a balance well worth seeking

I began blogging in 1995.

At first, I blogged only to bring something uniquely human to my website; soon, though, I began receiving email comments from handfuls of readers around the world. In my then-teenaged mind, these affirming comments meant the difference between my being a dirt-poor nobody with no prospects and my being someone whose words could matter. To someone who could herself, through her words, come to matter.

By the time I deleted my prior blog a few years back, I’d become deeply uncomfortable with how I was blogging. I was sharing too much personal detail, and doing so for reasons that didn’t feel remotely healthy.

Not sure how to do better, or even how to identify what “better” might look like, outright deletion seemed like the best bet to make myself space to build healthier habits.

I’ve posted a few times monthly here the last few years.

Generally speaking, these blogs have been less about lurid detail and more, given my growing fondness for process, about how I’m approaching questions arising in my life. They’ve been more about reflecting on how I’m choosing between pathways and less about the specific pathways chosen, which has felt like several steps the right direction … while still not even most the way to “right.” Continue reading “a balance well worth seeking”

from which happy is made

I am happy.

For me, this simple-sounding understanding was very hard won.

I routinely endured violence growing up. I managed to endure it by separating my mind from my body. As I saw indicators violence was imminent, I’d drift away from my bodily harsh reality and into daydreams, a drifting away I did so often that I eventually stopped knowing how to come back to my body at all.

For a couple of years now, I’ve been doing the hard work of learning to come back to my body. Most the time, the work feels like running a marathon having only run a mile or two in preparation; I so want to quit, but I want the satisfaction of finishing the run even more. So I keep stepping through the pain, and taking heart in the fortitude I’m showing in doing so. Continue reading “from which happy is made”

Choosing Comforts Wisely

On Sunday evening, inspired by an afternoon chat with my husband, I re-watched an eye-opening Brené Brown video. The first time I watched it, I mainly absorbed its core message on “Why Your Critics Aren’t the Ones Who Count.” This time, I locked on a specific nuance.

At about 16:40 in the video, Brown says that “clarity of values” is necessary for anyone committed to living in the arena. She names courage as one of her values, and says, “If courage is my value, I have to do this. Whether it’s successful or not is irrelevant.” 

This got me wondering how Brown identified courage as one of her values. Even more so, I wondered how on Earth I could identify mine.

I searched “Brené Brown finding values.” I found her list of values, but wasn’t sure what to do with them. I read folks’ examples elsewhere and got an idea how to proceed. 

First I wrote down every value that resonated deeply with me. I thought the list would be huge, but I captured fewer than a dozen words.

After I had the full list in view, a few clearly resonated less intensely than others: Continue reading “Choosing Comforts Wisely”