Today's Quote

“No life is a waste. The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone.”
Mitch Albom

Suicides and Killers and the Sycophants Who Love Them

Suicide. The action of killing oneself intentionally (though not necessarily consciously). It ranks eighth among causes of death in the United States, and is the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24. Deaths due to suicide exceed one million annually worldwide, and this number would be much greater if corrected for underreporting, far exceeding the number of homicides.

Yesterday, a supermodel star named Ruslana Korshunova, from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, killed herself. She was twenty years old.

Surely, everyone would describe this as a tragedy. A tragic loss of life, the deliberate termination of a viable, personal journey, the sudden removal of a soul that might have had much more to experience here as a human being.

But here's where I have to veer off... and go off! The dramatic and romanticized blather about Ruslana's suicide reminds me of the trite ramblings after the tragic shooting deaths of kids by kids at places like Columbine and Scottsboro. I not only wrote about those murders, but I was featured on a national radio show about the killings because my perspective was considered "radical."

What was my point of view? That these killings were predictable, that the killer kids were identifiable sociopaths who were overlooked by a system that focuses on physical health, but ignores mental health. Yearly physical exams are mandated in most school districts, but psychological evaluations are not, at least not until it's often too late. Then, "we," the friends and families and scavenger press, launch into our guilt-ridden, self-exonerating crap about how "normal" the killers seemed, and what good families they came from. No. No, folks. Quiet and sullen isn't normal. Never crying isn't normal. Rigid parents aren't normal. Listen up:


And happy supermodels never commit suicide.

Here are some quotes from the AP piece reporting on Ruslana's untimely death:

"The almond-eyed, flowing-haired Korshunova appeared in advertisements and on runways for such designers as Marc Jacobs, Nina Ricci and DKNY. British Vogue hailed her as 'a face to be excited about' in 2005. The lithe looker has been a mainstay at Fashion Week in the Big Apple and London, working with all-star designers Jill Stuart, Betsey Johnson, Rosa Cha, Lela Rose and Libertine."

"She looked like something out of a fairytale!"

"She's one of the sweetest, nicest people you'll ever meet," said a friend, who did not want to be identified by name.

"I'm still in shock. The world lost a great person."

"A pal said that Korshunova had just returned from a modeling gig in Paris and seemed to be 'on top of the world. There were no signs,' he said. 'That's what's driving me crazy. I don't see one reason why she would do that."

"Korshunova, who had been sending money back to her parents in Kazakhstan, was in love with the city."

"She came in this morning, she smiled, no sense of depression," said a doorman at her 12-story building. "She was a very sweet girl, always smiling, never depressed-looking."

"Another close friend said: 'We were talking on the phone last night. She loved life so much. She was an angel. She wasn't wild. She was never on drugs or anything."

HEY! SHE KILLED HERSELF! DELIBERATELY! It doesn't matter that she was pretty and sober and inoffensive to your narcissistic sensibilities. Just like it didn't matter that Karen Carpenter or Judy Garland had heavenly voices. The sycophants around talented beauties (or quiet kids, for that matter) don't want to see the sadness, the gutting depression, the life-destroying, suppressed rage. But it's visible, believe me, no less so than if a person had a broken limb or a bleeding gash. But we see what we want to see, and don't see what we don't want to see.

Fine. Then shut-up! If you're unwilling or unable to see the loss of will to live in a young person who kills herself, or if you just can't handle acknowledging the explosive stockpile of murderous rage in our children, just shut-up, and let those of us who are willing to see - and help - do our jobs without you confusing the matter with platitudes and self-congratulatory assessments based on your idealizations.

Sorry. I guess I'm pissed off.

Today's Quote

"It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
J. K. Rowling (from "Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets"

Can't Buy Me Love Continued-The "Checklist Syndrome"

Read some research on a no-brainer this morning - that money can't buy happiness in a relationship.

From an article by Karen Salmansohn, best selling author with titles like "How to Be Happy Dammit" and "Gut: How to Think from the Middle to Get to the Top":

"Consistently studies show that individuals who prioritize wealth over close human connection tend to be less happy--and this is consistent in every culture. Sociological researcher H. W. Perkins surveyed 800 college alumni, and discovered that those who reported "yuppie values" (preferring high income, job success, and status over enjoying truly close friendships and highly-connected love relationships) were twice as likely to describe themselves as 'fairly' or 'very' unhappy.
"Interestingly, a similar correlation appeared among 7,167 college students surveyed in 41 countries. Those who prioritized love over money reported higher life satisfaction than their money-obsessed pals."

Yeah, okay, it's a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised, nonetheless, at the way so many people enter into relationships or go about looking for a partner. I call it the "checklist syndrome," and it's not just about money. The checklist syndrome is particularly endemic in "rigid character structure" types and those with narcissistic personalities. You know who I mean, right? It's the guy who insists on finding a woman of a specific age and weight with a particular distribution of body parts and hair color. Or the woman determined to have a child with... somebody who might make a good father. It's the person who wants to be the "special person of a special person" in order to make their life complete.

In other words, we're talking about anybody who places superficial characteristics above Eros, that energetic attraction otherwise known as "falling in love."

"Well," someone's mother might say, "it's just as easy to love a rich man as it is to love a poor man." Right? Yes, mom, but what you're really suggesting is that you can determine who you are going to fall in love with from a calculated, mental place, which only tells me, mom, that you've either never been in love, or forgotten what it feels like to be in love, or you do remember but you've given up on it. Three rather sad scenarios. Better that you don't advise your daughters at all than pass on that lie.

One of the main characteristics of falling in love is the element of surprise, and one of the main characteristics of people who sustain Eros in a relationship is that they do the challenging work of exposure and revelation. Yes, I do talk and write about this a lot. Why? Because I've never met anyone who is truly happy who doesn't have Eros in their life. Just as we create our reality from the inside out, we become healthy, wealthy and wise by operating from Eros outward. The "pursuit of happiness," in other words, is the pursuit of Eros.

Am I extolling the virtue of poverty here, or saying that material wealth isn't a desirable thing? Am I saying that wanting to have kids isn't a valid yearning? No way. Absolutely not. What I am saying is that pursuing wealth or parenthood for their own sakes rather than attracting those things from a place of fulfillment in love, as an outgrowth or "overflow" of Eros, is doomed to failure if one's main desire is happiness. And if one's main desire in life isn't happiness, well, then the no-brainer is to think one could still be happy.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, folks. Not just the foundation of a good country, but of a good life. And it starts with good love, Eros and sex.

Today's Quote

“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears”
Rudyard Kipling

Lies and the Lying Toddlers Who Tell Them

I was having a talk with someone the other day about the way that people lie. It's true. People lie. Blatantly at times, and seemingly without shame. How is that possible?

Well, there's an interesting little piece in today's NY Times called, "YOUR BRAIN LIES TO YOU, "by Sam Wang, a professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton, and Sandra Aamodt, a former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience. Wang and Aamodt are the authors of “Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life.”

Without going too much into into the technical details in the article of how the brain accepts lies, and then even reinforces the non-truths, I'll just summarize by saying that the authors claim that the brain stores lies in the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain, but in the recalling process, the source of the lie is forgotten.

Here's Wang and Aamodt:

"Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again, and during this re-storage, it is also reprocessed. In time, the fact is gradually transferred to the cerebral cortex and is separated from the context in which it was originally learned. For example, you know that the capital of California is Sacramento, but you probably don’t remember how you learned it. This phenomenon, known as source amnesia, can also lead people to forget whether a statement is true. Even when a lie is presented with a disclaimer, people often later remember it as true."

This is a very convenient truth for psychopaths and politicians, of course, who both want their lies believed and hope you'll also forget the context in which they've said things. But what makes some receivers of lies so much more susceptible than others, and what makes one person a more effective liar than another?

The authors of the Times piece say that "Adding to this innate tendency to mold information we recall is the way our brains fit facts into established mental frameworks. We tend to remember news that accords with our worldview, and discount statements that contradict it."

Okay, now we're talking my language. Molecular biology aside, what I know is that the more we hold onto beliefs and are ruled by established thought patterns, the more we get slammed by reality in our lives. I have often said that opinions are what we hold onto when we don't know the truth, and the stronger the held opinions and beliefs are the more ignorant the person usually is. We all know this. People of very rigid opinions and dogmatic belief systems aren't interested in new information that contradicts what they believe. As Jack Nicholson's character might have said: "They can't handle the truth."

We don't need beliefs, people. They stagnate our thought processes, and they freeze in place our ability to grow and assimilate new information. Eventually, we become so afraid to challenge or let go of our beliefs that we will defend them with all of our resources, at great expense to ourselves and those around us. Sad, because the more we surrender our beliefs and opinions, the more we can see the truth in every situation because we are in a flexible state of mind, able to follow the facts wherever they lead.

Back to politicians and psychopaths, or as Al Franken would call them "the lying liars." Here's the thing - a liar who knowingly lies is not going to be very effective because he or she is feeling out of alignment with themselves and so, their lying will show in their body language - shifting eyes or various other tells that make for a bad poker player, for instance. Indeed, a lying liar who doesn't have a psychopathic character structure will often not be believed by most people, and will easily get caught.

A psychopath has a distinct advantage here. Why? Because true psychopaths believe their own lies. In their brains, they are continually rewriting history and reality to suit their manipulative intentions in the moment. This is not unlike the mind of a two or three year old, as parents can tell you. If said child is not in the mood for apple juice today, for example, he or she will say, "I never liked apple juice," even though they loved it just yesterday. Are they lying? Yes. But that child in that moment doesn't know it's lying because it's still developing mind and ego hasn't attained fully the ability to look into the past for context, and he or she still cannot tolerate frustration or contradiction very well.

Sounds like some successful politicians you know? Yes, but ultimately, who wins if you've got a psychopathic politician on one side, and a belief-free, open-minded person on the other side? Hands down. Who wins if you've got a manipulating 2-year old child versus a mature, clear-thinking and self confident adult? Same thing.

Some of my friends don't believe me when I say that I'm not "political," that I don't subscribe to any dogma or philosophy. They don't believe me because I've supported the nomination and election of Barack Obama. But you see, for me, it's not Obama's policy statements that are moving me to vote for a presidential candidate for the first time in 28 years. It's his body language, his alignment with himself, the clarity in his eyes that make him a potential leader like we haven't seen in the better part of our adulthoods (if you're my age). I know and trust what I'm seeing through my own clear eyes. Obama is not a lying liar.

Remember folks, it's always the adult side of us, and the truth, that ultimately wins in life. Shed your beliefs, open your mind, seek the truth, and the lying liars will become mere toddlers in your life.



"City girls just seem to find out early
How to open doors with just a smile
A rich old man
And she won't have to worry
She'll dress up all in lace and go in style
Late at night a big old house gets lonely
I guess ev'ry form of refuge has its price
And it breaks her heart to think her love is
Only given to a man with hands as cold as ice
So she tells him she must go out for the evening
To comfort an old friend who's feelin' down
But he knows where she's goin' as she's leavin'
She is headed for the cheatin' side of town
You can't hide your lyin' eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you'd realize
There ain't no way to hide your lyin eyes
On the other side of town a boy is waiting
with fiery eyes and dreams no one could steal
She drives on through the nice anticipating
'Cause he makes her feel the way she used to feel
She rushes to his arms,
They fall together
She whispers that it's only for awhile
She swears that soon she'll be comin' back forever
She pulls away and leaves him with a smile
You can't hid your lyin' eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you'd realize
There ain't now way to hide you lyin' eyes
She gets up and pours herself a strong one
And stares out at the stars up in the sky
Another night, it's gonna be a long one
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry
She wonders how it ever got this crazy
She thinks about a boy she knew in school
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
She's so far gone she feels just like a fool
My, oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You set it up so well, so carefully
Ain't it funny how your new life didn't change things
You're still the same old girl you used to be
You can't hide your lyin eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you'd realize
There ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes
There ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes
Honey, you can't hide your lyin' eyes"

The Eagles

Today's Quote

"If God had intended us not to masturbate, He would have made our arms shorter."
George Carlin

Today's Quote

"Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got."
Steven Pressfield

YAY!!! States Reject Abstinence-Only Funding From Federal Government

States are shoving aside millions of federal dollars for abstinence education, walking away from the program the Bush administration touts for slowing teen sexual activity. Barely half the states are still in, and two more say they are leaving.
There was mounting evidence the abstinence programs weren't proving to be effective.
Throw in a rising pregnancy rate among 15-19 year-olds and state officials decided last summer it was time to get out.
Yes. Dumb asses. It was so time to get out.

Tomorrow's Quote

"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less. We buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person will soon grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent. Remember, to say “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside you. Remember, to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind."

George Carlin
Shortly after 9/11/01

Today's Quote

"Your heart is your therapist, and your brain is your adviser."
Harley Grossman (7 years old)

What's Your E-Q?

What young Harley is saying in today's quote is exactly right, and more than just the wisdom of a child. In fact, in a landmark book, "Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ," by Daniel Goleman, the author/psychologist makes a striking point about the need to lead with our heart when it comes to making important decisions.

Here's an excerpt from Goleman's book, which I used for a class I taught called, "FEELING HUMAN," on the crucial role of emotions in our lives:

"Sociobiologists point to the preeminence of heart over head at crucial moments when they conjecture about why evolution has given emotion such a central role in the human psyche. Our emotions guide us in facing predicaments too important to leave to the intellect alone - danger, painful loss, bonding with a mate, persisting in a goal. "Each emotion offers a distinctive readiness to act.
"The intuitive signals that guide us in crucial decision-making moments come in the form of limbic-driven surges from the viscera that Antonio Domasio (Descartes Error) calls “somatic markers” - literally “gut feelings.” Feeling is crucial in navigating the endless stream of life’s personal decisions. While strong feelings can create havoc in reasoning, the lack of awareness of feeling can also be ruinous, especially in weighing the decisions upon which our destiny largely depends: what career to pursue, who to date or marry, where to live… Such decisions cannot be made through sheer rationality; they require gut feeling and the emotional wisdom garnered through past experiences. We usually do not, in the moment, recall what specific experiences formed the feeling, but when the signal of a gut feeling rises up, we can immediately drop or pursue a course of action with greater confidence, and so pare down our array of choices to a more manageable decision matrix. The key to sounder personal decision-making, in short: being attuned to our feelings."

We all know this at some level, but we ignore it. Yet, it's in our language. When someone says, "I think..." about something, or "I believe..." the very statements indicate an uncertainty. But when someone says, "I know..." about anything, the certainty comes from a feeling. In fact, very often when making a decision from that place, even if we're challenged or questioned, our comeback is: "I just feel it." And we can't be shaken. Even more than that, when making decisions from our feelings, we can act faster and we don't second guess ourselves, whether it's in deciding who to marry or whether or not to order Chinese food or pizza for lunch.

Here's "Seth," channeled by Jane Roberts, on the power and importance of emotions:

"Intellect and feeling together make up your existence, but the fallacy is particularly in the belief that the aware mind must be analytical and above all. Imagination and emotions are the most concentrated forms of energy that you possess as physical creatures. Any strong emotion carries with it far more energy than, say, that required to send a rocket to the moon. Emotions, instead of propelling a physical rocket, for example, send thoughts from interior reality through the barrier between non-physical and physical into the “objective” world - no small feat, and one that is constantly repeated. No feeling brings you to a dead end. Each feeling is in motion and that always leads to another feeling. As it flows it alters your entire physical condition, and that interchange is meant to be consciously accepted. Your emotions will always lead you into a realization of your beliefs if you do not impede them."

So, lead with your hearts, folks. Try it out for a day. Make your day's decisions according to how it feels, rather than by going through your obsessive mental checklists. See what happens. And by the way, check out your posture. It's no coincidence that when you're walking in a well-balanced way, your chest is ahead of your head. Poor posture, especially among people with "schizoid character structures," who primarily use "intellectualization" as a defense mechanism, is one in which the head is pushed forward and the body is held back. Not a good set-up. Does this man look happy to you?

Jerry Seinfeld on George Carlin

This is from today's NY Times editorial page:

Today's Quote

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day."
George Carlin

Good-bye, George C

George Carlin died yesterday. Here's a post of mine from March spun off from a recent HBO special he did. Happy trails, George.

Today's Quote

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."
Russel Baker

The Zen of Body Surfing

Here's a little summertime lesson I once learned while body surfing in the Atlantic Ocean at the beach on Fire Island. I was deep into my self-work process at the time, trying to learn what letting go meant, and why it was important.

I've always loved body surfing, and all of my life, I always did it the same way - arms out, body stiff like a surfboard, jump into the breaking wave. As part of the game, sometimes I would get a smooth ride all the way into shore, and sometimes I would get slammed by the wave into the sand. I just accepted that was just the way it was. Random trashing. Just like life.

Then, one day, like the proverbial light bulb turning on in my head, I thought: What if instead of making my body rigid, I just totally relaxed and stayed soft? Hmm. I tried it. When the wave broke, I just eased into the curl and floated while I was carried all the way to shore. Wow! I tried it again. Same results. Again. The same. Over and over. It was infallible. Long, smooth rides all the time. I got it!

That was my message. To ride the waves (of the Atlantic and of life), one has to not be rigid and try to control the flow, but rather stay open and loose and let the wave take you. You'll get a smooth ride every time.

Okay, then... see you at the beach!

Today's Quotes

"A mind that is full cannot take in anything new, like a cup that is full of opinions and preconceptions. Wisdom and happiness are to be found only by emptying one's cup."
Mark Epstein (from "Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart")

“For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.”
Benjamin Franklin

"Opinions are what we hold onto when we don't know the truth."
Peter Loffredo

Today's Quotes

"Eighty percent of success is showing up."
Woody Allen

"A person is a success if they get up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do."
Bob Dylan

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
Bill Cosby


READ THIS! IT'S IMPORTANT!! We do indeed create our own reality... even at the genetic level. "Healthy Lifestyle Triggers Genetic Changes: Study"

From the article on ABC NEWS:

"Comprehensive lifestyle changes including a better diet and more exercise can lead not only to a better physique, but also to swift and dramatic changes at the genetic level, U.S. researchers said on Monday."

"Researchers tracked 30 men with low-risk prostate cancer who decided against conventional medical treatment such as surgery and radiation or hormone therapy.

"The men underwent three months of major lifestyle changes, including eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy products, moderate exercise such as walking for half an hour a day, and an hour of daily stress management methods such as meditation.

"As expected, they lost weight, lowered their blood pressure and saw other health improvements. But the researchers found more profound changes when they compared prostate biopsies taken before and after the lifestyle changes.

"After the three months, the men had changes in activity in about 500 genes -- including 48 that were turned on and 453 genes that were turned off."

Today's Quote

"Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance."
Steven Pressfield ("The War of Art")

Your Perfect Swing revisited

A short while ago, I posted an entry called, "YOUR PERFECT SWING," in which I talked about the capacity in all of us to transcend what we think of as our limitations. I referenced an article about Tiger Woods, written by Chip Brown, called, "IT'S GREAT TO BE IMMORTAL."

Here’s what Chip Brown said about Tiger:

“There are periods when Woods seems to be operating on a plane of platonic perfection… he is so focused, so there in some other world it seems he’s not even here anymore.”

Now, the news is that Tiger Woods is done for the year, but not without one last major that he said might have been his best ever. Woods explained why Wednesday when he revealed he will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee that he injured 10 months ago.

From the news article:

"Woods also suffered a double stress fracture of his left tibia two weeks before the U.S. Open, ignoring doctors' advice to take six weeks off to let it heal. And he still won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, going 91 holes over five days on a knee that was getting worse."

Tiger: "Although I will miss the rest of the 2008 season, I'm thrilled with the fact that last week was such a special tournament."

He won despite doctors telling him to rest. He played one of his best tournaments ever, in spite of serious injury. He transcended his limitations again. It's beautiful, and such important information for all of us.

I used to regularly play tennis with a guy, a big guy, ten years younger than me and a triathlon competitor to boot. I only beat him once in all the matches we played, and it was when I sprained my angle at the start of the match. Why? Because my injury took me out of my head, out of my ego, and out of my anxious desire to compete. I had to favor the ankle, so I let go of any notions about winning. There was no way. So, I played the way Baggar Vance said to play - I allowed my best game to come out by just getting out of my own way. I floated and soared to victory without even knowing it.

Life's a hoot! For my blog entry, go to:

Today's Quote

"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done."
George Carlin

Today's Quote

"Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes."

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

I know this is political, and I try to avoid too much of this, but... well, check it out: "Why I'm Voting Republican." (

Today's Quotes

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."
Abraham Lincoln

"It is wise to remember that you are one of those who can be fooled some of the time."
Laurence J. Peter

Today's Quote

"Henry James once defined life as that predicament which precedes death, and certainly nobody owes you a debt of honor or gratitude for getting him into that predicament. But a child does owe his father a debt, if dad, having gotten him into this peck of trouble, takes off his coat and buckles down to the job of showing his son how best to crash through it."
Clarence Kelland

Before You Jump Ship

It's Father's Day, and so, today's NY Times Magazine cover story is about parenting, specifically what is lately being called "equal parenting." ("WHEN MOM AND DAD SHARE IT ALL - ADVENTURES IN EQUAL PARENTING")

I would assume that there are fewer and fewer parents these days who would argue against the notion that parenting should be an equally shared responsibility and that child-rearing tasks shouldn't be divided up along prescribed gender lines as they once were. So, rather than write about what's already been written about a lot on this subject, I would like to write about the notion of "equal unparenting."

I've talked and written a lot about how over-involved the recent generations of parents (Baby Boomers and Echo Boomers) are with their kids, and the kind of narcissistic disturbances that can cause. I have also talked quite a bit about how important it is for children to have parents who are happy and fulfilled in their sex-lives and creative lives.

Now, let's get practical and radical and take it out of the box. Raising kids the way most people try and do it today, even with the shifts towards equality of tasking, is inherently dysfunctional. Two parents, living together under one roof with their kids full-time, while also pursuing a self-actualized lifestyle of gratification in love and work is tantamount to climbing Mount Everest or competing in a triathlon every day! And how many of you have done either of those things even once? (I actually do know a mother of three who competes in triathlons as a way of taking a break from the rigors of mothering!)

So, when faced with this daunting situation (and by the way, most first-time parents don't have a clue what they're getting into), what typically happens? Well, like on any sinking ship, the first thing you do is throw overboard the things that seem expendable in an attempt to stay afloat. Sex is usually at the top of that list. No time, too tired, too angry - "Yeah, we'll make a date with each other." Never happens. Well, maybe it happens once. Next to get tossed are any avocations or hobbies that you love, but which don't bring in any money. Writing? Painting? Ice climbing in the Pacific Northwest? Can't afford it. Exercise? Yeah, for the kids - soccer, Little League, karate, ballet. "Should we let the gym membership expire?" "No!" Gourmet cuisine? Yeah, remember when you always cut out the recipes from the Wednesday NY Times to sample? "Amy's Macaroni and Cheese" sure makes cooking easy, now, doesn't it? And it's organic!

What follows the tossing overboard period is the spirit-crushing feeling of loss and emptiness because it "wasn't supposed to be like this." You're depressed and overwhelmed. This is followed by the insidious, relationship-killing blaming of each other - for not doing your share of the equal shared parenting, for not initiating sex, for not making me care that I've gained weight...

Now it's bad. At this point, it's usually the point of no-return for a couple and the only two choices are split-up or hunker down. In truth, the healthier couples can't hunker down, so... Couples therapy? An affair? A trial separation? Well, here's where I come in and where it's all about EROS. If the in-loveness hasn't been killed off completely, if there's still an ember of desire and passion for each other left alive, there's a possibility that the relationship can be revived, but it's rare. And it's going to require breaking the log-jam you're in and breaking the mold of how it's "supposed" to be done, and couples having the courage and fortitude to do that is even rarer.

How do you go about it? You start with your desires, the callings in your heart and soul, the ones that won't go away that you sadly pine about in bed when you're not having sex. You need to retrieve the very things you threw overboard because those things were NOT AT ALL EXPENDABLE. They were the essential things to living a good life and being good parents. Yes. That's right. Your kids need YOU to play soccer more than they need to play it. Your kids need you to have TIME OUTS more than they do. Yeah. Instead of sending more money on McLaren SUV strollers, violin lessons or Wiis, spend it on a good babysitter and housecleaning person. Next - and this is a big one - spend some time alone. Real time. Not just a couple of hours. A couple of days. Go in on a small studio if you have to. You're going to have to spend the bucks if you get divorced anyway. Think about it. A lawyer, child support and maintenance is going to cost you a lot more than a babysitter, housecleaner and a small studio to have some private time in.

Finally, assuming the EROS still burns somewhere for your partner, yes, do make a date with each other - and keep it. But DO NOT talk about the kids or the house or anything other than what you're passionate about and sex, sex, sex. Talk about it, reveal your hidden fantasies and shameful desires and then DO IT! Do it with more gusto than you've ever done it before. Sex only gets better with age. That's right, better. Anybody who has ever told you otherwise should get thrown overboard.

Okay, that's it for now.

And Happy Father's Day!

Today's Quote

“The primary responsibility of the media is accountability of government.”
Tim Russert

Farewell Tim Russert

Tim Russert died suddenly today.

Husband, father, son, media figure and a man who has nudged history... until a little over a year ago, I was only peripherally aware of Mr. Russert as a journalist and interviewer. If there was a particular subject or guest on "Meet The Press," I would tune in, but since last spring and the beginning of the presidential campaign, I have spent a lot of time with him on our television, almost daily at times. During the Democratic debates, Tim stood out as the most direct, thoughtful and confident moderator, and not coincidentally, the most ego-less. Likewise, during the various news shows, including his own, that analysed the course of the primary season, Russert was a respite from the hype, a sharp but gentile knife that cut through the bullshit.

I find it interesting when considering Tim Russert's possible karma and soul plan to note that he was instrumental in exposing sides of the candidates, and especially Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, in ways that surely had some influence in the outcome of the primaries, which of course, now effects the course of our history as a country. That job being accomplished, he left this earth.

He died suddenly, by our standards, but who really knows? Perhaps he actually extended his time here beyond what his soul planned so that he could participate in history in the way he did.

Maybe Tim Russert can claim, in a corrective and healing way for us all: "Mission Accomplished!"

Full Permission Lyrics

This is what it sounds like if you've kept Eros alive, even after you've been with someone for a number of years:


"You're doin' all you can to get in them old jeans.
You want that body back, you had at seventeen.
Baby, don't get down; don't worry 'bout a thing.
'Cause the way you fill 'em out, hey, that's all right with me.
I don't want the girl you used to be.
An' if you ain't noticed, the kids are fast asleep,

An' you're one hot mama;
You turn me on, let's turn it up,
An' turn this room into a sauna.
One hot mama,
Oh, whaddya say, baby?
You wanna?

Well, I know sometimes you think that all you really are,
Is the woman with the kids an' the groceries in the car.
An' you worry about your hips an' you worry about your age.
Meanwhile I'm tryin' to catch the breath you take away.
Oh, an' believe me, you still do.
Baby, all I see, when I look at you,

Is one hot mama;
You turn me on, let's turn it up,
An' turn this room into a sauna.
One hot mama,
Oh, whaddya say, baby?
You wanna?

I can't imagine me lovin' someone else.
I'm a lucky man,
I think Daddy's got himself,

One hot mama;
You turn me on, let's turn it up,
An' turn this room into a sauna.
One hot mama,
Oh, whaddya say, babe?
Oh, now whaddya say, babe?
You wanna?

You're one hot mama,
Let's turn this room into a sauna, yeah.
Whaddya say, babe?
Whaddya say, babe?"

Tracy Adkins

Another Psychotic Abstinence Only Story

Although I think Judith Warner has an unfortunate tendency to not ask where the mothers are in these horror stories, implying that misogyny and the abuse of girls is perpetrated only by men, still this is worth reading as yet another "abstinence only" horror story to ponder, "PURE TYRANNY."

Listen, folks. Sexual openness is good. It leads to celebratory, loving unions between human beings. Sexual repression is bad. Sexual repression is a pathology that leads to abuse and self-abuse. Please, let's get this right!

Today's Quote

"All that spirits desire, spirits attain."
Kahlil Gibran

Today's Quote

"The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform."
Alfred Kinsey

Anal Sex Anyone? It's Good for the World

Okay, let's have a little fun and take it out before the weekend arrives.

I found this article on this AM. It was mainly about homophobia and how it connects to the resistance in most men of being "penetrated," a subject which I touched on in my screenplay, "THE FILE," about an undercover FBI guy in therapy who secretly liked to be dominated by women. The article on Salon is called : "Kiss My Ass," by Louis Bayard.

Bayard starts out with this:

"For years America has desperately tried to outlaw sodomy. What are we so scared of?"

Good question. I'll skip the history lesson that the author gives for the moment, although it is interesting, on how anal sex ultimately became solely associated with male homosexuality in the legal code and the religious zealot's mind, and get right to the punch.


"Anal sex is a reminder to every man, gay and straight, of the chink in his masculine armor." Watching men "pleasure each other" anally leads any man to understand that "at some level they, too, could be entered and dominated. And if they weren't careful, they might enjoy it."

Now, interestingly enough, I know a lot of women who enjoy anal sex - and I mean enjoy, not just tolerate - and do so without the anxiety that men have about it. Perhaps that is because women are accustomed to being penetrated during sex vaginally already, and the anus is just a matter of inches away, so why not? I think it's more than that, of course, although anatomy is definitely part of it. As I've said in other postings, women are designed to be the portals to spiritual bliss and any man wise enough to surrender to "the feminine" is opening himself up to that bliss.

"Anatomy is destiny," Freud once said about a century ago. He also boldly declared that the anus was an erogenous zone. Like our genitals and tongues, lips and fingertips, the anus has a concentration of nerve endings that make contact and stimulation there pleasurable.

Why would this be so? Why all the erogenous zones?

Well, as I often say, nature never fucks up. Only people's minds and egos do. Nature made sure that the essential things we need to do in life in order to survive - eat, eliminate and procreate - are compelling. So, we experience intense pleasure, if we're not otherwise blocked up, when we eat, shit and fuck, which is what all higher animals do regularly, with great gusto.

The difference between most animals and humans, however, is that we have a reflective consciousness and an advanced capacity for imagination, so we can seek pleasure for reasons other than basic survival, beyond simple instinct. A human being can put two and two together and conclude that since genital to genital contact feels good, and mouth to mouth contact feels good, maybe mouth to genital contact might feel good, too, and hey! - maybe, if something going out of the anus feels good, why not try something going in (with the proper lubrication, of course.).

The problem surfaces, however, when religious and autocratic doctrine - predominantly written by repressed men, whose main goal is always to control its constituents, attempts to control sex and pleasure-seeking by mandating that sex may only be engaged in for the purpose of procreation. Ah, but like all laws against desirable things, there has to be a loophole, right?

Here's Bayard again:

"The notion of punishing homosexuals as a class was literally inconceivable before the late Eighteenth Century, for the word "homosexual" had not yet entered the English language and the implicit aim of sodomy laws was to punish all non-procreative sexual acts, regardless of who performed them. But then straight people began to realize just how much fun non-procreative sexual acts could be. The first third of the 20th century, says Eskridge, saw an explosion of oral sex among heterosexual couples, and although sodomy laws scrambled to keep up -- outlawing fellatio and cunnilingus -- the pendulum of morality gradually swung against homosexuals, who, alone among America's sodomites, could not justify their pleasures as a prelude to procreation."


Anyway, why is this important? Well, again back to Freud, our psychological Sherlock Holmes, who brilliantly concluded that the cause of severe paranoid disturbances in men was primarily rooted in intense homosexual anxiety, said anxiety being caused by a powerful desire, subconsciously, to be penetrated. The resulting reaction formations against this desire - machismo, misogyny, and homophobia - have, needless to say, done a great deal of harm to our world's population.

So, guys... give it up. Open up. Try it, you'll like it. We not only know you want it, but it would be good for everyone else, too.

Even More on Open Marriage

Here's additional reading on the subject, a piece called, "Honey, I Want to Sleep with Other People."

To be continued...

Today's Quote

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

Today's Quote

"We have a long way to go in the space race, but this is the new ocean, and I believe the United States must sail on it and be in a position second to none. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard."


"SPACE IS OUR DESTINY" was the title of an open letter to the editors of the NY Times and to President Ronald Reagan that I had published in 1986 after the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster on January 28th of that year. Many people, including the editorial board of the Times, felt that the fatal explosion of Challenger proved that sending people into space was too risky and unnecessary. I strongly disagreed, and even volunteered to go on a shuttle flight if they ever wanted someone from the human services field on board, as Christa McAuliffe, a teacher was on board that fateful flight. (My wife at the time cried for a while, fearing that NASA might really take me up on it.)

What's got me thinking about space travel today? Well, last night I watched "WHEN WE LEFT EARTH" on the Discovery Channel, a mini-series running on Sunday nights. Last night's installment was on the "Mercury" and "Gemini" missions that were in preparation for the "Apollo" missions to land on the moon. What was so remarkable about watching the amazing footage of these first forays for the United States into space was the focused intensity and the raw excitement of it all - in government, in the media and in the hearts and minds of our populace. We were riveted, as one, on accomplishing something extraordinary. In spite of the Viet Nam War, the riots, the assassinations, Nixon, we still found something to unite about in John Kennedy's vision. His words, in "Today's Quote" above, and here, inspired a whole nation to reach beyond itself. He said this, in 1961, with a calm confidence that exuded a positive trust in the human spirit:

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth."

As simple as that. And 8 years later, through all of our national dramas and tragedies, we did it. We went from never being in space to landing on the moon and returning in less than a decade.

I was only seven years old in 1961, but as I watched the show last night, I realized that I still knew every single one of the astronauts names - Gordon Cooper, Gus Grissom, Walter Schirra, Buzz Aldrin, Deke Slayton, Lovell, McDivitt, White, and of course, John Glenn. I knew their names as well as I knew Mantle, Maris and Whitey Ford and John, Paul, George and Ringo. And now, today, many moons later, while I've given up on ever playing centerfield for the Yankees or being a rock star in this lifetime, I still dream of going into outer space.


No Child Left Undrugged

Today's Quote

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

A Bad Rap for Suffering? Tell It to the Marines!

Interesting article on the Huffington Post called, "How Suffering Got A Bad Name" by Phillip Moffit, a Buddhist meditation teacher.

Here's how Moffit starts out:

"Suffering has gotten a bad reputation in Western society. We view it as a mistake, something shameful, or a sign of powerlessness and inadequacy. Our culture's debasement of suffering represents a major loss to us. It denies the validity of many of the significant emotional events in our lives. It narrows life such that we are constantly reacting to a set of questions: How do I get and keep what's pleasant and avoid or get rid of that which is unpleasant? Am I winning or losing? Am I being praised or blamed?"

It's an age-old question, and I can't count how many times I've asked and been asked it: "Is suffering necessary?" And like many of my answers, I say, "Yes and no." Now, I'm not trying to be evasive or snide or overly Zen when I give that answer. It's just that so much of what we experience is not in the event itself, but rather in our intention behind the action that caused the event, or in the reactive "spin" we put on the event afterwards. That being said, however, I do say that there are such things as "bad" suffering and "good" suffering.

Suffering because you abuse yourself and act out negative impulses is bad suffering. Suffering to complete a novel you're passionate about writing or to complete the New York City Marathon is good suffering. Suffering because you get caught cheating on your love partner is bad. Suffering because you have to leave a relationship that isn't working is good. So, let's get rid of "good" and "bad" and perhaps change it to "necessary" and "unnecessary."

But let's go still deeper. Even bad or unnecessary suffering can be useful if it leads to self-awareness and motivation to engage in some kind of healing process. In other words, even unnecessary suffering can be... necessary! Whew!

Here's more from Moffit's piece:

"The Buddha understood the ennobling power of being able to bear your suffering over 2500 years ago. In his very first (and most well-known) instruction--the Four Noble Truths--the Buddha taught that it is not your suffering but rather your reaction to it that is crippling. But if you can learn to separate your resistance to suffering from the actual pain and loss in your life, an incredible transformation takes place. You are able to meet your suffering as though you were a wagon receiving the load being placed on it. Paradoxically, the effect is that your load is lightened. You are no longer expending energy denying your suffering; therefore, you have the willpower to respond skillfully to your life's circumstances. Moreover, in surrendering to the ups and downs of your life, you discover the truth of your inner dignity."

Yes. That Buddha was pretty wise, huh? We are infinite, timeless souls living in a space-time continuum of very constricted proportions. We experience loss, the "passage" of time, and the need to make choices. That causes suffering. We need patience, courage, stamina to do a lot of the things we want to do. But that suffering doesn't have to cause us anxiety or depression. Anxiety and depression are initiated by our thoughts and judgments about our suffering. Animals in the wild, and even infants, experience their suffering without judgment, so they just go through their suffering, crying or howling out the pain if necessary, but that's all (Unless, of course, we convey our anxiety to them about their situation, but that's another parenting story.).

I saw an interesting quote on a T-shirt today, said quote attributed to the Marines. It said: "Pain is just weakness leaving the body."

Hmm... Not sure... I have to think about that one. Any Marines care to comment?

The Herb Doc Who Cures the Incurables

Most of you know, if you've been listening to me or reading my material, including just the other day my entry, "EAT DRINK AND BE MERRY/LIVE LONG AND PROSPER," that I often state that it is our beliefs and our state of consciousness that creates health, moreso than what we eat or drink, etc. This is simply the truth. That being said, however, I do know that we often need active things to do in order to free ourselves from our old beliefs, things like meditation, journal writing, etc. Although I rarely will "advertise" any product or specific person's programs for anything in my therapy practice or on this blog, I have always made one exception...

His name is RICHARD SCHULZE, and he is a genuine do-whatever-it-takes master herbalist whose cleansing programs will change your life. They, and he, are kick ass, off the chart, and unrelenting, but unequivocally, extremely effective. Aside from the super-strength potency of his formula's, the program's are an intense meditation in and of themselves on "living long and prospering."

I have been doing Dr. Schulze's cleanses for over twelve years, now, a few times a year, and I can tell you this - if I were truly sick, no matter how severe the disease, I would do Dr. Schulze's "Incurables Program" before I would ever do a drug, slash and burn regimen usually prescribed by mainstream medicine practitioners. Many of my patients, friends and family have done "Schulzes" over the years, and many have proclaimed their amazing effects.

Anyway, with the summer fast approaching - a good time for cleansing - I thought I might pass this on.

Here's an excerpt from Dr. Schulze's website:

"In the 1960’s, I was dying from heart disease. So first off, you need to know that I am not some virgin sex counselor, preaching miracle healings while the worst thing I’ve personally experienced is a skin blemish. I know what it is like to be very sick, in pain and even dying.
The medical doctors and hospitals told me that unless I underwent gruesome open heart surgery, I would be dead before 20. I was scared to death, felt horrible and was growing weaker by the minute. I knew the doctors were right about my dying heart, but sawing and cracking my rib cage wide open, yanking my heart out and stabbing it with scalpels sounded frightening, horrific and insane.
I knew there must be another way. I had to suck it up, get tough and GET WELL. No one else could heal me. I had to discover how to heal myself. So, I ran out of the hospital, told the medical doctors to shove their scalpels and threw my prescription drugs in the trash. I set out on an intensive search for anything and everything natural that could heal my heart. As usual in my life, I got much, much more than I bargained for. Not only did I discover hundreds of natural ways to heal my heart, but thousands of natural ways to heal my entire body, mind and spirit.
I also discovered hundreds of worthless natural healing fads and fairytales and wasted thousands of hard earned dollars on nutritional and herbal supplements that didn’t work. Worse than that, my precious time was ticking away and I was getting weaker and sicker. Out of sheer desperation I decided to make my own herbal formulae. I had nothing to lose, I would either kill myself or cure myself. I searched for the purest and strongest herbs and took them right into my kitchen where, with a blender and a few other crude kitchen tools, I made my own tonics by stuffing and cramming the canning jars to the very top. When your life is on the line, you don’t skimp, you cram. I squeezed the murky herbal juices out with my bare hands through kitchen towels and started taking 10 times more than what the herbal experts said. Immediately I felt better, my heart rhythm was more regular and I had more energy. My home brewed herbal tonics worked better than anything I had bought in any store. I then modified, upgraded and intensified all the health programs and natural routines I was doing. Again, I was dying, I had nothing to lose. Within days I felt like a new person and the long and short of it is that in 3 years, my heart was healed!"

Today's Quote

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today's BONUS Quote

"We may have started on separate journeys - but today, our paths have merged. So today, I am standing with Senator Obama to say: Yes we can!"
Hillary Clinton

On Bob Herbert's Latest, PL Says: "Call Crazy What It Is"

In a very heartfelt op-ed piece in today's NY Times, entitled, "Savor the Moment," Bob Herbert expresses the pleasure many Americans feel today about our country arriving to a higher place of oneness in having a black man become a major party's nominee for president, after a hotly contested race with a woman, who almost made it there herself.

Mr. Herbert:

"Racism and sexism have not taken their leave. But the fact that Barack Obama is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, and that the two finalists for that prize were a black man and a white woman, are historical events of the highest importance. We should not allow ourselves to overlook the wonder of this moment.

"This election year has been a testament to the many long decades of work and sacrifice by men and women — some famous, most not; some still alive, many gone — to build a more equitable and just American society.

"When the night riders were fitted for their robes, when Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door, when lowlifes mocked and humiliated those who were fighting for women’s rights, they were trying to forestall the realization of this type of moment in history."

The only thing I feel compelled to add to Herbert's analysis is this: as long as we treat racism, sexism, homophobia, corporate greed and malfeasance, war other than in genuine self defense and religious fanaticism as "ideological differences," or even "social problems," our progress will remain painfully slow. But if in fact we see these things for what they are - symptoms of mental and emotional illnesses - we could take a broader, health-related approach to these disorders, and speed up our own evolution toward a more enlightened society. Just as it is mandatory that children receive proper medical examinations for their bodies, so, too, should their mental and emotional health be given equal, early attention.

One person hating another for the coloration of their skin is not a philosophical disagreement, but a form of lunacy, just as a man who hates women isn't suffering from cultural conditioning, but rather from a deep seated psychopathology. Likewise, someone who authorizes the pollution of our life-sustaining water and air, or who covers up stealing in the name of "profit," isn't a competitive business person, but a sociopath, just as is anyone who kills or authorizes killing of any sort for reasons other than immediately preventing the taking of their own life or that of their loved ones.

I feel your happiness, Bob Herbert. I only hope we can speed our way along on this journey towards peace and harmony by at least starting to see things for what they are, and calling them by their right name, then providing the appropriate help.

Today's Quote

"It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly. And it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life. Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance."

Full Permission Lyrics

I just never get tired of this message. You know James was channeling the day he wrote this!


"The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time
Any fool can do it
There ain't nothing to it
Nobody knows how we got to
The top of the hill
But since we're on our way down
We might as well enjoy the ride

The secret of love is in opening up your heart
It's okay to feel afraid
But don't let that stand in your way no
'Cause anyone knows that love is the only road
And since we're only here for a while yeah
Might as well show some style

Give us a smile now
Isn't it a lovely ride
Sliding down
And gliding down
Try not to try too hard
It's just a lovely ride

Now the thing about time is that time
Isn't really real
It's all on your point of view
How does it feel for you
Einstein said that he could never understand it all
Planets spinning through space
The smile upon your face

Welcome to the human race
Isn't that a lovely ride
Sliding down
Gliding down
Try not to try too hard
It's just a lovely ride

Isn't that a lovely ride
Oh mama yes
See me sliding down
And gliding down
Try not to try too hard
It's just a lovely ride

Now the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time"

James Taylor


"Full Permission Living" is the name I gave to my approach to therapy when I was teaching prospective therapists a few years ago in my own 3-year training program. "Full Permission Living," as I wrote on this blog's home page, "is based on the understanding that human beings are, by first nature, sane, loving, cooperative, creative, humorous, intelligent, productive and naturally self-regulating."

I have had the wonderful experience this week of observing how a school for children can convey the message of Full Permission Living, and I have witnessed the expected, but still extraordinary results. My stepson, "B," spent this week at the BROOKLYN FREE SCHOOL, as part of an orientation process, having just been accepted for admission to BFS for next September. He had been on the waiting list for the school for over a year. It has been a long year.

Having been in traditional private and public schools for the last five years, B has had to endure the spirit-crushing demands and attitudes of supposed educators who believe that the way to teach a child is to get him to sit still all day, absorb facts, take tests, hand in laborious homework assignments, and perform tasks that don't even make sense to the child, let alone inspire creativity. And all that with the self-esteem bashing pressure to measure-up to arbitrary standards to prove one's worthiness to be considered successful in the world. Oh, yeah, and if you can't measure up, we'll urge your parents to give you drugs. [No joke - a couple of years ago, a so-called "learning specialist," recommended as a tutor for B by the Berkeley Carroll school, suggested we consider drugs for our son, who was in SECOND GRADE at the time, and had a tendency to daydream a bit. (Horror! Horror!) Seeing our consternation, said learning specialist told us an encouraging anecdote about another child B's age who was put on drugs: "She lost a little bit of her spark (from the medication), but she got a lot done!" We fired him.]

Anyway, sad to say, we had gotten used to the way B would come home from traditional school every day, all hunched over and downtrodden, needy and tired, with the seeming weight of the world on his shoulders. Getting him out of bed in the morning on school days was an arduous challenge, to say the least, and any chance at missing school was a celebration. Homework time was torture. As someone once said, asking a kid to do homework every night is like asking adults to do their taxes every night.

BUT... after just one day at the Free School - ONE DAY! - B was like a different kid. Not only was he relaxed, smiling and bright-eyed after his day (at SCHOOL!!), he was standing taller! That was the truly remarkable thing. His father said he looked "pumped!" And I got it - he felt respected. He'd spent a day with adults who respected him as who he was, adults who cared about what HE was interested in learning about, instead of adults who tried to force information down his throat and conveyed his inadequacy if he didn't spit it back properly in a timely fashion.

Now, after a week at the Free School, miracle of all miracles, given a chance to take today off from school or go in, B chose to go. He wanted to go to school!

Following are some excerpts from the Brooklyn Free School website:

"BFS believes that all children are natural learners and they are fully supported to pursue any interest they have, in the manner they choose, at their own pace, and for as long as they want to, as long as they do not restrict any other person's right to do the same... There are no compulsory grades, assessments or homework. The students are in charge of their own learning and progress and are able to adequately assess themselves and perform any additional work or learning outside of the school that they want to in line with their interests."

Wow! Full Permission Learning!


I can't even remember half of the crap I learned in high school, let alone look back on it... and I was an honor student. Once again, Paul Simon is my choice for today's lyrical message.


"When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know they'd never match
my sweet imagination
everything looks WORSE in black and white

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome
Mama don't take my Kodachrome
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome
Leave your boy so far from home
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome

Mama don't take my Kodachrome away"

Paul Simon

Today's Quote

"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying."
Woody Allen

Today's Quote

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
Anais Nin

Today's Quote

"America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love."
Barack Obama

Today's Quote

"If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years."
Bertrand Russell

Today's Quote

"A certain degree of neurosis is of inestimable value as a drive, especially to a psychologist."
Sigmund Freud

Life After Therapy?

I found this just now - someone posted a little piece I wrote in April on an Alma Bond blog. It's a sweet one! Check it out at:

A Brief Clarification on Gut Feelings for Maureen Dowd

Maureen Dowd, in an op-ed piece today called, "CULT OF DECEPTION," claims that George W. Bush has given a bad rap to the notion of trusting one's "gut feelings."

Ms. Dowd: "It turns out that our president is a one-man refutation of Malcolm Gladwell’s best seller 'Blink,' about the value of trusting your gut. Every gut instinct he [Bush] had was wildly off the mark and hideously damaging to all concerned."

As my readers know, "gut feelings" is a subject I feel strongly about. In a lengthy post a while ago, I wrote extensively on the the nature of gut feelings. I consider myself an expert on the subject. So, I must correct Maureen Dowd in this regard. While it is an undeniable fact that Mr. Bush has been "wildly off the mark and hideously damaging to all concerned" with most of his decisions, said decisions have not come from his gut, despite Scott McClellan or others claiming so. Mr. Bush operates almost purely from his childish ego and immature self-will and pride, not from his true gut, which would be connected to his wisdom, at whatever level he has any. Decision-making from one's ego is always a recipe for disaster. We are all witnesses, are we not?

Today's Quote

"Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them."
William Shakespeare

Your Perfect Swing

In today’s NY Times, there is an article about Tiger Woods entitled, “It’s Great to Be Immortal.”
The author, Chip Brown, say that Woods demonstrates “the power to embody greatness...” and that he “bring greatness into the world when nothing short of it will suffice.”

“Greatness” is one of my favorite subjects, whether we’re talking about Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan or Jackie Joyner, Eric Clapton, Hendrix or Ella Fitzgerald, or Einstein, DaVinci or Marie Curie. Of course, the list of “greats” in any field can go on and on.

What makes someone great at what they do? Why are great people here on this lowly planet, and what do they have to do with us “regular” people? Why are we often so willing to pay them so much of our hard-earned money to do what they do? To me, these questions are all related.

We usually think of these super-achievers and performers as somehow apart from the rest of us in a significant way, yet, if we are all one, all connected, then... what’s the connection?

Brown says this in his Times article:

“There’s a kind of spiritual covenant in all sports that binds spectators and players...” and “offers so many uncanny parallels with the terms of conscious life.”

I have thought about this a lot, and here’s what I’ve come up with: people who manifest the highest levels of any particular talent or gift are here to remind of us of who we really are, what we can actually be, and what we can accomplish in any particular endeavor if we could find what has come to be called “The Zone.”

Here’s Chip Brown on Tiger:

“There are periods when Woods seems to be operating on a plane of platonic perfection… he is so focused, so there in some other world it seems he’s not even here anymore.” Brown goes on to describe Woods as “a self-described control freak” who yet “devotes his life to a game where so much is beyond a player’s control.”

This is from a most beautiful book and movie, “The Legend of Baggar Vance,” by Steven Pressfield, who also wrote “The War of Art”:

“There's a perfect shot out there tryin' to find each and every one of us... Now it's somewhere... in the harmony... of all that is... All that was... All that will be... All we got to do is get ourselves out of its way, to let it choose us.”

Exactly. The Zone is that place we enter when we “get ourselves out of the way,” or more specifically, when we get our ego, self-will and Resistance out of the way.

Here’s more from Brown on Tiger:

“He had said he sometimes had no memory of hitting a particular shot; he remembered getting ready to hit, having hit, but actually hitting — no, he didn’t remember. Maybe his ability to steal fire from the sky confounded him as much as it did the rapt faces in the gallery.”

Here’s a little more Baggar Vance:

“Inside each and every one of us is our one, true authentic swing. Something we was born with. Something that's ours and ours alone. Something that can't be learned... something that's got to be remembered. You got to seek that place with your soul... Seek it with your hands.. Don't think about it... Feel it... Your hands is wiser than your head ever gonna be...”

People ask me all the time, “What does it mean to let go of your ego?” My answer is a variation of what Baggar Vance is saying here, which is to get out of your head, out of your obsessive thinking mind, and follow your body, follow your five senses, your gut instincts, your first impulses. We all have them, but we have trained ourselves to ignore them, to hesitate, second guess, over-think, and so, we falter.

There is a great gift inside each of us waiting to come out. No one is without it. Some souls, like Tiger Woods, have chosen to give us a demonstration in one particular area, but examples are all around us... and within us. Seek it and you will find it. Try this: walk around and pay attention to what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel, not to what you’re thinking, which is usually what you’re always thinking. Go ahead. Go out. It’s a beautiful day. Walk. Give yourself, and the world, your gift. We’re waiting for you!

Full Permission Lyrics

In line with today's theme of greatness, here's a lyric from a song I wrote almost 20 years ago during a time when I'd taken a sabbatical from my therapy practice and was writing music and working in my own home improvement business. One day after work, sitting on my stoop, I looked down at my paint-stained clothes and hands and saw the beauty of it all. This is what came out of me, with the great guidance of my dear friend and collaborator, Barry Saperstein.


We tend to think of heroes as a different breed
Specialize in greatness of word and deed
Surely nothing average in what they say or do
Far beyond the goings on of me and you

But there's a hundred tales of glory
In an ordinary day
Look around
Look around
Untold shining pearls in the thoughts we throw away
You've got to listen.

There's poetry in the hands of the everyday man
Hope for the world in the dreams of the working girl
Find something rare in the commonplace
There in an empty space
It's there.

We tend to see our lives as too mundane
Nothing more exciting than the simple rain
But when the Earth is thirsty
Magnificence won't do
Who becomes the heroes then,
Well me and you.

But there's a hundred tales of glory
In an ordinary day
Look around
Look around
Untold shining pearls in the thoughts we throw away
We've got to listen.

There's poetry in the hands of the everyday man
Hope for the world in the dreams of the working girl
Find something rare in the commonplace
There in an empty space
It's there.


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