Aging Is a Curriculum: How to Shift From Role to Soul
September 21, 2021

Jungian-oriented therapist Connie Zweig explains the inner work of aging.


Family Practice: How to Love Without Hurting So Much
July 30, 2021

Author Mark Wolynn talks about the art of healing family wounds.


Becoming Secure: The Science of Healthy Relationships
May 18, 2021

Dr. Amir Levine discusses the biology of attachment and interconnection.


Natalie Goldberg Falls in Love: The Seductive Power of Haiku
February 22, 2021

The acclaimed author describes how three simple lines can change your life.


Rupert Spira: The Direct Path to Freedom
November 10, 2020

The renowned teacher’s no-nonsense approach to spiritual awakening.


Cassandra Was Right: Trusting the Prophetic Power of Women
October 27, 2020

Bestselling author Elizabeth Lesser on changing the man-centered human story.


Taming the Chaos: The Promise of Real Change
October 21, 2020

Bestselling author Sharon Salzberg on the power of authenticity in action.


Principal of Pleasure: The Liberating Wisdom of Thomas Moore
September 21, 2020

The Jungian therapist and bestselling author talks about the soul of desire.


Solitude Will Change Your Life: How to Be Alone With Others
September 21, 2020

Author and ex-monk Stephen Batchelor on the ageless practice of self-reflection.


Who Can You Trust?: Overcoming Pandemic Paranoia
August 26, 2020

This virus will take over your life if you let it.


Waking Up at the Googleplex
August 6, 2020

The teacher behind Search Inside Yourself offers tools for troubled times.


The Temple is the World
July 21, 2020

Tenderness is the key to coming alive, says poet-philosopher Mark Nepo.


The Perfection of Things as They Are
June 4, 2020

A conversation with poet Jane Hirshfield.


The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Need to Punish
December 11, 2019

We live in unforgiving times. Public self-righteousness is on the rise and the taste for revenge has never been greater.


Unreliable Narrators: Everybody Lies a Little (a Lot)
November 13, 2019

We flatter ourselves into thinking we’re honest people but often this is a bald-faced lie. We are not a species that’s truthful by nature. We’re fabricators, storytellers, myth makers, tail spinners, inventors of alternate realities who rely on our ability to misrepresent ourselves as part of our survival repertoire.


Virgin Encounters: What to Do With an Apparition?
November 5, 2019

In the summer of 2011, Clark Strand, a respected author, former Zen monk, and someone whose work and hard-headed intelligence I have always admired, had an encounter so uncanny that it changed the course of his life.


The Death of Paradox
June 3, 2019

It used to be that human beings were allowed to be contradictory. In the age of self-branding and character-narrowing to fit into bite-sized memes, however, this is frequently no longer the case.


From Suffering to Peace: The True Promise of Mindfulness
June 5, 2019

Like yoga before it, mindfulness is now flourishing in every sector of society, including the field of mental health. But what is mindfulness, exactly, and how can we understand this ancient approach to enlightened living in the context of distinctly modern malaises?


The Skeptic’s Guide to Enlightenment
April 23, 2019

I’ve always been a skeptical person, incapable of religious devotion or adherence to a single philosophical creed. My interest in enlightenment is purely pragmatic.


Mark Nepo: More Together Than Alone
November 13, 2018

Mark Nepo has been clearing the path of spiritual inquiry for more than forty years. He is the author of twenty books, including The One Life We’re Given, The Endless Practice, and the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Book of Awakening. In his newest offering, More Together Than Alone, the philosopher-poet examines the subject of belonging and our urgent need for community in today’s challenging, fragmented world.


Ordinary Heartbreak
October 23, 2018

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. “Ey, mon, he sayin’ hello to ya,” his Caribbean assistant said as if I’d been rude. It was only then I turned to look at the old man’s dim eyes behind his dirty glasses, searching mine, trying to connect.


Micro-Dose Anyone? The Journeying Craze Takes Off
June 4, 2018

My friend was having a mid-life crisis. A clinical psychologist with a trestle of Ivy League degrees on her wall, she was feeling the slump of 57 and the ennui of asking is that all there is? “I need to think outside the box. My practice has sucked the life out of me. I have to get my life back!”


Writing To Awaken: The Story of Your Life
November 9, 2017

Realizing you are not your story is a quantum leap in self-realization. I started to write compulsively when I was in the second grade; journals filled with secret thoughts and shameful truths that I could tell no one. Many writers begin this way, turning inward as children to look for answers they can’t find around them.


The State of Affairs
October 20, 2017

Esther Perel is one of the most insightful and provocative voices on the paradoxical nature of human interaction in intimacy. She is the best-selling author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence and has been featured in two highly popular TED Talks (19 million views and counting).


Heart on Fire: Confessions of a Love Warrior
September 27, 2017

Both personally and artistically, Scott Stabile is a charmer: a vulnerable, funny, intelligent writer who takes himself not too seriously, but seriously enough to ask important questions. In his newest book, Big Love, a courageously honest collection of personal essays, he takes the reader on a wild ride through the landscape of love’s possibilities.


Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Sage Advice In Unwise Times
May 30, 2017

Adyashanti is among the most gifted and original spiritual teachers practicing in the world today. Though trained in Zen Buddhism, Adyashanti has since shed the trappings of traditional dharma, and developed a non secular, lingo-free, forward-looking teaching all his own, delivered in his unpretentious, California-guy style.


Stop The Search: An Interview With Gangaji
May 23, 2017

Gangaji was born Merle Antoinette (Toni) Roberson on June 11, 1942, and grew up in Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Mississippi, she married and had a family, then taught school, before moving to San Francisco and entering the counter culture movement.


Real Love: A Conversation With Sharon Salzberg
May 17, 2017

Sharon Salzberg is a New York Times best selling author and pioneer of Buddhism in the West. She co-founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein in 1974, and has been leading retreats around the world for over three decades.


Make Peace With Your Mind: A Conversation With Mark Coleman
January 31, 2017

Mark Coleman is an internationally recognized mindfulness facilitator who has guided students on five continents to find greater peace and fulfillment through nature-based mindfulness practice and mindfulness retreats.


Speaking Truth to Power: An Interview With Peter Buffett
December 3, 2016

Peter Buffett is living proof that compassion and power can go hand in hand. The youngest son of investor Warren Buffett, Peter is an Emmy Award-winning musician and author who cares far more about healing the planet—particularly addressing the plight of women and girls—than he does about ego, status, or wealth.


Dropping the Struggle: A Conversation With Roger Housden
November 10, 2016

Roger Housden calls himself a lifelong student of the beauty of the word. To this end, the British-born author and teacher has has published 23 books, including the best-selling Ten Poems (which began with Ten Poems to Change Your Life), Keeping the Faith Without a Religion, and Saved by Beauty.


The One Life We’re Given: A Conversation With Mark Nepo
October 7, 2016

Mark Nepo’s latest book is called The One Life We’re Given: Finding the Wisdom That Waits in Your Heart. It explores how our hard work and authenticity ready us for meaning and grace in our lives, and how our sincerity and effort help us survive and thrive.


Marrow: A Love Story: Sitting Down With Elizabeth Lesser
September 23, 2016

Elizabeth Lesser is one of my favorite writers and someone I have long admired. Best known as the co-founder of The Omega Institute in upstate New York, Elizabeth has been at the forefront of cultural change and spiritual development for the past 30 years.


Sacred America, Sacred World: A New Book by Stephen Dinan
August 5, 2016

Stephen Dinan is the founder and CEO of The Shift Network and a member of the Transformational Leadership Council and Evolutionary Leaders. The Shift Network was founded in 2010 and has served over 700,000 people worldwide, with customers in 150 countries.


The Writing Life: An Interview With Natalie Goldberg
July 19, 2016

Natalie Goldberg shoots from the hip. The the author of Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, Goldberg is an artist and teacher who doesn’t suffer fools, mince words, or waiver in her passionate commitment to writing as a spiritual practice.


It Didn’t Start With You: The Mystery of Inherited Trauma
June 23, 2016

Mark Wolynn is the author of the fascinating new book It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle. As Director of the Family Constellation Institute and the Hellinger Institute of Northern California, he specializes in working with depression, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, fears, panic disorders, self-injury, chronic pain and persistent symptoms and conditions.


The Journey Within: Autobiography of a Modern Yogi
June 7, 2016

Radhanath Swami is a visionary force of nature. The American-born spiritual leader, social activist, and author (who began life 65 years ago as Richard Slavin in Chicago) has been a Bhakti Yoga practitioner and teacher for more than forty years. He is best known for his bestselling 2008 memoir, The Journey Home: Autobiography of An American Swami .


Play Life More Beautifully: A Meeting With Seymour Bernstein
March 8, 2016

Seymour Bernstein is a phenomenon. A piano prodigy who gave up his successful concert career at 30 to devote himself to teaching, Bernstein is the subject of a new documentary by actor Ethan Hawke, Seymour: An Introduction.


Living the Eternal Way: A Talk With Ellen Grace O’Brian
February 26, 2016

Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian is the Spiritual Director for the Center of Spiritual Enlightenment in San Jose, California, a meditation center in the spiritual tradition of Kriya Yoga that serves people from all faith backgrounds. The author of numerous books including, Living the Eternal Way: Spiritual Meaning and Practice in Everyday Life, O’Brian was ordained to teach in 1982 by Roy Eugene Davis, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda who brought the teachings of Kriya Yoga from India to the West.


Story of A Soul: An Intimate Conversation with Mirabai Starr
January 27, 2016

Mirabai Starr is an interspiritual author and speaker who leads retreats internationally on the mystics and contemplative life. She is best known for her acclaimed translations of Dark Night of the Soul and The Interior Castle, as well as God Of Love. Her long-awaited memoir, Caravan of No Despair, is an extraordinary account of Starr’s search for her lost daughter and fascinating experiences at the epicenter of the American spiritual scene for the past four decades.


Inside the Miracle: An Interview With Mark Nepo
December 3, 2015

Mark Nepo is an author and teacher with more than forty years experience teaching poetry and philosophy. His published works include The Book of Awakening, a New York Times Best Seller, and his newest Inside the Miracle: Enduring Suffering, Approaching Wholeness, a meditation on awakening, healing and impermanence.


Releasing the Barriers to Love: An Interview with Tara Brach
November 24, 2015

Tara Brach, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, lecturer and popular teacher of Buddhist mindfulness meditation. She is the author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, and True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart.


The Insecurity Paradox
August 17, 2015

Life can change in the blink of an eye. Your number comes up and you win the Lotto. Your doctor calls with a bad diagnosis. Your boss kicks you out without any warning. Your wife-to-be sits next to you on a plane. Joan Didion puts it this way. “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant.”


Waking Up To the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age
May 11,2015

Clark Strand has been studying the world’s spiritual traditions for more than thirty years. A former senior editor at Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, he is the author of Waking the Buddha, Meditation Without Gurus, and How To Believe in God. His latest book is Waking To The Dark: Ancient Wisdom For a Sleepless Age. I talked to Strand about what we’ve lost in an electrified age and the soul’s hunger for the gifts of darkness.


A Woman’s Father is Key To Her Power
May 10, 2015

Pythia Peay is an author and depth journalist on psychology, spirituality and the American psyche. Her essays and interviews have appeared in a wide range of publications including The Washington Post, Utne Magazine, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Huffington Post. This month, her two long-awaited books will be published, American Icarus: A Daughter’s Memoir of Father and Country and America On the Couch: Psychological Perspectives on American Politics and Culture. The memoir is a profoundly moving, beautifully written testimony to a daughter’s love for her Greatest Generation father with all his wounds and troubles.


Kevin Sessums 2.0: Waking Up After the Fire
March 10, 2015

I’ve known Keven Sessums for 35 years. When we met, he was a publicist at Paramount Studios and I was an editor at Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine. The week before leaving my job, I talked to Kevin about replacing me, which he did, moving into the magazine business. The rest as they say is history.


Practicing Real Happiness: An Interview With Sharon Salzberg
October 29, 2014

Sharon Salzberg is a New York Times bestselling author and teacher who co-founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein in 1974. Her books include Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, A Heart as Wide as the World,  and Real Happiness. I talked to my longtime friend and colleague about practice, compassion, and why happiness is more than what we think.


Two Ways to Listen: A Visit to “Enlightening Conversations”
July 10, 2014

One recent evening in New York City, eight luminaries from the worlds of psychotherapy and Buddhism were onstage talking about ways in which their disciplines can work together and others where, despite best intentions, their worldviews will never meet. Analyst Polly Young-Eisendrath, author of the book, The Present Heart, was the force behind “Enlightening Conversations: Opportunities and Obstacles in Human Awakening,” in sponsorship with Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.


No More Masks!: Advice From A Master Poet
May 26, 2014

Ellen Bass is an award-winning poet and teacher whose work I’ve admired since the 1980s, when her bestselling book, The Courage To Heal, helped to open my eyes to the power of writing as a tool for self-realization and –reckoning.


The Awakened Heart: A Conversation With Tara Brach
May 15, 2014

Tara Brach, Ph.D. is one of my very favorite teachers. A leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing, and spiritual awakening (whose talks are downloaded free nearly 200,000 times each month by people in more than 150 countries), Brach is a practicing clinical psychologist and the founder of the Insight Meditation Community in Washington, D.C., having practiced and taught meditation for over 35 years. She is the author of two remarkable books, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha and True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart. I spoke to Tara recently about the integration of mindfulness practice in therapy, and the importance of compassionate presence to the healing process.


Master of Soul: An Interview With Thomas Moore
May 12, 2014

Thomas Moore is one of my favorite authors and thinkers. The author of Care of the Soul as well as fifteen other books on deepening spirituality and cultivating soul in every aspect of life, including, most recently, A Religion of One’s Own, Moore has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, and a psychotherapist, and today lectures widely on holistic medicine, spirituality, psychotherapy, and the arts. I spoke to the renegade Jungian recently about creativity and awakening in everyday life.


Walk Out of Your Dream: A Meeting With Adyashanti
April 28, 2014

Adyashanti is an American-born spiritual teacher devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. He is the author of The Way of Liberation, Falling into Grace, True Meditation, and Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic. I’ve done a number of retreats with Adya who is in my estimation one of the three truly original spiritual thinkers of our moment, the other two being Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie. We had a great time talking about the process of enlightenment and how Christianity lost its way.


Fixing a World That’s Out of Balance
April 16, 2014

Peter Buffett is a poet in philanthropist’s clothing. The youngest son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Peter is an Emmy Award-winning musician and composer, and an author who cares far more about healing the planet—particularly addressing the plight of women and girls—than ego, status, or wealth.


The True Secret of Writing: A Talk With Natalie Goldberg
April 9, 2014

Natalie Goldberg is the author of Writing Down The Bones: Freeing The Writer Within, which broke open the world of creativity in the 1980s and started a revolution in the way we practice writing in this country. Her new book, The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life With Language, is a masterful distillation of the “True Secret” workshops that Natalie has been giving for years near her home in Taos, New Mexico and around the globe. We talked about what this true secret is and why it matters so much for people who write — and those who don’t.


How the Words We Use Reveal Who We Are
March 21, 2014

James Pennebaker is an American social psychologist and the Centennial Liberal Arts Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. A pioneer of writing therapy, he has spent decades examining the link between language and recovering from trauma, and been recognized by the American Psychological Association as one of the top researchers on trauma, disclosure, and health.


Risk Is Extra Life: Can Writing Make Us Brave?
March 11, 2014

Michael Klein is living proof that real poets are born not made. Big-voiced, big-hearted, and utterly wild, Klein transforms a room when he enters it, injecting a kind of liberating madness, an exuberance that challenges others to be larger, more original, and free than they already are (this is what real poets do for the rest of us). “Risk is extra life,” wrote Klein, 59, in one of his poems, and risk has been his credo, indeed, in the award-winning books that have earned him a formidable literary reputation as well as the love of his writing students.


Can We Keep the Faith Without a Religion?
February 28, 2014

Roger Housden is a bestselling author, teacher, and lifelong “student of the beauty of the word.” A native of Bath, England, he immigrated to the United States in 1998 and is the author of twenty books, including Chasing Love and Revelation, the best-selling Ten Poems series, and Keeping the Faith Without a Religion. Housden has led contemplative journeys in the Sahara Desert, India, and the United States, and gives public recitals of ecstatic poetry from the world’s great literary and spiritual traditions.


Voice of Beauty: Mirriam-Goldberg Speaks From the Heart
February 11, 2014

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is author of 16 books, including The Divorce Girl, Needle In the Bone: How a Holocaust Survivor and Polish Resistance Fighter Beat the Odds and Found Each Other, and The Sky Begins at Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body. She was honored as the third Kansas Poet Laureate (2009–2012) and is, in addition to her writing achievements, a beloved teacher, inspirational artist, cancer survivor, and spiritual seeker. Mirriam-Goldberg talked to me recently about the sacred power of words and why, as Dostoevsky contended, “beauty will save the world.”


Journal To The Self: An Interview with Kathleen Adams
January 28, 2014

Kathleen (Kay) Adams LPC is a psychotherapist and clinical journal therapist in Denver, Colorado. Since 1985, she has pioneered the use of writing as a tool in therapy, personal growth, human potential, and beyond. Adams is the author/editor of ten books in the field of therapeutic writing, including the best-selling, Journal to the Self and Expressive Writing: Foundations of Practice. She directs the Center for Journal Therapy. I recently spoke to Kay Adams about the healing powers of personal writing, and how journaling became her life’s work.


Saved By A Poem: An Interview with Kim Rosen
January 25, 2014

Kim Rosen has awakened listeners around the world to the power of poetry to heal and transform individuals and communities. The author of Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words, she combines a lifelong devotion to poetry with her background in psychotherapy and spirituality and offers lectures, retreats, and poetry concerts in a variety of settings around the world, ranging from universities, churches, corporations, and hospices. I recently talked to this extraordinary teacher and writer about the transformative power of poetry and how to bring “healing words” into our everyday lives.


The Artist’s Way: An Interview With Julia Cameron
January 23, 2014

When Julia Cameron began sharing her ideas about creativity with a few friends in her living room 25 years ago, she never imagined that these conversations were leading her to a gold mine (both artistic and financial). Since its publication in 1992, Cameron’s landmark book, The Artists Way, has helped millions of people around the world to discover–and recover– their creativity through daily, free writing exercises she calls Morning Pages.


Exit Laughing: The Story Behind “The December Project”
January 21, 2014

Sara Davidson is the New York Times best-selling author of Loose Change, Leap! , and Joan: Forty Years of Love, Loss and Friendship with Joan Didion. A few years ago, she was surprised by a call from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a colorful and brilliant rabbi of 89 (and founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement) asking her to talk with him about something he called The December Project.


Why Mysticism Isn’t A Dirty Word
January 2, 2014

Non-duality is the philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of non-separation and fundamental, intrinsic oneness. For thousand of years, through deep inner inquiry, philosophers and sages have came to the realization that there is only one substance and we are all, therefore, a part of it.


The School of Life: An Interview with Alain de Botton
November 29, 2013

Alain de Botton is one of my favorite living writers. Best known for brilliant, genre-rattling books that include How Proust Can Change Your Life, Essays in Love, Status Anxiety, and most recently How To Think More About Sex, the Swiss-British philosopher, television presenter, public intellectual, and entrepreneur has made a career out of smuggling high-minded topics onto bestseller lists as way of getting “ideas to impact on the way we actually live.”


Use Your Body To Heal Your Mind: Dr. Henry Grayson
November 13, 2013

Dr. Henry Grayson is on the cutting edge of mind/body/spirit psychology. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from Boston University and a post-doctoral certificate in psychoanalysis from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health. He has studied neuropsychology, the major psychotherapies, the new power therapies, quantum physics and Eastern and Western spiritual philosophies. This rich background led him to his work in spiritually based, mind body energy psychology and his creation of Synergetic Therapy.


The Transformation Catalyst
October 7, 2013

Christine Kloser is a force of nature. As a leader in the burgeoning field of transformational writing, Kloser is an award-winning author and teacher known to thousands of students around the world as “the transformation catalyst,” an entrepreneurial powerhouse whose mission is to help authors “unleash their authentic voice, share their message on the pages of a book, and make a difference in the world.”


Hello, Genius: Five Steps to Creative Freedom
August 27, 2013

You are a genius but probably don’t know it. Each of is born with a specific gift that exists nowhere else in all of creation. In ancient Rome, it was well understood that everyone had his or her own genius, or tutelary spirit, whose sole purpose is to inspire our lives and guide us to our unique destiny. This is a wisdom, alas, that we have forgotten.


Ethical Wisdom For Friends
August 2, 2013

Friendships are the great unexplored love relationships in most of our lives. We pay attention to romance, we attend closely to family, but we often forget the complexity — and urgency — of caring for our friendship bonds.


The Eros of Friendship: What To Do With Platonic Passion?
May 12, 2013

Every friend is a lover, too. Not a sexual lover, necessarily, unless friends are playing it fast and loose, which usually spells the end of the friendship. Lovers in the sense of a shared bond related to passion, or life’s work, or secrets. Sometimes, the shared bond is a wound or a common enemy, and other times it’s a strange mutuality bordering on romantic attraction yet aimed at something beyond one another.


Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
March 29, 2013

Esther Perel is a triple threat. Visionary, beautiful, and ferociously intelligent, the Belgian-born psychotherapist and author best known for Mating In Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, a landmark book that introduced millions of couples to the conflict between intimacy and sex, and how to be married and hot at the same time.


The Breath of Freedom
December 10, 2012

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. Breathing properly is a secret health weapon rarely spoken of by mainstream physicians or mental health practitioners. Yet nothing could be more vital. “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.


Other People’s Children
September 4, 2012

It’s hard to know when to open your mouth when it comes to other people’s children. Take my friend Felicia. Felicia didn’t mean to spy on Trevor. At least, that’s what she told herself. Fifteen-year-old Trevor was the son of Felicia’s friend, T.


When Friends Get Rich or Famous (or Both)
May 29, 2012

Penelope was not an envious person. At 36, Penelope was satisfied with her life as a mid-level editor at the women’s magazine where she had been hired straight out of college. She was not a person who ‘lived to work’—Penelope never had been—but, rather, a person who ‘worked to live’ as a way of helping her husband support their family, which had always come first.


Deacon Don and His Broken Neck Boys: Resilience in Action
February 26, 2012

Deacon Don Grossnickle isn’t a saint. He is on a mighty high road, however, thanks to his Broken Neck Boys. Twelve years ago, this 63-year-old Chicago minister and educator was called to the bedside of a suicidal teenager named Rocky Clark. Clark, 19, was a former high school football star who’d broken his neck the previous year and desperately needed spiritual guidance.


Oscar Wilde Slept Here: The Funny Side of Death
January 21, 2012

Death isn’t funny, but people are. And when people die, funny things happen. A few years back, I was volunteering at a hospice in New York City. Two afternoons a week, I spent time with dying people I didn’t know, rubbed their feet, fetched them liquids, listened to their eleventh hour stories.


What’s Your Metaphor? Shifting Shapes in the New Year
December 29, 2011

One wintry afternoon last month, I was strolling through a forest with a philosopher friend when she stopped dead in her tracks, all of a sudden, staring up through the trees at a patch of blue sky. “This is exactly what my life feels like.”


To Gossip Is Human: Why We Share Secrets
December 7, 2011

The most painful breakup of my life occurred when four of my best friends dumped me, simultaneously, over an incident involving gossip. Though I meant no harm by this slip of the tongue to a best friend who — I assumed — knew this story, too (since he was better friends with the source than I was), I instantly became persona non grata, the big mouth, the scapegoat, the not-to-be-trusted.


The Happy Beggar: You Are Enough
December 2, 2011

There’s a story about a beggar who’s sitting on the side of a road. The old man has been on the road for years. A stranger approaches one afternoon. “Spare some change?” mumbles the beggar, mechanically shaking his tin cup.


A Turkey, a Tablet of Prozac, and Thou: Thanksgiving in Troubled Times
November 28, 2011

My mother-in-law was having her Thanksgiving Breakdown. “I hate this holiday,” Bev complained, keening back and forth in the kitchen chair.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, knowing the answer already. Bev has had a tough year. Her husband’s illness is getting worse. Her grandson just had a kid out of wedlock. She has pain in her legs, the economy stinks, and Barack Obama is still in the White House.


Post-Catastrophe Living: Gabrielle Giffords’ Secret Weapon
November 16, 2011

Where do people like Gabrielle Giffords find the strength to carry on after they survive the worst? How can the ex-Arizona Congresswoman shot at point blank range last year in an incident that left six people dead and a dozen other injured, even think of getting back into politics after almost dying, as she told ABC’s Diane Sawyer on Monday night? What makes Gabrielle Giffords run?


Confessions of a Mask: The Temptations of Online Anonymity
November 11, 2011

Dating is a miserable business. Part popularity contest, part Nuremberg Trial, part aikido (block that rejection!), we meet and greet and hope for the best, sometimes clicking, mostly not, and often wondering: Why do we bother?


The Paterno Effect: Keep Your Job or Lose Your Manhood?
November 9, 2011

As investigators are working to figure out what Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno and other administrators knew about the ongoing sexual abuse perpetrated by one of their staff, another, equally troubling question is burning in the public conscience: How guilty are we for crimes we do not commit but fail to report?


It’s None of Your Business
October 21, 2011

Though gossip is inevitable, it also gives us a false sense of power. While evolution has prepared us to dish about others, it has not provided us with the power to change them in any way whatsoever, no matter how brilliant our input may be.


The Life Saving Power of Hope
September 17, 2011

One rainy afternoon in London, under an ominous mackerel sky, I find myself in a back corridor of the Tate Gallery, standing before an 18th century painting I have never seen before. It is an oil-on-canvas portrait of Hope, the allegorical goddess, as depicted in 1886 by George Frederick Watts.


Your Secret Destination: Every Life Is a Labyrinth
September 7, 2011

“Every journey has a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware,” a philosopher wrote. The notion of life as a labyrinth is an ancient one, with each pathway we follow digressing, recircling, occluding, delivering us, unexpectedly, to unsuspected crossroads and brinks.


The Ethical Guerrilla
June 22, 2011

Dear Ethical Guerrilla:

I’m no spring chicken and a member of the work force. For obvious reasons,I think a lot about how businesses like to get rid of us after we hit 40. Till now, I have always taken offense at this – as if the younger generation owes us a job, owes us respect, owes us the courtesy of not being held to tough standards.


The Ethical Guerrilla
June 21, 2011

Recently, the Danish dating website, Beautifulpeople.com, dumped 30,000 members who were designated as “too ugly.” I was flabbergasted. We already know that attractive people get hired faster than “ugly” people (not to mention married). The beautiful people — whoever THEY are — seem to have been born with the keys to the kingdom. Should society level the playing field and protect the rights of the esthetically-challenged (like myself)? Or are we heading toward a future when not being beautiful will likened to a civil offense?


The Ethical Guerrilla
June 14, 2011

It’s a jungle out there — sexually speaking. That’s why the Germans say that when the penis gets hard, the brain goes soft. We’re overwhelmed by pheromones, smitten by lust, rendering our ethical brains kaput.


Are We Born to Be Wise?
May 10, 2011

It’s interesting to learn that we are born with a five-part moral “organ” that helps us make ethical choices. Moral psychologists tell us that in spite of the fact that we can be competitive, greedy, dishonest,unfair, aggressive, philandering, power-hungry and slothful, we are also endowed with an ancient quintet of human concerns that have enabled our highly imperfect species to survive against the tremendous odds.


Two-Minute Memoir: My Muse (With Benefits)
May 3, 2011

I didn’t know my teacher was a thief until after she had already seduced me.
The night it happened was magical. I was a 19-year-old surfer from California enrolled in Marguerite’s* college French class. She was a 33-year-old, Sorbonne-educated hottie with a mammoth intellect and luminous copper eyes.


The Happy Face Advantage
April 26, 2011

Emotions speak a language all their own. We’ve known this since the 1970s, when maverick scientists like Dr. Candace Pert redefined how emotion works throughout our physical structure. Pert, a researcher and pharmacologist, rocked the neuroscience world when she and a group of colleagues discovered the opiate receptor in the brain.


The Meeting Eyes of Love
April 8, 2011

You learn the world from your mother’s face. The mother’s eyes, especially, are a child’s refuge, the mirror where children confirm their existence. From the doting reflection of its mother’s eyes, a baby draws its earliest, wordless lessons about connection, care, and love, and about how being ignored – which every child is sooner or later – makes the good feeling disappear.


I Feel Your Pain, But Why?
March 28, 2011

Why do we feel each other’s pain? The ability to suffer not only our own pain — which anything with a rudimentary nervous system can do — but also the pain of others, has long been considered the distilled essence of our humanity. Altruism, which comes from the Latin root alter, or “other,” could not exist without this distinction, but it is only since the mid 1990s that we’ve actually come to understand how empathy is sparked in the human brain, and why our species alone — in all of creation — has the hard wired ability to step far enough outside ourselves to walk in another person’s shoes