Archives for the month of: January, 2016


Are you one who defers or deflects? I am too busy. I am not ready. I am not capable. I am not worthy. I am afraid too many of us have bottled up our real passions or dreams and put them on hold for some future “when the time is right.”

If you are one of those folks, call yourself out and resolve to make a change. With a new year just beginning, what better time than now?  The following poem by Judith Gass may help inspire a break through to “the full and magnificent tides of your own longing.”

Why are you waiting to begin your life?

Do you think the world must care and come soliciting?

Listen to the knocking at the door of your own heart

It is only faint because you have not answered

You have fooled yourself with preparations

Time left laughing while you considered possibilities

Wake up, you have slept long enough

Wake up, tomorrow may be too late


When you finally dare open the door

Your life will begin arriving

Cautiously at first unbelieving that the gate

So long locked against the tide has finally been opened

Then with swells of neglected dreams

Then with waves of joyful revelation the sea will follow

You will be swept by the full and magnificent tides of

Your own longing

That no one else can give you

That no one else can claim.



At our monthly men’s group meeting this week one of our members remarked how quickly time is passing. Now in his sandwich years his life overflows with the joys and duties of spouse, father and son. Like many he struggles to balance all of this with grace, while at the same time responding to the nagging tug that wonders if there is something more to satisfy his soul’s longing.

More than twenty years his senior, I smiled to myself, having traversed much of the ground that lies before him – not that his journey will be similar to mine, but that he will continue to formulate his answers to the questions that life brings to each of us. For me the focus is the closing window of time remaining and the fear that it will slip away unattended.

I continue to ask myself two questions. Am I doing my soul’s work? Am I doing it with the people who love, challenge and encourage me? My joy and blessing is that I am able to answer YES to both questions.

Do you answer YES? If not, an opportunity invites you to take the first step now to move toward your YES.

As my friend spoke, the refrain of a favorite song visited me with its lyrical counsel about time, fear and friendship. It is Sandy Denny’s signature song also covered by Judy Collins.

And I am not alone, while my love is near me. 

I know it will be so until it’s time to go.

So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again

I have no fear of time.

For who know where time goes?

Who knows where the time goes?



Ever think about how to get the knowledge you seek? Two guidelines may help. Be clear about the information you want and be mindful that the way you ask questions may determine the results you get.

If you seek facts, a direct question will yield a verifiable answer – what is the voting age? If you ask a closed-ended question – did you vote? – the response may be clear and quick (yes or no) but may end the conversation.

Inquiry is important to expanding our lives, and open-ended questions serve that purpose best. The following question stimulates a variety of possibilities: What would it take to maximize voting participation?

My sister introduced me to an organization that trains people from all walks of life to ask better questions and participate more effectively in decisions that affect them. The Right Questions Institute has developed a question formulation process that works with schools, community organizations, health providers, businesses and families. You can learn more at their website.

Some questions can lead us into the most important answers we seek in life, inquiries of the heart – why am I here? what is happiness? how can I make a difference? For the answers to these life-defining questions Stephen Mitchell counsels us well in his translation of advice to a young poet from Rainer Maria Rilke.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves… Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.



From the earliest days of language humans have told stories about their experiences and ascribed meaning to those incidents. Listeners believed the stories to be true or changed the account. At some point the stories began to incorporate events that had not yet happened or were not tangible.

According to Yuval Noah Harari in his Ted Talk What explains the rise of humans? our ability to construct stories and act upon them as if they were true distinguishes us as a species. What sets us apart is our ability to imagine and to act collectively as if it were reality.

Our stories constrain us and they free us. How many of us carry a story from our past that limits us personally? One of the gifts of therapy and coaching is to help people create new storylines that emphasize strengths rather than deficiencies.

How many of us embrace accounts about our race, religion, nationality or way of life? These stories unite us in common purpose. They also divide us when we view the “other” as an enemy to be eliminated.

If individuals turn to therapists to create new stories, how do we do so as a species? Perhaps, as verses from John Lennon’s iconic song remind us, we begin by tapping our imaginations in order to create a new narrative.

…Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.