Falling in love is grand. There’s that spark of aliveness and vibrancy, energy, passion, and epiphany, like everything has fallen perfectly into place and just makes sense. Life seems so full of meaning and beauty and purpose. To encounter another person in this way is one of the most extraordinary experiences we may share with another. It fills our hearts and imaginations with visions of lifelong bliss and unity, as if we have at long last discovered our soulmate, our partner on the path, the person with whom we can fully share a lifelong journey.
This past weekend a good friend (and soulmate) of mine assembled a group of his closest allies to join him in celebration of his sixty-fifth birthday. It was a gathering more than a party, an opportunity for a trusted few to convene around a fire for a quiet moment of shared time and reflection. My friend, at this juncture of his life, was looking forward toward his remaining years and asking for help with taking what he called “a leap”. Read more
We get dropped off at the curb at LAX in the morning, a few days after Christmas, the four of us, myself, my wife, two toddlers, three bags we want to check, four carry-ons, and a large, collapsible wagon we use to schlep our gear around whenever we attempt to navigate the serpentine marathon that is airline travel with a family of four. Our plane boards in a little over an hour. Odds of making it? To be determined. Read more
Our society, quite literally, prides itself on confidence. Our heroes and role models teem with it; the celebrities, Grammy-winning musicians, and sports superstars so many of us seem to idolize (and are taught to at a young age) overflow with a bounty of this particular character trait. As kids and into adulthood, we’re taught to hold our heads high, speak up, look others in the eyes, believe in ourselves, be proud, be confident, be bold. Like most, I faced my fair share of challenges in pursuit of such confidence as I labored awkwardly through adolescence, early adulthood, and the years beyond. Getting confident in one’s self isn’t easy and yet, along the way, I never doubted that doing so was important, if not essential.
There’s a lot of talk on the internet about success, how you can do anything you set your mind to if you just believe in yourself and follow a certain set of tips or guidelines, buy a particular book, or register for a this or that class or workshop. We’re in the throes of a “YOU CAN DO IT!” era, for sure, which isn’t necessarily such a bad thing. It’s just that every online street corner seems anchored by someone hocking their personal brand of success steroids (guilty as charged). Success, success, success. Somehow it all leaves me feeling like failure is getting more than a bit short-changed, like it’s the ugly step-sibling, locked in the cellar while success gets all the accolades and attention. Read more
It never hurts to tell your partner “I love you” or whisper a seductive compliment to him or her, especially on Valentine’s Day. That said, there are some other, more unexpected things you might confess that could surprise your partner with your emotional depth and sophistication. This Valentine’s Day, try sparking some romantic conversation with one of the following, at first somewhat baffling, statements. Read more
1997. Fall. Just looking for a little down time, I stroll alone into a small arthouse movie theater in the Castro district of San Francisco. I’m not intent on seeing a specific film and select a documentary called Waco: The Rules of Engagement (probably due to a convenient start time). Roughly two hours later, I leave the theater literally sobbing, my heart feeling violently cleaved in two by what I could only describe later as a loss of innocence. For the first time in my life, I became genuinely suicidal, my mind swimming with a furious tempest of questions and doubts and frustrations, uncertain whether I could foresee myself willingly participating in a society so cruel, so senseless, so (for lack of a better word) evil.
One of my fondest counseling experiences was with a single mother who came to me seeking help for her fifteen-year-old daughter, who she described as having poor social skills and issues with explosive anger. The mother was exasperated because she and her daughter fought constantly and the daughter was starting to get into fights at school. In the mother’s mind, her daughter needed help to learn how to better handle her emotions. She was hopeful that I could assist.
I’m not sure I’ve ever made a new year’s resolution that I’ve kept. After many attempts at the endeavor throughout my younger years, I eventually decided that the whole thing just wasn’t for me. But this year something happened. I accidentally made one, kinda.
So, yes, I officially turned 45 years old today. 45 years! What does this even mean? How does thinking about it effect me? Does it cause me to re-evaluate my life? Or mourn the passing of my youth and youthful vigor? Does it conjure a slew of thoughts about my own mortality? After all, birthdays effect everyone differently and, no matter how we approach these milestones of time’s annual passing, different birthdays carry different types of meaning with them. Turning 10 for instance, then 13, 16, 18, 21, 30, 40… all unique experiences. Turning 45, what did I really think about this? Well, this morning I got my answer, courtesy of a thought I didn’t remotely expect to have.