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Karma Cleanser 

Dear Karma Cleanser:

Last year, a developer purchased a heavily wooded tract of land in my neighborhood. There were many large trees on the property, and my neighbors and I fought for many months to try to save as many of these trees as possible, especially one enormous white oak that was close to 50 inches in diameter. We begged the developer to leave this healthy tree, but the local authorities let him cut it and all but a few of the others down in return for his promise to plant more trees. Now construction on the site has begun and I'm trying to resist the urge to break a few windows in the house that's being built on the old site of the huge white oak.

Am I creating bad karma for myself, or avenging the death of the tree?-- Seeing green

Hold on a sec there, Charles Bronson, who appointed you Mother Nature's personal vigilante? It sounds like you've done more than your part to defend local greenspace, no need to resort to eco-terrorism just now. Sure, it stinks to watch another Stepford-ville subdivision go up where a centuries-old forest once stood, but you must do a better job of choosing future battles. We Americans are never very good at standing back and letting karma run its course. Your unfriendly neighborhood developer will reap what he's sown in due time. Remember that kid-eating tree in Poltergeist?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I'm dating a man who's a good deal older than me. Yes, we have a lot in common. And yes, I'm happy in the relationship, for the most part. I know there are things he and I will never share, and I'm sometimes acutely aware of the generation gap between us. I don't think he is happy, though, and I worry that by dating a girl so much younger that he's alienating his friends. They think I'm just a gold-digger, and that he's robbing the cradle.

My question is, is it bad karma to keep someone you love from achieving their highest happiness? Am I acting selfishly by staying in this relationship?-- He's Not my Sugar Daddy

We suspect you're flirting with some mighty bad karma, but not how you think. First, your beau should tell anyone who doesn't approve of the relationship to go screw himself. Real friends would be thrilled, not sniping behind his back. You, however, are creating bad karma for yourself by hedging on your own feelings. It sounds like you're projecting your insecurities and unhappiness with the relationship onto other people, when you really need to be focusing on No. 1. Is it bad karma to lie to yourself about your own highest happiness? You bet.

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