Stories Worth Telling

Stories Worth Telling by Alan Cohen

The end of this year might be a good time to decide which stories you want to leave behind and which you would like to take into the new year and amplify.  Some stories are worth telling and others are not worth telling. Some stories empower us and others disempower us...

Putting More Joy into Your Everyday Life

Putting More Joy into Your Everyday Life“Live in the moment!” bumper stickers cry. “Live in the now!” self-help books declare. Movies like The Bucket List preach the importance of living life in all its fullness before your time on earth is up. And yet, “being in the now” is easier said than done, right?

The Paint Can of Life: Empty or Full?

The Paint Can of Life: Empty or Full?

I recently painted a deck on my house. I enjoy painting, a meditation in being present that doesn’t require much thought but lots of attention. Your hands may get dirty but your mind will stay clean. With just a few planks left to color I noticed I was almost out of paint...

It Sucked, and I'm So Grateful!

It Sucked, and I'm So Grateful!What if the things you hate most about your current situation are your greatest blessings in disguise? What if everything that’s ever unfolded in your entire life has been the precisely necessary thing to bring you to this mysteriously perfect moment? If that...

Healing the Past & Learning from the Future

Healing the Past & Learning from the Future

Daily dedication and a willingness to heal our past will automatically move us forward on the spiral path of transformation. When we let go of old, outworn patterns that no longer serve us, we can energetically free up space in our psyches so that learning from the future becomes not only possible but the most...

What InnerSelf Desires for The New Year

What InnerSelf Wants for Christmas

In the tradition of making a list for Santa, InnerSelf has decided to make a list of what it wants for Christmas and the New Year. We are writing our list, and yes, we've been good! Very good! Happily, our list includes a lot of things that don't cost a thing... Of course, in this scenario, Santa will be played by our readers.

I Hate It When...

I Hate It When... by Marie T. Russell

I find myself thinking on occasion, "I hate it when...." We use the word hate easily... We hate a certain kind of ice cream, we hate tofu, we hate hurting ourselves, we hate being late, we hate... This is where I realized that anything that we profess to "hate" is simply a preference on our part.

Two Sides of a Prison Wall

A young Japanese man named Shui was riding on a crowded train when a belligerent drunk made his way through the train car and began to rough up passengers. Shui had studied martial arts for many years, yet never before had he been forced into a public confrontation. Shui felt his blood begin to boil, and...

What's Really Important On My Bucket List

What's Really Important For Our Bucket ListOnce in a while, a person will have a defining moment -- an experience -- a bit of wisdom or inspiration that pops into their heads and hearts and changes their lives. I had one of those moments recently on the Rogue River in Oregon. It helped to change in a very positive way my relationship with Barry, my beloved of 46 years.

You've Got to Believe Me

You've Got to Believe Me

Are you worrying about how something important to you will turn out? I know the answer. You’ve got to believe me. I see so many people stuck, confused, or fearful about what will come next. Eventually they somehow handle their issues, and the universe gives them a hand with the details...

Freedom From Fear

Freedom is such a powerful word, yet do we really know what it means? For years freedom was tied to the concept of slavery... having the right to have no one 'own' you. In Civil Rights, freedom meant being able to be considered equal to all others regardless of race, color, or gender. Then as the women's movement got into swing...

Wilde About Letting Go

Letting go is a hard one. Every part of humanity is designed to hang on. We hang on to our family connections, to the certificate we got at school, to our money, we embrace and hang on to our children, we lock our car and hang on to it. I think the whole definition of letting go is to stand outside the emotion.

Don't Tell Me What To Do!

Don't Tell Me What To Do!

by Marie T. Russell. "Don't tell me what to do!" We've heard that said many times... we've even said it, and at times when we didn't say it, we thought it! "Don't bug me! Don't get on my case! Don't tell me what to do!" Sounds like a teenager speaking... ah! but it is! It's that inner teenager that most of us still carry around inside.

Dealing With Other People's Anger

Dealing With Other People's Anger

by Dean Van Leuven. In dealing with another person's anger, it's important to be aware of the fact that the other person wants something to come out of their relationship with you. The key is to understand their expectations, and to help them understand yours. Such mutual understanding is brought about by...

A True Perfectionist

A True Perfectionist

by Alan Cohen. A friend of mine declared, "I used to think I was a perfectionist. I found the tiniest flaws in everything. Then I realized I was not a perfectionist at all; I was an imperfectionist! If I was a perfectionist, I would see perfection wherever I look."

Prepare and Let Go

Many of us worry about some big things that are yet to come or might never come. We worry about finances, natural disasters, emer­gencies, terrorism and acts of war, health, and aging, among other things. Some things we have a capacity to prepare for...

Removing Anger From Your Life

Removing Anger From Your LifeA commitment to an anger-free life involves signing up for a new journey. Deciding to actually enjoy this journey will make it much more pleasant. Learn to think of life as a process. If you focus only on goals, you are not going to be happy until you have achieved them.

Becoming Free of the Greatest Fear of All

Greatest Fear of AllThe greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom. What people say does not matter. Your whole and sole judge is God. And God simply means the whole universe.

Being In A Mood!


Being In A Bad Mood!

It crept up unexpectedly, little by little, until it was a full blown "mood". My ego tells me "It all started after the conversation with that person who was angry... it's all their fault." "Wait a minute," my Higher Self interjects. "You chose to adopt that anger and carry it with you. No one forced you or 'made you' angry."

Taking Sides?

Nature does not pick sides: it simply gives every plant a fair chance to life. The sun shines on everyone regardless of their size, race, language, or opinions. Can we not do the same? Forget our old quarrels, our old grievances, our old prejudices, and start looking at everyone on earth as another person just like us...

I Don't Play Hurt

People often ask me who my gurus are. Years ago I would rattle off the names of various well-known sages. More recently I have been impressed by ordinary people who don?t talk much about spiritual matters; they just live it. I find it quite refreshing to see unconditional love in action with no hype or flourishes.

Is Revenge Spiritual?

If you "grew up on the Bible", you learned the "eye for an eye" concept. How is that to be put into effect in a spiritual practice that focuses on inner peace, forgiveness, and peaceful interactions with "all our relations"? Can "an eye for an eye" be interpreted in any way other than anger and revenge?

Active and Passive Violence

The best way to understand Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence is to first understand the extent of the violence we practice, consciously or unconsciously, every day of our lives -- name-calling, teasing, insulting, disrespectful behavior. These are passive forms of violence.

Choosing Hatred or Wisdom?

A combination of despair, fear, and betrayal will cause someone to lash out against real and imagined enemies, causing more of the same in others. It is a vicious cycle indeed. A cycle of hatred unleashed can wreak destruction for generations to come.


Acceptance is a major theme of world religions. In modern life, however, acceptance is always tension-filled and problematic. The urge to fix, change, and improve pops up at every turn. Reinhold Neibuhr summed up this tension in his Serenity Prayer, written in 1934: 'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...'

The Faith Factor

Have you ever noticed that when you are impatient, frazzled, and upset, things go worse, and when you are relaxed, patient, and trusting, things go better. Thinking and acting with faith changes the results you get. When you find yourself in a situation in which you seem to have no control, point your thoughts toward peace, and the universe responds.

Failure of Security

by Mariana Caplan. We want life to be secure as much as we want our plans and expectations to work out. We want to live happily-ever-after. We want life to conform to our wishes, to make us happy, and to protect us from human suffering. In the end, we want life to protect us from itself, and the idea of security offers us that false consolation.

Do You Need Approval and Validation?

Do You Need Approval and Validation?I once worked for a rather abusive woman who constantly berated, belittled and badgered her employees -- me included. If any of us sought to stand up for ourselves, we were chastised and told in no uncertain terms that we were insecure whiners who should appreciate we had a job in the first place.

When the Offender is Me

In one of her video lectures, Carolyn Myss reminds each John or Jane Doe in her audience that just as he/she is working on the process of forgiving other people, any one of those 'other people' may be sitting in workshops, writing in journals, or consulting with a therapist, in that very moment, in order to forgive John or Jane Doe...

Guilt versus Compassion

Guilt versus Compassion by Sylvia Browneby Sylvia Browne. There was one passage [in the Dead Sea Scrolls] that struck me as reflecting our philosophy so much: "An edict went out amongst the Essenes [later the Gnostics] that stated, 'Stop holding on. Quit having the stubbornness of guilt.'" It really struck me how tenacious guilt is. Guilt is a killer -- no doubt about it.

Mistake Salad

Are you so sure your mistakes are just mistakes? Or could they be building blocks to a success beyond any you imagined? Everything is part of something bigger, and mistakes are no exception. Every minus is half of a plus, waiting for a stroke of vertical awareness

Afraid of Fear?

If you'll pardon the levity, most of us are afraid of fear. We think it's a bad thing. Because so many of our experiences with fear have been negative, we fail to see fear as positive or useful. It is both. Let me repeat: Fear is positive and useful.

Discovering Resiliency

Worry has an anxious and unfocused quality. It skitters subject to subject, fixating first on one thing, then on another. Like a noisy vacuum cleaner, its chief function is to distract us from what we really are afraid of. Worry is a kind of emotional anteater poking into all corners for trouble.

Look Within & See

Have you ever found yourself wanting to 'fix' people? You know... when you can clearly see everything that's wrong with them and want to reorganize them and their life? It seems so easy for us to look at someone else and see everything that they need to do to improve themselves. It seems so easy to 'fix' someone else...

Are You Rebelling?

As children we rebelled against our parents, against authority. Yet now that we are adults and are in charge of our own lives, whom are we rebelling against? The answer is the same: authority. Yet we are often the rebeller and the rebellee at the same time. Strange concept? Possibly, but one that we give...

Blaming "The Other Guy"

Blaming "The Other Guy" by Marie T. Russell

by Marie T. Russell.It's so easy for us to look to others to shoulder responsibility for occurrences in our past. We accuse our parents for our lack of self-esteem. We blame teachers for our unwillingness to express ourselves. Yet, is anyone to blame?

Choosing Anger over Happiness?

The decision to choose anger over happiness is based on one factor, and that one factor is judgment. Does this person meet my expectations or not? Does this situation please me or not? Does this event conform to my morally correct and spiritually advanced view of the world or not? We basically organize our lives into two giant categories: people and things we like and people and things we don't like.

Blessings of an Imperfect Life

It's been almost four years since I was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a degenerative and ultimately fatal neurological condition. In that time, I've managed to finish climbing all forty-eight of the New Hampshire peaks above four thousand feet, a task begun at age six with my first ascent of Mount Washington.


There are so many ways that we can apply courage in our lives. Courage to speak one's opinion, to stand up for what is right, to face tough issues head on, to pick oneself up after an injustice, and to not necessarily do as everyone else does. Courage to be true to oneself.

Unanswered Prayers

How many times have you prayed for something to happen in your life? Yet, if you think back on some of the prayers you've asked along your journey I?m sure you can come up with at least one that you are grateful went unanswered..

Finally Dissipating the Rage

Prior to about the age of nine and a half, I don't recall being a rage-filled kid. In fact, I remember being quite sensitive and frightened for the most part, with a general anxiety about living in the world. However, something occurred when I was nine and a half that set up a pattern for future behavior...

Avoiding Manipulation: Why and How

Avoiding Manipulation: Why and How by Jerry Minchinton

by Jerry Minchinton. We can define manipulation as "getting people to do what you want without giving them something they value in return". How does manipulation work? When someone says to you, "If you don't help me clean my house I'm going to be mad at you," that person is attempting to manipulate you. He is not offering you anything...

Controlling Anger

by Stuart Wilde. Questions and answers from this well-known and controversial author who looks at life from the wild side: Q: How can I control anger? I meditate often and am generally a peaceful person, but sometimes anger rises and I become overwhelmed by it.

Thank You for Everything

Thank You for Everything by Alan Cohen

by Alan Cohen. A woman Zen master named Sono taught one very simple method of enlightenment. She advised everyone who came to her to adopt an affirmation to be said many times a day, under all conditions. The affirmation was, 'Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.'

Gratitude: A Powerful Way to Pray

Gratitude: A Powerful Way to Pray

by Sonia Choquette. One of the most powerful ways to pray is to practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude as a form of prayer is very easy and is immediately rewarding. All you need to do is acknowledge and thank the Universe for all your blessings, whether they are...

Allowing is the Key to Life

Allowing is the Key to Lifeby Ralph Carpio. ALLOWING IS THE KEY. That, in a nutshell, is what I learned is the key to life, to creating your own life. Those four seemingly simple words are the basis of the power we can harness in life to use for our benefit. It took me many years to...

Any Fool Can Start a Fight

Any Fool Can Start a Fight

by Walton Lee. Nobody wants trouble. When confronted with a problem, keep this in mind -- that the people who initiate the conflict most likely don't want to be in that situation either. Find out the real cause of the disturbance and you may avoid...

Becoming an Appreciator as a Way of Life

Becoming an Appreciator as a Way of Life

by Noelle C. Nelson & Jeannine Lemare Calaba.Appreciation is most powerful when it ceases to be something that you do only occasionally, and instead becomes your basic approach to life. You must first be willing to overcome certain resistances to appreciating...


follow InnerSelf on


 Get The Latest By Email


follow InnerSelf on


 Get The Latest By Email