The Matrix

A running bit I had during my time in Portland, Oregon was that I lived ‘three bubbles in’: 1. The United States, a first-world country, 2: Portland, a progressive city, and 3: My cohousing community, a progressive housing structure. I lived in this multilayered cushion for seven years, and many, many days I’d step outside and be flush with gratitude, not quite believing that I was so fortunate to live in a circumstance so amazing. …

Six months

I’ve built at least a hundred wood stove fires in my life, but last night the gift of heat was elusive for some reason. It took me three tries and a minor hand injury to produce a result, and there was swearing involved. In some way, this single event neatly captures a basic emotional cycle I’ve been through dozen of times as I navigate my way through projects I’ve never attempted before: frustration, overwhelm, and swearing, followed eventually with satisfaction and increased capacity through persistence. …

The Drive to Stay Small

The American Psychological Association defines “fear of success” as: “a fear of accomplishing one’s goals or succeeding in society, or a tendency to avoid doing so”. For the longest time, the whole concept didn’t resonate with me. Fear of failure always made sense, but fear of success – why? And yet, the deeper I march through the layers of my personal development journey, the less and less a fear of failure grips me, and the more it seems like a fear of becoming fully expressed has always underpinned my behavior and results. I really began to understand how this fear...…

Life saver

October of 2002 was the closest I ever came to suicide. After suffering many months of intense depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep, I had started on the planning phase. How do I execute it? Who should I leave my car to? There was no major external event that spun me into such a bad place. It can be hard to explain this kind of state to someone who’s never experienced it – attitude adjustments, perspective shifts, vacations to pretty places – none of these make a dent in the interior blackness. My body became a shell shuffling slowly, my...…

Outsmarting my selves

David Allen’s magnum opus on personal productivity, Getting Things Done, is packed with useful insights. Here’s one of my favorites: The smart part of us sets up things for us to do that the not-so-smart part responds to almost automatically, creating behavior that produces high-performing results. We trick ourselves into doing what we ought to be doing. He then offers this classic example: putting something you need to take with you near your car keys. My personal crutch in this department is alarms. Even if my future action needs to be done a mere ten minutes from the present moment,...…