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Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated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 But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.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

Song Lyrics, Wit and Wisdom

Wit and Wisdom For Life 1
 

Getting divorced just because you don't live a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do.
—Zsa Zsa Gabor

In explaining how the federal government operated, the statesman Henry Kissinger quipped, "The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer."

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some
form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you.
—Rita Mae Brown

Bearing resentment is like feeding yourself poison and expecting the other person to die.
—Author Unknown

I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.
—Lucille Ball

I didn't cause it,
I can't control it,
I'm not to blame for it,
And I don't have to fix it!
— Barbara Johnson

May I become at all times, both now and forever,
a protector for those without protection
a guide for those who have lost their way
a ship for those with oceans to cross
a bridge for those with rivers to cross
a sanctuary for those in danger
a lamp for those who need light
a place of refuge for those needing shelter
and a servant to all those in need."
—The Dalai Lama, What We Remember

An oft-cited statistic is that we remember:
10% of what we hear
15% of what we see
20% of what we see and hear
60% of what we do
80% of what we do actively with reflection,
and 90% of what we teach others.
 

Golden Rules for Living (Basic Training)—Miriam Hamilton Keare

  1. If you open it, CLOSE IT.
     
  2. If you turn it on, TURN IT OFF.
     
  3. If you unlock it, LOCK IT UP.
     
  4. If you break it, ADMIT IT.
     
  5. If you can't fix it, CALL IN SOMEONE WHO CAN.
     
  6. If you borrow it, RETURN IT.
     
  7. If you value it, TAKE CARE OF IT.
     
  8. If you make a mess, CLEAN IT UP.
     
  9. If you move it, PUT IT BACK.
     
  10. If it belongs to someone else, GET PERMISSION TO USE IT.
     
  11. If you don't know how to operate it, LEAVE IT ALONE.
     
  12. If it's none of your business, DON'T ASK QUESTIONS.
     
     [Three additional ones in some versions]
     
  13. If it ain't broke, DON'T FIX IT.
     
  14. If it will brighten someone's day, SAY IT.
     
  15. If it will tarnish someone's reputation, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.
     

A Speech of Surrender—Chief Seattle of the Dwamish Tribe, 1854

The Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. The Great Chief also sends us words of friendship and good will. This is kind of him, since we know he has little need of our friendship in return. But we will consider your offer, for we know if we do not so the white man may come with guns and take our land. What Chief Seattle says you can count on as truly as our white brothers can count on the return of the seasons. My words are like the stars—they do not set.

How can you buy or sell the sky—the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Yet we do not own the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us? We will decide in our time. Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his father's graves and his children's birthright is forgotten. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the redman. But perhaps it is because the redman is a savage and does not understand.

There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to listen to the leaves of spring or the rustle of insect wings. But perhaps because I am a savage and do not understand—the clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lovely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind itself cleansed by a mid-day rain, or scented by a pinõn pine: The air is precious to the redman. For all things share the same breath—the beasts, the trees, and the man. The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

If I decide to accept, I will make one condition. The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers. I am a savage and I do not understand any other way. I have seen thousands of rotting buffaloes on the prairie left by the white man who shot them from a passing train. I am a savage and do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive. What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beast also happens to the man.

All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.

Our children have seen their fathers humbled in defeat. Our warriors have felt shame. And after defeat they turn their days in idleness and contaminate their bodies with sweet food and strong drink. It matters little where we pass the rest of our days—they are not many. A few more hours, a few more winters, and none of the children of the great tribes that once lived on this earth, or that roamed in small bands in the woods will remain to mourn the graves of the people once as powerful and hopeful as yours.

One thing we know that the white man may one day discover. Our God is the same God. You may think that you own him as you wish to own our land, but you cannot. He is the Body of man, and his compassion is equal for the redman and the white. This earth is precious to him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. The whites, too, shall pass—perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. When the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses all tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by the talking wires, where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.

We might understand if we knew what it was the white man dreams, what hopes he describes to his children on long winter nights, what visions he burns into their minds, so they will wish for tomorrow. But we are savages. The white man's dreams are hidden from us. And because they are hidden, we will go our own way. If we agree, it will be to secure your reservation you have promised.

There perhaps we may live out our brief days as we wish. When the last redman has vanished from the earth, and the memory is only the shadow of a cloud passing over the prairie, these shores and forests will still hold the spirits of my people, for they love this earth as the newborn loves its mother's heartbeat. If we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. Hold in your memory the way the land is as you take it. And with all your strength, with all your might, and with all your heart—preserve it for your children, and love it as God loves us all. One thing we know—our God is the same. This earth is precious to him. Even the white man cannot escape the common destiny.


George Demont Otis     Rocky Coast

The Meanest Mother in the World—Bobbie Pingaro, 1967

I had the meanest mother in the whole world. While other kids ate candy for breakfast, I had to have cereal, eggs or toast. When others had cokes and candy for lunch, I had to eat a sandwich. As you can guess, my supper was different than the other kids' also.

But at least, I wasn't alone in my sufferings. My sister and two brothers had the same mean mother as I did.

My mother insisted upon knowing where we were at all times. You'd think we were on a chain gang. She had to know who our friends were and where we were going. She insisted if we said we'd be gone an hour, that we be gone one hour or less—not one hour and one minute. I am nearly ashamed to admit it, but she actually struck us. Not once, but each time we had a mind of our own and did as we pleased. That poor belt was used more on our seats than it was to hold up Daddy's pants. Can you imagine someone actually hitting a child just because he disobeyed? Now you can begin to see how mean she really was.

We had to wear clean clothes and take a bath. The other kids always wore their clothes for days. We reached the height of insults because she made our clothes herself, just to save money. Why, oh why, did we have to have a mother who made us feel different from our friends?

The worst is yet to come. We had to be in bed by nine each night and up at eight the next morning. We couldn't sleep till noon like our friends. So while they slept—my mother actually had the nerve to break the child-labor law. She made us work. We had to wash dishes, make beds, learn to cook and all sorts of cruel things. I believe she laid awake at night thinking up mean things to do to us.

She always insisted upon us telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if it killed us—and it nearly did.

By the time we were teen-agers, she was much wiser, and our life became even more unbearable. None of this tooting the horn of a car for us to come running. She embarrassed us to no end by making our dates and friends come to the door to get us. If I spent the night with a girlfriend, can you imagine she checked on me to see if I were really there. I never had the chance to elope to Mexico. That is if I'd had a boyfriend to elope with. I forgot to mention, while my friends were dating at the mature age of 12 and 13, my old fashioned mother refused to let me date until the age of 15 and 16. Fifteen, that is, if you dated only to go to a school function. And that was maybe twice a year.

Through the years, things didn't improve a bit. We could not lie in bed, "sick" like our friends did, and miss school. If our friends had a toe ache, a hangnail or serious ailment, they could stay home from school. Our marks in school had to be up to par. Our friends' report cards had beautiful colors on them, black for passing, red for failing. My mother being as different as she was, would settle for nothing less than ugly black marks.

As the years rolled by, first one and then the other of us were put to shame. We were graduated from high school. With our mother behind us, talking, hitting and demanding respect, none of us was allowed the pleasure of being a dropout.

My mother was a complete failure as a mother. Out of four children, a couple of us attained some higher education. None of us have ever been arrested, divorced or beaten his mate. Each of my brothers served his time in the service of this country. And whom do we have to blame for the terrible way we turned out? You're right, our mean mother. Look at the things we missed. We never got to march in a protest parade, nor to take part in a riot, burn draft cards, and a million and one other things that our friends did. She forced us to grow up into God-fearing, educated, honest adults.

Using this as a background, I am trying to raise my three children. I stand a little taller and I am filled with pride when my children call me mean. Because, you see, I thank God, He gave me the meanest mother in the whole world.
 

A 92 year-old's Recipe for Happiness

A 92-year-old, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably coifed and shave perfectly applied, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when he was told that his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, the maid provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window. I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait." "That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied.

"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged. . . it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. "It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories! Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing."

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

[How incredibly true it is: Under-promise, over-deliver and give a person more than they ever bargained for! If that's not a recipe for achieving success, what is? Well, now that you ask, consider this: you can achieve almost anything you can dream or envision, so long as you do two essential things: (1) Create an absolutely emotionally riveting vision that captures the imagination; and (2) Unrelentingly give everyone else the credit. What couldn't you accomplish?—WJF]
 

The Buzzard, the Bat and the Bumblebee

If you put a buzzard in a pen six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet. Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee if dropped into an open tumbler will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

In many ways, there are lots of people like the buzzard, the bat and the bumblebee. They are struggling about with all their problems and frustrations, not realizing that the answer is right there above them.


George Demont Otis     Along the Coast

Don't judge people by appearances!—A True Story—Malcolm Forbes

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President's outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge.

"We want to see the president," the man said softly.

"He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied. For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.

"Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave," she said to him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office. The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus."

The president wasn't touched. . . He was shocked. "Madam," he said, gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery."

"Oh, no," the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard."

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own?" Her husband nodded.

The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing.
 

Worry

Someone unknown has made the following estimates of worry:
84% is imagined and does not occur
12% is situational, beyond one's direct control given the present
development of one's consciousness
4% is real and occurs
[Figures compiled by Thomas D. Willhite in Living Synergystically, 1975]

[Commentary by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.: Thus, better than 8 out of 10 times, all worry is a fiction, unreal and imagined! About 1 in 10 times it is not up to you and is circumstantial. Whether you actually get a job offer, accepted on a date or have a bus come on time is not under your direct control. And about 4 times in a 100, 2 in 50 and 1 in 25, what you worry about actually happens. You could get better odds almost anywhere in life doing just about anything.]

A person who doesn't know but knows that he doesn't know is a student, teach him.
A person who knows but who doesn't know that he knows is asleep; awaken him.
But a person who knows and knows that he knows is wise; follow him.
—Author Unknown

What time would it be if all the clocks stopped?
—Zen question

If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against.
—Seng-ts'an

If enlightenment is not where you are standing, where will you look?
—Zen saying

There is nothing I dislike.
—Lin-chi

The occurrence of an evil thought is an affliction; not to continue it is the remedy.
—Zen saying

Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
—The Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

Most spiritual seekers are like a man who faces west each morning with the hope of witnessing a sunrise. His orientation makes seeing a sunrise impossible. Until he understands that what is being sought lies in the other direction, there will only be frustration.
—Gary Crowley, From Here to Here

The typical spiritual seeker desires the joy of being nonseparate awareness, but also wishes to maintain an identity as a separate individual with conscious will. This is like vigorously rowing a boat that is still tied to the dock. All the "rowing" is for naught if there is a lack of basic understanding.
—Gary Crowley, From Here to Here

The fish trap exists because of the fish; once you've gotten the fish, you can forget the trap.
The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit; once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare.
Words exist because of meaning; once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?
—Chuang Tzu
 

The Hokey-Pokey—Roland Lawrence LaPrise, 1949 (from a silly children's song)

You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out;
You put your right foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!
 

Thanks for the Memory

[Excerpt from a book review of In Search of Memory by Eric K. Randel and Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by Katrina Firlink in The New York Review of Books, 53 (15), October 5, 2006, page 17]

The human brain has been described as having the consistency of tofu or soft butter, and as being like a three-pound Brie. It has been compared to a computer, though that's a misguided analogy since the brain does not operate through digital logic. Nor is its content—what we call knowledge—discrete. The brain is dynamic and plastic, changing in response to whatever comes its way. This is not a metaphor. Encounter something once and it is foreign to you. Encounter it many times and it is familiar. The thing itself hasn't changed; your brain has. Experience has laid down new neural pathways. They are biochemical and electrical. They are real. Within limits, they can be observed and measured.

NOTICE: Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

Twin bumper stickers (for women):
Men are like panty hose—every time you need one, they always run.
Men are like parking spots—all the good ones are taken and only the handicapped remain.

If a man is all alone in the forest without a woman present, is he still wrong?
If a woman is all along in the forest without a man present, is she still complaining?
 

This little prayer—Mrs. Fulton (as shared by author Hugh Prather)

I am one with Thee,
Oh Thou infinite One
I am where Thou art.
I am what Thou art.
I am because Thou art.
 

Humanity's Pledge of Allegiance—John White, The Meeting of Science and Spirit

I pledge allegiance to Humanity
And the planet on which we live,
One world, under God, indivisible,
With peace and enlightenment for all.

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
—Helen Keller, Let Us Have Faith

Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men…for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving.
—Albert Einstein


George Demont Otis        Paradise Cove

Until one is committed
there is hesitancy, the chance to drawback
always ineffectiveness,
concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
there is one elementary truth,
the ignorance of which kills countless ideas
and special plans;
that the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
That would never otherwise have occurred,
a whole stream of events issues from the decision,
raising in ones favor all manner
of unforeseen incidents and meetings
and material assistance,
which no man (or woman) could have dreamt
would have come his (or her) way.
I have learned a deep respect
for one of Goethe's couplets;
Whatever you can do, or dream you can,
Begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
—W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition of W. H. Murray
 

A Prayer of Health—Robert R. Leichtman, M.D. and Carl Jopikse

In my heart there exists a pure
and powerful force which is
the source of my life.
I now acknowledge and honor this
power for my mind,
my emotions, and my body.

May awareness, intelligence, and
skill dominate my mind, canceling
erroneous and limited thoughts,
Let the emotions express
Compassion.

May vitality in form and function
enter my body, restoring it
to wholeness and waking it
to action.
Let the body express productivity.

May the forces of light and love and
power surround me and renew
my mind, my heart, and my body.
Let my purpose in living be fulfilled.

Let my triumphant spirit radiate
health through all that I am
and all that I do.
 

It's All In the State of the Mind—Author Unknown

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you care not, you don't;
If you'd like to win, but think you can't
It's almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost,
For out in the world you'll find
Success begins with a fellow's will—
It's all in the state of the mind.

Full many a race is lost
Ere even a step is run,
And many a coward falls
Ere even his work's begun.
Think big, and your deeds will grow;
Think small, and you'll fall behind;
Think that you can, and you will—
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you're out-classed, you are;
You've got to think high to rise;
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man:
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
 

Loving Kindness Meditation—From Theravada Buddhism

If anyone has hurt me or harmed me
knowingly or unknowingly in thought, word, or deed,
I freely forgive them.
And I too ask for forgiveness
If I have hurt or harmed anyone
knowingly or unknowingly in thought, word, or deed.

May I be happy
May I be peaceful
May I be free

May my friends be happy
May my friends be peaceful
May my friends be free

May my enemies be happy
May my enemies be peaceful
May my enemies be free

May all beings be happy
May all beings be peaceful
May all beings be free
 

Spiritual Protection—Adapted by Will Joel Friedman (first two lines by Ram Dass)

The power of God is within me,
The grace of God surrounds me.
Wherever I am the Light of God is
and I am utterly safe, secure, and protected.
Within this holy space of Light and Love,
God is present and no harm may befall me.
I am at one with Thee eternally.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
 

A Winter Solstice Greeting—Will Joel Friedman

Freedom worth life itself
Welcomes choosing the whole-hearted Good,
Providing the essential ground for realizing
Our sole purpose: Radiating unbridled Love
In total correspondence with God.

Give and well receive these gifts
In His Light and Love
Every sparkling moment, born anew.

*

God is my father
Nature is my mother
The universe is my way
Eternity is my kingdom
Immortality is my life
The mind is my house
Truth is my worship
Love is my law
Form is my manifestation
Conscience is my guide
Peace is my shelter
Experience is my school.
Obstacle is my lesson
Difficulty is my stimulant
Joy is my hymn
Pain is my warning
Work is my blessing
Light is my realization
Friend is my companion
Adversary is my instructor
Neighbor is my brother
Struggle is my opportunity
Future time is my promise
Equilibrium is my attitude
Order is my path
Beauty is my ideal
Perfection is my destiny
—Author Unknown


George Demont Otis     Flowering Shores

 

 


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