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.…

Continue reading

Teach Us To Care and Not To Care

It is dangerous to care. We count on people, and we should.  But people will ignore you. They will try to convince you to do what they understand. They will even undermine. We have to learn to care enough, not to care. Be respectful and kind and forgiving, but do…

Continue reading

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,…

Continue reading

The Pursuit

It is so easy to get caught up in all the chasing. There are the goals and dreams and aspirations. We pursue a vision, or our aim, or any other number of respectable things.  To swing, as the poet said, “the earth a trinket at my wrist”. But after the…

Continue reading

Mercy

Are there virtues that we forget? Personally or as a culture? Ones that simply fade like the faces on ancient Roman coins? For Aurelius, Clementia – mildness, gentleness, mercy – was one of the noble virtues. A nine-year-old girl travels all night by train with one suitcase and an orange.…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

Be Ordinary

In his poem “Born Yesterday”, Phillip Larkin looks at a new born baby and wishes, not that she is beautiful or smart or talented, but that she is ordinary. There is great value in our just being. There is something essential about remaining attentive to those around us, whatever the…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading