Practicing gratitude came upon me as a form of grace. It was not something that made a whole lot of sense to me during the darkest times of illness. No, gratitude did not come easy from that darkest of dark nights and yet the little there was I clung to for dear life (quite literally). For me the bearers of this gift were my cats. While there was nothing else I could find any consistent source of comfort from, I could find it from my cats. For that, I was profoundly grateful and because I had that gift my practice of gratitude began. … I want to suggest and even underscore that practicing gratefulness does not entail denying the difficulty of our lives. I think it’s equally important to honor and embrace our pain and anger and hurt. If we are feeling those things we need to approve of and love the parts of us that feel all those things. That does not negate also being grateful for that which we can be grateful for. So many times when things like gratefulness or forgiveness or other virtues are considered the message is that we should not feel all the bad stuff. I say that’s crap. Feel it all…the bad and the good. Feel grateful and angry. It’s all good and necessary. … [click on title to read and view more]
One of my practices is to not attach to beliefs. We really know very little. What is true most often depends on context. Context is always changing. What is right for me may not be right for you. What is right for me today may not be what I need tomorrow.
Practicing non-attachment to belief and also being aware of when perhaps I’m not able to do this has opened up my world in lovely ways. Fixation is stagnation. Dogma is a fixation of belief.
Healing and resiliency, I’ve found, require a lack of fixation…a sort of fluidity of spirit and intention. It is from this place that much of my healing comes. By not attaching to belief we can also reframe our experience and thus the narratives of our lives. This is powerful medicine really. … [click on title to read and view more]
Today I’m very grateful for Shinzen Young. I woke with very contracted energy this morning and felt pretty distressed. I thought about how my energy contracts and expands a whole lot. When I thought about that I remembered that Shinzen Young’s youtube channel is called “expandcontract.” So I ventured over to his channel and found this dharma talk which was just exactly what I needed. Yes, guidance leads me to what I need pretty much always now. Guidance is showing me how to heal myself. … [click on title to read and view more]
By Jacqueline Gunn, PsyD and Brent Potter, PhD
This work stands out as distinct from all other books written on ‘borderline personality disorder’ and other so-called psychiatric diseases. We do not assume that BPD is what is outlined in the DSM and the literature on psychopathology. At no time do we refer to it as a diagnosis or psychiatric disease. This is why you will repeatedly see ‘borderline personality disorder’ in single quotation marks. It isn’t a thing, like a disorder residing solely in the brain organ of an individual. An individual only takes up possibilities disclosed to him or her by the cultural-historical environment. To say otherwise would be to say that the individual creates them out of nothing which, of course, would be absurd. Since distressing states of mind are variations of common human experience, they are expressed in typical ways. For these reasons, we do not consider ‘borderline personality disorder’ in a decontextualized fashion. … [click on title to read and view more]
The idea of “Being with what is” — my favorite mantra is also shared here. I’ve come to believe all fear and terror and anxiety is essentially the same…even that which gets pathologized by psychiatry. All fear is experienced in the body on a physiological spectrum, let’s say. So it will all respond to this sort of framing. It has for me in any case. As someone who has dealt with the iatrogenic injury from psychiatric drugs I can speak to this. Even the heinous iatrogenic terror I’ve dealt with as a result of acute psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome which seems to be a variety of extreme and complex PTSD, responds to these methods, though, clearly it can take a long time and a lot of work. I write about how I started doing that in baby steps here. That journey continues since the reprograming of the neural networks take time given the sort of brain injury the drugs incurred. … [click on title to read and view more]
A total, an enriching revolution cannot take place unless you and I understand ourselves as a total process. You and I are not isolated individuals but are the result of the whole human struggle with its illusions, fancies, pursuits, ignorance, strife, conflict, and misery. One cannot begin to alter the condition of the world without understanding oneself. If you see that, there is immediately within you a complete revolution, is there not? Then no guru is necessary because knowledge of oneself is from moment to moment, it is not the accumulation of hearsay, nor is it contained in the precepts of religious teachers. Because you are discovering yourself in relationship with another from moment to moment, relationship has a completely different meaning. Relationship then is a revelation, a constant process of the discovery of oneself, and from this self-discovery, action takes place. So, self-knowledge can come only through relationship, not through isolation. Relationship is action, and self-knowledge is the result of awareness in action … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Therapists and psychiatrists: your patients and clients need love. Can you give them that?
Someone in the comments said, that no, they do not offer their clients love because it breaks ethical codes. My response to her was this: love doesn’t break, indeed, cannot break, any ethical code…that is a misunderstanding of what love is. If love breaks a rule on the other hand, perhaps it needed to be broken!! Love is the highest ethic there is! … [click on title for the rest of the post]
The below sentiment is true about learning to live well in general whether you’re thinking of things in terms of spirituality or not. For example we would be much better served if we were told by mental health professionals from the very beginning to trust ourselves rather than anyone telling us what to do. Instead, the entire system is fraught with the infantilization of the client…this is (in general) true of both psychology and psychiatry as currently practiced. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness … [click on title for the rest of the post]