A Strategy for Compassion

A Strategy for CompassionBack when I was studying for my NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Certification, we were taught that if one person can do something well, anyone can figure out their strategy and replicate it for themselves. NLP’ers were busy systematizing all kinds of strategies for excellence: better golf swings, improved eyesight, weight loss, and successful business applications. All fine and good, I thought, but why aren’t we codifying something important, like how to increase levels of compassion? Read More

On Art as Therapy

On Art As Therapy1) At the end of his life, Timothy Leary apologized for having written so many books. The book, he said, is out of date, old technology, and therefore only adds to the pollution of the world.

2) Writing as a Spiritual Practice was the name of a workshop I once attended. The leader was a Zen nun with a severe grey crewcut and three-hour-a-day habit which she executed whether she felt like it or not, unlike me. When you write about painful material from the past, Read More

After the Insight, Part Two

After the InsightAfter an important insight into why you act the way you do, the long process of changing your behavior begins, one action at a time. Most people find it difficult to change without outside support, and if that is you, it doesn’t mean you’re weak or wrong in some way, merely a member of the human race. Here are ten suggestions for finding support:

1. Keep a journal – Writing down your thoughts and feelings while Read More

How Can You Feel Sexy When You’re All Stressed Out?

cute-relateSure, I know, there’s work, and working out, and eating right, and the economy, and relationship struggles, and, and, and, … and then if you have kids, there’s even more. What a balancing act! Sometimes it’s a wonder we have any energy left for sex at all. To make sure it doesn’t get that way for you, learn to become better at managing your stress. Here are some tips: Read More

Four Ways Spirituality Can Hurt You

Four Ways Spirituality Can Hurt YouDon’t get me wrong – spirituality is a good thing. In today’s world, most people could benefit from becoming more in touch with their spirituality, not less. In my practice, however, I see ways that new age spirituality is hurting people. Here are things to look out for:

1) You believe that by thinking positively or by saying affirmations, life will follow your whims and dictates. In psychology, we call this ‘magical thinking.’ In reality, it takes a lot of hard work to accomplish your dreams, to live the life to which you aspire. Thinking right is an important part of the process, but it is only the Read More

The Eyes – Your False Friends

The Eyes Your False FriendI often send my single patients to Starbucks to sit and people watch, in a different way than they are used to. I ask them to scan for people who look kind, responsible, trustworthy: the type of person, for example, who thinks it would be fun to coach Little League after work. People often get all tangled up in their love lives because the kind of person who would make a good parent to their future kids does not look like the person who fuels their erotic Read More

“When in Doubt, Blame Your Parents”

When In Doubt Blame Your Parents“When in doubt…” was a slogan on a card I received that I’ve never thrown out because it makes me laugh every time I see it. That would be an easy out, right? You don’t need to accept responsibility for yourself because your parents made you the way you are. If you do something harmful to yourself or someone else, it’s not your fault, it’s your Read More

The Bossa Nova Cure

bossa nova, getz/gilberto, bossa nova cure“When I’m listening to bossa nova, it seems like everything’s right with the world.” I was talking to my therapist of the time about my (then) chronic depression. I hadn’t been seeing him that long and we were still finding out if it was a fit. “That slinky slide,” I said, “that bittersweet quality, that sexy smooth sunlight-on-the-beach thing. You get the feeling that whatever happens with the world, it’ll be okay.” I looked Read More

Premature Forgiveness

Prematrue ForgivenessMany people who come to see me announce that they have already forgiven the people who hurt them, so the work is done. They’ve read in spiritual books that forgiveness is the key, so wanting to be good people, they are anxious to forgive and forget. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

This type of forgiveness is done from the level of the mind, by making a decision to think about the situation differently, which is as helpful as putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm. The pain Read More

Innies and Outies

Innies and Outies I used to feel bad about being an introvert. It’s just really supremely nerdy to prefer to stay home and read. I was born that way, though, what can I say. Even when I was little I remember my mother yelling at me, “Cathy, stop reading and go outside and play.” In a minute, Mom, in a minute. After I finish this paragraph, this chapter, this 800-page book.

America is an extravagantly extroverted culture. People are judged on their social skills, their level of apparent happiness and “positivity,” and their lack Read More