Awe

As I write this, I am looking out at the Palisades – the magnificent vertical walls on the other side of the Hudson. If I look to my left I can see the New York City skyline off in the distance.

Upon seeing both for the first time, I was filled with immense awe. While their familiarity can lessen this sensation, it only takes a few moments of reflection to revive it. …


Be

We had decided that given the relatively short holiday break, we would all stay home. No trips to visit the family. No travel at all.

We would just be together.

“Be” unfortunately was conflated with “do” – as is often the case. Each of us had long lists of things we wanted to accomplish; projects to complete, ways to be productive, ideas about how to do fun things.…


Seeing

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Does it match the way you feel on the inside?

When you are out in the world, how do others see you? Do they make judgements on who you are or what you’re capable of?

Similarly, how do you see others? Unconsciously do you judge them for how they look rather than imagining “who they are?”…


Thanks?

Wednesday morning began with jury duty. The early evening featured a trip to the emergency room. By midnight, I was on strike from my job as an adjunct professor at the New School.

Jury duty, emergency room, strike. What an unholy trifecta. Any one of them is a situation that we hope to avoid at all costs. The odds of any one person experiencing all three on the same day have to be astronomical.…


Pleasant

I sat in a half empty auditorium filled with folks whose somber looks indicated there were a thousand different places they would sooner be.

Instead, we all waited to see if we would be selected as jurors.

Jury duty is as the name indicates a duty. Even the most civic minded approach this experience with some trepidation. How long will it take? Will I be selected?…


Accepting

I’ve read countless memoirs and interviewed dozens of people about their journey but none have been as honest, conflicted and raw as Acceptance by Emi Nietfeld.  Her story is marked with countless issues and circumstances that she has had to overcome and her book looks to reconcile them in the context of a culture that likes these stories told in a very particular way.

Her experience in crafting her college essay is particularly telling.…


Leave

I overslept. Waking up at 6:50 but needing to catch a 7:26 train, I rushed to shower, got dressed, walked the dog, packed my bag, and poured a cup of coffee before dashing off for the 5 minute scamper to the train station. All the aforementioned activities were done with almost no thought, an automated process whose details go unnoticed in the bustle of everyday life.…


Being

Last week, I took a few minutes to create a list of all the major things I’ve done professionally so far this year. While the list was relatively long and I felt a certain amount of pride in reflection, something was just a little off.

I tried to recall how I felt at the time each project was being created. Did I enjoy the process? Did it bring me joy?…


Enthusiasm

My best friend left me a voicemail message recently. He mentioned a book he had been reading, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. It suggested that we shouldn’t take any action that’s not aligned with acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm.

In reflecting on those three feelings, it got me thinking, “What am I enthusiastic about?”

Enthusiasm is defined as an intense and eager enjoyment or interest. Its origin is from the Greek word, enthousiazein meaning to ‘be inspired or possessed by a god.’…


Forgotten

I was listening to a podcast conversation between Douglas Rushkoff and Sherry Turkle recently. Both scholars have written and spoken extensively about our relationship with technology. Both have also at different times been in rooms surrounded by tech billionaires.

At one point Turkle wondered “What do they know that I don’t?” when thinking about how they have amassed their fortune, whereas she has lived on a more modest academic’s salary.…


Legend

As legend has it, some creative people are bestowed with an abundance of natural talent from birth or act as a conduit for divine inspiration. How else to explain a prodigy or creative genius?

An alternative narrative was offered up by the aptly named, John Legend, who was a guest on the podcast Smartless recently.

In this story, yes Legend exhibits an early love, if not talent, for music.…


Progress

Understandably, we can be prone to seeing and focusing on the problems around us. I myself have succumbed to this bias of problems over solutions with some regularity. Anyone who follows the daily news might fall in the same sinking boat. After all, we’ve grown up in an era of “if it bleeds it leads.” Even my former literary agent once told me that books about problems sell better than those that offer solutions.…


Take

Last week while walking my dog, I noticed what I thought was one of those awesome free standing “Lending Library” kiosks.

However as I approached, I saw that this one did not include a single book. Rather, it was filled with canned goods and other non-perishable food items. The sign at the top read, “Take What You Need.”

The presence of such a structure was both a sign of our difficult economic times and a refreshing public display of community kindness.…


Citizen

As July 4th approached, I was reflecting on the state of our country. JFK’s famous exhortation from his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for our country,” popped into my mind.

In lieu of recent events, one could look at the first part of that quote and conclude that what little we have asked for from our country has been denied.…


Pride

The end of the school year usually engenders a decent amount of pride.

In my home, there were wonderful report cards, end of year concerts and successful soccer seasons. Two of my kids “moved up” – one entering high school and our youngest leaving elementary school.

Beyond the general achievements, each gave us reasons to feel particularly proud.

Our youngest was sad to leave the innocence and safety of elementary school.…


Found

How many times have you lost your keys? Hopefully around the same number of times you’ve found them.

Of course, there are many things we lose and can never find again. Or we find things we were never looking for in the first place.

Our deepest losses are of loved ones. As are our most precious finds. 

Our relationship to the ideas of what is lost and found tends to be somewhat transactional.…


Golf

Each year, I play anywhere between 4-8 rounds of golf. The infrequency of my play is presumably a key contributor to the lack of improvement of my game.

I have over my life taken golf shots that defy the laws of physics. Balls careening in directions and angles that I could not replicate if I tried (including once where the ball went backwards.) I have hit trees, water and even golf carts with an almost impressive frequency.…


More

I knew what I wanted to write about on Tuesday. I am still not sure what I have to say.

Speechless and helpless are two natural reactions when the same thing happens over and over again and you are at a loss for what to do about it.

If you read the number 19,  you know exactly what I’m talking about.  But let us not forget the two – teachers who died in the line of fire.…


Ride

It was an especially hectic weekend. On top of the standard travel soccer chaos, there was also a band/chorus concert and tech week for one of my daughter’s theater groups.  All of this was compounded by the fact that my wife was away on a well-deserved, but ill-timed, girls’ weekend. I was flying solo.

We had managed the first three days quite well, due in large part to some good planning and even better temperament from my three daughters. A…


Sides

I have heard Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” dozens of times, but until recently I never actually listened to it.

On Sunday, I watched the wonderful and moving film, CODA, where it plays a central role. Ruby, the sole hearing member of her deaf family, chooses it as her audition song for admission into the Berklee School of Music.

The desire to go to college is not shared by her family, who don’t appreciate their daughter’s love of music and fear the effects her leaving would have on the family’s fishing business.…


Fame

Spiderman came to Hastings this week. More specifically, Tom Holland was in my town shooting a new anthology series for Apple TV.  Throngs of kids lined up in a marked off area to catch a glimpse of him. When he finally arrived, clad in period 70’s garb, they screamed.  Calling out his name, filming his every move, clamoring for him to come by and say hello – which to his credit he did.…


Upgrade

My family and I recently went to Los Angeles for spring break. I wasn’t able to select our seats in advance to ensure that all five of us could sit together unless I was prepared to upgrade our seats.

Later in the trip, we went to the Universal Studios theme park. The tickets were not cheap, $125 each. Yet when we arrived we found extremely long lines.…


Savor

My friend recently told me the story about a lunch he had with another friend of ours. They were getting together at an old stomping ground where we had all had lunch dozens of times before. The circumstances this time were different.

Our friend had terminal cancer, was very weak, and it was clear that this would be their last lunch together. Eating his burger took longer than usual and the waitress seemed to hover a bit.…


Belief

What or who do you believe in?

Beliefs can be a tricky thing. We all have them, in fact hold them dearly. Yet seldom do we explicitly state or share them. More often, beneath the surface, they inform, influence or dictate many of our actions.

Beliefs, according to the Oxford dictionary, can be defined in two ways:
One is “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.”…


Funk

Have you ever been in a funk? Assuming the answer is yes, how did it feel? More importantly, how did it end?

As I write this, I find myself in the middle of one.

For me, funks are episodic. Sometimes lasting a few hours, sometimes a few days. Rarely much more.

Different from true crises, which force us to focus all our energy to resolve a single pressing problem, funks are often a collection of smaller issues.…