Self-Compassion It

I was in a meeting at the Pentagon recently, seated at a table surrounded by uniformed military officers and dark-suited government officials. The meeting was tense, with the officials all insisting the Defense Department was doing the right thing and I and my colleagues from other human rights organizations pointing to our evidence that inContinue reading “Self-Compassion It”

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 pervasive cultural tendency to predict the worst, as if somehow that will protect us orContinue reading “On “The Habits of Highly Cynical People””

Love and Activism

A few years ago I was on a nonprofit leadership training retreat, when everyone had to go around the circle and declare their “purpose.” This was the sort of exercise I dreaded, so I scrambled to come up with something plausible I could say that wouldn’t be too embarrassing. Then I heard one of theContinue reading “Love and Activism”

The Demoralizing Science of Success

One of the most interesting subjects in the field of Positive Psychology is the science of human motivation and success. Why are some people so motivated and so successful? Why do some people not even bother to try? And how does that correlate with human happiness? I find this all fascinating. But I also findContinue reading “The Demoralizing Science of Success”

The Happy Lawyer?

The other night I attended a training session at the New York City Bar Association called “Happiness for Lawyers: Mindfulness and Emotional Skills to Improve Our Professional Life (and Make us Happier).” As I was leaving, the security guard remarked that all the participants walking out of the room had a smile on their face. “That’sContinue reading “The Happy Lawyer?”

A Hole in the World

I came across Portia Nelson’s wonderful “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” recently and wanted to share it here. It encapsulates perfectly the challenging and often painstaking process of changing our most entrenched and destructive patterns of mind.   “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk” Chapter 1 I walk down the street. There is a deep holeContinue reading “A Hole in the World”

Be Here Now

Whenever I start to do something, I have an annoying habit of wondering if I should be doing something else. Whether it’s reading, or writing, checking e-mail or doing household chores, or even relaxing on a Saturday afternoon, I often have this nagging feeling that there’s something else better or more important or more meaningfulContinue reading “Be Here Now”

A Deceptively Simple Practice

I’ve written before about my difficulties with a daily meditation practice, but since I’m increasingly convinced of the benefits of mindfulness meditation and other forms of mind training on health and overall well-being, I was particularly pleased to come across a short meditation recently that’s both easy and effective. It’s also a great coaching tool.Continue reading “A Deceptively Simple Practice”

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 to get it. We have to repeat ourselves interminably and try to come up withContinue reading “Advocacy + Complexity of Mind = Patience”

Mindful Management: A No-Brainer  

There are all sorts of books out there telling people how to be better managers – do these 5 things (e.g., “expect excellence”), etc. But having both been a manager and been managed for many years in lots of different organizations, I think it really boils down to one key thing: being mindful. In otherContinue reading “Mindful Management: A No-Brainer  “