Change Your Mind and Change Your Reality

A number of years ago I was driving through rush-hour Toronto traffic β€” eight lanes in each direction. The traffic was heavy and fast. I was making good time until I got blocked behind a car moving slower than the traffic. The word “idiot” reverberated through my head and my muscles tensed.

Just then another thought smacked my consciousness: “That driver could be my brother.” As I mulled over that uninvited thought, I realized that I didn’t know anything about that driver or his car…

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Bullying: Where does it Begin?

The BullyRecent suicides by adolescents and children in the wake of ongoing bullying have got us all thinking about bullying. It’s an uncomfortable topic, because so many of us at one time or other have been a victim, a bully or a silent witness (another kind of victim). It’s a broad societal problem.

Challenging a bully involves risk. I once had a manager who ordered a colleague to do something unethical. When she challenged him, he discredited her with lies. When I tried to intervene, I became his target and we both were fired. He then turned on a senior professional who had supported me during the ordeal. That professional, having seen what just happened to me, simply resigned.

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As Part of the Human Race, We Need to Be Inspired

Family PeaceTwelve days before Christmas I sat with a friend looking out into the bustling throng in a big department store. Some were cheerful; others were sombre as they went about their Christmas shopping. My friend remarked on the self-centeredness of the me-me generation. Without thought I responded with “They’re doing the best they can.” As my remark sank into my own consciousness, a strange thing happened. I could feel the tension leaving my face and shoulders. Fears about deadlines fell away. I felt at peace, even though I was quite aware that most of my plans for that day would go unfulfilled…

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The Prison of Addiction

Drinking and DrivingWe have all heard the comment, β€œHe’s an institutional case.” It is usually applied to someone who has been released from a prison or some other institution where he had resided for a long time. While institutionalized, his life was entirely regimented and organized for him. His life in the institution may have been very small and limited, although it felt safe and comfortable.

Now on the outside he finds just going grocery shopping to be traumatic. The myriad of every-day decisions he faces is often overwhelming. Freedom, yes, but also total discomfort! It is no wonder he finds himself thinking about how simple life was in the institution.

I experienced the simplicity of institutional life myself, while confined to the hospital last year…

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Alcoholics and Victims

VictimhoodBill (not his real name) came to me about a relationship problem, but went on to tell me he compulsively drinks because he is an alcoholic. He continued with “I get it honestly: my dad and all my uncles are alcoholics. I can’t help it. I’m a victim.”

The active alcoholic almost always sees himself as a victim. The most pervasive sign of this is his blaming other people and situations for his life. He blames his wife for making him drink. He blames his ex-wives and girlfriends for robbing him blind. He blames the economy for his underemployment. He blames his childhood for his chronic unhappiness. Nothing about his life is of his doing.

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