There is something about the start of a school year that intensifies the idea of what is possible. Fresh chapters and blank pages. Crisp notebooks and new friendships.
This year my middle son headed out to start university away from home and it was overwhelming and beautiful. He’s been ready since birth to spread his wings, so the excitement outweighed any anxious thoughts.
As I moved him in and watched my oldest son work welcome week at his school and my youngest prepare her bag and books, I realized that the whole journey is about one thing. Continue reading
I just finished reading The Covenant of Water by Dr. Abraham Verghese and it was a powerful story. One line that stood out for me was when he wrote, “Fiction is the great lie that tells the truth about how the world lives.”
Fiction is so important in increasing our emotional intelligence as it allows us to live lives we haven’t lived and visit places we’ve never been. With that knowledge comes empathy and the understanding that we are all more alike than different. Continue reading
June is a month of endings and of beginnings. Graduations, proms, the last exam of the year, and the dreaming of things to come. I was listening to Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her podcast Wiser Than Me and she mentioned a poem that her mom, also a poet, shared with her. She said it gives her goosebumps and it did the same for me. It is called First Fall by Maggie Smith. She wrote: Continue reading
I was listening to Julia Louis Dreyfus on her podcast Wiser Than Me and her guest, chef and food writer, Ruth Reichl said something that hit me. She said, “The best advice I have to give anyone. It’s the things that frighten you. Those are the things that you have to do. When something really scares you, you know, you have to do it.”
And that got me thinking about courage. In David Whyte’s book Consolations he writes about courage, “The French philosopher Camus used to tell himself quietly to live to the point of tears, not as a call for maudlin sentimentality, but as an invitation to the deep privilege of belonging, and the way belonging affects us, shapes and breaks our heart at a fundamental level. It is a fundamental dynamic of human incarnation to be moved by what we feel, as if surprised by the actuality and privilege of love and affection and its possible loss. Courage is what love looks like when tested by the simple everyday necessities of being alive.” Continue reading
I’m currently reading The Good Life, a book about the longest longitudinal study on happiness. Eight-four years long and still has an 84% participation rate. And what does the research uncover as the biggest predictor of happiness? Relationships. Of any type. Because connection is everything.
But was that what we thought?
Waldinger and Schultz write, “… for the sake of illustration let’s take a closer look at one emblematic keystone, a persistent cultural assumption, shared among many cultures all over the world, that is not only old but ancient and shows no signs of going anywhere: The foundation of a good life is money.” Continue reading
In Ryan Holiday’s Courage is Calling, he writes, “It’d be wonderful if we cherished our heroes, if we rolled out the red carpet for our creative geniuses. Instead, we put them through the gauntlet. We torture them. We drive them away. Churchill was not only a prisoner of war in his youth, but at the height of his political career he was driven out of public life. His crime? In part, he was right about Germany. No one wanted another war. No one wanted him to be correct about Hitler’s menace. So it was easier to make him go away than to prove him wrong. For nearly ten years Churchill languished at his estate outside London. Or so his enemies thought. In fact, he was reading. He was writing. He was resting. He was making valuable contacts. He was waiting for his moment. ‘Every prophet has to come from civilization,’ Churchill would explain, ‘but every prophet has to go into the wilderness. He must have a strong impression of a complex society… and he must serve periods of isolation and meditation. This is the process by which psychic dynamite is made.’ Continue reading
In Ryan Holiday’s book Courage is Calling he writes, “If we only did what we were sure of, if we only proceeded when things were favourable, then history would never be made. The averages have been against everything that ever happened — that’s why we call it the mean.
We have to remember that these polls, these estimations, these statistical models — these things are static. What they cannot predict for, what they cannot account for, is the individual with agency, the human being who makes events happen rather than simply sitting back and waiting for things to happen to them. Continue reading
I’m currently reading Courage is Calling by Ryan Holiday. He says it’s okay to be scared, but don’t be afraid. Too afraid to act.
He writes, “No rule is perfect, but this one works: Our fears point us, like a self-indicating arrow, in the direction of the right thing to do. One part of us knows what we ought to do, but the other part reminds us of the inevitable consequences. Fear alerts us to danger, but also to opportunity. If it wasn’t scary, everyone would do it. If it was easy, there wouldn’t be any growth in it. That tinge of self-preservation is the pinging of the metal detector going off. We may have found something. Will we ignore it? Or will we dig?” Continue reading
My teen daughter and I were talking about mindset and perspective last weekend. She was on a quest to get a first place in her dance competitions to move up to the next level. Many times over the past ten months she got seconds and thirds and fourths and those days were celebrations. But this past weekend, when she earned a second and a fifth, she was disappointed. We discussed how mindset is everything. If you expect something and don’t receive it, it steals your joy.
We also discussed how the climb is about the little things. Continue reading
My to-read book pile is massive, and I often joke that I have no shelf control. But lifelong learning is my oxygen, so this is also a piece of self-care.
However, I was shocked to hear the name of a book recently that I had never heard of before. And because it is a Pulitzer Prize-winner about psychology, and I have an Honours Psychology degree, I was even more stunned that I wasn’t familiar with it.
Anthropologist Ernest Becker wrote The Denial of Death. As author Mark Manson writes, “it would become one of the most influential intellectual works of the twentieth century, shaking up the fields of psychology and anthropology, while making profound philosophical claims that are still influential today.” Continue reading