How Should a Person Be: a Quote


This weekend I raced through Sheila Heti’s book How Should a Person Be? This passage really struck home for me, and will serve as a daily challenge to the ever-present thought that I have to find my “one thing”, my one passion, and I’ll “never have to work a day in my life.”

“You remember the puer aeternus–the eternal child–Peter Pan–the boy who never grows up, who never becomes a man? Or it’s like in The Little Prince–when the prince asks the narrator to draw him a sheep. The narrator tries and tries again, but each time he fails to do it as well as he wishes. He believes himself to be a great artist and cannot understand why it’s not working. In a fit of frustration, he instead draws a box–something he can do well. When the prince asks how it’s a picture of a sheep, the narrator replies that it’s a picture of a sheep in a box. He is arrogantly proud of his solution and satisfied with his efforts. This response is typical of all peurs. Such people will suddenly tell you they have another plan, and they always do it the moment things start getting difficult. But it’s their everlasting switching that’s the dangerous thing, not what they choose.

Why is their everlasting switching dangerous?

Because people who live their lives this way can look forward to a single destiny, shared with others of this type–though such people do not believe they represent a type, but feel themselves distinguished from the common run of man, who they see as held down by the banal anchors of the world. But while others actually build a life in which things gain in meaning and significance, this is not true of the puer. Such a person inevitability looks back on life as it nears its end with a feeling of emptiness and sadness, aware of what they have built: nothing. In their quest for a life without failure, suffering, or doubt, that is what they achieve: a life empty of all those things that make a human life meaningful. And yet they started off believing themselves too special for this world!

But–and here is the hope–there is a solution for people of this type, and it’s perhaps not the solution that could have been predicted. The answer for them is to build on what they have begun and not abandon their plans as soon as things start getting difficult. They must work–without escaping into fantasies about being the person who worked. And I don’t mean work for its own sake, but they must choose work that begins and ends in a passion, a question that is gnawing at their guts, which is not to be avoided but must be realized and lived through the hard work and suffering that inevitably comes with the process.

They must reinforce and build on what is in their life already rather than always starting anew, hoping to find a situation without danger. Puers don’t need to check themselves into analysis. If that just remember this–It is their everlasting switching that is the dangerous thing, not what they choose–they might discover themselves saved. The problem is the puer ever anticipates loss, disappointment, and suffering–which they foresee at the end of every experience, so they cut themselves off at the beginning, retreating almost at once in order to protect themselves. In this way, they never give themselves to life–living in constant dread of the end. Reason, in this case, has taken too much from life.

They must give themselves completely to the experience! One thinks sometimes how much more alive such people would be if they suffered! If they can’t be happy, let them at least be unhappy–really, really unhappy for once, and then they might become truly human.”

A Meaningful Weekend




This past weekend was sorely needed. The month of May has been packed full of events, both personal and work-related, and Michael and I were both looking forward to three days off. Michael did some writing for a class he’s auditing, and I read two books (this one, lent to me by a friend, and this one).  We’ve also been giving ourselves a movie history lesson, and have been watching a bunch of classic, well-loved films; Howl’s Moving Castle and Casablanca were this week’s hits. We’ve also really been enjoying watching the PBS show “The Mind of a Chef.” It’s super fascinating and inspiring to see the process behind that kind of creativity, and I love hearing about how certain foods like miso or ramen have such a rich, deep history behind them. I even roped Michael into watching the episodes on Southern food, and he loved them. I’d highly recommend it!


It felt so good to have no plans, no commitments, and no requirements this weekend. I’ve started this week feeling rested and inspired. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt either of those things! My mind was finally given space to dream for myself, and being given that space, I realize just how much I was missing it. I’d really like to be more intentional about where I put my time and energy- towards rest, meaningful hobbies, and people who matter most in my life. I’m already looking forward to it.

i thank You God for most this amazing day


(photo by Devin Pedde)

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings

Moving forward


I’ve recently decided to start pursuing something that I want desperately, but scares the hell out of me. (I’m not pregnant, just to be clear.) I’m only just scratching the surface of all I’ll have to do to prepare- making lists, reaching out to people who have gone before me, lots of reading- but I’m already hearing the loud voices of my insecurities, telling me that I’m not good enough for this, I’ll never make it, it’ll be too emotionally and mentally draining, etc. etc. Last night I had a dream where two people separately told me that they knew this was the right thing for me to do, and I felt really reassured when I woke up. But midway through the day, I’m back down on myself. So, I went searching for some inspirational words to help me through some of the darker thoughts. It’s way too easy for me to get down when I feel inadequate, but I also know that I have to do this thing, or I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. And it feels very right, despite how very scary it remains. Details aside for now, I’d appreciate any encouraging words. Here’s some that are helping me right now:

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What motivates and inspires you?


Nature is speaking

Have you seen the videos for Conservation International’s newest campaign? They have these gorgeous videos, with famous actors giving voice to different aspects of nature. Harrison Ford is the voice of the ocean. Robert Redford is the voice of the Redwood Forest. Kevin Spacey is the rainforest, and Julia Roberts is Mother Nature.

I think they’re really beautiful, and their campaign is really well done. And, for every time you use the hashtag #NatureIsSpeaking, $1 is donated to Conservation International. Here’s a few of the videos, and more can be found at their website. Watch, share, and be sure to use the hashtag! For more information on Conservation International and the work they are doing, visit




Happy Friday!



This has been one of those weeks that has felt two days too long, so I’m really looking forward to this weekend. I’m going to do a lot of baking, and we’ve been invited to what looks to be the most amazing dinner party I’ve ever seen. I’m really excited about it!

Hope you have a relaxing weekend, and here’s what I’ve been looking at this week…

Why millennials are so individualistic

I love this casual, cozy look (and the rest of the collection!)

Meaning vs. happiness

I’ve found my life word

Really wanting this book to dive in deeper with essential oils

The most beautiful tea kettle

An easy way to spice up my everyday hairstyle 

A different kind of piano man (an oldie, but still fascinating)

Still waiting for my invitation to the always ad-free Ello

What I learned from Lena


Have you read Lena Dunham’s new book?

If you’ve seen her amazing show Girls, then the content of this book will be quite familiar. There’s an essay about working in an overpriced children’s store, there’s a mention of popping her own eardrum out of anxiety, and there is line after line where you could just swear that you were hearing Hannah Horvath.

Of course, one should expect this- it’s not a secret that Hannah’s character is not-so-loosely based on Lena’s own life and experiences, and this book is proof. And while overall I came away enjoying the book as an escape, and as the words of a woman whose work and ambition I so admire, there was something that left me feeling unsettled.

I wasn’t unsettled by the garish retellings of her most horrific stories, although I could see how some would be. I think I was unsettled because I had heard this all before. I love Girls because while the story it tells is relatable, the characters are so wildly exaggerated, and you laugh because thank God your friends aren’t that crazy. But in reading the book, it became clear the characters are barely exaggerated, and the stories she are sharing in the pages of her book are ones I’ve all heard before.

This isn’t to say that there wasn’t some kind of wisdom being passed down, because there definitely is. She articulates beautifully why she loves being a woman. She defends the desire and necessity of sharing one’s story. And she wants girls to stop spending their time being made to feel bad about themselves by horrible men (both relationally and professionally). She is eloquent, and startling in the truths she shares. But I came away wishing I had seen more of writer-Lena, or director-Lena, or amazingly successful comedienne-Lena. But mostly what I saw was this now strangely confusing hybrid of Lena and the character she plays on TV, and frankly, I would never take Hannah’s advice, even if she is genuinely good-willed about it. I wanted to see a separation of Lena from her work. What I saw was that Girls is the real memoir, and this book is just a fun bonus-feature.

For me, I’m going to continue watching Girls, and I’m going to walk away from the book taking a few beautiful quotes with me, which I will leave for you to take as well:

“When someone shows you how little you mean to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it you start to mean less to yourself. You are not made up of compartments! You are one whole person! What gets said to you gets said to all of you, ditto what gets done. Being treated like shit is not an amusing game or a transgressive intellectual experiment. It’s something you accept, condone, and learn to believe you deserve. This is so simple. But I tried so hard to make it complicated.”

“Respect isn’t something you command through intimidation and intellectual bullying. It’s something you build through a long life of treating people how you want to be treated and focusing on your mission.”

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as far as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren’t needed, that we lack the gravitas necessary for our stories to matter…But I want to tell my stories and, more than that, I have to in order to stay sane.”

“I consider being female such a unique gift, such a sacred joy, in ways that run so deep I can’t articulate them. It’s a special kind of privilege to be born into the body you wanted, to embrace the essence of your gender even as you recognize what you are up against. Even as you seek to redefine it.”


So what did you think? Did you read it? Will you?

A dream to remember



Do you believe in dreams? By that I mean, do you ever wake and know that your dream meant something real? I’m a big believer in the power of dreams, and I had one last night that was so encouraging to me that I just wanted to share.

First, a little backstory. This last year has been one of questions for me. I’ve done a lot of self-examination, a lot of mental wandering…wondering about vocation vs. hobby, who I am vs. who I want to be, etc. I can visualize the kind of life and work and meaning I want to have and bring to the world, but I have such a hard time finding the way there, and so much impatience about how long it’s taking, that I often wonder if these visions of the future hold any weight, if they could ever come to pass.

Back to the dream. I dreamt that I was wearing my wedding dress, and my hair was down, and loose. I was in a large open field, under a tree. There were lots of people surrounding me, including some I admire and know only by their work. Everyone was smiling and connecting with each other. In front of me was hanging a rope, the kind you would use to swing into a lake. I knew that if I got on this rope and swung on it while wearing my wedding dress in front of all of these people, it would look really silly, but I also knew that it would mean I had come to my fullest potential and finally become the truest expression of myself. I was kind of nervous, but I was laughing and everyone around me was encouraging me, “Get on the rope! Do it! You have to!” Finally I just decided to give in to it, and I climbed on the rope and started swinging, in front of everyone. I was going higher and higher, my wedding dress and my hair were flying out behind me and I felt completely free, with the purest sense of joy. Everyone was clapping and just so happy. Joy was the only emotion anyone had. My field of vision kind of panned out and I saw myself, swinging, surrounded by all of these people, and I was totally free of any fears or insecurities, basking in complete fullness of self, joy, and purpose.

When I woke up, I just knew that this dream was meant as an encouragement. Despite all the fears and gnawing, daily insecurities I may have about my talents, my work, my passions, my life and relationships…if I just move forward and swing on that rope despite it, I will accomplish those dreams. And I have so much support. It was like the whole world was saying, “You have to lay down your fears and just start swinging…we’ve got you.”


(photo of my sister-friend, Jen, in La Casa del Árbol Baños, Ecuador)

Missing out


As an introvert, talking to people I don’t know is not something I really enjoy doing and it’s usually not very high on my priority list. I tend to keep my head down when I walk, avoiding eye contact unless absolutely necessary. I can make small talk just fine for a while, and I sometimes even enjoy the kinds of spontaneous conversations that can come up, but the truth is, if I don’t have to, I’m most likely going to choose not to.

However, this sometimes conflicts with a deeply held belief of mine- to be kind, warm, and inviting. Often times we are not given enough time with people for them to “break through” the quieter introversion to see and feel the real warmth that lies underneath. Sometimes, only five minutes, sometimes two, are given to make a connection. And, as someone who has worked in customer service for almost a decade, I can attest to the real impact an amazing two minute conversation can make. I’ve always admired those who can make you feel seen, heard, and appreciated within such a short time span, and I’ve wanted to be that to those I meet as well. But I think I’ve let my own idea of what being introverted looks like get in the way.

What I’m trying to say is, in the past couple of weeks at my new job, I’ve been forced to meet an enormous amount of new people, and I have found that being able to make a quick, but genuine connection has been extraordinarily and surprisingly…wonderful. I haven’t let my nervousness about new people get in the way of showing them who I really am, and I’ve even felt emboldened to be the one to initiate contact! If you know me at all, you know I’ll avoid initiating just about everything, so this has been a huge (but positive) learning process for me. I’m learning that kindness, humility, gratefulness, and playfulness are really great connectors- and that making those kinds of connections are actually really, really wonderful, and not as difficult as I kept telling myself they would be. I’m learning that I can be true to both sides of myself: the one who enjoys quiet alone time, and the one who is kind and inviting. It looks a little different than how I imagined it to be, but I’m finding something great I never even knew I was missing out on.

(photo by Small Measure)

What’s your creative process?


“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” -Chuck Close

“I’ve never believed that one should wait until one is inspired because I think that the pleasures of not writing are so great that if you ever start indulging them, you will never write again.” -John Updike

For all you creatives out there…how do you stay motivated? I’ve read lots of writer’s routines, and Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird is a real staple of mine. But sometimes (most of the time) that just doesn’t cut it. The day to day of creative activity and thought comes much harder. There are an abundance of quotes regarding inspiration and hard work that I try to remind myself of (like the ones above), but I’m hoping to develop a manageable routine. Do any of you have a routine you stick to? Or are you more of a “as the wind moves me” type of person? I’d be interested in hearing how you keep the work and juices flowing.

P.S. I have found John Updike’s quote above to be incredibly true. Isn’t life outside of work always what we’d rather be doing?

(photo by my wonderfully talented friend, Josiah Norton)