Winnipeg lawyer Jennifer Cooper is recognized for being highly accomplished in her field - she practises law full time, is past president of the Manitoba Bar Association and was appointed as a Queen's Council in 1995.
But that wasn't enough. She has now added published author to her list of accomplishments.
Last year, Cooper wrote Meditations for the year 2012: The year that we thought, that the Mayans thought, that the world would surely end.
She wrote the book for herself, and for anyone who has ever pondered the big questions in life. It includes her thoughts and photographs taken during her travels.
She first began writing to honour the year 2012, which some thought could be our last on earth. Each month, she created a meditation for leading an examined life and she shared her meditations with family and friends.
asked Jennifer Cooper to tell us her top five reasons for living an examined life:
1. It gives you the chance to connect/share/write a book/and throw a party! This creative project started as a New Year's Resolution. I wanted to find a way to mark 2012, the year that some thought the world was going to end. My travels and writings for this project caused many connections, out of which grew this book, and then finally the chance to have a book launch and a party!
2. An examined life gives you something to think about. I sat on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. at sunrise to meditate on peace. Later I spent the better part of the day in the Holocaust Museum learning of the horrific results of evil, racism, and war. Nothing is simple, or easy.
3. It gets you out of the house! I travelled to 12 different places in the world in order to create my meditations including Panama and Mexico as well as cities in Canada and the U.S.
4. An examined life gives you context. I decided to meditate on birth in January in my birthplace - Vancouver - and on death in December in Winnipeg where I live. (Some of my Winnipeg friends thought this was a bit unfortunate.) My reflections literally spanned a lifetime - from birth to death - and everything in between.
5. An examined life is challenging! I had to hike to the top of a Mayan ruin on perilously steep steps to meditate on faith, brave the student strikes last spring in Montreal to consider anger, and for my meditation on death, rush to a Winnipeg graveyard to quickly capture pictures of hoarfrost in the sunshine before it all melted away.
My young adult nephew texted me yesterday to say that he especially liked the meditation on courage. (I thought that given his age, he might more likely be drawn to the one on sex.)
Here is a short bit of that meditation:
Mostly we think of courage when it is time to react:
Jennifer Cooper (McNally Robinson)
Stop the bleeding, run from the danger,
Start again after death, divorce, disease.
How much harder is the courage when it is time to act:
Initiate a move, a job change,
Leave a lover, start a family, name an injustice.
And how much harder still the courage when it is time to do nothing:
To watch, to listen, to wait,
And sometimes simply, to let go.
Jennifer Cooper decided to give the profits from her book sales to the Malala Fund. Malala Yousafzai was the 15 year old Pakistani
girl that the Taliban tried to assassinate last October for daring to
speak out in favor of education for girls.
Cooper says "It seems impossible to
imagine a society where something as basic as education for girls could
be denied. I admire the amazing courage of this young woman, who is
continuing her fight, despite her brush with death."Jennifer Cooper launches Meditations for 2012: The year that we thought, that the Mayans thought, that the world would surely end at McNally Robinson Grant Park, Saturday March 2 at 2 p.m.