The Gratitude Cure for (Almost) Everything

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. – Henry Ward Beecher During my recuperation from a brush with death, a high school friend sent me a letter. In it, he hypothesized that as a survivor of near-death, every moment for me must be exquisitely sweet, a precious gift, in ways he could not imagine. At first, he was mostly right. Despite the pain, my initial response was celebratory. But the…

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How to (Really) Listen

The first duty of love is to listen. – Paul Tillich Failures to listen are endemic to our species. The most common complaint from parents who bring their children to me for counseling is that “they don’t listen,” by which the parent usually means that the child does not obey. When I talk with children, they likewise complain that their parents don’t listen, but they mean it literally. Failure to listen to children…

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Stay Sane with the Personal Craziness Index

To stay sane in an insane world, we need more than new tools and techniques. To maintain sanity, we also have to keep doing the things that got us there. The final piece of the resilience puzzle is to build Balancer-enhancing attitudes and practices into our daily lives, so they are as much a part of our routines as breathing. Then we keep watch to make sure we’re staying on track. When Balancer…

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Three Ways to Mix Mindfulness into Your Life

At the risk of stating the obvious, in order for Balancer to keep us balanced, it’s helpful to do activities that explicitly promote … balance. Mindfulness-based activities are at the top of the list. The term mindfulness, the state of being focused on the present moment, without judgement, has become part of the zeitgeist in the past several years, and for good reason. The benefits of mindfulness-based activities are physical, emotional, and psychological.…

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Handling Change, Part I:
Radical Acceptance and Self-Compassion

Emotional adaptability is the ability to respond to changing circumstances and events without being unduly shaken by these changes. It’s a Balancer characteristic and a key component of resilience. Those of us who are emotionally adaptable can bend with the wind, like saplings. Those of us who are less adaptable are likely to strain and crack as we struggle to maintain equilibrium. Emotional adaptability varies from person to person and can also be…

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Handling Change, Part II:
Forgiveness and Self-Forgiveness

Forgiveness and Self-Forgiveness Like acceptance and compassion, the ability to forgive ourselves and others can free us from what Romantic poet William Blake called “mind-forged manacles” – in this case, feelings such as anger, hatred, resentment, guilt, shame, and victimization. Liberation from these feelings through forgiveness can help us be more available in the present moment and more adaptable to its ever-changing conditions. Forgiveness, however is sometimes difficult to achieve. Some obstacles to…

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Handling Change, Part III:
Creative Approach and Experimental Attitude

Creative Approach Creative activities – and the creative approach to life that often accompanies them – can also help us become more emotionally adaptable. Creative activities are rewarding as outlets for self-expression. They feel good, they are centering, and they give us a sense of accomplishment. And they’re often fun! But besides these more obvious benefits, creative activities can also change the way we approach our lives. When we work creatively, we dive…

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How to Boost Connections and Support

For most of us, UnBalancer flourishes when we’re isolated. We are social animals, and separation from others weakens our ability not only to thrive, but sometimes even to survive. Ostracism – being ignored and excluded – threatens our basic need for belonging. In other mammals, being ostracized removes the individual from the protection of the pack and usually results in death from predators or starvation. Human beings are hard-wired to fear ostracism, so…

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How to Rebalance Your Brain in 3 Easy Steps

One of the most powerful resilience-building, Balancer-enhancing strategies is to consciously look for growth opportunities in experiences – to seek the silver lining in the cloud. Looking for the growth opportunity in the struggle makes it possible for us to find it. Difficulties become, as a friend of mine puts it, “just an AFGO – Another F***ing Growth Opportunity.” Thinking of struggles as AFGOs allows us to accept, in a tongue-in-cheek but still…

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Build Your Resilience in 6 Steps

  In recent posts, I’ve talked mostly about ReBalancer, the force that kicks in when our default stabilizer, Balancer, gets thrown out of whack by the UnBalancer. ReBalancer handles out-of-the ordinary stresses, but ReBalancer alone can’t keep us on an even keel. For that, we need Balancer to be healthy and strong. Balancer doesn’t ask us for much. Much like our immune systems, it chugs along on autopilot, making minor course corrections when…

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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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Flower Mandala: White Daisy I, B&W

White Daisy I, B&W, Copyright 2011 David J. Bookbinder A local daisy that seemed perfect to me, abstracted and converted to black and white. More anon, -David David J. Bookbinder, LMHC Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page Request the “15 Flower Mandalas” screensaver (Windows only): Fifteen Flower Mandalas © 2011, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved. Permission required for publication. Images available for licensing. davidbookbinder.com

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Flower Mandala: Dandelion VII, B&W

Dandelion VII, B&W. Copyright 2011 David J. Bookbinder A dandelion, somewhat elevated (I hope), and converted to black and white. More anon, -David David J. Bookbinder, LMHC Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page Request the “15 Flower Mandalas” screensaver (Windows only): Fifteen Flower Mandalas © 2011, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved. Permission required for publication. Images available for licensing. davidbookbinder.com

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Flower Mandala: Pale Yellow Gerbera Daisy VI

Pale Yellow Gerbera Daisy VI, B&W, Copyright 2011 David J. Bookbinder A Gerbera Daisy, taken last summer, converted to B&W. More anon, -David David J. Bookbinder, LMHC Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page Request the “15 Flower Mandalas” screensaver (Windows only): Fifteen Flower Mandalas © 2011, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved. Permission required for publication. Images available for licensing. davidbookbinder.com

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Flower Mandala: Sea Fig I, B&W

Sea Fig I, B&W, Copyright 2011 David J. Bookbinder A Sea Fig, taken in St. Petersburg, Florida, a couple of springs ago. More anon, -David David J. Bookbinder, LMHC Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver (Windows only): Fifteen Flower Mandalas © 2011, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved. Permission required for publication. Images available for licensing. davidbookbinder.com

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Flower Mandala: Sunflower Moulin Rouge VII, swirled, B&W

Sunflower Moulin Rouge VII, swirled, B&W, Copyright 2011 David J. Bookbinder A sunflower from a garden around the corner, at the end of last summer. Converted to black-and-white. More anon, -David David J. Bookbinder, LMHC Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver (Windows only): Fifteen Flower Mandalas © 2011, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved. Permission required for publication. Images available for licensing. davidbookbinder.com

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Flower Mandalas: Tulip ‘Peach Blossom’ II, B&W and Color

Tulip Peach Blossom II, B&W, Copyright 2011 David J. Bookbinder Tulip Peach Blossom II, Copyright 2011 David J. Bookbinder A complex tulip from a garden around the corner. Converted to black-and-white as well as the original color image. More anon, -David David J. Bookbinder, LMHC Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver (Windows only): Fifteen Flower Mandalas © 2011, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved. Permission required for publication.…

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Flower Mandala: Red Dahlia III

Red Dahlia III, B&W, Copyright 2011 David J. Bookbinder A dramatic Red Dahlia, taken in Rockport, MA, last summer, converted to black-and-white. More anon, -David David J. Bookbinder, LMHC Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver (Windows only): Fifteen Flower Mandalas © 2011, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved. Permission required for publication. Images available for licensing. davidbookbinder.com

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Flower Mandala: Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Sun’ I, B&W

Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Sun’ I, B&W, Copyright 2011 David J. Bookbinder A lovely Rudbeckia, converted to black-and-white. More anon, -David David J. Bookbinder, LMHC Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver (Windows only): Fifteen Flower Mandalas © 2011, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved. Permission required for publication. Images available for licensing. davidbookbinder.com

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Flower Mandala: Violet Dahlia I, B&W

Violet Dahlia I, B&W, Copyright 2011 David J. Bookbinder A dahlia from a garden in Rockport, MA, converted to black-and-white. More anon, -David David J. Bookbinder, LMHC Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver (Windows only): Fifteen Flower Mandalas © 2011, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved. Permission required for publication. Images available for licensing. davidbookbinder.com

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