My favorite and only resolution for the coming year is to have more fun. This year my commitment to myself is to clear the decks for at least an hour a day so that I can devote more time to doing things that make me laugh, feel enriched, balanced or energized. Not the usual resolution of ‘I’m going to work out and get in better shape, cut back on caffeine, eat more vegetables, get to bed earlier or be even be more focused and productive.’
I’m so used to thinking about productivity and self improvement that I sometimes forget that chatting it up with friends or dancing around my living room blasting the classic rock station, powerfully impacts my vitality and ability to stay focused throughout the rest of the day. My resolve is to make sacred time for play. [click to continue…]
“When I get a raise, then I’ll be happy.” “When I find the man of my dreams, then I’ll be happy.” “When I have a baby, then I’ll be happy.” “When I finish this project, then I’ll be happy.” These are some of the thoughts that run through the mind in an attempt to capture happiness.
As a psychologist I come from a background of studying the human condition, which is often about inner demons and suffering. For the past decade the field of psychology has slowly turned a corner. Positive psychology studies the firing of the brain when we are feeling optimistic, connected, grateful, love, altruistic and general happiness. [click to continue…]
Affirmations can be used to bring positive and lasting change to your life. Every thought you have supports your mind in creating your moment to moment reality. Our beliefs are learned thought patterns that we have developed since childhood. Some of these thoughts patterns support our everyday life experiences and others sabotage us from achieving our goals and dreams. [click to continue…]
The holiday season typically brings to mind images of families and loved ones gathered around a blazing fire, roasting chestnuts, exchanging gifts. Sharing mugs of spiced hot apple cider, playing games or simply having fun together.
There is another reality to this idyllic scene. Depression and psychological dysfunction is at an all time high throughout the holidays and family issues often become magnified.
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Years ago while in college I used to begin my day with unconscious negativity. While getting ready for school, I would look in the mirror and say something like “Your skin looks lousy today.” “You look really tired.” “This is going to be an unbearably long day juggling work and school.” From the start I felt defeated. I didn’t realize how these thoughts were contributing to feeling bad about myself or the possibilities of the day.
On a whim I took a yoga class with a girlfriend more for exercise than for spiritual enlightenment. It was there that I was introduced to the idea of creating a positive state of mind with my own thoughts. I learned about the power of affirmations. At the time it was a complete shock to me that I could control my thoughts. I decided to give it a go. [click to continue…]
I remember my father telling me to “let it go. Don’t hold onto it, just let it go.” I also remember thinking, ‘I don’t know how to let it go.’ When someone would do an injustice to me, I could not figure out how to move forward in the face of being hurt or disappointed. The more I would hold on to the bitter or angry feelings, the stronger they became. More pain and suffering would inevitably ensue.
What I know now is that forgiveness is the best way to effectively let go and move on.
Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. We do it for ourselves to get well, feel whole and move past the hurt. [click to continue…]
My mother asked me to come with my young family from our home in Boston to New York City to visit her and my father for Labor Day weekend. It had been a couple of months since we last saw each other. We exchanged words and I told her I was simply too busy to come for the weekend and we would have to arrange another time. I knew she was not happy. I also knew she did not understand how difficult it was to juggle two children and a busy professional life.
The following morning I received a phone call from my brother-in-law that my mother died. She was seventy-one years old and the picture of health and vitality. As I write this eleven years later, I can still feel the sense of shock and grief at her premature death. I feel her loss every day of my life, especially when there are life passages. I long to tell her about my daughter and my son and the way they are growing and flourishing. I long to tell her “I’m sorry” for not agreeing to come home that weekend. The irony is, of course, that I was home that weekend, but to mourn her death. [click to continue…]
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With love and inspiration,
Comments or questions are welcome.
How to create the practice of meditation:
- Sit in a comfortable position with good support
- Find a quiet environment
- Close your eyes and relax your body
- Watch the rise and fall of each breath
- Repeat the word ʻinʼ as you breathe in
- Repeat the word ʻoutʼ as you breathe out
- Continue to bring your focus back to the breath
- Maintain a passive attitude about intruding thoughts
Practice 2x daily for 10–15 minutes
Create the Practice of Constructive Rest:
- The constructive rest position is ideal for learning abdominal breathing, for easing you into sleep, for reducing anxiety or pain, and for general relaxation.
- Lie down on a flat surface with your neck supported with a small pillow or cushion. Bend your knees and support them with a larger pillow or cushion, so that your body is in a gentle pelvic tilt.
- Place both hands on your low belly (below the navel) and feel the natural rhythm of the rise and fall of each breath.
- The aim is to create a pattern of long, slow, deep, even, breaths.
- Make sure the exhalation is also long, slow, deep, even and complete. The belly and chest should ideally feel quite empty, but without forcing the air out.
- Practice once or twice daily whenever a calming effect is desired.
Practice 2 x daily for 5–10 minutes