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Crime and Punishment was written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1866.

The book is fiction, meaning, not a true story. But I’ve often wondered how the author could’ve developed a character who is that messed up, yet have no personal experience with the matter. Like, Rodion’s mind is way more obsessive than mine!

I read that novel in 1980 at San Francisco State College. It was way over my head, but since it was assigned reading, and since I resonated with the character’s mental anguish, I slogged on.

My mental angst began when my childhood girlfriend died at only 19-years old, and it sent me into a pretty debilitating four-year bout with anxiety. I ran through six different therapists before I found someone who knew how to help. Ed Tamberino said my anxiety would be gone in 30-days, and for the most part, it was.

His cure was that I had to find my voice. Because growing up in my New York Italian family, females weren’t allowed one.

Poor Funk had to suffer 24-years of my pent up thoughts. And that’s one of the reasons I’m with the guy, even though we’re as opposite as opposite gets.

There is an epidemic of loneliness in our country.

Whoever heard of an epidemic that refers to something other than an illness, like the flu?

I believe it comes from our voices being silenced. And I don’t think it will end until we get back to the way people lived when “times were rough.”

Because back when there was no air conditioning, we sat on the porch and talked. And since summers were really hot then, you talked all night. There’s only so much BS-ing you can do before the talk gets real. Yet that kind of talk brings intimacy. Keeps marriages together. Uneasy feelings at bay. Beatings from happening to a child. Gives courage to our tomorrows.

Today, we’re more connected than ever, but our talk is superficial. So we’re lonely. And many are operating at a deficit. A deficit of love. Of feeling wanted. Worthy. Being heard.

Yet someone has to go first if we’re ever to find the vaccine to overcome this epidemic.

Here’s to you if you’re brave enough to go first. If you’re willing to provide that lifeline of hope to others. And if you do, it’ll serve you well. Because karma, it’ll get you in the end. In good ways and in bad.

The photo: This is my Reiko. The woman who not only taught me how to reach for higher levels of wellness, but has brought so much other guidance and love to my life. I would not be me without her.

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