Life Without Judgment

A griever's guide to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, a holiday that many find tough to negotiate after someone they love has died, is once again around the corner. This is my third Thanksgiving without my brother alive on this earth. I cannot say, so far, that grieving has become easier. What I can say is that I’ve gotten more adept at coping, more able to think through my options for how to navigate the days. This becomes especially important around holidays or at whatever time a particular family has traditionally gathered to spend time together. There is no one right way for a grieving person to approach Thanksgiving or any other holiday. There aren’t even 500 right ways. There are as many right ways as there are grieving peop

The kindness of strangers, yoginis, and horses

There’s something I’ve been meaning to write about since May. Every time I’ve tried to find words to convey the emotions around the experience, I have come up empty handed. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even mobilized myself to write thank you notes to anyone involved, nor have I posted more than two or three of the probably 100+ photographs I have. However, it’s time to start telling the story. Let me start at the beginning, so you have some context for this fumbling for language. Yoga teacher, horsewoman, and all-around world improver Margaret Burns Vap founded Big Sky Yoga, through which she runs retreats that combine yoga and horses and the Montana landscape into alchemical creations th

After cancer treatment, missing the war

During the course of my cancer treatment, which from diagnosis to last day of radiation lasted about ten months, I didn’t connect with the war metaphors that constantly surround the discussion of cancer. That language often annoyed me, actually, because most of the time I felt I was doing nothing that resembled fighting a battle. How could I be waging war – something that surely requires vigorous action – when it was often all I could do to get out of bed and pad around my house for an hour or so before I fell asleep again wherever I happened to sit down? Looking back, now, I see it differently. I see how every action I took over the course of my treatment was a charge, a strike, a battle of


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