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Wind Force

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What do you do when flattened? When you find yourself in the face of forces far more powerful than you? How do you respond? What do you learn about yourself? Recently Rob and Alder and I were on a backcountry ski hut adventure, when crossing a ridge on our way back we encountered the fiercest wind I’ve ever experienced. Our mild hike turned into a moment of condensed eternity, as we found ourselves caught on the ridgeline in gale-force winds that knocked us over and pinned us to the ground. Rob managed to get back down the hill with Alder on his back, but for a short time I found myself completely incapacitated, tangled in my skis, my heavy backpack wrenched haphazardly around my arms, trying as hard as I could to get up, to no avail. My hat had already blown off, and I hunkered down to try to get my skis off, as I was whipped to the ground by this ferocious, magnificent force. I found myself experiencing a strange mixture of confidence, acceptance, fear, anger, mothering-need-to-get-to-my-baby-at-all-costs, helplessness, and exhilaration. Soon there were enough mini-pauses in the wind that I was able to get out of my skis, right my backpack, and crawl inchingly down the way...

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Righting the Rocking Chair

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A few evenings ago I was cozied up in the living room in a rocking chair, talking with Rob while he played with our 1-year-old son Alder. Suddenly I felt myself toppling over backwards as the rocking chair somehow lost its equilibrium, even though I hadn’t been rocking. I felt shocked and frightened as I fell. When I quickly picked myself up, I saw Alder looking at me with an expression that must have mirrored my own moment of surprise and worry, as he began the kind of panting cry that tells us he’s scared. I comforted him and he soon got back up to play, or at least that’s what I thought. Instead, Rob and I watched him toddle over to his beloved rocking horse, which was next to the rocking chair, and push it over on its side. He then started trying to pick it back up, looking to us for help, and we obliged. After repeating his knocking over and righting of the horse, he then moved over to the rocking chair and tried to tip it over backwards as he’d seen happen when I was sitting in it. So we helped him tip it over, and then right it again. He wanted to go through...

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Why Achievement?

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Why are we so obsessed with achievement? Or, to be more honest, why do I find myself so defined by it, even if it’s by trying to disentangle myself from its seductive net? I wonder about my conflicting values. On the one hand, I’m an avid achiever, and I value myself by what I accomplish (even if these days that’s doing the laundry, dishes, or completing basic items on my to-do list….and yes, I’m attached to my to-do list). On the other hand, I see this way of orienting as a distraction from the more simple, whole, spiritually grounded life I most love and want to embody. This weekend is the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City. Reading through the program, I am struck by rushes of admiration, excitement, and envy. Wow, a 14-year-old girl who sailed around the world for 2 years to become the youngest person ever to do so, and made a film about it. Really??!! I thought I was inventive for doing a solo trip to New Zealand when I was 17, a story my ego could consistently rely on, but this girl, yowzah, she really did it in style. Of course when I actually go see the film this weekend my heart...

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