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I asked Google "What is success," and one answer was: "the attainment of popularity or profit." This is exactly what society would tell you is the most accurate definition of success. A Bumper Stickers reads, "He who dies with the most toys, wins!" Black Friday is about "saving" money as you go about spending your last dollar on things you don't need. I recently read a internet advertisement that said, "Get out of debt with a consolidation loan." I thought, "WHAT? Who would buy into this garbage." Obviously, a lot of people do. Even older people who are supposed to be "smarter" because of their age are having a hard time "saving" anything for their future. I have been seeing an increase o

Ambitiously Lazy

Do you have a "troubled heart"? What does this even mean? Is it a heart break due to a unwanted recent break-up? Is it grief after loosing a loved one, or a home, or a job? Is it the way you look at your life and only can see the problems and not the possibilities? I love when my clients, "Get it." They often come into therapy looking for answers, and sometimes don't even know what their questions are. They just know they are hurting and their hearts are troubled. I met one couple who sought answers to their relationship problems with their ADULT children. This is a common theme now-a-days as more and more adult children are not moving out of their parents' home in search of their own indepe

Painful Love

The holidays are a time of family, of friendships, and for expressing love. But what if your family is broken, torn, disconnected, and damaged? How does one press on through the holidays without feeling discouraged and depressed? Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-nit family in another city. George Burns The holidays can be torture for people who have come to therapy to try and fix problems they have with their family. Here are two examples: A son who is trying to remain sober, recognizes that the reason he drinks is because of the family relational disfunction, so he avoids family. But the others, who are not in therapy, only see his avoidance as a personal attack against t

Finished Foul

Now that the meal is eaten, the pie consumed, and the football games are finished, I thought it would be nice to learn how Thanksgiving Day became a National Holiday. Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789 [New York, 3 October 1789] By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation. Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful h

Dressing Blessings!

I snickered when I heard the man on the radio ask, "Why did the cranberries turn red? They saw the Turkey Dressing!" For you who are fortunate enough to enjoy a family gathering free of drama, who can eat a meal prepared by loving hands, who can laugh and embrace those around you, I say, "Count your Blessings!" Remember, it's not about the meal; whether you eat Turkey, Beef, Fish, or Chicken. It doesn't matter if you have white table cloths, paper plates, or eat from a bag. It's not about whose team is playing, the size of the floats, or the Black Friday Sales. It's about relationship. If you find yourself without a loving family today, seek to love someone. There was a 1970's song that said


What is "Chillaxin'? Well, I saw this photo and thought I'd give a lesson on decreasing the Pre-Thanksgiving Stress. So, here's one breathing technique I teach my clients: Take a deep breath, hold it, hold it, hold it...okay now let it out slowly through you mouth. Oh, dang, I should have said, "Brush teeth first." Ha ha. I saw this picture and it made me laugh. Actually, if you want to Chillax, all you need is to Relax and Laugh. Look for the humor in today as you stress over the meal preparation and rush to the store (repeatedly) for items you "forgot." Or when you try to dust and vacuum at the same time. Or when you get the house cleaned up for guests and your 3 year old has a unexp

Help Us Help

I hate labels. People will accept labels put upon them by others and will become the things others believe. If we are called a bully, we become one. If we are called a tramp, we sleep around. If we are labeled with PTSD we begin to act in a certain way that further defines us as BEING the label. I love breaking labels. People who believe in themselves and KNOW who they are, are less likely to become the negative labels others would put on them, or believe the negative words they tell themselves. Some time ago, one woman came to see me. She was distraught and felt like giving up. Suicidal thoughts loomed in her mind as she contemplated her life and the failure she believed herself to be. She

Calling, Choosing, Winning, Losing

Have you discovered your calling yet? Do you know what your gift, or gifts are? Do you feel like you are doing what you should be doing, living where you should be living, with a person you feel you should be with, or the career you should be in? Have you ever sat and contemplated where you are in your life, at this point in time, and wondered, “Why am I here?” Much of the work I do helping individuals is focused on their “should.” I tell them, “You’re should-ing all over yourself.” The problem isn’t in having some magical answer to the “What, where, why, how, and when” questions as much as the WHO question: Who are you? We are born into a family and a set of life circumstances where we ha

Let's Get Gritty!

What is "Integrity?" Some say that it's, "Who you are when no one is looking." Others say it's "Being true to who you are." Another way integrity has been defined is, "A concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, and principles, expectations and outcomes. It can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy." The problem, I humbly present to you, is that we no longer have a socially defined concept of "actions, values, methods, measures, and principles, expectations, and outcomes." I can have integrity if I do what ever I want, as long as I stay true to myself, even if it's not what YOU want. Integrity is not being taught in school, is not displayed in marriages, families lac

Nose Blind

Have you ever seen the Febreze air freshener commercial that talks about what your teenager "smells" and what you "smell"? (click on photo to watch). It says the teenager has gone "nose blind" to the odors in his room. In relationships we can also be "nose blind" as we don't recognize a bad relationship until it's too late and we're left with the "stinky mess" after they've gone. Lately, I've been approached by a lot of women, married and single, who say they just can't find happiness in ANY relationship they have. They have family discord, friends who abandon them, and men who use and abuse their unselfish acts of love. They will often say, "I know the problem is me, but I don't know how to

Course Correction

When I was in my 20’s and in very good physical shape, I was invited to join the LASD CREW. For you land-lovers, that’s a rowing team. I had never been part of a crew, and only knew what I had seen on Television and so in my naiveté, I joined my friend at the USC Rowing Center in Long Beach where I met the other members of the crew. I stood on the dock and watched as one by one the Eight-man team gingerly stepped down onto the low-laying boat rocking on the water and settle into position. I did not know what I was watching required great balance on the part of the entire team working in sync, and this was only the part where they get in the boat. What I learned about the rowing process can

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