Life and Living

Why ‘History’ Should Be ‘Ourstory’

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Everything we remember is story. “History” is the memory of certain special things, which we all implicitly agree are more important than others. But our culture’s history—even in this, women’s history month—is a story that’s been badly, crudely, massively abridged.

Most of our historical focus is reserved for famous men, and the growing but still disproportionately small number of women who have managed to successfully compete against men in fields we see as significant.

We’ve left out most of the story.

We’ve omitted crucial factors in the equation of feelings, interactions and events that make human life possible. None of us can [...]

Everything is Changing, All the Time

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I once heard a Zen monk say that all our suffering comes from resisting one simple fact: everything is changing, all the time.

Think about your life situation in this moment: the good and the bad, and the ugly. Whoops! Now it’s different. While you were thinking, everything around you got a few seconds older.

What we think of as “my life,” stable and solid, is in fact a flowing river. The banks may look the same, but the water is always, always, always changing.

I was stunned when something told me, “Move to the woods in [...]

Martha Responds With ‘Lovingkindness’ to Heated Emotions

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This article was first published in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper

 

As I write this, the controversy over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh is filling the internet with such fury—from both sides—that I think my computer may explode. The situation feels like a microcosm of all public controversy in a time when technology has given individuals the power to voice their thoughts and feelings more openly, to a larger audience, than ever before. Globally, individuals have a greater power to be heard than at any other time, and because of that, light is being shone on forms of injustice [...]

Adventures in Boundaryland!

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You know how sometimes you look around your house and realize that your house is full of homeless orphaned drug addicts and you’ve gone broke paying for your brother-in-law’s best friend’s new car and you’re still feeling sore from donating your kidney to someone you saw on the news? Don’t you hate it when that happens?

DON’T WORRY, I’M JOKING!!! The paragraph above is a huge exaggeration of something that really does happen to compassionate people. Sometimes, we want so much to help everyone that we drop our personal boundaries very low—so low that our efforts to care for others [...]

Why Winning Doesn’t Always Bring Happiness

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This year, as I mash up some fresh guacamole and settle in to watch Super Bowl LIII, I’ll remember (as I do every year) how my oldest daughter reacted to her very first sight of American football. Two-year-old Katie peered at the TV screen and proclaimed, “That not football. That head ball.” She’d been taught that balls are round, and the roundest things on that field were the players’ helmets. Once I’d explained about the pointy pigskin, Katie came back with a question. “But mommy,” she said, “why those guys do that?”

I paused, thinking about zillion-dollar contracts, sponsorship deals, [...]

Why Voting Should Be Part of Our Daily Lives

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This article was first published in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper

 

Every time I vote, as I hope we all did last Tuesday, I get a little misty-eyed. For most of history, most people haven’t had voting rights. Feudal systems, slavery, dictatorships, colonialism—so many structures suppressed so many people for so long. When my father was born, American women still didn’t have this basic right. I’m so grateful to everyone who has fought to let my voice be heard.

That said, I sometimes fret that my one little vote may be too little, too late, to change the world in [...]

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