Six-word memoir.png

Six-Word Advice Tuesday (SWAT) is a Facebook exercise I started on August 29, 2017. I thought it would be a one-time experiment (as my Facebook prompts often are) but as the day unfolded, I was struck by the degree of intimacy and vulnerability the questioners allowed themselves. In turn, I felt myself grow softer and quieter and more contemplative, more connected to and curious about the process of looking for answers, and even re-examining my own questions differently. It is sometimes difficult to tell with social media, but in the next few weeks of offering SWAT, it seemed to me a community was gathering, joined together by a shared and often overlapping search for support, meaning, direction, and truth. It's not that the answers are always neat and tidy, of course - life's questions demand far more than 6 words in response - but through this experience, I'm seeing how so often we can layer our dilemmas with too much content, bypassing clarity and landing in a pile of confusion. Despite our search for simplicity, we over-complicate our own stories, missing the essential nugget of instruction lying at their center. When I was young, English teachers would write at the margins of too many of my papers, "But what's the main idea?" Perhaps SWAT is my way of answering. 

Some samples:

How to balance career and art?
Embrace the instability of the see-saw.

How do we stay hopeful in the midst of so much that appears broken in our world?
Take deliberate action on hope's behalf.

How do I make my next project successful?
Be transparent in thought and deed.

Motivation to get back into shape?
Appearance isn't everything; self-love is.

How do I not lose my cool with an incredibly angsty / sassy / rude 11-year-old?
Remind her of your own tenderness.


If you'd like to participate in this practice, visit my Facebook page every Tuesday, or write to me at hello@mayastein.com with your question. And then - if you're moved to do so - click below to donate your support.