A Different Food Chain

Resilience on our farm is embedded in how we live -- offering efficiency, safety, and heart. In this article you'll see how we conceive of and create a life where every part feeds another, where the parts mirror a whole, and where diversity, tradition, systems theory, craft and compassion each meld for joy. You can also access the article here.

A Hunger for Joy — Lorca’s TEDx

I found when I had told this story here that I had never told it before -- not like this.  We find the opening when what needs to be talked of is a stronger voice than that of our own hesitation.  There is a special kind of work that occurs at the intersection of courage and vulnerability.  I spoke from that place here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA4s-0D9AK8 Lorca Smetana found herself a survivor in the aftershock of one of the worst climbing accidents in the history of this country. For 33 years, she has been giving herself to resilience and compassion – adding light in

The Why of Glasses

The Why of Glasses I missed my glasses. Folly to mourn healing of the cranium, the return of equilibrium in the timing of an eye's focus, no more headaches.  No need. But I missed them over and over, magic blue glasses. Instant focus not of the eyes but of the mind. Perched on my head top announcing my greatest strength and weakness: you read too much. Sexy glasses for looking through and under and over. Sat-on, slept-in, dropped, re-bent, lost and found. Scholar's badge along with the inky fingers, thesis knee and the dent in the side of the first joint of the middle right finger. I wanted them back, silent messengers. They said,

Would you like to hear the eulogy at your own funeral?

"And you would be...?" Good morning, dearests. Would you like to hear the eulogy at your own funeral?  I think I just did.  I had a rare human experience.  Think back to attending the funeral of someone you loved and admired, and sitting there awash in pain and love and laughter as person after person stood up to share a story, express love, talk about how she or he helped them in ways large and small to grow and heal and build things and moments that felt important?  And at some point, do you remember a small hope that when it comes your time to die,

“You Can Do This Hard Thing”: The Odd Road to Tougher

A firefighter told me yesterday that when he started working with me on his resilience he was excited because he thought that he was going to come out of it tougher, stronger, better able to just push through the hard things. “And I was wrong about that,” he said.  “I’m softer now than I think I’ve been since I was a kid.  And I’m happier, and I do my job better, and I think I’ll be able to do it for longer.  But you didn’t make me tougher.”  Except that I did.  This is the paradox of resilience and vulnerability.  That from

How to Eat Love

Love is going out to kill a turkey in 20-degree weather so that your wife can tend other things.  And love is still liking the man who is grinning and handing you a large turkey to pluck in 20-degree weather, and it is the rueful smile in return.  Then it is catching each other's eyes over the table, biting into turkey but also into the body memory of cold fingers touching, the grin, the rueful smile, the puppies wrestling over feathers, the bucket steaming from the boiling water, blood in snow, the times a turkey attacked our daughter and another chased the

The Sermon of Lorca’s Animals

When I was asked to speak again this year for the St. Francis-inspired sermon of animals, my first thought was, “What if I said everything I had to say last year!”  Last year's sermon of animals was a flow coming from multiple places of animals in the life of family and field, forest and farm, and it was very broad spectrum — all the species, all the roles, all the interaction between creatures and family and land. But there is always more about animals.  So this year, it’s not the macro, but the micro — three short portraits.  I want to

Profanity for Children

I refrained from swearing near my young children, not precisely for their sakes, but as much in love for the cherished Lutheran couple next door who, already feeling sorrow for our unsavedness would be further dismayed to hear the Lord’s name taken in vain. Perhaps, too, it wasn’t really my genius, lacking early conviction. We sea kayakers were ever the less salty dogs. Later, I did offer the kids three-score Elizabethan epithets for the self-indulgent entertainment of hearing the snarls across the game board — “Gleekish wraith-borne ambsace!” “Beslubbering sheep-biting hedgepig!” World across, we each choose the obscenities that most shock our own inner alien — the sacred, the sexual, the emissions, the

Compash-Imagination

GAMES BEYOND ESCAPISM... Play. RADICAL COMPASSION:    Compash-Imagination. TOOLS: field notebook and good pen, a timer, other humans, and a supple imagination TIME:  ten minutes DIFFICULTY:  RISK: low, but you will come back changed. ORIENTATION:  Compassion is often perceived as an experience, something that we feel or that can come upon us.  By the strategically resilient, it is to be treated more as a skill, a commitment, a practice, and a source of usable life energy.  This short adventure places it squarely in this second zone. Neurologically speaking, there are few practices we can engage in that so clearly demonstrate positive and practical growth in the brain as that of