Keeping the Fire Alive: One Man’s Renewed Life Commitment

Since my first vision quest 18 years ago, I’ve made a commitment to go out into the wilderness every year alone and fast, typically for three days and nights. This sacred time gives me the opportunity to contemplate my life and to renew my commitment to my life’s purpose. But this year I did something different.

Inspired by a teenage experience as an Eagle Scout and perhaps by that pivotal line in so many adventure movies, “I’ll take this watch!” I decided to create a primal challenge: to build a fire at sunset and keep it burning until sunrise.

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Inspiration & Hope

Moral Intuition and the Kindness of Strangers

She was dressed in a mink coat and oversized full fur Russian hat. Her Jimmy Choo boots and all black pantsuit seemed out of place in New York’s Penn Station. Plus, she was wheeling behind her an oversized Louis Vuitton travel bag. Even for New York she seemed too intense.

She might have been fifty years old, but her exact age was disguised, buried under impenetrable makeup and dark lipstick. She had style -- but lacked grace. She seemed to be on a mission -- somehow in a hurry to take a trip she didn’t want to take.

The escalator leading down to the train platform had a long line of passengers eager to board. Some with bags -- some with brief cases -- each looking to go home or get away.
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Brain and Behavior

Living in a Bigger Story

Out beyond the shadows of our old thinking, a wholly different world appears. A world that delights in our explorations, our need to join with others. A world that welcomes and supports our endeavors. The world knows how to change and grow. ~ Margaret J. Wheatley & Myron Kellner-Rogers, A Simpler Way
We love epic stories, those invoking the heroic journey. We resonate and identify with larger-than-life characters, not simply because we are fascinated with their exploits, but because we are drawn to the archetypal qualities they represent. And that allows us to tap into the inner resources we can discover in our own inner treasure chest:
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Brain and Behavior

1-Minute Mindfulness Exercises

Interested in doing mindfulness meditation but don't think you have the time? Below are 9 mindfulness exercises you can do in a minute or under.

Yawn and stretch for 10 seconds every hour.
Do a fake yawn if you have to. That will trigger real ones. Say “ahh” as you exhale. Notice how a yawn interrupts your thoughts and feelings. This brings you into the present.

Then stretch really, really slowly for at least 10 seconds. Notice any tightness and say "ease" or just say hello to that place (being mindful -- noticing without judgment). Take another 20 seconds to notice and then get back to what you were doing.

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An Open Letter from a Wife in Recovery

Please note, this letter is my own and unrelated to any Al-Anon approved literature.
After reading An Open Letter From an Addict, I took the liberty of writing a letter back early on in my own recovery. Yes, my recovery.

After finding out my husband was actively using for years, I was devastated. How could I not know? What was I thinking this whole time?

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Ethics & Morality

Buddhism, Spirituality & Dependency

Recently I attended a six-day Zen meditation retreat (sesshin in Japanese) which included the celebration of Rohatsu on December 8. Rohatsu is said to be the day that Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, came to his great enlightenment.

As a couples therapist and student of attachment theory, I cannot deny what seem to be inherent contradictions of this spiritual path and current research on healthy dependency. First, Siddhartha left his home, his wife, his newborn, his parents, and his duties as a prince to go alone on a spiritual quest. Accounts also say that he left at night and did not say goodbye to his wife or see his newborn son.

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Getting Married Takes a Leap of Faith

Many singles are conflicted about marrying. They yearn for the fulfillment a good marriage brings but are afraid to commit. They fear it won’t work out, which, given the current high rate of marriage failures, is understandable.

It should come as no surprise that it takes a leap of faith to marry. The example below shows how one woman resolved her conflict about marrying. Her major challenges were learning to believe in herself and gaining trust that she could succeed.

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Signs of a Dysfunctional Religion: Toward a Healthy Spirituality

We know the common addictions of modern life: alcoholism, drugs, and gambling have destroyed many lives. But beyond obvious addictions lurk more subtle ones. As a child, I was addicted to television to distract myself from unhappiness.

The addiction to power, sex, or material things may substitute for a longing to love and be loved. We cling to things that offer diversions from the anxiety of a lonely, disconnected existence.

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Marriage and Divorce

Can Practicing Mindfulness Lead to Unconditional Love?

Is it even possible to find unconditional love?

Unconditional love. A love that comes without any conditions, expectations, constraints, or parameters; a love that just IS. A love that is so perfect and so pure that it's given freely -- no matter what.

Does it exist? And if it does, is it possible to practice in the context of a relationship? Can we truly love someone unconditionally?

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Is It Depression or a Dark Night of the Soul?

In the fall of 2007, Mother Teresa graced the cover of Time magazine when her private writings were published. Many of the excerpts were filled with surprising doubt, despair and a kind of spiritual anguish. Some journalists questioned whether she was clinically depressed.

Did this modern saint have an untreated mood disorder or did her pain fall into the category of a “
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Anxiety and Panic

How to Thrive — Not Just Survive — the Holiday Season

If the sights and sounds of Christmas evoke dread, anxiety or depression, you’re certainly not alone. It’s likely that many of your friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors experience similar emotions. There’s just so much to do -- last-minute shopping for gifts and meal items, decorating the home, figuring out tax-saving strategies to implement before the end of the year, determining where to hide the presents so prying eyes won’t find them -- and on and on. It’s enough to make you want to take a break.

Here are some tips for getting through the holidays with a minimum of struggle.

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