Finding purpose

Tools in Your Pockets

Tools in Your Pockets

Pockets. They’re designed to keep useful tools close by. Against the body. Like an appendage. So that when you need to jot something down. Remember a task. Fix something. Hold something for later. You don’t have to scramble around like a basket case trying to find it. 

Or rely on someone else for help. 

In short: they help you be better at being you.

Up until the French revolution women had large pockets tucked under their voluminous skirts that were large enough to hold books, mending materials, writing devices, and even lunch. 

But as fashion became more streamlined, women’s pockets moved off the body and into handbags. 

More distant. Easier to misplace. Or have stolen. Making essential tools harder to find and more difficult to access in need. 

Pockets speak to this question of preparedness, and your ability to move in public and to be confident. It’s really difficult to get around if you don’t have what you need, and it’s about, I think it’s about mobility and movement in public,” says Hannah Carlson, a lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design who was interviewed about the politics of pockets in the awesome podcast, Articles of Interest.

So what do pockets have do you with you?

Clarity through charity

Clarity through charity

Charities and not-for-profit associations haven’t really been my thing. 

 

I was reminded of that rude reality two years ago while being interviewed for my naturalization papers in France. 

 

When asked if I volunteered with any associations, I stunned myself with how quickly I blurted out “No!”

 

Back in High School I was a much better person. I took the bus down with friends to Washington D.C to march in defense of animal rights. And spent months going into Manhattan with my BFF Helen to get people to sign up and donate to the AIDS walk we did together. 

 

But as an adult, aside from some sporadic GoFundMe or Doctors Without Borders donations, my charitable acts have been pretty slim. 

 

Lack of time, lack of motivation, call it what you want, but I never really found the energy or mission. 

 

While I was getting my coaching certification, though, I did a lot of thinking about why I chose this path and who I ultimately wanted to serve. I knew I wanted to coach women. Women who were looking to bring more meaning to their work. 

 

But how could I bring more meaning to my work? 

 

I started researching organizations that were doing great stuff for communities I cared about, and then challenged myself to take one concrete step towards contributing to that cause. 

 

That’s what lead me to apply to become a volunteer mentor with Led By Her

Using Your Full Frame

Using Your Full Frame

Adults are amazing at respecting limits that don’t really exist. 

 

And kids are amazing at disrespecting limits that do really exist. 

 

Cries, tantrums, arguments, flattery, debate, negotiation. There’s no shame to their game. 

 

They’ll use whatever they’ve got to see how a limit can be toppled, overturned and redesigned. 

 

As we get older, though, and move along in life we adapt to the limits that the world throws back at us. 

 

Conditioning, rules, beliefs — all of these boundaries become a part of the way we perceive the world and operate within it. 

 

But as our habits and expectations become more and more entrenched, we start seeing limits where they don’t exist, eventually boxing ourselves into tighter and tighter spaces. 

 

The truth, though, is that what’s not explicitly forbidden, is technically allowed. 

When Ideas Get Under Your Skin

When Ideas Get Under Your Skin

I had a very intimidating social studies teacher in High School named Mr Savage. 


He would walk into the classroom, silently go up to the blackboard, scribble a provocative open question, like “What is democracy?” in his chicken-scratch handwriting and then stare back at the class with his beady little eyes. (can you tell how much of a fan I was??)


He’d smile slyly with pinched lips revealing a little scar alongside his mouth. Then he’d gesture to the class to let the debate begin. 


I dreaded that moment. I was a shy and insecure adolescent and that kind of intellectual dogfighting made me shrink even further into my shell. 


Mr Savage didn’t give homework, but he did assign two big writing projects per year that were famously tough. For one project we had to propose our ideal presidential candidate and then argue and defend why we thought he or she should win.