Navigating Sibling Relationships

N Pelusi Used With Permission

Discord between siblings is normal. The notion of the cheery harmonious family that never fights is a misnomer. Conflict can come in many forms, 85 percent of siblings are verbally aggressive, 74 percent push and shove, and 40 percent are physically aggressive, which can include kicking, punching, and biting. Among adult siblings, studies show that roughly half speak to or see one another about once a month; the other half communicate less frequently or not at all, and they are more likely to engage in competition and rivalry. The culture idealizes the potential of loving sibling relationships—but the reality often falls short.

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Can a ‘death class’ make life more worth living? These students think so

She’s living her best life, thanks to “death meditation.” 

Repeating one phrase to herself — “I may die today, I may die today” — is the first step in the unique mindfulness practice that Lina Bertucci, a 15-year student of Tibetan meditation in Manhattan, credits with helping her cherish every moment. 

Next, she relaxes into the feelings of terror and sadness that the thought of her own passing evokes, slowly taking deep breaths while settling into the uncomfortable emotions, thereby diminishing their fear-inducing powers.

And while musing on one’s own demise may sound morbid to most, she says the activity has transformed her relationship with the people, places and things of this world. 

“[Death meditation] helps us think about death in a very everyday way and inspires us to live life to the fullest,” Bertucci, a 50-something living in Chelsea, told The Post.Woman in a meditative state having a death-like experience. Death meditation is a growing trend with ancient Buddhist roots that sees participants contemplating their own death in order to begin leading fulfilling lives and overcome their fear of mortality. NY Post Composite

“You think, ‘Yeah, I might not make it home from work today. How do I want to live? How do I want to treat people? How do I want to be treated?’” she added.

The mother of one and professional artist, who’s practiced daily meditation at the Kadampa Meditation Center downtown for nearly two decades, noted that the official title of the mental exercise she submits to is “contemplation on death and impermanence” — touted by late Buddhist monk Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. 

“To say, ‘It’s possible that I may die today,’ wakes up an awareness that helps us become more responsible, loving and fearless people, who aren’t lazy about chasing our pleasures and goals today,” continued Bertucci. “It teaches us not to become so attached to things because nothing is permanent.”

Be a More Sustainable Traveler

According to a list compiled by a dozen sustainability organizations, cities and towns in Slovenia, including Ljubljana, as well as locations in Spain were among the best places to visit and leave a light footprint in 2019. In a separate competition, experts also nominated Palau — where visitors must pledge to protect the natural and cultural heritage before entering — as a pioneer in sustainability.

Each of the 100 destinations was selected based on certain criteria: that they had a governing body to manage sustainability; showed commitment to protecting natural resources, people and heritage; and reduced energy consumption, among other factors. The aim of the list is to raise the bar on sustainability issues for all cities, said Claire Ellis, the chair of Ecotourism Australia, one of the organizations that helped determine the list. 

Slovenia, Dr. Ellis added, was among the first countries to develop sustainability tools and certification programs at the national level. In 2016 its capital, Ljubljana, was voted Europe’s greenest city by the European Union, thanks to its public transport, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, and commitment to protecting green areas and saving waste water. 

Increasingly, Ljubljana and other sustainable cities are becoming aware of the “over tourism” occuring in cities such as Barcelona and Venice, Dr. Ellis and other experts said. In Venice, for example, locals have become increasingly concerned about the cruise ships that cause environmental damage, dominate the skyline and often cause overcrowding of the city. Similar issues plague Barcelona, which is experiencing soaring numbers of visitors.

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