Pain and Fear

“What do you think we should be talking about more?” I heard myself recently say to a friend, “The world is just too much for my soul these days.”  I had just read an announcement from the Wiyot Tribe on whose unceded ancestral lands I live that they had declared a State of Emergency on the Wiyot’s ancestral rivers due to extreme low flows and drought conditions. The Wiyot Tribe are my neighbors. Some of … Read more…

Reflecting on a Path Taken

In college, I served as the news editor for the Northeastern University News. Now fifty years later, thanks to the vision of our then editor in chief, the group of us who produced the student newspaper, the literary magazine, and the yearbook, have decided to produce an anniversary issue of the NU News. I am grateful for the opportunity to revisit and reflect on those times with the talented and caring friends and consider how … Read more…

What Life Expects of Me

Roger James and I were taking a glorious walk in the early morning sun around the Arcata Marsh. We had just stopped for a few groceries when a distraught man passed by screaming through a bandana, “This is bullshit!” Continuing up the street, he continued ranting about how he had had to enter the Farmers’ Market through a roped entrance and walk opposite to the direction he wanted to walk. His rage was palpable even … Read more…

Will It Have Been for Nothing?

Browsing our bookshelves, my eyes landed on “An Interrupted Life: The Diaries of Etty Hillesum.” She wrote these diaries in eight exercise books in Amsterdam during the Holocaust years. She died in 1943 at Auschwitz at the age of 29. I first read her diaries when they were published in 1983. My mother had died recently and my engagement with life was half-hearted at best. Her words opened my eyes to what is possible within … Read more…

The Dream of My Life

I have loved Mary Oliver’s poetry since college. Her poems speak to me in deep and surprising ways, particularly the stanza above. It came to mind this morning and brought the fragrance of rivers and forests along with a sense of calm and hope for our world during this perilous time. Oliver’s words invite a slowing down and expanding of awareness. When I do this, it helps me find meaning in all I have been … Read more…

The Still Point

In the midst of the onslaught of emails, Facebook posts, and LinkedIn messages about all the do’s and don’ts during this exceptional time, I meditate. Each of us appears to be searching for inspiration. One morning, T.S. Eliot’s words about the still point floated into my mind from my years as an English literature major in college. I will not use his words to add to the list of tips flooding social media. I will, … Read more…

Building Infrastructure for Engaged Leading

Cyril Oberlander, Dean of the Humboldt State University Library, recently took Roger James and me on a tour of the library. It’s impossible to capture in words how inspiring he and the library were to us. In the most recent HSU Library Annual Report, Oberlander stated, “HSU Library provides information resources and curates many outstanding opportunities to investigate, inspire, and invent.” In the last five and a half years he and his staff have transformed … Read more…

Four Rivers of Life in 2019

Although I live in the land of six rivers—the Smith, Klamath, Trinity, Mad, Van Duzen, and Eel—today I write about the four rivers of life: Inspiration, Surprise, Challenge, and Love. I learned about these rivers from my beloved teacher Angeles Arrien (1940—2014). According to Angeles, many traditional societies believe that these rivers—Inspiration, Surprise, Challenge, and Love—sustain and support us. They also connect us to the greater gifts of appreciating one’s life and making sure we … Read more…

Sussing Out Our Sense of Superiority

Our judging brains are powerful things. Within nanoseconds of seeing or meeting someone, we decide whether or not we like them. We are attracted or repulsed. My meditation practice, in addition to my intention to treat others respectfully, helps me notice the train of judgments that seems to spontaneously arise when I meet someone new or when I encounter someone whom I already know. Thankfully, I can now more easily notice the judgments and step … Read more…

Honoring How Michael Showed Up

This post is more personal than typical posts. I wanted to share some of the reflections on the past couple of weeks.  June 8, 2019  I am in route to Massachusetts to see my older brother Michael who is quite ill and in hospital. There is a strong possibility this trip is not just to show love and support, but also to say goodbye. Michael, who is ten years older than I am, was often hard … Read more…