Let’s assume — for the moment — that you want to be free

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Earlier this month I enjoyed a rich couple of days with ministerial students who were together for their first in-person retreat at Heartwood Refuge in North Carolina. These were 25 or so people — a beautiful array of humanity wearing a variety of genders, ages, races, from various parts of the country and levels of experience in Dharma practice. Some have been practicing for decades, including a few who’ve been teaching meditation for a number of years. …


To find our solution, we must first see the problem

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We’ve looked at the Buddha’s Four Nobles Truths, with a promise to explore his Eightfold Path in some detail. Here, we begin with an explanation of the beginning of the Path, Right View. Sometimes people prefer the phrase “Wise View” to avoid causing bristle. But since we are talking about the direction of our lives, I’m sticking with the word “Right.” I’m using the word not in terms of opinions or judgments, but in terms of right or wrong direction. When you have been walking in the woods for a…


Humans 101

Many of us neglect our own needs to avoid seeming self-centered — and then we wonder why we’re so unhappy

Portrait of a person—wearing a bob haircut, big dark sunglasses, and an orange knitted sweater—looking to the left side of the image in a very dark space. Reflected in the sunglasses is an open window showing a sliver of blue sky on each lens.
Portrait of a person—wearing a bob haircut, big dark sunglasses, and an orange knitted sweater—looking to the left side of the image in a very dark space. Reflected in the sunglasses is an open window showing a sliver of blue sky on each lens.
Photo: Marco_Piunti/E+/Getty Images

In my early twenties, the subject of “selfishness” came up frequently in my therapist’s office — specifically, my fear of being selfish. In my attempts to avoid selfishness, I was living in its opposite — and equally self-centered — extreme: self-negation.

My therapist explained it like a thermometer: Boiling hot was selfishness. Freezing cold was self-negation. And somewhere in between, right around the normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees, is a self-caring and responsible zone (which involves moving through a challenging zone of self-doubt that lies between 98.6 and ice).

“I feel like you’re freezing to death. I’m trying to…


There’s power in being a supporting actor

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Temperamentally and statistically speaking, I’m a prime candidate for burnout even at the best of times. A serious child in a family that dealt with various mental illnesses and addictions, I was reading This Stranger My Son in the fourth grade. I was not unique among future therapists. A woman I once interviewed to work in a rehab told me she read The Fifty-Minute Hour at around the same age.

By the time I was in high school, I was beginning to think happiness was not for me. I believed that for me to be happy, everyone I cared about…


Allowing is a dance

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I first posted this article on my own website three years ago, when colleague Karen Moran and I were leading a class in Mindful Parenting. The framework for the class was built on the “5 A’s” of mindful loving — Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection and Allowing — introduced by Dave Richo in his book How to Be an Adult in Relationships. This is the 5th of five.

The fifth aspect of mindful loving, and therefore mindful parenting, is Allowing. By this we mean allowing appropriate privacy and space, of course. But we also mean leaving physical…


Touch has never been more important

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

I first posted this article on my own website three years ago this month, back when colleague Karen Moran and I were leading a class in Mindful Parenting. The framework for the class was built on the “5 A’s” of mindful loving — Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection and Allowing — introduced by Dave Richo in his book How to Be an Adult in Relationships. This installment in the series feels especially poignant in 2021.

Affection is how we experience true belonging

The fourth of the five aspects of mindful loving is Affection. Relative to…


A “just-because” kind of love

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I first posted this article on my own website three years ago this month, back when colleague Karen Moran and I were leading a class in Mindful Parenting. The framework for the class was built on the “5 A’s” of mindful loving — Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection and Allowing — introduced by Dave Richo in his book How to Be an Adult in Relationships.

When love is examined through the prism of mindfulness according to Dave Richo, the third color of its 5-part rainbow is Appreciation.

In the past few weeks our Mindful Parenting group…


Nourishing yourself with radical acceptance

Photo by Wayne Lee-Sing on Unsplash

I first posted this article on my own website three years ago this month, back when colleague Karen Moran and I were leading a class in Mindful Parenting. The framework for the class was built on the “5 A’s” of mindful loving — Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection and Allowing — introduced by Dave Richo in his book How to Be an Adult in Relationships.

Loving Presence arises when you can say, “This belongs.”~ Tara Brach

In this series of articles we’re taking a look at Dave Richo’s 5 “A’s” — those aspects of loving that…


Don’t “pay” attention

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

I first posted this article on my own website three years ago this month, back when colleague Karen Moran and I were leading a class in Mindful Parenting. The framework for the class was built on the “5 A’s” of mindful loving — Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection and Allowing — introduced by Dave Richo in his book How to Be an Adult in Relationships.

Regarding Attention ~ The First of 5 A’s in Mindful Parenting

In the Mindful Parenting Nashville group that Karen Moran and I are leading, we’re incorporating — among other resources — the work…


So good. This reminds me of Mingyur Rinpoche's book "In Love with the World." In it, he explains his need to sneak out of his privileged environment in his particular tradition - traveling on foot as an anonymous monk instead - as his way of "turning up the heat" on his practice.

Christine Bates

She/Her ~ Buddhist Minister at Deep South Dharma. Brainspotting Professional. Writer. All about Practice.

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