All our political candidates need to be sent back to compassion school. They need to take vows before they run for office that they will have compassion for we the people, for each other, for our global family, for the earth. These candidates need to become more than talk show hosts or master of ceremonies trying to woo us for votes.
Now that we are in the midst of the holiday season it would be beneficial for us all to reflect on the art of soulful giving. A gift is a transfer of energy from one person to another. Typically the giver chooses an object, wraps it in a box, ties a ribbon around it, writes a card, and presents it. Then the receiver reads the card, undoes the wrapping, reacts to the gift, and takes that subtle energy in.
As a psychiatrist I know that there is more to overeating and obesity that meets the eye. Genetics plays a role, as do hormonal and psychological triggers. However, one big reason that many diets fail is that traditional weight loss programs don’t factor in how we process energy.
A resentment is a grudge that you harbor after you've felt mistreated. It's easy to hold on to all the incidents that angered you, from a gossiping hairdresser to a two-timing ex-husband. And, if you took a poll, you'd probably get a lot of people on your side about your right to stay resentful. According to such logic, as time passes, you have "the right" to get angrier, becoming a broken record of complaints. But is that the sour person you want to be?
People we love can sometimes drain us the most. Our mates may not be trying to do this, but life's demands add up. For instance, at the end of a long day, he or she might come home in a negative mood or is needy and overbearing. Sometimes the draining behavior may go beyond this, when they become argumentative or hurtful. As a psychiatrist, I help my patients address these behaviors with their mates in a tactful, loving way to find positive solutions. Learning this skill is a wonderful Valentine's Day resolution to make in February, the month of love, and throughout the year.
Our world is in the midst of an emotional meltdown. People are restless, volatile, our tempers about to blow. Recently, a riveting Newsweek cover story, "Rage Goes Viral" described how from Tunisia to Egypt a wave of rage is rocking the Arab world to create revolutions. Then there are the talk radio ranters, congressional incivility, and domestic terrorists such as the Arizona shooter. Rage is also prevalent in our daily lives: There's road rage, office rage, supermarket rage, and even surfer's rage. Why is rage so rampant? What is the solution?
Generosity is an expansive energy. As Norman Lear told me in an interview for the book, “You receive as you give. But you have to expend energy to get energy. Electricity happens from rubbing two wires together. That’s what giving does for me.” Stinginess is constrictive. If you’re on the cheap side, don’t worry. But wake up! Realize it’s a huge drawback; take contrary action. How?