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Dear Annie: Celebrating while being mindful of others’ struggles

Dear Annie: After years of fiscal discipline, my wife and I have paid off our mortgage. We contemplated having a mortgage-burning party to celebrate but were advised this would be in poor taste and akin to bragging. While we are justifiably proud, we don’t wish to offend anyone. What is your opinion? — Paid in Full

Dear Paid: I would advise against hosting a mortgage-burning party even if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic and an economic downturn in which 30% of Americans have missed housing payments and an estimated 30 million to 40 million renters are on the brink of eviction. But the current climate does put a fine point on it. By all means, celebrate what is indeed a major life accomplishment, but keep it to a party of two.

Dear Annie: I wanted to share a solution I’ve found for sleeplessness. For the last two years, I could not get a good night’s sleep. Doctors offered pills and artificial hormones, but I did not want to go that route. By chance, I read director David Lynch’s memoir, “Room to Dream,” where he credits Transcendental Meditation with improving his mood, energy and creativity. I thought that maybe TM could help my sleep.

I found a TM instructor on a beautiful horse farm. The training is 90 minutes of one-on-one instruction, followed by additional instruction for about 90 minutes a day for three days. I believe most of the instruction is taking place virtually right now due to the pandemic. In my case, the initial 90-minute session was in person and the rest were on Zoom.

After seven days of practicing for 20 minutes, twice a day, I was sleeping eight to nine hours a night, only waking once a night.

I am so grateful. TM is not a religion; I still attend my church and have not changed my faith. The fees are scaled to income. To learn more, go to TM.org or read NIH Psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal’s book “Transcendence,” for research on TM for depression, addiction, anxiety, PTSD and even high blood pressure. — Sleeping Much Better in Memphis

Dear Sleeping: I know several people who have greatly reduced anxiety and improved their moods overall through the practice of Transcendental Meditation. I had not heard of it for sleeplessness, but that makes sense. Thanks for writing.

Dear Annie: To the letter from “At a Loss with the Lovable Lush” regarding the brother-in-law who drinks too much, you responded by starting with suggesting talking to his wife. I’ve been in Al-Anon for over 30 years. This guy is an adult and is responsible for his own behavior. Talking to his wife makes her feel responsible for his behavior. She doesn’t need that! His offensive behavior should be directly addressed with him and not when he has been drinking. Families of problem drinkers are suffering and do not need to be put in an impossible situation. The wife had no control of her husband’s behavior and should not be expected to do something about it. — Rose S.

Dear Rose: Thank you for this astute and important point. I was too preoccupied with the complex interpersonal dynamics of this situation that I overlooked the simple solution. After reconsidering, I agree that it would be better for the letter writer to talk directly to his brother-in-law (when he is sober), rather than talking with other family members around the issue. I appreciate your letter.

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