Before we knew, we knew. I am talking about the way we have been joking with one another about how addicted we are to our devices. South Korea, who embraced technology a decade before us, already has Internet Addiction camps that their youth attend. Instead of treatment for booze or drugs, it is rehab for the screens. For children. Internet and gaming addictions are widespread among those seeking mental health counseling for depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Psychiatry and Psychology lists Internet Addiction in the appendix “Conditions Requiring Further Study.” Our noses are pressed up against something, and still we refuse to acknowledge what it is that is right under those very same noses.

How can this be? How can something so life-altering be directly in front of us without garnering our recognition of it? In a word, denial. Wherever we find addiction, we find denial, the king of all the defense mechanisms. This is the vehicle through which we refuse the reality that stands before us. Denial takes many forms, some obvious, some more subtle and slippery. There is the way we will wiggle out of the recognition by finding ways to justify our choices. There is the way we will acknowledge something as problematic while simultaneously slipping away from that acknowledgement. It is there in the way we say this is how it is and there is nothing we can do. And it is there in the way we downplay how much it is impacting us. The “funny” thing is though that when we look at a psychological definition of denial, it is an unconscious defense against experiencing unbearable pain. Amidst our great celebration of all things screen, we are suffering terribly. Despite how things look on the surface, the underneath tells a different story. This pattern is always present with addiction, and its henchman denial.

One of the most profound things I ever heard come out of a teacher’s mouth was, “What is real in this moment?” Not how you want it to be. Not how you were told it should be. Not what keeps things smooth with others. But how is it, really? It takes great courage and determination to look at life squarely without backing off or twisting away. It takes great presence and discernment to see the truth as opposed to colluding with a kind of mass denial that keeps us feeling more at home by being addicted right along with those around us. It’s more comfortable this way because we are not alone. This way there is no rub or challenge to the status quo. This way we get to leave the responsibility for our lives and that of our children’s in the hands of something else. Only through looking  will we know how to proceed, will we know when our lives have gotten off track, will we know when we are lying to ourselves..

Here is a real denial-busting question to ask of yourself: “Do you think that on your last day you will lament that you did not have enough time in front of a screen?” No? What is it then that you will lament?

Body Language

The body speaks to us daily. Moment by moment actually. What throws us sometimes in this conversation is the subtlety, nuance and seemingly “foreign” feel of the body’s communication with the rational mind. This is partly due to the busy and frenzied nature of the every day mind which cannot hear the body’s cues until they are extreme. To learn to listen with a sensitive ear to the tides and rhythms of our bodies is to open a door to great possibility in our lives. To be in direct contact with our bodies is to know how the Universe and all of Life flows. That is because we are Life itself, embodied.

What often gets in the way of this vital communication is the tension we hold in body and mind. There is one kind of tension that builds up over the surface of the body much like a suit of armor. It gets created when we have too much going on; when we view our lives as emergencies. It reinforces itself through our denial of a sane pace and of our bodies most basic biological needs like rest and food.

Then there is the tension that emanates from within. A kind of holding on and holding in that was established within us long ago. It is a kind of contraction that is built on the limiting and fear-based beliefs we carry about ourselves and the world. Maybe we can recognize it in the raise of our shoulders as we add to the piles of “shoulds” we must take on to believe we are a good person. Or maybe there is a tension in our jaw as we clamp down or bite back something we really need to say to someone but don’t for fear of alienating or angering another. Perhaps it is in the way in which our stomach clenches as we put up with behaviors from other people because we believe that it is our job to absorb or smooth over what another does.

We all have our places in the body that represent deep and long held beliefs. Over time, these tensions build up creating dis-ease and imbalances in the body. No matter how you look at it, tension held in the body over the long term, is the enemy of health and healing. Worse yet though than its impact on the body is the way it robs us of a sense of ease, joy and freedom in being who we are. These inner tensions hold us in check keeping alive ways of being that undermine our vital life force. It is as if we are encased in concrete. This casing keeps us from “violating” some inner code of conduct we established for ourselves long ago that we developed to help keep us protected, accepted, and included.

One of the most profound opportunities we can give ourselves is to discover what it is that we really believe about ourselves and the world. Really believe. The rational mind will often not admit to us what is beneath the surface, but the body will always reveal the truth of what is happening within. Like looking at the trees to see the presence of the wind, we can locate our truest beliefs about ourselves by observing the movements of the body.

To practice this, locate an ongoing and perhaps long-standing place of discomfort in your body. Notice where it is located and what it feels like. Pay attention to thoughts associated with the area. Become aware of when and why it flares up. Then, be willing to listen. To learn the language of the body is a lifelong process. It is the equivalent of learning a foreign language as an adult; its takes lots of time, practice and patience. And it takes devotion. To Life.



Look around at all there is before us individually and collectively. Whether we are talking about peak oil, global warming, financial instability or health, all signs point to the same requirement on our part; a willingness and an ability to change. And yet, even when change is obvious, necessary and ultimately inevitable, it can be the one thing that we sometimes just cannot do.

Have you ever really, really wanted to make a change and just couldn’t get there? Have you ever recognized the damage that your current habits bring to your life but are still unable to shift? So much goes into how we have created our current habit patterns. There is childhood and the things that we were taught. There is the way our belief systems and identities are bound up with what we regularly do. There is the way that we want to fit in with those around us. And there is so much more.

In order to make lasting change, we need more than just information. Contrary to popular belief, the culture of information overload we currently live in does not automatically equate to change. As a matter of fact, it often serves as a distraction from the work of real change. What we need is a way to get below the noise, the resistance and the distractions. We need a way to access what is beneath the surface, what is unconscious, what has been left unnoticed. Without this, our conscious mind can state that it wants change, but it is the unconscious that needs to choose, as it is this part of us that serves as the invisible motivator of our behavior.

Here is an approach to try for getting beneath the surface. Sit quietly with pen and paper in hand. Close your eyes. Think about a change you would like to make. Let yourself bear witness to things you have tried and struggles you have encountered. Then, ask yourself; “What is the downside of changing?” Yes, the downside. List out all of the negative aspects for you of making a necessary or wanted change. What will you lose? What will hurt? Let yourself write as much as you need to, uncensored. Next, ask yourself; “What is the upside of staying stuck?” Yes, if you can believe it, there are positive reasons for you to stay where you are, no matter how much it hurts. Suspend judgment as best as you can while you write.

Change happening to us is something we can absolutely count on. We are living in greatly accelerated and accelerating times. And with that comes the necessity to navigate ever greater and ever more frequent changes occurring in our lives and in the world around us. With this acceleration comes the opportunity to learn how to be more creative and nimble in our approach to inner and outer change. With a shift in perspective and skill set, change becomes the fuel to power us towards our greatest expressions in the world.


Inspired by The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner



Over the years, my daily practice has shifted. While I have several “formal” practices like yoga, meditation, contemplative writing and dance, there is one “practice” that is winning out these days. It is the practice of doing nothing. Not a thing.

I begin my doing nothing by sitting on the couch. That’s it. I don’t pray or meditate or write. I sit and I sit and I sit. I notice my body, my thoughts, my breath. I allow myself to be without agenda, other than to be with myself as is. But  mostly, I wait. I wait until I am urged from within to take the next step. That next step might be to start moving or write in my journal. Just as likely, it might be to close my eyes, go to the bathroom or get a drink of water. During my nothing times there is no preconceived idea of what should or should not happen. The Tao Te Ching asks, “Do you have the patience to wait ’till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving ’till the right action arises by itself?”

In a world so forcibly driven forward, the idea of doing nothing can feel like death, laziness, or a risk too dangerous to take. And yet, without built in times to let our mud settle, we run the risk of entrenching the wrong habits. We run the risk of reacting versus responding. We run the risk of spending our whole lives running on a treadmill to nowhere. Let nothing give you everything you need.



When I was growing up, our neighborhood gang of friends would play a chase and capture game. Strategically positioned throughout the designated boundaries of the game were “ghouls;” places that if your body was making contact to the exact spot, you were safe. For a few sweet and nerve racking moments you were secure, free from harm. And then just as quickly, you were thrust back into the frenzy of the chase. It sometimes feels to me that this is the game we grown-ups continue to play. Rushing from one thing to the next, we momentarily touch down, only to propel ourselves back out into the busyness of our lives.

Life is not a game of capture and chase. Nor is life an emergency. And yet, that is exactly how many of us are living. We slam from place to place throughout the day; skidding across the finish line of our to-do lists and responsibilities, both exhausted and wired. Even the so-called “healthy and good” things we do for ourselves, like going to  a yoga class, rev us up as we race to get there on time. Living in a state of emergency stresses our digestion, impairs our sleep, and compromises our health. Our state of mind is one of survival. In survival mind, everyone and everything that thwarts our forward progress is an obstacle at best and a threat at worst. Look out into our world and it is not difficult to see the consequences of this collective “game” we play.

To choose another way is to go against the grain of our society. To choose another way is to stop creating an identity built on stress and busyness. To choose another way is to be willing to say no to a dehumanizing pace and set of expectations. It is to opt out. It is to agree and say to yourself regularly, “Life is not an emergency.