Firstly, an apology from Peta and I for missing last week’s WILW… Somehow it passed by without either of us sitting down to write something for you all. But nonetheless, I (Erica) am back and writing from a library desktop (more on that later) and Peta’s account because I got locked out of my own… but writing regardless! Having overcome those small obstacles, let’s get right into it… Edition 29 of WILW. Fingers crossed it hits your inbox before midnight…
This week I am…
Reading: A Short History of the State in Canada (Elsbeth Heaman)
This book is a prescribed text for my Canadian Studies subject here at McGill, and although it is a pretty full-on historical recount (written by none other than my professor), it is a great read and a perfect introduction to Canadian history and the impact of contemporary Canada. If you are at all interested in Canada, politics, economics or history in general, it would be a worthwhile read, as it is written very simply, as if the story of Canada is being told.
I am absolutely loving the class, and the book, despite coming in with essentially no background knowledge in Canadian Studies. I have taken a particular interest in the Indigenous history in Canada, which is both troubling and incredible in its nature. The debate and conversation around Indigenous rights in Canada is a current topic and I have even attended a few extra presentations from various people concerning Indigenous rights and culture, all of which have made me reflect largely on the parallels between the Indians here in Canada and the Aboriginal people of Australia.
Listening to: The Art and Science of Epic Adventure with Jon Levy
Yes, I’m back on the Lewis Howes podcast bandwagon (but only because they ARE SO COOL, seriously get on it). I listened to this one yesterday and was once again left with plenty to think about. Jon Levy (a social and behavioural scientist) offers some pretty fascinating insights into how to create bonds with people in very little time, how to create an adventure, the key elements for an adventure and how to end an adventure in style. In his conversation with Lewis he discusses too the difference between a productive life and an adventurous life (each with their own pros and cons), and why going beyond your comfort zone is essential for transformational growth. I was certainly left feeling inspired and keen to have plenty of adventures in my life, especially in the next few months as I make the most of my exchange experience.
Watching: the American Presidential Debate
Last night I tuned in, like thousands of others across America and the globe, to the much-anticipated debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It didn’t disappoint in terms of entertainment value, but I was left wondering why the private lives of these two individuals seemed to be the most discussed issue, rather than their policies and visions for America… Although given my limited knowledge of politics in general, let alone American politics, I think it is wisest for me to hold my comments. Let’s just say that the next month or so is definitely going to be an interesting one for America and the world.
After my initial purchase of the Buddha poster featured in my last WILW, I returned to the poster sale and bought two more, one which was the Instructions for Life according to the Dalai Lama. I am a huge fan of the Dalai Lama’s philosophies, especially after reading his spiritual autobiography. This is the 19th instruction on the poster on my wall, and although they all resonate with me, this one is my favourite for the moment. Personally, it rings true in that I certainly approach cooking with reckless abandon, and slowly am learning and teaching myself that the same principles apply in love. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this concept!
Eating: Baked Sweet Potato with Chilli con Carne
After purchasing a whole box of meat from an organic, grass-fed and finished farm outside Montreal a few weeks ago, I’ve been getting creative with my different beef-based creations. The other day I whipped up this chilli con carne from a portion of beef mince, with corn, red onion, chilli, paprika, cumin, garlic and celery. I then made my first ever baked sweet potato (crazy, I know!) to serve it on, and topped the whole ensemble with smashed avocado, coriander and a generous squeeze of lime juice. The result was utter deliciousness and it certainly satisfied my appetite! This recipe could be adapted in many ways, including a vego/vegan chilli sans carne, or the addition of some fresh cashew cheese or tahini.
Last Saturday I had the chance to hike Giant Mountain, one of the peaks in the Adirondack Moutains in New York state. The hike was harder than I anticipated, including many near vertical rock scrambles and resulting in very sore muscles on Sunday morning, but was incredible nonetheless. There is nothing quite as refreshing as spending a whole day in nature, breathing in fresh air and enjoying the spectacular beauty of Mother Nature. Although I am still a hiking amateur, I am looking forward to more hiking adventures in the future.
Aiming to: stay present
I am quite sure I’ve written this before in previous editions of WILW, but presence remains an omnipresent challenge for me. My exchange is quickly passing by, as I am already into my fourth week of university, and we are almost in October (when did that happen?!). I often find myself reflecting on the past or trying to plan out my future, both of which are useful tasks but seem to occupy too much of my consciousness. So this week I am aiming to be really present in my day-to-day activities, to focus on one thing at a time and make the most of every moment of my exchange. If you too struggle with staying present (I am sure I am not alone), meditation or taking a few deep belly breaths can really help you to come back to this moment and appreciate it for everything that is has to offer.
Grateful for: my laptop
After a few weeks and a series of unfortunate events my beloved laptop finally wound up in hospital (aka The Apple store) to be repaired. Having been without my laptop for the past four days now, I have really come to appreciate what a vital role it plays in my daily activities and connections – I feel quite a bit more lost than I care to admit without it. What’s more, it has been somewhat stressful having to turn in assignments and keep up with readings without access to my laptop, but I’ve developed an appreciation for university library desktop computers. So today I am grateful for my laptop and all the cool things it allows me to do (including writing these posts), and I am hopeful for its return to my possesion soon!
I would love to hear what you are loving this week, or your comments or questions on this edition of WILW.
Love Erica x