|Barbara I know you’ve felt well loved in your life. Have you ever felt you missed anything not having siblings?
Sophie Maybe the companionship and rapport with
siblings that you don’t have with parents, but I’m not somebody who thinks about what I don’t have. To me that’s a road to unhappiness. I focus on what I have and what I can do with it.
I don’t like conflict. Maybe that comes from being an only child. Don’t get me wrong, I argue; I’m a strong-willed Taurus. When there’s conflict I like to resolve it quickly, I don’t hold on to emotional knots. I have difficulty living with a knot. I want it undone, so I talk a lot.
B Then you and Justin communicate often?
S We have to – he’s away a lot. Our partnership is the pillar of our family, being open with one another is how we’re able to stay connected and keep our mission alive. We both feel responsible to be a voice for a better society, together and
individually. I felt it before I met Justin being in the media, but not to the extent I feel it now with him.
Justin and I are content spirits. We’ve both received so much in this world in the way we were brought up which has helped us feel connected to others for many reasons. When we met, we both felt the same connection to the world; there was a fit. We feel our mission is to serve. We are not defined by what we receive or acquire but by what we give. We don’t want more. Now it’s our turn to give.
B Is your mission about giving back?
S To us, it’s the process of doing that brings true happiness. If we didn’t feel this, we wouldn’t separate our family during the week. Trust me; we could have a less difficult life. There are moments every day Justin misses with the children that I’d love him to see.
B Your family has sacrificed a lot.
S Thank you for saying that. Not a lot of people think that way. We have sacrificed a lot, but this is not a complaint; for us it’s the right thing. We follow our guts and spirit to feel centred. When I feel centred, I know I’m in the right place.
We feel we have a calling. There’s a kind of aura around the Trudeau name, and I’m a Trudeau now, that has come from Pierre’s huge presence. But that’s not who we are, how we want to connect with others or how we want to lead towards a better society. Pierre’s legacy has been helpful; we may not be where we are in our mission without his legacy;
however, we are doing things our way.
B You’ve taken up the task of leading at a young age, what motivates you?
S I have done the internal work to open myself. And
I feel something comes through me and pushes me forward. I have chills when I say this, I feel so fortunate to be in this place. The mission chose Justin and me; it doesn’t belong to us. We’re letting it flow through us; and it’s so strong.
B Has your joint mission made your marriage stronger?
S Justin and I are in this life together and we know we will end it together; we don’t doubt that. I’m not only expecting highs, it takes work, sacrifice, self knowledge, compassion and introspection to have a successful marriage and partnership. A part of your ego has to go out the window. To me, being consumed with yourself is the core of unhappiness; you’re not open to the universe or others. I know that’s why this mission chose me because I have a deep, deep love for people and find pure joy in meeting them. That keeps me going.
B You have a busy TV career, you’re the wife of an MP, the mother of two and on top of all that you have a busy speaking schedule; how do you do it all?
S It’s been a ride, but my schedule is flexible. The routine is with the kids, they need the emotional
stability. Then on top of that I get to share all my happiness and the little knowledge I have from my short life with others. In September 2009, I hosted 3,000 ‘Girls for the Cure’. I looked at the young faces looking at me, taking in what I was saying. I felt so blessed. I take these responsibilities seriously.
B What was your message to these young women?
S Know yourself; love yourself. Spend a lifetime doing this and you get to connect with the reason you’re here. And to know deep inside that we don’t live alone.
B A pivotal life-changing moment?
S I’ve had many. Having children of course is huge.
B What did having children create for your being?
S It centred me and pushed my ego aside at the same time to discover what I call ‘the real me’.
It connected me to others a lot more. Especially women and mothers, whatever age or background – social, political or religious – there’s a connection.
Another life-changing time was my trip to Ethiopia with my mother-in-law, Margaret, as ambassadors for WaterCan. It opened my senses to a different reality. Such suffering! I've always had this feeling that human beings aren't that different from one another; being there showed me we all have the same needs. The women, children and men of Ethiopia are just like us. It strengthened my conviction to serve. Whenever I can bring about good that’s what is important to me. The Poet John Keith said, “If my poetry doesn’t serve then I’m not writing poetry.” I connect to this because I believe if my life doesn’t serve, then I’m not fully living. (Said with sheer conviction and strength!)
I believe it’s the responsibility of ‘stars/celebrities/ people in the public eye’ to lead by example. There’s a myth around celebrities. I think those of us in the public eye have a responsibility, especially towards youth. We have an opportunity, the voice, right here on a silver platter to do so much good. That’s why I came out about my eating disorder; I felt it was my responsibility to share my story openly. I knew it would help, and it has.
B This is a sensitive topic, thank you for talking about it. How did you discover your eating disorder?
S An eating disorder sneaks up on you because it’s the tip of the iceberg; the problem is much broader under the surface just like an iceberg. To me this is a symptom of society’s lack of connection between spirit and heart. This is the analogy I use when speaking about it: society concentrates on the envelope, which signifies the body, much more than the letter inside. But the letter contains the words of our spirit, our souls, yet we don’t read it enough, or all of it.
We open the envelope and cut out the places of the letter that we don’t like. To me this explains the self-hatred women and men have developed. Self-hatred doesn’t permit connection to who you are. How can anyone lead a fulfilling life if they don’t connect? That’s such a huge problem. That’s why I say the eating disorder is the tip of the iceberg. The root is fear and anxiety at many different levels; some have suffered more, maybe a crazy childhood. For me, I couldn’t deal with stress and anxiety, and it manifested as an eating disorder. And, I believe it’s the same with addictions or any kind of compulsion. (Sophie is a spokesperson for the BACA Foundation, which supports the BACA eating disorder clinic in Québec.)
B What is the thing that says, “I must purge?”
S You are so not connected with yourself, you’re not even aware of the moment. You may realise it at a superficial level but you’re completely disconnected. Inside you live in solitude. Each time I binged and/or purged, I felt it wasn’t me. I remember talking to myself, “You know, this is the last time.” Who was I talking to? There’s no way I can pinpoint a moment. I wasn’t there, I was outside myself.
||B Are there any warning signals you can tell parents to look for? |
S I’ll bring it to the core: Parents, this is all emotional. If you see any anxious feelings: fear; not feeling they belong, disconnection from others; obsession with weight and appearance; or a change in social behaviour – be on the lookout for anything not balanced. Including going to the restroom often after a meal. Not liking to eat with the family; eating alone most of the time. Mealtime is an important family time, a time to talk together. This didn’t happen much when I was a teenager for many reasons: my father was working late, I was hungry after school, whatever the reason, it was not good.
I believe that there aren’t any subjects or questions parents shouldn’t tackle with their children. When things are left in a little corner or behind a curtain and we’re not talking, it becomes taboo. This awkwardness brings more silence, and silence kills. I know that. As parents we have to reach out to our children, and be respectful of their inner state at the same time. This is what I believe, and hope I’ll bring to my children.
B What else would you love to bring to Xavier and Ella?
S I want them to receive and give unconditional love and compassion. I hope I give them emotional stability; the tools for self knowledge; to feel peaceful with the universe and to conquer it with peace, not anger, fear or anxiety. I hope they are triumphant in what they choose in life. They don’t have to become Prime Minister (we have a chuckle at this). I want them to be loving people. I hope this for them because I know it will bring them happiness. And I hope to be around for the longest time possible to see this.
B What must Sophie do for Sophie every day?
S I must walk every day. An hour if I can, or 20 minutes on a busy day. This is my meditation time. I love walking alone in the cemetery on Mount Royal near my home. In the spring, apple trees bloom and in the summer it’s flowers; it’s the most beautiful, peaceful place, pure silence. I’m reminded of my mortality and immortality at the same time. It makes me think of the people who came before me and those who will come after, and I want to feel connected to both.
I love going to the park with the children every day, even if it’s cold. And, reading 20 minutes a day. With two little ones, there’s not much ‘me time’ but their time is my time and it’s a gift to be with them.
B Your words of wisdom for first-time moms?
S It gets better after three months, after six months and even better after that. And most importantly – you’re not alone. Even though I had people around me I felt alone, especially in the first month. I had a period of the ‘baby blues’. I encourage new moms to breastfeed; to connect with their babies physically, skin to skin. And to meditate in a way that works for you, even when you’re pregnant. When you’re connected to your spirit, the baby feels it. It’s a ‘oneness’. I felt at one with my babies.
How we live impacts our children’s life. Even an innocent comment about your weight will impact your children. When your child sees you meditate, they’ll learn to respect that time of going inwards for themselves as well. We must be an example to our children. Children are their own human beings; their spirit is not ours.
B Humbling life experiences?
S Giving birth and carrying life is one for me. The whole experience showed me how we’re the same at the core. The rest is superficial; unfortunately, it’s the superficial that bring about wars and suffering.
I’m humbled by the life I lead and the connections to others. When Justin and I are at events, we find out how much people look up to us, how they’re
putting their faith in us. It makes us feel responsible. How can I possibly take that lightly? (Sophie says this with emotion and certainty.) This keeps me humble and grateful for my life, for our life.
B What would you still love to do in your life?
S Oh my God, so many things. (So excited she almost jumps off the sofa.)
I want to travel the world, to experience and connect with people from cultures different from ours. To change my lifestyle; it’s already slowly changing with my connection to material things. Our dream is to have a house made of sustainable materials like wood and stone; a simple, warm home in nature – like living in a greenhouse. We live in Montréal now, we have to be near Justin’s riding in Papineau; it would be very different.
I’d like to do more of the things I love – paint, sing, dance and cook more. Honestly, I LOVE life and want to experience as much as I can. (This oozes from Sophie.) To be even more connected to myself and others’
spirituality. I want to live in this energy, so my kids grow up in an environment with little anxiety and fear.
Some of my little dreams are on standby because of my role as a mother, the other things I do, plus Justin’s career. And that’s okay. Sometimes I have difficulty balancing the parts inside that say: ‘This is where
I am now and these are my dreams’. I feel it’s important to keep dreaming inside; it keeps them alive.
One of my dreams that might seem superficial, but isn’t because it’s a big passion: to be a ‘Nose’, a perfumer. I love scents and perfumes. My world is committed to the senses. After CEGEP, I looked into attending a Perfumery in France, but I didn’t have the sciences. Maybe someday I’ll do it. But the funds will go to help others. This is a pure passion, and has to reflect my mission.
B What feeling do you want to evoke with ‘the Sophie’ scent?
S (Deep in thought; then enthusiastically.) The cycle of life: the full cycle of life, people and their spirit in the cycle of life.
B This is perfect! It totally embodies your passion for people, their spirit and the spirit of life. I’d buy that scent! Thank you, Sophie! H&L