Can there be forgiveness in pity?

Photo by Nick Kwan on Unsplash

It was a beautiful summer’s day, and on my way back from the grocery store, I asked my friend Milan if we could drop by the flower shop. It’s a lovely shop, with lots of succulents and carnivorous plants. Vines descend from the ceiling. The air smells damp and earthy.

The girl behind the counter was arranging bouquets.
‘Can I help you?’ she asked. She was an attractive-looking girl who fit right in with her surroundings: the bohemian clothes, the pale eyes set in a perfectly symmetrical face. She wore her long hair piled atop her head. …

Today, I suddenly felt compassion for the current President of the United States.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Dear Mister Trump,

I saw your press conference.

You looked tired, old and drawn. I understand. It’s been four rough years for you and your family.

But there’s good news. You are finally allowed to just go home.

Sure, you can start an endless battle with litigation, high courts, attorneys, media and shouting crowds.

Yes, you likely have the power to convince masses of people to use verbal and even physical violence to defend your sense of personal honour.

I get it. Losing sucks. Rejection hurts.

But in your heart of hearts, aren’t you just dreadfully tired? You could still…

Learn to channel your inner Pippi Longstocking

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My eyes swept around the grocery store. My co-workers were busy with customers, stocking the shelves, minding their own business. Good.

My left hand closed around the wallet that I had slipped into my work clothes. I slowly put my thumb to the side of the zipper and felt it glide open. With my right hand, I quickly entered the code that would open the till.

When I was absolutely sure no one was looking, I took a handful of coins from my wallet and quickly dropped them into the gaping mouth of the till. …

These are the ingredients — experiment and mix to taste

Photo by KIMO on Unsplash

When my partner asked if I wanted to go on a silent retreat with him sometime, my answer wasn’t exactly ‘No’.

It was more like an ‘Oh, hell, no.’

I even wrote an article about it called ‘Dear Future Me, Please Don’t Go on a Silent Retreat.’ That’s how much the traditional Vipassana silent retreat scares me.

But I made him a counteroffer: a DIY silent retreat weekend. One where the two of us would come up with our own rules.

The 6 Elements of a Silent Retreat

A vipassana silent retreat is built up of six elements. These elements are:

  1. boredom (no ‘input’ like phones or…

Don’t do ab workouts or it will mess with your breath support. Right?

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Let me de-bunk this myth right off the bat: doing ab workouts as a singer is fine, but you need to understand why you’re doing them, how to do them correctly and what to do afterwards! Otherwise it definitely can mess with your breath support — more on that later.

Strength Training for Singers

Yes, this is loaded territory. Many folks out there will tell you that strength training is a no-no if you’re a singer. Your body doesn’t need bulky muscles or tight abs, and it might even cause problems if you do have them.

At the same time, most singers and teachers…

Has Disney set a generation of women up for sexual submission?

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

A few years ago, during an open-hearted talk about sex, my sister and I found out we both have the same very specific, very niche turn-ons. We both recalled having them for as long as we could remember.

Neither of us had any idea as to where we’d gotten them. And though we were very close, as children and as adults, we had always kept it to ourselves — possibly sensing that it was something to be kept a secret.

And I mean niche. Not like ‘Oh, I enjoy being tied up from time to time,’ which is practically vanilla…


I Can Feel It

Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Unsplash

I’ve been wanting to really “get into” yoga for a long time. I’ve been devoting ten to twenty minutes of every morning to it for about a year now. Before tonight, it never really clicked. But now, everything is different.

The Source of My Awakening

I was coming home after a stressful day and had about 5 minutes to eat something before my two-hour online yoga class. I was starving and yanked open the fridge, only to discover that there were no quick snacks in sight.

I was just imagining going through my asanas with an angrily growling stomach when I noticed a can of…

There’s an octopus inside of my head.

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

There’s an octopus inside of my head.

She’s been there even since I was a child. I don’t remember a time when she wasn’t there, but there has to have been once, because no child is born with an octopus in her head.

My octopus lies dormant for days at a time. I hardly even notice that she’s there. Then I read something, see something, hear something, and it wakes her up. Before I know what is happening, her tentacles lash through my head. She knows what she wants. She squeezes until she gets it. …

Let’s talk about vanity and vulnerability

Image by Sammy-Williams from Pixabay

‘Ooh, that looks great — hold that pose for a second.’

The owner of the jewellery shop turned around to grab her phone.

The pale-green crystals she had selected for me to wear during the concert dangled from my ears, illuminating my silvery gown with their sparkle.

I suddenly felt massively self-conscious. I wanted a beautiful picture, but I didn’t want to seem superficial. To pose or not to pose?

While the sunlight streamed in through the open door and three strangers looked on in bewildered amusement, I flung myself elegantly against the door frame, brought the tea cup close…

The danger of keeping your expectations low

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Manifesting — this idea that things will happen as long as you imagine them to be true — has never felt logical to me. But I must admit that something happened yesterday that changed my mind.

I knew the dinner would be at our place in that diffuse way that doesn’t penetrate to active consciousness. Luke had asked me weeks ago if it would be alright to do it at our place, and it had seemed like a good solution since he had roommates. But in the weeks that followed, I had imagined us sitting around the table in his…

Stella Brüggen

Get your dose of excruciatingly personal stories and pedantic advice. Writer for The Ascent, Creative Cafe and P.S. I Love You.

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