Work (whether it’s a paid position or not) takes up a lot of time for most people in modern culture. Leisure time is often relegated to the weekend (if it’s available at all), and evenings are often spent crashing out to one’s chosen streaming service (or catching up on work, especially for parents during pandemics). … Continue reading 5 Ways to Rewild Your Everyday
“This is hard, humbling work.” This is a sentence from 12 Tiny Things (a book that’s due out in early 2021), and it’s in reference to doing the work of tending to the self and embracing intentional, simple living. The sort of “intentional living” that we advocate for includes social justice, and committing to a … Continue reading Hard Humbling Work
**I’m just finishing up the book tour for What Comes Next, a Little Bound Books Essay Series installment about my experience with job loss. What follows is part of the book talk I gave at a few of the events. I thought I’d share it here for those who were unable to attend!** What not … Continue reading What Not to Say to Someone Who Has Just Lost Their Job
I see that I have lost myself in the roles I was playing. Rather than being channels for life, they became my life. They became my security and my identity. When I stripped them, I felt like nothing. The roles became my worth. As they moved, changed, disappeared, I did, too. -Paula D’arcy Have you … Continue reading Vanishing Acts
At a glance, today was a rather unremarkable day. Earlier this morning as the sun started to think about showing up for the day, the adults of the house drank coffee, the child of the house ate cereal, we all scrambled to get dressed, and then it was off to our individual task lists for … Continue reading Gifts of a Lifetime
Researcher James Pennebaker writes, “Emotional unheavals touch every part of our lives. You don’t just lose a job, you don’t just get divorced. These things affect all aspects of who we are – our financial situation, our relationships with others, our views of ourselves…writing helps us focus and organize the experience.” When I lost my … Continue reading Writing The Ending
This post originates at Red Sofa Literary. The agent I’m working with for a new book project posed this question for her agency’s annual NaNoWriMo series: Did you choose writing or did writing choose you? I had to think awhile on this. Why do I write, day after day, word after word? Did I actually choose it, or … Continue reading Fuel for Writing
If you’ve been following along here or on social media, you’ve likely noticed that poems have been the theme as of late, especially April. Here in Minnesota, it was a cold spring, and I was at what would be the close of a very long struggle with persistent illness – not the sort of illness … Continue reading Broken Hallelujah
I wrote the following post four years ago. The issues outlined in it are still a struggle, but we can only change what we name, right? Right. So, here it is again, slightly modified to fit the present.
I spend too much time looking at screens.
I have decided this before, but it screens have proved very persistent at creeping back into the limelight. They have become a central part of my days, and I am realizing that my balance is off. I have been crafting my definition of what “simple living” means to me for a long time now. But even with a mindset that is pretty solidly committed to principals of simplicity or “enough but not too much”, it still seems like screens have been taking center stage. I need to figure out how much screen time is enough, but not too much.
Generally, when I think about living simply, my list includes the following:
- I am spending time outside.
- I am remaining truly present with people when in their company.
- I am doing things slowly and with intention.
- I am being fully present in each moment
- I am practicing authenticity. This means I am eating real food (that preferably doesn’t have a bar-code), I am being active because I enjoy the activity (Hiking. Yoga. Planting things.) or because it accomplishes a task (Weeding. Picking rocks out of the field. Hauling wood.) and I am putting real energy into relationships (With the neighbors. With dear friends who live states away. With family members.)
- I feel alive.
It’s getting to be peak autumn color in Minnesota this week, and everywhere you look, it’s gorgeous. The leaves in the back of my house are blazing yellow and orange, and they create an impressive reflection on the lake when the light is just so and the air is still. It’s kind of like the water is on fire with the vibrancy of the season. Of course, this time of intense beauty is fleeting, only lasting a few weeks each year, but then again, it does come back around every year. We just have to make a point to pay attention to it when it does show up. It’s always interesting to me that such intense beauty can co-exist so easily alongside the things that shake us to the core.