Life and Living

Celebrating the Ebb Tide

You are an ocean. You’re about 60 percent plain water, with an admixture of chemicals that approximate the sea in which your most ancient ancestors evolved. Also like the sea, you are tidal. You ebb and flow. Your heart and lungs continuously contract and expand.

Your circadian rhythms alternate between alertness and sleepiness. You also have ultradian rhythms, multiple physical systems that ebb and flow within each day. Ultradian rhythms control things like your hormonal levels, heat regulation, appetite, and nostril dilation. (Yes! Nostril dilation!)

Unfortunately, you’ve had your natural rhythms disrupted by a culture that praises you for working continuously, [...]

To Stay Present, We Must Accept Change

A couple of weeks ago I boarded a plane from London to Philadelphia and immediately sensed something weird was going on. Our flight had been delayed for hours by mechanical problems, and I expected everyone, including the crew, to be tired and grumpy. Instead, the flight attendants appeared to have been drinking some sort of love potion. They practically leaped to assist us passengers as we arrived. They smiled into our eyes, joked with us, said things like, “Honestly, if there is anything I can do to make this flight more comfortable, please please let me know!” I’ve always experienced flight attendants as [...]

When Life Wallops You, Turn It Into a Personal Revolution

A friend of mine recently experienced something I call a “life wallop.” You’ve probably had a few wallops in your own life: a relative you funded through rehab calls, high as a kite, asking you for bail money; an elderly parent, lost in dementia, snaps something brutally cruel; you see your ex on a date with your next door neighbor.

“I feel like a truck hit me,” said my friend. “It’s so stupid—I know I should just shrug it off, but I can barely get out of bed. I’ve been working so hard to evolve into a stronger person, and [...]

Early Spring with the Notorious Badger (or, Why I’ve Made a Podcast)

A bit of searching online will tell you that “Spring in the Northern Hemisphere will begin on Thursday, March 19.” You can repeat this to others in a confident voice, and everyone will believe you. 

Meanwhile, the trees and flowers in the woods around my house are calmly celebrating Spring on their own damn schedule. Bright-green crocus and daffodil shoots are pushing leaf litter aside. The exposed spot on a dogwood tree, where woodpeckers have revealed the cambium, has also turned green, flooding chlorophyll upward to every little leaf bud on every little twig.

I love the stubbornness of nature. I [...]

Getting Unstuck

Right now, I’m beginning—all right, planning to begin—several new projects. I’m going to launch a new fitness routine, declutter my closets, and start working with a new editor on my current book. It’s all hugely exciting, and I’m feeling so… stuck.

I don’t mean literally, of course. I’m physically free to start any of these projects at almost any moment. But my mind has been working overtime to convince me otherwise. I keep getting bogged down in what internet guru Zefrank calls “the terrible space between zero and one.” I know I want to do some awesome things—I can almost [...]

Like Ten Thousand Knives When All You Need Is a Spoon

It’s been a long day, and I’m almost out of spoons. I have a couple to use writing this, but I’ll need a good sleep to forge more spoons for tomorrow.

Does this sound odd to you? Let me tell you about “Spoon Theory,” my current preoccupation. Spoon Theory is a real thing—you can find it in Wikipedia, listed as a neologism (a phrase just entering popular usage). Spoon theory is the brainchild of the wonderful blogger Christine Miserandino, who has Lupus. She explained life as a Luperian (is that a word? A neologism?) by using spoons to represent the energy [...]

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