Remember The Big Things

What matters most to you? The Practice: Remember the big things. Why? In every life, reminders arrive about what’s really important. I’ve recently received one myself, in a form that’s already come to countless people and will come to countless more: news of a potentially serious health problem. My semi-annual dermatology mole check turned up [Read More...]


Busy, busy? The Practice: Rest. Why? This practice is definitely a case of teaching what you need to learn: I’ve been working through a big bucket of tasks lately with little chance to rest. (I console myself with knowing that the bucket is emptying a lot faster than it’s filling with new tasks.) Sometimes you [Read More...]

Put No One Out of Your Heart

What is an open heart? The Practice Put no one out of your heart. Why? We all know people who are, ah, . . . challenging. It could be a critical parent, a bossy supervisor, a relative who has you walking on eggshells, a nice but flaky friend, a co-worker who just doesn’t like you, [Read More...]

Tune Into Others

What Are They Feeling? The Practice Tune into others. Why? Imagine a world in which people interacted with each other like ants or fish. Imagine a day at work like this, or in your family, aware of the surface behavior of the people around you but oblivious to their inner life while they remain unmoved [Read More...]

Drop The Case

Who are you prosecuting? The Practice Drop the case. Why? Lately I’ve been thinking about a kind of “case” that’s been running in my mind about someone in my extended family. The case is a combination of feeling hurt and mistreated, critique of the other person, irritation with others who haven’t supported me, views about [Read More...]

Don’t Take it Personally

Is it about you? The Practice Don’t take it personally. Why? Here’s an updated parable from the ancient Taoist teacher, Chuang-Tzu: Imagine that you are floating in a canoe on a slow-moving river, having a Sunday picnic with a friend. Suddenly there is a loud thump on the side of the canoe, and it rolls [Read More...]

See the Person Behind the Eyes

Who is behind the mask? The Practice See the person behind the eyes. Why? Most of us wear a kind of mask, a persona that hides our deepest thoughts and feelings, and presents a polished, controlled face to the world. To be sure, a persona is a good thing to have. For example, meetings at [Read More...]

Keep Hope Not Fear Alive

This recent series of posts has used the example of Stephen Colbert’s satirical “March to Keep Fear Alive” as a timely illustration of a larger point: humans evolved to be fearful — a major feature of the brain’s negativity bias that helped our ancestors pass on their genes. Consequently, as much research has shown, we’re [Read More...]

Confronting the Negativity Bias

My previous post used the example of Stephen Colbert’s satirical “March to Keep Fear Alive” as a timely illustration of a larger point: humans evolved to be fearful — since that helped keep our ancestors alive — so we are very vulnerable to being frightened and even intimidated by threats, both real ones and “paper [Read More...]

We Don’t Need To ‘Keep Fear Alive’

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have dueling rallies in DC coming soon. Stewart’s is “Rally to Restore Sanity” and Colbert’s is “March to Keep Fear Alive!” Obviously, Colbert is a great satirist who is poking fun here, since we sure don’t need a rally to keep fear alive. Alarming messages are all around us, like [Read More...]