Changing the Narrative (Part 2)

The stories we tell ourselves matter. However, so often these tales that are so fundamental to who we are, are based upon just some of the truths from our complex and beautiful lives. When we change the narrative, we open new possibilities for our happiness and effectiveness and well-being. (Read more on the Narratives…

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Humanity and Saving a Nation

The poet Czeslaw Milosz once asked, ‘What is poetry which does not save/Nations or people?”   In the 1989 work Zinky Boys, Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, shows us what is at stake. Alexievich, a Belarusian literary journalist, won the 2015 Nobel for her collections of haunting interviews. In Voices from…

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Back to the Cave Again

In the Republic, Plato gives us his “allegory of the cave”. Prisoners who are chained to their spots underground see only images flickering on the wall. They have no other reality. They are shown shadows of puppets without dimensions, without substance. Our poor little creatures know nothing else of life.…

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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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A Reluctant Christian

I don’t know whether I can be called a Christian. I don’t believe in the divinity of Christ. At least, I don’t see his holiness as anything different than my own. Or different from yours. Or from the effulgent heart in each of us, even if occasionally dulled. What I…

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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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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…

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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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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…

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Throwing Bullets on the Fire

When we first moved to the place I would come to call home, a boy, five years my senior, knocked on the door to meet his new playmate.  He introduced himself, spelled his last name, and every weekend and summer we played: Sometimes in the woods pretending we were soldiers…

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