Falling in Love with Other People

Let’s blow the cover off of another taboo topic in our culture, one that causes my clients to barely be able to whisper their experience loud enough to share it with me: “falling in love” with people other than your partner, including bosses, celebrities, religious figures, and even your therapist.

I’ll start by reiterating something I often express on this blog, which is that I deeply wish that we, as a culture, were more educated about the normal thoughts and feelings that the vast majority of people experience. It saddens me that there are still so many aspects of our inner terrain that remain hidden. I’m not sure where these kinds of conversation need to be happening – perhaps in school or university – but I know that the vast majority of the shame that people feel about their normal thoughts and feelings would be eradicated if they simply knew … Click here to continue reading...

Unpacking Intrusive Thoughts

Over the years, I’ve worked with many clients who have suffered from the intrusive thought, “What if my partner is gay?” (or “What if my partner is straight?” for those in a same-sex relationship), and while I’ve written several posts on the “What if I’m gay?” spike I haven’t written about what is, in some ways, a corollary thought. As my work largely centers around shedding the light of conversation and consciousness on taboo topics, it’s time to bring this thought out of the dark chests of the unspoken mind, where, in silence, all it can do is become grown over by the moss and dust of shame.

It’s extraordinary how much shame a single thought can grow. I’ve had clients tell me that they’ve been able to share many intrusive thoughts with friends but when they share the question, “What if my partner is gay?” they see panic flashing … Click here to continue reading...

Something is Wrong

Fear-mind has a special genius for trying to prove that it’s right. It’s like we all have this aspect of our personality – some call it ego, other call it lower self – that has secretly attended law school and graduated at the top of its class. This character, terrified of change, will gather such convincing evidence to support its case that it would win in any court of law, or at the very least in the court of law that takes place inside your mind. It seeks and researches and googles in order to prove its conviction that whatever it is you’re struggling with is because you’re in the wrong relationship or you actually will harm a child or you really do have a life-threatening illness. In other words, Fear is hell-bent on proving that there is something really wrong with you, your relationship, or your health.

From what … Click here to continue reading...

Christmas in October

One morning last week, as the darkness unfurled into first light and the night’s dreams still lingered at the edges of psyche, my younger son asked, “Why are there Christmas decorations in the stores already?”

Without thinking I responded, “Because people are afraid of the sadness and darkness that arise this time of year so they focus on the next holiday and the season of lights.”

“Why does this time of year make people sad? I don’t feel sad!”

A lover of winter and snow, our younger son celebrates the change of seasons. But as the minutes of light decrease daily I can see the melancholy descend on the other members of our household, as well as in many of my clients. As the twilight hour approaches, I sometimes see the loss embodied on my older son’s face, as if a cloud has crossed over his normally sunny disposition. When … Click here to continue reading...

Holy Fear

We hear and read a lot of fear these days in psychological and spiritual circles. Mostly, fear is painted in a negative way as the energy that we have to wrestle with and overcome in order to live a life of joy. Most of the statements and quotes we read about fear pin it in the position of the enemy, the obstacle, the dark road. These quotes are accurate, but they’re only talking about one kind of fear. There’s another face of fear that needs and deserves our attention.

Recently, while reading Rabbi Naomi Levy’s book, “Einstein and the Rabbi”, the phrase “holy fear” leapt out at me from the page. She writes:

“There are two divine attributes that emanate toward us: they are love and fear. Love and fear are always keeping each other in check like yin and yang. Love is an outpouring that flows from the soul, Click here to continue reading...