Kinship without Connection: Family Means More than Shared DNA
Every family is full of ghosts, though some—like mine—are more haunted than others.
One ordinary day last year, I was taking a nap when my partner, David, poked me awake and tried to hand me my laptop computer. “You’re not going to believe this,” he said.
November 29, 2017
What Is Spiritual Genius?
What Happens When a Diehard Atheist Encounters a Force He Cannot Deny?
Spiritual genius is rare phenomenon. In the past 30 years, as a writer and seeker, I’ve encountered it only a handful of times as I trawled the planet for saints and sages, individuals claiming enlightenment who might shed some light on our human condition — and what, if anything, lies beyond it. Continue Reading
November 28, 2018
Learning To See: Advice For New Memoirists
A memoir is a universe unto itself, an imagined world of real-life characters, events, and locations brought together to tell a story that exists in memory alone. Constructed from unassailable facts, every memoir is a work of fiction, in fact, a rough simulacrum of the past, more a dreamscape than a photograph. Continue reading.
May 16, 2014
Home to Roost
I came home from my first trip to India full of spiritual ideas. What was enlightening and what wasn’t. What was holy, sacred, pure; what was decadent, ignorant, unworthy. There’s nothing worse than a convert and I was completely obnoxious. Then—on a date with a down to earth person—I had my holy bubble popped. Continue reading
April 7, 2014
The Power of Solitude
I went to the woods to be alone. It was at the beginning of my spiritual search. I believed that self-imposed exile in a hunter’s cabin, miles up a mountain road with no phone, car, computer, or human distraction, would automatically change me for the better, bestow on me some kind of mystic vision, and hasten the quest for enlightenment. Continue reading
January 23, 2014
The Fiction of Being
Every life is a work of fiction. That’s what I tell my memoir students. People come to me wanting to tell their life story, the narrative that sums them up, the myth that captures their essence. They expect to find this story hiding inside them like one of Michelangelo’s statues trapped inside the marble, fully formed and waiting to appear. Continue reading
Saturday Evening Post
At Mathews Elementary School in Austin, Texas, 10 fifth grade girls are sitting cross-legged on the music room floor with closed eyes and hands folded in their laps, waiting for the egg timer to go off. Jeanne Demers, 47, a campus coordinator for GENaustin—the Girls Empowerment Network—is overseeing this “mindfulness” exercise, which is intended to give today’s text-crazy, over-stimulated, media-saturated kids a quiet, still moment in their hectic days. Continue reading
September 14, 2011
How to Handle a Crisis
Learn the strategies that will help you quickly find your footing when hard times hit.
That’s odd, thought Heidi Gottlieb, a 30-year-old TV producer and new mom, when she woke up with double vision one summer day in 1990. She figured the problem would vanish as quickly as it had appeared, but when it didn’t, her doctor ordered an MRI, which revealed a tumor in her brain… Continue reading
July 20, 2011
Does Heaven Exist?
5 religious experts give their opinion on the afterlife
They say heaven is a place on earth. Or is it actually a destination in the sky? We asked five of our favorite spiritual leaders to weigh in on this celestial destination. Continue reading
July 6, 2011
How to Forgive — and Why You Should
Letting go of grudges is good for you. Here, easy ways to make it happen.
Most everyone — from medical doctors and psychologists to spiritual teachers — agrees that forgiveness is a virtue with wide-ranging benefits. But how do we forgive, exactly?
May 19, 2011
The Apocalypse Is Coming!
A skeptic ponders the prediction that May 21 is Judgment Day. He’s not worried. Are you?
Fasten your seat belts, ye miserable sinners. It’s going to be a bumpy weekend, according to the Prophets of Doom. In case you haven’t seen the billboards, on May 21, 2011 (yikes! that’s this weekend), life on Planet Earth will be destroyed. Continue reading
May 3, 2011
Two-Minute Memoir: My Muse (With Benefits)
I didn’t know my teacher was a thief until after she had already seduced me. The night it happened was magical. I was a 19-year-old surfer from California enrolled in Marguerite’s college French class. She was a 33-year-old, Sorbonne-educated hottie with a mammoth intellect and luminous copper eyes. Our chemistry was heated and glaring.
April 22, 2011
Do You Believe In Miracles?
Five prominent religious leaders share their answers — and their definitions
Do you believe in miracles? At first glance, it seems a simple question that separates true believers from jaded skeptics. But perhaps the answer is more nuanced than that. Maybe we need to question our terms and ask, what is a miracle, anyway? We got five spiritual leaders to weigh in on this issue. Continue reading
April 4, 2011
The Power of Prayer
6 spiritual leaders offer advice on how you can pray
Although a majority of Americans say they pray on a regular basis, there’s no clear consensus on the best way to do it. We asked our panel of spiritual experts about how to make the most of prayer in daily life — and whether it’s OK to improvise. Continue reading
February 9, 2011
The Key to Spiritual Growth
6 prominent thinkers share their insights on how to nourish your soul
Though we tend to lose certain things as we age — trim waistlines, hairlines, short-term memory — there is one area where getting older can be a boon: the acquiring of wisdom. Continue reading