“Life tests our willingness, in ways large and small, to tell the truth.”


Jon Lovett’s 2013 Pitzer College Commencement Keynote — May 18, 2013


“Life tests our willingness, in ways large and small, to tell the truth.”

1. Don’t cover for your inexperience.

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Crack-Up” (1936)

“You have to be confident in your potential and aware in your inexperience.”

Confident & Humble
Skeptical & Eager to Learn

2. Sometimes you’re going to be inexperienced, naive, untested, and totally right. (It helps to be very charming.)

“If you see something, say something.” ~ The Subway Rule, MTA
Call bullshit when you see it.

“I’d rather be wrong and cringe than right and regret not speaking up.”

3. Being honest, both about what you do know and about what you don’t, can and will pay off.

We have reached peak bullshit.

HUNGRY. We are hungry. We have been starved. HUNGER for HONESTY.

“An unabashedly sincere desire to good in this world, to be responsible for one another, and to carry yourselves with integrity.”

To reject a culture of insincerity by virtue of the example you set.


What does my story say about me?

The most telling thing about a story is not whether it is true or not, but what the teller gets out of telling it.

The most telling thing about my story is not whether it is true or not, but what I get out of telling it.

Resistance to Dogma

(or, defining ourselves by what we are not)

If you are in resistance to dogma you will find your resistance to it present for you and likely bothersome. But if you allow for dogma and simply notice and experience your resistance to it with the same ease and detachment as you do everything during meditation, you will find it’s significance diminish to the level of background noise. You will be able to take in and appreciate what serves and enlightens you without feeling the need to push away or refute what annoys you and what you disagree with.

Imagine being able to walk into any church, synagogue, mosque, workshop, or gathering of any sort, and listen to what is said — gleaning whatever message or knowledge or perspective grows your soul, without regard or resistance to the general beliefs of the organization, and without feeling the need to point out things you disagreed with or saw fault with. Imagine none of it pricked or prickled you, and if it did, you simply noticed the sensation of resistance without feeling the need to declare it, or say, no, I disagree with that.

Imagine being able to meet a friend or a group of friends and share ideas and thoughts without once feeling the need to refute or challenge each other’s ideas or beliefs. Imagine simply listening to each other, accepting each other’s input as theirs, offering different opinions, being curious about other’s opinions, and never having to defend your opinion, or feeling the need to say, no, I don’t agree. Imagine simply listening and experiencing each other without resistance.

Imagine your life and your relationships as meditation, as flow, without resistance.

“Let’s dance the wild dance of no hope!”

A friend of mine read this at his grandmother’s funeral today. I love it.

The Dakini Speaks
by Jennifer Welwood

My friends, let’s grow up.
Let’s stop pretending we don’t know the deal here.
Or if we truly haven’t noticed, let’s wake up and notice.
Look: Everything that can be lost, will be lost.
It’s simple — how could we have missed it for so long?
Let’s grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings,
But please, let’s not be so shocked by them.
Let’s not act so betrayed,
As though life had broken her secret promise to us.
Impermanence is life’s only promise to us,
And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability.
To a child she seems cruel, but she is only wild,
And her compassion exquisitely precise:
Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth,
She strips away the unreal to show us the real.
This is the true ride — let’s give ourselves to it!
Let’s stop making deals for a safe passage:
There isn’t one anyway, and the cost is too high.
We are not children anymore.
The true human adult gives everything for what cannot be lost.
Let’s dance the wild dance of no hope!


Meet people where they are


One of the most valuable principles I’ve learned is to meet people where they are at.

To see them as already healed and already whole. To see them as who they are without their problem that they are currently explaining to me. To see them better than they see themselves. To hold that space for them.

Yet simultaneously to meet them where they are at, to allow them to be broken if that’s where they are at. To allow them to feel small if that’s where they are at. To allow them the grace and respect of their own experience. To not try to take that away from them, but rather to join them there so that they don’t feel all alone there. To say, I hear you, I’m listening, I understand, I’m here for you, I’m here with you.

To see the problem they are explaining to me, not as something to take away from them, but as something that simply wants to be integrated with them as a whole. To simply say, ok, let’s love and accept you and your problem. Let’s love and accept all of you.

It’s amazing what disintegrates and integrates when you love and accept it rather than try to fight, fix, and change it.

“Time is more v…


“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”

~ Jim Rohn

Yet most of us value money over time. We waste time watching tv or just passing time and put off things we really want to do, often because we tell ourselves we don’t have the money to do them. We work jobs we don’t enjoy because we value the money we get from them more than the time we are wasting.

Are you wasting the time of your life because you think you need more money before you can truly live and do as you want to? How are you investing your precious time? How can you invest your time better in yourself and your life experience? Are you acting like you have all the time in the world but just lack money?

What would it take for you to value your time as much as you value your money?