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…

Mindless

What would a food journal or time tracking app tell you about your habits of consumption? On Friday, February 16, at 2:30pm, I downloaded the Moment app to my phone. I’d been reading about the rise of addictive technology and thought I should see where I stood. It’s been running in the background of my…