Mindfulness and Counseling: Tipping Sacred Cows


If only letting go of harmful ideas and bad habits that masquerade as virtue was easy. When you’re the one in the frame it’s hard to see the picture. From unnecessarily holding onto childhood imperatives that continue to govern our lives to superstitions that disempower us – we often live our adult lives in the shadows of unconscious and largely unintentional choices made long ago for us by family or cultural conditioning.

I hear familiar themes in sessions that under examination make little or no rational sense and often cause tremendous suffering. A familiar unconscious sequence is: “Have to keep busy,” “Time is money,” “Money is security,” “Money will make me happy.” 

So many unconscious rules of the universe that each of us carry as matter-of-facts and the way things ought to and should be – these are our sacred cows. There would be no problem except that they are often the primary culprits that cause so much friction and damage in our relationships as well serving to emotionally disturb ourselves.

 It’s tricky to push back on people’s sacred cows, to question and to challenge them. This is sensitive psychological territory and it’s easy for people to become defensive around areas where they’ve invested a lot of time, emotion and to some degree – the sacred cows have worked for them.

Religious beliefs, paranormal beliefs, all the way to fairness in sports to political affiliation and of course – racial do’s and dont’s. It wouldn’t be difficult to conclude that each of us to some degree or another is walking around as a head full of unconscious preferences and demands insistent that others and the world would be better off just acting in accordance with our truths. 

Much of mindful counseling involves discovering these patterns, the pain they have brought us and finding a way to both recognize and step out of these patterns before causing further harm. The only prerequisites I have found thus far are these: inquisitiveness, a desire for peace and an ability to laugh at oneself.

Reality Check

It’s impossible to own anything; a possession, a person, a child, nothing at all. These things are not yours and could never be. One way or another, you’ll eventually discover this to be true. To accept this is both freeing and uplifting, but it might take some getting used to.
It’s easy to get caught by things that are not catchable. Take stock: names on a piece of paper are all that can be shown to demonstrate something as being yours. Temporary lease holders at best – squatters perhaps, but certainly nothing to spend a life trying to acquire, possess and maintain. Enjoy the temporary illusion of what you have, but recognize the illusion, before the illusion possesses you. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the display, but recognize it for what it is, a temporary feast for the sense faculties.
The Dalai Lama described this condition, the human condition, to a group of monks sitting on a hillside in the Indian Himalayas seventeen years ago.

He stated to us that the suffering of human beings was a life spent by trying to:

(1) We get what we want

(2) We maintain what we have

(3) We spend our lives trying to be near people we like 

(4) We  avoid people we don’t like. He said, with regard to these four things: these     thoughts are futile, impossible, an illusion that brings suffering. Enjoy the illusions of life, respect their momentariness, their impermanence, but without attachment.
The litmus test: Stand in front of a loved one, a child, a friend or a possession and say to yourself, “This is not mine, this does not belong to me.” Feel how that resonates. If a smile comes to your face and you can breathe easily, this is recognition. If there is suffering, take the time to contemplate, explore and examine just exactly how you rationalize that this could be yours.
Free your Mind🌷


Being In An Extraordinary Relationship Might Mean Finding The Courage to Stop This One!


Please never settle for a lackluster, a painful, or even worse – an abusive relationship. What are you (or were you) thinking? You’re fully capable of being happy and in a healthy, extraordinary relationship!

Finding the courage to leave a relationship that’s over is a battle I watch many of my clients go through, and we’ve all been there. The usual questions and ruminating thought processes are: The pain of repeatedly wondering, How can I be sure it’s over? I’d rather be in this than face the fear of being alone and starting the long process of starting all over again. What will people think? It will be too messy financially, and if there are children involved, what kind of message am I telling them if I quit? Can’t we work through this? What about counseling? Isn’t love enough?

When we begin to probe deeper, the checklist in sum or in part that it may be time to move on includes but isn’t restricted to:

  • The sexual intimacy is absent or has become rote or a duty, the blame game (exacerbated by name-calling) has become quietly or overtly routine, only one or neither side enjoys spending time together, the feeling of walking on eggshells in the presence of the other person, the absence of joy, the shared goals and vision of the relationship have diminished or are absent, the thoughts of being with another person are becoming frequent or emotional and/or sexual contact with other prospects has begun.
  • Don’t wait for the other person to end it when you know it’s over! The worst thing you can do in this situation is to begin behaving so poorly that the other person will be forced to end this because of the pain associated with your destructive behaviors. Be compassionate, end the self-sabotage and confront the fear.
  • Can’t we walk it back to how it used to be? Try again? You feel like you’ve exhausted all efforts, and you’re still there. It’s okay to give yourself permission to stop, to let go, to value yourself and the other person enough to move on. It’s okay to stop the fight. Admitting that it’s over does not equate to failure. With maturity and emotional responsibility there’s even the possibility of friendship in the future. Trust that you’ll be okay, that you’ll handle the outcome, you’ll survive and life will begin again. It’s vital to confront your fears, to not waste your life away in an angry roommate scenario, to go on and live your life. At the end of the day, you are not responsible for how the other person feels or their actions, but you are completely responsible for yours. If you need help, it’s okay to reach out to find resolution. You’re worth it. You can be in an extraordinary relationship, one that you’ve always dreamed of, you either need to reinvent this one, or find the courage to move on to the next. Either way, confront the fear.

Free your mind.

The Miracle of Peace

If we have never been amazed by the fact that we exist, we are squandering the greatest fact of all. – Will Durant

I sit in loving awe. So wondrous. How did you and I meet?  How did we get here? If you were take a minute and think about this you might say we met through so and so – a friend perhaps. As a matter of convenience, it might be the polite thing to say, but what if we were to go further? What if we were to not just take a step back, but really zoom all the way out, and not just get a birds eye-view, and not just a telescopic view, but instead – a universal and holographic view of our place in this existence, this time and space.

How many causes and conditions led us to this moment? I mean let’s try and add it up for a minute. Where would we even start? Our ability to read – our shared language and understanding. Every breath you and I have ever taken. Our parents. Their parents. And their parents. All of evolutionary biology and chemistry. All of the food we have ever eaten. Every stitch of clothing you are wearing. All of the people involved in that. The crops. The earth, The water. The formation of planets, stars and galaxies. Space and time. A computer, a phone, a tablet. Light. The Sun. And even this understanding falls forever short of understanding the totality of all.

The reality begins to sink in. How many causes and conditions have led to this moment? This supposed chance meeting of you and I? Every moment of your life and every life. Was it ever really random at all?

Infinite causes and conditions have come together to make this moment possible – there is no escaping this overwhelming conclusion. That at the very least – up until this moment – reality could not be different than it is. What would the consequences be if you held this broad spacious view with increasing frequency, that it became a staple of your life, experiential knowledge and walking day-to-day wisdom? What would life look like if you woke to this large, vast and spacious view? How would you treat yourself, others, and the environment?

Life would look very different in many respects if you adopted the rational view that infinite causes and conditions have come together to make every moment possible. One effect would be that you would immediately stop blaming yourself for all that has gone wrong. And of course, from there you would never blame another. You would smile continuously at the grandeur of being. Taking responsibility would look very different too – where you would be more responsible to hold the view of infinite causes and conditions then to hold yourself or another responsible for events that have transpired. You would be much more understanding, you would be wise and most importantly – you would be peaceful.

Your present notion of holding yourself and other people accountable for their actions would be turned on its head. Your ego would be crushed and devastated, but your heart would be open.

To accept infinite causes and conditions in every moment would be the end of your frustration and anger because you would stop demanding that reality be different than it is. You would understand that reality in every moment is beyond your ability to fully comprehend and you would have a beautiful open and trusting heart full of wonder. You would be free.

Going forward you would focus on solutions when there is difficulty instead of narrowly focusing on problems and finding the culprit of your narrowly assigned responsibility. You would be endlessly forgiving. You would understand things are as they are. You would discover the inner peace of the deepest self-acceptance. You wouldn’t feel so alone once you realized that you were deeply inter-connected with everything. You would no longer have the anxiety of worrying terribly about the future because you would know that everything would come together just as it does. You would be able to exhale, to let go, to breathe it all in, and to rest.

Your stress would diminish and then dissolve if you discovered the timelessness of all. You would see that there is no true birth and death, that instead that all appearances come and go like time and tide. We are experiencing the waves of infinity rushing over and through us. Ego sees itself as an individuated birth and death, but nothing could be further from the truth. All things rise and fall, as is their nature. When a waves comes we don’t call it birth, and when it falls we do not call it death and so it is with us as we rise, crest and fall once more from moment to moment and life to life.

To accept infinite causes and conditions in every moment would be to accept that violence is the furthest thought away from accepting the universal thread of continuity. You would know that you could move peacefully from relationships – cherishing what was instead of needlessly focusing on the troubles or the end.

If you understood that infinite causes and conditions were interlaced and interwoven in every moment your health issues would be seen in a very different light. Your sadnesses and depression would be very different if you knew that truly at the deepest level your need for a profound love has already been met by the very virtue of you just being here, right now – that your life is held so very sweetly in the loving arms of limitless spacious presence. That you have come together at all is a miracle, a blessing, an act of loving generosity – a gift from forever – from both forever and a not so distant long ago.

May you awaken to your beauty, to your infinity. May you love and feel loved. May you see yourself in everything, and may everything see itself in you. I pray that you know that you cannot be separate, that you are a very necessary part of everything, May you find peace in your heart, and may you find peace in this world. That is all.

The picture is of the Heart Nebula from the constellation Cassiopeia. ❤️

Becoming Beautiful Through Self Acceptance ❤️

The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it is taking place at all. The highest communication is deep self-acceptance. How do we know that we have not yet arrived at a deeper self-acceptance? This can first be recognized when we are having difficulty and not at peace with others. If there is someone in your life right now that you just can’t seem to get along with, it’s because there’s a part of yourself that you’re failing to see, understand and recognize.

Being silent about how you feel or what you feel is the beginning of emotional disturbance. This doesn’t mean to let it all out or wear your emotions on your sleeve either.

Let’s talk about what’s really on your mind. Your past mistakes are meant to guide you – not to define you. It’s vital to talk about them. Being vulnerable is not a weakness, you can trust in being transparent. It’s critical to make peace with your past so that it doesn’t disturb your present. Hiding away from yourself and not talking is not a way to protect yourself – only to hurt yourself further.

It’s not necessary to overthink things either, it’s alright and perfectly acceptable to not know all the answers. Slow down and pay attention to the life that is trying to weave its way into your present awareness

Try to retrain your mind to accept life as it is, rather than as you think it is supposed to be.

Becoming beautiful means beginning to accept yourself as you are – deeply so. One day you will realize that material things mean precious little, and all that truly matters is the well-being of the people in your life – including yourself.

It’s possible to be perfectly happy without that meaning that everything in your life is perfect. In fact, it’s not necessary to have achieved anything at all to still be someone very special.

May the space between where you are and where you want to be not scare you, but inspire you. Acceptance means to offer genuine presence to yourself in every moment, and paradoxically that is the beginning of changing into the person you aspire to become. The best self-acceptance is the love for yourself that makes you a better person, without having to change into to someone other than the self of your highest aspirations.

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Relationship Selection Process

Your selection process in choosing friends, intimate partners and others to have in your life will largely dictate and determine your emotional future. Anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt and other destructive emotions can largely be mediated by a wise selection process – what you will accept and not accept, tolerate and not tolerate.

If you enter the amusement park don’t blame anyone else. If you get on the roller coaster don’t blame another. Know what your selection process is, and stick to it – don’t waver. Most importantly be patient – the first few months in any relationship is not a reliable indicator of character; it takes time to have enough reliable data points to see the larger chart of someone’s integrity and personality.
Pay careful attention to how someone manages and deals with conflict. All relationships have sticking points.

Key things to watch for: Emotional Responsibility

  1.  No one blames you for how they feel
  2.  No demands
  3. No control. Most importantly observe someone’s ability to communicate, apologize, forgive and move on.

If it’s too late and you’re already on the ride, instead of continuing to punish yourself, it’s okay to leave. Always give yourself permission to move on to another adventure – each time a little wiser than before.

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You Are So Valueble 

If you’re new to this, welcome! This is how we start our day as meditators and Buddhist practitioners. If you’re from another faith or without faith that won’t matter as this is a non-religious exercise in love for ourselves and humanity. This remembrance is a very sweet and special way to begin each morning: 
Briefly contemplate (think about) this subject for 2-3 minutes each day as the first step in your morning practice. For the next three days I’ll be posting on how to contemplate the remaining three practices – simply add one each day. These brief practices will positively change your life in a short amount of time. You are encouraged to sustain these contemplations everyday for the rest of your life. Let’s start with the first one now – the precious human birth.

Slow down, take a few deep breaths – really connect to your breathing. 
Begin by contemplating the opportunity you have been afforded by having a precious human birth: 
You are very fortunate. Your human existence is invaluable, for you are endowed with the freedom and conditions necessary for developing and practicing loving-kindness and compassion. You also have the ability to help yourself and others to stop suffering and contribute to the overall welfare of our world and every living being. You have the possibility of leaving this world each day a much better place than you found it. 
It’s of no use to intellectualize the preciousness of your human birth – instead – feel that having this human life is very special, that this is an incredible opportunity. Do you feel it? Can you feel your potential? It is so vital, so important to come back to this each day – to know your worth, to both know and to feel that you are very important, that you are very special and have extraordinary meaning. It is the same feeling a mother would have holding her only newborn child – beaming, hopeful, so full of life and promise. 
Appreciate and take stock in what you have. A body that works, sense faculties – your eyes, your ears, your nose, your tongue, you have an amazing ability to feel. You have your limbs, and a mind of vast and creative potential. Many people are not as fortunate as you, but at least they have their mind. And many people do not even have that. Many people do not even have full use of their limbs and sense faculties. Take stock and rejoice in what you do have. You are alive, and you are blessed. You do make a difference and can do even more…Please start your day like this, take the time to feel these things, how blessed you are, and to appreciate the sacredness of your life.
You are in a free country, you have freedom of speech, expression, and religion. You have the freedom to have property, to vote and receive an education. In our country so far, things are easy to come by – almost anything you could ever want is right at your fingertips. And it is also so easy to give back – so easy to share all that you have received. 
And before you fall asleep, do you feel, “Wow, I’m so fortunate I have enough food to eat, a bed, and I’m warm?” Perhaps, but far too often – no. Too often people feel the opposite about their lives. 
They demand, “I want more, I want things to be different, better.” Or…“I’m bad, worthless…I’ve been abandoned…I’m unlovable.” 
Generally this is because you’re caught by ego, which is never, ever satisfied. Ego always needs something, it wants something because it’s vacant and empty. Self-fulfillment is never fulfilling for very long. It’s painful to acknowledge just how many people are caught and ensnared here; More painful to admit that this has been ourselves. 
But honestly, your life is really very good. That’s what you need to consider about your precious human birth. Think about how much freedom you have because of this human birth, how good this circumstance is for practicing and relating to the world with wisdom, loving-kindness and compassion. 
You have food, warmth, safety, and you have teachers. In every session of meditation purposely reflect on this because the rest of our training is based on resting the mind. Contemplating on the preciousness of your birth will help you to feel safe and protected – safe enough to put your mind at ease and rest. 
It’s vital that you feel safe enough in your own worth and value so that you feel that it’s okay to give of yourself – to share and to be generous with whatever you have with others and without regret. 

You need to influence your emotional understanding about the preciousness of your life, and that influence comes through a conscious willingness to train your mind. 
You just have to think about it again and again until you feel it in your whole emotional system, until everything inside your body agrees that, “I know I have a precious and valuable human life. I feel how important this opportunity is!” 

Once you have conviction about the preciousness and importance of human existence, you’ll want to use it all of the time to the very best of your ability. As the Buddhist master Longchen Rabjam said, “We now have the independence to genuinely apply ourselves, so do not squander your life on pointless things.”

Start with being grateful. Begin each day by being GRATEFUL. Try to come up with three new things everyday – three heartfelt gratitudes. Write them down each day in a journal, your gratitude journal. Review your gratitudes each week and in no time you will start to know and feel your precious human birth.

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Listening Deeply

Listening Deeply

One of the easiest ways to disturb yourself is to care what others think and say about you. Freedom comes from being yourself without seeking permission, acceptance or validation from others. When others judge you they do not define you – they define themselves. People seem not to realize that their negative views of others and the world is a reflection of their own character. Conversely the beauty that others find in you is also a reflection of their heart and spirit. Often people speak negatively of others because they feel threatened by all that’s right. You can tell an awful lot about a person by what they choose to see in you. And not that we’re seeking it, but one of the nicest feelings is when someone appreciates everything about you that someone else took for granted.

The reality is you could be amazing, genuine and sincere and still be completely missed. Try and be at peace with people who don’t like or even run from you. Resist the temptation to fight back; energy flows where the attention goes and you have better uses for your positive resources. When you realize your value you’ll find it increasingly difficult to associate with people who don’t. When you’ve put so much work into changing for the better don’t forget to stop from time to time and love the person you’re becoming.
Give up on teaching anyone anything, and instead just encourage others to think for themselves – and to think deeply. Freely admit what you don’t know – which happens to be most everything. The wisest men are humbled by realizing that they actually know precious little. Try to speak and act from the heart without expectation of praise or applause. 
 It’s in your interest to give up on jealousy and competition and simply wish that everyone succeeds at finding happiness. With the right view and attitude you’ll discover that without exception life gives you whatever experience would be most beneficial for your evolution and development. You can never lose if you learn. 

May you be happy, well, safe, peaceful and at ease🌷

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Empathy and Sympathy 

Empathy is the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand-relate as best as you can to how that person feels in the situation. The trait of being able to express this feeling and understanding it is the second tier of empathy. Another response to hearing another person’s problem is to express sympathy. Sympathy is the ability to express ‘culturally acceptable’ condolences to anothers plight. A lot of the time, this includes pointing out a silver lining in the situation but it’s not always a helpful thing to do.Empathy is harder to accomplish for many reasons. We not only have to actively listen to another person’s problems without judgement but then be honest with ourselves and the other person about our feelings as a listener. That connection builds bridges that reinforce trust and understanding that are healthy and positive for both people. At a later time it may be appropriate to look for a solution. Few things in the world make people feel better than when trusted family or friends understand where they’re standing; it helps them to feel better because it gives confidence to their own standing. People are frequently lost in life and reassurance can be paramount in helping others to gain a foothold to take the next healthy step.

Next time someone opens up to you about a problem, try to listen to what they are saying. They are reaching out for help and full acknowledgement is the first step. I know it’s hard to willingly put yourself through more unnecessary pain but it in doing so you will both feel better. Identifying similar feeling in similar situations strengthens healthy bonds for not only the two of you but the community as a whole. We all suffer at some point and by talking it out we can genuinely help each other through hardships.

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Recognizing Your Angels

People are oceans – they cannot be recognized by their surface. How can I recognize the best ones for me?❤️

The best kind of people are the ones that come into your life and help you to see the sun, where you once only saw clouds. The people that believe in you so much, that you start to believe in you too. The people that love you, simply for being you – the ones who look past the behaviors, never give up on or lose hope for you; the ones who encourage you to see your endless potential. The ones who support your health, and the ones who listen. The ones who take the time to look beneath your surface.

The best ones remind you to never put yourself down and to never stop being kind to yourself. The very best ones tell you that it’s going to be okay, to breathe and to never give up or to lose your good heart. The ones who encourage you to keep going – that remind you that we all go through dark times and phases – and to never look back. The ones who will hold you in your bleakest hour. The ones who help you to stand when you fall. The ones who support you in your search for something deeper.

Finally – the ones that remind you that you are empowered – that you are the architect of your own future, that you are creative, and that you can do anything you set your mind to. That you can do and undo anything. To be patient. To never give up on love. The one’s that never stop loving you. These are the very best ones for you.❤️


“Anyone can learn the dance, just listen to the music.


Thank you to my angels🙏🌷

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