Hide and seek

“KEEPING QUIET” BY PABLO NERUDA Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still. For once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; let’s stop for one second, and not move our arms so much. It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines; we would all be together in a sudden strangeness. Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands. Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing. What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about; I want no truck with death. If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive. Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go. —from Extravagaria (translated by Alastair Reid, pp. 27-29, 1974) A game of hide and seek turned upside down. I have started a meditation practice. I am committed to 45 minutes every day for 8 weeks to see how it changes me. It has come up now because I’ve decided to stop the medications I have been taking for PTSD and ADD. I have a feeling that in the...

thinking thursday : deep and light subjects you need to know about all in one

MIND This is a long read, and so worth it. A woman is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Think you’ve read stories like this before? You haven’t. This is why I started taking mandolin lessons. BODY So close. So damn close to being saved. In case you’re having a rough time of it. I might be in love with these Frida boxes and these mugs. Grain bowls, for dinner’s win. SOUL The best obituaries yet. Go to the limits of your longing. SPEAKING UP Explore race with NY Times journalists. WORD “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” ― Robert...

strong offer Friday : come, retreat with me.

I must think more clearly when I am near the sea; all my 2016 and 2017 retreats are planned near water. June 2016 Do you falter when people ask what you do? Do you yourself know your own gifts and how to best live into them? This retreat, Clarify Your Strong Offer, will give you the tools to answer those questions–for yourself and others. Held on beautiful Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest and cohosted with author and artist Mary Anne Radmacher, this small retreat brings the best from our two toolkits to bear on your specific needs. September 2016 This special 5-night retreat focuses on loss and grief. Using my book, The Geography of Loss, as our toolkit, we will explore many different kinds of loss to help us embrace what is, honor what was, and love what will be. You will use writing, silence, and art-making to forge a new journey with loss and grief. Limited to 10. January 2017 Come, write into the New Year by the sea. For women who want to explore healing and discernment. You need not be a writer to come. We will explore healing and discernment through words and silence in this 5-night retreat. Seven spaces remain.  ...

thinking thursday : books, cardamom, anger, dying, presence, and Prince

MIND A story of Meryl Streep‘s strength. What does it mean when we say a book is brave? “I sometimes wonder if what we’re really trying to praise is not the subject matter or the politics or even the aesthetics of the book, but the author’s ability, or even just willingness, to be impolite, to be messy, to be extravagant on the page. A novel can be perfect in its structure, in its logic, in its composure, but the most memorable novels, the most electrifying, are the ones that understand the necessity of imperfection, of ragged edges, of being distasteful, of making mistakes, of being demanding of the reader…. as readers, don’t we read fiction exactly to be upset? A novel, in its truest form, is a questioning of what it means to be human, of what a life is. But what makes it different from, say, a work of philosophical inquiry is, among other things, the way it uses (or misuses, or differently uses) language and, second, the particular sense of discomfiture it can provide.” And then, the art of the short story, the most delicious of forms (to my mind). Mark Haddon on writing the short story: “‘Everything Ravaged’ is not a short story. It is a huge story compressed magically into 20 pages. It convinced me that authenticity had nothing to do with the facts, and it convinced me that the last thing you should do when sitting down to write a short story is to think small.” BODY It’s all about the cardamom. Is there anything better than olive oil cake? Perhaps, but at the moment I can’t think of what it might be. Ships well....

poetry wednesday : come into the presence of still water

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am...