elephant andy brunner

Life Lessons Learned From… Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room

Death. Illness. Divorce. Job loss. We will all inevitably encounter hard times through devastating losses in our lives. It is through how we deal with our grief and eventually rebuild from tragedy that we discover the full capabilities of the human spirit. Someone who has known this well over the past two years is Sheryl Sandberg.

In Sandberg’s latest book, Option B, the Lean In Foundation founder and Chief Operating Officer of Facebook draws from the experience of her late husband’s death to open up the discussion around building resilience in the face of adversity. The concept of post-traumatic growth and finding greater strength and deeper meaning in the wake of crushing blows resonates with me. In particular, I found the chapter on kicking out “the elephant in the room” to be most profound. During a loved one’s time of bereavement, we tend to avoid discussions on loss and grief, which, will well-intentioned, can actually have the opposite effect of providing comfort during tough times. This is a hard truth we need to rectify.

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pantheon fontana fountain rome italy

A Tour of Rome’s Most Enchanting Fountains

Earlier this April, I wandered the cobblestone streets of Rome, Italy in search of ancient artifacts and baroque beauty. What I discovered was that Roman design is best embodied in a specific architectural piece — the water fountain.

From the oldest fountain in Rome in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere (dating back to the 8th century) to the most famous fountain of all, Trevi Fountain, here are some snapshots of the towering creations and flowing water streams I found during my recent Roman holiday.

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rome italy roman colosseum roma italia

La Dolce Vita in Italy!

From March 29th to April 11th, I ventured to Italy for two weeks of eating, playing, and exploring my way through the Italian cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice. The Eternal City is the last city in my trio of major European capitals on my travel bucket list—London was in 2015 and Paris was in 2016, so naturally Rome was next on the hit list. I was also curious to witness the birthplace of the Renaissance in Florence and wander about the winding canals of the floating city of Venice, so I extended my sojourn into a two week excursion to cover multiple destinations. Thus, my fortnight of an Italian extravaganza was born!

While solo travel in the spring is a tradition of mine, this particular trip was quite the spur-of-the-moment decision. Due to the sudden life changes that had occurred at the start of the year, I had originally postponed my trip planning as I tried to determine my next career steps. However, after encountering bouts of anxiety over the uncontrollable uncertainty of my current situation, I realized that I wasn’t ready to enter the next phase just yet. I needed a break. I needed a temporary escape. I needed a vacation.

So, three weeks before my eventual departure, I booked an open-jaw ticket from Vancouver to Rome, and from Venice to Vancouver—and added train tickets from Rome to Florence and from Florence to Venice—and I vowed to take a breather and mend my mind, body, heart, and soul through living la dolce vita in Roma, Firenze, and Venezia.

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oscars 2017 viola davis mahershala ali emma stone

Highlights from the 2017 Oscars

The 89th Annual Academy Awards celebrated the magic of the movies in a year when the discussion of diverse storytelling rose in urgent prominence. With an increased mix of artists of different races and creeds represented among the lists of nominees, the awards ceremony raised expectations for an event that would recognize and unite creative talents from all walks of life. Here are the highlights from the 2017 Oscars.

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woman girl train station

Building Resilience and Moving Ahead Through Tough Transitions

Breakups and layoffs suck. Whether it’s the end of a long-term relationship with someone you love, the loss of a job you were dedicated to, or another life-altering situation, being thrust into these scenarios where a big part of your life comes to a sudden end is downright unnerving and terrifying.

You enter into that uncomfortable grey area of uncertainty, where before you looms a tough period of passage from what you knew towards what is unknown. To help you build resilience and respond better to an imposed transition, we share a few ways you can begin to part with the past, return to the present, and move ahead towards the future.

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Featured image by Eutah Mizushima.