musings of an aquarian age counterculturist


Toronto Change-Makers

“When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to her who suffers, and try to help her.”
-Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom

There are so many wonderful organizations out there doing amazing things to raise awareness and consciousness in the area of animal rights all over the world, for which I am immensely grateful.  The dedication and commitment it takes to undertake this type of heart-wrenching advocacy work comes directly from the heart.

Locally, a couple of stories really caught my attention this week on the theme of “bearing witness” and I feel compelled to acknowledge all those involved and share their stories here:

Liz Marshall is a Toronto filmmaker who brought us the brilliantly moving film The Ghosts in Our Machine.  Through the camera lens of photographer Jo-Anne McArthur, this beautiful and gentle documentary captures the essence of animals caught in situations of both injustice and hope .

Liz Marshall Interview:
Liz Marshall: The Ghosts in Our Machine

Jo-Anne McArthur:
WE ANIMALS Jo-Anne McArthur

Toronto Pig Save is an inspiring collective of peaceful, local grassroots change-makers holding weekly vigils for pigs arriving in transport trucks at Quality Meat Packers slaughterhouse in Toronto.  The work they are doing is both necessary and powerful.



Emotional Rescue

The recovery period after the end of a significant relationship seems to take on a life of its own.

Experientially some days feel like hell on earth; others simply feel….meh.  Through counselling, self-reflection and commiserating with friends, I’ve noticed three common threads often resurfacing:

  1. Grief is not linear.
  2. Healing is disorderly.
  3. Emotions are not subservient to logic.


After my father died in a car accident I basically went into shock.  Followed by a period of dreamlike unreality, if not outright denial.  Acceptance triggered an onslaught of emotion.   Pain, fear, anger, confusion, helplessness, hopelessness.  Sometimes the feelings came separately, in waves.  Other times the entire chorus of upset flooded in simultaneously.  In either case it was debilitating.  Time went on and the feelings settled into a dull ache.  That is of course until something or other triggered a reliving of the event.  Followed by calm and steadiness.  And back again.  The emotional turmoil never completely went away, but it didn’t always take me down.  It was a roller coaster for a very long time.  Eventually a semblance of peace conquered the chaos inside, but now and again I still have moments of remembrance like it all happened yesterday.

The end of my marriage has elicited the same emotional tidal wave.  There are moments that feel like I’m thrashing about, trying to save myself from drowning, never quite able to take in enough air.  Other times are quieter, more reflective, less oppressive.   Some days I feel strong and resilient.  Other days I crumble into a heap of tears.   Today “I am woman, hear me roar”.  Tomorrow I hide shaking in fear of the big bad world while refusing to leave my home.  Grief is not linear. 

Frustration is par for the course when healing a broken heart.  When I find myself going back over the course of events that led from that day to this, or asking “why, why, why ???” to questions that will never have answers, I inevitably begin mentally chastising myself for not “being in a better place” by now.  The aggravating truth is that this whole healing thing is gonna take as long as it takes.  Full stop.  It’s not pretty, or tidy or perfect.  It is up and down, moment by moment, and consistently annoyingly hard.  Today I stand before you as Wonder Woman.  Tomorrow the Cowardly Lioness.  Big freaking deal.  Healing is disorderly.   But it WILL happen.  Dammit.

Logically I know I should be incommunicado with the dude.  I know the past can’t be undone.  I was hit with a bombshell known as The Other Woman (no irony there, eh?)  and life as I knew it ended in less than a New York minute.  It was a shock, to put it mildly.  As mentioned earlier, I’ve been down the shock road before.  Just because immediate circumstances change, does not mean emotions fall in line.  The relationship died.  But the feelings – the love and caring?  There’s no on/off switch for that.   So yes, it’s exactly like this:   one moment I swear to cut off all communication.  The next moment I answer the phone.   Time will do its thing.  What I do know for certain is that logic holds zero power in the heart’s domain.  Emotions are not subservient to logic.

So what to do in the meantime?  Here’s what I’m thinking for now.

* Breathe deeply.

* Write.

* Share with friends.

* Travel as much as humanly possible.

* Appreciate all opportunities for emotional rescue (particularly those dipped in high-end dark chocolate).

* Breathe even more deeply.

emotional rescue