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.

Reader’s Digest Chooses “The Boy He Left Behind” Among Top Memoirs

Reader’s Digest chose “The Boy He Left Behind” as one of its “17 Memoirs Everyone Should Read” in this month’s issue. I’m honored to be in such great company, including Peter Matthiessen, Patricia Volk, Frank McCourt, especially since the book has just been reissued. This memoir is especially close to my heart: It’s the story of looking for my father, who disappeared when I was four years old. Writing it was a rite of passage and what a nice surprise to have been chosen! Get more info or buy the book here.

“The Story of Your Life” in France

imgres-1 What a wonderful time we had at “The Story of Your Life” retreat in France! A week of writing, conversation, touring the Dordogne, and eating too much cheese and chocolate. Thank you to the fascinating class of 2014 for your excellent work and company. You came from Johannesburg, Helsinki, London, and across the United States to this village in southwestern France, and I’m grateful to have met you! I hope that our paths will cross again soon.

When You’re Falling, Dive in London

The event at St. James’s Church was great. Wonderful crowd and an extraordinary venue. The church was designed by Christopher Wren and consecrated in 1684. The stained glass windows, organ, and wood sculptures (notice the vines and flowers behind me in the photo) are considered to be the finest of the period, and William Blake was baptized here. Such a great crowd. Thank you for coming! I loved it.

The Awakened Heart: An Interview With Tara Brach

imgres-1It was great talking to Tara Brach for Psychology Today. Tara is one of my favorite teachers. Her book, Radical Acceptance, was a game changer. “Inquiry can help you unpack assumptions that have been burdening you for decades,” she told me during our talk. “One of the phrases I really like from Tsoknyi Rinpoche, the Tibetan teacher, is ‘real but not true.’ It’s real in the sense that it’s a real belief. It’s really what’s in my mind, it brings up real feelings, but that doesn’t mean it’s the truth.” That’s the truth. Read the article.