October 29, 2018

Guilt & Regret ~ the Emotions Series

“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”  Henry David Thoreau We’re a long way from Walden Pond; even Thoreau’s contemporaries rarely lived such a contemplative life, but let’s take some time now to ponder two […]
February 14, 2017

We Need to Belong

I continue to be surprised by the lack of understanding we have about what we humans need to thrive.   Of course, we know this.  Modern psychology has studied and  confirmed that without social connection, humans simply cannot thrive, They may, in certain cases, even die. Yet, many of us do not live as if we truly know this. This, I’ve […]
January 1, 2017

More Silence, More Peace

The ancients knew there were many times of the year – and in our lives, that signaled a time to slow down.  These were the hours and days for quiet reflection.  Clearly, those days are over in “modern times.”  The reality of  life today is the amount of time reserved for rest has diminished dramatically. Another “casualty” of modern life […]
August 18, 2016

Seeking Human Kindness

“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” ― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas Is kindness “compassion in action?” While there are distinctions made between kindness, empathy, compassion and altruism, most people experience kindness as action. With kindness we take our cognitive experience of […]
June 17, 2016

People at Work ~ I Want To Know More About You

Ask me what is most important. And I will reply, It is people, It is people, It is people Maori Proverb You read a lot these days about the need for new workplace models. There is a growing consensus that decades of rigid, bottom line, often authoritarian management structures kill the culture necessary for real collaborative relationships.  The old models […]
June 12, 2016

12 Steps to More Inner Peace

Lately peace has become a priority for me. When it moved to the top of my list, I can’t say.  In the spirit of questioning priorities, (something we’d all benefit from) I’ve been asking myself some basic questions about the often elusive state I call peace. Since, like many of you, I am not practiced in peace as a way […]
May 5, 2016

Self-Compassion is Just the Beginning

Every so often something I read goes right to the heart of what I need. So it was when I discovered this post by author Katrina Kenison titled, Bucket List  (not a term I use or gravitate towards normally) that contained some wonderful gems and a very important question that resonated with me deeply, “Have I loved my life enough?” Suddenly […]
February 10, 2016

Self-Awareness is the Real Teacher

People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.” St. Augustine Becoming more self-aware is on its way to gaining the social stamp of approval in […]
February 1, 2016

Why We Resist Grief

“If we are lucky, we mourn our losses.”        Miriam Greenspan Language and culture shape how we interpret and define our emotions. We tend to forget that, but it is particularly enlightening when it comes to understanding more about grief. All emotions are experienced through the lens of culture, and grief is a feeling many cultures dread or are, at […]
January 7, 2016

Being Fully Present to Others

In how much of our communication with others are we fully there? If you ask what people want from most of their communication, many will say more clarity, better understanding, greater honesty – maybe even love? Underneath it all, what we really long for are deeper, more meaningful connections with others.  Even when we’re not aware of consciously seeking it, […]
December 3, 2015

What Does it Mean to Live in the Age of Empathy?

If we are living in a so-called Age of Empathy – what does that mean? What does it mean for an individual, a co-worker, an employer, a neighbor, a city or a world society to live with empathy in the face of such harsh daily realities?  What will we do differently in our personal and social lives? What kind of […]
November 20, 2015

Fear’s a Common Response in Today’s World ~ What We Do With It Matters

“Fear does not predict the future: it only tells you that you are afraid. The trick is to recognize the emotion when it emerges, accept it, discover its source and decide what to do with it.”      Jay Uhler, Organizational Psychologist Needless to say, fear is a common emotion in these times. This is a natural reaction, especially in light […]
October 12, 2015

Well-Being is a Skill

Why is so little self-knowledge taught in most schools? Sure, there’s the Life Sciences curriculum where you’ll get some information on anatomy and communicable diseases, but mostly what we learn in school is focused on the externals. With rare exceptions, most children graduate high school with little information about how their bodies, minds and especially their emotions, work. Most of […]
September 24, 2015

Patience = Peace of Mind

Developing more patience has been a long-time personal pursuit. There’s no formula I can recommend. It takes diligence. It takes commitment. It takes attention. Mostly it takes remembering. Lately, I noticed I’ve been sliding back into some old habits of impatience. On closer examination, they’re predictable. I’ve often written about the power of patience because I have experienced that impatience […]
September 3, 2015

The Deeper Layers of Mindfulness

“Realize that you are in there. You must first come to realize that you are in there. From deep inside, you are experiencing the world. You are experiencing your physical body, your thoughts and your emotions. You are conscious and you are experiencing what it is like to be human.” Michael Singer An article in the New Yorker grabbed my […]
August 11, 2015

Vulnerability is our Common Bond

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”  Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times   The problem is – we suffer alone. There isn’t a human being that does […]
July 9, 2015

Choices That Matter

Nothing is precious except that part of you which is in other people, and that part of others which is in you.  — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin It should be self-evident to all of us that the choices earlier generations made resulted in the quality of life we’re living now.  The past is prologue. Since the vast impact of the […]
June 11, 2015

How Emotions Shape Decision Making

Since this piece was first published, it’s been in the top 5 of viewed articles every day. Clearly – the head vs. heart conflict is very much alive.  There is little disagreement that effective decision-making is one of the most important tasks we have in every part of life. If we were to take a survey in the average workplace […]
May 28, 2015

The State of Your Attention ~ How to Engage Life More Fully

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” ~ Mary Oliver The Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn, captures the essence of paying attention – deep, sustained, perceptive attention – when he reminds us, “You have an appointment with life – you should not miss it.” Lately I’ve been keenly aware that life today is filled with endless distractions. […]
May 22, 2015

Renewing Our Belief in the Power of People

“I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.” Pablo Casals   The more I see others from my heart and not my judgment, the more compassion I have for my fellow human beings.  Admittedly, this is a work in progress. There’s something poignant about pilots reporting their final passenger count as having a […]
April 9, 2015

Is Real Mindfulness Possible in Today’s Business Culture?

I’m a believer. Living more mindfully has changed my perspective on life.  I practice (and practice) and I support others, whenever possible, to find the ways that work for them to be more mindful. My motivation, of course, is deeply personal – as everyone’s should be. But I have another “agenda.” When I look around at the state of the […]
March 26, 2015

Mindful Work – AM to PM

This article was inspired by the work of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn’s book, Work: How to Find Joy and Meaning Each Hour of the Day.  For those of you unfamiliar with the work of Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen master, poet, peace and human rights activist was exiled from his homeland of Vietnam in 1966. In the early 60’s […]
February 26, 2015

Building Resiliency through Emotional Awareness

  Resiliency. The ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity. A return to balance. Emotional Buoyancy. Flexibility. Are we what we feel? While that may be a rhetorical question, there is truth behind it.  Because advancing emotional understanding is a central theme in my work, these pages have often explored many facets of expanding emotional awareness.  First […]
February 13, 2015

Simplifying in an Age of Complexity ~ Part 2

I spent a lot of time in Part 1 talking about the state of the economy and the ways that we work.  Some readers may have wondered – what’s this got to do with simplicity? “Work” consumes more time for the average person (especially in the U.S.) than ever – the highest numbers, in fact, since statistics began to measure […]
January 29, 2015

Simplifying in an Age of Complexity ~ Part 1

Simplifying in a time of seeming chaos may feel counterintuitive. Who’s got time for the sweet and simple? Don’t we need to work harder, “up our game” and become tougher than ever to survive? Most people I speak to these days feel a sense of overwhelm. Their lives are filled with pressures and demands. “Busy” has become a socially accepted […]
January 15, 2015

The World Needs More Beauty

When did the world stop needing deeper and more beautiful things? When did we stop believing it was important to create beauty?  Perhaps, “beauty” is the wrong word necessary to focus our highly distracted attention.  Maybe the right word is transcendence? “Transcendence,”  existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level.   You know, the kind of experience that stays with […]
January 8, 2015

Start with 5 Minutes of Meditation a Day to Change the Way You Work

How about 5 minutes a day of deep rest? 10 minutes of peace? 15 minutes of renewal? 20 minutes of rejuvenation? Yes, you can. Meditation can change the way you work – and change the way you feel about life in the process. Knowledge about the benefits of meditation isn’t new. Pioneers like Jon Kabat-Zinn began to mainstream meditation into […]
December 4, 2014

The Scarcity Mindset is Killing Us

Which world view dominates our collective mindset – one of scarcity or abundance? Which world view dominates your personal mindset? It’s an important question because this core world view is easily the mother-ship of most of the beliefs that shape our existence. What you believe; what we believe, determines much of how we act. The world we inhabit today is […]
November 20, 2014

Seeking Human Kindness

Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” ― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas Is kindness “compassion in action?” While there are distinctions made between kindness, empathy, compassion and altruism, most people experience kindness as action. With kindness we take our cognitive experience of […]
October 30, 2014

Question The Answers ~ The Importance of Critical Thinking

It strikes me that this is an era of pressing choices – personal and collective.  Conditioned and habituated thinking cannot address the complexities we face. We’re  caught up in old, polarized, binary thinking that is not only an impediment to our growth – but regressive and potentially dangerous.  How do we make complex decisions in the face of such pressure?  […]
September 25, 2014

What Blocks Our Empathy?

Recently my lack of empathy for someone really surprised me. No matter how I cognitively reframed the subject, I was stuck.  It wasn’t until I became more consciously present to the other feelings  I had about this person that I was able to soften the picture. I felt uncomfortable with my lack of kindness in this situation and wanted to […]
September 11, 2014

We’re Up Against our Mindsets

Looking around the news of the world, I see three basic “camps.”  I’m thinking of these “camps” as ways of reacting/responding to the fast-changing world we all face today. The first I’ll call the “Stand Your Ground” camp. This camp is generally uninterested in change. It’s mainly reactive to the world as it unfolds, always strategizing how to maintain the […]
September 4, 2014

How Much Does Fear Motivate Your Choices in Life?

Lately I’ve been reflecting on this question. It’s an important one. Maybe less important when you’re 25 (though I wish I had kept it in the forefront of my mind at that age) but I can’t think how asking it doesn’t reveal what we are hiding, avoiding or displacing at any age. Nearly everywhere I look online I see references […]
July 25, 2014

Knowing What You Really Want

In earlier writings on self-compassion, I asked what I consider to be a core question, Have I loved my life enough? Another way of asking this is – Have I loved myself enough? Either question takes you down the same path. All of life is driven by needs. Needs energize our life, generate motivation and shape the meaning of our experiences. […]
July 3, 2014

Mindfulness is a Whole Body Experience

“Emotions like grief, fear and despair are as much a part of the human condition as love, awe and joy. Each of these emotions is purposeful and useful-if we know how to listen to them.”     Miriam Greenspan   Intellectually, I know that emotions live in the body. The research demonstrating the mind-body relationship becomes more definitive each year.  But, […]
June 26, 2014

Rethinking the Workplace Relationship of the Future

Diego Rivera’s The Worker Isn’t it time to change the dominant stories we’ve been taught about workplace relationships? They’re old, exhausted and defeating. They’re based on models of thinking about human motivation and dynamics that have been discredited by modern science. These old stories are steeped in mistrust. They’re hierarchical and parental in nature and based on a belief that […]
June 19, 2014

Collaboration: The Essential Emotions

Successful collaboration is built on a high level of emotional literacy. Without the capacity to generate and sustain certain feelings, our ability to collaborate authentically with others isn’t possible. By the time most of us reach adulthood, our emotional repertoire has become habituated.   Emotional habits are then fueled by our thinking process which is also fixed into patterns.  Beliefs […]
June 5, 2014

Mindfulness is Not a Quick-Fix

Now that we’re in the era of praise, hyperbole and misconception about what mindfulness (meditation) is all about – let’s step back and take a look at what we know. While I’ve often written about mindfulness and personally and professionally endorse its benefits, I’m concerned that the essence of the practice is being co-opted. Business media coverage of a practice […]
May 29, 2014

Curiousity~the Go-To Emotion (Reprise)

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.  Dorothy Parker I was a really curious kid. How about you? They say all kids (and apparently cats) are curious. Of course that’s true (I mean about the kids, I don’t know enough about cats to make that claim) but I was a very curious kid. I always […]
May 8, 2014

No Pain No Gain? Rethinking Success

We’re living in an age of liminality.  Some of us are aware of it, already feeling its weight and disorientation. The signs are everywhere – if you look.  Liminality is that period of being in-between – the old stories we told ourselves about the future – especially about success – are being challenged, some fading into irrelevancy. The fugue-like state […]
April 22, 2014

Let Nature Heal You

It’s Earth Day – A perfect time to reconsider and renew your relationship with the natural world. Think about your connection to nature – how often do you spend time outdoors? Not commuting or running errands, but with the deliberate intent to be with nature. Even though studies show that even 30 minutes outdoors can boost vitality levels and curb […]
February 5, 2021

Why Neuroscience Should Change the Way We Work~ Pt.2

Since Part 1 of this article was published it has consistently remained in the blog’s top  10.  I’m grateful for the response and I’ve been inspired to write more about the fascinating, emergent world of neuroscience. While I am a very informal student of the science, what I’ve learned has reshaped the way I approach my work.  As I wrote […]
October 10, 2018

Mindful Work – AM to PM

This article was inspired by the work of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn’s book, Work: How to Find Joy and Meaning Each Hour of the Day.  For those of you unfamiliar with the work of Thich Nhat Hanh (affectionately known as Thay) the Zen master, poet, peace and human rights activist was exiled from his homeland of Vietnam in 1966. […]
January 1, 2018

The 8 Enablers of JOY

When was the last time you experienced joy? To answer the question it helps to remember what joy feels like in your body. Like all other emotions, joy has its own unique biological signature. We memorize emotions in our bodies.  With those emotions we experience less often, we may have to work a little harder to recall how they felt.  […]
March 11, 2017

Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?  

Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver’s haunting question should become a mantra for life in the 21st century. Seemingly inured to stress, too many of us speed through each day without taking the time to stop and ask – what have I traded a day of my life for today? Jumping on the mindfulness bandwagon dozens of articles still ask, “Can […]
January 21, 2017

You are Hard-Wired for Altruism

Through the tragic events and natural disasters of the past decades we’ve seen  extraordinary outpourings of help and compassion for neighbors – and most important, strangers. Tragic events seem to galvanize our empathy and evoke great acts of kindness in response. In the past decade we have also been the beneficiaries of valuable findings from research to better understand the motives […]
December 5, 2016

Empathy Killers

In doing some research on empathy I came across this article and found myself  so “hooked” by it that I sat down to write this piece. Nicholas Kristof’s compelling New York Times article, Where is the Love, discusses the pushback he’s received from many readers on food stamp recipients, prison inmates and the uninsured.  Writing about hungry children, Kristof shares […]