Browsing Tag

Strength

— Life —

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Last weekend I attended a yoga weekend at a holistic retreat house. They had lots of snow, and I decided to join the group for snowshoeing. I’ve not been snowshoeing before, but the others were novices too, and the woman leading us seemed to survive on nothing but kale. How strenuous could it be?

Pretty freaking strenuous, as it turned out.

As we clomped over bumpy terrain and pulled ourselves up the top of the ski hill, using trees as handgrips, I was quite proud of myself for keeping up. We’d been doing a lot of yoga and my glutes were barking, but the scenery made it all worthwhile.

When we came to a fork in the woods, she explained we could take the path to the left and start heading back, or do a longer loop with some beautiful views

I was not sure what to do, so I paused. Seeing my hesitation, she said, with a voice imbued with wisdom, “You should never hate your life.”

I looked at her for a moment, not fully understanding what she meant.

“If you take the trail back to the house, you won’t hate your life,” she clarified. “If you take the longer trail, you might.“

I decided to take the shorter trail back. I did not want to hate my life. I returned to the house to drink tea by the fire.

How often do we opt for the longer trail instead of the shorter one and end up hating the process?

I spent most of last year working on a novel about a woman trapped in suburbia, which highlights how awful people can be. The novel itself is not bad, but the writing process was draining. It dredged up too many things from my past, making me relive the most painful parts of my life whenever I wrote. I realized, as I came to the book’s conclusion, that I was writing more and more slowly. The truth was, I dreaded the idea of spending the next year being my book’s best cheerleader, driving the sales, marketing and publicity efforts needed to birth a book. God forbid it was a success: I’d never break free from the thing.

I hated the idea of all of it, but still felt compelled to press forward for the sake of pressing forward. I pride myself on never quitting anything. Throughout my life, I’ve finished academic programs I didn’t like, stayed in relationships that made me miserable and worked far too long in jobs that chipped away at my soul. I don’t give up, even when it does me harm. I always take the longer trail.

When our snowshoeing guide spoke those words – “you should never hate your life” – it felt like divine counsel. It felt like permission to get off the path that was no longer serving me well. In that moment, I made the decision to abandon my work and to move forward with another project: one that is more healing.

This year give yourself permission to take the shorter trail. You never want to hate your life.

 

 

— Life —

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The United States of America was built on Freedom: Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom to cast our votes for leaders and laws that align with our beliefs. When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution, they didn’t list every possible “inalienable right,” but Americans have always believed those rights included the right to think freely.

We cannot sanctify violence and rioting against people and property because there’s a conservative—or a liberal—speaking at the podium or living next door.

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— Life —

This month we’re reading Caroline Leavitt’s Cruel Beautiful World, one of the best received books of 2016. This book, about two sisters in the turbulent late-1960s, is about how family ties are formed and broken. While it covers big topics such as loss, grief, and domestic abuse, it’s also very readable and a popular choice for book clubs this year. It recently won The Pulpwood Queens Book of the Year. I had a chance to interview the author, who also wanted to give us more of a book club experience, recorded a video explaining some of her own backstory and why she felt the need to write this book.

Q. Many of the themes in this book seem timeless. What drove your decision to set this book in the late 1960s? Continue Reading

— Life —

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It’s a new year, time to focus on your plan for a successful 2017—a time to dream big, set new priorities and go forward with confidence, new ideas and energy. The problem with goal-setting is we lose steam by spring (if not sooner), and our good intentions are replaced by busyness and self-sabotage. For many of us, like Sara Cornell, it’s easier to start the year with no resolutions at all.

What sets successful people apart from those who stall out early in the game is living with a “success mindset.” Here are seven essentials for setting yourself up for victory instead of defeat.

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— Life —

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From the time I was a baby I’ve loved the moon. My parents told stories of me standing in my crib, slapping the wall in the middle of the night and calling out, “Where’d the moon go? Where’d the pretty moon go?”

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— Life —

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This afternoon I found myself thinking that the bronze beads in my new shower are a lot like life. If each major life event we encounter stands for one bronze bead, and each bead threads itself alongside the last hard formed, hard-earned bead, by the time we’re a certain age, we’ve created—within us—a chain of strength and endurance that helps us do anything.

The hardest part of life isn’t finding ourselves at the downward slope of a bead, but climbing up to create the next bead in our chain.

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— Life —

toasting over dining table with grilled meat and seafood
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I just received a compliment, and rather than taking the compliment to heart, “Yeah, but… ” was the first thing that came out of my mouth! Why did I do that? Oh, you do that, too?

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— Life —

They used to call me Snow White, but I've drifted... Photographed in my bathroom that's been gutted.
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Today I unpacked seven, cardboard wardrobe boxes that have been in storage for 10 years. I just thought it would be an easy process, and I’d move on to the other 44 unpacked boxes. Instead, I tried on old clothes of mine, mother’s, James’s… even my first husband’s, while Sam and Molly watched and sniffed with great interest. So many memories…

Mark Twain said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” I wonder what he would say about my Snow White “gone bad” outfit?

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— Life —

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Three years ago I lost 18 pounds. In some circumstances this would be an exciting thing, but in my case it was not. I’m of the school that women (people?) fall into two basic categories: those who eat their emotions and those who starve them away. I fall into the latter category. Continue Reading

— Life —

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This week’s election results shocked America because most of us didn’t see it coming. One Facebook friend said she was “surprised Hilary lost, but even more surprised by how completely out of touch with my country I am.” She and her friends kept saying, “We live in a bubble.” While her statement is one of such profundity, we need to be asking, how did this happen? Where did this bubble come from? One of the most glaring root causes is a biased media.

The American mainstream media has lied to us, thereby creating a wall between friends and family and a space where Donald Trump is now our President-Elect.

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