Last Sunday, I went to a free event in New York City called Conversations New York. Over a hundred strangers came together on a sunny, breezy day in Bryant Park behind the main branch of the New York Public library. All around me, people lounged on the lawn eating lunch, playing ping pong, and reading books and magazines at the outdoor reading room. For the … Continue reading Connecting with Risk-takers
Amidst an ongoing struggle to protect myself from poisonous news in a world gone insane, I accidentally stumbled on the calming effects of learning Japanese. I had no desire to learn Japanese. Although it could come in handy since my son and daughter-in-law are fluent in it, when I had tried to learn it in the past I’d found it tedious, frustrating and too hard. So I … Continue reading The Unexpected Stress Relief of Japanese
A friend wanted to talk to me about the dire state of American politics, specifically the terrible foreboding he had about the man who will be our next president. “Oh, that’s right,” my friend, Joe (not his real name), said. “You’re not following the news.” “If you want to talk to me,” I said, “I don’t mind hearing the important stuff second-hand. But for now, … Continue reading How Much Should we Give for our Country?
It may have been all the fairy tales I’d read as a kid, or maybe it’s just the nature of being a child, but everything new seemed magical to me when I was growing up. I was raised in a suburban development on Long Island that was built on former potato fields. There were still farms on Hempstead Turnpike, the main road a couple of blocks away, and … Continue reading The Magic of Childhood
While parking my car at a busy shopping center, I witnessed an unfolding drama. A woman in a red car was heading for a spot when a blue car came from the opposite direction and slipped right in. I settled in to watch the battle, but then a new spot opened up right next to the red car. Disaster was averted. Well, not quite. Instead of … Continue reading Small Slights, Big Emotions
I was listening to a podcast from Studio 360 called, Can Laughing Make us Healthier?, and my first thought was, everybody’s got a gimmick. In the 1970’s there was primal scream therapy, where the patient remembers and reenacts a disturbing past experience that occurred in childhood. They express their repressed anger and frustration with spontaneous screams, hysteria, or violence. I’d hate to share a neighboring office with a primal scream therapist. … Continue reading Laughter Yoga – Gimmick or Game?
When I tell people I quit eating added sugar over a year ago on a dare from my son, the response I get is, “Wow, I could never do that. I don’t have your willpower.” But I quit the sugar precisely because I realized that willpower is a myth. How else to explain that whenever I hosted a holiday party, I had to give away, … Continue reading The Willpower Myth
I was so terrified about speaking up in school that if I had to give a presentation, I’d spend the whole class thinking of what I had to say. I’d become deaf to what everyone else was saying. After I spoke, my deafness persisted. My heart pounded as I numbly replayed my mistakes, and I shuddered at the memory of my faltering voice. People sometimes say, “I have low self-esteem.” Does that mean they don’t like … Continue reading Self-Esteem is Overrated
I’m wondering what it means to walk through a city, park or museum looking at the world through your phone screen and searching for little cartoon monsters. Does it mean that people will now get out of their houses to explore the world around them? Or will they walk through life blinded to the fascinating game being played right before their eyes? When I walk down a … Continue reading Does Pokemon Go Blind you or Open your Eyes?
I used to teach a night class at the local college about the history of social welfare in America. One of the evenings was devoted to Social Justice and Discrimination. We discussed prejudice and stereotypes. Students seemed to think that while negative stereotypes were evil, positive stereotypes were a good thing. Jews are smart. Black people are great musicians and athletes. Asians are math geniuses (even though they are abysmal … Continue reading Positive Stereotypes are Negative