Life and Living

Little Hints of Magic

So last Christmas I bought a jigsaw puzzle for my family. It was fun—a nice center point where we could gather and chat.

I do that almost every year, but after this holiday was over, I bought another puzzle. Then a couple more. Then half a dozen. I spent about a month tucking puzzles into our closets and shelves like some kind of manic, jigsaw-obsessed squirrel.

Then, of course, it happened. You know what I mean. THE APOCALYPSE.

About a week into the national lockdown, I got a random email from someone in a nearby neighborhood association. The writer was looking for [...]

Like Violets in Early Spring

So in spite of everything, violets are blooming in the forest around my house. One day there were none, the next day, they’re everywhere.

I’ve been chatting about this with Elizabeth Gilbert. In her book BIG MAGIC, Liz cites a mathematician whose father told him to publish his ideas quickly, because “When the time is right for certain things, they appear at different places, in the manner of violets coming to light in early spring.”

In science this is called “multiple discovery.” It happens a lot: calculus, oxygen, and evolution were discovered at the same time by different scientists.

Well, last week, [...]

In Order to Move Forward, We Must Learn to Be Still

“I’m sick of people telling me I’m going to save the world,” said my friend Eliza over coffee. “I know they mean it as a compliment, but it feels like one hell of a burden.” A charismatic activist, thought-leader, and author, Eliza (not her real name) gives people hope and confidence when both are in short supply. No matter what horrific mass shooting or eco-crisis comes up on the news, Eliza finds a way to help people believe everything will be okay. Her energy seems boundless. It isn’t.

“I’m just so tired,” she told me. “I’ve been doing so much [...]

Gratefully Receive Your Own Love

God bless the wonderful John and Kitty, who built and later sold us this house! I never would have thought to put in a little gym, but they did. Since the shutdown, my son Adam has been working out harder than ever, video-conferencing with his awesome trainer.

Here’s the thing, folks: Adam is doing this because he wants to. He decided to start working out when he was in high school. I’ve never been able to force any of my children to do anything. I lack the stamina. But when they follow their bliss, they do things that blow my [...]

Dysfunctional Family Bingo

The holidays are high season for life coaches. Here in the States, the festivities start with Halloween and go on all the way through New Year’s Day, when we drag ourselves out of bed and recommit to normal life. At any time during those weeks, the pressure is on: we must be happy while spending time, money, and energy we don’t have on people who may or may not deserve it.

I’m not trying to “Bah, humbug!” the season. I love the holidays. Thanksgiving, in particular, is one of my favorite times of year. But I’ve had my share of [...]

Not to Worry: 10 Things to Stop Worrying About

Everywhere I turn these days, people are urging me to worry. “Restaurants are swarming with bacteria!” shouts a local news promo. “We’ll tell you what to beware of!” From the computer in my lap, a parenting blog warns, “There’s plenty to be anxious about.” Noting the pallor of my furrowed brow, a neighbor clucks, “I think you should be more concerned about your health.”

Friends, there are many areas in which I need encouragement, but worrying is not one of them. I worry the way Renée Fleming sings high Cs: Effortlessly. Loudly. At length. You may be similarly gifted, because [...]

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