Who am I?  Clara Dolderman:  Human.  Parent.  Trans woman.  Author.  Psychologist.  Nature lover.  Teacher.  Forager.  Chess addict.  And the utterly besotted player of several wonderful D&D characters.

Why should you read my blog?   Well…hopefully you’re interested in the kinds of things I write about….that’s a really good start.  🙂

What is this blog about?  It’s pretty diverse, to be honest.  But, there are themes!  Check out the themes on the front page! 

AND whenever you want, please leave a comment!  I’d love to hear from you, and as best as I’ve been able to thus far, I respond to everybody, and really enjoy the convos that have happened!  So, I’d love to hear from you; share your ideas, especially in comments here so that others can see them too!

This is, after all, the whole point — we need each other, and we need honest and loving and intelligent communication with each other, to fix this rapidly breaking world.

So who knows?  Maybe we can help each other. Or maybe someone else in our 6-degrees-of-separation, can.


  12 comments for “About

  1. May 22, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Hey Dan!

    One of my friends recently told me about your blog. And I am so glad that he did!
    We are both students of yours. I’ve been meaning to let you know that taking your 3rd year Positive Psychology changed my life. You have inspired and given me a positive and meaning-seeking perspective on life when you taught me about happiness, especially mindfulness and meditation, back in 2013.
    I share similar sentiments and worries about the near future of our planet. I have in my head that the planet may become uninhabitable in the next 70 years or so. I try not to think about it. I’ve been channeling the sense of urgency into writing, connecting, sharing, and teaching.
    I’m, relatively, confident to say that I’m speaking for the majority of the students that you’ve taught over the years: You have changed our minds — you have changed our lives, even though our planet is burning and dying faster than you can order a Double Quarter Pounder at McDonald’s on a busy Tuesday afternoon, your legacy and your teachings are living within us and through us.
    Even though our planet may be ending sooner than we both would’ve liked if it continues on its current trajectory, I am going to try in all of my best efforts to create and co-create as much positive change as possible. I’ve taken on the mantra: The world is on fire and it’s dying. So what? What am I going to do about it?…
    If I ever procreate, and my children’s children still have a planet to call home, I’ll make sure to teach my children about happiness, kindness, mindfulness, awe, beauty, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion. Well I suppose I would teach them those qualities anyways even if the world is ending…
    Thank you, Professor! Keep on sharing your thoughts and insightful words.

    Your loving student,

    • dandolderman
      August 29, 2020 at 12:59 am

      Hey Kevin! …..wow….. Like, seriously, what else can a person say after a message like THAT? I am sorry it took me so long to reply! Ironically enough, you caught me in mid-depression, tbh, and I took a bit of a hiatus from the blog. But I came back just a few minutes ago to check it out, assuming it would have been pretty dormant these past months, and BAM, your message. Wow. You totally made my day.

      And yes, oh man do I ever hear you. Loud and clear. The fate of our collective home is so damn heart breaking, but I completely agree with your way of reframing this. It’s like, regardless of what happens, the choice is the same — what do I do now? How do I live my values now?

      I often think back to our conversations in Pos Psych about meaning, and particularly the Viktor Frankl discussion, where we talked about how, even in the midst of horrendous circumstances, like a concentration camp, there is still the possibility of finding meaning, because ultimately “meaning” is not some quality external to the individual, but rather it is an experiential reality that comes from facing the responsibility of being an autonomous being and having to choose how to live in the world. Facing up to this choice, courageously and with integrity is, I truly believe with all my heart, what “meaning” is all about. And yeah, I think about that quite a bit in this downward-spiraling world. It doesn’t give me hope….far more important, it gives me a sense of commitment. And THAT can carry you through anything.

      So thank you, SO MUCH, for sharing your thoughts with me here and telling me what that course, all those years ago!!!!!, meant to you. I really appreciate it.


  2. Renata
    July 11, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Hey Dr. Dan!
    It’a been a real long time since we’ve spoken and I have been listening to your podcasts lately. You are incredibly raw as usual. The courage and truthfulness you display is evident & so fucking refreshing! I wanted to say how thankful I am of you & your essence.
    Miss you lots.

    • dandolderman
      August 29, 2020 at 12:53 am

      Hey Renata! Wow, long time no hear! It’s so nice to hear from you again! I had no idea you had tracked down my blog…that’s so cool! Thanks for the comment, and I look forward to chatting sometime! 🙂

  3. September 7, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Dan, I volunteer with a local environmental group called Carbon Conversations TO. Our goal is to help individuals find the motivation to reduce their carbon footprint by working through the challenges and emotions causing environmental inaction. Our work is based off of the Carbon Conversations materials developed by Ro Randall (psychotherapist) and Andy Brown (engineer) from the UK. I think our volunteer work aligns with your interests and expertise and I would like to share it with you! I hope we can connect.

    • dandolderman
      September 22, 2020 at 8:08 pm

      Hi Tara! Thanks for reaching out; I checked out Carbon Conversations Toronto, and I am sincerely impressed with your work! I’d love to talk with you about your ideas and, if possible, help! Please feel free to send me an email — dandolderman@gmail.com. Cheers!

  4. Diana C.
    March 6, 2023 at 9:16 pm

    Hello Dan,
    Diana Chang here. I took some of your courses in undergrad back in 2006 and we also worked on a project together in 2007. I think the last time we interacted was when I was in grad school in 2010 and randomly dropped by your office to say hello. I’ve wondered how you’ve been doing from time to time through the years. You were one of the very few teachers/mentors I had as a young adult who made me feel more than just a student number. Your commitment to genuinely engaging with your students has stayed with me. I Google searched you recently and came upon your blog. I’ve been enjoying reading your writing and deeply appreciate your vulnerability and authenticity. I think as I have gone on my own in-depth self-exploration through the years, I feel much more able to connect with what you have written, the nuances, and particular intersectional experiences that you bring. I recognize I am also no longer operating from a much younger, vulnerable place of trying to present favourably in front of an authority figure who I looked up to. Aging and life experience in this way has its perks, ha. Anyway, I just wanted to say hello. If you do happen to read this and remember who I am, I would love to chat and catch up. I hope you are well.


    • dandolderman
      April 1, 2023 at 3:02 pm

      Hi Diana!! It’s so nice to hear from you! I’m sorry for the delay; I took a hiatus from my blog, as I’m about to explain in my next post, actually. But I was so surprised and delighted to get this message!! I would love to chat and catch up too; that would be great! I’ll email you…

      And yes, haha, aging does have its perks! I hope all people are able to realize greater freedom to be themselves as they get older; it’s one of the deep and lovely gifts that life experience brings, for sure.

      Anyway, looking forward to our chat! Cheers,

  5. sness
    April 25, 2023 at 11:47 am

    Thank you for sharing your ideas and insights. I’m finding it inspiring.

    • dandolderman
      April 25, 2023 at 10:56 pm

      Thank you so much for this, sness! I really appreciate the feedback!

      If you feel like saying anything more, I’d love to know if anything in particular has “landed” or been especially useful. If not, that’s cool; happy reading! Cheers

  6. Stella
    June 23, 2023 at 9:11 pm

    Dear Clara, you are one of my most beloved teachers. I was in your Positive Psychology class back in the Summer of 2012. In other classes, I was a number but in your class, I felt recognized and connected. In other classes, I just felt like it didn’t matter. Your class was the only class where I would make comments and engage in discussion with you. You were so passionate about what you talked about in class which made me care about what I was learning in your class, with you, from you. Whenever I talk about positive psychology and mindfulness in the past 10 years, there wasn’t a moment, i wouldn’t think about you, wondering how you were doing. Every interaction I had with you helped me and your students, (as you write) “live in a world of wonder and fascination and humour and zest and play and connection and wisdom and love and kindness and gratitude and generosity and trust.”

    You were kind, funny, dorky and generous. Of all teachers, you are one of the few who made a big impact in my life and hold a special place in my heart. I love you as my professor and look up to you as my role model. If you ever feel like it, I would love to grab a coffee with you to just chat about mindfulness at a cafe on St.George. Wishing you all the best and sending along my hugs. Yours sincerely, Stella

    • claradolderman
      June 23, 2023 at 10:54 pm

      Oh my gosh, Stella…..

      I am floored. This is so incredibly kind of you, and believe me, your timing could not have been better. I kind of ‘needed this’ right now, I guess you could say. I am so touched, and…..yeah….honestly? Tears.

      What an incredible letter to receive. Thank you!!!

      And a coffee chat? 100%! (You had me at ‘coffee’…..lol!!) I’m swamped until Wednesday this coming week, and then, have a lot of flex days coming up. So let’s work it out! It would be a total delight.

      If you want to switch to email to work out deets — clarionswords@gmail.com. So exciting!!!

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