Seven Simple Ways to Fight the Holiday Blues

During this season of giving, it's often the small gifts and everyday gestures of kindness that matter most. Here are 7 low or no-cost ways to help you find your holiday spirit.

Can Altruism Go Too Far?

"One thing that sets extreme do-gooders apart is their willingness to ignore convention. These are people who are morally passionate, relentless, and incredibly stubborn—they invent lives that don’t make much sense to those around them."

What's in Elizabeth Gilbert's Happiness Jar?

My happiness jar isn’t a chronicle of achievements or victories, but a collection of small, everyday marvels.

Leslie Pietrzyk: Grief and Condolences

After my husband died I needed help but didn't know how to ask. A funeral is many things, including that giant to-do list, but repairing a shattered life is pretty much only one thing: hard work. The paradox is that no one else can do it for you, yet you can’t do it alone.

Grief and Art: A Survivor's Act of Love

Poet Priscilla Long asks: What does art do for the grieving person, the survivor? Art beholds the beloved, remembers the beloved, makes the beloved visible. And art laments. Art keens. Art puts the private agony of grief out into the world where it reverberates with an elemental core of our human condition.

Seven Tips for Kissing Like You Mean It

My husband of 25 years and I recently attended Kissing School, the brainchild of Seattle psychotherapist Cherie Byrd. Here's what we learned after seven hours of smoothing.

Ten 5-Minute Ways to Get Organized

There's just never enough time to get everything on your to-do list done, let alone cut down on clutter and get organized. But what if you could actually squeeze more minutes into your day? Here's how stop wasting time, and organize your home and your life in manageable five minute increments.

5 Benefits of Gossip (Even Negative Gossip)

Nobody likes to be badmouthed, but we all talk about co-workers behind their backs occasionally. Turns out, that's not always a bad thing.

Why It's OK to Wake Up in the Middle of the Night

Waking up to the dark was viewed as a nightly blessing before the introduction of artificial light. Read more of my interview w/Clark Strand, senior editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and author of, "Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age."

What's Enough Money?

“It’s not money that’s the problem, but the meaning we give to it,” says Dave Wann, an expert on sustainable living. “With the downturn in the economy, more people are examining a new paradigm for looking at wealth, and defining it in terms of their values instead of just money and the stuff that it buys.” But how do we decide how much money really is enough?

Megan Kruse: The Driving Force of Desire

"I know there are people who have always known their destinations. When I worry that I’m getting nowhere, I try to remember the power of never attaining. What would it mean to want for nothing? I can only think that to stop wanting would snuff out the candle of the glittering next life."

Seven Healthy Obsessions

Cooking has always been celebrity chef Jesse Schenker's first passion and true "addiction." After getting out of jail, he flipped the switch and put the same tenacity and passion that he had for drugs into his cooking. Here are some of his other healthy habits he's become addicted to.

5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship

I’ve learned (the hard way) that trying to ignore these behavior blunders can strain my relationships, which only compounds the original error. That’s why, lately, I’ve started to employ an old childhood ploy: the do-over. It’s like an apology wrapped in a second-chance.

Pico Iyer: The Art of Doing Nothing

The less time you spend frantically running around, the more productive you are likely to be. It is the pauses in a piece of music that gives the piece its beauty and its shape; always keep pushing forward at full speed, and you end up out of breath.

Gratitude and Passion: To Love One Thing

It doesn’t matter if you bake muffins or write poems, or if you give birth to a child or instead choose to dote on and nurture a furry, four-legged babe. When you do one thing you love, you show your gratitude for being alive. (Contributed by Melissa Studdard)

10 Things You Can Toss With No Regrets

Are you still hanging onto those skinny jeans that haven’t zipped since two kids ago, or a grudge against a co-worker who snitched on you that’s long past its expiration date? Let’s face it, we all have stuff from our past that could be tossed to the curb to make room for bigger and better things.

Will You Be My Mother?

When a girl at the Genocide Museum in Rwanda asked me to be her mother, she gave voice to my own silent question—and fears.

What a Leap of Faith Looks Like

Many of us dream of dropping out of our lives to find something we can’t completely name. But what would taking time off from work and family really look like? And what might you find?

Jenna Blum: Recycling Love

I couldn’t put love in the garbage. Wasn’t that the worst kind of karma—to put any manifestation of love in a blue plastic box with soda cans and junk mail, to be tossed out in the alley—even if that love no longer existed? Which raised the question: didn’t love, once it had existed, still exist in the universe?

Jean Kwok: Dancing My Way to Grace

"At the beginning, I was truly the worst student in every dance class. One dance teacher had to stifle a giggle in her sleeve after seeing my legs tangle themselves up. But I still loved it and I wanted it: I dreamed of finding grace – of becoming fierce, strong, in control of my body. And so I persevered."

Ann Hite: Can Children of Dysfunction Beat Their Fate?

"We never talked about our childhood. We even tried our best to pretend Mother was normal, an old trick of ours. It was as if none of the bad times had happened. Who said children from dysfunctional parents had to pay a price? We were successful, smart, and good-looking individuals. We beat our fate..."

Julia Fierro: Finding Empathy for My Father

My method for “getting by” was born in the kitchen with my father. I felt sorry for him. I imagined what he was feeling as he wept into his arms, and it was so much easier to feel his pain instead of mine. Now, at thirty-seven, I think of that little girl working so hard to forgive her father, and I know she was too generous."

Patry Francis: Courtesy as a Spiritual Practice

Terry McMillan once wrote, “Whatever you write should lead to a higher level of understanding"....but did I really need to spend years creating a fictional character who could teach me about courtesy?

Susanna Sonnenberg: The Line Between Stepmother and Mother

You remember it when someone says she will be your mother. Maybe my stepmother was tipsy, and I was, too, and her dizzy proclamation just tumbled out... Maybe she didn’t know that her statement bound me to her. I thought she meant what she said, and, flushed with extravagant gratitude, I reached forward, all of me did.

My Mother’s Secret, My Secret

One time, when I was a young mother, afraid that my love was not enough for my two sons, my mother shared a secret with me. This was, by far, the bravest thing that I have ever witnessed her doing.

4 Keys to Building Long-Lasting Love

Marriage is good for your health, according to a recent study by the Duke University Medical Center. But what does it take to sustain a strong, long-lasting marriage, even after the kids are grown and gone?

Sue Monk Kidd: The Invention of Wings

Inspired in part by the abolitionist and feminist Sarah Grimkë, Kidd explores the relationship between an urban slave in early-nineteenth-century Charleston and her young owner, both struggling to be free of the religious dogma of the time. Here more from this spiritual and thought-provoking author on the latest Oprah 2.0 Book Club pick:

Robert Jeffreys: Boy Interrupted

"I never considered the possibility of my dad hitting me before. I look at him in disbelief while gasping for air, trying not to appear weak. I wipe away tears and try to look at him... I never before considered how hard it was for him, losing his job."

Therese Walsh: Grief and Mother-Numbness

Parents are the bedrock for their children. I’d lost part of my bedrock at a time when I needed to be one, to create one for my daughter. I felt numb after losing my dad. I questioned the idea of bedrock, of core stability, in general. Maybe there was no such thing.

Deborah Jiang-Stein: Staring down Stigma

If I've learned anything from my unique entry into the world and living with the facts of my birth in prison to a chronic heroin addict, it's how to integrate the deepest of pain, grief, and fear into acceptance and ultimately live a life filled with purpose, intention, and play.