Blogs

The Point

“…Except for the point, the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance.” T.S. Eliot, At the Still Point of the turning world To tell you the truth I’ve come through a few dark nights but in the middle of them I have asked the question: “What’s the point?” Perhaps […]

The Difference Between Grieving and Self-Pity

This is a brief excerpt is from one of my latest books, The Flying Boy Letters: Getting Back to Y’all 30 Years Later, published by Teitlebaum Publishing. Back in the day people actually wrote letters to authors. This book contains dozens of letters and my answers to their questions. Ms. “Very Impatient With Myself” writes: […]

When the Buddha Met Bubba

Here’s an excerpt from my first award-winning novel penned under the pseudonym, Richard Dixie Hartwell, now available as an audio release by Creative Change Conferences and soon to be released as a movie. It’s a story about Billy Bob Coker, also known as Bubba, a redneck who reaches rock bottom until a freak head injury […]

I LOST MYSELF

“…the wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:  what have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?” Antonio Machado Most people never really know the date, time, or place that we let ourselves slip out of sight. I know when I got my genetically pre-dispositioned heart attack several years […]

I’m Not Your Mother and I’m Not Your Father: How We Speak to Adults

“…all spoke the same language. That was the time when words were like magic…” Inuit If you are not my parent, why do I feel like a child? Growing up in Alabama, or at least trying to, my mother almost always talked to my dad as if he were her son or her father. Dad […]

Are You Empathetic or Sympathetic? There’s a Big Difference

“…Tell me about your despair, And I’ll tell you about mine…” Mary Oliver While nothing much is as black and white as things sound, for the purposes of discussion, here are the definitions. Empathy: I understand some of what you are feeling and going through because I’ve been through similar experiences myself. Sympathy: I feel […]

Letting Your Feelings Out of the Cage

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb A few months or a lifetime ago (virus deaths are like dog years), I wrote a blog on the loneliness epidemic. Americans, in spite of technology, are some of the loneliest people in the world due to […]

Eros and Thanatos: Passion and Death

“Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive. Jump into experience while you are alive! Think… and think… while you are alive.” Kabir translated by Robert Bly Most of my adult life, both professionally and personally, has been devoted to a pursuit of Eros, which means “life instinct,” passion, purpose, and positivity. Eros is […]

Are You Feeling Melancholy?

“Besides my numerous circle of acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant – my melancholy… My melancholy is the most faithful mistress I have known…” Soren Kierkegaard The word “melancholy” is no longer used much these days, sad to say. So exactly what does the word mean? There is no exact answer but here are […]

Lack of Grief: A Thorn in the Flesh

It’s Good Friday here in Coronavirus Land. We might say on this “Holy Week” that the virus itself is our thorns, or the fear being distributed by the media is pricking and piercing us, for some it is the Federal Government that is sticking it to us. For me, it is all of the above, […]

Feeling Guilty: Maybe Not

“Guilt is a teacher, love is the lesson.” Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. Guilt is not a feeling. Guilt is a judgement and a social/religious construct that has been drilled into our heads for so long that we actually think we “feel guilty” a good deal of the time. I ask my clients and workshop participants to […]

INSANE FOR THE LIGHT

“We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.”  Robert Bly  I’ve always wanted more quiet in my house as a […]

The Missing Peace: Solving the Anger Problem for Alcoholics, Addicts and Those Who Love Them

“Anger ventilated often hurries toward forgiveness; and concealed often hardens into revenge.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton Have you ever loved an alcoholic or addict? Probably most reading this would answer, “Yes!” Alcoholics and addicts (love, sex, porn, gambling, shopping, eating, etc.) are angry about a lot of different things: Growing up in an alcoholic’s or addict’s home Being […]

Courting a Woman’s Soul – Part 2: In Search of the Feminine

“It still hasn’t occurred to Western man to stop looking on woman as a symbol of something and to begin seeing her simply as woman – as a human being.” Robert Johnson Still here in 2020, most men are still unconsciously searching for their own feminine part of their being in the faces, eyes, and […]

Courting the Souls of the Ones You Love: the “Platinum Rule of Loving”

I was forty-something and still longing to be loved the way I needed to be. She had the same longing. Misguided like a missile missing its target, I practiced the “Golden Rule” – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” So, I tried to send her love the way I wanted […]

Courting a Woman’s Soul

Last night as I was sleeping, I dreamt—marvelous error!— that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures. Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly By the time I met my friend who became my wife for 16 years, I had […]

Writing from the Body: For Writers, Artists, and Dreamers Who Long to Free Their Voice

Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer’s makeup, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto. – Ray Bradbury – Zen in the Art of […]

THE CROW’S MESSAGE: Are We Afraid or Anxious?

“If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life—and only then will I be free to become myself.” Martin Heidegger In my last blog post I talked about the differences between depression and despair. For me to […]

THE CROW’S MESSAGE: The Differences Between Depression and Despair

“Despair is a haven with its own temporary form of beauty…” David Whyte Several years ago, I gave a brief lecture to about a hundred men at a conference in Minnesota on the differences between depression and despair. During the talk a tall man standing in the back of the room began weeping. At the […]

Surrendering to What Is: Staying Open to What Will Be

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” ~ Joseph Campbell Yes, I know. You read the word; heard the word “surrender” and you think, not me, I’m not giving up. I won’t accept defeat. I’ve been thinking about this word a lot lately […]

Interruption Rage: The Kind of Rage No One Has Talked About

People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing. ~ Will Rogers See the tiny toddler going to explore the dog in the neighbor’s yard? Now listen to what she might have heard – best case – “Get back here young lady.” Worse case from the very anxious or perhaps exhausted parent, “Don’t […]

The Flying Boy Letters: Getting Back to Y’all 30 Years Later

This is a most unique and comprehensive book, which is a culmination of thousands of hours of teaching, counseling, key noting clinical conferences on relationships, men’s issues, recovery, anger, regression, grief, and passivity. This small book is the “best of” 30 years. I would be honored and appreciative of any support you may provide. Please buy […]

The Language of Animals

Animals are nothing but the forms of our virtues and vices, wandering before our eyes, the visible phantoms of our souls. ~ Victor Hugo Men used to listen attentively to the messages of the animals; our lives, our souls, depended on it. The appearances and absences of certain animals at certain times were full of […]

Conflict

“In fact, the conflict itself is creative and perhaps should never be healed.” ~ Thomas Moore Very often men seek to remove conflict. At times that’s the best move to make. But hoping for an end to all conflict is unrealistic. Conflict is natural; it’s part of living in community rather than isolation. When conflict […]

The Perfection of Imperfection

Baseball … teaches that errors are part of the game. ~ Ernest Kurtz Some of us, long ago, learned that anything less than perfection was failure. We learned this in our families, at school, from coaches. Some of us had “four A, one B” parents: we handed them our report card, they looked silently at […]

Seeking the Truth

If you tell the truth, you have infinite power supporting you; but if not, you have infinite power against you. ~ Charles Gordon I’m a man who has told lies and lived lies and listened to the lies of other men. Lying is what I was taught to do. I was told that if it […]

Self-Esteem

“A man falling in his own esteem needs more ground under his feet; to stand again he may need the whole world for a foothold.” ~ Wendell Berry So many men try to live up to the expectations and visions of others (as our fathers did) by acquiring land and things, even by “collecting” people! […]

Search for the Sword

Though much is taken, much abides; … that which we are, we are, One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson Most of us received no sword from our fathers. Instead we inherited […]

Returning the Earth

“We have conquered the environment, and in our obsession for control, we no longer allow the environment to live in us.” ~ Valerie Andrews Humankind has “tamed” the wilderness, bought and sold land for profit and loss. For too long we have mortgaged the earth and bankrupted its resources, pouring fumes into the skies and […]

Retrieving Dreams

Imagination is more important than knowledge. ~ Albert Einstein If we believe that our dream life is at least as important as our waking life, what wonders might occur. Intuition is as real and dependable as anything that can be scientifically observed. We know from experience that we become what we imagine. We don’t just […]

Learning Patience

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence. ~ Hal Borland Men learned how to wait long ago. We waited on our parents to approve of us, to love us as we were, to stop drinking, or just to come home from work and give us their attention. Failing […]

Empowerment

The power of a man … is his present means to obtain some future apparent good. ~ Thomas Hobbes Many of us have lived for power, often getting it at a very high cost to ourselves and the people we love. In such cases, we seldom feel empowered by our actions. Nor do we feel […]

The False Self

Ring out the false, ring in the true. ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson As boys we learned that we had to find out who others wanted us to be. Then we were taught we had to become that person in order to get acceptance, appreciation, and love – things we should have gotten just for being […]

Centering

For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all tasks, and the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke As men we were often taught that the center of our universe is work, that we are […]

Youth and the Flying Boy

In the woods is perpetual youth. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson Because our society is so youth-oriented, many men want to “stay young.” Compounding the problem is the fact that so many of us as boys were made to grow up too fast. It’s as though we lost our youth before we ever had it – […]

Where is the Treasure?

If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having. ~ Henry Miller As boys, many of us learned that having a lot of toys brought popularity. As teenagers, whoever had the first car was the center of attention. If we had more clothes, money, and athletic ability, we had more […]

A Wordless Language

Nature is one of the languages God speaks. ~ Robert Bly Many men have dabbled in, even mastered, languages. We speak fluent English, manage German “ein bischen,” use a peso’s worth of Spanish, murmur French when we feel amorous. We understand well the language of commerce, of industry. We’re plainspoken about stocks and bonds. We […]

Deep Respect

Our capacity for intimacy is built on deep respect, a presence that allows what is true to express itself, to be discovered. ~ Jack Kornfield Respect can connect humans at the deepest level. Love that is based on respect – rather than need or longing – is more enduring. Such respect can tolerate great differences. […]

Earth, the Great Teacher

Speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee. ~ Job 12:8 So many men have been brainwashed into believing that the Earth is not alive, that it possesses no character, no feeling, and that it’s merely here to serve the insatiable demands of a greedy few. As we recover from this soul-shattering falsehood, a new […]

A Quiet Strength

“A thoughtful book like this encourages contemplation, rather than hyperactivity, and, oddly, we need good words in order to find fruitful silence.”  ~ Thomas Moore – Care of the Soul Who will mentor, teach, and touch the souls of the boys who have been bullied, bloodied and beaten literally or figuratively? Each day from now […]

Regression: The Damage

“Where have all the grownups gone?” ~ Robert Bly, The Sibling Society Emotional regression is a person and social unconscious return to our history when our buttons are pushed, or we get triggered and we react instead of respond. Regression gives us the sense that we are small, or little and not the powerful adults […]

Racism – My First and Last Sermon – No Apologies

Q. How are we supposed to treat others? A. There are no others. ~ Ramana Maharshi My eyes bleed to see the racism, bigotry, homophobia and xenophobia that I’ve never seen before. I lived in Alabama in the late 50s, 60s, and 70s, and to be sure the language of hate was spewed all across the […]

Honesty: Brutal, Rigorous, Lying

“Are you proud of yourself tonight that you have insulted a total stranger whose circumstances you know nothing about?” ~ Atticus Finch – “To Kill a Mockingbird” On the 4th of July a new acquaintance and I had lunch and it went very well. However, in the parking lot as we were saying goodbye, she said, […]

From Rescuing to Resentment

“He was so angry at me you would have thought I had tried to help him.” Harry Stack Sullivan, M.D. Look, I’ve certainly done my share of rescuing men, women, and a variety of small and large animals. The animals were all very grateful. But rescuing people is not a good idea. I have one friend […]

“Why?” The Most Useless Question

Yesterday during an intensive session with a client, he said, “Why did she leave me? Why didn’t I see the red flags?” Today during a phone session with a man in his late 60s, he said, “I’ve always asked myself why did I get to come back from Vietnam and so many of my buddies […]

Every Time You Say “YOU,” You Will Pay!

The rule for men and women’s communication before, say Adam and Eve, was to not talk much about anything.  Adam never told Eve how he felt about the apple thing. Then there was a huge communication advance somewhere around the 80’s – “When you say or do, I feel…,” and then you would fill in the […]

Seven Years to Seven Minutes

“It ain’t dying’ I’m talking about, it’s living…” Gus in Lonesome Dove Hold on, there’s a good and true ending. Let’s say your doctor tells you (God forbid), “You have seven years to live.” Here are the four questions I had to ask myself when I did this exercise: Where will you go? What will […]

Masculinity

Masculinity means so many different things depending on who you ask. In 1991 there was a meeting set up by Warren Farrell, one of the earliest pioneers in men’s issues, at his mountain retreat in California. A dozen or so of us so-called leaders of the Men’s Movement were invited to come and share our […]

Third Act

Scene 1 I’m an aging man sitting with his three dogs in a rented house way out of my price range. Divorced now for five and one-half years, I share custody with my ex of the Malamute, Benji dog and Baby Bella, the dachshund mix. Now you folks reading this who are under 50, keep […]

Designated Problem: Let’s Get Rid of the Label

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding about ourselves. C.G. Jung “Mend his life.” “You really need help.” “Fix her.” “If he would just get into therapy.” “If she would only stop drinking.” “We’d be all right then.” No, you wouldn’t be and neither would they. You see, one of […]

What Now?

Thoughts and Poetic Direction When you come to a fork in the road, take it. Yogi Berra No matter what age you are or what stage of life you are in you will come to Berra’s forks in the road. Most folks have four prongs pointing forward, none to the past unless you turn the […]

Why We Can’t Be Rejected

“When we lose someone and we find ourselves, we win.” Anonymous One of my best, dearest friends I’ll call K has broken all contact. She doesn’t call; she doesn’t write; she doesn’t send flowers or return texts, and seemingly doesn’t miss me at all. My psychologist brain says, “don’t take it personally.” My human heart […]

CLOSURE: A Made-Up Relationship Term

If you’re going home for the holidays, trying to recover from a divorce, a break-up or really any transition, change or loss may I suggest we stop looking for Closure. Closure is, according to the dictionary, “a psychological term that describes and individual’s desire for a firm answer to a question and an aversion to […]

So What’s the Holdup on Being Held?

As Part II to my previous post, “Isn’t It Touching,” I thought touch-starved men might be interested in considering the following ideas. Most men either have one male friend who lives in Russia or Tasmania, but they haven’t  met face to face in 30 years, or they have none – solution? Get more men in […]

Isn’t It Touching?

Most men are touch starved, touch phobic or sexualize a tender touch. Many men have never availed themselves to a therapeutic massage by males or females. I was one of those men into my 30s. The first time I received a healing massage, I wept and wondered why I’d waited so long and why I […]

The Illusion and Reality of Abandonment

“Adults can’t be abandoned,” I said in a clinical conference with 500 or more persons in the audience. They were stunned and were contemplating running me out of town after being tarred and feathered. “Wait a minute – I didn’t say adults don’t feel abandoned.” A mother says, “But my adult son stopped coming to […]

Excerpt from best-selling book The Flying Boy: Healing the Wounded Man

The following is taken from my first best-selling book, The Flying Boy: Healing the Wounded Man. I thought it was timely to share this since I will be keynoting at two men’s events this month: Oct 19-21 The Bubba-Buddha Men’s Empowerment Weekend for Mentor*Discover*Inspire Organization (MDI) ~ LaFayette GA Oct 26-27 What Does Healthy Masculinity […]

A Collection of Poems from a new book, “Five Friends on Sunday Afternoons”

Book Release Celebration and Reading at Malvern Books – Friday Oct 5 at 7 pm John Lee will be celebrating the release of, and reading from, a new collection of poems, “Five Friends on Sunday Afternoons,” along with authors, Lyman Grant, Bill Jeffers, David Jewell and John Oakley McElhenney. Please join them at 7 PM […]

Letter # 40 – Sitting on a Rock by a Small Stream

Dear Mr. Lee, I’m sitting on a rock beside a small stream in the Memphis Botanical Gardens as I write this letter to you. My name is Thomas and I am a 25-year-old graduate student who knows where you have been. I can and do identify with everything you have written in The Flying Boy. […]

THE FLYING BOY LETTERS: Getting Back to Y’all 30 Years Later

These are excerpts from my forthcoming book. They encapsulate my work with clients, workshop participants and key-notes. Hope you find them helpful. Letter #7 Dear John, Sitting in the audience listening to you on that Saturday night at the International Men’s Conference in Austin, I was struck by your voiced desire to simultaneously honor what […]

The Flying Boy Letters: Getting Back to Y’all 30 Years Later

Letter 21 St. Louis, MO Dear John, I need to thank you for your book, “The Flying Boy.” I am in the midst of reading it for the second time. The first reading tore me to pieces and put me back together. I had to become consumed with intense pain before I was willing to […]

THE LONELINESS EMERGENCY: From Isolation to Connection

“…Loneliness can be a prison, a place from which we look out at a world we cannot inhabit…” Poet David Whyte Some people are on the mountain of loneliness—rock stars, chefs and business tycoons. Some, who we will never know their names, are in despair, depression, and stuck, barely able to walk or stand. Sadly, […]

Where Do I Go from Her: Writing Out My Divorce – Part I

In this unusual blog post I am sending out samplings of my new soon-to-be eBook. I am very interested in your thoughts and feelings about this little project. So if you have time and the inclination to leave me a note or email me at john@johnleebooks.com, I’d certainly welcome and appreciate any and all responses. Thanks […]

Home for the Holidays

There’s something about that season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s that will bring out the adult children’s worst fears and greatest expectations. One of the biggest fears is that we’ll be alone. The biggest expectation is that we’ll finally have a Christmas the way a normal family does. This Christmas we’ll all be together, and […]

Further Thoughts on Unbecoming

The young person’s task is to primarily emancipate from his or her original family. I have a chapter in my book, Recovery: Plain and Simple, titled, “Saying Goodbye to Mom and Dad.” The teen and early twenties, and now, even men and women in their early thirties, focus on establishing themselves in the world, and […]

Enhancing Emotional Intelligence – Part II

Separation vs Isolation Emotionally intelligent people engage in separation instead of isolation. By age two children begin the process of separating from their parents. By age twelve they are fully engaged in the process; unless the parents did not experience healthy separation from their parents, in which case they will tend to cling and limit […]

Enhancing Emotional Intelligence – Part I

Feelings Are As Important As Facts First things first—A feeling is a fact at the moment a person is experiencing it. Emotion is as important as logic. In other words, if a person feels sad because their pet of ten years is lost or died, the sadness is as real as the sun, and they […]

Crawling Through the Grass of Grief

A Poem by John Lee As I crawled through the tall grass of grief I saw so many interesting and disquieting things.   The priest asks us to bend our knees and pray but doesn’t he mean crawl?   Crawling makes us indistinguishable from nearly eight or ninety percent of life.   Ants crawled right […]

Pagans, Poetry and Back sliding

The University of North Alabama, formerly Florence State College, formerly Florence State Teacher’s College, spread out before me waiting to suck me into its academic belly, digest me and spit me out an educated hillbilly, redneck, retired salesman, boozer and babe chaser, and send me on to seminary and then out into the wicked world […]

Machine Shop

Excerpt from Life is a Funny Old Dog I worked in my dad’s machine shop after school and on Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays. During the summer he would give me a full week’s vacation with pay, and I’d go and visit my granddaddy and grandma on his side of the family. It was there […]

School-Dazed and Confused

Now for a totally different kind of blog post in a more personal story/memoir format. Part of the reason I’m doing this is because memoir will be heavily discussed in my latest Writing from the Body workshop. If you like these types of posts, please let me know and I’ll post regularly. Life is a […]

Reflections on Becoming a Rogue Psychologist

I needed the money to supplement the poverty wages I was making as a teaching assistant while working on my master’s degree at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. I took a job as a counselor/baby-sitter at what the State called a Center for “emotionally disturbed children” – a euphemism for a holding tank for […]

A Thunderstorm in Mentone – a Poem for my Father

The wind is different tonight. The leaves on the trees move easily. Summer rain cleans the horses grazing the wet grass in the pasture across the road. I saw lightning for the first time in months. It looked like a ragged tuning fork, and I felt the thunder roll through my body. Today, in a […]

I Can’t Get Angry at my Mother

The Flying Boy Letters: Responses and Replies 30 Years Later Letter # 12 September 11, 1990 Norwalk, Connecticut Dear John: I just finished your book, The Flying Boy, and since I am one, I thought you might be able to provide to me advice regarding a specific issue I’ve been confronting—and one you’ve confronted. First of […]

The Flying Boy Letters: Responses and Replies 30 Years Later

This an excerpt from my forthcoming book written with Kat Hrdina. …I think that an addiction to a person is much worse than an addiction to a drug. My relationship with this man was like a roller coaster ride all the time. We would get close emotionally, so I thought, only to be dumped then […]

And now for a break from psychology and into the realm of fairy tales

“We must let go of the life we planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell …The King then decided to find his ugly snake son a bride and get him married so his golden haired son could get married and inherit the kingdom. So he looked all around […]

Discipline and Punishment

Anger as Punishment and Revenge Alcoholics, addicts, and adult children of alcoholics don’t get angry – they get even. One of the reasons adults have such a problem feeling and expressing their anger is because anger has forever been tied to punishment and revenge. People who are punished – instead of disciplined – tend to […]

Grieving: The Doorway to Healing and to Maturity

This is the time of year when a lot of grief may rise to the surface, and a season that should not be about money. In that regard, when I first started my counseling career over 30 years ago, I did so with the objective to just help folks. Even though I have kept that objective in […]

Asking the Important Questions – Part II: by John Lee

In celebration of my 65th birthday in October, I’m going to post a couple of poems – given that I still want to be a poet when I grow up. Also in October, to celebrate getting Social Security Retirement, I’m going to be more social than usual for a dyed-in-the-wool introvert. I will be giving a public reading […]

Asking the Important Questions – Part I: by John Lee

In celebration of my 65th birthday in October, I’m going to post a couple of poems – given that I still want to be a poet when I grow up. Also in October, to celebrate getting Social Security Retirement, I’m going to be more social than usual for a dyed-in-the-wool introvert. I will be giving a public reading […]

Symptoms of Depression and Passivity

Sadness that does not abate The passive person is often sad in part because they do not actively grieve their missed opportunities, sabotaged relationships, passed over for promotions and much more. When depression is not bio-chemical it is usually brought about by repressed and denied emotions that continually build into full-blown depression. Loss of interest […]

2016 Minnesota Men’s Conference

The Minnesota Men’s Conference is near and dear to my heart, and this link will take you to an exciting and worthwhile opportunity to help others. I hope you will consider giving back to this cause. Please click here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/2016-minnesota-men-s-conference-poetry#/

Life Is A Funny Old Dog – Introduction

An Excerpt from the Introduction of a Memoir in Progress In Alabama, if you meet someone you know you say, “How’s your momma’n’em?” If you don’t know them, you say hello, pass some pleasantries, and then you say, “So who are your people?” Let me answer this question. These are my people, at least the […]

Announcement – I will be offering 2-Day Intensive Sessions in Austin, Texas beginning September 1, 2016

I’m pleased to announce that after a break from offering my 2-day Intensives in Austin, Texas, I am now making those available again starting September 1, 2016 at the Austin Men’s Center, thanks to Director Bill Bruzy. As most of you know Austin is not only charming and beautiful, it is a convenient location for […]

HOW to Tell the Difference Between Anger and Rage

A woman called me the other day for help. When I asked her what the problem was, she didn’t hesitate. “I am living with the angriest man in the world.” I said, “Tell me how he expresses his anger?” After four or five descriptive sentences I said, “I hate to interrupt, but everything you’ve said […]

Boundaries

WE HAVE TO WATCH OUT WHERE WE’RE GOING: Boundary Errors and Boundary Violations First, a boundary is “This is how close you can come to me:” physically, spiritually, in conversations about love or money, etc. A “boundary error” is when someone, whether friend or foe, has crossed over into my space, my yard, my soul, […]

Passivity – Part II

Identifying Passivity Passivity is a compulsion or learned tendency to live at half-speed regarding certain segments of their life. Almost no-one reading this is “purely” passive but rather exhibiting passive tendencies which ultimately leaves people feeling their life or career glass is half-empty and thus halfheartedly committing to projects, plans and goals. Passive people are […]

Passivity – Part I

Solving the Problem of Passivity Passivity is the compulsion to pursue the opposite of what we say we want. This compulsion left unidentified and dealt with leaves us unfulfilled at best, sabotages success and at worst depressed, hopeless and feeling victimized. “I don’t care. Whatever you want is fine with me.” “It is not the […]

Unbecoming: From Despair to Love-Part 5

I can’t tell you all that I have hoped for here on this mountain this year. Somewhere along the way, perhaps walking my three animal companions through the woods on a winter afternoon I began filling the hole in my soul with Faith. I’ve learned a few important things perhaps six but still remember this one and that is by letting go of hoping and holding the hands of faith and resting in the palm of process it will cure some of the sores of Despair.

Unbecoming: From Despair to Love-Part 4

Hope is a well-set bear trap that we set for others almost daily. The poet Rumi says, “I shoot an arrow to the left, it lands right. I go after a deer and get chased by a wart hog. I did a pit to trap others. I should be suspicious of what I want.” We provide even the people we love with just enough false hope or encouragement on towards the impossible outcome. Hope like happiness is a turtle trying to catch and pass the hare of our desires. Hope is always in pursuit of something being some other way than the way it is.

Unbecoming: From Despair to Love-Part 3

Coming here to this cottage in the woods I assigned myself what I know now to be an impossible task and that was to learn how to be alone again and in so doing engage in the task of being happy. I needed to know that in this rural setting with no lovers, wives, little money, but dump truck loads of peace and quiet I could I acquire this illusory thing called happiness that everyone including me has been so desperately searching for most of our lives.