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Connecting with Risk-takers

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

The Role of Chance and Luck in Life

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

The Unexpected Stress Relief of Japanese

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

How Much Should we Give for our Country?

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?

Insight is the Booby Prize

A character in the novel Today Will be Different, by Maria Semple, said about psychotherapy: Change is the goal. Insight is the booby prize. It reminded me of what I tell people when they ask, “Why isn’t my wife romantic?” or “Why is my sister always mean to me?” or “Why can’t my husband stop demanding that the house be spotless?” Will answering these questions make … Continue reading Insight is the Booby Prize

Comfort in Unexpected Places

After two wonderful back-to-back vacations, I returned home with a severe chest cold. I stopped writing for over a month. Although I began to recover from my cold, I became wracked with doubt over restarting my writing habit again. Questions tortured me. Why am I writing in the first place? Who cares about what I have to say? How can I possibly contribute anything important … Continue reading Comfort in Unexpected Places

Are You a Natural?

I spent my entire education, including high school, university, and graduate school, as the quietest student in history. In 4th grade I stopped ever raising my hand, and did not once answer a question for the next 20 years in any classroom. But I longed to speak in public. Years ago, I was introduced to the non-profit organization, Toastmasters International, where I met the kindest group … Continue reading Are You a Natural?