A New Vision for My Work & Life

As many of you know, I had a near-fatal heart attack a few years ago. I also was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer in 2008. Diane, my wife and partner in all things, likes to say that I have used up my nine lives, given how many times I’ve been on death’s doorstep. Now, a couple of months after my …

Antidotes to Aggression

Aggression is what happens when anger loses its heart and goes on the attack with a dehumanizing hardness. Aggression militates against intimacy, keeping relationships in the shallows, marooned from any significant healing and deepening. To get to the heart of aggression, to undo its armoring without stranding ourselves from our anger and capacity to take care of ourselves, is a great …

Here Dwell Dragons

HERE DWELL DRAGONS TRAVELING, AND A DEEPER TRAVELING Komodo Island, December 1973 I awaken just after dawn in a bony corner of the hut of the kepala desa (village head), surrounded by a chattering clump of staring children. Groggily, I remember my arrival here late last night by outrigger canoe from Labuan Badjo, a tiny port on the Indonesian island …

A Different Kind of Intimacy

Along a colorfully crowded sidewalk I walk, slowly. I feel both right here and all over the place. There’s a very subtle pleasure suffusing each step, starting in the center of my soles, spreading through my feet and up through my torso. I have a growing sense that there’s nowhere in particular to go, no one in particular to be, …

The Edge of the Edge: My Heart Attack

It’s my first time in an ambulance. I’m in extreme physical and existential agony. My upper left chest, my left-side ribs and arm are massively aching with a deadly intensity. The paramedics are very quickly working on me, to determine if I’m having a heart attack. I am, they say. I am groaning, crying, enduring, too squeezed and crushed to …

Safety In Intimate Relationship

To go truly deep in an intimate relationship, we need to feel safe with our partner. We need to know — and know with our whole being — that we can trust them, and not just when we are physically with them. This trust is based not on thinking that we should trust them, but rather on consistently sensing in …

To Emerge from Our Pain We Have to Enter It

Whoever we are, wherever we are, we inevitably experience pain. And just as inevitably, we tend to store as much as possible of our pain in our shadow, finding strategies to numb, bypass, or otherwise get away from our pain. The more we try to flee the felt presence of pain—whether through denial, dissociation, or distraction—the more deeply it takes …

How to Have a Conscious Rant

The point of a conscious rant is to defuse overloaded or potentially harmful reactivity in a way that hurts no one, including ourselves.   In a conscious rant, you get to totally cut loose emotionally, exaggerating your sounds and movements without any editing, all within the confines of a well-boundaried context — the ground rules for which you’ve thought out …