Balancing on the Brink

I was a young girl in a small town when I first heard about deadly conflicts and tragedies and other Hard Things both near and abroad. Like many of us, I wanted to help fix them. After exploring ways to do this, I went to law school to get tools to help marginalized people. I spent a few years serving people who were poor and/or sick. Along the way, I learned a little bit about where Hard Things come from.

Like many poverty lawyers and assorted do-gooders before and since, I eventually needed to pause and get some perspective. Was I really engaging the challenge of Hard Things in the Best and Smartest way?

Just as I was settling into the question, I ran into my own Hard Thing. Its season was a long and painful one. But the question remained in my heart: what can be done about these Hard Things? And what, of the things that can be done, can I do?

Hard Things I'd Like to Get Fixed

Here are a few of the Hard Things that trouble me the most. If you are working on fixing them too, I might be interested in writing in for your project. Contact me and tell me about what you're doing.
  • Migraine Island!

    My own Hard Thing was years of severe migraines that became chronic and left me, for a time, unable to work at all. I've written quite a bit about the experience, and how I found my way past it, at Migraine Island! I hope you have no need to read this. But if you do, I hope you find something useful here.
  • Flourishing in our (Only) Habitat

    You ever notice that, so far as we know, the only planet for humans is the one we're already on? Yes? Well, since we're on the same page, here are some thoughts about taking better care of it.
  • Our Species, Our Friends

    We humans have more in common with each other than we do with any other known life form. Yep. It's true. The tweaks and eccentricities that distinguish us (gloriously) from one another are nothing compared to how we differ from, say, slugs, scorpions, and sperm whales. So, what's up with all the hating? Why do we constantly put obstacles in each others' ways? Why do we get stuck in our zero-sum mentalities, time and again? Here are some thoughts about how to better get along.
  • Telling Ourselves Better Stories.

    Perhaps the greatest influence on our daily attitudes and actions are the stories we tell ourselves, both consciously and subconsciously, often drawing from the unseen realm of spirituality and unprovable phenomena. We form strong loyalties to faith patterns — some of which we may have without even knowing it. Faith is a source of great comfort to many, but also of great grief when it fails to deliver, or delivers in a harmful way.

    I would like to see more of us learn to tell ourselves better stories: ones that uplift and unite, not debase and divide. I would also like to see the gift of measurable knowledge (i.e. science) be more fully embraced by and accessible to all. How wonderful it is to begin to get a sense of the amazing complexity of the human body, for example, or the tiny bits of reality that hold us all together, or the vastness of the stars.

    Limitless awe and wonder wait for us in these, if only we will give them the gift of our attention. And how can we not? It is our reality. Let's embrace it.