Climate change will still be haunting us. Covid-19 isn’t going away any time soon. And the last guy in the oval office won’t stop tweeting until he’s been arrested for any one of numerous charges. And even then, I bet he’ll figure out how to continue tweeting.
The quality of our 2021 will, in actuality, be a reflection of our attitudes and perspectives.
We are self-reflective creatures. We see through a lens that we’ve developed through a combination of our particular neurology coupled with years of conditioning by our psychosocial environment and personal experiences.
None of us will see the same thing when we’re looking at an object because our glasses are tinted. Each shade will offer a slightly different world view. …
“In all your life, only a few moments matter. Mostly you never get a good look at them except in hindsight, long after they’ve zipped past you.” From Tana French’s New York Times best-seller, Faithful Place.
As a child, I was pretty serious. I thought about big things. What does it mean that the universe is infinite? How can the trillions of cells in our bodies work together in a way that has us walking, talking, loving, hating, and making babies?
Today I’d call them existential thoughts — ideas about unexplainable and incomprehensible things that are still true. …
It’s not Covid-19.
It’s not capitalism or socialism.
It’s not the control freaks in my life.
It’s not conservatives or liberals.
It’s not my nomadic childhood.
It’s not pro-lifers or pro-choicers.
And I’m not to blame either.
Let’s throw out the idea of blame. As far as I can see, it’s never made anything better.
If I can’t blame you, the world, or myself, how can I account for my misery?
When I’m miserable, I’m unhappy because I have abdicated responsibility for creating my own happiness, sense of self-worth, and growth and development.
Taking responsibility for myself is not blaming. That’s acknowledging that the only control I have is over my reactions to what life hands me. …
In my last post, I quoted Holocaust survivor and brilliant psychiatrist Victor Frankl. I think his wisdom bears repeating:
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Autopilot is the antithesis of taking advantage of that space Frankl talked about.
Many years ago, I quit two jobs in a row on autopilot. All turned out fine in the end, but I wish I had been more awake when I made them. If I had been awake maybe I’d have switched careers much sooner than I did. At that time, my MO on autopilot was to work hard and get promoted. Period. …
I can’t remember a day that has begged for patience, empathy, and civil discourse more than today.
Whatever the outcome of the election, whether it’s called today or tomorrow or next week, we have to remember that we are the answer. I’m unwilling to continue playing a role in maintaining a divisiveness that is, in the end, serving no one.
My practice today, my work, is to better manage myself. To explore the frustration, antipathy, and confusion that I have been feeling for months that often results in me adding to the divisiveness. That is the last thing I want.
I am committed to managing myself in a way that feels counterintuitive at the moment. I am committed to get better at listening — opening to understand how we got here. …
If you knew you were dying, what would you choose to do with every day you had left?
Whether you have twenty, forty, or sixty years — even though sixty years sounds like a long time — it will glide past like the Shanghai Magiev in China that cruises by at 267.8 mph. I know.
Well, you are dying, eventually. So what should you be doing?
Smiling — even fake smiling — releases dopamine into your system, which elevates your mood with almost no effort whatsoever.
Every time you smile, your brain releases neurotransmitters, most importantly, dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. All three of these brain chemicals help calm your nervous system by lowering heart rate and blood pressure. …
Before I met my partner, I dated a guy for a year and a half. He had just been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. He thought he could beat it, and until we met with his oncologist, I thought so too. But it wasn’t long before it became clear that his odds for living longer than five years weren’t high.
In the beginning, we both thought five years was a long time.
But long story short, after a year or so, it was apparent we were totally incompatible, even though we cared about each other as friends.
We finally owned that reality, broke up, but remained friends. Almost immediately, he found the perfect partner, as did I not long after.
My ex and I remained email friends. He mentioned early on that his new partner told him she was extremely jealous. He balked at my suggestion that the four of us get together for dinner down the road to reassure her that she was the main character in his new life. His response was, “Let’s just keep it to email and texting, and that I read your bi-weekly blog.”
After six months or so, when he said his wife asked him to sever all relations with me, I complied. I felt frustrated and sad but deleted our email and text threads. …
Emotional intimacy requires that we ask the questions, even when we’re not sure we want to hear the answers.
Life is a touchingly brief opportunity to taste just about anything our hearts desire. Love, then, is an opportunity to savor what we taste.
But real love takes courage. In my work with couples who come in for pre-marital counseling, we explore the idea that the only things they must talk about before the ceremony are the things they believe they can’t discuss. The things they roll their eyes about or shut each other down when “that” topic comes up.
I ask them to fill out an eighteen question form covering potential differences in perspective around things like finances, sex, parenting, entertainment, family involvement, responsibility, openness, truthfulness, etc. They complete them separately. The intention is to clarify how well they communicate in each area. …