Morning stillness

I just returned home to Boston from visiting my 90-year-old mom in Tokyo. It’s a 13 hour flip of day and night to travel from one to the other. My body clock is all haywire. There’s one positive side of jet lag and waking up at 3am. I got out of bed and sat in the...

Why we love to worry, and what to do about it

Janet, a woman in one of my mindfulness classes, was feeling nervous. She was afraid of speaking up in class. It was a fairly large group – 20 people – and she felt self-conscious about the prospect of so many eyes on her. But she also worried that by staying silent,...

There’s something about the Dalai Lama

Richard Davidson and The University of Wisconsin Madison recently hosted conference called "Change Your Mind, Change the World" attended by many heavy-hitters including the Dalai Lama himself. During one session the presenter talked about a research study showing that...

Meditation as an act of love

"Don't meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless...

How to get out of your own way

I used to write and blog regularly - for many years. But then last summer I went through a major house move that totally disrupted my life and brought my writing to a halt. But that’s mostly just an excuse. I’ll admit it’s inertia and my inner critic that’s getting in...

The dance of allowing

There is no controlling life. Try corralling a lightning bolt, containing a tornado. Dam a stream and it will create a new channel. Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet. Allow, and grace will carry you to higher ground... I recently discovered this...

Lessons from Those Who Lost … and Found

What an inspiring trio of life stories. Three people who went through a major loss -- one that took away arguably their biggest gift in their lives -- and used it to become all the stronger and wiser because of it. The three are Grant Achatz, a chef who lost his sense...

What’s your emotional style?

This little quiz is a little taste from Richard Davidson's latest book, The Emotional Life of Your Brain. It's a self-assessment test to identify your emotional style along six dimensions: Resilience: How quickly you recover from adversity. Outlook: How long you are...

Mirror in the Mirror

A friend posted this beautiful piece on Facebook recently, reminding me how much I’m always so moved it. It’s by the contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Called “Spiegel Im Spiegel” (“Mirror in the Mirror”), it refers to the infinity of reflections that happen...

Journalism and Compassion

This is a wonderful interview with Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for the New York Times, who often covered the worst of human suffering -- like Darfur. In particular, I appreciated his insight that telling the stories of individual people...