Heroic helplessness

Image courtesy of Mme Scherzo I was taken with David Kanigan’s post the other day, quoting Florida Scott-Maxwell on aging, and including this beautiful photograph of I-know-not-whom, but surely one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen of any age. I include the entirely of the quotation he included here, because it is worthwhile:Continue reading “Heroic helplessness”

Watching music wake people up

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to do something wonderful with the Back Bay Chorale – a great volunteer chorus I’ve talked about here in the past.  Under the auspices of their new Bridges program, we have been visiting nursing homes and assisted living facilities in small groups, singing well-known songs to seniors inContinue reading “Watching music wake people up”

Why does music make us cry?

Everyone knows how a song can open us to emotion.  Most of us probably have songs that make us cry, songs that make us nostalgic for our youth, songs that make it impossible not to dance.  And as we go into the holiday season, there are doubtless songs that make us homicidal, particularly the onesContinue reading “Why does music make us cry?”

Thanksgiving week: How gratitude can change your life

It’s Thanksgiving this week. The holiday has always been a favorite for me, and not just because I love to eat. I also love the thoroughly secular opportunity that it gives Americans to express gratitude. Gratitude is an emotion that we’re not in contact with a lot of the time. Life is hard, and evenContinue reading “Thanksgiving week: How gratitude can change your life”

Working with Sexuality: Decoupling touch and sex

In a previous post, I mentioned how often, especially for men, touch can be linked up in their bodies with sex.  In our current society, unfortunately, we have a disordered relationship to touch.  When we are tiny children, if we are lucky, our parents and other caregivers touch us all the time.  We are carried,Continue reading “Working with Sexuality: Decoupling touch and sex”

Are emotions universal?

An interesting profile in Boston Magazine of Lisa Barrett, a psychologist who is working to challenge the long-held belief that there are six universal emotional facial expressions.  The work of Paul Ekman, who first pioneered this field, is now being seen as too simplistic: [E]motion isn’t a simple reflex or a bodily state that’s hard-wiredContinue reading “Are emotions universal?”

People into BDSM no longer considered mentally ill. Well it’s about time.

As reported by The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, the makers of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly known as the DSM, has released its new edition (DSM-5).  In previous editions, paraphilias – a catch-all term for “unusual” sexual desires falling under the umbrella of fetishes, BDSM, or kink – were basically consideredContinue reading “People into BDSM no longer considered mentally ill. Well it’s about time.”

How our brains and bodies work together to create empathy

Photo by Fer Kazalz Two new studies in neuroscience, revealed at the British Neuroscience Association Festival of Neuroscience earlier this month, show the ways our bodies respond to and mirror other people’s emotional states. I’ve written a bit here about empathy and emotional mirroring, and how powerful our bodies can be at not just recognizingContinue reading “How our brains and bodies work together to create empathy”

“We are missing the experience of our own being.”

I had a great article passed along to me today from the Sun, which I’ve since subscribed to.  Called “Out of Our Heads,” it is an interview between writer and filmmaker Amnon Buchbinder, and author Philip Shepherd, on his book New Self, New World: Recovering Our Senses in the 21st Century.  Most key to my interests,Continue reading ““We are missing the experience of our own being.””

Cuddling FTW

The research on touch continues to mount.  Fact is, the more loving touch you get, the healthier you are. I’m going out of town tomorrow for a week with a couple of loved ones, to visit one of my favorite cities in the world and then to attend a conference about magic, pagan spirituality, andContinue reading “Cuddling FTW”