new chapter, new blog:




our greatest events are not our loudest hours, but rather our most quiet.


love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.
ursula le guin

when you don't punish or condemn yourself, when you relax more and appreciate your body and mind, you begin to contact the fundamental notion of basic goodness in yourself. so it is extremely important to be willing to open yourself to yourself. developing tenderness toward yourself allows you to see both your problems and your potential accurately. you don't feel that you have to ignore your problems or exaggerate your potential. that kind of gentleness toward yourself and appreciation of yourself is very necessary. it provides the ground for helping yourself and others.

chögyam trungpa,

dc - i already miss you.
la - i already love you.


daydreaming of avocados from the farmers market, sun streaks in my hair and a little bit of a sunburn, saltwater on my skin. i want to feel like i'm on fire. lit up and alive.

"you are not the limitation you have been taught to believe."
pat rodegast


“the cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.”
isak dinesen

i've started packing my boxes. taking photographs and magazine cutouts off of the walls, frames off of my shelves, deciding what is making the move to california with me and what's staying behind. it feels good to lighten up a bit, and so strange to finally be going. but as i clear out clutter, i can make space for what is new and what's to come.




things i want more of:

fresh daisies from the farmers market

hanging out with my brother & enjoying another month in the same city

a few late summer evenings at the drum circle

yoga, yoga, yoga

a couple of hours in the evening to be quiet & by myself

riding my bike through rock creek and then on the boardwalk

twilight books (i know but i can't help it)

sleeping in at least once a week and waking up to the sun

strawberry waffles in iowa and laying in the dock

a couple of hours in the evening to enjoy a glass of vino with my girlies


california - beach cruisers, sand, my boyfriend

bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.
ella williams


the grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
allan k. chalmers


gratitude is the heart's memory.
french proverb


to find yourself, your true self, you simply begin to peel away that which doesn’t fit. find out what you’re not, and you will find out who you are. if you don’t like yoga, don’t practice yoga. find what makes you happy and that becomes your yoga.
-enlighten up


life is "trying things to see if they work."
ray bradbury


how to climb a mountain

make no mistake. this will be an exercise in staying vertical.
yes, there will be a view, later, a wide swath of open sky,
but in the meantime: tree and stone. if you're lucky, a hawk will
coast overhead, scanning the forest floor. if you're lucky,
a set of wildflowers will keep you cheerful. mostly, though,
a steady sweat, your heart fluttering indelicately, a solid ache
perforating your calves. this is called work, what you will come to know,
eventually and simply, as movement, as all the evidence you need to make
your way. forget where you were. that story is no longer true.
level your gaze to the trail you're on, and even the dark won't stop you.
maya stein


brightness of being alive.

"the brightness of being alive. it finds me in unexpected moments of calm, when my heart takes refuge from the ever growing to-do list, when my perfectionism gives way to feeling, to release. and when it arrives, the brightness feels deeply spacious and warm, like an intertwining celebration of all things brave in love. sometimes, i’ll admit, my mind cautions my heart not to trust the abundance...young memories of tragedy and loss can be hard to shake, i suppose. it can all be gone in a split second, the memory warns. it’s a warning that challenges me to feel disconnected from the present moment - the one that’s calling me to step in, stay awhile, and celebrate. we all have memories and life filters that haunt us, that creep in and try to steal the show even when we’ve done all the soul work to repair and heal. but i deeply believe that in our best moments, we can understand that our vulnerabilities are what connect us, that we can step into the power that is uniquely ours, play hard, love bravely, offer comfort to our younger, broken selves, and soar, always soar on the brightness of being alive."
- kelly rae


spring in iowa

it takes a long time to become young.
pablo picasso


from blossoms

from blossoms comes this brown paper bag of peaches we bought from the boy at the bend in the road where we turned toward signs painted peaches.

from laden boughs, from hands, from sweet fellowship in the bins, comes nectar at the roadside, succulent peaches we devour, dusty skin and all, comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside, to carry within us an orchard, to eat not only the skin, but the shade, not only the sugar, but the days, to hold the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into the round jubilance of peach.

there are days we live as if death were nowhere in the background; from joy to joy to joy, from wing to wing, from blossom to blossom to impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

li-young lee



it's springbutalmostsummertime which means getting up early, lots of yoga, blue moons on the front porch, drum circle every sunday, long walks with the artichoke, riding bikes absolutely everywhere, freckles on my nose, harpers ferry, iced chais, pink toenails, fresh tomatoes and sunflowers at the farmers market, skirts and flip flops.

sun is shining, the weather is sweet now
make you want to move your dancing feet
to the rescue, here i am
want you to know just if you can
where i stand, know, know, know, where i stand.
bob marley


What Is There Beyond Knowing?
What is there beyond knowing that keeps
calling to me? I can't
turn in any direction
but it's there. I don't mean
the leaves' grip and shine or even the thrush's
silk song, but the far-off
fires, for example,
of the stars, heaven's slowly turning
theater of light, or the wind
playful with its breath;
or time that's always rushing forward,
or standing still
in the same -- what shall I say --
What I know
I could put into a pack
as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder,
important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained
and unexplainable. How wonderful it is
to follow a thought quietly
to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.
But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing
in and out. Life so far doesn't have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.
If there's a temple, I haven't found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds.
Mary Oliver

woo hoo - i get to be woman of the month:


thanks joan.



spring has returned. the earth is like a child that knows poems.
rainer maria rilke


We don't need to control the world. We don't need to defend ourselves against it. We don't need to preserve anything. We only need to be here—totally, completely, freely—responding to the actual occasion.

–Steve Hagen


The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating — in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

– Anne Morriss


Borrowed from Alex:

Push hard to get better, become smarter, grow your devotion to the truth, fuel your commitment to beauty, refine your emotional intelligence, hone your dreams, negotiate with your shadow, cure your ignorance, shed your pettiness, heighten your drive to look for the best in people, and soften your heart—even as you always accept yourself for exactly who you are with all of your so-called imperfections.

-Rob Brezsny


“I must learn to love the fool in me–the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool.”
— Theodore I. Rubin, MD



From Deb at Flow Yoga Center:

Many people (like me!) experience added stress and irritability if they try to continue their practices "as is" during transitional times or even during seasonal changes, without adding some balance to sooth their systems. The darker, colder months of winter are the most common time I get asked by students how they can stick with their practices and stay motivated. In addition to Hugh's wonderful tip, below are some ideas on how to keep your practice going when you are feeling less then fabulous:

*We tend to do our best when we are in harmony with the seasons. A balanced winter practice may include more vigorous yoga sequences that warm the body (think heat inducing sun salutations, longer held standing poses, deep twists) balanced with longer savasanas and adding some restorative classes such as harmony flow and yoga nidra into your routine.

*Yoga philosophy reminds us you cannot overcome negativity with negativity. If self defeating thoughts arise during class, try to think the opposite. Rephrase the negative with a positive mantra such as "I feel wonderful in this moment". In other words, fake it till you make it!

*Revisit your goals and set revised intentions that serve you. A big hint as to whether your plan is on the right track is how you feel post practice. If you feel re-invigorated and balanced you are on the right track. If you feel frustrated and angry, make a change. Spend a few moments putting your plan into your planner! Studies show we are able to follow through with our intentions more easily when we see them on a daily basis. * Serve others! If your only goal in practices is fitness or flexibility - look more deeply. Do some self inquiry on how the benefits of your personal practice can be shared with others. This is the ultimate inspiration of any yoga practice and the sooner you realize this you will recognize stronger motivations then you have ever felt before.

*Find creative ways to help you solidify your practice commitments. Pre-register for classes, commit to a series or seek out a "yoga buddy" to help keep on track. Two friends of mine set an intention for running a 10k and have set dates for practice runs in a local gym and classes in the studio ahead of time.

*Take small steps towards your goals. If you are beating yourself up for not being able to commit daily to your 30 minute morning meditation, try just 5 minutes! If you don't feel up for a full hour yoga practice, commit to practicing 9 sun salutations.

*Stay flexible and be as gentle with yourself as you would towards a friend when things feel challenging. Many find satisfaction when they already know their back up plan -- your run may not workout very well in the midst of a winter storm so if you already have plan b ideas in place (a favorite DVD or class schedule) you will be more likely to follow through.)

*Take cues from the light - try to align your more active times when it is lighter out - seek out lunch time yoga classes and save your more restorative practices for dusk and dawn. If possible wake up with the sun rise, start your day with reflective meditation before moving into a more vigorous practice.


sent to me from my mama this morning:

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Love the ones who don’t just because you can. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Kiss slowly. Forgive quickly. God never said like would be easy. He just promised it would be worth it.


allow your body to become your temple; the pose your prayer.

bks iyengar

after new years i always expect it to be an instant spring rather than another 3 or 4 looooong months until i can indulge in pedicures every few weeks and ride my bike without gloves. and now i'm enjoying a stay in my pajamas sort of monday.


a first birthday.

little artichoke,

you've been in the world for just a year, and what an impact you've made in my life. i never thought that fuzzy, wrinkly little face would be able to melt my heart on a daily basis, but you've proven otherwise.

you've taught me that hourly naps are absolutely imperative; that plaster, though it may look tasteless, is worth devouring to the point of a massive hole in my wall; that it's okay to slow down and take a really long walk (followed by a really long nap of course); that size is not an issue at the dog park, it's about persistence and brute strength; that you should eat every time the possibility shows itself, even if that food doesn't belong to you (who knows when you'll be fed again, right?); that i'm going to be a total sucker as a mother, and this is only the beginning of a slippery slope.

love you my little artichoke.


from lindsay :

100 Ideas by Keri Smith (a work in progress)

1. Go for a walk. Draw or list things you find on the the sidewalk. 2. Write a letter to yourself in the future. 3. Buy something inexpensive as a symbol for your need to create, (new pen, a tea cup, journal). Use it everyday. 4. Draw your dinner. 5. Find a piece of poetry you respond to. Rewrite it and glue it into your journal. 6. Glue an envelope into your journal. For one week collect items you find on the street. 7. Expose yourself to a new artist, (go to a gallery, or in a book.) Write about what moves you about it. 8. Find a photo of a person you do not know. Write a brief bio about them. 9. Spend a day drawing only red things. 10. Draw your bike. 11. Make a list of everything you buy in the next week. 12. Make a map of everywhere you went in one day. 13. Draw a map of the creases on your hand, (knuckles, palm) 14. Trace your footsteps with chalk. 15. Record an overheard conversation. 16. Trace the path of the moon in relation to where you live. 17. Go to a paint store. Collect ‘chips’ of all your favorite colors. 18. Draw your favorite tree. 19. Take 15 minutes to eat an orange. 20. Write a haiku. 21. Hang upside down for five minutes. 22. Hang found objects from tree branches. 23. Make a puppet. 24. Create an outdoor room from things you find in nature. 25. Read a book in one day. 26. Illustrate your grocery list. 27. Read a story out loud to a friend. 28. Write a letter to someone you admire. 29. Study the face of someone you do not like. 30. Make a meal based on a color theme. (i.e. all white). 31. Creat a museum of very small things. 32. List the smells in your neighborhood. 33. List 100 uses for a tin can. 34. Fill an entire page in your jounral with small circles. Color them in. 35. Give away something you love. 36. Choose an object, draw the side you can’t see. 37. List all of the places you’ve ever lived. 38. Describe your favourite room in detail. 39. Write about your relationship with your washing machine. 40. Draw all of the things in your purse/bag. 41. Make a mini book based on the theme, “my grocery list”. 42. Create a character based on someone you know. Write a list of personality traits. 43. Recall your favorite childhood game. 44. Put postcards of art pieces/painting on the inside of your kitchen cupboard doors, so you can see them everyday (but not become deaf to them.) 45. Draw the same object every day for a week. 46. Write in your journal using a different medium (brush & ink, charcoal, old typewriter, crayons, fat markers. 47. Draw the individual items of your favorite outfit. 48. Make a useful item using only paper & tape. 49. Research a celebration or ritual from another culture. 50. Do a temporary art installation using a pad of post it notes & a pen. 51. Draw a map of your favorite sitting spots in your town/city. (photocopy it and give it to someone you like.) 52. Record all of the sounds you hear in the course of one hours. 53. Using a grid, collect various textures from magazine and play them off of each other. 54. Cut out all media for one day. Write about the effects. 55. Make pencil rubbings of six different surfaces. 56. Draw your garbage. 57. Do a morning collage. 58. List your ten most important things, (not including animals or people.) 59. List ten things you would like to do every day. 60. Glue a photo of yourself as a child into your journal. 61. Trasform some garbage. 62. Write an entry in your journal in really LARGE letters. 63. Collect some ‘flat’ things in nature (leaves, flowers). Glue or tape them into your journal. 64. Physically alter a page. (i.e. cut a hole, pour tea on it, burn it, fold it, etc.) 65. Find several color combinations you respond to in public. Document them using swatches, write where you found them. 66. Write a journal entry describing something “secret”. Cut it up into several pieces and glue them back in scrambled. 67. Record descriptions or definitions of subjects or words you are interested in, found in encyclopedias or dictionaries. 68. Draw the outline of an object without looking at the page. (contour drawing). 69. What were you thinking just now? write it down. 70. Do nothing. 71. Write a list of ten things you could to do. Do the last thing on the list. 72. Create an image using dots. 73. Do 3 drawings at different speeds. 74. Put a small object in your left pocket (or in a bag), Put your left hand in the pocket. Draw it by feel. 75. Create a graph documenting or measuring something in your life. 76. Draw thesun. 77. Create instructions for a simple everyday task. 78. Make prints using food. (fruit and vegetables cut in half, fish, etc.) 79. Find a photo. Alter it by drawing over it. 80. Write a letter using an unconventional medium. 81. Draw one object for twenty minutes. 82. Combine two activities that have not been combined before. 83. Write about your day in an encyclopedic fashion. (i.e. organize by subject.) 84. Write a list of all the things you do to escape. 85. Cut a random shape out of several layers of a magazine. Make a collage out of the results. 86. Write an entry in code. 87. Make a painting using tools from the bathroom. 88. Work with a medium that is subtractive. 89. Write about or draw some of the doors in your life. 90. Make a postcard that has some kind of activity on it. 91. Divise a journal entry using “layers”. 92. Divise an entry using “layers”. 93. Write your own definition of one of the following concepts, sitting, waiting, sleeping (without using the actual word.) 94. List 10 of your habits. 95. Illustrate the concept of “simplicity”.


"Wonderful stuff, you know, little things like that. Ah, but, those are the things I miss the most. The little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about. That's what made her my wife. Oh and she had the goods on me, too, she knew all my little peccadillos. People call these things imperfections, but they're not, aw that's the good stuff. And then we get to choose who we let into our weird little worlds. You're not perfect, sport. And let me save you the suspense. This girl you met, she isn't perfect either. But the question is: whether or not you're perfect for each other. That's the whole deal. That's what intimacy is all about. Now you can know everything in the world, sport, but the only way you're findin' out that one is by givin' it a shot. You certainly won't learn from an old fucker like me. Even if I did know, I wouldn't tell a pissant like you."

- Good Will Hunting


the truth

i took this yoga personality quiz on my friend peggy's website, and it's so fitting.

you are a dancer.

you are a risk taker, love to try new things, and find routines boring.

when life is in balance - you are creative, enthusiastic, passionate, and flexible.

when life is out of balance - you feel nervous and anxious, with dramatic shifts in your emotions.

though you are drawn to a vinyasa flow practice, which brings out the best in you - you may also want to try a more grounding practice to balance you, like ashtanga yoga. you should avoid a practice with a rapid, heated pace and also the passive and still, opting always for more steady and slow. daily meditation will promote mental tranquility and equanimity - though you may have to sit for shorter, more frequent spaces of time.

your challenge is to find stillness throughout each pose without fidgeting, and to steady the mind and breath by keeping each regular, rhythmic, and flowing. try closing your eyes to reduce distractions of the mind.

winter is not your season - so be sure to include in your diet warm foods with heavy textures. try hot cereals, warm soups, and fresh baked bread. include sweet fruits and nuts, with hot herbal teas in the afternoon.


"Someday after mastering winds, waves, tides and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will discover fire." -Teilhard de Chardin

There are times when we share with others a special, fully interconnected consciousness. When great music thrills us, or we are mutually inspired by an awesome sunset, or when we fall in love, we are transported temporarily into a shared world which is remarkable.

This state of true intermingling is rare, for most of us, but it is experiential, and that means we know it for what it is; we feel it immediately as real and filled with meaning. When such an experience is past and we return to our normal, separated perceptions, the experience becomes a vulnerable memory, and our educated personality may reject the consciousness that knew this deeper connection.

Yet, the suspicion remains that there is something of mind that is not just inside our heads. We feel interconnected with each other and the world in a profound and important way. We know at some level that we are not isolated, but interdependent, so that a subtle energy of mine can reach out and mingle with yours, allowing us to share a moment that is important to both of us.

If we think of this potential extending beyond the two of us to a world full of living beings, we have the foundation for a model for global consciousness. Maybe, as Teilhard de Chardin believed, the world ultimately needs that shared consciousness and is actively growing toward it.

The research described here points to subtle indications that we do live in an interconnected, potentially conscious world, in which we surely play an important role. We have shown immense capacities for both destructive and creative impact, and this implies that the future is ours to mold.

It will be a desirable future in proportion to our level of consciousness, individually and globally.

-Roger Nelson


LOVE (happy valentines day.)


blue chip nachos.


my family and friends (in CAPS with a bazillion exclamation points!!!!!!!)

a good dose of both steadiness and spontaneity.

the beach.


rainy mornings when i don't have to be anywhere except my bed.

artichoke (for better or for worse.)

Love Spell: Against Endings

coffee and vino tinto.

my nest.

my bike and my scooter.

flowers and manicures - two of the best indulgences.



the meaning of our self is not to be found in its separateness from god and others, but in the ceaseless realisation of yoga, of union; not on the side of the canvas where it is blank, but on the side where the picture is being painted.

rabindranath tagore


Manifesto of Style

1. Communicate who you are in all you do.
2. Style is multidimensional.
3. Style matters.
4. Authenticity is energizing, economical, and efficient.
5. Accentuate the positive.
6. People are like snowflakes—uniquely beautiful because of the details.
7. Pay attention to what attracts you.
8. Working from the outside in can create deep transformation.
9. Feel free to change.
10. True style is not dependent on wealth, and wealth does not necessarily create taste.
11. Cheap is expensive in the long run.
12. Use your best every day.
13. Choose from your heart, and your life will fill up with things you love.
14. Beauty transforms.
15. It’s always a good time to be yourself.
16. Only love is free—everything else costs.
17. Creativity + restraint = beauty.
18.Contrast makes things interesting.
19. Living is sensual.
20. Make more choices—moment to moment, day to day.


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver


"There's a point where you can give up on winter--when temptation can enter your soul, prying its way in like cold air through the cracks in your cabin--around January sixteenth or so, and this can make you realize that February's coming, and beyond February, March.

See, I don't yet realize that March will be the hardest month. Early February's the coldest, and often the snowiest, but March, strange, silent March, will be the hardest.

The danger in yielding to thoughts of spring--green grass, hikes, bare feet, lakes, fly-fishing, rivers, and sun, hot sun--is that once these thoughts enter your mind, you cant get them out.

Love the winter. Don't betray it. Be loyal.

When the spring gets here, love it too--and then the summer.

But be loyal to the winter, all the way through--all the way, and with sincerity--or you'll find yourself high and dry, longing for a spring that's a long way off, and winter will have abandoned you, and in her place you'll have cabin fever, the worst.

The colder it gets, the more you've got to love it."

~Rick Bass fr. Winter -Notes from Montana

the photographic dictionary

(abundance, by david warren)

the photographic dictionary


For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


"when people experiencing magical things in their life, that secret is the answer to all of those questions - why is this sacred? why does this feel larger than myself? why can't i put this into words? i think that's the secret. i think that's the connection that we have to one other."

- bon iver in an npr interview

Things in their most basic form
are the hardest to put words around:
the winged tail of a shrimp.
a freshly washed pillow case,
growing crisp in the autumn air.

The late winter sun
quenching itself on a bowlful
of snow. The half moon
resting, always,
in your right thumbnail.
What I mean is this—
after the long ride home
when the grass is wet, and the dishes
have been dried, and the wrinkles
have begun to set themselves
in lines more broad
than fine, there will be you—
asleep. Your head in its infinite state
of undress. Each hair
set upon another
wrestling against the grains,
that by some unwritten rule,
must form in your blue eyes.
There will be you, again.
Alight, aloft, adrift,
in my arms alone.

There will be you
and me
and we will be
at home.

-M. C. Boyes


Starting Again from Barbara Kingsolver from High Tide in Tucson

Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job or a limb or a loved one, a graduation, bringing a new baby home: it's impossible to think at first how this will all be possible. Eventually, what moves it all forward is the subterranean ebb and flow of being alive among the living.

In my own worst seasons I've come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a singular glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full , dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, i have taught myself joy , over and over again.

It is not such a wide gulf to cross, then, from survival to poetry. We hold fast to the old passions of endurance that buckle and creak beneath us, dovetailed, tight as a good wooden boat to carry us onward. And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. to be hopeful, to embrace on possibility after another -- that is surely the basic instinct. Baser even than hate, the thing with teeth, which can be stilled with a tone of voice or stunned by beauty. If the whole world of the living has to turn on the single point of remaining alive, that pointed endurance is the poetry of hope. The thing with feathers.

What a stroke of luck. What a singular brute feat of outrageous fortune: to be born citizenship in the animal kingdom. We love we lose, go back to the start and do it right over again. For every heavy forebrain solemnly cataloging the facts of a harsh landscape, there's a rush of intuition behind it crying out:High Tide ! Time to move out the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.

The following is an excerpt from Gretchen Rubin's article featured this past fall in The Huffington Post. In her article she writes about a 1936 exploration of 12 "brain exercises" given by a Dorothea Brande which helps one connect to happiness. Her theory was that a key ingredient to being happy is to experience novelty and change in ones life. She says, "People who stray from their routines, try new things, explore, and experiment tend to be happier than those who don't." Of course, as Brande herself points out, novelty and challenge can also bring frustration, anxiety, confusion, and annoyance along the way; it's the process of facing those challenges that brings the "atmosphere of growth" so important to happiness.

Here are Dorothea Brande's twelve mental exercises. Note: she wrote these in 1936, so you need to adapt of few of them.

1. Spend an hour each day without saying anything except in answer to direct questions, in the midst of the usual group, without creating the impression that you're sulking or ill. Be as ordinary as possible. But do not volunteer remarks or try to draw out information.

2. Think for 30 minutes a day about one subject exclusively. Start with five minutes.

3. Write a letter without using the words I, me, mine, my.

4. Talk for 15 minutes a day without using I, me, my, mine.

5. Write a letter in a "successful" or placid tone. No misstatements, no lying. Look for aspects or activities that can be honestly reported that way.

6. Pause on the threshold of any crowded room and size it up.

7. Keep a new acquaintance talking about himself or herself without allowing him to become conscious of it. Turn back any courteous reciprocal questions in a way that your auditor doesn't feel rebuffed.

8. Talk exclusively about yourself and your interests without complaining, boasting, or boring your companions.

9. Cut "I mean" or "As a matter of fact" or any other verbal mannerism out of your conversation.

10. Plan two hours of a day and stick to the plan.

11. Set yourself twelve tasks at random: e.g., go twenty miles from home using ordinary conveyance; go 12 hours without food; go eat a meal in the unlikelist place you can find; say nothing all day except in answer to questions; stay up all night and work.

12. From time to time, give yourself a day when you answer "yes" to any reasonable request.


Elephants / Rachael Yamagata

If the elephants have past lives yet all destined to always remember
It's no wonder how they scream
Like you and I they must have some temper

And I am dreaming of them on the planes
Dirtying up their beds
Watching for some sign of rain to cool their hot heads

And how dare that you send me that card when I am doing all that I can do
You are forcing me to remember when all I want is to just forget you

If the tiger shall protect her young then tell me how did you slip by
All my instincts have failed me for once
I must have somehow slept the whole night

And I am dreaming of them with their kill
Tearing it all apart
Blood dripping from their lips and teeth sinking into heart

And how dare that you say you'll call
When you know I need some peace of mind
If you have to take sides with the animals
Won't you do it with one who is kind

And if the hawks in the trees need the dead
If you're living you don't stand a chance
For a time though you share the same bed
There are only two ends to this dance

You can flee with your wounds just in time or lie there as he feeds
Watching yourself ripped to shreds and laughing as you bleed

So for those of you falling in love keep it kind
Keep it good
Keep it right
Throw yourself in the midst of danger but keep one eye open at night