“View from the Lone Tree” – Original oil by Lisa Lindeman

Alright, you found your way here, and you’re wondering, “Who is this person?” If you’re looking for an official bio, go here. Otherwise, I’ll start with a little story.

Back in time thirty years, this is one of those nexus events that left a lifelong imprint and defined me as an individual (and ironically as something decidedly not individual).

I was nineteen. I’d already been on my own for a few years, preferring homelessness to the environment I left behind. Stretching out behind me was a difficult adolescence in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the buckle of the Bible Belt. Before me, I hoped, was a college degree and a better life. It took all the money I had to buy a one-way plane ticket to California, but I was able to find decent jobs once I arrived.

The challenge was that trauma had followed me onto the plane, and its lingering effects eroded my health and smothered my thoughts. I had difficulty remembering things, and this was quite obvious at work. I was laid off. Again.

On one of my last days at one of my last office jobs, I walked through the building in so much anguish I could barely breath.

Then I experienced one of the happiest moments of my life.

I was washing my hands in the bathroom, and for a fleeting moment, my mind became deeply still and quiet, and the only thing filling my awareness was the water rolling across my skin. Just water. Hands. The light radiating through the space. Just… being. That moment opened up and out into what felt like a luminous eternity.

In an instant, everything I thought I knew was exceeded by something larger and endless and beyond words. My very self was dissolved in it, into the It from which every other self is made. Nothing stretched out behind me any longer, as the past was just a web of thoughts. Nothing lay before me. Thoughts of the future were exposed as the mere thoughts they were. The present moment ceased to exist as a slice of time sandwiched between two eternities. Instead, it was eternity, and eternity was it.

I hadn’t heard of meditation, but I stumbled across a description in a book by Alan Watts that mirrored that startling experience. I began a lifelong meditation practice that incorporated elements of Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, and Dzogchen.

About two years later, I received an acceptance letter to the University of California, Berkeley. I opened the letter while sitting in a homeless shelter in downtown San Diego. I began studying psychology with an emphasis on emotional well-being, trauma, and the nature of consciousness.

Between these two rivers of experience–meditation practice and the study of psychology–who I am was exposed and shaped on multiple levels.

I created this site in order to begin writing again. My goal is to offer insights and humanity, academic knowledge on the one hand and compassionate encouragement on the other.

The challenge is how to find the needed balance between personal and professional, warmth and logic. My logo (my name at the top) is meant to reflect this challenge–a juxtaposition of warm, flowing lines, conveying a soft, emotional tone, and dark, sturdy lines, conveying a scientific, rational tone–two sides of me I cannot always reconcile.

The image also reflects my fascination with the relationship between disparate domains of life. Chaos and complexity are key, I believe, to understanding the human experience. Where we see opposites, can we find synergy?

In myself, I find an emulsion between digital artist and data nerd, creative writer and obsessive list maker, lucid dreamer and statistician. I love reading Rumi and writing R code, singing bad karaoke and dissecting books on quantum mechanics. (I’m particularly fond of Ruth Kastner.) Sometimes I find a balance, a harmonic blend, and sometimes I bounce between seemingly incompatible modes of being. Either way, I find something to write about.