Archive for category: Psychology

The Day The Love Of My Life Went Missing

12 Jan
January 12, 2015

I still return to the mall where I last saw my wife. She was wearing a plaid skirt and blue windbreaker. I even remember the last conversation we had. We were standing outside of Florsheim Shoes and I was talking about the time I went fishing in Lake Ontario with the four nephews, and she was talking about the church social and how a nice pair of brown wingtips would go with the suit she bought me last summer. And right in the middle of the conversations, the mall sort of , well . . .disappeared, and I found myself on Lake Ontario, standing next to the nephews, in a black and red charter boat – just like the one we fished on last time. And I’m thinking, How cool is this? You just think of something and it becomes real. 

Well, at that precise moment in time, I turn to the wife to tell her about the boat and she’s gone. Just like that. Gone.

I don’t mind telling you that at that very moment, I was terrified. Worse than the time I was in that car accident and the firemen had to use The Jaws Of Life to free me. Even worse than the bad asthma attack Grandma had in ’68 when I had to carry her in to the hospital ER from the car. Worse, because you can wrap your head around a car accident, or even the possibility of losing a loved one to asthma, but to just disappear . . .

Oh, I hear the kids talking about it from time to time. To spare me from additional grief, they’ve apparently hired a look-alike house keeper to take mom’s place. And she’s convincing . . .she looks like mom, talks and acts like her too. She even smells like her!

I’d still like to know what happened to the real  mom, though, the woman I married 61 years ago. Like I said, I try and get to the mall whenever I can, to look for her. (The kids have a fit whenever I “sneak out” and walk to the mall. So what’s the worse that can happen to me? The Security Team at the mall knows me, so do the State Troopers. They’re good people. They all give me the same advise about listening to my children, then they drive me home.)

Oh, I’ll find her. Even if the children put me in one of those “facilities.” I’ll find her. Or die trying.



15 Mar
March 15, 2013


After watching my brother care for his wife through her 12 years of Alzheimer’s, I can well understand why many caregivers die before their charges do. He said to me at one point that he had not had a single uninterrupted night’s sleep in five years. He was in his 80s, and refused to put her in the local nursing home which is dirty and depressing. He died shortly after she did. He sacrificed his life for hers.

As an avid genealogist I have many death records of my ancestors. Looking at those records is very revealing. Many had a mild chronic illness for several years prior to death but the illnesses that incapacitated them and led to death were brief, from hours to days. The amount of intense bedside care they required was short.

We now have the ability to extend that period of incapacity to years, and people need care for long periods of time. Through modern medicine we’ve extended many lives without regard for the quality of that life, or the quality of the lives of those who must care for them.

This is analogous to inventing the 2013 Mercedes Benz without building a road system, or the jetliner without airports. Today’s 30-60 year old is going to have to work well into their 70s to finance their 80s and 90s. At the same time many are caring for both children and elderly, infirm parents. There are no landing strips able to handle the onslaught of infirm elders who are just beginning to circle the airports, and no ground crews waiting to handle the baggage of their frailty and extreme vulnerability. We are apparently a stupid people or we would have placed skilled elder care in pleasant environments as a priority.

The word has always been that things would change when the “Boomers” hit the demographic, but as far as I can see, and I am a “boomer”, we have no more sense than the generations before us. We are allowing even the pathetic system we have now to be dismantled by the tea-sharks in Congress. Twenty years from now families will look back at when they could put granny in a nursing home as “the good ole days”, as they are forced to shoulder the burden of care alone after the demise of Medicare and the theft of Social Security. Invalided elders, needing medication and nursing care that are unavailable to them, will die quickly (and very conveniently – cheaply) at home, cared for by their exhausted families.

There is nothing new under the sun.


05 Dec
December 5, 2012




OK, I know the premise is a little implausible but no more so than the Holy Trinity, Parinirvana or Plenary Indulgences. Besides, who wouldn’t like to see Jesus and the Buddha, on mahogany bar stools, each with a cold one, discussing Yankee relievers, where to get a good Havana cigar, and how to make the Walking Dead series really come alive?

And imagine being a fly on the wall when their talk turns to religion:

Buddha: “Explain it to me again; you know, the part about mankind carrying Adam’s transgressions until the end of time. . .”

Jesus: “Look, it’s simple. This yet-to-be-named sin is my Father’s way of saying there are consequences to disobeying Him.”

Buddha: “Well, I’ll say one thing, it’s original.”


And to those Christians who will say that even the suggestion of their Savior leaving his recliner at His Father’s right hand for a bucket of suds with an old friend is heretical, I say, “Lighten up. You’ve been scaring your fellow man for 2,000 years with stories of apocalyptic gloom and doom – tales of eternal fire and brimstone that make the very best of Stephen King pale in comparison. I’m not sure which is more frightening to a child: a movie like The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby or the updated and revised edition of the 1941 Baltimore Catechism.

And the saddest part of this rant? The best “story” of all — the one that is ever-hopeful and magical; the one that inspires generosity and kindness — is brutally ripped from our psyche with cruel laughter and the words, “What? You still believe in Santa Claus?”


Cognitive Narration

09 Nov
November 9, 2012



Nelson Mandela, in his 1994 Inaugural Speech, said:

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous ?

Actually, who are you not to be ? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you . . .”

Many of us – although completely unaware of our actions – sabotage our opportunities for love, friendship, prosperity – even good health.

     Why would we  sabotage ourselves? This is a question that sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, spiritual teachers, and religious leaders have been asking for centuries – with a vast array of conclusions.

There is a principle, however, that most experts and observers of human nature would agree upon; I call this principle cognitive narrationand here’s what it states:

      We are the sum total of what we tell ourselves we are. And this “telling ourselves” is done through the use of narratives – short stories that, consciously or subconsciously, determine our behavior, decisions, expectations      and conclusions.

 The Buddha stated this phenomenon succinctly: “We are the result of our thoughts.

Thus, cognitive narration is the ‘self’ telling ‘itself’ – or narrating – hundreds of little stories each day. When awake, we call these stories, ‘living in the real world’; when asleep, ‘dreams.’

And here’s another observation most mental health professionals agree on: people who suffer from anxiety, depression and a variety of other psychological conditions, usually play and replay their narratives with  predictable story lines of  failure, incompetence, shame, scarcity and terror.

 In my 40- year search for a way to turn the stream of compassion within, I recently stumbled on the following idea:


What if you had the opportunity to literally write your own, personal narration  . . .

with language that reflects a new and powerful storyline . . .

free of self-sabotage, guilt and recriminations . . .

a narrative of love, success, compassion, gratitude, prosperity and peace?

And here’s the most powerful part:

What if you could subsequently publish that narrative on the Internet – an  

opportunity to publicly share your new ‘story’ or narration with others?

Like a marriage ceremony, where a couple publicly share their new covenant, you, too, could also share your narration with just friends and family — or thousands of online visitors, if you so desire.

Keep your eyes and ears open for a future Internet application.


Copyright © 2012 Martin Bayne