Twelve Good Things 2020

Twelve Good Things 2020

Each year I use an issue of the Just One Thing newsletter to offer Twelve Good Things that I think are really wonderful and worth your attention.

May you and those you love and in fact the whole wide world be truly well, truly happy, and truly at peace

  1. UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center is a world-class resource for compassion, parenting, and positive psychology – including their Greater Good Magazine.
  2. Two causes that are near and dear to me are aided by Amnesty International and the International Campaign for Tibet, and I invite you to join me in supporting them. Also, Spirit Rock Meditation Center has been my primary personal wellspring of contemplative practice, and it offers many high-quality workshops, retreats, and online courses.
  3. Human activity dumps about 100 million tons of carbon dioxide each day into the air, and the terrible consequences we’re already seeing are just the beginning of what our children and grandchildren will inherit. While reducing emissions at all levels is hugely important, meanwhile individuals can support projects that compensate for their own carbon footprint each year. The EPA, Nature Conservancy, and WWF all have good carbon calculators, and Carbon Footprint, Terrapass, and Native Energy offer a variety of “offsets.”
  4. The Foundations of Well-Being is my online program for growing an unshakable core of resilient happiness in a changing world. It’s super practical, you can go at your own pace, and there’s a money-back guarantee. You’ll get the tools you need to develop more calm, contentment, and confidence each week – and there’s a 40% discount if you sign up by December 22.
  5. An organization close to my heart – the BRITE Initiative – has a school in Haiti for children in kindergarten through 9th grade who would not otherwise get a decent education. They have almost 200 students who still need support for this school year, and you might like to join me in sponsoring one of them. Also check out to support the work of educators and advocates for girls’ secondary education around the world.
  6. One of the brightest, coolest, deepest people I know  Michael Taft  has a wonderful website and podcast where he explores meditation, radical non-ordinary experiences, secular mindfulness, genuine awakening, and much more. Michael also offers personal instruction in meditation; he is someone I turn to when I want to deepen my practice.
  7. I’ve been reading a number of wonderful books and can heartily recommend One Blade of Grass by Henry Shukman (a Zen memoir) and The First Free Women by Matty Weingast (“awakening poems” from the earliest Buddhist nuns, speaking to us from over 2000 years ago. I’ve also enjoyed the haunting detective novel (and vastly more), Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, from the Nobel Prize-winning Olga Tokarczukm, as well as the stunning Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel about Thomas Cromwell in the time of Henry VIII of England. And Caste by Isabel Wilkerson should be on everyone’s must-read list, a deeply researched and powerful exploration of the centuries-old structure of racial inequity in America.
  8. As the climate emergency worsens, the World Wildlife Fund has emergency support for those harmed by wildfires. Also, check out the film 2040, the education of girls, and real energy revolutions.  Charity:Water brings clean water to people in need, and Rainforest Alliance is protecting our forests.
  9. Some creators adding joy to the world are Branden Harvey of the Good Good GoodBrad Montague (who’s backpack illustration can be seen in the background of many of my recent online videos), and the Joyful Mind Project.
  10. Some of the best TedTalks of 2020 include the 3 secrets of resilient peopleHow racial bias works – and how to disrupt it, and To overcome challenges, stop comparing yourself to others.
  11. I find a lot of wonder in space, which is why I love checking out the Astronomy Picture of the Day, and the Astrum channel‘s eye-popping images of space. And if you want to spot the International Space Station passing overhead, you can use NASA’s Spot the Station alert.
  12. Tastes vary, but here are some of the movies I’ve really liked recently (some are a few years old; I won’t try to describe their plots): ArrivalLong ShotBombshellKnives OutMy Octopus Teacher, and of course Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold climbing the Nose of El Capitan in under two hours. For TV series, my wife and I have had fun watching AloneThe Queen’s GambitA Place to Call HomeMiss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and White Collar.

Twelve times warm wishes to you,


P.S. For a baker’s dozen, I highly highly recommend the Being Well podcast  hosted by Forrest Hanson with a recurring mystery guest (me!). We’ve had more than 1.5 million downloads already this year, and our guests have included Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, Dan Goleman, Lori Gottlieb, Charles Duhigg, Angela Duckworth, Jack Kornfield, Rhonda Freeman, Steve Porges, Shauna Shapiro, Daniel Ellenberg, Kristin Neff, and many many many other wonderful teachers and scholars. And Forrest and I regularly go on deep dives of our own into topics like dealing with anxiety and loss during crazy times. I know you’ll like it!

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