Fighting Trump’s Tyranny: Eye Contact and Small Talk

Shortly after the election of Donald Trump, I felt a compelling urge ... even a need ... to be visible with my disapproval of the outcome of the election. I created prototypes of black armbands and my husband and I wore them for a while. But they didn't have the reaction I had anticipated. In fact, most people simply ignored them. From Armbands to Buttons... The next effort was to create buttons. With the help of a friend, we designed a logo and I had 500 buttons … [Read more...]

Do a Little Composting Math and Help the Environment

Several weeks ago at the Tribeca Film Festival, I saw a movie called Wasted: The Story of Food Waste. By the time I walked out of the theater, I had decided to start composting our kitchen waste. When I got home, I ordered a little countertop composing bin and some compostable plastic liners. I asked neighbors where I could take my compost every day and found that a small community garden nearby accepts compost. And so I started composting. Indoor Composting to Dispose … [Read more...]

The Optimum Goal of Parenting: Benign Irrelevance

We have just returned from visiting our daughter, Rya, and her family. As we sat over dinner with Rya, her husband and their two teenagers, I sat quietly just let the conversation flow. I could feel the positive energy of the family and simply enjoy watching. I didn't feel responsible for the conversation or the dinner or, for that matter, the way their family functions. Our time for being responsible for our daughters has ended gradually over many years. And now we get … [Read more...]

Washing Away Unnecessary Anxiety and Unwarranted Blame

I tossed and turned much of last night worrying that an email I sent to someone had been too critical. You know the feeling that starts just after you press the send button and immediately wish you hadn't? But this morning I found a genuinely appreciative email from the guy, thanking me for my unvarnished opinion! Also this morning, I got an email from a colleague I had been trying to reach but who hadn't been responsive to my call of several days ago. I figured I must … [Read more...]

See Something, Say Something: Vigilance and Kindness

Have you seen any of the "See Something, Say Something" signs that have proliferated in public spaces since 9/11? These signs are posted in subway stops and train stations and a host of other public places. Reporting the BAD... I understand the MTA's request. If I see something that looks strange or puzzling and might be dangerous, I shouldn't just walk by and forget it. Instead, I should report it to 911 or tell an official nearby. 911?  Hello? I'm reporting a … [Read more...]

Witness Your Cycle of Energy from Inaction to Action

Have you ever watched water boil? I mean, actually standing over the pot and watching. It really does boil, even when you watch it! If you do, here's what you'll see. Water Boiling is Like Your Own Energy First, teeny bubbles form at the bottom of the pot. The surface, though unbroken starts moving. Then, gradually, the bubbles grow and merge and rise, breaking the smooth surface until it's roiling and dancing and cratering. As the water boils, the bubbles break. … [Read more...]

Finding Meaning in Life by Processing Simple Observations

How often do you pause to look at some aspect of life or the human condition? And when you make a mental discovery, no matter how big or small, how do you process your observations? Do you share your thoughts with a friend? Do you paint a picture or compose a song? Do you make a simple note in your phone or add an entry to a journal or diary? Writing to Find Meaning in Life You may have noticed that I've taken a vacation from writing this blog for the past six weeks. … [Read more...]

What Happens When You Reach a Milestone or Benchmark?

Do you set benchmarks to track your progress?  If so, what do you do when you reach one? Do you celebrate? Do you pat yourself on the back? Do you take some time to reflect on what you've accomplished? Or do you just reach ahead and set another goal? I've Reached a Benchmark This is the 200th TRY THIS post! I began writing it in June of 2013.  Since then, 64,681 people have viewed the blog and joined me in learning little life lessons from the South … [Read more...]

Are You Willing to Make Your Resistance to Trump Public?

Since the election, I’ve been working on creating something people can wear to indicate their disapproval of the new administration. When dealing with bullies, it’s tempting to pull back and hide rather than standing up for what you believe in. But the more we hide, the more power you give a bully. I admire people who have the courage to confront and act up in strong and public ways. But for me, simply wearing a public sign of my disapproval feels like what I can … [Read more...]

Stand Tall and Power Up, Mentally and Physically

When my mother got old, her back was bent like the top of a cane. She looked curled even when she stood. Like a drying leaf that's fallen from a tree. Gradually, her body pulled in, shoulders and neck forward. Head canted down. She became smaller and smaller until one day she wasn't there any more. Do you know people like that? People who, when you see them after a few months apart, look noticeably smaller? Shrinking and curling are common patterns of aging -- … [Read more...]