Wanted Dead and Alive

From the time I began writing this weekly note, at least five of its readers have died. Many more have lost a parent, family member, friend or co-worker during that same time.
Death, regretfully, is the ultimate fact of life.  Its certainty is inescapable.  Yet for many valid reasons we choose to put the question of our own mortality out of sight and out of mind.  …

Changing Lives is a Contact Sport

The opening of David Brooks new book, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life reads:
Every once in a while, I meet a person who radiates joy…They are kind, tranquil, delighted by small pleasures, and grateful for the large ones.  These people are not perfect.  They get exhausted and stressed.  They make errors in judgment. But they live for others, not themselves.  They’ve made unshakable commitments to family, a cause, a community or a faith.

Set for Life?

One night last week, while walking my dog Scout, my mind wandered on to the topic of risk.

I was lamenting my own sense of risk aversion. As long as I can remember, the fear of loss has always outweighed the joy of gain in my own mental risk calculation. 

Then looking down, lost in my own head, I found a lottery ticket resting in the street.  It’s…

Father’s Day Presence

This was the seventh father’s day for my youngest daughter. It means that all three of my children now have had a father in their lives longer than I had one in mine.

And I wonder to what benefit?

The absence of a father in my life inspired me to be ever present in my own children’s lives.  

I thought this would mean that they would see me as the greatest Dad ever. …

Just a Little More?

Fifteen miles from my home is Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Its primary claim is the setting for the infamous ride of the Headless Horsemen – the author of which ironically was eventually buried there.

Perhaps less well-known is its status as the resting place of perhaps the richest collection of wealthy individuals this country has known. The names are a who’s who of American wealth — Astor, Dodge, Chrysler, Rockefeller, Watson and Carnegie.…

What Will You Leave Behind in 2018?

With 2019 right around the corner, it is customary to look forward.  To set goals, create plans and, of course, make resolutions.  It is also an opportunity to reflect and look back.

Recently a friend told me that during a recent yoga class, the instructor asked everyone to reflect on the question, “what do you need to leave behind?”  In other words, what mindsets, behaviors or habits do you need to change if you want to be able meet those goals, follow through on those plans and keep those resolutions?…

How Strong Is Your Heart?

Years ago, I felt honored to deliver the eulogy at my Grandmother’s funeral. I talked about how the average person’s heart beats 30,000 times a day.  This meant that during her 87 years, it had beat right around a billion times.

I recounted how her heart must have beat differently at different milestones in her life. Racing to her first picture show as a little girl, going gaga over Bing Crosby, straining while working odd jobs during the great depression, or nearly coming to a stop when she learned her first husband was killed in the war.…

Answer These 3 Questions to Test Your Vision

There is an ongoing tension in our vision between short and long distances.  In clinical terms we refer to the extreme on both ends as nearsighted or farsighted. This is a rare instance when we label a condition not by a weakness (e.g. I can’t see things close up) but by its opposite strength (i.e. I can see long distances well).
In a figurative sense, we also experience the same tension. Am