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
Although we work harder in life when we believe we’re the master of our fate, if we don’t acknowledge the role of luck, we’re bound to be either heartbroken over our perceived failures, or insensitive to the misfortune of others. While raising two sons alone as a divorced mother, I attended a couple of high school reunions and wondered what I’d done wrong. My former classmates … Continue reading The Role of Chance and Luck in Life
When I was a child, my father was movie-star handsome and powerfully built, with sparkling blue eyes and a sharp, curious mind. He left early every morning to work at his own business and returned home to dinner and his many hobbies. He had a darkroom in the basement and was an amateur photographer. He taught himself to play the guitar. He studied and took … Continue reading Ambivalence When a Parent Dies
I met a man, I’ll call him Martin, who was devastated about how his marriage had ended. “After 30 years and 2 kids,” he said, looking baffled, “my wife left me for another woman. How could I not know she was gay?” “What’s the worst thing about this loss for you?” I asked. “It’s bad enough that my marriage is over. We never had a close physical relationship anyway. I … Continue reading When You Lose Faith in Yourself
Think of a relationship as dancing cheek-to-cheek with your partner. You’re both doing the same steps, moving in sync. Then mid-dance, one of you changes the steps completely. At first, the other person resists. They’re confused. They stumble. They struggle to get you back to the old dance routine. At this point, one of two things happens: Your partner stops dancing with you, OR They catch … Continue reading How to Change Someone Else, Pt. 2
It’s more fun, and a lot easier, to change someone else than to change ourselves. But is it possible? It makes sense that we want to transform someone into the person we thought they used to be, many years ago, such as a spouse who was once loving and attentive. They can certainly be that person again, can’t they? Have you ever tried rewinding your own history clock and … Continue reading How to Change Someone Else, Pt. 1
I recently heard a scientist describe time as 1 dimensional, as opposed to 3 dimensional space. Time moves in one direction – forward into the future, not backwards. But don’t you ever want to travel backwards in time? I hear women say, “My husband has changed. He’s always out. When he’s home, he’s drinking, and when he’s not drinking, he’s angry. I want to get back … Continue reading What if Time Were 2 Dimensional?
I once had a co-worker who got married 3 times – to the same man. I’d met Leanne just as she was divorcing her husband for the 2nd time. “I should have known better,” she said with a sheepish grin. When I ran into Leanne a couple of years later, I asked how she was doing. “I married him again,” she said, rolling her eyes. “The … Continue reading If it Doesn’t Work the First Time
This is a story of how I changed the lives of 8 people for 10 days in a trifling way. But mostly, it’s about how I changed myself. Many years ago I was a shy social worker at a small, non-profit agency helping runaway kids by giving them shelter, advocacy, and counseling. We were housed in an old building undergoing renovation during the hottest July I can … Continue reading Doing the Impossible
We may think that our experience of happiness is objective, but it’s not. We all carry an unconscious frame of reference in our heads that filters how we feel about our lives. Everything – our relationships, our beliefs about our own success, our friends, family, and wealth, are perceived through this filter. Since we’re always comparing ourselves to the people around us, we need to discover … Continue reading Am I Happy, Compared to You?