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Once I embraced these two tips, I improved my life

Cartoon illustrations by John P. Weiss

A few years back, my wife was working as a hospice nurse. She found the work demanding, exhausting, and intensely rewarding.

It takes a special kind of person to care for the dying. Beyond medical skills, hospice nurses develop a bond with their patients, navigate family dynamics, and shepherd patients to a peaceful, dignified death.

“Endings matter, not just for the person but, perhaps even more, for the ones left behind.” ― Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Late one afternoon, at the end of my wife’s workweek, she arrived at home. …

Why sharing love with strangers fills your soul with peace

Cartoon illustration by John P. Weiss

On the morning of May 6th, my iPhone buzzed on the nightstand, awakening me. I fumbled for my reading glasses, sat up, and looked at the glowing screen.

It was a calendar reminder, with the words, “Dad’s birthday.” I leaned back on my pillow, slid off my glasses, and closed my eyes.

Dad passed away in 2004 at the age of 83. I was with him the day he died, holding his hands. He was unconscious, but the hospice nurse said he could still hear me.

“A couple of years before he died, I kissed my father goodbye. He said…

Brighten your future by being brave enough to visit your funeral

Illustrations and photographs by John P. Weiss

A good friend of mine died many years ago and I was given the honor of delivering his eulogy. The church was packed and I was nervous.

His children, parents, siblings, friends, and professional colleagues were all there. It was important for me to strike the right tone.

Tragically, my friend died by his own hands. He had been through a difficult divorce and then fell into a pernicious depression resistant to therapy or medication.

Delivering a eulogy under such sad conditions is difficult, but my friend’s rich legacy of goodness made the task easier. In the days leading up…

Life can improve if you return to the greeenhouse

Photo: Amber Maxwell Boydell

The deer trail was slightly overgrown, and I had to navigate past a thicket of poison oak and huge webs from orb-weaver spiders. When you’re an adventurous kid, it’s amazing the things you’ll tolerate outdoors.

The backyard of our home in the hills of Los Gatos, California, opened up to the deep woods. Entering this shadowy world beneath the tree foliage felt like leaving the wardrobe into magical Narnia.

“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

As a ten-year-old boy, I knew little of the challenges and turmoil…

How to achieve greater success with judgment calls

Top photo and illustrations by John P. Weiss

It had been a long, 12-hour day at the Wall Street investment bank Salomon Brothers. For Trisha Meili, her position as vice president in the bank’s corporate finance department and energy group often resulted in long days.

Trisha was only 28 years old, which is young for a bank vice president, but she came to the bank with an impressive educational background. She was a Phi Beta Kappa economics major at Wellesley College. She earned an M.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. in finance from the Yale School of Management.

Running was part of Trisha’s daily routine, so after…

Why grace is found in the mundane

Cartoons and photographs by John P. Weiss

My mother was a Parkinson’s patient. Her tremors made it difficult to eat, and she was unable able to walk.

As she aged, Mom needed to go to doctor appointments more frequently. Fortunately, she lived in the same town where I worked, and I was able to take her to appointments.

Getting Mom to the doctor was a production. I had to take time off of work because the whole affair was time-consuming.

I’d arrive at her apartment in the assisted living center, and help her into her wheelchair. …

What a little soul taught me about being grateful

Skye Weiss. All photos by John P. Weiss

I’m allergic to cats. They make me sneeze and wheeze. The problem is something called Fel d 1, which is a glycoprotein produced by salivary and sebaceous glands in cats.

When my wife Nicole and I first met and began dating, I was introduced to her loyal cat. His name was Einstein, and she raised him from a kitten. The two of them were a package deal.

And maybe change society, too

Image: Austrian National Library

In today’s landscape of social media noise and technological advancements, almost anything goes. Where once there were editors, publishers, and gatekeepers for the content we consume, now anyone with a smartphone can write, record, film, and publish with reckless abandon.

The Internet has democratized the sharing and distribution of creative content. In the past, you needed talent and connections, now you just need a smartphone and social media accounts to share whatever you like.

This is a good thing because it’s easier than ever to share content, and the underrepresented have a greater voice now. …

Your artwork just might change someone’s life

Illustration by John P. Weiss

The old gentleman knew that more years were chasing him than remained. His beloved Betty had passed away last December. It was awful.

He awoke that chilly winter morning and found her in his art studio, on the floor. A teacup shattered beside her frail body. And in her left hand, his recent painting of daffodils.

It comforted him immensely. That in her final moments, she had picked up his little flower painting. Betty loved the garden and especially daffodils.

“They don’t ask anything of nobody. You just put them in the ground. In decent soil. Then let them do…

Have a better life by unlocking your mind jail

Cartoons by John P. Weiss

The sergeant walked into the report writing room and dropped three pieces of paper over my desk. They fluttered down and came to rest on top of my hands.

I recognized two of the papers as my recently submitted vandalism report. The third paper was a photocopy of various vandalism sections from the penal code.

“You used the wrong vandalism section in your report,” the sergeant said in a snide voice, adding, “I photocopied and highlighted the correct section.” Before I could say anything, he spun around and walked back to his office.

“A teacher who is attempting to teach…

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