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Closeness & Distance
Closeness & Distance

Everyone seeks a different balance between distance and closeness.  I know there are people who feel more comfortable with social distancing during this pandemic period, because it’s what they have been doing all along and so it makes them feel normal. When you are in a relationship, it...

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Control
Control

I am still trying to make peace with what I can and cannot control in my life.  You’d think after sixty years I might have figured this out by now, but this part of my life still feels like a work in progress.  There are some days when most parts of my life feel like a work in progress. ...

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Slowing Down
Slowing Down

I have been trying to slow down on the golf course.  The negative effects of hurrying in golf are much more noticeable than in other areas of life.  It is uncanny how much farther you can hit the ball when you swing slowly and smoothly.  I started playing golf this past summer after...

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Vulnerability
Vulnerability

I started thinking about vulnerability when the chain broke on my bicycle.  In theory, a broken bicycle chain shouldn’t make me feel vulnerable, but I guess feelings have less to do with theories and more to do with what is happening within and around us.  There is a lot happening within...

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Masks
Masks

We cancelled our road trip out to California because I was afraid that we’d encounter too many people who weren’t wearing masks. I recently talked with someone who said that hardly anyone was wearing masks when they visited a friend in Indiana. I feared that states like Iowa and Nebraska...

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Listening
Listening

I think I am becoming a better listener during this pandemic period.  At least I have become a better listener with birds.  I notice the sounds of birds more than ever before when I’m in the woods with my dog.  I sometimes even take the time to tell the birds, “You sound great this...

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Patience
Patience

I was waiting in line to get into a store and found myself feeling impatient.  We never used to have to wait in line to get into a store.  We only had to wait in line once we were in a store and wanted to pay to get out of the store.  This pandemic period has us doing a lot of things we...

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Longing
Longing

A loyal blog follower tells me what a tough time it is for youth soccer coaches.  This makes sense, given that coaches need players to do their jobs.  I wonder if coaches will appreciate all of their players more once their seasons resume.  Some coaches only appreciate those players who...

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Growing Stronger
Growing Stronger

I want to keep growing stronger during this pandemic period.  I don’t want to be the kind of psychologist who can only live vicariously through the growth of his clients.  I want to practice what I preach—even though I don’t do much preaching.  My downside as a preacher is that I’m too...

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Things We Tell Ourselves
Things We Tell Ourselves

I try to tell myself reassuring things during these worrisome times.  The most common thing I will tell myself is: things are going to be okay.  I tell myself this because most of our worries relate to things not being okay.  Most worries are about the future.  They are not about a tiger...

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Today
Today

I was listening today to No One Knows by the Nigerian-French singer Asa.  It’s a song about a weatherman who is reluctant to make predictions, insisting that, “no one knows tomorrow.” It must be a hard time for weather people—not because of the pandemic or the racial injustice—but...

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Underdog
Underdog

My wife and I got into a disagreement the other day when she referred to me as “privileged.”  I have never considered myself to be privileged, since I didn’t grow up in the kind of a house as the truly privileged people in our neighborhood.  My dad used to say that it was better to have...

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People & Spiders
People & Spiders

I made a friend this week—with a spider.  I had a choice of whether to kill the spider or become friends with it and chose the latter.  I figured our world didn’t need any more violence.  Most people probably wouldn’t consider killing a spider to be an act of violence, but it kind of...

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Home
Home

I try to be mindful of the energy I bring to our home now that we are spending more time in it.  Some days I’ll take an extra long walk in the woods with our dog so I can let go of any feelings I might not want to bring home with me.  I am not concerned about my feelings having a...

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Risks
Risks

My mom went shopping for fresh produce yesterday, explaining she felt a need to be in the store and touch her own vegetables.  My wife was upset that she took such a risk, but I could relate to my mom’s shopping mission since I feel a similar need to see and touch my own vegetables.  I...

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Attitude
Attitude

I miss hiking in the mountains.  I’ve never climbed the kind of mountains where you need ropes and equipment—just the ones where a good pair of hiking boots will do.  I have a friend who climbed Mt. Everest last spring, the same season where five people died.  He passed some of the dead...

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Sacrifices
Sacrifices

I learned through team sports how important it is to make sacrifices.  Sometimes what is best for you might not be best for the team.  Sometimes what is best for the team might not be best for you.  When you are a part of team, the needs of the team take priority over your own needs. ...

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Assertiveness
Assertiveness

A part of my job as a psychologist is to help people to stand up for themselves.  I have helped people stand up to bullies in the form of bosses, coaches, spouses, and peers. The challenge of bullies feels well within my wheelhouse, since my dad talked a lot about bullying when I was...

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Romance
Romance

I understand that it is a challenging time for single people looking for romance.  This makes sense, considering that it can be hard to meet someone even when there aren’t rules about wearing masks and remaining six feet apart.  I was never worried about germs back when I was single.  I...

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Meaning of Life
Meaning of Life

I recently finished reading the book, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and concentration camp survivor.  I don’t know what meaning it has that I’m reading a book about meaning during this pandemic period.  I suppose the rising death toll might have...

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Greatness & Goodness
Greatness & Goodness

I enjoyed watching the ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and the Bulls dynasty in the 90’s.  The documentary is about his basketball greatness.  It is not about his personal goodness.  This isn’t to say that Michael Jordan isn’t a good person.  I have never met him and don’t know...

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Indulgence
Indulgence

Our family has been indulging ourselves with carryout food during this pandemic crisis.  Some nights our attempts at indulgence are more successful than others.  My current favorite Chinese restaurant is closed and so I’ve had go with our second-string option.  Years ago, I stopped going...

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Trust
Trust

I daydream about some of the vacations I want to take when it is safe to travel.  I have no idea when that will be.  It is hard to imagine sitting shoulder to shoulder with a stranger on an airplane—or my wife sitting shoulder to shoulder with a stranger since she is the one who usually...

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Weight
Weight

I thought of buying a bathroom scale for this pandemic period, but decided against it.  It just didn’t seem like I needed one more thing to check.  As it is, I check texts, email, weather, stock market, website traffic, etc.  I used to check the sports scores, but I don’t do that anymore...

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Gratitude
Gratitude

My sister once said that she wished there was a special tea you could drink to feel grateful instead of pissed off.  She wasn’t the only one in our family who could have benefited from such a tea.  I remember being in the back seat of the car when my dad wanted to fight a guy who...

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Drinking
Drinking

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post about drinking until a friend mentioned that her mom had been a “raging alcoholic.”  That got us talking about our own drinking habits.  My habits are admittedly abnormal compared to other adults.  I don’t drink at all.  My friend doesn’t drink...

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Moods
Moods

I come from a line of people with great knees.  I don’t know of any relative on either my mom or dad’s side of the family who suffered from knee problems.  I wish I could say the same of our family’s mental health, but the reality is that there have been some seriously troubled people in...

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Feeling Safe
Feeling Safe

I started thinking about safety the other day when the elastic strap on my favorite mask broke.  I had grown attached to that mask and gave it credit for keeping me safe.  I never thought I would grow attached to a mask.  Who would have imagined something like that before the...

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Productivity
Productivity

My mom mentioned yesterday how she wishes she could be more productive during this pandemic period.  She is not alone in her wish.  I know many people struggle to accomplish what they once did before the current crisis disrupted their lives.  My mom was active as a Holocaust lecturer...

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What is God Thinking?
What is God Thinking?

I am not sure what God is thinking with regard to this pandemic crisis.  Most of the time I don’t even know what other people are thinking.  Although I am a psychologist, I am not as good at reading minds as people might think I am.  As I get to know people, I can often sense what they...

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Adjustments
Adjustments

Regardless of our political beliefs, none of us can afford to be psychologically conservative during this pandemic period.  We all have to be willing to make adjustments to keep up with this changing world.  There is no point getting attached to how the world once was or how we think it...

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Boredom
Boredom

I was recently asked to write a post about boredom.  I wouldn’t consider myself to be a boredom expert, since it’s not something I typically experience.  My guess is that I might experience some feelings that others label as boredom, and yet that word hasn’t been a big part of my...

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Life Story
Life Story

This pandemic period will end up becoming a chapter in all of our lives.  Have you thought what kind of chapter you want it to be?  I definitely don’t want it to be one marked by isolation, since I had a few of those chapters early on in my life.  This was long before I thought of my...

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Recess
Recess

I always liked recess more than I liked school.  I was a reasonably good student, considering I often felt trapped in a cage.  I had an unusually low tolerance for teachers who were educational bullies.  Some of the teachers in my school carried wooden paddles that they would use to...

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Comparing
Comparing

My dad used to take me for drives in Cincinnati’s poorest neighborhoods so I would understand that life was more difficult for some people than for others. I didn’t really need for him take me on drives to reach this understanding. I could figure it out simply by comparing my life to the...

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Parenthood
Parenthood

I see a lot of signs supporting health care workers as I’m riding my bike to the hospital.  I think these signs are great, but I also think it would be great if there were some signs supporting parents since they are the unsung heroes of this pandemic crisis.  It must be such a challenge...

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Cuddliness
Cuddliness

My wife has been thinking about fostering kittens.  I tell her we already have a cat and a dog, but for some reasons she can’t get kittens off her mind.  There apparently is a kitten shortage during this pandemic crisis, so kittens (and puppies) must be on the minds of other people too. ...

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One Team
One Team

It is a hard time now for athletes—or any person who is wired to set goals and work diligently to reach them.  Athletes are like working breed dogs in that they are at their best when performing the tasks they were trained to do.  I used to be like a working breed dog when I was an...

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Money Peace
Money Peace

I remember years ago I heard Mike Ditka say in an interview that money wasn’t his God.  Although I don’t typically turn to former NFL football coaches for spiritual wisdom, his words resonated with me and I thought that I didn’t want money to ever become my God either.  I knew I was at...

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Stepping on Toes
Stepping on Toes

It is easy to accidentally step on the toes of our loved ones now that we are under more stress.  I recently learned that I accidentally stepped on the toes of my daughter when I mentioned her in a previous post.  I said that she “tries to pretend she is a lion when she goes shopping”...

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Becoming Friendlier
Becoming Friendlier

I have made a conscious attempt to become friendlier during this pandemic period.  It doesn’t take a lot of work to become friendlier—only a belief in the importance of friendliness.  Few people would say they don’t believe in friendliness, and yet not everyone’s actions support this...

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Living Fully
Living Fully

As a part-time member of the Palliative Care Team at local hospital, I probably talk about death more than most people do.  Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life and mitigating suffering for people with serious illnesses.  You might be thinking that our world could use...

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Spiritual Math
Spiritual Math

I woke up this morning and looked at the years of spare change in our bedroom and decided that it was time to give it away.  Collecting it in big jars wasn’t doing me or anyone else any good.  So I divided it up in zip lock bags and loaded all forty pounds of coins into my backpack.  The...

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Thoughts Are Choices
Thoughts Are Choices

A good friend in college used to have a T-shirt that read: THOUGHTS ARE CHOICES.  I still try to live in accordance with his shirt, even if the act of choosing better thoughts can be easier said than done.  What often complicates the process is that we aren’t aware of how expansive the...

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Shaping Loneliness
Shaping Loneliness

A dear friend of mine and a mother of a teen reached out to see if I could write a post about loneliness.  She said it is such a lonely time for teens being cut off from their friends, teammates, and social routines.  It can be a lonely time for people of all ages.  I started calling my...

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Tornado Lessons
Tornado Lessons

I do more texting now because of the coronavirus.  I like sending and receiving texts.  They feel like mini-postcards with more immediate gratification than traditional ones.  I received a text the other day from a high school friend I hadn’t heard from in a while.  He texted to remind...

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Beneath Anger
Beneath Anger

I usually don’t waste my time getting angry at a virus, but I got angry at COVID-19 when I found out that one of my kids was infected.  I also got angry at the entire city of Chicago for not having a single bottle of Tylenol (or its generic equivalent) left on the shelves.  Fortunately,...

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Together
Together

Dear Friends, I am writing this blog to help myself and others grow stronger from the many pandemic challenges we are all facing.  I believe we can learn something from most every experience, including one with a crazy virus.  Some lessons are obviously more fun to learn than others—not...

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TP Challenges
TP Challenges

I just got back from the supermarket.  Like most everyone else, I got hit by a wave of toilet paper anxiety and felt the need to stock up.  I realize there are all different kinds of wealth and all different kinds of poverty, but toilet paper poverty seems like it would be pretty bad.  A...

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Unworrying
Unworrying

Some nights my wife worries so much that she has trouble sleeping.  I worry too, but it doesn’t stop me from sleeping.  In most relationships, worry is like a baton that gets passed back and forth—or a baton that one person tends to carry a disproportionate amount of the time.  My wife...

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