I recently opened for the first time, a volume of essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson from the collection of old books in my library that I have never read. I was surprised to find that my father, whom I must’ve gotten the book from, noted on the title page that he had read it three times in his adolescence. I started to study the book, not to discover what Emerson’s thoughts were, but to learn more about my father. Continue reading →
It can tell you how you’re feeling
I’d like to interrupt whatever else you might be doing to remind you to check your dashboard; you’ll find there almost all the information you need to keep things running smoothly.
No, I don’t mean the dashboard in your car, although you should be checking that regularly, as well. I mean your body’s dashboard. You can see it when you look within. Continue reading →
And cook the negativity
You learn a lot quicker from negative experiences than you do from positive ones. The stick is more damaging than the carrot is enticing. There’s a good reason for that. If you get whacked hard enough by the stick, it won’t matter how many carrots you have. But the result is that you will continuously look for bad news, zero in on the negativity, and lose sight of the big picture. You take for granted all the blessings you have, are ignorant of your resources, and blind to grace. Continue reading →
We are certain to encounter the past.
We are confronted with it if we go back to the old homestead, step in through our childhood door, and walk into our early days. We face it if we unpack memories along with the ornaments for the Christmas tree. Either we choose to spend time the past, or it is guaranteed to call on us. Continue reading →
How compulsion feels from the inside
I used to live in a cabin, so I should be an expert on cabin fever.
At age nineteen, I emigrated to western New York to live on a remote piece of land, a quarter mile from the nearest neighbor and built that cabin. They didn’t plow my dirt road, so I’d be snowed in for weeks at a time, which was just as well, for the rattletrap vehicle I drove was broken down as often as it was operable. A trip to town was as special as a vacation in Paris. It took years before I realized and could admit that I really didn’t like living in the country, and would much rather be in the city, or at least as much of a city as Rochester, NY, where I am now, can claim to be. Continue reading →
If you say you got pisssed off, gripped by fear, sadness overcame you, lost hope, filled with gratitude, or overwhelmed by joy; the passive voice you use about your feelings reveals a misconception of how they work. Continue reading →
When you go to as many conferences led by therapists as I do, you’re subjected to lots of speakers beginning their talk by telling you to close your eyes, get comfortable, and pay attention to your breathing. Some try to lead you on visualizations that include forest glens, peaceful waves on the beach, warm sunshine, and gentle breezes. I refuse. Don’t tell me to relax and don’t remind me when I’m at a conference, that I’m not on the beach.
I still won’t relax on command, but I have learned the value of relaxation therapy. Continue reading →
Personal and social antibodies for stress.
…The body’s immune response is as wonderful and useful as it is disgusting and often uncomfortable. Thank God you have it. But you should also thank God, or whatever you choose to thank, that you have an emotional immune system, as well. For, while there is stress everywhere, most of the time you don’t go mad. Continue reading →