I’m big on love in all its forms. It’s my guiding light and reason for being. This doesn’t mean I’m always loving, only that I strive to be that way.
What I most enjoy is hanging out in the gray areas of life. I mean those juicy places where different spheres of thought intersect in potentially exciting ways.
Let me give you a couple of examples from my days as an educator. I once mentored a master’s student who used her background in music to create a pronunciation lesson. The class (university-level English language learners) was preparing poetry presentations, and…
“This article is submitted to the June-August writing competition on creativity and resilience.”
In an early childhood memory, I am sitting in a highchair and my mother offers me a sippy cup of “skin” milk. I accept it, bewildered, and thoroughly at a loss to understand where this beverage has come from.
In a second memory, my mother is at her sewing machine absorbed in her work, and I keep nagging her to tell me when we will go out to buy a toy she has promised me. …
In a recent story, I discussed how befriending a poem and allowing it to speak to and through you can be tremendously healing and life-affirming. (Engaging with Aging From the Inside Out).
A poem learned is like acquiring a new body part that can be used to bring healing to old wounds, or to explore parts of the psyche that have been off-limits because of cultural or familial conditioning.
In this follow-up article, I want to propose another approach to engaging with aging that redirects the inward gaze of learning a poem to the wider arena of everyday interactions with…
Hi Liz, I enjoy your article. Thanks for your insights.
I'm semi-retired and have more traditional income streams going (I teach English online and do contract work for the university I retired from), but I find your can-do mindset to be exhilarating.
I look forward to reading my of your stories and writing more myself for Medium.
I recently watched my friend Patrick Scully’s show on YouTube, “The 3rd Act,” a performance piece that explores the opportunities of aging. Patrick, 67, is a dancer, choreographer, and performance artist who has maintained a lively presence in the Minneapolis-St. Paul performance art scene since 1980. His piece uses storytelling to push against the default narratives about aging, such as trying to deny it or framing it as a problem.
Patrick’s show made me reflect on aging as a performance piece, a dynamic role fueled by a balance of sensitivity, intelligence, and especially creativity. …
Pir Vilayat loved to fly. Often his guided meditations would transport one to resplendent vistas at rarefied altitudes dazzling the mind into a state of cosmic wonderment. ~Shams Kairys in “Invincible Spirit”
No matter how fast you run,
your shadow more than keeps up…
But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle,
Your boundaries are your quest.
I can explain this, but it would break
the glass cover on your heart,
and there’s no fixing that.
You must have shadow and light source both. …
As a naturally reflective person who is also an avid walker, yoga practitioner, and occasional dancer, I am intrigued by self-improvement techniques that include embodied awareness, that pivotal space that links the psychological with the physical.
One such technique comes from the Strozzi Institute as a part of its Embodied Leadership program. Centering, the practice I want to focus on here, is a small part of the Institute’s EL curriculum but is easy to learn and offers a unique perspective on what it means to be an engaged and vital person, wherever and however you are living your life.
In the music video for “Bittersweet Symphony” released in June 1997, Richard Ashcroft strides down Hoxton Street in London while musing on the meaning of life and the instability of identity:
I am here in my mold
But I’m a million different people
From one day to the next
I can’t change my mold
Ashcroft’s protagonist displays unshakeable confidence in who he is and where he is headed.
But what about the mold he refers to, the one he can’t change? Does that mold protect or imprison him? …
I often read many books during the same period of time. Right now, for example, I’m reading a recent thrift store acquisition, Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chögyam Trungpa during fringe moments of the day. His direct style and crazy, lucid wisdom glue the odd, temporal fragments of the day together into a floating mosaic that settles my soul. His thought process also grounds and deepens my respect for Pema Chödron, his most famous student and one of my favorite teachers.
On daily walks in the mountains, I’m listening to psychologist Ethan Kross explain his research on…
Last weekend, my husband and I went for a drive in the mountains. As we made our way along Route 38 in the San Bernardino Forest, we noticed a car on the side of the road, waving to traffic for help. We stopped to see what we could do.
I lowered the passenger side window. With arms spread wide and palms upturned, the woman pleaded with us to help them summon the highway police. They had blown a tire, had no spare, no tools, and no functioning cell phone.
The woman added, “The people who stopped before you just told…
Paula is a writer and researcher specializing in mindful living, art, psychology, and other topics.