The more people we know closely, the more deeply we love them, the larger the certain debt of pain that will come with grief, and the more we have to worry about. Because life is happening all around us, all the time. More and more, I have come to understand this as the fundamental human dilemma. To love is to lose. The more we love, the harder we lose. And the option? There is no option.Read More
I went for a run in the arboretum, trying to shake the sadness about my daughter not coming home for Thanksgiving that has been shadowing me. Instead of which, I started ruminating about all the choices I have made in life that resulted in this eventuality. Entirely ignoring that her opting to spend the holiday with her partner is the natural order of things, that she lives on the other side of the country and the airfare for a weekend is absurd, that I’ll see her in a month, every pounding step was an accusation, recrimination, castigation. Suddenly I could see in full array, every mis-step, wrong headedness, and failure, and knew with absolute clarity that I have completely blown it.
The thing about training, is that if you want to get better, you have to keep raising the bar. If you want to progress, you must ensure that you stay uncomfortable. In running, this is concrete. This idea carries over into life. If I want to become more honest, more authentic, more the architect of my own happiness, I have to keep doing the difficult thing.Read More
This month I will be escorting my daughter to college. We will fly to California, I will help her set up her room, attend the parents’ orientation event, and then I will leave her there, returning home to go on with my life.
I will never forget how keenly I felt, at the moment of her birth over 18 years ago, the force of the life process that was already orchestrating her eventual departure from me. Something about the phenomenon of her emerging from my body made it patently obvious that from that moment on, she was headed outward.Read More
Attuned to research about aging well (for no obvious reason), I am often struck by the fact that the recipe for “super aging” has much in common with the one I am always promoting to you younger folk. The basics of living well — sufficient sleep, daily exercise and meditation, good food, meaningful work, and quality social interactions — apply for all of us.Read More
After practicing as a psychologist in Madison for 20 years, I can say with confidence that most of what we see clinically is people's responses to the serious difficulties of life. Not that there isn’t true psychopathology, but that the power of emphasizing resilience and strength, and de-pathologizing normal struggle cannot be overstated.Read More