Whether it’s joy or anger, we’re wired to catch and spread emotions. Here's how to inoculate ourselves against negative ones.
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Tales of Transformation
Why do I get waylaid time after time? Knowing the benefits of doing the thing I love most, why don’t I just keep on doing it every day?
I want him to be able to tell me what he’s done; Joe has enough shame to last a hundred lifetimes. He resumes his story, “I get out my rig, heat the junk."
“I can’t believe I closed that door in my life,” I say, finally letting the doubt, fear, grief, and frustration pour out of me as my tears fall.
But I am deeply rattled by the pattern of catastrophic connections my mind has been forming: the what-ifs are harder to fend off these days.
Lee wears her mind on her sleeve so that no one will have a chance to break her heart.
Her voice is tense, the threatening loss of the story signifying abandonment of the baby. If she holds on to the pain, the baby won’t be gone.
I soak up the bright array of color and shape, maybe buy something small like a pack of fancy paper napkins, and then feel able to return to my cat in my husbandless apartment.
All of us will need help at some point. Eyes, bones, hearts, and oh, yes, prostates, become human vulnerabilities with age.
I notice the tension in the girls' body language and laughter—and feel so glad to not be in adolescence anymore.
I do what I always do when I’m adrift, anxious, and alone. I load up my schedule, because being busy keeps the blues away. Or so I think.
A heightened awareness of the danger of loneliness is not an uncommon feeling for many of us.
It hits me: “This is origami” and I know that I am doomed. All my life I have tried to fold-and-tuck paper, and every time my brain shuts down.
Women are no longer compelled to treat their sexuality as a taboo: with silence, raunch, or euphemism.
Courage is scary, essential—and an affirmation of life.
How clip art, laughter, and Fred Astaire help me embrace my mop.
My husband and my father died of heart attacks. One friend needs cardiac surgery; another is pale and unsteady; a client's husband just dropped dead. Am I worried? You betcha!
I try to embrace the tears, welcome the sadness, accept the anxiety of unresolved change in my world.
On July 4th, I didn’t fly my flag because I am ashamed of the President’s language, behavior, and policy. And then I learned to embrace my patriotism as a political act.
In three days, I have become the self I want to be: slower, relaxed, creative, open, curious, attentive.
I’m using numbers to improve my physical, emotional, cognitive, and financial health. The numbers I focus on make me feel in control of my life.
The therapist meets my eyes. “How do you feel about your experts?” The answer is immediate. The tears come again, and with them the simple truth: “I feel safe.”
How the little girls in us fought for attention.
When you're the only woman in the room without children.
Boxes and bags appear to press toward me from all across the room. My stomach tightens, my breath gets shallow, claustrophobia threatens. I close my eyes.
Annie's deep blue eyes meet mine across the 75 miles that separate us. "It’s been a long, hard road,” she says.
I go to imminent demise from a three-centimeter polyp and a blip on a heart-rate monitor.
“I find I don’t like contemplating disaster very much,” Annie notes.
Grief is a rich time, a time of growth if we permit ourselves to be open to it.
As I think about my mother now in the great beyond, I’ll be kept warm by all that unexpected kindness, all that goodness in the world.
He died suddenly, and the trauma of finding him dead hit me pretty hard.
Elizabeth Young is a writer and therapist, as well as an adjunct faculty member in the MSW program at Springfield College.