Happy New Year

It’s the last day of the year. It is the time for resolutions to stop smoking, lose weight, be a better person and generally confront all the things we didn’t do last year. I was going through some papers this week and stumbled upon a few of my old ‘lists’ of New Year’s intentions from about 20 years ago. I am a bit embarrassed to say that my list today looks very similar to my list then—more exercise, better diet, more time for reflection and creativity, write my book, and relax.

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Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump

By Shae Hadden | Bio

There’s a place near Fort McLeod in Alberta that goes by this odd name…the Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump world heritage site …where the indigenous peoples used to lead the buffalo to jump off a cliff. A place where there’s a very finite line between life and death…and where life comes from death. You see, for thousands of years, the native people would use this natural geographical formation to ‘harvest’ these wild animals and feed their tribes each winter.

remembering this place today because I’ve been reminded—not so subtly
by being in a car accident—that life is the dash between birth and
death. The instant I knew my car was spinning out of control yesterday
morning, the only thought going through my head was “I surrender to
you, God, for I am not in control”. In that moment, I felt like the
buffalo must have felt—as if this was the last spurt in that great
dash. As

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Too Late for Later

Thomas Friedman’s great op-ed piece about global warming definitively declares that, when faced with making decisions that have life or death consequences, there is, at some point, no more time for procrastinating, debating and analyzing. At some moment, to continue to procrastinate or put off until tomorrow becomes a fatal decision.

I love this idea that ‘later’ ceases to be an option when the stakes are high enough. When this is the case, we are committed—no matter what we choose. It

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Explainers Anonymous™ – III

By Charles E. Smith | Bio

This is the third post in a three-part series. Read the previous post.

Membership in Explainers Anonymous™
is free. We only have meetings if someone asks. There is no email
address, no fax and no phone. All you need to do is admit you are
hopelessly attached to your own and others’ explanations and that you
want to get free. People all over the world are joining up.

Still, people ask me, “What’s the price of my addiction to explaining?” Why worry about it?


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Christmas Letter

I have been a bit ambivalent about ‘Christmas Letters’. They seem to have caught on and now I get a few dozen long ones each year. I appreciate the time that goes into writing them and I am glad to get some sense of what is happening in the lives of far-away friends. However, I must confess I’m a ‘scanner’ and that I don’t give them the time or reflection they deserve.

In some ways, Christmas letters remind me of all my failed intentions to stay in touch with people during the year.

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Fatherly Love

Like everyone, I get a lot of ‘pass along’ email. Some of it is junk, but most of it is well intended ‘sharing’ from friends and family. Given the diversity amongst my friends and families, it sometimes looks like a town hall meeting with my conservative family squared off against my liberal friends. I love them both. Some of the stuff is beautiful (like wilderness photos), some of it is funny, and some of it is inspirational. I have noticed since YouTube, more and more seems to be inspirational.

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The Art of Conversation

I was watching the CBS show “Sunday Morning” on the weekend and it had a segment on the dying art of conversation. The point was that with all our technology and almost real-time connections available with email, handhelds and social networking sites, people seem to have lost the ability to have conversations. It was a thought-provoking and, I think, mostly true observation about what is happening to us. The show also showcased a new book by Stephen Miller called

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My Grandmother: The Artist

By Lauren Selman | Bio

I come from a family of artists. Both my mother and father are artists. My brother is an artist. My aunt is a performance artist. My uncle is a circus artist. My grandmother is an artist. My grandfather is a can artist. My great grandmother was an artist. My great-great grandmother was an artist. My great-great grandfather was an artist…and the list goes on.

Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of traveling back in time through the art of my grandmother. I had been

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Moods are central to our lives. There isn’t a time when we are not in one mood or another. For most of us, our moods are organizing how we feel, what we do and how we explain just about everything to ourselves most of the time. For example, can you remember the last time you said, “I am happy” or “I am unhappy” without following the statement with “because”? No, we always have a story for why we are in whatever mood we’re in—whether it is a good one or a bad one.

I often ask

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