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Toronto Wellness Project

Zen Things I Hate About You: Where I Find My Zen

My zen has long been tied to fitness. I’ve found it at the end of a run: sweaty, exhausted, and vibrating with endorphins. It’s waited for me in the finish position of a lift I thought was out of my reach, located somewhere between the final grunted exhale and the satisfying thud of the barbell hitting the floor.

It wasn’t until two years ago that I found my zen in a more conventional place: meditation. I was traveling the world with my husband and after visiting several Buddhist countries, catching sparks of peacefulness in the imposing shadows of ancient 20-foot tall Buddha statues, we decided we had to learn more about this meditation thing. So like any good New Yorkers, we started asking around for a mediation class we could take “you know for like an hour or something.”

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After being gently informed that most courses last 10 days, we were put in touch with a monk who ran an English-language school in Mandalay, Myanmar, and was willing to teach us the ropes in exchange for our time speaking to his students. Three hours and a lengthy story about how the circle of life is like a mango later, we at least understood the basics of how to get started.

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In Bhutan, we practiced in mountaintop temples and assured ourselves we would continue the practice when we returned home. But life gets in the way and months passed before either of us picked it back up again.

In December of last year, after suffering a miscarriage that gutted me more than I cared to admit at the time, I sought out that spark again. I needed a way to feel whole. With the help of my very inexpensive therapist in the form of the pre-recorded voice of Andy Puddicombe on the Headspace app, I found it.

My zen nook in our new home is a collection of things that make me smile and keep me grounded. And I’m thrilled that some of them will be a part of our upcoming Toronto Wellness Project launch event, so I can share them with our community.

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My Zen:

  • Moroccan rug from our travels
  • Meditation cushion from the incredible folks at Snow Lion on the Danforth
  • Blocks to keep my feet from falling asleep from B YOGA
  • I’m awful at staying hydrated so I keep a bottle of flow water by my side – bonus points for the pretty packaging (that also happens to be made with 70% renewable material and is 100% recyclable)
  • Five-Minute Journal – a new addition to my life and a way to set intentions for the day in the morning and reflect on the day that’s passed in the evening
  • An intention card that was handed to me at the Yoga Show by the team at May You Know Joy. It reads “may you know wholeness” – a particularly poignant sentiment as we try to start a family
  • My favorite rollerballs (Stress Release and Peppermint Halo) from Saje Wellness
  • Buddha statues collected from our travels
  • Calligraphy cards from Thich Nhat Hanh that I bought after seeing him interviewed by Ira Glass at ABC Carpet in NYC
  • Crystals from our travels
  • An orchid from my dad and step-mother as a housewarming gift
  • Comfortable athleisure by MICHI. What? I’m still a New Yorker. You thought I was going to meditate in sweats?

Where do you find your zen?  Come find it with us at Zen Things I Hate About You on June 4!  Click here to secure your spot.