Author: Jim Kerr

Making Thanksgiving A Daily Practice

Today all across America, families will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving. I love this holiday – even more in some ways than Christmas. As much as I love Christmas and what it represents, the holiday itself has become so commercialized and packed with obligations that it has lost something of what it is supposed to stand for. Not so with Turkey Day. There are no such expectations with Thanksgiving. No wading through crowds looking for that perfect gift and worrying whether someone will be hurt because you didn’t get them what they were expecting. Just bring yourself and a food...

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Waking on the First Day of Trump’s America

This morning I awoke early, as I always do, but in a strange bed in a strange city (I’m up in New York for a business trip) and in a seemingly strange world. My smartphone gave me some shocking news: Donald Trump is going to be the next U.S. president. The bombastic New York mogul businessman who during the campaign refused to release his taxes, who made fun of handicapped people, who insulted women and Mexicans and anyone who challenged him, who praised Putin as a good leader – in a couple months Donald Trump will be our next...

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Developing the Confidence of a Redwood Tree

I was talking recently with someone in his early twenties who is going through a young man’s existential crisis. He recently started a new job that he doesn’t much like and he’s been struggling with a lot of anxiety and depression. He’s a sensitive, spiritual kid who has always felt different from other people. He has a hard time making friends and being in social settings. Now he’s working in a big, sterile corporate environment, surrounded by people who are mostly older than him, and he feels out of place. Every moment that he’s at that job, he told...

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Battling the Twin Demons of Doubt and Distraction

“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” – Henry Ford Of all the self-defeating habits that steal our happiness and kill our chances to reach our dreams, I have come to believe that the two biggest culprits are doubt and distraction. Doubt and distraction. Call them the dream killers. It’s not that we lack dreams. Most everyone I know has things they’d like to do with their lives – things that have been in their hearts since they were young. For me, it has been to write stories and poems that stir people’s...

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The Virtues of Porch Sitting

Why do so few people just sit on their porches and watch the world anymore? That question came to me the other day when I went to visit my elderly parents at the old Pennsylvania farmhouse where I grew up. My folks are in their eighties now and are fortunate enough to still be in the same house where they’ve lived for fifty years. I went there on a warm September evening to mow their front lawn. When I pulled into the driveway, there they were on the porch, perched on their rocking chairs as evening drew on. My parents have been porch-sitting for as long as I can remember, although they’ve had more time for it as they have grown older. They porch sit mostly in the evenings, to talk, to reflect upon the day, to wave to the neighbors. To just sit and enjoy the fresh air. This is a generation that grew up before the dawning of Eastern philosophies and practices in the West. My folks couldn’t tell you much about yoga and meditation and mindfulness that are today all the rage with people of my age and younger. But they know the virtues of porch-sitting. They saw their parents and grandparents sitting on their front porches, and they continue to carry on the lost tradition. They sit on that front porch without gadgets of any...

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