How Not To Be Discouraged

. . . it is important that awake people be awake, or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep; the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe– should be clear; the darkness around us is deep.   –William Stafford, A Ritual To Read To Each Other For many of us these can be discouraging times. Then again, I doubt any of us get through our lives free of discouragement. Like me, you may be discouraged by the outpour of support for Trump. Or you may be in a job or relationship that undermines you. Or you have experienced a great … Continue reading

What’s Trump Got to do with It?

“What we name it matters little to me, since the origins, nature, and destiny of call-it-what-you-will are forever hidden from us, and no one can credibly claim to know its true name. But that we name it matters a great deal. For “it” is the objective, ontological reality of selfhood that keeps us from reducing ourselves, or each other, to biological mechanisms, psychological projections, sociological constructs, or raw material to be manufactured into whatever society needs — diminishments of our humanity that constantly threaten the quality of our lives.” Parker J Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness Our self-hood, true nature, integrity, or, self-esteem (call “it” … Continue reading

Ask The Expert This

  There are no experts on a subject. I trust the teacher (doctor or friend) who is still learning about their subjects. I trust the one who continues to explore subjects. When someone stops exploring, they stop learning and this “quitting” interferes with their capacity to truly contribute. When they stop their exploring their view becomes increasingly narrow where they ignore a wider berth of possibilities. I don’t seek “experts,” unless they are willing to engage in authentic conversation. In this authentic conversation we both explore together, so that we may discover what is truly possible. If we “already know” then we are unlikely to discover anything new.  For … Continue reading

Separation Anxiety Versus Regret: (How To Not Do Well, Well)

I thought I might get a free “get out of jail” card when our only daughter went off to college. (A free pass through the empty nest syndrome . . .) I was mistaken. Well the card wasn’t free anyway. I have had an active meditation and spiritual practice since the age of sixteen. Therefore, I assumed that letting go would be easy-peasy. Nice and easy. I was mistaken. Of course I am rejoicing and excited for our only daughter’s start at college. This is such a big time in one’s life! And she is going to be remarkable. But … Continue reading

Here, Take This Gift

Everything gets down to choice. We live a storied life. Be in the moment. Forgive. Trust is fundamental to forward movement. Living an intentional life brings happiness and fulfillment. Rely on spiritual principles. Remember life is precious and short; therefore, consider what is truly meaningful. Everything points to your belonging. Offer your gifts to the world without need for recognition. We transform the outer world from within ourselves. Live life from your side. (Take responsibility for your life). Know what you are in agreement with. Spend time in nature. Learn to let go. These are fundamental principles that most of … Continue reading

Turning a Fall into a Leap

There are so many ways we may find ourselves in a fall. We lose a job. We are confronted with economic loss. A friend betrays us. Our marriage ends. We get passed up. We get a devastating diagnosis. Or, we feel the fall of aging or some version of the impermanence of life. What was fulfilling is now generating unhappiness or what once felt true no longer does. In some way or another we are kicked out of our tree and are in a fast fall to the hard ground below. Sometimes we are at the top of our tree … Continue reading

Healing Heartbreak (and . . . Can This Democracy Be Saved?)

In a dark time, the eye begins to see. —Theodore Roethke, “In a Dark Time” For decades, I have relied on Parker J. Palmer as a guide and mentor. He is an author, educator, and activist whose work focuses on the issues of education, community, leadership, spirituality, and social change. In Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit (now in paperback!) he starts with: “I began this book in a season of heartbreak—personal and political heartbreak—that soon descended into a dark night of the soul.” This is particularly meaningful to me right … Continue reading

False Memory Syndrome is False (And How To Grow A Tale)

I’m not concerned about false memory syndrome, because the memory contains a meaningful story, and to me as a therapist, it’s the story that matters. I work with the stories people carry within them because it’s these stories that direct behaviors and choices. Even if you try to leave the past behind, it presents itself in how you live today. As Neil Gaiman says in The Ocean at the End of the Lane, “Memories were waiting at the edges of things, beckoning to me.” We are who we are as a result of the stories we believe about ourselves. Charles Baxter puts … Continue reading

Talk To Me: Family Gatherings & Sacred Dialogue

Many of us will gather with family this week. Artful conversation with our self and others can make for a safe and uplifting experience even in the more edgy encounters. Here I share with you an excerpt from my book, The Zero Point Agreement on sacred dialogue. It’s the stories we tell and the conversations we hold, and how we hold them, that determine our experiences of each other. In each conversation we hold with someone there is a story being told. When we let our conversations be more an exchange of stories rather than of ideas–something beautiful happens. “Everybody … Continue reading