Try a little tenderness.


In a surprise TED talk, Pope Francis put in a request for more tenderness in our lives. He stressed that we are all connected:

First and foremost, I would love it if this meeting could help to remind us that we all need each other,none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone. We don’t think about it often, but everything is connected, and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state. Even the harsh judgment I hold in my heart against my brother or my sister, the open wound that was never cured, the offense that was never forgiven, the rancor that is only going to hurt me, are all instances of a fight that I carry within me, a flare deep in my heart that needs to be extinguished before it goes up in flames, leaving only ashes behind.

Many of us, nowadays, seem to believe that a happy future is something impossible to achieve. While such concerns must be taken very seriously, they are not invincible. They can be overcome when we don’t lock our door to the outside world. Happiness can only be discovered as a gift of harmony between the whole and each single component. Even science – and you know it better than I do – points to an understanding of reality as a place where every element connects and interacts with everything else.

The Pope suggested tenderness for bridging the divides that separate us:

And what is tenderness? It is the love that comes close and becomes real. It is a movement that starts from our heart and reaches the eyes, the ears and the hands. Tenderness means to use our eyes to see the other, our ears to hear the other, to listen to the children, the poor, those who are afraid of the future.To listen also to the silent cry of our common home, of our sick and polluted earth. Tenderness means to use our hands and our heart to comfort the other, to take care of those in need….

Yes, tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility. Please, allow me to say it loud and clear: the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other. 

The future of humankind isn’t exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies.Yes, they do hold an enormous responsibility. But the future is, most of all, in the hands of those peoplewho recognize the other as a “you” and themselves as part of an “us.” We all need each other. And so, please, think of me as well with tenderness, so that I can fulfill the task I have been given for the good of the other, of each and every one, of all of you, of all of us. Thank you.

The future is in our hands. Can we think of and treat each other with tenderness? Do we recognize that we are all part of an “us”?

Try a little tenderness.

Is it time for a tune-up?


Everything falls apart. Cars, buildings, peace, relationships, houses. That’s not pessimism; it’s entropy. In our quest for more, better, and brighter stuff, sometimes we forget about the energy that goes into maintaining the things we already have. In our dogged courtship and pursuit of a loved one, sometimes we forget the importance of maintaining the close relationship after we’ve sealed the deal. After reading all the books on childbirth, we sometimes forget the time and attention that goes into building a healthy relationship with a child, then teen, then adult.

If we neglect our things or relationships, they will suffer. But we don’t have to be content with this. With attention and care, anything will shine–even our most important relationships.

Take a self-exam. Consider where you put your time and energy. Does anything in your life need a tune-up?

Improve the world.


What tools do we need before we start to improve the world? What are we waiting for? Perhaps we are waiting for extra money or time. Perhaps we are waiting for retirement. Perhaps we are waiting to get all our own issues squared away first before we start thinking about helping someone else with theirs. Perhaps we are waiting for someone to ask us for help.

But consider Anne Frank. Forced to live in hiding to avoid the Nazi round-up and murder of Jews, she had little contact with the outside world. She, herself, was in mortal danger around the clock. She was just a kid, really, someone we think of helping rather than being the helper. And yet her attitude was so full of optimism and hope, it continues to shine now, decades later, lighting a weary world.

What a difference an attitude makes! She didn’t wait for the right time or resources. She didn’t wait until she could have a huge impact on the world. She didn’t wait until she was old or famous or wealthy. She didn’t even wait until she was safe. She started right then with what she had. A cheerful disposition, a concern for her family and the others in hiding with her, a willingness to step forward and try to make the world a better place.

What can you do to improve the world? Isn’t it wonderful that you can start right now?


Are you lost?


Have you ever been lost? Perhaps in a crowd when you look up and realize all the people you know are gone, and, despite the crowd, you are alone. Or maybe driving when nothing is familiar, and you are getting farther and farther from your destination. Or maybe you’ve been lost emotionally, confronted with too many choices and unsure of which way to move forward.

In most of these scenarios, when we are deeply and profoundly lost, we need help. There is someone who knows where you are and where you are trying to be and can help point out the way for you. Or someone who can make an announcement over the PA that they are holding on to a lost child. Or someone who can help you walk through your choices and make the best decision.

There are times when asking for help is our best option. And despite all our tendencies to want to solve the problem ourselves or keep the problem hidden from the world or to tough it out, seeking help is a brave and rewarding choice.

If you are feeling lost, do not be afraid to ask for help. And for a heart-warming video that demonstrates how rewarding it is both to be found and to help someone who is lost, go here to see a baby bird stuck in a PVC pipe and separated from its parents get reunited through the help of a young man who finds the experience one of the most meaningful he has ever lived.

Happy Earth Day 2017!


Today is Earth Day 2017, a global celebration of Earth, its resources, and its diversity, and a chance to promote environmental protection. On Earth Day, we each have an opportunity to make our planet a bit cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable. We have learned so much about how interconnected life is and how each of us can make a difference to help sustain earth’s resources for future generations.

What will be your contribution to the planet you call home?

For ideas, consider this article for by Shari Swanson.

What is your first thought in the morning?


What is your first thought when you wake up? Does your mind move to a To-Do list or worst case scenarios, or do you turn to the things that you are looking forward to–a workplace filled with people to greet, a family to hug before each starts their day, the possibility in the unknowns awaiting you. Albert Einstein considered this the most important question you will ever ask yourself–Is the world you live in hostile or friendly?

Looking for the positive first thing in the morning can start your day off on the right foot and prime you to see the positive things you are looking for:

In other words, the more good you search out in this world, the more good you’ll receive in return.

When you wake up and choose (consciously or unconsciously) to live in a “bad” world, you go through your day much differently. You feel frustrated when you wind up behind somebody who’s walking super slowly or if you get stuck in traffic. Standing in line at the store feels like an eternity and everything you do seems ten times harder.

Nothing works out like it should and you’re constantly waiting for things to go wrong (which they usually will) — things that “prove” that the world is a hostile place.

Having a positive attitude has helped people deal with seemingly insurmountable life circumstances. Anne Frank, for instance, concluded even after spending time in hiding during WWII, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Some suggestions to start you off in the morning on the happy foot:

  • Choose words and statements that reflect a positive attitude: “I will have a good day” or “I’m excited about what lies ahead today.”

  • Focus on things that make you happy:“I look forward to seeing my kid’s school play tonight” or “I can’t wait to see where this project at work takes me!”

  • Appreciate the good things in your world: “I’m thankful for my health, the fact that I can pay the bills, and that I have such a wonderful family!”

  • Spend more time with positive people, making it easier to be positive yourself!

It’s never going to be 100 percent, but if you focus on the good just a bit more than the bad, you’re making progress. It’s all about baby steps.

So when you wake up tomorrow, ask yourself this question:

“Do I live in a good world or a bad world?”

Here’s hoping you have a positive tomorrow!

Peace to you, my friend.


Before his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27.)

Today, as we celebrate Easter, remember his words and his sacrifice. For a lovely story and song in the Easter spirit, go here:

Grace is upon us
Open your heart
It is done

Grace is upon us
Open your heart
This is love,

The Lord is here
This is love

Come to the highest point of the mountain
At the earliest possible moment

Happy Easter!


Live abundantly.


Jesus on the cross bore the suffering of the world, not just of those who loved him or treated him well or believed in him, but everyone throughout time. As Madeleine L’Engle describes in her book Glimpses of Grace:

For Jesus, at-one-ment was not being at one only with the glory of the stars, or the first daffodil in the spring, or a baby’s laugh. He was also at-one with all the pain and suffering that ever was, is, or will be. On the cross Jesus was at-one with the young boy with cancer, the young mother hemorrhaging, the raped girl. And perhaps the most terrible anguish came from being at-one with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, the death chambers at Belsen, the horrors of radiation in the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It came from being at-one with the megalomania of the terrorist, the coldness of heart of “good” people, or even the callous arrogance of the two men in criminal court.

We can withdraw, even in our prayers, from the intensity of suffering. Jesus, on the cross, experienced it all. When I touch the small cross I wear, that, then, is the meaning of the symbol.

For you and for all. Imagine that kind of love embracing you….and your enemy….and the person you think least deserving. Everyone. God so loved the world.


Look at your stuff.


Look at the stuff around you. Isn’t it neat?

Paper milled from trees, decorated, maybe even scented. Ink dispensed evenly and gently maybe with a little roller ball. Books mass printed for everyone. Glasses to help you see.

Look at the little paper clip folded around and again just so. Isn’t that clever? Where did that coffee come from? Maybe from beans grown thousands of miles away. Isn’t that amazing? What about your computer, able to connect you, literally, to any one in the world and even beyond? Maybe you’re reading this right now out and about in the world somewhere.

All these little astonishing things sitting right there on your desk or in your pocket or your glovebox.

Take a minute to be astonished.

And then treat yourself to this 3-year old’s performance of Ariel’s song above and prepare to be filled with joy and even more wonder!