Why do We Need Monsters?

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You are being followed; you can sense it. Your chest tightens as you search your environment for the thing that hunts you. Hungry eyes glow from the darkness. Dagger-like teeth flash in the moonlight. Deep rumblings growl in the distance. Your heartbeat quickens and the hair stands on the back of your neck while you frantically search for a place to hide. You feel its hot breath on your skin. It‘s too late.

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The Father of Corn: Perseverance Through the Pain

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We are often told that we should never give up on our dreams. Motivational speakers and life coaches make a fortune telling us that we need to persevere. Children’s stories like The Little Engine That Could and Throw Mountains remind us that unless we are willing to work through a challenge, we will not be successful. While messages encouraging us to pursue our dreams are many, few deign to tell us what the cost of these pursuits might be. Success is made to sound easy, something that anyone can accomplish by shaking the right hands and smiling at just the right angle. The very idea that we have to sacrifice, and even endure pain in order to succeed is oft overlooked. Triumph is not without tribulation. The Ojibwa folktale The Father of Corn teaches this lesson through the allegory of a great wrestling match. Continue reading

Why Me? The Illusion of Power

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Power is seductive and blinding. We all relish the idea of having the ability to enact our individual will on the world around us. We are captivated by people that are able to influence their environment in their own favour. We fantasize about doing what we want, when we want and to whom we want. Power is the McGuffin of every major drama. The characters wrap themselves in an intricate dance of plot, force, deception, and domination in order to attain the power they seek. In the real world, this desire to exert some semblance of power is found everywhere from the schoolyard to the United Nations conferences. We want power, even when we don’t understand it or what costs to lose it. Continue reading

The City of Brass: Full Purse, Empty Soul

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A woman sits cross legged on a bed laden with pillows made of the finest fabrics the Silk Road has to offer. She bows her head and cups her face in her henna painted hands, weeping uncontrollably. She knows that her days are numbered. She fears that soon she will run out of stories to tell, and the king will have her executed. There is a knock at the door and a richly attired man enters; his royal bearing is undeniable. He sits cross legged on a majlis before her leans forward, waiting for her to dam the river of sorrow and tell him another tale. She takes a deep breath, wipes her eyes and begins. Continue reading

Muhammad Ali, Thank You for Everything

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Death comes for us all. It does not discriminate. It does not matter if we are rich or poor, young or old. It does not matter if we are lauded for our greatness or ignored for our commonness. On the night of June 3rd death came for a man many would count among the giants of the 20th century. Muhammad Ali was unique, brilliant, uncompromising, and above all human. Continue reading