On choosing happiness

Choosing happiness and choosing circumstances of ease and comfort are two very different things. Challenge is essential to human happiness. It is, in large part, why we chose this life to begin with. Photo by Jörg Peter

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Chasing Your Dream

My last post talked about longings that we can't quite explain and thus often disregard as irrational and unimportant. This post is about an excellent tool to help us recover those crucial, disregarded desires: a 30-day guided journal called Chasing Your Dream. It so happens that one of the dreams that runs in my family is the dream... Continue Reading →

The boy who wanted to be a Jew

Julius Lester writes in his book Lovesong: Becoming a Jew that as a young black boy growing up in the American South his favorite piece to play on the piano was Kol Nidre, the song that opens the observance of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. "When I stop playing," he writes, "there is a painful yearning in my stomach,... Continue Reading →

You’re Not as Dumb as All That

Perhaps you've read about this experiment from the 1980s: Subjects were told, "Linda is thirty-one years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in antinuclear demonstrations." Then they were asked to estimate which further statement... Continue Reading →

On Feeling Alone

I don't care how many friends you have or how many heart-to-heart talks you manage with your loved ones, I think we all have moments when we feel alone. Moments when we're stuck inside an emotion that we don't see any possibility of sharing. Or when we're thinking thoughts we have no way to convey. These are... Continue Reading →

The Invisibility of Evil

"You will learn that when the truth isn't pretty, expected, or delivered with a fair dose of charm, people will almost always put their faith in a lie." So reads one of many chilling lines in H.G. Beverly's recently released memoir The Other Side of Charm, about her unwitting marriage to a sociopath. Before her marriage to... Continue Reading →

Are We Attracted to the Things We Fear?

Conventional psychological wisdom says that we avoid the things we fear. That avoidance is, in fact, one of the primary indications that fear is present. But what about those cases in which our fears actually push us into the arms of their objects? What about the boyfriend who is so afraid his girlfriend will leave... Continue Reading →

Do Negative Emotions Sharpen Perception?

Lots of people carry in their heads the image of the tortured artist: the writer/painter/musician whose brilliant artistic achievements spring from a soil rich with personal failures, miseries, addictions, and/or mental illnesses. Writing guru Julia Cameron persuasively argues that creativity does not require depression. Or agony. That well-adjusted artists are, actually, quite successful and productive--maybe even more so than the... Continue Reading →

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