For a faster recovery, let yourself feel them judgment-free

I turned the corner onto the subway platform.

A woman was just about to board when the doors slammed shut, inches from her face. She was royally pissed off, cussing loudly and waving her arms for emphasis. The show went on until a homeless man sitting in the corner yelled out:

“Lady, trains are like men. Another one will come along.”

He was right, and not just literally. The plain and simple truth was that it was not the end of the world, and the pain would pass.

Tough emotions are…

Spirituality Nature Time

Nature is the best measure of time, if you know where to look

Print, Cherry Blossom Viewing, 1797–1858; Ando Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858); Japan; woodblock print in colored ink on paper; Gift of the Estate of Mrs. Robert H. Patterson; 1941–31–266

During the pandemic I learned to see Time.

Time is not the linear countdown of a digital clock. Nor is it the hypnotic sweep of the second hand over a clock face, or the falling grains of sand in an hourglass.

Time moves through the world as nature morphs around us.

If we pay attention, we see the buds unfurl, petals fall, fruit swell and ripen, grass heads sway, leaves spark into flame and snow drifting down like dust motes.

We make too big a deal about solstices and equinoxes.

Life Lesson

Loose lips are completion’s greatest enemy

Anonymous Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

My ex-husband plunged headfirst and very publicly into projects.

He was a great doer, surfing a tidal wave of his own enthusiasm. It was fun to be around all that grabbing-life-by-the-lapels, but there was a hidden cost.

One of his soft spots was the Spanish Civil War.

His parents met a fundraiser for Spanish Civil War veterans, and he always credited the war for his birth. Decades later he stumbled across James Yates, an African American who fought in the Lincoln Brigade. …

Writing Tips

Techniques successful poets use to compel readers

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

I picked stocks for 30+ years. Today I sift through words.

For months now, I’ve attended oodles of poetry workshops, classes, and readings. I’ve also studied how to write online with @nicolascole77 and @dickiebush’s Write the Ship and Ship 30 for 30. Poetry and online writing have a lot more in common than you’d think.

Poetry is the real OG of holding readers’ attention.

We turn to poetry when we need to express what we feel deeply, and when our own words fail us. Poetry has filled a need for thousands of years. …


663highland, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite places on earth is Naoshima island, one of 3,000 islands that dot the inland sea of Japan.

It’s an island rich in art, from late Monet waterlilies to site-specific installations of contemporary art. Many of the buildings are designed by legendary architect Tadao Ando.

One of his buildings was a mysterious rectangle, black and windowless. It was clad in what looked to be charcoal — cypress burned to resist sunlight, water, and fire.

A long serpentine hallway led me into a room that was jet black — blacker than a moonless night, printer’s ink, or a…

Writing Tips

Your readers: The Lurker, The Know-it-all, and The Imposter.

They kill all desire to write and publish on social media. No writer wants to hear crickets, be seen as the know-it-all, or feel like an imposter. Below these stereotypes lie our three biggest fears as writers:

We don’t want to be hated, found lacking, or ignored.

No writer wants to be The Know-it-all. But every reader wants to learn something, whether it’s world domination, how many pints of tears we cry in a lifetime, or how to make tofu. It’s OK to school us, because we really want to know…

Life Lessons

When I was in 7th grade back in the ’70s we auditioned for band class by blowing on different instruments. Somehow most of the girls ended up playing delicate woodwinds like the flute or piccolo while the boys got the brass and percussion: trumpet, baritone, or trombone.

I got assigned the bassoon large, which is large, awkward, and obscure.

Two years later, in high school, I am soldiering on, desperate to complete the music requirement. One day our band teacher tells us that we’d soon be joined by a new band member, a student who’d been out sick.

When J…

Writing Tips

High-wire Squirrel by Mariko O. Gordon

Is your idea bank empty?

If you haven’t found your niche or aren’t selling something, ideas can be scarce. You have too many options (you can write about anything) and not enough obvious ones (the 10 ways to slice and dice a topic).

So much noise, yet so little signal in your brain.

MacArthur “genius” award recipient, cartoonist, and creativity maven Lynda Barry has a perfect technique to keep your creativity tank full. She keeps journals in composition books.

Each page is broken into quadrants:

1) List what you did that day

2) List what you saw

3) List what…


Photo by Ivo Rainha on Unsplash

I’m so not feeling this essay today.

In my last daily writing for a month writing challenge known as Ship 30 for 30 I never had to resort to the l’m­-not-feeling-it-but-i-don’t-want-to-break-my-­streak-so-i’m-going-to-write-about-how-i-got-­over-it essay.

Today I have hit the wall.

Not from a lack of ideas, but from a lack of desire. The commitment of Ship 30 is to write and show up every day without fail. Writing every day is how you develop the habit, and consistency is how you build an audience.

It takes real courage to go public, and real effort to write. Most of us on social media…


Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

Our lives are meaningfully meaningless.

Yeah, I know where you want me to stick that sentence. Still, have you ever watched a newly planted field grow? Sometimes you can hear the plants stretching toward the sun, they are growing so fast. They don’t question their purpose — they live to the max.

Like the wind we can feel but can’t see, there’s a life energy that animates the world. Every seed that sprouts, every baby birthed, every creative act performed, is this energy at work.

Life in all its forms is just divinity made tangible.

So yes, our lives are…

Mariko O. Gordon

Built $2.5B money mgmt biz from scratch. Coaching badass women to build & love their businesses, manage their finances, and make sure the thrill is never gone.

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