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Roses and Thorns

The task in the beginning is to learn to love self. This is accomplished by the provision of healthy caretaker inputs from outside-in. A child must first be loved, in order to learn how to experience love, in order to learn how to love. Learning to love your self is a crucial developmental task for love to have experiential personal meaning. The root word of the root word in meaning is the first two letters or the word formed by “m” + “e” = “me”. Meaning is often self-centered, self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing because the focus is on “me”. With me, myself...
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Love Lessons

All of the circumstances, events and happenings associated with the gradual awakening that we are born, live and die, invite deep thought as to which developmental tasks are required of every individual to successfully navigate and integrate each of these rewarding and perilous passages. The first crucible that birth confronts us with is the Herculean task of learning to love our Self. This is complicated because, in order for us to succeed on this test, we require habilitative and rehabilitative inputs and reactions to tasks from “outside-in” over a very long period of time and also what happens during the...
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Infrastructure

What carpenter in their “right mind” would begin to build a house by starting with the roof?What parent would give their 6 year old keys to the family car before they could ride a bicycle?What employer would promote an entry-level worker to a key executive position on the first day of hire? In the absence of “infrastructure,” you ain’t got nothing!Infrastructure means investing in the basics from the bottom-up.The “basics” are the foundation stones upon which a structure can emerge. Infrastructure can be something as innocuous as getting a good night’s sleep...On a comfortable bed and pillow...With clean bedding and a...
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"I Ain't Got None"

My love of words was engendered by my mother. She was a master at feeding her three small children as a single parent with nary a nickel to work with and yet she always was able to cook-up a concatination (i.e., plethora) of etymologic sustenance. Words were requisite ingredients to cook-up lofty ideas and aspirational values associated with high hopes, dreams and good wishes. Interestingly, while her vocabulary was not particularly erudite she had a predilection for artful linguistic structure and, as an interesting aside, her penmanship was artful, too. I vividly recall one particular Saturday morning when I was just...
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The Dance of Relationships

Relationships between a man and a woman are like a dance. With a dance, we have been taught that “the man leads, the woman follows.” However, in my opinion, the man leads by following the woman to lead him. The woman follows by leading the man to follow her. Consider my version, on psychological grounds, of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam is created first, therefore, he leads; Eve is created second, therefore, she follows. (“Let he who would be first, be last and serve the rest.”) The ’deal’ is for as long as Adam and Eve...
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My Bout with the Flue

One winter windy city weekend in 1984, my wife, Barbara, and I were nearly killed by a squirrel but were saved by two dogs – and my sister.   The weekend promised to be uneventful. Typical frigid February, Chicago-style, blustery wind, blistering wind chill, sub-zero deep-freeze temperatures, windows shuttered, furnace on, non-stop, and us keeping warm in our cozy (read: very small) Evanston starter home. We planned to stay inside the entire weekend. I was working feverishly on my dissertation and Barbara was catching up on paperwork and house-cleaning. Sometime on Friday, unbeknownst to us, a squirrel fell down the chimney and...
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Silver Linings

Depression among the elderly. The thought assaults the senses. One conjures images of wintered, diminished existences: life as relentless despair. See the dispirited old man, once proud and vital, now sad eyes glazed and emptied; the fractured, frail widow, demoralized and destitute, incapable of making basic decisions she too long deferred to others. The images fade to futility, bleak loneliness, and resignation - a living death. Depression is not an inescapable denouement of aging. We are no longer fated to dysphoric obsolescence. Indeed, more than ever, seniors live longer, vital and productive lives, filled with joy and purpose. Conversely, depression...
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The Recital

The children squirmed anxiously, eagerly, bedazzled by the hustle-bustle flurry about them. Mothers worked at fever‑pitch, mending leotards, pinning tutus, making last‑minute alterations to hemlines. Expectant fathers fidgeted, and, as if a bit out of place, busied themselves by checking and rechecking their camcorders. Grandparents bounced babies on their laps or just waited, patiently. The lights flickered, then dimmed. Rehearsal after rehearsal behind them, the little dancers practiced and readied, the curtain drew open. The recital began.     Seated at the back of the theater near the exit, an elderly man and woman rested quietly. From how they were sitting,...
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