Wednesday, 21 August 2013


So I was reading a really interesting book on Mindfulness and how to be aware of what's really going on in your life. And looked up from my reading to realize I was 45 minutes late for a meeting. Ha!

Really, though, it was a fascinating read. If I could incorporate more awareness into my daily life, I bet I would lose weight. I bet I would sleep better, and maybe stop the endless discussions going on in my head. I compose arguments, rebuttals, and defenses in my brain constantly. Just in case they're needed. Just in case I ever bump into the person I'm imagining carrying on the other half of the conversation. I get so wrapped up in imagining the future that I totally miss the present. And it's a pretty good present. I shouldn't be missing so much of it.

The problem with this mindfulness approach is that it requires one to sit still for periods of time. And that's something I've never been good at. Walking meditation, I can do. Deep thinking and deep breathing in my garden. But sitting is painful...which I guess is the point. The amount of discomfort is probably directly related to the amount I need to sit.

I think it sounds fun to run a meditation retreat. To organize it, to create a peaceful venue, to take care of people. To have meditative thoughts wafting through my home. I once attended a loving-kindness meditation session, which basically walks you through thinking kind thoughts about other specific people, yourself, and the world in general. Even that one small experience had a profound impact on me. Could I really wish someone else happy who had hurt me? Could I honestly wish them well and at peace? Could I do the same for myself? It was revelatory. I used to think that spending time in meditation or retreat was a bit selfish, especially a fully monastic life. How could a person hole up and withdraw from the world when there was so much need out there? They could do so much good if they would come out and act. But I don't see it that way anymore. Meditation and sitting are acting. The person is contributing - perhaps differently from the person who is digging the well in Africa, but still contributing in an equally important way. If we all spent more time sending good thoughts out into the world, imagine the difference it would make!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Reinventing Life - a Call for Stories

I recently turned in another manuscript to the publisher and have a few days' breather before the next edits start. Time enough to start thinking about the next book I'd like to write.

I have always been fascinated by people who suddenly reinvent themselves midway through life. The paediatrician who goes to Nunavut, lives in a yurt, and makes ceremonial masks. The high-power business executive who sells all and becomes a pig farmer. The 59-year-old I know who decided to go to med school. The woman who left husband and five children and went to run a Baptist mission in New Guinea. People who dare to think outside the conventional box and try a different path. It takes a certain nerve, a willingness to risk, to dare to think life could be different. People, in short, who are braver than I am.

I have started collecting these kinds of stories, and I think they will make an interesting book. I would welcome hearing from any readers out there who have a similar story they would like to share with me. I can be contacted through my website Thank you!