The Comeback Kid: How to Handle Verbal Attacks

“Don’t worry, hon,” said Theresa’s husband, Guy, when she failed to extinguish all her birthday candles in one breath. “A woman your age has to be in shape to make wishes come true. You just don’t have the lung capacity.” Guy chortled. Theresa’s face turned scarlet. The rest of us chuckled nervously. We were used to Guy, to the jocular way he planted and twisted stilettos between his wife’s ribs. Like most of Theresa’s friends, I’d always found him just charming enough to be tolerable. But as I watched him serve Theresa’s cake, something dawned on me: Guy was [...]

Give It A Rest — And See What Happens

Warning to all those who think that resting is out of the question when you’ve got goals to achieve! Last June, I began getting an insistent message from a variety of sources telling me that the time has come for those who wish to heal the world to paradoxically move forward through rest.

I have suspected this for several months, but I wasn’t sure quite what this meant or how to do it. For me, rest has usually meant working (playing) until my eyes crossed, then collapsing into a coma for a few hours. Then, just when I needed the [...]

I CAN Live With or Without You

I have a bit of a grudge with American television, movies, and popular music when it comes to the issue of romantic love.  Most of the songs you’ll hear, for example, suggest this kind of crazy notion: “I can’t live if living is without you.”  Themes that feature ideas like “you complete me” are blatant lies.  Not only can you live and be complete without a partner, if you expect anyone to save your life or complete you, you’re guaranteed to end up in the bitter recrimination that ends so many relationships.

If you want the truly magical experience that [...]

The Gift of Joyful Detachment

There is an old story about a Zen monk who was waiting to greet the emperor of Japan.  Just before the emperor arrived, he turned to a fellow monk and said, “I’ll be back later.”  “Later” turned about to be 12 years.  When his peers asked where he’d been, why he’d left, he explained, “As I waited for the emperor, I felt my palms begin to sweat.  I knew that I was attached to social roles because my body was tense.  I’ve been meditating to lose that attachment.  I came back as soon as I could.” In our culture, we [...]

The Willing Suspension of Disbelief

When you pick up a novel, knowing that the author plans to spin a good yarn, you perform a tiny trick in your head which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called “the willing suspension of disbelief.”  This means that although you don’t necessarily buy into the author’s reality, as long as you’re reading you will willingly accept the idea that Hogwarts is a school for wizards or that the Da Vinci Code could really be traced by an intrepid Harvard symbologist. I recently found an even more exciting use for the willing suspension of disbelief and I’d like to invite you [...]
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