Category: Inspiration

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The Real Real Deal

If one could add the entirety of what we can see and what we can’t — the supplicant on a rant, matter dark, unknowable, persistent bitterness neat and stowable – what we would be forced to examine are children wrenched by famine, a panoply of catastrophes, like man-made war, man-made disease. We might also deign to look...

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“Nothing But Gifts,” by Edwin Dobb

Published in the current issue of Harper’s Magazine, the essay “Nothing But Gifts,” by Edwin Dobb, is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing we’ve lately had the pleasure of reading. Discursive and tangential in form, the essay nonetheless always returns to the author’s central inquiry: What does it mean to choose to love? The adoptive...

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Three Versions of Happiness

1) Refrain from seeking happiness. Be happiness. 2) Become the cause of happiness in others. 3) All right. That’s marvelous in theory. But how do you go on when every morning brings news of the intolerable, the intolerable that we all tolerate? How do you consciously continue the divine comedy, momentarily detouring Dante’s hoary inferno...

The Meditation Shield

People who have a meditation practice — doesn’t matter what kind or style — make a conscious decision to put their focus on something specific: breath going in and out; a mantra; waves arriving and receding. Thoughts come and go. Things happen or don’t. And the meditator observes them all. When you’re traveling on the...

Better, From Several Perspectives

When a business owner replaces employees with automation — machines, robots, computers — the effects radiate in two opposite directions. On one hand, the employees (and their families), have less, since they no longer draw a paycheck. On the other, the owners (and their shareholders) have more, because lower payroll means higher profits. A dear...

The Experience That Changed Your Life

Do you have an experience that, in retrospect, seems to have set you on your life’s journey? A formative moment? An epiphany? Mine came when I was 16, more than 35 years ago. The summer after my sophomore year of high school, I attended (and completed) a 24-day Colorado Outward Bound course in the Rocky...

Dealt

The documentary “Dealt,” about one of the world’s greatest card magicians, a Texan named Richard Turner, contains no gunshots, explosions or, for that matter, violence of any kind. But it never fails to fascinate, mesmerize and inspire. If there’s a “super-hero” character in this movie, it’s Turner, who practices card moves — false shuffles, false...

The Urban Farmstead

We call the place we live “Vista Street Farmstead.” It’s a house in Hollywood, one block from Sunset Boulevard, with a front and back yard, maybe 1/16th of an acre? But almost every available square foot of dirt is dedicated to growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Blessed with copious sunshine throughout the day – and...

Earl Flowers Can Read

Earl Flowers can read. He can read this sentence. He can read every word on this page. If he doesn’t immediately recognize one of the words, he can sound it out phonetically – or, if it’s completely unfamiliar, he knows how to use a dictionary to teach himself. When Earl reads out loud – when...

Role Models

By many measures, Donald Trump, his entire cabinet of self-dealing robber barons, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — the whole lot are extraordinarily successful people. (By many other measures, they’re wildly unsuccessful, but let’s not quibble.) We can all agree that when our children are grown, when they become...