How 2 Self

Power v. Patience

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Is It Bragging, or Just Good News?

Only my social media “friends” know for sure.

See the whole piece on Medium!

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Therapy Dog Therapists (for Therapists, and Therapists of Therapists of Therapists)

It certainly sounds like an intelligent idea

Note to self: beware of the “species gap.”

You’re probably thinking that a therapist that wants therapy could simply see a colleague, who might themselves see another colleague, and so on. And, undoubtedly this happens. But not every therapist wants to lay themselves bare in front of their peers. And then there’s the simple math of the matter. If every therapist sees a therapist who sees a therapist, and so on, it will eventually require infinite therapists which is infinitely more therapists than anyone wants.

But there just may be a four-legged solution begging at our feet. We all know that dogs, with their inexhaustible excitement to see us, are a reliable source of comfort. While not as complex and versatile as human practitioners, they’re more than happy to let us do most of the talking and they require no costly credentials. It seems only natural to explore the limits of their powers to fill this void.

No one said it’s going to be simple.

It make take several attempts, but don’t be discouraged. The key to all successful dog training is persistence. In time it will pay off.

Good girl!

Of course, not everyone has the patience and focus to be a good therapist. Luckily, when it comes to dogs, there are lower expectations for any kind of back and forth exchange, allowing any penchant for distraction to go unnoticed.

Success! I think.

We’re on our way, but keep in mind that even in the best of situations, the doctor patient relationship can be complicated. With pets, it is particularly fraught.

Don’t let a little complexity be the bogyman that ruins this great idea.

It’s hard to know if this will ultimately work or not. Good science demands that we gather empirical data. But that’s not easy when it comes to the efficacy of therapy, and especially pet therapy. That means we’ll have to settle for whatever anecdotal, imprecise, or completely erroneous data we muster. Feel free to post yours below.

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Love Is Hard

Despite a thousand rom coms

The typical story is that it may take some time to meet the right person, and it may take a little perseverance to clear an obstacle or two. But in two hours or less, it will be done and happiness will ensue.

I get it. I love film where Good reliably kicks Evil’s ass, especially when it’s with their feet. It’s satisfying to see the world the way I want it to be. But I am quite clear that I can’t beat anyone up with my feet. I’m happy to do the yoga required to clip my toenails.

But the message we get from a lifetime of preposterous fantasies about love is a lot harder to parse. So, this Valentine’s Day, I give a nod to the Sisyphuses with a portrait of coupling that might be closer to the reality.

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I’m Going to Cry My Way to Mental Health

Or drown trying

Believe me, I’d love to end this comic with a glory story of sanguine success, but it’s a work in progress. I’ll keep you posted.

What I know so far is that the most painful part of the cycle is when the tears are building up, and I am unknowingly tensing up to hold them at bay. Anxiety has long struck me as the flip side of grief. It’s the side that takes the greater toll on me. The release of the tears is the good part.

Still, I look forward to needing the release less, or at least resisting it less. Though, maybe that’s two ways of saying the same thing.

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Nobody Knows Who Anyone Is Anymore

And I’m relieved

When I see our neighbors out walking in the ice and snow, with their hats, scarves, big coats, and covid masks, I have no idea who they are. No one does.

For me, this is a welcome reprieve. I have terrible facial recognition “software.” I don’t usually know who these neighbors are, even without the disguise. But I should! And I’m not just “should-ing” on myself here. They’re people I’ve interacted with many times over the years. However, without ever knowing exactly who’s who, it’s super hard to know what those interactions have been. Mercifully, I no longer need to!

Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer to know. It’s a huge social disadvantage to be socially myopic. I long for more connection in my life, but when I can’t summon any sense of a shared past, it’s pretty hard to take a relationship further.

If someone happens to have a dog, I have a better chance to place them. If not, I either have to scurry by, as if I’m late for a plane, or hang in through the awkward moments hoping they will clue me in.

But not anymore. There is a city ordinance to wear a mask. And it’s too cold to go hatless. Who am I to argue with nature and the law? I’m still missing out on the chance for connection, but so is everyone. I finally can’t blame me.

I’ll admit that I’m looking pretty hard for the silver lining of this miserable, dark storm cloud. But it’s not like I have that much else to do.

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The Lives of the Graced and Lucky

Do they really exist?

It’s always seemed to me that some people naturally have an easier time of things.

It makes some statistical sense. There’s always that proverbial sad sack who we all summon when we need to illustrate how much worse things could always be. That has to mean that there are people on the other side of the curve who have it breezy, right?

There has to be some people born to loving, balanced parents who actually had enough capacity and reserves to raise them without screwing it up too bad, right?

I see them around, I think. People who always seem positive, calm, and generally unperturbed. Like they won Jonathan Haidt’s “cortical lottery” and took the lump sum payout of brain wiring that magically fits our complicated world.

I’m not saying they don’t have a bump here or there, or a loss or two. Maybe a dog dies, a friend moves, or they only get the fifth row at a Springsteen concert. My point is that they manage to skate by with nothing beyond inconsequential afflictions and non-traumatic ordeals.

Some people just seem to get the whole enchilada, including extra servings of vitality, good looks, and robust health.

They don’t have to look into a mirror and repeat a hundred daily reps of affirming, self-loving mantras. And still, they feel completely comfortable in their own skin.

And somehow end up free of nagging neuroses and other mental and emotional maladies.

I’ve often said that everyone has their own cross to bear, but do they? Is it my imagination, or do some people pretty much get a pass on all that agonizing cross schlepping.

I kind of hope so. It would at least provide an example to study.

Though I certainly wouldn’t look to these lucky bastards to explain how they do it. They don’t know. They’ve never needed to ponder the question. That kind of introspection and analysis has been left to those of us aren’t so thoroughly and annoyingly graced.

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Can’t Shake Me

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Nice Work Today

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Tough Call

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Social Animals

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Help Me Out

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No, Not That!

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