iOS app Android app

Jessica R. Dreistadt
GET UPDATES FROM Jessica R. Dreistadt

Jessica R. Dreistadt is an emotional health advocate, leadership scholar, social justice educator, community change practitioner, and founding director of The Fruition Coalition. Her interests, reflected in both her writing and her research, include wellness, public policy, education, transformational leadership, social psychology, quantum theory, and existential philosophy. Her scholarship and community practice intentionally integrate curiosity, creativity, and compassion into critical thought and praxis. Her website is and you can follow her on Twitter or on Facebook.

Entries by Jessica R. Dreistadt

Who Me, a Feminist?

(0) Comments | Posted January 31, 2016 | 2:44 PM

I hadn't realized that some women, particularly those who are not old enough to have lived through the women's movement of the 1960s, consider the word feminist to be "dirty." When this was recently suggested by a colleague in the lunchroom of our workplace, the feminist bubble that I have...

Read Post

Redefining Mental Illness

(2) Comments | Posted October 26, 2015 | 2:00 PM

Like most things in life, particularly those with a scientific dimension, we have developed a complex classification system to define various forms of mental illness. These deviations from the norm or average typically result in some notable unsatisfactory condition or result, such as emotional pain or inability to fully particulate...

Read Post

Unloading a Weighty Taboo

(2) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 4:52 PM

I can wrap both of my legs behind my head. My triglyceride level recently registered at 62. My favorite food is kale. And in addition to all of these glorious qualities, I am overweight.

In American culture, weight is one of the most frequently used and faulty indicators for beauty,...

Read Post

Brilliant, Beautiful and Bipolar

(9) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 5:36 PM

I feel most comfortable in a classroom. Whether I am the instructor or sitting in a chair soaking up intellectually tantalizing ideas, I love to be surrounded by wisdom and to be immersed in the process of learning. I have received many compliments from teachers and other students about my...

Read Post

New Year, New You? No Way!

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 4:52 PM

During the first few weeks of each new year, I feel overwhelmed with the deluge of advice for how I might improve my life. Lose weight. Save more. Get more sleep. Work harder. The basic message underlying all of these suggestions is that we are not good enough as we...

Read Post

The True Gifts of the Holidays

(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 12:56 PM

Every year during this time in America, our values and priorities are put to the test as we are bombarded with messages that promote reckless consumption as well as expectations for unlimited merriment. Deep beneath the hedonism of the holiday season there are many bountiful gifts that can serve as...

Read Post

Yom Kippur: The Fortitude of Forgiveness

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 12:23 PM

This year, I will be observing Yom Kippur in a non-traditional way -- as usual. I typically spend the day alone at the beach, where the rushing waters of the ocean wash away my sins and cleanse my soul, for hours of quiet reflection and repentance. On Friday, I will...

Read Post

Greening My Mind And The World With Love And Compassion

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 10:00 AM

We live in what sometimes seems to be a maddening world filled with distress, disarray and decay. The natural harmony of our planet's ecosystem has become destabilized, people hurt themselves and each other in unimaginably terrible ways, and worst of all we often feel powerless to change the course of...

Read Post

The Resilience of Mama and Papa Finch

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 7:56 AM

The spring after I purchased my first house about seven years ago, a lovely new neighbor moved in. Mama and Papa Finch built a nest at the top of one of the columns on my front porch.

Every year, I looked forward to watching them flutter from their nest...

Read Post

Reversing Resolutions

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 6:05 PM

Each year I rethink New Year's resolutions. They never seem to result in real changes in my life for one reason for another. This year it occurred to me that the resolutions we make tend to be very selfish. Each year we find occasion to pick ourselves apart and highlight...

Read Post

From Charity to Justice to Love: My Professional Odyssey

(0) Comments | Posted December 29, 2013 | 4:04 PM

I stumbled my upon career with nonprofit organizations quite by accident. When investigating MBA programs, I happened to notice an interesting concentration at one school: nonprofit management. Thinking that sounded much more interesting than finance or human resources, I decided to pursue my degree in that field. A moment's whim...

Read Post

Creating the Future: Through Engagement, Openness, and Compassion

(2) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 1:53 PM

Last summer, I responded to a call for volunteers from Creating the Future. Having read The Pollyanna Principles, and having loved every single page, I applied to become the new board recording secretary and documentarian. To my splendid surprise, I was chosen to be one of...

Read Post

Reimagining Social Innovation

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 10:28 AM

I once thought that I was destined for a career in business. But when I started looking into MBA programs at the tender age of 22, I found myself intrigued with the possibility of focusing on nonprofit management. And so, I embarked upon a new direction and dedicated the next...

Read Post

My Unsolicited Advice for the 113th U.S. Congress

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2013 | 4:12 PM

I am beyond thrilled that the 113th U.S. Congress includes nearly 100 women. As a woman, I am excited that there will be more people like me, at least in terms of gender, in our U.S. House and Senate. But as an American, I especially value the expanded...

Read Post

Living an Uncluttered Life Full of Light

(10) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 12:40 AM

Around this time each year, my thoughts are directed toward what I would like to change in my life. A new year brings with it hope for restoration and renewal.

Like many others, my New Year's resolutions always seem to be failed attempts to force personal transformation. Within weeks,...

Read Post

Choosing to Create Peace Amidst Violence

(2) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 12:11 AM

Violence is, unfortunately, nothing new. Throughout time and all around the world, violent thoughts, feelings, and behavior have led to the destruction of relationships, cultures, and communities as well as to the loss of a sense of security, vitality, and life itself. The recent violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School...

Read Post

Thank You, America

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 6:03 PM

As we approach Thanksgiving, I would like to sincerely thank our president, our nation, and my fellow Americans with whom I share not only a nationality, but also strong democratic convictions and commitments.

Leadership is often a thankless job, particularly political leadership. For this reason, I would like to thank...

Read Post

Simple Luxuries: Lessons From Hurricane Sandy

(5) Comments | Posted November 3, 2012 | 7:13 PM

About two weeks ago, I was in Denver, Colo., for my first International Leadership Association conference, which I attended both as a presenter and as a participant. It was a trip for which I carefully saved and planned for over a year. On the day of my arrival,...

Read Post

Prosperity, Privilege and Power: My New American Dream

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2012 | 4:11 PM

My new American Dream is unapologetically centered on three interrelated ideas: prosperity, privilege and power.

While most discussions of prosperity implicitly reflect the devastating impact of material scarcity and manipulation, there are at least three underdeveloped areas where America has the capacity to realize unlimited growth. By cultivating and...

Read Post