Words on the self, relationships, and something like happiness. Find me in PS I Love You, Invisible Illness, Thoughts and Ideas, and www.jodirempel.com
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Photo by Azrul Shahrani on Unsplash

A surprisingly blissful way to think about the human condition.

This could be about me, maybe you too, but let’s make it about a friend of mine. With eyes earnest like empty garden beds, and in reference to a formally undefined and deeply intimate pseudo-relationship, they recently told me they’re “done”. I listened as if waiting for a penny to drop into a fountain a million miles away. Nothing but the delicate chance of hope.

“You don’t have to be right now.”

I assured them it’s okay if they’re not actually done. Letting go/moving on takes time, sure, but mostly it takes a change in perspective. …


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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Honestly, whatever helps right now, helps.

Agnostic on a good day, I love a good Amen. The two times a year I’m at a table for grace, I’m more than content to keep my mouth shut, squeeze loved ones’ hands to lines that speak to me, and wait ’til the end. Usually, that’s enough. Lately, it’s not. It’s nowhere close.

It’s not just because these forums aren’t available right now (there was no microcosmed, socially-distanced Thanksgiving down in Rio de Janeiro for me) but because it’s pretty hard to count our blessings when we’re not exactly enthused with what we’re experiencing.

After witnessing the neverending horrors of the American dream, after passing people sleeping on cardboard boxes on the sidewalk from my follow-up doctor’s appointment following a freak health accident that found me in the fetal position on my living room floor, after decidedly not buying a pack of gum (it cost a quarter) from the 5-, maybe 6-year-old selling them on the street today — this is me trying to do something I don’t ordinarily do. …


What pleasantries and social conventions tell us about what we really want.

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Photo source: Jodi Rempel (author) and partner Marcos Paulo Prado

“You look so beautiful” and “isn’t she beautiful?!” were grocery-bag laden, driveway greetings as much as they were hallmarks of good health and success — as much as they indications that things were going the way they’re supposed to.

I never saw anything wrong with this (mostly because I like beautiful people and fruits and things and in this, I seem to be in good company), but recently I think I’ve been misguided, my values poorly conceived.

Last week, for example, I was introduced to a (tall, bronzed, Rosé infused with dancing angels smelling) woman getting her hair and make-up done. From behind, her wrists rested on the back of a chair and her shoulders slumped, casting what appeared to me as a hammock of relaxation. …


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Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

Our relationships to relative wealth, each other, and other fickle pursuits.

Whether spelled out in marquees in front of quaint churches or chalked across hipster coffee shop sandwich boards, it’s hard to overstate the persuasion of a good sign.

Earlier this year, just after the government-mandated shutdown of non-essential services in Toronto, I walked by past a good one taped to a window. Inside, two (former?) employees stacked chairs on top of tables. Outside, the late afternoon sun washed the day away, this time with an implied erosion of tomorrow too. And the day after.

I stood solid, weighed down by grocery bags filled with a week’s worth of “staples”, as my eyes scanned the handwritten note: “Nobody ever got poor by giving.” …


2. Just let it go. (I know, the irony right?)

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Photo source: Jodi Rempel (author) and partner Marcos Paulo Prado

Like the next white girl with a couple of degrees and a penchant for sparkling beverages, I’ve tweeted, Insta-d, and otherwise preached my fair share of aphorisms of the spiritualish (you’re welcome for that) variety. At the apex of this preoccupation, I was, in a way, kinda paid to do so.

When I was 22, I used to start my sales-floor shifts at a Canadian retailer that put luxury yoga apparel on the map with a “quote of the day”…

Right? Right.

In the beginning, there was poetry. Later, truth.

My affinity with encouraging aphorisms goes back further than this though, with some of the first pieces of wisdom I admired collected in elementary school hallways slapped L-I-K-E-T-H-I-S at the bottom of stock image prints in shitty, plastic frames. …


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Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

In this, we are together.

I’m of two minds when it comes to binaries (I know, right). First, we can’t live without them. Second, they aren’t real.

I spent the bulk of my early twenties in a turbulent, on/off (on-and-off?) relationship. We’d ignore calls, then take baths together. Swear this was the last time, wake up beside each other. Defend, surrender. Repeat.

Once, he thought the problem was that my childhood included violence. He never saw his parents argue.

I reminded him I was too young to remember the abuse. I just know it happened, heard stories later.

He nodded, I don’t know then.

Binaries. We can’t live without them. They aren’t real. …


The tactical art of balanced thinking.

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Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

Some things just work better when we’re not alone. Tennis. Samba. And, in my experience, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Last year, for fifteen weeks, I attended a weekly group session for clinically depressed adults. (If you think that sounds sad, you should have seen the orientation PowerPoint deck).

I’ve seen psychotherapists on-and-off for most of my life, but I hadn’t been in a group format since I was six, when I attended one with my recently single mom and younger brother at the local YMCA/YWCA. …


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Photo source: author (Jodi Rempel) and partner Marcos Paulo Prado

Deepak Chopra and the ‘afterlife of the present’ taught me how to find peace. Now.

We all face the same confrontation. Sometimes, it’s subtle and manageable. Other times, it’s not — it’s offensive. Eclipsing, it flat lines us.

For me, the worst is when it’s a surprise. When our world is suddenly reduced to a sliver of a moment — just enough of a horizon to see what’s immediately ahead.

Earlier this summer, this happened to me.

Just like that.

I’ve read that we fear death because we fear the unknown. For me, it’s not so much that I fear the unknown (at least I think), it’s that I think it will happen soon. Before I know it. Just like that. …


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Photo source: author (Jodi Rempel) and partner Marcos Paulo Prado

On loyalty.

We haven’t figured it out yet, but we’re trying.

After a spat about how to handle an interpersonal problem, my boyfriend and I took a lil’ time-out. I retreated to the couch. He cleared the kitchen table. And then, he said it again. I don’t suffer from things in the past.

As I searched for answers in residual coffee grinds, he stacked plates. Hummed to himself. Got on with his life.

After a long walk and some journaling, I told him how much it frustrates me when he tells me I just need to let shit go. …

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