In Praise of Sad Things

My friend Matthew sent me this Steven Wilson video, for no particular reason except that it’s lovely and we share music and amusing Internet Things (we both were bummed we didn’t think up the ship a box of glitter thing). The video is also really, really sad and haunting. I watched this on the heels of Inside Out, which I saw with …

Vanessa McGradyIn Praise of Sad Things

Swerving for Peace: Why Miranda Bryant Chases Misery

I met Miranda Bryant when we were wayward, wild young reporters living on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. We reveled in the wacky Kinetic Sculpture Races, quaffed microbrews before even Seattleites became hip to them, and had our series of ill-advised, catastrophic romances with unsuitable suitors. I became committed: To a dog, first, then a series of office jobs, …

Vanessa McGradySwerving for Peace: Why Miranda Bryant Chases Misery

Some things about Christmas 2013

This is Grace's portrait of Bridgett and Bill. Which is so crazy perfect, if you know them.

1. My dad died 10 years ago today. You don’t really recover from something like that. I was really sad for the past couple weeks and felt all “dumpy mom,” and couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but duh. Of course. Then, some magic. My older brother, Ilya, in ISRAEL, made a concert of this beautiful, ethereal music with …

Vanessa McGradySome things about Christmas 2013

Affairs nobody wants to talk about are the most important


My dad’s 2003 death left a wake of confusion and conflict that went beyond the great loss of one of the universe’s shining stars.  Dad didn’t mean for it to go like that. A few years before, he’d had a will hastily drawn up on his way to the airport before traveling to Europe for a medical procedure, and never …

Vanessa McGradyAffairs nobody wants to talk about are the most important

Listen to Your Dreams, Say ‘Yes,’ Beware Spiritual Inflation, and Other Wise Words

Meredith Moon is a 79-year-old Jungian and transpersonal therapist based on Maui, Hawaii. She wrote to me and asked if she could share her story of spiritual awakening and perspective from her vantage point. Our 40s is such a huge turning point for spirituality, and here’s just one example. 1. You turned 40 in 1974, nearly 40 years ago. What do …

Vanessa McGradyListen to Your Dreams, Say ‘Yes,’ Beware Spiritual Inflation, and Other Wise Words

Spirit: Forms of Forgiveness


This tree in Duekmejian Park is called the McFall Oak. During the Station Fire a couple years ago, firefighters surrounded it while everything else burned. Now the rest of the park has forgiven the fire, and it is moving along with its life. We live in uncertain times. By “we,” I mean we as a world, a nation, a bunch …

Vanessa McGradySpirit: Forms of Forgiveness

Packing the Spiritual Pickup Truck

I want to say that I’ve spent the last month doing something incredible, like composing a concerto for violin and washboard, or knitting booties for poor babies in cold parts of the world. But I haven’t. Instead, we’ve re-homed Cinco the Chihuahua, who was deeply depressed without his Lucy and cried every day, and then snapped at the baby. There …

Vanessa McGradyPacking the Spiritual Pickup Truck