Archives for June, 2010

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Sleep As Refuge

So much for kicking back now that it's summer. I'm busier than ever with a million projects and events small and large.

In days gone by, the hecticness and the towering mental pile of Things To Do would have made me nuts with stress. But, so far at least, I'm feeling calm.

My new secret weapon?

SLEEP.

I mentioned this recently -- I've been following the rules of good sleep hygiene so far that I, whenever possible, go to...
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More Thoughts About Empathy

I've been reading American Pastoral, by Philip Roth. In it, I see a lot of commentary on failed empathy, the impossibility of ever truly knowing the depth and complexity of another human being.

The subject of American Pastoral is a high school sports hero nicknamed "The Swede."

Tall, blonde, blue-eyed, The Swede is a Jewish teenager whose real name is Seymour, and who plays on the football team only out of feelings of...
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Is Empathy Possible?

I wonder about this a fair bit.

It seems to me that, often (perhaps always?), what we believe is empathy (the supposed taking an emotional walk in the other person's shoes and getting so thoroughly inside their head that we feel what they feel) is really projection (assigning our own feelings to them and filtering their experiences through our own psyches, so that we create the illusion of understanding them, whereas what we're really doing is...
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Is the Time Right to Get a New Pet?

On Mondays (Luna's Day) we share thoughts about animals and their value and meaning in our lives.

It's been two months now since Luna died, and our whole family still feels her loss keenly. We're not, by any means, finished mourning her. We all still choke up when we talk about her or look at her kitten photos or the little tin box containing her ashes. (Even typing this brings on the tears for me).

But...
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Teaching Is Not a Winnable Game

One of my favorite students (I'll call her Carla) is about to graduate high school next week. She's a wonderful, sensitive, gentle  young woman who has struggled with various learning issues her whole life.

Carla's own challenges have given her great empathy for the learning processes of all people, and she especially loves working with young children. In the fall she'll be starting college, towards a degree in early childhood education.

I'm so excited to see Carla...
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Do What You Can

My hectic schedule is winding down and into a much calmer summer.

Except that I've got so much on my list of summer resolutions this year, I don't know where to begin!

These past few days I've been remembering the simple, amazing, reassuring words of Forrest Church, pastor of All Souls Unitarian Church here in New York City until his death last September:
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Working as a Veterinary Assistant

[On Mondays (Luna's Day) we share reflections about animals and their meaning in our lives. Thanks to my friend Joan, who here shares some of her experiences from the days she worked in a veterinary office - LPC]

The first thing I did on my very first day of work was help put a beagle named Happy to sleep.  I learned to hold the leg as the vet injected the euthanasia. I learned to...
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Learning About Dissociative Identity Disorder: I Am Not Sybil, Part Two

[Please click here to read Jane's first post.]

When my doctor first asked me if I had time loss, my first response was "doesn't everybody?"

I didn't know.

Typically, a person with DID has time loss, but everyone has some time loss.  Day dreaming, getting lost in a book and highway hypnosis (driving somewhere and not remembering how you got there) are examples.

With DID it is all on a continuum.  The kind of “normal” time...
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Savoring the Life You Have

I enjoy all the recent findings about the lack of connection between money and happiness, including John Grohol's post from yesterday.

John wrote about a study which showed that money distracts people from savoring the simple pleasures of life.

I find these results to be very true in my own life. I'm one of those rare people who, though far from wealthy, is actually satisfied with my income and my standard of living. I have enough...
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Encouraging a Student to Be An Active Learner

As the school year comes to a close, I'm reviewing my notes on several of my students.

I wrote about Paul a few months ago. He struggles in math, and I was hired to teach him algebra. But, as is so often the case, Paul's issues aren't just with algebra.

Paul is an example of what happens with too many kids for whom education is merely a thing they endure, something imposed upon them.

Many students are...
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