September 30th, 2015

Is the word MERCY in your vocabulary? Does being merciful enter your mind on a conscious basis?


What does the word: MERCY mean to you?

Consider writing what words and images come to mind as you ask yourself this question. Then ask the equally important question of: How can I be merciful towards myself as a conscious outpouring of what I AM?

The truth is that you were born inherently perfect. We all have what researchers deem as an innate capacity for being merciful. In fact it is something we do as a natural outpouring of who we are. If you watch very young children, before they are taught rules around politeness and ‘socially appropriate’ kindness, these young children only know how to give compassion, mercy, and love.

A growing body of evidence suggests that, at our core, both animals and human beings have what Dacher Keltner at the University of California, Berkeley, coins a “compassionate instinct.” In other words, compassion is a natural and automatic response that has ensured our survival. Michael Tomasello and other scientists at the Max Planck Institute, in Germany, have found that infants and chimpanzees spontaneously engage in helpful behaviour and will even overcome obstacles to do so. They apparently do so from intrinsic motivation without expectation of reward. A recent study they ran indicated that infants’ pupil diameters (a measure of attention) decrease both when they help and when they see someone else helping, suggesting that they are not simply helping because helping feels rewarding. It appears to be the alleviation of suffering that brings reward — whether or not they engage in the helping behaviour themselves.

Recent research by David Rand at Harvard University shows that adults’ and children’s first impulse is to help others.

Research by Dale Miller at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business suggests this is also the case of adults, however, worrying that others will think they are acting out of self-interest can stop them from this impulse to help.


We intrinsically want to help – we have the hard wiring to instinctively be merciful. As adults, showing mercy becomes a decision of our thinking brain and our deliberate choice – our free will – and at times, for various reasons, we may opt out of what is such an important human ability.

How we are and how we act with others is symbolic of how we are able to be kind and loving – and merciful to ourselves. It is much easier to show others kindness, compassion, love, and mercy when we are able to readily do this for ourselves.

Mercy may be defined as: co-existing in love, forgiveness, compassion, loving-kindness, understanding, humanity, generosity, and faith.

Wikipedia defines mercy as: “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm”.

It’s within our power to punish or harm someone at any time in theory, and yet perhaps its in those very instances where someone has wronged us or hurt us that we need to be MOST mindful of practising an outpouring of mercy.


I hear my client tell me about all of the comments that she receives anytime she goes home to visit her Greek orthodox family living in Montreal. How their words impact her decisions and her everyday behaviours and yet she is a 34-yr old nurse working and thriving in Toronto. (She is told by friends that she looks better with a tan after travelling to the Caribbean on holiday so she admits to me that she is now going to a tanning salon regularly to keep up her glowing appearance; she is told by her grandmother that she is heavier than last visit and so she has now returned full force to the gym; her mother has always told her that to be beautiful she must wear makeup and high heels and so on the day of our session she isn’t feeling well and apologizes for her appearance – because she is not wearing makeup, nor heels. Her entire image of herself is tied up in what others say; she has not found herself and her true beauty that exists – enhanced perhaps by the makeup – but originates as who she already is. My client is one of many who look to others to establish their feelings of self-acceptance and positive affect in the words and remarks of others – and in doing so, can never be truly merciful towards herself. She continues to take the harsh comments and criticism of her friends and family – and does the same internally in her self talk – because it is all that she knows to do – and it has been the way in which she has defined herself. How many of us do this – or parts of this?

It doesn’t just happen with my client’s family, it happens with all of us regardless of our heritage, religious background and family of origin. What are the messages of your earlier life experiences that have set you up to judge yourself harshly, to be unmerciful, to be self-loathing, to deny, to avoid, to disavow – who you truly are?

Perhaps this is one reason why as teens we often rebel against our family – society – social mores – and instead look to our peer group for support and as a source of validation (as they too are experiencing the same kind of need to explore, to rediscover, and to take a stand in what they believe in). We don’t always acknowledge that we are all hardwired to be …who we truly are – what I call our AUTHENTIC self. If we have been stifled, denied, or told we must fit a certain stereotypical ideal, we learn from a young age to dishonour our TRUE self.

As a teenager and young adult, if we are fortunate enough to seek out answers and to decide what we believe in, what we feel passionate about, and what we want to do with our life, – and if we allow ourselves to dream and to follow what truly excites us, then we are making choices based on knowing our self best. And yet, we still hold many of the cultural and societal beliefs that have been so deeply ingrained, that say we should follow a certain practical plan for living our life, we should earn a certain income, we should wear a certain designer label, and that all of this is important – critical in fact – to being successful and happy. Some or all of this may very well be important – but as long as it is what we have chosen based on what is truly important to who we are – certainly none of this is wrong – as long as it is true to what is right for who we are – rather than what we tell ourselves we should do.

So its not surprising that much of the work that I do each day has its roots in helping people find themselves – and helping them uncover the truth about who they are so that they can live the rest of their life from a place of authenticity and self-honesty. When you can be honest and real with yourself and others, you free yourself to live with mercy. Maybe as you look over your definition for what mercy is, you most likely included such words as: honesty, deliberate kindness in action, compassion for self and others, loving and of course…truth.

When you can live with mercy directed towards yourself, it will be even easier to live it outwardly. This is because if you are overly critical, harsh, judgemental, uncertain, and insecure, this cannot help but come through as you look outwards at others. One might say that this is one of the reasons why we have constant conflict and war in the world. If we are not able to be merciful, to be kind and loving to ourselves and others, then we cultivate all of what is opposite: unkindness, impatience, judgement, intolerance, envy and hate.

Being merciful is how we embody true kindness and understanding. It is how we show others our compassionate nature.

The following visualization is best experienced if you can close your eyes for a few moments and take 3-5 deep breaths. Take even more breaths if you feel that it will help you quiet your mind as you go within to answer the following questions.

(And, if you would like a little more practice and a deeper experience in calming your mind and feeling a total body relaxation, please follow this link: to one of my guided meditations – perfect for taking you a little deeper within yourself.)

When you are ready to proceed let the following be a guide for what you then envision in your mind, allowing whatever answers that surface be what you reveal as your truth:

Think of a time either in the recent past or maybe a memory from childhood in which someone showed you mercy. Maybe there could have been a reason for you to have been punished because of what you did – whether it was something done innocently or intentionally – when the other person could have been intolerant, angry or blaming, but instead you were given compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and love – in effect – you were shown mercy.

Next, recall a time when you acted with compassion and mercy when perhaps it would have been socially acceptable to chastise, correct, scold, or punish. And yet you showed only mercy – kindness, forgiveness, and compassion. Recall what your experience was as you did this? How did YOU feel as you saw the face of the person, perhaps the child, the friend, the spouse, the work colleague – that you were being merciful to? Imagine for a moment how your actions of mercy felt for them?

When we are shown mercy – when we receive compassion – or as we demonstrate compassion and mercy, we experience something much more – much like a gift. What did you receive in the exchange with another? What did you receive when you were shown mercy or in being merciful?

In so many ways we have the ability to be who we truly are. When we elicit compassion and grace towards another living being we are being merciful. When we are compassionate and merciful, something remarkable happens inside of us. Something bearing truth is awakened from within.


The path of mercy is our path back to finding ourselves


Finding ourselves begins with the mercy that we can show ourselves. From here we see how easily it is to expand upon this – to allow others the gentle freedom to make mistakes, to be human, to not always do what we would do.

All world religions share in the importance of what it means to “be love”. They also share similar definitions of “mercy”, “forgiveness”, “compassion”, and “truth”. I share this because it reminds us that across all religions and spiritual beliefs, we are reminded and taught of the importance of being merciful, loving and kind.

Regardless of our religious upbringing most of us have heard the words: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12 / Luke 6:31).

Being merciful is your namesake. It is what we can offer to ourselves and one another that speaks to the truth of what are are. We are all seeking the same goodness; the same acceptance; the same attachment to one another in kindness. Showing mercy is our way to be loving – to accept others as they are – to allow for those moments when others may not always be at their best.

How you can be more deliberate in your practice of being merciful? Where in your daily life can this become a greater practice and privilege for you? The reason we consider in advance how and where we will do something is to ensure that it finds a place in our lives and a means by which we can be this – daily.

Think about the typical situations that you encounter – with your partner and spouse, your children, your parents and extended family, with siblings and friends, and with those you work with? How can you be merciful and any of the other words and descriptors of mercy as how you defined it? BOTH WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS?

If you are already actively mindful of showing mercy in your daily life, ask yourself, ‘What are some different ways that I can expand upon this?” Can you practice deliberate acts of mercy even when you are annoyed, offended, hurt, and when you believe strongly that you are right and someone else is wrong?

Where in your daily life can you practice mercy unto yourself – and to others? When you do so, what would it look like? What would your inner dialogue or self talk be that would help you to remember to be merciful?

Challenge yourself to find new ways of showing mercy in these tougher moments (both to others and to yourself)and when it may seem easier to do what you’ve always done. Write these and place them where you can see your list each day. This becomes a plan that will help you to make this happen.

Close your eyes once more with the intention to give yourself a few more minutes of calm, relaxed breathing. When you open your eyes again, you are ready (with a clear mind) to answer a few more questions as you journey within to experience what it means to be merciful. (At any time, you can close your eyes even momentarily, as it will likely help you call up some of your past memories and experiences).


Imagine who you were as a child. Maybe it’s a memory where you can go back in time and yet you can feel right now as though you are this incredible child again. Maybe its a photo or image of your younger self that you see in your mind. However you come to imagine and envision yourself as a most incredible child, begin to paint the picture in detail of who you were based on the following questions I’m going to ask. (Please remember: If you don’t have all of the answers to these questions, that’s perfectly okay, your subconscious mind may give you more answers as you continue to think about this).

As you ask yourself: “Who was I?” take a brief pause as the answers spontaneously reveal themselves. Pause after each of the following questions to give your subconscious mind the time to reveal the answers:

What did I look like?”

See yourself in action. Ask: “What activities or games did I enjoy most?” “What used to make me laugh?” “What did I enjoy doing?” “What was I naturally good at?” “What would I think or daydream about?”

What were some of my proudest moments?” “What did others compliment me for?” “What did I dream about?” “When was I happiest?”

Next, describe your personality? “What core features, characteristics, and mannerisms made you special, unique, original?” Allow the memories to flow into your conscious mind without judging whatever you remember.

Sometimes our mind will show us the difficult or negative moments of our past. Please know that this is perfectly natural. Allow all of the memories that reveal themselves be part of your experience. The difficult moments of our life teach us much about who we are. While we may not be aware of this at the time, whatever you learned from your earliest life experiences has contributed to who you are today in ways that have made you resilient and courageous even if you may not think of yourself as so. For now, if you begin to recall any difficult or painful memories, remember that they don’t make you any less incredible.

Remember all of who you were as an incredible child.

Write all of your answers to: ‘Who was I as a child?’ including the details of how you felt as you saw yourself being your authentic – carefree, happy, curious, and courageous – self.

Now here’s a BIG SECRET that I hope you will remember. When you think about any of the behaviours or mannerisms that you have that cause you discomfort or that you do not like about yourself – these are not (nor were they ever) who you innately are.

In most cases, you learned by observing others or perhaps you were taught certain ways of being. If you think about it, any of the behaviours that you might label as ‘bad’ or wrong – stem from learnings that occurred beginning in childhood. As you reflect on all of the innate goodness of who you were as a child in your answers to the earlier visualization, see if you can remember who you were before or without any of the teachings in which you were taught to dislike, to judge, to be hurtful or mean, to be boastful and show no mercy, and anything else that causes you or others – to suffer. Who you truly are is not these things. Perhaps take one more review of your “Who was I as a child?” list right now to see if you have written anything that you were taught to believe, to act, to fear, that truly wasn’t yours to begin with. Write anything else now about who your original self really is. Allow your inner child to shine through. Let yourself feel connected once again to what you once were.

When we remember who we are, we can begin to reclaim our authentic self. Your inner child is your inner navigation point. It is your truth. Before each of us were told what “not to do”, or how we “should” behave or feel because it is somehow more acceptable, we were intuitively and perfectly being – our true nature.

Finding your way back to who you are begins with acknowledging all that you once were.

Remember all of the goodness of your inner child. Close your eyes one final time as you hold the image of your incredible self – the younger version of who you were – – hold the image of the incredible child that you see in your mind. See yourself clearly, feeling proud, confident, free, strong, and happy. Sit for a few more moments with this impression – allowing it to sink in … deeper. Feel, see and imagine all of the ways that you are incredible – both as your younger self and then….. as you are now.

Consider the moments when you allowed your adult self to be: funny, playful, thoughtful, generous, kind, honest, loyal, curious, excited, happy. When you are being any of these …are you not being your true self?

When we allow our inner child to shine through – we can be childlike in ways that are both beautiful and authentic. We can speak the words of our truth rather than hold ourselves back for fear of “saying the wrong thing” or “being too emotional”. When we allow our inner child’s vulnerabilities to show through we reveal to others our true nature – and this makes us ‘approachable’, ‘honest’ and ‘real’.

And finally, I have one more question about your life as a child?

What would have been your mantra as a child? A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself either quietly or aloud to elicit the feeling state of what you are telling yourself.

Maybe your mantra as a child was: “I can do this!” or “I’m special” or “I’m smart” Think of a mantra based on the words that your inner child would have spoken.

Allow yourself to repeat this mantra silently to yourself. Envision your inner child as you do so. Feel what you feel throughout your body. Now open your eyes again. Take a final few moments to write the words of your mantra. (Hint: Make it an “I AM” statement).

Notice how you are feeling right now.

The journey back to finding ourselves begins in our childhood with the innocent and completely honest depiction of our true self. Your homework from here is to remember all of the childlike qualities that best represent the truth of who you are. As you reconnect with your adult self again, remember these qualities and allow them to come through in everyday life. Let yourself be who you once were in more ways than you have ever been. As you reveal and relax into more of your true self, you will come to feel far more connected with your inner child again and most importantly – to feel connected with the truth of who you are.




June 21st, 2015

How do you ‘Father’?

Father (v): the action and behaviours of being a male parent

Warning: The following subject matter is intense…its meant to rouse and awaken you – to think about your role as Father….differently.

However you came to decide that you wanted to be a father (and for some I understand that this may not have been something that you consciously chose), you will likely have never imagined just how it would change you.  And yet, the life experiences that we embrace fully – with open awareness – allow us to reap the benefits of so much growth, understanding, joy, and knowledge.


For Fathers…

Consider what it means to you TO BE a father.  Be honest with yourself about how you father, what you do to deepen your relationship with your children, and what you are teaching them through your actions, words and beliefs.  ‘Fathering’ (like Mothering) is how we teach, nurture, empower, and love.  We do this through the examples of who we are – and not just by telling others ….how to be.

I see the potential in each man to be a better father than they already are, beginning with being a better human being.  I am interested in learning whether men who are fathers see their lifelong “role” as a gift (and an opportunity to never rest on their laurels, to always be committed to being the best that they can be; and to admit to themselves – and others – when they can be better).

I invite you to answer eight of the most compelling questions that you could ask of yourself as a father.  

Then, use your answers of truth to guide you – to blaze a new path; one that reminds you that your role as ‘father’ is one that is so largely dependant on who you are.  

“There are many ways to father beyond the act of procreation.”


Below is my list of questions for Fathers: biological, step, adoptive, and those who role model fatherhood as surrogate by “fathering” their niece, nephew, partner’s children, and younger siblings.

Answering these questions in written form allows you to gather your thoughts in a clear and concise way; to put extra effort and energy into delving a little deeper inside yourself … and for revealing t r u t h.  These eight questions might just change the way you think of your self as a father – and it may make all the difference between the relationship that you currently have with any or all of your children, and the relationship that you could yet have – and likely the one you secretly wish for.

*A Helpful Suggestion as you begin: The questions and comments in parenthesis are meant to help support and explain the meaning of the primary question.  They too may be answered.


Question One: HOW do you father? (What do you do, say, role model, believe in, teach, learn about, etc that depicts what you do as a ‘father’?)

Question Two: What do you see as your responsibilities as a father? Do you do them? (Think about your answer from the timeline of when your children were newborns, as young children, and at their current age. Do you continue to have responsibilities as a ‘father’ if your children are adults? What are these responsibilities?  Do you carry them out?)

Question Three: What are the rewards of fatherhood?  (What do you do that allows you to be “good” at fathering?)

Question Four: What does it mean to you to be a father? (What is the bigger meaning for you in being a father?) e.g. It means that I AM….

Question Five: What have you learned (about yourself) from your role as a father?

Question Six: If you could change anything about the way you fathered based on what you know now – how would it be and WHY?

Question Seven: What have you learned about being a father from your relationship with your father?

Question Eight: What have your kids taught you about being a better father? (and a better person).  + Part two: Do you follow through on what you have learned?


Yes these are deep questions.  Yes they require work and reflection that is harder than simply opening a card or gift.  Deep questions always open you to your truth – if you allow it.  If you feel a resistance to answering any of these questions, you may want to reflect on “why”?  For example, What would hold you back from being forthright and honest with yourself about one of the most significant roles of your life?

Without revealing the truth to yourself, there cannot be the possibility of lasting change, authentic growth, closer relationships, and true understanding…

It’s also never too late to become better at who you are….


May 3rd, 2015

10 Ways that Meditation Heals YOU

The secrets of meditation were originally shrouded in secrecy out of respect for, and even in fear of, their innate power. The ancient yoga masters guarded these secrets as they believed that this spiritual power has the capacity to corrupt and that it would be disastrous for the wrong person to learn these secrets. Therefore, these advanced meditations were only made available to disciples proven to have pure hearts. Even today there are different schools of thought for teaching meditation. It remains important for you to find a teacher that you feel a comfortable confidence in, and that teaches meditation as a spiritual practice in a way that resonates with your beliefs and values.

While I teach Mindfulness Meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and Medical Meditation (which uses specific breathing patterns, postures and movements, particular mantras, and a unique mental focus). I have also developed a type of meditation that teaches you how to open your seventh chakra and to be aware of the universal divine intelligence flowing through you in all moments. This form of meditation I have named, “Divya Prajna”: the Sanskrit words for: DIVINE WISDOM. This type of Meditation teaches you how to harness the universal consciousness to access Divine Wisdom and Truth.

Whenever I teach meditation, I use some or all of these different types of Mediation mentioned above, in order to accomplish the effects of healing and awakening, opening you to a deeper experience of yourself as a being of energy. You may check out some of my guided meditations by visiting: or

Breathing is an integral element of Meditation. Breath awareness with intention is both the primary ‘action’ and ‘benefit’ of meditation.

1. Deep, controlled, rhythmic breathing helps heal as it shifts the body out of the ‘fight-flight-flee’ response that occurs quite automatically when we experience “stress”.

Why is this important? When stress is not balanced by relaxation techniques such as meditation, it operates far too often in the sympathetic mode (the ‘fight-flight’- or flee’ mode) pulling energy away from your immune system and away from the various recovery mechanisms that promote healing. Over time, this destroys the body. Prevailing illnesses strike, viruses spread, bacteria proliferate, and the glands and organs of the ‘fight-flight-and flee’ response become exhausted. The heart may begin to beat erratically. The endocrine glands that provide youth and zest degenerate. Muscles begin to ache. Symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue may appear. Aging sets in. Illness occurs. Deep, controlled, rhythmic breathing done with conscious attention can reprogram your autonomic nervous system (the system responsible for these involuntary actions). Simple breathing exercises which include frequent attention to ‘proper’ diaphragmatic breathing – can be done in minutes throughout the day, both as a way of building-in the benefits of the healing, rest-and-repair parasympathethic mode of the autonomic nervous system but also to shift out of the ‘fight-flight-flee’ mode that you were previously in.

2. The calming hormones melatonin and serotonin are increased by meditation, and the stress hormone cortisol is decreased.

3. People who meditate consistently for the ‘long-term’ experience 80 percent less heart disease and 50 percent less cancer than “non” meditators.

4. 75 percent of insomniacs were able to sleep normally when they meditated.

5. Mindfulness Meditation has been proven in studies to decrease panic attacks, decrease general anxiety, reduce levels of chronic pain, reduce incidence of headaches, improve response rates to drug and alcohol addiction treatment, and reduce obesity.

6. Transcendental Meditation (based on approximately 600 ongoing studies, many in peer-reviewed journals since the mid-70s) has been proven to achieve the following:
* Reduction of anxiety
* Reduction of chronic pain
* Lowered levels of cortisol (a stress hormone)
* Increase in cognitive function
* Reduction of substance abuse
* Lowered blood pressure
* Improvement in post-traumatic stress syndrome
* Reduction in use of medical care and hospitalization

7. Another fascinating study of Transcendental Meditation was one that measured biological age – how old a person is physiologically rather than chronologically. Determinants included blood pressure, vision and hearing. Participants who had been doing Transcendental Meditation for five or more years were physiologically twelve years younger than their non-meditating counterparts. Even the short-term participants were physiologically five years younger than the controls.

8. People who meditate regularly secrete more of youth-related hormone DHEA as they age than those who do not meditate. DHEA (a natural hormone believed to be an effective marker of a person’s biological age; is claimed to enhance immunity, memory, neural functioning, combat osteoporosis and atherosclerosis, and cancer. Meditating 45 yr-old males have an average of 23 percent more DHEA than non-meditators, and meditating females have an average of 47 percent more DHEA. This helps slow aging, increase longevity and strengthen the immune system, decreases stress, improve memory, preserve sexual function, and contol weight.

9. Meditation creates a unique hypometabolic state, in which the metabolism is in an even deeper state of rest than during sleep. During sleep, oxygen consumption drops by 8 percent, but during Meditation, oxygen consumption drops by 10 to 20 percent.

10. Meditation is the ONLY ACTIVITY that reduces blood lactate, a marker of stress and anxiety.

And some further interesting antidotes on the amazing benefits of Meditation and Breath:
* In Asian cultures, it is believed that the rhythm of breath is mankind’s own signature vibration, which unites man with the vibratory force of the universe. Modern Asian yogis have stated that the vibration of human breath interlocks the finite magnetic field of humankind with the infinite magnetic field of the universe. The ebb and flow of breath is seen as a link to the motions and tides of the entire cosmos, outside our bodies, and within our bodies.


March 29th, 2015

The debilitating truth about blame…

Blame is a powerful deflection from self-examination and self-responsibility.


Blame is a wonderful excuse for not needing to change – and for continuing to convince yourself that you are “right” and others are “wrong”.


Blame keeps you from experiencing the truth, an opportunity for growth, and the realization that no one can “make you feel” a certain way (since we often blame others for ‘how’ we feel). How you feel is always determined by what you tell yourself (aka: your thoughts).


Blame keeps you a prisoner of your self-induced anger, fear, and anxiety. It keeps you far removed from the closeness and connection that you could have with loved ones and others.


Whenever you feel the urge to blame someone or something for what has happened “to you”, look instead at yourself – with honesty and truth. What have you ‘done’ or ‘not done’ that has contributed to where you are right now? What would have been some better choices? What will you do now to make a change for the better?


Sometimes clients rage in my presence. They are frustrated, fed up, angry, aggressive and at times they have explosive outbursts that are difficult to contain. At the core of their outbursts is often some form of blame. They blame others or some external event for their misfortune in life; convinced that they have little or no control in whatever has “happened to them”, what situation they currently find themselves in, or what will become of their future.

You will remain in a state of angst (inner turmoil, hopelessness, and sadness) for as long as you continue to look outside of yourself for the reasons that you feel the way you do. For as long as you continue to blame, you will perpetuate negative thoughts and feelings (e.g. helplessness, anxiety, anger, resentment etc.,) rather than see a situation as an opportunity for learning and growth, and becoming more (in whatever way more translates into something better). You will continue to feel immobilized by your current situation as long as you convince yourself that others are the cause of this, and that there is little or nothing that you can do but endure, rather than take control of your life by being in charge of what you need to do to make things better.


One path is destructive and limiting: causing suffering, grief and despair. The other path is one of learned resilience, confidence building, and self-actualization through reliance and faith in one’s ‘self’.

When we blame others, we are not looking at our own actions; nor taking responsibility for how we feel. Blaming external events or others deflects any attempt to examine why we feel the way we do and in turn, to examine our biased perceptions of a situation. The two most important questions that you could ask yourself when you are caught in a position of helplessness because of whatever has happened is: “How do I want to feel?” Next you need to ask, “What do I need to do in order to feel this way?”

The quickest way to eradicate blame is to be proactive – to be in control of what you will do to fix, change, or improve the situation – and to begin a path towards this. Still, how do we get caught in a cycle of helplessness about our life – and who we are? What is it that causes us to give away all of our power by making ‘someone’ or ‘something’ the total cause of our experience? ….and hence our ability to thrive?

Ask yourself: “What earlier life experiences taught me that I have little or no control over my life path, how I feel, or who I become?”

Decide to change your earlier belief system. Know that for whatever you feel and what happens is either a direct cause of your thought process or your actions (your actions perpetuate a chain of events that brings you to where you are now, as does your repetitive thoughts). Yes, events occur all of the time that are unexpected and at times, incredibly traumatic. Yet, everything in life has meaning. How you react to what happens (to you) is within your control.

The fact is that every experience is (pre)determined by how we think – and how we perceive / witness / examine / and interpret what has happened.


Learn to question all of what you were taught to believe. Instead, examine each situation as unique and different.  Examine your part in whatever “happens to you” including your thoughts and actions towards creating the outcome that you are living right now.

With blame, nobody wins. You end up making someone else “wrong” or “not good enough” – and judging them unfairly which affects your treatment of them. When you blame yourself, you can easily become caught up in a cycle of self-loathing rather than constructively look within to see your part in what has caused this situation – feeling – or behavior – and at what you need to do instead. There is learning in self-awareness. Blame – even towards one’s self – keeps you from focusing on proactive change.


If your well ingrained habit is to blame external factors or people for how you feel and what happens to you, that’s your cue to turn the finger directed outward – onto yourself. (Not in self blame but in awareness and understanding). See what it is that you have done to create your existing reality. Even when something happens that you have absolutely no control over and you did not want – you still have the power to choose how you feel, think, and live …in spite of what ‘has happened’.

I use the phrase, “This too is for good” to help bring to light the idea that everything that happens has a greater purpose and if you can believe it is always for good…then perhaps it is only a matter of time before you see with your eyes that whatever has ‘happened’ has led to something inevitably – better. For nothing is truly bad unless we make it so.

So please consider what damage you create through blame. Start seeing everything that happens in your life as a ‘teaching’, a ‘life lesson’ meant to aid and help you along your path, or an opportunity for personal growth and greater awareness.

In therapy (as in life itself), clients can become emotionally charged in a matter of milliseconds – reacting to what has just been said or asked of them long before they realize ‘why’ they reacted as they did. Clients may look to the therapist as the point of blame; as the one who said something to offend them or hurt their feelings; or perhaps is “judging them” – especially if a client is being asked to look at a particular problematic situation or behavior which evokes feelings of uneasiness, vulnerability, or shame.

In therapy, I will ask you to examine yourself in ways that you have not done before. The socratic questions asked of you are meant for you to explore your current situation and yourself specifically in a different way. Sometimes you will be asked or challenged to look at what causes you to feel uneasy, vulnerable, or shameful. The point is not to “make you” feel badly, but to examine what needs attention and change in order for you to feel better, to correct a situation or ongoing pattern of behavior, to strengthen self-esteem, and/or to heal a reoccurring conflict that is affecting your relationships with others.

Take control back. If you are blaming others or external events for your current state of unhappiness, you are giving up your control to fix a situation or improve yourself.

If you feel hopeless or defeated, or if you believe that you are resigned to the current circumstances of your life, then you need to take a closer look at where you are directing your ‘locus of control’. Do you believe that your happiness is dependant on what happens to you, or are you aware of your ability to choose your reaction to what happens (thereby being in control of how you feel at all times)?

Similarly, if you continue to rage, venting your displeasure at what you are unhappy with yet unwilling to look at your part in why you continue to feel this way, you will continue to suffer.

This inhibits emotional growth. It actually keeps you stuck in ‘reactive’ mode; quick to get fired up when people ‘anger you’ or if life throws you a curve ball (a flat tire, a bill you weren’t expecting, or when someone says or does something that hurts you).  If you are quick to react, lash out, become enraged, or go quiet in the silence of suffering, the never ending cycle of unhappiness continues. “A prisoner of our own self-induced pain” is what I call it.

Many would say that a person needs to be ready in order to make changes to their life and to who they are. Indeed this is true. Yet readiness must also exist in the desire to move out of one’s own “suffering”; to see that change and happiness is really driven by our desire and through action. We cannot blame others for the way we feel nor how we act and react in different situations. We cannot blame others for what happens ‘to us’ but rather we can examine our thoughts and assumptions – and our prevailing attitude – and be willing to seek out different ways of looking at everything.

Which brings us full circle to the practical method of therapy and its socratic questioning as a way of helping clients examine their lives and who they are – in different and more honest ways then how they have previously.

Blame keeps you in a state of suffering. Willingness to look within for what you can do to change your personal situation or aspects of yourself will always be met with answers, growth, and the freedom that comes with discovering just how much control you do have over your life and in who you decide to become.



A final note: While I cannot and do not speak for other therapists and how they approach the delivery of therapy as a modality of healing, I can say that my approach and the careful purpose of my questions is intuitively driven. When you are wholly present to the person(s) in front of you in order to seek to understand, acknowledge, and empathize their experience as best as you can by remaining engaged, and intentional in your delivery of help, you allow for a highly instinctive and organic process to unfold. While I am trained in several models of psychotherapy, my job is to ask clients questions that will help them think differently about their particular problem or issue. The idea here is that you as a client are the best source of knowledge for how to fix your situation or problematic behavior. What I simply do is help you become clear and self-honest, so that your inner wisdom may easily be accessed; and what you hear yourself say (which at times will surprise you) will be exactly what you intuitively know you need to do.

Blame me or someone else for how you are feeling and where you are in life….or look deeper within yourself. See how you got here, why you feel the way you do – and take back your personal power. Reclaim your ‘self’ by taking the steps to make your life (and yourself) far better.


February 10th, 2015

Random Acts of Loving-Kindness: Reclaiming Valentine’s Day as a way to remind us to be spontaneously LOVING in our actions.


Consider Valentine’s Day …a day that is already ‘hyped’ with a focus on LOVE …to be a day in which you make no distinctions between who you are being loving with.


It’s about sharing the LOVE… the kindness…and the appreciation of others in your life (and possibly a random stranger or two that will likely always remember your gesture of kindness and love).

Can we all share a little love just because it feels good to do so?


My seventeen year old client had the most incredible experience with what she thought would be a surprise gifting of roses (pre-Valentine’s Day) to someone she loves.

But he wasn’t in class the day she showed up with roses and a hand written love poem …as well as permission from the class teacher to reveal a grand gesture of her love.

Instead of worrying about how she would get the flowers to him, Sarah (a pseudonym and not her real name) kept the flowers in her locker until the end of the day and then flagged down random strangers – some in cars near her school, and two on a city bus – giving out a single rose to each ‘random’ person with a smile and a wish “to have a happy day”. The impromptu social experiment became a gesture in giving back in a way she never expected.

At one car, she noticed a father with his kids in tow. Sarah asked the father if she could give a rose to his young daughter in the back seat – the only girl in a family of three boys. He graciously obliged. The look of instant glee on the little girl’s face as her eyes lit up magically was almost enough to send my client into bliss….

Actually, it did.

…And Sarah shared the other roses in the same way – magically, deliberately, and with loving-kindness.


In a way that marks a new routine in your life, perhaps you too will reclaim Valentine’s day (week, etc) and make it what would be truly an incredible practice – a day of random acts of loving-kindness.

Begin with smiling at a stranger instead of avoiding eye contact. Step it up with paying for the person’s coffee in line in front of you, hand out a gift card to the person that collects and disposes of your recycling and compost each week, shovel your neighbour’s steps, bake cookies to give to those people that you see each week at the grocery store or bank who always serve you with kindness because that is who they are… or anything else that inspires you and says, “You are special” to someone.

This is what love looks like … the giving of kindness from the heart – whether by actual gift or as a gesture of appreciation and acknowledgement.


For Sarah, her innocent and spontaneous gestures stirred in her a promise to always pass out roses on Valentine’s Day. It would be a way that she could make someone’s else day a little more special, a little more meaningful, a lot more magical.

Take back the commercialism and ‘big business’ of a day that is often filled with unmet (and also unspoken) expectations and consider what it means to….just be the love – period.

Without realizing it, you will have made your day a lot more special as well.


January 31st, 2015

What Parenting IS…

Parenting is the most important “role” you might ever have next to living as your Authentic s e l f.  It can also be the most rewarding experience of your life if you have the means to parent in a healthy way based on your conscious intention to raise a child in a way that nourishes them and allows them to know their inherent greatness so that they can soar in life.


So when a client is seeking strategies and guidance to help improve and nurture their parent-child relationship, I feel blessed: I am able to help BOTH the parent AND their child (who will inevitably benefit from what new ways of thinking and being that their parent is now putting into action).



When a child acts out inappropriately, one of the most curious things I sometimes hear parents say is: “I have no idea where they learned that from?” I would just like to remind parents everywhere that ….. A CHILD IS A MIRROR OF THEIR PARENTS.


To ensure that your child is well behaved and well-adjusted, look to how YOU think and behave in the world.


If you want to improve your child’s behaviour, begin with your own. Children do (say, and believe) exactly what they see you do and say. They believe (even if it is with reservation) what you show and teach them, until some later time when they are learning and discovering ‘other’ ways of thinking and being that they may change their beliefs according what to what greater knowledge they possess.  In the meantime, your children learn by example. It’s that simple. They watch you as the parent and model what words, mannerisms, behaviours and ethics (morals and values) they observe of you. Period.

The other thing that I remind parents of: “It’s never too late to change how you are if you want your child to behave differently.”


Parenting has virtually no ‘formal’ training, no mandatory education, no need for writing any ‘exams’ attaining licensing, accreditation, or ongoing training. We need permits, permission, and licenses to fish, drive a motorized vehicle, or to build an addition onto our existing home – yet there are no definitive requirements needed to become a parent.  Do we perhaps prepare ourselves in the right ways for all that parenting demands of us?


How you parent is primarily how you were parented. Often unconsciously, you use the same methods and teaching styles as your parents did without realizing the cycle is repeating itself. At times, you may observe yourself saying and doing what your parents did, and perhaps what you vowed you would never do. Parenting is inevitably reactionary at times, and so without conscious awareness and deliberate contemplation, you say and do what you know is not reflective of what you want your children to learn.


Without conscious awareness of how you want to be as the major source of influence on your child’s future, you as a parent will likely struggle to learn from your mistakes (provided you are aware of them) rather than from deciding in advance of having children how you will think and behave in various and different situations and more importantly, who YOU are as a person.


If you want to be a great parent, and/or to have a better existing relationship with your child (regardless of their age), begin by making changes to how you are.  To focus on changing your child’s behaviour while you continue to do all of the things that have contributed to or caused emotional and psychological hurts, a betrayal of trust, and feelings of low self-worth – will only alienate your child further.


I help parents heal the painful experiences of their own childhood (of which they themselves were mistreated, neglected, verbally, emotionally or physically abused, repeatedly showered with a barrage of hurtful words, and in some instances unprotected from sexual predators (who co-existed undetected until it was too late). “Healing” means whatever is needed to help a client (parent) repair their own psychological and emotional hurts and traumas that have continued to haunt them long after the initial injustice. “Healing” means a facilitated journey that allows for a better understanding of what happened without necessarily blaming their parents or caregivers but finding comfort and safety in validating their experiences, while finding resolution through fixing, eliminating, correcting, forgiving the past in lieu of making forward strives of self-empowerment, healthy self-esteem, and reclaiming one’s childhood.*


*(And despite how all of this may sound difficult or daunting it really isn’t once you the parent seeks to heal your past, knowing that it will continue to affect how you parent your children if you don’t).


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The most significant thing any parent could do (ideally before they become a parent) is to heal their own past. To do the work that YOU need in order to heal your past begins with a close look at who you currently are.


Parents don’t set out to make mistakes, repeat old patterns, or continually avoid looking at themselves FIRST as an important reason for why there are problems in their parent-child relationships. Placed in an automatic position of authority, power, and having all of the right answers, parents tend to believe that “the teachings” go only one way. The truth in fact is that parents learn so much from their children about how to be a better person and a better parent, than they likely ever give their children credit for.


Some questions for parents to ponder:

What mannerisms and behaviours are you showing your children that you would you never want the world to see?

What situations from your childhood caused you grief, that you would never want your children to experience?



We do so much more than create life when we birth or adopt a child (“Creating life” is equally important for parents who adopt child – who is now given ‘a new’ life by being ‘gifted’ to you, AND a child that is biological to you). We instill in our children all of the fears, insecurities, self-doubts, mental and emotional instability and in some cases – genetic disposition to illness, that we suffer with.

The good news is that we can also instill in our children all of the grace, love, high moral conduct, self-esteem, self-worth, kindness, consideration, honesty, and perseverance that we are – as long as we are this.


And finally, consider that all children are born “perfect”. All that we need to do as parents is allow them to thrive in the world with love and positive role modelling. We don’t need to make great strides towards changing them to be more alike us, or simply different than they are if they are different from how we want them to be.

Your child is a product of you. You need to take much responsibility in making yourself a product of love.


It’s okay to seek help to become better  – as a parent AND as a human being…. because to do so will only give your child a greater possibility to thrive in the world than what you have taught them so far.


The only way we retrain ourselves to be different from how we were raised and what we learned through observing our caregivers is to be consciously aware – to realize how we are and to see that this is not an ideal way in which to be. Through conscious awareness we become what we choose to be, and we will always choose the highest ideal that we believe is possible.

To believe in more you need to heal your past and the damaging beliefs and stories that you have been told, and that you continue to believe.

As a parent, be the best role model for your child – first.  The rest is built on how you lead by example as you exhibit unconditional love and support of their healthy development.  Encourage their need to be who they are while you focus on being the best version of yourself that you can imagine possible.  Parenting is a powerful reason to want to improve who you are.


– Dorothy


I’d love to hear from you!  

What has been the two most valuable teachings that you have ‘learned’ from being a parent?


What’s the one piece of advice that your parent taught you that has helped you immensely in parenting your children?


Leave your comments for me below or email me directly at:



January 16th, 2015

Why do couples ‘fall’ OUT OF LOVE?

The SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT REASON why couples fall out of love?

“They NO LONGER acknowledge how incredible their partner is.”


When did you start focusing on your partner’s “faults” instead of praising their strengths and their greatness? Ironically, its their strengths and their redeeming character that you “chose” them for in the first place.  


You did do this right?


If you didn’t ‘choose’ your current partner based on “enough” of the qualities that you were looking for in a life mate, its likely because you hadn’t yet realized exactly what YOU wanted. Knowing yourself well and being confident to hold out for what you really want is how you choose a partner that will be highest in compatibility and ultimately the best choice in a life mate.  You want to be highly compatible in your values, beliefs, goals, and even shared interests and hobbies because it is your compatibility that keeps you connected and grounded in your commitment to one another during life’s more challenging moments – and when either of you are weathering a storm.


Remaining honest about what you really want in a life partner helps you to seek this out and not “settle” for anything less.  One of the biggest regrets couples have in choosing out of ego (false pretenses and beliefs) or fear (of not ever ‘finding someone better’), is that they chose someone who really wasn’t what they needed or wanted in a partner.
Source: Rob Lewine Getty ImagesBefore you decide that you have “fallen out of” love, re-consider what it is that you really want in a mate. Know that we tend to choose based on our subconscious desires to work out the unresolved relationships of our childhood.  Who you already chose may be exactly the person you need to help you realize (and become) who you have always wanted to be.


Your love relationship IS the most significant relationship of your life.  If you have chosen someone that you can truly be “yourself” with, then you are about to embark on a journey that will help heal you, while challenging you to seek and become more; and you will be able to support your loved one to do the same.



Continue reading below…..


If you are fortunate to have chosen a partner that you are highly compatible with, chances are even as you both change (grow, transform) over the course of life, you will still share many fundamental beliefs and core values that continue to fulfill you as a cohesive couple.


Here’s something to consider:

“When you’re feeling ‘IN’ love – is it because you are basking in the love that someone is adorning you with? What most people will never get to experience in their lifetime is how to become a ‘being of love’. Being love means that you have learned how to connect with the source of love that comes from within you.  This “source” makes it easy for you to share your love with others and to adorn yourself IN the feeling of love. Learning how to “be love” means that you are never dependant on someone else to feel loved.”     – Dorothy Ratusny



The other side of relationship longevity has to do with keeping the love. This is done by ensuring that you remain faithful to one another – both intimately (sexually, romantically, and emotionally). ‘Keeping the love’ also means that you continue to know your partner as a best friend, significant other, soul mate or ‘Covivant’ (French translation: “co-cohabiting with the one you love”).  Since both of you are constantly evolving, there is always a need to continue to learn about and understand who it is you are in relationship with.

How you nurture love:

When did you begin to take for granted all of the amazing qualities that your partner has to offer?  When have you last noticed and acknowledged those same qualities that you initially found so attractive and desirable, making your partner an easy choice for a spouse or life mate? Couples tend to begin focusing on the less positive aspects of their partner after being together for some time.  These ‘other’ qualities, mannerisms, and character traits were likely there all along.  Its just that early on in the relationship, you were solely focused and enamoured by all of their goodness – making these ‘other’ aspects of their personality – less significant. You may have also told yourself that any qualities about your partner that you did not like would somehow magically go away “with time”.  Convincing yourself that any of your partner’s ‘unattractive’ habits and behaviours would likely change only sets you up for disappointment.  Deep down we know that change only happens when someone goes in search of it out of their own desires (and is unwilling to “give up” in their quest of what they seek to change).


What nourishes love is: seeking to find all of the good that someone is.


If you’re feeling as though you’ve fallen out of love, ask yourself: “What has changed?”


Did you somewhere along the way stop seeing the good in your partner? Did you expect that he or she would never have an ‘off’ day (or week), or be negatively affected (or even consumed at times) by circumstances that are perceived as ‘stressful’ or challenging? (e.g. losing a job, suffering a physical injury, the experience of bankruptcy, death of a significant loved one, loss of a parent or change in a parent’s quality of life so that your partner has now become a main caregiver to their aging parent).  These are only a few of the many life events that force us to face what we are truly made of – how we think and perceive life – and how we choose to deal with what happens “to us”.


Add to this, the blessings of life that come with being a parent.  As you go from a happy couple with little responsibilities or obligations “in bliss” to a couple with one or more kids in tow, the life you signed on for is likely no longer the life you now live.  It doesn’t mean that your life is any worse – it’s just very – different.


How do you keep the passion and love alive when everything is not what it once was?


Most times, a couple doesn’t even realize what has happened. They are so busy trying to stay on top of their hectic, fast paced life (attempting to hold it all together), giving endlessly to their children and aging family members, that they wake up one morning after another sleepless night with their needs unfulfilled, and perhaps desperate for attention (e.g. someone to remind them of how wonderful they are, someone to listen or talk with).  The months, and possibly years of living a life in which one or both members of a couple feel terribly “lost”, “alone”, or as though life as they know it has “overtaken” them (they feel a lack of autonomy in their experience of life), make it very difficult to see the good in their partner.


But did you know?

Everything about “saving” a relationship, “staying in love” and being “forever happy” comes back to the moment in which you first chose your partner. Everything comes back to your choice in a mate.


We choose a partner based on how we feel when we are with that special person. Subconsciously we expect that this is how we will always feel when we are together. We don’t realize (and are likely never told), that it is you who is responsible for making yourself feel: ‘happy’, ‘loved’, ‘cared for’, ‘good enough’, ‘safe’, etc.


But wait? How do you do that when you’ve always been relying on someone to give you these positive feelings?



This is why so many unhappy people continue to stay in their doomed (and vastly unhealthy) relationship. They idealize the “good” moments of the past and create wishful thinking around what they hope it could be like again. They focus on how their partner used to treat them, and blame their partner for not being the same person that they once were – carefree, easygoing, positive, and self-assured, rather than realize that the ‘two way street of love inside of a relationship’ requires nurturing, kindness, care, and patience.


Consider why things have changed.  Point the finger first at yourself.  What have you said or done that has created hurt and pain in your partner?  Who you are in relationship with today is not the exact same person that you once chose.  Do you fall out of love because you are no longer getting what you need from a partner, or are you insightful enough to realize that you are partly responsible for who your partner currently “is”.


Have you contributed to (nurtured, supported, encouraged) your partner’s success as who they are, or have you been a contributing factor to their demise?


Rather than looking outside of your love relationship for the ‘things’ your partner used to give you (or at least some of them) – LOOK WITHIN.


No relationship will sustain itself until you realize the power that YOU HOLD. Stop giving it away. Stop looking to others and most often your partner to fulfill you, and look inside yourself.


ASK: “What do you need at this moment?” Identify the need.
Next ASK: “How can I give this to myself?” For example, “How can I contribute to my own feelings of: happiness, fulfillment, importance, value, high self-esteem, intelligence AND to feeling loved, appreciated, needed, deserving and important?


You see, you really don’t FALL OUT OF LOVE.  You may realize that the person you chose is no longer (or perhaps never was) someone that is truly compatible with who you are presently.  You may not feel the same intensity of love because you have stopped being that loving person you once were.  In the midst of our confusion and sadness, and in feeling sorry for our self or the direction of our life, we stop giving; we stop being loving.  If your partner has done the same, it means that you are not feeling some or all of the positive feelings that you once felt when your significant other would say or do what contributed to your feelings of positive well being.


The irony is… perhaps all along you allowed your partner to have a major influence over how you felt about yourself rather than taking responsibility for your feelings of ‘happiness’, ‘self-esteem’, ‘being loved’, ‘being good enough’, etc.


We love to be loved….but can we be compassionate and loving when someone needs our love?


Rather than look for the escapes, the distractions, the ways of seeking pleasure externally – go within yourself. For whatever you are in search of, realize that it exists somewhere inside you – wanting to be discovered – waiting for you to realize that it’s right here and that it’s been right here all along. Seek out the experiences, the feelings, the origin of what you really need and be prepared to give this to yourself.

 Be prepared to learn how because likely you have been relying on someone else to do this for  you for a long time.  Find what is missing within yourself. Think about how you have shown and demonstrated love and affection for  others and do the same for you. You will know best what you need.  Taking care of your own needs rather than  looking to your partner or others to do this is the most powerful demonstration of self-LOVE.  In this way, you will  never again be dependent on others for fulfilling your needs – one of them being – LOVING YOU.  (Others will  continue to contribute to the positive feelings you have about yourself.  Your relationship with others can add to the  quality of your life but you will  no longer be at the mercy of someone else to love you).


Discover what it means to be self-sustaining, independent, to cultivate ‘self-love’ – to “fall in love” with yourself which frees you to love others not for how they make you feel, but because you choose to be with them in order to appreciate and love who they are. Love that you receive from them becomes the icing on the cake. But you remain the cake.  (You retain the ability to be love, and to share it readily.)

For more on the subject of relationship love and choosing the ideal partner, please check out my Book, ‘The Purpose of Love: A guidebook for defining and cultivating your most significant relationship.’ ISBN 978-1-897178-50-8 (Insomniac Press, 2007). (Click on the book image to find out more including where to purchase it).


November 5th, 2014

Mindfulness is the path to Clarity, Truth, and living as your Authentic Self

In mindfulness you experience clarity and wisdom; by honouring what “is”, rather than deceptively telling yourself how you “want it to be”.

Being “mindful” is being consciously aware of yourself; your thoughts and feelings, how you engage and interact with others, and how others receive’ your words and actions. It becomes a far more revealing way to live life as compared to listening solely to the voice inside your mind.

Leah sat across from me with tears welling up in her eyes. As clients progress in therapy, quite often their accomplishments, and the changes they make to who they are can at times, evoke powerful emotions of joy and gratitude.

Leah began to describe how she used to make every effort to avoid being with herself, and how she would be unaware and inattentive to everything around her.

Therapy is a wonderful place to examine any of the “stuff” (emotional baggage, old patterns of behaving, self-critical and negative thoughts) that continues to dominate your life – causing you to feel stuck and powerless, holding you back from living life in the full expression of joy that is your authentic nature. If you have the gentle guidance of someone who can help you discover healthy strategies, you begin to make progressive and lasting changes. The result is a feeling of personal satisfaction and feeling whole. Healing the past wounds that are still the triggers for why you react the way you do is a necessary step to eliminating old behaviours that no longer represent who you want to be. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in therapy dredging up the past. But you do have to examine what happened in a way that can begin the process of healing. The purpose of therapy isn’t to talk about what bad things happened. Its about examining what bad things” happened from the perspective of understanding how these events shaped who you are, and what you need to do to heal from what happened.

In therapy, you gain a different perspective – shifting your thinking from being hurt, a victim, and lost, to feeling forgiveness (towards another or yourself), empowered, and having a clear directive for what you need to do next. Therapy is about looking at old problems in new ways that you hadn’t before. This different perspective allows you to see the whole truth rather than your particular (and often limited) version of the truth.


Like Leah, we’ve all “run from ourselves”. This is precisely what all of our busyness is about. Clients often tell me that they take great lengths to “not be alone”, even when it means being with people that aren’t adding to the quality of their life.


As Leah explained, her experience of mindfulness caused a dramatic change in her behaviors. Being self-aware allowed her to pay attention which meant she was able to react differently in situations – beginning with more self-control and the ability to feel her “anger falling away” (her words). I thought that this insight was especially interesting since we often don’t realize that it is our thoughts and perceptions that cause our emotions (and not what happens “to us”). Anger in particular is one emotion that can seem to come out of nowhere, “causing” us to react in ways that we are later not proud of.


Being self-aware or mindful is like turning the lights on in a pitch black room – instantly you are able to see everything. I call this seeing what “is” rather than what we have been telling ourselves is true. And, as the old adage goes, “the truth will set you free”.


Practicing mindfulness brings into your awareness all that you have been ‘running’ from. It’s in seeing what “is” that you know what you need to do (to change what you don’t like). Seeing things as they are rather than how you have been convincing yourself they are, means that you will have to face some of what you have been hiding (or running) from. In the end, being honest with yourself is the only way that change can actually happen.



The word ‘Mindfulness’ has become quite popular in today’s wellness literature. To be mindful, practice observing yourself whenever possible. Reflect on situations that have happened when you haven’t been self-aware and consider what you could have said or done differently to create a different (and more desirable) outcome. Stop blaming others for what happens and take responsibility for the direction your life has taken. Remember, everything that you think about with intensity manifests itself in your life. Who and what you are currently is a reflection of your inner world. Being mindful is stepping out of the world you have created in your mind and seeing everything as it really ‘is’.

Meditation practice is all about learning mindfulness. Not only will you reap the benefits of meditation, but your practice deepens your ability to live mindfully in all of your waking moments.


For guided meditations to help you develop mindfulness, please visit my Youtube channel

or you can upload free guided meditations at anytime on soundcloud:







October 23rd, 2014


Finding Answers and Meaning in the Life I am Meant to Live

What is your purpose?

What do you offer others when you give of yourself?
When are you happiest?
What will you look back on at the end of your life and be… most proud of?
What will you refer to when you say the words, “This is what I enjoyed most”… “This is what I accomplished” and “This is what gave my life meaning and purpose?”

When I first wrote, Live Your Life’s Purpose it was because I was inspired (i.e. moved, drawn, compelled) by the belief that we are all here for a reason, and a far more compelling and important reason than to simply punch a clock at work, to “kill time” doing what we loathe, or being unable to see our greater abilities and what we have to offer each other.

As I was writing ‘Live Your Life’s Purpose’, I began to notice that more and more clients were talking about the same things as I was writing.  They came from all different educational backgrounds and career settings, yet sharing this same feeling of unhappiness and being unfulfilled.  Some clients knew what they really wanted to be doing instead, but had so many roadblocks (both real and imagined) that kept them from pursuing their deepest passions.  Other clients may not have been exactly sure of what they wanted to do instead, yet they just knew that it wasn’t their current role or job (which was making them more and more miserable with each passing day).

As I discuss in the book, the idea of a ‘mid-life crisis’ isn’t so much a need to buy that expensive red sports car, or find a new partner.  These could be part of the choices we make when we decide based on knowing what we really want, but it’s much more than just about shaking up our life.  A ‘mid-life crisis’ is really an awakening…. a realization that we’ve been doing what we’ve always done; and what we’ve been taught and told repeatedly what we should do.

At some point we may ‘wake up’ into our lives with such an overwhelming need for change because we feel suffocated; lost, alone, and yet without being certain about what we really  need to do (or how to do it).

I’ve come back to the teachings in this book, largely because I’m now again witnessing many clients and friends who are experiencing such a deep transition from what we might call their ‘old’ life into something ‘new’.  The questions I ask above (along with several others) help draw out for us ways in which we can live our life with more purpose and meaning.  You don’t necessarily need to throw out everything that you are currently doing, but rather to examine each aspect with self-honesty to see if how you are currently living life is still ‘right’ for you.  We do need to ‘check-in’ in this way, often throughout our lifetime.  It becomes an important means of acknowledging whether or not we are on the right path.  Asking ourselves important questions like the ones I’ve mentioned above, reminds us who we are – knowing that who we are today is different than who we were even six short months ago.

I am hoping that those of you who find yourselves at a point along your journey where there is clearly a fork in the road, that …before you choose the next steps of your path, that you might stand still for a few moments (or maybe even sit down) to contemplate what you really want to do next.

A Workshop based on the material in my book is scheduled for Saturday November 8th in Toronto from 12:30pm until 5:30pm.  If you are contemplating significant life changes or the true meaning of your life, please join me.  Discover your ‘right’ answers as you prepare for the rest of your journey.

Here’s more of the details of about this very important Workshop:

In the midst of everything you feel you have to do and what demands are placed on you – finding greater meaning and purpose for your life is the secret to feeling unconditional joy and fulfillment. When you feel a deep sense of purpose for why you are here and what you have to offer the world, life has renewed meaning. You become less affected by the day-to-day events that you might otherwise label as “stressful” or “negative” and far less influenced by the rampant messages in the media that tell you how you should be living life (i.e. what success is, and what latest new ‘thing’ you should own or buy). Knowing your purpose, you become more mindful and deliberate about your choices based on being authentic to who you are. Living a life of meaning and purpose also means that your discovery of what is really important to you, is now easily reflected in how you honour and care for your self.

If you have never known what your sacred life’s purpose is, then perhaps it’s time. Give yourself the knowledge of all that you are destined to become. Discover a deeper meaning and purpose for how you are currently living and for what it means to have personal value for who you already are.

*Workshop tools and techniques include: Socratic questioning, Visualization, Cognitive therapy strategies, and Guided Meditation. Bring a notebook and come prepared to be inspired, to dream boldly, and to begin living your purpose! *Workshop fees include a follow-up one-on-one phone session with Dorothy to help grow your confidence in living your life on purpose!

For a look at the pdf poster please click here: Discovering My True Life’s Purpose – Sat Nov 8 2014


September 6th, 2014


 Self-Acceptance: The transformational step between ‘Who you Are’ and ‘Who you are …Becoming’.

by Dorothy Ratusny, M.A., (C).OACCPP., PhD. (Candidate)

Self-acceptance is the acknowledgement of who you are. From here you use conscious intention and deliberate action to move you towards who you are willing to become.” – Dorothy Ratusny


After you read the blog, please check out the link at the bottom for a Guided Meditation that will allow you to experience what it means to truly accept yourself!

Self-acceptance is the ability to love and appreciate who we are even as you continue to seek change, personal growth and transformation. It is your ability to see yourself with a level of self-honesty that conveys heightened awareness and absolute truth. Self-acceptance is the antecedent to change and growth. It implies that you are aware of and able to acknowledge all of who you are even when there are aspects of yourself that you wish to change or let go of.


Who we are is fusing of multiple elements – all in a constant state of flux – that become (largely through our deliberate will) all of the greatness we believe is possible. Through self-acceptance we see the aspects of our self that we wish to uphold as well as those aspects we wish to become. Becoming all of who we are capable of is not possible until we are ready to admit honestly to our self, who and what we are.

Begin by acknowledging the qualities and characteristics that you admire and appreciate about yourself most. Your willingness to write these on paper brings a deeper level of awareness – a sense of ‘reality’ to what is otherwise – a grouping of ideas you hold in your mind. Self-acceptance builds esteem and self-worth whenever you are willing to acknowledge all of the good that you are.  Out of self-acceptance you acknowledge the less favourable parts of you: your intolerance for others’ differences, for judging others unfairly or for being unkind or purposely hurtful as a reaction to someone else hurting you. 


Self-acceptance is about willingness to see yourself as you are. Out of self-acceptance comes positive change – personal growth – knowledge – and feelings of empowerment and self-worth as you choose to embrace new thoughts, behaviours and core beliefs to replace what once was.

I teach the notion of self-acceptance with clients as a rite of passage (‘a stepping stone’) that takes them from unawareness or at times self-denial, to intentional transformation. One of the benefits of having someone you can trust mirror back to you what they are observe and witness of you, helps you to connect the dots as to ‘why’ you do what you do, and ‘how’ you can change. This allows for a greater ease to which transformation happens.  When we are able to acknowledge and understand with clarity, the significance of our thoughts, the core beliefs we hold, and how our behaviours affect us and others, we can confidently step forward into who we want to become. This of course, is helped greatly when we are given the right tools, guidance, and support for making positive change happen. 

In this way, self-acceptance is an important catalyst towards self-transformation and wholeness.


Use the following sentence stem exercise to help illicit the unconscious (and largely hidden) aspects of yourself that you do accept. Repeat each sentence stems at least 6-10 times, allowing yourself an opportunity to delve deeper into your psyche, and pay attention to what it feels like to acknowledge – and accept these aspects of who you are.

I accept that I am…

Next ask, “What do I not accept about myself?”

(If you don’t accept certain aspects of yourself, does this mean you are in denial of them?)

Choose to be self-accepting of the parts of you that are less likely to change and recognize that everything else is within your power to become better – if you choose.

Remember that self-acceptance is also the kindness you choose to acknowledge and speak inwardly and aloud.  When we actively practice self-acceptance as intentional kindness directed within, we further anchor our positive feelings about our self and this encourages us to continue to be this.

A final thought…

Through self-acceptance we elevate our awareness to live out of our free will choice. We can choose to act from a place of authenticity – to be loving kindness – or we can allow our ego to be in charge. Acting out of our ego-mind, our thoughts (and our reactions to our thoughts) are fear-based and do not represent who our ‘self’ truly is. ‘Self’ as defined by eastern philosophies is the core essence of who we truly are. Our core self (our soul consciousness) is pure, loving, and always truthful. Self-acceptance is one mechanism that guides us to choose how we will be.

Sat Nam everyone!

Please check out my Guided Meditation on Self-Acceptance that will transform how you feel about yourself.  It’s so very beautiful and powerful! Please give yourself some time in quiet to take it all in and feel free to do it often.


July 21st, 2014

Real WISDOM is to know our true nature…

If ego is the absence of true knowledge of who we really are, then real wisdom is to realize this and seek to know our true nature.

Examining a philosophy developed in the Himalayas a thousand years ago helps give us a useful three-step approach to cultivating the principle of egolessness. (According to the Buddhists, “egolessness” doesn’t actually mean “without ego”. (Although for our purposes, its a good way to begin thinking about this term). It’s original definition means “that there was never any ego at all to begin with”. – The best example of egolessness in action that I can think of is when we are children: innocent, authentic, and before any need to prove ourselves.

In the midst of completing coursework for my Phd, I’m captivated with Sogyal Rinpoche’s book, “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”. In it, he refers to ‘The Three Wisdom Tools’ as described by Tibetan Buddhist Masters as a way of discovering the freedom of the wisdom of egolessness.

Before describing the first of these Three Wisdom Tools, it’s helpful to think about how they came to be. They were believed to help free us from our ego – what we in Western society might refer to as the incessant noise of our mind, our attachment to ‘things’, our need to prove our self through our identify with a ‘role’, a ‘title’, or through our actions. Ego is developed as we slowly move away from being our authentic self (in childhood), to conforming and abiding by what society deems we should ‘do’ or ‘be’. Our ego-mind plays a key role in our daily existence as we are distracted by what we tell ourselves is true rather than simply observing what “is”.

Each of the Three Wisdom Tools helps us to discover and experience the deeper knowing of our true nature.They move us out of our ego-mind and into our present moment awareness.

Not only are these worth remembering….but adopting each of these tools as a part of your daily practice will forever change the way you approach and live life. Embracing the three tools will significantly improve all of your relationships. It will most certainly improve the relationship you have with your ‘self’. Using these wisdom tools will awaken you – to see and know what “is” rather than what you have been telling yourself is true.

If you are already on a spiritual path, then you may recognize the difference between your ego-mind and the voice of your inner wisdom (what Rinpoche defines as “your hidden spiritual being” – what I typically refer to as your soul consciousness). As you listen more and more to your inner voice, you begin to notice how it acts as a wise guide in helping you. As your inner voice becomes stronger and clearer, you begin to distinguish between its truth and the deceptions (and empty promises) of your ego. For example, your ego-mind might sound like any or all of the following: “If I could just make more money, my life would be so much better”, “Why can’t I lose this extra weight? What’s wrong with me?”, “Maybe there is no one out there for me and I’ll just end up being single the rest of my life?”, “I should be in a better financial position right now”, “I’m not calling her/him anymore. If they can’t be bothered to make an effort why should I?” etc, etc, etc.


As I help clients resolve whatever issue or problem that they initially came to therapy for help with, I always offer them the opportunity to pursue their spiritual path. This includes teachings for how to become more aware of the reality of their inner wisdom as their own best source of guidance. Embracing one’s spiritual self is how we deepen our ‘self’ knowledge and awaken to our authentic nature. This instantly builds confidence and self-reliance. (It isn’t that you won’t ever need or rely on another person to give you suggestions or support, but ultimately you feel skilled to make wise choices for your life based on knowing yourself best). Indeed, there are limitless spiritual teachings that we experience over a lifetime. The initial exploration and discovery that I show clients, includes a process of guided meditation together with techniques for how to live with awareness that you are more than your physical being.

Regardless of where you are along your spiritual path (and even if you are far removed from it right now), you can use any and all of these Three Wisdom Tools to develop a deeper awareness of your authentic self (your true nature). In doing so, you enrich the many experiences of your life. Putting these tools into action will also help you to become aware of what ‘illusions’ (perceptions) are causing your suffering and unhappiness. Contemplating what you have been “taught” to believe as a child, and what you now know to be true is one way to begin a spiritual path.


The first of the Three Wisdom tools is THE PROCESS OF LISTENING AND HEARING.

The process of listening and hearing begins by listening both to our inner voice and as we are guided instinctively to formal spiritual teachings (this may be in the form of a book that grabs our attention, a new spiritual practice – such as learning meditation, returning to informal methods of prayer or seeking out ‘teachers’ in various forms). Listening to this new and at times, preexisting information, guides us back to remembering who we truly are (our hidden wisdom nature).

As we listen to these varied spiritual teachings and as we surround ourselves with resources and people who uplift and inspire us, certain passages and insights resonate deeply within us. We feel a deep sense of authenticity in what we are remembering. We begin to awaken, discovering that we have the potential to be more than we currently are – not because we aren’t good enough already – but rather because what we desire for ourselves has become more and we are ready to be the person we have been contemplating, imagining, – even dreaming of. (As an aside, many times we would like to be different but we give up before even getting started. We talk ourselves out of the possibility and this is why it never happens. It will only ‘never happen’ if we give up.)

Listening is a far more difficult process than most of us imagine. To truly listen as intended by the ancient Tibetan masters is “to let go of ourselves completely; to let go of all the information, all the concepts and ideas, and all of the prejudices that our minds are filled with”.


Like the Zen master Suzuki-roshi has said, “If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” “If we really listen with an open (beginner’s) mind, we might really begin to hear. If we listen with a silent mind, free of all preconceived ideas that we already know the answer, then it becomes possible for the truth of the teachings to pierce us, and for the meaning of life to become startlingly clear”.

“The more and more you listen, the more and more you hear; the more and more you hear, the deeper and deeper your understanding becomes.” -Zen master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Stay tuned for my next WISDOM blog and the second and third Wisdom tools that will complete your practice.

Namaste everyone!


July 15th, 2014

The Secret for Getting “Unstuck” in your Life…. 3 STEPS for What You NEED TO DO

I nor anyone else cannot make you do what you need to do. If you find yourself flailing, feeling ‘lost’, unproductive, uninspired, anxiety-ridden, waist deep in self-sabotaging behaviours, the way back – the easiest route you could possibly take involves believing in yourself; and in making the ordinary – extraordinary. Ultimately, you must find a way to own up to what you are doing.

It’s called an Awakening.

And it can’t happen unless you are prepared to look at yourself with stark honesty and truthfulness. Stop telling yourself that you are justified for being this way and move beyond what you have always done.

I find that clients shift their reality when they are made to look at themselves truthfully. In those moments when I speak candidly and honestly with them, if often triggers several uncomfortable but equally relevant emotions: shock (that someone has found them out), sadness, self-pity, shame and at times …as their psyche seeks to quickly defend their ongoing behaviours (which they’ve built their current life around), they may also make bold excuses for why they can’t do what they know (even if they won’t admit it) is the ‘right’ thing. This by the way, is how you hold yourself hostage.

How long have you been adrift? Caught up in the stories that you tell yourself and why you can’t do something? For example: ”It’s too hard”, “I’m in too much pain”, “I don’t know how”, “I don’t have the time”, “I don’t have the motivation”, “I feel lost”, “I don’t know what to do”, “I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing” etc, etc. Whatever statements you cling to, whatever set of “untruths” that you have adopted as your beliefs, take a closer look at them now. Even when what you are telling yourself SEEMS true….it never truly is. Everything that you do or don’t do is based on what you tell yourself and what you have chosen to believe.


With every excuse you make (and there will always be more than a hundred reasons why you remain stuck and feeling unfulfilled), KNOW that the time comes when you can no longer function this way. It may take months, even years of constant repetition of your ‘untrue’ stories swirling around in your mind, or any number of self-sabotaging behaviours and unhealthy habits, all reinforcing whatever “stories” you tell yourself.

OR… You can decide one day that you will chose to think (and act) differently. Just remember, it only has to be one different thought that leads to a new behaviour…. for you to see what you are really capable of.

An awakening is a moment of truth. It is examining your inner dialogue and the actions that follow and then ‘waking up’ to see that you have not been living honestly. You have convinced yourself of whatever limitations you hold because for whatever reason, this (you have convinced yourself) is EASIER than doing the necessary WORK to fix or change your existing behaviours. It doesn’t need to be me in a session of therapy to help you by pointing out what you already know – but keep avoiding. For most people, it means getting to a place where it becomes intolerable to function at all before something ‘gives’. (And this by the way is very sad to watch). As creatures of habit, we thrive in the comfort of knowing our misery – even though we feel awful and hopeless.

The idea is to be motivated by the search for pleasure rather than staying in the pain of what we know so well. If you’re still feeling a strong need to defend your position of inaction right now, consider any of the iconic people (Mahatma Gandhi is one) who have been subjected to immense physical and emotional pain and who have chosen to thrive inside their mind – directing their thoughts to what they hope and look towards, rather than the suffering and misery that surrounded them.

Awakenings occur when you are simply honest with yourself. (Not rocket science – just truthfulness). When you are willing to state the facts rather than hide behind what environment you have constructed that allows you the facade of being safe – protected from the world or your previous failings at seeking change, . Ask anyone who has overcome a personal hardship and they will tell you that it was perseverance that made it possible for them to overcome; perseverance and belief – and never looking back. Awakening is a reality check – but only as you remain humbled to its truth – the truth of what “is” and not what you keep telling yourself.


Inspirational quote by Gautama Buddha (563 BC-483 BC) on earthy


3 STEPS to getting yourself unstuck and moving in the direction of what will heal and support you in life:

1. Admit honestly (write it down so it’s real and starring you back in the face) what you NEED TO DO DIFFERENTLY in order to be the change you say you want. (Step Two will test you to see just how badly you want “it” and how willing you are to stop living in the untruths you have surrounded yourself with.


2. With discipline, and yes, even though it may be emotionally or physically painful at times to move past what you’ve been convinced of for so long – FOLLOW THE ACTION STEPS you have listed in STEP ONE and SEEK HELP from either a professional who has proven they know the journey because they have lived it (so ask them if you’re not sure!).  You need to feel confident that they will give you additional tools and strategies while keeping you accountable to the goals you have set making it possible for you to see the change happen.


3. Never Stop.

As much as change feels overwhelming for many people, if you attempt to avoid it you will return to being fearful and deny the unavoidable path of constant growth. Regardless of your age, life continues to be filled with new experiences, teachings, and wonderful new opportunities if you remain open and look for these.


Now get started!


namaste everyone!


July 7th, 2014

Just Begin…. Rules for Getting started and not waiting for your Dream to “happen”


How much of your life is “spent” waiting for something to happen? Are you waiting for just the right moment to begin something new? To be who you really want to be? To take charge, to do more, to change something important in your life?


Do you need to wait? 


Much of the time we have enough knowledge that we can begin now. We actually don’t need anything at the moment except the pure intention and the ideal of what we are wanting to co-create. I say “co-create” because an interesting thing happens when you begin to move towards a goal or dream – as long as you hold the highest intentions for it – (that it is not out of greed, nor lust, nor ego), but a true and deep yearning for creating – manifesting – something more or different, your deliberate actions and the truth of those actions (e.g. why it is so important to do so, how come you want this change to occur) moves you in a direction toward it at precisely the same rhythm as the universal law of attraction brings it to you.


Try for yourself and see. Have you ever begun to make something happen and found that your steps have equally or more been matched by events and situations that seemed to unfold perfectly in order to help make your vision a reality?


Begin. Take the first steps towards what you want most – even if you don’t know how it will all come together just yet. Begin. Hold the deepest desire for cultivating this in your heart as you move in a direction towards it. Just begin.



June 8th, 2014

What does it really mean to “live your best life”?


To live your best life, you must first believe that you can do so…. that it is something real and tangible and not simply an idealistic concept that we hear spoken in greeting cards or by celebrities who we might think ‘already have it all’.


If improving the quality of each day in your life truly matters, then you may realize that living ‘a best life’ IS simply the cumulation of all of those isolated amazing moments that are (truth be told) simple and easy to cultivate.  What is needed is the mindset or attitude that reminds you that you have the ability to make each moment “significant” (even as some of your day is used for random everyday ‘tasks’ and household obligations), “fun”, “useful”, and in many cases, a moment in which you choose to live as your ‘best’ SELF.

Define what living “a best life” means exactly by asking yourself, “What does it looks like?”


Here are some specific questions to think about: In those moments when you ARE living your best life, how are you being? What is happening in those moments? How do you feel? What are your thoughts towards yourself and others? How are you portraying yourself? and of course ….What exactly is it that makes these the ‘best’ moments of your life?


Contrary to what images and values we see in the media, living a ‘best life’ occurs by first defining for yourself what this means, and then as you purposefully make these ideals possible. (This is why it is so helpful that you actually answer the questions I’ve posed above!) It’s when you have clear examples (often predicated by those times in which you have already experienced a ‘best life moment’) that it becomes easier to recall and recreate these… and to think about the other equally amazing ‘best moments’ that you want to manifest.

What ARE your ideas and beliefs for living a ‘best life?’ Are these random thoughts that inspire you for fleeting moments before their momentum becomes lost to the reality of ‘how to do this’ without having all of the resources that you think are needed? Or have any of my questions above helped you to identify the factors that truly make for a ‘best life moment’ are those that have to do with YOU living AS YOUR BEST SELF….first?

Living a best life has everything to do with who you are. It has very little to do with how much money you have, your job title, or your material possessions. I have seen many wealthy people unable to enjoy the quality of life that they have built for themselves because of the many stresses (real and perceived) that have caused them much anguish and suffering, when ….upon listening to their life story, they truly have all that they need to make things better – beginning with who they are. I have also witnessed incredible kindness and generosity from people who acknowledge what “little” they have in terms of material possessions and money, yet their ability to easily give of themselves in kindness and help to others, makes their actions (and who they are) an example of living their ‘best life’ in that particular moment.


Kindness and compassion are not the end result of wealth, living one’s life purpose, having power or status. These qualities also do not preclude us from needing to always be conscious of our actions, including how we are in those moments when we may not be living as our “best” self.


In truth, we tend to care less about the monetary value of what ‘things’ we have, when our focus can be on our true “blessings”; living a life demonstrative of high morals and conduct; having meaningful, loving relationships that are based in truthful communication, respect, and appreciation; and of course – being loving kindness as who you are with all people – and who you are with yourself.

There can be no room for anything less…. since living out of kindness and loving action makes it easy for you to live the best life possible.


Think about the ways in which you can live your best life by first being a better version of yourself. If you think there isn’t room for improvement please look again. All of the most peaceful and loving human beings that we might look to as positive role models have all struggled at times to live as their ‘ideal’ or BEST version of “self”. All of these peace dwelling and honourable people have also been displaced by events and circumstances that have caused them to act out in ways that they have not been proud of.  After all, we are all human.


Once again, this reminds us that all we can do is continue – returning to the beauty of this moment as a moment in time that we are in charge of; resolving to live as the best version of who we desire to be.  (And if we have no ‘ideal’ version to aspire to, remember…we all have aspects of ourselves that need work – improvement, and acceptance).  This is also the perpetual journey of living as our human self – while simultaneously revealing only our highest potential as who and what we are capable of.


May 25th, 2014

Can we REBIRTH ourselves in order to heal our past?

As I watched my godchild lay tenderly asleep, her hands cushioning her face as she nestled in the arms of her godfather, I thought about the beauty of baptism. Baptism (or “baby blessings”) defined across various religions – depicts the notion of rebirth; cleansing, anointing and adopting one as a part of a particular religious community (or church)….and of making pure again…. what already is pure.

It’s interesting how we choose to baptize our infant child far before they can even conceptualize what is being is being done. Infants really have no need for a cleansing and a rebirth since they are already living life so purely.


What’s interesting is how we might look at the idea of baptism for our own life.  How many times have we secretly wished we could be absolved of our past mistakes; of behaviours that we shudder whenever we think of them because who we are today is so far away from the person we were then?


I watched as this loving priest generously splashed “holy” water on the heads of all the children being baptized this morning. Symbolic to the simple notion of rain cleansing the earth; or perhaps the feeling of being cleansed as you stand under the flow of water in your shower at home, allowing the water to cascade down your body, or the feeling of being ‘washed over’ by the ocean waves as they pull you back with their gentle force, before passing over you. There are many symbolic ways to consider how you might ‘cleanse’ or ‘rebirth’ that have nothing to do with religion, but yet are meaningful in how they serve to bring a renewed sense of optimism and hope.

Embracing a spiritual life, you might consider the many ways that you have already been ‘cleansed’ of the past. Being forgiven by yourself or another is one form of rebirth, and an opporutnity for starting over. As special as a religious ceremony may be, you don’t need such an event to rebirth. Every time that you make the conscious decision to be different; to change what you may have always done, or to offer yourself forgiveness even for one act of unkindness or unkind thought – you are making it possible for yourelf to begin anew.

Baptism is said to be an outwardly symbolic rite of an inner change and transformation that has already taken place. Important to emphasize is the idea of repenting or acknowledging whatever mistake, misdoing, or error we want to overcome, forgive, and release. This is the simple yet powerful notion of how we can continue on, without self-beratment and self-hatred – in a path that reminds us of our incredible capacity for healing and rebirth.  

Consider a time when you forgave someone for their wrongdoing. Notice how doing so, freed you from any further pain or sadness that this hurt may have caused. Now apply the same idea to yourself. Becoming better at self-forgiveness is how we heal, and how we move forward.

It’s interesting how our society has needed to baptism the innocent child, but is quick to hold an adult at fault for a lifetime. How well we forgive ourselves for our ‘humanness’ and how easily we are able to forgive and forget others’ mistakes is a testament to our ability to practice ‘baptism’ – rebirth – renewal – not as a one-time religious ceremony- but as a way of life.

A helpful afterword on the definition and meaning of Baptismin both Christian and Jewish perspectives:

Baptism (from the Greek noun βάπτισμα baptisma😉 is a Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also a particular church. 

The usual form of baptism among the earliest Christians was for the candidate to be immersed, either totally (submerged completely under the water) or partially (standing or kneeling in water while water was poured on him or her). While John the Baptist’s use of a deep river for his baptism suggests immersion, pictorial and archaeological evidence of Christian baptism from the 3rd century onward indicates that a normal form was to have the candidate stand in water while water was poured over the upper body. Other common forms of baptism now in use include pouring water three times on the forehead, a method called affusion.

History of the Jewish Mikveh

The term mikveh in Hebrew literally means ‘any gathering of waters’, but is specifically used in Jewish law for the waters or bath for the ritual immersion. The building of the mikveh was so important in ancient times it was said to take precedence over the construction of a synagogue. Immersion was so important that it occurred before the high Priest conducted the service on the Day of Atonement, before the regular priests participated in the Temple service, before each person entered the Temple complex, before a scribe wrote the name of God, as well as several other occasions.

The Mishnah attributes to Ezra a decree that each male should immerse himself before praying or studying. There were several Jewish groups that observed ritual immersion every day to assure readiness for the coming of the Messiah. The Church Fathers mentioned one of these groups called Hemerobaptists which means “daily bathers” in Greek. Among those used to regular immersion were the Essenes and others that the Talmud calls tovelei shaharit or “dawn bathers.”

On the third day of creation we see the source of the word mikveh for the first time in Genesis 1:10 when the Lord says, “…to the gathering (mikveh) of waters, He called seas.” Because of this reference in Genesis the ocean is still a legitimate mikveh. (Maybe this is why the ocean is such a sacred experience for many of us!)

* Sources: and