This blog contains my musing on topics from singlism and feminism to atheism and religion. Themes that are of most interest to me revolve around meaning and the difficulty we have in finding it in today’s world. Somehow this all relates. I am hoping that this blog will help me figure out how the pieces fit together, so that I can come up with a coherent story, especially with suggestions on what we can do to save this planet.

Who am I? Well, I’ve been trying to figure that out for years! And guess what, I haven’t quite found an answer but somehow I must be a human being, of the female persuasion. I grew up in Germany and after graduation high school, I came to the US with Action Reconciliation/Service for Peace. As other volunteers, I mistook this as a match-making service and got married to the guy of my dreams only to wake up in a nightmare. Before my son turned one, I left my husband. While raising my son, I got a BA, an MS, and then started working. I was in the “real world” for over 10 years, working myself through several industries in search of a job I can actually call a career. By outer standards, I was probably fairly successful but inside, I felt rather empty. Other detours – also known as intimate relationships – took me away from creating a life that I find meaningful. It wasn’t until 2007, that I decided to pursue life creation in earnest, after yet another painful relationship. I made a vow to not pursue intimate relationships, at least for a while, but instead to focus on my life. This vow is grounded in the realization that I am happier single. This is supported by the wonderful work of Bella DePaulo, Kay Trimberger, and Karen Gail Lewis who have all shown that we can be happy and single. Lewis calls remaining single just another life path, which we can choose (as opposed to the failure our society is trying to make it). So, with supportive research in hand, I decided to embrace being single (even though, it’s a little different for me since I am still a single mother). That “coming out” lay the foundation for a new, invigorated search for meaning and purpose. More on this in My Story… And this interview contains some of my future plans.

Somehow making a decision to take life into my own hands in one area had a ripple effect in others. So, I am embarking on more personal change and, finally, taking the plunge into designing work that is meaningful to myself and socially responsible while living sustainably.

In my early 40s, I am now doing what many 20-somethings are doing: Trying to find my place in this world in the midst of my transition to new work. I am reconnecting with many of the topics I was interested in during my late teens, which makes for wonderful conversations with my son. Along my current path, I bring many sacred cows to their retirement pastures, questioning everything critically and leaving belief systems behind. It is very freeing and exciting! And slowly, a vision is emerging of what I want to do, what I can contribute to this world:

I study the stereotyping and stigmatization of singles with particular interesting in the development of singlism as a prejudice. To counteract internalized singlism and stereotypes in general, I am working on rebuilding communities by deemphasizing the couple and nuclear family. I believe that this will also allow us to address the global problems we are facing, including overconsumption and climate disruption by encouraging strategies that truly meet our needs.

A bit nervously, I am transforming my ideas into a business as a life design guide to help people design their paths. And I continue to hone my scholarly skills by pursuing a masters in philosophy where I study stereotypes from a cognitive science perspective. I am proud to say that I have presented some of my ideas already.

This website has always chronicled my journey but now that I have turned it into a blog, the updates will be more frequent. It continues to be my writing sandbox but with renewed purpose while I embrace being a writer. I will use the blog to hone my writing skills, as well as collect my ideas, for everybody to see and anybody to comment on. I hope my musings will matter to other people just as much as they matter to me.

(Last updated on January 13, 2011)


Comments

Old About — 17 Comments

  1. Hallo Rachel, I am working on my MSc in Applied Psychology and liked your arguments on the SPE. I miss Erich Fromm’s voice and didn’t know he had written on the SPE, so many many thanks to put it all into context. I study philosophy as well, & I am also caught up living in-between worlds (born in Germany but having spent most of my life in Asia). Feel free to visit my blog and my very best wishes!

  2. Um, you dispatched your son’s father so quickly from your story that I had a hard time not wondering about your son, instead of reading about all your involved personal thoughts. I’d be interested in hearing what you think about your son’s relationship with his father. I really hope that I won’t hear something that is dismissive of that role that is so typical of so many Northern European women I know.

    I did admire your resolve in your discussion of Enron with Cara Ellison. I think you handled yourself quite well in that very interesting exchange.

    • Charlie: My ex-husband has not contributed positively to my story, so I prefer not to dwell on my relationship with him, though you can find some posts about the pain in my life that stemmed from that marriage.

      I prefer to let my son talk about himself rather than talking for him. But I am curious as to why you are interested in my son’s relationship with his father?

  3. Thanks for your response . I too have a disinclination to guru figures 🙂 but Krishnamurti is not a guru as he has often said and if people have made him into one , they’re contradicting what he has said . Jacob Needleman , I think , is quite right in saying that Krishnamurti’s vision is akin to humanistic philosophy / psychology . He has a conversation with Krishnamurti in ” The Awakening of Intelligence ” and it’s in that conversation that he makes this observation . Needleman’s ” Heart of Philosophy ” is a good book . I think Lewis Mumford , Rollo May , Erich Fromm and Krishnamurti share similar insights . I heard him way back in 1984 and ’85 and he left a lasting impression on a skeptic like me , I should say . His insights have been often compared with those in Buddhism , especially the ” Mahayana school ” and Zen although Krishnamurti himself seems to have discouraged comparitve evaluation .

    Since you’ve read Buddhism , I thought you would have stumbled upon his works 🙂 Thanks , Rachel .

  4. Hi Rachel ! Read your post on ‘ owning a home ‘ . Am reminded of a book which I consider to be wise and compassionate — Erich Fromm’s ” To Have or To Be ? ” . As he observes correctly , ” the more you HAVE the less you ARE ( emphasis mine ) .

    Those of you who have read/heard J . Krishnamurti , do give me your reflections . Sure Rachel has read him .

    Senthil

    • Thanks for sharing the quote from Erich Fromm!

      I’ve heard about Krishnamurti but can honestly not remember if I’ve ever read any of his writing. I am always a bit leery of figures that seem guru-like…

  5. Found this blog to be very interesting . I have done inter-disciplinary study . I think I do want to make a few points with regard to Buddhism . I might do it later .

    Senthil

  6. Hi Rachel 🙂 I stumbled upon your blog by accident, while I was doing some random searches and got your page on Enron. Then I checked your ‘About’ page and some of your posts and it looks really fascinating! I love the topics on which you post about! Looking forward to reading your posts and exploring some of your past posts.

  7. Rachel

    Discovered this page when seeking critique of Buddhism. Left a comment on that page. I’ll be reading your blog through. Liked what you said about not needing spirituality. I wrote a poem this winter called
    “Spiritual But Not Religious? What the fuck is this????” I live alone too, in a cabin in the woods. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on singledom.

    Brent

  8. Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for your Skeptical Musings about thyroid quackery. I also have Hashimoto’s and a skeptical turn of mind; I knew nothing about thyroid disease before diagnosis and have spent months sifting through utter nonsense spouted by people with things to sell. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who sees through the bullshit!

  9. Hi Rachel – I found your weblog very interesting to read. It is always good to find people who think somehow like what I think. Specially your “About” is interesting. You know what, I think it could be better if we learned earlier that “We are empty inside” but everything takes its time.

  10. I was just looking for info on spirituality and REBT or CBT not sure which my psychiatrist is using on or with me. Will ask him tommorow now that I know a little bit more about it.
    I am a 59 year old woman who is just growing up and learning to live again.
    I have just started therapy earlier in the year after living a very disfunctional life and am glad to find myself after so many years.
    Just found your blog and will be looking into it more. I do not believe I am a “feminist” as I do not like to label. Just wanting to be more mindful of myself.
    thanks.

  11. Tony: I’ll check out your book! It sounds interesting! I have to admit that I am not convinced that we even need spirituality. On the other hand, when I am in awe of nature some people might consider that spirituality. And I think, we might need something to ground us and a secular spirituality might just be it.

  12. I stumbled in here (almost) by accident trying to find a particular review of my own book. I like your site very much and there are some very useful resources. I hesitate to urge you to read my book because you seem to have more than enough to read (!) but if you are ever interested in an English perspective (not that I claim to represent the whole country) on the idea of secular spirituality and happiness it’s “the lost art of being happy – spirituality for sceptics”. (Our spelling is variant over here.) Like you I have been intrigued by Buddhism but suspicious of aspects of its religiosity. I think it’s possible to define a genuinely secular sense of spirituality in the sense of spiritual practice, motivated by the desire to live happily rather than anything supernatural.

    Good luck and very best wishes

    Tony Wilkinson

  13. I enjoyed your musings. I hadn’t seen your website in ages! Oh, my gosh… so many topics. I so enjoyed your “About” page. And I read a bit about your review of Korten’s book. Your conclusion matches mine, but yours is more corageous. I’ve heard people I respect, such as Joanna Macy and others, that we are at a breakthrough point of evolution. I concluded, “Gosh, what am I not seeing?! Those visionary people have something I don’t have.” After reading your comment, I’m wondering about their views. Although, to be honest, I don’t want to give up hope. AND, I still doubt my perception. Oh, well. How did you turn into a blog? Do people write to you, then, who read your website? How do people hear about your website, I’m curious? Many hugs, Myra

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