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Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated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 But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.


Articles by Dr. Friedman
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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 4

How to write a poem:
Climb to the highest tree
Step onto the branch you fear will break under your weight
Let it break.

—Clarissa Pinkola Estes


I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

—Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, Leaves of Grass


Whoever perceives
Within misfortune
Within hunger
And happiness
Within misery,
Joy and beauty
Eye is cast -
Such a one,
My friend

—Yosy A. Flug


You Don't Have to Act Crazy Anymore

You Don't Have to Act Crazy Anymore—
We all know you were good at that.

Now retire, my dear,
From all that hard work you do

Of bringing pain to your sweet eyes and heart.

Look in a clear mountain mirror -
See the Beautiful Ancient Warrior
And the Divine elements
You always carry inside

That infused this Universe with sacred Life
So long ago

And join you Eternally
With all Existence—with God!

—Hafiz, I heard God Laughing—translated by Daniel Ladinsky


Nothing satisfies some appetites,
but wild plants ease my hunger.

Free of untoward desires,
all things bring me pleasure.

Tattered robes warm frozen bones.
I wander with deer for companions.

I sing to myself like a crazy man
and children sing along.

—Ryokan, The Poetry of Zen


Whoever perceives
Within misfortune
Within hunger
And happiness
Within misery,
Joy and beauty
Eye is cast -
Such a one,
My friend

—Yosy A. Flug


When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

—Wendell Berry, "The Peace of Wild Things"


George Demont Otis     California Foothills


This is now.
Now is, all there is.

Don't wait for Then.
Strike the spark, light the fire.

Sit at the Beloved's table.
Feast with gusto, drink your fill.

Then dance
The way branches of jasmine and
cypress dance in a spring wind.

The green earth is your cloth.
Tailor your robe with dignity and grace.



You and I were never born.
I and you will never die.
"you and I"
is just a dream
in eternal

—Yosy A. Flug


If the doors of perception were cleansed
everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite.
For man has closed himself up,
till he sees all things thru chinks of his cavern.

—William Blake


On the road

My friend, the traveler
We are here,
Hidden under various disguises,
As guards, guides and companions
Along your life's journey,
To give you assistance
To extend a helping hand
To provide succor.

We are
But a reflection of your virtues
Manifesting in time
Of necessity.
Placed by your forgotten
Selfless deeds
In the inexhaustible
Yours for the taking
When the need arises.

We are
The friend
Of friends
Whose face is always hidden
Yet ever revealed
In the silent smile
Of your heart,
In the caress of the wind,
In the soothing coolness of spring water.

And the secret is
Forgetting yourself
You too
Are one

—Yosy A. Flug


—Richard Jones

In the desert, a traveler
returning to his family
is surprised
by a wild beast.

To save himself
from the fierce animal,
he leaps into a deep well
empty of water.

But at the bottom
is a dragon, waiting
with open mouth
to devour him.

The unhappy man,
not daring to go out
lest he should be
the prey of the beast,

not daring to jump
to the bottom
lest he should be
devoured by the dragon,

clings to the branch
of a bush growing
in the cracks of the well.
Hanging upon the bough,

he feels his hands
weaken, yet still
he clings, afraid
of his certain fate.

Then he sees two mice,
one white, the other black,
moving about the bush,
gnawing the roots.

The traveler sees this
and knows that he must
inevitably perish, that he will
never see his sons again.

But while thus hanging
he looks about and sees
on the leaves of the bush
some drops of honey.

These leaves
he reaches with his tongue
and licks the honey off,
with rapture.


God created pain and sorrow that
happiness might show itself by contrast.
For hidden things are made manifest
by means of their opposites:
since God has no opposite, He is hidden.

—Rumi, Naked Songs, versions by Coleman Barks


The Fool

—Yosy A. Flug (aka, yosy the fool)

By nature my mind is
Even in sleep, I am awake.
I think of things without thinking.

All my impressions of the world
Have dissolved.

My desires have melted

So what do I care for money
Or the thieving senses,
For friends or knowledge or holy books?

What are they to me?

What do I care for freedom?

For I have known God,
The infinite Self,
The witness of all things.

Without, a
Within, free of thought.

I do as I please,
And only those like me
Understand my ways.


I said to the wanting-creature inside me


I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no

And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a sold place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!

Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.


Even before
We emerged
Into this world
Of land and sky
We all
Were divers
Effortlessly floating
Weightless and dreaming
In safety
Of all-pervading waters
Protected well
Beating heart.

And then
Fighting for breath
We died as fish
Into this world
Of weight
And sorrow.
People call
This death

One day
I shall return
To my great
Mother's womb.
Some will say
He drowned
And died
But I
I shall be home

—Yosy A. Flug


George Demont Otis     The Desert Blooom


In Silence

Be still.
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
To speak your

To the living walls.
Who are you?
Are you? Whose
Silence are you?

Who (be quiet)
Are you (as these stones
Are quiet). Do not
Think of what you are
Still less of
What you may one day be.
Be what you are (but who?) be
The unthinkable one
You do not know.

O be still, while
You are still alive,
And all things live around you
Speaking (I do not hear)
To your own being,
Speaking by the Unknown
That is in you and in themselves.

"I will try, like them
To be my own silence:
And this is difficult. The whole
World is secretly on fire. The stones
Burn, even the stones
They burn me. How can a man be still or
Listen to all things burning? How can he dare
To sit with them
When all their silence
Is on fire?"

—Thomas Merton, from The Strange Islands: Poems by Thomas Merton


whirlpool of despair

—Yosy A. Flug

in the whirlpool
of despair,
fighting desperately
against the ruthlessly dragging,
spiraling vortex,
convoluting into the abyss -
realize: here force is of no use.

Let go.
abandon the engagement.

Allow yourself to be drawn inert
into the deep.
Lose all dismay in the profundity.
Pulled in, forsaking
illusionary selfhood,
merge and blend
into the void…

free at last, see the wonder:
the only way out is through!


The School of Truth


O fool, do something, so you won't just stand there looking dumb.
If you are not traveling and on the road, how can you call yourself a guide?

In the School of Truth, one sits at the feet of the Master of Love.
So listen, son, so that one day you may be an old father, too!

All this eating and sleeping has made you ignorant and fat;
By denying yourself food and sleep, you may still have a chance.

Know this: If God should shine His lovelight on your heart,
I promise you'll shine brighter than a dozen suns.

And I say: wash the tarnished copper of your life from your hands;
To be Love's alchemist, you should be working with gold.

Don't sit there thinking; go out and immerse yourself in God's sea.
Having only one hair wet with water will not
put knowledge in that head.

For those who see only God, their vision
Is pure, and not a doubt remains.

Even if our world is turned upside down and blown over by the wind,
If you are doubtless, you won't lose a thing.

O Hafiz, if it is union with the Beloved that you seek,
Be the dust at the Wise One's door, and speak!

From: Drunk on the Wine of the Beloved
(Translated by Thomas Rain Crowe)


—Yosy A. Flug

today is
yesterday's tomorrow,
and this is
the only afterlife
I know.

We chose
heaven and hell
and all
in between
with each
and every

Surrendering to grace
burns all karma
to ashes;
god's infinite mercy
in a blink
of an eyelid.

So die right now
ya yosy!
And thus


You Are the Only Student You Have

You are the only faithful student you have.
All the others leave eventually.

Have you been making yourself shallow
with making others eminent?

Just remember, when you're in union,
you don't have to fear
that you'll be drained.

The command comes to speak,
and you feel the ocean
moving through you.
Then comes, Be silent,
as when the rain stops,
and the trees in the orchard
begin to draw moisture
up into themselves.

—Rumi, Mathnawi V:3195-3219, version by Coleman Barks


I carry a torch in one hand

I carry a torch in one hand
And a bucket of water in the other:
With these things I am going to set fire to Heaven
And put out the flames of Hell
So that voyagers to God can rip the veils
And see the real goal.

—Rabia (Rabi'a Al-'Adawiyya) (717 - 801) English version by Charles Upton


In peaceful respite

—Yosy A. Flug

effortlessly conquers
the mightiest roar
of thousand thunders.


When tomorrow starts without me

—David M. Romano

When tomorrow starts without me
And I'm not there to see
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me

I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today
While thinking of the many things
We didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me
As much as I love you
And each time that you think of me
I know you'll miss me too

But when tomorrow starts without me
Please try to understand
That an angel came and called my name
And took me by the hand

And said my place was ready
In heaven far above
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.

But when I walked through heaven's gates
I felt so much at home
When God looked down and smiled at me
From His great golden throne

He said, "This is eternity
And all I've promised you
Today-for life on earth is past
But here it starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow
For today will always last
And since each day's the same way
There's no longing for the past."

So when tomorrow starts without me
Don't think we're far apart...
For every time you think of me
I'm right here in your heart!!


That thou mayest have pleasure in everything,
Seek pleasure in nothing.
That thou mayest know everything,
Seek to know nothing.
That thou mayest possess all things,
Seek to possess nothing.
That thou mayest be everything,
Seek to be nothing.

—St. John of the Cross



—Hafiz, The Gift (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)

Do not
Want to step so quickly
Over a beautiful line on God's palm
As I move through the earth's

I do not want to touch any object in this world
Without my eyes testifying to the truth
That everything is
My Beloved.

Something has happened
To my understanding of existence
That now makes my heart always full of wonder
And kindness.

I do not
Want to step so quickly
Over this sacred place on God's body
That is right beneath your
Own foot

As I
Dance with
Precious life


As a bee seeks nectar from all kinds of flowers,
Seek teachings everywhere.
Like a deer that finds a quiet place to graze,
Seek seclusion to digest all that you have gathered.
Like a madman, beyond all limits, go wherever you please;
And live like a lion, completely free of fear."

—A Dzogchen Tantra


George Demont Otis     Valley Creek



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