5 Topics: A very short manifesto

        “There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War An editor at lifehack.org recently asked me what topics I would choose if I could write about only 5. The question brought meaning and purpose into sharper focus. These are the topics I chose: Acceptance, Gratitude, Perseverance, Self-Love,…

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15 Self-Help Books that Really Helped

If you type “self-help books” into Amazon’s “Books” category, you’ll get more than 675,000 hits, and their “Kindle” category lists nearly 300,000. That’s a lot of self-help! But how many of these books have actually helped? And how many books outside the “self-help” category have been even more helpful? Just for kicks, I drew up a list of the 15 books that, over the course of my lifetime, I’ve found most helpful, either…

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Transmigration of Flower Mandala essence

Share 52 Flower Mandalas on Facebook and Share 52 Flower Mandalas on Twitter More soon on the topic of transforming the essence of one type of art into another, but both the therapist and the artist in me wanted to convey a personal example by showing how my Flower Mandalas were transformed by artist Emily Sper into line art for our coloring book, 52 Flower Mandalas. Below is part of a table I created of all 52…

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Raffles, reviews, and samples! Oh my!

Share 52 Flower Mandalas on Facebook and Share 52 Flower Mandalas on Twitter Breaking news! I’ve been finding out more from clients and colorists about coloring and it’s meditative qualities and will write another post on that soon, but some time-sensitive events are happening with 52 Flower Mandalas. Before I get to those events, though, here are two more completed illustrations from colorist C.G. Lynee, which she entitled “Arbor” and “Naos”: And now, the news.…

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Can I pick your brains?

Share 52 Flower Mandalas with your friends! Art Bars, Coloring Parties, other audiences Now that our coloring book 52 Flower Mandalas is completed, I’d like to find more ways to get it out into the world. Marketing and promotion, alas, have never been my strengths, so I’d appreciate some advice and some help. A friend suggested that because coloring is a relaxing, meditative, but also a creative activity, 52 Flower Mandalas would be an asset to HR…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Will: Break on through”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Will” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Will: Break on through Copyright 2014 David J. Bookbinder There are many ways psychotherapists can help people. We can provide validation, emotional support, help formulate goals, encourage, motivate, identify dysfunctional patterns, devise strategies for overcoming them, and sometimes even inspire. But often, to fully surmount difficulties, there is…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Uniqueness: Blooming”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Uniqueness” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Uniqueness: Blooming Copyright 2014 David J. Bookbinder Recently, I had the relatively rare experience of having a movie introduce me to a new way of looking at things. The central idea of Martin Scorcese’s Hugo explicitly emerges midway through the film, but it’s implicit in every frame: Just…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Uncertainty: Negative capability”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Uncertainty” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Uncertainty: Negative capability Copyright 2014 David J. Bookbinder Perhaps the greatest fear I run across as a therapist is fear of uncertainty. This fear is great because it is so vague and encompassing. We are uncertain about how people see us; what will happen next in our relationships,…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Trust: Experienced Innocence”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Trust” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Trust: Experienced Innocence Copyright 2014 David J. Bookbinder When I was in Boy Scouts, we all had to memorize the Scout Law: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” Even back then, it seemed significant that “trustworthy” was first…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Suffering: So it goes”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Suffering” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Suffering: So it goes Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder Helen Keller once said that the world is full of suffering, but also of the overcoming of it. But it is also full of suffering that is unrelieved. I have thought about suffering most of my life. When I…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Choice: Repatterning”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Choice” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Choice: Repatterning Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder NOTE: The opinions expressed in the following joke do not represent those held by The Management. So, there is this joke about two lawyers. One of them is walking out of a bank when he sees an old lady a little…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Solitude: Shiftings”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Solitude” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Solitude: Shiftings Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder In solitude, we can inhabit our deepest selves, feel intense spiritual connection, and experience self love. Or we can dwell in their contraries, finding only disconnection, despair, and self-hatred. Solitude, my refuge as a boy, felt like imprisonment for much of…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Silence: Outside in” (Second Draft)

NOTE: This is the second draft of the “Silence” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Silence: Outside in Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder About silence I am tempted to say, “I have nothing to say.” And yet I do. I have always had an ambivalent relationship with silence. Initially, silence was a haven. As a young boy, I retreated into silence to get…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Silence: Outside in”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Silence” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Silence: Outside in Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder About silence I am tempted to say, “I have nothing to say.” And yet I do. I have always had an ambivalent relationship with silence. Initially, silence was a haven, although not a happy one. As a young boy, I…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Self Love: Evolution”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Self Love” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Self Love: Evolution Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder In my more troubled youth, I was often told that to truly love anyone, I needed first to love myself. This advice, though well-intentioned, set up an unhelpful dynamic. To “love myself” seemed as akin to real love as…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Risk: Rewards”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Risk” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Risk: Rewards Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder When they first arrive at my office, most of the people I see are in a state of comfortable uncomfortableness. Although people come to psychotherapy wanting change, most of us do so only when the risks of changing as lower than…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Resilience: Modalities”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Resilience” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Resilience: Modalities Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder Along with perseverance and a sense of purpose, an essential capacity for successfully traversing the Hero’s Journey that describes our lives is resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back. In a physical object, it is elasticity: the property a material has…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Purpose: Arcs”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Purpose” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Purpose: Arcs Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder More than things, more than work, more, even, than love, having a sense of purpose can not only help us withstand the turbulence in our lives, it can also guide us through fortune’s sometimes outrageous slings and arrows. The necessity of…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Presence: Now, be, here”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Presence” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Presence: Now, be, here Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder I was 20 when I first encountered Baba Ram Dass’s square, purple-covered Be Here Now, the book that launched many of my generation on an Eastern-inspired journey. I was walking though the student center of the University at Buffalo…

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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Possibility: More powerful than a locomotive”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Possibility” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief. Possibility: More powerful than a locomotive Copyright 2013 David J. Bookbinder Much of my childhood took place in the realm of possibility: machine intelligences, aliens, mutants, future worlds, alternate pasts. Infinite possibilities. My first science fiction book was Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot. I was 10 when I found…

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