Fableogs

The Toad

A poem from La Légende des Siècles, by Victor Hugo, translation by Mina Samuels A lot of us are asking ourselves these days, what can I do? That question contains another — How should I be? This poem offers an answer that returns to the heart of the matter.   What do we know? Who then understands the depths of things? The sunset glowed in the rose-hued clouds. It was the end of a day of storms, and the west Set the showers aflame in a ferocious blaze. Near a ditch, at the edge of a rain puddle, A toad looked at the sky, dazzled creature. In solemn contemplation, horror considered the splendor. (Oh! Why is there suffering and why is there ugliness?…

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Why Is The Wellness Industry Growing By Leaps and Bounds?

The wellness trend is surging, so we’re told. Women are taking care of themselves more these days. Prioritizing their needs (an idea whose time has surely come). Paying attention to nourishing foods. Getting more exercise. Starting to think about the health of their minds and spirits. These are good things, right? Yes! I’m on board. I have a curious bent. As much as I like to try new physical activities, I also like to try new health and wellness protocols. Why wouldn’t I want to feel as good as possible physically and emotionally? I’ve had some kind of meditation practice for more than a decade. I incorporate acupuncture and massage into my schedule with some regularity. There’s a Korean spa…

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Friendship Is Not Simple: Socrates’ Word

Last Monday I handed in the new book I’ve been working on. Stay tuned for more on that. Publication will be early June 2019. After breathing a sigh of relief, I played catch up on the accumulation of deferred tasks. Then I spent the weekend and last week taking advantage of a window in my schedule to see friends. That’s why there was no fable last week. I was sharing conversation and celebration and good food and theatre and movies (Colette, Smallfoot, Border and Beautiful Boy) and meditation and charcoal and pearl facemasks with friends from ten-years old to eighty-one. Spending time with quite a few of the different and wonderful humans who people my life has provoked me to…

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Now That Getting Stoned Is A Legal Training Option

Yesterday the recreational use of cannabis became legal in Canada. As if I needed another reason to miss my homeland! By way of celebration, I considered getting stoned this morning before my run, but I’m only a baby stoner and consuming cannabis straight out of bed (and by myself, since my partner is away) felt more than a wee bit outside my comfort zone. This article in Canadian Running about the potential benefits of cannabis on training might change my mind about running stoned. By way of background, I consumed virtually no pot until I was into my thirties. Then a few years ago I became intolerant of alcohol, likely related to the onset of menopause. I was never a…

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We Need Our Hearts More Than Our Brains Right Now: The Stag Who Saw His Reflection in Water

I think of my partner as the King of Kensington. That’s a reference to an old Canadian television show set in the Kensington Market neighborhood of Toronto. The title character was a friendly, well-loved man who stopped and talked to everyone in the street. He was known for helping friends and neighbors. I am not always so nice and can even get aggravated by all of my partner’s glad-handing hellos and how-are-yous. The other day we were having an animated discussion about our respective behaviors. My partner said, “This is what I’ve got to share. I stop and talk to people to give them my attention and my warmth.” His words resonated. I had already been thinking about this fable…

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I Had A Midlife Crisis and Didn’t Realize It At The Time

Extreme Athleticism is The New Mid-Life Crisis provoked me to wonder if a series of ultra-running events I did when was 44-45 were motivated by fear of aging. At the time they felt organic. Not like I was trying to outrun my aging or shore myself up for the years to come, as the article suggests. More like I had been trail running for some years, enjoying increasingly longer distances and then thought, “Could I run one of those ultra distances?” To be clear—I’ve never run more than a 50k, though the trails add challenge to that distance. The longest event, time-wise, was in Cape Town, South Africa. Three Peaks Challenge runs up and down the three smallish mountains that…

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How To Be Decent In A Time of Rage: The Lion and The Rat

We’ve been degraded again in the U.S. I’m enraged by yet more setbacks for women, immigrants, people of color, the environment, civility; to name a few imperiled categories.How can I stop being so angry? I offer this bit of 17th century insight not to explain current circumstances (which you’ve no doubt dissected endlessly by now), but to suggest how we might proceed as decent humans in the face of such discouraging headlines. We must be kind to everyone, as much as possible. We often need those who are smaller than ourselves. A stunned rat was pulled out of the ground in the paws of a lion. The king of the animals, on this occasion, demonstrated who he was and gave…

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How To Stop Harassing Women: The Dog Who Had His Ears Cut Off

To be a man of power and importance these days one has to be squeaky clean. Every infraction, no matter how long ago, risks revelation. Past and present behavior may be put under the microscope at any time. Good. I don’t feel sorry for the Brett Kavanaughs of the world. They behaved (and often continue to behave) with entitled impunity, as was the custom of their times. So what? Slavery was a custom, too, and we don’t defend the slave owners as men of their times. White plantation owners should have known better. Careless misogynist harassers should have known better. After all, they could have heeded the wisdom of this 17th century fable.  “What did I do to be so…

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Making Room In My Mind: Notes from A Third Quarter of No Shopping

The last week I’ve dreamt more than once that I accidentally bought a new article of clothing, only to remember that I wasn’t supposed to be shopping. In my dream I berate myself. Then I wake up with a vague sense of having let myself down. But I haven’t shopped. Despite the siren call of the change of seasons, the arrival of Barney’s autumn tome full of fashion (aka that store’s fall catalogue) and the cyclic surge of new-clothing desire that assails me at each month’s end. I’m nine months into my annual challenge for 2018: no shopping for clothes, shoes, handbags or jewelry. When I wrote about the experience at three months, I had a clean feeling, as if…

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Running into my mojo

I’m giving a talk in Nashville this weekend at HT Live! The topic is identity alignment and authenticity, so that has been much on my mind these last days. A topic like authenticity forces the speaker to confront her own inconsistencies (okay, even hypocrisies). As the talk gets closer, I think, “I’m a fraud.” I think, “I’m no expert.” My confidence starts to tank. This is the moment when I remind myself of the manner in which men claim expertise in so many domains without a second thought. I recall interviewing Jane Blalock for my book, Run Like A Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives. She’s a former golf pro who, among other things, offers golf clinics for women.…

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