Category: Awake and alive

Luminations — Loosening A Grip on Overwhelm

luminations  noun, plural.  1. Gleams, glimmers, perspectives, clarity.  See also, dawn, morning, simplicity, resilience, love, home.  2.  A series of short videos by Lorca Smetana... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmzm9jnxmNQ Are you going to be a resilient and creative parent in the coming year?  Well, yeah! Amazing Parents -- Awesome Kids Online Resilience Course

Fighting terrorism from where you are

Dear ones, this morning I, too, am torn, deeply sad and sorry and worried, reaching out to friends to know they're safe, aware of refugees without power or defense.   How do I live, what do I do today, half a world away? When we are committed to being sustainable human beings, we recognize right away that events like these in Paris fall squarely in the area of outflow from our own resources as grief and uncertainty take their toll. They need, each time, to be balanced as we determinedly refill ourselves to our full forces so that we can face every hard and beautiful thing that

Radical Awakeness: Living Among Animals

Spoken to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman for the Blessing of the Animals... I was invited to share today in part because my life and my work has become embedded in so very many animals.  Our river farm is and has been home to homing pigeons, white doves, Icelandic sheep, pigs, dogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, honeybees, rabbits.  It is also home to great horned owls who called as I wrote this, nesting kestrels and red-tailed hawks, eagles, magpies and snipe, woodpeckers and Eastern kingbirds, snakes and mice, porcupine, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, trout, turtles and whitefish, and the occasional moose, bear

Taking PTSD under the pavilion

The gift of inland islands... Three months ago post-traumatic stress came to walk beside me again, after many years gone. Random panic attacks and loss of breath that came with me out to visit the sheep or had me veering my truck to the side of the road, nightmares that chased me out of my bed, and a demoralizing paralysis in writing as if the two occupied the same synapses in my brain and couldn't coexist. A year into returning to my story of trauma in writing the book I had been surprised at and congratulating myself on my own steadiness in the

The Pain-Bearers

Sometimes I think I have come into this life as one of the pain-bearers — not one who takes all pain onto herself, nor one who takes it from others, but who has the capacity to be with the pain of loss, of death.  We are needed in this world because so many cannot.  On days like today from the outside it seems I have created a life that invites it — a call because of a lost seven year-old son, and another for the mother of a five year-old girl.  I will take these and along with white birds, with

Resilience Myth #3: The Awesome Work Ethic

In the last post, we looked at the resilience Myth #2:  “I'll evade burnout with careful time management.” So stop and think for a moment about what an amazing (and sustainable) weekly* calendar would look like when you opened it in the morning.  For me?  Here are a few key indicators of a damn good life that can stay that way: There is space around the things on it. -- What does a spacious life look and feel like?  (pretty awesome, really.) Many time blocks are big. -- There is time to dive deep in between the getting in and climbing out. There are multiple sections in purple

Staying Resilient in 2015: The Biggest Myths — Myth #2

In the last post we looked at Myth #1: “I just need to work out a more balanced life.” To give you one more idea around this one, Robert Grudin, who is one of my favorite thinkers, wrote in his book on time, "On this subject it is striking to note how many individuals pursue, outside of their own professions and with a kind of rebellious delight, hobbies that are no more than personalized forms of work.  This suggests that one of the hidden desires of humanity, provoked by the inward clamor of unused potentialities, is the dream of work in freedom..." So

Averting Burnout This Year: The 4 Biggest Myths — #1

For a time, I crashed down into a full-on burnout once every ten years: three times in three ways -- once through tragedy, once as a student pushing too hard, and once as a leader and a professional without useful boundaries.  Each time I put in my time as the empty pitcher -- trying and wanting to pour out as designed but with nothing left inside to give, and without good systems in place to refill me.  Now I've got a really good eye for this kind of thing -- seeing whose strategies are good for the long haul and whose are full of holes.  And

Adventures in “Deathbed” Conversations

A story and an invitation and a challenge.  The story is here in this short Pecha Kucha video. This was about people playing with courage... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th9KqjiXSL8 So the invitation and challenge is a game, an experiment I play, composed around freedom and courage and the awareness of mortality. The project had its roots in the letter writing workshops that I led over years.  I taught people to be more open and fun and colorful in the letters that they put into the mail, but I also started inviting people to write the amazing letters, the life-changers, the kind that are powerful in the lives of

This I believe.

We are all together on this ship and some of us will die sooner.  Some young.  I will grieve again, and comfort.  It may be me.  Those of us who are lucky will know ahead of time and not be incapacitated by pain and exhaustion and messes we have not cleaned up.  If we are luckier this heightened awareness that is the gift of death may be seized  by us periodically and good and great things and moments will be brought into the world as a result. What do I want to have been in my life with my mothers?  my