Why You Should Observe Advent Even If You Don’t Do Christmas

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You know what Christmas looks like. There’s the busy malls, the colorful lights, the ubiquitous Santas. You know what it sounds like: jingle bells, jolly music, ho ho ho. You know what you’re supposed to do: attend parties, kiss under the mistletoe, go mad buying things no one needs. You know what it’s supposed to feel like: generosity, warm fuzziness, wonder, enchantment, and excitement. Christmas has the distinctive smell of pine needles and ham dinner. You know when it’s supposed to occur; November first is definitely too soon. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you know all about Christmas. Getting what you want is like Christmas to you.

You may think you know all about Christmas, but you may not realize that you’re missing a whole ‘nother holiday between Thanksgiving and December twenty-fifth. No, I don’t mean Black Friday. You’re missing Advent.

You think you know about Advent, do you? There’s the candles and the little paper houses where you open a new door every day. You’ve been there and done that; it’s not your thing. But, I bet you never thought about the true meaning of Advent, just like the true meaning of Christmas is often hidden under mounds of discarded wrapping paper.

Advent is about waiting. Continue reading

Don’t Force It

My father was a car mechanic. When I was a kid, he tried to teach me all about cars, but I wasn’t very interested. After a while, he might have thought he was wasting his time, but one of his lessons stuck with me. I think about it every day. Continue reading

Using the Rupture Ratio to Decide What You Want

rr-imageHurting sucks. You’ll want to move on. Before you can, you’ll need to know where to go. What is it that you want, exactly?

If your wife has been sleeping with another man, you might not know how to heal. It’s not like she can undo what she did or that you can unknow it. What’s done is done. You find it hard to trust and a persistent image keeps popping into your mind whenever you go to kiss her. You try to imagine feeling the same about her as you once did, but you can’t get there from here. It seems like the roads have all been closed and a confusing array of detour signs are sending you every which way. [Click here to read more]

What to Complain About

rr-imageSome things are not worth complaining about; but many of the things that are, are never addressed. For every person who carps about every little thing there’s another person who stuffs his indignation. Sometimes it’s the same person who carps and stuffs; complaining about a hundred little things that don’t matter while he’s silent about the things that do.

To help you decide what to complain about, I have a formula. It goes like this:

All the crap – All your crap – Your feelings + (Your values/2 x His promises) = Things to complain about.

[Want to read more? Click here.]

Wizard of Oz

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Bringing you the best of mental health every week.

Before you shoot up that drug, take that drink, put up with that bad relationship, or think about what you need, click here and watch the Wizard of Oz.

You’ve probably seen the Wizard of Oz a hundred times, but you didn’t know it was about you. The movie’s about believing in yourself when there’s nothing else you can believe in. Continue reading

Announcement: Intersections

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The audio version of my second novel, Intersections, came out last week, thanks to the vocal work of Pete Ferand. I’ve been given some free copies to distribute. Fill out this form and I will send you a free copy of Intersections for as long as they hold out.

What is Intersections about? Well, go on the road with Larry, a suicidal psychotherapist, and find out. Middle-aged and obese, divorced and estranged from his children, Larry lives in a garden apartment with no garden, in a city with a rotten core. He hears that his daughter is getting married and sets off across the country, ambivalently seeking restoration amid scraps of long-distance fatherhood. He encounters an amorous nursing home death cat, a serendipitous Rastafarian, a drunken Katrina refugee who just might be an incarnation of a Voodoo god, and a murderous mountaineer who teaches him how to let go. He reconnects with his daughter who is terrified of being herself except when she steps onto a tennis court. He’s transformed by a series of spiritual discoveries that proffer insight about life’s fundamental questions. Intersections takes unexpected turns on a journey from despair to re-enchantment, from loneliness to reconciliation, from the carnal to the transcendent and back again.

Click here to listen to a sample of the audio version.