Tag Archives: acceptance
On suffering: Is it really worth the trouble?

On suffering: Is it really worth the trouble?

Oprah and Lady Gaga may be today’s spiritual role models for self-actualization but our devotion to suffering remains a national faith.

BY JOHN PTACEK – Why did a tsunami flood Japan? Why can’t politicians tell the truth? Why did it have to rain on my wedding day?

If humans really had power, CEOs would be immune to cancer, holy men wouldn’t sin and Michael Jackson would still be alive. But we don’t call the shots.

Reality baffles us.  We question it every day and keep waiting for people to be good, for governments to be just, for life to be fair.

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To die for

To die for

Will Baby Boomers choose to expire in hospitals and nursing homes? Or will they take matters into their own hands?

BY DAVID RICKEY —  Would you prefer to die on purpose — or with purpose?

Late, great writers like Arthur Koestler (Darkness at Noon), Ernest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls) and counter-culture figure Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) were larger than life.

Yet they each took their own lives — rather than let the life coded into their respective DNA take its course.

The most timely example: Tony Scott (above, center), a Hollywood producer and director who jumped off an 18-storey L.A. bridge that he’d once scouted as a location for a movie.

The Baby Boomers are the biggest generation in American history, the most vain-glorious generation — and also the most afraid of pain, if Prozac and painkiller prescriptions are any indication.

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Meditation lite

Meditation lite

They say that meditation is sitting on a cushion and emptying your mind. But I do mine while I’m, like, shopping

BY DAVID RICKEY  — I know it doesn’t come as a surprise to say that meditation is important for spiritual growth. The post-modern philosopher Ken Wilbur claims that it is the quickest way to advance the evolution of consciousness.

But it might come as a surprise that I myself — a psychotherapist and Episcopal priest who has devoted a lifetime to spiritual development — do not meditate.

At least, I do not meditate in any classic way. I could tell you, “I don’t have the time.” But in the tradition of confession, here is mine: I have never had much discipline.

So, I have a form of meditation that takes no real time and requires only a smidgen of discipline.

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Surviving New Year’s Eve by going with the flow

Surviving New Year’s Eve by going with the flow

“Prepare yourself for events to take on a life of their own”

GUEST COLUMN: PHYLLIS KING — Often when our lives are running smoothly and seemingly at the will of our command, without warning we are surprised when a person or an event throws our life into chaos or anger. We have two choices in that moment: either resist, or to let go.

We need to remember that we can refuse to allow an external circumstance to diminish our peaceful space. There are wonderful opportunities we can create with the universe, so to speak, that deepen our compassion and growth.

Holidays always heighten sensitivity and emotions for everyone.

Many opportunities will appear for each of us to let go of our perceived sense of control.

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In these 2012 times, how do I deal with my personal wealth?

In these 2012 times, how do I deal with my personal wealth?

Michelle (right) with her father and sister by the Muskoka River, Ontario, Canada

Or more accurately, how can I make money and save my soul at the same time?

BY MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE – With $100 I can buy a lottery ticket that could win me a car, a big house in the city or a lakeside mansion in cottage country. I can’t afford the ticket, but have been known to buy one anyway because I badly want a lakefront cottage.

How else will I get one except through luck or a miracle? Luck might make it happen, but would it be spiritually enlightening?

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The King’s Speech? We analyze the King’s pain

The King’s Speech? We analyze the King’s pain

Loving someone hurts when we can’t slay their monsters. The King’s Speech is about coming through the worst of it alone.

BY MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE – Movies want audiences to sympathize for their characters, and I usually oblige. My heart sank right along with Leonardo DiCaprio in the Titanic. I ached for Jamie Foxx as his character battled schizophrenia and homelessness in The Soloist. I even mustered some emotion for Angelina Jolie as she screeched about her stolen son in The Changeling. Pretty heavy subject matter compared to public speaking – yet I have never felt such agony for a character as I did for Colin Firth in The King’s Speech.

The actor reportedly had a similar response when he watched a newsreel of the real King George VI stammering through a speech. Though the King did a good job of making his stutters sound like dramatic pauses, his obvious struggle brought tears to the eyes of Firth and director Tom Hooper.

This isn’t a story about someone being mocked for his impediment. The King had support. The British masses in stadiums and in their livingrooms sat with bated breath, respectfully rooting for the King. Yet all of their collective good will and that of his loving wife and daughters could not help His Majesty get those words out smoothly and painlessly. For me, it’s a story of not only the King but those who loved him.

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Humbug to Dickens

Humbug to Dickens

Multiple divorces don’t doom everyone to Britneyhood. At Christmas time broken homes, too, can be merry.

BY MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE – I wonder how many people feel cheated every Christmas because there is no fluffy snow outside, no cozy fireplace and no Tiny Tim. I must confess that I was down on my own family for years. If ‘A Christmas Carol’ had starred us, Tim and his siblings would have lived with Mrs. Cratchet and only visited Mr. Cratchit on weekends.

This is by no means a sob story. I am, in fact, about to brag about the Christmas I’m about to spend with my mother, husband, sister, stepsister, half-brother and his girlfriend, stepfather and stepfather’s first wife (stepsister’s mother). As my sister puts it, “all three of our parents are twice divorced.” Yet I challenge any nuclear family out there to have a more fun, more loving time than we will have.

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The purpose of pain

Living through physical and emotional pain is a gift to the collective consciousness — and ultimately, the cosmos.

BY DAVID RICKEY — Being Human, at the present time, inevitably involves experiencing pain, both physical and emotional. As much as we may try through sex, drugs, relationships or meditation, there is no escaping this “given” of life.

Other manifestations of life also experience pain and the opposite of peace, from quails to quasars. But what makes pain uniquely painful for we humans, though, is the capacity of the mind for self-reflection, and the attempt to avoid with the reflexive thought-form: “This shouldn’t be happening to me.”

Take a step back from that concept, and let me explore why there is a universal imperative for the pain we feel.

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Depression on its own doesn’t nuke relationships. It kills communication

Why do the depressed fail at relationships? Communication breakdown. A Stanford psychologist identifies 4 telltale signs

SOUL’S CODE —  A smattering of reports have linked suicides to people who are losing their homes, or reeling from steep losses in financial markets.

For most of us, depression won’t be a life-threatening issue — but it will threaten the fabric of our marriages and relationships.

The latest research shows that fully one-fifth of all of us in the U.S. will suffer clincial depression at some point in our lives. As the Great American Recession . . .

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