In Unions of Love, I discuss the magnificent experience of witnessing two people express their love and commitment to one another.
In Tips for Handwritten Condolence Notes, I discuss the healing value of sharing an expression of sympathy in your own words and writing.
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Unions of Love
For more than a dozen years, I have written about weddings. Usually the theme has to do with maintaining your well-being while preparing for marriage; whether it is getting along with the "cast of characters," remembering WHY you are actually marrying THIS person, or suggesting ideas for how to avoid becoming Bridezilla.
I have written advice columns (Sanity Savers began as a wedding advice column), a book about weddings, articles, been interviewed on radio and TV about the topic, and have counseled couples, young and old. And, oh yes, in my lifetime, I have attended a whole lot of weddings.
Sharing in the joy of a marriage of two people who deeply love each other and are committed to creating a life together is something that most of us take for granted. Recently, I had the occasion to witness a glorious, historic union.
I was privileged and proud to be among family and friends who surrounded a couple who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to marriage equality. Finally, they were able to marry in the state where they live.
At the wedding, I "took it all in", staying present in the moment, feeling the magnificence of this couple's caring, respect, and appreciation for each other. They recited their vows in front of their two loving families.
At the same time, I was also conscious of the men and women who were (and still are) unable to fully express their love and commitment without fear. I was aware of the men and women who suffered intolerance, indignities and prejudice during their lifetimes, and I wondered what they must feel at this moment in time. Something they had dared to dream for themselves was now possible, but only in some families, in some communities, in some states, in some countries.
Gay men and women have walked a difficult, challenging, and often dangerous path for so long and that path, in some places, is still a minefield. As my heart was open wide for the couple, it was also painfully aware of the many people who did not live to realize their own potential as they fell ill with AIDS. Because of the severe homophobia that prevented early research and much needed funds to stop the AIDS virus from becoming the worldwide killer epidemic that it became, millions of people were prevented from living -- let alone loving.
To love. To marry if you choose. To rejoice. To be safe.
Is this not what we all want and need?
A Good Daily Habit
Laughter keeps you young and healthy. Often we stifle our laughter. While it is also healthy to allow yourself to examine and learn from painful life experiences, dwelling in that place for too long may not be healthy.
As often as you can in your daily life choose to do something that makes you smile, giggle, or laugh out loud. Watch your pet play and get on the floor and engage together. Tune into your favorite comedy. Or just surf You Tube for those funny videos and remind yourself that is not only fun but healthy to laugh.
Whatever it is, someday you will laugh about it.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips For Writing Handwritten Condolence Notes
Recently someone shared with me her disappointment and distress when, after her father died, she did not receive even ONE handwritten condolence note. Although friends and business associates acknowledged this profound loss through texting, instant messaging, and emails, (and she did receive a few "signed" sympathy greeting cards), she wondered why she still felt bereft of the support and comfort from people in her friendship circle.
Her displeasure was compounded as she recalled the number of personal, handwritten notes that, over the years, she had thoughtfully composed and sent to her colleagues and friends upon learning that someone close to them had died. It is certainly true that for some mourners, just knowing that they are in a friend's thoughts can be "enough." For others though, the grieving process is "enriched" when family, friends and associates reach out in a personal way, writing in their own hand, sharing stories or memories of the person who passed away.
Sometimes, people feel awkward or at a loss for what to say in person, so expressing sympathy in a personal note can offer a bit of distance along with a chance to think about what might be comforting words. Reaching out to a grieving person is a true act of kindness, compassion, love and support. Knowing that people care and think of us in our time of sadness helps in our healing process. Most people who are bereaved, grieve for a long time. It is never too late to reach out. Additionally, letting someone know that you are thinking of them and their loss, whether at a holiday, birthday, or any day you are reminded of the person who died, can help them through a particularly difficult time when for the rest of the world, life appears to have "gotten back to normal."
So, what is the big deal about a handwritten note? At a time when many of us are communicating via various forms of quick messages -- to touch base -- somehow, when a loved one is no longer here, when "their time is up," the preciousness of time carries even more meaning. Knowing that someone you care about "took the time" to write a thoughtful note allows the mourner to hold the note, read it whenever (and as many times) as they wish, and this engagement, support, and connection can be extremely soothing.
Here are some tips to guide when writing a condolence note:
Consider the Recipient and What They Would Appreciate. - The primary way of communicating for most people under 35 years of age is electronic. Sending a text or instant message may be thought of as sufficient. However, it can be jarring to receive a text at a moment when the grieving person isn't quite ready to address those feelings. A handwritten sympathy note is a tangible link to caring friends and can help the mourner feel less alone, perhaps even help assuage their sorrow. Such a simple act of compassion has the power to make a tremendous difference in this person's life.
Offer a Tribute to the Person Who Died. - This can be a source of comfort to the mourner. Mention the person who died by name. Recall some special qualities of the person along with a happy memory, if you have one.
Write As If You Are Talking to the Person Who is Grieving. - Use the tone you would use when speaking to them in person.
Include a Personal Strength or Quality about the Mourner. - Often a grieving person can feel guilty, and have doubts or anxiety. Hearing from a friend that you believe they have the faith, resilience, patience, strength, or attitude to go through this time, can be very meaningful.
Offer Help in Specific Ways. - This helps remind them of your caring for them as they go through this challenging time. Avoid "Just call me if you need anything" in favor of offering a particular helpful task you can perform.
TODAY Show (NBC).
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
Oct. 16th, 10AM Hour. Topic: Women Stepping Off the Fast Track.
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for latest updates, including changes of time.
Dr. Atkins comments on breaking news for CNN's HLN. Please check HLNtv.com for updates.
Women's Health Initiative of Greenwich Hospital
Oct. 3rd, 12 - 1:30PM. Speaker, Cultivating Happiness.
Greenwich Hospital Noble Conference Center.
Registration required. Event is FREE. Optional box lunch is available for $10.
To register, call 203-863-4277 or 888-305-9253. Or register online at www.greenwichhospital.org.
Jumpstart's Read for the Record
Oct. 4th: Read to a Child.
Raise awareness about the importance of pre-school literacy for children in low income neighborhoods and pledge support to the efforts of JUMPSTART FOR YOUNG CHILDREN Jumpstart's premiere national campaign Read for the Record, presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, is one day of the year when millions of individuals come together to celebrate literacy and support Jumpstart in its efforts to promote early childhood education. On October 4th, people across the country will be encouraged to read the children's book Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad, by David Soman and Jacky Davis, in support of Jumpstart's mission to work towards the day that every child in America enters school prepared to succeed.
In 2011, 2.2 million people participated in Jumpstart's Read for the Record. Help to break that record by pledging to read Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad .
Temple Beth Elohim
Oct. 19th, 8PM. Speaker, Finding Balance Along Your Jewish Journey - Navigating Life's Transitions.
10 Bethel Rd., Wellesley, MA. 781-237-1980.
Temple Sholom Sisterhood
Nov. 15th. Speaker.
300 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT.
TC Psychology Roundtable - The Psychological Impact of Spirituality
Nov. 27th: 6-7:30PM. Panelist, Psychology Roundtable Series. Panelists will explore the topic of spirituality and the mind/body link.
Teachers College, Columbia University.
For more information or to RSVP, please visit http://www.tc.columbia.edu/calendar.htm?EventID=11450.
YWCA of Greenwich BRAVA Awards for 2013.
I'm happy to announce that I will be an honoree of the YWCA of Greenwich BRAVA Awards for 2013.
Luncheon to be held on Feb. 1, 2013, 11:30AM to 2PM at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. RSVP by January 18, 2013.
Proceeds support free services to victims of domestic violence, scholarships for preschool, afterschool, summer camps, and aquatic program, free women's leadership seminars, free racial justice activities, and subsidies for YWCA programs not covered by dues and fees.
Volta Voices Cover Story
Connect with Dr. Dale Atkins, written by Susan Boswell. January/February 2012 issue.
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
TC Today Magazine
Dr. Atkins is the focus of Work - Life Balance, written by James Reisler in the December, 2011 issue. A PDF of the article is available on www.drdaleatkins.com.
Topics by Dr. Dale Atkins:
Tips for Getting Along with In-Laws: http://video.about.com/marriage/Tips-for-Getting-Along-With-In-Laws.htm;
Warning Signs of a Troubled Marriage: http://video.about.com/marriage/Warning-Signs-of-a-Troubled-Marriage.htm;
Issues to Deal with before Marriage: http://video.about.com/marriage/Types-of-Issues-to-Deal-With-Before-Getting-Married.htm;
Warning Signs of Cheating Spouse: http://video.about.com/marriage/Warning-Signs-of-Cheating-Spouses.htm;
Tips for Maintaining Interfaith Marriages: http://video.about.com/marriage/Tips-for-Maintaining-Interfaith-Marriages.htm;
Tips for Growing Old Together:
and, Most Important Questions to Ask Before Getting Married: http://video.about.com/marriage/Most-Important-Questions-to-Ask-Before-Getting-Married.htm.
Visit Marlo Thomas' site to access my relationship column and Mondays with Marlo video stream. http://marlothomas.aol.com/search/?q=dale+atkins
Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Therapeutic
Issues with Recipients of Cochlear Implants,"
in the new text, Psychotherapy With Deaf
Clients From Diverse Groups, Second Edition.
Edited by Irene Leigh, and published by
Gallaudet University Press.
Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Family
Involvement and Counseling in Serving
Children Who Possess Impaired Hearing,"
in the new text, Introduction
to Aural Rehabilitation.
Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by
I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.
My sincere thanks to website developer, Barry Brothers, who, along with Carina Ramirez Cahan, brought vision and positive, creative energy to the site. Do take a look at Barry's work here: http://www.thelimulusgroup.com/bb and consider him for your business, development, design and communication needs.
|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is filled
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Once again thank you for continuing to read
and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education nonprofit organization that pairs well-trained, caring adults with underserved preschoolers who live in poverty in year long mentoring relationships. I was honored to be Jumpstart's Read for the Record's National Spokesperson on NBC's Today Show this past Fall and to have moderated a panel of Jumpstart's founders on February 22nd at the Yale Club in NYC. Jumpstart's Scribbles to Novels www.jstart.org/scribblesnyc, event took place on May 8th at Cipriani Wall Street. We were joined by Wes Moore, Tina Fey (who was interviewed by Gayle King) and other acclaimed and entertaining authors who celebrate the written word and support Jumpstart's programming in the tri-state area and around the country.
Please help to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. Please, if you can, contribute by clicking on www.jstart.org/donate
www.jstart.org/donate. There is something that every single one of us can do to help those less fortunate. Over one million children live below the poverty level in the U.S. This shameful situation must change. Each of us has a responsibility to repair our world. Let us eliminate the 2-year achievement gap that exists between children from low income and those from middle income neighborhoods when they begin kindergarten!
to learn more about Jumpstart
initiatives - such as Scribbles to
Novels; Playdate With A
Purpose; and Read for the Record.
"When our plans crumble and there seems to be nothing left, it is only by completely surrendering to what is that we can realize that what is left is more than enough."
Ezra Bayda in Saying Yes to Life
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
book . . .
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works