Life and Living

Time to Transform

Any normal year, I’d be prepping for my annual pilgrimage to this place: Londolozi, South Africa. This year, though I can’t go there, Londolozi is helping me see this pandemic in a different light.

In the 1970s, two South African teenagers named Dave and John Varty were devastated by the sudden death of their father. The boys were advised to sell the family’s barren cattle farm in the bushveld. Instead, they decided to try something they called “restoring Eden.” Not realizing how crazy this idea was, the Vartys spent years repairing the terrain and waterflow, bringing native plants back to [...]

4 Key Elements of Resilience and How to Master Them

When I talk to people whose lives have been upended by the global pandemic, it’s almost like watching some massive, monstrous bully beating on them. The disease itself can be horrifically damaging, even for those who survive it. Sheltering in place has created more unemployment than the Great Depression. Almost a third of a million people have lost family members. All of us have lost the familiar rhythms of activity that once filled our time and lifted our spirits.

And we have no idea how long it will last.

Blow after blow, the punches just keep coming.

Pondering all this, I recently [...]

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, [...]

Adventures in Boundaryland!

You know how sometimes you look around your house and realize that your house is full of homeless orphaned drug addicts and you’ve gone broke paying for your brother-in-law’s best friend’s new car and you’re still feeling sore from donating your kidney to someone you saw on the news? Don’t you hate it when that happens?

DON’T WORRY, I’M JOKING!!! The paragraph above is a huge exaggeration of something that really does happen to compassionate people. Sometimes, we want so much to help everyone that we drop our personal boundaries very low—so low that our efforts to care for others [...]

Why ‘History’ Should Be ‘Ourstory’

Everything we remember is story. “History” is the memory of certain special things, which we all implicitly agree are more important than others. But our culture’s history—even in this, women’s history month—is a story that’s been badly, crudely, massively abridged.

Most of our historical focus is reserved for famous men, and the growing but still disproportionately small number of women who have managed to successfully compete against men in fields we see as significant.

We’ve left out most of the story.

We’ve omitted crucial factors in the equation of feelings, interactions and events that make human life possible. None of us can [...]

Sometimes You Can Find Happiness Right Behind You

Whenever I hear a flight attendant say, “Remember, your nearest exit may be behind you,” I think, “As above, in air travel, so below in ordinary life.”

Most of the time we focus only on what we already believe. Fixated on these ideas, we don’t notice anything that could spark new ways of thinking. Since we evolved to be highly alert to danger and difficulty, we can get stuck staring at them, seeing only what we believe rather than believing what we actually see. This is a recipe for suffering and disaster. But shifting our focus—looking in [...]

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