Make Each Encounter Your Final Encounter (and be happy to be wrong)

on the dock

I just returned from spending three days with my 87 year old mother in Chicago. She is dying of cancer and under Hospice care. Given the circumstances, I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again. So I considered this visit as possibly our last. Maybe that’s why it was so enjoyable. There was a gentleness and tenderness in the room with us. There was more listening. There was very little arguing. There was more…

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Who’s Walking Who

child_walking_dog small

You’re on one end of the leash. You’re feelings are on the other end. Who’s walking who? Many of us spend a great deal of our lives responding to our feelings with action or inaction – whatever our feelings might dictate at the moment. If we feel like eating a dessert, we eat dessert even though we are on a strict diet. If we don’t feel like exercising, we stay in and watch TV instead.…

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What Are You Willing to Risk?

Willing to Risk

When callings, dreams, ideas and plans begin to unfold in our minds and hearts we feel the sting of their associated risks. The safe path tempts us with the promise of survival. For animals, survival is often the primary purpose. But as human beings, we yearn for more than survival. We want meaning. We want fulfillment. And that requires RISK. So as you move into the second half of this year, what are you willing…

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“You Are Your Father”


One of the themes that Thich Nhat Hanh addresses with great depth and clarity is that of interdependence.  Given that there are few issues more central to our relationships than this one, his words on this subject are vitally important and always relevant.  They are gems that help us to see through our mistaken sense of separateness. Here, for example, he challenges us to go beyond our superficial understanding of life and our one-dimensional sense…

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How Do You Make Toast?


We all struggle with tricky, sticky problems from time to time. Often we just play around with these problems in our own head — thinking them through, turning them around and inside out, taking them apart and putting them back together — and all too often we end up just where we began. Adding other people to the process doesn’t always help and can, in fact, make the waters even muddier. In this TED talk,…

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Take the Next Step

take the next step

Too often we approach life as if it were a chess game. Our first mistake is assuming life is an opponent — something to be defeated or conquered. Our second mistake occurs when it’s our move. We try to anticipate a whole string of moves. I’ll do this, and then life will do this, and then I’ll do that, and life will respond by doing that. We create a mental map which ends in our…

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How to Avoid Avoidance


We tend to move toward what we are attracted to. “I think I’ll have another piece of that pecan pie.” We tend to move away from what we have an aversion to. “Thank you, but I think I’ll pass on the beets tonight.” Sometimes we have an aversion to what we need to do. So we find all kinds of creative ways to avoid doing what we know we need to do. And then the…

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Honoring Your Mother After She Has Died

Gregg Krech compiled the following suggestions for those who want to honor their moms after they have died. For the past twenty years I have been conducting retreats in which a person spends a week reflecting on his or her entire life (Naikan retreat). A participant always begins with her mother and a central part of the reflection is remembering the details of what was received from her mother from the time of her birth…

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