Blog

 

Where I write about writing.

For more of my writing on consciousness, nature and living deliberately, please visit my other blog, Living the Mess.
For professional writing samples, please see my Writing page.

Mythology and Resonant Story Structure

The essence of story is change. In fiction, this usually means that something changes in the protagonist’s circumstances and/or awareness or personality. Think of your favorite novel: If nothing changes, if the protagonist doesn’t transform in one way or another, there’s no story.

Why Transformation Matters

The other day, I saw the above photo in my Facebook feed (photo © Kerry Dixon). “Transformation” is a nebulous word, kind of like “sustainability” was a decade ago. Few people identify their primary field as “transformation.” Rather, it crosses multiple sectors, from...

Storytelling and Transformation

Transformative storytelling is as much about the syntax, the language, the word choice, structure and energy underneath the words as it is about the subject. It also has to do with the state in which writing happens. In transformative writing, all the elements work together to evoke an experience in the reader.

On Transformation, Writing and Naming

“What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.” – David Whyte Language is a paradox. Words are symbols that can never capture the essence of what they point to, yet at this point in our evolution, words are the...

Music as a Teaching

I love music—who doesn’t?—yet it had never occurred to me that music itself could be a teaching, that it could bring people to the place, the experience, that spiritual teachers’ words point to, the transcendence that’s sometimes found in meditation (and often isn’t)....

The Long Darkness of Winter

When I first moved out west, someone told me it takes about three years to get used to the winters. It’s definitely easier than it used to be, but every year, the darkness descends and I have to put more concentration into my emotional well-being.

How Gratitude Changes the Brain

A few years ago, a friend said, “to me, every day is Thanksgiving.” (Except, I’m assuming, without the turkey, stuffing and political fights). At the time, that seemed kind of radical, though after five years of daily gratitude-journal practice, and two years of exchanging nightly “3 gratitude” emails with a friend, I feel the same way. It really is embedded—dare I say wired—into me. Even when I feel crappy, I can always find something good that lifts my mood, if only briefly. That’s the cumulative effect of regular gratitude practice. It rewires the brain.

Doing Less Leads to More

I’ve been firmly in the “stop the glorification of busy” camp since 2012, when my work came to a screeching halt for two years; I discarded all my old assumptions about how we “should” be and began testing out what made me most creative and productive

What Does it Mean to Wake Up?

[Please note: This post is from 2015] Until May 30, Sounds True is offering 30 streaming interviews with spiritual teachers on the subject of awakening. I'm listening to many of them and just basking in the wisdom. I've had multiple moments of recognition, of a-has...

Dealing with Intrusive Thoughts

If you’ve never had an intrusive thought, it’s hard to imagine. These are thoughts that appear, unbidden and undesired, and that (in my experience) are immune to the techniques I usually use to stop

We All Think We’re Right

This is a topic I’ve been percolating for a long time, and it comes from a teaching by Tara Brach in which she says, “The world is divided into people who think they’re right.”

Finding Calm Through Fierce Presence

When I was really having a hard time financially—when I didn’t have money for soap–I realized that, in order to stop the mind from freaking out (and therefore making me feel terrible), I had to be fiercely present.

Getting from Resistance to Acceptance

Resistance, the opposite of acceptance, is a blockage of energy. Think about how we experience tension, anger and worry on a physical level: the stomach feels like it’s in knots; our throats clench; there’s a heaviness in the chest. All of those are blocked energy.

Often, we don’t even realize we’re resisting. Our egos believe

It’s All About Acceptance

If I could have a superpower, I would choose acceptance.

Whether you call it surrender, alignment, The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle), “loving what is” (Byron Katie), Radical Acceptance (Tara Brach), non-resistance or getting in the Vortex (Abraham-Hicks), all the teachings I’ve encountered point to the same bedrock principle: Accept what is in this moment, exactly as it is.

I'm working on a different kind of project right now—if you love cats, you'll love this.Take a look.
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