The Examined Life is a space for curious minds and emotional souls.

It’s a quiet bench on a busy internet, where the hurried and the worn can connect with the vast human continuum of wonder, mortality, longing, selfishness, love, fear, and hope. 

All that we feel, others have felt too. Like Rainer Maria Rilke, who ran into writer’s block when he lacked “the feeling of home”. Or Mary Oliver, whose fear of being interrupted made her long to step into a feeling of eternity. Or novelist Haruki Murakami’s need to create a void within himself.

The Examined Life is a collection of wisdom and things universal. The things we have in common  — the truly human bits. It’s about stepping into the continuum and feeling connected to other humans.

It’s why I’m here, and why I created The Examined Life.

I read books and collect things that sound similar. Reading has always been connective for me, I feel seen and heard when someone names my exact feelings.

There have been many periods throughout my life where I’ve felt disconnected from humanity, alienated by my own fears or insecurities. There is a loneliness that weighs in my bones.

I was born in the American Midwest, I live in London with my two daughters, two Siamese cats and one husband. I’ve worked in politics, management consulting and I’ve spent months in the wilderness hiking but I could never quite escape or arrive.

It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first daughter, a few years ago now, that I felt this overwhelming urge to nurture and care. To celebrate and hope.

After my daughter was born, I began to piece together ideas and concepts from my readings: thoughts on grief, death, memory, home, and even things like walls and corners.

I started collecting the things we have in common and writing about them.

We have so, so much in common.

The Examined Life is a place where we can stand next to Walt Whitman, Oliver Sacks, Jorge Luis Borges and Maya Angelou — not as the luminaries and leaders of days past, but as human beings who felt, experienced, and reflected on the same emotional currents that carry us now.

To examine life is to connect to our humanity, and the humanity in others. The “unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates is thought to have said.

The Examined Life is a vital part of me now. It pulses my heart, lifts my bones and expands my mind in wonder and delight.

I hope it does the same for you.

Welcome!

Ellen

Ellen Vrana