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Emails to my Therapist:
On God, Sex, Death, Love, Life Changes, Fears, Desires, Writing, and Anything Else on My Mind

Rancho La Puerta

“Navel-Gazing,” Pros and Cons

January 17, 2018
Dear Nicholas, A commenter on a post of mine about dealing with death, The Age of Others Keeling Over, wrote, “Baby Boomer navel-gazing always astounds me.” I don’t think it’s navel-gazing to react to the increasing number, as one ages, of deaths of friends and family. However, she does have a point. I lead a […] Read More


Bechira–A Personal Reckoning at a Turning Point

January 8, 2018
Dear Nicholas, Roughly a year ago I realized at a dramatic point that I was in the process of making a baffling turn–not by choice and not sure in what direction. Artsy-gorgeous environmental magazine Orion recently introduced me to the term bechira point: “an internal turning point, or ‘a moment of choice between continuing to act […] Read More

New Year’s Theme, “Ode to Joy”

January 2, 2018
Dear Nicholas, The New Year got off to an unusual start for Bob and me: an Emergency Room trip, but one that quickly turned out well. After about five hours, they sent us home–and, appropriately, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with its “Ode to Joy” played on the radio for most of the drive. What Happened A […] Read More

Christmas eve church sanctuary

A Bookish Christmas Card: Peace on Christmas Eve

December 20, 2017
Nicholas, Here’s my bookish version of a Christmas card: a troubled minister’s moment of respite on Christmas Eve, excerpted from my novel Revelation: The Christmas Eve service alone would be enough, Swain thinks, to keep me in the ministry. Troubles always go away, at least for that hour. Now the opening music and stirrings have passed. […] Read More

easy Christmas

Easy Christmas To Us All!

December 13, 2017
Dear Nicholas, Tomorrow at about 3 p.m. is the one-year anniversary of the moment when a Duke aorta surgeon came out to the waiting room and told me that Bob was alive but he didn’t know if he was going to wake up. Bob did wake up. Though he tires a lot more easily than he […] Read More

sleeping too much

Sleeping Too Much? Berating Myself Too Much?

December 3, 2017
  Dear Nicholas,  A sharp-witted 95-year-old I know recently said with enthusiasm that what she really loves to do is eat and sleep. Her wonderfully thoughtful care-taking son Franc said, “I’m the same way.” I seem to lean a bit in that direction myself. I’m writing this on Saturday, when first I slept late, then […] Read More

workplace sexual harassment

#MeToo? I Guess So

November 28, 2017
Dear Nicholas, I haven’t posted a #metoo or written before about the upwelling of sexual harassment accusations because I’ve never felt traumatized by the minor incidents in my life. However, recent news does stir my  memories and I have to get down one thing that happened long ago. Really, It Was Almost Funny Back when […] Read More

The Wicked Allure of True Crime and Celebrity News Today

November 10, 2017
Dear Nicholas, I’ll lose some readers by admitting this. But not everything one emails to one’s psychotherapist is admirable. Here it is: I am fascinated by true crime stories (why would anyone do such a thing?)  And one of my first crucial morning questions to myself is: What’s the celebrity news today? In that second […] Read More

energy spirit

Deflated Energy, Wilted Spirit

November 6, 2017
Nicholas, I hesitate to write about this for fear of making it more true. I should be saying positive encouraging affirmations to myself. But I need to sort this out. I’m taking a steroid for torn ankle tendons that’s supposed to stop swelling and instead seems to have deflated energy and spirit. Seems like too […] Read More

tightly wired

Tightly Wired: A New Definition

November 1, 2017
Nicholas, I seem to be fraying: some of my wiring, that is. I always thought “tightly wired” was a metaphor. But for about a year, I’ve had half a dozen tears in my left shoulder tendons. Now it seems that the same thing has happened in my left ankle. Guess my wires are pulled too […] Read More

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