The Smallness Of Love

A few days ago the Wall Street Journal ran a story about a heartbroken Argentinean farmer who built a giant forest in the shape of a guitar to honor his late wife.

It’s quite a romantic story.

It got me thinking about the size of love. Does bigger love mean doing bigger things? Can you measure love by how big it appears on the outside?

I don’t think so.

At least in my 24 years (i.e., I’m not an expert) I haven’t found that to be the case. [Read more...]

How Vulnerable Is Too Vulnerable?

I’m currently on the job hunt, and I know that some employers Google applicants, so lately I’ve been thinking about how I portray myself online.

I try to be vulnerable here in hopes that you will read it and be encouraged and maybe not feel alone.

But I wonder if that reflects poorly on me in the eyes of employers. Maybe I share too much and maybe I should keep my flaws secret and maybe too much vulnerability is a shortcut to unemployment.

Or maybe it shows I’m human and real and taking practical steps to better myself. Maybe it shows that I care about people and am losing my tolerance for all the crap we do to make ourselves look perfect. And maybe employers would like that. That’s what I hope.

[Read more...]

How Not To Help Someone Who Self-Injures

Self-injury is an uncomfortable topic.

It’s complex and messy and stigmatized and probably hits close to home for a lot of people. It’s easier to pretend it doesn’t exist or doesn’t affect our lives.

But the reality is, nearly one in four adolescents self-injure, whether it’s cutting or eating disorders or some other form of harm.

And while cutting and eating disorders might not be as common post-adolescence, I think self-injury just takes on different forms, like excessive drinking, sleeping around, smoking, or living an unhealthy lifestyle. We know it hurts us, but it helps us cope.

The truth is, self-injury is very real, and it’s very present, and people around us are hurting.

And it’s time we start doing something to help. [Read more...]

How To Help Someone Who Is Cutting

It was 70 degrees today in Denver. People were outside in shorts and t-shirts, welcoming summer with open arms and exposed skin.

I passed one girl and noticed cuts up and down her arms.

I recognized them immediately. They were the end product of self-injury.

And seeing them broke my heart.

It reminded me that people are hurting. And people are cutting themselves to deal with the pain or the pressure or the loneliness.

An estimated 12–23% of adolescents today self-injure. Nearly ¼ of the adolescent population.

That number is staggering.

So what can we do? How can we respond? [Read more...]

Redefining Extraordinary

In order to do something extraordinary, you don’t need to change the world.

You don’t need to start a million dollar business, accomplish an athletic feat, or have a perfectly maintained Instagram feed.

You just need to do something extra than what is ordinary for you.

Extraordinary is a sliding, subjective scale, unique to each individual person.

The truth is, we were made to do extraordinary things. [Read more...]

Today, Just Show Up

Do something extraordinary.

Change the world.

Make a difference.

My veins have been pumped with these messages since I was young. The expectation was set: in order to live a good, valuable life, you have to do something impressive.

As a result, I feel a sense of urgency to be known, to be spectacular, to be great. It’s often paralyzing. And every day I don’t do something important, I feel like a waste.

This is the standard that has been imparted to a lot of us.

But here’s the thing: the bar was set too high. The expectations are crushing us.

So, I’m lowering the standards. [Read more...]

Your Past Does Not Define You

Winter Pathway

Doug Brown via Compfight

This is a baptism, I said to the empty passenger seat. I didn’t get a response. But I’m no theologian, I quickly clarified to no one.

The cornfields and pastures of western Wisconsin gave way to birch forests as I drove east. They waved their branches and beckoned me deeper in.

The drive was a familiar one. I went to college in Wisconsin and grew up in Minnesota.

I live in Denver now, but I still remembered the highways, the trees, the traffic. The way the clouds hang heavy, the sun reflecting off the snow, the feel of the steering wheel turning slowly through farmlands. [Read more...]

Book Review: The Plague of Doves

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 3.02.00 AMBook Under Review

The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich

What is the book about?

A murder in small-town North Dakota and how it shaped the community through the coming generations.

But what is it really about?

Luck, fate, power, time, self-discovery, the shocking nature of existence. [Read more...]

5 Ways Forgiveness Can Improve Your Health, Backed By Science

-MRGT via Compfight cc

-MRGT via Compfight cc

We’ve all been hurt by someone, whether it was parents or strangers or that person who broke your heart in college. And most of us are wronged fairly often, whether it’s someone cutting us off in traffic or being a jerk at the grocery store or a boss that doesn’t treat us fairly.

When we are hurt or wronged, there are essentially two routes we can take: forgive or not forgive (hold a grudge, stay angry, get revenge).

Forgiveness is typically taught as the right thing to do. It’s often considered a virtue. But does it help us lead a better life?

Specifically, is forgiveness good for our health?

Does it have tangible, measurable, positive effects? [Read more...]

The Kind Of Party That Doesn’t End

Photo via unsplash.com

Photo via unsplash.com

When the winter in Wisconsin grew harsh, we had tea parties.

Not the political gathering or marijuana smoking tea parties, but the tea parties where you make green or black or oolong tea and then you drink it together.

The kind where you light fires, and let the ghost sounds of Bon Iver fill the cracks in conversation, and wait for the whistling tea pot to raise its voice. [Read more...]

The Freedom Of Self-Gentleness

Floored

Nicholas A. Tonelli via Compfight

I have disproportionately wide feet.

Growing up, shoe shopping was a nightmare. I could never find anything that fit, let alone anything stylish. One shoe-store employee, after helping me try on pair after pair, said, “Well, you could always use the box.” [Read more...]

Book Review: The Sense of Ending

sense-of-an-endingWell, I’ve done it. I’ve joined the ranks of people killing books.

Not really. It’s just that my parents gave me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas.

AND I LOVE IT.

The display is wonderful, it’s easy to rent books from the library on it, and the dictionary and highlight features are great. Plus, I think there is something about the psychology of reading small chunks of text that makes me want to read longer than I would with a normal book. So if you’re thinking about getting a Kindle, I recommend it. I’ve been reading a lot more since receiving it. [Read more...]

The Incredible Capacity To Hurt And Heal

When I was in third grade, my siblings and I went on a field trip with some fellow homeschool students. My younger sister brought along her favorite Beanie Baby, a Dalmatian. She set it down once, and while she was looking away I took it and put it behind a box. I didn’t intend to be mean, just pesky. [Read more...]

Control Is Slippery And The Mountain Is Long

keystoneWe headed up I-70 West into the mountains. 6,000, 7,000, 11,000 feet above sea level we climbed. 50, 40, 30 degrees Fahrenheit we descended. Our lungs are not used to this type of breathing.

As we passed beneath the continental divide, the brown winter behind us gave way to thousands of evergreen trees dressed in white wedding gowns, the trains filling the aisles and ground in between. We do not look back into the tunnel when a wedding is before us. [Read more...]

Stability Is The Friend Of Creativity

Moleskine a quadretti e grafite

Gilberto Taccari via Compfight

Stability is the friend of creativity.

Which might seem counterintuitive. I tend to think wind and adventures and excitement inspire creativity.

And maybe they do, to a certain extent. [Read more...]

The Smallness Of Love

A few days ago the Wall Street Journal ran a story about a heartbroken Argentinean farmer who built a giant forest in the shape of a guitar to honor his late wife.

It’s quite a romantic story.

It got me thinking about the size of love. Does bigger love mean doing bigger things? Can you measure love by how big it appears on the outside?

I don’t think so.

At least in my 24 years (i.e., I’m not an expert) I haven’t found that to be the case. [Read more...]

How Vulnerable Is Too Vulnerable?

I’m currently on the job hunt, and I know that some employers Google applicants, so lately I’ve been thinking about how I portray myself online.

I try to be vulnerable here in hopes that you will read it and be encouraged and maybe not feel alone.

But I wonder if that reflects poorly on me in the eyes of employers. Maybe I share too much and maybe I should keep my flaws secret and maybe too much vulnerability is a shortcut to unemployment.

Or maybe it shows I’m human and real and taking practical steps to better myself. Maybe it shows that I care about people and am losing my tolerance for all the crap we do to make ourselves look perfect. And maybe employers would like that. That’s what I hope.

[Read more...]

How Not To Help Someone Who Self-Injures

Self-injury is an uncomfortable topic.

It’s complex and messy and stigmatized and probably hits close to home for a lot of people. It’s easier to pretend it doesn’t exist or doesn’t affect our lives.

But the reality is, nearly one in four adolescents self-injure, whether it’s cutting or eating disorders or some other form of harm.

And while cutting and eating disorders might not be as common post-adolescence, I think self-injury just takes on different forms, like excessive drinking, sleeping around, smoking, or living an unhealthy lifestyle. We know it hurts us, but it helps us cope.

The truth is, self-injury is very real, and it’s very present, and people around us are hurting.

And it’s time we start doing something to help. [Read more...]

How To Help Someone Who Is Cutting

It was 70 degrees today in Denver. People were outside in shorts and t-shirts, welcoming summer with open arms and exposed skin.

I passed one girl and noticed cuts up and down her arms.

I recognized them immediately. They were the end product of self-injury.

And seeing them broke my heart.

It reminded me that people are hurting. And people are cutting themselves to deal with the pain or the pressure or the loneliness.

An estimated 12–23% of adolescents today self-injure. Nearly ¼ of the adolescent population.

That number is staggering.

So what can we do? How can we respond? [Read more...]

Redefining Extraordinary

In order to do something extraordinary, you don’t need to change the world.

You don’t need to start a million dollar business, accomplish an athletic feat, or have a perfectly maintained Instagram feed.

You just need to do something extra than what is ordinary for you.

Extraordinary is a sliding, subjective scale, unique to each individual person.

The truth is, we were made to do extraordinary things. [Read more...]

Today, Just Show Up

Do something extraordinary.

Change the world.

Make a difference.

My veins have been pumped with these messages since I was young. The expectation was set: in order to live a good, valuable life, you have to do something impressive.

As a result, I feel a sense of urgency to be known, to be spectacular, to be great. It’s often paralyzing. And every day I don’t do something important, I feel like a waste.

This is the standard that has been imparted to a lot of us.

But here’s the thing: the bar was set too high. The expectations are crushing us.

So, I’m lowering the standards. [Read more...]

Your Past Does Not Define You

Winter Pathway

Doug Brown via Compfight

This is a baptism, I said to the empty passenger seat. I didn’t get a response. But I’m no theologian, I quickly clarified to no one.

The cornfields and pastures of western Wisconsin gave way to birch forests as I drove east. They waved their branches and beckoned me deeper in.

The drive was a familiar one. I went to college in Wisconsin and grew up in Minnesota.

I live in Denver now, but I still remembered the highways, the trees, the traffic. The way the clouds hang heavy, the sun reflecting off the snow, the feel of the steering wheel turning slowly through farmlands. [Read more...]

Book Review: The Plague of Doves

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 3.02.00 AMBook Under Review

The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich

What is the book about?

A murder in small-town North Dakota and how it shaped the community through the coming generations.

But what is it really about?

Luck, fate, power, time, self-discovery, the shocking nature of existence. [Read more...]

5 Ways Forgiveness Can Improve Your Health, Backed By Science

-MRGT via Compfight cc

-MRGT via Compfight cc

We’ve all been hurt by someone, whether it was parents or strangers or that person who broke your heart in college. And most of us are wronged fairly often, whether it’s someone cutting us off in traffic or being a jerk at the grocery store or a boss that doesn’t treat us fairly.

When we are hurt or wronged, there are essentially two routes we can take: forgive or not forgive (hold a grudge, stay angry, get revenge).

Forgiveness is typically taught as the right thing to do. It’s often considered a virtue. But does it help us lead a better life?

Specifically, is forgiveness good for our health?

Does it have tangible, measurable, positive effects? [Read more...]

The Kind Of Party That Doesn’t End

Photo via unsplash.com

Photo via unsplash.com

When the winter in Wisconsin grew harsh, we had tea parties.

Not the political gathering or marijuana smoking tea parties, but the tea parties where you make green or black or oolong tea and then you drink it together.

The kind where you light fires, and let the ghost sounds of Bon Iver fill the cracks in conversation, and wait for the whistling tea pot to raise its voice. [Read more...]

The Freedom Of Self-Gentleness

Floored

Nicholas A. Tonelli via Compfight

I have disproportionately wide feet.

Growing up, shoe shopping was a nightmare. I could never find anything that fit, let alone anything stylish. One shoe-store employee, after helping me try on pair after pair, said, “Well, you could always use the box.” [Read more...]

Book Review: The Sense of Ending

sense-of-an-endingWell, I’ve done it. I’ve joined the ranks of people killing books.

Not really. It’s just that my parents gave me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas.

AND I LOVE IT.

The display is wonderful, it’s easy to rent books from the library on it, and the dictionary and highlight features are great. Plus, I think there is something about the psychology of reading small chunks of text that makes me want to read longer than I would with a normal book. So if you’re thinking about getting a Kindle, I recommend it. I’ve been reading a lot more since receiving it. [Read more...]

The Incredible Capacity To Hurt And Heal

When I was in third grade, my siblings and I went on a field trip with some fellow homeschool students. My younger sister brought along her favorite Beanie Baby, a Dalmatian. She set it down once, and while she was looking away I took it and put it behind a box. I didn’t intend to be mean, just pesky. [Read more...]

Control Is Slippery And The Mountain Is Long

keystoneWe headed up I-70 West into the mountains. 6,000, 7,000, 11,000 feet above sea level we climbed. 50, 40, 30 degrees Fahrenheit we descended. Our lungs are not used to this type of breathing.

As we passed beneath the continental divide, the brown winter behind us gave way to thousands of evergreen trees dressed in white wedding gowns, the trains filling the aisles and ground in between. We do not look back into the tunnel when a wedding is before us. [Read more...]

Stability Is The Friend Of Creativity

Moleskine a quadretti e grafite

Gilberto Taccari via Compfight

Stability is the friend of creativity.

Which might seem counterintuitive. I tend to think wind and adventures and excitement inspire creativity.

And maybe they do, to a certain extent. [Read more...]