Spirituality Articles

Til Death Do Us Part: Coping with Commitment after Death

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Marriage May Lower Risk of Heart Attack SS

Are we still married after the death of one partner? “Til death do us part” is a part of all traditional marriage ceremonies, but I can’t help but wonder if it is really true. Do our vows — and our relationships — really end at death? Do we really “part” from those we love the most?

I can understand that our faithful, monogamous obligation may come to a completion at death, but I am not so sure much else comes to a sudden halt.

6 Eye-Opening Ways to Get to Know Yourself

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

6 Eye-Opening Ways to Get to Know Yourself When you know yourself on a deeper level, you can create a life that is meaningful and joyous for you, according to psychotherapist Joyce Marter, LCPC. Art therapist Lisa Mitchell, MFT, calls this deeper level our “essence.” This is you at your center or core.

Knowing yourself also helps you distinguish your issues from someone else’s. “The better you know yourself and your psychology — your triggers, your relational themes and patterns, your biases, your tendencies — the better able you will be to both take responsibility for yourself as well as let go of that which is not yours to contain,” Marter said.

Mindfully Sitting with Shame

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Mindfully Sitting with ShameShame surfaced during my sitting meditation. When it first arrived, I wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted it to leave. It was going to ruin my calm meditation! And I was in a group meditation, which increased my discomfort, so I sat, hoping for something else to surface quickly.

Nothing else surfaced. We all sat silent. Shame was determined to stay, and in that moment, I was reminded of the poem, Guest House, by Rumi:

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

What’s the Meaning of Your Life?

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

What’s the Meaning of Your Life?psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl explains that among the first things that he had to do once he arrived at Auschwitz was to surrender his clothes. This is humbling in itself, of course. But this was extraordinarily painful for Frankl, because in the jacket of his coat he had hidden the manuscript of his first book, in which he had invested so much of himself.

In turn, he inherited the rags of an inmate who had already died in the gas chambers. In the pocket, Frankl found a page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, including the most important Jewish prayer, “Shema Yisrael.”

“How should I have interpreted such a ‘coincidence’ other than as a challenge to live my thoughts instead of merely put them on paper?” he writes.

The Power of Befriending Our Feelings

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

feelings____by_LestaAs a psychotherapist, I often invite my clients to notice and welcome their genuine feelings. Many clients feel relieved that it’s okay to feel whatever they happen to experiencing. And they feel reassured that someone (namely, me!) is interested in hearing their authentic feelings without judging them.

But some people are troubled by the prospect of opening to their feelings. They ask some version of the following: “Why would I want to feel those feelings? Why would I want to experience pain, hurt, or sorrow?”

Stop Looking for a ‘Soulmate’ and Start Looking for a ‘Life Partner’

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Marriage

Still looking for your perfect mate? You may have already found them.

Soulmates can be defined in many different ways. Most of us search high and low for many years, braving the ups and downs of relationships and love, wondering if we are with our soulmate or if such a person even exists.

I have found there are some concrete things to consider if you don’t think you are with your soulmate or are still in search of that perfect someone who will change your life.

Do We Create Our Own Reality? Not So Fast!

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Almeida_Júnior_-_Moça_com_LivroA popular New Age view that rankles me is that we create our own reality — and that we become what we think or believe. A related view is that we’re responsible for everything that happens to us.

If our relationships aren’t fulfilling, or if we’re struggling with financial hardship, or if caregiving for an elderly parent is souring our mood, we need only make an attitude adjustment to deliver us from suffering to joy. If we simply practice positive thinking and visualizations, we’ll be rewarded with peace of mind and enduring happiness.

New Study Examines the Effects of Prayer on Mental Health

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Praying

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. — Mahatma Gandhi

What are your deepest beliefs regarding the nature of God? When you pray, do you talk to a loving, protective and easily accessible God? Or does God feel strangely distant and unreachable? Perhaps a disciplinarian? A new study says that your beliefs about the “character” of God determine the effects of prayer on your mental health.

How to Be Real Without Being Mean

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

What is Anger?The mantra to “get real” has become popular nowadays — and for good reason. We live in a society where images rule and authenticity is reserved for blue jeans and ethnic recipes. We’re trained to polish and parade a false self that we think will garner acceptance and accolades.

The isolation and disconnection that’s rampant in our society is based on a disconnection from our own genuine feelings and longings. We’re afraid to show what’s real, including our fears, insecurities, and yearning for love and intimacy. Instead, we may try to project a confident, self-assured, unruffled self that we think will win us friends and gain success. For example, we might conceal our hurt or sadness when our partner is late. Our built-up disappointment or resentment might leak out later over something trivial, which leaves our partner confused.

Strategizing to Break Old Habits and Pick Up Better Ones

Friday, September 12th, 2014

HabitsRepeatFourI’m writing my next book, Better Than Before, about how we make and break habits  an issue very relevant to happiness.

Each week, I post a before-and-after story submitted by a reader, about how he or she successfully changed a habit. This way we can all learn from each other.

3 Thorny Obstacles to Being Authentic

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

More Questions to Help You Deepen Your Connection with Your PartnerWe long for intimate connections, which are essential for our emotional and physical health. But oftentimes we don’t know how to create the connections we desire. Summoning the courage to reveal what we’re experiencing inside allows people to see us and know us. Showing our authentic heart rather than blaming, attacking, or shaming people allows them to feel safer coming toward us.

Yet, we often have blocks to moving toward the authenticity that would create a fertile climate for warm connections with people. Here are some obstacles I’ve observed in my work as a marriage and family therapist for over 30 years:

Breath Practice Made Simple

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Flickr/Mae ChevretteBreath is your most accessible and portable tool to calm and center yourself. Breath techniques are ancient and are practiced world-wide in different religious and spiritual practices, as part of various healing modalities, and in yoga, martial arts, and other physical activities.

The breath is always with us, but we generally take it for granted.

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