Time to leave the nest

Joey was blown away by Zaccho Dance Theatre’s The Monkey and the Devil, a performance installation on contemporary racism.

There’s a guy who has been an amazing mentor to me for three years. I have made it clear that I appreciate his advice because I grew up without a dad. I never had anyone guide me like most men do. In the last month, my mentor has been distant. I don’t know why. I have tried to schedule one of our usual business lunches, but he begged off, saying he’s super swamped. I have no idea what I did, so I wrote an email asking him to tell me. He wrote back a week later saying that I needed to stop relying on him so much and that I should get to work. I feel like I’ve been slapped and don’t know how to respond.

Show him that his investment of time and wisdom was worthwhile. This generous man was your mentor, not your papa. While some mentors remain for our entire lives, others arrive and depart on a schedule that suits the universe, not our wounded egos. Be grateful for the guidance you have been given and stop comparing it to what you imagine others may have had. Doing so is just a campaign to goad yourself into a personal pity party. From there, it’s a short swing down into depression or a quick hurdle into an inflated “I’ll show them!” drama. Either way, you’re wasting time and energy that should be channeled directly into applying the lessons your mentor has taught and rising up into your next level of competence.

Write back to your mentor and say, “Thank you.” Nothing else. He kicked you out of the nest and that means he trusts you to fly. All you require is the eyes to see yourself as you really are (equal to your mentor or nearly so) and not as you fear you might be (the only little boy without a papa to guide him). Accept the truth and trust yourself to do well. You can also write out a personal manifesto of the lessons your mentor taught you and refer back to it if necessary.

My mom sucks at love, but tries to give me advice about guys. She gets mad because I won’t tell her anything. She divorced my dad and has this creepy boyfriend. They have huge fights, break up, and a week later they’re together again. My older sister blows her off, but I don’t really feel like I can do that. What can I do?

Your mom has formed a bond with this man that she believes is love. But true love is like a healthy pulse: steady and strong. People who cycle repeatedly from breakup to makeup are infatuated. They want the adrenaline rush of arguing and the hormones that flood the body before, during and after sex. (Sorry, you probably don’t want to think about your mom having sex. Ew!)

Lots of people confuse these hormone surges with being in love, so your mom isn’t alone in her confusion. But that doesn’t mean all of her advice is lousy. Try accepting her limitations. She can’t teach you how to enjoy a healthy romantic relationship, but she cares about you and shows it by inquiring about your life. Instead of being defensive in response to her questions, smile and say: “I’m glad I can talk to you about this kind of stuff, and if I ever need to, I will.” Then find an aunt, teacher or other trusted adult to talk to about your relationships. Your friends may listen and often give great advice, but they don’t have enough life experience to field every situation wisely.

Meditation of the Week

I was waiting for my latte at Old Soul Co. when a man said to another female customer, “The brain on love lights up in exactly the same places as a schizophrenic brain.” “Not exactly,” I chimed in. “The brain on <i>infatuation</i> is believed to light up like a brain during a schizophrenic episode.” “Oh yeah, that’s what I meant,” he said. How often do you confuse love and infatuation?