Showing posts from July 28, 2019

Petra Wolf: Many Rivers Flowing

An early sense of abandonment, a missing gravestone, and an inheritance promised to her in a dream, were all part of the unusual chain of events that led Petra Wolf, a hairdresser-turned-environmental engineer, to the Camino de Santiago, and to Michael--the man she would one day marry. Over 15 years they followed an inner call and embraced the unknown together, walking to Jerusalem, sailing to India, living in a round house in Santa Fe, and more. All with the intention of creating a spiritual shift, within and without. In this candid interview, conducted the year after Michael's unexpected passing, Petra looks back at her unique life, and the insights lighting the next stage of her journey.

Cherishing Our Connections

"We all belong to the world in concentric circles of relationship some more distant and others close, some with people different from us and others with people more similar. Living within this web of connectedness can bring us the greatest of joys and the deepest of challenges. The preferences, patterns, and habits we have learned can both build relational bridges and create great divides. Much of how we operate in our relationships can be unconscious and beneath our awareness, and so we go through life feeling perpetually at the effect of others, rather than intentional and effectual."


"One morning I woke up with no voice, just a faint, breathy whisper. This would be upsetting anytime, but on this particular day it felt as if I were in a fairy tale. In a matter of hours, I was supposed to tell a story and teach mindfulness meditation at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan. And I couldn't make a sound." Parabola's Tracy Cochran shares more in this thought-provoking essay on the possibilities that awaken when we relinquish our hold on the familiar and surrender to the unknown.

How to Eat Mindfully by Listening to Your Body

These seven tips can help you create a better relationship with food.

By Tchiki Davis

Do you want to create a better relationship with food?

Maybe you follow the standard recommendations for healthy eating, but they don’t seem to work for you—and you’re always fighting off cravings. Or maybe you’re constantly distracted by technology and overwhelmed by busyness, too scattered to find pleasure in your meals.

Learning to listen to your body’s reactions to food can do much more than just help you lose weight. Research suggests that mindful eating—a nonjudgmental awareness of the complete experience of eating—can contribute to weight loss, a decline in negative emotions, and a healthier relationship with food. It can also help you find a deeper connection to the foods you eat, nourishing you in ways you may never have experienced before.

Eating healthy can become both easier and more enjoyable because you are finally in sync with your body.

What is mindful eating?

To get to know how your body re…

How Your Relationships Can Bring Out the Best in You

Here are six things you can do in your relationships to support your growth.

By James McConchie

Every week, my wife and I have a meeting where we talk about what is going well in our family, but also what we could be doing better. She knows when I am giving less than my best, and she calls me out on it—which isn’t always easy to hear. But I know I’m lucky to be married to someone who always challenges me to work on myself and become a better person.

When we think about personal growth, we often envision a solo quest, like Don Quixote on a journey of self-improvement. We are advised to increase our self-control, get grittier, and develop a sense of purpose. So we hunker down, turn inward, and start the solitary task of reshaping our habits and behaviors.

And yet people who are thriving are usually doing so with the help of others. Peak athletes have coaches. Top executives have mentors. Great parents have parenting blogs and other great parents to bounce ideas off of. Even those contemplat…

Time for the Wild

In a short and strikingly beautiful cinematic journey to wild places we are asked to think about how we are leaving the natural world for generations to come. What if our children's children could never lay eyes on wild country because it is already destroyed? Spending time in the wild is not a past-time, the narrator tells us, rather it is a biological necessity like water, air and food. The video ends on a hopeful note, pointing out that thousands of people are spending their time working to leave their areas better than when they arrived.

What Kind of Emotions Do Animals Feel?

A new book by primatologist Frans de Waal suggests that animal and human emotions are more similar than we think.

By Karin Evans

In a Netherlands zoo, an elderly chimpanzee named Mama is weak and dying. Elderly biology professor Jan van Hooff, who has known the primate for four decades, enters Mama’s enclosure—something usually too dangerous to attempt, given the strength of chimpanzees and their capacity for violent attacks. In their final, poignant encounter, she grins and reaches for him, embraces him, and rhythmically pats the back of his head and neck in a comforting gesture that chimpanzees use to quiet a whimpering infant.

“She was letting him know not to worry,” writes Frans de Waal in his new book, Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves.

As one of the world’s most prominent primatologists, de Waal has been observing animals for four decades now, debunking myths around the differences between animals and humans. His latest book focuses on the emoti…

The Literary Prize for the Refusal of Literary Prizes

Highly acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin discusses the problematic nature of receiving awards. Among those she says she would like to have is the Sartre Prize for Prize Refusal. Named after Jean-Paul Sartre for refusing the Nobel in 1964, it is coveted by authors who refuse awards in the hopes of being nominated for the Sartre Prize for Prize Refusal. The irony is not lost on Le Guin who refused the Nebula when they deprived the Polish novelist Stanislaw Lem of his honorary membership explaining it was only fitting since "it would be shameless to accept an award for a story about political intolerance from a group that had just displayed political intolerance."

Befriending Ourselves: An Invitation to Love

Is self-improvement sometimes a disguised version of self-agrression? If the focus is always on how I might be "better" in the future, it can be hard to extend toward myself a hand of friendship and compassion. I miss out on the present miracle of who I am NOW. Maybe moving from a perspective of improvement toward one of healing actually begins with loving my current messiness.