As a 26-year-old business professional I face very typical problems on a day to day basis, ones that many of you may face. I have to deal with traffic, I have to find parking in downtown Toronto, I have to deal with deadlines. But it wasn't that long ago that any of these trivial issues were not a concern to me as my only burden was finding my next meal. For two years I battled homelessness and my hope was dependant on youth homes and the kindness of strangers.
The word consumer often calls to mind the idea of consumerism, which gets a pretty bad rap. Consumerism can lead to unbridled consumption, with its complete disregard for environmental depletion and the impact on anyone who dares to stand in its way. What does a contemplative approach to consumption look like?
Let me fill you in on a secret: It's because you are too busy focusing on you, your company and your brand. You. You. More you. Forget about yourself for a second. Focus on the scintillating stars around you. They are gorgeous, captivating and brilliant! There is so much to discover. It is there waiting, just like you. All you have to do is open years eyes, click and share.
It must be fall, bringing with it Thanksgiving. This October, however, more than 16,000 families in Ontario will have no other choice but to visit a food bank for the first time in their entire lives. And while the idea of turkey dinner with all the trimmings certainly sounds delicious, for over 375,000 adults and children, it is simply not the reality of the season.
As an adolescent psychiatrist, I've treated countless patients who have achieved their cherished external goals, such as acceptance into a dance academy, sports team, or college of "their choice"-- but whose lives are utterly devoid of internal joy. Your role as a parent has a major impact on your child's understanding of the word gratitude.
It's important to be mindful when you give. Next time you attend a function where people ask for a donation for charity don't reach for the minute rice or the wax beans that you know you're not going to eat -- reach for your favourite tin of soup, or a jug of real juice or some healthy pasta, and consider how much MORE receiving that kind of generosity will mean to someone who does need the help.
This month, the Ontario Association of Food Banks released their annual Hunger Report, highlighting the prevalence of food bank use and the need for emergency food services in this province. This past March, 375,789 Ontarians accessed a food bank. As you finish up your holiday shopping, please remember that there are so many Canadians going without this festive season.
"Tell me something happy," my friend requested today after an hour of divorce-talk. "I don't want to be the friend who just calls to cry. I don't want to use you as a crutch." "I'll be glad to tell you happy things," I replied, "but don't think it's not okay to call and cry. I am honoured that you choose me to call when you need advice."
While "Giving Tuesday" hasn't fully migrated north to Canada, the idea behind it is appealing. With all the ads and other reminders to shop and give at this time of year, I think it's worth stepping back for a moment to consider how and why we give and also the far-reaching results certain gifts can generate.
Movember has made a very important contribution to men's health. But in addition to Movember, November is also Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Month. But most of us probably didn't know that; you can't grow two moustaches at once. Movember, along with a few other of the more fortunate charitable campaigns, is a behemoth. In its success, which is to be commended, Movember leaves a wake of other, less fortunate charities, patients, doctors and researchers. As this trend will inevitably continue to grow, I'm not entirely sure we should be comfortable with that.