A guide to replicating the happiest accident of my life

Woman hugging herself.
Woman hugging herself.
Image credit: Prostorina.

In 2018, I allowed a New York Times best-selling author to write about my problems with envy in his latest book. Johann Hari is a friend of mine, and I trusted him with my story. Still, when Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression — and the Unexpected Solutions hit the shelves, I had a momentary freakout.

There’s a reason that envy is almost never discussed. Did I really want people to know that other women’s beauty and success bothered me, that Facebook regularly threw me into despair, and that I coped with it all through twisted, hateful thinking? …

Cute woodland critters with addiction, anxiety, and plenty of angst. Are you Squirrel, Pigeon, or Rabbit?

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Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

1. Hedgehog

Hedgehog dreamed of climbing The Mountain.

She grew up hearing about the summit and the heroic beasts that had conquered it. Her life shuffling around on the ground seemed ordinary compared to these tales. “How the view must be from up there!” she often thought.

So, little by little, the mission seized her until there was no other choice but to make the journey.

She set out one morning with a knapsack full of provisions — for there is a certain way to do things — and a heart full of determination. I’d like to say she set out one fine morning, but it was too ordinary a morning to praise it as such. …

Why the kindest folks you know claim they “hate people”

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Photo by John Bussell on Unsplash

We’ve all met them: folks that are thoughtful, compassionate, and helpful. They are respectful in conversations and perhaps work in a job that serves others in a direct, face-to-face way: as a counselor, a healthcare provider, or teacher, for example. They’re good at what they do. In fact, they’re great with people.

They would never hurt anyone. Even hurting someone’s feelings may be abhorrent to them.

And all the same, they claim to “hate people.”

At first glance, it makes no sense. It may not make any more sense to them than it does to you. I know from personal experience how distressing it is to feel this way and not understand why — to be unable to reconcile my personal conduct and my high degree of concern for others with the sense that I was privately a misanthrope. …

This is why I’m no longer ashamed of that

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Photo by Gor Davtyan on Unsplash

Dear Fat People,

Your critics do not have better self-control than you do. They simply don’t carry the evidence of their personal excesses on their physical frames.

And just because they are blind to their own hypocrisy doesn’t mean you have to be.

Lucky for them, they don’t have to walk around with their credit card statements pasted to the front of their shirts. Then we might all see the poor judgment, the greed, the excessiveness. You know, those qualities they attribute to you because of your size.

What if we could see the overstuffed closets, houses, garages, and storage units of perfect strangers, the moment we meet them? And why don’t our critics see the parallels between that and any other form of overconsumption? …

Are you guilty of these too?

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Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash

I have ten minutes to draft an outline for this article before I pick my child up from school.

I wasted today the way I’ve wasted many others: trying to decide where to write, because I usually can’t focus at home.

I wasn’t merely trying to find a location for today, but my ideal spot for long-term productivity. I find fault with every place I go, which says plenty about me and nothing about libraries, museums, gardens, offices, coffee shops, yards, parks, hotel rooms, and retreat centers.

I just ate an ice cream cone I didn’t need, because the idea for this piece came to me while the clock was ticking on a hot day. A nearby ice cream joint with shaded outdoor tables sounded like my best bet. (The fact that I often pair indulgent food with writing deserves its own separate piece about problematic writing…

It hasn’t, and it probably never will.

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Photo by Jyotirmoy Gupta on Unsplash

Siddhartha Gautama was 29 years old when he set out in search of the answer to human suffering. The story goes that after roughly six years of experimentation, he achieved enlightenment — the permanent end to all his suffering. He became the Buddha, the Awakened One.

I was approaching the age of 29 when I “found” mindfulness and meditation. I had suffered from diagnosed binge eating disorder and resultant obesity — as well as depression — for almost a decade at that point. …


Rachel Shubert

Writing about the personal and the political. Meditation teacher and counselor-in-training with a poli sci background. Single parent in the rural Midwest.

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