Category Archives: Year of Living Spiritually

Marked forever by ‘My Year of Living Spiritually’

I’m lying on my side on what looks like an operating table while a young woman, wearing a surgical mask, periodically wipes blood off my body with a soft cloth. As she applies pressure and burns an electric needle into my skin, pinpricks of tears threaten to spill from the corners of my eyes. But…
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Is Gratitude the Ultimate Spiritual Practice?

[caption id="attachment_1229" align="alignleft" width="900"] Courtesy of Michael Heuss/Unsplash[/caption] The last time I prayed really hard — the kind of praying where you squeeze your eyes shut and clasp your white-knuckled hands together — was 20 years ago. I was in the late stages of my first pregnancy. There had been premature pains, and I was…
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Why I still go to church

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="900"] Courtesy of Pexels[/caption]   Most Sunday mornings, you can find me in a back row of the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton. I sing hymns, light a candle for something I’m worrying about or grateful for, and listen to the minister, Rev. Victoria Ingram, preach on topics ranging from the spiritual practice…
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Staring Death in the Face

In a couple of weeks’ time, death will come knocking at my door. It will take the form of ghosts and ghouls, and small, hooded beings carrying papier mâché scythes up my front steps. I will open the door, laugh at death and hand it a miniature Kit Kat bar. There won’t be anything scary about it;…
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Flying in the Air and getting down with Goats

I want to like yoga. I really do. In fact, I want to love it. I want to love it as much as my friend Monica does. She gets up at 5:30 a.m. every weekday to do a 90-minute ashtanga yoga class, in which she runs through a strenuous sequence of vinyasa poses she’s memorized.…
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What a wonderful world it is — sampling ‘shrooms’

Editor's note: The experiences reported in the post below were undertaken solely on the initiative of the author, a freelance writer, as part of her "Year of Living Spiritually" — a personal project that involves experimenting with sacred activities outside of a religious setting. The Observer does not encourage or condone the use of drugs by its contributors. The possession and…
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Singing my Heart Out

The first song my mother taught me was “Jesus Loves Me.” I sang it with gusto because back then, I was secure in the knowledge that I was indeed loved by the long-haired man on the cover of The Golden Children’s Bible. She taught me many songs in the same vein: “He’s Got The Whole World…
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Taking a Treehouse Timeout

The title of this blog entry was supposed to be “Extrovert in a Yurt,” but every single one of those round tents at Ontario Parks campgrounds was booked by early spring. My hope was to get away all by myself in order to honour this month’s 200th anniversary of the birth of Henry David Thoreau,…
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Taking a Dip in the Woods

I was eight years old the last time I climbed a tree. My younger brother and I sat side by side, inching dangerously toward the edge of a branch, and laughing and bouncing until it came close to cracking. Henry continued to climb trees for years after this — once, my mother even had to…
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13 Things I Learned at Witch Camp

I don’t exactly lie to get into witch camp, but I do fudge the truth a bit. The registration form asks for my “magical” name. I consider using my middle name, Celeste, which always sounded rather enchanting to me. But that would make me feel like even more of a fraud. So I leave it…
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