A New Year’s Practice: Get Pulled in the Wake of Great People

A New Year’s Practice: Get Pulled in the Wake of Great People

Typically, the new year is when we try to cut ties with our piteous ways and get on the path of higher living. But where are we supposed to find the motivation to last through January? The self-improvement industry depends upon most resolutions petering out year after year. So how do we stretch our comfort zone and somehow still be kind and understanding? My latest tack is to find someone who inspires you and let yourself be pulled along in the wake of their example. The opposite of envy (a typical motivator in…continue reading →
“In Your Light,” a Hanukkah Guest Post.

“In Your Light,” a Hanukkah Guest Post.

In this special Hanukkah edition, I'm delighted to share this short piece from my friend and colleague, Emily Herzlin, founder of Mindful Astoria. Emily is a writer and mindfulness teacher at Sloan-Kettering, and is writing a book on the connections between Jewish traditions and mindfulness. Enjoy.   כִּֽי־ע֖†מְִּךָ†מְק֣וֹר†חַיִּ֑ים†בּ֜†אְֽוֹרְךָ†נִרְאֶה־אֽוֹר Ki imcha m’kor chayyim, b’orcha nirei or For with You is the source of life, in Your light we see light (Psalm 36:9)     When I was a child, I loved going with my family to the special Shabbat-Hanukkah service at our synagogue. All…continue reading →
A Poor Epitaph: He Tried to Free His Neck

A Poor Epitaph: He Tried to Free His Neck

There’s this very important point in the healing process that’s difficult to detect: it’s when the quest to get better becomes a test of one’s self-worth. “Am I the kind of person who can heal themselves, overcome this challenge, or is it true, as I have quietly believed, that I don’t have what it takes?” The Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron, writes that we tend to view everything in our life as a test. Your door hinge is squeaky? It’s because you’re lazy and hopeless with handiwork. The bank teller is uncharacteristically friendly? It’s…continue reading →
How to Get Out Of a Cellar

How to Get Out Of a Cellar

In recent weeks, I’ve reluctantly become acquainted with my 200-year-old cellar. When it rains all day, the concrete floor becomes damp like a thin layer of perspiration on my forehead. Though empty, the cellar is not uninhabited. Small creatures with large, receptive eyes move around in the thick darkness and drink up the moisture. A particularly large species of hopping insect (about an inch long) – let’s hear it for the Camel Cricket! – thrive down there. Army green and sharply jointed, they look like alien scouts probing for suitable colony. The crickets…continue reading →
Soft Core

Soft Core

Upright posture is sometimes believed to be the end result of a helluva lot of sit-ups. So I submit to you my plump, can’t-do-a-sit-up-if-her-life-depended-on-it toddler. Look at how her spine lengthens even in a difficult position! I’m not saying that there is no advantage to abdominal strength, however the link between tight stomachs and good posture is, well, weak. The postural response is activated by the lengthening of muscles flanking the spine. This is what babies are developing during “tummy time.” A lot of our cultural cues like, “sit up straight,” or “chest…continue reading →
Vinny & The Goose: A Westchester Fairytale

Vinny & The Goose: A Westchester Fairytale

Within days of moving up here, I found myself chasing a goose across a Metro-North parking lot at 11 p.m. Had I lost it already? I approached the bird with an old white bedsheet spread between my hands like a villain from Scooby Doo. I would gain a few steps and then the goose would powerwaddle away, looking back periodically from the corner of its beady eyes. As it eluded me, its long neck swayed upward as if giving a Master class in elegance and the Alexander Technique. Earlier in the evening, my wife…continue reading →
Leaving Brooklyn.

Leaving Brooklyn.

About two months ago, my family and I drove our car out of Brooklyn, trailed by a 26 foot moving truck which was packed to the gills with our belongings. We’re out! Finito! Brooklyn no more (except for visiting friends, my wife’s haircuts, a concert next month…). We moved upriver, to the lower Hudson Valley, where the commuter trains are plentiful, the houses are aging, and the yard is wild. Red tailed hawks spiral overhead, making for a sparse, nervous chipmunk population. Because we care about “charm” and because our budget was lean,…continue reading →
New November Retreat! Unconditional Health and Fearlessness in Uncertain Times.

New November Retreat! Unconditional Health and Fearlessness in Uncertain Times.

This November I’m teaming up with Jeff Rubin, founder of Unconditional Healing and a longtime friend and mentor, to offer a brand-new retreat – Unconditional Healing: Holding Sacred View During Uncertain Times. Uncertainty is a condition of life – our health, career, politics, and relationships have no script to follow and no guarantees. Sometimes, as with an illness or layoff, we receive a major unsettling dose of risk. Stress and fear can cause us to either tune out (i.e. crawl into my phone) or burnout (‘I can’t even deal…’). Jeff and I have created a weekend…continue reading →
Microdosing (for underachievers)

Microdosing (for underachievers)

Originally published in Human Shift Magazine, a bi-annual book where culture, sport and spirituality meet. You might take acid and go to work. In fact, you might take acid specifically because you are going to work. In Silicon Valley, because coffee only goes so far, the search for greater focus and productivity has led to a reboot of psychedelics: microdosing. To microdose is to take a small enough quantity of a drug to elicit no adverse side effects (i.e., no hugging of office plants), yet high enough to experience subtle physiological benefits. A…continue reading →
Dan on The Road Home Podcast

Dan on The Road Home Podcast

What’s possible when the body and mind are brought into balance? This was the subject of my recent interview with Ethan Nichtern, Buddhist teacher and author, on his podcast The Road Home. Nichtern is a keen cultural critic who has been interviewed about the relevance of Buddhism on CNN, NPR, and in The New York Times. Our conversation was wide ranging and explored: What are the cultural factors that cause us to become out of touch with our own bodies? And how does that carry over into meditation and our approach to spirituality? How does our desire…continue reading →