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Putting your inner critic to work

A few years ago my inner critic was not only speaking to me a lot, but it was also easier than usual for me to “hear.” What I mean is that I was able to notice my critic’s voice in real time and write down what it said. During that time I always kept a […]

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Art, spirit, and the old-lady icon

Oak tree in Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve, Oakland, CA

The image on the cover of Shirley du Boulay’s An Extraordinary Life is from an 18th c. painting, and as in all famous images of Teresa of Avila, Teresa is lovely, and maybe 17. So when I read what she looked like when she got to the point in her life where she had real authority, it made me wish there were icons of her looking like this:

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How these things are forgotten

In “The Bowl of Roses” (full text below), the poet Rilke spends eight lines painting an ugly picture. And then:

But now you know how these things are forgotten:
for here before you stands a bowl full of roses…

Thus begin sixty-four exquisite lines of instruction on how these things are forgotten.

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Boot of +10 Depression

Painting of yellow boot, © Katarina Stenstedt

Early this year I had a short episode of almost-but-not-quite depression, and it arrived along with an image of what happens for me during the worst of those times, which hasn’t happened for almost 20 years: A giant boot descends and plants itself on my chest, and I’m unable to move or negotiate. It’s enormous, […]

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It’s a collection

This site is full of things that interest me and that I’ve created—photos I’ve taken; a few of my short stories and poems; blog posts about this & that; info about spiritual direction and my music. I named the site “Sleep on the Hearth” in reference to one of my favorite poems, D. H. Lawrence’s “Pax”….

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That Sound

Audiobook Jen steps up to the yellow line on the train platform, thinking that today she’ll make an appointment, get herself checked out to make sure nothing’s wrong. Rule out anything serious, so she can stop worrying. As if to confirm the wisdom of this idea, it happens again. Her neck makes that sound as she turns her […]

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