Go Beyond Yourself

I was listening to an On Being podcast in which poet David Whyte was recalling a story of a dinner with his writer friend John O’Donohue. He mentioned he was thinking of giving his father money and said the amount, and John said, “Oh David, go beyond yourself. Give twice that much.” David Whyte’s larger...

Magic in the Mess

Back-to-school ads brought a childhood memory to mind. In eighth grade, I was disappointed to get a certain English teacher. He had a reputation for being boring and dismissive and not too bright (although I’m sure 8th graders had harsher terms for him). And he proved to be all of those things. But halfway through...

Finding Brilliance in Your Ordinary Life

I’ve been working on my branding and the messaging for my new website. In running through various exercises to arrive at what I do best, I realized there is a consistent theme in my life’s work. Everything I’ve done—from my books and other writings, to my speaking and presentations, to my community work and activism—has...

Where Work and Worry Meet

Today, a close member of our family had major surgery, and another had a minor procedure that concerned me a bit. It’s hard to focus on work when you’re worried. You tell yourself that everything will be fine and you must assume the best. You tell yourself you are “professional” enough to not let fear...

Can Art Overcome Hate?

I remember as a child watching the musical South Pacific on TV, and being struck by the song, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.” I was one of those kids who cried often about all the suffering and hatred in the world. I never understood why people couldn’t just follow the Golden Rule and treat...

Getting Back to What You Love

When I was in junior high and high school, my teachers told me, “Teresa, you’re a very good writer. You should be an author someday.” And I took their advice happily. It’s all I ever really wanted to be. After my first novel came out, I started speaking about my book, and event coordinators told...

Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em

I love people who laugh at their own jokes. The harder they laugh, the better. Why shouldn’t we take enjoyment from our own creativity? Why create anything if it doesn’t bring us pleasure? I love people who sing loudly and badly in church. Why? Because they are more concerned with giving praise than they are...

Love What You Do

My daughter is taking a college class on a subject she should enjoy. But the professor is monotone and dry and, frankly, boring. If you have lost enthusiasm for your subject, quit teaching. After a minor surgery, I mentioned to my nurse that I have sensitive veins and asked if she could please remove the...

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