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Man resting in the Public Garden on a warm summer day

I’m one of those rare Americans that actually speaks a language other than English. I was a Linguistics major in college where I learned German and lived in Göttingen, Germany for a summer. For fun, I also studied Esperanto and got good enough at it to participate in a four day conference speaking only Esperanto. After graduation, I moved to T’aip’ei, Taiwan where I taught English and studied Mandarin Chinese. I also sang in a Scandinavian singing group for 11 years and I worked to pick up Swedish. Needless to say, I like languages and the different way people use words interests me.

Sometimes you find a word in another language that perfectly describes what you want to say, but there isn’t an English equivalent for it. One of those for me is the German word “aufgeregt“. As I understand it, it means off kilter, but a little more than that. For me, it embodies that uneasiness when things aren’t they way you expect them to be, you’re not sure where your grounding is, and you feel like you’re not sure of your next step.

I’ve been feeling very “aufgeregt” lately. My grounding of my rituals and what I need to do has been a bit rocked by my celiac diagnosis.  I feel like I have to make all of my own food as I can’t trust that there isn’t any gluten hiding in something.  I’ve been spending a lot of time making food, and it’s also messed with my head.  I know that I need the grounding of getting to my routines, which is the gym, meditation, walks, and being in control of my life instead of letting other things control me.  In essence, I’ve let my gluten intolerance become a big, fat hairy deal. It’s become a distraction where I’m not in charge of my direction, and letting that dictate for me what I need to do.

When I react to other input, I take away my own power, and I make poor choices for myself.  I need the grounding that can only come when I realize what’s good for me and work that, instead of letting my circumstance work me.

So, how are you getting into balance and grounding yourself?




When I was in college, I had a real problem with English classes. I would pull an all-nighter over a two page paper. I just didn’t seem to get how to write. I thought there was some way I was supposed to write that no one was telling me.

I finally took an intensive poetry class, and that’s when I was introduced to structured poems like villanelles. In that form, there is a particular line count and rhyming scheme to follow. Once I got that, it allowed for my creative part to come out, and I was then able to write in other forms as I accessed my creative side. I then knew that I just needed to write like I talk and I’m in my element.

This has two lessons for my writing here:

  • As I have written about before, many people freak out about writing there resumes and cover letters because they don’t know what to say and are trying to get it right. Again, write like you speak (professionally of course) and let it be a reflection of you.
  • This past Thursday, I had s biopsy that confirmed what I had feared. I am gluten intolerant aka I have Celiac disease. This means that that my body has a systemic reaction to gluten (wheat, rye, and barley) where it kills off the villi in your small intestines so that you don’t absorb nutrients. The only way to manage this is to eliminate gluten entirely from my diet. Yes, that’s right; no more beer! Given that I have been a vegetarian for over 25 years and I have a string sensitivity to any foods with high sulfur concentrations (major one being eggs), I am limiting my diet even more. This is going to be a tough transition, but I’m going to have to find that inner creative and see what I can do with this. Thank God Trader Joe’s has a lot of gluten free options.

So, what restrictions do you have and how are you being creative in getting around them?


Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

I am a career consultant who specializes in the connection between what your spirit wants to do in the world, and how to marry that to the work that you do in order to support yourself. While I work with people in all fields, I specialize in working with "creative entrepreneurs" and the LGBT community.

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