On choosing happiness

Choosing happiness and choosing circumstances of ease and comfort are two very different things. Challenge is essential to human happiness. It is, in large part, why we chose this life to begin with. Photo by Jörg Peter Advertisements

Chasing Your Dream

My last post talked about longings that we can’t quite explain and thus often disregard as irrational and unimportant. This post is about an excellent tool to help us recover those crucial, disregarded desires: a 30-day guided journal called Chasing Your Dream. It so happens that one of the dreams that runs in my family is the dream…

You’re Not as Dumb as All That

Perhaps you’ve read about this experiment from the 1980s: Subjects were told, “Linda is thirty-one years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in antinuclear demonstrations.” Then they were asked to estimate which further statement…

On Feeling Alone

I don’t care how many friends you have or how many heart-to-heart talks you manage with your loved ones, I think we all have moments when we feel alone. Moments when we’re stuck inside an emotion that we don’t see any possibility of sharing. Or when we’re thinking thoughts we have no way to convey. These are…

The Invisibility of Evil

“You will learn that when the truth isn’t pretty, expected, or delivered with a fair dose of charm, people will almost always put their faith in a lie.” So reads one of many chilling lines in H.G. Beverly‘s recently released memoir The Other Side of Charm, about her unwitting marriage to a sociopath. Before her marriage to…

Do Negative Emotions Sharpen Perception?

Lots of people carry in their heads the image of the tortured artist: the writer/painter/musician whose brilliant artistic achievements spring from a soil rich with personal failures, miseries, addictions, and/or mental illnesses. Writing guru Julia Cameron persuasively argues that creativity does not require depression. Or agony. That well-adjusted artists are, actually, quite successful and productive–maybe even more so than the…

Washing Dishes

Some days in my life are so full it feels like I’ll never get everything done if I don’t use every spare second. If the cornbread muffins are going to take 12 minutes to cook, that’s 12 minutes I can spend grading papers. And if one of those papers is taking a long time to…