Taking Back Hope

Taking Back Hope

I’ve been thinking about hope… and believe it or not, plastic straws!

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope.” — Noam Chomsky

I was friggin’ furious.

The floorboards shook as I stomped around the kitchen making my morning cup of tea.

“He’s selling what???!!!” I seethed. “That is the most ridiculously irresponsible…” I stuttered to a wordless stop. I was practically panting with rage.

What, you might wonder, was causing me, pre-caffeine at eight in the morning, to froth like a venti cappuccino? (more…)

What the Animals Tell Us

What the Animals Tell Us

Before there were plants, there were animals.

Okay, that statement is totally false in the cosmic sense, but ridiculously true in my personal experience.

Family myth has it that the first word out of my mouth was “horsey.” For years I thought my love of horses was a weird genetic anomaly, maybe harkening back to some long lost ancestor who rode with the Mongolian horde (my mother’s side of the family immigrated from the Russian side of the Mongolian border, which was close enough to Mongolia for my teenage imagination).

But it turned out that our horse-loving lineage was closer than any of us thought: as a girl, my grandmother would steal her dad’s work horse which pulled the ice cart he used to deliver blocks of ice (back when ice boxes really were boxes that held a huge chunk of ice to keep your food cool). When great-granddad came home for lunch, my grandmother would unhitch the horse, hop up bareback, and ride unhindered through the streets of Philadelphia. When lunch break was over, my grandmother’s brothers would run through the streets calling her name; she’d give the horse back, and with it, give up her few moments of freedom.

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Reaction Mode, YIKES! Sit, Sip, Breathe.

Reaction Mode, YIKES! Sit, Sip, Breathe.

“Trust yourself. Listen to your inner voice.”

You’ve probably heard this advice from your mom, your yoga teacher, your crystal-wearing neighbor, and countless people on social media (don’t get me started on flippant social media advice!).

Even if this deep intuitive connection with your inner-self flows easily when you’re on a silent retreat or doing a weekend of journey-work, it’s still hard to tap into when the dog won’t stop barking, the baby won’t stop crying, and the car next to you at the traffic light is blaring one of those ba-boom, ba-boom bass lines.

Modern life is loud: it’s hard to hear your own thoughts, let alone the quiet whispers of your heart.

If you’re thinking I don’t remember how to tap into my intuition, then I have a secret for you:
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My Favorite “Secret:” Your Life’s Purpose is Not Your Job Title

My Favorite “Secret:” Your Life’s Purpose is Not Your Job Title

Graduation is a few days away and classes are over for the year.

(Yup, this is a flashback. If Oprah ever asks if every word is true, I won’t be able to say for certain. Memories soften, get a little fuzzy, and are often sweeter in the re-telling.

Truth? Oprah scares me. I once saw her interview a memoirist and ask if every word was accurate. Accuracy and memory are, at best, fraternal twins.

But I digress…)

Lying prone on a hillside in the arboretum, the grass pokes through the cotton blanket, tickling my stomach. (This was before Lyme Disease became part of my consciousness, back when I laid on the ground with abandon, worrying only about an occasional ant.) The scent of barbecue, beer, and Johnson’s Baby Oil (yup, pre-SPF, too) overpowers the whispers of wild honeysuckle and pine from the woods below.

Conversation drifts round my circle of friends. We speculate on post-college life and who each of us will be when we “grow up.”

Before long we’ve identified two teachers, an accountant, a social worker, an advertising exec, and a P.T.A. mom. The tone is light with the sweet notes of women who know each other well, who see each other’s souls, and can fish gems of truth from the depths of self. As each truth emerges, sparkling, a bit of soul-light shines on us all. (more…)

Vision Quests, Secret Societies, and Solving the Mysteries of the Universe

Vision Quests, Secret Societies, and Solving the Mysteries of the Universe

Most of my teens and twenties (and some of my thirties, too) were spent searching for someone to teach me the mysteries of the universe.

I pictured a manuscript buried in the rare books room of a library in Oxford or Cambridge; or an underground society dedicated preserving the spiritual wisdom of ancient seekers; or maybe some Indiana Jones style adventure which would prove to the Powers That Be that I was worthy of being let in on The Secret. Words like “initiation” and “vision quest” would perk my ears, but ultimately, each trail led to the next dead end.

Sound familiar? (more…)

The Sacred Pause: a Simple Way to Step into Daily Magic

The Sacred Pause: a Simple Way to Step into Daily Magic

“Do you have daily rituals?”

Sitting together in her car after our first lunch “date,” my newest friend popped the dreaded question: How do you stay so grounded? Do you have daily rituals?

I cringed. I’m a Gemini, after all— we don’t do daily anything except breathe, and even that is optional. But when you do the type of work I do in the world (back me up on this acupuncturists, massage therapists, and earth mammas) there are perceptions to either live up to… or not.

They go kind of like this:

You wake up at 5:30 AM to meditate.

You say 3 things that you’re grateful for before going to bed at night… every night.

You never eat without a prayer.

You’re vegan (or vegetarian or paleo depending on what the pre-conceiver thinks is the “right” diet).

You smile beneficently when someone treats you horridly.

You focus on the positive and only see the good in everyone, especially the person who just rear-ended you and is proceeding to scream both at you and some poor soul on the other end of his cell phone. No, you don’t maul him with your super wit. You smile beneficently, picture him in the light, and send out prayers for his highest good.

Aaaaarrgghh! (more…)