The Art of Surrender

imagesSurrender has long been a dirty word in a culture steeped in do-or-die machismo, in which giving in — even when fighting is useless — is often seen as giving up. Yet most of the things that truly matter — love, art, awakening, service — require significant leaps of surrender. Here’s my column from this month’s Contemplative Journal.

“Writing Awake” at The Esalen Institute

IMG_1493-1 The “Writing Awake” workshop at Esalen this past weekend was wonderful. What a great group of people, remarkable stories, powerful writing, enormous candor, laughter, and insights. The Esalen campus is magnificent and a perfect backdrop for creative work. Our last morning there, we watched a pod of humpback whale mothers and their calves feeding in the ocean below. An awesome sight for all. Thank you to the 34 participants in this memorable workshop. Hope to see you again next year!

“Life Unplugged” in Contemplative Journal


Summer is the season for letting go. It’s our time to be unserious and reasonably irresponsible. “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability,” as Sam Keen says. Amen to that. In this month’s column in Contemplative Journal, I look at “Life Unplugged” and the fact that “your relationship to time may be, in fact, the most important relationship of your life.” I hope you enjoy the piece.  Click here to read. 

My Invisible Lover

56-18562-laura-1406743631Here’s my latest piece for Purple Clover.  It’s called “My Invisible Lover,” and tells the story of Laura Sauvebelle, my college French professor, literary mentor, and friend with memorable benefits.  When I moved to the south of France this summer, I hoped to find my old friend again but what awaited me was something I never expected.  Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you. Read the piece here.

Advice From A Master Poet: A Conversation with Ellen Bass

BassTalking to poet Ellen Bass for Psychology Today was a genuine honor.  I have admired Ellen’s work since the 1980s and found her as inspired and masterful in conversation as she is on the written page. Much honored for her poems (she studied with Anne Sexton), and best known for her book, The Courage to HealEllen talked to me about why art matters and her latest collection, No More Masks! Read the Psychology Today post here.

Join Me for “Life Unplugged”

Summer is the season for stopping the rat race, for leisure, pleasure, letting go, drawing outside the margins, and cultivating irresponsibility. Our lives are far too responsible, we’re entirely too grown up too much of the time, and summer is a chance to unplug and live younger. To play.

“We are poor, indeed, if we are only sane,” wrote Winnicott. But how do we unplug from our hyperventilating lives? Even if we’re not outwardly busy, most of us are very busy inside our heads, worrying, planning, clutching at order. How would it be to release our grip? Let ourselves breathe? Have some new ideas?

This is what I’ll be talking about this Sunday in “Life Unplugged,” this month’s edition of The Seekers Forum. For more information or to register for The Seekers Forum, click here.