Learning to Give, Learning to Dance

For my wife’s family, life is filled with dance. Every New Year’s and Christmas, each cumpleaños and quinceanera, everyone would laugh and yell, cry and dance. And in the culture of her family, when the music is playing, it is the duty of the man to ensure that no woman…

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Sharks and Stoics

One day my wife and daughters were at the beach enjoying cups of ice cream and sun and walking out on the pier. My youngest looked over the rail, and bursting with joy, shouted, “How cool! A shark!” Her excitement was absolute and unrestrained. My older daughter, turned and glanced…

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Is This Forgiveness?

Jack Kornfield tells stories of forgiveness, heroic and true. Of Buddhist nuns brutally imprisoned for saying their prayers, afraid only that they would lose their compassion for their captors. Or of the mother who welcomed the killer of her child into her home, and nurtured him and made him kind. They…

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Rediscovering a Zest for Life

This year, I set out to do at least one “microadventure” each month.  Something to break up the usual routine. Something that introduces a level of discomfort or risk and helps me see the world differently. It does not have to be big or grand, dangerous or far from home.…

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Enlightenment and Connection

Many of you know I host various philosophy and well-being discussions groups each month throughout the Raleigh-Durham area.  You can find us here. At our lunch meeting last week, we had a wide-ranging and robust discussion on enlightenment, presence, and the relationship between sacred experience and the connections between people.…

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Successful Change with Dumbo’s Feather

In the 1941 movie, Dumbo, a little elephant with big ears could fly. However, he only believed it was possible when he held a magic feather in his trunk. The feather was his source of confidence and comfort. It provided a secure touchpoint and reminded him of what was possible.…

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Communities of the Heart

One day each month, I lead a well-being discussion over lunch in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.  (Details can be found here) The talks are part philosophy, part psychology. There is a tentative spirituality that often creeps in, and is always welcomed. But at their core, the dialogues are human,…

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Absence and Return

For several years, I have been loosely involved with an online Buddhist community. About a year ago, I began to get more active and made some commitments to the group. I was going to meditate more. I would be more mindful in my eating. One night each week, I would…

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Presence and Immediacy

It all started with an encounter. After a morning of ‘religious enthusiasm’, Martin Buber was visited by a young man. Buber was friendly and attentive, but says he was not there fully in spirit. Later, the philosopher and theologian discovered that the young man had been wrestling with something. He…

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