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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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Striving not to Strive

For those familiar to the world of meditation
You may have heard the concepts of non-judgement and non-striving
They are surprisingly simple to understand
Yet in practice, it doesn’t quite go as planned

Non-judgement is simply applying the principle
It is neither good nor bad
It simply is what it is
This is not unawareness, in fact it is quite the opposite

It is seeing something clearly
Without jumping to conclusions too quickly that can distort reality
It is recognizing times when events in our lives are more likely neutral
And jumping out of the spiral of rights and wrongs that can have such a pull

Non-striving is the intentional act of ceasing to goal set
You do what you do simply for the act of doing it
If you need to make a goal, let it be to just try
And then write on a piece of paper and let it fly

Perhaps you’ve recognized this is incredibly counter-cultural
To our faced-paced western society where goals and judgements
Seem to be taken as a matter of survival
Where doing has taken the place of being
Acceptance has been displaced by protection from perceived rivals

Perhaps that’s why in part it’s not quite as easy as I might have imagined
As I’ve written, these principles rarely go as planned

Continue reading

The Upside Down “Cure” to Pain

We are in an age where our “Sunday best” is on a whole new stage
We are filled with scenes of everyone’s highlights
And this has become the modern day painting of “life”

Now imagine the confusion when you get hit right between the eyes
With this unavoidable thing called strife

 

With pain that flows and inflames
Pain that settles, but doesn’t quite go away
Pain we were not prepared for or taught how to keep at bay

Suddenly we feel rather displaced from this modern day painting Continue reading

Teaching what we need to Teach

For me, advocacy is not about picket signs or saying the right lines
Advocacy is about seeing something that needs to change
Gathering together and doing the work to chart a new way

Trouble is these days, so much needs to change
Yet, there are commonalities
We need to move away from disconnection to integration
From judgement to compassion
We need to move towards more holistic education

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“I am” – Telling our Own Stories

Background: There is incredible power in telling our own stories. One of the most influential TED talks I have watched is the Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Adichie. She talks about what it was like to constantly be placed in the “single story” of a person from Africa. She speaks about how having these single stories for a huge (in some cases enormous) groups of people is the root of many prejudices today. So what do we do with the single story? We make it into a chorus of harmonies. We add our own unique voice one by one by one.

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Discovering Stories

Stories are powerful things

They ignite our imagination

And lead to new understanding and determination

They show us how others too

Have faced great challenges and pain

They made it through

Yet there are times you go searching the pages

And find you are looking for a story that is not from one of the former ages

You are looking for your own story

Written a few chapters ahead

You are looking for your story

To know things really do turn out in the end

To know even when your strength fails

There’s someone by your side

Even when the rain pours

You’ll keep walking through the tears you’ve cried

Sometimes you need to stop looking and reading

And start observing and writing

Start writing the next chapter in your own book

This is what you may have been looking for all along

This is the story where you most truly belong

It’s hard to be in a story that has not yet been fully written out

There is no quick way to flip to the end and reassure your doubts 

Yet as you hold on to your pen also hold on to this

You are loved

You are cherished

You have something of great merit

To offer this planet

Be it a smile or a small act of kindness

You are here to create a little joy in the mess

You are here rain, sun, snow, or clouds

You are here discovering how

To keep writing your story with a well trained eye

For the moments of gratitude 

That frequently pass each one of us by