Has Meditation Jumped the Shark?

In a New York Times Op-Ed piece this week, UPenn psychology professor Adam Grant takes what he calls “meditation madness” to task. Referring to meditation as a fad, he systematically debunks its benefits. Stress reduction? There are lots of ways to achieve that. Mindfulness? You can achieve mindfulness without meditating, he says, citing a study in which people used a simple cognitive technique to increase awareness.  Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism and Meditation | Tagged , | Comments Off on Has Meditation Jumped the Shark?

Precious: a study in trauma

I finally saw the film Precious, and it’s been sticking with me ever since.  If you don’t know this film, Precious is the story of an inner-city teenage girl who suffers horrific physical, sexual, and emotional abuse from the time she’s a small child.  She has one child by her father and is pregnant with the second as the film begins. (Spoiler alert – there’s more about the film in this post.)  Continue reading

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Precious: a study in trauma

Why do I eat this way?

A friend recommended the book, Women Food and God by Geneen Roth, and as I read it, I feel grateful that Ms. Roth has presented the challenging idea of healing our old wounds by facing ourselves directly in a compelling, accessible way. Simply put, she tells us that we can learn why we eat the way we do by paying attention to what’s happening in our bodies. Geneen* is a student of the Diamond Approach, a set of practices that have been around for thousands of years. She explains that the version she learned was body-based, and the practices she describes in her book are based on this approach.  Continue reading

Posted in Books, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Why do I eat this way?

Vulnerability, Shame, and the Need to Connect

This morning, I listened to this talk by researcher Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability:

Continue reading

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Vulnerability, Shame, and the Need to Connect

Let’s all just be in the moment, shall we?

Everywhere I turn, I hear people dispensing the wonderful-sounding advice to be in the moment.  This phrase is being tossed around so much that it’s become almost meaningless.  What does it even mean to be in the moment?

Here’s what I’ve learned:  Continue reading

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Let’s all just be in the moment, shall we?

Restoring Sanity

Yesterday, October 30, was the day that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert hosted “The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on the National Mall in Washington DC. Here in Seattle, we had our own Rally, and I attended. It was fun and joyful, and people came in a light-hearted mood: some dressed in costume, and many carried witty signs with slogans like “Rageless in Seattle” and “Less Cowbell, More Reason”.  We sang the national anthem, chanted in whispers, did the hokey-pokey, and generally had a good time, even after it started to rain. The police watched from the sidelines, lattes in hand, ready to respond to trouble, but there was none. It was peaceful and a bit silly – the perfect antidote to fear and hysteria.  Continue reading

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Restoring Sanity


I’ve been spending some time this Sunday morning with a poetry website I heard about on NPR, the Favorite Poem Project. The website includes a selection of videos of people reading and talking about their favorite poems. It’s these videos that I’ve been watching for the last half hour or so.  Continue reading

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , | Comments Off on Poetry

It Gets Better

I’ve been watching the wonderful YouTube “It Gets Better” videos, and even though I’m not gay (I’m a straight ally) I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the subject.

It really is true that life gets better once you become an adult. It’s not some magical thing that instantly happens the day you collect your high school diploma, but what does happen is that once you leave high school, a whole world of possibilities opens up to you. A world that includes churches to welcome you, straight allies who care about you, and organizations that will stand up for your rights.  Continue reading

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , | Comments Off on It Gets Better

Survivors of Suicide

Yesterday, November 21,  was National Survivors of Suicide Day. If you’ve lost a loved one to suicide, then you are a suicide survivor.

The grief experienced by those affected by a suicide is especially complex and intense. In addition to the expected reactions of sorrow and feelings of loss, survivors of suicide can be filled with self-blame, intense anger, obsessive thoughts replaying the hours and days before the suicide, and even their own suicidal ideation.  Telling people you’ve lost someone to suicide can be daunting because many people don’t know how to respond to such horrible news, and so survivors can feel isolated and disconnected from their friends and family at a time when they need them most.  Continue reading

Posted in Thoughts | Comments Off on Survivors of Suicide

Manifesting goodness

There’s a lot of talk these days about manifesting and drawing the good toward oneself, ideas that are based on the idea of positive thinking, most recently described in The Secret. I see some pitfalls with the idea that if you think positive thoughts and visualize what you want to have in life, it will come to you.  Continue reading

Posted in Thoughts | Comments Off on Manifesting goodness