Experiments in creating my own path and living on purpose. Sometimes lost, occasionally found, and often inspired.


It’s 5:39 am and I am wide-awake. Last night I got back from a yoga retreat at an eco-resort in Belize where each day we explored one of the seven chakras, energy centers distributed throughout our bodies. For the first time in awhile I feel absolutely replenished. I feel centered, solid, good, and am returning with a clarity that is deeply nourishing.


As I woke up in my bed in San Francisco this morning, the first thing that struck me was a deep thirst for nature. A draw to continue the cycle of waking up naturally with sunrise, making my way out to the beach for breakfast and slowly receiving the day before walking the dock to morning yoga. To be in a natural space that is so overwhelming beautiful that it infiltrates your being, stripping away all of the junk crowding out your soul.

One of the things that I found most beautiful about the experience was the ritual of starting and ending the day with yoga and meditation. We quickly fell into a daily cycle of walking the dock to the pagoda, rolling out our mats and arriving to begin our practice. It was one of the most beautiful environments and energizing activities I’ve encountered.


As we would sit there in meditation, I could feel the breeze from the ocean on my skin, still warm from the sun. In downward dog, I would look between my legs, to encounter an upside down explosion of turquoise sea, stretching out in all of its glory. At dusk the sun would shoot through the pagoda and I could smell the sea intermingled with gentle incense.

Lying in shavasana, I listened to the sound of water lapping underneath the pagoda in a mesmerizing rhythm. Streams of air would shoot up through the cracks between the floorboards, diagonal lines of sea wind tickling my skin. One morning during meditation, I opened my eyes and turned my head towards the sea, just in time to catch a glimpse of a giant stingray flying through the water beside me. It was nothing short of majestic.


At the beginning of the retreat, our instructors Natalie and Matt, told us that purpose of the retreat would be renewal. They explained that in its simplest form renewal is about leading with the spirit and getting new again. It made me think that we are always becoming new again and in other words renewal is really about the cycle of life. To no longer renew is to come to the end of our journey. So in many ways, renewal is about life-giving and holding clarity. What a beautiful thing.

One way to do this is what Natalie described as “crowding out.” Add so much vitality and good stuff into your life that there’s no longer room for the empty stuff that weighs us down and takes up space. The laughter, the lack of technology, the delicious, fresh, healthy food, the beautiful natural space, the simple ritual of the day – all of this contributed to reaching a state of replenishment.


In reflecting on the past week, the one thing that has persisted and risen to the surface for me with great clarity is quite simply this:

I want to feel good more than I want to feel in control of life.

With this new perspective, my priorities become clear. Underlying it is the understanding that I am only afforded clarity because I have allowed myself to replenish. There’s no grasping, fogginess, or unrecognized deeper agitation. I feel peaceful, strong, centered and truly content. This is the power of replenishment. It is simple but extremely challenging. It’s a responsibility that I accept and am committing to. Now comes the work of living it out in small ways every day.

My Dad once told me to always acknowledge another human being’s presence, because to not do so is to deny their existence. I catch myself remembering this from time to time when I’m on a crowded bus, walking past a homeless person, ignoring the overly chatty cashier, pretending not to notice those who I don’t think notice me. And so we pass each other by. Missing each other’s beat, limiting the truth of each other’s form, leaving no trace on each other’s presence, not a smile, not a heartbeat, not a breath, not even a lingering question… Who are you? Who am I? And when we do choose to see, we suddenly find that in turn we’ve allowed ourselves to be seen. We’ve become a mirror, reflecting back each other’s existence. And maybe that’s why sometimes we pretend not to notice, because we’re afraid of what we’ll see or worse, whether we’ll see anything at all. But when we do acknowledge someone’s presence, we choose our humanity and something inside all of us comes alive. To see and be seen. It’s such a simple, effortless act, yet such a rare and precious thing.

Rosetta’s Plasma Consortium (RPC) has uncovered a mysterious ‘song’ that Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko is singing into space. The comet seems to be emitting a ‘song’ in the form of oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet’s environment. It is being sung at 40-50 millihertz, far below human hearing, which typically picks up sound between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. To make the music audible to the human ear, the frequencies have been increased.

I absolutely love this. There’s something so magical about the idea of a comet emitting a song out into the universe that is not audible to the human ear. I think the same is true of our paths through life. What is the song your path is singing and how does it oscillate out into the world around you?


11 months ago I decided that I was not going to wait for life. I packed up my stuff and flew to South Africa by myself to visit an old friend. When I came back I put my belongings in storage, subletted a temporary place and started a new job. I assured the storage company that I would be out of my unit in 2-3 months – max.

Last week (almost a year later), I moved into a new apartment. As I cleared out my storage unit, it occurred to me that along with my belongings, I had put away certain assumptions about how my life would evolve AFTER I found my next home. It also occurred to me how little need I had for all of these possessions that had previously felt like such important staples of building a home. (more…)

This post is dedicated to my little sister on her 25th birthday. Hanna, I hope your path is full of happiness and fulfillment and that no matter what, you never unlearn how to dream big.

There’s something about growing up where it seems that we’re often taught that we should figure out how to be right over learning what it means to be true. We tuck away our quirks and contain our curiosity. We mold our lives to fit with conventional notions of success. We get on path, or at least we do our best to appear to be on track. We concede to our circumstances, even if we’re not sure what we want. Slowly we stop exploring.

For many, myself included, this way of life is simply not an option. Something deep inside of us fights against it like it’s an act of survival. The alternative is to figure out how to be true and create our own paths. This requires a creative, generative orientation towards the world. It involves continuous learning and growth. It entails a different approach to work and life that I deeply believe is both possible and necessary.

The following list includes 12 lessons from my own journey. It reflects a selection of approaches and perspectives on how to create your own path.

1. Change is a question, not an answer.

For a long time I thought that if I just worked harder, I’d find that perfect job. Or maybe if I collected a few more credentials, then the answer would appear. I eventually came to understand how misguided this was. I stopped wasting time on writing cover letters for jobs that I didn’t want. Instead I started to think about my interests and goals more like a set of questions and experiments. This approach inspired me to try new things and start new projects. It led me to take action before I had an answer. Ultimately it invited change into my life in ways that were much more interesting and impactful than anything that would have come out of simply making a plan. (more…)


Pack lightly. You wont need a lot. Once you get there, you’ll remember how little need there is to accessorize.

Tell your family about work, but not too much. It’s mostly not that important. Instead, ask them about life and listen.

Take a catnap on the porch. Start a new book. Fully enjoy and savor those first few pages.

Pick vegetables from the garden. Eat a light and healthy meal. Maybe garnish it with some edible flowers. Immediately you’ll feel nourished. (more…)

How do you honor the things that matter to you most when other responsibilities take precedent? How do you live with the contradiction of what you believe in and what the reality of your circumstances demand? This post explores these questions and was recorded on my iPhone, mid-way through a 90 minute commute home. The plan was to use it as reference to write up a post. After hearing the recording, however, I realized that I needed to share it as is – interruptions and all. It was the authentic medium for this message.

A life that’s large is not about being important or having lots of stuff. It’s about living expansively and actively experiencing the world in new ways. It’s about continuously exploring what is possible and what is true. It is the unspoken commitment to something larger than one’s self. It’s revealed in the elegance of a good question. It’s the active practice of curiosity.

For as long as I can remember, the thought of living a scripted life has terrified me. I’ve always wanted to experience and explore the world as much as possible. Curiosity has become my foundation for doing so. It’s inspired me to move forward when I’ve been stuck or lost. It’s shown me that the unknown can be both beautiful and exciting. It’s made possibility more interesting than fear. (more…)

jet lag haiku

I’ve just returned from five weeks of work travel. The trip took me to several countries and entailed flying back and forth across multiple time zones. It was fun and we did some really interesting research, but my body is royally confused. (more…)

Create Daily

I often feel like I have a backlog of inspiration and ideas that are all muddled up in my head, just waiting to be put on paper. I’ve found that needing / wanting to create something of significance, however, can tend to result in a certain amount of procrastination on my part. One of the habits I’ve been working on this year is creating daily. I know that the more I produce, the easier it will become.

I recently experimented with this habit through Change Labs, a program hosted by my friend Leo Babauta, to test out some habit ideas for his new book. As part of the program, I committed to creating a page per day in my design journal. At the end of each day, I’d email Leo a photo of my work and this helped me stay accountable.

Creativity can show up in a lot of different ways and I believe that it exists in everyone. Fostering personal creativity can be challenging though, so I wanted to share a few of my takeaways from the experiment.

Start without a result in mind.

When I first started the habit, I struggled to sit down and effortlessly produce. I kept associating the practice with my other projects and the expectations I had about what the output should look like. During the second week, I changed my approach to focus on starting without an end result in mind. (more…)

Begin Again_Cycle

Life occurs in modalities. At times we’re in a mode of performance and effort. Other times we’re in a mode of rest and renewal. Both modes are equally important. The space in-between, however, can be uncomfortable.

Last year I found myself stepping back from having been in performance mode for an extended period of time. (more…)

I’ve recently had multiple people tell me that things at work have gotten so bad that they’ve cried on the job. This breaks my heart. It kills me to hear about twenty-something year-olds who really want to care, but are already giving up hope. It breaks my heart to hear about grown men whose jobs cause them so much pain they can barely get out of bed in the morning. It makes me sad to hear about competent, hard-working women being spoken to in ways that are unprofessional and frankly, inappropriate.

It breaks my heart, because I know what it feels like. I distinctly remember when a month into a former job, a colleague showed me where her “crying spot” was. At the time I found this odd and disconcerting, but I soon adopted the hiding spot myself. I was on a difficult project that made every single person on the team cry, including my boss. It was a toxic situation and even though it was many years ago, I’ve never really forgotten it. (more…)