An Experiment in Gratitude

Check out what I picked for this week’s top inspiring video:? Much work has been done in recent years on the science of happiness and one recurring finding is that expressing gratitude significantly increases our happiness.? Interestingly, the more specific we are about what we are grateful for the greater the increase in our happiness. Try doing this practice this week. 1.?? ?Think about who in your life has been really influential.? Who has had the greatest impact? Who did something really amazing or important for you? 2.?? ?Write down as much......

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What If It Is Hard To Be Thankful?

How much is enough to be thankful for? Well, that depends, in part at least, on what is we are talking about?- money, food, love, hate, sex, etc. It also depends on why we want those things. The response to the question of “how much” depends not only on the object of our desire, but upon each of us asking that question, and what the underlying desire to be satisfied really is. This week I am wondering, probably not surprisingly, “how much is enough to be thankful for?” As we gather with......

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Video: On Thanksgivukkah

Inspired by this article, “Thanksgivukkah: This November 28th, Celebrate Abundance and Possibility” and courtesy of Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record series: This week, America sees the convergence of Thanksgiving and the beginning of Hanukkah, a rare quirk of calendar synchronicity that hasn’t happened in over a hundred years and won’t happen again for thousands more.? At first glance, these two celebrations don’t seem to have much in common, but look deeper at the stories of the Pilgrims and the Maccabees, says Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, “Each is a celebration of possibility and......

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Rap For God?

Fr. Claude Burns is a Catholic priest who raps under the name Fr. Pontifex, and just released a new album – The Symphony and The Static.? I actually love the idea of religious leaders bending their sense of calling and expanding their appreciation of where it can take them, and for that I give the good Father props.? But his concerns about the absence of God in people’s lives, and his claim to have the answer, actually reflect anything but a fresh and healthy take on faith and the human search for......

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What Does the World Need From You?

This powerful poem by Marge Piercy invites us to ask the key question to a meaningful life.? I recently re-read this poem and reflected on what the world needs from us.   To Be of Use ? The people I love the best jump into work headfirst without dallying in the shallows and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight. They seem to become natives of that element, the black sleek heads of seals bouncing like half submerged balls. I love people, who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy......

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Video: Reflections on JFK and Flawed Heroes

From Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record series: “On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield reflects on the concept of the “flawed hero” in the Bible and how the extreme scrutiny of politicians in America today makes no allowance for flaws.??? Rabbi Hirschfield asks if we can embrace the flawed heroes around us and strive to be heroic ourselves, in spite our our own flaws.” Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better.? Their stories explore a......

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The Challenge of Abundance

If you’re reading this then you are probably like me: among the economic top 2% in the world. We enjoy more security, food, shelter, clothing, physical safety, health care, education. We also enjoy more luxuries; meals in restaurants, 500 channels of TV, vacations, leisure time.? And we do so more than any human beings in history for whom scarcity was the rule. It turns out however, that the ethical and psychological challenges of abundance are quite different than scarcity. Two psychologists from Berkeley, Dacher Keltner and Paul Piff have shown that higher......

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Three Ways to Resist Temptation

Being tempted by people, things or behaviors which may not be so good for us is part of being human.? I even think that succumbing to those temptations is part of being human, and not necessarily in a bad way, either?- at least not always.? But clearly, there are plenty of times when we want to resist, when we need to resist, or when we regret not resisting.? What helps in those moments? How do you deal with being tempted by something that you would otherwise not want to do or be......

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Crisis of the Soul in America

We are coming into the holiday season and something is badly out of whack in America – beyond our ongoing economic and political crises.? Take Hawaii State Representative Tom Bowers who, sledgehammer in hand, walks his district’s streets and parks looking for shopping carts used by homeless people, which, he then smashes to bits.? Bowers is “disgusted” by homeless people and is so proud of his tough guy approach that he allows himself to be filmed engaged in his grassroots effort to rid his district of the homeless. When asked if he......

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Does Love Make Us Stupid?

A recent study about people with relatively new significant others has come to the conclusion that being in love essentially makes you stupid – or, rather, less capable of distinguishing relevant from irrelevant information. We’ve all had romances, relationships or other emotional issues distract us from the task at hand. Is that type of preoccupation the equivalent of becoming dumber? Or could it be us getting smarter and re-focusing on our true priorities? According to one researcher, the results of the study prove that if you’re in a relatively new relationship, you’re......

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