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.…

Continue reading

Seeking to Make Things Difficult

With every advance, every step forward, we also walk from something.  Technological innovations really have brought us so much that makes our lives measurably better in so many ways. But unless we remain vigilant and active, we also lose something; something essential about being human. When faced the earlier inconveniences…

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

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

The Gratitude Diet: Savoring and Losing Weight

The most popular New Year’s resolution each year is to lose weight. We step on the scale, cringe and commit to spinach salads and Zumba classes.  All throughout January, the gyms are packed.  We pass on the pasta and choose celery sticks. But sometime in late February, the elliptical machine…

Continue reading

Having Been Asked Whether To Get A Dog

A good friend of mine recently asked whether he should get a dog. Relatives and well-wishers were all offering advice, the good and the bad that we have all heard before. They would talk about unconditional love. Regardless of how your day went, whether your wife was mad at you,…

Continue reading

Visigoths, Happiness and Middle Age

Something curious happens when we track satisfaction over the course of our lives.  Couples meet, fall in love, get married and life could not be more wonderful.  Then they have children and satisfaction falls.  It plummets. Happiness only begins its rise once again after the little ones are hatched and…

Continue reading