We were taught that there are three types of rocks. The first, is an aftermath of volcanic eruptions hardened like new born anger, raw and invincible The second, is layers of time pressurized into staying where the softness of sand lives no more The third, […]
Walking into the Tollmann studio you feel like you are walking into the laboratory of a mad scientist. Paintings cover every wall. Sculptures and eccentric looking lights are scattered around the room. David stands in a corner talking with one of his collaborators. We are introduced […]
Is our constant need for progress enslaving us? -> The issue here is an issue of self-knowledge. How can you live well if you don’t know yourself?
The comprehension of a successful life in our modern western societies is mostly driven by external factors that oftentimes leave us dissatisfied and unfulfilled.
People with a good job, plenty of money and influence are valued more in society. Knowing this, we look for jobs, not necessarily fulfilling ones, but simply ones that will help us pay the bills. When we are able to pay the bills we start to purchase luxury items, and our ability to distinguish between need and want is blurred. These purchases often justify the lack of time and happiness in our everyday lives. Due to an eternal amount of luxury items and ubiquitous marketing, we feel forced to satisfy all of these “needs.” New desires are constantly created, which lead to an overwhelming feeling of being lost in this fast-paced market and world.
The government wants us to believe that success is equal to progress. They want their companies –country– to run as efficiently and with as little concern as possible. So most of us take part in this development that happens faster and faster each day. We do not want to miss the newest invention or event so we have to frequently be updated and have the resources to buy the latest gadgets. If we want to be part of the progress, we have to live life just as fast, because of the rapid changes in our world. We enslave our lives to modern comforts. We risk our health to have enough money to be a part of this consuming society. And at the end of our lives, many of us will spend our hard-earned money on paying to recover our lost health. We live to work and don’t stop to look around and appreciate what is around us.
Nowadays, more people than ever before are moving to cities, where they can live faster, reach more and earn more money. In cities, we rarely have a chance to lay back in nature and listen to our inner voice, because our actions are often governed by external circumstances and pressure of the masses in these metropolises. Societies expect and make their members work, and if we don’t think about our real desires, which are hidden deep within us, then we become slaves to modern society.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel, as there are many people who have found their real passion and destiny. Many of them have used this new vision for good. For example, many have used their time and talents to highlight what is wrong with modern society and have engaged in volunteer work. Movements like Van Life and Tiny House give us hope that there is an alternative way to live. Also, current trends like yoga, meditation or holidays in nature instead of going to all-inclusive luxury resorts are signs of further development.
Studies have shown that experiences and not material goods, bring about the highest levels of happiness. Now, the choice is ours. Do we continue down this path of fake gold and false hopes or do we pursue something else, something real?
Have you ever heard someone say, don’t talk about religion or politics if you want to get along with people? This appears to be the dominant sentiment in the West. We shy away from upsetting or inconveniencing people, so we rarely engage in conversations that […]
What is at the heart of selfishness? Can we locate the source of hate? Is there something intrinsically evil about us?
My mind is perturbed and saddened by what I see and read. Another mass shooting. Another bomb explodes. Another bigoted call to close borders and expel a particular racial group.
What is in your heart?
We know that love is the answer. We know that kindness can solve the ills of humanity. We know that acceptance and understanding are the first step towards rebuilding trust.
In theory at least…
But what is in your heart?
I can only look inwardly when I’m faced with such overwhelming questions. What is in my life that needs to be changed? How can I better serve those around me? What am I doing to improve the world?
I know my heart is weak. I know it is tainted with selfishness. I am aware that my words are contradictory at times. I know that my will is frail and I often hurt those I say I love most.
So here’s what I’m going to do…
I’m going to grab my wife’s hand, look right into her big blue eyes, and then kiss her. I will repeat this as often as I need to in order to be reminded of what love feels like. I will then cook food for us, sit down and eat together. Afterwards, I will wash the dishes. This will remind me that change begins with the little things. I will call my parents and tell them how much I miss and love them. This will reiterate how important it is to be thankful to those who have sacrificed everything for me. I will spend time with one person I call friend and truly get to know them. This will be a reminder that there are others out there that need to be heard as well. I will work hard to serve humanity with the gifts that I have. Namely, the gift of words and poetry. I will use my words to uplift those who feel hopeless. This will enforce the importance of a positive message in an often negative world. I will dedicate my energy to learning as much as I can and then I will share it with anyone who would care to listen.
Note: featured image by Jorge Robleto
Marriage is war. Against the enemy of selfishness and Ego. We go through our entire lives worrying only about ourselves and all of a sudden are confronted with having to share everything with another person. What’s mine is yours they say. This process of reprogramming […]
I work with young kids on the weekends and have observed that some things never change. Regardless of culture, language and time period, kids everywhere use insults to put other people down. You’re fat! You’re ugly! You’re stupid! You’re useless! I have heard these words […]
Brandon Wint, a two-time national champion of poetry slam and one of Canada’s most beloved and well-respected spoken word artists, released his first full length album, The Long Walk Home, on April 22nd, 2016. The album, a unique one within the landscape of Canadian spoken word, is a deeply articulate, passionate exploration of one poet’s relationship to love, belonging, mortality and ancestry. The Long Walk Home was written and recorded in Ottawa, Ontario, and features contributions from such noteworthy artists as Alex Millaire (Moonfruits) and Don Charette (formerly of Big Balade). The album is a stirring, direct and thoughtful follow-up to Brandon Wint’s 2014 EP, Devotion, and takes the poet’s characteristically soft-spoken, big-hearted approach to spoken word, and marries it to classical compositions led by piano, cello, violin and viola. Stand-out tracks like “Home” display Brandon’s unique ability to reflect upon the natural world and bring it to life in visceral, striking and sensuous imagery. On the whole, The Long Walk Home manages to be nuanced, subtle, and luscious at once, providing its listeners with the sort of experience that can bring about relaxation, introspection, and at the very best of times, even healing.
The Long Walk Home is available exclusively via digital platforms. To buy the album, or to hear preview tracks, visit:
We saw Illustrated for the first time at a Poetry Slam in Edmonton. There was something very unique about his style and content. His words elicited a realism and intensity that we had not seen before. We hoped to get the chance to speak to […]
Every morning I get up and read the news. It’s a habit I’ve had for many years now. Log on to yahoo.com or cnn.com and you will see that most news stories do not present the world in a positive light. Whether it is racist […]
I sit alone in your room
in your chair
in silence brimming with loss
and air so empty it chokes me.
It is all around
and must consume and carve
before it fills the
hollow in my chest.
Loss is the space
between the ceiling and the floor
space that holds me together
in this room
in this chair.
So I breathe in
the loss of a friend
because the emptiness
may be what makes me breathe
deeper each time.
What is the inspiration for this piece? Life is unpredictable; it teeters on a delicate balance that can tip anytime. Everything that you value could be gone like that. I say this not to be cynical, but to offer hope. Loss is a force that consumes, but it also allows us to be filled again with something better. Without pain we wouldn’t know that we need friendship, love, support, air, or even a God. Most of us don’t think about breathing, but try holding your breath and see how much you’ll start to think about it! Breathing is kind of like living, we don’t think about it until its endangered. If we never lose sometimes how could we know that there are better things to gain and bigger questions to get answered? One of my favourite bible texts asks what good is it for man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul. I read that and think of the painful loss my family and I have faced recently and can only hope for better days to come soon. I never really understood loss until I understood it from God’s eyes. This poem stands as a time piece of sorts, frozen at the moment when my life was teetering on a delicate balance. I wrote it with more question than statement and I don’t know if the question of why suffering happens will be answered in this lifetime. But I do know now that the things that bring suffering also offer new life because they point back to the Creator – the only one who sustains.
Note: featured image by Katy Mendez