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21 years ago, I began writing a health column in a Toronto area Korean newspaper - that column led me to begin writing a newsletter for clients of my residential fasting clinic, which morphed into this e-mail newsletter, which has essentially been a vehicle through which I've shared my ongoing learnings on topics that affect our well-being.  

In thinking back on the past two decades, it's abundantly clear to me that for many people, the world has become a lonelier place. Yes, the world is rich in beautifully kind people and magical places.  But more than ever, humans are struggling to feel genuinely connected to others.

My parents are now 80 and 77, and something I'm enormously grateful for is how socially active they are.  They have a wide circle of friends from their days of attending church and doing volunteer work for a variety of non-profit Korean organizations, and as I approach 50 years of age, it brings me great peace of mind to know that more often than not, they are out spending time with others.

For those who are struggling to connect with others, I can share two suggestions.

First, to pray for others. Regardless of one's religious or spiritual views, all of us know what it is to have good wishes for another person. When we take time out of our day to pray for the well-being of someone we root for, we bless them and ourselves. I see praying for others as opening a window to communicate with a benevolent force - when we open this window with another person's well-being in mind, we naturally create access for benevolence to descend upon us as well.

Second, to strive to do something good for the world every day. This could take the form of doing some volunteer work for a cause we believe in, reaching out to a friend or family member just to see how they are doing, paying for someone's coffee or tea, or picking up and discarding litter - the opportunities to be a force for good and experience feelings of well-being that come with living with this intention are truly endless.

In years past whenever January 1st rolled around, we followed a family tradition of writing a letter to our future self, to be opened one year later. On that same day, we opened and read the letter that we wrote to ourselves one year prior.  I found this exercise to be most meaningful, to read the intentions and wishes that I had one year earlier, and to take account of what happened with those intentions and wishes over the year that had passed.

I can suggest changing the timeframe of this exercise to create more of a positive driving force in the near term. For some, perhaps one week. For others, I think there is benefit in doing this daily, to write a short note to ourselves in the morning with our intentions and wishes for the day, and then to review this note before we go to bed or first thing the next morning.

The ideas are to be more mindful of the finiteness of our days and how important it is to our well-being to feel genuinely connected to other people, and to strive to be a blessing to others, which in my experience, is the best way to foster meaningful connection.

Let's remember that the holidays are an especially difficult time for those who may be struggling with loneliness. If you have friends or acquaintances who live alone or for any reason cannot gather with others over Christmas and New Year's, please consider reaching out to them to say hello.  We never know when one small act of kindness will make all the difference in a person's existence.

Sending love to all,



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