Risking Love

Life is full of risks. This last year has made it even more clear that, to maintain and protect ourselves, we have to weigh in on just which level of risk we can afford. That level may vary in different contexts as well. One may not volunteer to lead a group (low emotional risk) but go paragliding (high physical risk). In relationships, the risk of rejection and sometimes the risk of acceptance may guide behavior. None of us likes rejection. But risk of acceptance? That if you reach out, there may indeed be a reciprocal interest in you? What makes […]

Hope Does Survive, If You Let It

There are so many invisible arrows that we get to be a target for on a daily basis. There are real ones, aimed at us by those we are close to. Your family or your loved ones are not approving of your lifestyle; a boss is not happy with your performance; your neighbor dumps a pile of sand next to your fence; someone cuts you off as you try to merge on the highway…We all receive these, but you may have noticed that some people just shrug them off and others brood over them for days. What makes for the […]

Love, Pandemic Style

You may have seen the November 19 “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC where the host had an emotional presentation on her partner’s COVID illness. Since then, especially with the Thanksgiving Holiday, there have been many accounts of how people handle when a partner, spouse or a family member gets infected. The toll it takes when you can’t see or be with those you love when they are in distress is huge, let alone knowing they may be dying with no one to hold their hand. It is an unimaginable time when a partner has a serious or terminal illness, […]

You, me, and ’Rona

As we all adjust to living with a deadly and most importantly, invisible virus, what happens between us, our partners, family, friends, neighbors and coworkers? How do we negotiate the emotional impact of less or no physical contact and the social lack of connections as we used to have? Human beings are social animals. Yes, I know, there are those who are introverts and really prefer their own company and maybe even shun being around others. But even they, seek the comfort of another individual at different times, when their emotional needs peak in crisis situations. So how do we […]

Individualism And Social Responsibility

Through the years leading up to marriage equality, and even with other individual rights struggles, I wondered about the cognitive process of balancing individual wishes, wants and rights against the needs and rights of coupledom, partnerships and the society writ large. Were these two separate ways of thinking that were mutually exclusive? How would one balance these against each other? The reality is that when you are a single adult, you call the shots for your own life. The minute you enter a relationship, even a friendship, you give up some level of power in the interest of the newly […]

Camaraderie Yesterday And Today

Have you noticed that the way we relate to each other has changed since the invasion of social media in our lives? I hasten to add that that invasion has brought many positive changes as well.  But this pandemic, in its totally unexpected ways, has also affected those changes we have been living with, more often without focused attention. When our survival is threatened, as with this invisible virus infection, we react with emotion because the issue hits the amygdala, the brain center that is programmed to fend off the impending danger, as it should. However, we need to keep […]

Where Do We Go From Here?

Some people focus on the immediate present, as in today and tomorrow. Some work on a much longer time frame, with monthly and yearly projections. Most fall in between or use a combination of both extremes.  Whatever works for you, the current situation is a huge challenge because it is almost impossible to predict where we will be down the road. Scientists offer their best facts and opinions. Will a vaccine come on the market? When? Will everyone have access to it? Maybe. Will it be effective? Perhaps 40-60%, like the flu vaccine. Does the virus mutate? How might the […]

Reinventing Relationships

Whether you are in an established relationship, wanting to start one, or early on in one, in these last several months with the pandemic, we have all been impacted and have had to adjust, adapt, negotiate, re-negotiate or even end our connections. Human nature thrives on social contact. Even if you may be an introvert, you still need that soul-feeding emotional bond with other human beings, maybe not too many, but still. Sometimes it is a family connection; other times it is a friend or a romantic partner. In the words of the 17th century English poet, John Donne, “no […]

Living with Ambiguity

In the last 3 months, we have read, heard, viewed or talked with friends, family, coworkers, scientists, officials and others, and have been exposed all kinds of views, opinions, facts and counter facts. The human brain seeks comfort in consistency and at least a sense of temporary certainty. Alas, we don’t have that. How do you deal with those in your life when it comes to restrictions regarding the coronavirus? Masks, face coverings, social distancing, and other preventive measures have become not only political, but unfortunately and regrettably, reflective of one’s strength of character or personality, or one’s concepts of […]

Can Loneliness Be Good?

Think of painters, writers, innovators, coders, composers or researchers, and many other careers or pursuits that really require functioning ALONE. Being by yourself is mandated, by definition, to provide that state of mind that allows to create, to focus and to work towards a defined goal. The human mind needs that quiet time, that sense of being in flow with the process of being immersed in a self-introspective state. So why do we complain of being lonely, of having more anxiety and depressive thoughts as a result? You may have read or heard all of the recent emphasis on how […]