The antidote to despair is not to be found in the brave attempt to cheer ourselves up with happy abstracts, but in paying profound and courageous attention to the body and the breath. … To see and experience despair fully in our body is to begin to see it as a necessary, seasonal visitation and the first step in letting it have its own life, neither holding it nor moving it on before its time.— David Whyte, Consolations I had a hard time sleeping last week. I jolted awake with my heart pounding two or three times every night. Lying with eyes wide open in the dark, […]Read More »
Deeper Dimensions Blog
In each one of you there is a hidden being,
still in the deep sleep of childhood.
Bring it to life!
In each one of you there is a call, a will,
an impulse of nature,
an impulse toward the future,
the new, the higher.
Let it mature, let it resound, nurture it!
— Herman Hesse, (from If the War Goes On)
Welcome to my blog.
Here, I share reflections from deep within—informed by decades of life experience, work as a therapist, and geeked-out study of all things expansive. Each post is a blend of psychology, spirituality, literature, and life.
I peer into the deeper dimensions of existence to unearth practical ideas for bringing meaning to everyday moments and to crises. I offer these discoveries to you to invite you to explore your own depths; to discover your call, your will, your impulse of nature!
Whether you're looking for words to inspire, console, challenge, or teach, sit back and make yourself at home. Sometimes finding one sentence that speaks to you at just the right time can make you feel the dawn of connection to the deepest dimensions of yourself, and thus to the world.
We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive. — Joseph Campbell Everywhere you look — especially in supposedly inspiring New Year’s articles — you see tips and tricks for how to become “successful.” Success articles tell you how important it is to be productive, and they prescribe programs and routines that ensure that you never waste a moment. They tout plans of action that will help you be the person you should become, rather than the person you are now. They imply that […]Read More »
I flick on the lamps in my waiting room and sweep the entryway doormats for the first time in two weeks. In the still quiet before my first client arrives, I plop down into my orange leather counseling chair and watch as the morning sunlight glows and shimmers on the moss-green walls. Breathing in, breathing out, I gather momentum for the long, full day ahead. Just before I rev into motion for the day, a wave of emotion surges through me. An ache in the center of my chest. An ache? Now? As I begin my first day back from […]Read More »
My adult son just visited us for a couple of weeks. He grocery-shopped for us. He cooked his own breakfast when he awoke later than we did. He picked up the pooch from doggie-daycare. During the day when I was seeing clients in my home office, the only way I could tell he existed was by hearing an occasional padded footstep or two as he gently moved about upstairs. When I did see him, he greeted me with a smile and a hug. Three days ago, he loaded up his van with his quirky possessions, including his newly purchased used […]Read More »
Part of the “Strong People Grieve” Series I recall my first Mother’s Day with tenderness. My baby boy was six weeks old, still waking to nurse throughout the night. I squealed with gratitude when my husband sent me back to bed for a nap. Later I woke to the smell of sizzling bacon, and discovered flowers next to my plate when I walked into the kitchen. My husband beamed with pride as he served breakfast with one arm and held the baby in the other. Mother’s Day calls to mind scenes like this one. We imagine bouquets of […]Read More »
I Want to Take Action, But I Don’t Know How: How Can I Make A Difference If I Haven’t Yet Found My Cause?
Our society is tumultuous right now. I’ve been conversing with a lot of clients, colleagues, and friends who share my distress about the fever-pitch levels of discord, disharmony, hatred, suspicion, and negativity that are swirling through our communities right now. In the middle of such painful uncertainty, I’m touched and inspired by the fact that so many people I know are refusing to succumb to the paralysis-inducing fear that this kind of societal negativity naturally evokes. They march, make phone calls, host postcard-writing parties, offer aid to immigrants, facilitate healing, examine their own biases, and lead idea-generating discussion groups. Yet […]Read More »
Intrepid Explorations / Absent Feelings: Is it Possible to be Both Adventurous AND Emotionally Engaged?
Anyone who’s spent time with me has heard my strong opinions about how cruel American culture can be to people who are living through painful situations. Every day I witness how people whose circumstances force them to face death, illness, disability, accidents, violence, discrimination, etc. are hurt by our society’s relentless positive platitudes and fierce attachment to productivity. When grief or pain won’t pass quickly, our friends and coworkers are banished to back room support groups, or ushered toward medications and “treatments” for their “emotional problems.” Distorted American values—that insist on positive attitudes, achieving as much as possible as often […]Read More »
Part of the “Strong People Grieve” Series Recently our family was hit by a series of losses. In quick succession, we lost three uncles—three different men who lived and loved and died within three unique worlds. Two of the uncles died at age 90 from causes related to aging—one died suddenly; one lingered. The third uncle was only 61 when he died of pancreatic cancer. Being intimately close to so many different loved ones who are grieving the deaths of these three incomparable men makes it particularly fitting for me to write about aspects of grief that are close […]Read More »
Back in November, I had a special treat: I got to visit my brother- and sister-in-law’s tiny infant twins! I spent an entire day doing nothing but holding babies. My own kid is 23, so it had been a long time since I’d gotten to spend that much time with babies. And never before had I gotten to be so close to tiny baby twins. Since I’m no longer young and inexperienced (like I was with my own baby), and since I’m not the actual mother tasked with keeping these babies alive, and since I’ve spent some decades now reading […]Read More »
In my last blog post, I wrote about how much more fun I’ve had re-learning to play the piano by fooling around with the notes until they feel right, instead of trying to play all the notes perfectly(according to some external standard) the first time and every time. I’m excited about this discovery not only because I’m enjoying the learning process itself. But also because, according to current stuff we’re learning about the brain, the kind of deep practice where I make mistakes and correct them over and over again, makes learning itself deeper and more integrated. In his enlightening book […]Read More »