I am addicted to Snickers bars. It started as a tribute to my aunt. She died not long after Thanksgiving last year. When she was first diagnosed with cancer, the doctors suggested she might have five years. She lived fourteen more. I am still in awe of her fortitude. I envied her sense of place.
The Wisdom of Loneliness: Rediscovering a well of compassion
I kill plants. I don’t set out to do this. I doubt anyone does. But still they die. To my surprise, this summer my son and I decided to turn a patch of weeds in front of our building into a garden. I let him pick flowers to honor his birth-mama and his birth-papa.
Back to Me: Accepting the invitation to be still
I am running hard down the sidewalk. Street after street after street. Desperately searching for my car so much so that my heart is pounding when I wake up. In my dream, I am running away. From what I do not know. I have a plan, but it gets foiled somehow. I understand, in only […]
Fertile Ground: Finding forgiveness in ourselves
Once as I was listening to a homeless woman tell me her story, I felt the walls start to close in on me. We were sitting in a tiny windowless office at the social service agency where I volunteered to serve breakfast. Claire washed dishes for them. She was petite, not more than five feet […]
Allowing Mystery: How to turn anger into compassion
I believe in mystery, especially the everyday variety that opens our hearts. Right before I went into business for myself, I took a position at an institution of higher learning renowned for its cutting edge research and Nobel laureates. More than a few people suggested that by accepting this job I had somehow reached the pinnacle of my career (at the ripe age of 32).
One Day: How our missing pieces find us
I said good-bye to the home I grew up in. I cleaned out every closet. I threw out my high school planners and parted ways with paper after paper from undergrad. I laughed out loud as I read the notes my best friend and I passed back and forth in eighth grade—then I tossed them […]
Making Room for Transcendence: The art of acceptance and letting go
“Poof.” That’s what we call it in our home. My son learned to “poof” when he was five years old. I could see how he was worrying about things that he wished he had not done. I recognized the same in myself. So, I decided that after we talk through and allow our mistakes, as well as make our amends, we put our fingers up to our temples and count: “One, two, three, poof.” Then our jazz hands make it all go away.
Listening: How stories show us the presence of God
His mom was once homeless, but you would never know. In a blue Superman t-shirt with a tiny red cape Velcro-ed to his shoulders, he races back and forth across the lecture hall, tirelessly, his giggle trailing behind him. The wonder in his two-year old eyes is contagious.
The Gift of Silence: Making room for its healing alchemy
My dream came back, the one where I am drowning. How it happens keeps changing. The first time, I was both on land and in the water (as only in dreams), watching myself sink and disappear out of view. I remember feeling terribly helpless. The next time I went under, I stared out into the […]
New Births: Waiting in anticipation
“Wait for it,” was what that voice deep inside of me said. “Just wait for it.” I was sitting with my ten-year old nephew at a Chicago Bulls game some time ago. I’d gotten the tickets for free and was feeling like the super-cool aunt when I offered to take him with me. He was […]