Guiding Principles



While I don't think there is one sure-fire recipe for growth, what I do know is this: when these ingredients are in the mix, good things tend to follow. 




I think one of the great tragedies of adult life is knowing. The brilliance of children is that they are grand tutors of amazement, begging us to take a second glance at the familiar: to listen for the space in between, the place where reality seems air tight, zipped up, vacuum sealed. Words and knowledge have the effect of concretizing our experience but the nuance and texture of life moments cannot be fully held in language. Human experience can be clarified but never kept by words. Curiosity is a mental nod to our childhood mind and experience, little galaxies of feeling that have infinite experiential possibility. 

Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers.

-Rainer Maria Rilke


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As humans, one of the most innovative things we construct are relationships, particularly our most intimate ones. It's also the place where we come into contact with our deepest vulnerabilities, constrictions, and fears; powerful feelings that can eventually lead to emotional stalemates and ruptures or if we're lucky, growth. It’s in the immediacy of negotiation, play and conflict, that something new has the potential to emerge. It’s messy, it’s real, and it’s wonderful. 

We don't have relationships to get our needs met, we have relationships to discover what our needs might be.

-Adam Phillips



Reflective Process

As I increase in age and experience, I have the opportunity for increased wisdom but also the equal opportunity to turn a blind eye, to calcify, to become rigidly associated to generalizations about myself and the world. Too often we become trapped by the easy routine of seeing what we already expect in our environment, in an other, or even ourselves. The milky film of the familiar guards our eyes and our psyche from considering anew. But I believe this is exactly what life ask of us, to be willing to be continually surprised, to stay in dialogue...

I think I'm constantly in a state of adjustment.

-Patti Smith

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If the only option in life is to be you anyways, why not embrace it? It seems to me, many of us spend our lives cultivating versions of an "acceptable" self, some variation of normal.  As my daughter says, "Weird is a compliment." There is power in your own human varietal: cultivate it. Embrace your strange.

I didn't really want to be part of a clique or a niche. But I also was looking for my own voice, as a writer, y'know? And a world I could call my own.

-Tom Waits


Freud says much of our lives are “bound up in what we can make out of frustration.” That is to say, as humans we have the tremendous and miraculous capacity to dream, to imagine all kinds of realities and outcomes. Creativity, to me, is the application of our dreams on to the canvas of a life lived. It is not an exact science, it’s both an approximation (of an internal ideal) and a negotiation (of external resources). It’s in the conflict of potential and frustration that something new can be born.

In our dreams we can have our eggs cooked exactly how we want them, but we can’t eat them. 

-Adam Phillips


Truth? In most circumstances and relationships we have to move, risk, and try to know. Some of my greatest failings have brought some of my deepest levels of awareness of myself as well as inspiration for my next attempts. Donald Winnicott has this beautiful idea called potential space, a place in which we are becoming, a place in which play is a necessity to learning. In this space, failing can be redefined as developmental striving and it no longer has to deter us from trying. Instead it refines our sense of purpose and increases our resolve to try anew. Play is pretty cool, huh?

Play is the continuous evidence of creativity which means aliveness.

-Donald Winnicott



Grit is in the getting up but it’s more, it’s in the not giving up. It strikes me that in this age of information, wiki-everything, we have become obsessed with knowing how, getting it right, even before we begin. Rightness becomes the enemy of trying and without trying we lose the intangible lessons inherent in the struggle and how to relate to ourselves in relation to our mistakes. You have to get off the park bench and onto the playground, risk the skinned knees and the bruises. Slowly, an accumulation of muscle strength is built over time as we get back up again and again and press on, even when it hurts. In that way, the ground becomes food for flight. What seemingly works against us, pulls us down, also builds our strength, stamina and hunger for more.

Show up. Do stuff. -M.H.