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Brain Embroidery

The Surprising Fact About Willpower

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: Hey Paul Studios

Many of us think that the way to achieve our goals is with willpower.  We start the year of getting back in shape by resolving to only eat vegetables, fish, and salad while exercising every single day – NO MATTER WHAT!

So, when we give in and eat that chocolate or don’t go for our walk, we focus on the one day we didn’t perform perfectly and leap right to the belief that it’s because we lack the willpower to achieve our goal.

We give up.  We’ve never had the willpower and we never will.

Never mind that Continue reading » The Surprising Fact About Willpower

Growing Up is Never Easy


Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: Casey David
Does your world view serve you?

A child becomes an adult when he realizes that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong.

— Thomas Szasz

Our whole life, we are working towards the goal of integrating our view of the world with reality.  Some might say (usually therapists) that our pain comes from our attempts to make reality conform to our beliefs:

  • People are kind
  • Institutions work for the good of their members and/or the people they serve
  • There is right and wrong – black and white, no shades of gray
  • Life is fair
  • We get what we deserve

In reality, life is a constant progression towards the ability to live with shades of gray.  As kids, we’re taught to Continue reading » Adulthood

Wounded Warrior and Dog

Shades of Gray

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: AN HONORABLE GERMAN

When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?

— George Canning

Hard times change our view of the world.  When we struggle with the very same things that we judged others for, we quickly learn that the world is made up of shades of gray.

When I was younger, I was quick with the opinion and judgment.  I knew what was true.  For a very long time – probably way too long – I believed that the government was made up of people who were dedicated to service and crooked politicians were the exception. (Do NOT ask me how I could have believed that growing up in Chicago where the dead won the election for JFK.)  Priests were Continue reading » Shades of Gray

beautiful, but deadly square knot

Untying the Knots in Our Lives

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Keeping house is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the string.

— Anonymous

Every day brings its challenges.  Some days bring little ones and some days big ones.  As we move through life we deal with whatever challenges come our way and keep moving, often so quickly that we hardly notice or recognize the effect on us.  This isn’t bad but sometimes we gradually slow down.  The friction of getting through each day brings Continue reading » Untying the Knots in Our Lives

Happy 042

Writing the Story We Want

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All you see in your world is the outcome of your idea about it.

— Neale Donald Walsch

I think it’s very interesting that so many of us have to struggle to be happy.  I don’t mean that our lives are so horrible that we can’t be happy; rather, I am referring to the problem we have recognizing how wonderful our lives are.

You’ve probably experienced this phenomenon if you’ve ever been given a raise at work.  While any “normal” raise has some impact when we receive it, research shows that it takes only a couple of higher pay periods before we’ve absorbed the new money into our spending habits and no longer feel the Continue reading » Writing the Story We Want