Two Simple Steps to a Sane Holiday Season

Two Simple Steps to a Sane Holiday Season

“Rule number one: Don’t be an asshole,” I announced.

Two hundred people tittered and my teaching assistant hopped up to write Don’t Be An Asshole in big letters on the white board.

In the past few years, the conference I taught at had become a force for social justice issues. The inadvertent side effect was that leading a class there had become a bit like walking through the Fire Swamp in The Princess Bride: one wrong word could erupt a deadly geyser of virulence, and once there was an eruption, it was tough to get the class’s focus back on topic. “Don’t be an asshole” was meant to give me something to point to if I misstepped, a tool to help me get the class’s attention back: “Oops! I broke the first rule. I’m so sorry,” or “hey, remember the first rule?” It was a way to get eyes back on me. What I didn’t realize was that it would quickly become a mantra for the weekend, with people leaving my class reminding each other “Don’t be an asshole!”

We all have assholic moments (even if you meditate, do yoga three times a week, and center and ground daily). The more stressed we are, the greater the chance we’re going to erupt. (more…)

Brownies, Bird Remedies, and Other Things That Obviously Don’t Belong in a Blog Post

Brownies, Bird Remedies, and Other Things That Obviously Don’t Belong in a Blog Post

A long time ago in a city far away…

I took a writing workshop with Tom Robbins (if you haven’t read Tom Robbins, stop reading this and go download Jitterbug Perfume. I promise you won’t be disappointed).

Since it was a while back, I’m running fast and loose with Tom’s exact phrasing. Essentially, he told us that the job of a writer is to connect disparate things, like a Twinkie and Jupiter, or the chiming of a grandfather clock and a swallow’s mad dash through the barn eaves.

This blog post may not succeed in corralling that kind of connection. In fact, I suspect it will be a bit like brownies pulled from the oven too soon— warm and gooey and yummy… but not quite brownies. If you need it all wrapped up neatly at the end, this is your chance to hop off: the ride may get a bit… elusive… from here. (more…)

House Hunting in Mercury Retrograde

House Hunting in Mercury Retrograde

Warning! Warning! Mercury’s gone Retrograde!

You’ve heard the Mercury Retrograde warnings: don’t get in a fight with your boss, don’t get in a fight with your spouse, don’t get in a fight with your mom (in fact, if you’re feeling fight-y, give yourself a time out in a cave high in the Himalayas), don’t sign contracts, and be sure to wear a hat, ’cause your computer’s bound to implode and get viscous electronic goo all over your just washed hair.

Mercury Retrograde is like Darth Vader: stalking us through the year, making our lives miserable for the amusement of the dark forces of the universe.

Really?

Before you drink the Kool-Aid (yup, I’m going full 80’s on you, probably because every house we’ve looked at this week was built in that era of questionable architectural taste), let’s get the low down on what Mercury Retrograde really is:

(more…)

There’s No Need to Squash Your Emotions Between Two Sesame Seed Buns

There’s No Need to Squash Your Emotions Between Two Sesame Seed Buns

What if you could feel what you feel… guilt free?

You could savor anger, lick up loneliness, and relish frustration. Roll it in your mouth and caress it with your tongue. What if you knew that tears cleanse the palette and bitter fuels the fire? What if no one ever again smiled and sweetly told you you’re “so sensitive”?

If you’re an emotional being, an out of the box thinker, or (oh, dear) both, people have probably tried to convince you that thoughts or feelings that weren’t sunshine and buttercups were not only character flaws, but a slap-down to the whole hierarchy of happiness. And we all want happiness, right?

(more…)

Don’t Pass the Tissues

Don’t Pass the Tissues

Don’t pass the tissues.

The group looked at me in horror.

Really? The poor woman has snot dripping down her face and I think that’s a little spit on the side of her mouth.

Yup. Still don’t pass the tissues.

This is one of the toughest lessons us humans need to learn.

We want to fix every problem with hugs or cookies or sound financial advice. We wanna show up with screw drivers or swords or whatever the heck is needed to help you get your house in order and slay your internal dragons.

We humans feel good when we’re helping.

And that’s the problem: helping is often as much about the helper as it is about the helpee.

(more…)

An Anthem for Empaths: How to Control Empathy

An Anthem for Empaths: How to Control Empathy

All right Empaths, I need you to repeat after me:

It is not my job to absorb the energies of the world.

Say it out loud, even if you don’t believe it:

It is not my job to absorb the energies of the world.

Why is this so very important?

Because when you are taking on other people’s grief and loneliness, when you are pulling in other people’s pain, you are attracting and attached to those feelings.

And you pulling those feelings toward you neither serves you nor anyone else.

Burn it off.
Sage it off.
Declare self-sovereignty:
your aura, your skin
will not be breached!

Otherwise you are swaying in the wind, pulled by the highs and lows of every creature on this planet.

(more…)