Living on Orange Alert Constantly

After 9-11, the Bush Administration flashed orange and red alert levels, reminding us in Technicolor of the danger we live with. School shootings, massacres in malls, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, tensions with international communities. And we hear it all day, every day. There is no built-in time anymore for de-stressing. We can watch the Dow all day, and the Asian Markets all night, drowning our sorrows in starchy, sugary, fatty foods. Our physical and emotional health suffers, causing anxiety, depression, fear…But wait, don’t get more depressed! There is good news and steps you can take. Even five minutes of meditation or unwinding each day can start you on a path to increased peace of mind. Start by reading my blog at the Huffington Post.

Posted 12.11.2007
Americans feel increasingly stressed and helpless. Among the most common problem people give voice to are feelings of overwhelming anxiety and depression. Read Post



December 10, 2007

Witnessing violence in person or on TV, like the shooting that occurred this week at an Omaha shopping center, can wreak havoc with our bodies. Typical initial reactions are feelings of not really being here, feeling disbelief, floating or spacey or detached. These are feelings of shock. It’s very important to actively work our way out of shocking incidents, even if we only saw it on television; otherwise, it can cause us trouble later. Post traumatic stress syndrome, suffered by so many Vietnam and Iraqi vets and by so many after 9/11, is the medical term for what can happen when we store trauma in our bodies.

I would worry about post traumatic stress symptoms for anyone exposed to this kind of trauma. They can show up weeks, even months, after we’ve been exposed to violence. Be on the lookout if you develop phobias or insomnia or digestive disorders or substance abuse. These are all indications that we haven’t yet successfully processed the violence out of our bodies.

It’s really important that we address trauma as soon as possible. Witnessing violence, whether in person or on television, can cause anxiety, phobias, sleeplessness, and even a sense of not really “being here.” It can negatively affect immune function and bone health, and is a causative factor in rectal and colon cancer.

In order to counteract the negative effects of such an event, of primary importance is to simply talk about what happened and how it makes you feel. In addition, the simple practice of coming into the present can help the parasympathetic nervous system take over to manage anxiety and help us cope.

Then go out and spend some time in nature. Watch the sunrise. Listen to the birds. Sit on the grass and smell the scent of terra firma beneath you. This is not denial or avoidance; this is re-grounding. Take a few deep breaths and connect to your feet, then work up to your calves and your knees, then up to your stomach, chest, throat, and finally the top of your head. Acknowledge the feelings in your body and, when you are ready, say to yourself: I want to be here now.

All of us face tragedy at times in our lives. When a tragedy of this magnitude occurs, a shock wave travels throughout the collective mind: it can happen anywhere at anytime. Our shared helplessness at that exposure can draw us together. Talk about what it means to go on, console each other. Compassion and care will, over time, allow the rest of us to go on.


Making Gender an Asset, Not a Liability

Hilary Clinton’s near miss of the Democratic nomination for President tells us two things: One, there are still gender myths to be overcome. Two, we are almost there. Women CEOs, Supreme Court Justices, and world leaders show us that women are more than up to the tasks of serious leadership – and yet we are held back. By what? By whom? Whatever your personal opinion of Senator Clinton, she has brought a very important issue to the forefront of our consciousness; will we take the opportunity to explore it? I discuss this in more detail on my blog at the Huffington Post.

Posted 12.07.2007
Is there a knee-jerk reaction to a woman on the presidential ballot? Hillary Clinton–love her or hate her–offers us an extraordinary opportunity to… Read Post


Did Drew Peterson Do It?

Did Drew Peterson do it?

December 3, 2007

Did Drew Peterson kill his fourth wife, Stacy? That’s the question on everyone’s minds today. The family members of his missing wife certainly think so. A key witness and relative of Drew’s told a friend that he helped move a barrel that was warm to the touch from Peterson’s bedroom to an SUV. Two days later that relative was so distressed he tried to commit suicide.

Is Drew Peterson a sociopath? He certainly exhibits many characteristics. He doesn’t seem to be upset about his wife’s disappearance. When interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today show, he looked indifferent, arrogant, almost bored. For a man who had a history of following his wife everywhere she went and checking up on her constantly, he has no evidence or information about the alleged boyfriend he claims she had.

The typical sociopath has enough superficial charm to attract people to them. They’re inclined to be manipulative and cunning, have a sense of entitlement, lie easily, lack remorse, are callous, not concerned about wrecking the lives of others, and exercise unreasonable control over others. Think O.J. Simpson—a classic example of sociopathic behavior and a dead wife.

Drew’s been married four times, so clearly he has enough charm to initially attract women. Stacy and a former girlfriend both reported that he was very, very controlling—following them everywhere. The mysterious drowning death of his third wife is now being investigated. Perhaps it wasn’t an accident. The media who follow Drew and the interviews he has given show a man who seems to have a disconnect between what he claims and reality.

How can we avoid hooking up with a sociopath? Any time you meet someone who has these characteristics, run, don’t walk, in the other direction. Women especially need to be very careful to avoid men who are both charmers and liars, who don’t seem to care about your welfare, and, most dangerous of all, want to control you. Ladies, it starts small: they tell you you can’t talk to your friends on the phone or see your family. If any man ever does that to you, leave immediately and don’t come back, ever!