What Are Feelings For?

Feelings are like the idiot lights on your car. They’re crude messages about your state of being. When the oil light goes on in your car, you know to check the oil. When you feel angry, you know there is a perceived injustice somewhere. You don’t ignore the idiot light on your car, do you? Then don’t ignore your feelings. Check them out to see what’s causing them, and thank your feelings for alerting you to potential danger. Continue reading →

Listen to Your Lookout

If you’re in a close relationship, you have a resource others don’t have. You have a lookout.

When the wheels start to come off, everyone is prone to develop their own kind of problem and make their own kind of mistakes. Some get depressed or anxious or angry or just withdraw into themselves. Others use substances, or gamble, or have sex with everyone, or can’t stop shopping; others get controlling. Some have a combination of several kinds of problems and mistakes. Everyone’s got their thing. Your own type of problem and mistake is yours because it’s the very thing that sneaks up in your blind spots. When it fools anyone into thinking it’s a good thing, it fools you first. Continue reading →

A Guide to Pain and Suffering

Your feelings tell you about the state of your body. If you’re putting on a roof, carrying shingles up a ladder, swinging a hammer until your hand falls off, sweating it out at a hundred and ten degrees, your body will have a lot to say. You may not want to listen to it. You’ve got to cover the roof before the rainstorm comes; but, your body is trying to tell you something. It would be in your interest to listen sometimes.

The feeling of pain is the way the body speaks to you when it wants to say, cut it out, you’re exceeding limitations. When you swing a hammer until your hand is ready to fall off, tendonitis is developing. That’s why the old guy on your job, who used to swing a hammer all day, can’t anymore. He ruined his hands swinging that hammer, so now all he can do is talk to customers, write up estimates, and yell at you that you’re doing it wrong. He’d like to be on the roof and show you how to do it, but he didn’t listen to his body when it told him to stop. Continue reading →

Dissatisfaction and Craving

Sharpening your point until you miss it

There are two ways of wanting something; you can be broad, or you can be precise. It’s possible to be too broad or too precise.

There are many other words in the vast family of wanting: annoyance, anxiety, boredom, complaint, discomfort, dismay, displeasure, disquiet, distaste, exasperation, frustration, discouraged, disgruntled, distressed, and malcontent. I call the broad variety dissatisfied, and the precise kind, craving. Continue reading →

Don’t Play the Problem’s Game

When Problems Take Over a Relationship

How does a persistent problem get started and what keeps it going? Why does it seem to be immune to your attempts to defeat it? Let me explain how it gets so hard and how problems manipulate you into feeding them. Continue reading →

The Cost of the Placebo Effect

And Whether Walking in the Woods Would Do You Some Good

Any time is a good time for a good dose of Shinrin-yoku; but, I think early summer, after being cooped up because of a pandemic is best. Shinrin-yoku is the Japanese term for forest bathing, or forest therapy. That’s getting therapy by walking in the forest, not therapy for forests. People have been walking in the woods forever; but, I am told, since the 1980s, it’s become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Researchers in Japan and South Korea have established what they call a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time in the company of trees. Continue reading →

Ride The Ego Balloon

The ego is a good tool if you understand its uses and limitations

It all starts with you being a child. You have it really good. People take care of you, they feed you, clothe you, give you hugs, and put your awful drawings on the refrigerator with unrestrained praise. But nature cannot allow you to remain a child forever. It needs to stir the pot. It wants you to get out, take chances, spread your seed, and do stuff. How does nature get you to leave childhood? It casts a spell on you, makes you an adolescent and a little bit crazy. It takes you for a ride on the ego balloon. Continue reading →

Driving to Death

Taking the long way through trauma

Why do trauma victims re-experience their trauma in flashbacks and nightmares? We need some help from Freud to explain.

In Beyond the Pleasure Principle. Freud noted that, in their dreams, flashbacks, and patterns of behavior, trauma victims compulsively repeated their horrible experiences as if they were happening in the present, rather than remembering them as events of the past. If you believe people do whatever is pleasurable, you will not expect this. Freud came up with the death drive to explain. Continue reading →