Planning for the Future—in the Present

Plans are like signposts that help us envision the road ahead, but they should not rule out a wondrous detour nor should old goals prove a roadblock to a new, more fulfilling direction. Flexibility can be our best ally.

The Sweet Satisfaction of Risk-Taking

What a thrill to take a noble risk regardless of outcome, hopeful for the future but uncertain of what lies ahead. Eavesdrop on some of the stories shared by those who dared and decided to try. How about sticking your neck out just far enough to see the possibilities?

Downsizing the Furniture in Your Mind

We all know what it's like to try to move around in a crowded room. Our minds are no different. Here are two approaches to mind cleansing put to good use by my harried students and readers, and in combination these tactics are powerful. Be still.... Be vigilant.

Remember Your Peak Learning Experience? Pass It On!

Whatever your peak learning moment, it is that very exhilaration that you want to give to your student. Make education irresistible. Make it matter. Your teacher's guide, whatever the subject may be, is your own learning experience that will stay with you always.

Treats for 2013: Indulging in Food, Poetry, Film, Friends...

What do you think about making a New Year's resolve to soak up the arts and come together with family and friends? We forget how much this matters. Ah. Slow down just long enough....

No Satisfactory Explanation, Ever, for Connecticut Slayings

I am struck by the futility of "making sense" of what happened in Connecticut. Reason is not up to that task. Three different points of view—the first from nineteenth century Russia, the second from a grieving father, and the last from one of my first-grade child philosophers—somehow steady me.

Self-Awareness: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

How invaluable is the possession of self-awareness? Our relationships can flourish only if we cultivate self-awareness. Only I can stand guard over myself—watching and listening.

A Thanksgiving Dialogue

I was brought alive by a ten-year-old girl who appeared at my side. Gratitude takes over if you let it.

What We Re-Learn in Crisis

"What we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise." These words from twentieth-century philosopher Albert Camus ring out loud amidst the tragedy and loss suffered due to the hurricane. Might we be better than we think? Do we care more than we sometimes realize?

What the Dalai Lama Knows

What core beliefs do you know to be true? Do you share any of the Dalai Lama's convictions? For example: "We all have by nature the sense of love...." Do you agree that: "You should not think that we human beings are something negative and the future is doomed?"

Satisfying the Hunger for Communication

Communication builds relationships. Why not cultivate a readiness to listen? What's to lose? What's to be gained? Here's how....

Set Your Clocks to Now

Child philosophers share their ideas on time, aging, and living in the present moment. If humans invented the concept of time, they ought to be able to control it. Here's how, now....

Plato on Politics in 2012

Gather some folks for dinner and ask each to bring an idea that they would like to understand better. Work together on clarity. We're modern-day cave-dwellers, stuck because we can't grasp the basic meaning of such ideas as responsibility, empathy, justice, education, and freedom. Let's get started again!

Owning Your Life

When we tackle our personal weaknesses, we take charge of our lives. Our strengths shine through more clearly. The refusal to own one's life and do the best job on ourselves we can is unfair to everyone whose life we touch.

Kindness Moves Mountains

The centrality of giving and receiving kindness in any life well lived often gets overlooked. It's the sturdy bridge forward but often gets swept under the rug of self-absorption and busyness. Let's take time to recognize its essential place in every life.

Living in Tune with Nature’s Beat

What does it take to "hold fast to the center," as Lao Tzu suggests, where nature's universal beat thrums steadily? Here are four things that participants in recent groups have tried with success, discovering inner peace that grows with practice.

Chatting About Democracy

What aspects of life in the United States beckon people from all over the world to this country? What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than by taking a close look at the nation?

Laughing Meditation? You bet!

The disciplined practice of focused laughter reaps tremendous results: perspective, calm, clarity return unasked. Laughter is indeed the best medicine.

12 Life Lessons from the French Open

Here's a sampler of philosophical wisdom showcased at this year's French Open. Competitive fire and modesty can coexist. Invent your style. Differences can be bridged: by a sport, by music, by open minds and hearts.

Child Philosophers Envision Unlimited Possibility

One of my favorite discussions with children is their awareness that they have a life that is uniquely their own, a life for which they are responsible, partially now and completely soon enough. What's possible?

Devotion to Your Work… Works for You

It's all about how you accept and hopefully embrace whatever your job entails. If we spend considerable time at work, why not spend that time well? Why not give it our all so as not to waste the time of our lives?

Bring Back Bartering

"I'll do this for you if you do that for me and we'll call it even." How about trading talents and closing wallets whenever possible? What reciprocal talents lie untapped in you and your friends and family? What economic and social benefits await?

The Triumph of Nonviolence

Aung San Suu Kyi admits she has a temper and masters it. She listens and seeks compromise. She refuses to sully her heart with hate. What if more of us worked on ourselves instead of working at each other? How would we live then?

Sensitivity Training: A Poem a Day

Sharing a poem with family and friends proves an excellent way for all ages to stay in touch. Here are ten poems to tease you into the game. Brief and cutting to the core, a daily dose of poetry is good for the heart.

Media Request: A Good News Section Please

Positivity and negativity are contagious. They are both out there. Which one do you want to catch? What about a "good news" section of the newspaper?

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Wisdom for an Election Year

Those who struggle against all odds to achieve democracy serve as wake up calls for those of us who assume we've got a wrap ... Look to Burma.

Hints for Simplicity from an Ancient Master

Let's start the Year of the Dragon with five surefire steps toward simplicity. Time to test these straightforward suggestions from Lao Tzu ...

It Works: Doing One Thing at a Time

Almost all wondered if they had the discipline to cultivate good focus and stay with the effort for a lifetime. All realized that acquiring an undivided mind is work without end. Here are some tips for ways to develop a clear mind....

Seasonal Testimony to the Ties That Bind

May all your circles, formed over your lifetime, hold fast and strengthen. Keep coming back.

Giving Thanks by Giving Back

How about returning generosity to one who has sent it your way? What about recycling generosity, giving it back and thereby giving thanks? Let's look to Kenya and Wangari Maathai, the hummingbird....