Anything

My last cycle of REM sleep often occurs just before I wake. It is during this time that your brain processes emotions and emotional memories. It is also when we dream. Lately, it seems as if the emotions I’m processing range from mildly troubling to deeply disturbing. As I often remember my dreams, this can lead to an unsettling start to my day.

As it was this morning.…


Chairs

It is a common misconception that Thoreau was a hermit. That when he went to “live deliberately and confront only the essentials of life” it was an act of seclusion.

His choice of furniture and its reported use is a direct contradiction of this.

Among the few possessions in the tiny cabin on Walden Pond, were three chairs. He said one was for solitude, two for friendship and three for society.…


Word

Words matter.  At their best, they evoke common understanding, connection and feeling.  At their worst they mislead, misrepresent and divide.

All words are an abstraction of sorts, a representation of something very real.  On a range of issues, experts too often rely on particularly abstract words that are so open to interpretation one could drive a truck through it.

Metaphors are the opposite, they attach to an idea something we can easily relate to and understand.…


Music

It was a wonderful week of music in my home.

My children fell in love with a new song (“On My Way” by Jennifer Lopez), that went into heavy rotation and led to many sing alongs.

I interviewed Darryl McDaniels from Run DMC for my podcast, who reminded me that “music can do what politics and religion can’t – unite us.”

Finally, I had my first guitar lesson in three years.…


Educated

In her 2018 memoir, Educated, Tara Westover, shared her incredible life story. She told of being raised by survivalist parents who did not permit her to go to school or see a doctor. In spite of it all and the accompanying trauma, she went on to go to Brigham Young University (her first class there was her first experience in a classroom) and then on to Oxford University and ultimately becoming a bestselling author.…


Fans

I have always been a huge sports fan. Perhaps to an unhealthy degree. My mood is excessively impacted by the actions of a group of strangers who often make millions of dollars and sometimes seem less upset than I am over the outcome for any given game.

For the first half of my life my fandom of Boston sports teams brought exponentially more suffering than joy.…


Humility

The word humility means freedom from pride or arrogance. Stated more simply it means not believing you are better than others. Interestingly the use of the word humility seems to have peaked in the early 1800’s and has been on a precipitous decline of the last two hundred plus years – with a slight uptick over the last few.

It is worth noting that this decline coincides with our shift from a hunter/gatherer society to one focused first on agriculture and then on industry.…


Rich

Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke is a charming and wisdom filled slim book. It is written as a letter that one of his ancestors left his children before heading off to a battle from which he was unsure to return. He shares twenty values that his children should live by – if they wish to be a noble knight like himself. Within each there is a brief fable that illustrates the value in practice.…


Wishes

As part of my end of the year project to get both my literal and figurative “house” in order, I found myself cleaning out my dresser. The sock drawer is always the most interesting part of this chore. Seeing what miscellaneous artifacts of your previous year were stuffed in between unpaired socks always comes with some mixture of dread and surprise.

Amongst the flotsam of old receipts, lottery tickets, and cards was a plain white envelope.…


Time

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and any other that I’ve shared each Monday morning this year.

Increasingly we come to the realization that for the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on holiday presents, the most valuable gift we have to offer is that of our time.

So I am truly grateful for the few minutes you take each week to read these short notes.…