The Stunning Surprise of Age—and the Overwhelming Gratitude That Comes Along With It

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The most common emotion people feel about getting old is surprise. I remember reading this in my thirties and finding it hilarious. Surprise? About the single most predictable thing in life? Oh, those old folks, I thought. Those doddering darlings! How silly they are!

I’m pretty sure that was last week. Except now I’m about to turn sixty.

WHAT????

You have to understand: Turning sixty only happens to other people. It has literally never happened to me. It is not something I do. Every day, I have to wrap my boggled mind around the shocking, totally unforeseeable reality of my sixtyness.

In my defense—in defense of all surprised seniors—science tells us […]

Finding Your Vocation

I’ve never really had a job. I’ve worked my whole life. Hard. Year in, year out, night and day. But a job? Nah. Couldn’t do it.

Like you, I was raised to believe a job was synonymous with survival. But I couldn’t get one. In my “build-your-empire” years, I was too crippled by autoimmune diseases, too busy raising children, to follow conventional wisdom.

Lucky me.

Because I couldn’t do a job, I had to open up my imagination. Instead of “How can I get a job?” I learned early to ask, “How can I add value to the world, to other people’s [...]

The Wayfinder’s Destiny

What is a Wayfinder?

There is a type of person known in every human tradition on earth—except ours—as a source of wisdom, guidance, healing, and insight. We don’t have a name for these people. We don’t know how to train them. And as a society, we’re suffering because we don’t know how to access and benefit from their gifts.

These people are born, not made. And they are all around us. Just as in every other society, all over the globe and reaching back thousands of years, there are individuals in our culture with a particular collection of traits and skills [...]

Outlasting the Extinction Burst

They say the night is always darkest right before the dawn. A flame rises just before it goes out. Dying creatures have a last surge of energy just before the end. And often, when life seems hardest, something good is about to break our way—I call it “the storm before the calm.” Psychologists call it an “extinction burst.” I’m writing this with a heavy heart at a point when outworn prejudices are spiking in my country. I’m finding the concept of extinction bursts comforting, and I hope you will, too.

Here’s how it works.

Somewhere, in a university laboratory, a rat [...]

Anti-Anxiety Practices

“Tell me,” wrote poet Mary Oliver, “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Which led meme genius, Sarah Lazarus, to ask, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious month between Covid waves?”

I laughed when I read this. Nervously.

We’re all a little nervous these days. In fact, many of us are flat-out panicked. Mental health studies show that diagnosed anxiety disorder has quadrupled during the pandemic. But just as we can minimize our risk of viral infection, we can reduce our anxiety with a few simple practices.

Anti-Anxiety [...]

Big News—Oprah’s Book Club!

I have incredible news! My latest book, The Way of Integrity, has been selected as the next Oprah’s Book Club pick! This is such a wonderful thing I’ve never let myself hope for it (well, okay… maybe a couple of times).

Have you already read the book? If so, you’ll know why I’m so excited. I put my whole soul on the page with that one in my quest to heal what’s broken in the world one life at a time.

And Oprah got it. I mean, she GETS it.

This is what Oprah said about the book:

“For over fifteen years, I [...]

On Resolutions

Many years ago, my then three-year-old daughter Katie told me, “I just met the nice fat lady who lives next door.”

“That’s great, honey,” I said. “But from now on, let’s call her Mrs. Ellis.”

Katie frowned, “What if I forget?” 

“No problem,” I said, “I’ll remind you.”

Katie thought a moment longer, then asked, “What if I refuse?”

That was one of those special parenting moments, the moments we realize we have no ultimate control over our own tiny toddlers, let alone anyone larger. 

“Oh well,” I remember thinking, “at least I can control myself.”

As if.

January is the month when many of us, overfed [...]

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