- December 4, 2013
Decorating the holiday Christmas tree can be a great family activity. Our family includes my wife, two daughters (now ages 13 & 15), and our Golden Retriever, Barley. We always look forward to the holiday season. A few years ago we designed an approach to decorating our Christmas tree which has become one of the most mindful and enjoyable activities of the season. First, we lay out our growing and eclectic collection of ornaments on the table, ranging ... Read More
- November 27, 2013
What are you grateful for?
Start with the biggies: your kids, your marriage (maybe your divorce), life, a good job (or maybe
just a job), family, friends, that kind of stuff. Then work on the Hallmark things: babies, puppies, daisies, sunsets, and babies playing with puppies among the daisies at sunset.
But what about your shoes? Are you grateful for your shoes?
Before you answer this question, take a close look at your shoes. You may have more ... Read More
- November 11, 2013
The following interview, entitled “Brother David Steindl-Rast on Gratitude”, appeared in Religion & Ethics Newsweekly in November of 2010:
KATE OLSON, correspondent: On a recent Saturday morning at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley, California, church members and neighbors gathered to hear Brother David talk about living “a spirited life.”
Church group singing: Viva, viva la musica…
OLSON: For Brother David, it is grateful living that makes everything come alive.
BROTHER DAVID STEINDL-RAST, OSB: The practice ... Read More
- August 27, 2013
We spent some delightful days camping in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. It’s hard to leave Vermont in the summer, but we found a little paradise called Buck Pond, where we can bring our dog, tent and kayaks and roast marshmallows under the moonlight.
As we do on most family trips, we have a haiku contest. You can write as many as you wish, but you can only submit one for the contest. Having a contest ... Read More
- August 20, 2013
The other day we had a lovely summer gathering at one of my favorite places in Vermont: Kingsland Bay State Park. This grassy park, with towering black locust trees, juts out into a beautiful bay which, in turn, opens up into Lake Champlain. It’s so exquisite it is one of the most popular places for weddings during the summer weekends.
On the evening drive home we were heading north on Rte. 7 and I was chatting with my ... Read More
- August 15, 2013
The Italian physician and educator, Maria Montessori, taught children that each activity in life had three important stages – the preparation stage, the activity itself, and the cleaning up process. What a good reminder for us all, so that we can plan for all three stages in our schedule. The beginning and the end of a task deserve their own time, if we are to do a good job, enjoy the activity, and be ready for what comes ... Read More
- August 14, 2013
Most of us know that our relationships with others are what matters most. We know this from our own personal experience and, just to be sure, we’ve confirmed it through research.
Daniel Gilbert, the “Harvard happiness expert”, has studied the nature of happiness for decades and here is his conclusion: “We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy ... Read More
- August 13, 2013
Haiku is a lovely form of poetry from Japan. It has only three lines and seventeen syllables. We use haiku as part of our training program in “Attention.”
First, writing a good haiku requires that you get your attention off of yourself. Research shows that nearly every type of psychological disorder is characterized by a heightened degree of self-focused attention. When you are trying to write a haiku poem, you are looking at clouds, flowers, insects, dogs, and ... Read More