Anne Lamott on how to become yourself

lamottI love Anne Lamott. I follow her on Twitter (oh, my, she’s fierce and funny!) and have read her wonderful Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life and other books. She’s open about being a screwed-up human being, and she has a lot of wisdom to share and the writing skills to convey it truthfully, with humor.

Somehow I stumbled upon a post she’d written for O, The Oprah Magazine (does anyone ever say, “I got my copy of O in the mail”?), that I want to share.


We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be. The only problem is that there is also so much other stuff, typically fixations with how people perceive us, how to get more of the things that we think will make us happy, and with keeping our weight down. So the real issue is how do we gently stop being who we aren’t? How do we relieve ourselves of the false fronts of people-pleasing and affectation, the obsessive need for power and security, the backpack of old pain, and the psychic Spanx that keeps us smaller and contained?…

I had to stop living unconsciously, as if I had all the time in the world. The love and good and the wild and the peace and creation that are you will reveal themselves, but it is harder when they have to catch up to you in roadrunner mode. So one day I did stop. I began consciously to break the rules I learned in childhood…

Dealing with your rage and grief will give you life. That is both the good news and the bad news: The solution is at hand. Wherever the great dilemma exists is where the great growth is, too. It would be very nice for nervous types like me if things were black-and-white, and you could tell where one thing ended and the next thing began, but as Einstein taught us, everything in the future and the past is right here now. There’s always something ending and something beginning. Yet in the very center is the truth of your spiritual identity: is you. Fabulous, hilarious, darling, screwed-up you.

Actually, not on purpose, I’ve left out the funniest parts! Read more and enjoy:

The universal language of babies

Okay, so this is unrelated to most of the posts on this blog, except for me wanting to be of service by providing new-to-me (and I hope to you) information to improve your quality of life.

It turns out that those little noises that babies make before they really start crying actually have meaning. Babies have been signaling us when they’re hungry, sleepy, feeling general discomfort such as needing a diaper change, feeling lower GI distress like gas, and needing to burp.

Each of these has its own distinct sound.

If we can attend to their needs before they start crying, well, then they cry less! This seems revolutionary. What could it do to a population’s quality of life if all infants had their needs tended to quickly?

This was discovered by a brilliant woman gifted in auditory memory who became a mother, figured this out, and tested it around the world.

Watch this segment from Oprah:

The woman is Priscilla Dunstan. Here’s her website, in case you want to order the DVD:

I find it amazing that this has been right under our noses for millennia, and only now can it be discovered, tested, and widely taught.

It’s also amazing to think about how different the world might be if all parents learned these 5 signals and could tend to their infants’ needs better. Less frustration = more happiness.

It could be revolutionary.