My Word for 2017: Allow

By Sarah Chauncey | December 31, 2016

I don’t have any particular New Year’s traditions any more. Through my 20s and 30s, I grew tired of resolutions, then commitments and goals—all things that ultimately made me feel bad about myself (usually within about six weeks). In my early 40s, I decided to focus on how I wanted to grow, and then I released…

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© Emma Simpson / Unsplash

6 Benefits of Slowing Down

By Sarah Chauncey | October 28, 2016

We all want to matter to others. The mistake is in believing that busyness is a sign of our value as human beings. There’s a saner way to live.

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Tree Portrait 16-Oct-23

By Sarah Chauncey | October 23, 2016

From a distance, these trees look uniformly bright pink. Up close, the colors are much more intricate.  

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How to Cope with Really Big Challenges

By Sarah Chauncey | September 11, 2016

It is possible to find inner peace even when you’re dealing with survival-level issues. In my experience, though, it takes significant time and intense focus.

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50 Thoughts on Turning 50

By Sarah Chauncey | June 17, 2016

On the last day of my 40s, I’m writing a list of things I’ve learned so far. (I know, it’s not exactly original, but it is mine.) Without children, a marriage or a traditional career milestones, this birthday has snuck up on me. In some ways, I feel blindsided. And yet, here I am. Arguing…

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An Open Letter to Those Going off Medication

By Sarah Chauncey | May 19, 2016

Going off meds is a very personal decision, not one that should be imposed on anyone…nor should anyone be coerced into staying on them.

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How to Experience Music as a Spiritual Teaching

By Sarah Chauncey | February 18, 2016

I love music—who doesn’t?—yet it had never occurred to me that music itself could be a teaching, that it could bring people to the place, the experience, that spiritual teachers’ words point to, the transcendence that’s sometimes found in meditation (and often isn’t). But that’s exactly what one song did.  As Martin Mull famously said, writing about…

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What an MRI Machine Taught Me About Mindfulness

By Sarah Chauncey | February 5, 2016

Note: A friend expressed concern and mentioned that, in the U.S., people only have MRIs if something is seriously wrong. In Canada, MRI is sometimes used in place of other screening technologies; this was just a checkup. Ok, I admit, this is a bit of a departure from the whole nature and walking thing. Bear with…

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There is Only One Teaching (Eckhart Tolle essay)

By Sarah Chauncey | January 19, 2016

In 2013, Eckhart Tolle’s website put out a call for essays about how his teachings. I spent the next year writing and revising this essay, which was published on his site in January 2016. The page no longer exists, so I decided to share it here.

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An Update on the Freelance Feast or Famine Cycle

By Sarah Chauncey | January 8, 2016

Every freelancer goes through feast or famine, but I have to say that I think I’ve hit some extremes on both ends. After two years of significant financial challenges, last year I earned twice the highest amount I’ve ever earned in a calendar year…thanks to a single contract.

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The Requisite Year in Review Post (2015)

By Sarah Chauncey | December 30, 2015

  I’m not all that keen on New Year’s as a “fresh start,” since pretty much any moment is a fresh start. But there’s something about the collective energy of a fresh start (i.e., everyone else’s New Year’s posts), and also… I wrote about the challenging times last year, so now it’s time to write…

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Navigating the Long Darkness of Winter in the Pacific Northwest

By Sarah Chauncey | December 21, 2015

Confession: I’m not a huge fan of winter. I live in a temperate rainforest, which is gorgeous and lush and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen on this planet. It also, by definition, requires abundant rain. Like, six months of rain. Yes, I know rain is healing, nourishing and all of that—and I…

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Thursday Tree Portrait 2015-Dec-03

By Sarah Chauncey | December 3, 2015

In nature, love permeates everything.

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How Gratitude Changes the Brain

By Sarah Chauncey | November 25, 2015

Gratitude—the concept and the word—is an important part of my life. It’s not a moral thing for me. I rarely do things because I’m supposed to. It’s an emotional thing, a practice of meaning rather than morality. It genuinely makes me feel better to focus on what’s good, even—especially—when other things are challenging.

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How Doing Less Leads to More

By Sarah Chauncey | November 18, 2015

What continually astonishes me is how much more I can accomplish when I keep my life simple, my mind free from clutter (admittedly, it stacks up pretty quickly) and take the time to get centred before I do any work…

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Why I Stopped Searching for Enlightenment (and Learned to Love Washing Dishes)

By Sarah Chauncey | November 7, 2015

In the summer of 2013, when I was in the midst of two years of financial hardship, someone asked me: “If you could ask for one wish, and know it would come true, what would it be?”

My immediate answer was “Enlightenment.” The questioner was surprised I didn’t say money, but from the times I’ve felt most connected to the universe, I believed that if I “had” or “achieved” enlightenment, nothing else would matter, because I’d be so perfectly serenely accepting and peaceful and understanding.

And maybe that’s true.

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How I Found Freedom by Facing My Biggest Secret

By Sarah Chauncey | July 9, 2015

Owing back taxes was my deepest, darkest secret for a long time. It held me back from pursuing writing that could be successful, for fear I’d be caught (I didn’t know exactly how much I owed, but I knew it was more than I could pay). I hadn’t intentionally avoided taxes–I did file and pay some years; I’d just kind of flaked out here and there. But still, I felt horrible about it.

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What Does it Mean to ‘Wake Up’ Spiritually?

By Sarah Chauncey | May 11, 2015

To paraphrase Ken Wilber in his interview, spiritual awakening isn’t the same as emotional maturity, and those two are distinct from looking at what lies beneath the conscious, our repressed feelings and shadow selves. Awakening doesn’t heal everything or make us perfect — if we were “perfect” (as many teachers say), we wouldn’t be here any more…

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