Thoughts on Escaping the Comfort Zone

This week I was challenged in ways I didn’t anticipate: co-lead a classroom discussion followed by an invitation to lead part of an upcoming meeting. The key word here is lead. Though comfortable in small groups and one-on-one, I am often categorically shy, holding back to allow others to seize the reins. We often define … Continue reading Thoughts on Escaping the Comfort Zone

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What If Death Wasn’t Death At All

Last August we adopted thirteen-year-old Fluffy "Senior" from Mount Vernon Animal Shelter. His inclusion in our home made us a family. After months of failed treatment for a mouth infection, Fluffy recently stopped eating, drawing sustenance from plentiful cuddles and grooming instead. As we move deeper into his final days, I find myself thinking of my curmudgeonly-but-good-at-heart … Continue reading What If Death Wasn’t Death At All

The Dangers of the Self-Narrative

In an interview in the July issue of The Sun, Gary Greenberg, a controversial psychotherapist critical of psychiatry, believes that rooting mental illness almost entirely in biology overlooks the complex environmental, social, cultural, and political mores that shape identity. The article—“Who Are You Calling Crazy?”—was soon wrinkled, dog-eared, and covered in yellow highlighter. My favorite … Continue reading The Dangers of the Self-Narrative

No Longer Fearing the Mind

Today I attended my first-ever meditation session in an airy Chelsea studio, sitting with a dozen other novices on a stack of cushions, terrified I might become too restless to hold still, that others would notice. Fortunately, we were assured to be patient with ourselves. No matter our level of expertise, the pursuit of perfect posture … Continue reading No Longer Fearing the Mind

How Breaking Up With Coffee Changed My Life

The heady scent of brewing coffee is among my favorite childhood memories, marking my most beloved time of day: early morning. Stretching in bed, I listened to my father padding around the kitchen and wondered how the day might unfold. Anything seemed possible. I didn’t start drinking coffee regularly, however, until my thirties, instead developing … Continue reading How Breaking Up With Coffee Changed My Life

Embracing the Mystery

My mother sees her father, long passed, in cardinals perched outside her kitchen window. My father likes sharing his conversations with God with me. They question my faith because I don’t speak often about God, having long stopped attending church. I am dating their ideological opposite: a liberal atheist. My friend, also a devout atheist, half-jokes … Continue reading Embracing the Mystery

A Taste of Vermont Next to New York City

In the two months since New York City became my unofficial home, I’ve struggled to adapt to Woodlawn, a cozy neighborhood in the Bronx. The spill of intersecting highways combined with my aging car’s accelerating wheeze means I’m usually white-knuckled on the short drive to the gym. The search for accessible green space and lack of affordable public transportation has been … Continue reading A Taste of Vermont Next to New York City