December 8, 2008


A few years ago, I was sitting by a tree in Trinity-Bellwoods park, taking some time to contemplate and observe the world around me, when a scowling young man in his late teens asked me a question:

What are you doing just sitting there?”

To which I replied that I was contemplating, reflecting, and observing. And thoroughly enjoying myself at the same time. He was unfazed:


The young man turned and started to walk away, but then suddenly doubled back:

You mind if I sit next to you? You look pretty peaceful there, and I’ve got a lot of things to think about too.”

The young man was still sitting there when I left twenty minutes later. When he nodded his head to acknowledge my departure, I noticed that his scowl had slowly turned into a small smile.

Farhan Lalji tagged me in an interesting meme yesterday that originated over on the Mindapples blog. It states:

Write a post telling your readers five things you do that help keep you mentally well.

Intriguing, and not easy. Here’s my attempt at finding my five.

  1. Writing, whether it’s on this blog or building my collection of creative non-fiction and spoken word poetry.
  2. Singing, either in the shower or on the street or on the stage — for people or for myself.
  3. Solving puzzles, usually the daily Washington Post crossword puzzle and the Toronto Star word jumble.
  4. Meditating, and taking the time out to clear my head of stressful thoughts and contemplate.
  5. Volunteering, because nothing helps your mind and spirit than helping other people.

What about you? What are the five things you do to keep yourself mentally well?