Life: A Reflection of Our Actions

By Aaron Karmin

A son and his father were walking in the mountains. Suddenly,his son falls, hurts himself and screams: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

To his surprise, hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

Curious, he yells: “Who are you?” He receives the answer: “Who are you?” Angered at the response, he screams: “Coward!”

He receives the answer: “Coward!”

He looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?”

The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.” And then he screams to the mountain: “I admire you!”

The voice answers: “I admire you!” Again the man screams: “You are a champion!”

The voice answers: “You are a champion!”

The boy is surprised, but does not understand.

Then the father explains: “People call this echo, but really this is life. It gives you back everything you say or do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.

If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence. This relationship applies to everything,in all aspects of life; life will give you back everything you have given to it.”

* the author is unknown and the story is considered public domain

Spending Time or Killing Time

By Aaron Karmin

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

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Our Powerful Past: How Memory Shapes Meaning

By Aaron Karmin

shutterstock_235483669Here is an example of how to use an apparently “irrelevant” memory to shed light on problems in the present.

Edgar is a survivor. He is proud of his survival skills. He sees life as a disaster waiting to happen. Edgar has survived two marriages, a grim childhood with an alcoholic father and a joyless mother, the death of a sibling and the loss of six jobs. He cannot see what is wrong with such surviving. When his wife tries to make him happy, he “pushed her away,” metaphorically speaking. Survivors have no time for happiness. It is a distraction from the grim, full-time task of staying alive. Happiness and prosperity are luxuries that he cannot afford. On this basis, his behavior in the present seems perfectly logical.

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Do You Create Self-Imposed Disasters?

By Aaron Karmin

shutterstock_112532117When one child in the family takes life as it comes and does the best he can with it, another child might see life as a series of disasters that have to be overcome. Larry lives in fear of these “disasters” but he prides himself on his survival each time. He can’t see what’s wrong with being a survivor, as if the only alternative were “not surviving.” No one has ever told him that there is a middle ground between surviving by the skin of our teeth and total annihilation.

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Shake it Off: Overcoming Adversity

By Aaron Karmin

shutterstock_108559295One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well.

The animal cried wretchedly for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.

At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw.

With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing!

He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.

Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up.

* the author is unknown and the story is considered public domain

Donkey image available from Shutterstock.

Lose Your Temper: Scars Endure

By Aaron Karmin

shutterstock_176515466There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.
Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry’, the wound is still there.”

* the author is unknown and the story is considered public domain

Image of scar available from Shutterstock.

Overweight and Invisible – part 4

By Aaron Karmin

shutterstock_124014661What follows is part four of a fictional exchange between a client, Carrie and her therapist. Carrie is 16 years old, and she weighs 173 lbs. She has a younger sister, Tori, who is just 15, pretty, popular and athletic.

It has been two weeks since her last session.

Therapist: “Hello Carrie, how are you doing on your homework?”

Carrie: “Well, I thought about what you said, how I wasn’t out of control, that I had the adult power of choice, I just never used it.”

Therapist: “Good. What happened!”

Carrie: “It’s what didn’t happen. I didn’t go home and chow down donuts.”

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Overweight and Invisible – Part 3

By Aaron Karmin

shutterstock_124014661What follows is part three of a fictional exchange between a client, Carrie and her therapist. Carrie is 16 years old, and she weighs 173 lbs. She has a younger sister, Tori, who is just 15, pretty, popular and athletic.

Carrie: “I thought overeating had to do with instant gratification, and that food equals the love I am not getting from my parents.”

Therapist: “These are not `causes’ of overeating, any more than high fever is a cause of pneumonia. One is a symptom of the other. We must not focus on symptoms or neglect the real issues.”

Carrie: “What issues?”

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Overweight and Invisible- part2

By Aaron Karmin


What follows is part two of a fictional exchange between a client, Carrie and her therapist. Carrie is 16 years old, and she weighs 173 lbs. She has a younger sister, Tori, who is just 15, pretty, popular and athletic.

Carrie: “It seems like I’ve just been going through the motions for some time.”

Therapist: “Since your sister Tori was born?”

Carrie: “I don’t remember not having a sister I was only 18 months old when she was born.”

Therapist: “What is the first thing you remember?”

Continue reading… »

Overweight and Invisible- part1

By Aaron Karmin

shutterstock_124014661Eating disorders are more dangerous than they appear. The apparent issues, are not the issues: “appearance,” “nutrition,” “calories,” “popularity,” or the lack thereof. The real issue for many is control. “I may not be able to control much in my life, but I can control my food intake!” With time, the person does not control her food intake – it controls her! What if the problem she is trying to solve is the problem of identity? What if there is a void where her personality is supposed to be? Might she not try to fill that void with something tangible like mashed potatoes or donuts. What if her problem is relieving the pain of being alone? Her loneliness is not “solitude.” It is an unbearable confirmation that she is “unlovable”. Still another goal is to relieve the pain of insecurity. The overeating or under-eating is her solution to problems that, to her knowledge, cannot be solved any other way.

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Recent Comments
  • Tim: How do you even start ‘building your character’ or ‘finding your real feelings’? I know...
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