The Thinker
Larry B. Gelman, Psy. D.

In quiet moments when I am in deep contemplative thought, pretending I have introduced myself to a new imaginary playmate, I increasingly find myself conjuring a brief conversation with Rodin’s sculpture, The Thinker.

While I certainly appreciate that the artist may have been motivated by forces, either demonic or divine, and intended an entirely different “take” in his own mind, as an appreciative observer, my own “take,” I submit, is mine...

Breaking a Board
Larry B. Gelman, Psy.D.

Somewhere between white belt and black belt, thirty-five years ago or so, I recall one promotional examination where the testing requirement from the grandmaster was for the student to break a one inch pine board with a simple reverse punch.

The board was carefully held by two black belt students about as high as their solar plexus and I was given an opportunity to make sure the board was positioned...

PAIN
Larry B. Gelman, Psy.D.

On November 8, 2010 I had an L2-S1 spinal fusion with multiple discectomies and multiple laminectomies to address degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and spinal scoliosis.  Orthopedic experts were uncertain as to causality, however, I suspect that my sitting for 10-to 14 hours a day as a clinical psychologist for almost four decades coupled with rigorous martial arts training for almost twenty years may have played a contributory role in my affliction along with inherited and constitutional factors...

"Oomph!"
Larry B. Gelman, Psy. D.

I’ve always been infatuated with the word “oomph!"
I like the way it sounds akin to a traditional Zen “mantra.”

The sound seduces all with an “oom” at the start,
And concludes with a powerful “ph” sound at the end.

If you listen carefully, what do the sounds of each enunciated word elicit deeply within you?
Especially, if you string-out the “o” in “om” to say “o-o-o-o-o-m-m-m-m-m;”
Or if you exaggerate the “oo” in “oomph” to say...

Love Lessons
Larry B. Gelman, Psy. D.

All of the circumstances, events and happenings associated with the gradual awakening that we are born, live and die, invite deep thought as to which developmental tasks are required of every individual to successfully navigate and integrate each of these rewarding and perilous passages.

The first crucible that birth confronts us with is the Herculean task of learning to love our Self. This is complicated because, in order for us to succeed on this test, we require...

“Chosen”
Larry B. Gelman, Psy. D.

No one wants to be the one who is not “chosen.”
There is almost always a sense that the “final selection” is, ultimately, unfair to one or more of the principals...
As well as, inevitable questions being raised about one or more unfair criteria utilized in the selection-process.

We may ask, rhetorically, what about the “chosen” one is any better than anyone else?
Why was so-and-so “chosen” and I was “not chosen?”
And, vice-a-versa, if applicable...

Living with Regret
Larry B. Gelman, Psy.D.

Regret is that state of being, which occurs either momentarily and/or for all eternity, in which the person living with regret, has chosen, of their own free will, to act or to behave in a manner, which results in a harm to self and/or to another. In other words, regret is generally an avoidable consequence when infractible behavior fails to occur.

What might this mean to an individual who wants to live their life without regret?

"Mop's Here"
Larry B. Gelman, Psy.D.

He was a “full-bird Colonel” of Napoleonic stature, always with an enormous Churchill in his mouth. The highest ranking officer of our army medical reserve unit and the rest of “the brass”, along with the rest of the troops, held him in singular high regard since he was the only soldier amongst us who had direct combat experience having previously served in a “real” war.

I was barely 18 years of age and only a lowly Private...

At the Zoo
Larry B. Gelman, Psy.D.

In college I had an obnoxious undergraduate professor who claimed to be related to the famous advice columnists of that era, the identical twin sisters, Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren. Two things were immediately remarkable about him at the time. First, he was really quite brilliant in his field of sociology. Secondly, to my consternation, he was significantly much more arrogant than I!

Begrudgingly, I struggled to maintain enough of an “open mind,” at least from my myopic...

Planting People
Larry B. Gelman, Psy. D.

According to an old Chinese proverb:

If you are planting for a year… plant grain.
If you are planting for a decade… plant trees.
If you are planting for a century… plant people.

What does it mean to “plant people?”

Love is...
Larry B. Gelman, Psy. D.

Love is the mutual exchange of vulnerabilities within the context of a non-territorial, non-possessive and non–exploitative relationship.

It is further characterized by...

The Organ Grinder's Monkey
Larry B. Gelman, Psy.D.

Emerson reminds us that while “one may serve many masters, he shall give himself to none.” Phrased a bit differently, we eventually need to choose to whom we will allocate our resources of blood, sweat and tears.

It is my contention that, by deluding ourselves into believing that we can successfully serve everybody, we will eventually discover that, in reality, we can only succeed in providing a service, “good and true,” to nobody.

In such a scenario, we are now condemned...