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 [...]

How to Defend Against Emotional Muggers

My client Francine’s husband had started behaving oddly. “I’ll do something ordinary, like offer to check his e-mail for him, and he’ll react as if I’ve killed a child,” she said. Another client, Selma, was a sunny optimist—except when her sister Eve called to complain about life; by the time they hung up, Selma was always exhausted and depressed. Meanwhile, my friend Pamela was getting blindsided at a public-speaking workshop. “I gave a speech that went really well,” she told me, “and then this other woman got up and spent her whole speech mocking everything I’d done wrong.”

Let’s call [...]

When in Drought…

Last year was the first I spent in California. Having come from the desert, I was all excited about the winter greenness, the rains that always come in October…okay, November…well, FOR SURE in December…or absolutely in…January?

Or not.

This is the first time in recorded history that the rain has not come at all. The forest I love is gray and stark. I swear I can feel things dying.

I was getting rather testy with God about this when a thing happened.

Jeanette Trompeter, a journalist and pal of Master Coach Jill Farmer, asked to interview me for the local news. We did [...]

Lame Animal Totem: The Roundish Flatworm

The roundish flatworm is the hypothetical earliest animal ever to have developed bilateral symmetry. Its proper name, “urbilaterian,” is just its way of trying to sound important. Roundish flatworms are profoundly unevolved. They carry the energy of unintentional rudeness, deep insensitivity, and naïve indifference to suffering.

If the roundish flatworm is your totem, then like your animal, you probably focus most of your time sucking food through muscular mouth parts located directly over your stomach. This is why no one ever asks you out for coffee, or any other activity that might offer you a chance to develop social skills. [...]

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