Tag Archive for Living News

Stopping Domestic Abusers Starts At Home

Oh boy, am I ever going to take heat for this. But it must be said.
There are some women caught up in the awful throes of domestic abuse because they allow it.
The women of whom I speak stay when they should leave. They repeatedly call police to come to their rescue after their partner’s anger erupts Read more

Breast Cancer Phase Two Portacath Insertion

Last week I went for my portacath insertion, which means commencement of phase two in the breast cancer marathon.
What Is A Portacath?
It is a device that facilitates the administration of chemotherapy into the venous system (i.e., into my veins). It is a fabulous gadget that is used to make the administration of chemotherapy and blood draws easier. It can also reduce the risk of certain chemotherapy-caused side effects. This device will be placed under my skin, in the upper part of my chest (though some people have it placed in the arm) Read more

How Important Are Your Kids SATs Really

Parents of high-achievers are getting the message: Stop the pressure. But what happens when your kid is the one refusing to let up?
My daughter, Kerry, like most college-bound high school juniors, just took her SATs. Watching her prepare, I found myself on board with the movement to reduce academic anxiety in kids. In her new film, “Race to Nowhere,” a mother named Vicki Abeles examines the high-stakes culture that has invaded some schools, creating unhealthy, unprepared and stressed-out youth Read more

Workarounds Moving Past SelfImposed Limitations

Over these many years of helping people move from whining to winning, I have remained resolute in my focus that each of us is capable of far more than we typically give ourselves credit for. As I have pointed out in many ways, you can have the results you choose, or you can settle for all the perfect reasons that you don’t have those results. I have learned that it really is just a choice.
However, as with all choices, the art is that of choosing wisely. I can imagine those who read these articles simply to find something to disagree with, or worse yet, something else to be disagreeable about, are already having a field day Read more

How Willpower Works The 3 SelfControl Secrets You Need to Know

Most of our New Year’s resolutions have one thing in common: resisting temptation. Trying to ignore the powerful allure of the forbidden cigarette, doughnut, or latest budget-blowing buying impulse requires willpower. You might expect very successful people, who presumably have boatloads of willpower, to be particularly good at not giving in. But if anything, they seem to be even more susceptible to temptation than the rest of us Read more

In Friendship Do You Give More Than You Receive

If there is one thing I hear all the time from women, it is some variation of the theme: “I’m tired of being the one who gives more than I receive.”
The details change depending upon the stage of the friendship, but the implication is always that we are tired of being the initiators, the givers, the schedulers, the inviters and the ones who do the most for the other. We apparently listen the longest, serve most thoughtfully, and show up more consistently. In short, we think of ourselves as the “better friend.”
From all my interactions with women, you’d think the odds are probable that I’d eventually connect with these blessed beneficiaries, these winners in the life lottery of our giving. You’d think that for every woman who gives too much that there would be at least one woman out there who admits getting too much.
Ironically, I haven’t yet met her Read more

Life After 50 Need a Push to Reach Your Goals Create an Accountability Group

Welcome to the ongoing discussion about living your best life after 50. Each week, I post an article to ignite a discussion about the challenges and joys of midlife. Please read, share, comment and engage! The more people involved in the conversation, the more we’ll all connect and learn from each other. If there’s something specific you’d like to discuss, I’d love to hear from you.
Last week, I posted an article (“Afraid of Aging? Five Ways to Fight the Fear”) that generated a lot of discussion here and on Facebook Read more

The Dancing Parent Dealing with Divorce

Whether it begins with a trial separation, or moves directly to divorce, the break-up of a marriage is a difficult and painful experience for everyone involved, especially for children, even under the most amicable of circumstances.
While mom and dad may find themselves deeply questioning their own life choices, their child may be quietly questioning how they may have contributed to their parents’ parting. Their reactions may include anger, depression, anxiety, sleep-loss, as well as a fear of being separated from mom or dad.
Some kids seem to have an almost infinite capacity to take the cares and responsibilities of their parents’ relationship onto their own shoulders, all too readily blaming themselves for whatever difficulties their mother or father may be facing, especially when it comes to marital disagreements or difficulties.
Their behaviors, sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle, can often change. A child who once may have enjoyed sleepovers with friends or going away to camp may suddenly become a reclusive homebody, refusing opportunities and invitations to engage with the world.
Others react by seeking to spend as much time as possible away from their familiar surroundings and parents, associating them with pain and struggle Read more

Literature Leaps into the 22nd Century Lands Awkwardly

The New York Times last week issued an entertaining challenge to some of our best-known poets: to Write a poem on Twitter, subject to its 140-character limit. You can read the (mixed) results of this daunting challenge. Former poet laureate Robert Pinsky punned on the word “characters,” Claudia Rankine boldly meditated on the tsunami and Elizabeth Alexander fully embraced Twitter’s unique dialect and syntax (which I loved). For Alexander, the Twitter forum was “just enuf 2hold/1 xllent big word.”
But if The New York Times fancies itself to be on the cutting edge of merging literature and technology, it would be wrong Read more

Barns Burnt Down Now I Can See the Moon

“Barn’s burnt down — now I can see the moon.”
This evocative Haiku written by Mizuta Masahide, a 17th century Japanese poet and samurai, has spoken to me deeply since I adopted my treasured son Neal, who has taught me the gifts of leading a purpose-driven life. I aspire each day to be of service to those, like my family, who live with autism and “special needs.” In fact, I founded The Miracle Project so others could come to “see the moon” each day by being Miracle Minded.
My heart is full as I witness the courage, grace, cooperation and compassion at the core of our Japanese brothers and sisters’ culture.
In this unimaginable moment of crisis, we hear nothing about looting food or material goods in order to survive, but rather, we learn one story after another about Japanese citizens’ instinct to share each bit of food, shelter and clothing with in those in their midst, be they family, stranger, elder or infirmed.
How extraordinary to witness sharing, compassion, generosity, connection, understanding, patience, grace and unconditional love in the most desperate of times. What a blessing to learn of the boundlessness of the human spirit in moments of scarcity as well as abundance.
When disaster strikes and we are brought to our knees, I believe we come to know who we are and what we are made of Read more

8 Surprising Facts About Parenting Genes and What Really Makes Us Who We Are

In 1990, Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr. and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota published a striking finding: About 70 percent of the variance in IQ found in their particular sample of identical twins was found to be associated with genetic variation. Furthermore, identical twins reared apart were eerily similar to identical twins reared together on various measures of personality, occupational and leisure-time interests, and social attitudes.
Bouchard’s study, along with many others, has painted a consistent picture: Genes matter Read more

In Defense of Marriage Cake

When my daughter announced to my granddaughter, “Grandpa and Doug are getting married,” my granddaughter asked, “Oh? Who are they marrying?” My daughter responded that we were marrying each other. After a beat, my granddaughter said, “That’s weird.” Then, after another pause, she asked, “Will there be cake?”
I can’t fault my granddaughter for thinking same-sex marriage is weird; when I first heard several years ago that same-sex marriage was being proposed in Massachusetts, even though I had been “out” for many years, I thought it was pretty weird, too. No reference point existed for this significant social change.
All that my granddaughter needed was reassurance that our marriage was about a public statement of love and commitment — and about cake — and that her world wouldn’t change Read more

Watch Out for Those Touchy Treacherous Complexes

Among the depth-psychology tools we need for living life (most of them covered in “The Undervalued Self”), understanding complexes is your handy screwdriver. It opens up many things and closes some as well.
We all have complexes. They are the “building blocks of the personality,” as Jung called them. Alas, they are also our loose screws, because most of them are built around old traumas.
Psychological trauma happens in moments of unbearable feelings that threaten to make your ego (self) literally fall apart or dissociate and be sent out of awareness Read more

Parentless Parents Why Writing About Grief Makes Me Happy

Several weeks ago my new book, “Parentless Parents,” was published. This is the third book I’ve written that deals with mourning and loss. And while you might assume I’d be the last person you’d want to meet at a cocktail party, I’ve been told otherwise. I smile; I laugh Read more

Raise Happy Children

One of the most frequent comments I get from parents is, “I just want my kid to be happy.” Though an admirable and common objective, happiness is one of the most neglected family values in 21st century America. Few parents grasp the essential meaning of happiness for their children and fewer still understand how they can help their children to find it.
Parents’ efforts at helping their children gain happiness are undermined by the distorted messages that popular culture communicates to parents about happiness — that happiness can be found in wealth, celebrity, power and physical attractiveness. Yet research and anecdotal accounts of people who have these attributes show that pursuit of these “false idols” can actually cause unhappiness.
By understanding how happiness develops, you can help your children find true happiness. The real causes of happiness are all within your children’s control, so they can actively do things that foster their own happiness.
Self-esteem is a powerful contributor to happiness Read more

Is Qigong for You

If you’ve traveled to China, you’ve likely encountered senior citizens flapping their arms early in the morning in public parks, or perhaps squatting, walking, singing or dancing in groups, twisting waists and wiggling hips and watching their own hands while performing repetitive movements. Most likely, these folks were engaging in their morning qigong.
Ranging from simple to quite complex, this popular mind-body exercise represents a uniquely Chinese method of uniting good intentions with specific results. Because it is more accessible and less challenging than practices like tai chi or yoga — and takes far less time to learn — it is growing in popularity among New Agers, the alternative medicine crowd and just about anyone whose mind is more open than their wallet when it comes to taking good care of themselves.
The word “qigong” (pronounced “chee gung”) is a composite of two Chinese characters, the first meaning energy (“qi”) and the second meaning work (“gong”) Read more

Can You Find Joy in Air Travel

I will never forget the first time I flew. It was 1967, and we were on a Canadian Air Force plane. Four propellers carried us across the Atlantic toward Europe, while my siblings and I sat around a table, colouring and playing board games. I was smitten.
Fast forward 40 years Read more

The OneMoment Insomnia Cure

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 41 percent of Americans report having sleep problems every night or almost every night. Meditation, of course, can help, but not as you might imagine.
Yes, it’s true, through regular meditation practice, you might become so profoundly peaceful that you will never again have trouble sleeping. Or you might become so radiant and light-filled that you won’t need much sleep at all Read more

We Are All Japanese

Recent events in Japan have touched a raw nerve across the world. Nuclear meltdowns. Collapsed buildings. Traumatic images of waves crashing through towns and flattening the hopes of thousands are seared into our collective consciousness Read more

The Beauty Paradox When Feminism and Vanity Collide

In the weeks following International Women’s Day, a great deal of discussion ensued about the ambivalent connection (or lack of one) that contemporary women have toward feminism. In a piece here entitled “Reclaiming Feminism,” Annie Lennox wrote, “Many young women feel the label of ‘feminist’ is, at best, irrelevant to their lives and, at worst, a stigma to be avoided at all costs.” While women of all ages support the notion of gender equality, what it means to identify with the feminist movement is much more complicated.
Surprisingly, a version of this ambivalence can be found among Baby Boomer women, many who proudly connect feminism to the accomplishments and freedoms they enjoy today. These women were the first generation to have helped engender, or at least have benefitted from, the glass ceilings broken by the likes of Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. And yet as Boomers, they are heading into the later chapters of longer lives –78 million turning 65 this year — only to find themselves fixated on a most “unfeminist” preoccupation — their aging appearance Read more

Personal Branding The Inside Story

Having spent half my business life in the fashion industry, I may have a somewhat jaundiced view of the culture that surrounds it. I was recently contacted by a woman who is following me on Twitter. She writes about fashion and style and explained via a DM (direct message), “If I post anything remotely un-superficial, I lose a few Twitter fashionistas!”
Fashion and style are marketed with great vigour by designers, celebrities and the media, and are widely spread on covers of glossy magazines. Their focus is on what I describe as “Outer Branding” — that is, image Read more

The Real Reason So Many People Are Such Bad Communicators

From the anal-retentive drones whose PowerPoint presentations seem to last for weeks, to the overbearing braggart who can’t stop telling you how wonderful he is, some people just aren’t very good at communicating. You’ve probably also experienced the awkward silences, stammered replies and mid-sentence brain freezes that can stall a meeting, presentation or date. Some people err on the side of too much talking, while others err on the side of too little.
We tend to think of great communicators as great talkers Read more

Are You An Anxiety Junkie 7 Strategies To Break The Addiction

Our world is in the midst of an emotional meltdown. As a psychiatrist, I’ve seen that many people are addicted to the adrenaline rush of anxiety, known as the “fight or flight” response, and they don’t know how to diffuse it. An example of this is obsessively watching the news about natural disasters, trauma, economic stress and violence, and then not being able to turn bad news off. Also, people are prone to “techno-despair” — a term I coined in my book, “Emotional Freedom.” This is a state of high anxiety that results from information overload and Internet addiction Read more

Are You Practicing Yoga or YogaFlavored Exercise

Yoga’s booming popularity has resulted in some classes that are called “yoga,” but are actually just yoga-flavored exercise classes. Students learn yoga postures — such as Warrior, Tree and Downward-facing Dog — but get no instruction in the deeper teachings of yoga, about breathing, awareness, and cultivating a “non-striving” attitude. So rather than an authentic yoga practice — which is a journey of self-discovery, healing and transformation — these yoga-flavored exercise classes are just another workout where participants push themselves, compete with each other, focus on appearance and — all too often — feel like failures if they can’t achieve a particular pose.
As a yoga teacher who specializes in working with people who have health challenges, I often hear unsettling stories about negative experiences in yoga classes — being injured by an over-zealous adjustment from a teacher, feeling embarrassed by not being as “good” as others in class and — most alarming of all — being told that pain is good because it means you’re breaking through to a new level.
Frequently, these kinds of experiences occur in yoga-flavored exercise classes, which are characterized by a Western, competitive fitness mentality and ignore fundamental teachings of the yogic tradition, including the instruction from the Yoga Sutras that “a yoga pose should be steady and comfortable,” (sometimes translated as “stable and sweet”) Read more