Daily Life


The Story of You

How would you begin the story of you? Where or when does it begin? Imagine that you are about to tell your story. You know, “Once upon a time there was this person, and her story begins…”? What comes next? All stories have beginnings, and all people have stories. All families and nations have them too. In fact, not only do we all have them, they may be the essence of who we are. So how would you choose to begin yours? Once you have an answer (and feel free to have......

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Standing Your Ground

How many opportunities do we lose out on, and how much time do we waste worrying about where we aren’t, instead of genuinely appreciating where we are?? How much energy do we expend agonizing over who we aren’t, as opposed to celebrating who we are? None of us is perfect, and I believe that striving to be more and to be better is a crucially important part of a well-lived life.? So too is feeling the rich possibility and potential of who we are, as we are, wherever we are.?? In fact,......

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Beauty in the Eyes of the Beholder

How do you react when you see a physically disabled person? Do you stare? Do you avert your gaze? What do you feel – discomfort, shock, fear, anxiety, curiosity, compassion? Has the way you responded to seeing the physically disabled changed over time? Research shows that viewers of positive portrayals of the disabled on television programs and in the movies are more likely to perceive discrimination and less likely to have negative emotions when encountering people with disabilities. There is what researchers call the “novel hypothesis”. Not only are people who are......

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Jury Duty Isn't Joyless: Exhibit A

I am sitting in a jurors’ lounge in Manhattan with about 100 other people, waiting to be selected for a trial or excused from jury duty (until my next summons arrives six years from now). At the cost of some embarrassment, let me be honest: I’m here after two approved postponements and one no-show/absence, which means this summons to duty had many more red lines and threats on it than previous ones. I’ve been one of the Americans behind the growing problem of courts struggling to find enough jurors for trials. So,......

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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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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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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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