Meeting Perversion With Tenderness

 

A door has been opened to an unprecedented awareness of uninvited sexual behavior, primarily by men toward women.  How many of us walk through that door, and take meaningful action on what we discover, is the question before us.

At the moment, all sorts of highly visible men are being accused of some pretty toxic conduct, and are paying a hefty price in public condemnation, loss of employment, and maybe most importantly, loss of power.

While this response makes sense, it is also incomplete––if our intention long-term is to nurture healthier human relationships. Read More

Energy Doesn’t Lie

There are certain Hollywood stars, male and female, who claim to have been unaware that Harvey Weinstein was a sexual predator.  Let’s assume that all of those statements are honestly held.  That they are not colored by any extenuating circumstance, such as the desire to maintain one’s image as a person of integrity who “…surely would have spoken up had I known.”  Even if, in their minds, all are truly as oblivious as a cloistered nun to Weinstein’s predation, I feel that some, maybe many, did know, just not on terms they are consciously aware of.  How is that possible?  The answer is most concisely stated by adage “Energy Doesn’t Lie.” Read More

Our Friend Indignation

Indignation is our friend, if we’re keen on bringing our best self to the party.

By indignation I mean “self-righteous condemnation fueled by anger.”

Something is wrong, and we’re pissed about it.  From a fly in our soup, to the actions of others so brutal you wonder whether humankind deserves to survive.

My behavior too often suggests that I believe that indignation is necessary to convey my passionate resistance to what I find abhorrent, or undesirable, and sometimes just contrary to my whim.

I know better.  I’m right there with those who say the purpose of life is to be happy and reduce the suffering of others.  I know in spades that indignation is a distraction to that end.  I know, I feel, I experience that it robs me of my peace of mind, abuses my body, and can lead me to spit nastiness at others.  I’m a devotee of spiritual practices that help tremendously to calm my mind.  And while I’m not nearly the walking hand-grenade I have been, there are moments I’ll find myself pounding the steering wheel while silently yelling at the cretin who, years ago, did that thoughtless thing I can’t quite remember but have yet to forgive.  If I catch my face in the rearview mirror, I see just about the ugliest person on earth, which shuts me up quick. Read More

A Noose On Campus

A noose unexpectedly appears on the football field of your beloved alma mater.

If you were the institution’s president, responsible for providing perspective that might help each member of your community consider this incident in the healthiest light, how would you begin your message?

I offer you this question (along with a photo of three of my grandchildren, who are each members of such a community) because I asked it of myself and found it a useful way to deepen my understanding of the person I aspire to be.

Here’s my answer.  Read More

There’s Always A Healthier Choice Than Good Riddance

One of the competitors at this year’s U.S. Open Tennis Championships was disqualified for verbally abusing the umpire.  An opinion piece about the incident in the Times was headlined: “A Crude Rant Gets Fognini Booted From the Open––and Good Riddance.”  In at least one way, Fabio Fognini’s verbal outburst and the Times’ “Good Riddance” were very much the same: a reaction of anger born of unmanaged fear.

Except that the Times’ headline was actually more harmful.  Perhaps unwittingly it encouraged its many readers to infer that demonizing people who do crazy shit is a more effective way of creating a healthier world than growing compassion for them. Read More

"I honor that we are killing the earth for the same reason I consider being an alcoholic a privilege: it is a doorway to the profound self-understanding required to make truly healthy choices."

The Essay: Honoring the Killing of the Earth