Daily Life


The Gift of Recognizing What's in Your Way

When I was an MFA student at Bennington many years ago, I had a poetry mentor named Jason Shinder who used to say, “Whatever gets in the way of the work, is the work.” He was talking about poetry, of course. Whatever is getting in the way of writing poems, that’s precisely what I need to be bringing into my poetry. Is something in my life keeping me too busy to write poems? Or is something in my life distracting me from the inner work required to write poems with heart? Whatever......

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America, Do We Have a (VMA) Problem?

MTV’s 2015 Video Music Awards was the most tweeted (non-Super Bowl) event since…wait for it…tracking ever began! Really? Even if it were only the most tweeted event since this year’s Super Bowl, I would say we have a problem. I mean, I rarely write from a negative place, and genuinely hate sounding as curmudgeonly as this. But, you know, a lot of things have happened this year – good and bad – which would have, I hope, generated more tweets than the VMA’s! When the?“most tweeted” status is earned by a show......

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Failure Is, in Fact, Always an Option

The world of psychology was recently shaken to its core. Since science is based on testing and retesting hypotheses, several researchers sought to replicate some of the key findings from three prestigious journals, on topics like free will, emotional closeness and finding a romantic partner. Rather than finding that additional studies confirmed these hypotheses, these researchers found that less than half were replicated successfully. As reported in the New York Times: “The vetted studies were considered part of the core knowledge by which scientists understand the dynamics of personality, relationships, learning and......

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A New Way to Deal: We're All In This Together

A friend said, “We all win, or nobody wins,” by way of introducing my family to a new card game recently. Hanabi, which means “fireworks” in Japanese, is simple to learn, fun to play and, most significantly, quite profound to experience. “Profound?” you may ask. “Really, Brad? It’s just a card game.” It is, indeed, a card game – played with a special deck and a few small tokens – but there’s nothing “just” about it. In Hanabi, the only way to win is when all players win together. If that isn’t......

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The All-American Sport of Being Offended

A recent post on The Wisdom Daily started me thinking about the line between being personally offended about something (in this case, a bobblehead offered to a select group of charitable donors – more on that in a minute) and being publicly offended (taking that offense to the level of public discourse and setting in motion a sort of public shaming, i.e., an exercise in political correctness). A friend of mine recently observed that “political correctness comes about because of peer pressure, the desire to behave like others or the fear of......

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Don't You Trust Me?

How many times have I – or my wife, or most any parent I know – heard the words, “Don’t you trust me?” from a child who’s frustrated by our unwillingness to acquiesce to an unwise idea? Well, it turns out that American politicians tend to ask us the same question. The difference is, with our children, the answer is that we probably do trust them, just not the idea they propose. With our politicians, is that the case? Isn’t it true that we just don’t trust most of them all that......

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How Negative Thinking Can Boost Problem-Solving

The New York Times website recently featured a very short puzzle to help you assess how good you are at solving puzzles. It’s simple: Type in three numbers, and see if those numbers obey a certain rule. Some sequences will obey the rule, and some won’t. What’s the rule? Interestingly, if you try the game, you’ll almost always get the response, “Yes!” (Yes, your numbers follow the rule.) But when you try to guess what the rule is, you’ll probably be wrong. Why? Because we almost always start with, “Here’s my idea,......

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Illuminating and Upholding Our Self-Evident Truths

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights endowed by our creator – equally, in all of us – are fundamental in America. And while we hold these truths to be self-evident, as our Declaration of Independence says, are we ensuring these rights as best we can? For example, start with life: “When it comes to the sacredness of life….an average of 28 people a day are murdered with guns in the U.S. [The estimate jumps to 89 people daily if you include......

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Missing the Trees for the Forest

We’re all familiar with the expression about missing the forest for the trees, and its wisdom about not being distracted by smaller details that undermine our appreciation of the “big picture.” No doubt, that’s often good advice. After all, who among us hasn’t gotten bogged down in the details of a situation or a relationship, to the point that we lose touch with the larger purposes which give meaning to those very details? On the other hand… What about the wisdom that comes from attending to the “trees” even when the “forest”......

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Knowledge Is Power. So How Should We Use It?

Imagine a young couple, happy and bubbling with anticipation over the birth of their first child. Only a few months are left before the big day.?But then, a sonogram reveals an anomaly – maybe in the shape of the skull, or the size of the kidneys. Something isn’t?quite right. Hearing such news is among the most devastating things a parent can experience. Thrown into panic mode, parents hunger for more information, and grasp for something tangible to help them understand what is happening with their child. Will my baby be OK? Will......

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