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

It’s a quiet bench where the hurried and worn can connect with the vast human continuum.

All that we feel, others have felt. 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 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. It’s about stepping into the continuum and feeling connected.

It’s why I’m here, and why I created The Examined Life. My name is Ellen Vrana.

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 but I could never quite escape or arrive.

A sort of loneliness weighed down my bones.

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. To expand not contract.

I began to piece together 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 putting them on The Examined Life .

We have so much in common.

This is a space in which 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 created from the best parts of me. It pulses my heart, lifts my bones and expands my mind in wonder and delight. It is my tribe.

Welcome. Have a look around.


Ellen Vrana