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General

Intimacy Is Good, But What Is Intimacy?

The opposite of loneliness is not togetherness, it's intimacy ― Richard Bach I’ve never read Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and probably even mocked it back in the day, when it came out. It just sounded so silly. But here is a very wise quote from its author. Of course. Doesn’t everyone know the feeling of being lonely in a crowd? (Does everyone? Or is this more of an introvert thing?) You needn't be alone to be lonely. Intimacy is the opposite of loneliness, I get that. But that takes me only halfway to enlightenment. The trouble is, I can’t put my finger on what intimacy is. It’s one of those words that I understand on a cellular level, but struggle to define.


General

Would You Rather Be a Meteor or a Planet?

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my...


General

It’s Just a Bunch of Crap

If one’s bowels move, one is happy; and if they don't move, one is unhappy. That is all there is to it. -- Lin Yutang Nice to hear the secret of life boiled down to crap, eh? I don't know the quote's context except that it came from a book called The Importance of Living. And according to one review of the book, "Lin Yutang’s ideal is the ‘scamp’ – an amiable loafer who wanders through life, learning, loving, living. "  And sure, I can see this as a credo for that sort of carefree fellow. Actually, I think Dean Martin has said something similar. And he was nothing if not a scamp. It's refreshing attitude. So simple. So free from angst and navel gazing and rumination. Happiness is a warm..never mind.


Courage

Why We Should Choose Change

Nothing ever changes if nothing ever changes. PsychCentral asked people on their Facebook page for their favorite motivational quotes and this one came up a couple of times. I’ve never heard it before and I like it. I tend to get frustrated with people who complain about problems without ever doing anything different to fix them. There’s a sort of wishful/magical thinking about that, as if a problem should simply respond to your discontent and solve itself because you want it to. My frustration is actually totally uncool. Unkind. People are naturally resistant to change. Of course they would rather gripe. It’s only natural. Change is hard. Inertia is very powerful. But is that true for everyone all the time?


General

When Love Just Doesn’t Add Up

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye. -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.* Certainly what makes us love is often invisible to the eyes of others. How often have you said, “I don’t know what she sees in him.” (Or vice versa, of course.) No, you don’t. You can’t. Love is intensely personal. And sometimes even  the lovers themselves can't see the why behind the emotion.


Depression

Words As A Lifeline In Hard Times

It's easy to be philosophical when everything's going fine.

I love when friends invent pithy quotes.

Yesterday, my friend Karen asked if I knew of any quotes along the lines of the above, which has been running through her head recently.

"To me it means when times are good and you're in your rhythm and conquering the world (or just fairly happy) it's easy to be philosophical about how to get thru the bad times," she wrote.

"Telling yourself...


General

How To Be Comforting, And Not

"The pain never goes away, but it gets different. It gets bearable." These are the words of a New York City cab driver, spoken to my parents when they were on the way to the morgue to face the unimaginable task of identifying their youngest son, my kid brother, who died unexpectedly. The driver, too, had lost a child, and these words are perhaps the wisest I've ever heard for the recently bereaved. I've lost a brother, both parents, and, during the most horrific years of the AIDS epidemic, several close friends. This cab driver’s words were comforting to me, and they are the words I use when expressing sympathy to others. I think of them now because in response to my recent post, Face Reality, Life Can Be Random, a reader commented that the bland aphorism, “Everything happens for a reason” is particularly unhelpful in a time of bereavement. Oh heavens, yes. Even if it were true that everything happens for a reason, which it’s not, when you’re in the dark belly of grief, no reason in the world can provide comfort. There’s even something a little callous about this attempt to justify loss, pain, and grief. This observation got me thinking about good and bad things you can say when someone is grieving.


Courage

Face Reality: Life Can Be Random

Everything happens for a reason.

I don’t know who said this first, but lots of people say it now and it annoys me every time I hear it.

I’m not a fan of magical thinking and that’s what this is—some sort of happy-voodoo, abracadabra, unicorns and rainbows, fairy dust and angels belief in preordination.

Of course, it’s a comforting belief. I get that. It makes the world feel less random, makes order of what might seem...


Communication

Why Great Minds Gossip

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." -- Eleanor Roosevelt Well pooh-pooh, la-di-da, and phooey on this quote, which shouldn’t even be allowed on a psychology website. Because really, what is psychology if not discussing people? People are endlessly fascinating, they are responsible for ideas and events, and you couldn’t figure them out in a lifetime of study. What’s so small about discussing people? What about Freud? Didja ever think about him, Eleanor? He couldn't have gotten to all his ideas if he hadn't first thought about and discussed  people. And can you even separate ideas from events and people? Aren’t the three all completely intertwined in this big glorious mess that is life? Ideas don’t exist in a vacuum, they are the product of people’s minds. To fully understand them, you have to understand where they come from. And events are the result of behavior. People again.


Communication

Shaddup Already!

It is a common delusion that you make things better by talking about them. -- Dame Rose Macaulay

Is this true? I need to know.

I’ve always believed that talking things out is the right thing to do, but I am doubting, doubting, doubting these days. And here's this dame (a novelist and travel writer) telling me my belief is delusional.

But I need explanations. Is nothing made better by talking, or are some things made better...