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Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated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 But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.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

Holiday Family Gatherings | Cartoons, Jokes and Humor | Poems and Quotes | Song Lyrics, Wit and Wisdom

Poems and Quotes

Poetry For Life 2

[The single most stunning, amazing and depthless poem I've ever read is the following poem "Lemuel's Blessing" by W. S. Merwin. This poem first appeared in the New Yorker magazine in 1962 and later in the 1963 poetry collection The Moving Target (available in The Second Four Books of Poems by W. S. Merwin published in 1993.]


1. Compassion or pity for another
2. Sorrow or misery about one's own misdeeds or flaws

1. A frequenter of a particular place or a kind of entertainment

1. Disgrace inherent in or arising from shameful conduct, ignominy
2.Scornful reproach or contempt
3. A case of shame or disgrace]


Lemuel's Blessing—W. S. Merwin

Let Lemuel bless with the wolf, which is a
dog without a master, but the Lord hears
his cries and feeds him in the desert.

Jubilate Agnos, Christopher Smart

You that know the way,
I Bless your ears which are like cypresses on a mountain
With their roots in wisdom. Let me approach.
I bless your paws and their twenty nails which tell their own prayer
And are like dice in command of their own combinations.
Let me not be lost.
I bless your eyes for which I know no comparison.
Run with me like the horizon, for without you
I am nothing but a dog lost and hungry,
Ill-natured, untrustworthy, useless.

My bones together bless you like an orchestra of flutes.
Divert the weapons of the settlements and lead their dogs a dance.
Where a dog is shameless and wears servility
In his tail like a banner,
Let me wear the opprobrium of possessed and possessors
As a thick tail properly used
To warm my worst and my best parts. My tail and my laugh bless you.
Lead me past the error at the fork of hesitation.
Deliver me.

From the ruth of the lair, which clings to me in the morning,
Painful when I move, like a trap;
Even debris has its favorite positions but they are not yours;
From the ruth of kindness, with its licked hands;
I have sniffed baited fingers and followed
Toward necessities which were not my own: it would me
An habitué of back steps, faithful custodian of fat sheep;

From the ruth of prepared comforts, with its
Habitual dishes sporting my name and its collars and leashes of vanity;

From the ruth of approval, with its nets, kennels and taxidermists;
It would use my guts for its own rackets and instruments, to play
its own games and music;
Teach me to recognize its platforms, which are constructed like scaffolds;

From the ruth of known paths, which would use my feet, tail and
ears as curios,
My head as a nest for tame ants,
My fate as a warning.

I have hidden at wrong times for wrong reasons.
I have been brought to bay. More than once.
Another time, if I need it.
Create a little wind like a cold finger between my shoulders, then
Let my nails pour out a torrent of aces like grain from a threshing machine;
Let fatigue, weather, habitation, the old bones, finally,
Be nothing to me,
Let all lights but yours be nothing to me.

Let the memory of tongues not unnerve me so that I stumble or quake.
But lead me at times beside the still waters;
There when I crouch to drink let me catch a glimpse of your image
Before it is obscured with my own

Preserve my eyes, which are irreplaceable.
Preserve my heart, veins, bones,
Against the slow death building in them like hornets until the place
is entirely theirs.
Preserve my tongue and I will bless you again and again.

Let my ignorance and my failings
Remain far behind me like tracks made in a wet season,
At the end of which I have vanished,
So that those who track me for their own twisted ends
May be rewarded only with ignorance and failings.
But let me leave my cry stretched out behind me like a road
On which I have followed you.
And sustain me for my time in the desert
On what is essential to me.

The Road Not Taken—Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


George Demont Otis     The Surf


When the mind is at peace,
the world too is at peace.
Nothing real, nothing absent.
Not holding on to reality,
not getting stuck in the void,
you are neither holy nor wise, just
an ordinary fellow who has completed his work.
—P'ang Yun (Layman P'ang) (740?-808)
[English version by Stephen Mitchell]

I have lived on the lip,
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside!
[Translated by Colman Barks, The Essential Rumi]

is what
is all
—Peter McWilliams, The Hard Stuff: Love

definitions, borders, rules. . .
they confine, restrict, direct.
but the wind
knows nothing
of this
and the sky
cannot be bound.
if you trap the wind

ya yosy,
let your spirit

this moment
is one
with the ocean
of time.
—Yosy A. Flug

it is here
in the breath
it is here
in the stillness between breaths
it is here
in the active mind
it is here
in the resting mind
it is here
in the dream's panorama
it is here
in each moment of awakening
it is here
when all is well
it is here
when fear has nothing left to fear
even then
there is pure noticing
even then
there is no need for doing
no frantic searching
can find the obvious
no seeking needed
to find that which seeks
it is here
where it can never be lost
or found

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe;
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
—William Blake, A Poison Tree

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
—William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.
—William Blake, Love's Secret

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
—William Blake, On Another's Sorrow

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forest of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
—William Blake, The Tiger

Awake, awake, my little boy!
Thou wast thy mother's only joy;
Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep?
Awake! thy father does thee keep.
—William Blake, The Land of Dreams

To Be of Use—Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

there is only one nation—the nation of humanity.
there is only one language—the language of the heart.
there is only one religion—the religion of love.
there is only one teacher—life itself.
and god/truth/love is one without a second—timeless,
boundless and omnipresent.

The Absolute—Sri Chinmoy

No mind, no form, I only exist;
Now ceased all will and thought;
The final end of Nature's dance,
I am it whom I have sought.

A realm of Bliss bare, ultimate;
Beyond both knower and known;
A rest immense I enjoy at last;
I face the One alone.

I have crossed the secret ways of life,
I have become the Goal.
The Truth immutable is revealed;
I am the way, the God Soul.

My spirit aware of all the heights,
I am mute in the core of the Sun.
I barter nothing with time and deeds;
My cosmic play is done.

Children Learn What They Live—Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
he learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
he learns to find love in the world.

Teenagers Learn What They Live—Dorothy Law Nolte and Rachel Harris

If teenagers live with pressure,
they learn to be stressed.
If teenagers live with failure,
they learn to give up.
If teenagers live with rejection,
they learn to feel lost.
If teenagers live with too many rules,
they learn to get around them.
If teenagers live with too few rules,
they learn to ignore the needs of others.
If teenagers live with broken promises,
they learn to be disappointed.
If teenagers live with respect,
they learn to honor others.
If teenagers live with trust, they learn to tell the truth.
If teenagers live with openness,
they learn to discover themselves.
If teenagers live with natural consequences,
they learn to be accountable.
If teenagers live with responsibility,
they learn to be self-reliant.
If teenagers live with healthy habits,
they learn to be kind to their bodies.
If teenagers live with support,
they learn to feel good about themselves.
If teenagers live with creativity,
they learn to share who they are.
If teenagers live with caring attention,
they learn how to love.
If teenagers live with positive expectations,
they learn to build a better world.

Risks—Leo Buscaglia

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk pain.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, or love.
Chained by his addictions, he's a slave. He has forfeited his greatest trait,
and that is his individual freedom.
Only the person who risks is free.

Have nothing. . .

Nothing to attack
Nothing to achieve

Nothing to maintain
Nothing to forgive;

Nothing to expect
Nothing to believe.

No one to defend
And no cause to grieve. . .

Only this
Living moment
What appears

-Yosy A. Flug

Invictus—Wiliam Ernest Henley

OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


George Demont Otis     Flowering Dunes


A Dream Within a Dream—Edgar Allen Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep a while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil'd or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below-above the vaulted sky.
—John Clare

The gist of teaching

The timeless, boundless essence
(Or its total absence0
Is already present always
Wherever whenever you are.
Beloved seeker of truth
Learn humility's first lesson:
Do not ever
Take yourself

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And e'en the dearest-that I loved the best-
Are strange-nay, rather stranger than the rest.
—Author Unknown

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.
—Antonio Machado (1875-1939)
[English version by Robert Bly]

Courageous one
Wishing to enter this play
Know: there are
No conditions nor limits
One rule: it is all or nothing.
No regrets. No returns.
The only requirement is
Losing your self
Totally and completely. . .
Leaving no trace
Of "I" or "mine".

In the game of love,
The loser
Takes all.
—Yosy A. Flug

Just become quiet,
still, and solitary,
and the world will offer itself
to you to be unmasked;
it has no choice.
It will roll in ecstasy
at your feet.
—Franz Kafka

Isn't it wise
to count your friends
on a sunny day, when the
sky is blue, and smiles
come by the bushel. . .
Instead wait for a storm,
when the clouds roll in,
and the day grows dark
and laughter's scarce. . .
whoever stands by you then
deserves the name "friend."

Thank you, my friend, for
braving the storms with me
and for making
the sunny days
a little brighter. . .
—Linda Lee Elrod

Listen—Author Unknown

When I ask of you to listen to me
and you start giving advice
you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem,
you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I asked, was that you listen.
not talk or do—just hear me.
Advice is cheap: 10 cents will get you both Dear Abby and
Billy Graham in the same newspaper.
And I can do for myself; I'm not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do
for myself, you contribute to my fear and weakness.

But, when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince
you and can get about the business of understanding what's behind
this irrational feeling.
And when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them.

Perhaps that's why prayer works, sometimes, for some people
because God is mute, and he doesn't give advice or
try to fix things. "They" just listen and let you
work it out for yourself.

So, please listen and just hear me. And, if you want to
talk, wait for your turn; and I'll listen to you.

The Dash Between the Dates—Lucille Britt

Memorial Day was over now
All had left and I was alone
And began to read the names and dates
Chiseled there on every stone.
The dates which showed whether it was Mom or Dad,
Or daughter, or baby son;
The dates were different, but the amount the same.
There were two on every one.

It was then I noticed something.
It was a simple line -
It was the dash between the dates,
Placed there; it stood for time.
All at once it dawned on me
How important that little line;
The dates placed there belonged to God,
But that line is yours and mine.

It's God who gives this precious life
And God who takes away;
But that line between He gives to us
To do with what we may.
We know God's written the first date down
Of each and every one;
And we know those hands will write again
For the last date has to come.

We know He'll write the last date down,
And soon, we know, for some;
But upon the line between My dates,
I hope He'll write: "Well done!"


George Demont Otis     Toward Bedega Bay



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