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This Wonderful Life

November 25, 2009

This Wonderful Life: I can say No, but I prefer Yes


You know what I’ve always wanted to do? Grow a massive organic garden. Sign me up.

And these two pigs we have in the back field will be gone by next month.

Time to start thinking about new baby animals for next spring. Maybe dairy and fiber goats. We’ll make our own cheese and I’ll learn to spin mohair. But first we’ll have to build our own barn and expand the fencing.

There’s no way that will get in the way of my schedule of growing my new business and taking a half-time load of writing-intensive college classes.

And it will leave plenty of time for being a parent and a wife and a person who wants to live in a house that is not in danger of health department condemnation. These are not chores or burdens. They’re passions and delights.

And the notion that I should be forced to choose between them, limit them or outright reject them is unfair in the extreme. Back in January, I decided to focus this year’s columns on attempts to live more mindfully. Incredibly, I don’t think I’m on anyone’s short list for Bodhisattva of the Year Award.

It’s a process. And for some of us the process toward more mindfulness is longer than for others.

What I have learned is that I am not good at saying no to myself. Not only do I want to have lots of experiences, but I want to pursue each and every one of them as though that were my only pursuit. It’s not sustainable.

So I am going to learn to apply my editor’s discipline to my artist’s joie de vivre. I will say yes to things that make me happy. But I will say yes to fewer of them.

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This Wonderful Life
  • This Wonderful Life: I can say No, but I prefer Yes If popular culture is any indication, it seems women suffer from an epidemic inability to refuse additional responsibilities. Magazines, self-help books and therapists nationwide offer heaps of advice on how to assert oneself, draw boundaries and generally say No when asked to sign on for those things for which we have little time and less interest.

    November 25, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I wish someone had told me Disclaimer: Because my son more or less demanded that I stop using him and his life as material for my column back when he was 12 or 13, I want to make it perfectly clear to all my readers (and any legal professionals who are now retained or may be retained at some future time by aforementioned son) that this column is not about him. It’s about me. The fact that he happened to turn 21 on Saturday is mere coincidence. So help me God.

    November 19, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A view through bare branches Every morning, Bee and I stand at the end of the driveway waiting for her bus and we look up into the branches of the elm tree that arches over the drive.

    November 5, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: To Posey on her fourth So here we are, on the other side of 3-years-old, and it seems we both survived it intact. It wasn’t easy, but perhaps it made us both stronger.

    October 30, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A Posey by any other name... A few weeks ago, Posey gave us all new names. Or, to be more accurate, Posey gave us all one new name. Rose.

    October 8, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Are pork chops really that good? If it seems unlikely for a vegetarian (that would be me) to own a couple of table- bound pigs, it probably seems downright absurd that their names should be Tender and Delicious.

    October 2, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I sssssseeeeeee you there The first thing you should know is that I used to suffer from a snake phobia. The operative word there is phobia. It wasn’t just a matter of disliking snakes. It wasn’t a fear of being bitten. It wasn’t a simple reluctance to touch their impossibly dry, nimble bodies.

    September 24, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: What’s so funny? My kids, I hope In my experience as a three-time parent, there is something absolutely, spiritually magical about the first time your child cracks a joke.

    September 17, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Who are these little girls? There are two children in my house who bear a striking resemblance to my daughters. They are adorable, smart and energetic.

    September 10, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A harvest that’s good for the soul Signs of harvest are all around. The afternoon sun glows amber over the fields and the farm stands are filled to overflowing with vegetables and fruit. We’re lucky to live in a place where we can have such an immediate connection to the food we eat.

    September 3, 2009