This week marks the 20th anniversary of the release of one of my all-time favorite movies,  The Big Lebowski. The lead character is a guy named The Dude and is played by the actor Jeff Bridges. While Bridges has acted in dozens of roles over his storied career, this may be the one he is most associated with. He was so convincing as a live-and-let-live philosopher/stoner that The Dude seemed to be an extension of Bridges himself. In some ways,… Read more

Thomas Merton is perhaps the most influential Catholic author of our time, writing over 60 books including a best-selling autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain. Yet, his spiritual path was a crooked one. A graduate of Columbia University, Merton spent much of his early post-collegiate life partying in New York City. While he liked to spend his evenings drinking beer and hanging out at jazz clubs, a spiritual side began to emerge as well. He began reading religious texts, attending church,… Read more

Who fills the void when leaders don’t lead, when those in positions of power and responsibility seem more interested in their own narrow self-interests than the greater good?  We have seen others step up on a national stage (like these courageous teenagers in Florida), but what can you and I do in our everyday lives? On our own local level, plenty. You and I are the ones who can lead by example, showing our children, our family, our friends, our… Read more

We seem so frightened today of being alone that we never let it happen. We choke the space with continuous music, chatter, and companionship to which we do not even listen. It is simply there to fill the vacuum. When the noise stops there is no inner music to take its place. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh  I can recall an acquaintance once remarking that each of us is troubled by something and it becomes the dominant thought in our head—whether it’s… Read more

How many more years will you be alive? What will you do with them? A US government life expectancy calculator gives me 23.6 more years on this earth; another calculator allots a me a more generous 75% chance to live 25.4 additional years. Yet we never really know how much time we have left. I have written about the business executive who at the age of 53 discovered he had 3 months to live (he lived 4 months.) I have also… Read more

Think you don’t have time for spiritual practice in your life? Well, Chade-Meng Tan, the former Google “Jolly Good Fellow” (yes, that was his title) begs to differ. He has an exercise that can enhance your sense of happiness and well-being and it takes only 10 seconds. In fact, I’ve done it in 7-8 seconds, so I can guarantee you it won’t take much time out of your busy life. The exercise is called The Joy of Loving-Kindness and its… Read more

The essayist and cartoonist Tim Kreider has a great riff on how we seem to pride ourselves on our “busy” lives. Tim points out that while this busyness makes us feel important, there’s also a huge downside to our nonstop activity—it takes away from our ability to be lazy. Now, one man’s lazy is another man’s downtime, and Kreider is no slouch. He’s an accomplished author, who writes and draws at least 5 hours a day before indulging in more leisurely pursuits…. Read more

What’s going on these days? When did we lose our sense of simple human decency and respect for other people, regardless of our differences in opinion or politics or ethnicity? I could point a finger at the man in the White House for setting an ugly and divisive tone. But perhaps it was coming to fruition just before then, most notably in online message boards where, under the cover of anonymity, crude and hateful language has been legitimized. It’s got… Read more

The rock star Bono of the band U2 is well known for his activism and involvement in social causes. What is a little less know is a near-death moment he had in November 2014 while cycling in Central Park in New York City. Bono was biking at a high-speed when he crashed while trying to avoid another rider. He hit his head on the pavement, was knocked unconscious and woke up in the hospital with no memory of the accident…. Read more

The holidays are over and the Christmas decorations are coming down. There are copious amounts of sooty-white snow on the ground and wind chills in the single digits. The sun comes up late and sets early. Spring is a distant 2 ½-month trek away.  On this January day, you may have found that (like me) a dark cloud has settled on your soul. I used to be a competitive 5K runner and can recall having a conversation with a fellow… Read more

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