Welcome to our website! I’m Dr. Lynda M. Ulrich, DMD: writer, artist, global traveler, citizen scientist, and founder of Ever Widening Circles (EWC)

In this bio, I’m going to tell you a lot about myself because I want you to feel like you are having coffee with a friend when you visit EWC.

Additionally, I am skeptical of websites where you look at the “about” page and there is only an impersonal, canned blurb there, or maybe nothing at all. Who are these people? Why should I trust them with my time?

I know my bio here is unconventionally long, but adhering to “convention” has never been one of my strong suits, so please feel free to step off the “Dr. Lynda Story” at any time. Really, this is far too long, but it is the whole story and I’m an ordinary person who has found her way in and out of a lot of extraordinary circumstances.

Here is one of my favorite quotes:

“Chance favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

A fortunate confluence of aptitudes and events has uniquely prepared me to create EWC. Here are a few of the high and low points in that journey:

My Background…

I come from the kind of folks who would raise a girl in the 1960’s and 70’s to feel boundless. (Remember, at that time many women were taught they had four career choices: nurse, secretary, teacher, or flight attendant.)

Fortunately, my mother, a nurse and a survivor of a calamitous childhood, encouraged every creative impulse I had. And my father, an old-fashion family doctor/surgeon, never thought of anything in terms of what he couldn’t do. Anything was possible. For my part, I suspect I came into this world with an imagination on over-drive. It was all a lucky combination.

Image: Dr. Lynda with three baby raccoons she raised as a teenager

I grew up in a small, farming town in central Illinois where endless, flat, expanses of corn and soybean stretched to every horizon. That one-dimensional world invited us to look at play like a giant game of Shoots and Ladders for largely unsupervised children.

I’m so thankful that my childhood memories are filled with things like building dangerously high tree houses all on our own, and riding bicycles like the wind on unfinished stretches of highway.

I was allowed to raise orphaned raccoons in my bedroom, wear elaborate jewelry I had made from colorful bottle caps, and ride dangerously wild horses to far off hamlets. I was paid to paint humorous murals in hospitals and rewarded for extravagant science fair projects about the then recently discovered galaxies.

The only reality check was that most of us had to be home by the time the porch or street lights came on.

Things were far from perfect in our home, but both of my parents modeled a fierce defense of the “goodness” in others. Every horizontal surface in our home was covered with National Geographic magazines and they leaned on them for evidence that the wider world was nothing to fear.

“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”

– Barbara De Angelis

And then something dreadful happened. A single, life-changing tragedy ended all that carefree wonder.  When others were worrying about driver’s ed and collecting ID Bracelets, I was forced to manage the meaning of life, alone, and far too early.

Image: Dr. Lynda as a teenagerI’m not going to go into the tragedy that changed my life except to say that at the age of fifteen, my parents woke me one morning to tell me that my best friend’s family had perished in a horrific way.

Innocence lost. I had glimpsed the darkest side of humanity, too early.

It happened that my best little friend had survived, but my worldview did not.

I never took another day for granted. I reveled in seeking goodness around me and demanded it when it was unnecessarily missing. My goals began to include an urgent sense of curiosity, connection with others and gratitude that became my greatest gifts.

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.”

– Emily Dickinson

My husband (who we will affectionately refer to as Dr. Chuck on this website) and I have been together since we were 14-years-old.

Image: Dr. Chuck and Dr. Lynda age 17 Prom picture.

Yes, you read that right. It’s cute, but we are a couple of “survivors” (Dr. Chuck has his own story of an early, life-changing trauma) who were lucky enough to meet early, cling to each other while trying to make sense of darkness, and somehow kept making each other better people, through 37 years together.

The wider-world adventures in our life started with my husband’s basketball career at the University of Kentucky, where we were suddenly forced to find a place for intense pressure, money, and fame in our understanding of goodness.

Much of what we experienced in the big leaguesat the highest level of college basketball, was amazing and some experiences were crushing.

Chuck eventually became captain at Kentucky and was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1982, but we didn’t even open the letter with the contract. Instead, we launched out into the world with Chuck’s professional basketball career in Europe.

This began our life of living and traveling off-the-beaten-path all around the globe.

We turned my comfort with risk-taking, and sense of wonder, into a lifetime of making counter-intuitive choices. We have lived abroad twice: first in Spain and then in Italy, where we went to practice dentistry. We acquired Irish passports and dual citizenship and ever since, we have considered ourselves citizens of the wider world.

Eventually, we returned to the U.S. and decided to put down roots in Northern Vermont, where we’ve raised three independent and worldly kids who started traveling to the world’s backwaters with us as soon as they could carry their own backpacks (age 6).

They have played with meerkats in the Kalahari Desert and been lost in the Andes Mountains with us. They’ve curled up on wooden planks to sleep in remote corners of Tibet, climbed through castle ruins in Slovenia, and squirreled around at our feet in passages at the IRA Headquarters in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

All the while, their father and I were making friends. Many truly good and generous people have graced our adventures.

“Sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.”

-David Byrne

Our hope is that our children will use their experiences to make the world a better place in their own way some day.

Ever Widening Circles also seems the logical outcome life spent experiencing the wonder and diversity of the human condition around the planet too.

Image: A little girl with baby mooseOdds and Quirky Ends…

I brought my love of the natural world right from childhood through to the homelife Chuck and I created for our family.

For many years, we were the only people in Vermont licensed to raise orphaned moose and large animals for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. We raised and released a dozen orphaned animals every summer: fawns, foxes, porcupines, skunks, raccoons, seagulls, and the list goes on.

Our kids grew up thinking everyone had injured wildlife being nursed back to health on the kitchen counter. The photo is our daughter Louisa, age 4, with an orphaned moose we named Clifford. We found him a great home at the Milwaukee Zoo and eventually became the oldest living moose in captivity.

“How it is that animals understand things I do not know. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it.”

-Frances Hodgson Burnett

Image; Lynda and Louisa in front of their giant metal sculpture.

I am also an artist/welder.

For the last 25 years, I have been welding gigantic sculptures with scrap metal from local junkyards to create unusual figures of people, animals, and even a life-sized T-Rex skeleton for our front yard at home.  A life-sized stegosaurus in the front yard of our office has become a local landmark. And my daughter and I have big plans for a life-sized Pterodactyl that we have collaborated on, and that crouches menacingly in our front yard.

 

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

– Degas

Image: One pound baby on Chuck's chest

A “boot camp” for perspective…

Our greatest teacher – our daughter Louisa – was born four and a half months early, weighing a little more than one pound.

Here’s a photo with her on Dr. Chuck’s chest at only ten days old. Her tiny diaper – too big for her – was just a bit bigger than a playing card folded in half!

Living with a child on death’s doorstep for many months teaches you to manage your perspectives with the agility of a ninja, and for that reason, Chuck and I tend to look at every rough patch as a problem to be solved.

Miraculously, Louisa did survive and grew up to have absolutely no sign of her rocky start. She graduated high school with a provisional patent on an entirely new kind of wind turbine, is convinced that she is here for a reason, and acts like it.

(Yes, her early start is a story all on its own. I’ve written an article for Ever Widening circles about that adventure with 12 insights we learned and use every day.)

The experience inspired a more introspective angle in my life. With a growing young family, I decided that if I could not investigate everything for myself, then I would read about it. I’ve read everything from the New York Times bestseller list of business book, to books by astronomer/philosopher, Carl Sagan. My bedside table is stacked with books about neuroscience, engineering, geology, and biographies too numerous to count.

And along the way, Dr. Chuck and I have managed our large dental practice with special attention to making sure we have kept the humanity in healthcare. We love people and never a day goes by that we don’t share laughter, tears, or hugs with patients who feel like family. I will never be able to give back as much wisdom as my patients have given me.

And that brings us brings us back to the goodness of people, the very best thing that my parents instilled in me. Good people still leave orphaned wildlife on the back porch at Fiddlehead Dental, our dental practice. And almost every day, someone shares how Ever Widening Circles has inspired them to lead lives that make the world a better place.

Image: Dr. Lynda in her dental office with a box of baby hawks And Ever Widening Circles seems a logical outcome of a life spent honing instincts like curiosity, risk-taking, compassion, and creativity. If you give me an answer, it only helps me ask a better question next.

Let’s celebrate wonder and ask better questions together!

I look for beauty instead of truth, and I stumble upon truth a lot more often.  – Dr. Lynda M. Ulrich

 

Author's Articles

[ ]

The Amazing “Year of the Quad” in the Olympics!

By

2018 is said to be the “Year of the Quad” in the Olympics, but what does this mean? Why is landing a quad a big deal? Here’s the science and math behind a nearly impossible feat.

Read More

9 minutes

[ ]

The Power of Giving People a “Lollipop Moment”

By

Heard anything about “Lollipop Moments”? Here’s an amazing metaphor to remember how easy it is to fundamentally improve someone’s life with just a simple turn of a phrase!

Read More

29 minutes

[ ]

The Mathematics of Finding Love

By

Know someone who might need some new insights into finding love? Here’s how mathematics can improve everyone’s chances of finding that special someone!

Read More

12 minutes

[ ]

How Cooking Made Us Human

By

Why do we cook? Is it just to satisfy our senses or stave off disease? Today we find out how cooking made us into modern humans with larger brains with time on our hands! Fascinating!

Read More

19 minutes

[ ]

Celebrate the New Year with a Tour of the Future!

By

There is no better way to ring in the New Year than celebrating all the potential in the future! Here are some great reasons to go into 2018 with a whole new mindset!

Read More

9 minutes

[ ]

Finally: Net Neutrality Explained Simply (with No Politics)!

By

I know: we are all tuning out the news these days. Sometimes though, it’s worth tuning back in to help change the course of history. Here’s an amazing “no politics” look at Net Neutrality!

Read More

18 minutes

[ ]

ISAAW: Unbelievable Robots!

By

Do you have any robots in your life yet? Maybe at your workplace? How about in your home? If not now, you soon will! While pop culture makes that future seem dark, there is actually so much wonder in what’s going on right now! Take a look…

Read More

5 minutes

[ ]

Giving New Meaning to “The Little Things”

By

It’s so easy these days to get bogged down by the scale of the world’s problems, but what if we turned that focus upside down? Turns out there is remarkable connection, beauty, and possibility just waiting for us in our routines and ordinary moments! Here’s what one nurse was able to create by doing just that…

Read More

[ ]

Stories Behind the Faces of Power

By

What if we removed the veil of power and could see people at “the top” for who they really are? Here’s a photographer whose stories do just that!

Read More

14 minutes

[ ]

Discovering Hope When Things Seem Hopeless

By

How can we change our mindsets and find hope when all seems hopeless? This amazing TED Talk from Peta Murchinson might open your eyes to see the light once again.

Read More

8 minutes

[ ]

Litterati: Connecting Us All and Changing Paradigms!

By

Have you heard of the amazing social media project that can eliminate litter from our planet? It’s bringing together ordinary people, brands, governments and the power of big data–all with a novel artistic magnetism!

Read More

20 minutes

[ ]

Weightlessness in a Heavy World

By

Gravity is acting upon us from the moment of conception, and because of that, it is completely beyond our awareness, until now! Take a look at some fun to be had in zero gravity flights, and you’ll be amazed at all there is to appreciate! (And we may also eliminate some other things that could be “weighing us down.”)

Read More

15 minutes

[ ]

Living Beyond Expectations: Daniel Kish

By

Despite not having eyes, Daniel Kish has taught himself to “see” with a human “eco-location” and he is teaching others. His story is a remarkable testament to what happens when we never get the memo about things that are “impossible” and instead make what we have work for us!

Read More

17 minutes

[ ]

CRISPR: Start at Any Level of Understanding!

By

What do “glow in the dark” mice have to do with the cure for cancer or genetic defects? Turns out, they are pointing us in amazing directions. Here’s a new technology that may change everything for all of us!

Read More

19 minutes

[ ]

DARPA: Removing the Fear of Failure

By

What would our lives look like if we could shake our fear of failure? What would you try tomorrow if failure wasn’t a bad thing? Enter: DARPA, a place we might find a new mindset! Take a look at the TED Talk by Regina Dugan and become a better you!

Read More

16 minutes

[ ]

The Wonder of the Salish Sea

By

There are places on the planet where millions of people still live with natural wonders that span thousands of years. We take you to one of them today, closer than you think!

Read More

14 minutes

[ ]

ISAAW: Share a Photo that Tells a Story!

By

Want to take really remarkable photos with your phone? There are easy tricks that most of us don’t know! Here are some of the best tips on the web and you can use them to share your photos with the world here with ISAAW!

Read More

20 minutes

[ ]

PopTech: People and Possibility Rising

By

When it feels like the only new knowledge that comes our way is bad news, it’s time to find some new corners of the web that are always positive and insightful. Today we point you to one we know personally!

Read More

16 minutes

[ ]

The Story Behind Cassini’s Remarkable Dive Into Saturn

By

Now here’s a remarkable source of wonder that the 24-hour news cycle could barely find time to show us! But if you want to be transformed, and wear a broad smile every time you look up at the night sky, dive into this article. (There are a few real miracles in this story!)

Read More

22 minutes

[ ]

How Tall Bikes Could Save the World!

By

Since the dawn of time, wildly creative people (often considered foolish) have been bringing ingenious concepts into our daily lives. Here’s a brilliantly fun and remarkable innovation that may be on the horizon!

Read More

18 minutes

[ ]

Big Data Might Help Us All Come Together!

By

What if our starting point in problem-solving could be without conflict? Here’s what the future holds for addressing everything from litter to child mortality, from crime to math literacy! We have two wonderful TED Talks today to brighten up your day. Enjoy!

Read More

[ ]

From a Little Spot of Paradise in Belgium

By

Since I discovered EWC last week, I’ve been spreading and sharing it around me. Keep up the good work!

Read More

[ ]

Ignoring Our Impulses

By

…looking at the news, and it is so refreshing to see a website dedicated to wonderful and inspiring things.

Read More

[ ]

EWC is a Gift in Egypt

By

“Waking up each morning in Cairo Egypt to read your uplifting and interesting messages has really been a gift…”

Read More

[ ]

Thank You from Bermuda!

By

“I stumbled across your website today when looking for ways to inspire my teachers on the tiny island of Bermuda and…”

Read More

[ ]

A Reminder that Good Still Exists

By

Especially given the last week’s events in our country – your site is a welcome respite and a great reminder of the good that still exists in humanity.

Read More

14 minutes

[ ]

Ever Widening Circles is Ready to Change the World!

By

This week, Ever Widening Circles will be getting a facelift! Here’s a look at where we have come from and how we are ready to change the world!

Read More

20 minutes

[ ]

Could “Connection” Start at the Level of Our Five Senses?

By

Are we starting at the right level when we strive to understand each other? What if videos about new technologies that correct sensory disabilities can point us to a new starting point for connection?

Read More

23 minutes

[ ]

Navigating the Most Effective Way to Give

By

Ready for a transforming experience? Today’s article will up-end your old notions about charity, and then totally empower you to evaluate the charities you give to! Dan Pallota’s insightful TED Talk shows us the end of charities that we never would have guessed. Enjoy!

Read More