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Surely one of the most perverse features of human relations is how we often consider people who are our close allies to be enemies, because we happen to disagree with them for some reason at the moment.

Please pause for a moment and think: right now, who do you see as an antagonist, or an impediment, or frustration?

Please spend ten minutes listening to this meditation.

Was the person who you chose someone who you respect and see as a fellow human being? Have they expressed any beliefs or ideas or taken any actions which you see as admirable? Chances are if you are thinking about somebody a lot of the time, there is something about their conduct or your memory of them which speaks to your moral roots or foundation.

If you didn’t listen to the meditation please consider for the future, whenever thinking about a person who you don’t feel too good about:

No matter how we appear on the outside, all of us can feel fearful, sad, or lonely on the inside…

May they be safe, and free from suffering.

May they be as happy and healthy as it is possible for them to be.

May they have ease of being.

I feel like the clearest mark of wisdom in this advice is the caveat “as it is possible for them to be”. Mortality is a central and inescapable part of human life.




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In the next couple of days I have a lot to wrap up.

For the ENV381 course where I’m working as a TA, I need to finalize the details of my assignment grades, calculate participation grades, and grade one last batch of final exams.

I am applying for three summer positions: internships with The Walrus and The National Post, and a Google Policy Fellowship at the Citizen Lab. They’re all long shots but worth a try.

Finally, I need to finish writing and editing my paper for the graduate ethics conference on May 5th.

I’m also trying to make the most of the last few meals of the term at Massey College.



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Helen’s funeral was beautiful and a tribute to the influence she has had. It filled the lower level of the Old Vic building at Victoria University. Eulogies from friends, her brother and sister, supervisor, father, and husband were moving and spoke universally of her selflessness and determination to make life count in the face of lifelong cardiac risks. They also detailed her curiosity and insight, devotion to teaching, and impressive academic accomplishments during her PhD.

She had directed that the memorial be held in the style and spirit of her wedding, so there were activities (anthropomorphizing mandarin oranges with black jiffy markers, people spontaneously playing the piano) and vast amounts of excellent food, much of it with meringue googly eyes on it.

The tone ranged from pained and somber to jubilant and appreciative, sometimes within a span of seconds. It was clear from how people spoke of her that my comparatively few experiences with Helen were typical: demonstrative of her compassion, creativity, and immediate willingness to connect with people.


Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

These seemingly grim lines may be the most optimistic in modern literature: life feeds into life, change is constant, and the spring’s rain helps complete the cycle.