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“I said to the abbot — I’ll get in the habit, but not in the habit” — Steven Sondheim  When I was a teenager, when you could still smoke in restaurants, I studied acting at a Summer Stock program with the soon to be famous actress Mary McDonnell. I worshipped her and thought she was the sexiest, wisest, most humble and talented woman on earth. In the mornings when I had to be up early for some lame apprentice task,...

If you feel that your current job (or lack there of) is not challenging you or utilizing the depth of your creativity or healing skills, you'll start to dream of what you could be doing. Some of those dreams will be escapist -- you recognize them because they include fantasies like giving your academy award speech or doing nothing on a deserted island. Without your children. Forever.

A little while ago I crossed paths with the most gorgeous, good natured, collarless puppy. I named him Brad Pitt-Bull and took him home. He was very friendly and well-behaved for a three-month old pup. Pit Bulls have scary reputations, but this little guy followed me around everywhere, obeyed all my commands, and waited for the chance to shower me with kisses, snuggle in my lap and fall asleep. I talked to my “in the know” dog friends and learned...

When you think about the great leaders in your life, what qualities do they generally possess? Since we are all leaders in some way (I’m talking to you, mothers, healers and even administrative assistants!) it’s a good question to ask. I’ll bet on your list is an ability to find humor in many situations, without treating serious ones in a flippant manner.

September: That bittersweet month for summer lovers when the lightly marked appointment books and lively green memories fade into the speckled background of fall foliage. It’s a time of new beginnings: a new school year, new projects, new ambitions, goals and if you’re lucky, a new pair of boots. Change is literally in the air, and in the quality and vibrancy of the light. Many books are written about human beings’ fear of change. My observation is that it isn’t...

Now that pharmaceuticals are widely used to alleviate some of the general malaise and anxiety of living in the modern world, what drives functional people to self-exploration and transformation?

You’ve probably found yourself analyzing and diagnosing your significant other, hoping that he or she will listen to your diagnosis and change. This is both natural, and potentially toxic.

Everything of high value requires your protection: Your sentimental objects, your iPhone, your children, your health, your IRA. So why not your dear, dear heart? Counter to popular new age philosophy that being open with and about everything is the key to living well, I am going to counsel you to protect your vulnerability.

I asked the CEO about some of the beliefs he tried to live by, and he revealed that one of the main goals of his traditional practice was to attempt to Rise Above Praise and Blame. He tried very hard not to blame his employees when they screwed up. But he never praised them, either.