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Mary Oliver on a Life Well Lived and How to Be Fully Alive. By Maria Popova “Do you need a prod?

Mary Oliver on a Life Well Lived and How to Be Fully Alive

Do you need a little darkness to get you going?” Few are those whose contribution to humanity — be it art, or music, or literature, or some other enchantment — fills the heart with uncontainable gratitude for their very existence. Mary Oliver — one of the greatest poets of all time, and perhaps the greatest of our time — is one such blessing of a writer. She, the patron saint of paying compassionate attention, has made a supreme art of bearing witness to our world — be it in her exquisite poems, or in the prose of that moving remembrance of her soul mate, or in her meditations on the craft of poetry itself. In her immensely rewarding recent On Being conversation with Krista Tippett — triply magical because Oliver rarely gives interviews, and never ones this dimensional and revealing — she read several of her most beloved poems.

THE FOURTH SIGN OF THE ZODIAC (PART 3)I know, you never intended to be in this world. Late Bloomers. Ben Fountain was an associate in the real-estate practice at the Dallas offices of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, just a few years out of law school, when he decided he wanted to write fiction.

Late Bloomers

The only thing Fountain had ever published was a law-review article. F*ck It. (& 4 Other Mantras for When Things Get Tough.) ~ MaiLynn Stormon-Trinh. Warning: plenty of F-bombs up ahead!

F*ck It. (& 4 Other Mantras for When Things Get Tough.) ~ MaiLynn Stormon-Trinh

Sometimes, often actually, I forget that I am powerful. I lose hope. I give into depression, anxiety and the million nagging questions that scream through my head demanding to know what hell I am doing with my life. Kris Carr: The Myth of Finding Your Purpose. Lately, I've been working on being softer towards myself.

Kris Carr: The Myth of Finding Your Purpose

Kinder. Slower. Why? Because it just feels so darn good, but also because I'm feeling anxious. You might be feeling the same way. Countless wellness bloggers are writing about solutions for these very timely issues. Just thinking about "finding your purpose" exercises can literally make folks sweat and pace -- especially this time of year. I struggled with this too, until I finally found my purpose (spoiler alert: or so I thought) with Crazy Sexy Cancer and then Crazy Sexy everything else. Loneliness & the Sacred Web of Life  Recently Oprah Winfrey and Dr.

Loneliness & the Sacred Web of Life 

Activism Without Losing Your Mind. Want to save the world, and get promoted at work, and feel like you have enough time for friends and family, and exercise, and reading, and hobbies?

Activism Without Losing Your Mind

Lots of people do, and many of them feel like crap. Most of the activists I know feel like they’re auditioning for the part of Frankenstein’s wife — just the wig, mind you — from time to time. The simple fact is that much activist work is volunteer, unpaid and something you will have to learn how to build time an appropriate amount of time for in your life. Time management is, honestly, one of the more difficult challenges of an activist life. So how is this ever-elusive feat possible? Repeat out loud: Taking care of myself and my needs is my first priority. Martyring yourself for any cause, even a good one, is gross. Say the magic word when you need to: No. In sports you can’t win the game, much less play it well, without clear boundary lines. Seek out volunteer opportunities that are defined-time events. Feeling frazzled? We Are Not Here to Fix Each Other. “If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy.

We Are Not Here to Fix Each Other

If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” ~ E.B. White. Working with Meaninglessness. “I would rather have strong enemies than a world of passive individualists.

Working with Meaninglessness

In a world of passive individualists nothing seems worth anything simply because nobody stands for anything. Creating A Life. Resisting Burnout With Justice. A Prescription for Injuries of the Soul. (Photo: Pimthida via Flickr)Most people suffer from a sense of moral failure over environmental matters.

A Prescription for Injuries of the Soul

The mismatch between being told to change our light bulbs when the planet seems in free fall—melting ice caps, polluted water supplies, drought—creates a needling angst and anxiety. We know that we are in deep trouble, but feel that there is little we—or anyone—can do individually. Anne Karpf writing about climate change in the Guardian last year said “I now recycle everything possible, drive a hybrid car, and turn down the heating. Yet somewhere in my marrow I know that this is just a vain attempt to exculpate myself – it wasn’t me, guv.” To fully acknowledge our complicity in the problem, but to be unable to act at the scale of the problem creates cognitive dissonance.

The moral failure and the inability to act leads to what some now identify as a moral injury, which is at the root of some post-traumatic stress disorders, or PTSD.