My Childhood Made Me Do It!

The good thing about having been raised badly is that it provides an excuse for the embarrassments of later years. Have you succumbed to addiction? The Adverse Childhood Experience Study demonstrates how susceptibility to alcoholism and drug abuse rises in near-lockstep with one’s burden of early hardships. … Continue reading


Fourteen years ago my mind broke, though I prefer to say it broke open. In my nearly five hundred WillSpirit essays, I’ve often discussed that mental shattering. As its fourteenth anniversary approaches, I find myself living the consequences in the … Continue reading

Married to Life

When do we commit to life? And how? We commit when we see our situation in context and when, seeing all the treasures and terrors life promises, we embrace the whole of it. Easy to say, but gaining such clarity … Continue reading

Losing Heart, and Finding It

If the universe cares about us, it does so in ways we don’t understand. This isn’t a flaw in the cosmos. The difficulty lies in our misinterpretation of both our selves and our surroundings, what the Eastern traditions call maya, … Continue reading

Freedom’s Just Another Word

Passionate, self-destructive women have always interested me. As a young man I felt drawn to the poetry of Anne Sexton. Even earlier, as a teenager, I felt passionate about the music of (the already deceased) Janis Joplin. This attraction likely … Continue reading

Live Free or Die?

We suffer for our ideas. Here are some of the concepts that can make me miserable: “I haven’t lived up to my potential;” “I don’t have enough friends;” “I’ll be alone in old age;” “No one takes me seriously.” These … Continue reading

Organism, Writ Large

In an earlier post, I praised Douglas Hofstadter’s vision of consciousness as a product of recursive and resonant self-reflection. The point of that essay was to highlight the profound value of observing one’s inner life: mindfulness brings one to the … Continue reading