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It’s All Broken, and None of It Needs to Be Fixed

The last post explored the futility of seeking lasting satisfaction through work, love, and other worldly pursuits. Recognizing this dilemma, we might ask: If satisfaction is evanescent, why do anything at all? Why not just refuse to participate?

But even stasis leaves an imprint, so we need to be sure of ourselves before rejecting society and its activities. We cannot avoid marking the world; our freedom lies in selecting how. We...
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I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Until recently, I seldom felt satisfied. Even during those rare periods when life was going smoothly, without uproar or mood disorder, it always seemed lacking. No career, relationship, home, hobby, or vacation escaped this critique.

I knew mine was not a healthy attitude and harbored no doubt that my personality was flawed. But I could not fix the problem.

Although I don't call myself a Buddhist, there is little doubt that the Buddha saw...
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The Rules That Rule Our Lives

Both here and on my primary site, I've covered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) several times. The ACT method has helped me find peace of mind that exceeds what I was able to achieve using other therapies.

It seems like a worthy topic for that reason, but I should emphasize that my perspective is that of an informed layperson, not a psychotherapist. Consider this a disclaimer: these blog posts cannot be...
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A Giant Leap of Faith


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has been very helpful to me in grieving important losses, including those that still haunt me from childhood. In this context, ACT's working hypothesis is that the questions and recriminations with which we torment ourselves after the death of a loved one are products of language and can be addressed by adjusting our relationship with verbal thought.

ACT emphasizes how thinking can interact with feelings to obstruct our...
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Passing through Nature to Eternity


To be alive is to be vulnerable, but to be human is to be sensitive in ways undreamt of by other creatures. All life forms are prey to death, loss, illness, and injury. But people also fear disappointment, ill-repute, and injustice. As was touched on last time, our values make us susceptible to considerable pain.

The most obvious and universal value is love, and it inevitably brings grief. No one we love...
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Vulnerability is the Price of Value


We all hope to pursue certain directions in life. We may not always admit how much our values affect us, but they greatly influence our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

The person who makes a mistake and loses a cherished job feels shame. The mental obsessions that surround the shame may center on what went wrong, on the boss who couldn't tolerate errors, or on the spouse who will be disappointed. Despite these different thoughts,...
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Living Values


On my personal blog, WillSpirit, I wrote a few posts about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Writing about ACT seemed like a valuable blogging direction, because the method has helped me live more effectively than ever before. As I’ve worked on my emotions and moods over nearly forty years, I’ve tried many therapies, spiritualities, and activities, but only with ACT have I seen robust improvement. Part of ACT’s effectiveness in...
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How Much Can We Endure?

God never gives us more than we can handle.

IMHO, this famous saying speaks nonsense! Consider that between preschool and first grade I watched my mother slowly wither away and then die from depression after a painful divorce. Consider that my sister recently succumbed to alcoholic liver disease after drinking against her pain for decades.

Consider that I've watched friends destroy themselves in various direct and indirect ways, or that countless patients of mine...
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The Body Didactic

Too many of us grew up in families wracked with pain. Emotional wounds accumulate in settings of neglect, abuse, bereavement, molestation, violence, and misery. As adults, these ancient injuries undermine our happiness. We often choose poorly in relationships, careers, and pastimes. Even if we don't make gross mistakes, we lack the confidence to endorse our own choices. We feel uneasy in good times and overwhelmed in bad. This is the legacy of...
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Bodily Seduction as Invitation to Mindfulness

Imagine someone asks you this question: "What are you?"

We seldom get queried in this way, since the more typical questions are: "Who are you?" or "What do you do?"

So take a moment to answer the question of what you consider yourself to be, first and foremost. Some of us will answer with our careers: "I'm a physician." or "I'm a writer." Others will state an important social connection: "I'm a mother." or...
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