Hope in a New Year

Hope in a New Year

It may seem that most news is bad news lately. But bad news gets more airtime than good news. I see many reasons for hope in the long run. Yes, the environment is being harmed, species are threatened, and non-renewable energy sources are being used up. But various countries and organizations are taking countermeasures, and they’re working.

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Why Do You Celebrate Christmas?

Why Do You Celebrate Christmas?

When we disagree with someone, we instinctively focus on the differences between our opinions. But to persuade or build consensus with someone, it works better to look for commonalities and discuss them first…I recently had an opportunity to practice commonality-seeking in a difference of opinion between blogger Catherine Onyemelukwe and her spouse, Clem…’You Unitarians don’t believe in Christ. So why do you celebrate Christmas?’

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A Gift of Poetry for You

A Gift of Poetry for You

The bulk of my book “Love on the Rocks with a Twist” features short stories, each followed by study notes on the characters’ interactional skills–what they did well and how they could have done better. There are two exceptions. The introductory essay, “What’s the Twist,” and the poem “Dinner Date.” As my holiday gift to you my readers, I offer “Dinner Date” and it’s study notes in their entirety here

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Reflections on Gratitude

Reflections on Gratitude

At this heart-warming time of year, I offer a selection of quotations on gratitude and Thanksgiving…Which of these speak to you? “There shall be/ Eternal summer in the grateful heart.”

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The Company We Keep, Then and Now, Pro and Con

The Company We Keep, Then and Now, Pro and Con

I’ve been re-reading some favorite Jane Austen novels, reflecting on how few options for socialization people had in those days, especially outside of large cities. No phone, no texting, constraints of both time and etiquette on writing letters. One had to mingle with whoever lived nearby to have any significant social life…But every coin has another side.

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Your Brain on Mixed Messages

Your Brain on Mixed Messages

The human brain evolved to view others as either good (green light) or bad (red light). This helped prehistoric humans survive. Will Jojo help me fight off the saber-toothed cat or throw me to the cat while he escapes? They had to decide instantly. So it helped to pre-classify others. The brain is uncomfortable with mixed messages or “cognitive dissonance.” If a “good” person hurts us, we may reclassify them as bad, or vice versa.

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