Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
 
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit

Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
While Dr. Friedman is no longer with us, there are still many helpful resources on his site. Articles and resource links have been relocated to the top. His family hopes you might find them helpful. But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.

 


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Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)

Categorized by Process | Topic

From His Book | Meditations For Life | The Flow of Money, Business and Innovation | Transpersonal/Mind-Body | Approaches, Worldview and Will-isms

Skills For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free | Feeling, Thought, Communication & Action

Strategies/Distinctions For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free

Awakening Stories/Metaphors For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free | The Way It Is

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Approaches, Worldview and Will-isms

Will-isms 2

Observations and Provocations, Warnings and Protections, Realizations and Awarenesses

© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Over many years I have been asked to assemble the short quips that somehow spring out of my mouth. Taking these with a huge grain of salt, I've smiled and replied, "Someday, perhaps," never seriously considering doing anything with them. To anyone looking in, they may appear to be blatantly self-preoccupied, vain and even narcissistic project. Of course, whatever you resist simply persists, and usually with additional wind in the sails.

Given an understanding that nothing here is personal and style-wise is purely a reflection of my personality, no matter how quirkish, idiosyncratic and unique, here are the phrases or "Will-ism's" as people call them that clients seem to like best to wrap an entire discussion into a snappy phrase. May this tickle your funny bone and shine light into corners of consciousness that heretofore were in the shade, as they had been for me before they came out of my mouth, wherever they came from. Impersonally, enjoy yourself!

*

The past is history, the future is a mystery and the real gift is the present.

*

Our species moves forward and evolves through declaration. The heart of empowerment, or being your own authority in life, is to powerfully vow: "This will be…", "I so declare…", "So it is…," and "In this moment, I AM…", and with a nod to Star Trek, "Make it so."

*

To unveil, witness and live the sanity you were born with-your "original sanity"-is the True Self and Awareness abiding in peace.

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Haven't you already succeeded and beat the longest possible odds imaginable simply be being born? Isn't this God's way of betting on you and your life succeeding?

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Consider what is directly in front of you in this moment, that your mind perceives as an insurmountable obstacle, is the very thing-the very pregnant opportunity-that can make this work.

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Life is not a show, performance or dress rehearsal-life is LIVE every moment.

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Don't let your mind fowl up what the heart deeply treasures and knows.

*

There are people, places and things to stay with, and there are people, places and things to be away from. It's simple: stay or away? They're not the same people, places or things.

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People have the experiences they have to make the growth they make and learn the lessons they're here to learn.

*

The interesting part of the story of our lives is not that we all "buy into" a whole pile of junk, stupidity and idiocy; no, the really interesting part of the story is those select numbers who somehow at sometime wake up, realize what they've bought into, and courageously and passionately "buy out" of all the mess. These are the survivors of our species who lead us out of the jungle and into the light.

*

I'm not so worried about the people who get through the phone and those three or four doors and somehow make it into my office. They know something is amiss and look to correct course-these are the bright, resourceful ones. I'm most concerned about the legions that don't.

*

The one great lesson I learned from the horror and severe disillusionment of 9/11 is that if you are not moving your dreams and visions a step or two closer to realization every single day, with no idea whether you will be here for the next day, then what are you doing?

*

This might seem severe and even harsh, but it isn't-it's just the reality of life on planet earth: if you are not thoroughly in love with what you do, where you are living, who you are with, and ultimately who you are, then you are not only a fool, you're a damned fool. You might want to take that up with your boss-that one in the mirror wearing the mask that bears your name.
 


George Demont Otis     San Pablo Bay

I submit that the scariest line in all American literature was written by Henry David Thoreau in a back to nature as paradise book entitled Walden: "Most men live lives of quiet desperation." I was so stunned in reading that line, I was compelled to put down the book at that instant and I have never picked it up again. In my shocked daze all I could focus upon was the singular reflection that the last thing I'd ever be is quiet about it!!

*

By the time someone comes to see me they have done their level best to go through the head to reach the heart. Most everyone has done heart surgery by opening their cranium and going through their minds to reach their hearts. When you picture a surgeon actually doing this and doing their best to tear up as little of the brain in the process, the ludicrousness of this whole operation becomes immanently apparent. Of course, going through the head only complicates, undercuts and defeats hearing and addressing the concern of the heart. Best to address head issues on the level of the head, and to address heart issues on the level of the heart. It's simplicity itself.

*

When I ask someone how come they need the symptoms, limitations and dis-ease he or she brings into my office, I uniformly hear that this person doesn't need this at all. When I rephrase my question and ask what purpose their complaints serve in their life, again without exception I hear the answer, "None," or, "No purpose at all." All I can imagine is that this is a cultural blind spot given the abject ignorance, or unawareness if you wish to be charitable, over not having been exposed to being more psychologically minded.

*

In over thirty years of practice there has not been one person I've seen who had any clear idea what they were facing, usually not even close, and further had no idea what to do about it.

*

Ultimately, the only people who ever grace my inner office are those who have been brought to their knees, who simply, painfully and poignantly state, "I just cannot continue to live like this! This is not living!" And they are absolutely correct-what each describes is merely existing, not living, and this is fundamentally unacceptable to anyone who is committed to living a fulfilling life.

*

If our human species advances through its extremists and is sustained by its conservatives, then the dearth of extremists and over-supply of conservatives makes for the situation as we've had since our emergence-a sustained status quo with minimal psychological, relational and spiritual evolutionary progress. Have we even traveled a millimeter on this yardstick of psychological, relational and spiritual growth? For heaven's sake, we're obviously just as ignorant, reactive, aggressive and can't get along with each other as we were throughout all five thousand years of recorded time, references back some twelve thousand years ago, and probably further throughout a hundred thousand years and one to two million year our species has been in modern form.

*

If you want unconditional love, then get a puppy, better yet two or three puppies of a real people friendly breed, like cocker spaniels, red setters, Labradors and many mixed breeds. You'll have more unconditional love than you know what to do with! Of course, with human beings it is far more problematic on the whole.

*

Say what you will, your kids will do what you do.

*

What would possess you to go into environments and engage in actions in which the odds are highly stacked against you? Self-hatred, self-punishment, self-defeating or simply suicide on the installment plan-take your pick, they're all the same. Wherever it comes from and wherever it goes, that road doesn't go anywhere, and that's really sad.

Taking a step back to an earlier level of functioning, sometimes called regressive behavior, is securing ourselves sufficiently in doing what we've over-learned in order to gather the courage and wherewithal to step up to the plate of life, solidly plant ourselves, be intently present and paying attention so we can swing the bat, be in the game and contribute once again. In other words, backsteps are not setbacks, and momentary lapses are not relapses. It's all to gain solider footing before we're able to do what we've only been lip service to before.

*

A whole lot of folks are failing 'human'-best not to one of them by bringing your heart.

*

I work with the person right in front of me. It's a long-standing policy of mine. Beside, how am I suppose to work with someone who is not here? Working with anyone else is just working too hard, and I don't want to work that hard. It simply isn't worth it to me.

*

A recession is when your neighbor loses their job. A depression is when you lose your job.

*

Not only do we have the experiences we need to make the growth we're here to make, it keeps pursuing us until we make that growth or die. Pay the universe now, or pay it later.

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Common courtesy and common sense are misnomers-neither are common and both are extraordinary. That's their common ground.

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It's absolutely amazing how we can all overlook and forgive a lot so long as we thoroughly enjoy the experience and love the person.

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I would never ask anyone to think-it would a sacrilege to presence and sanity.

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I would never ask anyone to hold no expectations or to lower their expectations-only to set their expectations exactly with what reality brings in this moment. What happens to all frustration?

*

What would possess you to give live ammunition to people holding guns pointed in your direction?

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Commander, I'm not your Second Lieutenant, Sir!

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Who appointed you sheriff? Who appointed you to run my life and set limits for me?

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Is there any valid purpose or understanding for dishing out garbage or harm?

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[Regarding anything that is unworkable] That would be like painting yourself into the corner of the room and wait for the paint to dry, and it's very slow drying paint.

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You can't draw upon a friendship or a relationship you haven't built.

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[Regarding anything that isn't real] That wouldn't make even a ripple in the sands and waters of time.

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Are we ever informed on the front end concerning the consequences on the rear end? Very rarely indeed! It's a far better policy to tell it straight on the front end (truth in packaging) versus being kicked in the butt on the rear end.

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The "right-wrong game" and the "blame-guilt game" are highly related and the leading contenders for the ego-mind's favorite game. Even with a photo finish, it's just too close to call.

*

Asking for good judgment from someone under the influence of any substance or someone under the age of twenty-five is like asking a drunk if he or she is sober enough to drive. Wouldn't do it on my life!

*

Here's a paradox: I love humanity; I just can't stand people. I love human being; I just can't stand humankind.

*

What would the point be to want what you do not have, or to not want what you do have? The trick is quite the reverse: want what you DO have, and don't want what you DO NOT have. This is inner peace, happiness and equanimity all rolled up in one.

*

The Golden Eye: see nothing in your own behavior you would not want to see in another's actions.

*

The answer is that there is no answer, and that's the answer. Of course, there is no question either. Both were made up by our minds.
 


George Demont Otis     Edge of the Marsh

The true value of therapy is creating the person you are committed to become.

*

With American's penchant for abbreviating almost everything under the sun, issuing a warning to "Let's not go there" or "Don't even open that subject up" is now simply "Don't even!" and just about everyone "gets it."

*

Our non-existent minds or fictive egos, understood as an imaginary sense of self, can be seen as akin to the ancient Greek Hydra. The slaying of this nine-headed serpent was one of Hercules twelve labors he successfully completed. When one of the Hydra's heads was cut off, two others grew in its place. Similarly, the ego-mind is ever looking for another angle to keep in power and control of our lives by using redirection and distraction powered by fear, hope and greed. It's not really eternal vigilance that is required to meet this ongoing appearance; rather it is eternal presence and witnessing of our minds that dissolves and disappears this optical illusion that never was real in the first place.

*

Sure you can keep going back to the same poisoned watering hole you get sick after visiting or you can go to another watering hole-it's your call.

*

There are some people that are accidents waiting to happen and then there are people who insist on being on-going train wrecks.

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For some people, friends are God's way of apologizing for the family they were born into.

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The man goes out wondering if he'll get lucky; the woman already knows.

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In the dance of life, it's always "women's choice," not just the one "lady's choice" dance of the night.

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[Boxing ring metaphor] Come join me in "your corner," instead of wandering around the ring and stadium.

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To see today what you were myopic in seeing yesterday is not only 20:20 hindsight, it's remarkably present foresight!

*

A wonderful story tells of a Civil War general that had his troops overrun and was losing soldiers right and left. He didn't want to signal retreat given this would demoralize his men, yet he couldn't continue watching his men die in droves. Under great pressure, he finally decided upon a course of action. He sent the message down the chain of command that the troops immediately were to advance in a different direction! His troops were thrilled and relieved! Whenever we are stuck in life, herein lies the possibility to "advance in a different direction" without any shame, guilt or discomfort. It sure beats staying stuck, getting run over or being killed!

*

What does it take to crack open our compassionate hearts? What level of pain, misery and suffering does it take for us to wake up? Possibly a stiff 2 x 4 across our rear ends or upside our heads? Actually, what it takes to get our sustained and motivated attention is a gallon of blood, a gallon of sweat, and a gallon of tears. Ready now?

*

A classic book on borderline personality disorder by Jerold J. Kreisman and Hal Straus is called I Hate You, Don't Leave Me. Just as accurately it could have been called "I Love You, Don't Touch Me."

*

Few things are as powerful as a poor example and almost nothing, with the exception of God, is more powerful than a good example.

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True life transformation often takes the form of kicking and screaming to health and well being.

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When someone shows you who they think they are, trust that. It's not true in terms of who every one of us truly is, and the being showing you this is unaware and does not know this.

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Better to be a happy ditch-digger than a miserable doctor.

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If you have one foot in tomorrow and one foot in yesterday, then you are pissing on today. [not original]

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In any social activity, things progress at the pace of the slowest person.

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The person with the least investment, attachment and commitment in a relationship has the lion's share of power in that relationship.

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All apparent problems arise out of the mind's apparent perception of a divided wholeness.

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Everything is grist for the mill. There is no irrelevant experience. Apparent coincidences and accidents are confused with true understanding in Oneness courtesy of an imagined ego-mind.

*

Have you heard the one about there being two types of people-those who think and speak in dualities and those who don't, which of course is another duality. When the apparent perception of a supposed "me" seemingly seeing a supposed "you" collapses in no separation and no-twoness, then all that exists is the field of Being, a labyrinth of Presence, This!

*

All healing organically grows precisely out of where you were wounded. The keys that open up your true life are found exactly where they were dropped.

*

In point of truth, we are not engaged in an archeological dig and you are not the site.

*

If in fact everything in the universe if of one whole seamless stuff, then what is there to integrate, unite, connect or be in relationship with? Is it that who you are has relationships with other people, or do we all share one ground or field of Being and experience our apparent perceptions and experiences of this?

*

Who isn't near-sighted with the so-called future and far-sighted with the so-called past? We are all myopic with what is not real. We only have perfect 20/20 vision with this present moment.

*

That which we hold tightest to keeps us stuck. That which you see though and surrender as unnecessary is what unsticks and frees us. Like with most crimes, it's all an inside job.

*

Higher skyward you do aspire, more grounded you need desire.
 


George Demont Otis     Tress in the Evening LIght

Everything that happens it could not be otherwise. It's only a question of whether you accept or resist it.

*

How much choice do you have even in quieting your mind?

*

Consciousness ever finds, meets and reflects consciousness, and never the twain occurs.

*

The body is a beautiful and remarkably accurate barometer of all incomplete traumas, that is, what the body has been unable to hold, tolerate, accept, process, and re-regulate back to healthier functional self-regulation remains incomplete and resurfaces for just this. We're ever receiving bodily feedback, from a gentle tap to a thunderous roar on the door of our wholeness.

Verbiage and verbal behavior are different universes. The first is merely hot air running over vocal chords, while the second is a commitment backed up with actions. It is quite unwise to not know and honor this distinction. Thus, verbal agreements without concomitant actions are not worth the paper they are written on, and written ones are usually no better.

*

Your greatest fear is your secret desire. Unconsciously such desires allow a deeper healing in making peace with what is unfinished in you.

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A reaction indicates the triggering, animation, engagement and acting out of a belief.

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One "Aw, shit!" nullifies twenty "Atta boy's!"

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Don't assume malice when incompetence will suffice. [Not original]

*

Without good will and good faith, trust cannot be built.
Without trust, nothing real, viable or valuable can be built in relationships.
With good will and good faith, trust can be built.
With trust, everything is available to be built and sustained in relationships.

*

Normal is sick in a sick society. Abnormal can be well in a sick society.

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How can you be heard if you don't have a voice? How can you be seen if you don't have eyes to see?

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You simply cannot possible to go astray by choosing life.

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As there are no true beliefs, so there are no legitimate arguments.

*

Life goes on unaffected and unconcerned with your life conditions, requirements or desires. In other words, when you are where you belong, doing what you are here to do, and with the people you are here to do it with, isn't happiness missing the point and purely a wonderful by-product of a well-lived life you are drawn and beckoned to live? In fact, the most miserable, complaining folks I've known seem to aim directly for so-called happiness, such as thrill-seekers, drug-users and high-flying impulsive hedonists, and typically keep ending up in suffering. You could say that expecting and aiming directly for heaven is precisely what hell is all about.

*

Pride in the past is nothing more than an ego appearing to exist in the dead past. It' s now that matters.

*

It is the choices we make and the actions we take that define a life. This has nothing to do with where you have been or where you are going. It only has to do with where you are coming from.

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Life is inherently messy and it doesn't have to be a mess.

*

(Overheard) Of all the people in the world, you're one of them.

*

The world is often illegitimate, immoral, unscrupulous and even illegal-the game is rigged and the numbers are cooked. It is equally true that it is a beautiful world filled with many who risk everything in heroic contributions every day. Paradoxical, huh?

*

An odd oxymoron: people scream to be heard and nobody can hear anyone who's screaming.

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It's the same old story: with one foot in the past and with the other foot in the future, you end up absent in today.

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The future? How could it be an issue when it isn't even real and nobody knows anything about it?

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We are wounded precisely where our genius is. Our greatest perceived weakness can be our greatest strength.

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(overheard) The armchair is the neurotic's spaceship.

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I only do wise guy; I don't do unwise guy.

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All true relationships are 100 / 100, not 50 / 50. What would 50 percent of a relationship even look like?

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If you're not aware, you just don't get it!

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Thinking it's so, is so… even if it isn't so.

*

You put the dumb in dumbfounded, the fun in dysfunctional and the smart in outsmarted.

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Everything opens up in relaxation and everything closes down in contraction.

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The core ultimate ego defense is from feelings, experience and experiencing feelings.

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We are here to be the opening, space and clearing for all that arises, whole-heartedly welcoming "what is" in this moment, for this is all that is real and exists.

*

How can you lose who you are? Is this an experience, or anything that comes and goes? Hardly. Anything that ever is in the changeless Absolute, remains in the changeless Absolute. Nothing is at risk here, since this is timeless eternity.

*

What happens when you stop? Stop without needing to stop or not stop, not with or without understanding.

*

Notice some facet within that is already free, peaceful and abiding in present naked Awareness with natural curiosity and finding everything utterly fascinating.

*

Through depthless true understanding eyes, Love ever sees itself impersonally without a why, a how, a where or even a what. Love seeing itself is to be truly seen and to be loved.

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The flip side of the book on Borderline Personality Disorder entitled "I Hate You; Don't Leave Me" is "I Love You; Don't Touch Me."

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People 'check out' when there is nothing stimulating, compelling or drawing to show up for.

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Leave your ego at the door. Does it get any better?

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If anything easy ever shows up (in therapy), please let me know immediately since then I'm not doing my job.

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When nature calls, it's best to quickly answer.

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When all else fail, do what works.

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When everything under the sun isn't working and is released, what remains must be real.

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The very worst day alive is better than the very best day dead.

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Even the most selfless altruistic action imaginable absolutely serves oneself.

*

Your friends are God's way of apologizing for your family.
 


George Demont Otis     Rocky Mountains

For some considerable number of people, family is the other F-word.

*

Given that everything is an expression and manifestation of Divinity, then where isn't God?

*

Obviously, if you are alive, then you are getting older. While we all get older, you don't ever have to be old. While we all have money challenges at time, you don't ever have to be poor. Getting older and experiencing money challenges are a part of life; old and poor indicate a pessimistic attitude, and poor character too boot.

*

You can never really be separate and alienated from Divinity since who you truly are is an expression of Divinity, ever at peaceful unity and at-One with God. What a relief.

*

You don't solve your lack of responsibility and accountability by changing the subject, displacing your upset onto others, projecting what you cannot accept in yourself by attacking or criticizing another, or by slowing someone else down.

*

It's not "about" anything, you are not "becoming" something, there is no "there" to aim for, and "someday" never arrives. There need be no imaginary entity such as the ego to manage our life in being "about" anything since Life is a direct experience. In truth, you cannot "become" who you already truly are. Since everything is right "here", then how can there be any reality to any "there"? And what in the blazes is anyone talking of is "someday" anything since the only day is today, the only place is here, and the only time is now? What can be real, other than right here, right now, exactly where you are in this moment?

*

A well-lived life can be as simple as the "ding" and the "dink." Once you recognize a "ding" for just what it is, what would possess you to not step up to the place and swing? Once you notice a 'dink' for just what it is, what would possess you to step up to the plate and swing at that? It's just not a good idea to follow anything that does "dink" instead of "ding."

The only ones, interested in seeing through and shedding their imaginary ego-minds, who don't do it, are the ones who out-clever and lie to themselves out of being inauthentic.

*

The true cost of healing today is without exception a bargain and blessing when compared with the astronomical cost tomorrow.

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If you are not actively being born, then you are busy dying. [Acknowledgement to Bob Dylan]

*

If you're not growing, adapting, developing and evolving daily, then you're not taking enough risks and you're not fully alive.

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You get a bigger bang for the buck from broadening, enhancing and developing strengths than shoring up, patching and mitigating weaknesses.

*

The mind gets caught up in all the nice, comfy, self-serving illusions, and then believes them. In fact, this is one of the major preoccupations of the mind all the time.

*

The sweetest day in hell does not touch the hardest day in heaven. No contest.

*

[Overheard in the asylum] Nuckin' Futs. Drain Bamage.

*

The inmates are running the asylum. Oh well, so it goes, another day on the planet.

*

When passionate desire gets lit, neither cost nor fairness is ever really a consideration.

*

(Overheard) I've never seen a heart with a luggage rack.

*

You cannot have a rational discussion with irrational people looking for a no-holds barred argument. It just ain't going to happen, ever.

*

No matter how many beans you shove up your nose, you will receive no nourishment in your belly.

*

Going through your brain to reach and touch your heart is as workable as using reason to influence and impact your feelings.

*

Everything proceeds at the pace of the slowest person.

*

The person who is overinvested is at the mercy of the one who is less invested, since it is the less invested person who calls all the shots. Thus, the one who needs something from another is under the thumb of the one who needs it less.

*

Every single time you tell the truth, you automatically purge yourself of lies you harbor, whether you are conscious or unconscious of them. Every truth-telling act vanquishes the lie and reinstates congruency with your soul.

*

The self-righteous' motto: You can agree with me or you can be wrong.
The unself-righteous' motto: I might be wrong. You might be right. What do I know?

*

Fame is a fecal temptress. Being both a curse and a blessing, it is a conceit of the observed, not the observing.

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You suffer when you believe the thoughts your mind makes up.

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If it doesn't work for everyone, then it doesn't work for anyone.

*

Since all win-loss games eventually degenerate into being lose-lose games, then the only game worth playing is win-win.

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Anyone you would cheat with you will eventually cheat on you. Actually there is no honor among thieves. An honest thief is an oxymoron.

*

There is never an excuse or reason for poor behavior.

*

The true value of therapy is creating the person you are committed to being.

*

Good things arise to those who earn them and take them.

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You have precisely as much power and respect as you take.

*

You enjoy exactly as much love as you give and give and give love endlessly.
 


George Demont Otis     Path Through the Trees

 
© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
 

 


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