Category: attention

Yo, Thoreau.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived [….] Our life is frittered away by detail […] Simplify, simplify.”  […]

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Dreams of sun.

There’s a particular kind of sleep that waits for you when you’ve been outside working all day, especially in a garden: a kind of heavy, instant falling-off that nevertheless feels light, as if your sleep-sodden body might lift and rise at any moment and crack and sprout into something you’ve never known till then you […]

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The twentysomething brain (and beyond.)

(from my manuscript-in-progress) Significantly, Buddhists call looking at an object or emotion steadily for some time and processing the emotions that arise “sustaining the gaze.”  The ability to “sustain the gaze” without distraction from within or without is the ability to rest in the relative stability of a mature understanding of reality, to pay attention […]

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Darwin’s Beetle: On geeking out.

I wrote this for another “official” college blog but want to share it here. Darwin’s beetle: On geeking out October 23, 2013 Our first-year common course doesn’t fit into neat disciplinary boxes, and that’s the point.  Ranging across literature, history, philosophy and science, it’s not designed to convey “expertise” in any one field but to […]

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Cleaning out, again; or, my first yard sale.

As I have written here, getting rid of stuff you aren’t using anymore feels pretty damn good, for so many reasons.  There’s the knowledge you’ve freed up space (and money) for more mindful choices about what comes into the house in the first place from now on, and you have reminded yourself to make that […]

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The patient gardener? Labor and humility.

I spent the middle of May — just after classes ended, even before turning in my grades — in a fever of garden work, reclaiming a quackgrass-infested lily bed and moving and spreading a giant pile of mulch and constructing a long-dreamed-of raised bed by hand.  All of this I did by myself, in one […]

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Essentializing the animal: owls, war horses, and poetry.

Coming out of my office late this afternoon, I spotted a barred owl up in a tree outside the building, hunched against the trunk, squinching his eyes against the light and stoically standing off a pair of crows who were hassling him. I got concerned, especially when he was still there at dark a couple […]

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