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
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?
If our personalities are always changing throughout life, then how can we ever make decisions for our future? How can we possibly choose a career that’s right for us many years from now? How can we promise to love someone always? How long should we wait around for someone to change, when they promise us they will? When I was divorced many years ago I … Continue reading Promises
Tricia, an old friend of mine, said something that started me thinking. Her parents had been married for 40 years when her mother died. When her father fell in love again and remarried a couple of years later, Tricia was happy for him, but felt uneasy. “I’ve always believed in heaven,” she said. “It meant that my father and mother would be united there for … Continue reading Who is the Real You?
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
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
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?
I adored my mother’s father. Grandpa was poor, money-wise, but rich with his gifts. They weren’t board games, dolls, or pretty dresses, which I had plenty of. His gifts cost almost nothing. A walnut in a shell became a ball to toss across a room and a missile to knock down a pyramid of playing cards. Grandpa taught me to play cat’s cradle with the string … Continue reading Gifts from Grandpa
As a psychotherapist, people entrust me with their most private thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I hold that trust as sacred. Not because of strict confidentiality laws (which I uphold), but because I regard the safety and protection of these people as my highest priority. So where do my stories come from? First, when I tell a story about someone other than myself, either in a lecture to a group … Continue reading Privacy and Stories