how much help is the right amount?

A fight broke out in a Facebook birding group the other day. Some people thought the cowbird egg should be removed so the the Carolina wren chicks would have a chance. Others pointed out that cowbirds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and removing their eggs from a nest is illegal. Someone said that if you remove their eggs from the nest cowbirds have been known to retaliate against the wrens. Someone else commented that cowbirds are lazy and evil by human standards. (They don’t build their own nests or raised their own chicks.) …

Mixed Signals, part 2

Thistles Collage

“Thistle” could be a cute way of saying “this li’l.” I want to talk about this li’l topic of mixed signals a bit more.

My therapist assured me that I don’t have to censor anything for her, and I don’t have to worry about saying it in the most polite way. Just get it out. Ok, that only took 8 years to establish.

A few weeks ago I was asking her over and over, “WHY IS THIS TAKING ME SO LONG?” I suspected her of purposely dragging it out so she gets more money, but I didn’t say that. I…

what to do about them?

Little Pink Lies

You know Freud’s idea of “reaction formation”? That’s when a person is so appalled by their true feelings, they try to cover them up by acting in a totally opposite way. Then of course when you’re with that person you get mixed signals.

A reaction formation is an unconscious defense mechanism — that is, we don’t know we’re doing it. But we also sometimes deliberately act in ways that are the opposite of how we feel, like when we’re trying to be polite even though angry.

I told my therapist the other day, half jokingly…


Emilie Flöge - Gustav Klimt

Here’s some advice I read the other day:

If you find a dress that you love that you don’t think you can afford, you should buy it anyway. Because if you don’t buy it, that dress will haunt you for years, and you will buy 20 cheaper dresses that never satisfy.

That’s enough about dresses. I now intend to extrapolate.

Consider the story of Banzan at the butcher’s shop:

Before he became a great Zen master, Banzan spent many years in pursuit of enlightenment, but it eluded him. Then, one day, as he was walking in the marketplace, he overheard…

from wherever you are

Vicky Sim — Unsplash

If she’d told me twenty years ago, when I was still the Queen of WooWoo, I wouldn’t have heard her because those same words were raining down from everywhere in my world.

But since she said it while I was standing in the tire tracks on the dusty road where I have been lately, I heard.

It sounded funny, coming from her, Old Mrs. Feet-On-The-Ground. It sounded absurd, like fairy dust, glitter, tinkling bells, after we’d been squabbling for weeks.

What the hell, I’m desperate, I thought. Maybe I should just trust her. …

A portrait of Harriet Tubman, c. 1908

When I was married I used to dream about a network of Black people who were hiding me and helping me along a secret trail with underground tunnels. They were warm and kind and helpful. They were sure of themselves and their mission - they did not question my need to escape. In waking life I felt very guilty about my secret wish to get out of my marriage, but eventually I did get out.

not enough magic

Anna Silivonchik

It’s tempting to want to escape from your problems. Groan-ups face them, they don’t run away. Is it possible to run away though? I mean without hurting anyone, without being a shirker of responsibility?

When I was a young mother I became suicidal. I wanted to run away. I very much wanted my children to be loved and cared for, but I was depressed and didn’t feel capable of it. However, there was no one else, so I stayed and did what I could. It was hard, but I learned a few tricks.

That was a long time ago. Now…

am I imagining things?


“Q.E.D.” (sometimes written “QED”) is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase “quod erat demonstrandum” (“that which was to be demonstrated”), a notation which is often placed at the end of a mathematical proof to indicate its completion. ~ Wolfram

In a New Yorker review of a book by an anthropologist about belief and prayer in evangelical circles, I came across the notation, “QED,” which I had to look up. The reference to the Latin phrase came with a description of a church pamphlet about why one should trust the Bible. …

This morning I was reading a NYT interview with Deepak Chopra titled “How to Have a Disagreement Like an Adult.” Step one, he says, is to decide if you even want to engage — maybe just walk away. I like that idea.

When I look up from my reading, this is what I see on my table. Instead of fighting myself to tidy up, let’s just walk away, maybe I could tell some clutter-themed stories instead.

Purple hair tie

The purple hair tie entered my life when every last hair tie I owned had disappeared except the one I was wearing. It was…

How the form identity operates

Mom and Me

Asking questions is one way to get answers. I am surprised by how well that works sometimes.

I began with a question about self-discipline. Is there a way to clean up my messes and take care of business, and generally operate smoothly in life without having to force myself? Because I am very bad at forcing myself…

In Part 1, I shared a quote from Eckhart Tolle, in which he said that when our form identity is “connected consciously to the essence identity, then that changes how the form identity operates.” I wondered HOW. How does a connection to “pure…

Sarah Mohan

I’m probably just making it up

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