Alexithymia: the bewildering dilemma of emotional void


One of my teaching colleagues had a poster taped to the front of her desk. It ranks as one of my favorites.



Answers $1

Thoughtful answers  $2

Correct answers $4

Dumb looks: Still for free

To most of us, this kind of poster seems hilarious. For some, simply a bewildering dilemma. For some, facial expressions are impossible to read–and perhaps impossible to produce. The reasons for this are still being investigated and are thought to range from genetic to environmental to perhaps a single traumatic experience. On the edge of the spectrum, there is even a name: alexithymia.

How to paint emotions when the scenery is deep space

Circling back to my theme of equipping children with self-knowledge, assertiveness, and kindness, I wanted to share that app developers are starting to provide child-friendly tools. These apps can help parents and teachers teach the words and concepts of emotions to children. Time and again, developing emotional intelligence is being seen as key to developing mentally healthy children who can form their own networks of supportive relationships. This also builds the inter-personal skills that help them become productive and financially independent adults.

Here is the list of children’s apps for building emotional intelligence.


The Day the Music Returned


Parade and Piano

Pasadena, California. The 1963 Parade of Roses. We were staying with distant relatives in their Craftsman-style home, two blocks from Colorado Boulevard. The adults–old and older, had set up chairs in the middle of the night and were on the street hours before the parade started. That was the year I had sworn off dolls, dresses, anything girlish. Blech! All I’d wanted for Christmas was cowboy boots. I was wearing them.

I discovered magic in that house. An old upright piano was tucked into a dark corner. (All rooms seemed dark to me back then.) As the one child amid the old and older, they left me alone (as always).  Oh, but the piano. I plunked out the most beautiful melodies (I thought), never having had the chance to touch one before. After that, I could talk about nothing else–except my daily plea for a horse. A horse was a reasonable request. There was room in the barn and an abundant supply of hay and grain. A piano? Excessive. Continue reading “The Day the Music Returned”


via Daily Prompt: Confused

cats (2)

Hi! I would like you to met Occam and Inigo, my son’s cats.

Cats. Confused?  Never in their nine lives, that I’ve been able to tell!

Don’t you ever wonder how cats manage to escape this strange, human malady of CONFUSION?  (I am the first to admit that I sometimes desperately try to induce their calm karma to take a flying leap and purr my racing heart back to its rightful resting rate.)

My first guess is that *most* cats have never been subjected to the pilings-on of our thousands of years of human history and rules and religions and politics and media and…blah, blah, blah. Instead, they have been cuddled, fed, pampered, loved, and allowed to own all of their fears, foibles, and fun they can toss at us.

Whenever we humans can just breathe–whenever we can just sit with our emotions and enjoy them in all of their fury and fantasy, we give our emotions the power to work. Then we can bid them a fond and fleeting “good-bye”. When we recognize our emotions as benign and helpful signals rather than letting them freak us out, we can give them a nod of recognition, wave a little thank you to the evolutionary processes that have kept those emotional signals alive and well, and go our merry way. We can trust our emotional friends to guide within the “true north” of ourselves. Hint: our personal compasses serve us much better than everyone else’s.

The opposite of self-trust is not mistrust. It is despair.

If you are finding yourself feeling “beside yourself” and confused, I invite you to wander over to my other pages, browse the resources and take in a bit of my “Backstory”.

Life is a journey, and the best is yet to come.



The “Bored” of Education

2009 November Lucky 042

As kiddos are getting set to head back to classrooms soon, parents and teachers alike are bracing themselves for the words, “I’m bored!”

Thanks to Tiffany Watt Smith, writing in her “Book of Human Emotions: From Ambiguphobia to Umpty–154 Words from Around the World for How We Feel”, we get a little different perspective on boredom:

“There is no coincidence that many creative people, for instance the artist Grayson Perry and writer Meera Syal, have spoken of their own childhoods as immensely tedious.”A Fresh Look at Boredom,” Primary Leadership Today 13 (2008).

Anthropologist Ralph Linton has gone as far as saying that “the human capacity for being bored, rather than social or natural needs, lies at the root of man’s cultural advance.” The study of Man (Appleton-Century 1936), p. 90.

So, when we start to hear those words of the bored, maybe we should be saying something like, “Great! You are ready to create something BIG! Go for it!!!”