Still Points

Wide Spot: Traveling Mercies

Last weekend, in company with a large percentage of western Canada, we stopped in Revelstoke. It was a hot mess: trucks, boats, trailers everywhere; long queues for bathrooms, burgers and gas.  We were in the fuel line when someone towing a huge boat decided to back-up from the pump, an activity that snarled traffic as … Read more

Wide Spot: Happy Now?

 “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be,” Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said. A whole lot of psychologists and social scientists would seem to have proved this point in the last 30 years. Many of them have made their living teaching other people the five steps, or three … Read more

Wide Spot: Hefted

In parts of rural Britain, sheep are said to be “hefted to the land.” After hundreds of years of being herded on common land, the sheep have learned their place. Hefted ewes pass on to their lambs the knowledge of boundaries, choice grazing sites, sheltered folds, the round of seasonal return to their farm for … Read more

Wide Spot: Bumper Stickers

I remember the freedom I felt, as a young adult, when I realized that every painful occurrence was not intentional. I read and re-read a few paragraphs from 12-step literature about how we mindlessly “step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate in kind.” I started to understand that my fears—of not getting … Read more

Wide Spot: Pouty Self

My baby sister had brand new red roller skates. She lurched through the kitchen as I stood silent, radiating envy. The floor trim between the kitchen and the next room was beyond her skill level, though, and she fell on her bottom. I laughed. “See what you made me do?” she screamed. The ensuing squabble … Read more

Wide Spot: Wishing and Willing

One of my favorite online resources is the Greater Good Science Center at UC-Berkeley. Researchers in the science of happiness and gratitude, they’ve got a bang-up website and tons of free resources. But the relentlessly upbeat tone has irritated me lately: Four Things You Can Do To Help Your Kids During the Pandemic! Happiness for … Read more

Wide Spot: Broken Bones

Environmental activist and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy once said, “You don’t need to do everything. Do what calls your heart; effective action comes from love. It is unstoppable, and it is enough.” Or as one of her students transmitted it to me, “Everything needs to be done, so everyone should do what they’re doing.” I’ve … Read more

Wide Spot: Imagine That

Years ago, as part of a retreat for environmental activists, we did an exercise imagining different points of view. Here was a scenario: a waterfront property owner had dumped sand to add beach to his property and, in the process, eliminated a wetland. There were three points of view: first, the wetland, its plants and … Read more

Wide Spot: Words Matter

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” When I was a kid, that children’s chant was a talisman to protect us from the startlingly painful names that kids fling—Fatty, Stinky, Coke-Bottle Bottoms and worse. But the words stay with us. Yes, I’d rather be called a name than physically … Read more