• The Open Heart

    When the eyes open, the heart opens. The more you see, the more you feel. Even an ordinary walk through the neighborhood breaks you open—the desiccated skull of a hummingbird, an out-of-season flower, a discarded condom wrapper—everywhere you look the poignancy and insistence of life, death, and everything in between. It’s as if the whole […]

  • Art and Memory

    There is a mistaken assumption that memories are reasonably accurate movies, little pieces of trustworthy journalism, reliable reporting about prior events. It’s a comforting, if false assumption. I’m afraid the truth is much less comforting. Truth is like that. Believing that memories are reliable helps us cling to the notion that there is a clear […]

  • Ten Best Life Hacks

    Feeling lost and adrift? Out of sorts? Cut off from the things that used to bring you joy? Does it feel like a stranger has taken up residence in your own skin? Here are ten life hacks that will quickly get you back on track toward your own best life. 1. Get up earlier Instead […]

  • Wash Your Bowl

    There’s a Zen story about a young man who wants to become a monk. He wants to become enlightened. The Master accepts the young adept into the monastic order, and another monk leads him to his tiny room. No one says much. They pretty much leave him alone. He’s invited to the all-day meditation sessions, […]

  • The Evolution of Music

    I was five years old in February 1964. The Ed Sullivan Show was a 7 p.m. Sunday night ritual in our home, followed by Bonanza at eight o’clock. There I was, sitting cross legged in front of the black and white television, ready for the evening’s entertainment. And then it happened. The Beatles. The Beatles […]

  • Innerstanding

    We need a new word, a word for that indescribable awareness within—that dawning realization that did not come second hand from another, or from a book, or at the end of a long line of reasoning. It simply arrived—a lucidity, a clarity, a simple wordless opening through which to see the world. “Understanding” doesn’t quite […]

  • Why Travel Matters

    If you think traveling is expensive, try staying home. It’ll cost you everything. Travel, on any budget, changes you. It destroys your old boundaries, resets your trajectories, and lets you loose in a world where anything is possible. You’re challenged, and you grow. You come home stronger, freer, happier, and more alive. Staying home binds […]

  • Wildflowers

    After eight straight years of record-setting drought, the rain finally came to California. The Sierra Nevada mountains are packed with snow, ensuring full rivers and lakes all summer long. The Giant Sequoias finally got the deep watering they so richly deserve. And the 40 million people who call California home can breathe a little easier […]

  • Call Off the Search

    When on their 1987 masterpiece Joshua Tree U2 sang “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” everyone knew exactly what they meant. We seem hard-wired to search, a behavior we no doubt learned hunting and gathering all around the world these last hundred thousand years. An unquenchable longing pushes us toward ever new horizons. […]