The Joy of Missing Out
August 22, 2023

I was on a bus near Siena recently, speaking to a bright-eyed psychiatrist from Marin County who writes poetry and is beloved by his patients.

“I love a well-timed cancellation,” he told me with a guilty grin. Sixteenth-century architecture streamed behind his head through the window. “People talk about the fear of missing out. It’s just the opposite for me. I’ve got JOMO.”


“The joy of missing out.”

Continue reading

The Wonder Paradox: Enhancing the Mind Through Mystery
June 16, 2023

In her latest book, The Wonder Paradox: Embracing the Weirdness of Existence, teacher, poet, and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht argues that wonder is our core human experience, accessible through a number of ready doorways, particularly ritual and poetry. We recently talked about why awe matters, how poetry prompts a “nondual” experience, and the wondrous strangeness of being human. Continue reading

The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Grief as a Sacred Initiation
May 29, 2023

Francis Weller is a California-based psychotherapist and writer whose work focuses on the sacred power of loss, darkness, and self-renewal. He is the author of numerous books, including The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief, and the founder and director of ​​​​​WisdomBridge, an organization that offers educational programs that seek to integrate the wisdom from indigenous cultures with the insights and knowledge gathered from Western poetic, psychological, and spiritual traditions. In this inspiring conversation, we talked about the healing power of grief, the end of the heroic quest, and how to ensoul our lives in an age of rising fear and cynicism. Continue reading

My Invisible Lover
August 3, 2014

Laura had been my stateside college professor, literary mentor, partner in crime and best friend with major benefits. Our relationship, too, was a rite of passage. I was 19, she was 33. A few weeks into my senior year, Laura, my prof in Advanced French, invited me to dinner at her apartment (we’d been flirting since the start of the term).

When Long Lost Friends Should Stay Lost
May 25, 2014

What do you owe a long lost friend you haven’t seen in 40 years who finds you on Facebook and begs for help? That was the moral crevasse I fell into one morning looking through email. At first, I was happy to see R’s name in my inbox. Amazed, to be honest. I am still in awe of the power of the Internet to connect us to people we no longer know.

The Married Crush
March 23, 2014

Marriage doesn’t stop desire for people we’re not married to; it simply draws a line between the impulse and the act itself.My good friend P adores his wife but gets serial crushes on other women. P swears that these crushes are harmless, platonic. An oversexed academic of 50, P’s never cheated on his wife and sees nothing wrong in these dalliances with acolytes, students and random girls besotted by his biceps and intellect.

This Is Why I Hate Politics
April 21, 2016

I was listening to Hillary’s acceptance speech this morning on my iPhone, minding my own business and drinking my coffee, when my partner heard her voice and said, “God, I can’t stand her.”

Begin Again
January 20, 2015

We live in the Age of Authority where the highest value is placed on expertise, being know-it-alls, and masters of the universe. In this era of achievement obsession, great emphasis is placed on knowledge over wisdom and on information over truth.

How Do You Live?
November 20, 2014

Two weeks before she killed herself, my older sister Marcia showed up at my house, wanting to ask an important question. She stared at me for a long time, looking haggard and sad after months of depression, till finally Marcia came out with it. “How do you live?” my sister asked, looking deep into my eyes. “How do you do it?”

Is the Way You Breathe Bad for Your Health?
November 2011

It’s among the most important physical functions our bodies perform. We do it about 20,000 times a day. And still, somehow, most of us get it wrong. “If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be to learn to breathe correctly,” says Andrew Weil, MD, a well-known pioneer in the field of integrative medicine.

Goodbye, Hello!
February 2007

When the love of his life left him stranded, was it the end of all of his happiness – or a chance to strip away some emotional clutter and let the future come to him? Mark Matousek discovers the incredible lightness of losing.

Can You Change Your Partner Just by Changing Yourself?
April 2004

Is it possible to change another person’s behavior—and transform a less-than-perfect relationship—simply by changing your own thoughts? Psychologist Henry Grayson’s theory may very well revolutionize the way we look at love, friendship, and attachment.

Does Heaven Exist?
July 20, 2011

They say heaven is a place on earth. Or is it actually a destination in the sky? We asked five of our favorite spiritual leaders to weigh in on this celestial destination.

How to Forgive — and Why You Should
July 6, 2011

Most everyone — from medical doctors and psychologists to spiritual teachers — agrees that forgiveness is a virtue with wide-ranging benefits. But how do we forgive, exactly? We begin by acknowledging — right off the bat — how difficult it can be to forgive someone who has wounded us deeply.

The Apocalypse Is Coming!
May 19, 2011

A skeptic ponders the prediction that May 21 is Judgment Day. He’s not worried. Are you? Fasten your seat belts, ye miserable sinners. It’s going to be a bumpy weekend, according to the Prophets of Doom. In case you haven’t seen the billboards, on May 21, 2011 (yikes! that’s this weekend), life on Planet Earth will be destroyed.


More Room in a Broken Heart
December 19, 2019

I was working out at the gym this morning, lost in my own head, when I failed to notice an old man grinning at me, shaky on his twin canes, trying to get my attention.

Learning To See: Advice For New Memoirists
Signature Reads
November 28, 2018

A memoir is a universe unto itself, an imagined world of real-life characters, events, and locations brought together to tell a story that exists in memory alone. Constructed from unassailable facts, every memoir is a work of fiction, in fact, a rough simulacrum of the past, more a dreamscape than a photograph.

Mark Matousek on Writing for Health and Transformation
The Creative Mind
February 2018

Mark Matousek “is a bestselling author, teacher and speaker whose work focuses on personal awakening and creative excellence through self-inquiry and life writing.”

Family Matters
Psychotherapy Networker
January/February 2018

Every family is full of ghosts, though some—like mine—are more haunted than others. One ordinary day last year, I was taking a nap when my partner, David, poked me awake and tried to hand me my laptop computer. “You’re not going to believe this,” he said.

What Is Spiritual Genius?
Thrive Global
November 29, 2017

Spiritual genius is rare phenomenon. In the past 30 years, as a writer and seeker, I’ve encountered it only a handful of times as I trawled the planet for saints and sages, individuals claiming enlightenment who might shed some light on our human condition — and what, if anything, lies beyond it.

Time Out!
Saturday Evening Post
September/October 2013

At Mathews Elementary School in Austin, Texas, 10 fifth grade girls are sitting cross-legged on the music room floor with closed eyes and hands folded in their laps, waiting for the egg timer to go off.

Crisis Control
Good Housekeeping
September 14, 2011

Learn the strategies that will help you quickly find your footing when hard times hit. That’s odd, thought Heidi Gottlieb, a 30-year-old TV producer and new mom, when she woke up with double vision one summer day in 1990.

The Merry-Go-Round of Desire
Summer 2004

In the nine years since publishing his first book, Thoughts Without a Thinker, Mark Epstein, M.D. has done more to pioneer the meeting of Buddhist and Western psychologies than any doctor in this country.

A Splinter of Love
Fall 2003

The night she died, my friend Lucy left a message on my answering machine, to thank me for being such a good friend and to tell me how much she loved me. The message made me furious.

Sentenced to Life
Utne Reader

The first time I walked into Dr. Paul Bellman’s office, he said ‘I want you to know that you can survive this thing.’ He looked like Vincent Van Gogh if the painter had gone to a yeshiva: pale skin, red beard, soulful eyes. Unlike his double, however, he didn’t appear to be crazy.