Our Hidden Fear of Acceptance

While the fear of rejection is understandable, the fear of acceptance is less visible. The article explores how this more subtle fear operates. Being mindful of how we fear acceptance can open to door to a deeper capacity to receive the love and caring that is available.

The Neglected Art of Receiving

We're told that it is better to give than to receive. We may strive to love, but to what extent do we allow ourselves to be loved? People who are narcissistic do not know how to lovingly extend themselves to others. But narcissism can also take the form of being so guarded and self-absorbed that we don't let love in.

What It Really Means to Love Yourself

We often hear that it is important to love ourselves. But what does this actually mean? This article explores ways to love and care for ourselves in a deeper way.

We Want to Accept Our Feelings, But How Do We Do It?

Focusing was developed through research into psychotherapy effectiveness. Eugene Gendlin found that those clients who were attending to their bodily felt experience in a caring, gentle way were making the most progress in psychotherapy. This article describes Focusing as a path of befriending our experience just as it is.

Living with an Open Heart

It is part of our human nature to be sensitive to life and other people. But oftentimes, we're criticized for being too sensitive. This article differentiates between being sensitive and being reactive. As we become more aware of our triggers, we can heal the wounds that lead to reactivity, which allows us to live with a more open, accessible heart.

The Blessings of Shyness

Shyness is often criticized by our society. But if we distinguish shyness from social anxiety, we might honor being shy as a tender and positive part of ourselves. If we can become more empowered in our shyness rather than feel shame, it can be a doorway to connecting with people in a more deep, sweet, and tender way.

Is Unconditional Love Possible?

We all want to be unconditionally loved, but how realistic is that? Partnerships require mutuality, where we each have certain basic minimum needs and requirements, such as for respect, understanding, and nurturing. Our children require unconditional love, but adult relationships ask that we be mindful of how we affect each other.

If You Love Cats, This May be Why

Many of us love cats, but we may not have considered one major reason why we find them so irresistible. This article explores how cats have an uncanny ability to surrender to affection. We humans would do well to be more like a cat in the sense of deepening our capacity to receive love and affection.

Three Vital Differences Between Pride and Dignity

While maintaining a delicate sense of pride for our achievements in not necessarily a bad thing, it can easily solidify into an arrogant pride that distances us from others. We might do well to get clearer about what we're really wanting. Differentiating pride from dignity can help orient us toward what really nourishes and sustains us.

Why Pride Is Nothing to Be Proud Of

We may pride ourselves on our achievements and accomplishments, but clinging to pride can become a trap that disconnects us from ourselves and others. In contrast, cultivating a sense of dignity can free us to honor and be ourselves just as we are. We create suffering for ourselves when cling to a sense of superiority. Dignity allows us to more more freely through life.

5 Ways to Deepen Your Relationship

It's easy to go to sleep in our important relationships; it's easy to lose the connection without even realizing that that is happening. Here are five areas to bring mindfulness to so that our relationships can thrive.

Why Couples Can't Coast

We often coast in our important relationships rather than pay attention. Avoiding a slippery slope toward disconnection means being mindful of when we’re unwisely coasting.

Stop Working On Yourself and Start Growing in a Deeper Way!

The article explores how our attitude toward personal growth can hold us back. The expression "I'm working on myself" might foster a self-critical vigilance that impedes our growth rather than furthers it. Perhaps paradoxically, it is when we accept ourselves just as we are that we create a more reliable foundation for personal growth.

Revisiting “Be Here Now”

Being here now is a term that is often misunderstood. Rather that use spiritual practice to avoid feelings, what would it mean to embrace our feelings?

Being in the "Now" Is Often Misunderstood

We often hear touted the importance of being in the "Now." But can this edict be misleading? The article discusses the importance of being aware of the full range of our human experience. Being in the moment does not mean being somewhere other than where we are right now. Expanding our sense of what it means to live in the moment frees us to embrace our humanity as it is.

The Key to Intimacy for Any Relationship

Being human means being vulnerable. But oftentimes we try to control love and intimacy, not realizing that true intimacy can only arise as we develop the awareness to notice and the courage to embrace our vulnerabilities. Our task is not to transcend our humanity or take flight into a spiritual self-image, but rather to engage with vulnerability in a skillful, gentle way.

Welcoming Emotions Into the Present Moment

We're often encouraged to be in the present moment. This article explores the hidden pitfalls of trying to be in the moment-- and discusses what is actually means to live in the present.

The 2 Words You Should Stop Using Right Now

The satisfying flow of giving and receiving can deepen as we express genuine gratitude to each other and respond to expressions of gratitude from an open-hearted place. But oftentimes our language shuts down the potential contact created by expressions of gratitude. This article shows how saying "no problem" often blocks receiving, and explores other ways of responding.

Wrangling with Betrayal

There are various ways we may feel betrayed. As our sense of reality is undermined, our ability to trust our instincts, and thus ourselves, is lost. Healing from betrayal means learning to trust our experience and choices again--and allowing ourselves to experience various stages of grieving that accompany loss.

The Power of Befriending Our Feelings

This article offers a path to develop a skillful relationship with the full range of our feelings as they arise in the moment. This is a middle path between avoiding our feelings and fueling them. The article describes a way of being mindful of feelings without merging with them and getting lost in them.

Do We Create Our Own Reality?

The belief that our thoughts create our reality is as seductive as it is misleading. We might like to believe that we have total control over what happens to us. But there's a big difference between being responsive to what happens to us versus being responsible for it. This article clarifies what we do have control over and what we do not.

The Spiritual Crisis Underlying American Politics

America is a very religious nation. But sadly, we’re not a very spiritual one. A spiritual crisis underlies our dysfunctional politics. The ethic of pursuing our own individual needs and happiness keeps us narrowly focused in a way where we don't develop empathy toward others. Our ultimate happiness and survival depends on awakening to our interconnectness.

Being Real Without Being Mean

The injunction to "be real" can often be an excuse to be insensitive and mean. We create safer, more fulfilling relationships as we notice how our manner of self-expression affects others. Being authentic with others needs to be based upon being authentic with ourselves--uncovering what we are most deeply feeling and longing for, which is often something more vulnerable.

Three Thorny Obstacles to Being Authentic

In our struggle to be somebody or avoid rejection, we lose connection the beauty of who we really are. Shame and fear prompt us to remain hidden. Affirming ourselves as we are creates an empowering foundation for intimacy. This article explores common obstacles to being authentic, which opens a doorway to connecting more richly with ourselves and others.

Awakening to Ourselves as We Are

The essence of mindfulness is to be with our experience just as it is. The first step toward awakening to who we really are is to notice and accept ourselves as we are. Rather than skipping over unpleasant or uncomfortable aspects of our humanity, we are invited to be mindful of our moment to moment experiences.

4 Steps Toward a Deeper Gratitude

An exploration of what needs to happen inside us so that we’re more capable of experiencing and expressing genuine gratitude. As we notice and relish simple gratitude, we can open to the preciousness of ordinary life and connect us more intimately with each other.

Some Things We Might Learn from Robin William's Death

The sudden death of a loved person can awaken us to what's important in life. Each of us may learn important things as we reflect upon the tragic loss of Robin Williams. Here are some life-affirming directions that occur to me as i reflect upon this tragic loss.

Cultivating Gratitude

When someone offers us a compliment or expresses appreciation, how far do we let it in? When we express thanks, do we stay in our heads or allow ourselves to relish a more deeply felt sense of gratitude--allowing them to see how we've been affected? Sadly, we often let precious moments of connection pass by without availing ourselves of a rich moment of intimacy.

Connecting With Our Authentic Self

A vital foundation for with others is created as we learn what it means to be intimate with ourselves. Noticing, allowing, and embracing a full range of our feelings connects us with ourselves. A safe climate for connections is created by then revealing our felt experience to others rather than criticizing, blaming, or shaming them.

The Power of Positive Feedback

We often overlook the power of positive feedback. As we become more mindful of our power to affect someone's day in a positive way, we might gently notice opportunities to offer a positive comment or word of appreciation to people around us.