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Family crisis leads opera singer to make pact with God

Isabel Bayrakdarian's album Mother of Light was conceived as she prayed for her mother's life. She bargained with God: if you take care of my mom, I'll sing about Your mom. The result is a collection of Armenian hymns and chants in praise of Mary.

The insistence on home-cooked family meals doing more damage than good, says sociologist

UBC sociologist Sinikka Elliott and her colleagues spent five years investigating what it really takes to put food on the table, working with more than 150 American families across different classes and racial backgrounds. They found that the moral pressure placed on family meal time might be as damaging as it is helpful.

School shooter and loving parent: one woman's struggle to understand her father's violent past

Carrah Quigley was 19 when she learned her father was a school shooter. Back in 1955, he went on an armed rampage, but turned himself in to police after killing one other man. After serving time in a psychiatric hospital, Quiqley's father went on to lead a life full of love and compassion. Now, she says, her father's story has changed the way she understands violent crimes and the people who commit them.

Around the dinner table: struggles and rewards in family life

Carrah Quigley was 19 when she learned her father was a school shooter. Now, she says, her father's story has changed the way she understands violent crimes and the people who commit them. UBC sociologist Sinikka Elliott says the moral pressure placed on the family meal time might be as damaging as it is helpful.

Climate change is a test for humanity that we may not pass, says philosopher

Religion and spirituality can be a guide to a sustainable future, said Philip Clayton, who helps run the Institute for an Ecological Civilization.

Rwanda's genocide against the Tutsi and the Holocaust: survivors teach one another how to go on

Genocide survivor Eloge Butera was dealing with deep psychological trauma when he came to Canada several years after the atrocities. There Butera encountered a group of people specially equipped to help him learn to cope: elderly survivors of the Holocaust.

Spirituality and survival

Genocide survivor Eloge Butera copes with deep psychological trauma when he came to Canada several years after the atrocities. Philip Clayton says a spiritual worldview ù which links humanity intrinsically to nature —  is needed before we can ever hope to create sustainable societies.

One philosopher's quest to take philosophy back to the streets

Philosopher Lee McIntyre defends the role of the ‘public philosopher,’ a thinker who steps out of the academy to engage with non-scholars in the hopes of helping them grapple with their questions and challenges.

When you can't give your parents grandkids, how do you honour them?

T. Wise’s parents longed for grandkids. But as a trans man, he never saved any eggs before transitioning. Now, he grapples with the question of whether he owes his parents for the years they spent lovingly raising him — and how should he repay them.

No easy answers

Philosopher Lee McIntyre says more than ever, society needs its thinkers to engage in public discourse; and writer T. Wise struggles with how to honour his parents, now that it’s too late to give them grandkids.

Black millennials contend with the broken promises of the American dream, says writer

Reniqua Allen says once segregation ended as official US policy, black Americans started believing they too could benefit from the promise of economic freedom and upward mobility. Decades later, she says, the failure of that promise is driving young black Americans to burnout.

This writer used his stories about Canada's wilderness to belong. Here's why he stopped telling them.

Phillip Dwight Morgan thought his cycling trip across Canada would answer his unresolved questions about identity and belonging. Instead, it confronted him with new ones.

The American dream and Canada's great outdoors: how these national ideals leave out people of colour

Reniqua Allen on the broken promises of the American dream for black millennials, and Phillip Dwight Morgan on cycling across Canada as a young black man.

Removing hateful tattoos can help erase their baggage, says tattoo shop owner

Memphis Cadeau, co-owner of Grim City Tattoo Club in Hamilton, Ont., works pro bono with a range of clients, from former gang members to victims of human trafficking, who say getting a tattoo removed can be life-changing.

Inuk filmmaker explains the emotionally fraught decision to get traditional face tattoos

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, director of Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos and Angry Inuk, explains why deciding to get traditional Inuit tattoos was emotionally fraught — and what that means for non-Indigenous people looking to get the tattoos.

Ink and Identity

Tattoos and the very human desire to leave your mark — on yourself.

A guide to hopepunk: What to read, watch and listen to when all seems lost

Author Alexandra Rowland helped prompt a literary movement about hope and continued resistance with two cryptic sentences: "The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk. Pass it on."

When hope is 'punk' and grudges are forgiveness

Author Alexandra Rowland on the movement she sparked when she coined the term 'hopepunk.' Crime writer Sophie Hannah on why grudges are misunderstood and how she benefits from bearing them.

How holding a grudge can be a shortcut to forgiveness

Rather than just, 'letting it go,' when we feel someone has done us wrong, author Sophie Hannah says bearing a grudge productively can validate for our sense of hurt and help us find more fulsome forgiveness.

One man's solution for crushing social anxiety: improv comedy

Yitzi Gal's social anxiety was so bad that if he had to make conversation, his fingernails would cut crescent moons into his palms. When his sister enrolled him in improv comedy classes, he resisted, hiding in his car during breaks to avoid the other students. But slowly, the improv began to work.

Yes, and...

How improv comedy helped a man with social anxiety and a teen with autism.

How improv comedy helped a teen with autism

Fifteen-year-old Allyssa Harman was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome as a young child. While it's been difficult for her to make friends, Allyssa's mother, Martha, noticed her daughter was very funny. So, she signed her up for a course at The Second City in Toronto that was specifically for teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Performing naked can be a 'radical' act for men, says writer

Adam Smith, a writer and podcaster, decided to perform naked, not once but twice. He said he wanted to test his comfort level with his body, and so partook in a regular event called Naked Boys Reading.

Why so many of us are hustling past exhaustion

BuzzFeed writer Anne Helen Petersen explains why burnout has reached a critical mass and quick fixes like overnight oats aren't helping. Writer Jonathan Malesic describes how burning out from his dream job led him on a search for new ways to relate to work. And young Canadians chime in about how they're mentally and physically fed up.

Precarity, debt and social media: BuzzFeed writer Anne Helen Petersen on the modern brand of burnout

Young Canadians across the country say they feel like the pressure is on, and many told Tapestry they feel mentally exhausted. Anne Helen Petersen breaks down how millennials have become what she calls "the burnout generation."

Removing hateful tattoos can help erase their baggage, says tattoo shop owner

Memphis Cadeau, co-owner of Grim City Tattoo Club in Hamilton, Ont., works pro bono with a range of clients, from former gang members to victims of human trafficking, who say getting a tattoo removed can be life-changing.

Inuk filmmaker explains the emotionally fraught decision to get traditional face tattoos

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, director of Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos and Angry Inuk, explains why deciding to get traditional Inuit tattoos was emotionally fraught — and what that means for non-Indigenous people looking to get the tattoos.