only gift that ultimately matters.  It is the gift of the present moment. 

Yes, I encourage you to refine your values and your vision, but as long as we are fully present with what is happening right now,  and as long as we make our choices in alignment with our values and vision, we are fulfilling the potential that this moment holds for us, and we are building our characters to take best advantage of the next.  Do the work, keep to the practices and enjoy life, now.  

I hope you will also enjoy the changes that are coming with this website and with this project, and for now, let me just say: Thanks for visiting and being a loyal reader.  It gives my life meaning to be able to write for you, to encourage you to stay the course of the practices and live your own purpose, in a meaningful way for you. 


For what are you most grateful, today?

Ten Thousand Days

These Foolish Things

May 13, 2022

Day 2822 – Day 2827

I’ve been clearing out things from my cupboards these past few weeks.  I’m in the mood to get rid of everything.

I released all of my research for my Master’s Thesis.  And, being a lover of all things South Asian, I am finally releasing many yoga/ayurveda/philosophy books from Gurus I have known and loved and my entire collection of Hindi films.   Even photographs have outlived their use –  the Temples at Tiruvannamalai and Arunachala mountain where I did several pilgrimages, the tea plantations of Ooty, Kovalum beach,  the slums of Mumbai, and the late afternoon lovers’ walk at Juhu’s Chowpatty beach – these are all a part of me now.

And yet, it is the sentimental things that keep getting fished out of the pile to take to the charity shop – that book that was inscribed by a summer lover, all the books written by friends, and those inscribed by famous heroes of mine.

My mother passed away so many years ago that memory becomes challenged.  I remember that she wore a pink sweater and I used to tease her for being so brightly clad.  But, when she passed, I kept that sweater.  I never thought I could ever part with that sweater because it embodied a story that she and I shared.  I have now only kept a single button to remind me.

We need a few touchstones in our lives, and these foolish things, remind me.

Keeping some things is unhelpful.  What do I do with the 8 foot by 4 foot painting that was painted by the Young Man who ended up being so horrible to me?  I don’t want his energy in my house – and yet, the painting cost me a lot of money.  I’ve tried to donate it but even that is problematic, as I’ve discovered in my many attempts.  This is, as yet, a problem that remains unresolved.  Throwing out art seems wrong, but it may simply get left somewhere as a charity shop donation and the financial hit will be my touchstone and reminder of a hard-earned lesson.

As I purged my second bookcase last night, I came across a postcard I had purchased for someone.  He once described a yearning  to connect remotely with people in a small town in Saskatchewan, who were broadcasting via the airwaves.

When Covid hit, he said he’d like to receive postcards.   I considered asking the chamber of commerce of that town to send him one but everything was in Lockdown.  In my travels around the internet, I found an Australian with a vintage photo (c 1900) of a town in Saskatchewan that had been turned into a postcard.  And so, I corresponded with the kind owner and bought it.  It wasn’t posted until June, and with the Covid shipping slowdown, it arrived several months later, in late Summer, 2020.  By then, I had had a disagreement with the man for whom it was intended.  I never sent it onward.

I had forgotten that I had tucked it away on the top of my bookcase, in case things healed between us.  My intention was generous: to send it with kind words.  I’ve done that already several times, in the past, without that particular card.

I had made an attempt to heal the discord between us but he remained silent, and disconnected.



Perhaps I can make a piece of art out of the card and out of the beautiful Australian stamps that decorate the mailer in which it was so carefully shipped.  Perhaps, in that act of transformation, the card – which connected me to a stranger in Australia, which once held hope of another connection, which memorializes 3 people and a hotel long gone, and which has already travelled around the world to come to rest with me – will then fulfil its purpose of expressing the human yearning to connect.

I will give my heart to beauty, and create some new connections from this.


We need some foolish things to remind us, and there are some things we need to let go.

As I part with these things, I am thankful for the good experiences that they represent, like graduating from the London School of Economics, and visiting so many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South Asia.  I am also noting the progress I have made, in learning the lessons that the more challenging memories evoke.

In every item, there is a decision – does this represent who I am now, and who I want to become? Can the item and I both fulfill our purpose by staying together?  If the answer is no, it is time to thank it and let it go.

I hope that if you are spring cleaning, that you will be gifted with the spirit of non-attachment and hold only those foolish things that are truly meaningful to you.  Meaning is what we make of our lives and meaning remains, independent of the things.

I hope that you will be able to release those belongings which no longer belong with you.


For what are you most grateful, today?


Ten Thousand Days

The Sanctity of Vows; The Sacredness of Values

May 7, 2022

Photo: Rui Xu

Day 2814 – Day 2821

This month, those on my email list are working on purpose and meaning.  One of the definitions of living a purpose guided life is to live in alignment with your values.

If you think I think I’m a Guru on all these things, I don’t.   I might be further down the path than some, but I also need the rigour of the practice.  I gain so much from the various ways I give daily and weekly and monthly focus to the practices.  Everything I suggest is something I’ve either done, and found helpful, or is a task that I am currently working through, myself.

Last year I did all of the values exercises that I offered for resources on purpose.  I just ended up confused.  There were so many great values and so many things I cherish.  I couldn’t find a way to narrow it down to a handful.  I’m sure we all have many values that we think are desirable.  Finding the core handful of values that drives you and guides your life may be a challenge.

Sometimes we don’t value the things we think we should.  Sometimes we value the very things we don’t know how to achieve but having them would heal childhood wounds.  These wounds may be there to help guide your soul’s evolution, yet sometimes our conditioning and traumas make the very values we need for healing, and transformation difficult for us to uphold.

Values are things that we hold sacred.  If they weren’t sacred, they would be mundane which means they would not have great intrinsic worth.  Some of the problems we have in living up to our values come from an increasingly secular world that lacks the ability to recognize and revere the sacred.  How can we narrow down our values if we aren’t used to holding anything sacred?  How can we build the character strength to, for example, put the needs of our children before our own ego needs, if we haven’t been raised to honour sacrifice for what we hold sacred?

There are many books that aim to inspire us to live a life of purpose.  We might come to believe that this is what everyone is doing.  That is a false perception.  Many struggle to define their values, and everyone struggles to live them.  Values are aspirational and therefore, living a life fully on purpose is also aspirational.

Values are like our compass to the sacred and our purpose is like the path.

Recently I came across a well-worn, hand written list of my personal vows as a Minister.  As a group, we took vows essentially to serve the spiritual needs of all, without any form of discrimination.  We also had the opportunity to write our own personal vows.

These are the only vows I have ever taken and probably the only vows I ever will take.  They are sacred.  As I looked at my vows, I realized they were a large part of my core life values.  I have edited them, for precision, and I would combine some vows into a single value.  That I chose to make these sacred vows demonstrates the core values of Service and Devotion to God.    To the list of vows, I would add values of Creativity, Beauty and Wellbeing.  Gratitude, Joy, Oneness and Service are aspects of my values.

I wanted to share my vows because they aren’t and shouldn’t be secret – I made them in a sacred space in front of my Seminary cohort, clergy and God.  And, these are the vows to which I hold myself accountable.

  1. I will stand for those who seek Justice and cannot stand for themselves (this is a form of Service);
  2. I will live in the spirit of Non-Violence (as a value this is part of my penultimate vow);
  3. I will live Simply and Sustainably;
  4. I will remember the Divinity of all beings and Love All; and
  5. I will live in Truth.

The last one is a doozy if you grew up in a family where there was triangulation and where there were secrets.  I did, and my experience last week may serve to illustrate how we can choose a value because it is something we lacked, and where living that value is difficult because of our conditioning.

Last week, I spent a lot of time writing and re-writing my previous post.  As I thought about the dream, I was gaining more insight into its lessons and clarity into how the dream applied to my life.  The post became less about the person in the dream because the way dreams work, as I’m sure you know is that it’s not really about the person who appears in the dream.   I always post my first draft of a post and sometimes, I will decide to go back and edit, many times, until the work is done.  But, if I’m telling the truth, that’s not the only reason I re-wrote it many times.

I was also concerned about protecting the feelings of the person in my dream, should he ever read my post.  This has been a theme in so many of my dreams about him, and a theme in my life.

I think it’s loving and non-violent to seek not to purposefully hurt someone’s feelings.  However, protecting the feelings of someone who has not protected mine is a form of keeping secrets, rather than boundaries.  Being evasive and avoidant is a waste of time and compromises my ability to live in Truth, reflecting a coping mechanism I learned as a child, of walking on eggshells, in order to survive.  If you break it down, the whole dream was a play within a play within a play that was a colossal time waster.  The dream itself was calling for me to cut through the crap of all the “stories” we tell ourselves and others and look to the Truth.

I’m sure that if we all look at our lives, we will find at least one example of this struggle to live our values.  For example, if someone has the value of fidelity, but were sexually abused as a child, they may experience a sex-addiction that keeps them from being faithful.  That failure can keep them locked in a cycle of self-hatred and addiction that separates them from that which they hold sacred.

So, as we work on values and purpose, it is important to take a penetrating look at how we are really living, and whether this is how we WANT to live, according to our values.  Living a life that betrays our values can bring lots of pleasure, and gratification.  Sacrificing our values might seem easier than the discomfort of living them, but denying that which is sacred is soul-destroying, in the end.   With compassion for ourselves and for others, we can break the patterns that keep us separate from the sacred.  We can, and we must, have enough self-compassion to seek help, if we cannot do it alone.

I am grateful that I kept this hand-written list of vows, and that I came across them just at the right time.  I am grateful for the lesson that struggling to live in Truth has taught me about the sacredness of values and the difficulty we will all face in living them.  I’m grateful for the reminder that we must always have compassion and forgiveness for our failings and the failings of others as we strive to live our purpose. 

I hope that you, too, will practice self-compassion when you encounter the challenges that your values bring your way.


For what are you most grateful, today

Ten Thousand Days

Eternal Flame

April 29, 2022

Day 2802 – Day 2813

Over the last few years, I’ve written occasionally about the idea of a Twin Flame that is a popular idea in the new age spiritual community right now.  I’ve been on the fence about it.

I do not believe that one soul is shared by two people.  I do believe there is a collective soul and that some people have the spiritual gifts of mystics.  But, what do we know about the contours and shape of the soul? All we can do is approximate its dimensions through our yearnings.

I’ve had a lot of dreams over the years about a certain man.  He recently got married.  And, because we don’t have a strong pre-existing friendship – in my mind – that kind of ends whatever story might have developed between us.

And yet, the stories told by the subconscious mind, or the soul, always persist.

I should say that, in my spiritual tradition, there are dreams and there are “experiences.”  Experiences happen when someone – usually the spiritual teacher – visits in the dimension of sleep.   Experiences are very rare and I am told that you will know it when it happens.

Then, there is the dream. My spiritual path draws on the work of Carl Jung.  Dreams are symbolic and reveal our hidden emotions about someone else, a situation, and about ourselves.   I always like to ask what part of me do I see in those who appear, and where is the strongest energy in the dream?

Dreams are fundamentally important to soul work. They tell us the stories we can’t tell ourselves by using symbols we recognize from our lives or from the collective unconscious. They are an invitation to deepening our experience of our own and the collective soul.

Last night I dreamed of this man again and I noticed something had shifted.

As I said, I have had many dreams of him and I even dreamed of his wife, in early 2021, probably around the time that he was considering marrying her.  In my dream, he really wanted me to like her.  He wanted me to spend time with her but I knew right away she was not my cup of tea.

It wasn’t like she was a horrible person to me. In my dream, she was blonde and tall and sporty – attractive.  She was also status-conscious, wanting to go to all the “in places” and eat at trendy restaurants.  She was very materialistic. She was ambitious and driven to “succeed” materially and keep up with the Joneses.  Not. My. Cup. Of.  Tea.

She must be his cup of tea, and that is what should matter, to him.  But, in my dream, he wanted my approval, which I couldn’t give and when I ran into him after spending time with her, I ignored him.  This angered him, but I felt that he had not been a friend to me in this life, and so, I felt he had no right to expect me to affirm his choice of partner.

To be clear, I have no idea what his wife is like. This is about how my subconscious saw her.

Over the last year, my dreams of him have been pretty much the same theme – every time he appears in a dream, he wants approval or my help in some way.  He often tries to charm me and push past my boundaries to achieve it. And, in my dreams, that always annoys me. I awaken, feeling annoyed.

Our interactions, in reality, have always been pretty one sided as far as affirmation and approval goes, though he solicits it.  And, when he has had the opportunity to respond (he’s had many) he has dropped the ball.  He’s been rude and arguably exploitative to me, both personally and professionally.  Expecting affirmation without being able to reciprocate reveals the kind of childhood narcissism that doesn’t have a place in adult connections.

One time he made an effort, but made it all about himself.  He took a private gesture from me and made it public, leaving me feeling foolish.  I was embarrassed though he was the one that had crossed my boundaries.

It is not uncommon for those who have routinely had their boundaries disregarded to feel the shame that belongs to the transgressor.

Annoyance (Anger) and Shame (Embarrassment) are powerful red flags.

Last night’s dream saw a new theme.  To set the context: in real life, I don’t understand him.  There’s a very good chance that who I thought he was, was my own projection,  but he seemed to change, significantly, when his (now) wife came on the scene.  He has a pattern of morphing his personality to match those around him.

He’s become much more successful, materially and maybe even socially.  From his behaviour, though, it appears that he has set aside his more professed spiritual values.

I can’t understand why he would stand at a fork in the road, when he was claiming to feel he was on the edge of a spiritual “awakening,” and choose a life of materialism.

I don’t want to pass judgement and maybe it’s possible his spirituality was always just for show but I got the sense that it was important to him and that he was seeking, in earnestness, but found himself in a kind of desert, wandering alone and aimless.  Seems to me that being without a Sangha (spiritual community) who are committed to enlightenment and without a solid set of ancient wisdom to guide you there, makes it easy to lose our way.

That’s exactly when our own ego and desires can lead us to believe the corruption of sacred texts that gave rise to the prosperity gospel or the cult of manifestation that came from pilfering and repackaging vedantic texts into The Secret.

There is nothing wrong with money, per se, but when the choice is materialism or enlightenment, I can’t understand turning away from Spirit, in favour of distraction.

It makes me sad, if I’m honest.

In my dream, we bumped into one another and he assumed I was in that city to attend his play (I was not).  I reluctantly agreed to go. (An interesting choice that signals my boundaries and priorities need attention).

I was given the liberty to take any place I wanted although the show was sold out.  I moved around, standing in different places.  I couldn’t make sense of the play, no matter where I stood or from what angle I watched.  I wondered if I’d had a stroke or had experienced a fugue state or if the play was in a foreign language.

His brothers were in the play with him, and they all wore cartoonish, foam costumes.  He stopped the momentum of the show, smiled at me, preening.  It was ridiculous and surreal.  Rather than be annoyed, however, I felt awkward and embarrassed.  I wondered why he, a married man, was vamping for me.

The significant shift in this dream over others is that I no longer feel annoyed; I simply don’t understand what’s going on and I am embarrassed.

I’ve told you more about myself from these dreams than about him.  I’m sure there is a part of me that is annoyed with myself for wanting HIS affirmation (and the affirmation of important people from my childhood) despite his withholding it.

The fact that the play makes no sense is a loving kindness from my subconscious or soul, to my waking myself: The narcissists that have populated my life will always pretend and withhold. There is no point in trying to understand them. The relationship with them is all smoke and mirrors.

Maybe I can stop trying to understand and just accept that they are who they are.  I don’t have to be the audience to their game, anymore.

I don’t have to waste time on things that aren’t real, anymore.

I also don’t have to feel guilty about my own acts of withholding – of my time, energy,  affirmation, or story – from people and situations that take more than they give.  I don’t have to feel shame. I have a right to my boundaries.

In reality, I have disengaged from this man for some time now – and yet, the subconscious mind processes things slowly and deeply, catching threads that weave throughout our lives.

In the dream, I was concerned about what I could say about the script, which he had probably written.  I thought I could avoid comment by saying that I prefer to give feedback on a written script.

In real life, I am a playwright.  It is an affirmation of my talent, and a reminder to keep my boundaries around my talent.

In my dream state, I was embarrassed at his vamping for me and I wanted to draw attention to the fact that he is married.  It’s time, says my soul, to stop taking on other people’s shame for their behaviour.

In the dream, I decided to be evasive and say that I was “overwhelmed by the costumes and pageantry of it all,” and that I was “distracted by events happening elsewhere.”

Evasiveness is a red flag from my soul, calling out to me to hold firm my boundaries, saying: “Stop wasting time and energy on the feelings of people who disregard your own.”  To do so distracts me from my own priorities, values, and purpose.  I want to place my full attention on my own happiness, which shows up in my dream as those “events happening elsewhere.”

I can let go of the need for my father or mother or sister or brother or teacher or baker or candlestick maker to affirm me.  I don’t need anyone else to understand or approve of me, or to give their feedback on my choices and my boundaries.

I affirm myself.

If any of my readers are struggling with similar themes, I urge you to find reliable and supportive people to help cut through the crap and see things clearly.  I could not have unpacked this dream and identified these themes in my life without the support of my spiritual group (Sangha) and some very loving and supportive friends.  A good therapist is another very helpful option.

Where does this leave that Twin eternal flame that may or may not be at the heart of this connection? Well, while the idea of a Twin Flame is romantic and I love romance, I have decided that, for me, it is a story full of nonsense.

With this story, the new age spiritual community may be doing a disservice to vulnerable people trapped in unhealthy patterns. There is a guarantee of long term clients on anything branded Twin Flame, for sure.  If you’re on the fence about this notion, I recommend the Twin Flames video by Dr Ramani Durvasula for an analysis of the similarities between a Twin Flame relationship and one characterized by narcissism.

There IS a strong pull to some people. Often it’s because  the “connection” mimics familiar dysfunctional patterns.

The soul will use this, in your dreams, if you pay attention.

The man has hurt me and reminds me of people who have hurt me. As humans, they deserve love – with detachment.  They don’t deserve a place in my life.

I forgive them for being withholding and I accept that they are who they are and not who I hoped they would be, or who I deserved to have in my life.

I remember a dream where this man appeared as a storm made of light.  A metaphor for a spiritual transformation if ever there was one!  Jung might suggest that this storm holds a lot of my energy.  Time to reclaim and integrate my own radiant light.

I forgive myself for wanting to be loved by people who – for their own limitations – cannot love me, affirm or approve of me.

I may be wrong about twin flames (I doubt it) but if this man and I have a soul connection, there will always be a bookmark here and I may always feel its contours in the yearnings that live between the pages of my story.

I can live with that.  Anyway, I have no choice; He’s married.

In all of this, what makes me grateful?  I am grateful that my experience of this man triggered my soul to send me disturbing dreams that helped highlight a wound that needed healing.  I’m grateful that my spiritual path values the messages of the soul that we find in dreams, and, I’m grateful that I can cut through the smoke and mirrors of the narcissist and heal, at another level, these old wounds.


For what are you most grateful, today?


Ten Thousand Days


April 17, 2022

Photo: Maria Victoria Portelles

Day 2783 – Day 2801

Today is Easter or Resurrection Sunday in the Christian faith, following the feast of Passover.  I was raised a Catholic and so not going to church on Easter Sunday is considered a mortal sin, but I prefer to just keep the Sabbath in my own way and to keep it holy.  A walk in the forest is a great way to celebrate the resurrection, in my opinion.

I suspect that the Roman church designated the death and resurrection of Christ to coincide with Springtime (and the birth of Christ to coincide with the winter solstice) as a way to bring in more pagans to the faith.  All you need to do is look around and see that all things are being resurrected in Spring.  The trees bud and begin to blossom, the daffodils and crocuses and tulips begin to blossom and the weather returns the longer days of sun into our lives.  I struggle with this natural rhythm because my mother was dying in springtime and looking back, so was my sister.  Spring always seems a little bit melancholy to me.

I’ve been spending some time this weekend tearing my house apart and sorting out what I want to keep and what I want to give away.  I’ve been going through my pantry looking for items to give to the Foodbank (people need help now more than ever, and I see that donations are way down as we all feel the pinch of inflation).   I think this ritual has something to do with “lightening up” as the days grow longer, or there wouldn’t be this universal phenomenon of Spring cleaning.  In the Christian tradition, this really is the start of the new year and so – as in all faith traditions – we clean to make way for a fresh start.

I think I have a long way to go before I can claim that.  After two years of working from home without a filing cabinet and six years of living in the same place with mountains of things that belonged to my mother (and were “gifted” (read: unloaded) to me by my father upon my return to Canada), I feel the weight of too much stuff.  I took a load of goods to the charity shop yesterday and was surprised at how much more there already is, waiting to be taken over.  Two years of pandemic pantry stuffing means we are all overflowing with stuff.

When I moved back to Canada I remember my sister saying that I would feel better once I was in a place where I could be surrounded by all my stuff.  I guess that’s the thing about family – sometimes they know you the least of anyone.  I had spent years and years in New York and London living in rented accommodation that was tiny and what you might term “service.”  The amount of stuff I had was minimal.  Granted, I had a storage locker in both countries but I’ve always found that the less I have, the better.  I feel much more free, the less I have.

I am grateful for all that I have – whether they are things, ideas that have served a purpose in my life (even if that is no longer needed), and relationships that have been a joy or, in sorrow, have been a lesson.  I hope to release them all with gratitude for how they have served me.

I hope that over the next few weeks or even months, that I will be able to cull at least half of what I own.  I probably won’t cull my crock pot or my dehydrator or my painting easel but I am beginning to feel a bit of distress over creating artworks that mostly end up needing to be stored.  I want to walk softly on this earth and mounds of artwork in a closet is not aligned with that value.

Whenever we shed, whether it is weight or possessions or relationships, there are emotions that go along with the process.  Yesterday I struggled to give away a favourite teddy bear even though it was just sitting in a cupboard.  It is in good shape and I hope that some mother who struggles with money or who values items of a second life will be able to give it to be loved by a child.  It wasn’t serving the purpose of “Christmas Bear” to sit in the closet, even though I did have lovely memories attached to the toy.

As I’m going through my things now, I am asking myself whether holding on to this item is really filling a good purpose in my life.  Marie Kondo would ask if it sparks joy.  Christmas Bear sparked joy but the purpose of a toy itself must be considered, and it wasn’t fair to Christmas Bear to hold on to it.  Holding on was also filling space in my life and weighing me down.  As we open up more space, we can feel anxious.  We might be inclined to rush to fill the space with more stuff or more relationships that may not be a good fit and only serve to bury us.  I know that this will be a struggle ahead and so I have made a low spend pledge to myself and a caution pledge on new relationships.

I’m digging out corners of my closets that have not been touched in 6 years, and digging myself out of a life that seems to have stopped serving me well.  Right now, my home is in worse shape than when I started.  Everything is out on the counters and floors so that I can assess and make choices.  With the stuff are memories, hopes, dreams and distractions and many of them need to be released.   I hope that I can move quickly through this part of my life and rise up from the ashes of all that burdens me.

A new year is a great time for a fresh start and I hope that if you are drawn to spring cleaning that you can rid yourself of outworn ideas, fears, relationships and things so that you can be more aligned with your true purpose here on earth.  I hope that this is a time of resurrection for you, as much as it feels like it is beginning to be, for me.


For what are you most grateful, today?