Tag Archives: change

Learning from Silence

There’s nothing like a 7-day silent retreat to shut you up. I don’t mean just during the retreat, when, of course, you’re supposed to be quiet. But even after. I’ve found that since returning from a week-long meditation retreat in … Continue reading

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On “The Habits of Highly Cynical People”

Rebecca Solnit has a powerful essay in the May issue of Harper’s that gets at something I’ve been thinking about for a while. In “The Habits of Highly Cynical People,” Solnit writes about what she calls “naive cynicism” — a … Continue reading

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Bernie Sanders, the Optimist

One of the most common criticisms I hear of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is that he’s too angry. Americans are famous for being upbeat and optimistic. We’re raised to believe in “the American Dream” in which anyone can rise up … Continue reading

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It’s Not a Package Deal

One of the problems with being a cynic is that, when you’re trying to learn something new, it’s easy to focus on all the things that sound wrong or silly or otherwise questionable and to disregard the entire lesson or … Continue reading

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Don’t Tell Me What To Do

Since starting my training in Positive Psychology, I’ve been bombarded with all sorts of helpful suggestions about what I ought to do to make myself happier. “Make a daily list of five things you’re grateful for,” or “meditate every day,” … Continue reading

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The Refreshing Practice of Repentance

“We are not in bondage to even our most grievous mistakes,” says Louis Newman, a professor of religious studies at Carleton College in Minnesota.  I find that helpful to consider today, on Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday of repentance. For … Continue reading

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The Neuroscience of Change: More Cause for Compassion

If you’ve ever wondered why it’s so hard to make lasting change, you may find comfort in knowing that one reason is human biology. Neurobiology, in particular. That’s not cause for despair: because with sustained effort and support, our brains … Continue reading

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Advocacy + Complexity of Mind = Patience

One of the hardest things about being an advocate is the slow pace of change. As advocates, we assume we know the answer to how to fix some vexing problem, and it’s just incredibly frustrating that the powers-that-be don’t seem … Continue reading

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A Question About Meditation

I like to read about meditation – the shelf on my night-table is filled with books by Pema Chodron, Mark Epstein, and various other Buddhist-inspired meditation teachers, whose words and ideas I find soothing, especially before bed. But actually sitting … Continue reading

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Writing Your Story Helps You Change It

I guess it’s not surprising that writing about personal experiences has therapeutic value – it’s one reason people keep journals. But I was surprised by the wealth of evidence Tara Parker Pope cites in this article that backs that up, … Continue reading

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