Last month I wrote about the decks of my life being cleared: how my practice rather abruptly emptied out and how that seemed purposeful and meaningful. The way I wrote about it made the experience sound like a cruise through the Greek Isles, reclining on my metaphorical deck chair aboard the ship of my life’s […]
Soul Matters – August 2017
One of my favorite quotes, torn and taped to my desk, is this one, attributed to Joseph Campbell: “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Letting go of what we want or love or […]
Soul Matters – June 2017
I have a thinking problem. They say that admitting that you have a problem is half the battle, but I’m not so sure. I’m in pretty deep. I’m not talking about normal, what’s-for-dinner sort of thinking, although I have plenty of that. I’m talking about furrowed brow cogitating, bordering on the […]
Soul Matters – May 2017
For 15 years now we’ve lived in the same, sweet house, and for 15 years I’ve been walking our dogs along the same street. Yesterday as I leashed my companions I grumbled aloud how tired I was of walking this street every single day, twice a day. As we slowly made […]
Soul Matters – April 2017
We’ve been having an interesting adventure these past few weeks. Having sold our ginormous SUV, we are hunting for a second car. Brand new is not an option, so we’re hunting for a used something. The problem is, all the cars we really like are new, or close to it. In […]
Soul Matters – March 2017
A few years ago I spent many weeks overtaken by pain, the result of a bike accident. The pain in my neck and shoulder was intense. I couldn’t find a peaceful placement of the head to relieve it. Sleep nearly disappeared. The simple act of being alive meant that I was […]
Soul Matters – February 2017
While this is the Year of the Rooster, I’m thinking about other birds of late: ducks and swans to be precise. You might recall the story of The Ugly Duckling, in which a signet is born amongst a brood of ducklings. Being so different, he is persecuted and ostracized by his […]
Soul Matters – December 2016/January 2017
Here’s a holiday pop quiz:
Do you remember what you received for Christmas last year?
Do you remember what you gave?
Me either. Sad, ain’t it? All the getting and spending and, by and large, no one remembers any of it two weeks later. What I remember about last Christmas (and every Christmas) […]
Soul Matters – November 2016
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” ~T. S. Eliot
I’m back, baby! And happy and grateful to be here. Thanks to all the lovely people who let me know I […]
The greatest challenges humans face throughout their lives are two:
1) the challenge of where to start
2) the challenge of when to stop
There is something special about the number seven. I can’t explain it, but it’s true. Seven is magical. Every seven years the body completely remakes itself on a cellular level. How […]
It is famously said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Sometimes, that teacher comes as a coyote in a pick-up truck.
In Native American mythology, the coyote is a trickster. Like the court jester of old, he brings insight and wisdom with humor. Coyote upsets your equilibrium when you start feeling all high […]
They say things change the more they stay the same. Sometimes this is reassuring, but more often than not is just depressing as hell.
I’ve been going through about 60 pounds of cards and letters that I wrote to my parents during college and my post-grad years. Reading through my collegiate musings reminded me of some […]
Soul Matters – February 2016
Warning: This column has nothing whatsoever to do with Valentine’s, the Lunar New Year, or other such niceties. You may find it helpful, however, if Life has thrown you a few curve balls or wicked sinkers lately, which it has to me.
Last year did not end well. I was besieged by […]
Soul Matters – Dec 2015/Jan 2016
One of the most difficult things in the world is to know who you really are. I’ve spent half my life now getting to know who my Self is: the good, the bad, and the ugly. For over two decades I’ve followed the Greek maxim inscribed at the Temple of […]
Soul Matters – November 2015
It was a busy day at the graveyard. Abnormally busy. Raking leaves from my parents’ gravesite I noticed a number of people walking by. It took me a while to figure out that a burial service was taking place close by, a fact I finally deduced not by the attire of […]
Soul Matters – October 2015
When my son was in preschool I asked him about a particular boy in his class, and whether he liked him. His reply was, “No. He’s a pusher guy.”
I thought about Pusher Guy the other day because I know, and I’m not proud of this, that I am a “pusher guy”—not […]
Soul Matters – September 2015
“Let me embrace three, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” ~Shakespeare
One of the most difficult challenges in this being human business is facing what is, particularly when what is, sucks. I’m talking about times when life presents you with things you didn’t order and don’t want: […]
Soul Matters – August 2015
Sometimes the Universe is not subtle. In the past eight weeks, I was privileged to watch three pairs of birds build their nests close to our house, lay their eggs, and fledge their young. At the same time, a half dozen monarch caterpillars joined us in the kitchen where we’ve watched […]
Soul Matters – July 2015
I know a guy—I bet you know him too—whom I’ll call Billy Bob. Billy’s story, repeated ad naseum, goes something like this: “My parents were awful. They didn’t love me the way I needed them to. My troubles are a direct result of their lousy parenting. I’m hurt and angry and […]
Soul Matters – June 2015
In the time of your life, live — so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. ~William Saroyan
“Time sure does fly, doesn’t it?”
That’s what the vet said as he was preparing to help end the suffering of […]
Soul Matters – May 2015
When I was a new mother, utterly and blissfully over the moon for my baby, I thought I would never feel anything less than that all-consuming, perfect love. It simply wasn’t possible.
Fast-forward twelve years to the Japanese Gardens in Portland, where a little family foray, meticulously planned by moi, precipitated a […]
Soul Matters – April 2015
I sat down in a good mood on a sunny Sunday morning to look at my email and there it was, lying in wait. The email was from a colleague who is, in every respect, my doppelgänger: same age, same work, same writing style, graduate school, hair color, sense of humor—same […]
Soul Matters – March 2015
As a young girl I loved the Little House book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which chronicled her life growing up in the 1860s. I read the books many times and when the television series came out, I was glued to it. I recently got to revisit those halcyon days on […]
Soul Matters – February 2015
I don’t mean to burst anyone’s romantic bubble, but I thought a little education about the heart and the origins of Valentine’s Day might be of interest. An alternative, if you will, to the commercial sentimentality foisted upon us February 14 by Hallmark, Inc.
The modern, mid-month celebration of Valentine’s Day morphed […]
Soul Matters – December 2014/January 2015
The other morning I sat in the pre-dawn darkness on my porch, wrapped up against the cold, staring at the stars with their piercing, distant magnificence. I listened to invisible raccoons running through the trees, saw the inky outline of the branches bending under their weight. I heard the soft […]
Soul Matters – October 2014
“No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.” C.G. Jung
I don’t know if it’s the time of year, phase of life, or just my peculiar vantage point, but almost everyone I know is going through some serious suffering. I’m not talking about the […]
Soul Matters – September 2014
By the time you read this, school will be back in session and I will be doing the happy dance, back in my bliss, working on the next book. But today it is early August, and I am trying to write while entertaining/mollifying/feeding my lovely children without benefit of an entertaining […]
Soul Matters – August 2014
There’s a meme going around these days called “Spiritual But Not Religious,”and it’s growing like gangbusters. (There is also the lesser-discussed “Religious But Not Spiritual,” which is a topic for another day.) Like all memes, it hops from one person to the next without great awareness of where it came from […]
Soul Matters – July 2014
“Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great […]
I recently heard a local country singer on the radio talking about the difficulty of hitting it big in the music business. He shared how, one day, feeling tired and discouraged, he’d heard his phone ring and decided not to answer it. Later, when he listened to his messages, he discovered that...
I learned early this morning that I am a success. A story on NPR related how certain wingless mosquitos in Antarctica survive under the most miserable of conditions, awaken out of semi-dormancy, live for ten days, mate, and die. In the animal world, the reporter noted, this is considered a successful life. You have reproduced. You have won.
Some of you may not be aware that, when I am not composing best-sellers, I am a practicing therapist. I don’t always lead off with that particular title because painful experience has shown that the word “therapist” can be, shall we say, off-putting for some folks.
I was out with a friend the other evening, enjoying a real Manhattan in a real bar (at night no less, and mid-week; the stars must be in some rare alignment), and in the course of conversation my friend said—in a rather Eeyorish way (witty, humorous and severely cynical) that he could see his future, and what he saw looked a lot like a trailer park.
I hate snakes. Hate is a strong word, but there it is. So imagine my excitement this time last year when we entered the year of the Black Water Snake. I knew it was going to be a wild ride, and not just because I hate snakes: I knew it because a year whose symbolic energy is turmoil and transformation ain’t going to be easy. Your best shot is to embrace your inner Bette Davis and croak, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy year.”
The other morning I sat down to my bowl of homemade muesli, sprinkled it with hemp and chia seeds, and doused it in almond milk. I stared at it and thought, I never imagined in a million years that I would be eating raw muesli with almond milk—and liking it. And from there I began to ponder how my life really isn’t anything I imagined it would be, once upon a time...
My eggs have all hatched. This is what I thought last week as I sat on the porch in the morning, my children back in school. I thought about them being gone, and about my book being finished, and my mother entering the last chapter of her life, and about ...
In October, Jacksonville Review contributor and author Kate Ingram’s book, Washing the Bones: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Transformation...
I haven’t been writing much lately and boy, am I feeling it. Writing is no different than athletic training...
Yesterday I grabbed Deepak's book—I call him Deepak now—The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success off my shelf...
This is a column on why I am not writing a column this month. Well, I did write one, but ...
In the Disney Pixar movie Finding Nemo, there is a scene in which Marlin...
The life of a writer is not as glamorous as you might think...
This is the true joy in life. The being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one…the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
~George Bernard Shaw
“To find the shape of one’s own life, to become oneself, to…be in the right struggle and love in a way that makes things genuinely fit together…that makes all the difference, even in a dark time when nothing seems to make any difference at all.”
I was very excited, at the beginning of […]
Thanksgiving is a noun that grew from a verb; the inversion of “giving thanks.”
We are, the lot of us, on a team called the Human Race
Then I thought, “I need a new story.”
Unlike Americans, the French are not sensually challenged...