Holistic Divorce Counseling

Holistic Divorce Counseling Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM, LMHC. Free support, resources, and comfort for all life's issues and transitions.

Why Do Most Therapists Care So Much About Your Childhood? September 16, 2016

Filed under: Childhood's Impact on your Life — chocophile @ 5:32 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

 

 

“What’s past is prologue.”

William Shakespeare, The Tempest

 

The thing about the past is that it’s not the past.

Irish saying

 

 

People are often deterred from starting therapy because they think they will have to dredge up unpleasant things from their childhood, which can feel daunting. Yet, childhood experiences will surface, as they typically influence your present relationships. That doesn’t mean you have to excavate every disturbing event from your past, but it usually includes dealing with the issues and patterns that keep paying undesirable emotional and behavioral dividends in the present.

 

If you are working with a seasoned therapist you trust, the journey is fascinating. After all, who or what is more interesting than you? Good therapy helps you develop compassion for whatever you went through, as well as appreciation for how resilient you are, both of which can lift your spirits.

 

It’s perfectly natural to have some anxiety about retrieving unhappy childhood memories as you might fear being flooded with feelings of worthlessness, rage, depression, and anxiety. Fear of being retraumatized and feeling as helpless as you did growing up is a real concern that deserves attention. Therapy can help you manage those concerns, while only going as fast as you feel safe to go.

 

No matter how inconvenient and annoying it is to have childhood issues still affect you as an adult, it makes perfect sense when you think about it. Imagine you plant a tree. Every year as the sapling grows you force the trunk in another direction. One year you bend it to the right, the next you bend it to the left. After a decade you let it grow straight. For the entire life of that tree its base will be jagged. No matter how big and strong the trunk grows, the base will never be straight. The tree is incredibly healthy, but its early years are still obvious to anyone looking at it. Humans are far more complex than trees, and can cover up the effects of their early years in myriad ways; yet, those childhood experiences exert an influence.

 

Another reason therapists care so much about your childhood is evidence gleaned from the Adverse Childhood Experiences study (ACE) which showed definite links between the amount of adverse childhood experiences and an increased incidence of health, mental health issues, and social problems. You can take the ACE questionnaire here: http://www.acestudy.org/the-ace-score.html. (You can read more about the study here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-ellen-stevens/the-adverse-childhood-exp_1_b_1943647.html)

 

Of course, you did not need to have major traumatic childhood experiences to have issues. New research talks about the difference between what researchers are calling “little t” and “big T” trauma.  “Little t” are things like incessant put downs, devaluing you as a person, snide remarks and sarcasm, while “big T” usually refers to war, rape, childhood sexual and/or physical abuse. Their findings show how anything that feels like family betrayal can actually be worse, long term, than cataclysmic events. The theory is family betrayals, or betrayals by an intimate, go to your very core and make you feel unsafe. Unsafe in your body, unsafe with people you desperately want to trust, and unsafe in your world. After all, if you can’t trust your family, whom can you trust?

 

It’s healthy to avoid pain, and revisiting traumatic experiences can be difficult. Luckily, there is a therapeutic technique called Internal Family Systems therapy that is both gentle and deep. It greatly limits the chances of being flooded with unpleasant or disturbing memories and their attendant emotions. IFS allows you to get to know your various parts, how they might be polarized, and whom they are protecting (vulnerable child or teen parts that still carry heavy emotional burdens). In addition, it helps you appreciate all the creative ways your protective parts have been trying to keep you safe, even when some of them have used alcohol, drugs, random sex, gambling, hoarding, etc. to keep your emotional Mount Vesuvius from erupting.

 

If the idea that you have a multiplicity of internal parts seems alarming, think of all the times you said something like: “Part of me wants to go to the movies, but part of me knows I should study for that exam tomorrow.” It’s second nature to notice different parts of you that want different things. What is less intuitive is how some parts use extreme behaviors, emotions, and thought patterns to protect you from feeling shame, grief, inadequacy, worthlessness, etc. IFS puts you in the driver’s seat. You control how fast you want to go, and if you start to feel flooded with an unpleasant emotion your therapist can help you unblend from the part creating it.

 

Of course, IFS is not the only path to freedom from the effects of adverse childhood experiences and trauma. Mind-body practices like yoga are extremely helpful in creating a new internal landscape, while fostering a different relationship with your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.

 

Philosophical approaches like Buddhism can help you sit with unpleasant emotions, watching them come and go with curiosity and interest, knowing they won’t last. Buddhist techniques also help you reframe whatever painful experiences you might have so you can see and experience them differently.

 

For those of you who have often thought people should just stop blaming their parents and get on with life, I am not suggesting anyone blame their parents. This is simply a way to explain how childhood experiences have a long term influence. While you can work wisely with them and feel better, it’s impossible to completely overcome their effects.

 

“Your suffering is your benefit,” is a Buddhist phrase often invoked as a reminder of the hidden gems in even the worst pain. Tibetan Buddhist monks go even further with their practice of seeking out suffering. No, they are not masochists, they simply believe suffering ignites the fire of compassion for yourself and others. Just as in the Buddhist practice of loving kindness, or metta meditation, you start with yourself.

 

For more information and guidance about metta meditation see these links:

http://www.buddhanet.net/metta_in.htm)

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

 

Family Secrets: How to Overcome their Toxic Legacy  December 14, 2015

 

Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.

Paul Tournier

 

We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.

Robert Frost, The Secret Sits

 

 

In families where there is addiction, abuse, criminal behavior, or mental illness, there is usually a code of silence that dictates the actions of the whole tribe. This unstated but powerful family trope has the potential for creating an internal shame-based environment that perpetuates a sense of worthlessness and can leave a legacy of self-destructive behaviors and difficult relationships.

 

What motivates people to keep family secrets? Fear of social rejection, fear of rejection and criticism from the family, fear that articulating these truths will somehow make them more real and demanding of attention (whether by oneself, other family members, or the authorities). Yet, the path to releasing shame, cultivating self-acceptance, and creating a new life paradigm is through speaking one’s truth. By openly acknowledging the challenges of your unique childhood you unlock much of the power those secrets had over you, and can connect with everyone else who faced similar issues. Instead of feeling isolated and unfit for human company, you can re-join the human race.

 

Of course, after years of denial and keeping secrets, it is not easy to start speaking honestly. Thankfully, there are ways to heal from these patterns and their fall-out. 12 Step programs provide support as you navigate unfamiliar emotional seas. Therapy bolsters you as you become your authentic self and learn to speak your truth, while shedding light on family dynamics inculcated at a very impressionable age. Therapy can also help you deal with the parts of you that feel disloyal when choosing a different path from the one you were taught at home. In addition, it can assist you with the emotional, physical, and behavioral reactions that come from unleashing a boat load of family secrets. These consequences can be very hard to handle as they often include outright denial of events, and pushback from people who have known you one way and resist your changing. (A therapist can also help you with the cascade of feelings these reactions might trigger.)

 

If you grew up in a family with big secrets you were trained to deny your reality. If your childhood included abuse you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress. Luckily, there are a number of incredibly helpful ways to heal through much of that trauma.

 

The more people refuse to keep family secrets and open the gates to their truth, both past and present, the more likely everyone will realize: we all suffer, we all feel rejected, we all face physical, emotional, and social difficulties. The sooner that happens, the greater the likelihood we can create a compassionate world for ourselves and others.

 

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

 

How Your Tone of Voice Effects Relationships July 5, 2013



If you can remember everyone’s behavior is a reflection of them and not you, even when the fall-out directly effects you, then their tone or attitude doesn’t have to send you into a tailspin.


The benefits of shifting cognitive gears and thinking, “This has absolutely nothing to do with me,” are truly beyond belief. Instead of taking things personally, you detach with love from other people’s issues, agendas, and projections. You become less defensive, reactive, and easily angered. Reframing your thoughts does not come easily or naturally, and takes a bit of practice, so let’s get started.


Say, for example, someone close to you takes a tone you think is sarcastic, impatient, or condescending. Does that press your buttons? Does it trigger past memories of someone, perhaps a parent, who took that tone and catalyzed feelings of shame, embarrassment, ineptitude, or unworthiness in you? If so, join the club. Everyone has had those experiences. Of course, that doesn’t make it good, just part of life. The question is: How can you deal with it?


First, remind yourself:


This is not about me.

This is not about my parent.

I am no longer a child.

I do not have to take this personally, even if it feels like an attack.

This is not about my past. This person is not consciously trying to press my buttons. Perhaps, they feel threatened, angry, or vindictive and are unconscious of how those emotions might be influencing their behavior.


Even if they are saying things in a tone of voice that reminds me of old pattens and pain, I do not have to react without recognizing I have a choice. I can choose to see their behavior as a reflection of them, not me.


If someone’s tone is consistently pressing my buttons I can talk with them, look at my own responses, and own them. By taking responsibility for my emotional reactions, I reclaim my power over myself.


In the moment, when you feel your sympathetic nervous system engaging its flight, flight, or freeze modes, consciously take a deep, deep breath. Feel it infiltrate every cell as you inhale and relax each one as you exhale. Feel yourself grounded in your seat or feet, connected to stability and firm resolve. Your agenda is to keep breathing, feel secure, and only speak once you have thought about your response. This may mean there are longer pauses between their remarks and your retorts. Let that be just fine. It’s not chess, and no timer will chime if you take a few extra seconds.


By allowing yourself to notice your reactions on physical, emotional and cognitive levels without rushing to react, you can calm down and process what is happening.


Assume the best. Choose to believe this person is not trying to push your buttons. However, if you know they are itching for a fight, let that be another reason to keep calm.


If you feel threatened, ask yourself: Is there any real danger? Naturally, if you think someone might assault you get away as fast as possible. More typically, it is emotional pain or interpersonal conflict we want to avoid. If that is the case, remind yourself how you have lived through plenty of pain and conflict in the past. While it wasn’t pleasant, you survived. That should help calm you even more, enabling you to respond thoughtfully, rather than lash out defensively. Later on, when you can leisurely assess the situation, you may decide to spend less or no more time with that person; or, if they are very close to you, you may want to work through things. That may mean talking about it once tempers cool, or enlisting the help of a therapist.


Another way people typically get defensive is when their expectations meet reality. Expectations are a sure-fire way of setting yourself up for disappointment on a good day, and anger or depression on a bad one. If you keep cultivating unrealistic expectations about all the people in your life you will find yourself reacting badly to their tone of voice or attitude.


Perhaps, you discussed someone’s sarcastic or condescending tone of voice and are surprised when they talk to you that way again. Just because you alerted them to their verbal patterns does not mean they will change them. Thinking other people will adjust their habits to suit your desires is a guaranteed path to disappointment, as is trying to motivate them to want to change. Rather than embark on a fool’s errand, you might want to work on the only person you can change: you.


Last but not least, resist the urge to think, “If they really loved me they would change.” and “They know how much this bothers me. Obviously don’t care enough to behave differently.” Those thoughts may sound rational but aren’t. They are a perfect example of unrealistic expectations and assuming you know what motivates someone else’s behavior. Since each head is its own universe, you can’t possibly know. Resist the urge to analyze other people’s actions and erroneously attribute negative motivations to them. Sometimes, people are just oblivious, distracted with their own issues, or forget how much something bothers you. Hard as this may be to believe, even if someone adores you, you aren’t the center of their universe every minute of every day. They are.


Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

 

Patience: How To Cultivate It May 16, 2011



How poor are they who have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees.
William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)


Patience is the best remedy for every trouble.
Titus Maccius Plautus (254 BC – 184 BC)


“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.”
Barbara Johnson


Many years ago, when I was studying with Albert Ellis, he told a story about a man standing on line at the grocery store with half a gallon of ice cream. The line wasn’t moving, and his ice cream was getting softer by the second. He was feeling increasingly annoyed until he realized the line was held up by an elderly blind man. Suddenly, the ice cream didn’t seem so important.


Al brought that up to show us how quickly our feelings change when we think differently. The man adjusted his thoughts in a split second, and his feelings went from impatience to gratitude. The story also illustrates how patience is a beautiful thing once we open to it.


During my childhood, I recall my father saying, “All good things come to those who wait.” If I still felt impatient about something, he would add, “Act in haste, and repent at leisure.” While I now believe he was right, I had already inculcated America’s predilection for instant gratification, and didn’t have the slightest interest in delaying it.


Our culture is far more oriented towards immediate gratification than ever. We seem to have a collective notion that, as long as we put the pedal to the metal, we can achieve whatever we want. I believe both concepts are true and compatible, even though they may seem contradictory. Waiting, resting, and allowing things to develop are just as crucial to our creativity and productivity (whether in work, relationships, or hobbies) as is forging ahead with vision boards, imagery, affirmations, and good old grit.


In America today, waiting is often a close cousin to slothfulness and reviled with every Calvinist molecule we breathe. Patience with the process is not only undervalued, it is often scorned as laziness. But laziness and patience are as different as chalk and cheese. Allowing things to unfold takes a ton of energy and vision, especially, if you are someone for whom “moving forward” is an inner mantra.


Some people actually fear resting and taking it easier because they secretly believe if they ratchet down their activity level they will never be able to crank it up again. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rest rejuvenates and energetically prepares you for the tasks at hand.


My colleague, Robyn Posin, PhD., has often said, “Rest is a sacred act.” I couldn’t agree more. By resting you show yourself compassion, recharge your batteries, and allow time for new knowledge to sink in, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or intellectual. In addition, by cultivating patience with yourself it becomes easier to bestow kindness on others.


Advertising would have you believe that working yourself to the bone is fine, as long as you crack open a beer at the end of the day, go to a spa, or splurge on some other luxury. This lets the stress accrue until it feels as if you have to take a break. On the other hand, regularly giving yourself small treats, as novelist Iris Murdoch once said, is one of the secrets to a happy life. The joy you feel when you take a real break to do a little yoga, eat a leisurely lunch, or read a book softens the challenges of day-to-day living.


Life can be stressful enough without adding extra bricks to your load. Rushing, always pushing yourself to do more, thinking you are only as valuable as what you do, adds as much, if not more, stress than all the things on your to-do list. Often, these stressors feel like “shoulds.” Many years ago Karen Horney, a psychoanalyst, wrote a famous essay called, “The Tyranny of the Shoulds.” She was right in her assessment of how easy it is to be hard on oneself. By challenging these “shoulds” you can free up more time to be patient with whatever you want to achieve, whether it’s personal, professional, or avocational.


When you rush the process, whatever it is, you miss opportunities for growth, peace, and being in the moment. Of course, sitting with what is can be very challenging, especially, when it’s something you don’t want. It’s natural to crave the next better-feeling thing and want it instantly. Giving yourself the gift of patience allows you to digest what is happening now. What’s the rush? Hurrying can keep you from healing self-awareness, being in the moment, and just sitting with your thoughts and feelings. They may not always be fun, or pleasant, but rushing through them is often a guarantee you will have to learn that same lesson, whatever it is, again. If one of your goals in life is radical self-acceptance, practicing patience is surely a helpful strategy.


Here are a few ideas you may want to try if you notice yourself rushing frenetically from one thing to the next:


What “shoulds” rule your life? Take a few minutes to brainstorm. Once you have a list ask yourself where you can scale back, do less, or simply take more time to get something accomplished.


Do you have trouble saying no? If you want more time to rest and slow down, you need to practice feeling the discomfort that can come from not always giving others what they want, and possibly incurring their disappointment or rejection. This is especially true if you think your sense of worth depends on what you do, rather than who you are. Try saying no to one thing every day. How does it feel? If even thinking of saying no creates anxiety, ask yourself if it’s ok for you to really nurture yourself.  Saying no to one thing always means you’re saying yes to something else. Often, it’s the super nurturers who neglect themselves. If saying no has always been a challenge, you may want to read a basic assertiveness book like, “When I Say No, I feel Guilty,” or “The Assertive Option.”


Notice when you are impatient with yourself. Is there a correlation between those times and being over-scheduled? Have you taken on more than you can comfortably do? Practice talking back to that inner voice always egging you on to do more, and radically choose to do less.


Think back to a time when someone was patient with you. Perhaps it was a parent who taught you how to ride a bike, a teacher who helped you learn the alphabet, or a coach who cheered on every little improvement you made. Allow yourself to really feel that expansive, generous space in which you could learn something without rushing, and let it settle in your heart.


Do you find yourself rushing because you try to fit one extra thing into your day? Experiment with crossing things off your list and adding in time to read, rest, listen to music, take an Epsom Salt bath (this replenishes magnesium and relaxes your muscles), have a cup of tea, go for a relaxing walk, or watch the clouds move across the sky. Just be.


Give yourself the gift of more time by scheduling longer intervals between activities. For example, if you routinely take only 15 minutes to get dressed for a night out, leave yourself 30 minutes.


Last but not least, be patient with yourself as you develop this new skill. Patience is like a muscle: the more you use it the stronger it gets.



Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

 

We’re All In Recovery, So Welcome To The Club July 26, 2010



  • Whether it was a parent, teacher, grandparent, uncle, aunt, friend, boss, sister, brother, classmate, or co-worker, at some point, everyone has been affected by damaging remarks, criticism, physical abuse, harassment, or sexual abuse.


    You may think it extreme to say that we are all in recovery, but you don’t have to be a mathematician to add up the numbers: at least one in four women is a victim of sexual abuse, one in ten adults is addicted to alcohol, and one in four women is likely to experience domestic violence during her life. Then there are all the other issues flying under the radar, like elder abuse, bullying, and living with someone dealing with depression, guilt, hoarding, or addiction.


    Each person who is directly affected by these issues indirectly affects many more. And how could that be otherwise? Even the kindest soul reacts to abuse either by taking it out on others, himself, or both.


    When we look at the statistics, the chances of not having some toxic interactions are infinitesimally small. If that is true, and we are all negatively affected by verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, perhaps post-traumatic stress is far more common than we think.


    Surely, growing up in a family with an addicted parent leaves one traumatized. The trifecta of unpredictability, lack of primal trust, and insecurity, often all shrouded in a family pact of secrecy, is more than enough reason to embark on a recovery mission.


    If the Buddhists are right when they say our suffering is our benefit, we can all help by first recognizing how pervasive emotional trauma is and developing more compassion for ourselves, and each other.


    What would happen if our society recognized this epidemic of PTS? (I don’t call it a disorder as it’s natural to be incredibly stressed after trauma.) Ideally, we would cultivate gentleness for ourselves and our fellow travelers. We would all embrace a culture of recovery by speaking more kindly, acting more considerately, owning our own issues, cooperating rather than competing, embracing our natural sensitivity, and remembering that everyone struggles at one time or another.


    If we assume that each of us has been hurt, probably numerous times, we might be tempted to chalk it up to human nature and suggest everyone simply buck up; but, isn’t developing a thicker skin part of what led to these issues in the first place? Furthermore, how does burying our true feelings help in the long run? Doesn’t it make it more likely they will come out inappropriately in sarcasm, or even abuse?


    What if we used our collective pain to catalyze our evolution?


    What would our better selves look like?
    Would we be more generous, more patient, tolerant, and sensitive?


    What about how we treat ourselves? Could we show more generosity, patience, tolerance, and sensitivity towards our own sweet selves?


    What if, for one day, none of us took anything personally? Remembering that each of us is carrying far more baggage than is obvious.


    What if after being cut off on the road we thought, “I wonder what that person is dealing with that made them so distracted?”


    What if we assumed that every single person was dealing with something difficult, and we cut them some slack?


    What if we smiled at everyone, whether we knew them, or not?


    What if we practiced compassion?


    These days, there is a great awareness of how we have hurt the environment. When will we own up to how we hurt ourselves, and each other?


    Isn’t our treatment of the environment, animals, and others merely a projection of how we treat ourselves?


    I believe it is.


    By hurting anything we hurt everything.


    Today, why not vow to start a real new age by taking the very best care you can of your sweet self? If you do, you will watch that inner love manifest to everyone’s benefit.




    Copyright Nicole S. Urdang
 

How to Deal With Holidays After a Divorce, Death, or Move November 28, 2009

Filed under: HOLIDAYS — chocophile @ 4:05 pm
Tags: , , ,



As you know, the holidays can easily push all your emotional buttons; and, that’s for people whose lives are fairly balanced. If you have experienced a recent death, divorce, or move, your reactions may be more heightened. All that stress can make you extra sensitive to the wrong comment. While you can’t control what people say, you can remind yourself it is all about them, not you. Unconsciously, they suggest what they think would be good for them if they were in your situation. That’s why the best thing to say to someone who is suffering is that you are sorry they’re going through this difficult period, and things will change.  At least, those comments are irrefutable.


Expectations have everything to do with how you feel in any situation.  The holidays are no different. Images of Norman Rockwell paintings, with smiling faces around a festive table, can leave you feeling critical of what the holiday is for you now.  That might be self-criticism, and second-guessing decisions that brought you to a place of loneliness, insecurity, and grief. Allow yourself emotional space to be in this between time, straddling what was and what will be. Understand how whatever is happening now, in this holiday, is not the template for all your future holidays. Take a page from AA, and break up the day into small parts, taking it one minute at a time.


While you may be tempted to think your lack of enthusiasm for celebration is part of a trend, resist that impulse and remind yourself: It’s only one day. Unpleasant as it may be, it is part of moving forward.  Birth is always messy, painful, and ultimately ecstatic. Telling yourself your current feelings are temporary broadens your perspective and helps you stop awfulizing about your situation. It may be far from your ideal, but is it really 100% bad? This might be a good time to make a list of everything you are happy with in your life. Even a P.O.W. can be appreciative for a ray of light, a morsel of food, or a bird’s song, so focus on what is going well for you and what you can enjoy.


If you find yourself painting a rosy picture of past holidays, reach back and remember how things really were. If you need a reality check, try reading some of David Sedaris’ humorous reminiscences. No one has a perfect anything, and that includes their celebrations.  If you think you know a family that does, you simply don’t know them well enough.  Painting an unrealistically wonderful portrait of other people’s lives is unhelpful, as it leaves you feeling bereft, or singled out for misery.


Watch out for other negative thoughts, like comparing a perfectly fine holiday now to one you’ve embellished over the years as heavenly because you cultivated amnesia for past unpleasant events. This is a good time to take a page from Jean Vanier’s book and love reality. (Just for the record, he’s been working on that for 40 years with varying degrees of success, but it’s still a useful concept.)


No one knows the future, and it only upsets you to assume the worst. Make a conscious choice to assume the best; and, if that seems like climbing an emotional Mount Everest, let yourself feel what you’re feeling. It will pass. I promise.


As you release your old notions of how life should be you make room for how it can be. Perhaps you were lucky enough to have had some wonderful holiday times. Why not remember how you helped create them? By clinging to the past, and an image of what you think your life should be now, you resist new experiences you might like even more.


As a creature of habit, aversion to the unknown comes naturally, and can protect you; but, it may also slow your evolution to the person you are becoming.  It’s natural to feel some anxiety about that, since you don’t know how that person will be. You might shift some values (see Challenge Your Values), like things you never enjoyed before, gravitate towards different people—anything is possible, and that can be scary. We like the familiar. As my mother puts it: “I hate change, even when it’s for the better.”


If you have a holiday that feels off or unsatisfying, remind yourself you were used to things being a certain way for a long time. That doesn’t mean it’s the best way for you now. Whenever you make a change, or one is foisted on you, it discombobulates your entire system.  That temporary awkwardness and dissatisfaction you feel is just that: temporary.  It won’t last. Another holiday will come, and, with it, the potential for something greater than you can imagine now.


To change your brain chemistry right this minute, you may want to fantasize about what that future holiday might be like.  Use all five senses (touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste) to paint a picture of your ideal celebration. Don’t relive one from the past, create a new paradigm. Go with your gut: it can be conservative or outrageous, it’s your fantasy.


If you think your former holidays were idyllic, great! That means you have created what you want in the past and you can create your new vision in the future. The fact that it hasn’t happened yet just means you need more time to heal. Take all the time you need. At some point you will be ready. In the meantime, practice viewing each unsatisfying situation as providing valuable data on what you don’t want. Eventually, your new vision will be so strong it will become your reality. Patience with yourself, and the sometimes agonizingly slow process of change, will make the journey easier.


Copyright Nicole S., Urdang

 

Self-Confidence, Self-Esteem, & Self-Acceptance May 3, 2009

 

Despite what you may have been lead to believe, self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-acceptance are all different and produce different states of mind.  Self-confidence is born of repeated experiences at which you eventually excel.  Self-esteem is based on thinking you are accomplished at something and that makes you better than someone else (essentially, you hold yourself in high esteem), while self-acceptance is unconditionally accepting yourself, right this minute, regardless of your talents and flaws.  

 

Self-esteem is the only one that can really wreak havoc on your sense of self, as it creates an emotional roller coaster. Let’s say you are rating yourself very well because you aced an exam.  Your spirits and ego are soaring; there’s no problem. But, now, it’s the next day and you find out you failed a test. The dark side of self-esteem rears its ugly head and triggers a barrage of self-abnegating thoughts.  Unfortunately, self-downing trumps self praise every time.  

 

Albert Ellis, the eminent psychologist and prolific author, said that the one thing you can do to enhance your life is to practice USA: unconditional self-acceptance.  This doesn’t mean that you love everything about yourself, but you accept everything.  Paradoxically, by accepting those traits you may not find especially endearing, you are more likely to change them.  You accept yourself unconditionally, but not all your behaviors, those, you can still rate.  (As someone recently suggested, rate but don’t berate.) If you find ones you like, great.  If you find ones that impede your relationships, vocation, or health, you can work to change them.  Because you have not reviled yourself for being fallible and engaging in some less-than helpful actions, you are more likely to change. Your ego is less involved in the result. You want to do something differently, but you know it’s not a prerequisite to liking and loving yourself, because you already separated your value as a human being from your behaviors.

 

Here’s a pop quiz to see if that made sense: pretend I give you a beautiful wicker basket. You may  not even like wicker baskets, but the craftsmanship is exquisite and you appreciate it. I start giving you fruit to put in your basket.  A cluster of dewy grapes, a brown, soft banana, a luscious looking pear, and a past-its-prime moldy cantaloupe.  What kind of a basket do you have?  If you answered, “A beautiful wicker basket,” you were right.  If you said anything about the fruit you were off track. Why?  Because I asked you about the basket, not what it contained. Practice thinking of yourself as the basket and all your traits, habits, talents etc. as the fruit. Just like with the fruit, you can ditch those pieces that aren’t useful, cook with those that still have some life in them, and add some fresh ones when the mood strikes.

 

Unconditional self-acceptance is a philosophical stance you choose simply because it will make you happier.  It’s no different from Louise Hay deciding that everything was happening for her highest good.  There may be no evidence to support it, but we get to pick what we want to think. It’s our choice to frame something as “good” or “bad.”   Why not choose those thoughts that make us feel joyful and optimistic?

 

One way to actively work to restructure one’s thoughts is to pay attention to all the times you think something disturbing.  When you notice those negative tapes playing, say “STOP!” to yourself.  Picture a huge, red, neon stop sign for extra emphasis. Then, consciously choose a happier thought. It may relate to something you were thinking, or it may be completely different.  If you were ruminating on a possible negative scenario in the future, imagine it working out just the way you wish it would.  There is absolutely no harm in this, despite all the superstitious junk with which we have all been indoctrinated. 

 

For most of my professional career, when people were worried about something bad occurring in the future, I have asked, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” The idea was, if they could parse through the worst thing and figure out how they would handle it, they’d be prepared and more relaxed.  It’s not a bad strategy, but it focuses on the negative.  Now, I like to ask people to imagine what’s the best possible outcome.  I assume that if they have lived through everything that has happened so far, they can handle anything else that comes down the pike. In the meantime, they can dwell on wonderful images of things working out well.  This does not meant they don’t make an effort to improve their lot, it simply makes it more likely that their lot will improve. Generally speaking, people who assume the best usually attract it.

 

This brings me to an observation I have made regarding the whole Law of Attraction school of thought.  It’s not New Agey, at all.  It’s ancient.  It’s all about changing your thoughts, i.e.: cognitive therapy, and watching what happens.  Not only will you feel better,  but you will be more open to new experiences and to changing out-dated, unhelpful behaviors.  Give it a try and let me know what happens.

 

 

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

 

Loneliness: Widening Your Social Circle November 26, 2008

 

Transformation has many components, not the least of which is revamping your social network.  If you are ending a relationship, you are losing one of your major life supports. As if this weren’t hard enough, other friendships, even long-lasting ones, may dissolve.  What’s a solo to do? Connect, of course!

 

Luckily, there are seven billion people in the world, so the numbers are in your favor.  With one third of all American adults living alone, hundreds of thousands are looking to make friends, platonic or romantic. Dating sites abound, including free ones, like plentyoffish.com.  (If you go this route, please be sensible about meeting people in public, well-lit places. Don’t give out your phone number or any other personal information; and, you might want to google your new acquaintance’s name.)

 

There are two prerequisites to successfully expanding your social circle: open-heartedness and paying attention.  Every time you are out in the world, whether it’s the grocery store, the library, or a coffee house, focus on positive thoughts (see Affirmations) and smile.  There’s nothing more appealing than good karma. If you exude it people will be drawn to you. Hiding your light under a bushel is a sure-fire way to feel separate and alone.  Practicing openness (see Open Your Heart ) and smiling have the added benefit of increasing your joy, whether you meet your soul mate, or not.  Paying attention means if someone smiles back you notice and add an extra second of eye contact.  There are so many opportunities to connect, but you have to be aware of your effect on others. Then, smile a little more.

 

Notice how people react to your new habit.  You may not want to grin ear to ear, as that’s more than most people can assimilate without thinking you’re two shrimp short of a stir-fry, but you can practice a gentle, content smile.  Of course, if you’re feeling miserable don’t paste an artificial smile on your face, as that sends a very confusing and dissonant message. But, if you are in a neutral or positive state of mind, just let yourself have fun with this, and watch what happens.  It’s chaos theory: one thing changes and there’s a ripple effect across the universe.

 

No beauty potion, diet, or plastic surgery is as potent as the combination of authenticity, openness, and a genuine smile.  It’s free, easy, and even changes your brain chemistry.  Yes, when you smile, certain facial muscles get activated and they send a message to your brain to create more joy.

 

All the above notwithstanding, the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself.  Period. So, treat your sweet self with as much loving kindness, gentleness, and patience you can muster.  It will not only redound to your benefit a thousand times over, but it will make you a people magnet.

 

Click on the following symbol to see a poetic and inspirational video on how to be alone:

 

 

Text Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

 

Quotes To Live By & Learn From September 24, 2008

 

 

 

NOTE: While the date of this post is 2008, it is regularly updated. Newer quotes are added to the bottom of the page.

 

 

I’m a quote-a-holic.  I believe in the power of words to reshape thoughts, thereby changing our feelings and perceptions.  Here are some of my favorites.

 

 

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls the butterfly.

Richard Bach

 

Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting.

Shakespeare, Henry V

 

To be in harmony with the oneness of life is to be without anxiety about imperfection.

Zen Master Dzogen

 

I made a list of things I have to remember and a list of things I want to forget, but I see they are the same list.

From Linda Pastan’s poem Lists

 

The attitude of surrender is the best antidote to one’s own anger, anxiety, and fear.

Sally Kempton Yoga Journal

 

All of our emotions are our babies.  Treat them tenderly, care for them.  Be with them.  Understanding and compassion will ultimately transform them.

Thich Nhat Hanh in Walking Meditation

 

There will be a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.

Louis L’Amour

 

Suffering is not the nature of our experience.  It comes from misunderstanding our experience.

Ethan Nichtern in One City

 

The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.

Tacitus

 

The Buddha’s Five Remembrances:

I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s translation

 

All stress comes from resisting the present moment.

Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth

 

The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself.

Nicole S. Urdang

 

When Krista Tippett asked eighty year old Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche Communities, what he was doing these days he replied:

I’m doing what I’ve been doing for the past 40 years: learning to love reality.

 

Comparison is misery.

The Buddha

 

If I only had three words of advice I could give you they would be : Tell the Truth.

If I were allowed three more, they would be: All the time.

From Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

 

Everyone, and everything, is our teacher.

Yogic aphorism

 

One is one’s own refuge.  Who else could be the refuge?

The Buddha

 

Nemo dat quod non habet. (Latin for: You cannot give what you do not have.)

 

We give what we desperately want.  We say what we need to hear.

Robyn Posin

 

You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body.

C.S. Lewis

 

Forgiving before you are ready is an act of violence against yourself.  And, you may never be ready.

Nicole S. Urdang

 

Never give the devil a ride, because if he likes the ride pretty soon he’ll want to drive.

Anne Lamott

 

The sun is always behind the clouds.

Truism

 

I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you. (Said to oneself.)

Elizabeth Gilbert

 

What would it be like if I could accept life, accept this moment, exactly as it is?

Tara Brach

 

The best way way out is always through.

Robert Frost

 

One of the secrets to a happy life is continuous small treats.

Iris Murdoch

 

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday and all is well.

Dale Carnegie (with add-on by NSU)

 

I go out for a walk every day because the demons don’t like fresh air.

Ingmar Bergman

 

The choice is pain or paralysis.

Florence Nightingale

 

That which you seek is already within you.

Yogic aphorism

 

Expectations are resentments under construction.

Anne Lamott

 

There is no other person in the whole world more deserving of compassion than you.

The Budddha

 

It’s your life.  If you’re not going to be enthusiastic about it who will be?

Nicole S. Urdang

 

One heals suffering only by experiencing it to the full.

Marcel Proust

 

Sometimes, you just have to let everything fall apart.

Pema Chodron

 

When you find yourself reacting to someone’s behavior, imagine that person as a seven year old.  If you see their hurt and pain it’s easier to have compassion and move on.

Gurmukh

 

Be here now.

Ram Dass

 

Believing in life before death is hard enough.

“Shoe” in the comic strip Crow

 

Revenge is like drinking rat poison and expecting the rat to die.

Anne Lamott

 

When the horse is dead it’s time to dismount.

Attributed to Dakota Indians

 

We have all experienced abandonment.  What we need to learn is to never abandon our own self.

John Selby

 

Forgiveness means that it’s finally unimportant that you hit back–you’re done.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you want to have lunch with the person.

Anne Lamott

 

Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what is going on.

Pema Chodron

 

What we practice we become.

Yogic Aphorism

 

When we let go our hand opens and we are able to receive.

Rolf Gates

 

Never ruin an apology with an excuse.

Kimberly Johnson

 

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

Dr. Seuss

 

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts.

Pema Chodron

 

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.

C.G. Jung

 

Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Paul Dickson

 

My beloved child, break your heart no longer.  Each time your judge yourself you break your heart.

Bapuji

 

Rest is a sacred act.

Robyn Posin

 

A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, reveals our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth.

Marion Woodman

 

Now that my ladders gone

I must lie down where all the ladders start

In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart

W.B. Yeats

 

We can’t heal what we can’t feel.

Debbie Ford

 

barn’s burnt down;

now I can see

the moon

Haiku by Masahide

 

Tenderly, I now touch all

things,

knowing one day we will

part.

St. John of the Cross

 

He who has injured thee was either stronger or weaker than thee.  If weaker, spare him; if stronger, spare thyself.

William Shakespeare

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way….

Charles Dickens

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Neibuhr

 

Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.

Ian Matthews

 

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.

Meister Eckhart

 

A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,

no matter how long,

but only by a spiritual journey,

a journey of one inch,

very arduous and humbling and joyful,

by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,

and learn to be at home.

Wendell Berry

 

If you don’t risk anything you risk even more.

Erica Jong

 

Referring to meditation, an old Chinese Zen Master once said, “Some of you are taking me literally when I say, ‘Don’t think,’ and you are making your minds like a rock. This is a cause of insentiency and an obstruction to the Way. When I say not to think, I mean that if you have a thought, think nothing of it.”

 

The heart, like the grape, is prone to delivering its harvest in the same moment it is crushed.

Roger Housden

 

Transcending boundaries is one of the joys of life.

Cedar Barstow

 

The Heart Sutra: Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

“Gone, gone, gone to the other shore beyond.”

Buddha

 

You can’t escape from a prison unless you know you are in it.

Anonymous

 

When life descends into the pit

I must become my own candle

Willingly burning my self

To light up the darkness around me.

Alice Walker

 

Sadness is information from the soul.

C.G. Jung

 

Courage is the ability to create a relationship with the unknown.

David Whyte

 

Be happy for no reason.

Alan Finger

 

The thread is spun under the tears, the cloth bleached with tears, the shirt sewn with tears; but then too it is a better protection than iron and steel….The secret in life is that everyone must sew it for himself….Then, there is peace and rest and comfort in sorrow.

Kierkegaard comparing the final stage of human consciousness to the shirt in an old fable.

 

Confidence comes from doing difficult things.

Anonymous

 

Man is what he makes of himself.  And the courage to be as oneself is the courage to make of oneself what one wants to be.

Paul Tillich

 

In some ways the trauma of separation is a welcome contrast to the boredom that underlies many marriages.

Abigail Trafford

 

The hardest experiences of our lives crack us open to that which connects us all.

Maria Coffey

 

To attain clarity, allow confusion.

The Tao of Healing, Haven Trevino

 

If you can’t get out of it get into it.

Saying from Outward Bound

 

Man is unhappy because he doesn’t know he’s happy.  It’s only that. That’s all, that’s all!  If anyone finds out he’ll become happy at once, that minute…. It’s all good.  I discovered it all of a sudden.

Dostoyevsky, The Possessed

 

A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with all the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.

Eleanor Roosevelt

 

We are all one, contributing our part to the wholeness of the universe. Each like a petal: unique,  though an integral part of creating the flower’s beauty. Complete as we are, right this minute.

Nicole S. Urdang

 

When two people decide to get a divorce it isn’t a sign they don’t understand one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to.

Helen Rowland

 

If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart.

Socrates

 

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

Dalai Lama

 

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Ghandi

 

Buddhist Prayer For Peace:

May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind quickly be freed from their illnesses.

May those frightened cease to be afraid, and may those bound be free.

May the powerless find power and may people think of befriending one another.

May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wilderness—the children, the aged, the unprotected—be guarded by beneficial celestials, and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.

 

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

 

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Helen Keller

 

If you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.

Henry Ford

 

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.

Richard Bach
An emotional wound requires the same priority attention as a physical wound. Set time aside for mourning.
Melba Colgrove, Harold H. Bloomfield, & Peter Williams

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
Naomi Shabib Nye

 

I don’t know anything. Whatever I thought I knew was shattered. Whatever I anticipated never happened, and what I never anticipated did.
Terry Tempest Williams

 

Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.

Terry Tempest Williams

When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?
Epictetus (1st Century AD)

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content.
Helen Keller

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.
W. R. Inge

 

Far too frequently we see ourselves as doers. This means that in order to feel worthy in our own or [Spirit’s] eyes, we feel we must endlessly work and achieve. We have not always learned just to be receptive, to be in the presence of [Spirit] – quiet, available….

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The great error of this age is that activity has increased so much that there is little margin left in one’s everyday life for repose.
Repose is the secret of all contemplation and meditation, the secret of getting in tune with that aspect of life which is the essence of all things.

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Listen in deep silence. Be very still and open your mind…. Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world.

A Course in Miracles

 

You do not need to leave your room…Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Franz Kafka

Ultimately, healing is a coming to terms with things
as they are, rather than struggling to force them to
be as they once were, or as we would like them to be
to feel secure

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

Source unknown to me
Life is so short
We must move more slowly

Thich Nhat Hanh

You are a volume in the divine book
A mirror to the power that created the universe
Whatever you want, ask it of yourself
Whatever you’re looking for can only be found
Inside of you.

Rumi

 

The deep attending to hard knots of holding is a powerfully compassionate act, a turning toward rejected parts of our being. As this newly compassionate observing occurs, the object of observation, the body/self is transformed and we move from denial to acceptance, from rejection to inclusion. This is the beginning of…loving kindness for the self.

Katherine Thanas in Being Bodies

 

All of our emotions are our babies. Treat them tenderly, care for them. Be with them. Understanding and compassion will ultimately transform them.

Thich Naht Hanh

Growth and forward motion continue whether we are vigilant or not. Pushing ourselves often slows the process: it stirs resistance in the healthy parts of us that are protecting the natural flow from being overthrown or interfered with. When things feel really hard, slowing way down allows the internal, organic balancing process to work its magic. When you get scared that you’ll never come out of this (or any other place in which you find yourself) remember that everything in us always moves toward growth and change–no matter how it looks to our outside eye.

Robyn Posin

Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart.
Try to allow the questions themselves,
like locked rooms,
and like books that are written in a very foreign language.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then gradually,
without noticing,
live along some distant day into the answer.

Rilke

 

Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it.
What appears as bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism
is always a sign of things no ears have heard,
no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit
meets the bone.

Miller Williams

For those of you still facing challenges, here’s something key I’d like to share that I’ve learned. Please know that a wholeness exists in you even in the midst of adversity. There is a light in you even now. You may not be able to see it at the end of the tunnel, but it is in you. Right this moment. A wholeness that’s untouched by what you’re facing. Maybe it seems very small. Maybe you don’t even believe it’s there. But it is. If you take a moment to close your eyes, feel it there. That’s the part of you that already knows how to face the challenge, that’s already transformed it and learned from it. It’s the part that will lead you to whatever other guidance you might need along the way. This in no way minimizes the challenge. It’s just that this other piece exists simultaneously and is with you always. And no matter how alone you feel, know that you are not alone. Others feel as you do. If you believe in spirit or the power of love, these are with you always, along with the wholeness inside you.

Alissa Lukara

Grief is a form of loneliness.

Source unknown to me.
Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the over-fraught heart, and bids it break.

William Shakespeare

 

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

Henry David Thoreau

You are the thinker not the thought.

Anonymous

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.

Emerson

Temporary defeat is not failure.

Napoleon Hill

Learning how to be kind to ourselves, learning how to respect ourselves, is important. The reason it’s important is that, fundamentally, when we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering. We’re discovering the universe.

Pema Chodron

 

We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

Pema Chodron

Every breakdown is a breakthrough.

Buckminster Fuller

 

We can’t feel gratitude and stress at the same time.

Max Strom

 

Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.

Chinese proverb

 

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
Carl Jung

 

Even if we are determined to block the magic it will get through.
Pema Chodron

 

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).
James Baraz

 

Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.
Frederick Buechner

 

If God had a refrigerator your picture would be on it.
Max Lucado

 

My vision can be so limiting. I often think the only possible outcomes are those I can imagine.
The Courage To Change, Al-Anon

 

It’s better to want something you don’t have than to have something you don’t want.
Denny Crane, Boston Legal

 

Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.

Eckhart Tolle

 

The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears, or the sea.
Isak Dinesen

 

If you can sit quietly after difficult news;
If in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm;
If you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy;
If you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate;
If you can fall asleep without a drink or a pill;
If you can always find contentedness just where you are – you are probably a dog.
The one who knows realizes that difficulties are a part of every human life.

Jack Kornfield

 

It’s not your job to like me–it’s mine.

Byron Katie

 

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

Anais Nin

 

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.

Georgia O’Keeffe

 

Patience is the best remedy for every trouble.
Titus Maccius Plautus

 

The spiritual path is all about self-acceptance.
Jack Kornfied

 

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.

Erich Fromm

 

You have to know how to accept rejection, and reject acceptance.
Ray Bradbury

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We have to face the pain we have been running from. In fact, we need to learn to rest in it and let its searing power transform us.

Charlotte Joko Beck

 

The wind of divine grace is always blowing. You just need to spread your sail. Whenever you do anything, do it with your whole heart concentrated on it. Think day and night, I am of the essence of that Supreme Being-Consciousness-Bliss. What fear and anxiety have I?

Swami Vivekananda

 

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Plato

 

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.

Oscar Wilde

 

He who is not contented with what he has would not be contented with what he would like to have.

Socrates

 

May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

Thérèse de Lisieux

 

 

I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.

Anaïs Nin

 

What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.

Hecato, Greek philosopher

 

Repetition is the mother of transformation.
David Magone

 

Every happiness is the child of a separation it did not think it could survive.
Rainer Maria Rilke

On Meditation:

I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane.
I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity
created by the past in you. Just by being a simple
witness of your thought processes.

It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts,
passing before you.
Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging,
because the moment you judge, you have lost the
pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this
is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.

It takes a little time to create a gap between the
witness and the mind. Once the gap is there,
you are in for a great surprise,
that you are not the mind, that
you are the witness, A watcher.

And this process of watching is the very alchemy
of real religion. Because as you become more and
more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start
disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.

That’s the moment of enlightenment.
That is the moment that you become for
the first time an unconditioned, sane,
really free human being.

Osho

I have learned … tolerance from the intolerant and kindness from the unkind. I should not be ungrateful to these teachers.

Kahlil Gibran

 

We might also ask: Given my present situation, how long should I stay with uncomfortable feelings?
This is a good question, yet there is no right answer.
We simply get accustomed to coming back to the present just as it is for a second,
for a minute, for an hour—whatever is currently natural—without its becoming an endurance trial.
Just pausing for two to three breaths is a perfect way to stay present.
This is a good use of our life.
Indeed, it is an excellent, joyful use of our life.

Pema Chodron
“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you, you just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

Bob Marley

 

Our true nature is like a precious jewel: although it may be temporarily buried in mud, it remains completely brilliant and unaffected. We simply have to uncover it.

Pema Chodron

 

What is at the end of any plunge but solid ground?

Nicole S. Urdang

 

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
Louise Erdrich

 

“Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures, followed by wreckage, were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”

Joseph Campbell Quotes from A Joseph Campbell Companion

 

Wisdom’s not cheap, we pay for it.

Kevin Kling

 

I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

Samuel Beckett

 

If it’s out of proportion to the moment it’s probably about the past.

Deidre Fay

 
…But loving-kindness toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. It means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves. Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.
Pema Chodron

 

 

Relaxation is who you really are. Tension is who you think you should be.

Lee Holden

 

Before you heal someone ask him if he is willing to give up the things that make him sick.

Hippocrates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
%d bloggers like this: