Who are you when you’re free to be yourself?

“What about you?” asked the other parent, on the sidelines at karate, having just shared how much she loves sewing. “What is your hobby?” My inside-voice did a quick stocktaking: that week, I’d been watching mini-documentaries of forest gardens and permaculture success stories. I was still stuck on the idea of the Divine Feminine rising…

How to be a checklist Ninja

The first item on Alexandra Franzen’s to-do list for Thursday was drink two big glasses of water. We overlook the easy wins when crafting our to-do lists, says the author of the newly released The Checklist Book, and we shouldn’t: when we accomplish something, even something small, that feeling of satisfaction stimulates the body to…

Unearthed

Sometimes when I tell myself to breathe, it triggers panic – as if by drawing attention to this innate, unconscious, automatic action, breathing in and out suddenly becomes improbably difficult. Meditation, swimming laps, yoga… all these experiences often contain a few extremely panicked moments when I gasp, unable to catch a breath that has suddenly…

Voice Lessons

They say that your mother’s voice is the one you hear in your head, even as an adult, all your days. I reached a point when I realized that that was not going to work for me anymore. It was not the right voice. And so began a long slow exorcism, a careful, yet fitful,…

Don’t Die Curious

On May 22, 2019, the Class of 2033 had their kindergarten orientation. I drove past Signal Hill and saw the swell of improbably small and cute four and five year olds spilling out of the school, peeking in their welcome packets – 60 families on the cusp of a big transition. I distinctly remember sitting…

Coming down from Treeline

Can a quiet and deeply thoughtful piece of film provoke radical action? Jordan Manley’s Treeline makes the case. This morning, on my way home from the school bus-stop, I detoured via a small patch of Douglas-Fir – the grandfather tree, called Srap7ul, in Ucwalmictws, the language of the Lil’wat Nation, meaning “something standing upright.” I found a…

Forget freely, remember collectively

I outsource memory. I don’t trust mine. So, when I see something that inspires me, I reach reflexively for my phone. Snap. Screenshot. Store. As I offloaded hundreds of images onto my desktop the other day, to de-bloat my phone, I saw how pointless this had been – all these things I’d wanted to sit…

The pleasure of not thinking

To the farmers, firefighters, day camp coaches, event workers, frontline service people, road re-pavers, emergency responders, investigative reporters, I need to apologize. I’m sorry. I see how hard you’re working to keep the wheels turning. I’m not pulling my weight. “No thinking in August” is my friend Mike’s mantra, and the moment I heard it,…

Across the Divide

When I saw the book on Emma Gillis’ desk, I laughed so hard, I snorted. “Shall I put your name on it?” asked Pemberton’s Library Director, in her fantastic Irish brogue. “Sure.” When I pick it up from the Holds Shelf a few weeks later, I sneak it into the house and hide it under…