Peace Community: Kaja Jean

Written By:
Amanda Schroeder

Hi everyone! My name is Kaja Jean, and this is #MyCanada.

I was born and raised in Strathcona, East Vancouver- a neighbourhood mixed with artists, families, and many people living below the poverty line. I was lucky enough to spend a good portion of my youth travelling, including a year long immersion in Sicily when I was 16. This, mixed with my upbringing in a super diverse neighbourhood, opened my eyes to so many different walks of life. I was shown on a daily basis how lucky I was to be born in a country and family that, for the most part, encouraged me to follow my dreams. Even in the "western world", not everyone has the encouragement to pursue their passion from the media, the school hallways, or their homes. When I noticed this, it made me feel extremely privileged...as well as guilty. How Canadian, right? Instead of being crippled by the guilt of opportunity, I learned that it is, in fact, important to find your passion in life. If you don't do what you love, you are only doing a disservice to the people around you, because spreading peace and happiness in the world begins with finding peace and happiness in yourself.

"Once you have dreams, you learn the strength and sacrifices your dreams require."

After finding my passion in acting and creative writing, it has definitely not been all smooth sailing. Actually, it's been a daily battle of highs and lows. Once you have dreams, you learn the strength and sacrifices your dreams require. Your highs can seem higher and lows lower than the average person, because every move you make means so much to you. I can't tell you how everyone deals with those lows, but I can offer the two things that work for me! 

One thing that helps me deal with the lows is centering myself, preferably in nature. Even if I'm super busy, I make it a requirement for my mental health. Yes this is such a hippy-dippy suggestion, but trust me. In Vancouver we have mountains, forest, and beach at our fingertips; it'd be crazy not to utilize them! I am constantly amazed at all the natural wonders in this beautiful country. Live in a congested city? Even when I was living in the "concrete jungle", aka New York City, finding a quiet nook in Central Park was the first thing I did to recharge my batteries. When I center myself, I find that all the stress of the week floats away, and I am able to breathe and make space for creativity and positivity instead.

"I believe finding our passion is the key to spreading it."

The second thing that helps me is surrounding myself with people who inspire me. We don't have to be going after a common goal, but if we both have passion for something, cheering each other on means that much more, because we know how hard the other has to work. When the world feels hopeless I just talk to one of these people, and anything seems possible; whether it's my personal goals, or something as huge as world peace.  We all need a little more peace and happiness in our life, our friends' lives, and our strangers' lives. I believe finding our passion is the key to spreading it.

@peacecollective