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Begin this poetic journey towards a life filled with greater joy and fulfillment by exploring some of life’s bigger questions: What does a meaningful life look like? How do we thrive after trials or tribulations? What practices lead to resilience and wellness?

Through this 30 day poetry collection, Julia Burke distills the essence of these questions as well as the responses gleaned from both experience and theory. Poetry conveys this message with beauty and simplicity as we continue to look for the radiant lights in the midnight sky of our lives.

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Silence is not Neutral

Silence should not be our default state.
Silence leads to secrecy, isolation and shame.

Silence is not neutral
It is not a passive act
In the face of injustice
Silence weighs us down
As lies obscure the facts

I get it.
I get why we stay silent when we’d rather speak.
Prejudice and discrimination are real things.
They can be costly.

Silence is not neutral
It is not a passive act
In the face of injustice
Silence weighs us down
As lies obscure the facts

We can lose ourselves in silence.
If we value courage
If we value standing up for what’s right
If we value what we have to say
Silence can erode away what we cherish most.

Silence is not neutral
It is not a passive act
In the face of injustice
Silence weighs us down
As lies obscure the facts

We live in a world that can be unfair and unjust
}At times, it’s not as much organized advocacy
It’s just doing the right thing
Even when others aren’t moving to the same beat.

Because we know
Silence is not neutral

When Rosa Parks chose to stand her ground, she couldn’t have known how her story would ripple across the nation and to the globe. It was the right thing to do and she moved through the fear.

Silence is not neutral
It is not a passive act
In the face of injustice
Silence weighs us down
As lies obscure the facts

So I am making a renewed commitment to speak
To honour my story and those shared with me
This may not be to a crowd
It may be in conversations
Speaking up when others are looking down

This is everyday advocacy
Moving through the world based on our values rather than the skewed status quo
There will be conflict
There will be people who don’t like it
Yet, the alternative is to be a passive participant
And I just can’t do that
If don’t like what we see
We need to work towards a healthier community.

Silence is not neutral
It is not a passive act
In the face of injustice
Silence weighs us down
As lies obscure the facts

I think it’s time to change that.

Discrimination Can Be Silent

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Discrimination can be loud
It can cause our stomachs to knot and our hearts to ache
It can be emotional
We can feel sad, disappointed, fearful and angry all at the same time

Discrimination can cause our world to quake

Discrimination can also be silent
It can be subtle
It can be “polite”
It can be understated

Discrimination moves through insecurities and ignorance
No matter the decibel, discrimination breaks

Discrimination breaks down relationships, communities, countries
Discrimination is rampant in our society
And if we don’t take it seriously
We may unknowingly be part of the problem

To accept is an active process
We need to work for it
We need to educate ourselves every single day

Discrimination is not only the loud, bigoted rants
No, it can be far more subtle than that

So we must work
We must work to see people for who they are
To acknowledge the labels that come to mind and let them fly
To give the people in our lives the chance to speak
And we need to hear them even when it can be uncomfortable

We need to strip down the stories we have of who we think they are
And listen to the intricacies of who they actually are

Underestimating someone because of what you think they may or may not become
Will be discovered eventually
If you find yourself searching for anecdotes to justify your position
You may need to face your own facts

Discrimination affects us all
We need to work to be more accepting, inclusive and aware
It is not the status quo

Discrimination does not just come from strangers
It happens with friendships, neighbours, families, communities
People we trusted yet they didn’t even see what they were doing
Instead, stereotypes and generalizations informed their behaviour

The rallies and protests matter, because discrimination is still here
And I mean here – not out there somewhere
Here
And we have to work to change this

We cannot be silent, nor do we need to shout

We need conversations
Honest, humble conversations that teach us to see someone truly
Discrimination does not just go away
We need to forge a new path and work on it each and every day

Mosaic of You

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We filter fact from fiction every single day
We weigh each piece of information to see if it is true
We decide which pieces to hold and which to let fly
This may happen in the blink of an eye

Slow it down to deepen your accuracy
People make comments about us so quickly
Some are said while others are simply read

Be aware of the comments you hold and those you let go
Learn from experiences and your loved ones
Yet do not let them define you

This is an ongoing journey you need to lead
No matter how important the person or event may seem
You decide
You define
You are the narrator of your life

Like patches in a quilt, choose them carefully
They make up the mosaic of you

If you find a patch that tears you down
No matter the context in which it was found
Start ripping the seams
It needs to go
In its place, a new patch can now be sewn

No Matter the Weather

We say so much about what means so little and say too little about what means so much

It’s not a surprise really

It’s easy to speak about what doesn’t matter

We aren’t comnected to it. There is no risk

Words come and go as cars on the road

Speaking about what matters needs more

Courage, vulnerability, trust

Each word is a line from you to me. A line to hold on to or let go, strengthen or weaken, build up or tear down

Yet this is where true belonging is found

Not talking about the weather and keeping it all together

Belonging extends beyond families, cultures or creeds

Belonging is found when we truly listen and speak

When we collectively hold the carefully chosen words in this sacred space

We need to say more about what matters to those who’ve shown up no matter the weather

We need to show up for each other, not only to stand together, but to speak together of the real weather of our lives

This is our time. Don’t hide

Believe in You

Life is unexpected. What’s right may not be as anticipated. Life is a windy road. No matter where you go, there will be highs and lows.

This I know. We all need courage to face our challenging roads. I know it’s true. Life can leave your heart black and blue. Keep believing in you. People believe in you. Believe in you too.

Life has billions of stories. Lift your voice and add to the melodies. It may be dissonant or lose rhyme. Don’t shy away. This is your time.