Tuned Out

fluteplayerOkay. I live in a heavily populated city (New York) with some 8 million, and what is really amazing is that you can walk through crowds without touching. We are trained to give each other space, not to meet eye to eye after a 30-foot approach and generally to be set on our destination full speed ahead like submarines in a potentially hostile sea.

Good and bad you say? Yes. We are undisturbed by the life around us, fixed on our goal for the day even to get home and eat bagels and lox. What is the problem here? It is the rigidity of our fixation. No matter what we encounter we do not respond. But what if it is a unique thing of beauty? Sorry. No time for that.

I was coming to a busy corner in Brooklyn and heard a flute sounding over the traffic noise. I remembered that musician, a man of great skill and inspiration. This time he had a younger boy on violin, as well as an occasional recording of drums. I learned against the subway stanchion and listened for a while with another man, somewhat plump and of easy girth. The man left after dropping some money in the performer’s satchel.

The more I stayed and listened, the more the music moved me. I had to move my knee a little rhythm. It seemed the more pleasure it gave me the more the flutist soared and plunged into mighty glissandos, his head back, flute pointing at the sky. Was that only my imagination? It seemed as if my pleasure energized his dive into expression. I do think that we are in contact if only we allow it, not only with grief and terror, but also with pleasure.

I watched the people passing by with a kind of curiosity. Who was drawn and moved by his offering? First it was the very young children in carriages or just beginning to walk hand in hand. They always looked and lingered as the parent pulled them on. What kind of lesson was that? How we become tuned out and insensitive?

Second it was the elderly. They stopped, said a word to him which he responded to with a smile and by playing. It was they who gave him the thanks of some money. How strange. Is it only the very old and the very young that live within the world? Does societal training hinder us? Is it only before we are conditioned by societal training and after we see its nonsensical and largely useless folly, that we can enjoy the great beauty and talent available to us? Or is it possible for all of us to find our childlike innocence or elderly wisdom to really tune into the world around us?










ittle in the rhythm. It seemed the more pleasure it gave me the more the flutist soared a

.n plunged into mighty glissandoes

The Family Bed Misused

The family bed was conceived of as a way to make sleeping a togetherness experience with the parents. There was no age barrier to sharing, young and old alike. Usually, the older ones start wanting their own bed before the younger although they are always able to share if desired. The parents sometimes get a feeling of ”enough” when their kids are in the 6th grade and beginning to want to have their own bed.  However, usually high school kids, so conscious of what their peers are doing and wanting to fit in, are more than ready for a bed and if possible, a room of their own!

The family bed becomes a creator of disturbance, sometimes lasting when it is allowed or prohibited as a reward or punishment, inevitably when one or more of the children is singled out. Then the “chosen one” learns some kind of inevitably destructive lesson whether it is as a reward or as a punishment. It becomes part of one’s self-labelling. You are the unloved excluded or the special included. On what basis? Who knows? It teaches distorted lessons about how to get loved or how to live without it.

Take the example of a mother who was unable to conceive after years of trying so adopted two dark-skinned babies from a less-developed southern country. The older one, a girl, was favored for her beauty, but in some ways was expected to restrain her emotions and speech, her likes and dislikes, and needs. She had an adopted a negative label. The younger adopted child turned out to have a learning disability and was slow to speak, think, and adapt. His parents did not respond to this with humor and acceptance, a simplification of tasks followed by a “You did it.” He was more actively rejected, put-down, ignored. Neither parent was aware of playing favorites. Parents play out the rejection they experienced as infants, this time as doer rather than victim.

The older children sometimes slept with Mom and Dad but more readily moved away from them. The bed without the parent’s conscious knowing was not a welcoming place.

But as they say, S__ hits the fan when Mom suddenly conceived. This child was born white skinned and blond. She was very clever as younger children are in picking up language, partly because they listen to their siblings, but also because the parents endlessly crooned, held, and talked to this child. She too had access to the Family Bed.

With all her favoritism, it would seem surprising that she was given to throwing tantrums, not an easy sleeper, needing to be held and coddled; out of infancy, she still was prone to ready tears, cries of helplessness and need. One would wonder where this came from since favor was heaped upon her. It came from her baby privilege.

And now that she is about twelve, she still has to start sleeping with Mom (Dad has departed to a more loving partner) and only in the early morning departs for her bed. She still stages helpless tantrums, acting like a far younger child. She does this even though she is quite accurate in her understanding and descriptions of other people. Her intelligence is not running the show. It is her view of herself as a special baby. Exhibiting the behavior to which Mom favorably responded. She has seen older Sister and Brother rejected, scuttled to a demanding adulthood. Part of her clinging to babyhood is her being overweight. Brother is slim. Sister is very small and exquisitely formed but not an extra ounce of fat upon her. She lives with emotional rations.

But the third child is plump she has a baby figure, no waist, no early breasts, like the pawn on a chess piece. She is uncomfortable with her ungainliness but the child within accepts it as a necessity to remain Mom’s favorite. Early training, what gains love if nothing replaces it, remains with us for life.

It’s not true she can’t lose the weight. She has sometimes dieted down only to regain it. It is the connection her inner child has with a Mother who only loves her as a baby, the one endlessly welcomed to the family bed which keeps her a fat child. It is only after seeing the baby love addiction and deciding that a shaky childhood should not run us for life, that one can make up one’s mind to move on, lose the weight, act like a real adult.


Dare to Love

Loving is very difficult and very wonderful the more you let it happen. People use the word love a lot including those who write adds to sell you something. But the actual fact of love is something entirely different.

We often say we are in love when we enter a fantasy directed sky float. Real love is something we move into, not a surreal fantasy of attaining the ideal. Fantasy love has-to fade in time but real love grows. But why do we so much fear this highest experience and which part of us is it that fears it? We need to know that part, where it comes from and why we still listen to its fears and negative advice. There are no shun pikes to get around fear. You have-to move through your memory and experience of the past to get beyond it.

One key element of remaining afraid is that being in love means you will be seen. This has to-do with resurrecting the belief we are unworthy, the consequences of an unloved childhood. We have-to be seen. This does not mean dumping your wounded past all at once onto the emotional lap of your would-be lover. But experiences, difficulties, memories will arise. A lover wants to know them. When early unloved experiences appear as if relevant to the present, the past needs to be decoded and discussed. Your lover’s listening without condemnation brings you to the present. Then, at last you can leave the past behind. Growth almost always requires living through the original pain.

In equal fashion, we have-to see the one we love. Being seen and loved means that love is real. Being a fantasy enactment for your lover means it isn’t. Pretending to be a specific “ideal” type can last a life time. Feeling loved requires not hiding behind a screen. Violence against your lover is also a kind of screen. We are rejected for being monsters which is an easier blow to our shaky self-esteem than being rejected for being our loving and vulnerable selves, the selves our parents threw away.

Take a chance at being that unguarded person. Speak your personal truth. There will be people who cannot follow you there. Your openness and their negative response reveals the need to move on. Develop courage and politely leave. Do not stay with the latest model of your unloving parent. Seek someone who can fully be there with you. You won’t regret it.

Please read my book Unloved Again. 

Elan Golomb


My Green Coat ….Banned

I dreamed of wearing my bright green coat, the kind of green like newly opened leaves on a Maple tree. Its green stood out compared to everyone’s drab grey and brown and black. They were in uniform. I was not.

I was preparing to board a train when a man in uniform told me that I could not enter because of the green of my coat. I asked him why but he didn’t answer. The train left without me. Incredulous, I stood there. Some time went by when another train arrived. I waited in line to climb the steps thinking the man who had kept me from the first train must have had some some kind of green phobia. There couldn’t be another like that. But I was wrong. The same man stood between me and the steps and repeated the prohibition of my green coat. I felt the urge to argue and asked him why. He drew a pistol, a small black gun in his right hand and aimed it at me, or was it a wrench?

I woke up.

Dreams of terror are becoming frequent. What is the dream telling me? Green is the color of living things, trees and plants and grass. Green represents my connection to the vitality of life. Green FORBIDDEN? Who made this rule? Is every living thing to be harvested and converted into money? Does turning life into “things” include transforming ourselves? Those who benefit are the .01%, the people we do not see as they travel in their own planes, in chauffeur driven cars from one mansion or resort to another. They are waited on by lesser folk in greys and blacks with white aprons and cuffs and bibs. The servants wait on in silence, yes sir and no sir and as you want sir/madam. In this fog of servitude, no one is seen.

The gun in the policeman’s hand represents the force of a consuming government. Grey clad denizens trudge along under restrictive laws and surveillance. As a wrench in the man’s hand, the weapon represents labor joining force with the fascist regime to ensure gainful employment. The man takes on the required mood of hatred and suppression. Nazis had Jews called Kapos to run their extermination camp houses in which starving, frozen prisoners lay dying on shared straw mattresses, one bunk beneath the other. The Kapos stayed alive by being lethal, angry and emotionally dead.

But why have we all become insane, ready to sacrifice life for the instruments of wealth? Is there no pleasure in existing, breathing fresh air and smelling flowers? Sacrifice is part of the American culture. The indigenous natives were murdered by settlers. Slaves grew their owner’s investments astronomically. Now poor people labor for corporations in prisons. Outside, people work  as “temps” without health care or vacations or retirement pensions. Wages are carried by the winds of profit to shores where people work for way less. Work slaves are lucky to get tips. Sacrifice of the many for the few has been going on here since the Mayflower.

My wearing green is a revolutionary act. We have worn grey and black too long, far too long now. Green is the color of what keeps us alive and sane.

Deer in the Headlights

Those of us raised in punishing homes carry that experience with us, often as an unconscious “do not pass this point or else” philosophy. I can give one experiences here which exemplifies this. My father had to be smarter than I whom he described as stupid  If in any way I was intellectually honored, he said that I had  I “had fooled them.” He couldn’t understand why Barbara, one my school’s brightest wanted to be my friend. I lived in terror of my school mates finding out that I was a fool, a fake intellectual and that would be the end of our friendship. I managed to think my father’s arrogance was in them too.

My mother practiced another form of child demeaning. She said that I was incompetent and usually re-did things after I had done them, or did them from the start. She endlessly attacked me for my failures.

I believed what they said at least in part out of fear of being hated for not acting like the clumsy dunce like they described, I excelled out of fear of failure and then in some way denied it which also was fitting in with their projections. I left my doctoral dissertation on the subway. Can anything be stupider than that? I gave myself no credit for my research. Luckily I was able to put it together again. A child closes its eyes and says, “It is gone.” The child is playing with reality, with what we call the constancy of objects. Losing my dissertation expressed my inner child’s fear of parent-murder in response to my work being seen and acknowledged as good.  It was a belated “it is gone” approach to fear.

To this day, I have to drag myself out of some kind of inexplicable resistance to get things done. This even applies to lovers. I date someone I do not like and keep on dating knowing full well it is a waste of time as well as boring. I was raised not to express my preference. Doing so is felt to be strangely threatening. If I really like or love someone I am in terror of my love being noticed by that person and my being totally rejected. Showing myself to be in love feels very risky.

This is an expression of my family experience. Being found needing love set me up for mockery. They acted like machines whose turning gears exuded hostility. You who want to find someone right for you to love, need to emerge from your terrified and hiding state. You need to simply love the one who appeals to you, not to beg, borrow, steal, threaten, not to do anything but offer love and see if love returns. You need to not exaggerate the times when love is not reflected back to you by the other person as proving there is something wrong with you. If there is “no chemistry,” you are “not a match.”

The only way to find someone who truly loves you is to stick your neck out. You need to show friendship, attraction, and love if you feel it. Your pheromones are in the air and are sensed. Your interest and felt desire stirs the other to respond.  Although deer in the head light people need a lot of reassurance, the attracted person will gladly give it. Love is love.

You need to move into a loving state. You cannot be all defended, walled in and safe. You must welcome that loved person into your personal space and they do the same for you. Then comes pleasure, joy, transcending the narrow self, no longer to be alone.

Get my book Unloved Again today. Email me directly at elangolomb@gmail.com in order to get your signed copy. Hardcover ($25 including shipping) and Paperback ($16 including shipping) versions available. Payment collected by Squareup.com/store/elangolomb











Don’t Ask For a Love that Isn’t Freely Offered or Seeking Imaginary Love Means Missing a Better Kind of Love


You love someone and that person clearly cares for you. But not “in love,” not holding on, embracing, endlessly needing more. That part of you, the child part wants to ask for reassurance; wants to hear that the person loves you but didn’t show it so as not to impose on you. Your scheming mind has turned the whole thing around. Be on the lookout for rationalizations which keep a myth alive. The myth is that the person whose love you seek is not showing you that he cares that way.

How many of us stay in relationships that are not loving because we want to believe that love lurks in the shadows. On the other hand, true friendship is definitely a kind of love, a wonderful kind that should not be overlooked.

You are careening at the edge of a crevasse. The child within so long denied love by a parent or parents you courted and dreamed about, by a parent for whose lack of love you took the blame and they agreed with you about it. That child would push you into a horribly unstable, sacrificial state of mind: pleading, sighing, giving away what you should not give. So, what holds you back from taking the plunge?  It is your adult conscious state that lives in the now and remembers your past.

The adult knows that you have done this before and before that. It remembers that it never worked out. It cannot. Love is freely given. Love is not an act of pity. It is not a form of bribery. It is not given in return for receiving something else like money, a meal in a fancy restaurant, a trip to somewhere. It is not love when words of love are said to shut you up.

I should add that people raised in an unloving home, do not know what love is and often fall for what they’ve seen on the Hollywood screen or worse than that, in some inexplicable way, the parent’s abuse was labeled loving. Love was rarely offered or not at all. A punishment was frequent. Unable to live with the terrifying idea that you are not loved, a child put the label of love on it. Then you, the adult, continue to seek love in abuse.

You will not get the love you desire by asking for it. You will only get loss since the person you love feels compelled to withdraw so as not to get your hopes up and to avoid the guilt of disappointing you. Your misery is multiplied by translating these reactions into your childhood view: “you’re not worth it”

No one can rewrite another’s history, propensity, and needs. Whatever propels the other to love or not love is not in your hands. The only thing to do is to love that person as they are. Do nothing excessive, sacrificial or blaming. Live in the moment and enjoy every moment of it. Help that person as a beloved friend and enjoy being a friendly helper. The friendship is likely to long continue and what is better than that?

Get my book Unloved Again today! Email me directly at elangolomb@gmail.com in order to get your signed copy. Hardcover ($25 including shipping) and Paperback ($16 Squareup.com/store/elangolomb.0



The Talionic Principle Leaves Love Blind

The Talionic principle cannot exist in love. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Is there any greater insanity than that? It was written in the Jewish Torah and was at that time metaphoric but in the mind of contemporary man, wanting to gain ever greater power, the message is exaggeratedly literal.

Since the mind’s response is reactive and additive, if your lover does something hurtful, you the injured party want to create your partner pain. You express hurtful words, hit that person, threaten abandonment or actually leave. What you do “back” reflects your grudge-carrying mind. Love and hatred cannot co-exist.

If one of you falls into a grudging. reactive mind and your lover reacts by copying, you both will fight. It is like one of you digs a hole and both of you fall in. You both surrender to retaliatory rage. One fight leads to another since both of you are in a retaliatory state. The reactive mind is keeping track and tallying offenses some of them imagined or personalized when unintentional. There is no end to it unless you leave the Talionic brain.

Look inside yourself. When something does not go to your liking, do you hear the words, “smite him/her?” The reactive even paranoid ‘You’re against me” mind that is worshiped by our gun-carrying population says stand your ground. Killing even due to misperception of an innocent person as “criminal” is legal in Florida.

The heart says “Oh no” to the urge to hurt. The heart says “we are one.” According to Eckhart Tolle,  the great philosopher of love, the mind associated with our ego is all about separation, about what I can get from you and what, if I am not guarded, you can take from me. It is all about building fences, holding onto what’s mine and shutting out your expected greedy attack.

The part of the mind we call our “ego” lacks a loving center. It is like a computer programmed to “control’ and “win.” The ego pulls us into a landslide of conflict and grief instead of love. It gets us to squabble and fight and even to kill. It says I am not my brother’s keeper. It gets you to say to the one you love, “You wanted to hurt me by doing this or that” so I must hurt you back (Talionic). The retaliatory principle breeds hateful isolation. Pretty soon, to your shocked amazement and confusion, you love no more.

How do you get back to love? Go to the heart. Say you are sorry for what you have said and done. Not only say but feel it. Words without feeling are like the action of a puppet in which someone else pulls the strings.  If your partner has not preceded or joined you in the pit of negative emotions, you will be forgiven. If they remain there, you need to remain in the land of objective love. Without being seduced by hateful words, that person will join you. Love is enormously attractive. If they cannot, you will feel impelled to move on.

Do not to fall into your own or your partner’s childish mind. If you stand for love regardless, there is no way for alienation to continue. Real love cannot be faked. The warring person once their mind has quieted down, will clearly feel it. Then you both are home.