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Recently Read: You Are Not What You Think

January 24, 2016 - 7:26am

You Are Not What You Think: The Egoless Path to Self-Esteem and Generous Love is the exact book that I needed to cross my path in this particular stage in my life. I’m going through a great deal of “self work” and unraveling some habits and thought processes to fully see how I operate in the world. This book provides a reality check for the ego. A flashlight that can be used to shed light on some of the dark areas where we scurry and hide. I spent a lot of time reading this book, nodding my head with a knowing “Yes. I do that” and highlighting spots to revisit and sit with at a later date.

Again. I am going to say that here’s a book that changed my life. For this, I apologize. I don’t know if I’m “operating at a higher frequency” or “open to the messages that the world is sending” or any other kind of woo woo hypothesis that may be applied to this current situation. Regardless, it’s a good thing.

David Richo is a writer, psychotherapist, teacher and workshop leader. He blends his multi-faith background with psychology training and what results in this book is an offering that is a sampler plate of many different ways to view the ego – in both its healthy and unhealthy forms.

You Are Not What You Think is a deep-dive into the ego. What it looks like, where it comes from and an examination of various views and perspectives on it – from Freud, Jung and the Buddha to name but a few. There are several helpful practices within its pages designed to help discover where it lies and how to work with it. Themes such as what a healthy and unhealthy ego looks like as well as how it presents itself in our relationships with others are also touched upon. Richo presents a world in which one moves about in the world with a healthy ego – free from self-centeredness.

The book isn’t a call to arms to murder one’s ego, but rather speaks to how it needs to be “held and tamed respectfully.” Reading it made me a better person. Really. I started to see a bit of a shitty dark side in how I relate with others which could be put right back onto a fear response that I was experiencing in my day to day life. I find it’s easier to see the egos of others at play- so having a means to see another side was pretty eye opening for me. This book flipped a switch on my usual ego-centered perspective and helped me to expand my view a bit further. I’m better able to see how ego bloating has kept me from living- and loving fully.

You Are Not What You Think presents both a spiritual and psychological way of examining the ego and how to be free from self-centeredness. It touches on themes such as fear, kindness, compassion, awareness, self-compassion and mindfulness. The book features many practices to try in order to befriend one’s ego and let go of the past programming. It’s clear and easy to read and fully relatable. If you’re a fan of Brené Brown (as am I), then this book will be right up your alley given it touches upon fear, shame and vulnerability.

I can’t recommend You Are Not What You Think enough. I’ve already seen great changes in my life after reading it. And that’s not my ego talking!


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Towards a Liberation-based Livelihood in 2016

December 31, 2015 - 1:00pm

Right livelihood. It can be yours even if it feels so far away. One step to make it even closer it to find someone who knows how to make it happen and can coach you. Whether it’s being overwhelmed, having fears about what this kind of transition would be like for your life (and wallet), or just not knowing how to get started – it helps to have a sherpa to guide you along towards a liberation-based livelihood.

I’ve been fortunate through the Buddhablogosphere to have met Dharma-sister Maia Duerr. Wise, compassionate, someone who truly cares about the world. Maia has been helping lead confused beings like myself towards discovering what they are truly passionate about and then putting them on the path to doing the work. I’ve just recently wrapped up one of her ecourses and it has given me a greater sense of clarity in how I view my 9-5.

Maia is offering a free webinar this Sunday and I’d totally encourage you to sign up if you’re curious about liberation-based livelihood.

You’ll learn:

  • What is a liberation-based livelihood? What are three possible pathways to make it happen in your life?
  • The 6 “keys” that will support you to make a transformation in your work
  • The most important thing you can do today to put yourself on the road to work that you love

Get in on this action!


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Random Linkage: Season’s Weepings

December 31, 2015 - 7:40am

It’s the time of the year where everyone’s feeling awesome and cheery and light.

Well some of us. It’s OK if you’re not. Know you’re not alone in feeling sad, guilty, happy, miserable, lighthearted, messy, Christmas cheery and not-so-celebratory. But if you are in need of an ear and do need help – don’t be afraid to reach out.

Here’s what’s been lurking in my mind and around me lately:

  • Hardcore Zen offers up some thoughts on Good Times Bad Times
  • Are you like me and spending time with end of the year/beginning of the new year reflections and intention setting? I’ve been sitting with Susanna Conway’s workbook which has become a bit of a yearly tradition for me. I always appreciate seeing what 2015 delivered – and hoo haw it delivered big time this past year. Now to take these lessons into 2016.
  • Ever have those moments when you’re in a Uber and a song comes on and completely sets the soundtrack for what you’re feeling and you laugh to yourself because it feels like you are in an episode of Master of None or GIRLS and it is THE song that makes the scene dryly humourous due to the timing? Well a few weeks ago on the way home from therapy, the driver was jamming to some radio-friendly tunes and this druggy-hip-hopppy beat came on with some sad rappers singing about being “Stressed Out.” It was a moment. Perfect timing. Perfect song for the mood. It snapped my melancholy and made me smile.

And a brilliant tribute to Lemmy. I don’t know the name of the artist and wish I could credit them.


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Recently Read: The Body of Chris

December 13, 2015 - 1:54pm

Judging a book by its cover, this one features a color photo of a shirtless, tattooed man emblazoned across the book jacket. While this is quite common with many of the publications sitting on bookshelves today – memoirs of heavy metal musicians or biographies of male supermodels- this one is quite different and exceptionally powerful.

Author Chris Cole – the shirtless man on the cover, struggled with his weight and body perception for a large part of his life. This cover photo is testimony to how far he has come towards self-acceptance and healing. Baring himself fully both on the cover and within the pages of the book, Cole has demonstrated an unshakable ability to heal. It is a very honest and personal story.

The book traces his descent from mild anxiety and the natural ‘weirdness’ that comes with being a goofy kid, to a teenager and then man, spiraling out of control due to mental illness and addiction. He had struggled with being obsessed with his body self image, his size, his strength, his sexuality and manhood and these insecurities carried on into adulthood and increased in intensity and severity.

Within The Body of Chris, the author also explores how spirituality has been such a strong part of his life, both positively and negatively. It had contributed to his delusions, several manic episodes, and then in the end, his eventual healing. Yeah. He’s certainly covered all of the bases.

His personal story of suffering, and then redemption takes several interesting twists and turns leaving the reader wondering where he’d end up after all. It’s a must-read for anyone who is experiencing or knows someone who has gone through any of the troubles I’ve mentioned that are covered in this book. Somewhere there is a 14-year-old boy out there struggling with an eating disorder or about to turn towards alcohol to drown his problems. I’m grateful that there is a book such as this one that expresses pain in a way that is relatable and without pretense.

The Body of Chris is a brave memoir in which the author has offered up his story of confusion, addiction, religion, self-abuse, sexuality, and mental illness – balanced with insight into his healing through self-work, therapy, acceptance and being of service to both help oneself, as well as others who are going through or have experienced similar setbacks, temptations or problems in their life.


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Lotus Petals in the Snow – Now Available for Purchase!

December 9, 2015 - 9:33am

This is not a drill!

The book that I’ve been working on is officially out!

It’s been a complete labor of love, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that being a first time editor of roughly 30 pieces was easy – especially when working with the words of so many people who I admire. The who’s who of Canadian Buddhist women is right here folks. All in this one book! I’m still left shaking my head.

My teacher Ponlop Rinpoche often speaks to the power of repeating the teachings in order to make sure that the messages really stick. This is no different when editing a book given that you’ve reviewed the same submission several times and then one more time. What’s interesting is that each time I went through the articles, I was left with deeper messages emerging or a new layer of feelings towards them. Each one provided a glimpse of the Dharma as expressed by a fellow female Timbit muncher (Canadian-speak for delicious mini doughnuts).

It was a true joy to have worked on this book, but what makes it even more meaningful is that it is a gift economy book, which means that 100% of net proceeds from online sales will be donated to the Buddhist Compassion Tzu Chi Foundation for charitable work. Proceeds from direct sales will support local Buddhist initiatives across Canada. Everyone involved in the project had donated their energy, work and and time.

You can purchase the anthology at:




If you do purchase the anthology, please be sure to leave a review. Also please do help to spread the word in your network.

If you do pick up a copy, please let me know what you think of it. I’d love to hear your feedback.



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Full Contact Enlightenment – Random Linkage: November

November 28, 2015 - 10:20am

Here dear friends is a handful of items that have crossed my eyeballs on the internet lately. I like to call it Random Linkage.

May you all be titillated, entertained and perhaps illuminated.

A healthy ego is necessary to achieving our goals, to building healthy relationships, and to leading a satisfying and meaningful life. But an ego that gets too big—that becomes egotism—can actually inhibit all those wonderful possibilities. In this luminous guide, David Richo offers wisdom from psychology, myth, and spiritual traditions to show us how to let go of the kind of ego that causes suffering for ourselves and others. As a wonderful result, we gain self-confidence and find new ways to love too. It’s not a matter of getting rid of ego but of seeing through it. When we learn to do that, Dave says, we’ll discover the core of indestructible goodness in our enlightened nature. Then, when we see “big ego” expressed in ourselves or others, we begin to regard it with compassion rather than disdain. We are truly, Dave shows, not what we think but much, much more.

I’m feeling the energy… Are you?


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More Extraordinary Circumstances

November 22, 2015 - 12:34pm
In cased you missed my recent blog post about my recent big night out – well here’s a bit of serendipity after seeing this article a few days ago.

“Something that meant so much to me was now part of the problem. Music is one of the most important parts of my life but I just came to terms with the fact that I probably wasn’t going to be enjoying live loud music again anytime soon, maybe ever.”

Seems that many more of us are starting to have big nights out. And for those who struggle with anxiety, that’s saying a lot!


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An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance

November 16, 2015 - 4:46pm

This is likely one of the more bizarre show reviews you are about to read.

It’s written by someone who grew terrified of going to see bands. A panic attack during the opening act before the band OFF and boom, I was OFF. OFF to the bathroom to have a meltdown and then OFF in a taxi headed home, and feeling like a chump.

For a period of time, I dreaded leaving the house. I was gripped by the fear of even thinking about being in a room filled with loud music and other people. I was buying tickets to shows only to stay home. At very least I was supporting the scene I guess! I beat myself up over not going to see the last Tony Sly show before he passed.

Festivals. Outdoor shows. Indoor shows. Acoustic shows. Stadium shows. Any show. I was a no-show.

I collected unused ticket stubs like those people who save the bouncer-torn tickets from the shows they actually made it out of the house to enjoy.

Finally, after moving out from depression and anxiety into being able to baby step my way back into the mosh pit, I made the pact with myself that I was not missing PEARS at Foufs the end of September. Given my experience with OFF, it could have been entirely possible that I would have had a panic attack and found myself at the market down the street bathing myself in a bin of PEARS.

I decided to give myself over to working with whatever came up. I sat around in that old familiar bar and it was OK. My husband and I went to many shows there before and this night was like a return to the good old days. We made our way to the space where I had my meltdown of fear and it was OK. I stayed near the door for a bit and then moved my way further through the area and towards the merch table. Ahhhhhh! My old friend merch table. A great source of pleasure for a girl with a serious black band t-shirt addiction. I was sad to see the PEARS hoodie was only in big people sizing and recognized the merch fella for the band and asked him if they’d have any in stock on their online store. Because I really am a die-hard fan of the band, I knew his name and completely freaked him out. I dunno. I just kind of pick up these kinds of things. Maybe it’s the finishing school element that I have from being in the ‘business world’ but I always remember names.

So the opening band came on (The Isotopes) and they were pretty fun. How can anyone have a panic attack while a guy in a cup is hitting himself in the nuts with a baseball bat on stage? Old anxious me would have found a way

“Maybe the bat will slip and he’ll brain me in the bean with his sweaty, ball-beating Louisville Slugger? The lights will go up and there I’ll be. Dead. In the most embarrassing possible way. My husband will have to tell everyone I died at a punk rock show after being struck in the temple by a baseball bat mid-stroke while it slipped out of the hands of a young man who was using it to beat frantically upon his exposed jockstrap.”

I did not want to be the brat that was beat upon.

That didn’t happen. I made it through the show unscathed and without incident.

I was dying. Dying to see PEARS. It had been months- maybe a year that I’ve waited to see this band. And I was in the belly of the beast – waiting for them to take the stage.

Known for their dynamic stage antics, well mainly that of their front man who can best be described as what you’d get if you mixed:

  • An insane circus clown
  • A young Henry Rollins
  • A demon in the body of a fit, shirtless young man
  • A person undergoing an exorcism
  • Jim Carrey (someone said this and it’s kinda true)
  • A Korean water ghost
  • Someone off their meds
  • Someone on their meds

The entire band is just the tightest, best-sounding thing to hit punk rock in some time. I had no fear given I was just so stoked to see them. No panic. In the moment. Present moment right here folks. No fear of the past panic attack. No fear of the future potential of my heart giving out due to the absolute joy of seeing them live.

Just now. In the moment.

To not mention that Teenage Bottlerocket was also playing that night would be a great omission on my part. I was able to finally meet the power pop punk rock Bodhisattva himself – Miguel and was thrilled to chat with him for a short bit. They played many new and old favorites and had such a great stage presence. The crowd loved them and rocked out fully. Not a panic attack in the house as everyone was all smiles!

It’s with great sadness that I write that their drummer Brandon Carlisle (Bran-Bran) passed away on November 7th. I’ve been following all of the great stories that many in the Teenage Bottlerocket family have shared about him and my heart goes out to everyone. He will be missed greatly.

If you are so inclined, please donate to help with the hospital and funeral costs or spread the word in your community.



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Random Linkage – October

October 8, 2015 - 2:45pm

Hey friends.

Here are a few links that caught my attention recently:

  • I’m currently trying to Fall in Love With My Work by taking this self-study course in order to figure out my professional shizz. So far so good! I’m seeing things a bit differently so that’s a promising sign.
  • Letting Go of the Need for Control – Oh yes! Currently doing this work.
  • As a wild dreamer, I appreciated this post. (Last night I dreamed that a half man/ half ram was visiting my mom. Feel free to leave your interpretation in the comments!)
  • Welcome back old friend! The Buddhablogging space missed you.
  • Chris Grosso’s new book ‘Everything Mind’ was just released. You should check it out!
  • Pretty much how I feel when meditating right here in this one gif…


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