Director's Message: Mindful Men from Surviving to Thriving

JUNE 2017

Greetings Sacred Path Community,

For the past 30 Memorial Day weekends I have written my Director’s Message for each June Newsletter.  As I write to you this year I am once again looking ahead to our Fall Men’s Retreat.  This year it’s scheduled for October 19-22 and it’s an honor to invite Veterans and First Responders to participate. The celebration of Memorial Day naturally elicits thoughts that turn to those who have served our country selflessly.  It’s with deep appreciation that we pay our respects especially to  those who have given their lives in the line of duty to keep us safe.  We Spiritual Warriors are united in expressing our gratitude to all who have generously and often heroically made a difference when and where it really counts.

We’re in the planning stages of putting together a full and enriching retreat program and have received confirmations from several presenters who will join us.  By next month’s newsletter we should have an outline of our program. Our intention is to open the advance registration in July.

Mindful Men and the World We Live in Today: from Surviving to Thriving

The working title and theme of the retreat is: "Mindful Men and the World We Live in Today: from Surviving to Thriving." Our focus will be on stress reduction and the coping skills and strategies for moving beyond merely enduring life to actually feeling centered, present, relaxed and passionate about life.  Central to all of our retreat themes and programs over the years is the thread of Initiation into Conscious Masculinity or what has evolved to be called Mindful Manhood.

Due to the strains of having to deal with the fast paced unrelenting demands of life more people tend to experience anxiety and depression and turn to a vast array of coping mechanisms, many of which do not solve the problems while often actually exacerbating them.  Our desire is to offer retreat participants Mindful solutions for the challenges that we are facing today.

Ray Bunch, Phil Jennings, Dr. Bill Flaxman, Dr. Pierre Grimes

The breakout sessions will comprise a combination of didactic and experiential presentations covering an array of topics of relevance and interest to those in attendance.  More will be revealed along the way.  We’ll offer at least a few workshops on the wide range of relationship issues presented by experts in the field. 

Frederick Marx

For example, Ray Bunch, who offered the Lifeline process last October will be with us again presenting on what we tend to face in long-term relationships, those that go the distance of 30, 40 or more years.  He and his wife, Marty, have been together for over 50 years. Dr. Bill Flaxman will address the typical issues that couples encounter along the up and down route of their relationship journey especially in the early phase of seeking, entering and maintaining a healthy dynamic.  I’m also speaking with another colleague about offering a session focused on the unique theme of his book.

Among the growing list of presenters, Dr. Pierre Grimes, who wowed participants last October will again be one of our Keynote Presenters on The Betrayal of the Self and how our dreams are indeed the royal road to the unconscious.  Pierre, a veteran of WW II, has quite a remarkable history in general and specifically the period of time during the War. Click here to learn about Pierre’s amazing monthly lecture series, “The True Nature of Reality" held the last Thursday of each month at the historic Besant Lodge, beneath the Hollywood sign in rustic Beachwood Canyon.

Acclaimed Producer/Director/Writer of over 40 years, Frederick Marx (Hoop Dreams, Journey from Zanskar, Boys to Men, in production - Veterans Journey Home) will be another of our keynote presenters. His interest in men and men’s work has been a hallmark of his career in movie making.  Check out the trailer herewith for Frederick’s new documentary in the making: Veterans Journey Home.

Captain Mike Henry with the LA County Fire Department and CEO of Firefighters Down along with retired Sheriff Clyde Terry, CEO of Emerging Leaders, will address the issues pertaining to the lingering effects of trauma (PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) on First Responders and anyone for that matter who has been subjected to traumatic events.  Nick Stein returns to teach Mindfulness Practices for all on the front lines wherever those lines are drawn.  We will feature these three men in our July newsletter and additional presenters in newsletters to follow.

Nick Stein

We’re shooting for 100 in attendance, a gathering of men comprised of approximately 20 staff including presenters, 10-20 young men from 15 - 20 years of age and around 60 older men which includes Veterans and First Responders.

We are planning to invite therapists and counselors interested in men’s work and in need of Continuing Education Hours to attend.  As an ongoing member of MCLA, you are invited and encouraged to be among the first to advance register at a discounted fee when we open registrations next month.

In the spirit of the brotherhood that unites all men in Mindful fellowship and good-natured camaraderie, I wish you an abundance of Love and Light,


Stephen J. Johnson Ph.D., LMFT
Executive Director





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Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director of the Men's Center Los Angeles and leader/wayshower of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 30 years. He is a gifted therapist and master facilitator for the experiential journey that unfolds during his counseling sessions and workshops. Dr. J is a skilled and seasoned psychotherapist who has the sensibilities of a wisdom teacher. He provides a safe space for freedom of expression in accessing one’s pain while fostering transformation, personal expansion and spiritual growth.
Click here to visit




Dr. Johnson is author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for men who want to become better men . . . AND for the women who care about them.




The MCLA Wisdom Council honored Dr. J's amazing 30 years of mindful men leadership and mentorship with a special commemorative film that debuted on the mountain at the recent 30th Annual Sacred Path Men's Retreat. Click here to view "The Sacred Path."  

How to Live and Thrive Passionately in the Second Half of Your Life

How to Live and Thrive Passionately in the Second Half of Your Life

by Dr. Rachel Carlton Adams

As someone who has arrived in her second half of life, and who has been watching my patients walk into my office for the last 2 decades, I have observed a few things that I’m sure you may recognize. People can be 45 or 55 or 70 and look years or even decades younger than you expect. And in other cases, people can look years or decades older than you expect.

A number of years ago, I lost a 45-year-old mom in her sleep to the ravages of “aging”— brought on by heroin, cigarettes, and decades of severe depression. My mentor, Gladys McGarey, the mother of holistic medicine in the U.S., is 95 — and still lecturing at national conferences and lobbying congress, as determined and mentally sharp as she was at 50.

So, okay, we know what category we want to be in!! How do we do it?


In my book BodyWise, I teach the steps to being body intelligent — developing within yourself a deep navigational ability to make the choices that will allow you to live a life your body loves.

The men and women in my practice who live with joy, passion, and freedom late into their lives all have body intelligence. They make choices that align with their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, regardless of whatever difficult circumstances they may face. In fact, many of the most resilient and able people I am privileged to know have gone through terrible ordeals — in the form of loss, betrayal, or unexpected cancer or other illness.

It is not their circumstances that define their joy, health, and passion, but their response to their circumstances — their body’s navigational ability to steer them through troubled waters with grace and kindness. And their persistent ability to make choices that allow their body to be resilient and regenerative.

These bodywise folks also consistently make choices in key areas of their life that allow them to thrive. The fundamentals of health: Movement and play, Sleep, Healthy Eating, Love and Community, and Purpose—are the key elements that thriving men and women prioritize and make smart choices about. The result is a life filled with joy, passion, vitality, and a deep sense of rightness that is an honor to witness.

Here are a few tips to help you thrive with passion
in your own life — at any age


Movement and Play

One of my mentors in medical school, Alan Steinbach, always said that aging was becoming more stiff and inflexible in one’s body, and in one’s mind — and the two are linked. As medical students, we were learning about the “hardening of the arteries” that causes heart attacks and strokes. But Alan also discussed the “hardening of the categories” that often accompanied this. Resistance to physical challenges and to shifts in routine, as well as resistance to changes in thinking or point of view, are among the hallmarks of typical aging. But none of this is essential to aging.

When we engage in physical movements that keep us flexible and strong, and especially if those activities are FUN (think dancing, sports, or hiking in the woods with your best friend), we maintain our youthful verve; our sense of fun and adventure. And we avoid the hardening of the arteries AND the hardening of the categories.

Some suggestions here: Learn a new sport or exercise routine, or pick up one from your youth again — this has amazing energy giving properties as you feel like your younger self when you do it. Think yoga, dance class, cycling, tennis, hiking, tai chi, qi gong, continuum, five rhythms dance, or a course in sexuality — something that gives you both exercise and fun, and that will keep you feeling passionate.


Ahhhhhh, the restful way to stay passionate and full of zest. Sleep may be the most important key to maintaining your vitality, and even your good mood as you get older.

Sleep is anti-inflammatory, decreasing pain and reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. And good sleep improves mood, concentration, and memory (hello…who doesn’t need help with that?!). It is true that some of us need less sleep as we get older, but use your body intelligence here. Do you wake naturally, without an alarm in the morning, feeling rested and ready for your day, even without caffeine? Yes? You’re getting enough sleep. No? We probably need to work on it. And naps, by the way, are a good idea for ALL humans, as we have a natural energy dip in the afternoon. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, I have an entire chapter devoted to natural ways to encourage deep restful sleep in BodyWise.


If you are reading this blog, you are probably already hip to the enormous benefits of eating smart. In John Robbins’ book, Healthy at 100 (which I would HIGHLY recommend), he describes the diet (and lifestyle) that allows centenarians to remain healthy and active all over the world.

It includes — no surprise — a large amount of pesticide and herbicide free fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (seeds, avocados, nuts, and olives), legumes, and sometimes a small amount of high-quality animal protein, such as organic pasture-raised eggs or wild fish.

This is a basic guide, and each of us needs different amounts of each of these at different times of our life. Using your body intelligence to sense what your body needs for optimal nourishment at this moment, can help you feed your body just what it wants to thrive.

Love and Community

Loneliness will kill you faster than cigarettes. For real. According to Dean Ornish, MD, loneliness and isolation increase your risk of death by 200-500% — independent of any behavioral choices you make. Knowing this as a doctor, I often prescribe dates, pets, or social group opportunities with my prescription pad.

ALL love and community are important to our health and happiness, whether it’s a social group you go bird watching with, or singing in your local choir, or having an extended family nearby. Romantic love is lovely, and yes, healthy (when it’s good!), but friendship, family, and affection of all kinds keeps our hearts strong.

There is even a significant health benefit from having an affectionate pet. So no matter what your personal circumstance, you can find avenues for connection and affection that calm your adrenal response and make your cells sing. Humans are pack animals. Be sure you have a pack in your life.

MCLA's very own Dr. Pierre Grimes celebrated his 94th birthday at last fall's Sacred Path men's retreat on the mountain.


Having purpose is our answer to the question, “Why are you here?” It can be simple, such as “I am caretaking this beloved aging dog”, or more broad, such as serving a community that you are a part of, or even larger, such as “I am looking to shift our food production system and food economy in my lifetime” (Hello, Ocean and John Robbins).

Having a sense of purpose, even if it is not grand, significantly reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from all causes. In people 55 years and older, volunteering reduced the risk of early death by 44 percent. And having a sense of purpose in the last half of life reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by two and a half times!

Spending some time contemplating how you can be of service in your work — creativity or volunteering may just save your life. Each of us has a unique something that we can contribute — and that contribution is good for the world and equally good for us!

When we use our deep body wisdom to guide us in the particular and ever-changing ways that we need to move and play, sleep, eat, love, and find purpose, we find our own “fountain of youth” that makes us the vibrant, resilient, flexible, loving people we want to be, and the world needs us to be, in the generative second half of life. Many blessings on your beautiful path to passion and purpose.


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Click here to read Dr. Adams’ original article on

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Dr. Rachel Carlton Adams is a family physician who's been in practice for the past 20 years. She is board certified in integrative medicine and runs an integrative medicine clinic in Santa Cruz, CA. She’s also the author of the newly-released book BodyWise, a popular speaker and teacher, a devoted mom, an avid environmentalist and an upcoming Food Revolution Summit Speaker! Click here to visit Dr. Adams' website:



10 Sure-Fire Ways to Live a Stressful Life

10 Sure-Fire Ways to Live a Stressful Life


Observe people around you and you’ll see that most of them are stressed out. Stress in the modern world is a normal, everyday phenomenon, and only a few manage to overcome it and find inner peace and clarity.

If you feel that stress is missing from your life, and you’d like to change that so that you can better fit in with society and be considered by your fellow human beings as a normal, unhealthy person, here are some powerful, sure-fire ways to live a stressful life:


1. Compare yourself to others

You are a uniquely beautiful individual who has special gifts to contribute to the world. If you learn to accept yourself as you are and spontaneously express your mind and heart, you’ll feel content and complete.

But that’s not what you want. What you want is to be stressed, and what’s the best way to achieve that other than focusing on your flaws and comparing yourself to others, such as celebrities and internet personas, who always look shiny, beautiful, and happy?

Most people have learned from early childhood to compare themselves to others and this way they manage to always keep their stress levels high. Learn from their example and you’ll soon start hating yourself, which will definitely make you experience unbearable suffering.


2. Follow orders

Another great way to attract stress into your life is to stop paying attention to your inner voice. Instead, listen only to the voices of others and obey to what they tell you.

No matter what people are trying to impose on you, just passively accept it, and of course don’t forget to be thankful to them. Don’t think for yourself or make decisions of your own — let others do the thinking for you and decide for your destiny. This way you’ll throw your freedom away, and before you realize it you’ll have no control over your life, which will do wonders to help fill your psyche with anguish that will torment you each and every moment of your life.


3. Eat crap

We need to have a healthy body to experience life to the fullest. The basic way to keep your body healthy is to eat nutritious food. However, health and stress don’t go hand-in-hand, so be sure to not eat well, no matter what, and you’ll see your stress levels rise slowly yet steadily.

There are two main dietary steps that you need to take in order to ruin your health. First, be sure to consume processed foods as well as increase your animal protein and sugar intake. Then, to make things worse, restrict your intake of organic, whole, nutrient-packed foods, such as grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables as much as you can — if possible, don’t eat any of them!

By filling your body with toxins and depriving it of vital nutrients, it won’t take long until you’ll start experiencing the tremendous consequences that this simple yet easy strategy can have on your health — it will immensely complicate your life, bringing you more suffering than you could have ever imagined!


4. Sit all day long

Eating unhealthy is perhaps the best way to mess up with your physical organism, but if you’d like that extra push that will make your life even worse pretty quickly, I have another great suggestion for you: move your body as less as possible.

This is an easy thing to achieve, if you are determined to do so — just sit, a lot. When a friend asks you to go for a walk together, find an excuse not to join him or her. When you feel like working out, don’t do it, for exercise is stress relieving, and you don’t want to waste your precious stressful energy.

Helpful tip: To make your sitting time effortless, stay rooted on your couch in front of a TV screen and let yourself be hypnotized by Television’s superficial, nonsensical audiovisual content. Believe it or not, this simple tactic will tremendously help to keep you seated for hours upon hours without you even realizing it!


5. Undersleep

Another sure-fire way to live a stressful life is to not sleep as much as your body needs to relax and recharge its batteries. Sleep less — as less as possible — so that you’ll feel physically and mentally weak. This will keep you constantly tired, agitated and confused.

By undersleeping, you’ll play havoc with your body and mind, which will make your life extremely complicated, so that you won’t be able to function properly in your everyday life and you’ll have to waste most of your time and energy trying to cope with all sorts of psychosomatic health issues.

If you find it difficult to undersleep, I’d highly recommend you to spend every couple of days partying and getting wasted, or, if you’re not so much into partying and alcoholic drinks, just spend much of your night time in front of an electronic screen, absorbing the blue light that it emanates, which will undoubtedly mess up with your organism’s circadian rhythm.


6. Be judgmental

Stress is to a great extent the result of how we view the world around us. For example, if we perceive the people we come in contact with as enemies, then we’re bound to feel much more stressful when we socially interact with others than if we perceived them as friends.

A powerful yet oftentimes neglected tactic to make the world seem like a hellish experience is to develop a judgmental attitude towards people. So from today, be sure to judge people harshly, call them names, gossip about them, and argue against them as much as you can to prove your egoistic superiority over them.

Being judgmental will not only complicate your relationships, but will fill your psyche with so much toxic energy that will transform you into a super-stressed person who won’t be able to stay calm and relaxed around people and who certainly won’t be kind and loving towards them.


7. Keep yourself busy

Many people complain that the modern way of living is unbelievably stressful and they are trying their best to simplify their lives, so that they can have more peace of mind as well as more time to pursue their passions. These people, however, are not like you at all, and you shouldn’t pay any attention to them. You want stress, and the fast-paced, chaotic modern way of living is something to make the most of!

From now on, keep yourself continuously busy, by overworking and being distracted by things that don’t contribute to your well-being. Never let your mind chill and be quiet — no, you don’t want this! Overthink, especially about the future, so that you’re anxious about what will come next, and you’ll be unable to focus on the present and enjoy the simple yet precious things that life brings on your way. By doing so, I assure you that stress will become your middle name.


8. Hide behind a social mask

To be honest means to feel confident with who you are and to be able to communicate your sincere thoughts and emotions to other people. But honesty has a serious side-effect that you need to avoid at all costs: a relaxed state of mind. People who are honest tend to be less fearful and are able to form better, more genuine relationships with others, both of which lead to improved well-being.

Since what you want to achieve is the exact opposite, be sure to hide who you are from others as best as you can. This way, you’ll be chronically stressed, out of fear that people might get a glimpse of your inner world. In addition, people won’t like to spend any time with you, realizing that you are not open to a heart-to-heart communication. The result will be that you’ll feel alienated in a seemingly cold world, which will make you more stressed than you’ve ever been before!


9. Complain, complain, complain

In life, we’re regularly faced with problems and challenges that we need to deal with, if we wish to grow and mature into wiser individuals. Indeed, those who use critical thinking to find solutions to their problems and take concrete action to overcome whatever obstacles they are facing, are usually the ones who ultimately manage to live a fulfilled life.

You, however, need problems, because problems equal stress. So why use critical thinking and try to make a positive change in your life? It’s utterly pointless. Do none of these! Instead, just complain to those around you for the messed up life you’re living, and even blame them for that. Whether others are truly to blame or not doesn’t matter — what matters is that you passively accept all suffering and react to it just by complaining, which ultimately won’t do anything to help you overcome any problems that you might be facing. The result? A flood of stress running through your veins.


10. Fill your space with clutter

Over the last few years the minimalism movement has been growing dramatically, because more and more people realize the importance of owning less material stuff in living simply and stress-free. But you shouldn’t care about those minimalists! Differentiate yourself by increasing your possessions and hence complicating your life!

Starting today, do your best to collect as much unimportant stuff as you can, both in your house and work space, and remember not to give away or throw out stuff that you don’t need anymore. Trust me, this easy yet often neglected way will immerse yourself in stress in just a few days!

Remember: Don’t hide your possessions — place them right in front of your eyes, so that you can’t avoid being distracted by them all the time. By doing so, you’ll soon start feeling overwhelmed by stress, without realizing how much of it is actually caused by all the clutter that you’ve gathered around you.


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Read Sofo's original article on www.TheUnboundedSpiritcom

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This guide is guaranteed to fill you with a constant mental stream of worries and concerns. Re-read it until you fully grasp all the ideas contained in it, and be sure to diligently implement them in your everyday life to see optimal results.

If you enjoyed this week's newsletter, please consider helping me keep it going with a modest donation.

Hey there. My name is SOFO ARCHON and I feel lucky to be pulsating with life and grateful for all that existence has offered me open-handedly, enjoying this incarnation’s journey, with its ups and downs. I enjoy painting, writing, reading, eating vegan food, traveling, and meeting awesome people from around the globeThe Unbounded Spirit is my one-man labor of love, through which I am sharing part of my being with millions of readers from every corner of our planet. Created in 2012 out of my thirst to reach out to the world, it has helped form a solid community of over 350,000 like-minded individuals (feel free to join them on facebook or via my newsletter).


We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment

We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment

By Martin E.P. Seligman and John Tierney

We are misnamed. We call ourselves Homo sapiens, the “wise man,” but that’s more of a boast than a description. What makes us wise? What sets us apart from other animals? Various answers have been proposed — language, tools, cooperation, culture, tasting bad to predators — but none is unique to humans.

What best distinguishes our species is an ability that scientists are just beginning to appreciate: We contemplate the future. Our singular foresight created civilization and sustains society. It usually lifts our spirits, but it’s also the source of most depression and anxiety, whether we’re evaluating our own lives or worrying about the nation. Other animals have springtime rituals for educating the young, but only we subject them to “commencement” speeches grandly informing them that today is the first day of the rest of their lives.

A more apt name for our species would be Homo prospectus, because we thrive by considering our prospects. The power of prospection is what makes us wise. Looking into the future, consciously and unconsciously, is a central function of our large brain, as psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered — rather belatedly, because for the past century most researchers have assumed that we’re prisoners of the past and the present.

Behaviorists thought of animal learning as the ingraining of habit by repetition. Psychoanalysts believed that treating patients was a matter of unearthing and confronting the past. Even when cognitive psychology emerged, it focused on the past and present — on memory and perception.

But it is increasingly clear that the mind is mainly drawn to the future, not driven by the past. Behavior, memory and perception can’t be understood without appreciating the central role of prospection. We learn not by storing static records but by continually retouching memories and imagining future possibilities. Our brain sees the world not by processing every pixel in a scene but by focusing on the unexpected.

Our emotions are less reactions to the present than guides to future behavior. Therapists are exploring new ways to treat depression now that they see it as primarily not because of past traumas and present stresses but because of skewed visions of what lies ahead.

Prospection enables us to become wise not just from our own experiences but also by learning from others. We are social animals like no others, living and working in very large groups of strangers, because we have jointly constructed the future. Human culture — our language, our division of labor, our knowledge, our laws and technology — is possible only because we can anticipate what fellow humans will do in the distant future. We make sacrifices today to earn rewards tomorrow, whether in this life or in the afterlife promised by so many religions.

Some of our unconscious powers of prospection are shared by animals, but hardly any other creatures are capable of thinking more than a few minutes ahead. Squirrels bury nuts by instinct, not because they know winter is coming. Ants cooperate to build dwellings because they’re genetically programmed to do so, not because they’ve agreed on a blueprint. Chimpanzees have sometimes been known to exercise short-term foresight, like the surly male at a Swedish zoo who was observed stockpiling rocks to throw at gawking humans, but they are nothing like Homo prospectus.

If you’re a chimp, you spend much of the day searching for your next meal. If you’re a human, you can usually rely on the foresight of your supermarket’s manager, or you can make a restaurant reservation for Saturday evening thanks to a remarkably complicated feat of collaborative prospection. You and the restaurateur both imagine a future time — “Saturday” exists only as a collective fantasy — and anticipate each other’s actions. You trust the restaurateur to acquire food and cook it for you. She trusts you to show up and give her money, which she will accept only because she expects her landlord to accept it in exchange for occupying his building.

The central role of prospection has emerged in recent studies of both conscious and unconscious mental processes, like one in Chicago that pinged nearly 500 adults during the day to record their immediate thoughts and moods. If traditional psychological theory had been correct, these people would have spent a lot of time ruminating. But they actually thought about the future three times more often than the past, and even those few thoughts about a past event typically involved consideration of its future implications.

When making plans, they reported higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress than at other times, presumably because planning turns a chaotic mass of concerns into an organized sequence. Although they sometimes feared what might go wrong, on average there were twice as many thoughts of what they hoped would happen.

While most people tend to be optimistic, those suffering from depression and anxiety have a bleak view of the future — and that in fact seems to be the chief cause of their problems, not their past traumas nor their view of the present. While traumas do have a lasting impact, most people actually emerge stronger afterward. Others continue struggling because they over-predict failure and rejection. Studies have shown depressed people are distinguished from the norm by their tendency to imagine fewer positive scenarios while overestimating future risks.

They withdraw socially and become paralyzed by exaggerated self-doubt. A bright and accomplished student imagines: If I flunk the next test, then I’ll let everyone down and show what a failure I really am. Researchers have begun successfully testing therapies designed to break this pattern by training sufferers to envision positive outcomes (imagine passing the test) and to see future risks more realistically (think of the possibilities remaining even if you flunk the test).

Most prospection occurs at the unconscious level as the brain sifts information to generate predictions. Our systems of vision and hearing, like those of animals, would be overwhelmed if we had to process every pixel in a scene or every sound around us. Perception is manageable because the brain generates its own scene, so that the world remains stable even though your eyes move three times a second. This frees the perceptual system to heed features it didn’t predict, which is why you’re not aware of a ticking clock unless it stops. It’s also why you don’t laugh when you tickle yourself: You already know what’s coming next.

Behaviorists used to explain learning as the ingraining of habits by repetition and reinforcement, but their theory couldn’t explain why animals were more interested in unfamiliar experiences than familiar ones. It turned out that even the behaviorists’ rats, far from being creatures of habit, paid special attention to unexpected novelties because that was how they learned to avoid punishment and win rewards.

The brain’s long-term memory has often been compared to an archive, but that’s not its primary purpose. Instead of faithfully recording the past, it keeps rewriting history. Recalling an event in a new context can lead to new information being inserted in the memory. Coaching of eyewitnesses can cause people to reconstruct their memory so that no trace of the original is left.

The fluidity of memory may seem like a defect, especially to a jury, but it serves a larger purpose. It’s a feature, not a bug, because the point of memory is to improve our ability to face the present and the future. To exploit the past, we metabolize it by extracting and recombining relevant information to fit novel situations.

This link between memory and prospection has emerged in research showing that people with damage to the brain’s medial temporal lobe lose memories of past experiences as well as the ability to construct rich and detailed simulations of the future. Similarly, studies of children’s development show that they’re not able to imagine future scenes until they’ve gained the ability to recall personal experiences, typically somewhere between the ages of 3 and 5.

Perhaps the most remarkable evidence comes from recent brain imaging research. When recalling a past event, the hippocampus must combine three distinct pieces of information — what happened, when it happened and where it happened — that are each stored in a different part of the brain. Researchers have found that the same circuitry is activated when people imagine a novel scene. Once again, the hippocampus combines three kinds of records (what, when and where), but this time it scrambles the information to create something new.

Even when you’re relaxing, your brain is continually recombining information to imagine the future, a process that researchers were surprised to discover when they scanned the brains of people doing specific tasks like mental arithmetic. Whenever there was a break in the task, there were sudden shifts to activity in the brain’s “default” circuit, which is used to imagine the future or retouch the past.

This discovery explains what happens when your mind wanders during a task: It’s simulating future possibilities. That’s how you can respond so quickly to unexpected developments. What may feel like a primitive intuition, a gut feeling, is made possible by those previous simulations.

Suppose you get an email invitation to a party from a colleague at work. You’re momentarily stumped. You vaguely recall turning down a previous invitation, which makes you feel obliged to accept this one, but then you imagine having a bad time because you don’t like him when he’s drinking. But then you consider you’ve never invited him to your place, and you uneasily imagine that turning this down would make him resentful, leading to problems at work.

Methodically weighing these factors would take a lot of time and energy, but you’re able to make a quick decision by using the same trick as the Google search engine when it replies to your query in less than a second. Google can instantly provide a million answers because it doesn’t start from scratch. It’s continually predicting what you might ask.

Your brain engages in the same sort of prospection to provide its own instant answers, which come in the form of emotions. The main purpose of emotions is to guide future behavior and moral judgments, according to researchers in a new field called prospective psychology. Emotions enable you to empathize with others by predicting their reactions. Once you imagine how both you and your colleague will feel if you turn down his invitation, you intuitively know you’d better reply, “Sure, thanks.”

If Homo prospectus takes the really long view, does he become morbid? That was a longstanding assumption in psychologists’ “terror management theory,” which held that humans avoid thinking about the future because they fear death. The theory was explored in hundreds of experiments assigning people to think about their own deaths. One common response was to become more assertive about one’s cultural values, like becoming more patriotic.

But there’s precious little evidence that people actually spend much time outside the lab thinking about their deaths or managing their terror of mortality. It’s certainly not what psychologists found in the study tracking Chicagoans’ daily thoughts. Less than one percent of their thoughts involved death, and even those were typically about other people’s deaths.

Homo prospectus is too pragmatic to obsess on death for the same reason that he doesn’t dwell on the past: There’s nothing he can do about it. He became Homo sapiens by learning to see and shape his future, and he is wise enough to keep looking straight ahead.


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Martin E.P. Seligman is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the authors, along with Peter Railton, Roy F. Baumeister and Chandra Sripada, of Homo Prospectus,” on which this essay is based. John Tierney writes the Findings science column for The New York Times. Follow him on Twitter.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.


For Men Only: 15 Ways to Stay On Top of Your Game

For Men Only: 15 Ways to Stay On Top of Your Game

Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD


Smile to Impress

People start to get a sense of you within the first three seconds of meeting. Start off right by smiling. Besides making a good impression, it may also improve your mood and slash stress, boost your immune system, and briefly lower your blood pressure, too.


Pursue Goals With Passion

People who achieve a lot tend to have a strong zeal for what they do. One way to find your passions is to think about what you loved as a child. What excites you? Makes time stand still? That's a clue that you're on to something.


Focus on the Bright Side

A good  'tude can keep your body humming. It may even slow signs of aging and help you bounce back from illness. Notice what's working in your life and make a plan to change what could be better. You want to appreciate what's good and move forward.



Get a Move On

You'll gain mental sharpness, sleep great, and have better mental health. Aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week to help you control your weight, get stronger, and help your body from head to toe.


Mind Your (Table) Manners

Put your best fork forward at meal time. Good table manners show that you're a class act and you think your friends are, too. Top table manners to cultivate include maintaining good posture, chewing with your mouth closed, using your napkin, and excusing yourself from the table when you get up.

Keep It Clean

Scrub up! Wash your hands for 20 seconds before you cook or eat. Ditto after you use the restroom. It's one of the simplest, least costly ways to help avoid colds and flu all year long. No soap and water handy?  Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.


Smell Good

A nice, clean smell can make you feel good, and that confidence boost can make you look better to others. Wear clean clothes. Shower daily, and always after a workout. Find cologne, shampoo, soap, and deodorant with scents that you like. For fresh breath, brush, floss, rinse, and follow your dentist's advice. If you wear a scent, only use a little.

Dress the Part

Looking sharp shows that you're prepared. To dress for success, start with classic colors: black, grey, or navy. Add same-color socks, a matching tie, and dark, polished shoes. Your hair and nails should be neat and clean. Keep jewelry and other accents low-key.


Be Kind and Polite

It's basic: Being nice to those around you shows you value them as people. Practice being polite. Think about other people and what you can do for them. They will notice and you will impress. Treating others well has been shown to make you feel better about yourself, too.

Be Prompt

Being on time shows people you're in control and that you respect them and their time. Use datebooks and set pings to remind you of meetings and tasks. Prepare for big events and meetings the night before. Plan for time bumps that might throw you off, like rush-hour traffic. Give yourself more time than you think you'll need.

Gain From Giving

People who often volunteer tend to be happier, with better self-esteem and a sense of purpose. People who give of themselves are also more likely to live longer and enjoy stronger relationships. It's a win-win for everyone.



Take Time Off

Take a break from time to time. It's not  wasted time. It renews your energy, curbs stress and worry, and lets you enjoy and explore. You'll come back better.


LOL: Laugh Out Loud

Laughing helps your body, most of all your heart. Research shows that laughter is good for blood vessels. This may help keep heart disease at bay. Enjoy a funny film or see a comedy show with friends. Humor and health go hand in hand.


Practice Manly Limits

Knowing when enough is enough shows you're in control. Overdo it and you will feel the effects. If you drink alcohol, limit it to no more than two drinks a day -- and of course, never drive after drinking. If you find it hard to set limits with alcohol, talk with your doctor or a counselor.



Learn to Love the Long Run

Success is rarely a sprint. It's more like a marathon. If you keep striving for what you want while prizing what you've got, you're doing well. Take pride in that.



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Director's Message -- May, 2017

May 1, 2017

Greetings Sacred Path Community,

ETT Training instructor Lolita Domingue, LMFT

I was in Upland on Saturday for what’s called a Consult, which is the 6-hour follow-up to the Level I ETT Training that Jeffrey Young, Anthony DiMaggio and I participated in last month.  I wrote about the therapeutic power of Emotional Transformation Therapy in the April newsletter.  Read about the healing power of color and light via ETT in this month’s newsletter.

As a reminder, our Trainer, Lolita Domingue, LMFT, is offering another Level I Training in early June.  I recommend it for psychotherapists who wish to advance their skills to help people who, not only can benefit from the process in general, but also those who have not found other forms of therapy to be effective in moving them through their issues.

If you participate in the upcoming Training you’ll be able to join the three of us for our Level II Training in July for Certification and in line for Dr. Steven Vasquez’s Addiction Training in Southern California during the month of August or September.  I hope that some of my fellow therapists in our community will join us as we move forward in our practice of this revolutionary neuroscientifically-based healing modality.  Perhaps, Dr. Vasquez will join us as a participant presenter at our Fall Sacred Path Men’s Retreat.

Rod Louden & Dr. Stephen Johnson

Speaking of that, I have been meeting with Associate Directors Rob Bruce, and Michael Lewis, M.D., as well as Bill Flaxman, Ph.D., and Anthony DiMaggio who have joined me in commencing the preparations for the October retreat.  We are working on the early development of a Continuing Education program that would allow therapists and counselors interested in men’s work to be able to attend the retreat and gain CEU’s toward maintaining their license in good standing.

Mark your calendars for October 19-22 and get ready to send in your deposit when we open early enrollments within the next couple of months.  We’ll continue to update you on the program and presenters with each monthly newsletter.

One of my colleagues at my Woodland Hills location, Rod Louden, M.A., has authored an important article for this issue ("A Safe Parenting Approach On and Off the Field"). Sports often play a significant, if not life-saving, role in the development of a young person’s life.  And, the presence or absence of a parent as well as how the parent comports himself or herself also contributes to the relationship that the youth develops with his or her chosen sport(s) as he/she matriculates through life's challenges.  Sports are important teaching tools providing vital lessons in success, failure and self-esteem building.

I recall learning that the founder of Little League baseball opined, and I paraphrase, “that the worst thing to happen to Little League was when the parents got involved.”  That was a poignant statement that resonated with me because I had participated as a coach or in the stands of several games with my boys and daughter when they were young.  I vividly recall some of the overzealous parents or hot-headed dads who coached their kids with a heavy hand.  Frequently, I found myself feeling that the kids would have been better off if the parents were placed in the stands within a cone of silence.

I’ve found that the pressure on youngsters to succeed these days often takes the fun out of the sport or educational setting to the point of inflicting trauma.  A good mentor is worth his weight in gold but a coach, parent, teacher or anyone in authority who goes over the top and crushes a youth’s spirits can create a wound that becomes a scar that interferes with one’s life for years to come. 

Success is relative and so is failure.  I’ve heard it said that true success is built on all of the supposed failures along the way.  In other words, failures are just varying degrees of success leading you to the result that moves you closer to the attainment of your goals and the actualization of your destiny.  Participants who attend our October retreat will find ample opportunities to explore their self-esteem issues that are at the core of past experiences around success and failure. 

I’ll close with the words of famed basketball star, Michael Jordan:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game -winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”

And, Thomas Edison:
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Keep the Faith. Stay the Course!

In Love and Light,







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Spring 2017
MCLA Colorado River
Sacred Path Kayak Camping
Wilderness Retreat


Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director
of the Men's Center Los Angeles and leader/wayshower
of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 30 years.
He is author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for
men who want to become better men . . . AND
for the women who care about them.



The MCLA Wisdom Council honored Dr. Johnson's amazing 30 years of mindful men leadership and mentorship with a special commemorative film that debuted on
the mountain at the recent 30th
Annual Sacred Path Men's Retreat.
Click here to view "The Sacred Path." 






by Dr. Stephen Johnson
MCLA Executive Director

Emotional Transformation Therapy (ETT) is a therapeutic method incorporating the use of light, color wavelengths, and eye movements to rapidly transform emotional distress and related physical pain into a positive emotional state. Professionals trained in ETT work to help those in therapy address trauma and other pain and achieve lasting, healing change.

Developed by contemporary psychologist Dr. Steven Vazquez in 1991, ETT Is a relatively new form of therapy. Dr. Vazquez’s studies in the fields of epigenetics, optometry, neurobiology, and quantum physics influenced various aspects of his development of ETT as he attempted to establish a therapeutic technique beneficial for the reduction of emotional and physical distress. His noninvasive, non-pharmaceutical approach combines traditional psychotherapy with the use of visual brain stimulation and colored light therapy for fast results.

In Dr. Vazquez' book, Emotional Transformation Therapy, An Interactive Ecological Psychotherapy,” he explains, “The implications for counseling and psychotherapy are enormous.  This process has the potential to revolutionize the way therapists work.  Symptoms are changed so rapidly and so permanently that the use of psychotropic medications might become largely obsolete.  However, its use for physical symptoms may offer an even greater breakthrough, particularly in treating physical pain syndromes.”

Several members of our MCLA community (Dr. Stephen Johnson, Jeffrey Young & Anthony DiMaggio shown above) are currently training in this powerful modality of healing under Master Level Trainer, Lolita Domingue, LMFT.  We were initially introduced to this neuroscientifically-based therapeutic power of color and light by one of our MCLA leaders, Mitchell Roth, while attending the Sacred Path Men's Retreat last October. 

Mitchell Roth, JD, MS, LMHC

Mitchell, who had just completed his Level I (out of 5 levels) training, was quite excited by what he had learned, and graciously offered to work on a few retreat participants. If you reside in Florida, or are traveling there, Mitch has just completed his Level III Training.  Click here to visit his website and experience a remarkable session under his guidance. He resides in the Boynton Beach area.

There is a wide array of ETT diagnostic categories ranging from neurosis to more severe mood disorders and addictive tendencies that respond favorably to this amazing modality. It has proven to show positive results with crime victims, survivors of automobile accidents, rape survivors, survivors of natural disaster, war trauma and other disorders including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

ETT Master Training instructor Lolita Domingue, LMFT

If you are a licensed therapist, or budding counselor in training, and would like to equip yourself with a revolutionary new treatment modality, there is an upcoming training scheduled June 2-4. If you do, you’ll be able to join the three of us for our Level II training that will follow by summer.  Check out Lolita's website at

Participants attending this training will learn to combine empirically based concepts from quantum physics using precise wavelengths of light and attachment neurobiology to access core emotions while providing attuned interpersonal support. This break through technology also provides a new level of client safety while rapidly regulating intense emotion.


ETT Level 1 Training

WHEN:  Friday - Sunday, June 2 - 4, 2017
WHERE:  Office of Lolita M. Domingue, Marriage and Family Therapist
Email:   (909) 982-5171
1126 W. Foothill Blvd. Upland, CA 91786

For additional information about this event and registration info, click this link:
ETT Level 1 Training June 2-4, 2017



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DR. STEPHEN JOHNSON is founder and executive director
of the Men's Center Los Angeles and leader/wayshower
of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 30 years.
He is author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for
men who want to become better men . . . AND
for the women who care about them.

No One Said You Have to be Fearless (The True Warrior’s Code)

No One Said You Have to be Fearless
(The True Warrior’s Code)

The warrior knows there is much more to life than the bucket of bullshit we've been sold and gladly moves beyond his fear, mindfully taking the chances and risks in order to manifest the life his soul yearns for into reality.

by Jared Ciofalo

I believe the archetypal “fearless” warrior doesn’t exist. 

In my opinion, the true warrior is not one who is fear-LESS, but someone FILLED WITH FEAR like the rest of us. What separates him from the crowd is that this bad-ass doesn’t allow himself to be overtaken or consumed by fear.

The warrior moves with grace through life, expecting the sensation of fear to arise whenever he embarks upon a soul-expanding experience and embraces fear as a necessity for his evolution.

The warrior is self-aware and senses fear’s presence, but courageously steps to the plate to accept each challenge he’s presented and does what is required to successfully maneuver through them.

So if you find yourself feeling paralyzed by the sensation of fear when you’re attempting something new and different, pause and take a moment to be compassionate towards yourself. Fear happens to the best of us, especially the warrior-types craving lives filled with passion and purpose.

The warrior knows there is much more to life than the bucket of bullshit we’ve been sold and gladly moves beyond his fear, mindfully taking the chances and risks in order to manifest the life his soul yearns for into reality.

Every change made in life ushers us into new, foreign territories to learn and grow from, and sometimes this feels downright terrifying hiking through new terrain in some strange shoes we’ve never worn before.

It’s natural to shrink back from fear and momentarily reassess a situation. Pausing in reflection before moving forward with something big isn’t cowardice, it’s healthy and smart. Just don’t stand out at the edge of the cliff too long. You have to jump.

Like the warrior, the coward is afraid too, except he becomes dominated by it. Fear paralyzes the coward who never attempts anything different or new because he’s afraid to use fear as a directional indicator to move toward his greatest potential. The coward cheats himself from living because his entire life has become contaminated in self-doubt, disbelief and worry.

It’s a choice.

Live life constantly believing fictional scenarios the mind creates rarely if ever coming true only but 99.999% of time.


Live life believing in yourself and your true potential, because truth be told . . . every time you boldly take a risk, you will feel satisfied regardless of the outcome because you faced your fears in trying.

Life isn’t happening someday down the road. Life is here, happening NOW, and everything you need to accomplish your dreams already resides within you.

Life is not about what you say you will do, LIFE IS ABOUT WHAT YOU ACTUALLY DO.

YOU ARE READY. Believe it. Go and trust. CREATE YOUR REALITY, not later, but NOW. The future prospect of “One day life will be more awesome,” is nothing but a copout and an excuse to escape whatever you could be doing right now in the present.

So keep fear around. No one said you have to be fearless. Fear is nothing but a muscle, and needs to be flexed regularly. Just keep moving toward your greatest potential with fear as your ally by your side.



“The feeling of fear is never going to go away completely. When you feel fear, keep going forward. You are not a coward if you feel fear. You are only a coward if you give into that feeling. You can learn to do it afraid.”

  -- Joyce Meyer



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JARED CIOFALO aka "The SoulTrekker, is the Founder/CEO of "SoulTrekker: Intuitive Guidance Channeling the Heart's Truth," Spiritual Counselor, Session Facilitator, Channel of Truth, Featured Writer for The Good Men Project and The Holistic Journal, Raw, Uncut Video Blogger and YouTube Channel Extraordinaire. Leaders create more leaders, and true leaders have heart. Jared's heart is blown open and he is unafraid of sharing his miraculous gifts with all of you.

Connect with Jared through his Website,  Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram,  LinkedIn,  Google+






You're Safe: A Safe Parenting Approach
On & Off the Field

by Rod Louden, MA, MFT, BCPC

You’ve done your job.  You’re on second base.  As you slowly create distance between you and the base, anticipation starts to grow, hoping your teammate will be able to further advance you around the bases.  The pitcher starts his windup. 

As the ball leaves the mound, your focus intensifies.  Your heart starts beating faster. You hear the bat hit the ball and in a millisecond the ball rockets over your head.  You’re now running.  The third base coach is waving you on.  You have to trust your coach’s decision.  You round third, you see the pitcher running toward home plate as well, racing to get behind the catcher in case of an errant throw.  You look at your teammate behind the catcher telling you to slide. 

The catcher, his arm stretched out to the max, squats protecting his turf.  You adjust your course slightly to the right and lunge into a head-first slide.  You hit the ground. The impact causes dirt to fly into the air.  Like the catcher, your left arm can’t be extended any further.  You touch home plate.  You know the catcher tagged you.  But when?  Did you beat the throw?  You look up toward the home plate umpire. 

In what seems like an eternity, you listen and watch for his call. You know it’s going to be close.  And then you see his arms making the safe motion and hear that glorious word, “Safe!”  You hop up and high five teammates as you make your way to the dugout.  Life is good.  You feel great.  And then you hear it.

“Johnny!  Why didn’t you tag him faster?  You just let him score.  I’ve told you a thousand times that you have to protect the plate.  Are you stupid?” 

Johnny slowly lowers his head.  He felt he did everything right.  He did his best.  But, his dad is pissed off. While you are safe, Johnny is not.  He feels shamed.  He feels embarrassed.  He’s defeated.  He fears what his dad may say next.  What should be one of the safest places on Earth is not for Johnny.

All over our great land, scenes like this play out too often.  Sports are supposed to be fun.  Inherent in all sports is a danger of being injured.  But, this should be limited to the field, the court, the ice, etc.  Far too many of our youth are being hurt from the stands.

Children need three things to grow in to healthy, happy, and productive adults.  They need to feel loved, have structure, and feel safe.  If one or more of this essential building blocks is missing, the chances that child will struggle emotionally and behaviorally increase dramatically.  Upon reaching the teenage years, a teen may turn to drugs, alcohol, and other assorted rebellious behavior, as he or she searches for ways to escape the pain of feeling not good enough, a failure, and not having met the expectations of his or her parent(s).


All children need to feel loved, have structure,
and feel safe

As a psychotherapist practicing the art and science of Narrative Therapy, it is our relationship with our own problem(s) that is the problem.  As no one, no parent, is perfect, childhood is often a place where a lot of problematic relationships are formed.  Relationships with low self esteem, fear, depression, anxiety, and guilt, are often created in the developing mind. 

If these relationships continue to be “fed” by adults, these problems can grow and become monstrous.  Instead of a child blooming, a child will wilt. They will learn that being vulnerable, an essential component of creating deep, loving relationships, is bad and needs to be avoided.  Walls will be erected, defenses will go on full alert, and other problematic relationships, such as relationships with anger, shame, hypervigilance and hypersensitivity, just to name a few, may manifest.

One of the hallmarks of youth sports is that inherent in them are positive values and important life lessons.  There are so many teaching moments that arise on a daily basis. Lessons about winning, losing, sportsmanship, honor, integrity, loyalty, decency, fairness, empathy, sacrifice, respect, responsibility, and courage are just some of the many positive human values that are on the field for the taking.  This is why we, as a society, are so interested in sports at all levels and why many parents encourage their children to participate.

I was curious about the current state of mind in regard to kid’s and parent’s mindset in 2017.  So I sat down with Mike Barger, an accomplished athlete having played baseball in his youth, as well as in the army, where he also played football, and then played professional golf.  Mike has been umpiring baseball games, little league, high school, city leagues, charity events, and once umpired the USC /UCLA professional football player’s alumni baseball game, since the 1960’s.

ROD:  Mike, thanks for taking the time to meet with me.

MIKE: No problem. Happy to do so.

ROD:  You have been umpiring for a long time. I am curious, what has changed over the almost 60 years that you have been calling baseball games from behind home plate?

MIKE: Well, not that much. For the most part, parents, coaches, and players remain respectful. But, there are always those players, coaches, and parents that want to argue over balls and strikes. Recently, I had to call time in a game to call the coaches over to have a conference. I let them know that if anyone started to argue about a ball or strike call they would be gone. People can get very emotional. As a parent, coach, or player you want to make sure the you are modeling good sportsmanship.

ROD:  What do you think is the most important thing parents can do in regard to their children’s participation in sports?

MIKE: That’s easy. Encourage them, don’t belittle them. Children need the support of their parent(s). Children need to be cheered on and supported. Your child needs your support. It is not up to your child to support his or her parent(s). That only puts undue pressure on a child. The worst thing a parent can do is to put down his or her child; to make a child feel that he or she is not good enough, failing, or not living up to his or her potential in the eyes of the parent.

ROD:  Have you ever had to throw someone out of a game or out of the stands for being inappropriate?

MIKE: Yes. There have been times where someone comes unglued and I need to get them out of there. I remember one game where a father kept yelling from the stands. The last straw was when he yelled that I was intentionally helping the other team. My response was “you’re gone!” I can only imagine what must have been going on in his child’s mind.

ROD:  Besides encouraging a child, what else can a parent do to make the field a safe place for his or her child?

MIKE: Not all children are going to enjoy playing a sport. Don’t force your child to play a sport that he or she may not be interested in. Work to find out what your child is interested in. It may not be sports, but in doing so, you put yourself in the position of being able to encourage and support your child. Your child may be interested in music or science and have no interest in sports. Forcing your child to play a sport he or she has no interest in will only cause both you and your child a lot of stress and suffering.

ROD:  Thanks for your time Mike.

MIKE: You’re welcome.

Mike made an interesting point in that encouraging children is very important. Within the word encouragement is the word courage. Courage is a not the absence of fear. Courage is going forward to face a challenge even if one is fearful or anxious. Fear is just one of a number of states of mental energy. And, fear, in the right amount, can be used to power courage. Thus, part of encouraging children is to help them face fear or anxiety in order to be able to move forward and to challenge themselves free of the weight that fear and anxiety manifest. The worst thing a parent can do is feed a child’s fear or anxiety by talking down to a child or making him or her fear failing. Instead, talk to your child about how anxiety or fear may be pushing them around.

Ask your child this simple question, “What is fear telling you?” One of my favorite ideas about fear is that fear is a liar. Therefore, help your child see that he or she does not need to listen to fear; that he or she can turn, face fear with courage with you at his or her side, and evaporate it as he or she travels through it. A key is to make sure that your child feels safe enough to talk about what fear or anxiety is saying to him or her. Then you can become his or her ally against fear. Objectify the problematic relationship with fear and anxiety, not the child.

As I stated earlier, making a child feel safe is one of the three pillars of parenting. Children are naturally in a position of low to no power. Their lives are managed by adults in their lives. Parents, coaches, teachers, and other associated adults, are all in a position of power over children.

If parents engage in actions that builds trust, such as being empathetic, assessing without judging, and being patient, a child will feel safe on that foundation of that trust. Being on a platform of trust allows one to enter into a positive state of vulnerability. It is in that vulnerable space that a child will feel safe enough to let down defenses and be far more open to sharing deep personal fears and anxieties, and to being open to hearing and working to connect to what the parent is trying to teach.

In my next segment, I’ll look at the pros and cons of trying to protect a child’s self-esteem at all costs, a movement that arose out of the field of psychology that gained a lot of momentum in the last few decades, and share thoughts on how a parent can navigate this complex issue. Until then, keep encouraging your child and make sure that your child knows that he or she has your love and support.



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Read Rod’s original article courtesy of
Youth Sports Performance Network

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Rod Louden & MCLA Executive Director Dr. Stephen Johnson

ROD LOUDEN, Marriage & Family Therapist, MA, MFT, BCPC
While most therapists limit their interaction with clients solely to the therapeutic hour, Rod applies the Narrative Therapy ideal of post session letter writing. He has written thousands of post session letters to clients. These letters help to keep both the client and therapist focused on the work at hand and create bridges of thought between sessions.


In addition to Narrative Therapy, Rod utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help bring about quick, lasting change. He has extensive experience in Marriage Counseling, Couples Counseling, Addiction, Survivors of Childhood Abuse, Problem Solving, Self-Growth, Anxiety, Depression, working with Teens and Relationship Building. In addition, he works with Musicians, Actors, and Artists to break through creative blocks allowing a deeper expression of their artistry. He also works with Athletes at all levels regarding performance on and off the field. Rod is a performance coach for He is also the author of “Monster Relationships: Taming the Beasts that are Killing Your Relationships.” Email him at or visit





Four Habits of Wildly Successful People

Four Habits of Wildly Successful People

by Lindsay Weisenthal

When you hear the word "discipline," does it feel light or heavy? Even though it's a core behavior for reaching our goals, discipline tends to get a bad rap. The most notable associations are being subject to a rigorous routine, having to deprive ourselves of pleasure, and grinding out effort in an overly aggressive way.

"If vision is the head and mission is the heart, then values are the soul."

In Patañjali's Yoga Sutras one of the five niyamas, or self-discipline practices, is known as Tapas. The practice of Tapas encompasses disciplines such as fasting or taking a vow of silence, which seems to comply with our restrictive definition of discipline. But take a closer look and you'll see that these practices are meant to purify, renew, and restore our vitality.

Discipline is where you find the sweet spot between effort and ease, and walking that edge is the secret that really successful people have mastered. It's their secret sauce, if you will.

But it's not something you're just born with. Discipline can be learned. Here's how to start incorporating discipline into your life in an expansive, nurturing way.

1. Respond rather than reacting.

Acting from a place of balance keeps hasty decisions, depleted willpower, and self-sabotage at bay. Reactions tend to originate from a place of fear and uncertainty while responses grow from honorable values. John C. Maxwell writes, "If vision is the head and mission is the heart, then values are the soul." When you respond in accordance with your values, you avoid the trap of shrinking back, playing small, and living from fear.

2. Commit to doing the hard thing first.

We are wired to move away from discomfort, even if it's meant to better us. This simple inner working misleads us to do easy tasks first and put off things that, in the moment, seem much harder to accomplish. So, we tackle the low-hanging fruit first and allow the stress, anxiety, and weight of the bigger actions to fester. When you commit to doing the hard thing first, your day, week, month, and year become easier. On the flip-side, when you do the easy things first, your experience becomes one of difficulty and struggle.

3. Adopt a morning meditation practice to increase awareness.

Meditating first thing in the morning puts you immediately into your higher mind. From this elevated vantage point, you're free from the trappings of patterned behavior. Increasing your awareness gives you the freedom to make new choices based in the here and now. As you become more present you gain the superpower of creating new habits with ease.

4. Surround yourself with reminders of why you're doing what you're doing.

Getting clear on why you've committed to a certain path can be more important than the path itself. Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, writes, "Everything we do is driven by the desire to feel a certain way. You're not chasing the goal itself; you're chasing a feeling." We're far more likely to know what actions to take and which ones to toss if we focus on how we want to feel rather than what we will get. This puts us in a place of service to the highest vision for ourselves, rather than a state of constant striving. Remind yourself of your core desired feelings daily by placing inspiring images and words in plain sight.

As you embrace discipline, you'll tap into more power and rely less on forcing things to come together. If you're ever struggling to reach your goals, remember these guiding principles for creating success:

  • Surrender emotional reactions and adopt principled responses.
  • Fiercely commit to do the seemingly hard things first.
  • Ritualize your morning to increase your awareness.
  • When in doubt, reconnect with how you want to feel


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LINDSAY WEISENTHAL is a success and productivity expert specializing in helping women uncover and unleash their soul purpose. Her clients seek to ritualize their success, avoid burnout and create habits to support their most fulfilling lives. Lindsay’s diverse background—including seven years in product development and multiple coaching certifications—enables her to express her talent for extracting the mission and purpose that lives within each of us. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or