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Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
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.
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
Bearing resentment is like feeding yourself poison
and expecting the other person to die.
I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love
yourself first, and everything else falls into line.
I didn't cause it,
May I become at all times, both now and forever,
An oft-cited statistic
is that we remember:
Golden Rules for Living (Basic Training)Miriam Hamilton Keare
A Speech of SurrenderChief 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 starsthey do not set.
How can you buy or sell the skythe 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 understandthe 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 breaththe 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 daysthey 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 passperhaps 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 heartpreserve it for your children, and love it as God loves us all. One thing we knowour God is the same. This earth is precious to him. Even the white man cannot escape the common destiny.
The Meanest Mother in the WorldBobbie 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 lessnot 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 sleptmy 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 usand 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.
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:
Free your heart from hatred.
[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.
Don't judge people by appearances!A True StoryMalcolm 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.
unknown has made the following estimates of worry:
[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.]
person who doesn't know but knows that he doesn't know is a student, teach him.
What time would it be if all the clocks stopped?
If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never
be for or against.
enlightenment is not where you are standing, where will you look?
There is nothing I dislike.
occurrence of an evil thought is an affliction; not to continue it is the remedy.
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible
things before breakfast.
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.
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.
The fish trap exists because of
the fish; once you've gotten the fish, you can forget the trap.
The Hokey-PokeyRoland Lawrence LaPrise, 1949 (from a silly children's song)
You put your right foot
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 contentwhat we call knowledgediscrete. 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.
stickers (for women):
If a man is all alone in the
forest without a woman present, is he still wrong?
This little prayerMrs. Fulton (as shared by author Hugh Prather)
am one with Thee,
Humanity's Pledge of AllegianceJohn White, The Meeting of Science and Spirit
pledge allegiance to Humanity
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.
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.
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.
Until one is committed
A Prayer of HealthRobert R. Leichtman, M.D. and Carl Jopikse
my heart there exists a pure
May awareness, intelligence, and
vitality in form and function
the forces of light and love and
my triumphant spirit radiate
It's All In the State of the MindAuthor Unknown
If you think you are beaten, you are;
Full many a race is lost
you think you're out-classed, you are;
Loving Kindness MeditationFrom Theravada Buddhism
has hurt me or harmed me
I be happy
May my friends
my enemies be happy
all beings be happy
Spiritual ProtectionAdapted by Will Joel Friedman (first two lines by Ram Dass)
power of God is within me,
A Winter Solstice GreetingWill Joel Friedman
Give and well receive these gifts
is my father
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