On Home Which Is on My Heart

I grew up in Papua, Indonesia, which is not to say I spent my whole childhood there like some of my friends. I was a late arriver — perhaps foreshadowing my lifelong relationship with timing — at age 12 in the coastal town of Sentani where I went to boarding school for the first time. 

Sentani is the place I learned to run barefoot on gravel and spin in hot monsoon rains and slip notes under the the adjoining door to my friend, Liz, during enforced “nap” time. We wrote whole book series plots via underdoor note, nearly all of them starring boy/girl twins stowing away on British ships during the height of the British Empire.  ...  read more

New Plan: It’s OK to Rest

I took the day off yesterday. 

I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel great about it. I detest asking for help because my Lizard Brain believes Not Doing All the Things is  a clear and obvious sign of weakness and is, therefore, the very WORST activity in which I can (not) participate. But I’ve been working lately on a Grand Experiment I’ve creatively named It’s OK to Rest. I’m a firm believer that, if you repeat words to yourself enough times, you’ll begin to think they’re actually true. That’s why I thought I was stupid for so long — also ugly and fat, bless my heart — so I figure if I can use my Awesome Mind Powers for Monumentally Damaging Evil, then I can turn that poop pile around and use it for good.  ...  read more

Kindness Is Messy: So Is Spaghetti, But I Still Recommend It

I gathered my retreat makers together last weekend in a cabin in the high desert of Oregon with snow piled high outside, and we worked on how we might gather humans in 2020 and beyond for rest and respite from our weary world — and how we might convey the message we’re all worthy of infinite love exactly as we already are. We talked about ways to hone our craft. We talked about ways to be authentic, supportive community. And we ate as much as possible at little, local restaurants, braving the icy sidewalks in search of sticky Thai chicken wings and Cuban pulled pork served on fried plantains.  ...  read more

Turns Out, I’m Coffee: Thoughts on Managing Mental Illness

I hit a mental wall last week, on Thursday, at noon. 

I pulled into my driveway after my morning tasks, sent a few urgent texts, crafted my plan for the afternoon which consisted of Too Many Commitments and No Time to Shower, and couldn’t shake the increasing sense of impending doom. It wasn’t a feeling, per se; not an emotion, necessarily. It was more of a physical response. Fight or Flight. Or Freeze. Or, my personal favorite, Fall Apart. My heartbeat was rapid. My breaths were shallow. Everything on my schedule felt overwhelming and unmanageable, as it had for days, and I could acknowledge to myself in the quiet of my car that the mental illness wall was rising, brick by brick, and getting consistently higher. ...  read more

Quick Life Tip: Frosted Mini Wheats with Brown Sugar and Garlic Salt Is Not OK, After All

I had Frosted Mini Wheats with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a dusting of garlic salt today which I initially decided was fine.

It was the usual situation. Four hours after waking up, I decided I ought to feed myself. Some people make themselves and their physical needs a priority, understanding that providing their own bodies with nourishment upon waking allows them to better care for others. I imagine they set their alarms for early in the morning, rise cheerfully before their children, make themselves multi-grain avocado toast or a two-egg omelette, and eat it from an actual plate while sitting at the kitchen table with a dare-I-say hot cup of coffee or bright lemon tea. I can only assume people like that are generally rational and well-adjusted with an appropriate balance of self-care… and that they don’t wake up in a high-strung panic after hitting snooze thirteen times, thinking of all the tasks they must accomplish immediately, or yesterday, or last year, and itemizing the ever-expanding list of people they’ve let down with their lack of follow-through on their Very Good Intentions. ...  read more

On Butting In and Why It’s Important if We Want to Build a Healthy Community

I met a man at 8:27am on Friday — let’s call him Rick — at a hospital where I’d dropped off my sister-in-law for an appointment. I was in the lobby waiting for her and considering the two-story glass and steel flower sculpture suspended from the dome in the ceiling — and, because there’s nothing like an anxiety/depressive disorder to steal joy, wondering how wise such a spectacular, delicate piece will seem after Cascadia, the Grand Earthquake tasked with killing us all, shakes it from its mooring — when Rick appeared on a cell phone call with his adult daughter.  ...  read more

Words Matter. Right Now, Not Mine. The Legacy of MLK, Jr. and Amplifying the Voices of People of Color.

The life, words, and example of Martin Luther King, Jr. matter, and, not unlike Jesus Christ, not a diminished, sanitized, coopted version, either. MLK was a visionary, a revolutionary, a justice-monger, and a pot-stirrer. He sided with people who were powerless, poor, disenfranchised, and marginalized. He was mocked, criticized, and, ultimately, violently slaughtered. It’s popular and pretty to share our favorite quotes by MLK, Jr. in January every year. It’s not very popular to recognize, as a white person, my culpability in supporting the racial power paradigm that persists in America. The truth is sickening and uncomfortable, but it’s the truth nevertheless: if I’m not standing up for justice today, I would not have stood up for justice then. If I’m not marching now, I would not have marched then. If I’m not making the complacent and corrupt in power uncomfortable— and afraid that I will fight tooth and nail with increasing masses to unseat them— then I’m following neither MLK’s example, nor Christ’s.  ...  read more