The Optimism of Uncertainty

Every January for the past several years I’ve joined activists in front of the White House to protest the indefinite detention of 40 Muslim men at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.  This year, January 11 marked the 18th anniversary of the prison’s opening. I took the train to Washington in January with a mixture ofContinue reading “The Optimism of Uncertainty”

Love and Activism

A few years ago I was on a nonprofit leadership training retreat, when everyone had to go around the circle and declare their “purpose.” This was the sort of exercise I dreaded, so I scrambled to come up with something plausible I could say that wouldn’t be too embarrassing. Then I heard one of theContinue reading “Love and Activism”

“Killing People is Too Superficial”

I love riding my bike, but lately I’ve noticed that within minutes of setting off on a ride in the city, I usually want to kill someone. I love the feel of the breeze, and the ease of getting around far faster than walking and without waiting in lines of backed-up automobile traffic. But IContinue reading ““Killing People is Too Superficial””

Balancing the Terrible and the Beautiful

Anyone involved in social justice work of one sort or another, whether providing direct services or advocating for better laws and policies, will find themselves spending an awful lot of their consciousness wallowing in the world’s muck. It can be exhausting. It also sometimes leads to the obvious question: why am I doing this? OfContinue reading “Balancing the Terrible and the Beautiful”

You Can’t Own It All

When I go on vacation, I like to find a remote and quiet spot. In fact, much of the reason I go on vacation is to escape the sounds of sirens and jackhammers and car alarms and blaring music I confront on a daily basis in New York City. Inevitably, though, when I get toContinue reading “You Can’t Own It All”

Advocacy + Complexity of Mind = Patience

One of the hardest things about being an advocate is the slow pace of change. As advocates, we assume we know the answer to how to fix some vexing problem, and it’s just incredibly frustrating that the powers-that-be don’t seem to get it. We have to repeat ourselves interminably and try to come up withContinue reading “Advocacy + Complexity of Mind = Patience”

If Dogs Run Free . . .

If there isn’t a name for it, there should be:  that feeling when you come back from vacation in a beautiful place and wonder why you don’t just live there. I know, this is a privileged person’s problem. Still, travel often leads people to question their daily lives and purpose, and I was having aContinue reading “If Dogs Run Free . . .”

How To Be Of Service

I belong to a local food co-op, and for the privilege of buying really good food at reasonable prices, all members have to work there once a month. Although I usually whine about it before I actually head over there to do my evening shift, once I’m working, I often find it feels like theContinue reading “How To Be Of Service”

Finding Joy at Work

I joined a meditation group in my neighborhood recently, and the other night the teacher’s talk was about Joy. Joy. It’s not something many of us tend to think about much. We focus on getting work done, on what’s annoying us, on the onslaught of problems we need to solve or that we’re hearing aboutContinue reading “Finding Joy at Work”

Tweaked Out On Twitter

After a couple of days of Twitter frenzy last week, I came down from my high and felt a bit sick – not unlike the aftermath of a sugar binge or a hangover. What had I just done with my time? And now where was all the virtual “love” I had been feeling? If IContinue reading “Tweaked Out On Twitter”