Level Letters: Evil Wants You Hopeless

There has been SO much deeply sad news this week. I recognize much of it is nothing new, but it is terrible, and it looks a lot like a pretty insurmountable, complicated set of problems. As I’ve read and watched various reports, I’ve felt weight I imagine is only a small fraction of that those affected most directly feel day after day after …

Level Letters: You Are Not Your Feelings

Once upon a time, I quit my job and signed up for Yoga Teacher Training. I didn’t exactly mean for both of those things to happen at the same time, but alas, it worked out. From October to December of that year, I did a lot of yoga. One day as class began, a teacher said, “You are not your thoughts; you are …

Level Letters: Certain Never Was

  This week, I found myself weary. Fatigued from the seemingly constantly recurring topics of uncertainty and illness, conflict and opinion, carelessness and fear. Mostly, I felt tired of the intense focus on “uncertainty.” I keep returning to this: Certainty is an illusion. It’s routine dressed up as trust, convention masquerading as promise. The fact is, certain never was. It was always faith. The question is, …

Level Letters: Hope & Truth in Tough Times

In the Spring of my freshman year of college, a best friend died in a car crash. The summer just after, I studied abroad and I really believed I profoundly missed my boyfriend. He was a good guy, but a thoroughly mediocre boyfriend, and we broke up later that summer. There is just no way that I missed that boy …

Welcome to Level Letters

I’m Lauren and this is Level Letters. I like spaces where people can be open; honest, authentic and real. Where you can talk about things that matter–and sometimes things that don’t–and where encouragement, truth, and important questions can live. Where people can level with each other and, more importantly, with themselves. I’ve thought about beginning something like this for a long …

In coffee, the world becomes smaller.

Field Report: Guatemala This piece was originally published here in Barista Magazine‘s June/July 2017 Issue for Dillanos Coffee Roasters. The version below features additional photos. In coffee, the world becomes smaller. It’s easy, natural, to think of our community as the one directly around us: the one built in common coffee houses in familiar locales, but coffee has a story …

Alaskan Cruise

The headline is this: Alaska is amazingly, breathtakingly beautiful. It is the pure, natural kind of beautiful that you can’t quite fathom, but that your soul soaks up. I think the only real question is whether to visit via cruise or some other means. I’m eager to go back in another capacity, but loved the cruise method for taking in …

When Your Soul Aches for London

It happens when certain songs play, when a movie scene pans parliament, even when a photo online catches the light just right. I often feel some sort of homesickness for London. When I happen upon a Sainsbury’s bag, a photo pops up on my phone, or I find a trinket I picked up there. Honestly, it doesn’t even take that. …

China Part 4 – Back in Beijing

After a fantastic few days in Yangshuo, we were headed back to Beijing to spend three and a half more days sightseeing, hanging out with the family, and enjoying the city before it was time to fly home. Our final day with ExoTravel held an attraction we’d definitely been looking forward to: the Great Wall. As I’ve said before, Exo …