Decluttering as a Spiritual Practice

Getting rid of clutter is a process of going through the layers of meaning attached to the items. For me, this is a painful and arduous process. So, obviously I need to practice letting go, physically and emotionally, with my clutter. I give myself 15 minutes a day for this practice.

(Note to self: moving immediately to an action step is a good thing.)

The Pill Causes Cancer. Really.

CBC’s Radio One show The Current is currently discussing the health hazards of the Pill. In case you didn’t already know, last year (July of 2005) the World Health Organization declared that oral contraceptives (aka the Pill) is a carcinogen. The pill causes cancer. Breast cancer. Cervical cancer. Liver cancer. (It has been shown to decrease endometrial and ovarian cancer.) The Canadian Cancer Society is currently reviewing its stance on the Pill.

Studies show that 85% of Canadian women have taken the Pill at one time or another.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women.

In 2006, an estimated 22,300 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,300 will die of it.

On average, 429 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every week.

On average, 102 Canadian women will die of breast cancer every week.

One in 9 women is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime. One in 27 will die of it.

(Stats courtesy of the Canadian Cancer Society)

I am one of the 85%. My personal experience with the Pill was relatively short-lived. My body did not like having artificial hormones introduced, and I ended up with a “reverse period”–I bled 3 weeks a month and had a week off. Ugh. And yes, I listened to my doctor’s advice and tried a number of different formulations. Low dose. Mini pill. Estrogen only. Progesterone only. Yadda, yadda, yadda. They all made me ill and I quit taking it. I’m glad of that now–I don’t need any more carcinogens floating around in my system.

It really makes me wonder if we (women) have been guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical industry. Remember, Big Pharma is only in it for the money, the way the tobacco industry is only in it for the money. I quit smoking (in part) by reminding myself that every cigarette I smoked was money in some tobacco company executives pocket. Every pill we take is also money in some pharmaceutical executive’s pocket. Obviously, we should take some drugs–they are important enough to our lives to be worth the risk of side effects. Just ask yourself is it worth it?

Is it worth it to be on the pill? Is it worth it to fool your body into thinking that it is pregnant and keep it that way for years and years? Is it worth it to have spontaneous unprotected sex and possibly expose yourself to HIV, syphilis, and other sexually-transmitted diseases? Is it worth it if you get breast cancer at the age of 35 (as a friend of mine did last fall) and have to cut off your breast to save your life?

Men, is it worth it to have the above happen to your girlfriend/wife/lover so you don’t have to wear a condom. Are you sure?

Cancer is a miserable way to die. My mother died of lung cancer that spread to her brain. She died on Christmas Day last year. As a friend in a similar situation put it:

It was obvious mom’s cancer was spreading to her brain, and we were dealing with both the strains on her physically, and a mental unraveling that would feel much like being with someone with advancing Alzheimer’s. Periods of lucidity would flicker in and out of times of complete dementia, anger and paranoia.

Are you sure it’s worth it?

I need a job

Yes folks, I am in search of employment. I’d really prefer to work part-time, as this would give me the time and space I need for Samurai and Iridescent Living work. I’m an excellent technical writer and a member of the Society for Technical Communication.

If you would like to hire me to write for you, please email me at I’d love to hear from you!

So that’s why Walmart is going organic

Democrats working for Walmart, Republicans working for the unions, bad press all over the place. West Wing meets the boardroom. International relations too–Walmart is a *huge* consumer of Chinese goods. Yep, the same China who’s leader was spectacularly dissed by the US government only days ago. No wonder Walmart is courting the organic-eaters of North America. Unfortunately, “organic” and “Walmart” are diametrically opposed. Walmart’s supplier policy of “It’s gotta be 5% cheaper next year” simply won’t work when it comes to agriculture. Organic is more than simply growing crops without spraying chemicals on them. It also has do to with growing and selling locally, reducing our footprint on the earth.

So, what’s Walmart going to do when oil hits $100/barrel and it costs more to ship the stuff from China than it costs for the items themselves? Guess is won’t be such a deal then. And guess who’s going to suffer? The beleagured Walmart employees and the folks who don’t have enough money to shop anywhere else. But hey, they’re the underclass, right? We don’t care about them as long as our Walmart stock keeps paying dividends, right? Yeah, right.

And that’s why I hate shopping at Walmart.


China’s leader dissed by the Shrub
Walmart Politics, Inside the Beltway Style

Hello world

Yes, the default post title is a good one. “Hello world” is the first thing I programmed a Radio Shack TRS-80 computer to display. So, hello world, here I am.

Who am I? Hell, that’s the question I’ve been trying, off and on, to answer for years. My name is Elizabeth Jun’en. I am a 41-year-old Zen Buddhist mother and spouse living in Canada, just north of Toronto. I’ve been through a lot in my lifetime, though not as much as some. I struggle with recurring depression. My life has settled down of late, but my heart still feels empty. It’s time to re-engage my spiritual journey with an energy and intensity that I have not done for a while.

There are also a lot of issues in the world today which bug me. Peak oil, US politics, cancer prevention, the pharmaceutical-industrial complex are just a few of them. So, here is where I discuss, discover and explore my world and share my findings with you. Just cuz.

Oh yeah, I’m a writer. That one goes so deep I forget to mention it–it’s just what I do. But how to make a living from it will be another topic of discussion to come. This blog will be my writing practice.

Why bodhisattvamama? I am a mother–my three-year-old reminds me of that all the time. Bodhisattva is something I strive for. A bodhisattva is an enlightened being who refuses entry into nirvana in order to return to work for the salvation of all sentient beings. I won’t presume to say I’m enlightened, so bodhisattva is a title I work towards, just cuz.

Welcome to my blog. I’m glad to have you here!