Worlds Within Us: Exploring Lucid Dreaming

When I turned 28 this summer, I decided that I would make a hobby of exploring lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is the act of “waking up” within your own dreams. While I have not yet become lucid, I have had other profound experiences. Sleep no longer feels like wasted time, but more like a mystical practice and […]

In Praise of Secrecy

Years ago, a therapist once said to me, “Stephen, you are so open, and honest. You expose so much of yourself to the world, and that is wonderful. But I want to challenge you to do something: keep secrets. Keep something away from the world, just for yourself. I don’t care what it is – […]

Shame, Sociopaths, and Extremists: Exploring the Odd World of Jon Ronson

I consider reading one of the greatest pleasures that life can afford, especially when I discover an author who teaches, delights, and makes me a better human being. Jon Ronson is one such writer, and I’ve spent the summer devouring all of his books. I thought I would share 12 of the strange, beautiful, or […]

You Do Not Have to Be Good

American poet Mary Oliver begins her poem Wild Geese thusly: You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Every so often, I find myself meditating […]

Was I In a Cult? My Experience in Youth With a Mission

I’ve been occupying an odd head space lately: reading a great deal about cults, and pondering my general resistance to going to church. I didn’t think they were connected, but it recently occurred to me that perhaps they are. Enter Youth With a Mission (Or YWAM, pronounced “Why-wham.”)

Exploring Depression in Games, Film, and Literature

As someone who battles mental illness, I’m always on the lookout for pieces of art, film, books, or games that describe the experience of deep depression. Depression – especially deep, harrowing, soul crushing depression – defies explanation or description. Part of its horror is that it leaves you speechless. So when I come across art […]

Finding Fulfillment As a Grocery Store Cashier

“Wow” said the man, “you are still working at this store. I’m impressed. Most people with higher IQ’s don’t stay here very long.” “Thanks?” I said, ringing him up. “So what are you really doing with your life,” said another older gentleman as I bagged his groceries, “because clearly you’re just playing here.” I stared at him, irate.