A Must Read- The Missing Piece…

“The Missing Piece Meets the Big O” by Shel Silverstein is one of my all time favorite books.  I recommend this short story to everyone and find it can be an especially useful tool for therapy sessions.  Click the link below to access on You Tube:

Often people feel they need someone or something to make them feel “whole”.  Considering all the trials and tribulations the missing piece goes through in this story, it reminds me of many of my past experiences with people.  At times I was the missing piece.  At other times I was an O missing a piece.  It has been a journey to become my own Big O.  Being a Big O is not constant- sometimes I roll alone or with others, sometimes I sit and observe or rest.  My shape changes every day.  But the wholeness of my being is important to remember.  I appreciate the other shapes around me as their presence contributes to my experience of being.

In sessions, I ask clients to consider if they can relate to any of the shapes in this story today, in the past and where they see themselves going/what they would like to achieve.

I believe each one of us is both the missing piece (our current awareness of self) and the Big O (our potential).  In invite clients to use art materials to represent that using the following template:


I invite you to do the same.  It is a simple image that can be colored to represent ourself, our potential/desire and even our sharp edges.  This image is mandala like and can be altered to suit the individual.  Enjoy!

Emotionally Charged Language and the Power of Persuasion

Are you afraid for the future of this country or angry with how government is flgimgs1000000109_-00_american-flag-heart-graphic-downloadable-image_4operating?  As a voter in this upcoming presidential election it may be difficult to feel otherwise.  These concepts have been reiterated throughout the debates and campaigns.  It is clear (if you have spoken to anyone in the last few months about the election) that the general public carries significant concerns.

Fear and anger are strong forces when decisions need to be made.  My feelings after watching the last two debates were a mix of frustration and hope.  I still believe in the the democratic process and think the issues being discussed are of great importance.  I feel frustrated to repeatedly hear so much of the efforts and gains that have been made to be dismissed as “a disaster”.  I recognize that the beauty of our struggles is that we have a say and in order to progress there will be disagreements.  I can wish for different candidates or tactics but in the end the passion of the voices (for example in the checkout line at the supermarket) I find encouraging.  Does anyone believe at times of great crisis or change in our history there was ease and certainty?

So as much as I debated with myself about posting this blog, I am happy to say my better sense won.  Yes this is a current event that is impacting our country’s (if not the world’s) mental health.  The anxiety, fear, anger and hope of change does not have to be disastrous.  If we can acknowledge our feelings at this time then maybe we can focus on making a sound decision; a decision based on our values and beliefs.

The same can be said of any of our personal decisions when it comes to emotionally charged topics and influential people.


The Monk and the Scorpion- Beliefs, Repetition and Compassion

Yoga’s influence on my life view and understanding of the world has been immense.  Not only have I received the physical and emotional benefits of practicing, I also have carried some of the stories into my work with clients.  One of my favorites stories that was shared in a yoga class was about two monks and a scorpion…

The Monk and the Scorpion

Once in a monastery two monks walked about doing their morning duties. As they passed a small bowl, filled with rain, they saw a scorpion was drowning in the water. One monk reached in to save the creature. As soon as his fingers touched the panicking Scorpion, it stung him and the monk dropped the Scorpion back into the water. The monk sighed, and reached back in. This time he got his grip a little firmer, but still dropped the Scorpion when he was stung. He kept reaching in, as his friend looked on in confusion. After dozens of attempts, the other monk spoke up saying “Brother, why do you keep trying to save that scorpion? It stings you every time you come near it. The monk paused before reaching in again and smiled. As another sting bit into his hand, he took a fallen leaf from the ground and pulled the scorpion out to safety. He finally said: “Because it is his nature to sting, and my nature to save. Don’t forget brother, soon either I’ll stop feeling the pain of the sting and he will be saved, or he will stop being afraid and be saved.’ Compassion cannot be stopped so easily.’  Taken from Buddhist Reflections online

When I first heard this story I was conflicted by the desire “to save” and the confusion and frustration of seeing someone repetitively behave in a way that leads to self harm.  This can be a struggle for many therapists, family members, friends, teachers, individuals…

Hearing the end of the story about it being the monks nature to save was powerful for me.  Helping those you care for/or simply other beings can be difficult and painful but is part of who I am.  The reward is sometimes in the results but always in being true to my beliefs.

The friend monk although initially blinded by his own view, was critical in this story.  Sometimes a question to open a dialogue can make all the difference.  The friend monk gained a greater understanding of why his friend behaved in a way that did not make sense to him.  Perhaps the friend monk could then apply it to looking at his own beliefs.

In the original story I heard there was no leaf.  I do like how the compassionate monk was able to take in what his friend inquired about and make a slight change to achieve the same goal with less suffering.

There are many ways to look at this story and I would love to hear some feedback and responses…

With this story in mind, I will be attending a 3-day workshop at Ananda Ashram on “Yoga for Depression and Anxiety” this weekend.  I look forward to the experience and will share in upcoming blogs!