January 4, 2024

Elephant Journal’s Best of 2023.


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Happy New Year!

“Should Auld Acquaintance be forgot…”

Here’s our best offerings from all of 2023, for a mindful look back, so as to spring forward with renewed cheer.


We need to show we can change, and be the heroes we are waiting for…and yet, so far, despite the best efforts of those who would confront the realities of climate crisis…we don’t change.

We look forward to air travel, rampant tourism, clicking Amazon, and eating our burgers…instead of shopping locally, say. We blame corporations (which is fine), failing to realize we are accountable for half of that “supply and demand” equation.

Raging fires, hurricanes, and floods. The return of Trump. Wars, oppression, anger and greed. Continued power of Big Tech, and the beginning of the wild genie in the bottle that is AI, pushed forward largely by those seeking profits, not ethics or compassion. Factory farming…a solution to pandemics and climate change (veganism) right in front of us, that we have invested nothing in making happen.

And yet still, through it all, a quiet life went on, with its little sweet un-Instagrammed joys, its daily challenges, its tough Fridays and happy moments and tired Mondays.

2023 was something of a gap for me, a transition from love to heartbreak to nothing. Lost dog, lost fiancée, lost race for Council. And yet for me, as I hope for you, it’s not all bad. It’s mostly good. And it’s all workable.

Here, for me, love turned to grief resulted, after more than a year, in my meeting and adoption of Winfield. So much joy and chaos—life—he’s brought back into my life. Being all by myself, and liking myself, and my life, and not hating the life I’ve built—it’s all a good foundation for future love (which I’ve begun to discover). My little local campaign, which resulted in more than twice the votes of any other independent, was full of joy and learning and growth—all good things. While I saw some partisanship and fear and anger, and felt some degraded attacks…that was only a small sliver of that meaningful experience of would-be service to the community that has given me so much for so long.

Meanwhile your Elephant Journal tromped on, turning 22 years old (beneath the boot of Instagram and Facebook, which have killed nearly all blogs and media). Our smaller team—Elyane, Lisa, Nicole, Brian, Molly, myself, and Shanon and Lindsey and assists from Cat, Juliana, and other dears—is skilled, drama-free, stable, fulfilled, reasonably well paid, and actually profitable, so we can continue to pay more, and hire up a little.

Not only did we edit and video and podcast (which reached 100,000 downloads) and write and share on, we did so with our mission ever in mind, taking careful yet bold steps forward. Why? Because as the world spins, our mission that is your mission, too—to be of benefit—becomes all the more beautifully urgent.

Now is the time to show up with caring. The fate of our planet, and future, and all other species depends on our bothering to care. No pressure (!). Just show up, and find a way to contribute. Get your friends to care about animal rights, or climate change, or equity. Share truth, and eco-responsibility—share urgently, but share with joy and breath, and for love. Love.

May 2024 bring some overdue action, truth, and accountability. May the joy in our basic human nature flower into compassion. May we be of benefit! ~ Waylon


I hope you ran around the block with a suitcase. I hope you kissed a loved one, or hugged your sweet self. 

These Best of 2023 articles are offered as the equivalent of that popular, yet grounded, and kind person you looked up to in junior high—these were…are…quality, and connected with our readers.

For independent media, for this mindful community to have survived and thrived another year…it’s all thanks to you. ~ Waylon H. Lewis, founding editor.

Bookmark these. Share ’em up with a loved one, if so inspired.

Your dear editors at Elephant Journal have selected all our very best reads of 2023. Drumroll, please…

> A Buddhist Quote that will Help you Make Peace with the Inevitable.

> Middle-Aged, Single & Cat Owner—It’s Not the Burn You Think It Is.

> My Therapist Taught me One Word & It Completely Changed How I Saw my Anxiety.

> I’m Only Human: 11 Lessons from Sobriety.

> 22 Poetic Words by Rumi to Remind Us to Honor & Value Who We Are.

> 9 Signs you’re in a Toxic Friendship.

> 5 Healing Things To Do When Your Heart Hurts.

> A Pema Chödrön Quote for when it Feels like we’re Crawling out of our Skin.

> 4 Relationship Red Flags we should Never Ignore.


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> The Beauty in Navigating the Heat of a Broken Heart.

> 6 Words that are Changing My Life.

> Young Forever: 2 Questions to Figure Out What’s Causing Dysfunction in the Body.

> 5 Reasons to Get Married—& Love isn’t One of Them.

> 6 Types of Personalities that Emerge from a Wounded Childhood (& Affirmations for Each).

> Love is Not Something We Get from Another Person.

> 7 Warning Signs you Might be Sabotaging your Happiness.

> Flaunting My 50s: 24 Things Time has Taught Me.

> Introvert or Extrovert: Thoughts from Someone who Travels between these Worlds Regularly.

> How Starting Yoga in my 50s Transformed My Life.

> Why No One Really Dies from Suicide.

> Ten Phrases that $h*tty People Use.

> The 4 Attachment Styles & How they Impact our Relationships.

> What I’ve Learned from 600 Days of No Alcohol.

> How the “Rule of 5 Little Things” is Allowing me to be More Courageous & Face Life Head-On.

> 10 Traits of the Audaciously Vulnerable Man (& Why you Should Date Him).

> A Robert Downey Jr. Quote that Changed how I want to Live & Love.

> A Death Meditation to Inspire You to Live Your Best Life.


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> One Question that Rocked my World—& Saved my Relationship.

> Ruinous Empathy: The Real Reason you’re Exhausted by People.

> Healing the Mother Wound: an Unexpected Lesson from “Daisy Jones & The Six.”

> As a Buddhist, here’s my take on the Dalai Lama situation.

> 9 Things Your Partner with Trauma Wants You to Know.

> A Pema Chödrön Quote for the Days it feels like we’re on Shaky Ground.

> This is How Relationships Die.

> 8 Cheap Thrills that Allow me to live a Happy & Fulfilling Life.

> A Daily Routine to Keep us Strong in Body & Mind.

> How I Got Everything I Ever Wanted by Walking Away from Everything I Ever Wanted.

> 9 Amazing Things that Happen when you Learn to Love Yourself.

> What To Do When we Miss Someone we Can’t Talk To.

> 5 Alternatives to Traditional Meditation & how they’ve Helped me Find Peace.

> I Am My Dad’s Person: Acceptance & Forgiveness in the Face of Dementia.

> Why No One Has Ever Made You Angry.

> 5 Quotes for when we’re Triggered in Relationships.

> What Making $86,000 in One Day Taught me about Money.

> At 57, I’m Finally Learning to Love my Mother.


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> 7 Behaviors that Stem from Trauma.

> A Buddhist Quote that Pretty Much Sums Up why Everyone is so Unhappy.

> One Thing about Grief that still feels Unbearable.

> The Real Reason Men Date Younger Women.

> Discomfort is the Price of Admission for a Meaningful Life.

> A Healing Ritual to Pull Yourself out of a Bad Mood.

> Why Doing the Right Thing is Not Always the Right Thing to Do.

> How I was Dangerously Misguided by Spiritualism.

> Who Am I without Alcohol? 5 Ways to Reconnect to the Booze-Free You.

> 3 Healing Poems by Yung Pueblo that will Set you Free.

> Brené Brown Explains why Relationships are Never 50/50—& it’s the Best Description I’ve Heard on Love.

> This Profound Billy Bob Thornton Quote made my Grieving Heart feel Seen.

> 5 Problems with Having a Spiritual Identity.

> Honoring Endings: 6 Ways to Make Peace when things End.

> “Am I Settling?”—the Wrong Question to ask when we’re Questioning our Relationship.

> Read these 3 Zora Neale Hurston Quotes on the Days it Feels hard to Love Yourself.

> What the Dying taught me about my own Emotions.

> 55, Fierce, Fun-Loving & Fabulously F*cking Flawed.


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> An Eckhart Tolle Quote to Get Unstuck & Move Forward from our Suffering.

> When the Wounded Child Takes Over: 10 Signs of Childhood Trauma.

> 5 Extremely Effective Ways to Pull Yourself Out of Burnout.

> After 33 Years of Marriage, I’m Finally Learning What Commitment Means.

> “When the Buddha Needs Therapy”: Waylon talks with pal & author Keith Martin-Smith.

> Learning Moments don’t just Strike Once—they come at us Over, & Over, & Over Again.

> 11 Signs You have a Genuine Connection with Someone.

> How to Know What Decision is Right for You.

> A Powerful Understanding that will Shift How we Experience Life.

> Awful Meditation Instruction for Mediocre People (like Waylon).

> Love is Forever, Until it Isn’t: 11 Reasons your Relationship will (Most Likely) Not Work.

> 5 Unusual Self-Care Tips to Empower your Mental Well-Being.

> A Mother’s Powerful Letter to her Gay Son (that Every Parent should Read).

> 7 Things the Death of My Mum Taught Me.

> One of the Best, Lightest Things we can do for Ourselves.

> 5 Reasons you won’t Find me Bashing Gen Z.

> 4 Reasons I Stopped Apologizing (& Why You Should Too).

> Why I’m Cultivating “Rejection” as a Daily Practice.


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> I Do Not Believe more Children need to Die to Pay for my Family’s Suffering.

> The 10-Letter Word that kills Relationships & How to Work through It.

> Taylor Swift & Travis Kelce: the Love Story we Never Knew we Needed.

> In Times of Conflict: A War Cry from Pema Chödrön to take Radical Responsibility.

> How to Deal with Mean People, Trolls, & Personal Attacks. ~ Waylon

> 15 Audre Lorde Quotes to help us Fight the Good Fight.

> 65 Things I Have Learned in 65 Years.

> A Statement from Matthew Perry (of more than Friends). RIP.

> 10 Ways Dehumanization Destroys our Humanness.

> An (Incomplete) Beginner’s Guide to the Israel-Hamas War.

> 7 Things I wish I Had Understood Sooner.

> A Question that can Show Us What is Important to Us.

> Buddhism & Narcissism: What really Happens when we Call Someone a Narcissist.

> 9 Things to Do When You Feel Heavy in Your Heart.

> 11 Quotes on Hope that are Giving me Strength during these Dark & Devastating Times.

> A 4-Step Apology to keep us from Gaslighting those we Love.

> The Podcast Episode that Changed my Relationship with Worrying.

> I woke up to 2 sad & angry letters from folks I like re: Israel & Gaza.


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> 17 Sayings to Carry You into the New Year.

> Yoga is Not a Workout. It is a Gift I Give Myself.

> 3 Illusions We Cling to that Cause us Suffering.

> Walk the Talk Show w/Waylon Lewis ft: Jamie Berger of “The Smell of Money” documentary.

> 11 Grief Quotes that are helping me Heal during the dreaded Anniversary of my Loss.

> Why Love won’t Sustain your Relationship—& 22 Questions to Ask Yourself.

> Gerry who? 10 Reasons why the Women of “The Golden Bachelor” made it Worth Watching.

> Modern Dating is Broken—and not just for Hetero Women.

New Year, Same Tools: 10 Things I’m Doubling Down on in 2024.


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