Control C / Control V

The first paper I ever wrote was about the digestive system. I think I was about 9 years old. I didn’t quite understand that “writing a paper” meant using my own words. I checked out a library book and copied its contents word for word. I even traced the book’s cute illustrations in the margins of my notebook paper. 

Continue reading

Practical ways to practice empathy

If I know anything about kindness, it’s only what I’ve learned from my many failures to show kindness to others. I’m pretty sure we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. So today I want to share a few things I’ve been thinking about lately.

Empathy is fundamentally about emotions. It’s the ability to understand and respond to another person’s emotions, and even to feel their emotions for yourself. Like most things, it’s a skill that requires constant refinement.

Let’s start with what NOT to do:

Continue reading

Feeling numb from watching world news

When I woke up this morning I felt disturbed. Sung left for school and I took Lotus on a morning walk. The air quality is bad today. Cannot see the nearby hills. The sun is an angry red disc swollen four times its normal size. My throat got scratchy from breathing smoke as my mind marinated in feelings of doom and gloom.

I came home and turned on the TV. When I caught up on world news…I was shocked. What is happening?! I know pain and suffering is perpetual, but there’s an extraordinary amount of turbulence right now. It’s distressing to witness these historic events.

Continue reading

The 100 square foot garden

Today I did some yard work for the first time in a while. Several medium-sized palm trees around our rental house needed pruning. As I sawed off dead branches and piled them in the dumpster, I started thinking about how much yard work I did as a child.

My family lived in a house on a fairly large piece of property. My parents DIY’ed everything. They built a well house, a chicken coop, and a network of raised garden beds. Many of my childhood memories center around outdoor projects. My brother and I collected rocks to build a 100-foot stone wall, dug narrow trenches for an irrigation system, and helped plant fruit trees. Of course, there were always a million weeds to pull.

One summer, my brother and I decided to plant our own vegetable garden.

Continue reading