The sergeant and the wren: it’s about the little things

My badge reads:

Lisa: experienced cat socializer

It has paw print stickers all over it.

I expected to walk dogs when I started volunteering once a week at the no-kill shelter. I saw myself as firmly Team Dog. But they needed help with the cats so I went to help with the cats.

I soon found that I had a knack with the…um…”difficult” cats. The ones who take a chunk out of your arm if you make eye contact. The abused, traumatized, aggressive felines. For some reason, I can touch the cats no one else can get near. I can take the wild-eyed maniacs and turn them into the cuddly lap sitters that everyone wants to take home.

I don’t have very many valuable skills – but I am the Asshole Cat Whisperer. Continue reading

Perspective shift: a weekend with history

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At the Martin Luther King, Jr memorial in Washington, DC

A couple of months ago I went to Washington, D.C. with my husband. It was his birthday and we spent the weekend eating too much, drinking over-priced cocktails and walking around the city.

I’m Canadian but I have lived in the US for the last twenty years and I now have my American citizenship as well. I love this country, and I see the problems. And the problems have been overwhelming me lately. The divisiveness, the name-calling, the hatred and bigotry. I get deflated and anxious. I get sad and frustrated. I talk about moving back to Canada. Continue reading

My top 10 (anti-fairy tale) relationship tips

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We recently passed the twenty-year anniversary of the day my husband and I met. Our eyes met across a room and I knew immediately that I would spend the rest of my life with him.

Except that’s not at all what happened.

Actually, if you ask him about the evening we met, he’ll tell you that his first impression of me was that I looked very young and very scared. (He’s right. I was 17, and we were out with a bunch of people at a crowded movie opening. See: introvert.)

And if you ask me about the night we met? I’ll feel like a big jerk as I’ll be compelled to admit that I don’t remember meeting him. Continue reading

Meditation for People Who Can’t Meditate: an audio guide

“Meditation suffers from a towering PR problem.”

-Dan Harris, 10% Happier

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People tell me all the time that they can’t meditate — they tried it and their minds are spinning wildly and they can’t stop their thoughts.

I’m sorry to break this to you because I’m sure you are an absolutely delightful person: but your brain is not special. It’s not.

That is what everyone’s brain does. It’s your brain’s job to always look for problems. That’s how it has kept you alive.

Saying you can’t meditate because you can’t stop your thoughts is like saying you can’t play basketball because you aren’t a unicorn. And of course you are not a unicorn and of course you can’t stop your thoughts.

Luckily, we’re not trying to stop our thoughts when we meditate. We’re just trying to shift our relationship with them and realize those manic thoughts don’t have to run our whole damn lives. Continue reading

What do you say?

“You have great hair.”

I was putting down my yoga mat at the studio. I turned to the woman who had spoken to me, she was sitting on the floor, stretching. I had never met her before.

“Pardon me?” I asked.

“You have great hair.”

My hair had been up in a ponytail all morning because I had been writing – fighting, really – a troublesome section of my new book and so now that my hair was out long, it had that weird kink in the middle where I had secured the elastic too tight. As I was writing, I had thought maybe the words would come more easily if I could feel some air on the back of my neck. It hadn’t really worked.

My last haircut was seven months ago. I’ve recently started using this special shampoo in an attempt to combat my eternally oily scalp and it leaves the ends of my hair feeling dry. But I hadn’t even washed my hair in two days. Continue reading

Mostly I write but sometimes I say the words out loud

Hey all,

I wanted to share this clip from a talk I did in June – all about anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Even though I don’t entirely love living with these things – I love talking about this stuff. It makes me feel less alone, it reduces the social stigma around mental health and above all, it reminds me that healing is possible when we can connect and laugh and say to each other oh my God, I totally know what you mean.

Hope you enjoy this short clip. (I have been doing more talks lately, so I should have more clips to share soon.) And if you’re interested in having me come talk at your school, organization or conference – you can see my speaking kit here!