How to Find Joy That Lasts

It was the bottom bottom of the ninth inning in game seven of the 2001 World Series. The New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks were all tied up. As Arizonans, my family and I were thrilled to see our state getting attention for something other than sun damage, so when Luis Gonzalez hit a bloop single to drive in the winning run, we went bananas—screaming, punching the air, jumping like jackrabbits on crack. Now, ordinarily my beagle Cookie (may he rest in peace) loved human celebrations. He’d howl along and do a little tap dance, castanet toenails clicking [...]

The Critter & The Creator

Ever since we moved to California, I’ve been seeking some sort of community for my son Adam, who, as many of you know, has Down syndrome. I haven’t had much luck.

Most of our neighbors are wild animals, and there’s no well-developed special-needs program among the bobcats and the bears I’ve met so far. Even nearby towns don’t have many activities for people with special needs.

It finally occurred to me that I wasn’t walking my talk in this area. I’ve been feeling like a defeated little critter, unable to access an existing program or structure that would meet my family’s [...]

Lame Animal Totem: T Rex

You may think that a huge carnivorous dinosaur would be a good animal totem. It’s so strong and sassy and rambunctious. But in truth, T-Rex energy is the ultimate inner lizard, the totem of fight-or-flight reactions so severe they’ll cause you to burn down your house because there’s a spider in the basement.

As you can see from this totally un-Photo-Shopped photograph of me on my ranch, I myself have a Tyrannosaurus Rex as a totem. (The one pictured was sent to me recently by an anonymous donor. Probably Jesus.) If T-Rex is your totem it will look much like [...]

Overshare Beware: How to Create Healthy Emotional Intimacy

Photo by Amanda Hatfield

Boris came to me at the behest of his new girlfriend, Cecily, whom I’d known for years. Since most people dislike being pushed to see any sort of adviser, I expected Boris to be reticent, if not downright hostile. How wrong I was! After a few minutes of chitchat, Boris himself raised a very personal issue. 

“I know why Cecily’s confused,” he said sheepishly. “We’ve been dating for months, and we still haven’t slept together.”

“Okay,” I said cautiously, not wanting to disrupt a delicate moment.

“You see,” Boris said, looking at the floor. “Ten years ago I had [...]

Freedom From Fear

Lately I’ve become thoroughly exasperated with the part of my tiny brain that insists on continuously creating fear. Fear of dying soon. Fear of living too long. Fear of being alone. Fear of being spread out too thin between loved ones. Fear of drought. Fear of flooding. Fear of change. Fear of things staying the same.

ENOUGH, ALREADY!

I’ve tried suppressing my fear. It gets stronger. I’ve tried looking for the bright side, which simply focuses my mind on the inevitable dark side. I’ve tried medication, meditation, mediation, and a host of other ations. None of them worked. But recently, I’ve [...]

Lame Animal Totem: The Lemming

Our animal totem for this month, the Lemming, is a cute little thing—perhaps too cute for its own good. Lemmings reproduce in such numbers that every four years or so, their population density becomes so extreme that they all flee to the suburbs—which is problematic because they have no cities. When they encounter a body of water, such as the Pacific Ocean, they try to swim it. They fail.

Lemming energy is fixated, obsessive, and frazzled. If Lemming has tunneled its way through the yurt walls of your life, this is a good time to find a public space such [...]

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