Author Archive

Mind Matters: Everyone lies

Do you lie? Have you ever lied? You lie if you say you never have. Everyone, even a toddler, has lied sometime, somewhere. Our ability to lie goes hand in hand with our wanting to trust others. “Our capacity for dishonesty is as fundamental to us as our need to trust others, which ironically makes us terrible at detecting lies,” says Yudhijit Bhattacharjee (“Why We ...

 
 

Mind Matters: Resilience revisited

The West has suffered vast forest fires and now the East Coast is being pummeled with hurricanes bringing massive flooding. Meanwhile, not so far from Boston, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and neighboring towns, a domino effect of gas explosions rippled through. The result of this catastrophe has been one death, numerous injuries, houses burnt down and thousands yet ...

 

Mind Matters: Be still, my heart

Labor Day weekend has passed. The journey into Fall has begun: school starts; vacations end; pools close: the pumpkins lay in fields like so many orange basketballs and apples ripen for the harvest. Eschewing the beach, I spent the long weekend at a meditation retreat in the Hudson River Valley. The leader of this event was Jack Kornfield, not only a Buddhist master ...

 

Mind Matters — ACE and US

ACE here is not the winning card. Adverse Childhood Experiences “are any stressful or traumatic events that occurred in childhood.” The experiences include sexual and physical abuse and neglect, but also household and family dysfunction, such as witnessing domestic violence or substance abuse. Adverse events also include parental separation, divorce, or parental ...

 

Mind Matters: Love, conscience, and sociopaths

Many years ago, early in my career in Pittsburgh, a handsome and charming man came to my office to begin the process of a custody evaluation. He was a high-profile professional in a large corporation. Despite his appearance and his impeccable credentials, his demeanor and words worried me. Whatever it was he said as he walked out the door got me to thinking, “This ...

 

Mind Matters: Recent research in psychology

Did you know that people who reside in neighborhoods that are racially diverse are “more likely to help friends, neighbors, and strangers?” According to a study reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people in racially diverse urban areas tweet more about pro-social ideas, such as helpfulness and charity. It was also found that those who live ...

 

Mind Matters: Change reaction

Family systems psychiatrist Murray Bowen noted years ago the phenomenon of change back/push back in a family system when an individual in the system starts to shake up the status quo. This shift is in the service of higher integration and greater awareness. However, our tribal primal inclinations of the family want to keep the individual in check and not be so ...

 

Mind Matters: Give and take

To begin the process of remodeling our kitchen, the old was gutted and appliances were going to be thrown away. Donating to Goodwill or other non-profits was not possible — our old kitchen was “too old” despite all being in working condition. Freecycle to the Rescue. Freecycle is an online listing service sort of like Craig’s List but, as the name implies, “free.” ...

 

Mind Matters: Families of origin

Have you ever considered your family of origin? I mean, really considered your family of origin—not just your mother and father, but way back to ancestors? I have always longed to be one of those people who could trace their history beyond the Mayflower. I have met folks who can, as well as those who settled here with William Penn. Perhaps part of the yearning is ...

 

Mind Matters: Pollution, air and otherwise

Once upon a time, I lived in Pittsburgh when my joke was that you had a choice of eating or breathing. When the steel mills were belching, the air was deplorable, but there was work, and food on the table. When the plants would shut down, the labor force would be laid off and while money may have been stretched thin, the air was clear: we could breathe. During those ...

 

Mind Matters: Another view on grandparenting

We are the carriers of history, whether we want to be or not. Now that I am a grandmother, I find myself reflecting a lot on having been a mother to young children, constantly thrown back to when my children were the age of my grandchild. I am also pondering about what it was like for my grandmother and mother to be grandparents. People often quip, “Ah, ...