How Gratitude Changes the Brain

By Sarah Chauncey | November 25, 2015

Gratitude—the concept and the word—is an important part of my life. It’s not a moral thing for me. I rarely do things because I’m supposed to. It’s an emotional thing, a practice of meaning rather than morality. It genuinely makes me feel better to focus on what’s good, even—especially—when other things are challenging.

Doing Less Leads to More

By Sarah Chauncey | November 18, 2015

What continually astonishes me is how much more I can accomplish when I keep my life simple, my mind free from clutter (admittedly, it stacks up pretty quickly) and take the time to get centred before I do any work…

Becoming Present Through Sensations

By Sarah Chauncey | January 22, 2015

My mind, when left to its own devices, tends to cause me more pain than joy. It’s a great tool, effective for analyzing data or strategizing, but it has the capacity to bully me, too. The creativity that’s so useful professionally can also create wild stories and vivid dramas that have no root in reality,…

How to Become Present Right Now

By Sarah Chauncey | January 16, 2015

This is one of the best techniques I’ve found to bring me into the moment (or help me fall asleep). Here it is: Count your breaths (inhale/exhale) from one to four. Then start over again at one. Simple, right? Just try it. It’s amazing how often I’ll get to “16, 17…” without even realizing it.…

Time Doesn’t Exist

By Sarah Chauncey | January 5, 2015

Imagine the Earth devoid of human life, inhabited only by plants and animals. Would it still have a past and a future? Could we still speak of time in any meaningful way? The question “What time is it?” or “What’s the date today?” – if anybody were there to ask it – would be quite…

Perspective, Not Promises

By Sarah Chauncey | October 9, 2014

This is what I wrote in my Notes app the other day: “It goes against my core values to tell anyone how they feel, what they need, how reading/viewing something will make them feel, what they’re doing wrong, what they have to do, what’s wrong with them, who’s “better” than them, what they should think,…

Unplugging Media

By Sarah Chauncey | September 26, 2014

I worked in entertainment from the time I was 22 until I was 39, and then again for six months or so, a few years later. I was a theatrical stage manager, an entertainment columnist before “blogging” was a word; I was a film critic and TV producer, a stand-up comic and a comedy writer.…

Saying ‘Thank You’

By Sarah Chauncey | August 27, 2014

The other day, I was walking, and the idea came into my head to say “thank you” for that very moment. For the trees, the ocean breeze, the sun, the bench where I sit and meditate and write. Then I decided to keep going, to say “thank you” in as many moments as I remembered.…

Appreciation

By Sarah Chauncey | August 15, 2014

“In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from my colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full,…