The Under Toad and the UnBalancer

‘The Under Toad,’ Walt said. ‘I’m trying to see it. How big is it? And Garp and Helen and Duncan held their breath; they realized that all these years Walt had been dreading a giant toad, lurking offshore, waiting to suck him under and drag him out to sea. The terrible Under Toad. Garp tried to imagine it with him. Would it ever surface? Did it ever float? Or was it always down…

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Gyroscopes and Personal Flywheels

My first counseling psychology supervisor once remarked that every psychologist begins as a child psychologist – as a boy or girl who, to survive childhood, develops the basic skills for psychotherapy. I’ve been interested in becoming a therapist since my first year in college, but until my 50s, I didn’t know how I could handle the emotions of 20 or 30 people a week. Carrying people’s feelings has always been an issue for…

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A Mini-Lesson on Mini Self-Care

NOTE: This post is about how to take care of yourself when you’re too pressed for time for normal self-care. But first, some back story. In the summer of 1979, after two of my roommates were mugged and I narrowly escaped the knife myself, I left Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant for parts unknown. I’d arrived in New York five years earlier with two books, two cameras, and a knapsack full of clothes, but by the…

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Balancing the Books

From late spring to early autumn, 1971, I hitchhiked across the United States, following a meandering loop west from Buffalo to Berkeley, south past L.A., up the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington, and back east through Canada. I was on a mission not only to see the country, but also to find out who I was. I hitchhiked to force myself to connect, if only for a lift to the next town…

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