Life and Living

Like Violets in Early Spring

So in spite of everything, violets are blooming in the forest around my house. One day there were none, the next day, they’re everywhere.

I’ve been chatting about this with Elizabeth Gilbert. In her book BIG MAGIC, Liz cites a mathematician whose father told him to publish his ideas quickly, because “When the time is right for certain things, they appear at different places, in the manner of violets coming to light in early spring.”

In science this is called “multiple discovery.” It happens a lot: calculus, oxygen, and evolution were discovered at the same time by different scientists.

Well, last week, [...]

To Stay Present, We Must Accept Change

A couple of weeks ago I boarded a plane from London to Philadelphia and immediately sensed something weird was going on. Our flight had been delayed for hours by mechanical problems, and I expected everyone, including the crew, to be tired and grumpy. Instead, the flight attendants appeared to have been drinking some sort of love potion. They practically leaped to assist us passengers as we arrived. They smiled into our eyes, joked with us, said things like, “Honestly, if there is anything I can do to make this flight more comfortable, please please let me know!” I’ve always experienced flight attendants as [...]

There’s a Circle Around You

I want to tell you a little story that I hope will give you hope and comfort.

At a time when everything in my life was falling apart—my body, my finances, my family—I got onto a plane and sat down in a window seat. The shades were down to keep the Arizona heat out of the plane.

Sitting there with nothing to do, overwhelmed by panic and sorrow, I rummaged in my travel backpack for gum and found a little meditation book someone had given me on a previous trip.

I opened the book to a random page and found instructions for [...]

How to Succeed in 2021: Do Less, Fail More

Wait, is it over? I think it’s over. Let me check … yes, 2020 has officially left the building! We’re free to plan something better!! 

Of course, nature doesn’t care that we humans think of January as the beginning of a new year. COVID-19, climate change, systemic racism, and other deplorable realities aren’t going to check their calendars and stop in their tracks. 

Nevertheless, just the idea of a fresh slate is psychologically powerful. Making New Year’s resolutions is a great way to reset our minds and hearts—especially after a year like the one we’ve just had.

I’ve spent most of my [...]

The Two Angers

There are two ways to be angry. One can ruin your life. The other can save it. During these difficult months and years, we’ve all probably felt both kinds of anger—which is fine, but not if we can’t tell one from the other. We may mistake destructive anger for constructive anger and end up creating a world of hurt for ourselves and others. 

I learned this recently from an old friend of mine. I mean an oooooolllld friend. Like, he recently turned 756. But for someone so aged, not to mention so dead, he’s been a vibrant source of guidance [...]

Gratitude and the Life Abundant

So here I am, getting ready to celebrate the holidays in Pennsylvania, of all places. After a rush of magic convinced me to buy a ranch in California, I never thought I would move again. Why did I?

First, because as we all know, God finds our plans hilarious. Second, because the river of mystery that moves us through life doesn’t stop moving. I’ll tell you the whole story sometime, but for now, I want to talk about how to stay in the center of that river. It has everything to do with Thanksgiving, with gratitude, [...]

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