Other Writing

The Dangers of Disconnection: The Evidence Is Overwhelming

Today’s digital/social media environment represents a massive paradigm shift that makes being mindful and reflective more crucial than ever before. Yet without regular face-to-face connection, empathy and compassion can diminish or disappear.

Online, people can present a false version of themselves, making empathy difficult. Children often establish artificial intimacy by commanding immedi­ate responsiveness from Siri or Alexa, impairing their ability to learn how to consider another human’s mind.

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How to Manage Our Inner Saboteur, InnerSelf.com

Deeply hidden fears, hurts, and longings may lead to symptoms and eventually maladaptive behaviors that can sabotage us.

I met someone while shopping whose inner saboteur prompted her to behave toward me in a wholly unexpected and egregious way. It demonstrates that when we’re not mindful and self-aware, we can get into a lot of trouble.

I had popped into a boutique and found a few things to try on. Dana, the salesperson, led me to a changing room. When I emerged, Dana wasn’t anywhere to be found. A few shoppers in the front of the store were also unable to find a salesperson to help them, and they left. I waited feeling like I should protect the store. She had left the register and doors unlocked.

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How to Vanquish the Effects of Trauma, Wellbeing Magazine

The embankment along the Ganges River in Varanasi, India, is the holiest burial place for Hindus. The bank is densely packed with sick and dying pilgrims and mourners, while tourists fill the boats on the river. For as far as one’s teary eyes can gaze and grip the horizon, the city skyline is dense with the smoke of cremated bodies. I was reminded of my mother’s similar description of pogroms, including the smoke from burning synagogues, books, and murdered corpses. “Holocaust survivors shouldn’t be here,” I thought as we waited patiently with hordes of people for Brahman priests to lead them in prayer.

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Empathy and Inherited Quirks, The Good Man Project

We cannot know another person if we do not know ourselves, which is essential for secure, meaningful, empathetic relationships with the capacity for intimacy and emotional growth. We need to figure out what makes us tick and what ticks us off, no matter the environment.

Self-understanding, especially of hidden hurts, helps us control overwhelming raw emotions. Calmness promotes compassion.

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Growing Up While Growing Old, Happiness Series

In our tiny immediate family, we had one maternal grandmother and one maternal uncle named Art. Uncle Art’s life was marked by a peculiar journey. At the tender age of eight, he, along with my mother, 16, and their parents were in a ditch underground for 2 1/2 years during the Holocaust. Many believed this experience hindered his emotional growth, leaving him highly anxious and ill-equipped to fully embrace intimacy.

Art was the last of our parents’ generation and passed away three years after my mother, reaching the age of 88.

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Color and Light from Skin to Within

As a child, I was captivated by my father’s cherished collection of miniature porcelain figurines, tiny painted engraved boxes, and mini perfume bottles.  I marveled at their beauty,  amazed that someone could make such intricate, artistic pieces. I falsely equated their preciousness with being of high value.

More than that, the connection with my dad through these Art objects was beautiful; Vibrant and animated, he engaged me by sharing a passion and telling me stories.  Even better was when I joined my dad on excursions to hunt for treasures at antique and thrift shops. He was a strategic shopper and did his best with unassuming owners of valued knickknacks.   Furtively eyeing his prey in an encased wall of collectibles, he asked to see ten objects, of which eight held no interest. Just as we left the shop, he said, “Oh, I forgot those silver pieces; are they genuine? Determined to return to the store, he purchased the boxes quickly.; once we were out of sight, my gleeful father explained that these matching silver boxes were Russian 18th century that stored salt and sugar.  He gently lifted the lids off both boxes, and we could see a residue of oxidized salt. Those were incredible moments!

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Invisible Beauty

This was responding to a friendly request to describe Hedy Lamarr’s character as they were preparing to make the movie bombshell

There’s a compelling argument that fame was Hedy Lamarr’s biggest curse. Hedy’s fame corrupted, compromised, and downright stunted her essential self-development. Fame transformed her from an assertive and determined person into a tortured soul whose essence was ignored and sacrificed by both the self-interest of others and the seduction inherent to commercial stardom. Ironically, Hedy spent most of her life feeling alone and invisible. To paraphrase Hedy: ” I feel all alone on a small boat in the middle of the ocean.” She suffered intensely from anomie, isolation, and frustrated self-expression. So, a plot-driven movie that recapitulates astonishing facts about her life would be typical of Hollywood seduction. It is problematic if the film projects the familiar, bombshell persona while excluding any meaningful understanding of her brilliant mind. More importantly, her inner world lacked loving and sustaining experiences— the intangible and imprisoning void. Hedy’s life was complex and multifaceted–so beautiful, glamorous, and seemingly desirable that it could be challenging to create a psychological perspective that focuses the camera on her tortured internal process. The worst outcome is to create something of superficial interest that lacks poignancy: A plot-driven film would mimic her seemingly ungratified empty life and could leave viewers feeling deeply dissatisfied.

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Children Need a “Good Enough” Parent, The Art of Living Healthy

Sometimes, poorly managed yet surmountable traumas leave needless drama and damage. All humans experience mini-injuries, misunderstandings, or hurt feelings. Bruno Bettelheim described “good enough” parents as consistently loving and caring for their children so they feel secure. A good enough parent is attentive enough to create an emotional haven regularly.

When they make mistakes, which are 100-percent guaranteed and inevitable, they make amends to the child by apologizing, physical holding, and emotional containment. These repairs allow the child to feel safe and secure, and they can recover from many of life’s wounds. So, the aftermath of the injury is important when we’re dealing with cumulative, repetitive hurts or a single injury.

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