November 5, 2015: A Gray November Morning in Copenhagen

I have heard it said that happiness is an inside job. In other words, no matter what may be going in one’s external world, happiness is an internal state of being and, therefore, is up to the individual. A happy or hopeful person is able to inject optimism and peace into the darkest corners of life. The Dali Lama, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Victor Frankel, and Malala Yousafzai come to mind.

And, yet I also think that external circumstances contribute to happiness, too. Perhaps Denmark’s Nordic social democracy, a seemingly balanced form of government that blends capitalism with economic and social security for all citizens, is that external factor that has enabled the Copenhagen people to live a mostly happy and hopeful existence . . . even if the city’s fall skies are gray and its daylight brief.

Read more

Breathe My Own Way

Dear Friends, In July of 1846, fed up with the United States’ involvement in the Mexican War and the persistence of slavery, a 29 year-old teacher, writer and pencil salesman living in Concord, Massachusetts refused to pay his delinquent taxes. Equally fed up with the young man’s excuses, the town tax collector arrested him and put him behind bars in […]

Read more

Darkest Day

Dear Friends, In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice – which is this Sunday – marks the longest night and the shortest day of the year. It’s a time of year where the sun’s arc appears lowest in the sky; a time when we’re reminded of our dependence on sunlight for warmth, growth and light and how much we miss […]

Read more

Camellia Flower

Dear Friends, As I rounded the corner on my street the other day, I noticed a neighbor’s camellia bush in the fading evening light. Or, rather, I saw its many purple petals that had fallen from the shrub and were strewn about on the brown winter ground. Purple blossoms seem like an unusual thing to see outside in Atlanta in […]

Read more

Run, Walk, Run

Dear Friends, At our annual southeast Unitarian Universalist ministers fall workshop and retreat in Highlands, North Carolina a few weeks ago, one of my colleagues approached me after lunch, said I looked like a runner, and asked me if it were true. “Well, I used to run,” I responded. “I haven’t for several months now . . . can’t find […]

Read more

Roadside Marquee

Dear Friends, I imagine many of us can recall seeing a clever message featured on a roadside marquee in front of a house of worship. I see many on my regular drives around Atlanta and along state roads. “If God is your co-pilot, swap seats,” was one I passed when traveling on Highway 441 through North Carolina. “Seven days without […]

Read more

One Among Billions

Dear Friends, My Atlanta big city life makes it impossible to see the Milky Way at night – that dim glowing band of stars and planets that contains us and stretches around and beyond us. But earlier this week, on a clear, cold North Carolina night, high on a mountaintop and away from the electric noise of florescence, incandescence and […]

Read more

Every Ray of Sunshine

Dear Friends, My vet says that big dogs are stoic, and my 75-lb dog Leo is evidence of that. On a recent short hike, he bounded over hills and rocks, giving us no indication whatsoever that he was exerting himself past his limits. Only a day later, when he whimpered slightly going up the back porch steps – a rare […]

Read more

Spiritually Fed

Dear Friends, On the way home from Asheville Sunday, we took a different route. Hoping to catch more fall color at lower elevations, we decided to drive back to Atlanta through South Carolina on Route 11. Known as the Cherokee National Scenic Byway, this two-lane road runs through tiny rural towns, past farms and pastures, and along the foothills of […]

Read more
1 2 3 8