When Current Events Hit You Hard—Healing Your Heart


It seems the world has been smacked sideways, and nothing is straight.

Several truly horrible things have hit the news at once, one nightmarish story eclipsing the other.  We could feel we are living in a crazy house of mirrors, where everything we look at is distorted by the ugliness that is happening around us.

We feel affected by the random craziness of others, despite our will to put it all in perspective and put it out of our minds.

We’re reminded that everything can change in a moment.

This can trigger childhood feelings of “not safe,” for those of us who experienced that.

Many of my clients come in more upset when frightening things are in the news, as they are bombarded with memories that are in alignment with the current tragic headlines.

So often, it comes down to people unnecessarily creating misery for other people.


I, personally, am finding it very hard to take my mind off of the violence in Orlando:  the shooting at the Pulse nightclub, and just hours before that, the senseless assassination of Christina Grimmie, a young and rising singer.

My daughter and I watched Christina Grimmie’s YouTube videos before she was discovered on the Voice.  We saw her develop her talent and her confidence over time, and she was inspiring in her humility, her drive and in her clear awareness of who she was.

And then there is the looming election and fears, dismay and astonishment around the candidates.

All of this can create a feeling of anxiety for the future—our own, our children’s, and our grandchildren’s.

I don’t know that I have any answers, and am writing this to help me process my own feelings. Perhaps it can help someone else, too.

The words that come to me are:  accept the sadness, and let it be.  Experience the feelings; don’t resist them; observe the feelings and they will change.

Work it through—using writing, yoga, dance, sweating it out.

Heal yourself by reading and listening to gentle and funny things.  Avoid ugliness in entertainment.  Spend time with nature and animals.  Do creative, contemplative things.  Hold loved ones close.

All you have to offer anyone, at any time, is your own state of being.

Be especially kind.  Imagem 330

Breathe through it.


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  • If there is no forgiveness, then what is the point of growing and changing?
  • Be grateful you lived long enough to see the error, and consider the rest of your life an opportunity to do better.
  • Remorse is like grief: as you evolve, each NEW YOU has to do the self-forgiveness again.
  • Being who you were at the time, with the stressors, influences, circumstances, state of mind, level of emotional development, blind spots, etc.–how could you expect to have been different?
  • When you decide to forgive or not forgive, you are at a fork in the road. It’s either A, or else it’s B.
    • A: No forgiveness. With this option, you will ruin every relationship you have; you will bring even more negativity into the world. You will make yourself sick physically or mentally or both, while not making anything one bit better. By example, you will teach this negativity and harshness to others.  Ultimately, maintaining a grudge against yourself is a sick form of self-absorption.  In short, to choose Path A is to choose to continue to do harm.


  • B:   Acknowledge that people—including you—can change and do better.  Where you were blind, now see.  Where you were passive, now bring right action.  Where you did wrong, now do right.


  • Consider your life a story with a moral. What is the point you would like to make, given the facts of your life?
    • If you get some things very wrong, you can still get some things very right, have a life worth living, and leave the world a little bit better in some small ways.








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Sorting Out Forgiveness


Here are some words that may help in sorting out forgiveness.

We all behave badly sometimes.

We expect better of ourselves and others.

Who is it that you struggle with forgiving?  Someone close to you?  Yourself?

Perhaps you have already forgiven, but how you feel about the person has changed for the worse.  That does not mean you are holding on to resentment—that just means this person now has a different image in your eyes.

You may have forgiven, and yet you have lost respect—or even dislike this person now.

You may forgive, and at the same time never return to your former view of this person.

You may forgive—and yet regret the part this person played in your life.  Or you may feel remorse for your own contribution to this person’s misconduct.

In the past, you acted as a less-developed version of yourself, compared to the version you are today.

The same is true for the person who offended you.

There is the legend of the poisonous snake:

The snake asks a man to please put him in his pocket as the man crosses a river on stepping stones.  The snake tells the man he cannot swim, and would be so grateful if the man would carry him across.

The man says, “Ha! You are a poisonous snake!  I know better than to pick you up.”

The snake says, “If you just help me, I would never hurt you, on my honor.”

The man nervously picks up the snake and takes him across the river, and then once on the shore, takes the snake out of his pocket to let him go.  Before slithering away, the snake viciously bites the man.

The man cries in shock, “Why did you bite me after I trusted your words?”

The snake answered, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

Forgiveness is about our shock and disappointment that we are hurt when we trust fully and open-heartedly, like the man with the poisonous snake, like an innocent, like a baby,.  As we mature, we may have difficulty accepting that we can trust the ones we love only to a certain point.

Our true safety is not in any other person.  Safety is within.

If you have found you have a poisonous snake in your life, you do not need to carry the burden of resentment around with you.  You only need to reform your expectations of this person and act accordingly.

The bitterness that we hang on to is from a wish that the person would change, or a wish that the person had had a different heart, or had behaved differently, or the wish that we had behaved differently.  When we let go of such wishes, and simply accept what is, the resentment can go, and leave us in peace.

If there is someone in your life you need to forgive, because you want the peace of forgiveness, you will want to consider the new terms of your relationship, based on your new understanding of the dynamics between the two of you.

This involves restructuring and renegotiating the relationship: new expectations, new boundaries.

If the person has grown and changed and acknowledged the past errors, you may decide to begin again, on a new relationship with this person.

If the person remains in the dark, then you need to be your own best friend and protect yourself from further harm.

If the person you struggle to forgive is you yourself, consider this:  the fact that you are working on self-forgiveness already shows that you recognize your past errors.  Understand that in the past, your behavior came from many factors, including factors that have since changed.  Take stock of those factors, of how you have evolved since then.  Your anger towards yourself only perpetuates harm.

Release that, to allow yourself to grow into who you are now.


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The Tropical Island Question

Here is a question I have been posing to family, friends, clients and myself, and I pose it to you. I heard this question on a webinar presented by Danny Iny. The purpose of the question was to encourage participants to think about a topic on which they might create an online course. But this is a versatile question that lends itself to a wider use. This is a question that might help you get in touch with your own “daimon,” your own spiritual guiding force that softly and sweetly tries to direct your steps.

The question so intrigued me, that I’ve been asking it of others ever since.

Here it is:

You have won a full year on a tropical island paradise, with everything provided for you: meals, accommodations, finances—you have nothing you need to be responsible for, except for one thing. For this entire year, you must study one thing of your choosing. You may not change your course of study in the middle of the year; it has to be the same topic all year. Any teachers or materials you need will be provided. What will you study for the year?

Almost everyone I’ve asked has been quick with the answer—and quite sure of the response– before I’ve finished the question—even people who claim to have no idea what they want to do next in their lives.

Answers have included: Thai massage, painting, yoga, Carl Jung’s writings, how to write a novel, French language and literature, an intensive course on the beautiful places in the world to visit, the Kennedy assassination, the banjo,  psychology and human behavior….

What is your answer? What would you study?

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Grandbabies and the Mystery

Who can explain the mystery of a baby?

This little being, who belongs to his family, but truly belongs only to himself.

My first grandchildren were born on August 26: twin boys. I grow more in love by the moment, and am pulled ever further into the mystery. “Who have we here?” I whisper, in awe.

I ask adult twins for advice on “grandmothering” twins. “Don’t label them—the smart one, the sporty one, etc.—that only closes off possibilities to them.” “Treat them as the individuals they are. Don’t give them both the same present, but just in a different color: respect their individuality and really see them.”

I think this is the same advice that holds true for grandmothering—nurturing– all babies—not just twins.

A child wants to be seen as an individual, and not told who to be. The task of the soul is to grow into who it is to be. Like any creative project, the end is not clear at the beginning.

Does each baby come with a mission? Is our role to support each baby to become who he or she already is—to grow into himself or herself? Just as we are continuing to grow into ourselves?twins 6 days old

Kahlil Gibran wrote: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you.”

In the presence of a baby, you can feel that you are standing near the door to “the other world.” That place of wisdom and light, where we are, when we are not here. In the presence of a baby, you can feel the hush of holiness, and it is very real.

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The Small, Sweet Voice

joy sign

You have heard it at crucial points along your path. It is known by different names: intuition, inspiration, your higher self, your spirit guides, the Holy Spirit. Socrates and Jung called it the Daimon (pronounced Die-moan).

It speaks softly and insistently: Go this way. Turn here. Learn this. Seek out this person. Avoid that one.

Socrates heard it as an actual voice, and complained that sometimes when he most wanted to hear it, it was silent. Most of us don’t hear an actual voice, but we experience it as a guiding energy, an idea that keeps coming back.

It has a special peaceful feeling about it. It is unlike the voice of fear, the voice of wishful thinking, and all the others.

My psychologist friend, Linda, told me about the Daimon a short time ago. I said, “That’s what it is, then!”

I have been able to think of many times throughout my life when I took a great deal of trouble to do something that seemed to have no benefit for me, only to find later that those actions were the ones that opened doors to my destiny, my calling.

The Daimon, as I understand it, is that aspect of your soul that helps you grow into who you are. If you are interested in learning more, read The Soul’s Code by James Hillman.

Hillman says that the Daimon is not a belief; it’s not a question of believing in it. The Daimon is a myth, one that helps you to think about your life in a new way.

Hillman also says that we live in a time that reduces the human being to the result of two things: genetics and environment. And yet, we know that we are so much more than that. You can see when a baby is born, as you look into his face, he already is who he is. Far from a “sponge,” he is a definite individual with his own relationship with his own soul.

We can lose that soul connection throughout our lives, as we learn to listen to others, to do what’s expected, to base decisions on criteria that have nothing to do with our own purpose here.

We can regain that soul connection by becoming aware of it, by listening for it, and by honoring it, even in small ways.

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Becoming Who You Are

Russian dolls smallDo you know that the possibilities  you contain are endless?

You are not defined by what you have become so far.  There is more.  Like the Russian Dolls in the photo, you contain all your previous versions of yourself.  You also carry with you the potential to become more.

Go towards what you love:  that which makes time stand still for you.  It doesn’t need to make sense, and you don’t need to justify it.  So often, we feel we have to close off aspects of ourselves–and those can be the most important aspects we have.

Inspiration-smashers that you have heard all your life include:  “You’ll never make a living at that,” “Not very many people make it in that field,” “It’s too late for you to start over,” “Your sister is the talented one,” etc.  That’s all fear-based and has nothing to do with you, your calling, and your longing to go with child-like faith towards your own light.  Fearful people spread  fear.  They fear for themselves, they fear for you, and they build prisons with their fear.

Too many of us are in lives that are too small for us.

Take a step towards what you love, and you will find yourself becoming more of who you are.

What lights you up?

How can you get some of that in your life, now?  Or by next week, at the latest?

There’s something of an inspirational nature that is hovering around the edge of your mind, trying to get your attention.  Or maybe it’s speaking to you loud and clear, and you are arguing back.  What is it?

Are you being called to take a French course at the community college?  Or spend more time with animals?  Have you always wanted to paint–or dance–or run a marathon?  Are you feeling pulled to resume an old dream, an abandoned interest?  To wake up a dormant talent?

Perhaps an idea has come to you, and you have said, “I don’t have time for that,”  or pushed it away with some other argument.  Take a moment to sit with your idea, and notice how you feel.  Does it make you feel peaceful?

They say that at the end of our lives, we have more regrets about the things we didn’t do, rather than the things we did do.

No matter what your age, you are still becoming yourself.  Let yourself grow.

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