Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you’ve had a wonderful day, or that your day is shaping up to be wonderful, depending on where in the world you. It is currently 6am in Montreal, and I’ve just woken up to go to the gym, only to realise it doesn’t open for another half hour… so it’s obviously WILW time! On that note, this Wednesday is extra special for a couple of reasons:
- It is the Offspring season final tonight (or in about half an hour in Australia). I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED. How will it end? I can’t wait to find out.
- It is the lovely Lola Berry‘s birthday, so wishing her an extra magical day today.
And with those important points noted, let’s get into WILW, edition 28.
This week I am…
A chapter of this book was assigned as a reading for my Religion and Globalization subject here at McGill. At first I attempted to read it without any context as to when or why the book was written, and it seemed like utter gibberish. However, I later returned to the chapter after having read this useful summary and appreciating the context in which it was written, I was able to re-read the chapter with a newfound level of understanding. Apparently this book, written in the 1940s, is a classic yet controversial analysis of modern economics and the rise of the ‘market society’. Since I have absolutely no history (or even interest) in economics, I am sure some of the profound arguments made in the book were somewhat lost on me, but the little section I read and the online summaries certainly opened up my mind to the strengths and evident flaws of the economic model under which our society operates. Who knows if I will ever read the rest, but for now it was certainly the thing I read this week that got the most cogs turning over in my brain.
Listening to: Kanye West
If you had asked me a few weeks ago if I was a fan of Kanye, I probably would have answered no. However, after being introduced to his song Ultralight Beam (once again, thanks Tyler) and then going to his concert here in Montréal a few weeks ago, I can safely say that answer has changed. I’ve come to appreciate the variety and (in parts) utter genius of his musical works, and the concert was definitely one of the greatest live performances I’ve ever seen.
A snippet of this complete Ted Talk was shown to us by my professor of Behavioural Neuroscience when considering the distinct functions of the brain hemispheres. What I found particularly interesting, and outstanding, about this video was the way in which Jill merges modern neuroscientific understanding of the brain with ancient concepts of the soul, spirituality, expansiveness and the energetic interconnectedness of all beings in the Universe. She essentially recounts her experience of having a stroke, but in doing so eloquently describes the sensations and “thoughts” she had when the verbal (i.e. mind chatter) left hemisphere of her brain was quietened by the stroke. It is powerful, emotive and eye-opening stuff!
I actually bought a large copy of this exact image above at a poster sale at university. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), that very morning I was contemplating Buddha and his philosophy and noticed that none of the existing quotes on my wall are from him. I remember thinking “I should find a good Buddha quote to stick on my wall” and only a few hours later I walked past the poster sale and this image jumped out at me (serendipity!). I think the quote truly speaks for itself, and last night I realised it is very thematically similar to the Happy Place slogan – happiness is real when shared!
Eating (or rather drinking): Bulletproof Tea
As I mentioned in my last WILW, I read Dave Apsrey’s book The Bulletproof Diet and am currently in the process of implementing the Bulletproof Diet regimes into my diet. At the heart of the Bulletproof Diet is drinking a cup of Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast. Since I do not drink coffee (at least not yet!), I have been making this by brewing a cup of low caffeine chai tea mixed with yerba mate tea (a natural herbal stimulant tea from South America) and then adding grass-fed butter and coconut oil, plus a dash of cinnamon and turmeric for added metabolic and biochemical benefits! I have to say this is one of the quickest, easiest and most satisfying breakfasts I have ever had, because the high fat content keeps me satiated easily until lunch time and even into the early afternoon. If you’re a coffee drinker, interested in upgrading your coffee, avoiding the caffeine crash, preventing cravings and feeling Bulletproof, I would recommend giving the Bulletproof Coffee a go!
As I mentioned earlier, one of my subjects this semester is Religion and Globalization. Despite having no previous history or knowledge of religious studies, I decided to take this “breadth” subject because it seemed interesting and relevant to today’s society. So far it has been challenging, but also fascinating, and has urged me to consider the bi-directional impact that religion and globalization have on one another. Although religion is sometimes considered an outdated and receding phenomenon, if you scratch the surface of our social values and practices it is clear that it still plays a huge role in constructing our ideas about the world, as well as dividing and unifying various groups of people.
Another concept I was introduced too, which I found of particular personal interest, is that of “re-embedding”, which describes the process by which people attach themselves to religions, movements or ideologies as a way of finding some form of strong identity and belonging in an increasingly individual (“dis-embedded”) world. I think I am likely an example of re-embedment, as I was raised in an essentially atheist family but I have found identity, belonging and meaning in my yoga practice, the “new-age” spiritual movement, Eastern religious philosophies, and my attachment to the alternative diet and lifestyle online community. I wonder if you too can sympathise with this feeling?
Moving: hot barre
On Monday night I attended my first ever hot barre class at Ensō yoga and all I can say is PHEW! It was hot, sweaty, and super challenging and my legs are still pretty stiff as a result, but I can honestly say that it was a class I really enjoyed. I am hoping to make it back each week for the class, hopefully getting stronger and more poised as a result. If you’ve never tried barre, but enjoy dancing, ballet, Pilates or yoga then I would recommend finding your nearest class and giving it a shot – you’ve got nothing to lose.
Aiming to: practice more compassion
I met a really interesting girl on my cycling trip and after we had been chatting for a while she told me that she had been on a retreat with her mother lead by Pema Chodron (the widely acclaimed author and Buddhist monk) a few years ago, and now identified as a Buddhist. As a fan (but also a relative newbie) to Pema’s work, I asked lots of questions about her teachings and what the retreat was like. What I was struck by (and reminded of) is that the entire Buddhist faith and philosophy centres around the concept of compassion – for one’s self, others, animals, our world and everything in it. I took this as a personal reminder to practice compassion daily, in every possible way. Whilst I am not perfect – I don’t think anybody is – I have definitely noticed a shift in my attention and thought patterns when I focus on compassion. It’s simple. It’s beautiful. It’s enlightening.
Grateful for: knowledge and learning
It is probably evident by my choices this week, but I am absolutely loving being back at uni. Although holidays are great, and always a welcome break, after two and a half months I was definitely ready to start studying again. I am really enjoying my classes so far, especially my “breadth” subjects, as they challenge me to think in different ways and consider elements of life that I normally don’t deal with in my science-based degree.
I would love to hear what you are loving this week, or your comments or questions on this edition of WILW.
Love Erica x