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I’ve been meditating for the last 10 years, but it doesn’t look like it did when I started. In the beginning, it took a lot of effort and concentration — always bringing the attention back to the breath, focusing on the feelings of the body, etc. All in the hopes of silencing the mind. This is a great start for getting into meditation. But meditation doesn’t need to be something that takes concentration. It can be effortless and seep into any moment of your life. You can even meditate while working without sacrificing productivity.

The meditative practise I use comes…

Dear Writer

What would you tell your past, present or future self?

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One year, each person in my elementary school class wrote a letter to their future self. We licked the envelopes closed and wondered who we’d be in 10 years. My family moved shortly after that exercise, and I never ended up receiving that letter. Sometimes I wonder what I wrote. Nothing important, I’m sure. But I know it would have placed a smile on my face.

As the years rolled by, I completely forgot about that exercise. I only remembered it because I saw a writer I follow do something similar. He wrote a letter to his past self in…


Song lyrics and the pursuit of happiness.

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Song lyrics have this amazing ability to convey deep philosophies in bite-sized morsels. We might listen to a song for a long time solely for its melodic features and then suddenly get swept off our feet by the words.

Something finally clicks.

Music affects us both viscerally and intellectually. That’s why it’s so powerful. We‘re attracted to the melody and rhythm, but it’s the words that lend us meaning through the artist’s message.

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” — The Beatles, In the End.

This line creeps into my mind…

How to navigate the subterranean labyrinth of envy.

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Scroll, compare, feel sad.

It’s an unfortunately common loop in this age of social media. It can be disheartening to see how much more successful people are compared to us. We want to be supportive. We’ll congratulate them on their success. But we’re more than a little bitter and self-condemning inside. We all know that green monster, envy.

We’re told not to compare ourselves to others, but I don’t think that’s always the best advice. I believe there’s a fine art to how we use comparisons that don’t always result in feeling bitter. It can be inspiring to see other…

10 reasons why travelling is important to me.

When my world was flipped upside down in India.

When I was a kid, I got a globe as a birthday present one year. I would spin that globe and stop it with my finger. Wherever my finger landed, I would write down the city and country. That list was my first impetus to go travelling.

I grew up hearing stories from my parents about far-off places such as Thailand, Nepal, India, Germany, France, Mexico, and beyond. Those stories filled me with a yearning to travel far and wide.

When I was nearly done with high school, my brother went travelling to Thailand, Australia, and then Mexico. His experiences…

A constant search for silver linings.

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My partner and I are unemployed right now. We’ll be working again soon, but we’ve had some dark times lately.

New Zealand implemented a lockdown during a transitional period of our lives.

We’d already spent most of our money travelling and enjoying life. So when the lockdown happened, we were a bit scared. We would be stuck at a hostel for at least two weeks with no income.

Two weeks turned into a month. During that time, we fretted often about our financial situation. But I had hope. …

Exploring what success really means — and how to achieve it.

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Success is an idea that has taken up residence in my mind for longer than I care to remember. If someone were to look at my life, it probably wouldn’t appear that way.

I don’t own nice things. I don’t have a high-paying job. I haven’t been involved in many competitions.

And yet, this hazy notion of success I chase after is always tugging at me.

What is success?

When I was five, success was being a WWE wrestler or a race-car driver or a firefighter.

When I was eleven, success was being cool and popular.

When I was seventeen, success was travelling…

Who’s going to catch you when you fall?

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Every day, I write down three things I’m grateful for. I’ve been doing this for the last three months.

Naturally, if you’re writing down three things you’re grateful for every day, there will be some repeats. I can only surmise that these repeats are what I’m most grateful for. It seems what I’m most grateful for are my relationships.

The relationships I’ve nurtured over the years fill me with confidence. I’m sure somebody would catch me if I fall. It could be my parents, my brothers, my girlfriend, my friends… Any of them would be there for me. …

Dear Writer

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Dear Julien,

Life works itself out.

That probably doesn’t mean much to you, but trust me. The future is uncertain. It always was and always will be. I’d tell you not to worry, but that won’t stop you. I’d tell you that you’ll be happy, but you wouldn’t believe me. Hell, I’m unemployed, uneducated, and poor. But you’ll find out those things don’t matter so much on your own.

All you want to do is leave home and throw yourself into new experiences. You will doubt those choices. I can’t stop you from doubting them, but that doesn’t matter. …

Julien McLaren

A Canadian writer sharing his life experiences and lessons learned. Traveller, musician, fitness enthusiast.

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