15 December 2010

Let Your Heart Be Light

A wintry hike can sweep out mental cobwebs
Today on a local radio show, the topic was SAD, that is, Seasonal Affective Disorder.  This disorder describes people who become clinically depressed when it's dark outside.

The beginning of the show (Think Out Loud on OPB) described the disorder from a medical view, but the latter part focused on stories of survival and solution during the dark days of winter.

They all involved Light.

Light is the answer.  Whether lightboxes or candles, a walk outside, or the warmth of the oven, it is light that helps.  Makes sense, since it is its absence that creates the problem.

We give a lot during the holidays -- a lot of our own light.  Even if were are not gift-givers, we are going to parties, talking to friends and family, or even just making a small effort to be more friendly.  All of this can add up to a feeling of overwhelm and depletion.  We want to give, but not to give it all away.

Here are 5 ways to help bring in and keep the light this holiday season:

1.  Enjoy.  Don't just do fun things, enjoy them.  When you feel that sense of too much bustle, make sure to pause and survey your surroundings.  Are you exhausted?  Take a seat, have a beverage, take time while you're at the mall or the bazaar or downtown to sit and do something for yourself. Enjoy the day.

2.  Short-shop.  Have a half hour during the work day when you can steal down to a cute shop for those stocking stuffers?  Do it.  Have an extra hour at the end of the day when you could stop by the bookstore to pick up a few things?  Do it.  Just take the time that you have a do a few things here and there.  They all add up and prevent the last minute frenzy.

3.  Eat.  We all eat during the holidays, sometimes too much.  Be sure to take time for nutritive foods during this time.  4 butter cookies is not lunch.  It can make you feel as full as lunch, but it is not lunch.  Indulge and enjoy, but make sure you are eating good meals, getting good nutrition, and adding in the fun foods as an indulgence.  If you skip lunch so that you can 3 glasses of eggnog tonight, you are not doing yourself any favors.

4.  Take time to feel.  Are you missing someone this holiday season?  Take time to feel the feelings you are having and allow them to be a part of your season.  Take a long walk and allow yourself to reflect on how you are feeling as the year ends.  What is it time to let go of?  What do you need as you move forward?

5.  Laugh.  Whatever holiday you do or do not celebrate, bring in the light with laughter.  Watch a favorite comedy with friends, play games, celebrate.  Laughter gives us energy and shakes us out of old patterns.  Make time for fun and let your heart be light.

04 November 2010

Nothing gold can (or should) stay

Change with the leaves,
turn golden and die.
Death is a blessing,
the mother of the new.

Nature offers the solace of rhythm and change.  The turning into fall is an exciting time -- new weather, new food, memories of the past, adventures to come.

It is an invigorating time to be a therapist...

Fall brings new clients, and new changes for old clients.  It also brings endings.  All of this brings life to my practice; it breathes.

Letting go is infamously hard, but we have to do it -- there is no life without death.  We must release people, expectations, wrongs done to us, rights we think we have done.

A sunny fall day makes me want to walk, and look up, and feel the air on my face. 

While the exhilaration of Spring after a long winter feels like a rescue, Fall feels like coming home.

I hope you are enjoying it too.

08 October 2010

The Simplicity of Change

Beatrice Peltre
I was reading one of my favorite food blogs today, and reflecting on how much this woman and her writing have taught me.  Yes, she creates great recipes, but it's her simple and lovely relationship with food that shines through in her sumptuous posts, and inspires.  Thank you, Bea!

Through her recipes, I have learned basic techniques that I have incorporated into my daily routine of cooking.  Ways to use small amounts of ingredients; the importance of putting thought into how each ingredient in a recipe is seasoned; the joy of lovely presentation; the role of season, gathering, family.  

Wonderful food can be simple.
Simple food can be wonderful.
And little touches make all the difference...

Just like life.  Ah ha!  Always have to connect it in.  But really, life is so often more simple than we think, right?  Our thoughts love to make it complicated and difficult, but problems that loom large can shrink in an instant when seen from another vantage point.  In therapy, I call this "the lever."  

Change often happens slowly, over time, but sometimes one finds the lever.  The lever is that realization, that insight, that bit of permission, that allows us to change, and to realize that it is easy.

The biggest inhibition to change is the idea that we already know what to do. 

I know what to do, I'm just not doing it.

When we say this to ourselves, we give ourselves quite a slap.  What does this mean?  That we're lazy, stubborn, incompetent?  It sounds a lot like a familiar parental strain... 

You know better.

So what?  If we all did what we 'knew better' this world would be filled with entirely different people.  Our journey to live our life to its fullest would not exist.  We would be robotic!

Finding our own unique journey, our own way in the world, is the discovery of true intimacy.  Intimacy with yourself.  And it involves making lots of mistakes.  Lots.

Why are we here?  What is this life about?  These are the questions we need to be asking ourselves everyday.  Not so we can go on a chase, but so that we can live in a place of exploration and receptivity.  So we can experiment, question, wonder.  So we can have an intimate relationship with our own life.

It's fun, I promise.

01 October 2010


The other day I was sitting in my office at the end of the day waiting for K. to be finished with his last patient.  I was laying on my consulting room couch with my feet up, engaged with a book, listening to Friday city sounds.  He saw me and said, "You look relaxed." and I realized that I was.  And thus began some pondering about--and experimenting with--relaxation.

So now here's the weekend, time to relax, and I'm thinking as I write this about what the difference between a relaxing weekend (or day or vacation) and "doing nothing" really is.  Why do we come out of some weekends saying "I feel relaxed" and others saying "I did nothing."

So here are some thoughts:

Relaxation involves -- wait for it -- activity.

Relaxation comes when we are active internally in some way.  Reading a book, sitting by a lake, walking in the forest.  We are not working, but we are also not not doing.  We are relaxing.  We are purposefully engaged in something that has no purpose but our inner pleasure.

So why is relaxation different than distraction?  Aren't we feeding inner pleasure through distraction?  I don't think so.

Too much distraction leads to a kind of out-of-body experience in our own life.  I believe that we need grounding in our life, right here, right now, today, in order to feel good.

What distracts?

TV, Internet, movies



What relaxes?

Unscheduled time spent sitting and listening to beautiful music
Reading a good book
Taking a long walk
Doing something else that is, for you, special

So now I'm off to work on it this weekend, to continue to work at my relaxation research.  It's a tough business.

17 September 2010

Shut the Laptop: one very simple way to improve your relationship

Feeling disconnected in your relationship? Anxious?  Depressed?

Here's a suggestion: unplug.

This weekend, why not put on some music, pour a glass of wine or tea, and just sit and talk or think or read. Rediscover the person you love and cherish! (You or someone else...)

Whether you are single or in a relationship, truly leisurely, directionless time to just be and reflect is so important.  We need it to recharge, dream, and connect with others.   

This type of time does not happen when our primary relationship is with the internet.

When we are sitting on a device, we may think that we are in the room with other people, but we are not.

Think of it this way: every time you reach for your computer or phone, you are leaving the room.

When you find yourself reaching to check that [insert device of choice here], think to yourself, "Is this really what I want to be doing right now?"

Here are some suggestions for unplugging (this goes for phones, too!):
1. Turn off automatic email notification

2. Set a time when you go on the Internet for how long you want to be on the computer. When the timer rings, turn off your computer.

3. Resist the temptation to check everything every five minutes. Do what you need to do when you need to do it. Set aside time for your internet activities, and then engage in your life outside of the screenworld.
What to do instead of looking at a screen:
1. Cook a meal

2. Make a snack

3. Have a conversation

4. Give someone you love a foot rub

5. Listen to music -- dance to music!

6. Read a book

7. Leaf through a magazine

8. Plan an adventure.

9. Think about the future
and on and on...

Sounds like a vacation, eh?

Good luck with having a cozy, unplugged weekend!

10 September 2010

On Dreams

What are dreams? Are they important? If they are not, why do we feel like they are? As in, "I had the strangest dream last night, I wonder what it means..."

We know that these fantastical, scary, beautiful, experiences we have at night have meaning for us, but we don't always know how to access it. 

Dreams are a vital part of daily living. They give information about the future, about ourselves, about destiny.

Here's a few ideas for beginning a dream journal, the key to having a relationship with your own dream life:

1. Buy a journal, doesn't have to be big and fancy. Something medium-sized and thin works well for me. I have a few I like featured in my Amazon Store. I really like Moleskine and Clairefontaine products.

2. When you go to bed at night, take a moment to set your intention to remember your dreams.

3. When you wake up--either at night or in the morning--write down whatever is in your mind, it could be a color, a person, or an entire dream

As you do this more and more, your dream recall will increase, and you'll begin to see themes and patterns.

Our dreaming life is a place of beauty and truth. Enjoy your journey!

07 September 2010

Civility -- Lost Art or Loss of Connection?

I read today that Steven Slater, the Jet Blue flight attendant who left his job with a seemingly whimsical leap down the yellow airplane emergency slide--beers in hand--will undergo a mental health evaluation as part of his plea deal for the events of that day. Mr. Slater, it appears, had been under some stress.

When the story first broke, almost everyone I encountered was exuberant about Mr. Slater's courageous exit, his f-you to his job and to the rudeness of a particular passenger. And I felt it too. How many of us have wished that on our last day at a detested job we too had had a slide for our exit, had taken control in that way, spoken our mind, said what's true. It seems so heroic, romantic even.

But Mr. Slater obviously, to use a clinical term, flipped out a bit. He has been under tremendous personal stress and the final straw arrived that fateful day in the form of a "rude passenger". Even though we are much more likely to have been in her shoes as a passenger, none of us relate to her, we all feel for Steven.

But what if she had been the one who, in the face of a rude steward and a full plane, had jumped out of her seat, taken the drink cart by storm, deployed the slide and said "to hell with this!" over the intercom. Then she might have been the one cheered as all of us related to her as she was frustrated--as we all have been--by perceived bad customer service, long flights, small seats. It's all a matter of perspective. And our perspective is skewed by who we think we are, and who we wish we could be.

In my experience as a therapist, one thing overrides all others: we are hardest on ourselves. And when that doesn't immediately show, when we seem harder on others, chances are it is because we are so hard on ourselves that we can barely speak of it. At the heart of this is the fear that we are different from everyone else: everyone else has it figured out, they are fine, they are making it, they are doing great.

This delusion is one reason we love a good celebrity free fall. We want to look away from the unsightliness of it all, but part of us feel reassured, "See, she wasn't perfect, he doesn't have everything."

But, as much as we like to think of ourselves as separate, when we work to understand ourselves and truly enter into the heart of our own life, we discover the rest of humanity there too. We lose the tendency to think that we are fatally flawed and different and outcast. We see that suffering is universal, as is redemption and compassion. And in this discovery is freedom.

My heart goes out to Steven Slater. And to that passenger. May we remember that we are both of them. Our ability to relate to and judge others comes from one thing: our knowledge of ourselves. We cannot see something in someone else that we do not have inside of us. We are both exasperated employee and rude customer; villain and hero. And we all get a little stressed from time to time.

A great opinion piece about the Steven Slater incident inspired my musing today:
The Lost Art of Simple Courtesy

01 September 2010

Courage friends, courage!

Courage is key. Fear is what holds us back, what tricks us into believing when we shouldn't, or not-believing when we should. Fear is the bogey man, the one who holds us captive.

Fear affects everyone, so dealing with it is a major concern of the therapeutic process. One of the major influences on my practice is a man named James Bugental. He articulated beautifully the process of overcoming the fear of actually being with ourselves.

James Bugental wrote many books about the process of therapy, emphasizing that therapy holds the possibility of teaching us how to be with ourselves, not just know about ourselves.

It takes time, patience, and courage to be present with oneself, to face the things that have been lurking. In that process, issues we thought we had put away can suddenly surface quickly; or there are themes we begin to notice about where our mind goes when we feel certain emotions.

This is the exciting part of therapy, whether individual or couples: discovery. It is what keeps the process alive, fresh, inspiring, and life-affirming.

I really enjoy the books of Paulo Coelho for this reason. His books stir the heart, encourage courage, and affirm life. This is what I strive to do in my work with clients, and hopefully I get there sometimes.

21 July 2010

What we share

I noticed today that I follow and read a lot of blogs written by people who do not live where they were born; I am fascinated by the ex-pat, it would seem. One of my very favorites is written by a French woman who lives in the United States. And though I have a feeling that her blog would be just as beautiful if she were living in her native France, I wonder if she would have ever come to write it.

It seems to me that blogs often serve as a kind of travel log, and for many they have turned life into a journey, or allowed it to redeem itself back into one. I do love a good food blog, but the ones I enjoy most involve narrative, discovery, and the delight--on the part of the writer--of finding something new.

Longing to get away, be away, run away, is a symptom of burnout, or the result of it, or both. When we feel down, stuck, or aren't feeling at all, our minds (very naturally) turn to wondering what is the trouble.

Do I need to find a new job? I really, do, actually, dislike my house/city/car/partner. Something needs to change! But what is it? If I could only figure it out...

This effort to "figure out" what's wrong is the hallmark of being stuck in our minds. When we are trying to use the very thing that has us stuck to figure out how to get unstuck, we are truly in the labyrinth. And not the good kind.

Rather than trying to figure something out, writing about life, whether in a blog, letter, or journal entry, can be very therapeutic. It brings to life perspective, helps us see what is happening from a different vantage point, and encourages us to highlight the positive. Which is what therapists try to get their clients to do every day!

The bloggers I really enjoy write about the celebrations of life, post pictures of what they're most proud of, focus on what feels good and true in their life. I have to remember as I read them, though, that these folks are just folks, and that what I am seeing is not them, but the things about their life and self that they love most. It is so easy to get caught up in making someone you admire a super-human when they are not. No one is!

So the next time you are reading a blog and perhaps simultaneously enjoying it and muttering under your breath about how 'of course it's great to live in beautiful french village' remember that a blog is not a whole person, it is what they are choosing to share. And chances are, it is a way in which they are enriching and dealing with their own life. Which is a human life, full of folly and foibles, pain, disappointment, and the days where things just don't go right. Just like the rest of us!

14 June 2010

Winng the Lottery

What is work and what is not work are questions that perplex the wisest of men.

    ~The Bhagavad-Gita
We live in difficult times.

Sigh.  Oh yes, we do.

Financial woes, environmental disaster, existential angst.  What's an American to do?

Win the lottery! Yes, that is an excellent solution.  Ha ha.  Shrug, sigh.  Seen any good movies lately?

What?  Is this the best solution we can come up with?  C'mon, we're Americans!  We can do better than that.  I have a solution, and it's good for your mental health, too:


Yes, work.  Work!

Instead of waiting, wondering, and complaining: let's just get down to work and working and digging into our own lives.  A victory garden for every mind and heart!  Yes.

Ah, but it is so easy, so easy right there to feel overwhelmed.  I don't want to, damnit!  I can't.  I won't.  It won't matter.  If I could just win the lottery.... ha ha.... shrug.  Have you watched any good shows on Hulu lately?

Wait wait wait.  What is it exactly that we need?  How can we be so sure we don't have it?

More.  More resource, more time, just a little more, just enough, just until, just more!

More.  BP wanted more, too. What kinds of sacrifices do we make everyday in the name of needing more?  Are we sure that more is the key?

We assume that with this more will come happiness (we wouldn't want it otherwise).  I need more!

We tire of work.  I'm burned out.  But are we truly working?  What is it to work? What is the American dream?  Is it a folly, a delusion, a pastime?

Or is there something to "pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps" and just getting down to it; to forgetting about why and how and if and when, and just working because it is in that very action, that process, that we find identity, fulfillment, and peace.

The American dream has been defined in many ways: a house, two kids, a car, a picket fence, an iphone, whatever.   But I believe it has to do with the freedom to work, and the inner freedom that comes with that.  With the freedom to be responsible for one's own life, and to live out the fruits or follies of that life--not for wealth necessarily, but for self.  For the experience of being alive.

Someone else said it better:
    You have the right to work, but for the work's sake only.

    You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working. Never give way to laziness, either.

     Perform every action with your heart fixed on the Supreme Lord. Renounce attachment to the fruits.

    Be even tempered in success and failure; for it is this evenness of temper which is meant by yoga.

   Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. Seek refuge in the knowledge of Brahman. They who work selfishly for results are miserable.
                                                                       ~Bhagavad-Gita Mahabharata
This isn't about having a job and working nine to five.  Work is whatever is before you in your day.  It is your life--let's live!  Let's work.

28 May 2010


Even as the rain continues, and continues, and continues, and Spring teases us like the guy in high school who glanced and smiled and never said hi, I feel especially hopeful today. 

Last Saturday, I went to a workshop led by Bob Edelstein, my clinical supervisor and mentor.  I have worked with Bob for 3 years now, but I always learn something new in his presence.  His passion for what he does is something to behold.  Passion!  I left the workshop on Saturday evening feeling reinvigorated for the work that I do with my clients; excited for the process.

Bob always brings humor, candor, and a kind of simplicity to a difficult process.  "What would Bob do right now?" flits through my mind many times during a work week. When I have the chance to ask him, I am always surprised and inspired by the answer.

I also had fun.  On Sunday I went to see Robin Hood with K.  Not a great movie, but a really fun movie.  Beautiful English countryside, solid actors (Cate Blanchett!), and a timeless story. 

And "Lost."  Ah yes.  I have been a devoted fan for 5 of the 6 seasons.  I began watching because K. was working on Tuesday evenings, and it stuck.  The finale was great, entertaining, and fun.  And it made me think.  And search the internet for what other people thought.  And think some more.

I also met some challenges this week.  As I do every week.  If we expect life not to challenge us, oh crap, we are in trouble.  Some of these challenges involved work, some friends, some simple circumstances.  But I dealt with them and moved on.  What can I call that?  Action!

And I had some great conversations, both in session and out.  I connected with others, shared ideas, relaxed and enjoyed.  I allowed the presence of fellow human beings to influence and change me.  I connected.

So, a full week.  A week full of learning, thinking, feeling, action, and connecting.  A week, in many ways, like most weeks.  But more... noticed, felt, experienced.   May hope and remembrance fill your weekend!

20 May 2010

The Food Issue

It has been consistently documented, talked about, and encouraged.

Every newspaper and magazine with anything to do with health addresses it continually.

Beyond the already difficult body-image issues that Americans struggle with, we know that eating is related to mood: good nutrition is essential to mental health.

Is it really a surprise?

Food is essential to the life of our body.  How could it not be related to our mood?

Eating good food is one of the great pleasures of life.  How could a lack of this not make us feel like something was missing?

For years, I myself have struggled with this.  Even though I have always loved to cook.  I have gone through many food phases.  Raw food, vegetarian, ending last year with the "giving up" phase.  I had resigned myself, at the tender age of 34, to the fact that because I would never a) run or b) go to the gym regularly, I would never be "fit."

And I couldn't imagine that I would ever have time to cook "good meals" with my busy schedule and later evening working hours.

But I was frustrated by how I felt. I went home in the evening with headaches all the time.  I wasn't in shape enough to enjoy the outdoors like I used to.  And it was all making me very sad.  Something had to give.  And it did.

Two people changed it all.  Well three, if you count me.

The first was my wonderful health coach, Katie Decker.  I worked with Katie twice a month for 6 months.  I committed to change.  I kibitzed, I complained, I celebrated.  She listened.   Katie is a wonderful coach, beautiful person and friend.   A good coach at the right time can be just what you need.

And then, I finally bought and read the book I'd been eying for years: French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. I was at the airport after a trip to see my beautiful little sister in San Diego.  She was looking and feeling so good, and I wanted some of that.  I saw that book and something clicked.  The next day it was on its way from Amazon. 

I read FWDGF over the course of 2 days.  By the second day, I was eating breakfast--something I have always struggled with--and haven't stopped.  I began cooking at home, eating delicious food, drinking water, going on the long walks I had always loved, the list is endless.

If you choose to read it, do as Mireille says, give it time.  Read the whole thing.  Let it sink in.

For whatever reason, this book gave me permission to live life in the way that feels good to me.  No spandex or big sweats (unless I'm hiking someplace magnificent!).  Just a good 20 minute walk everyday, and 3-4 hikes up the 8 flights of stairs to my office every week. 

I work in downtown Portland and discovered that I spent every week day in the best walking neighborhood in Portland.

I began to see possibility all around me.  Good food seemed possible, fun, and I was losing weight and feeling good.

Next weekend it will have been one year since that fateful reading.  I'm celebrating that by coming out of the FWDGF closet.  It changed my life, maybe it could change yours.  I've recommended it to a few clients like a secret, as if as a therapist I should be above such things.

But a good therapist is never above what helps--why should I be?

To your health!

14 May 2010

All Over Again

Here it is, Friday all over again.  Today in Portland, it is gorgeous, glorious, sunny, beautiful, perfect outside.  The city heaves with the wonder of it.  Everyone talks about the weekend, dreams of green grass, vegetables, and summer.

The longing for sun and its appearance in May is part of the cycle of the seasons here.  Truly.  Every year I remember this.  "Oh yeah, it will be sunny and warm and then cold again after Memorial Day, and everyone will be sad, and then it will get hot in July"  That's how it usually goes.

Yet every year we all wait for it as if it will never come.  And hold onto it as if we could.  And forget about the cycle.  Understanding the cycle, though, is where it's sweet.

This is true about our own lives, no?  When we recognize our cycles, we are able to stay more sane as they move through us.  Without cycles, we would not be alive.  This is the nature of the seasons.

In September, the evening air is cool with death, and the beginnings of winter.  But now, the evening air is cool with the warmth of summer in its breath.  And we wait, and it will come.  And then go again.

30 April 2010

The Passing of Alice Miller

I'm embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Alice Miller until her passing this week.

Alice Miller was a trained psychoanalyst who pioneered the concept that children are deeply shaped by the way in which they are parented...

This is a reality I see in my office everyday.

You can read the obituary in the New York Times here.

Or look at her website here.

She was an artist, too...

I think her work has lost mainstream prominence as we struggle to understand how to both feel what we need to feel, to honor the soul and self, and also to let go of anger and hatred.

This is one of the challenges of the work of self-discovery, whether done alone or in therapy... feel, let go.... feel, let go.... feel, let go...
It is process, work, a beautiful thing.  There is an emphasis now on "brief" or "short-term" therapy.  But change takes time, and insight grows, and ebbs and flows.  

23 April 2010

Recipe for stillness...

The mysteries of why we say and do what we say and do are never-ending.
This very fact, I suppose, is part of why I enjoy what I do everyday so much. I listen, I explore, I discover. I am allowed to witness so much of the human experience.
I watch the layers of who we think we are, who we've been told we are, lift, slough. I get to experience newness.

Finding the new is a journey. You stop, slow down, let go. And then you're there...

When we feel out of control, it feels like we can't or shouldn't find it. Like we are abandoning all of our responsibilities. But worry and responsibility are not the same thing. Right action emanates from calm.
And calm is found through effort, faith, and hope.
Happy Weekend!

05 April 2010

Facing Forward

I've been thinking a lot about depression lately, how to battle the symptoms, how to find the root causes and issues within the unique experience of each person. We become depressed when we stop giving ourselves permission to live, to simply be who we are. Our life spirit cannot thrive if we continually question it.

For some, this becomes a feeling of defeat and impossibility. For others, that feeling gets pushed away and is replaced by anger and rage, cynicism. But at the heart of the issue is often the existential question of "Who am I to think I could be happy?"

We begin looking for the answer to this by searching for our life partner, vocation, or "passion". But who are we? We are the person that gets up and lives or does not live the life that is in front of us. We are defined by what we do with today.

There is a time to hunker down, lay low, and rest. Fatigue and exhaustion are real things, and we need to take care of ourselves when we have pushed to hard. But when we are staying home, watching others live their lives on a screen, because we do not want to face the world, this is when it is so important that we do.

And we don't have to figure it all out today. Just get dressed, get out of the house, and do one thing. You don't even have to know what that one thing is when you leave. Take a leisurely walk through a favorite part of town. Go to a bookstore. Take a long slow journey through the isles of the grocery store. Allow yourself to live.

This may not get you out of the water, but consider it something to hold onto in the storm.

15 March 2010

Spring, blossoms, sun, it's grand

Spring is here. The farmer's market downtown begins this weekend, and I find myself taking more walks everyday. You can't help but notice, too, the new food around. Different greens, fewer apples, small signs of a new season blossoming. There is a different shine to the world on these early spring days.

I was born in the Spring and always love its arrival. Green grass, time outside, and the promise of summer. Each day unfolds and goes by so fast, especially as I'm getting older. I remember when it seemed like so long before summer would come, as we waited and waited. Now it seems like it's almost here before spring even gets started.

One way I slow down is to walk and allow the unexpected in. Serendipity is something that is both present and lost in our new age of information, reviews, yelp, and i-phones. We may never have to eat at a bad restaurant again, but we may also fail to discover our favorite ever. What is the role of mystery and discovery in life? What is the value of visiting the unknown?

I think of all the books I have bought because I was in a certain place at a certain time. How they remind me of that when I see them on a shelf. It's a different experience than ordering one online and getting exactly what you wanted. Because I don't know if we always know best what we want. Sometimes (often) our desires are ephemeral fantasies, mirages that were never there to begin with.

19 January 2010

New Look for 2010

A new look for 2010, and a few changes. How is 2010 going for you? It definitely feels like a new year. Here in Portland, it has been so warm lately that it feels like spring! But that is temporary, most likely.

The new year brings hope, disappointment, and thoughts of the future. It's a great time to take stock and look ahead to how you want to live your life this year. The sense of a "New Year" may seem trite or artificial, but is it really? Here is another cycle of the same dates, the same seasons, but a different year. What do you regret about last year? And don't answer "I didn't exercise enough."! Think big. What is something you did not do every day of last year that you are going to do this year? It could be as simple as breathing deep.

And eating well always helps too...
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