A new prophecy for 2012

2012 is almost here, and this exciting and troubling 2011 is almost over. I hope you’re warm, safe, and well, and I wish you a Happy New Year! As we head into a year that is being promoted by some as either the end of the world or the beginning of a new dawn in human development, I’d like to take an empathic, historical look at … Read More

Empaths on the Autism Spectrum, part 2

Continued from part 1 After spending just two weeks as an academic liaison for twenty-two people on the Autism Spectrum (and getting a sense for their inner lives), I started to observe my own behavior more closely. I’m very sensitive to sounds, colors, movement, and social cues — I love patterns, numbers, and being alone, and I have intense (often excruciating) empathy. I wondered: Am I … Read More

Empaths on the Autism Spectrum, part 1

Can I do this job? In early 2006, I got a job working as an academic liaison for a group of 22 college-aged students on the Autism Spectrum. My job was to help the students with all of their academic needs: scheduling, counseling, learning accommodations, tutoring, social services, transportation … I was hired to create a total support system under and around the students so that … Read More

Working through depression

See Ingenious Stagnation: Understanding Depression for specific help with depression. When suicides are in the news, people tend to talk more about depression. Medical and psychological researchers (and news outlets) focus a great deal of attention on depression, and it seems that every week brings a new story about what does and doesn’t work for depression. This is great; it’s a positive movement that is helping … Read More

How much emotion is too much?

When I talk about The Language of Emotions, one of the central ideas I try to get across is that all emotions are useful. If you can approach them with care and ask them the right questions, there aren’t any “bad” emotions. Every emotion has a specific function, and all of them are important and instructive. Some very intense emotions (such as hatred and panic), which … Read More

Surviving the apocalypse, chapter 743

Okay, we’ve survived the most recent prophecy about the end of the world, but (spoiler!) we always will. Prophecies are richly fascinating, and they tell us so much — sociologically, anthropologically, and historically — about what their believers feel, sense, think, and hope about the world, but they’re never right. This weekend, yet another group of believers found that out for themselves. My hope is that … Read More

Why did you believe in the end of the world?

I’ve been thinking — or more honestly, feeling — a great deal about this weekend’s purported Judgment Day, when there will supposedly be huge, planet-wide earthquakes, a rapture into heaven for 200 million true believers, and the beginning of the end of the world. The Apocalypse, Armageddon, Judgment Day. Of course, none of that will happen. It never happens. Hundreds and thousands of Judgment Days, Armageddons, … Read More

Protecting yourself from emotional abuse

Whew! The earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the seemingly endless turmoil in the Middle East and Africa, the financial crisis and the economic downturn it caused, and over the weekend, the Supermoon? That’s a lot to take in. Even without any media jacking you up, it’s a lot to take in. So here’s my suggestion: Be very mindful about what else you take in. In Buddhism, … Read More

The Happiness Myth

Right now, I’m re-reading an amazing book by the historian, philosopher, poet, and funny kook Jennifer Michael Hecht. The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think is Right is Wrong. If you’re feeling troubled about the current state of the world, and confused by what seems like weekly changes to scientific theories about happiness, this book is just what the doctor ordered. There is so much to … Read More

Critical thinking skills for your emotions

When I go out to speak about The Language of Emotions, I often have the audience call out the things they’ve learned about emotions. I start off by saying “Big girls don’t cry, There’s nothing to be afraid of, You should be ashamed of yourself …” and then the audience adds their own versions of the messages we all get as other people attempt to manage … Read More

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