The Happiness of Pursuit

The following post was sponsored by Random House. 
When the book, The Happiness of Pursuit arrived on my door step, a few weeks back, I immediately thought of Joseph Campbell. (And, yes. I write about him often. But I look to him as the guru of story and find much of his work inspiring, thought provoking and extremely empowering.) If you aren't familiar with Campbell's work, he was a renowned mythologist who believed that the story was everything—the retelling, the studying, the writing, the seeking, the pursuit of the retelling and the studying and the seeking—that every man, woman and child is born a quest-seeker, that myths are what sustain us, stories acting as our societal and ethical guides.

And, in The Happiness of Pursuit, Chris Guillebeau pulls from Campbell's "hero's journey" and takes us on a quest to seek out fellow questers and highlight their stories, their goals, journeys and processes. (He does this on his blog as well and recently featured the amazing Robyn Devine of 10,000 Hats who IS AWESOME and lovely and YES.)

Guillebeau believes that, for some, it is the pursuit itself, not the end goal, that sustains us. And so, we all owe it to ourselves to seek, to pursue, to build our own little boats and sail across rivers and lakes, oceans and seas, not to get somewhere but to EXIST in the process of the getting.
This speaks to me as someone who desires to do much but feels uncomfortable about list-making and drawing out goals. I prefer not to mark the thing off the list but to experience the thing that isnt listed. And then, perhaps, to experience it again and again and again if that is the thing that I love, enjoy, feel challenged by  I am someone who enjoys "the during" but struggles much with the afterward. After completing one novel and then another, I was as depressed as Id ever been. After completing one pilot and then another I felt just as sad. (Nothing happened with any of these projects, by the way, and I have spent the last ten years working on a new one that may take years more to see complete.)

I am happy not when I finish a task but when I'm existing within the strand of moments... when I'm pursuing a project or a post or an adventure with my family.

And when it's over? I feel down, man. Depressed. Sometimes even angry. I am at my worst after a trip or a finished project, a last day  After every major project I have felt the same way. After every minor project, too—even after something as simple as a blog post. As soon as I click the publish button I feel like I've just stepped off the page and have nowhere to stand... and so I must jump back into another one. QUICK! FIND A NEW QUEST! FIND A NEW IDEA! A NEW STORY! This is something I am working on, of course. I am terrible with endings and goodbyes and knowing when to stop. I ramble and turn circles and go back into drafts and kill off characters… I fiddle, I dismantle, I abandon…

In one of the last chapters of  The Happiness of Pursuit, Guillebeau writes of the story of Miranda Gibson, who lived in a tree for more than a year. And on her blog, after coming down and rejoining the world, she wrote:
And it is overwhelming, regardless of whether you've spent a year in a tree or as a parent, a wife, a student, a teenager... There's so much to say and think, so many stories to tell and all of the words are swishing around in our shoes and how do we get started? How do we start telling the stories we want to tell? 

Where to even begin, right? 

Campbell said, The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” 

And I think of that often, within the context of this space. So many voices. So many points of view. All valid. All important. All worth sharing. All needing to start somewhere... 

Today I have told you the story of my feet touching the ground…”

Be who you are. 

Write your story. 

Live your story. 

Pursue, pursue, pursue... 
After all, there is no greater story than the one its author feels compelled to tell Everything that is deeply felt is significant. All journeys matter. Because it isnt about pursuing happiness but, as Guillebeaus title so brilliantly articulates, finding happiness within the pursuit.

That is what I love so much about blogging and creating in this space. There are no real endings. No right answers. No rules. Every day you get a new pass at a new subject, a new draft that is imperfect and, perhaps, (sometimes) unacceptable to its audience. And that's all good, man. Because perfection was never the point. 

We do not read to get the last page, or the last line or the last word... we read to experience the meat, to agree, to disagree, to highlight and strikethrough and keep turning... And blogs, at their core, are just diaries with endless pages, exposed and vulnerable for the sake of hinting at the okayness of imperfection.

That's why, fourteen years later, I still do this. I believe that the struggle is far more interesting than the resolution - that the flaws are what make stories compelling and adventures worth their weight, moment after moment, pursuit after pursuit, to be continued, amen. What happens in the end, when the moment has passed, is not the happy place. This? RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW is. 
For more on The Happiness of Pursuit, check out Chris Guillebeau's website, here. You can also follow him on facebook, twitter and instagram. And big thanks to Random House for sponsoring this post.  
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9pm. On a Good Night.

This week on, I wrote about bedtime. Ahem.

As stated in the post, we never really struggled with Archer and Fable at bedtime so this may be a twin thing. It may also be a "four children" thing because, mornings (getting the kids out the door) and nights (getting the kids into bed at a decent time) are the two most challenging aspects of having multiple children... and multiples.

As for our bedtime routine, it looks something like this.

6:30ish Dinner.

7ish: Bath/Shower Time. The kids bathe. (ED: We bathe the kids every other night unless it's a particularly sweaty/dirty day. Big kids shower. Little ones bathe. We do one hair wash a week (sometimes two, depending on sweat and sand), usually on Tuesdays because that's when they have swimming.)

7:30ish pajamas, brush teeth, story time. (I stay with Bo and Revi and Hal reads to Fable, usually, while Archer reads to himself in bed.) Sometimes Fable joins us in the twins' room or Hal will read to the twins while I read to Fable in her room. Hal and I trade off in shifts, going back and forth between both bedrooms.

8:00ish Story time has turned into a concert, somehow. Or a dance party. Or a dance party concert.

8:30 The Dance party is over now because, seriously, you guys. IT'S BED. TIME. and then we do this thing where Revi turns off the light, gets into bed and then I have to turn the light BACK ON so that Bo can turn it off and get into bed and then Revi gets out of bed to turn on the sound machine and then she gets back into bed as Bo gets out of her bed to turn the sound machine off and then on again and then everyone has to be RE-TUCKED in and then as soon as everyone is tucked in, everyone needs water and then I get them water and by the time I come back, they're playing their tiny guitars and/or jumping in their beds and/or trying to sneak into Archer and Fable's room after turning the light on in their bedroom (again) and turning OFF the sound machine.

9:00 They're asleep. (I wish.) Last night they didn't go down until 10:30 (I'm blaming jet lag) and Revi was still awake at 11:30 when I went to check on them. But at least she was in bed?

Anyway, yeah. That's where we're at with sleep. We're a fucking mess pretty much NBD. (You can read more of the column, here/comment with your kids' go-to-bedtime stories. I'm always so curious to hear from others re: bedtime because I know some families who put their kids down as early as 6 and as late as 11. So, you know... there's quite the spectrum happening here.)


"It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals." #heforshe

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My sister sent this to me while we were away with the subject YOU WILL LOVE THIS and I did, I do. And I know I'm totally late but also, there's no such thing as late when it comes to mobilizing communities to support and applaud gender equality. I watched this with Archer and then we talked about what it means to be a brother of sisters, a boy among girls, a man among women AND men and, well... if that conversation can happen in homes across the world, can you even imagine?
Please, if you haven't already seen this, watch...  and if you have older children, please share with them as well and then check out #heforshe, a UN WOMEN initiative that brings men and women together for gender equality. Let's keep this conversation going, people. It's so incredibly worthy.
And, yes, I've read many of the dissenters in the house, and while I appreciate a healthy debate, young celebrities, like it or not, are who our sons and daughters look and listen to and I believe the #heforshe movement speaks to THEM. And we need more of that. We need more of Beyonce and we need more of Emma Watson and we need more of EVERYONE, especially YOUNG PUBLIC FIGURES, to speak up and use their words and have this conversation so we can have MORE conversations. With our children and our peer groups and ourselves. 
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In the meantime... 

"Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong." - Emma Watson, an actress and advocate who my kids know and recognize and are willing to watch speak for thirteen minutes about feminism and gender equality. Awesome. Keep talking, Emma.

Bunny Slope DIY - Eau de Candle Wax

The other day, Hal and I woke up to a SMELL. It was somewhere around 5:30 in the morning and it was strong enough to wake us both up...

"What is that smell?"

"Right? It smells like..."

"A brothel?"

"Exactly. Like someone spilled vanilla lotion in a smoking section of a... Sex Farm?"

"Our house smells like old cigarettes and stale perfume."

"But, like, in a good way?"

"I guess?"

This conversation went on for a minute or two until I finally pulled myself out of bed against my exhausted will and followed my nose down the hall and into Bo and Revi's room where Revi was finger painting Vanilla Tabac candle wax all over the walls, furniture, herself....


"She's painting," Bo deadpanned from across the room.

"Yeah. I painting."


It was then that I realized "Parisian movie theatre" was exactly what I wanted to smell like.

I cleaned the walls/dresser/Revi and took what was left of the candle into the bathroom to wear as perfume for the remainder of the summer.

That was three months ago and I'm still applying Vanilla Tabac candle wax to my wrists on occasion and delighting in my eau de waxcandleogne. It's really no different than wearing essential oils, which I usually do. (Perfume makes me feel sick but oils are subtle and I've been wearing Auric Blends' "love" oil for a hundred and two years.)

I still dab "love" on my wrists in the morning because it's my signature but it's been nice to break up the love with something smoky and dirty, you know? Sometimes you just have to be the change you wish to see in the world.

Plus, it's always fun when someone's like, "What are you wearing? Is that essential oils? " and you're like, "Actually, it's candle wax. I like to rub myself down with the stuff every morning. My three-year old gave me the idea."
revi and revi


I posted a video of Esme Patterson a couple weeks back but this duet she did with Shakey Graves is so on point, I had to post it, too. Happy Tuesday, party people. And Happy Birthday to absolutely everyone I know. September is serious about birthdays. Probably because December is the sexiest?

214. Dearly Departed by: Shakey Graves ft. Esme Patterson


And while we're at it, here's this which is just SOsoso good. 

Bully's Lament by: Shakey Graves