Archive for the 'Earth' Category

Building Resilience

Friday, June 1st, 2012

“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.”   -Paulo Coelho


It’s easy to trust when life is giving us what we want, when our relationships are stable and communication flows. Leaning toward trust when our health is broken, our relationship connections are tattered and we can’t find the words to express our own needs is where trust becomes our capacity for resilience. In the moments when life is falling apart, when our best laid plans are dashed and lying in a heap of disappointment that we have the opportunity to grow more resilient. This deep inner work is one of the highest forms of love. It is the work that transforms us into our most authentic and compassionate selves.

I often tell my kids that life is first a problem solving adventure. Watching as they can easily become overwhelmed with life’s adversity has shown me time and again that the outcome often has less to do with the external life circumstances than what we bring to the challenge from inside. I have tried to teach them by example that what transforms all life challenges into something that makes us more whole is our capacity to not give ourselves away. This is a kind of radical trust, tapping your inner resilience, which keeps you present to the truth about yourself and doesn’t allow you to make the situation worse with a downward spiraling story line of victimization and blame.

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Text Break Ups/ Communication Break Down

Friday, April 27th, 2012

“We expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship.” 

-Sherry Turkle

A couple of years ago, not long after I won the Angel Conference I got a text message from a successful local businessman who had agreed to become our CEO and probably had a lot to do with my winning the conference.  He resigned over a text message, not even using the 160 characters allotted, “it wasn’t going to work for him at this time” was all I got.   It was devastating, almost a surreal moment where I had to go back and read the message again.   Did this just end- like that- over a text message?  I felt it physically, a hearty dose of adrenaline mixed with old, deep fears of worthlessness and abandonment.  Although this break up was in the business realm, we all know at least one person who has who had their heart broken over text message.

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The Benefits of Taking a Tech Holiday

Friday, April 20th, 2012

 “When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself.” ~Marshall McLuhan

It is hard to imagine that we have already come full circle in our relationship to technology. The relentless drive for more access, smaller devices and ever increasing speed is hitting a wall for many of us. Yet, it isn’t so surprising that the wonder has worn thin when you consider the sheer number of hours that Americans spend in front of a screen. Between 2005 and 2009, our time spent in front of a screen doubled to include at least 8.5 hours per day. Television viewing, likewise, has also steadily increased Nicolas Carr, in his revelatory best-seller; “The Shallows” has documented how these technological trends are shaping not only our days, but the very wiring of our minds.

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Killing Time

Friday, April 13th, 2012

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”  ~Henry David Thoreau, “Economy,” Walden, 1854


Our time is our life.  How we spend the hours of our days is the truest measure of what we create, what we value and how we invest our life energy.  This is why the recent statistics regarding the social takeover of Internet gaming and social media should give us pause for wonder and concern. Facebook, the leader in social media reportedly consumes over 8 Billion minutes of time for its collected membership every single day.  It is hard to imagine what that amount of time represents, so I recalculated it in terms of years- each and every day we give Facebook equates to more than 15,000 years of our collective human attention. Gaming statistics are equally disturbing, Angry Birds, one of the most popular web games of all time has been downloaded 300 million times and is expected to hit one billion downloads. Every hour of every day, we collectively give this game 200 million minutes, or 16 years of our attention. While individually these statistics break down to 20 to 60 minutes, the equation for each of us is more complex than the math. We look to our Internet applications to fill us, to calm us, to entertain us, to connect us in a virtual world, but they somehow also leave us increasingly lonely.

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Facebook: Anxiety-Feeding Addiction

Friday, April 6th, 2012

“There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly becomes any of us to talk about the rest of us.” ~Edward Wallis Hoch


My teenage daughter has removed herself from Facebook. Her cold-turkey drop of a technology that had dominated many of her free hours caught my attention. “I noticed how anxious it makes me,” she replied simply when I asked why. “I just want to see what its like; to see if I miss it.” There was surprisingly little withdrawal she said enthusiastically, back to re-reading her favorite books.   “I feel so much better not doing it. I don’t miss it at all.”

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Staying With Yourself

Friday, March 30th, 2012

“The finest thing in the world is knowing how to belong to oneself.” -Michel de Montaigne

I am convinced that the most significant and meaningful change we can make within all of our relationships begins with our foundational ability to relate to our selves. This teaching is ancient and lies at the heart of every spiritual discipline.  The Buddha summed it up saying:  “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” Not only is our capacity for self-love the most challenging healing for most of us to master, but our inattention to this critical inner struggle is often the silent and invisible root of what goes wrong in our other personal and intimate relationships.

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A Wise Choice

Friday, March 16th, 2012

“There is no life as complete as the life that is lived by choice.”  -Unknown


The problem with many relationships is that we don’t trust our own choices. For many couples this lack of trust starts early in the relationship, when we first encounter the difficulties of the relationship or, more challenging still, the foibles of our chosen partner. We question whether we have made a mistake in choosing our partner, and often this question comes in the form of pulling ourselves part way out of the relationship. Look around and notice how many relationships you are in or that you are witness to which are qualified by one or sometimes both partners having one or sometimes both feet out the door.

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When to Leave

Friday, March 9th, 2012

“There are times when the actual experience of leaving something makes you wish desperately that you could stay, and then there are times when the leaving reminds you a hundred times over why exactly you had to leave in the first place.”  -Shauna Niequist


Leaving is bittersweet. Knowing when to leave is not always a simple equation. Even the departing itself  is rarely an experience of simple relief; generally, it is weighted by what is lost, even if the loss is only lives in our imaginings of what was possible. Often when we leave, we lose not only our hopes for the relationship that has ended, but more deeply, for our concept of a future that defined us. I grew up  amidst a long series of leaving and being left. I imagine that this has a lot to do with why I am now usually the last one to leave, hanging onto any vestige of hope that things can turn around. Being left so often as a child is qualitatively different than choosing to leave, and creates odd associations to most endings.  Your history of relationship endings is the foundation of your tendency toward leaving or staying.

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Learning to Stay

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.”  ~Buddhist Proverb


Working as I have for decades on learning how to sustain and nourish lasting relationships has brought me continuously back to the same question of how to learn to stay both in my own relationships as well as in many others that I have counseled.   Usually the question is a reflection of the viability of the relationship itself.  We look at our partner and ask if they can change or whether the relationship will improve. Generally the question is provoked when we are in the midst of painful times.  We don’t wonder about staying when things are easy and predictable. It is when things fall apart that we doubt whether the work that our relationship or other life commitments is demanding is worth it.

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Infidelity- Proof Your Relationship

Friday, January 27th, 2012

“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.” -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

We are not a happy sexual bunch. According to a recent CNN poll nearly 40 million Americans are stuck in a sexual rut, and more than 52% of us are dissatisfied with our love lives. A neglected unhealthy sex life makes relationships more vulnerable to anger and resentment and is often cited as the primary motivation for infidelity. Unfortunately, you can’t really cure an unhealthy sexual life without curing the aspects of the relationship that lead you to avoiding intimacy. I know from the thousands of people I have spoken to over the years, that malfunctioning sex lives is the result of malfunctioning relating and almost never the other way around.

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