This Moment

Close your eyes. Stop and think. What are you thinking about right now?

When I do this exercise, I nearly always find myself considering something that’s yet to occur, or reviewing things that have happend in the last 24 hours.

Problem is, I can’t do anything with my past or my future. Both are out of my control. The only part of my life I can do anything about is my present — right now.

I can choose what I think about, what I do, how I act, how I respond, where I go, and who I talk to. Those choices are always within my control, so long as I’m grounded in the present moment.

The only time I lose control of those things is when I start living in the future or the past, and allow future-thinking and past-thinking to dictate my choices and direction and life.

Your brain hates the present moment. It’s default is to take you into the future, or remind you of the past. Your job is to train your brain to stay with the moment. To deny it the gratification of regret for the past, or worry for the future. The more your brain stays here, in this moment, right now, the less capacity it has to torture you with regret or worry. But you’ve got to train it. Left to its own devices, it will always run backward into the unchangeable past, or forward into the unknowable future.

Put a leash on your brain. Connect it to “now.” Enjoy freedom from running or chasing. Embrace the present moment and the infinite possibilities it contains.

4 Reasons Pretending can be Easier than Authenticity

Closing the Gap Between the True Self and the Public Self

Many issues that trouble us most, whether individually or relationally, stem from a discrepancy between our internal emotional experience and our external expression of that experience. And this can lead to a lack of authenticity in the way we engage with others. We begin to feel like pretenders. The resulting double-life feeling becomes intolerable once the gap between the internal and external expression widens sufficiently.

pretender

(more…)

Mindful Awareness and the Thinking Mind

There’s a popular idea in the mindfulness traditions that says, “You can only take care of the future by taking care of the present.” It’s a clever turn of phrase designed to remind us that our future is made up of what we do with the series of present moments leading to that future. If we aren’t taking care of this moment right now, then we certainly aren’t in a position to take care of the future either. Conversely, if we are taking care of the present moment, then by default we are also taking care of the parts of our future we can control. (more…)

Ripple on Water

Shame Sucks

Many people who first come in for therapy are either a) deep into shame territory, or b) deep into denial about being ashamed. I know this because I have been in both of those states at one time or another in my life. And here’s the thing about shame: it feeds on secrecy and isolation, which, incidentally, is another element of what most people are dealing with when they come in for therapy. (more…)

Shame

How do I get my husband or wife to fall in love with me again?

It’s a common problem: you’re having serious marital problems – usually problems that have been going on for a long time. You’ve got a painful history of fights, broken promises, mistrust, and anger. And now, your partner wants out. They’re done. You want to save the relationship, and you’re looking for an answer to the question: “How do I get my spouse to fall in love again?” Of course, the real question you’re asking is: “How do I get my spouse to stay here long enough for us to fall in love again?” After all, if they don’t stick around, falling back in love isn’t a likely outcome. (more…)

fall-in-love

You Can Only Go Forward

A lot of clients wish they had a “do over.” They want to be able to go back in time, change something, make a different choice, go down a different road. But I happen to believe that where you are right now is exactly where you’re supposed to be – whether you like it or not. And I’m not talking about destiny or predetermined reality. I’m talking about the fact that every single incident in your life, every choice, every action, everything you’ve done or has been done to you leads to this moment, right now, where you are. That doesn’t mean that you have to like where you are now. It doesn’t mean you can’t be angry about the bad stuff that’s happened to you. It just means that whatever happened, however you got to this place, here you are. Now what will you do? (more…)

go forward

2 Things Every Couple Wants in a Relationship

In the first few sessions of couples therapy, a lot of the discussion is caught up in who said or did what, and there can be a lot of blaming and pointing fingers – especially with high-conflict couples. Both partners usually have a laundry list of complaints and hurts, and invariably they each want to ask, “Why did you do those things?”

2 things couples want

(more…)