What’s the Trick to Fulfillment?

By William Schiemann, Ph.D Are there real tricks to becoming fulfilled in life? You bet. Research suggests that there are key streetsmart actions that those who are most fulfilled use every day in their professional and personal lives. I interviewed over 100 successful people — some who were fulfilled and others who were not — to understand why success does not always bring about fulfillment. There was amazing convergence around several things that fulfilled people do at work and home. Here are the top five: 1. Have strong values — and stick with them. Does your work environment, family and … Continue reading

Slogans: YOU’RE LOOKING AT THE PROBLEM (To be placed on mirror)

There’s no doubt in my mind that the numerous slogans I’ve heard repeatedly over the years in the rooms of A.A. have impacted my psyche one degree to another. Perhaps the most familiar commonsense catchphrase “One day at a Time” has definitely helped carry me through countless rough and tumble days in my sobriety. The famous A.A. saying “First things First” has often come in handy as a gentle reminder to slow down when I’ve felt overwhelmed by a bombardment of thoughts rushing into my head too quickly. The frequently heard tried and true line “Easy does It” has rarely … Continue reading

Learning Spaces

“The roots of education are bitter, the fruit is sweet.” – Aristotle How could a 15-year-old girl be considered a threat to the Taliban? On October 9, 2012, in the Swat valley of northwestern Pakistan, a gunman stepped onto a bus in which Malala Yousafzai was returning home from school and shot her in the head. Not because of religious, ethnic or social differences; but because she was an outspoken advocate for education. At just 11 years of age she had spoken out against the Taliban edict forbidding girls to be educated. She gave a talk entitled, “How dare the … Continue reading

Reader’s Write: Dealing with Depression in Recovery

The worst part of having clinical depression is the crash that generally occurs after experiencing a ray of hope. Or, if I dare admit, after feeling “happy” for the better part of a day or two. However, there are times when I feel so low, that it takes unimaginable effort just to get out bed. These are times when simply eating or showering require too much energy. It only serves to crush my spirit even lower when a friend or perhaps an acquaintance in recovery offers comments such as, “You know of course, this is your choice to be depressed,” … Continue reading

I’d Give Anything

It was many years ago, but I have never forgotten what my friend Al said to me on a warm summer evening in June. Jan and the kids were out of town one night in the summer of 1990, and my friend Al Kirsh and I spent an evening together as I played my tenor recorder and Al played our family piano. Al is an accomplished pianist. He’s one of those guys who sits down to play and in no time, a crowd gathers round to listen. He can play nearly anything and he does it with an ease and … Continue reading

Our Environment: The Beauty of Bees

According to Becky Masterman, director of the Bee Squad Association Program at the University of Minnesota, there is both good and bad news when it comes to bees. “The good news is the media has done such a good job of letting the public know the bees are in trouble,” Becky says. The bad news — of course— is that the bees are in trouble. The Bee Squad at the University of Minnesota is the outreach arm for the University of Minnesota Bee Lab, under the guidance of nationally known and respected Dr. Marla Spivak. During beekeeping time (spring, summer … Continue reading

Healing From Abuse: Light Encourages Recovery

In 2015 as the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis was hosting festive events to celebrate its 50th anniversary, a smaller, quieter happening began to ripple through the CTC alumni community. No fanfare, no hype, but to those involved, of greater celebratory significance. Thirty-one years had passed since the 1984 arrest of John Clark Donahue, the theater’s co-founder, and several other staff members on child sexual abuse charges. Donahue spent ten months in the Hennepin County workhouse; the other cases were dismissed or settled out-of-court. In May 1991 the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a thoroughly-researched twopart feature by reporter Kay … Continue reading

Food for Early Recovery

Introducing the concept of nutrition into a treatment program is not an easy task. Many addicts in early recovery are not ready for health behavioral change, since most are simply trying to get past the immediate crisis of addiction and the associated life adjustments of abstinence. In fact, sobriety can magnify pre-existing dysfunctional eating behavior. Many addicts began using drugs and alcohol in their early teens and never developed a healthy relationship to food. Many people in early recovery crave sweets and simple carbohydrates such as candy, juice, cereal, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or ice cream. In addition … Continue reading

Your Darkest Moment Could be the Beginning of Change

Crash. Bang. Reality. As I woke up, a dark misty haze was swirling around my mind. The moment that I recognized that I was in a hospital bed, the events of the past 24 hours came flooding through my mind. I had tried to take my own life. At the age of 26 years old, my marriage had ended, and along with it, the non- profit organization that I had worked so passionately to grow, was pulled from under me. At that moment in time, living ceased to be an option. After a seven-year relationship, my wife had walked out … Continue reading

The Brand, Spanking New!

Finding Resilience to Live in the Moment Again I like new things. I like them so much that I seek after them all the time. Well . . . I’ll be honest—I lust after new things. Things like new cars. I love new cars. That new car smell is the best. Even the new, used-car is fairly cool. But the fun-factor gauge definitely goes past “eleven” when you buy a new, new car. You know how it goes: You think the moment you drive it off the lot that everyone is looking at you. “Holy shit—look at that guy! He’s … Continue reading

Art Exercises Help Boost Self-Esteem

Every day, we’re bombarded with so many ideas about who we should be and how to look and act that we often lose sight of who we truly are. We all struggle with self-acceptance every once in a while, and need to remind ourselves to love who we’ve become. Creative Arts Therapist Mallory Denison says art can be therapeutic in helping people to become more compassionate with themselves, and ultimately with others. “People who work on tapping into their true, authentic selves may find themselves happier,” she explains. “Connecting inward is an absolutely core exercise for people who want to … Continue reading

From Mozart to Motown Music Reignites Memory

“Music is my sanctuary. Music kept me alive.” Sir Elton John, in a recent CBS News profile, could have been speaking for all of us. But most of us are more likely to take music for granted because, well, it’s just always there. Natalie Angier, in a February 8, 2016 New York Times article, wrote, “We marry to music, graduate to music, mourn to music.” In other words, music is a fundamental part of our lives and has always been, as evidenced by the archaeological finding of carved bone flutes dating back bout 40,000 years. Our immigrant ancestors carried rudimentary … Continue reading

Sobriety Travel Plan: Don’t Leave Home Without It

As I prepared for my first Spring get-away since becoming a recovering alcoholic, I accepted that I can’t do the things I did before or stay in the type of places that appealed to me when I was drinking. Regardless of where I was going I had to build my sobriety into my travel plans; I realized that I needed to take steps to ensure a sobriety- and-travel mix. Fundamentally, I believe it’s possible to vacation and have fun just as I did when drinking. Sure, there will be temptations and cravings that go beyond the normal stress of traveling. … Continue reading

Art Therapy – Top 10 Benefits

by Joan French In my therapy practice I treat clients of all ages who enter treatment for a number of different reasons. I consider my general approach to be Experiential, employing a broad range of interventions. As part of my offerings – I include art therapy. Many clients I encounter haven’t heard of it, and are unfamiliar as to how it might be able to help. I felt it was important to highlight the benefits of using art in therapy, so I’ve composed this, ‘Art Therapy – Top 10 Benefits’ list: 1. Art Therapy can provide a forum to express … Continue reading

Art Therapy can benefit anxiety and stress at work

Our nation seems like it’s always in the grips of a stress epidemic. Stress and anxiety are disorders that affect more people than ever before, with research suggesting that work related stress costs the American economy $300 billion each year as a result of related health care costs and missed days at work. According to 76% of those individuals suffering from stress, money and work are the leading causes of the condition. Workplace stress can have a myriad of adverse effects. It can lead to physical and psychological systems (with one in ten strokes being attributed to stress) and, at … Continue reading