Friendship Forged in Forgiveness

Here is an inspiring article about two men. One man’s grandson murdered the other’s only son. They channeled their grief into healing, and now together deliver inspiring talks on forgiveness all over the world. Two-three Kleenexes recommended. 🙂


In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.
– Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Just reminding everyone to stay present to the gifts in your life, take care of your personal fitness and be powerfully with the people around you.


Three Categories (Personality Types) of Defense

Our ways of falsely controlling our worlds and defending ourselves tend to fall into three major types. Each of us has all of these strategies, but one is always dominating. By recognizing how we operate and what drives us, and bringing mindfulness to our lives, we can lessen the amount this controls us and act more in accordance with our higher selves.


The reason type tends to seek control by remaining aloof, above the messiness of the human condition. They can be prideful and self-righteous, as well as withholding and isolating.

Because the reason types tend to be frightened of the messiness of their own needs, they pretend that they don’t need.  This type settles for respect rather than risking love.

Abyss: the terror of the human chaos of relational emotions: lost-ness, helplessness, powerlessness; afraid of the messiness of real human intimacy.

Higher-self Rays: wisdom and adaptability

Mask (what is projected to the world): serenity

False Self: pseudo independence



The Emotion type tries to control by drawing and feeding from others.  They covertly manipulate others to get them to love them and take care of them.  They seek dependency rather than risk love.  They don’t trust that there is something for real that is reliable, self-sustaining and dynamic within.

Abyss: the fear of separateness and abandonment.  Tend to cling to others rather than stand in their own strength.

Mask: love

False Self: neediness and clinging

Higher-self Rays: lovingness, kindness, tenderness and compassion



The Will Type seeks perfection and control to get safety.  They seek admiration instead of risking love.  Others are the casualty in their search for perfection in themselves, in their environments and from others.  They will walk on others to get their own way – self will run riot.  “I’ll make you love me.”

Abyss: the terror of feeling humiliated and bad

False Self: a strong idealized self-image, can be dominating and inflexible

Mask: power

Higher-self Ray: true power.  They are the movers and shakers in the world.  At their best they are brave and huge risk takers.  They can accomplish more than many people put together.

So these are the false idols in which we put our trust, rather than the one true higher being – our divine inner core.

The bottom line is that we all long for love and connection, and are mostly afraid and feel unentitled and undeserving of it. We have given up on ourselves and love. Instead we control and settle for respect, admiration and manipulated love.  And while we recognize the lack of fulfillment, we are afraid to give up the status quo, the familiar, even though it is painful, rather than risk what we might have to go through in order to create and expand our lives.



The way out is the way in. By being responsible for, and present to, our behavior types, by noticing our fears and especially by feeling our feelings, we can, sometimes gradually, sometimes profoundly, alter the way we walk in the world. The opportunity is to operate more and more out of our higher selves.  From the Pathwork lectures:

There is a whole, for you, intangible world which is extremely tangible in reality. In fact, it is much more tangible than the world you know as real.

The world you know as real is a reflection, a mirror image, an outer projection your real self is thrust into in order to fulfill a task.

Give the free gift of real love by letting others be, even if this means a loss at the moment. Let go in trust and faith that life wants to shower you with its gifts.

The more you thus establish an attitude of truth in you, the more will you know the inner beauty, the inner world of reality that can never perish.

This material is from the Pathwork Lectures and John Pierokos, MD, author of “Core Energetics” body work, the psychiatrist who was the husband of Eva Pierokos who channeled the Pathwork material. Edited by Sue Van Doeren and Bill Weil

The Ten Universal Spiritual Laws

Edited by Sue Van Doeren


I. Law of Love and Brotherhood

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. By opening our hearts to others we find fulfillment and happiness. It begins with seeing how our hearts are closed (where we judge and blame) and granting acceptance to our humanness. Know that we are all one. All are precious. All are deserving of compassion.


II. Law of Living in Truth

Face life and the truth of yourself with defenselessness. Face yourself as you are with all your imperfections. Embrace life wholeheartedly without fear, self-pity or consenting to the fear of being hurt. Say to yourself, “In order to become what I would like to be, I must first, without consenting to the fear, shame or vanity within me, face what is in me.”


III: Law of Paying the Price

There is a price to be paid for everything. There is a disadvantage to every gratification. The disadvantage must be faced and accepted.


IV. Law of Personal Responsibility; Cause and Effect; Karma

Through our own attitudes, beliefs, feelings and behavior we reap what we sow. We create our own reality. We are all given free will. We are free to choose what we wish. We only have to accept the consequences.


V. Law of Giving and Receiving

Nature is based on the principle of giving and receiving – the sun, water, soil, growth are all interdependent and rely upon receiving each other’s gifts to survive. We are structured the same way. Where do we try to get more than we want to give? Where do we have too much pride or vanity to receive?


VI. Law of Dharma

In living in our purpose, whatever it is that we can do that gives us pleasure and joy – we are honoring the law of Dharma. To not live in our Dharma is uncomfortable at best, and painful at worst.


VII. Infinite Reality

We are not alone. There is an infinite reality beyond the personality that is superior, good, infinite, invincible, wordless, beingness that we can gain access to through our self-development and meditation. Our personalities becoming infused with this Reality bit by bit across time – this is what is meant by the evolution of our soul and the evolution of our species.


VIII. Law of Transforming Negativity

The strength and the ability of the divine or infinite reality to penetrate the personality structure and shine forth is the degree to which darkness, evil and negativity have been faced in the self and transformed through observation, recognition and acceptance.


IX. Law of Abundance

The Universe is abundant. We separate ourselves from this abundance by our limited thinking.


X. Law of Attention

What we focus on expands. What we resist (judge) persists.


I am not afraid to look at whatever it is, even if it is something I do not want to see. I request the divine wisdom and power within me to help me to see what I most need to see, so that I can change what I need to change.

Pathwork Lecture #150  – Self Liking – State for Universal Bliss


P A U S E – “The Now” A meditation by Sue Van Doeren

P  Presence yourself: thoughts, body sensations, feelings, reactions: Look for pride, self will, self centered fear

Accept, allow and embrace whatever is there with loving compassion for the condition of being human

Create a unifying thought – a spiritual law

S  Seek guidance from the Divine

Express Gratitude

10 Keys to Happier Living

Here are the highlights from (Spoiler Alert: exercising in on the list.  Somehow they left out eating well.)


1. GIVING: Do things for others

2. RELATING: Connect with people

3. EXERCISING: Take care of your body

4. APPRECIATING: Notice the world around

5. TRYING OUT: Keep learning new things

6. DIRECTION: Have goals to look forward to

7. RESILIENCE: Find ways to bounce back

8. EMOTION: Take a positive approach

9. ACCEPTANCE: Be comfortable with who you are

10. MEANING: Be part of something bigger

Top Five Regrets of the Dying

A palliative care nurse shares her experience with patients at the end of their lives.  Here’s the short version:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Read the entire article here.

We All Are the 99.9 Percent

Scientists tell us that our DNA is 99.9% identical. “If the genome were a book, every person’s book would contain the same paragraphs and chapters, arranged in the same order. Each book would tell more or less the same story. But my book might contain a typo on page 303 that yours lacks….” [Genome News Network]. Rather than celebrate our alikeness, we all focus on that one typo, that 0.1%. That’s the personality, our ego self. Mostly it’s who we think we are and all we think we are.

We are very attached to this and fail to see that it is only a small part of ourselves; indeed, we experience ourselves and identify ourselves as that personality.  This 0.1% was formulated as we grew up and was locked in at a very young age – so young that we don’t remember ourselves any other way.

The Forming of the Ego

Sadly, a lot of this personality/ego stuff came out of having been wounded by our parents and caretakers. Mostly through no fault of their own, our parents break the fully-alive, open spirit with which we all are born. As small children, we feel these wounds deeply because we are so fresh and pure in spirit. We take this pain on and it becomes who we think we are.

We all (and no one is spared) spend the rest of our lives trying to fix, protect or soften the blow or projecting our pain out onto the world around us. We defend, deny, defy, cry out, numb out and/or inflict pain on others all in an attempt to spare ourselves this original pain. Some of us parade our wounds proudly or angrily as if to say, “Yeah, bring it on.  I can take it.” Other say, “Pain? What pain? I’m a grown person, whatever do you mean?” Either way, our walls of defense stay strong, and who we really are stays hidden.

So, who are we really? And what is this 99.9%? The answer is Life. Universal, natural, vibrating, expanding and contracting, inhaling and exhaling, being born and dying, flashing in and out brightness and darkness. Life. That is who we all are. And that, because of our human condition, is what we have forgotten.

The Way In Is the Way Out

We only need to remember. We only need to be willing to take a peek behind our own walls of defense and there you are. There, without anger and pettiness.  There, without vanity, greed and self-centeredness. There you are, brilliant, blissful, expectant, alive, engaged with all that life brings you – because now you see that what life brings you is not personal. It is no more personal than snow falling, a bird flying or tree uprooted by a tornado.

We are life. What separates us from the natural world is our ability to think, and this is a mixed blessing.  Almost all of our thinking is automatic, much of which is fear-based.  This so called “thinking” that goes on in our heads is not done consciously. We no more think these thoughts consciously than we circulate our blood consciously. It’s just happening. Most of the time thoughts actually think us. That is, we become the result of this automatic thinking.

We Are Not Our Thoughts

The problem is that we believe our thoughts. We don’t even think of it as believing our thoughts, it’s just “who we are” – who we identify ourselves to be.  We don’t even consider that we have control over them. Moreover, we go to great lengths to protect our identity.  If we feel as though our thoughts are challenged, it’s as if we personally are challenged. People get into violent, life-threatening fights over protecting some thought or belief which, if examined, would appear ludicrous. More “peaceful” people war within themselves.

Our identity is the story we made up about ourselves, and we seem to be willing to defend it to the death. We believe with all our hearts and souls that we’ll be annihilated if we stop knowing ourselves as this story.  This is the existential angst of life. It’s what keeps angry people angry, overweight people overweight, depressed people depressed, addicted people addicted, and so on. “It’s just who I am.”

If you see yourself as beautiful and you lose your looks, then what? If you identify with your wealth and you lose your money, then what? It’s enough to cause some people to commit suicide.

From our thoughts come our feelings, our will, our actions and decisions. Our ability to think is what separates us, and, if we do the work that it takes to change our thoughts, our ability to think can be the gift of life.

By bringing consciousness to your thoughts, you can change how you feel, develop a strong will, make life-affirming choices and teach yourself to act in a way that is in alignment with your natural self. This is from where wisdom, art and brilliance come. This is where you access love beyond initial attraction or reason.

The Magic Formula – One Conscious Breath

So what’s the magic formula for bringing consciousness to your thoughts? It lives in a breath. By focusing on a deep breath, you can reduce stress and become more present.

Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth, says we can achieve higher awareness simply by taking two or three deep breaths a few times throughout the day. Even a single deep breath will help. Conscious breathing slows down the mind, allowing you to get into a space of inner peace and awareness.  It allows you to reduce your focus on the ego and feel the life presence within your body and all around you.

For many reasons, it’s preferable to inhale via the nose. Breathing from the nose filters, moisturizes, dehumidifies and warms the air, produces helpful nitric oxide, increases oxygen absorption, slows down breathing and reduces hypertension and stress.

As mentioned earlier, unconscious thinking often leads to negative feelings/emotions. This leads to further unconscious thinking, often creating a viscous cycle of negative thoughts and emotions. We spend most of our days unconsciously victimized by this cycle. The way to interrupt the cycle is with a conscious breath. This also works when you find yourself in a heated argument, for example over something as innocuous as a minor frustrated expectation with your partner. If you find yourself locking horns, try taking a conscious breath. Often this will be enough for you to have the strength to identify your ego in the argument, and its counterproductive intentions, and stop it.

Once you’ve taken a conscious breath, you can take an objective look at your thoughts. For example, suppose you want to lose weight and your mind keeps telling you, It’s really difficult.  I’ll have to deprive myself of foods I love. It will never work anyway, There’s so much mixed information – what am I supposed to believe? I’ve lost weight before and it came back, so what’s the point? If I lose a lot of weight, my friends will be jealous.” And so on. It doesn’t matter where these thoughts come from, they are not facts. They are just your mind telling, and retelling, and retelling the same self-defeating story.

It starts with recognizing that these are just thoughts. They are not real. They are not helpful; in fact, they are counterproductive.  So what other thoughts might you have? For example, “Lots of people have lost weight successfully and kept it off, so can I. If I lose weight, my friends will be thrilled for me.  There’s a tremendous amount of great information out there, and really following just about any of it, is likely have a positive outcome.  I might discover the perfect lifestyle for me, one in which I look and feel great.”

Journaling Exercise

Here’s a great exercise to train your mind to think the kind of thoughts that support you in having a life you love.

  1. Write down your thoughts and feelings regarding a particular issue, e.g., as above.
  2. Write down other, more positive, thoughts you could have.
  3. Imagine a positive result, and write that down.
  4. Write down how you would feel if you achieved that positive result.
  5. At least once a day, return yourself to this feeling. Set a reminder in your calendar, or better yet, have a regular call with a friend who is supporting you.

Notice when the voices take over and take a conscious breath.  Stay conscious of your thoughts and your feelings.

Feeling Our Feelings

Sometimes our feelings are so powerful that we try to sweep them under the carpet. But this encourages their persistence. Again, the way in is the way out. Only by feeling our feelings can we drain them of their power and ultimately give us greater opportunities to breathe and be present.

It’s no wonder that in all Oriental and mystic philosophies, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss. Each of us can get closer and closer to our natural, loving, open, awe-filled, enthusiastic, connected, spiritual selves simply with attention to feeling our feelings and breathing.

Becoming an Activist for “Presence”

More stuff cribbed from Daily Good: News that Inspires.

Read the whole thing here.

A few years ago, in downtown Chicago, 10 of us had decided to try an experiment. To create an excuse to connect with those we walk by all the time, we’d whipped up 150 bagged lunches, split up into groups of three and hit the streets. Beyond just the lunches, the idea was to really explore our own generosity within each interaction. So with everyone who looked like they could use a lunch, we’d start with making our offering and then letting things happen organically. Some would heartily accept, but then quickly move on; others would outright refuse the meal; some didn’t even have the mental faculties to process it; and others would engage with us and even be moved to tears.

But we were the ones learning the lessons. My most vivid memory is of seeing an African-American man waiting to cross the street. He must’ve been in his late 40s, had on a leather jacket and something told me he might appreciate a meal. As we approached each other, before I could even say a word, he’d held his hand out, wanting to shake my hand.

I shook his hand and he gave me a big, heartfelt hug, saying, “Thank you.”

“For what?” I asked him. I hadn’t even offered him the lunch yet.

His response rocked me. “For caring. I’ve been out of a job for four months, just scraping by on the streets. And everyone walks by and no one even looks me in the eye. Just the way you looked at me, I could tell you cared.”

I offered him the lunch, but that had already become secondary; he didn’t even take it, and within a minute, we were both on our way. In that short time, he had given me a taste of what is possible when we approach any situation with the simple intention of giving unconditionally of ourselves. I’d learned that the greatest gift we can share is our presence, and that this shining potential exists in all of our relationships. I realized, then, that we could all become presence activists.

Before You Know What Kindness Really Is

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

–Naomi Shihab Nye, from The Words Under the Words

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