If the lights go out, just move

This past winter I spent a long weekend on retreat in stillness and good company. The theme of the retreat was hidden seeds, the way nature can look as if it’s sleeping or even dead, when it is in fact gathering strength and getting ready to burst forth when the conditions are favorable.

To start a movement, tell a story

Increasingly, activists and change agents are using their own personal stories as a way to awaken leadership in others. Stories speak the language of emotion, the language of the heart. They not only teach us how to act, but also inspire us with the courage to act. Our stories help us translate our values into action by accessing our emotions.

The tyranny of Norman doors

Through their design, objects subtly communicate instructions on how they should be used. Certain handles just feel like they should be pushed, and others pulled. Bad design sends us signals that are confusing.

Beginnings

After four years of wonderful work within a large healthcare agency, I feel called to take a smaller, quieter path. I’m not exactly clear where this new path is going and I’m giving it time to unfold. It’s a bit awkward when someone asks what I’ll be doing next and I have to struggle to find an answer; I’m ok with that.

Turn your face to the sun

The snowdrops came up this weekend. Their reappearance every year brings a shock of hope so unexpected and intense it’s almost violent. It only took a few hours of sunlight on a warm brick wall and there they were.

The tired tropes of special needs parenting

If you listen to or read pop culture reviews, you’ve probably stumbled upon a conversation about tropes, which are basically plot devices, themes or recurring character types. When disability gets represented in life and culture, plenty of tired tropes surface.

Passages

I opened a book last week and a bookmark slipped out onto the floor. It was a freebie from a favorite bookstore from my old life, back when I lived on the other side of the ocean. I loved that bookstore, with its coffee counter and author events and the way it always had exactly the book I needed even when it didn’t have the book I wanted.

The new year as a threshold

Every moment offers a new beginning, but there is something special about the collective transition from one calendar year to the next.

It is and always has been a struggle for me not to get too caught up in new beginnings like this, to not be spellbound in the illusion that simply resolving to change will bring change, or that most of the mundane changes I desire, will bring lasting happiness.

Say my name, say my name

There’s another aspect of cultural identity I’ve been thinking about lately: its purpose of providing contours to my otherwise diffuse psyche, like personality eyeliner. A lifetime of fourth of July sparklers, yellow school busses and two-for-Tuesday rock blocks has resulted in a very particular person who is me. If I let this container go, will I still be me? Of course I will, but will I really?