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Life and Love

Life is the ultimate teacher, but it is usually through experience and not scientific research that we discover its deepest lessons. A certain percentage of those who have survived near-death experiences speak of a common insight which afforded a glimpse of life’s basic lesson plan. We are all here for a single purpose: to grow in wisdom and to learn to love better. We can do this through losing as well as through winning, by having and by not having, by succeeding or by failing. All we need to do is to show up openhearted for class.

So fulfilling life’s purpose may depend more on how we play than what we were dealt. Jack Kornfield, the Buddhist teacher, describes a spiritual truth he learned at a bingo game he attended with his elderly parents in Florida. There on the wall, in huge letters, was a sign reminding the players, You Have to Be Present to Win.

In Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen


“Just like our organs, our anger is part of us.
When we are angry, we have to go back to ourselves
and take good care of our anger. We cannot say,
‘Go away, anger, I don’t want you.’ When you have
a stomachache, you don’t say, ‘I don’t want you
stomach, go away.’ No, you take care of it.
In the same way, we have to embrace and
take good care of our anger.”

“Just because anger or hate is present does not
mean that the capacity to love and accept
is not there; love is always with you.”

“When you are angry, and you suffer, please go
back and inspect very deeply the content, the nature
of your perceptions. If you are capable of removing
the wrong perception, peace and happiness will
be restored in you, and you will be able to
love the other person again.”

“When you get angry with someone, please don’t
pretend that you are not angry. Don’t pretend that
you don’t suffer. If the other person is dear to you,
then you have to confess that you are angry, and that
you suffer. Tell him or her in a calm, loving way.”

“In the beginning you may not understand the
nature of your anger, or why it has come to be.
But if you know how to embrace it with the
energy of mindfulness, it will begin
to become clear to you.”

“Anger is like a howling baby, suffering and crying.
Your anger is your baby. The baby needs his mother
to embrace him. You are the mother.
Embrace your baby.”

“Anger has roots in nonanger elements. It
has roots in the way we live our daily life. If we
take good care of everything in us, without
discrimination, we prevent our negative energies
from dominating. We reduce the strength
of our negative seeds so that they
won’t overwhelm us.”

“In a time of anger or despair, even if we feel
overwhelmed, our love is still there. Our capacity to
communicate, to forgive, to be compassionate is
still there. You have to believe this. We are more
than our anger, we are more than our suffering.
We must recognize that we do have within
us the capacity to love, to understand,
to be compassionate, always.”

“When we embrace anger and take good care of
our anger, we obtain relief. We can look deeply into
it and gain many insights. One of the first insights
may be that the seed of anger in us has grown too
big, and is the main cause of our misery. As we
begin to see this reality, we realize that the other
person, whom our anger is directed at, is only
a secondary cause. The other person is
not the real cause of our anger.”

By Thich Nhat Hanh in Taming the Tiger Within, which is a handbook of meditations, analogies, and reflections that offer pragmatic techniques for diffusing anger, converting fear, and cultivating love in every arena of life-a wise and exquisite guide for bringing harmony and healing to one’s life and relationships.

The 5 Love Languages

Each of us has a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. For some mysterious reason, we are usually drawn to those who speak a different love language than our own. I encourage the couples in my practice to become bilingual!

relationships couples

Of the countless ways we can show love to one another, five key categories, or five love languages, seem to be universal and comprehensive—everyone has a love language, and we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

The 5 Love Languages can help couples (or any relationship) identify practical and powerful ways to express love, simply by using the appropriate love language.

I often discover that one or both partners have been showing love through messages that weren’t getting through. By recognizing their different love languages, both people often express and receive love more effectively, thereby enhancing the relationship in a multitude of ways.

The 5 Love Languages

  • Words of Affirmation

    Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

  • Quality Time

    In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

  • Receiving Gifts

    Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift could be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

  • Acts of Service

    Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

  • Physical Touch

    This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be highly destructive. (inspired by Gary Chapman)

The Givens Of Life


  • Everything Changes And Ends
  • Suffering Is Part Of Growth
  • Things Do Not Always Go According To Plan
  • Things Are Not Always Fair
  • People Are Not Loving And Loyal All The Time


These are truths about the conditions of existing and also of evolving.

They are the prerequisites for unfolding with character, purpose, and meaning. They make us the fascinating characters we are; they make our human story the intriguing plot that it is:

  • In a transitory world we keep aiming for the timeless.
  • Through suffering we find our inner strength and our need for others too.
  • In an unpredictable universe we expend all the effort we can muster.
  • In the face of injustice we work for justice and act with mercy.
  • Among people who sometimes hurt or betray us we find the choice of love over retaliation and thereby grow in compassion.


Taoist Han Hung says: “The biggest risk is to trust that these conditions are all that we need to be ourselves.”

Life is continually baffling us with its contradictions. We can be overwhelmed and demoralized by them or we can allow them to pass through us with equipoise.

Then we find ways to be both defence-less and resource-full.

This ends our quarrel with the givens and we relate to them without blame or anger.

Jung suggests “an unconditional yes to the conditions of existence without protest.”

Then we find in and through them the essence of religion, spirituality, and depth psychology:



yet can be renewed.

This is our entry into the archetype of resurrection.



yet we keep finding ways to bring good from evil.

This opens the archetype of redemption.



yet we can find the equanimity to say yes to what is and thanks for what has


This is the archetype of synchronicity and of a divine plan that makes

our destiny a larger one than ever we imagined.



yet we can be fair and even generous.

This gives us a sense of justice and strengthens

our commitment to fight for it.

It is the archetype of Karma and of atonement and forgiveness.



yet we do not have to retaliate but can ourselves act with love and loyalty,

never giving up on others.

This is the archetype of unconditional love.

(Inspired by David Richo)


Addiction is rampant in our society. There are many forms of addiction that can negatively impact the life of the addict and those people who come in contact with the addictive behaviour. Some of these behaviours might include:

  • Substance misuse  Alcohol, marijuana, crystal methamphetamine, PCP, ecstasy, nicotine, heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, caffeine, prescription drugs.
  • Unproductive and compulsive negative thinking and worry  These thoughts often result in stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, and anger.
  • Emotional drama Addiction to the emotional highs and lows as you move from one dramatic life experience to another.
  • Food Obsessively thinking about food, eating too much, eating too little, anorexia, bulimia, addiction to particular foods such as chocolate, fats, carbohydrates, sugar.
  • Relationship The need to be in a relationship to feel complete as a person, dependency on a relationship for emotional security and sense of well-being. Sexual addictions.
  • Love and the experience of falling in love The sensations that accompany these emotional states.
  • Internet obsession Playing online games, gambling, viewing pornography, tracking Facebook.
  • Youth Fearful thoughts and accompanying behaviours with regard to the aging process.
  • Power and control Compulsive drive for dominance and control over others and/or your environment.
  • Compulsive spending or shopping
  • Gambling addictions (e.g. lottery, keno, slots, poker, horses, etc.)
  • Lying (e.g. exaggeration, the creative telling of life stories with no basis in reality, lying for the sake of lying and the addiction to the bodily sensations that accompany that behaviour, etc.)

Most people experience addiction in their lives — either through their own or someone else’s addictive behaviour. The impact varies depending on the nature of the addiction.

Often people who are tortured with addiction, either their own addiction or the addiction of a loved one, feel there is nothing they can do about it or are unaware of where they can get assistance.

There are usually underlying causes for addictive behaviour. Those causes have physical, psychological, and spiritual components.

I believe that all behaviour is our best attempt (at the time) to get our underlying needs met—even destructive addictive or co-dependent behaviours. Though addiction often starts as a way to self medicate or mask unpleasant feelings, it often results in excessive worry, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, a number of physical side effects, poor job performance, family problems and financial difficulties. Counselling can assist you in making the desired changes to live a happier life.

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