Author: Karen Mickley-Gomez

Give, not take

This week marks the beginning of another holiday season.  Theoretically, fall and winter holidays are a time of celebration, gratitude, generosity and togetherness.  The reality is that somewhere along the way, our spirit of giving got up and went, leaving the holidays a f*cking nightmare for many. It all starts with Thanksgiving. We eagerly await the arrival of relatives from out of town, their children and/or pets in tow.  Within minutes, close quarters begin to highlight our differences.  Disagreeing over recipes follows in short order, along with whispered complaints about each other’s parenting.  Next up is drinking to excess, arguing over politics, and the time-honored tradition of airing each other’s dirty laundry.  By the time we make it to the dinner table, things are awkward, if not resentful.  One person often does most or all of the cooking, sweating over every detail of a meal they probably won’t even get leftovers from (YAY!  Another thing to fight about!).  Someone always leaves before helping with the dishes, someone else eschews conversation for football. Beginning at midnight following Thanksgiving begins Black Friday – when, in the name of giving (after all, we’re supposed to be gift-shopping, right?), we push, shove, even trample each other on our way in and out of the stores.  We fight over parking spaces, and honk irritatedly at people slowly pushing their shopping carts, or taking up...

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When I was sixteen years old, a series of poor choices resulted in my getting arrested. The punishment designated by the court was 100 hours of community service, overseen by Reverend William T. Federici of First Congregational Church.  Unphased and unrepentant, I showed up (late, of course) for my first day of service straight from the beach: barefoot, sand covered, and bathing suit clad.  Rev. Federici said not a word about what brought me to his office, and set about drawing me a diagram detailing the direct connection between the mind and the heart.  He explained something called “the heart of the perfection of wisdom,” and advised that I needed not just to open, but to empty the negative thoughts cluttering my mind.  For a disaffected teenager, it was quite a concept.

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The Three-day Potty Training Method

What the book says: Potty training can be crappy.  But it doesn’t have to be. Reality:  Crap. Everywhere. What the book says: It will be fun.  It will be worth it.  It’s only 3 days, you’ve got this! Reality: It will be hell.  You will question everything including what you have done karmically to earn this. What the book says: You and your child will remain inside the house for three days, during which time he will be naked. Reality: Your naked child will spend three days trying desperately to escape your house. What the book says: Once you...

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