Almost eight years ago, I read the book, Naikan, by Gregg Krech, director of the ToDo Institute in Vermont. Naikan is a Japanese form of self-reflection which focuses on three questions:
1) What have I received from _________?
2) What have I given _________?
3) What troubles or difficulties have I caused ________?
You can fill in the blank with just about anyone or anything. I’ve filled it in with individuals in my life, including close family members and friends; with things like air or water or trees; and, most often, with the simple concept of “today.” I find the practice powerful and transformative, providing a true reckoning of my choices and actions and an opportunity for experiencing greater gratitude and greater awareness.
No sooner had I finished the book than I contacted the author and we arranged a time to meet. We met both at his home/institute with his wonderful family and a few months later at my home/institute, again with his family. We’ve stayed in touch, but years have passed since we’ve seen one another.
I’ve continued to teach about Naikan through my writing and our graduate programs, and now I’m thrilled that Gregg has invited me to be a keynote speaker at the ToDo Institute’s Thirty Thousand Days conference August 2-5 in Burlington, Vermont. Thirty thousand days refers to the average amount of time each of us has on earth, and the conference is sure to be a powerful couple of days of talks, workshops, music, and film, all designed to help us live meaningfully, humanely, sustainably, and joyfully in the time given us.
There’s still room to attend. I hope to see some readers of this blog at this exciting event!
Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxConejo talk: “Solutionaries”
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach”
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